So I've been reading all of these books that are set in England during the times of the kings and queens, and I've been itching to write a story set there. So I tried. Here follows my poor attempt at ItaSaku. Yes, they are out of character, but Itachi hasn't had to kill anybody (at least, I don't think so), and the world is a little bit kinder. Without further ado…


- - -

"My thanks again for escorting me," Sakura murmured to her dark-haired partner.

He grunted his acknowledgement and helped her out of the carriage without a word, and something tugged at her heart. She had been sent to the dance with the young lord in hopes that he might take a fancy to her and consider courting her.

She had been told that it was her duty to procure a wealthy husband before she was too old to have children and would do her best to fulfill it, but her mother knew it was too much to ask of her to expect her to throw herself at every lord available and thus did most of the choosing of potential husbands.

Sakura understood that she was fortunate to have a mother who went out of her way to select gentlemen closer to her age. Most girls were courted by ancients and infants alike.

She shuddered at the thought and her escort mistook her repulsion for shivering.

"You are cold, milady," he stated. Without waiting for a confirmation, he draped his jacket, still warm from his body, over her.

"Thank you," she whispered, not bothering to correct him.

Tonight her escort was the Lord Sasuke Uchiha, younger son of the Duke of Fanshire, Fugaku. He was younger than her by a few months, but considering that her favourite cousin had been wedded to a boy ten years her junior – and she a mere child of thirteen – it was a relief.

They were greeted by their hostess, who brushed flaming red hair out of her face to make eyes at Sakura's escort.

"Lord Sasuke, how nice to see you," she fawned. With merely a nod in Sakura's direction, he gestured for her to enter. He himself dallied a while longer to speak with the hostess, who had not once glanced in Sakura's direction.

Sakura gave them both a look of disdain and swept gracefully inside, where she was nearly blinded by the myriad of colours.

"A little overwhelming at first, is it not?" a smooth, masculine voice breathed by her ear unexpectedly.

She almost flinched but managed to keep her composure as a gentleman with long brown hair offered her his arm with a bow. "Oh! I apologize! I didn't hear you come up behind me!"

"It is quite all right," he assured her, smiling slowly. "There is much sound to distract you tonight. May I have a dance, my lady?"

She glanced at him, blushing." "Well, I'm not sure, my lord…"

"Neji Hyuuga, at your service," he supplied quickly, giving her another charming smile. "I am waiting for my fiancée, and I happened to catch sight of you looking very lost amidst the crowd and thought that I should help you find your way. I'm sure your beau will not mind if I steal his lovely lady for a while… At least until my own lady arrives."

Since Sasuke had not appeared from his chat with Karin, Sakura shrugged elegantly and took Neji's proffered hand. "Lead on, Lord Hyuuga."

His feet moved perfectly through the complex dance steps and his face stayed ever serene as he asked, "May I know the name of the lady with whom I dance?

Her eyes twinkled at him. "Certainly, my lord. I am Lady Sakura, of the Haruno family. I am pleased to make your acquaintance."

"No," he replied politely, "the pleasure is mine."

"You would deny me pleasure and claim it for your own?" she teased gently. And it was worth it, to see his expression change at last.

He spluttered for a moment before smiling at her, more genuinely than before. "You are unique, Lady Sakura," he told her.

"So I have been told," she commented wryly. They exchanged more pleasantries until the dance ended, and she gave a curtsy.

"Thank you for the dance, Lord Hyuuga," she smiled prettily, pulling away. "Perhaps your lady has arrived, and I must find my escort…"

"Let me help you – " he began, but the crowd had already swept her away.

As the whirling plethora of dancers drew her away from Neji, Sakura wondered where Sasuke could be. Perhaps he was still with red-haired Lady Karin; for, she reflected, they had seemed well acquainted.

Her thoughts came to an abrupt halt when someone snatched her hands and slipped an arm around her waist.

The clear smell of rainwater and pine, so different from the heady perfume favoured by most, filled her senses as her impromptu partner leaned down to whisper in her hear, he being so much taller than her that at her fullest height she only reached his collarbones.

"My apologies for bringing you into my problems, but I am being pursued by multiple young ladies. Could I persuade you to help me?"

His voice was like velvet, sweeping silkily over her, and she found herself nodding shyly.

"Y-yes, my lord. Of course I will help you," she whispered.

"Good," he replied.

