A long time ago in the realm Dickens wrote about…
A spoon made a loud clanking sound as it landed in a bowl. Oliver Twist sat at the table with several other hungry orphan boys. They had just finished their small, daily morsel of porridge.
"I'm still hungry" one boy said loudly.
The boy next to him put a finger to his nose and shushed the loud boy.
"I'm with him" a third boy said in protest, "we ain't never gotten a decent fill round ere".
Oliver looked down, not wanting to be part of a conversation that could get him in trouble.
"Hey Twist" an older boy said while pushing Oliver's shoulder "I dare you to go up an ask for more".
Oliver looked at him and shook his head.
"Yeah" said the first boy "someone needs to ask for more. Twist should do it".
All the boys at the table cheered in agreement.
"Why me?" asked Oliver.
"Because the grown-ups like you" the boy who had nudged him explained "they think you're the best behaved of all of us. They might say yes to you".
Oliver was reluctant but he slowly picked up his bowl and cautiously walked towards the orphanage boss, Mr. Gibbons. He kneeled down, held the bowl in front of him and said "Please sir, I want some more".
"WHAT?" Mr. Gibbons demanded in an angry tone.
"Please, sir, I want some more" Oliver repeated.
"Why you insolent little miscreant" Mr Gibbons shouted "no one asks for more around here".
Mr Gibbons picked up a whip and lashed Oliver several times then grabbed him by the scruff of the neck, growling "I'll show you what happens to boys who ask for more".
Storybrooke, present day
An apple and an Apollo bar lay on a bench in the schoolyard. Oliver Twist quietly took them and brought them to a lanky teenage boy who called himself the Artful Dodger.
"Excellent work Oliver" Dodger said while slicing the apple with his pocket knife "I'm quite proud of you, though Mrs Blanchard seems to be getting a bit suspicious about our work".
Another teenage boy, Charley, nudged Dodger and pointed out two teenagers on the other side of the schoolyard.
"That's them" Charley said "Ansel an Gretel. The ones who took on a witch back in their ol realm".
Dodger looked at them pensively. "They don look like much" he said "but I'll bet they can elp us".
Later at the home of the Charmings
Snow White and her daughter, Emma Swan, were sipping coffee together.
"It's so nice" Emma said "to finally be able to relax now that the Black Fairy is defeated and there are no more villainous schemes to worry about".
"I wouldn't tempt fate" Snow warned.
Emma glared at her for a second.
"So how goes teaching?" Emma asked.
"Very good" replied Snow "The children are all doing great, except I'm a little worried there may be a lunch thief in our midsts. At first I chalked it up to kids misplacing things but it's getting to be too much to be a coincidence. It seems to have increased since your final battle with the Black Fairy".
"hmm" said Emma "maybe the universe is telling me to do more work. Maybe as sheriff I need to have a talk with some of those hooligans at the school".
"Maybe shouldn't use the word hooligan" Snow replied.
Long ago in the realm Dickens wrote about
Oliver was mopping the floor in the backroom of a store, with his head down.
"That'll teach you to be ungrateful" a stern woman barked at him "asking for more? You should consider yourself lucky you ain't out on the street like lots of other orphans. You got people to teach you right from wrong so you don't wind up in jail like most ungrateful orphans. They'd kill for the privilege of aving people to look after em, an you have the nerve to ask for more?"
An older boy walked in with a cocky grin.
"Hello, Noah" said the stern woman "glad you're finally ere, watch this ulagin while I go mind the shop". She turned to Oliver "an consider yourself lucky the orphanage sent you here to work an not out on the streets with the beggars and crooks".
She left. Oliver looked up at Noah.
"What ave we ere?" asked Noah, bending over for a better look at Oliver. "I was expecting a tough lil troublemaker. The lady is right, you'd never make it in the streets. Can't believe them, being tough on a lil runt like you".
"And what do you know about livin in the streets?" asked Oliver.
"You'd be surprised" answered Noah "I know all about orphan street gangs but i've also convinced my girlfriend's parents, they own this shop, that I'm an upright standin citizen" he said, touching his shirt collar. "Betcha you couldn't accomplish that. You ain't got any strength, brains, or charisma, you're lucky anybody lets you have food or shelter, who wants a runt like you?"
Oliver became angry and started violently hitting Noah with the mop.
"HELP" yelled Noah "POLICE".
Some people rushed in. The stern lady took the mop from Oliver's hands and scolded him "You couldn't just be ungrateful?" she asked rhetorically "You had to be violent too? I'm calling the authorities, lest you go on a killing spree next".
