In the Cat’s Ear Ch2 Ficbit – Grocery Run

Ichigo stopped in the middle of the canned soups and noodles, brain spinning to a screeching halt. “You!”

Jacket discarded for one of the mart’s green aprons over jeans and a white buttoned shirt, Li blinked at him, hands still working to stock the shelves. “Kurosaki. Hi! Did you find any new climbing spots?”

This was not happening. Not happening. How was this even his life? “What are you doing here?”

“Um….” Li looked down at the package of spiced noodles in hand. “Restocking the beef ramen?”

Ichigo was not going to slam his head into the shelves. Mrs. Sasajima who ran the place was old, sweet, sometimes terrifying to would-be shoplifters, and probably completely innocent. He’d hate to make more work for her. “You… have a job.”

“I have a couple,” Li agreed, as if that were a completely normal thing to ask the guy you’d met on top of a construction site. “All part-time. We’ll see which ones work out.”

Okay, scratch his wild theory that Li was another escapee from Soul Society in a gigai. Outside of Urahara and his dad, Ichigo hadn’t met a shinigami yet who could hack normal society’s nine to five. And neither had those two, come to think; they’d each made their own jobs. “You have a job and you don’t have a phone?”

“It’s hard for a foreigner to get one in a hurry,” Li said easily. “Can I help you with anything?”

“Um… no, I come here a lot….”

Words ran dry, and Ichigo bit his lip. Any second now, Li was going to pounce, and talk to him, and he was just so tired sometimes.

Any second now.

Silence, broken only by the soft shfff of plastic on plastic as Li transferred noodles from box to shelf. Blue eyes glanced at him, curious – but only a glance. Not a look askance. Not a measuring stare.

He’s just… checking that I’m still here. Checking if I want to talk.

Quiet, deadly patience. It made Ichigo homesick with the memory of a tattered black coat, long hair blowing in the wind of sideways skyscrapers.


A/N: Ichigo is a Weirdness Magnet. Of course one of Li’s jobs will be where he goes shopping….

30 thoughts on “In the Cat’s Ear Ch2 Ficbit – Grocery Run

  1. Ichigo is the wounded stray cat in the alley and Hei is the p a t i e n t person trying to check up on him. You don’t grab a cat. You lure them in. Only Ichigo is totally a pack/pride animal and Hei is going to find he finally has a tank.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Or the universe forcing you to have more party dynamnics.

        You have DPS and Support.

        Besides Ichigo is very good at drawing aggro. And outside of current circumstances, pretty good at soaking up the damage.

        He can be helpful on being a big, loud, impossible to ignore distraction front. (And somewhat used to it. I know Yoruichi at least has taken advantage of that. Pay attention the loud, powerful kid with orange hair, not the cat lady with a knife . . .)

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I suspect that Huang will be very wryly amused at the whole mess. Because most people think the Black Reaper is cheaty enough.

        …He’ll also know the way to get it to work is to remind Hei he’s got responsibilities to Yin and a loudmouth cat. They can’t exactly protect themselves from Hollows the size of a house.

        (And if the kid can’t make a difference he’ll go messily boom, and they don’t want that, right?)

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Ichigo stopped in the middle of the canned soups and noodles, brain spinning to a screeching halt. “You!”

    Misaki feels your pain.

    Li made her brain slam on the brakes too. And that was before she learned he was BK-201.

    “Kurosaki. Hi! Did you find any new climbing spots?”

    Good clueless act.

    As stated before, you can all but hear the “Oro?”

    If Hei wasn’t Chinese, I would swear he was related to a certain wandering swordsman. Unhelpful bunnies know that he has dark hair and blue eyes like Kaoru, could be some kid or grandkid or something of those two moved to China.

    they’d each made their own jobs

    Well, they made sure they were their own boss. Which meant not explaining any of their peculiarities to a boss. Nor the fact they didn’t know certain things that everyone should know. Or, probably, their Japanese was a little or a lot archaic when they first arrived.

    Quiet, deadly patience. It made Ichigo homesick with the memory of a tattered black coat, long hair blowing in the wind of sideways skyscrapers.

    Yeah, I can see how Li or Hei later would remind Ichigo of Zangetsu. *wince*

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Unhelpful bunnies know that he has dark hair and blue eyes like Kaoru, could be some kid or grandkid or something of those two moved to China.

      Hm…

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Hei’s really, really good at Adorkable. *Halo*

      (Chinese descendants of Himura Kenshin would be a terrifying thought to anyone who knew that guy’s history.)

      *G* Of course he’ll remind Ichigo of Zangetsu. He even has a Badass Longcoat….

      Liked by 2 people

      1. (Chinese descendants of Himura Kenshin would be a terrifying thought to anyone who knew that guy’s history.)

