Cho Hakkai and Dana ScullyCharacter InformationName:
Yami no MatsueiCanon Point:
End of Kyoto arcAge:
97; as a god of death, he died at the age of 26 over 70 years ago and has not visibly aged since that time.History: Here!Personality:
Tsuzuki is a mess of contradictions. Soft-hearted and compassionate towards others, he can't manage to let go of his own sense of guilt over anything. He's a careless bumbler who takes his work more seriously than anyone realizes. He'll forgive people for anything they do to him, but he'll hold a grudge forever if they offend his sense of justice.
At the core of his personality is his own deep self-doubt and self-hatred. Childhood mockery, rejection, and abuse from the other children in the town cemented his feelings of not fitting in. Tsuzuki sees himself as a monster. To him, his stunning purple eyes are the sign of his basically inhuman nature. When Muraki corners him and tells him that he believes Tsuzuki's eyes are the sign of some kind of demonic heritage, it's a shattering blow that drives a drunken Tsuzuki to try to put his own eye out with a piece of broken concrete that evening. Despite the cheerful demeanor he usually affects, Tsuzuki's ability to cope is very, very fragile. Anything that strikes at his guilt, his fear of rejection, or his sense of his own humanity has the capacity to send him into a dangerous downward spiral (especially if he's been drinking, which tends to make him even more volatile than usual.)
His self-hatred exists in an uneasy balance with his abiding love of and compassion for other people. He does the most he can to help everyone he encounters in his job as a Shinigami. In fact, he's deeply in debt to the god who determines the length of human lives for the extra time he begs to let dying people accomplish their final goals. The deepest regret of Tsuzuki's existence is that he, who chose to end his own life, is now in a position where he continues to exist in order to end the life of people who desperately want to survive. Since there's no way for him to leave his position -- his work record is abysmal, he's deeply in debt and Enma, king of Hell, isn't about to just let him skip on into the cycle of reincarnation -- he's forced to continue taking souls to the afterlife, even though he does everything he can to help them and make it easy on them. The only person who he really hates is a fellow Shinigami, Terazuma, who was once Tsuzuki's partner and who despised Tsuzuki for being 'weak' due to his devotion to helping the people whose souls he's sent to collect. It's the one thing Tsuzuki's usual forgiving nature can't accept: not just that Terazuma isn't interested in helping people (most of the other Shinigami aren't, and Tsuzuki still gets along well with them) but that he thinks caring about those people is a sign of weakness. Tsuzuki's sense of right and wrong is surprisingly ironclad. While he forgives wrongdoers easily, because he sees himself as having done worse than anyone else, he can't forgive people who don't think that hurting others is wrong.
But that darker, confused inner self isn't the face that Tsuzuki prefers to show to the world. He hides it deep under a facade of a happy-go-lucky, dumb, and gluttonous incompetent. Always ready with a wink and an inappropriate comment, he makes friends with ease and is rarely taken seriously. He loves food (although he's such a bad cook that it's actually a public hazard), vacations, gardening, ballroom dancing, and animals. He sings old ballads at karaoke and hates paperwork. Although Tsuzuki prefers to act the careless twentysomething, he has an old man's depth of experience and personality. His emotions and reactions are intense, and tend to break out suddenly from his attempts to hide them, meaning that he can go from apparently cheerful to panicking or tantruming in an instant at the wrong provocation. Although rejection and failure hurt him badly, he seems unable to stop himself from opening up to and caring for almost everyone he spends time with.
Tsuzuki's very good at faking casual cheer, after decades of experience. He's socially savvy and has a keen eye for reading the mood of a room, making him good at undercover work. He'd be better if he had any skill for improvising, but he tends to panic and babble when caught off guard. When he's comfortable, though, he seems to deliberately encourage people to underestimate him… either because it lets him cover the fact that he's undermining his own missions in order to save people, or because it gets him out of doing the really tough jobs. Although his emotional reactions are intense when they do break through the cheerful act, Tsuzuki can usually put the mask back in place again before too long. It's always hard to tell how much of what he shows on the surface is genuine; probably only his latest partner Hisoka, who is literally psychic, can do it. Even then, Tsuzuki has so much practice faking emotions that he seems to even manage to make Hisoka think he's more okay than he really is at times.
