“Here’s to Not Being Dead, Sir.”

“Commander?”

“At ease, Wolfewood. Come join me, if you like.”

“Sir… Are you drinking?”

“Just the one. It just happens to be a large one.”

“Large enough not to warrant a glass, sir?”

“Enough for two. Come on, Wolfewood, sit down for heaven’s sake. I’m not a commander anymore.”

“With all respect, sir, you’ll always be a commander to me.”

“…Consider that invitation as an order, then.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Here, have some. Nightshade said I could drink as much as I like, so help yourself… She seems like she understands us. She’s our kind of people.”

“I don’t think our kind of people exist anymore, sir. I think they all died in the War.”

“What about me?”

“What about you, sir?”

“You didn’t believe I was dead?”

“Never.”

“I was.”

“Seems it didn’t take, sir.”

“Good to know decades didn’t deteriorate your sense of humor, Wolfewood.”

“Or yours, sir.”

“I don’t know about that. I think I’ve become rather more somber in my old age.”

“As least you aren’t old, in your old age.”

Wolfewood.”

“It’s Dante, now… Madam calls me Dante. I like it. Forgot how it sounded. Reminds me of my roots.”

“Speaking of, when did you learn gardening?”

“Therapy, after the War… It worked. The nightmares barely come anymore.”

“…Do you still dream of her?”

“I try not to, sir.”

“Me too.”

“Does it work?”

“Not even a little.”

“…If it means anything, sir, I’m glad you came back. I missed you.”

“Thank you, Dante. I missed you too.”

“Now give me that bottle, sir, you are not drinking alone.”

“Good man. At least you remembered that from your training.”

“Here’s to not being dead, sir.”

“Here’s to being alive.”

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