In the Cat’s Ear Ch3 Ficbit – Ice

It was like running with a whole different person. Li’s face was… cold. Empty.

Scared, Ichigo thought, pushing himself to keep up as Li decided a chain-link fence was a suggestion, not a wall, and bounced up and over it in two hooking steps of worn sneakers. And then the teenager had to side-step and grip and swing, because damn, Li was half-cat, and hadn’t anybody told him roofs weren’t highways?

…Not that Ichigo had any room to throw stones. Nope. Though the last time he’d pelted across Karakura like this, he’d only have fallen if he wanted to.

Or if an Arrancar had punched him in the face. Ow.

He kind of wished he were fighting Grimmjow all over again. Then he’d been scared for his own life, and Rukia’s, and everyone around him. This – being scared for a kid he’d maybe seen once or twice, who was being threatened with a gun instead of a cero-

He couldn’t blame Li for that cold. He wished he could borrow that ice for his own veins. This was going to be ugly. “Cops?” Ichigo suggested between jumps.

Li didn’t look back. “Bad idea.”

“Hate to say it, but he’s right,” Kuno said gruffly. “Locals, guns, kid? They’ll freeze.”

Ichigo swallowed. “But-”

Kuno snorted. “You won’t.”

His heart was in his shoes and there were fanged butterflies trying to claw their way out of his stomach. “How do you know that?

That earned him a wry laugh. “You’re here, ain’t ya?”

They believed in him. They believed, and they’d asked him to help when a life was at stake.

He hadn’t been part of a team in a long, long time.

“Slowing down,” Kirsi reported. “Stopped. Large house. Abandoned.” A breath. “Moving again. Through the main gate. They had keys.”

And he’d never been part of a team this organized. No wonder Li was hanging onto these two like his life depended on it. It probably had.

33 thoughts on “In the Cat’s Ear Ch3 Ficbit – Ice

  1. Yeah, while Urahara and Yoruichi were probably capable of this kind of support, as assassins on their own for quite a while they don’t really need it. And they knew you’d be going in alone for a lot of it, so they didn’t get you used to it either.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Yeah, the constant being in contact with someone is probably very new. Cell phones might due in Karkura but no way they work in Soul Society or Waco Mundo. While the butterfly’s might work for soul reapers I doubt Ichigo or his friends were ever ever directly keyed in on those.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Also, the butterflies feel like, at most, text messages, where you have no idea of the time between when it was written/sent and when you received and reacted to it. I wouldn’t be surprised is Urahara and Yoruichi didn’t understand or conceptualize how much radio coms would help if they just compare it to the butterflies based on that.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Tho’ you do remind me that in the early Substitute Shinigami arc Rukia apparently both got all of her updates via what at least looked like a cellphone and Urahara’s shop dealt in all kind of things that visually appeared to be modern.

      Makes me wonder if the spirit-cell Rukia had could make actual calls or just receive texts from Hell Butterflies…

      If radio communication wasn’t very well known to/in Soul Society – and Uruhara and Yoruichi somehow missed it – I wonder if the potential might occur to Isshin? He’s actually much more out there and involved in the human world – partially through his kids, partially through his job – then our other exiles or the Vaizards, and doing what he does there’s no way he hasn’t had to get used to at least a certain level of computers and phones… But at the same time I’m pretty sure I remember seeing what looked like computers in the background in some of the glimpses we get of the 12th, and computers without sounds a bit… Off.

      Not necessarily impossible, just weird.


      1. …S’posed to read “and computers without RADIO WAVES sounds…off.” at the end there. Durn typos.


      2. We definitely see equipment with buttons and displays. That is used for various types of inspection and investigation. The remaining question in my mind is whether we really have confirmation of integrated circuit or even transistor based computers, or if another circuitry type is plausible. Ever hear of hydraulic logic?

        I’m pretty sure 12th does not have the capacity to create or maintain the manufacturing plants for integrated circuits. Why? Mayuri’s management style, for one. (There’s another argument to be made about possible limits on the size and diversity of Soul Society’s economy.)

        Liked by 2 people

  3. It was like running with a whole different person.

    That’s because in many ways . . . it IS.

    Hei has more in common with Li than he thinks but still . . . there is a difference in his mind-set.

    …Not that Ichigo had any room to throw stones.

    You certainly do not.

    He kind of wished he were fighting Grimmjow all over again.

    Don’t blame you.

    Fighting Grimmjow is simple and straight-forward by comparison.

    This was going to be ugly.

    Very ugly.

    At least potentially.

    They had keys.”

    Sounds like this was planned.

    No wonder Li was hanging onto these two like his life depended on it. It probably had.

    More than once.

    Wait until you properly met the last member of their party.

    Which you probably will sooner or later.

    If, for no other reason, than Hollows are going to make a nuisance of themselves sooner or later.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think he already has, he just doesn’t realize it. Ichigo’s seen Yin with a certain black cat which is definitely not Yoruichi, right?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Properly meet Mao.

        As in be introduced and said cat has spoken so he knows this is a talking black cat. Just not the same one he used to dealing with it.

        The fact that Ichigo will be utterly blase about a talking cat with be a bit disappointing for Mao. That usually surprises people . . .

        Liked by 2 people

    2. *Nod* Hei and Li aren’t as far as split personalities, but there is a defined shift in focus.

      I’d rather fight an Arrancar than have to rescue a kid from idiots with guns too. (And it was planned.)

      *G* Ichigo meeting Mao was fun to write!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’d rather fight an Arrancar than have to rescue a kid from idiots with guns too.


        Still . . . I think said idiots are about to have a really bad day.

        (And it was planned.)

        Thought so.

        Ichigo meeting Mao was fun to write!

