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The smell hits him before anything else. Bright and rich and warm, it coats Max's tongue before he even realizes he's opened his mouth to take it in better, jolts straight through his brain to light up something deeply primal. Omega, and dripping with heat, something he hasn't smelled in years.

He clamps his jaw shut a second later, tries smothering the scent in the rank fabric of his own shirt when all he wants to do is take deep lungfuls to savor it better. After the way he'd been processed, stripped and prodded and fucking branded like an animal, strapped into a damn metal muzzle and shoved into this isolated cell, he can guess at the reason there would be an omega in heat brought anywhere near him. They were rare, as rare as alphas, but always bred true.

Sound comes next, the scent growing stronger even through the ground-in smell of his own sweat and what other filth the fabric had collected. A man's voice, speaking words that don't want to filter through his ears properly.

Max should back himself up against the wall, position himself to try and force his way out when they open the door, but he instead steps closer to the reinforced door, looks out through the metal grating as his shirt slides away from the slick metal of the muzzle.

People round the corner, illuminated garishly in the flickering firelight. A man in some sort of mask- not like the muzzle strapped to his own face but something decorative, with teeth and protruding tubes- a group of more of those painted warriors. And a woman, clothes torn and arms behind her back, struggling against the hands gripping at her. The omega, he would guess.

He can't help the way he sucks in a deep breath at the sight, her scent hitting him hard and brutal even though it's clear she wants no part in this. Max catches her eyes for a second as she struggles, and the fear he sees there is enough for him to slam his hands against the metal door, for the pain and the distraction and in frustration because they won't but- “Let me go!”

“And look, he's eager to meet you,” the masked man says with a laugh and a sweeping hand gesture, something that has Max reflexively baring his teeth in a snarl, hands slamming into the door again as he growls wordlessly. They won't listen, he knows, whirls away in disgust to press his back up against the stone wall, tries to block out the smell of omega to focus on how he'll make a break for the door.

His view's mostly cut off, now, but he hears the woman hurl insults and threats and wordless noises of anger, the sound of struggling increasing.

“Have you ever seen an alpha in rut? No, of course you haven't,” the masked man says over the noise, “Feral doesn't even begin to describe it. They're mindless beasts, rabid dogs. As likely to fuck as kill.”

Someone points a gun through the grate at Max and he thinks maybe he's worth more to them alive than dead, stays coiled in tense anticipation, ready to test that theory.

“He's going to shred you from the inside out,” the man says with audible delight, “And you're going to roll over and beg for it like the bitch you truly are.”

The cell door is unlocked and Max immediately rushes for the opening even with the weight of the gun aimed at him, gets himself zapped with something electric that jolts through him painfully, has him curling up involuntarily as he drops to his knees.

There's laughter, mean and rough, another hit of sparking electricity that has him howling in pain and frustrated anger. “He's got your scent!”

The omega is pushed through the opening while he's down, legs kicking out to try and resist, futile with so many men forcing her. One warrior gets his arm too close to her face and she bites down, earning herself a heavy cuff across the head.

The second she's inside the cell the men pull their hands away and slam the door shut, the woman turning from where Max is still shaking off the electricity to face out the grate, shouts in a raw desperate voice, “You can't do this to me!” Her arms are bound together behind her with tight coils of rope, one ending in a stump just below the elbow, the remaining hand flexing and clenching angrily.

The man gives a short laugh as the door is locked again, steps in close so his head is blocking the light from the hallway. “You earned this,” he says, “I wasted so much time, so many resources on you... And what you really needed was an animal.”

Max manages to pull himself to his feet, backs up against the wall furthest from the woman as she spits out through the grating in reply, her stance defiant.

“I do hope you survive your breeding,” the man says casually, “the Organic Mechanic is very interested in dissecting your spawn.”

The omega roars in rage over the noise of footsteps ringing out as the group leaves, slams a shoulder and booted foot into the door like she can bust her way through. They're not staying for the show, then, which is a welcome surprise.

“If you try to touch me I'll kill you,” she says, turning away from the door so she's staring at Max with mixed terror and hatred and desire, shifts herself into the opposite corner, back against the stone.

Max nods in acknowledgment, even knowing that it's a mostly futile threat.

The enticing scent of her is filling the air of the small cell already, ripe and heady, but despite what the masked man had said- he's not actually an animal. What he is is an alpha, and there's no mistaking the omega heat-scent rising off her skin. They're meant to pulled in by each others' biology, like magnets snapping together whether they want it or not, but even that doesn't mean he's going to force her.

She doesn't relax but she does let her eyes dart around the confines of the cell, as if there might be some way out that Max hasn't already found. Even with his hands unbound to test it the room was solidly constructed, the door sturdy and hinges unreachable.

Max drags his shirt back up over the muzzle covering his nose, tries to take shallow breaths. She's not too deep in heat yet, if she's still holding her own- he can't imagine how much stronger the scent is going to get, already heady enough to have his pulse picking up, his dick stirring. It's been a long time since he's been around any omega, let alone one putting off thick clouds of pheromones, smelling wet and excited even if his eyes are telling a different story.

The woman shifts in place, shoulders flexing like she's trying to pull her way out of the ropes tying her arms together.

“I can, hm, untie you,” Max says, surprised to find himself speaking words.

“I said don't touch me,” the omega counters immediately, stiffening in place again.

Max shakes his head, flexes his hands as if to show her he doesn't have a weapon- as if a weapon was the danger she was worried about. “I won't,” he says.

She stares him down suspiciously, but he thinks that the ropes are probably unbearable, pulled tight and twisted with her struggling. He could at least loosen them, spend just enough time so she could work herself out of them on her own.

After a long moment she nods and steps away from the wall, stops in the middle of the room and looks about ready to launch herself to rip out his throat. Max slowly leaves his own position, tries to keep his eyes averted from her like it would make him seem less of a threat, hands held loosely open in front of himself so she can keep track of them.

Up close he can see sweat beading across her skin, the red flush of her cheeks, that her shirt isn't torn but unraveling, strip by layered strip. Her pupils are already blown wider than the dim light would suggest, only a thin ring of color surrounding the black that seems like it wants to swallow him whole. She turns her back to him with obvious reluctance and Max presses his fingers through the grating of the muzzle, under his nose, takes as deep a breath of his own skin as he dares and holds it.

The knots of the rope are tough, thick and pulled tight. He tries to keep his fingers from touching her skin as he picks at the one he thinks is most likely to fall apart, but it's impossible to avoid contact entirely. Every little brush of skin sends a jolt through him infinitely more pleasant than the buzz-sticks had been, raises the hair on her arms and has the muscles under her skin twitching; if he was letting himself breathe it in to find out, he'd be sure that her scent was spiking.

He pulls a hand away from the rope to smother his nose for another breath, but the smell of her clings to his skin so well he might not have bothered. It's like a hit of nitrous, shooting fast and bright through him, making him want to forget everything else.

Max finds his eyes tracking the line of her neck instead of the rope as the aroma runs through his veins, gaze snagging on the scar at the base of her shoulders, what he would guess is the same symbol as was branded onto him. The reminder is enough to set his own seared flesh throbbing, the pain letting him refocus, ragged fingernails digging into the knot until it finally gives way and the rope slithers loose across her arms.

The woman sucks in a breathy gasp, almost the sort of noise she might make if- Max forces himself to step back away until he's pressed up against the corner again and tries to ignore the way his dick's starting to get more than just interested at only the smell, the sight of her.

The omega turns so she's facing him again, arms working to get the rope off, eyes blinking muzzily with absent desire.

“Try not t' breathe,” he says, heeding his own advice and trying again to mask the rich scent of her with his shirt. She shakes her head quickly, eyes clearing a bit at the motion, and retreats from the center of the cell.

The rope falls free to the floor and the woman swings her arms in front of herself, runs her hand and nub against the exposed skin of her arms like she's trying to get whatever scent Max might have left on her off. What it actually does is send waves of her own aroma out into the air, intoxicating even filtered through the fabric of his shirt, and Max grits his teeth against it.

It's hard to keep his eyes from trailing over the omega's body, the flashes of skin where her shirt's fallen away, the way her hips shift as she tries to get comfortable. It's been a very long time since he's had anything like this sort of temptation presented to him, a long time since he's had to fight so hard against his instincts.

She makes a frustrated noise, head tilting back to rest against the cool stone walls, exposing the long pale line of her neck. Max's mouth waters at the sight, the erection he's been trying to somehow force away giving a heavy pulse of continued interest.

The woman snaps her eyes to him and he wonders if he'd made some sort of sound, if she could smell the want on him, maybe.

“It's so hot,” she says with quiet frustration, something like surprise.

