Well, I got so many requests to finish this, and Ryuun Kazan mentioned an epilogue, and I liked the sound of that. So without further ado, I give you an epilogue.
Life was so much more... open with Hannibal, Clarice had noticed. Before, she had been crammed in dorms and rooms, sharing with other girls in a cosy yet claustrophobic sardine tin. On to college, with more of the same, and then to the FBI Academy, which brought with it the same dorms she had always known, since her Daddy's death.
Now the world was her oyster, lying in wait patiently for her to discover it, hand in hand with her new lover.
Their relationship was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Hannibal had to adjust to civilian life, as it were, after eight years in the same dull cell. His moods were a little unpredictable, but he and Clarice were learning each other's habits and quirks, and getting along very well. Her honesty, coupled with his stunning perception made arguments short and infrequent. Her strong moral compass was gradually being re-wired by his vast life experience to think on the greyer areas in certain matters.
Hannibal's numerous crimes, for example. Clarice would admit her revulsion at some of the more gory elements of his criminal record, but she was beginning to see that each and every victim had victims of their own, and were not at all innocent.
She learned of his past, what had driven him to cannibalism in the first place. Hannibal did not choose his life, it was handed to him after he lost his parents, his sister, his home, everything he held dear.
Hannibal in turn learned of Clarice's demons. Her lambs, although calmer, were never truly silent, but he did his utmost best to comfort and guide her when they became particularly loud. He held her warm and close, as she sobbed into his chest, and they rocked together for mutual support when Misha would in turn scream for her big brother. Her Daddy, her one parent, friend and support, lost far too early for her to cope healthily. With time, Clarice came to realise how her relationships in adult life mostly appeared to mirror that father-daughter rapport that had been her lot for most of her developmental years.
But what they learned about each other wasn't always grim and psychological. Clarice learned that Hannibal's humour was mostly wry, full of clever little references that she more often picked up on, with her new education in the classics, which made him very happy. Hannibal learned that Clarice liked her tea black with one sugar, and that she had never really liked to paint her nails (her reasoning was that they felt uncomfortable), and that she liked French better than Spanish (it was a more egalitarian language, according to her, with its ideals of Liberté, Égalité and Fraternité).
Their education of each other developed, and they found their compatibility only grew with time. Hannibal discovered that Clarice was wonderfully vocal during lovemaking, and tended to let her senses guide her, while he found his experience served him well in that field. They both enjoyed cuddling, huddling close after gasping their mutual releases, warm and spent.
They still loved to spar, throwing comments and notes back and forth in their beloved games of quid pro quo. But rather than feeling short and frustrated when he withheld answers, Clarice found that a good match of wits left her feeling exhilarated, breathless and only endeared her to Hannibal more. They had found their intellectual equivalent in each other, and were charmed by their rapport.
Occasionally they would have a scare, the local police sniffing too close, or Clarice missing a period. But they managed every time, and the couple agreed that to bring a child into the world would endanger both it and them. So for now, they remained a pair, two souls connected at the mind.
Thank you for sticking with this story from the stumbling beginning, and for your wonderful support (Favouriting, Following, Reviewing and reading). I didn't want to write a perfect ending for Hannibal and Clarice, because it isn't so in the book, nor do I personally think everything would be magically fixed once they became intimate. Hannibal is deeply psychologically different to Clarice, who has many of her own shortcomings. But their strength as a pair is their meeting minds, for me, and their chemistry, be it physical, verbal or mental. Thank you once again, and review if you please!