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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5. Storybrooke

 

            Storybrooke was in an uproar. Everywhere, people were muttering and gossiping about how the schoolteacher, Mary Margaret, had had an affair with somebody else’s husband. Bridget didn’t know the guy they were talking about, but she did know Mary Margaret, who had taught her in elementary school. It made Bridget angry. Maybe the rumors were true, but she hated the character assassination nonetheless. No one should be this reviled, even if they’d made an awful mistake. Whenever people started gossiping about Mary Margaret around Bridget, she would try to find a way to quietly leave the room or at least stare silently down at her hands.

            She didn’t speak up, though. Of course, she never spoke up about anything. She was always too nervous, or awkward, or whatever it was that prevented her from doing anything right.

            By the time she came to her next therapy session with Dr. Hopper, then, she had thought of a few specific situations where she felt she’d failed, but she wasn’t sure if she wanted to tell him. What if he hated Mary Margaret too? Bridget had written down a few situations that didn’t have anything to do with speaking up about Mary Margaret, but she hadn’t written down anything about her silence in the face of those rumors.

            Sister Astrid escorted Bridget to the door of Dr. Hopper’s office this time. Bridget liked Sister Astrid, who was a lot like her in some ways but who also had some character traits that Bridget desperately wished she had. Although Bridget greatly admired people who always seemed to know what they were doing, she was a bit intimidated by them because she never felt like she knew what she was doing. But Sister Astrid was different. Bridget could both admire her and feel comfortable around her at the same time, and she even felt that they were good friends.

            “Well, have a nice time,” Sister Astrid sang with a bright smile. She waved quickly, then tripped away down the hall, humming to herself. Bridget waved to her, then turned toward the door, that irrational anxiety about knocking consuming her again. Holding her breath, she forced herself to tap lightly on the white-painted door with her fist.

            For an instant, she felt proud of herself for having succeeded at this small task. Then, when the doorknob turned, she felt a wave of anxiety. Yet when she saw Dr. Hopper, she involuntarily smiled, but probably looked terribly confused, all happy to see him and anxious and brave at the same time.

            Why did simply knocking on a door have to be such an ordeal?

            “You look cheerful today,” Dr. Hopper observed, inviting her to come in and sit on the couch.

            Oh, so I look cheerful? Bridget thought. She could tell her confusion was registering on her face, but she guessed maybe Dr. Hopper was ignoring it to make her feel better. “Well, I came with Sister Astrid today,” she explained, taking her place on the couch, but not relaxing on it because she rarely did relax, “She’s my best friend.” Dr. Hopper sat down in his chair, resting his forearms on his knees and clasping his hands together.

            “Oh? What’s she like?” he invited her to share more.

            Bridget recognized this technique because she liked psychology and had read up on it a bit, but she wanted to talk about Sister Astrid anyway. “I just look up to her a lot,” she said, “She’s, well, she’s a bit clumsy and makes a lot of silly mistakes, like me, but she never loses her enthusiasm, and she always says you can do anything you can dream.”

            “Do you agree with her?”

            Bridget looked down at her hands. “I wish I could, but I don’t. You can dream and dream something but still never make it.”

            “You sound like you’ve had a bad experience with that,” Dr. Hopper observed.

            “I feel like I do, but I don’t think I could name anything specifically,” Bridget admitted, “Sorry to be so unhelpful.”

            “It’s not unhelpful,” Dr. Hopper put in quickly, “Part of what we need to do here may be to discover what that bad experience was that’s dragging you down.”

            Bridget laughed a little. “Wouldn’t that be nice, if all this could just be pinned to a bad experience?”

            “Well, perhaps not all of it.” Dr. Hopper smiled, making the little creases appear in his cheeks.

               “Anyway, sometimes I just wish I could be more like Sister Astrid,” Bridget said.

            Dr. Hopper seemed to be waiting for her to say more, but when she didn’t, he prompted her: “In what ways, specifically, do you want to be like her?”

            “Well, she’s never afraid to try to do things, even though she keeps making mistakes,” Bridget replied thoughtfully, “And…she doesn’t stay guilty for too long, I suppose. I know she feels bad about her mistakes, but I don’t think she’s as terribly ashamed of them as I am. When I cause an inconvenience or something worse to someone because of what I’ve done, I’m always so ashamed. I can’t help it. I just keep thinking about what I should have done, and how selfish I was being, and part of me feels it would be wrong not to feel bad about having caused someone that much trouble.”

            Dr. Hopper nodded. There was a thoughtful look in his eyes as though he was carefully considering what she was saying. “But you don’t think it’s wrong for Sister Astrid to…let go of her mistakes?”

            “Not at all—and I would like to be like her, as I said, but I can’t seem to get around this.”

            “Last week, you seemed to want to stop making mistakes.”

            “Yes, well, I want to stop being so troublesome to everyone, and I think that my lingering guilt over what I’ve done wrong in the past is making me nervous, and that makes me mess up all the more. I recognize that—you don’t have to psycho-analyze it out of me—but I just can’t seem to get over it. I keep telling myself I should just get over it, but I can’t!”

            Dr. Hopper had chuckled a bit when she said “psycho-analyze”, but now his expression was serious. “Would it be fair to say that what you really want is an attitude change?” he guessed.

            “I don’t have a bad attitude!” Bridget exclaimed, “I really want to work hard and do well, but—”

            Realizing that he had used the wrong word, Dr. Hopper backed off. “No-no, I didn’t mean to imply you have a bad attitude,” he assured her hurriedly, “I only used that word to contrast doing with feeling. You’re going to keep making mistakes—everyone does—but if you’re positive about it like Sister Astrid, you’ll be able to move forward. You won’t be crippled.”

