2001, by DianaLecter
The characters Dr. Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling were
created by Thomas
Harris. They are used herein without permission, but in the spirit of
admiration and respect. No infringement of copyright is intended, and no
profit, of any kind, is made by the creator, maintainer or contributors to this
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It was perhaps a month
after Clarice Starling, thirty-three year old veteran of the FBI, formerly
known as Special Agent Starling, or Starling, Clarice M. to one Jack
Crawford, had decided to leave the comforts of home and travel across the
world for a taste of amnesia. To forget who she was and what she once
stood for. It was a place of refuge, sought to forget Jack Crawford,
Ardelia Mapp, the FBI, the late Paul Krendler, and most of all, Dr.
Hannibal Lecter. Perhaps it was luck that all her wishes hadn’t come
true. Starling liked to toy with her current predicament as a twist of
fate, however much she might believe in any deity.
thirty-one days since her feet stepped on foreign ground, Starling was
intensely satisfied with herself, more so than she had been in many, many
years. The idea of jealousy that played with her mind the first few days
was not needed; she saw that almost immediately. Dr. Lecter only had eyes
for her, and he made very sure in an equally discreet way that she knew
The rented room at the
Windsor had not been occupied since the first night of her arrival. Money
was not an issue for her travel companion had a more than healthy supply.
He spoiled her outrageously, though modestly. Starling marveled at his
ability to be both ends of the same extreme simultaneously.
The scarf he bought her in
the first days of her arrival was commonly the only thing she wore to bed
Outside thoughts failed to
plague her, and it was a long while before she allowed her mind to drift
to Jack Crawford, waiting back in the States. She knew without having to
consider that she would never set foot in Washington again, much less
anywhere near her former superior or Ardelia Mapp. It wasn’t a difficult
decision; she knew sacrifices were expected and she was happy to meet the
demand. The idea of losing Mapp was not especially attractive, but she
knew what she was gaining, and that made it all easier. Needless to say,
when it came down to Dr. Lecter and Mapp, the scale weighed greatly on one
end, leaving nothing for the other.
It was a long while, it
seemed, before her mind surrendered itself to bad thoughts. However, as
all dreams must, her’s came to an end, and she knew it was time for
This realization struck her
one night while she was soaking in the comfortable bathroom tub of the Auberge
de Châteaux hotel, surrounded with rose petals and bubbles. Starling
had never been one to indulge in earthly pleasures such as this, and she
quickly realized what she had been missing. Her feet were sore from a
night of dancing in intensely uncomfortable shoes, and she was enjoying
the effect the water had on her tired, yet effectively spent body. It was
relaxing, and Dr. Lecter did little to disturb her during these times. He
was happy that she was taking refuge in the simple pleasures of life, and
waiting was not something he was unfamiliar with. Starling knew that he
would be awake when she emerged, most likely engrossed in a book, drawing,
or writing to some other correspondent. Since his favored pen pal was no
less than ten feet away, she safely ruled out option number three, and
gladly indulged herself further in the warm sanctuary of the tub.
The events preceding her
arrival here, in the helpless clutches of this madman, as much as she
might enjoy it, played wickedly through her head, and she couldn’t help
the satisfied grin that tickled her lips. What tremendous luck! Her
disbelief at her decision to come to the very place he had sought refuge
at still lingered, though it did little to bother her.
She wondered if Mapp was
terribly concerned, and she stifled a giggle despite her sorrow. Everyone
back home must be combing through her things in order to locate her. It
was to her advantage that she declined from informing anyone or leaving
any evidence that she was planning this crazy weekend get-away. Perhaps
they would enlist her as a missing person; perhaps they would think Dr.
Lecter got to her after all.
At that, she couldn’t
maintain her giggle, and it ricocheted off the walls and escaped through a
tiny crack in the door. If Dr. Lecter heard, he did not make any sound in
reply. Starling fought the temptation to sink into the bubbles completely,
knowing another burp of laughter was possible and that would produce an
unusual gurgling sound.
