agentorange: (Default)
[personal profile] agentorange
Title: Number 10
Rating: R
Words: 3826
Note: Graphic torture.



It started innocently enough.

No, that wasn't right. Spying on your employees isn't usually innocent, but what did he care? The way Roman saw it, personal assistants were investments. He was investing time and money, and they invariably wanted medical, and they had the forgivable habit of dropping dead, so why shouldn't he protect his investments and monitor them? For all he knew, they were being tempted by savory life insurance plans at LexCorp. It made him sick. Why bother to insure the life of an expendable commodity?

At any rate, hacking into Number 10's email hadn't been difficult, and he was skimming through the boring business messages hoping for maybe a cybersex log when he found it. An email from 10 to a dreaded LexCorp address.

"Goddamn life insurance," he muttered, clicking the email angrily. "The first capable assistant in weeks and she's thinking of defecting to that balding..."

He stopped and re-read the message:

Shipment of K due in at 18:00 Mon.
Awaiting further instruction.


Roman ground his teeth and with a growl, ripped the mouse from the computer to throw it across the room. He stood to chase after it, intending to show it his best curb stomping impression when there was a knock at the door. He scowled.

"What?" he snarled, raising his foot over the mouse.

"It's Susan, Mr. Sionis. I'm here with the latest invoices."

He lowered his foot, silent for a moment. Then he plastered a genial smile on his face and opened the office door. He stepped out into the apartment, closing the door carefully behind him.

"Wonderful," he remarked, taking the files and tossing them to a table just outside the door. She eyed him in surprise.

"Wonderful," he repeated, taking her by the arm. "You've been such a wonderful help, Susan."

He led her down a corridor.

"It's time you get your reward."

Her pace quickened.

"Thank you, sir," she said eagerly. "Are we - you - going to observe an interrogation?" She said it delicately as if she hadn't practically begged for the privilege just days ago. There was a reason she'd survived his employment past the first 24 hours.

Roman unlocked the heavy door at the end of the corridor. He pushed it open and gestured for her to enter.

"Oh yes," he replied, following her down the stairs. "I daresay you will get to observe the interrogation of your life."

Susan walked into the chamber, transfixed. Save for a red stain on the floor along one wall, there was no evidence that anyone had recently been there. She glanced up at a hanging metal cage before turning to her employer.

"Where is the detainee?" She was very professional and polite.

Roman shrugged.

"Security is bringing him shortly. I want you to familiarize yourself with the tools before we start."

She smiled appreciatively and stepped before the workbench, its objects line up neatly. She picked up a pizza cutter.

"What's this for?"

He moved beside her.

"It's for slicing," he said, unable to contain the patronizing tone.

She set it down and picked up a metal rasp, trying again.

"What about this?"

He took it from her, smirking.

"It's for filing your nails, sweetheart."

She glanced sidelong at him, unsure if he was joking.

He rolled his eyes. And she'd seemed sooooo promising.

"Slow torture. It has the tendency to be physically exhausting, but the results are well worth it," he assured her. "People really do not like having their teeth filed down."

He set the instrument back on workbench gently as one would a baby. Taking her cue, Susan picked up a curiously shaped metal implement with a handle ending in an elaborate screw. Roman grinned with real enjoyment and plucked it from her.

"Now this is a good time. True medieval, right here. I had it refurbished, but it's the real deal," he said with all the authority of a professor. "It's called the Pear of Anguish. Poetic, ain't it?"

Number 10's face registered no recognition. Roman sighed and gestured to a dentist's chair mounted to the floor.

"Take a seat while I explain."

She obeyed.

"The interrogator inserted the pear into one of three orifices, depending on the accused's crime: the mouth, the vagina, or the anus. He then expanded it," Roman lectured. He twisted the screw and the implement's four pointed metal leaves spread open. "It caused irreparable damage, but rarely death. Think of it like foreplay."

He snapped it shut loudly and Susan jumped.

"What would you like to try?" Roman asked, sitting on the edge workbench.

Susan considered her options.

