As soon as she saw it, she knew exactly who it belonged to.
Regina and Emma had decided it was best to sort through Gold’s place after his retreat when the Snow Queen was defeated. In fact, he was gone so quickly he didn’t even have time to lock up the place, leaving the women to worry about the trinkets and potions that he left behind. And with Henry’s recent job at the shop, he was the perfect person to help them out.
The three of them spent the afternoon pulling open drawers and poking around bookshelves. But it was a box that suddenly got their attention after Henry opened it and gasped.
“Is this what I think it is?” he asked hesitantly.
He carefully stepped down from the stool he was on and set the box on the table in front of them. Emma couldn’t really explain why but when she saw the heart, she knew.
“What the --”
“You know what?” Emma said, immediately cutting off Regina. “Why don’t you guys keep working here and I’ll find the owner of the heart.”
“Ms. Swan, I don’t think that’s a good idea. It’s someone’s heart. We don’t know why Gold had it or who it even belongs to.”
Emma slammed the box shut and grabbed it with both hands. “As sheriff, it’s my job to find the owners of stolen goods and return then, so I’ll take care of it.” Emma tucked the box under her arm and walked over to her son, ruffling his hair. “And I’ll let you guys know if I need help.”
Henry nodded. “Sure, but please be careful.”
“I will,” she said before quickly heading out the backdoor of the shop to her apartment.
The air outside was still cool despite the Snow Queen’s retreat, but Emma hardly noticed. She was walking as fast as she could, even overheating in her leather coat, so she could get safely home and give the heart back to its owner.
Luckily, David and Mary Margaret weren’t home when she arrived, giving her time to carefully put the box on her kitchen table before tossing her coat into the corner. She took a deep breath and slowly opened the box to check out the contents inside again. The heart was red and the glow from it pulsed slightly as if it was still in the person it was taken from. Emma picked it up, cupping it gently in her shaking hands, and whispered to it, “Come to me.” And just as carefully, she set it back in this box.
Then she waited. She got up and walked around the apartment a bit, riffling through the cupboards for something to eat even though she wasn’t hungry. She laid down on Mary Margaret’s bed, thinking it would calm her down a bit. It didn’t. Emma finally gave up and sat back down at the table, staring at the heart in the box.
She knew Killian had been trying to be a better man and kept thinking about what missing his heart may have done to him. Looking back, she realized there were so many times when he just didn’t seem like his normal self in the past few weeks, when things felt a bit off, and no moment showed her that more than ...
The knock on the door made her jump in surprise and she carefully closed the lid on the box before getting up to open it.
“Hello, love,” Killian said, a giddy smile on his face.
Yep, she knew.
“Hi,” she said quietly.
“Sorry to come over unannounced,” he said, pulling her close to him to kiss her cheek. “I just had a sudden urge to see you.”
Emma put her hands on his chest and pushed him away. “No, you didn’t.”
Killian’s expression changed, and he looked at her as if she had hurt him with what she had said. “You don’t think I wanted to see you?”
Emma sighed and moved out of the way, motioning for him to come in. He gave her a questioning look but followed her lead, closing the door behind him.
“What’s the matter, love?”
She slowly walked over to the table and laid her hand next to the box, almost too afraid to touch. Then she looked up at Killian, whose face couldn’t hide his curiousness.
“You didn’t have a choice to see me.”
Killian’s lips broke into a trademark smirk and he began to swagger over to her in his tight pants and leather boots. “Well, you do have a certain pull on me, Swan,” he said teasingly.
It was a look she couldn’t reciprocate, instead pulling her lips taunt before taking a deep breath. “I have something that belongs to you,” she said.
Killian’s expression changed, reflecting her own nervousness. “What’s that, Swan?”
Emma placed her hand on top of the box, pausing for a moment before opening it, immediately feeling a sense of relief that it was still there, red and pulsing. But the red didn’t come close to matching Killian’s face, which seemed to have drained itself of all color as he stared at his beating heart in the box.
“Where did you get that?” he asked, his voice shaking.
“Gold’s shop,” she said.
He looked up, blue eyes meeting hers. “You used it to call me here, didn’t you?”
Emma gave him a small nod. He staggered back, his legs almost giving way from the sheer weight of this heart sitting in a box on Emma’s kitchen table.
“Emma, I need to explain.”
