Rude-olph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
copyright 2002, by
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
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This the kind of thing you were thinking of???
She casually flicked the shirt at him, a mischievous glint in her eye. His maroon eyes bore back at her in response.
“Really Clarice, this is an assault to the senses,” he waved his hand “take it away!”
Her lips curled into a smirk. The thought of Hannibal Lecter, FBI’s most wanted criminal and epitome of upper class taste wearing something as atrocious as the travesty that lay before them was almost too much to bear.
She giggled. “Oh Han, lighten up! I was only joking.” But then, tilting her head she added, “although…” His eyes flashed a warning glance but it was of no use, Clarice was already picturing him wearing it in the kitchen Christmas Day whilst slaving over the dinner and wearing one of those big white hats like all the serious chefs do and then perhaps putting on her pink frilly apron so as not to spoil the shirt…. between the fits of laughter she almost considered asking him to try it on then and there.
“Clarice, really! What has gotten into you???” Hannibal glanced around, staring down the wandering eyes of the passers by that were drawn to the antics of his wife.
She shook her head. She was about to say something crude but decided against it. Instead she smiled. “But honey, the red in Rudolph’s nose would really bring out your eyes!”
Hannibal blinked in disbelief. Decidedly bored with this game, he tugged at her sleeve and led her deeper into the men’s department. “My dear Clarice, we really ought to get a move on if we want to avoid the traffic.”
Hannibal hated the Christmas rush. Why he even agreed to go shopping on Christmas Eve was beyond his comprehension. The floor was bedlam, the shelves understocked, and the music, well on a good day the crowd would drown it out. Kids screaming for Santa, mothers almost killing each other to get their hands on the last toy, grown men wearing appalling “festive” wear. In his highly attuned opinion Christmas was more a franchise… an excuse to act uncouth at office parties, get intoxicated and over indulge on turkey than a season of giving. Why designate a specific day of year to shower your loved ones with gifts? He managed quite sufficiently to do it everyday for his Clarice.
The line at the men’s counter stretched the length of the entire floor. The pimple-faced, frazzled looking sales clerk had poor dental hygiene and was sweating profusely from overwork. After botching the transaction three times, Hannibal gave the boy a rare look of reassurance, it wasn’t the kid’s fault that the penny pinching store executives embezzled the Christmas profits on their own perverted means, forcing the consumer to contend with under trained and overworked staff. He tilted his head. The entire body of the Mall’s board were most certainly free range rude. His eyes flashed and his demeanour darkened. He could almost see the shiver go down the boy’s spine. He smacked his lips together, savouring the taste that was surfacing from his memory palace. Clarice – as impatient as he was patient – averted his attention.
“Whatcha thinking of??”
The faint traces of her Southern origins made him cringe on the inside, but on the outside, his lips curled to a smile.
“Just thinking of what I would like to do to that shirt we saw earlier…” the darkness in his eyes lightened as his pupils danced mischievously. Of course there was no fooling his dear Clarice, there was little doubt that she knew what he had really been thinking. Her lapse into the accent she openingly flaunted during their times together at the hospital all those years ago was her way of letting him know she knew.
Clarice leaned in close to him and drawled softly into his ear. “Well y’all, I don’t know about that but I sure know what I’d like you to do IN it!”
He crept his arm around Clarice’s waist and pulled her in even closer; his voice was barely a whisper she had to strain to hear it. “Not in a thousand years…” The breath was hot on her neck.
Clarice twisted her neck around to look at him. “Well my dear, I do remember saying that myself once and it was astonishing how quickly a thousand years can come to pass.”
He grimaced and opened his mouth to add something more about patience but was interrupted by the sales clerk.
“Y-y-your change sir.” The boy’s voice peaked at a squeak at “sir” but Hannibal was sure it was not on account of the boy’s voice changing. Looking down at the boy’s hands and not even wanting to fathom where they’d been, he simply shook his head and with a single graceful stroke, he had swept up Clarice, cleared the package from the counter and they were off.
Not more than 15 minutes later they were stuck in the traffic gridlock of the car park. Typically, it seemed as though everyone had decided to leave at the same time. Clarice impatiently rattled the electric buzzer to close the window. The fumes were getting to them both.
Hannibal gave her a sidelong look. “Clarice, electric windows are set to operate at one speed and one speed only. Hitting the button more than once will only serve in blowing a fuse.”
The window closed. “What? No lecture about my impatience???” Clarice said sarcastically as they exited the car park.
“Clarice my dear, your eager insistence to ask me why I have yet to bring up the issue of your impatience is an example in itself.”
Damn him! She thought to herself, how could she not have seen that trap?
Shifting in her chair to face him more clearly, she coveted the sight before her. The moonlight glowed around the features of his refined face and the red of the streetlights gave him an almost erotic, yet dangerous hue. Leaning in close, she placed a hand on his thigh. The Jag whispered seamlessly along the road towards their home… it was a comfortable ride and according to Hannibal a pleasure to drive, but really, in times like this they really were impractical.
