It’s cold and dark in here, I was cramping and shaking and my jaw was creaking from how hard I was gripping it, god I couldn’t make a sound. My eyes saw nothing behind the popping stars in the black before me. My face was wet as I listened to the sounds outside the black hiding place I was in.
Screaming. Hoarse screaming could be heard, I could hear my name. I could hear the blood I could hear-
The door slammed from somewhere upstairs in the house, I cried as the sound of heavy boots pounded in my veins.
I’m floating, I had to be floating I couldn’t get out of the cupboard I wasn’t ready to die yet. There was a crash and light poured into the cupboard and my body was speared through the chest. The breath that left my chest froze me and I was pitched backwards into the dying darkness.
Large hands grabbed my shoulders and blood flowed down my throat as my ribs cracked and broke, bent and suspended in mid air As the hands closed around my throat-
“Don’t fight me. You can’t fight me.” He whispered, my father jerked my face back and I felt the skin drip from my body as I clawed at my own chest.
Blue eyes shone in blood red moonlight before black seeped out of Will’s head and leaked into the pores of my bones.
Hannibal Lecter melted out of the black ink on Will’s skin and hovered above us like a ghost. He held my heart.
He squeezed and I screamed.
I sat up in bed, wrapped in white sheets and soaked in sweat. My heart pounded as sunlight filtered in through the window in my room, the clock glared at six a.m. I fell back against my pillow and breathed out, stretching my body out and stripping from the wet shirt.
Nightmare. Again. Always the same one.
There was a knock on my door and I managed to wrap myself in the sheet before Jane poked his head in, accompanied by the smell of coffee.
“Sorry to wake you, Jack’s just arrived with Ms. Katz-Katie?”
Jane came in quickly and shut the door behind him. He sat on the edge of my bed furthest from me then placed a hand as close as he could.
“I didn’t see his face this time, it was different.” I sighed, “Everything else was the same.”
“Was it my face again?”
“No. It was...it was Will’s. And Dr Lecter’s.” I let the tension in my shoulders out as I popped my back.
Jane remained silent on my bed, thoughtful as he pondered on it while I got dressed. I could hear Jack and Beverly conversing in the main room as I threw on clothes.
“It’s not surprising.” Jane finally spoke as I slid on my boots, “You’re replacing an old nightmare and giving it life with faces that you’re scared of.”
“The last people I’m scared of are Will and Dr. Lecter.” I joked, Jane mumbled something under his breath before he walked out.
“Jack, Beverly. What do I owe the visit too?” I asked as I walked into my main room where everyone was sitting.
Jane placed a cup of coffee near me and winked when I raised an eyebrow in question. If Jack’s here I better be tasting hot chocolate in a cool ass second.
Chocolate exploded on my tongue and I felt happiness warm me up until Jack opened his mouth to speak.
“This place barely looks lived in, Katie.” Jack looked around the bare living room.
“Half the time I was in my office, the hospital, his office or on the road. I don’t have time togrow attached to things here.”
“Morbid thing to say about a home.” Beverly remarked, “You don’t even have any pictures on the wall.”
I frowned as Jane redirected the conversation about their mornings as he handed them fresh coffee as well. Four blank walls held up the ceiling; I had a TV, computer area and the kitchen and around the kitchen led into my bedroom. I didn’t need more than that.
But after the hospital I couldn’t be in a room by myself without having panic attacks.
“It seems that every time you walk through any door of mine you have bad news.” I muttered as Jack talked about the latest Ripper kill.
“Will is certain that the Ripper is still trying to tell a story. All we know now is that he’s found someone and now there’s going to be a brand new beginning.”
“I thought the new beginning stuff already happened.” I sat down, “What? I asked Will like a week ago about the your year long expedition to find these dudes.”
“Screw the Ripper and his lover, we’ve got your Happy Man again.” Beverly interjected angrily, “He was a day early. Three new bodies in a container at the last coordinate.”
My fingers felt numb and my tongue felt heavy in my mouth.
“I-I-wasn’t it.” I closed my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose, “I thought. They were. Guarded.”
“Jack, I don’t even know where to begin.” Jane stood up, eye level with him. Suddenly my living room felt too small, “The amount of security issues I’m thinking about don’t even remotely cover the entirety of it.”
