Nick is sleeping soundly in Virla's guest room, fully an hour after the time he would usually be awake.
Katsura comes up the stairs, with a tray of breakfast for him, and some trin for both. She was chopping wood, pumping water and doing laundry. She's been up for hours, and is surprised Nick isn't.
Nick had a restless night, with the room seeming to be hot and stuffy, and only really got to sleep a few hours ago. He used up his handkerchief, too, as well as his spare.
Katsura noticed that Nick wasn't sleeping well, so perhaps he just needs to catch up on his sleep. She pushes open the door and glides in.
Nick's nager responds to Kat's presence with unusual ~~ sluggishness ~~.
Katsura sets the tray down and turns to self-indulgently zlin her Gen's irresistible nager with her laterals extended.
Nick's ~ response ~~~ is a bit lopsided.
Katsura, ~~ alarmed ~~ by what she zlins, goes over to him and takes his arms.
Nick wakes up, blinking blearily up at the channel.
Katsura: Yes, I'm here. How do you feel?
Nick rubs his eyes, which seem to have sand in them.
Nick: Like I drank a few too many of Henree's porstans.
Katsura: Let me zlin you more thoroughly.
Nick is far too used to being mother-henned by work-hungry channels to object. He believes in saving his efforts for battles that can be won so obligingly offers his arms.
Katsura extends her laterals and makes a lip contact. Nick's temperature is elevated and he's getting dehydrated. She zlins more deeply, and is ~~ concerned ~~ by what she zlins. She breaks the lip contact.
Katsura: You're ill, Nick. You've got a low fever.
Katsura doesn't add "so far".
Nick: That explains the dry mouth.
Katsura: I've brought up a pot of trin, and I'll get you more water, too.
Katsura projects a little need, therapeutically.
Nick's nager responds, but not as effortlessly as usual.
Katsura's face screws up in ~~ concentration ~~ as she increases the projection and studies Nick's response. There's something subtle in there....
Nick tries to alter his nager to assist Kat, and his projection is once more ~ a little off ~~~.
Katsura: Relinquish to me completely, Nick.
Katsura isn't thinking that that's something that requires a great deal of trust from a Donor.
Nick is perhaps more used to being asked to allow nageric dominance than most Tecton Donors, and to asserting it as well. His efforts to ~ relinquish ~~~ are therefore no more lopsided than his other efforts.
Katsura manipulates Nick's nager and studies how it responds.
Katsura: Nick, I think you've got the coughing sickness.
Nick: That's going to create some difficulties for all of us.
Katsura: I'll work on you a lot. Maybe you won't get very sick.
Nick: It's usually worst in children, isn't it?
Katsura: Yes. It's often fatal to infants and young children. For Simes it's no worse than a bad cold. For Gens... well, it depends.
Nick: On whether there's a channel around? I shouldn't have much trouble, in that case.
Katsura: If I recall correctly, without therapy from a channel, the Gen can be miserable for a couple of weeks, then rather weak and unwell for several more weeks after that, in the worst case. In the best, it's just like a cold with a bad cough.
Katsura squeezes Nick's arms lightly.
Katsura: Of course I'll do my best for you. My best as a whiz-bang Farris channel.
Nick: Well, we've been wanting a way to ease your entran for a long time, now.
Nick's tone is a little ~ ironic ~~~.
Katsura: I do like working on you, whether you require it or not, you may have noticed.
Nick: Yes, I did notice. ~ amusement ~~~
Katsura gets up and brings Nick a mug of trin.
Nick takes the mug and sips, then makes a face.
Nick: It tastes a little odd.
Katsura tries a sip. It tastes okay to her.
Katsura: I think it's all right. Would you like honey in it, or should I bring you water instead?
Nick: No, it's fine. If I'm feverish, everything's going to taste a little off.
Nick suspects he's going to get very tired of honey before he's well.
Katsura has the unsympathetic thought that now that they can pay donors, and she can get some relief from entran, Nick is sick with something they have to protect the donors from. She'll probably have to work alone, if at all.
Nick's overactive sense of duty is slogging along the same path.
Nick: This could be awkward, without an alternate Donor for you.
Katsura: So it goes, for us rogues, eh?
Nick: Yes. That's one of the reasons why few Firsts have survived going rogue. Backup Third Order Donors are much easier to find.
Katsura isn't too happy to be reminded how serious things could get for her.
Katsura: You should eat something if you can.
Katsura brings the tray over to the bedside table.
Nick: Yes. While I can still swallow comfortably.
Katsura: How about a meringue? Plenty of sugar and protein. Melts in your mouth.
Nick: And all over everything else in sight. They are tasty, though.
Nick tries a meringue, with less than his usual enthusiasm for food.
Katsura: There's a couple of poached eggs here, some sourdough toast, blackberry jam and apple butter.
Nick: I'll give the eggs a try.
Nick is less eager to try the dry, scratchy toast.
Katsura hands Nick the plate and a fork.
Nick starts eating with ~~ mechanical efficiency ~~.
Katsura: Would you like me to make you some porridge?
Nick: Thank you. That might go down easier than the toast.
