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Checkmate

copyright 2001, by Glimmerdark

Disclaimer:    The characters Dr. Hannibal Lecter, Clarice Starling and Paul Krendler 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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The shades of night lifted slowly from the windows of the house on the Chesapeake. As the first blush of dawn stained the sky, Hannibal Lecter passed a hand wearily over his heavy-lidded maroon eyes. The voice of last night was quiet now, his ordeal of indecision ended. But his vigil could not end with the coming of the day; there was business that required his attention. Clarice would be hungry when she woke, and he planned to feed her -- mind, body, and soul. 

When soft rays of light caressed her body, Clarice stirred. A faint grimace of pain marked her ivory face, and her hand moved to touch her shoulder. Lecter moved then to the nightstand and drew open the drawer. From a collection of vials, he selected one filled with morphine. The sun glinted off the glass as he drew the clear fluid into a syringe. His physician’s mind titrated the dosage: enough to ensure her freedom from pain. His strategic brain increased the amount: enough to keep her asleep while he prepared for the events that would mark a truly festive dinner. She had slept too long to wake now, there would not be time for the tender morning interlude he had hoped to experience. He knew from his surveillance of Paul Krendler that the oaf planned to retreat to his quiet house on the shore today. Lecter had been able to ascertain that he would be coming alone, which made the situation perfect for a small, intimate gathering. A cruel smile played over the Doctor’s features as he envisioned what today would bring. Then slowly he pushed the medication into her vein and watched her face relax, her hand fall limply to her side. No need to worry about the side effects. Lecter knew to several significant digits the strength of Clarice Starling’s heart, the precise depth of her breath. He procured a few silk scarves from the nightstand and bound her wrists to the bed with the practiced hands of an experienced killer and the tender touch of a fledgling lover. 

Before exiting the room, he attached a pair of small silver bells to each of the scarves. The bells would tinkle if she moved, alerting him to her wakeful state. Stepping back, he allowed his eyes to linger on her face, her form. Her rosy mouth was parted slightly and a few tendrils of hair had escaped the knot at the nape of her neck. He had never seen her look so helpless, so vulnerable. It made him want to protect her, it made him want to penetrate her. He raised a hand to stroke the line of her jaw, and then lowered it back to his side. Calling on a vision of the evening’s coming attractions to distract him from the pleasures so readily at hand, he enabled himself to walk away. He turned and strode purposefully from the room. 

As he passed the small stand in the hall, Lecter’s attention was drawn to the telephone. He smiled, then took the Harpy from his pocket and neatly sliced the cord. A challenge, he thought, and a test. All part of the great game that had taken shape in his mind through the long night’s watch. He retrieved Starling’s gun, her handcuffs, and her wallet from the kitchen, then placed them on the stand next to the phone. He picked up the gun and relished the cool weight in his hand. Her weapon, he reflected, as surely as mine is the blade. What does that tell me about her? She is explosive and precise, though hardly subtle. She keeps a distance, but one that can be closed in a fraction of a second. He examined the bullets and smiled. She can pierce armor, too, as I know only too well. He noticed that the pistol bore few marks of her ownership, and replaced it on the table. A pity, he thought, as he had hoped to smell the nervous sweat of her record kills on the grip. Not that it really mattered. If she needs this tonight, she has already lost.

Traipsing down the stairs, he mentally reviewed the contents of the refrigerator and found them satisfactory. In the living room, he paused to ensure that the ambience would be perfect for post-prandial conversation and perhaps more intimate encounters. If she completed her work with a passing grade, he reminded himself. A small shiver of the unknown coursed through his spine. He chose to enjoy the sensation. Only time would tell the fate of the individuals destined to grace this house tonight. 

