Holding on and letting go

AN: I own nothing but I wish that I did! This is an au story taking place in fairytale land, without the curse ever taking place. Captain Killian Jones aka Captain Hook never met or loved Milah. The Dark One killed his mother in front of him, when he was a young child filling him with the need to avenge his mother's death. His life is consumed only with thoughts of revenge until he meets a certain young blonde princess. This fic is named after the song Holding on and letting do by Ross Copperman.

It's everything you wanted, it's everything you don't
It's one door swinging open and one door swinging closed
Some prayers find an answer
Some prayers never know
We're holding on and letting go

Chapter 1

Captain Killian Jones was a pirate that all men envied for his great adventures, his riches, his way with the ladies, and that he had no weaknesses for anyone to hold over his head. But that all changed the day that he docked his ship in a kingdom that would change his life in ways that he never imagined.

He found his weakness in the kingdom ruled by Snow White and Prince Charming the moment he saw her for the first time. Killian had laughed at countless men when they told them about meeting a woman that consumed you with such need and desire that it was all you could think about. Little did he know he would understand just what they meant the moment he laid eyes on Princess Emma Swan. Killian stood on the deck of his ship, looking out at the land they were approaching, when he remembered the moment that a chink formed in his once impenetrable armor and led to losing his heart to her.

Flashback

He walked to the tavern in the kingdom that they had just docked in with a huge smile on his face. He had acquired a piece of treasure that the Prince and Princess of this land were seeking out. If he played his cards right, he would get a very hefty pay-day tomorrow when he met with Prince Charming and Snow White. But tonight he would drink mead and find a beautiful lass to charm into his bed.

Killian's crew had left the ship first, leaving him to walk on his own. Suddenly, he heard the sound of two people fighting from not far ahead. Ready to ignore the fight, he then heard a girl grunt and shout out, "I told you to back off."

"Try to fight me all you want, but I will have my way with you, Princess. There is no one here to protect you," came the sound of a man's laughter out of the woods.

Killian let out a sigh of annoyance before rushing off towards the scuffle. He might be a pirate, but he didn't believe that any man should force himself on a woman. Rounding trees, he entered and saw the back of a big man advancing on a girl that he could not see.

"Don't make me hurt you," the man snarled at her. "You should enjoy this — after all, you let a mongrel that lived in the woods touch you."

"DON'T YOU DARE CALL HIM THAT!" the girl yelled with fury her voice. The man stumbled backwards while groaning in pain. "He WAS a better man then you will EVER BE!"

A beautiful, blonde girl about eighteen years old was glaring at the man now on the ground, her green eyes filled with rage and sorrow. She was wearing a pair of tan riding pants with a white shirt underneath and black, knee-high boots. Killian's blue eyes grew large as he took in the girl, unsure of what feeling hit him at that moment. He just knew that he wanted — no, needed — to know her — to touch her — to call her his woman. Never in his life had he wanted to claim a woman as his, but this girl made him want to so much. Right now, he wanted to kill the bastard on the ground for attempting to touch what would soon be his and only his!

"Didn't anyone one ever teach you to respect a lady?" Killian drawled out, walking up and kicking the bastard in the ribs. Hearing them crack, the man cried out in pain.

"Good afternoon, love," Killian smiled at her before kicking the man once again, hearing another rib break. "Some men have no manners. Please don't let one rotten apple spoil your opinion of us. I'm Captain Killian Jones," he introduced himself.

"I don't need your help," the gorgeous blonde said to him, staring at him wearily while walking towards the man on the ground. She stared at Killian more, not taking her eyes off of him as she kicked the man on the ground in the face. "I'm very capable of taking care of myself," she added, crossing her arms over her chest with a small smile on her face when the man on the ground let out a cry of pain. Killian realized in that moment that he would make her his and he would not rest until he had her.

"Your lousy excuse for a fiancé deserved to die," the man on the ground started, trying to get up and spitting blood on the girl's pants and boots.

The beautiful girl's face contorted in pure rage that Killian had seen on many men's faces — before they killed someone in battle. Killian grabbed the man off the ground with his hands and held a knife up to the man's neck in the blink of an eye. "You not only have no manners but you also are a dumb bastard," he hissed at the man, pressing the knife to the man's neck and drawing a small line of blood. Killian looked up at the girl, who was still furious beyond belief. "Have you ever killed a man, love?" he asked her, raising an eyebrow and already knowing the answer was no.

"No, but I will," she answered with conviction, but she flinched when she looked down at the blood dripping down the man's neck.

