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PART 2 OF 2: They Might Be Giants – Secret Santa for Zoinks! :)


zneeze

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Hi buddy! Merry Belated Christmas and happy holidays biggrin.png I was very excited to receive your name in our Secret Santa this year! This is a story about some giants, a human and a fairy. I don’t think I’ve written giant(ess) sneezing or any fantasy-realm story before, but I loved taking up the challenge. I hope this doesn’t come across to you as too silly! (***EDITED BECAUSE I forgot to add this is Part 1 of 2!)

A few quick thank-yous I want to give: to Blah for giving me a beta read, to Azuralis one more time for writing me an absolutely terrific five-star gold-medal female cold-caretaking story that can be read here, and to Mint for doing such a great job with everyone’s giver and recipient matchups this year – mine in particular!

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When she awoke on the fourth day of her cold, Lora felt markedly better. She felt her temples with her hand, as if she was searching for the pounding headache she’d gone to sleep with, but it was nowhere to be found. Ten hours of sound sleep will do that to you.

Lora rolled out of bed and checked herself in the mirror. OK, so the pointy tip of her concave nose was still shining pink, but it wasn’t congested anymore. She coughed a little, but in doing this she found her throat to be much less sore.

She was brushing her bobbed auburn hair – that’s when she heard it. It was one sound she’d thought and she’d hoped she would never have to hear.

“HAAAH-SHEEEEEEWWWWW!”

A distant echo arrived at her window from over the Tall Hills, but even as an echo, Lora could tell it was the loudest female sneeze she’d ever heard. She knew right away what it meant, or more importantly, who it was. She rushed to grab her jacket, forgoing her hair-brushing and the rest of her morning routine, and ran out the door.

See, it took a lot for a giant to sneeze. Pollen didn’t fly to the heights of their noses, nor animal dander, nor dust, so giants’ bodies never developed any allergies. It was more likely for a bird in migration, not looking where it was going, to fly up a giant’s nostril with unfortunate accuracy. But that itself was a rarity.

And then there was the question of illness. While giants had their own diseases of various types and severities, none were sinus-related. There was never any reason to worry about catching something from a human or an elf, for example, because giants kept to themselves. How would they catch anything with no contact? What was to say that humans’ little colds would affect their race, anyway?

Lora’s parents and brother didn’t know she had befriended two giants on the other side of the Tall Hills. There was never any kind of war or even any minor squabbles among the different races – the giants, the humans, the elves and fairies had lived harmoniously for generations (although the latter were more known for causing mischief now and again). Still, there was a sort of stigma attached to giants – they were loners, and inherently dangerous due to their size, no matter how gentle their personalities.

No, her family would definitely disapprove if they found out. But they were oblivious to Lora’s several trips a week to visit Lazarus and Marian. They figured their daughter was riding her bike around town, maybe to the eastern outskirts where there were long, flat plains and no activity, no giants. It was on a bike ride several months ago, in fact, that Lora met Lazarus and Marian, after she accidentally guided herself onto the giants’ side of the hills. The brother and sister giants were surprised to see a human come that far, even though it was only about a ten-minute ride for Lora. That’s how separately the two races lived their lives.

The siblings were very friendly, and the trio soon devised a way for them to converse more comfortably. One of the smaller peaks in their area was called Persimmon Hill, even if it wasn’t technically a “hill.” The edge of the peak reached neck-level with Lazarus and Marian, who were each about 28 feet tall, when they stood in the valley below.

Lora would return to Persimmon Hill and sit and talk to those two hovering giant faces, bless their hearts, and tell them about her little brother, her musical hobbies, the annoying boys at Advanced School who refused to act their age. She never had human friends she loved more than the giants.

When Lora reached the bottom of Persimmon Hill, she knew it meant about two more minutes of heavy pedaling to reach their meeting place. She paused a minute to catch her breath – admittedly, it was still very shaky as her cold was winding down, and she had coughed sporadically throughout her trek. But before she could finish her journey, she heard Marian sneeze again.

“HAHHHHH-SHHHOOOOOOOOOO!”