Clearing her throat, she added, "But why are you trying to rid yourself of them by pulling another woman into the fray? What if I had been one of them?"

"It is better to be mauled by one than by many," he laughed lowly in her ear, and she finally looked up at him. Dark eyes of obsidian observed her back, and for a moment she could have sworn that she saw a flash of crimson, but shook it off as a trick of the light. Lips of the palest rose quartz curled upward in a delicate smirk, and hair of the same hue of his eyes framed a face chiseled of alabaster.

It was the deep lines etched under those eyes, however, that drew her attention, and had her hands not been held captive by his she would have reached out to touch them.

He saw a maiden of a pale, perfect complexion with eyes of wide, sparkling jade. Her hair was strands of rosette pink, outlining a pale heart-shaped face, and he was utterly captivated by the innocence which she radiated unconsciously.

"Might I know the name of the lady who has rescued me?" he purred into her ear, watching in amusement as she coloured most adorably.

"S-Sakura Haruno, lord," she answered timidly. "And may I know the name of the gentleman who has whisked me from the midst of the crowd?"

He surprised her by chuckling softly. "I am no gentleman, my lady," he laughed quietly by the side of her face. His expression sobered as he added, "But now I recognize you. Are you not the young lady who accompanied Sasuke Uchiha here tonight?"

Sakura nodded abashedly, no longer listening to the slow waltz as they spun, transfixed by the onyx pools which he called eyes. It was solely he who was leading now, and she did not notice when he gently began guiding her in a different direction.

"Yes, I am. He went to speak with Lady Karin, and ever since…" She trailed off, shrugging helplessly.

Her raven-haired partner made a harsh sound in the back of his throat, and when he spoke there was something akin to disapproval in his deep voice.

"Well, he is finished conversing with her now, so let us go over and greet him."

As he spoke, he manoeuvred them both so that within moments, Sakura found herself standing before Sasuke.

"Where have you been?" he asked coldly. Sakura pretended not to see the red-haired woman beside him and opened her mouth to reply, but before she could make a sound, a familiar baritone spoke up from behind her.

"The lady has been searching for you, Sasuke. Perhaps she should be the one asking where you were."

Sasuke gaped at the man who placed a hand on Sakura's shoulder. His eyes narrowed, and he let out a strangled hiss. "Itachi…" So this was the infamous Itachi, Marquess of Mirrorwood and Sasuke's older brother.

"You seem well, foolish little brother." The older man tilted his head in acknowledgement. "Farewell, my dear lady. Until we meet again." With a gracious nod to a fuming Sasuke and a bold kiss to Sakura's lips, he was gone.

Sakura stared after him dazedly but was quickly brought back to the present when Sasuke clenched his teeth and snarled in rage.

"Sasuke – " Karin began, grabbing his arm and simpering, but he shook her off and dragged Sakura onto the polished wood of the ballroom floor. Karin glowered at the pink-haired woman, who tactfully ignored her.

"Lord Sasuke?" Sakura asked hesitantly, worried that he might snap at her.

Instead, he looked carefully at her. "Yes, my lady?" His voice was low and tight, but his eyes – black like his brother's – showed her the most attention that she'd gotten from him all night, perhaps ever. It was certainly the most he'd ever shown her with her mother's hawklike chaperoning, intent on discouraging impropriety and protecting her daughter's virtue – and she'd succeeded.

Nothing remotely romantic had ever happened to Sakura, and the older Uchiha brother had been the first to touch her lips.

Mother would throw a fit, she thought silently to herself, absently raising a hand to her lips. It did not go unnoticed by Sasuke.

"Stay away from him," he commanded abruptly. When she looked at him in confusion, his eyes flickered to the side and he mumbled, "He has no sense of honour, and I wouldn't want to see you disgraced."

Her mouth formed an "o" of comprehension, and she beamed gratefully at him.

"Sasuke!" Karin hurried over to them and hesitated, looking up at him coyly through her long lashes. "The banquet is ready, so if you would follow me – " She sauntered off, swaying her hips.

Without glancing once at the redhead with whom he had seemed so friendly before, Sasuke offered Sakura his arm and led her to the long supper table with its pristine cloth.