“Well, the squad cars are there...the cops just aren’t alive in them.” Jack angrily responded, fists clenched and eyes narrowed.
Oh fuck. Oh fuck, oh no.
“We saw this though.” Beverly tossed me her iPad and I flipped through, “Someone in the force is working with her, there’s no other way to get the scoops she’s getting.”
It was Tattlecrime and on the second page was a photo collage of old crime scene photos from when I was thirteen, in the middle of the article was a photo of me. Young and covered in blood, bruises and had wide red eyes in the photo.
“How the hell did she get ahold of the files?”
“Your office was open this morning, janitor found Lounds snooping around about four a.m, she had snuck in after him and hid herself away in your closet. Janitor heard her snapping photos and scared her.”
The next article had a photo of my office map that had dots and points and string attached to it. I felt pure anger, I tossed the iPad on the couch and looked at my boots.
“Lounds isn’t this stupid. She got paid to do this by someone big. Will was having her run her mouth to get the Happy Man to bite.”
“Well he bit alright.” Beverly folded her arms then turned to Jane, “Is she still able to go to the crime scene and function?”
“You said three bodies.” I stood up and pointed at Beverly, “You only said three.”
“Yeah, well including the cops it would have been five.”
“Make your point Katie, I have men I need to get back to their families.” Jack warmed as I ran to my computer station and pulled up my copy of the murders and my rough drafts from last night on the floor.
“He made another mistake.” I smiled to myself, “He didn’t know about the cops. But Lounds has definitely been in contact with him there’s no other way to explain it.”
“How does Lounds fit into this?” Jack asked, “We don’t even know if she got paid off.”
“I don’t think she’d give him up even if you threatened her.” Jane voiced finally, “That woman protects her sources better than you protect your field agents, Jack.”
“We’re baiting each other..” I whispered, amazed and felt my breath leave me.
I knew I was onto something. I closed my eyes for a brief moment and felt the hairs on the back of my neck slowly stand up.
Jane watched me quietly as Beverly and Jack ushered us out to the car.
I couldn’t lie. I was starting to worry about my life, and the dead weren’t telling me any new secrets to help.
The police tape behind me flapped against the cop car it was wrapped around before it extended ten feet and wrapped around another. Red, blue and white flashed in my tired eyes as I watched the forensics team exit the container slowly.
The container had been found at the edges of Great Falls Park, the clear Potomac river rushed behind the container hidden in the trees.
I stood on the uneven rocks near the river and stared down at it, the mist had dampened my skin and made my shoulders feel heavy.
I could feel them already, I could feel the dead cops’ confusion. It was a pounding in my head as I tried to focus, it felt like they were grabbing me.
They hadn’t wanted to go, but I wasn’t focused on what they had saw when they died. I focused on what they felt before they died.
Content. Alert. Familiar.
The tension in me snapped as an image flashed across my eyes. A hand reaching in, being shaken. Familiarity.
I turned to find Will standing behind me, hands deep in a trench coat as he pulled a scarf tighter around his neck.
The noise of the crime scene rushed in and overtook the sounds of the river. I heard the mud slide around Will’s old work boots as photos were snapped and repeated.
The lights from the cars bathed Will in dark hues and I couldn’t help but think how his eyes burned like fire between them.
I followed Will into the container, my booties didn’t make a sound as we stood together and looked over the scene.
“My sweet sixteen.”
In the middle of the container was a very lonely, singular table. Along the walls, once painted white, were streamers and party banners of all different bright colors. Cakes and food were set neatly on paper plates on the table, punch was poured into cups and-
That wasn’t red punch I was looking down at.
Blood was splattered all over the table and coated everything. Three young girls were seated around, throats slit and ripped open as their eyes stared lifelessly at the soiled food.
I closed my eyes and inhale, copper and sweat and death filling my lungs.
The girls were holding hands, their heads snapped to the side so they always stared in an endless circle of looking at the others’ skull. Happy Man had closed their eyes.
He was careful this time, I walked around the table slowly, letting my hand rest in the air between me and the bodies. The arcs of blood in the air, spraying over the ceiling and even into the corners...he was fired up, he had been ecstatic during the kills.
Outside I heard someone emptying their stomach. .
“This is my design.” Will spoke softly at the other end of the container.
