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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31. Storybrooke

            On the evening after Snow and Emma were returned safely home, David held a party for them at Granny’s with all their closest friends. These included the seven dwarves, Red, and Granny. Emma’s son Henry was there too, of course. Since Jiminy and Geppetto had once been an advisors in Queen Snow’s court, they attended as well, and Kaelin went because they were there. She knew Snow as her queen and as a teacher from her school, and she knew Emma as the sheriff, but she didn’t feel like she was friends with them in the same way Jiminy was.

            At first, then, Kaelin feared she would be out of place in the small celebration. However, Jiminy’s presence made her feel more comfortable around everyone. Before long, she felt relaxed enough to argue with Geppetto that she should be allowed a beer like everyone else. Even if she was underage in Storybrooke terms, she was objectively half a year older than he was. In the end, she won him and Jiminy over with her logic, but Geppetto still persuaded her to have only half as much as the others because she was small, and they weren’t yet sure how much alcohol she could hold. Thus, when a toast was called for Snow and Emma, Kaelin did not have to suffer the embarrassment of raising a glass of Dr. Pepper instead of beer.

            To everyone’s shock, Regina showed up as they were clinking their glasses. However, she wasn’t there to make trouble. She had brought a lasagna and wanted to attend the party. Kaelin smiled to herself when she saw this, remembering the night that Jiminy had come home, happy and excited because Regina had wanted to talk to him. She really was starting to change, wasn’t she?

            Despite Regina’s gesture of good will and the lasagna (which was eaten up before any other dish), no one wanted to associate with her. She was left sitting in an empty booth: present, but not really there. Kaelin noticed her sitting there sadly, and she wished and wished to go talk to her. But what would she say? She had never really met Regina before. What would they talk about? What held Kaelin back was not hatred. It may have partially been fear, but it was mostly her usual social awkwardness. She didn’t know how to walk up to someone and talk to them.

            Before Kaelin could build up the courage to talk to Regina, the former queen abruptly stood up and went out the door. Emma noticed and followed her. For a while, they were both outside. Then Emma came back in, but Regina went away.

 

 

 

 

            Jiminy woke up bright and early the next morning. Hearing him clattering around in the kitchen, Kaelin woke too, got dressed, and went out to meet him. He was making scrambled eggs. “Thank you!” she said in surprise.

            Jiminy turned around with a smile. “Good morning, Kaelin,” he replied. There was something a bit different about him today. He seemed a little more cheerful than usual, but a little more nervous as well. Though he always had nervous mannerisms, they seemed to be occurring more frequently at the moment.

            Facing the stove again, he transferred the scrambled eggs into a stone, patterned serving dish. “I was thinking I might take Pongo on a walk right after breakfast,” he began, speaking quickly and concentrating on the eggs, “But you could stay here. Then, after I come back, we can leave Pongo in the house and go on a walk together—just you and me.” He picked up the dish and met her eyes. “What do you think?”

            “That sounds lovely,” Kaelin replied.

            “It’s a plan, then.” Jiminy set down the bowl of eggs on the little table by the window, which was already set. They had a pleasant breakfast together. Jiminy was more talkative than usual as well. As they ate, Kaelin sat and enjoyed his mannerisms. Frequently, he smiled, making those random creases appear in his cheeks. He lifted his chin and lowered his chin. He sighed, scoffed, and let out short, breathy laughs. Sometimes he paused, staring off at some point in the distance or at the floor as he collected his thoughts, deliberating on the best way to say what he wanted to say. Kaelin had come to love all these mannerisms. By the end of the meal, she realized with embarrassment that she had been concentrating so much on him, she had barely heard a word he said. She hoped he hadn’t said anything too important.

            When they were done, Kaelin immediately offered, “I’ll wash the dishes while you take Pongo on his walk.” She was really looking forward to taking a walk with just Jiminy. She felt that, if they did it this way instead of washing the dishes together as they often did, they’d be able to get on with the walk sooner. Besides, Jiminy had cooked. It was only fair for Kaelin to clean.

            “If you don’t mind—thank you,” Jiminy replied. He was already smartly dressed in dark, maroon pants, with a pale blue button-up shirt under a fancy, patterned tie, under a dark green sweater-vest with two columns of buttons. Preparing to go outside, he added a long, dark brown overcoat and a scarf to the layers. The overcoat had widely spaced, crossed lines of unobtrusive red and green, and the scarf was striped with red, gray and white. He donned his gray, flat cap and put on dark brown, leather gloves and nice, brown shoes. Then he got Pongo ready to go. Kaelin saw them to the door.