"Sasuke!" Karin pouted, tugging at his sleeve. "There is an empty seat beside mine, and I was wondering…"

His lips tightened. "Lady Sakura and I shall sit together," he said firmly. "There, my lady; that looks fine." Putting gentle pressure on her arm, he guided her to a seat across from a woman with her hair up in two buns atop her head. Beside her sat –

"Lord Neji!" His name burst out of her mouth before she could restrain herself, and Sasuke, Neji, and the woman beside him looked up.

Neji's face broke into a small smile as he recognized her. "Lady Haruno," he greeted calmly. "It is delightful to see that you have found your escort." Sasuke gave him a curt nod.

At his cordial tone, the young lady across from Sakura relaxed a little, only to stiffen up again when Sakura turned to her.

"Hello!" she chirped. "Lord Sasuke, you seem to be acquainted. Introduce us, please."

"This is Neji Hyuuga, the Marquess of Spinshire, and Lady Tenten," Sasuke stated monotonously. "Hyuuga, my lady, may I introduce Lady Sakura Haruno."

Sakura offered a hand to Tenten, who shook it slowly. "Have you met Neji before?" the brunette woman wondered aloud.

"My lord was kind enough to rescue me from the overwhelming colours at the beginning of the dance," Sakura replied honestly. "May I ask, Lady Tenten, if you and Lord Neji are engaged?"

Tenten sat up a little. "Why, yes we are," she answered stiffly. "Why do you ask?"

Unexpectedly, Sakura's eyes went misty and she let out a dreamy sigh. "You and Lord Neji look perfect together," she murmured wistfully. Then she smiled, breaking through the gloom. "I wish you well!"

Neji smirked and Tenten relaxed completely, letting a smile adorn her own face. "Thank you, Lady Sakura," she said quietly.

"Just Sakura," Sakura requested.

Tenten's smile widened. "Then you must call me Tenten," she returned.

As the two women chatted, Neji looked straight at Sasuke. "I saw your brother with Lady Haruno," he said, keeping his voice low. He raised an eyebrow in question.

Sasuke's reply was swept away by the clamor of voices, and Neji frowned.

"What…?" But by then Sakura and Tenten had turned to include them in the conversation.

None of them noticed the lady of the household saunter away. "My lady?" a servant stammered. His mistress merely brushed past him, a smug smile on her painted scarlet lips. It stayed there for the remainder of the night.

"It is getting late, my lady," Sasuke observed as the banquet drew to an end. "Shall we go?"

"Ah, yes, please," Sakura replied, rising. "Should we thank the hostess before we depart…?"

Sasuke grunted. "That will not be necessary," he told her firmly. "The carriage is waiting outside." Reluctantly, Sakura acquiesced and allowed herself to be steered out the large, gilded doors.

Inside, Tenten watched worriedly as Karin fumed at Sasuke's unannounced departure. She touched Neji's arm lightly with her fingertips, and they made their own flight.

- - -

The Haruno matriarch smiled, pleased with her work, as she watched the young lord help her daughter up the steps to their large abode. He was the second son of a duke, a fine catch for Sakura, and seemed as enamoured of her as was possible for a stoic Uchiha.

"Lady Sakura," Sasuke began, but was cut off by a finger put to his lips.

"Just Sakura, please." Emerald eyes twinkled merrily, but her face was sober.

His lips quirked upwards slightly. "Very well. Sakura, then; I will see you tomorrow evening. Dress moderately." With the musky scent that was uniquely his lingering behind him, he kissed her hand and disappeared.

The moment he was out of sight, Sakura's mother was beside herself, fluttering her hands and almost bursting with glee. "Is he not wonderful, daughter? Your father will be pleased!"

Sakura smiled faintly. "Yes, he is wonderful, mother," she said softly, climbing the marble steps to the second level of the house. "If you will excuse me, I am tired and wish to retire to bed."

"Good night!" her mother's call floated up to follow her to her room until she shut the white door and began to dress for sleep.

An amused voice startled her just as she was beginning to slip on her nightgown. "As much as I enjoy the excellent view with which you are providing me, I feel compelled to announce my presence." A lean, tall figure unfolded itself from the shadows beside her bed.

Blushing furiously, Sakura's mind went blank, and she mechanically donned the rest of her nightclothes. Only once she was fully dressed did she face the intruder.

"What are you doing in my room?!" she hissed furiously. "What are you doing in my room, damn you?!"

Itachi raised an eyebrow. "That is no language for a lady," he said calmly, not expecting her reply of "To hell with that!"

"In my room I am no lady," she replied austerely. "Now tell me why you are here, in my room. No gentleman visits a lady's chamber without permission."

