Disclaimer: I do hereby disclaim all rights and responsibilities for the characters in this gentle adventure... especially for the one who can't resist a mystery. A nod of recognition is bent towards Rumiko Takahashi for her creative prowess where InuYasha is concerned. All due respect is also offered to Yoshihiro Togashi, whose fervid imagination is responsible for YuYu Hakusho.

Dedication: This story was mostly written for Rennie, whose fondness for crossovers is probably only surpassed by r0o's. May my contribution to the crazy world of blended universes tickle your fancy, ladies. ::twinkle::

A Note of Explanation: I'm fond of drabbling and often tell stories in 'bits and pieces'. Many of the installments in Affinity will be written for the Live Journal community Fanfiction Bake-off, which limits all entries to 100-300 words. Expect short chapters. For the purposes of this story, three installments will be clustered together in each 'chapter' that's uploaded.

An Affinity for Mysteries

- 1 -
Backward Glance

Kurama's mind wasn't on anything more interesting than the pattern of cracks on the sidewalk when the echo of something ancient resonated with that part of himself that had never been human. The redhead's steps slowed, and he lifted calm green eyes towards the summit of the tree-covered slope they were passing. "Do you feel that?" he asked.

His companion looked up just long enough to note the long flight of stairs anchored by a pair of torii arches before grunting softly. "It has nothing to do with us. Ignore it."

"A connection to our case is unlikely," Kurama admitted, though he stopped under the streetlamp and cocked his head, concentrating.

Hiei halted in the shadows just beyond the pool of light, and his deep, red eyes flashed with impatience. "The relic we're after is small, portable. Even you should be able to tell that whatever that is... it's huge, and it's not going anywhere."

The redhead smiled thinly. "I concur, but something of this magnitude should be investigated. It could attract the wrong kind of attention."

His black-clad companion slowly shook his head. "This is a holy site, and the place reeks of purity. Lowlifes will steer clear, and so should we. Let's go." Hiei strode purposefully down the sidewalk, and when his friend didn't immediately follow, he called over his shoulder, "We don't have time to indulge your curiosity."

The redhead sighed and pushed his hands into his pockets as he gazed towards the hilltop, then moved to catch up. His partner was absolutely right, but that didn't stop Kurama from taking one last look over his shoulder... or noting the name printed on the marker beside the entrance. Higurashi Shrine.

- 2 -
Mistaken Identity

When Inuyasha had delivered Kagome into her mother's arms, she'd known in her heart that the hanyou was doing the right thing leaving her here. But as time passed, it grew more and more difficult to trust a heart that only ached. "Focus," she muttered, pulling her textbook closer.

For the last two years, she'd warded off despondency by throwing herself into her schoolwork. Not that it did much good. Her feudal adventures set Kagome so far back, she'd barely scraped into the high school of her choice, and she was still struggling to keep up. Algebra was the bane of her existence, English was a mystery she'd never be able to untangle on her own, and according to her test scores, even her Japanese was shaky.

Kagome groaned softly and let her forehead thunk against the open book. "If I don't pass this test, I'm really going to catch it from Saito-sensei." She wallowed in self-pity for a few minutes, then heaved a sigh of resignation. "Maybe he's right... I need to find a tutor."

With an eye on the clock, she threw a few things into her book bag. The library was still open, and she could see if there were any postings by upperclassmen about study groups. Promising her mother she'd be back in plenty of time for dinner, she hurried out the door.

At the top of the shrine stairs, she bumped shoulders with someone coming up and nearly lost her balance. A steadying hand appeared at her elbow. "Excuse me, miss," offered the stranger.

Her own apology died on her lips when the young man backed down a step, putting them eye-to-eye. Red hair. Green eyes. Oh!

Shock drained the color from Kagome's face, and when she wavered, he quickly grasped her shoulders. "Miss?"


- 3 -
Broken Heart

Kurama staggered as the young woman threw her arms around him and began to sob. Casting about, he spotted a bench just inside the shrine's entrance and led the weeping girl to the seat. She took it, but clung to his arm as if she was afraid he might leave; he smiled as kindly as he could in the midst of his confusion. "I'm very sorry, miss, but I think you have me confused with someone else."

"No, that's not... but you're... I was so sure..." she faltered, her breath catching in miserable little hiccups. "R-really?"

He proffered a handkerchief. "My name is Shuuichi Minamino."

She wilted under his simple declaration and emptily answered, "I'm Kagome... Kagome Higurashi."

Kurama was mystified. Based on the raw emotions she'd displayed, this 'Shippo' person meant a great deal to her... yet she didn't know what he looked like. Add to that the aura of purity Hiei had remarked upon; the power keeping the shrine environs safe was obviously hers. Her reiki was off the charts, but there was something else here, too. Something ancient. It called to him, but he had more immediate concerns.

Kagome smelled of sorrow, and he couldn't ignore the stark loneliness in her eyes. It was as if he'd personally shattered some fragile hope she'd been carrying, and he wanted to help her gather up the pieces. Giving her time to pull away if she objected, he drew her back into his arms. "I'm sorry I'm not him," he apologized.

Her face crumpled, and she burrowed into the shelter of his embrace. "Me, too," she whimpered, giving way to all her pent up grief. Kurama pet her hair and let her cry, all the time wondering how this other boy had managed to so thoroughly break Kagome's heart.

End Note: These three drabbles were written for the Live Journal community fanfic(underscore)bakeoff and their Secret Ingredient for February 2010—Catch. The drabbles are 283, 300, and 299 words respectively. Posted on February 2, 2010.