Fan Fic: Dreaming Of Sunshine

There was only darkness. I was small and helpless, lost and confused and alone and trapped in a body that would not, could not respond to my helpless panicked thoughts. I could hear a child, a baby, screaming but it wasn't me because I couldn't move, couldn't breathe couldn't do anything but lie still and hope we were hidden and please, please don't notice me…

Life as a ninja. It starts with confusion and terror and doesn't get any better from there.

Shikako Nara is an average girl from the Village Hidden in the Leaves. She has friends, a loving family, but there is something different about her, a secret. And she's been keeping it from birth.

A Naruto Fan Fic with a unique approach to the Self Insert genre of fan-fiction, Dreaming of Sunshine avoids many of the more common pitfalls associated with the poorer examples - via snappy dialogue and a plot that remains focused on the inner struggles of the protagonist as an observer.

Dreaming of Sunshine itself has attained near-legendary status among the Self Insert community, and among the Naruto fandom it is often compared favorably to Team8. The author has also started a supplementary fic, titled Sunshine Sidestories - the purpose being a World Building one, as the Short Stories contained in there expand upon relevant material not seen through Shikako's eyes.

Another author has been approved to write a series of one-shots of different POVs and snapshots of Shikako's life. It's called Sunshine and Stormclouds, and currently has only three chapters each with a different POV. Another series of similar Drabbles The Corona is also in the works.

Also see: Dreaming of Sunshine Chapter Guide. A fansite started in July 2012, it serves as a carefully constructed encyclopedia about D.O.S. whilst being highly accessible even to outsiders. Might be considered a tribute to the growing legendary status of the fic amongst internet-goers.

There's also now a forum created on ff.net for the story called We're all Dreaming of Sunshine where you can discuss the story/plot points/other things with people.

A community on ff.net, Heliocentrism, contains basically every story in the Dreaming of Sunshine Universe, and was founded by the author themselves. This includes sidestories, translations, and spinoffs.

Overall, a massive Door Stopper guaranteed to keep you reading for hours.


This fanfiction series contains examples of:

  • Awesome but Impractical/Mighty Glacier/Difficult but Awesome: Shikako notes in the Second Chunnin Exam arc, during her fight with Gaara that fuinjutsu is slow to prepare and very specialized to the situation, but that it is almost effortless in execution and the effects are often spectacular.
    This was something I could never have done with ninjutsu. I didn't have the chakra, I didn't have the control, and I didn't have the concentration. The cost was too high. But fuinjutsu was different – you paid in time and knowledge instead. That made it less useful in battle where you so rarely had time, but sometimes. Sometimes it was perfect.note 
  • Almighty Janitor: To an certain extent - Shikako is fairly well-regarded by the upper echelons of Konoha's ranks for her intelligence and deductive ability, such that she almost received a promotion to chuunin after Tsunade's instatement, thanks to her war efforts in the Sand-Sound Invasion and also her observations during the Finals. Justified because she has a previous lifetime of knowledge about the world in which she now lives coupled with the naturally-gifted mind of a Nara, which makes her more mature, grounded and experienced.
    • Later lampshaded by Tsunade and the Raikage during the Kusa Chuunin exams with regards to Shikako. "S-RANK?"
  • Angsty Surviving Twin: Brought up by Tsunade after the Retrieval Arc - Ukon dies after trying to possess Naruto, leaving his twin brother Sakon to be brought back to the village for interrogation.
    • Also, Toki in the Land of Birds Arc.
  • Author Avatar: Shikako, as per the premise of the fic.
  • Badass Bookworm: Shikako.
  • The Beastmaster: Besides the canon summoners, Ino becomes the new Chameleon Summoner.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Shikamaru displays this thrice, first when Sasuke hurt Shikako while under the influence of the curse seal, again when she gets mind raped by Itachi, and finally when she gets possessed by Gelel.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Repeatedly in Chapter 61.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Ino, Shikako and Sakura.
  • Boom, Headshot: the death of Kin Tsuchi and a literal example in the Kusa shinobi that tries to kidnap Shikako after her fight in the second Chunin Exams with Gaara
  • Braids of Action: Shikako wears her hair in a single long braid. She wins her second match of her second Chuunin Exams by using her hair to strangle her opponent until he passes out.
  • Brandishment Bluff: Shikako will occasionally call an attack that does not exist, or use an extremely misleading name. For example, “Nara Art: The Shadow Devours” isn’t a shadow jutsu at all, but merely a genjutsu. And “Lightning Style: Super Beam Cannon” doesn’t exist at all; Shikako just used the Sword of the Thunder God and her chakra measurement seal to suggest that something big was about to go down. Since Gaara had just seen her use that sword to pull off some fairly large-scale lightning jutsu, he immediately summons his most powerful shield… allowing Shikako to seal most of his sand into her storage scroll.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Muku does this to Shikako during their match with his chakra-sealing technique.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Lampshaded and justified by Shikako - it helps with one's focus.
  • Child Soldiers: Played straighter than usual, Shikako is enough of a modern person to find the concept offputting. Luckily, Konoha has a careful desensitisation program as part of the education system.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Sword of the Thunder God comes in mighty handy during Shikako and Ino's fight against Kidomaru.
    • Waaaay back in Chapter 6 Shikato muses that "You needed light to have shadows but there was a legend that the founder of the clan, many hundreds of years ago, could control the very night itself". Foreshadowing anyone? (pardon the pun).
    • Shikako's ability to sense natural chakra got a mention very early on, but nothing came of it for almost sixty chapters.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Shikako's the moral compass on her Team - despite what she can't fix in the timeline, she's the reason Naruto has more friends from a younger age, and she's helped Sasuke open up to others as well. It frequently gets her in trouble, since she occasionally acts without thinking.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Shikako. She prefers to ambush her opponents or take them out with traps whenever possible. Also see the entry for Murder Is the Best Solution.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Noted by Shikako - see In Spite of a Nail below.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Naruto's fight with Neji in the Chunin exams. Neji never even touches the real Naruto.
    • And then by the Sound Four against Ibiki.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Type I: Karin, although the characters don't know her name. She gets mauled to death by a bear offscreen and they find her body. Though unstated, the reason for this is because unlike canon, Sasuke didn't go scouting ahead and thus wasn't there to save her.
    • Type II: The Sound Genin trio die during the Forest of Death.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Shikako, occasionally.
  • Demonisation: Strongly averted - Shikako's narrative treats most people sympathetically, averting either Draco in Leather Pants or Ron the Death Eater. The only people depicted badly are the truly repulsive villains, with Kabuto so far getting the worse of it.
  • Demolitions Expert: Shikako learned how to seal by starting with explosive tags. By the finals of her first Chuunin Exams, she's got the explosive seals down to a touch. She's of the opinion that if explosives can't solve your problems, you're not using enough of them.