Moving into the dining room, he thoughtfully arranged a tableau of unusual objects on the sideboard. A small silver pan rested atop a portable gas burner, and a soup tureen of fine, translucent china occupied the center of the display, flanked by fanfares of roses and orchids. An engraved tray holding several vials, needles, and syringes was covered by a large silver dome and rested on the right side, and a crossbow stood outrageously in the left corner, festooned with a garland of flowers. Lecter pursed his lips in consideration, then added a small bronze dagger to the display, almost hidden beneath the crossbow. A good selection of working implements is essential, he thought, and I will never let it be said that I did not provide Clarice with insufficient opportunity to achieve any goal she may desire this evening. The tests cannot be less than fair. He took a handkerchief from his pocket and a plastic evidence bag from Clarice’s handbag. Dousing the cloth with ether, he sealed it in the bag and placed it conveniently in his pocket. Prompt hospitality would be of the utmost importance in welcoming our unsuspecting dinner companion, he mused. Fortunately, the testosterone driven engine of his pathetically showy car should be easy to detect from a reasonable distance. Hannibal planned to be, as always, the perfect host. 

With an eye to the clock, he trotted lightly up the stairs to check on Clarice. Her auburn hair glinted in the noon sunlight, and she had tossed beneath the covers. He removed the white down comforter and left her under only the sheet. He stepped around the bed to the carved oak armoire, and opened the doors. An array of evening gowns in various shades of black, white, and gray hung within. Musing, he pulled out several before deciding on a daring ensemble of black silk. Its neckline plunged to the navel, leaving only a narrow swath of cloth on either side. The skirt would fit snugly, but the material had enough give to provide ease of movement. He dressed her in his mind’s eye and let go a sigh of wonder at his vision. She would be free to move, indeed, he smirked, if she didn’t mind sacrificing a little modesty. 

Hanging the gown on a rack in the bathroom to air, he filled an enamel basin with hot water and dropped the almond soap inside. Gathering up an armload of thick towels, he brought the basin to her bedside. Critically he examined the depth of her sedation. Deciding that safe was better than sorry, he drew up a small dose of Versed and administered it, knowing that the drug’s amnesiac effects would ensure that she would forget what happened here, even if she attained some degree of wakefulness. Once he had completed the injection, he withdrew the sheet and looked again upon her lithe body. 

Silently regretting the infeasibility of another tub bath, he pulled the black negligee up to expose Starling’s nude form. Even after becoming indecently familiar with every inch of her skin last night, the mere sight of her still roused Lecter’s body to attention. He was fully aware of his erection as he bent over her, cleansing her rose-petal soft skin lightly and briskly. He knew that if he lingered he would be lost. She moaned a little, tensing slightly as his hands moved between her thighs. He was almost caught there, unable to move, unable to breathe, until she relaxed, drifting back into oblivion. He felt the rapid rhythm of his heart echoing in the throbbing of the bulge under his pants. Turning away from her with Herculean effort, he reached for the small lacquered jewel box that had accompanied him though all his travels. He opened it and, after a moment’s consideration, selected the emeralds he had bought for her while in Brazil. He placed the cabochon earrings gently in her earlobes and fastened the fine gold chain around her throat. The pendant would drip tantalizingly between her breasts when she stood. He paused a moment, taking a small black velvet case from the jewel box, and held it tightly in his hands. Shaking his head slightly, he returned it to the box without opening it. Let her hands remain unadorned, he thought. His gaze returned to the silk negligee that lay tangled in her arms. He was unable to remove it without loosening the scarves that held her bound. A quick grin flashed across his face, making him look almost boyish. Let her wonder, he laughed, and once again took the Harpy from his pocket. He slashed effortlessly through the almost weightless material and let it flutter to a heap on the floor beside the bed. 

Retrieving the gown from the bathroom, he drew it up over her legs, over her hips, and fastened the two lengths of silk that passed for a bodice behind her neck. Though he watched her carefully, she remained still. Still smiling, he decided against panties. As he slipped a pair of black Gucci pumps onto her small, neat feet, the muscles in his cheeks began to ache. His face was unaccustomed to the statement he was wearing. Schooling his features back to his usual deadpan affect, he opened a small leather case and, using skills he had never practiced on another, lightly made up her face. Only a wisp of smoky gray around her eyes, a stain of crimson on her lips, a blush of faint pink across her zygomatic arches, and she was transformed into the creature of sophistication and elegance he had always known lay inside her. As he heard the distant rumble of an engine, he knew he had not a minute more to spare. 

