Prettyinpinkgal: Hey! This was an idea that came to me after I started reading Howl's Moving Castle for the millionth time and after watching the series AIR. I hope you enjoy it :) To those who have been reading my other fanfiction, "Destiny", this is the fanfiction I mentioned!

Disclaimer: I don't own Howl's Moving Castle. It belongs to Diana Wynne Jones. I also do not own Air TV; Key owns it. The title "The 1000th Summer" is actually a sort of a "second title" to Air. Also, the first paragraph is the translation of the first thirty seconds of Air. A woman talks at the beginning (I can't say who that woman is) and says the paragraph, so just in case you would like to know who is talking at the beginning paragraph, it's a woman. Any other recognizable text is not mine.

WARNING: Extreme spoilers for Air! Please read with your own risk! Also, this story starts just barely after the ending of Howl's Moving Castle, so some spoilers in that area as well.

THE THOUSANDTH SUMMER

CHAPTER ONE: IN WHICH SOME CURSES ARE BROKEN

My child, listen carefully. The story I will tell you now is very important. It is a story that begins here and shall be passed on to the next generation, and the next, forevermore... A story about a long, long journey...

Sophie stood apart from the others, watching everyone rejoice over the broken curses. Sophie was young, Suliman and the prince were in their usual forms, and Howl had his heart back. The Witch of the Waste was dead, as well as Miss Angorian. Everything was well and good. All the curses were broken.

Except one.

Sophie slipped away from the group and walked outside. A breeze blew her red-gold hair around, as though the strands were dancing in the wind. Silver clouds decorated the blue sky.

Ever since she was a child, Sophie enjoyed the sight of the sky. She felt a strong connection to it, even back then...

"Father," a small Sophie began as she stood hand in hand with her father as they ventured around field just outside of Market Chipping. It was one of their rare moments alone. Her father had just remarried a couple years ago, and he was spending much time with his new wife. There were also Lettie and Martha to take care of. Fanny had agreed to take care of the two younger ones by herself while Mr. Hatter and his eldest daughter spent some father-daughter time alone.

Now, gazing up at the neverending atmosphere, Sophie inquired softly, "Why's the sky so sad?"

Such a serious question from a four-year-old threw Mr. Hatter off. "What makes you think the sky is sad, Sophie?"

"The color. It makes me think of crying."

"Does the sky make you upset?" Mr. Hatter thought he understood what Sophie was getting at. Although Sophie had been only two when her mother passed away, she still occasionally remembered little things about her birth mother and felt remorse for her passing. The sky must remind Sophie of heaven, therefore making her upset about her mother.

The real answer again surprised Sophie's father. She gave him a big toothy grin and cried, "No! I love the sky! But..." she said as her voice grew more thoughtful, "I feel like...I don't know." She frowned with a slight pout. "I can't explain it good."

Mr. Hatter gave her a confused look, but changed the subject. Surely this serious discussion meant only that his daughter was a thinker; that was good. She'd do well in school, then. Yet Mr. Hatter felt discomforted, feeling a sense of foreboding. Shaking it off, he picked Sophie up while she laughed and he ran back to Market Chipping, their laughter carried across the expanse.

"Sophie?"

The address startled Sophie out of her thoughts, and she turned towards the castle. Howl stood there, looking disheveled from skipping his ritual of two or three (or more) hours in the bathroom. Yet the mere sight of him made her heart beat surprisingly fast. Oh, quiet, you, Sophie mentally chided her heart.

Howl smiled, again upsetting her heart's usual tempo. "What are you doing out here? One would think you'd want to be with your family." His smile seemed to grow a bit sad, but perhaps that was just Sophie's imagination.

"Looking at the sky," she answered honestly. She went back to gazing at the blue abyss. Sophie noticed Howl stand beside her--a bit too close for her liking--and look at the sky as well.

After a few moments of peaceful silence, he said, "It's strange. So much has happened, yet the world just goes on turning, doesn't it?"

"I know."

Howl turned to her, a teasing grin lighting up his face. "By the way, what were you doing at the Witch of the Waste's fortress? You're too strong willed to let her capture you. Did your curiousity about it get the better of you, Mrs. Nose?"

Sophie glared at him. "You know why I was over there," she growled.

He put on an innocent face. "I was thinking about the possibility of you going to save Miss Angorian, but I thought even you couldn't be so dense as to not realize she was the enemy!"

"Oh, you!" Sophie cried, throwing her hands in the air in exhasperation. How he loved to annoy her! A thought suddenly struck her: He wouldn't be here teasing me if I didn't help him regain his heart. She shivered, his brush with death finally hitting her full force. The grass rustled beneath her as they swayed. "How much longer will these days last...?" she whispered out loud, her heart feeling crushed.

"Sophie?" She looked over and saw Howl looking at her, his eyes no longer glass marbles. They were now filled with emotions: one being confusion, and another one...one Sophie could not name.

He continued. "What did you say?"

Sophie shook her head. I don't know what to do. I want to stay here at the castle with Michael and Calcifer and...him, but... She bit her lip. She steeled herself, and forced herself to become stronger than the feelings she felt. Then she forced herself to look at him, her eyes serious and pained.

Howl blinked. "Sophie, what were you saying, about 'these days...'?"

She cut him off. "Howl. You know what you said earlier?"

A feeling of dread started sinking into Howl's newly-regained heart. "Yes, what about it?"

"I may not be able to live happily ever after." With that, Sophie walked quickly towards the castle, leaving behind the man she loved.

Prettyinpinkgal: First chapter and the angst and drama are already starting! Sorry about the shortness. I'm going to focus more on my other HMC fic "Destiny", but I will update this story as soon and as often as I can. Please read and review! Thank you!