Author's Note: The beginning of this story takes place about a month after the end of Hannibal. I have never read the books, sadly, and so I'm basing most off the movie. However I'm reading Red Dragon now and I purchased all the books but I haven't read them yet. Anything I don't know will be made up so I apologize if it conflicts or even contradicts the book. Also in this story, Mason Verger never died. Cordell never had the guts to push him into the Muskrat pen. So he will be a very big character in this story. I hope you enjoy it as much as I've enjoyed writing it. The rest of the story takes place 4 years after the end of Hannibal.

Disclaimer: I'll write this once and this will go for the rest of the story. I own nothing that belongs to Thomas Harris. I barely even own my plot. The only thing that is mine is my random made up characters and perhaps Leonardo Lecter Poverelli.

On with the story, shall we?

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Epiphany

Prologue

The August heat was upon her now, as Clarice slept, she stirred from discomfort. A concerned Hannibal moves his maroon eyes over her sleeping body, for a moment, he had thought the screaming lambs were taunting her once again. He frowned and then realized it was August's unnerving heat that was bothering her. The fan above them starts to rotate as he flips the switch and Clarice begins to sleep soundly again. He watches her for a moment, takes note of how rhythmic her breaths were, how they were never out of pattern. Dr. Hannibal Lecter was concerned about Clarice; it was a month or so after the night in Chesapeake Bay and a little less then a month that they had given themselves to one another. He had been watching her closely; he didn't live too far from here but was close enough to know what she was doing, who she was seeing. It wasn't an obsession, more like Hannibal being protective. He hadn't been inside her house since that night. He almost felt her lips graze his and almost saw her face full of ecstasy, he had trouble believing that it was only a little less then a month ago.

Hannibal surveyed the bedroom with his cold, maroon eyes. Clothes were strewn about on the floor, magazines fanned out on the chest at the foot of her bed in a disorganized, messy manner. A glass stood on her nightstand, still sweating from the melting ice and Hannibal brings the glass up to his nose and he cringes. Jack Daniels, he moves his eyes over her sleeping form. He frowns, she was deeper in then he had previously thought. As Clarice Starling slept, he cleaned up the room as well as the rest of the small apartment quickly, quietly and efficiently. As the sun began peaking over the window and leaving the room sunlit washed, he returned back to the armchair that overlooked Clarice's bed.

And he waited.

Hannibal was a patient man; he sat in the chair rather quietly with his hands neatly folded in his lap. An hour passed, incredibly slowly and about 6:57 that morning, Clarice's eyes fluttered opened and she met his maroon gaze. She inhaled sharply that might have been a gasp but Hannibal wasn't quite interested or sure about that. He smiled that Hannibal Lecter trademark smile, bordering on kindness, loving and creepy, sadistic. Clarice Starling saw it as the kind, loving smile that everyone had saw as the exact opposite. It was the reason why she became the outcast, the black sheep at the Bureau and did affect her choice to resign from the FBI. But that was about a month ago, shortly after the infamous Paul Krendler situation.

"Good morning, little Starling. How are you, my dear?" There it was his metallic, silky voice that she hadn't heard in since that night. She watched him for a moment, almost expecting him to keep speaking. Keep talking. But he didn't.

"How long have you been there, Lecter?" Clarice said sharply but he did not respond. For a few moments, Clarice was in the dark as to why he hadn't responded. She sighed and nodded. "I'm fine, thank you."

"Tsk, tsk, tsk. No lies, Clarice. I thought you knew I did not like liars." He replies quickly after she politely told him how she was. Clarice knew now that she would have to change her answer to actually start a conversation.

"Honestly? I've been a wreck. Considering how closely you've been watching me, yes I do know you've been watching me; I thought you would already know that. I don't work at the FBI any longer. You know that but you want to hear it from me. I've been unemployed since then and a certain Mr. Jack Daniels has become my best friend. Is that satisfactory to you, Dr. Lecter? Or would you like to know what time of the day I go to the bathroom?" Clarice speaks quickly and she keeps her cerulean eyes narrowed on the doctor, serial killer, madman sitting in the arm chair feet from her. He seems amused and that is evident in both his glittering red eyes and sardonic smile plastered on his face.

"Oh quite satisfactory, Clarice. No need to be rude or unpleasant, I am simply curious about your well being. And furthermore, I am quite disappointed that you still are adamant on calling me Dr. Lecter. Why is that? I'm certain that we know each other well enough to drop the formalities." He silences and Clarice smirks, she obviously is not amused with the doctor that she so obviously is in love with.

"Why don't you shut up, Hannibal?" A beat. "Are you here to break my heart again?"

Hannibal's features seem to darken and he lowers his maroon eyes to the wood planked floors. To a stranger, it might have seemed he was engrossed with his feet or perhaps his shoes. To Clarice, however, she was certain that perhaps guilt had finally woven into his heart. Suddenly, he lifts his maroon eyes and Clarice wasn't sure if his eyes were becoming watery, evidence of the Doctor's true emotions.

