INTERLUDE

DISCLAIMER : Tolkien Characters are owned by Tolkien. I'm not going to be making any money from this.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a story about Frodo when he is in the Tower of Cirith Ungol.

This is a tale about someone who was captured many years ago and takes care of Frodo so that the Orcs can get information out of him.

No, there won't be any torture scenes. This is a psychological tale. Some violence, and illusions to what might have happened, but there is NO rape and NO slash..

Please Read and Review

-Thank-you-
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CHAPTER ONE -- Please, Just Let Me Die
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

He lay on the cold stone floor and I stood there watching him after climbing the long stairs to his cell. I hadn't seen anything quite so pathetic in a long time...even when I looked at myself in the mirror. How many years had I been prisoner here? I couldn't even remember it had been so long since I had seen the sun against my face. Perhaps twenty years...maybe more. I'd seen many prisoners come and go, and a great deal of death and pain. It was more than a miracle that I had survived, but I was an elf. My name? Who cared any more in this world? Who really cared. It was highly likely that I'd be here for many many more.

I looked at the shivering creature, it was a halfling, from the Shire. I sighed, they wanted it to survive and had ordered me to care for its wounds so that they could interrogate it. I referred to other prisoners as 'it' because it was easier for me to deal with. I knew...knew that I'd be here for many more years until such time that Mordor was defeated...if ever. I knelt down by the shirtless creature and turned him over.

It whimpered softly, and moaned. And suddenly, as I turned the prisoner. . .its tiny fingers closed around my wrist.

The halfling's eyes were squeezed shut, but it had been drawn to my warmth, I suppose. I studied the small frame, amazed that it had come this far….and still lived. It was so frail and drawn. I had carried a bucket of…mostly clean water with me and a few small rags. They had also given me some bandages, but that really wasn't going to help much. I had a few herbs I could mix up with the water and apply to the wounds to clean them. The guard that had come with me lounged against the wall and licked its lips, watching us. I averted my gaze, knowing that they reacted to confrontation and at the moment, I had no use for that.

There was a red swelling, dark and necrotic in places, at the back of his small neck: Shelob's bite, of course. His left shoulder bore signs of an old wound, and I shivered as my fingers brushed across it. Most acutely in need, though, were the whip-weals. . .a long, ugly one ran up his side, and clearly he needed tending lest those areas become infected. He seemed exhausted: spent physically. . .and more, in fact: as if he had been drained of all will to live, driven into pained, sorrowful resignation to some dark fate. . . .

I knew that no matter what I did now…they would continue to break it. At least…at the very least I could ease it's suffering. It's eyes fluttered open and I was struck by how terribly blue they were in the darkness. It gazed at me hopefully, then it shivered and remembered where it was. I don't know how it could have even seen that I was much different than an orc. I don't remember the last time I bathed…or when my hair had been combed or my clothing different from the tattered grimy dress. I had forgotten how to smile, so I merely looked down grimly at it.

There was no pillow to rest its head, and I had no real words for comfort. I turned it so that its head rested in my lap, my hand trembled for a moment as it rested in the halfling's thick curls. His eyes were still open, staring at me. I tried not to let them get to me, the fear and pain that I saw within was unlike anything that I had ever encountered in the Tower. It wanted words of comfort, it wanted me to hold him and tell him everything was going to be okay. But I knew it wasn't. They would be coming back for him in the morning. They had more questions, I'd heard the guards say.

"Who are you?" the halfling gasped after I pressed a bit of water to it lips. "What do you want?" It shivered…and I knew from touching its forehead that it had a raging fever, and from the glazed look in its eyes it was likely suffering from delerium. Shutting out the reality of its situation, no doubt. "Please…don't hurt me…" it grimaced as I began to clean the wound on its side and cried out sharply in pain.

"It does not matter who I am." I shrugged, it really didn't, I told myself. "Just relax." I spoke in the common tongue for elvish was as foreign to me now as it would have been to one who had never heard it. I wished I had something to give him, but there was nothing but the clensing herbs. Words of comfort…I don't remember them…not since the last time I saw Mirkwood. I frowned at myself, it did no good to think about the forest, for it only made things worse for me.

