AN- Not much of a plot here really and rather silly in places. Whilst it is very similar in most respects to the film, there are some noticeable differences.

Rating – K+

Disclaimer- I don't own the characters or the film, so please forgive me!

The Deepest Scars of All

I tear my heart open, I sew myself shut
My weakness is that I care too much
And my scars remind me that the past is real
I tear my heart open just to feel

"Scars" - Papa Roach

The low, ominous rumbling of distant thunder was the only thing that snapped her out of her daydream. She wasn't quite sure why she was so distracted and by the most innocuous of things but never the less, distracted she most certainly was.

In fact, she was so distracted that as she had knelt to say her prayers, her mind drifted off to earlier in the day when she had arrived, nervously at the von Trapp residence. She muttered under her breath, chastising herself for her lack of concentration during one of the most important acts of the day. After a further prayer asking for forgiveness for her truly unacceptable behaviour, she turned suddenly as she became aware of someone entering her room in a most unconventional manner.

Tiptoeing past her, dripping wet through, was the Captain's eldest child.

Liesl's disappearance after dinner hadn't gone unnoticed by Maria and she had quickly put two and two together, realising that it wasn't a coincidence that the arrival of the mail boy had also heralded the tenacious young girl's departure from the table.

"And now dear God, about Liesl… help her to know that I'm her friend and help her to tell me what she's been up to."

"Are you going to tell on me?" came the desperate plea from the obviously distraught teenager.

"Shhh… help me to be understanding, so that I may guide her footsteps." Maria crossed herself, "In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost… Amen."

Liesl proceeded to try and explain her unusual method of entering the house while Maria closed the window against the inclement weather. As she turned back towards Liesl, the young girl sighed, realising that there was little point trying to hide her assignation. So, she began to open up and told Maria that she wasn't alone in the garden and that she had been meeting the mail boy, Rolf. Seeing how cold and uncomfortable Liesl must be, Maria opened her wardrobe door and pulled out a spare night gown. After handing it to Liesl, she went to change in the bathroom and Maria sat on her bed to patiently wait for the young girl.

Just as Maria thought her evening couldn't get any more unusual, her bedroom door flew open as one by one the rest of the Captain's children charged into her room and flung themselves onto her bed. They were clearly frightened and their eyes were wide like startled rabbits in the headlights of a car.

Liesl, having dried herself off and changed into her Governess's spare nightdress, joined her siblings as Maria tried to calm them in the only way she knew how… by singing.

Many times, whilst she had resided at Nonnberg Abbey Maria had found herself at the mercy of Sister Berthe because of her unacceptably melodious outbursts. She just couldn't help it. Everywhere she went she could find a reason to sing, but nobody seemed to understand her… well, nobody apart from the Reverend Mother it seemed.

As the children lost their inhibitions and with it their fear of the thunderstorm, they began singing and dancing with their new Governess. Without warning, Maria's door flew open again. This time she was so startled that she hurtled headlong, arms outstretched towards her visitor, a rather furious Captain von Trapp, who stood stern faced as she slammed into him in the doorway, her hands thumping heavily into his chest.

Such was the force of their collision that Maria bounced backwards clumsily, losing her balance. Instinctively, the Captain reached out and caught her by the top of her arms to prevent her from falling and he held her firmly in his grasp for several moments.

A shocked silence fell over the modest bedroom. The Captain's children hardly knew what to do with themselves, finally deciding, after the initial shock of being caught had worn off, to fall into line.

Staring intently at the Captain's face, Maria's mind began to spin as she became preoccupied… there it was again, so intriguing. She quite forgot that she was being held captive by her new employer and instead she couldn't tear her eyes away from the surprisingly attractive mark that lay just beneath his bottom lip.

"Why do you look at me in that way… again?" he barked, growing weary of her awkward stares, as he gently pushed her away and let go of her arms.

