A/N : Hello, dear readers. Here's an update. This chapter will be focused more on Hannibal and Herkus – and the rift that started to appear between them. It's a bit…angsty? I don't know, just read it first. Oh, and there's a new character introduced here. Enjoy.
Guests, please change your name so I can differentiate between you guys!
To akachan23 : Thank you for the review. I'm glad you loved this fic until the point where you want to…marry it? *chuckle* Very flattering. Sorry that there are no Will/Herkus interaction in this. Next time, definitely. Have a very nice day, dear. :D
To alvia viridis : Thank you! Yes, Hannibal will know what Herkus really is but that will be much, much later in the story. Have a nice day.
To Yoyo : Thanks! Yes, Hannibal Hannibaling *giggle* his way around life is so annoying. I hope you like this one. A bit angsty, but not too much. Have a great day.
To Rokkis : Thank you very much! I'm glad you enjoyed last chapter. Yeah, Hannibal is being too hasty for Henrikas' taste. I will mixed the canon Will plot-line with mine and of course Herkus *zipped mouth and grinned* oops. Do you want a spoiler? Well, if you do, PM me – I will answer your question without revealing my plan too much. Have a great day! :D
To Matsoine : Thank you for reviewing as always! I hope you'll like this and can read this soon!
To Lady Sarahi Peverell : Thank you. I did not stated clearly what kind of creature Herkus is, right? I just stated him as a half-Creature, with a capital C. There's a reason for that. But, meh, you can call him a Wendigo if you like. I don't want to reveal too much, so I'll say 'things' will happen that will divert from the canon, but if you cannot wait for the revelations, PM me and I'll tell you. Have a great day! ;D
To jayswing96 : Thank you! Of course, Herkus is getting cheekier with Hannibal. Getting too comfortable, no? *chuckle* I hope you'll like this one. No Mama!Will though, but several more chapters and you'll get all the Mama!Will you wanted! Have a nice day!
To Breakable Dolls : Thanks! Herkus doing something to Abigail will be in much later chapters, when she started to get too deep inside Herkus' 'family'. You know how territorial the little cannibal can be. Herkus is still young, so his transformation is actually out of whack. Have a great day!
To Random Person 94 : Thank you. Yes, Herkus should be more careful, doesn't he? Dear reader, you will see that interaction in upcoming chapters – how lucky! It's related with 'The Lost Boys' episode. Have a great day!
To darknesslight13 : Thank you! Wow! To say that I made cannibalism seem interesting is high praise indeed! I gotta warn though, the story will get darker as it goes, so, if you found that you cannot stomach it any point and stop reading it, I understand. Still, I'm glad you enjoy the story! I hope you'll like this one. Have a great day!
To Lulubell Alynn : Thank you! This chapter have a lot of Herkus and Hannibal POV in it. And I'm glad you liked that part where Herkus ate the blood bit. Sorry about my other story – but Gaining Innocence is my priority first. But I will continue Alese Yeager…at some point. *wince* Sorry! Have a nice day! (The next chapter I will need your expertise, I think)
To Guest : Thank you! I only just read the trivia! Thanks for telling me. Have a nice day!
To Guest (who is actually Velius) : Thanks! I'm glad you like the fluff and Herkus bratty and not so bratty demeanour. He's like a bipolar! It's funny. You're still my guide, though. You stuck with me! *cackling* Have a nice day!
To HP Girl 28 : Thank you! I hope you have a happy Easter too! Um, your request has been noted, but I'm so sorry to say that you have been mistaken about something. Hannibal and Will is not married in that other world…hmm, this is hard. Uh, PM me then I'll explain? And if your urge to read that 'request', I will write it for you, but after Will and Hannibal started their relationship, is that OK? Have a nice day!
To LunaSunFlowerLily, Mary D. Black2000, lexanther5, HarryPotterSlashFreakyFan, DebsTheSlytherinSnapefan, Femnaruxsasulover, Sir Jinx A lot 666, R. A Cross, KyRa-ChAn008, Guest, CallaCaptor, Guest, deadwinds, xXxnarusasuxXx, The Insane Kitsune: Thanks a lot! You guys are the best! I love all of your reviews! And I hope you like this one too - enjoy! Have a very, very, nice day/night!
General warning : Swearings, past child abuse, mention of rape, slash, cannibals, dark creatures.
Pairing : Hannibal/Will
Disclaimer : I do not own Harry Potter and Hannibal series.
Chapter 20 : Tantrum
For a while, he had textures; the weave of his charge's pyjamas against his hands clasped lightly on his lap, the silky material seemed to liquefy between his fingers. He folded them neatly, smoothing the unwanted creases, and placed them on top of his own clothes.
Then he had odours and let his mind played over them. Some were concentrated, some were not. The housekeeper had changed the bed sheets into new ones, leaving only the synthetic smell of clean linen; fresh and crisp. No trace of his or Herkus' scents lingered on them. A mute scent of lilac hovered over his nostril, light and pleasing, coming from the bathroom. Further away, on the other side of the front door, a persistent fragrance of perfume breached the room; pink rose.
Hannibal cocked his head, standing when the scent changed to a familiar one. With long decisive strides, he went to the white-painted door and unbolted the lock before opening it. The person he was expecting startled, green eyes widened a fraction before a fleeting smile graced his youthful face. Hannibal returned the gesture.
"Are you a magician now?" Herkus enquired, tone light and teasing, as he stepped inside the room. His small frame could easily pass through the gap even though Hannibal hadn't completely moved out of the way.
He secured the deadbolt.
"That profession does not have a steady income, Herkus," he replied, eyeing the boy took off his shoes before making a beeline towards the bed. "Our lifestyles will suffer the consequences."
The little cannibal gave out a noncommittal hum as he let himself fell onto the mattress before speaking, voice slightly muffled, "I think you will enjoy the chance to trick people."
Hannibal felt his own lips twitched at that. He walked to his own bed, taking the folded clothes and placed them inside their case. Herkus turned his body and faced Hannibal, eyes half-lidded.
"If you want to sleep, change into your pyjamas first," Hannibal reminded.
"Later," Herkus grunted and snuggled into the pillow before looking at him again. "When is the flight?"
Hannibal paused, "In the morning – you should sleep early."
Herkus yawned, "Okay – I'm tired anyway."
Hannibal eyed the drowsy boy who seemed to be a moment away from drifting off to sleep.
"Did you enjoy spending time with Will?"
"Uh-huh. He's nice," came the boy slurred reply.
Hannibal considered this for a moment. Herkus had a habit to answer rather childishly when he was lethargic; it was quite entertaining to observe. He also noticed the boy's loose lips, not thinking his words thoroughly, while sleep clung heavily on him.
It was a fact that Hannibal would exploit, no matter how short the duration might be.
"I'm glad," Hannibal said, arranging the clothes to fit in the way he sought. The boy sighed heavily before curling up, his coat creased against the duvet.
