Months had passed since Anastassia had given Lecter the ultimate in gifts. Steepling his fingers, Lecter considered the gift. She had given him her willingness and it was priceless. He was sitting alone in his office pondering the happenings of the last few years. Anastassia was truly more than he had ever hoped for her to become. It was not Lecter’s original intent to mold the young woman in such a way.
At first, he was fascinated with her mind and how pliable she was with new information. With her it was not the simple a b and c. Instead, she took a b c and could speak with authority in seven new languages. The fact that she did not need to show off her abilities were a delight as well. When she was still but a child, Hannibal Lecter had found Anastassia interesting.
When he began having sex with Anastassia it was to see how well he could manipulate her with such actions. The test was somewhat of a failure. She looked at sex for personal pleasure. To her, the physicality of sex meant little more than a object that could be purchased in one of the local adult boutiques. Lecter was not much different. Although, he used sex for his advantage in manipulating people in the past. Eventually, it became a mutually enjoyed pleasure between them both rather than a tool.
Anastassia was far more interesting to Lecter now than when he first laid eyes on her. She was a rather strange mix of the hidden sociopathic nature that they shared and the genuine virtuous woman that she was as well.
Now what to do with the woman? A knock on the door shook Lecter from his reverie.
It was Jack Crawford.
“Hello Jack, please come in.”
Jack Crawford passed through the door with ease, even for a large man like himself. “I apologize for the intrusion Dr. Lecter. I was asked to deliver this.” In his large hand was a small envelope. “It is a thank you card from Bella.” He explained. “She wanted me to tell you that the chicken soup was the best she had ever tasted.”
Lecter smiled and took the envelope. “I am pleased she enjoyed it. I will make it for her anytime she wishes.”
The two men took seats and began to talk. Lecter was still distracted with the thoughts of his protégé and the distraction was noted by Crawford. “Is something troubling you Doctor?”
“No. The change in weather has apparently left me too much time to spend inside of my own head Jack.” It was true.
Crawford was in a jovial mood and chuckled. “Apparently you need to spend more time with that stunning protégé of yours Doctor.”
The smile that Lecter gave him was somewhat thin. Perhaps Jack Crawford was correct he thought. It had been three and a half weeks since he had seen the fair Dr. Serdste after all. She was out of the country and teaching a seminar in microsurgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in London.
“Perhaps you are correct, Jack. I have not seen her as of late. She is out of the country doing a short teaching seminar in London.”
“I am surprised you did not decide to join her. You two seem quite inseparable.” Crawford looked thoughtful for a moment. “When is she due back?”
“Three days. “
“I believe you will survive a little longer without her.” Crawford chuckled at his friend and collegue “I am not sure the rest of us will.”
There was a faint hint of amusement in Lecter’s eyes. “I have been a bachelor for many years Jack. I expect I shall be one for many more.”
“You know, the happiest day of my life was when Bella agreed to be my wife. I am surprised that you have not made an honest woman out of Anastassia Serdste yet.”
A bit of tightness formed around Lecter’s eyes. Truly, it had never been considered. He and Anastassia were not in love. Yes, they cared about each other. He would not deny that there was a possibility that he did love Anastassia. It was a paternal love that he held for her now. Lecter was certain that she felt the same. While Anastassia came from a good and loving family, her father had been quite absent in upbringing. Lecter filled that void somewhat. He was not certain that either he or Anastassia actually had the ability to be in love. “We do not have that sort of relationship Jack.”
Crawford laughed now and shook his head. “Not that sort of relationship? The two of you dote on each other constantly. She is as protective of you as you are of her. It is well known in the Bureau that the two of you are sleeping together. Besides she has never been seen with another man and you have not been seen with another woman in years.”
Lecter was amused by this. He had not realized that his personal life was a subject of gossip within the BAU division that Crawford controlled. He began to consider the possibilities. Perhaps, it would be quite the advantage to have Anastassia as his partner. Their shared estates aside, it would be a well-made match in many ways. The downfall would be if either of them was found out. How much plausible deniability could there be?
Lecter and Crawford continued to chat until it was time for Lecter’s next appointment.
It was three days later when Lecter retrieved Anastassia from the Baltimore airport, he was still considering the idea that Crawford put into his mind.
“How was your flight?”
“Good. The entire trip was actually. I only had one problem. The food was lacking compared to your table.” She smiled. “I missed your company Hannibal.”
“As I missed you ma Stassi.” Lecter returned the smile and made the decision. “What would you say about us getting married ma Stassi?”
Anastassia was fairly certain that she did not hear Lecter properly. “Pardon me Hannibal; I must have missed what you said.”
“What do you think of us becoming husband and wife?”
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