"It's just… well, I mean, it's your…" Maria screwed up her eyes slightly as she tried to study it more closely and hesitantly raised a finger pointing to her own chin. "Oh, never mind," she sighed in the certainty that her interest would only irritate him further. She knew that she had already enraged him greatly that day.

Grabbing her robe and wrapping it around herself, Maria slowly joined the children who were still standing like statues in a perfectly straight line.

Captain von Trapp was already growing weary of the new Governess who had only been in their household for a matter of hours, but who had caused more problems for him than the previous eleven of them put together. He left his children under no illusion that their behaviour was intolerable and after accepting, albeit suspiciously, Maria's explanation for Liesl's absence after dinner, he ordered the children to their rooms.

As the last of the children swiftly fled from Maria's bedroom, it left the Captain and Maria standing in an uncomfortably awkward silence. He took a step towards her and observed the expression on her face. He couldn't quite fathom it. It wasn't exactly defiance but it certainly wasn't the usual submissive look that most people adopted after they had been on the receiving end of one of his rebukes.

Irritated that he was taking far too much of an interest in his Governess's demeanour, he retaliated in the only way he knew how.

"Fräulein…you have managed to remember I'm leaving in the morning?" Maria nodded her head slowly in answer to his question.

"Is it also possible you remember that the first rule in this house is discipline?"

Shocked by his ill-mannered behaviour, she opened her mouth to speak but before she could go any further he rudely interrupted her.

"Then I trust that before I return...you will have acquired some?" With a flash of his still fiery eyes, he slammed the door in a disgusted Maria's face.

xXx

Everyone in the von Trapp household expected that the Captain would be absent for at least six weeks. Frau Schmidt, who was prone to divulging information that she really shouldn't to Maria, even expected it to be considerably longer. She was also of the informed opinion that when he returned he would be the bearer of some very significant news. Maria hadn't heard much about Baroness Schrader but what she did know with some certainty was that she would be the next Baroness von Trapp.

Maria was pleased because she had come to realise that the Captain's children desperately needed a mother figure in their lives. She was also rather relieved for very different and if she was being honest, selfish reasons.

Having known the children for only the short period of time that she had she was already becoming fond of them and she knew that the longer she was there, the harder it would be to leave. On top of that, she was still finding herself unsettlingly distracted by thoughts of the Captain. Thoughts that she knew she shouldn't be having. They came at any time during the day, sometimes a daydream but more often at night, when the dream would wake her in a state of excitement and confusion.

It was on such a night that Maria lay in her bed, the book that she had been reading had long since dropped into her lap and her thoughts had travelled back to the day a few weeks earlier when she stood in the grand hall of the Aigen villa for the first time.

"Why do you stare at me that way?"

"You don't look at all like a Sea Captain, Sir."

But that was just it. Even then, on their first meeting she had been transfixed by his striking good looks. She was contemplating even then that whilst he didn't look like the Sea Captain that she knew he had been, he did look to her like a rather roguish pirate, one not to be trifled with but that you just knew you wanted to get to know better for all the wrong reasons. Thoughts such as these, shocked Maria. Never before had she found herself so interested in a member of the opposite sex and she began to feel like a giddy teenager experiencing her first crush.

As soon as the pirate image popped into her mind she couldn't banish it from her imagination. She found her dreams became far more fanciful and in many ways disturbing for they were awakening feelings in her that she didn't even know existed.

Whilst some of her dreams, she could not possibly have shared, there were others that she found amusing and she decided to use them during bedtimes with the children. She began telling them stories about a heroic pirate who was far more inclined to help people than hinder them.

"Once upon a time there lived a tall, handsome pirate. He had thick, shiny brown hair, brilliantly blue eyes and a mysterious scar on his chin."

The children sat engrossed by her feet as she continued to describe the character that she had named in her head… Captain Goddard Longscar.

"He was brave and fierce and no one dared cross him for fear that he might pull out his mighty sword and…"

"Fraulein Maria…" Brigitta interrupted her, "are you telling us a story about father?"

Maria stared at the raven-haired child in astonishment. She was well aware that Brigitta was bright but she never for one moment expected that the young girl would discover her little secret.