“Cursing the gear stick again my love?” Hannibal flashed his eyes at her. “Patience my dear,
“All good things come to those who wait” she mimicked, sinking back into her chair.
The rest of the trip was spent in silence. Hannibal’s brow furrowed at the thought that perhaps his Clarice was beginning to become bored with his predictability. Of course, not that other people would consider him an easy read, but a disadvantage of getting to know (and be known by) another is that it is only a matter of time before you slip into a comfortable mould of monotony and predictability. He made a note to discuss this with Clarice at length later. In the meantime, he decided, he would just have to keep on finding new ways to elude her expectations.
Later that evening, Hannibal was reflecting on his day in the sanctuary of his study. Whilst he could never tire of being with his Clarice, they were both secure enough in their relationship to afford each other their private moments and this was one of them. When they arrived home a few hours earlier, Hannibal was certain Clarice would be in demand for some action, but instead she surprised him by declaring she wanted to have a bath and enjoy some peace and quiet. After the furore of the shopping mall, he could hardly fault her for wanting a break and so he retreated quite contently to his study to catch up on his journals over a cognac.
After what he prescribed to be an acceptable time, Hannibal put down his journal and headed to the kitchen to put his glass in the dishwasher. Usually by this time it was she who would sneak into his study and announce the end of their time out. There was a very large room in his memory palace reserved for what quite often eventuated. But tonight something was different. Was she trying to test his resolve? No, she would be out of her mind by now… something must be wrong. Fearing that she had met some undue harm he effortlessly bounded up the stairs to the bedroom.
“Clarice???” The concerned tone in his voice ensure him that she would not think him impatient.
Her voice was broken by the reverberating hum of the hairdryer.
“I’m fine… just getting ready for bed… was just about to come down and get you… thought you had fallen asleep…”
The noise stopped and the bathroom door opened. She stuck her head around. “Why don’t you put your new pyjamas on?”
Hannibal nodded curtly but needn’t have bothered as Clarice had already closed the door again and was now brushing her teeth in the next room. With a turn of his heel he headed towards his side of the bed. He was a little perturbed by her unhurried expression. Perhaps he had underestimated her resolve after all. It never ceased to amaze him how she could never stop surprising him. He only hoped he had the same effect on her.
Looking down on his side of the bed he was surprised by the site he saw. There, in place of where his new pyjamas should be neatly folded awaiting him to try them on, was THAT shirt. He frowned and automatically went for his Harpy on the nightstand, but it wasn’t there. Rudolph’s nose reflected in the light of the bedside lamp and blinked at him in victory. Hannibal’s eyes flashed.
“Clarice, for the very last time…” he stopped in his tracks as he saw Clarice standing there in the open doorway of the bathroom, waving his Harpy at him.
“Looking for this my love?” She asked innocently.
“Clarice, what in earth are you wearing????”
She closed the gap between them and crawled on the bed towards him. “Why, my reindeer equivalent of course!” The southern drawl was heavy now. “Now hurry up y’all and get dressed cause Vixen is getting lonely without her Rudolph to guide her sleeeeeiiigggh tonight.”
Hannibal eyed the Harpy in her hand and made a successful grab for it. Her lips pouted and her eyes feigned disappointment. Any thoughts he had to cut the revolting cloth from her frame dissipated as the word “predictable” sprang to mind. She had certainly surprised him by remaining upstairs for such a strenuous stretch of time as it was so evident she had planned this moment meticulously. It was only polite that he return the favour. After all, what is a lapse in image if it is for the eyes of its beholder? He set the Harpy down on the nightstand and reached for the shirt.
After a feverish “sleigh ride”, Hannibal lay naked under the bedcovers with Clarice draped over him. Vixen and Rudolph were in a crumpled heap on the floor. She breathed into his ear.
“Do you think Santa was able to deliver all the toys?”
Playing along with the game, he replied “I don’t know, I suppose he has to check his list”
“Hannibal…” she turned on her side to get more of her body in contact with his own.
“Yes my love?”
He tightened his arms around her “Anything for you my dear… but just answer me this, whenever did you have the time to purchase…”
“You drove the Jag????” A tone of warning was evident in his voice and he felt her body tense against his. He changed his tone and smiled down at her “never mind.”
“Hannibal…” her body once again relaxed into his.
“Yes?” Hannibal smoothed the bedcovers around them as he mentally captured the night’s proceedings into his memory palace.
“You just said before that you would do anything…”
“Yes.” He affirmed, “Yes I did…” Then he added as a precaution; “…just so long as it is for your pleasure and your pleasure only of course.”
Clarice’s big blue eyes leapt with joy. “Well…” she started. “There’s this thing…”
He followed her eyes as they averted to the shirt on the floor then met his to question if he understood.
“Could you perhaps wear it tomorrow?”
Hannibal’s eyes flashed at the shirt, then at Clarice. He sighed. Well… he thought, why not… it’s only Christmas once a year.
copyright 2002, by
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