The shore of the lake was muddy, crowded, filled with all the refugees from Laketown. The sounds of weeping and screaming filled the air, for there had been too many deaths and injuries the night before. And there was no place to put those who were most severely hurt.

Sigrid sighed and pulled Tilda closer. The poor girl...she was too young to witness such horrors. Even so, they had to find Da and Bain. If they were even alive.

"Da?" Tilda called, trying to raise her voice above the crowds on the shore.

"DA!" Sigrid screamed after a moment. "BAIN?"

The elf, Tauriel, sighed and pushed them forward again. They had been lucky to have her with them, for Tauriel had made sure they were on a boat and headed away from the town before the dragon came. Of course, things didn't go as planned since Bain had left the boat to help Da.

After a while of searching and many tears, Sigrid spotted her father and brother. She grabbed Tilda's hand and raced over to Bard. "Da!"

Bard held his children close, knowing how lucky he was to have all of them safe and alive. He understood that there were many who did not have any family alive now.

After some time, Sigrid left her family and went to help the wounded. She found herself glancing at the group of dwarves preparing to leave. They were leaving now. It was her only chance to say goodbye and to thank them -no him.

Sigrid hurried over the the dwarves- no, the particular dwarf she wanted to say goodbye to.

"Sigrid," He acknowledged.

She cocked her head, "You're leaving now?" What a silly question. It's quite obvious that they're leaving!

If Fili though it was a silly question, he said nothing. At length he spoke up. "I want to thank you. My brother would have most definitely died had it not been for your hospitality. That is a debt I can never repay."

"Nonsense," She replied. "I didn't do anything except stand by and watch. It's Tauriel you should thank."

A glint of amusement filled his eyes. "I'm sure Kili has thanked her already. Many times, in fact."

Sigrid nodded, silently amused. That night had been hell, but Kili's mumbling had been rather funny... Something about starlight and romance.

A look filled with regret passed between them. They both knew how unlikely it was that they would ever see each other again, yet they got along so well and it was a shame to have to say goodbye now.

Fili glanced to the other dwarves. "I-I have to go now. I hope we may meet again, Sigrid."

"And I, you." she replied quietly. "Maybe one day when everything has been rebuilt."

"Perhaps," Fili nodded.

Whenever she thought about it later, Sigrid had no idea what made her do it. No idea at all, but she pulled the dwarf into an impulsive hug. He wrapped his arms around her and they stood thus for a moment.

Sigrid pulled away suddenly, her cheeks on fire. "I-I...Goodbye, Fili."

"Goodbye." He smiled sadly at her, turned and hurried toward the boat.

Her eyes followed the boat as it traveled toward the mountain. Sigrid was so wrapped up in her thoughts that she didn't notice Bain appear by her side.

"Sad to see them leave? Remind me again which one captured your fancy?"

Sigrid flushed. "Bain, that's highly improper. You mustn't talk like that. For the record, none of them 'captured my fancy' as you put it."

"Oh really?" Bain's tone suggested that he thought otherwise. He smirked mischievously and went to play with Tilda.

Improper indeed! Sigrid thought, I have no idea what possesed me to hug him. She flushed yet again and turned back to help set up the camp. Anything to keep her mind off that awkward exchange!

Weeks later, Sigrid found herself thinking back to that day. It felt like a far gone memory of better days. He was gone now, and she was alone. It was not unlike the day he left, but this time she had no regrets. No regrets at all. A simple embrace had meant so much to her- no to both of them, if what she had heard was true.

If only he was here now... but he was gone.

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Thank you to Kia'a Morris for prompting this story and being kind enough to pre-read for any mistakes.

Also, thanks to all who favorite and reviewed my previous Sigrid story. You guys are so sweet ;)

Hope everyone is recovering from bo5a well. I'm obviously not seeing that I'm starting to write depressing stories :-P

~Legolin