Fandom: Mad Max: Fury Road
Characters: Furiosa/The Valkyrie
Summary: The world has changed. Furiosa contemplates how to change with it.
Furiosa ran a hand over her scalp, feeling the tickle of new hairs brush against her palm. She hadn't shaved her head since they'd re-taken the Citadel- first she'd been recuperating, then she'd been too busy helping with the rebuilding efforts- and the growth of hair had gone from bristly to soft in the meantime. The former War Boys- who were also free of the need to shave their heads, though they seemed uniformly confused about what to do with their hair- sometimes stared at her as she walked the corridors of the Citadel. Furiosa wasn't sure if they were staring at her hair, or her new collection of scars. Perhaps both.
"You should keep it."
Furiosa turned to look at where the Valkyrie was lying in their shared bed, a contented smile on her face. "The longer it gets, the more it'll be in the way."
“In the way of what?” The Valkyrie snorted, holding up the end of her own long plait. "I've managed."
It’s true, Furiosa had to acknowledge: the Valkyrie had never seemed to find long hair an impediment to doing whatever she likes. Back in the Green Place, long ago, Furiosa had enjoyed watching her on the back of her motorbike, black mane whipping back and forth in the wind as she sped across the sands. Sometimes, when she’d ride on the back of the bike, she’d bury her face in the Valkyrie’s neck and feel the hair flying all around her like a shield. Furiosa had never been a biker; cars were always her specialty. But she still cropped her hair close.
She frowned at herself in the mirror. “It feels strange.”
“What doesn’t?” The Valkyrie propped herself up on her elbows in bed, watching Furiosa. “Everything’s strange. Everything’s new.”
Furiosa inclined her head in acknowledgement, though it wasn’t really true anymore; it had been nearly a hundred days since they’d re-taken the Citadel, which to her mind was long enough to settle in. Sometimes she caught herself checking over her shoulder for the Ace, or standing at the strict attention she’d displayed while still an Imperator, and she chided herself whenever it happened. No point dwelling on the past- or worse yet, bringing it forward into the present. Better to forget. Better to leave behind the rules that governed them when they weren’t the governors.
Better to let her hair grow.
And yet . . .
She considered the others. Toast the Knowing had shorn her long hair on the morning they first left the Citadel, and she’d kept it that way ever since. The other three hadn’t, though: Cheedo the Fragile had taken to weaving beads into her hair. The Dag wore hers in two braids, wrapped around the crown of her head and pinned in place. And Capable also wore hers in two braids, though she let them dangle on their own. None of them were under any orders to keep their appearance just so, they way they had been when Immortan Joe was their captor. But apart from their clothes- these days they all favoured baggy trousers and shirts- they largely stayed the same.
Like her, they'd come back with various scars that faded but didn't disappear. The Valkyrie had scars, too: a long one that dragged up the length of her body, from when she'd been thrown from the bike and skidded across unforgiving, rocky ground. Furiosa liked to look at that scar in a way she'd never looked at her own: a reminded of what they had been, what they'd come through, how they'd survived. It felt good to count her blessings. There wasn't much about life in Immortan Joe's Citadel that she liked to look back on, but the scar was different. In its own way, it represented what they'd become to survive, and how they'd survived the metamorphosis as well.
"I like it this way," she said decisively. She turned from the mirror to look at the Valkyrie, running a hand through her hair again. "Just about this length. No longer."
The Valkyrie shrugged. "If you like it," she said, but her eyes crinkled in a smile. She stretched her hands out. "Now come to bed, will you?"
For once, Furiosa did as she was told- a fact owing more to the identity of the teller than any newfound sense of obedience. She crawled into bed beside the Valkyrie, fitting the edges of her body around the other woman's. No one in the Citadel had the luxury of a large bed, but they managed. It helped that neither woman minded pressing close together in their sleep.
"I do like your hair," she told the Valkyrie, brushing her fingers along the silky hairs growing along her lover's temples. "You should keep it. But I prefer mine short."
The Valkyrie ran her own hand over Furiosa's scalp. "Whatever you prefer," she said, and kissed her lightly. Furiosa kissed her back, thinking this is what I prefer- whatever the state of her hair, whatever her scars, whatever her role is in this strange new world that is no longer new- being here, in this bed, with this woman, is what she prefers best of all.