Max hums in reply, knows it's worse on her end than his. His skin feels too tight, beaded with sweat from the internal fire smoldering in his veins, but he presses against the stone behind him and lets himself pretend that it's going to cool him off at all.

He won't go into rut for real unless he knots her, but her presence has his body priming itself already, wanting to keep up with her heat, wanting to fuck and breed her through it. The thought of it has the rational parts of Max disgusted, terrified- but the primal alpha parts of him are afire, desperate to fill and claim.

The omega licks her lips, says incongruously, “Your car's pretty shine.”

How the fuck she knows anything about his car is completely beyond him; the last he'd seen it was as he was dragged away from his last failed escape attempt, before he was locked away in this cell.

“I found it in the garages,” she explains, eyes going hazy again, hand moving to rub at some of the exposed skin of her abdomen, where the cloth's fallen away. “It smelled like you,” she continues, and Max forgets about the abstract mystery in favor of wondering if the entire shirt can be unraveled, if he can unwrap her bit by bit. “Smelled like...” she trails off, eyes sliding shut, fingers reaching down for the waistband of her pants.

“Don't,” Max rasps out, because he can still remember knowing that the heat got more intense, more consuming, once an omega starts coming, no matter if it was by their own hand or not.

“What?” she asks, eyes drifting open to focus on him, fingers still only teasing at the edge of her unraveling shirt.

“It gets worse,” he says, “If you, ah, touch yourself.” There wasn't any real way to avoid the misery of heat entirely, but she didn't want him to help her through it- that much was obvious- and if she started making herself come, fucking herself with her own fingers, Max isn't sure he'd be able to resist once the need kicked in for her.

“Oh,” the woman says, surprised, and he distantly wonders why it's not something she already knew. She doesn't move her hand away though, only adjusts her stance so her thighs are a little further apart, so Max can smell more clearly that she's dripping wet, eager. “I already...” she says, rubs idly across one of her breasts with the nub of her arm.

That was bad, Max thinks dimly, mesmerized by the way her fingers are moving, lower down through her leathers. Down to where he's sure she's hot and slick, ready for him to take, to- he shakes his head, but the thoughts won't leave. Her split open on his cock, stretched around his knot while he pumps into her, begging for more, the taste of her sweat, her wetness, her blood on his tongue, the delicate line of her neck marked with his bite, her belly swollen with his seed.

“How d'you think they found me?” she says, gives a huff of humorless laughter. “Damn car smelled like you, like alpha. Never smelled anything like it.”

The image of it hits him hard; her laid out over the bonnet of the Interceptor, her writhing on the seat, touching herself because she couldn't help it, making herself come just off his scent- Max finds that he's panting raggedly, uncaring that he should try and keep the smell of her out of his system.

The woman fixes her eyes on him, raking over the lines of his body, drawn to where his dick is straining hard and thick against the leather of his trousers. “You should touch me,” she says, “Alpha, you should-” She breaks herself off with a frustrated noise, breathy and keening.

Max shakes his head, “You said. Not to.” He wants to with every fiber of his being, wants to free her skin and run his hands over her body, cover her in his scent, plunge inside where she's burning hot and needy. But she'd said, and even jump-started heats could be endured, if they had to be.

“I changed my damn mind,” the omega snaps, body losing the languidness it had gained somewhere along the way, sharp and at attention. “Just- just touch. It helps, doesn't it? Having an alpha around.”

She sounds unsure, like it's something she's only ever heard about, never experienced for herself. Max licks his lips and nods, because the only thing that made heats really abate was a knot, but it was true enough that contact could help a little. And if he helped her heat calm just slightly, just enough for the haze to recede she could think more clearly, could tell him what she actually wanted.

He steps away from the wall, slow, but she doesn't lash out at him, doesn't do more than stare with wide dark eyes, mouth parted soft and open in anticipation.

If there wasn't a fucking muzzle strapped around his face Max would kiss her, would find out what she tastes like, but even his rut-dumb brain can't ignore the metal strapped around his head. Instead he only reaches out with his hands, one on the curve of her waist where the fabric's barely clinging, the other against her bare neck, doesn't do more than rest against her skin.

The woman sucks in a breath at the contact, darts her hand out to grab the front of his shirt like she wants to keep him in place. Her skin's so hot under his hands, burning and damp with sweat, and when he just rubs a little in steady strokes she closes her eyes and shivers. Max brings his hand up to cup one of her breasts because he can't quite help the impulse, swipes his thumb over the nipple peaking through the fabric and she moans, the sound running straight through him to his dick until he barely restrains himself from pressing forward to rub against her.

“It's going to get worse, isn't it?” she says unsteadily, eyes slitting open again, face flushed and red but gaze clear.

Max hums in regretful answer.

The omega bites her lip and then steels her face, nods as if to herself. “You can't bite,” she says, and he's not sure if it's an order or just a statement- of course he can't, not with metal blocking off his face, but nods in answer anyway. He wants to though, wants to sink his teeth into her fragrant skin and bond them together despite being strangers unwillingly shoved together, and maybe that's why they put the muzzle on him in the first place.

“Okay,” she breathes out, like maybe she was making sure for her own peace of mind. She surely wouldn't want to be mated with him after all despite the pull of biology, some alpha she's never met before, even without knowing anything about him, his past.

Max isn't sure when they'd shifted, but he can feel her all along the front of his body where she's pressed up close, soft and overly hot, her legs sliding apart to trap his thigh between them. Her hand is under his shirt, burning a path across his skin, his own still holding her breast, pressed down on the base of her neck where the brand sits.

“Fuck me,” the woman says, tipping her head forward like she's going to try and kiss him even with the muzzle in the way, “fuck me, alpha.”

At her words Max can't help but thrust his hips forward against hers, pressing her against the stone wall and dragging a gasp out of her.

“Won't,” he says in warning, “Won't be able t' stop.” If he stops now he can retreat to the far side of the cell, dig fingernails into his skin to distract himself with pain, hold off maybe long enough for her heat to break on its own. But if he gets more than just the taste he's getting now, her skin hot and soft and fragrant against his, Max knows he'll be dragged into rut properly, won't be able to do anything but fill her with his knot, his seed.

The omega spreads her legs against him in answer until he's cradled against her pelvis, his erection grinding where she's hot enough to feel through the leather. “Do it,” she says, dips her head to drag her tongue over the skin of his neck, where his beating pulse is perilously close to the surface.

Max groans in response and starts pulling at the fabric of her shirt, wanting it gone, finds that parts are sewn or tied together so it won't unravel completely. It frustrates him into trying to rip it apart until the woman tugs it off the rest of the way herself, flings it aside carelessly. She scrabbles at his own shirt next, tears a long rip in the collar where it snags against the metal of the muzzle, but then he can feel her bare skin against his, a strange mix of relief and further incitement.

“Need you,” she says, words muffled against his skin, a long roll of babbling sounds, “Fuck me, alpha; need it; I'm burning-”

“Shh,” Max replies, wishing he could silence her with a kiss, could drive words straight out of her mind, “'ve got you.”

She pulls her head away to look at him. “Then act like it,” she snarls, rolling her hips against his, fingernails digging into the fresh tattoo stretched across his back and sending a sharp spike of pain through him.

He bares his teeth in response, clamps his hand down hard against the back of her neck until she gives a sharp gasp, head rolling back and body relaxing. Unfair to use her biology against her, maybe, but Max doesn't regret the fact that it lets him tug her pants and boots down off her legs without interference, exposing her dripping pussy to the air.

He wants to bury his face in it, inhale the scent of her and lap up her juices, but the fucking muzzle means he can't. It's not what she needs right now anyway, would be just a tease.

“'m gonna knot you,” Max tells her, dipping fingers into her slick folds where she's so hot, so ready and inviting. “Fuck the heat right out of you.” She moans, rocking her hips into the contact, and he regrets that he has to pull his hand away to free his dick.

They really shouldn't be doing this standing, not when he'll end up tied to her, but he can't bring himself to wait long enough to change positions, can't bear the thought losing any centimeter of contact. The omega has her legs wrapped around his waist, now, her arms around his shoulders, the entire span of her body warm and delicious against his as he keeps her pinned between himself and the wall.

Max guides the head of his cock to the opening of her pussy and then sinks inside, hot and wet and stretched tight around the girth of him. She wails when he works her open, head thrown back and chest heaving, eyes blown wide and hazy, nails digging into his skin again like she needs to keep a hold of him.

“There,” Max growls in satisfaction when he's buried to the hilt, surrounded by her pulsing heat. Her cunt contracts around him hungrily as he draws himself out, slams back inside.

