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Altered Reality

copyright 2001, by April

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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1 of 6 | 2 of 6 l 3 of 6 l 4 of 6 l 5 of 6 l 6 of 6


PART 1

Special Agent Clarice Starling looked into the eyes of Dr. Hannibal Lecter…and was lost. She felt reality changing, tangibly shifting, from one that had been defined by one man, a dead father, to one that would surely be defined by this man. With one caress, one purpose…she was lost.

The drugs weren’t important. They were just something he did to help her SEE, really SEE, what their lives could be like together. Hannibal understood her, comforted her and, above all else, he had fought for her…come halfway around the world just to watch her run. No one had ever done that for her; taken chances, allowed themselves to be put in a dangerous situation, just for her…just to watch her.

Offering him her body was the least she could do in return.

“Hannibal”, Clarice’s voice was nearly two steps below her usual even tone. “Please come to me now, I need you.” Watching the Doctor move, with his grace and the beautiful, savage horror of history behind him, Clarice felt herself shiver with something akin to glee. "This man will always come when I ask," she thought. He closed the five feet between them very quickly.

“I will always oblige you, Clarice. You have but to ask and I will be there, ready to do your bidding.” His beautiful eyes, full of monstrous, wonderful secrets, glittered at her in the firelight. As his head lowered to her breast, warm yet peaked in the air, she felt her heart literally move in her chest, opening herself up to this man, this new reality. Running her hands through his hair, she whispered his name, “Hannibal…” and felt herself slide to the floor before him. He looked at her for a moment, as if wondering what to do with his prize, then put his arms beneath her legs and the other behind her back and lifted her effortlessly against his chest. “You are mine now, little Starling, you belong to me. There will be no turning back.” There was no question in his tone. He was simply stating fact.

Clarice nodded her head mutely, melting into his gaze, glad to give everything to him. Going to Buenos Aires had been his idea. It really hadn’t mattered to Clarice in the least where they went, as long as he was there, dancing with her, cooking for her, allowing her to hold him, to love him. This was a new sensation for Clarice. She felt so unbelievably free and in control while at the same time feeling like she couldn’t possibly lift a finger in any meaningful way to worry about the daily, mundane tasks of living, of paying bills, of doing anything even remotely normal. That was his gift to her. She took baths, read voraciously and walked with him in the sun or the moonlight or even in the rain. While visiting a small villa they rented in the mountains…

“Hannibal, it’s raining, let’s go outside.”

“Clarice, my dear, we will catch our deaths in this weather.”

“Come on, you old stick in the mud. Roll up your pants and run in the rain with me.” And he obliged her, chasing her out the door into the warm, soft rain, running into the trees with her, chasing her into a small, lovely clearing, making love to her in the brilliance of the sun and the rain and the glorious wonder of life. “Clarice, I have never run in the rain, nor have I ever made love to a beautiful woman by a small, mountain stream. I daresay you are changing me and I am quite pleased with the results.” His hypnotic voice brought her to yet another climax, her third in the last hour, and it was all she could do to remain focused on this words. He held her, stroked her, brought her to the brink with just a whisper, just a brief kiss. There was nothing he could do that would end this for her. He was her life, her love, her reality.

Yet, in the back of her mind, lived a tiny doubt, a sad little voice that said this could not, would not, last forever.

“My darling Dr. Lecter,” she said, when she could think again, as he had withdrawn from her and was surveying the now sunny sky, “do you ever worry that we are living on borrowed time. That someone is waiting just around the corner to snatch this happiness away from us?”

He turned his piercing eyes to her, “Clarice, there are things and occurrences in this world that are forever beyond our control. Remember that discussion we had about social implications of actions? That no matter what you choose to do, somewhere in the world it’s okay to do it? Well, this discussion is along those same lines. How can we worry about what we are doing, what others are doing, what anyone is trying to do to locate us? I am ever vigilant, I will watch out for you. You are my love, my life. Never forget that, Clarice.”

She smiled then, a relieved smile that said, “I will let you worry, you can worry for both of us, but just in case, I’ll keep my .45 close by.”

As if he knew what she was thinking, he grinned; a lovely, scary, intoxicating thing, and she was lost once again in his eyes...

