At last the out-of control one-shot makes its long-awaited appearance. I've worked on this off and on through the past several weeks and I'm quite proud of it. This fic is my little contribution to the whole vampire cliche that seems to be so prevalent among Sasuke fans, though my story does not follow the cliche. n.n

Disclaimer: Naruto and all affiliated characters belong to Kishimoto-san.


Gothic Romance

For centuries, the myth of the vampires has captured the human imagination.

Stories are told in the dark of night to chill the hearts of those who listen.

Women sigh in awe at the thought of handsome and powerful vampires.

Yet often overlooked is the female vampire.

Equally powerful, beautiful, and alluring, she is nevertheless seemingly forgotten in stories. This is the story of one such female vampire. She is a graceful shadow in the night, her beauty capturing the hearts of her victims before she drains them of blood.

--0--

"A-ano, Naruto...I...I don't think I can do this," a timid voice spoke up.

Members of the film crew stifled their groans as the director slid from his chair. He caught the petite actress' hands before they could tug down the hem of her short black dress. His sapphire eyes held no sign of the annoyance other members of the crew showed.

"Nonsense, Hinata. You were born for this role. You just need to believe it!" the enthusiastic blond exclaimed.

There was a snort from behind the two. Hinata turned to find her costar, Sasuke Uchiha, lounging indolently against the wall of the set. The actor had recently been nominated as the 'sexiest man alive' and she had no trouble seeing why. With his dark hair and eyes, pale skin, and aristocratic features, he was every inch the mythical creature of the night who could seduce women with a single glance. Of course, the actor also had a streak of arrogance to match his good looks.

Hinata at first glance, seemed to be a perfect match to him. She too had dark hair and pale skin, but there any resemblance ended. Her eyes were a pale, silvery color compared to his pure black orbs. Where he was all-too aware of his sexual appeal, she was painfully shy and self-conscious. She was humble and sweet, while he acted as though he owned the world.

To top it off, she had never acted before. She and Naruto had been best friends in college and he had promised that once he established himself as a producer, he would cast her as the lead in one of his films. Hinata, suffering from a terrible crush on him at that point in time, had promised she would take the offer. Years passed and she forgot both her crush on the blond and their promise. Then, a few months ago, Naruto had shown up on her doorstep unannounced. Though she had gotten over her infatuation with him, she had still been unable to refuse his plea. That was how she found herself on this set, wearing a dress that was far too short and too tight, and feeling Sasuke's disdainful gaze even if she was too embarrassed to meet his eyes.

"I c-can't," she tried again.

"Please, Hinata...for me?" Naruto pleaded.

One look into those sapphire eyes and she was putty in his hands. He grinned knowingly, running back to his chair.

"Action!" he cried.

Hinata gave a soft sigh, doing her best to think like a vampire.

.o0o.o0o.

Sasuke sighed as his costar started stammering again. Her face had gone pink at the first sight of the shirtless man she was supposed to "seduce." That was a minute ago and the scene was only going downhill from there. He wondered where Naruto had found this actress. She had no place in a starring role. For that matter, she would probably ruin a scene even if she was no more than an extra. He had to admit though...seeing her in that little black dress was doing things to him. She was definitely on the petite side; her head would barely meet his chin. That doe-eyed innocent look got on his nerves along with her habit of stuttering when she was nervous, but she had curves in all the right places.

Sasuke made an impulsive decision. He started toward the alleyway where they were filming. The scene couldn't get any worse, after all. He heard Naruto call his name, but he ignored the blond. The crew went quiet as he stepped into view of the camera. The sudden hush drew Hinata's attention. Her pale eyes widened and his pulse jumped.

"Having second thoughts, little one?" he purred.

Might as well stay in character after all, since the camera was still rolling. She retreated from his advance, the "human" forgotten now that she was the prey. Like a leopard prowling through the jungle, he closed in on her.

"Wh-what are you doing here?" she asked.

She planted her feet in an attempt to face him head-on and his predatory smirk turned indulgent. Neither she nor the character she played stood a chance against him. He halted only inches from her, lifting his hands to trace circles on her hips. She flinched, retreating again. He continued to pursue her.