"How 'bout you?" Herkus spoke, "Did you enjoy spending time with 'bigail?"
Herkus hummed and blinked sleepily, "Where did you hide the body?"
Hannibal smiled at the same time he zipped the bag and lifted it up, "I thought you didn't want to have any relation regarding that."
The boy pouted, "S'not my choice."
Hannibal blinked at the reply. Curiosity piqued. Planting the case near the dressing table, he returned to the bed, intending to ask further about Herkus' remark only to find the boy was softly snoring.
An unbidden smile crept over his lips at the sight. Irritation at having his opportunity slipped by didn't even cross his mind.
Stepping closer to his sleeping charge, he gently turned the boy, who still remained unconscious, to face him. The boy was a heavy sleeper; Hannibal realised that fact early. While it was a tendency that wasn't acceptable because it left one to a vulnerable state, Hannibal was quite content to let the boy be. Herkus was still young and Hannibal revelled in the trust that the boy bared to him. Trust that Hannibal would protect him when he was defenseless.
He lifted the boy; letting Herkus leaned against him and unbuttoned his coat. Hannibal paused when he noticed the tears at both of the shoulder's region. They were thin lines, smooth and medium-length as if they were cut with something extremely sharp. He frowned, tracing the splits before Herkus' whimper brought him out of his own musing; the boy was frowning in his sleep, fists clenching and unclenching. He placed the coat beside him, absently shushing the little cannibal.
He would ask Herkus tomorrow – provided that the boy would be inclined to answer them.
The vest came next. Due to Herkus' small stature, Hannibal had no difficulty to tug the clothes off of his charge. The boy remained oblivious to the world. Hannibal was about to unbutton the boy's dress shirt when there was a knock on the door. Hannibal paused.
A strong scent of offensive aftershave penetrated his nose when he scented the air.
Hannibal briefly wondered what Will Graham needed at this time at night.
When he opened the door, Hannibal noted the smell of a very light petrichor hidden among the repulsive odour; the usual one he smelled since he first met the empath. He was longed to properly take a whiff of Will's natural scent.
Will would provide an ensemble of scents that Hannibal would love to explore when the opportunity risen.
"Will," he greeted, smiling, "Is there anything that I can do for you?"
The profiler shook his head, "Nothing, I just come by to check on Herkus. Sorry that I didn't properly sent him to you. Is he already asleep?"
"Yes – he sleeps as soon as his head hits the bed."
Will chuckled at that. "Figures – I offered to let him sleep, but he was adamant to stay awake."
There was haggardness in the profiler's posture, a fleeting expression of indecisiveness that rest on the younger man's face. Turning to look at Herkus, who was still sleeping soundly on the bed, he stepped outside and carefully closed the door behind him. The cold wind air greeted him.
He briefly entertained the idea that this could lead to a little nightcap with the empath; the thought was appealing.
Will stared at him, frowning, when he gestured at the profiler to follow him. Hint of wariness on his face made his lips curled into a smirk.
How defensive, the mongoose was.
The wariness slowly eased into light perplex when they reached to an empty gazebo. Hannibal purposely chose the one that was located a little further; it provided more privacy, away from prying eyes – even though they were in a form of a carefully trimmed decoration plants.
"Would you like a drink, Will?" he enquired when Will was seated; the profiler still had a look of confusion on his face.
Will opened his mouth and closed them again, rubbing his face tiredly. Sighing, he spoke, "Yes, a drink sounds good right now."
Hannibal hummed, pleased, "Any preference?"
Hannibal nodded before making his way to the small bar in the hotel. There weren't many people inside, but the scents told differently. Different cologne, musk, mint and sweet aroma of aged wine lingered in the air, intermixed with the hint of sweat, increasing in intensity as he stepped closer. Several lifted their faces when they noted his entrance but immediately went back to their own thoughts after they had lost interest.
He purchased a bottle; a vintage Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon. The delicate amber gold poison wasn't something that Hannibal usually ingested, finding wine more pleasing to his palate, but he could make allowance for Will.
Bringing the drink along with two glasses filled with ices provided him no challenge. Hannibal was used to balancing plates of food in his arms – this was merely a child's play.
Will's eyebrows raised in surprise at seeing the bottle clasped in his hand, letting out a breathy laugh in the silent night.
"I thought you would buy a shot of whiskey – not the whole bottle."
Hannibal smiled and placed them on the table, hiding his displease at seeing dirt on its surface; he should've brought along a piece of cloth of some kind.
"Your expression told differently," Hannibal commented lightly.
The younger man let out a small huff before staring out into the looming darkness on the horizon. He gave a quirky smile, face tilting to the side, "Do you know why they called it 'a shot glass', Doctor?"
"There are several theories," Hannibal replied, taking the cork off of the bottle and pouring the liquid onto the glasses. They looked darker in the dimmed light.
Will hummed, leaning against the wooden railing, "Supposedly, miners who couldn't pay with money, they would pay with a bullet instead," he gave an amused smile, "A shot for a shot."
"The theory was discredited by the historians, wasn't it? The price for a glass of whiskey certainly cost higher than a single bullet."
The empath snorted, holding his own glass of poison but not consuming it, "Still a popular theory among polices though."
"No, I," he sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose and let out a small, almost inaudible, laugh. His gaze was lost in thoughts. He let out another sigh and stared at him. "What's your theory then, Doctor?"
"Supposedly," Hannibal started, hiding a smile at the wry grin from the empath, "the glass sat on a dining table. It was used for the diners to spit the bullet out of the meat that could still be found inside when it was shot – from when the meat was hunted."
Hannibal eyed Will when the profiler took a mouthful of his preferred alcohol. His Adam's apple bobbed up and down just beneath his trimmed beard in a supple motion.
It was a delectable sight; it tempted Hannibal to run his teeth over them, feeling the heartbeats pulsated against his incisors.
He swirled the glass a little – it held no elegance like a wine glass would – and took in the aroma. Hint of sweet oak, dark caramel and charred wood were the strongest, mixed with saccharine scent of honey and apple. Taking a sip, Hannibal closed his eyes for a moment as lush and spicy flavour spread across his tongue fluidly; he noted oak with honey, apple and orange. It was adequate.
"Did you manage to catch Nicholas Boyle?"
"No. Jack'd been irritated with that," he gave out a wry grin before it fell, bluish green eyes flickered to his hair, frowning. Hannibal wanted to devour the concern off of Will's face. "How's your head?"
"I'll survive," he replied.
He gripped his fists until they turned into sickly white; numb. Henrikas shut his eyes, feeling a familiar sting on his eyes as the bile rose up again to his throat, burning his trachea with its acidic nature. The sounds of the heavy shower drowned the sound of his gagging.
He leaned over the porcelain toilet bowl, heaving and panting.
The memory he'd just gotten was a nasty one; very, very awful – that the thought of it just made him want to hurl.
It got worse when he noted his clothes.
