The Naruto concept is owned by...Um...Who owns Naruto? The only name I can think of is Koushun Takami, and he's the guy who wrote Battle Royale. Hang on...Oh yeah. Masashi Kishimoto. This is his concept, I'm merely bending it to my will. I own this specific story idea, and any original characters contained within. Past that, it's all Kishimoto.

The Last Step: You want me to WHAT?


The sun.

It was an irritating thing, he decided. Always sticking it's light rays into places where they didn't belong, and were entirely unwanted.

Like his eyes, for example. Naruto would be perfectly content if the sun would kindly remove the light from his eyes. That would just make his day, what little of it had passed so far.

No luck. Pouting internally, Naruto admitted defeat. The sun had won.

Naruto shifted onto his other side. He wasn't ready to get out of bed yet, not by a long shot. What was that phrase? You may have won the battle, but you haven't won the war? Yeah. The sun had won the battle, but Naruto would just as soon give up his dream of becoming Hokage before he'd admit defeat to a gas giant like the sun.

Dammit, there was still light in his eyes. What was going on?

Slowly, Naruto cranked open one eyelid, just to scope out the battlefield.

Ah...there was his enemy. The sun had cowardly teamed up with the mirror to defeat Naruto once again. Growling, Naruto decided to finish this skirmish once and for all.

Regally, the great general of the ongoing battle against stars and reflective surfaces hauled his mid-thirties body from his bed. With great thumping steps, he walked over to the window. He just knew that puny little star was pleading for mercy. Well, he wouldn't get any. No matter what promise of peace was granted, Naruto had learned that the sun was a compulsive liar, and the mirror was not to be trusted. They always teamed up again next morning. Naruto was simply too stubborn to admit he had been bested, and change the setup of the room. There was a way to win, and Naruto would be damned if he gave up before finding it.

Decisively, the shaggy blonde wrenched the blinds on his window shut.

"That'll show 'im", the man muttered to himself. He padded back to his welcoming bed, content in his victory. It had been hard won, he knew. But, in the end, all that mattered was that the sun had been driven away. He'd deal with the traitorous furniture later. For now, sleep beckoned

Happily, Naruto climbed back into bed. Closed his eyes (free of light this time, ya jerk. Try again tomorrow morning, why don't you?). Waited for sleep.

And waited. And waited.

Dammit, where was sleep? He could have sworn it was calling not two minutes ago. But now? Nothing.

Naruto's eyes flew open as he comprehended the sun's true purpose. The light in the eyes had been nothing but a ruse! The mirror was nothing but a distraction. Having Naruto get up to close the blinds was the real goal, as that simple action would get enough blood flowing to keep Naruto from getting back to sleep! GAH! He had been outsmarted once again.

Just to spite it, Naruto went and threw open the blinds again. Squinting in the sudden glare, he opened his window. Stuck his head out. Shook his hand violently at the floating ball of fire.

"You may have won this round, but I'll be back. I always am. Your quest is futile, you pathetic candle. Why don't you burn yourself out and give us all some peace?"

The sun twinkled, laughing at him. Naruto scowled, and slammed the window shut.

He glared at the rebellious mirror.

"I'll deal with you later", he warned. Haphazardly, he threw on some clothes and began preparing some breakfast.


"Have you prepared the team lists, Konohamaru?"

"Yes, Hokage-Sama. I assume you'd like to look at them"

"Of course I would. Otherwise, why would I ask you about them?"

Konohamaru flushed with embarrassment, but the feeling fled at the easy laugh of the fifth Hokage, Tsunade. He handed the short list over, and she scanned it with a practiced eye.


