Author's Note: In honor of Julie Andrews's birthday (well, more like pure coincidence) I present my first "original" SOM oneshot. I hope you enjoy as this piece of fluff has gone through several different rewrites depending on what direction I wanted to go. Not only that, but I also lost half of it when my flash drive crashed. So again, I hope you enjoy and I can only hope that the characters are in character!
The Elfin Grot
Of all the events that had occurred in Maria Rainer's life, she felt that none of them had prepared for what would place in exactly one week: her wedding day.
"I go to the hills when my heart is lonely," she sang softly to herself. Those words always comforted her in times of need and, as the words themselves suggested, loneliness. But she was far from lonely. In fact, she had never had more people in her life that loved her for just the way she was. No, it was not loneliness that made her seek out the solace of her beloved hills.
It was the exact opposite.
"Oh, help," she murmured to herself as she buried her face in her hands for umpteenth time that afternoon. She sat near the small brook and its rushing water seemed to mirror her own tumultuous thoughts.
She had known Georg von Trapp for a mere three months and now she was a week away from marrying him! Not only was that an adjustment in her life but the lives everyone around her as well. Yes, the children were overjoyed that their father was not going to marry Baroness Schrader, the knowledge that he was marrying their governess was a completely different matter. She could see it in their eyes. How they regarded her with a sort of cautiousness as if she were going to ignore them like the Baroness had. Once Maria was married to their father, she would no longer be their best friend or ally. Would she have to gain the children's trust all over again? She did not want her new family to fall apart when she had only just begun to feel like she belonged somewhere in the world.
All of these wild thoughts were running through her head when she heard a much welcome voice say, " 'I met a lady on the meads. Far beautiful, a faery's child, her hair was long, her foot was light and her eyes were wild'."
At the familiar voice, Maria turned her head to see the man she loved standing a few feet away from her, a small smile on his lips.
"Why, Captain," she said playfully, repressing the urge to run and leap into his arms. "I had no idea you were so poetic."
"Unfortunately the words are not mine," replied her fiancé as he stepped toward her. "But those of a young Englishman by the name of John Keats, whose greatest works were penned when he found himself to be completely in love for the first time."
He was now standing directly in front of her, a half smile on his lips. A smile meant only for her.
Maria sprang to her feet and threw her arms around his neck, tucking her head under his chin. Georg wrapped his arms around her and murmured into her hair. "As much as I love your free spirit, darling. I also don't want you to run away without so much as a goodbye. The children never would have forgiven me if they hadn't insisted that I go after you this time around."
At his words, Maria pulled back to look into his face. "The children asked you to come find me?"
"Of course, Maria. They were very concerned for you, as was I." He stroked her cheek with his thumb, adding, "My love, what's troubling you?"
"We're getting married in a week," Maria pointed out.
He smiled. "Yes, indeed we are. Premarital nerves then?"
"Not exactly. It's-." She paused as she tried to formulate all of the thoughts and feelings she was having. "Georg, I never expected much from my life. I just wanted to be happy and enjoy life. That started with getting away from my uncle and going to school in Vienna. And then, life at the abbey just seemed so simple and now all of a sudden I'm in love for the first time-really in love-and about to become part of a family that I never dreamed I would have."
"Yes, but it is a family that loves you and would not be a family without you," said her fiancé. He placed his hands on her shoulders and looked at her, his eyes full of warmth and love. "Maria, I realize these past few weeks have been overwhelming for you. They have for all of us. Especially for the children."
"Yes. Well, I daresay Max is having a smashing time with all of the preparations and planning that's been going on."
Maria rolled her eyes. "Oh, don't remind me. I think he's been more involved than I have."
"Especially in playing the role of chaperone," Georg murmured as he drew her into his arms only to hold her at arm's length a moment later as he continued, "It's an adjustment for all of us, Maria. But the children love you as they did their birth mother. They couldn't be happier that you and I are getting married."
"How do you know?" she asked. "They've seemed so distant and cautious recently."
"I know because Lisel told me," he replied.
"Really? What did she say?"
"She said that she and her siblings been trying to give you some space as the wedding gets closer, knowing that you would be at your wit's end with nerves." Here he gave her a knowing smile. "And I must say, I think you've been handling everything quite well."
"Well, at least someone thinks so," said Maria. "Here I was worrying more for them that they were truly unsure about their governess marrying their father."
"And all along they were just looking out for you. Trust me, Maria, they wanted you to be a part of this family much sooner than their father ever realized."
Maria leaned her head against his shoulder, released a heavy sigh that seemed to take all of her worries and fears with it. It was true, as she had somehow known all along: the von Trapp family-the entire family-loved her.
"Feel better?" Georg asked after a moment.
"As I said, we're all overwhelmed right now but it will all be worth it in the end. Although, with this beautiful setting, eloping seems like a rather enticing idea."
Maria smiled as she moved away from him to gaze at her beautiful mountains, while his arm remained wrapped around her. She looked back at Georg. "You mean, have the wedding here?"
"Yes, it is your mountain after all," he replied. "But, somehow, I don't think the Reverend Mother of Nonnberg would approve."
"No, I don't think so," Maria agreed. "Otherwise, it would be rather appropriate."
"What do you mean?"