He gave a chuckle. "I have already told you: I am no gentleman. I wished to visit you, so here I am."

"And you followed your brother and me home, I expect?"

"Of course, my lady. It was quite easy."

She snorted in an unladylike manner. "You could have come in the door, you know."

He inclined his head with a roguish smirk. "But it is ever so much more fun this way. As I have said, I am no respectable gentleman. I pay no attention to rules and regulations."

"Isn't that the truth?" she muttered, not bothering to keep it under her breath. "What do you want?" When he shrugged fluidly with a grace which she envied, she continued, "As long as you are here, pray tell me why you stole my first kiss tonight."

He scoffed, dark eyes boring into hers. "That, my lady… that was no kiss," he told her.

"It was to me!" she protested indignantly. "It was my first, too!"

Itachi's smirk widened, and he advanced until he was directly in front of her. "I will not apologize for it, but as compensation I will show you what a kiss truly feels like."

Without further ado, he gripped her chin with a slender, long-fingered hand and lowered his mouth onto hers.

Beryl eyes flew wide open as his tongue probed at her lips and eventually gained entrance to her mouth, and though she struggled wildly at first, before long she had relented sufficiently enough to experience the bewildering sensation of having someone else's tongue in her mouth.

He saw incomprehension fill her eyes but disregarded it for the moment, opting instead to concentrate on coaxing her tongue to move against his. Though shock still gripped her tightly, he soon had her experimenting timidly.

The clear scents of the forest filled her sense of smell once more as his free hand came up to support her head, tilting it back slightly so that he could explore further the interior of her mouth.

He pulled back just as black began to dot her vision from the lack of oxygen, giving her parted lips one last, loving nip before parting from her completely. She looked up at him in confusion, and his eyes softened fractionally at the naïve trust conveyed in her verdant gaze.

"Well, lady?" he asked in a voice quite warmer than the norm. When she said nothing, he prompted, "Was that better than your 'first kiss', the one I stole?"

She stopped gazing at him and snapped, "You stole that one as well, you miscreant! I did not give you permission to kiss me!"

His smirk returned as he commented, "You protested not, my lady. Most would have slapped me and tried to scream by now."

Rolling her eyes dismissively, Sakura sighed and sat down on her satin-sheeted bed. "If you insist on breaking rules, you might as well call me Sakura, Lord Uchiha."

Onyx eyes glinted discreetly at her naïveté. "Many women would hesitate to approach their bed with a strange man in their chamber, little one."

She bristled angrily. "I am not little!" she protested. "And why should I not sit on my bed? It is my bed."

In a moment, she was pinned to said bed by his body, his moonlight-illuminated face hovering mere inches above hers.

"Many things can happen in a bed, little one," he breathed, fanning her face. She trembled at the feel of his taut body pressed against hers, but he slowly got off of her. "Luckily for you, though I am no gentleman I do possess a conscience. Fear not."

Despite his comforting words – the first of the kind ever spoken by him to a woman – she was like a deer ready to bolt, eyes wide and frightened. She began to understand why her mother never allowed the young lords to keep her company alone upstairs.

"Sakura." It was the first time he had ever said her name, and she shivered at the intensity of his tone. "I will not harm you, little one." He sat down on her bed and drew her into his lap, putting his arms around her and resting his chin on her head.

"L-Lord Uchiha – " she quavered, her voice soft and tremulous.

"Just Itachi will do," he cooed, blowing gently in her ear.

She squirmed uncomfortably in his hold, flushing crimson. "M-my mother is coming upstairs," she whispered.

Biting back a curse of annoyance, he stood and placed her tenderly on her bed and kissed her forehead in farewell.

"I will see you again, Sakura – " and then he was out the window, merely a shadow in the night.

- - -

Oh my gosh. I'm obsessed with "Oh! My Love" by Itachi's voice actor, Ishikawa Hideo. It's weird but pretty(ish) at the same time. So there's my pathetic attempt at romance… I know that the names of their homes (Spinshire and Fanshire and Mirrorwood?) are kinda cheesy and stupid-sounding, but if you have any good names, I'm open to ideas.

OMG BlackElement7 actually went and researched something. GASP. I spent hours learning about peerage in Britain, and I'm still quite sure that I'm not completely correct. I don't mind being corrected… '

So, drop me a line and let me know what you think!