"He wasn't a pirate, was he?" asked a bemused Kurt. "I mean, I know he was a Sea Captain and he does have that scar, but…"

"What… I… erm, of course not. What makes you think it's about your father?" cut in a very red and flustered Maria.

Brigitta eyed her Governess suspiciously, watching Maria squirm uncomfortably on her chair as she continued the story, but much to Maria's relief the inquisitive young girl decided not to press her further.

Storytime finally being over and chapter one of Maria's Pirate Adventure having been successfully, if a little awkwardly delivered, Maria thankfully retired to her bedroom to work on chapter two!

xXx

It had been four weeks since the Captain had departed for Vienna. As every day passed, the children seemed to be less concerned about when he would return. They were so used to his absences that they stopped asking how long he would be away and Maria found this very upsetting. Even more troubling to her was the fact that his continued absence only made her think about him even more. She pondered over how he could possibly want to be away from his children for so long and how exactly it was that God intended that she should help him.

Worryingly, she also realised that she was missing him. How on earth can you miss a man you only met for one day! She scolded yet she truly was. She longed to talk to him again, even if it ended up in an argument. There was just something about him that intrigued her and she needed to find out exactly what it was. Her frustration with herself was boundless and the more she tried to stop thinking about him, the worse it was.

One morning, Maria and the children were sitting having breakfast when Franz entered the dining room and handed the Governess a telegram. Not normally the recipient of telegrams, Maria opened it tentatively, wary of its contents. The children all stared at her in anticipation of her news. As she read the brief message her heart lifted and a smile drifted across her lips. She folded the piece of paper neatly and placed it on the table in front of her.

"Children, your father will be returning from Vienna tomorrow," she chirped, cheerily.

The younger girls all let out a small shriek of excitement, whilst the older children predictably took the news in their stride.

"And it seems he will be bringing a visitor with him," Maria continued.

"I suppose he's bringing Baroness Schrader with him, isn't he?" sighed Louisa wearily.

"It was only a matter of time," Friedrich whispered to his older sister who dropped her eyes to the uneaten contents of her plate.

"Actually, he's bringing someone called…" Maria opened the telegram once more to check the name, "…Uncle Max."

At the mention of the mysterious man, all of the children dropped their cutlery, waved their arms in the air and cheered loudly. Maria laughed as it was the first time that she had seen the children so animated.

For the rest of the day, there was only one thing on Maria's mind. She couldn't help wondering about the fact that the Captain wasn't returning with Baroness Schrader, as Frau Schmidt had been certain that he would. She retired to bed that night and almost as soon as her head touched the pillow, she was immediately captivated by her most vivid dream yet. Captain Goddard Longscar had been taken hostage by a particularly fierce female pirate called Queen Elise Redblood. He had only gained his liberty after an incredibly cunning plan executed perfectly by Longscar's closest and most loyal friend, Maximillian Swindles, saw Queen Elise meet her fate in a particularly gruesome manner.

xXx

The following day, the Captain and Uncle Max arrived home in the late afternoon.

The children were busy with their studies and as she usually did, Maria floated around the room only stopping to instruct the children when needed. No one sought her help, so a particularly weary Maria found herself staring longingly out of the window. It was then that she caught a glimpse of the Captain's Mercedes Benz sweeping into the drive. The wheels of the car threw up the loose stones as he came to a sharp halt. He stepped out of the car followed by an unfamiliar gentleman and took both his and the older man's luggage from the back of the car. As he entered the house without speaking to the butler, Franz nodded and then proceeded to take the car around to the garages at the rear of the house.

She expected that the Captain would whistle for the children but instead, all she heard was Frau Schmidt scuttling across the hall to welcome her employer back and discover what he required by way of an evening meal. To say she was disappointed would have been an understatement. Having instructed Liesl to keep an eye on her younger siblings, Maria decided to venture down the stairs. After all, she needed to know what the arrangements were for dinner, at least that's what she convinced herself and when she bumped into Frau Schmidt it proved to be the perfect reason for being there.

