Author's Note:

I worked until 3am baking this Lemon Meringue Pie for you guys. No one likes pie that isn't fresh out of the oven.

Disclaimer: I do not own Howl, or Sophie, but I do own their sex lives. Sort of.

Rainy Days and Extended Business Trips

It was a miserable day in Market Chipping. Water was pouring down in sheets, blurring the windows of the flower shop.

Sophie let out a discontented sigh. She hated rain.

Not only was it gloomy, but she hadn't had a customer all day. Whoever would walk out in this weather for anything would be crazy anyway.

In the morning it hadn't been as bad. She'd puttered about the shop, refreshing yesterday's flowers and adding a few new ones. Her blue roses were growing all over the place, and she'd taken an hour to replant them in the flower field. Afterwards, she stayed in the shop for a while, doing a little bit of cleaning. Sweeping the floors, then mopping them, shining the counters, scrubbing the flower buckets, and wiping down the inside of the store windows. She even found time to tidy up some of the castle, while sporadically checking on the shop. That was all done half an hour ago. It was only 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

"Honestly," she sighed again. "I should just close up."

There was really no good reason that she was still there.


"I'll be back soon, love," he said, planting a kiss on her forehead. "Please, anxiously await my return." Sophie hit him, and he laughed, pulling her into a hug.

"I'll look forward to coming home, dredging your despondent face out of all of those flowers."

Howl was away on King's business, and she wanted to him to come back to just what he said. With her waiting to be pulled out of the flowers.

Or whatever.

That was the only reason she was sticking it out in the flower shop, as she had been for nearly a month. A stupid reason, and one she wouldn't have held onto three weeks ago. He never specified that he'd come home through the flower shop, but she'd pointedly ignored that fact.

It was just that she'd never been away from him for longer than a few days. Months of staying together, even if she was stuck in the form of an old biddy, had made her accustomed to the constant company of her three boys.

When Michael had left to live with Martha, it was bearable because Howl was still there. (And honestly, that was what truly mattered.)

When Howl had to leave for the weekend, she had Calcifer to pass the time with. Calcifer would sometimes zoom out of the chimney for some reason or another, but he'd be back in a few hours to keep her company.

However, this time, Howl would be gone for at least a month, a month and a half. The first few days were easy enough, and Sophie had a lot of things to keep herself preoccupied. But then, Calcifer began to be gone for long periods, Martha went on her honeymoon with Michael, and Lettie was off on some apprentice adventure with the King's Wizard. Fanny was not even an option to be considered. And so, most of the time Sophie was by herself.

She missed Howl immensely, especially at night.

Sophie would curl up in the quilt that smelled of him and not his ostentatious perfumes, and would watch the spiders curl about on the ceiling beams. The room was a lot cleaner than it had been when Sophie first saw it so long ago. It was one of her stipulations to share a bed with Howl. Despite his very tempting attempts at distraction, Sophie was adamant to sleep in a clean environment. She did let the spiders stay, though.

She would think of the very first night they spent in the room together, the night after their wedding. She thought of the nights that followed, and the mornings after them, and the light teasing. She thought of how Howl looked when he was sleeping, when he blinked owlishly at her in the morning, and the look on his face as he pulled her down beneath him...

Needless to say, being bereft of those experiences over the past weeks was a very trying time.

That was why this stubborn idea of waiting for Howl in the flower shop came to be. Her mind was given free reign to fantasize during the slow hours of the day, and the idea of him bursting into the shop, running over to her and swinging her around in utmost joy before pulling her in for a kiss and then magicking them upstairs where they would make up for lost time...

It was intoxicating.

Sophie let out a huge, annoyed, bored sigh. A girl could only fantasize so much before it became depressing. There was nothing to do, and today was making out to be the worst of them all.

Stupid rain.

"Alright," she stated quite firmly to herself. "I'll stay another hour or so, and then go to the flower field. I'm not going to have Howl come back and find me stark raving mad."

Two hours later, Sophie stretched out of her chair, and walked to the front of the store, turning the sign from 'open' to 'closed'. There was a bit of mixed relief doing so, but Sophie scolded herself. If he didn't show up yesterday, the day before, or the week before, at 4 o'clock, then it was a sure thing he wouldn't today.