"I have as much right to be here as you, little one. But you never answered my question. Having second thoughts?" he asked.

Her back hit the wall of the set. She tensed, eyes wide. Behind Sasuke, the crew was spellbound by the scene playing out before their eyes. Sasuke placed his hands on her waist to hold her in place.

"It isn't so hard," he said, just loud enough for the mic to pick up.

His head lowered until his breath was caressing her throat every time he exhaled. She smelled like an intoxicating mix of honey and cream. His eyes fixed on her pulse point. He could almost see the way her blood was thundering beneath the thin layer of skin.

"Just one bite...here..." he whispered.

He closed the short distance to lightly scrape his teeth across her pulse point. She gasped at the action and the tiny sound made his vaunted self-control vanish. Sasuke branded her neck with searing kisses, triumphantly aware of the way--little by little--her body was melting into his.

"Cut!" he heard Naruto shout.

Grudgingly, he lifted his head to meet his costar's gaze. Her pale eyes had darkened with desire, but were also wary. She looked like she thought he wanted to eat her.

Well, he did.

"That was great! You two have amazing chemistry," Naruto exclaimed from beside them.

Sasuke's hands released her waist. His eyes continued to hold hers, but he smirked at Naruto's words. As though that action had broken a spell, she fled toward her dressing room. Sasuke nonchalantly turned to face the producer after Hinata had vanished from sight.

"So, you aren't sleeping with her?" he asked bluntly.

Naruto gaped at him, mouth opening and closing like a fish.

"No, we're friends," he sputtered after regaining his wits.

The actor shoved his hands into his pockets as he leaned against the wall of the set. His dark eyes returned to where Hinata had turned the corner out of his sight. Although his posture was relaxed, the look in his eyes was anything but. The black orbs were smoldering with lust.

"Then you wouldn't mind if I slept with her?" he asked lowly.

Naruto's eyes narrowed in anger.

"We're friends," he repeated as an answer, "I won't have you corrupting her."

Sasuke smirked to hide his annoyance.

"You should never have brought her to Hollywood if you didn't want her to be corrupted," he stated.

He pushed off the wall and sauntered toward his own room. As he passed by, he cast a dark glance toward Hinata's door. Sasuke was used to getting whatever he wanted, but he respected Naruto too much to seduce Hinata. Still, it wasn't helping his hormones to know that she was just beyond the protection of that flimsy door. He could imagine turning the knob and entering. She would be too timid to order him to leave. He would push her against the wall and, this time, claim her mouth instead of her neck. She would melt into him like they all did, gasping and panting as he--

The actor cut his imagination short as his body responded to the images his mind was conjuring. If he wanted to respect Naruto's wishes, then he had better leave...and take a long, cold shower.

.o0o.o0o.

There was someone outside her door. Hinata nervously pushed her pointer fingers together, biting her lip. It had to be Naruto. The blond would probably be scheming how best to lure her back out of the room in which she had taken refuge. She mentally prepared herself to resist his pleading, ocean-deep eyes. He had dragged her from her comfortable home and job in Japan, thrust her into a role she was horribly unsuited to play, and forced her to wear revealing clothing. The shy woman was completely out of her element here in America.

And to top it all off, she had just "made out" with one of the sexiest men alive. She assumed that was what her female friends had meant by the term anyway, since she had never done so herself. Sufficiently worked up, she yanked her door open.

"Naruto, we nee-" her words strangled off.

It was not the blond who stood there, but her costar. His eyes were fixed decidedly south of her face and he was looking like he wanted to eat her again. She could feel his gaze burning into the bare skin above her collar bones. Hinata tugged her dressing gown tight around her throat. His eyes trailed up her throat, pausing on the bruise developing over her pulse point, then further up to her eyes. She retreated a step at the look in his eyes. He most definitely looked like he was going to eat her. She opened her mouth, but all that came out was a disconcerted squeak. His eyes dropped to her lips.

