A/N: I started this oneshot for the AOGG/AWAE Secret Santa on Tumblr. More than six months after Christmas, I have finally delivered my gift for the user plutolittleplanetwithabigheart. Thank you for your patience!

This is my first time posting a story in the Anne of Green Gables category, although I have written a story for Anne with An E. There are so many talented writers in this category whose work I greatly admire. Here's my contribution to the world of Anne-fiction!

Copyright Disclaimer: Anne of Green Gables belongs to LM Montgomery, not me. No copyright infringement intended.

A Sonnet to Anne Shirley's Eyebrows, composed by Gilbert Blythe

The last days of summer always carry a sweet sense of sadness. The bright days of sunlight, the blooming flowers, and the splendor of green leaves will soon fade away as the days grow cold and the seasons change. Autumn would come with its awe-inspiring splendor, but nothing makes one cherish the present more than the knowledge that it would soon slip away.

Anne Shirley was acutely aware of that truth as she and her beloved Gilbert walked hand in hand through an open field. The tall grasses almost reached her waist, and she appreciated how the chilling air of early evening was rich with the scent of grass and flowers and ferns.

It had been three days since the proposal in Hester Gray's Garden, and in four days they Gilbert would head to Kingsport, and she would go to Summerside. If only she hadn't been so oblivious, so foolish, perhaps they could have had months or years together before this unfortunate parting of the ways. She stopped herself in her "what-ifs." There was no changing the past, only reveling in the togetherness of right now.

The gesture of Gilbert's hand wrapped around hers felt both new and natural, comforting and exhilarating. Anne was recounting the story of the Blake's wedding as they walked, and the two laughed as she told of something ridiculous Phil's mother had said. How she had missed talking to Gilbert during those long two years of estrangement! Going back into the old rhythm of their comradeship felt like coming home. But now, the chummy banter had blossomed into something deeper: love.

Anne concluded her tale: "The only thing that could have made Phil's wedding better was having you there to accompany me. It was great fun, but I wish I hadn't been alone. I worried what everyone would think, because I was expected to be there with Roy…" Anne felt Gilbert's hand tense in hers. "But what I really would have wanted was having you there with me." She stopped walking and turned to face him, grabbing both his hands. She looked into his eyes, wanting to erase any echoes of sadness that lingered from the rejection in the Patty's Place orchard. "I've so missed having you to accompany me to events these past few years, dearest. It was hard for you, wasn't it? Always seeing me with him."

He sighed. "I must admit, I constantly compared myself to Roy when the two of you were courting." Gilbert didn't quite meet her eyes.

Anne considered his words. "I did the very same thing."

"What?" Gilbert eyes met hers, but now they were wide with shock.

"Now don't you fret so, my love!" She really was putting foot in her mouth with this, Anne reflected. "I compared the two of you in my head, because anything Roy did, I would compare to what you had done, or would have done. "Don't worry, Gil. He always paled in comparison to you, as little as I wanted to admit it."

"How so?"

"In every way. Your mother adores cats, and his hates them. He could pay me romantic compliments he probably didn't come up with himself, and you can make me laugh. He was pretentious; you are genuinely intelligent. He was a stuffed shirt, and you are a hardy Island boy through and through. He was what I had always pictured coming into my life, and you were the one that always belonged in my life." Anne tightened her grip on his hands. He looked like he had perked up a bit, or at least like he was trying to. "I loved the idea of Roy. But I love the reality of you, Gilbert Blythe."

"I love the reality of you too, Anne Shirley," he said, leaning in to kiss her temple.

"And that, dearest, is love. Not a fanciful idea or fantasy that you can never grasp. It means cherishing the person you see before you for exactly who they are. I feel so foolish for once thinking that love was a sonnet to my eyebrows."

Gilbert chuckled. "You goose, lovers only write sonnets to each other's eyebrows in stories."

"Actually…" Anne looked down bashfully.

"What is it, sweetheart?"

"Roy did write a sonnet. To my eyebrows," Anne said.

"Roy wrote a sonnet. To your eyebrows," Gilbert repeated slowly.

"Which seems ridiculous, really, now that I tell you of it." Anne chuckled, trying to defuse the awkwardness of the moment.

"Do you remember what he wrote?"

Anne scrunched up the subject matter of Roy's sonnet in concentration, trying to remember. "I think it went: The arched brow of my fair maiden queen/Like Cupid's bow, pointed straight at my heart…"

Gilbert stopped her. "I think I've heard enough," he said slowly.

