Me: Just a little oneshot I've been working on in between updates. Please note that the statistics provided in the story, excluding those on empaths, were all found in the Idiot's Guide To Self Defense, 1994 edition.

Muse: Translation: today those statistics are worse. Much worse. O.o

Me: Short explanation: I was reading the idiot's guide, saw the odds, and wondered what Hisoka would think if he came across them. So now you have a fic that's three-fourths angst, one-fourth fluff, and completely pointless in the long run. Here's some angst and minor Tsusoka (very minor) to brighten your day. Enjoy.



Hisoka was the type who always played by the odds.

True, for a pessimist he was pretty optimistic, and he wasn't immune to thoughts in the abstract or poetic indulgence. Being an avid reader did that to a person, but above all he was a realist, and he didn't like jumping without knowing the odds of him getting out.

Most wouldn't think he worried about what seemed like trivial concerns, but Hisoka knew better than most his own limitations, and that being a shinigami in now way guaranteed immortality. He was fully aware of his own weakness, and the fact that he had a habit of getting into afterlife-threatening situations frustrated him to no end.

But today, Hisoka was unable to find much to do. He already knew the crime rates and accidents. The library computer sat in front of him and there were tomes bursting with research information all around him, but still the empath couldn't think of anything to occupy himself with. He had already done his work and had retreated to this place of (relative) solitude, leaving his partner behind with the paperwork he never seemed to finish.

'Tsuzuki.' Hisoka knew that this was the one place he could go to think. The Gushoushin were particularly unforgiving, especially after the older shinigami had blown their precious library up, twice. It would take a miracle for Tsuzuki to get past the twins. Still...

'Odds of him finding some way to do it again,' Hisoka thought to himself with a smirk. 'Pretty high.'

Oh well, everyone had their own personality flaws, otherwise they wouldn't be working as shinigami in the first place. Hisoka knew this better than almost anyone in the Bureau. Tsuzuki had a habit of accidental destruction and suicidal tendencies, Tatsumi was a tyrant with an iron fist on the department's funds, Watari had his general craziness and a tendency to use his co-workers as guinea pigs for his various potions, whether they liked it or not.

And Hisoka...

Turning in his chair on impulse, he brought a heavy tome off the shelves, flipping through it until he found what he was looking for. He figured that if he would have to start with the core statistics, right from the beginning. He glanced at the large heading on the page, 'Empaths', (creative title, really) and followed down until he reached the various "symptoms" associated with his ability and their severity.

He soon found his rank among his psychic brethren: about as severe as it could possibly get without death by overload. There were plenty of empaths out there who never really recognized their unique skills, simply attributing it to reading people's reactions. Empaths of his caliber, however, only showed up about once in a million births.

Hisoka noted the theory that empaths were a result of limited genetic variability within an environment, which explained why there had been a decline in their numbers since the Americans had forced them to open their waters.

But his family, the blonde reflected bitterly, was noble and too good to settle for just anyone from among the masses. If that didn't decrease the gene pool, he wasn't sure what would.

He reached the small section describing what had happened to powerful empaths in the past and quickly shut the book, turning back to the computer screen. He didn't need to read that; he had received enough persecution in his own life to keep him occupied for a while. Hisoka quickly did the math in his head, chuckling blackly under his breath when he reached his conclusion.

'Only a .000001 chance of me even existing. I guess my parents really weren't kidding when they called me a freak of nature.'

He supposed that he really could be called a monster. After all, people like him weren't supposed to exist outside of old fairytales and cheap fantasy novels. And shinigami... now that was the stuff of legends. What were the odds of that?

Hisoka sighed in frustration, knowing that for the most part his mood would probably be ruined for the rest of the day. He didn't want to go back to their office like this; his partner being far too perceptive into the empath's moods than he should have been.

He started to get up to leave, when his elbow hit a few keys on the computer and coaxed an almost annoyed beep from the computer. The blonde turned back to survey the screen. He raised an eyebrow in surprise when he saw that, against all likelihood, he had managed to open the Bureau's files. Sometimes, his luck could be downright weird.

Well, if it had led him there, maybe his good fortune would be kind enough to give him a reason to cheer up. Hisoka knew that at this point he was grasping at straws, but he wanted at least something to confirm that the world wasn't as grim as his view painted it.

Before his eyes even got halfway down the page, it became painfully apparent that he had come to the wrong place for that.

This particular page was the main hub of the Judgment Bureau's files, which contained a compilation of all the previous year's worth of data. It included who had lived, who had died, how much Tatsumi was going to kill people over the budget... Hisoka was thankful that unlike his partner, he wasn't as well versed in destruction and all the other ways to get on the secretary's nerves.

But the page also contained the crime statistics, and before Hisoka could stop himself his eyes were roaming over the page.

He automatically felt a chill run down his spine, wincing both from sympathy and reflex as an image of Muraki over him, backlit by the crimson moon behind him, superceded itself over the screen.