Henrikas knew it was his own fault and Hannibal was only trying to help him; help him to change into his pyjamas. But he couldn't help but imagined Hannibal's face instead of the original molester in his dream.
And the idea had made him sick.
Logically, he knew Hannibal would never touch him like that – ever. But his body was harder to convince that it was just a mistake, that it was just a slip of imagination that would never happen.
Hannibal wasn't that guy.
Hannibal wasn't the pervert who attacked him while he was asleep.
Hannibal wouldn't do that.
Henrikas recoiled when he heard the sound of the door slammed shut.
Hannibal, his mind supplied.
Panic skyrocketed in an instant, burning hot and mean, deep inside his belly like molten lava. Quickly flushing the toilet, he stripped all of his clothes – at the same time trying not to think about his 'bare' clothes – and all but jumped into the shower. He poured the hotel's shampoo onto the floor, letting the heavy shower rinsed the liquid. Watching it formed bubbles, Henrikas noted the faint scent of the cheap shampoo permeated in the air; disguising the acrid smell of his puke.
Henrikas flinched when a soft rapping reverberated. Swallowing, he turned the shower knob, slowing the heavy pour; mentally and physically preparing himself.
"What is it, Hannibal?"
"Don't shower for too long – you'll catch a cold," Hannibal's voice resounded from behind the door.
He waited a second or two in bated breath, heart pounding loudly. When a minute passed without anything happened, he let out a breath. Head thumped against the tile.
'This has to stop,' he thought, 'If hearing his voice had made me this nervous, what will happen if I actually see him?'
He tilted his head sideway, letting the water brushed over his skin and accidentally saw his reflection. Henrikas scowled at his scrawny body that littered with scars and bruises.
Then, he stilled.
Leaving the shower, he cocked his head, absently watched his reflection moved. Staring at his own green eyes, his lips thinned; apprehensive.
"Might as well as try it," he mumbled.
The journey back to Maryland was a blur to Henrikas. He remembered waking up, getting inside a car and went to the airport. After that, his memories were a bit murky as he dozed off most of the time during the flight.
He was surprised to find the next time he opened his eyes he was staring out into the familiar place – the driveway of Hannibal's house.
"We're home already?" he croaked out.
Hannibal opened his seat belt at the same time he faced him. "Yes, we are. You sleep for quite a long time, are you still feeling tired?"
Henrikas nodded sluggishly. He moved and tried to reach the handle only to find something was restricting him. He frowned. It was the car seat. He was fumbling with the belt, trying to remember how to unfasten it, when Hannibal opened his door and proceeded to help him.
He nodded his thanks, blinking sleepily, and was about to get out of the car when Hannibal picked him up, carrying him over his hips. Henrikas let out a soft huff before resting his head on the older cannibal's shoulder, seeking the comforting warmth.
For a cold blooded killer, Hannibal had soothing warmth; like a heat that was radiated from a fireplace during the winter.
Hannibal's movement lulled him to sleep for a moment. He woke up when he was placed onto a soft mattress. Henrikas instinctively curled himself, sniffing the familiar scent – his own scent, not the strange smell of a clean sheet – and sighed; content.
A deep chuckle roused him from his musing and he watched blearily as the psychiatrist took off of his shoes.
Right, he forgot he was still wearing them.
"Perhaps I should've let you wear the pyjamas," Hannibal said.
"Pyjamas are for sleepin'," Henrikas replied instead.
"You're certainly not conscious for most part, Herkus."
He hummed, "I'mma tired."
"I can see that," Hannibal replied, "Are you going to repeat your action from last night?"
He heard a soft sigh coming from Hannibal. "Change into your pyjamas, please. The shirt will crease in an unflattering form if you keep sleeping with your day clothes."
At the statement, Henrikas flinched. The exhaustion ebbed away rapidly at the same time his mind conjured up unsavoury images of the repressed thoughts.
His carefully self-hypnotising broke its usefulness and suddenly, Henrikas found his fear growing at the thought of Hannibal being in the same room as him.
"Herkus?" Hannibal's accented voice enquired, but he ignored it.
He quickly padded to the bathroom – didn't care that his feet were cladded with socks – and locked the bathroom; breathing heavy and uneven. At least he wasn't feeling like puking his guts out.
He jerked away when an insistent knocking sound disturbed his panic.
"Herkus, are you alright?"
Mortifyingly, he found his lips wobbling, breath hitching. Apprehension, fear and guilt intertwined and rest deep inside his stomach.
"I'm okay," Henrikas replied back, cursing himself when he noted his own weakened voice.
Hannibal would notice and then he would barge in here and he would take him to –
Henrikas shook his head vigorously, feeling disgusted with himself.
'Hannibal isn't like that,' he repeated the mantra all over his head; body rocked back and forth.
Embracing himself, he took a deep breath.
"Can you go away, please?"
He sat on the cold tile, anxiety growing when he only heard silence from the other side of the door.
Was the psychiatrist mad?
"Alright," Hannibal said, "But if you don't come out from the bathroom in 15 minutes – I will assume that you are in a trouble and will force myself in."
A pause, then, "There is no need to be frighten, Herkus. I'm merely concern about your well-being."
The guilt intensified. "Yeah, I-I know. S-sorry."
"I will bring your lunch to your room for today."
"Thank you, Hannibal. I-I'm sorry."
"If you have trouble, you can always consult them with me, Herkus."
Henrikas nodded absently, chewing his bottom lips.
"I know – I'm sorry."
"You're safe here. I will never harm you."
Henrikas choked back a sob, "I k-know."
When he heard the soft sound of the door closing, Henrikas let the dam broke.
He cried, keening; loud and pitiful. Feeling guilty and loathe himself for treating Hannibal that way, for thinking about Hannibal that way.
When he had finished eating, he pondered for a moment about the tray. Should he went downstairs and risk seeing Hannibal and had another internal freak out or should he just let the tray be?
He'd almost choked on the drink when there was a sudden knock on his door.
'Speak of the Devil and he shall arrive.'
Henrikas panicked for a moment, eyes searching for a hiding place before a feminine voice came from the other side of the door.
"Henrikas? Are you done eating?"
He frowned, waited a beat or two, before running across the room and opened the door. He'd never thought he'd see the day that he was relieved to see Mrs. Kelly's face.
"Mrs. Kelly? Where's Hannibal?" Henrikas asked, peering over her form warily as if he was expecting that Hannibal would appear somewhere in the corner.
She entered his room and picked the tray. "He's working."
"At his office?" Henrikas asked, confused.
"Yes – he just went out a moment ago. He has patients in the evening."
"Oh," Henrikas said numbly, steps faltering at the remark. "Does he look angry to you?"
Mrs. Kelly frowned, "No…why?"
"Nothing," he quickly replied, watching his caretaker washed the used dishes.
"So, what do you want to do today, Henrikas? Do you want to go outside or read books?"
He pondered his options for a moment, biting his lower lips.
