Alright, I'm letting you know right now Howl and the others may be OOC. I'm sorry but I want to bend them to fit the story line. I'll it make it up with lots of Fluff.
Disclaimer: I don't own Howl's Moving Castle, only the plot to this story.
Howl was trying to imagine something a lot better than what he was dealing with now. He looked down at the blonde girl he was half dragging back to Madame Suliman. He'd been summoned to come get the girl as she was a very important apprentice to Madame Suliman and the Madame was worried that something horrible had happened to her when she did not return. Howl looked at the girl, feeling almost sorry for her Madame Suliman was not going to be happy when she found out why the girl had not come home. Howl found her passed out in the alleyway behind the pub; he could only assume the reason she was behind the pub was due to being too drunk to think. Howl had shaken her awake and now was getting her back to Madame Suliman.
Her blue eyes stared off vacantly at something ahead of her; the poor girl seemed to be half awake with a major hangover and half asleep. She'd stop talking a little over ten minutes ago; she'd been jumpy and trying to get into everything reminding him of a toddler. She'd quieted down and Howl was desperately trying go back to his day dream he was having before Markl knocked on the door telling him he was being summoned. Howl was trying to recall the image of Sophie in his arms, the way he held her about to tell her the three most important words. I love you, but he still couldn't see her face as vividly as he had before nor could he be comfortable with this dream. The young lady in his arms was half asleep trying to crawl into his embrace and it did not just feel right. It didn't click like it did with Sophie; Sophie fell perfectly into his arms connecting like a puzzle piece. Sighing, he would just have to accept this and get to Suliman faster. The faster he returned the girl the faster he got back home to Sophie.
It was when the basket crashed that he was knocked out of his dream. His eyes locked with the chocolate brown of the girl he'd just been dreaming about. His eyes flicked down to the apprentice and she rose up on him more in what seemed like an attempt to kiss him. His eyes bulged and he tried to explain to Sophie but he'd heard the patter of feet, he barely saw the flash of fabric as it vanished around a corner. His eyes settled on the girl whose head rested on his shoulder while she softly snored. Howl couldn't even imagine the trouble he'd be in if he let Sophie run off like that, nor could he see exactly what Suliman would do to Howl if he left Suliman's precious apprentice in an alley way all by herself. Scowling as he hurried on, picking up the girl and running for Madame Suliman's hotel. Howl cursed Madame Suliman for coming to Market Chipping, if she had never came here Howl would not be in this situation.
Sophie was out of breath when she reached the hat shop but that didn't stop her running. She was sure Howl was right on her trail even if she couldn't hear his footsteps echoing behind her down the alley ways. Her legs had been hurting her for a while, her feet were swelling with each step Sophie took but she had to run. Adrenaline rushed through her whole body while she was trying to convince herself what she'd just seen had not happened.
She did not just see Howl with a blonde girl slung over his arm., she did not see Howl ignoring her to look back at the girl, and she most certainly did not see that girl almost kiss Howl. Sophie's heart was beating twice as fast as it should when she shot up the stairs ignoring Calcifer's calls for her. Even though it broke her heart into even more tiny pieces when she heard Markl's call and all she did was shut her door. Sophie paced around the room like crazy; she couldn't decide what to say and she was too hyped up just to sit still. Her mind raced as she thought of all the reasons Howl would have for escorting that girl around town. Didn't he help her out when she needed him? He was only helping her. Howl was a good person he could help a confused young lady around town without Sophie freaking out, couldn't he?
Sophie decided that no, Howl could not help out some girl around town without Sophie flipping out because Sophie was currently doing just that, flipping out! Sophie needed to get out of this house! She couldn't breathe in here and everything she saw reminded her of Howl. But why was she acting like she had already lost him? Sophie threw open her wardrobe doors and pulled out her old blue green dress. She threw it on quickly leaving the sparkly blue one Howl had made on the bed; she put her hat on and rushed out of the room. Running felt like the only thing she could do.
