Hannibal: April Fool by DD Agent

Chapter One

I've had this idea in my head for nearly a year now, and it's been on my author page as a WIP for ages. So, now, I've decided to put it up and see what everyone thinks. The setting is the present day, about six years after the events of Hannibal the film.

Spoilers: Hannibal, Silence of the Lambs etc.

Warnings: Disturbing thoughts. Hey, it's Hannibal.

Rating: T, although it may be rated to M for later chapters. I'll let ya know.

Plot: Six years on from the events at Krendler's house, and Clarice is still searching the globe for Hannibal Lecter. However, the break out of another serial killer draws the attention of the FBI, and it becomes a race to see whether Clarice or Lecter reaches the murderer first.

R and R if you like.

Clarice Starling sat at her desk, going over the reports from countless Lecter sightings. He had become bigger than Elvis in some ways, and it was now her job to sort through the amount of false claims and try to separate any real ones. This was the way the big boys still kept her chained to a desk, but managed to keep her on the Lecter case. No one knew more about Hannibal Lecter than she did, not since the death of Jack Crawford. Even Will Graham had gone into seclusion since Lecter had escaped. She was effectively on her own.

"Agent Starling? Agent Brock wants to see you in his office," said a young recruit from the BAU. Clarice nodded, and followed the young Agent out.

As Clarice walked to Brock's office, she couldn't help but look at what her future could have been. She had been desperate to get into this sort of work, but Krendler and her shooting down of Buffalo Bill had kept her in her place. Drug raids, petty criminals. She had wanted to profile serial killers and arsonists, not to make public arrests of your everyday jailbird.

"You wanted to see me Agent Brock?" Clarice asked from the door, and he motioned her to sit down. His eyes were tired, and she could see that his walls were covered with clippings and crime scene photos of the serial killer he longed to catch.

"Clarice, we just got word of a killer down in Colorado that wants to talk. As much as you have experience of talking to criminals in asylums, I think my Agents are better suited to talk to this guy. I wanted to let you know what was going on myself, before some other Agent filled you in. Have you finished going over the latest Lecter reports?" Brock asked, packing things in his briefcase.

"Yes sir. There seem to be a few genuine ones among them, but not many."

"I understand. Listen, Starling, I have an offer for you. If you do your best to try and find Lecter in the next six months, and whether you catch him or you don't, you'll be transferred here to the BAU. That maybe something you'd like?"

"Yes sir."

"Good. Now, we're off to Beckham Asylum and I will see you in a couple of days. Keep up the good work Clarice."

And then he was gone, leaving a very happy Starling in his wake. She had wanted to be in the BAU for so long that she was willing to give up the Lecter case to move. Clarice was getting too old for chasing Hannibal Lecter anyway.

#

A day and a half later, and Clarice was still sorting though the false reports. Thomas Carter, a young agent in the BAU had been assigned to help her out and to get some more experience. At the moment, however, he was helping out with the case Brock had been talking about. Bored with her current task, Starling set about investigating Beckham asylum. Using her FBI access codes and hacking skills, she managed to get a list of patients and their release dates.

Kristoph Bryant

The killing of his own family had driven him mad, but at the moment he was lucid enough to give information about the murders currently going on in his hometown. They suspected Kristoph's brother, but nothing was concrete yet. Clarice continued to run down the page until she found one that was being released tomorrow. She was a sixteen-year-old girl who went by the name of April Drake. Clarice brought up her picture, which brought a nagging feeling in the back of Clarice's mind that she had somehow seen her before. Her records said that her foster mother had admitted her after several suicide attempts.

April Drake.

Now where had she heard that name before?

A sense of worry began to grow in the pit of her stomach, and Clarice called Thomas to see if he could get a picture on April Drake and all of her communications from the outside world. She knew that April and Kristoph would have no chance to talk to each other, they were on different wards, but something made Clarice feel that this girl shouldn't be let out.

Two hours later, and Thomas returned with some information on April Drake. With a sharp look he told her that Brock was not happy, April was pleasant and had given them much more information that Kristoph had been able to.

She flicked through the information, and found a website that April constantly went to. Its nature was not important, it was a typical cookery site with a forum and recipes and such. After cajoling the BAU tech to hack her into April's account, Clarice found herself face to face with a collection of private messages, all sent to another forum member. There were only a few, spaced far apart but this system was like emails, it stored the sender's message too. Starling rolled down to the beginning of the inbox and began to read.

Dear Sweetbreads07,

Thank you for the recipe you posted, it was most delicious and my guests were most impressed. Thank you very much.

