This is a dark one, folks. Just some missing scenes from The Two Towers, in the movie-verse. NC-17. Hurt, no comfort. Non-con Frodo/OC sex (rape).

Men of Gondor
by Laura Mason

"Bind their hands."

The captain didn't even stay to see his men carry out the order. Sam was hauled to his feet and his hands pulled behind him. Frodo was still struggling, which seemed to amuse the man holding him. Sam didn't like the look in his eyes, but a dark cloth was tied over his eyes almost immediately. And then he heard a gasp of pain from Frodo.

"Mr. Frodo!"

"Quiet, you." Sam was pushed to the ground again but immediately tried to rise, almost frantic with concern. "Stop moving." And there was a cold blade at his throat again.

Sam sank back obediently, straining his ears. The blade was removed after a few moments of intense stillness. Sam heard the noise of the battle, further off, and gasping breaths nearby. Then came a soft murmur.

"Pretty little thing, aren't you? For an orc spy." No reply to that, and Sam pictured Frodo's eyes, huge with fear. Then the voice again, louder. "Stay with that one, Daron. I'm going to interrogate him."

"You know the Captain will handle that."

"He's right busy now, and there may be no time to waste." But there was a sneer in the voice, and Sam didn't think the man was interested in getting information from Frodo. He'd seen men react to the Ringbearer before, seen that expression of lust in far too many eyes since they'd left the Shire. It might be the influence of the Ring, but Sam knew Frodo was beautiful. The combination of his unearthly eyes with the lure of the Ring spelled constant danger.

"Please, sir," Sam whispered, but his guard did not answer. He moved a little, and was ignored. Sam imagined his guard following the other, watching. He wondered why he'd even thought this Daron person might help Frodo. Men weren't like that, except perhaps for Strider. Look how Boromir had behaved that day they left the others. He'd broken a solemn oath and tried to kill Frodo to get at the Ring. No, men and hobbits weren't at all alike.

Sam managed to get on his knees and tried to rub along the ground enough to drag the binding off his eyes. He was making noise, but no one stopped him. He could probably get up and run, but he'd be likely to run off a cliff with his eyes covered. Anyway, he couldn't leave Frodo, no matter.

A cry of pain had Sam sobbing even as he heard laughter from the two men. Sam had never felt such hate, not even for the orcs in Moria. He managed with frantic motions to shake off the cloth at last. He looked up, a little dazzled by the afternoon light, and saw his guard a few feet away, leaning on a tree, intently watching in the opposite direction. Sam awkwardly rose and crept closer, reluctant to see yet determined to know the worst.

Before he reached him, some sense made his guard turn. An almost comical look of surprise, followed by anger as the man drew his blade again. "Sit down right there, spy, or I'll kill you, orders or not."

Sam obeyed, his eyes blazing contempt at the man. He was close enough now to hear Frodo's soft sobs, hear the groans of the soldier and the smack of flesh on flesh. Then a grunt, another soft cry from Frodo, and silence.

"Want a turn?" Sam's fists clenched at the casual tone, the offer, and the light of interest in his guard's face.

"No, best not damage him too much. Captain Faramir will be back soon."

"He'll never know, will he little one?" Frodo's only answer was a soft moan, and Sam began crying again.

When the tall man finally brought Frodo back and threw him beside Sam, Frodo was bound and his eyes covered by a black cloth, just like the one Sam had worn. And Sam found himself grateful that Frodo didn't know what he'd seen and heard.

"Mr. Frodo," he whispered. "Is that you?"

"Y..yes, Sam. Are you all right?"

Sam choked back a sob. "A little tired to tell the truth, sir. Can we get some sleep while we wait for these men to finish their business?"

He didn't expect an answer, he merely crawled closer to Frodo and tried to comfort him with his body. Frodo was shaking a little, no doubt in shock and pain, but Sam ignored it and pretended to relax into sleep, his face tucked into Frodo's neck where the dark curls would soak up his tears.

