Please forgive my impeccable laziness and delay. The end is near...Or is it?


She had been his redemption.

A holy being of pure innocence, beauty.

Smile able to set a thousand ships to sail, a carved body more perfect than Venus.

Kind, generous: the most loving woman he had ever set eyes upon.

"I'm pregnant. We're-…We're going to have a baby," She had wept, bright eyes overflowing with joy and laughter.

A father. He was going to be a father.

The day came, her swollen belly ripened as summertime fruit.

The grip held on his hand could have rivaled Sampson, matched with the same deep determination.

Pacing, shaking.

Her cries woke the dead, whisper fingers sliding between the cracks of linoleum, reaching for her porcelain body.

"I must ask you to leave the room, sir. Complications have arose. The head surgeon should be on her way."

Whirling his wife on a gurney, assistants on each side. His lean frame followed, snaked between staggering arms to the glass.

"Get out of the way!" A gruff voice demanded, knocking him from their path.
He retaliated, released his fist with a mighty blow.

Missing the masculine nurse, connecting instead with a soft, masked face.

The woman met the hard floor without a sound, blue cap falling from her head.

A mass of dark, curling hair unveiled, dusting the floor like spilled molasses.

He stilled, viewed her rise in silence. A sea of blue and white closed in and the willowy figure brushed them aside.

She watched through the glass as his wife screamed before turning to him.
A patch of white masked her lips and nurses had netted the cap back onto her scalp, leaving visible only a set of impassively cool, cerulean eyes.

"You may have just cost your wife and child their lives."

Catharine had only been a distraction of life.
Picked by convenience, vanity.

Beautiful, but not in the way Lana Caldwell had been.

It was his first wife that led him to the murder attempts of the jaded, bright-eyed doctor, with the thin mouth and carved jaw.
The woman who so apathetically plucked the blue body from his wife and discarded it to another without a single glance.

Who could not revive his dear Lana after too much hemorrhaging, too far gone.

He watched her for weeks, months.

Nothing but an orphan. No spouse, easily spotted significant other, sibling deceased. One young niece studying in France, location of their ethnic background and exact coordinates unknown.

Traveling from work to a home residence every day, night.
No friends, nothing outside of her occupation.
Polite and empty as a living doll.

She now sat in a lone wooden chair, beauty lost beneath blossomed bruises. Her arms wrapped awkwardly behind the ever-perfect posture of her spine, wrists adorning matching silver bracelets, scalp bloody from the beginnings of a scalping.

That would have been too quick. Even now the bleeding might take her too soon.

Abirad Caldwell knelt before her. Those cerulean eyes from long ago held the same apathy as the day she allowed his family to die.

"Have I bored you, Dr. Astor?" His accent was dusted in a foreign slant and the captive's interest piqued absently. A rough hand suddenly clenched her jaw though Abirad's words came softly. "Is my torture…Not enough? I so hoped it would be like this. You, so unwilling to show weakness, forcing me into more extreme…measures. Always testing me aren't you, pet," Abirad murmured, stroking her gaunt face. "But there's always a fine line; a crack in the shell. You allowed yours to be seen with that last blow to the stomach. What are you hiding, little Anna?"

It had all come to this moment.

Fingers already bloody, several broken, Abirad Caldwell took no notice of the trickling blood from behind the chair.

A miscalculation you shall pay greatly for.

With the blissful click of the lock one bruised wrist found freedom. The cuff reopened, willing for a purpose once more.

Anna Astor wasted no time in accomplishing this wish.

Abirad let out a surprised roar as a viper's arm moved, smashing the metal of her imprisonment across his face.
In a fluid moment the cuff came whirring back, the curl led by her few working fingers.
It caught Abirad's mouth like a fishhook, tearing his cheek away from clenched teeth before the man could react.

Anna lured the flesh closer,
and sunk her teeth into the stretched skin.

He screamed, attempted to pull away. When he succeeded, a large portion of his face still hung between the pearly teeth of Dr. Anna Astor.