She made her way quickly over to the castle, immediately feeling the warmth of the place. The shop was always a bit chilly. Calcifer was dozing in the fireplace, mumbling irritatedly about the rain, and slowly inhaling a giant pile of logs placed next to him. She sent him a small smile he didn't see, and went over to the castle door, spinning the knob to purple before pushing out into the Waste.

The flower field was beautiful. It had been drizzling earlier, but now the sun was shining brightly, drawing out the heady scents of all the flora. Passing a hand haphazardly through her braided hair, Sophie smiled and wandered out into the middle of the field, fully intent on a nice, sun warmed nap in the patch of appropriately named blanket flowers.

Lying in a patch of the pretty red and yellow flowers is where Howl found her a few hours later. She was curled partly on her side, enjoying a dream about butterflies, when a few droplets of cold water on her face startled her awake.

Wiping at her face groggily, she awkwardly pulled herself up, intent on discovering whether or not the Waste was on the verge of a weather change. There was also something blocking the sun, and she felt the lack of warmth keenly.

Her eyes sun stricken from laying under it, she couldn't make out the shadow standing above her for a few spotted moments.

It flicked some more water at her.

"The look on your face worries me a bit, Sophie love. Surely I haven't been away long enough for you to forget me?"

Sophie blinked, and in a burst of energy surged to her feet and tackled a very sodden husband.

"Howl," she breathed, squeezing tightly around his middle. He let out a little whoof of air as she felt his rain soaked clothes seep into hers.

His arms closed tightly around her, and she could feel him lean down to nuzzle her cheek affectionately.

"How was your trip? Did you just get back? Is everything alright, did it go okay?"

He hummed, and stepped back. Now that her eyes had adjusted, she could see him properly, from his curling, soaked blonde hair (that was noticeably fading to black), to the light stubble on his jaw, and the tired stoop of his shoulders.

"The acquisition went fine, a little longer than planned, but the King was satisfied with the results," he breathed out, his voice low and tired. Sophie leaned into him as he led them back to the castle, not caring if half of her dress was getting quite wet.

"How have things been with you?" he asked, and Sophie could hear the weariness seeping through his tone. Whatever he had been tracking had definitely giving him a hard time, and it made her a little sad that she wasn't there to help. Even though she'd probably botch things up in the long run.

"They've been just fine. Let's get you into a bath, you look like you've been whipped about by seven league boots for a month straight."

He let out a small chuckle. "You could say that," he agreed.

Howl twisted open the door to the castle, ushering Sophie inside first. She couldn't help but quickly glance at the clock, and it gave her a mild start to see that it was nearly 6 o'clock. She hadn't planned on staying from the shop that long...

And of course, that was when Howl decided to come home, she thought, walking up to the hearth.

"Hey Calcifer—?"

"Yea yea Sophie. Bath, gotcha. I can't stay long though, the rain's beginning to stop and I have places to go."

"Oh, well—"

"But I'm walking over to a hot spring, so no worries about running out of hot water.

"Thanks Calcifer," she said softly, smiling. The demon shrugged. He knew what would happen in the next few hours, and he was definitely not going to stick around for it.

There was a tug at her sleeve. "Sophie?"

"Hm?" She turned around, and then smiled, walking into Howl's waiting arms. He hugged her close, his lips brushing the top of her head, before moving down to nuzzle her jaw.

"I missed you," he sighed into her ear, sending shivers down her spine.

"I've missed you too," she half whispered.

His lips traveled along the length of her jawline, before turning to hungrily press against her own. Sophie breathed a sigh of relief; this is what she had been waiting for. His lips were warm, and they moved gently against hers, chastely.

After a moment, he drew apart, and smiled crookedly.

"I'll just be a moment in the—"

"No no," Sophie interrupted. "You're exhausted and a bath will do you good. I'll start dinner, and you just relax."

It was absolutely killer to say that, because dinner was the last thing she had on her mind, but it was worse to let Howl become a pitiful mess just for a few moments of highly anticipated pleasure.

At least, that was what she was repeatedly telling herself.

She swallowed, and Howl looked at her pointedly for a moment, before shrugging and letting himself be led to the bathroom door, the water pipes turning on with a screech the next moment.

