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Six-String Soldier

Chapter Text

Take me home
I want to go
Down the road that will take me
To the living oak
And Lord, I know
That I'm a weathered stone
But I owe it to my brothers
To carry them home
- “Lay Me Down” by The Oh Hellos

---

Rictus’ Fargo was almost done. Another hour or two of all of them working together and the boss would have his truck finished. But for once, Nux couldn’t lose himself in the familiar tasks.

He was sitting on his ass on the floor, not doing much other than warming the concrete. Outside was probably baking, but even in the afternoon heat, the garage stayed pretty cool, protected from everything outside by layers of cement and lead paint. Far fucking cry from being warm in Capable’s arms. Or the softness of her lips. Tools and the pieces of Rictus’ car were still spread out in lines around him, but every time he picked something up, Nux got distracted by another thought of her.

The two of them had been making lists of places to go - alone, without Slit tagging along or her sisters dropping by. It was weird to think about the city that way, in terms of dates and not turfs. Movies, restaurants, bars, museums, parking lots - There were a thousand places that they wanted to take each other. And shows - Just like she’d promised, she’d told him when she was playing at Giddy’s again. This time all her sisters would be there, practically a full band, just like she’d said she wanted.

He’d been saving up for it. But that morning, the dues came in, they had to cover what Ace couldn’t. And then, just like that, the money was gone. It wasn’t Ace’s fault. It wasn’t any of their faults. Morsov had to hand over the cash for his cat food too - Capable would understand, the cats wouldn’t, the poor bastards.

If he had more time to work… Instead it was Rictus’ truck and undoing all the time and miles of abuse that the boss had put it through. It was the reason Nux had had to hang around Gas Town instead of Green Place. And the reason he couldn’t work on anything else. Hours of work, pulling out parts, driving around to all the junkyards to find pads and fans and panels.

“Priority, Boys,” Ace had said. Nux guessed that it had to be said aloud, even though of course they all fucking knew it. Clapping Nux on the shoulder as he walked by had been Ace’s acknowledgement of and apology for all the work Nux was going to have to do.

At least he could talk to Capable almost whenever he wanted. He couldn’t get enough of that, get enough of her - she knew about everything and she was so damn interesting, and the way she talked, even when the conversations were hard ones. When she told him about Joe. Those stories came out at night, when they could find somewhere quiet, somewhere private. She didn’t mind if he asked questions, but Nux tried not to. Instead he just listened, pressing his phone as close to his ear as possible so he could hear every word, each breath, the whisper of her clothes, her hair as she moved. It was a piss-poor substitute for being there with her.

More than anything in the world he wanted to do something for her, do something - anything - to help her. What the fuck could he do, though? Other than teaching her to drive. That had been even more chrome than he’d imagined. And he had imagined it, over and over, and then after that night was over, he replayed the memories just as frequently. All of it, not just the driving. Made him fidget, thinking about her and the way she felt, everything inside vibrating like his axles were bent.

He had to talk to her again. He rolled onto his stomach and stared at the screen of his phone before he started typing.

hey capable!!!!
still fucking busy
im real sorry

He had a wait a while for her reply, but that was fine. He knew that she put her phone on silent when she was in class, and even that made him admire her more - she was so damn smart and worked so damn hard. Regardless, he kept checking his phone until finally the screen lit up with her reply. He called her back instantly.

“Hi Nux!” Capable said when she picked up, and just hearing her voice made him smile.

“Hey! Done with school?”

“Well, done with class, anyway. I’m going to study at the library for a bit and then head to the hospital before we meet up at Giddy’s. So what’s up? Did something happen?”

“Just some bullshit,” he said. “Bills came in and money’s gone. Wanted to take you out tonight after the show, but I’m flat broke.”

“Well, I still owe you for when you helped me at the laundromat. I got my paycheck, so I can give that to you tonight. But it still sucks about the bills. Is everything else ok? Are you ok?”

He was quick to reassure her. “Yeah! Yeah, I’m fine. Don’t need to worry about me.”

She exhaled a long breath. “You sure you’re ok? Do you want to come into the city earlier? I can go to the hospital now instead of later. Wait - You’re still coming tonight, right?”

“I’m coming, Capable. Promise.” There was no way he was going to miss her show. He’d walk all the way there, if he had to. He’d swim the whole river.

“And you’re really ok?”

“This is just War Boy stuff. Won’t kill me.”

