Following Emma into the station, Killian deposited his satchel on one of the desks, thinking about grading some assignments while he was in the station with her.
He knew she felt bad, but in the two weeks they had technically been together, they hadn't gone out at all on a proper date. They had had a few if they counted the few take out dinners they had and her helping him to settle into a small house near the shoreline that he had found, but nothing that had presented them as a couple. Nothing had progressed beyond kissing for them, but he wasn't disappointed with that. For the first time in a long time, Killian wanted to properly court someone, even knowing the customs of the realm they were in.
They had been each other's anchor for Graham's funeral, ignoring the various looks they had received. Most people looked surprised, but some look disapproving and even condescending. Word got back to him that Mara had begun telling anyone who would listen that Emma was a homewrecker and that she was the reason that he left. He had almost laughed when he heard that she had wanted to ask him if he would be willing to go to counseling to try to salvage their supposed relationship.
He wasn't sure exactly what he needed to do, unsure because he didn't know how valid his supposed marriage to Mara was for the reason being they were paired together because of the curse. Even if it wasn't valid, he filed for a divorce, figuring it wouldn't hurt. He knew technically he could file for an annulment, that they met multiple requirements, but knew it would be more difficult to prove considering the circumstances.
Leaning back against the desk, he rested his hand on his belt buckle, watching as Emma went to her desk.
"So Henry really wants to stop Operation Cobra?" he asked her, bringing up the news she had hinted at on their way to the station.
Emma nodded, conflicted. "Yeah. He said that good can't win because we play clean. He believes that's the reason Graham died even though I told him it was natural causes."
Killian nodded, even knowing that Henry was right about Graham, that the heart attack that killed him was anything but natural. "Do you want me to speak to him? I know your thoughts on all of this about this curse, but I might be able to put his mind at ease."
Sighing, she leaned against her own desk. "I don't know. I mean, you can. But I don't know how to make this better for him. To prove to him that heros can win."
He fought a sarcastic smile at her words, knowing he was anything but a hero. Pushing himself off the desk, he made his way toward her, focusing on her as he rested both his hands on her waist. "You're just worried about your boy."
"I am," she nodded as she draped her arms over his shoulders.
Slowly, she reached up, pressing a gentle kiss to his lips and pulling away to rest her head against his chest.
Settled with her in his arms, he thought about how good it felt to hold her, to be able to provide her some comfort and stability. He had suspected it the moment he had kissed her, but he felt that after mourning for centuries, he was finally moving on from Milah and that his affections for Emma grew by the day.
"You'll figure something out, love," he promised her.
She nodded to him before pulling away, looking at the sheriff's badge on the desk.
"It's yours now," he prompted softly. "You know, he would be happy that if anyone had to replace him, it would be you."
She flashed him a watery smile as she nodded.
Taking off her deputy's badge, she reached for the sheriff's to pin it to her jacket.
"Oh, I'm sorry," Regina's voice came from just inside the office, her heels clicking on the linoleum. She pointed to the badge. "That's not for you."
"It's been two weeks," Emma pointed out. "Promotion is automatic."
Regina smirked smugly. "Unless the mayor appoints someone else within the time period, which I'm doing today."
"So who's it gonna be?" Emma asked, the sarcasm in her voice audible.
"After due reflection, Sidney Glass," Regina answered, her smug grin remaining.
"Sidney from the newspaper?" Emma said skeptically. "How's that even make sense?
"Well, he's covered the sheriff's office as long as anyone can remember," Regina responded as if it would stop any further doubts.
"Aye, and I've read his work on that," Killian cut in. "Writing about a job is different than actually doing the job."
Regina looked at him furiously.
"He'll do whatever you want him to," Emma said as she gave Regina a hard look. "You just cannot stand the fact that things are getting better around here, can you?"
"Better?" Regina asked coldly. "Are you referring to Graham's death as better?"
Killian felt a spike of anger.
Emma's tone held an anger that matched his. "No."
"He was a good man, Miss Swan," Regina spit out. "Your boyfriend may have told you that. He made this town safe, and forgive me for saying it, but you have not earned the right to wear his badge."