'Not good, not good, not good,' she thought frantically.

"S-sasuke...?" she forced out.

His mouth tilted in a sensuous smirk that did nothing whatsoever to calm her racing heart. He stalked closer and she retreated before him, trying to slam her door shut in his face. He caught the edge almost leisurely, then stepped inside and shut it behind him. Her throat went dry.

"I told myself I wouldn't do this," he murmured.

"I'm certainly n-not keeping you. You can g-go," she said quickly.

He ignored her, still creeping closer. She flung out a hand to halt his progress as she closed her eyes. His warm fingers curled around her wrist and, an instant later, she was plastered against him. Sasuke's head lowered. She felt him sniff at her hair.

"You smell so good," he whispered.

His voice had deepened, gone husky, and it sent a chill down her spine. She squirmed against him, making his hands tighten on her.

"Stay still," he rasped.

The woman froze, eyes wide with growing panic. His breath ghosted against the shell of her ear, then he was kissing her throat again. His tongue probed at the mark he had left on her earlier. She melted bonelessly against him, head spinning. Her chin tilted up to expose more of her throat to him. He growled against her skin, nipping at her pulse. She heard someone moaning...wait, that was her. Suddenly regaining her senses from the haze of lust that had settled over her, she jerked away from him. Her robe had fallen open to reveal the tank top she wore underneath it. She quickly pulled it closed. They were both panting.

"Sa-suke," she gasped.

His hands were suddenly around her waist, yanking her back against his lean body. His eyes still smoldered with lust, but his mouth was curved in a teasing smirk.

"Hi-na-ta," he whispered into her ear, breaking up the syllables of her name as she had done with his.

As he withdrew, he nipped at her earlobe. Her hands had grasped his shirt, but she wasn't sure anymore if she wanted to push him away or pull him closer. His mouth lowered toward hers, apparently taking her silence as permission to continue.

"Stop," she whispered just before their lips touched.

They froze like that for a long moment. Then, Sasuke pulled away from her. She was torn between relief and longing. He looked away from her and, when he looked back, he was once more the arrogant Uchiha. His lips curved in a cold smile.

"And that, amateur, is how you seduce someone," he said.

Her face burned red with humiliation as he left her alone in her room. She touched her tingling neck with careful fingertips, then sank into the nearest chair.

"What did I just do?" she whispered.

..

Naruto was forced to cancel the rest of the day's shoot, since both his lead actors were moping in their rooms. Rumors that the film was doomed floated from stagehand to stagehand. No one was prepared for what happened the next morning. At promptly eight a.m., the door to Hinata's dressing room opened and the actress stalked out in full vampire regalia. Mouths dropped open as the eyes of most of the male population fell to her swaying hips. As for Naruto, the producer only grinned at her.

"I knew you were born for this role," he said.

Her lips, which had been tinted with dark purple lipstick, tilted in a sensuous smile.

"Let's get started," she responded, heading toward the set.

On the way there, she caught sight of Sasuke. He was making a valiant effort not to ogle her...and failing miserably. She trailed manicured fingernails across his chest as she passed him. His dark eyes glazed over and she gave a softly mocking laugh.

"Try to keep up, Uchiha," she said.

The actor snapped back into focus, all but glaring at her. Hinata continued on her way, feeling a surge of euphoria. This was power. She understood now why other women her age dressed and acted as they did. It was a rush to have people staring in awe at you. Her smile faded though, for she could feel Sasuke's gaze boring into her back. She had just cast a gauntlet before him and she highly doubted the arrogant man would ignore the challenge. No, she had just upped the stakes in whatever game they were playing with each other. The wiser part of her hoped she wouldn't regret it, while her wild side yelled for the Uchiha to bring it on.

.o0o.o0o.

Sasuke set his jaw stubbornly, eyeing the seductive female who was sashaying away from him. He had no idea where the shy little mouse from yesterday had gone, but he was not going to let this vixen get the best of him. In two steps, he caught up with her. A light hand on her shoulder spun her to face him. His head lowered until their breaths mingled. He was pleased to see her pale eyes widen. Had he been a centimeter closer, their lips would have touched when he spoke.