There was a pause and he heard her sigh again. “Ok, Nux. But hey, remember, if you need me to, I’ll come get you. I can drive now, right?”

They talked a little longer - Not long enough, but he’d already discovered that it was never enough. When she hung up, he stared at the phone for another moment before glancing around the garage. One of Morsov’s cats was sitting in a round loaf on the roof of the Fargo, yellow eyes in narrows lines as it watched Mack and Rotor argue over the hydraulics. Ace was nowhere that Nux could see, and he wondered how their quasi-boss was managing.

“Too busy with that girl,” Slit said scornfully, interrupting his thoughts, and Nux rolled his eyes. He slid his tray of bearings over and shuffled through them, ignoring his partner who was stomping around behind him. Slit bent over, looking at Nux through the gaps of the hubcap, and added grumpily, “Pay attention to this fucking truck and maybe we can finally be done with it. Instead you’re fucking around again.”

“Personality and good looks,” Nux said as he held up a bearing for inspection. “No wonder Ace is so worried you’ll out-boss him.”

“Hey, I’m a delight.”

Nux grinned. “Yeah, don’t think that’s the word for it.”

“Fuck you.” Slit said, smacking Nux on the head as he walked by to add injury to the insult. He bent out of the way when Nux took a swipe at him. “Give me the 10mm.”

Nux tossed the wrench over and Slit dropped on the ground next to him. Conversation went from the truck to Slit’s motorcycle, still only half done and nearly naked without its fairing.

“Thinking about the paint job,” Slit said and Nux looked up with interest.

“Yeah? Design anything yet?”

He nodded. “Silver for the base -”

“Flames?” Nux interrupted with a snicker.

“Who am I, Morsov?” Slit scoffed and they grinned at each other. Slit pulled some folded papers out his pocket and Nux slid over so they could go through the designs together.

When they finished the Fargo, Ace sent the message. Nux took out his own phone and started texting Capable - maybe he’d be able to get into the city sooner rather than later. But before he could make plans with her, Ace rapped a wrench against one of the work tables, and the ringing got everyone’s attention.

He said, once he knew everyone was listening, “Heard back from Rictus. He wants us to bring his truck to the Pits.”

Someone found the radio and turned it off, and without music playing and everyone lowering their tools, there was a silence that seemed to fill every corner. Going back to the Pits. Home. The Pits had been loud and crazy and shine as fuck, with Boys everywhere and bosses bringing in all sorts of shit for Joe. Inside the old warehouses they had cars, rows and rows of them in every stage of completion. It had always been War Boy territory; losing them was a blow as big as losing Joe. It’d been the best part of the city for any gang: the river on one side, close to the highway, away from any precinct. Winding, narrow streets kept out any other gang. They’d have to have a death wish to even try coming through in the dark with Boys in all the windows in the sprawling old factories and terminals.

“Ace, what’s going on?” Morsov asked.

“We’re going to the Pits,” Ace repeated.

No shit. That was apparently enough for Morsov, but Nux pressed, “Yeah, but why?”

The lines around Ace’s mouth deepened. “The order is to go there, and we follow orders.”

The exact fucking opposite of what Capable would say. Nux flattened his lips in a frown. As far as they all knew, the Pits had been stripped empty - first by the police and then by whoever got through the padlocks. The rest of Ace’s crew were grabbing each other and cheering, but Nux just rubbed at the back of his neck, pressing hard against the tense muscles. Were they just meeting? Or was something going down? Had someone paid the police off? He’d told Capable that War Boys obeyed, not questioned, but he couldn’t stop his thoughts from racing. Didn’t they deserve to know?

Ace snapped his phone shut and pushed it carefully into one of his pockets. It occurred to Nux that maybe Ace didn’t know either. Something in the way that Ace had replied to Nux - the “we” instead of “you.” Again Nux wished Furiosa had come back to straighten it out, either by taking Ace’s side or taking his place. He’d ask her again, find the right words to make her understand.

“You know why we’re better than Buzzards? Rock Riders?” Ace asked Nux, but the question was loud enough for the whole garage to hear. He wasn’t really waiting for Nux’s answer, because Ace continued in the same firm, steady tone, “We work together. We’re a well-oiled machine, crews and their boss. Bosses trust their crew will come through for them and the crew has the discipline to it.”

“Obedience,” Nux murmured.

