Chapter Thirty Six: Harbinger

The war began without any bloodshed, few stray bullets and cast spells; it was obvious neither country wanted this. Tension darkened the shadows. People whispered of disaster on the horizon. Sophie struggled to stay positive. She wrote to Morgan daily. She never received anything back. Howl struggled with his conscious. He was happy this man did not reply, but his darling mouse's reaction to it all… She rarely opened the shop. The flowers either wilted or died. She sat in her fields instead, picking at plants, as erratic spouts of magic slipped off her (the results were mixed between a mucking swamp, vicious vines, and an Eden).

What was man to do in a situation like this? Howl didn't know! He's always worried about himself. Having to handle another person exhausted him! Sophie tended not to talk too much. Calcifer confided (after persuasion), she remained quiet even when stitching in her rocking chair.

"I think she's losing weight."

"Losing weight?" Howl scoffed. "She's having a baby, women don't lose weight. They get fat and happy, like a cat."

Despite his blasé comment, when he returned from the King's company or roused himself out of spells, he watched. Her face did seem thinner. Her fingers more spindly. Where her eyes always so prominent (and not in the good way)? Howl, very carefully, suggested they make a visit to an Apothecary or a midwife. "Just as a precaution, darling," he wheedled.

She didn't need much convincing to his dismay. Oh, her attitude still flared up, but it wasn't consistent. Fleeting and ephemeral, Howl tried to provoke her temper. When he went a week without any nagging or bickering, he visited Mrs. Fairfax. The bee keeper saw Sophie while he was out, her smile always faltering and tight during the awkward stopover.

Word Count: 300

Author: DRAMA! Gosh, where does it come from, and where do I keep going away to? Thank you ALL for such amazing support, please continue~