  • Demoted to Extra: Sakura due to Shikako taking her place on Team Seven (which she feels guilty about). After her team fails to pass their test, she eventually decides to turn towards the Medic Corps, with a little prompting from Shikako and Ino.
  • Dumbass No More: Naruto. He's only a little more powerful than in canon, but his tactics improve considerably, mostly due to Shikako teaching him how to strategize effectively. This earns him a promotion to chuunin.
  • Emotionless Girl: Shikako has an accident while practicing the Nara clan techniques that leaves her completely detached from everything, to the point where she can't even bring herself to care that it isn't her normal state of mind. She recovers after a few days, though.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Land of Grass.
    Land of Grass was pretty much as advertised. Land. And grass.
  • Faux Action Girl: Justified - Ino's been hit by this during the Retrieval Arc, but mostly because she's facing an opponent miles out of her league, whom her Signature Move is useless against because of Orochimaru's seal having affected his psyche and chakra.
  • Fish out of Water: As noted in Chapter 63, Shikako still feels like an outsider due to having previously grown up in a society indoctrinated by different values, particularly regarding the value of life.
  • Five-Man Band/Freudian Trio/Four-Temperament Ensemble
  • Follow the Leader / From Clones to Genre: Started several innovations that persist in the Naruto fandom, particularly in the self-insert genre. The Self Insert being "chakra sensitive", since having memories of their past life means chakra is an unfamiliar feeling, like an extra limb; trying to not change things too much because they're aware of how the ripple affect could render their knowledge useless; feelings of alienation from their friends (despite befriending even Naruto); not remembering all significant details due to fading memories over time; and most of all managing to focus on the protagonist without making it feel like the world (or story) revolves around them. The nice thing is that many of these authors try hard to not copy the same formula, even with this sort of inspiration. For example:
    • Little Acorn a blind girl with fuzzy memories of a past life. Noteworthy in that she is not related to a major character - her older brother is Yoroi Akado (in canon, a Mauve Shirt at best and a villain at worst).
    • Distorted Reality, the main character is a branch Hyuuga, and remembers her past life, but knows nothing of the Narutoverse.
    • Hacia el sol ("Towards the sun") is similar, with the varient that the SI is Neji's younger sister.
    • The Cassandra Effect Hiruzen introduces his four-year-old daughter, Nanako, to Danzo, the allegedly-former head of ROOT. At her own insistence.
    • Runner "Mint is extremely invasive. Mint grows and survives, even when starved and poisoned. Better not to plant it at all."
    • Catch Your Breath: Keisuke Gekko and Team Minato grow up as chidren set to a background of war.
  • Freakiness Shame: When Team 7 are in Taki, some differing circumstances result in them meeting Fu. Seeing how the villagers are twitchy in her presence leads to this exchange:
    Fu: "It's not you. They're afraid of me."
    Naruto: "That's silly, nee-chan. Why would they be scared of you?"
    Fu: "Because I'm a demon."
    Naruto: "No you aren't."
    Fu: "Yes, I am?"
    Naruto: "No, you aren't. Demons have, like, teeth and claws and they growl a lot and are really mean. You're people-shaped and really nice, so you're not a demon."
    Fu: "People shaped, huh?"
    <There was a surge of chakra - strange chakra, inhuman but nothing like Kyuubi or Shukaku - and wispy tendrils of chakra burst from her sides, beating up and down with enough force to lift her off the branch.>
    Fu: "There. I took this burden on when I became a Genin. And now, because of it, people from my own village - people I grew up with - treat me like a stranger. No, like a mad dog about to bite!"
    Naruto: "You have wings! That is so cool!"
    Fu: O_O
  • Heel-Face Turn: Zabuza and Haku.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Shikako has a mild case of this. For example, when Jiraiya asks her if she had compiled her notes on fuinjutsu in the few months since becoming a genin, she assumed he was criticizing her, when it's fairly clear he was impressed.
  • Hero Killer: The Sound Four - they defeat Ibiki Morino and subsequently prove themselves dangerous enough to threaten Shikako's efforts in preventing Sasuke's canonical Face-Heel Turn. Kimimaro as well, since he nearly kills Naruto!
  • Highly Visible Ninja: Played with. Shikako notes that wearing clothes that are good for stealth is less important than blending in with a civilian population. This makes for a refreshing change from the standard fanfiction rant about how Naruto's orange outfit will get him killed.
  • Improvised Weapon: Sakura knocks out an escaped prisoner with a vase, and Shikako wins a fight by strangling her opponent with her braid until he passes out.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Several things that one might expect to play out differently don't. For example, most of the match ups in the chuunin exams are the same as in the original story despite the fact that Shikako killed the Sound team. Shikako theorizes that this is because the selection of the participants was rigged, and that the finals probably were too, given that the Neji/Naruto and Sasuke/Gaara fights still happen, and it wouldn't be difficult for a high-level ninja to control which numbers the contestants drew.
    • Also notable in some other instances because for the most part Shikako has been attempting to avoid changing anything major - after all, the best parts of her inside knowledge depend on some things remaining consistent. At first. Unfortunately she's forgotten some of it.