“Come on,” Slit said, pulling on his arm. He grabbed their jackets from off a pile of tires and tossed Nux’s at him. It landed on Nux’s head, blanketing his vision in black for a second before Nux pulled it onto his shoulders. He was the last one out of the garage, but then Morsov slowed in front of him.

“Maybe we’ll get paid,” Morsov said quietly, more to himself than to Nux.

Nux nodded sympathetically and didn’t say out loud what they both suspected: Rictus wouldn’t give them anything. When Ace started up the Fargo, the headlights lit up the silhouettes of the feral cats, before they scattered, darting away into the bushes. Nux brushed his hand over Morsov’s bald head as he walked by him. “Might be able to help you out. Capable might.”

The sky was getting dark already, red as fire where the sun was setting through the haze and then the black-blue bruise of night on the other horizon. Capable’s show at Giddy’s was only a couple of hours away. And only a few miles away, but it felt like maybe they were in completely different worlds. He got into the car with Slit and started it up. Pulling onto the street, he waited until the rest of the crew had gotten into Rictus’ Fargo or Ace’s truck before he started to drive. Once they were on the highway, he shifted up and pulled far ahead of the others. The smooth speed of the Monte Carlo was comforting - It was something that Nux could understand. It was something he could control.

“We’re going to get it all back at long fucking last,” Slit stated and when Nux glanced at him, his partner was grinning to himself. He’d slid the seat back as far as it would go and had stretched his legs up, boots up on the dashboard.

“Yeah? Don’t know.” Nux stared at the car in front of them. “If it was anything big, Ace would have told us. Don’t think he knows what’s going on.”

Slit snorted at that. “Course he doesn’t. Ace has his head so far up his ass that all he can see is bullshit. Hey, remember the glory days? Riding down route 91? You and me, and no one could fucking touch us.”

Racing way faster than he had with Capable, it had always been him and Slit in the front of the whole gang, Joe’s killer coupe DeVille in Nux’s rearview mirror. Nux slapped his palms against the steering wheel and then shifted up again. Even with the memories, even with her car, it felt like there was something pulling at him, some hook in some soft place. The ride was mostly silent and before long, he pulled off the highway onto the streets of their old neighborhood. The roofs of the Pits rose above the apartment buildings, dark and stark.

Some kids from the Roodes Houses yelled out their windows when Nux drove by, but mostly the neighborhood was empty. He slowed as he turned onto the narrow, quiet streets that led to the Pits themselves. Nux passed a couple of Boys standing around outside their cars, but it wasn’t much of a homecoming. A lot of the windows were broken and inside the warehouses looked dark. There were piles of trash in the gutters and in the doorways were more piles - homeless people with shopping carts or big suitcases.

Joe wouldn’t have stood for that.

In his mirrors he could see the dark shape of Ace driving the Fargo. He was a couple of lengths behind Nux’s Monte Carlo. Again he wondered what the older man was thinking. Maybe Ace really bought the whole “well-oiled machine” pitch.

“How old do you think Ace is?”

Slit frowned. “Don’t know.”

“Weird how we don’t know, right? How come we never asked him?”

With a shrug, Slit turned to look out his window. “Maybe the same age as Joe. Thereabouts. Surprised he lasted this long.”

During Nux’s first date with Capable, when he’d been an idiotic asshole but she’d still talked to him, he’d mentioned how little he had known. He meant about her, about what Joe did in his Vault, but now Nux was seeing just how true that was about everything. There was so fucking much that he didn’t know. “How come we don’t know?”

That question made Slit twist back to face Nux. “How come?” he repeated. “Who cares how old Ace is?”

“Not just about how old he is. I mean, what about what it was like when he was our age? When did he join? What did he do before he was a War Boy? Or how come he’s not really a boss?”

A police car drove by, slow enough that Nux could see through the windshield at the driver. The cop stared back and their eyes met, but then Nux snapped his stare back to the street ahead of him. Suddenly Slit leaned over him, shoving his middle finger out Nux’s open window. “Come on, don’t piss off the cops,” Nux growled and pushed Slit back. “We don’t need a run in with anyone right now.”

Slit’s dark eyes narrowed but he slunk back into his seat. “You’ve been off all day,” he said, with a tone in his voice that Nux almost never heard - something akin to worry. Slit added sulkily, “What does it matter? About any of that shit. I’ll tell you: it doesn’t fucking matter at all.”