Halfway to the stairs did she realize Calcifer was talking to someone, and that someone was responding in too much of a manly voice to be Markl. It had to be only one person and as she shot down the stairs it was confirmed. Howl was standing in the middle of the room blocking her way out. She stopped momentarily fidgeting at the bottom of the stairs all eyes on her. She looked at Howl who looked thoroughly confused and then…hurt? Sophie couldn't stand looking at his eyes anymore and she focused on her destination, the door.
Sophie decided she had to get through and started a run again. "Sophie!" Howl called while he turned, the sudden movement attracting Sophie's eyes allowing her to see the hand that shot out for hers. She turned fully around her back towards that door, taking a step out of Howl's reach. "Don't."
She stared at him for a minute before turning to the door. She pulled the door open with a bang and took off running again. She had no idea where she was going, but just as long as it was far away from Howl. Tears leaked from her eyes as she ran; even as she went through the actions she didn't know why she did them. What was causing her to act like this? Why was she acting like she'd lost Howl…forever?
Sophie somehow ended up in front of the bakery, and while seeing her beautiful blonde sister was not the best thing Lettie would listen to her. Lettie would help her figure out this mess Sophie had gotten herself into. With a tear streaked face she made her way into the store where as usual was a long line of guys waiting to buy something from Lettie. Sophie waited in the back, she didn't want to bother her sister nor did she feel like talking to her at this very moment. Sitting down in one of the back chairs Sophie leaned against the wall. She would go get her sister in a few minutes her legs were killing her. All that running, Sophie felt like she would never run again!
"SOPHIE?" Sophie wretched herself awake, she ended up shocked and confused looking around her. She was in the bakery but everyone seemed to be gone. Her eyes focused on the one that called her name. Lettie! Tears burst into Sophie's eyes at this thought and she ran to her sister. Lettie held on to Sophie like a mother whose child was crying out for them. Lettie watched as her sister sobbed on to her shoulder, what could make Sophie so upset? She was Sophie. Sophie didn't just start crying for no good reason.
Sophie pulled back from Lettie, which let Sophie take in all the worry that rested in Lettie's eyes. Sophie gave a week smile and apologized. "I'm sorry for worrying you, Lettie." Lettie looked at her sister. She looked at her sister really hard, and instantly it came to Lettie. This had to be about Howl! Horrible Howl the Wizard that preyed on pretty girls hearts!
"Did Howl steal your heart? Did he hurt you! I told you, you shouldn't be staying with a wizard like him but no! You just insisted that you stayed with him!" Lettie rattled off fully ready to go down to the wizard's shop and do something to him. Even though Lettie realized that Howl was a powerful wizard but still…Lettie wanted to just go and yell at him. He hurt her sister!
"Oh…Lettie…He didn't steal my heart. I gave it to him, and he shattered it into pieces." Sophie half laughed, still wondering why she acted like her and Howl were an item and she'd just lost him. While she and Howl seemed involved there was never really anything said, and despite how he held her or kissed her Sophie couldn't be sure they would always be together. Howl always seemed above her and when he moved on she would just have to accept that. Her eyes turned away from her sister; was she just Howl's cleaning lady with benefits or did he truly love her?
Lettie noticed the distress in her sister's eyes. It pained Lettie to see Sophie like this, and once again Lettie wanted to take arms up against Howl. Lettie wanted to do about anything to Howl; despite his record for being a powerful wizard Lettie heard that he really was a big softy and if that was true Lettie would have no problem beating the wizard senseless! Lettie focused on her sister, they way her eyes met the floor and she quietly shifted from one foot to another. Howl may not eat young girls hearts he did one worse. He completely crushed them.
