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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24. Enchanted Forest

          The stars were out. They were so crisp and bright that Kaelin Mouse was flooded with memories of being up among them. Her heart trembled, and she reached a paw toward them. If only…

            All the losses of her life filled Kaelin’s heart until she feared she would burst. Her father Photogen, who had died when she was very young, her mother Nycteris…Francesco, Sofia…even Geppetto’s parents. Though Kaelin had never met them, their deaths seemed a grief from her own past.

            And now here was Geppetto, an old man, lost in grief. He sat on the bench just outside his house with Kaelin and Jiminy sitting behind him on its back. The completed puppet was in Geppetto’s arms. It was perfect, crafted with utmost care, and it had a green vest over a white shirt and a little, red felt cap with a feather. The puppet was about the size of a 5-year-old boy, and Geppetto held it tightly like it was his own son. With a dead look in his eyes and an expressionless face, he stared up at the stars. He didn’t move or speak, but just clutched the puppet to his chest.

            With a shiver, Kaelin wondered if his mind might be breaking. Why had he made that puppet? Why would he torment himself with a puppet now, right after losing the love of his life? Kaelin knew more than anyone how horrifying puppets were to Geppetto. Yet now here he sat, holding one like it was his own child, like he and Sofia had been able to have a son after all. The puppet stared deadly into space with glazed, painted eyes, stiff and unmoving.

            Then, finally, Geppetto’s low, quiet voice broke the silence: “Jiminy.”

            “Yes?” Jiminy said softly.

            Geppetto looked at him. “How can I have my wish granted?”

            “You wish upon a star,” Jiminy replied, watching him gently.

            Geppetto turned his face back up to the sparkling sky. His eyes closed and his brows knitted together. There was a moment of silence. Then, just like when Kaelin had made her wish, a bright, blue star in the sky seemed to grow nearer. It grew brighter and closer until it turned into the Blue Fairy, hovering before Geppetto. “I have heard your wish,” she said.

            Geppetto opened his eyes and looked at her. Then, silently, he turned his gaze down to the puppet in his arms. The Blue Fairy watched the puppet too. She answered slowly and thoughtfully: “What you wish…may be possible. But it will not be easy. I cannot make it happen with fairy dust alone. I can begin the process, but what happens after that will be up to…” she smiled at the puppet, “Up to Pinocchio.”

            Kaelin watched her in amazement, trying to understand what was happening. When the Blue Fairy gave the puppet a name, Geppetto let out a short half-laugh, half-sob. “Please do whatever you can,” he begged.

            Reaching into a pouch at her side, the Blue Fairy brought out some glistening fairy dust and sprinkled it into the puppet’s eyes. As the fairy dust glittered and faded away, the puppet’s green eyes suddenly glowed. They no longer seemed painted on, but now looked almost like a person’s eyes. Pinocchio blinked and opened his mouth. He sat up and looked around in amazement.

            A tremor went through Geppetto. “Y-you’re alive,” he gasped.

            “Father?” Pinocchio said in a plaintive voice, looking back at him and knitting his wooden brows together. His face was strangely animated, but the rest of his body was as stiff as wood, only bending at the hinges Geppetto had put in.

            Geppetto hugged him, tears streaming from his eyes. “Yes, yes—I’m your father,” he sobbed, “You’re my son…My son Pinocchio!” Then he looked up at the Blue Fairy. “But why is he still a puppet?” he asked her, “Will my son always be a puppet? Will he never grow up like other boys?”

            “Maybe not,” the Blue Fairy said gently. She fluttered down to Pinocchio, who was still gazing around at everything in wonder. “This is the first part of the enchantment,” she explained, “I was able to do this with fairy dust alone, but the second part depends on you, Pinocchio.” The puppet met her eyes, and she went on, “If you wish to become a real boy, you must prove yourself to be brave, truthful, and unselfish. If you can do that, then I will be able to cast the second part of the enchantment. The second part can turn you into a real boy. Do you understand?”

            Pinocchio gazed at her with rapt attention and nodded vigorously. “I want to become a real boy,” he said earnestly.

            The Blue Fairy smiled warmly. Then she turned to Jiminy. “You have a role in this too,” she said.

