AN: What if Georg had a secret that even his children didn't know about. Written for the August ProBoards writing prompt. Thanks again to the wonderful lemacd for her dedication to fanfiction!

Rating: T

Disclaimer: I don't own TSOM or any of its characters, I'm just borrowing them for some fun.

Highs and Lows

By

Nicky W

One Month earlier…

It was one of the biggest and oldest trees in the grounds of the von Trapp residence in Aigen. Its gnarled and contorted branches spread high into the air and there were many that swooped as low as the ground. Its sinewy roots protruded from the earth like withered limbs escaping a tomb. It was perfect for exploring. The children regularly went tree climbing since Maria had entered their lives and now that Maria and their father were engaged to be married, they seemed to spend far more time together as a family, which often meant lazing away the afternoons in the grounds of their villa.

Below the aged tree, Georg lay on his back on the chequered picnic blanket with his head resting on his hands. Maria sat next to him, a respectable distance away from her fiancé. Every now and again after a surreptitious glance to see that they weren't being overlooked, she would bend her head down to his and steal a chaste kiss. As she pulled away she would hear an exasperated sigh escape his lips and she knew how frustrated he was at their painfully, fleeting moments of intimacy.

Although she had only known him for a matter of weeks it seemed like she knew him better than he knew himself. They talked frequently late into the evening about their pasts and he had become comfortable discussing his late wife, in fact he relished the opportunity to do so as Maria was such a wonderful listener and she understood the importance of his need to remember the mother of his seven children.

There didn't seem like there was anything that she didn't know about this wonderful, stubborn, complex and utterly gorgeous man. Apart from one thing of course but then in a months' time they would be married and she would know absolutely everything about him. As her fingers ghosted over his forearm, tracing delicate circles, she felt the heat spread up her neck to her cheeks, at the prospect of their first night together.

Her day dream was rudely interrupted as Friedrich and Kurt came hurtling towards them, laughing and giggling.

"Last one up the tree smells," Friedrich shouted to his younger brother who was puffing and panting as he tried desperately to keep up.

Kurt stumbled clumsily over his fathers outstretched legs and Georg sat bolt upright cursing silently whilst rubbing his shins.

"Boys… why does everything have to be a competition; why can't you just enjoy yourselves?"

"We are enjoying ourselves, Father," Kurt spluttered, as he picked himself up and brushed his grazed knees. "Can't stop…" he pointed towards Friedrich who had already clambered up the first two of the lowest branches, before flinging himself at the tree.

Maria edged slightly further away from Georg as the children shouted and screamed above them. Disgruntled, he looked questioningly towards her and she shrugged her shoulders.

"We can't be seen to be too close, not when the children are around."

"Maria… we are engaged to be married for heaven's sake. We should be able to sit next to each other in public, it's not like we're going to…"

"NO… we are not," Maria interrupted, the heat visible in her cheeks once again. "I think the dozen or so chaperones that are undoubtedly lurking around in the garden and are our constant shadows would have something to say about that, let alone the children."

"A dozen is a slight exaggeration, my darling… but I admit, it does feel like that sometimes," he sighed, before flopping back down on the blanket.

After a moments silence a roguish grin spread across Georg's face.

"You are incredibly attractive when you are embarrassed, did you know that?" he smirked, as he opened one eye and peeked at Maria who was turning the most stunning shade of crimson.

"Shhhhh…" she whispered and swatted him on the chest. "The children might hear you."

Turning on his side away from the tree with his head propped up on his hand, his free hand began to blatantly make its way up the smooth skin of Maria's calf until it reached the hem of her skirt.

"What…?" he grinned wickedly, "I'm not even allowed to complement my fiancé anymore?"

Before Maria could formulate a reply, Georg turned as both Friedrich and Kurt shouted down to their father from the branches above.

"Father, why don't you come up here, you can see for miles," Kurt exclaimed, as if he had no idea that there was a much bigger world outside of their comfortable little villa.