“Think it does. And think you want to know, too.”

“Keep your eyes on the road, will you? You’re driving all over the fucking place.”

Nux hadn’t been, but he could tell that there wasn’t any point in arguing. Maybe if Slit hung out with Capable more, he’d see things the way that Nux was starting to see them. Like Seeds had said, when they were eating Chinese food - things were all connected. It wasn’t just about Ace.

They reached what had been the main entrance: high fences with barbed wire on top surrounded the warehouse and the gate was still closed. Closed but not locked - a thick metal chain and broken padlock were on the ground, kicked to the side. Someone had gotten back inside. Nux pulled onto the sidewalk and he and Slit climbed hurriedly out of the car.

“See?” Slit asked and threw his arm over Nux’s shoulder. “This is what matters. Getting the gang back. Getting back what’s ours.”

“Yeah?”

“Bet Rictus will blow a fucking gasket when he sees his truck.” Slit turned to look over their shoulders to where Ace was parking the Fargo. “Thing’s a beaut now.”

It was - shined up and purring before Ace turned off the engine. Nux looked out of the corner of his eyes at Slit. “Told you that Rictus needs me.”

“Told you that Rictus doesn’t give a shit about weak War Boys.”

“Yeah? Think maybe we have different ideas of what strength is.” Again Nux thought about Capable. And not just her, but all her sisters - even Angharad.

“Swear to fucking Valhalla, Nux -” Slit let the rest of his sentence quiet into a hiss when Ace and the rest of his crew approached. He dragged his arm off Nux’s shoulder and leaned against the car, glaring at him.

A door in the Pits opened, spreading a pool of light out onto the darkening street. Rictus walked out with Prime close behind him. Despite his irritation at his partner, Nux glanced toward Slit. Both bosses? With Rictus and Prime at the Pits, maybe something important was happening. Nux stood up straighter, felt the old familiar rush of excitement start to move through his veins.

“Alright, look at that!” Rictus exclaimed when he looked at his improved rig. Like usual, the big man was decked out with what he considered his finest. There were other colors mixed in with his blacks now and a pattern on his shirt. “Shiny! Bring it in before it gets messed up out here.”

Prime pushed past Rotor as he climbed into the truck. Dred caught him before he could stumble for more than a step and then the two of them straightened, looked at Ace for instruction. Nux slid his eyes away to follow Rictus’ massive back as the man stomped toward the door. That was fucking that. No money. Not even a glance at them.

Some fucking reunion.

“Prime, any other orders?” Ace asked and the boss leaned out of the window.

“Clean up the garbage. Pits is our territory.”

“Garbage?” Dred echoed. “Prime, you mean -”

“And all those fucking beggars. Don’t need street trash fucking up our cars.” He drove slowly past them, the beams of the headlights illuminating everyone’s blank face as he pulled in through the gates and toward the warehouse.

“What the fuck are we supposed to do with it?” Dred demanded and Ace shook his head.

“Dump it in the river,” Mack replied. He dropped onto the curb and fished through his pockets until he found a cigarette.

“And the fucking homeless assholes all over the fucking place?”

Mack shrugged and exhaled a plume of smoke. “River.”

“This is bullshit.” Nux’s exasperation made his voice loud and it bounced down the empty corridors between the buildings. “Shoot these poor bastards? For what? You can’t be fucking serious. I’m not doing this.”

“Yeah? So what are you going to do?” Mack taunted. “Run off crying to your girl?”

“This is what you want to do, Mack? We haven’t been in this place for months. And now we aren’t even being let in. So yeah, fuck this. I’m leaving.”

There was a raw hardness in Ace’s voice. “You turning your back on us? Thought you were a War Boy, Nux. Told you this afternoon - We’re in this together.”

Nux balled his hands into fists but he kept his tense arms at his side. “Like this is some sort of family? Is that what you really think, Ace?”

“Joe-” Morsov started.

“Joe didn’t either. We weren’t his fucking sons,” Nux cut him off. A family, for fuck sake’s, was that how they saw it? It was nothing like how Furiosa protected Capable and her sisters. And it was nothing like their home on Green Place. “Capable’s right: he used us.”

Maybe they’d heard Joe’s name. Drawn by the noise, Rictus and Prime had started walking back.

Slit shoved Nux aside, ignored his startled curse, and snapped, “There wouldn’t be a problem if you weren’t so mediocre, Ace.”

