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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13. Storybrooke

            The first week was hard. The Sisters had given Bridget two-hundred dollars to spend on food, but she knew she would have to find a way to make money sooner or later, before it ran out. Somehow, Bridget seemed to have an instinctive knowledge of how to string out her savings as long as possible. She didn’t spend a single cent on unnecessary luxuries: she had plain soap, plain toothpaste, and plain food, the cheapest of everything. Wherever she had to go, she walked. Storybrooke wasn’t too big. The walk from her apartment to the school wasn’t too far, and her walk from the school to Mr. Gold’s mansion wasn’t too far either. It was the thought of walking back to her apartment at night that frightened her.

            Once she started it, the task of cleaning Mr. Gold’s entire mansion in a week seemed to grow to immense proportions. All of his possessions needed to be dusted, all his carpets vacuumed, all his floors swept, and all his bathrooms scrubbed. Bridget began to feel annoyed that a single man would need such a huge house—and need it so meticulously clean all the time—particularly when he was never there. He stayed in his pawn shop all day and only used the mansion at night. The few times he was there while Bridget was cleaning, she did her best to stay out of his way. She sensed that he noticed, and it amused him.

            If anyone asked her where she was going after school, Bridget’s reply was that she had a job as a cleaning lady. That was perfectly true, but it also put the implication in people’s minds that she was getting paid for it. Usually, they wouldn’t ask too many questions after that, but if pressed, Bridget would tell them she cleaned Mr. Gold’s mansion. She usually didn’t like to get to that point, though.

            On Sunday, the day after her appointment with Archie, Bridget spent a great portion of the day cleaning Mr. Gold’s mansion. The more she could get done over the weekend, the less she would have to do on school days, though she didn’t yet know exactly how long it would all take her. On Monday, she went to the grocery store right after school and happened to meet Archie there. Through persistent questioning, he discovered that she had walked home alone the night before, halfway across town.

            “No. That’s not acceptable,” Archie said with finality, “It’s too dangerous. When will you be done tonight?”     

            “I suppose I’ll shoot for 7:00,” Bridget replied, “I’m still not sure how long I’ll need.”

            “I’ll come pick you up then,” Archie told her, “I’ll drive you home.”

            “You don’t have to do that…”

            “I want to. Besides, it’s no trouble for me, and I’d rather take a short drive every night with you than sit at home worrying about you.”

            For some reason, these words caused a certain warmth to rise in Bridget’s cheeks, and she smiled. Something about this kind of protectiveness was endearing. Though there was an inkling of doubt in Bridget’s mind about how he wouldn’t be worrying at all if she wasn’t doing this, maybe it was better this way. “Thank you,” she said.

            The next day, Bridget did as much homework as she could during study hall at school. She usually got good grades and didn’t want them to drop, because the teachers might ask questions. Bridget had always been good at academics: it was the practical things that gave her trouble. After school, she packed up her backpack and walked straight out to Mr. Gold’s mansion. Leaving her backpack in the entrance hall, she went on upstairs to dust and vacuum some more bedrooms.

          Dusting was really the most time-consuming task. As she worked, Bridget actually began to feel more encouraged. Each individual task didn’t take too long. Once she got into the rhythm of things, she could probably finish in less than a week.

          By 7:00, the sun was setting, so Bridget put away the cleaning supplies, picked up her backpack, and looked for Archie through the tall, narrow window by the door. A brownish-maroon car pulled up outside, but Bridget watched to make sure it was Archie and not Mr. Gold before she went out.

            “Thank you again,” she said breathlessly, climbing into the passenger’s seat.

            “How’s the work going?” Archie asked as he steered the car away from the mansion.

            “Quite well, actually,” Bridget replied, “I think I’ll be able to finish in less than a week, or with less work each day. I might even have time to fit in a part-time job.”

            “I don’t want you to do that; you’ll wear yourself out,” Archie said, glancing over at her.

            “I might have to,” Bridget pointed out.

            Archie nodded reluctantly.

            There was an awkward silence.

            “Anyway, I kind of like this sort of work,” Bridget remarked, trying to lighten the mood, “I can think while I’m doing it, and sing.”

            “You sing while you work? Sounds like Snow White,” Archie laughed.

            Bridget grinned.

            “And you think you can’t do anything,” he scoffed.

            “Well, anyone can clean house.”

            “Are you so sure about that?”

            “I’m pretty sure…”

            “What is it you’re really so worried about?” he challenged, “Are you afraid of being below average? Or of not being good at everything? Or of being inexperienced?”

            “I’ve told you, I don’t like being troublesome to people,” Bridget replied, “And I’m afraid that, even after I’ve had experience, I won’t really improve.” Even as she said these words, they started to sound silly.

            “I still have not seen any evidence that you’re more troublesome than anyone else in the world,” Archie declared. He seemed to be in a good mood. “Also,” he added, “Everyone gets better with experience, and you’re no exception. You have no reason to think you would be an exception.”

