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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17. Storybrooke

            In the days that followed her last talk with Archie, Bridget did her best to accept what her life was like now. She found that, working steadily and going home before sunset each night, she was able to finish her job for Mr. Gold on Wednesday. Knowing this would give her two days a week to work after school, she applied for a part-time job at Granny’s Diner.

           In response to Bridget’s application, Granny regretfully explained that the diner didn’t actually need extra help, and she couldn’t afford to hire a superfluous employee. Certainly not wanting to be superfluous, Bridget spent her Thursday and Friday evening wandering around town, looking to see if there were any “Now Hiring” signs in the shops. She needed to do something quickly, or she didn’t know what she would do.

           Already, Bridget was wearing herself out. However, she was also discovering a pleasant capacity in herself to rise to a challenge. Maybe Archie hadn’t been wrong about her. Maybe she could be determined.

           Of course, Bridget tried not to think too much about Archie. That was confusing in itself, because she drew upon so many of the things he had said to remain encouraged and hopeful. Thinking about what Archie said usually made Bridget think about Archie. And thinking about Archie usually made Bridget cry. Working at Mr. Gold’s house was the worst because she was left to her own thoughts for long hours, but she didn’t dare shed a tear because Mr. Gold might see her.

          Worse, the more Bridget tried not to think about Archie, the more she did. The more she suppressed the desire to see him, the more she wanted to see him. Once, she had noticed him in the grocery store and had waved, but he had pretended not to see her. To her shame, she had spent the rest of that trip to the store stealing glimpses of him.

           Then came the day that changed the fate of Storybrooke. That day was Saturday, so Bridget went straight to Mr. Gold’s mansion. She spent the morning vacuuming and sweeping the downstairs floors. Then she went upstairs, stopping by a closet to grab some bathroom-cleaning supplies, and she started by washing the mirrors, windows, and shower doors. Archie’s face kept rising in her mind—his caring smile—the individual, genuine interest he took in people.

          After scrubbing the counters and sink in the bathroom, Bridget moved on to the toilet. She started squirting a blue cleaning liquid into the bowl. At that moment, a sound like wind rumbled through the house, coming rapidly closer. Frightened, Bridget turned toward it, just in time to see a wave of rainbow light sweeping across the floor toward her. It struck her, and suddenly, everything came back. In one indescribable, breathtaking moment, Bridget’s head and heart were filled with memories. Sad memories and happy memories. Joyful and painful memories. Frightening memories. Angering memories. Memories of her mother Nycteris, of Geppetto, Rumpelstiltskin, Nova, Ella, but most of all…

          “Jiminy!” Kaelin cried aloud, “Jiminy Cricket!” With a laugh of joy, she dropped everything and ran from the mansion, not even stopping to put the lid back on the bottle of cleaner. Everywhere in the streets, people stood amazed, bewildered. Some were embracing, some looked frightened, some searched desperately for their loved ones. But Kaelin simply ran with one goal in mind. She ran with all her might toward Archie Hopper’s office.

          As she ran, she saw him, also hurrying down the road. Her heart leapt. “Jiminy!” she shouted again. At his name, he turned and saw her. Immediately, he ran to her, pulling her into a tight embrace. “Kaelin…Kaelin…” he said breathlessly, laughing and crying and clasping her head to his chest, “I didn’t recognize you—I’m sorry!”

         “Ohh, I didn’t recognize you either,” Kaelin replied joyfully, holding him as tightly as she could, “It was the curse—but it’s broken now! To think it was you all along! Jiminy Cricket! That explains everything!”

          They stepped back from each other, but Kaelin, giddy with happiness, kept speaking: “Do you remember when you were eating that apple, and I called you ‘cute’? Do you remember the old watermill? I keep thinking of that grumpy, old watermill for some reason. I wonder if he’s here! Don’t you think he could’ve been a person changed into a mill-wheel?” She was laughing so hard she was barely making sense.

           She went on: “There’s no chance we’d recognize each other, though, is there? Maybe I’ll go up to everyone on the street and ask if they used to be a mill-wheel.”

            “Calm down. Yes, I remember the old watermill,” Jiminy chuckled. Taking her shoulders, he held her out at arms-length. “But look at you, Kaelin! You’re beautiful!”

            “And you’re not a cricket,” Kaelin replied promptly, before she had time to blush at the compliment.

            “What’s that supposed to mean?” Jiminy scoffed, though he smiled, “That you liked me better as a cricket?”

            “No…” Kaelin hugged him again, pressing her cheek to his soft sweater-vest, “Crickets aren’t warm like this.”

            For a long time, Jiminy didn’t reply. Then, just as Kaelin was getting worried, she heard a quiet sob in her ear. His tears made her want to cry too, and she allowed herself to weep freely. Whether out of joy, or sorrow, or just because she was overwhelmed, she didn’t know—but there was something healing about these tears, something releasing.