Down the stairs he went, and lay in wait for his appointed prey. Effortlessly he blended into the shadows with ease honed by countless deadly encounters. The sound of a car door put him into high alert. Only the flare of his nostrils showed his tightly wound readiness, a predator poised for the strike. A key turned in the lock, and Paul Krendler opened the door to his doom. 

While Krendler was still disoriented from the quick adjustment from bright sunlight to the dim hallway, Lecter struck. Springing from the shadows, a wide grin of welcome across his face, he extended his hand for Krendler to shake. “Why, Paul, it is simply marvelous to see you here,” he effused in his most charming tone. Reflex conquered confusion, and Krendler accepted the proffered hand. It would be the last motion his hand would ever make.

Cobra-quick, Lecter crushed Krendler’s hand in a vise grip and spun him around. With his other hand, the Doctor pressed the ether-soaked cloth to Krendler’s nose and mouth. Within moments, Starling’s enemy sank helpless into his arms. A feeling of elation surged though Lecter’s bloodstream, though this act was as cold as any other, and his actions as tightly controlled. The stakes, however, were vastly higher. 

He affixed Krendler to the wheelchair waiting just out of sight, and pushed him into the kitchen. Triple-checking the bonds, Lecter utilized the minutes that Krendler would remain unconscious to return upstairs to Clarice. 

She lay as he had left her, and the sight was tempting to Lecter. It all started now. There could be no return, no going back. With his actions here, he was lighting the fire that could burn all his bridges, making the choice that could cost him everything -- his freedom, his love, his very life. He could kiss her now, take her now, and she would never know. He would at least have that memory to sustain him…… but even as the thought flickered, he rejected it. That would be a hollow memory indeed, and unworthy of him or Clarice. With no regrets, he prepared the IV bag that held Narcan and Romazicon, antidotes to the morphine and the Versed that kept her prisoned in unconsciousness. As it slowly dripped into her vein, she would rise like a lady Lazarus. Of course, the longer she allowed it infuse without ripping the IV out, the clearer her head would be. He smiled. The choice would be hers. She might even imagine effects that didn’t exist, believe herself to be drugged when the only medication working on her was the power of suggestion. The most powerful drug of all. With one last look, he slipped from the room. According to his calculations, he would have just enough time to prepare the main course and ready the salad and soup before Clarice could be expected to wake. 

Clarice thought she heard distant noises, faint voices. She struggled to clear her mind, to open her eyes, but the soft warmth of sleep threatened to pull her down again. It was an effort to frame the simple question, “Where am I?” As she lay fighting, images appeared in the black void of her existence. She saw a fence, giant pigs. Felt fear, cold and slick, dripping down to the small of her back. A stinging pain, a heat in her shoulder. Heard a voice, a voice she knew she could never forget. What was it saying? Something about being a Protestant. Nothing made sense, nothing connected as she floated in emptiness. She allowed herself to be taken again by the void. 

When she woke again, a name was her first conscious thought. Before she could even blink, she whispered it aloud… “Dr. Lecter.” At the act of speaking his name, the events at the farm rushed back into her consciousness. She lay frozen, unbelieving, but knowing all too well that her recollections did not play her false. She saw before her the face of Dr. Lecter, crucified yet somehow still in control. Why had she thought he needed saving? Why had she gone there at all? Then she remembered the burning heat of the touch of a finger in passing, counterpoint to the icy chill in her veins as she played the game that saved the life of Catherine Martin. Though she had tried to deny it for ten long years, she knew her soul was forfeit in that game as payment for the information, had known it somehow even at the time. She would be forever his. She whispered his name again…… “Dr. Lecter.” She thought of the life and the career that had betrayed her, sold her, and used her up until she could not fight the knowledge of her emptiness any longer. She thought of the monster that had praised her with insults and riddled her true. She knew that she was not thinking clearly, that somehow the barriers between her conscious and subconscious had been lifted, and that she was seeing parts of herself she had never known before. The inhibitions were off in the distance. She remembered the fear that had gripped her when Mason’s men grabbed him and took him away. The fear that she would never see his dark, piercing eyes again, never feel the twisting of her gut as she opened another letter and read sweet poison in a copperplate hand. The fear that she would never know another person who knew her and respected her as this man did. The fear that she would never be able to love anyone the way she loved this madman, who was at the same time the sanest person she knew. She said his name again, louder now…… “Dr. Lecter.”  