Konohamaru tuned her mumbles out and thought about his job. He was an academy teacher now, Iruka-Sensei long since retired and living happily on the pension provided by the village. When the job was opened, around five years ago, Konohamaru had been recovering from a chuunin mission gone awry. He was getting bored and restless in the hospital, so the Hokage arranged for him to take over from Iruka as the new teacher. It hadn't been planned as a permanent thing, but Konohamaru decided he liked it, and stuck with his rank, and therefore his job. If he tried to advance, he knew that he would not only leave a void in the school which would be hard to fill, but he'd be saddled with a team of Genin. Konohamaru thought of that as a fate marginally worse than death. At least as a teacher, he could give obnoxious children detention. Or tie them to the ceiling. Whichever was more convenient. He snickered, thinking back to his own days at the academy, under the tutelage of Iruka and Ebisu. He was such a little punk back was amazing anybody put up with him the way they did.

Idly, Konohamaru noted that Tsunade was reaching for a drink. As she sipped delicately, he checked her eyes. She was about halfway down the list, right around where he-

He stepped to the side, noting the heaving of the throat, a common prelude to a spewing of drink. Plus he had just dropped a bomb on the Hokage with the team assignments, so some sort of reaction was to be expected.

"You put these three with HIM? Are you crazy?"

Tsunade vented, showing her displeasure at the assignment for Team 4. Konohamaru sighed, although he smiled internally.

"Honestly, there wasn't any place else for me to put them. None of them get along with anybody, really. Individually, any of them could ruin a different team. I can't afford to do that, so I have to dump them all together. They're not really that bad, when you get right down to it. I was more disruptive then all of them put together, in my day. They just...don't...- "

Konohamaru fumbled for a word to describe what he was thinking. Each of the three children was a passable ninja. Some were better than others, but that was to be expected. It was just...

"Well, they don't quite work out", Konohamaru finished lamely.

Tsunade rubbed her forehead, a sure sign of frustration. While she didn't look a day over thirty, Konohamaru knew that she must be peaking seventy. How much longer until she retires, he mused. Sandaime had retired when he was around fifty, regaining office about about 57 or so. He died when he was 69, perhaps a little younger than Tsunade is now. Of course, Konohamaru reasoned, his grandpa had been strong enough to retain office for another decade, or so. And Tsunade was probably stronger at this age than Gramps had been, back then.

"I understand all of that. I've been watching these kids too, you know. It's just...why with him?"

Now, Konohamaru smiled on the outside, as well as the inside.

"If anybody can get them to function as a team, it'll be him. Besides, I enjoy lording what little power I have over him. He's a Jounin, and therefore eligible for a team leader".

For the first time since Konohamaru had walked into her office, Tsunade began to smile. Then she began to laugh. Sensing success, Konohamaru decided to go while the going was good, and gathered up his list. Slipping out quietly, he left the fifth Hokage, still chuckling quietly to herself.


Naruto finished his instant ramen breakfast with a satisfied slurp, and tossed the cup into the trashcan behind him without looking. The muffled swish it made let him realize his success.

Smiling, Naruto put on his around-town clothes. He didn't have any missions today that he knew of, so he'd probably whittle away his time exploring. He'd probably do some training, as well.

He opened his door and walked out to face the world. He was, in fact, too busy facing the world to face his mail box. If he had, he would have noticed the letter of Official Summons to the academy.

But Naruto was too busy facing the world to worry about something minor like that. If he had known, he would have reasoned that he really deserved the day off, and whatever he had to do at the academy could wait until tomorrow. Or at least until after he had gotten in some relaxing cloud watching with Shikamaru.

However, he didn't know about the letter. So he didn't know that he shouldn't go to the academy, because he didn't know that he was supposed to.

So he decided to visit his friend Konohamaru. After all, weren't team assignments today? That would certainly be something worth watching. Naruto had to be on hand for it, in only so that he could make fun of the other jounins who got suckered into teaching a team. He'd never do that, no way. Too much work. Naruto was too busy training to become Hokage to even think about babysitting three snot nosed little brats for even a day.


Shikamaru Nara loved to sleep.

So did his twelve year old son, in fact.

When you got right down to it, pretty much the whole family liked to sleep.

Except the females, I guess.

No, the females liked something else entirely.

