Author's Note

Hello from the far reaches of time and space, where once I posted chapters on this site, with, admittedly, ever-decreasing regularity. It has been an exceedingly long time since I last updated, a situation for which I am truly sorry, though if any excuse was to suffice I think a global pandemic, unending lockdown and the supervision of half a year of home learning x2 might just about do it! I know so many of you can relate, and I send you a pained smile of understanding and unlimited chocolate.

If you are a faithful follower of this story, thank you so very much, and I hope this final small snippet makes you smile. If you are new to this story, a huge welcome, and I hope you might be tempted enough to dive in. It has 21 (now complete!) T-rated chapters and 3 M-rated chapters. If you would like to read everything sequentially then at the end of Ch 20 here, please pop over to M-land and read the chapters in O! Let me have thee whole! all – all – be mine! Which is just an incredibly complicated way of saying I wrote three reasonably tame chapters about Anne and Gilbert's wedding night, in which they take an interminable amount of time to take off their clothes, mostly because they spend an awful lot of time talking and sprouting Keats. As you do.

Then you are invited to read this last little chapter here, with my gratitude.

You will notice this story is now complete. In that it is FINISHED. In that I actually, fantastically, amazingly, finished a story on this site. That has not yet happened before. Those who know me well will appreciate the extraordinary nature of this achievement.

Thank you again to everyone who has persevered with this story, which was only initially intended to be a short diversion; a little experiment for a largely AU writer to take on something that tried to stick close to canon. It has morphed into something that was an unexpected delight to write and an absolute thrill to have you read and respond to. It has brought me many new readers for which I'm grateful, and thank you to anyone who also dipped their toes into my other stories as a result. With this now completed I can refocus my attention on The Land of Heart's Desire, my alternative take on Anne of the Island, and also my modern AU Betwixt the Stars. Despite very long periods away from both of these endeavours I am still committed to them.

I do intend to write a canon-compliant sequel to Let Love clasp Grief, as I announced a long time ago; a retelling of Anne's House of Dreams from Leslie Moore's point of view entitled And Leave But Ashes. I am very excited about this and am beavering away at it, but will not post anything until I have completed at least ONE of my other ongoing stories, because otherwise that way madness lies, and I am dancing on the edge enough as it is!

Thank you to everyone who has left a review, and especial thanks to those who have encouraged and bolstered along the way. Your kindness is treasured and is never taken for granted. Thank you to anyone who has left a comment on this or my other stories in recent months, helping me along when it was hard to even contemplate being creative. And thank you once again to my own Anne-girls, who are the unexpected kindred spirits I didn't expect to find and now cannot do without x

With thanks again to this wonderful community. Last month I celebrated three years on this site. How much poorer would my life have been without this.

Take care out there, more than ever.

With love

MrsVonTrapp x

Chapter Twenty One



"Feet!" Dr Gilbert Blythe decided, with a firmness to strong jaw that belied the mischievous gleam of hazel eyes.

"Feet?" Anne Blythe giggled with abandon, lifting her skirts enough to expose delicate, scandalously bare ankles and the twin appendages in question. "Surely not, Gilbert! My feet cannot be the part of me you spend your fantasies on. I won't allow it!"

"Well, your freckles, then," he remained nonplussed. "All eleven of them."

"There are only seven, as you well know!" came exasperated reply.

"I'm not talking about the ones we can currently see, Anne-girl," he replied with silken bravado, raising a taunting eyebrow to accompany his smirk.

Anne refused to redden; instead she caught his smile and held it close to her.

"And what of my favourite part of your good self, Gil? Are you at all curious?"

He wore the wondering look about him she had come to love these past two months; half pleased-for-himself husband caught out contemplating the completeness of their new intimacy; and half blushing schoolboy not quite believing his good fortune. And wholly, utterly her Gilbert.

Anne crossed to him, stretched out in his chair during a rare moment of relaxation; the late sun streaming in through the wide dining room window and lighting his dark curls and smooth skin with a golden glow. She loved to be in a world where there were Octobers as much as ever, but perhaps nothing again would successfully match the magic of their honeymoon September, sequestered away in their beloved new home with world and time enough to explore one another – and, as he had promised, in various locations and settings that would have scandalised the good folk of Avonlea in general and a certain Mrs Rachel Lynde in particular.

Anne enfolded herself into Gilbert's lap and felt the warmth radiate from him; the instantaneous feeling of safety and security that he alone could bring, her ear resting against his chest to hear the beat of his heart as she might the sound of the sea whispering from a shell washed up on the shore below them. She took his large brown hand in hers and kissed it as she had on their wedding night, looking deeply into his bemused eyes.

"I told you once, that these hands would calm a fevered brow or hold someone aching for breath. That they would soothe and seek and safeguard. I love every part of you, Gil, but these hands most of all. I want them to hold me tight to you forever."

