Gilbert Blythe stepped off the train at the Carmody station with a buzz of anticipation and excitement. The warm spring air gently blew the fragrance of blossoms, apple and cherry and perennials alike, and he breathed in two lungfuls of it as he lowered his cap further onto his brow. He had no luggage to collect and managed to dodge the arriving and departing passengers on the platform. He escaped to the green tree-lined roadside which lead the way to Avonlea. In truth, Gilbert did not want to be recognized and for the first time he was happy with his disheveled look. His appearance and attire was not a thought-out disguise but instead a sad reality of his circumstance. He rather looked like the beggars and peddlars which would occasionally make appearances in the small village. It had been over four years since he had been on the Island. Four years since his gut wrenching departure from that very station - and four years since he had last seen his wife.

His wife.

He slowed his legs at this, the memory of Anne as his wife nearly winding him. Standing on the grassy bank of the road, he dropped his small dark bag and hunched over with his hands on his knees, and took in several more lungfuls of air. Finally he stooped to pick up his bag and continued his journey to Avonlea.

At this moment in time he was not Dr. Blythe nor was he Officer Blythe. He was a recently released civilian...a bird set free. His wages, earned by serving as a medical officer along the front lines, were the very first of the items which were stripped of him when he was captured by the Germans. Gilbert was destitute. In November 1918 the Great War was ended and most prisoners of war were released - but Gilbert was not. He had been detained as a private doctor by an ailing German commander. Gilbert had been transported to a private house and was given a small room with a comfortable bed, full meals, the ability to maintain his appearance, and whatever medical books he required. All other freedoms, such as the ability to write or make telephone calls, were strictly prohibited with monumental consequences. He only had to stave off the embarrassing effects of late-stage syphilis in his captor. It was life or death. If his captor perished it had been arranged that Gilbert was to as well. Then one night, in the deep hours of the night, a quiet knock on the door awoke him and in barged the teenage daughter of his captor with news. Gilbert's one and only patient had died quietly only minutes before and surely his own wellbeing would be determined by the rest of the family in the morning. The young woman quickly provided the doctor with a small amount of cash, just enough to cover his passage back to mainland Canada. In a flash Gilbert had packed his meager belongings and was quietly escorted to the servants door near the rear of the house. For a moment he considered spending a large chunk of his new money on a telegram to Avonlea but chose not to risk being able to pay for his journey. Instead he ran directly to the train station, bought a ticket for the next train to the closest port city and to get the hell out of Europe once and for all. Finally he boarded the ship destined for Halifax. He now only had enough money to spare for the smallest meals and the fares for the ferry and train to Green Gables.

Eventually Gilbert approached the now immaculate yard of Green Gables. The buzzing in his body was now more akin to a roiling boil as his heart raced. He climbed the two steps onto the verandah and found himself pausing before the door.

Was he to knock? It was, after all, their house. Another moment of realization jolted through his body. This was their home. He should have shared it with Anne. No, he had merely lived in the house for a few weeks before he chose to leave everything he worked so long for.

So, he knocked. The nervousness and anticipation was churning in his abdomen. His ears buzzed loudly. His finger tips tingled as if they contained voltage.

There was no answer and so he knocked yet again. Still, there was no answer.

Now he reached out a hand and attempted to turn the door knob. Locked.

The feeling of excitement was abruptly dashed by the disappointment of Anne not being at home. Inducing Anne's imagination within his brain, he searched the verandah for a spare key. Where would Anne have hid it? Several minutes later Gilbert was still key-less and began on Plan B. He stepped down to the ground and made is way to the side of the house, checking the kitchen door. No entry would be permitted through it and so he began to check the windows. He discovered a window which had not been closed properly. With effort he nudged the window open wide enough for Gilbert to force his body through. As he landed in the kitchen at Green Gables he chuckled to himself. He was practically breaking into his own home.

For a moment he stood in the bright kitchen. He took in the appearance of the room and attempted to match it with the version he stored in his memory. Some things were different but many were the same. He moved out of the kitchen and into the parlour. The room was in perfect condition - Anne had obviously had the fire damage repaired. Gilbert continued his exploration and noticed the wall of book-lined shelves. He stopped in front of it and read through the various titles and authors. His heart nearly exploded when he came to a row of several books - two bearing the name of Anne Shirley but two more were under Anne Blythe. Gilbert's breath caught as his realized that Anne must have become a successful writer while he had been away. He was tempted to pick up a book and immediately begin to read but instead he chose to explore the rest of the house. He moved to a small room off of the parlour which housed a large desk, more bookshelves, and several filing drawers. Anne had turned this room into her study. Gilbert made his way to the desk to reach out his hand to the typewriter and imagine the many hours Anne would have spent sitting there typing like a mad woman. He smiled as visions of their short time in New York came to him.

Next he moved upstairs to their bedroom. Once again a heat burned through his chest as he stood in the doorway and took in the view of their bed. On a side table stood their wedding portrait and alongside it was Anne's Bible. He chose not to rummage through the drawers as he felt a bit as if it would invade her privacy. Instead he began to search for his own belongings. First he thoughtlessly walked to the wardrobe but only items of Anne's clothing were contained within it. He almost laughed out loud to himself when he realized that of course his clothes would not be hanging in the everyday closet. For a moment he considered going directly to the attic next. This consideration caused his heart to ache. Would Anne have packed up his things and moved them to such a deserted place as the attic? An infinite moment of panic rose in his belly as for the first time he imagined the idea of Anne moving on without him. Fortunately the photo on the bedside table became his touchstone and the panic subsided. If she kept their wedding photo near then perhaps she kept his belongings near.

