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copyright 1999, by Hannah

Disclaimer:    The characters Dr. Hannibal Lecter, Clarice Starling and Jack Crawford 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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Jack Crawford sits in his study and stares at the note. He is furious with Lecter, with himself, with Starling. Most of all, he is furious with her. 

He looks down at the heavy, mauve stationary covered in Hannibal Lecter's familiar copperplate: 

She's most exquisite. 
How can I thank you enough for sending her to me? 

Crawford doesn't want to believe it. He fights hard against the realization that Clarice Starling, missing now for over two months, is in the company of Hannibal Lecter. There has been speculation, of course rumors that Starling had been helping Lecter and had accompanied him during his escape from Muskrat Farm. In fact, Paul Krendler had steadfastly maintained that this was the case up until his own disappearance. 

Crawford has simply refused to consider the notion that Starling might have gone with Lecter of her own free will. It is inconceivable to him that she would choose to align herself with such a monster. Now, it seems, he will have to learn to accept the truth, distasteful as it is to him. And Crawford knows that it is the truth. Whatever Hannibal Lecter might be, he does not lie. 

He regretfully allows himself to acknowledge his wish that Verger's swine had gotten to her or that Lecter himself had killed her before such upsetting news could come to him. What is in her head? What in the name of God could she possibly be thinking of?! And how long does she think a monster like Lecter will let her live before he gets bored with her?

Crawford tries to maintain his anger toward Starling, but as he glances over the note again "... thank you ... for sending her to me" guilt begins to take its place. He had been the one to send her into that basement, and Lecter had been all too happy to accept his gift. 

He had been wary of sending her to Lecter from the beginning, but he'd thought she could handle herself. Obviously he'd misjudged her. He hears Lecter's mocking voice in his head, "Not at all, Jack, she handles herself quite well. Quite well, indeed." 

Why did he send Starling to Lecter in the first place, Crawford asks himself now? He's always told himself that he needed a way to find out what Lecter knew and that Starling was perfect for the job. He had known that Lecter wouldn't be able to resist talking to her. Maybe he tells himself, he'd wanted to test her see if she had the right stuff for Behavioral Science. 

But was that all? Was it because he'd liked Starling, wanted to impress her wanted her beholden to him for helping her gain such experience so early in her career? Or was it something even darker? Crawford is no fool he had known that she was green. Even with her background and self-assurance, he knew Lecter would smell it on her, would play with her make her pay for everything he gave her. Was that what some small, black part of him had wanted: to punish her for being attractive to him when all he should have been thinking of was his dying wife? 

He pushes his thoughts aside, unable to consider them any longer. Crawford violently crumples the note in his fist and flings it into the fireplace. He watches it burn. 

Sleep does not come easily for Jack Crawford this night, and when it does he is plagued by nightmares... 

He is standing in a room with Clarice Starling. She's wearing a flowing white dress. 

-- A noise behind them --

They turn to see Hannibal Lecter standing over a body Will Graham's with a knife. His hands and mouth are covered in Graham's blood. "Clarice." 

She goes to him despite Crawford's efforts to hold her back. Lecter's arm slips around her waist and he pulls her to him. She curls her arms around his neck. They kiss. It is quite passionate. Crawford wants desperately to stop this, to look away; but he cannot move he cannot even close his eyes. He watches as Starling's hand travels slowly down along Lecter's arm. She takes the knife from him. Lecter has not taken his mouth from hers, nor does he as she claims the weapon. 

With his hand now free, he runs it up along her back and thrusts it into her hair, crushing her mouth savagely against his. After what seems like an eternity they break apart. Starling gazes into the monster's eyes and smiles at him. He smiles in return. 

She turns away from him then and walks back to Crawford. Her dress is covered in trails of blood where Lecter's hands have moved across her body; her lips stained red from his kiss. She moves close to him , one hand on the side of his face, and kisses him her tongue roughly pushing between his lips; the metallic tinge of blood in his mouth. He is devastatingly aware that he wants her even like this. He reaches for her, tries to pull her against him, but she laughs and backs away. 

He hears Lecter's voice "Come now, Jack, you don't really think I'd let you have what's mine." as Starling plunges the knife into his chest. 

Crawford wakes up screaming, drenched in sweat. He will not know another peaceful night's sleep.


copyright 1999, by Hannah

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