He obeyed her wish with an enthusiasm that morphed to fervour; informed by an ever-deepening understanding of her response to him and their need for one another. That need made Anne entirely too late in beginning dinner preparations, though Gilbert gallantly assured her the delay had been all in a very good cause.


The next evening found Young Doctor Blythe – the moniker having taken immediate and widespread effect – letting himself into the clamshell-hued cottage to be greeted by… silence. Well, to be fair, not exactly… there was the inviting crackle of the fire, improbably guarded by Gog and Magog; the comforting creak of the floorboards as he paced through to the kitchen… and the sigh of contentment escaping his lips as he slid into a seat, taking a moment to savour the note his wife had left him, propped up by a funny little milk jug found abandoned in the garden that Anne had commandeered for a makeshift vase, and which housed his offering left on her pillow this morning.

Gilbert was hungry enough to demolish the plate of supper Anne had left warming for him, but entirely too bone-weary to fetch it. Instead, he relaxed at the table, propping one lean cheek with a long fingered hand – the hand, he mused idly, so beloved by his wife. He smiled to think how his hands might be employed later that evening, amazed, but also entirely unsurprised, by how his thoughts were consumed by her the moment he shut the door on his work for the day… and sometimes, admittedly, during the day. But hadn't that always been the way for him? It had been Anne and only ever Anne since his head had encountered her slate. There will never be anyone for me but you. **

Just at he thought of her she materialised, bounding through the door and making a beeline for the kitchen herself, her light steps quickening as she noted him and slim arms surrounding his neck in a tight, loving squeeze.

"Darling Gil! You beat me back here tonight!" she breathed her excitement, and her shining eyes and windswept hair conjured a sea nymph; an enchantress, and he remembered how the moon had ensnared those eyes in liquid glow when he had joined with her in the sand dunes those weeks ago, as he had promised her on their wedding night.

He now caught a pearly hand in his and kissed the palm lovingly, tasting salt and secrets.

"You went to the shore tonight…" he murmured, seizing her arm and planting a kiss now at the crook of her elbow. "I can verily smell it on you, Anne-girl," he added approvingly.

"That I did, Dr Blythe," she took her favoured seat in his lap, "and I danced by the light of the full moon by the wild rock shore, and it was a scandalous sight to behold."

Gilbert enjoyed her lilting tone and the leading arch to her brow. "Did you indeed, Mrs Dr Blythe?"

"I wasn't alone, however."

"And now you will tell me you found some lonely gull for company," he grinned indulgently.

Anne shifted imperceptibly. "Not a gull… a girl."

This news made her husband focus a quizzical look on her, paused mid-smile.

"I met a certain neighbour of ours; Mrs Dick Moore herself."

Gilbert felt his brows shoot up to his hairline. There had been much conjecture between them about the occupants of the quiet grey house down the lane, and only vague possible sightings of the mysterious couple. He hadn't been yet called down to them, and Uncle Dave had forewarned him that it could be a long time before he might be, and to not worry if the former doctor was still quietly, surreptitiously, called instead. He had tried not to be offended by the prospect, knowing how unused to change folks could be.

"And what is your report of our mysterious Mrs Moore?"

Anne poured out her tale to Gilbert. * Of Leslie Moore's unparalleled beauty, and yet her acknowledged hatred of it; of her own love of the shore, but in only venturing out to it when she was certain not to meet another soul; of admitting to loneliness but still being reserved towards a possible new friend… she was a bundle of contradictions that made Anne chew her lip, fetchingly of course.

"So Mrs. Dick Moore isn't one of the race that knows Joseph?" said Gilbert teasingly.

"No-o-o, not exactly," Anne's brow clouded in thought. "And yet-I think she was one of them once, but has gone or got into exile," she continued musingly. "She is certainly very different from the other women about here. You can't talk about eggs and butter to her. To think I've been imagining her a second Mrs. Rachel Lynde! Have you ever seen Dick Moore, Gilbert?"

"No. I've seen several men working about the fields of the farm, but I don't know which was Moore."

"She never mentioned him. I know she isn't happy." His wife's voice dropped low, and Gilbert squeezed her tightly in reassurance.

"From what you tell me I suppose she was married before she was old enough to know her own mind or heart, and found out too late that she had made a mistake," he concluded, as if indeed Dr Blythe was making a diagnosis. "It's a common tragedy enough, Anne."

It might have been his tragedy, he paused, noting the fact to himself awkwardly. If Anne had married Roy, without properly knowing her own heart, let alone knowing his…

"A fine woman would have made the best of it. Mrs. Moore has evidently let it make her bitter and resentful." *** The words escaped his mouth before he could think better of them, and Anne turned to him, a little disappointed frown marking her lovely face.