    • Tsunade still decides to teach Sakura because Sakura, with Shikako's help, had actually begun to reverse-engineer Tsunade's signature taijutsu.
    • Despite this, a number of things do change - the above Death by Adaptation is an alteration which cannot be substituted easily, regardless of the petty whims of fate. Shikako being more proactive than Part 1 Sakura means that whatever her limitations, she can still make... ripples, shall we say, that affect the plot (like Team 7 being more True Companions than even canon portrayed).
      • And then there's the big one: Sasuke does not defect to Orochimaru.
      • Sai's inclusion into Team 7 pre-Time Skip and revealing to Naruto that there is a conspiracy inside Konoha can't be overlooked either.
  • Ironic Nickname: Team 7 as Team Lucky Sevens, as coined by Tsunade.
    Tsunade: *groan* You three are like Lucky Sevens. When you turn up, I just know things are about to go to hell.
  • The Jinx: In Chapter 12 of Sunshine Sidestories, it's shown that the special jounin Sasuke patrols with all see him as one of these. Each of the jounin have some kind of horror/traumatizing story from working with him, from impostors and contraband to Aburame giggling about flesh-eating beetles.
  • The Juggernaut: Kimimaro. It takes the combined efforts of all the remaining Konoha Genin plus the sand trio to put him down after he was blown up at close range, effortlessly defeated Kiba, and almost became the Hero Killer by impaling Naruto through the gut. Even with Sasuke using his Curse Seal Level 2, Naruto pulling the Kyuubi out of his ass, and Gaara pinning him down with sand, it was STILL a close call. Juggernaut, INDEED.
  • Jack of All Stats: Unlike most ninja, Shikako has a wide range of abilities instead of specializing in a single area, which gives her considerable tactical flexibility.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Shikako has a worrying habit of looting anything and everything that might be of use to her down the line. This stems from knowing just how far she might need to go to survive to the end of the story.
    • First major case of this was Sword of the Thunder God. She eventually offered to return it to Tsunade, but Tsunade let her keep it.
    • The Book of Gelel was an important mission clue, but also good sealing research notes.
    • Later on, and more significantly, she finds a Hiraishin Kunai (!!!) a far more significant find overall.
  • Laser Blade: The Sword of the Thunder God. It's similarity to a lightsaber is lampshaded by Shikako.
    I was a ninja. I knew there were jutsu and weapons of every description and ability and more. And yet, some things were so deeply ingrained, like the cultural belief that the coolest weapon in the world was made of light and went zshooshm.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: It's hard to hide that Shikako replaces Sakura on Team 7, making the latter Demoted to Extra.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Somewhat lampshaded by Sasuke after Shikako's fight with Muku.
    Sasuke: (irritated & exasperated) "Shikako! You can't just stand around and have a conversation while your arm bone is sticking out! You have to say something!"
    Shikako: "It's called a humerus. But I don't suppose it's that funny."
  • Meaningful Name: combined with Punny Name, sort of: Shikako could be written as 死歌稿,giving symbolic references to both Death and Writing ( Undead Author ),while also referencing her most lethal techniques,which are written symbols that kill people.
  • Mind Rape: Shikako gets subjected to Tsukuyomi. It was so bad that she kept screaming even after she was knocked unconscious.
    • Ino is subjected to this as well when she gets tangled with the copy of Orochimaru hidden in Kidomaru's seal.
  • Mundane Utility: In chapter 14, Kakashi uses the incredibly powerful water dragon jutsu... to have a water fight with his students.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Shikako kills the genin team from Sound because it was the least risky option available to her. This is a source of some guilt afterwards.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Sasuke, after he hit Shikako under the influence of the curse seal.
  • Nice Girl: Shikako herself. She also regards Ino as this, and Choji as the male varient.
  • Noodle Incident: Shikamaru threatens Sasuke after he hurt Shikako while under the effect of the curse seal. We don't get to find out what he said, but it made Sasuke nervous around him.
    • Also, we never find out exactly what earned Shikako her reputation as a Mad Bomber.
  • Oh Crap!: Shikako's reaction to finding herself in the Narutoverse.
  • Past-Life Memories: The source of some of Shikako's knowledge.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: Invoked. See Fridge Brilliance.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Shikako comes up with several plans to fight Zabuza and Haku. Unfortunately, she forgets to tell them to her teammates. Fortunately, none of them actually die.
  • Precision F-Strike: Shikako delivers one when Itachi corners her and Naruto.
  • Redemption Earns Life: Zabuza and Haku, at least compared to canon where Haku never actually turned and Zabuza simply went out via Taking You with Me.
  • Reincarnation: Shikako obviously.
  • Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: Kiba promises to invoke this about Shikako's second fight in the Grass Chunin Exams, where she has her chakra sealed, but manages to come out on top by strangling Muku with her hair.
    Shikako: "You don't need to mention it ever again."
    Kiba: "Oh, no. This is never, ever being forgotten."
    Shikako: "It worked."