            “I know everyone makes mistakes, but I’m much worse than average,” Bridget argued.

            “I haven’t found any reason to believe that,” Dr. Hopper returned.

            “You haven’t seen me in real life.”

            “I think…this would be a good time for you to share with me some of the specific mistakes you’ve made that caused you to feel bad,” Dr. Hopper said gently, “Did you remember to write some of them down?”

            Bridget nodded. She had her spiral-bound, black notebook with her. Glancing at Dr. Hopper for a cue that it was time to open it, she did, and flipped to a page where she had described one of her failures that week. For a moment, she looked at it, then suddenly felt overwhelmingly ashamed at it. The job she had forgotten to do…Sister Nina’s frustration…Sister Beth quietly doing the work for her…her intention to apologize to Sister Beth and the way she had chickened out at the last minute…

            “Oh, this one isn’t very important,” she mumbled, turning the page hurriedly. She didn’t know how she could bring herself to talk about it. Then she saw what the other one was. She had been beating herself up over this one all week. She should have known what to do, but she didn’t, and she ended up doing nothing but standing there in paralyzing nervousness. She had caused a lot of trouble for everyone. “Th-this one doesn’t really matter either,” she stammered, “Maybe next week—”

            “It seems to matter to you, so I would say it is important,” Dr. Hopper said, “Bridget, do you remember what I told you? You don’t have to be afraid to tell me anything.”

            “I…it’s really awful, though,” Bridget said, feeling more like she was here to confess than to get help.

            “I’m not here to judge you.”

            Taking a deep breath, Bridget turned back to the first page and read both stories to him. It was easier to read them aloud because she could almost pretend she was reading someone else’s story instead of something she had done. Dr. Hopper listened in silence the whole time, and when she was done, she braced herself and looked up at him.

            “Those things really bother you, then,” he observed.

            Bridget nodded.

            “Now, I don’t mean to lessen the importance of them by saying this, but it doesn’t seem to me that—that they caused any great harm.”

            “But others had to do more work because of me. They were annoyed.”

            “Did that really hurt them so much? Bridget, I’d like you to consider the possibility that some of your fears may come from how you think other people see you. Do you believe anyone is still bothered by having had to do a little extra work?”

            “No, but…I should have been able to do it. It was what I was supposed to do.”

            Dr. Hopper nodded. “You have a strong sense of duty.”

            “What a nice way to put it,” Bridget remarked with a sarcastic half-smile.

            “It’s very normal for people to have to make up for others’ mistakes—that’s just a fact of life,” Dr. Hopper assured her, “Can you think of a time when you had to do extra work because someone else forgot to do something or couldn’t do it?”

            Bridget thought for a moment, then nodded, finding it surprisingly easy to recall a few examples.

            “Were you very bothered by it?”

            “No, not at all.”

            “Then there’s no reason for you to assume that other people consider it a terrible burden to have to smooth over your mistakes,” Dr. Hopper pointed out, “And even if they do get easily annoyed about that sort of thing, that’s for them to deal with; it’s not your fault.”

            Bridget nodded, thinking he made a good point, but it didn’t quite cut it. She wanted to change the subject. “Can I tell you about my dreams now?” she asked, brightening up a little. Over the week, she had discovered that she was actually quite eager to tell him about her dreams. She hadn’t ever really talked with anyone about them.

            “Of course,” Dr. Hopper said.

            “Well, last night, I dreamed I was riding a beautiful horse,” Bridget began eagerly, “The horse seemed really big, but I think I might have been small in the dream because everything else seemed a bit big too. The horse’s fur was pure white, and its mane was orange, and we were galloping across a moorland or something at night. I remember it was night because I was noticing how beautiful the stars were. There’s not much else I remember about it now, though.”

            “It sounds beautiful,” Dr. Hopper said, smiling warmly.

            “I have this recurring dream too,” Bridget said, “In which I’m trying to climb a rainbow, but for every step I take, I seem to slide two steps backward.”

            “That must be frustrating,” Dr. Hopper remarked, “It could be your subconscious mind processing how you feel about your mistakes.”

            “Well, that’s what’s strange about it,” Bridget replied, “Because I don’t feel frustrated when I’m climbing the rainbow. I feel hopeful and determined, and I’m eager to reach what’s at the top. I love that dream because it’s so different from how I usually feel. And the stars seem so close in that one.”

            “In that case, I believe it’s good that you keep thinking about it. Let it encourage you.”

            “Do you remember the talking cricket I told you about last week?” Bridget asked, a little shyly.

            “How could I forget about him?” Dr. Hopper chuckled.

            “Well, he’s in a lot of my dreams. In my dream about the rainbow, he’s usually riding on my shoulder. He has a little, black coat and a little umbrella, and he’s very nice. I like him a lot. And, he even has a name, too.”

            “What’s his name?”

            “Archie.”

            Dr. Hopper frowned suddenly, then twitched his head slightly with a scoff of bemusement. “Archie?”

            “Sorry if you don’t like it,” Bridget returned defensively.

            “No, it’s…not that. It’s just that…that’s my name.” Dr. Hopper said with a bewildered smile.

            “You mean your first name is Archie?”

            “Yes—you didn’t know that?”

            “Not at all.”

            “Well, then, maybe you saw my nametag on the desk, but didn’t consciously notice it. My name could have subconsciously entered your dreams, and—”

            “No, the cricket has always been named Archie,” Bridget interrupted him, “Long before I ever met you.”

            “Well, then, it’s just an interesting coincidence,” Archie laughed. 

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