A burst of color appeared in the air at the top of the hill. Lora knew better than to think it was a firework exploding, but that was the first mental image she had when she saw this swirl of orange and yellow. But she soon realized what it was. Marian had just blown every autumn leaf off probably every tree at the top of the hill. They floated interminably in the wind her sneeze had caused.

With a quick but solemn nod, Lora mounted her bike and resumed her trip to the top. As she expected, her two giant friends were waiting for her.

“Laz! Marian!”

“I assume you came right when you heard her?” asked Lazarus. Marian turned a bright shade of red.

“Yeah, I did,” Lora admitted, laying her bike under a tree.

“You said on Tuesday that you have a cold, right?” Lazarus asked her.

“Well, I did – on Tuesday. I’m still getting over it. But don’t tell me…”

“She caught it and we don’t know what to do!”

Lora was incredulous. “I thought giants couldn’t catch human diseases!”

“I thought so, too!” Marian wiped her nose with the back of her hand. “I’ve never felt like this before. I feel something like fire in my throat. And I feel my nose filling up with water…”

“It’s not water, honey…” Lora frowned in sympathy.

Marian felt another itch seated deep in the back of her nose. “Heh – Huhhh…”

Laz immediately recognized another sneeze was coming. “Marian, don’t! Try – ” An idea came to him. “Try aiming at your feet! Aim down!”

As the inevitable built, Marian figured it was worth a try. Where else could she “aim” to avoid causing damage? She tipped her head down so she was looking at her bare feet – which Lora once teasingly estimated would be “size 500” in a human shoe. But there was no such thing as a giant’s shoe, anyway, precisely because of how big they were.

“AHH—HEEEHHHH…”

As it built, the sneeze ebbed and flowed in a way Marian found fascinating, almost entrancing. She felt her face get caught up in all the motions: the breaths in and out led her face to scrunch and slacken, scrunch and slacken…

“HEH – HEH – HUUHHHH…”

Lora, meanwhile, had decided to backpedal. It wasn’t a conscious decision so much as an instinct. Her feet began jogging backwards, as she maintained a close watch over her giant friends. Marian looked ready to let go; Lazarus had the most worried expression on his face. He must have been frozen in place in the tense moment.

“HUHHHH-SCHOOOOOOOOOO!”

The sneeze screamed its way out of Marian’s tortured nose and seemed to have no consequence to the ground below. Well, Marian felt a cold spray cover her feet, and she had to believe the nature that grew beneath her and Lazarus was affected similarly. But nothing was uprooted or split in half. All the trees down there still stood.

“No damage,” Marian sighed when she found the courage to look back up at Lazarus.

“Thank goodness. I think that’s how you’ll have to take care of your sneezing while you have this cold.”

“But how will I take care of the cold?” Marian asked. “How long did you say it lasts, Lora?”

“Sometimes a few days,” said Lora, “sometimes a week or even longer, I’m afraid…”

“And what did you do to take care of yourself?” Lazarus asked her.

“I drank tea and slept. I took medicine, mostly,” said Lora. “There’s no cure for it, but they make certain medicines that treat symptoms. But imagine how many pills you’d need to take to treat a body that’s, well, your size.”

“And that’s even if your human medicine would treat giants at all,” Lazarus pointed out. “We don’t know. Better to not waste time or resources trying that.”

Marian shot him a look that both pled with him and scolded him. “So then what am I supposed to do? Destroy the whole region with my sneezing?”

“You’re not going to do that, Mar,” said Lazarus. “These are just facts of life. Giants sneeze once in a while, not often at all, and we know and accept what damage it can cause.”

Marian wiped her nose again and gasped a bit – Lora realized it was a sob. “But Lora could hear me all the way from her village. What if other humans down there hear me? What if Lora’s parents find out about us?”

“Honey, try not to cry, first of all,” Lora tried to say as comfortingly as she could. “That’s only going to make you feel wor – worse.”

A fresh tickle had just ignited in Lora’s own nose, probably by a product of the autumn breeze more so than her waning cold. She did her best to defeat the tickle by holding her breath. Lora already felt guilty enough that she gave Marian her cold, and she didn’t want to sneeze and remind everyone how she was to blame. But her nose was too weak to fight off the inevitable, and she brought her elbow up to her face as she succumbed to her usual double.