"Oh, I'll keep up. Have no fear of that," he whispered.

He felt her tremble beneath his hand and pulled away with a smirk. Her mouth opened, but only unintelligible stutters escaped her lips.

There was the mouse.

His hand trailed from her shoulder, over her throat, and stopped at her chin. He closed her mouth, smirk widening.

"You are out of your league, little girl," he purred.

To his surprise, the words made her gaze harden and her spine straighten. Her chin lifted, removing it from his grasp.

"Careful, Uchiha. One might start to think your ego is compensating for something," she said.

Again she had the nerve to turn her back on him. His dark eyes narrowed. He went after her a second time. He was not about to let her go until she was limp and panting in his arms. Naruto's hand on his shoulder prevented him from fulfilling his plan. The blond's smile was friendly, but his sapphire eyes held a warning gleam.

"Stop harassing my star, Uchiha," he said.

Sasuke didn't bother to hide his annoyance as he glared back at the other man. Naruto's grin widened.

"Careful. People might start thinking Hinata is getting to you," he teased.

That stopped Sasuke cold. His dark eyes turned from the blond to Hinata's back. It was true. No woman had ever managed to get under his skin so quickly or easily. If he kept on this path, then she would soon be so dangerously close that he would never be able to let her go.

Was that what he wanted?

Naruto seemed to have read his mind, for his expression had turned sober.

"Think about it, Sasuke," he said, "Oh, and if you hurt her then I will make sure your career as an actor is over."

A tiny smile pulled at the actor's lips.

"Thanks, Naruto," he said dryly.

The blond nodded and followed after Hinata. He trailed after the two, thoughts turned inward. He watched the petite female intently during each scene. He noted the way his stomach twisted at the way the males among the crew fell over themselves to fetch whatever she needed, while she remained oblivious to their attempts to gain her favor. When she smiled her thanks at one overzealous idiot and said idiot dared step closer to her, Sasuke's decision was made for him. Before a concrete thought formed in his mind, he was stalking toward them. He pushed her back against the wall of the set. Her gasp quickened his heartbeat as he hungrily kissed her neck. She shoved him away long before he had tasted his fill of her soft, honey-scented skin. The idiot, he noted with pure masculine satisfaction, was gaping at them.

"Wh-what are you doing?" she hissed.

He felt his mouth twitch in a smug smirk.

"Claiming you," he said.

Now she too was gaping at him. Her hand lifted to cover the spot on her neck which he had been kissing so fervently a minute earlier.

"We aren't vampires!" she exclaimed.

His eyebrow lifted as his smirk gained a triumphant edge. She was making this far too easy for him.

"No? I'll have to do this the human way then," he said.

She didn't have time to protest before he pressed his lips to hers. The first touch was a mere brush. The second lingered and made Hinata melt unwillingly against him. The third attempted to fuse their souls, leaving them both panting when they untangled themselves.

The idiot had wisely and quietly withdrawn while Sasuke was otherwise occupied. It was his smartest action yet.

During the kiss, Hinata's hands had entwined themselves in his hair. She now attempted to withdraw them, but he caught her wrists and held them until she relaxed back against him. She was blushing badly and tried to hide it by burying her face in his shirt. When she spoke, her voice was muffled.

"What do you intend to do now that you've claimed me?" she asked cautiously.

He rested his chin against her soft hair, closing his eyes as he breathed in her scent.

"I intend to keep you," he stated arrogantly.

She pulled back to meet his gaze.

"We don't even know each other," she said.

"What does that have to do with anything? I want you and I know you want me," he responded.

The set rang with the sound of Hinata's palm meeting his cheek. The fire in her lavender eyes would give even the passionate Naruto a run for his money. She didn't say a word to the stunned actor, only shook her head and walked away. Sasuke found himself staring after her yet again.

"Did you forget my warning so quickly?" Naruto's quiet question snapped him from his shock.

"She's the one who hit me," he said.