Following the housekeeper towards the kitchen stairs she nodded as Frau Schmidt descended them to pass on her instructions to the cook. Doubling back, Maria hesitated as she reached the Captain's study door which was standing ajar.

Just as she was about to knock, she heard the Captain raise his voice and she was startled by how furious he sounded. She should have left, returned to the children but for some reason she couldn't tear herself away. Knowing that he was a volatile man didn't scare Maria, it just made her more determined to find out what had made him that way. She edged towards the door and stood quietly almost holding her breath for fear of being discovered.

"It was not my fault, Max," the Captain seethed.

"Look old chap, I really don't like seeing you this worked up. I'm sorry I brought it up, but you know me, I think it's such a shame that all that money isn't going to be pooled together. Just imagine what you could have done with it all?" Max quipped, trying to appease his rather irate friend.

"Moneymoney has nothing to do with it Max." The Captain paced around his study like a prowling tiger. "When two people talk of marriage they have to at least have something in common."

"I would say that you and Elsa had plenty in common. Even discounting the fact that you are both disgustingly rich…" Max cast a glance in Georg's direction to see if he was about to be on the receiving end of his friend's sharp tongue, or worse, his firm fist. "You both make a particularly handsome couple, you enjoy mingling in high society, you're both widowers…"

"That's enough, Max!" Georg was close to exploding but after several deep breaths he managed to compose himself and continued. "I don't care to speak to you about my private life any longer. All you need to know is that Elsa and I will not be seeing each other in the near future."

"Very well old chap but you will have to talk to someone about it eventually. You know what you're like when you bottle things up." After another stern glare from his old friend, Max decided it was time to beat a hasty retreat and get himself ready for dinner.

Luckily, Maria heard the older man's footsteps approaching and was able to make it look as if she had only just appeared when Max threw open the door and almost bumped into her.

"Oh, my goodness, I am sorry my dear, I didn't realise that you were there," Max spluttered.

"Please, there's no need for an apology, there's really no harm done," Maria smiled as she looked past the stranger to where Captain von Trapp stood by his desk with a glass of whiskey in his hand.

Max glanced towards his friend before addressing Maria once again. "You must be Fraulein Maria; the new Governess, Georg has told me all about you." He reached out to take Maria's hand and then as he brought it to his lips he placed a gentlemanly kiss close to her wrist.

"Really Max, was there any need for that?" Georg barked in his friend's direction, still annoyed by their previous conversation. "You'll frighten the poor girl to death."

"Oh no, really, it's fine… quite nice actually. I don't often get greeted in such a way," Maria chirped.

"No, I don't suppose you do," Georg laughed sarcastically, which drew his friends attention once again. Max cocked his head quizzically.

"She's a postulant, Max. Soon to be a nun. She came to us from Nonnberg Abbey. I'm sure I told you all this," Georg scratched his ear convinced that he'd already told his friend all there was to know about the young woman.

"Nooo… I think I would have remembered if you had imparted that particular piece of information," Max laughed.

Feeling a little awkward being the topic of conversation, Maria cleared her throat to gain the attention of the two men.

"Ahem…" both Max and the Captain turned to look at Maria. "Will you be wanting to see the children before dinner, Captain. I know they would very much like to see you."

"I'm sure they can wait until dinner," he replied after looking at his watch. "I have some business to attend to before then, so if the two of you will excuse me." He walked towards them, herding them out of his study with a flap of his arms and then shut the door behind them.

Looking at Max in disbelief, Maria uttered, "Is he always this… this…"

"Obnoxious?" Max offered, helpfully finishing her sentence for her.

"Heavens no, I'm sure he's not obnoxious. A little prickly perhaps," she smiled, warmly.

"You are too kind my dear. Must be on account of you almost being a nun." Max took Maria by the elbow and gently guided her towards the library. "He is not the man he used to be and it isn't entirely all his fault."