"Shikamaru Nara, if you don't get up this instant, I'm going to go next door and give your breakfast to Midomaru."

And in another room of the small house:

"Shikashi Nara, if you don't get up this instant, I'll dump your boiling hot oatmeal into your bed with you."

Yes...the females enjoyed something else entirely. Specifically, they enjoyed nagging the males.

Two sleepy eyes opened at once. Two intelligent minds contemplated the threats posed upon them by their wife or sister, whichever applied.

And two lazy people lost any chance of a well cooked breakfast that morning. One went to the dogs, another went to a location a bit closer to home.

"Gah! That's hot! How do you expect me to function as a ninja if I'm suffering from burns all over my body?", complained Shikashi.

His older-by-four-years sister laughed at his pain.

"You'll have to deal with worse once you're actually a ninja, you know. There will be days when you'll dream of having only burns from oatmeal as an impediment to your performance", replied Inoka Nara, the older sister. She was sixteen, and already a clear favorite for the Jounin exams. She had managed to inherit not only her father's intelligence, but her mother's determination. Just as Shikamaru had gone far without even trying, Inoka had tried her hardest, and it showed in her progress as a ninja. It was whispered among some, that she could even be a rival for the offspring of the famed Uchiwa prodigy.

Whispered quietly, of course. But whispered nonetheless. Inoka had heard these rumors, and basked in them.

After all...beating Hana Uchiwa would a nice feather in a rising kunoichi's cap, right?

And besides, she mused...He was kind of cute.

Shaking her head, she mentally slapped herself. Now was no time to be thinking about troublesome things like that! Right now, her self appointed class B mission was to get her lazy brother out of his bed and out of the house in time for him to make it to the team assignments.

As she performed the Kagemane no Jutsu, she noticed crashing and cursing coming from the room across the hall. That would be her mother, waking her father. Just like she did every morning. With the Shintenshin no Jutsu.

"Aw, c'mon, sis. I need to put on some clothes, can't I have a little privacy?"

Inoka chuckled at her brother's plaintive whining. With a quick gesture, she released the jutsu.

"You've got three minutes, little man. After that, I'm coming in after you".

Her brother nodded and began pulling clothes out of his dresser. Inoka gave the room a final once-over, nodded in satisfaction, and sashayed her way out, probably to go aid her mother.

As soon as the door closed, Shikashi sank to the floor. It only took him a minute to get dressed. That was two minutes he could sleep.

The sun, having already given up with the Nara clan, left him alone in his slumber.


Across town, a different scene was taking place.

"Get up, you lump! You get your team assignments today, then you get out of here for good! You Genin get pay, you can live on your own from now on!"

A loud slap echoed through the house.

Kutsu quickly rolled out of his futon, shielding his head from the floor and further blows he knew were coming. He slid his foot under the padded mattress and kicked it up into his father's arms, entangling them and preventing the drunken ex-ninja from striking further.

"You damn snake! Get back here!"

Kutsu made a mad dash for the kitchen, snatching a bagel on his way out the door. Standing in the street, he glared in defiance at the man who dared call himself his father.

"You can't touch me now, ya drunk! I'm an official ninja of Konoha, and deliberately and maliciously injuring a ninja is tantamount to treason!"

A thrown shoe struck him in the head in the middle of his tirade.

"Get out of here, you lazy leech! If you're such an important ninja, then get your own apartment and leave me to my drink. I've got enough to think about without having to worry about a snot like you."

Kutsu blinked back the single tear he knew would be coming. No matter how many times he heard those hurtful words, he never quite got used to them. Everybody else in the academy had a family who loved them, why didn't he? Why couldn't life be fair?

"I'm leaving you, and I'm never coming back! NEVER!", he shouted angrily.

"Good", came the uncaring reply. "You don't matter to me, why would it bother me that you're gone?"

Ah yes. Kutsu didn't matter to his father. That's why life wasn't fair. Because at the heart of things, Kutsu simply didn't matter to anybody. Including himself.

