I looked up at the giant mansion before me before I decided that Baltimore was definitely getting a secret income from the rich. I was shaking, nervous and cold as I stood in Dr. Lecter’s driveway, there were three other cars already there along with mine, yet I felt safer here with cars than the inside of the death trap house.
Fuck, being social was worse in real life than I remembered.
“You should know, Hannibal doesn’t believe in arriving anywhere late.”
I turned to a figure as he stepped around a silver VW, Will paused in his step and seemed to laugh at something to himself.
“Yeah, I got the gist of his rules this afternoon when he took me for a joyride.” I looked back to the house uneasily, “Am I really that late?”
“Only if you say you are.” Will walked with me, careful as he sipped a glass of wine, “I’m glad you could make it, we have a few others here too...Katie-”
“Dr. Lecter told me about Alana, Will it’s fine.” The feeling in my stomach began to blossom even more, “Besides, I’ll have Chilton to entertain me and you can entertain yourself with Jane.”
Will groaned but led me inside the house anyways.
I could hear laughter and conversation coming from the living room as Will led me to an open bar in the corner of a separate study room.
“Jane’s been decent so far.” Will spoke as I sipped some champagne, “He’ll be an ass once he sees you’re here, he’s been civil with Chilton even.”
“I’m sorry about Jane, Will. I know he hasn’t been the best of what he can be around you.”
“Oh, he’s showed us what he’s perfectly capable of.” Will eyes hardened, “Don’t worry about me or Hannibal with Jane. We can take care of him, it’s you who we’re worried about.”
I was about to reply when we were interrupted by a towering Jack Crawford.
“Katherine, you made it.” Jack smiled my way from across the living room, besides him Alana sat with another woman, studying me closely.
“Free food was something I’ve never passed up.” I joked, I didn’t see Jane or Dr. Lecter anywhere in the room.
“All the fancy psychologists are in the kitchen having a debate.” Alana offered when she saw my gaze, “Well, the men psychologists anyways.”
“Don’t.” Will warned with a smirk behind his glass.
“...I’ll be right back.”
I sidestepped the conversation and walked to the kitchen, passing the living wall of green plants. I paused in the dining room, feeling a quiet settle around me as the dark of the room swirled around. It reminded me of the darkness of the cupboard.
A girl’s voice echoed around me in a chorus, I felt the prick of a blade against my throat and-
“That’s been proven wrong multiple-Katie?”
I inhaled sharply and felt my body drain of heat instantly as a cold settled over my skin. I smiled weakly at Jane as he came out of the kitchen doors with Chilton in tow looking annoyed.
“Finally, the party can start.” Chilton continued on to the other room, Jane paused in the room with me.
“What’d you do to him, he was just starting to grow on me.” I whispered to Jane who looked disappointed.
“There’s talk of him stepping down as the Head and Alana replacing him. He’s not happy.” Jane replied.
“It makes sense after what happened with the Ripper last year, he still walks with a limp.” I set my glass down as Jane hovered next to me.
I could hear Dr. Lecter in the kitchen whistling to himself.
“We look depressing dressed in all black.” Jane smiled, “Katie, about what happened in the car…”
“It’s fine, Jane. Don’t worry about it.” I waved him off but Jane gave me a look, “I don’t need to focus on it, I need to focus on the case. So let’s just table this stuff until it’s done.”
We stood in silence for a moment longer before Jane burst out chuckling.
“Have you seen this place?” He gestured to everything around us, “I told you Lecter was weird, he was a bit more gothic when I met him though.”
“You two used to know each other?”
“We got along because we had to in those circumstances.” Jane said darkly, “Afterwards, we decided we’d rather kill each other.”
“You’re both not dead, yet.” I smiled.
“We’re waiting for the perfect moment to attack.” Jane downed his glass.
“He’s got an eye for the weird for sure, the swan picture I could have done without seeing the rest of my life.” I moved around the table, “He's not as bad as you make him seem you know. I went shopping with him today for some of the food and it wasn’t even bad.”
“You were alone with him!?”
Jane’s voice rose and the conversation stopped outside the doors. Jane collected himself and I stayed still, feeling guilty at the betrayed look on his face.
