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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11. Storybrooke

 

            After a very exhausting day of moving and cleaning, Bridget arrived at Dr. Hopper’s office with Mother Superior in the late afternoon. All that day, her mind had been completely occupied with how Archie would react to what she had done, and she had only grown more apprehensive as her appointment drew nearer. Now, standing in front of his door, she could only do her best to hide her anxiety, and knock.

            Archie swung open the door rather swiftly, glanced from Bridget to Mother Superior with a short smile and nod, then stepped to one side to let Bridget in. Taking her leave of Mother Superior, Bridget went inside and sat down on the couch with her head lowered. She felt like she was at the principal’s office.

            She reminded herself again of Sister Astrid’s words: He’ll appreciate it. He may be upset now, but he’ll appreciate it…

            Archie did not sit down. Putting his hands in his pockets, he lifted his chin slightly and spoke briskly: “Bridget, today there’s something that I would like to talk to you about first.”

            Bridget nodded slightly, unable to come up with any words.

            “What did Mr. Gold tell you to do?” Archie asked directly. There wasn’t any anger in his voice yet, but the tension in the room could be cut with a knife.

            “I’m…” the answer was stuck in Bridget’s throat, “…I’m to…work for him for a year in exchange for the extension he gave you for your rent.”

            “Did he ask you to pay it too?”

            “No, sir, I did that myself,” Bridget mumbled.

            “I told you not to make a deal with him.” Archie’s chin twitched, and he blinked rapidly a few times. “I told you I would figure it out myself.”

            “I know. I’m sorry,” Bridget mumbled, ashamed.

            “You’re sorry?” Archie cried, his voice rising to a shout, “Bridget, th-this is ridiculous! This is way beyond ridiculous! I never asked for any of this! And now you—you’re like a bondservant to him! For my sake! This is worse than being evicted!”

            “I…only wanted to help you…” Bridget faltered.

            “Why? Why me? You’re a fool, Bridget!” He turned away, took a few stumbling steps with his hand pressed over his mouth, then suddenly came and sat beside her on the couch. With his arms on his knees, he held his hands palm-up and shook them imploringly. “I-I don’t deserve this!” he choked out, and Bridget could see the tears in his eyes.

            “I thought—”

            “You should have thought better!” Archie stood up abruptly, angry again.

            “I’m sorry,” Bridget repeated quietly. She had spent all that day imagining what she would say to him, but now she couldn’t remember any of it. All she could do was apologize.

            “I don’t think you’re really sorry,” Archie scoffed.

            Bridget began to cry helplessly. “No, I’m sorry…I’m sorry…I really am…”

            “Did you think I would be happy about this?!”

            “No, but…do you really think it’s worse than being evicted? I didn’t do it for me; I did it for you, so if this is even worse for you, I…” she covered her face with her hands, “I’m really sorry! A-all this week, I thought I was doing something good, I was working hard…toward a goal. I even felt determined and hopeful, like in my dreams…but…now? I’m just ashamed! I shouldn’t have done it! I shouldn’t have done this to you! I’m sorry!” Unable to restrain herself, she sobbed all the more. Sister Astrid’s encouraging words to her were forgotten, and she was sure she had made the biggest mistake of her life.

            As Bridget wept, ashamed even of her tears, there was a long silence. She didn’t look up, afraid of meeting Archie’s eyes, but at least he wasn’t shouting at her anymore. Then, unexpectedly, the couch moved, and Bridget felt an arm around her shoulders. Instinctively, she turned and buried her face in Archie’s chest, soaking his patterned sweater-vest with her tears.

            “I...It’s…really hard for me to accept this…” came Archie’s hesitant, level voice in her ear as she calmed herself, “But…what you did was the most selfless thing you could have done, so it’s not fair of me to…simply reject it. You’re braver than you believe, Bridget. What you did for me was—is—very kind, so…Thank you. It isn’t wrong, but Bridget…” his voice cracked, “Why me?”

            Bridget had stopped crying, but she didn’t want to move away, so she leaned the side of her head against Archie’s shoulder. “I don’t know,” she said, “But I’m grateful to you for some reason.”

            “For doing my job?”

            “I think it runs deeper than that. I just…can’t remember.”

            Archie put his other arm around her and hugged her closer for an instant, pressing his lips to the top of her head. Then he gently made her let go, and they sat side by side on the couch. “What are you going to do now?” he asked, glancing at the floor, then back at her.

            “I’ll clean Mr. Gold’s mansion every week, I guess,” Bridget replied, forcing a shrug because she didn’t want him to see how anxious she was about it.

