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It isn't often that you see a war boy's skin.

Even with Immortan gone, dismantling the cult of the V-8 isn't easy. The war boys salute Furiosa with the same interlocked fingers that they'd used for their previous leader, ask endless questions about raids, and still wear their skeletal war paint.

Capable wants to see what Nux looks like without scratchy white powder soaked into his skin. A full bath is out of the question-- even Capable hasn't had one of those. But a basin of water and a soft cloth isn't too hard to get.

At first, Nux balks at her request. Water is too precious to be used to wash, the flaking paint works just as well to remove dirt and grime. He takes some convincing and a few weeks of Furiosa's free-water policy to agree to the idea. Capable finds a place out of the way of citadel traffic and coaxes Nux out of the guts of a car. He's amazingly pliant; all the love stories in all the books she's ever read have done little to prepare her for the reality of a smitten young man tripping over himself to make her smile.

He insists on carrying the basin of water for her, and Capable silently reminds herself that it isn't because she's female. The poor boy is desperate to be useful, no matter how often she tells him that his company is enough.

She leads him to the spot she's picked out for today's little ritual and points out where to put the basin. He's careful not to spill a single drop. He glances over at her to check in, and returns her approving smile at double wattage. Capable's heart flutters a little.

She doesn't have to ask him to take his clothes off. The war boys have next to no shame in their bodies. Capable is pretty sure that some of them only wear pants to keep fragile bits from getting hurt while they're crawling all over burning hot cars. She watches quietly, making sure to keep her breathing steady.

Nux is not Immortan Joe. His nudity is not a threat. Unless she invites it, he won't touch her.

His body is a disaster, but she appreciates that it's even working. The half-healed injuries from the crash crisscross his intentional scarring. There's a thick pad of gauzy fabric where Larry and Barry used to be; one of the Vuvalini has started removing the sick parts of the war boys. Apparently it used to be a job people had a long time ago, cutting illness out of bodies. Capable donates blood to help whenever she can.

Nux still might not last the month, but there's a little glimmer of hope that shines through.

Nux sits on the floor and Capable follows him down, the basin to her right and the cloth already in her hands.

"You need to tell me if anything hurts. Right away, alright?" Capable is starting to get used to how the war boys think. If there's no quickly available solution to pain, you ignore it unless it might be fatal.

"Alright," Nux echoes. She smiles at him and he fidgets a little, too happy under her unspoken praise to hold still.

Capable dips her rag into the basin and squeezes the excess water out. She starts with his cuts, wanting to get those clean before the water gets murky. Nux doesn't so much as flinch until she gets to one on his ribcage.

"Hurts a bit," Nux reports with the air of someone delivering good news. This confuses her until she realizes that he's taking pride in following her directions. She pulls the cloth away and he looks at her, frowning.

"You don't have to stop, I can take it," He tells her eagerly. Capable shakes her head.

"I'm going to wash your face now."

Nux doesn't offer any protests to the change in plan. Capable wonders if he's happy she isn't prodding at partially healed broken bones anymore, or if it just doesn't occur to him to question her.

She rinses the paint and grime from the cloth and scoots closer, between his knees now. It would be easy to get a sexual meaning out of this, but Nux's gaze never dips below her neckline and she can clearly see that he hasn't gotten hard. He has absolutely no intentions of trying to take advantage of her.

She wipes the cloth over his lips and gives him a quick kiss. His eyes light up.

"I'm doing good, then?" He asks, practically vibrating with innocent excitement. Capable laughs and nods.

"Very good," She says, gently scrubbing the paint from his cheeks. When she moves up to his eyes, he closes them without being asked.

He looks younger, softer without his war paint. She goes for his ears next, intending to take a moment to admire his face. Nux had opened his eyes after Capable wiped the grease from around them. When she starts scrubbing the grit from the curve of his ear, though, he closes them again. He leans into the touch.

Capable doesn't need to ask to know that it feels good. She smiles to herself, lingers longer than she needs to.

By the time she's done with both ears, there's a faint flush to Nux's cheeks and his cock is half-hard. But when he opens his eyes, there's none of the vicious hunger she associates with arousal. Instead, he looks at her with honest, reverent gratitude.

Capable drops her rag into the water and kisses him. He makes no move to grab her, to force her onto her back. The only contact he initiates is a gentle hand on the small of her back. She shuffles closer and trails her kisses up towards his ear.

She nips his earlobe and he shudders, breathing out a little noise. Nibbling along the ridge of cartilage gets an even stronger reaction. Nux leans against her like he wants to collapse into her lap. His breathing is labored and when she sets a hand on the side of his neck, Capable can feel his heartbeat pounding.

She draws it out. There's deep satisfaction to be had in making this man tremble, and she's getting hooked fast. He likes it when she uses her teeth, knowledge she's gained by noting when he breathes out little whimpers or squirms. She experiments with pressure, alternating between harder nips and gentler nibbling. He's getting gradually louder and more restless by the time she switches to the second ear, and she loses track of time.

Capable only stops when Nux's wiggling bumps up against the basin of water. It only spills a little but the noise is enough to break her trance. She leans away to nudge it into a safer spot, then turns back to him.

And, god, how he looks right now. The dark flush on his face has spread down his neck and onto his chest in splotchy patches. He's panting like he's been running. His cock is throbbing along with his heartbeat and leaking steadily; it probably aches but he's smiling.

She expects something about chrome to come out his mouth, perhaps some strange compliment about being shiny.

"Wow," He breathes instead.

Heat flashes through her stomach at the sheer wonder in his voice. She wants to-- she just wants, simple and visceral, for the first time in a long while. Her hand is around him before she can even spare it a second thought. The skin is hot and velvety soft, probably too sensitive to rub gritty paint into.

The noise he makes is pure pleasure, a deep, gratified groan. At first, she just holds him; he doesn't move save for a new wave of powerful shivers and trembling muscles. Clear fluid drips from the tip as he fights to keep still. He must be close, he must be so close, but he waits for her to give, either resisting or lacking any desire to take.

As deliriously appealing as Nux looks wound up, Capable isn't a sadist. She strokes him, cupping her free hand around the back of his head when he drops it onto her shoulder. It's over in seconds. His whole body tenses and he moans as his cock jerks in her hand. He whimpers quietly while he comes down, overwhelmed. She holds him, enjoying the feeling of her heartbeat between her legs.

When he finally looks up at her, none of the amazement has faded from his expression.

"What did--" He has to pause to swallow. "What did I do to earn that?"

It's an honest question, and there's an undercurrent of undeserving worshiper in his tone. She has to shake him from that attitude. For now, she just kisses him.

"You didn't have to do anything, I wanted to."

The answer seems to puzzle him, but Capable doesn't hold that against him. Sometimes her freedom seems strange to her too.