***

"You need to come with me." Faramir stood over them, two men with him, and Frodo shivered as he pushed himself up. Sam was asleep behind him, or so he hoped.

"I'll come. Please leave Sam to rest." he pleaded.

"Fine." Faramir pushed him along a dark passage, and the men left them. Frodo could barely walk, between pain from the earlier assault and fear now. He wondered if he'd die here in this cave, and if he did whether Sam could get the Ring and escape. Perhaps Sam could disappear just long enough to escape these evil men.

Frodo found himself not caring whether the Ring was destroyed or not. Perhaps Sauron should win. If these were the noble men of Gondor, was Middle Earth worth saving?

But the memory of Galadriel's mirror and the vision of enslaved hobbits came into his mind. He tried to shake off despair, to pay attention to the path Faramir was leading him on, to stay alert. So many precious lives depended on him, and it didn't matter what anyone did to him so long as he was able to continue to Mordor. Frodo wouldn't survive the quest, he knew that. But he still hoped that Sam would somehow find a way back.

But he was so tired, so weak. None of the men who'd carried him had commented on the blood on his legs; no one cared if the prisoner was injured. They were at war, and there was no medicine for spies or foreigners. Frodo didn't think hobbits of the Shire could ever be that cold, but they'd never been at war for years, constantly under attack. Perhaps it was only natural for these men to be this way.

"Faramir, we don't need to go so far," Frodo panted. "I'll be quiet."

The captain stopped walking and turned, surprise on his face. "What do you mean?"

Frodo blushed but couldn't find words to explain. "There's no need to take me so far from the others..."

"Yes there is, Frodo Baggins, or I wouldn't have disturbed your rest. I need to show you something." He reached for Frodo's arm, to lead him again, but stopped when Frodo flinched away from his grasp. "Why do you shrink from me?"

"I'm sorry," he gasped, moving even further from the man.

"You knew my brother, yet you do not understand the honor of a man of Gondor." Faramir sounded hurt, Frodo realized, and he almost laughed aloud. "You are not in danger from me, Frodo. This is a dangerous land now, but you are safe here."

Frodo did actually laugh, just once, then covered his mouth in shock, looking up at Faramir, terrified.

"You think I am being mocking?"

"I am your prisoner, not your guest. I do not feel safe."

"Yet you are, for the honor of Gondor requires that we treat even our prisoners fairly. You've been fed, you were given a warm place to sleep. Yet you still do not understand." Faramir stalked off, long strides, and Frodo struggled to follow him.

"Please, then, can you walk a little slower?" The captain turned, once again looking surprised.

"I'm sorry, Frodo. That was thoughtless of me." He resumed his path, careful to take smaller steps. "Are you injured?"

Frodo debated how to answer. Best not to. "This place feels very old to me, like the ruins along the Anduin."

Faramir didn't press the issue. "It is an ancient stronghold of Gondor, known only to our people."

"Your country has been at war for many years."

"We have been at war for generations, Frodo, and even in times of peace there is work for the men of Gondor, defending our borders. The world is full of treachery." He led Frodo through an archway, made a turn, and they were outside. There was a noise of water. Frodo looked up and saw the full moon, a clear dark sky full of stars, and sighed. Such beauty still affected him, despite the horrors of the world.

"Not all the world, Faramir. I've seen how the elves live and their lands are free of such evil. And the Shire, my home, is peaceful. My people do not deceive each other."

"Indeed." Faramir looked down at him. "Yet you have lied to me, Frodo. You said there was no other companion with you and Sam. Yet my men found this." Faramir gestured for him to come closer.

Frodo froze for a moment, then approached. He looked over the edge, down at the waterfall and the pool beneath it, and saw Smeagol there, diving.

"To look upon the secret pool means a sentence of death." Faramir indicated the archers surrounding the pool, all aiming at Smeagol as he surfaced with a fish, singing a rhyme. "They are awaiting my order. Shall I give the signal?"

