I've been looking at the next story, Good Intentions, and I think I can start posting it within the next few weeks if all goes well. So keep an eye out! Many hugs of appreciation to all my patient fledglings!
Faramir, Devon and Gwinthorian join forces for an adventure and court Certain Doom.
Thank you, Kat, for being my constant companion year after year, the one I turn to for calm, sage advice and the bestest beta in all the land. I'm so fortunate in you.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement is intended. This story is not meant to violate the rights held by New Line, Tolkien Enterprises, nor any other licensee, nor is any disrespect intended. I don’t own Tolkien’s original characters, however, my OC’s, Gwinthorian, Garrick, Devon and several other Rangers are exclusively my own.
Chapter one is here.
Chapter two is here.
Chapter three is here.
Chapter four is here.
Chapter five is here.
He was holding my hand. Garrick was holding my hand and dragging me down a dim corridor towards some unknown destination where certain doom lay waiting. I'd tried to pull free several times. Of all the folly.
After Aragorn and the rest of the Great Wall of Supreme Authority had their fill of making we three miscreants writhe, Halbarad strode over, took Gwin by his upper arm, steered him out of the chamber and headed down one of the passageways. I watched Gwin's bright, smooth tresses sway as he struggled to keep up with Halbarad's strides and I felt an anxious pang for my friend.
Certain doom was here. Thank the Valar it would take place in private instead of as one big group event.
Garrick then crossed to me and held out his hand. I didn't need to be helped up, thank you very much. But in the moment I took to consider that fact Garrick grabbed my hand and pulled me from the chamber. We headed down another tunnel and that was the first time I'd tried to wrench free.
"I'll follow you, Garrick," I'd hissed, tugging uselessly. "You don't need to drag me along. I won't run away." An absurd claim to make given I'd spent the last two days, in essence, running away. Garrick had remained silent.
He was still saying nothing, still clutching my hand and still pulling me behind him. I could've dropped to the ground, hoping that he’d release me, but I’d done that before with unfortunate results. A wrenched shoulder and a spanking in full view of the Grey Company remained an ever vivid memory. So I cooperated now. No point in resisting. My backside was already done for.
There was never any doubt as to how this was going to end. We knew what we were doing and what lay in store. But we hadn't expected certain doom to descend days ahead of time. Should it matter if we suffered certain doom now or certain doom when we returned to the city? Indeed it did. We would have been prepared to face the inevitable in two days’ time. We would have journeyed together, sharing the same foreboding the closer we came to the sentence that awaited us in Minas Tirith. We could have teased each other about our fate and our dread would have eased. Because a shared fear is more comfortably borne.
But surprising us in this manner had been unsporting. Trust the members of the Supreme Wall to know just how to best rattle us. Bad form Supreme Wall.
"The element of surprise, Dev," Aragorn had once told me, confidence shining in his bright eyes. "That troll will expect to see two simple villagers outside it’s cave, not two battle ready Rangers, one armed with a sword and one with an arrow nocked and ready to fire. We shall have lured it into a sense of false security."
Clearly the element of surprise was still on Aragorn's list of winning strategies. As was the concept of luring dumb, unsuspecting creatures into a sense of false security. Yes, indeed, The Wall certainly had done just that, hadn't they? And when we three dumb, unsuspecting creatures sat there being sternly scrutinized by our intellectual betters my indignation began to build. Feeling like an idiot tends to thrust me into a dangerous mood. I felt Gwin’s aggravation growing as well.
Well, what could that Wall expect, lined up, shoulder to shoulder across from us, glowering at we three disobedient brats? We were being made to feel like disobedient brats and we did feel like disobedient brats. Perhaps we had been disobedient brats. But no one likes to be reminded of their shortcomings.
Of course, I didn’t feel indignant at first. No. All three of us had been thunderstruck and stunned to silence. So it had been brave and entirely in keeping with Faramir’s character as our Captain when he stood and tried to explain our indefensible actions. He possessed such injudicious courage. Because there was no excuse for what we had done. Truly, what could we say? However I sensed Faramir’s urgent need to rise and defend his small troop no matter how stupidly we had acted. Loyalty inspired Faramir’s remarkable eloquence. I watched him, standing there, straight and tall, speaking with his familiar quiet grace and gallantry on our behalf, and I loved him for it.