“Tell me, Will.”
“They’re here when I get back here, I’m breathless and my body is high.” Will stares at the girl at the head of the table, “They’ve been locked up for a week, and I’ve just now brought them here, only now have I chained them up, starving and weak so they can’t refuse me. They love me, I made sure of that.”
Stockholm’s syndrome then. I shivered as my nose began to itch and the air grew dark. Sulfur.
“I’m happy, something has gone right for once. The police outside do not know what’s happening. All they know is that I’m here.”
I watched Will walk to one of the girls.
She opened her eyes and stared right back at me, unmoving and silent. I gripped the edge of the table and felt my knees go out, the energy from the caffeine seemed to drain from my body and through the ground.
“I snap her neck and cut her open. She does not matter. They begin to scream. I move on to the next girl who’s choking on her friends blood and I do the same and rip her throat. That leaves the last girl.”
“ Help me.”
“What was special about her?” I ignored the girl as her dead self began to fizzle and smoke and pop.
“ He said he would help us.”
“He said he was a doctor. He said he had money to help us.”
The other one cracked and jostled her snapped neck to turn to me.
“She is perfect and she loves me but it is not who I want. I kill her without a thought, she’s not important but she was for this.” Will looked at me, “It’s supposed to be you.”
“ He said he loved me.”
“ Yeah well he fucking lied now didn’t he?” I snapped and shouted at the dead girl who was looking straight through me.
Blood splattered their pale faces but all I saw was myself. Will looked between me and the bloody teenagers before remaining quiet.
“Should’ve known better than to get into the car of a stranger, girls.” I scolded them before they snapped back like a rubber band and when I blinked they were no longer looking at me.
Still dead. Still had lifeless eyes.
“Her heart’s gone.” I voiced, standing up and looking at the girl who was supposed to be me, “Will, it’s been ripped out.”
“...he didn’t do that.” Will voiced, rubbing his eyes.
“There’s a whole different vibe here now.” I whispered, walking as close to the girl as I dared.
I peeled back the shirt on the girl and saw the gaping hole.
“He took it with him when he left me here to rot and die on my own.”
I jerked back, stung as another image floated across my head. Blue eyes, a charming smile.
I felt my heart squeeze tight and I kneeled there in the blood, Will yelled for me as I closed my eyes and collapsed in on myself
I could feel the pain, could feel the screaming. There had been another one, another who promised her he’d help.
I had gotten the signals wrong.
“There are two killers.” I opened my eyes to find Will kneeling a couple feet away, hands outstretched to me uselessly but it helped, “New Happy Man killed the girls then another came in and ripped her heart out. Just her specifically. She was promised by two men and told they loved her and that they’d help. They both tore her apart.”
“Why your birthday?”
“During my sixteenth party, back when I lived with Jack and Bella for a bit actually, two of the girls grabbed me and shoved me in the closet and called me a number of things. They held me down afterwards, Jack nearly tore them apart.”
It had also been my first mental breakdown since the murder.
“Physical hurt. What would be next then?” Will wondered as he watched me stand up on shaky legs. I called the team back into the container.
“My first kiss when I was a senior, it didn’t go well.” I touched my wrist faintly as everyone began to file in like ants, “He’s recreating all the points in my life that caused hurt me. The murder first and then my birthday where I learned that I couldn’t trust anyone. Then my first kiss, he took it as a sign to go further, he thought I was struggling for fun. He’s changed the locations by now, he showed that today.”
“And the second killer?” Jack asked, standing next to Will.
“For some reason I don’t think the second killer is going to be a problem.” I looked back to the dead girls, “He was late to the party, he’s new to the equation.”
“Should we add or cancel squad cars at the other places then?” Jane shouted from outside, refusing to come nearer.
“Keep them. He’ll be expecting them to pull out and away.” I told Jack, I walked by everyone and out of the bloody horror behind me.
Jane was waiting patiently with his hands in his pockets, looking green.
“Jesus Jane, you look horrible.”
“The smell is worse this time around.”
“It’s worse ‘cause it’s fresh.” I grumbled, fighting my pocket for my lighter and cigarette, “Thanks for staying the night last night, Jane. You really didn’t have to.”
“With two killers interested in you? You’re lucky if I don’t send someone to sit directly outside your doorstep every night.” He smiled.