"What are we interrogating the detainee about?"

Roman smiled. He gave the distinct impression of a shark closing in on its prey.

"Secrets, information on information passing hands," he answered vaguely. "Does it matter?"

Susan grinned, sadism flashing in her eyes.

"I've always been a fan of the punishment fitting the crime," she admitted. She'd never tortured anyone before, but she had plenty of daydreams.

Roman chuckled, flicking his hand over the tools. He picked up a scalpel.

"In that case, perhaps you ought to start off with a scalpel. Its wide range of mobility affords a great selection of creative options. You're limited virtually by your imagination. It might lack the formidable physical presence of other tools, but it's recognizable to everyone. No one wants to see one of these up close and personal if they're not under anesthesia."

He twisted it before his eyes, light bouncing off the blade and onto Susan's face, illuminating a small beauty mark on her cheek.

"That's an attractive mole," he said, pushing off the bench.

"Pardon?"

She was looking away at the Iron Maiden with great interest. She didn't notice Roman had moved next to her until he spoke. He seemed very tall from her vantage point in the seat.

"I said, 'You're an attractive mole'."

Susan smiled shyly, mishearing him.

"Thank you," she said, lighting touching it. She knew she was pretty ("beauteous" she liked to say; she read too many supermarket romances), but Roman didn't strike her as the type of guy to notice things like beauty marks, unless they were painted on a mask.

"I think Lex Luthor used to have a personal assistant with a mole," Roman said casually, watching her face closely. It was nearly impassive except for the twitch of an eyelid. In any other circumstance, it might have been a coincidence.

"Oh," she replied, her voice emotionless. "When did security say they were bringing the detainee?"

Roman smiled down at her.

"They didn't."

Susan frowned. She didn't want to sound impatient, but she didn't have all day. Sure, she was his personal assistant, but she got most evenings off.

"Should I call?"

Roman continued to smile at her. Or did he? Susan couldn't tell.

"That's not necessary, Number 10."

He rested a hand on her shoulder.

"I don't understand..."

He struck her in the jaw and she lost consciousness.

"Everything will become clear soon, Susan."

--------

She awoke to humming. Opening her blurry eyes, she made out Roman standing before the workbench, his back to her. She tried to turn her head, but found she could not. Nor could she move her limbs. She'd been tightly strapped into the dentist chair and by the pressure on her forehead, the same leather straps restricted her head movement.

"What's going on?" she demanded angrily. "If this is your idea of a joke, it's not funny."

Roman stopped humming and turned around. He was wearing a rubber apron that read "Kiss the Cook" and elbow high rubber gloves.

"Do I look like I'm laughing?" He jerked his thumb at his perpetual leer. "I'm being very serious and so should you."

Susan was silent as he drew up a rolling chair beside her.

"Before police are allowed to use mace and TASERs on a perpetrator, they must first experience the sensation for themselves. The exercise is supposed to give them an appreciation for the pain they're authorized to inflict."

Susan blinked.

"Ok, I get it. 'Use your power wisely.' Can you let me go now?"

Roman clucked his tongue and put an old fashioned dentist's headband on.

"I'm afraid that won't be possible," he replied, pressing a pedal and reclining the chair.

Her eyes rolled wildly in their sockets and she struggled uselessly against the restraints.

"This isn't funny, Roman! Let me go! I don't like your joke!"

Roman raised the chair and rested his elbows on the arm, leaning his head over her. He waggled a finger.

"This isn't a joke, Number 10. This is your life."

He swung a metal tray laden with tools into sight.

"A lesser person would call your life a joke, but I'm only slightly offended by your existence. It's your actions that insult me most, Stephie."

Susan gaped at him. She was beginning to feel afraid.

"What are you talking about? Who's Stephie?"

He looked at her sharply and slapped her mouth.

"That's none of your business," he snarled. Then he composed himself and continued.

"Which brings us to the business at hand, Susan. Just what is your business?"

Her eyes widened incredulously.

"I'm your personal assistant," she exclaimed, and then hastily added, "Sir."

