…You won't just feel like an orphan. You'll be one.
Pan's parting shot, while disturbing, doesn't haunt Emma the way he had hoped. One of the many things she learned in the foster system was to never let the bullies or the adult see what truly makes you bleed. No, what's really eating at her mind is what he said earlier—that Henry hasn't forgiven her for abandoning him and never will. The one thing she fears losing more than anything else in this world is her son; she lost him once because her only choice at the time was an open or closed adoption. Maybe she's been fooling herself this whole time, pretending that him knowing that she only gave him up because she wanted to give him his best chance at life somehow made everything ok. She's been hoping that everything was okay between them, but then she thinks about how angry he was with her when he found out about Neal being alive. When he discovered that Emma had lied to him, betrayed his trust.
She returns to camp with the berries, but her mouth feels dry and gritty now; she drinks some water, but can't bring herself to eat anything. All the promises she ever made to Henry are coming back up, filling her mouth with sour bile. He hasn't forgiven you either.
To make matters worse, she can feel Killian watching her, waiting for a chance to speak with her alone like he knows that something happened between the shared flask of rum and now. It's almost as if she can feel his consciousness, his mind pushing against hers like a comforting hand on her shoulder. As much as she'd love to break down and let him in, this is one pain that can't be helped or fixed by a quip and some rum. She wants to suffer—she needs to suffer for what she put Henry through, regardless of the harsh realities of the situation she was in at the time. She should have listened to that small, broken part of herself that loved him from the moment she felt him kick and move around. She should have fought harder to prove to the warden—and the system and everyone else who said that she couldn't—that she could have been the mother he needed, the mother he deserved.
"Stop." One word breaks through her internal monologue of doubt and misery, just like the hand that gently grasps hers cuts through another layer of her armor—with its unexpected kindness instead of force. "Whatever it is you're thinking, love, you need to stop it. What happened?"
Emma looks out into the darkness surrounding them, looking like a child afraid of shadows and not the fierce Swan that he's used to. "Pan came back to taunt me, about accepting who I am, that deep down I'm just an orphan. That's what he wanted from me; he wants me broken and thinks that the way to do that is to remind me of all the years I spent without my parents. But it wasn't that… He said that Henry hasn't forgiven me, just like I haven't forgiven my parents, and that he never will."
He lets the silence stand for a moment, totally out of his depth and unsure of how to proceed. He doesn't know the whole story and frankly, he doesn't need to. He carefully reaches out, sliding his fingers underneath her chin. "Look at me, lass. I know that you had to send the boy away and that by some strange circumstance he was raised by Regina. You never let him be alone, Emma; you did your best and made certain that he had someone to take care of him. But now you're here, not only a part of his life, but fighting to get him back. You have shown him time and again just how much you love him—breaking the Curse, escaping the Enchanted Forest whilst up against a foe no less than the Queen of Hearts herself… I find that most people forget that love is more than some pretty words in a book or a song—love is an action, darling, and actions speak far louder than words ever could.
"I won't lie to you though, love, and say that all will be perfect and well. Is it possible that there's some anger toward you buried inside him? Absolutely. But you'll deal with that when the time comes, and when it does, you'll have another chance to fight for him, to prove to him just how much he means to you." Without meaning to, his thumb has been brushing along her jaw, soothing a line of tension that she didn't know existed. She knows that he believes every single word, and it shocks her to the core, the amount of faith he has in her.
"Why what, love?" He smiles and ducks his head a bit, releasing her chin as if he only just then realized he was still touching her.
"Why do you believe that I can do this? Why are you helping us find Henry? How did you know what to say?" She stares directly into his eyes, as if by some miracle she'll be able to read his mind if she gazes into his dark blue irises long enough.
"I believe because I have seen you in action, love. To correct your phrasing a bit, I am helping you find Henry because he is your son. And I know what to say because I have seen both sides—I know what it is to lose someone because I didn't fight for them; I know how it feels be lost and then have someone find you when you least expected them to."
"You mean Milah; she's the one who found you."
"No, love; you did." He takes her hand in his, gently as if he's holding something precious and delicate, and slowly raises her knuckles to his lips. He just as carefully places it back on her knee, rising from his seat on the fallen tree next to her. He focuses on the fire in front of them, not daring to look at her face in this moment. "Get some rest, Emma. The crying doesn't get any better, but you'll get used to it. I'll stand watch."
"Killian." The sound of his name—his real name—a name he hasn't heard anyone speak aloud in hundreds of years freezes him. A chill passes over his body, electrifyingly pleasant and yet painful somehow. Emma is standing in front of him now, a softer look in her eyes than he's ever seen directed at him. She bites her lower lip as if unsure of herself, but then looks down at his mouth. She places a hand on his shoulder for balance and kisses him with the same chaste, gentle reverence that he used moments ago. "Thank you."
He lets her walk to her pallet, though it's the hardest task he's ever given himself in all his many lifetimes. His desire for her is madness, all-consuming, and so completely out of place in this world and on this mission. So, Killian Jones does what he does best—stands guard over her sleep as he promised, and waits.