Max walked over to the drinks cabinet and helped himself to a large brandy, then he passed a glass of water to Maria and gestured for her to sit.

"Georg is an incredibly proud man and he will never admit that there is anything wrong. Just lately I had hoped that he was starting to get his life back on track, that was until things have not gone as planned…"

"You mean because of what's happened in Vienna with the Baroness?" Maria had spoken before she realised that she had just admitted without explicitly saying it, that she had eavesdropped on their conversation.

Max looked at the Governess with a twinkle in his eye. He rolled his moustache and smirked. "Hmmm… but not quite a nun yet though, are we?"

Cheeks burning, Maria stared at Max with a sheepish look on her face.

"I'm only telling you this about Georg because I think you have a right to understand why he behaves the way he does with his children… and he seems to like you."

Spluttering as she almost choked on her drink, Maria wiped her mouth.

"I'm quite sure he detests me."

"Nonsense. He spoke of you quite favourably whilst he was in Vienna and the fact that he hasn't heard from Frau Schmidt since he left here has also gone in your favour."

"Well, the children really are quite delightful when you get to know them. I just wish he would spend more time with them. They need their father."

"At least they have you, my dear. And perhaps, with your persuasion, Georg might see the error of his ways?"

"I doubt he will listen to me. We didn't exactly see eye to eye on our first and only meeting," Maria sighed as she turned the now empty glass in her hands.

Placing his glass down on the silver tray, Max made his way towards the door.

"Don't give up, I think you might be pleasantly surprised, Fraulein," and with a nod of his head, Max left to prepare for dinner.

Perhaps it was the fact that the Captain had talked about her to his old friend or maybe it was Max's confession that Georg liked her but whatever the reason, Maria felt elated for the rest of the day.

Dinner came and went without incident, apart from the fact that Maria was late but the Captain didn't seem to mind too much and was actually impressed by the children's manners during their evening meal. So, when Maria invited both the Captain and his old friend to listen to a performance that the children had planned for their father, he was apprehensive but happy to oblige.

It had been many years since the Captain had heard the sound of his children singing. When his dear Agathe had been alive, they would spend many hours singing and laughing with her. But the memories had been too painful and he had shut them away in the recesses of his heart and forbidden any such activities in the house. No music, no laughter, nothing that would remind him of her.

He stood transfixed as they sang their rendition of a traditional Austrian folk song. Maria watched the Captain eagerly, she saw that he couldn't resist mouthing the words with them and if she wasn't mistaken, she also thought she heard him joining in. He appeared emotional and overcome as the children all rushed forwards and embraced him.

Once the performance was over, Maria excused herself and the children but after they had all waved goodbye, the Captain stopped the Governess in her tracks.

"Err… Fraulein. Perhaps we could meet this evening after you've settled the children in bed? I would like to find out how they have all been doing in their studies while I've been away."

"Of course, Sir. I'm quite sure you'll be pleased."

"Well, that remains to be seen, Fraulein," he looked at her wistfully. "But… so far, I am very much impressed," he smiled and Maria felt her cheeks glow.

xXx

The children seemed to take an eternity to settle that night. Maria could quite easily have skipped their bedtime story for she was eager to meet with the Captain but never the less, as she had done for the last few weeks, she told them yet another tale about Captain Longscar.

Just as she reached a particularly exciting part of the story where Longscar was swinging from the rigging of his ship, his sword firmly clenched between his teeth, Maria stopped abruptly as she heard what she thought to be the floorboards creaking outside the bedroom door. However, after listening for a short while she decided that she must have imagined it and she continued until the latest instalment of adventures were over.

When the last of the children were safely tucked up into bed, she made her way down the stairs to the Captain's study. As she approached the door she felt compelled to pat down her dress and smooth her hair to make sure that she looked her best. She knocked once and waited.

After only a short while, Max opened the door and with a dramatic sweep of his arm, he welcomed Maria into the study.

"I better not kiss you this time, Fraulein, since it displeased our host so much," Max joked.