Anne looked deeply into his eyes. "You do know how much I love you, don't you?"

"I do," he murmured.

"Please, no more talk of Roy. He is no longer part of my life. Sonnets to my eyebrows are well and good. But I would rather have someone who could make me laugh." She smiled at him, squeezing his hands affectionately in hers.

"Maybe I can do both." A schoolboy grin was creeping onto Gilbert's face.


"I can make you laugh, but I can also write a sonnet to your eyebrows. Perhaps I could even write a sonnet to your eyebrows that makes you laugh."

"Gil!" Anne was laughing delightedly now. "You can't be serious!"

"No, I mean it. I will write a sonnet to your eyebrows. I promise."

Anne leaned her head forward into his chest. "I didn't know you were the poetical sort."

He placed his chin on the top of her head. "I may not have taken High Honors in Literature, but I studied the great poets, too. I can do this, Anne. It's simple enough to write a sonnet, really. Isn't it three four-line stanzas, with every other line rhyming, and there's that iambic pentameter?" Anne felt his smile widen against the top of her head. "I think I can mas-ter the form-u-la." Like he was the Bard himself, Gilbert had placed the stress on every other syllable.

Anne pulled away from him, smirking. "Formula. Always the scientist."

"I am more poetical than you might think, Carrots." He playfully bopped her nose as he called her the old nickname. She shot him a mock glare, before breaking out into laughter.

Gilbert continued, "I spent four years studying the Classics, going over the works of Latin and Greek literature. And you'd be surprised by just how romantic they all were back then."

"Indeed. Oh, just imagine living in the land of nymphs and dryads, and Gods and Goddesses!" Anne sighed dreamily. "I would love to bask in the glorious sun of Athens."

Gilbert shivered. "That makes me think, sweetheart, it has gotten quite cold. Perhaps I should walk you home?"

He was right. The two lovebirds had been thoroughly wrapped in a blanket of nighttime coldness. Only, they had been so wrapped up in their own conversation that the temperature had only just entered their awareness.

"I would love that." She dropped his hands and walked to his side, linking her arm with his. Anne looked at the endless twilight sky that overlooked the field. The untrained eye might say it was the dimmed blue of early evening. But Anne saw the softest pink of sunset creeping into the canvas of the sky, coloring it with the faintest of purple hues.

Gilbert's lips turned into a playful grin. "Perhaps you should walk behind me."

"Behind you?" Whatever could he be getting at?

"Like in Orpheus and Eurydice. I'd lead you out of the Underworld into the light of day," he said. Then, his grin grew more mischievous. "Only, like that poor, besotted boy, I wouldn't be able to get to Green Gables without turning around to look at you."

Anne smiled. "I'd rather walk by your side than behind you. After all, I'd be at just as much risk of grabbing your shoulders so I could turn you around and kiss you."

Gilbert blushed like the poor, besotted boy he was. "Come on," he said, softly, "Let's go home."

Anne nodded, and they started walking out of the field. She couldn't speak for Gilbert, but she knew this sweet, tender moment provided scope for countless sonnets.

An hour later, Gilbert sat at his desk, the fountain pen given to him four years before at the AVIS farewell party in hand, starting at the blank journal page in front of him in dismay. Why had he promised to write Anne a sonnet again?

He could translate and analyze the great works of Latin and Greek literature, or recite a poem, sure, but he could never write something of his own. Had he ever written a poem? Well, there had been a few attempts at schoolboy odes to a certain redhead, but they were all painfully embarrassing. And Gilbert's schoolboy adoration felt so different from this friendship that had grown into love. His poetry would have to grow and change with them.

Gilbert put his pen on the paper and tried to get some words, any words, out. On the top of the page, he wrote "A Sonnet to Anne Shirley's Eyebrows, composed by Gilbert Blythe." Underneath, there was space to jot down ideas.

However, he had very few ideas. What rhymed with eyebrows? Espouse? Browse? Arouse…he hastily crossed out that one. He had three long years of engagement to wait on that.

He scrunched his face in concentration, thinking of Anne's eyebrows. Of course, they were lovely. Minute hairs that formed into a thin arch above her eyes. The same color of the red mane that had first caught his eye all those years ago in the schoolhouse. Carrots…he had a good rhyme for that: ferrets!

