Disclaimer: Naruto is the property of Masashi Kishimoto. Written for fun, not profit.
ten facts about Team Yamato
Yamato has never been offered a genin team. Aside from the interrogation squads and the obligatory basket cases, he is the only jounin in the Leaf who can say anything of the kind.
No one actually tells him it's because of who he is - or, more accurately, what he is. They don't have to.
Yamato is many things, but he's not stupid.
Sakura is the only one of them who could ever have passed as normal - an average kunoichi with pretty genjutsu and a few B-rank missions under her belt, and then a husband and children and retiring before she's twenty, wrapped up in a neat little package like a glass statue.
When she is fourteen, she crushes a man's ribcage with one balled-up fist.
"So what do you think your name really is?" Naruto asks.
Sai doesn't know and can't be bothered to care. "I think I like this one best," he says instead.
On paper, their team doesn't exist. Yamato is still attached to ANBU and Sakura is still part of the medical division, and no one quite knows what to do with Sai anyway.
Naruto is what holds them together. He usually is.
After their second, utterly unremarkable mission, Naruto demands ramen - and then more ramen when he learns that Sai has never so much as tasted the stuff, and of course Yamato-taichou is going to pay, right?
Yamato picks his ANBU mask because of what it isn't.
The Shodai Hokage has never been associated with cats.
Neither has Orochimaru.
Sai doesn't quite look like an Uchiha - not exactly, but close enough that it's unsettling, like a picture made out of edges and corners and things that don't fit right.
Sakura has her theories about that.
She has her theories about Naruto, too - about the Kyuubi and about the Hokage monument and the certain resemblances she would have to be blind to miss.
Sometimes she wants to ask them about the similarities, but she is the one who could have been normal, and she is passingly familiar with tact.
It's very hard for Sai to draw Sakura - not when she's there to look over his shoulder and crack her knuckles and mutter about stop making her look fat - and it is even harder to sketch out Yamato, who changes faces and names like turning pages in a book. Naruto is almost impossible, because there are some things inks and pencils can't catch.
Mostly Sai draws them all together, in twos and threes, which is somehow easier. Sometimes he even includes himself.
Naruto and Sakura have a habit of dumping their stray scrolls and gear all together, as if they're claiming a seat for someone. After the first few missions, Sai starts adding his pack to the pile.
Yamato never bothers. But then again, he's not as optimistic as they are.
To Naruto, his second team doesn't exist.
His first team is just a little larger than it used to be.