Anastassia stood there in Hannibal Lecter’s grip. Beautiful eyes were widened with the sight of the dead man. She had seen dead bodies countless times. It was how he had been killed was the shocking thing. Upon Jean Grueryer’s chest were words carved into his dead flesh.
You shouldn’t have…
In the dead man’s mouth were the remains of his removed and burned genitals. Hearts had been carved into the man’s skin everywhere. There was something else in his mouth. It would have to wait until later when the crime scene techs arrived to determine what exactly it was. He had been tortured. His teeth and tongue had been removed. They knew this because they were wrapped in a package that was attached to the dead man’s wrist. His fingers were broken with the nails pulled out. The same had been done to his feet. There was barely an inch of flesh that was not bloody, broken or cut.
Anastassia stayed with her protection detail. She was flanked by Hannibal Lecter and her parents. They were still part of the crime scene; even after all the other guests had been removed to various other places for interviewing.
The process was slow and methodical. Even Jack Crawford and Will Graham left them alone, for now. Anastassia Serdste was very visibly shaken, even the death of her friend had not shaken her to this extreme. The small group sitting did not speak. There was not that much to say at this point. It was only when the crime scene techs rolled the body over did Anastassia react.
“Fuck.” The single word slipped past her lips.
Her parents and Lecter turned to look at Anastassia. They then turned in the direction of the body. There was a touch of amusement in Lecter’s dark eyes that vanished as quickly as it appeared. The body was much the same on the back. There were even words carved into the flesh.
Anastassia raised a trembling hand to her lips and stared silently at the corpse than had once been Jean Grueryer. Speaking softly to everyone and no one at all, her voice trembled.
“He was here. He was here and he saw – “ She swallowed hard. “He saw everything.”
“What did he see Anastassia?” The demanding tone came from James Serdste, her father.
When she didn’t answer, James grew even angrier. “What did he see Anastassia Nicoletta Serdste?”
She flicked her eyes over to her father. Anastassia was furious at the tone that was taken. There was fire in her dark eyes but her voice was calm and steady. “I had sex in the curtained area of the lobby.”
Both James and Jael Serdste looked shocked. Such behavior was quite unlike the daughter they knew. Rarely was she even seen with a man that was not either Hannibal Lecter or family so who could it have been? The dawning realization colored her mother’s cheeks first. It was her father that spoke, he sounded practically deflated.
“You and Hannibal had sex in the museum tonight. That is where you disappeared to without your security detail.”
It was Hannibal that replied next. “Yes James, Stassi and I have had a physical relationship for quite some time now.”
Anastassia went still. Her father was furious. Her mother was embarrassed. She was pretty certain that her father wished harm to come to Hannibal Lecter. Her father prayed that he would be the one to do it, should it happen.
A fist was slammed against the table. It echoed through the halls of the museum loud enough to cause the agents and techs milling about to turn. James Serdste spoke through clenched teeth so that the words came out in a low hiss.
“How could you? How could you Lecter? We trusted you with our daughter. We trusted you with her safety. You took advantage of a child that worshiped you as a hero.” There was the moment that James reared back as if to strike Lecter. Jael grabbed his arm.
“Jim, calm down. You do not know the details.” Jael was the only one that would dare to call him Jim. She turned to her daughter and Lecter. “I had suspected for some time that the relationship between you two had changed. When did this start Anastassia?”
“Twelve years ago.”
Turning to James, she spoke quietly to him. “She was an adult Jim, please calm down.” Then turning back to her daughter, Jael sounded weary. “Why did you two hide this for so long sweetheart?” Her mother scolded Anastassia gently.
It was Lecter that spoke next. “We did not feel the need to make the nature of our relationship public to anyone. Stassi gets enough press coverage, she did not need more because of our relationship.”
“Well you two, you will be receiving more press coverage than you could have ever wanted after this.” That was all that Jael could say. Although, Lecter did look mildly amused at being reprimanded by Anastassia’s mother.
Jack Crawford and Will Graham stepped over.
“Do you have any idea what the words on the body mean Dr. Serdste?” Jack asked.
Anastassia’s left brow shot upwards in frustration. “Yes.”
“Oh please do elaborate, Doctor.”
Lecter started to explain and Jack Crawford cut him off. “No, I want to hear this from Dr. Serdste.”
“I had a moment of private time in the lobby earlier. I ended up having sex and apparently Hammerli saw.”
“Where was your security detail?”
