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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36. Enchanted Forest

            The peaceful days in the workshop with Geppetto, Jiminy Cricket, and little Pinocchio did not last long. David and Snow were king and queen by then. Their kingdom-wide marriage celebration happened near the same time as the marriage of Ella and Prince Thomas. Yet darkness came into those marriages. At Snow White’s wedding, the evil queen who had formerly reigned appeared, vowing her revenge. Also, after Ella became pregnant, she feared for her baby. The condition of her going to the ball that night had been to give Rumpelstiltskin her firstborn. With King David’s and Queen Snow’s help, Ella managed to temporarily paralyze Rumpelstiltskin through a magic pen, and he was locked in the most secure dungeon in the Enchanted Forest. That night, Prince Thomas vanished and was nowhere to be found.

            After that, the true fears began. The evil queen had sworn to curse all the Enchanted Forest. In their desperation, David and Snow sought help from Rumpelstiltskin, but he could do nothing against it—and didn’t want to anyway. It was shortly after this that the Blue Fairy unexpectedly arrived at Geppetto’s workshop, imploring his help. Jiminy and Kaelin took Pinocchio upstairs during their discussion to give them privacy, but afterwards, Geppetto told them everything.

            The Blue Fairy had told him that there was a powerful curse coming over the entire kingdom: a curse that would rip away everything they loved. It was too late to stop the curse, but there was a way for it to be broken someday: Snow White was with child, and in her 28th year, that child would be able to break the curse. Yet the child had to be protected from the effects of the curse for this to work.

            In the forest, there was an enchanted tree. Geppetto explained that he had used the wood of a tree like it to carve Pinocchio. This came as a surprise to Kaelin. She had thought he had only used the finest wood he had, but in truth, when Sofia was ill, he had gone out looking for ways to save her. Finding an enchanted tree, he had searched desperately for ways it might be able to heal his wife—the leaves perhaps…the bark…none would work. Finally, he had cut it down and brought the block of wood back to his workshop. The idea had occurred to him to give Sofia a magically-animated, toy puppet: a “son” for her last days. But the thought of puppets sickened him so, he couldn’t do it. It was only after her death that he finally gained the despairing resolution to carve a little boy out of the enchanted wood, but by then, his wishes for it were different and stronger. Thus Pinocchio was born.

            Now there was only one truly enchanted tree left in the Enchanted Forest. The Blue Fairy had told Geppetto that, if he could carve a wardrobe from that tree, the wardrobe could protect the child from the curse. It was their only hope.

 

 

 

 

            The next day, the Blue Fairy returned to show Geppetto the tree. It was a cold day. Geppetto dressed Pinocchio in a faded red cloak, and they headed out, Kaelin on Geppetto’s shoulder and Jiminy fluttering behind Pinocchio. The dry leaves crunched under a thin layer of pure, white snow, but there was also beautiful, green life in the forest.

            As they entered the clearing where the enchanted tree was, the Blue Fairy said, “The evil queen will stop at nothing to destroy Snow White’s and Prince Charming’s happiness. We must stop at nothing to undo her curse.” While she spoke, they all stopped, and Jiminy landed gently on Pinocchio’s shoulder. Not wanting to intrude in on their conversation, Kaelin climbed down Geppetto’s coat and sat on a nearby, rotting stump.

            Geppetto gazed up at the tree in wonder. It was gnarly and twisted, ancient-looking, with dark brown wood. The greenness in the leaves was unbelievably intense, and little, yellow lights floated through the foliage. “It’s beautiful,” he said.

            “This is the last enchanted tree in the entire realm,” the Blue Fairy replied.

            Approaching the tree, Geppetto pressed his hand against it and turned to smile at her. “It can be done. I can make a beautiful wardrobe out of this,” he said warmly.

            “The tree contains enough magic to protect two from the queen’s curse,” the fairy explained. Kaelin noticed with surprise that Geppetto’s smile vanished when she said this. He was watching her intently. “Before the curse strikes,” the fairy went on, “Before Snow gives birth to her child, she and the prince will enter the wardrobe and travel to a distant land…a land without magic…where Snow will give birth to her child.”

            Geppetto looked down, a brooding expression on his face.

            The Blue Fairy went on: “Then, when she reaches her 28th year, she can begin the battle that will defeat the evil queen! You see why it is vital that you complete the task at hand!”

            Moving restlessly over to Pinocchio, Geppetto put his hands on the little boy’s shoulders. “You know, Pinocchio wasn’t always a real boy,” he said anxiously, “Wh-when the curse…strikes…When the things we love are ripped away…He will be turned back into wood again, won’t he?”

            Pinocchio’s eyes widened in fear.

            “I’m afraid it’s impossible to say,” the Blue Fairy replied.

            “Uh—” Jiminy cleared his throat, “You’re, er, frightening the boy.”

            Seeing this, Geppetto hurriedly soothed, “No, no…shh…” He knelt down to Pinocchio’s level, then looked back up at the Blue Fairy. When he spoke, his voice was intense. “I will build your wardrobe.” He paused. “On one condition!” he held up a finger.

            There was a very long moment of silence. Blue did not reply, but watched Geppetto with a solemn, worried expression.

            Turning back to Pinocchio, Geppetto stated his condition: “If Pinocchio can take the second spot in it.”

            The fairy raised her chin, a quietly angry looking coming into her eyes.

            Jiminy buzzed toward Geppetto, gasping, “You can’t barter like this!” As the old man stood up, he landed on his shoulder, speaking in his ear, “Not when the entire realm is in danger!”

