You promised to save us!
Help us, Max!
You let us die!
He jolted awake, blade in hand, ready to fight. Not that he could fight them with knife, or any other weapon. They were long dead. Their ghosts, however… the ghosts were restless. Accusing. Hateful. And too real to ignore.
Max turned to the source of the voice, already knowing what he’ll see. Furiosa was sitting next to him, a gentle smile on her lips.
“It’s okay, Max.”
She wasn’t real either, he knew that all too well. Still, he tried to touch her, but his hand passed through her and she disappeared. He sighed. Perhaps it was time to go back. Again.
She always seemed to appear when his ghosts got the worst of him, conjuring horrible nightmares of his worst memories. Her presence always chased them away, bringing a little piece to his mind. He was forever grateful for that.
The first time she appeared to him like this, he almost lost his mind completely, fanging it to the Citadel immediately. He couldn’t bear the thought of her becoming another one of his ghosts. That was only few months after they defeated the vile Immortan, and while Furiosa was not yet fully healed from her injuries, she was alive, and he could breathe easily again.
Ever since then, he kept leaving the Citadel and coming back, sometimes after months, sometimes just weeks, and on very rare occasions, he returned after a few days. Those times, he was never alone, bringing along people who needed help or were willing to put their skills to use in the Citadel. Whenever he left, his car was always filled with enough guzzoline, water and food to last him weeks, no matter how much he protested or tried to sneak away without being noticed. After returning with gunshot wounds and a beat up Interceptor once, Furiosa and the sisters patched him and his car up, and since then he made sure to always bring them some small gifts whenever he got back.
This time was no exception, and Max quickly checked if all the items were still there. A fine blade, taken from scavengers he ran into one day and who thought, unwisely, that he was an easy target. He took everything valuable from them, with the intent to trade most of it for something useful to him. They also had a book, really old with torn pages, the writing on the cover indecipherable, but inside the text was readable. After a quick read-through, Max learned it was some sort of a tale for children, from Before. The Pups at the Citadel might enjoy it, he thought as he stashed it separately with the blade. The third gift was a handful of brown-white feathers he found buried in sand, from a bird most likely extinct by now.
He still needed to stop at Bartertown, though, and his skin crawled with just the thought of that place. He usually made sure to not have the need to go there, but he only had enough guzzoline to last him to the Citadel if he was lucky and didn’t run into any hostile tribes on the way there. And he knew the Wasteland well enough to not depend on luck. Besides, he had plenty of items for trade to get rid of, and Bartertown was known for its varied selection. Maybe he could find something useful there. Surely he could endure the crowds and talking for the short while he’ll spend in the market. Right?
When he saw the amount of people mingling about the streets of the desert marketplace, he almost turned around and ran back to the Interceptor hidden between rocks and dunes. But his hallucination of Furiosa and the fact that he didn’t have a good gift for her made him clench his teeth and move forward, bracing himself for the sensory overload he was about to experience.
It was as bad as he remembered. Merchants shouting their offers, hackling prices and angrily shooing off those who couldn’t afford their fares. Wasteland people, excitedly talking among themselves or chatting with the traders; some even got into a fight. A few kids in dirty clothes running around, their high-pitched calls piercing through Max’s skull.
He focused on his breathing, one hand on the gun in his pocket, the other tightly gripping the bag with items for trade. With quick glances he searched for the guy he always got guzzoline from. He used to be around here…
“Oi! Need more guzz, my friend?”
The crowd thinned a little and Max could finally see the guzzoline guy. He never bothered to learn his name, and the trader didn’t seem to mind Max’s lack of social skills. When the road warrior approached him, the trader quickly pulled out a small canister of guzz.
Max cleared his throat. It’s been a while since he spoke out loud. “More.”
The guy pulled a bigger canister on the table. “Now?” Max hummed his agreement. “So watcha got?”
Max fished in the bag and offered him a belt and a pair of shoes he took from one of the scavengers.
The guy inspected the shoes. “Sorry, mate, too small. But the belt s’nice. Got anything else?”
Max reached into the bag again, this time pulling out a small shard of mirror.
“Deal.” The trader quickly stashed the belt and mirror away, while Max took the canister.
With a grunt, he left the guzz guy and got sucked into the crowd. Someone bumped into him and it took all his willpower not to pull out his gun. Breathe in, breathe out. In, out. His eyes searched for a clearing in the crowd. There was a trader woman with no customers a little ahead, so he quickly made his way to her.
