A.N: I've been sorta on a roll with the DWJ fanfiction. I posted "Morning Glory" recently, and then this, and I'm currently writing a post-Conrad's Fate fanfic. So…get used to me being here.

This is pure HMC fluff. Sorry bout that. And correct me if I'm wrong, but I do believe this is fic #100 in the DWJ section.

Disclaimer: All belongs to Diana Wynne Jones, who rocks.


Sophie had always heard that a girl's first kiss was wonderful.

Not that she would know, or anything. After The Ordeal (as Michael had dubbed it), nothing all that…romantic had happened between herself and Howl. Yes, he had added on for her a room of her own (but that was just common courtesy), yes he had gone out and bought her ten new dresses (although he probably had fun just buying them); yes he had promised they would live happily ever after. But absolutely nothing had happened yet.

It had probably all been some ruse. Howl had said all of that "happily ever after" stuff so she would stay here and clean. She should stop cleaning to show him, prove to him that she wasn't just some silly girl. Sophie would sit back and let the dirt and spider webs pile up.

…But then, she lived in the castle too, and she would get so sick of all the dust after only a short while. So it looked like her only other option was to run away, and that was a silly idea. Howl-angst aside, she liked it here.

Sophie wasn't the only one getting impatient. Whenever Lettie came to visit, the first words out of her mouth were "Has he kissed you yet?" Sophie was getting tired of saying 'no'.

"You should really take initiative," Lettie suggested one afternoon. Sophie was tidying the flower shop while Lettie undid all the cleaning by eating a very crumbly scone.

Sophie didn't answer to Lettie's statement right away. She should do something. But she wasn't really sure that she wanted to. Sophie had never done the relationship thing before. She didn't know how to proceed.

That night, as if to make her more confused, Howl kissed her cheek and called her cariad.


The next morning, Michael had an accident with a spell, covering the floor and walls with a thick layer of powder that took the whole day to wash.

Sophie was almost finished when Howl meandered in. She didn't even hear him from where she was scrubbing the floor, until he remarked, "I could have sworn that I left you in that same position ten hours ago."

"Well, maybe if your apprentice had learned spells to clean up his own messes, I wouldn't be in this same position," Sophie said huffily. "And I still have dinner to make, so unless you have anything terribly important to say, I really need to get back to-"

Sophie stopped. The last dirty patch of floor she had been working on was clean. She looked up at Howl who was smiling mischievously. "Thank you." Sophie said. She rose up to walk towards the hearth. "I hope Calcifer didn't get too far, I really want some tea before I get to work on dinner, and-" For the second time in as many minutes, Sophie stopped short. She had turned around to grab the kettle, but Howl was standing close behind her.

Howl smoothed back a curl that had come loose of her braid. His touch lingered on her cheek. He was staring at her with this look in his eyes that she couldn't comprehend.

Sophie had to say something. Just to break the silence. "I…I've been cleaning all day. I can't look my best."

"You always look beautiful."

And then it happened.

They had been right. Her first kiss was wonderful.

And so was the second.

And the third and fourth.

And the fifth.

Sophie pulled away slowly. "I need to make dinner."

Howl smiled widely. He dropped a kiss on the tip of her nose. Still smiling, he walked out of the room.

Sophie turned back to the fire to make tea. She was still confused about what their relationship was, but she was certainly a lot happier about it than before.