Sketchaholic x

Dear Sketchaholic,

The pleasure was all mine; sharing my recipes is a joy. I'm glad your guests enjoyed the dinner.

Sweetbreads07

Dear Sweetbreads07,

My dear uncle has told me that a friend of his goes by your very handle on this very website. This friend was over for tea the other day and they spent most of the time talking about the new recipes he had discovered while on this site. Was it you? I think I shall assume that it was.

Isn't it nice when old family reconnects and talks? My uncle has talked highly of you, his cousin, for many years. I'm sure you have seen my picture on his mantle piece. Robert thinks very highly of me, and of you. Although he shares your surname, he is still a normal. And those who are normal do not understand the true artist inside.

I would say I hope to read your next book, but I unfortunately assume you won't be able to get it published.

Yours,

A.

Dear A,

Your uncle talks too much, but yes it is I. I have seen your picture on his mantle piece, and you are a beautiful child. But are you in the same league as I? I think not. You say those that are 'normal' do not understand. You mean the people who populate the cities and the streets and mindlessly go from one task to the other? I know what makes me so different from the repugnant slob on the sidewalk, but what of you?

I could send you a copy of my book, but I'm afraid I do not know your address.

Sweetbreads

Dear Sweetbreads,

I found your last letter very interesting. Not only did you reply to me, even though you do not know my name. I could be some FBI trap to lure you out into the open. Or maybe an idiotic fantasist longing for correspondence with a man greater than himself.

Those that walk the streets are normal, for they do not understand the beauty of a picture, the depth of a single stroke on the piano, or the feeling one gets when they bathe in a mans blood. They do not understand how ripping someone's throat out gives you such a heat for desire and such a longing for the power you have that it becomes a dangerous addiction.

As for your book, sending a copy to Robert is the best way to ensure that I receive it.

Yours,

A.

Dear April,

That's right, I do know your name. And I must say, it is a pleasure to be talking to someone who has made such an impact at such an early age. I would send it to Robert, your uncle, but fear of him getting into such trouble. Tell me my little April Shower, does he still long to be in the bed of Alexandra, or has that ship passed him by? He did not mention anything to me, but I think that was more the fear of embarrassment. He might tell you, though, his dutiful niece. Do give my love when you write to him next.

How are the psychiatric facilities in Colorado? Sterilised and scrubbed down, just like you are? Brought to your knees by your own obsession of a calling card. Placing one of your sketches in each of your victim's houses was a bad mistake to make April. If you want to play with the big kids, you have to learn to play by the rules. I could help with your education, but I think it would be a waste of my time.

Now while this correspondence was interesting for a time, I do feel that it has begun to bore me. Good day April.

Have fun.

Hannibal Lecter, M.D

#

Clarice sat in shock after reading the emails. It was not as much that Dr. Lecter had been in mere contact with an adolescent, but more that she knew who April truly was. After shifting herself from her reverie, Clarice called Brock on his cell phone. He had to know. He had to stop it. He had to stop her.

"Brock."

"Brock, its Agent Starling. I've been doing some research on April Drake…"

"And as I told Agent Carter, its pointless. April is a troubled youth who lost her parents at an early age. She was committed for suicide attempts, nothing more." Damn, Clarice thought. That man wasn't going to listen, was he?

"But sir…"

"No Agent Starling, enough. Get back to Lecter, its what you're paid to do."

"Drake, Aprils' surname, is the name she took when she was taken in by her American foster parents. The kid is British, and when she was over there her surname was different. It was Brandon."

"That's not possible."

Clarice took a sharp intake of breath to stop her mentally whacking her colleague's head against a brick wall.

"April Brandon, better known as the Sketchbook killer. With no fingerprints, no trace evidence except her drawings next to the victims bed, the courts had no choice but to let her go. After that, she was adopted and moved to America. There, she attempted suicide twice before she was finally admitted. Before she was finally alone without parents and with staff who didn't know what she was capable of. Staff that let her communicate with Hannibal Lecter over a cookery website," Clarice explained and then overheard the hurried talking over the mobile.

"Bring her back! Now! Matthew, April is April Brandon!"

"The Sketchbook killer?"

"The one and the same. The youngest serial killer ever reported, with many years ahead of her to kill, is now loose on our streets…"

#

As soon as she had been released, April had run to the car waiting outside. The foster parents were waiting at reception, but she hadn't gone to meet them. It was only going to be a small matter of time before they realised who she was. A small matter of time before they came chasing after her. Leaning back in her seat, April could taste the freedom that befell her.

"Ready to start your education?"

"Very much so."

April leant back in the car, with Hannibal Lecter next to her as they drove off. The end of one era lay behind them. The beginning of a very bloody one was in front.