Im the haunted house anon! THAT was super awesome & freaky, thank you!!! It had this gradual sense of loss, and it’s even more frightening b/c Shikako’s going through this madness blind. Like, it feels really ominous, aaaa. HOly cow, I can’t wait for part 2 * v *

A/N1: I’m glad you liked it anon! 😀 Freaky and ominous was what I was going for. I hope you enjoy part two as well 🙂

“Sai?”

Shikako looks around, the two of them standing on impossible stairs. Smooth not-stone not-metal steps.

Starlight against the void of space.

“What is happening?” she asks him, reaching out.

For some reason, she feels alone. She wants to confirm she isn’t.

But Sai steps back, away, silent. Shakes his head.

He gives her a smile, one far more emotionally eloquent than he’s usually capable:

A little apologetic, a lot sad.

He climbs the stairs and waves at her. Upwards and onwards, he doesn’t say.

She follows.

“You’re not Sai,” Shikako says, as they climb impossible starlight stairs.

“But you’re not like that not-Kiba,” she continues.

She doesn’t know where she is, or what is going on, but she’s exhausted.

She feels like she’s been here for a long time. An eternity.

Maybe she’s gone mad, maybe this is her breaking point.

“This isn’t real.”

The not-Sai ahead of her stops, looks at her. Shakes his head.

Confirmation or denial, and for which statement, she’s not sure. Doesn’t have the time to ask.

A noise, like gears in a machine, and a doorway opens in front of them.

A stark white room that goes on forever. Smooth floor neither stone or metal, and walls she can never reach.

Not-Sai’s dark hair and dark clothes stand out defiant, even his pale skin somehow contrasting.

He stands behind her, even as she walks as far as she can, forever.

Silence spreads.

Something is wrong.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

Across the room, a riot of color. Pink and green and red and black.

Sakura. Not-Sakura.

Not the Sakura she’s come to know.

Pink hair cropped short, armored gloves but no medic’s uniform.

This is the Sakura she replaced.

But this creature with Sakura’s face doesn’t move, doesn’t attack.

Shikako steps forward. Not-Sai behind her.

Something is happening.

This is… different.

“Sakura?” she calls out, but the creature does not respond.

Behind her, the not-Sai figure stands his ground.

Silence.

Where is the doorway?

Maybe this is different for a reason.

Maybe there’s a reason why not-Sakura isn’t attacking her.

Not-Kiba did so immediately, as well as the previous encounters against [|||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||]

… something was wrong, then.

Which means it is not wrong now?

“Come with us,” she tries, reaching out to touch not-Sakura, but stopping short of contact.

The creature’s face remains blank and empty.

A part of her is afraid. That as soon as she touches not-Sakura, it will spring to life, try to kill her.

And she will have to kill it instead. Just like [||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||]

… Shikako is exhausted.

She doesn’t want to fight anymore.

“Please,” she tries again, and this time commits, hand curving around not-Sakura’s arm.

Beneath her fingers, the creature is neither warm nor cold. As lifeless and empty as the room around them.

Not-Sakura doesn’t move.

But a noise sounds off, the only other noise here besides her own voice, and the doorway appears.

Not-Sai leaves his position and walks to the doorway, starlight stairs already assembling.

On the first step, upwards and onwards, he stops and waves toward her.

“Please, Sakura, come with us!” she tries one last time, tugging, futilely, as if against a statue.

A noise, like gears in a machine.

Something is wrong.

On the other side of the closing doorway, not-Sai waves at her impatiently, frantic.

Scared.

There is nothing for her here.

Shikako runs.

On starlight stairs in an endless void, Shikako stands.

Breathless.

Exhausted.

Crying.

A few steps ahead, not-Sai watches. Sad and apologetic.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

Something is happening.

Her cheeks are wet, and she wipes the moisture away. Droplets falling into eternity.

She moves. Upwards and onwards, there is only one way to go.

Not-Sai watches her. Stopped ahead, waiting. Sad and apologetic for some reason.

She catches up. Then keeps going.

Not-Sai follows silently behind her.

On the top step, before the invisible wall and the noise and the doorway, Shikako turns to not-Sai.

“It’s going to be worse, isn’t it?” she asks, already dreading it.

Not-Sai nods, confirmation, ever sad and apologetic.

“Why can’t you speak?” she asks. Perhaps, if she were not so exhausted, she would be angry.

But she has been here for an eternity, and she just wants to hear something besides her own voice and that–

Not-Sai sticks his tongue out, black ink on pink flesh

–noise, like gears in a machine.

The doorway appears.

This is different.

The room is the same–an impossibility of stark endless white–but inside, immediately, it is not empty.

Across the room, like colorful statues, are three unmoving silent figures.

Ino-Shika-Cho

But not hers. Just like the not-Sakura from before wasn’t hers.

The creature that is not Chouji stands, hands over its ears, face blank and empty.

Not-Ino stands next to it, hands over its mouth, eyes a solid intact blue.

Between them is her brother. Or, rather, the creature that is not her brother, eyes covered by two hands.

This Ino-Shika-Cho is not hers, because hers are broken.

She was the one who broke them.

Shikako blinks. Dark then light.

Nothing has changed.

She tries again. Dark then light.

Still no change.

She doesn’t want to do this.

She turns around to where not-Sai stands behind her. Surely because he followed her in, the doorway would still be there.

But behind him is an endless expanse, no stairs spiraling down and away.

No escape. There is only one way to go.

She’s exhausted.

Something is wrong.

“What do I do now?”

That something might be her.

~

A/N2: … I guess there will be a part three to finish this off?

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