by Milly of Isengard

Pairing: Gandalf/Saruman

Rating: NC-17

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 20 - UTOPIA

From Annatar's POV.

Barad- Dur: the Capitol.

Together, my twin Istari angels and I look out over our world.

On either side they flank me, shining white, impossibly white, their faces set in identical expressions of stern calm.

Guardians of white fire.

I love beauty.

I have been accused of hating love, and life, and beauty, but it is not so.

I can love.

And I do appreciate beauty.

I love the beauty in the eyes of my Istari as we make love together, linked together in passion and devotion.

I love the scent of the spring roses now climbing along the bottoms of the Tower.

The clear blue sky, unhurt and unchanged.

The wide expanse of horizon, and the sight of my Nazgûl, silent watchers, protectors, keepers of the Law.


His voice...his touch...that, too, I love, with all my weary soul.

How I yearn for him.

I turn from the sight of my domain for a moment, lost in longing and desire, sweet nostalgia, and the anticipation of what is coming.

I look at my Maiar brethren, as they gaze stoically over the now flowering and awakening countryside.

"It has been a very long winter.", I say.

Olórin looks at me, and smiles his easy, kind smile, and Curumo merely nods, and I know his mind is turning it all over.

Planning. Scheming. Thinking.

Such is his way.

My Ring? Why, it adorns my finger, as it ought to.

The halflings were pitifully easy to find, and I gave Olórin the honor of luring them to me. He agreed to do so with a strange look on his face, and then he carried out my command. He told them he had overpowered me, and I was bound, ready to take to Gondor, to be a lifelong prisoner.

They believed him! I still find a sense of wonder at it.

But they did believe him, and followed him, and then, gave him the Ring, when he asked for it.

"To keep it safe!", he had told them.

Frodo had asked him why he had not slain me, and Olórin had told him, "Out of mercy, he was defeated..."

Frodo had nodded, and his companion had frowned.

And then, he had brought them to me, to the Tower.

Their little eyes had bulged with shock and terror, but I could afford to be kind now.

As I slipped the Ring back on my aching finger, I had smiled at the little creatures, and removed my armor.

They looked upon my face with great wonder, and I laughed, then. They stared at me, transfixed.

"Does it please you, what you behold?" I asked them, and they trembled. And stared yet.

I sent them back to the Shire with a Nazgûl, and told them to "Prepare for changes..".

And the changes have come, and they are good.

Gondor and Rohan are flourishing again, oh, to be sure, it took a while to convince them that all would go well, if they would be reasonable.

I had only to demonstrate that I could decimate the whole of Middle Earth, and they seemed to understand a little better, then.

The Wheel of Fire stands tall and silent, unused, save for small demonstrations.

Olórin was so very helpful in bringing the nations in line. They listened to him, and often Curumo had the ideas to put forward, and Olórin would go forth with them.

But War is over, now, and I do not see another one looming.

Until my Dark Heart comes back, of course.

And then, Valinor itself shall give way.

Manwë came to me in a vision last night, amusing and angering me. I have no hate for the creatures of this world, but the Valar..that is another case altogether.

He stood before me, his hated face alight with rage at me, and then sinking into a dreadful sort of pity.

"What do you want here?" I had seethed, loathing him.

"Give this up, give yourself up, cease this madness..and there will be mercy for you!"

I laughed at him. "Indeed? I know what you did to Melkor! And- I know what you would have done to me, had I not fled before! Mercy? Scarcely!"

I expected the anger to rise hotter, but it did not, and instead his face had softened greatly.

"Annatar...Melkor was given mercy...you know this! Only after he made plain he would never- indeed- could not- redeem himself, and had only utter destruction as his desire, was he cast where he could do no more ill! Was he tormented? Did we take pleasure in causing him pain? You know we did not, and he still lives, albeit in a less dangerous state!"

My hate for him was so strong, it was all I could perceive. His words fell around me harmlessly.

"Begone!" I hissed at him, and then he spoke again, holding out an imploring hand to me-

"Annatar! Sauron- if you had surrendered before, you would have found leniancy! But I fear you had not the heart to face any consequences, nor any penalty at all! And so you fled, from our pardon and from our reach. And now- this! You have utterly usurped a world! Yet, I tell you, if you give way, if you will relent- there is yet mercy. You know I speak the truth!"

I had smiled at him, then, and replied, in my softest voice:

"Perhaps, and perhaps not! The mercy of an existence in a cold stupor? As you have given Melkor! But we shall never know! And you had best retreat to your own place, and tell the Valar..I am coming for them soon!"

He looked at me with a sad, horror-struck expression that froze even my hot blood, then, and whispered:

"You have been offered a way out, my poor deluded Annatar, and you are too blind with hate and lust for power to see it! No more, can I do. May you yet find your reason, before there is nothing existent of you to be found at all!"

I opened my mouth to scream curses at him, but he was already gone.

There is a sound of wings, now, as I come back to the present, and I see my magnificent King of Angmar, my dark and faithful servant, has come close, on his great dragon.

"My Lord..." He maneuvers the great beast close, as Curumo and Olórin watch impassively. "There is rumour of an uprising in Rohan! I seek leave to deal with it!"

I smile at him, admiring his courage- indeed, his fearlessness- and I answer:

"Faithful servant, First and Best, my Nazgûl ! Go and do as you must, Black Captain, and let victory be your comrade as ever!"

He has never wavered, this highest and greatest of the world of Men.

A King he is, indeed.

He draws and raises his sword in salute, and the flames race up the sides.

"Your Glory!" he shouts, and departs, the dragon winging its way towards Rohan.

The wind comes up, and blows my long hair around my face.

My Istari, as well, have their long silver-white tresses drifting around their serene and wise faces.

Long ago, so long ago...when proud Númenor had been drowned, and waves took us all, I had heard the voice of Mandos in my mind, telling me, in his stern manner, that all I touched, I tainted- I had been created as a maker of beauty, and now- I had perverted my gifts...and then he had come to close to me, and I had felt fear, true fear, and had turned away.

And I continued. I live. I always live.

As I look upon the broad expanse of my World, I ache again for my beloved, my heart, my Master.

Soon, Melkor, soon.

Smiling- I smile a great deal these days- I turn, and enter the dark embrace of Barad-Dur, my white guardians at my side.


Nay, not tainted. Do not say of it this.

Rather, say it is...PERFECTED.