Sleep of Angels

by Milly of Isengard

Author: Milly of Isengard (Isengard_Unveiled@yahoo.com )

Pairing: Gandalf/Saruman

Rating: NC-17

Warnigns: Explicit Sexual Themes / Angst / Hurt / Comfort

Summary: Gandalf and Saruman come to an understanding of their true relationship. And then-

Disclaimer: no $$ made.


Chapter 1

He is still sleeping. I watch him, with this curious mixture of great love and deep anger I now feel towards him. Uncaring, and unknowing, he sleeps on, with a great peace about him. How different it would be if I were in his custody! I think to myself. Despite things he had said to me ("And when is my execution set for?" he had snarled to me upon capture, shocking me that he had thought this), I know he knows better than that. I had composed myself and told him that I was certain that exile would be his likely fate. Unless, of course, he wanted to rejoin us- he had laughed at me when I said that- and I had said no more.

He sleeps so peacefully, my old friend of two thousand years. How well I know him. The Men are not able to understand such a deep and long relationship; it is simply beyond their reckoning. The Elves understand, being so long-lived themselves. I ought to stop this, and leave him to his strange dreams. But I am mesmerized, and cannot tear myself away. There has been so much strife between us. But it was not always so.

And so now I, the oldest fool of all, recall and remember, trapped in the memories. His hair was once jet black, and there are still traces of the darkness. But for the most part the hair is now a silvery white, and grown very long. Without thinking, or perhaps because of too much thinking, I reach out and touch his hair. He does not stir, but I wonder if he is aware. I am awash in too much grief now, too much emotion. Emotion is a wonderful thing, but it can weaken you at times.

When he does awaken, we will offer him three choices: First, to go into exile in whatever remote place he may choose- there to be given lodging, and access to whatever he wishes to study (disallowing anything destructive); secondly, to go to the realm of the high Elves for healing and recovery. This would take a good deal of effort, to bring him back from the edge, but there are few souls, however blackened, that cannot be saved, if they are willing. Ah yes, if they are willing. The third choice will be to rejoin us immediately, and unconditionally. This is very unlikely, and a very dangerous idea. But it must be offered, yet again.

How he has been overtaken by the Ring! How deeply and utterly he has fallen into its morbid Power. I remember when I was his "guest" at the Tower, and he had taken me to the Palantir, and shown it to me with a kind of mad ecstasy. I had never seen a look on his face like that before, and I was immediately alarmed. As he had stared into its depths, he had lost even the ecstasy, and his expression had instead turned bleak and black. He had gotten the look of a man who has just seen his own horrible death. He gathered his cloak around him tightly, as if in a great chill, and made his way to his chair and sat down heavily in it. I had watched in silence as he seemed to go into a trance of some kind. He looked ill. And then he had risen suddenly, and our unpleasant duel had commenced.

He had screamed at me that I had chosen the "way of pain"; perhaps so, I had certainly been put into pain by him. Pain on many levels, both in body and heart. And now he sleeps, safe and unworried, in my power. He knows I would never willingly harm him. I do not even want him to be a prisoner, but for the moment he must be. It is for his safety as well as ours: Sauron will kill him, and none too gently, as my old friend has made the mistake of betraying once too often. But perhaps he can find his way again; he is so intelligent, but he has made some terrible choices. I will help him, if he will let me.

The dawn is beginning its rosy glow over the world; his cell-well- it is not really a cell- it is a very comfortable large room in a house in Rivendell- is alight with its beauty. I must tear myself away, as there are other things to attend to. Much to be dealt with, as every day. Have I ever been so weary! I arise, and glance down at him one more time. He is among enemies who would never desire to harm him, and yet he had preferred to stay in the company of a "friend" who used him, and used him up, and now desired his doom.

He still sleeps, unrepentant as ever. We must change his heart, we must reach him. We need his help in this great battle to come. I reach over again, and touch his face, not sure why I am moved to do so. What is it that I feel? I cannot say, for I do not understand it myself.


Chapter 2

I ride alongside him, and we do not speak, nor do we look at one another. My sadness this day is only softened by knowing that this could have ended much worse. Much, much worse. I am escorting Saruman, my fallen brother and mentor, to his exile, where he will live the rest of his days. We have miles to go yet, but it is not so very far now. Beyond what was once Isengard, there is a place prepared for him; a comfortable enough place, really, considering that my old friend is guilty of murder and treason, and Eru only knows what else. I don't want to know what else.

He had asked to be allowed to return to Orthanc, but I argued against that. As deeply as he has been ruined and damaged by the Darkness, the last place he needs to be is a place that was immersed in it.

I have hope for him. I truly do. But he must let go of the anger, first of all. And then the malice, and perhaps more than anything, the pride. His shamefully overwhelming pride.

