Once that was done the old man closed up his case, “That should be sufficient. I’ll stay in the room for a few hours while we wait to see her fever return.” He took a long sigh, “And since I’m not as young as I used to be I think I’ll spend the night down here. That will let me make sure she is recovering before I leave.”
Marius had already rushed to Suzuna’s side and was knelling next to the bed holding her unconscious hand.
“Are you sure she is going to be alright?” Asked Clemens.
“Hmm… don’t trust me young man? I’m not a hundred percent certain which is why I am hanging around until she starts to get better. The medicine should work but sometimes that isn’t enough.”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to be like that, I think we are just worried about her.”
“I understand. Coping with things that you can not control is difficult. But when that happens you have to rely on other people. I’ve had many years of practice so you don’t need to worry about her anymore.”
Sarita gave him a little bow and said, “Thank you.”
“Ah, if it isn’t the young girl who haunts the resort.” He said in a way that made his comment clearly a joke, “It had been a long time since I have seen you.”
“You’ve met each other before?” Asked Clemens.
“Only briefly, she came by my clinic one day and asked to supplies to stock medicine down in the resort. She took my suggestion and got all of those medicines. Although, it seems that I must have made a mistake that day. If I had done my job correctly I wouldn’t have had to be here today.”
“No,” said Sarita shacking her head, “It isn’t your fault. I only took what you had at the time. I should have come back to get more at a later date. If anything it is my fault.”
“Let’s not blame each other then. After all when this woman gets better we will both be able to breath easily and not have to worry about mistakes made in the past.”
“I guess.” Sarita looked over at Suzuna. “Well, thanks, I should get going then.” With that Sarita left the room.
“I see that she isn’t much different than the last time that I meet her.”
“What do you mean?”
“She has trouble dealing with other people. A true recluse living down here in the depths of the ocean alone. Only a hand full of people up on the surface have ever seen her and she had become something of a local legend. The ghost that haunts the resort.”
“Do they really believe that?”
“I don’t know. I’ve certainly told anybody that asked that she is real enough but interesting stories have a way of spreading and mutating into something weird. A couple of young men once claimed to have come down here and seen the ghost all in white with a mouth that would gobble you up.”
“While not a completely inaccurate description of her it does sound a little bit overblown.”
The old doctor shrugged his shoulders, “Youngling will be younglings. But I think it might be easier for her if she showed her face once in a while. The people on the surface aren’t bad people but it is easier to tell stories about the strange and unusual. They probably wouldn’t be like that if she ever came up and visited.”
“A self reinforcing cycle.” Said Clemens ponderingly, “She hides away because she is afraid of what people might think of her but that same isolation causes people to become afraid of her.”
The old man nodded, “Very true. Although we may be a backwater planet the people living here are not bad people. If you can convince her to make a visit topside that might be good for everyone.”
“I’ll try but it might be a while before I can successfully convince her to go up.”
“Makes sense.” He looked over toward Marius and spoke louder, “How is her fever doing? Is it beginning to lessen?”
Marius looked over his shoulder. He might have been able to hear the conversation that was happening across the room but he had all his attention on Suzuna and hadn’t heard a thing.
“Um… I think so but it is hard to tell.”
The old man hobbled over to his box and pulled out a thermometer and handed it over to Marius. “As long as the temperature keeps going down that is good. I’m going to take the next door room. If the temperature goes up then come and get me. I’d love to stay and watch as well but, I’m been getting old and you basically woke me up just as I was getting to sleep. I’m going to try and take a nap but wake me up if anything gets worse.”
“Yes, I’ll do that. Thank you.”
“Thank me later. Just keep an eye on your girl.” The old man patted Marius on his shoulder and then walked out of the room. The door slide open and he pressed a button on the panel of the room next door to ensure that he could stay in that one.
“I’m going to go too Marius, you can also call me if anything goes wrong.”
“Yeah, and thanks for watching Suzuna while I was gone.”
“No problem, I just hope that she gets better too.”
“Yeah, me too. I don’t know what I would do without her.”
Clemens tried to lighten the mood by smiling, “You really love her, I can tell.”
He nodded, “I know that most of the time I am a big idiot but she makes me feel like more than that. If it would help her or make her smile then I would do anything…” Before the sick form in front of him Marius looked so helpless.
“Don’t worry, I’m sure she knows how much you love her. And I think that she feels the same way about you. If you were the one sick I think she would be as worried.”
