Disclaimer: nothing belongs to me. Poor me.

"Well it serves you right for acting so childishly. A duck indeed. How dare you?" retorted Sophie, completely unrepentant.

"Despair!" he yelled, "Anguish! Horror!" he screamed as he clutched at his hair. "My most expensive perfume! …Ambrosia, applewood, a dash of saltwater from the seas of Pabhuny; it took me five years to collect all the right ingredients! Ohhhh," he groaned, holding his head in his hands. "Ohhh-"

Black thunderclouds were starting to roll in and lightning rumbled ominously overhead. Creeping shadows grew up the walls from the dark crevices of the room and the walls throbbed as Howl's groans rose in volume. The room was already starting to take on a greenish glow. Sophie narrowed her eyes.

"Don't you dare slime* this place Howl Jenkins. I have enough work to do as it is," she warned.

But Howl was beyond reasoning with. Giant wracking moans, a sonnet of groans and a chorus of wails filled the air. Sophie looked at Michael who was cowering in the corner and a silent understanding glance was sent between them. Without a word the two sprang into action; Michael reached for a conveniently located large washtub from beneath the stairs and Sophie wrenched the doorknob to green and opened it out onto a field of poppies, lilies and marigolds. Together they managed to heave the whimpering wizard into the tub just as the first globules of thick green slime oozed out from the crown of his head. They each grabbed a handle and trundled the already half-full tub of slime, wizard and all, across the room.

"Calcifer, stop the castle," panted Sophie, covering her face with one sleeve to shield herself from the sulphurous fumes and preserve her olfactory senses. "One, two, three… heave!" The aggrieved young man hardly noticed when the tub rocked a little as it hit the uneven ground with a dull thud.

As the castle picked up speed again Sophie leaned out of the doorway, "And don't even think of stepping back into this castle until you've made yourself decent!" She shut the door behind her and moved on to open up the shop. They'd pick Howl up in an hour or two; he'd usually either stopped sulking or was beginning to feel the cold by then. He'd slimed way too often for it to be normal and it certainly wasn't like him to waste so much of his magic to gain a little attention. Perhaps she'd ask Calcifer about it later. Still, she couldn't really complain- it turned out that wizard slime was unusually good fertilizer.

Howl stared after the shrinking castle door as it moved farther and farther away from him, his eyes glazed over. He looked down at his knees and moped, his bottom lip pushed out in a full pout. In the past month alone he'd 'slimed'- as Sophie liked to call it- an average of once a week- and usually on a Friday. In the beginning, when he had slimed at the slightest provocation, and when Sophie was more tolerant of his antics, Sophie had tried to coax the real reason out of him with a mug of warm milk as she had the first time. But after an hour of no response from the wizard, she'd given up. Howl traced patterns morosely in the goo with his finger, vaguely noticing that the tub had already over-spilled. He'd long since stopped feeling outraged whenever he'd finally risen out of his misery long enough to realize he was sitting in a bathtub full of fluorescent green muck in the middle of a field of flowers- especially after Sophie had once forced him to clean the castle himself after one of his, ehem, episodes.

He sighed and stopped oozing, not really having the energy to keep it up for as long as he would have liked. He pulled his knees up to his chest and piled handfuls of slime onto them, watching it slide down slowly with faint disinterest. He sighed and sunk down lower into his tub of slime, simultaneously sinking lower in his misery. Sophie was dead on, as usual. Only this time she wouldn't ever get anywhere near the real reason, nor would she be able to solve it; she had a different sort of magic.


That was the real problem, he thought to himself, sighing. Now how could he tell her that without getting his head blown off?

*No matter how Sophie grumbled it could not be denied that although it was slime, it was wizard slime, which meant it had several useful qualities. For example, apart from being a magnificent fertilizer, it was also an amazing moisturizer and could be used as a substitute for eggs in baking.

A/N: A story that i just discovered I'd typed up aaaages ago. A two part quickie at best. R&R.