First, let me apologize for that title. It's terrible, but I couldn't resist it.
This story is my half of the trade I made with Feather, and is my repayment for her most excellent comic of Hayley the German Shepherd. It features her character Kiara, who is supposedly the same Houndoom as the one seen here: http://sneezefurs.org/index.php?topic=3317.0
I hope you all enjoy! As always, I'd love to hear what you think!
Dr. Kiara Halloran made her way briskly down the street, shivering just a little at the chilly, early winter morning air and pulling her jacket tighter around herself. The Houndoom wasn’t overly fond of the winter chill—fire types like warm weather, after all—but she couldn’t deny that it brought medical professionals like her plenty of business. And she was thankfully reaching the end of her walk.
Kiara took in the sight of her workplace for a second before going for the door. It wasn’t too impressive, just a small private practice and a far cry from the large hospital she hoped to work in one day, but it had its own charm. She liked getting to know her regular patients and her fellow staff. And the fact that she could walk to work from her home certainly didn’t hurt either.
The bells tied over the door made a soft jingling noise as she stepped inside, smiling as the heated air brought her body temperature up to a much more comfortable level.
“Morning, Dr. Halloran!” called the Floatzel receptionist from his spot behind the main desk. He waved at Kiara, smiling widely.
“Good morning, Rudy,” she replied, smiling back. “How are you this morning?”
Rudy somehow found a way to make his grin even wider, showing off his sharp, white teeth. “Great! Always happy to see you. And the others. And the patients. Meet and greet, that’s me.”
The usually reserved and composed Houndoom found herself giggling uncharacteristically girlishly. Not that she was surprised. Rudy tended to have that brightening effect on people, it was one of the things that made him perfect for his job. “Of course it is,” she chuckled as she turned to leave.
“Wait, one more thing.” Rudy’s voice stopped her halfway through, and she turned back. There was no need to prompt him; he continued almost without pause. “Mr. Simmonds was in here just about ten minutes ago.”
Immediately, Kiara was all business. “Is his son alright?”
Another wide grin from the Floatzel. “Better. They operated on him last night, and he should be making a full recovery. The file’s on your desk.”
The Houndoom sighed, relived. “That’s wonderful, Rudy, thank you for telling me.”
“Yes, Mr. Simmonds was exceedingly grateful. He wanted to thank you in person, but he couldn’t stay. And he left a gift for you.”
That got the Houndoom to cock an eyebrow. “He didn’t need to do that. I’m just doing my job.”
“I thought you’d say that, but he was quite insistent.” Rudy winked.
“What was it? I hope it wasn’t expensive . . .”
“I’m sworn to secrecy, but it’s in on your desk! Go have a look before you get to work,” he suggested. “I’ll call you if any patients show up.”
“Thank you, Rudy. I’ll take a quick look, then I’ll get set up.”
“Think it’ll be a busy day?” Rudy asked as she turned to leave.
“Hard to say,” she replied over her shoulder, as she began walking down the hallway. “But if it is, we’ll be ready!”
Kiara took a deep breath as she headed for her office. Something told her that this was going to be a long day. Suddenly, the Houndoom’s nose gave a twitch. She frowned, not breaking her stride. What was that smell? It seemed so familiar, and yet . . .
Kiara opened the door, and froze, eyes wide with shock. Sitting on her desk was a large bouquet of flowers, with a paper note clipped to the side. Her canine nostrils flared as she felt pollen radiating up her muzzle. She mentally cursed herself for forgetting that Mr. Simmonds was the local florist. What else would he have given her? She knew all about allergies, knew all the ways the pollen was working its evil magic on her, but the Houndoom doctor was still helpless to resist her hypersensitivity to the stuff. It was winter, she hadn’t taken any antihistamines! Quickly, she pinched her nose, darted into the room, grabbed the note, shoved it in her pocket, and began to race down the hall.
“R-ruh-Rudy! P-p-please . . . the door . . . I’m going to . . . AAHHH . . . AAAAAAHHHHHHH!”
The Floatzel jumped at his desk, turning into the hallway just in time to find himself nose to irritated nose with a very sneezy Kiara. So sneezy, in fact, that it didn’t look like she had time to get outside before . . .