But the Wall treated my heroic captain with the kind of discourtesy for which the three of us would have been soundly taken to task. Faramir behaved far better than Gwin and I did. We couldn't contain our tempers. Perhaps the members of the Wall were waiting for Gwin and I to explode and wondering which of us would lose our composure first. I couldn’t tell what they were feeling. I was focused entirely on Faramir. I sat there, steaming, trying to honor Captain Sir’s attempt to handle himself with dignity. But I loved when Gwin's temper went off before mine. Bless that hot-blooded elf. It helped relieve a bit of my inner pressure. Not much, though, as Halbarad verbally swatted poor Gwin and he withdrew. And I continued to seethe.
Faramir presented our side to Aragorn with admirable composure. And then Aragorn, my oldest partner in misdeeds, responded, "So, little Ranger, despite the possible danger, and despite the concern you would have caused others by simply vanishing, you wanted to do what you wanted to do, and that was what mattered most."
A shiver coursed through me. I could scarce believe Aragorn had said it. Even though it was true.
And Faramir . . . Faramir was devastated. He didn't feel outraged. He felt ashamed. Enormously ashamed. Lost to it. Resigned to it. It blanketed him like a heavy, thick darkness. Faramir lay crushed beneath a Wall of Shame. It was awful to see and terrible to feel.
And. That. Was. It! I could bear no more. I jumped up and defended Captain Sir in the manner he so richly deserved. I pointed out that he had led us here safely. I roared that Gwin and I had joined him of our own free will! Did that count for nothing?
Garrick wasn't impressed. I thought about challenging his order to sit. I was furious enough to answer him back, or try to. But his, “Now little boy,” uttered before all present went right down my spine. The rage shooting through my limbs kept me standing and glaring at him long enough to recall that Garrick had once displayed no hesitation about spanking me in full view of our entire Ranger encampment. I didn’t doubt he would do the same now. The memory of that hit me when I noticed the alarming gleam in Garrick’s eyes. So I sat, but with enough bad will to make my feelings known. Garrick remained unimpressed.
And then Legolas and Aragorn revealed the devious way in which the Rangers had watched and safeguarded us along the way. We had been coddled yet again. For the love of all things blessed! Would these indignities never end? There was nothing to do but swallow my outrage and wait out the rest of our deserved but abject defeat.
Strange seeing Aragorn standing opposite me, arms folded over his chest, very much a part of the Wall. Every time our eyes met his contained a fleeting shadow of sympathy for me. I cannot say it felt all that comforting. I knew it must be an odd sensation for him, as well. He and I had been in trouble together too often, facing our own well-earned certain doom for him to feel indifferent to my plight. I wasn't enjoying my position on this end of things, but I felt badly that Aragorn was struggling during what should have been a triumphant moment for him.
So I stopped glancing his way, hopefully freeing Aragorn from his burdensome compassion. For despite their stern expressions an undercurrent of satisfaction flowed from that Supreme Wall and Aragorn deserved to share in that. Surely Faramir sensed it as well. Evidently the Wall had been one step ahead of us from the start, thanks to Lieutenant Damrod's group of watchers, who had, according to Faramir, been in place for many years, reporting directly to the lieutenant any suspicious goings on in Minas Tirith whilst Damrod and Faramir were in Ithilien.
"Damrod's watchers aren't there simply to keep an eye on me," Faramir had told Gwin and me. "Aragorn felt they should remain in place as an additional peace-keeping measure until all the armies leave and the city settles. But I know that they still keep me in their sights."
I thought of Faramir, left alone back in the main chamber with three warriors who were perhaps drawing lots to determine who had the honors of walloping him. Poor Captain Sir. Aragorn, Legolas or Damrod. I winced. No good option there. Since Boromir was conspicuously absent I assumed they left him behind to fulfill his role of Steward while the others chased his little brother and his minions into Ithilien. So, yet another irate piece of Wall awaited Faramir back in the city. Poor, beleaguered Captain Sir. Plagued with an overabundance of loving, protective Wall. How would they decide who . . . ? Although – every other day for a week - they could each take a day. The number of weekdays and the number of warriors worked out so that, if they chose to, they could each . . . I shuddered. That option was too grim to think upon. Alas, poor Captain Sir.
