A/N: I have really let the history student (and music school dropout) in me be free in this story, though I have tried to restrain her.

The lyrics I used to inspire this chapter are from "Foreigner's God" by Hozier, which I do not own.

I also do not own TSOM or "Lay Down Your Head" from Violet (I personally recommend the version by Audra McDonald).

Her eyes look sharp and steady

Into the empty parts of me

Still my heart is heavy

With the hate of some other man's beliefs

Georg awoke with a start, too tired to open his eyes. He could not remember ever being so tired after leaving a deep sleep. His lips turned up into a slow smile as he remembered that he was a man on his honeymoon, and that he and his wife often did not get to sleep until quite late into the night or early in the morning. But what had they done last night that had so completely exhausted him? Even after long days walking the Louvre over their first week in Paris his limbs had not felt so heavy!

Allowing himself to wake up a little more, a shiver ran through Georg as the chill of his environment finally hit his senses. Something wasn't right. It was far too cold in their suite. Perhaps his wife had stolen the covers again or left a window open. He extended his arm, hoping to find Maria, draw her closer, and fall back asleep. He was startled into opening his eyes when she wasn't there and his bare hand hit a patch of grass instead of the silk sheets of their honeymoon suite. Eyes opening, he saw the sky above him, the mountains around him, and it all came flooding back: their return to Aigen. Their escape. The festival. The Abbey. Zeller. Not far to his left, Georg eyed a large mass of sleeping forms and knew it was his children. They had been such good sports, not complaining until several hours into the journey and still walking for several more after that. It would only be a few hours more before they had crossed the border.

But where was Maria?

On instinct, he felt on either side of him for any sign of his wife, finding none. As he began to sit up, frantic with fear, he hissed at the stabbing pain in his lower back. Carrying Gretl had been the best option to make quick time, but it had apparently taken a toll on him.

"Georg?" Maria whispered, her husband relaxing as he heard her voice. "Are you alright?" He heard her soft footsteps as she made her way to him, placing a hand on his shoulder.

"I woke up and you weren't there, we weren't in bed… I was just disoriented," he whispered, kissing the hand resting near his head.

"I'm sorry, love, I was just under the tree over there," Maria told him, nodding in the direction of where she had been sleeping. It was more comfortable to be leaned up against the tree, she had discovered, than flat against the rocky ground. "I didn't want to wake you just to tell you I was moving; you looked so peaceful and we all needed rest."

It was true- Maria had sat up against the tree, feeling guilty every time her eyelids began to droop. She knew she needed to sleep, but she couldn't reconcile her exhaustion with the overwhelming urge she felt to protect her family. She had watched the children huddle closer together for warmth in their sleep, and the sight made her smile. Now they laid in one large pile of bodies and coats, rising and falling as one as they inhaled and exhaled. Content that they were asleep for the night, she had shifted slightly to watch her husband. In Paris, she had come to find that watching him sleep was when she saw him most at peace, and it had become something she reveled in doing. With a frown, Maria had noticed that tonight he looked rather tormented in his sleep, so unlike the peaceful slumber of Paris. Perhaps he, like her, could only ever get half asleep up here, one ear always strained for the sound of approaching footsteps.

"I was just worried-" his breath hitched, and he pulled her hand from his shoulder, tugging her to sit next to him.

"I know," she replied softly, giving him a somber smile. "I was on edge, too. I don't think I was ever more than half asleep. Every sound felt like someone coming for us."

They sat quietly for a while, exhausted but unable to fall back asleep, watching the children with contentment. It was a while before Georg turned to her, and Maria was surprised to see tears in his eyes.

"I hate him. I hate him so much, and hate everyone who supports him so blindly," Georg cried softly, resting his head on Maria's shoulder like she had done to him so many times. "How do they not see that what he promises is impossible? And that the blame he places on the Jews belongs to the mistakes of the Central Powers during the war?"