The orc guard noticed that we were talking and garbled something in a growl over at me. I glanced at him and sighed. They wanted this to be quick, but I knew I was going to need most of the night. "Karkosh." I spoke the name and bile rose to my throat as it always did when I tried to communicate with my captors. They were odd creatures, orcs, filled with contradictions and tormented by their own demons.

It shambled over to me and peered at the halfling, who cowered in terror. "Karkosh I need tonight to deal with the wounds." I tried to explain in a careful slow tone.

"Don't have night. 2 hours. Master wants him." the orc gurgled a gutteral laugh. I shivered, and for the first time I felt pity for another prisoner in many years. "Has things to ask."

"It's not ready." I responded, gruffly. It was the only way to have a conversation with. "Its got fever. Won't be coherent. Master will get nothing from him, only wasted time and put him closer to death. Tell him I make him better, easier to get answers from. But give me 24 hours. Go…Ask."

"Why should I?" The orc shrugged. "Here to guard."

"Karkosh, what am I going to do? Jump out the window with it? Go tell Master!" The only way to deal with an orc was to act superior. Even as a prisoner, I did have more standing than most. I did what they told me to do, because otherwise…I shut out the memories…"Go." I snapped harshly.

And the Orc backed down, but not before shoving its fist into my face, a friendly way of leaving. My head snapped back but I held my ground. It laughed, a gurgling sound that always made me sick to my stomach. Respect…the only way to get it was not to let them break you. To stand your ground. I stared back at him, unblinking. "24 hours." it nodded and began to climb down the stairs.

Once we were alone, I bathed the halfling's face instead of just tending to its wounds, knowing that would at least bring down the fever. "He's gone." I soothed, though my voice was rough and hard.

"I'm Frodo…" it whimpered. "Please…" it gazed up at me and clutched my shoulder with its tiny hand. "Please…Let me die." it begged softly. "I don't want to go on…I failed…everything is over…I can't face anyone…not after…Just…let me die."

"I don't know all of what they did to you, little one." I spoke finally in a softer voice as I tended to his wounds with the meager selection of herbs at my disposal. "I know what they are capable of." I winced as it cried out once again when I tried to clean the wound.

"Are you an elf?" it asked, its fingers falling from weakness to the floor. It stared at me with its expressive eyes, great pain lay within, greater than that which resulted from the torture.

"Yes." I responded as gently as I could manage.

"Where are you from?" The creature called Frodo was trying to get its mind off the pain, I knew.

I took a deep breath and then realized that no matter what I did, this was the first time I found myself actually caring about another prisoner. It was drawing out something that had been locked away for so many years. Locked away and hidden. "Mirkwood." I supplied with a little frown.

"Legolas….Legolas is from Mirkwood." Frodo tried hard to supress another cry of pain. "Do you know him?"

Do I know the Prince of Mirkwood. Silly creature. I sighed and closed my eyes trying hard not to let an image of Legolas and home rise to my mind. A home and face I would never see again. I had accepted that. I would see generations of orcs, but I would never see my home again. "I…." I did not want to answer, because that would bring back memories I didn't want in my mind just now. "I know him."

Frodo was now gazing at the rose shaped birthmark on the inside of my wrist, I think perhaps it might be trying to remember something about me. "How long have I been here?" it asked timidly, its eyes were haunted with pain and memory.

"A few days." I told it gently, dabbing at the wound that was already beginning to infect. "Not long."

"How long have you been here?" it winced.

"Longer than you want to know, little one." I shifted a little and gazed at the window while the herbs set in. Would they give me the 24 hours I needed? Doubtful. They knew I could heal their prisoners, that was why I was here. They wanted the little one coherent and able to answer questions. I wished there was a way to spare him that, but there wasn't it. Either way…he would be in pain. I stroked the side of his cheek absently and it seemed to comfort him to a degree that he snuggled against my lap. I stared down in some surprise. He was like a small child…though I knew he wasn't. I began to bandage the wound on his side tenderly.

* * *

To Be continued…Well…What do you think? Please R&R.J