Idly, Kakashi wondered what his life would be like if shinobi didn't exsist.

He'd probably be a bandit, he reasoned. It seemed like the cool kind of thing he would do. Before that, he would have be a common lawman, but after a loyal comrade had sacrificed his life for Kakashi's, he'd choose to rebel against the evil overlord Orochimaru through thievery.

He'd have a couple mishaps at the start of his career, losing him his eye in the process, but after several years he'd earn a fairly disreputable name. Then, through sheer coincidence, he'd set up camp in the middle of a forest and be robbed halfway through dinner by Naruto, who'd grown up alone in the forest. The boy would be fairly successful at stealing his meal through creative use of terrain and copious use of mud balls, but eventually Kakashi would catch him, and, after a short misunderstanding involving the Great Ass Poke, the two thieves would reach an impromptu deal. Naruto would help Kakashi rob and terrorize Orochimaru's supporters, and, in return, Kakashi would give him ramen.

Shortly thereafter, Sasuke, an undefeated bounty hunter of noble stock, would chase after them for a short stint. However, after an incident that in which a girl is kidnapped by Kabuto, Orochimaru's creepily devout aide, Sasuke would ultimately realize that how corrupt Orochimaru was and join Kakashi in his endeavors. Sakura, the girl who'd been taken hostage, would fall madly in love with Sasuke (despite the fact that it was Naruto who'd really saved her). She'd stalk them back to the camp and insist on becoming the camp cook. Naruto, who'd grown up eating dirt and bugs, would be the only one to appreciate her food.

For the sake's of their stomachs, Kakashi would be forced to take matter in his own hands by hiring Chouji, a down-on-his-luck cook who couldn't pay his taxes, to replace Sakura. Sakura would feel useless for awhile, until she forces Sasuke to teach her how to fight. Meanwhile, the village layabout, Shikamaru, would go in search of his missing friend. Much to the sloth's ire, he'd be accompanied by Ino, a noble and supreme horsewoman, who was questing for her vanished fiancé.

They'd come across Kakashi's camp shortly after it had been invaded by Orochimaru's men, and a distressed Sakura would ask for their help breaking the bandits from jail. Through resourceful use of a rope, a pot, and several of Ino's hairpins, Shikamaru would successfully bust the motley crew from their imprisonment. Shikamaru would choose to stay with Chouji as the camp's tactician, and Ino would stay in order to make certain that her fiancé, Sasuke, was not glomped by "that pink-haired banshee". Sasuke would, in turn, attempt to explain to Ino that their arranged marriage was void. He would fail.

The gang would grow to include Lee, a travelling jester who wore a green body suit and a floppy orange hat with bells, a drunken, perverted old monk named Jaraiya, and Kiba, none-too-bright hunter with a hound smarter than he. They'd rescue a noblewoman, Hinata, from an arranged marriage with Kabuto, and she'd offer to become the camp's healer. She'd be followed by Neji, her bodyguard, who would stay to ascertain that Hinata's honor remained intact. Shino would be a scientist who wanted to record the "Phenomenon of Human Idiocy" and found potential in the band of thieves and set up camp to study them. Sai would be the last to join them, wandering around the forest with amnesia. They'd search in vain to discover who he was, but to no avail. Instead, Kakashi would learn from an old friend, Obito, that Naruto was really the orphaned child of the comrade that had died long, long ago and started the whole charade.

Kakashi blinked. The detailed drama had unfolded so neatly in his head. Maybe he'd been reading too much Icha Icha…

Kakashi shook his head. Nah.


A/N: Don't ask.