            “Don’t do that.”

            “Do what?” Bridget said, taken aback, “Clean his mansion?” It seemed awfully dangerous to refuse.

            “No, no—not—not that. I mean, don’t hide how you feel about it. I want to help you now, and this is the only way I can think to do so. How do you feel about working for Mr. Gold?”

            “I’m scared,” Bridget admitted, “Part of me is sure I’ll fail, and I’m afraid of what might happen if I do. I have to do well for him, or he might do something awful, but I’ve never done anything well.”

            “We haven’t agreed that you’ve never done anything well,” Archie pointed out, “And though I can’t say I’m happy that you have to do this, I do believe you can do it. From what I’ve seen, I think you’re a hard worker, and the Sisters say so as well.”

            Bridget looked up in surprise. “I thought they thought I was lazy.”

            “Apparently, that idea comes from you and not from them. What I’m more concerned about, Bridget, is how you’re going to support yourself when you have all that extra work. I know you turned 18 today…have you thought about how you’re going to pay for food and housing?”

            Bridget grinned shyly with an involuntary, nervous laugh. “I’ve thought about it…”

            “…but you haven’t come up with an answer.”

            “Well, I guess I could quit school, do a paid job in the mornings, and work for Mr. Gold in the evenings, but I still don’t know how long it’s going to take me to clean that mansion each week.”

            “No, I don’t want you to quit school. I-I mean, you could, and people do, and you might even be able to support yourself that way, but I feel responsible.”

            “Don’t feel responsible, please. It was my decision.”

            “But I do nonetheless. Here I am, able to keep my house and my job, and because if it, you might lose your apartment and even your chance to complete high school. You’re in your last year, right?”

            “Yes…”

            “How badly do you want to be independent?”

            Bridget blinked away a few unexpected tears. “I don’t really want to be, but I feel like I ought to be,” she admitted.

            “You don’t have to feel an obligation to make your own way. Most girls your age still live at home. It’s only because you were in the foster care system that…you had to move out.”

            “Yeah, but the nuns can’t afford to help me live on my own.”

            “I wasn’t talking about the nuns. I could pay your rent.”

            “Oh, no—please don’t do that. You might not be able to pay your rent then, and if that happens, all my efforts will be wasted!”

            “Bridget…” Archie began, letting out a short breath that sounded like a laugh, “I have a very high-paying job. It wasn’t for lack of income that I fell short on my rent.”

            Bridget frowned. She hadn’t thought of this before, but now she realized it was true. “You didn’t even have one-hundred dollars to pay him in an emergency, which means you don’t even have savings…”

            “Yes, uh—never been very good at managing money,” Archie said cagily, “B-but my point is, if…I’m more careful, I should be able to pay your rent too…”

            “But if you don’t have any savings, then you don’t have any back-up plan right now. How can you be sure you’ll be able to pay extra rent, especially in the first few months?”

            “Now you sound like you’re counseling me,” Archie laughed.

            Bridget was suddenly flustered. “Oh, I—sorry, I—”

            “What’s your housing situation right now?”

            “The Sisters are paying the first month of rent for me on an apartment,” Bridget replied, “It’s $500 a month.”

            Archie nodded slowly. “See, then…I’ll have a month to get back on my feet.”

            “I don’t want you to pay my rent.”

            He gave her a sarcastic smile. “Guess I’ll just have to do it behind your back, then, won’t I?” he teased.

            Bridget let out an embarrassed laugh and lowered her head, actually feeling bad about it. “W-well, if you really want to…” she mumbled.

            “We should maybe think of other options,” Archie said warmly.

            “Oh, have you heard about Mary Margaret?” Bridget asked suddenly. She had been so caught up in her own troubles that week that she had almost forgotten about it, but the rumors had still reached her. The person Mary Margaret was presumed to have murdered had been found alive, and Mary Margaret had been released from prison. “I knew she couldn’t have done it!”

            “Yes, I’ve heard,” Archie replied, “And I’m relieved too, but it’s strange—I don’t know how it could’ve happened. The whole town is talking about it.”

            “I’m just glad she didn’t do it,” Bridget said quietly, “It hurts to find out that someone you trusted has done something awful.”

            “You say that like you have experience with it.”

            “Oh?” Bridget looked up and met his eyes. “I—I don’t think so. But I suppose I worry about that kind of thing a lot.”

            There was a knock from the door, and Archie answered it. One of the nuns had come to pick Bridget up and drive her to her new apartment. Bridget thanked Archie, he nodded with understanding, and she left. 

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