I originally posted this a couple weeks ago and got a review pointing out my bad punctuation. I deleted it until I could fix it so here it is in it's hopefully improved version. It started life as a joke between myself and JaneScarlett (read her Doctor Who fics!)
Thank you to JaneScarlett for fixing it and listening to me go on about it. For a fairly short piece it certainly took a lot of effort. Also thanks to my Mom for not disowning me after reading it. Please review! Reviews make writing worthwhile! None of these characters belong to me...etc etc.
It was the exact replica of his Aunt's tea set. The same warm golden glow, the curve of graceful branches he'd traced with his fingertips a million times in the past. The same tender green buds and pale pink lace-like cherry blossoms. Lady Murasaki's tea set. This wasn't hers though; his Aunt had gone home to Hiroshima years hence and he very much doubted she could have been persuaded to part from her tea service. He'd purchased this set in Zurich; in a little antiques shop he'd discovered quite by accident while searching for a bite to eat.
Making tea was calming, it was meditation. Hannibal loved the ritual of it: first pouring the water into each teacup, then measuring the delicate curled leaves and depositing them into the pot. The water in the cups would now be 70 degrees Celsius, the correct temperature to pour from the cups on to the fragrant tea. A scant minute and a half later and the water took on the flavour of the leaves. The walls of the delicate porcelain cup were fine as eggshells; he poured a measure of hot liquid into it, careful not to spill a drop. It was Sincha, from the first flush of the year, his Aunt's favourite tea; and in the porcelain cup, it was translucent green.
Hannibal placed the rim of the cup against his lips and tasted the infusion, fresh and grassy like the promise of spring. If he closed his eyes he could picture himself back in his Aunt's parlour years ago; a boy too traumatised to even speak. He set down the tea cup and smoothed the lapel of his blue-grey tweed jacket. He'd come a long way since that silent boy, a long way indeed.
Will held Abigail from behind, close as a lover, so that her shoulder blades dug into his chest. She didn't struggle outright, but shivered and shuddered in staccato, her breath coming out in short panicked bursts. She smelled like spearmint chewing gum and green apple shower gel; and she was so fragile and pale. So pale, in fact, that she was almost translucent. Her skin was as thin as onion paper, soft as a sigh.
Will drew the blade across her throat in one quick fluid motion; and the steel sunk in more easily than he ever could have imagined. A fountain of blood issued from the wound, red blossoming everywhere.
It was beautiful. Abigail was as beautiful as a work of art.
Will felt insane joy bubble up in his breast, like the rush of foam from a bottle of champagne. It felt like the sweetest pleasure he had ever known, but also poignant—sharp, tearing his chest from the inside out like the claws and teeth of some wild animal—and at the bottom of his stomach was a grain of guilt like the sand kernel of hope left in Pandora's Box. Around him he heard the sounds of people passing, of traffic, the wind through the leaves on the trees.
He blinked. He was no longer in that blood drenched kitchen; and Abigail had melted away. His heart clenched like a fist; the anguish of loss—so acute it skipped two beats.
Of course it was only a waking dream, he had known all along but lately part of Will was never completely sure. He felt the wave of humiliation he generally associated with wetting the bed as a small boy; and he looked around to see if anyone noticed his agitation.
There was nothing out of order. The world went about oblivious, in slow motion.
Will's hands were clean; but he still felt the stickiness upon them. It was hours before the metallic scent of blood left his nostrils; and longer yet until the feeling of loss had faded.
"Being afraid is part of being alive. Part of being human. You accept that, and it becomes easier to deal with day to day life," Dr. Lecter said handing Will a glass of red wine. The wine was a decent Pinot Noir, the glass a lead crystal "Riedel" masterpiece imported from Austria.
Will took it gratefully and cradled the broad bowl of the glass between both palms as if warming it. Hannibal winced, and then looked down at his fingernails, the briefest hint of a smile gracing his lips. The proper way to hold a wine glass is by the stem, so as not to smudge the bowl. Will was obviously unschooled, but Hannibal would forgive him this minor transgression.
"I'm not afraid. I just want to be left in peace," Will said. He raised his glass towards Lecter's and took a small sip, and then another.
"Are you being honest with me, Will?" Lecter asked almost playfully.
"No," Will admitted. "I'm not honest with myself. I want to be doing this. I do want to help. It's what I can do. It's my talent; that's just the way it is. It's my duty to help catch these people."
"That's how you see it? A duty? Now you sound like Jack."
Will chuckled mirthlessly. "I do, don't I?"
"I wonder," Lecter said swirling the wine around in his glass as he mused. "What sort of child were you with such a talent?"
"What sort of child were you?" Will countered so quickly that his tongue tripped over the words.
Lecter paused so long, Will assumed he wouldn't answer.
"As a child the world seems translucent as water, only later with experience does it become muddied. Like many children I had hopes, dreams, favourite toys and people. My world revolved around me and mine. And then all at once—unexpectedly—I wasn't a child any longer."
The psychiatrist's voice, with the poetry of modulated tones invoked in Will a multitude of random sensations: the touch of his mother's hand against his forehead, the smell of engine grease and rusty metal, the wind stirring the leaves in a forest of trees. Abigail, her pale throat under his hand; her life seeping from between his fingers. Lecter hadn't revealed anything in particular, but Will nodded in agreement anyway. He raised his glass to his lips, startled that only the dregs remained; and he looked up to see Lecter staring at him in contemplation, a smile tugging at his lips, and the expression on his face implying that his thoughts were a million miles away.