Black and Chrome and Color

The upcoming Mad Max Fury Road: Black and Chrome Edition got me thinking about that Soulmate AU trope where when you meet your soul mate you start seeing color after a lifetime of black and white. So here comes a thought. Of course (warning long text post):

Soul mates, true soul mates are so rare–even moreso after the fall, that no one even knows what soul mates–or even what color is anymore. It’s been reduced to a forgotten old world tale told only amongst those who are old enough to remember it as common knowledge, or those who have experienced it themselves but have long since lost their mates and their ability to see color.

Max Rockatansky hasn’t seen color in years, long faded after he buried his wife and son. So when his eyes scan the garage workshops below him from his Bloodbag cage out of sheer boredom and there is a HINT of color seeping into his vision he thinks no no no. Not again. How? And on top of that why here in this hellhole of a place? They have to be amongst the many war boys moving about in this cave, and his eyes MUST have passed over them–long enough for something inside him to spark and he shuts his eyes to resist the urge to look for the duration of the day because he doesn’t want to know. All of his days after pass by in dull, muted color–not vibrant enough because he hasn’t fully recognized them, but there all the same to remind him that they’re near.

So when he is strapped to the front of Nux’s car like some hood ornament as they’re driving up beside the war rig and his eyes meet with Furiosa’s, his vision suddenly EXPLODES with color–intense, jarring, and more violent and vibrant than he’s ever seen. Their gaze holds and he can see the confusion on her face, eyes blinking like she’s not sure what she’s seeing and he knows. But it only lasts a moment because there is a war party approaching from the back and a sandstorm in the front and it’s likely one of them or both is about to die. It’s better that he doesn’t dwell more on it.

Except they don’t and Max does his best to ignore it–and it’s easy against the backdrop of everything else that’s going on. But even he can’t ignore how effortlessly they fall into sync, how easily they can read each other with mere glances and little words. Even when she was trying to shoot his face off her intensity had matched his in ways that had his blood singing. But he will not tell her his name because he has no intention of getting to know her beyond this. He’s done this before and it hurts. His only consolation is that Furiosa hasn’t indicated anything beyond that first glance they shared that she also sees color. But he catches her looking out in the wastes sometimes like she’s mesmerized by the blue horizon and red sands, or the way her eyes linger on the flame Capable holds at night for a beat longer than necessary.

They find her Green Place and it’s become just as much of a myth as the concept of Soul Mates. Green being used to describe plants and produce more than it does a color.

The final nail in the coffin is when he overhears her talking to the Vuvalini. Her world looks different, she tells them haltingly. She can’t describe it, has nothing to compare it to, and no words to connect to what she sees–hasn’t heard of anyone talking about experiencing something like this before. But the Vuvalini are old enough to KNOW and have known others like her, eyes widening at what she’s implying. When did it start? they inquire her.

That night she asks him to come with her and he tells her he’ll make his own way.

But he catches up with them in the morning and tells them to go back–goes with them, because even though he can’t stay he can’t bear the thought of her not surviving either. Knows that 160 days later he’ll probably be seeing black and white again if she continues to ride out into the salt.

‘She’s hurt! She’s hurt real bad!’ 

And Max feels the cold onset of panic when everything becomes noticeably duller than before, the color draining out of his environment as quickly as the blood from her face. She clutches at him like she wants to say more, but can only manage to tell him to get the others home, and he struggles to keep his hands steady as he pierces her with the needle, the line of blood bright and red against the paleness of her skin. He tells her his name is Max, and feels hope (even if it’s a mistake) that the world isn’t getting more desaturated and she’s warm beneath his hands.

He still can’t bring himself to stay. He’s not ready yet and not sure if he ever will be, but Furiosa and the girls look so brilliant against the sun. She’s almost smiling, and he’s never seen anything so beautiful. Their eyes meet across the crowd and he feels the same thought that passed his mind when they first connected: Her eyes are green.