It's been so long since he fucked anyone, let alone an omega in heat- he doesn't have to hold himself back as if she were a beta, knows her body is built to match him, to take the thick length of his cock and the swell of his knot. He snaps his hips in a harsh rhythm, demanding, revels in the noises she makes, responding beautifully without so much as a finger against her clit.

Hardly any time passes before Max can feel the heavy throb of his knot starting to grow, eager to bury itself in her hot pussy, to keep her plugged up so he can fill her with cum.

“Is that-” she gasps, squeezes down tight around him like she wants to feel it more solidly.

He rumbles wordlessly in answer, switches from thrusting his entire length to grinding, keeping the swelling knot inside of her. The omega rocks her hips against his, cunt spasming as it's stretched further, taking him so well.

She breaks her hold from around his neck to bring her hand down to her pussy, circling around her clit, and Max wants to tell her that she doesn't need it, that she'll come on just his knot, but he bites back the thought and lets her work herself to climax.

The hot-metal spike in her scent, already so entrenched in his brain he can't remember smelling anything else, the sudden gush of impossibly more wetness and tight clutching of her muscles and breathy gasps of pleasure- it pushes Max over the edge, has him digging his muzzled face into the curve of her neck as if he could bite down if he only tries hard enough, knot locking into place as his orgasm rushes through him.

The woman shouts, cunt clamping down in waves to milk as much cum out of him as it can, goes completely limp in his arms as her peak passes.

It takes a little longer for Max to wind down, dick still pulsing to fill her, but after a moment he feels her shift against him, pushing herself back against the wall so she's not entirely plastered to him, and he lifts his head away from where he's pressing angry red lines into her shoulder.

“And now we're stuck,” she says, voice hoarse and slightly questioning, moving her hips like she's trying to see if she can tug him out even though they're solidly tied.

“Mhm,” Max hums, adjusts his hold to keep her hips still, the movement maddening against his sensitive skin and likely to hurt her if she tries to get away.

“Put me down,” the omega says, “Can you get to the floor?”

Fucking upright was definitely a bad call, Max thinks as he starts slowly maneuvering them, wincing at the unpleasant way his dick is pulled, the way his bad knee clicks in protest as he folds down to kneel so the woman's in his lap, legs splayed over either side.

The haze of heat has receded from her somewhat, eyes sharp enough to fully focus as she settles, hand going up to rub at where he'd attacked her shoulder. He feels a little guilty about that, the way it'll probably bloom into a nasty bruise, but the alpha part of him likes that even if he couldn't sink his teeth in and really claim, he'd still left a mark.

“How long?” she asks, squirming a little as she tries to get comfortable around the knot spearing her open. Could probably get her to come again, Max thinks a little dumbly, and now that his hands are freed from holding her up...

“Hey,” she says sharply, arm crossing her body to grab his wrist, arresting the motions he'd started making. “How long until your knot goes down?”

It's a pretty useless question; there isn't any way to tell time in this dim little cell even if he had any idea, considering how long it's been since he knotted last, and Max shrugs.

The omega sighs, unimpressed with his answer, asks instead, “What's your name, alpha?”

“Max,” he replies, because he likes the way she calls him alpha but he thinks he'd like to hear her call out his actual name when he's fucking her again. He tries to tug his wrist out of her grip but she keeps it trapped, like she doesn't know how badly he wants to touch her.

“I'm Furiosa,” she tells him, and Max hums in reply, rolls the name around inside his head to test the weight of it instead of “omega”. He likes it, he decides.

He starts moving his left hand instead, with his right still held in place, brings his thumb down to rub over her slick little clit.

“Hey!” Furiosa says, squirms as if she can get away, the movement only rubbing his knot against her insides so she gasps and shivers. “My heat's over, you don't need to...”

It's enough to jolt through the haze of alpha hormones clouding his brain and Max pauses, cocks his head to look at her. She's talking pretty lucid, true, but her pupils are still dilated, her skin flushed and tacky with sweat, her scent still as thick and heady as it had been. And if she'd only just been starting her heat when she was dumped in with him, there's no way it would be over so soon.

“It'll, hm, be back,” he says confidently.

“You knotted me, it's done,” Furiosa replies.

Max blinks at her; he's never heard of an omega needing to be knotted only once. “How long're your heats usually?” he asks.

She stiffens, darts her eyes away before focusing them on his face. “I've never gone into heat before,” she says, “I am- I was, I guess- normal, a beta. But it feels like it's over.”

“Ah.” Max licks his lips, tries not to think with his alpha brain which is caught up in the fact that she'd never taken a knot before his, never gone into heat before him, like she was waiting for him. Tries not to think about how he should have known, from the way the masked man had been talking and the lack of any old marks on her neck, how he should have pushed through the taunting lure of her heat-scent to make it better for her, make sure she knew what she was getting into.

“It's... days,” he says, “Two, three. Knotting helps, but,” he moves his hand to gesture, makes it rise and fall in demonstration, “Gets worse again.”

“Three days,” Furiosa says incredulously, swears vehemently under her breath.

Max hums in commiseration, even though the rut doesn't swing around as much, keeps him from drowning during her highs but never quite lets him be fully lucid during the lulls.

His knot's starting to soften and shrink already, not enough to pull out but enough for her to notice. He can see her reacting to it, the realization that it's really not over after all. Max thinks about telling her it's easier if she doesn't fight it, if she lets go and accepts that her body needs it, but he thinks she's the type who feels better putting up a struggle.

Her scent starts spiking again as a fresh wave of sweat rises up in response to the returning heat and she bites her lip hard, like the pain will keep it at bay.

Max had warned her that he wouldn't be able to stop once he started, but if she thought he meant only for the one fuck- he's never tried to break away from an omega in heat before, doesn't know if he could manage it, but he doesn't want to force her. He's not an animal.

“I can,” he says, licks his lips and jerks his head back behind him to the corner he'd left, “away.”

“No,” Furiosa says immediately, tightens her hold around his wrist before moving her hand back up to his neck to keep him in place, “Stay.”

He knows she's mostly worried about the discomfort of not having help but it sends a thrill through him all the same, to have an omega demanding he stay and work her through it. His knot's soft enough that he could slip it out, if her weight wasn't still resting on him, keeping his dick inside even as his cum leaks out around him.

He wouldn't be able to get much leverage to fuck Furiosa like this, thinks about letting her ride him until he pops his knot again, but he doesn't like how exposed it leaves her, like anyone could come and pull her away, like he wasn't protecting his omega properly.

Max rolls them so she's on her back, wonders if her stump would hold her well enough for her to go to her knees, dripping cunt up in the air for him to take. He doesn't have the patience to find out with her heavy needy scent filling the air again, the way she rolls her hips up against him, filthy and demanding.

He lasts longer, this time, apologizes for the way he hadn't known the first time and instead explores over her body with his hands, remembers to work her clit so she comes in tight clenching waves around him until she's wrung-out and writhing against the floor when he finally knots her again, heavy and filling inside her cunt.

Her next lucid period isn't quite as strong, doesn't last as long. Or maybe Furiosa doesn't have anything to say, focusing her energy on how she's going to endure the rest of her heat.

Max pulls out entirely when his knot recedes, pulls her up onto her knees and somehow manages to forget about the muzzle until he tries burying his face in her fucked-out pussy, wanting to taste the way their cum mingles together. The metal makes it impossible, more likely to hurt her for trying than anything else, and he settles for digging his fingers inside instead where she's red and swollen and slick, forcing them through the slots to suck clean.

“Max!” she says, sharp and demanding, skin so hot he thinks he can see waves steaming up off it as she rolls her hips back. “Fuck me, dammit.”

He thinks about holding off, filling her with his fingers instead, but his dick's still able to handle another round. He will need a break soon, Max thinks, but not just yet, and lines himself up before plunging back in so hard and sudden she practically squeals.

He drapes himself over her back, wraps an arm around her middle to rub over her stomach where she's already taken two loads of his cum into her greedy cunt and whispers into her ear as he fucks her, “Gonna breed you, fill you up.” It's the purpose of heat, after all, the thing their bodies are screaming for, and the thought of it is enough to have him thrusting harder, trying to get deeper.

She shudders and moans, shoves her hips back against his, hand moving to claw at his where he's propping his weight up off her.

“Get you full and round,” Max says, the dim rational parts of himself hating how much he wants it, how much his biology needs it as the primal alpha parts are purring in pleasure over the image of breeding his omega, filling her so everyone will know. “Look so good carrying my baby.”