“Kshhhooo! Kshhhooo!”

“Bless you,” Marian muttered. Lora recently had taught the siblings human etiquette for sneezing. Giants had no expression to follow a sneeze, and were more prone to say “sorry” than anything else.

“I wish I could sneeze so quiet and just cutely and – and nondestructively as you,” Marian admitted.

“Oh, Marian – ”

Lora didn’t know exactly how to respond, but fortunately she didn’t have to. The trio’s fairy friend, Amy, emerged from the bushes without warning.

“Goodness gracious, are you the one causing all this racket this morning?!” Amy shouted up to Marian. She had to shout when talking to the giants – the fairy-to-giant size proportion was impossibly huge. “You and your big giantess schnoz?!”

Amy was more of an acquaintance than a friend.

“Give her a break, Ames, she’s broken up about it,” said Lora.

But Amy was a spunky little fairy. Fluttering her wings fast as ever, she flew toward Marian’s face.

“You woke up my family, girl!” she taunted. “Don’t you know how to ‘say it, not spray it?’ ”

“We don’t, really,” Lazarus spoke up in his sister’s defense. “Marian hadn’t sneezed in two years till today. Myself, I haven’t in three and a half, I think. It’s so uncommon for us that when it happens, well, it just happens.”

“But dow I’b sick with Lora’s stupid cold,” Marian told the fairy. “Oh no! What’s happedig to by voice?”

Lora closed her eyes, blushing for more than one reason. “You’re congested, sweetheart. I promise it’s temporary.”

“Amy, I think you better move out of the way,” Lazarus said suddenly.

“Why?!”

She turned to Marian and saw her face was contorted, getting ready for another sneeze. And this one was coming much quicker!

“HA-HAAAAHHHH – EHHH…”

“Don’t sneeze, Marian! Look out!” Lazarus pled, but there was no turning back now.

“AAHH-SCHOOOOOOOO!”

Edited by zneeze
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Oh my goodness I am grinning like an IDIOT

ZNEEZE!! I got you for my secret santa and I FLIPPED OUT oh my god your writing is phenomenal??

I just love this so much oh my goodness. FIRST OF ALL!! the fairy and human and giants are FRIENDS and I can not STAND how sweet that is. First of all, the whole thing about poor helpless birdies accidentally--- omg i was just la ughing so much

MARIAN IS A CUTIE. She is just so sweet and UGH just so sad about being destructive and UGH CAN SHE BE ANY CUTER. this is just so sweet oh my gosh, I just love giants SO MUCH and you did it SO WELL ZNEEZE I LOVE YOU SO MUCH THANK YOUUUU

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Wow! This is amazing, zneeze! I love your writing :) And Lora and Marian are so adorable -- Lora's guilt at having given away her cold, Marian's embarrassment at being so destructive, it's painfully cute.

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I also love your stories and glad that you found the time to write another one. To be honest I half-expected Amy to get sucked up Marian's nose when she flew up to Marian's face.

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Thanks, everyone! I'm so glad you like it, Zoinks! Here's part 2 of 2! Happy new year!

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Lora picked herself up right away and started sprinting to find Amy. Marian’s sneeze was powerful enough to launch the young woman back a few yards, yes, but the fairy could have been blown back a mile for all they knew. Besides, Marian was going to be embarrassed enough without Lora wallowing around on the ground.

“I’b so sorry…” Marian whimpered as Lora ran. I hope she realizes I’m not ‘running away’ from her, she thought.

Lora found that her bike had landed under a tree, still intact, though the tree itself wasn’t. A few roots had been ripped out, so the tree tilted backwards, away from the giants’ direction. Several of its branches were ripped off and splayed across the ground. Lora looked around and saw the same was true for most of the trees around her, including one that had been completely uprooted.

But she refocused her efforts on finding Amy. There was still no sign of her. “Amy? Amy, can you hear me? Are you okay?”

Nothing yet. Lora ran a few more yards, until a bush rustled and caught her eye.

