Disclaimer: I own nothing. Expect my two agents that Hannibal kills. Happy reading.

The Man Behind the Monster

By xxsabsz

The former Special Agent Clarice Starling's eyes fluttered open to catch the mass of white that her groggy brain registered to be a high ceiling with carvings of celestial beings etched into the marble. Her eyes moved from the white ceiling and onto the walls that were clothed in beige wallpaper with a flora design drawn onto. The bed her body laid upon was incredibly soft and the pillows silky. The comforter was drawn around her porcelain body that was tinted bronze from the Italian sun, and she found it difficult to move. Moving her eyes and head to the left, a night table stood, with an expensive lamp on top. The draw was open and she saw letters addressed to herself. She was puzzled by this and Clarice moved her head to the left. The bed had curtains lining the outside and the ones on the right were drawn closed. They were an off white and contained a little transparency and she caught forms of objects outside the bed. Clarice made out a dresser towards the door and a small, perhaps mahogany, coffee table that was neat. A candle laid a top and popular magazine lie neatly, stacked in a pile in the corner. Moving more to the left, Clarice inhaled sharply. A maroon armchair to match the brilliance of the man's eyes that was resting in it. Despite the murkiness of the room that was filtered behind the curtains, she could make out those brilliant maroon eyes. He was gazing out the window which streaks of sunlight leaked through and made his eyes glitter pinpoints of red. A book lay closed on his lap but Clarice could not quite make it out. The man had such sharp features, and his obvious muscle was still evident of his rather intimidating frame.

Hannibal Lecter was merely feet away and Clarice did not feel fear. A serial killer, a monster, a man not even worthy of life sat in an arm chair and appeared human. She watched him and struggled to muffle moans of pain that would interrupt his gazing. Clarice Starling was still groggy and her memories were somewhat clouded by the morphine. Despite her stripped of her rank and her movement to Rome, a gun always laid at her belt. Something that made her feel rather confident. Her hand moved down to her waist where a cold flash of steel ought to be but instead her hand caught the warm flesh of her thigh. She gasped sharply to realize that her body was only clothed by the comforter and sheets that lay on top of her. The previous day's events came to her mind suddenly. She was being followed, she was absolutely sure of that. Clarice cursed them silently and tried to lose them in the labyrinth of Roman street. The men could not be shaken. She was certain that the FBI was following her, they thought she knew where Dr. Hannibal Lecter was, but they were wrong. She was looking for him too. I whirled around to face them, their faces twisted into looks of shock. I scream at them. Goddamn. I remember those bastards look of disgust. No, I was not Dr. Hannibal Lectors whore. No, I did not screw him and no, I did not know where that monster was! She winced at those last words. Because gazing at him now, she could not see the monster behind the man. She only saw the man. She closed her eyes and struggled to remember more. I remember moving my hand to my belt, to get a cigarette. God, that disgusting habit put me into this goddamn situation. They thought I was reaching for a gun that I had on my right side on the belt. They shot me.

"I'm glad to find that you are awake, Clarice. Sleep well?" Dr. Lecter's voice was just how she remembered it. So silky, so calm, he always liked to focus on her name. He liked to say it, he told her that once. Clarice remained silent and she wasn't actually sure why. "Well, I hope so. Would you like me to draw open the curtains, Clarice? I drew them closed for your privacy." Lector continued.

"Yes, please." Clarice managed, it was painful, the wound. She turned her head to examine it. Careful, neat stitches were etched on to her flesh. This wasn't the first time he had saved her life and possible incarnation. Her heart quickened as the curtains parted and she actually saw him.

Silver hair that was still kept short. His brilliant eyes of maroon were still so inquisitive, so mysterious. His skin was still white but not pale and he seemed so alive, so healthy. The muscles were still evident on his rather intimating frame and he still had that kind, rather gentle smile. Not the smile of a killer, Clarice couldn't help notice that. She remembered that video she saw when Dr. Lecter had attacked that nurse. The two men, the one in the room and one in that asylum couldn't be more different. This man seemed almost kind and almost compassionate. He was first to break the silence that was in no way awkward.

"That's better, isn't it, Clarice? Do you remember what happened last night?"

