A/N This is story that I have been thinking about for a while. I'm still writing my other in-progress story The Ostrich and I hope to complete it soon.



A Year and a Half

"Nurse, suture this wound for me," a deep voice commanded.

A petite and thin nurse nodded her head and wordlessly complied with the doctor's order. She had blonde hair and although her face was young and childlike, it no longer possessed the same innocence it once had. Those who met Maria thought she was full of life, and in the occupation she held, her youth and vitality were appreciated. Only those who knew the Maria of the past would know how much she had changed since leaving the Von Trapp's villa a year and a half ago.

The Von Trapp family…She tried not thinking of them, particularly of their father who had held her mind hostage for weeks.

Upon returning to the abbey, Maria went into seclusion and did not see anyone till the Reverend Mother called for her. In the Reverend Mother's office, she confessed the reason behind her seclusion and her tormented heart. She tried to convince Maria to return to the villa, but Maria stubbornly disagreed and begged to stay at the abbey. However, after some more talking, both the Reverend Mother and Maria agreed that being a nun was not the path in life Maria was meant to travel. This distressed Maria greatly; she did not know what to do with herself, as the abbey was the only life she knew. The Reverend Mother suggested that Maria consider becoming a nurse, for with her skills at sewing and her loving personality, she could help save lives.

A short time later the war broke out, and each day she saw young boys coming in injured, maimed, and dying. She performed her duties well and was recognized as a good nurse and an important asset. After a year of working in various hospitals in Austria, Maria was transferred to Bremerhaven, a naval base in Germany.

The change was difficult for Maria. Although she did not have any family, Austria was her homeland and it had always been dear to her. Parting with the breathtaking mountains of Austria to the port city in the north of Germany had been heartbreaking. But there was no turning back; whether she liked it or not, Maria was a part of the war and had no choice but to obey orders. So she packed her meager possessions and, with her guitar and carpetbag clutched tightly in her hands, she boarded a train and left her beloved mountains behind.

She hoped that leaving the mountains would mean leaving her heartache, but Bremerhaven seemed to magnify it. Everywhere she turned she was reminded of the Captain: the sea, the men, the submarines…She secretly wished he were there, although she knew it was impossible. But Maria could not help but think about the Captain.

She soon learned that not only was Bremerhaven a vital location for the navy, but its medical care unit was one of the best and most important units in the whole army. Its location along the water made it possible to transfer wounded soldiers quickly and easily. Most of the sailors, nurses and staff lived in and worked in the quad-like structures a few meters from the piers, where various ships and submarines were docked when they were not at sea. There were four rectangular, three-floor brick buildings that were situated in a square. In the center was a grassy field that was used for training exercises. The hospital faced the ocean and the piers, so that the injured could be quickly transported. The other three buildings housed sleeping quarters, a large dining hall, training rooms, classrooms and offices.

Maria found herself very busy at her post as a nurse, which she preferred as it took her mind off the Captain. A year and a half had passed and she still thinks of him; six seasons have come and gone and she still wonders about the children, about him and the Baroness. Thus her work not only became her passion, it became her obsession. It kept her mind and soul busy by day, and it exhausted her enough that she fell into bed unable to think or dream-only sleep-at night.

Maria was a rational person; she knew that dwelling on what could not have been was futile. But time and distance did not heal her aching heart, as people say it does; on the contrary, she found herself more in love with him than before. And being in Bremerhaven around ships, submarines, and men in uniform made her think of him even more.

Nevertheless, she made friends in Bremerhaven, and she slowly adjusted to life outside of the abbey. Slowly she began to live a life so vastly different than she expected herself to live. But with a song always on the tip of her tongue, she managed to settle down in her work and with her fellow nurses, who worked and slept in Bremerhaven.

For Maria, the hardest time of the year were the months of December and January. She missed the abbey terribly. Although Bremerhaven had a festive feel in the air, Maria could not shake off the feeling of sadness and homesickness. She really missed Austria.

She had confided this to a fellow nurse and friend Anna, who tried very hard to cheer Maria up. And it was Anna who insisted that she accompany her on to a holiday party two days before New Years Eve. Anna promised Maria that she would have a good time, as "most of the men will be back from their missions and in desperate need of company". Maria did not want to think of what "company" meant, but she agreed to go with Anna to the party nonetheless.

Dresses in a simple blue dress, Maria was pleasantly surprised with the outing, and found herself enjoying it. However, it was not because of the men who flirted with her shamelessly, but rather the music playing. It has been so long since she heard a live band playing, since the night she ran away from the von Trapp villa.

Some men had asked her dance but she declined. Instead, Maria stood near the wall and enjoyed watching numerous couples dancing. She was so entranced by the music and the dancing that she failed to notice a young, handsome man leaning on the wall close to her.

"Why is such a lovely lady like yourself all alone?"

Maria blushed and turned to face the young man, and mumbled something shyly. She did not know how to react around men, given her postulant past and her stolen heart. He was a very tall and lanky, with light blond hair that was almost white. His gray eyes were kind, young, and innocent. He looked only a bit older than nineteen.

"My name is Johannes."

"Maria," she said, blushing once again, as Johannes bowed and kissed her hand.

"Would you like to dance?" He asked.

"No, thank you," she said politely.

"Well, at least allow me to buy you a drink?" he smoothly replied.

"I don't really drink alcohol."

"Then we'll find something without it," Johannes said with a grin. Before she could protest, he took her hand led her across the crowded hall to the bar.

But fate and Maria's inborn clumsiness intervened. While Johannes and Maria made their way to a table, Maria tripped and the contents of her drink landed on the back of man. Not looking at the man she splattered with her drink, Maria immediately began mopping the mess from the floor while profusely apologizing. When she finally did looked up, Maria saw the man before her not betrayed an ounce of irritation or anger, but shock, which reflected the feelings she felt as well.

Maria's face began to burn as she looked into the gentleman's eyes, those eyes that she had last seen while dancing the Landler so long ago.