Dirty Work
By Berzerker_prime

Note: Written for the Henneth Annun Film Trilogy Challenge.  My take on a correction of the wildly butchered character of Faramir in The Two Towers.  I can't have been the only one to have noticed that Faramir wasn't doing any of the beating on Gollum in Henneth Annun...

Enjoy!  And as always, feedback appreciated.  ^_^


    I am a good man.  I am a just man.
    These are the words I must say to myself over and over.  I force them to circle 'round in my mind.  The two words that matter most come at the same instant I hear the muffled strike of assailed flesh behind me.  They come as pairs of word and fist or word and heel, always together, sometimes accompanied by their hideous child, the scream.  The words fall and they hit me as hard as my men's fists hit the gangrel creature.
    Good... just... good... just...
    I can scarcely believe I have given leave for my men to do what they now do behind my turned back.  It was not two days hence when I stopped Damrod from putting his arrow into a rabbit near the refuge.  There had been no purpose to such a hunt save Damrod's restlessness and growing nerve and so I forbade it.
    I am a good man.
    And then, the mystery of the Halflings came walking out of the woods of Ithilien only today.  I have never seen their like before.  They traveled with my brother and the company that left Imladris.  Why now do these two travel alone?  Why did they know naught of Boromir's death?  Murder will out, it is said and for a moment I thought that it might out in the refuge, coming from the Halflings' mouths.  But the shock they felt at the tidings could not be mistaken.  Frodo and Samwise had naught to do with Boromir's death.
    And yet, they hide some secret.  Somehow, I sense that it is bound up in the gangrel creature that cries out behind me.
    I am a just man.
    Frodo and Samwise tried to keep the gangrel a secret from us, even though we were well aware of it.  I set Mablung to tracking it, but it turned out that it was not needed.  Only a few hours into the night and the creature's desire for fish delivered him right to our pool.  Finally, I had to force Frodo's hand to show itself.  It was still not until the arrows of my men were pointed at the creature and bound to my command that Frodo gave in.
    I am a good man.
    "Don't hurt him!" was Frodo's only request of us when we captured the gangrel.  He repeated it many times on the way back to the refuge.  Indeed, it was not without cause.  Falborn, who carried the gangrel, put his fist to it several times.  For many of them, I held my tongue.
    I am a just man.
    Frodo finally gave up on pleading with Falborn.  He turned to me instead, eyes alight with horror.
    "Faramir!  Tell them!  I beg you!  Tell them not to hurt him!"
    My tongue would be silent no longer, finally moved to action by the Halfling's desperation.
    "Falborn, enough!" I said.  "We are men of Gondor.  We do not mistreat our prisoners."
    Falborn did as he was ordered and no more of his fists fell, although it seemed to do little to mollify the Halfling.
    Frodo had finally given the gangrel to us.  And yet, his words at the pool still puzzled me.  "This creature is bound to me," he had said, "and I to him."  The way he said them gave me a glimpse of some connection deeper than a guide and his charge.
I needed to hear their purpose in Ithilien.  If Frodo and Samwise were not inclined to tell me, perhaps this frantic, pathetic creature was.  I sent Frodo back to his companion.  The gangrel I kept near and started questioning.
    "Nasssty men!  Filthy, nasty men!  Bright faces, all!"  These were only some of the nonsensical things to come from its mouth.  Finally, its eyes fixed on me, malice sparking to green in their depths.  "That one most of all!  Brightest face of all, precious!  He hurts us!  Filthy, nasssty!"
    I did not realize the mistake of letting Falborn remain until he launched forward at the gangrel, howling a curse of fury at its words.  I held Falborn fast only a few feet from the gangrel.  He shook with anger as the creature cowered in a stone crevasse.
    I am a good man.
    "Let its opinions stand unheard, Falborn," I said, "they are of no consequence."  Falborn stood down.  When I released him, he stalked to the far wall of the refuge and stood there with a dark look upon his face.
    It was Anborn that spoke next as the gangrel muttered incoherently to itself.
    "Captain, am I to understand that you believe the Halflings' mission in these lands holds some importance for Gondor?" he asked me.
    "Yes," I answered, "they keep some secret of a fell quality.  We must know if they help or hinder Gondor."
    Anborn sighed heavily.  He did not want to say what he had to say next.  "Then, captain, I believe we must press the gangrel harder," he said, "we are not getting through to it by simply talking to it."
    "What would you have me do, Anborn?" I snapped back at him.  "The gangrel's mind is overthrown by some madness.  It will take time to-"
    "We may not have that time," Anborn answered in kind, "as you said, the Enemy will strike us soon, probably at Osgiliath.  Before then, we must know if these three work against us or for us.  We must be prepared.  Knowledge may be our only saving weapon."
    I shook my head.  "There is enough suffering in this world.  I will not add to it."
    "My lord, we have no choice.  I sense a great evil for Gondor in all of this."
    It was my turn to sigh heavily and I turned my eyes from the gangrel.  My mind had already begun to consider the course of action Anborn was suggesting.  My lieutenant pressed onward.
    "I know such action pains you, my lord.  But it is no less than Gondor that is at stake."
    I cast a glance over at Falborn.  he had heard none of our conversation and his look remained grim.
    I did not like it.
    Silently, I nodded to Anborn.  My lieutenant disappeared from my side a moment later.  And then the gangrel's screams began.
    I am a good man.  I am a just man.
    The fists of my men are still falling.  They know they strike twice; once at the gangrel and once at me.  And yet, they forge on, as true soldiers.  They wait either for the gangrel to tell its secrets or for my signal to stop.  I am rooted to my place, looking away.  My tongue does not stir.
    I am a good man.  I am a just man.
    Curse my idle tongue!  And course the captaincy that holds it, that holds me.
    Good... just... good... just...