"Slightly. I was shot. That bastard Agent shot me. Then that's all I remembered. They think I'm your whore and that I knew where you were. And I told them to go fuck themselves. I doubt that man's alive now, knowing you, Dr. Lecter."

He seemed amused, his lips turning into a smile ad he nodded. "Oh yes, Agent Walker did die. Shortly after you were shot, as did Agent Simpson. However, let's not speak of the morbid."

Clarice sat up and held the covers close to her body. Her clothes were most likely blood soaked and Dr. Lector had no other choice. She looked out the great window and noticed wonderfully elegant buildings with gorgeous verandas with beige stone lining the outside. She couldn't see much but from what she saw, she knew she was residing in Hannibal Lecters house and not a hotel. The exact locations were still unknown to Clarice Starling. He returned back to the armchair and she couldn't help notice how attractive he was in the sunlight.

"Where are we? Where did you take me, Lector?" Her words were sharp, she knew he had saved her life, again and had killed men for her. But she was left in the dark and Clarice hated being left in the dark. Where are we, Hannibal? Where were you all this time?

"Tuscany, my dear Clarice. No need to grow frantic. I live here; I bought this house under the name Anthony Kingsley." He paused and it seemed like the good doctor was about to speak more about himself. But he grew quiet. "How are you feeling, Clarice?"

"You don't seem like an Anthony Kingsley, Dr. Lecter." Clarice said, her cerulean eyes narrowing upon the man. She felt absolutely at ease with Dr. Lecter, she even struggled to call him Dr. Lecter and not Hannibal, which would have been completely inappropriate.

"How are you feeling, Clarice? I do not like asking twice." Hannibal still kept his icy cool composure. Clarice felt obliged to respond; the man had saved her life and was being very civil to her, not to her surprise.

"Fine, Dr. Lecter. I feel fine. Thank you, for….stitching me up." She paused and searched his face; he seemed content with her answer. He nodded, as to accept her thanks and met her cerulean eyes again with his maroon and she struggled to keep her composure. "Do you have any clothes; I don't feel comfortable being practically naked in a room with a man that is hardly my lover." Amusement danced upon Hannibal Lector's face.

"Of course, Clarice. How indecent of me to offer to clothes in the beginning, you must forgive me Clarice or I just will not be able to live with myself." He responded and moved from his feet from the armchair. As he left the room, Clarice did not struggle to leave the bed; she moved her legs over the bed, to get into a sitting position. The room was immaculate. Everything was in its proper place, the floor did not need sweeping and the furniture did not need a dusting. The carpet that the bed rested on did not need a cleaning and Clarice thought about checking under the bed, there ought to be some dust bunnies under there. She smiled, amused.

The doctor arrived back to the room within minutes and in his hands were another dress, similar to the one he gave her years ago. The dress was of the purest ivory and contrasted her Italian tan, she noticed. Its neckline plunged like the last dress and had to be tied around the neck like a halter. It had an open back and came just above the knee. I ought to be naked, wearing this blasted thing. She thought bitterly and placed the dress on as he left the room. The shoes were high stilettos and white, very elegant. She expected it from Hannibal Lector. He also provided her with a comb to brush her hair, which she did. She moved over to the full profile mirror and studied her self. The dress suited her wonderfully, and she couldn't deny that the man had wonderful taste. Clarice's eyes moved over to the dresser and noticed something on the top, a diamond necklace with a note attached.

Dearest Clarice,

I wonder if you will pay attention to the dresser to see this note and see the necklace. Please put it on, I imagine it will look beautiful on you. We will be having dinner shortly and I hope you bring your appetite. I wonder if you feel fear or possibly attraction. I told you once, long ago, that I loved you. Not that long ago but long enough to make it a memory. You replied, 'Not in a thousand years.' I really do hope you take back those words, because I will be waiting, Clarice.

Did the lambs stop screaming, Clarice? Or do you now scream because of something else?

Regards,

H. Lector M.D

P.S. I really wanted to write Love but I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Clarice turned a bright crimson and brought her hand up to her neck, touching it slightly. She could almost feel those diamonds icing her throat. She picked them up and didn't realize how beautiful they were. The lambs did stop screaming, Lector. And I don't scream because of something else. He was wrong. Clarice had become stronger, the lambs did silence and her sleeping had remained quiet. But she wasn't sure if that was true, she hoped. She didn't want to give him the satisfaction. She attached the diamonds to her neck and gazed at herself in the mirror. She was looking into the mirror of a murderer, she realized suddenly, and turned away quickly on her heels. Suddenly, realization sunk into her. She was going to dinner with Hannibal Lector and she couldn't help the tear forming at the corner of her eye. Paul Krendler, she remembered what happened to him. She leaned against the wall and shut her eyes tight. Would he do that to her again?