"Let's go outside."
Henrikas found himself wandering around a familiar park. It looked almost like it was abandoned.
"Ah," a young voice startled, "It's you."
Henrikas turned to the voice and frowned before remembering he'd seen the kid before. He was the one who helped him after he'd passed out at the park.
"You're the nosebleed kid."
He flushed, body bristled in defensive anger, and scowled heavily at the unknown kid. "I have a name, you know."
The older boy raised both of his arms in an appeasing gesture, his mouth taken a strange upturn in its corner, "Sorry, sorry. I don't know your name – so you just stuck as a 'nosebleed kid' in my head." The boy frowned at him, "So, you're okay now? You just kind of ran off before I get to ask your name or why your nose was bleeding anyway."
Henrikas felt his cheeks warm at the mention of his little embarrassing side effect of using his power. "Yes, I'm fine. Thank you for helping me the other day."
The boy waved him away, "Nah, it's fine. You already thanked me. You just surprised me when you suddenly fainted like that."
Henrikas chewed his lower lips; why was the boy talking to him?
"So, what's your name?"
"You should introduce yourself first before you ask the other," Henrikas replied warily.
"Fair. My name's Joshua."
Henrikas lips thinned; he remembered the hybrid. "I hate your name."
Strangely, the boy grinned. Not offended by his rude comment at all.
"We both do," the boy said, "Lucky I have a middle name. You can call me Alejandro or Al if you don't know how to pronounce it."
Henrikas felt a bit irk at the last sentence.
"Alejandro," Henrikas said, mimicking the boy's – Alejandro – pronunciation and got a smile in return.
"You're the first kid to say my name correctly," he said, amused, "No, I think you're the first one – even my aunt can't say my name correctly. That's why I am called as Al most of the time."
"Not a kid."
Not-Joshua nodded, "Okay, I'll stop calling you kid if you tell me your name."
"Why should I?"
The kid raised his eyebrow, "Well, do you prefer to be referred as 'nosebleed kid'?"
Henrikas' lips thinned. "Henrikas, my name's Henrikas Lecter."
"That's quite a mouthful."
He stared at the boy with narrow-eyed. "Like you can talk."
Alejandro laughed. "Alright – fair."
Then the kid gave out his hand and Henrikas stared at it warily. His eyes travelled back and forth to the boy and his stretched out hand.
"What are you doing?"
"To shake hands, of course. We'd just introduce ourselves, the only logical step is to shake hands – you know, like adults. Here," Henrikas flinched when the boy took his hand and gripped it gently.
It was odd, feeling the smooth skin. He was accustomed to adults' coarse and much bigger hands that the touch enticed him for a moment.
" – like this." Alejandro brought their hands up and down as if they'd just having an agreement. "Now, we're friends."
Henrikas immediately pulled his hand back and ignored the startled look of the older boy. He watched him warily, apprehensive.
Alejandro nodded slowly, "Yes, well, we're more of an acquaintance, right now – but we can be friends later. Why? Don't you want to be my friend?"
"We'd just met," Henrikas pointed out. It was laughable that the kid had the nerve to be his friend.
"People meet people at some point of their lives, how else they're going to make friends?"
"I don't know you."
"You know my name," the boy retorted back.
Henrikas still wasn't satisfied with the answers.
"Because you're different."
Henrikas flinched at the offhanded comment. The boy might not mean anything about it but it rang true – and to hear it from some stranger wasn't helping.
'Am I that much of a freak?'
"Sorry…!" Alejandro suddenly exclaimed, his face a study of panic, "I mean, you're different, in a good way – like me!"
The boy nodded vigorously, "Yes. You're the first kid – person, sorry, who isn't creep out by my speech's pattern. I mean, you understand me and you can speak very well for your age. You're what? Three – four years old?"
"I'm four," he replied without thinking. The conversation had taken a very strange turn.
"See? You're even younger than my sister, yet you're already able to pronounce some difficult words!" The boy rambled, "My aunt called me genius, but I don't think so – I just think us as very smart children."
The boy grinned, "See what I mean? I think you're one of the intelligent children. Well, brighter than most children your age."
Henrikas pondered this for a moment, "Did Hannibal put you up to this?"
He wouldn't put it pass the psychiatrist to do things like this. The older cannibal could find a clever child and orchestrated their meeting – he'd certainly had a fondness to pull the string from behind the curtain.
There was also a fact that the timing was uncannily suspicious.
The boy frowned, "Hannibal? Who's that?"
"My guardian," Henrikas said, blinking confusedly, "You…don't know him?"
"No, I only knew one – and he's already dead."
He raised an eyebrow, "You…knew a Hannibal?"
"Well, not really knew, but I read him up on the history books. Hannibal Barca – he was one of the greatest military general a long time ago," Alejandro stared at him curiously, "Does your guardian's name taken from him?"
Henrikas let out a chuckle at that. How appropriate – the name was. The image of Hannibal being a general at the same time being a cannibal killer was certainly amusing. Would he eat those who he had killed during the battle?
And then he remembered their recent conversation and sobered immediately.
"What?" Henrikas asked defensively when he noticed that Alejandro was staring at him curiously.
"Nothing – that is the first time you laugh," Alejandro grinned, "You should laugh more often – you have such a nice smile."
Henrikas blushed and coughed.
He cleared his throat and gave out his hand, "I think we should start over. Hello, my name is Henrikas Lecter. I'm four years old. It's nice to meet you."
Alejandro perked up and clasped his hand, smiling, "Hello, Henrikas. My name's Joshua Alejandro Valentine. I'm eight years old. It's nice to meet you too."
"Sometimes at night, I leave the lights on in my little house and walk across the flat fields. When I look back from a distance, the house is like a boat at sea. It's really the only time I feel safe."
"Far from shores that would breach the hull structure of your mind," Hannibal commented, "What dark waters would they let in?"
"My mind has already been breached," Will replied, bitter acceptance laced in his tone.
"You view your mentality as grotesque but useful."
Will huffed, "Like a chair made of antlers."
Hannibal leaned forward. "You stood in the breathing silence of Garret Jacob Hobbs' home. The very spaces he moved through. Tell me, Will, did they speak to you?"
"With noise and clarity," Will's voice was strained, like a taut rope. Plucking one of the finer thread and it would fall all over, tumbling in a mess.
"You could sense his madness," Hannibal supplied, "Like a bloodhound sniffs a shirt."
"I tried so hard to know Garret Jacob Hobbs," Will spoke, eyes haunted. "To see him past the glint of slides and vials, beneath the lines of police reports, between the pixels of all those printed faces of sad, dead girls."
"How did you feel seeing Marissa Schuur impaled in his antler room?"
Will blinked. Hannibal could almost taste the remorse radiated from the empath.
"Because you couldn't save her?"
"Because I felt like I killed her."
Hannibal recalled the profiler's loud whine at the hotel; high and pitiful. He licked his lower lips.
"A lipless voice accusing you."