She seemed excited to have someone interested in her trades and greeted him happily. Max soon found out why she had no customers; her trades were pretty much useless. Just some shiny baubles in various colors. He was just about the leave when he remembered Dag’s baby. After careful contemplation, he picked out some of the colorful pieces of glass and offered the woman a strip of cloth in return. She happily accepted it, thanking him at least ten times while he put the new items into one of his many pockets. Nodding goodbye, he left her as well, skirting at the edge of the crowd this time, trying to find something to get for Furiosa.
One stand in particular seemed to attract a lot of customers, and Max fastened his pace to pass the crowd quickly, but he caught a glimpse of the offered merchandise and stopped abruptly, causing someone behind him to collide with his back. Too distracted to panic, Max quickly muttered his apology and approached the stand, keeping his distance from the other customers.
Yarn. Once he dug that word from his memory, he tried to remember when was the last time he saw it and came up blank. Huh.
“Ya wanna trade or just stare, sonny?”
Max looked up to see two old ladies sitting behind the table filled with balls of yarn. Upon first glance, he thought he was seeing the Vuvalini, but quickly shook his head. The Vuvalini were gone; the only two left now living in the Citadel. But, they might appreciate the yarn…
“If ya ain’t buying, don’t take up space!” the other woman tried to shoo him away.
“I’ll buy,” Max told them.
That was more than half of what they had. The women looked at each other, then at him. “What ya wanna pay with?” one of them asked.
Max spilled the contents of his bag on their table. Clothing, scrap metal, chunks of wood, a pair of shoes, wires, rusty blades, lizard jerky, a shiny but broken compass, things he had no names for…
The women carefully inspected the items, pulling aside those they were interested in. They ended up taking most of his stuff, leaving only the lizard jerky, compass and some of the smaller items he couldn’t name. “We’ll give you seven balls for that.”
He could take the trade… or he could offer something more. If they reminded him so much of the Vuvalini, maybe they had similar interests… Max reached into one of his pockets and retrieved a few bullets.
Sure enough, this piqued their interest. “Got a gun to go with that?”
He did. The scavengers had many weapons, but he intended to bring them all to the Citadel, where they could always use more weapons. Still, the yarn was hard to get, much harder than weapons, for sure. With a reluctant sigh, he pulled out his spare gun from the back pocket. He carefully placed it and the bullets on the table.
The women grinned at him. “Pleasure doing business with ya! Now pick yer balls,” they snickered.
They only had four different colors so he took two of each red, green and blue, and four of white.
“Have fun with yer balls, laddy!” they yelled after him, eliciting laughter from the people nearby.
Max just shook his head and walked away.
With almost nothing to trade and the sun getting low, he all but gave up on trying to get a gift for Furiosa. The weapons would have to be enough, though he wanted something more unique… Oh well.
He quickly made his way through the crowded streets, eager to get into his car and leave this place far behind. Only a few more stands now and he’ll be gone.
“Prickly pears! Come get your prickly pears! Only a few left! Useful little buggers they are! Prickly, but tasty!”
Curious, Max stopped by the shouting man, trying to see what the hell he was talking about. It turned out to be a small plant, a cactus, if he recalled correctly. Green, flat, covered in spikes. He liked it. “How much?” he asked the merchant.
“Well hello there, good sir! You see, these things are hard to get, need good soil for them, but not much water, thankfully. But frankly, I’ve been selling them all day, so I won’t be too picky. What do you have for trade, good sir?”
Max showed him the compass.
“Oooh, now that is shiny, really that is. What does it do?” he looked at Max expectantly.
“Ah, good sir, everything can be fixed!”
While Max disagreed with that, he had to admire the man’s enthusiasm. He pulled out the lizard jerky as well. “Here. Both of these for the, umm, the plant?”
“Yes, yes! Thank you, good sir, that is very kind of you! Mmm, that jerky sure looks tasty. Pick your prickly pear, good sir, I only have these three left.”
Max picked one that looked the healthiest and with a wave left the man and whole Bartertown.
The sun just disappeared behind the horizon when he reached his car, thankfully intact. He put the guzz in, then crawled inside and checked the gifts. All there. Good. He put all the gifts into the bag, started the car and drove away, the lights of Bartertown twinkling in his rearview mirror.