"Oh, I don't think so, I would just spoil your fun," Georg excused himself calmly and lay back down.

"Oh no, Father," Friedrich shouted. "It would be so much fun if you were up here with us, wouldn't it, Fraulein Maria?"

"Well, I admit I am fond of climbing trees but perhaps your father isn't in the mood," Maria glanced down towards Georg who appeared to be trying his hardest to ignore their conversation.

"Pleeeaaaasse… Father," the boys pleaded in unison.

"I have already said no… and no means no," the irritation was obvious in his brusque reply.

Maria leaned across and put her hand on his arm, "Georg… don't be harsh with them, they just want you to join in. It's actually lovely to see… why don't you just go up there for a few minutes?"

At this point, Georg sat up and put on his jacket.

"I do not pay my tailors an extortionate amount of money just for me to ruin my clothes climbing trees!"

"Really, Georg. You're being rather stubborn. What harm could it do?" Maria asked innocently and then added, sarcastically, "Perhaps I should make you some play clothes!"

"Dear God, is there no peace. I may as well go back inside and finish off my work," he hissed and stood up. Without a further word he returned to the house, leaving Maria and the two boys looking bemused.

"I'm sorry, Fraulein Maria, we didn't mean to upset Father."

"Don't worry boys, I'm sure he's just very busy, but at least he did spend some time with us." Maria did her best to comfort the two von Trapp boys who looked extremely downcast as they made their way down the tree and walked back towards the lake where Liesl and the rest of the girls were playing.

Maybe he was still frustrated about the fact that he and Maria weren't able to find any time to be together but Maria couldn't help thinking that there was something wrong. Perhaps she actually didn't know him as well as she thought.

xXx

Later that night after they had dinner and the children all retired to bed, Maria joined Georg in his study as she normally did in the evening. The fire hissed and crackled in the grate and Maria took her usual place on the settee. In a matter of minutes, Georg sorted and put away his papers and locked his desk drawer before joining her.

The study door remained ajar and the chaperones which included Max Detweiler and an elderly Aunt of Georg's were ensconced in the adjoining room enjoying his finest cognac. Never the less, Georg lay down and placed his head in Maria's lap. It was only at times like these that they enjoyed an innocent intimacy that both of them dearly treasured. Maria ran her fingers through the fine hair at his temples and instinctively Georg closed his eyes, enjoying the soothing touch of his fiancée's delicate fingertips.

"Georg…" Maria whispered as she continued to thread her fingers through his thick shiny hair.

"Mmmmm…" he sighed as her calming touch began to make him feel drowsy.

"The boys were very disappointed today."

Still half asleep and having completely forgotten about the afternoons disagreement, Georg didn't quite understand her statement.

"Why were they disappointed, darling?" he enquired.

"This afternoon… the tree… they wanted you to climb it with them." Maria prompted him as gently as she could, knowing that it had aggravated him earlier in the day.

"Please, Maria, let's not talk about this now. We get precious little time together alone as it is, I'm sure we could spend it in a much better way than talking about climbing trees," he grinned as he looked up at her from his place in her lap.

"I'm sure we could, but first I'm intrigued to know why you wouldn't do it."

"Please leave it, Maria. It's really of no consequence and certainly not something we should be arguing about." Georg's shoulders tensed, the firm muscles of his back pressed against Maria's lap. Aware of his obvious irritation, she smoothed his hair in an attempt to pacify him.

"We're not arguing are we? I just don't know why you are being so stubborn about it. It's a simple question after all."

Why wouldn't she leave it alone. His heart began to race and he could feel the pressure growing in his temples as her questions maddened him to the point where he would rather have just been in bed where he could get some much needed peace and quiet.

"For heaven's sake, Georg. Anyone would think you had a secret to hide," Maria laughed at the absurdity of her remark but for Georg it was the final straw.

Sitting upright, he edged away from Maria on the settee and looked directly at her. His eyes were burning with a fury that Maria hadn't seen since her first few days at the villa and it frightened her.

