The Result in a Happily Ever After

Disclaimer: I do not own Howl's Moving Castle. And no, I do not own this beginning part of the chapter that introduces Sophie, because that part is in the book. And then some.

Summary: HowlxSophie, one-sided JustinxSophie; Howl and Sophie have a fight, and now thinking she isn't going to live a happily ever after, Sophie runs away, and is found by… the scarecrow prince?

Note: YES! Finally saw the movie! -watches it again- Anywho… Markl is just so freaking cute…. Especially when he tells Sophie he loved her (I know it's not in THAT way), I almost burst into tears…. All right, I'm done. Lol

Oh, and sorry about the beginning part that talks about Sophie having two other sisters… I'm kind of blending the movie and the book, because I want to. Sorry, though. No Grandma Witch or Heen, even though I love them. And also, some of the first paragraph may not be all that accurate… I'm too lazy to copy down most of it…

Chapter One

In Which Sophie Doesn't Exactly Get a Happily Ever After

& 1 &

Sophie Hatter was the eldest of three sisters. She was not even the child of a poor woodcutter, which might have given her some chance of success. Her parents were well to do and used to keep a ladies' hat shop in the prosperous town of Market Chipping. Her own mother died when Sophie was two years old and her sister Lettie was one, and their father remarried to the shop assistant, Fanny. Later, a third Hatter sister was born, Martha. This should have made Sophie and Lettie into the two Ugly Sisters, but all three grew up very pretty indeed, but everyone said that Lettie was the most beautiful of all.

Then Mr. Hatter died years later, leaving his daughters and Fanny to take care of the shop. Since Fanny couldn't pay for all of the school funds, she decided to send Lettie and Martha out for apprenticeship, keeping Sophie with her to inherit the shop when she dies. Martha got to go to be Mrs. Fairfax's apprentice and learn magic, while Lettie worked at a bakery shop in Market Chipping. They had secretly switched places, since Martha knew Lettie had a strong mind, and her sister agreed. Sophie had found out a little while later.

It was then the Witch of the Waste decided to come into the picture, and turn Sophie into an old woman. The young hearted girl decided to leave the shop at once, and came across the moving castle of the dreaded Horrible Howl. It was there that she found out that the wizard just made girls' fall in love with him, and not literally steal their hearts. It was there when she had found out Howl had stolen her own heart, but she would not really admit to that.

And after all the fuss was made, the Witch of the Waste was finally dead, and so was her fire demon, Miss Angorian. It was then when Howl said these very words:

'I think we ought to live happily ever after.'

And Sophie thought he meant it. She knew that living happily ever after with Howl would be a good deal more eventful than any story made it sound, though she was determined to try.

Living a happily ever after was, indeed, a great deal more eventful than any story makes it sound, even though Sophie was very close to losing her wishes to a certain prince, once a turnip-headed scarecrow.

& 2 &

Calcifer flew into the chimney of the castle, settling himself into his usual spot in the fireplace, letting out a sigh. He loved flying around freely at night, because that was when all his other brothers and sisters, as shooting stars, were out and about, shooting wherever they were headed, but then dying. The little fire demon promised he'd be back during the day to help the castle fly into the air, and go around Ingary. If he felt like it, he'd talk to Sophie or the others, listening to whatever problems or whatever to what they had to say. It was mostly Howl who was up when Calcifer got back to the castle, when it was still barely dark, with only one thing to say.

"I'm going to ask her today, I will." the wizard would say, staring at a little object inside a small, dark little box, that fit on the palm of his hand. Calcifer would sigh, and tell him that Howl had said the same thing the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that, and so on. Both of them knew that the wizard was a coward, and whenever he got his courage up, and he would ask, there'd always be some sort of interruption, for example, Markl messing up on a spell and the table exploded (they had to get a new one, by the way), or Calcifer making the castle start to fall by 'accident,' since he was bored and had nothing else good to do.

Hearing that Howl said the same thing upon his return, Calcifer just sighed, and closed his eyes for a bit. He was the only one in the castle who knew that Howl was going to propose to Sophie, if he ever was.

"Just let me tell you this," the fire demon said, looking at the dark haired wizard. "if you keep backing out in proposing, though that one time you were going to, I decided to ruin it all, but anyway, by the time you get around to asking her, she'll be ninety years old again, and you'd already be dead! Oh, and if you keep slithering out of these things, Sophie's probably gonna find a new love, and she's going to get married to somebody else, leaving you to be the same, heartless jackass you were before Sophie even got here."

There was a long moment of silence.

"Just HOW was I a jackass? I didn't treat you unkindly before then!" Howl frowned and narrowed his eyes, staring at the fire demon he had once made a contract with.

"You bossed me around…" Calcifer answered simply, trying to look as pitiful as he could.

"But not that-- ugh, why should I even bother…" the wizard grumbled to himself as he stood up from his chair and made his way into his bedroom, to catch a few more hours of sleep.

