Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
A/N: Thank you all for your great reviews and sticking with me through writer's block. This chapter was a bit harder to write. Clarice discusses her past so I must remind you that this is an A/U story so some details are a bit different. I hope you all enjoy it. Love it or hate it, please read and review.
They arrived home quicker than Clarice thought possible. Her mind was still a jumble. Doctor Lecter was quickly out of the car and opening the door for her. They walked together to the front door. Doctor Lecter unlocked the door and allowed her to enter first.
"Would you like something before bed my dear?"
"Yes thank you. Coffee would be great."
He nodded and motioned her to the living room then disappeared in to the kitchen. Clarice moved toward the couch then stopped. She turned and walked to the dining room. Her gun still lay on the table were she had left it earlier. She checked it over and removed the magazine.
"Should I be concerned?" Dr. Lecter asked from the doorway.
"No." she replied simply. "Just a little routine. Old habits die hard."
"Feel free to keep any routines you feel are necessary."
"Do you trust me?"
"Of course. If I did not you would not be standing where you are."
"Why do I trust you?" he asked. She nodded. "I feel we are very much the same."
He moved closer.
"You think we're alike."
"You are as deadly with that gun as I am with my knife. The only difference is artist flair."
"Why do you do it? Why do you kill?"
"Do you truly wish to have this conversation so early in our relationship?" he asked and she nodded. "I suppose it would be best. Better to get the messy part out of the way. Why don't you go change and I'll bring in the coffee."
She nodded and headed to her room. She changed out of her dress and into her pajamas. When she returned to the living room he had discarded his coat and tie. She sat down and he handed her a cup. She took a sip as he sat down.
"Do you wish me to start from the first?" he asked.
"Who was the first Doctor?"
"What ever do you mean Clarice? You read the case file. I believe you knew it better than Will."
"There is no evolution in the case file. While I completely believe your level of skill it wasn't always that way."
"Trying to analyze me now my dear."
"No. I just want to know the truth. I don't see you as the type to torture animals for the pleasure of it. You are not what they think you are."
"You are very astute."
"So who was the first?"
"A fishmonger at the market."
"What did he do?"
"What makes you think he did something?" he asked and she smiled.
"How old were you?"
"He must have done something to warrant his removal from the land of the living."
"He was rude."
"Rude?" she asked. Dr. Lecter nodded. "He insulted you." She stopped. "No. Not you. Someone you were close to. Someone you felt under your protection."
Clarice nodded. "Who was next?"
"Aren't you curious about the victims in the case file?"
"I know why you killed them."
"Why did I kill them?" he asked.
"Like I said last night I know the pasts of your victims. You're a smart man you wouldn't risk going to jail just for the fun of it. You had a reason even if everyone else refused to see it."
"Maybe I believe I'd never be caught."
"Graham caught you. He figured you out. If he hadn't been three sheets to the wind he may have even captured you."
"But he didn't." Dr. Lecter said with a smile. Clarice smiled back.
"True. So who was next?"
He studied her for a moment.
"Quid pro quo Clarice, I have answered all your questions thus far. I have a few of my own, if you don't mind."
"What's your worst memory of childhood?"
She paused for a moment.
"The death of my father."
"How old were you?"
"How did he die?"
"He was the night marshal. He was shot by a drug addict robbing the local pharmacy."
"Did they catch the man?"
"No they didn't."
He studied her for a moment.
"Do you know what happened to the man?"
"He died. An overdose of painkillers and alcohol I believe. Who was after the fishmonger?"
"One of the men who killed my sister. What happened after your father's death?"
"My mother had died when I was very young so when he died I was sent to live with relatives on a ranch in Montana."
"A cattle ranch?"
"Sheep. How old was your sister?"
"Four." he replied. She shifted suddenly. She straddled him. He gave her a curious look.
"Did you get them all? You said you got one but did you find the rest of them?" He nodded and she laid her head against his chest. She sought comfort as much as she wanted to give it. His arms surrounded her and she relaxed into him.