After several minutes Jack came back out with Will in tow. Will walked with Jane and I back to his car as Jack got busy calling people.
“You coming for dinner tonight?” Will asked suddenly, I paused in my step as I tightened my coat.
“I thought that was a joke.”
“No, not really.” Will seemed to smile at something in his head, “Are you?”
“Yeah. Yeah I’ll be there.” I nodded.
Will was called away by his phone so I went to stand next to Jane a ways away from the crime scene and everyone else. I lit a cigarette and watched faces disappear in the wind around me.
“So how much sleep did you actually get last night?” I asked, Jane smiled.
“Coffee at midnight probably didn’t help much. Are you all done here?”
I was distracted for a moment as fiery red hair appeared over the top of a cops car. I felt the anger flare up in me before I even knew what I was thinking.
I took off after Lounds, Jane calling after me. I snapped under the police tape and tore around the corner of a hidden car to find Lounds chatting up one of the rookies.
“Jesus fucking Christ what the hell is wrong with you?” I shouted, startling the two of them, “Get lost or else you’re out of a job in Virginia.”
The rookie took off, nearly running into Jane as he leaned against the car.
Lounds pursed her lips and folded her arms as she stared at me, her cheeks were reddened. She moved to get away but I moved with her, blocking her against the car and the crime scene tape.
“You’ve got some shit to explain.”
“Everyone knows if it’s unlocked and open it’s not trespassing.” Freddie rolled her eyes.
“Who the hell so you think you are trying to dig up my family’s history. Thanks to you, you’ve thrown off his fucking game with us by posting my fucking office up on your site.” I hissed, at that mention Freddie’s eyes grew a slight bit larger.
“A girls gotta make her living somehow. And you’re the next big crazy.” Freddie’s eyes flicked behind me as Jane moved forward, “Well, who is this?”
“Dr. Jane, psychiatrist. Pleasure to meet you Ms. Lounds, Tattlecrime is truly something else.”
“Jane, what the hell?”
“Well I never said it was good journalism.” Jane smirked, Lounds let go of his hand in an instant with a frown, “It’s clear you pay your way into things to get information.”
“I’m a journalist.”
“With no morals.” I added, Lounds made a noise before she stuffed her camera away.
“-didn’t need to sleep with Zeller as well.” Jane continued with a sarcastic laugh.
It happened in a second.
One moment Freddie was cussing up a storm and then the next her hand was extended towards Jane’s face...and the next thing I knew I had thrown my own arm up to take the brunt of the hit.
But I knew it hurt, and I knew I threw myself against the cop car so hard out of shock at being touched I made the sirens go off.
I gripped my hand from where Lounds had touched it, Jane was calling for security to lead her away telling them to book her for attempting to harm an FBI agent.
I breathed out, letting the fire in my skin slowly drip away into a numb feeling. I heard the siren click off and the crunch of boots on falling snow before I opened my eyes.
“Are you alright? You touched her, Katie can you hear me?”
“I’m fine, Jane.” I stood up and stretched out my arm, “It just hurts. She’s bony.”
Jane looked worried as I pulled my jacket tighter around my arms. I tried to not let his concern distract me as I watched Lounds get driven away. That would at least put a pause in her fuckery in my life.
“We have to get back to interviews, I wonder if Will would go to the autopsy for me.” I mentioned to Jane.
“Die any different?”
“I’d like to know if the girls were drugged to get here. These people he’s picking, they’re not weak people. They were definitely strong enough to fight back, or team up and fight back.”
“Our serial killer is throwing you for turns every day it seems.” Jane remarked, I waved and sent a text to Jack about my new plans as we got into Jane’s Passat.
Will watched us drive off, a small figure against the container of death.
“If his plan is as long as you say it is, years in the making, then wouldn’t you think he’s counted all the odds against him?”
“Obviously he can improvise. He killed early and now I’m pretty sure he doesn’t work alone. His partner killed the cops.”
“He doesn’t have a partner..” Jane scoffed, I looked over at him.
“You didn’t see the bodies?” Jane coughed into his hand before I looked back out the window, “Well, their throats were cut open and gardenias were stuffed inside them. There’s no way he would kill and let another dress them up.”
