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Tate Langdon ([personal profile] go_away) wrote in [community profile] herbgarden2016-07-03 07:50 pm

Open Post: Tate Langdon

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itrhymes: (wut)

[personal profile] itrhymes 2016-07-05 02:45 am (UTC)(link)
Hannibal is in his office on his tablet, seeing what the latest Ripper copycat has ruined over in Baltimore. He looks up from TattleCrime when the lighting quivers. It's not terribly uncommon for the power to fluctuate, especially in high summer when everyone has their air conditioning running on full. Hannibal is hardly exempt to the phenomenon himself. Sweating is...unpleasant.

The thumps come in uneven waves of sound, like a rain stick being only occasionally turned over. The raised pitch of angry voices statics in and out like a bad radio station. Hannibal reads while they wane and listens as they wax.

Soon enough, his curiosity has him at the door to his office, still fully closed.

Hannibal has been aware of the ghosts that he shares his walls with for some time now. Tate's secret - or at least several handfuls of his secrets - had created a snowball of paranormal activity around the house in the weeks that followed.

Moira had been by far the most active, seemingly relieved and eager to have something to do. Hannibal genuinely enjoys her presence, and tea in the afternoons had become a regular occurrence. Having never employed full-time cleaning services at his other home, Hannibal found her a formidable force in keeping the floors scrubbed and polished. It was...appreciated.

Ben had made himself known second only to Tate, of course, but Ben had also concealed his true nature. Much as Tate had.

But the house had become noticeably less lonely once the secret was out. Hauntings of the variety that came with appliances turning off or on, or the lights flickering, or objects appearing or moving. Voices, muffled, as though overhearing conversations in the hotel room next to yours. A mutilated pair of twins had broken one of Hannibal's 19th century Chinese vases from the foyer. (They have appeared only briefly since, and not broken further objects. Tate had sworn he 'didn't do anything too fucking awful' and had 'only scared the little shithead punks' for Hannibal. Hannibal had, in a possibly-related event, bought Tate a CD player that weekend.)

The voices that flicker in and out are clearly Tate's, angry and backed into a corner, and Doctor Ben Harmon. Hannibal listens to it fade in, stronger and stronger as the emotions grow. It swells to a crescendo and Hannibal hears clatters and thumps - furniture? Books?

He opens his door and pads quietly through the hallway in just socks. He hears Tate's voice choke and thicken with tears. Ben sounds righteous but pained.

Hannibal steps into view of the living room at the tail end of Ben's question. Ben is facing him and sees him first.

"Shit." He says, but it's barely a whisper and directed at the ground. Ben's hands go on his hips and he rocks back a step, clearly not having wanted to be walked in on.

They both must have appeared more strongly as their ability to concentrate on hiding wore away with their distress. Hannibal steps evenly into the room, still silent.

"Doctor Lecter, I think we need to talk."

Hannibal carefully avoids stepping on his third edition An Examination of Phrenology where it is splayed across the rug, hundred year-old pages wrinkled and tearing. He continues walking right past Tate, who was closest to the door, until he is standing directly in between Tate and Ben. His face is impassive. Hannibal watches Ben take in his expression and stride with something akin to surprise and then suspicion. "Yes, Doctor Harmon. I believe we do."

Hannibal looks back to Tate a moment. His face is mottled, eyelids pink and irritated. He flushes so easily, even in this mockery of his birth-given body. His hair is curled and mashed into uneven edges. Hannibal has only been given cause to see it on occasion, but he'd noticed his penchant for pulling at it when distressed.

Hannibal sees all of this clear agony, and he comments on none of it. His face doesn't shiver with pity or judgment, stays almost inhumanly smooth. He feels something harden in his chest, however, and the cold anger might show in his eyes.

Hannibal turns back to Ben. His own stance is rigid, hands folded neatly in front of his hips. He physically blocks the line of sight between Tate and Ben with his body. "Why are you speaking to my patient this way, Doctor Harmon? I believe you made your refusal to treat him quite clear."

Ben makes a soft sound of disbelief, but it's not an easy noise. He's gone from surprised to frustrated. Hannibal might even say pained, perfect for a man watching a known tragedy unfold. "Doctor Lecter, I understand you want to help him. I did too. But Tate can't be helped." Ben looks hard into Hannibal's shoulder, where he knows Tate's head must be. To his credit, Ben doesn't childishly lean around to see him. He respects the established barrier, at least for the moment. "Even if he'll do and say anything to convince you otherwise.

