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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23. Storybrooke

            On a day like this, cleaning Mr. Gold’s mansion was extremely frustrating. Kaelin worked feverishly, her mind completely absent from the task. She should be out there, helping Geppetto search for Pinocchio, or babysitting little Alexandra, or assisting Nova in attending to the injured. Not that she thought she could do something as practical as attending to the injured, but anything was better than this. Out of all the people who needed help today, she was helping Rumpelstiltskin. That thought came with a certain measure of guilt, but Kaelin tried to remind herself that she was really doing this for Jiminy.

            The thought of Jiminy warmed her from head to toe. It was hard to believe that it was only yesterday she had remembered who he was. Going over all her memories of Archie and placing them in the context of who they really were was delightful. No wonder he had seemed so familiar and safe the first day she met him. No wonder the cricket from her dreams was named “Archie”—and it had surprised him so when he heard his own name! That memory was particularly funny, and Kaelin giggled quietly to herself as she washed the windows. She tried to imagine it from “Archie’s” point of view. So the curse had chosen the name she had given him so long ago! How was that so?

            A step sounded on the wood floor behind her, and Kaelin hurriedly silenced her laughing. Oops. She hadn’t expected Rumpelstiltskin to be here at this time of day, but then, things were changing. Cautiously, she glanced over her shoulder, then stopped in surprise. That wasn’t Rumpelstiltskin. Still holding her window-cleaner-soaked paper towel, Kaelin turned to look at her.

            The young woman who had just come in had long, wavy, dark brown hair and a wide but beautiful face. Her clear, blue eyes drew Kaelin’s gaze. They held both a deep kindness and a deep sadness.

            The young woman frowned slightly and smiled a bit at the same time. “I-I’m sorry…” she began as though her thoughts were somewhere else. Her voice had a slight accent to it which only made it seem all the more gentle.

Kaelin liked the woman instantly, but felt deeply curious about her. Who was she, and why was she here in Mr. Gold’s mansion? What was that sadness in her eyes? “What’s your name?” she asked.

            “Belle,” the young woman replied.

            “I’m Kaelin.”

            Belle seemed flustered. “I’m sorry,” she repeated quickly, “I’ve just come to fetch something for…Mr. Gold…”

“Do you work for Mr. Gold too?” Kaelin presumed.

            “No, I don’t…Though I used to.” Belle kind of smiled to herself, looking to one side. Then she met Kaelin’s eyes. “But are you saying that you work for him?”

            Kaelin slightly raised her hand with the wet paper towel in it, which was somewhat blue from the window-cleaning fluid and smelled of mild chemicals. She shrugged. “Well, I don’t get paid for it. It was my end of a deal to clean his mansion every week for a year.”

            Belle laughed. “Are you serious?” she said, “It was the same with me once, but that was a long time ago. Back in the Enchanted Forest. I knew Rumpelstiltskin as…as the Dark One.”

            “I met him briefly like that…” Kaelin said, shuddering, “I’m…sorry you had to work for him.”

            “Oh, no, don’t be,” Belle said suddenly, emphatically. Then she seemed flustered again and lowered her eyes.

            “Wait, so—” Kaelin stared at her and frowned slightly, surprised at this reaction. “So if you’re not working for him anymore, why are you fetching something for him now?” was the only thing she could think to ask.

Belle seemed to search for words on the floor, unsure at first, but suppressing a smile. Then, courageously, she met Kaelin’s eyes. “It’s because I love him,” she replied, “I’m staying with him now.” She spoke almost as though she was challenging Kaelin to judge her—as though she was certain in herself that it was right for her to love him.

            “Oh…” Kaelin gazed at her, not sure what to make of this. She remembered Jiminy saying that Rumpelstiltskin had come to talk to him, that he had been very human. Had it been about Belle? In any case, it seemed the Dark One was not beyond sympathy. Afraid of him though she was, Kaelin felt she might be able to accept that. Most of Kaelin’s life had been about seeking forgiveness for Jiminy. If Rumpelstiltskin needed that too, was she in any position to argue?

            Another question suddenly answered itself in Kaelin’s mind. “Oh! So you must be Mr. Gold’s ‘guest’,” she observed.

            “I suppose?”