“What the hell?” I frowned as my phone chimed from a text from Will, “So I’ve got battling Alpha dude serial killers? Great, and while I’m at it maybe I should send the twist to our profile for Mackey.”
“More to Will’s profile?” He asked angrily.
“Will’s profile and mine. His skill to kill and to steal identities makes him perfect. He can blend in anywhere.”
“Maybe you’re the killer.” Jane smirked and I curled up in my seat.
“Maybe you are, fuck off.”
“I think you need some time to recuperate Katie, you look like you have a migraine coming. We can go to my office for the morning and you can continue your interviews after. I’ll make us some tea.” Jane offered, I didn’t even try to complain against him. He was right.
“You don’t have patients today?”
“I cleared them, I’m tired as well.” He winked, “I’ll stop for food. Go ahead and take a nap.”
It didn’t take long for me to listen to that order. .
Jane’s office was so...different, after spending those few minutes in Dr. Lecter’s office. Dr. Lecter’s study reminded me of a forest or a library full of old knowledge and secrets. Jane’s place was completely opposite, bright blues and yellows on the walls. His sofas were mismatched blues both dark and light.
Although it didn’t have a second story library, Jane’s office was filled with books from top to bottom as well. Where Dr. Lecter seemed to have a particular taste in things, Jane seemed to throw the decorations and antiques around his office haphazardly. I sidestepped a low hanging plant he had stuck onto the ceiling.
The only thing that seemed to be kept in neat conditions was the tea and coffee bar he had.
Currently I was sitting on Jane’s office floor as he read through files with me on his ipad and then switching over to his computer.
My own iPad was a flurry of tabs and passwords on the FBI database. Jane and I had figured out the killer was hitting all of the major defining points in my life. The murder. My sweet sixteen. My next would be my first kiss at18. Then after that…college. The last one scared me the most, mainly because Will was the biggest highlight of my four years there. He still hasn’t responded to my text of possibly getting off the case now, only to make sure I wore something fancy to the dinner.
I wasn’t able to get in contact with my first kiss, Hugh Charmont. He went off the grid about a year ago after a divorce with his wife and nothing since. Not even a damn car ticket. I was currently waiting on getting his bill address forwarded to me.
I looked at the high school photo of Charmont, god he looked like a cross between Will and Hannibal it was so weird. The bright eyes, sharp as hell cheekbones...I should’ve dated him just to reap the male model benefits geez. I watched Jane shift in his seat as I exited the high school yearbook photos.
Will was significant. There was no point around it, his life was going to be in danger.
“What is it?” Jane asked, staring at me on the floor. I felt pathetic.
“Will. He’s going to be a victim.” I voiced.
“You worry about Graham too much.”
“He’s my best friend.”
“After a year not talking to him you consider him a friend still? We’ve gone over this Will Graham conversation before.”
“Well I considered you a friend until that comment.” I bit out, but he had a point, “Time shouldn’t tell if people stay friends or not.”
“It didn’t end nice between you.” Jane reminded, not even bothering to look up from his computer now.
“It didn’t ‘end’ like that at all. I couldn’t be what he needed.”
“Physical human connection and constant contact. But yeah, sex. Why else would people be into each other?” I rolled my eyes.
“Watch your tone. Love comes in all sorts of chaos.” Jane stood up and grabbed my cup from his desk, “All I’m saying is that Will Graham has changed. Maybe you should keep that in mind, he’s not the same college boy you used to know.”
“You make it sound like he’s a bad boy.”
“I’m warning you that Dr. Hannibal Lecter isn’t the best support therapist there is. He’s more into getting to know how fucked up you are and how he can use it to his advantage than to treating you.”
“Dr. Lecter really doesn’t seem like he wants to kill Will.” I shook my head and watched Jane refill our cups with tea before walking back over.
He sat down on his light blue sofa, stretching out his long legs almost to me as he popped open another button on his shirt.
“Hannibal Lecter isn’t what he seems. Will’s probably already under his spell.”
“Not a therapist?”
“He’s killed patients when he was a surgeon. Then he had one of them attack another psychiatrist here in Baltimore a long time ago. I don’t trust him.”
“Well suck it up because I already told Will we’d go to the dinner he’s hosting.” I went back to my files.
“Oh, as a date?” Jane smirked and I felt the hairs on my neck raise suddenly.
