In the Cat’s Ear Ch2 Ficbit – Not Good

“I finished my deliveries, and I saw you up here, and – well. From the ground, this doesn’t look good.”

“And it looks better up here?” Ichigo folded skeptical arms, and tensed toes on one side to make sure he kept his balance. No point falling just to grump properly.

The way the guy’s gaze flicked to his feet, he’d caught that reflexive steadying. Under the jacket, shoulders eased. “A lot better.” He held out a hand. “Li. Li Tian.”

“Kurosaki Ichigo,” Ichigo said shortly, reluctant to move closer. Because seriously, Chinese? The last one he’d met had been Yoruichi’s stinger-armed shadow, and-

And Li moved like an Onmitsukidou, strength and grace and never a finger out of place. This could be bad.

Li let his hand close, and bent his head. “Sorry. It’s kind of unsteady up here, isn’t it?”

Ichigo tried not to let his jaw drop. Was – was that-?

You have every right to be wary, because if one of us made a grab we’d probably both go over the side, and neither of us wants that. I’m not offended.

He couldn’t be reading that casual movement right. Could he?

“I came up here because the way you moved looked like someone I knew once,” Li went on. “She’d lost something very important. It hurt her.”

Oh. So… not for him, at all. “A friend of yours?”

“Carmine?” Blue eyes blinked wider with surprise. “No. We worked together once, that was all.”


A/N: Warning, if you look up Carmine/Havoc on the Darker than Black wiki… well. She had some very unsavory habits.

(AKA to someone who knows how to look, Ichigo is in no way an innocent teenager….)

22 thoughts on “In the Cat’s Ear Ch2 Ficbit – Not Good

  1. “I finished my deliveries, and I saw you up here, and – well. From the ground, this doesn’t look good.”

    No kidding.

    In Li’s place, I would have drawn the same conclusion.

    “And it looks better up here?”

    In a lot of ways.

    Still dangerous. Still worrisome.

    But this close in, he can tell that you haven’t hit the event horizon yet.

    ALSO he can tell you are up of your voliation and not because some Contractor is making you for one reason or another.

    And Li moved like an Onmitsukidou, strength and grace and never a finger out of place. This could be bad.

    He would.

    Considering how many people who trained Ichigo were Onmitsukidou, not surprising that he can pick up that up in seconds . . .

    AKA to someone who knows how to look, Ichigo is in no way an innocent teenager…

    And Hei knows how to look. Largely because if he didn’t, he would be dead.

    Ichigo might maintain that he IS an innocent teenager . . . depending on what, exactly, you want to accuse him of.

    Plus it is hardly his fault that he is a Weirdness Magnet. He alternates blaming said magnet on either his father or Urahara. Because everything weird that happens to him seems to involve one or both of them.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The fact that Ichigo is up here of his own volition and still has an active sense of self-preservation is a tremendous relief to our poor stressed (hopefully former) assassin, yes.

      *Nod* Urahara, Yoruichi – there’s no way Ichigo would miss that trained grace.

      Heh. In some ways, Ichigo is very innocent. In others… well, he’s seen a lot of stuff nobody should ever have to see. And it shows.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. *Nod* Urahara, Yoruichi – there’s no way Ichigo would miss that trained grace.

        And if he did, one of them might decide he needs remedial lessons.

        In others… well, he’s seen a lot of stuff nobody should ever have to see. And it shows.

        It would. Probably should. That kind of stuff is damaging . . .

        And while their methods are too extreme, the Soul Society might have a point of preventing people from learning too much about the spirit world. It’s not knowledge that everyone could handle having.

        Even if it had been more mundane life-threatening danger . . . that kind of situation changes people.

        Knowing what you will do to survive or to save someone . . . Ichigo doesn’t know that in the abstract. It’s not a “what if.” He knows.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Ha! I was actually debating whether to ask about what you were going to do with Li’s name, and now all is revealed – it’s lovely to see Li Tian again. Such a poetic pair of siblings.

    I really like the instant wariness, especially since it’s so… transparent. Li tries to be open and friendly and while that part’s going through, it doesn’t negate the alarm bells pinging “he moves like a ninja!” in Ichigo’s head.

    Carmine… Ah. It’s nice to see a mention of her. Though, yes. She’s a little bit nightmare fuel embodied.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hey, if the fandom thinks Tian’s good, why not? 😉

      And, *G* Hei is not trying to negate the alarm bells. Whoever the kid is, he’s obviously entitled to his alarm bells. Goodness knows Hei has plenty of his own.

      Much better to openly show, “Oh yes, you should have alarm bells going off, but I have no hostile intent. Want to talk?”

      And Carmine. Ho boy, Carmine. But there are reasons Ichigo reminds Hei of her….

      Liked by 5 people

      1. So, basically the best first impression someone can make on someone like Ichigo, whose experience with literally anyone powerful has been them trying to kill/challenge him. Nice.

        (also kinda sets up the running gag of “you’re a weird person” // “I hear that a lot” ^^;)

        Liked by 3 people

  3. This is important. Someone that Ichigo recognizes as an assassin acknowledges that Ichigo is dangerous and right to be wary of a dangerous stranger. Do you want to count the people who’ve forgotten that? It’s like the Shinigami feel that if they can’t feel you, your not dangerous. As if the Onmitsukidou don’t exist and hide.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. …And that mutual recognition will make things very, very interesting.