            Kaelin bit her lip, suddenly feeling inordinately ashamed of herself. It didn’t make sense to feel this ashamed over such a small thing, but she had been beating herself up over it since Mr. Gold had criticized her. There was only one way to make it right. Gathering up her courage, she clasped her hands together, looked Belle in the eye, and said, “I am so sorry. I was supposed to clean the toilet yesterday, but I ran out and left it half-finished when the curse was broken. Rumpelstiltskin told me you had to finish the job. You’re not the maid—I am. You shouldn’t have had to do that. I’m sorry.”

            Belle laughed. “Did you think I’d be upset about it?”

            “Rumpelstiltskin is.”

            “Well, it’s very kind of him to be upset for my sake, I’m sure, but I didn’t even realize he’d noticed. I didn’t have to do it—no one told me to—I just did. I didn’t think anything of it. For a time, I was his maid too, remember? Doing a little cleaning for him didn’t bother me at all.”

            Kaelin smiled, warmth and admiration flooding her heart. Belle was so kind. “Oh, well, that’s all right, then,” she said, “Thank you.”

            “It’s nothing,” Belle replied, “Now, I should get back to what I was doing.”

            “I should too,” Kaelin decided. For the moment, then, they parted ways.

 

 

 

 

            Around noon, there came a knock at the door, and Kaelin hurried downstairs to answer it. To her surprise, it was Jiminy. She smiled, but then saw he looked anxious. “What’s wrong?” she asked.

            “Well,” Jiminy sighed, “First things first. I asked Regina if she wanted to talk today. She scorned me.”

            “I’m sorry,” Kaelin said.

            “I understand it will take time,” Jiminy added hurriedly.

            “But that’s not what’s really bothering you,” Kaelin observed, “Have you not been able to find Pinocchio yet?”

            “We haven’t. But there are worse things now.” He took a deep breath and met her eyes. “One of the seven dwarves crossed the border out of Storybrooke. He lost all his memories of the Enchanted Forest and reverted completely back to his Storybrooke identity. No one knows how to restore his true memories—or if they can be restored. In other words…if we want to remember who we are…we’re trapped here.”

            Kaelin bit her lip. “But it’s okay, isn’t it…to stay here?” she said, “As long as I’m with you, it’ll be okay.”

            Jiminy smiled slightly and shook his head. “Maybe, but…I-I don’t know if Regina still has power. If she does, it…might not be safe here. And if Rumpelstiltskin’s out there summoning wraiths…” He looked down at the ground. “I really don’t know, Kaelin.”

            Kaelin watched his face and was simply glad he was here. Whether they were safe or not seemed a very abstract concept at the moment.

            “Anyway,” Jiminy raised his head again, “I came to get you. Everyone’s gathering at the court room to hear David speak. I think you should come too.”

            “Okay!” Kaelin was relieved at the prospect of leaving her cleaning job for a while. It would be nice to be involved in the outside world, at least for a little bit. “Just let me put away the cleaning supplies,” she said. She wouldn’t leave a job half-finished again. Running upstairs, she stuffed the cleaning supplies back into the closet, then hurried outside and met Jiminy at his car. They drove to the courthouse.

            The main room of the courthouse was packed full of clamoring people. Six of the seven dwarves were there, as well as Red, and Granny, who was carrying a crossbow. Jiminy and Kaelin met with Geppetto near the front of the room. As time dragged on, the crowd became more restless. “He should be here by now,” Jiminy muttered, “What could’ve happened?” Henry was nearby—a young boy with dark hair and a determined face. He was trying to call David on a cellphone. Kaelin had learned from Jiminy that Henry was David’s and Snow’s grandson, as well as Regina’s adopted son.

            Suddenly, the double doors of the courtroom exploded open, as if on their own. Everyone turned to look, and a tremor of fear went through the whole crowd.

            Regina herself stood in the doorway, hands on her hips and a smirk on her face. As she strode into the room, everyone parted to make way for her. “My, what a nice turnout,” she teased, “No need for a fuss. It’s just little, old me.”

            As if on impulse, Jiminy moved toward her. “Regina,” he began breathlessly, “Think about what you’re doing!”

            Regina rounded on him with a snarl. “Bug,” she spat. Pointing her hand at him, she blasted him back with an invisible force. He landed heavily on his back on the hard floor. Kaelin and Geppetto ran to help him.