She was able now to open her eyes. With the return of vision she felt the closing of another sense, the rebuilding of the walls that had crumbled inside her. Without moving she looked at the white ceiling, inhaled the smell of salt air, took in the sensation of silk on her skin. At this she stopped, puzzled. I’m fairly certain I was not wearing silk at the farm, she thought, and tried to resurrect the memory of how she had gotten from the pit of hell to this place. 

She shivered, and felt a stab of pain in her shoulder. Good, she thought, encouraged. Use that pain. What happened, Starling? Did the good guys win? She laughed at the very idea. Who exactly were the good guys, anyway? An answer floated up from somewhere inside her. The good guys are us. The bad guys are them. And that’s all that really matters, and that’s all that ever has. She blinked, trying so hard to get an image, a sound, something that would tell her… and then she had it. She felt herself falling; saw blood spraying on the ground. She looked up into the face of Hannibal Lecter and could not take her eyes from his. Then she hit the ground and knew nothing more. 

Not enough, she berated herself. Think, Starling, what happened next? She could come up with only one more memory, the sound of her Mustang’s engine, the vibration of it under her, and she was able to open her eyes for a second… Lecter was driving her car. She was slumped in the passenger seat, her chest covered in blood. He was looking at her with a strange, unreadable statement on his face. And then the blackness had taken her again. 

Somehow she knew she had reached her limit, that nothing more would come. She was feeling stronger now, armed with at least a slight knowledge of what had happened and a growing sense of her own body. She tried to wipe her eyes and felt something restraining her arms. The sound of silver tinkling filled the room. 

In the kitchen, Hannibal Lecter was replacing Krendler’s skull when he heard the distant shimmer of bells. He took a deep breath and wiped his bloody hands on a kitchen towel. Krendler continued his inane chatter unabated. “So, this Starling chick, she thinks she’s so fucking hot……” The Doctor’s eyes fell on an eight-inch chef’s knife. A gush of hot saliva flooded his mouth. Restraining the impulse, he went on with his business. 

Upstairs, Clarice raised her head and looked around her. She saw an IV line running into the back of her right hand. Following the tubing up, she saw a nearly empty bag of fluid hung from a makeshift hook on the four-poster bed. Around her wrists were colorful bands of cloth that held her to the bed. The bonds were loose, as if not intended to imprison but merely to remind. She slipped her hands out easily. She examined the IV and pulled it out at once. Blood started to ooze from the back of her hand, and she cast out almost blindly for something to staunch the flow. Reaching her hand down over the side of the bed, she felt a heap of fabric and grabbed it. She pressed it over the bleeding site and held pressure for a minute until she realized what it was she was holding. The straps of the black silk negligee had been cut, and the center of the garment was neatly slit from neckline to hem. 

For the first time, she looked down at her body. Gone were her messy, sweaty, dirty shirt and khakis. Instead she found herself garbed in a garment that could only loosely be called a dress. It clung to her like a glove. Strangely detached from herself, she had to admit that the gown was elegant in its lines, voluptuous in its cut. The body wearing the gown was beautiful. Starling could scarcely believe it was she. A glimmer on her chest caught her eye. She stared at the huge cabochon emerald pendant that dangled between her breasts. Then she noticed the livid wound on her shoulder, with a neat row of tiny, exact stitches down the center. Experimentally, she shrugged. The pain was present, but minimal. “Doctor, you do good work,” she whispered. 

The vocalization was almost inaudible, issuing from a throat dry as parchment. She swung herself to the side of the bed without thinking. As her sight reduced to tunnel vision, she reeled, slipping off the bed and landing on the floor with an unceremonious thump. Starling, this will never do, she chastised herself. Take it slow, baby. Take it slow. 

Lecter was tossing the salad when he heard the bump above him. Never changing statement, he put the bowl in Krendler’s lap and pushed the wheelchair into the dining room. 