"Sophie…" Lettie started off quietly trying to pull her sister from thought. Sophie's head shot up and Lettie could see new tears glistening in the girls eyes. What did Howl do to upset Lettie this much? Lettie reached out taking her sisters shoulder guiding her to a near by chair. Lettie grabbed one for herself before asking, "Sophie…Oh Sophie, what did he do to you?"
Sophie gave Lettie the full story. She gave Lettie every single detail; the way the girl leaned on him, the way his eyes flicked back to the girl, the way Sophie felt when the girl leaned against him, and she even mentioned the noticeable pain on Howl's face when she told him not to touch her. As Sophie rattled off the tale she found herself realizing just how stupid the whole thing was. She acted completely unreasonable. She should have at least heard Howl out! Why was she acting so rash?
Unaware to Sophie she'd voiced these last few thoughts out loud. Even though they were rhetorical questions Lettie gave answers. "It was not stupid or unreasonable or rash, if I was to find the man I'd been fancying for the last year suddenly have a woman in his arms I would not run away. I'd get something rather hard to hit him with! Howl is just lucky I wasn't there. Wizard or not, I'd hit him with something! You're going too easy on him! You're just putting the blame on yourself!"
Lettie shook her head. "He does have you under some spell. Come on Sophie, I'll see if I can get something set up for you in my room."
Sophie stood up as though she'd been struck by lightning. "No! I have to get home. Even if Howl isn't worried, I still have Markl to think about. Oh and Calcifer! Howl will work him to a bone even if Calcifer can go as he pleases now!"
Sophie seemed to fidget around, she knew where she had to go but she was avoiding it. She seemed to have lost the hat that was on her head, and she was sure she'd carried something in. All the while Lettie was trying to convince Sophie to stay.
"It is far too late Sophie! You can't go!" But Sophie would not have that making her way to the door. Sophie turned to her sister and gave her a big hug, "I'm sorry for worrying you. I'll visit again, on better terms."
Sophie took off at a light jog Lettie still hollering from the baker shop for Sophie to return. The thought of Markl and Calcifer being worried about her got her going but half way back Sophie noticed how considerably dark it had become and she started to get worried. She wondered if she got into any trouble would Howl come. Would he know she was in trouble?
Sophie took off again now feeling the pain in her legs from her run this morning, but she kept going. She was going to be very sore tomorrow not matter what but if she stopped… Horrible images of the things that could happen to her in the middle of the night all by her self kept popping into her head. But in not one of her images did Howl come to get her, and that scared her even more.
When she reached the hat shop she found it open which was quite odd, Markl should have come and closed it. Had they been waiting for her? She would have to tell Markl not to worry; Sophie knew where the extra key was. Sophie pushed onward; locking up the shop before she rushed out to the back where the house was located; trying to think of something to say to Howl when she returned. Would he even want to talk to her?
She pushed open the door expecting to be greeted by the low glow of Calcifer or even Howl staying awake worried about her welfare ready to give her a long lecture about running off like that. Sophie walked around the house feeling her weariness press down upon her. Even more so when she realized there was now glow of a fire. Howl would not let Calcifer to go out and she doubted Calcifer would leave the house.
They were not here. They left. Howl left. She was right, her little outburst had caused Howl to shy away to run again. Sophie fell onto the floor crying, her hands uselessly covering her face. What did it matter no one would see how puffy and red her eyes would be the next day nor would anyone come down at the sound of her soft sobs. There was no one here and it was all Sophie's fault!
Why did she act so rashly? Why did she go off on Howl? Why did she run? Her heart twisted inside her, how could she be so absolutely horrible to Howl? Her stomach flopped and she found herself running to the bathroom. She emptied the contents of her stomach into the toilet before flushing it. Heavily breathing she leaned against the door frame. Slowly making her way to where Howl's room would have been if he was still here. She climbed onto the king sized bed curling up into a ball in the middle.
How could she act like this? Sophie turned to lie on her back. What was wrong with her?
I want to thank everyone who reviewed on my Howl One shot. I hope you like this little story I have planned out.