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. ;)


29. Storybrooke

          The morning after their little house-party with Gus and Nova was on the weekend, so Kaelin didn’t have any school to hurry off to. During breakfast, then, Jiminy offered, “I’m going to take Pongo out for a walk after this. Would you like to join me?”

            “Sure!” Kaelin replied brightly. Mr. Gold’s mansion could wait another hour as long as she focused and worked hard when she got there.

            Jiminy let out a short laugh and glanced down with a smile. Then he lifted his chin and looked at Kaelin, still smiling. “You’ve been so cheerful since we met Gus last night,” he observed.

            Kaelin’s smile vanished. “I promise we’re only just friends,” she began hurriedly, “I know we were both mice in the Enchanted Forest, but—”

            “No—n-no, I-I didn’t mean to imply anything,” Jiminy interrupted, “I was just saying…it’s nice. It’s like you’re…well, you’re becoming happy again, Kaelin.”

            Kaelin was warmed by these words. “It’s not as if I didn’t have happiness before,” she explained, “I did at times—sometimes even great happiness. But now, you’re right, it’s a bit different. It’s like an old piece of me that I’d forgotten is returning. And, you know, Gus is just so easy to talk to, and he can be so funny. It’s impossible not to be cheerful around him.”

            “I’m happy to hear that,” Jiminy said. They finished breakfast, quickly washed the dishes, and then strapped the leash on Pongo. As soon as the leash was attached to him, he started pulling, immensely excited to be going outside. Kaelin held the door for Jiminy and the dog. Then she followed them out, closing the door behind her.

            At times, Pongo would give Jiminy a little slack, running around just in front of him and sniffing every inch of ground they walked across. But then he would start pulling sideways, his claws scuffling on the sidewalk, completely oblivious to the fact that the collar was yanking on his neck. Jiminy held the leash with two hands to control him.

            “Would you like to take him for a while?” Jiminy offered, holding out the leash to Kaelin as they neared the docking area.

            “Do you want help?” Kaelin replied with a reluctant smile. She didn’t actually want to walk the dog, but she guessed Jiminy was getting tired of it.

            “No, I just thought you might want a turn,” Jiminy responded quickly.

            Kaelin didn’t take the leash and felt bad about it, because maybe Jiminy actually did want her to take a turn and was just being polite. She opened her mouth to say, “I’ll take him on the way back,” but then she stopped, noticing that Jiminy was frowning, looking out ahead of them.

            “What are all those people gathered around?” he said.

            Kaelin looked and saw that a small crowd was beginning to form near the docking area. However, it wasn’t an excited crowd. The people were silent, hanging back in clusters. Turning her gaze toward the center of the crowd, Kaelin recognized David, Red, and Granny gathered around…

            “That’s Gus’s tow truck,” she whispered, panic starting to rise in her chest. What was going on? She started walking toward the scene, but her walk soon changed to a run. As she came closer, she saw that Red’s face was tearstained, and she looked hysterical. This made Kaelin even more afraid, and she ran faster. Yet before she made it to the tow truck, David caught her. “Everyone keep back!” he called, holding out his other arm.

            But Kaelin had already seen Gus. He was lying face-up under the front of the truck. At first, it looked like he had just been run over. Maybe he’s okay, Kaelin thought desperately, her heart pounding, Maybe he’s only knocked out…Yes, David has just called an ambulance, and he wants people to make room for it…that’s it…

            Then she saw it: the blood running profusely from Gus’s torso. There was nothing beyond it. Only Gus’s top half was in front of the tow truck. “No!” she screamed, struggling, “No! Gus!”

            “Kaelin, please try to calm down!” David was shouting, but Kaelin barely heard him. Breaking free of David’s grasp, she ran to Gus and knelt beside his head, clutching his limp hand. Tears streamed from her eyes. “Gus, wake up!” she cried, shaking his shoulder, though she knew it was useless. She glanced back at his torso, then turned away with a shudder from the gore. No, his face, his face…focus on his face. Yet his face was almost worse. The eyes were closed, and there was no expression in it. Kaelin realized she was holding her breath because Gus wasn’t breathing. She would breathe again if only he took a breath.

            “Come on…” she wept, her lips trembling, “C-come on, Gus-Gus…” Maybe that would annoy him enough to wake him up. But, no. She was being ridiculous. Sobbing and still holding his hand, she pressed her face down into his cold chest. She couldn’t comprehend it. Just last night they had been playing Apples-to-Apples together. He had eaten all of Jiminy’s cheese. How was it possible for him to be gone, just like that?

            What had happened, anyway? How had he been torn in half? Feeling a presence beside her, Kaelin looked up and saw Red.

            “I’m sorry, Kaelin,” Red whispered, horror in her face.

            “It’s not your fault,” Kaelin replied.

            “No, i-it is. It’s Wolfstime,” Red shuddered, “I couldn’t control the Wolf.”

            Kaelin stared at her, eyes widening. “You did this?” she faltered.

            Tears started to fall from Red’s eyes again. “I-I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to…I don’t remember anything from last night…”

            “He loved you!” Kaelin cried.

