I found Night. I had to practice patience and I even bantered with people along the way and put up with their stupid knowing grins. She was where my company was bivouacked which meant I had more hands to shake and backs to slap. It was nice to see some of them. I was surprised how nice. Chief, the head of the Motor Pool was there too and I talked to him. Mostly because he was standing with Night and they were laughing about something to do with Ninja.
He had his back to me so he didn't see me come up on him. When he turned around his grin was genuine and his hand went out and I shook it without hesitation. It was funny but not a lot of people shook hands anymore. The distance between people in conversations had increased too. Letting someone get close was not such a good idea anymore and I think even if it hadn't changed there would be a significant group of people who would never let anyone get to close again. If you really trusted someone you would do a bro hug. There were only two people alive that I would let get that close; Max and Ninja.
"Well god damn if it isn't the returning hero!" He looked me up and down and added "Now don't you look all sharp, shiny, and deadly."
"Yeah." I returned the up and down and said "You got a truck for me?"
He laughed "Hell no. Every time I give you a vehicle you disappear with it and I never see it again. Might be able to find you a bike."
"Your brother was by and convinced me to set up a tent." He pointed at one that was set off from the others "I'll be going now." He winked and left me with Night.
She looked up at me "Yeah?"
She started moving towards me smiling and I grabbed her and threw her over my shoulder and headed for the tent. She was laughing and beating on me and in the background I could hear more laughter and cheers. I dropped her gently inside the tent and by the time I had the door zipped up she was almost out of her armor. Life was good again.