She's been his best friend for most of his life.
Group home to group home, they were inseparable. He kept the bullies at bay when she was small and she hit one boy when he picked a fight with Killian, something that surprised him, but he'd grinned wildly at the blonde girl with the brave, brave soul.
Everywhere they went, they'd carve their names into a tree: Jones and Swan. A couple of unwanted, unloved misfits.
On his eighteenth birthday he left her side. That was his first mistake.
The second was this: Emma Swan ran away. Emma Swan ran away and he didn't go after her.
Now, staring at her from across the glass, he clenches his jaw and tightens a fist. He hadn't known this would happen.
She's miserable, bags under her eyes, her hair a mess, her body thinned, her lips chapped. She manages a weak smile at him, though.
"Hey, Killian," she says through the phone.
He swallows the lump in his throat and exhales shakily. "Hi, Swan."
Emma blinks a few times and shakes her head as she bites down on her lip. She averts her gaze, looking down at the table she's shackled to. "Killian, I'm… pregnant."
His heart sinks a bit in his chest as he stares at her. He doesn't flinch at her news, just tightens his fist a bit. "Was he-"
"Yeah." She scoffs, shaking her head again. She dares to look up at him. Emma has tears in her eyes. He doesn't think he's ever seen her so vulnerable. "I just want to leave. This place sucks."
He sighs. "I know, love."
For a moment, they stare at one another. "I'm going to be here for eleven months. I'm sorry I ran. I'm sorry I didn't wait for you to come get me, Killian."
She has tears running down her cheeks and he shuts his eyes, wishing he could reach out and brush them away.
"Emma, shh, it's okay," he promises. "I'm right here. I'm not leaving you."
Emma bites down on her cracked, dry lip and releases a heavy breath. "I miss your hugs the most."
He can't help but laugh. "You'll get one in eleven months."
She smiles a little. "I can't wait."
Killian leans forward a little and presses his hand to the glass barrier between them. Emma stares at his hand and then lifts hers to press against it.
"I'll come every week to talk with you. I want to see you smile more. I don't want to see those bags under your eyes, either."
Emma laughs once. "Listen, you'd be tired too if your cellmate was a sleeptalker."
He can't help but chuckle, his smile fading as he gazes at her. "Emma, I need you to know that I'm here waiting for you."
She nods. Their hands move off of the glass.
"Why?" She whispers. "You could go anywhere, Killian. You're old enough, right? What happened to sailing the world? Hunting for gold like a pirate?"
He stares at her silently. "How can you think I'm anything but hopelessly in love with you?"
Emma blinks and shakes her head. "What?"
"Come on, Swan," he smiles, his heart beating faster. "It's always been you. From the very first day we met. We're unstoppable together. When I got older I realized it. You're brave and strong and I never stood a chance against you."
She stares at him with her jaw slackened and he swallows before he continues, "You're my best friend, but you never saw the way I stared after you when you left the room or heard how loud my heart beat those nights you curled up next to me in the group home in Michigan."
And maybe it's his third mistake, admitting his feelings to Emma Swan while she's taken up residence in prison, but he thinks he sees something in her eyes. Something like hope.
"I… don't know what to say," she tells him.
"I know you don't love me," he says. "But I needed you to know how I felt because I spent two years looking for you when you ran and my feelings for you were the only thing that kept me going. So, maybe you can find something to hold onto as well. If not me, then, maybe your child. Or… him. I don't know."
The guards behind them start to move and he cringes. "Bloody hell. It's time to go. I guess. I'll see you in a week."
Emma stares at him, her mouth hanging open, and just before he hangs up his phone, she says, "I love you, too."
He smiles at her as she starts to be escorted away and she stares at him with a pleasant, happy smile on her lips until she's gone.