Richelle left the infirmary the moment she heard footsteps coming down the stairs outside of it. The last thing she wanted was to get in the way of the doctor doing her job. She snuck out before Leta even set foot in the hallway, leaving no trace that she’d ever been there visiting the ailing captain at all.
Richelle didn’t know what to make of what was wrong with him. The group that had gone to the Baltimore didn’t speak of what had happened there or after. No one told Richelle anything anyway. She was worried, but only in a vague sort of way. Surely they knew what they were doing. Surely they’d take care of him. Surely it would all be fine.
Until then, she’d just continue to stop by once a day to bring Fiearius whatever snack she brought back from town. He usually didn’t eat it. Most of the time, he didn’t even acknowledge she was there. But it made her feel better anyway. To do something. Anything, but just sit and wait quietly.
Richelle had just turned the corner into the stairwell when suddenly she was confronted by a mass of springy blonde hair and a wide elvish grin.
“There you are,” declared Nikkolai who, true to his nature, was somehow managing to keep a smile on his face through all this. “I’m getting a group together to go into town,” he informed her.
“Again?” Richelle asked. “We were just in town this morning!”
Nikkolai shrugged. “Yeah. And yesterday. And the day before. And all this month. What’s your point?” He smirked and jutted his thumb over his shoulder. “C’mon, maybe we’ll actually find something new this time. What else is there to do?”
He had a point. Richelle was constantly impressed with Niki’s stamina if nothing else and truth be told, it was hard to say no to. So she said, “Alright. Why not?”
The two fell into step beside one another as they headed back up the stairs to the crew deck. “What were you doing down here anyway?” Niki asked as they climbed.
“Visiting the captain,” Richelle replied, in complete innocence.
Niki paused mid-step and regarded her as though she’d just said she was teaching fish how to fly. “Why?”
Unaffected, Richelle shrugged. “I don’t know. I just wanted to,” she explained shamelessly. “I like him. He’s nice.”
Niki failed to hold back his deprecating laugh. “Nice? I don’t think ‘nice’ is how most people would describe the cap’n.”
She shrugged again. “Well he’s nice to me.” Though he hadn’t spoken in days and was only shouting nonsense before so she amended, “Well not right now maybe. But usually. He got me off of Paraven.”
“And onto this hell hole?” Niki suggested, grimacing at her.
Richelle chuckled and shook her head. “Better here than there.” She glanced over at him and tilted her head curiously. “If it’s so bad, why don’t you leave? A couple of the passengers got a ship out of here a few days ago. There’s another trader ship in dock now too. If you hate this place and your captain so much, why not catch a ride elsewhere?”
At that, Niki provided her a guilty frown. “I couldn’t do that.”
He sighed and shook his head. “You haven’t been here long enough. You don’t get it,” he told her flippantly. “Me and the rest of the crew? We can’t just leave. No matter how shitty things get. The Dionysian–it’s home.” As they stepped up onto the crew deck to join the already clustered group waiting impatiently to head out to the same little town, the same little bar and the same little nothing they’d been frequenting for a month, Niki patted her on the shoulder affectionately. “You’ll understand soon, Paraven. Trust me. This ship, it doesn’t just let ya go.”