The black and dusty Interceptor was barely visible in the night, and Max risked driving without lights on until only a few hours were left into the sunrise. Only then he found a place to hide the car and get a few hours of sleep. The ghosts were a lot quieter that night.
Once the sun was up, Max continued on his way to the Citadel. He was already on a familiar, yet hostile, territory, so he guessed he could make it before sundown. Soon enough, he spotted two vehicles pursuing him. No, wait, make that three. Guess he’ll be in the Citadel even sooner than he expected.
Once he fanged it, the pursuit vehicles had no chance to keep up and disappeared in a plume of dust. Max carefully scanned the road before him, checking for traps. He saw one right before him and quickly swerved to avoid it. He knew it wouldn’t be that easy to get rid of them. Having to slow down a little to successfully locate the traps and avoid them, Max was worried the pursuers would catch up to him, but there was no sign of them.
Soon, the Citadel’s peaks came into view and he fanged it once again, eager to be in the relative safety of the fortress. Ironic, since he remembered all too well how his first “visit” of this place went, and the sight of the few former War Boys made him uneasy even now. He knew they would not dare harm him, not while Furiosa and the sisters ruled this place, but meeting one in the dark narrow passageways always spooked him enough to bolt and find recluse in Furiosa’s room. Technically, he was given a room of his own but he couldn’t even spend a whole night in there before sheepishly seeking out Furiosa.
As he approached the fortress, he took note of the lush green covering the peaks and the small settlements at the base where the former Wretched now lived. As much as the sisters wanted to get them all inside, there simply wasn’t enough space in the Citadel to hold even half of them. And the People – for that was what they were called now – were more than happy to stay outside once they got regular access to food and water.
Max wondered what new inventions came to life here while he was gone. So far, every time he got back, there was something new, something much better than before, and usually Furiosa or the sisters had their hands in that.
A patrol vehicle came to greet him when he got close, just as Max expected. He was pretty sure his car was easily recognizable not to cause any panic, but appreciated that they always made sure he was the one driving it. He was not surprised to see Toast get out of the patrol car; she was a lot like Furiosa in this aspect.
“Hey,” she greeted him and he grunted in reply, managing a tiny smile. “You’re just in time!”
That surprised him. “Time for what?”
“You’ll see,” she grinned and got back into her car.
Curious, he followed her all the way to the garages, where he quickly grabbed the bag and got out of the Interceptor. Capable was already waiting for them there, a swarm of Pups at her feet, waiting for her commands. Once Max got out, she nodded at one of the Pups and he quickly took off.
“Welcome back, Max!” the redhead greeted him and threw herself at him while Toast snickered in the background. Max wasn’t a hugger, they all knew that, but Capable decided the poor man didn’t get hugged enough in his life and Max could never quite stop her.
“So what’s in the bag?” Toast piped up.
Only then Capable noticed the bag in his hand. “Oooh. Did you bring us presents again?”
Max grunted in affirmation.
“That is so nice of you! You can put those under the tree!”
His brow furrowed in confusion. “Tree?”
“Yes! The Christmas tree!”
Christmas. Another word he hasn’t heard in ages. He had no idea there were people who still knew what it meant, even. Wait. How did they even know it was time for Christmas? Nobody was keeping track of months and dates anymore, as far as he knew, at least. He already forgot when Christmas was celebrated Before, but was pretty sure it had a set date.
“Max? You with us?” Capable gently nudged him.
He quickly focused his attention back to the present. He suddenly realized something, or rather, someone, was missing. “Furiosa?” he asked.
“She’s in a council meeting right now,” Capable told him. “I already sent word that you’re here, though. But it’s gonna be a while. You can help us decorate the tree in the meantime! Bring the gifts!”
With that, she and Toast set off and Max, still in a daze, followed them.
The tree was in the Vault, which now served as a community center, where anyone could come and hang out or read the few books they had. The sisters didn’t like spending a lot of time there, even though the giant doors were melted down long ago. Max couldn’t blame then; he still wasn’t able to come even near the healing ward even after it’s been completely remodeled and not a trace of the Organic Mechanic’s foul inventions was left. Surprisingly not a lot of the Vault has changed except the missing door, only more chairs and beds have been added, and no one bothered to hide Angharad’s accusing words on the walls and floor.