Furiosa comes with a strangled shout, pussy spasming hot and tight around him when he drags a finger over her clit, her nails digging so harshly into his skin that she draws blood. “Do it,” she says hoarsely, “Breed me, do it, alpha, please-”

He snaps his hips faster at the encouragement, wishing simultaneously that he does get her pregnant and that he doesn't, even knowing which outcome the odds favor. An omega in heat is meant to be bred; it's the reason their kind even persists anymore, outnumbered by betas as they are.

Max presses the metal of the muzzle harshly against the back of her neck, inhaling deeply to make up for the way he can't taste, can't even test her skin against his teeth. His hand moves up to her hanging breasts and he tells her how they'll get full and swollen too, sensitive, palms one roughly before pinching and rolling the nipple of the other as she moans brokenly.

Furiosa's mumbling quietly into the stone under her cheek, words of encouragement that have his knot filling out, rubbing inside her pussy until she comes again on a sob. He sinks himself in deep as he can get, moves his hand back down to rub her clit as his knot swells the rest of the way, her muscles clamping down to tie them together as he wrings another orgasm out of her, as he shoots deep inside her cunt.

Mounting her like this was a bad idea, Max realizes as she goes lax and soft under him, as he becomes aware of the fact that his knee is protesting his treatment of it. He shifts his weight off to his right side, ignoring the unpleasant way it tugs at his dick, and says, “Turn with me.”

She goes easily, not saying a word but breath hitching quietly, strangely. It takes him a long moment to realize that she's crying, or trying not to.

Max wraps his arm around her waist again and makes quiet noises meant to soothe, rubs his forehead against her shorn hair because the fucking muzzle means he can't do much else. She goes tense, fights against his hold until he releases the grip of his arm and she curls her body as far away from him as she's able, shoulders quaking. It's different enough from how she handled her other lucid periods that he knows he's done something wrong, trampled over a boundary in his uncaring lust.

“Sorry,” he says inadequately, meaning for the way he'd spoken and the fact that they'd been locked in together and then tied together and the fact that she hadn't even been prepared for what her body was going to do, what her heat was going to ask for from her.

“I can't,” Furiosa says, voice sounding muffled, like her hand's covering her mouth, “Max I can't, don't make me.”

“Shh,” he replies, wishing he could do something to comfort her, wishing he knew if it was anything more than just being in heat and forced to fuck a strange alpha on the floor of a tiny dim cell. “It'll end.”

Her chest heaves again, like she's biting back a sob, and Max closes his eyes like that will give her any sort of privacy.

“I'm getting out of here,” she says, quiet but more clear, and he's not sure if she's talking to herself or to him, “I always was but- I'm going to kill Joe. I'm going to steal his Wives, and I'm going to kill him for doing this to me again, and I'm going to leave.”

Max doesn't know who Joe is, doesn't know about any wives- a beta term, nothing like the mating connection between alphas and omegas- doesn't know what she means by any of it, but he can hear the pain in her voice, knows how unkindly this place has treated him in the short time he's been captive.

“Want help?” he offers, only partly the alpha instinct to comfort the omega tied to him as best he can. He can feel his knot softening again, helped along by the heavy topic sapping his desire to fuck, knows it means she'll be losing herself to the pull of heat again.

Furiosa shifts, turns her head to look back at him out of the corner of her eye before falling back to the ground. “How's your driving?” she says, voice forcefully light. “Car was chrome, you worth her?” Her voice cracks a little at the end and Max feels his chest clench, surprised without being surprised by how quickly he's gotten tangled up in her, in wanting to keep her safe and whole.

“Pretty good,” he replies modestly, unsure if she's talking about a real plan or the sort of thing captives spin for themselves to keep the despair at bay.

“Got a War Rig,” Furiosa says, “A real mean beast. You handle that?”

Max doesn't know anything about the rig but he can smell the way her heat's rising back up, knows it doesn't really matter. “Yeah,” he tells her, cock finally softening all the way as it slips out, spent for the moment. If there wasn't a cage around his head he'd eat her out, fuck her full of his fingers while he waits for his dick to recover. If they'd had some toys- but if there had been toys there wouldn't be a need for him at all, something that has a bitterly stupid swell of jealousy rising through him even knowing it would have been the better option.

“Gonna leave,” she says, her voice gone hazy again, and he hums in absent agreement, the moment of lucidity slipping away from him as the need to satisfy her heat becomes paramount again.

Even with his dick limp the rut wants him to keep her covered, full, safe from anyone who'd come between them, her own heat demanding the same. Max guides her onto her back and fucks three of his fingers into her, easy with how buttery-soft and welcoming her pussy is, how much cum and slick there is spilling everywhere. She moans raggedly, legs spreading wide, eyes unfocused and pleading.

Max keeps one hand playing with her clit, adds a fourth finger to the one pumping inside her cunt. It doesn't feel the same as his cock and he knows that, shushing her frustrated whines and demands for him to fuck her properly. Soon he folds down his thumb and his entire hand slides inside, curls up into a fist and fits in her almost like a knot, enough for her to orgasm as she ties down around him, walls beating hot and frantic against his hand.

It's not quite enough to bring about a full lucid period, really, but her body is satisfied enough by the fullness to let her relax again. It does nothing for Max, is the problem, beyond a vague sense that he's doing something helpful for his omega. It should be his dick inside her, not his hand, his knot stretching her, keeping his cum in place. He rasps his muzzled face against the skin of her belly, cursing that he can't even taste her.

Furiosa's hand unexpectedly lands on his face and he braces himself to he shoved away, but instead she trails her fingers down the metal, extends them through the prongs to rest against his panting mouth.

“Shh,” she says, “You're loud.”

Max takes her fingers inside his mouth gladly, nips gently to feel the way her flesh resists his teeth but then focuses on rolling his tongue over every centimeter he can to get the flavor of her skin, knows he's whining because he wants but he can't fucking have.

After what seems an eternity his dick's pulsing and hard again, ready to fuck her properly thanks to the feel of her spread out across his hand, the deep heady smell rising off her skin, and he crimps his fisted hand down to tug out with a filthy slick rush.

Her eyes widen when she sees it, shiny with their fluids, and she takes her fingers out of his mouth to tug him up by the wrist. Max goes easily, needing to re-position so he can fuck her anyway, loses his breath in a gasp when she sucks his fingers into her mouth.

It's obscene, seeing his cum getting smeared around Furiosa's lips when she's in heat, when she needs it to be kept inside her cunt, and the hot suction and stroking tongue have him imagining her mouth stretched wide around his cock, around his knot- Max ruts against her sloppily, not sparing the time to line himself up, just sliding through her hot slick folds.

She pulls his fingers away with a wet pop, huffs a demanding, “Inside, fool.”

He lays his weight on her and grabs the base of his dick with his free hand, pushes into her pussy again to fuck sharp and hard and desperate.

It takes longer for his knot to fill out, even as eager for it as he is, as delicious as she is writhing and moaning underneath him. Time is a hazy concept at the moment and there's been no change in the light but he thinks it's been hours, maybe, since he first knotted her and even with the rut burning through his veins he'll need to rest sometime soon.

Max is still fucking his growing knot in and out, not ready to settle it inside yet, when an unfamiliar male voice calls out from the door he'd all but forgotten about.

“Boss, are you-”

Furiosa bares her teeth at the sound and hisses, a throwback noise of danger that has Max hunching over her, trying to cover her from view as best he can while his head snaps up, looks for the interloper. There, beyond the grate- a painted warrior, not smelling like a rival alpha but still a potential threat. He rumbles menacingly, hips stilling with his knot outside in case he has to peel himself away to fight, even as Furiosa bucks up to try and get him moving again, needy and vulnerable.

“Leave,” she shouts angrily, “Go!”

For a second Max thinks she's talking to him- but she's still wrapped around him, hand firmly against the back of his head, not making any move to shove him away or squirm out from his hold.

The painted beta's face is twisted and covered in paint, impossible to read in the low light when Max is so consumed by his rut, but he ducks out of sight after another moment. A slot at the bottom of the door opens, a clay cup shoved through, followed by something bundled into a rag. The slot closes again, the beta reappearing into view for a moment before he turns his face away.

Max tracks his footsteps until they disappear, tense and wary even with Furiosa demanding to be fucked. When they're alone again he buries his knot into her harshly, grown bigger than he'd have liked to force through her cunt, dips his muzzled face down into the curve of her neck to pretend he can bite his claim into her skin while she cries out.

The threat has him wanting to keep her safe and protected, hidden under his body, but with a knot in her Furiosa's lucid again, shoves at his shoulders until he leverages some weight off her with a wordless grumble of protest.

“That was Ace,” she says to herself, hand moving to cover her eyes, “Fuck.”