"Don't let us judge her till we know," pleaded Anne, almost giving him a schoolmarm look of admonishment. "I don't believe her case is so ordinary. You will understand her fascination when you meet her, Gilbert. It is a thing quite apart from her beauty. I feel that she possesses a rich nature, into which a friend might enter as into a kingdom; but for some reason she bars every one out and shuts all her possibilities up in herself, so that they cannot develop and blossom." She paused, winding a rogue brown curl around her finger absently. "There, I've been struggling to define her to myself ever since I left her, and that is the nearest I can get to it."

"Well, Anne-girl, if anyone can solve the enigma of Mrs Moore, it's you."

"I'm sure I'll need some help, however. I'm going to ask Miss Cornelia about her."

"Well, make sure I'm not here for that!" he grinned wickedly, "or she might well march into the office and take over my sofa!"


Later that evening, as they finally readied themselves for bed, Anne stood by the little gable window, gazing down along where the little brook was now shrouded in darkness as it made its way towards the rambling grey house with the one light still burning brightly. She thought of Leslie Moore and her air of sadness; she thought of Miss Cornelia tucked up in her vivid green abode, ready to put the world to rights in the morning; she smiled to think of Captain Jim and First Mate ensuring his beloved light would beam protection across the water; she made a promise to Miss Elizabeth Russell to take extra care of her roses. Her silent prayer flew out to Marilla and Rachel; to Davy and Dora; to John and Ella Blythe and Diana and Fred and the children and all others in dear, beloved Avonlea; it curled around like smoke to disperse on the wind, bound for Kingsport and Summerside, Vancouver and Winnipeg, and even as far as Japan.

All these lives now intertwined with hers; all these stories informing her own. She used to think she would never belong; that she would hammer on closed doors, forever begging to be let in. But now she herself was the gatekeeper; protecting, supporting, safeguarding.

It's not what the world holds for you; it's what you bring to it… ** she had told Gilbert when they were engaged, and now she could properly add – and it's the people within it. Chief among them was the man she had known since a boy, currently whistling to himself in the way of his father, as he hung up his suit ready for tomorrow. Years ago, now, she had spent another night by another window, bargaining with God, prepared to promise anything, if only he might live. It had been too much to think that he might forgive her, let alone still love her… and incomprehensible, then, that not only would he make her his wife, but that it would be her own dearest wish.

Well… she smiled secretly to herself, perhaps not her only dearest wish anymore…

It was too early to tell, of course… probably even too early to include Gilbert in the poignantly-sweet dreams that were beginning to span life with their rainbows. Naturally, she would wait… but as she drew a quick hand to whisper across her torso she thought at the very least she was well entitled to wonder.

"You look like the cat who got the cream…" Gilbert's baritone rumbled against her ear, arms encircling her.

"That's because I am."

She leaned back against him as he hummed loving words against her throat, tracing his hands over the slim curves she newly hoped may not always remain so, and finally turned to face him and accept the kiss that found her lips and stole her breath.

"Gilbert Blythe! I thought you were exhausted!"

"I was, Anne Blythe. But that was before. Can't a man change his mind?"

"Most certainly…" Anne sighed, hands finding shoulders and curls before resting lovingly on his lean cheeks, grey eyes innocently wide. "But you might have warned me, so I could have donned Phil's nightgown for you instead."

Phil's gifted nightgown had made its first appearance some weeks ago, to great acclaim and admiration, and not a little awe.

"That nightgown would have given you an absolutely unreasonable advantage, my darling…" Gilbert admitted throatily, the light of memory firing his hazel eyes, "and I am at your mercy to begin with. I do have to get up early for patients tomorrow."

"Then why are we still talking?"

There were no further distinguishable words then, to be sure, but there was the delighted shriek of a wife, the warm, roguish chuckle of a husband, and the promise of the soft, knowing laughter that they would share with one another in the morning.


Chapter Notes

*All quotes here are taken from Anne's House of Dreams (Ch 10) unless otherwise indicated, and this is where my own story picks up again, after Cornelia's visit (Ch 8) and their evening with Captain Jim at the light (Ch 9).

**You all know my love of the Sullivan series, and I have included snippets from it throughout this story and thought surely a few favourite lines could muscle into this last chapter.

The first line – There will never be anyone for me but you is a beautiful simplification of the canon line that I have previously included, and that often gets lost in the tumble of words during the proposal in Ch 41 'Love Takes Up the Glass of Time'. The full canon line is of course lovely but a little wordier - There was nobody else - there never could be anybody else for me but you. The context Sullivan gives it, however, makes it very powerful to me, embodying Gilbert's faith, fidelity and overriding love for Anne, even desperately sick as he is at the time.

The second line is a Sullivan original – I've discovered it's not what the world holds for you, it's what you bring to it. I've always found it so inspirational, and very Anne. I hear it and I am instantly back on that bridge with them both.

***Gilbert's lines here. UGH. I really can't deal with them, but I had too, because they are canon and I also had to do justice to my Leslie of the future. But REALLY, Gilbert. I've tried to soften them as much as possible. It doesn't really help.