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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 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.
A massive door-stopper guaranteed to keep you reading for hours.
Also has a supplementary fic called Sunshine Sidestories, which expands on material not seen through Shikako's eyes.
This fanfiction series contains examples of:
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- Badass Bookworm: Shikako.
- Big Brother Instinct: Shikamaru displays this twice, first when Sasuke hurt Shikako while under the influence of the curse seal, and again when she gets mind raped by Itachi.
- But Your Wings Are Beautiful: Said by Naruto to Fuu. Well, "cool", to be exact.
- 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.
- 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.
- Complete 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.
- 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 Ibuki.
- Death by Adaptation: Karin, although the characters don't know her name. She gets mauled to death by a bear offscreen and they find her body.
- Shikako killing the Sound Trio is an example of Type 2.
- 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.
- 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.
- Five-Man Band/Freudian Trio/Four-Temperament Ensemble
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Casting a Shadow: Her Nara clan techniques.
- Dishing Out Dirt: Her element is earth, which she mostly uses to create defensive walls or tunnel underground.
- Geometric Magic: Shikako makes frequent use of fuinjutsu.
- Healing Hands: She also knows how to use medical ninjutsu, although she isn't skilled enough to heal major injuries.
- Master of Illusion: She's decent at genjutsu, too.
- The Force Is Strong with This One: Shikako can sense chakra, which helps detect ambushes, spot imposters, and gauge how strong her opponents are.
- 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.
- Mind Rape: Shikako gets subjected to Tsukuyomi. It was so bad that she kept screaming even after she was knocked unconscious.
- 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.
- 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 Taking You with Me
- Self Insert: By way of Reincarnation.
- Shrinking Violet: Shikako has shades of this, especially early on. Nowhere near as bad as Hinata, though.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Zabuza and Haku. Also Hayate.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Shikako is fond of explosions, which turns into something of a Running Gag.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.