He drummed his fingers on her forehead.

"Is that all?"

Was that a trick question? She wasn't sure.

"Of course that's all."

Roman frowned and lifted a tool from the tray. He held it up before her face.

"Did I mention the location the pear was inserted into correlated directly to the accused's crime? In the ass for homosexuals, the vagina for witches, and the mouth?" He paused for effect. "The mouth was reserved for liars and blasphemers. The punishment should fit the crime, after all."

Her jaw clenched.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you," he said, pinching her nose tightly. She managed to hold her breath for about forty seconds before finally gasping for air. Roman took the opportunity to cram the pear into her mouth.

"If you weren't a liar, this would have been entirely avoidable," he chastised.

She trembled, her eyes wide with fear.

"Isn't this quite the picture?" Roman remarked, tilting his head. "I'm sure you're accustomed to sucking on large, hard objects, so don't bother pretending to be shocked. I'm not going to finish in your mouth, so you don't even have to swallow."

Tears rolled down her cheeks.

"Crying so soon, Susan? We haven't gotten to the real tear jerker part yet, so you might want to conserve them."

He turned the screw of the pear once.

"By now you're probably thinking 'Why me? What have I done?' What have you done, indeed? Why don't you tell me, Susan?"

The assistant shook her head as best she could, pleading with her eyes. Roman tutted.

"Nos and I don't knows are unacceptable responses."

He turned the screw once more and she squealed against the implement, whose points were undoubtedly poking uncomfortably into the soft parts of her mouth. A trickle of blood ran from the corner of her mouth.

"I think you should know that, one time, I dislocated a man's jaw with the very instrument in your mouth. And speaking from experience, I can assure you it's painful."

He'd turned the screw 180 degrees when Susan began squealing again.

"Yes, sweetheart?" He paused.

Susan squealed again.

"What's that? You're ready to begin telling the truth?"

She nodded as much as possible. Roman smiled.

"That's more like the Susan I hired!" he said, pleased.

He turned the screw in the opposite direction, closing the instrument and pulling it from her mouth. She swallowed thickly, watching Roman fearfully as he set the pear back on the tray.

"Well?" he asked impatiently.

"I'm ready to tell the truth, sir," she answered dutifully, her tongue swollen.

"Splendid!" he said cheerfully. "Who do you work for?"

She bit her lip.

"For you, sir." She paused hesitantly and then, softly: "And LexCorp."

Roman feigned confusion.

"Freelancing?"

Susan lowered her eyes and said nothing.

"Silence is an admission of guilt, toots. Freelancing usually ain't something to feel guilty about in the good ol' US of A."

Roman picked up the metal rasp.

"Sounds a lot like you're tryin' to hide something from me," he continued, laying the rasp against her manicured nails. "No use in feeling guilty about trying to earn some extra cash, or wanting to have goddamn life insu-"

He stopped and narrowed his eyes.

"Did that bald fuck set you up with a nice policy?"

Susan nodded miserably.

"Fuck that asshole," Roman growled, smacking the back of her hand with the rasp. "Him and his fucking meddling..."

He began filing perpendicular to her fingernails. He filed with such vigor that in no time, Susan's screams rang out against the stone walls and several of her fingernails had been ripped from their nail beds. When the rasp started tearing the tender skin from the bone, Susan's screams became intelligible.

"He sent me to spy on you!"

Roman stopped, the rasp dripping with blood.

"Why?"

Susan sobbed.

"I am supposed to contact him if I hear anything."

Roman set the rasp back onto the tray. In her peripheral vision, Susan could see he'd picked up a carving knife.

"Is that so?"

Her lip trembled.

"Yes, I'm telling you the truth, believe me!" she cried eagerly, wishing to please.

He put a gloved finger to her cheek and stroked.

"Oh, I believe you, Susan, I do. And I believe in rewarding you for your honesty."

Relief washed over her. Roman moved the knife out of view and she felt the cold blade above her ear along the hairline. Her eyes darted in confusion.

