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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9. Storybrooke

            The morning after Bridget spoke with Mr. Gold, she went to Granny’s Diner. It was Sunday. Stopping at the door, she took a deep breath and forced herself to step inside. What she was about to do was exactly the sort of thing she was terrible at, but she had to force herself to do it, if that was at all possible. For several minutes, she stood awkwardly beside the door, watching Granny bustling around behind the counter. Granny looked so busy. How could she interrupt her?

            Finally, the waitress, Ruby, walked over to her. Ruby was a tall girl, not much older than Bridget, and she wore a white and red tank top that showed her belly button and a short, white skirt. Her lips were painted bright red, and there were red extensions in her dark hair. “Are you looking for somewhere to sit, or what?” she asked, putting a hand on her hip.

            Sensing that Ruby was annoyed with her, Bridget became even more anxious. “I want to talk to Granny,” she whispered.

            “What?” Ruby said. The diner was already noisy with people stopping in for their morning coffee.

            Bridget tried to raise her voice. “I want to talk to Granny,” she repeated, sounding far too loud in her own ears.

            “Well, then, go talk to Granny,” Ruby snapped. She went back to work.

            Bridget had kind of hoped Ruby would tell Granny she wanted to talk to her, but since Ruby hadn’t offered to do so, she was too afraid to ask. Still, that short conversation had been enough for Bridget to feel introduced into the diner, so she was able to walk up to the counter.

            “Excuse me,” she mumbled, almost as if she was testing her voice. Granny would never hear that. Bridget watched Granny, trying to wait for an opportune moment to get her attention. Maybe if Granny happened to look over at her or…

            “Excuse me!” Bridget called, then felt like she had probably spoken at exactly the wrong moment. Granny had just picked up a folder and was about to carry it into the kitchen.

            Slamming down the folder again, Granny turned to her. “Yes?” she said briskly.

            “I—I need a job,” Bridget stammered.

            “I’ll get you an application,” Granny said.

            “No, I—need it right away. And I need to…um…” Bridget knew she had to ask if she could be paid this week, but it suddenly seemed so insolent that she couldn’t get the words out.

            “That’s not how this place works,” Granny replied shortly. She made to turn back to the folder.

            “No—wait—I’m in trouble with Mr. Gold,” Bridget blurted out.

            Granny faced her again, frowning over her spectacles at her. “What, a sweet girl like you?”

            “Please help me,” Bridget begged.

            With a sigh, Granny gestured for Bridget to follow her. “All right, let’s go talk some place quiet,” she said.

            Bridget went with her into the office. Granny sat down behind the desk then nodded for Bridget to take a seat as well. Bridget sat abruptly.

            “So what is it?” Granny asked.

            “Mr. Gold needs one-hundred dollars by the end of this week,” Bridget explained.

            “From you?”

            Bridget nodded. She hated lying, even with gestures, but she certainly couldn’t explain that she was trying to pay Dr. Hopper’s rent for him. Bridget felt that Dr. Hopper could very well not be able to scrape up enough money in the short time given him, so she wanted to have a backup plan for him. After everything she had done to rescue him from being evicted last night, she didn’t want it to happen to him a week later anyway.

            “Even if I did hire you on such short notice, the pay period doesn’t even end this week,” Granny pointed out.

            “I know, but…I don’t know what else to do,” Bridget said softly.

            “There’s tax forms, and background checks, and all sorts of legal processes involved in hiring someone. This isn’t the 19th century anymore.”

            Bridget nodded helplessly.

            Granny frowned at her for a few moments, then unexpectedly sighed. “Oh, y’poor thing. Tell you what. I could use a dish-washer. Take a load off Ruby’s back for a while. If it’s only for a week, I might even be able to avoid hiring you formally. We’ll call it volunteer work, all right? If you’ll wash dishes for five days straight and come here directly after school, I’ll give you one-hundred dollars cash on the evening of the fifth day. Not as a payment, mind you—it’ll be a little thank-you gift. I’ll give it to you out of my own pocket so we won’t have to file taxes on it. How’s that?”

            Bridget looked up with a huge smile. “I don’t know how to thank you, ma’am. That’s…wonderful.”

            “Good. Get on back to the kitchen and start scrubbing.” With that, Granny bustled back out to attend to the customers.

            Bridget jumped to the task. She found the kitchen, found the sink, and immediately started washing the coffee cups and plates that Ruby brought in. She was relieved to have gotten the job, but she was equally relieved that she didn’t have to do any waitressing. Bridget knew how to wash dishes. She didn’t know how to interact with people. And waitressing involved a lot of interacting with people, including angry people. Yes, a week of washing dishes wouldn’t be so bad. It might even be fun.

 

 

 

 

            Bridget told most of the Sisters of Saint Meissa simply that she had gotten a job, and they were happy for her, but she told Sister Astrid everything. Bridget never kept secrets from Sister Astrid. This one she was rather afraid to tell because she expected her to react in horror, but instead Astrid seemed impressed.

            “He’ll appreciate it,” she said confidently. They were sitting on the bed in Bridget’s small room, half an hour before the nuns’ strict bedtime. “Even if he’s upset now, it just means he’s worried about you. He’ll appreciate it later.”

            “I hope so,” Bridget said.

            “Remember what happened on Miner’s Day?” Astrid asked, and Bridget nodded. Sister Astrid shared everything with her too. “When I accidentally bought all that helium, I was sure Mr. Gold was going to evict us and we’d have to leave Storybrooke, but Leroy found a way to sell all the candles and pay our rent. I still don’t know how he did it, but it must’ve been very hard for him, just like what you’re doing is very hard. I really, really appreciate what Leroy did, so I’m sure Archie will appreciate what you’re doing too.”