My fate was sealed. Garrick alone would escort me through that 'every other day for a week' ordeal. I should have been accustomed to it by now, having endured it many times. But I'd have serious concerns about myself if I was accustomed to it.
I didn't resent Faramir for our predicament. Not in the least. I'd enjoyed myself and now it was time to atone. And the Wall had a right to its ire. I could look at that with cold adult acceptance. However, my backside, far from being adult about this, was lodging a severe protest.
We hadn't been walking all that long, but being towed behind a silent Garrick had made me more anxious with every step. I notice how much larger Garrick is than me when I’m facing certain doom. My Garrick is quite massive.
Once, after Aragorn and I had committed yet another dangerous and potentially life-threatening act, and we found ourselves, as we sometimes did, riding side by side at the rear of the Grey Company, certain doom hanging over our heads when we stopped to make camp that night, Aragorn, who was still feeling rebellious for some reason, cast me a defiant look, leaned over and murmured, “You know what we are facing, Dev.”
I turned to him. I knew what we’d done. I knew I was facing a livid Garrick. I knew he was facing a livid Halbarad. And I was in no mood to further entertain the ramblings of my seemingly unstable captain’s questionable attitude. So I merely raised a brow at him. He continued:
“Aye. No escaping it. We are done for. So, a word of advice.”
I widened my eyes and groaned an inner groan. Aragorn and his lethal advice.
He flashed me the irresistible smile that ever had me willingly following him into ridiculous danger. “I often find that a show of insolence helps take the edge off of my foreboding. It does much to boost my nerve. Dev, when we are about to feel truly bad, we should seize the opportunity to feel a little good first.”
I’ve often wondered why I ever listen to a word Aragorn has to say. But I’d frequently taken his lethal advice, much to my regret. And I did now.
"Just how far into the bowels of this mountain do you intend to drag me?" I growled. “Garrick? Are you listening to me? Do you even have a destination in mind? Or are we simply going to plow our way deeper and deeper until we come out the other side?”
I could be just as impertinent as Aragorn claimed he was. Retaliate when facing certain doom. Of all the . . .. Only Aragorn. Not that it made the slightest bit of difference to Garrick. Again, no response.
But then he suddenly turned and pulled me into a long chamber where several torches crackled in sconces and bulging sacks lay against the walls with barrels and kegs. Garrick escorted me to the far end of this 'room' heading for a grouping of sacks that suspiciously resembled a bed. They were the perfect height to accommodate Garrick's long legs. He’d clearly arranged them in this manner when he'd chosen this place. A shot of alarm jangled through me and I felt a ridiculous urge to lock my knees. Instead I began to babble, and although I knew I shouldn't do it, I found myself asking him what I always ask him:
"How angry are you, Garrick?"
That finally got me a response. "Do you need to ask?"
No, I didn't. Learning Garrick's intentions never really helped me brace for what was about to happen. But when I was in the gravest trouble I couldn't stop myself from asking how angry he was. I reckon I always harbored a sliver of hope that I'd hear an answer other than the one I knew he was about to give. He was right. I didn't need to ask how angry he was.
"Warg angry, Garrick?"
He sat and pulled me to stand between his long legs. "Warg angry, little boy."
“Not angry at me, though.”
“Angry about what I did.”
“Angry about what you did.”
He didn't sound warg angry, though. He had surely been furious when finding out what we'd done. But Garrick doesn’t get angry in front of me. He’d have worked through all that before confronting me.
So although I maintained a healthy fear of what Garrick's big hand could do to my bottom, I never feared Garrick himself. Because I knew that, right now, even though he said he was warg angry, his actual anger was over. Right now my Garrick was, in fact, warg disappointed.
The sudden thought of Garrick’s disappointment overwhelmed me and a great swelling hurt closed round my heart and made my eyes sting. I'd managed to hold back my guilty feelings, but now they burst free and slammed into me as Faramir’s had flooded him and I trembled from the force of a sickening attack of remorse and shame.
Garrick took my hands in his. I knew he sensed all that was coursing through me and I felt him looking at me, but I couldn't look back. I made no claim to being stoic, especially now, when guilt squirmed and writhed inside me. I studied the floor and fought to keep the tears from racing down my cheeks. This was no longer about fearing for my bottom. I welcomed what Garrick was about to do to me. The more the better. I deserved it. And I didn't deserve it. Or rather, I didn't deserve the redemption a warg-angry spanking would bring.