She almost wished he would
give it up and join her, but knew better than to expect that or ask him to
It was then the thought
struck her, a horrible notion that she hadn’t considered before. Would
Crawford or Mapp check the airlines? When she left, Starling had no idea
that she would have found her calling here, that she would still be here
in the company of a dark and debonair gentlemen who happened to be a
serial murderer as well as a member of the astute FBI Ten Most Wanted
list. More over all, she was certainly not here as a prisoner. She was
here because she wanted to be, because she screamed at him and herself
when presented with the idea of being peeled from his side. Because
whenever she thought of being without him, tears tempted her eyes and she
had to bat them away with a shrewd scold to herself. Because for the first
time in her young-old life, she was considering the idea of love,
unconditional and unbridled, something she could keep and would cling to
for the rest of her days.
Because at times she was so
afraid of losing him it was difficult to breathe.
These worries seemed
elementary - very elementary. It was clear that Dr. Lecter felt strongly
for her. After all, ten years and some very thorough unpleasant events had
threatened and even weakened their relationship. However, after all they
had been through, passed Jame Gumb, Paul Krendler, Jack Crawford, the mess
at the lake house, and even their own petty fears, admitted into existence
or not, here she was, and she didn’t plan on going anywhere.
That is, unless, she was
forced, and she hated the idea of being forced. Hated was such a weak
word, she realized, for she could use it a million times, combined with
the power of confused, depressed, and heart-broken and it wouldn’t even
begin to tap into the sea of emotion she would experience.
Would, would, would!
Remember, Clarice, you still have him, you’re still here. Don’t grieve
he who is not dead.
Still, Crawford and Mapp
could have gone to the airlines. It would be foolish to consider her dead
or missing without consulting every possibility, even the slimmest ones.
That thought forced
Starling out of the tub. She reached for her towel and routinely dried
herself off, wrapping it around her as she emerged from the rest room and
into the main hotel room. As she predicted, Dr. Lecter was reclined on the
bed, immersed in a book on psychology. She read two things from his
expression, and was amused with both. He knew the author, and he was less
than impressed with the work.
His eyes rose slowly from
the pages to her, and he was both glad to see her and concerned with the
worry he undoubtedly read in her eyes. Placing his book aside, he sat up
“Something the matter, my
“I just…thought of
He would not come out and
ask; she knew it. He would string along a casual flow of questioning until
she spilled it herself, unprovoked.
“I think we should leave,”
she said, hesitation in her voice since she so clearly enjoyed France and
didn’t want to depart. Dr. Lecter looked at her expectantly, and she
“As much as we would like
to think Mr. Crawford and our friends at the FBI are completely naïve,
they won’t list me as a missing person until having exercised all
possibilities. Don’t you think that would include checking the airlines?”
Dr. Lecter smiled slightly
and stood. “Do you mean to tell me that you, Ex Special Agent Starling,
are at a loss at what to expect from the FBI?”
She took the time to smirk
at him. “I don’t think any FBI agent - or in this case, former agent -
has ever disappeared without a trace, without informing anyone, without
being on a mission in which it’s likely to disappear. I was never
presented with the possibility when I was in the FBI. I’m assuming they’ll
check the booked flights and see that I came here. You see, I didn’t
think to use an alias.”
That provoked a short
chuckle, nothing she could revel in. “Why, do you suppose, Jack Crawford
would be so interested in your affairs?”
“Why do you think?” she
asked, rather skeptically, knowing just as well as he did that Crawford
most likely had an unhealthy infatuation with her.
“Scenarios again, I see,”
Dr. Lecter said, enjoying the angry look that flustered on her face in the
briefest second. Amusement danced in his eyes, and it was apparent he was
not concerned. “Tell me, Clarice, did he ever attempt to indulge
himself? More importantly, did you let him?”
