Killian isn't entirely certain what makes him do it—curiosity is surely part of it, though it's the type of curiosity that sits squarely in nosy territory, since it isn't technically his business.
(Or, perhaps it is his business, as it has to do with Emma and one of the reasons they've been meeting quite literally in dark, secluded alleyways.)
If he probed his motivations—truly probed them—he'd probably discover that it's largely ego that propels him out of his cabin and into the frosty February air, to stand alone in one of the above-mentioned dark, secluded alleyways.
There, in the shadows between two buildings, Killian raises his spyglass.
Across the street is Granny's, the diner's warmly glowing windows a beacon in the night. It's packed, as it usually is around dinnertime, but Killian has no trouble locating Neal, and when he does he smirks.
Neal's alone, staring mournfully into the mug of beer he's cradling between his palms.
Triumph swells in Killian's chest, like a sail caught in a headwind. He knows he shouldn't feel that way, it's not a competition, after all—although Neal's hardly his competition; Killian told the man he'd step aside as a courtesy, to give Neal a chance to see for himself—without Killian standing in the way—that Emma doesn't want him.
But now that she's made that clear, well…
Killian hopes this means she's finally ready to take a step forward, perhaps admit that she has feelings for him.
(Because although she hides that fact quite well from herself, she can't hide it from him.)
So it's with a peculiar jittery, floaty feeling in his stomach that he departs the shadows and goes looking for Emma.
His hand strays to his pocket, where he keeps the talking phone Emma persuaded him to purchase. He rarely uses it, save to occasionally press the 'Emma' button.
He supposes he could do so now, call her up and ask where she is, but Killian suspects he knows exactly where to find her: it's Friday and Henry's with Regina for the night, so it's a night Emma would usually visit Killian on his ship, one of the rare nights they can spend hours plural together instead of hour singular.
She's likely already there, waiting for him.
At the entrance to the wharf, however, Killian hesitates.
There's a slim possibility that Emma's elsewhere—sitting on their bench by the docks, specifically.
If she's on his ship then the only thing she'll want to do is forget, but the bench…
The bench would mean that she wants to talk, and as much as Killian enjoys Emma losing herself in his body—and losing himself in hers in turn—he'd much rather take the opportunity to talk if that opportunity is currently presenting itself.
He turns left, veering away from the Jolly Roger and heading instead through the shipyard towards the north end of the harbor, where there's a park along the waterfront. On the other side of the park is the small, quiet neighborhood where Emma lives, and in between the park and the shipyard is a poorly lit strip of boardwalk overlooking the sea.
It's a dark spot, fairly unfrequented even in the daylight, and Killian assumes it's the unlikelihood of them being seen there together that makes it one of the few places in Storybrooke where Emma's not afraid to be out in the open with him.
He sees her from a distance, the sight of her sitting on the bench driving the air from his lungs in an excited rush.
The jittery feeling in his stomach spreads, floods his body, vibrates his limbs. Emma turns her head as he approaches, and he can't help the grin, the jaunty stride, the playful tilt of his head as he calls, "Everything alright, Swan?"
His blood is singing in his ears too loudly for him to properly identify her tone, so it's with gusto that he drops onto the bench beside her and drapes his arm along the back. "Well, I saw Neal waiting at the diner all by himself, and I wanted to come make certain you're okay."
"You mean you wanted to come gloat."
He smirks, anticipating a smile in return but instead Emma looks away and all those warm, fizzy feelings inside of him fade instantly. "I'm serious, love," he murmurs. "Is everything alright?"
She doesn't answer right away, and without thinking Killian reaches out.
He's spent 2 months learning where and how she likes to be touched, analyzing and cataloguing her reactions to his every ministration, so he knows that when his fingers brush her shoulder it's not revulsion that causes her to stiffen, it's something else—and although Killian can't fathom what that something else is he withdraws.
Emma stares out at the horizon while he waits silently, his thoughts roiling, regret gnawing at his edges; he didn't expect Emma to be so affected—he assumed she'd be relieved to finally let Neal down and be free of his attentions, but this is clearly harder for her than she imagined, and—
"How did you know where to find me?"