"It's easy to do it in the moment, especially when he is a dumb bastard who deserves it. But after you take his life, the rage will subside and you will realize that you have taken a life of another human being," Killian said, knowing that this wasn't the man that she wanted revenge on. However, this man deserved it, in his opinion. "I will gladly let you do the honors if you prefer," he offered her, watching her eyes flicker so many emotions before she took a step backwards.

"I have to go," she said, running off quickly through the woods and leaving Killian desperately wanting to run after her. But Captain Killian Jones didn't run after women — they chased after him, and he had the miserable excuse for a man that he was holding at knife point to deal with as well.

"Tell you what: I'm feeling generous today, so I will make you a deal. If you tell me who the girl is and how I can find her, then I will spare your miserable life," he told the man, pushing the knife harder into his throat.

"She is the daughter of Prince James and Princess Snow White. Her name is Emma Swan and she lives in the royal castle. Please don't kill me!" the man told him quickly, with fear and desperation in his voice. Killian let a small amount of pressure off of the knife but didn't remove it. "You promised to let me go!"

"I am a man of my word, but I need to know a bit more first. Who is this fiancé of hers that you mentioned?" Killian questioned him, needing to know who he needed to compete with for Princess Emma's affections. He had seen and met many princesses — even had bedded a few — but he never had any interest in them besides sex.

"She was engaged to Graham Humbert. His parents abandoned him in woods and he was raised by wolves. He was an outcast that no one spoke to or cared about, but the story is that when Princess Emma met him, it was love at first sight for both of them. He became a knight in the kingdom and then her fiancé," the man paused, making Killian reapply pressure to the knife. "The day of their wedding, the Evil Queen came and ripped out his heart, crushing it in front of Emma. The Queen did her a favor, if you ask me," he added.

Killian's mind flashed back to when he was a child and his mother's heart was ripped out by the Dark One for not finding him the magic bean he wanted. He knew how it felt to have someone you loved have their heart ripped out in front of you and to watch them die. He moved the knife from the man's throat, but on hearing his sigh of relief, Killian stabbed the man in the heart as the man's breath caught in his chest.

"I'm usually a man of my word, but right now I am doing the world a FAVOR," he stressed, twisting the knife before pulled it out of the man's lifeless body as it fell to the ground. Killian cleaned his knife with the man's shirt before walking off to his ship. He decided that he needed a good night's sleep before he saw his Princess Emma once more.

The next morning

Killian whistled happily as he walked towards the castle with Smee beside him, who was looking at his Captain like he had lost his mind. It had taken Smee over half of the journey to get up the courage to ask his captain if he was all right. "Captain, have you been drinking rum all night into the morning?" He didn't remember seeing his captain at the tavern at all last night.

"No, Smee, last night I came across a treasure that I wish to possess. I've never seen anything so glorious," Killian grinned at his first mate, continuing his quick pace to the castle.

"When will we go over this treasure?" Smee asked his captain, excited about the adventure of going after this legendary treasure. His captain had captured so much gold and treasure already that Smee knew this treasure had to be something to excite him.

"We are on our way there now," Killian grinned at him. On seeing the look of fear on Smee's face, he reassured him: "Do not worry, mate. I don't plan on stealing it from Prince and Princess unless I must. My plan is to get it from them willingly. They have been experiencing some difficulties with the Evil Queen, and I plan on helping them eliminate them and her."

"You will ask for your treasure in exchange," Smee smiled at him, but frowned a moment later. "The Evil Queen is VERY dangerous."

"So am I, Smee," Killian reminded him. "I've heard that people are calling me Captain Hook after I used a hook to kill that bloke who insulted me and tried to kill me in that tavern. I kind of like the name," he beamed proudly, then added, "but let's not mention any of my violent tendencies when I am crossed with royalty."

"Of course, Captain," Smee agreed quickly as they approached the castle gates and were greeted by the guards.

Killian quickly introduced himself, "Good day, I'm Captain Killian Jones, and this is my first mate, Smee. We are here to see Prince James and Princess Snow." As the guards led them into the castle, Killian looked around as they proceeded through a hallway towards the throne room, noticing the paintings of the royal family hanging on the walls. His eyes went to a portrait of the beautiful young princess that he had met in the woods last night.

Smee caught his captain staring at the painting, his eyes also growing large in admiration of the beautiful princess before they were guided further down the hall. They entered the throne room to see Prince James and Princess Snow White sitting on thrones arranged next to each other. Killian and Smee both bent down to bow to them.

"Good morning, Your Majesties," Killian smiled at them, glancing up as he bowed. His eyes traveled between the royals, instantly seeing a mixture of the two of them in their lovely daughter.