            “I pushed you away in this world too,” Jiminy said, “…I-I don’t know how that’s forgivable. I left you alone.”

            “Just don’t ever go again,” Kaelin replied, “That’s all that matters.”

            They met each other’s’ eyes. For a moment, it seemed like he was about to kiss her, but then he simply pressed his lips to her forehead, blinking away tears. “I won’t go away,” he promised in a gruff whisper, “Not this time.”

            “Thank you,” Kaelin said.

            They were silent for another few moments, then Jiminy stepped back and asked, “Now what should we do?”

            “We should find Geppetto,” Kaelin replied with a grin, “Do you know who he is here?”

            Jiminy laughed abruptly. “I can’t believe it!” he exclaimed.

            “What?”

            Jiminy was excited. “Kaelin, do you remember that boy I told you about who said I was Jiminy Cricket? Well, he was right about that! He deduced I was Jiminy because, as he said, ‘Marco is Geppetto, you and Marco are best friends, and so were Jiminy and Geppetto.’ He was right about that too—I know exactly who Geppetto is!”

            “I’ve never met Marco—at least, not here,” Kaelin said, hurrying after him as he started down the street, “What does he do?”

            “He works at the woodshop,” Jiminy replied, “Like he’s always done.” He shook his head. “Unbelievable!” he said to himself, with another little scoff.

            Then, suddenly, he stopped in his tracks. Turning to his right, he stared in fear at what was approaching. Kaelin looked too, and gasped. Billowing towards them through the streets of Storybrooke was a huge, purple and black cloud. The cloud swept through alleyways and swallowed up buildings, yet it was eerily silent in its advance. As it came upon them, Jiminy instinctively caught Kaelin in his arms, shielding her from it.

            Nothing seemed to happen when it hit them. No impact, no pain…only a rush of wind. Yet as it passed and slowly cleared, like dissipating fog, something was different in the air. There was a change that Kaelin could not quite put her finger on.

            “What was that?” she asked, staring around at the unchanged streets.

            “I’m not sure…” Jiminy replied, shaking his head, “But I don’t like it. It seems like something Regina, or Mr. Gold—R-Rumpelstiltskin—would do. It can’t be good.”

            “Well, I’m…not really sure what to do about it now,” Kaelin said awkwardly.

            “Let’s just go back to finding Geppetto,” Jiminy replied. They began hurrying down the street once more.

            Before long, they came upon a small group of people. Kaelin was amazed to recognize most of them from the Enchanted Forest: Mary Margaret, Ruby, and Granny—who were Queen Snow, Red, and still Granny (Kaelin didn’t know any other name for her). She also recognized King James—or David—she wasn’t sure what to call him. Then there was Storybrooke’s sheriff, Emma, but Kaelin couldn’t remember meeting her in the Enchanted Forest.

            “Your Majesties!” Jiminy gasped breathlessly, falling to one knee as he reached them. Kaelin bowed as well.

            “Whoa, at ease,” David chuckled, and they both stood, “Dr. Hopper, and…” he looked at Kaelin, “I’m sorry, I’m not sure if I’ve met you, Miss. I can’t say whether I know either of you from the Enchanted Forest.”

            “It’s Jiminy Cricket and Kaelin Mouse!” Jiminy laughed.

            David looked at them, a grin of recognition dawning on his face. “Really!” he exclaimed, “Really?”

            “Yes, Your Majesty!” Kaelin giggled.

            “I don’t know why, but I somehow expected you two to still be—”

            He was interrupted by a cry from Snow. “Look!” Everyone turned to see a mob of angry, shouting people heading purposefully down the street. They were led by Dr. Whale.

            “What are they doing?” Red asked, glancing anxiously at Snow.

            “I think I know,” Emma replied grimly. She began striding firmly after them, and everyone followed her.

            Catching up with the crowd, they found that they were all clamoring around Regina’s doorstep. Dr. Whale was still in front, confronting Regina who had her back against the pillar beside the door. He looked like he was preparing to choke her.

            “Let her go!” Emma shouted, breaking through the crowd, “Let her go! Let…her go!”

            “Why should I listen to you?” Whale challenged.

            “Because I am still sheriff,” Emma returned.

            “Because she saved you!” David added, “All of you!” Jiminy and Kaelin were standing behind him, and Kaelin wondered what he meant by this. Could Emma be…?

            “No matter what Regina did, it does not justify this!” Snow cried.

            “We’re not murderers here,” Emma muttered to Whale.

            “Well, we’re not from this world,” Whale retorted.

            Emma said something else to him in a low voice, but before Whale could react, David interceded, jumping between them. “Okay, Whale, we’re done.”

            “You’re not my prince,” Whale sneered.

            David paused for a moment, looking at him curiously. “Who are you, Whale?” he asked.