“Amy? Are you in there?”

“Yeah! Help!”

Lora rushed over to the bush to find Amy caught between a nest of twigs inside. As gently as she could, she helped the fairy escape from the thorny trap.

“You’re OK, right?” Lora whispered.

“I’m fine! It was kind of a fun ride – just a rough landing.”

Amy proved her health was still intact by flying back to the peak much faster than Lora could run, or even ride her bike, which thankfully she found still in working condition. Lazarus and Marian were still there, waiting; Marian presently was using the collar of her thin, giant dress to wipe her runny nose.

“Amy, I amb so so so sorry!” Marian sobbed. Lora noticed tears the size of puddles in her eyes.

“Don’t sweat it, Mar! I’m sorry I was picking on you for it before.”

Marian dabbed her eyes with her sleeve. “I just wish there was a way I could handle this better.”

“Next time you sneeze, can you catch it in your hands?” Lora suggested.

“I could… try…”

It didn’t take long for “next time” to arrive. Lora initially thought the giantess’s breath was shaky and words were hesitant because she was on the verge of tears, but she was gearing up for yet another sneeze.

“HUH – HAHH….”

“Cover both your nose and your mouth!” Lora called up to her.

Marian nodded, closed her eyes, and did as Lora said. She also decided to turn away from the peak, so she wasn’t facing Lora and Amy. The pair watched her eight-foot-long ponytail jump as her head whipped back, then forward.

“HAAA-EEEEEESSHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

The final syllable of her sneeze was accompanied by a loud whistle, from the wind Marian created that escaped between her crossed fingers. But after she was finished, she and Lazarus looked around to assess their surroundings. No damage was done.

Lazarus mirrored his sister by bringing his hands up to his mouth, but not for the same reason. He smirked.

“Heh heh… HA HA HA!”

Laz’s laugh boomed across the hills.

“Shut up!” Marian cried.

“What’s so funny about this all of a sudden?” Amy demanded.

“It’s just… I don’t know! I know it’s destructive, but you just can’t help yourself when you’re sneezing and I’ve never seen you like that before! Hahaha!”

Lora groaned, knowing Lazarus didn’t realize how he was making Marian feel. Amy took a different approach.

“Laz,” she asked, flying up much closer to his face. “How long did you say it’s been since you sneezed?”

“Uh, three and a half years.”

Amy hovered directly in front of Lazarus’s nose, her wings fluttering faster than a hummingbird’s.

“Then maybe it’s time you remember for yourself how it feels!”

Before Laz could react, he saw Amy holding a handful of fairy dust – holding it far too close to his nose. She flew right below his nostrils – and – blew. Laz gasped and his face immediately screwed up.

“Amy?! Why on earth would you do that?!” Lora yelled.

“He’ll be fine,” Amy chuckled, and with that, she flew over his head and several yards behind him – completely safe from blast radius. It was clear she knew exactly what she had done.

“HUH-HUH-HUHHHHH…”

“Do what Marian did, dear! Cover your mouth and nose!” Lora yelled.

But the sensation was too strong, too unfamiliar, and coming on way too quickly for Laz to think clearly. His head was as fuzzy as his nose was itchy from the fairy dust.

“HAAHH… HAH – HUH…?”

“Do you hear me, Laz? Please cover your mouth!” Lora shouted.

Amy, always the daring one, zipped around Laz’s face, taunting him.

“Cover your mouth, Laz! Cover your nose! Or better yet – try not to sneeze at all!”

That wasn’t going to be an option. Amy flew back behind his head as Laz let go of the blast.

“HAAAAAAHHH-CHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

He managed to throw one hand in front of his mouth just in time, but the sneeze – decidedly bigger than any of Marian’s – still managed to lift a previously-rooted oak out of the ground. But Lora wasn’t hurt, nor Amy, nor Marian.

Marian couldn’t help but let a smirk cross her lips. “Bless you, brother.”

Over the next few hours, the friends tried to help take care of Marian, but there was really no such thing as “taking care of” a giant with a cold yet. No medicine, as they discussed before, but Marian and Lazarus didn’t even have handkerchiefs they could use. Lazarus went to the siblings’ home to fetch an old dress of Marian’s to use as an improvised hanky – “We can wash it tonight,” he promised her over and over.

