Disclaimer: Hayao Miyazaki owns the script rights to Howl's Moving Castle, and many other wonderful characters. Diana Wynne Jones owns the intellectual rights to the characters of Howl's Moving Castle. Nippon Television Network, Dentsu and Buena Vista Home Entertainment own distribution rights. I own no rights to any of the characters. I only enjoy digging into their characters and coming up with my own ideas on their thoughts and feelings. I earn nothing from this artistic output and as thus, it is a free fanfic. Please enjoy.

Midnight Muses of Howl

I'm in love with an older woman. Okay, I've said it. I feel much better. She's a right old hag too. (If I were keeping a journal, I'd write this under the cover of night, and hide it under my pillow so that she won't find it. She's not a snoop, and she'd never enter my room without permission, but I'm one to avoid conflict.) The awfully strange thing is that she's actually gotten younger since I met her at the tender age of 18. She was already the Christmas Cake, although she was years away from the fabled 25.

But what can I say, love is blind. Oh Calcifer laughs at me, laughs at my silly obsession with pulling back the curtains to check on her at night. But he knows something that I…I've been hiding from myself. He knows that my heart is lost to reason. He knows that the old maid's nagging shows more love than my parents' continual stream of presents when I was a child. I peek again, watching Calcifer's glow dance across the pale cheeks, making her appear as young as her heart. As she moves, alert to a change in lighting, I hastily drop the curtain and hold my breath, hoping that I can go another night without detection.

She is my secret, and I plan to keep her that way. I know that I can never be with a woman that old, but I can gaze forever on the face of the woman she used to be. Someday she'll break her spell and move on to a more worthy individual than myself. But until then, I covet. And wish for things that fade with the morning light.

"Calcifer, heat water for my bath." I need a long soak to wash my selfishness away. The fire flickers in silent concern, he sees more truth than I do. I might gaze upon the face of selfless beauty; but Calcifer gazes out from the heart of a coward.

A/N: For those of you who have not read my works before, all I ask is that you do not use profanity in any reviews. You have enough imagination from reading and writing all of these fanfics to come up with dramatic ways to laud or flame my works without resorting to Slang. Plus, reviews are not rated. It's fine to cuss in a rated fiction (I often do), but please do not in an unrated review.