        Quite.

        Very much a “Bring me my brown pants!”

        My bunnies also point out it would make a terrifying amount of sense too.

        Through in the event of such a crossover, my bunnies would like said rurouni to appear somehow.

        So either hanyou (through if he knew about them, I cannot see him passively accepting Hei and Bai’s disappearance. Nor staying out of this Contractor mess) . . .

        OR he was human but became Shinigami after he died. Because if Kenshin did up in the Soul Society, he would almost certainly end up a Shinigami. Probably the rest of the gang too.

        Sano would be 11th. Megumi would be 4th. The 2nd probably wants Kenshin but he would definitely nope that. Be there. done that, got the tee-shirt.

        OR he is an illegal Shinigami not unlike the Clean and White universe.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. “Don’t I know it. Okay, my hair is orange not red. Same principal.”

        (Through Ichigo cannot blame the orange hair on his father. All the Shibas we’ve seen have dark hair. Masaki was kind of a reddish color if I’m remembering correctly.)

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Get that boy a hug, stat!

    …and I can’t say Ichigo’s dad wins Worst Parent award forever. He does try. Sort of. He just… is //really bad// at it.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Hei being introduced to needing a Tank will be glorious…
    and now that i think about it, Li is similar to the Old Man Zangetsu…

    And part of it is the weary wise warrior thing the Sword Spirit has…

    once Ichigo notices that part consciously, he will start wondering. He already suspected Li to be escaped
    shinigami, until he saw him with a job.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh man. Writing that fight is being… well. Action scene, sticky, of course it is….

      And Ichigo’s already wondering. He will be wondering more. And get some answers.

      (Which will be yet another clue, no way is Li a shinigami. 😉 )

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Ya know, I can’t help but think, who is the bigger Weirdness Magnet here?

    And are the effects additive or multiplicative with each other?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Tho now, I’m pondering a multi-cross with Kirito, Ichigo, Kenshin, or any of a bunch of other weirdness magnets thrown into the Wheel of Time series, where weirdness magnets are actual forces of reality. Ta’veren, around whom reality is literally re-written to make things more weird, not just happening to be lucky that way. If they’re already that good at attracting weirdness in settings where it isn’t a force of reality, what happens when they actually become forces of reality that way?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Huh. I actually disliked the characters more in the first few books. Some of them finally started to grow up a little in some of the later books… Kinda.

        But yes, the series was mostly interesting for all the ideas and bunnies, not for the actual story. Especially for how it managed to throw so many different ideas together in one setting, and make them actually work together to make a greater setting, rather than interfering with eachother or seeming to be too out-of-place.

        And the concept of the Ta’veren was an especially interesting one. A kinda subversion of “may you live in interesting times”, for a setting where “fate” actually was a case of time isn’t strictly linear, so future events can already be set”. Specifically, Ta’veren are people who, by their very presence, bend fate (like a high gravity source bending the fabric of space), causing past, present, and future to twist around them to further their goals. So they become a case of “may interesting times pave your way”.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Maybe they are equally strong in the Weirdness Magnet department. It’s just the kind of weirdness they tend to attract?

      Some Weirdness Magnets attract all kinds of weirdness. Others are more specialized. Like up till this point, Ichigo’s has mainly pulled in spirit / ghost weirdness and weirdness related to people who need a big brother protector type in their corner.

      Hei, I think, has had more Gate-related weirdness plus the same needs-a-big-brother-protector type . . .
      Which is probably why their Magnets have started resonating. Through Hei tends toward the ones who usually need the protection a little subtly than Ichigo.

      Not saying that Ichigo can’t do subtle. It’s just usually not his MO.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Everyone had always dismissed the old rumors about the curse of the ‘magnetic’ healing springs.

        Then, one day, Conan met Sousuke Sagara, Himura Kenshin, Ichigo Kurosaki, Harry Dresden, Tian Li, Kazuto Kirigaya, Jack O’Neill, Sinbad, and Sanzo.

        The hotspring hotel was shut down.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. My bad; I’d planned the ending from before adding Dresden and Sinbad, and hadn’t rethought things. Those two take it a wee bit beyond “Scores of deranged murderers and needing to bring pathologists from overseas to count all the bodies.”

        Liked by 2 people

      3. You missed a couple that should be included. Especially (considering that it’s a “cursed spring”) Saotome Ranma. And it might be amusing to include Morisato Keiichi to the list (because of the crew he brings along). And “Pai” Parvati Fifth would really add to the weirdness.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Sure, Li’s job at the grocery store. And directing traffic at the crossroads outside Kurosaki’s house, well, its a public street. But on TV when Kurosaki flicks on the remote, working as a roadie for the Don Kanonji show?!

    This is getting ridiculous!

    Liked by 3 people

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