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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34. Enchanted Forest

            From dawn until dusk, Kaelin Mouse sat on a boulder behind Geppetto’s workshop, watching the sea—straining for any sign of a boat on those waters. All that day, there was nothing but the sparkle of the waves and the slowly shifting gray of the overcast sky. The distant, rhythmic splashing on the rocky coast made Kaelin drowsy, but she kept her vigil, shaking her ears in the cold breeze. What would she do if they never returned? Wait here forever? She didn’t even eat that day.

            Early the next morning, Kaelin came out and climbed up to the top of the rock again, using patches of moss as clawholds. With baited breath, she scanned the coast, then started with a little gasp. There was something down there, but not a ship. Little pieces were strewn all across the rocks. Just then, one of them stirred and sat up suddenly.

            “Geppetto,” Kaelin breathed. Was that him? All that stuff on the shore looked like a shipwreck, and Kaelin was afraid. What would happen to Jiminy in a shipwreck? With trembling paws, Kaelin climbed from the boulder and began sprinting down the hill as fast as her four little legs could carry her. She came to the stone stairs and began jumping down every one, keeping an eye on Geppetto whenever he was visible through the grass. As she drew nearer, she decided it was certainly Geppetto. Now he had staggered to his feet, now he was running across the shore. At the next glimpse, Kaelin was a bit closer, and she saw him on his knees, rocking a small figure in his arms. Pinocchio, perhaps? But the figure was stiff and unmoving.

            Reaching the bottom of the stairs, Kaelin started running faster, though the shale was big for her and difficult to scramble over. Now there was a tiny, glowing blue figure above Geppetto’s head. Even from this distance, Kaelin recognized it as the Blue Fairy, and she wondered what was happening. The fairy gently waved her wand across the stiff figure in Geppetto’s arms. A glimmer of fairy dust fell across it, and it suddenly transformed. Kaelin was close enough to see that Geppetto now held a child in his arms. A smile spread across her face. “Geppetto!” she gasped, “Pinocchio!” But she was still too far away for them to hear her.

            “I’m a real boy!” came the excited squeal over the waves.

            As Geppetto stood up, pressing Pinocchio’s little red cap down on his head, the Blue Fairy said a few more words to them. Then, blowing Pinocchio a kiss, she flew away. Kaelin reached Geppetto and tugged on his pant leg, now too exhausted to say anything. The old man looked down and his smile spread. “Kaelin!” he said warmly and picked her up, holding her at eye level with the little boy. “Pinocchio, look! Auntie Kaelin’s come to see you!”

            Pinocchio’s happy grin pushed up his round, freckled cheeks, making him more adorable than ever. His eyes were dark brown, and they sparkled with life and innocence. His turned-up, button nose was quite a contrast from the long, pointed one he had as a puppet, which had grown a bit longer every time he told a lie. Holding out his hands for her, Pinocchio snuggled her to his cheek, and Kaelin just had to kiss him. He was so cute. He really looks like he could be Geppetto’s and Sofia’s son, she thought, He has her round face and freckles, and his dark brown eyes. Even Pinocchio’s slightly wavy hair reminded Kaelin of Geppetto’s hair when she had first met him in the orphanage.

            But then Kaelin remembered what she had been most anxious about, and she turned quickly back to Geppetto. “Where’s Jiminy?” she asked urgently.

            Geppetto’s smile vanished. “Jimin—” he gasped, “He—he was on the raft with us. When the rain came, we—” He ran a hand through his short, wet hair, trying to remember, then looked up suddenly, glancing from one piece of flotsam to another. “There was a box…on the raft! We put him in there so he wouldn’t be blown away!” He began to run across the shore, searching through the debris of their raft, overturning shattered boards. Pinocchio hurried behind him, carrying Kaelin.

            Not seeing any box on the shore, Kaelin began to panic. Then Geppetto moved aside a water-blackened board, and there he was: a still, small, dark green figure. “Jiminy!” Kaelin shrieked. Without thinking, she jumped out of Pinocchio’s hands. It was a far fall for her. She hit the ground hard, but immediately scrambled to her feet and ran to the cricket. She turned him over. His eyes were glazed, and he didn’t move. He was so cold and wet. Kaelin wrung out his cloak as best she could, spreading herself over him to warm him.

            “Maybe he just can’t move,” she said pleadingly, “He might be too cold. Geppetto, help me get him warm!” She had learned a thing or two about insects in the time she had spent with Jiminy.

            Geppetto picked them both up and surrounded them with his hands. Though his hands were still cold from the sea, it was warmer than being out in the open. “Come on, Pinocchio,” he said, and started running toward the house with the boy trailing behind him. Kaelin curled up as close to Jiminy as she could, her pointed face under his chin.

            As soon as they were back inside, Geppetto found a rag and wrapped it around Jiminy and Kaelin to help Jiminy dry. He gave them to Pinocchio, and the boy hugged them to his chest while Geppetto prepared a fire in the fireplace. Jiminy still hadn’t moved. Kaelin kept thinking, what if he was already gone? What if she was clinging hopelessly to a dead cricket?

            The fire was taking so long to build. Really, it wasn’t taking any more time than usual, but to Kaelin, this was far too long. As she tried to press closer to Jiminy, she suddenly felt his leg jerk spasmodically. Pinocchio felt it too. With a little gasp, he held them out to look at him. “Did he move, Auntie?” he asked. Kaelin nodded, though she felt they weren’t out of danger yet. “Jiminy,” she whispered, “Can you hear me?”

            Jiminy’s antennae twitched, and his big eyes seemed to come into focus. Sluggishly, he moved his head until he was facing Kaelin and nodded very slowly. Kaelin laughed in relief, tears springing to her eyes. “You’re okay,” she said, “We’ll get you warmed up so you can talk.”

