AN Written for the April writing prompt on TSOM Pro boards. For the purposes of this story, we are in a different season than the film and Georg is no longer engaged to Baroness Schrader. Even though Maria and the Captain danced the Landler, Maria did not go back to the Abbey at that time.

Disclaimer I own nothing; I'm merely borrowing the characters for a while.

Rating T

Because I Love You

Georg stared out of his study window, his hands planted firmly in his trouser pockets.

Delicate icy flakes fell silently like the tiniest white feathers from a pinkish-grey sky, heavy with snow. Feeling increasingly anxious, Georg rubbed the misted window pane with the side of his hand. Outside, the winding drive was now inches deep with a thick covering of smooth, unblemished snow, like icing on the top of a wedding cake. The branches of the frigid trees, bowed with their heavy load.

Glancing at his watch, Georg grunted and stuffed his hands into his pockets once again. He paced the floor of his study before throwing himself down into the chair behind his desk, like a petulant child. His fingers now drummed a disjointed beat on the top of his mahogany desk before he slammed his hands flat and stood quickly, finally having made up his mind.

Why did she have to visit the Abbey, today of all days?

He'd asked her, pleaded with her not to go. Not on the day that they had been expecting a heavy snowfall. To an onlooker he may even have appeared desperate, but if he did Maria didn't notice, or she chose not to.

"It'll be fine, Captain," she'd said, "I'll be back before the snow starts to cause any problems," she'd promised.

Georg's car was undergoing repairs or he would have offered her a lift into Salzburg himself. So, off she had gone on a bus to Nonnberg Abbey, insisting that she would be back before they stopped running.

He huffed to himself as he cursed her under his breath. She was always such a problem and yet the thought that she might not return from the Abbey was so very distressing to him. Just recently they had shared an agreeable companionship that he had missed for far too long. Sometimes he thought that she found it a little uncomfortable when he would come and sit beside her in the garden or whilst the children played. She would seem shy and withdrawn. All he wanted her to do was to open up to him about the feelings that he knew she had for him.

But there had been a spark between them, he had felt it when he sang for the first time in years and he knew that she felt it too. He could tell by her face as she looked upon him in awe. He might even call it love if he was brave enough to do so.

He had almost acted upon it as they twirled and span and stood mere inches away from one another, breath mingling and hearts racing, as they had danced the Landler the night of the ball. Elsa had spotted their connection, almost from the moment she arrived at Aigen and so she had bid farewell to Georg, giving him her blessing to follow his heart.

One thing was for certain. He wasn't about to let the best thing that had happened to him and his children in a long time, just walk out of his life. If Maria had to stay at the Abbey for any length of time she might decide never to come back and he just couldn't bear that thought. He couldn't risk it.

He picked up the telephone and contacted Nonnberg Abbey. The Sister who answered confirmed that Maria was still with them and had decided it would be better not to attempt to return to the von Trapp villa that night. He knew it. This was exactly what he had been worried about. He slammed down the receiver in a frustrated rage and then, after a moment's thought, he promptly snatched it up again. If he was lucky he would find a Taxi driver that was willing, for the right price, to take him to the Abbey and bring Maria home. He would have to go immediately though, before all transport stopped running on the slippery, snow covered roads.

xXx

The Taxi driver seemed less than enthusiastic but the enticing amount of money that Georg was offering was enough to convince him that the snow wasn't all that treacherous, even though the light was by now fading frighteningly fast. So without further ado, they set off very tentatively towards Salzburg.

After a tense and nerve wracking journey, which consisted of Georg making persistent pleas for the driver to pick up his pace, they pulled up outside the gates of the Abbey.

"Wait here… please," Georg barked to the taxi driver who doffed his cap sarcastically.

Pulling up the collar of his overcoat to try and combat the icy blast that was whipping across the street, Georg battled his way through the blizzard to the Abbey gates. He had to wait several minutes after ringing the bell before a rather disgruntled Nun appeared.

"I've come to collect Fraulein Maria. If you could tell her that Captain von Trapp is waiting for her outside in a taxi… I'd be most grateful." Georg stamped his feet and clapped his hands together in an effort to keep warm as the Nun considered him for what seemed like an eternity, before turning without a word and disappearing from view.

He contemplated waiting for a moment, just in case Maria came promptly but knowing that nothing that happened at the Abbey ever happened quickly and with no sign of her, he decided to go back to the taxi and wait.

Slamming the taxi door shut, he slumped into its leather seats and wrapped his coat around him in a fearsome mood.

"Don't you have any heating in this thing," he snapped at the driver, who sniffed as he looked at Georg through his mirror with some disgust.

