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By Callista Miralni


the beauty and the beast

Oh she was beautiful but so forbidden, that seductress with a big neon sign over her head proclaiming look, don't touch and he couldn't stop himself from watching her out of the corner of his eye.

"Hi," he heard some other being say. "I'm Sasuke."

The siren giggled. "I'm Sakura."

And then, she touched him.




I'm so fucked~!

your lips caress her skin

one more time before you

turn around and mouth

"i love you" to my

unsuspecting heart.

I will not fall—

your charm will not

work on me no

matter how my

heart swoons.

She heard of him, of course, but no amount of trigger warnings could put her off from drowning entirely in him, this wolf in sheep's clothing with his prettyprettypretty smiles and tantalizing eyes pullingpullingpulling her closer.

"Are you..?"

The rest of the question hung in the air. It didn't need to be said, it always went unsaid.

"No," she smiled. "But I want to."

and I want it to be you

your lips trace "audeamus"

on my hand. I pull back

before my body answers

your challenge. I just know

my hands will betray me.

the mountain fortress

must hold against the traitor's

enemy brigade.

He had a deadline approaching closerclosercloser and every time some two-cent slut latched onto his arm, he would momentarily forget about his obligations, about the ticking clock on his freedom, and indulge in the thrill of the chase.

They were all beautiful, all from well-to-do families, all perfect trophy wives to put on display.

Eventually, he would have to choose.

He put on his best smile.

"Another drink?"

you're no sheepdog among

the flock, baying your cursed

enchantment to reel me in.

audeamus! audeamus!

this waltz is our last.

when the last petal falls,

this love story—or what you call it—

will come to an end.

She laughed before slipping off the barstool and walking away.

"No thanks." Her eyes twinkled at him through the darkness. "I'm not your type."

Not yours, not his, not anybody's type.

A hand on her wrist stopped her from going any farther. She turned around just in time to see that crooked—no, confident—smile slip into place.

"I'll be the judge of that."

She gave him an equally mischievous grin.

"You'll see."|and|the.beast

Konoha State University was not, by anyone's definition, a fairytale wonderland where alcohol bathed the streets and easy women loitered on the grounds.

They existed, but one had to search through the crowd to find the rich Panhellenic kids with access to their father's fortunes and the pretenders trying so desperately hard to pass themselves off as one of them.

Uchiha Sasuke could have been one of them but he decided against it. Even in this country bumpkin Japanese school far away from his native California where his status as an American international student won him instant acclaim, Sasuke could not bring himself to make the pledge.

Besides, he had more important things to do. Partying was limited to the weekends and summertime back home in the United States, not during the week when there was work to be done.

The Mentorship Program Kick-off picnic was unfortunately just another job to be done. Sasuke wasn't sure how he ended up assisting Aburame Shino with the preparations for the event but he didn't really mind. It looked good on his resume and that was all that mattered.

There were a lot of familiar faces in the mentorship program, so many that Sasuke could have sworn his friends decided to slyly create their own little club out of the numerous people they all knew. Sasuke could name every single person grabbing a hamburger in line except for twenty people—ten freshmen, three graduate students, four people he partied with but never got their names, and three strangers hanging around Yamanaka Ino.

Yamanaka Ino knew everyone on campus, first through her job as a front desk clerk for one of the residence halls and now as a community coordinator for graduate students. The three strangers acted like old friends of hers, especially the shortest one with the striking green eyes and highlighted gold and pink hair.

His stomach clenched. He knew her, or at least, he knew her name. Their brief conversation at Kirisagi Tenten's birthday party last year lay at the forefront of his mind, the challenge she issued still weighing heavily on his thoughts.

He gave her a burger, failing to catch her gaze for longer than a second before she turned to the taller girl next to her and continued her conversation as if there was never a moment of silence. She laughed at something her friend said before obediently following the boy they were with to an empty section of picnic benches to eat.

Taking a seat at the other picnic table just so that she was in his line of sight, Sasuke mechanically spoke to the people around him and ate. She ignored his stare quite well for someone listening attentively to the head of the mentorship program pacing between them. Either that, or she knew exactly how the turn the rules of the game to her advantage.

She hardly interacted with the people around them, greeting a select number, introducing herself to a few of the freshman, and chatting all the while with her friends.

He would not lose. When she was left with only her two companions, he slid up to them and introduced himself, just like everyone else had.

"Hi. I'm Sasuke. What's your name?"

She gave him a charming smile. "Sakura. This is Temari and Sai."

Temari acknowledged him with a short bow of her head before turning her attention back to Sai.

He stared at her.


"Nothing," he replied automatically. "You have the most unusual eyes."

The charming smile slid off her face before a guarded wall built itself in between them. "So I've been told," she answered softly. "I got them from my mother."

"Your hair, too, I suppose."

"That as well."

Temari's cell phone rang and she pulled on Sakura's shirtsleeve to grab her attention. "We've got to go. Gaara got the study room."

She turned back to him, a more cautious version of her charming smile gracing her lips. "It was nice meeting you."

"You too. See you around."

The challenge he remembered from solongago sparkled momentarily in her unusual green eyes.


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