    Kiba: "That's why it's amazing, and why I'm going to tell this story for the rest of your life."
  • Running Gag: Every C-rank or above mission they go on quickly goes to hell and becomes a higher rank mission.
    • Shikako and explosions, or possibly just her and seals in general.
  • Self Insert: By way of Reincarnation.
  • Shout-Out
  • Ship Tease: Nothing solid just yet - the kids are still young, and as the author notes Shikako wouldn't feel attracted to her juniors-by-maturity (yet) - but the one-sided Naru/Hina is there, and there is arguably some Shikako/Sasuke, Shikako/Kiba, and even a tad of Shikako/Shino for those who insist on wearing Shipping Goggles. Again, it's too early to say as these characters are interacting more through Friendship Moment bonding than potential romance.
    • There appears to be a little Shikako/Gaara subtext in Chapter 63.
      • Even more in Chapter 95.
  • Shrinking Violet: Shikako has shades of this, especially early on. Nowhere near as bad as Hinata, though.
  • Skewed Priorities: The Director in the Land of Snow arc. Repeatedly. Lampshaded by Shikako. Repeatedly.
    Director: "To film a movie using a real princess… that is something that happens once in a lifetime."
  • Solar and Lunar: Sunlight is often used as a visual metephor, or motif, for when Shikako is content or healing. On the other hand, sad or pivotal scenes usually take place at night. Such as Shikako's big conversation with Kakashi after 'discovering' Naruto is a jinchuriki, and later Shikako convincing Sasuke not to defect.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • Pre-timeskip: Zabuza, Haku, and Hayate. Sandayu from the 1st Movie as well. Most recently: Tayuya, Sakon & Jirobou.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: A competing Nin does this on Shikako during the second chunin Exams. It does not work.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Shikako is fond of explosions, which turns into something of a Running Gag.
  • Summon Magic: Ino gets the Chameleon contract after she and Shikako are led to the contract scroll in Kubisaki Castle.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Shikako does this deliberately in order to warn Fuu about the Akatsuki.
  • Taking the Bullet: Shikako uses the replacement technique to protect Sasuke from Itachi's Tsukuyomi, which means she gets hit by it instead.
  • These Hands Have Killed: Shikako after killing the Sound trio; Kiba follows suit when he dispatches a Suna ninja to save Shikako's life.
  • The Stations of the Canon: Followed for the most part, but kept interesting by having the narrator notice the logical inconsistencies of the original work and coming up with plausible explanations for them. Unusually, it includes a number of anime filler episodes.
    • Said fillers, in turn, are utilised in order to expand on the plot, even more than the anime did - for instance, Sunshine Sidestories expands on Kakashi's previous visit to the Land of Snow, while in the main story Shikako, during the mission where Team 7 confronts Aoi Rokusho, manages to wrest the Second Hokage's sword from him rather than destroy it. These are just two examples.
  • The Unfought: So far Shikako has managed to sidestep Kabuto several times.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: Shikako's first weapon-of-choice happens to be explosive tags and notes.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Since this is a Naruto fanfic, many characters become stronger over time, particularly if they have suffered a bad defeat and have something to make up for. Special note goes to Ino, who starts out the story slightly stronger than her canon counterpart, suffers serious injuries after fighting the Sound Four, and then recovers and becomes a much stronger, more versatile fighter with the aid of her chameleon summons.
  • Tranquil Fury: Sasuke enters this state after Kimimaro nearly kills Naruto.
  • True Companions: Team 7 - the bond here is stronger than in canon thanks to Shikako establishing the traditions of post-fight discussions to critique on another on each others abilities, & post-mission dinner celebrations at the Nara Residence. To a lesser extent, the Rookie Nine are all fairly close friends and acquaintances.
  • Unfazed Everyman: Shikako describes the civilians of the Hidden Villages as this.
  • We Need to Get Proof: One of the reasons Shikako doesn't run around changing things willy-nilly is because no one would ever believe her. Instead she painstakingly begins investigating The Uchiha massacre - after being subjected to Tsukuyomi, and Akatsuki this even makes some sense, since she KNOWS the information is there and will thus notice things someone else would dismiss.
  • Why Am I Ticking?: Shikako attempts this on Kimimaro. Either because she's exhausted or because he's a beast, it doesn't work.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Shikako, due to having the memories of a previous life.
  • You Are Not Alone: When Naruto lets slip his status as a jinchuuriki to Shikako, Skikamaru, and Choji, they reassure him that it doesn't matter to them and that they are still his friends. He - and probably the reader too - has to hold back tears.
    • Naruto also says this to Fu.
  • You Can Barely Stand: Shikako faces off against the Sound genin by herself while concussed, sleep deprived, low on chakra, and nursing several broken ribs and a broken arm from the encounter with Orochimaru - and she kills all three of them.
  • You Monster!: In-universe, Kabuto is the only person Shikako feels enough pure, unadulterated hatred to want to kill with her own bare hands - the only reason she's not doing so is because she realises he's too strong for her, which frustrates her due to knowing how far his crimes will eventually go.
  • Your Head Asplode: What happens to Shikako's attempted kidnapper.