Starling lurched to her feet, swaying in the Gucci heels. She could hear the sounds of movement, of voices. She took a breath and smelled the most amazing scent, redolent with garlic, herbs, and spices she had no name for. Her stomach emitted a loud cry of protest as she realized she was ravenous, though her mouth tasted like last week’s garbage. She walked carefully over to one of the suite’s doors, and saw a well-appointed bathroom. Looking in the mirror she hardly recognized herself. She looked like one of the glamorous women she had seen in the magazines she researched when searching for Lecter. She looked like she could be going to a dinner party. 

The first real warning bells began ringing in her head then, but she calmly proceeded to attend to the pressure in her bladder, her most urgent need. “Never miss a chance to pee, Starling,” she heard Ardelia say in her head, and smiled at the memory. Finding a toothbrush, she gratefully addressed the foul taste in her mouth. She rinsed and spit, then took in a deep, fresh breath. Are you ready, girl? she asked herself. Do you know what you want? 

“Yes,” she whispered, answering her own query. “Yes and no.”  

Lecter was bringing the soup to the table when he heard the sound of Clarice’s footsteps in the upstairs hall. The dinner would be unorthodox by necessity, but he felt that the exquisite main course justified the other small imperfections. He checked the wine to be sure it had breathed enough, then did the same to himself. 

Clarice stepped into the hall and froze when she saw the small table at the top of the stairs. A telephone, her gun, her handcuffs, her wallet…… what was Lecter trying to do? As she inspected more closely, she noted the severed phone cord. An extremely sharp instrument had sliced it quite deliberately. At that instant, she felt as if she could read Lecter in the same fashion he had always read her. “So, the game has begun,” she said in a low voice. Every nerve in her body became preternaturally alert. She knelt and repaired the phone line in moments, thanking her stars for her hated technical training. She lifted the receiver, and heard a dial tone. 

Lecter had abstained from the pleasure of musical accompaniment up to this point, the better to hear Starling’s actions. He listened to her steps in the hall, her pause at the table, the rustle of her gown as she knelt. Krendler was quiet now, thankfully, and he heard the click of plastic as she picked up the phone. He heard a voice -- Starling’s muffled southern drawl -- and sighed. 

Clarice paused as she listened to the dial tone. It would be so easy to call 911, grab the gun, and barricade myself in the bedroom until the SWAT teams arrive. But what would that accomplish? I might as well have left him to the tender mercies of Mason Verger. Think, Starling, think…… would they ever let him live? Would he even get out of this house alive? Or would some young pup with more balls than brains and a head full of glory shoot him on sight? Her mind ran swiftly down the corridors of doubt, the maze of her feelings, her ideals. Do you know what you want, Starling? 

The knots of her experience unraveled in that heartbeat and wove themselves into a new pattern. She felt the bonds she hadn’t known existed fall away. Bonds to sick institutions that warped the very virtues they tried to protect could no longer hold her. She had found a purpose in her life, there at the farm, and she could not let that go. Her desire unclouded, became crystal, and she gave herself over to it. She took a breath, held it, and released it. Then Starling began to speak into the receiver, her low voice and her twang making her words into a senseless susurration to anyone not on the other end of the line. And that meant everyone in the world, for she had never dialed a number. With a smile, she hung up the phone. The words she had spoken, over and over, were “Pawn to king’s four.”  

She looked again at the table, picked up her gun and caressed it. The fact that it was useless to her in this situation made her love for it no less. But if she could not win the game without a gun, she would never win with it. She set it back down on the table, and picked up her handcuffs. Now these, she thought, could be useful. She carefully clinked them back down on the table, then silently placed them in the waist of her dress, snug against her hip. The gown was tight, but the fabric was gathered there, and she believed the silhouette would be adequately masked. The wallet she never even considered. It had no place in her life anymore. Feigning a slight stagger, she descended the staircase. 

