In the Cat’s Ear Ch2 Ficbit – Contact

Not even thinking, Ichigo batted something light and poky away from his head.

Wadded-up flyer?

Li blinked at him, almost too mild. As if his fingers didn’t have a trace of cheap ink on them. “The light’s about to change.”

He’d almost walked right into traffic. Great. Just great. Live through Aizen, get taken out by dump truck.

Ichigo waited for the light, feeling the weight of Li’s gaze on him. Not the steady pressure of Uryuu staring at the back of his head in yet another droning class. Not the pale, lip-biting looks his sisters threw his way when they thought he wasn’t looking. Just a careful, subtle feeling of attention.

So he sat on his damn temper and waited until they were by a near-empty playground before he exploded. “Why do you even care?

“Carmine looked like that.” Blue eyes darkened; glanced away. “She wanted to live. She was trying. But the things she’d seen, the things she’d done….” Li shook his head, hands shoved into jacket pockets. “It was too much. I didn’t know what to do. I… hurt her.” A heartbeat’s pause. “And then someone killed her.”

Ichigo stared at the little fountain near one edge of the playground, gripping the fence in one hand; not sure if he wanted to keep himself from hurling a punch or just hurtle the low chain and keep running. “Did – did the cops-?”

Li was silent.

“…That sucks,” Ichigo said at last. “But I’m not her. I’m okay. Ask anybody.”

“Okay.” Li’s voice was quiet. “But I thought that, maybe… I like climbing.” One hand came out with a pen and a scrap of notepaper; he scribbled, then folded the slip, offering it. “Maybe you could show me some good spots around here, sometime?”


A/N: Yep, Hei is leaving out a lot of details about the Carmine mess. Mind, he did feel sorry after interrogating her….

34 thoughts on “In the Cat’s Ear Ch2 Ficbit – Contact

  1. Live through Aizen, get taken out by dump truck.

    Can’t have that.

    You would almost literally never heard the end of it.

    Through your level of distraction worries me.

    “…That sucks,” Ichigo said at last. “But I’m not her. I’m okay. Ask anybody.”

    No . . . but you aren’t well, Ichigo.

    You are hurt, in pain.

    And while it is obvious that your friends and family care about and are worried about you, they obviously don’t know how to handle the situation without making you feel worse. Okay, their solution of ignoring the elephant in the room isn’t helping. At all. Through in fairness, all of your loved ones are (1) likely forbidden to speak to you, (2) young, and (3) possessing an F- in effective communication skills.

    Doesn’t help the situation is somewhat unusual. I got the impression that Shinigami don’t lose their powers like that very often.

    “Maybe you could show me some good spots around here, sometime?”

    Please take him up on the offer, kiddo.

    It is company who does know SOMETHING is wrong, they don’t know the specifics.

    It is company that is a stranger so their concern probably feels less like pity.

    Yep, Hei is leaving out a lot of details about the Carmine mess.

    Understandably.

    If for no other reason than the fact that some of that is dangerous information to have.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That level of distraction worries Hei too. A lot. “His self-preservation instincts are up and running as long as his adrenaline is. Let that crash and he’s got nothing left. This Is Bad. Need to do something.
      “…Get him out of traffic first.”

      And what Ichigo tells him next identifies a big part of the problem: That he has to be okay. Hei knows all about how draining it is to be constantly running a persona instead of yourself.

      So far as we know, only two shinigami have ever lost their powers quite this way. Ichigo… and Isshin. Who’s Not Talking to Ichigo about having been a shinigami, or why he came to Earth, or anything. Oi.

      Hei’s put together twitchy nerves and “I’m okay” and come up with, Ichigo is not consciously looking for help. So openly offering is out. But that’s okay. He can do subtle. 😉

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Who’s Not Talking to Ichigo about having been a shinigami, or why he came to Earth, or anything. Oi.

        Double Oi.

        Kinda of makes me wish that Ichigo and his siblings had gotten someone in their lives who knew about the Shinigami thing and called BS on Isshin not telling them anything*. Get that idiot to use his words. Not unlike Loki in that fic you posted snips from.

        Someone like . . . Juushiro, maybe.It would need to be someone who couldn’t be intimidated by Isshin or Urahara.

        *I maintain that Ichigo, Karin, and Yuzu not knowing bites everyone on the behind later. Plus no one likes feeling like they have been lied to their whole lives. Which is what Isshin did. No wonder his kids don’t trust him. Not for anything important.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Bit from outline I’m working on:

        “Yuzu, I’m much better than it looks. I’ve always been a ghost, I’ve just been wearing an artificial body. You don’t need to worry, I’ll be fine.”