He scribbled away, tapping out the syllables on the desk.

Your eyebrows are orange, like a carrot

I do hope you haven't a slate on hand

Then I'd whimper, like a wounded ferret

Although I believe that color is grand

Gilbert dropped his pen. What was he thinking? They had grown to laugh at the slate incident, but it had no place in an ode to her beauty. And if "carrots" had sparked a five-year grudge, who knows what degrading poetry by mentioning "ferrets" would do!

No metaphor that came to mind seemed romantic enough to bother writing down. Any potential lines of verse felt dull and uninspired. The words were just words, not the thrilling cadences he wanted to impress Anne with.

He yawned. It was getting late. Although Gilbert had recovered from typhoid, his lack of sleep had contributed to him falling ill in the first place. He was reluctant to repeat that. Surely, he should go to bed and drowse…drowse…drowse rhymed with eyebrows!

But how could he work that in? Surely, Anne would never make him drowse. Love wasn't about falling asleep; it was about coming awake and alive to the glorious feelings in your heart.

But there was no reason why he could not say that her eyebrows did not make him drowse. It still rhymed. And thinking about her eyebrows did indeed prevent him from drowsing in this moment. Well, perhaps not just her eyebrows…they were a pretty thing made extraordinary by being a part of Anne-his Anne. Maybe he could write about that. He didn't simply love her eyebrows; he loved all of her, and her eyebrows were a part of that. The outer beauty was only a particularly lovely container for all that he loved about her.

Gilbert found a blank page in his journal. Carefully tapping out the syllables and rhythm, he put his adoration into words, not caring about metaphors or flowery verse or making the words sing like music. He just wrote. And it stopped being about impressing her. He trusted that Anne would still care for him, no matter how dreadful his poetry was. He just wanted to show her his love.

After breakfast in the Green Gables kitchen, Anne drifted up the stairs to find a book. Before she could reach the top, however, she heard a knocking at the door, and Marilla answering it. She stopped at the top step.

Gilbert's familiar voice filled the house. "Good morning, Marilla. Is Anne here?"

"Yes, she just went upstairs."

Anne bounded down the stairs. "I'm here!" she called out.

Gilbert's face broke out into a jovial smile when he saw her. "Top of the morning to you, Miss Shirley!"

Marilla was shaking her head, but her lips were turned into a small smile nonetheless. "Anne, do be careful when you run down the stairs. I won't have you twisting your ankle."

"Yes, Marilla," Anne said dutifully. Suddenly, she became quite self-conscious over the sensible, but not pretty, dress she was wearing that morning. She hadn't expected Gilbert to come over this early in the day.

But looking at him, she could tell he did not care in the least. So, she swallowed the desire to impress him and instead took his hand. "I'll be home by lunch, Marilla," Anne promised.

"Don't get lost in the woods, then."

"We won't!" Gilbert promised cheerfully.

"And Gilbert, why don't you come over for lunch?" Marilla said.

Gilbert smiled, touched. "That would be delightful. Thank you, Miss Cuthbert."

"My pleasure." Before Anne had turned around to walk out the door with Gilbert, she saw the contented, gratified look on Marilla's face as she regarded the pair.

The two went for a stroll down Lover's Lane. At first, Anne tried to make idle chatter about Davy's latest exploits, and Gilbert laughed and listened along. However, soon there was far more silence than speaking. Anne was lost in thought. She was thinking about the romance of wandering down Lover's Lane with her lover. She had always longed to take such a walk. But this, she supposed, was more than a romantic idea. It was real and tangible and now. Romance was sweeping gestures and grand speeches and running across the wild moors. But it was not the same as love. Romance was well and good, but if it was not built on a foundation of love, any connection would surely tumble down.
Gilbert also appeared to be deep in thought, and he did not seem to mind the companionable silence between them.

After their rambling walk, they found a mighty oak in the forest to sit under while they enjoyed the other's company (however, they did not go very deep in the woods, true to their promise to Marilla). The tree seemed to provide comfort and protection in its sturdy roots and imposing stature. And it was just one of many that made up the forest. Looking up at the canopy of trees, Anne felt lucky to have all of them watching over her, and for her to watch. The canopy was as beautiful a sight to have overhead as a night full of stars.

After a moment of sitting in contentment side-by-side underneath the oak, Gilbert broke the silence with an announcement. "As promised, I have written you a sonnet."