        I bet.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Might explain why they decided to pull something that this. Taking kids who aren’t runaways or street kids tends to attract a lot of attention.

        I think that another dimension thing has given everyone more than few headaches. I can see the Soul Society’s thinking with that move . . . still, it went rather awry.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Plus a group of local rough-necks who can see ghosts being pressured to do ‘grocery runs’ for a slightly smarter-than-average Hollow… Doesn’t sound that implausibe or out of genre for this.

        Dark? Certainly.

        But we’ve already got Darker than Black.

        (Pun? Intended.)


      2. I don’t like the term rough-necks for this group of thuggish yahoos. Rough-neck is a position on, I think, a drilling rig. There are terms for a bunch of violent idiot criminals that are more vividly evocative.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. >> I don’t like the term rough-necks for this group of thuggish yahoos. Rough-neck is a position on, I think, a drilling rig. There are terms for a bunch of violent idiot criminals that are more vividly evocative.

        Apologies, I wasn’t aware of the actual meaning of the term, I’ve always heard it used in context where it’s interchangeable with ‘low-level brute-force professional criminal’; not quite the same as ‘wise-guy’ since it didn’t seem to always have mob connetations, but leg-breaker, hired muscle, or even goon were always synonymous in the contexts I heard.

        I’ll try to avoid it in the future (and any of the other above terms that I may later find have similar history).


  4. Wait… organized?
    I’m pretty sure that’s against Shounen Protagonist Union rules.

    Yeah, right here:

    Shounen Protagonist Union Handbook; Volume 5, Chapter 57, Section 22E:

    At no point will the Protagonist or any affiliates thereof comply with any regulation, rule or organized behavior outside of specific exemptions. Any attempt to impose such things will be met with shouts, screeches and speeches about the power of heart, freedom and/or friendship.

    Exemptions to this rule are as follows:
    1) If the rule is unenforceable, makes things more difficult and has absolutely no merit in any context, the Protagonist will comply with unquestioning obedience and never mention it.

    2) If the rule itself contains a special exemption for Special Snowflake Status, the Protagonist will announce and bypass the rule immediately with no chance for it ever be enforced and it will never be mentioned again, even if later cases are not under Special Snowflake Status.

    3) If the rule is part of Shounen Protagonist Union Handbook it must be complied with or they will lose all Shounen Protagonist Privileges.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You’d think such an organization would violate its own existence, but the fact is that Shonen heroes had to unionize. You’ve seen the meat grinder they go through, there was no other way any of them were ever getting health insurance.

      (Not intended to be a political statement. Just a joke. Really not interested in debating politics here)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I, personally, appreciate places where politics is not being discussed. Despite being a politically argumentative jerk. I try to keep it dialed down here.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m not offended, I simply tend to quibble about usage.

    Like many oil field tasks, American roughnecks in the early twentieth century would have been doing physically challenging, dangerous work. That could be a path to some of the usage you observe. (Americans who did hard dangerous work from late eighteenth to the mid twentieth century often enough had habits that would not have been welcomed in what passes for polite society among us moderns. I don’t think the oil field was ever unionized, but don’t quote me on that. Union men who did hard dangerous work were sometimes involved in actual killing people terrorism, historically speaking. (One of my historical interests is American political violence, and there is all sorts of hair raising stuff left out of the history books.))

    Cavalry could easily be such a path. Standing armies kept under solid discipline aren’t exactly the rule, historically speaking. This may be where the Roughnecks in Starship Troopers comes from. (It’s been a while since I read that book, it is Roughnecks in the book, right? Not just something for the CGI cartoon?)

    Yahoo I think was coined by Swift for Gulliver’s Travels.

    Thug is, of course, a reference to the cult of Kali-Durga. Who were said to have practiced the murder of strangers by ritual strangulation. I had kept one thug in particular at the top of a certain stack of mental filing cards until I learned about Vasily Blokhin. (Vasily once personally killed seven thousand people during a single month. Of course, he was active for years.)

    Brute is from the Brutus involved in the killing of Gaius Julius Caesar. (I’ve slept since I did my reading on that. I recall that there were two notable men named Brutus, one of which was potentially Caesar’s son.)

    Filibuster, scalawag, cretin, very much et cetera.

    The history and range of meanings of a word give it power when used carefully. That the audience may not know all of that, or may not know the word, is a risk writers have to accept as the cost of doing business.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. All true. Further, as terms are used in altered contexts they spread to people like me who don’t know origin and assume meaning incorrectly from context.

      Such is how language evolves.

      I’d actually be curious about how far from its origin the term ‘rough-neck’ has come, for example: if you asked a group of modern oil-workers would they recognize the term’s history or identify with it? Or would they also file it under a different meaning?

      While not normally a fan (I only watched any because for several years I had roommates who were fans) South Park actually had an episode dealing with this (and negative stereotypes associated with people who ride Harley motorcycles). It was… surprisingly well researched.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am almost entirely certain that roughneck is still used on the oilfield. Using oilfield as a shorthand that also includes drilling for natural gas. My contact with the industry is remote enough that terms or technology might have changed without my knowing. I’m certain that if they’ve replaced ‘mud’ or ‘cementing’, it is only very recently.

        The South Park creators have been active for, I think, decades, telling offensive jokes about a very wide range of people. That’s not something you can be very successful at for very long without doing a fair amount of research. And thinking outside of the comfort zone of your natural perspective. There are at least two basic strategies for offensive humor. 1. Your audience is group A, and you only pick on group B. 2. Your audience includes some of your targets, but you don’t alienate them because you are evenhanded and fair. If no sacred cow leaves ungored, you have to be scrupulously fair, and you have to do excellent research. It’s hard to keep producing new material for jokes without doing research. It’s harder to make someone laugh than it is to laugh.

        Liked by 2 people

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