Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.

A/N: This diverges from canon just before Itachi's graduation.

Getting To Know You

It went almost without saying that any genin team that had him as its Jounin-sensei would not be normal. However the genin who made up his first team weren't average to start with. Itachi was the Uchiha prodigy and had skipped several years of the Academy. Hana was the first Inuzuka to bond with three dogs at once and one of the few who might consider pausing before rushing into battle. Kabuto had better chakra control than many Chunin despite his low reserves and had mastered basic medical jutsu while still in the Academy. The way the team had been put together was also unusual. Itachi needed teammates who would not be intimidated by his intelligence. Kabuto fit that requirement. Hana was added because the team needed someone to balance the others out. She would both provide a loud voice and be able to keep up with them. He was chosen as their sensei because he was the most intellectual option, something which it was felt that all three would benefit from.

All this and more passed through Ibiki's head as he regarded his prospective team with well-concealed dismay. Why was Kabuto two years older than the others? Was the situation really desperate enough that they were graduating, he squinted, seven-year-olds? They hadn't been at war for several years. Could the Kyuubi's attack have devastated their ranks that much? He would have to ask the Hokage later.

But now, he had to test them. This would be interesting.

"You may have passed the graduation exam but you are required to take a further test set by your prospective sensei. If you fail this, you will be sent back to the Academy. My test is as follows: choose another team who graduated this year. Observe them during their test. If they fail, I want to know how they could have passed. If they don't, find ways that they might have improved their performance. Report to me by the green bridge in two days' time at nine o'clock. Dismissed."

Throughout his speech, they had remained attentive although the Inuzuka's dogs were shifting restlessly. When he had finished, they waited for him to leave first. He blinked, was the girl really an Inuzuka? She was certainly quieter than Tsume. The loud voice coming from the classroom he had just left quickly disabused him of that notion.

Back in the classroom, Hana decided that she would choose.

"We should spy on Inaho's team."

The boys looked at each other and nodded.

The next day, they found Inaho, Gennai and Komugi in Training Ground 20. Fortunately, the dogs had been left behind and they could hide themselves in the trees to watch the test.

The sensei, Inoue Takeru, arrived and told Inaho, Gennai and Komugi about the test. He had chosen to see how they would do in a fight against him. What followed nearly made Hana fall out of the tree with laughter. Naturally, they failed.

The following day, Ibiki arrived at the bridge to find Itachi and Kabuto waiting.

"Where's Hana?" he asked.

"She got held up by her dogs, sensei," Kabuto stated.

"Shut up! Just because they can't roof-hop yet…" Hana retorted, arriving breathless. Her dogs flopped by her side, tongues lolling.


They glanced at each other before Hana stepped forward. He wondered if speaking for her teammates would become a habit. Her report was brief and to the point.

"We watched Team Five made up of Inaho, Gennai, Komugi with jounin Inoue Takeru. Inoue-san tested them by having them fight him. Their teamwork was good but they thought they might hurt him so they held back. No way would they have been able to hurt a jounin but they didn't show him all their abilities which is what he really wanted so they failed."

"Do you have anything to add, Itachi, Kabuto?"

More glances. Kabuto had spoken earlier but he was beginning to think that Itachi was mute. They shook their heads.

"Very well. You pass. Go to Training Ground 5 at the same time tomorrow, and try not to be late, Hana."

She muttered at being singled out but nodded.

Well, that had gone as well as he expected. Maybe he should talk to Mizuki, perhaps he would be able to give him some insight into Itachi and Kabuto's personalities. He had a rough idea already, but he didn't deal much with children although he had a suspicion that Hana was the only one close to qualifying as a child. The Hokage had worried him by explaining that the team was the result of heavy pressure by the Uchiha clan and that further interference would be expected. He hoped that they would be able to cope.

OK, this will take a bit of explaining.

Why those four? Well, I've seen fics that mention the idea of Itachi and Hana being on the same team and she is one of the few characters who belong to his age group that we know of. Kabuto was added for a similiar reason. There are two other teams close to their age but they only appear in the Chunin Exams and almost nothing is known about them. Inaho's is one. Hizashi was my original choice for sensei but looking at the timeline, I realised that he would die shortly afterwards. Ibiki was chosen because Kakashi doesn't pass anyone before Team Seven, Kurenai is still a chunin, Asuma's off with the Fire Daimyo, Gai isn't suitable, the Rookie Nine's parents are busy with their kids, and no one else was old enough. Also I didn't want to make up an OC.

Does my attempt to explain why the team exists in a vaguely canonical way work?

This is based on Itachi's canon timeline. Thus certain key events will still happen for him, e.g. graduation at seven, Sharingan at eight, and chunin at ten. Beyond those, everything is fluid.

Will Kabuto be a traitor? I have plans for him so I won't answer one way or the other. The same might apply to the massacre.

Mizuki is the Academy teacher because Iruka isn't old enough yet.

Is Ibiki OOC? I've never written him before so tell me what you think. Also, is Hana's way of speaking too formal?

Inaho, Gennai and Komugi are canon. I had them fail the test because canonically, they're still genin at 22 which implies their skills are probably lacking. Takeru is an OC but he's only here because I needed another Jounin and probably won't appear again.