            Opening the door, Jiminy took a deep breath of fresh air and declared, “Perfect—it’s a beautiful day! I’ll see you in a few minutes, Kaelin.” He seized his black, pointed umbrella from beside the door and stepped outside, a spring in his step.

            Kaelin poked her head out into the damp, cool morning, observing that the sky was pale gray and overcast. It felt like it could rain at any moment. Hurriedly, she ducked back inside and shut the door, lest Jiminy glance back and see her laughing at him. So this was his idea of a beautiful day! Admittedly, Kaelin liked this kind of day too, with its refreshing coldness and the scent of rain in the air. After washing the few dishes they had made, she sat on the couch in the living room, waiting for him to get back.

            When Jiminy returned, his spirits seemed a bit dampened. “What’s wrong?” Kaelin asked.

            “What? Oh—n-nothing,” Jiminy replied, concentrating on unhooking Pongo’s leash, “Let’s go on our walk.”

            “Jiminy, after all this time, don’t you think I can tell when something’s bothering you?” Kaelin pressed, “You want me to talk when I’m upset. I think you owe the same to me.”

            Jiminy sighed, glanced down, then met her eyes. “I-it was Regina,” he said, and swallowed, “She …confronted me about something. She was very upset.”

            “What was it?” Kaelin asked.

            “I…told Emma she was coming to see me,” he admitted with difficulty, “And Regina was angry with me for breaching confidentiality.”

            “But you didn’t say anything specific, did you?”

            “No, but…And I didn’t say this to her, but…she was right. It was a breach of confidentiality for me to—to even mention she was seeing me. I-in fact, Kaelin, I’ve breached confidentiality a number of times to you too. I told you about Henry, Rumpelstiltskin, and Regina. I’m a poor excuse for a psychiatrist.” He gave his head a little shake, staring at the floor.

            Kaelin was alarmed at this last statement. “I wouldn’t go so far as to say that,” she argued, “You do a wonderful job. You’ve just made some mistakes, that’s all.”

            “But that’s not all it is,” Jiminy went on rapidly with a scoff, becoming more and more vehement, “I never got a psychological degree, Kaelin. I only thought I did. As Regina so graciously reminded me just now, I got my PhD from a curse. How could I even have a right to practice psychology here? It was just a role I was thrown into.”

            “A role that you’re great at,” Kaelin insisted, “And a job you love. Just because you don’t have the degree you thought you had doesn’t mean you can’t keep doing your work well. Besides, Storybrooke needs you to be a psychologist. You have experience, and you have the right heart for the job. Please don’t give it up.”

            Jiminy sighed, then nodded slightly, collecting himself. “Thank you, Kaelin,” he said, “I’ll think about that. But I’m sorry to bother you with these worries. We were going to take a walk. I don’t want this to ruin our walk, so…let’s just forget about it for now.”

            “Well, let me know if it’s still troubling you later,” Kaelin said in concern. Then she smiled. “But—you’re right—the walk.” She zipped up her fake-leather jacket. “Let’s go.”

            Jiminy smiled too, the nervous excitement from earlier that morning seeming to flood back into him. He turned and opened the door. The pattering of a heavy, morning rain floated in, accompanied by a cold breeze.

            “Oh, it’s raining,” Kaelin observed in disappointment, “I guess we can stay inside…”

            “No,” Jiminy said with sudden determination. Taking his umbrella, he stepped outside, faced Kaelin, and popped it open. Then he smiled again. “Care to join me?” he asked, offering her his arm.

            Kaelin felt her cheeks warm with something nicer than a blush, and she decided this was better than if it hadn’t been raining. She took his arm, snuggling close to him, and they traipsed off through the rain together, sharing an umbrella.

            Jiminy didn’t say much as they walked, but Kaelin didn’t mind. For now, they were just enjoying each other’s presence, so it was all right to be silent. After a while, they came to the park. Since it was raining and still early on a Saturday morning, no one else was there. There was a little, white-painted gazebo in the center of the park, with benches built into it around the inside. Flowers grew around it, and vines crawled up its sides. “Let’s go rest there for a while,” Jiminy suggested, nodding toward it. They went and sat down in the gazebo.

            Folding up his umbrella, Jiminy leaned it against the bench beside him. He paused, looking out at the rain. Kaelin watched the rain too. It wasn’t a dark morning. The clouds let pale sunshine through, and it sparkled in the raindrops and on the wet grass like stars.

