A/N: This is my first real fanfic, so sorry if the characters are OOC, and that it's somewhat short. I was rereading the part in the book when Howl is sick, and was wondering what it would be like if Sophie got sick instead of Howl, and this story came to mind. This fanfic is based on what happens after the first book but before Castle in the Air. Read and review!

Disclaimer: I don't own Howl's Moving Castle. If I did I would have married Howl, much to the dismay of my friend Emma.

In Which Sophie Gets Sick

Sophie sneezed and leaned back onto the pillows miserably. It had been an hour since Michael had made her stop working and told her to lie down. She must have been sneezing and coughing, because he had felt her forehead and told her she had a fever. And now that Sophie had stopped working and was relaxing, she felt very tired and sick.

Sophie heard the castle door open and close, and heard Howl ask, "Where's Sophie?" he was obviously used to her being in the main room cooking on Calcifer or cleaning, or sewing clothes whenever he came home from Kingsbury or where ever he went off to. Normally Sophie would have been curious as to where he had been today, but feeling sick she did not feel curious at all.

She heard Michael explaining to him that Sophie was sick, and then say hurriedly, "She might be sleeping!" as footsteps quickly seemed to ascend the stairs up to the room. Trying to make herself not look to sick and miserable, Sophie managed to sit up and put on a small smile when Howl burst into the room.

He came up to the side of the bed and took her hand. "Oh, Sophie dear, what happened? You seemed perfectly fine this morning before I left," he said, frowning.

Sophie blushed a little at his concern, and smiled more. "I'm fine Howl! Just a little tired. I must have been overworking it recently," she said, trying to sound convincing by holding back a sneeze.

Howl, unconvinced, frowned even more, and brushed back a lock of red gold hair that had fallen onto Sophie's face. "You know you're not our cleaning lady anymore. Though I daresay you wouldn't let this castle get dirty even if I forbid you to clean," he said, making Sophie laugh. "Do you need anything Sophie?" he continued, "I'll do anything to keep you comfortable and happy." He was acting, Sophie noticed, as if she was on her deathbed. Sophie did not like the thought.

Sophie yawned. "Maybe I'll just take a little nap…" she said sleepily, letting her eyes droop from a sudden wave of sleepiness.

Howl leaned down and kissed her on the forehead. "Then I'll leave you to sleep," he said, and left the room.

Sophie did take a nap, for she was tired. And it turned out to be a long nap. She woke up often, usually just to open her eyes for a second and fall back asleep. She remembered different things from those seconds of consciousness. She remembered hearing something drop and break downstairs. She remembered hearing the water running, most likely for Howl's bath. She remembered hearing the castle door open and close many times, accompanied by Caclifer's voice, saying things like, "Porthaven door. Another log please. Market Chipping. Hey! You're wet! See you guys in a bit. Wow! The world is so big, and so ready to be explored!"

She woke up once in the middle of the night. Well, she assumed it was night, because downstairs seemed quiet and Howl was lying next to her asleep, or almost asleep. But it must not have been too late in the night because when she turned onto her side Howl stirred and turned to look at her with sleepy eyes. He yawned.

"How are you feeling?" he asked her.

Sophie rubbed her eyes. "Still at little tired, surprisingly," she answered, shivering. "And a little cold."

Howl reached out and felt her forehead. "You still have a little fever," he told her, pulling her closer. She snuggled up against him, already feeling warmer. "Goodnight," he said, and made to kiss her, but she pulled away slightly. "What's wrong?" he asked, confused and looking a little hurt.

"I don't want you to get sick too, Howl," Sophie answered, already beginning to fall asleep.

"I've had many a cold before, love, I think my immune system can handle one kiss," he said in a matter-of-factly tone, and kissed her goodnight. He smiled smugly.

"Don't say I didn't warn you…" she said with a sigh and put her head in the crook of his shoulder and fell asleep.

When Sophie woke up she was lying on her pillow and Howl was sitting up in bed next to her, blowing his nose. He sneezed again, which caused her to open her eyes and look at him. His nose was running and his eyes were red rimmed. Sophie heard him mumbling about his wonderful immune system.

Sophie giggled. It started as a giggle, but grew to a laugh when Howl looked at her and glared, saying, "What did you do to me?!"

When Sophie had calmed down, she managed to say with a grin, "Some immune system, huh? I hate to say I told you so, but…" she teased.

"Yes, well you must have cursed that kiss or something, Sophie dear," he said sarcastically, cutting her off and flopping back down on the pillows. "You've killed me, woman!"


When Michael came up after Howl had called him, he found both Howl and Sophie lying in bed, laughing at some joke one of them had said. They both looked sick, to Michael's dismay, but they looked happy in a way, too.

"Michael!" Howl exclaimed as he walked in. "Michael, she's infected me!" He said laughing, as Sophie shoved him in the shoulder.

A/N: (Again). So, what did you think? Tell me in a review! I love constructive criticism, but nothing too, too harsh.