The other thing hidden behind Tsuzuki's mask of cheerful incompetence is a surprising degree of competence. He's incredibly powerful, and when it comes to an open fight he's courageous, self-sacrificing and quick on his feet. He's a skilled magician and intimately familiar with the ins and outs of afterlife politics and Shikigami diplomatic relations. Despite his oblivious act, he's observant, and possessed of a good investigative instinct and a sharp mind. He's no infallible genius -- he can be fooled, he can be misled, and when his emotions get involved he has a long track record of screw-ups -- but after seventy years in the job, even the most reluctant Shinigami gets a nose for the work. Abilities: Magical
(Note - Tsuzuki's magic is traditional onmyojutsu, a Taoist tradition of sorcery and divination brought from China to Japan around 1,500 years ago. It's performed using incantations. gestures and spells written on slips of paper or physical objects.)
Creating shields capable of holding up to concerted assault by powerful supernatural beings (these can work as traps to hold them in as well as barriers to keep them out.)
Creating small magical shikigami (summon spirits) out of folded paper that can carry messages or spy for him.
Exorcism of demon-possessed people or objects.
Summoning more powerful shikigami - he has contracts with twelve of the most powerful beings in the spirit world, who appear to do his bidding. These shikigami are independent, sentient beings who exist in their own world in between being summoned, so I assume that these summoning contracts would be severed by his being dragged to a different world entirely.Powers shared by all death gods
Traveling back and forth between the human world and the afterlife
Being visible or invisible to humans at will (when invisible, he still has effects on the physical world, like leaving footprints, and can't pass through solid objects -- he has to open doors to get through them.)
Ability to fly.
Ability to regenerate from any wound - although they have an apparently living and solid form, the only way to kill a death god is to literally destroy every cell in their body. Tsuzuki had the ability to heal injuries with unusual speed even before his death, and he seems to heal more quickly than other death gods even now.Mundane skills
General computer skills/office work skills c. the mid-90s.
Investigative skills, including undercover work, strong deductive skills, and good intuition.
Gardening, especially growing flowers.
Despite his magical skills, Tsuzuki has minimal physical fighting abilities -- he's fairly fit but he can barely throw a punch. Strengths:
Empathetic, compassionate, observant, intuitive, forgiving.Weaknesses:
Self-hating, careless, lacks foresight, easily manipulated, volatileGod/Shinki:
Tsuzuki is most comfortable following the lead of more dynamic personalities. Although he can put his foot down and he does have a fair amount of expertise, he's not a long-term thinker and he has real trouble with initiative and planning outside of day-by-day needs. (Also, he's been a god, and it didn't work for him long-term…)Cause Of Death:
Killed by the flames of his shikigami Touda in Muraki's underground lab.Vessel:
A large, metal ladleName Location:
On his lower back Power:
When his vessel form is used to dip up any liquid, that liquid will gain the ability to promote healing, purify blight and refresh anyone who consumes it as though they've had a good night's sleep and a full meal. Writing SampleSample:
Beep. Beep. Beep beep beep beep-
A hand emerged from the pile of blankets and slapped the tatami mat three inches to the left of the sounding alarm. It fell over, still beeping. The hand crabwalked in its direction, found the 'sleep' button, and beat it mercilessly into submission.
With a jaw-cracking yawn, Tsuzuki Asato sat up, rubbing morning bleariness out of his eyes. He was not prone to hatred, but there were times when he really
hated his alarm clock. Why couldn't it ever go off in the middle of a bad dream? Why did it have to start blaring at him just when he was about to reach for a gorgeous buffet table full of the best gourmet desserts...?
His stomach growled, and he grumbled. The wisps of his dream were already clearing away. Going back to sleep now wouldn't get him any Michelin-starred dream cake, so he might as well get up.
Wouldn't Tatsumi and Hisoka be surprised to see him on time this morning! If he was
on time. He fumbled the clock upright. Seven o'clock: better than on time. He'd only hit the snooze button three or four times this morning. Going light on the sake last night had helped, even if it was really just so that he would have a little money left over to last until the next paycheck.