"Maaaaxxx!" growled the Captain from the depths of the room.

Maria smiled warmly at the older man as she entered the room and turned to face him.

"I'll leave you two to it then… have fun," he smirked, as he shut the door behind him.

Maria peered into the dimly lit room. The dancing flames from the fire cast eerie shadows on the walls and bookcases. She could make out, at the far end, the Captain sitting at his desk, writing.

"Make yourself comfortable, Fraulein. This will only take me a minute," the Captain instructed without even raising his head from his paperwork.

Maria glanced around to see if she could figure out where the Captain might want her to sit. She decided that the best place would be the chair at the other side of his desk and so she sat quietly waiting for him to finish. He had removed his jacket, loosened his tie and rolled up his sleeves. Maria had never seen him dressed so casually. His head was resting on his hand as he furiously scribbled away on the paper in front of him. If it had been one of the children she would have been lecturing them about proper posture for writing but she thought better than to mention it to the Captain who appeared to be having some difficulty finishing off his work.

"There, I'm so sorry but I didn't quite manage to get that finished before dinner." He cleared away the papers and then walked to the front of the desk. He put his hands behind him and leaned on the desk smiling awkwardly at Maria.

"Erm, can I get you a drink, Fraulein?"

"Oh no, thank you, I really shouldn't."

"Do you mind if I have one?" the Captain pushed himself away from the table and pointed towards the drinks cabinet.

Maria shook her head and watched as he poured himself what she considered to be a large amount of whiskey into a crystal glass. Having done so, the Captain returned to his desk and took a seat behind it once more.

"So…" the Captain paused and threaded his fingers together in front of the glass that was now resting on the desk.

"Yes, Captain?" Maria asked curiously, wondering why he appeared to be so tentative.

"You've been teaching the children how to sing together." It seemed more like a statement than a question and Maria just looked at him curiously not sure if she could sense some irritation in his voice.

"I trust they have been doing as well in their academic studies?" he asked, when Maria failed to reply.

"Oh, yes, they are very studious and such quick learners, even the little ones," Maria answered proudly. "But about the song…"

"What about the song, Fraulein?"

"Are you angry that I taught them how to sing?"

The captain slumped back into his chair. As he lifted his arms to run his fingers through his hair, Maria noticed how his shirt clung tightly to his chest accentuating his muscular physique.

"The children already knew how to sing, I just haven't allowed them to do so in quite some time. I'm afraid after Agathe died I tried to shut everything out. Even my children. I'm not proud of it, I just don't know how to put it right," he shrugged his shoulders before taking a large gulp of whiskey.

"Well, you could start by being around more often," Maria winced at how accusatory her remark had been and she noticed that the Captain visibly stiffened as he sat in his chair.

"Yes, well, I won't be going anywhere for quite some time I shouldn't think," he sighed, wearily.

"I'm sorry, I'm really far too outspoken, it's one of my worst faults," Maria shrank back in her chair.

"I'd already noticed that, Fraulein. But… I think that it's I who should really apologise. The way I spoke to you on your first day was unforgivable. I'm afraid I had a few things on my mind."

For once, the Captain hadn't been angry about her advice and Maria pondered on whether in fact God had sent her there as a sounding board for the Captain. Someone to open up to who might be able to help him with his grief and uncertainty. So, she decided to take advantage of his apparent good mood and direct the conversation down another path.

"I'm sorry that things didn't go very well with Baroness Schrader. I was hoping…"

"What do you know about Baroness Schrader?" he asked sharply.

"Oh, err, only that…" Maria could sense that she had misjudged him and she saw the anger rising in his face. "Well, Herr Detweiller mentioned that you were possibly going to be married but that because of something that happened in Vienna, you won't… now…be." Maria began to cringe, it was the wrong thing to say, she knew it instantly.

"Max needs to learn to keep his nose out of other people's affairs and you Fraulein… you need to stick to looking after my children."

"I'm sorry, Captain, it's just that I so hoped they would be getting a new mother."

