This story is rated «R», and carries the warnings «Torture, rape, mind games».
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01 October 2010 | 1187 words | Work in Progress
It was the soup, this time. Faramir was reluctant to eat it, and Aragorn’s first instinct was to relent. But Faramir was reluctant about so many things these days, and sending for another dish from the kitchens would take time, and there was every chance that Faramir wouldn’t like the new dish either. So in a moment of desperate exhaustion, Aragorn brushed off his instincts and persisted.
“It’s only soup, Faramir.” He dipped Faramir’s wooden spoon in the broth and brought it up. “See?”
Faramir kept staring at a point beyond the spoon, but his throat muscles clenched and unclenched in a spasm. Swallowing, was that a good sign? Maybe his mouth was watering. The soup did smell great.
Aragorn inched the wooden spoon closer to Faramir’s mouth, careful not to make sudden movements. “Cook made this specially for you,” he said, mostly for the sake of sounding his voice. “Meat and barley. Is that your favorite?”
Apparently not: Faramir held his upper body rigid but tilted his head back as far as it would go. The tendons in his neck stood out with the strain. His eyes, however, remained fixed on that elusive point of nothingness just beyond the spoon.
“Faramir…” Aragorn hesitated with the spoon halfway to his friend’s tight lips. “It will be all well once you’ve tasted it. I swear it, my friend. Please?”
On some level, Aragorn hoped the ‘please’ would do it. So when Faramir remained unmoving, he brought the spoon up to the man’s lips and sent a gentle trickle of soup into his upturned mouth.
Faramir remained unmoving.
Then he choked and spluttered and flailed his arms, knocking the bowl out of Aragorn’s hand and showering them both with soup, even as he lurched backwards so violently that he fell from the chair. He landed sprawled on the thick carpet, coughing and wheezing.
Aragorn recoiled to his feet with a curse, which he quickly directed at himself. He lunged for the floor, helped Faramir roll onto his side to better expel the soup from his throat. His touch made the Ranger thrash anew, but it could not be helped—Valar forbid if Faramir choked—he gripped Faramir’s head and tilted it sideways as the Ranger coughed out more liquid, then released him, afraid the man’s neck would snap in his wild struggles.
He collapsed against the wall, drenched in soup and misery, and waited for the steward’s son to calm down.
“Time to eat, whore.”
Faramir tensed in his bonds, pressing flat against the wall despite the pain in his back and lower, there. The uruk-hai that had entered his cell was carrying a bowl of soup, and its stench reached across the room and shoved violent fingers down Faramir’s throat, turning his stomach.
He knew the scent well by now. Burned human flesh.
He’d been captured on the Pelennor along with four of his Rangers. Two he’d seen die many days ago. The other two he could get no news of, though he had little hope for them. And now this . . .
He ignored the bowl and glared at the uruk-hai. Once, he’d wondered about these creatures. Could their soul be twisted along with their bodies, doomed for evil without any chance of redemption? The thought had always moved him to pity.
He had no pity, no wonderment left in him now.
The tall orc crossed the cell in three long strides, towering over Faramir. Faramir locked his jaw, breathed fast and shallow through his nose. He could not move away, but he tilted his head back as far as it could go. The tendons in his neck burned with the strain.
The hand that gripped his chin was huge, coarse, fetid. He tried to rip his head free but soon stopped, scared that a sharp movement like that would snap his neck clear through. Foolish, really, when death would be the kinder choice.
There was still too much of the Gondorian soldier in him to die like that, he guessed.
The uruk-hai lifted the bowl to Faramir’s clamped lips. The hot scent floated up and clogged his nostrils and throat. It wasn’t the taste as much as the thought, the thought of—of—oh, Valar!
A cruel thumb dug into the joint of his jaw, enough to loosen his clenched muscles, and despite his best efforts, the tip of the bowl slipped past his lips and knocked into his teeth. A large mouthful of soup splashed over his tongue. He tried to spit it out, but the uruk-hai changed position to clamp a hand over his lips and nose.
Faramir shuddered, gagged.
Convulsed against the palm that smothered him.
A sharp pressure was building in his chest, as if his entire ribcage was slowly folding inward. He tried to suck a breath through his nose, without success. His throat contracted in a spasm.
Watched with tear-filmed eyes as the uruk-hai smiled at him, a sharp, nasty smile that relished every second of this torment. His hand didn’t move from Faramir’s face.
Faramir tried to shake his head, but no air found its way past the choking palm. Primordial panic flooded his body. He bucked and twisted, tried to bite the uruk-hai’s palm, all in vain.
Taste, motion, and fright tipped the balance of his stomach; he threw up in his mouth, soup and bile equally foul on his tongue. Even his nostrils burned. He felt tears detach from his eyes.
The uruk-hai’s smile sharpened, if possible, as if he knew exactly what had happened.
His hand didn’t move.
Faramir convulsed again, pulling at his chains. The monstrous visage before him floated, stretched, blurred as he began to lose consciousness. The pressure on his chest now felt as if he’d caught a blow from a war-hammer full on.
He swallowed again, bile and all.
And finally, finally the hand left his face, letting him slump in his chains and wheeze and gurgle and suck in air, foul air, blessed air.
It took him long moments to compose himself, to blink away the tears, to clear his throat as best he could, to marshal his flagging honor.
And then it started all over again.
Slowly, after an eternity, Faramir’s body grew limp and his breath steadier. Aragorn shrugged off his exhaustion and looked up.
“All right now?” he said softly.
The Ranger stared at the ceiling with empty gray eyes.
Aragorn pushed himself away from the wall and moved to kneel next to Faramir. He maneuvered him into a sitting position, then allowed himself to hug the young man, to rest his head on Faramir’s shoulder.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered in his ear. “I won’t do that again. All right?”
They remained like that for a moment, until Faramir began to stiffen in his embrace. Aragorn quickly drew back and helped the Ranger to his feet.
“All right,” Aragorn said again. “Let’s get you cleaned up, then off to bed with you.”
But even as his voice echoed in the cold room, he knew his words could not reach whatever nightmare-scape still held Faramir captive.
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The following people read the story, enjoyed it, and would like to thank the author: pinbot , Ingrid , Signe , , Mel