Dreams of Stars (A Once Upon a Time/Jiminy Cricket fanfic)

This is a New Character fanfiction of "Once Upon a Time", and it's written to be parallel with the original show. It adds backstory to Jiminy and Geppetto.

I've added my own character to "Once Upon a Time"--the girl from this old English fairy tale, "The Stars in the Sky": http://www.essentia.com/book/stories/skystar.htm

In the Enchanted Forest, the little girl--named Kaelin--became friends with Jiminy Cricket in her quest to reach the stars. In Storybrooke, she's 17 and named Bridget, and she has to see Dr. Archie Hopper for her serious struggles with feelings of failure and lack of confidence.

Recommended for people who have watched "Once Upon a Time", but if you haven't, this might get you hooked on it. Just be careful--there are spoilers. ;)

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6. Enchanted Forest

 

            Kaelin tore through the mossy, darkening forest, stumbling over boulders as she went. She didn’t know where she was going, but she knew she had to go somewhere, and fast. She had to find some way to get to the stars, or at least someone to point her in the right direction. She was running out of time.

            Before long, the sun had completely set, and the stars were out. Emerging from the forest into a grassy clearing, Kaelin allowed herself to collapse beside a wooden fence, her dirty, white cotton dress falling like a cloud around her. Gasping for breath, she stretched out her hand toward the stars above her. She had wanted to reach them before, as a romantic notion, but now she needed to reach them. She wished they would just come down to her.

            As she lay there, Kaelin began to cry openly, a high wail escaping her. Big tears rolled down her olive-colored cheeks and across her temples, wetting her black hair. This was all too much, too hopeless. What would she do?

            A soft, bell-like chirp reached her ears, but Kaelin didn’t notice it until the source came fluttering down from the fence and landed beside her head. All at once, she stopped crying, staring with wide eyes at the slim, dark green cricket. The cricket was wearing a little suit and tie, and it carried a black umbrella under its arm. It stood on its two hind legs and stared up at her with big, black eyes. The look in those eyes almost seemed to be one of compassion.

            “Hallo there,” Kaelin said softly, sitting up and blinking away her tears.

            “Wh-why…are you crying?” the cricket stammered in reply, sounding as if it was testing its voice. Its voice reminded Kaelin of someone, but she couldn’t think who.

            She stared in amazement. “You can talk?” she gasped.

            “I-I suppose I can,” the cricket said.

            “That’s wonderful!” Kaelin exclaimed.

            “Yes, I suppose it is—but…why are you crying?” the cricket asked again cautiously, “Has someone…died?”

            Kaelin lowered her eyes. “No, no one’s died yet. But my mother is dying of a curse, and Rumpelstiltskin told me I needed stardust to break it. I have to find a way to go up to the stars and get it, but I don’t know how to reach the stars.”

            “I can help you,” the cricket said promptly, “That is, f-for a while at least. I’m searching for someone, but I don’t know where he is. Perhaps while we’re searching for a way to the stars, I’ll be able to find him.”

            “Yes, please come with me!” Kaelin begged, “I need help!”

            “Of course. I must help you,” the cricket said, looking down for an instant, “A-and I want to. I want to help you save your mother!”

            “Thank you so much!” Kaelin said, “But, what’s your name? I’m Kaelin.”

            “My name…” the cricket hesitated, glancing away again, “I…d-don’t have a name. I’m a cricket.”

            “Why, then, I’ll give you a name,” Kaelin said, “I’ll call you…Archie.”

            “Archie?” the cricket laughed.

            “Don’t you like it? I like that name.”

            “Yes, I suppose I do like it,” the cricket said, smiling as much as a cricket could smile, “Yes, you can call me Archie.”

            Kaelin cupped her hands together and held them out to Archie. Understanding what she meant, he fluttered up and landed in them. Then Kaelin stood up. “I think we should go now,” she said, “The stars only come out at night, so we can sleep during the day if we have to.”

            “No problem for me,” Archie chuckled, “Crickets are nocturnal.”

            “Wonderful,” Kaelin said. She set Archie on her shoulder, and then set off into the woods again. She felt a much braver with Archie with her, even though he was a cricket. He wouldn’t be able to protect her from any dangers in the woods, but he was company, and cheerful company at that. At first, he seemed inordinately happy, as if intoxicated, laughing, talking, and pointing out everything he saw. “I’m so glad to be of help,” he kept saying, “To be doing something good. This is good, isn’t it? We’ll find a way to get some stardust. I’m sure.”

            His excitement was infectious, and Kaelin soon found herself feeling more determined and hopeful than ever. “Yes, we’ll definitely find a way,” she agreed.

            After a while, however, Archie mellowed out a bit and started asking Kaelin serious questions about her life. He asked about her father and how he had died. Then he asked when her mother had fallen ill and what had happened after that. When Kaelin told him about how the Mermaid-tear Elixir hadn’t worked, he simply nodded silently and gazed out into the forest. “We definitely have to save her,” he said.

            Sometime, when the night was still dark and the stars were still bright, Kaelin and Archie came out of the forest near a little brook with mossy banks. A watermill was slowly turning in the river, adding a soft splashing sound to the soothing chirps of crickets that echoed in the night. The mill’s wheel was attached to a gray, stone building, but the building was so thickly covered in moss and vines that the stone was hardly visible. Kaelin looked around, but there were no other buildings around the watermill—no people, no animals. There were only grassy hills with patches of trees scattered across them. She slowly approached the mill. “It looks so lonely,” she whispered to Archie.