"You know that is not true, Clarice. Do you think I could have stood around to hold your hand as you had so conveniently resigned from the FBI? Are you not aware that they only stopped watching you a week ago, certain that I would not come here again to visit you? If you were not aware, this and that night were risks for me. However, they were risks I was willing to take."

Guilt begins to wash over Clarice and it was her turn to become engrossed with her feet. Hannibal on the other hand, was disappointed to see this, to know that he couldn't see her clear, cerulean eyes for a moment. He extends his arm and lifts up her chin with his forefinger. He was surprised to see tears dripping down her cheeks and he wipes them with his thumb and she can't help but smile.

"Those weeks were agonizing for me as well."

"Hannibal." She says this as she might reveal a secret, a confession. Hannibal is confused, which is a rare emotion for him to be feeling; he searches her face for some truth, anything. "Hannibal," She repeats, "I think I might be pregnant."

He inhales sharply and he knows that it is plausible. He had witnessed her vomiting a few times but he had believed it was from stress, perhaps the liqueur as well. That night had happened about a month ago so it was incredibly plausible. Shock is plastered on his face. He is trying to gather words to say, words of encouragement perhaps advice, anything. He inhales again and he takes her hand in his.

"Clarice……." He gathers that much but he is still too surprised to speak. "Did you do a test? Are you sure, Clarice?"

For a moment, she believes that he is sad about this but she realizes her mistake and he is currently in shock. Herself, she doesn't know how she feels. She was 34, almost 35 and it might be her only chance to have a child. She sighs and tears roll more freely and Hannibal desperately wipes them from her faces. He doesn't like to see her in pain.

"No. I'm not sure and I haven't done the test yet and I actually have one. I've been trying to gather courage to do it." She smirks. "I've never been a coward and I find it ironic that I am one at this moment. And not even because a serial killer is sitting a foot away from me."

It was Hannibal's turn to chuckle and nod sadly.

"Clarice, let's be serious. Go and perform the pregnancy test." She nods and swallows hard. Nervous, Hannibal could tell and was a little nervous himself. Clarice retreats to the bathroom and about 10 minutes later, she returns and her face is pale and she was crying harder now.

Hannibal jumps to his feet and gathers her in his arms. Crooning her and soothing her, she begins to quiet some. He places a strong hand on her hand and caresses her the back of her head. He says a single word that will eventually map out the rest on their lives.

"Positive?"

Clarice only nods.

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In a small hospital, just outside of Milan on March 14th, a pale skinned woman with clear, cerulean eyes and brunette hair by the name of Caprice Poverelli begins to give birth to her son with her husband, Anthony clutching her hand. He soothes her as she screams and soon the screams of an American-born Italian die out as the cries of an infant boy come in.

Anthony Poverelli grins at his wife, Caprice. They were better know as Hannibal Lecter and the ex-Special Agent Clarice Starling but for their sake, they went under rather, ordinary Italian names. The child was born perfectly, five fingers on each hand and five tiny toes on each foot. Clarice was ecstatic and felt a love she had never had before. A motherly love. Despite her recent worries of not being a good mother, she believed that perhaps she would be now. The nurse takes the child for a minute and cleans him up for what seemed to Clarice and Hannibal, hours. The baby boy is placed in Clarice's arms and she sighs and gazes upon the love child of Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lector.

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"He's beautiful, Han-" She stops herself and corrects herself, "Anthony."

"I'm certain of that as well, Caprice. What would we like to call him, my love? It certainly has to be Italian if we are to spend the rest of our days in Milan." Clarice absentmindedly nods; she was drinking in the beauty of her son. She lifts her cerulean eyes up at him.

"How about, Leonardo? Leonardo Lecter." She seems to be content with this as well was Hannibal.

"Leonardo Poverelli, Caprice. Poverelli. A just name, I happen to like it very much myself. Leonardo means lion's strength or something of that sort."

Clarice looks at him for a moment and back at her son, seeming to ignore Hannibal's last statement.

"He looks just like you."

Leonardo had white, ivory skin with rosy cheeks and sharp, firm features. He had magnetic eyes, much like his father, Hannibal Lecter. Deep eyes of maroon, although considerably lighter then his father's. The light danced in his irises, pinpointing the red in them. Clarice noticed the same in Hannibal's eyes. On his head was little evidence of pure black hair, deep and rich. She imagined Hannibal would have look very similar to this as an infant. Hannibal seemed to notice that too.

"Incredibly so. I hope he inherited something from you. Your fiery personality, perhaps. Your courage. Anything." He drops his eyes to his son and he is overcome by a parental love. He touches Leonardo's cheek softly and notices how soft it is.

"Would you like to hold your son?" Clarice asks quietly, recognizing the longing in Hannibal's similar and familiar maroon eyes. He nods and soon his child was in his arms, content and quiet. He moved his eyes over the room, as if sinking everything in. The boy seemed curious and rather strong. He was quiet, and barely muffled a few cries. He grabbed hold of Hannibal's finger and a smile of pleasure erupts across Hannibal's face. Clarice Starling Lecter never saw him so happy.

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Tada. How do you like it so far? Onto chapter 1!