            Immediately, another person charged at Regina and was blasted back in the same way. Kaelin recognized him as Grumpy, Nova’s crush. The other dwarves gathered around him. As Regina reached the front of the room and turned to face them, Granny shot her crossbow. Without even flinching, Regina snatched the bolt out of the air. It burst into flames in her hand.

            Drawing back her arm, Regina flung the flaming bolt at the crowd, and it soared around the room. Everyone ducked, but the bolt simply flew back toward Regina, striking the brass medallion behind her and setting it on fire. The medallion continued to burn with unnatural, magic flames.

            Red lurched to the center of the room. “What do you want?” she cried emphatically.

            Silence.

            Then, a single, small voice rose from the crowd: “Me!” Looking back, Kaelin saw Henry pushing his way to the front of the room. “She wants…me!” he shouted, and stopped, meeting Regina’s eyes. “Okay, I’ll come with you! Just…leave them alone!”

            Regina took a few steps forward. She held her hand under the boy’s chin, and her red lips formed a trembling smile. “That’s my boy,” she whispered. Then she put an arm around his shoulders and led him out, the people parting once again to make way for her.

            The moment she was gone, the room fell into a panic. Jiminy glanced back at the still-burning medallion, then turned to Kaelin, desperation in his eyes. “Come on,” he gasped. Seizing her hand, he ran with her out to his car. As soon as Kaelin was in the passenger’s seat, he slammed on the gas and they screeched away down the road.

            “Do you need anything?” he asked breathlessly, “Clothes? Books? Anything from your apartment?”

            “I-I don’t understand,” Kaelin stammered.

            “We’re getting out of here!” Jiminy exclaimed, “Is there anything you want to take with you?”

            “What do you mean?” Kaelin cried.

            “We’re leaving Storybrooke!”

            “No! We can’t leave! Didn’t you say we’d lose our memories?”

            “We can’t stay here, okay, Kaelin!?” Jiminy shouted at her. He turned back to the road and ran a hand through his curly, red hair. “Not when Regina has this much power,” he added more softly. Kaelin fell silent.

            In a few minutes, they were at Kaelin’s apartment. Kaelin followed Jiminy up to her room, but she stopped once they were there. “What if I refuse to go?” she demanded.

            Jiminy turned to face her. “Please, Kaelin, we have to,” he begged, “She’s too powerful. She…she’ll hurt you.”

            “But if we leave here, we’ll be Archie and Bridget again,” Kaelin protested, her voice failing, “Archie and Bridget can’t be together.”

            “We can; we’ll find a way,” Jiminy insisted clasping her shoulders, “Even if we lose all our memories, my duty right now is to protect you. I’ll keep you safe no matter what. Don’t you think…even if our lives were restarted, don’t you think we would always find each other again? Do you believe that?”

            Kaelin nodded, lowering her face to hide her tears.

            “Look at me,” Jiminy said, and Kaelin lifted her eyes again. “Kaelin, I…” his mouth and eyes worked as he struggled to form the words. Yet when the words came, they were firm and absolute: “I love you.”

            Kaelin stood stunned, wanting with all her heart to reply in kind but too tongue-tied to do so. She should be able to say it—she had said it to him before, a long time ago. Yet then it had meant something different, hadn’t it? She opened her mouth to speak, but no sound came out.

            As she struggled to say something, Jiminy hesitated once more, just a little. Then he bent down and kissed her deeply.

            Kaelin had never been kissed before. Nor, as far as she knew, had Jiminy ever kissed anyone before. At first, he was cautious, but then he became bolder, putting his arms around her and drawing her closer. For a long time, they kissed. Kaelin kept thinking that this couldn’t end, that it must never end. What had to happen after this moment was too awful; that time could never come.

            Even so, the kiss finally did come to an end. Jiminy stepped back first, holding Kaelin’s hands. “If you remember nothing else…” he whispered, “Remember this.” His smile made her want to kiss him again. “If we remember this…maybe the curse won’t last forever,” he said.

            “True love’s kiss can break any curse,” Kaelin recited softly. She looked up at him. “Do you think this is…”

            “I think it always has been,” he said.  

            Kaelin blinked back tears. She was happy now—happier than she could ever remember being. Yet the feeling that she was about to lose everything weighed heavily on her heart. “I love you,” she whispered, “I don’t want to forget you.”