"I saw the whole thing," Naruto admitted, "Stay away from her and I won't carry out my threat."

Sasuke scowled. Why would he even want to seek out the blasted woman? He headed to the make-up trailer to have someone cover up the handprint on his cheek. He had a movie to finish.

.o0o.o0o.

Hinata did not speak to Sasuke, save for the scenes they had together, for the rest of the filming process. At last, everything had been filmed and the actors' place in the movie had finished. Hinata went back to her home in Japan while Sasuke accepted another lead role in a movie which would be mostly shot on location in England. When Hinata heard the news via the crew gossip vine, she did her best to convince herself that it didn't matter. As she had told Sasuke, she knew nothing about him. However, she had never felt more alive than during those two days he had been pursuing her. Too bad the man who made her feel that way was one of the most arrogant males on the planet.

The petite Japanese woman settled back into her old life with relative ease. Some days, she could almost forget she had ever gone to America and been an actress. One morning, several weeks after her return to Japan, her secretary interrupted her in the midst of a phone call.

"My apologies, Hyuuga-sama, but there is a man here who wants to speak with you," the woman said.

She was the most flustered Hinata had ever seen the usually composed woman. Fleetingly, she wondered if Naruto had stopped by for a surprise visit. But no, the blond would have blown by her secretary and have already been in her office instead of harassing the woman into announcing his presence. Hinata murmured a polite farewell into the phone, hanging up on the person's protests.

"Send him in," she said.

Her secretary bowed and hurried from the office. A few seconds later, her demanding visitor appeared. Hinata's heart froze in her chest as she took in raven-black hair, onyx eyes, and arrogant features. Then, she noticed that this man was older than Sasuke, as evidenced by twin lines of stress on either side of his aristocratic nose. His hair, too, was longer than Sasuke's and restrained by a hair tie. The stranger studied her expression with a small smirk that was eerily like the actor's.

"Allow me to introduce myself. I am Uchiha Itachi, Vice-President of Uchiha Security," he said.

Hinata nodded vacantly. She had heard of Uchiha Security, of course. Their guards and state-of-the-art systems protected every major business both in Japan and abroad. But what did the vice-president of the company want with her? He shifted slightly and her attention focused back on him, eyes widening.

"Please have a seat, Uchiha-sama. Could I get you anything?" she offered.

He fluidly lowered himself into one of the chairs in front of her desk, smirk still firmly in place.

"No, thank you. You must certainly be wondering what business I have with you," he stated, languidly folding his hands together.

Hinata stared at him, feeling as though she was in his office and not the other way around.

"The thought had crossed my mind," she allowed.

His smirk did not falter.

"I believe you know my brother, Sasuke?" he said.

Wary as a hunted doe, she nodded cautiously.

"This has nothing to do with him," he said, eyes intent on her face.

She couldn't hide her confusion. Where could the Uchiha be going with this?

"I would like to get to know you better, Hyuuga-san. Do you have time to have lunch with me?" he asked.

Hinata gaped at him, confusion changing to outright shock. She had no idea what Sasuke's brother could want with her, but she had to admit that she was curious. She tore her gaze from the enigmatic man to glance down at the calendar on her desk.

"I am free at noon," she admitted.

Onyx eyes gleamed with muted triumph. He unfolded his lean, suit-clad frame from the chair.

"Excellent. I will pick you up then, Hyuuga-san," he purred, leaving the office before she could reply.

She shivered after the door shut behind him. If possible, Uchiha Itachi was even more intense than his younger brother. What could such a handsome, self-assured businessman want with shy, meek Hyuuga Hinata...especially if it had nothing to do with Sasuke?

"Hyuuga-sama, what did he want?" her secretary asked.

Hinata was startled from her daze, looking up at the woman.

"He wanted me to go to lunch with him," she said in a small voice.

The woman squealed, professional boundaries forgotten in excitement.

"You said 'yes,' didn't you? He was very handsome," she exclaimed.

"Yes," Hinata said, not sure if she was answering the question, or agreeing with the statement. Her secretary seemed to take it as both, for she spent what time remained before lunch fussing over Hinata's appearance.