The tree itself was quite huge, its tip higher than the tallest Boy could reach and wide enough to barely fit through the round opening to the room. While it wasn’t a real living tree, Max still wondered where they even got such a thing from. His thought process was interrupted by Cheedo and the Dag, who finally noticed him, hands full of very strange objects made of questionable materials that probably served as decorations.
“Max! You’re back!”
“Smeg! Finally showed up!”
He huffed at the nickname, while Toast chuckled.
“Gonna help us decorate or what?” the Dag teased, white teeth flashing in a grin.
With a sigh, he approached the tree and took a closer look at the decorations that were supposed to be on it. Ornaments made of thin metal welded together and molded into roughly spherical shapes, animal skulls and bones, metal chains, strips of leather tied into bows, a whole chain made out of… was it hair??? Gross. He’s definitely not touching that one. Some of those hairs definitely didn’t come from the head…
He got to work, at first just hanging the decorations where he seemed fit, but after the Dag slapped his hands for the tenth time he decided to take directions from the girls who clearly had more sense of style. While working, the girls talked and he listened, learning about the current state of the Citadel and what still needed to be done. At some point, Cheedo asked him if he knew about Christmas and he nodded, then, curious, asked them how they knew about it.
“Oh, Miss Giddy told us everything she knew about it,” Cheedo replied with a fond look on her face.
“Better than what that schlanger came up with, anyway,” Dag muttered under her breath.
Seeing Max’s confused face, Toast explained. Apparently, Joe decided to make the holiday all about him (how totally unsurprising), renamed Christmas into Joefeest and claimed to be the messiah that was born on that day to save all humanity. The tree he found in one of the malls buried in sand and had it brought here. He also had everyone to give him gifts and his current wives had to perform for him, before he took one to his chambers. A chill ran down Max’s spine as he listened, and thanked whatever gods were left he convinced Furiosa to turn back that day and defeat the Immortan.
After this, the conversation died for a while, the girls no doubt trying to forget the horrors Toast’s explanation just made them relive. Max suddenly realized why they were so hell-bent on making a proper Christmas and decided to help them make new, better memories of the holiday.
Max was so focused on his work he didn’t even notice the bunch of Boys and Pups that joined them in the meantime. It was only when his hand grabbed at empty air that he realized they put on everything they had. Or, almost. One of the Pups brought a star made of knives welded together and Max wondered how are they ever gonna put it on top of the tree when a Boy came, swooping the Pup into his arms and holding him as near the tree top as he could. The Pup successfully managed to put the star where it belonged and the crowd of people that gathered around the tree cheered.
An ancient memory tried to bubble up, of trees and presents and a woman with a child, but he pushed it down, not wanting to ruin the friendly atmosphere with another one of his freak outs. He knew it would inevitably come anyway, but if he could postpone it at least until nightfall…
A hand lightly touched his shoulder and he jumped, barely able to hold it together, but Furiosa’s quick apology calmed him down enough to turn around and face her.
She had a worried look on her face, apparently still regretful about spooking him so bad, but once she saw he calmed down she smiled warmly at him and her flesh hand reached for his neck. He smiled back and mirrored the movement, their foreheads bumping together in greeting.
“I’m glad you’re back,” she told him softly. He hummed.
“Get a room!” someone called and few of the people around them chuckled.
They broke apart and Max quickly located the person responsible; the Vuvalini, Maya, was grinning at them and Furiosa just shook her head and went to inspect the tree instead. The other Vuvalini, Astra was holding Dag’s baby, little Angharad, who apparently just woke, from the looks of her still sleepy face. Upon seeing Max, she immediately demanded to go see him and so both the old women approached Max, Astra handing over the baby into Max’s outstretched hands.
“Hello again, Fool,” Astra greeted him.
“About time you showed up,” Maya said. “Our girl’s been missing you terribly.”
Max doubted that; Furiosa knew how to take care of herself and had plenty of people around to keep her company. True, they both slept better with their backs pressed together but other than that, Max doubted his presence, or lack thereof, would have a big impact on her. Of course, the same couldn’t be said about how her presence affected him. Not that he would ever tell anyone.
A yank on his beard turned his attention to the baby who was bold like her mother and wouldn’t be ignored. Max smiled at her, and her toothless mouth opened wide in joy, a little drool dripping onto his jacket. He played with her for a bit until the Dag swooped in and relieved him of his caretaking duties. He was surprised to see her leave the Vault, she usually breastfed the baby without caring if anyone’s around.