Oliver ran out the door, into the street, and as far away as he could. He stopped behind a large building to catch his breath. He cried. Was Noah right? Would he not survive in the streets? Would nobody ever want him? He had just been told he was lucky to have food and shelter, now he had lost that too. What would happen to him?
Present day Storybrooke
Dodger and his gang were near the wishing well with Hansel and Gretel.
"Thank you two for accepting my invite" said Dodger
"The shadiness of it did give us pause" replied Gretel.
Dodger laughed. "Gave you pause?" he asked "the ones who took on a witch when you were just youngins? I would think you'd be brave enough for anything".
Hansel looked thrilled. Gretel looked at him sternly before turning her attention back to Dodger.
"Depends what you mean by 'anything'" she answered sceptically.
"Ah, you're a shrewd one" Dodger said with a smile "well it just so happens me gang an I are planning sumthin special, that will require a series of difficult heists, we need your elp because you know this town well. If you help us, we're gonna give you a piece of the action when we get the big treasure".
Hansel's eyes lit up. Gretel looked at him with frustration.
"Hansel" she said "you know how your greed gets you into trouble. And then I follow along to try and keep you from getting hurt and I get sucked in with you. Can we not do this again?"
Oliver tugged on Gretel's dress.
"Please ma'am" he begged "I needs the big treasure to find my home".
Gretel knelt down "Sweetie" she asked kindly "why are you with these crooks?"
"Because" answered Oliver "they took me in and made me family and now they're going to help me find my place in the world".
Gretel looked sympathetic.
"C'mon" said Hansel "this could make us rich and powerful, give us everything we want in our wildest dreams".
"That's right" said Dodger "an the further you help us, the more you'll learn about the plan".
"This is exciting" said Hansel "I'm in".
Gretel sighed. "Then I'm in too" she said. "What's our first mission?"
Later at the Sheriff's Station
Emma was at her desk when her husband and deputy, Captain Hook walked in with a box of donuts.
"Bear claw for m'lady?" he offered,
"Yes please" she said taking the bear claw out of the box and biting into it "did you also get the…"
"Hot Cocoa with cinnamon?" he finished "Henry's bringing that, it was too hard for me to hold with my hook".
Emma smiled. Hook sat on the desk.
"This has been an easy job since the Black Fairy was defeated" Hook mused "I wonder if we'll get anymore real action in this town".
"Bite your tongue" replied Emma, though with a tone that said she was secretly hoping for excitement too.
Just then, the phone rang. Emma answered.
"Hello" she said "Sheriff's station". She suddenly got a panicked look on her face. Hook saw it and started to worry too. "We're on our way" Emma said before laying down the phone.
"What is it?" asked Hook.
"Sneezy" said Emma "Grumpy and Bashful found him tied up in the back room at the pharmacy. Some kids robbed the place".
Emma and Hook grabbed their coats and left the station.
Long Ago in the realm Dickens wrote about
Oliver was crouching around the alleys of the city, looking for something to eat.
"You'd better be careful of the gangsters" a voice behind him said.
Oliver turned around to see a teenage boy. He was afraid.
"No need to be afraid of me" said the boy "I keep others in line. I can tell by your clothes you're new to the streets, the underground life, you're lucky I found you before someone else did. I can get you shelter, it ain't perfect but it's one of the best options kids like us got. Jack Dawkins is the name but my friends call me the Artful Dodger".
Dodger held out his hand. Oliver cautiously shook it.
"I'm called Oliver" he replied "Oliver Twist".
"An what's a respectable boy like you doing in an alleyway?" asked Dodger.
"I had to run away from the place I was staying because I punched another boy" answered Oliver "he was being mean".
"I had to run away many times when I was about your age" replied Dodger "the first time was for stealing medicine. At least you have a place to go now, come home with me an be part of my family, all kids who lost their homes. Fagin looks after us in exchange for working for him. He takes in many boys with no place to go".
"Can I trust you?" asked Oliver.
"Maybe not" said Dodger "I've done some bad things to people, but I may be the best option you got now".
Another teenager came into the alley. "Ah ha" he said "Ol Dodger's tryna recruit some young blood".
"You keep away from him" warned Dodger "this one ain't looking for no trouble".