Marian tried laying down in the valley below Persimmon Hill for a while, but it did her no good. She wasn’t able to rest; it was just uncomfortable overall. And she killed a lot of the grass beneath her by lying down longer than five minutes.

The friends couldn’t do much else for poor Marian, but at least she could handle her sneezing better. She would feel the itch brewing far enough ahead of time to cover her mouth and nose right away – Lora even suggested to use her sleeve.

“HUHH… EHHH-TSCHOOOOOO!”

Marian looked at her sleeve. “Well… it’s drenched.”

“Better your sleeve than the trees and all of us, though!” Amy quipped.

Lora glanced up at the sky. The sun had already reached high noon.

“Shoot. I need to go home. If I stay out any longer, my parents will get too suspicious,” said Lora.

“Aww, OK…” Marian frowned.

“Aw, Mar! I’ll come back tomorrow to check on how you’re feeling! Can I give you a hug?”

Marian smiled. She held out her index finger right at the edge of the peak, which Lora wrapped her arms around as much as she could.

“Thanks again for everything, Lora,” said Marian.

“Well I’m sorry I gave you this stupid cold in the first place!” said Lora, but Marian shook her head and smiled.

“Don’t blame yourself, please. I’m OK! And I’d be a lot worse off without you helping me deal with – well, you know.” She pointed at her nose and laughed at herself.

“You’re so cute, dear,” said Lora. “And I’m sure Lazarus will keep an eye on you!”

“I will,” Lazarus said with a proud smile.

Lora turned to Amy. “And I’m sure you’ll keep an eye on both of them.”

“Ha, as if I want to get swept up in another sneeze! I had plans for today too, ya know!” Amy said with a wink.

“I think you’ll feel better before you know it,” Lora told Marian with a caring smile. “Get lots of sleep in the meantime, and drink lots of water!” She mounted her bike and was just about to leave, but Marian stopped her for just one more moment.

“Lora?”

“Yes Mar?”

“When will you come tomorrow?”

“First thing in the morning.” Lora smiled. “I promise.”

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Haha I love how Amy made Lazarus sneeze as revenge for him laughing. FORCING KARMA'S HAND, AM I RIGHT? :lol:

“Aw, Mar! I’ll come back tomorrow to check on how you’re feeling! Can I give you a hug?”

Marian smiled. She held out her index finger right at the edge of the peak, which Lora wrapped her arms around as much as she could.

SO CUTE!! Love this :)

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Zneeeeeeze I still love this SO MUCH, I am just gushing. The unlikely friendship between these four is just the sweetest thing, for one, and OMG AMY she is the absolute best, I like how she thinks :rofl: Marion is just a huge cutie with how shy she is about being sick. And LAZ okay that was the sweetest thing ever okay

I JUST HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS ABOUT THIS BRO ILU AND THANK YOU SO MUCH

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Haha I love how Amy made Lazarus sneeze as revenge for him laughing. FORCING KARMA'S HAND, AM I RIGHT? heh.gif

You know it!!! ;)

I JUST HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS ABOUT THIS BRO ILU AND THANK YOU SO MUCH

I am so SO happy you liked it! :D

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I suppose I did already give you my thoughts after beta reading the first half of the story, but now there's a whole new part I hadn't seen before. That and I really should put an effort into commenting on things I like.

I really think the forum could use more stories like this. It's a sweet sneezy scenario that we all know and love, but with some nice fantasy twists on it that are integrated well enough that they never distract from the main attraction. The characters are really fun, and that in particular is a major story ingredient that's very important to me. On a related note, I can always appreciate some variety in the characters doing the sneezing. This story would have still worked just fine with only Marian sneezing, but throwing in a couple from the others here and there just made it all the more enjoyable.

Recently I've foolishly allowed myself to become split between maybe four different story ideas that I'm trying to work on. I have no idea which one will actually be finished first (god willing at least one of them will be eventually...), but I hope it turns out at least half as sweet as this one was.

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