            A frightening desperation was coming into Geppetto’s eyes. “If I don’t…I will lose my boy!” There was panic in his voice. “Maybe forever! I—I can’t release…that…Snow can raise the child without her husband!” he finished, speaking quickly.

            Jiminy shook his head and hopped closer to Geppetto’s ear, lowering his voice to a whisper. “You fail to think about the example you’re setting for Pinocchio.”

            Suddenly angry, Geppetto shook him off his shoulder. “Oh, no!”

            Catching himself in midair, Jiminy fluttered back up to face him.

            His voice low with fury, Geppetto said, “You may be a conscience, but you have not earned the right to tell me what to do!”

            But Jiminy’s own conscience would not allow him to give up. As Geppetto tried to walk away, the cricket flew in front of him again. “Please,” he begged, “I’m only trying to help!”

            Geppetto rounded on him abruptly, shouting with a violent gesture, “Help, eh? Help! Like you helped…my parents?!”

            Kaelin gasped, and Jiminy started back in horror. He was silenced.

            Geppetto shook a finger at him. “Your debt to me can never be fulfilled,” he said wrathfully, “But a start would be staying out of this! Understand?”

            Jiminy lowered his head and arms, his antennae drooping. “Yes,” he murmured.

            “Good,” Geppetto said more softly, with a terse nod to him.

            Kaelin staggered back against the stump, too stunned to hear anything more of the exchange between Geppetto and the Blue Fairy. No…she thought, No…After everything…She had believed Geppetto had forgiven Jiminy. Was all that a lie? Your debt to me can never be fulfilled. That didn’t sound like forgiveness. That sounded like a grudge still simmering deep in Geppetto’s heart. It was a grudge that he had always held over Jiminy’s head, wasn’t it? A grudge he had used to control both Jiminy and Kaelin. And Jiminy had had little choice but to be controlled because all he had ever wanted was forgiveness.

            Now—even after they thought everything was forgiven—Geppetto had brought out that old grudge. He had used it against Jiminy, to silence him, and Jiminy had been silenced. Anger boiled up in Kaelin’s chest: a kind of anger she rarely experienced except when it was directed against herself. No. She couldn’t allow Geppetto to crush Jiminy like this, to open up old wounds.

            Realizing they were leaving, Kaelin jumped down from the stump and ran after them. “Wait!” she squeaked with a boldness that surprised her, “Geppetto! I have to talk to you! Stop!”

            Geppetto paused and turned to face her. “It can wait,” he said.

            “No, it can’t!” Kaelin fumed, stamping her hind paw on the frozen ground, “We’ll talk here! Now!”

            Geppetto stared at her unsmilingly for a moment. Pinocchio and Jiminy had stopped to see what was happening. Jerking his head to them, Geppetto ordered, “Jiminy, take Pinocchio home.” Putting a tiny hand on the boy’s shoulder, Jiminy shepherded him away through the woods.

            “So. You want to question my decision too?” Geppetto presumed angrily, as soon as they were out of sight.

            “I thought you had forgiven Jiminy!” Kaelin shouted, ignoring this assumption. Wanting to be more at eye level with him, she scrambled up onto the branch of a sapling and sat there.

            “Did I ever say I’d forgiven him?” Geppetto responded.

            Kaelin started, taken aback. Her head whirled so that she had to cling to the branch to keep her balance. “Y-you mean…?” But, then, what about when Geppetto had let Jiminy become Pinocchio’s conscience? What about when he had helped them save Jiminy’s life? “You couldn’t still hate him?”

            “That is my business,” Geppetto returned, pointing a shaking finger at himself.

            “No! You have to forgive him!” Kaelin cried, “After everything he’s done to redeem himself—”

            “He’s done nothing but force himself on me, all my life!”

            “That’s not fair! He’s done a lot to help you! You should think about his feelings too!”

            “Oh, stop it!” Geppetto scoffed in disgust, “Stop talking to me about him. He’s the only one you’ve ever…really cared about, is that right?”

            Kaelin’s eyes widened, a pain shooting through her heart. Was he attacking her now? Was this really how he felt? For a second, she was speechless. “No…that’s not…” she whispered.

            “It was never about me, was it?” Geppetto went on, “It’s always been about him! Even when you first made friends with me in the orphanage, it wasn’t for my sake. It was because you knew he was looking for me! The moment he turned up, you left me!”

            The pain in Kaelin’s heart grew, threatening to tear it in two. She opened her mouth to say that wasn’t true, but found that she couldn’t. Instead, she repeated, “That’s not fair…” Her voice faltered. “I care about you too…”

            “If you truly care about me,” Geppetto told her in a low, shaking voice, “You will let me protect my boy. He’s all I have left.”

            Kaelin nodded, lowering her eyes. Now she was silenced as well.

 

 

 

 

            With both Jiminy and Kaelin unable to say a word against him, Geppetto went through with his plan. When the curse was coming, he prepared to put Pinocchio inside the wardrobe he had built from the enchanted tree. Even after hearing that Snow’s baby had come early, he still decided to protect Pinocchio first, charging the little boy with the heavy responsibility of taking care of the savior. After a hurried, tearful goodbye and a reminder from Jiminy to remain brave, truthful, and unselfish, Pinocchio climbed into the wardrobe. Geppetto paused, taking one last, long look at him, then pressed the wardrobe’s doors closed.

            When he opened the wardrobe again, Pinocchio was gone.

            Before anyone else came into the castle nursery where the wardrobe was, Geppetto, Jiminy, and Kaelin left. They were still in the castle when the dark, billowing clouds of the curse swept over them.

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