"Think yourself lucky I agreed to bring you in the first place and if we have to wait any longer you'll be spending the night with the Nuns as well," the driver hissed as he drummed his fingers on the steering wheel impatiently.

Just as the taxi driver was about to ask Georg to get out, Maria knocked on the window of the car. Georg leaned across and rolled it down.

Maria peered in and was astonished to see that it was in fact Captain von Trapp who was waiting for her.

"Captain! What on earth are you doing here?" Maria stared at him in disbelief.

"Didn't the Sister tell you? I've come to take you back to the Villa," he said in a rather indignant tone.

"Yes, yes I know what she said but I thought you'd been told when you rang earlier that I'd decided to stay at the Abbey until the weather improved," she explained.

"Yes… but… well, you see…" Georg was trying to think on his feet and come up with a plausible excuse, "…the children were concerned about you," he lied, "So, I said that I would make sure you got back safely," his guilty smile betrayed his true motives.

"You really shouldn't have gone to any trouble. I would have been quite happy to stay here over night," Maria replied.

Yes, I'm sure you would have, thought Georg. But you're not leaving that easily!

"Pardon me for interrupting this lovely little chat of yours," the driver sneered mockingly. "But am I taking you back to Aigen… or not?"

"Yes…", "No…" they answered the impatient driver in unison.

"Make your minds up," he snapped.

"Please, Maria. Just-get-in-the-car," Georg was losing his patience. Now was not the time for her stubbornness. He got out and held out his hand to help her in. She took it and gave him a quizzical look. He never called her Maria and she felt an inexplicable fluttering in her stomach hearing him say her name.

"I don't want to upset the children, so I suppose…" with a defeated sigh, Maria stepped into the back of the taxi and when she was settled Georg joined her in the back.

"Good, now can we just get back… please," he pleaded with the taxi driver.

"Yes, sir…" the driver smiled falsely. "We could have been back ages ago if you'd made your minds up," he then whispered under his breath before taking one last look at the peculiar pair in the mirror.

xXx

The journey back went relatively smoothly until they reached a particularly remote and narrow stretch of road outside Salzburg. The car began to lose traction and the back wheels spun dangerously as the driver battled to keep the car on the road. He frantically spun the steering wheel one way and then the other. He cursed under his breath but not quite quietly enough that Maria couldn't hear him.

She was terrified and she looked across at Georg who just smiled, less than convincingly and shrugged his shoulders. His plan was backfiring and might even end in disaster and he was feeling just the slightest bit ashamed.

"You might want to hold onto something," the driver shouted back to them and as the car lurched sideways Maria was flung across the backseat. She landed on Georg's lap awkwardly as his face slammed into the side window. Georg held her by the shoulders stopping her from smashing into the back of the passenger's seat, as the car plunged headlong into a huge drift of snow. Pulling her gently up she put her hand on his thigh to steady herself.

"Are you alright," Georg asked but Maria was in shock and she didn't answer immediately. "Fraulein… err… Maria, please, are you alright, are you hurt?"

She sat up again and realised where her hand was resting and she pulled it away quickly.

"No, no, I'm fine, just a bit shaken up," she replied as she turned to look at him.

"Captain…" she gasped, "your cheek." Maria reached across and placing her hand on his chin she gently turned his face towards her.

He had what looked like a deep gash just below his left eye which was oozing with blood. With his left hand he touched his cheek and winced in pain.

The taxi driver turned around and looked at his passengers with some concern.

"We're not far out of Salzburg. I'll walk back and get some help. You two should stay here, neither of you are dressed for the weather. I'm sure you'll be able to keep each other warm and there are some blankets back there if it gets too cold."

Both Maria and Georg nodded at the driver. Neither was able to look the other in the eye as the driver pulled his hat firmly on his head and with a knowing grin, he slammed his door shut before trudging in the direction of the twinkling Salzburg lights which had just begun to blink on, one by one.

After an unbearably long and awkward silence, Georg looked at Maria sheepishly and grinned,

"I suppose I owe you an apology."

"I have no idea why you're smiling, Captain. Not only have you managed to get yourself hurt but you've also managed to get us both stuck in the middle of nowhere. You could be back at the villa with the children, who by the way will be worried sick about you and I could be back at the Abbey happily doing… well - just doing the things that postulants do," Maria was indignant and in full flow, getting herself more exasperated by the minute.

"Hmmm… I'm sure that you would have been more than happy to stay at the Abbey," Georg muttered angrily under his breath.

"I beg your pardon. What exactly is that meant to mean?" Maria was shocked by his sudden outburst.

