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Perfect in Memory

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It’s rather perfect, Sakura thinks, in a sick sort of way.

“Let me get this straight. You mess up someone’s memories, inserting yourself there?”

Ino grins. Sakura remembers the drop in her stomach the first time Ino grinned at her like that. Trouble always followed that grin, but there was usually something rather likeable about trouble when Ino was around.

Usually.

“And then you use that trust to get them into bed…”

“And let them tell me their secrets. Yes.”

“Why not just mind-meld them into telling you in the first place?”

Sakura wouldn’t put it past Ino to do things the way she does just to mess with people, but Ino shakes her head. “The mind doesn’t work that way. It’s not a compulsion. Its….”

“Disgusting.”

“Thanks, but no. And its not just sex, you know… It’s mostly not sex, actually; more’s the pity. It’s art- creating the memories, anyway. You’ve got to get people to trust you. But it’s hard sometimes. You can get to like them, these people who know you so well.”

“They don’t know you at all,” Sakura objects. Unexpectedly, Ino reaches out, get way too close, and tugs Sakura’s hair tie back. It comes off easily, sliding down, falling out.

The bottom of Sakura’s stomach drops out. It’s a surprisingly familiar feeling.

“I saw you once, in the schoolyard. But I was too scared to tell off those bullies. You seemed like a nice enough girl though, so when they asked me if I would do this, I said sure. Thought it’d be more caring than- but that’s stupid, huh?”

The knife goes in one smooth gesture. She’s not even sure where Ino had been hiding it up until then.

“I would have told you what you wanted to know,” is all she can think of to say, which, well- obviously. Obviously, she’d tell her best friend everything. That’s why Ino was here. Was thirty minutes ago at the bar the first time she’d seen her oldest friend?

“The thing of it is,” Ino says, and her voice is sounding further

away. “You do this, and you don’t really know the person, but they know you. So much better than they think. And that sucks.”

Selfish Ino as usual, Sakura thinks, and then- and then she doesn’t think anymore.