            After a few moments, Kaelin became aware that Jiminy seemed very nervous. He opened his mouth and took a breath to speak, and then stopped, and then took off his brown leather gloves and set them on the bench beside him. Then he took off his gray cap, and held it, and looked at Kaelin. “I have something to tell you,” he said.

            Kaelin’s stomach twisted with apprehension. Those words usually meant something bad was coming. She braced herself. “Yes?” she asked.

            Jiminy took a very deep breath and struggled to hold her gaze, though he kept involuntarily glancing away. “Do you remember?” he began, “I…promised I wouldn’t leave you again.”

            Kaelin’s anxiety grew. Oh no, oh no, she thought, He’s so nervous because he’s about to apologize and say he can’t keep that promise…he has to leave for some—Her thoughts stopped in their tracks. Jiminy had set down his cap on the bench, and now he was getting down on one knee before her, reaching into his pocket.

            “Now I want to make that promise formally,” he said, smiling. He brought out a small, red-velvet box and opened the lid. Inside, there was a thin, golden ring with a tiny, bright diamond that reminded Kaelin of the speck of stardust he had caught for her so many years ago. “Kaelin O’Hara, will you marry me?” he said.

            Kaelin’s eyes widened, and a squeak escaped her. She pressed both hands over her mouth, unable to comprehend what was happening. Then she nodded vigorously, but a nod wasn’t enough. She had to say it. “Yes!” she gasped, “Yes, of course, Jiminy!”

            Jiminy released his held breath in a laugh of joy and relief. He shakily lifted her hand and slipped the delicate ring onto her finger. Then he stood up, raised her to her feet, and kissed her more passionately than ever before. Kaelin kissed him too, without holding back. Married! she thought, ready to burst with joy, At last, we’ll be married! She pressed her cheek to his shoulder, hugging him more tightly, and then she kissed him again.

            When they finally broke apart, Jiminy picked up his umbrella and abruptly popped it open, accidentally showering Kaelin with rainwater. “Sorry!” he exclaimed, and she laughed, trying to dry her face with her hands and looking a great deal like a mouse as she did so. As Jiminy put back on his cap and gloves, he talked constantly, explaining that he had needed to borrow money from Geppetto for the ring because he’d be broke otherwise, but Geppetto was perfectly happy to help and besides, he’d be paid back before long, and Jiminy had meant to propose sooner, but with, you know, what happened…he had of course decided to wait another week…

            But Kaelin was hardly listening to all this. None of it mattered to her. What mattered was, here was Jiminy, and he was happy, and they were engaged. No matter what had happened in their past and no matter what would happen in their future, they would be together. This meant the world to Kaelin. She realized, if they had remained a cricket and a mouse, this never could have happened. The curse had turned into a blessing.

            Hugging Jiminy’s arm, Kaelin walked back home with him, under his umbrella. When they got back, she decided she needed to spend a good portion of the day cleaning Rumpelstiltskin’s mansion, so Jiminy drove her there.

            Kaelin was actually happy to be cleaning that day. She could think while she cleaned, and she needed time to process everything that had happened. After carefully replaying the morning several times in her heart, scene by scene, she went on to imagine what being married to Jiminy could be like. She allowed herself to dream freely, thinking of all the ways she could be a wonderful wife and make him happy. Kaelin had always admired Sofia so much. As a mouse, she hadn’t expected to ever be a wife, but now she wanted to be just like Sofia. Sweet Sofia, hardworking Sofia…Sofia, who could always make Geppetto laugh.

            Motherly Sofia.

            Kaelin stifled a giggle, imagining a pack of small, bespectacled children with olive skin and curly, red hair. The image had risen in her mind before she could stop it, and she had to laugh. At this, however, she realized that she wanted children too, like Geppetto always had. Maybe she wanted a lot of children. Or maybe she would have just one, like her own mother. What would Geppetto think! Wouldn’t he love to have a bunch of little nieces and nephews running around, and calling him ‘Uncle Geppetto’? Of course, he would be more like a grandfather to them, but he would certainly be happy. Geppetto had always wanted a daughter, but in making Pinocchio, he had chosen a son—since Sofia had wanted a son. Now perhaps he could have a niece, and that would be like having a little daughter.

            Kaelin let her imagination roam farther, thinking of how Geppetto’s nieces and nephews could stay at his place for a week or two—every summer, perhaps. He could babysit whenever he wanted. Wouldn’t he be delighted? And what kind of father would Jiminy be? She had seen how he was almost like a father to Henry. Yes, considering this, he would definitely be a wonderful father.

