In the Cat’s Ear Ch3 Ficbit – Mirror

Urahara had taught him zanjutsu and cutting his opponent down, no matter what. The ex-captain’s training relied on spirit pressure to block lesser blades, and keep a shinigami alive through what ought to be mortal blows. Li’s fighting style-

Li fights like a mortal.

Dodge any hits you could; human bodies bruised. Avoid sharp edges; human bodies bled. Finish fights as hard and fast as possible, because human bodies got exhausted.

Which wasn’t that far off from how an unseated, power-stripped shinigami had had to fight Hollows. Rukia would like Li. Ichigo was sure of it.

He liked Li. Kind of a lot. Scary hints of a past and all. A guy who had the skills to be a ninja assassin was holding down at least two part-time jobs to keep the rent paid and get his cousin her favorite candy. Kirsi was quiet and shy, but trying to talk to people in fits and starts. And she was kind to cats, patiently coaxing strays out with treats. To the point Mrs. Sasajima had let her put up a little card on the market bulletin board with Lost pets found and a small fee listed. And as for Uncle Kuno… well. Guy was homely, no two ways about it. But he steadied Kirsi when she froze up with people, and if he wasn’t well enough to move fast yet, he had enough patience to outwait the most stubborn old yip-yap dog that’d dug itself under a foundation.

Ichigo liked them. Which wasn’t at all what he’d expected from people who gave him Vizard vibes. Yeah, he’d liked the Vizards too – eventually – but they were all so angry. Not just because of their Hollows. Because they’d been betrayed, and spat on, and under a sentence of execution for a hundred years for something that was not their fault. It was Aizen’s fault, all of it, and the fact the ex-captain had gotten away with it had left every last Vizard bitter to the core.

Li’s family wasn’t bitter. How, Ichigo had no idea. Though maybe because they really were criminals. They’d done horrible things; Li admitted as much. Now… now they just wanted to live.

Like me.


A/N: Yes, the team pretty much ended up using “real names” as aliases. Meta, so readers have a chance of figuring out who’s who. In-universe? They had a very short time to run, and Huang may not even have had alternate IDs. He was living openly in Tokyo under his real name as a retired cop.

Also – I have the 4th and last chapter of this story roughed, so now it’ll be a matter of poking through and edits. There will be more stories I want to tell in this ‘verse, but don’t worry – this one is complete!

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26 thoughts on “In the Cat’s Ear Ch3 Ficbit – Mirror

  1. Rukia would like Li.

    Very likely.

    Especially if she has seen you during that six months. She knows you are hurting. And that she can’t help. Might not know how, plus sneaking by to check on you in her regular form is one thing, getting a gigai is something else and might well be against the rules. And with the damage, without a gigai, you can’t even see her.

    This Li helped you when she could not. Saved you from sliding into further apathy and depression. For that alone, she will like him.

    It was Aizen’s fault, all of it, and the fact the ex-captain had gotten away with it had left every last Vizard bitter to the core.

    Well, it would.

    Can’t say that I blame them for their anger. And I doubt Ichigo does. He knows he would be furious if he was in their shoes.

    How, Ichigo had no idea.

    Might be less they were criminals who had done horrible things.

    A lot of criminals who do horrible things are still shocked, angry, and bitter when they are betrayed by their criminal organization.

    I think for there to be betrayal, one party must have the expectation that the other party was on their side, in their corner, would have their back when the chips were down. Party A could trust them. Maybe not 100% but enough to feel comfortable giving them your back, see at least some of your vulnerabilities.

    I seriously doubt Hei EVER had this kind of trust for the Syndicate. He (likely) knew the very minute he was more useful to them dead than alive, he was dead or they would make a very good attempt at making him so. Probably because they told him so when he came in with Bai and unlike some, he not only believed they were 100% serious about that threat, he never stopped believing them.

    Doubt the rest of the team ever trusted them in that way either.

    Hard to betray people who have never given said someone any of their trust.

    They had a very short time to run, and Huang may not even have had alternate IDs.

    Plus the Syndicate might be expecting them to use ANYTHING but their real names or their current codenames. Come on, who is stupid enough to use their real name when they are hunting or being hunted by criminals and assassins?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Rukia would also approve of Li’s fighting style. No posturing, no declarations – get in, smite, get out!

      (Plus, anyone who can get Ichigo to pause a moment and think before rushing in is good in her book.)

      The Vizards have every reason to want to strangle Aizen. Doesn’t make them easier to deal with.

      *Nod* Think you’re right; the team had every reason to believe they were alive as long as they were useful, and dead otherwise. Heck, they had proof, given how many “kill X member of your own team” they managed to dodge in-canon!

      And yes, Hei did know from the start that if the Syndicate ever considered it worth upsetting Bai, they’d never have let him live. Brr.

      *Snrk* As Hei will put it later, “There are a million Li’s.”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. (Plus, anyone who can get Ichigo to pause a moment and think before rushing in is good in her book.)

        Indeed.

        She also applauds the work involved. Because Rukia knows just how hard it is to get that boy to pause and think before he leaps in.

        Of course, there is going to come a time where he will pause, think, and then do the crazy thing anyway. Because said crazy idea might not be the BEST solution to the problem, he doesn’t have time to come up with a better one. Or there isn’t a better one.

        Cue bemused and bewildered faces when he explains why he leaped in later. Because they cannot believe that was actually the plan, not impulse.

        Someone (probably Rukia) might still yell “Make better plans! Ones that don’t give me a heart attack watching you do them!”

        Hei might develop his own fondness for the closet-stealing midget after they meet.

        Doesn’t make them easier to deal with.

        No. Fully justified or not, being around and dealing with angry, frustrated, bitterly disappointed people is tiring when YOU aren’t the person who made them feel that way.

        As Hei will put it later, “There are a million Li’s.”

        Someone might counter: “Yes. In China . You are in Japan. We don’t have that many Li’s.”

        Through he will not take that remark from anyone who used their real name while undercover in a Yazuka establishment.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Hei is familiar with “sometimes crazy is the only plan”. But thinking first!

        And yes, I think Hei would like Rukia very much. Practical person! And competent! World needs more of them.

        Speaking as someone who is all too often frustrated, yes, I admit this is true – I try not to spill it on people.

        *SNRK* Oh, if you get the chance, you should definitely watch those 2 eps, just for the facial expressions when Li and Saitou are washing dishes together. Most of it’s all honest, friendly Li… and then there’s a moment when Saitou’s looking away, and you can see Hei calculating next move to get him to spill more info on Chief Kirihara.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. There are a million Lis, but I’m not certain on the number you’d find in Japan living with cousins Kirsi and uncles Kuno. Could you tell me, do they have a pet cat, a black one?

        Still probably not a bad plan, and I imagine Mao had to fake some papers (the digital documents, of course) for Kuno eventually, but that probably waited until they had time for it.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Lost pets found?
    That’s good, because a lot of pets have gone missing in the neighborhood, almost like someone was luring them out of their territory with treats….

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Causing trouble to make money solving it or pretending to solve it always bounces back in the end.

        Yin can find animals and to a lesser extent humans because they need a source of water. If the natural rate of lost animals is worth her time, she can exploit it fully.

        If the natural rate isn’t worth her time, spiking it would sooner or later attract attention to the people who arrived around the time the increase started, and who stand to profit.

        Hei can solve that calculus, and Mao would admit the argument is rational.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. And then it disappeared as I posted a comment of:

        Thanks.

        I appreciate this perspective of Yuzu.

        This continues to be excellent.

        Liked by 1 person

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