This Is Not A Love Story
Summary: Short story based upon my fic, “The Path Not Taken”. Clarice and the Doctor take a walk.
Timeline: After the Hannibal novel and during “The Path Not Taken”; follows canon.
This is not a love story. At least that is what I’ve been told. Even the common whore can profess everlasting love while straddling her johns. A husband will claim to love his spouse while beating her into submission. What we have is noble and exquisite; it soars beyond the bounds of this earth.
Not that I disagree, but that’s a mouthful when you’re in the throes of ecstasy.
Today we are walking down the street where throngs of people of all races and nationalities tread blithely. The sun is high overhead, the sky a brilliant cerulean blue. The buildings rise high in the air, monuments to man’s greatest conceits. I won’t tell you where we are, that would be foolhardy, don’t you agree?
He won’t hold my hand, as public displays of affection are common, but he walks with his hand firmly against the small of my back. The warm weather permits me to wear a thin cotton dress, and I can feel the heat from his hand as it guides me down the street; it’s glorious. I would walk to the ends of the earth, if he so guided me.
Today is our anniversary. Not the anniversary of our wedding; that will come in a few weeks. That day will be greatly celebrated with candlelit dinner, dancing, and a sensual surprise that causes me to lick my lips in anticipation. No, we do not acknowledge today by tacit agreement, it is not noted on any calendar. It is the anniversary of release and freedom. The day sneaks up on us and we seem to unanimously develop an urge for a picnic, or a walk along the beach. Anything to be outside.
Walking down the bustling street I can do nothing but think about that night. That was when I decided to let go, to release the bonds that held me immobilized in life. I find myself wondering what if. What if the Nazis had not overrun his family’s home and his baby sister had not served as their main course? What if he had been raised in a solid happy home? Would he still be the renowned “Cannibal”, the pure sociopath they all say he is? Most importantly, would I have still been changed by him? I shiver involuntarily at the mere thought that our lives would not have crossed, that I might still be living under the self-same illusions of Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity.
I find myself stopping and turning towards him; he faces me with a question in his eyes. The river of people continues around us, bustling and jostling with a few choice profanities. They must not know how dangerous it can be to be discourteous to the wrong person these days. I reach up and caress the side of his face. I just can’t help myself. My heart pounds with the feelings he instills in me. “I love you,” I whisper.
With narrowed eyes he turns me and thrusts me forward, using his hand as a rudder he steers me into the crowd and takes a sharp right down an alley. At the back of the alley is a fence, which he pushes me against. Over his shoulder I can see the people continue on their individual journeys. He leans into me and starts the most passionate kiss. A chill runs down to my toes as I open my mouth and receive his tongue. With my eyes closed and heart pounding I lean forward and kiss him back. My own tongue slips into his mouth and I feel as if I could drown in the pleasure.
Without warning the pleasure ceases and I feel him bite my tongue. His teeth are sharp and I have no doubts he could have severed it if he so desired, however he bites hard enough so that when I finally regain it in my mouth I taste my own blood. I am dazed with the shock and pain of it.
With hands on either side of my head against the fence, he bends in close. “Would you still love me if I had bitten it off, Clarice?” he hisses. I can feel his sweet breath wash over my face. “What would you feel about me if you suddenly lost your nose?” He snaps his teeth together centimeters in front of the tip of my nose. I don’t think I flinch, but I can’t be sure. “How can you say you love me when you know what I can do to you?”
I have to compose myself. My tongue is swollen and throbbing, but I will say this perfectly. Slowly, enunciating each word, I say, “I love you because I know you won’t.” His anger rolls off of him in waves. I once asked him to shine the power of his analytical intellect into his own mind. He was either unwilling or unable. I oft wonder if he feels he should have saved Mischa, or at least taken her place. Does he feel that failure makes him unworthy of love? I wish I could ask him, but of the results I am too afraid. “I don’t need your permission to express my feelings. Whatever you are afraid of can’t be nearly as bad as rejecting love.”
“Afraid?” He tastes the word on his lips. “Why Clarice, if I didn’t know better I ‘d suspect you of trying to psychoanalyze me. You may have a degree in psychology, little Starling, but that doesn’t make you qualified to scrutinize me. Tread lightly, my dear, for both of our sakes.”
He regains his composure and backs away from me. I’m suddenly worried I’ve alienated him. Is it so terrible to want to hear those three little words? He starts to walk away. “Hannibal, please,” I find myself begging. “Please.”
He turns back towards me and smiles. “Don’t panic Clarice. You will just have to be patient with me.” He holds his hand out to me and I take it, gratefully.
Out on the street again we continue with our walk. He continues to hold my back. It is as if nothing has happened. From the corner of my eye I look at him; I believe he is smiling.
This is not a love story. Like hell it isn’t.
Copyright 2001, Calico