Just as quickly as he had stumbled upon the scene, Rudy scrambled out of the way barely in time to avoid the fiery “HHRRRAAAAAAAHHTTTCCCHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” that exploded out of the Houndoom doctor. Kiara purposely didn’t cover her sneeze—it wouldn’t do to risk burning her clothes off at a time like this! The column of flame shooting out of her mouth and nostrils left a long scorch mark on the otherwise stark white floor, and left some wisps of thick smoke in the air as she recovered.
“Bless you, Doctor Halloran!” cried Rudy from his hiding place.
“Ugh . . .” Kiara sniffled, rubbing her runny, pinkening nose. “My ah . . . allergies . . .” She made a mental note to wipe the floor down later . . . fire types still shot out superheated spray after all, and that wasn’t exactly sanitary.
Rudy blushed. “Sorry . . . I didn’t know you were allergic to flowers, I thought it was just the trees and grass. Otherwise I, ah, might have handled that a little differently.”
The Houndoom found herself blushing back. “No, it’s ahh . . . all pollen . . . maybe I should have been more speh-heh-hecific . . .” She sniffled wetly a few times, nostrils flaring. The itch in the back of her muzzle spiked, the pollen apparently not all out, and her teary eyes snapped open. “Oh no . . . Rudy . . . the duh-door . . . I’m gonna sneh-heh-heeze again!”
The Floatzel didn’t need to be told twice. He scampered across the floor, throwing the door open and ducking behind it, using it as a shield. Kiara followed almost as quickly, mostly blinded by half-closed eyes clouded with allergic tears. She braced herself with her hands on the doorframe, sneezing openly into the chilly morning air.
“AAAAHHHHH . . . HHHAAAAAAAHHHHHH . . . HHRRRAAAAAAAHHTTTCCCHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! HRRRRREEEEAAAAAAATTTCCCHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”
Again, a massive burst of fire and superheated spray accompanied each, shooting into the parking lot. Fortunately there wasn’t a car parked just in front of the door! Kiara realized that she was making something of a scene, but there wasn’t anything she could do about that.
“. . . I think I’m okay for now. Thank you, Rudy.” She sniffled again. “Ugh, I need a tissue . . .” She took a handful from the box on Rudy’s desk, blowing her muzzle’s warm runniness into them and then dropping them into the trash. “Ah, much better.” Her nose twitched, still a little irritated but far less so than before.
Rudy, still peeking around the door, finally decided the coast was clear and came back inside. There was a pause, and then . . . “Great, Doctor Halloran, but, uh . . . what are we going to do about the flowers themselves?”
“I have an idea,” sniffled the Houndoom, as she pulled out her phone and began to text the very familiar number of her Rapidash lover. K: Hi Alicia. Can I ask you a favor?
A: Oh, hi sweetie! <3 What is it?
K: Well, I got some flowers at work, would you mind coming by and picking them up? I don’t want to burn them . . .
A: Oh, are the doctor’s allergies acting up again? XD
A: Heh. Well, I’ll do what I can, but I just got here. I don’t think I’ll be able to make it over until lunch.
A: Tell you what, honey, how about I meet you for lunch and then take the flowers and drop them at home on the way back?
K: That would be nice, thank you.
A: Anytime, sweetie! <3
Kiara sighed, a bittersweet smile upon her face. Not until lunch . . . she looked at the clock, dreading the next five hours.
“How’d it go?” asked Rudy, shuffling papers.
“They’ll, uh, be here a while yet,” the Houndoom admitted, frowning. This wouldn’t do at all, she needed to get at her files, but she couldn’t go into her office! Sure, some of them were on her computer, but not everything. And even if she had Rudy shut the flowers in another room, the pollen in the air would be too much for her. The bouquet had already contaminated her office with its aromatic, allergenic presence. Her brow furrowed as she pondered the situation. Surely she could think of something, she’d made it through medical school after all . . .
Before too long, she accepted that her best hope was to rely on the Floatzel again, much as she would have preferred to handle things herself. Swallowing her pride, Kiara removed a small key from her keychain, and looked up at where Rudy was just finishing putting a stack of pages away.
“Rudy? Er, one other thing . . .”
“Yes, Doctor?” he asked politely in reply.
She was blushing again as she handed him the key to her file cabinet. “I hate to ask, but could you help me get the patient files for the day, please? If I go back in there, I’m going to start sneezing again . . . and that wouldn’t be good. I can watch the desk while you’re gone.”
