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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8. Enchanted Forest

            As the sun rose, Kaelin continued forward across the moor with Archie on her shoulder. Now that they had a certain objective, her sense of urgency was stronger than ever, but so was her hope. If she could just find Four Feet, they could make it.

          Despite this determination, by the time the sun was high in the sky, Kaelin was exhausted. She stumbled over every patch of heather, and she was so thirsty.

          “I wish I could carry you,” Archie remarked.

          Kaelin giggled.

          “No, I really wish I could do something to help,” Archie insisted, “But—why don’t you take a short rest? Look, there’s a brook up ahead with a small tree beside it. You can rest under the tree and take a drink. We’ll still make it.”

           Kaelin agreed. She forced herself to go the rest of the way to the tree and collapsed in its shade. Archie hopped down from her shoulder. Crawling over to the brook, she took a long drink of the cool water, then sat back and pulled the bag off her shoulders. She took a braeburn apple mottled with yellow, orange, and red out of the bag and offered it to Archie. “Would you like some?” She had eaten an apple the day before and had one left in the bag.

          “Oh—no thank you. I’ll just eat grass,” Archie replied hurriedly, plucking a blade of grass from the ground and nibbling at it.

         “Come on, I know you want some,” Kaelin said with a grin, “I bet it would be a special treat for a cricket.” She took a bite out of the apple and then set it in front of him. “See? Now there’s a corner for you to eat from. You’re small, anyway. You won’t eat too much.”

         “Well, if you insist…” Archie said. He dropped the half-eaten blade of grass on the ground, hopped up to the apple, and started munching on one of the corners formed by Kaelin’s bite.

         Kaelin curled up in the grass and watched him for a while. After a few minutes, she said, “You’re really cute when you eat.”

        “Wha—?” Archie fluttered back from the apple, flustered. “Well, I-I, uh…”

        “What’s wrong?” Kaelin laughed.

        “No one’s called me ‘cute’ before,” the cricket said, “And I honestly never expected that word to be applied to me.”

        “Well, you should have expected it, because you’re a very cute cricket,” Kaelin declared.

       “Thank you?” Too taken aback to continue eating the apple, Archie plucked another blade of grass and chewed on it. Kaelin finished the apple, eating everything but the stem. She was terribly hungry, she realized, after so much walking and so little food. She was also getting to be very sleepy since she had stayed up all night.

      “Do you think it would be all right to take a nap?” she asked Archie, suppressing an enormous yawn.

      “I believe so. The stars won’t be out until tonight, anyway, and maybe we’ll dream up a way to find Four Feet.”

      That was enough for Kaelin. Lying down beside the tree, she hugged Archie to her like a little doll and closed her eyes. She was asleep instantly. Making himself comfortable with his chin on her shoulder, Archie went to sleep as well.

 

 

 

 

         By the time they woke up, the sun was beginning to set. Kaelin leapt abruptly to her feet so that Archie fell off her shoulder and hit the ground with a bump. “Oh no!” she cried, “It’s already evening! We have to go.” She seized her bag and started wading across the creek.

       “Wait!” Archie exclaimed, shaking the sleep out of his head and brushing down his coat, “Wait—I’m coming!” He fluttered up and landed on her shoulder.

       “How are we even supposed to find Four Feet?” Kaelin moaned, discouraged.

       “Well, Four Feet takes orders from the fairies. Maybe we can find him the same way we found a fairy, just by searching for him.”

       “Okay, I’ll try,” Kaelin said. She focused very hard on finding Four Feet as they continued to journey over the moor. Slowly, the sun sank below the horizon, turning everything pale yellow, then orange, then dark blue. They had come to a place where there were no scattered forests, but Kaelin noticed a landmark.

      “Look, there’s a lone tree out there,” she whispered, pointing to the side of a hill, where an old, leaning tree was silhouetted in the fading light.

      “Let’s go there,” Archie said. Kaelin turned slightly so that they were heading toward it.

        As they neared the tree, Kaelin noticed there was something tied to it. Drawing a little closer, she realized that it was a tall, majestic horse.

        “Four Feet!” Archie whispered in her ear, and Kaelin immediately broke into a run to meet the horse. It was breathtakingly beautiful, with pure white fur and a fiery-orange, flowing mane. It turned to face her, and Kaelin curtsied deeply.

          “Please sir, I am on a quest to reach the stars, and I was told you would help me,” she said.

            With a whinny, the horse replied in a deep voice: “I serve only the fairies, and I cannot take you to the stars. You will have to search elsewhere.”

            “But the Blue Fairy sent me to Four Feet,” Kaelin replied, “She told me that Four Feet would take me to No Feet At All, and No Feet At All would take me to the Stairs Without Steps. Aren’t you Four Feet?”

            “That I am,” the horse replied, “And since you bring word from the Blue Fairy, I am willing to take you as far as the sea, where you can find No Feet At All.”

            “Thank you!” Kaelin said.

            Four Feet knelt down on his front legs so that Kaelin could climb up onto his smooth, bare back. On closer inspection, she could see that his pure white fur was speckled with bright periwinkle, making him almost seem to glitter. She set down Archie so that he could hold on to the horse’s fiery mane. “Hold on tightly!” said Four Feet, and Kaelin grasped his mane as well.

