"A Little Whistle-blowing"
Disclaimer: The Mouse owns this and my other fandom du jour. Thank the Gods there isn't a computer store in Storybrooke...
Summary: After the mine incident, Archie considers a new approach to Henry's condition.
Warnings: Spoilers For episode 5
Archie paced his office, running his hands through his hair. He hated to be confined, especially when he needed to think. Pongo let out a concerned woof.
"It's okay, boy. You know me. I'm just thinking with my feet. But you mind if I run an idea past you?"
Pongo let out a smaller bark and turned around three times to lay on the carpet, looking at his human with the expression that he would much rather have a treat or a walk than listen, but would do so anyway. As good as Archie was with the clinical aspects of psychology and the empathy, he was more comfortable with Pongo than anyone else other than Marco...
Well, this was not for any human ears, lest it reach the wrong ones.
"You know Henry? It took me three sessions and bringing in you to get the kid to talk at all. Well, I figured that it was a pretty typical case – adopted, identity issues, and...well, Mayor Mills for a mother."
He adjusted his spectacles, rubbed the spot on his head that was still discolored and bruised. "I thought I was supposed to help the kid tell the difference between what's in his imagination and what's reality, but something's bugging me. You know how I get those headaches – where I can't walk you and just want to lay in bed? I haven't had one since Emma showed up. You think that's strange?"
Pongo's reply was to lift a leg and lick himself.
"Ask a silly question," Archie sighed. "Anyway, she showed up and the whole dynamic changed. And now...Now, I can't ditch this feeling like something around town is going wrong...or always was wrong, and I just didn't see it before."
Archie walked to his bookshelf and pulled down two books – Man and His Symbols and Myths We Live By. He was always more of Jung fan than a Freud fan, and Jung worked in symbols, stories, archetypes. Back in the mine, Henry had called him Jiminy Cricket, but the kid was actually talking about being a voice of conscience, and how hard it was to listen to it in the face of pressure.
And God knew that Regina Mills was capable of pressure. She probably did love Henry...as much as she was capable of loving anyone. He would need to sit her down for a few sessions to confirm the assessment professionally (which was likely to happen between Hell freezing and Judgment Day), but he had seen enough of Regina to say she was probably narcissistic, possibly a sociopath, and definitely a bully.
He had cowered, like everyone else in the town had. If Mills wasn't making sure everyone towed her line through bullying, then Mr. Gold was making sure they towed his via blackmail. Henry was an insanely smart and perceptive child, but still a child. Children also saw and understood more than the adults in their lives wanted to credit them with, too. So, that put Henry right in the center of whatever manipulation or "off the record" business Mills was into. Unfortunately, no matter what children saw, they were usually helpless to fight back, and getting adults to believe was a gamble.
He tried to remember his own parents, but one of those nasty headaches started behind his spectacles if he tried to remember anything other than emotions – wanting to tell, wanting to get away, wanting to understand why they acted the way they did and failing to do so despite heroic effort.
So, the conflict; conscience screaming at you from one end, fear for your health and safety screaming at you from the other. Direct resistance is out of the question...
"Maybe 'delusion' is only half the truth in Henry's case, Pongo. Could be projecting some of my own issues, mind you, but if the kid can't tell the truth openly, his imagination and love of stories could be letting him tell it in a kind of code...What do you think? Solve the puzzle, cure the boy? Save the town?"
Pongo got up and trotted over to the coat rack where Archie's coat and the leash were hanging. "I get it. And you did earn steak for bailing Henry and me out back there. Felt kinda good to tell the mayor off, too. I'll probably pay for it sooner or later, but I don't think I care anymore."
Well, the line was drawn. And while he still needed to figure out what made Emma tick, he knew that the new deputy was capable of empathy and love. If it came down to it, she loved Henry enough to give him up, and she loved him enough to stay around to fight. He doubted seriously that Emma would make a play for custody, but the prospect was enough to remind Mills that her authority had limits. Mills wasn't used to being challenged, and Emma was a walking challenge, now armed with legal authority. Inevitably, the town wouldn't be big enough for both of them.
Archie knew what side he chose – his conscience and Henry. In roughly that order.