            The idea of children suddenly seemed alarmingly far off to Kaelin, and she hurriedly reined in her thoughts. Why, she hadn’t even considered the wedding yet! What would that look like? Kaelin began to consider who they could invite…

 

 

 

 

            That evening, before sunset, Kaelin walked back home, eager to see Jiminy again. Just as she arrived at the door, he came out with Pongo, holding the dog’s leash. “Oh—I thought you would stay out later, so I was just on my way to the office,” he explained, “There’s some paperwork I really need to finish before Monday, so I was planning to work for an hour and a half, then pick you up at the usual time. Do…do you want me to stay?”

            “No, if there’s important work to be done, it’s all right,” Kaelin replied, a little disappointed but deciding that she might as well get used to him being busy, “I’ll save dinner for you.”

            “Actually, since I don’t need to pick you up from work, I might try to finish the paperwork tonight,” Jiminy said, “It could give us more time tomorrow. What do you think?”

            “Sure. It’ll be a relief to have it done,” Kaelin agreed, an idea popping into her mind, “Though I might still hold dinner.”

            Jiminy smiled. “If you really want to, you can, but otherwise, don’t bother,” he told her, “I’ll be back by 9:00 at the latest, though I hope to finish sooner than that.”

            “All right,” Kaelin said, “See you soon.”

            Jiminy kissed her on the lips, and then strode down to his car and opened the passenger’s side to let Pongo in. Kaelin watched until the car was out of sight. Then she turned toward the kitchen with a sense of purpose. She was going to take advantage of the time he was at work to make the best possible dinner—with a lemon-meringue pie for dessert. It didn’t matter how late they ate.

            By 8:30, Kaelin was covered with flour, tired out, and feeling accomplished from the fancy dinner she had made. All that was left was the pie, which was in the oven. At 8:45, the pie was done, and Kaelin waited restlessly for Jiminy. She had even made their little table by the window as fancy as possible, spreading it with a tablecloth and finding a nice centerpiece from one of the decorations around the house. He would surely be surprised. He wasn’t even expecting preheated leftovers.

            By 9:05, Kaelin began to grow anxious, and when the clock struck 9:30, her heart sank. It was probably too late to eat now, even for them. What was keeping him so long? Had Regina stopped by to talk again? She had showed up at his office late once before. Kaelin held out until 9:45, then slowly and sadly began to put away the food. It would still be delicious tomorrow. The pie she simply covered in plastic wrap and placed in the fridge. Perhaps they could have a piece when he got back. Kaelin washed the serving dishes and put away the dishes from the table. By the time she was done, it was 10:15.

            At 10:30, Kaelin started to become truly worried. What had happened? It might be that Regina had needed to talk for a very long time, but something wasn’t right. Something didn’t seem right about this at all. After pacing up and down the hall by the door for 15 more minutes, Kaelin decided she had to go to Jiminy’s office and find out what was keeping him. Putting on her jacket, she went outside and hurried down the sidewalk. The uneasy, orange glow of streetlamps lit her way.

            Jiminy’s office wasn’t too far from his house. Kaelin pulled open the glass door to the building, which had “Dr. Archibald Hopper” written on it. She practically ran up the stairs and down the hall, becoming more anxious every moment. But she stopped at the door. What if Regina or Rumpelstiltskin or someone really was there, and they had needed to talk to Jiminy for a long time? Wouldn’t she be intruding? Well, surely she could knock. It would be okay to knock—he would understand. Taking a deep breath and holding it, Kaelin tapped on the door.

            The distressed whining of a dog issued from behind it, but Kaelin couldn’t hear anything else. "Pongo?” she whispered, not sure what to think. Making a decision, she put her hand on the doorknob and quietly opened the door. Pongo was right there, whining and swinging his tail in anxiety. When he saw her, he turned and ran back into the office.

            Kaelin looked and saw that there was no one sitting on the couches. Confused, with growing fear, she stepped inside and closed the door behind her. “Jiminy?” she called. Suddenly, she started back in horror. There was someone lying on the floor beyond the coffee table, partially behind Jiminy’s chair. The person wore a dark green sweater-vest, and Pongo was running around him and nudging him and crying.

            “Jiminy!” Kaelin screamed. She stumbled blindly into the room, knocking her shin against the edge of the coffee table so hard that it bled, but hardly noticing. She collapsed on her hands and knees beside the body. It was definitely Jiminy. He was lying on his back with his arms and legs sprawled out, his still, ashen face turned away, and his eyes closed. His glasses lay on the ground by his shoulder. Still screaming his name, Kaelin shook his shoulder violently, but there was no response. Dead. Dead! He was dead! Shock overcame her, and she fell into blackness. 

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