            The cricket nodded.

            “I wish I could ask it how I can get some stardust,” Kaelin said aloud.

            Just then, three holes opened up in the moss around the building’s window, making it look like the side of the mill had a face. “You want some stardust?” it groaned.

            Kaelin was too taken aback to reply, but Archie quickly answered: “Yes! Is there any way you could help us?”

            “Yes. There are plenty of stars around here,” the mill wheel grumbled, “Every night, they shine in my eyes from that brook so that I can never get any sleep. If you jump in and swim around a bit, you’ll be covered in stardust in no time.”

            Kaelin looked at Archie, and Archie looked at Kaelin. “It’s worth a try,” Archie said with a shrug. Setting the cricket down on the bank, Kaelin jumped into the water and splashed around until she grew tired. Yet when she climbed back out, she was only wet with water. She couldn’t find a single speck of anything that looked like stardust. Looking back at the water, she saw a star reflected in it and tried to scoop it up in her hands, just in case. Still no stardust.

            “There’s no stardust in this water,” she sighed, turning to Archie.

            “Then why’s it always shining in my bloomin’ eyes?” the watermill muttered.

            Kaelin placed Archie on her shoulder again, and they set off across the hills. It was brighter here, outside of the forest, and the hills seemed draped in a blue-gray mist. “We’re never going to find anything this way,” she sighed, “We need at least to know what to look for first.”

            “We could ask the fairies for help,” Archie suggested.

            “The fairies!” Kaelin cried, “Yes, they would know what to do! Only, how will we find them?”

            “Well, I met one just this evening,” Archie told her, “I believe, if we simply wish to find them, and search, they will be found by us.”

            “Then let’s do just that,” Kaelin declared, and set off confidently toward the nearest patch of trees.

            It was a longer way than it seemed to the nearest patch of trees, and by the time Kaelin and Archie got there, the dawn was fast approaching. Dew sparkled in the grass. Pausing near the edge of the woods, Kaelin stared around, wishing and wishing to see a fairy.

            As they were looking, a flash of pink appeared and disappeared in the trees. It appeared again, this time closer. Then, in another moment, a little fairy all sparkling and dressed in pink came tumbling out of the woods into the dew-soaked grass. She was laughing, but when she saw Kaelin and Archie, she stopped. “Oh, were you looking for me?” she gasped, flitting up in front of Kaelin’s face and trying to smooth down her dress. Getting a closer look at her, Kaelin saw that she had dark brown hair and wide, innocent eyes.

            “Yes, ma’am,” Kaelin replied with a curtsy, “My name is Kaelin O’Hara, and this is Archie the Cricket—” Archie bowed—“We were hoping you could help us.”

            “Oh,” the fairy replied, “My name is Nova. Um, what do you need help with? I hope I can help.”

            “We’re trying to get a little stardust,” Kaelin explained, “Do you know where we could find some?”

            “Well, there seems to be lots of it here,” Nova said, gesturing uncertainly down at the grass, “I think it must fall from the sky at night because it always sparkles around me when I dance here. Would you like to dance with me? I’m sure you’ll be all covered with it, if you do.”

            Encouraged and delighted, Kaelin started to dance with Nova. Even Archie joined in, fluttering up and down in the grass on his thin, cricket wings. They danced and danced until Kaelin had to sit down, dew splashing on her tired legs and feet.

            “Have you got any stardust?” Nova asked hopefully.

            Kaelin examined herself, but again found that she simply soaked with dew. “No,” she sighed, “But…thanks for trying.”

            At that moment, a scolding, echoing voice came from above them. “Nova! What are you doing?”

            Archie looked up and immediately bowed. “Blue Fairy!” he exclaimed.

            Nova looked up too, a little scared. “I’m sorry, ma’am. I was just trying to help this girl find some stardust.”

            “By twirling around in the grass with her?” the Blue Fairy scolded, descending so that she was at their level, “Nova, how do you ever expect to become a fairy godmother if you keep doing silly things like this?”

            “Well, I thought perhaps there might be stardust down here, because it sparkled so much…” Nova tried to explain, bouncing on her toes a little.

            “Never mind,” the Blue Fairy sighed, turning to Kaelin, “Dear, I’m afraid stardust is not so easy to obtain,” she said gently, “To find it, you will need help. Why do you want to reach the stars?”

            “My mother is sick from a curse that’s turning her into a shadow,” Kaelin replied, “I was told that just a little stardust would cure her. Please, is there anything you can do to help me?”

            “If it is for the sake of saving someone else and not for your own power, I am willing to help you,” the Blue Fairy said, “I can see that you have a pure heart. Child, if you wish to reach the stars, you must first travel until you meet Four Feet. Tell him that the fairies sent you. Four Feet will take you to No Feet At All, and you must tell No Feet At All the same thing. If you do, No Feet At All will take you to the Stairs Without Steps. If you can persevere enough to climb the Stairs Without Steps, all the way to the top, then you may be able to touch a star. Do not take any more stardust than you need.”

            “Yes, ma’am! Thank you so much, ma’am!” Kaelin cried, curtsying deeply. This was it. This was a sure path to reaching the stars. Now that Kaelin knew what to do, there was no doubt in her mind that she would do it—that she could do it. “Come on, Archie! Let’s go!” she said, picking up the cricket and putting him back on her shoulder.

            “Archie…?” the Blue Fairy murmured, showing some confusion. Then she nodded with understanding and smiled at Kaelin. “Yes, go. And may you reach your goal.”

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