The last time Emma was separated from someone she had feelings for (granted the situation was totally different and she was betrayed), when she met that person again later, they had moved on from her. When Hook tells her this, HE’S TELLING HER HE DIDN’T MOVE ON IN ANY CAPACITY - NOT EVEN A THOUGHT ABOUT ANOTHER WOMAN. THAT HE STILL LOVES HER, THERE’S NOBODY ELSE, AND THERE NEVER WILL BE.
Watch her face in the fourth gif. She realizes that, but also something else - maybe she was kind of EXPECTING him to have at least been involved with someone else. She says she’s glad to see he hasn’t changed, but the conversation isn’t referring to romantic feelings until Hook steers it there. When he says he had a pirate’s life to get back to, well. It would be natural for Emma in that moment to assume, since she’s used to being hurt and abandoned after people tell her they love her, that Hook had regressed while she was away and probably had, well. A dalliance before trying to come back to her. Neal did. Why wouldn’t Hook?
HER SURPRISE THAT HE CLEARLY FEELS JUST AS STRONGLY AS HE DID, IF NOT MORE STRONGLY, IS JUST A KNIFE IN THE GUT. LOOK AT IT.
That’s why the inclusion of Henry telling her that not all guys are like his dad is so important. Killian had the opportunity to busy himself with someone else but is very clearly telling her here that he didn’t. If you think the attempted TLK doesn’t come to her mind after he says there was nothing for him in the EF, YOU ARE WRONG. SHE SEES that he’s in it for the long haul, that he truly loves her, that the kiss wasn’t a completely baseless thing to try. HE REALLY BELIEVES IN HOW MUCH HE LOVES HER and this scene is when she sees it’s still just as strong as it was before they were separated.
JUST GET TOGETHER ALREADY