The dinning room was easy to find and Clarice Starling couldn't help gasp at the beauty and elegance of it. Everything was so neat, so clean, so elegant. Hannibal Lector really was a man of refined taste. He sat at the head of the table and he smiled deeply. His maroon eyes glazed over and Clarice sat down nervously next to him. She couldn't deny the hunger in her stomach.

"Clarice, you look splendid. A true vision. Better then I had imagined, Clarice." Lector said quietly and moved his hand to touch her own. She couldn't help but flinch and retreat from his touch. He said nothing, and turned to the platters that lied on the table.

"Our entrée includes a roasted duck with the side dishes of stuffed mushrooms, escargot and octopus. Some wine, Clarice?" He was being absolutely truthful, not a single dish contained anything belonging to a human and Clarice relaxed considerably. She nodded and he tipped her glass slightly and poured quite expensive red wine into her glass.

"Thank you." Clarice said quietly while sipping on her wine. "Why are you doing this?"

"You know why, Clarice. I've said it before, Clarice. How I love to say that name. Clarice. I've killed for that name, for you. I've only killed for one other person. Clarice, it's foolish of me to say so for the first time I did say it, you slapped me in the face. And you know it."

She was quiet and she was turning increasingly red. Clarice didn't know how she felt about this man, she truly did not know. She wanted to reach out and touch his face, wanted to know how he felt. She wanted and was beginning to know the man behind the monster. Who are you, Hannibal?

"Hannibal…" She muttered and was quite surprised that she began to drop the formalities. Hannibal looked surprised and watched her for a moment. He was fighting the temptation to kiss her. He's done it once before and she kissed him back, he liked to remember that detail. Maybe there was an ounce of attraction to him within her. He'd liked to hope so. "Hannibal, tell me about yourself."

This question threw the doctor off guard, he looked at her puzzled. No one has ever asked to know about him. So why did she? Hannibal placed his fork down slowly and sighed deeply. It was a painful story for Hannibal Lector and he thought about it everyday. He thought about Mischa, about his first love, about those bastards. Those bastards that made him what he was today and took away Mischa. They, they were everything to Hannibal. He sometimes wished they were still alive so he could take it all away again.

"This is hardly a fairy tale, Clarice. I lived in Lithuania for the beginning of my life. I had a mother and a father. And a little sister, Mischa. We were aristocrats, we were powerful and we could have had anything. The war was coming closer to us and it eventually claimed my parents." He paused and looked at her. "The rest of this is by no means, a fairy tale, I remind you, Clarice. Do you still want to hear?"

Do you still want to talk about it, Hannibal? Clarice thought and nodded. She wanted to know the man.

"I was no more then a child, an infant at that time. I was ten and my sister was considerably younger. We didn't know what to do, Clarice. So we stood, we stood and waited in the house that we used to live. We survived on what little food we could forage but then, then those bastards took her away. Six men. They came, they came and tied us up. Cannibalism, they relied heavily on that in that part on the war and country." Clarice inhaled sharply; she knew the rest of the story without being told. She felt a longing to comfort this man, to reach out and stroke his arm. She did, she placed her arm on a muscular forearm. He looked at her and couldn't help but give a weak smile.

"After Mischa was…killed….I remained in that house that they left me to die in. It became an orphanage, Clarice, and I lived there as a child. I eventually escaped to my Aunt." Clarice searched his maroon eyes and as he opened his mouth to continue the morbid story, she placed her neat, manicured hand against his crimson lips, shushing him. He grew quiet and she removed her finger.

"So why was it that you asked, Clarice? Is it perhaps, you care more about me then you let on?" Hannibal was never arrogant, and he wasn't being so at that moment. Clarice knew that and she couldn't help turned to a shade of bright red. God, more then you know. Clarice couldn't help thinking. She was acting so…out of character. She knew this as did Hannibal. The silence was growing longer and he grinned, and cocked his head to the side. And Clarice muffled a chuckle. He was reading her, searching her face for a reaction. And he got one. What he said earlier was absolutely true.

