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Wifed

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Slit was adjusting to life without the Immortan. Furiosa had made some stupid changes, like letting useless Wretched filth into the Citadel, but what could you expect from the Imperator who’d traitored the Immortan. She made a big deal about Citadel War Boys not going out on raids anymore and how war was bad. But nobody had told the Buzzards and other Wasteland filth that, so Slit still got to do war.

He was feeling pretty good right now. His lances had taken out three vehicles, and the war party leader had caught a bullet in the head, so he’d had to take charge. He was due for a reward or a promotion. He knew just what to ask for too.

“I want a wife,” he said.

Furiosa and the other women smiled. They seemed amused. Slit had no idea why.

“One of the Immortan’s wives,” he said. “That’s what I want as reward.”

They didn’t look amused anymore. Furiosa gave him the sort of hard look he was more familiar with. “You want one of Joe’s wives?”

Slit nodded. “You gave Nux one for helping you with the traitoring. I want one too.”

Furiosa snatched a gun out of one of the women’s hands. It was one of the Immortan’s wives, the one who was confusingly little like a pup but curved very much like a breeder. She lunged at Slit, snarling wordlessly, but Furiosa held her back.

“That one,” Slit said excitedly. “I want that one!”

The old women were muttering nasty things, but Slit ignored them. He waited for Furiosa to hand over his wife.

“Get out, Slit,” Furiosa said, dangerously quiet.

Slit retreated. He kicked various walls, objects, and Wretched on his way back down to the barracks. It wasn’t fair. Nux getting to be a driver, Nux getting picked to ride on the Immortan’s own car, Nux getting rewarded with one of the Immortan’s own wives. And Slit getting nothing.

“Slit,” Nux said, in cautious greeting. He and his wife, the redhead, were giving out blankets to War Boys.

Slit ignored him. He refused to take a blanket either. He wasn’t some sick, weak thing near the end of his half life that needed coddling.

But they wouldn’t let him be. They followed him all the way to his bunk.

“I’ll leave it here if you change your mind,” Nux’s wife said. She laid the folded blanket on the ground.

Slit grumbled and rolled over, pointedly turning his back on her.

“What is it now, you overgrown pup?” Nux asked. He prodded Slit with the toe of his boot.

Slit rolled back to face them and growled. “It’s not fair! I asked for a wife and she just told me to go away. I deserve a wife as much as you!”

Nux’s wife didn’t look so friendly or sympathetic anymore. Nux started to say something, but she put her hand on his chest and he stayed silent.

“You think a wife is something that someone can give to you?” Nux’s wife asked.

Slit nodded. “Yeah. We searched the Wasteland and brought the shiniest and most chrome breeders back to give to the Immortan to be his wives, and then Furiosa gave you to Nux after she killed Immortan.”

“What would you do with a wife?”

Slit didn’t know what you did with a wife other than breed. As enjoyable as he was sure breeding was, you couldn’t do it all the time. The Immortan had never had his wives with him whenever Slit had seen him, but Nux’s wife was always with him. She watched while he repaired vehicles, and once Slit saw him tying her hair in knots while she read to the War Pups. He couldn’t figure out what the rules for having a wife were, but he wasn’t about to admit to ignorance.

“Same things Nux does. But even better.” Slit thought of another argument in his favor. Maybe Nux’s wife would pass it along to Furiosa. “I’m not even at the end of my half life like he is. I’m better breeding stock!”

Nux was glowering at him, but his wife patted his chest. It seemed to be some sort of communication signal.

“Which one of my sisters did you ask for?”

“The little one who likes guns,” he said hopefully.

“You mean you don’t know our names?!”

The Splendid Angharad was the dead one. That’s all Slit knew.

“I’m Capable,” she said.

“What sort of name is that?” he scoffed.

“What sort of name is ‘Slit’?” she retorted.

“My name’s real shine,” Slit said defensively. ‘Slit’ really was the most shine name ever. Everybody who heard his name had to know he was somebody who could slit their throats easily, even before they saw him for themselves.

This ‘Capable’ wife made a skeptical sound, but she didn’t dare insult his name further. Instead, she told him, “The woman you asked to own is named Toast.”

Now that he heard the name, Slit realized he had heard it before and forgotten it. “Toast the Knowing.”

“You’re lucky it wasn’t the Dag,” Nux said. “She’d have shredded you with her teeth.”

Slit’s interest in the Dag wife was piqued, but he’d also realized something. “What’s the rest of your name?” he asked Nux’s wife.

She frowned at him. “What do you mean?”

“Capable the what? Or what the Capable?”

“Capable the Chrome,” Nux said quickly.

Capable the Chrome made a weird sound, and smiled, and bumped her shoulder against Nux. Nux wrapped his arms around her and kissed the top of her head. It was soft and stupid, so Slit was surprised to feel a spike of jealousy. Maybe you were supposed to be soft and stupid with your wife?

“It’s just Capable,” she said. Her cheeks were much pinker than before.

“You must have been the mediocre wife if the Immortan didn’t give you another name,” Slit said snidely. It was a mean thing to say, and he didn’t actually believe it, but he wanted them to stop looking so happy.

He succeeded. Capable’s face darkened, but she looked more sad than angry. Slit didn’t try to retaliate when Nux kicked him hard in the chest. He’d pretty much asked for that one.

“Can’t wait to see Toast shoot you full of holes,” Nux snapped.

Slit watched him lead his wife away, before turning to face the wall. He rubbed his chest and wondered if the tiny breeder - Toast, he reminded himself - would really try to shoot him. It’d be so shine to be carried to Valhalla by something so shiny and chrome.