In the Cat’s Ear Ch2 ficbit – Fresh Air

A/N: This is about a week after Hei and co. meet Ryuuken.


The girder rang under his feet as Ichigo breathed in the summer wind. Karakura looked so small from up here.

Not as small as it used to.

The afternoon sun was shifting his spot of shadow. Ichigo glanced at steel, and stepped back into the patch where people on the ground would have to work to see him. Carefully. Very careful steps.

Nothing like visiting Rukongai to make you not want to die anytime soon.

All he really wanted was some quiet. Away from people. Strangers made him twitchy; made him want to size them up and reach for a blade that wasn’t there, because he couldn’t sense their spirit energy and the last person he couldn’t sense had been Aizen. And people who weren’t strangers-

I can’t stand it anymore. I just – can’t. Not today.

Orihime, Chad, Uryuu – they’d each jumped at unheard noises and pled bathroom breaks through the day. From the way Keigo had paled and Mizuiro had carefully ignored the chaos, Ichigo knew exactly what they’d gone out after each time. But no one would tell him anything.

Why should they? They know I know the Hollows are out there. And I can’t do anything to stop them. I can’t even see ghosts.

Glass half full, right? At least he didn’t have spectral salarymen grabbing him with clammy fingers and whining about missing out on the stock market anymore. No ghosts, no monsters; plenty of time to do his homework without getting nagged by a midget shinigami hiding in his closet….

Maybe I’ll just stay up here a little longer.

Though not much longer. The wind seemed to be picking up. At least the girders were ringing more than they had been-

“Wow.” Someone took a deep breath; steel vibrated underfoot, as if a weight had shifted. “This is… really high up.”

34 thoughts on “In the Cat’s Ear Ch2 ficbit – Fresh Air

  1. Ichigo glanced at steel, and stepped back into the patch where people on the ground would have to work to see him. Carefully. Very careful steps.

    Besides the whole not wanting to die at all thing, if I were Ichigo I wouldn’t want to die like that either. It sounds unpleasant. And Rukia would give him hell for dying in such an idiotic fashion for the next century or so.

    . . . and the last person he couldn’t sense had been Aizen

    You can see how THAT would make someone twitchy.

    No ghosts, no monsters; plenty of time to do his homework without getting nagged by a midget shinigami hiding in his closet….

    Yes but you will also feel helpess and powerless.

    Not a feeling anyone enjoys.

    Especially not someone who used to being the one to protect.

    Also you are alone in your head for the first time in a while. Probably feel empty and like something is missing because SOMETHING is. Likely you don’t miss the Hollow but Zangetsu? Even if you don’t admit, you miss him. And he was literally a part of you.

    Through I don’t buy Zangetsu being completely gone . . . completely destroying a piece of one’s soul just sounds like it would be a lot more damaging to a person than losing their powers . . . also that is probably hard to actually do.

    Look at Engetsu. Isshin and them thought he was gone forever. Not so much.

    “Wow.” Someone took a deep breath; steel vibrated underfoot, as if a weight had shifted. “This is… really high up.”

    You do enjoy your understatements, don’t you Li?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ichigo would rather not die, but he’d definitely rather not die like an idiot. Too many people would never let him live it down.

      The whole post-Aizen mess was… augh. There Are No Therapists, squared.

      And of course Li enjoys understatements. *G* Has to get in that dry sense of humor somewhere!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Too many people would never let him live it down.

        So. Many. People.

        The whole post-Aizen mess was… augh. There Are No Therapists, squared.

        I know, right!

        Jeez.

        I can excuse Ichigo’s human friends. They are young and they have no idea how to handle the situation. Which is fair. His Shinigami friends . . . well, most of them are older than the idea of therapy-therapy. Outside of the hit-something-until-you-feel-better type . . . which has its place and benefits but doesn’t work on everything . . .

        Still, you would think SOMEONE would have tried something other than ignore the elephant in the room and all but ostracize him in some ways . . .

        Poor kid must feel so alone.

        Has to get in that dry sense of humor somewhere!

        Have to maintain his sanity somewhere.

        Or at least maintain his given value of sanity. Probably not what most people would call sane.

        But in some ways, Hei / Li is remarkably sane. Not unlike Hakkai.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. To give Ichigo’s friends and family some credit “There are no therapists in the know and even if there were they’d have to pound it into Ichigo’s thick head that not only did he need help, but that they could.”

        Liked by 3 people

      3. To give Ichigo’s friends and family some credit

        Very true . . . there are no therapists in the know.

        Still . . .their method of handling him afterward leaves a lot to be desired.

        And is kinda of another thing I want to smack Isshin upside the back of his head for. If anyone knows what is like to be a Shinigami and then lose your powers AND zanpakuto, it is Isshin.

        On the other hand, Isshin doesn’t know how to communicate with his son very well. He seems to have forgotten that sometimes you have to use your words. I know communication is hard. But poor communication kills . . .