"But I also believe you insisted the punishment fit the crime. 'Hear no evil', Susan..."

Susan screamed in terror as the knife sliced easily through the cartilage. She felt warm fluid enter the canal and then sudden coldness. Roman brought the ear before her face. Blood dripped from it onto her cheek.

"Is this how you imagined it, baby? Are your wildest fantasies coming true?" he hissed into her lobeless ear.

Susan screamed again, jerking against the leather straps. Roman smoothed her blonde hair.

"Such a lusty scream, Stephie," he panted slightly. "I'm going to have to remember that for later."

Susan spat on him.

"I'm not your Stephie, you deranged freak!"

Roman slapped her.

"You're a poor substitute for that bitch. Say her name again and I'll cut out your tongue," he threatened. He hoped to get a rise out of her; the fantasy would be unfulfilling without pert back sass.

She laughed mirthlessly.

"Then you won't get the information you want," she retorted defiantly.

Roman smirked. There it is.

"I wouldn't dream of depriving myself the pleasure of your tongue before the foreplay's finished, babe," he chuckled, touching her hair again. So blonde, just like Stephie's...

Susan tried to jerk away.

"Don't touch me, you sick fuck!"

Roman fingered the strands.

"Or else what? If you haven't noticed, you're not in a position to be making demands. Me, on the other hand...I got several for you and all the time in the world."

She shook in the restraints.

"I'm going to die, aren't I?" she asked in a small voice.

Roman walked out of sight.

"Everyone dies sometime, Susan," his voice carried across the chamber. There was the sound of metal scraping against...something she couldn't identify.

"I mean now."

His face appeared above hers, upside down.

"What do you think, blondie?"

She started sobbing again.

"I'm so sorry..."

Roman raised the red hot poker.

"Sorry ain't gonna fix the fact you leaked information to Luthor. Right about now, the only thing you can do to save yourself unfathomable pain is telling me what else you told him, and you better do it fast because this poker won't stay hot forever."

Susan whimpered incoherently.

"Wrong answer, honey," he chided and pressed the side of the poker into her cheek. She screamed in pain as her flesh burned.

"Kryptonite! He knows about the kryptonite!"

He pulled the poker away and moved his face close to hers.

"What about it?"

"How much, delivery time, location," she cried, tears stinging her branded skin. Roman sneered at her.

"Your mask is asymmetrical, Susan. You look ugly."

He laid the flat side of the poker on her other cheek, creating a matching brand while Susan howled in pain.

"I'm sorry!"

Roman returned the poker to the brazier out of sight.

"You're sorry for the pain you're feeling, not your actions. You have no real conception of what you've very nearly accomplished, but now the burning cheeks of your mask reflect the shame you ought to feel. Call it poetic justice, call it brutality, but don't forget that you called the theme for the interrogation."

Roman sat back down at her side.

"Keeping that in mind, what else have you blabbed to Luthor?"

Susan sniffled.

"Nothing."

He sighed.

"Susan, Susan, Susan..." he dug a gloved finger into her cheek, grabbing the charred skin between his thumb and forefinger. He slowly started to pull it away like a bandage. Susan screamed, tears streaming from her eyes.

"Hot tub parties!"

Roman paused.

"Excuse me?"

Susan panted.

"He wanted to know about the hot tub parties you have."

Roman scowled and ripped the skin all the way off.

"You're making that up."

She cried in desperation.

"No, it's true! He wanted to know about..."

Roman moved to the other cheek.

"He wanted to know..." she stopped, embarrassed.

Roman began peeling the skin back.

"He wanted to know what you wear in the hot tub!"

He stared at her for a moment before jamming his finger into the open wound on her face.

"That fucking creep! Who does he think he is? Scratch that - who does he think I am? Spying on Superman, sure, he's as queer as a three dollar bill for that costumed fairy, but me?"

Roman yanked his finger out of the wound and raised his hands in the air, exasperated.

"You better hope to God you told that balding baldie he's not my type!"