I feel his rage at me, unspoken but tangible. There is nothing I can do, no words I can say, that will make this all right between us now. Not at this point in time. I have my share of anger at him, as well. And hurt, and grief.

We arrive, just as the afternoon sun is shining its brightest. It is getting quite warm, actually. I wipe sweat from my brow, and dismount, taking the reins of Saruman's grey horse. He does not dismount immediately, and I have a bad moment where I fear he will attempt to flee on the horse. And then what will I do? Follow him, and then...By the Valar, I have been able to avoid harming him. Please let me continue to do so. But he is not thinking of escape, or at least, not going to attempt it. He is standing up in the stirrups, and surveying the sights. I can feel his mind keenly taking it all in, putting it all together. Always the strategist.

Finally he does dismount, and I speak to him for the first time in many days: ( he had been very clear he did not want to even hear my voice on the journey, as he had informed me coldly. Revel in your treachery to me in silence, he had said quietly ) "Saruman, I will show you your quarters, and then I will leave you. There are books, and manuscripts, and many things for you to keep busy with. A years worth of provisions- wine, as well- and I asked that pipeweed be brought for you. Everything is in the larder." When I mentioned that I had provided pipeweed, he had gotten a strange look, almost confusion, as if he was torn by some conflict. I continue: " There are Gondorian guards at the perimeters. Don't look, they are ordered to keep out of view, but they are there. You may walk the grounds of course, and you will never be harassed or molested. I will return to check on you in a month's time." He nods, still without speaking.

We enter the small fortress, and we walk the long halls together. I look to be sure they have left the provisions I have asked for, and then I turn to him again: "Alright, then, I will take my leave. If you should fall ill, or need anything- " I stop, realizing I am not making sense. Fall ill? As an Istar, Saruman is never going to "fall ill". At least not physically. He is looking at me with those strange, sad black eyes again. "Thank you, Gandalf." He says finally, and as I turn to go, he grabs my arm, cautiously, and softly speaks, "Wait a moment, don't leave yet." I look at him in confusion-don't leave? Why would he ask me to not leave- by the Valar, is he lonely? Is he perhaps dreading being here, all alone? Grima Wormtongue long since left him, fleeing the danger as soon as capture was imminent. Saruman will truly be all alone now.

I consider for a moment, and then I nod in consent; "Yes, of course, if that is what you wish." "It is." he says, never taking his eyes off mine. He leans in closer, and I am aware of some sort of energy coming from him, but it is so unexpected I cannot make sense of it. I back away ever so slightly, and he straightens up again, looking frustrated. By the Gods, what is on his mind? I wonder wildly. He clears his throat quietly; " In fact, perhaps you could rest here for the night. Would you like to do that?" He is avoiding my eyes now, and I grow deeply suspicious. Ah, so this is it: he would like to take a crack at killing me in my sleep! He looks at me sadly, and says, " No, I don't wish to do that, Olorin." My mind is an open book with a fellow Istar around, as I am reminded. "Why do you want me to stay here, Curumo? Are you lonely, already? It is no shame to say it to me. I will not mock you for it, or be cruel to you." I see pain in the dark eyes then, and great despair. Yes, and desperate aloneness.

"I will stay tonight..." I hear myself say, more out of compassion than anything else. "But I will sleep with open eyes, literally. I do not wish to be cold to you, Saruman, but you are wise enough to understand I cannot trust you." He glares at me, the old hardness in his stare alive again, and replies "Yes, of course. I understand." But I hear the pain in his voice, as well, and I can feel his desperation. We spend the next several hours pouring over the countless books and papers in the study- I actually catch him smiling as he reads one, and it is good to see; perhaps he will be able to be alright here.

We retire to the bedchamber- he has convinced me- how, I cannot comprehend- to sleep up here,rather than in the study, which is what I had planned. I feel an anxiety which I cannot fully understand. Saruman is watching me intently,and then averts his eyes as I change from my day clothes to a sleeping robe. He extinguishes the candles with a wave of his hand ( ah, he still has the natural magic! I think ), and we slip under the heavy furs and quilts on the bed. It was so warm on the ride out here, but the night has grown quite cold, unnaturally cold. We lie in silence for several uneasy moments, and I have the most lucid awareness of his presence next to me. We have never been this close physically. I hear his soft breathing, and I can smell the pipeweed and wine on his breath. "Gandalf- Olorin..." he says quietly. "Yes?" I whisper back, feeling rather bizarrely like a young boy in a compromising situation. He clears his throat softly, and continues: " I was just thinking- of missed chances in things- did you know I have never experienced, ah, what would you call it? Physical love- "

I am reeling from his pronouncement, and I try to think how to answer- "missed chances"?- I consider in my feverish thinking what he could mean by that, and before I can say anything in reply, my lips are covered by his, and I do not resist, although I scarcely can believe it. And as our tongues entwine ( his mouth is so hot, like a raging fire ) I suddenly understand that this is what I have been missing, and desiring, since our time began. This has been the cause behind the effect of our great stress with each other. I feel his intense need as a tangible, living force, yet how shall I allow myself to cross the Forbidden Barrier? For all I know, he is plotting to slip a dagger in my heart the moment I am truly defenseless.