"Well, you couldn't wait for an excuse to escape… could you?"

"Escape? What on earth do you think I would want to escape for? Is that what this is all about?"

"Don't think I haven't noticed how uncomfortable you seem whenever I get within even a few feet of you. Ever since…" Georg shook his head angrily. "Well, anyone would think I was a monster or worse. I know my behaviour has been somewhat lacking but I have never, ever given you any reason to believe that I would do you any harm or take advantage of you in any way." Now Georg was rambling and as he finished he could see that Maria had dropped her head and was staring at her hands as she fiddled with them nervously in her lap.

"I'm sorry, that was indefensible. I have no right to…" Georg stopped as Maria turned to look at him.

"No, I think perhaps that I'm the one that should be apologising. I know that you are nothing but honourable and I trust you whole-heartedly, I truly do."

"Then why have you given me the impression that my attention isn't welcomed and why did you rush back to the Abbey when I begged you not to?" Georg was confused.

What was the use in keeping things from him? Ever since the night of the ball she had battled with her feelings. She had told herself that she shouldn't be so stupid. After all, she was soon to take her vows and he was engaged to be married to the Baroness and when she had just come to terms with those facts, he had announced to them all at the dinner table that there would no longer be a Baroness. That they had broken off their engagement and that the Baroness was returning to Vienna. She was an emotional wreck once again and the battle was all but lost.

And he was tempting her in so many ways that she was sure he didn't even realise. Every time he sat next to her and their arms brushed together innocently it sent a wave of desire and something that Maria could only describe as the most delicious anticipation throughout her entire body.

If the merest touch sent her nerves into a frenzy, then the way he smelled was an even greater assault on her already beleaguered senses. He had a unique odour, his earthy cologne mingled with a fragrance that was as fresh as the mountain air after a thunderstorm and it all but took her breath away, she found it that irresistible.

When she dared to stare into his tempestuous blue eyes, as they had done when they danced the Landler, it was as if she could see deep into his very soul and what she saw there scared her. She could see pain and sadness hidden deep in the recesses of his memory but more than that she could see a fierce desire and a deep devotion that his gaze held only for her.

"I needed to speak to the Reverend Mother. She's the only one who could help me understand," Maria finally answered him.

"What is it that you don't understand, Fraulein?"

"I don't understand how after coming to your house for a matter of only a few weeks, I am doubting my vocation. I don't understand how my heart races whenever you come near me. I don't understand how my cheeks flush whenever you speak to me and I don't understand why I felt a mixture of relief and panic when you told us you weren't going to marry the Baroness. Most of all, I don't understand why my heart aches so much when I think about leaving you," Maria sighed, weary and defeated.

"And… and did she help you understand why you have these feelings," Georg asked her tentatively, hardly able to breathe after her surprising confession.

"Yes, she did and she made me understand that it is not the will of God that I take my vows," her voice was low and uncertain.

Georg slid closer to her on the backseat and sought out her hand. He placed his own hand over hers before parting her fingers and sliding his in between. She didn't pull away even though her head told her she should.

"I'm sorry, Maria. I know how much it meant to you to devote your life to God," he was genuine in his compassion and she felt herself shiver not necessarily from the cold but from the realisation of the direction in which their conversation was leading.

"I'd known for some time but I just needed someone else to tell me that what I had come to realise was true, that I couldn't go back to the Abbey."

"And why can't you… Maria?" he knew the reasons but he needed to hear it from her own lips.

"Because I love you."

Georg acknowledged the declaration of her love with a silent and profound gesture. He brought her hand up turning her palm to his lips and he kissed it gently, all the time looking upon her face in an effort to convey his love and devotion for this wonderful young woman.

Her fingers skimmed across his face and she pressed her palm to his cheek. He winced in pain again.

"Do you have a handkerchief," she asked, softly.

Georg rummaged in the inside pocket of his over coat and pulled out a crisp white linen square and handed it to her.

Gently, Maria took Georg's chin between the fingers of her left hand and turned his head slightly. Whilst holding the handkerchief in her right, she dabbed his blood smeared cheek. A dark and angry bruise was already forming on his cheekbone just below his eye. She wound down her window and held the handkerchief outside, gathering snow within its folds. After a few minutes, she brought it back inside and rolled up the window once more. She wrapped the ball of snow inside the handkerchief. Georg watched her intently as she saw to him with a tenderness that he had come to know and admire from the way she looked after his children.

"I'm sorry, this will probably sting," she apologised before holding the cold, wet handkerchief to his cheek again. Georg hissed as he drew the air through his teeth trying to fight the urge to cry out in pain. He took the cloth from her and continued to hold it against the side of his face as the pain subsided.