"I got so close to him," Will hissed, leaning forward, "Sometimes I felt like we were doing the same things at various times of the day. Like I was eating or showering or sleeping at the same time he was."
"Even after he was dead?"
"Even after he was dead."
"Like you were becoming him," Hannibal remarked.
"I know who I am. I'm not Garret Jacob Hobbs, Dr. Lecter. But I don't think I should see Abigail anymore. Not for a while."
"Afraid that you will impose Hobb's feelings to Abigail?"
Will jerked, "I'm not Garrett Jacob Hobbs."
"I'm not insisting that you are," Hannibal amended, "but you must also realise that he had been dwelling too deep inside your fortress."
"It's my mind, Dr. Lecter, I know the way around them. Hobbs is – was just another face that haunts my dream. If I pay no special attention to him, he'll disappear sooner than later."
"Like any other killers that abode in your mind?"
Will was silent, but they both knew the answer.
"If you're uncomfortable, then I believe that your decision to not meet Abigail for a while is a sound one," Hannibal said, "But what will you do if she asks for your presence? You can't avoid her forever, Will."
"I'll cross that bridge when it comes."
Hannibal worked quietly at his desk, scribbling in Will's patient notebook, adding new observations from the profiler's latest appointment when a creak from the balcony above him lifted his pen from the page.
A beat of silence, then, "How did you know that it was me?"
"Hospital called," he replied and ended the last of his sentence of his annotation on the notebook before looking up. "You climb over the wall." Hannibal closed the book, bookmarking the page with the pen and strode across the room towards the ladder. "Where else were you to go? Home is no longer an option."
The teenage girl stared at him with wide eyes, like a deer caught in a headlight, and chewed her bottom lips. Apprehension showed on her young face.
"Come down from there."
Hannibal watched the little wolf hesitated before heeding his order. He gave out his hand when she stepped off the last rungs onto the floor and smiled when she clasped it; her skin was cold and clammy.
"I don't want to go to sleep," she started, absently picking on her scarf.
"You can't anticipate your dreams, can't block them, can't repress."
"I didn't honour any part of him," she said, panic in her tone, "so it's just murder, isn't it?"
It was peculiar how the young woman perceived the slaughter. But that could be due to her upbringing. Hannibal was curious how Hobbs treated his daughter to make the teenage girl so adverse to his taboo hobby and yet at the same time, his teachings ingrained deeply in her very being.
"Most would argue self-defence."
"Then why not tell the truth?" the little wolf asked, confused.
Abigail had entered a devil's bargain when she decided to display her insight that Hannibal was the caller in a not so subtle way. Now that Hannibal had her where he wanted, the little wolf couldn't get away from his grasp that easily. Not when she seemed to know some of the rules how to play this little game of theirs.
"Most would argue. There would still be those who would say you were taking after your father."
"Like your father, you know the unreality of the people who die. You understand that they are not flesh, but light and air and colour. Quick sounds quickly ended when you change them. You changed Nicholas Boyle like a burst balloon."
Her face paled. "You said I gutted him. Like a deer."
"Nicholas Boyle is more important for the gutting, more important than the life he clamoured after."
Abigail stared at him with an odd expression before her face morphed into horrified realisation. "You're glad I killed him."
The little wolf had a keen instinct – a trait that Hannibal admired.
"What would be the alternative? That he killed you?"
"I don't know if he was going to," Abigail defended and Hannibal hid a smile. To hear that meant that Abigail knew where her place was in this situation.
She was trapped – like a fly caught on the spider's web. Resisting them would only make her tangled deep into the mess.
"No, you don't," Hannibal agreed.
"You're the one who called the house. You talked to my dad before..." she stopped, pain clearly shown on her expression, voice creaking at the edge, "What did you say to him?"
Brave the little wolf was.
But that was all she was – a little wolf.
Her family were already killed, destroyed by her father who loved her too much to let the little wolf out into the wilderness – to let the little wolf hunt by herself.
Hannibal wouldn't put the same restriction that Hobbs had placed on young Abigail. She had a quality of a predator that could be great if it was encouraged in the right direction.
He wanted to see the little wolf to be able to rip the throat of the red riding hood without remorse.
He needed to bind Abigail to him to do that. An agreement of sort – a mutual one he desired the most.
"A simple conversation, ascertaining if he was home for an interview," Hannibal replied, watching a myriad of expressions on the teenage girl's face. Disbelieved written all across her face. "Then why not tell the truth?"
"I think you called the house as a serial killer. Just like my dad."
A small amount of irritation grew at the remark. To be compared with a mere killer was unflattering. Hannibal certainly had finer taste than Hobbs.
"I'm nothing like your dad. I made a mistake. Something easily misconstrued. Not unlike yourself."
Abigail stared at him, assessing, and Hannibal did the same. The only difference between them was he had already made his decision.
"I'll keep your secret."
Then the little wolf gave him a smile – a tiny, hesitant, soft thing. "And I'll keep yours."
Hannibal smiled, "Reassuring to recognize when the bolt of our fates slides home." Then, with a chiding tone, he added, "No more climbing walls, Abigail."
She smiled a little wider at that.
Hannibal went to his desk and reached for his phone, searching the hospital's number on the call history.
"Are you going to take me back?"
Hannibal paused and glanced at the young woman, "Would you like me to?"
She bit her lips, "Can I hang around here for a while? I don't… like the hospital."
Hannibal considered this for a moment before nodded. "You may – a half an hour will not bring anyone grief at the hospital."
Abigail nodded, "Thank you."
Hannibal exited the call history and went into text message instead. There was still time before Herkus' bed time – should he send him a message? The boy hadn't want to see him, but a message did not categorise as 'seeing'.
'Would you please inform Mrs. Kelly that I'll be home late today?'
He placed the phone back on the desk only to find it vibrated not a moment later.
His mouth curled into a smile. The little cannibal seemed bolder in messaging, but that afternoon incident didn't sit well with Hannibal.
The abrupt change of his charge and the fear that laced his voice – he wondered what triggered it all. But those topics weren't suit during texting. Those sensitive conversations needed to be face-to-face.
'Someone unexpected arrives.'
'Is it Abigail?'
His lips twitched. If the little cannibal had a keen instinct, the little cannibal wore his like it was his second skin. The boy was uncannily sharp and observant – and unlike the little wolf, Herkus was already a perfect predator if only needed a bit supervision due to his young age.
"What're you doing?" the curious voice of Abigail brought him up from his musing. There was a book that was held by the little wolf.
"Informing my charge that I will be home later than I had expected."
Abigail's face changed. A mixed of resentment and curiosity.
"Henrikas?" Hannibal nodded. "Is he your…nephew?"
"No – he's a distant relative of mine."
Abigail hummed noncommittally.
"Can I borrow this?"
Hannibal's eyes flickered briefly to the girl's and nodded, "You may. Do take proper care of the book, Abigail. I will be displeased if you return it in an imperfect condition."