If Susan could have cringed and shrunk away, she would have. Instead, she nodded in agreement, praying for a quick release. Roman pointed an accusing finger at her.

"Were you in his employment before or after I hired you?"

Susan whimpered.

"Before."

Roman spun around and stomped to the workbench.

"Jesus Christ on a bike, I cannot believe this bullshit. Motherfucker!"

He came back with a straight razor. He used the flat side of the blade to stroke her forehead.

"Did he send you to me for anything specific? I want you to think hard before you answer."

A whine escaped Susan's throat and she tried to gulp it down.

"He knew about the other shipment of Kryptonite, the one Red Hood stole. I don't know how."

Roman scraped the razor down her nose and held it very close to her eyeball. She didn't dare blink.

"He doesn't know what freighter is bringing the shipment."

Roman leaned back, removing the straight razor from Susan's sight.

"Well, that's a relief. But I don't think he's got the message that I don't appreciate what he's done."

He retrieved a piece of paper and set it on the tray.

"I think we should writer Lexie a letter expressing our extreme dissatisfaction, don't you?"

Susan nodded eagerly.

"But...! Oh dear, I don't have a pen and the office is so far away..." Roman trailed off, pushing her sleeve back to expose her forearm.

"I suppose your blood will suffice."

He deftly sliced a four inch slit into her arm, deep enough to cut through a layer of fat and nick the muscle. Susan shrieks grew louder when he buried his finger in the gash. He wiggled it around.

"Let's get it nice and wet...ah, ok."

He pulled his finger out and brought it to the paper, reading aloud as he wrote, pausing periodically to reapply blood:

Should have bought the goddamn product like everyone else. PS. Susan sends her regards.

When he finished, he held up the letter for Susan to see. She only cried in response, so Roman crammed several fingers into the wound and poked about while talking over her squeals.

"Something's missing, Susan. I think it's lacking the proper oomph. The words just aren't nearly indicative of my rage as they ought to be. Perhaps..."

He stroked her hair with his other hand.

"Perhaps I should send him a parting gift- from you. By the way, it's my duty to inform you that you've been terminated from Lexcorp, Susan," Roman told her with mock solemnity. "But, baby, you work for me until you die."

Roman rummaged through the instruments on the tray. Susan shook uncontrollably at the metal clinks. When she saw the carving knife again, she screamed.

"I love it, sweetheart," he chuckled, "I hope you've saved the best for last. Your previous screams have been delicious, don't get me wrong, but I still haven't heard a 10."

With his left hand, he grabbed her tongue in a metal clamp, pulling it as far out of her mouth as he could. In the center near the back, there was a puncture from the pear. Susan squealed helplessly, spittle forming along her lips. Roman placed the knife under her tongue and cut the frenulum, causing her tongue to extend further. Susan screamed again.

"You've gone from an 8.5 to a 9, but if you want that gold, you're gonna have to impress the judges."

He moved the knife to the top of her tongue and began slicing. Susan's screaming was continuous. She tried to bite down and Roman cut deeper, chatting over her squalling.

"Probably shoulda held your mouth open but I thought to myself, 'It's been a while since you've had a challenge, Roman.' But don't you fret, Stephie, soon there won't be any tongue left and you can close your mouth all you want."

He hit the nerve in the center of her tongue and Susan let out an animalistic howl of pain.

"Ooooh, 9.5, Susan! So close! Come on, I know you're capable of reaching 10!"

Roman had nearly severed her tongue by now.

"Don't you get it, Number 10? What better punishment for a blabbing, lying mole than cutting out her tongue and mailing it to her master?"

Roman shut his eyes in bliss while Susan screamed louder than before as her tongue came away from its root. Blood spilled from the detached flesh as she struggled to breathe with it pooling in her throat.

"Finally, a 10. Even if you disappointed me in every way, you've at last done something right for me," he said dreamily.

Susan gurgled, choking on the blood. Roman patted her blonde hair affectionately, brushing some from her purple cheek. Her eyes lolled unseeing.

"Blondes in purple. Heh. Makes me weak in the knees."
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