“Slit, this isn’t the time-” Ace said quietly.

Nux elbowed his partner back. “Come on, Slit! Will you listen to me for once? All that fucking work, all that fucking money, all we fucking do and for what? Bosses gets everything and what happens to us?”

Rictus’ voice was a bullhorn. “You need help keeping your Boys in line, Ace?”

“No, Rictus. Slit, Nux, you two need to stand down -”

“You can’t tell me what to do, Ace. You’re not a real boss. I could fucking take you right now -” Slit lunged forward and grabbed Ace by the lapels of his jacket.

Ace’s crew jumped up, shouting and snarling, and Nux threw himself onto Slit’s back, catching his arm and pulling it back. Suddenly they were all thrown - something tore Nux off and tossed him aside and he landed hard on the ground. The impact snapped both of his wrists back but he scrambled up to his knees. But he wasn’t fast enough - Rictus drew back his massive fist and bashed Slit in the face. Slit dropped, cracking something on the pavement, and the rest of the crew scattered, dragging Ace back away from Slit.

“Yeah! You see me take care of that, Ace?” No one answered but Rictus didn’t seem to give a shit about that. He swiped at his shirt in disgust, maybe he’d gotten a spot of Slit’s blood on it, and then looked back down where Slit was panting on the ground.

Morsov spoke up before Nux could get his tongue to work. “We passed some cops before. Maybe we should clear out before they come around again.”

“Yeah, alright.” Rictus allowed. “Get inside.”

Nux skittered over the ground to Slit, but Ace’s crew filed by without looking at either of them. Even Ace didn’t glance back. Someone - sounded like Mack - laughed and the noise carried until the door slammed shut. Nux sagged onto the ground and reached over to shake Slit’s shoulder. The adrenaline ran off as fast as it had come, but his heart was still pounding. “Come on, Slit. You alright?”

He sat up with a groan. There was blood in a stripe over the bottom of his face - One fucking hell of a punch.

“Any teeth out?” Nux asked, and Slit opened his mouth and ran his tongue over his teeth - blood, and plenty of it, but nothing broken. He let go of Slit’s chin and sat back on his haunches. “I can handle my own fights, you stupid fucker.”

Slit’s chuckle was more like a wet wheeze. “Too soft. Need me.”

“Yeah, like a hole in my head.”

“Rictus would’ve.”

“Would’ve what?”

“Put a hole in your head.”

Not on the middle of the street, not when there was still light out. Or maybe Rictus would have and Nux was giving him too much credit. Would Slit tell Capable if something had happened to him? Instead of asking that, he said mildly, “Least he didn’t have a knife.” Nux ran his thumbs over the ragged lines of Slit’s scars, smearing away the blood there. “Mess up your pretty face.”

If he had money, he’d go to the first convenience store he could find and get Slit bandages, aspirin, a beer. Anything. His own wrists ached and cracked as he slowly stretched them. “Look,” he said, waiting until Slit finally met his eyes. “Let’s go to Capable’s.”

Slit grunted as he rolled over onto his hands and knees. He took a deep breath before shoving himself up and rose to his feet. He spat out some blood and wiped his mouth on the back of his hand, then pulled on his jacket to adjust it. There was still blood drying across his face, but other than that he looked like he’d recovered. Looked like, Nux thought. His partner was shine at spotting things, and just as shine at hiding them.

“And do what?”

“I don’t know. Go to university. Save up while she’s at school, then leave Citadel City. You still want to go to New York, right? Or wherever. Or stay. Just not here.”

“Don’t know if you’re crazy or stupid.”

“Or both.” Nux tried to grin, but it didn’t last. He stood too and crossed his arms over his chest as he watched Slit pace. Slit said nothing; maybe he was pretending that he didn’t even hear Nux. Nothing like Capable, who listened to him even when she didn’t agree, and asked and wondered and wanted to know. Fuck, Capable. He pulled out his phone - there was a new crack in its case, but the screen still worked - and quickly read through her message: she was going on soon and was he ok?

“I’ve got to get out of here,” he mumbled to himself and Slit looked back at him.

“You’re staying with the car,” Slit said and to drive the point home, leaned heavily against it.

Nux ran his hands over his skull. “Fuck everything. I’m going. You going to try to stop me?” There was a moment of stillness as they sized each other up. Nux softened first, adding, “Haven’t seen her in ages. Barely talked to her today. I’m going.”