I stood up and looked outside the room to the reception area, nobody was supposed to be here in this part of the building today. Jane had said so himself.
I padded barefoot to the door and looked out, nobody sat in the waiting chairs. I stepped out and walked to the window, nobody on the streets.
The heavy door to Jane’s office slammed shut suddenly and before I could help it, a small scream escaped my throat. Jane yelled from inside his office but I couldn’t hear him. Too focused on the dead person in front of me, dripping blood into the carpet.
The girl from the birthday.
“Two faces, he told us he’d love us forever. He told me he’d help me.”
Her throat moved, clicked and spilled fresh blood over her collarbones.
“ He said it was for you.”
“Who is he?” I asked, moving around the desk to the dead ghoul.
“You should know. He’s right here.”
The girl reached towards me and I jerked backwards, connecting my back with the edge of the desk. I pushed away and tumbled into Jane’s door.
The door gave way and I tumbled back into Jane’s legs as he came rushing at the door himself from the inside.
Jane narrowly kicked me in the head as I rolled back to the spot I had been sitting in. He ran out of the office and looked around the waiting room before coming back to me and straightening his hair.
“I’m guessing a friend of yours?”
“Girl from the birthday party. The one that was supposed to be me. She told me that I knew who the killer was and that he was right here.” I looked down at my hands as Jane stiffened where he was standing.
“Then she reached for me, maybe reaching for my chest? My heart? I have no idea what to make of it.” I shook my head and Jane relaxed before sitting on the edge of the chair as close as he could to me.
“Are they gone?” He asked, I nodded.
It was too warm in his office now, Jane was feeling too close to my skin beneath my sweater.
I started to inch away and Jane’s eyes flashed. I stopped.
“What did they say? Exactly?”
“‘He said it was for me. I should know. He’s here.’” I repeated, Jane relaxed back against the seat.
“Still someone you know then.”
“Can we...we need to get to those interviews.” I stood up and retrieved my boots, “You mind giving me a ride?”
I watched Jane move from his couch to his chair where his jacket rested. His hands were steady as they picked up the blue fabric and swiftly tugged it on. I felt my heart beat faster, there had been something in his eyes. Something in his entire fucking vibe was making me hyperventilate. Jane never made me hyperventilate, he was the steady rock.
So why was I so afraid of him right now? For no fucking reason?
“So, do all therapists share each other?” I asked quietly as Jane drove us back down to Quantico.
“Lecter is out of his prime, he should have stuck to surgery. The fact that Graham is seeing him just makes me irritated. He shouldn’t be in practice.”
“You mentioned he turned a patient against a doctor?”
“The man was violent, he had referrals from several different therapists. He tends to get his patients obsessed with him.”
“He seems close to Will but Will’s not crazy.”
“You hear about his encephalitis case last year? What a roller coaster of a ride that must have been.” Jane joked, “Hallucinations, contaminating crime scenes because half your heads on fire, not fun.”
“Dr. Lecter’s helped him through it.” I pointed out. Jane brushed it off.
“Oh he helped him along just fine. He probably also just hasn’t slept with Will yet.”
“Wow, really? Will’s been straight like all his life.”
“Changed man, Katie.” Jane reminded me. I looked out the window, I thought of the soft touches between Dr. Lecter and Will when they thought I wasn't looking.
Will also never used to dress or own any fancy clothes. Or the new car.
“He’s too wealthy to have anyone question him.”
“Oh and you’re so much better?” I laughed.
“I don’t sleep with my patients.”
“You’ve been trying since we’ve met.” I muttered under my breath. Jane didn’t reply to that immediately, just frowned to himself.
“I didn’t realize I was making you so uncomfortable, Katie.” Jane’s voice cracked at my name and I not my tongue.
God I’m such a fucking idiot.
“ You’re not, Jane, just. Forget I said that, I’m sorry.”
There was a moment of silence before Jane shifted in his seat. I watched him untie his tie before he tossed it into my lap.
“What, no I don’t wanna do this.”
“Put it on, Katie. You focus better when you can’t see me.” He ordered. I mumbled at him as I fastened his black tie around my eyes, “We both know it doesn’t benefit either of us to keep me shut out.”
I could hear Jane move next to me, I could hear the gentle hum of the car. I heard every noise possible and I heard my own heart slow down.
