It was a well known fact that Kakashi was always late, and would put anything that wasn't vital to the successful completion of his mission off until the last minute, and sometimes beyond the last minute. In one timeline, the thing Kakashi put off beyond the last minute was a certain conversation with the Hokage. While Kakashi stalled, Shimura Tetsuo turned in a number of properly filled out forms that had been done in triplicate. As a result, Hatake Kakashi ended up being out one Genin team while Shimura Tetsuo happily noted that he'd gotten that year's Rookie of the Year, and Top Kunoichi, which meant that Naruto's new teammates wouldn't slow him down too much, and derail his progress, as he wouldn't be forced to focus on his new students to the detriment of Naruto.

Normally, with a pair of fresh out of the Academy students on the team, it would have been a pity about the Chunin Exams in Suna in January but, if he played his cards right, that wouldn't be too much of a problem. He was reasonably certain that with an intensive training regime, he would get the two new students up to scratch in time to at least put in a reasonably good showing that, with Naruto's help and experience, would allow them to reach the Third Phase where Naruto would get the chance he'd been robbed of over the summer. The Uchiha and the Haruno were the top two students of the year after-all, and because of that, he was reasonably certain that he might be able to secure a special dispensation from the Hokage to allow them to participate in the Exams which would be taking place in a little more than two months if he could prove that the two of them were ready in time. There was no question about Naruto's readiness, people in the village were already saying that Naruto would already be a Chunin if it weren't for the fact that the last Exam had taken place in Iwa.

With that in mind, he studied the files of his new students with the intention of custom planning a training routine for his team in order to get them into shape and fast. He would have barely two months in which to work with them in order to get them ready in time, as well as complete the eight required missions that were necessary for consideration as a candidate for the Exams. He had vowed that Naruto wouldn't miss another Chunin Exam, and had no intention of going back on that promise...

Naruto sighed as he slunk through the Hokage tower and silently made his way towards the Hokage's private office to deliver his "Thank You" note to the Hokage for giving him Uchiha Sasuke and Haruno Sakura as teammates. Of all of the students in the Academy, it just had to be those two. Honestly, the only way it could have been worse would have been if the Old Man had stuck that little backstabber Hibachi who'd nearly gotten him killed when he was eight on the team instead of Sakura. Initially, he hadn't planned on actually delivering the note which he'd written out as a form of anger management therapy that had been taught to him by Morishita-san, but he'd been wandering by the tower during his walk through the village, noticed that Konohamaru's window was open yet again, and figured that since he had the note in his pocket...

As he made his way down to the private office/study that had belonged to four Hokages (the Old Man twice), mentally grumbling and muttering uncomplimentary things about the Old Man the entire way, he heard a noise coming from the scroll storage vault and decided to investigate as he'd just heard the Hokage's private toilet flush, which meant that it wasn't the Old Man visiting the vault because he couldn't sleep.

As it turned out, the intruder in the scroll vault was a Chunin who worked at the Academy who had decided to turn Missing-nin that evening, and had been hoping to steal a very important Jutsu scroll to give to the leader of the village he'd decided to join in hopes of earning a higher rank than the one he held in Konoha. The moron obviously had no business teaching if this was any example of his critical thinking skills, and he'd hate to meet any students he turned out. Unfortunately, two of them, two who happened to be near the top of his list of least favorite people in Konoha in fact, were going to be on his team.

All he could think after he'd incapacitated and captured Mizuki was Seriously?

When he'd caught the man in the vault, the bastard had tried to bribe him with and empty promise of power and vengeance. Whats worse, the man had honestly expected him to betray Konoha because he'd had a demon sealed in his gut rather than something useful like a super cool sword, a demon which the Old Man had subsequently informed him had been sealed into his mother, and the Shodai Hokage's wife before her in order to keep Konoha safe, and to keep the Kyuubi out of enemy hands. It was a pity that there were a large number of people out there that were too stupid to separate the jailor from that which he imprisoned, but he could understand some of the wariness people had of him, considering what happened when he'd lost it, and what could happen if he lost it in Konoha for instance. Just because there were scads of blind idiots surrounding him was no reason to betray the village that his mother had trusted him to protect, the village his mother had died protecting. Besides, almost all of his precious people were here, and he couldn't protect them if he betrayed Konoha.