It was the very next day that Clarice saw him. Standing in the crowd at an outdoor stall in this tiny town near their mountain villa. He was looking at her with something akin to animal lust. Hannibal kept telling her she was positively glowing now, that men would look at her and find her irresistible. She kept dismissing his comments, knowing he had a special take on the world around him, convincing herself it was just his way, to say beautiful things about her. Now this man, a big, handsome, sexy man, a man that would rival Mr. Universe in the build department, was staring at her legs like they belonged on a supermodel. “Oh boy, oh boy, you better not let Hannibal see you looking at me like that”, she thought. “You’ll be in big trouble, mister!” That thought made Clarice grin which, unfortunately, was taken by Mr. Universe as a sign that she found him utterly irresistible. He made his way confidently through the crowd, coming up to Clarice and taking her hand, bringing it to his lips before she could pull away. “Madame,” he said, in a beautiful, cultured voice, so close to Hannibal’s own perfectly modulated tone that Clarice was taken aback, “you are a breath of fresh air, an absolute jewel among the dull stones in this country.”

“He sounds like Fraser Crane,” Clarice thought with a snicker, earning her yet another look of gratitude from Mr. Macho. “May I ask, Madame, whether you have dinner plans? I would be most honored to escort you to the local pub, sorry as I am not to be able to offer anything more refined.” He grimaced in distaste and looked around the village as if a leper was certain to jump out at him at any moment. Clarice, who had grown to love this small village, frowned slightly and shook her head in the negative, demurring with a soft tone, “I have plans, thank you. My husband and I prefer to stay in.” Her emphasis on the word husband did not go unnoticed.

“Excuse me, please allow me to introduce myself. I am Charles Boxington of the New York Times. I am doing a story here, on drug smuggling in Argentina, and was feeling quite relieved to find someone so obviously not of the natives. Forgive my impertinence Mrs…?”

“Call me Hannah.” Clarice said quickly.  “A reporter”, she thought worriedly. “Woah, time to go!”

“Excuse me, Charles. I am running late for an appointment. Nice to meet you.” With that, she quickly hurried away, not wanting Hannibal to come upon them where this reporter might recognize him. She could feel Boxington’s eyes on her as she walked away and glanced over her shoulder…running directly into the hard chest of Hannibal, who did not look at all pleased.

“Clarice, I absolutely must know who that young man is who seems to think he can stare at your form as if he has some right to do so.  Please, dear, confess at once.” There was a teasing quality in his voice, letting her know he was not unhappy with her, just feeling proprietary. Clarice grabbed his arm and turned him, moving him back on the path toward their villa. “His name is Charles Boxington and he’s a reporter with The New York Times. I think we should go, right away.”

There was a cold look in Hannibal’s eyes as he turned and looked back to the market where he could still see Mr. Boxington, who was eyeing Clarice hungrily and obviously drawing his own conclusions about Clarice’s “elderly” husband. Hannibal’s gripped tightened imperceptibly in Clarice’s arm as Boxington made his way toward them, obviously intent on speaking with them.

“Hello there,” he called, addressing Dr. Lecter, “I just met you wife sir. Please, allow me to introduce myself. Charles Boxington, New York Times.” He extended his hand and after a slight pause, Dr. Lecter took it.

“Pleasure to meet you, sir. Dr. Lloyd Hawkins and my lovely wife, whom I believe you have met.”

“Yes, Hannah, lovely name.” Boxington said, his eyes lingering on Clarice’s shoulders and neck a bit longer than would be considered appropriate.

Dr. Lecter raised a surprised brow at Clarice’s choice of names, then put his arm protectively around her shoulders, pulling her to him.

“I am in Argentina for a few more days. I thought perhaps we could get together, have dinner, maybe a chat. I’m so deathly tired of the nightlife here, that is to say, the lack of nightlife.” He looked again at Clarice, allowing his eyes to run over her form in a subtle, yet telling way.

Dr. Lecter, noting this look, smiled enigmatically and nodded his head briefly, licking his lips as he did so. “Yes, well, unfortunately, Hannah and I are just planning on shutting up the house and going on our way. And we have special plans for this evening, our last night here, you understand. So sorry for that, old sport.” His decision had been abrupt. The idea of allowing Mr. Boxington to come to the house “for dinner” as he had done so many times before to other men he found insufferable or rude or grandiose in some way suddenly seemed unspeakably rude on his part given the reality of Clarice’s presence.

She wanted to leave, they would leave. It was as simple as that. Dr. Lecter looked up into the sky, hearing a rumble of thunder, and decided it was time to take his leave of eager Mr. Boxington and return with Clarice to something a bit more secluded.

“Pardon us, Mr. Boxington, but we must be going,” with that, Dr. Lecter took Clarice’s hand and they made their way slowly up the path to their villa.

FIN

Part 1 of 6

1 of 6 | 2 of 6 l 3 of 6 l 4 of 6 l 5 of 6 l 6 of 6


copyright 2001, by April

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