She put her hand up to quickly stop him. “Not yet,” she said. “Let’s just get this back where it belongs first, OK?”
Killian swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing in his throat. Emma gingerly wrapped her fingers around the heart, lifting it up with extra care. She turned to see Killian staring at her -- and her hands -- trying to process the whole situation.
“Well, I did tell you that you had my heart, love,” he tried to say lightly.
She gave him a nervous but reassuring smile. “You didn’t need to take it this far.”
He smiled at her before his face became serious again. “So what’s the plan?”
“Can you lean against the wall for me?” she asked.
He nodded and walked a few feet backwards, stopping when his back hit the exposed brick behind him. Emma followed, walking towards him carefully so she wouldn’t trip or squeeze the pulsating light in her hands too hard. She stopped a foot away from Killian and could feel him place his hand on her hip and his hook on the other to steady himself.
He looked her in the eye and nodded.
Emma took his heart and placed it gently on his chest. Then with a bit of force, she gave it a shove. Killian gasped in pain, his hand tightening its grip on her hip to steady himself as her hand went through his ribs to place his heart back where it belonged. She knew it was in the right spot when she could feel it jump slightly as if it was snapping back into place. Emma loosened her grip, making sure the heart wouldn’t move, and then withdrew her hands in a quick motion that she hoped would cause him less pain.
Killian’s head fell forward, his forehead resting on her shoulder, and she could hear him trying to catch his breath. Then his hands slid from her hips, pulling her closer to him as if he could actually truly feel her again. He squeezed her tightly, his fingers massaging her lower back before lifting his head off her shoulder to look at her. He smiled at her for just a moment and then leaned in, his lips grazing hers gently before pulling her passionately into him. He was forceful and deliberate and there was something about it that made Emma recognize that it was really him -- and really his heart.
He pulled away and smiled at her, his happiness reaching his eyes again. “You didn’t seem all that surprised that it was my heart you had.” Emma shrugged. “How did you know?”
“I know how you kiss,” she whispered.
Killian gave her a lopsided smile. “You stole my line,” he said.
“Maybe,” she said teasingly.
“So how did my kiss give me away?”
Emma’s face fell slightly, suddenly realizing that her explanation may not be a pleasant one. She pushed herself away from him while still staying close enough to slide her hand into his.
“I kissed Captain Hook,” she said.
Killian gave her a questioning look. “Well, that’s because I am Captain Hook.”
“No, you’re Killian Jones,” she replied. “I kissed Captain Hook -- the past one.”
Killian’s shoulders slumped and he stared down at his feet. “And what does that have to do with my heart?”
“When you came to say goodbye to me at the sheriff’s station and kissed me, that was Hook. So after I saw the heart in Gold’s shop today, I knew it was yours.”
Killian just stood there in front of her, a broken man who didn’t even have the strength to look her in the eye. She knew her description would not be a pleasant one for him, especially after all he had done to try and change himself for the better. He had really stepped up to become a man who was deserving of her and by telling him the truth, she had destroyed a bit of that in him.
“I hurt you with what I said, didn’t I?” He wouldn’t even look up to acknowledge her. “I know that wasn’t you at the station. And I know that whatever you did, it wasn’t you.”
Killian took a deep breath. “Emma, I did some dreadful things -- unforgivably dreadful things.”
She put her hands on his chest, feeling the power of his heart beating again. “That wasn’t you.”
“That was me,” he said, pulling himself away from her touch. “Emma, I’m a villain. I always will be.”
“You’re not a villain.” She took a step towards him but made sure not to actually touch him this time. “You’re a hero. Whatever Gold made you do was done by the heartless version of you, but you have your heart back. You are whole again and we will fix this.”
“I don’t know if it can be fixed.”
Emma finally reached out and grabbed his hand. “Stop being a stubborn pirate and let me help you,” she said. “Please.”
Killian looked at her with his piercing blue eyes, searching her face for any sign that she was wavering about him. But she continued to stare back, showing him that she meant every word.
“I have to tell you some things first,” he said gravely.
Emma nodded in understanding. “Sit down and I’ll get us some hot chocolate.”
She began to move towards the kitchen, but Killian's hand held tight to hers, forcing her to come back to him.
"Emma, are you sure you want to trust me after all of this?"
"It's like I told you," she said, leaning closer as if she was going to whisper a secret. "I know how you kiss."