TH: Hello! So I know I said there would be a sequel for my Itachi time-travel fic "Perchance to Dream", but I guess what I really meant was, there would be sequelS, plural. I found that I was changing some things really dramatically in the real sequel, so I decided to make this fic as a bridge between the two, to maybe decrease some confusion. So this isn't the real sequel. Think of this as a bonus... something to tide you over until I can start posting the real sequel, which I think will be called "Shades".

This will be 5 chapters long, and each chapter will be drabble-length. I'll post them in very quick succession, maybe every day, or every two days. Once this is over, I'm afraid it will be back to waiting for you guys... sorry. I'm trying to have a very definitive plot established before I start posting "Shades".

Ravel, Unravel


Kaname Junmai was a desk ninja, having never advanced further than a by-the-skin-of-his-teeth Chuunin promotion. That was okay, though. He never particularly felt a burning desire to go off and die for his Village. That's not to say he didn't love Konoha, because he did. He just didn't much want to die of anything except old age. Was that wrong? He had a girlfriend, was planning on asking her to marry him, and wanted his future to hold a few children and grandchildren. He couldn't have that if he went off on dangerous missions all the time, and got himself killed before he reached thirty. So Junmai was perfectly content with his desk job, thank you very much.

Okay, so sometimes he wished he could lay claim to being some heroic, powerful shinobi with thrilling tales of how he'd managed to complete this harrowing mission, or that glorious battle… But he could do without. Really.

You know, ninja in the Intelligence Department were privy to the intimate secrets of the Village! They were the ones who received, decoded, deciphered, analyzed, and filed the information Konoha received from its spies, its ninja, its allies, and its prisoners. Intel ninja had information Konoha's enemies would kill for, and that was why they often didn't leave the Village. Intel ninja were just as worthy of awe and admiration as those daredevil ANBU ninja!

Kaname Junmai felt very strongly about his profession. It was a position of pride, intelligence, dignity. And so he carried himself in an appropriate manner.

…Maybe some of his colleagues call him pretentious, but that's just because they were too immature or stupid to really grasp the gravity of their role. Information was the blood that kept Konoha alive, and that made the Intelligence Department the heart. They were the heart of Konoha!

Junmai kept his chin high as he walked into the Department and went to his desk, ignoring the few eye-rolls that followed him. Pedestrians.

One of the runners, a younger Department member, scurried over to give Junmai a message that needed to be 'worked' as they called it. Junmai nodded gravely to the young woman and took the small scroll. As she hurried away, Junmai inspected the outside of the scroll. It was a message from one of their spies, and urgent, Junmai could see from the markings on the outside. Well, then, he'd better get to work.

It was sealed with a chakra lock; he opened one of his desk drawers and pulled out a key, which he activated with a drop of his own blood. Only the blood of those who had been included in the key seal could activate it, and only an activated key would open the chakra lock. This decreased the possibility of the message falling into the wrong hands. Of course, even if an enemy managed to open the scroll there was no guarantee that they'd be able to read the contents. All messages like this one were written in code. Junmai had memorized all the ciphers, so he scanned the opened scroll, writing down the message as he translated it on a new piece of paper. It was only when he was finished that he looked at what he'd written in its entirety. He blanched.

"Uchiha Madara killed by Ame nukenin called Pein."

What? But everyone knew that Madara had been killed by Uchiha Itachi, three years earlier, during the attempted Uchiha Coup. There had even been a body, though that had been cremated almost immediately, for safety. No one wanted a puppet Madara running around, nor did they want someone to steal his eyes and their doujutsu. But it seemed that, somehow, Uchiha Madara wasn't as dead as they thought he was.

"Avegorrilejs furkagay!" Junmai squawked, shooting to his feet, wild with shock and maybe just a little fear. His colleagues closest to him looked up in confusion, clearly not understanding his garbled words.

Junmai scrambled for one of their desks, waving the scroll at the man behind it. He tried again: "I've gotta message for the Hokage! Someone double check it, quick!"

The other Intelligence Department worker quirked an eyebrow at Junmai's wild reaction, but took the scroll and deciphered the message again himself. He blinked, looked up at Junmai, and then back down at the message, disbelieving.

"It… it says: 'Uchiha Madara killed by Ame nukenin called Pein.'"

The ninja in the Intelligence Department were sworn to secrecy, under pain of death, because they were privy to the Village's secrets. The information they handled daily could be extremely harmful to Konoha if it were leaked, so they were not allowed to discuss it, at least not outside the Department. Within the Department's sound-proofed walls, they could talk about the messages, because it was sometimes helpful to have a colleague double-check a worked message for accuracy in decoding, or to have more than one brain working on analyzing the significance and application of a bit of information. But this didn't happen very often; there were special teams for working on sensitive information like the things the Torture & Interrogation Force drew from their prisoners, and the general messages that the Department got from spies and allies were either not exciting, or so vague only the Hokage (or at least someone closer to the situation) would understand their meaning.

This Madara message, however, was causing quite a bit of discussion in the Department. Despite the fact that there had never been an official announcement about it, everyone in Konoha knew that Uchiha Itachi had killed Uchiha Madara. Because of the odd situation, Madara was already supposed to be dead, after all, the news that Itachi had fought and killed him had spread like wildfire around the Village. And now the Intelligence Department was getting messages about Madara being alive again? Was the man immortal? This was the second time he was supposed to be dead. Of course the Department workers were worried.

But no, giving the message to the Hokage only prompted a vague 'hmm' and a message to the Department telling them it was nothing to worry over. As if. There were many incredulous expressions traded over that. But then, a few minutes later, one of the runners returned to the Department and divulged the information that he had just seen Uchiha Itachi report to the Hokage's office. Ah, now. This told the curious Department ninja what they wanted to know, what the Hokage's response hadn't told them. The message about Madara was important, did mean something. The Hokage just wanted to keep it on the down-low.

…Wait, but what did that mean? That the Hokage didn't want the information to cause panic because it meant really bad things were going to happen, or that the information didn't mean anything and he didn't want them worrying unnecessarily? Oh, man…