Max doesn't care who the beta was, hates a little that she even has a name for him, drags a hand down to play with her clit so her mind's focused on him the way it should be.

She swats at his shoulder, “No, let me think.”

He reluctantly subsides, stays tense and wary, watching the door like the beta would reappear at any moment. A beta wouldn't be able to breed her himself, couldn't lay a claim, but he might be able to pull her away from Max, could abuse her when she's so soft from heat, unable to resist when her body's calling out to be fucked.

“They're going to take the Rig away from me,” Furiosa says, body going stiff, losing all the lassitude she'd had. “Oh fuck, of course he'll never let an omega drive it.”

It goes over Max's rut-dumb head but it's obviously something that's upset her and he rumbles his displeasure, wishing the beta had stuck around after all so he could hurt him for upsetting his omega.

“Shut up you stupid rusted feral,” she says harshly, shoving at his body like she wants him gone, even though they're still tied together. “It's your fucking fault. I had a plan! I was an Imperator and now I'm useless, I'm just fucking breeding stock again-” She cuts herself off, turns her face away from him, breathing fast and unsteady, stump thrown over her eyes to hide them from sight.

Max doesn't know how to make it better, can't even begin to think using anything but his alpha instincts with the memory of a threat so near. He tries rubbing his face down into the curve of her neck but the fucking muzzle means he only scratches at her skin; she'd pushed him away from her clit so he keeps his hands off, doesn't try and grind his knot into her for a distraction; he glances at the cup and bundle that had been shoved through the door but they're too far away to reach.

The only thing he can do is wait, keep her sheltered under his body until she feels safe again- or until the pull of heat overcomes her.

It's the latter that breaks the tableau, his knot shrinking until the haze returns to her, somewhat subdued from what it had been before.

“Let me ride you,” Furiosa says, fighting to wrestle him onto his back. He shakes his head and tries to keep her pinned, too worried about the beta coming back, about how she might be snatched away, about how exposed she would be. She bares her teeth at him, displeased, and Max feels like a failure for it- but it would be a bigger failure to let her be unsafe.

“Max,” she says, “alpha. I need it.”

He goes still, some part of him aware that she's manipulating him but the rest caught up in his omega needing something. She takes the opportunity to flip him onto his back, raising a dull wash of pain from the healing tattoo he'd mostly forgotten about, the lock of the muzzle digging into the back of his head, and sinks down onto his throbbing cock with a sigh of relief.

Furiosa sets just as fast a pace as he'd been, hand braced on the center of his chest either to support herself or to keep Max down, he couldn't say. He wraps a hand around her hip to help her along, uses the other to work her clit until she's shuddering and squeezing around him in orgasm again and again.

She seems miles away like this, barely touching him at all, and he wants to pull her down onto him at least so they're skin to skin but she'd said she needed so he only tries to give her what she asked for.

Her movements get slower, eyes drifting closed now and again, and Max thinks that they'll probably sleep, after this, when she's full and warm and sated with his knot.

When his knot does start swelling she picks up the pace again, pulling herself off and away, not letting herself settle down on it. It's got to be hurting her, he thinks, the size of it soon more than he would willing make her entrance take, the fact that she's denying her heat what she needs.

“Furi'sa,” he slurs, voice thick with the need to come, with worry over how she's treating herself, moves both hands to her hips in hopes of helping her steady.

“Don't,” she says warningly, but he can feel the way her cunt is clutching on nothing, searching for the swell of his knot.

Max wants to tug her down, wants to shove his knot inside where it belongs, but he dimly remembers thinking that he wasn't an animal, that he wasn't going to force her. He grits his teeth instead as she tortures the both of them, until with a frustrated noise she at last relents, fucking herself down far enough for his knot to catch.

“I hate this,” Furiosa says when the spasms of her tying orgasm have faded, when she's slumped against him in a pose reminiscent of defeat.

Max rubs his hands down the length of her spine and says nothing about it, knowing there's nothing he could say.

If he stretches an arm out all the way he can just about reach the clay cup; he snags it and brings it over, sniffs it. Water, a little metallic but clean as far as he can tell, better than the ditch he'd sloshed through by far.

He doesn't need to tell Furiosa to drink, only offers the cup up for her to take and she swallows it down. “You too,” she says, even though she needs it more, and it's awkward to get water into his mouth while laying back without choking but he manages, dribbles a stream through the slots of the muzzle just enough to wet his mouth.

The rag bundle has some sort of sun-cooked insects, sharply crunchy and bitter but edible. Max is glad he didn't finish off the water, that there's something to wash them down with.

“Try and sleep,” he says after a stretch, when Furiosa's moved so she's lying fully against him, and she huffs like she thinks it's an impossibility but then yawns.

“Can't sleep with your knot,” she says in subdued protest.

Max hums in reply, remembers past heats and thinks that it's not going to be the problem she thinks it is. Furiosa shifts against him, even the twitches of her cunt softer, more tired, and he wraps his arms around her to keep her secure, strokes slowly along the line of her spine as she drifts off.

It's impossible to tell time when there's no windows, when the rut's fogged any details that don't belong to his omega down dully, but he feels like he gets a few hours of sleep, Furiosa curled up safe in the shelter of his body, sleepily moving against him but not waking up enough for the heat to overcome her. Max has never been so grateful that being in rut means he doesn't dream; it didn't matter much, before, but now he's glad to not worry about his ghosts, about how the movement of another body so close might set off the wrong instincts.

When Furiosa finally does wake she's demanding, hot and brutal as she urges him to fuck her harder, faster, better- is he an alpha or not? Can't he give her what she needs or does she have to find someone else?

It's infuriating, makes the dark primal parts of his brain light up with fire until he's biting his nails down against the back of her neck to keep her limp, until he's fucking her with swollen knot straight through her lucid periods without rest, growling nonsense words through the muzzle to remind her that she is his.

At some point there's a bowl shoved through the slot of the door, another bundle of food. Max doesn't take notice of it, too caught up in making her take his knot, filling her with his cum. There's a reason he shouldn't talk about the baby they're making, he thinks dimly, but he can't remember why and so the words spill out of him as he pumps his seed inside her, as he rubs where her stomach is going to get big and full with proof of how well he fucked her, how he was alpha enough for her.

“Max,” Furiosa says when he's knotted her again, pushing at where he's digging the muzzle into her neck, by now blue-black with bruising that mocks him for how he's hurt her with his inability to claim properly. “Water.”

He lifts his head, finds the bowl and brings it over for her to drink from. There should be more, she needs more- but there's only this too-small amount. He refuses when she tries to get him to drink some; he doesn't need it, is used to going days without.

There's another bundle of food, more crunchy bitter insects but also a few leaves, brightly green and fresh, shockingly so. Under the last of them, laying on the ragged scrap of fabric, is a small piece of metal that Furiosa grabs immediately with a sharp grin.

“Know what this means?” she says, waving it in front of Max's face. It's a scrap of metal about the length of her hand, half wrapped in rawhide, thin but- she presses it just a little against the pad of her thumb and blood wells up, hot and coppery. It's sharp, dangerous.

“They want me to shiv you,” Furiosa says, letting Max suck her bleeding thumb into his mouth, tongue soothing over the cut, licking away the blood. “Someone's on my side.”

He doesn't ask what she means, doesn't think she's really talking to him. She has a weapon now, something more dangerous than teeth and nails, and maybe he should worry that she'll use it against him but she's still pulsing hot and wet around his retreating knot, still smells like fragrant desire.

The scrap of metal gets forgotten as another wave of heat passed through her, until he's sinking his knot in firmly inside her again and trying to see if there's any blood left to clean away.

“I could pick the lock on the muzzle,” she tells him, and that cuts through the haze well enough, eyes snapping to meet hers.

“I'll bite,” Max says, half a warning and half a promise, mouth going dry as he pictures it- finally sinking his teeth into her to claim, licking the taste of her directly off her skin, fucking his tongue into the slick mess of her pussy.

“Maybe I want you to,” Furiosa says, shifting her hips against his, clenching down around where his knot's snugging in tight. “It goes both ways, right?”

He nods his head, because the claim isn't about owning but belonging, being bonded against the rest of the world. Just having her hot and slick and fragrant against him is enough for his instincts to scream that she is his, but for it to be real, permanent, to be hers in turn as well- it sends a shiver through him, has him rumbling wordlessly in pleasure.

It takes until his knot's gone down again for the lock to finally click open, for the hated muzzle to finally come loose so he can fling it against the wall with a crash. Immediately after Max plants his mouth against hers, kisses the way he's wanted to since he first saw her, raging and defiant.