.o0o.o0o.

Sasuke slid from his limousine, sunglasses keeping him from being blinded by the brilliant flashes of cameras. He was grateful that his image was one of aloofness, for he didn't think he could manage a smile while he was here. This was the premiere of 'Gothic Romance.' He had no doubt that his co-star would be here as well. He hadn't seen her in months, ever since the end of filming, but her image haunted his dreams. He still wanted her, and that unnerved him. He was unused to panting after a female like this. A shout from one reporter caught his attention.

"Sasuke, can you tell us when your co-star started dating you brother? Did you set them up?" the man shouted.

Sasuke's eyes widened behind the safety of his sunglasses. His leisurely pace down the red carpet quickened. He stepped into the lobby, scanning the mass of glittering people. His gaze snagged on a head of hair such a deep shade of black that it almost appeared blue. Oblivious to the greetings of those around him, he pushed through the crowd. Her name left his lips as he finally reached her.

Hinata cautiously turned to face him and--for perhaps the first time in his life--Sasuke was struck dumb. She was wearing a gown of palest silver which enhanced the unearthly shade of her eyes. Although modest, since it covered her from neck to ankle, the way the shimmering fabric clung to her curves made his pulse race. His eyes lifted back to her face, an unnamed emotion tightening his throat. When had Hinata become so beautiful? Even his dreams had not done justice to this reality.

Belatedly, he noticed the masculine form which stood behind her. Clad in a black tuxedo, his silver shirt matching Hinata's dress, was his brother. The elder Uchiha was watching him with emotionless dark eyes. When he wrapped a possessive arm around the petite woman's waist, Sasuke felt a wave of pure jealousy boil through him.

"It's good to see you, little brother," Itachi said.

It took a conscious effort for Sasuke to relax his balled fists. He forced a tiny, polite smile.

"You as well, brother...Hinata," he gritted out.

The trace of a smug smirk flitted across his brother's thin lips.

"Was there a reason you came barging over here?" Itachi asked.

Feeling Hinata's curious eyes on him, the actor fought back a blush.

"No reason at all," he said.

With that, he stalked over to the bar and ordered a shot of the strongest stuff they had. He brooded over the drink when it arrived, watching with dark eyes as Itachi coaxed Hinata onto the dance floor. In no time at all, their bodies were swaying to the soft music. Itachi bent his head to whisper something into her ear, causing her to smile shyly and blush. Thankfully, the song soon ended. His brother bowed to Hinata and lifted her hand to brush his lips across her knuckles. Sasuke slammed his drink onto the bar, ignoring both the alcohol that splashed onto his sleeve and the startled looks from the people around him. He started toward the couple, fully intending on picking a fight with his older brother. Half-way there, someone caught hold of his arm and swung him around. His fist nearly landed in Naruto's face before he registered that it was the blond producer he was facing.

"I know I said I wanted a premiere that would shock the movie scene, but two Uchihas brawling over a woman isn't exactly what I had in mind," he said lightly, though his sapphire eyes held concern.

"There won't be a brawl. I'll walk up and punch him, then he'll calmly take me aside and explain to me why Hinata and I would never work out," the actor bit out, shaking free of Naruto's grip.

The blond's smile was strained.

"I don't suppose the two of you could skip straight to the explaining part?" he asked.

Sasuke merely raised an eyebrow before finishing his trek toward where his brother stood. Laying a hand on Itachi's shoulder, he spun the taller male around. His fist landed with a crack square on Itachi's arrogant jaw. Faintly, he registered Hinata's gasp as well as the sudden silence that fell over the party, but the majority of his attention was on the elder Uchiha. Itachi gingerly ran his thumb along his lip. A smirk crossed his face when it came away bloody.

"Not bad, little brother," he said.

Sasuke glared at him.

"Itachi...?" Hinata asked uncertainly.

"It seems Sasuke and I need to talk. I will be back," he said.