“We didn’t do anything…” I kept my voice to a whisper.
Jane huffed angrily, his hands flexed like he wanted to reach out and punch something.
“You don’t know him like I do.”
“Katie, you’ve arrived just in time.” Dr. Lecter walked out of the kitchen, buttoning up a slick blazer.
“Yeah well, I found the alcohol so I’m set.” I tried to joke, Dr. Lecter raised an eyebrow at me.
“Would you let the guests know dinner is about to be served, Mr. Jane?” Dr. Lecter turned to him behind me, Jane’s eye gave a twitch before he turned and left through the doors.
“Are you alright, Katie?”
Of course he heard that. Fuck. I felt my body lock up as I set the flute of champagne down. Dr. Lecter’s eyes stayed on me the whole time.
“Sometimes Jane gets jealous and he has human reactions. We’re all only human.” I defended, Dr. Lecter looked to my hands for a moment.
“Who is supposed to be counseling whom? Do not make excuses for others behaviors, I don’t make exceptions for the rude and neither should you.” Dr. Lecter stepped forward to me just as the doors reopened.
I jumped and pushed back to the table, sending the champagne swirling and spreading over the dark wood.
Will walked in first, eyes jumping from me and then to Dr. Lecter and then to the spill.
“Sorry. Sorry.” I repeated, Dr. Lecter handed Will a towel and picked up the glass as everyone else came in.
“Oh no, what happened?”
“A simple spill is all. Will and Katie are handling it.”
I couldn’t tell who was speaking and who was faking being concerned as I walked into the kitchen. Earlier in the day I had been here helping the doctor prepare the food. Now here I was, wanting to not be here.
If I got Jane in trouble with any of my complaining then I’d have to start seeing Alana or some other bunk therapist-
What if I stopped therapy altogether would that be-
No, I need to have someone to talk to and bounce my ideas off of-
Jack would never go for a support animal-
And that was the only way I could continue working-
The killer is a therapist I needed one to get close and-
I inhaled and opened my eyes. Everything was blurry-
The kitchen cleared. I could see hard lines and edges and sharp colors.
Hannibal Lecter's kitchen. Almost eight pm. I had a small panic attack. Will Graham was moving around me like nothing was wrong.
“You spilt some champagne. Luckily Hannibal waxes and polishes that table every hour before he serves so I don’t think he’ll care.” Will spoke as he wrung out a rag in the sink, “You’ll have to forgive him, I think he got too used calling me out when we talked, he does it to everyone now. His sense of personal boundaries has diminished.”
“He asked about Jane...I freaked out. I know I make it seem like I can’t stand Jane but I don’t mean any of it. Sometimes the guy gets on my nerves but who doesn’t?”
“You’re attached to Jane. That can be bad.” Will eyed me for a moment, his bright eyes flying over my face.
We rejoined the others at the table, Dr. Lecter had them all engrossed in explaining however he prepared the meat. I had asked earlier but eventually tuned him out, he was a talented cook and used words in languages I didn’t know existed. I sat next to Jane, keeping my head down as Dr. Lecter began to serve.
“My apologies for not introducing an unfamiliar face to you, Katherine. This is Margot Verger.”
The woman who had been sitting with Alana was looking me over, judging. Alana moved her hand under the table and I watched it stop where Margot’s bare knee would be. I looked at Will and then back between the two women. Oh. This was new information.
“When did you switch teams?”
“Oh, right. I don’t care.” I interrupted and Alana’s mouth hung open.
“Katie.” Jane scolded, everyone was looking at me like I was the mean one.
Still didn’t care though.
“Well in other news, we still haven’t gotten in contact with Hugh Charmont, have you had any luck?” Chilton changed the subject quickly.
“No, and I sent messages to all of his social media.” I shook my head, “I highly doubt he’d remember me anyways.”
“Florida is cooperating in all counties to find him, if he's alive, we’ll know soon.”
Who would have thought that your old high school ex would be fighting for his life without him even knowing it.
“How do you think your killer will attack Hugh?” Margot asked, she was looking straight at me, “Why is he so important?”
