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The Golden Trio

Kakashi shook his head in disgust. Judging by what he'd seen, the three brats he'd gotten that year had no chance of passing the normal genin test, let alone his. Forget teamwork, none of them seemed to be willing to tolerate being near the others.

"Show up tomorrow if you want to waste your time and go through a bit of unnecessary pain," the jonin said, sounding as bored as he felt disappointed. "I don't care either way." His message delivered, the man disappeared in a swirl of leaves.

The three newly minted genin sat on the roof glaring at each other till they were sure their possible instructor was gone.

"Hn?" Sasuke glanced at Sakura.

"Sharingan Kakashi, the Copy Cat of Konoha. Renown for copying over a thousand techniques, laziness, tardiness, and failing genin teams assigned to him," the girl recited.

"Hn," Sasuke sighed.

"Yeah," Naruto agreed. "Much easier to skip his stupid test and deal with things ourselves." The boy gave his teammates a foxy grin. "Which is why I took the opportunity to take this out of his pocket." He held up the man's seal. "Also his wallet if you guys want to get something to eat later."

"Hn." Sasuke nodded.

"Yeah, good work, Naruto," Sakura complimented the boy. "Give me a minute, Sasuke, I should have a handwriting sample for him you can work off of." She pulled out a scroll and unsealed a large file.

"Hn." Sasuke shrugged.

"That presumes we can find a sample in a low security area soon enough," Sakura said absently. "Here we are. Only six months old too."

"Hn," Sasuke said triumphantly as he took the document.

"Whadda ya say we also assign him a long term mission?" Naruto suggested. "The whole thousand techniques sounds pretty cool, the rest of it doesn't."

"Hn?" Sasuke added.

"Depends on how much he has in his account," Sakura replied. "Though if we get him assigned to a high enough level mission, I suppose it doesn't matter. We get him an A-rank and we can hire any number of nin to teach us at B-rank pay."

"Hn," the boy said in a tone of deep satisfaction.

"Already?" Sakura exclaimed. She looked over the boy's shoulder. "As always, Sasuke, you do nice work."

"Hn." The boy blushed faintly, quite proud of his ability at forgery. "Hn?"

"Sure, give it here," Naruto asked, creating a clone. "I'll be sure it goes where it has to."

"Hn."

"We're a team," Naruto shrugged. The boy created another clone.

Sasuke turned to Sakura. "Hn?"

"Several," Sakura admitted. "Never hurts to plan ahead."

"Who?" Naruto prompted.

"Possibility one, Anko Mitarashi; special jonin, apprentice to the traitor Orochimaru, Anbu specializing in assassinations and torture." She handed a copy of the woman's file to each of the boys. "Possibility two, Ebisu; kind of a dick, expert in the basic three jutsu, master of basic skills, private tutor to the Hokage's grandson." She reached for the file and froze when she saw Naruto shaking his head. "Yes?"

"Not kind of a dick, a giant dick. Perverted and pathetic too," Naruto stated.

"Hn," Sasuke said thoughtfully.

"Yeah, would be useful to have him around to help us refine the basics, but it's not worth having to deal with the bastard," Naruto stated. "Calling him a giant perverted pathetic dick was a giant understatement."

"Alright," Sakura accepted, resealing the man's file. "Tsunade the Sage is number three, would be number one if she were still in the village. Her teammate Jiraiya is number four, would also have been tied for number one if he were still in the village or easier to find. Runs Konoha's intelligence network." Which was why she dearly wished to study his methods. "Also supposed to be a pretty good pickpocket, author, sealing master, and artist."

"Hn," Sasuke said thoughtfully, looking intrigued.

"Yeah, he would be," Sakura agreed. "That's why I really wish we could find him."

"Why don't we just skip going through them all and hear your recommendation?" Naruto asked. "We'll try to think of ways to get him after we get some of the basics down with someone else."

"Hn," Sasuke gave his opinion on the matter.

"Thanks to that long term mission our beloved instructor was kind enough to take and the fact that I assume he was thoughtful enough to leave his bank book behind a lock you could pick, we're flush for cash. I recommend we don't focus on any one teacher."

"Hn."

"Yeah," Naruto agreed. "Better not spread ourselves too thin."

"One at a time then," Sakura amended. "I'd say Anko first if she didn't have a reputation for being a sadistic snake bitch and we didn't need more work on the basics."

"Hn," Sasuke said in disgust.

"There's always revenge," Naruto suggested. "Or, better yet, we don't take revenge."

"Hn?" Sasuke gave Naruto an odd look.

"They were paid to teach us, they didn't, so it's only right they forfeit their pay to let us hire competent instructors," Naruto replied. "When you look at it that way, it's not revenge, it's justice."

"Hn," Sasuke said thoughtfully.

"I always wanted to be an ally of justice when I was a kid too," Sakura agreed with a wide grin. "Then we get revenge."

"Not revenge, justice," Naruto corrected. "We bring them to justice."

"Hn?" Sasuke asked.

"Pretty sure fire is a tool of justice," Sakura replied. "What do you think, Naruto?"

"The world isn't just if it isn't," the boy said carelessly. "We drain their bank accounts, go to their houses, steal everything that isn't nailed down, and burn everything we don't steal. Justice demands it."

"HN!" Sasuke shouted, raising a fist in the air.

"FOR JUSTICE!" Sakura agreed, copying her teammate's gesture.

"FOR JUSTICE!" Naruto screamed. "AND RAMEN! . . . you guys suck."

"Hn," Sasuke sighed.

"For ramen," Sakura mumbled. "Let's go. Sooner we get our food, the sooner I can find a teacher to help us with the basics that isn't a giant perverted pathetic dick."