"Thank you," he smiled in an attempt to reassure Maria that he was grateful for her thoughtful gesture.

An icy blast had slipped in through the window and the temperature in the car dropped significantly. Maria shivered and looked around for the blankets that the driver had mentioned.

"You're cold aren't you. This is all my fault," Georg was ashamed that he had managed to put them in such a difficult and potentially dangerous situation.

"Here," he said as he lifted his arm hoping that she would move a bit closer to him, "the driver was right. We should try to keep each other warm." She plucked a blanket from the parcel shelf and slid over to Georg.

"Sit forward," she told him as she wrapped the blanket first around his shoulders and then after she snuggled under his arm he then wrapped it around her too. She looked up to his eyes before resting her head against his shoulder.

"This is nice," he said, before he realised how absurd his statement was.

"Hmmm… well it would be if we were sitting in front of the roaring fire in your study instead of in the back of a freezing taxi, in the middle of goodness knows where."

"Fair point, I suppose… but it's still nice," he smiled as he placed a soft kiss on the top of her head.

"Why did you come for me. Was it really because of the children?"

"Of course… the children always miss you when you go anywhere."

"Only the children?" Maria raised her head so that she could judge from his eyes whether or not the answer he gave her was truthful.

"No… I mean, yes, yes of course, Isn't it right that they would miss you?"

"Oh yes. I just hoped… that maybe…" Maria's heart fell as she wondered whether her feelings for him were purely one sided.

"Well, perhaps I told you just the smallest of white lies." He brought his thumb and forefinger together in front of Maria. "I didn't want you to go to the Abbey today because I was worried that you wouldn't come back."

"I was always going to come back." She hugged him tightly to add weight to her words.

"Yes, but I didn't know that and I thought that I had frightened you away. When I found out that you were staying there because of the snow I don't know what came over me. I just knew that I had to come and get you," he shrugged, apologetically.

"But why did you have to come in this?" Maria looked out of the car window to see the snow still fluttering down like confetti at a wedding.

"To answer your question… no - it isn't only the children who miss you, I do too. Because I love you, Maria."

Georg brought his arm out from underneath the blanket and with one finger he tilted her chin up whilst lowering his head until her lips brushed against his. It was the lightest of touches and yet it sent shivers throughout her body. He pressed his lips firmly to hers and he kissed her slowly and tenderly. She tasted like the sweetest honey and as the kiss became deeper, she yielded willingly to his delectable exploration.

They parted, eyes wide and gasping as if their lungs had collapsed. Their rasping breaths mingled like swirls of smoke in the freezing air. Georg brought his forehead to hers and they remained there for several minutes until the cold invaded their bodies once again and they huddled together with the blanket wrapped tightly around them.

Perhaps it was the cold or just the relief that they had finally admitted their feelings for one another but against his better judgement both he and Maria drifted off to sleep. Georg's dreams were invaded by images of Maria, lost in the snow, terrified and desperately reaching out to him but then slipping away at the last minute down a huge precipice as he almost reached her.

Awoken by the sudden movement of the car and raised voices outside in the almost arctic conditions, Georg gently roused Maria who for a moment wasn't sure exactly where she was.

After several minutes Maria's door was wrenched open and the taxi driver peered in along with two other men who were holding lanterns.

"Well, at least you're still here," the driver scoffed.

"And exactly where did you think we would be?" Georg was cold and sore but he wasn't about to be ridiculed.

"To be honest you seemed desperate enough to have tried to walk back to Aigen."

"Well, we didn't," Maria intervened, not wanting Georg to lose his temper in front of their would-be rescuers, for fear that they would leave them stranded and exposed to the elements.

The driver looked at Maria and then tossed them both a heavy overcoat to put on.

"The road to Aigen is blocked. I'm afraid there is no way that we can get you back to your villa tonight, but my friend here..." the taxi driver slapped one of the other men across the shoulders, "…has found you a room in his hotel for the night."

Georg looked down at Maria whose face was glowing, almost enough to light up the inside of the taxi at the thought of sharing a room with her Captain.

"Beggars can't be choosers I suppose," he smirked as he shrugged on the warm woollen coat and helped Maria with hers. "It's only for one night, it won't be that bad," he tried to reassure her.

"You are going to have to do something very special to make up for this, Georg von Trapp," Maria whispered as they got out of the car.

"Anything for you, darling," he grinned as he took her hand in his and followed the lanterns back to Salzburg.

xXx

I hope you enjoyed this highly implausible story! If you did or even if you didn't and you can suggest ways in which it could have been better, please leave a review. Thank you!