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17 August 2019

Prompt: Accidental Baby Acquisition (Setting)

Fandom: Howl's Moving Castle (Bookverse)

Character/Pairing: Morgan Pendragon, Howl Pendragon/Sophie Pendragon

Rating: K / G / All Ages

Notes: Post-CitA, while Morgan's still more baby than toddler, but sorta referencing HoMW. (I've been ridiculously excited for this prompt. Pendragon Family Shenanigans is my jam, y'all.)

It had all started rather simply, really: Sophie Pendragon's husband, the Royal Wizard, the great Howl Pendragon, was an idiot.

The problem started back with the mess with the djinns. Of course Howl had meant well, sending all of them into hiding like that, but she had been pregnant when he oh-so-cleverly had turned her into a cat, and of course the mess had taken longer to sort than either of them had anticipated, so of course Morgan had been born as a cat. Turning him human had been easy enough, but he had been a nightmare. Morgan hated the limitations of his human form, and the Pendragons hadn't gotten a moment's peace as long as their son was human. Howl had had no problem turning Morgan into a cat, but Sophie was insistent that their son needed to learn to be a human – "And like it!" Which was all easier said than done, as they were learning.

"Well, cariad, there's only one thing for it," Howl had said the day the mess truly began. And Sophie had watched, horrified, as Howl had shrunk. And shrunk. And shrunk. Until there were two one-year-olds screaming on her kitchen floor.

"A little head's up would've been nice!" Calcifer had crackled from the grate. He quickly made his escape when Sophie started screaming, grumbling about Kingsbury on a tournament day being more peaceful than his own home.

But, amazingly enough, it had worked. When Morgan had realized he wasn't the only one screaming, he had stopped. And once he had stopped, Howl had stopped. The only one left shouting had been Sophie, who had stomped her foot as she demanded he turn back right this instant, I mean it Howell Jenkins, I will not be married to a baby!

Once they had actually discussed it, Sophie – still uncertain, because Howl being a child was just weird – had agreed – conditionally – to let Howl have his fun. And it wasn't all the time, but Morgan loved having a friend his 'own age' around. (When Howl had lamented the fact that they hadn't had twins, she had lobbed a teapot at his head. Not the nice one Mrs. Fairfax had gifted them for their wedding, but the hardy, ceramic, red one Megan had gifted them for last Yuletide.) Howl had found no end of amusement in his shapeshifting, changing his appearance every time much to Morgan's delight and Sophie's utter frustration.

So, really, it was all Howl's fault. Because, much as she loved him, her husband…was an idiot.

It was not at all Sophie's fault. It had nothing to do with the fact that Morgan was ill and she was exhausted. It had nothing to do with that exhaustion leading to distraction. It was all Howl's fault, naturally, because no one had ever asked him to turn into a child in the first place. No one had asked him to not settle on a singular appearance she might actually recognize. And no one had asked him, upon realizing that their child was sick and someone would have to fetch medicine from the healer, to turn into a child at the precise moment Sophie had asked him to run the errand, forcing her to take both children with her instead. She didn't care if it was just to "cheer Morgan up". Sophie had had enough, and besides it all that was why there were two parents and one child, not one parent and two children, or one parent and one child and one parent who thought it was fun to play child. (Their child – their actual child – was sick, and instead of being helpful Howl was being…Howl.)

"There you are, sweetling," Sophie cooed as she gave Morgan his medicine. He had cried himself out about five minutes ago, but Howl was still screaming from the floor. She scooped Morgan up and began patting his back, and she shot a withering look to her husband. "Enough, you. I'm putting him down, and I expect you to be you when I get back."

Except he wasn't.

The blond-haired boy she had hurriedly grabbed from the market continued to scream at her, and she rolled her eyes as she towered over him with her arms folded over her chest.

"Enough, Howell Jenkins!" she shouted. "What an example you are for your son, refusing to act your age! I've had enough of this, you –"

"Uh, Sophie…" Calcifer cut in, but one look had him shutting up.

"Turn back, Howl! Turn back right now!" she ordered, looking back at the baby. He blinked up at her with brown eyes – an odd choice for her characteristically vain husband, who usually preferred the blues and greens (and occasional lilac) – before he started screaming again. "Howell Jen-!"

"Finally, there you are!" a familiar voice came from the door as it banged open, and Sophie froze as Calcifer grumbled that he'd tried to warn her. Howl came striding in – normal-sized and soaking from the rain that had picked up – from Porthaven, an irritated look on his face. "Figures you'd just shove off home. Very kind of you to leave a child, defenseless, in the middle of the market in this weather! Sophie, honestly, it's like you want me to…who is that?"

Howl stopped his ranting to stare at the child, who had stopped screaming to stare back at the sopping man. His lips still warbled on the edge of a cry, and Howl's frown pulled tight as he looked back at his wife.

"Sophie, cariad, please tell me you didn't think that was me," he said, gesturing at the baby. Sophie took three deep breaths. Counted ten. Then twenty. "Sophie."

"I need a nap," she huffed, turning on her heel and storming up the steps.

"Sophie, wait!" Howl shouted, scrabbling after her. "Whose baby is this?! Sophie?! Sophie!"

She slammed their door a bit harder than was probably necessary. And if the baby – both babies – started screaming again, then that was fine. Let Howl deal with it.

It was all his fault, anyway.

The idiot.