"He's dangerous, Doctor Lecter. If it weren't for him--" Ben is pointing, but his eyes glisten and he looks away a moment. When he continues, his eyes are drier but his throat sounds tight. "My family would still be alive. You shouldn't be risking yourself by living here at all. Speaking to him is only going to get you in even deeper."
itrhymes: (pic#8139023)

[personal profile] itrhymes 2016-07-05 03:00 pm (UTC)(link)
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?"
itrhymes: (pic#7610233)

[personal profile] itrhymes 2016-07-05 10:45 pm (UTC)(link)
When Hannibal had raised his hand to Tate, he'd of course seen the shiver of reaction. His eyes had scrunched as they had with tears, but that was fear motivating him in that instant. His wide-eyed shock afterwards had made Hannibal very glad he'd chosen to touch him, however. This was clearly not just memorable, but overriding some previous memory. Interacting with Tate's past is likely going to be the key to connecting with him in any meaningful way.

Ben, as it turns out, is taking this pleasantly well. Scathing explanations and heartlessly-given criticisms all fade back into their Hallway in Hannibal's mind, no longer needed at the moment. For later, perhaps.

The way Hannibal's eyes and mouth relax is genuine. Ben's hidden surprise at their contact only solidifies Hannibal's satisfaction in reaching out to Tate. If it unbalances Doctor Harmon's constructed, iron certainty of where the three of them stand, then it's to Hannibal's advantage.

As Ben finishes speaking, Hannibal looks back at Tate. If he's continued crying, there's not many new tears; Hannibal gives him a small, distinct nod, and releases their contact very slowly. He takes his hand back and removes his pocket square as he turns back, fully, to Ben.

The pocket square dries his hand as he approaches Ben, slow enough and with little enough intent that it's clearly not read as a threat. "I couldn't agree more fully." Ben eyes him without speaking. He crosses his arms, albeit without any visible paranoia, and Hannibal takes that as his cue to stop closing the gap between them. If he reached, he might be able to touch Ben's shoulder. "And I realize that I cannot force Tate to trust me enough to reveal all of himself to me. There will be some degree to which I will not be in control. But that's the nature of our job.

"The patient's attachment and trust guides us. All of the information-gathering tortures of the world cannot compare to what someone will confess to a loved one to avoid losing them."

Ben blinks and looks slightly concerned. Hannibal has the abrupt suspicion he's hit a serendipitous, personal nerve. Ben watches Tate over Hannibal's shoulder for a moment and then looks to the floor, shaking his head and chuckling. "Couple years ago, I wouldn't have agreed. But my secrets kept getting spilled out anyway. And look where it landed me." Ben's eyes are dry and full of nameless sorrow when he stares at Hannibal. "I dunno. If I was Tate, I think I'd have learned that hanging onto your secrets can be the only thing keeping some relationships together." He rolls his eyes skyward, self-deprecating chuckle huffing out. "Even if it just destroys both of you in the end."

Hannibal's smile is patient. "I'm afraid I can't recall if you wanted him to be honest with me or not. Have you not been practicing your therapy technique these past few years?" Hannibal answers Ben's chuckle with a deeper smile of his own.

Ben closes his eyes and sighs, deeply. Hannibal marvels at it and wonders if all of the ghosts breathe from habit.

"Honestly? I'm wishing the best for you, Doctor Lecter. I just don't know if it's a reasonable wish." Ben looks sincere to the point of pain, although he visibly shakes it off a moment later.

Hannibal reaches out a hand. Ben's eyebrows raise, but then he shakes his hand with enough pressure that Hannibal could tell it was the correct gesture even without looking at his face. "I appreciate your advocacy. I'm not so blind as to think this stemmed entirely from a bitterness over Tate. Your concern for my well-being has not gone unnoticed."

Ben looks almost touched, if also amused at the seriousness here. One shoulder shrugs as he lets go of Hannibal's hand. "I don't like seeing people make my own mistakes." Hannibal catches the way Ben seeks eye contact with Tate as he says it. What is the connection there? Troubled youth, Doctor Harmon? "I'm also pretty sure we're done here." Ben's eyes take a moment to come back to Hannibal's. "Doctor Lecter, it's been...interesting, talking with you again." It's said without sarcasm.