"Ah ha… you don't trust me." He pointed an accusatory finger at her. "That's it isn't it. All of these questions. Why would I keep anything from you… if there was anything of importance you would know about it by now," he stormed, as he stood and began pacing the floor of his study.

"Of course I trust you, don't be so silly." Maria herself was becoming tired of their absurd conversation. "Really, I don't know what is the matter Georg but…"

"Enough…" he shouted. "I am Captain Georg Johannes Ritter von Trapp and if I do not want to climb a tree then I need NO excuses. This conversation is over." Georg cringed as he heard how pompous and childish he sounded but still he walked angrily to the door and turned to Maria.

"Goodnight."

He slammed the door shut behind him leaving Maria shocked and bewildered. He was no longer her Georg but had reverted back to the starchy Sea Captain that she met all those weeks ago and it saddened her.

Wearily she retired to bed and as she lay on her back staring at the ceiling, tears began to sting her eyes. Quickly they escaped and trickled down the side of her cheeks into her hair. With her eyes squeezed tightly shut, she turned on her side and pulled the quilt closely around her trying to smother the feelings of insecurity that were flooding her entire being.

xXx

Paris, one month later…

Baroness Maria von Trapp was a very happy woman. Only days ago, she had married the only man that she ever wanted to share her life with and in that moment she had become mother to seven beautiful and unique children.

Finally, she was content that she knew everything about her husband, every last inch of him in minute and intimate detail and she knew that the precious memory of their wedding night would remain with her until the grave. Any doubts or insecurities she may have had were banished from her mind when he had reached out and took her hand on the altar steps of Mondsee Cathedral.

He had brought her to Paris for their honeymoon, something that she was delighted about. Never once did she believe that she would ever visit France and when she discovered that the City of Light would be the location where they would spend six weeks alone together, she had immediately started to research its finest points and made a mental list of places that she wanted to visit. Without having to ask, Georg had taken her to almost all of the places on her list but there was one that they still hadn't managed to visit.

It was the Eiffel Tower.

She'd seen it of course as they strolled amongst the other lovers, along the Champs de Mars but what she yearned to do was to go up to the second level. She didn't want to take the lift, she wanted to experience every last breath taking step as she ascended the tower stairs.

She'd tried dropping hints by telling Georg all about the history of the Tower, in fact she was very knowledgeable but still he found other things to entertain them and when she mentioned it he quickly changed the subject, leading them off to the Louvre, then Notre Dame Cathedral, which of course she found enthralling with its iconic gothic architecture.

She had marvelled at the exhibits in the Musee d'Orsay and immersed herself in the atmosphere of the Quartier Latin.

She had been rendered speechless by the beauty of Sacre-Couer and Montmartre but it was still the Eiffel Tower which held her heart, although she couldn't truly explain why. Perhaps it was because it had defied adversity to exist in its own right, not just as an exhibit of the 1889 Exposition Universelle.

xXx

Returning to their hotel after another exhausting day, finished off by a wonderful evening at the Opera National de Paris, reaching their suite they hurriedly undressed and slipped beneath the sheets of the ornate four poster bed that dominated the centre of the room. Although physically and mentally shattered it did nothing to lessen the passion of their love making. Limbs entwined and bodies melting into one, they reached their climax together, whispering words of adoration into each other's ears before losing themselves in a slow, passionate kiss. Breathless and completely sated, Georg lay down on their bed and Maria rested her head on his chest. She had discovered very early on that she loved nothing more than to hear and feel the rapid and forceful beating of her husband's heart as it thumped violently against his rib cage after they had made love. It was reassuring to hear its strong and steady beat and she found it incredibly erotic, knowing that she had been the one to cause it.

Stroking his chest softly, letting her fingers explore the soft curls of hair that she found there she listened as his heart beat slowly returned to its normal rhythm.

"I hope that the last few days have been as wonderful for you as they have been for me," Georg gently cupped Maria's face in his hands and raised it from his chest so that he could stare into her heavenly blue eyes. Smiling, Maria stroked her husband's cheek and nodded.