            Jiminy forced his head to turn again so he was facing Pinocchio. “A-areyoou…” he slurred.

            “Yes! I’m a real boy!” Pinocchio squealed, delighted, “Thank you, Jiminy! You helped me be a good boy, so the Blue Fairy turned me into a real boy!”

            Jiminy’s mouth jerkily formed a smile.

            By then, Geppetto had lit the fire, so Pinocchio set Kaelin and Jiminy on the hearth to thaw. As he warmed up, Jiminy stretched his joints and fluttered his wings, which were sticking together from the wetness. Then he took off his hat and cloak and laid them out on the bricks to dry. He coughed up some water, but it wasn’t much. “So,” he said with a little laugh as soon as he could talk properly, “We made it!”

            “Yes, we did,” Geppetto said, blinking back tears, “If only Sofia could be here to see this. If she’s watching, she must be so happy.”

 

 

 

 

            That night, when Pinocchio was asleep in his bed, Jiminy and Kaelin sat outside his window and talked, watching the stars come out. Jiminy told Kaelin everything that had happened after Pinocchio ran away, and Kaelin told Jiminy about how Cinderella’s fortunes had changed. Now she could stay in the workshop again. While they were talking, a glimmer of blue appeared in the sky. To their surprise, the Blue Fairy came floating down to meet them. Hurriedly, they stood up. Jiminy bowed, and Kaelin curtsied.

            “To what do we owe this honor?” Jiminy ventured nervously.

            The Blue Fairy smiled kindly at him. “Pinocchio has been brave, truthful, and unselfish,” she said, “He has reward, but as his conscience, you deserve a reward too, Jiminy.” She gave a little wave of her wand, and a small, golden medallion glimmered onto Jiminy’s chest, attached to the collar of his cloak by a short, gold and silver ribbon.

            Jiminy gasped, looking down at it with surprise and admiration. “But—but what is it?” he stammered.

            “It means you’re a certified conscience,” the fairy replied humorously.

            “I’ve done nothing to deserve this,” Jiminy said warmly, smiling at her, “When Pinocchio chose Geppetto’s life over his own, I was shut up in a box! Otherwise, he ignored me every step of the way.”

            “I know,” the fairy said, “But through your efforts, you taught him right from wrong. As a puppet, Pinocchio did not have an innate conscience like other people. By acting as a conscience for him, you gave him his own sense of right and wrong. That was why I was able to turn him into a real boy. It’s because of you, Jiminy.”

            Jiminy looked like he could hardly believe his ears. “It’s…” he faltered, “It’s…more than I ever hoped for. I once thought I’d always be a liar and a thief, but now? A certified conscience? It’s all my dreams. Thank you.”

            The Blue Fairy smiled, blew them each a kiss, and floated away into the night.

 

 

 

 

            After that came the happy, golden days, when everything seemed right. Geppetto, Pinocchio, Kaelin, and Jiminy all lived together in the workshop. Pinocchio was adorable: eager to learn, eager to be a good boy, and extremely loving toward his conscience and his “tiny Auntie”. Geppetto taught him all kinds of woodworking, which fascinated him, and he picked it up quickly. Sometimes, they would go down to the groves together and watch the men rake the olives off the trees and grind them into olive oil. As a treat, Geppetto would buy a bottle of the fresh olive oil, and they would come home and eat it with crusty bread. The only shadow over their days was the continual, small ache of someone who could have been there: Sofia. If she had been with them, everything would have been perfect.

            During this time, Kaelin went to visit Ella in her palace on occasion. There were magnificent wedding preparations for her. Gus was still with her, living like a king on the finest gorgonzola of the palace but somewhat concerned that all this pampering would make him lose his touch.

            One day in particular stood out to Kaelin from those visits: it was the day when Snow White came to visit Ella (they had become good friends), and she brought Red with her. Gus and Kaelin were in Gus’s new hole in the wall when the two women came in. Gus peeked out to see who it was and suddenly froze, his little mouth open. “Whoa, Suzy!” he whispered, not looking away from whatever he was seeing. He gave a low whistle. “Look at this!”

            Kaelin slipped up to the hole and looked out. “I see Snow and a friend with her,” she said blankly, “What are you looking at?”

            “The friend!” Gus hissed, still unable to tear his eyes away from Red, “Have you ever seen anyone so gorgeous in all your life? I have to know her name!”

            Kaelin stared at him in disbelief. “Gus-Gus, you’re a mouse.”

            “Hey. I’m Gustave: the courtliest mouse in all the Enchanted Forest,” Gus replied indignantly. Straightening himself up on his hind legs, he adjusted his green cap and stepped out of the hole. Kaelin turned away, stifling a laugh.

            Ignoring her, Gus proceeded across the floor toward Red. After a few moments, Kaelin heard a stammered, “P-pardon me…milady…” Goodness! She’d never heard him so shy before!

            However, before Kaelin had a chance to ponder this new side of Gus, she was jolted by a shriek and a crash from outside. “Snow! Help! Kill it! Kill it!” came Red’s desperate scream. It was followed by more crashes. An instant later, Gus came squirting back into the hole on all fours, his eyes wide.

            “She’s afraid of mice,” he gasped.

            “I noticed,” Kaelin returned.

            Later that day, Ella explained to Red that Gus was her friend. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to calm Red’s fears, so he still wasn’t allowed anywhere near her. Although Gus tried a few more times to get to know her, he was mostly forced to watch longingly from afar. As for Kaelin, Jiminy’s acquaintance with Snow gave her the chance to meet Red. Yet even she made the girl uncomfortable, so she usually had to be absent when Red was around. 

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