        Quite . . .

        Especially when other people don’t pick up on what each of them saw in the other until it is pointed out.

        Because the Shinigami aren’t the only ones guilty to ignoring a potential danger just as “just as human.”

        Ichigo’s friends might have some trouble remembering that fellow humans can be just as deadly to them as a Hollow. Because they are young. And everything that has tried to kill them in the last year and change has either been a spirit of some kind or is connected to that world.

        Through in fairness, they don’t know about Contractors.

        Still, you don’t have to be a Contractor to kill someone.

        (If you think Hei’s not wondering right now who’s the bastard who trained a teenager to be this dangerous… well.)

        Another reason he and Sandal-Hat are going to have words.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Which… on the one hand shows just how much the group has drifted apart, sadly.

        *nods*

        Rukia and the other Shinigami are more understandable. He cannot see them outside of a gigai right now. And Yamamoto probably ordered them to stay away. And while they have disobeyed orders before, lives were at stake.

        Ichigo isn’t that depressed and apathetic. Not yet.

        (Through it wouldn’t surprise me if Rukia ever has the opportunity, she would at least check on Ichigo. She doesn’t let him know she’s there because there is skirting the rules and there is breaking them but she might at least have a look for herself.)

        Liked by 3 people

      3. It wasn’t quite Sandal Hat alone.

        Some of it is simply the matter of being a Shonen manga protagonist who has fought some of the most dangerous fighters in reality. The traits that tend to picked for such a protagonist often include a great deal of sensitivity towards combat and such, and a great capacity to learn. That Ichigo is also a magical girl combat team protagonist transcribed into a Shonen story means that he is also very sensitive to psychological state.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. Aargh, tried to post this two days ago and it didn’t post. Let’s try again…

        >> (If you think Hei’s not wondering right now who’s the bastard who trained a teenager to be this dangerous… well.)

        >> Another reason he and Sandal-Hat are going to have words.

        To be fair I… may have to come down with Satoyama on this one.

        Urahara did train Ichigo to be dangerous, and frankly he could/should’ve done a better job post-Aizen and Ichigo being depowered being part of Ichigo’s support network.

        Granted: I don’t know the details of the depowering nor what Urahara’s status in Soul Society is after that mess. I gave up on Bleach towards the end of the Hueco Mundo arc. So, if Urahara is allowed back to Soul Society since he was falsely accused in the whole Vaizard mess, and what with the loss of various Captain-class individuals and the post-war recovery… Well. If Urahara’s involved in any of that I can’t say that I blame someone whose lifespan is measured in centuries for getting distracted for the six months we see here, let alone the 17 months apparently in canon and missing some obvious problems.

        If Urahara isn’t involved in Soul Society’s reconstruction, then I can still buy the different senses of timescale making him think it’s better to let Ichigo stew and come to terms with his emotions on his own for 6-17 months. It’s definitely the wrong decision, but I feel like with that different perspective it kind of becomes an understandable mistake, and less an obvious sign of neglect. And I don’t think Urahara’s time living in the Mortal World would actually dent that, since unlike Isshin near as we can see Urahara spent all his time interacting with Tessai, the Vaizards, Yoruichi, and whatever Urara and Jinta are. And while the latter two appear to age like humans, none of them actually are human, near as I can tell/recall.

        So I think Urahara definitely fucked up. As did Soul Society. As did Ichigo’s friends. But I don’t know that it’s the outright neglect or emotional abuse I see often implied in fandom, so much as one of the few times species differences unintentionally cause misunderstandings in Bleach.

        I got sidetracked, on Ichigo’s training… Yeah, still siding with Satoyama. Hei is understandably concerned (to put it lightly) about someone both as young and as trained as Ichigo, but circumstances… may have made it somewhat justified. Shit kept happening there weren’t a lot of people who could deal with it and Ichigo both had the potential and the insistence that he be one of those people.

        Like

  4. These days safe for work seems a little looser. But the safe for work explanation of Carmine/Havoc is that there was once a powerful contractor, who was active back in South America. After the big incident, she showed up in Europe with no memory of what she was. Relearned humanity. Ends up in Japan, recovering memories of what she had done, in a mixed up state between Contractor, Doll, and human. Had a very unpleasant remuneration, that wasn’t an option, and probably felt more suicidal guilt from that than the people she had killed with her power. The current version of her was decent enough, and would not have made past her’s choices, so Hei was trying to keep her alive. Another Contractor killed her, because of what she had done, and could potentially do again.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Pretty much sums it up, yes.

      …So when Hei sees someone else with that same lost look – well.

      It’d be rational to walk away. It’d probably be smart to walk away.

      But Ichigo is still alive. And MI6 isn’t after him. There might be something Hei can do.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. So what Carmine lost was a sense of innocence and control. This tells us about Ichigo, even if Hei sees that it is different from a closer look. Ichigo has learned a lot about Hei from this.

      Thanks. It might be wrong to call this fun, but I liked it.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Ichigo saw danger in Hei in seconds, even though he fel disbelieving at what the body language was telling him. i wonder if his other friends, still with powers will notice something weird about He’s body language as well…

    Liked by 3 people

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