"You were a fool, Abirad, not to kill us when you had the chance," Spoke a silky voice.

Panting, writhing on the floor as the woman made quick work of the ropes snaked around her ankles.
Anna stood gracefully, wiping at her tattered dress. The last finger of her right hand spouted blood like a faucet, though she didn't seem to feel pain. She splintered the nail of her pinky and used it to pick the lock.

"Us, you ask," She continued, rolling her neck with sickening pops. "Us, as in more than one entity in this broken body?" She raked bloodied hair off her forehead, let loose a low laugh. Moving with dancer skill the brunette fell into a side split, one pointed leg dipping under his sprawled bicep.

Before Caldwell could move away a hurtling forced came across his forearm, shattering bone and cartilage like glass.

A bloodcurdling scream began, ending only when sharp fingers found his open bite wound, digging through the tough muscle.

"It would be best for you to lie still. You haven't much time to waste."

Anna Astor sighed, stood, marveling at the glossy liquid coating two fingers.

"There are some who are appalled by the thought of murder, and others who go through with it because of scorned motives. And I think, must there be a reason? Is curiosity, the thrill, not enough of an answer?"

A velvet tongue decadently found the blood in one fluid movement.

Us, though. I am not speaking of the little creature in our belly, oh no. I'm talking about me,"

Abirad could barely concentrate with the pain circling his senses, but the woman seemed adamant on holding his attention. She wandered the room carelessly, spotting one of her shoes on a dirty table.

"What-…What the fuck, are you…talking about?" He panted. Anna had yet to notice the weapon tucked in his right pants pocket. She's broken that arm. I'll have to reach across completely for it.

"It took her a while, to catch on. To call me. Need me." Dr. Astor ran a finger down the pale heel of the shoe, perfectly calm. "When her father pushed us too far, ordered every little kid finger to remain straight on ivory keys as he slammed the piano lid down upon them, I came. I, produced from her hatred and fear."

Finding the other she put the heels on, walking with a strange limp back towards him. Unable to escape, Abirad could only produce a sheer scream as the woman nonchalantly stomped the point of one shoe into his stomach.

"It has never been completely proven, you know. Dissociative Identity Disorder. It hasn't even been proven that the two personalities can be aware of one another." A cold smile reached all the way to her blue eyes with the end of her sentence.

"But we are."

With all his might the captor-now-captive reached across his body for his gun. Fingers grazing cold metal, curling into the trigger.

The sonic boom of a gunshot vibrated the walls, ceiling, floor.

Blood flowed a smooth fountain from Abirad Caldwell's body.

It was all anticipated. Just a sick game of cat and mouse between a pair of old friends.

Her lips to a cold, deafened ear, reading his last rights.

"When Anna needs to be protected, feels fear, I come as swift and dark as night, fit into her persona as a leather glove clenched around shaking fingers. To ease her conscious and rid the world of her problems. When you touched her precious stomach, rattled that petty fetus in there, she relinquished her mind to me. Just as you did with your wife and your child, Abirad, you have caused another life to end: yours. You were responsible for Lana Caldwell's last sigh, for that blue-lipped baby-"

"No," His groan reached louder than her whispers, denying her words with his dying breath. The last warmth Abirad would ever feel was Anna Astor's lips upon his skin.

"You've lost, everything, and can blame no one but yourself."

Will Graham had figured it out at last.

Two predators in a single room, learned of the treacherous past of the other.

"She knew, she knew." It was a desperate hiss, shaking hands prisoner to the cold metal clutched between them.

Hannibal Lecter didn't seem the slightest bit fazed.


"She knew, and fled. She was right. She saw you for what you truly are. From the very first morning, when your hand fell over hers. When she left the room no more than a startled deer running from the hunter. She knew."


Will Graham was frozen, mind an inflamed patch in his skull. "Th-That night. Anna followed us to Alana Bloom's home because she knew Gideon would tell me. She anticipated it, knowing that Gideon cared too deeply for her than to let the knowledge die with him. Anna wanted me to know, so I…So I would empathize."