I am torn by my own growing desire, and my even deeper sense of caution and mistrust; Curumo is on top of me now, and I allow this to happen, am I under a spell of his, somehow? I know how acutely dangerous this is, and how unpredictable he is. "Gandalf- show me- you must show me- I have never known..any release.." he whispers in my ear urgently, and I understand, and yet I am still doubtful. But the surging sexual fire in the air around us is too much, and I cannot deny him- or myself.

I reach out to touch him, to return his intense caresses, against all my better judgement. I would have never believed I would be so overwhelmed by sheer passion and blazing desire, that I could not even think clearly. The Istari are old men only in seeming appearance: in reality, under our cloaks and robes we are strong and hard-muscled, potent and youthful. I feel through is robe and touch the firm chiseled muscles of his chest and stomach; he strokes my sides and shoulders, breathing hot in my ear, pressing close to me.

And then, with a deft and graceful movement, he is under me, and waiting- well, just waiting; I realize he has no idea how to proceed with this. My hand traces an invisible fire across his rippling belly muscles, and he makes a quiet soft groan; " Gandalf..ah..Gandalf.. you- you mustn't stop- ", and I am not going to stop, I am far too excited to stop, but I must try to keep my wits about me, at least to some degree. My hand searches down farther, anxious now, and I feel the tangled wild forest of hair, and I cannot see in the darkness, but I am certain it is as white as snow; and out of the forest there looms something great and strong, and alive, awaiting my attentions, but sadly neglected for too long.

I grasp this great Wizard's Staff in my hand, and slowly stroke him up and down; he gasps in shocked pleasure, and I realize he is telling the truth, this really IS the first time. It is hot,

unnaturally hot, and throbbing with a vivid power. My unlikely lover pushes into my hand passionately, gripping my arm in excitement, utterly forgetting himself. All the ice of his soul has turned to fire now, and I see him as he was, and it is good to see. For twenty centuries, this volcano has built up the pressure within, and it is about to erupt with cataclysmic force.

I lean forward, covering him, still stroking him, and I kiss him with a feeling I never knew I felt for him. Saruman the White might as well have been formed of pure ice, to my mind. The many years we had been alive together, I could never share a joke with him, or laugh with him over anything. The coldness was too all-encompassing. Any attempt at mirth, or just simple warmth, was rebuffed with a glare and perhaps, a sarcastic comment. But he is not cold now; indeed, he might well be a living fire, his aura lights up the room, pure silver-white glow radiating from him.

I kiss him again, and he is murmuring softly in Quenyan, then Sindarin, one different speech after another, lost in what we are doing- what I am doing to him- down there in the Lost Forest. Our tongues meet with wet silken rapture, and he fills my mouth with his quiet moaning. And I grasp him firmer now, my own desire is aching maddeningly, and I want to see how violently this Sun will detonate. He is beginning to breathe differently now, and I know what it entails, but he does not. I squeeze firmly, and then slide my hand tightly all the way down the massive shaft. Curumo catches his breath sharply, and digs his nails- too sharp! - painfully into my arm.

"Ahhh..oh, oh, Gandalf- Olorin- " he is very nearly incoherent, and I see the time is here: I stroke him harder than ever, and quickly, quickly. All the long years of building tension in him finally has found a way of release, and he nearly breaks my arm as he grips it in utter ecstasy, arching his long back and thrusting against my tightened grip; the flood erupts over my hand and it truly is very like a volcano, spouting upwards in heated explosion. Saruman collapses back onto the bed as if in death; I wait, and say nothing- I am nearly spellbound, and certainly speechless.

He lies there, gasping, and I finally lay myself over him, and touch his face; hot, too hot, and sweating. At long last, he moves again, breathing hard; he says nothing to me but slides his hand down towards my belly, and then further. My need for him is a screaming fury by now, and as his hand closes over my own aching staff, I slip into a blissful anticipation- but I want something else. I trace my hands around him gently, on either side, gradually working down to his strong hips, murmuring to him "Curumo- let me..let me show you..something else, something more- " He flinches slightly as I begin the sweetest journey of my life, but I whisper in his ear "Trust me- trust me, you know I would never do you harm.." And he does trust me, and so he comes the closest he will ever come to submitting to anyone, ever, as we unite in totality, Istar together, and there are none like unto us.