Oh, how he loved to
torment. “Your sense of humor astounds me at times.”
“Purpose achieved, I’d
say, wouldn’t you?” he grinned.
“You can tease me all you
want later. What do you think about Crawford?”
Dr. Lecter stopped and
considered. “I believe he’d be very foolish to pursue you here. Who
knows whom he might…run into. Strange town, you know.”
Starling stared at him, her
heart stopping a minute. “You intend to kill him?”
“If, by chance, it comes
to that. Oh no, Clarice, I would never hunt him down like an animal. After
all, you two were quite…chummy.”
Again, Starling snickered
at his choice of words, and decided to backfire with a favorite of his
Dr. Lecter did nothing but
smile at her. “Would you feel at ease if I booked us a flight out of
“More so than I do right
“Where would you like to
go? I doubt it’s necessary to remind you that Italy is not an option.”
Starling took a minute to
look at him before nodding. “Yes, I know. Umm, well, I don’t want to
dictate the decision, and I’m sure there’s a place you’d like to go.”
“My dear, I will be
perfectly content wherever we go. This trip has exceeded all my
expectations, and I believe you know that I adapt well to any given
environment. I know you won’t pick somewhere utterly tasteless. For a
rube, you have adapted a keen state of elevated style.” He winked at
her, his hands folded properly behind his back.
It was then she realized
she was still dressed in a towel. He must have noticed for his eyes fell
from her gaze and to her festive attire. “You’ll catch the death of
cold if you don’t demonstrate some common sense and get into bed,
Clarice. I believe your hair is still wet as well. Unwise.”
There was an unmistakable
kidding tone in his voice. Starling gave him a coy look before inching
toward him. His eyes narrowed a bit and his smile remained amused and
pleasant. Just as she was about to forgo the outer layer of clothing, he
surprised her by seizing her arm and pushed her gently to the bed. With
that, he yanked the towel away and quickly covered her with the blanket.
Smiling then, a deceptive and teasing smile, he folded the towel and said,
“Mmm, that should be better. I wouldn’t want you to fall into ill
health, Clarice. Especially since we are making preparations to leave the
The moan he received in
reply only made him smile wider. He retreated into the bathroom and
retrieved the hair-dryer. With a light smile, he plugged it into the
circuit and the nozzle exerted its warm air to her scalp. To make it easy
for him, she sat up, always enjoying the aspect of not having to concern
herself with her hair. If it looked like shit in the morning, she could
blame it on him.
Even so, she found it
erotic and it made her fidgety.
“Sit still, Clarice, or
your hair will never dry.”
At that point, she didn’t
care, though she knew the object of his statement was to make her restless
and turn to stone. The feeling of his hand against her scalp was
incredible, and she couldn’t help leaning back some, if only to give him
When he finished, her hair
suffered the sensation of being puffy. However, she was pleased when she
looked in the mirror. Smiling slightly, Dr. Lecter returned the hair-dryer
to the bathroom before disrobing, slicing the lights, and sliding next to
her in bed.
The fleeting thought that
perhaps they would rest from intimacies tonight drifted unwittingly
through her head, and Starling felt a streak of disappointment. She didn’t
like the idea of boring Dr. Lecter so quickly, much less suffering nights
without what she had tasted so exquisitely over the past month.
This worry was put to rest
as she felt a massive arm drape over her shoulder and pull her toward him.
She couldn’t see him in the darkness, but she knew his eyes were on her.
As a sixth sense, she could also sense his amusement.
patience over the month, I see,” he said, his voice chilling the silence
as though the words were not meant to exist.
“I’m doing my best,”
was her weak, yet stable reply.