One rape every six seconds. And that was only those that were reported. Hisoka felt a painful twinge in his chest, accompanied by a torrent of bitterness. 'Guess I was just the lucky bastard who got stuck with one of those ten slots.'

That thought continued as he scanned a bit farther down the page, too caught up in morbid curiosity to stop himself. 'And one homicide every twenty-five seconds. Guess I got the two-for-one deal.'

Hisoka wasn't really sure if he counted there, since he had only died three years after the curse. But technically, at least to him, his soul was dead and buried after that night. His body had just been waiting to follow.

He sat back, ignoring the headache in addition to the bout of loneliness and self-loathing that inevitably followed these moods as he tried to figure out where he lay.

Child abuse was common enough, sadly. He almost wished he had more scars to show from his life, but if there was one thing his family had known, it was the fact that physical pain fades with time. Emotional pain would continue to bite into people even years later, something that the Kurosaki clan deployed with ruthless efficiency.

Then there was his afterlife. Hisoka had read somewhere that most victims of... his kind of violation recovered three to four years after the fact. Maybe it was because of his empathy, but he couldn't say the same. 'Six years and still going. Maybe I ought to be in Guinness.'

He chuckled darkly as he thought of how many records he would have by now.

'If you had to play the odds, I don't even have a right to exist.'

Hisoka froze as a memory flashed through his head. It was cold, snow brushing against his face again. He had read his partner, feeling old emotions and scars tear through him like so many shards of glass. So... he had comforted him.

He had felt so many similarities to himself in his partner, he couldn't help it. Hisoka didn't like the fact that there was someone else like him in the world, someone who had suffered that much in such a brief amount of time. The blonde empath froze.

Someone like him...

He sat back down in his chair, not even aware that he had risen from his seat until then, letting his thoughts drift to Tsuzuki. Hisoka had no idea how he could be so strong, how he could feel so much for other people after all the things they had done to him.

It was ironic, the position of a shinigami. If he reflected on the rest of his co-workers, he knew that most of them had very similar back stories. Each had his or her own story, their legacy, and often it was a legacy that they desperately wanted to erase.

So, in the end, they were the people who stood in the shadows, protecting the masses that had thrown all of them out like so many damaged goods. Despite constant bickering and infighting, arguments about budgets and wrecking property, they supported one another. Hisoka guessed that it proved that no matter what the odds, someone could still stand as a functioning member of society.

So what did that make him?

Hisoka thought back to the way he had been, fresh from life and thirsty for vengeance. He avoided society. His feelings had been so dead back then, no pun intended; stuck in a perpetual state of numbness that he couldn't shake, and yet he was a slave to that society he hated. It had been his biggest weakness, but he was addicted to those emotions he couldn't feel himself.

But then again…

Despite the innumerable odds that had played against him his entire life, he had been admittedly lucky in his afterlife. Coming from a dysfunctional clan from hell, what had really been the probability of him finding a real family on the other side? What were the chances of him finding a supportive partner, who had no problem with giving him a shoulder to cry on?

What were the odds of him actually starting to heal?

Hisoka quietly brought his hand up to his chest. The pain was still there, throbbing beneath the surface, but… it wasn't as bad as before. He may not have healed completely, but it was a start.

He realized that they were all just statistics, every shinigami. That was what brought them to the Judgment Bureau to begin with, because life had handed them a bad set of cards, and for some reason they wanted to live. Even he had to admit a desire to remain in the world, or he would have been devoid of a reason to continue his job when Muraki had disappeared after the disaster in Nagasaki.

Actually, he did have one reason.


The empath nearly fell out of his chair in surprise that his partner had managed to sneak up on him. Tsuzuki leaned against a bookcase behind him, clack trench coat slung lazily over his shoulder.

Watching him, thinking back on what he had realized by now, Hisoka knew just how much he owed the older shinigami. A quick though came to mind, but he shoved away the statistics that pursued it by a split second. He had followed his impulses without regard to the statistics in Kyoto, and now it was time to do it again. 'Screw the odds.'

"Have you finished the work?" Hisoka asked tersely, trying not to smirk sadistically as the older shinigami fidgeted under his gaze.

"Not really, but I was kinda worried about you... and it's time to leave anyway." Tsuzuki rubbed the back of his neck nervously as his partner left his desk and approached him, expecting a severe chewing out and slap upside the head.

What he didn't expect was for Hisoka to quickly close the distance between them, wrapping his arms around the older shinigami's waist in a tight embrace. "Thank you. For everything."

Tsuzuki blinked, all but stunned, before Hisoka pushed him away and grabbed his own jacket from the back of his chair.

"Let's go. Dinner's on me tonight." The teen stated gruffly, walking off before his partner even had a chance to react. Tsuzuki stared after him, a single question coming to mind before he followed his partner out the door.

"Now what are the odds of that?"