"Graham picked me to be deputy," Emma pointed out.
"He was wrong," Regina retorted.
"No, he knew what he was doing," Emma replied. "He freed this office from your leash. You're not getting it back."
"Actually, I just did," Regina said before giving a gloating smile. "Miss Swan, you're fired."
She snatched the badge before departing, leaving Emma fuming.
"How bad would it be if I went after her and punched her in the face again?" Emma asked, barely holding back her anger.
"There would be no one to arrest you, but very," Killian said in defeat.
"She did this on purpose," she fumed. "She waited until the last day on purpose."
Moving so she had a chance to pull away if she didn't want him near, he stood in front of her, resting his hands on her upper arms. "I know, love."
Sighing, she tilted her head so she was leaning against his shoulder. "I don't know what I'm gonna do now. There's no way I can get on as deputy again if Regina has a puppet in here. And with her influence, I doubt I'll find something else."
She suddenly lifted her head. "You need to be careful. She could go after you, too."
"I'm not afraid of her, love," he reassured her.
"Yeah, but it doesn't mean she can't try to make your life hell," she said.
He shrugged. "It's not like it hasn't been before."
Emma sighed, pulling away from him.
"We should get out of here," she said. "I don't wanna be here when she comes back here with Sidney."
He nodded, grabbing his bag as he followed her out.
"So what now?" Killian asked her. "What do you want to do that doesn't involve strangling Regina?"
He was rewarded with a snort of amusement.
"I have no idea," she said before sighing. "I need a drink."
"So Granny's or The Rabbit Hole?" he asked her.
She rubbed at her forehead tiredly. "I don't really want to be around people right now."
He nodded in understanding. "Alright then."
"I don't mean you," she said quickly. "I mean other people."
"Okay," he nodded. "So, where to then?"
She shifted her weight before taking off in the direction of the loft. "C'mon."
He kept pace with her easily, but gave her space. If she wanted any physical contact, he was going to let her initiate it.
"I'm noticing you're not saying anything about me wanting a drink in the middle of the day," she said after a while.
"I'm not the one to judge you for that," he said simply. "I've used drink as a crutch many times. Enough that it has gotten me in a lot of trouble before."
He pushed memories of Liam and his service to Silver from his mind.
She nodded, her voice low. "Thanks for that."
Arriving at the loft, Emma let them in, immediately going to the small liquor cabinet while he closed the door. Setting two glasses down, she poured generous amounts of an amber liquid in them before passing one off to him.
"Don't make me drink alone," she said as his brow raised in question.
He offered her a small nod. "Thanks."
"Sorry," she said as she sat down and took a gulp of her drink. "I know you have stuff to grade."
"It's fine," he told her calmly. "I don't have class until the day after tomorrow anyway. Besides, if we are dating now, doesn't that mean that we're supposed to help each other when we're having a hard time?"
She nodded, her cheeks slightly pinkened, but he knew it wasn't from the liquor. "Yeah. Yeah, I guess it does."
It was easy with Emma, making him wonder if despite the attraction he always had for her, becoming friends with her first made their budding relationship so easy.
He gave her a soft smile before drinking from his glass. Knowing the faint spice that accompanied the burn of the alcohol, he knew she had poured them whiskey.
Not realizing he had pulled a face, he caught her looking at him in amusement.
"Not your pick of poison?" she asked.
"I prefer rum," he told her simply.
She nodded. "I'll keep that in mind."
After a moment, she spoke again, her voice darker. "You know, that was a really low blow back there. With Graham."
He nodded, feeling some of the anger he felt at the comment returning. "Aye, it was. But that's what Regina does. She uses intimidation to get what she wants. That's part of the reason she despises you."
"One of the reasons?" she asked as she tipped back the rest of her glass.
"You're not intimidated by her, and she knows it," he told her. "As for the other reasons, you have no problem challenging her. She can't control you. And most importantly, she's threatened by you because you're Henry's mother."
He didn't dare add that she was the one meant to break the curse Regina had so carefully set up.