She seemed to be rethinking her decision but at the end had clutched the book tighter on its spine, "I promise."
He checked the title of the book and almost smiled in response.
'Dream Interpretation' it wrote in bold letters.
Hannibal recalled that his charge had read the same book. Abigail and Herkus had more similarity than Hannibal had first assumed, it seemed. It was amusing, mainly due to their slight 'animosity' towards each other.
He'd noticed the tension.
It was like seeing two predators prowling in the grassland– getting territorial when they realised they were hunting the same prey.
'Yes, you're right. Very astute of you, Herkus. What were you doing today?'
'I went outside.'
Hannibal raised an eyebrow.
'How peculiar,' he mused.
Herkus wasn't that fond of going outside – he took a surreptitious glance at the little wolf – compared to Abigail who was now standing and walking around the office; the teenage girl had climbed wall, after all, confined place would make her restless.
'Did something interesting happened?'
"How many books do you have here?" Abigail turned at him, hand picking on her scarf.
Hannibal needed to get rid of that habit of hers. It would not do for the young woman to have such an obvious tell-tale sign of nervousness. If Jack had seen her – she would be devoured immediately.
"I have quite a collection," Hannibal replied, closing their distance, and stopped at the shelf where Abigail had stood. "There are others in my house."
A vibrate in his hand.
'I made a friend.'
Hannibal raised an eyebrow. A friend; the question would be – was it a child or an adult? Herkus had an odd affinity with adults and seemed more comfortable being around them rather than children.
He clicked his tongue, noticing Abigail closeness and trying to see the message. "It is rude to read other's message without asking, Abigail. I don't tolerate rudeness."
The young woman took a step back and flushed, avoiding his gaze like Will would've done.
"Sorry," Abigail stammered.
"I have no qualm for you to sate your curiosity, but there are other subtle means to get around your interest," Hannibal spoke, "You must be careful of your action. They will be watching every movement, words and where your lines of thoughts inclined. You must learn to emote with enough conviction to convince the FBIs."
Abigail nodded, eyes steely with hard determination.
'Good girl,' he thought, smiling.
"Come, I'm sure you would like a tour around the city before you return to the hospital."
He told the teenage girl to wait him in the car as he tidied up his desk. Hannibal waited until he couldn't hear her footsteps before he paid attention to his phone again.
'I'm glad. I would love to hear how you meet your new friend. Goodnight, Herkus.'
"His name is Joshua Alejandro Valentine."
"Quite a mouthful one."
Henrikas gave out a wry grin, "Right? He asked whether your name is taken from Hannibal Barca."
"Indeed? How old is he?"
"Eight," Henrikas replied.
Henrikas nodded, taking a forkful of eggs and ate them; chew and swallow. "He likes history."
Henrikas stiffened, lowering the cutleries so that they rest on the side of his plate.
"Would you please look at me?"
He opened his mouth and closed them again. Gripping the spoon tight, he warily raised his head, staring at Hannibal who sat across him per usual. Henrikas only noticed just now that the psychiatrist wore a paisley tie today.
"Thank you," the older cannibal said, "Is there anything that you want to tell me, Henrikas?"
Henrikas tensed – twice in a row his full name was used. Was Hannibal angry?
He snapped, staring at the psychiatrist. For the first time, Henrikas couldn't read anything from the older cannibal's face. There was no amusement, no curiosity – Hannibal's face was carefully blank.
It scared Henrikas.
"You have been avoiding me for three days, Henrikas."
"Did I do something that displeased you?"
"No!" Henrikas quickly denied, "You didn't…it's not you, Hannibal."
Hannibal placed his own cutleries down. "I would like an explanation."
He shook his head, "No."
Henrikas couldn't tell Hannibal that – he couldn't.
"Is it your nightmare?"
Henrikas jerked like he was burnt and hung his head low. There was a tense silence hovering in the air.
"If you're not comfortable to share it with me, I'm afraid I have to take this to a more professional approach."
Henrikas felt his anxiety spiked at that and risk raising his gaze until it fell on Hannibal's neck. "…what do you mean by that?"
"You have to see a counselor, Herkus. One that is specialised in children."
His stomach plummeted at that. He felt nauseous at the thought of someone knowing all his secrets.
"You can't do that."
"I can – and I will."
Henrikas felt frustrated grew and to his chagrin, he could feel the familiar sting in his eyes and the clogged throat.
"No, Hannibal, I don't want to go see a counselor – I will not consent to it."
Hannibal's lips thinned, "There is no need for unnecessary force, but I will do so if it is required."
Henrikas' face fell, "…you will force me?"
He felt angry. Fury mixed with frustration.
"You're just the same as them. You think because I'm weak you can do this to me?!"
Hannibal stood, stepping nearer and Henrikas hissed. Hannibal stopped.
"I'm not a kid! You're just like them! You're just going to force me if I do something that you don't like!"
"Herkus…" Hannibal said at the same time he tried to touch him. Henrikas pulled back harshly, mouth wobbling.
"I hate you."
Henrikas' breath hitched, taking a step back; wary. Letting out a small sob, he ran.
Hannibal felt his own frustration grew as he watched his charge ran upstairs. The urge to break something was strong, but he calmed himself down. It was a mistake on his part, cornering the little cannibal, but he was quite concerned about Herkus' well-being.
Ordinarily, after a nightmare, Herkus would act all skittish or more clingy than usual, depended on the boy's mood. But it was the first time Hannibal saw him behaved like that.
Herkus was extremely scared of something and it had dragged his health down with him.
When Herkus had finally joined him on a third day at breakfast after the boy asked him to 'go away', Hannibal was relieved – only to find that his charge's problem had grown.
His once green eyes sparkling with hidden mischief and amusement were dimmed, beneath them clung two huge bags, showing that he hadn't had a decent rest for the past few days. Herkus had always had a pale complexion, but the one Hannibal saw today was almost sickly in colour.
He regretted leaving Herkus under Mrs. Kelly care without him, himself, checking over the boy. Hannibal wondered why the woman didn't inform him regarding Herkus' state of health. It was getting quite concerning – certainly she didn't plan on not notifying him?
Hannibal's lips thinned.
Taking the unfinished plate of food, Hannibal pondered for a moment as he stared at the half-eaten eggs and untouched scones; Herkus never waste foods – or at least, not the food that was made by him. Pursing his lips, Hannibal transferred the leftover to a small container; he would ask Mrs. Kelly to give it to the boy later.
Sighing, he wondered how to help his young charge. The boy was too prideful sometimes, resisting assistance even when he direly needed one.
Hannibal wasn't being fully truthful when he 'threatened' Herkus to see a counselor – he had hoped for a different result than the one that the little cannibal had displayed, but instead of it encouraging the boy to share his trouble, it only made the boy more closed up than before.
He needed different strategy to approach his charge, to help him – and if that included a possible child therapist, then he would do so. Even if the boy would resent him.