“She lost her milk, the poor gal,” Astra told him quietly.
“One of the Milking Mothers, Jill, offered to feed her instead,” Maya added.
Max grunted, not knowing how else to offer sympathy for the woman.
“So,” Astra said, changing the topic, “find anything interesting in the Wasteland this time?”
Max nodded. “Brought gifts.”
“Ooooh, how generous of you. The gift giving will happen tomorrow morning, you can wait a bit, right?”
He thought about the gifts. Most of them would be fine, but the prickly pear… maybe he could water it a little tonight, just to make sure it won’t wither. “Sure,” he said.
“We were worried we’ll have to celebrate without you,” Maya said. “Nice timing.”
Of course, Max had no idea there would be Christmas at the Citadel, but suddenly wondered if his hallucination of Furiosa had anything to do with it. Max could never figure out what triggered it to appear, mostly thought it was completely random but now… maybe it had a higher purpose.
They joined Furiosa just as she was praising everyone’s work on the tree and after that, the crowd dissolved, Boys and Pups running who knows where, followed by Toast and Capable, who still had work to do, apparently. Max took his bag of gifts, unsure where to actually put it.
“Oh, you look like Santa now!” Cheedo cheerfully noted.
“He’ll have to be more red to be Santa,” Maya noted. Astra whispered something into her ear and they both giggled. Max decided not to think about it.
“You hungry?” Furiosa asked him. His stomach rumbled in response. She laughed and together they went first to her room, where he left the bag, then to the mess hall to get some proper food.
After dinner, they went back to her room. After settling into bed, backs pressed against each other, Furiosa stared at the bag, “It’s big.” Max hummed. “That must be a lot of gifts,” she continued.
“You don’t have to always bring back gifts, you know.”
“Trade. For the stuff you give me. Food. Water. Guzz.” Peace, he thought to himself.
“Max. You don’t have to trade with us. Without you, there wouldn’t even be an us, we’d all be most likely dead in the Salts.”
“Still. Doesn’t seem fair to just, hmm, take.”
Furiosa sighed. “Fine. Small gifts then. Not whatever it is you brought today. That’s too much.”
She snorted. “You had no way of knowing that before you got here.” He gave a non-committal huff. “I’m glad you made it in time,” she said, more serious now. “Wouldn’t be the same without you.”
He was silent, his mind slowly processing what he just heard. Could she actually mean…? He listened to her breathing, the steady rhythm of her heartbeat. When he was sure she was sleeping, he whispered, “Glad I made it too.”
Furiosa smirked but remained silent and soon fell asleep.
When Max woke up the next morning from one of the most restful sleeps he got these days, Furiosa was still curled next to him, sound asleep. He would have stayed in bed, bud his bladder had a different opinion so he gently got off the bed and tiptoed to the small adjacent room that served as a bathroom, with a waste bucket on the ground and a bucket full of clean water sitting on a small table, to make sure they don’t get mixed up. As Max washed his face, he suddenly remembered the poor cactus stashed in his bag and quickly took some water into his cupped palm and opened the bag to water it. Most of the water probably spilled on the way there, but a few drops landed on the plant.
“Water you doin’?” Furiosa asked drowsily.
Max quickly closed the bag. “Nothing.”
Furiosa got up and stretched. “Yeah, right.”
Max smiled at her. “You’ll see.”
After she payed visit to the bucket as well, they left the room, heading for the Vault. There was no sign of the girls, whose room was down the hall from Furiosa’s, and Max expected they were already by the tree, giving presents. Sure enough, as they got closer to the Vault, they could hear talking and laughter coming from it. Furiosa went a few steps ahead of him and just as she walked into the Vault, she stopped abruptly, causing Max to collide with her. He quickly searched for the cause and immediately noticed a small yellowed plant with round white fruit hanging above them. Next to the wall on his right side was Astra, standing on a chair, holding a stick with the plant attached to it.
“Come now, you know what you gotta do!” Astra told them with a grin.
“In case you don’t know,” Maya, who was sitting with the rest by the tree, called to them, “you gotta kiss!”
Max went approximately 40 different shades of red, and even Furiosa sported a slight blush. She tried to step forward, but ended up with the plant in her face.
“Nu-uh-uh! No avoiding the mistletoe! Kiss!” Astra commanded.
Furiosa turned to Max. He stared at her wildly. She quickly pecked him on the cheek.