As it was, he may have been a bit harsher than usual as he restrained Mizuki and held him until the Hokage's guard arrived. The second and third kick to the man's balls probably hadn't been entirely necessary in order to subdue him, considering the fact that he'd already been wrapped in nearly a mile of ninja wire, but considering the fact that Shiranui Genma had given him a fourth when he'd picked him up to carry him off to the T&I department, it was entirely possible that they had been.

Finding out that he'd had the Kyuubi sealed inside him had been quite the shock, but in hindsight, he should have been able to piece together all of the effing obvious clues and figured that out himself. While he was upset over the fact that his mother had helped seal the Kyuubi within him, he understood why she had done it, and was determined to carry his burden just as well as, no, better than she had. He was still upset to learn that everyone including most of his precious people had been hiding the reason that most of the villagers had hated him from him though.

With the way this night had gone, he would be spending the rest of the week blowing off steam in just about any and every way he could think of. He'd need it, especially considering why he'd come to the tower in the first place.

In a few short days, Uchiha Sasuke and Rabid Sasuke Fangirl #1 would be his teammates.

Umino Iruka smirked as he looked at the team assignment roster he'd just been handed. It was poetic justice in a sense. There had been an odd number of students that year, enough for nine full teams and a couple of spares. Since there wasn't room for them amongst this year's graduating teams, and there wasn't enough of them to form a tenth team, the two extras would have to either be apprenticed to one of the more experienced Jounin or be handed off to whoever had room on their teams for them. The "Whoever had room for them" in this case happened to be the sensei of the boy the two spares had been slandering for the last two years, a boy who had been a classmate of theirs before he had graduated two years early.

He felt a somewhat sadistic glee as he imagined those two's reactions to being placed on Naruto's team. He had gotten to know Naruto quite well over the year and a half that he'd had him as a student, and in the two years since he'd graduated. As a number of other shinobi had discovered over the years, he too had learned that it was hard not to like the boy once you got to know him, and he considered Naruto to be something like a little brother to him these days.

In the two years since the boy had graduated from the Academy, Naruto had gone on to make him proud to have been his sensei, and others envious of the fact that Naruto had been one of his students. Just a year before, having Naruto in his class wouldn't have been considered a high point in his career by his colleagues. Now however, when some shinobi listed his accomplishments, one of the items on the list that had garnered him a number of appreciative glances from his fellow Ninja was the fact that he had been one of Naruto's Academy Instructors.

One thing he wasn't so proud of however, despite the prestige of the position and the fact that it was yet another feather in his cap, was the fact that he was Uchiha Sasuke's Instructor as well. That boy just didn't know when to quit, and if he dug himself much deeper, he was going to pop out of his little hole on the other side of the world.

After giving a slightly evil chuckle that would have had those who remembered his prank pulling days diving for cover, he started reading off the list of new teams. As he read off the team roster to the potential Genin before him, the tension in the room became increasingly intense. Teams one through six seemed to be throwaways, but it was possible that one of them would surprise everyone and pass despite the fact that the dynamics between the students selected weren't the best, and the fact that the children on said teams were distressingly average, or worse, below average. Team Seven looked like a rather stable tracking team, and Yuuhi Kurenai would be a good teacher. Team Nine was the new Ino-Shika-Cho trio, and as the three had known each-other since birth, there was little doubt that they would pass.

Nobody failed to notice that a certain two names hadn't been listed when he'd read out the teams, and the tension in the room was palpable, as the students waited with bated breath to hear what the fate of that year's Top Rookie and Top Kunoichi would be.

"Uchiha Sasuke, Haruno Sakura," he said, after allowing the tension build a little more until it reached the point where it could practically be cut with a kunai. "As there weren't enough graduating students this year to form ten full teams, it has been decided that you will be placed on an already established team. From here on out, you will be assigned to Team Tetsuo. Your new sensei Shimura Tetsuo, and your new teammate Uzumaki Naruto will be by during lunch to pick you up, so please don't leave the room. The rest of you are dismissed for an hour."

Rather than there being an immediate scramble for the door like there usually was the instant after the students were dismissed, everyone in the class was still planted in their seats giving Sasuke and Sakura shocked and incredulous stares. Eventually, in ones and twos, the students started moving towards the door. As they departed, there were a number of mutters that were variants of "I'd hate to be in their position". He would empathize, but the two of them had brought whatever was coming to them on themselves.

Edited 10-4-12