"Hn."

"I found this place I think you'll both like," Naruto said as they walked down the stairs. "The owner pays a higher percentage of the value than any of the other fences in Konoha."

"Hn?"

"Of course we go in disguise," Naruto replied. "He's a criminal, never a good idea to trust them."

"Uh . . . you know that most of the things we do could be considered criminal acts don't you, Naruto?" Sakura asked.

"Just cause we commit crimes doesn't make us criminals," Naruto snorted. "Everyone knows that."

"Hn."

"Course you did, you just didn't know you did," Naruto said firmly.

IIIIIIIIII

Kakashi was rudely awaken just after five the next morning by a loud pounding on his front door. In annoyance, he stumbled to the door and threw it open. "What?!"

"Mission, A-rank, long term," the Anbu at the door replied. "Classified and off the books. Only copy of the mission scroll is the one in my hands. Burn it after you read it and forget it when the mission is complete."

"Roger," Kakashi said, turning professional in an instant. "Am I wearing a mask on this one?"

"I don't know. Everything you need to know is supposed to be in the scroll, good luck."

Kakashi read the scroll, burned it, gathered his equipment and was exiting the village around the same time the sun came up. The team of genin he was supposed to fail hadn't even entered his mind, he had more important things to do than crush a trio of worthless brats.

IIIIIIIIII

Naruto collected three wallets and a couple other odd bits of interest on his way to meet with his two teammates the next morning. One of his clones had confirmed their official instructor's departure earlier that morning. Another had confirmed that the three of them were officially listed as passing their test and being assigned to the man. Sometimes, things just went the way they should and there was nothing to do but sit back and enjoy the ride knowing that Murphy would be back at some future date.

"Hn!" Sasuke yelled, getting the other boy's attention.

"Hey, Sasuke, where's Sakura?"

"Hn," Sasuke replied.

"That's good. Never would have thought about hiring a Chunin."

"Hn." Sasuke shrugged. "Hn."

"True," Naruto agreed. "She say when she'd be back?"

"Hn." Sasuke gave a condescending smirk.

"You're right," Naruto chuckled. "What's say we find a place to get breakfast while I send out a couple clones to track her down?"

"Hn."

"Only in an ideal world," Naruto retorted.

"Hn," the other boy suggested.

"Seems a bit heavy for breakfast, but you're right, we are celebrating our first day as an official team. ShabuShabu it is."

"Hn!" Sasuke posed with his thumb up in a disturbing mimicry of Gai.

"You're a sick man, Sasuke," Naruto laughed. "Just be glad we're out of the academy or you'd be doing lines for a week."

"Hn." He shrugged.

"Yeah, humorless bastards, all of them," Naruto agreed. "Found Sakura, she's on her way."

"Hn."

"Really? I was thinking the place by the river."

"Hn."

"Ah, okay, let's go."

Sakura was waiting with a table when they arrived, just as the burner was being lit for their meal. "The owner was kind enough to give us free meals once a week for life as thanks for the brave jobs ninja do to protect the village," she announced.

"Hn," Sasuke snorted.

"Well, there may have also been something in there about thanks for me not telling his wife about the fact that he's sleeping with one of the waitresses," Sakura admitted.

"You're the best, Sakura-chan!" Naruto said with a wide grin as he flopped into his seat. "You say you've got us a chunin?"

"Cheaper than a jonin and sufficient for our immediate needs," the girl agreed. "Number one choice is a branch house Hyuuga to help us work on chakra control."

"Hn?"

"Number two is Kiba's sister to help with hand to hand and because we can make snide comments to him about how hot she is," Sakura replied, giving a nod of thanks when the waitress delivered their tea.

The three genin went silent until the woman was gone. "Number three is someone to help us with our jutsu, right?"

"Bingo." The girl took a sip of her tea. "If you two are up to it, we can hire the first two now and number three when we've improved our chakra control to the point it's worth focusing on jutsu again."

"Hn?"

"Seals will have to wait till we get a jonin, none of the chunin I could find do more than storage and explosive."

"Still useful," Naruto pointed out.

"Also in wide enough use that we don't need to find a specialist. All three of my top choices know how to do them," Sakura stated.

"Hn."

"Right," Naruto agreed. "Can't get a step ahead of you even with both of us working together."

"When do you two want to start?" Sakura asked, checking the ShabuShabu to see if it was ready to start adding meat.

"Hn?"

"Nah, we're gonna be busy with that thing," Naruto stated.

"Hn," Sasuke agreed. "Hn?"

"Works for me," Sakura said.

"Me too," Naruto said.

"Hn."

"Yep, two days from now."

IIIIIIIIII

Lot behind the academy, two years earlier:

Sakura did her best to keep calm. Her heart was racing, her palms were sweating, her mouth was dry, but she'd done it. She'd gotten the two most difficult boys in class to meet with her in private and it had only taken a little bit of blackmail to arrange it.

"Hn." Sasuke gave the girl a look of deep suspicion.

"Why does this file have so much stuff about me?!" Naruto demanded. "How did you even figure out this stuff?"

"I'm very good at gathering information and figuring out what it means," Sakura replied. "I'm also very, very smart."

"What do you want?" Naruto growled.

"We can all be useful to each other. That's what I want," the girl stated.

"What happens if we say no?" Naruto asked hotly.

"I deal with the disappointment and look for other useful people to join up with," Sakura replied. Assuming she could find any. If they did exist they were better at hiding than she was at finding.

AN: Planning to write this with present day stuff at the beginning and flashbacks at the end. Also not sure it'll get more than one more chapter any time soon. Well just isn't flowing for this one at the moment.

Beta by dogbertcarroll