This is my first expedition into the Mary Poppins world, but hopefully not the last! This can be placed before or after Mary's time at the Banks', and is hopefully a little different than anything else on here. Please review! Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own Mary Poppins or Bert, just the idea and the Browning children. Oh, and I don't own the little POTC reference if you catch it!

A Perfect Story

"Tell us a story, Mary Poppins!" seven-year old Lydia exclaimed, bouncing on her bed as she climbed under the thick blankets. Mary Poppins had been a nanny to the Browning family for three weeks now, and she had no idea when the wind would change and she would have to leave. The four children had become very dear to her, despite their initial naughty ways. "Please!" the little blonde girl begged, clasping her hands together and pouting.

"Yes, Mary Poppins!" six-year old George said.

"Please!" nine-year old Eleanor added. Soon, the three youngest children were all begging Mary Poppins to tell them a story.

"Stop begging," the thirteen-year old Eva said. The always sensible girl was lying in her bed, reading Romeo and Juliet. She had begun a stage of life where she was only interested in tragedies.

"What story would you like to hear?" Mary Poppins asked, sitting down on Lydia's bed.

"A princess story!" Lydia said loudly.

"No!" George argued. "A pirate story!"

"A magic story!" Eleanor exclaimed.

Eva rolled her eyes and said, "Please, something tragic!"

"Well," Mary Poppins said, "I might have a story for you, but first you must all lay quietly in bed—" The children scrambled under the covers, grabbing whatever stuffed animal or doll waited for them, and in Eva's case, putting a book to the side. "—and listen carefully! This is a story about a woman, who was practically perfect, and a man, who was hardly perfect, but they were perfect for each other, because they balanced each other out."

Lydia interrupted, "Can her name be Katherine, like my doll?"

"If you want," Mary Poppins said. "And the man?"

"Stanley!" Eleanor said, giggling. Eva rolled her eyes.

Mary Poppins smiled. "All right," she said.

"Oh!" Lydia said, "Can she be nanny, like you? And Stanley can be a prince!"

"That's stupid!" George exclaimed.

"No, it's not!" Lydia and Eleanor said together.

"George," Mary Poppins scolded. "Now, Katherine was a nanny, but she was currently in between families. She was magical, and had no family. However, that didn't bother her, because she thought of the children as her family. One day—"

"Tuesday!" George said. Upon the quizzical looks from his sisters, he said, "I like Tuesdays!"

"On a Tuesday, then," Mary Poppins said ever patiently. "One day, a Tuesday, Katherine was taking a walk in the park, adjusting her gloves because one had slipped a little. But then a strange gust of wind came and ripped the glove from her grip, pulling it away from the nanny. She didn't want to run through the park chasing her glove, but she had to get it back! Katherine quickened her pace, her heeled boots clicking the pavement as she followed the glove, a look of frustration etched upon her face. She found herself venturing further into the park than she'd gone before.

"Not completely knowing where she was, Katherine kept on, intent on finding her glove. But then a voice called out, 'Have you lost a glove, fair maiden?' Katherine searched for the sound of the voice, and saw a handsome man—"

"On a horse!" George said, hoping that there might be some chance to salvage this girly tale.

"A white horse!" Lydia shouted, knowing that princes rode white horses.

"A flying white horse!" Eleanor added, wanting more magic in the story.

"An evil flying white horse!" Eva cried, needing more tragedy and suspense in this childish story.

"No!" the three younger children yelled adamantly. Eva rolled her eyes again.

Mary Poppins laughed. "All right," she said. "Katherine saw a handsome man on a flying white horse, who may or may not have had some wicked tendencies. He handed her the white glove, which was still in pristine condition, despite its wild adventures with the wind. They spoke a little, introducing themselves, and each knowing that the other was somewhat different, but in a good way. The two quickly became friends—"

"And fell in love!" Lydia interrupted excitedly.

"Not quite," Mary Poppins said. "Katherine and Prince Stanley became the best of friends and went on several jolly holidays in the park. Every time Katherine had to work, she would take her charges to the park to see Prince Stanley and his beautiful white horse. The children even went on adventures with Prince Stanley, Katherine, and the horse. They went to other worlds, fighting pirates and natives," Mary Poppins said, looking at George, as if to appease his boyishness. "But then Katherine would have to move on to a new family, who also got to meet Prince Stanley in the park. Time passed, and Katherine continued her friendship with Prince Stanley—"

"But then they fell in love!" Eleanor said.

"Not quite," Mary Poppins corrected.

Eva grinned. "How tragic…"

"For quite some time, Katherine suspected that Prince Stanley was falling in love with her, but she couldn't allow herself to fall in love with him because she was practically perfect, and he was hardly perfect. It seemed that their destinies had been entwined, but never joined. However, Katherine didn't allow that to come between their close friendship. And so they remained the best of friends, for the rest of time. The end!"

After a moment of silence, Lydia asked, "That's it?"

"I'm afraid so," Mary Poppins said, somewhat sadly. She let a moment pass before saying, "Now, it's time for bed! Spit spot!" She stood and extinguished the lights, leaving the children on their own.

Only Eva was mature enough to understand the longing in Mary Poppins' voice as she talked about Katherine and Stanley, and wondered if the story was closer to Mary Poppins than she'd let on.

The following day, Mary Poppins took the four children to the park. They talked with Bert and commented on his chalk drawings. Lydia was the first to notice exactly what he was drawing, and shouted, "It's a pretty white horse!"

"So it is," Mary Poppins said with a small smile that only Eva noticed. "Now, don't go putting ideas into these children's heads, Bert."

Once it was time to go, the children said were sad to leave, but knew that they would be back soon. As soon as they were about to leave, Lydia grabbed Mary Poppins' hand and said, "Goodbye, Prince Stanley!"

"Lydia," Mary Poppins said, "that is Bert. It would do you well to remember that."

"It don't bother me, Miss Mary," Bert said with a smile and a wink. He tipped his hat to Lydia and said, "Goodbye, Miss Lydia."

She smiled, blushed and ran ahead to catch up with George and Eleanor. Eva had gone ahead as well, but she had paused to watch the exchange between Mary Poppins and Bert. They spoke a few words and smiles, but Eva couldn't hear what they were saying. But she understood that maybe Mary Poppins' life was more tragic than anyone deserved. And so Eva was no longer interested in tragedies because she felt it was unfair to those who lived one.