            An instant later, they were galloping across the moor at breathtaking speed. Cold, fresh air rushed into Kaelin’s face, whipping her hair as she clung to the horse with all her strength. At first, she was terrified, but then that terror turned to exhilaration. This was so beautiful, so wonderful! Raising her face to the sky she saw the stars shining above her, cold as ice and lovely as diamonds. The stars had never seemed quite this beautiful before, and Kaelin’s heart was filled with joy. She found that she was laughing.

            Before too long, a wide sea shone on the horizon, reflecting the glimmering starlight. Archie almost fell off as Four Feet turned down a steep hill, but he clung even more tightly to the horse’s mane and managed to hold on. They were soon at the bank of the shore.

            Shaking with joy and fear, Kaelin slid down from the horse’s back. Archie took his place on her shoulder. “So this is where we can find No Feet At All?” she presumed.

            “Aye, perhaps. I know at least that this is as far as I can take you,” Four Feet replied, “Now I must go. Good fortune to you!” Dipping his head to her once more, he turned and cantered away into the night.

            Kaelin turned toward the sea and looked around. “I don’t see anyone,” she said sadly.

            “He’ll be here, I’m sure,” Archie encouraged her, “Just like the fairy, just like Four Feet…No Feet At All will come if we search for him.” With this, they set off across the white shore.

            A ripple soon appeared in the sea and approached them. Watching it, Kaelin saw that the ripple was formed by an enormous fin, and the fin was attached to a huge golden fish. “Excuse me, are you No Feet At All?” she called to the fish.

            Lifting its shining face out of the water, the fish replied, “That is my name. What do you want?”

            “We come from the Blue Fairy and from Four Feet,” Archie replied, “The Blue Fairy told us that Four Feet would take us to No Feet At All, and that No Feet At All would take us to the Stairs Without Steps.”

            “If you indeed bring word from the fairies, I can take you to the place you seek,” the fish replied, “Hop onto my back, but hold on tight, for you could easily slip off.”

            No Feet At All turned so that his tail was towards Kaelin, and she waded out and climbed onto his smooth back with Archie on her shoulder. Wrapping her arms around the fish as far as they would go, she held on for dear life as he dove through the water, swimming along the silver trail of light that was cast by the moon. Archie clung to her chin-length hair.

            This was frightening. Kaelin felt that she could easily fall into the sea and drown. Yet even through her fear, the beauty of the stars still reached her and gave her hope. Even more so, the farther they went, the nearer she came to saving her mother. She could not fail.

            Just as Kaelin was beginning to think she couldn’t hold on any more, they came to the base of what looked like an enormous, shining rainbow. It sloped up out of sight like a road to the sky. “This is the path that the fairies travel to reach the stars,” No Feet At All said to them, “I cannot climb it. Though it is also not meant for little girls’ feet, you may yet be able to. This is as far as I can take you.”

            The rainbow path was spread out a little at the base, forming a small, glowing platform that Kaelin and Archie could step off onto. They said farewell to No Feet At All and then turned to face the shining path. It seemed so smooth and steep.

            “So this is the path to the stars,” Kaelin whispered in wonder.

            Archie nodded.

            “We’ll definitely make it to the top,” Kaelin said, putting her foot on the smooth path as if to start climbing.

            “Wait. You should take a rest first,” Archie advised nervously, “You’ve just tired yourself out clinging to No Feet At All.”

            “We don’t have any time to waste.”

            “Yes, I know we don’t, but…if you start climbing while you’re still tired, your strength may fail, and you could slide down again. If that happens, you might end up wasting more time than if you rest now. Please, take a break and eat your last apple.”

            “I don’t need a rest,” Kaelin insisted. She dropped her bag on the platform because she knew it would weigh her down. Taking off her shoes and socks, she jumped onto the rainbow road and started climbing it.

            Unable to argue further, Archie took his place on her shoulder.

            The rainbow path was even more difficult to climb than it looked. For every one step Kaelin took, she seemed to slide two steps backward. Yet somehow, she still inched her way higher and higher. With Archie encouraging her the whole time, she felt more hopeful and determined with every step.

            After what seemed like an eternity of climbing, Kaelin became aware that the sea had fallen out of sight, but stars had grown closer. Though she was sweating, and her arms and legs were shaking with the effort, this realization gave her a burst of strength, and she climbed even faster for a while.

            At last, they were there among the stars. “Look, Kaelin,” Archie whispered, “You made it! We’re here!”

            Gasping for breath, Kaelin raised her face and gazed about at the beautiful scene. The stars were all around, so near and so bright, shining with an indescribable color more beautiful than silver. The backdrop of the night sky was still velvety black, but that contrast only made the stars lovelier. It was so deep, and so pure.

            “I must touch one,” Kaelin panted. It was still an awful effort to cling to the shining rainbow, and she was trembling all over. Seeing a star near the edge of the rainbow, Kaelin gradually made her way over to it. She let go of the shining road with one hand, and reached toward the star. It was farther away than it seemed. Kaelin stretched even farther, leaning toward it as far as she dared. Her arms and legs felt like they were about to give out on her.

            No…not now…not when I’ve come so close… Kaelin’s vision began to blur. She felt lightheaded. “A…Ar…” she murmured.

            “Kaelin!” Archie exclaimed. Kaelin thought she saw him run along her arm and reach for the star, holding on to her hand. Then, dizziness and exhaustion overtook her, and she fell into blackness. 

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