Lecter heard the unnatural rhythm of her descent with some amusement. She had wisely decided to leave the trappings of her trade behind her -- after all, the wound on her chest was the only badge that meant anything to him -- but she thought to trick him with this junior-high drama performance? He made up his mind to enjoy the short time they had left to the hilt. He estimated that the authorities she had called would arrive to this isolated location in about fifteen minutes. Plenty of time to make his escape. The fact that she would not be joining him burned a hole deep inside, and he heard a faint, mocking chuckle somewhere in the dark recesses of his mind, but he chose to ignore these sensations. After all, it was his last time with the woman he loved, the only one he deemed worthy. It would be criminal to waste it on regret. 

When she walked in the room, though, he almost took the plate he was holding and hurled it at her head. A surge of anger boiled up, and he forced it down with some difficulty. None of his private war surfaced as far as his face, though, and his voice what calm and almost warm as he said “Good evening, Clarice. I’m so glad you could join us for dinner.”  

Clarice had stopped dead in her tracks. That voice sent a jolt of electricity from her navel to her nipples and back down even further. But of all the things she had anticipated, all the variables she had run through in her mind, the sight of Paul Krendler at the dining room table, tied to a wheelchair, had never once occurred to her. She swayed, legitimately this time, and felt her knees begin to buckle. In a flash, Dr. Lecter was at her side, graciously supporting her as he guided her to her chair. Numb, she sat down. I can’t do this, she thought. There is no way. I thought I could. I’m sorry. She looked at Lecter, her eyes moist. 

Krendler decided to join the conversation at this point. “Hey, Starling,” he brayed, “you cornpone country pussy, how’d ya like to sit over here by me?” He leered at her, a thin stream of spittle leaking from the corner of his mouth. Lecter decided to skip the salad. 

Starling looked at Krendler, eyes growing colder and colder still. She noted the red line circling his head. She looked at that man who had almost single-handedly destroyed her life, and she thirsted for his blood. I’ve eaten beef with more manners, she thought, how hard can this be? Still, a reflex lower than thought caused her bile to rise, and she reached for her empty wine glass. Lecter was at her side in a moment, pouring for her. She gulped the wine greedily, erasing the sour taste from her mouth. Lecter’s hand brushed hers, just for a moment, as he took the glass from her hand. It was enough to stiffen her resolve. She studiously avoided looking at him, hoping her face would not betray her plans. She was fairly certain he would interpret this as revulsion. 

She was correct. Lecter, too, had thrilled to the touch of her hand, the vision of her in motion, though she had yet to speak to him. But he almost could not bear to look at the obvious anguish on her face, the grimaces of disgust, the almost palpable rejection. He moved to Krendler’s side of the table. 

“What’s for dinner? I’m hungry,” she made herself gasp, her own very real shock lending credence to her voice. 

Still trying to play along, thought Lecter, almost admiringly. She has courage, it’s true. Well, let’s see how she plays this. “Revenge, Clarice, though it’s rude to ask.” He lifted off the top of Krendler’s skull, exposing the glistening membrane beneath. “I realize you may have wanted to be your own agent of vengeance, but I could not pass up the opportunity. I hope you will accept Mr. Krendler’s first offering in recompense.” While he spoke, he was busy cutting away the shining coat and exposing the gray matter beneath. He deftly cut a slice from the frontal lobe, placed it in a waiting bow of ice water, then breaded it and added it to the already simmering mixture in the pan. In a moment, it was done. A heavenly aroma filled the room. 

“Hey, that smells goooood,” exclaimed Krendler. “Can I have some?”  

“He can have mine,” whispered Clarice. Though her head was lowered, her eyes were busy, taking in the scene. She spotted the elaborate arrangement on the sideboard, and found the little bronze dagger. 

Lecter nodded. “If that is your desire, Clarice.” He put the thin slice directly into Krendler’s mouth. 

“Yum,” said Krendler. “You should have some.”  

Clarice took this moment to bolt from her chair, taking a path that would lead her past the sideboard. Lecter caught her arm and whirled her around. His deep maroon eyes bored into her frightened face. “You didn’t ask to be excused, Clarice,” he said in a chilling voice. Saying her name was a pleasure he did not intend to forgo. 

