Disclaimer – I do not own Redwall. AU quite possibly. Please read the whole thing before you jump to conclusions please! Thank you!

Germaine's Secret

Peace rang through Mossflower woods, tickling the air with a sweet breeze that only freedom from tyranny could bring. Germaine opened the flaps to the structure for during bad weather that they had erected over Martin so that the breeze could come even to the young warrior. Of course, something told her that Martin was not as young in his heart as he was in his body, but it didn't matter, he was still one of her charges.

She glanced over and saw him wake up as the smells from outside hit his nostrils. He sat up groggily at stared at her for a few seconds. She smiled at him and shook her head. "While it is good to see that you have the strength now to sit up, you still need your rest, lie back down."

"You're not my mother," the warrior muttered, causing her to go and push him down.

"Martin…" she said, shaking her head at him. "You do realize that I am old enough to be your mother?"

"Abbess Germaine?" the warrior commented, blinking his eyes to full awareness. "What…"

She held a hand to his mouth. "Who exactly did you think I was warrior?"

"Columbine… I guess. She's been hauling Gonff off because she thinks that he is being bothersome and not letting me get my rest… so when you said that… I assumed that it was her,"

"Columbine has been a little over protective. But then again, you are her husband's best friend, not to mention that… I wasn't blind to you pushing them together and encouraging him to flirt with her," the Abbess laughed, going and sitting near him. "I'm glad for it warrior… it has done both good."

"Abbess… do you remember your mother?" Martin asked, asking a question that startled her.

"My mother…" Germaine said, closing her eyes.

Germaine was in a huge field that smelled sweetly of flowers all around her. Another mouse was near her, gathering herbs and flowers. A very small, male mouse infant was near the mouse mum, playing in the grass and spreading the grass apart and blowing. Germaine began to pick through one plant.

"Germaine… don't mess with that plant… we need to let it grow so we get the most from it,"

"Yes mother," Germaine said, hurrying over to the mouse's side. She saw the mouse bring out a book and scribble something down in it, more notes about healing herbs.

"Why don't you take your little brother to go see your father back at the village," the mouse said. "I'll be there as soon as possible. Remember to keep the path hidden."

Germaine nodded and scooped up the infant and her basket, and moved down the path to the village, straitening out any missteps and anything she thought looked odd.

Germaine found herself coming back to reality as she heard someone move into the entrance way of the tent. She suddenly smiled seeing that it was Timballisto. He was looking shyly into the tent. "Is he awake?"

"Yes… I am T.B.," Martin said, sitting up again, only to have Germaine shake her head at the mouse. He was an extremely stubborn fellow; she tilted her head down, thinking about the other stubborn ones she had found in her life when she was young.

An older mouse was watching Germaine carefully as she sat at the table with another young mouse, the same one that had been an infant in her previous memory. The older mouse finally spoke up. "Germaine… I can't believe that you actually thought to invite those strangers into this place… this place of sanctuary."

"Do you actually call having a place of sanctuary which is only open to the few a true place of peace? There is so much prejudice about the outside world!" the young mouse maiden commented.

"Germaine… those goodbeasts were warriors… they carried weapons," the older mouse said, while the younger one piled food into his mouth.

"As you said, they were goodbeasts, 'not' vermin!" Germaine snapped.

"You should not be talking about the affairs that are none of your concern child. Leave them to your brother and become a wife!" the mouse commented.

"A wife! I want to become a healer, like mother!" the young mouse stated. "I have her book memorized.

"Germaine! Your mother's gathering of the healing herbs was what got her killed!" the mouse stated.

"No… it was your policy that no one carries weapons around here! What is it that you truly fear!" she said.

"Father's right though… weapons shouldn't be allowed in Noonvale. That has been the law since even before mother died… you know that sister," the younger mouse commented.

"I am so glad that he has gotten the sensibility to marry soon!" the mouse said, storming off.