“Not a problem, Doctor,” he smiled, taking the key in one hand and a copy of the appointment schedule for the day in the other.
The Houndoom let out a sigh of relief. “Oh, thank you so much, Rudy. You’re a lifesaver.”
He didn’t say anything, just flashed her a grin that made her feel silly for worrying as he ducked around the corner.
Kiara took his seat behind the reception desk, and immediately found herself at a loss as to what to do. Aside from her and Rudy, the building was empty, no emergency cases were coming in, and she couldn’t even review her files. Remembering the note in her pocket, she pulled it out, reading it carefully. Dear Doctor Halloran,
Your guess that Evan was suffering from appendicitis and not stomach flu was correct, but thanks to your speedy referral, the doctors were able to catch it early and perform the proper surgery. He should make a full recovery.
Please accept this gift, it’s the least I can do to repay you for your excellent care.
A warm smile crossed her face as she lovingly put the note back into her pocket. This sort of thing was why she’d entered the medical profession in the first place. She made a mental note to tell Mr. Simmonds she was just doing her job the next time she saw him. It probably wouldn’t hurt to mention her allergies next time either, just for safety’s sake. And it would be nice to see Evan again; the little guy was just too cute. She hoped that he’d be back to his usual bouncy self soon.
That train of thought was suddenly pushed aside as Rudy rounded the corner, a stack of files under his arm and his usual wide smile on his face. He triumphantly plunked the stack onto the desk just in front of the Houndoom doctor, setting her key neatly on top.
A small gust of wind hit Kiara in the face as he did so, bringing with it an all-too-familiar smell. Her eyes crossed to look at her nose, which had begun to tickle and run again, and she realized with growing horror that Rudy had brought a fair amount of pollen back on himself and her files. Pollen that had just been stirred up into the air, and was tickling her nasal passages again . . .
Kiara ripped a whole handful of tissues from the nearby box and pressed them firmly to her runny, pink nose, jumping up from the chair as she did so. “Oh no . . . AAAHHHHH . . . nuh-not again!” she cried as she dashed for the door, breath catching and eyes tearing. Rudy’s satisfied expression vanished the instant he realized what was happening, and he made a move for the door as well, but the Houndoom outpaced him so quickly that he stopped before he took more than a couple steps.
With her free hand, Kiara shoved the door open, sprinting through it and out into the parking lot. Ideally, she would have then found a safe place to let a sneeze loose, but it was too late. Her muzzle would not be denied any longer. The young doctor had just enough time to let the tissues fall from her burning canine nose and brace herself to sneeze uncovered again before succumbing to her fit.
“AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH . . . HHRRRAAAAAAAHHTTTCCCHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! HHRRRAAAAAAAHHTTTCCCHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! HRRRRREEEEAAAAAAATTTCCCHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! HHRRRAAAAAAAHHTTTCCCHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! HHRRRAAAAAAAHHTTTCCCHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! HHRRRAAAAAAAHHTTTCCCHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! HRRRRREEEEAAAAAAATTTCCCHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”
The Houndoom was the picture of allergic misery as she doubled over repeatedly, pointed tail lashing out behind her as she sneezed uncontrollably, fire shooting out of her mouth and nostrils with incredible force with every release. Finally, Kiara straightened up, crossing her eyes and holding still for a second while her nostrils flared. At last convinced that she was finished sneezing, she raised the mass of damp tissues in her hand to her freely running nose and blew hard, turning and walking back into the office.
Rudy was waiting for the madly blushing doctor as she made her return, passing her a fresh handful of tissues. The Floatzel’s eyes were wide with shock, but he still welcomed her with a “Gesundheit, Doctor Halloran.”
“Thank you,” she breathed, taking them and blowing again as she threw out the last wad.
“I’ve never seen you sneeze quite like that before,” he continued diplomatically. “It’s, ah, wow.”
Kiara blushed harder, if that were possible. “I need my antihistamines,” she admitted.
“Apparently so,” he replied, returning to his desk. The Houndoom followed, sniffing the air tentatively, took her files, and found a chair in the waiting area. At least now she could get some work done. But there was one other thing she needed to do first. Again she withdrew her phone from her pocket. K: One other thing, Alicia. When you stop at home, could you please grab my antihistamines and drop them off here before you go back? I have a feeling I’m going to need them . . .