They boy was older than Oliver but not as old as Dodger. He walked up slowly. He and Dodger raised fists at each other. Oliver watched in fear as the two teenager made several sudden moves to intimidate one another. Suddenly, the unnamed teen held a knife to Oliver's neck. "You'll make a good distraction for the things that chase me" he said. Dodger put the guy in a headlock "run Oliver" Dodger said.
Oliver ran into the street and almost hit a police horse. He suddenly realized he was out in the open and hoped nobody recognized him. Suddenly he was pulled back into an alley by who turned out to be none other than Dodger.
"Now what'd I tell you?" Dodger said "I'm a bad boy but I'm the best shot you got at survival".
"Thank-you" said Oliver, breathlessly "but why are you helping me?"
"Cause Fagin asked me to find recruits" said Dodger "and he's my best shot at survival".
A long time later in Storybrooke
Dodger and his gang were in an abandoned cabin, owned by Mr. Gold but not used by him in a long time, enjoying their ill-gotten gains from the drugstore robbery. Two boys were throwing knives at a dartboard. Dodger was teaching Oliver how to get the most out of a chocolate bar. Hansel and two other boys were gambling with each other by playing dice and using candy as capital.
"Remind me again what the purpose of this mission was?" Gretel inquired of Dodger.
"Twas a practice run" replied Dodger "I needed to know you and your brother have what it takes to tackle a real heist, before building up to the more dangerous tasks. I don't want nobody getting hurt, or caught by the sheriff. Those dwarfs have told her about us by now, we have to be quick and efficient, lest she start to catch on."
"I've been caught before" Oliver piped up "I'd hate to see what'll happen to you".
Gretel turned to Oliver "The sheriff here is kind and just" she said "she helped my brother and I find our father so we wouldn't be separated. Now we have a home. Perhaps she can help you get one too".
"Ain't no such things as a kind and just sheriff" growled Dodger "the law takes the downtrodden and makes us more downtrodden. Ain't no real good person in the world, on either side of the law. Ain't that right Oliver?"
Oliver looked at Dodger, then at Gretel, then back at Dodger.
"I haven't met many good people" Oliver said with a shrug.
Gretel began to open her mouth.
"I know what you're about to say" Dodger said accusingly "you have the nerve to judge us and look at us as lowlife crooks because you and your brother are privileged and ain't seen the horrors we have in our realm. You don't know what it's like for us orphans so shut your mouth".
"I wasn't going to say anything like that" Gretel said defensively "but I do have to go home for the night before my father gets suspicious".
Dodger looked down grumpily, frustrated. Oliver gave him a gumdrop and pat on the back to comfort him. Dodger ate the gumdrop and patted Oliver on the head to thank him.
"Go then" said Dodger "we don't want to raise no more alarm than necessary. Keep quiet about all this now".
"Come on, Hansel" Gretel said as she stood up. Hansel obediently followed her. After they left, Oliver looked at Dodger.
"You ain't afraid they'll peach?" he asked.
"They'll be in as much trouble as us if they do" he said "they were the ones who tied up the dwarf and she was the one I had call the other dwarf before he starved. The evidence is stacked against them, we've thrown the sheriff off our trail".
"What are they helping us with tomorrow?" asked Oliver.
"We've got to go after the materials we need to modify the curse on this town. They're in four locations. Our first target, the Convent of the Sisters of Saint Meissa".
Later at the Sheriff Station
Henry and his girlfriend, Violet, were playing Checkers when Emma, Hook, and Grumpy walked in.
"So what are you gonna do about the robbery?" Grumpy asked.
"Be patient" answered Emma "I need to find out who the kids that did it were and deal with them". She placed her red leather jacket on the back of the chair Henry was sitting in.
"Hi Mom" said Henry "We came by to give you your hot cocoa with cinnamon but you weren't here, so we waited".
"Thank-you" said Emma taking a sip of the hot cocoa.
"So, what's the commotion in town now?" asked Henry.
"Well" replied Emma "It seems and indeterminate number of teenagers and kids in masks decided to ambush Sneezy and rob the pharmacy. They left him tied up in the back room. At least they had the decency to call the other dwarfs and tell them rather than letting him rot back there, I give them credit for that".
Violet's eyes suddenly widened with shock. "I may know something" she said.
"Tell me what you know then" Emma requested.
"I've been working at Granny's" Violet began "and there were some teen boys I talked to there, they wore torn clothes and I wondered if they were homeless but when I tried to ask, they evaded the question but I did find out that they had come from the Land Of Untold Stories and were waiting out the defeat of all the villains in town. I also found out the leader called himself The Artful Dodger".
