Well, I did it...I wrote the last chapter and I fear for its satisfactory. I really appreciate those who were loyal to reviewing and please grant me one last review to let me know if you want to see any other fan fictions of Howl's Moving Castle from me. I love hearing from you and thank you for being there for me.
In Which Love is Final
"What do you mean there is no guest? I was told personally that there was a wizard Howl that was requesting an audience with me." Prince Justin said; offended by the fact that his own guards were lying to him.
"Forgive me your majesty…but I believe that there was no Howl here to request your audience." said a guard, puzzled as to why the prince seemed so upset.
Something tapped on the steps behind him.
The prince felt his humility rising as he turned to see what was producing the footsteps coming down the staircase. Two figures were descending the stairs and it was not a sight that he wanted to see…
Sophie was descending, her right arm looped with the other arm of the servant that had told him of Howl's request to see him. He felt his face burn and started to approach the stairs with robotic steps, his legs stiff and arms swinging in time with each footfall.
She looked at him with a little bit of an apologetic gaze, the servant smiling in a sort of silent victory at the prince as he made to steer her away from him and towards the exit.
"I'm sorry your highness." She said, approaching the prince after coaxing the servant to let go of her arm. He waited at the doors, smiling innocently at the guards who looked at him, puzzled by the fact that he did not seem familiar to them. "I do not wish to overstay my welcome; your servant has offered to escort me out."
"You would not be overstaying, Sophie." He said quickly, taking her hands, "Please stay with me longer…"
She squeezed the hands and then held them loosely. "I'm sorry…but I must leave at some point…"
Prince Justin lowered his eyes and sighed, gripping her hands tightly. "I want you to be with me…but it seems that I will be unable to ever win your favor…" Easing his fingers from her hands, he stood stiffly in front of her, "If that is what must be done…"
Sophie gazed up at him in pity, reaching up, she touched his face, craning her head up; shekissed his cheek, "Thank you for being so kind to me."
Her hand slipped away and Justin touched it forelornely, his eyes on the floor, unable to watch as her form left his presence. It was not fair, had he not treated her with kindness and respect where Howl had thrown her into the night? He was always there...he always would be. He was the prince for heaven's sake! Yet for some reason...he just couldn't compare to the wizard.
Wizard Howl's reputation was accurate...he did steal the hearts of young maidens...
Sophiewondered over towards the servant again and he offered his arm, she took it and as they headed out the door, he peered back over his shoulder and smirked as the prince as he finally managed to look up to watch them leave.
Don't look so damn pleased with yourself…
"Leave me alone. I got her back didn't I?"
True…but she's not yours yet, is she?
"Where do you think Master Howl has gone, Calcifer?"
Markl prodded at the logs that Calcifer was sitting on.
"Probably out to intoxicate himself as he used to when women leave him." The fire demon said, pulling a log more securely beneath him. "But it's been ages since that has happened…so I don't know what the man's up to."
The apprentice nodded slowly, setting the poker back to lean against the hearth while he swung his short legs over the edge of the chair, watching his feet swing to and fro. He wanted Sophie to come back…she was the closest thing he had to a sister, let alone a mother…ever. To suddenly have her leave him was too much for the child to take. He was trained to create spells but not to say goodbye to people. Even when Sophie was old, Markl was attached to her.
"I want her to come back, Calcifer." Markl said quietly, "I miss her…"
"I know, kid…I miss her too and I don't even live here anymore." Calcifer said, his body shrinking a little in size. "I want Sophie to come back just as much as you do."
Markl sniffed, wiping his nose with his sleeve and reaching over, poking at the fire once again.
The door swung open and Howl wondered inside, removing the hood of his disguise cloak, shaking his hair out of his eyes and muttering something about static electricity. Markl frowned, turning his eyes away and ignoring the footsteps that crossed the floor. He shut his eyes, folding his arms and turning his back towards the wizard when the footsteps ceased. Calcifer crackled, disrupting the silence as Howl stood there and something wrapped around the child, something warm and soft yet solid…it was an arm, no, two arms. Too slender to be Howl's arms.
"I'm sorry…" a woman's voice said softly.
"SOPHIE!" Markl gasped, clutching the arms as his eyes shot wide open and he turned his head to see her face smile at him from behind.
"I'm home." She said, tilting her head slightly with a gentle smile.
"You're back! You actually came back?" Calcifer asked, leaning far out of the grate and flickering excitedly.
"Yes." She smiled, pulling away from Markl carefully. "I couldn't stay away for too long. Who would take care of this place when I was gone?"