Furiosa moans into it, tongue clumsily following his lead until he has to break away, has to kiss his way down her neck- a nip, a suck, but it's not time to bite down yet- her chest so he can lave attention on her tits, apologize for how rough his fingers have had to be; her belly, soft skin over firm muscle, the place his- their- child is going to take root; the slick and matted hair above her cunt; the hot dripping folds of her where the smell of her is so intense and heady even though the wet claim of his own cum. She needs him to fuck her, he knows, and his dick is still hard and up for the task, but he laps at her pussy instead, drinks her fluids straight from the source while she writhes and moans and yells his name, coming on his tongue and lips and fingers, growing hotter and more fragrant all the while.

Finally he crawls back up the length of her body, pushes his aching cock inside and kisses her pleasure-slack mouth again, shares the taste of them.

“Gonna knot you,” he tells her, mouthing at her ear, any argument he might have made against placing his claim whited out in the haze of rut and need, “Fill you and claim you; you're gonna be mine Furi, my good omega; keep you safe; gonna be all mine...”

Furiosa whines in response, hand digging so hard into his back he's sure she's drawing blood. His knot starts to catch, pulled in eagerly by her pulsing cunt, and he sinks it in deep to let it swell fully, hips hitching to keep it rubbing against her sensitive walls. Max dips his head down to her poor bruised shoulder as his dick starts pulsing seed to fill her, licks the skin in apology for his mistreatment before placing his teeth against her skin, where the line of her shoulder curves up into the column of her neck. He bites down mercilessly.

It hurts her, he knows- it can't not when there's her flesh giving way under his teeth, her blood welling up hot and metallic into his mouth- and she screams, loud and shrill, her entire body spasming where it's clamped down so tightly around him. He keeps her still through it, pinned on his knot and his teeth and his arms heavy around her until she's only shuddering weakly, and then pulls away from the wound he'd made on her skin.

Max moves his head up to kiss her again, wanting to apologize for the pain, but she ducks to the side suddenly, tears her own teeth down on the meat of his shoulder. He shouts, surprised and hurt, dick contrarily shooting out another weak pulse of cum.

She pulls back and licks his blood off her lips, “It goes both ways.”

“You didn't have to-” Max says, because he's never heard of an omega claiming an alpha with a bite before, cuts himself off because it wasn't like it hurt anything other than his skin, the least he could offer for the pain he'd just caused her.

“I wanted to,” she replies anyway with a shrug of her uninjured shoulder. “You're mine, now, and I want them to know it.”

The possessiveness in Furiosa's voice, what he thinks might be a shade of pride, sets of a wave of deep satisfaction in him, that she wanted everyone to know they belonged together, that he was good enough to satisfy her. He kisses her, mixing together the taste of their blood, starts wondering for the first time about what's going to happen when her heat ends.

His brain's still too swamped with rut hormones to think about it clearly but he has to make sure she's safe, protected. She'd said something about leaving, he thinks, but the details are overshadowed by everything else.

Max licks her bite mark clean with gentle swipes of his tongue until the blood starts clotting, until Furiosa's writhing with another wave of heat and doesn't feel the pain of it anymore.

They sleep again, after Max fucks his fist inside her so he can eat her out around their joined skin until she's whining with overstimulation, coming again and again as he relentlessly works at her.

He doesn't know how long it's been but a beta drops off food for a third time after they've been awake a while, saying nothing but looking into the cell for a moment, just long enough for Max's hackles to raise. When the beta leaves Max spreads himself over Furiosa's back heavily, hiding her, keeping her out of the line of fire even with the threat gone, but instead of rolling her hips back into him she's subdued, quiet.

“I think it's ending,” she tells him when he's rolled them to their sides and knotted in her again, when he's sucking a kiss to the scarred skin at the back of her neck like he can smooth the ugly mark away.

Max hums, takes a deep inhale off the sweaty notch of her jaw. She still smells delicious, like omega and want and his, but it's not as strong, not as overwhelming. Some part of him is sad to see the heat end, wants to keep her tied safely to him in their dark little den, but under the layers of rut instincts there's the knowledge that he's tired and sore and ready for it to be over.

“I don't know what's going to happen,” Furiosa says, “Some of my crew's on my side, I think, but Joe won't let me near the Rig again.”

He thinks about what it means that she knows people here, that she hasn't been dragged fresh out of the wastes like him. They could do something with that, he thinks, but his brain isn't clear enough to come up with anything substantial.

“You had a plan,” Max says, remembering her saying earlier how she was going to escape.

Had,” she agrees, sighs and grabs onto his hand where it's drifted down to rest open-palm against her belly. “It's all rusted through, now.”

“Tell me,” he encourages, because you never know what'll turn out to be worth salvaging until you start picking it over.

“I was going to take the War Rig and run,” she says, “Load it up for the trade route, fang it for the horizon instead.”

“Any place in mind?” Max asks, because away was good enough for him, but he didn't think the same was true for her.

“Home,” she says with a sigh, squeezes down on the knot inside her. “It's green there, and far away. Safe.”

Why wasn't she still there then, he wonders, doesn't give the thought voice. “Any car do?”

“If I could get one,” Furiosa says, “But when Joe sees you haven't killed me he'll either do the job himself or lock me up with the rest of the breeders.”

The thought that someone had thought Max would kill her is ridiculous, the thought that someone else might try themselves has him seeing red, a low growl building in his chest as his arms tighten their grip around her. He still doesn't know who the Joe she speaks about is- the man with the mask, maybe, the one who'd gloated at her before locking her up with him. Max would rip out his throat with pleasure.

His knot shrinks again but Furiosa's heat doesn't flare up bright like it had been. She rolls away from him on the floor, gets to her feet to pace the confines of the cell. “It feels like it did before,” she says, and Max realizes that he hasn't been so far from her since the heat began, hasn't had a chance to actually see her body naked when it wasn't centimeters away from his own.

“It's there, still, but I don't think I need it,” she continues, turning back to look at him.

Max sits up, cock still hard and eager, wonders if she'll want to ride out the last of it alone or if she'll let him help still. He hums in reply, distracted by the way the light from the hallway shines against her skin, against the mess of fluids smeared obscenely between her thighs. She looks like she's been mauled, attacked- there's bruises and cuts and scrapes, her skin roughed up from his fingers and the muzzle and the harsh stone of the cell, blood and grime collecting in the edges where he hasn't washed it away.

As if answering the question he hasn't spoken Furiosa smiles slightly, walks back towards him and bends down for a kiss. She sinks down into his lap, unerringly smothering his dick in her pussy, rides him with eyes that stay clear and focused when they aren't closed with pleasure.

“I am going to be so sore,” she sighs out as his knot starts growing again, the size of it suddenly seeming ungainly, burdensome. Max kisses the scabbed-over bite on her neck in apology, hands gentle against the bruised skin of her hips, knowing he's the one that hurt her and hating himself for it now that the rush is dying down.

He ties them together, balls aching with the strain of how much cum he's already pumped inside her, tries not to think about what's going to happen next. He hadn't wanted to mate with anyone, not again, certainly not an omega he knows almost nothing about. There's a slim chance that she isn't pregnant, that having her first heat so late made it difficult- but it seems impossible to him as he takes in the mess that's dried in splashes around the cell, when he tries to tally how many times he knotted her.

When they untie Furiosa kisses him, soft and slow, and it somehow feels like a goodbye even though they're still locked inside the cell together, even though there's the fresh marks of each others' claims mirrored on their skin.

It would be a ridiculous waste to use their little cup of water to try and clean up; Max takes the scraps of fabric the food had been bundled in and wets it with spit, kneels on his aching knee to wipe away the worst of the cum and slick and blood from her skin even when she protests her ability to do the same.

He cleans himself more brusquely, leathers mangled and stained where he left them wrapped around his leg, trapped by the brace his rut-dumb brain couldn't figure out how to work off. Probably for the best, Max thinks, with the abuse he gave his knee. Furiosa didn't bite him as high up, and even torn open his shirt covers more, doesn't reveal the mark of her claim. He can feel it though, throbbing dully when he moves his arms, is sure it'll scar up for her to find again.

It's strange to see her in clothes again, her top wrapped and tucked and tied so there's no bare skin showing through the strips like there had been when he first saw her, her fragrant pussy hidden from him by leather. The worst of the injuries are covered as well, the scratches across her back and the marks where his hands gripped her, but the dark bruising and vicious bite on her neck are only framed more clearly by the bright lines of her shirt.

Furiosa leans against the wall, hand coming up to prod gingerly at the bite on her shoulder. It's far too high for her shirt to cover and some part of him feels stupidly pleased by that, that everyone will be able to see his claim.

“If it's Ace coming by again I can get him to open the door, maybe,” she says, and Max tries to force the last dregs of his rut away to think properly.