"That little troublemaker from Oliver Twist?" Emma asked aggressively.
Violet nodded. "When I mentioned it to Henry" she continued "he told me about the story they probably came from and I wondered if they would cause trouble after they were finished laying low, but by then I forgot about them".
"Thank-you for the information" said Emma "I kind of wish you had told me sooner, maybe I could have found homes for them".
"You were too busy with all the commotion with the Black Fairy and Gideon trying to kill you" Henry reminded her "it had to wait for things to calm down".
"I think I'm missing something" said Hook "who is the Artful Dodger?"
"I forget how little you know about pop culture in this world" Emma replied "he's part of a famous novel called Oliver Twist, he's the leader of a gang of orphan thieves".
"Like most of our stories, his is different from the book" Violet said "he's about seventeen years old".
Emma felt a pang of emotion as she herself had been a thief by that age. Hook sensed this and placed his hand on her shoulder.
"Was there a girl with them, by any chance?" asked Grumpy.
"No, why?" answered Violet.
"Then someone else is working with them" sad Grumpy "cause it was definitely a girl that called me to tell me where they stashed Sneezy".
Violet shrugged her shoulders.
"No girls" she said "but I think I saw Oliver Twist with them once or twice. A small boy who seemed to shy to be in public".
"Any idea where they live?" asked Emma.
"Sorry, no" said Violet.
"Well" said Emma "if you see them again or remember anything else, give me a call. Hook and I will try to find out if there are any abandoned houses they could be in. I remember Hansel and Gretel lived in one before I reunited them with their father".
A long time ago in The Realm Dickens Wrote About
Dodger, Oliver, and another boy in Dodger's gang, approached the backside of a bookstore.
"Alright" said Dodger "remember the plan" he clasped his hands looked at the other boy and continued "Charlie, you're on lookout" and then looked at Oliver "Oliver, do it just the way we taught you".
Oliver nodded obediently. The three boys walked around to the front of the store. Oliver walked inside first.
"Please sir" he said to the man at the counter "help me, I'm lost".
The man looked down.
"What have we here?" he asked before coming around to Oliver's side of the counter. While he was distracted, Dodger and Charlie crept in. Charlie watched the man while Dodger snuck under the counter to get the money. When he came out the other side he nodded to Oliver and crept back out. Charlie went near the door. Oliver thanked the man for giving him directions and headed for the door. Suddenly the man noticed the money gone and shouted. Charlie hurriedly, but gently, pushed Oliver through the door and gave Dodger a hand signal indicating the man was coming. Dodger panicked, put the money in Oliver's hands, and then ran away. Charlie followed. The man furiously grabbed Oliver and called for a nearby police officer. Oliver was arrested.
A long time later in Storybrooke
Oliver was outside the convent at night with an older boy in Dodger's gang.
"Rory, why are we stealing from nuns again?" Oliver asked.
"They ain't real nuns" Rory answered, slightly frustrated "they're fairies an they got some magic we needs".
"Oh" said Oliver.
Hansel came around the corner.
"We've checked the perimeter" Hansel said proudly "looks like the only nun awake in there is the Blue Fairy in the main area. We can avoid her. We'll put the smallest boys in through the back windows, close to where the wand is, meanwhile Dodger will pick the front lock so Gretel and I can fish the boys out. If Mother Superior, that's Blue, starts to head for the front door, Dodger will give Charlie the signal to create a distraction. Any questions?"
"Who's taking the fall if we get caught?" asked Oliver.
"If anyone gets caught, Gretel and I will speak with the sheriff" answered Hansel "she likes us".
Oliver nodded and then Hansel and Rory lifted him into the window. Another boy in the gang, Mickey, not much older than Oliver came in through a window across from him. They both silently went for the door in the middle and crept into a room where the special diamond wand lay. Oliver picked it up. It glowed. Suddenly, they heard footsteps and hid under a chair. The doorknob began to turn. Was it Blue of Hansel and Gretel. Both boys tried to hide the wand's glow. There was a loud sound in the distance and the sound of footsteps went away from them. Oliver sighed with relief. Mickey approached the door and motioned for Oliver to follow. He obeyed. Mickey peeked out the door and looked around. Once he felt safe he tiptoed out with Oliver behind them. Someone stepped into their line of sight. They jumped, thinking it was the Blue Fairy. It was Gretel.
"Come on" she whispered. Hansel's on lookout, I'll lead you to the front entrance. The three hurried to the front door, soon joined by Hansel, and escaped.
