by Milly of Isengard

Rating: NC-17

Pairing: Gandalf/Saruman

Disclaimer: no bread made, of course. Saru belongs to me (I wish) everybody else JRR's.

Warnings: strong slash / angst / violence / torture (halfling and otherwise)

Summary: Gandalf goes alone to Isengard in an attempt to parlay Saruman into surrendering - or failing that, to at least bring him back alive. It goes badly, and Gandalf falls prey to his former friend. To make it even worse, the halflings Merry and Pippin are captured and brought to Orthanc.

Chapter 14 - Consequences

Mithrandir pulled Saruman over to the shackles, very much against his will, of course, but the relentless power of the Staff was the stronger.

There was nothing to be done.

"What are you plotting! Let me go! Damn you, Gandalf!", Curunír snarled in his most vicious tone, shrinking back as far as he could from the looming iron manacles.

Gandalf made no reply, but only raised his Staff again, and Curunír found himself being shoved against the wall, and the shackles closed tightly and mercilessly around his slender wrists.

"What are you going to do - to me, Gandalf?" he asked now, in a voice that he hoped did not betray the great panic he felt.

Still no reply.

Saruman was experiencing, for the very first time in his long life, the true meaning of fear - real fear. He realized this, and felt a strange, bitter sense of resignation to it.

Soon, he would experience the true meaning of pain, as well.

The momentary resignation was replaced by the panic again, when Mithrandir's Staff suddenly lit up at the ornate crystalline end, glowing brightly.

This was going to be bad.

"What do you want from me? Are you expecting me to plead for mercy from you? I will not!" Saruman whispered hoarsely, "What has come over you? Is this how you see fit to parlay with me? More threats?"

Gandalf backed away a few feet and looked at him, with what was nearly amusement:

Shackled, and secured firmly, with magic as well as the manacles themselves, Saruman was not in any position to argue or debate!

"Parlay with you? I see you have not lost your remarkable arrogance. Parlay, indeed, Curumo! Do you truly think I am interested in that, now? After what has been done - after all you have done, now?"

Gandalf approached him closely, and the glowing, heated end of the Staff was giving off an incandescent radiance.

It looked rather - painful.

Curunír felt his nerve began to slip away again -he began to feel very ill again, and his legs were becoming very weak.

The world fell out from under him, and he was suddenly suspended by the shackles alone.

Mithrandir slowly held up the Staff close to his face, and he could feel the heat of it.

Curunír breathed hard, every intake of air painful, with the appalling dread of what was coming.

"You have brought us to this strange and terrible point, Curumo." Gandalf said very quietly. "I find myself going down a dark path at this moment, that I could never have dreamt of."

But Saruman was not interested in the reasons, or the reasoning. He only desired escape, but there was none to be had.

The voice- that endless tormenter! - had fallen silent at last. There was no guidance, no aid now, from any quarter. He was all alone, trapped in the Tower - his own Tower.

All alone - with a vengeful and - and -insubordinate! - lackey of that pretender to the throne - alone.

Utterly abandoned to his fate.

The Staff was gone- !

Involuntarily, he groaned softly, and Mithrandir only looked at him sadly.

"You must be made to understand what you have done, Curumo. If you can never find remorse in your heart- then there is truly no hope. You can never receive forgiveness, if you do not believe you have done any ill! I have not given up yet. I - I cannot seem to reach you, by any -normal - means."

Without warning, he moved the Staff and briefly touched Curunír with it, and then immediately took it away.

Curunír felt a strange, and unfamiliar sensation - he could not place it, really - he scarcely dared breathe, fearing that the sensation would increase if he did -

Gandalf was looking at him steadily, intently -and he raised the Staff again, and this time the feeling - the pain! - shocked him, and he flinched back violently, with a soft cry, closing his eyes.

And yet, even as he shrank back, his hips moved forward sharply, although he was not aware of it. There was another sensation, now - a feeling of warmth, a deep sweetness, somehow, that came out of the pain. It was there, alright, subtle as a lingering shadow, but unmistakable.

"Ah. Yes. Yes, that's what I thought."

Gandalf said quietly, frowning, ever so slightly. "So- I was correct."

He bowed his head in sorrow, and closed his eyes.

So corrupt. I fear there is no cure for such madness, such deep illness of the soul.


The evil that transmutes pain into pleasure- and the lust for pain that comes with it, to inflict it, ah, what can heal such malignancy of the soul?

Is he beyond my help, now?

He was very much afraid he already knew the answer.