It was just wrong of him to sound so patient and kind. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
"Devon. Look at me.”
“Now, little boy."
His soft, reasonable voice. My heart thudded and I stood there, frozen before this man I loved so much and had treated so thoughtlessly. I couldn't look at my Garrick. He gave me the chance to do so on my own and when he saw that I couldn't obey him he gathered both my hands in one of his huge paws, curled his finger under my chin and lifted. I didn't dare keep my eyes downcast then, but when I looked up into his tender gaze those tears jumped ship and careened down my cheeks.
“Am I warg disappointed in you, my Dev?”
Of course. I hadn’t had to tell him my thoughts. I shook my head.
“No. I am never disappointed in my little cub.”
I choked on a swift, hitching breath. "I'm sorry, Garrick." I was surprised I got that much past the stabbing shard in my throat.
No, please, Garrick. Don't 'know.' Don't understand. My insides twisted. I had no excuse for myself. I had only a sudden bitter sense of my deplorable wrong and the grief of knowing how I’d hurt my Ranger.
"G-Garri . . . Garrick . . . ." Nothing else came. I could tell him I was sorry a thousand times, and I knew I would before the week was out, but no sorry sounded big enough now that I was gazing into his clear eyes so full of a perfect forgiveness I didn't feel I deserved.
"Shhhh, Shhh, little cub," Garrick murmured. "Come. We shall deal with this before it eats away at my Dev and leaves me with nothing to love."
His words felt like another wrenching punch to my gut. Nothing could stop the sob that burst from me then.
Garrick worked quickly. He released my hands and I clamped my palms over my face, but I felt him pull down my breeches, pick me up and turn me over his knee. I was ready, so very ready to be in that place, that safe place where Garrick would chase away the ugliness tearing at my insides and choking my throat. And yet I also felt I didn't deserve the solace he was about to bring me. I wept silently into my palms.
The awful thing about loving a Dúnedain is that he hears me before I even speak. It is also the wondrous thing about loving a Dúnedain. Garrick held me over his lap, rubbing my back and my bare bottom and making the kind of soothing sounds he usually saves for after a spanking.
"Shhh, shhhhh," he murmured, and when I had calmed a bit he said, "Are you listening to me, Devon?"
"Tell me that you are listening to me."
"Good. You are suffering, sweetling. Full of hurt. And I have yet to deliver my first swat. So something inside you is hurting my boy. Is that not so, my cub?"
I nodded again, feeling myself tumbling into that void of vague confusion and childlike sloppiness of speech. So soon. Garrick usually has to spank me for a while before that side of me surges forth and adulthood slips into the background. So although I felt wary about answering his question truthfully, I was at present incapable of thinking up a better response than, "Y-Yes, sir. A big something inside me."
"Do little boys see to their own discipline, Devon?"
I shuddered. Ah. I should have seen that coming. "N-No, sir. Little boys don't do that. I just - I just feel so, so bad and-and--"
"Mmm. So I saw. When you are feeling guilty you cannot hide it. And when you feel big guilt your sweet face goes pale and your eyes lose their sparkle. That saddens me, little one. I shall not abide it. No one sees to your discipline save me. Do you know why that is forbidden?"
"Uh huh." And this one had been spanked into me for so many years that the answer rolled off my tongue without it needing to be connected to my brain. "I judge myself too hard and too much."
"Aye, my cub. Very good. I am proud of you."
"Why?" I suddenly heard myself ask.
He paused. "Why am I proud of you?"
"Yes, Garrick—AHHHHHHHH!" The first spank is always the worst. I clench without meaning to.
"Because you know that what you are doing to yourself is too much and too harsh. My little cub does not deserve such cruelty. There shall be no more of it. Only I see to your discipline, my Dev. Do we understand each other?"
If I quivered any more I'd fall off his lap.
"Yessssirr! No one but y-you disciplines me, Garrick. N-Not even me."
"Then stop," he said, his tone quiet and commanding. "You deserve a sound spanking. You deserve to go over my knee every other night for a week. You deserve a very hot backside for many days to come.”
