You know something that just occurred to me?
Killian is Emma’s best friend.
Emma doesn’t have friends. She moved from place to place her entire life. From foster home to foster home as a child and teenager. Then she moved from city to city and lived on her own as an adult. Mary Margaret was the closest thing to a friend she ever had but then she broke the curse and MM tried going all Mommy Snow on her and ruined the close “friendly” relationship they had.
Neal was never back long enough without “dying” for her to really establish any kind of relationship with him.
In her “fake” year I have the impression that Emma and Henry were very close but that Emma was very busy with work and being a mom, and her left over time was dating Walsh – which didn’t feel like a “deep” relationship to me.
The one person who she is consistently “with” – even if it’s a pattern of being flirty and then getting mad/annoyed/frustrated/scared/running away and coming back again – is Killian. And he has become the one person she listens too, looks to for advice, trusts her son with, shows her emotions too, etc. It might be because she doesn’t have many, but it doesn’t change the fact that Killian is Emma’s best friend.
My mom once asked me when I was a just a bit older than Emma and divorced from my first husband who my best friend was, since I lived far away from all my high school and college friends. When I thought about it I realized that my best friend was this guy I worked with even though it had never really occurred to me before. We worked together a lot on projects so we knew each other really well, he knew my capabilities and believed that I was really good at things, we joked around and had fun together, we could tell when we were each having a bad day and needing to just let the other person have space. We just kind of naturally ended up together in meetings and at conferences, etc. but I had never really considered that he was my best friend.
Then one day I did. Oh yeah, I ended up marrying my best friend.