The next day in the same convent
Emma, Hook, and Blue stood in the room the diamond wand had been taken.
"I thought I heard someone in here" Blue said "but when I came to check I heard noise outside and went to check on that. By the time I came back to this room, the diamond wand was gone. I shudder to think what the thief could be planning with it. It has a number of dangerous powers".
"Wonderful" said Hook "so we know there's a band of thieves in town but we don't know who they all are, where they live, or what they're using dangerous magical items found around town for".
Emma glared at him. "We'll figure this out" she said. "Sounds like they used a classic group heist trick, create a diversion while the others escape. Neal and I used to act like I was going into labour to avoid getting caught. Let's check the windows in the hallway".
They walked into the hallway and Emma inspected the window. "One of them broke in through here" she said "and we already know the lock on the front door was picked". Her frustration began to rise. "What we don't know" she continued "is how to find the little miscreants so we can stop them". She kicked the wall.
"Blue, could you give us a minute?" Hook asked.
"Of course" Blue nodded and left.
"Swan" said Hook "you've been acting strangely ever since Violet told us the Dodger is in town. I know you, this isn't just about stopping crime, there's something more personal going on here".
"Okay fine" Emma said "I'll explain. I first read the book Oliver Twist when I was in jail. I had dropped out of school before I met Neal and the prison counsellor thought that some education would help my rehabilitation". She rolled her eyes and then continued "So I was given some classics to read but I don't think they thought through the content of some of them. I threw the book across my cell when I got to the part where the Dodger, who was supposed to be Oliver's friend, betrays him and makes him take the fall for his crime, like Neal had done to me".
Hook hugged Emma and she lay her head on his chest.
"I understand how that was difficult for you but you have to remember these stories don't always reflect reality. This Dodger may not have done that, and if he did there may be a good explanation. Besides, you eventually forgave Neal, you can find a way to forgive young Dodger too. Besides, look at this way, the young lad has been looking after a band of homeless orphans for who knows how long, doing what he must feel is right for all of them. He probably has been hurt before and doesn't know if he can trust us. He may be in a difficult position. He's done some shady and criminal things but so have both of us. Let's find out the lad's story before we judge him".
"You're right" Emma said "thank-you for reminding me of all that. We need to find out who he really is before being angry. But first we have to find him".
A long time ago in the Land Dickens Wrote About
Oliver sat in a jail cell nibbling a cheap biscuit and staring at a tiny, nearly empty, cup of water. He was hungry and frightened. He cried. He had hoped Dodger would give him a home but now he had betrayed him. Would he ever return? What would become of Oliver now? If no kind families wanted to give him a home before, they wouldn't now that he'd been in jail. He was tainted goods.
"It's time to see the judge" a harsh voice said. The man the voice came from opened the cell door. Oliver timidly followed him to the courtroom. The judge looked down at Oliver sternly.
"BOY" bellowed the judge "you've been accused of creating a diversion in order to profit off a robbery at a bookstore. Do you deny it?"
Oliver remained silent.
"Who else was involved?" asked the judge "who put you up to it?"
"I can't tell you" answered Oliver.
"Then you will spend twice as much time in jail" the judge said monotonously.
"He's just a boy" a man spoke up "boys always come out of jail more unruly than they go in. Let me take him and make a good boy out of him".
The judge looked angry yet thoughtful. "Very well" he said "you take the miscreant home. Consider yourself lucky boy, you won't be next time you come to court". He hit his mallet on the desk and left for a break.
The man who had spoken up took Oliver by the hand.
"Thank-you, sir" said Oliver "I've been hoping for someone to give me a home".
The man laughed derisively. "A home?' he snarked "I ain't giving you any home. I came here to find me a boy nobody cares about to put him to work in my field. I'll beat obedience into you".
He then forcibly grabbed Oliver and took him away.
A long time later in Storybrooke
Dodger and his gang were back in Mr. Gold's cabin. Dodger swung the diamond wand around.
"Careful" shouted Gretel "that looks dangerous".
Dodger looked at her like he was simultaneously offended and impressed by her telling him what to do. He didn't want to let her get away with it but was flattered she worried about him.
"The lady is right" another boy named Harry said.
Dodger silently wrapped the wand in a towel and laid it down on a table, still looking incredulously at Gretel. Suddenly, Oliver ran up to him and jumped up.
"What's next, Dodger?" he asked excitedly.
"Hold your horses" said Dodger "with this we can break into the Evil Queen's vault to get mind control powder, the next ingredient we need".
