Since I don't have any other means to contact my 'guest' reviewers, I'm going to do it here.
Autumn Phillips: A big thank you for very kind words. I'm glad you liked my other fic, your wonderful review there gave me the courage to write this story :). Your support means a lot to me. Lots of love.
Guest: Thank you. I'm glad you approve. Regarding your question, I think there was a small misunderstanding. I used 'apparently' in that sentence followed by 'caught' in italics to convey that the real situation was different from what Clarice perceived (He never flirted with her). I completely agree with you that Dr. Lecter is monogamous and very happy with Clarice (Final chapter of Hannibal proves it). I hope I answered your question to your satisfaction. Thank you once again for a positive review :).
"So how do we do this?"
"You will need a fanfiction account to publish. I can create one for you."
"That would be great, my dear. Thank you. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get ready for work. I have to see a patient in two hours."
About an hour later, he came down the stairs into the living room, dressed impeccably in a jet black Armani suit. Clarice was sitting on the couch with the laptop on her lap.
She whistled when he came into view.
"Handsome would do, you know," he said, giving her a chaste kiss.
"I say what I mean," she replied, reminding Dr. Lecter of that eventful night at the Chesapeake when they had come together, metaphorically as well as literally. He chuckled at his own private joke.
"What's so funny?" Clarice asked, her eyes still on the screen.
"I was just thinking about that night at the Chesapeake when we first had sex…"
Her eyes flew to him. "Had sex?"
The smile gracing his lips suddenly vanished as he realized his blunder, his face contorting into an expression of nervousness. "Made love. We made love for the first time. I made love to you and you made love to me," he blabbered.
They looked at each other, his eyes pleading, hers unreadable. The silence between them was deafening.
"Now there's a sight I never thought I'd see. Hannibal Lecter trembling in nervousness." With that, she burst into hysterical laughter.
Relief washed over his features. Although he didn't show it, he was pleased. He had told her in Memphis that her problem was to get more fun out of life. She deserved her fun, even if it was at his expense. He would gladly become a clown if the result was the sweet sound of her laughter. She had wasted far too many years living in misery. If there was one person in the world he deemed worthy of being truly and utterly happy, it was his love.
A full minute passed before her laughter subsided.
"Now that you've had your fun, can we talk business?"
"Any progress on the fanfiction front?"
"All done except for one thing. What do you want as your pen name?"
"Dante," he replied instantly.
She typed it. "Sorry. It is already taken."
"Try Marcus Aurelius."
She tried, then shook her head.
"Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Villon, Blake?"
"They are all taken.'' Her eyebrows furrowed. ''It seems like we're gonna have to be more creative."
Looking at his watch, he said, "Whatever you decide will work for me. I have to go now. Bye."
Dr. Lecter was sitting in his Bentley, waiting for the traffic light to turn green, when his phone buzzed.
A text message from Clarice.
It seems you're in luck. Brace yourself, here it comes...
(Dr. Lecter scrolled down the screen.)
A loud groan filled the car.
The brain of an ordinary person can process only one thought at a time. Dr. Lecter wasn't ordinary. He was a genius in every sense of the word. His mind could follow several trains of thought at the same time without distraction from any. As he sat across his patients listening to their ordeals, a part of his brain was busy with the nitty-gritty of his story. He had decided upon the basic framework during his drive to work. By the time his last patient departed, he had prepared a rough draft in his mind, edited it and given it finishing touches. All that remained was to bring it out into the physical world. He fired up his laptop and started typing his story. When he finished, he was lost in self-congratulation at his own exquisite taste. Shortly after emailing it to Clarice, he left for home.
Clarice had to shake her head vigorously to clear the haze from her mind. She was having a hard time warding off sleep.
Five pages down. Five more to go. Come on girl, you can do this.
She was reading or rather trying to read Dr. Lecter's story. It was sheer torture. She had given up on trying to understand the plot, when she was on the third page. She had a rough idea that it was a comparison of their love with that of Dante and Beatrice. That was the theme. There were several complicated plots knitting the story. The writing was so complex that she had to look up the meaning of every other word. Dr. Lecter hadn't even translated the Italian verses, which he'd used in spades, forcing her to use Google translate, despite the fact that she had good knowledge of the Italian language. It was an arduous struggle. If she had to make a list of the top ten most trying experiences of her life, this would definitely make the cut.
