Story: With Meaning, Without Loss, also known as whatever else strikes me in the process of writing it.

Author: Crazy Mishka; a.k.a Pseudonym, a.k.a uchikanakage

Disclaimer: As I am posting on a FANfiction site, I obviously possess nothing except my vastly inventive imagination and some college textbooks that manage, somehow, to inspire me (probably because I'm so darned bored!). This applies to all other chapters that follow.


Kuwabara shrugged heavily as he sighed, grimacing at the feel of his shoulders being constrained by his shirt due to the gesture. He grumbled under his breath as he kicked at a stray rock while turning on a dusty path through the park, his eyes firm on the ground as he scuffled along and cursed his heightened senses. It was exam time for him, and due to the stress on his body he was more aware of the emotions of other people.

Kurama had said it was due to battle instincts—if he was stressed he must be in a combat situation and therefore would need to read his opponents much better.

This was the reason he had set out to go to his friend's apartment.

Kurama was particularly sensitive to moods himself—being a kitsune avatar—but Kuwabara lacked the training his friend did to block out the foreign emotions and stray thoughts. Instead the smaller redhead was very happy to provide him with tea mixtures specifically made to help his spiritual barriers get back up to their usual levels so he could go through his stressful tests without the added stress of the other students.

It was also the reason he stopped in his path, his feet planting themselves to the ground as the alien emotions of someone else washed over him and caused him to choke.

He took in a deep shuddering breath and ignored the odd looks he was getting from the pedestrians who now had to walk around him. He shook his head, trying to raise his shields until he got off to the side of the path and could inconspicuously dart his eyes about without alarming some jogger wondering if he was going into a seizure. He tentatively let loose some of his frail control, and when the very same steady emotions hit him he winced and leaned heavily against the rough bark of a convenient tree.

He hadn't felt like that in a long time.

His sister and he had been younger—young enough to feel slightly numb and forgetful—but he could still remember the lost feeling of knowing your parents were not around. There was this despair edged with childish hope, that his parents would come back and pick him up again, but they didn't and there came the confusion and tears and shame.

Kuwabara took in a shaky breath and turned bright eyes as he finally pinpointed the child off to the side, frantically craning his neck abut in an effort to spot his caretaker.

He firmed his mouth and straightened his shoulders to cut a swath through the milling crowd, using his bulk to part a path and then kneel in front of the boy to catch his attention.

He smiled at the bright green eyes that reminded him of his good friend whom he was going to meet, and he softened at the threat of tears as the boy's aura firmed and his lip trembled. He had such an interesting light to him, but as Kuwabara settled he held his hands palm up to present less of a hostile image.

"Hey."

A sniffle came before a reply, "Hey."

"Are you lost?"

"No," a shuffle of his sneaker clad feet, "My mommy is."

Kuwabara smiled more broadly and looked around the park, unable to spot any woman who looked to be searching for a missing child. But there was a woman sitting on the bench reading a book. "What does she look like?"

The boy's eyes lit up and his hands rose above his head as he exclaimed, "She's the prettiest mommy in the world!"

Kuwabara smiled and nodded, encouraging the boy to continue as he watched the brunette turn a page.

"She has long hair, and she grumbles about it being too thick, but I know she likes it. And," he paused and shuffled again, his eyes tearing up some more, "and she told me not to leave, but there was a butterfly."

Kuwabara let out a gentle smile before offering the child his hand, he only received curious expression. "I can help you look for her; where was she doing her errands?"

The woman on the bench had short brown hair.

"We were going to go for kakigori after getting some groceries from the market. She was going to let me get a big one this time!" Kuwabara startled as a tiny hand was suddenly in his unexpectedly gigantic one. He grinned and pulled the child to his feet before setting off in the direction of Kurama's house—he lived closer to the nearest commercial district anyway, and the fox might be able to help pinpoint a similar aura better than Kuwabara could at the moment.

"My name's Kuwabara Kazuma, and we are going to go that way," he pointed while stooping down to talk to the boy, "to the corner store where I can call my friend. Is that okay?"

The boy nodded happily; stretched up as he was to maintain contact with his hand, his little fingers wrapped around just two of Kazuma's own. "Uh-huh. Mommy goes to the corner store to get me pocky, but she doesn't need to call friends since she doesn't get lost."

Kuwabara chuckled and felt his heart tighten as he smiled at the boy.

"M' name's Shippou—mommy says I'm her little treasure."

"It's very nice to meet you Shippou." And the boy smiled and set off with him quite happily, his eyes trusting as they looked about for his mother now that he had a strong adult by his side. Kuwabara finally settled from the press of foreign emotions when the boy's so brightly overpowered them all.