Astra still wasn’t happy. “No! On the lips!”
Furiosa’s cheeks grew redder. Max was sure his clothes would turn red as well. He licked his lips, suddenly parched. This was so silly, they were just supposed to hand out gifts, not-
Her lips were suddenly on his and his mind was immediately free of all thoughts. It only lasted a few seconds and then Max was left stunned, with a blissful expression slowly creeping onto his face. He heard Capable all but squeal in delight, and Toast and the Dag cheered, while Cheedo awwww’d and the Vuvalini smirked. Even baby Angharad made a little delighted squeak.
Astra was apparently more than satisfied and finally let them get inside. “Now there’s your red Santa, Cheedo,” she chuckled.
Max blushed even more at that.
“All right, that’s enough,” Furiosa said. Her cheeks were still bright red.
“We’re just teasing, lass,” Maya told her.
“No more kissing, we promise,” Astra said.
“Unless you want to, of course,” Maya added with a grin.
Furiosa groaned. She turned to Max. “I’m so sorry.”
He waved his hand. “S’fine.” He walked to the group of women settled next to the tree and opened the bag. “Presents?” he asked them.
The sisters shook with excitement. “Yay!” Capable exclaimed.
Max smiled and reached into the bag. His hand gripped the handle of the blade, so he pulled it out and handed it to Toast. “Thought you might need it.”
“Thanks, Max! It’s beautiful!”
Next, he grabbed the book. He handed it to Capable. “Tales for kids. The Pups might like it?”
“Aww, Max, that is so sweet! Thank you!”
The shiny baubles were next. He offered them to the Dag and her baby. “Maybe if you put them on strings… hang it above her bed?”
“She’ll love it, thank you.”
He searched for the feathers, making sure he got all of them, and then gave them to Cheedo. “For your hair? Or writing?”
“Thank you so much, Max!”
The prickly pear pricked him every time he reached into the bag, but he saved that one as last. He started pulling out the balls of yarn, handing them over to Maya and Astra.
“Fool, where did you even get this?”
“Do you know how valuable this is?”
“How much do you even have?”
“What are we gonna do with all this yarn?”
“You done yet?”
“Aww, now I almost feel bad for teasing you.”
And then both at once, “Thank you, Fool.”
Finally, it was Furiosa’s turn. He pulled out the spikey plant and sheepishly offered it to her.
She stared at it for a second, then gently took it from him. “It’s perfect. Thank you, Max.”
They all looked fondly at their presents and then Furiosa suddenly hugged him, and the rest of the women followed, enveloping Max in a giant group hug. “Best Christmas ever,” Cheedo whispered and the sisters hummed in agreement.
When it got too hard to breathe, the women let go and Max took a deep breath, sucking the Vault’s filtered air into his lungs. This actually went better than he expected. He wasn’t sure if they’d like his presents, especially Furiosa. He was glad he was wrong.
“We’ve got something for you too,” Furiosa told him with a smile.
Wait, what? He wasn’t expecting a gift in return, they always give him whatever he needs when he’s here…
A metal brace was dropped into his hands. “For your knee,” Furiosa told him. “The one you have hardly bends anymore.”
Max was shocked. “Thank you,” he mumbled.
From under the tree, the sisters pulled some new clothes. “So you can have something to wear once your old ones get destroyed,” Capable said.
“Which might happen soon,” Toast noted.
A grunt. “Thanks.”
The Vuvalini looked at the yarn surrounding them. “Well, we were gonna give you some guns, but we have a better idea now,” Maya said.
“Girls, wanna learn how to knit?” Astra asked them.
“Yes!” all four echoed.
The result was a gaudy red and green sweater with a white reindeer in the middle for Max, and soon after, an equally gaudy but with the colors switched sweater for Furiosa, who made the mistake of laughing at the one Max got.
In the end, it was a very enjoyable day, one that reminded Max of a very old saying. How did it go again?
Home is where the heart is.
Perhaps he finally found his home, he thought as he looked at Furiosa, a warmth filling his chest at the sight of her, happy and free, dressed in a ridiculous sweater, surrounded by those she loved and who loved her back. Then, their eyes locked and he was sure. Yes, his heart was definitely here. In the hand of the one-armed warrior who changed the lives of many, including his. This is where he belonged, and no matter how far the Wasteland would take him, he’d always make it back here.