Summary: Sinbad in the interrogation chair. His captors want him uninjured, so they torture others in an attempt to make him talk. A short story about what Sinbad does when they bring in just the right prisoner.

This story is based on an idea I've had for awhile, written at an ungodly hour because I was finally inspired enough to actually write it. Enjoy. R&R?

Rated T for Torture (/shot)


"What do you think of this, my king?" the man asked, gesturing toward the broken woman lying prone on his operating table. The man's eyes were wild, although he waited patiently for Sinbad to respond just as if he were in his right mind. After a long pause, the man shrugged and turned back to his victim.

Sinbad did his best to keep his face straight. He would not show weakness in the face of such cruelty. He couldn't afford to. Maybe – just maybe – this crazed man would leave this woman be if he assumed Sinbad didn't care. He prayed that she could hold on just a little longer.

Praying became more difficult when the screams started again. Sinbad set his face as straight as he could and struggled to focus on something – anything – else in the large room. It was set up in the same way as a gladiatorial arena, although far too small to have ever been used for that sport. The round "stage" where his interrogator performed and the leveled seating circling the entire platform led him to believe this might once have been some kind of theater. Sinbad found it sickening to imagine what kind of things had gone on in this place. His eyes darted between blood stains on the stone floor and the doctor's scattered tools. He strained against the ropes holding him to his front row seat. Where had they taken his metal vessels?

The woman on the table stopped screaming as the doctor stepped away from her, pulling long, bloodied gloves off his arms and tossing them to the floor. Sinbad knew that she had once been beautiful, a native Sindrian who had made herself his constant companion during Mahrajan festivals. The doctor had turned her face ugly with blood.

"I wish you wouldn't be so cruel, Sinbad."

The king couldn't stop the scowl from forming on his face. The doctor beamed up at him from the stage and Sin managed to pull his expression back to neutral before he spoke. "I don't know what you mean."

The doctor smirked. "You know what we want. All of this –" he made a wide gesture with his arms before pointing to his still victim. "It could all end if you would just speak up."

Sinbad said nothing. The doctor waited several minutes. Then he shrugged and turned to a guard waiting by the door.

"Take this away. Bring me that one."

Sinbad watched as a pair of guards came into the theater and removed the woman from the doctor's table. Her blood left a slick trail as they dragged her from the room. Sinbad clenched his fists so hard behind his back that the rope burned into his wrists, making sure not to let any of the anger reach his face. He watched the doctor wiping the table off with a rag, listened to the tune the man hummed under his breath. He glanced over at Sin once or twice while he cleaned, smiling each time. The king couldn't help but shudder.

The doctor was obviously thrilled about whoever the guards were bringing in next, but instead of worrying about it, Sinbad focused on escaping this torture chamber. He gave his bonds an experimental tug. The rope was strong but when he reached his long fingers backward, he found an area frayed by him constantly wringing his hands in anger. Sinbad looked up at the doctor, making sure his back was turned before he stretched his arm in such a way that he could pick at the rope's untangling strands. It would take a while, but if he could wait it out, Sin would be one step closer to freedom.

The doctor stopped his cleaning and his head whipped around toward the door when he heard approaching footsteps. Sin's hands stilled, trying to separate the muffled voices, listening for verbal clues as to who the next victim could be. The door swung open, pushed by a heavy shoulder, and four people entered: three guards struggling to hold their prisoner still.

Sinbad stared hard at the person. Between all the movement, the bag thrown over their head, and the dirty clothes the doctor had put every prisoner in, it was hard to make a guess. Sinbad's stomach began to sink as he added up the only clues he had: 1) the doctor only brought people Sinbad was close to, 2) the doctor had mentioned that he had a couple of the generals in his prison, 3) the doctor looked completely overjoyed as the guards led their charge toward the operating table. This prisoner had a small build, but enough physical strength that they needed to be held down by three guards.

The doctor hurried forward, motioning for the guards to hurry up. In his excitement, the man got a little too close and Sin's eyes widened when the prisoner threw their head back, connecting with doctor's nose. Had that been silver hair?

The doctor howled, clutching at his face. He turned angrily toward the guards and spoke loudly through his now broken nose, "Hold him still, dammit!"

Sinbad tried to erase his expression again but he already knew what he was about to see. Hands sweating, heart beating a mile a minute, he stared as the guards lifted their prisoner onto the table. The doctor moved forward again, having stemmed the blood from his injury. Sin heard him mutter 'little bastard' under his breath as he secured the man's wrists in restraints above his head and ankles in matching ones at the end of the table. He motioned for the guards to leave and snapped at them when they hesitated.

"Get out, you idiots. Go do something useful."

Sinbad hoped his face still looked neutral when the doctor suddenly looked up at him, ignoring the struggling man on his table. He gave the king a wicked smile, taking the bag over his victim's head and slowly pulling it off.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Pale skin, a gag holding back obscenities. No, no, no, no! Freckles and silver hair. By now, the doctor was clearly holding back laughs at the panic on Sinbad's face. No, no, no, NO! The bag came off to reveal snake-like eyes full of hate, staring up at the doctor.

