I know I'm supposed to be working on Consequences and I am, I promise. This little plot bunny just wouldn't leave me alone. The style of this story is a little different for me so I would love to hear what you think about it. The story is complete in 8 or 9 chapters. Ratings will go up as Jim gets older. I'll be sure to let you know.

Summary: Jim as a child, teenager, and young man as seen through the eyes of a friend from Riverside.

Jiminy and Cricket

By RogueAngel

Chapter 1

She's almost four years old when she first meets him. He's nine. He's never been in daycare before, but her mother has been running one since before she was born so she knows all the ins and outs of how to survive.

His name is Jimmy and he's almost as old as her brother, but much nicer. He lets her follow him around and doesn't yell at her for being too slow, or too little, or too stupid. She's not stupid, no matter what her brother and the other boys say. After Jimmy finds her crying under the back porch the rotten boys never call her stupid again. They ignore her, but she doesn't mind. She has Jimmy.

He teaches her to read during the summer. Her mother doesn't have the time, what with running the daycare and taking care of her and her brother and their father. He says his grandmother taught him. It makes him sad when he talks about her because she's not here any more.

She doesn't know what to say to make him feel better so she rests her head against his shoulder and pats his leg. "Will you read to me, Jiminy?"

"Sure, Cricket," he replies, even though he's already read the book to her twice.

Jiminy and Cricket are their little joke. Everyone else calls them Jimmy and Kristen, but Jiminy and Cricket are their special names for each other.

Her favorite movie is Pinocchio. She watches it over and over again when the other children are outside. Jimmy watches with her if she asks him. One day at lunch she accidentally calls him Jiminy and everyone, especially her brother, starts laughing at her. Jimmy turns red, but just shrugs as they tease him too. "She can call me whatever she wants. I don't care." She makes sure to only call him Jiminy when they're alone. He doesn't seem to mind and he always smiles softly at her when she does.

Her nickname comes about because her brother hates her. Her mother tells her not to exaggerate, but it's true. She believes it with all of her four year old heart. He says that she is always bugging him, so he threatens to squash her like a bug – because that's what she is; a creepy, crawly, slimy, snot-nosed bug.

She is crying and snot nosed by the time Jimmy arrives and stops Curtis from trying to squash her into the sand. He just looks at Curtis as he hauls her to her feet. Curtis glares but doesn't say anything more.

"Curtis is mean!" she sniffs, wiping her nose on the back of her hand. "I'm not an ugly bug. I'm not!"

"Of course not," Jimmy agrees seriously, squatting down and straightening her shirt, brushing off some sand. "You're not an ugly bug." He looks her over, tugging gently on her pig tail, grinning. "You're a cute bug." Before she could protest he stands up and walks toward the house. "Come on, Cricket," he calls to her over his shoulder. "I think your mom made some cookies for snack time." She doesn't protest and he smiles at her when she takes his hand.

For a long time she believes that if she just finds the right star the Blue Fairy will come to visit her and grant her wish. Jimmy smiles softly at her, his lips barely turning up, but his eyes are sparking as he shakes his head, already wise beyond his years. "And what would you wish for, Cricket?"

She honestly doesn't know, she hasn't thought that far. A pony? A swimming pool in the back yard? No school? That she never had a brother?

Then she knows and it's funny because it seems like her wish has already come true. Almost. "I'd wish that you were my brother and that you could stay with me all the time," she tells him.

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