Author's Note/Disclaimer: While I much prefer the Hannibal book to the movie, the cinematic ending provides a lot to work with in terms of fanfiction. Hence I've chosen to alter the ending, but I also choose to use some things that occurred in the novel. As well, this is my first attempt at Hannibalism, so please be kind.

That said, I own none of the characters – they are the creation of the wondrous Thomas Harris, and I wouldn't have it any other way.


"Clarice," Dr. Lecter said, a hint of reproach beneath his usual placid tone, "I'm a bit pressed for time."

Clarice Starling, unable to move with the long tail of her hair firmly pinioned by the refrigerator door, stared at the gleaming metal of the handcuffs that linked the doctor's upraised wrist to her own. It had been an unthinking action, to fasten them about his wrist as he'd loomed over her, his mouth upon hers an atrocity, a calamity, a curiosity. Her eyes moved from their mutual restraint to the doctor's own dark gaze, her mind, steadily freeing itself from the oppressive fog of whatever he'd drugged her with, wondering if perhaps she should have just let Hannibal Lecter run from this house, from her life, from the past that entangled them both.

Already the sirens were piercingly loud; she'd managed, in her tranquilized stupor, to dial 911 with the phone on the small table near the second floor stairs. That had been just over fifteen minutes ago, she guessed, and she was also fairly certain the doctor knew beforehand of her call. Why then hadn't he fled? Why had he gone on with the dinner, with the sautéed shallots and the vintage wine that was undoubtedly more expensive than any she'd any tasted before – why had he stayed to cook and eat that small portion of Paul Krendler's brain instead of leaving and gaining a distinct advantage over the authorities so eager for his incarceration?

The answer, Clarice knew with a heightened sense of unease, lay within the startling, unforeseen kiss he had bestowed upon her just moments before.

The doctor made a chiding noise; he moved past her, reaching for something on the granite countertop to the left of the refrigerator. The movement pulled her arm flat against the cold surface. Rearing back, lifting the cleaver he'd grasped with his free hand high enough for her to see, the doctor told her calmly, "This is going to hurt."

And as the blade fell with flashing swiftness, Clarice opened her mouth to scream, to vent the pain she knew was coming. In the split second that separated agony from relief, it seemed the doctor abruptly changed his mind; the cleaver struck the edge of the granite with a harsh ring, and jarred from his hand fell to skitter across the white linoleum of the floor. Clarice, breathing fast, stared disbelievingly at the doctor as he turned his face to hers.

"Be a good girl, Clarice," He said, the soft metallic quality of his voice seeming almost harsher under the assault of the wailing sirens drawing oh so closer, "And tell me where you've put the key."

"No," She replied, the word strangled. For a moment, the full weight of the doctor's unnerving eyes upon her, Clarice wondered with almost panicked calm whether he would simply kill her and leave her body for the authorities to find, or if he would take the finest cuts of meat from her bones to savor later alongside a small taste Chianti.

"Mulishness doesn't become you," the doctor remarked; the flashing reds and blues of the enforcement convoy were now spilling through the windows, bathing them both in spasmodic, dirty light. "I think," he continued, one hand descending into his pocket, and reappearing a moment later close-fisted, "that you may come to regret this decision."

His fingers unfurled as his hand lifted towards her; too late she realized what he held. She jerked to the side as one-handed he removed the lid of the hypodermic; a cry left her as the movement pulled mercilessly at her captive hair. Her free arm rose, fingers curved into claws; she struck awkwardly, sluggishly, the effects of the drug still somewhat clouding her mind. Effortlessly warding off the blow, the doctor used the handcuffs to his advantage, pinioning her arm above her head with his own and administering the needle with swift, surgical precision. Clarice felt the effects almost instantaneously - a sudden rush of weariness, of drowsiness, and as her limbs weakened she knew with screaming certainty the doctor had been right.

She did regret her decision.

He caught her as her knees buckled, shackled arm going swiftly around her back to cradle her as with the other he wrenched open the broken refrigerator door and pulled the long length of her hair free. As the doctor began to move quickly through the house belonging to the now deceased Paul Krendler, Clarice Starling secure in his arms, he noted her lips were struggling to move, and he ducked his head in order to hear what it was she was fighting the tranquilizer so hard to say.

"…Key … upstairs on the floor … by the phone …"

"I'm afraid, Clarice, that there simply isn't enough time for that now."

Before her eyes fluttered closed, he saw and recognized the utter terror in their depths.

Seconds later he stood before the back door, leading to the large expanse of aspen-boreal scattered yard which in turn gave way to the large lake. A well placed kick had the flimsy screen door screeching on its hinges, and as the amplified voice of a police officer rang out all around the doctor and his unconscious, unwilling companion became one with the shadows, one with the night.