"For God's sake… "the Captain seethed. "The children had a mother, she died. No one can replace her."

"No… no, of course not, I didn't mean to imply that anyone could replace her, only that the children desperately need a mother figure in their lives."

"I think that will be all, Fraulein… now if you'll excuse me." The Captain stood and guided Maria out of the room.

She wasn't quite sure exactly where she had gone wrong. She knew he was unpredictable and it was something that she would have to bear in mind for future conversations. She retired to her room and as soon as sleep took her, she was once again sailing the rough seas with Captain Longscar.

XXx

As the weeks went by, Maria and the Captain continued to meet regularly about the children. The Captain didn't always agree with Maria's way of doing things, which did lead to the occasional argument but he couldn't deny that his children were flourishing under her care.

The singing continued and they even managed to get their father to join them, much to Maria's great joy. He had a lovely singing voice Maria thought and she could quite imagine how it must have been when the whole family had sung together, Agathe right in the middle directing them all and the Captain on the piano. It turned out that he was quite musical, something which surprised Maria but also ignited her feelings for him. Now that music had been reintroduced to the house she would often hear the delicate strains of some melody or other drifting on the air. It was always the Captain who seemed to find peace whilst he played the piano. Maria never disturbed him for she understood that it was a particularly personal and private time for him.

She was incredibly conflicted about how she felt. The time when she would have to leave the family was quickly approaching and the prospect of returning to a cloistered lifestyle didn't sit well with her. She desperately wanted to serve God and fulfil his will but she wasn't certain that becoming a nun was what God truly had planned for her.

If her dreams were anything to go by she most definitely wasn't cut out to be a nun. Nearly every morning she awoke in a hot sweat and there was only ever one person to blame. However, at least it meant that she had an endless supply of pirate stories to tell the children which she continued to do nearly every bedtime.

It wasn't only Maria who had become fond of her roguish pirate. Every night, the Captain sneaked up the stairs when he knew Maria would be telling his children their bedtime stories. Ever since the night he had returned from Vienna and had overheard her telling them the preposterously stereotypical story of Captain Longscar swinging from the ships rigging, he had felt compelled to listen.

So, as usual, he gave Maria a few minutes to get the children changed and settled into bed and then he tiptoed up the stairs and listened quietly outside their bedroom door. He had to put his hand over his mouth to stop him from laughing and being caught out as Maria dramatically told them how the Captain had come by the scar on his chin. He had long since realised that Maria's stories were based on him. At one point, not that long ago he would have been furious and put a stop to her ridiculous stories but for some reason, the fact that she had made them about him was a thrill to him. For some time, he had realised that he had feelings for his Governess, although up until now he wasn't exactly certain if it was only gratitude for all she had done for them.

"As the Captain struggled to free his shipmate from the giant sea monster, it flicked out one of its razor-sharp tentacles and caught him on the chin. He cried out in pain as blood gushed from the large gash below his bottom lip."

Maria could see that some of the children were becoming frightened, so she quickly turned the story around and had the Captain slay the monster condemning it to the murky depths of the ocean.

"And so, the Captain and his crew sailed off into the sunset. Safe to fight another day."

The youngest children clapped and cheered as Maria gestured for them to calm down. All safely tucked up in bed, Maria kissed each of them on the forehead and bid them goodnight.

She blew kisses at them as she backed slowly out of the door not realising that the Captain was still standing at the other side. She bumped into him with a small squeal and turned to see him standing with his own finger raised to his lips to silence her.

She pulled the door shut and stood before him, somewhat surprised.

"Was there something that you wanted, Captain?" she asked, bemused.

"Fraulein… I'm afraid that your handsome pirate didn't quite come by his scar in the heroic way you imagine," he smiled, revelling in the fact that she had turned a vivid shade of red. It was happening again, only this time it was a hundred times worse than Brigitta having caught her out.

"I have no idea what you mean. He's a character, a figment of my imagination that I decided to share with the children and anyway, you shouldn't have been listening," Maria barked abruptly, embarrassed by his assumptions, even though they were true.

