Author's Notes: Robert Carlyle, the actor who plays Rumplestiltskin, answered via Twitter what exactly Mr. Gold wears to bed, and that revelation spawned ideas. Horrible, mind-scarring ideas. Dedicated with love to Misty, who made a deal with me to actually write out our ideas in story form.
It's Thursday evening: as usual, Henry is in his therapy session. Archie sits patiently in his chair, as usual, notebook in hand; he expects that Henry, as usual, will want to continue his discussions on Operation Cobra.
However, Henry is not acting as expected. He sits on the couch, staring into space, almost as if there's something he wants to talk about, but won't. It's not usual, and Archie is a little concerned.
"So, Henry, anything new you want to talk about this week?"
Henry shakes his head, but a small grimace betrays that he's hiding something.
"Are you sure? Because you know everything you say in here never leaves this room."
"I know," Henry says.
They sit for a long time before Archie's patience is finally rewarded and Henry begins to speak.
"I'm trying to find out if anyone remembers who they really are. I was riding my bike and asking people."
"We've talked about that, Henry. Not everyone understands the world the same way you do."
"I know you don't think it's real, but there has to be somebody who remembers! So I was investigating yesterday…" Henry frowns again, obviously struggling with something.
"Henry, whatever it is, you can tell me."
"OK." And he begins.
Henry rode his bike up and down the residential streets of Storybrooke, pausing occasionally to take out his book and observe the residents as they went about their daily lives. So far, he thought he'd found Jack Sprat and his wife, someone who might have been a pirate, and two more dwarfs (he hoped to eventually find all seven).
When he passed by Mr. Gold's car, he slowed down, circled back, and pulled up to his house. Mr. Gold really was the biggest mystery; his mom didn't like Henry to go anywhere near the old pawnbroker.
Curiosity got the better of him, and Henry grabbed his book and walked up the front steps. Maybe Mr. Gold was home. He rang the doorbell and waited for an answer, setting his book down on the porch railing.
Mr. Gold answered, seemingly surprised at having the mayor's son visiting him in his own home.
"Well, hello, Henry…just what are you doing here?"
"Hi, Mr. Gold," Henry said cheerfully. "I just was wondering if I could ask you some questions."
"Normally I wouldn't mind," Gold said, revealing the keys in his hand, "but I do have an urgent appointment that I cannot miss."
"Oh," Henry face fell. "Maybe some other time?"
Mr. Gold smiled. "Perhaps."
When Henry set off on his bike, he didn't notice he'd left behind his book.
Later that night, when Henry had already torn apart his room searching, he remembered that he'd left the book there. His mother was already in bed; he snuck out of the house and pedaled his bike as fast as he could to Mr. Gold's house. He was frantic with worry; what if Mr. Gold told his mom about the book? He shouldn't have even tried to figure out who he was.
When he reached the house, he rang the doorbell without thinking, then pounded on the door.
"Mr. Gold? Are you home? Hello?" he shouted.
A light flicked on in an upstairs bedroom, and Henry heard the sounds of halting footsteps inside.
The door swung open, and the sight of an irritated, tartan bathrobe-wearing Mr. Gold made Henry begin to think he should have waited until morning. It was too late for that however.
Mr. Gold didn't even say anything for a few minutes; there really was nothing to say.
"I'm sorry," Henry stammered. "I should have waited…I'll just leave."
"Does your mother know you're out this late?" Gold didn't even bother trying to sound intimidating; he was much too tired to waste effort on a little boy.
"M-my book…I think I left it here."
"Oh. That." Gold stepped behind the door and came back holding the book. "Here."
Henry reached for the book, relieved to see it unharmed, but then he looked up. Mr. Gold had used his left hand to grab the book; his right hand was, of course, gripping his cane. He'd been in such a rush to go down the stairs that he'd forgotten to tie his robe, and with no hand holding it shut, it was hanging open to reveal whatever he was wearing underneath.
Henry's eyes went wide.
"Well, go on," Mr. Gold said, pushing the book towards Henry. "Take it and go home."
"So, I took my book, and I went home," Henry finishes. "I don't think he realized his robe was open though. I bet he'd have been really embarrassed if he'd noticed."
Archie has not moved in his chair; he's managed to stifle the laughter that has been threatening to burst out as the story progressed, but he's unable to contain his curiosity.
"If you don't mind me asking, Henry," he ventures, "what exactly does Mr. Gold wear to bed?"
Henry gives Archie a weird look. "Gold speedos."
Archie lets out a snort; Henry catches it and pouts a little.
"Don't laugh! It's gross!" he cries.
"No, I'm sorry, you're right," Archie apologizes, clearing his throat. "That is a rather…unusual discovery. Thank you for sharing that with me, Henry."
Henry doesn't have a problem avoiding Mr. Gold for the rest of the week. He goes to school, does his homework, and reads in his spare time: the usual routine. On Saturday, when Regina is at the city council meeting, he sneaks out of the house, thinking he and Emma can work on Operation Cobra. When he opens the door to Mary Margaret's apartment, already asking Emma about the activities he's got planned, he's confronted with the intimidating figure of Mr. Gold.
"Hey, Henry!" Gold says. "How are you?"
The image of a gold speedo flashes into his mind, and he freezes.
"O…K," Henry says slowly. He doesn't hear what Mr. Gold says back, but he knows one thing. From now on, Emma's in charge of finding out Mr. Gold's Fairytale identity.