“I ditched them.”
“Is that so? Dr. Serdste, who was your partner in this crime?”
“I would rather not say.” Her reply was dry.
Both James and Jael started to speak at that moment when Hannibal Lecter interrupted. “She was with me Jack.” The reply was unabashed and Lecter looked directly into Jack Crawford’s eyes.”
“So you are telling me Dr. Lecter that you are fucking Dr. Serdste?”
“Yes.” Lecter frowned at the crudeness of Crawford's question.
Anastassia brushed fingers across her forehead. She looked rather irritated. “Can we please keep my sex life out of this equation? Yes, Hannibal Lecter and I have been having a physical relationship for quite some time. Twelve years to be exact if you need to know Jack. I would hope that each and every one of you realize that I am an adult. Oh.The last time I looked I was not on trial or even a suspect.”
Jack Crawford looked at Anastassia and slammed his hand down on the table. “No you aren’t but your action did cause the death of a man and you are not supposed to be away from your security detail at ANY time.”
Her dark eyes narrowed down into slits. The words came out in a growl and Anastassia leaned closer to Jack Crawford. He was taller than she, but not by much. “Do not blame me for the actions of a serial killer. I shall not and will not give up my life just because I have some whack-job that is supposedly in love with me. Do not try to lay a guilt trip on me Jack Crawford because all you will do is succeed in pissing me right the fuck off.” With emphasis she smacked her own hand down on the table and stood up abruptly. “Don’t you dare take that tone with me either Jack. I am an adult. My parents do not speak to me as such and I will not stand for you doing either. Do I make myself clear?” There was malice in her voice.
Jack Crawford had to smile. He was trying to get a reaction out of the woman and he succeeded.
Will Graham finally spoke. His voice was soft and soothing. “Anastassia, can you please tell us what happened and when?”
Sitting back down, she sighed. There was still the look of perpetual amusement on Lecter’s features. Anastassia caught a glimpse of the amused look on Lecter and she even scowled at him. “It was during the cocktail hour. Hannibal saved me from the lecherous advances of Jean Grueryer. We slipped off silently to get some peace and quiet. We were in the curtained off section of the lobby. While we spoke the Tallis Scholars started to do their final warm-up and practice. During this time we ended up becoming physical with each other.” She paused and reached for a glass of water; taking a sip the story was continued. “We finished and we left. I never saw anyone in the lobby with us, save for the people practicing.”
“Neither did I Will.” Lecter spoke softly.
Lecter’s mind was reeling. He knew that it would not be long before Hammerli came after Anastassia. This was unacceptable. Anastassia belonged to him. No one else would be permitted to have her. So it was time to put an end to this little dalliance that the other man was playing at. Looking over to his sometimes lover, Lecter brushed an errant curl that fell and tucked it behind her ear. A plot was forming. He knew what had to be done. The mere thought was a humming pleasure in Lecter’s chest. Still watching Anastassia, he had to smile. She would make the perfect bait. And she would never know a thing.
They answered questions for what seemed like an eternity. Will Graham was sitting on the edge of the table. He frowned slightly before speaking.
“Dr. Serdste. I am concerned for you. Hammerli will come after you or your family and soon. There is a distinct possibility that he will come after you as well, Dr. Lecter. He saw the two of you in the most intimate of moments and that hurt him. You have never been seen in public with a man that you were romantically involved with – to anyone’s knowledge. You have always been seen with either Dr. Lecter, who has been known as a close family friend and your mentor, or your family. This might be what causes Hammerli to snap. We will be using this to our advantage. We will need to keep the two of you safe, none the less, for the time being.”
“What do you need me to do Will?” Anastassia spoke softly, she sounded exhausted even to her own ears.
“We need to keep you in the public eye as much as possible, preferably with Dr. Lecter at your side.”
Both Lecter and Anastassia started to protest. This was all too much. Their private lives were not for show. Will held up a hand and started to speak once again. “Trust me on this. The more he sees you together the more likely he will make a mistake. He is starting to unravel already. The scene with Jean Grueryer proves that. He saw the man as a threat and then he saw you and Dr. Lecter together. Both incidents were damaging to him. We will pull the security team back to a certain perimeter and hopefully he will try to strike. While you might not see the agents assigned to watch you, be assured that they are near.”
Anastassia nodded while Lecter leaned in closer to Will to speak.
“Tell us what you need then Will.” With that a new plan was hatched.