"For myself, as well. The conversation after your last phone call left something to be desired." Ben has the grace to wince, although he looks far from apologetic. "I must admit this was far more pleasant."

Hannibal doesn't really chuckle with sound, but he answers Ben's with the sort of downward smile-with-teeth that generally accompanies them. Everyone has their pleasant facades back on, now. Hannibal cannot wait until Ben is gone and he can deal with the fact that their third member isn't capable of that party trick.

"I'll just show myself out." Ben gestures behind himself, but soon enough he's turned around.

Hannibal nods. It's possible he says something benignly pleasant about seeing him again sometime if he finds himself in the area. Either way, as soon as Ben leaves the living room, his footsteps fade before he'd ever have reached the front door.

Hannibal doesn't sigh with relief. His posture doesn't sag. But his demeanor changes, stone by stone, once he's certain their company is gone.

He turns back towards Tate, face calm. The icy anger that had lingered in his eyes before has gone. "You've had an exciting afternoon."
itrhymes: (pic#7610235)

[personal profile] itrhymes 2016-07-06 03:24 pm (UTC)(link)
For such a tall boy, Tate shrinks down into himself like an expert. Hannibal watches Tate's eyes on the floor. He takes slow, measured steps towards him. As suggested, there's plenty of books to avoid as he goes.

"It's quite alright." Hannibal is within arm's reach of Tate again, standing in the middle of his painstakingly-organized living room. The only remainders of the argument are the ten or so reference books that litter the floor.

Hannibal's head ticks gently to one side. The weight of the moment lingers. He lets it pull his arm up, forward, lets it press his hand down onto Tate's shoulder with exacting care.

The pocket square is being offered to Tate with his other hand. "I am much more interested in whether or not you are alright, Tate. That was not a kind discussion I interrupted, regardless of how it ended." Hannibal's stare is relentlessly steady.
itrhymes: (pic#7610235)

[personal profile] itrhymes 2016-07-07 01:16 am (UTC)(link)
In troubling times, Hannibal's affected eccentricities can often offer a nice way of breaking the ice that can freeze over conversations. There is humor in the absurd, a space to be squeezed between points when you bring in a non sequitur.

In less pretentious language: Hannibal is completely alright with Tate laughing at his pocket square, because it's the mood changer he'd been trying for. Hannibal's eyes on him remain heavy, though, even if they're without any malice. "Some of us still try to look presentable when going about our days." Murmured while Tate collects himself, wipes down his own face.

Hannibal imagines what it would have felt like to do that for him - to physically mask him again, help him place himself back together into a socially-acceptable facade.

Not yet.

"I will always hope you are being honest with me, Tate." Hannibal accepts the pocket square. He puts forth quite a lot of effort into not looking disappointed with the folding job. He does not place it back into his jacket pocket to stain said jacket.

The hand on Tate's shoulder, so still it might have been forgotten, makes itself known by pressing down and squeezing, more of an intent than a movement. And then it pulls away, like a bird needing to dig in against its surface before taking off. "Although I will not often pester you for those truths. If I ask a question, I will leave it up to you about answering honestly the first time." Even if I suspect you're lying, Tate, his tone seems to imply. He doesn't look annoyed at the expectation - the knowledge - that Tate has not always been forthcoming, however.

"Trust can only be gained on both party's terms. I would not insist on forcing you." Hannibal watches him seriously. His gaze looks down, suggesting apology. "Although I will point out that knowing that you withhold important parts of yourself from both of us may effect our relationship over time."
itrhymes: (pic#8139026)

[personal profile] itrhymes 2016-07-08 12:00 am (UTC)(link)
Hannibal only makes uncomfortable things easier for others when he absolutely has to, to earn their trust or to avoid losing it completely. But in this case, Hannibal thinks that some degree of discomfort is what's needed. To incite Tate into coming outside of the shell he's constructed for himself, he's going to need true incentive. Sometimes a stick works better than a carrot.

Tate absolutely needs both, of course. So Hannibal doesn't verbally reassure him at first, doesn't say that he understands why Tate was withholding information from him. But Hannibal does nod, face understanding and smoothed away from accusation.

