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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37. Storybrooke

            In the days that followed their escape from the ship, Kaelin recovered from her injuries. She did not have to stay in the hospital long, because she was not seriously hurt. However, while she was still there, Belle was admitted. On the evening of the same day that Hook had forced the information out of Jiminy and Kaelin, he had injured Belle. She was all right, but he had pushed her across the town border in the process. She couldn’t remember who she was. Kaelin visited her, gently reestablishing a friendship with her, but it was hard. Still, surely there’s a way to restore her memories, Kaelin thought hopefully. Surely they would before long. It was hard for anything to discourage Kaelin these days, not with the upcoming wedding.

            In fact, wedding preparations occupied most of Kaelin’s thoughts now. Whatever else was happening in Storybrooke, it didn’t seem nearly as important as the fact that Jiminy was alive, and Jiminy was going to marry her. Kaelin was buzzing with an excitement and anticipation bordering on terror.

            Of course, the wedding expenses were a problem. Jiminy was still trying to reestablish a savings fund, so he was short on money at the moment. However, Kaelin didn’t feel she needed a fancy wedding. What were the essentials for a wedding? Nice clothes, a cake, an officiator, friends, and golden rings. That seemed like enough. Granny was going to make a cake at no cost because of her friendship with Jiminy. An officiator and friends for the wedding party had been chosen.

            As for Kaelin’s dress, she and Nova set out to make that themselves. Kaelin had finally decided to go ahead and drop out of school, though it was her last year, so she had time. Her cleaning work was still present, even when Rumpelstiltskin flew to Manhattan to look for his son, but without school taking up time, she was able to finish it in the first few days of the week.

            The dress was going to be simple, of course. Despite the diligent instruction Gus-Gus had given her, Kaelin’s abilities were still rather small. She decided to make it like the one they had made for Cinderella, only all white. As for the veil, they would have to buy that somewhere. Kaelin had no idea how to make something like that.

            The two clumsiest girls in Storybrooke trying to sew a wedding dress together was a sight to behold. Kaelin kept wishing that Gus was there to lend them his expertise. In fact, if Gus had been there, they would have turned the task entirely over to him. He would have loved the chance to make something truly excellent.

            In the end, they had to seek help from some more experienced sewers in the convent, who pulled out most of their stitches and practically had them start over. However, the dress turned out nicely after all that. The wedding rings were the only major expense.

 

 

 

 

            In the rest of her free time before the wedding, Kaelin spent hours upon hours talking with Jiminy in his office. They talked about things they had never talked about before. In the hold of that ship, when she had seen Jiminy still alive, something had changed in Kaelin. She felt like she had reconnected with her old, hopeful self. “Why?” she began to ask as they talked. Why had she felt it was her fault when her mother died? It wasn’t—she had done everything she could. Why did she abuse herself over her mistakes and feel so ashamed of even the smallest ones? Wasn’t it because that attitude had been trained into her while she was growing up? It was holding her back, but it could be changed.

            From that moment when she had decided to pray for Belle, Kaelin began to realize other things too. Namely, that it was okay for her to be imperfect. It was okay for her to be unable to do certain things and to make mistakes. It would even be okay if she was below average—though Kaelin had at last begun to question the notion that she was. It wasn’t a sin to be clumsy or socially awkward or incapable: it was okay, because she didn’t have to depend on herself for everything. It was okay to depend on others and on that great Goodness which was the source of conscience.

            As Kaelin began to overcome barriers of shame, she found that she was even able to talk to Jiminy about her resentment toward King George over Gus’s murder. Jiminy listened closely, and admitted he had some of the same feelings, though he hadn’t been quite as close to Gus. They could work through that resentment together, but the goal had to be forgiveness.

            The time Kaelin spent talking with Jiminy was not, however, simply like her seeing a psychologist. There was give and take in these discussions. At times, Jiminy would be the one talking for hours, and Kaelin would listen. It turned out that he had a lot to get off his chest too, including his doubts about whether he was really qualified to practice psychology.

