Maria's Return

Author: Moggie
Genre: AU. Romance.
Disclaimer: I do not own The Sound of Music.

Summary: CaptainMaria A different take on Maria's return.

A few days after the party and her return from the Abby, Maria focused her attention on the children. As there was only one month until September came, she knew her time with the children was growing short. Though she had missed a few days with her escape after the engagement party, she was trying to make up for lost time.

The Captain would be married the last week of September. This would allow the children a week before school starts to spend time with their father. After that week ended the Captain would be leaving for his honeymoon. Though, if the gossip from the towns people were to be believed, the Captain and Baroness' would be away for a whole month, leaving the children in the hands of the housekeeper and their governess.

With this knowledge, Maria was informed by the Mother Abbess that a new governess would arrive the day she left. Nothing about any of this brought any joy to Maria.

Since yesterday, the day she returned, Maria had been with the children almost constantly. She only had time to herself when the children were in their beds. She gathered the same would happen for the rest of the month as she was sure they would want to spend as much time with her as possible before returning to school.

It was morning again and pleasant outside, if a bit breezy. Maria was awake before the children and chose to take a short walk around the grounds before waking the them. It was just past six o'clock and the sun was on the horizon, rising steadily and warming the day. Before long, she found herself standing away from the veranda and closer to the lake which was a ways from the small docking gate.

"Good morning." a voice startled her.

She turned slowly despite her startled flinch at the sound of his voice. He wore a dark blue suit and as always, was perfectly attired and neat. Maria smiled briefly at him. "Good morning, Captain." she glanced around to see if he was alone. "I hadn't expected anyone to be awake just yet."

"I apologise for disturbing you." his voice was sincere and deep.

Casting her eyes back towards him, she relaxed her suddenly tense shoulders.

"I. I was hoping we could take a moment to talk?" he hesitated.

Maria nodded. "Something bothering you, Captain?"

He gestured for them to walk and as they walked along the path beside the lake, he scratched behind his ear nervously. "You left without word." he continued when she faltered in her steps and his hand moved to catch her elbow. "Why did you?"

"It no longer matters why." she said quietly, wondering about his actions.

"Would you give me an answer if I asked again?" he pressed, but there was no conviction in his tone. The whole conversation was calm and friendly, making them both feel comfortable with each other, but just not comfortable with the topic of conversation.

"I would give you the same answer." Maria stopped and turned. "I do have one matter to discuss with you."

The Captain nodded. "Speak your mind Maria. You always do."

One of her eyebrows went up just as his did, but neither held it as she spoke her next words. "You are to be married in three weeks." Maria noticed his eyes moved away from her slowly as did his whole body.

"You wish to leave again." he said it rather than making it sound like a question.

"No. I wish to stay. But, I must not." she sighed. "A replacement will arrive and I will leave."

"When you left," he stopped worrying his hands and stuffed them into the pockets of his jacket. "The house was not the same. When you leave, it will not be the same again." he turned on his heal to face her and gave her challenging look. "Must you leave?"

"Yes." Maria's voice shook slightly. "Of course I must."

"Why must you?" he questioned. "Have we been that bad towards you?"

Maria's face paled and her posture straightened. "No! How did you come to such a conclusion?"

The Captain sighed and approached her. "Maria," he said her name for the first time. "One other thing that would make you leave would be me. Have I done something wrong?"

"No." she shook her head slowly.

"Are you certain?" he watched her intently and waited for her answer, but none came. To tell the truth was something Maria always did, if a little stretched at times. To lie was a sin and a postulant would not sin if she truly was to become a nun. He caught her, but he didn't know for certain what he had caught her in. He was going to find out. His first clue to her not confessing her true thoughts was that she refused to look at him.

Maria turned and looked over the water. "You have done everything right." she looked down slightly as though she were to glance behind her. "I was sent here and I found my purpose. The children are happy and they have been reunited with their father. That was why I was put here. Now that is complete, I must leave."

"And what of you?" he asked gently, standing a few feet behind her.

"I will return to the Abby."

He then asked, "And what of me?"

Maria turned to him. "You will marry the Baroness." she shrugged and smiled faintly.

"And if I do not marry?" he watched her confusion for a moment before looking down at his feet and then back at her. "You see, I have been thinking, and I have realised that though Elsa is a good friend, she doesn't seem the right woman for me."

"I." Maria frowned. "I don't understand."

"I think you do." he moved to stand beside her, both of them turning to look out across the lake. They watched a gaggle of geese leave the waters and fly up into the air. Waiting a moment, he sighed and let his head dropped slightly. "Maria," he turned and reached forward to touch her elbow.

Maria turned at the light tug, but refused to look up. "Captain."

"Is there anything I can do to make you stay?"

She shook her head.

"Maria," he raised his hand and lightly brushed his fingers across her pale cheek. "I. I'm asking you to stay."

"What about-" she swallowed around the nervous lump in her throat. It suddenly dawned on her what he was really trying to say.

"The Baroness left a short time ago." he seemed to understand the question before she could finish.

Just then her eyes flickered to his in surprise. "Oh."

"I wouldn't be up this early otherwise." he smirked.

Maria's mouth broke into a twitchy smile. "I didn't think it would be because of the quiet."

"Oh, that was a pleasant surprise. A welcome surprise even." his hand fell away. "I got to spend a few moments alone with you." his eyes sparkled in the early morning sun.

Thinking about what all of this would mean, Maria tried to calm her beating heart. When she joined the church, she hadn't expected to feel anything like what had been waging war within herself. She could so easily give into it all, but she was afraid.

Deciding resolutely that by the look in his eyes as they crinkled in thought, he was thinking the same. She supposed it was a place to start and took a deep breath, her hands unsure what to do as an urge to touch him shot through her body.

"I don't know what to do." she confessed nervously.

He drew her eyes back to his with a gentle touch to her cheek. "Will you stay? Will you stay here with the children and myself?"

She nodded as a small smile broke through. "If you'll have me."

"Oh, I do." he chuckled. "We all do." he slowly moved closer and watched carefully as she hesitantly raised her hands to his arms. "I can't make promises, Maria, about the future."

"The Anschluss." she sighed, but allowed herself to be guided into an embrace. Taking account of the warmth they made and the feel and smells, Maria smiled against his shoulder. "I have faith and hope to guide me."

"I share those beliefs. You and I are sure to be a force to be reckoned with."

She laughed. "Probably."

"Lets go inside." The Captain released her and smiled as he took her hand and looped it through his arm. "Breakfast is bound to be a loud event given that we have grand news to share."

"Is that your idea of a proposal, Captain?" Maria teased.

He stopped at the bottom of the veranda and turned his head towards her with a mischievous smile. "My dear, I accept."

A burst of laughter left Maria's lips.

The End.

I had planned on making this a larger fic, but I've got a better idea in the works. If you liked this then feel free to wait for the new SOM fic to be finished.