Ja'far.

"I see I chose a good one," the doctor bragged, tossing the now useless bag behind him. "Aren't you happy to see your favorite underling, Sinbad?"

Sinbad's hands began to move, scratching frantically at the frayed edges of the rope. It had taken all of his strength to stop himself giving this deranged man what he wanted with the last victim. He wouldn't let this one share the same fate. The doctor had begun to pace, lost in thought. Ja'far's eyes followed him as he moved. He hadn't looked at Sinbad once.

"Where should I begin?" the man asked himself. He reached out a hand and pulled the sleeve of Ja'far's shirt down to his shoulders. Old scars trailed his pale arm, marks from his signature weapon. The worn in lines seemed to perk the doctor's interest. A pair of scissors appeared in his hands and he began to cut the shirt away. First the sleeves. Then the chest. The bottom of the dirty tunic, he simply tore away. Ja'far made a loud, angry noise when the doctor reached for him, muffled by the gag. The hand paused. The doctor glanced up at Sinbad, then reached behind Ja'far's head and untied the gag.

"I hate it when filth looks at me, don't you?" Sin realized he was being addressed. Ja'far tried to pull his head away when the long piece of fabric was forced over his eyes and tied as a blindfold behind his head. "That's better."

Sinbad was truly proud when Ja'far took aim and spit into the doctor's face, yelling: "Bastard!"

The doctor dragged his arm across his face, wincing when he hit the bridge of his nose, before backhanding his prisoner. Furious, he grabbed a scalpel and forced one of Ja'far's arms still against the table, knife poised above it.

"Take one last good look at him, Sinbad. I could cut this brat's trachea out right now. You're the one who can stop me." The doctor looked truly furious. Sinbad said nothing.

After a moment, the doctor lowered his blade until it cut into the tender skin between shoulder and armpit. "He is your favorite vassal, right? We should label him for the world to know." The blade cut deep and Sin saw Ja'far bite down on his lip to keep from making a sound.

S. "Tell me what I want to hear, Sinbad." I. Ja'far tried and failed to pull his arm away. N. Sinbad turned his head. B. Ja'far pulled against the straps holding him down. A. "You realize you're only making it harder for him." D.

The doctor stood slowly, admiring his handiwork, Sinbad's name shining brightly in Ja'far's blood. Sinbad winced when the man leaned down again and started on Ja'far's other arm. And after that, he carved the king's name again. And again. Ja'far clenched and unclenched his hands with every movement of the scalpel, but refused to make a sound. Soon his arms were littered with his king's name.

The doctor stood straight again and looked up at Sinbad. Then, making a decision, he grabbed a small knife from his bag and leant over Ja'far's stomach.

"Let's try this: I'll ask a question. You answer it. I don't make a mark. Alright?"

Sinbad could see the sweat dripping down Ja'far's face, his heavy breathing in the rise and fall of his bare chest. He pulled at the rope around his wrists. He set his jaw and just looked at the doctor.

"Fine then." Ja'far didn't have time to catch himself as the man made a violent incision down his side. There was a spurt of blood and a pained sound. The doctor's hand made a bloody print on Ja'far's face when he grabbed the man's jaw. "Yes. Cry for your king."

The doctor's eyes returned to Sinbad. "Let's start with an easy one. Where did you evacuate your people to?" Sinbad clenched his mouth and said nothing. Another cut, this time a jagged line across Ja'far's chest. Another pained scream slipping past his defenses. Unable to see, Ja'far's body tensed noticeably, always waiting for more pain.

"Alright. Where did you hide the rest of your generals?" Nothing. Sin tugged at the loose threads. The doctor made another mark, slicing down Ja'far's abs.

"Where is your little magi?" Once again, nothing. The doctor pulled his knife back and slammed it blade first into Ja'far's chest, opposite his heart. The man arched his back, mouth twisted with pain. Sinbad stopped moving his hands, his heart skipping a beat.

"I. Will. Not. Be. Ignored!" The doctor turned the knife violently with every word, talking over the screams of pain, and digging an ugly whole in his victim's chest. "Answer me!" he yelled, pulling the knife angrily out of Ja'far's chest and slicing it across the man's cheek.

Sinbad watched as a fine line of blood welled up under his friend's freckles and began to fall across his face.

"I don't know where he is." Sinbad supposed he could have lied, but he didn't think for a second that it would matter. This psychopath probably wouldn't believe the truth.

As if reading the king's mind, the doctor shook his head and laid a gentle hand on Ja'far's abdomen. He moved around, searching with expert fingers for the perfect place to make his next mark. Having found it, he placed the knife gently against the skin.

"Not good enough."

"Wha –" Sinbad was cut off by another scream and the doctor began carving into Ja'fars skin, deeper this time, down to the muscle.

"I want real answers, Sinbad. You can stop being difficult anytime." The doctor couldn't hide the joy is his voice as he spoke. He was enjoying this, forcing wordless sounds of pain from his victim. He watched Ja'far's face as he worked, laughing at the way his features changed when he cried out. He carved nine letters before looking up at Sinbad and gesturing at the message written in blood.

