I've always wondered how they would address this in the show. I find it hard to believe that Emma knows when her actual birthday is.
She stomps up the gangplank of his ship, beyond irritated with the entire situation. She is tired, she is hungry, and all she wants to do is go home, take a bottle of wine to the face, and sleep off this day.
David had called her and said there was some sort of emergency on the Jolly Roger. Something about the dwarves, and a complaint, and rum and she really didn't have the mental capacity for this shit today.
She reaches the landing of the deck and hops down, completely focused on not slipping in between the ramp and the ship and falling to the bay below- although at this point, she wouldn't be fucking surprised.
So she is definitely not expecting it when a chorus of voices shout "Surprise!" and she estimates she jumps at least ten feet in the air.
They are really fucking lucky she left her gun at the station.
"What the-" Hand on her chest, eyes wide, she looks around the deck of the Jolly Roger to see half of Storybrooke gathered. She blinks in confusion at their smiling faces, letting her eyes take in the lights strung against the mast, the plethora of balloons tied to the helm and Jesus, he must hate what they've done to his precious ship.
Mary Margaret rushes forward from the group and pulls her into a tight hug. David is watching them with a fond smile on his face, eyes far away, and she almost falls over when Henry comes barreling over, slamming into them and wrapping his arms around their knees.
"Happy birthday, Mom!"
Her mouth opens and closes and she finally sees the banner that's strung up across the ship where the sails sit. Happy Birthday, Emma! is painted in bright red paint and she struggles to figure out what in the hell is going on.
Her birthday is in October.
Mary Margaret pulls back and her eyes are shining with unshed tears. "Happy birthday, Emma." David joins them and Mary Margaret grips his hand tight. "We wanted your first birthday with all of us together to be special."
Her stomach plummets and she tries to mask her growing horror.
Today is her birthday.
Her actual birthday.
Her chest tightens as she forces a smile and nods enthusiastically but she can't hear a word anyone is saying anymore. There's a roaring in her ears as she's guided over to a table full of presents and food and there's people hugging her and wishing her a happy birthday and she is just so overwhelmed-
She waits until Mary Margaret and David are occupied with one another and Henry is laughing and playing with Tink to disappear below deck. She knows exactly where he keeps his stash of liquor (she found it during one of the many sleepless nights on the return trip from Neverland) and her boots echo against the solid wooden planks as she moves towards it like a woman on a mission.
She needs alcohol.
She slips into the room with bottles lining the walls and grabs the nearest one she can, yanking the cork out violently and sliding down the wall, legs stretched in front of her. She sighs as she brings the bottle to her lips, eyes closing in exhaustion.
The door clicks open and she jumps, shuffling to stand and hide the bottle behind her back but then Hook is sliding into the cramped space and she relaxes.
He closes the door behind him and smirks at her, quirking an eyebrow at the bottle in her hand.
"Stealing my liquor now, lass?"
She answers wordlessly, raising a challenging eyebrow of her own and taking another long drag. He chuckles and slides down against the wall across from her, foot knocking into hers. She tilts her head back and closes her eyes, pushing down the anxiety and heartbreak of a childhood she never got to have.
"When is it?" She opens her eyes at his question and he grabs the bottle from her hand, taking a drink himself. She blinks at him in question as he wipes his lips on the sleeve of his button down and he gestures with his hook. "Your birthday?"
She really should stop being so surprised by him, but it still swells and bursts within her. He winks, buts its sad, and she snags the bottle back.
"October 11th." She mutters. "How did you know?"
She thinks open book but he surprises her again when he frowns, blue eyes clouding. "Those who are abandoned don't get the luxury of birthdays. One of the many lies we tell ourselves."
Her heart pangs when he says we because that's one more thing she has in common with him.
"What day did you choose?" She asks. This time she hands the bottle back.
"I didn't, Liam did." He rolls his eyes but his soft smile tells a different story. "Called it Killy's day, which was bloody infuriating, mind you, when we were supposed to be managing a crew and earning respect amongst our men." He chuckles and twists the bottle of rum in his hand, his hook clinking against the thick glass. "He called it that until he-"
He stops abruptly but she hears the rest of his sentence as clear as if he shouted it.
Until he died.
Liam was his brother.
"Killy." She mutters and his head snaps up. "Killian?" That was how he introduced himself, Killian Jones, but she had never heard anyone call him anything but Hook.
"Aye." He blinks, holding her gaze for a moment before dropping his eyes back down, tilting his head and regarding his hook. "But I haven't been Killian in quite some time."
His eyes are so impossibly sad, the self-loathing and disgust grit out with his soft-spoken words. She reaches her hand out, palm up, and he gives her the bottle.
She takes a swig, liquor burning in her throat, heart hammering in her chest.
"I think you have." It's nothing more than a whisper but again, his head snaps up like she's shouted it and his blue eyes search hers desperately, looking for even an ounce of mockery. She stares back at him openly, letting him find what he needs because she knows, she knows, how important this it to him. And she might not be able to make any confessions yet, but she can give him this.
She can give him his name.
"I think-" She begins and her eyes avert to the wooden paneling behind his head, because this thought is her darkest secret, even more so than I wish you were dead and she's glad Neal was in the Echo Caves, if only because if she had to mutter this sentence in front of her parents, she's pretty sure she would die of guilt.
"I think everyone wants me to be that princess they lost. And no one has any interest in knowing me- in knowing Emma." She swallows hard. "No savior. No princess. Just Emma."
Her voice breaks on her own name and her hands are shaking so she takes another swig of liquor to calm herself. Her eyes are drawn back to his, always back to him, as he stares at her steadily. His palm opens, reaches out towards hers and she hands him the bottle, fingers overlapping and brushing. Skin against skin, and she sighs in relief.
"You've got to let them in." She opens her eyes, not even realizing they were closed. His thumb brushes over her knuckles once and she releases the bottle. "You've got to let someone in, love."
"I'm trying." She whispers and it's a promise. A small, shy, completely foreign smile appears on his face and she finds herself mirroring the look. She feels giddy and stupid, but she likes the warmth that is glowing in her chest and no one has to know if she feels a certain way about a certain pirate. It can be just her and him, for a bit longer.
He stands with mock formality and offers her his hand. She scoffs and rolls her eyes but the smile is still there and she takes it, feeling the rough texture of his skin against hers.
"Now, what do you say we take the rest of this rum," He swings the half empty bottle back and forth in front of her face. "Pour it in your father's drink, and convince him that Neal is a dragon."
Her laugh is a loud bark and certainly not ladylike (and certainly not anything he has heard come out of her mouth in the time he has known her) as she pushes his shoulder. As they walk out of the room and back up the stairs to the deck, she keeps her hand in his.
On October 11th, she wakes to fingers twisting with hers and soft kisses on her neck. Her lips turn up as he turns her over, his scruff scratching pleasantly aagainst her skin as he whispers Happy Birthday, love.