She looked at him then, a small smile on her lips. "The day the Reverend Mother told me that I was going to leave the abbey, I was up here that very morning."
"What were you doing up here?"
Her smile widened as she answered, "Singing."
And before her fiancé could reply, Maria took off running, nearly leaping over the small brook and running the rest of the way up the small hill. When she reached the crest, she spun and spun with her arms outstretched just as she had done on that glorious morning. Yet she was nearly thrown off balance as Georg caught her around her waist and spun her around himself before wrapping her in his arms again.
"As I said earlier," he murmured into her ear. "I let you slip away from me once and I won't let it happen again." Maria smiled as she settled her head on his shoulder, much as she had done that night in the gazebo.
Her smile widened as her fiancé added. " 'I almost wish we were butterflies and lived but three summer days. Three such days with you, I could share with more delight than fifty common years could contain'."
"How horribly sentimental," she said without raising her head from his shoulder.
"Yes, well Herr Keats was very much in love with a beautiful young woman when he wrote those words. Sentimentality just comes with being in love for the first-or in my case-the second time." Here he raised her head himself to gaze into her cerulean eyes. "So you might as well get used to the sentimentality, darling," he finished as he kissed her forehead.
"I intend too," she said before she kissed him fully on his lips.
It was their first kiss in weeks. Their first true kiss that did not have to be secreted away or disguised as chaste, as propriety demanded. Now, they poured out their love for each other and Maria could barely keep up as Georg kissed her nose, cheeks and eyes as if to reassure himself that she was still there and going to marry him. She could only respond with equal fervor.
Eventually, the need for oxygen forced them to halt the joyous reunion and they settled themselves down on the grass while remaining within close proximity to each other.
"That line about the butterflies was that from the poem you quoted earlier?" Maria asked after they had spent several moments enjoying the natural beauty of their homeland.
"No, it was from a letter," Georg told her. "The rest of the poem tells of how this young beautiful woman lures a knight to her elfin grot as it were and then, well seduces him."
"Oh, is that what you think of me then?" Maria asked in mock offense.
"Not exactly, but if the kisses we've shared so far are any indication-"
She slapped him playfully on the arm and he merely chuckled, infuriating her more.
"Actually, Maria," he said, his voice suddenly serious. "I did have to speak with you about something. One of my many reasons for wanting to come and find you myself today."
"Oh?" She glanced at him in surprise. "It doesn't have anything to do with where we're going on our honeymoon, does it?"
He smirked and then said, "No, darling. You're just going to have to wait to find out about that."
"Then, what is it?"
"I wanted to show you this." And from his inside pocket, he pulled out what looked like a small piece of paper and handed it to her. It was only then that Maria realized that it was a photograph.
And it wasn't just any photograph.
"Oh, my," Maria gasped as she gazed at it.
"I don't believe you've seen a picture of the first Baroness von Trapp," said Gerog.
"No, I haven't. She looks...very regal."
And she did. They both did. Gerog wore a black suit with his military metals pinned to it. His hair was a rich dark color with no signs of gray. Whereas Agathe von Trapp wore a white dress with a fur stole. Unlike most photographs Maria had seen, the couple looked at each other instead of at the camera. Despite the signs of aging on the picture, Maria could clearly the adoration they had for each other.
"She was very regal and very patient," said Georg, "to stay home with seven children while her husband travelled the world. I still can't believe what she wrote in her will."
"What did she write?" Maria asked, looking up from the photograph.
Her fiancé met her gaze. "That, in the event of her death, I should marry again. Not only for the children's sakes but for my own. She didn't want me to be alone." Here, he took her hand that was not holding the photograph and continued, "Don't you see, Maria? You were meant to be a part of this family. I never thought I would love another woman as much as I loved Agathe. But I have."
He reached out to stroke her cheek but Maria, after carefully placing the precious photograph aside, threw her arms around his neck and held him to her. Her eyes brimmed with tears as she felt so much love and gratitude for Georg von Trapp coarse through her.
"Du bist mein und ich bin dein*," she whispered into his ear.
"How sentimental of you, Fräulein," he teased and she was about to reprimand him for his teasing like she had done before when he added, "But yes, I quite agree." Before he tightened his hold around her and kissed her hair.
After a time, they left the beloved hills behind in order to return to their children and to finalize any further wedding preparations. Although, Maria was feeling much better about the whole situation, she still paused to look over her shoulder at where they just come from.
"We can always come back, you know," said Georg. "Whenever you like."
"But it won't be the same," she said, turning back to look at him.
"No," he agreed, "it will be better."
Maria smiled at this and took her fiancé's hand once again. Then, the pair continued to make their way down the mountain and towards their future together.
Author's Note: * "You are mine and I am yours".
In case you couldn't tell, John Keats is one of my favorite poets and considering that Agathe Whitehead was British, I'm going to assume that her husband would have at least known of his poetry. Otherwise it's just pure creative license.
The picture described is based on an actual picture of the Captain and Agathe von Trapp.
I swear I read somewhere that Agathe wrote in her will that she wanted her husband to get married again but I don't really know if it's true or not. So I'm took some creative license there.
Anyway, I hope enjoyed and reviews are greatly appreciated. I have a multi-chaptered SOM fic in mind so be on the look out for that! Thanks for reading!