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh, sneaky Hei! He’s making this about him. Ichigo is more likely to respond positively if it’s about helping Hei. Even if Ryuuken gave him a rudimentary rundown of Ichigo, which probably didn’t happen, this is the perfect way to have it happen. Also, Hei proved in the beginning of this that just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean you can’t hurt them. Perhaps this would be better then Fullbringers. Now that would be an interesting arc with a passel if assassins lounging around Ichigo.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yep. *G* Hei is not just an assassin, he’s an operative.

      First two eps of DtB? Li manages to adorkably insert himself into the life of a target with stolen info, get her to trust him, and convince her to run away with him out of the country under faked IDs. In about two days.

      That clip I linked? That’s Li moving in right next door to his target. The lady in glasses. *G*

      And nope. Ryuuken hasn’t breathed word one about Ichigo. He has absolutely no reason to anticipate the two of them would ever run into each other.

      (He’s going to look back on that assumption and facepalm. Because Ichigo. Of COURSE Ichigo attracts the dangerous-but-not-really-evil ones like a magnet….)

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Li manages to adorkably insert himself into the life of a target with stolen info, get her to trust him, and convince her to run away with him out of the country under faked IDs. In about two days.

        Hei must have +3 in Charisma stats or something.

        It’s not what people precisely think of when they think Charisma. But it is obviously very effective.

        Maybe because people get the feeling in their gut that they can trust Li.

        Which, assuming he hasn’t been ordered to kill them (or they weren’t a threat to Bai), isn’t a precisely misplaced trust. After all, he doesn’t kill people if he has no reason to. And sometimes prevents them from being collateral damage.

        He’s going to look back on that assumption and facepalm. . .

        “Ohhh I see. You thought that losing his powers meant he also lost his trouble magnet.”

        “…”

        “Rather naive of you, I would say.”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. 🙂 Li is definitely trustworthy! Just ask Detective Saitou. You know, the Section 4 detective who used his own name when he went undercover as a waiter at a Tong party…

        (Yes, Chief Misaki Kirihara facepalmed at that too.)

        (Li’s expressions when they were washing dishes together are something to see.)

        And Li’s kind and civic-minded, too! Why, he helped hide Chief Kirihara in a bathroom from the ex-friend trying to kill her, and then covered for Saitou while they stole a beverage cart to hide her in and sneak out.

        Disappeared after that somehow, but hey, they were kind of busy, what with a bloodthirsty Contractor trying to kill them both. Funny how BK-201 showed up just in time to take down said Contractor, snatch his objective, and disappear….

        And *Snrk* To be fair to Ryuuken, at least the magnet was dormant for a while?

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Funny how BK-201 showed up just in time to take down said Contractor, snatch his objective, and disappear….

        To which Misaki is currently thinking: “Yes. Very funny.”

        Don’t feel bad Misaki. People with a far more developed sense of paranoia have been followed by his Obfuscating Stupidity routine.

        As mentioned, it does help that most of his Li persona ISN’T an act. Since he is being genuine, makes it harder to spot the points where it isn’t.

        Hei is probably also the master of using the Saitoh Hajime style of reporting – short, to the point, not a lie.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. ‘Ask anyone’ means that no one around him is noticing, he is putting up a facade so they don’t notice, or he thinks he is successful at hiding it, and is overlooking people putting it together.

    Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Probably doesn’t help that most of the people who have put it together either doesn’t know how to help or even offer to help without getting their head bitten off.

      Because Ichigo insistes that he is fine and is probably as snarly as a bear with a sore paw if anyone suggests otherwise.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I now envision a future scene, with Ichigo mentioning a new friend he hangs with, and isshin coming to check it, from some distance. And notices too, that Hei moves like Omnitsukido.

    Hei notices the broad shouldered, bearded man and they confront each other, leading to nonlethal violance.

    Ichigo comes into ‘Li’ smacking isshin, and nonchalantly tells him to keep going. only after some moments saying “You’ve earned it, goatface”.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. While a part of me understands this is probably a serious scene, the other part of me is laughing because-

        Isshin would probably drop Hei fairly easily (no disrespect) and all I can see is him trying to interrogate him only to be blindsided by the fact that Hei is either A) looking wildly around for an invisible mystery attacker who seems to have knocked him down and up and left or B) being held down and confused by the fact that that’s… all that seems to be happening.

        Shinigami really aren’t used to getting hit by humans, let alone humans who can’t even SEE them bahahahaha.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Um.

        That would be… the only appropriate phrase that comes to mind is “horrifically Bad.”

        Because yes, Isshin having flash-step, he probably would drop Hei.

        However, that would require making physical contact with Hei.

        Who has distinct, highly-trained and very fast reactions to being hit by the invisible. And has already been warned about Hollows needing lightning-strike levels of kill, plus.

        …The scenario you’re describing either ends in mutual kill or mutual KO. Not good.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Yeah. Exactly.

        Bear in mind, Contractor powers aren’t like shinigami kido. They can use them as fast as they can react.

        (And if they happen to be standing someplace wet – and if he had any suspicion of being followed, Hei would head for someplace like that – then Isshin is definitely going down for the count even if Hei’s blacking out. Water conducts.)