            “Actually…” Bridget’s voice trailed off. She felt as if she had a reason to think so, but she couldn’t place it specifically. Falling silent, she looked out the window. This wasn’t an awkward silence, but a peaceful one. It was the kind of silence that gave the moment a deeper quality than if words had been spoken. Bridget looked over at Archie’s face for a while, illuminated unevenly by the passing cars and streetlights. Then she realized she was staring and looked away hurriedly. He didn’t seem to have noticed.

            Before long, they were at Bridget’s apartment. Archie pulled up to the curb and let her get out. As she opened the car door, he presumed, “Same time tomorrow?”

            Bridget looked over at him with a smile. “Yep!” she replied.

            Archie smiled back, and there was a nostalgic affection in his smile that surprised her. Suddenly flustered, she got out of the car quickly with a hurried good-bye and went inside.

 

 

 

 

            On Tuesday, Archie drove Bridget home again after sunset. On Wednesday, however, she found him waiting for her outside her school. There was a troubled expression on his face, and it made her nervous. He took a deep breath. “Bridget, we—we need to talk,” he said, “Somewhere private.”

            That made Bridget even more uncertain, but she led him over to a tree in the school courtyard where they were mostly out of earshot. Putting his hands in his pockets, he looked around, met her eyes, and then spoke to her: “We have to discontinue our counseling sessions,” he said.

            “Wha—Can the Sisters not afford it anymore?” Bridget gasped in dismay. She knew Mother Superior had intended to provide her with counseling until the next spring, to help her prepare for and deal with living on her own, but perhaps something had come up and they weren’t able to do it anymore.

            Archie looked to the side and paused briefly before saying, “No, i-it’s not a matter of expenses…” he sounded like he was forcing the words out, “Bridget, please understand. In this job, I have to remain professional, and…if I believe I am…failing to do that…” he took a short breath, “Well then, it’s my responsibility to have my patient transfer to another psychologist.” He spoke the last sentence very rapidly, finishing it with a quick nod.

            Bridget didn’t understand. “What do you mean?”

            “I mean our relationship is at risk of becoming unprofessional,” Archie said, “I-in fact, I think it already has, and as a result, I cannot go on being your psychologist.”

            “Wait, you mean—” Bridget felt herself blush to the tips of her ears, and she desperately hoped he wasn’t saying what she thought he was saying, “We—we haven’t done anything!”

            “You mean you think of me just as your counselor? Nothing else?”

            Bridget couldn’t answer that. “Well, I…I…” she tried to change the focus, “I still don’t understand why we can’t go on with the counseling.”

            “There’s a risk of it becoming unprofessional,” Archie repeated gruffly.

            “No—that’s not enough for me,” Bridget pleaded, blinking away tears, “I don’t want any other psychologist! You’ve done so much for me!”

            “Bridget…” Archie sighed deeply, “Do…do you know why I didn’t have the money to pay rent this week?”

            Bridget shook her head.

            “A-all of my savings had just been torn from me in a…a harrowing lawsuit,” he replied, and Bridget thought she saw the glisten of tears in his own eyes, “A lawsuit against me…as a psychologist.”

            “For being, uh, unprofessional?” Bridget mumbled apprehensively.

            “No! Good heavens, no,” Archie said quickly, “It was a different kind of matter, but I lost everything. In my profession, there’s a confidentiality requirement, but I can tell you this much: a teenage boy I was treating…committed suicide…a-and his parents blamed me.” He spoke in a matter-of-fact way that suppressed a wealth of heartbreak.

            Bridget’s hand flew to her mouth. “I’m sorry.”

            “I still wonder if I made a mistake,” Archie went on, his voice cracking slightly, “And likely I did, because…the parents won the lawsuit. Well, maybe they won because Mr. Gold was their lawyer. But, in any case, that’s…why…I can’t afford to make another mistake.”

            “You mean you’re leaving me because you’re scared of a lawsuit?” Bridget asked with betrayal in her voice.

            “No, but as a psychologist, I’m responsible for keeping a certain distance between myself and my patients—for their own protection, and…Frankly, Bridget, I’ve come to see that my feelings at this time put me in severe danger of being unable to keep that distance.”

            Bridget was speechless for a long moment, stunned by what he was implying. Finally, she managed to force out: “B-but we will be able to see each other again, won’t we? You’ll still come pick me up from Mr. Gold’s?”

            Archie shook his head. “No, I think we’ll have to cut off contact entirely, for your sake. I know you won’t understand, but it’s what I have to do. Try not to walk home after dark anymore, if you can avoid it, or get one of the nuns to drive you home. I’ll pay the rent on your apartment—I’ll be able to manage that. If you still want to have counselling services, I’ll refer you to another psychologist and tell the Sisters that you requested a female counselor because you’re more comfortable around women. That will make sense to them, since you grew up in a nunnery, so they probably won’t ask further.”

            “No, I don’t want counseling at all if it’s not from you,” Bridget muttered, “Waste of time. They shouldn’t have to pay for it.”

            Archie nodded with understanding. “That’s exactly why I have to go now,” he said, “Goodbye, Bridget.” He turned and walked away.

            Something of that old, frustrating fear in Bridget prevented her from saying anything more or calling after him. She sat down against the tree, pulled her knees up to her chest, and cried silently into her skirt.

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