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Hannibal the Cannibal {Dr Hannibal Lecter} ([personal profile] itrhymes) wrote in [community profile] herbgarden 2016-07-05 03:00 pm (UTC)

Hannibal is here largely to observe, and only participate where necessary. Tate is quicker to interrupt him than he is to reply to Doctor Harmon, and Hannibal merely tilts to watch him, silent.

But Tate's denial isn't as interesting to watch as what happens moments later. His face freezes and then slackens with horror. Ben just accused him of something terrible and not at all like what Tate has told Hannibal he fantasizes about, and Tate could not have confirmed it more clearly.

While Tate begins to slouch down into himself, collapsing like a particularly weepy souffle, Hannibal turns back to Doctor Harmon. "Tate raped your wife?"

Hannibal has very few things left that he hasn't done to victims. His aversion to guns is a personal choice, because he enjoys the risk and proximity and care required to use close-range weapons. There is no sense of honor in it, just his own pride, to win so completely. Relatedly, Hannibal doesn't sexually assault his victims. The symbolism of rape - of the living body or its corpse - is clear, but it's crass. Too easy. And quite frankly, dripping with the sort of sexism that Hannibal has never personally believed in. But again, it isn't about respecting the honor of his victims. It's not the kind of aversion that a moral person might have for rape.

Ben's eyes close when Hannibal asks, and his lips thin, but he doesn't explode into anger. If anything, it seems to quiet him further. "Yes," he says as he opens his eyes again. He looks directly at Hannibal. "And the baby that she had was what killed her. The delivery went...wrong."

Hannibal's head tilts back and his eyes go down, clearly considering what he's being told. Ben, predictably, looks hopeful. He takes a step forward, voice still calmer and more collected. His eyes are wet again. "You have to listen to me. This kid's done more than he's told you. He's picking through what's happened and giving you the tamest truths along with the worst reasons he can come up with so you'll pity him. He's smart, I'll give him that, but he's still just a kid. There's holes in his stories." Ben stares at Hannibal, hands fisting and relaxing at his sides. "Don't let him trap you here, too."

Hannibal looks back up to Ben, lips thin and pursed with consideration. "I am very sorry for what happened to you and your family." Ben's eyes close and his teeth show when he grimaces. He nods, almost an angry motion. "I would never deny that Tate has instigated or been involved in terrible crimes."

Hannibal finally turns back to Tate. His cheeks are wet and flushed. His hair is a riot of ruined lines. He is hideously under-prepared to talk about himself in a detached, reasonable manner at the moment. He's not capable of it, nor is it what he needs. Hannibal takes a step towards him and reaches a hand out.

They've never really touched much. A hand on Tate's shoulder here or there during particularly heated sessions, nothing more. Hannibal cups Tate's right cheek in his left hand and swipes a broad thumb through the tears. He feels sticky and feverish. Hannibal's face remains rigidly blank as he turns back to Ben. He does not let go of Tate's face, although his hold is calm and not reprimanding.

Ben stares at him with almost no expression except blank anticipation. Here is a turning point...

...And when has Hannibal ever turned down an opportunity to watch a teacup shatter?

"But I also can see that he is not the only one twisting the truth to suit his own narrative. Doctor Harmon - Ben - I see your pain. I also see that it is tainting your perspective." Hannibal's face has been a calm mask, but now there is an unmistakable settling to his expression, loose rocks falling down a mountainside to block the road below. His voice remains at the same volume, but there is a note of steel threaded through it. "You are not required to forgive Tate. I would never ask you to do so. And when Tate asks for that forgiveness, he is asking for something he has absolutely no right to have.

"But I will not have you continue to assume you have power over his destiny. If you are going to cut the lines of fate that once connected the two of you, Doctor Harmon, I expect you to realize that that is a two-way promise." Hannibal stands between them, one hand still holding Tate's face. Even as a ghost, Tate's angry tears nearly burn under his palm.

Hannibal's neck arches proudly. For the first time, there is the promise of a challenge in his expression. His lip twitches up before he continues speaking.

"I will not have you speak to him like this again. Is that clear?"

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