        Liked by 1 person

      4. However, that would require making physical contact with Hei.

        I wonder if part of the damage to Hei is skin hunger . . . most humans need a certain amount of positive touch to be healthy (part of being a social animal) . . . and most people who know WHO he is would not be willing to touch him or allow him to touch them . . . after he can kill with a touch . . .

        And they might not think it is a potential problem because maybe Contractors don’t have that need anymore . . . or don’t admit to need it since it is irrational . . .

        Who has distinct, highly-trained and very fast reactions to being hit by the invisible.

        Understandably so.

        Besides Hollows, there are Contractors who can do invisible.

        Either of which would be trying to kill him.

        Hence his immediate reaction would be lethal zap.

        That’s what I would do in that situation if I were Hei.

        …The scenario you’re describing either ends in mutual kill or mutual KO. Not good.

        Nope.

        Getting Hei or even Li in the room with certain parties without massive bloodshed is going be . . . . tricky. To put it mildly.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Lack of touch probably is a big part of Hei’s problems. At one point in canon Yin grabs his hand, and you can see the shock on his face.

        And yes. Invisible trying to kill me = just another day for the Black Reaper.

        Of course all the Karakura characters have their own twitches from surviving Hollows and Aizen. 🙂 So… yes. Juggling the situation so it’s as non-lethal to good guys as possible is tricky. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Isshin has a clinic, but that is not necessarily all of his practice. Any chance he spends, or has spent, some of his hours doing EMT work in ambulances?

        I think if he has done it, it might’ve been while Masaki was alive. (He had to have some employment in between Captain and Doctor. EMT is a candidate.) But perhaps staff is short right now, and he needs money, and the kids are old enough for him to pull a few shifts doing that.

        Cause I don’t think Isshin would bug Li much if Isshin had his hands busy with a patient. Li mostly does his fade away with the night act when emergency services show, but it shouldn’t be that hard to have him need to stay, and need to get in the ambulance with Isshin.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Future Predictions

    Uryuu, upon learning that Ichigo has somehow gotten himself tangled up in another group of weirdos, simply rolls his eyes and mutters “Of course he did.”

    Rukia’s reaction is similar . . . through when she figures out the (former) assassin thing, she might mutter something about his lack of survival instincts . . . most people give assassins a wide berth . . not befriend them. She blames Urahara.

    Chad is the calmest. Once he determines that they aren’t going to hurt Ichigo.

    Orihime . . . not sure yet. She’s a pretty accepting girl. She might be good for Yin . . . Tatsuki too.

    Yuzu and Li share recipes.

    Through the team, when they learn about the Shun Shun Rikka, make a pact that the Syndicate must NOT find out about Orihime and her power. Ever. For pretty similar reasons why it was bad that Aizen knew about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Uryuu and Rukia would definitely be the coolest with the situation. Anything that gets Ichigo out of the depressive slump is a Good Thing.

      Hmm. On the one hand, yes, so long as they’re not hostile, Chad would be more or less okay with them. OTOH… Chad is pretty set on nonviolence as much as possible, and Hei’s team is – well. Not. I’m not sure he’d like them much.

      Anyone’s guess on Orihime, agreed.

      *G* Yuzu meets Li briefly in Chapter 3.

      If the team finds out someone can reject reality, they may have the brief impulse to mass headdesk. Because given part of Hei’s on the run is something closely related… what are the odds?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Chad is pretty set on nonviolence as much as possible, and Hei’s team is – well. Not. I’m not sure he’d like them much.

        Yeah, he is.

        Potential problem.

        But he can tolerate members of the Eleventh Division maybe he can learn to tolerate the team.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I dunno… mutual Hei/Isshin KO could be funny, if Ichigo catches the tail end of the engagement and gets left holding the bag: “…great. Now I have to drag them BOTH back to the clinic.”
    Of course, with Ichigo’s current spiritual handicap, this would require that Isshin be embodied (en-gigai’d?) at the time.
    Cue scene where Ichigo is sitting between their clinic beds, waiting for them to wake up so he can verbally flay them both….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If Ichigo can’t see Isshun as a spirit, all he knows is his new tentative friend just collapsed, while in a town Ichigo knows for a fact has Hollows and upset Plus and poltergeist and everything in between. Don’t remember if he knows about Ryuuken quite yet, but if he does, I can see him dragging Hei to the hospital over the clinic, due to either proximity or not trusting Isshun with a friend. Or just wanting one thing in his life separate from the Shinigami.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. He’ll find out about Ryuuken soon. In part because said doctor decides he’s had enough idiocy and makes Karin very happy.

        (Seriously, that girl is relieved when someone calls her dad out on the goofiness.)

        And yes. Ichigo has had six months of his life imploding on him because of shinigami-related stuff. He needs some space.

        Liked by 1 person

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