"Well, whatever you say. But aren't you the slightest bit interested in how I came by this?" he fingered the rough skin below his lip.

As she watched him rub his finger over his bottom lip and chin she became hot and she could feel her stomach flutter. "I suppose… I mean, if you want to tell me it would be rude not to show an interest," Maria tried to reply nonchalantly not betraying how flustered she really felt and how eager she was to find out.

Gesturing for her to follow him, the Captain made his way down the sweeping stairs towards his study, where a welcoming fire crackled in the ornate grate.

"Take a seat and when you're comfortable, Fraulein. Then I'll begin," he smiled, happy that she had settled into the leather armchair beside the fire.

Glass in hand he came to rest on the settee next to Maria's chair. He placed the glass down on the floor and rested his elbows on his knees, looking at Maria intently.

"Only Max is fully aware of the circumstances around this," he pointed again to his chin. "It isn't something that I'm proud of, I'm afraid."

Maria settled back into the chair and listened.

"Not long after we found out that Agathe was expecting our first child, I was asked to consider taking up a commission that would see me absent at sea for some considerable time. It was my choice, I didn't have to take it and Agathe made it quite clear that she wasn't happy about it. It would mean that I would be away when our first child was born. I accepted the commission without her knowledge and she was furious. We had a blazing argument and she picked up the first thing that came to hand and threw it at me," he shrugged with embarrassment as he looked to Maria for some sort of reaction. When she remained silent he continued.

"The picture frame hit me squarely on the chin, it ripped into my skin and it began to bleed profusely. She regretted it instantly but she was so frightened that I wouldn't come home and would never see our baby."

"I can understand that she would be unhappy about it. I'm sorry if my silly stories have brought back unhappy memories, Captain," Maria was genuinely sorry that she had made up her stories, she knew that they were a bad idea ever since Brigitta had caught on so quickly.

"No, it's not your fault, Fraulein. In fact, Agathe would have been quite amused, being compared to a sea monster," he smiled at Maria. "I've been thinking about the past a lot lately." He reached down and picked up his glass, taking a small sip, he sat back and rested the glass against his chest. "I took the commission and I was away when Liesl was born. When I came back, Agathe and I made our peace and I'm ashamed to say that Liesl wasn't the last one of my children that I missed welcoming into the world."

Maria sat forward and rested her forearms on her knees, clasping her hands together in front of her.

"Well, your children don't know that you weren't there and I know that your wife loved you dearly, you mustn't dwell too much on things that cannot be undone."

"It's very easy to say, Fraulein but there are many things in my life that I regret. None more so, the fact that I did not make the most of the time that I had with my dear, Agathe. I ran away every time she needed me. I couldn't live up to my responsibilities."

"Oh Captain, I'm sure no one could have loved their wife more than you loved yours. I can see that in the way that your heart is still broken."

"No… I should have loved her more… perhaps if I had she…" Georg slumped forward on the settee, his elbows rested on his knees and his hands buried in his hair. The very vision of him broken before her made Maria's eyes sting with tears. She moved to kneel beside him and she placed one hand on his knee and the other gently on his back and began to rub in small circles to soothe him.

"Then Captain, if you'll forgive me for saying this," she whispered softly, "please don't make the same mistake with your children."

The Captain looked up and reached out to take Maria's hand.

"Thank you for all that you have done for us, Fraulein. I'm not sure what might have become of us if it hadn't been for you. You are the only person since Agathe died that has been able to make me see that I don't know my children."

"There's still time, Captain, they want so much to be close to you," Maria whispered.

Lifting Maria's hand to his lips the Captain kissed the back of her hand softly.

"I want you to stay…. I ask you stay, please don't go back to the Abbey," he pleaded.

"If I can be of any help…"

"You have already… more than you know," Georg von Trapp brought his hand up to Maria's face and cupped her cheek gently. Feeling the warmth of his hand, Maria nestled into him before dropping her head contentedly to his lap.

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