Happy Birthday, Jacob Andris!
August 27th is the specific day, but since I didn’t want to deal with whether or not the Lilliputian calendar is the same, I handwaved it a bit here. My boy is getting older; I’m really proud of how far the character has come since I first created him. He’s seen some crazy adventures in his original story as well as the many AUs I’ve tossed him into. I decided to use this cute AU to give him a nice birthday, since a lot of the other stories can get kinda sad for him at times. This one is all cutes.
Jacob relaxed against a hillside outside a miniature city. No matter how long it had been since he’d washed up on the shores of Lilliput, no matter how many times people insisted he was the giant there, he couldn’t help but think of it that way. To him, Lilliput and its denizens were tiny, all barely the size of a finger compared to him. He couldn’t even fit a hand in the doors of their homes (not that he’d tried that more than once).
He’d already been scolded once or twice by the people in charge. He wasn’t supposed to wander into the city itself without a chaperone, and even then only in less crowded areas. Since they were active all the time, those times were very rare.
In the back of his mind, Jacob was aware that he could go into town whenever he wanted. He could use their many roads as a footpath to any destination within the city. They couldn’t stop him from doing so.
He didn’t want to make them see him that way.
He’d been accepted in Lilliput. Considering how easily they could have sent him away, or worse, attacked him, he wanted to stay on their good side. As much as he could, anyway.
So, while a festival celebrating the late summer harvests went on in the main avenue of the city, Jacob waited outside. From a hillside that belonged to one of the farmers that didn’t mind him wandering on their land, he had a good view of things. Banners of all colors were hung from the eaves of many buildings, and long flags billowed in a gentle breeze. The cries of street vendors clamored for attention, and people laughed and talked at the various games and booths that absolutely clogged the streets.
He smiled faintly as someone set off a firework early. A few small sparks of colored flame shot high into the sky, clearing many roofs, but not shining as brightly as they would come sundown. Shortly after, someone could be heard on a megaphone reminding the crowds that the show wasn’t starting yet.
The sounds of people enjoying the festival mixed in with the inviting smells of the food offered at various booths. Jacob wondered idly if any of the livestock he’d helped look after or crops he’d helped carry had gone into those street food offerings; his odd jobs so far had taken him all over the outskirts of town.
He’d offered to help set up for the festival. Chase, his first friend in Lilliput and possibly the single reason everyone had accepted him, had tried to convince the authorities to let him in on it.
In the end, it was decided that it’d be safest to let the normal crews set everything up. Walking among the city’s buildings was one thing, but putting up booths and a stage would risk him knocking into something.
He’d already bumped into a few things once or twice since his arrival. Surprisingly, though they were normally timid and hid from him at the first sign of his shadow, the Lilliputians had no qualms at all about scolding Jacob for such things. He always made sure to be contrite for them; if they were going to be brave enough to yell at him, they’d earned his respect.
After watching the preparations for days leading up to the event, he was glad to finally see what the fuss was all about. Chase and his family, the Lisongs, had been preparing their livestock for weeks even before Jacob arrived. They were somewhere among the food booths, selling cheese and milk fresh off the farm. Chase’s sister, Minnie, had taken a few of the lambs to a petting zoo. They were all keeping busy.
It left Jacob to figure out for himself where he might settle down for the night. There would be a fireworks show later, and more music and dancing he might be able to see if he stood at the right angle.
He liked his hillside. Some of the cows hadn’t even lumbered away from him, instead settling in the shade he created with his giant shadow. A lot of the skittish animals were getting used to him the more he was around.
Closer to evening, many of the cows made lazy efforts to get up and wander towards their barn. Jacob was nudging at one of the stragglers when he noticed movement further down the hill. He turned the cow towards the others in hope she’d follow, and then looked down to see who approached.
A grin broke over his face and he sat up. Chase, a tiny figure especially among the tall grass, waved up at him with one hand while the other secured the pack on his back. “Hey!” he yelled, having no problem projecting his voice despite his size.
It was one of the nice constants of life in Lilliput. He’d never miss his buddy talking.
“What’re you doing away from the booth?” Jacob greeted. As he spoke, he lowered a hand to the ground. Chase hurried the last few steps to scramble up onto it, tossing his backpack onto Jacob’s palm. “I recall you getting the third degree for even suggesting you’d skip it this year.”
Chase snickered as he settled himself down on the hand. Then, patting the nearby thumb, he let Jacob know he was ready. “Yeah, it took some convincing. Mom said I’d be in for extra chores for this one, but dude. I’m not gonna make you sit out of the festival all on your own!”
Jacob lifted Chase with well-practiced care, and his smile softened. “Aww, gee, Chase. You really do care,” he teased, nudging at the little guy’s shoulder. “I don’t mind watching everything from out here.”
Chase shoved his finger away, with just-as-practiced exasperation. “Course I care, giant,” he said. “‘Specially since you mentioned you got a birthday sometime in late summer. I remember shit!”
Jacob raised his eyebrows, but didn’t have a chance to ask any more as Chase determinedly began to rummage through his loaded pack. Despite the teasing, he was curious, and lifted his hand closer to his face to watch as Chase produced several cloth wrapped bundles from the bag, setting them out on Jacob’s palm like he was on a picnic.
“… Chase, what’s all this stuff?” Jacob asked, curling his thumb down in preparation to nudge at one of the bundles.
Chase slapped at the thumb that outsized him to keep it away. “Hey, wait a second!” he griped. “Don’t squash stuff before I get a chance to even unwrap it!”
That said, he pushed his pack aside once it was emptied, and set to unwrapping the cloth. One bundle revealed a large, round loaf of bread with a pattern crosshatched into the top. Another showed a soft roll of white goat cheese. There was also a block of what looked like cheddar, and a tub of a faintly-pink stuff that must be cream cheese.
In other words, some of the premium offerings from the Lisong’s food stand, as well as the bread to pair with it.
“Dude, you didn’t steal this, did you?” Jacob asked, squinting at the tiny food offerings. It would be enough for a filling brunch for five or six lilliputians.
Chase gave him a flat look. “You have no appreciation for the things I do,” he said, before breaking into his mischievous grin again. “It’s not stealing if it’s from my own stuff. And I paid for the bread. I didn’t want to risk carrying a cake up here so you get bread and cream cheese. Happy birthday, Jacob. Hope you like it.”
Jacob scanned the offerings again, his grin brightening. Then, he nudged at Chase’s shoulder. “It’s great, Chase. Thanks for bringing that out for me.”
The words barely left his mouth before there was a loud series of bangs from somewhere in town, and they both turned to look. Firecrackers exploded in an open space in the street, throwing smoke into the evening air. Lilliputian kids laughed, then ran as the adults took chase after them for setting off more fireworks before the show. Once again, someone was on the megaphone to stem any confusion about the schedule for the evening.
Chase snickered and turned back to the food. As he started to spread huge amounts of cream cheese onto the bread, he finally replied. “It’s no trouble, man. Besides. The show’s gotta be way more fun from up here anyway.”
I really want a bagel now.
If you’d like to see the original story featuring Jacob and Chase in a physical book form, you can check that out here!