They camp by the sea. They usually do, Maeve isn't sure if it's a matter of practicality or just what Sinbad is more comfortable with, but either way, she doesn't mind. The sound of the sea is so universal that it reminds her of home, and were she with any other man she might go so far as to say it's romantic, but she's with Sinbad, so she doesn't.
She lets him stutter and grumble with his tinder box and the salt-encrusted driftwood for a few minutes before lighting the fire with a smirk and a flick of her fingers, leaving him glowering.
"Show-off," he mutters, and that stings a little, so she changes the subject.
"I hope the others are okay." She's worried about them, not so much because of the skirmish with the bandits that had left them separated (though honestly, they'd walked right into it, she'd said it was a trap but naturally Sinbad hadn't listened), as because they've barely an ounce of common sense between them.
"They'll be fine, stop fussing," says Sinbad, standing up and brushing the damp, claggy sand off his knees. Maeve opens her mouth to rebut his accusations of fussiness, but then he motions towards the horizon and says, "Sundown. Time for prayers."
She watches as he digs his prayer mat out of his pack and turns his back to the setting sun, but it isn't until he turns and looks at her questioningly that she realises he means for her to join him.
And of course. It's been over a month, you'd think it'd have registered with him by now, but apparently Sinbad has completely failed to notice once particularly crucial difference between Maeve and himself.
The fire pops. He stands looking at her for long enough for it to get awkward, under she shakes her head, just once. Sinbad shifts his weight about, then shrugs and grins, as if to make a joke out of it, but it's not a joke.
She fixes her gaze on the sea, on the dimming light. It's not like she hasn't seen him pray before, him and the rest of the crew, but it feels strangely intimate this time, as if she's intruding on some private moment between him and his foreign god.
(Maeve still has the cross her mother pressed into her hand the day she left home, tucked away at the bottom of her pack. Sometimes it feels like a weight.)
It's almost dark when Sinbad finishes his prayers and folds his prayer mat away with brisk movements. "So, uh," he says after a moment or two. "You don't pray?"
She shrugs, as if to be casual. "Not like that." She turns to face him, and he looks quizzical, so she goes on (and really, as well-travelled as he is you'd think Sinbad would have met a Christian or two in his time, he's unbelievable dense sometimes). "My people, we have our own ways. Different ways." She leaves it at that, and if he wants to question her further he thinks better of it.
They split the dried meat they'd brought between them in near-silence as the world darkens around them, narrowing down to their pool of firelight and the sound of the sea, and it's as if there's suddenly some huge, ineffable distance between them. Does Sinbad feel it too? It's hard to tell. For all he's unsubtle and alarmingly easy to read sometimes, he has his enigmatic moments.
It's hard to tell. He cracks little jokes and comments on the weather and their plans for the next day as he always does, if a little haltingly, and now that it's dark his face is half in shadow.
After a while, he scoots around the fire to sit next to her, as if trying to close that ineffable gap, and the look on his face, now that she can see him properly, is one of childlike curiosity.
When he speaks, she thinks he's going to ask her about her faith, but he doesn't. He just says, "What's it like back home?"
"Different," she says. "Colder." He hmms a little, as if realising that's all he's going to get. His gaze drifts to the torc around her neck, and she touches it, self-conscious, wondering what he's thinking. He makes a move as if he's going to touch it too, then turns it into a stretch.
"Well, time to hit the sack, I guess," he said. "Long day tomorrow. Got to find my crew." He claps her on the shoulder as if she is one of the boys, and she finds that, even though that was what she always wanted, back home, now that she has it, here, with Sinbad, she doesn't like it.
"Yeah," she laughs, breathless, "let's hope they haven't got caught in another trap."
Sinbad chuckles, going through his pack for his bead roll. "Here," he says, tossing something brown and crumpled into her arms. "Take my extra blanket. It's cold tonight."
And just like that the gap is closing again, as quickly as it had opened.