Belrun is so close to getting this damned flu strain to calm down in this one egg. She copies the change across to a few more eggs' worth, iterates, writes everything down, and Fetches the egg that is getting scary into her pot of simmering water before it makes a break for it. It's getting on toward dark and if she keeps working she's going to have to do it by candlelight, and she doesn't like that - it's already too easy to bump into things when she can see them. She calls it a day and closes up the lab for the night and heads out to walk over to the university cafeteria. It's a nice evening, and it's Flatbread Night, and she's in a generally good mood.
"I mostly don't see patients - I'm not going to accidentally turn you inside out, I know the basics, but I mostly do research on microbes. The microbes need something to live on while I'm looking at them and eggs are really convenient for it because they're meant to stay alive on their own without much maintenance and they come with their own containers. But in spite of the fact that my lab has a very large sign with very large letters saying not to eat the eggs, some people think it is hilarious to imagine me serving someone an egg full of the flu. Which probably wouldn't even be that bad, it's a respiratory illness, you'd have to somehow inhale it, but nevertheless disrecommended."
"Really! I have never heard of anybody working with it that way before." And he's heard of a lot of things. "Would it still be infectious if the eggs were cooked?"
"No, that's what I do when I'm done with an egg, I boil it and everything in it dies. And also these eggs are from the cafeteria. Eat them, you're not going to get less hungry just thinking about them."
"If you tell me about any interesting discoveries you have made?" He starts eating.
"Sure, if you like. So the flu comes in a tremendous number of different sorts, I insisted on naming them for a while but I've fallen back on numbers -" She can chatter about this for quite a while as she's working on his various injuries.
She's very interesting! He keeps forgetting to eat and having to remind himself.
"- so in the ideal case it'd just be a strain that outcompeted all the normal flus and barely gave you the sniffles, but I think probably an intermediate stage will be something administered per-person. But that'd still be a big deal, because we can identify who's likeliest to die of something, and who's likeliest to spread it, and preferentially protect them, even if it's not a very scalable outlay of labor such that everyone can - I'm rather blathering, sorry."
"No, no – that is one of the cleverest things I have ever heard, I am not sure why it never occurred to me..."
"Occurred to you? How interdisciplinary, usually mages just do mage things."
...Oh, right, that was not a usual thing to say, he - really wasn't being very careful for some reason. "I suppose I am more interdisciplinary than most."
"More people should be that way," she opines. "Anyway, the flu changes on its own a lot, and I collect and study all the instances I can and correlate them with how serious they are and how many people caught it. I'm also looking into dysentery recently - I went and visited my father and there was an outbreak of it where he lives and I went and hassled everyone about it and took all the samples home, it's very different from the flu, more alive."
Wow Leareth wants to say about six different things at once and is torn between 'what do you mean, more alive', 'where does your father live then' and 'I hope you collected those samples very carefully'. He goes with the last one first since it's not a question and then asks what she means by 'more alive'.
"Yes, very carefully, that one will get you if you ingest it . Uh, the flu is smaller? It has fewer parts, and it's much less like any tiny part of a person or an animal than a bit of dysentery is. - I think I need to change the gauze on your leg there and this room is out, one moment -" She gets up and heads for the supplies, but slips and hits the side of her head on the doorframe. "Ow ow ow - thank you Dallar -" She accepts Dallar's help back to her feet.
Leareth is slower than usual, he doesn't react fast enough to catch her with magic, but he finds himself on his feet - ow that was, in fact, ill-advised and not only because he is technically not wearing clothes. "...Belrun, er, are you all right?"
He sits back down on the bed, a bit sheepishly, why is he so startled and alarmed about it she is obviously fine and she must think that he's acting very oddly about it.
She steadies herself with her hand on the doorframe. "I'm fine, happens all the time, what were you doing out of bed? I didn't say you could get out of bed yet, you'll hurt yourself! This afternoon maybe if you haven't messed up your leg putting weight on it early you can walk down the hall - are you okay -"
"I am fine - I am in bed," he points out. He's very dizzy, it turns out that lying flat for twelve hours and then going all the way to standing up in half a second is a bad plan, but he's not going to tell her that– oh no she's got Healing-Sight she can probably tell. He lies down again.
"Thank you. I have been working very hard on you and will thank you not to ruin it just because I tripped. I trip a lot and it hasn't killed me yet. I am going to go get gauze. Do not do anything silly while I am doing so." She goes and gets gauze. His clothes are back from the laundry too and after she has rebandaged the offending wound she can help him get into them.
Great now she is going to talk to him like he's six. Leareth is so mysteriously self-conscious about it too. Also about the getting dressed with her help part, which is just really confusing.
"There you go," she says when this office is completed. "Sorry for snapping at you."
"That is all right. I apologize for doing something silly." Is he...going to blush about it...all right what is happening.
"It happens. Not around me, usually, but usually my patients are eggs, and I'd have to really not be paying attention to let one hatch." She pats his now-reasonably-uninjured forearm. "I'll see about that knee and after lunch you can walk a bit."
...Something very weird is happening – does she have some sort of bizarre Wild Gift that she's using on him – he can't tell if she's a Mindspeaker, if she is she doesn't seem aware of it but it would explain those shields - still wouldn't explain the fact that she is taking up way too much of his attention right now... It made sense when she was talking about groundbreaking research, she's clearly a very exceptional person, but - that doesn't explain his reaction to her tripping, at all.
He tightens his shields a lot. ...All right, whatever it is, is happening a bit less now.
"All right," he says on automatic.
She works on his knee. Lunch is brought by someone whose actual job is bringing lunch. She conducts him down the hall and back.
Weird thing is still weird but less so as long as he's shielding really, really well. Got to be some sort of Wild Gift. It takes him until lunch to remember that he missed checking in with the mage-student – he should try to find her before he leaves town, probably.
"So, I have to teach a class, and keep my office hours, and check on my eggs," she says when she's gotten him back in bed, "but it looks like there's enough slack today that Dallar can look in on you if you need anything, and I can come check in after dinner, okay, Arvad?"