Holding back another tear, Kutsu rubbed his cheek and headed off for the academy. A bruise would form by the time he got there, he knew it. Oh well...there was nothing to be done.

He hadn't gone more then three paces when he realized that he had left all of his possessions inside that hellhouse, including his kunai and technique scrolls. And the one thing which mattered most to Kutsu, the picture of his mother. He hid it in his futon, to keep his father from finding it. The picture belonged to Kutsu, and nobody else was allowed to look at something so precious. How could he have been so stupid?

Slowly, Kutsu began the long walk to the academy. He'd find the picture somehow, he knew it. If he had to, he'd hire out his own team to get it back.


Her morning began, like all her mornings did, as smelly.

Having a dog as your alarm clock tended to do that, in any case.

Not that Kimiko Inuzuka didn't love her dog Midomaru to pieces. She did.

Just not in the morning. And not the breath. And not in the face.

Please, not in the face.

"Oi, Kimiko-chan! You'd better get up soon. You don't want to miss your team assignments, do you?" Her father's booming voice echoed through the house, like it always did. Kiba never tried to be loud...he just was.

"Come on, girl. You can't miss it, your team is depending on you. You'll be the strongest ninja of all of them, especially when you and Midomaru work together". Her father placed a strong hand on her shoulder, Akamaru by his side. "I know you're nervous, puppy. But don't worry. You're a good ninja, you really are. Just try to have a little more confidence, huh?"

Kimiko bowed her head in embarrassment. Confidence. Her father had sacks and sacks of confidence lying around, while his daughter had none. Kiba didn't understand it, and through that, he didn't understand his daughter. He had trained her with her dog, and they worked well together. He'd seen proof of that in the forest where they practiced.

She was skilled with weapons, too. Her mother, Tenten, had seen to that.

So where did this emptiness come from? Kiba had given up attempting to understand a long time ago. Now, he was happy if he could simply support his daughter in whatever she tried to do.

Midomaru licked Kiba's face, and he laughed. "Okay, dog-breath. I get the hint. I'll leave my daughter alone to change and get ready".

As he exited the room, he ran into his wife, not entirely on accident. She squeaked as Akamaru slunk between her legs, and Kiba used the moment of distraction to sneak a kiss in.

"She's getting ready, Ten-chan. Just a couple more minutes, and she should be out."

Ten-Ten smiled. As her husband and her exited to the kitchen, she mused on her daughter. Maybe getting some teammates to depend on and train with would help build her self confidence. Heaven knows it helped with Hinata, she thought. Of course, it hadn't given Hinata that extra little boost she needed to confess to Naruto. Personally, Ten-Ten didn't know why she was worried. A strong ninja, Naruto was. Intelligent, he was not. Kindly, he was slow on the uptake.

Unkindly, he was dumb as a brick. Ten-Ten harbored some serious doubts that Hinata's confessing her love to Naruto-kun would penetrate his thick skull. After all; if he hadn't gotten it by now, there was nothing anybody could do.


Naruto strolled down the street, whistling quietly to himself. He was slowly ambling his way down the street towards the academy. He wouldn't want to be late for the team assignments, after all.

Ah, there it was. The academy, in all it's glory. Naruto easily bypassed the fence, and made his way around the back, to the classrooms where the students would meet their jounin instructors for the first time.

***br "So...", Kimiko ventured. She examined the members of her new team. "Um...Kutzu? Kusu?"

Kutsu glared at the annoying girl who kept on trying to make conversation. Couldn't she see that he just wanted to be alone?

"Kutsu", He muttered.

"Oh...I'm sorry. Um..." Kimiko faltered, unsure of how to phrase her question.

Kutsu closes his eyes. "I walked into a door. That's how I got the bruise. That's what you're going to ask. So I walked into a door. Are you satisfied now? Can I be alone, now?"

Kimiko nodded, not knowing what to say.

