A/N: So I'm complete trash for this pairing and I couldn't pass up the chance to write the whole "we're best friends who suddenly find ourselves as something more" trope.
It's the culmination of years of arguing that has led to this, of him screwing up and her forgiving him, and she's done. He packs his bags and leaves, glaring at her over his shoulder as he goes. She shuts the door behind him and takes a shuddering breath, closing her eyes briefly as she tries her best not to cry. She finds her way to the couch and sits down hard as the reality of what has just happened hits her, and she's calling the only person she can bear to be around at the moment before she knows it.
"Killian? Can you come over?"
It must be the slight tremble in her voice that gives him superhuman speed, because he lives on the floor above her and she knows the rickety elevators in their apartment complex aren't that fast. Emma listens to the sound of her spare key in the lock and then he's on the couch next to her, his hands on her shoulders as he forces her to look at him.
"Swan, what is it? What's happened?" There's obvious panic in Killian's voice as his eyes roam over her face, thumbing at the stray tears that have found their way to her cheeks. Emma's never been an affectionate person, but there's something to be said about the comfort familiarity brings, and there's no one she's more familiar with than Killian.
"Neal's gone. For good," she tells him, the sob that follows sounding more like a strangled laugh than anything.
Killian knew it hadn't been smooth seas between Emma and Neal for a while now. He had seen it as he briefly passed her in the lobby, his hand ruffling her hair and her giving him the slightest of smiles in return. He had known it when she showed up to his apartment at four in the morning with a six pack of beer, a hard set to her jaw and the sound of tires on pavement coming from below. Still, he always figured they'd work things out. So had she.
They were both wrong.
"I'm sorry Swan. Truly," Killian says, squeezing one of her hands. Emma nods, staring at her hand in his before she lets it fall away. She lays down on her couch with a sigh, her feet coming up to rest in Killian's lap and her gaze fixed on the ceiling.
Silence falls, and where it would normally be comfortable, there's something else hanging in the air tonight, as Emma's breathing evens out and Killian gently massages one of her calves, his breathing slowing to match hers as sleep claims both of them.
It's not the first time Killian's fallen asleep in the middle of Emma's living room, but it's certainly the first time he's woken up hangover free in it. He glances at Emma and the slight furrow in her brow, the emotions she suppressed the night before becoming evident as she sleeps. He watches as her face seems to relax when he slips his hand under her legs, carefully lifting them and setting them back on the couch after he stands up. He has an awful crick in his neck and barely feels human, a quick glance at his watch showing that it's barely past seven.
Killian moves towards Emma's kitchen, scarcely used unless he is the one cooking or coffee is being made. He knows she'll want hot chocolate when she wakes and that she isn't one to sleep in, so he gets that sorted and makes a cup for himself too. He thinks about going to pick up breakfast around the corner, but Emma's vulnerable right now and he's not about to abandon her for even a second.
He's in the middle of making scrambled eggs (he's been meaning to talk to Emma about her dietary and shopping habits - one can't live on pop tarts and cereal forever) when he hears feet shuffling across the floor. She's rubbing her eyes and yawning in the most adorable way and Killian has to stop himself from reaching for her, has to remind himself that this is his best friend, not his girlfriend.
He has long since resigned himself to the fact that he is unworthy of Emma Swan, but to be fair, he thinks everyone is unworthy of her.
"What's for breakfast?" Emma asks, sliding onto a stool and leaning her elbows on the countertop, looking for all the world like her relationship of six years hadn't ended just the night before.
"Morning, love. Eggs and french toast," Killian replies, placing her hot cocoa in front of her before Emma even gets the chance to ask for it. He gets a smile for his efforts, small but genuine nonetheless. Emma had once admitted that he was the only one who could draw a smile from her in the morning, and he had spent the rest of the day grinning, full of self satisfaction.
"What would I do without you?" Emma says, laughing as she almost finishes her cup of hot chocolate in one large gulp.
Killian rolls his eyes and arches an eyebrow. "Starve, probably."
She laughs a little louder and grins at him. "Definitely. Now feed me."
"So demanding, Swan," Killian sighs, his smirk betraying his exasperated tone. "I'm afraid I've got to get going soon, love. I have class in half an hour."
Emma nods slowly, attention suddenly focused on the food in front of her. Killian remembers that she doesn't have to go into the office today; she's waiting on some leads of hers and she'll be spending her day on her laptop. He doesn't want to leave her alone, knows that she doesn't want to be, and wishes that he didn't have class today.
"I only have one class, and then I'm all yours," Killian promises. "We can even have a Pirates of the Caribbean marathon."