            “I didn’t mean to,” Red repeated, trembling, “Really, I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry! Kaelin, I’m so sorry!”

            Kaelin pressed her eyes shut and held Gus’s hand even more tightly. For a few moments, that hand was the only thing that was real, and Kaelin began to believe that when she opened her eyes again, they would both be mice back in Cinderella’s pantry. Then she felt another hand on her shoulder and heard David’s firm but gentle voice in her ear. “Please, Kaelin. I need you to move away so I can take care of the body. It’s not right for him to be here, with everyone gawping at him. You can understand that, can’t you?”

            Kaelin nodded, her eyes still closed. Slowly, with David’s help, she managed to stand up. Seeing that Jiminy was right there, she stumbled into his arms. He held her, with one hand on the back of her head.

            She could hear David talking again: “Red didn’t do it, all right, Kaelin? I don’t know who did, but it wasn’t Red. Do you understand? Are you listening?”

            “Leave her alone,” Jiminy said shortly.

            “I’m just trying to make sure that Red isn’t blamed falsely for this,” David argued, “There’s no tangible evidence that she did it, so I don’t want rumors that she did spreading all over town.”

            “Look. Kaelin…won’t spread rumors,” Jiminy returned, “She doesn’t need you pressing her like that.”

            “All right,” David said, though he still sounded tense. Kaelin felt the air move as he walked away.

            For a little while, Kaelin cried into Jiminy’s soft jacket. Then, not wanting to be there when they started dragging Gus’s body around, she mumbled, “Let’s go,” and they started heading back for the house. Looking up, Kaelin saw that Jiminy’s eyes were red-rimmed. He wasn’t crying actively like she was, but he also wasn’t trying to hide his grief.

            Once they were back inside, Jiminy quietly asked, “Do you want to talk about it?”

            A million things to say about Gus rose up and flooded Kaelin’s heart, but she found she couldn’t say a single one of them. “Not right now,” she mumbled.

            “I understand,” Jiminy said.

            Kaelin went to the guest room and shut the door behind her. She sat on the bed and let memories of Gus crowd through her imagination, but for a long time, she didn’t cry. Then the image of half of Gus lying dead under the tow truck filled her mind, and she began to weep. She wept for over an hour. This time, each new memory of him brought on fresh tears.

            After a time, Kaelin became aware that she ought to be cleaning Rumpelstiltskin’s mansion. If she didn’t take advantage of this day without school, she might not be done by the end of the week. Kaelin had never failed to be finished cleaning by the end of the week. She was too afraid of what might happen if she did, especially now that she knew Mr. Gold was Rumpelstiltskin. However, she couldn’t bring herself to get up. Even though she seemed to have wrung herself dry of tears, she still couldn’t move from her bed. She lay on her back, staring dully up at the ceiling. What if Belle was there? What if Rumpelstiltskin came in and found her crying? She was always crying, wasn’t she? Kaelin hated herself for how often he cried, but this time, it was justified, wasn’t it?

            After another hour, Kaelin finally forced herself to get up and venture out. There was no sign of Jiminy or Pongo in the house. Maybe Jiminy had taken Pongo for another walk or had gone to do paperwork—something to take his mind off what they had seen that day. Kaelin walked to Rumpelstiltskin’s mansion and forced herself to work for the rest of the day, though she couldn’t work very quickly.





            By the next morning, news was all over town that Red had not killed Gus. Rather, the former King George had done so in an attempt to frame Red. Kaelin knew very little about King George, but now she knew one thing: she hated him. She had never known anger like this before, and it frightened her. Yet every time she thought of how George had just thrown Gus’s life away—how he had brutally murdered him without having even a single thing against him personally—she was angry. She even hated.

            But she didn’t want to hate. Even if her fury was justified, she had seen hatred in action. She had watched what it had done to Geppetto for so long. Too ashamed to talk to Jiminy about it, she tried to force it away by not thinking about it. She should be focusing on Gus’s approaching funeral.

            With a little investigation, David had been able to locate Gus’s parents. There was only one couple in Storybrooke who had had a son named Gustave who had been turned into a mouse. They were the ones who arranged the funeral.

            The funeral attendance was relatively small: just a group of close friends. These included Kaelin, Jiminy, and Nova. Ella, Thomas, and their baby Alexandra were there, and so were some of Gus’s other friends and a few coworkers from the garage. Kaelin cried all through the funeral, but she came to realize that Ella had been hurt far more. Ella wept quietly, but not much. Tears were not enough to express her loss.

            After the funeral, Kaelin tried to return to her daily routine. School, then cleaning. Since she had been working slowly earlier in the week, she did not finish her cleaning until late Thursday night.

            By the end of the week, Kaelin had begun to accept a world without Gus. She had been able to talk with Jiminy about him. Though she still couldn’t quite believe he was gone, now it was bearable. She had moved on from loss before, when Sofia died. She could do it again. Aside from that, Storybrooke was brightened at that time from Snow’s and Emma’s safe return. It was hard to continue grieving with such relief and joy sweeping through the town. Kaelin had to smile and laugh again.

            Even so, that little piece of her that she thought had been returning, was gone once more.

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