Hansel and Gretel both looked alarmed.
"The Evil Queen has become good but her magic is still dangerously powerful. Especially something that can affect minds".
"But I need it" said Dodger "and don't ask me why, you can't know yet".
"Didn't the Evil Queen leave?" asked Mickey.
"There were two evil queens for a while, it's complicated" said Rory.
"Anyway" Dodger said, not wanting to get into a lengthy discussion of Storybrooke's strange history "I'll need a bit of time to come up with a plan for this next stage".
"But I want to do it now" complained Oliver "I want to stop having to hide, I want to find a permanent home".
Gretel looked at Hansel. Hansel kneeled down to speak to Oliver.
"Kid" he said "you don't understand what the Evil Queen's magic is capable of, even she can't always control the corrupting power of it".
"I want to do it now" Oliver said stubbornly "I'm small, I can go in by myself tonight and get the powder".
"Enough of that" Dodger said sternly "nobody's doing anything more until I come up with a plan".
Later the day at Hansel and Gretel's house
"Hansel" Gretel called while he was brushing his teeth, supposedly getting ready for bed "I'm worried about Oliver. What if he does go into the queen's vault alone?"
Hansel stood face to face with his sister and touched her shoulders.
"I've been worried about that too". He said "Kid seemed pretty desperate and doesn't believe he can belong here any other way. Plus I saw the way he looked at that wand, like I look at sweets I want to sneakily steal".
"We may get in trouble" Gretel said "but I think to save Oliver we need to tell Sheriff Swan what we know".
Hansel reluctantly nodded.
A long time ago in the Land That Dickens Wrote About
Oliver was working in a field, with scars on his cheek and neck from his new guardian. Suddenly, he saw Harry looking at him from a distance. Oliver perked up. Had they come to rescue him? A noise in the distance distracted his guardian. He ceased the opportunity and ran to Harry. He ran right into Harry and hugged him. Harry hugged back and then motioned for Oliver to follow him. Soon they were reunited with the rest of the gang.
"Are we going home?" Oliver asked.
"We ain't got anywhere to go back to" Dodger said sadly "Fagin has died. Without his protection, my sins are about to catch up to me. The other boy Fagin mentored, Noah Claypole, I did a bad thing to him and peached on him to his girl. Now he's going to peach on all of us to the police. I may deserve it but I can't stand to see all of you go to jail for my misdeeds, it'll make you all into monsters". He held up an object in his hands "So, we're gonna use this portal Fagin passed on to me and go to a place we can lay low for a while until we find some place to go: The Land Of Untold Stories and one day we'll find another place to make home".
He activated the portal and the six boys disappeared from their realm.
A long time later in Storybrooke
Oliver was in Regina's vault. There were so many magical items around him, he wasn't sure where to go first. He opened a box and vipers came out. He was frightened. Suddenly, Hansel pulled him away from the snakes. Emma and Regina came in and shot magic at the vipers, subduing them. Emma knelt down to speak to Oliver.
"Oliver, are you okay?" she asked.
Oliver nodded then he looked at Hansel and Gretel.
"Did you peach on me?" he asked.
"They had to in order to protect you" Emma answered "who knows what would've happened to you in here. Plus, I have a surprise for you outside".
Oliver was nervous. What sort of surprise punishment awaited him outside. Emma guided him out of the vault. There were two men there. Emma introduced them.
"This is Marco" she said "and his son August. They've been looking for someone like you to add to their family".
Oliver cautiously approached Marco and August.
"He's a great Dad" August said "taught me how to carve things and many other things. And I can show you how to read and write".
"I know you don't trust us yet" said Marco "but we want to give you a home and be your family".
Oliver cried tears of joy, though he wasn't sure this was true. Then he turned to Emma.
"What about Dodger and the rest of my friends?" he asked.
"I'll find them" said Emma "and help them too. For now, I want you to go home with Marco and August and lay low for a while".
Oliver got in the car with Marco and let him take him home. Emma smiled with tears of joy in her eyes.
"Are we going to be punished?" Hansel asked her.
Emma turned to speak to Hansel and Gretel.
"I'm glad you came forward in the end, but the three of us are going to have a long talk with your father about your involvement with Dodger's gang.
"I'm just glad Oliver has a home now" Gretel said.
Stay tuned for part two, in which Dodger continues his quest for power while flashbacks reveal how he became the person he is, Emma continues her quest to stop him, and Hansel and Gretel go undercover.