“Where are we?” Jane asked.
“Freeway to Quantico. It’s about 1 in the afternoon.”
“What are we doing?”
“Besides an impromptu therapy session in moving traffic? Then I’d say giving into your wishes.”
“What am I wearing?” Jane laughed softly, “In detail, please.”
“You have on your regular blue slacks from the men’s warehouse, you have a white shirt on and it’s unbuttoned at the third button from the top. Your watch is new, I haven’t seen it before but I don’t care enough about jewelers to tell you where but I’m sure you bought it to show off.”
“You’re jackets old, you wore that the first time we met in my hospital room.”
“It’s a nice jacket.” Jane defended, “My favorite, mind you.”
“New cologne.” I inhaled and he laughed.
“Armani. Got it mailed as a gift.” He shifted in his seat suddenly, “Tell me how I look.”
“You just changed how you sat down.”
“So tell me.” Jane whispered.
I closed my eyes behind the blindfold tie and focused. I could feel his body heat, separated by the gear shift but I could tell he was sitting lower in his seat. More relaxed.
I could feel Jane’s eyes on me and that feeling of being hunted made me stutter in breathing.
“You can do it, Katie. It’s alright.”
I held out my hand, palm facing towards Jane as I tried to feel him out without touching him.
“You’re sitting with your upper body open to me. We’re hitting about sixty now but the road is still smooth so we’re still more than twenty minutes away.
“What’s around me?”
I frowned and my hand started to shake. The smell of decay filled my nose suddenly as thousands of voices swarmed my ears and caressed the skin on my fingers until they stripped it to the bone.
“It’s too much!”
“Just breathe Katie.” Jane calmed me down as my hand began to shake more, “Deep breaths.”
The voices were gone in an instant and all that remained was the silence of the car and the thrum of the engine.
There had been so many voices around Jane.
“What are you thinking of me now, then?” Jane asked another question and I rested my hand in my lap. My heart was beating frantically still.
The brush of soft fabric against my fingers took me ahead to Quantico, in a dimly lit room. Will drifted into my head and suddenly I wasn’t with Jane in the car anymore, I was in my dorm with Sill and a twelve pack between us.
Soft chocolate hair, full laughter, sun kissed skin and warmth from a shared blanket and nicotine stains on our fingers.
“Like a blanket on a cold day, weighing me down with warmth. Watching the wind change the leaves and bushes. Fishing in your dad's old boat before it went up for auction.”
I stopped as Jane coughed pointedly.
I slipped the tie from my head and let it fall in my lap, I was pathetic.
“I asked about myself, not Will Graham.” Jane tried to make a joke out of it, I could hear the hurt in his voice.
I could see it.
He stopped questioning me and turned the music on, lowering a window to let in the chilly air for a moment. Wordlessly I handed him the tie and he let it drop into his palm before he turned back to the road. Keeping Jane’s eyes was torture now, maybe this was what Will went through when he looked through the eyes of a killer.
But I was human and so was Jane, humans had their faults but the guilt usually happened after the choices were made. Fuck me.
“It’s been my fault, I’ve made you uncomfortable at times and didn’t even notice it.” Jane sighed and rubbed a hand over his face, “This is all my fault sweetheart I’m sorry. I’m sorry for putting you through all of this mess again so soon, I should have waited. We should have worked on you more, help you along smoother before you got back to the gore.”
“I didn’t really think of what I was saying.”
“Good.” Jane suddenly smiled brightly, “The point was to not make you think. It was to make you tune into your senses. Unfortunately, Will Graham weaseled his way in.”
Jane flipped the tie around his neck once again, driving with his knee. For a moment his face was bathed in nothing but warm sunlight, his blue eyes fighting with the ones in my head.
“You’re still new to me, Jane. You’re different, I haven’t figured you out yet. I knew Will for years, he’s a comfortable thought.”
“Isn’t it the therapists job to be figuring out the patient? Not the other way around?” Jane teased, “Well then how long are you going to know me?”
The cab grew silent around us, Jane breathed evenly but he tapped the steering wheel in an anxious pause.
Jane was like a drug, I hated to admit it to myself. But he was intoxicating to a point, he made my head swim until I couldn’t think straight. Sometimes that was nice, sometimes it was invasive.