            Yet Jiminy’s deepest nagging anxiety was the fear that perhaps—somehow—Geppetto still held a grudge against him. Geppetto had showed him such affection now, hadn’t he? He had called Jiminy his brother and had been devastated at his funeral. He had even given Jiminy permission to marry Kaelin. He had said a lot of things that sounded like forgiveness, but still he had never said those words—“I forgive you.” Jiminy still ached to hear those three, specific words from the boy who had given him his umbrella. As long as he didn’t hear them, there was still doubt. In the Enchanted Forest, he had thought he was forgiven, but then the grudge had unexpectedly appeared again: Help, eh? Like you helped my parents? Jiminy repeated those words aloud. They still hurt him.

            Slowly resurfacing from that raw and painful discussion of Jiminy’s deepest worries, Kaelin and Jiminy began to talk about Pinocchio. He was still missing, and Geppetto still could hardly think of anything else. All he had found was the little, red cap. Where could Geppetto’s son be?

            Just then, there was a pair of running footsteps down the hall and a furious rapping on the door. Rather alarmed, Jiminy jumped up and hurried to open it. He swung the door open, then froze, his mouth open with astonishment. Curious, Kaelin tried to see what had surprised him so. Geppetto was there in the doorway, but Jiminy wasn’t looking at Geppetto. He was looking down. Kaelin got up and walked toward them. She froze too.

            There beside Geppetto was an adorable little boy with round cheeks and freckles, a little, button nose, and wavy, brown hair. He had a huge grin on his face, and his dark brown eyes glistened with excitement. He turned to look up at Geppetto. “Father,” he began breathlessly, “Is this little Auntie Kaelin and Jiminy Cricket?”

            “That’s right, my boy,” Geppetto replied, crouching down and putting an arm around his shoulder.

            A smile spread across Jiminy’s face, and he laughed in amazement. “Pinocchio?” he gasped.

            “Yes,” Geppetto replied, blinking back joyful tears, “It’s Pinocchio!”

            “Ohhh-ho-ho, come here!” Jiminy exclaimed, also getting down to the boy’s level. He held out his arms. Pinocchio ran into them, and Jiminy hugged him tightly. Then Kaelin hugged him too.

            “But…how?” Jiminy asked as they all stood up, Geppetto lifting Pinocchio in his arms.

            “That…is a long story,” Geppetto replied, “I think we should sit down.”

            And so they all sat around on the couches while Geppetto told the events of the day—How Snow had met Pinocchio in the woods. How he was an adult, but he had been turned back into wood because he had not been able to resist the temptations of this new world. Then Geppetto described their search for him, and how he had sacrificed his life to warn them of some threat, and how at last the Blue Fairy had used this selfless, honest bravery to turn him into a real boy again. A real boy for sure—he was tiny again! It was their chance to start over. Pinocchio listened to all this with some curiosity. He could remember a little of his life before he had been turned into a boy again, but most of it was foggy, like a dream.

            After he finished telling his tale, Geppetto turned and focused intently on Jiminy and Kaelin, his smiling face becoming serious. “There is something I want to tell you,” he began, speaking intensely, “Especially you, Jiminy.”

            Jiminy tensed, his eyes widening slightly. He seemed to be holding his breath. Kaelin found she was holding hers too.

            “Over the days since the curse broke, and…especially now, I have come to understand something,” Geppetto said. His voice shook, and his eyes seemed a little too bright. “Jiminy, you…are not the one who needs to be forgiven.”

            Shock and concern clashed in Jiminy’s face. “Wha—” he breathed, but couldn’t continue.

            Tears filled Geppetto’s eyes, and his lips trembled, but he plunged on: “I have been cruel to you,” he admitted, “To both of you. Jiminy, what you did…to my parents…was a mistake. And yet you spent the rest of your life trying to make it up to me. You showed me nothing but kindness. But what did I do? I did nothing but take advantage of that kindness—and of your love and dedication, Kaelin. I used your sincerity to manipulate you and keep you under control. I’m sorry. Jiminy, I know you have no reason to forgive me after I withheld forgiveness from you, but I’m asking you now. Please forgive me.”