Itachi led the way from the room, apparently unconcerned by the murderous glare being directed his way by his younger brother. As soon as they were out of earshot of the other guests, Sasuke pounced.

"What do you think you are doing with Hinata?" he demanded.

Itachi leaned against the wall. His dark eyes met the burning gaze of Sasuke.

"She's very beautiful, as I'm sure you've noticed. Surely you didn't think a woman like that would remain available until you realized how...foolish you were being, little brother," he said.

Sasuke nearly growled at his brother's hated nickname for him. 'Foolish little brother.' He was by no means stupid, but he always felt ten steps behind Itachi's genius.

"That's why I saved her for you," Itachi added.

Like now.

Sasuke stared at his older brother, mind scrambling to make sense of the bland statement.

"You would never have had the guts to talk to her tonight without sufficient reason, which I provided. Don't waste it," Itachi said, extending his index finger to poke Sasuke's forehead. He languidly pushed off the wall and strolled toward the men's restroom.

The younger Uchiha blinked as the door shut behind his brother. Wait a minute...Itachi had planned this?! He was torn between the desire to hug him or beat him to a pulp for using him. His pride wouldn't allow the former and his skill the latter--he had very likely only managed to hit Itachi earlier because the elder Uchiha had known it was the only way to get him to listen. Besides, Itachi was correct. Had things been left up to him, he would have avoided Hinata like the plague. Now, though, he had to make use of the chance his brother had given him. Rubbing at the spot on his forehead where Itachi had poked him, he went in search of Hinata.

.o0o.o0o.

The petite Hyuuga was doing her best to keep a surreptitious eye on the door the two brothers had exited through while keeping up with the conversation going on around her. Her pale eyes widened when Sasuke returned alone and headed purposefully for her. He barged into the group of people gathered around her, seizing her hand.

"Dance with me," he all but demanded.

Before she could stammer out her refusal, he was pulling her after him onto the dance floor. Then he was far too close, every breath filling her lungs with the scent of him and making her knees go weak. The heat of his hands on her waist seared through the thin material of her dress. She looked over her shoulder in the vain hope that Itachi would magically appear to rescue her from his brother.

"I didn't kill him," Sasuke said dryly, "He went to clean himself up."

She flinched, turning her head back toward the actor. Unable to meet his eyes, she stared steadfastly at a button of his dress shirt instead.

"You look lovely tonight," the soft words breathed into the shell of her ear made her shiver.

However, she managed to cover her reaction to him with anger. At least when she was mad she could meet his gaze.

"If you're trying to charm your way into my bed, then go flatter someone else," she said.

He hesitated, looking uncharacteristically uncertain.

"But I don't want someone else," he said softly. Off-balanced by the apparent sincerity of his admission, Hinata did not respond immediately. He quickly hurried on, "I can't get you out of my mind. I thought I was the one who claimed you, but instead I feel as though you have claimed me."

Hinata felt her heart melting at his words. She forced herself to remember that he was an actor, and one of the best. Just because he seemed to be telling the truth, didn't mean he actually was. For all she knew, he could be lying through his teeth just to get into her good graces.

"Is that a line from one of your movies?" she asked cynically.

The dark gaze he turned on her was almost wounded.

"No...it isn't," he responded before stalking away.

Hinata was left alone on the dance floor. How was she supposed to know it was more than just some line he was using for his own purposes? She still remembered his callous comments during the filming of the movie. Was she to believe he had experienced a complete change of attitude? The Sasuke she had seen was blunt and arrogant, certainly not poetic.

"Love can change even the most unlikely of men into poets," Itachi stated from beside her.

Hinata spun to face him, not having heard his approach. She was not surprised that he seemed to have read her mind, for he had done so often during the weeks they had been dating. The cut Sasuke had inflicted on his lip had already scabbed over. Somehow, it only added to his good looks rather than detract from them. But the sight of him didn't make her heart pound the way Sasuke's nearness did.

"Are you trying to get rid of me, Uchiha-san?" she asked.

The young woman was striving for a teasing tone, but the question came out sounding injured instead. He took her hand, catching her gaze.