Once he was inside, Sophie let out a huff, and stalked over to the kitchen table. It was just an hour or so of waiting. She had all night to show Howl how much she missed him...or the next day at least if he wasn't recovered enough.

"Alright, I'm off Sophie. I'll see you tomorrow?"

She glanced over at Calcifer, who was stretching slightly as he prepared to leave the castle.

"See you tomorrow Calcifer," she said.

He gave her a knowing look, which she pretended not to notice.

"Sophie," he began.

She turned her head at him despondently.

"As tired as Howl may seem, he's been a lot worse. I'm sure that any...activities...planned will be only be met with enthusiasm."

Sophie blushed immediately a bright red, and mumbled incoherently of ignorance to any such activities.

"Whatever, I personally have no care in what you intend on doing. Other than you should just get on with it. Goodbye." And with that, and a slight roaring sound, he was gone.

Sophie blinked in the sudden darkness, and started as she heard the bath pipes screeching again. Another bath refill, she supposed.

If Calcifer was right, and Howl had been through worse...would it really be alright if she carried on with tonight? God, her thoughts of sex were incorrigible and Calcifer did not help at all. She didn't want to be a hussy, inconsiderate of her lover's feelings.


Howl had said he'd only be a moment in the bath after kissing her. That definitely implied things.

"Oh, sod it!" Sophie exclaimed, and made her way to the bathroom, dinner completely forgotten. There was something she'd been dying to try anyway, and now was the perfect opportunity...

The bathroom door opened with a creak. Howl's head had been leaning back over the side of the tub, his arms lazily dangling over the edge. Her breath hitched as Howl tilted his head to look at her. Apparently, he wasn't bothering with any spells because the bathtub was 1)very clean and 2) his hair was pitch black.

Now Sophie enjoyed Howl in all his appearances, but there was nothing she liked more than his natural hair. It reminded her of a raven's feathers, soft and beautiful. Her fingers twitched with the impulse to touch.

"Sophie?" He sat up in the bath.

With a sigh, she stepped into the room, closing the door firmly behind her, and locking it.

Howl sat up straighter. "Sophie, what's going on?"

"I've been meaning...well I've always wanted..." Sophie bit her lip, unsure of how to word it. She didn't want to sound like a pervert, but her head was already getting thick with anticipation. Slowly, she began to unbutton the front of her bodice.

Howl's swallow was audible.

She slid her top off, pushing up the strap of her under camisole as it slid down her shoulder. "I know you might be tired, but we could just try just this for tonight..."

Off came the skirt, pooling around her legs. She was wearing one of her many panties, as Howl had thrown out all her bloomers a few days after their wedding night. Sophie approached the bath, and finally met Howl's eyes.

She inhaled sharply. His eyes were dark, intense, and narrowed. Slowly, she slipped off her panties, watching as his gaze followed her movements, and then eased herself into the tub. Howl tensed as she knelt above his stomach, his hands automatically finding their place on her waist.

"Is this okay?" Sophie asked, timidly, her hands resting on his chest.

"Well," Howl chuckled breathlessly. "If this is how you're going to greet me after a month's absence, I may just have to disappear again."

Sophie narrowed her eyes. "Don't you dare take another assignment that long again, Howl Jenkins."

"Oh? And why is that, Sophie Jenkins?" His smirk was insufferable, thought Sophie. And very, very attractive.

"Because," she breathed, leaning in closer. "Spending night after night." She swirled her hips against him, enjoying the way his breath hitched. "Thinking about what we could be doing, rather than doing it." Her lips were millimeters from his, and she could feel his warm pants. "Is unacceptable."

His fingers tightened, digging into her waist. "I believe that is a fair argument," he ceded, before seizing her mouth with his. Sophie let out a low gasp of approval, and shivered as his growl reverberated through both their bodies.

There was nothing chaste about this second kiss. Howl bit and nibbled at her lower lip, teasing it with his tongue before she opened her mouth, accepting him. He tasted the line of her teeth, and gave a low groan as she twirled her tongue with his, sucking lightly. Her hands crept up his chest, reuniting with the feel of his skin, before reaching up to delve into his hair. Howl hummed as her hands clenched and pulled slightly, his own reaching up her camisole to rest on her ribs, thumbs caressing the lower curve of her breasts.