“She would be all depressed and blame herself. That is why I need to be strong and to make sure that she never needs to worry about me.”
“Don’t push yourself too hard, I think she would rather worry about you then have something bad actually happen to you because you tried too hard.”
He kinda of deflated at that and said, “Yeah, I know. Still, I never want her to be sad.”
Clemens shook his head at the two of them. “Well, keep an eye on her. Once I get a little sleep I’ll come back and relieve you. You’ve probably will need sleep too so once I’m back you need to make sure to get some too.”
He looked at Suzuna and back and Clemens before saying, “Sure, once you’re back. As long as somebody is watching over her I think I would be able to sleep, at least if her fever has started to break by then.”
A handful of hours later Clemens woke up. He raised his watch and glanced at the time. About six hours had passed since he had fallen asleep. He was good at waking himself up at the exact right time. He pulled himself out of bed and splashed some water on his face to remove the last traces of sleep.
Once that was done he headed back over to Marius and Suzuna’s room. Once he arrived he saw Marius still in the exact place that Clemens had left him.
“How is she doing?” He asked as he got closer.
Marius turned around and the bags under his eyes were clearly visible. “Her fever is going down, although slowly.”
“You did good. Now get some sleep. You wouldn’t want her to worry about you would you?”
“Alright, alright, now that you are here.” Not wanting to disturb Suzuna he wandered over to the couch instead of using the bed. “If anything goes wrong or she wakes up then wake me up.”
“Yes, yes, I will do that.”
“Thanks…” said Marius as he laid down and then instantly fell asleep. He had been on the brink of exhaustion and probably would have collapsed soon anyways if Clemens hadn’t arrived when he did.
Clemens shook his head, “That big idiot.” Although he was smiling when he said it.
He watch over Suzuna for several more hours before the door to the room opened once more. This time it was the old doctor who came in. “Oh, have you been here all night? It isn’t healthy to stay awake that long.”
“No, I slept a little. I just woke up a bit before you. I wanted to make sure Marius got some sleep so I swapped out for watching Suzuna.”
The old man walked over to her and looked over her, “Indeed, she seems to be looking better already. She should be right at rain in a day or two. Once she wakes up make sure she eats something. Sickness can drain a body of its stamina and eating can help make you feel better faster.”
“Yes, I will do that. Are you going to head back to the surface soon?”
“Not just yet, I’ll probably hang around for the rest of the day to make sure that she gets up. If I leave now and she relapses that would be terrible. Better to be safe. Although I think I will go get something to eat myself.” He paused, “Is there anything down here that isn’t seafood? One problem with living on this planet is that everything seems to be seafood.”
“Uhhh… not really. I think everything that is made here is locally sourced. I believe that are some hydroponic farms for making some fruits and vegetables but other than that everything is harvested from the ocean.”
“There are some things.” Said the voice of Sarita from the door. How long she had been there for was unknown by Clemens. “No fresh meat, but if just vegetables or dried meat are fine then there are some places.”
“Ah, what kindness. I would be happy if you could show me them.”
“Are you alright with watching Suzuna by yourself?” Asked Sarita.
“Yes, it is fine. But if you could bring something back here for her to eat when you are done yourself that would be good.”
Sarita nodded and then lead the old man off to find some non-seafood.
Between Marius and Suzuna it was Suzuna who awoke first. She awoke to the smell of food which make her stomach grumble. She groaned as she woke and Clemens came to her aid, “Oh, Suzuna, are you awake. Here let me help you.”
Clemens helped Suzuna sit up.
“How are you feeling?” Asked Clemens.
“Hmm… not good, but better than previously. Did the doctor arrive?”
Clemens nodded, “Yes, Marius brought the doctor.” He pointed over his shoulder as Marius who was still asleep on the couch. “He watched over you all night and only went to sleep after I got here to take over from him. He was really worried.”
“I’m sorry for being such a nuisance.”
“Nobody thought you were that. We are all just glad that you are beginning to feel better. Sarita brought you some food for when you woke up. Are you feeling well enough to eat something?”
She nodded, “I think I could eat something. As long as it is light.”
“Do you want me to wake up Marius so that he can help feed you?” Asked Clemens.
“Are you trying to make me die of embarrassment?”
“I just thought I would ask.” He handed over the meal to Suzuna for her to eat on her own.
“Besides” she said, “He looks really tired. I would rather have him sleep like that then force himself for my sake.”
“You two really are a pair of idiots.”