Epilogue

The summer sun has nearly set by the time I reach Isengard; I see him on the balcony, peering over, looking for my arrival. He sights me, and briefly raises a hand in greeting. I return it, and urge Shadowfax on, anxious to be where I want to be again. The whole of Isengard has returned to its former glory, and even more so. Treebeard has even taken up residence here, on the grounds. When Curumo first asked me to set the stage for his gradual return to his old home, I was hesitant, and apprehensive, somehow. But of course, he reminded me, I had promised him that some day he could possibly come back.

I tether the beautiful white horse to the entrance, and make my way to the front gate; why do I feel...something wrong? I shrug off the thoughts ( the feeling ) that something is amiss. There cannot be danger here, how could it be? As I ascend the long staircase to my beloved, the sensation grows, despite my great determination to resist it.

I enter his chamber and he awaits me, all glory in blinding white, as in the days before. His re-instatement has been completed, greatly due to my constant urging of the Valar. He again holds a Staff, strikingly similar to the one of ages ago. It was his choice to have it be so similar. We are equal now, in rank and duty. He has proven himself to such an extent that any other course of action would have been a grave injustice. My love smiles at me through his long beard, now entirely white. All vestiges of his once black hair ( so long ago! ) are gone. I cross the room and go to him, and he grandly sweeps me into his shimmering embrace.

"Olorin" he whispers softly, "Gandalf, you have returned to me. I have much to tell you, much to show you." His breath in my ear is scented strongly with pipeweed and dark wine, perhaps more than I would have expected. We find each other in a kiss, and I taste the scent now, and drink him in. Finally, he releases me, and places a loving but unusually firm hand on my shoulder; I feel a faint sense of alarm, but I still do not know why. "Gandalf, something has happened. No, no, don't look troubled already! It is a very good thing, I assure you!" His words are not putting me at ease.

He smiles at me, no guile or malice whatsoever, only love, genuine love, but something else now, as well. But what? He looks tentatively over at a table in the far corner of the room; he takes my arm and leads me over towards it ( COLD, so cold ). I feel a strange chill, somewhere deep in my being. Again, I put it out of my mind. There is something on the table, under a black velvet cloth. Something inside me shudders in horror, but I do not know why. And by the time I understand, it will be too late.

"Gandalf the White. My love. My saving grace." Saruman is smiling at me with great warmth. "Look closely." I lean in to see the mystery he is about to unveil, and with a small flourish he pulls the blackness off the object, to reveal a much darker blackness. A Palantir! Oh, by the Valar. I look at him in nameless horror, and think silently, Oh Curumo, what have you done? To us, to yourself! His closes his eyes slowly, and I am taken back to a dreadful time of many ages ago. I want to shake him, scream at him, but I cannot speak. He chants softly, in tones of silken seduction, and the Palantir comes to evil life, with a swirling of colors and energy. I know I must not look (don't look, don't look) but this time it is different, and I am locked onto it.

Saruman opens his eyes again, eyes as dark as the ( never-dying ) madness within him, eyes that I love to look into, though they have never truly been a window into his soul. He smiles with that dreadful benevolence as I sway slightly, unable to tear myself away. Against all reason, and against my own sense of reality, it comes. Arising from the Palantir's deadly ocean, the Eye- Lidless, and wreathed in flame. I could have screamed then, but I have no more sounds, and no more thoughts. The Eye of Sauron regards my despair almost casually, unblinking, and proceeds to drain me out of myself.

"Meldo- beloved- I love you..." I hear his words as from very far away, and I know, in the fading dream that is my clarity, that he is using the Voice again, and I succumb to its sweet caresses. He continues, in a tone of great elation: "He did not cease to be, Gandalf. The Valar over-estimated and under-estimated, at the same time. They fancied they could utterly steal back the Gift of Life, once it had been brought into being. But they were in error!" He grows suddenly grave, and serious. I listen to him, entranced with horror and helplessness.

"Sauron lives. He LIVES. And Morgoth- Melkor- lives as well. Life cannot be 'taken away', not the Spirit, not the Essence. The Valar- the Creators- made a critical mistake!" He laughs, and I hear the insanity in it, and I grieve for my love, my friend. I grieve for Middle Earth, and what is coming, yet again. The Fourth Age, the Age of Morgoth and Sauron.

But I do not grieve for myself. I love him so much, too much, and I still do. It has crippled me, and shall be the ruin of all things. For our love.

What will become of us, I cannot say.

I have no Will, and no desire to fight him now, or his Masters. OUR Masters.

The end (of all things)