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Sakura woke up from her latest nightmare drenched in sweat. Her nightclothes stuck to her body as she drew her knees up to her chest and put her head in her hands. Dammit, she thought amidst her quick breaths. "Goddammit...Why do I have to keep dreaming about that? I've put it behind me...haven't I?"
Sakura walked into the bathroom, grabbed a dry hand towel and wiped off her face. "How? How can I stop thinking about their fight?" She turned off the bathroom light and walked back into her room. If I only knew exactly how it happened. Maybe then my mind would stop trying to fill in the blanks. Her eyes suddenly snapped wide. "Ino..." She put on her dress and walked out of the house.
Ino rubbed the sleep from her eyes and went to see who the hell was throwing rocks at her window. As she opened one side of it she cocked an eyebrow in surprise at seeing Sakura staring up at her from the backyard lawn. "Sakura...?"
"Ino, can I come in?" Sakura whispered loudly.
"Do you know what time it is?" Ino grumbled.
"Yes! I need your help. Pleeease?" Sakura said with mild irritation.
Ino threw up her hands in defeat. "Alright. But be quiet..."
Ino handed the cup of hot tea to her friend. "So what's this all about?" she asked as she sat on the bed across from the chair Sakura was seated in.
Sakura took a deep breath, blowing away the steam rising from her cup when she exhaled it. "I want you to teach me Ishindenshin no Jutsu," she answered quietly.
Ino choked a bit on her sip of tea. "Are you serious?" she asked as she wiped the spilled tea off her pajamas.
Sakura nodded in affirmation. "Hai. I need to know exactly what happened during Sasuke-kun and Naruto's fight. I won't be able to stop thinking about it unless I do. So I need your technique so I can see for myself."
"How do you even know about that? I've never shown it to you," Ino questioned.
"Tsunade-sama told me. Will you teach me it or not?"
Ino's face took on a very serious look. "Sakura, it takes a lot of precise chakra control to do that. Not to mention if what you see is too much of a shock for your mind you might not be able to get back to your own body."
"I'll take you with me as a backup. And besides, Tsunade-sama has been teaching me a lot of things that require precise chakra control. I'll just go into Sasuke-kun's mind, see what I need to, and get out."
"You'll never get through Sasuke-kun's mind alive. Knowing him, he's probably learned how to set up traps for anyone who might try to get in." Ino suddenly perked up. "Wait...Naruto!"
"Yeah! Go into Naruto's mind," Ino proclaimed, looking rather proud of herself.
Sakura frowned. "I guess I could try that."
Ino yawned. "Well. Now that that's settled, I need to get some sleep. Come over in the morning."
Sakura nodded. "Okay," she said as she went to the window. Just as she was about to jump down she turned her head back. "Ino...thanks."
Ino smiled and Sakura disappeared from sight.
The Next Day....
"No," Shikamaru said plainly as he folded his arms.
"Please? She needs someone to practice on and it can't be me because I have to guide her," Ino begged, trying to look both coy and cutesy at the same time.
Shikamaru rolled his eyes. He could see he wasn't going to win this one. "How troublesome," he thought. "Fine. But let's make it quick. I have a mission in three hours," he relented. He then winced, knowing exactly what was coming.
"THANK YOU!" Ino yelled as she glomped the boy so tight he was struggling for air.
Shikamaru sat on Ino's bed, his mind blank as he could make it. Ino had told him to try not to think about anything, in order to make it easier for Sakura on her first attempt. Of course, now he was having a hard time not thinking of anything simply because Ino had told him not to.
Sakura came into the room. She had been practicing the seals by herself while Ino had gone to con Shikamaru into agreeing to be their guinea pig.
"Are you ready?" Ino asked. Sakura nodded. "Alright then. Go..." Ino instructed.
Sakura raised her hands and began the seals. "Boar, monkey, bird...Ishindenshin no Jutsu!" A sudden pain spiked in her left temple, causing her to put a hand to her forehead.
Ino shook her head. "You pushed too hard. You're not trying to hurt the enemy, just enter his mind."
Sakura nodded and repeated the jutsu. This time, she gave Shikamaru a headache.
"Ahg! Watch it," he complained.
Sakura sighed in frustration and repeated the jutsu again. She felt an odd whooshing sensation and suddenly found herself in a room completely devoid of light. But then she realized she could also see Shikamaru from the outside. "Huh? Did I mess up again?"
Ino nodded in approval at Sakura's execution of the jutsu. "Okay, now just take a minute to get used to your surroundings." "Right" she heard in stereo. Her breath caught in her throat. She slowly turned her head to see Sakura standing, with her eyes open. Ino's head was frozen in place as she forced her eyes to look back at Shikamaru. His eyes were blank, as they should've been when under the influence of the jutsu. "Sa...kura?"