And just like that, Tori found herself hugging Nimmie again and shaking her head fervently.
"Shhhh shh shh shh, it's ok, Nimmie. It's ok."
"We all should've. We all should've, and could've, and would've. I was close to Reiken." Her face grew unutterably sad, and she stared out into space. "I was closer to him than any of you, I think. I should've seen the signs he was putting off. I should've seen that he was going to snap. All of this could've been avoided. I've blamed myself for all of this for a long time. If I'd just paid more attention to what was going on around me instead of what was going on in my own head, what was happening in Svartheim, that one scuff I could never get out of Sigyn, I could've stopped it all."
She sucked in a deep breath, squeezing Nimmie just a little tighter and patting the back of her head. "But you know what, Nimmie? In the end, should've-could've-would'ves are worthless. It's what you do now that matters. Trust me, I'm definitely not mad at you. Far from it; I couldn't be happier to see you again."
There was silence for a time as she disengaged from the embrace, tinkering with Sigyn for a moment in a mostly-futile effort to calm her racing thoughts and collect herself. "As for where I actually went...well, I'm not surprised you never found me. I've been just wandering around since..." she fumbled over her words for a moment, "...the incident. Been everywhere from Menagerie to Mistral punching Grimm in the faces really hard."
"I even spent a couple months in Vale, trying to get a job at Beacon. The job fell through, but I still spent time there. It's a nice place, but it's too flat. Not enough mountains, and no snow at all."
She suddenly noticed something and grinned, defying the tears that threatened to once again spill from her eyes. "And looks like Chopfyt is still doing just fine, huh?" She gestured to the enormous axe, coughing out a halfhearted laugh. "Let me guess; took your arm off on the backswing again?"