Katsura wishes miso and tofu were available in Gumgeeville. Miso soup with tofu and perhaps a beaten egg is very nourishing and easy to eat and digest. It's one thing she herself can eat in hard need.
Katsura: I'll work on you a little while you're eating.
Katsura engages Nick's nager more deeply, compensating for its asymmetric form, and projects need again.
Nick responds a little more ~ strongly ~~~ than before, now that he's awake.
Virla stands outside the door of the room and ~~ signals ~~, crudely.
Katsura: Come in, Virla.
Virla opens the door and looks at Nick and Virla with ~~ concern ~~.
Virla: He's got it, hasn't he.
Katsura: Yes, I'm afraid he does. He shouldn't have a very bad case, being a Donor, and with me working on him. But we can't let other people be exposed, so if I take donations, I'll have to work alone.
Nick is ~ concerned ~~~ about this. He's not going to veto Kat's judgment in what she can handle, however, at least not until he knows her capabilities a lot better.
Katsura doesn't think it's a very good idea either, but she needs work, and most of the donors she'll see are experienced.
Virla: That sounds... not good. Does that mean you shouldn't take donations from anyone new?
Katsura: Probably not, at first at least.
Nick ~ approves ~~~ of Kat's caution.
Virla: Well, Hajene D'zoll's former customers will be available, but the best way to reach them is at Henree's, and none of us can go there.
Katsura: Do you suppose you could ask Mr. Mullins to tell them?
Katsura now knows that Virla is Henree's daughter, but also knows that opinions differ drastically about the merits of Unity in that family.
Virla: Well. I can invite Jed here to meet you, I suppose. Maree isn't likely to be jealous of a, you should excuse the expression, snake.
Katsura: Ask him if he's had the coughing sickness before he comes over here. I suppose that would apply to everyone. And I suppose there'll be other children and babies with it.
Katsura starts to feel stressed. Of course, she'll work on them, but there are limits to what she can do with a child nagerically, without an excellent Donor.
Nick: Kat, there are some herbal cough suppressants in my satchel. Mixed with honey, they could help a lot.
Virla: I'll get the honey for you, Nick.
Virla goes out again.
Katsura: Yes, and I suppose we can get the ingredients for more locally, as well as febrifuges. But what I can do nagerically can make a life and death difference for bad cases and young children.
Nick: At least children can't slam you.
Katsura doesn't add "but their anxious and suspicious parents can".
Nick: Make the parents wait in another room.
Katsura: If they will. We'll just have to do as much as we can, under the circumstances.
Katsura gets a worse thought.
Katsura: I hope people don't get the idea that we're spreading the disease.
Nick: Kat... if the parents won't leave, and they zlin like they might be a problem, will you promise me that you'll refuse to treat the child nagerically?
Katsura looks down, and bites her lip.
Katsura: I'll try to... be conservative in my judgment.
Nick's nager turns ~ stubborn ~~~.
Nick: Kat, I won't be able to rest up here, if you're taking foolish chances downstairs.
Katsura: I promise I'll be careful, Nick.
Nick: You can do more for the children with medicines alone than they would have had if we weren't here, but you can't do anything for anyone if you collapse when I'm not there to put you back together.
Katsura: You're right.
Nick: It's one of the less pleasant aspects of life as a rogue.
Katsura: I'm glad we're just playing rogue.
Katsura has another discouraging thought.
Katsura: We can't travel while you're contagious, even if everything else gets sorted out.
Nick: No, we can't. So let's hope that Jed Mullins can get the donors to come.
Katsura: At least Pinecone is safe -- he's had the coughing sickness.
Nick: Yes. Most of the adults here will have had it, as well.
Katsura takes the empty plate from Nick and puts it on the tray.
Nick is, after all, a twenty-something Gen man, and will eat just about anything.
Katsura refills the trin mug from the pot and hands it over.
Nick sips ~ obediently ~~~.
Nick: Don't forget to see that those dishes are thoroughly washed.
Nick: The cough medicine is in the top layer of the main compartment, with the other non-Farris medications. Be careful getting it out; you don't want a rash on your tentacles.
Katsura: I'm not allergic to that one.
Nick: Just in case, the Farris-safe medications are in the shaving kit on the bottom layer. Everything in it is safe for you -- I checked them all against your chart before we left Sat'htine.
Nick takes another sip of tea to soothe his throat, which is a little scratchy.
Katsura strokes his beard with a tentacle.
Katsura: You're really good at looking after a channel. I appreciate it very much.
Nick pretends to bite at the tentacle.
Nick: Watch out, there are those who don't think Rogue Donors are safe.
Katsura: I'm safe with you.
Katsura assures Nick of her trust in him, something she believes he needs.
Nick finds Kat's trust ~ comforting ~~~, even if he doesn't think it's entirely rational.
Katsura: I'll be back soon with some porridge for you. Rest.
Nick: At least it's a nice warm bed, not a hole in the snow.
Nick drains the tea mug, sets it aside, and snuggles back down under the covers with a yawn.
Katsura kisses his forehead, picks up the tray, and goes downstairs.