        Liked by 1 person

      4. As one of my fellow ficcers pointed out, one of the most meaningful conversations Isshin and Ichigo have in canon is where they’re mutually acknowledging that they’re Not Talking about Isshin showing up as a shinigami ex-captain. Those two really do not talk well!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. (And darn it, Ichigo deserved better than the whole awkward “sure he’ll be fine even though we cut him out of half our lives”.)

        And totally ignore how he already has a complex about useless to protect the people he cares about.

        Masaki’s death left scars.

        So did Rukia being taken by the Soul Society.

        And etc.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Investigating something that looks suspicious! After all, Hei’s seen people take headers off high places because of Contractors before. Finding out what’s going on could be critical to the team’s safety.

      (It has absolutely nothing to do with that odd twitch he got spotting the body language from below, that reminds him of loss and grief and pain. Nope. Surely not.)

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Ichigo is like, a fifth liliger. Because no one has ever taken that breeding project down enough generations, I’m judging this based on Savannah cats, where the males are sterile until the fifth generation and the females from the word go. He’s wild, a real mess of instincts, and he’s fresh out of a combat zone. He is not running on the same instincts as everyone around him.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Hey Vathara I think you got the order of your old fics wrong Of Night and Fire is 4th except Jim knows Hawke from Twist of Fate witch is 13th

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I noticed that some of them take place over more time than others, so that one fic may start after another does, but finish before it, taking place entirely within the same period of time. Might it be that case here?

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Proposed FAQ for Urban Legends

    FAQ
    Q: When will x be posted to AO3?
    A: A certain amount of work needs to be done when copying from FFN to AO3. Conversion is done when time and energy permit. No promises expressed or implied.
    Q: There is a continuity issue with stories x and y.
    A: Urban Legends stories were posted between 2001 and 2006. (2007 was a repost.) That’s a long time when one is actively learning creative writing. If you are learning to write, and insist on a comprehensive setting bible and timeline whenever you do a short story in a new setting, you will not write a lot of short stories, and will not rapidly get better at writing short stories. Expect minor continuity errors.
    Q: The order of x and y in the series listing is wrong because of z.
    A: The order in the series listing is a best fit, and will not be perfect because of minor continuity errors.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I’d considered a ‘story’ at location 1 titled “Urban Legends FAQ”. That way it is obvious to anyone starting out, but otherwise shouldn’t be intrusive. Perhaps a description such as “I think Urban Legends stands on its own fairly well, but I’ve been getting questions. If you haven’t read any, skip this, and try starting at x, y, or z.”

        Off the top of my head, I’m not sure what good starting points are. The first UL story you put up, probably the first Air Wolf, and I’m not sure what the best SGC intro in UL is.

        Feel free to reword, etc., etc. The words have been flowing poorly for me today.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. So they are deliberately approaching him, the question is how deliberate it is.

    If they realize he was once powered and now depowered, they might feel like they can approach him with minimal risk.
    On the other hand, approaching the vulnerable/helpless one can easily provoke extreme responses both from his paranoia and from teammates trying desperately to defend him.

    That sounds like a contractor thing to do, perfectly rational attempts to reduce risk that end up crating more risk because they don’t consider how people might react.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. …You tell me how paranoid Ichigo would be.

        I don’t think Ichigo’s paranoia is that the kind of levels that would need to be to register clumsy, soft-spoken, helpful guy as a threat.

        Misaki might not be the only who face-palms when they figure out just how both right and wrong their impression of Li is. Probably why the Li persona is so effective is because it is, in many ways, not an act. The biggest thing that people get wrong is assuming that all of that adds up to “harmless.”

        Hei is many things. Harmless is not one of them.

        Still, that was a Kenshin level display of “Ignore me. I’m just simple, harmless person.”

        You can almost hear the “Oro?”

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Oh man. Kenshin and Li in the same room would be an implosion of Obfuscating Stupidity.

        And yes. Ichigo is a good kid, and when Li’s not harmless he looks sad.

        Besides. Hei isn’t a threat. Actively not a threat. He Just Happens To Be Nearby. *Halo*

        Liked by 5 people

      3. On the other hand, he went specifically to a place that was difficult to see so nobody would approach him.
        Anybody that approaches is therefore a pursuer… and Aizen specialized in looking harmless.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. The samurai version of therapy would have been going to a Shinto temple or exorcist (for cleansing or making offerings), going to a Buddhist shrine for meditation or exorcism, or going to a diviner for advice. There’s also the option of “seek wisdom,” pilgrimage, journey, talk to your martial arts master, beat up other fighters at tournaments, learn a new art or craft, sleep with women, get drunk, gamble, etc….

    There could probably be a whole therapy arc of failed ideas on how to help Ichigo. Heh. But really, it does help some people to stay busy, or to do things that allow calm thinking or emotional release. That is probably half the nightlife of the Gotei 13.

    Liked by 2 people

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