A/N: Apparently this is what I write when I'm stalling on the main fic (the main fic being my current WIP, This is not Farewell). As far as I've heard I'm not alone about this.
Also, this is what I imagine when trying to fall asleep at night.
Bella crept into her bedroll late one night during the journey from Lake-town to Erebor, the embers of her pipe having finally died out. Bofur, who had the first watch, had teased her earlier, saying that she would be loopy the next morning from lack of sleep. The hobbit smiled wryly at the memory of him waving his arms like a windmill, imitating her falling asleep and tumbling off her pony.
Bofur's teasing aside, Bella enjoyed these moments of quiet, so hard to find when you were on a dangerous quest along with thirteen male dwarves. She needed a pipe and some time to think in relative privacy every now and then, and if that meant some sleep deprivation the next day, then so be it.
There were also other perks with being the last to go to bed, as she'd found out a moment ago. Such as being able to choose just who you would be sleeping beside.
Bella peeked shyly at Thorin, stretched out beside her, peaceful in sleep. She couldn't see his face, as it was turned away from her, but his right arm was flung out away from his body, his curled fingers only an inch or so from her face. It was the nearest she had dared go, as they were not courting, nor were there any indications that they were going to be. Thorin treated her as a friend, at most – the only way she could get more was through dreaming about it.
No, she could not touch, but she could go near.
Bella closed her eyes, listening to the snores of the Company around her – Glóin was being particularly loud tonight – and tried to sleep. She could smell Thorin, with his hand being so near, and just for a moment, she imagined that they were courting, that they were lying close together because he chose it so. There was no harm in dreaming, was there?
And then, just as she was drifting, half asleep, Thorin sighed, shifted a bit, and slipped his fingers beneath her cheek.
Bella's breath hitched, and her eyes flew wide open.
The dwarven prince had angled his face towards hers, but his breathing was still that of someone deeply asleep. He looked more untroubled and peaceful than she had ever seen him.
His fingers were warm and rough under her cheeks.
Her heartbeat quick, Bella did not sleep for a long time. She wanted to savor this moment, etch it into her memory until it would never be forgotten. The ground for once soft and free of rocks, her bedroll warm and the tender sensation of Thorin's fingers cupping her cheek - all this, she would remember until the end of her days. After all, it was not likely that it would ever happen again.
When she woke in the morning, Thorin was no longer by her side.