            Jiminy was looking at him with wide, pitying eyes, his brow furrowed. He shook his head. “Geppetto, we’ve never thought of it that way!” he assured him, as though speaking for both himself and Kaelin.

            “No,” Kaelin said softly, her eyes on Geppetto. Jiminy stopped, staring at her in astonishment. “No. Geppetto, you’re right.” She swallowed hard but couldn’t stop her voice from shaking. “You have taken advantage of us.”

            Geppetto lowered his gaze and nodded.

            “And I’m glad you’ve seen it,” Kaelin went on, “Because…because that means we can finally move forward—” A sudden sob escaped her, and she pressed her hand over her mouth. Trying to control herself, she went on: “Oh, I forgive you—of course I do. All I want is for there to be nothing between us anymore. But whether Jiminy wants to forgive you too is—is up to him.”

            “Well—well, yes, I forgive you,” Jiminy said quickly, leaning toward Geppetto with a twitch of his chin, “But wha—what do you mean I’m not the one who needs to be forgiven?!” His voice rose, and he sounded almost angry. “I need you to forgive me, Geppetto! Haven’t I made that clear enough? Why won’t you understand?”

            For a moment, Geppetto was speechless. His dark eyes searched Jiminy’s face. Then, slowly and deliberately, as though struggling with himself, he said, “I…forgive you, Jiminy. I really do. If, God forbid, I ever try to hold that over your head again, just remind me of this day. I forgive you.” Suddenly, in his eyes, there was an extraordinary vulnerability, like the little, orphaned boy he had been. Moved with compassion, Jiminy stood up and held the old man’s head to his chest while he cried. Kaelin came too and knelt by the couch, hugging him, and Pinocchio held his hand.

            “Thank you, Kaelin,” Geppetto whispered, “Thank you for caring about me enough to give me such a wonderful friend.”

 

 

 

 

            At last, the day of the wedding came. It was beautiful. Kaelin wore her homemade, white, silk dress, a white veil, and more makeup than she had ever worn before. The makeup was subtle, but it created a lovely effect with her olive skin. Jiminy looked striking in a black-and-white suit, though Kaelin thought his usual, eclectic layers of earth-toned, patterned sweater-vests and overcoats suited him better. He had carefully combed his hair so that it rose in soft, red curls.

            Blue officiated the marriage. Kaelin’s maid of honor was Nova, of course, and Ella was her second bridesmaid. Poor Geppetto had to both fill the role of “father of the bride” and stand as Jiminy’s best man, so he did a bit of running back and forth. Grumpy was the second groomsman. Noticing Nova and Grumpy stealing glances at each other throughout the wedding, Kaelin hopefully recalled the old saying: “goin’ to a wedding is the makin’ of another”. Little Pinocchio carried in the rings on a velvet pillow, as solemn as could be, his adorable, round face set with concentration. The wedding guests included Henry, Emma, Snow White and Prince Charming, Red and Granny, the other dwarves (except for Sneezy), Prince Thomas and baby Alexandra, and even “Lacey”—who was Belle with false memories (though she seemed a bit bored by the whole thing). Oh, and Pongo, of course.

            “…I believe that the same qualities which made Pinocchio into a real boy are also the qualities which make a lasting marriage,” Blue said as she reached the end of her speech, “And so, Jiminy and Kaelin, I will give you the same charge I gave to him: be brave, truthful, and unselfish. Be brave—ready to support each other no matter what hardships you might face. Truthful—not keeping secrets from each other, but being honest above all. Unselfish—putting your spouse’s needs above your own. If you hold to these virtues, then nothing can ever come between you.”

            After that, Jiminy and Kaelin exchanged vows and rings. They sealed the marriage with a kiss.

            Thus, even our humble, little Jiminy Cricket found true love. This, I suppose, is his happy ending, and also the happy ending for the girl who traveled to the stars. Many other things happened in Storybrooke after that, and they experienced many other joys and sorrows, but their love remained strong through it all. And so, Jiminy Cricket and Kaelin Mouse lived happily ever after.

~The End~

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