He made his way back into the hallway and opened the next door, which now appeared to be the spare bedroom. Along the wall was a large trunk. Gilbert walked to it and lifted the heavy lid to his treasure. He sorted through the various items, mostly clothes - but he did find his spare toothbrush and shaving kit and two pairs of shoes and three hats. He brought the trunk's lid closed and carefully picked it up and brought it into their bedroom. From there he organized his items and walked to the room which he knew usually contained the tub. He filled the tub with hot water while wondering when and how Anne was able to afford to have modern plumbing installed. She had to have really found success in her career. Gilbert sank into the hottest bath he had taken in nearly five years. He scrubbed and washed, lathered and rinsed, and then laid back to relax. His ears were always pricked and ready to listen for the sound of Anne coming through the door. How wonderful and funny would it be for Anne to discover him home and in the bath tub? Perhaps she would strip off her clothing and join him? He lived in that imagined idea for several minutes before the discomfort of rapidly cooling water and wrinkled finger tips took over. Gilbert stepped out of the bath and into a towel, drying himself as he prepared for his first shave in over two weeks. Fifteen minutes later a newer, more recognizable Gilbert Blythe strolled to their bedroom with a towel wrapped around his waist. He dressed as a proper gentleman and acknowledged once again that he was a free man and not an officer or prisoner.

Gilbert then walked back down the stairs and into the kitchen, scouring the pantry for a quick and easy meal. He didn't dare leave the house, even for firewood, lest someone see him. He was determined that the next person he would gaze upon should be his wife. He found a package of saltines and in the icebox he found some cheese and the remnants of a ham. He made himself a small plate of these and carried it to the parlour. He placed his plate onto an end table and moved back to the bookshelf. He removed the first book written under Anne Blythe and then settled onto the settee to read, pausing periodically for a bit of food from his plate.

Moments into the first chapter the telephone rang. Gilbert was not familiar with the Green Gables ring and even if he had been, he would never have answered the call. That's all it would take for the whole of Avonlea to know that he was back home.

Gilbert lived in his happy solitude for over a day, although the nervous expectation of Anne's arrival was beginning to wear on him. At any moment she could walk through the door.

He had spent his first night at home alone in their bed. He had chosen the side which was obviously not Anne's and eventually fell into a fitful sleep. Gilbert had long fantasized of his first night back at Green Gables. For one, Anne was to have been with him. In his visions they rarely got much sleep and were instead busy with other more important matters. However, at the end of his fantasy they always settled into eachothers arms and fell into the most sound slumber, however short it was to be. Instead his reality was a chilled room and buried deep in a heavy blanket with no wife to keep warm.

Early the next afternoon Gilbert was in their bedroom hanging his clothing when his agony was ended and he heard the front door open. His head shot up and he froze. Anne was home.

He could hear her heavy sigh and the thunk of her suitcase against the floor as she set it down. He heard her set her keys onto the table. Then he panicked. How was he to make her aware of his presence? He was upstairs. She was downstairs. Was he to stomp down the stairs and say, "Surprise, Anne! I'm home!" and terrify her half to death?

He found himself standing at the top of the stairs. Somehow, with his brain occupied with these thoughts, his body took over and carried him to the spot. He began to quietly move down the stairs when the telephone rang. He paused.

"Hello?" He heard Anne's voice for the first time in so many months.

"Oh yes, I quite literally just walked in the door," she had responded to the caller. A pause and then, "Oh, it went well. The publishers are pleased with the final draft and it should be sent for printing next week."

Another pause. "Perhaps tomorrow, Di darling. It's been a long day already and I think I may just stay at home. Goodness, I'm not sure if I will ever get used to big cities. Boston was more hectic than even London was. It was busier than I remember it being."

A few more sentences were exchanged between Anne and Diana. Gilbert by this time had come to the bottom of the stairs and now stood in the same room as Anne. She had been facing opposite his direction while on the call. As she placed the receiver back onto the telephone Gilbert lightly cleared his throat, attempting to gently make his presence known.

At the noise, Anne shrieked and spun around, prepared to attack her intruder. Within a moment she froze and her face went white.

"Gilbert Blythe?! she gasped.

A wide grin spread across his face. It had been so long since anyone addressed him by his given name and the sound of it from Anne's lips was heavenly.

He removed his hands from his pockets and replied, "Yes, Anne. I'm home now."

So, this idea has been rolling around in my head ever since I first saw The Continuing Story. So yes, 19 years. I loved the first two movies before I read the books and while I was completely shocked at the turn of the story I still instantly loved it. Even before I knew fanfic existed I had created my own alternate ending. The idea has changed many times over the years - at one point Anne had become a successful song writer and it took on a modern setting. Like what...?

Anyway, I chose to format it properly and publish it now that I have crossed into the world of writing. So, in my head - Anne still goes to Europe to search for Gilbert but without the assistance of anyone (ahem, Jack Garrison) she ultimately concedes defeat and returns home to PEI. She writes two stories, back to back, and has them published with a third on the way. Anne and Gilbert resume their life together and eventually have a bunch of kids named Joy (whom sadly passes away shortly after birth), Jem, Walter, Nan and Di, Shirley and Rilla. They eventually move from Green Gables and into a seaside town referred to as Glen St Mary. Their home is called Ingleside and they meet new life-long friends. Gilbert miraculously sends a patient away for a new treatment of memory loss. IE: Let's resume the plot at House of Dreams/Anne of Ingleside. Maybe Rilla of Ingleside takes place in WW2 - haven't thought that far into it.

Hope you enjoyed. It does feel good to not have this idea cooped up in my head anymore. I feel a bit empty, actually!

And ta-da! THE END :D :D