Shikashi opened one eye to examine Kutsu. Walking into a door? Interesting. Shikashi thought about that while he rested. Probably somebody hit him, that's the stereotypical excuse used when somebody is beating on you. A grown man, with an open handed slap, judging by the size of that bruise. Quite possibly his father, or some other relative.

No matter. If Kutsu wanted to keep it a secret, then that was just fine with Shikashi. He didn't want to get mixed up in something so troublesome, anyway.

A hand knocked on the door to the classroom, and everybody looked up. Seeing nobody but the fifth Hokage, they returned to their positions.

Tsunade entered, and examined the new team. "Well, I'm not sure where your new sensei is, but he should be here soon", she informed the three genin. "However, since he's not here to give you this speech, I'll make it for him."

Kutsu sighed, and buried his head in his arms. Shikashi was already in a listening position, and Kimiko shifted nervously, trying to appear completely attentive. However, her worried eyes kept on drifting over to Kutsu and his bruise.

"You three are now in a team together. I need to make sure you understand what that means.

You three will be together until one or all of you are promoted to Chuunin. Even then, you'll still perform group missions together fairly often. It's not until you reach Jounin that you'll begin accepting actual solo missions. And you probably won't become a Jounin for at least two or three years, if ever.

So for the foreseeable future, you and your team will be together. That means everything.

Your team is going to be your lifeline for your missions. You will depend on them to back you up, just as they will depend on you. You three will learn to work together, or you will die.

Now, you'll probably have fights and disagreements with your teammates. That's to be expected. However, I and your sensei will expect you to work those disagreements out as soon as you can. Because the singlemost worst thing you can do as a ninja is to abandon your team.

If you remember nothing else from your days at the academy, I want you to remember that. Never turn your back on your team."

With that, Tsunade left, leaving the three adolescents to mull over her words.


Naruto examined the signs posted on the doors. He took the occasional peek through the window, to see which of the students had been promoted.

Let's see...Lee had a team. So did Shino. And Hinata, as well. He peeked through that window, if only to see the teacher. As soon as he looked in, he looked away. He didn't want anybody to think that he was in love with Hinata, certainly. Of course not.

He ignored the slight blush on his face. And he didn't see the slight blush on hers.

Moving on... He came to the last door. He examined the sign. Who was the poor sap who got saddled with this team?


Then it hit him. That was his name on the sign. And those three inside were his students.


The scream resounded through the entire village.


Coming up: "You're a ninja? You look more like a circus freak. How am I supposed to learn anything from some loser like you" "Listen, you little snot-nose. I don't want this any more than you do. So I'm thankful I get a chance to fail all of you before I actually need to do that much work. Meet me out by the bridge tomorrow at eleven, and I'll show you just how much I can do."

Author's note: Wow. This is longer than the research paper I was working on while I wrote this. That sucks.

So Naruto has a team now. How'll that work out? I don't know. But it'll be interesting.

This story idea came to me while I was looking at a background on my computer. It's got the picture of Yondaime with his team, including baby Kakashi. Then it has the picture of Kakashi with his time, Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura. And I was thinking about how the 4th Hokage was a teacher before he became Hokage. It happened to him. So why couldn't it happen to Naruto?

I don't know if there will be pairings in this. Shikamaru and Ino are married, along with Kiba and Ten-Ten (Why not?). Yes, I know that Kimiko seems more like Hinata. But I needed three people with personality traits that don't lend themselves well to working with other people, and no self confidence was one of them. But I wanted Hinata unmarried, so she could be a teacher of a team. And I figured I could do some interesting stuff with the relationship between Kiba and Kimiko, since they don't appear to understand each other very well.

Kutsu (shoe, in Japanese), is an original character. We'll go more into him in later chapters, I think. However, his father is just a nameless ninja. Not somebody we know. So don't worry; I haven't turned somebody like Neji or something into a violent drunkard.

I'll update when I can. I've got the next couple chapters planned out, and I think I know where the overall story is going. But if each chapter turns out to be as long as this one, I don't know how often I'll finish each one.

Edit: Fixed some formatting issues, and clarified the ages for people.