By the time Miss Blanchard gave him the book, Henry had all but given up hope.
When he asked her why, she said it was because he seemed lonely and maybe it would help.
Yes, he was lonely. You would be too if you were the only person in town who aged.
When he was younger he never noticed it. He didn't get to play with many kids his age and all adults look the same age. It wasn't until the end of 1st grade that he realized there was something really wrong in his town.
He turned seven. None of the other kids in his class did. He went on to 2nd grade. All his friends stayed in 1st.
That was when things started getting bad between him and his adopted mother.
She had never kept it a secret that he was adopted, but before 2nd grade, he never felt like it was anything to be ashamed of.
But then he started insisting that he was getting older, so his friends should too.
Which made Regina mad. Like really mad.
Henry didn't understand what he did wrong. He'd seen it in books and in his own life. Before he couldn't reach the top of the kitchen counter unless his mother picked him up, but now he was allowed to pour his own milk (if he used a step-stool). Kids grow up. People get older.
But that wasn't how it worked in Storybrooke.
And when Henry insisted that Ruby had turned 18 last year so she should be turning 19 this year, Regina went into a rage. He was grounded for a month and wasn't allowed outside to play. At the time, Henry still had friends.
But worse then being grounded, was how Regina made him feel. Like he should be thankful that she adopted him because his real mother didn't want him. And Henry should stop with this nonsense because maybe she wouldn't want him anymore either.
Henry stopped insisting that things were wrong. Until he started 3rd grade.
Another year came and he got older and none of the other kids did. He was once again the only kid in his class that didn't know anyone else. And his friends from before were starting to get too young for him to play with. They were six and he was eight. They were still learning how to read and he was starting to learn cursive.
The fight that ensued after the first day of 3rd grade was worse this time. Ruby was still 18, his friend Jack was still 7 and Henry was 8 almost 9. Why didn't Regina see what was wrong!
It was that fight that put him in therapy with Dr. Hopper. He was nice enough but he didn't get it. Any time Henry tried to get Dr. Hopper to talk about his past to prove his point, Dr. Hopper said that Henry was deflecting and would change the topic.
His birthday became a thing of dread for what they represented. He got more candles and no one else did.
When 4th grade started, Henry had given up on making friends. What was the point? They would stay in 4th grade and he would move on to 5th.
That was why Miss Blanchard gave him the book.
And that was when everything started to make sense.
Unbeta'd so the mistakes are mine. Just an idea I had about one of the more messed up nature of things within the OUAT universe. Since Henry is the only real outsider in a town trapped in time, and he obviously has aged, it would make sense that he would feel the effects of that. Plus even lonely kids don't really believe that they are the grandkid of Snow White just because of one book unless if there was something really wrong or some evidence of it.
This might become a place I put more one shots if I come up with them.