            Jiminy started as though he hadn’t expected to be addressed. “What is it?” he asked.

            “You are to be Pinocchio’s conscience.”

            Jiminy stared at her speechlessly. “Me…?” he faltered at last, “How…how can I be a conscience?”

            “You need only listen to your own conscience,” the Blue Fairy replied.

            “But…you don’t understand…After everything I’ve done, how can I judge another person? I-I could never do that!”

            The Blue Fairy smiled kindly. “Dear Jiminy,” she said, “Being a conscience is not the same as judging. You will not make any condemnations. No, you will simply be that still, small voice, directing Pinocchio toward what is right and good and away from what is harmful and hurtful.”

            “But I’m not even sure if I can listen to my own conscience.”

            “Do not worry about that. You may not be able to see this, Jiminy, but your conscience is strong and healthy, and you listen to it. The very fact that you recognize the wrong you’ve done in the past and grieve about it tells me that you have done nothing to quench your conscience. Yet that does not mean you should continue in guilt. Move forward, Jiminy. Let your conscience be your guide, and I am certain you will be able to guide Pinocchio.”

            Jiminy looked at her in astonishment. Then he nodded with sudden resolution. “Yes, Blue Fairy,” he said, “Then I accept this task—If—if it’s all right with Geppetto, that is. Pinocchio is his son, after all.”

            Geppetto nodded. “It’s all right, Jiminy,” he said, “You’ve been right to stay by my side all this time. Thank you. Now please help me to make Pinocchio into a real boy.”

            Jiminy smiled. “Thank you, Geppetto. Thank you. I thought you might never forgive me, but now…thank you. I don’t know what else to say.” He fluttered down into Pinocchio’s wooden hands and chirped. The puppet’s eyes lit up at this new and beautiful sound.

            Now the Blue Fairy turned to Kaelin. “I have a new task for you too,” she said.

            Kaelin straightened up and curtsied, immediately attentive. “Yes, Blue Fairy?”

            “You have done a wonderful job helping Geppetto and Jiminy,” the Blue Fairy began, “But now there is a girl who needs an animal friend. She is abused by her stepmother and stepsisters and has no friends or anyone to be kind to her. Because of your past, I believe you will be able to understand her feelings better than others.”

            Shock seemed to descend on Kaelin from outside her, and she went numb. At first, she didn’t understand. “A-are you saying…” she stammered “…that I have to leave?”

            “You are not needed here any longer—at least, not as much as you are needed there,” the Blue Fairy said.

            “But Geppetto’s the only family I have!” Kaelin cried, “And Jiminy…I can’t leave him again…” Her eyes filled with tears. Jiminy and Geppetto were both staring at her.

            “It is your choice,” the Blue Fairy said, “But I truly believe this girl needs you. Her name is Ella, but her stepsisters call her Cinderella because she sits in the ashes by the fire. She does not live too far from here. Jiminy will still be able to visit you.”

            “Well, if he can visit, then…then maybe…” Kaelin blinked away her tears.

            Jiminy flew up to her and took her paw. “If this girl needs you, I believe you should go to her,” he said quietly, “I agree with the Blue Fairy. You know what it’s like to be…treated poorly. You can understand her. Don’t worry; we’ll see each other again.”

            Kaelin swallowed hard and nodded. “All right,” she said. She looked over at Geppetto. “I’ll come back to see you sometime, okay? See how…how my nephew’s getting along.” She laughed a little in spite of herself. “Is it all right, Geppetto? Will you be all right with Jiminy and Pinocchio now?”

            “I’ll be okay,” Geppetto replied, though he looked at her sadly, “As long as we can still see each other, it’s all right.”

            Kaelin turned back to the Blue Fairy. “I’ll go, then,” she decided, “I’ll meet Cinderelly.”

            “Cinderella,” the Blue Fairy corrected her.

            “Oh.” Kaelin felt her face grow hot and was glad she had fur to hide her blushing.

            “Thank you, Kaelin,” the Blue Fairy said, “I’ll give you one more night here, and I’ll come get you tomorrow.”

            “All right,” Kaelin repeated. Shakily, she curtsied to the Blue Fairy. So much had happened in such a short time. Everything was changing. 

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