His words worked their way inside me, tingling through me, threatening and promising and beautiful. How did I deserve him? And yet all I could say was, “Ohhh, G-Gar-rick p-pleeeeeease – AHHHHHHHHH!” Oh, for Faramir’s eloquence!
“No more disciplining yourself, little one,” he said, beginning his customary pattern of spanks. “That is my privilege."
I was too breathless for a moment to gasp, much less form words, or even yell. Then: "Y-Yes, G-Gar-ri-AHHHHH!"
Far be it for me to intrude upon my Ranger’s domain. He never took well to that.
“Aye,” he said. “Remember that, sweetling. I am highly territorial when it comes to you and your discipline.”
And now he set about reclaiming his right with staggering proficiency all over my poor bottom.
* * *
Sometimes Devon defies me. He will refuse when I beckon him to come forward and face his consequences over my knee, or he will try to talk his way into a gentler sentence even before he knows what I have planned for him.
“I knowed it was gonna be a spankin’, G-Garrick,” he once stammered afterwards. “That was e’nuff.”
Sound reasoning, even when my little cub is facing his ‘certain doom.’
The worst times are what we are enduring now, when my Dev is so drenched in guilt that he yearns for a dreadful spanking and yet cannot allow himself to accept the redemption such a spanking will bring him. He becomes wrenched apart. I watched him now, weeping into his palms, his small round bottom becoming ever more colorful under my hand and I kept up a steady rhythm of strong spanks. It was what my sweet cub needed right now. He needed to feel me here with him, unyielding in the face of his ominous burden of remorse and the inner hurt he had been causing himself because of it. He needed to be reminded of what he knew but was determined to disbelieve in his heart.
“Devon. Listen to me, sweetling. Are you listening?”
“I am not angry with you. Do you understand?”
“I am . . . what?”
“Uhhh --- AHHHH!”
“Come, my Dev. Answer me. What am I?”
“Y-You’re an-angry ‘bout w-what I d-did!”
“Very good, little boy. Am I disappointed in you?”
“Nooooooooooooooo! Not diss-sel-poin-ned! Not, not not!”
“My Dev is so wise.”
I paused now to let him cry and catch his breath. We still had much to cover. He had uttered only one ‘sorry’ thus far and usually Devon’s repeated ‘sorries’ poured from him as soon as he could sputter. But he wasn't quite ready to seek forgiveness yet. So I rubbed his back and his sweet reddening bottom and I ran my fingers down his thick locks and murmured to him.
“Shhh, my little cub. Shhh. No. Stop that fretting. I have not finished with you. I shall continue. But first you shall breathe for me, sweetling. Come now. Shhhhh, my sweet boy. Breathe easy for me.”
I picked him up then and gathered him to me, and although he tried to resist at first, remaining stiff for the length of but a few heartbeats, he was yet my little cub, and he quickly softened and curled into me, his face buried beneath my hair and against my neck, a favorite place for my boy. Devon clasped my tunic in his hands and held on tight, as though he might fall off my broad lap should he let go, something he did when he was badly shaken and battered within. Understandable. I wrapped him closer. He had already been through much.
It is hard to surprise my Dev. Many times he senses things too quickly to be startled. But the glittering falls had swept away his exceptional gifts, as they had Faramir’s and Gwinthorian’s. So our “Wall” as Pippin had dubbed us, had been able to stroll into the cave and wait for the sun to set before our three escapees regained their awareness. Watching them spin and stare at us with such breathless shock led to a moment of exquisite stillness in that cave.
I felt a flash of leftover anger mixed with joy. There was my cub. Safe. Gazing at me, his wide grey eyes full of turbulence and disbelief. He knew he was in the wrong. He was of no mind to deny that. And the biggest battle I would soon have on my hands would be with Devon’s profound guilt and his ability to abuse himself because of it.
But first, we had ritual. I watched Devon sitting with a tentative glower on his sweet face, darting me the occasional glance, then pretending to study anything and anyone else in the cavern rather than look at me again. His inner storm brewed, growing increasingly out of control. He felt foolish. Devon hates feeling foolish. I cannot say I blamed him. But my Dev is also, above all, fair-minded, He knew the three of them deserved to face our “Wall” and answer for their behavior. So his sense of fairness mixed with his anger in feeling foolish and it created an ugly turmoil within him. My poor cub was flooded with conflicting feelings. I could scarce wait to get him to myself.