The first recollection of sanity warmed Will Graham's eyes. His hands no longer quaked.

"So I would understand. Anna had me fill your role in her life. Cooking, conversation, intimacy. All along, it had been for you. To understand the humanity in a murderer."

Will looked overly stunned. "It was never about her. It was all for you."

Agent Graham raised the gun, took a steady aim with a certain determination never accomplished before.

"The scales have fallen from my eyes. I can see you now."

"How many times must I say, the note is flat?" An angry voice rumbled in French.

Two children sat, side by side, the opposite image of the other.

One, astutely blonde, staring blankly at the music before her. The other, smaller, with a head of deep chestnut, timidly looking up to their father. "How many times? How many fucking times?"

Unharmonious notes rang when four small hands were pressed against the piano keys.
An instant later screaming rattled the room, drowning the sound of breaking bone beneath the wooden covering of the piano.

The one child remained staring straight ahead.
She had not screamed, attempted to pull away.
Completely unbothered.

"Has little Anna grown a spine, then? Tired of mean old daddy's taunts?"

Dragging her to stocking feet, lolled head watching the floor. Her sister remained silent, frozen in horror.
"Do you hear me, you fucking piece of garbage? Hear me speaking to you? Look at me. Look. At. Me."

His grip loosened momentarily. "You are just as pathetic as that coward mother of yours."

At last the child looked up.

The heel of a small hand uprooted his nose, and shattered the cartilage completely.

Olivier Astor fell back, howling, cursing.

The girl looked at the little splatters dripped onto her skin like cherry syrup, glossy and perfect.

Her mouth open to breath, swaying.

She looked up, found the blue eyes of her sister, and ignited a soft sort of smile.

"Would you like to play once more? I won't miss the note again. Promise."

There were only three she was never permitted to kill.

The first grew alongside her, in her very presence when She emerged.
One of love and understanding, who had known the pain and strife inflicted by their parents.

One who led them to the acceptance of violence.

The next was nothing less than a child.
Green, vulnerable.
Gideon had needlessly emptied her, fearful of her other personality. Of losing herself to the black, unable to control the urge of silencing Lily Astor forever.

It would have never occurred. The violent chaos behind her eyes, though ever insatiable, knew better than to harm someone so impeccably close to the dominant host.

The last, newest addition to the list came in the form of a man.

Unable to harm him, She looked elsewhere. Escaping the normal day life, carelessly choosing others to kill in his place.

He soothed her soul and consumed her heart, set fire to every desire lost in her tortured mind. An electricity pulling her forth, producing hyperaware senses to every move he made, every gentle touch.

He loved and scared her to the point where her mind was forced to collaborate; a task never attempted before.

When Anna lost herself to violence, it blackened her.
Only after could she piece together the happenings, as if waking immediately from a dream and trying to recapture it.

No one had ever quite gotten to her as Hannibal Lecter had.

'He scares you. You are four months pregnant and haven't even told him in fear he'll kill it, or you.' The silky voice began, slipping into her conscious like an unwanted parasite. Anna Astor paused, shook her numb head.

'I've merely waited for the right time. I was never afraid of him killing his own child-'

'And if it isn't? If in the germination period they missed your pregnancy, and it turns out to be the captors?'

'…Then you can take over, and help him exterminate.'

'He will think you rude for hiding from him. He might not be so forgiving. He could simply kill you either way.'

"I don't care," Pale lips breathed, swinging open the heavy metal door.

Crisp night air caressed her skin, livened her senses.

She was still in Minnesota.
She was near Hobbs.

'He could still be there, now. Will surely would come back to understand, and drag Hannibal with him. I could go. I could save him-'

'You need to go to the hospital. You are dying from blood loss, as your child surely is.'

Anna Astor fled into the night, staggering on beaten legs and helium lungs.

'What do you care for most: the child...or Hannibal Lecter?'