Slit straightened and jammed his hands in his pockets. Without another word he turned away, heading down toward the projects. With another sigh Nux rubbed his head again. Fuck it. He’d given the War Boys enough for one day. He jumped into his car and peeled down the streets.

Raced there, parked illegally, raced out of the car.

It felt like it had been years since the last time he was in Giddy’s bar. It felt like a different bar completely, or maybe he was a different person. He pushed hurriedly through the door. He didn’t hear any music - What if he missed the show? Breath caught in his throat, or maybe that was his heart lodging itself in there.

There, on the little stage, was Capable. The lighting was low but she was still glorious, like all the dim lights had turned to shine on her. She was talking to Dag, her head turned so he couldn’t really see her face, and she was adjusting some knobs on her guitar with one hand while her other fingers plucked at the strings. They were still playing; he hadn’t fucked up and missed the whole thing. Nux groped toward the bar toward Furiosa and slid onto the stool next to her. He’d been quiet but she turned anyway, and he saw her hand flex around her bottle before it relaxed again.

“Thought maybe you wouldn’t show,” she said.

Nux studied her face. She seemed more amused than irritated, her shoulders loose and rolled back, and after he glanced back at the stage to make sure that Capable wasn’t about to start singing, he lowered his head closer to Furiosa. “Ran into some trouble,” he confided and waited to see how the boss would take it.

She nodded slowly as her gaze raked over him. “Got some blood on you.”

Of course Furiosa would notice that, even in the bar’s dingy lighting. That was one of the reasons she was the best. Nux wiped his hands on his jeans again, hoping to clean off the last bit of Slit’s blood. “Shit’s been getting rough, boss. Ace needs help.”

“Not a boss,” she said again, punctuating the statement by rapping her prostetic arm on the bar. Giddy heard and moved closer, close enough for Nux to see the old woman glare at him.

“I know,” he assured her quickly. “But you could still fix it. Rictus is -”

“It’s not about Rictus.” The interruption shut Nux up and he stared at Furiosa. She rapped on the bar again and this time held up her bottle - empty - and Giddy replaced it with another beer. “Want one?”

“Yeah, thanks.” His stomach growled and rolled - He’d barely had anything to drink or eat all day. Being in debt to a boss was a dangerous position, but Nux found that he didn’t mind the idea of owing Furiosa. Still, in case she wanted to renege, he added apologetically, “I don’t have any money.”

“I can afford a beer.” Another motion to Giddy and a second beer was slid down the counter. After she’d taken a long drink, Furiosa said, voice flat and certain, “Who’s on top doesn’t matter. The whole thing of it, it’s built up bad. ”

On the stage, Capable turned back to the audience. “This song’s dedicated to someone special. Thanks for coming Nux! I’m really glad you made it! So Citadel City can seem pretty bleak at times, but that darkness doesn’t last forever. One, two, three -”

The song hit him like a truck. The strength and beauty of her voice silenced him and he forgot whatever he was going to argue. Toast, Dag, and Cheedo joined her and the harmony of it was glorious - he hadn’t really known that people could sound like that, that they could do so much with just their voices. Her fingers bent over the neck of her guitar, racing up and down it, but Capable never looked down at them. Instead she was looking out over the bar - Looking out over to him. And Nux was grinning back, holding onto the seat of the stool so he wouldn’t start applauding in the middle of her song.

Your old road is rapidly aging
So get out of the new one if you can't lend your hand
For the times, they are a-changin’
The line, it is drawn, the curse, it is cast
The slow one now will later be fast
The present now will later be past
The order is rapidly fading
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’

He was on his feet before the chord faded, cheering as the four of them waved and took little bows. “Yeah,” he said to Furiosa. “Yeah, you’re right. Not going back.”

“You can go back,” she replied. “But you can’t go back to the way it was.”

“Don’t want to,” he told her before he took off. Quick as he could, Nux weaved through the little tables, squeezing around people who were too slow in pulling their chairs in. When he got to the stage, Capable swung her guitar behind her and then bent down and kissed him, there in front of her sisters and Furiosa and the whole bar.

---

Well, the light was rust
And the cold was in our knees,
And our breath poured out over golden fields
Though I could not know then
We'd have but few times like these
With all the good smoke in between
- “Tucked the Darkness In” by the Bowerbirds