"I hate you."
It was quite a painful sight to see his charge in so much pain. Hannibal knew Herkus hadn't meant the words, but it still brought an ache deep inside him. Herkus' watery eyes were almost like pieces of broken glasses at the time, glinting beneath the light in an enchanting way.
A knock stopped his musing. Drying his hand with a cloth, he went to answer the door.
"Mrs. Kelly, come in," Hannibal nodded, "I have some questions for you regarding Herkus."
"You look like you need to sleep at least for a week straight."
Henrikas scowled at his new friend – it still weird to call the other boy his friend – who was peering at him unabashedly.
"I'm fine," he said and slapped away the hovering hand that wanted to reach to his forehead, "Don't touch me."
"Fine, fine, don't get so angry," Alejandro said. "Are you sure you're okay, though? You're not going to have a nosebleed and faint on me anytime soon, right?"
"That was one time."
"One time that was too many. I was traumatised, you know? Seeing a little kid that had blood running from his nose…and then suddenly keeled over – I thought you were dead."
"Not a kid," he gritted out, "And nobody can die from a nosebleed."
"Well, I'm not surprised if you'll be the first."
Henrikas shook his head, "What is it that you want to show me?"
Alejandro perked up and grinned, "Oh, yeah. That's right, I forgot about it."
He snorted, "And you're the one who was so excited yesterday."
The older boy stood and offered his hand. Henrikas stared at the boy curiously, raising an eyebrow.
"Come one, Henrikas. You're going to like the surprise."
Henrikas stared warily at the smiling boy before standing up on his own. Alejandro didn't look offended; like any other times Henrikas had easily dismissed him.
"I don't like surprises."
"Don't worry, it's a surprise. Only one."
Henrikas huffed, but followed the other boy when he started walking; he'd got nothing more interesting to do, might as well as see what Alejandro had in mind.
"Where are we going?"
"We're going to meet the surprise – but first," he said, a skip in his step, "I need to buy some things."
He frowned and stared at the grey eyes from the corner of his eyes, trying to skim the other thoughts but to no avail like any other times he had tried.
Alejandro was the first person that he couldn't read; his thoughts were oddly blank.
It surprised Henrikas at first. For a moment, he thought that Alejandro knew Occlumency, but Henrikas didn't even get a hint of magic coming from him. And there was also a fact that this world was a different one than his.
It was one of the reasons why Herkus keep parading as his friend – he needed to know why. And it was a great distraction than the one that... plagued his mind
"Nothing," Henrikas replied.
They stopped in front of a newly-opened market. He would have been fine waiting outside, but Alejandro dragged him along; the boy couldn't read a clue even though he was clever.
Alejandro left him in a middle of the row of the shelves before going off to God's know where. Henrikas walked around aimlessly, picking up items that he deemed interesting and had never seen before.
"You'd better not thinking to steal those, kid," a nasal voice said from his side and Henrikas frowned. He was carrying a box of stationary items.
"I'm just looking."
The man rolled his eyes, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever you say. I'll be the one who needs to catch you thieves."
Henrikas' irritation flared, angry at being accused.
"Cut your fingers using scissors after I leave."
The man's eyes glazed and nodded emotionlessly. Henrikas walked away from him and bumped into Alejandro who had a paper bag on his arm.
"You want to buy anything?"
Henrikas shook his head, "No, let's go."
They didn't even manage to take ten steps outside the shop when a shrilling voice screamed. Interestingly, Alejandro's steps didn't falter – only a frown etched on his face.
"What was that?"
Henrikas shrugged, "Don't know. Someone saw a cockroach, maybe?"
Alejandro snorted, "It's just a harmless bug."
Henrikas hummed in agreement at the same time he hid a smile.
Alejandro led him back to the park, but went further, almost reaching the woods. Henrikas looked around; there weren't many people around this part.
The red haired boy suddenly crouched and Henrikas stopped, confused.
A soft whine made him stilled. He took a wary step back.
"Hey," Alejandro said as he petted the…thing. He turned, grinning at him before the expression fell. "What's wrong, Henrikas?"
"I-I," Henrikas choked, taking steps backwards, "I hate dogs."
Sirius' Animagus form flashed briefly before his eyes. Big and menacing and biting him. He let out a whine of his own.
"Hey, hey, Henrikas, it's okay. She's not a dog – she's a wolf pup," Alejandro said, "See?"
Henrikas opened his eyes hesitantly. Alejandro was standing quite far from him, his arms carrying the wolf pup which seemed content being cradled by the boy. She – because Alejandro said that it was a she – had white fur with grey at the edge. Black eyes were peering at him innocently, curious.
She was cute.
"See? She's not scary."
"I'm not scared," Henrikas retorted.
Alejandro hummed and sat on the grass, placing the pup on his laps and petting it. "Come here, don't you want to touch her?"
He bit his lower lips. She wasn't a dog – and she certainly wasn't a big, black canine like Sirius was. Resolving his decision, he came nearer.
Alejandro patted the spot beside him, "Closer, Henrikas."
"What if she doesn't like me?"
"That's why you have to come closer – you have to let her sniff your hand first." Henrikas stared at Alejandro unsurely. "She doesn't bite – or are you that scared of her?"
He scowled and took a step closer until he stood in front of the boy, "I said I'm not scared."
The older boy nodded, "Okay, I believe you. Give me your hand."
Henrikas crouched, eyes flickered to the wolf pup which sat docilely. Slowly, he gave his hand to the young lupus, unconsciously holding his breath when she sniffed experimentally.
Then she licked his hand.
Henrikas let out a startled yelp and pulled his hand away from the pup. She leaned closer to him, interest waned at Alejandro, and padded closer to sniff him again.
He chuckled when a cold wet nose touched his hand; it tickled.
"I knew you will like the surprise," Alejandro said, grinning.
Henrikas huffed, "Shut up, Joshua."
Alejandro made a face at him.
He hesitantly let the pup settled on his laps when she put a paw on his knee, petting it on the head, cautiously at first before he relaxed.
Alejandro rummaged through his paper bag and took out a strip of beef jerky.
"Want to feed her?"
Henrikas stared at the strip then to the pup which had snuggled closer to his middle. He might be fine with it sitting on his laps, but he wouldn't put his hand anywhere near her mouth again – especially when feeding. He shook his head.
Alejandro shrugged and clicked his tongue, gaining the pup's attention. Henrikas watched she ate it almost greedily; she was hungry.
"Did you found her here?"
The other nodded and took another strip from the paper bag, "She was alone. I think she was lost."
"How long has it been since you found her?"
The boy gave a wry grin, "Since you fainted on me."
Henrikas shoved the embarrassment inside him and proceed to ignore the other boy. He smiled when the pup stared at him, tilting her head in a cute manner. Her fur was ridiculously soft and he enjoyed touching them.
"So, why do you bags under your eyes?"
