I don't even know if anyone is reading and this was clearly not all the story I wanted to tell when I started this fic almost 3 years ago. But I will finish it, I promise. Even if it's with plotline notes and dialogue excerpts

"Permission to come aboard, Captain?"

Killian turned around, his brow furrowing at the unexpected guest. It had been three days since he'd left the castle and his crew were to set sail in two days' time. He had been ensuring everything was ready for the travel, throwing himself into the known routines of getting a ship perfect for sailing as a way to avoid his feelings. But his traitorous heart and his deceiving mind gave him no quarrel, and soon he found himself sulking and commiserating. His crew had known better than to talk to him when he was in such a state, and one by one they'd found things to do ashore, taverns and wenches to visit, and left him to brood on his own at nights, with nothing but a rum barrel for company.

It hadn't escaped Killian how much his crew seemed to be finding ties inland, either rekindling relationships long forgotten or building new ones. It wouldn't be long until this port would become home for most of them… just when Killian was adamant to escape his heartache in the only way he knew how: sailing the seas without looking back.

However, none of that explained the man that was standing on the dock, waiting for his reply. Killian smirked and shrugged more out of habit than anything else. It was easy to play that part, after all.

"Since when do you need permission to board a ship in your port, Majesty?"

David gave him a brief smile. "This isn't one of my ships, Hook. I think is customary to ask." He shuffled on his feet. "I was wondering if the services of your ship as a safe harbor to drink oneself in peace were available to other members of the royal family."

Killian tilted his head and contemplated the request. A big part of him wanted to say no and send David back to his family, urging the man to seek comfort in the wonderful woman waiting for him, or the friends willing to lay their lives for them. But a part of him knew exactly why David has sought him. When one holds a position of power, one cannot succumb to darkness. One must set an example. Always. That was who Liam used to be, leaving any type of moment of weakness for the solitude of his cabin, sinking himself in a place not even Killian could reach him. That was David now, desperately seeking the one place where he knew he could unleash his demons. Killian wasn't going to deny the man the chance to do so.

He bowed his head, his hand motioning over the deck. "My rum barrels are at your service, Majesty".


Surprisingly, Prince Charming could hold a lot more rum than Killian would have thought. But eventually, drunk stupor fell on the other man, and his frustrations slowly started to fade away.

"I should have chased him the moment you made it back with Emma. I should have gotten on my horse, found him and make him pay."

Killian downed his rum and swallowed, letting the fire burn his throat. "Revenge may sate your being, but it's an end, not a beginning."

David took his time with his rum, and studied Killian until the other man almost squirmed under the scrutiny. "Is that why you didn't go after him?"

Killian pondered his answer for a moment. "My one priority was getting Emma out of there and return her safely to the castle. Everything else held little importance at that moment. You needed to stay in the castle to ensure she was safe after we made it back. That was your priority, mate."

And it was a good one.

But it seems that wasn't enough for a rum fueled David who was letting his demons out. "And now? Is there a reason why I shouldn't find him now?" He averted his eyes to the sea, his jaw clenching and his hand fisting at his side. "I want to. Every part of me is screaming for compensation, to make him atone for what he did to my daughter," he confessed hoarsely and Killian's heart tug at the sadness and anger in his voice. He knew that feeling so well, after all.

His hand reached to clasp on David's shoulder, forcing the other man to look at him. "You don't want to go down that path, mate. It won't turn back time. It won't stop what already had happened…" he swallowed, letting his own emotions flood him. "It won't heal her any faster."

"Is that why you're leaving?" David asked.

Killian averted his eyes, feeling uncomfortable for letting his emotions get the best of him. "She needs time. Emma doesn't need me here, like a constant reminder of one of the worst times of her life, of the pain she suffered."

"But you saved her."

And she couldn't even hold my gaze after it.

"It doesn't matter," Killian sighed, running his hand through his hair. "All she sees right now is darkness." And he knew all about darkness creeping up on you. He could only hope his own absence and her family's love would be enough to anchor her back into the light.

Silence stretched between the two men as they both stared out to the sea. "Where would you go?"

Anywhere but here where my heart is breaking time and again.

"There's always somewhere to sail. The sea is endless." The sea, his first love, was waiting to embrace him again and help him heal as well.

David shook his hand. "I hope this pass… I truly do," he said sincerely.

"Take care of your family, Majesty." Take care of Emma.

"You take care of yourself, Hook."

"Aye, will do."