“The rest of my short life it seems.” I answered, “So either way I’m gonna die early, so stop the dick measuring contest with Will.”
“Will Graham isn’t the same man you think he is, don’t put your trust into people who haven’t earned it yet.”
“And you have?” I asked, folding my arms.
Only five more minutes to my office, this was getting to be overbearing. Jane just gave a knowing smile as an answer.
Once back at Quantico and safely tucked away in my office did I finally feel the tension leave my shoulders. I made a promise to take a cab home instead of dealing with that energy from Jane again.
I laid my head down on the table and closed my eyes, soaking in the soreness from my body and letting it ground me to a point.
“Oh for fucks sake.” I groaned as my door opened slowly, I remained on my desk as I was as the taps of shoes filled my ears, “I’m busy. Go away.”
“Ms. Morrison, are you ill?” An accented voice seemed to laugh at me from in front of my desk.
“Good afternoon Dr. Lecter.” I grumbled. Great. Just who I needed to have in my room, another therapist, “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
“William, actually.” Dr. Lecter sat down in one of my chairs and I sat up with a laugh, “He seems to be very worried about you. I was around visiting dear Uncle Jack and told him I’d stop in for you.”
“Where is he?” I watched as Dr. Lecter reaches down and pulled something out of a bag and set it on my desk, “Wait no, first what is that?”
“Coffee?” He frowned for a second before undoing the fancy thermos when the aroma fills the room, “As to answer the other question, he is currently indisposed at another potential Ripper scene.”
“There’s potential scenes now?” I sipped the coffee and almost died. Of course it would be home brought.
“Many have enjoyed the attempt to copy his work from a year ago. I have been personally finding, they lack the compassion which is ultimately their downfall.”
“Or their ride to fame, being another crazy copycat killer.” I added, Dr. Lecter nodded, “I hear that it was a tough year when the Ripper came back. Now it’s tough again after he took some time off.”
“We also had the Great Dragon hunting us through Europe at one point all the way back to the states.” Dr. Lecter seemed to look away for a moment, “Did Will tell you he pulled me with him off a cliff to get away from Dolarhyde?”
“Obviously we survived, but that’s the last time I let Will convince me of anything of his as a good idea.”
“Jesus, and I thought I had it rough jumping gates with him back then.” I smiled as Dr. Lecter laughed to himself as well.
“How is Mr. Jane?” He asked, I paused and set my cup down softly, “Katie?”
“He scared me today. For a split second I thought Jane was going to stab me or something. He had this look in his eyes...and death surrounded him like a blanket.” I shivered and Dr. Lecter raised an eyebrow.
“You are a self proclaimed psychic?”
“More like cursed. I don’t, it’s not like full images Supernatural style okay?” I explained, Dr. Lecter seemed interested and leaned forward, “I see them but it’s like glitches. They fade in and out but I can feel them, I can feel them better than I can see them. Sometimes it’s just about listening to what they want you to see.”
“And what do they want you to see?”
“The truth. They don’t want to remain dead in ignorance so I speak for them. Or get scared shitless by them but it works both ways.” I shrugged, Dr. Lecter frowned.
“Kinda. Overactive imagination, hypervigilant, touch phobia, sees dead people. I’m a great concoction of many things Dr. Lecter.”
We were interrupted by his pocket buzzing loudly. I sat back in my seat as he apologized and stepped out to answer it.
I waited patiently as Dr. Lecter finished his call.
“Well, it seems I'm needed elsewhere now. I have a shipment coming for me in the antique store downtown I’d rather not be late for.”
I nodded as he came back in, Dr. Lecter’s eyes never left my face as I watched him pull out the keys to his Bentley. Great. I was welcoming the company but now I was going to be alone again, I felt my shoulders drop slightly before I busied myself with walking him to the door. I guess I could look over the pictures again and see if anything came to me for the second killer angle, maybe break out the ouija-
“I could use the company, I don’t have patients today and the dinner is only five hours away.” Dr. Lecter seemed to falter in his step.
Alone with my thoughts or alone with a man Jane wants me to hate and be careful of?
“Only if you tell me why tonight is so special to come have dinner.” I countered, there was a minute expression flickering behind his eyes.
“It’s always a cause to celebrate, when we have old friends for dinner.”