He glanced at the older boy who stared at him curiously, hand still feeding the wolf on his laps. Henrikas sighed.
Alejandro hummed thoughtfully, "Nightmares?"
Henrikas jerked away, accidentally jostled the wolf and she whined in displeased. He murmured his apologies.
"You know…I had problems with nightmares too."
He raised his head, staring at the grey eyes.
"You see, my Mom died…so my Dad takes care of me," Alejandro started, "The thing is, my Mom was my Dad's…mistress."
"Dad already has a wife and child when he married my Mom. I live with them – with my step-mother and two half-siblings."
"Why are you telling me this?"
Alejandro shushed him. "You see, it's hard for me at first. Dad doesn't want to have anything to do with me, my step-mom and step-brother hates me. In that house, only my step-sister treated me normally," he huffed, "But I think that will change soon."
He waved Henrikas away. "Nah, it's okay – I got a cool aunt in the process. In fact, she's the one who helped me with the nightmares."
Henrikas perked up. "She did?"
"Yes," Alejandro nodded. "What do you know about meditation?"
He blinked, "Emptied your mind so the thoughts can't affect you?"
"Well, you seemed to have the basic at least…" he trailed off, "That's the first stage, actually. When you learned how to meditate, you can compartmentalize your thoughts."
"Like a mindscape?"
Alejandro grinned, "That's right! You never try it?"
He shrugged, "Never got the time."
He forgot that he had read about that somewhere when he lived with the Potters. They only prioritized him learning Occlumency – and Occlumency was the art of shielding one's mind from a Legillimens.
"You should try it – it worked for me."
Henrikas hummed and petted the wolf's head who was satisfied with the food given.
"I had a fight with my guardian," he started hesitantly.
Henrikas snorted and nodded, "Yeah – Hannibal."
"What was it about?"
He clenched his fist, "He wanted me to see a…counselor."
Alejandro winced, "Oh, I hate their lot."
He raised his eyebrow, "You'd seen a counselor?"
The older boy hummed, "Yeah, it's a requirement at my school." Henrikas nodded, curious, but didn't ask further. "And then, what happened?"
"I," Henrikas stopped petting the pup, motion stilled. "I told him I hate him."
He winced when he recalled the incident. He was rude, loud – two things that Hannibal didn't tolerate the most. The psychiatrist must have been very angry at him.
"You throw a tantrum."
Henrikas scowled and hissed, "Don't make me sound like a child…!"
"But you're a child. We both are," Alejandro said, confused. "It's okay to be a child. Why are you so against to act like one, anyway?"
"It's not your business," Henrikas replied hastily, "And you don't act like a child too."
"Yes, but I'm not embarrassed to act like one if it gets my way. My aunt said I was a difficult child when I was younger – it gets better after the meditation though." Alejandro took the wolf pup and placed her beside him, letting it stretched her legs.
"I don't need anyone help."
Alejandro stared at him for a moment.
"Let me guess," he started, "You avoid your guardian, and then when you meet him, he told you to see a counselor and then you lost it because you don't want anybody to help you and then you feel bad because you said something that you regret to your guardian and now you're just… angry. Am I right?"
Henrikas frowned, "How…?"
"I'd been there before," Alejandro shrugged easily as he petted the wolf pup which was gamboling happily. "I think you should apologise to him."
"You think I don't know that?" Henrikas mumbled, fist clenched tightly at his side.
"If you know what's wrong, then – what's the problem?"
"I don't," he faltered, "I don't want to talk about it."
Alejandro frowned, lips thinned, "Your guardian…he didn't hurt you, did he?"
There was a blur and Henrikas barely noticed that he moved after Alejandro offhanded inquiry. Fury wrenched ugly in his guts at the insinuation as he clasped the collar of the older boy tightly against his fists.
"Hannibal would never hurt me. If you imply it a second time –"
"I get it, I get it, don't be so angry, Henrikas. I'm just worried about you."
Henrikas let the shirt go as if it burnt his hands. Alejandro didn't look at him any differently even after the threat. The older boy only smoothed the creases on his shirt before he continued playing with the pup. Henrikas thought that there was something wrong in Alejandro's head, but he didn't mention it.
"It's fine, but you're sure scary when you're angry. Remind me not to do that again."
Henrikas frowned, confused. "Okay…?"
Alejandro stretched out and yawned. Checking his watch, he hummed noncommittally. "I got to go home. It's getting late, but before that..." he rummaged the paper bag again and took out a carton of milk.
There was a picture on one side of the carton.
Alejandro frowned and turned it to his face, both eyebrows raised. "Oh, this? This is a picture of a missing kid."
"Why did it was put there?"
"It's for children, mostly. They don't watch news and most of them eat cereals – which is complementary with milk. Well, it works for adults too, I guess."
"Isn't it?" Alejandro said, "C'mere girl, you want some milk?"
"There isn't any container for the milk."
Alejandro grinned, "Yeah? Just watch."
The older boy proceeded to drink the milk, taking several large gulps, and sighed. He then bit at one edge and ripped it with his teeth. Henrikas made a face when some of the milk sloshed to the grass. Alejandro then tore the upper part carefully, smoothing the jagged line before placing it on the ground. The wolf pup drank it happily.
"You're a mess."
"I'm creative," Alejandro corrected him, "And I already bought wet tissues, so it's fine."
"You should've bought a scissors instead of a tissue."
Henrikas sighed and shook his head. "Smart, but stupid."
"Hey! I'm a genius."
"Intelligent," Henrikas corrected, almost mimicking the boy's smile.
"You can go first if you want, she'll finish soon."
Henrikas nodded and petted the wolf one last time, "See you later."
"I still think that you should apologise to the General."
Henrikas tensed but chuckled, "Why do you keep calling my guardian General?"
"Because it sounds cool," Alejandro grinned before he sobered up, "But seriously, Henrikas. I think he's worried about you. You should get some sleep. Maybe try meditating?"
He nodded tersely, "…thanks, Alejandro. Goodbye."
"No problem – so, I see you…whenever?"
So? What do you guys think about Herkus problem with Hannibal? Is it plausible? Don't worry though; I will not let their relationships get broken apart like that! I'm no sadist… well not that much.
Do you like Alejandro? I mean, he's a new character (not really, he appeared in C14 for a brief moment) and he's a genius kid. A real intelligent kid – not like Herkus who is teen turned kid. Herkus needs a 'friend', and Alejandro will be one. As always, there's a reason why he doesn't seem to be afraid of Herkus and why Herkus can't read his mind. If you think he spoke rather strangely please tell me. (I'd met a real life intelligent kid like Alejandro and I was ashamed to admit that I have no idea what he [he's 7] was talking about. I took his speech pattern as reference – but I'd met him a long time ago, so I don't know…He's a good kid, just misunderstood and people were getting weirded out because he was too sharp, I think?)
Thanks to all reviewers, followers, favourites and readers!
Again, Guest, please change your name so that I can know which is which – thank you!