And then Tate meets his eyes again, and his message culminates. Hannibal feels the dwindling tension in the room flare briefly, embers showering sparks in their wake. "I would not give up on my patient if I thought they were still capable of positive growth. And I've been given no reason to not believe that of you, Tate." Hannibal is still within arms reach of him, but the window for physically reassuring has passed. His presence is still heavy, directed at Tate in an unmistakeable way. "You should not ignore the effect that motivation can have on success. Talent will not get you far without the application of those skills."

A smile crosses his face, the moon clearing of clouds. "I've heard you often say you would like to get better. If you put in true effort towards it, I think your desire will let you succeed. After all." His eyes never leave Tate's. "You are not alone in this journey."
itrhymes: (pic#7884750)

[personal profile] itrhymes 2016-07-08 01:31 pm (UTC)(link)
"You keep speaking of good and bad, as if these concepts are concrete and universal. Morals are a human invention." Hannibal watches this boy, so wrapped up in black and whites that he can't see anything else. Constricted by others and himself, limited from what he could be.

Hannibal can see the ropes binding him, and he wants to cut them free. A beast unleashing another beast. "I am not intimidated at the prospect of finding out where your own created morals will lead you. I look forward to it." And his tone feels heavy with hope and with finality. Hannibal nods kindly, but his pressure of presence lightens. He becomes a solid background noise instead of trying to absorb every particle of Tate's attention.

You're free to go and lick your wounds alone if you'd like, Tate. Hannibal is satiated for now.
Edited 2016-07-08 13:34 (UTC)
itrhymes: (pic#8139026)

[personal profile] itrhymes 2016-07-10 12:00 am (UTC)(link)
Hannibal might say that being a psychiatrist - being his kind of psychiatrist - is more akin to being a gardener than an inventor. With his patients and his friends, he doesn't seek to create a robot from nothing. Rather, he uses seed and soil that already exists, placing everything just so. He can hover over it afterwards if he wishes - and he only occasionally does - but in the end, he cannot control what grows from what he has planted. Whatever Tate allows Hannibal to sow is what he will get - he cannot alter it except in whispers and tugs towards the sunlight or the darkness.

Tate seems to be pulling himself back together, piece by piece. Hannibal has already unmoored the attachment he'd clasped between the two of them, and now he smiles, taking one step backwards. It's a clear invitation that they're finished. "I think so. Unless you truly need more time spent sitting in a room arguing. I may not be so calm if you progress to throwing books at myself, however." His voice still has its usual restrained liveliness - a monotone that still manages to clearly convey emotions. But his eyes have deeper wrinkles at the edges, and it's clear he's smiling at Tate as Hannibal turns to leave.

"Oh, and Tate." Hannibal pauses at the very doorway back into his office, body facing the opposite direction. His head turns owlishly to watch the boy. His tone and demeanor both immediately soften and slow. His smile is gone, but it doesn't make way for a frown. "Regardless of how heated an argument may become, I would never strike you." Said calmly, as though he were informing Tate of any other innocuous household rule.
itrhymes: (hmm)

[personal profile] itrhymes 2016-07-10 06:18 pm (UTC)(link)
There really was only ever the chance for a negative response, wasn't there? Hannibal waits it out patiently, face as impenetrable as ever. It bends only when Tate verbally responds, flush creeping up his neck and against his cheeks. Tate's embarrassment spills over, guilty and bold as blood, and Hannibal's face thaws into something impassively kind. He doesn't fawn with sympathy, he doesn't reassure. He doesn't panic in the face of Tate's discomfort, because his words didn't backfire. They're doing whatever it is they were meant to do, and Hannibal is happy to watch that effect.

If nothing else, perhaps Tate can sense how Hannibal is unruffled and unembarrassed at his own overreaction, and can take comfort it in later. For now, Hannibal is letting him go easily. "Some things are best when they are heard, regardless of how much we tell ourselves we already know them. Like nourishment for the spirit. You can't eat once and expect you won't need it ever again." Hannibal's eyes linger on Tate, as long as they can as he turns away to open his office door.

Now inside the office, Hannibal pins him once again with a stare. "I realize we are skipping our session for the day, but if you need anything, please simply knock." Hannibal keeps fingers wrapped on the handle, ready to close both the door and this conversation.