Sophie let out a moan as his hands slowly crept higher, cupping her and squeezing lightly. She broke off their kiss, letting out another sigh as his thumbs flicked her hardened buds. Howl did not let up, trailing kisses down her neck, sucking lightly and nipping. The bathwater splashed against the tub as their movements grew hurried.

"Howl," Sophie breathed out, her voice ragged. He hummed in response, sending a wave of pleasure through to her core, as he was currently latched onto one of her breasts. She pulled him back up into a kiss, fervently pressing her mouth to his. After a moment, she pulled back, taking in his pleasure darkened eyes and his kiss swollen mouth.

"Let me please you, love," she murmured, and pushed him so that he was reclining against the tub. Pulling her soaked camisole off, she shook her hair, and leaned down to kiss her way along Howl's jawline, to nip down his throat, to suck on the crook of his neck. He groaned appreciatively, his hands running up and down her waist restlessly.

"Ahh, Sophie," he moaned, as she gave a particularly hard bite, and rubbed herself against his fully erect arousal. She let out a shudder as sparks of heat rushed through her body, and she slid against him again. It didn't help that Howl's deep groans were sending vibrations in all the right places.

"Howl," she gasped. He looked at her with heavy lidded eyes, that suddenly widened as she forcefully slid onto him, water splashing.

"Oh, gods Sophie," he bit out, his body tense.

"I missed you terribly," she exhaled, lifting herself up every so slowly, and forcefully slamming down again. Howl's hands dug into her hips, barely restraining his urge to flip her over and fuck her senseless.

"So," he panted raggedly. "Did I. I—oh god yes—missed you so much. Ahh!"

She let out a whimper, as she changed the angle and hit a particularly delicious spot, quickening her pace slightly. Her hands leaned against Howl's chest, nails digging in as she maintained her pace, enjoying this sense of control. Howl let out a loud groan.

"Sophie, please," he begged as she lifted again, still maintaining a remarkably subdued pace. "Faster! Or I might have to take things in my own hands," he added with a growl.

"Oh?" She laughed lightly, and rolled her hips, sending them both in a pleasure filled rush.

As she laughed, Howl smirked, and rammed his hips up into hers, making her gasp in surprise.

"Ohhh," she moaned, her head lolling, and Howl snapped his hips again, and again. Biting her lip, she could feel that she was close, and began to meet Howl's thrusts.

"Yes, Howl, ohh. Harder!"

He complied, gritting his teeth as he felt the pressure build up inside.

"More," she gasped. "More!"

If this was what Howl meant by taking things in his own hands, she was more than happy to step down.

Growling, he reversed their positions suddenly, an arm secured around Sophie's waist, angling her up. He thrust into her ferociously, his other arm braced against the bottom of the tub, and she grasped at the sides of the bath tub, the growing pleasure becoming unbearable and blinding.

The intensity of her peak was unlike any other, and she couldn't see anything. She let out a loud gasp, which almost immediately turned into a low pitched groan. Waves of white hot pleasure washed over her body, and she tensed as it passed through, breathing out moans. When she could see again, Howl had buried his face in her neck, and was erratically thrusting his climax out, his satisfied groan half submerged in water.

She sighed and smiled as Howl chuckled fondly.

"You minx."

The dream she was having had not pictures, or images. All she could feel was a steadily growing pressure, and little flickers of pleasure. To her dismay, she was slowly becoming conscious, and she was loathe for the dream to end.

However, as she woke up, the feelings only strengthened. She turned her head sluggishly from side to side, to find that she was in bed, and that someone was slowly kissing down her body.

"Mmm," she hummed, spreading her legs.

"Someone," a voice said under the covers. "Was having a naughty dream." Lick. "And wasn't—" Nibble. "Kind enough to—" Suck. "Invite me."

"Mhmm," she breathed, almost fully awake. Her core was tingling, already anticipating what was to come.

"Listen properly while I scold you." A long, languid lick, so very very close.

"Ahah, mmm, naughty dream, invite Howl next time. Mhm." She spread her legs wider, as if to emphasize his goal. He nibbled down her inner thigh, and she squirmed in impatience. He paid no heed, and merely kissed down to her knee, before kissing back up on the other leg.

"Howl," she protested.