Her eyes are steady on his, her voice even.
Killian shrugs. "I didn't. I was just…hoping."
A smile tugs at his lips, warmth flutters in his stomach, but she looks away again, and the next words out of her mouth shatter the night.
Killian blinks. Beneath his boots, the world grinds to a halt. "Come again?"
He couldn't have heard her correctly. He couldn't have heard her say that…that she's…
"I'm pregnant," Emma says, glaring.
Killian swallows. "Are you certain?"
"Of course I'm certain."
He's aware that it's a stupid question, and yet he asks an even stupider one.
"How am I certain?"
"No. How—" He drags in a breath. "How did this happen? I thought…I thought you said—"
"I said I was on the pill and I couldn't get pregnant," Emma mutters. "Yea."
She explained to him, what the pill she took every morning did, how it prevented pregnancy. She was confident that they worked, and Killian trusted in that confidence.
He still does.
This was just…an accident. No one's fault. Not Emma's, not his.
Killian exhales slowly, shifts his gaze to the horizon. "What are you going to do?"
"What are—" He pauses, squeezing his eyes shut and shaking his head. "I know there are…options, Swan. What I'm asking is…"
Are you keeping it?
Emma's never mentioned wanting another child—not that they've ever discussed it. She might not want to be a mother again. Henry might be enough for her. Henry might be it for her.
And that's her choice. Killian won't make her go through with something she wants no part of, regardless of his own desires.
"Emma?" he prompts.
He holds his breath, trying to ignore the smoldering beneath his breastbone that feels suspiciously like yearning, trying desperately not to care if Emma wants to go through with the pregnancy or not.
"Yes," she says. "I'm keeping it."
Something that was clenched tight inside of Killian unclenches. He swallows again, nods numbly.
"If you're…" Emma trails off. Killian sees her gather herself, sees the armor she draws closed around her heart. "Look, you can walk away right now if you want. You don't have to be involved."
"No," he growls, so vehemently that Emma's eyes widen in surprise. "No, Emma. I'm…I'm here. Whatever you want to do—whatever you need from me—I'm here."
That she's in this with or without him only makes his admiration for her grow, but he needs her to understand that he won't abandon his child.
He won't abandon her.
"This isn't going to scare me away, love," he says gently.
And he knows that's what she's expecting, that it'll be too much for him, that he'll leave her the way others have in the past.
But he won't. Not unless she tells him to.
Emma nods, seemingly accepting his promise. Her expression is still guarded, but when Killian offers her his hand she takes it.
He sighs inwardly with relief and swipes his thumb across her knuckles. "What do we do now, Swan?"
The world returns to motion, and although nothing's changed everything has changed.
Emma squeezes his hand and then abruptly pulls hers free. "I'm going home," she says. "I need to rest."
She stands, and Killian rises hastily to his feet beside her.
"When will I see you again?" he asks.
"I'll call you."
He hates the barrier that appears suddenly between them, and he takes an involuntary step forward before he catches himself—pushing Emma will only make her shut down. He has to be patient. He has to respect that she needs space.
So he watches her disappear into the park, then he sits down heavily on the bench and pulls the flask of rum from his coat. He raises the flask to his lips—
I'm going to be a father.
—and then lowers it without taking a sip.
He sighs, an exhalation of pure disbelief, then he leans his head back and lifts his gaze skyward.
"Bloody hell," he tells the stars, but the stars are silent.
Killian laid awake all night, staring at the ceiling of his cabin, and when dawn breaks, he makes a decision.
Words carry only so much weight with Emma; in order to prove to her that he's in this, he has to be in it.
So he makes a move.
Perhaps it's a bold move. Perhaps it's too bold.
It's a risk, certainly, showing up at her apartment unannounced—but it's a calculated risk. At least, that's what he believes, until it's David opening Emma's front door and Killian realizes just how astronomical of an error he's made.