So, I'll give you a minute to pick yourself up off the floor from fainting. Though it's only been about eight months since I last updated here, so I don't know what you're going on about... sheesh.

There will be an update for FSN soon... all kinds of writing has been happening.

Disclaimer: same as all A-R, natch. And as always, playing playing footloose with the prompt cuz I can... please RnR.

S is for Silence: a story where neither character speaks

I.

He figured it wouldn't be long before she joined them, as he knew she was eager to see the children. In fact, he half expected her to come running out of the house and throw her arms around them with youthful abandonment as soon as she heard the noise and chaos that had just come roaring up the driveway and pouring out of the car. After all, he'd seen it before when she came back from the Abbey, flying across the lawn and dropping her belongings so she could match Louisa with an enthusiastic embrace that nearly sent them both toppling to the ground.

That is what he expected. But that's not what he got.

She walked through the doors calmly and gracefully, a warm smile spreading across her face as she greeted the children. She opened her arms to them as they instantly moved away from him to be by her side. She gazed upon each child with total adoration... and something else. Trepidation.

He was tempted to take some credit for this transformation, and maybe to some degree he could. But as she had told him over and over, she was now who she was always meant to be. Her skin felt like her own. She glowed, his bride. His wife. Their mother...

No sooner than he thought it, Brigitta said it. There was a short, nearly imperceptible intake of breath before she looked at him. The smile shifted and that little something else became complete joy.

Did you hear that?

He winked at her and the smile spread to her bright blue eyes.

Of course I heard! I told you there was no need to worry!

II.

This wasn't how it was supposed to go.

When he explained it to her, he stressed how careful they would have to be. He said they would try to time their arrival at the station with the departure of the train to lessen the chance anyone would notice a family of nine traveling at night. He warned that they might have to split up and get on different cars so not to draw attention to themselves.

But none of those plans mattered, she thought, since they didn't even get off the villa grounds before getting caught.

She would hardly consider herself a brave person, not when her instinct was to run away from fears and problems. But her husband, he had years of experience in courage. She drew on that courage to keep her feet planted, her shoulders back and her face straight as he made jokes with the man that could arrest him right then and there.

She knew he wasn't being reckless. He was stalling for time, formulating a plan. He needed them to remain calm and she would do her part and play along.

As they ushered the children into the car, she glanced across the roof of the vehicle in time to see him cross his fingers and give her rather amused and mischievous nod.

Zeller's an idiot. I've got a plan. We're going to be ok.

She smiled back.

I know we are.

And I'm sure you do.

And he really is.

III.

He didn't want to do it but Max thought it might help them pull off the ruse; one last song so Zeller would think he really meant to go with him to Bremerhaven. One last parting song to give the men keeping guard backstage a false sense of cooperation.

But then the word homeland passed his lips and it all became something else, became what it really was; a farewell to everything he believed in, everything he fought for. The finality of it felt like a vise around his chest. He had given his dreams to Austria and served her with his whole life until it had all been taken away. Now it was destroyed. Austria was no more.

The heartbreak was choking him and he couldn't make the words leave his throat.

A warm hand threaded with his and instantly he felt steady. She had bravely said goodbye to her dream because she loved him, because she believed in a life together with him. His home would be wherever she was.

He gave her hand another squeeze and their eyes met briefly.

I'm all right now that you're by my side.

It's where I belong.

IV.

She pulled Gretl closer into her embrace, trying to both shield and comfort her. The others crouched as still and quiet as the gravestones they hid behind. She thought the granite figures that practically glowed in the moonlight would serve more as beacons for their pursuers than as a safe hiding place for them, but it was too late to worry about it now. She pulled Gretl closer into the shadows.

It was unsettling for her to think that those men would breach the abbey gates. Nonnberg was the safest place she had ever known until she found her true refuge in the man they were hunting. She came to see her time at the Abbey as a step in her journey to find the life she was meant to live, and now it was part of their journey out of Austria, to a life unknown. The same Hand that guided her then would direct them safely where they needed to go.

It filled her with tremendous peace. Even as the shouts and footsteps grew louder and closer.

She looked up and caught her husband's concerned eye.

Only a little bit longer...

Yes, this will be over soon.

I'm sorry.

Don't be.

I love you, Maria.

I love you, too.

Next: T is for Travel

AN2: I was going to title this 'A Married People Thing' because technically they don't speak, except that they do communicate. I hope you get that. I'm not sure it's clear so I felt the need to explain...