“Last I checked you’re not on this case, neither are you Alana.” I responded, “So I don’t know why were discussing it in front of-“
“ Katherine !.” Jack snapped, everyone grew quiet, “Alana has brought Ms. Verger in on this case because her estate is helping fund the amount of security we’ve been placing around you and everyone else.”
Margot and Alana smirked at me, I could feel the anger bubbling beneath my skin.
The walls around me felt like they were closing in, suddenly I was too close to Jane. I was too hot I could feel him burning his way through his clothes.
The table was too cold, the food was too strong. The drink was-
My head snapped up as the voice of a girl delighted by. I watched as the light above us flickered softly before blazing and blinding me.
Shadows moved behind the kitchen doors, feet running back and forth. Bare feet. There was a scream and I flinched as I watched the shadows pass back and forth and back and forth and-
Everyone was staring at me, even Will looked incredibly worried. I looked back to the light then to the door again, there were no shadows.
No barefooted steps padding around the tiles.
“Do you see someone?” Dr. Lecter asked, he even looked to his doors where I was staring.
“Breathe, Katherine. Breathe, that’s all you can do.” Jane whispered, I nodded and took in a deep breath.
A breath that wasn’t shaky.
“We should ask my father again to draw up a sketch of Mackey. I think I’m missing a key point in what he looks like.”
“Impressive.” Margot whispered. I ignored her.
“We can interrogate him on Monday, I’ll have a sketcher come with me.“ Jack agreed quickly, “if that works with your schedule Dr.?”
Chilton’s grumbled in agreement, eyes going to Alana for a jealous moment.
“He’s terrified of Mackey, but he keeps telling me I should be the one who’s more scared. Everything around me is telling me that it’s going to floor me when I find out.”
“He held back about his therapist, that information can get you killed.” Alana narrowed her eyes, “As well as the dates he stole from Mackey. You’ll be able to trust his sketch?.”
“Wouldn’t be the first time someone came after me.” I glared back over a bite of meat, “He won’t rise to me if I’m bait either, he’s just waiting for me to catch up. That’s it. Mackey wants me to know who he is before I meet him. That’s all this is, soon enough he’ll start dropping clues.”
“Clues to what? Another murder you made?” Margot scoffed.
“Ladies, please.” Dr. Lecter warned.
Alana apologized through her red lips but Margot said nothing.
I hated people. I hated socializing.
I stood up wordlessly and went to the kitchen, I heard Jane let out a loud sigh before the scrape of a chair was followed.
I went to grab a bigger glass and a bottle before a hand grabbed the bottom of the champagne before me.
“Is that what it’s like to see Jane and I go at each other in front of you?” Will asked, I let go and he poured half a glass for me, “You know, Jane and Alana were going at it earlier about you, don’t mind Margot. She’s protective of Alana.”
“You could have told me she was gay now!” I had the urge to smack his chest, “Really, Graham?”
“You never let me explain. You just assumed Alana and I were together.” Will at least had the decency to look guilty, “And we had just met after you ditched me too.”
I took in Dr. Lecter’s clean countertop. My heels were starting to make my feet sore.
“I did tell her she was a shit therapist and the cause of most of my problems. I never got better with her, she was always fighting against me. At least Jane doesn’t fight me on how I’m feeling and how I should feel.” I downed a good amount of alcohol, “I’m not changing who I am for someone else’s opinion. I can’t change who I am and he understands that.”
“No, of course not, he just whispers in your ear who you should be.”
“He came in like a miracle at the worst time of my life.”
“You talk about him like you’re dating. You still do.”
I couldn’t help but smile to myself as I felt my body start to cool off again. Away from others. Away from people who didn’t understand this.
“I may have led Alana to believe that Jane and I had fucked, just to piss her off when I told her I was going to Jane.”
“You actually think I’d willingly fuck my therapist just to shove it in Alana’s face?”
Will looked at me.
“Your therapist literally cooks for you like every single day!” I whispered, aware of how close we were to the dinner still happening.
“Mine’s a lot less fucked up than yours.” Will defended.
“Oh, you wanna bet?”
We stared at each other for a moment more before we broke out in muffled laughter. Will covered his face in his shoulder and I covered my mouth poorly.