While he looked into her eyes she reached behind her and closed her fingers around the dagger. In a desperate-seeming lunge she threw herself forward, the dagger aimed for Lecter’s throat. He caught her easily, and his hand gripped her arm painfully. He forced the dagger from her fingers and threw it off into the darkness of the living room. “Sit down, Clarice,” he snarled, pushing her violently into a chair. “Paul and I will clear the table, then perhaps you’d enjoy some dessert. Or, as I might say, your just deserts.” He pushed Krendler into the kitchen, his back turned to Clarice as he did so. 

From her vantage point she could not see the mirror that gave him a clear view of her image. He saw her reach for the first likely looking weapon she could find, and she picked up a large candlestick. 

She was thinking desperately now, trying to find the opening that would lead to the denouement of this whole tragicomic ordeal. She stifled a hiccup of hysterical laughter. She was so close, so close to winning, to proving that she could best her master. It should only take one more move……  

He was ready for her as she slipped up behind him in the kitchen. With a smash he pounded her into the refrigerator, gripping her shoulders with his hands. The candlestick fell to the floor. She struggled to get away, but he demonstrated his legendary speed as he opened the door, yanked her hair loose, and pinned it. He broke the handle off the door and flourished it in her face, then cast it carelessly aside. He took her face into his hands, bringing her painfully close. “I know the FBI is coming, Clarice, I heard you call them,” he hissed. “They won’t find me here. But you destroyed my lovely meal, and that I cannot forgive. Perhaps you could repay me, by providing a little snack for the road……” He bared his teeth, and bent his head towards her lips. 

Steady, now, girl, she said to herself. You’re almost there. Just a little more. 

He could not bring himself to do it. Instead, he stole the kiss he had sworn he would only take willingly. Though her lips did not move, he pressed himself firmly against her body and kissed her with the full passion of his love. That is, until he felt the cold grip on his wrist and heard the unmistakable click of her handcuffs. 

He drew back, gazing intently at their linked wrists. If only we were linked like this, he allowed himself to think sadly. But I’ve lost you now. “That is really interesting, Clarice,” he said, “and I am really in a hurry. So where’s the key?”  

Inside, Clarice crowed, “Checkmate!” Her face, however, showed only calm confusion. In a wondering tone she asked, “But why would the FBI come? Nobody’s called them.”  

He stopped, stared, and for the first time she saw genuine surprise naked on his face. “What game is this you’re playing,” he asked. “What is it that you want, Clarice?”  

“This,” she murmured softly, as she drew his head down and gave him the answer to the kiss he had bestowed upon her. Their mouths opened, their tongues met, and their bodies melted together. Wordlessly he removed the Harpy from his pocket and slashed her gown, extending the plunging neckline all the way down to the hem. Her naked body hummed in exultation as she felt his hand, his mouth, explore her. She fumbled with his clothing, moaning with frustration as his buttons eluded her. Never stopping his fevered caresses, he pressed the knife into her hand. She returned his favor, slicing through silk and wool like butter. His shirt opened wide and his pants fell down around his ankles as they hungrily embraced body to body, skin to skin. Neither would ever know who was first to sink to the floor. He reached between her legs and her wetness seared his hand. She was so ready for him. Rolling on top of her, he opened her thighs and entered her, groaning as the waves of pleasure crashed over him. She reached up and pulled his head down, invading his mouth the way he was penetrating her. Together, linked as one, they climaxed, breathing in short, ragged gasps until both were utterly spent. It was almost less love than war, but in the end, each knew the other’s emotion was true. After, still handcuffed together, they lay on the floor, eyes locked on each other. For the first time in his life, Hannibal felt safe. For the first time in her experience with him, Clarice felt in control. 

She smiled at him, shyly, not sure what to do in her new found position. He returned her smile, tentatively, until they both began to laugh. He propped himself up on his elbow, and the old inscrutable statement returned to his face. “So, Clarice,” he said in the voice that chilled her all over. She began to doubt everything she had felt, everything she had believed. 

“Where’s the key?” he finished, and smiled once again at the thought that bubbled to the surface of his mind. This game was only just now ended. Checkmate.

FIN

copyright 2001, by Glimmerdark

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Site Copyright © 2001 by Loving Lecter - The Fan Fiction Site.

This fan fiction site exists to honor characters created by Thomas Harris.
No infringement of rights is intended and no profit, of any kind, is made.