"Abbess Germaine?" Timballisto asked, causing her to come out of her stupor. "Please… may I speak with Martin?"

"Oh… of course T.B.; I trust you more then Gonff to know when he's reached his limit," she said, getting up and heading to the door of the small structure, at least it was nice and warm.

"Martin… do you… do you remember what happened to your grandmother?" Timballisto asked. "I tried having this conversation with you when you first found me, but you avoided it."

"Grand… mother. What was her name?" Martin asked.

"Martin, do you even remember why you left," the older mouse asked, concern in his voice.

"I told Gonff that father hadn't come back… but that isn't quite right, is it?" Martin said, shaking his head. "No, I don't remember why I left…"

"Why is it that you are leaving!" her brother snapped at her.

"Uranvoh! I am not needed here! Expesully since my words aren't heeded!" Germaine said.

"Because you don't listen! Weapons are what killed mother!" the young mouse stammered out. "And anyways… what about your niece… she was born just yesterday… I thought you would be excited!"

"Excited! Uranvoh! How long do you think it will be until the outside world comes crashing in on this place! Believe me, it will be sooner then later,"

"Don't you care about peace?" the mouse said, pulling at the beard like tuff of fur on his face.

"Yes… but one that is worth fighting for and not hiding for," she said. "Somewhere, I am going to find that place."

"Ahh, Abbess Germaine… I was… umm, speaking with some of the other brothers and sisters… they said that back at Loamhedge, some of the elders had come to say that you were originally from the north," Columbine asked. "What was that all about?"

"Ahh, I came from further North then even here… Bella traveled to Loamhedge many a time… I only had to go once before I knew it was the place for me,"

Germaine sat in the large garden surrounded by the sandy walls of the structure. Bella was with her and caught site of the smile on her face. "Ahh, Germaine… I see you are very much liking this place, are you not?"

"It reminds me so much of home Bella, but less stifling and a place I can fulfill my dreams of becoming a healer."

"How does it remind you of your home young mouse?" came the voice of a very old mouse, stepping forward with a cane.

"Ahh, see it is a place of peace, yet unlike my home, it welcomes all that come through. I had the dream of becoming a healer, but my father insisted that I marry. While I do want to have my own little ones… I really don't want to marry… perhaps taking care of the young here would be enough, that and helping where I can."

"Then, if you so wish… welcome to Loamhedge… may I call you sister Germaine?"

"Yes… please if you will father Abbot," Germaine said, nodding her head as she did so.

"Well… who would have thought such a thing," Columbine said, shaking her head. "I mean, I should have known there was a reason you had knowledge of herbs from further away."

Germaine nodded her head, understanding what the young one was saying. "Yes… that was why the former Abbot selected me to be his successor… the youngest in a long time."

"What do you meant that it is Sister Germaine who is to be the next Abbess," one mouse snapped. "Not only is she too young, she is an outsider!"

"I am on my death bed and my wish will be respected," the old mouse grumbled. "I've already written it down and given it to one I've trusted and he will read it when I die!"

"But an outsider, of all people!" the mouse snapped.

"Look at me carefully. Perhaps you should go outside the order and learn what the outside world is really like! That is one of the reasons an outsider was chosen, the other was because she has the knowledge and skill to save us with herbs we don't know about."

"Fine!" the mouse said, storming out of the death room.

The older mouse turned to Germaine. "I am sorry for his behavior dear… you really are meant to be the next Abbess… something… something tells me you will be."

"Did anyone say that you should have used your knowledge about the herbs to save Loamhedge?" Columbine said, shaking her head.

"Ahh… yes," Germaine said, walking now along with Columbine.

The same mouse that had criticized her for becoming the new Abbess was livid that she couldn't do anything to cure the sickness. By now, they were fairly old in years. Columbine was bustling about with the other ones, trying to not get sick also from the fever.

"Why can't your stupid knowledge of herbs save us! That's why you became Abbess,"

"Because… the thing to save us is far to the North… no one would be able to go and get back in time!" Germaine chided. "You know that too… we're going to have to leave soon so no more get sick."

"What! And abandon them to the fates!" the brother asked.

"Look! It isn't just the sickness that is a problem, it is the moral! Too many are dying. I can't save them and everyone knows that. So, I am choosing to save the ones that I can, few as they may be!

"Hypocrite!" the mouse said, scuttling off, only to be sick the next day and dead two days later.

"Ahh, there's Bella!" Columbine commented.

Bella smiled at Germaine. "So Abbess, when do we start building this place of peace?"

As Columbine hurried off to take care of her duties, Germaine smiled at Bella. "How did you know?"

"You mentioned such a place to be built. Why not a place combining the good concepts of both your original home and of Loamhedge? Remember… when we first met, you talked about such a place,"

Germaine had come into the company of a badger, a female one with a kind heart. She had given her food and at first asked no questions, then she spoke up "So… what exactly are you looking for?"

"I am looking for a place that is peaceful and safe," the future Abbess commented.

"Good luck with that… as a badger, I know for a fact that it is never that simple, to be able to find a place like that. I mean.. Vermin won't ever go away,"

"No… they won't… and you can't kick them out and be this secret little village out where no one can find you… chances are they eventually will. I would much rather practice peace in times of peace and defense and offensive when need be in war… though I admit I could not kill any one. I am a healer after all,"

"Yes… leave that to the warriors like my father," the badger commented, sighing as she did so.

"My father would never welcome warriors to his village, not unless they put their weapons down. It was crazy like that, not allowing those that could protect us in. He probably would have, and my brother too for that matter, have let in unarmed vermin that in truth had hidden weapons," Germaine said.

"My name is Bella of Brockhall," the badger said.

"My name is Germaine… formally of Noonvale," she said, shaking the badger's hand.

Germaine and Bella walked by the river, watching as it flowed by. Suddenly, the came up the river, paddling as they did. Some of Skipper's otters were in the floats with them, their catches of shrimp to help feed hungry mouths. They were gathering later tonight to have a discussion of the building of the Abbey.

She watched as the shrews worked so diligently with each other. "Most reports of shrew tribes are that they don't know how to work together."

"Mmm… yes, well, these are the only ones that I know of and have gotten to know," Bella muttered.

Germaine had been looking for her little brother everywhere. It was her job to care and watch out for him even though there wasn't much difference in seasons between the two… actually, there were… unfortunately. He had never said she wasn't his mother like Martin had, but instead had constantly called her mother.

She remembered one case in point when he was no more then a few seasons old and had gotten lost… not wandered off and tried to go on an adventure, but had gotten lost. Some of the younger mice in the village had tried to play a prank on him and had taken him to where the river branched and left him. So, thankfully the shrews had brought him home.

"Look 'maine! I be a shrew!" he said as a Dibbun would.

"Voh! Get over here this instant!" she said, having him run up to her.

"Mum… shrews argue too much… can I be a mouse again?" the Dibbun asked.

"Voh… I am not your mother, I am your sister!" she said, causing the shrews to laugh at them. "And you never were a shrew… where'd you get that idea."

"They kept arguing whether to take me back or make me a shrew!" the Dibbun commented. He then added, "They have things daddy says should never come into Noonvale."

"Yes, well, they are under their own jurisdiction… you want to argue with a shrew?" Germaine had asked him.

Skipper hopped up onto the shore, having himself also gone with the Guism. "Well, I am just glad we aren't burring any more dead. Also, it is a good thing that the fever that hit Loamhedge hasn't come this far north."

"Yes, it is a very good thing," Bella commented.

Germaine had been waiting in the council light waiting for her mother to come home. Her infant brother was in her arms and she watched carefully as the other mothers had gone and whispered among themselves. Thus she knew something was wrong, without having to be told. The males had gone out searching for her mother after the sun had set.