Oh my God! His writing is more lethal than his harpy. This is it. This is gonna be my end.
A pair of maroon eyes were watching her from behind the couch. Clarice was so exhausted that she hadn't noticed him enter the room a minute ago.
Dr. Lecter cleared his throat to attract her attention. Nothing. It was then that he realized she was reading his story.
Ah. She's completely engrossed in my writing. Can't say I'm surprised. It is the finest literary work of the modern era. Correction. Finest literary work since Divine Comedy. Shakespeare doesn't stand a chance against me.
"Good evening, Clarice."
She jumped at his deep baritone voice. "God, Hannibal. You almost gave me a heart attack."
He came around and gave her a peck on the cheek.
"I'm sorry," he replied, though his eyes screamed, "I'm not."
He sat down on the couch beside her. Smiling broadly, he asked, "So...? What do you think?"
The smile fell from his lips. "Human rights situation in Saudi Arabia." Her lips twitched at the sarcasm.
After a moment, she said, "Umm. I don't know how to describe it, Hannibal."
She doesn't have words to praise my work.
Smiling boastfully, he requested, "Please try, my dear. Just one word is more than enough."
"Okay. It was umm...," she trailed off.
Brilliant, awe-inspiring, fabulous, incredible.
It was like someone had poured ice-cold water on him.
A long pause.
"You believe my work is...ahem...crap?" he asked in a frigid tone. Most people raised their voices in anger. It was the opposite in his case.
"That's the only word I can think of to describe it," she replied indifferently.
He stared at her for a long time, the warning to take her words back explicit in his eyes. She matched his cold stare with her own defiant one, taking back nothing.
"I see what this is. You're trying to discourage me so that I won't publish. You can't bear the thought of me receiving praise for my work from your fellow fanficers."
Clarice burst into laughter. "You think that's what this is? Petty jealousy? Hannibal Lecter, you're deranged! It is time to wake up and smell the coffee. Your writing sucks! I haven't read such a dull piece in my entire life. Children's stories are more interesting than your work. You want to publish it? Go ahead. You have my blessings."
Dr. Lecter snatched the laptop from her and opened the 'login' page on ff/dot/net.
"What is the password?"
"Chilton's an asshole. No spaces." Her voice was flat.
Dr. Lecter smiled despite himself. His Clarice was as whimsical as he was.
Following her directions, he published his story on the website.
"Now we wait."
"For what exactly?"
"Reviews. The fandom is quite active. You'll receive feedback from your readers."
On the surface, Dr. Lecter seemed nonchalant but inwardly, he was excited. Like any other author, he wanted to know the opinion of his readers, even though he knew the said readers were no match to his intellectual prowess.
"You know what? We can check the reviews in the morning. I'm exhausted. Let's call it a night." She padded toward the bedroom, Dr. Lecter closely behind.
Dr. Lecter woke up at seven which was surprising as he wasn't an early riser. He had a strong feeling that something big was about to happen. He got up carefully so as not to disturb his bedmate and made his way to his study. It was time to check the reviews. After logging into his account, he clicked on the 'Reviews' option. Danterocks' story had received one review from an anonymous reader. It went like this-
I'm massaging my temples as I write this. Stupid bitch, your whore-iffic story gave me a fucking migraine.
Your story is worse than garbage, even maggots will refuse to eat it. It is a sore acne on the face of fandom. You're lucky, sucky writing isn't a criminal offence, or else you'd have got the capital punishment. Do mankind a favor and remove it right now, you dumb cunt!
And what kind of name is Danterocks, huh, fucktard? You trying to be cool? Don't 'cause you're not. You're an assmonkey who lives in his/her momma's basement.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter was flamed.
A/N: The first review I ever received was a flame. That got me wondering how Dr. Lecter would react to such a situation and the plot of this story was formed. Some of the curses I've used here are the ones from that memorable 'review.' LOL.