He gave out a little laugh, and she arched slightly, as his breath caressed a very sensitive point. Fingers crept up her legs, dancing across her folds, pulling them slightly back. Sophie gasped, heady with excitement.

Howl let out a little smile that she didn't get to see, and gave her pearl a languorous lick. Sophie stiffened, letting out a keening groan. Her hands immediately sought out Howl, and they clenched in his hair. So soft.

His tongue licked it lightly, just with the tip, while his hands massaged her thighs. She'd planted her feet, and spread her legs as far as she could comfortably, head tossing on the pillow. As much as she tried to arch into his touch, Howl held her down with his hands, making her moan frustratedly.

"Oh please," she breathed out, begging.

"Tell me what you want." Howl's voice was low with promise.

"Fingers," she gasped.

Slowly, he slid in one to the knuckle, and then slid in another, scissoring them. Sophie panted, releasing Howl's hair to grasp frantically at the sheets. He began kissing her, using his lips to suck and pull, and his tongue to swirl and press.

And then suddenly he was gone.

Sophie frowned, panting, and propped herself up on her elbows. Howl was crawling up onto her, forcing her to lower onto the pillow again.

He smiled mischievously.


His hair fell in front of face, but there was no way to fully curtain his blazing green eyes. Sophie swallowed, chest heaving.

"Howl, what—?"

"Someone," he interrupted. "Fell asleep in the bathtub. Who was supposed to be tired?"

Sophie blushed and averted her eyes as he let out a breathy laugh and nuzzled her neck. Her embarrassment didn't stop her from reaching down, running her hands down his sides encouragingly.

"I can't complain entirely, as I got to stare at you unmolested, for hours," he continued, slightly muffled. Sophie giggled, and poked his sides playfully, knowing how ticklish he was. He jerked and paused before dropping his full weight on her. Air whooshed out of Sophie in an instant, and she tickled his sides in a desperate need for air.

Laughing didn't really help either.

"Howl, come on," she gasped. "Get off!"

"Never," he replied gallantly, and kissed her neck, slowly inching his knees up.

"Howl I can't god..."

She could feel his grin against her neck as he slowly slid inside her. Gently, he made love to her, kissing every inch he could touch, while he rocked against her languidly. Sophie hummed appreciatively, curling her legs around his waist for a better angle, and clenching her hands into his back.

"Sophie," he moaned softly, and kissed her, mimicking his actions in a delving of his tongue, and the sweet touches of his lips. He moved from her lips, gliding to her cheekbone, and then to her eyebrow, and then to her ear, and then to her jaw, and back.

She closed her eyes, enjoying the closeness as much as the pleasure.

"Don't you dare fall asleep on me, Sophie." Her eyes opened slowly, to find that Howl had propped himself off above her, and was gazing intently. She unwound her arms from his shoulders, and cupped his face. His eyes lidded, and he leaned into her touch.

"Never," she exhaled.

He quickened his rocking, slowly building up his pace until she couldn't see properly. She was about to come after a particularly hard thrust, but Howl immediately slowed his thrusts down back to the slow pace. With a groan, she squeezed her inner walls hard in retaliation, reveling in Howl's deep throated groan.

"Finish what you started," she commanded breathily.

"Aye, Mrs. Witch," he said, a half grin on his face.

Again, he built up the pace, until he was practically hammering into her. Sophie arched back with pleasure, the top of her head resting on the pillow, giving Howl full access to her strained neck.

Her orgasm came suddenly, and she choked out a cry. Howl rode out her quivering walls as she came down from the high, sliding in her slick hole with a clenched jaw.

"Oh, yes Howl," she moaned, encouraging him.

Three hard, erratic poundings later, he let out a half gasp, half groan, and collapsed to the side. Sophie ran a loving hand across his cheek, smoothing back sweat soaked strands of hair.

"Welcome home," she whispered.

"Mmm," he rumbled, pulling her close.

Sophie was half asleep when she felt him murmur something against her neck. After a minute of letting her mind reprocess, she realized he'd asked for a round three in a few hours.

She merely raised a lazy, languid arm to poke him in the side. He giggled.


Hee hee.

I've had a huge writer's block on The Aftermath...and I was writing this other lemon that turned into a novel twice, so yea. ):

Take my pie and eat it.

Reviews please!