"Because I would move heaven and earth to make you happy, my darling."

"I'm not sure that there can be anyone as happy as I am at this very moment in time." Maria allowed her fingers to languidly trail a delicate path from his cheek to his neck and then down as far as his stomach. "Sometimes I can't believe that it's happening to me, but I suppose that at some point in my life I must have done something good to deserve all of this."

"Mmmm… I can assure you, Fraulein, that there are many things that you are good at." Guiding Maria's face down to his, their lips pressed together in a soft sweet kiss.

Returning to their previous position, Maria settled her head against his chest again and slipped her hand beneath the light sheet that covered Georg from the waist. With featherlike strokes she tickled his stomach lightly and smiled as she felt him flinching at her touch, that particular area she had discovered, being incredibly sensitive.

"Georg…" she purred.

"Mmmmm…" he sighed in pleasure.

"There is one thing that you could do to make me even happier."

"Just ask, darling. Your wish is my command," he smiled.

"The Eiffel Tower… we can't leave Paris without visiting it."

"We already have, surely you didn't have your eyes closed as we strolled along the Champs de Mars?" he laughed as her fingers continued their exploration.

"I want us to go up it, Georg. I can't think of anything more romantic."

"You do know that the queues are horrendous. It will take us hours even to reach the lifts."

"Oh, I don't want to use the lift. I want to walk up the stairs."

"It's a very long way up," he gulped at the thought. "I'd hate it if you found it too exhausting."

Maria's fingers stilled, much to Georg's disappointment, as she began to sense that he was making yet more excuses. All the times that she had suggested it over the last few days and he had found an alternative to take up their time. There was something that he wasn't telling her.

"I thought you said that you would move heaven and earth to make me happy?" she began to probe him. "After all, I would have my strong Captain to help me up the steps."

Georg sighed in resignation. It was no good, he would have to tell her. They were man and wife and there should be no secrets between them.

"That's just it Maria. I'm afraid that I would be of no use to you at all. In fact, you would have to help me," Georg pushed himself up so that his back rested against the head board of the bed.

"I don't understand…" Maria looked at him questioningly.

"Why do you think I joined the Navy and not the air force?"

"What has that got to do with it?" Maria playfully slapped Georg on the chest, "You followed your father's lead, I doubt you ever even thought about the air force."

"Of course I didn't. If I climb a ladder I get a nose bleed! I'm afraid of heights. I couldn't be any lower, under the water!" he shrugged his shoulders and gave her a bashful grin.

"So, you mean to tell me that a decorated Naval Captain who earned the Military Order of Mother Theresa for his bravery and service to his country, is afraid of heights?"

"I'm afraid so… do you see now why I didn't want to climb that tree with the boys? It wasn't because I was being stubborn as you suspected but because I knew that if I tried I would either become nauseous or dizzy or both and it wouldn't have ended well for anyone."

"Oh Georg, I'm so sorry. But you really should have told me."

"Yes, I realise that now but I thought that you and the children would be disappointed in me. After all, I've never seen anyone as good at climbing trees as you are," he laughed and pulled Maria towards him into a close hug.

"You could never disappoint me or the children, you must never think that again," Maria slid her arm across his chest and rested her cheek against his neck.

"Is there anything I can do to make it up to you?" Georg asked as Maria began stroking him once again.

"You can promise never to keep a secret from me again, no matter how embarrassing it might be."

Georg nodded as his hand slid down Maria's back until it reached her bottom.

"And there's one more thing you can do…" Maria tilted her head up until she was able to whisper in his ear.

Georg's eyes became dark with lust as he drew the covers up over them and Maria began to giggle.

"Your wish is my command… Fraulein!"

xXx

Silly, I know. It's highly unlikely that Georg would have been afraid of heights but I couldn't think of any serious secret that he might be keeping from her. I hope you enjoyed it and I'd very much appreciate it if you would like to leave a review.