"Ah, I've read you correctly, Clarice. Tell me, Clarice, did you leave the force because of me?"

"Stop being such an arrogant bastard, Lecter. How about you tell me something? Why have you become the very people that made you this way? Why have you become like those men?"

For the first time around Lecter, Clarice felt in control. He winced and rose to his feet. She remembered that night at Chesapeake Bay where he had said, Tell me Clarice, would you ever say to me, stop? If you loved me, you'd stop? Those were the words that started all this. Clarice had again hurt him, she regretted those words. She hadn't meant it but she was so confused. This man, this man was ripping her to shreds. She knew she was in love, she felt it that night when he had kissed her and she had kissed him back. She didn't see a monster, she saw a man. But for the first time, she felt as if she had hurt Hannibal. He was quiet and moved his hand to her cheek and left it there to feel the softness of her skin.

She felt her skin tingle; Clarice looked up into his maroon eyes. They didn't seem like cruel eyes and his hands didn't seem like hands that would kill.

"You asked me a question, Clarice. And I intend to answer you, if I didn't, that would be rude and I hate rude people. I've become like them because they made me that way. You don't know the whole story, Clarice. They ate her. And in turn, I gave them that similar punishment. But…human flesh is similar to chocolate. It is addicting."

Clarice stood up quickly and her heart rate quickened. She hadn't expected such a reaction from herself. Again and again that disturbing and twisted scene kept returning to her. How were his brains, you monster! She was increasingly becoming more angry and Hannibal couldn't help notice how beautiful she was when her face flushed red with anger.

"You really are a monster." Again, she didn't mean that and Hannibal knew that. And Clarice knew that he knew.

"Am I, Clarice? If you really think so, you have the power to turn me in and leave. You are a murderer as well. Do you not remember the muskrat farm, Clarice? Or how about that despicable Jame Gumb? Remember him, Clarice? What about that mother? Remember her child? Do you remember, Clarice!"

"Those- those weren't murders, Hannibal. You ungrateful bastard, I killed those two men for you! They were not murders; it was in the line of duty as was Jame Gumb as was that woman, that drug dealer mother. She could have killed me."

"Was it, Clarice? I'm not taking about Jame Gumb or that mother but those two men. Any other agent would have left me for the muskrats but not you. Why is this, Clarice? Am I really the monster you say I am? Do you really believe that, Clarice?" He was so sure of himself, Clarice studied his face.

"Tell me Clarice, would you ever say to me, stop? If you loved me, you'd stop?" He says those words so slow. So slow and Clarice cursed him silently for that.

"I think…I think I would say that, Hannibal."

"See, was that so hard, Clarice? So I suppose we are on an even ground here. I love you and you love me. Is this accurate, Clarice?"

She however did not say anything to this statement. They were both on their feet and she moved towards him, her hand flat up against his chest. She felt his steady heartbeat and felt the wiry muscle beneath his white shirt. His hand had traveled to the small of her back and she moved closer to him. He leaned in closer, and his lips brushed up against hers for a moment. She could feel him smiling, like a real smile. A smile of joy and happiness and not one of amusement. Hannibal pressed against her harder, his mouth explored her own and wasn't too brash to slip his tongue between her lips. Clarice couldn't imagine what was happening as did Hannibal. Finally, they pulled away and his face was flushed.

"I suppose that it was accurate, Clarice." He continued and looked disappointed at the meal he had slaved over for them. "It's a shame that all this would go to waste."

"'Fraid not, Hannibal. You forget that I have just been shot, last thing I ate or even consumed was a espresso at 3 pm yesterday and it must be around 8, now. I'm absolutely starving." She grinned at sat in her previous seat. Hannibal watched her from brilliant maroon eyes, and removed the covering of one of the larger platters.

"Bon appetite, my dearest Clarice."

I really like this. This is my first Hannibal fic and perhaps will go on to be greater. If it is, it will mainly talk about their life in Tuscany and yeah. I think I kept Hannibal mostly in character but I'm not sure about Clarice. If the reviews are positive, I'll consider it making it a story.