Scratching his neck, he stumbled in the direction of the kitchen. A mirror caught his eye on the way, stopping him dead in his tracks. How sleeping on his back did that
to the side of his hair he had no idea, but a bit of earnest finger-combing had it lying more or less flat again. Good enough-
As he turned away to take the last few steps towards the kitchen, a glint of red caught his eye from the mirror. Reflex spun him around, tightened his hands on the edge of the little hall table. Just his face, nothing more, messy dark hair and wide purple eyes and pillow wrinkles printed in reverse on one cheek. That was all.
"I'm seeing things," he said out loud, trying a laugh. It was shaky. Was it his imagination again, or was there a scarlet sheen on the glass? Red in those purple irises?
Tsuzuki stared at the mirror as the minutes crept past. Finally, he was convinced it was gone. Nothing. The remnants of some worse dream than the dessert table, maybe, but there was no real blood on his face this morning.
The laugh he let out as he turned back to the kitchen was just as hollow as the first one, but he didn't stop this time. Rummaging around in the cabinet, he made too much noise, the dull clicks and clinks of pottery filling his silent kitchen. The rice cooker was blinking six hours, rice he'd dumped in before rolling into bed last night steaming and a little crusty on top. Good enough. He scooped it into a bowl, fishing out clean chopsticks from the dish rack in the sink. Was that really mold on the bottom? Bleach, he needed to get some bleach. He'd write that down later. Maybe his landlady would let him borrow some. He'd been a loyal tenant for how
many years now? And he was almost always on time with the rent….
Sucking on his bottom lip to get rid of some rice stuck there, Tsuzuki leaned back against the counter and stared up at the ceiling. White plaster water-damaged in the corner, a bit of marinara and some oil drops staining it over the stove. Most of it was all too familiar. Old and boring. The spaghetti sauce was from last month, when he'd invited Hisoka over for dinner and his partner had showed up with two big bags of groceries and ordered Tsuzuki to garlic-bread duty. The bread had gotten singed, and ended up tasting a little like fish because he hadn't scrubbed out the grill quite well enough, and Tsuzuki had been the one stuck eating all of it. Hisoka's spaghetti had been pretty good, though.
His chopsticks clicked on the bottom of his bowl, and he set both down in the not-washed-yet side of the sink. Time to go get ready for work. Paperwork again
, though hopefully there'd be donuts. Watari had just finished up some mess with a would-be necromancer down in Osaka, and he might've picked up some sweets for the office while he was at it.
And paperwork beat the other options, boring though it was. No meeting scheduled today, not unless-
The phone rang. Tsuzuki closed his eyes. Not unless something new came in, he finished the thought, and leaned over to rummage his cell out of the pocket of his coat.
"Hey, Tsuzuki speaking," he answered, running his free hand absently through his hair again. "...yeah, I'm at home. Seven-thirty?" He pulled the phone away and glanced at it. Seven-fifteen. "I might be a little late. What's up?"
Tatsumi's voice continued, tinny through the phone lines, for several seconds, Tsuzuki absently following along with "sure" and "uh-huh" at all the right times while he strode to the bathroom to grab a clean shirt and yesterday's suit off the hanger.
"-I can make it at seven-forty," he said at last. "See you."
He left the phone on the side of the sink, splashing water on his face before he stripped off his pajamas and shrugged into the shirt. Tatsumi hadn't given him much information; he turned over what he had, pulling pants on and knotting tie in decades'-long habit. Three young women on the death record, dying together in a car accident. Souls missing. --Medical intervention, stubbornness, magical intervention, he tallied the possibilities. Well, he could always hope for number one. A white coat and a pulled plug was about as clean as the job ever got. Too bad that Tatsumi wouldn't have called him if that were what it looked like.
Wait for the briefing, he told himself, wait for the pictures and the details. Then try not to think about who had been behind the faces, or why someone might have cheated death to hold them in the world of the living.
Tsuzuki shrugged his suit coat on, tugging on the lapels. He had practice with that, too. Time to go off and kill three teenagers: one more day on the job.
He turned out to be fifteen minutes late. OtherAnything Else?: