This is my very first Sound of Music story, and it's about the scene where Maria and the children fall into the lake. I watched the interviews with the actors and everything, and I found out the character of Gretel couldn't swim when they shot the movie, and she sank right to the bottom the first time they shot that scene, so this story stems from that.
"Oh I'm soaked to the skin!" Louisa said happily as she and her brothers and sisters made their way out of the lake. Captain Von Trapp looked around at his children, grabbing his whistle and sharply blowing it. They all made their way into one line, and as he surveyed them his eyebrows furrowed together.
"Where's Gretel…?" He said slowly, and they all turned to look at the water. Maria was the first one to act, leaping into the water and diving under. Frederick made to follow her, but the Captain stopped him, staring intently at the water.
No one appeared in the water for what seemed like a long time and the Captain was ready to yank his shoes off and dive into the water himself when Maria burst from the lake water, a little figure in her arms. She was gasping for air as she waded past the gate and placed little Gretel's still body on the ground.
The Captain knelt by her but Maria pushed him back. She pinched Gretel's nose and opened Gretel's mouth before bending over and breathing air into her little lungs. She did this a few times and then gently pushed on Gretel's chest a few times. Maria did this over and over and soon Gretel coughed up the lake water she had swallowed and sat up, gasping for air.
Gretel began to cry and she burrowed herself into Maria's arms. She rocked the little girl gently, stroking her hair and whispering soothing words in her ear.
"She…she barely knows how to swim, I should have grabbed her…" Liesl said quietly, her hands over her mouth.
"It's no use placing blame here, it was an accident," Baroness Schrader said, placing a hand on the Captain's arm. He was staring at Gretel, and Maria looked up and their eyes met. He could see the terror that was slowly fading in her eyes, and he knew that same feeling was reflected in his own eyes.
"I was scared," Gretel whimpered, and Maria kissed the side of her head.
"I'll tell you a secret," She said, and Gretel pulled back to look at Maria.
"What?" She asked, and Maria gently touched the tip of her nose.
"So was I, very much so,"
"You were?" Gretel sounded incredulous.
"Absolutely," Maria said, and then the Captain cleared his throat.
"All of you, in the house, get dried off and change. Report back here." He said sharply, and Maria stood up with Gretel in her arms.
"Fraulein you will stay here, please," The Captain requested, and Maria beckoned Liesel over to take Gretel inside.
"I think I'll go see what Max is up to," Baroness Schrader said, walking past Maria and into the house. Maria turned to face the Captain, fully prepared to be yelled at. He began to question her about the children's clothes and what they had been doing since he'd left, and then she retorted with a plea for him to love his children the way they deserve to be loved. They argued for a bit longer and then he told her to pack her things and return to the abbey. She again pleaded for him to just love his children and not treat them like sailors on one of his ships.
"If by trying to drown them is your way of loving them, perhaps my way is better," The Captain said, and immediately regretted it. Maria visibly deflated and ducked her head.
"I blame myself more than you ever could, Captain, I can assure you of that. Perhaps it's better if I do go," She said quietly, and just then they could hear voices singing. When Maria told him that it was his children singing, he hurriedly followed the voices. Maria made her way to her room, a few tears silently slipping down her face. She knew that even if the Captain hadn't fired her, she probably would have left anyways. A little girl had almost died in her care, and she couldn't take that on her conscience. She planned on going back to the abbey to spend a very long time in prayer.
In a short amount of time she was packed and she slipped out the front door, silently shutting it behind her. She didn't deserve the right to say goodbye to the children, after almost murdering one of them. Her shoulders shook with silent sobs as she made the way to the bus station.
As she was waiting and thinking, the Captain was hugging his tearful yet happy children. They were extremely happy to know that their father loved them, and then Gretel looked around and asked, "Where's Fraulein Maria?"
The Captain stopped short and glanced behind him. "Don't go away," He said, hurrying out of the room and upstairs to Maria's room. He was dismayed to see her stuff packed and gone, and he hurried back down the stairs.
"You sent her away, didn't you Father?" Liesl said from the doorway, and he glanced to see all of his children staring at him.
"I…I had to, she put you all in danger," He said, knowing it was a weak argument. Truth be told, since he had realized that he didn't really know his children, his whole entire argument didn't have much to stand on.
And then he remembered the look on her face and the words she had said "Perhaps it's better if I do go"
"We've had the most fun we've ever had since you left for Vienna," Kurt protested, and Gretel said unhappily,
"I want Fraulein Maria back!"
There was a long pause and then Frederick said, "What are you waiting for, Father? Let's go after her!"
"I'll go after her, Frederick, this is my mistake to correct," The Captain said and stepped outside, intending to head to the bus station and catch Maria before she went back to the abbey. He was nearing the station when he saw the bus take off towards town. "No!" He yelled, starting to run after the bus. "Fraulein Maria! Fraulein! Maria!"
Maria was sitting in the bus when movement out the window caught her eye. She turned and saw Captain Von Trapp chasing the bus. It was rather amusing sight, and quite shocking at the same time. She got to her feet and the driver yelled, "Hey! Sit down!"
"Stop the bus!" Maria retorted, refusing to sit down. The driver looked at her like she was crazy but stopped the bus. Maria stepped off the bus and the Captain nearly ran into her.
"You can't leave us," He said, slightly out of breath as the bus rolled away.
"I don't care what I said before, I want you to stay. I…uh…ask you to stay," He implored, and she still hesitated.
"That was an accident," He stressed and shocked them both by putting his hands on her shoulders. "No one blames you and no one should, mainly yourself."
Maria bit her lip and then nodded. "If you're sure..."
"I've never been so sure of something before in my life. The children need you, Fraulein Maria," He grabbed her bag and they began to head back to the house.
"I'm sorry, Captain," Maria said quietly as they walked along. "I was going back to the abbey and spend a lot of time in prayer, searching for forgiveness,"
"From the Lord or from yourself?" He asked, and then shook his head. "I'm sorry, that was inappropriate,"
"No, it's a good question. Both, I think," She said thoughtfully, and he looked at her for a long moment and then they continued to walk in companionable silence. "Does it bother you when we say grace at meals?"
"Why would you think that?" He asked, and she shrugged.
"You always have this angry look on your face when I remind you to thank the Lord for the meal,"
"It's just…I guess you can say I've been angry with God ever since He took my wife away. Not so much anymore, but there was a time…" He trailed off, and Maria put her hand on his shoulder and squeezed for a moment.
"I understand. I will be praying tonight, well, more than usual that is, if you would care to join me. We can seek forgiveness together,"
"I might take you up on that," He said, and she nodded as they reached the Von Trapp gate. Immediately as they stepped through all seven children were running towards them. Maria hugged all of them and then pulled Gretel into her arms. She hugged the little girl for a long moment and then they all headed off for dinner.
That night, Maria knelt by her bed and bowed her head in prayer, searching for forgiveness for herself before she could ask the Lord for forgiveness. She barely noticed when her door opened and closed again. She did notice when the Captain knelt next to her and bowed his own head, beginning to pray.
A long time later, he lifted his tear-stained face, feeling peace that he hadn't felt a very long time. He glanced next to him and saw Maria's lips moving silently as she prayed. The Captain didn't hesitate as he gently kissed the top her head and whispered, "Thank you,"
Well, this didn't turn out exactly as I pictured it, but it still works. I was going to have Maria almost drown and the Captain has to save her, but instead it turned out more Maria and the Captain having a discussion about God and forgiveness. I hope you enjoyed this one-shot, and thank you so much for reading!