the siren's song

Sasuke didn't know she was Takanori Moegi's mentor until the Winter Banquet.

It explained a lot of things—why she was usually around, her closeness to the underclassmen, the reason why everyone accepted her presence so easily.

By a mere technicality, Haruno Sakura was one of them.

She looked stunning in the black chiffon dress draping like a bow over her breasts. Her curled hair spilled haphazardly from the messy bun at the back of her head.

His breath hitched in his throat when she turned around to greet her mentee.

God, no one should wear something like that.

There was no panel behind the crisscrossing ribbons holding the dress together. One tug at the ribbon end at the small of her back and this siren would be his complete undoing.

She drew him in.

we weave false tales

of glory and honor.

tell every one who would

listen to our

torrid schemes

for adventure and

reckless abandon.

Sakura was a firm believer in the notion that all men looked better when they dressed up.

A man in suit, Temari and she often giggled, was the best thing after chocolate.

She shivered when the cold air from the air conditioner hit the exposed skin of her back and pulled her shawl higher. Tonight, at this banquet, she knew men would be wearing anything between the casual polo to starched oxford shirts.

Sai, her chosen escort and the only one in her close circle of friends in the mentorship program aside from Ino, looked adorable in his button down oxford and heather gray suit vest. He looked as uncomfortable as she felt in the daring black chiffon dress Ino picked out for her.

Ino waved them over to her table at the front of the room. Setting down her purse and shawl, Sakura trailed behind Ino through the buffet line. Someone tapped her shoulder after she set her plate down and Sakura turned around only to be tackled into a hug by her happy-go-lucky mentee, Takanori Moegi.

Smiling, she returned the embrace and complimented Moegi's dress. Taking their seats at neighboring tables, Sakura was about to say something to the younger woman but the sound of someone clearing their throat from the stage at the front forced her to swallow her words.

Mentorship program coordinator, Aburame Shino, welcomed them to the banquet and introduced his co-coordinator, Uchiha Sasuke. She squirmed under Sasuke's heavy gaze, trying to remember to breathe because he happened to be one of those men who looked good in a suit.

Sai looked adorable. Sasuke looked good—no, better than good. Sasuke in a suit was better than chocolate, her brain traitorously decided.

To her, nothing was better than chocolate.

you always know when

I lie. somehow, I can't

escape your gaze. It

haunts my waking moments,

reminds me of all the

things I never said.

He approached their table, smoothly taking a seat next to Ino. They were all drinking tea and eating dessert.

"Enjoying the party?" Sasuke asked, oh so out of character, but things like this required a degree of graciousness that would make his socialite mother proud.

"It's fantastic," Ino applauded. "I don't know how you and Aburame-kun do it."

The guest DJ started up his next mix with Ino's favorite song and she pulled Sai to the dance floor. Flitting in between the dancers on the floor, Naruto stopped at every table filled with people eating dessert and snapped a gratuitous amount of photos with the new DSLR camera he got for his last birthday.

Naruto slid to a stop across from them. "Sakura-chan! You look so pretty tonight! Can I take your picture?"

She flushed faintly and agreed. Naruto put his eye to the viewfinder before he put the camera down.

"Sasuke, get in the picture too! I shouldn't have to photograph a pretty girl by herself."

Sasuke smirked. How perfect. Naruto was definitely his best friend.

He stood up from his chair and offered a hand to Sakura to pull her to her feet. She accepted it gracefully before he pulled her to his side, keeping his arm wrapped firmly around her waist. Surprised, Sakura hesitated before slipping her own arm around him and smiling for Naruto's camera.

When Ino and Sai returned shortly after, Naruto took pictures of all four of them. Later that night, while sitting on Sasuke's bed with his laptop downloading the photos from his camera, Naruto couldn't help but notice how natural Sakura looked at Sasuke's side.

still, I continue to

pursue things beyond

me. how else am I

supposed to reach

for the stars?

you offer no guidance,

no wisdom to

help me succeed.

Ino scrolled through the album from the banquet, liking a couple photos and commenting on others.

She couldn't believe how gorgeous every one looked that night. Some of these boys clean up pretty well, Ino mused, especially Sasuke-kun.

The next photo made her stop in her tracks, shrieking for Sai to look at her computer ASAP. Her childhood friend sauntered towards her, paintbrush in hand.

"Oh," was all he said.

The pair silently analyzed the picture.

"They look like a couple," Ino grumbled.

Sai gave her a sidewise glance. "Are you jealous?"


She bit her lip before glancing at the screen again.

Sasuke-kun... you look like you're planning something and I don't like that it involves Sakura-chan.


Sakura took a seat across from him.

"Hey," she called his attention. "You wanted to see me?"

Sasuke shoved his papers to the side so he could devote his full attention—

(not that she would know she always commanded his attention with her mere presence)

—to the task at hand.

"I heard you're the Japanese ambassador to America's daughter."

Sakura stiffened.

"What of it?"

"I was just wondering why the Ambassador's daughter would go to a podunk school like KSU when she could attend any university in the city or in the States."

"I could ask the same thing as you," she retorted coolly. "After all, you're an American. I heard your brother attends some school in Tokyo, so why Konoha?"

He leaned back in his chair. "You have your reasons and I have mine, though I suspect they are much the same. No, I only wanted to confirm you're the Ambassador's daughter before I ask you what I really called you here for."

"Fire away."

"Can you sing Rhianna's 'Umbrella' for the campus variety show as the mentorship program's representative?"

She raised an eyebrow. "You assume I can sing."

"I heard you could from Yamanaka."

I'm going to kill Ino. Sakura ground her teeth together. I bet she's the one who told Uchiha-san about me being the Ambassador's kid too.

"And you assume I speak English fluently."

At this, Sasuke smirked. "I know you can—we've been speaking in English since you sat down."

She froze, realizing he was right. Panic seized her, emergency plans running through her head a mile a minute.

"What do you want from me?"

Sasuke shook his head. "Nothing."

I want you.

"Are you blackmailing me?"

"Don't be so paranoid," Sasuke said sharply. "Not everyone is after you for your money or your supposed worth to the Japanese government."

Sakura, indignant to what Sasuke was implying, scowled. "And if I say no to participating in the variety show?"

He shrugged. "I guess I'll ask Hinata."

Haruno Sakura was an opportunist, he realized. Having to keep a low profile her entire life forced her to become creative and guarded at the same time. She highlighted her naturally blond hair pink to keep people from asking too many questions, passing the color off as eccentric whim. She never invited people over to her student apartment, preferring to go to other's homes instead. She had a number of unmentioned talents, talents forced upon her by her parents' high positions. She hardly ever spoke of her life before Konoha; her only ties to her past were Sai and Ino.

Sasuke counted on her inability to resist showing off her talents without the pressure of her parents' expectations on her shoulders.

"You only want me to sing, right?" She frowned, turning the idea over in her head.

"And dance at the same time. It won't be hard. Yamanaka and some of the other girls already volunteered to be back up dancers."

She sat there, weighing the pros and cons to her involvement. Sasuke almost smiled—he could practically see the gears turning in her head.

"I suppose as a member of the student program, I really don't have any other choice, do I?"

He pulled his papers back to him.

"You always have a choice," Sasuke said softly, his gaze steady on her.

She sighed before murmuring farewell. Ten feet between them, Sasuke called her attention again.


Sakura paused before turning around.

Giving her a rare smile, Sasuke tossed her a flash drive which she caught with ease.

"Thank you."

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