"I apologize for deceiving you, Hyuuga-san. I believe, though, that if you give my brother a second chance...he will not disappoint you," the eldest Uchiha said.

His admission stung. He had been manipulating her all this time. Then again, it seemed he had been using Sasuke as well. Itachi's dark eyes were unapologetic, and for some reason that eased the pain. She had never felt anything more than friendship for him, partially because he had never allowed her to get close to him. Now she knew why.

"I'll do it because you want me to," she said grudgingly.

She started away, but he didn't let go of her hand.

"Hinata...do it for yourself," with that, the enigmatic man released her.

For the second time in only a few minutes, an Uchiha left her standing alone on the dance floor. Ignoring the curious stares of the numerous people around her, she left the main room to hunt down Sasuke.

She found him sitting in the darkened room where the movie would be shown later tonight. For now it was abandoned in favor of mingling in the reception hall. Of course the Uchiha would have found the one place in the crowded building where he could brood alone. Still, she certainly wasn't complaining about the fact that there would be no witnesses to this conversation. Since Sasuke's head was down and he seemed quite absorbed in his thoughts, she leaned against the door frame and took the opportunity to study him. She had always thought he was handsome, but after spending time around Itachi she could look at his features more objectively.

As she had noticed the very moment she met Itachi, the two brothers could nearly pass as twins. Their features were almost identical. Sasuke's face, however, was less worn than his older brother's and, despite his cold attitude, he was by far the more easy of the two to read. Like now...his eyebrows were slightly furrowed and his lower lip was extended in a tiny pout. A casual observer would never have noticed these signs, but after her time with Itachi, Sasuke might as well be screaming that he was sulking. She smiled slightly in amusement, then opened her mouth to speak. If she didn't do it now, she would lose her nerve and walk away.

"I've claimed you?" she asked.

His head shot up, onyx eyes widened with shock at seeing her there. He quickly recovered himself and looked away. He was striving too hard for nonchalance, showing that he was nervous.

"Yeah," he responded simply.

Hinata pushed off the door and sauntered further into the darkened room, sitting down a seat away from the actor. Her upper body was angled toward him, though she followed his gaze to the blank screen.

"So...I was hoping we could start over...get to know each other this time," she offered, quite pleased when her words came out without a single stammer.

Hinata felt his eyes turn to study her profile, but she kept her gaze fixed straight ahead. The silence stretched out between them as though he were waiting for her to crack and say something more to guide his answer. She refused to cave. This would be his choice, since she had already made hers by seeking him out.

"...I'd like that," he responded at last.

She turned her head toward him then to find a small smile on his thin lips. She smiled shyly in return.

"Good," she said.

"Yeah," he repeated, apparently as uncertain as she was.

An awkward silence fell between the two of them. They were both wracking their minds for something to say. Suddenly, a heavy arm landed on each of their shoulders. They jumped, looking up into Naruto's grinning face.

"As cute as this is, I'm not paying you two to sit here and flirt. Our guests want to mingle with the stars, so both of you head back out there and get to mingling," he said.

Hinata started stammering then, her face turning bright red. Sasuke glared at the producer, but quickly regained his composure. He stood and offered his co-star a hand.

"Having second thoughts?" he repeated the first question he had ever asked her.

Hinata's mouth closed and she looked up at him, blush slowly receding. She laid her delicate hand in his.

"No," she said softly.

His hand wrapped around hers and he pulled her to her feet. The three of them returned to the main room to rejoin the crowd, but Sasuke did not release Hinata's hand.


So there it is. I left the ending on this one more open than I typically do, because I wanted you readers to be able to imagine what you want to happen between them. This was originally supposed to focus mainly on Hinata, but first Sasuke and then Itachi came in and demanded the spotlight. And don't ask me where Itachi came from. My original plan was to have them reconcile during the filming of the movie, but Itachi demanded a role and threatened to hunt me down if I did not include him. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it.

Now...please leave me a REVIEW! I love feedback, whether positive or negative. Did you love it? hate it? see areas for improvement? Please let me know! Thanks!