Frodo stared at him, wishing he could trust Faramir, wishing he could get advice from someone. This burden was too much, and seeing this pitiful creature before him every day, seeing the effects of owning the Ring only added to the burden. A part of Frodo wanted to let Faramir kill Smeagol, so he'd never have to see him again. But that was his own cowardice. He knew, quite clearly, that Gandalf wished for Smeagol to live. And they owed him a debt now -- he and Sam would never have made it this far without him.

"No. This creature is bound to me, and I to him. Let me go down to him. Please?"

Faramir nodded, signaling the archers to remain in position. He led Frodo back through the caves, to another passage. There were armed men there as well.

"If you do not capture him, we will shoot him," Faramir warned. Frodo nodded his understanding, then went out and tricked Smeagol into following him into a trap. It wasn't until they bound Smeagol and put the hood over his face that Frodo realized he'd just helped the men who'd assaulted and brutalized him. Surely they wouldn't do that to Smeagol...

He looked up and saw Faramir staring down at him, his noble face full of contempt for Frodo's betrayal of his companion. Then the captain turned and followed the men dragging Smeagol away.

**

"The Ring will not save Gondor. It brings only destruction." The halfling was lying again, Faramir was sure of it. He gestured for Renet to keep moving, but as he was shoved away Frodo struggled again, crying out "Faramir, you must let me go!"

Renet practically lifted the hobbit, then gave him a shove that sent him to his knees. Faramir watched for a moment as Frodo struggled back to his feet. He was definitely having difficulty walking, though he'd ignored Faramir's question last night as to whether he'd been injured.

Faramir stared into the distance, seeing the ruin of Osgiliath yet still able to imagine the city as it once had been, full of people, alive and beautiful. Long before his lifetime. Laughter drew his attention back to the man guarding Frodo, and he watched the hobbit painfully pick himself up once again, assisted none-too-gently by Renet's large hand on the back of his neck.

He turned to Sam, being led by Daron. "What ails your master, Samwise? Has he been injured?"

The look of pure hatred in Sam's eyes actually made Faramir take a step backwards. Then he strode forward again, stopping their movement. "By what right do you ignore my question?"

Daron kept his eyes respectfully down. Faramir didn't often invoke his authority as the Steward's son, but he'd learned how to mimic his father's lordly air as needed. But Sam looked up at him again with the fire in his hazel eyes undimmed.

"I was foolish enough to trust you last night, Captain, despite what your men did to him. I asked for your help and got us dragged off to Gondor. I won't be stupid enough to ask again."

Sam kept walking, and after an awkward moment of silence Daron scrambled after him. But Faramir stood there a few minutes longer, watching his troops file past, trying to understand.

**

"Leave him be, Renet. The prisoner can hardly walk now, and the Captain suspects." Sam woke to the voice of his guard and carefully put an arm over Frodo. The tenseness in the slim body showed his master was awake, too. Gollum was wheezing and muttering to himself nearby, bound and blindfolded.

"Surely you've noticed that pretty mouth of his."

Daron laughed. "He'll bite you -- these halflings are fierce. I'd never trust him."

"Ah, but we can make him behave. Grab the other one and put your blade to his neck, and they'll both be good. That's why he didn't scream yesterday." Sam clutched Frodo closer and felt his hand squeezed gently. Then Frodo pushed away from him and stood.

"You don't need to wake Sam. I'll do whatever you wish." Sam couldn't pretend to sleep through this. He quickly sat up, tears rolling down his face.

"Mr. Frodo, don't..."

"Be still, Sam." He flinched when Renet grasped his arm, but stayed quiet as he'd promised as he was dragged off into the foliage. Sam had just scrambled up to follow them when Faramir moved into the glade, his face dark with rage.

"Daron, bring Samwise," he commanded, moving after Renet and Frodo. Sam didn't need to be led, though. He followed Faramir at a run, wondering how much the captain had heard. Wondering if he'd been wrong about this man.

