In my Once Upon A Time fanfic, Twice Upon A Dream, the main characters find themselves lost in the dreamscape, falling in and out of each other’s dreams (and the dreams of the people of Storybrooke) as they each search for a mysterious item or items associated with the number 7 – it’s the only way to break the curse and return them to the waking world.
In this scene, Henry, David and Snow go on a hunt for a special book, and David uses the strongest weapon in his arsenal to get it . . .
“He needs to get the book,” Snow said. “Where do we find it?”
“You’re in luck,” Henry said, grinning widely. “I just happen to know my way around the New York Public Library.”
The ravens made a reappearance as they began to walk, flapping up to land on ledges and rooftops, but not directly attacking at the moment. Still, David kept a watchful eye as they made their way to the library.
Once inside, Henry found the reference desk, and the dour librarian behind it, who watched him approach with narrowed eyes through her thin spectacles.
“Yes?” she asked quietly.
“I need some help,” Henry said. “I’m looking for a copy of a Grimm Brother’s story – The Seven Ravens.”
“The brothers Grimm have several anthologies. You need only look in folklore and mythology.” She turned her chair dismissively.
She whirled back around, and her eyebrows nearly went into her hairline at the elevated volume of Henry’s voice. He was immediately contrite.
“Sorry,” he apologized. “Is there a volume of just that story – not in an anthology or a collection?”
She pushed her chair over to the computer and tapped at the keyboard. “There’s a similar tale in Greek that was published in tract form – that’s digital only, however. If you’re looking for the Germanic, we have one copy, but it’s in the rare book division.”
“That’s it,” Henry said, nodding excitedly. “How do I check that out?”
“You don’t. Books in that section are read on-site only, and not by anyone under the age of 18 without adult supervision.”
Snow stepped forward. “I’m happy to supervise.”
The librarian looked over the top of her spectacles. “And you are?”
“His…gr–teacher. We’re here for a school project.”
“After school hours?” The woman asked suspiciously.
“Extra-curricular activity,” Snow said, smiling. “Henry is a young author.”
“Very well,” the librarian said. “You’ll need to fill out the registration request, and I can have the book paged from archive. You’ll need to submit photo ID, and turn over all cellphones, cameras, jackets and purses.”
Snow let out an exasperated sound. “I don’t have my purse. And that means I don’t have my driver’s license, either.”
“Then you’ll have to return another time,” the librarian said, turning her chair again and putting the clipboard with the form away.
“Wait!” This time Snow got the pointed look, and she lowered her voice again. “This project is very important. We really need to see that book.”
“The rules are in place for a reason,” the woman reminded them sharply. “These are priceless books. You’ll simply have to return another day.”
David had been quietly observing from a nearby chair, but now he rose, rolling back his shirtsleeves to expose his forearms. He stepped forward, leaning on the counter.
“Hi,” he said, smiling at the woman and making sure his dimple was showing. She glanced up, startled.
“Look, I can vouch for her,” he said, nodding at Snow. “She’s been a teacher for years, and they only need a short time with the book. Henry has a library card and a photo ID he can leave with you.”
She actually slightly – very slightly – smiled. “I’m terribly sorry,” she said. “But I can’t step out of the rules. You understand.”
David ran a hand through his hair, lifting his arm and flexing it slightly. The woman’s eyes followed. “Of course, of course . . .” he sighed. “It’s just . . .” he bit his lip, letting it slide slowly through his teeth. “Kids these days – it’s so rare to find one with a true appreciation for the beauty of a book. You know what I mean?”
He held her eyes endearingly, and she appeared spellbound for a moment before clearing her throat delicately. “I do. I really do,” she replied. “But -”
“Listen,” he leaned in further to look at her name tag. “Edna, is it? Edna . . . how about this? You take Henry’s ID and library card, they get twenty minutes with the book, and I’ll stay out here and keep you company, just so you know we’re all above-board. I bet a reference librarian has a lot of fascinating stories.” He gave her a slow, devastating grin.
Edna’s hand fluttered to her chest and she leaned in conspiratorially. “My supervisor discourages chit-chat,” she said. “But I am going on break in forty-five minutes.”
“I’d love to hear your thoughts on how we can encourage more diverse reading programs to attract a younger audience,” David said. “That is, if you don’t mind giving up your break . . .”
“I don’t mind!” Her answer came out a bit louder than she’d planned, and she flushed slightly. “I’ve paged the book for you,” she said to Snow. “It’ll be waiting – through those doors and to the left.”
She unlocked a drawer and reached in, pulling out a small electronic fob and pushed it across the counter at David. “This is your access key. Just return it to me when you’re finished.”
“I’ll be back before breaktime,” he assured her with a wink. Then he nodded and gave her another dimple-infused smile. “Edna.”
“I’ll be waiting,” she said, a bit breathlessly.
David strode purposefully toward the door and into the hallway, with Snow and Henry following behind. Snow sidled up to him.
“That wasn’t playing fair,” she said, her lips twitching.
“I think that may be my hardest won prize yet,” he said. “She was pretty formidable.”
“She caved like a house of cards,” Snow deadpanned. “So now what?”
“We grab the book, and we hope she doesn’t chase me down in those support shoes when she realizes I never returned her key. Something tells me I wouldn’t come out of that alive.”
“You sure charmed her. Hook would be proud,” Henry added, grinning.
“Hook? Please. He’s an amateur.” David made a dismissive gesture with his hand. “After all, ‘Charming’ is practically my middle name.”