            “I’m scared of Mr. Gold,” Bridget admitted, “I don’t know how I’m going to get through this.”

            “You’ll make it,” Sister Astrid declared, “It might not look like it now, but this is just one step toward achieving your dream.”

            “I don’t even know what my dream is,” Bridget told her with a wry smile.

            “You’ll discover it,” Astrid said serenely, “You’ll know it when you see it. It will be like True North.”

            They sat in silence for a while as Bridget thought about this, and Astrid glanced over at the clock. Then she leaned over and excitedly whispered, “I want to know what you’re thinking about Archie.”

            “Wh-what do you mean?” Bridget stammered.

            “You knowww…”

            “I don’t know if I really should…”

            “Come on, he must be really special if you’re willing to go this far for him, and you’re not a nun, so it’s okay if you like him.” Astrid bounced a bit on her knees like a junior high girl at a sleepover.

            Bridget felt herself blush. “He’s my psychologist.”

            “Yeah, but it sounds like he’s really sweet. And he’s single. And he’s not too old, I guess.”

            “S-stop it. I don’t like him. I mean, not like like, just…” She trailed off, unsure what to say. It would definitely be taboo for her to have a crush on her psychologist, whatever Sister Astrid said, but she still couldn’t shake the feeling that she knew him from somewhere else. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t think where, but he had seemed familiar since the day she met him. That was why she liked him so much—not like like, though.

            “Well, let me know if you ever do,” Sister Astrid said, pouting a bit. Then she brightened up. “I should be getting to bed, but remember—don’t worry about anything. I know you’ll be fine.”

            “Thanks, Sister Astrid,” Bridget said with a shy smile, “Goodnight.”

 

 

 

 

            On the morning of her 18th birthday, Bridget found her way to Mr. Gold’s house. She had looked up his address in a phone book, but even after that, she still had very little idea of what the address actually meant in practical terms. In the end, she left the nunnery very early to give herself plenty of time, and she asked a few people for directions along the way. Asking for directions was a harrowing ordeal, but she didn’t have a choice.

            The thought of knocking on Mr. Gold’s door was far, far more terrifying than knocking on Dr. Hopper’s door. Fortunately, Bridget didn’t have to because, just as she was arriving, Mr. Gold opened the door. “Ah, you’re here…” he said, “Come in.” He held the door for her, and Bridget went inside, hoping that her shaking wasn’t too visible.

            Granny had given her the one-hundred dollars cash the night before, and she had it in her pocket. She wondered if there was a way to subtly find out if Dr. Hopper had been able to pay the rest of his rent, but she knew that would make it too obvious that she was intending to pay it herself. She would take a little risk.

            “D-Dr. Hopper sent the rest of his rent with me—to give to you,” she lied terribly, pulling the five twenty-dollar bills out of her pocket.

            Mr. Gold have her a half-smile which very distinctly said, “That’s adorable, but I’ll play along”. He took the money from her and pocketed it. “Thank you,” he said softly, “I’ll call Dr. Hopper and let him know I’ve received it.” Stepping over to a phone on wall, he dialed and brought it to his ear. After a pause, he began to speak: “Yes…Dr. Hopper? This is Mr. Gold. Oh—no, not at all. In fact, I was just calling to let you know that I’ve received your payment, and I won’t be needing anything more. Thank you.”

            There was a long pause, and from Gold’s expectant expression, Bridget could tell that it was silent on the other end. Then, Archie’s angry shout suddenly broke from the phone, loud enough for Bridget to hear: “Gold! What have you—”

            Mr. Gold hung up.

            Then he turned to Bridget, holding his cane in front of him so that it looked like a third leg. “Shall I show you around the house now?”

            “Yes, sir,” Bridget replied. Now that she was working for him, she would have to be as respectful as possible.

            Mr. Gold led her on a tour of the house, explaining to her what cleaning tasks he needed her to get done each week. He didn’t care what order she did them in, as long as they were all completed every week and done well. He showed her where the cleaning supplies where and where she should write it down if she needed a new bottle of some cleaning substance. By the end of the tour, Bridget was relieved to find that she actually felt quite oriented. It was rare for her to feel this oriented.

            However, she did have one question which concerned her deeply. “Will I be able to keep going to school?” she asked cautiously as Mr. Gold headed to the door to go to his pawn shop.

            “Well, that depends on you,” Mr. Gold replied, “If you can get everything done in your time out of school, then it doesn’t matter to me if you keep attending.”

            “Yes, sir,” Bridget said.

            Mr. Gold gave her one more, dry smile, then went away. Bridget relaxed a little, but her heart sank at the thought of the task before her. Mr. Gold lived in a big mansion. There was a lot to do. And although Bridget had done plenty of cleaning at the nunnery and knew how to do it, she wasn’t sure if she could meet Gold’s standard. She was afraid to even guess what would happen if Mr. Gold found her work unsatisfactory. This anxiety was almost too much for her to bear.

            Then, on top of all that, Bridget had to move out of the nunnery today. Out of compassion, the Sisters had provided her with the first month of rent on a small apartment in one corner of town, but after that, she would have to figure out how to take care of herself. The Sisters of Saint Meissa were too poor to support her when she could no longer stay with them.

            Bridget’s few possessions were already packed, so she could probably afford to stay and clean for a few hours. She would have to figure out pretty quickly how long it took her to clean this whole mansion. With a sigh, she went to the closet and took out a broom. 

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