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It’s one of those nights. Cloyingly hot and still, when the heat that usually relents at night just lingers and clings, enough to drive you mad.

Furiosa has already changed into her thin sleep clothes. Max is still dressed, but he can’t say the thought of sleeping naked hasn’t occurred to him.

Things have been quiet for too long, and she is twitchy and restless and anxious. He doesn’t know if it’s the lingering shadow of too much war, if a long period of calm reflexively sets her on edge, as if she thinks the universe is tricking her into letting her guard down before it delivers something terrible. Or maybe, like him, ghosts start sneaking into her vision when she doesn’t have enough to do. Or maybe she is just bored.

It’s not helped by the fact that Max actually has a task to do right now, updating the master map they keep with new information from some far-flung scouts just returned.

The map is spread out over the worktable. It reaches almost to the edges, and they keep stitching new pieces to it as their scouts explore further. It’s ink on leather (he studiously avoids thinking about what kind), so he’s basically making a tattoo. It requires concentration.

She keeps sneaking up behind him and finding unexpected places to bite him.

She never seriously startles him; he knows the sounds of her movements too well for that. But it’s goddamn distracting. And he kind of has a thing for biting—and she fucking well knows it—so it’s distracting in more ways than one.

He knows what she needs to take the edge off, knows she will never ask for it, not with words anyway, knows she is annoying him on purpose to get a reaction. And the most annoying part is that he knows she knows he knows, just as surely as he knows she's going to get him to give her what she wants.

He grabs at her after a particularly sharp nip to his tricep. She slips out of reach, but doesn’t go far.

He screws the top carefully back onto the ink bottle. Ink is hard to come by.

“Have half a mind to put you over my knee and spank you the next time you do that,” he says calmly, without looking at her.

And he has to hide a smile because he can fucking feel her creeping up on him. He makes a show of blotting some ink that’s already dry until she bites him just under the ribcage. She doesn’t nip but holds on this time.

You’re insufferable, he thinks, before he traps her in a headlock.

She yelps and swears and squirms as he holds onto her while he spins around on the bench, so he’s facing out. She’s not really fighting him—he’s felt her flip him over her back one-handed in the middle of sparring. It’s just enough to make him work as he pulls her down across his lap, pins her there with an elbow on her back and her arm pulled up behind her, her face pressed against the stone.

They’re the same height but having her bent over his thighs like this gives him just a tiny advantage for getting purchase on the floor and…he has to fucking grin because it’s almost like the bench was made for this.

He brings his free hand up and plants a hard smack on her ass.

Unf, the sound she makes, that jagged little whimper…he feels like he shouldn’t like it but he knows it’s the sound of wanting more.

He does it again, smacking the other cheek, and there’s no doubt that the sound that comes out this time is a moan.

He runs a hand over her ass, outside her shorts, and then he tugs them down. The thin material has offered no protection at all and there are two flushed red marks on her skin.

He smacks her again, his hand coming down hard on bare skin. She yelps.

He sets up an uneven rhythm, surprising her with location and timing and force each time, and each slap brings a new and slightly different sound out of her, and he can’t ignore the fact that they’re going straight to his cock.

He stops when her ass is bright red, a layer of heat coming off her skin.

She’s breathing hard but she’s gone incredibly still across his lap, not the coiled stillness of waiting to attack but the sudden deep release of letting someone else take control. He knows this is what she needs sometimes and he thinks he’s the only person she’s ever trusted to give it to her. He tries not to think too hard about how that makes him feel.

He strokes a hand down her back. Runs light fingers over the hot skin on her ass, making her shiver. When he gives her the lightest trace of fingernails on oversensitive skin she twitches and moans, arching up into his touch.

He’s not at all surprised when he nudges his fingers between her thighs and finds her dripping wet. She mewls.

He taps the back of her thigh. “Put this leg on the other side of the bench.” And it sends a weird pulse through him how easily she complies, stepping out of her tangled shorts and swinging her thigh up to put the bench between her legs, keeping her open for him.

She whimpers when he traces a finger up and down her labia, just a whisper over her clit, groans when he slides it inside her—god, she’s so slick and wet and hot—and he could take his time, tease her, make her desperate enough to beg—and she would do it, too—but tonight he has mercy on her and just slides two fingers in, then three, and fucks her hard and fast with his hand, holding her down over his legs while she twitches and writhes and makes sounds he’s given up on naming.

He twists his hand around inside her so he can thumb at her clit, and makes her come that way, spasming hot and tight against his hand, and then he crooks his fingers into her, hard, his other hand digging into the tender flesh of her ass, and makes her come again that way, until she finally gives up the last shred of composure and just screams, shaking to pieces under his grip.

He leans back against the worktable, suddenly aware of the sweat on his forehead, dripping down his back. He had forgotten all about the heat for a while there, but now it’s back, a thick blanket over everything.

Furiosa is still draped over his thighs, heavy and still, and he realizes he’s running a slow, soothing hand over her back without even being conscious of it. When he looks down, her eyes are half-open, her face blissed-out and blank. She gives him a drunk-looking smile that says that was exactly what she needed.

His cock is throbbing but she’s certainly not up for anything more tonight. She looks like she might fall asleep right there.

His hand is fucking soaked with her juices. Before it can dry he unbuttons his pants and gets himself off with his damp, sticky hand. It takes hardly anything. She doesn’t even move.

It’s only when he feels his legs starting to fall asleep that he coaxes her up, lets her flop limply around him as they both stumble over to the bed, makes sure they both drink a cup of water before he blows out the lamp and tugs off all his clothes and crawls in next to her. Sleeping naked is a pretty good idea after all.

The heat will probably drive them apart in the night, but for now he’s content to curl up next to her while she rests her forehead against his, running slow fingers through his hair, until her hand eventually stills and she’s asleep.