"Tell me about the wolves Clarice."
She was completely still. Her breathing was calm and even for a moment he wondered if she had gone to sleep.
"It was summer. I snuck out to the barn. I crawled into the hayloft. You could see everything from up there. I used to sit up there for hours just watching the stars. I fell asleep but a noise woke me. The sheep were making all kinds of noise. I looked down and there were about a half dozen wolves in the barn. They were after the lambs. The lambs were wailing."
Her body tensed and her breathing became a bit faster.
"One of the wolves caught one of the lambs. It screamed and you could smell the blood. The rest went crazy. The rancher heard the noise and came out. He started shooting. He got a few of them and the rest ran off." she said. "They blamed me. They said I left the barn door open. I didn't though. The rancher opened it when he came in. The wolves came in through a hole in the back wall. One went back out that way after it was shot. They found it dead behind the barn."
"What happened after?"
"I started having nightmares. I couldn't sleep more than a few hours at night. The rancher still blamed me, eventually he got tired of me waking them up and they sent me to an orphanage. They said I was unmanageable."
"You hear the lambs in your dreams, don't you Clarice?" he asked quietly. She nodded against his chest. He stroked her hair. "You don't see me as a wolf."
Her head came up quickly. She looked him.
"Are you a wolf Hannibal? Have you ever killed anyone who didn't deserve it?"
"As an officer of the law Clarice you know it is not up to one individual to decide another's fate."
"Are you trying to turn me against you?"
"I merely want you to know what you're getting. I am not a savior or a vigilante."
"You are my savior. You punished those who deserved to be punished, those who slipped through the system. You wouldn't kill someone innocent even though I believe your definition of innocent would differ from that of the powers that be it doesn't make it any less true."
He inclined his head and studied her.
"What happened to the man who shot your father?"
"I told you...
"The truth Clarice."
"I was with my father the night he died. I told everyone I didn't know who did it, that I didn't see him, but I did. When I started college in Virginia I located him. He spent a lot of time at a certain bar. I got a fake I.D. from a guy on campus and started hanging out at the bar. It didn't take him long to notice me. He invited me to his apartment for a drink and I went. He had some pills in his medicine cabinet, painkillers. I put them in his drink. He started to realize something was wrong. I just gave him more to drink eventually he just stopped breathing. Once I was sure he was dead I made sure there was no trace of me in the apartment then I left."
"Did the lambs stop screaming?"
"For a while."
"Then I decided to work for the F.B.I."
"To protect the lambs." he said. She nodded. "And now?"
"Now I realize there are more wolves in that one building than in the woods around my second cousin's ranch. Graham, Krendler, even Crawford. They all use people to get what they need then throw them away. They would destroy a person if they thought it would get them ahead. I couldn't do that. I couldn't be one of them. Eventually they would have realized that too."
"You believe you would have been forced out of the pack so to speak."
"You don't see them as you see us? We are hunters Clarice. We have our own wolfish behaviors. The two of us, in fact, have been more wolf-like then they have."
"We hunt for a reason. We hunt to protect, to stop atrocities from repeating themselves. I would never kill someone for cutting me off in traffic but I wouldn't hesitate to avenge someone I cared about who was purposely and willfully harmed."
He nodded, understanding her reasoning completely. She leaned into him again and he felt his own darkness fading. He knew it would never be gone, not completely, but there was something about Clarice that made it bearable.
"We should be off to bed." he replied. He felt her tense slightly. He considered the reason for this and decided it would be best to put her mind at ease now than to let her fight with her emotions over the subject.
"You may, of course, sleep in your room. If however you choose to join me in mine you should know you are under no obligation to do anything but sleep."
She looked up and seen the truth in his eyes. She nodded and stood. He followed suit. He offered his arm and she took it confidently. They ascended the stairs and were soon settled into the large bed in the master bedroom.