“Trust me, Clarice, you’re
doing fine.” His lips found her shoulder easily, burning with unquenched
hunger. She smiled and pulled herself into him, slightly exhilarated with
the thought of his own impeccable patience faltering. As she raised his
head to meet her mouth, she swallowed a content sigh, and let herself fall
It had been nearly two
weeks, and still, Jack Crawford and Ardelia Mapp had led themselves to a
dead end. Streaked with an insistence not to give up until they had at
least some lead that led them elsewhere, Crawford refused to leave
The Bureau was not happy
with this. They saw it as a personal matter, and that a missing ex federal
agent was nothing to concern themselves with. After all, it was most
likely a simple case of cabin fever. Starling had been through a lot only
to be dropped by the FBI. She needed to get away, and probably wanted to
avoid the sympathies or offers for accompaniment from friends and former
colleagues. There was no sign that indicated that she was missing by means
of foul play.
People were beginning to
question Crawford’s feelings for Starling, and their questions weren’t
pretty. It was only means of Mapp’s similar concern that prevented them
It never occurred to
Crawford how much he would utterly hate France. Despite Mapp’s fluent
tongue and their wide knowledge of the English vocabulary, he found them
an insufferable people and the longer he stayed, the more he wished he had
it within himself to leave. However, the mere thought of Starling would
drive that back, and he found himself incapable of any action.
Mapp was enjoying herself,
thoroughly though she hated to admit it. He was glad one of them was. As
he sat in a quaint and comfortable café, he awaited her arrival but
imagined she had met someone or was investigating a lead. He figured she
was not as concerned seeing as there was no evidence of foul play. It was
simply the matter of Starling was not a person to make quick decisions and
act on them without considering the consequences. More over, he found it
slightly less than believable that she wouldn’t have told anyone, much
less called when she arrived.
When Crawford was tired of
waiting and finished with his coffee, he stood and paid, turning then to
leave. As he stood on the somewhat busy sidewalks, he drew in a deep
breath and looked from left to right. It was then his heart stopped and he
felt an uncomfortable clogging in his throat.
Down the sidewalk, not
twenty feet away, was Dr. Hannibal Lecter. He was alone, dressed
splendidly, and looking in his direction. Their eyes met and sparks flew
from behind his nemeses. He never thought that Dr. Lecter would be here,
never in a million years. However, such knowledge bared heavy on his
heart. He knew then that something had happened to Starling, and wouldn’t
be surprised if her sudden departure wasn’t the result of her receiving
a lead. After all, Starling would do anything to save her career. Somehow
she made the assumption that she could reprimand him without a weapon,
badge, authority, and magically get out unscathed.
Crawford felt sick, but Dr.
Lecter had a bizarre smile. Slowly, he started to approach.
Crawford slapped his side
and retrieved his .45, but had some difficulty in whipping it out at
lightening speed. He averted his eyes to his holster and fought to free
it, and when he looked up, Dr. Lecter was not before him. Nor was he in
the multitude of people. Crawford felt his pulse increase to the point of
a mild heart attack as he looked to all directions for the possible
location of the doctor. He knew Dr. Lecter wouldn’t carry on blissfully,
not yet, not after seeing him. Not until he was dealt with.
It wasn’t until he felt
the blade at his back that he froze, closing his eyes momentarily to curse
himself before he heard the voice. That despicable voice. As he opened his
eyes, his utter disgust and contempt for the man poured out.
“Good morning, Jack,”
Dr. Lecter said pleasantly. “If you don’t mind…” With that, he
grasped the gun in Crawford’s grasp and rotated the blade, indicating
his wish to see his face. Crawford’s fear must have been evident, for
the monster laughed. “I sense you’re repressing something, Jack. Tell
me, is that the way to greet an old friend. Honestly, I don’t know how
you managed here, but it will prove most interesting, I’m sure. Please…”
He nodded casually to the café Crawford had just vacated. “Won’t you
join me for a drink.”
It wasn’t a request, he knew that
instantly. Crawford felt himself incapable of any other movement other
than to obey as he stepped in front of Dr. Lecter, the blade finding its
way comfortably against his spine, as he stepped indoors, closely followed
by his newfound captor.
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