Anne started. She thought he had been joking. Had he really written her a sonnet? And on such short notice!

He smiled at the look on her face. "It is perhaps not as flashy nor as musical as you are used to, but I hope it expresses some of my feelings for you."

"Gil, I don't care about how good it is. I just care that you wrote it!"

"Glad to know the bar is low," he said cheekily. Gilbert pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket. He unfolded it, cleared his throat, and began:

Anne Shirley, you have beautiful eyebrows

The color of carrots, just like your hair

Looking at them could never make me drowse

I'm awake with feelings of love and care

I love your eyebrows, and all of your face

Never doubt my love, for your face, is true

But also know that it is not the case

That your face is all I love about you

I love the passion you bring to this life,

Your sharp mind and poetic way with words

Though I know it is true, my future wife

That this sonnet should be left for the birds

But, dearest Anne, I do love your eyebrows

And I'll show you my love is true, I vow

Anne was speechless. Her heart felt like it could burst with love for the man before her. It was just so…perfect. His words were so full of adoration, and to think that it was all directed at her, and always had been! She didn't think she would ever get used to how lucky she was to have Gilbert's love after all of this time. It almost scared her, that they shared a love so deep.

"So?" Gilbert's voice was eager, and a little nervous, with anticipation.

Anne found her voice. "Shakespeare and Keats could never compare to Gilbert Blythe."

All his anticipation melted away and was replaced by happiness. "You don't have to say that; I know you don't believe it." He stuffed the poem back in his pocket and squeezed her arm.

Anne just laughed. From Gilbert's mouth, sweet and simple words rang like the notes of an achingly beautiful love ballad. Suddenly Roy's thrillingly romantic, rhythmical cadences seemed as prosy as a dishrag.

"But I do." She leaned her head against his shoulder. "Gil, that sonnet was so heartfelt, so you, and it was just…it was just so beautiful."

Gilbert sighed happily. "Do you think I should drop out of medical school and be a poet instead?" he asked in mock seriousness.

Anne chuckled. Before she could respond with a teasing remark, the sweet song of a mourning dove flying overhead made whatever words Anne was going to say stop in her throat. Nature was calling her.

Anne stopped their conversation and marveled at the world's splendor. Could anything be sweeter than the sunlight peaking through the forest canopy to shine on them? Anything more precious than the tree her back leaned against? Anne was acutely aware of the world around her- of all the greenness and sunlight and music- and at the same time, her spirit was flying away on the wind to somewhere far beyond. "Oh, just listen, my love. The chirping of the birds and the rustling of the wind in the trees is more glorious than any symphony."

"It almost makes me want to sing along with those little birds." Gilbert whistled a tune.

"No, dearest! Let's just listen. And we shouldn't make any noise ourselves. It seems sacrilege to desecrate the holy beauty of nature's melodies with our own chatter."

"Sacrilege? Since when are you such a devout Presbyterian?"

"No talking!" Anne pressed her pointer finger to his lips and shook her head. Then, the finger trailed from his lips across his right cheek. She gently traced the cheekbone, and when her finger reached the point where the bone met his jaw, she rotated her hand, so that it cupped his face. His eyes bore into hers, and she kissed him fiercely from where they sat under the tree. Gilbert kissed her back, matching her passions. The birds kept singing, and the wind kept rustling, and that made the kiss all the sweeter.

After a minute, he pulled away by an inch. "I feel like this doesn't count as appreciating nature." She felt his hot breath against her lips.

"Maybe we can do both." Anne saw Gilbert's face break out into his handsome smile, and she returned to their previous task of kissing. Nature was dear to her, and Gilbert was, too.

Perhaps, she mused, the two of them were not so different. His kisses grew in fiery intensity, and it felt like a gulp of water after being on the brink of dehydration, or the first gasp of air after holding your breath. And he was sturdy as the tree they leaned against and the ground beneath them.

Indeed, Gilbert Blythe was a force of nature.

A/N: Thank you so much for reading. This story is personally significant for me because it's the first time I've completed a full story in almost two years! Hallelujah, the slump is over!

Thank you to MrsVonTrapp, whose delightful story Down the Rabbit Hole gave me the idea to write Anne's line about wishing Gilbert could have been at Phil's wedding with her. And another thanks for your kind words of encouragement!

Finally, shoutout to embraidery for doing Word Sprints with me and being a great writing buddy/friend!