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If You Loved Me

copyright 2001, by Calico

Disclaimer:    These characters 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 site.

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PART 1: Love & Honor


“Would you ever say to me, ‘Stop, if you loved me you’d stop’?”

Leaning against the refrigerator, her ponytail trapped in the door, Clarice felt the words penetrate her mind.  The morphine left her slightly fussy, but she knew she heard those words correctly.  Her body stilled for a moment of pure clarity.  “Is that what this is all about, doctor?” she croaked.  “You love me?”

He steadily gazed at her.  “For someone so smart, you can be truly dense, my dear.”

The sirens, reminding Clarice of her choice upstairs, sounded in the distance.  “With all due respect Doctor Lecter, do you expect me to believe you’re in love with me?  And after all that you’ve done, do you expect me to believe you’d stop simply upon my request?”

With hands on either side of her head, Lecter leaned in menacingly with teeth bared, yet Clarice did not flinch.  “That’s my girl.”  He closed the distance and gently laid his lips against hers.  It was an experiment at first, letting her feel his flesh against hers so intimately.  When she didn’t squirm or turn her head, he began the kiss in earnest.  He captured her lower lip, gently sucking it, and then did the same with the upper.  For his efforts he was rewarded with a soft moan, then he felt the metal slip around his wrist and heard the ominous click.  He raised his left arm, her right trailing it connected by the links of the handcuffs.  “Well this is interesting Clarice.  I hope this is more metaphorical than literal.”

“Doctor, I have to do my job…”

“Job?  What job Clarice?  They dropped you like a, what would you say, hot potato.”  The sirens grew louder.  “As much as I would like continue this session, I really am pressed for time.  Where’s the key?”

Capturing her lower lip in her teeth she simply shook her head, a single tear running down her cheek.  Lecter cased the kitchen quickly and grabbed the butcher’s knife on the work island.  He brought their joined wrists over to the counter next to the refrigerator and waved the knife above.  “What do you say Clarice, above or below?” he asked pantomiming on either side of her cuff.  “This is really going to hurt.”

The tears were coming full force now, but even through the haze she saw the smirk on his face.  Licking away a tear that dripped down to the corner of her mouth, she said, “You wouldn’t.”

“Wouldn’t I?  After everything I’ve done?  What’s a little dismemberment among friends?”

Damn, Clarice thought to herself.  He’s never done anything to hurt me; he’s even risked his life and freedom to see me.  Releasing the breath she’d been holding she reached her left hand down into the bodice of her dress and removed the key.  Lecter dropped the knife and reached for it but she quickly snatched it out of his way, concealing it in her clutched fist.  “Stop.  If you love me you’ll stop.”

He virtually trembled as the words ricocheted around his head.  “I can’t return to prison Clarice,” he said simply.

“Very well.  But I want your word as a gentleman, you will harm no one, not one little bit, not ever again.”  He stared at her, speechless for once.  Emboldened to go on, she delivered the final, crushing blow.  “And I never want to hear from you again.  No more enigmatic notes on expensive stationary, no more extravagant presents, and no more goddamned dinner parties.  Believe it or not, but the lambs are much quieter when you’re not on my periphery.”  Like a sleight of hand magician the key reappeared in her fingers.  “On your honor Hannibal Lecter, or pick up that cleaver and hack it off.”  She lowered her hand to him.

“On my honor, Clarice, you will never hear from me again,” he said dryly, plucking the key from her hand.  Swiftly the two cuffs were opened.  The key and handcuffs quickly disappeared into his pocket and he turned towards the back door, the ominous sounds of the coming authorities biding him to hurry.

“Wait!  Let me out of here,” she cried.  He turned to her, eyes hard and cold.  Picking up the door handle, he wordlessly used it as a lever to pry open the refrigerator door.  She freed her hair and massaged her scalp as he dropped the handle at her feet, his eyes never leaving hers.  He turned and walked out the door.

She found him uncoupling a fishing boat with an outboard motor from the pier below the house.  A few yards away to the right a tiny dinghy bounced with the Chesapeake’s waves.  Walking up the pier she watched him finish his preparations.  Not bothering to turn and look at her he inquired,  “What will you tell them?” 

“The truth.  You brought me here after I was shot.  When I woke up I phoned the police and went downstairs to find you – butchering – Paul Krendler.  I tried to stop you.  You ran out here, we struggled, and you wounded me before escaping.”  He finally looked up and noticed she was carrying the butcher’s knife at her side with a napkin around the handle.  As he looked on she raised it to her opposite shoulder and drew it slowly across the skin.  The wound immediately blossomed and blood flowed down her arm.  The knife fell to the ground, both knowing it held his fingerprints.  The napkin disappeared into her bodice.  He nodded, and continued readying the small boat for departure.

The sound of car doors and shouting informed the duo that their time was just about up.  Hannibal pushed the boat from the dock and used an oar to propel it soundlessly further down the bay towards an outcropping of trees to the left.  Looking steadily at her he said, “I do, you know.”

Clarice, who had been looking towards the house, turned her eyes back to the water, her brow creased in confusion, asked, “Do what?”

“Love you,” he said moments before the boat disappeared behind the first of the trees.  Clarice had no time to process his declaration as footfalls and voices told her they were coming.  She quickly moved off towards the dinghy, as if she were looking for something.

“Freeze!  Hands where I can see them!”

She raised her hands into the air and said, “Clarice Starling.  I’m the one who called you boys.”


FIN

Part 1 of 9

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copyright 2001, by Calico

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