So I meant to post this before the newest episode aired: I have this theory that as much as Pan is a selfish arsebandit, there’s still some part of him that still regrets everything he did to his son, because somewhere inside he does sort of kind of care for Rumpel.
He could have just abandoned him in the street, but he didn’t. He found the kid a home. He could have just left him for dead on the island, but he didn’t. He made sure the shadow deposited him back in the world where he had caregivers. He gave him a toy. He tried to do the right thing for him. He even remembers his favourite breakfast.
Malcolm doesn’t want to care about Rumpel. He hates the fact he feels obliged to care about him. The way he speaks of regret and abandonment and bangs on about it to Emma makes a point that some part of him does still regret it.
Likewise, in his interactions with Rumpel, he uses those very signs of affection to drive him away. He tries to make Rumpel leave Neverland. He tries to get him out of the way again, using all the little gestures he ever made that he cared, which makes it all the more painful.
If he cared so little, he wouldn’t know how to press every. single. one of his son’s buttons. Or the buttons of anyone who had given up a child. And this is where the problem arises. He might not want to, but some part of him holds affection for his son.
Pan doesn’t love anything, but Malcolm, despite all his best efforts not to, actually cares for his child. He hates that he regrets leaving him. He hates that he cared enough to remember him. He hates everything about it. But it will prove useful now, since Rumpel is the thing he loves - however badly - the most.
This is not going to a happy place, given the key ingredient in the curse.