A/N: Hello all, thanks for giving Caged Bird a read! This will not be a typical SI-OC story. It isn't necessarily an original idea, but I thought that it would be interesting to have a story in which the SI is a separate entity from the OC. With that said, I think it would be better for you all to give this fic a shot to really understand what I am trying to work with here.

Hope you all enjoy the prologue!

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto in any way, shape or form. All rights go to Masashi Kishimoto.


Caged Bird

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fats worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

Maya Angelou


Prologue

The only conceivable way I can describe the notion of dying is to compare it with fading.

Your senses seem to be turned off. You smell nothing, hear nothing, feel nothing, and see nothing. There is only darkness. This experience may sound uncanny and frightening, but it is actually quite the contrary. It is eerily peaceful and you feel like you are in a sort of comatose state. It is deeper than sleep, but you are not completely unconscious either.

You feel like you are fading out of the world – as if you are drifting off to dreamland. But unlike simply falling asleep, there is no end to this fading sensation. It continues as you gradually drift away.

Just when you start to wonder when this fading will stop, you begin to feel like you are slowly falling down a rabbit hole. But you still don't sense a single thing.

It is only you.

The weird thing is, I still cannot fully describe how dying feels like. There should have been an end to the fall. I should have reached the end of the rabbit hole and completely faded out of existence.

But down that rabbit hole, I saw light.

As I was sluggishly plunging to what should have been my death, I started to see light trickle through my closed eyelids. It was like someone suddenly pulled open the curtains or blinds and let the morning sun seep into your room as you previously lay peacefully sleeping – I couldn't help but open my eyes. The light was too bright, too blinding to simply ignore. It was calling out to me and drawing all of me in.

I stretched out my hand to touch the light, to claim it as mine. But the light had absorbed me instead and I was suddenly warped into a completely different dimension.


When the topic of reincarnation comes up, I avoid thinking about it religiously. Religion was so inconsistent yet had similar morals and expectations. It only served to confuse me, so I chose to think more philosophically and scientifically in order to answer my questions.

Socrates and Plato, the oldest and most famous philosophers, believed in reincarnation. Plato, in particular believed that we were born with innate ideas that we are meant to recollect in our new lives.

However, Plato's own student, Aristotle did not. Aristotle believed that we were born as blank slates and if we did have previous lives, they did not affect our next ones.

When I first realized that I was reborn into a world that was considered fictional in my past life, I was frustrated that my philosophy background did not help my predicament.

No one in the history of philosophy ever considered the idea of being reborn and fully remembering your past life. Of course, it made sense that they didn't. It was ludicrous – at least, I thought it was until I wound up in the world of Naruto.

My mind couldn't figure out how it was possible to end up in a fictional world. The laws of science did not help the slightest and philosophical deduction scared me.

I also continued to miss my old life. I missed my mom, my dad and my older brother. I missed the warmth and comfort of our home. I missed the love of my life – the one I was supposed to get married to a few weeks before my death. I missed living in a world that was not nearly as dangerous as the Naruto world.

The world of Naruto is scary. It is filled with violence and vengeance. Children are taught at a young age to fight in order to protect themselves and protect their villages. They are encouraged to fight. They are encouraged to kill.

It was a far stretch from the sheltered life I had led in my safe bubble of Seattle. You only heard of such violence on the news and never once considered yourself to be a potential victim or perpetrator. My moral standards from my old world bled into my life in the world of ninjas – I wanted to escape from all the violence and hide away into the most pacifist place there was.

But in the world of Naruto, I couldn't escape the violence. It was all around me. I had to merely live it out and adjust to the societal norms of killing. Sometimes you weren't even the one who stuck a weapon through another living being and took their life. Sometimes those dearest to you fell and lost their lives to this cruel cycle of violence.

But in the end, I simply had to come to terms with the fact that my reality was inside of a manga. It took me a while to accept it, but once I started to allow myself to live, I was able to find happiness in this foreign world.

As a matter of fact, I started to accept the truth behind my existence. I wasn't just the Japanese-American, Irene Tanaka anymore. My existence was grounded as a Hyuga clan member… as Hyuga Shinju. There were many titles that came along with that name, but I suggest that you simply turn the next pages to see the impact I left on the world of Naruto.