But the five of us had a plan.
“They should face us and be held accountable for their actions,” Halbarad had said last night.
“Agreed,” said Damrod.
I voiced my opinion. “I agree as well.”
Aragorn and Legolas, both having been on the opposite end of this kind of thing, shifted from foot to foot and remained silent.
Halbarad looked at the elf. “Legolas?”
Halbarad knew why Legolas and Aragorn hesitated. As did Damrod. And it had never been Halbarad’s intention to put Legolas or Aragorn in an uncomfortable spot. But we needed to agree on a course of action for our upcoming confrontation. The fact that this plan made our two remaining members uneasy was regrettable. And just a bit . . . humorous. Damrod, Halbarad and I shared a rapid glance of amusement which the elf, with his quick eyes, caught.
Legolas cast us all a withering look. Then, with his typical fluid grace, he edged his way over to stand near Aragorn. Eyes downcast, he murmured to no one in particular, “They cannot answer for their actions.”
Aragorn knew everything that had gone on since Halbarad spoke. He crossed his arms and said, “No. No they cannot. Their actions are indefensible.”
“Aye,” Legolas said. “Indefensible.”
Damrod said, “That is not the point.”
“No.” Aragorn said.
Legolas darted him a resigned glance. “’Tis nonetheless necessary,” he said, his voice soft. “Is it not, Aragorn?”
Aragorn gave Legolas a long-suffering look then turned to Halbarad with a firm nod. “Aye. It is necessary, lieutenant. They must face us all. It need not go on for long. I vow we will be impatient to take them off alone. But, of course. They first must answer for themselves in each other’s company. Or try to.”
“Which, of course, they cannot,” Legolas repeated.
Aragorn flashed him a wry grin. “Nay, mellon nin. They cannot.”
Thinking it best we move off this topic, I said, “You will be the one seeing to Faramir, Aragorn?”
A look passed between him, Halbarad, Damrod and Legolas. “That has yet to be decided,” Aragorn replied.
So when the moment came I studied Devon. He sat with practiced stillness, a thunderstorm crackling within him, and he maintained a tight focus on Faramir. The young captain was being put through what Devon clearly felt was cruel and unjust treatment. I waited for my boy to erupt.
It was anyone’s guess whether Gwinthorian or Devon would lost their temper first. Faramir, we all agreed, would do exactly what he did. As captain, leader and, no doubt, mastermind behind their expedition he would stand up and defend his troop, sacrifice himself to become the willing target of the Wall’s chastisement. Faramir was indeed a noble and worthy young lad. He bespoke himself well. Or, as Aragorn had rightly predicted, Faramir tried to. He was simply and completely in the wrong.
“My Gwin will explode first,” Halbarad had said last night.
I had turned to him and raised a brow. Devon’s volatile temper was the stuff of legends. But, Gwinthorian had no patience for what he often referred to as “idiotic mortal injustice.” And Gwin also possessed little self-control. So no one was laying bets.
I gazed down at my beautiful boy, his eyes half-closed, waiting for more of what he felt he so desperately needed. Devon is highly intelligent, but he has an overabundance of compassion and his emotions oft lead him into considerable certain doom. This time what he understood to be Faramir’s loneliness and a need for companions won out over my boy’s wisdom. I reckon he battled himself, but Devon’s warm-hardheartedness bested all safeguards. So he packed his rucksack, joined Faramir’s lie regarding their plans in order to gain permission from Aragorn to spend another day in Osgiliath and set out on this potentially hazardous quest.
I did not need to trespass upon my cub’s well-blocked emotions to understand his purpose. I had only to watch the occasionally concerned gaze he directed toward Faramir during the times when he visited the Ranger camp. Something about the young captain troubled my Dev.
“Why do you have to know me so well?” Devon once asked in a post-spanking haze when he lay in my arms, hot-bottomed and completely mine. “You know me before we begin. What I’m about. Why I’ve done what I’ve done. You know everything.”
“Does my knowing you so well trouble you, little boy?”
He paused, deep in thought, then: “Yes. I mean, no. I mean, yes. I mean no.” And after my chuckle and his small muffled growl, he ventured, “It does and doesn’t. I guess. But mostly . . . I – I guess it doesn’t. I think.”