& 3 &

Sophie had noticed Howl always staring off into space whenever she'd try to speak to him. She didn't really know why, but she figured he was hiding something. The wizard had stared off into space a lot lately, possibly day dreaming about something, or someone. Now that he had gotten his heart back, Sophie thought it could as well be someone. Like a woman. Howl didn't really pay attention to what she had to say to her, but it wasn't the same with the other members of the castle. He'd always be in focus, and talked back to them when needed. Sophie felt like she was being exploited, and that she was just there for his personal enjoyment, and because they needed someone to take care of the cleaning.

Maybe Calcifer would say something. But then again, Sophie had been trying not to poke her nose into everyone's business, like she had been when she was cursed. Sadly, old habits were hard to break, but she still had to try. Maybe if she'd ask Howl why he had been acting so strange. She'd tell him that she wouldn't get mad, and that if he didn't need her there anymore, he would just say so and she'd leave.

But that would kind of hurt. A lot. Where would she go then? Her sisters were happy where they were, and didn't need their eldest sister to come and ruin everything. What about her step-mother, who remarried? She did say that Sophie could stay with her, since the man was rich and they could live the luxurious lives. But if she told her mother about what Howl had done, she'd probably start a second war, the Hatter/Smith family versus Howl and his castle. That would be just horrible.

The young woman sighed, and set the table, with the help of Markl. She'd ask Howl while they were eating, then, if Howl says some bad news to her, Sophie could force herself to choke on her bread and die. Then she wouldn't have any worry in the world.

Howl, Sophie, and Markl sat at the table, with the bread, cheese, cakes, and other good foods ready to eat. Sophie took note that Howl was acting as normal as he ever did. She also noted that Howl and Calcifer were sending strange looks to each other when she had finally sat down.

Sophie made a mental note to question Calcifer about it when she had the time.

It was silent during the meal. Tension began to form, even on Markl, who had no clue what was going on. Calcifer could even sense it himself, but didn't say a word. It was when she couldn't take it anymore when Sophie decided to speak up.

"Howl, how have your days been going?" she spat out, saying whatever was at the top of her head. She wanted to ask what she really wanted to know, but got cold feet before hand. The wizard looked up at her and twitched, letting out a cough.

"They've been going great," he answered, gulping. "what about you?"

"O-oh, my days are good too…" she paused to think. "…have you met anyone new lately?" Howl choked, and it was then that Sophie new something was up.

"Uh… uh, no. Whatever gave you that idea?" the dark haired man asked. He knew Sophie was trying to get at something. The woman just frowned.

"Oh, you know, you just going off into your own little world whenever I try to talk to you, you barely even talk to me, while you talk with Calcifer and Markl ALL the time…" Sophie then noticed she was starting to sound like Mrs. Fairfax, and Howl's sister, Megan; both going on and on about a certain topic, whether it was about putting honey in all of your spells or spoiling your niece rotten, it was like a plague or something.

"Hey, I just happen to talk to them about magic, that's all." Howl spoke up, interrupting Sophie's ranting.

"And what's so important about magic that you wouldn't have the time to talk to me?" the wizard opened his mouth to speak, but found no comeback. Just because he was such a coward as to not even being able to propose to her, that didn't give him a reason not to talk to her. Howl noticed Sophie had a hurt look on her face.

"Has it ever occurred to you that. After the contract was broken, not one, not ever, have you told me that you loved me?" the woman asked in a very calm voice. The whole castle fell silent, even Calcifer managed to stop the sound of crackling wood. Markl had frozen right there, mouth open, hand midway to mouth, holding a piece of bread. Sophie bit her lip, and stood up.

"I'm finished," she said, and walked over to her bedroom, shutting the door behind her. Howl, Markl, and Calcifer just stared at the door.

& 4 &

She just sat there, back against the door, face in hands. Sophie had a feeling it would come to this. When she said what she did, and Howl couldn't even talk, she had a feeling Howl loved someone else. There was no other good reason for her to stay. Maybe for Markl, but he could survive without her.

Sophie stood up, and got out a bag, filling it with clothes and whatever other kinds of items she'd need. She put on her extra hat (the other one was skewered by Madam Suliman), and waited until she knew Howl and Markl were asleep, and Calcifer landed the castle to go out on his nightly flight. Then she walked out of her room, carefully shutting the door, making it look like she hadn't left the room at all, and went into the kitchen, grabbing some bread and cheese. Sophie then made her way to the castle door, carefully opening it. She looked back at what she was going to leave, possibly forever, if not for a while. Then she got out and looked up at the sky.

Now all she had to rely on was where her feet were going to take her.

End Chapter One

All right, I notice some mistakes already. Like, wouldn't the castle collapse if Calcifer's not there? Hmmm… Howl keeps it together with a very strong magic, is what I'd answer. Hmm… there was another question, but I don't remember it now….

Anywho, review and I'll update for you!