I bumped a spoon and sent it clattering across the floor which only made Will laugh harder.
I leaned dangerously close into his space as we heard Dr. Lecter call to us concerned.
“ Fuck, the spoon, that’s an antique he’ll be pissed.” Will giggled as he bent and retrieved it.
“I haven’t seen Will smile like that lately, you must be quite the entertainer.”
I looked up as Dr. Lecter watched us, eyes moving over Will fondly.
“I’d rather have laughter than unnecessary violence in the kitchen .” Will teased back at him, Dr. Lecter just gave a small smile.
A chill settled over my skin and I heard the thrum of electricity in the air again. I stopped mid sip as I saw the flickering lights underneath the pantry door. A shadow, light another shadow. Like someone was walking back and forth deliberately, there was a ghost of a sigh as the two men faded into nothing in front of me.
All I saw was an empty kitchen. Shadows thrown against lines and hard edges. I could smell...metal in the air.
I looked over at the fridge and almost dropped the glass. I could see Will and Dr. Lecter and my reflection but suddenly there were others. Blurred lines and blurred faces but I could see them.
I looked to the pantry again as ice tightened my bones. There were others here, I could feel them. The dead were trying to cling to me and my energy was draining through the pores in my feet.
I could feel my soul leaking through the tiles and dripping into a basement below my feet.
Screams echoed and floated up through the floor and I closed my eyes, swaying. Listen, listen all I had to do was listen-
I opened my eyes and both men were back in my vision with the roar of oceans crashing into my head. Will looked to me for a moment before he left the kitchen as well, I stood next to a plate of food, it reminded me of a young boy being held down as his brain was smashed in.
There were no lights on in the pantry, there were no faces on the stainless fridge.
My palms started to sweat as I picked up the plate.
Walking back into the dinner was quiet, nobody said anything about my dramatic exit and Alana didn’t look up but Margot did look regretful.
As Dr. Lecter and Jack steered the conversation the rest of dinner, I felt dozens of eyes in the dark watching me.
I inhaled sharply as Dr. Lecter’s suit brushed my shoulder as he explained where the dessert originated from.
I waited for the pain, the instinct to pull away from him and cower.
There was no pain from the fabric, there was no hollowness from where he had breathed in my space or from where he inhaled next to my hair. Dr. Lecter was already back at his seat at the head by the time I unlocked my muscles.
Jane was watching me from the corners of his eye.
After dessert we sat around the fire, drinking coffee and trying not to talk about murder. Jane and I had been discussing my sleep pattern again when Will sat down next to me. Jane leaned forward into my space and I leaned away, which put me further into Will.
“How are you dealing with Mackey?” Will asked, his eyes were on Jane.
“We’re starting to realize he may be smarter than we thought.” Jane spoke up, “Smarter than what the FBI is giving him credit for perhaps.”
“He’s a good con artist, so he’s made of money by now,” I interrupted, “He’d change his car by now entirely. Besides Zeller is sending over the fibers he found in the front seat.”
“You’re trusting Zeller to make an educated guess?” Will asked, almost laughing, “Seems to me like Mackey might actually get a break.”
“Just because you hate him doesn’t mean everyone does.” I pushed away from the both of them and further into the seat, “Mackey has access to so much, it’s disturbing.”
“Completely undetected, if he was invisible he could be right next to you.”
“Stop it.” I warned at his jab at Jane, Will smirked, “ Graham .”
“If it’s someone you know, could it be someone in this room?” Chilton joined in.
I watched as a small splash of wine on Chilton’s collar seeped in.
I didn’t have an answer.
“Perhaps you are looking at it the wrong way.” Dr. Lecter spoke, “This Happy Man is murdering families, recreating moments from your past that would be significant for young women.”
“He’s murdering me over and over again in the eyes of different people.” I replied. Dr. Lecter watched me for a moment as he sipped his wine.
“Perhaps he’s trying to create a family again. All he needs is you to complete it.”
“Don’t forget there’s a second killer maybe helping him. Then who’s supposed to be my family? Mackey doesn’t want me like that. Will said it’s perverse, it’s disgusting how he sees me.”