He hums in reply, trying to remember through the blur anything about the beta. He'd brought them food and water, but that didn't mean much if they were hoping to keep Furiosa alive long enough to see her pregnant. Max hadn't marked it at the time, but he thinks the masked man had said something like that when he was taunting her, another reason for the sick roil of guilt when he thinks about how likely it is that she's bred up by now.

“And from there?” he asks, because he only remembers an endless labyrinth of stone hallways as he was dragged to the cell, but if she was familiar enough with the place to name people, to have a rig, she might know a path out.

Furiosa looks out through the grate towards the fire-lined hallway. “I know a way to the base,” she says. Which is something of a relief, because Max remembers exactly how high up that hook he'd leaped for had been, doesn't relish the thought of being trapped so high up a second time.

So they'll fight and sneak and run their way out of the tower, and then- there had been a massive crowd of people at the base when he'd been brought in with his car. Good enough a distraction to rest and hide for a while, maybe, but they would need to get as fucking far away as possible if they wanted any shot at staying alive, especially with no wheels to drive.

It takes a long time for anyone to show up, long enough that the last threads of heat leave Furiosa's scent except where the old sweat has dried into her clothes, the smell stale now, long enough for Max to feel truly and deeply exhausted.

Furiosa paces, tests the sturdiness of the door now that she's not hazed by heat while Max watches, back to the cold stone wall and legs stretched out in front of himself. On another circuit around the room she pauses, sighs a breath and says, “There's no chance that I'm not pregnant, is there?”

Guilt and dread squirm through him and he shakes his head. “Not likely,” Max confirms.

She nods, unsurprised, but what more she might be feeling he can't guess at. He remembers the way she'd pulled away from him, the way she'd shook with tears, clearly distressed by the thought when her emotions were raw at the surface, but there's a distance to it in her face now.

The thought of having another child- now that the blinding rush of his rut is over, he's sick to his core over it. Something so new and innocent, so defenseless; there's no place in this wasteland for it. But it exists, or at least the possibility of it does, and Max knows already that he can't run from it like he has so many other entanglements even as the urge claws up his spine.

If he'd been able to hold himself back from marking her up in a claim, maybe- but he hadn't, and it wouldn't change the fact that he couldn't run from a child, his child, something that stirs up all the worst memories in his brain even as it traps him with deep-rooted instincts.

Furiosa doesn't say anything else, flips the small shiv through her fingers, metal flashing in the dim hallway light. Now that he can think of it, it seems an extravagant waste to have torches burning at all when they seem to be the only two people in the cell-block, when they might have only brought a lantern to guide the beta when he brought them food and water.

Max is grateful for it, that they weren't locked up in the pitch black to be forgotten and entombed, but he remembers the huge lift, the numbers of well-fed warriors swarming to keep him from escaping, the vehicles and weapons that had chased him down. This was no small-time fiefdom and he wonders how likely it is that they'll get out at all, with all this wealth and power against them.

Finally there's footsteps echoing through the hallway, Furiosa moving to stand in the patch of light the grate lets in once she nods to let Max know it's the right person. He waits in the corner closest to the door's opening, as hidden as possible in the small cell, ready even through the tired soreness to launch into action.

“Boss!” a man's voice calls out, relieved.

“Ace,” Furiosa replies, mouth curling into a careful smile. “Thanks for the knife.”

“You okay now?” he asks, and from his corner Max can't see but he assumed the beta is looking around the cell for signs of trouble.

“It's over,” she replies with a nod. “Gonna let me out?”

“The feral taken care of?” Ace asks, voice lowered, “We don't have much time.”

Furiosa looks surprised but covers it swiftly, doesn't dart her eyes to where Max is hiding. “You're not taking me to Organic,” she says, like she's turning the thought over, like she's testing whether it needs to be a command or not.

“You'd miss your run,” he says, and Max watches Furiosa go rigid, tense for reasons he doesn't know.

“Open the door,” she says, words tight, an order.

There's the sound of dull scraping, metal-on-metal, and Max shifts his weight, adjusts his grip around the thickest of the clay cups to be ready to throw it. “It's gonna be okay, Boss,” Ace says, voice muffled and quiet. A key would have had the door open in an instant; he must be picking the lock. Not working for whoever was in charge, then, but letting Furiosa out for some other reason. “Been talking with Miss Giddy.”

The lock clicks open and the plan was for Max to rush it, to get the beta out of the way, but he doesn't think things have gone how Furiosa thought they would, tries to catch her eye to see what she wants to do.

She doesn't return the look, strides over to pull the door open herself, shiv flashing. Max leaves his spot to see her press the metal to the painted warrior's throat, not slicing just yet. “What do you mean, you talked with Miss Giddy,” she says flatly.

“I was gonna see if she'd hide you in the 'dome,” he says, throat bobbing against the knife as he speaks, eyes warily landing on Max before refocusing on Furiosa. “Keep you safe. But she told me about the girls, and...”

“She told you,” Furiosa says disbelievingly, shiv pressing a little more firmly, enough for a single flash of red to bead up against the white paint.

Ace swallows heavily but makes no move to lean away, to bring up his hands to fend her off. “It's a good plan,” he says, “but if you'd rather gut me 'n run on your own...”

“This is traitoring the Immortan you're talking about, Ace,” Furiosa says, pulls the knife away. “He'll do worse than kill you if he finds out.”

“I know what it is,” he grumbles with surprising humor, “You're not the only one with eyes around here, Boss. Been going worse for a long time, just didn't realize how bad it'd gotten.”

Max doesn't really understand the nuances of the conversation they're having, but he's pretty sure the man's on their- on her- side, somehow. He doesn't relax his stance, stays poised and wary in case it turns out to be a trap.

Ace's gaze flicks to him again, land down on the marks visible on Furiosa's skin, his already gnarled face twisting into a deep frown. He says something quietly, the words low enough that Max can't catch them.

“He's coming,” Furiosa says firmly in reply, a surprising defense that Max hadn't thought he would get, now that it seemed as if something resembling her original plan was workable again, “The hold can fit seven for a few hours.”

The beta looks displeased under the paint but nods, “We don't have much time; it's only one watch left till sun-up.”

They take a long and winding path, at places shimmying through cracks in the rock that Max knows they didn't drag him through originally, emerging at unexpected angles to the more regularly cut hallways.

Max wonders what would have happened if Furiosa's heat hadn't been over, if the beta would have tried dragging them apart or decide to leave her, decide to try the plan some other day when she'd been moved to wherever they intended to keep her once they saw she'd survived.

They arrive at a grand garage room, dim with the first brush of starlight Max has seen in days, a huge bristling black tanker given the place of honor. There's a painted skeleton arm against one of the cab's doors, pointing ahead down the engine housing, a match for the missing length of Furiosa's. He'd believed her when she said she had a rig but he hadn't pictured this, what must have been the crown jewel of their fleet.

“Almost didn't find the hatch,” Ace says quietly as they approach, the noise of their soft footsteps enough to echo in the cavernous space.

“You weren't meant to,” Furiosa replies with something like a smile.

The hatch Ace tugs at looks like just another segment of armoring to Max, but it rasps gently as it slides open to reveal a pitch-black pit in the underbelly of the tank. “You'll have to sit tight a while,” he says with an apologetic twist of his mouth, “Run's still a day out.”

Max isn't looking forward to spending any more time locked into a dark space but unless he wants to try running for it on his own- his instincts don't want him to leave Furiosa, and what rationality he has points out that this was probably his best shot at escaping.

It's a small space when he crawls into it, and- seven people, she had said. The two of them and five more. Max's skin crawls with the thought of being so close to five strangers in the pitch black and he tucks himself securely into the far corner, even if they'd said there was a day's wait before the others arrive.

“You know the start sequence?” Furiosa asks, delaying her own entry into the compartment beyond the hatch.

“Why do you think they're letting me drive?” Ace replies with something like fondness in his voice, echoing gently against the metal walls of the compartment, “Not enough time to rip out your switch-work. Get on pup, in you go.”

The hatch rasping shut behind Furiosa feels final, the darkness of the hold suffocating. Max can't hear anything but their own breathing, the noises they make as they change positions. A day of being trapped in here and then freedom, he tells himself, closing his eyes and finding no change in the pitchy dark.

Furiosa settles so their boots knock together, no other parts of their bodies touching, a relief after so much time spent skin-to-skin. Even now some part of him wants to reach out, to gather her into his arms though the thought of what he's done makes him sick with the urge to leave. Their destination is her home, she'd said. He can stay long enough to see her safely there and then cut himself away, before the rot that's consumed his life reaches her.

