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 NarutoFan 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.The author has also started a supplementary fic, titled Sunshine Sidestories - the purpose being a World Building one, as the Short Stories contained therein expand upon relevant material not seen through Shikako's eyes.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.Overall, a massive Door Stopper guaranteed to keep you reading for hours.
This fanfiction series contains examples of:
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.
Angsty Surviving Twin: Brought up by Tsunade due to Ukon being killed/destroyed when he tried to possess Naruto, but Sakon surviving and being brought back to the village for interrogation.
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.
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 becauseunlike canon, Sasuke didn't go scouting ahead and thus wasn't there to save her.
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.
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.
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 insistance.
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!"
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.
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.
This borders on Contrived Coincidence when the Finals are drawn - in canon they were matched-up by drawing numbers, which somehow still decree that the Naruto/Neji and Sasuke/Gaara fights happen in the exact same order! The other five finalists are thankfully given a more fresh take on their match-ups.
Also noteable 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.
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.
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 then, when Sasuke used his Curse Seal Level 2 and Naruto pulled the Kyubi out of his ass, 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.
Awesomeness by Analysis: Not to the same degree as Shikamaru, but she's pretty good at figuring out her enemies weaknesses and coming up with plans to exploit them.
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.
A kidou spell from Bleach is used as an identification code between Konoha ninja.
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 and/or Shikako/Kiba 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.
Shrinking Violet: Shikako has shades of this, especially early on. Nowhere near as bad as Hinata, though.
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 Sasuke convinceing him not to defect.
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.
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.
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.