She perks up a bit at that and starts to eat again. "Okay, Jack Sparrow."
"There should be a 'Captain' in there somewhere," Killian reprimands her, expression completely serious for a record amount of time (an impressive thirty seconds).
The whole effect is ruined when he boops her on the nose.
She pretends to scowl at him and he holds her gaze until she starts laughing and has to look away before he forces himself to stand up.
"Alright, love, I'm off. Try not to go crazy until I get back," Killian says, his voice mocking but his eyes sincere.
"Aye, aye, Captain," Emma jokes back, adding an awful salute for effect. Killian knows it's a facade, but Emma's strong, and he's never seen her fail anything, so he knows she'll keep her promise.
He's almost to the door when he hears her speak, sounding as small as he's ever heard her.
He turns immediately, opening his arms as he does so, and she's pressing her face to his chest and wrapping her arms around his waist, holding him tight. Neither of them says a word. Killian sways a bit from the force of Emma's hug and feels her squeeze him a little harder before letting go.
This smile of hers, just on the brink of being shy, is something he hasn't seen for quite some time. It's the same smile she had given him when they had first met, her bumping into him in the crowded hallway with dozens of teenagers passing them on either side. It's the smile she had on her face when she had once come with David to pick him up from the airport, after she had tackled him with a hug in the middle of baggage claim. It's a smile that he's missed more than he'd care to admit.
"Have a good class."
Killian prides himself on being rather eloquent, but he can't find the words to respond to Emma, so he nods and boops her nose one last time and then he's out the door.
Please let Dave be with Mary Margaret, please let Dave be with Mary Margaret, he prays as he foregoes the elevator and walks the flight of stairs up to his floor. He unlocks the door to his apartment and repeats his mantra once more, for good measure.
"Morning Dave!" Killian says, and knows that even David can see past his obviously fake grin, should he put enough effort into it.
"You're home early. And by early I mean late," David comments, his eyebrows raising. "I'm almost scared to ask why."
"Have a little faith, mate. I'm hurt that you think so little of me."
David rolls his eyes the exact same way Emma does, and Killian is reminded of how eerily similar they can be at times.
"Not that it's my business or anything, but why didn't you come back to the apartment after you left last night?"
"Why, are you jealous? You know I would never cheat on you," Killian says, his hand over his heart.
David gives him the look, the one that assures Killian he will make an excellent father someday, and points to the recliner opposite their couch in a clear command for him to sit down. He folds his arms across his chest, one eyebrow raised expectantly, and he's twenty three but Killian suddenly feels like a child being scolded by a parent.
"Alright, well, if you must know, I was at Emma's." David's used to Killian spending more time at Emma's apartment than their own, but he can't help feeling guilty all the same.
"Are her and Neal fighting again?" David asks, looking more than ready to go downstairs and ask Neal himself.
"I suppose you could call it that," Killian remarks. "No, they broke up last night. For good, according to Emma." There have been breaks between Emma and Neal before, and Killian had been there for her every time, but he knows that it's different now. In the past Emma had greeted him at the door with a bottle of rum in her hand, and he hadn't asked any questions, just accepted her nonverbal request and gotten properly sloshed with her. She was always filled with anger, venting to Killian about everything Neal did wrong. This time, though, he had only seen sadness.
David takes a deep breath, slowly exhaling as his hands clench into fists. Killian can sympathise; the only thing that had stopped him from going after Neal to pack in a punch or two had been the fact that Emma needed him, and even then he still would have liked to teach Neal a lesson.
"Is Emma doing okay?"
Killian scratches the back of his head and shrugs. "As well as can be expected, I suppose. We didn't talk much, I'm afraid. Perhaps you can get more out of her today."
"No, if she's going to talk to anyone about it, it's going to be you," David says, shaking his head. "I'll go up and check on her during my lunch break though. Maybe I'll bring her some Thai food. Did she eat something this morning?"
The look on Killian's face is nothing short of wounded.
"Right, of course she did. God, I can't believe they really broke up this time. It's been bad before but I always thought they'd pull through. Mary Margaret had hoped Neal would be Emma's happy ending."
"We all did, mate."
"Really? You can honestly tell me that you wanted Emma to end up with Neal the entire time they were together?" There's a challenge in David's question, and Killian's not sure if he wants the answer to be yes or no.
"I can honestly tell you that I wanted Emma to end up happy," Killian says carefully, and ducks as David throws a pillow at him.
"You damn lawyers and your loopholes," he grumbles.
This time Killian's grin is genuine. "At least you know that I'm paying attention in class."