"Good morning, Captain Jones. Welcome to our kingdom," Prince James greeted him with a nod, motioning for them to stand. "We are pleased that you agreed to return to us a valuable treasure that was stolen from our family."

"However, you didn't tell us what you expected in return for it, Captain Jones," Snow said to him, concerned about what the pirate would want in exchange for it.

"Please, call me Killian," he insisted, giving them his most charming smile. "It was quite difficult to get the treasure that belongs to your family, so I'm not quite sure what would be a fair trade," he answered her, getting frowns from the both of them. "But I can reassure you that I want to make this trade, and I'm sure that we will be able to reach an agreement. I would love to stay in your kingdom for a while to decide."

"Captain...Killian," Snow corrected herself, getting a smile back from him, "I mean no offense when I say this, but pirates are not known for their honesty."

"Aye, you are right, Princess Snow," he agreed, "but I will give you a part of the treasure back in good faith until we have come to an agreement." He opened the satchel that he had around him, pulling something out of the bag. "I brought the necklace with me as a token of my willingness to work with you," he said, holding out the necklace up for them to see. Snow stood up, walking down the steps and taking the necklace from him with a small smile on her face.

"My mother's necklace is more beautiful than I remembered. How did you get this back?" she asked him, staring at the necklace in awe and then back at him.

"A pirate never gives away his secrets," he smiled at the princess. Killian began to feel impatient about seeing Emma once again, but his face remained neutral.

"We insist that if you stay in our kingdom, you stay here with us. Breakfast is about to be served. Are you two hungry?" she asked them.

"Breakfast would be wonderful, Princess. I would be honored to stay in your castle, but my first mate, Smee, will only be staying for breakfast since will need to run my ship in my absence," Killian grinned at her, pleased that he would be staying so close the one thing he wanted more than anything. He noticed the look of disapproval on Prince James's face as he walked up to his wife, but nothing would ruin this day for him.

They were led to a large formal dining room and then seated with the prince and princess as their servants brought in breakfast. Killian hid his disappointment that Princess Emma's presence was missing during breakfast as he ate the delicious breakfast feast.

"I'm sorry that I'm late — I overslept," Emma's voice called out. Killian had to fight back the smile that threatened to cross his face as he turned to see her rushing into the dining room. Her green eyes grew large when they met Killian's; she looked even more beautiful than she did last night, wearing a long emerald-green dress that showed off her bare shoulders. Killian's gaze ran over them, wishing to kiss every inch of them.

"We just sat down — Emma, I want you to meet Captain Killian Jones and his first mate, Smee. Killian will be staying with us in the castle for a while," James said to his daughter, who stood frozen while looking at their visitors.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Princess Emma," Killian smiled as he stood up, bowing to her with Smee following his lead. He looked up to see her relax when she realized he was not ratting her out for being alone in the woods.

"It's nice to meet you, Captain Jones. Hello, Mr. Smee," Emma told them, smiling softly at Killian and stunning both of her parents before she sat down at the table. She hadn't smiled at all since Graham was killed in front of her on her wedding day a year ago.

Snow's eyes met her husband's, both surprised yet happy to see her smile. Emma had rarely left her room or the castle since Graham had died, which was worrying her parents greatly. They wished they could do something to stop their daughter's pain, but it was impossible. How do you help someone get over the image of the one they love having their heart ripped out in front of them on their wedding? they wondered, not having an answer. Time seemed to be the only answer, but that wasn't working either.

"Killian is returning items from my mother's jewelry collection, which was stolen. He returned her necklace to me," Snow told Emma, holding up the diamond and ruby necklace for Emma to see. "You should wear it."

Emma's eyes enlarged once again and flew to Killian. "You stole it back from the Evil Queen?" she asked him, hatred and utter despair underlining her tone when she said "the Evil Queen."

"Aye, she was shipping it out as payment, I believe, when I came across it. I've heard that she was very angry that it was taken," he replied, smiling at her upon seeing the need for vengeance in her eyes.

"I hope you stole everything that you found in the shipment," Emma angrily answered, her eyes filling with rage and hatred.

"Of course I did, love. I'm a greedy pirate," Killian teased her with a wink. He saw Prince James flinch at his words and actions out of the corner of his eye. "I'm sorry — that was out of line, Princess. We pirates aren't known for our manners and tact," he apologized. He had always said and did whatever he wanted — having to watch everything that he said and did was going to be quite an adjustment.

"It's okay. I'm just glad that you stole from that evil bitch," said Emma between gritted teeth, trying to rein in her anger.

"Emma!" Charming and Snow yelled at her.