Maria, in a rare moment, was at a loss for words. She knew the children could be awake and listening, and she didn't want the younger ones hearing about the details Georg had told her over their conversations about leaving. The camps, the forced labor, the torture… They were sleeping poorly enough as it was in the mountains, nightmares about those atrocities would not help them in the long nights ahead.

"He has taken advantage of a people who are lost and struggling, you know that." She replied.

"And yet they believe every word he says," his voice was bitter, and she didn't blame him, but she knew that harboring so much anger was no good for anyone.

"He gives them no choice, Georg. He has filled their homes, their churches, their schools, their marriages with his ideas... You have been lost, Georg," she began slowly, pressing her cheek to his head. "If someone had offered you an easy way out of that darkness, that hopelessness, wouldn't you have taken it? Don't tell me you wouldn't have, because you did."

"Maria, surely you aren't comparing my-"

"I'm not," she sighed. "The situation you were in was so vastly different. But you were lost. The Baroness offered you an easy way out, didn't she? Especially after I ran away…" Maria trailed off then, hoping her brain would catch up to her mouth. "It is the promise of not being so helpless that is alluring, not the matter of how one gets there. You did not love her as a husband should, but the thought that you one day might was enough. For both of you."

She was relieved when Georg nodded, nuzzling her shoulder as he did so. He thought he was being stealthy, but Maria knew he was wiping his tears as well. She began running a hand through his hair as she began speaking again. "Georg, the German people are so devastated. They are starving, and every aspect of their lives has been filled with brainwashing, promising hope… More than anything, I pity the people following him with hope. People who love him and his ideas disgust me," she almost spat, "but the common people, like my parents were, with no knowledge of politics, and no way to access the outside perspective we have thanks to your connections overseas, are only going to be disappointed again when his plans fail."

"Or dead," Georg added, looking up at her sadly.

"As much as you grieve the loss of your navy, the empire… We came out of the Great War so much better off than the Germans. And I have trouble blaming the common people when they have no idea what's really going on," Maria said quietly. "When they find out, then they will have a choice to make, and their continued support will then earn my disdain."

"And for now?" He asked, sighing as he leaned his head against her again.

"For now, I have a family that is safe and close to the border of Switzerland. I find it hard to care about anything else," she replied earnestly.

He looked at her then, eyes burning with all the love he couldn't put into words. Her Captain kissed her softly, and motioned with his head for her to lay beside him as he went back to sleep. Georg tried to hide his grimace as he used the muscles of his lower back again, but it was no use.

"Oh, Georg…" she breathed. "Is it very bad?"

"I will manage, but I can't carry Gretl tomorrow," he admitted. He hated being vulnerable, but he knew that attempting to carry Gretl again in the morning would slow down the entire family. Vulnerability was preferable to that danger.

"We are close enough to the border that it shouldn't be a problem," Maria assured him. "Now turn over."


"Turn over, and let me help you now before it gets worse," she said, smiling as he laid on his stomach. Carefully, she folded up the bottom half of his coat, leaving just his shirt between his skin and her fingers. With practiced hands, she knelt beside him and began to massage the area causing him pain. Maria had learned on their honeymoon that he had sustained an injury to his lower back during the war and it still pained him from time to time. Thankfully, he had also shown her how to treat the pain the way kind nurses once had after she had insisted that she wanted to know.

"Thank you," he sighed, her hands working magic on the aching muscles.

Maria sat next to him, hands busy, humming absentmindedly to herself as she thought back to the last time she had massaged him this way during their glorious time in Paris. Had they really only returned that morning? Even after deciding to cut their honeymoon short, her husband had assured her that they would have at least a week or two at the villa to prepare for their departure from Austria. In that time, he had promised, they would get used to married life with the children at their side, and the children would be able to become more comfortable with her new status as their mother. That brief time had been stolen from them, too.

Georg was laying contently, feeling his tense muscles relax, listening to his wife's humming that was only interrupted by the occasional sigh. He wondered if she, like him, was remembering how different things had been just a day ago. How this massage would have so easily turned into something more. It wouldn't lift either of their spirits if he asked her and reminded them both how harsh their current conditions were compared to the carefree luxury of Paris.