“He wants you to be like him.” Margot finally said to me, “He wants you to see the violence and love he puts into the kills for you.”
“...that’s not far off.” I admitted, “My father accused me of being the one who killed my mom and brother when I was a kid.”
Jack looked uncomfortable in his seat, this was always a horrible conversation for him to live through. Margot was looking at me silently, wanting me to continue.
“If Mackey thinks I did it, he's assuming I can just switch my head off and on to murder.l
“Did I what?”
“Kill them.” Margot answered simply, Alana smacked her knee.
I didn’t reply, I didn’t have an answer anymore to be honest. Jack cleared his throat.
“He could be telling you what to think. Like a psychiatrist.” Will mused.
“You have no idea what kind of fucked up head you have, Graham.” Jane muttered besides me.
In an instant both men stood up and faced each other in front of me, Jane was a good foot taller than Will but Will could crumple people by just speaking what he saw.
“I guarantee I’ll be the one to break yours open then.” Will growled low.
“ Enough !” Jack boomed and then it was suddenly too loud. Too much.
There were other voices now, others screaming out in the air around me as the energy zapped and grew. I could feel their hands on me begging me to see, to open up my eyes and just look at what’s around me-
“As soon as she gets the signatures she’s done and leaving you.”
The damage was done. Jane turned to me, hurt in his eyes as I stood up from the couch. Everyone else in the room looked as surprised as I felt horrified.
“You think I’m continuing our therapy because I want to sleep with you that badly? I’m only as good as a signature, Katie? I’m honestly hurt.” Jane’s voice cracked for a moment.
The whiplash of emotions I felt drained from me instantly. I didn’t want to deal with this. I didn’t want to put myself in this situation that fast. I couldn’t look at Jane and take in his emotions too.
I looked at the floor, I should've known better than to trust anyone with that information. Alana stood up and put a hand on Jane’s arm, comforting him.
“Get your fucking hands off him.”
Alana’s hand snapped back instantly like she had been burned and everyone’s eyes widened.
God, I was so tired.
“I’ll see you at work, Jack. Thank you for the dinner Dr. Lecter.”
I walked out of the room and the door, not waiting to hear Dr. Lecter’s apology as Baltimore froze over.
Fuck Will Graham and Fuck Hannibal Fucking goddamned Lecter. Fuck their stupid dinner plans and taking his time away from his objective.
God, he had been so close! He had planned something special for Katie, at least later on in the evening he had something worth keeping secret.
Now he had to make up about four hours worth of time and work, and only two hours until Katie broke down and called him. That’s what he had been conditioning her to do the past several months; codependency and reliability.
Gaslighting Katie had been easy from the start. She had come to him broken and terrified of the outside world as well as her own mind.
The dinner had just unraveled everything, they had planted doubt and his work was beginning to unravel.
Jane swerved into his driveway, cutting his lights as he drove up and parked angrily. The blood in his veins was hot, he pictured it as black acid climbing through his skin and staining him.
That’s how she made him feel.
That’s how alive she made him. He hadn’t felt like that. Ever.
Jane moved angrily though his house, ripping off the suit and running a hand through his hair.
Chilton’s fucking Australian comments.
Alana’s eyes on him, judging. Trying to touch him, comfort him with her snappable hands.
Jack’s dumb fucking face.
Will and Lecter...Will Graham and his fucking empathy he knew.
He knew. Lecter fucking told him and he knew.
Jane ripped open the hidden basement door in his closet, slipping off his shoes and socks before he stripped and hung his shirt up.
He climbed down the short ladder, carpet giving way to bricks, before dropping to the cold ground. Around him it was blindingly white, plastic coverings over the entire floor. In the middle of the hidden basement, sat a lonely above-ground swimming pool.
Will Graham had never seen one of his true trophies before, and neither had she. Lecter has, many years ago before they realized that Baltimore wasn’t big enough for both of them.
Those had been the beginnings, she had elevated him to drive for perfection. To tell a story without using words. To achieve the, admittedly beautiful, level of craftsmanship the Ripper showed.
Two years in the making and even longer in his heart. This four hour hiccup wasn’t bad, he’d push through it.