            “That’s my business.”

            David scoffed at him. “Well, my business is making sure this town doesn’t go to hell, so whether or not I’m your prince, this is the issue: we have a lot to figure out. This isn’t the way to do it!”

            “Regina’s death won’t provide any answers!” Snow declared, running up to the front and spreading her arms emphatically before the crowd, “She needs to be locked up, for her safety, and more importantly, for ours.”

            Jiminy was nodding in agreement, watching Regina with hard eyes. For a moment, as Kaelin looked at him, she was frightened of him. What did he think of Regina, when she had torn so much from them? Even though he had jumped in to protect her from the mob, what was he thinking now?

            Queen Snow’s words seemed to convince most of the people, and they began to filter out of Regina’s yard. Even the ones who still looked ready for violence, like Dr. Whale, had to back down as they lost their support.

            “Let’s go,” Jiminy muttered, leaning down slightly so Kaelin would hear him, “We’ll let the sheriff and Their Majesties handle this.” He led Kaelin out from the walled-in yard, and they found an isolated tree. They sat with their backs against the tree and were silent for a while.

            Gazing up at the sun filtering through the leaves, feeling the cool, spring breeze stroke her face, Kaelin felt a sweet, comforting nostalgia. This was what they had always done together for years, though the tree seemed much smaller. And they had always had something serious to talk about.

            Kaelin really wanted to ask Jiminy what he thought about Regina, but though she knew she could talk to him and trusted him completely, she couldn’t say it for some reason. She kept taking a breath to speak and then being unable to summon the words.

            Finally, Jiminy spoke first. “Have…” he inclined his head, glancing toward her, “Kaelin, have you been able to forgive Rumpelstiltskin?”

            “Wh-why are you asking me this now?”

            “Well because…you work for him now. In the Enchanted Forest, you rarely encountered him, but now you’ve made a deal with him.”

            Kaelin’s blood ran cold as she realized that she had indeed made a deal with Rumpelstiltskin. “I’m afraid of him…” she began slowly, “But, I-I don’t know…”

            “Do you blame him for your mother’s death? He took the last speck of stardust; he—he showed no pity. He even laughed. Kaelin, I want to know if…you’ve been holding a grudge against him.”

            “I’ve been holding a grudge against myself,” Kaelin replied slowly, “Rumpelstiltskin has always seemed too powerful, too above everything…I’ve never thought about it being his fault…but even so, I may have always been a little angry. I don’t remember if I ever told you this, but he even designed the curse that killed my mother—as a deal with someone else. I don’t know right now. So much is coming back, and I’m confused…”

            “That’s okay,” Jiminy said, “We don’t have to figure this all out now. But…I want you to understand that Rumpelstiltskin is not completely free of regrets.”

            “What do you mean?”

            “What people say to me in my office is still confidential, but Rumpelstiltskin was recently very open with me. He was very…human. He doesn’t care what most people think about him, but I still believe that, if you and others in this town began the process of forgiving him, well, he could…he might be redeemable.”

            Kaelin stared at him in amazement, her heart beating fast. “Have you forgiven him?”

            Jiminy blinked and shrugged. “I don’t know,” he admitted, “He was the one who sold me that potion…But if he ever wants to talk, I’ll listen. And I’ll try to be a conscience for him. That’s what I’m meant to do.”

            Kaelin nodded, warmth and admiration rising in her heart. She wanted to lean against him, but she was too shy. “What about Regina?” she began cautiously, “Do you hate her?”

            “No,” Jiminy replied promptly, shaking his head emphatically, “I was treating her adopted son, so I’ve had time to get to know her to some extent. All I really understand is that she loves her son—Henry—in her own way, but I think there must be some deep hurt in her past. I want her to talk about it. If she could only talk about it, she might begin to heal.”

            “I hope so…” Kaelin said quietly. She looked at Jiminy’s hand but was still too timid to do what she wanted. To her surprise, Jiminy noticed. He reached over and held her hand.

            “I can’t just keep paying your rent now,” he remarked with a smile, “That’s not enough for two people who have always supported each other.”

            “Well, I don’t really know what’s going to happen now,” Kaelin replied, “Everything’s changing…”

            “You could come live with me,” Jiminy suggested.

            Kaelin’s mouth dropped open, and she felt her face redden from ear to ear.

            “I-I have a guest room,” he added hurriedly, apparently realizing how this sounded. He seemed to have flushed slightly too.

            “Well, I suppose we lived together in one mossy stump or hole in the wall or another for however many years…” Kaelin muttered, rambling a bit to dispel her embarrassment, “I can’t see as this would be any different, after all, so…”

            “So there’s nothing to worry about, is there?” Jiminy concluded, smiling affectionately. He was still holding her hand.

            “Well…”

            “You do trust me, don’t you?”

            This made Kaelin smile. She nodded.

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