            “Don’t worry; I’ll stay with you,” Jiminy assured her, “I just have to remind myself—‘don’t leave Bridget’.” Turning to the small table in the apartment, he found that there was some scratch paper and a pencil lying on it. On the corner of one of the papers, he scribbled a note to himself, signing his name as “Archie Hopper”. Tearing off the corner of the paper, he folded it and put it in his pocket. He smiled triumphantly at her.

            Kaelin couldn’t help but laugh. That was so much like him.

            “Now, let’s go,” he said.

 

 

 

 

            Kaelin and Jiminy packed their necessities as quickly as possible. Stacking the multi-colored suitcases on top of his maroon car, Jiminy tied them down. Pongo jumped into the back seat, and they were off. Many other cars were beginning to file out of town, but Kaelin and Jiminy found themselves among the first, only one car back from the front of the line. Once out of town, the cars began to move faster, faster, approaching the border of Storybrooke. A green sign loomed ahead of them: “Now Leaving Storybrooke”. Kaelin took one last look at Jiminy. Perhaps it would be the last time she knew him as Jiminy.

            Suddenly, a big, brown, pickup truck screeched past them. Its tires squealing on the pavement, it turned in front of the blue car ahead of them, jerking to a halt and blocking their path. Red and David leaped out of the truck, David climbing into the back.

            Jiminy cursed under his breath, startling Kaelin. Flinging open the car door, he got out and confronted the king. “Get out of the way!” he shouted, striding forward, “We have a right to go!” Other people were gathering around him. Mother Superior—the Blue Fairy—was there, and Geppetto hurried up from farther down the line. Kaelin climbed out of the car too, coming to stand slightly behind Jiminy.

David held up one hand, trying to calm them. “Listen to me! Listen!” he cried. He paused, and the people were silent. Jiminy looked him hard in the eyes, pressing his lips together, trying to hold his peace.

            David took a deep breath. “If you cross that line, you’re gonna be lost!” he began fervently, “Everyone who loves you will lose you! But there’s something worse: You’ll lose yourself!” He looked at all of them, appealing to them. “Look, I get wanting to leave here. I do. And I get that it’s easier to let go of bad memories, but…even bad memories are part of us.”

            Kaelin looked at Jiminy and Geppetto, who stood on either side of her. Geppetto’s intense gaze never wavered from David’s face, but Jiminy lowered his eyes. Kaelin’s heart twisted. She knew what memories they were thinking of; she could feel the pain of those memories too.

            “David…” the king went on, “Storybrooke David was—is…weak. Confused. And he hurt the woman I love. I wouldn’t give up being Charming just to be him. But you know what? I wouldn’t make the other trade either. Because that David reminds me not only of whom I lost…” he paused for a long moment, “…But of who I wanna be.”

            People were beginning to smile now, including Blue and Dr. Whale.

            “My weaknesses and my strengths,” David continued. He lowered his voice to a dramatic whisper, but then it began to rise. “David and the prince. I am both. Just like you. You are both. The town is both. We are both! Stay here, and every choice is open to you. Live in the woods if you want! Hell, live in a shoe if you want!”

            Jiminy was smiling now, and Geppetto’s wrinkled face had broken into a wide, laughing grin. Kaelin laughed too, feeling warmth spreading around her as people responded to David’s words.

            “Or eat frozen burritos and write software,” David was saying, “Let’s open Granny’s, the school. And get back to work.” He gave them a short, firm nod. “I will protect you,” he vowed, “She won’t be able to hurt any of us—not as long as I’m alive. Not as long as we all come together! As we did before. As we shall do again!” Coming to the end of his speech, he paused, breathing heavily.

            For a time, everyone was silent. Then, Jiminy nodded with a little smile. This was what they needed. This was courage, not fear. Unity, not panic. Jiminy was the first to turn back toward his car, Blue and Geppetto patting him on the back. Kaelin turned back as well, happily taking his hand. With big smile and a little tip of his hat to James, Geppetto turned away too. Everyone was returning to their cars.

            As Jiminy opened the door on the driver’s side, Geppetto put a hand on his shoulder. “Jiminy,” he said affectionately.

            Jiminy met his eyes. “Yes?”

            The smile on Geppetto’s face widened even more. “You have permission to marry my sister,” he said.

            “Excuse me?” Jiminy stammered.

            Geppetto laughed. “It was what Sofia always hoped for,” he said. Then he headed off down the road. 

road. 

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