Jane pulled himself over the edge of the pool and dropped down into it, bare feet never making a sound.
It was a good thing he had a strong stomach or else this was going to be messier than he needed.
Below him squirmed two people. A young beautiful thing about eighteen and an older man around thirty.
Their hands were bound together so they wouldn’t drift apart in the blood that had leaked from their bodies through the night.
He had put water in to mix with the blood, the metallic scent always bothered him after a long time being immersed in it. The liquid moved and stained his bare ankles as he crouched in the water.
The fake lovers. He had so much love for these two people, and he was so happy with how Katie reacted to it. Jane skimmed his knife along the bottom of the pool as he surveyed the unnatural couple.
That was the point. To show how unnatural they could be together but oh, so in love.
They were alive though. For now. He could see the dried lines of blood running against the wires and knots that were digging into their skin, he could tell they had been struggling the entire night, the streaks of bloodied hands against the sides were enough proof of that.
Typical. Fucking pathetic.
The man was the same man Chilton had been so interested in discussing. Her last ex from her life, he had actually kissed her. What a lucky fucking man to kiss the warrior from death, too bad this man would never remember her taste.
Jane bent down next to him, knees caressed by the liquid as he inhaled the man's scent against the side of his face. Fear. Piss. Blood.
From inhaling cheek to temple, the man screamed behind his gagged mouth. Jane laughed before dropping him back into the blood, forcing him to move the lifeless body next to him to not break his hands.
She wasn’t enough.
He wanted to feel her underneath him, writhing in ecstasy and pain. He wanted to feel her fight for her life, to see her beautiful eyes...eyes that saw things no one else could see. Eyes that were so bright, so trusting and so hurt. He wanted to watch them die out and fade into grey.
He didn’t want her to see the dead anymore.
He wanted her to see him.
He wanted to carve her up and sleep with her body every night, she would keep his nightmares away.
But she needed to want him first, she needed to crave Jane as much as he craved her.
They were perfect together. She didn’t have anyone and neither did he, they would be good together. Both reaching for another half that would complete them. He could protect her, he had been protecting her.
“Then Graham walks in like he has all the solutions on his dick.” Jane voiced aloud, standing up, “You know something so fucked up? Jack knows she did it and he kept it from her. Police integrity to protect a kid or some shit.”
The water trickled down his bare thighs as the man watched him, terrified.
This wouldn’t be a message to her, not anymore. Not with Hannibal Lecter and his new protegee.
Hannibal fucking the Cannibal Lecter. Jane never would have thought he’d cross paths with the Ripper again. He certainly didn’t expect the Ripper to be fucking another killer that’s for certain. Jane scoffed, the Ripper was in love with the Butcher.
There had been copycats of Ripper kills he had followed over the years since nearly escaping Lecter’s wrath. The Butcher was new, within the past year or so but it had all the makes of the Ripper.
This was a message to the both of them about her. If Will Graham hadn’t pissed him off from the very beginning with Lecter this would have been a very different outcome. Her ex-lover would be on a flight out of Florida by now and this young girl would be alive.
He bent down again to survey the girl, her skin was colder and starting to stiffen up. He drew back, she had to be warm. Warm like the sun, that’s what she smelled like anyways.
This wasn’t her. It would never come close to killing her.
“YOU AREN'T HER.”
After the signatures, she’s gone.
“SHE TRUSTS ME, SHE DOESN'T TRUST YOU.”
Will Graham was a big part of my life, Jane.
“ SHE WAS MINE FIRST. I KNEW HER MIND FIRST.”
“I LOVED HER FIRST.”
“ SHE’S MINE.”
Jane’s vision swam in front of him, the bloodied water splashed over his body as he fell back down to his knees in front of his offerings, leaving one dead and the other on the brink of death.
Salty tears danced across his tongue as he breathed deep, inhaling to the point his lungs scratched and pinched.
He felt empty. Hollow.
She loved Will Graham. She loved Hannibal Lecter and they were going to keep her for themselves. That’s all he heard, Will this and Will that and Oh Dr. Lecter has an opinion...they needed to go.
He was going to show them how much he hated them all together.
He would show them how she wouldn't fit in their family, but she’d be ready for his.