“Are you certain you are a fully mature human?” Third Cousin demanded as she adjusted the bandage over the laceration.
“That’s what it says on my papers,” muttered her current patient.
“What papers?” Third Cousin asked. “And may I verify that information?”
The rolled his strange mobile eyes in their sockets and Third Cousin had to fight to keep her frill flat on her neck. That was simply disturbing. A species without eyes was confusing enough, a species with eyes that rested so loosely in their sockets that they looked like they could just pop out was horrifying. Given that there was actually mandatory training on what to do when human eyes were jostled out of their sockets she could only assume it did happen often enough to require such training. She shook the disturbing mental off as he spoke.
“Papers is just and expression for my database entries,” he said, “and yes. I am a thirty-six year old human. Frontal cortex is fully formed and all that.”
His hand came up from where it rested on the medical berth and a single finger reached for the bandaged area on his face.
Third Cousin flared her frill in near rage and grasped at his hand in fury. He had the typical human strength so she had no hope of controlling him physically but the touch did remind him of her order and he blushed in embarrassment.
“Sorry,” he muttered.
“That laceration was of no consequence when you first acquired it,” she informed him. “There was no chance of infection and your bizarre healing factor would have closed it within days. Now it will take at least a week.”
“Sorry,” he said again, his gaze dropping to the ground.
“It is your own skin you should be concerned with!” She burst out in exasperation.
His hand rose again as if to test her words.
“Why?” She demanded, snatching his hand again. “Just why?”
He stared up at her with an odd helpless expression on his soft round face. He blinked slowly and she snapped her mandibles in frustration. He finally shrugged.
“Don’t know,” he confessed. “Just something I do.”
“It won’t heal until you stop picking at it!” She said.
“I know.” He said.
“Stop picking at the laceration on your face!” Third Cousin finally said firmly. “That is an order from your medical professional.”
“Understood,” he said with a smile. “See you when it’s all healed.”
The human slipped off the medical berth and smiled nervously at her before heading for the door. Third Cousin watched him go until he slipped out of the door. Just before he left his hand rose again and he scratched at the bandage. Third Cousin let her frill droop and turned to her data consol. There had to be something about this behavior in the medical data. And if not, she supposed it wouldn’t be too great a breach of medical ethics to glue his hands together until his face healed.