by Milly of Isengard

Pairing: Gandalf/Saruman

Rating: NC-17

Disclaimer: no $$$ made, needless to say – all Characters belong to Tolkien

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 2 - Fury

Curunír awoke in hazy awareness of his surroundings - and then, as the realization dawned of his situation - he was lightly but firmly shackled -rage boiled to the surface. The sheer daring of anyone to shackle him was extraordinary, unbelievable- and for it to be Mithrandir- well, that was insulting, as well.

Or so it felt, to him.

He looked around wildly, and saw that he was, in fact, not only shackled, but was secured from behind to a tall thin tree, with his arms around its circumference. Sitting shackled, trapped! His mind nearly burst with anger and frustration.

Someone was walking up to him.

"You!", he shouted at the approaching figure in white, "I will kill you for this, I swear it!"

Mithrandir the White- radiant and resplendent -smiled at Curunír, with a look of indulgent amusement.

"Now, now, Curunír - is that any way to address your lover of a few hours ago?"

Curunír looked at Mithrandir with speechless fury - and then nearly screamed, "You deceived me! You betrayed me!" - and Mithrandir merely shook his head and replied:

"Betrayed you? My friend- you have a very short memory. You have put yourself in this position, and no one else. Except -perhaps - for Sauron, who truly bears the weight of the blame. You were tested, and did not live up to the temptation. And the lure of the Ring is - I know -very powerful. I do not totally blame you. But I have not betrayed you. I have, in fact, most likely saved you from a worse fate than mere captivity."

Curunír looked as if he might literally explode, and lunged against his bonds, straining to break free.

"Saruman - cease your struggling! You are only going to hurt your wrists!"

Mithrandir frowned darkly at Curunír, who was looking at him with vivid hatred.

"Now: if you will but settle down for a moment-we can discuss this situation!"

Curunír forced himself to calm down, and sat back down on the ground, hard. Mithrandir watched him for a moment, and then spoke in quiet, measured tones:

"Now, there are many troubles afoot these days, and it has fallen to me to see after - and deal with you. And so I find myself responsible for your fate."

He hesitated to see what reaction this would bring, but Curunír's jaw merely clenched slightly, as it always did when he was thinking deeply.

So Mithrandir continued:

"As I was saying, I must deal with- this situation. I will not bore you by listing the charges -but among them number murder and treason, and outright war against your own allies. All this you already know. I know not what all you may have done, that is secret. I do not wish to know."

"Get to the point! Why do you ramble and preach! Not everyone devours your every word, like your halfling-rabble you give sermons to!" Curunír snarled viciously, his face permeated with anger.

Mithrandir sighed, and finished:

"Alright, here is the point you are so eager for! You are my prisoner now, and I do not want any difficulty with you! I do not wish to hurt you - you really ought to know that- but I will restrain you, and if you give me any problems - I will not hesitate to take action to control you!"

Curunír stared at him in vast shock, and then, speaking in a voice so filled with outrage it trembled, answered:

"How dare you. How dare you! You - are-threatening me?"

"I am not threatening you. I am informing you what will happen, and how you may avoid having it happen." Mithrandir said calmly.

"And what will you do to me, hmm? What, exactly? Kill me?" Again, he strained against the shackles, pulling so hard that the metal bit into his wrists, drawing blood.

"Nay, Curumo, I am not threatening your life- I have never implied such a thing! But- I tell you again- I will stop you by force if you leave me no choice!"

"Bastard! Treacherous, vile, consorting with the filth of this world, in love with the vermin that infest the Shire, and slavering after the men who infect this - " Curunír seethed savagely - until he was cut off sharply -


Mithrandir had suddenly had enough of Curunír's raging, and seemed to grow in size - there was faint glow around him, and he took a step towards Curunír, who, for his part, did not show any signs of concern or alarm, but did fall silent.

Mithrandir was not reacting in anger- however-but allowing Curunír to work himself up more and more was going to lead to no good.

"Hold your tongue, keep your evil thoughts to yourself, at least to me! I have no interest in hearing your venomous notions. Now- get to your feet, Curunír, we have a ways to travel - a long ways."

Curunír said no more, and Mithrandir went around carefully behind him and removed the manacles.

He put out a hand to help Curunír to his feet, but it was disdained, and slowly Curunír got to his feet, and stood before Mithrandir -

"My staff- what have you done with it? Where is it?" he asked -

Mithrandir replied carefully, considering his words before he spoke:

"It is safe- I have it- I cannot trust you with it!-and you hardly merit it, at this point!

"Give it back to me, you have no right! I demand-I demand you return it to me! And then- perhaps- I will listen to what you have to say."

Mithrandir paused, and looked Curunír straight in the eye -

"Truly, your arrogance is beyond all telling! Have you no concept of what a prisoner is? You seemed to have no difficulty understanding, when I was an unwilling - guest- in your Tower!"

Curunír scowled darkly, but said nothing else.

Mithrandir motioned ahead to the road with his staff, and with an annoyed snort, Curunír walked slowly forwards.

They came to Shadowfax, tied to a shrub, remarkably well-hidden from view.

Curunír could see his staff, as it lay in the saddlehold-his fingers ached to grasp it, to get hold of it- oh, if he could only get hold of it, he would make Mithrandir pay, oh yes, pay dearly!

Mithrandir seemed to be aware of this, and he said softly, "Do not make me take any action against you, Curumo- leave the staff where it is, and do not try to take it! I will not allow you to do it, and I will have to restrain you! Now- walk- ahead of me- I will ride slowly, and have a careful eye on you!"

Curunír turned around, and faced Mithrandir, and for the first time, looked somewhat concerned, and as if he was taking it seriously, finally -

"What are your plans, then? What are you plotting to do- with me? Tell me the truth!"

Mithrandir looked at him thoughtfully, and then said:

"Would you have me decide your fate? Or stand before a tribunal of some sort? I will let you decide that yourself." With no hesitation at all, Curunír quickly replied:

"I would face you, and you alone, if I had my way. And what will you do- what are your schemes for my fate? If you plan on imprisoning me, pray, kill me now, then, and be done with it. I prefer that to being locked away! Draw that sword, and end it for me- for both of us."

Mithrandir gaped at him, frankly astonished.

And then he realized he actually did not have any true plans for Curunír's fate.

"Kill you? You are serious? I would never- I would not harm you, unless I had no other way out!" Mithrandir answered him, in a stunned, sad voice.

"Do not lock me away! You fancy yourself so very kind, yes, so very merciful! Then do not do this!"

Curunír was not even aware of it, but his voice was very strained, filled with worry - even fear.

Mithrandir considered for a moment- and then said- " I cannot kill you, Curumo- did you truly believe I would? Or that I was contemplating it? Do not think on this anymore - this is hardly the time or place. I will promise you: I will not deal cruelly or unfairly with you!"

Curunír did not look relieved, and in fact, the fear was growing in his heart, as he now was coming to grips with being captured, and subject to some sort of consequences to all he had done.

But Mithrandir motioned again to the road, and though his soul felt troubled and weary, he started down the road-

Behind him, Shadowfax plodded softly.

I am utterly damned now - his mind whispered mercilessly (or was it really his mind?) - I am doomed, and damned.

Is there no one to help? Where is the Dark Lord now?