Sophie sighed audibly as Howl combed his fingers through his hair, pulling the strands back to tie them up and out of his way as he worked on a spell. Howl turned to look at her, his fringe still hanging in his eyes, curious.

"What have I done to offend your practical nature now, dear Sophie?"

She narrowed her eyes a bit, huffing and crossing her arms. He blinked, and only looked more perplexed.

"Have we gone to guessing games now? Or does my mere presence upset you? I feel I should remind you that you agreed to marry me, Sophie, which entails 'until death do we part'."

Her lips pressed together a moment before she let out a low grumble.

"You look utterly ridiculous with your hair that long. How can you expect anyone to see you as a respectable wizard when you look like a flirty young woman?"

"As much as I appreciate the compliment cariad, I very much doubt my features could be considered outright feminine. Androgynous, possibly, but hardly girlish," he corrected, tucking a lock of stray hair behind his ear as he turned back to his experiment, "Though I suppose I could have the tailor remove the lace cuffs. They are quite fiddly to deal with besides."

"That's not that I'm talking about!" she exasperated, and Howl looked up again, "Your hair is too long! It's past your shoulders! Completely unrespectable!"

"Whoever accused me of being respectable?" he laughed, but Sophie only glared. His chuckles quickly died and he sighed heavily, "Do you dislike it so much?"

"I do," she nodded curtly once, "You should go and have it trimmed."

"Certainly not!" Howl crowed, looking scandalized, "I hardly trust anyone in Ingray with the welfare of my rubbish, let alone my hair!"

Sophie's hands went to her hips, and she gave him her best reproachful glare, "Then do you trust meto do it?"

Howl looked torn, and didn't reply for a long moment. Sophie finally let out a noise of frustration, before moving to turn on her heel, when Howl let out a soft reply.

"I trusted you with my heart Sophie. I suppose my hair isn't nearly as important as that."

She turned to look at him again, surprised by the sentiment. He gave her a wry smile, and took the scissors from his work bench.

"Would you like to get started then?"

Sophie couldn't reply for a short minute, before moving to take the shears. Howl hesitated a moment before passing them to her.

She had him sit on a short stool, and took a towel from the clothesline to drape over his shoulders. She pulled the ribbon from his hair, and brushed it with her fingers a moment to smooth the strands. She lifted a lock, her heart skipping a moment before she took the scissors in hand again, clipping the hair with a resounding snip. She continued to work, trying to keep the length even. Howl sat perfectly still, and she had to check occasionally to make sure he was still breathing (she feared he had passed out from the shock). Once she felt she had trimmed it to a more manageable cut, she stepped back, looking her work over. She could feel her stomach twist slightly, and did her best not to pull a face. She had let the trim get away from her, and instead of the shoulder length she had intended, Howl's hair was cropped short, brushing against his neck instead. She placed the shears on the table, less she do more damage. Howl continued to be still as stone.

"Do you like it better Sophie?" he questioned quietly, and she could tell he was trying to force a smile. He brushed off his shoulders, and pulled off the towel, combing his fingers through his hair. She saw the look of pain on his face before he quickly wiped it away, standing to check his reflection in the bathroom. Sophie watched as he walked across the kitchen before closing the bathroom door firmly behind him. She took the broom, and made herself busy cleaning the locks of hair scattered around the floor.

After a while, the floor swept and stool returned to it's place beside his workbench, Howl finally exited the bathroom, smile plastered across his face and voice light.

"It's lovely Sophie! You have quite a talent," he praised, brushing his lips against her temple, "You'll be able to have your chance at the bathroom more often! You've made it much easier to maintain."

"I'm sorry that it's not up to your standards!" she snapped, guilt making anger build up in her gut, "You don't have to patronize me Howl!"

"No, Sophie, I love it, I do," he tried to assure her, but she only felt worse at the blatant lie, "You did a fine job…"

"Oh, be quiet Howl!" she stomped her foot, shoving past him to storm upstairs, "It's your fault!"

"Sophie," he pleaded, but she didn't look back as she slammed the bedroom door shut, going to flop down onto the bed, trying to force back the tears.

After awhile, she heard the door creak open, but she ignored it, grabbing a pillow and hiding her face. Howl carefully stepped into the room, sitting down beside her on the bed.

"It's alright Sophie, I know this wasn't your intention. I'm quite sure that we'll both grow fond of it."

She grumbled into the pillowcase, guilt nipping at her heartstrings again. "You shouldn't have let me cut it if you were going to be upset."

Howl moved to lie beside her on the mattress, tugging at her waist until she pulled away from the pillow and rested her head against his collar.

"I'm not upset cariad."

"You're a horrible liar Howl," she pouted, and Howl's shoulders drooped. He nuzzled her hair, and she reached up to run her fingers through his, realizing with a hint of disappointment the difference in the feel of it between her fingers.

"It'll grow back," Howl said softly, almost as if to reassure himself, and Sophie nodded.

"I suppose we can add another clause to our wedding vows; I promise not to cut your hair again."

"Thank you Sophie," he murmured as he kissed the top of her head.