"What is that you're singing?" He asked.

"Hmm…" Maria stilled her movements, sitting back on her haunches to think. "I don't know the name of it, or where I learned it. I just know the song," she shrugged. "I must have overheard it at college somewhere." She made to move her hands back to him, but he stopped her.

"We wouldn't have made it without you, Maria," he said softly, rolling himself over to lay on his side and face her.

Her smile was soft and watery. "I know. The Abbey really was close by, it was a natural idea to me but may not have occurred to you."

"Not just that, Maria. What if..." He let himself trail off as he felt himself choke up. "What if we had never met you? What would have become of us? Would I have let my hatred for Hitler consume me just as I let my grief steal three years from my family? I was devastated enough to lose the empire, but to lose Austria itself..." It was something Georg had been considering more and more as their plans to escape became more concrete. Looking at his wife, he could see she was waiting for him to finish his thought. "I am not sure I would have saved my family without you saving us first."

"That's not true at all," she countered, a small noise of exhaustion escaping her as she stood up and offered him her hand. They quietly made their way over to the tree where Maria had been sleeping before and sat down. Her head instinctively fell to his shoulder, their joined hands laying on his thigh, and he couldn't contain his smile as he rested his cheek upon her head.

It was a futile argument to have, though they had bickered about it countless times even before their relationship began, her supposedly "saving" him and his family. But now, raw with emotion and exhaustion, Maria knew that she didn't want to spend any more time talking about the past and all its sadness more than necessary. After all, isn't that what Georg had taught her? That the present and the future were what should be most important to them? But he was still talking, and in a way it gave Maria an immense sense of pride to hear after a day of feeling constantly beaten down, always a step behind.

"No, Maria, you are the only reason the children were singing in the festival, or singing to begin with. Beyond the Abbey, that was our only chance at an escape. I had not counted on them being so far ahead of me."

"Surely you would have made whatever your situation was work, Georg," she sighed. "You would have found a way to save everyone, with or without me."

"I just don't know, Maria." The way he was playing with her hands made her think he had more to say. "I know I would have saved the children, even if it meant sending them to boarding school or to live with Agathe's parents in England, but myself? It was you who made me worth saving," he admitted, his voice and heart heavy. It felt a little lighter now, having voiced his concern to her. How could he have ever imagined doing that to himself or the children?

"You were always worth saving, darling," Maria assured him.

"Well, then it was you who made me see that I was worth saving, and that my relationship with the children could be saved. I thought everything in my life was beyond repair."

"Even Max?" Maria asked, a teasing tone entering her voice as she jumped at the chance to end the sorrowful conversation. To talk further would only lead to heightened emotions and brooding on the part of her husband.

"Especially Max," he chuckled. Georg could feel his eyelids getting heavy, and knew Maria was growing more tired by the way she drew up her knees, tentatively placing her legs so her knees rested lightly on his torso.

"Is this alright, darling?" The last thing she wanted was to hurt his back further.

"This is just perfect, Maria," he whispered, kissing the top of her head gently. She tilted her head up to his, giving him a quick kiss before returning to her place on his chest.

"I have a hard time believing that you find this perfect knowing that the last time we awoke together, it was in Paris," Maria smiled.

"A wise woman once told me that when it is hard to care about anything else when you have a family that is safe and close to the border of Switzerland," he whispered.

"Oh, Georg," she sighed. "I love you."

"Will you sing it for me?" He asked softly. "The song from before?" Georg closed his eyes, letting the weight of his head rest entirely on hers as she began to lull him to sleep.

Lay down your head and sleep, sleep

I'll be your pillow, soft and deep

Leave me your troubles, I will keep your days gone by

Your days gone by

Lay down your head and dream, dream

You're so much gentler than you seem

Is there a chance you might redeem my days gone by, my days gone by

And oh, his breath is so warm, mine is short

And my ears are ringing


Lay down your head and sleep, sleep

I will be pleased your soul to keep

Give yourself over to the deep of days gone by

Of days gone by