Frodo was on the ground, on his knees in front of Renet, who whirled at the noise Sam made. The man's face immediately became alarmed, and he clutched his tunic together.

"Frodo!" Sam ran over to his master, who looked up with bleak, hopeless eyes.

"No, please... you must stay safe." Despite the words he clung to Sam's arms as they went around him. Then both hobbits gasped as Faramir drew his sword. But he aimed it at his men, not at them.

"You are men of Gondor, not some filthy orcs of the Enemy. How can you behave in this manner?" The two men cowered before him, but made no answer. "Go and join the others. Quickly, before I decide you are unfit to defend Osgiliath."

The two guards ran off and Faramir sheathed his blade, then knelt beside Frodo and Sam.

"I am sorry this happened to you while you were in my custody, Frodo. Sam." He sighed, looking at their faces. "Come with me." He rose, then pulled up the two hobbits.

"Please..." Frodo sighed. "Let us go. No one in Gondor can wield the Ring."

"I don't believe that. My father is a great man. His will is strong."

"He'll be corrupted by it. You see what it's done to Smeagol, and I know what it is doing to me."

"Enough. The Ring is going to my father, but I will be certain you are kept safe." He waited while Sam helped Frodo walk slowly back to the main body of men.

Even as they fought their way into the city, Faramir's thoughts were on Frodo. Despite his words, he did believe Frodo. The one lie the hobbit had told him had been plain on that expressive face. Those eyes reflected weariness, strain, pain -- some of it due to his blindness about his own men. Faramir directed the attack, swung his sword, and all the time saw Frodo's strained face before him.

Then, when he ordered them taken to the Steward, Sam had burst out with the news that Boromir had broken faith because of the Enemy's Ring. It should have shocked and appalled Faramir; he should have defended his brother and called Sam a liar. But he could not, for the truth was in his heart as well as Sam's angry eyes. What was he doing, truly, except behaving as he thought Boromir would in the same circumstance?

Then the Nazgul descended, and he watched in horror as the Ring called danger down upon them. He managed to make a shot at the fell beast carrying the ringwraith, but he knew that they'd all been saved by Samwise Gamgee's fierce bravery and love -- the same love that kept Frodo from striking Sam dead while under the Ring's influence.

He listened to Frodo's despair and Sam's halting words, wondering if there was ever a time he could have been a friend to these hobbits, instead of a hindrance. Almost an enemy, for he had brought them miles out of their way, subjected them to cruelty and torture. He had no aid to give them when he set them free.

Perhaps if he'd been sent to Rivendell instead of Boromir, he could have been a friend to them both, their defender and champion. Then his brother might still be alive, though Faramir doubted he would have resisted the fell spell of the Ring any better than Boromir had. No matter, for he was certain his brother had died well -- the vision of him on the river had been beautiful, filled with nobility.

The Nazgul was gone, and Faramir moved over to the hobbits, followed by his men. He carefully knelt before them, unthreatening. "I think we finally begin to understand each other, Frodo Baggins."

He saw them safely through the sewers, to the Eastern shore and well away from the fighting. The creature Smeagol was released to guide them again, and he watched until they were lost in the trees of Ithilien.

"Your father will not understand."

"No matter, my friend. I will accept his judgement, whatever it may be." They moved quickly back to their troop, retreating to the west to guard Minas Tirith. Daron was dead, Faramir learned, and Renet missing. He might have been lost, but Faramir thought Renet had deserted, unwilling to face Faramir's judgement for his crime.

As they set up camp for the evening, Faramir found himself remembering the anger in Sam's eyes, and the stark hopelessness in Frodo's. He wished again there were something he could do to make peace with them, but he did not believe he would see either of them again. Their journey was a hopeless one.

Faramir looked to the east and whispered to the sky "I hope I have shown there is some courage among the men of Gondor." He did not think it compared to the courage of the two hobbits.

 

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