Howl approached her from behind and she straightened up, turning to him with a small smile that hasn't been able to leave her lips ever since they entered the kingdom's entrance. She was unsure when exactly she forgave him and maybe it had something to do with his simple pleading but maybe it was something else. Maybe she just loved the wizard too much to hate him.
"When you're finished making yourself back at home…I want to talk to you."
"So soon, Howl?"
"You remember when I told you that when you were better I would talk to you. Right?" he asked, arching an eyebrow with a sly smile that Sophie did not miss in the time they were apart. That smile reminded her of a fox or a wolf…even made her think that Howl may have known something she didn't.
"A-Alright." She gave a short nod and Howl wondered towards the stairs, climbing up them easily and disappearing out of sight, leaving Sophie to comfort Markl and greet Calcifer all alone.
Of course…she didn't mind.
"You wanted to see me, Howl?" Sophie asked, peering inside of the door, the hallway dark behind her and absent of the small flicker of Calcifer's flame. It seemed that everyone had finished welcoming Sophie back and they were now retired for the night, Markl in his room and Calcifer most likely a small blaze beneath the logs where he would be out of sight and out of mind.
"Yes." He sat up on his bed where he had been lying still, one leg crossed over the other, apparently he had been waiting for her rather patiently but from the way his sheets were scooted to the side in a mass of wrinkles, that was not the case. "I need to discuss something very important with you."
"Is it about what I did?" she asked, standing in front of him, joining her hands together in front of her and peering down at them guiltily. "You want to make sure I don't repeat that mistake?"
Howl pushed himself up and Sophie jumped at how close he was standing in front of her in that swift movement, it was hard for her not to have to tilt her head back even a little to meet his gaze.
"In a way…" he said, tilting his head slightly to the side. "But I don't think it really chains you down to the castle."
Sophie smiled softly, "I don't think I will willingly leave this place again…"
Howl was glad to hear that…but that was not all he wanted to hear…
Taking her hands, he caught her eyes with his and Sophie watched, perplexed as he knelt down. "Now…I don't know if this is truly the way one does this part…but I think either way I can still ask you a question."
"What is it?" she tensed up.
"Well." He released one of her hands, the other following as he pulled something out of his pocket. "I'll need your left hand. There is a spell I want to try."
Sophie gave him her hand and he positioned his palm up beneath her own, sandwiching it between his as he stared up at her and released a sigh that seemed to carry out nerves by the handful. The hatter stared down at him, her heart shuddered into a quicker pace as a inkling stirred in the back of her mind of what could be occurring at this very moment…
"I know I'm a fool when it comes to telling the truth and especially when it comes to my feelings. I kneel as a child playing Knights." He said, patting her hand, "But I would feel like a true man…if you, Sophie…would be my wife."
He lowered his hands from hers and she was startled to see the glimmer of something on her finger. She stared down at her hand, shock written all over her face as she turned her hand slightly at the ornate ring on her simple hand.
Howl felt uneasy with each time Sophie turned her hand to observe the ring…but when he moved to stand, ready to brace himself for the worst, Sophie lunged and he found himself knocked backwards, his bottom hitting the floor rather painfully and a grunt was issued; muffled by a happy cry that escaped the woman in the wizard's arms, holding him tightly.
"Is that a yes?" he inquired, stunned by the tackle, his back pressed against the side of his bed, pinned into place by the hatter on top of him.
"Of course!" she said, tightening her hold and Howl recovered from his panic, returning the embrace and uttering a cry of relief. The couple broke into laughter.
"I'm glad to hear it." Howl said as their laughter settled, "I was…worried that you would turn me down."
"How could I say no?" she asked, "Hearing you propose was the one thing I wanted to hear more then any other sound in the world."
"Then that makes out eternity together a lot easier on me." Howl chuckled.
"Marriage isn't supposed to be easy, Howl." Sophie said, pulling away from Howl slightly, sitting back on her ankles. "There are rules that you have to follow."
"And you will teach them to me?" he asked, taking hold of her waist and pulling her back towards him, her hands braced on his chest when she almost lost her balance on her knees.
"I suppose I must…" she said, her cheeks reddening. "But it will be difficult."
Howl pulled her even closer, removing one arm and reaching up, touching her face and craning his head to reach her lips. He paused for a moment, his lips hovering near hers.
"I'm looking forward to Sophie striking again."
((Thank you for your support of my fan fiction. Of course you haven't seen the last of Sophie and Howl, I plan to make some other fan fictions in the not too distant future and these will vary from Kiddie Fluff to Mature. I hope you enjoyed the fic and that the ending was acceptable. Ta.))