One of the molewives noticed her and asked her if she shouldn't be getting to sleep. She shook her head though, "No… they'll be back soon. I want to know."

It was then that she saw the group carrying the body of her mother, her body lifeless and covered in a sheet. She heard mummers of vermin. Then all she knew was the sad look on her fathers face.

Germaine suddenly felt a tug at her tunic and noticed that Ferdy and Coggs wanted her attention. "What might I ask is the pleasure of this visit?"

Bella shook her head in mirth and went with Skipper to where they were cooking the food.

"We was wunderin… Abbess, why you don't be married like Mr. Gonff and Ms. Colibine?" Freddy commented.

"Yeah, why you don't have any little ones of your own, or any grand little ones," Coggs said, only to be hit in the side by his brother.

Germaine had been wanting to leave Noonvale for so long, but when her brother married and he and his wife were soon expecting their first child. This wasn't something that she wished to miss. So she had stayed, quite surprised that the little one was born as late as it was, thus also glad that she was there to help.

"Germaine… are you sure you have to leave tomorrow?" her brother's wife had asked.

"I'm positive… and don't tell him… he'll try to talk me out of it," the mouse commented. "What are you going to name the babe?"

"I don't know… do you have a suggestion," the other mouse said, glancing out the window where her husband was passing of the after stress of the whole event. "He is too much like his father."

"Which is another reason I am 'not' staying. Try the name Laterose, or Rose for short," Germaine suggested.

"A very beautiful name from a very beautiful Auntie… I love it Germaine,"

"I'm glad you do,"

Germaine glanced around her, only to see Gonff and Log-a-log helping to move Martin around. "Martin, I told you to stay resting!"

"And not enjoy the festivities?' Gonff chuckled. "We're getting him out of the site of two mouse mums… my wife and poor T.B."

Martin just raised his eyebrows at Germaine and shook his head, but Ferdy and Coggs were laughing uproariously. As soon as they were gone, Timballisto appeared, shaking his head. "Ms. Columbine is going to skin me alive she is. She said, keep an eye on Gonff, and what do I do… I go to visit Martin for a few minutes and Dinny says he wants to talk to me about something. The next thing I know, Martin is gone… it was Gonff wasn't it?"

"Yes… and Log-a-log," Germaine laughed. "Which way did he go?"

She knew exactly what Ferdy and Coggs would do, they pointed in the exact opposite direction that the thief they hero worshiped had gone. Germaine chuckled. "Good job, they went that way."

Timballisto took off then in the wrong direction to try and find those that were missing. Ferdy looked up at the Abbes. "We lied though."

"While I don't condone lying under normal circumstances…" Germaine paused. "This should be humorous to see how long it takes him to find them. Gonff must be rubbing off on me."

To this the two little Hedgehogs laughed at her. Coggs then spoke up. "Our question?"

"Why I am not married and don't have little ones and rand little ones," Germaine commented.

"Uhh huh," both nodded their heads.

"It doesn't matter because I have Gonff, Martin, T.B. Dinny and you two, not to mention a bunch or others as my not-so little ones and my grand little ones," said Germaine, which caused the two hedgehogs to smile, then turn to dash off seeing if they could help a certain mouse in his search. As she watched them go, she said allowed to herself. "Life is good."

Author's note – I thought it was in Mossflower that I came up with the idea that Germaine had traveled before she had come to the Abbey. This fanfic… it could defiantly be turned into something much bigger. I'd also like to know if I should use it in my AU 'Second Chance', please see my Redwall forum and poll for those interested. And really, I'm surprised no one has yet to come up with the idea... Oh, and review telling me your reactions to this!

10/23/08 - I noticed some small kinks that make this fanfic not work so well. Bonus cookies to those who can figure out what they are and how to deal with them. I already know what it is and how... but I want to see if anyone notices.