Max licks his lips, dry and cracked now that he remembers how little water he'd had over the last few days. Clears his throat more as a warning he's going to say something than any real attempt to make speaking easier. “Where's home?”

There's silence and he wonders if maybe she'd dropped off to sleep instead, the way he once used to, easy in the dark and quiet.

“To the east,” Furiosa says, voice just loud enough to travel across the hold. “The Green Place, we call it. I haven't seen it since I was a child.”

“Why'd you leave?” he asks, his mind swimming through the dark to conjure an unwelcome burned memory of a house with shutters painted white, abandoned without looking back. But a green place- he could see wanting to return to that, even after leaving. If such a place could even exist in the wasteland that surrounds them.

“I was taken,” she replies, breath hitching so slightly he wouldn't have heard if there was any other noise, if he wasn't focused so intently, “Stolen when I was young. My people- we call ourselves the Many Mothers. The Immortan saw it as an advertisement.”

The words click together with how she'd acted during the heat, what things she had said about again, jar harshly against his ribs with sick knowledge. An omega woman who hadn't gone into heat was near the same to a beta, and Max knows why men who set themselves up as warlords steal women.

There's nothing he can say for it- for all the wasteland has done to him he doesn't understand that pain, can't muddle his brain through the act of finding words that might possibly comfort her, if she even wanted comfort. And he'd done worse than the warlord- a beta could try, but their seed would never catch with an omega. His had, most likely, a thought that tangles his insides up in a hundred directions.

“I'm not going to be your broodmare,” Furiosa says, words fierce for all their quietness.

“No,” Max agrees readily, the thought of it terrible to even consider, knowing that their bodies have already taken the choice away from the both of them this time.

There's a hushed breath, like she's relieved. Like she was worried he would want to force her- Max thinks about what he can remember saying during his rut, how the urge to breed had overcome everything else. Doesn't blame her for being worried.

He can hear Furiosa shifting, the rustle of cloth. A hand brushes his leg, his arm, settles against his shoulder. Without the heat in her she's only as warm as any other person, but it still seems to sear him through the layer of his shirt. “Can I?” she asks, just louder than breathing.

Max doesn't know what she's asking for, lets out a questioning noise. Figures she wouldn't ask before lashing out to hurt, if that's what she decided to do with the impulses of heat fading to a memory.

She slides in against him, a strange blend of contact and separation though their clothing. It feels good, right, to have her close to him when there's the recent memory of covering her through her heat, even when he normally avoids every form of touch. He lifts up his arm to wrap around her shoulders, finds that she's curling up to make herself small, knees drawn in and head tucked low.

“You don't own me,” Furiosa says, an aching sort of vulnerability in the words even as they're spoken like a threat, a promise.

Max hums in agreement, thinks about trying to reassure her somehow but holds his tongue, doesn't do more than keep his hand loose against the skin of her arm. It's true that he'd marked a claim on her but it was a connection, a bond, a promise of togetherness and protection that weighs him down with remembered failures.

She doesn't say anything else, head moving to rest against his shoulder where the imprint of her teeth throbs, and he thinks maybe he should try and sleep, even with the danger of lashing out against her should the press of her turn his dreams the wrong way. There's no telling what the days ahead will bring and he's certainly tired enough, the strain of keeping up with Furiosa's heat enough to leave him hollowed out inside.

As they sit together in the dark hold their breathing falls into sync, the steady rhythm pulling him down into snatches of dreamless sleep that still leave him waking in fits and starts, held back from attacking by the faint baseline smell of omega and his that reaches deeper than memories.

It's not long before sounds start filtering through from outside, obliterating any further hope of rest- footsteps entering the garage, people calling out in conversation, tools being moved and used. Furiosa tenses besides him while he tries to keep his heart from racing with surges of useless adrenaline. At any moment their hiding place might be discovered, or Ace might turn them over, and the suspense keeps Max on edge, senses straining.

The day stretches on endlessly, Furiosa breaking away when the hold grows hot and smothering as the sun beats down on them, even inside the cave of the garage. There's only the faintest gleam of light through cracks in the sidewall of the tanker, just enough to spark off visions that have Max gritting his teeth and holding himself carefully still, reminding himself that the dead cannot do him harm.

Conversations swirl through the air as people clamber over and under and around the tanker, the usual human topics that almost make it hard to remember these are the same painted warriors who ran him down without mercy, who forced Furiosa into a cell with him, who cheered when one of theirs tipped over the cliff in pursuit of his escape attempt- complaints over shoddy tools, offers to trade lunches, jokes and teases the same as any he's ever heard. There's also here and there hushed comments that he soon realizes are about Furiosa- what a surprise it was for her to be an omega, speculation about whether she'd gone soft, if she would be shredded or exiled or allowed back to drive, if they could have a turn with her, if she'd beg like the other omega that had been revealed.

He recognizes Ace's voice cutting through some of those conversations to head them off, plenty more that simply trail off naturally or move too far for Max to make out.

It's far too dark in the compartment to see more than the faintest outline of Furiosa, lost to the irregular shapes they're packed in with when he turns his eyes away; far too dark to have any idea of what her expression might be, how she might be reacting.

Finally, the activity of the day breaks. Noises slow as tools are put back away, conversations echo further and further away from the tanker, the glimmers of light through the cracks cut off with a sharp electric snap.

It becomes completely silent again, save their own breathing. Max has been holding in the desperate need to piss through sheer strength of will for hours. “Think it's clear?” he whispers.

Furiosa shifts in the dark, “A while longer.”

A sharp knock on the underside of the compartment has him flinch, reflexively shooting a useless glance to where he last heard Furiosa to be. If they've been discovered now, because he broke the silence-

“Crew's gone,” Ace's voice says as the hatch rasps open. Max stays poised to attack, but there's no trickery in what he can see of his face, and surely it would have been better to expose them during the busy day, if that was his aim.

“Shouldn't stay out long,” Ace says when they've slid back out of the hatch into the dim empty garage, which seems like obvious advice when any minute someone could walk in.

“The Wives?” Furiosa asks, stretching her limbs out like someone unused to a day spent sitting still. If she's thinking about any of the things they'd heard during the day she gives no indication, expression composed, determined.

“Fetching them at third watch,” Ace replies, digs through one of his pockets to procure a brick of something pasty-white and crumbling. “Organic thinks you're still out, and he's busy getting Boys ready for the run, so he won't think to check 'till we're gone.”

Furiosa nods, takes the brick and breaks it in half, biting into one section and holding the other out for Max to take. More insects, he realizes as the taste hits him, but food is food and he bolts it down, grateful to be given anything. There's even water drawn straight from the tanker, more in one go than he's had in recent memory.

He finds a dunny bucket tucked away while Furiosa circles the rig to check things over, comes back to hear her arguing about some adjustment that was made to the engine. She looks in control, the sort of person who's fought for the right to command such a massive rig, a change from what the heat had brought out in her. It's a reassurance he didn't know he was looking for, to see that she came out through it fine.

She calls Max over to the cab, swings up to the driver's seat with the ease of long familiarity. There's only an empty post where the steering wheel should be, an obscure bundle of metal and leather hanging from the ceiling over the passenger seat he can't guess the purpose of, the usual mess of weapons and tools.

“You may have to drive the rig,” she tells him even though there's her and Ace to share the job, even though he could swap seats with the engine already running or learn the start sequence on the road. But she's pointing to switches set into the dash anyway, narrating the sequence like it's important that he knows it, and then flicks her gaze down to where he's standing next to the rig's open door. “You have it?” she asks, voice steady but eyes almost questioning, like she's not talking about how well he'll remember the order of switches.

“Mhm,” he hums in reply, feeling like he's been given something he can't name, tries not to think about what might happen that would mean she was unable to drive herself. Tries not to think about what he'd do to prevent it, about why it matters.

Furiosa settles a little more solidly into the seat, reaches out to touch the dangling metal above the other seat. It twists and in the dim light suddenly Max can see that it's an approximation of a hand, the shape coalescing into an entire prosthetic arm and straps to hold it on with. It looks functional, strong, something that looks like hers the same as the rig does.

When they reach her home, her Green Place- Max had thought to spare her his existence, the curse that licks at his heels, by leaving even though it goes against the pull of his instincts, the knowledge that there's a child he helped to make likely taking root inside her. With a flicker of shame he thinks he's been underestimating her, lulled by the alpha need to protect as if she was still in the throes of heat.

He thinks he'll still leave, doubts he has the ability to stay even for someone bearing his claim, but Max rubs at the sore wound she'd bitten into him in return and thinks he owes it to her to make sure that when he does it's for the right reasons.