"What?! I'm just calling her what she really is!" Emma exclaimed to her parents, unable to hold her feelings in any longer. "She killed him! She ripped his heart out in front of me! He died my arms! How can I not hate her?!" Her eyes were filing him tears. "You couldn't understand how that feels!" She instantly stood up, ready to storm out of the dining room.

"I do," Killian's voice echoed in a harsh whisper as he looked up at the furious, beautiful, blonde princess. "My mother's heart was ripped out in front of me when I was just a lad, all over some magic bean." He swallowed hard as the memory of the event washed over him. Killian watched Emma's mouth fall open and her eyes fill with shock as she sat down again slowly. "The Dark One killed my mother and left me with her body, never looking back at me after obtaining the bean from her," he told her, able to see that she was going to ask if it was the Evil Queen, Regina, who was responsible. "I know how it is to watch your loved one being ripped away from you while you're helpless to stop it." His voice was laced with hurt and anger.

Snow and Charming exchanged looks of worry at hearing the pirate's story, but they were also relieved that their daughter finally had someone to talk to about Graham. If only it were someone else besides a pirate. "I'm very to hear about your loss, Killian," Snow told him with a sympathetic look on her face, interrupting the moment that Killian was sharing with her daughter as they stared at each other with understanding.

"Thank you, Princess Snow," he said, pulling his eyes from Emma to look at Snow before looking back at Emma. "I know how it feels to have a fury building inside of you, one that you cannot extinguish no matter how hard you try…but you must try, Princess. If you don't, it will take you to a very dark place that it's very hard to return from," Killian informed the princess, not wanting her to suffer the way that he had suffered over the last three hundred years.

Emma stared at him for a few moments without saying anything before turning to her parents. "I know that you want me to continue with my sword-fighting lessons, but do you think that Captain Jones could teach me instead of Sir Lancelot?" Emma asked her parents, startling them once again.

"If Captain Jones agrees with it, then I see no reason why that would be a problem," Snow answered, relieved that Emma was going to spend some time out of her room — even if it was with a pirate. She had heard many terrible stories about Captain Killian Jones, or Captain Hook, as some people called him. After hearing his story of how his mother was murdered in front of him as a child, it was easy to see how he became the vicious pirate that he was today. She hoped that he could perhaps help Emma work through the pain and anger of losing the man that she loved.

"I would be honored." He smiled brilliantly at Snow and her daughter while Charming stared at him, frowning. Killian knew that Prince Charming didn't trust him with his daughter or his intentions towards her — and it was smart of him not to do so. It was going to be a challenge getting the Prince's approval for his daughter's hand, but Killian's three hundred years of plotting revenge had taught him patience.

Charming led Snow back to their bedroom after breakfast, shutting the door behind them. "Snow, do you think it's safe to have our daughter to spend time with a pirate? A pirate who is known for killing a man in cold blood with a hook?" he exclaimed to his wife, throwing up his hands.

"Emma smiled today! It wasn't a true smile, but she SMILED, Charming. She hasn't smiled since her wedding day over a year ago. I don't care if he ripped a man to pieces with a hook! If he can help our daughter, that's ALL I care about," Snow countered, staring at her husband with determination.

"Snow…" Charming said, letting out a large sigh. "I want Emma to be happy again but do you think that it's a good idea to let her spend time with Captain Jones? He is known for having seduced many woman and even a few princesses. He was trying to hide it, but I know that he wants our daughter."

"It worries me too, but we will keep an eye on him. Emma is still deeply grieving Graham's death, so I don't think that we need to worry that he would be successful in trying to seduce her," Snow told her husband, pausing. "Emma now has someone to talk to that can understand her loss and what she's been through. I want my daughter back, not the shell that's she's been since losing Graham."

"Fine, but I want them watched closely. I do not trust Captain Jones," Charming relented, knowing that his wife was partly right but still not liking it one bit.

Meanwhile

Smiling, Killian walked with Smee outside of the castle. "Smee, please tell the men that we will be staying here indefinitely, so they need to be on their best behavior here. Their behavior is a reflection on me to the Prince and Princess. If I look bad, then they will suffer immensely," Killian let his first mate know with an evil smirk at the end.

"Yes, my Captain. I will let them know," Smee told him, taking off his red hat and nodding at him. "Should I leave it up to you to contact me, or should I come back to you?" he asked, not wanting to anger his captain and knowing that consequences of doing so would be very painful.

"I will contact you if I need your help," Killian told him. Seeing that Smee wanted to say something but felt scared to do so, Killian pressed, "Smee, what is it that you want to say? Please get on with it, because I have a sword fighting lesson with Princess Emma."