"Not according to her," she grumbled as she refilled her glass. "According to her, I'm nothing more than the woman who abandoned him."
His eyes softened as he looked back at her. "I know you had your reasons for giving up your boy. I'm guessing you did it to give him his best chance, aye? To me, that makes you a good mother."
Slowly, she nodded. "I promise, I will tell you the reason why. I just can't right now. Please just give me time?"
Nodding, his hand slipped into hers across the table. "Of course, love. You can tell me when you're ready, and I promise I'll listen."
She flashed him a small but tender smile.
"I just want to beat her," Emma sighed. "I don't think I've ever wanted anything so bad before. And I have no idea how."
They both looked as someone knocked on the door, prompting Emma to rise up to get it and break the contact they had. They both knew it couldn't be Mary Margaret, that she would have a key to her own loft apartment.
Rising with her, Killian bristled as he saw Gold on the other end of the door.
"Good evening, Miss Swan," he said cordially. "Sorry for the intrusion. There's something I'd like to discuss with you."
Wary, Killian knew he would be refusing to leave Emma alone with Gold. The incident at the hospital came to his mind, how it led to her being in his debt.
Emma shared an uncertain glance with him before looking back at Gold. "Come on in."
"Thank you," he said. He looked at Killian as he came in, his expression tight. "Jones."
He looked back at Emma. "I, uh, I heard about what happened. Such an injustice."
"Yeah, well, what's done is done," she said in a bored tone.
"Spoken like a true fighter," he said in surprise.
"I don't know what chance I have," she said, raising her arms up only to drop them. "She's mayor, and I'm well, me."
"Miss Swan, two people with a common goal can accomplish many things," he said in a business like voice. "Two people with a common enemy can accomplish even more. How would you like a benefactor?"
"A benefactor?" she asked skeptically.
"Do you mind?" he asked, gesturing to the table.
Emma invited him to it, pushing aside the drinks and bottle of whiskey. Killian moved back to give him room, not completely trusting him but also willing to listen if it helped Emma.
"You know, it really is quite shocking how few people study the town charter," Gold said as he put up his briefcase and opened it.
"The town charter?" Killian asked him, raising his brow.
Gold gave them a smile that reminded Killian all too much of him being the Crocodile. "It is quite comprehensive, and the mayor's authority, well maybe she's not as powerful as she seems."
Finding Henry at his castle, Killian approached him, setting down beside it.
"Emma told me you don't want to do Operation Cobra anymore," Killian said gently.
Henry nodded, looking out towards the water. "It's too dangerous. Regina plays dirty. You don't."
Killian couldn't help hiding his surprise, knowing very well that Henry knew who he was.
He found himself tentative as he spoke again. "I don't know about that, lad. I've done a lot of things in the past. I don't really think you could count me as being good."
"But you like my mom," Henry pointed out. "And you're trying to help her. You're good now."
Touched, Killian smiled. "Well, lad, haven't you ever heard that good always triumphs over evil?"
Henry nodded sadly. "Yeah, but what if she comes after you guys next? I don't want my mom or you to get hurt."
"I won't let your mom get hurt," Killian promised him. "And you don't need to worry about me."
Henry remained looking dejected. "But she won't stop. Graham was good, and look at what happened to him. We should stop."
Killian was silent for a moment, thinking.
"Lad, if you're out somewhere like the sea on a moonless night, and there's one light miles away, even if it's just a candle, do you still see it?" he finally asked.
Henry looked at him in confusion. "Yeah."
"As long as light exists, darkness doesn't win," Killian told him. "Light always finds a way. The same goes with good and evil. As long as there's still good, evil won't win. Evil will only win if the good is completely gone."
Henry was silent for a long moment.
"I think… you're like that," he said slowly. Henry looked back at him. "You said that you're a villain, but you're not bad. It's like you just said."
Killian gave him a small, sad smile. "I'm hardly a good man, Henry. But I do believe that the light will beat the darkness. That your mother will beat this."
To his relief, Henry smiled, his demeanor brightening.