Try Harder.

"I don't know where he is!" Sinbad screamed at the top of his lungs. It was the truth. But this man was insane and Sin could tell Ja'far was slowly breaking. He estimated the rope was about 3/4ths of the way undone.

The doctor watched Sinbad for a moment and seemed to believe his answer because he rounded back to his first question: "Where did you evacuate your people to?" The doctor busied himself rolling up the Ja'far's left pants leg.

"I…" Sinbad faltered. He wasn't sure if he should try lying. He was about to speak again when he noticed Ja'far shake his head ever so slightly. Sinbad narrowed his eyes. Was he serious? Ja'far did it again before letting his head fall back limp.

"You?" the doctor prompted. His hand traced the long scar running down the inside of Ja'far's leg.

Sinbad's hands pulled several more strings from the rope. He estimated there were about ten or fifteen feet between him and the operating table.

"Kings should finish their sentences." The doctor scolded, bringing his knife to the top end of Ja'far's scar. The man tensed, a bead of sweat mixing with blood as it fell down his cheek.

"I sent them east."

"Liar!" The doctor shoved his blade past skin and scar tissue into muscle and sliced his way down to Ja'far's knee in one violent motion. Then, he began to pull the blade in an agonizingly slow arch down the rest of the leg. Sinbad had never heard more miserable or pained sobs that the ones escaping Ja'far's mouth now. "You must enjoy that sound, Sinbad." Ja'far cried again as the doctor jerked the knife free of his calf muscle.

Now the interrogator stilled, waiting for Sinbad to speak. The only sound in the room was Ja'far trying to breath past the pain.

"I…I sent them west."

The doctor considered the information for a moment. Sinbad pulled more strings. Almost…!

Finally, the doctor placed his hand on Ja'far's other knee, turning it slightly so that he could place his knife on the underside. Then, he looked at Sinbad and asked simply: "Where?"

Sin swallowed, clenching his long fingers. The knife pressed angrily against the inside of Ja'far's knee. Sinbad twirled his thumbs around the two broken ends of rope anxiously.

"I sent them to an island."

"Don't toy with me, Sinbad. Your entire country is made of islands."

Sin's thumbs twirled around the rope faster, his mind scrambling for an answer. "I –" Wait a second. The rope was broken. And he'd been playing with it. It was all he could do to stay seated. And throwing Ja'far a sympathetic look, he stared hard at the doctor and gave the most bold-faced lie he could think of. "I sent them to the Kou Empire."

The doctor's face twisted in anger. "You really expect me to believe that farce?" he yelled. "I told you not to toy with me –" and with that, the man looked down, and ripped his blade across the inside of Ja'far's right knee, tearing the tendons and muscle as he went. Sinbad took the opportunity to rip his arms free and leap across the low wall separating the seating from the stage. Ja'far's scream was only just trailing off as Sin tackled the doctor, the force of his attack sending the knife flying out of the man's hand. The two landed on the floor underneath the operating table, each one struggling for dominance, each surprised by the other's physical strength. After several seconds of hand to hand grappling, Sinbad rolled backwards, ducking his head to avoid hitting the table. He shot to his feet and dodged a knife thrown from the doctor's bag before launching himself back at the man. He brought his hands together, focusing enough magoi in his palms to stun even a Fanalis. He landed hands first against the doctor, ignoring the sensation of ripping skin as some kind of medical instrument buried itself in his shoulder. The doctor's body shuddered as Sinbad's magoi shot through his stomach. He managed to grab Sin's hair, trying to attack once more, before finally falling back. He was dead before he hit the ground.

Sinbad crouched for several minutes trying to catch his breath and listening for the sounds of guards rushing to their master's aid. Evidently the walls were thick enough to have masked the sound of their fight because no one came. Sinbad finally let out a heavy sigh of relief.

"Sin…" he started when he heard a weak voice above him and jumped to meet it. Ja'far was pulling weakly at his restraints, vaguely aware of the situation.

"It's alright now," was all the king could think of to say. He quickly undid the restraints around his friend's wrists and put a hand on his shoulder, stopping him from sitting up. "You've lost a lot of blood. Be still."

Sin pulled the restraints from around Ja'far's ankles and quickly untied the large knot that kept his shawl around him. He helped his friend sit up and gently wrapped the cloth around him like a blanket. Though it was thick, bloody flowers bloomed all over the white fabric as Sinbad lifted Ja'far in his arms. He glanced back at the man he had just killed before looking at the face pale from blood loss lying against his shoulder.

"You –" Ja'far's voice was hoarse.

"– He's dead. And we're leaving." Sinbad stepped carefully from the stage and walked to the theater's heavy door, stopping briefly to listen for guards. Hearing nothing, he glanced down at his charge. "Hold on for a little while. This is going to be rough."

Ja'far nodded as Sinbad stepped back. Then, with all the force he could muster, he kicked the door open.