"It's not gold or jewels that you want from this kingdom, is it? You desire to obtain Princess Emma," Smee whispered to his Captain, so quietly the words could barely be heard. He watched as a grin crossed his captain's lips and his eyes lit up with amusement.

"Smee, you always were the smartest man on my crew," Killian replied, patting Smee on the shoulder which made him grin back at him. "You will tell no one of this or I will feed you to the sharks. I will have her — no matter what I have to do to get it," he stressed to Smee in a low, dangerous whisper.

"Yes, my Captain," he replied to him, swallowing hard before hurrying back towards the ship. He knew his captain meant every word of what he had said.

Killian watched Smee disappear before he walked back inside the castle to meet his princess for a sword fighting lesson. He hadn't planned on revealing something so personal to the royal family, but he knew that it was the only way that he could get permission to spend time with Emma — and for her to trust him. The guard led him to a large room in the castle that had beautiful swords and axes hanging all over the walls. "Princess Emma will be here shortly," the guard said to him before narrowing his eyes. "I will be watching you, pirate," he warned him.

"Of course you will, because that's your job, isn't it, guard?" Killian threw back at him with a smug smirk, amused by the guard's miserable failure of an attempt to intimidate him.

"Hello, Captain." Emma's beautiful voice called out to him, pulling his gaze toward her to see that she was now wearing a white button up shirt, grey tights, and black boots. "I appreciate your agreement to teach me how to sword fight. I assume that you brought a sword with you?" she said to him.

"Yes, but the guards seized it before I could enter the palace. I can use one of yours, if that's alright," he told her with a smile on his face.

"Wesley, please get the Captain's sword and bring it to him," Emma said, turning to the guard and getting a frown from him.

"I will send another guard for it," he replied to her, not looking very happy about it at all.

"I will be fine here. So please do as I ask," Emma commanded him with her hands on her hips, leaving no room for disagreement from the guard.

"Yes, Princess Emma," he acquiesced, walking out of the room but glancing back at them before he disappeared out of sight.

"What's your angle?" Emma asked Killian, getting a raised eyebrow and a look of confusion from him. "I find that when people keep a secret for me, there is always something that they want from me in return. So what do you want? Gold or jewels, perhaps?" she asked him with suspicion and distrust in her eyes.

"Princess Emma, I'm hurt that you think so little of me," Killian said to her, putting his hand over his heart and shooting a wounded look at her that he always used to seduce the ladies. One look at Emma's face said that she wasn't buying it.

"Captain Jones, I'm not sure if you know this about me, but I have this ability to read people and know when they are lying to me. So cut the crap," Emma snapped at him, making Killian grin at her. "So tell me the real reason," she continued, walking closer to the pirate while staring him down.

Killian Jones found himself in awe of the brave and beautiful princess in front of him. His desire and his need to have her grew even deeper when faced with her fierceness and ability to read people — especially him. Killian Jones had been able to fool so many people with his clever deceit over his long life, but it seemed like the princess in front of him could see him for who he truly was. In the end, he decided to be honest but carefully leave out the part that he needed to have her in every way.

"I know how it feels to have your heart consumed with such hatred, loss, and anger that you are left feeling like an empty shell. The only thing that you can think of is killing — and revenge. Revenge is the only thing that gets you out of bed in the morning and through every unbearable, long day. It eats at your soul if you don't find something else that can fill you and give you one ounce of happiness." His stormy blue eyes filled with rage, despair, and emptiness. "I don't want you to end up consumed by it like I was," he shared with her honestly.

"Everything that I had to live for was taken from me over a year ago — except revenge," she replied, knowing he was being truthful. She could sense that he wasn't telling her everything, but that didn't matter because someone finally understood her true pain. "Thank you for keeping my secret. What did you do with the man?" she asked him curiously.

"Please — call me Killian. What did you want me to do to him?" he asked her, taking a step closer and staring at her with an intensity that made Emma's heart race for the first time in a very long time.

"If I am calling you 'Killian,' then I insist on you calling me 'Emma,'" she began to say, pausing for a few moments. "I wanted him to suffer for what he said about the only man who I will ever love," Emma whispered in a low voice, her eyes shining with anger and with guilt for what she felt.

"I did just that for his mockery of your hurt and sorrow," Killian said to her, reaching out to touch a strand of her long, blonde hair and running his fingers through the soft curls. "Trust me, Emma, when I tell you that something that seems impossible is very possible," he stressed to her. Seeing her swallow hard at his words, he reluctantly let go of her silky locks and took a step back from the beautiful princess just before the guard re-entered the room with Killian's sword.