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The Pieces: Red Dragon Fic

Author: Bitterfig
Title: The Pieces
Fandom: Red Dragon
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Summary: Will was getting close in the Chesapeake Ripper case. He had all the pieces of the puzzle, he just couldn’t fit them together. Doctor Lector was willing to lend his expertise.
Word Count: 2819
Rating: R
Warnings: Sexual content, dubious consent, psychological manipulation, references to violence.
Author’s Note: I wrote an earlier, 500 word version of this story, Close To The Edge for slashthedrabble  prompt #165: Close.

The Pieces


His notes were strewn across Lecter’s desk, thousands of pages’ worth of notes, crime scene photos, and forensic reports. 


The television droned with a report of a body being found, the most recent victim of the Chesapeake Ripper.  


“This shouldn’t have happened,” Will said.  He’d been living on the edge of an anxiety attack since he’d heard the news several hours before.  He couldn’t stay still, he paced frantically, clenching his fists, and slapping his hand against his forehead.   “I should have been able to stop this, I should have known.  I’m so close to figuring this out.  I can feel him, almost see him.  I almost have him but I can’t take the last step.”  He was agitated, pacing back and forth, back and forth.  “I need to get inside the Chesapeake Ripper’s head, figure out why he’s doing what he does, how he targets his victims.  I have all the pieces of the puzzle but I’m not putting them together the right way, I can’t see the picture.” 


Doctor Lecter looked on, listening to Will’s tirade, witnessing his frustrations.  There was concern in his eyes, about the murder, about Will, yet he remained as always detached, aloft.  Will always felt like a child in Lecter’s presence, a little boy clamoring for attention or approval. 


“You won’t find answers like this, Will,” Lecter finally said.  “All you’re going to do is make yourself ill.”


“Is there anything you can give me?  Any new insights into the evidence, anything…”


Lecter rose to his feet, placing a hand on Will’s shoulder.  Will couldn’t help but wish that he hadn’t.  Physical contact with Lecter jarred him, left him confused and giddy.  That was the last thing he needed.  He was already having enough trouble doing his job without being distracted by the strange tension Lecter seemed to excite in him. 


He shouldn’t have come.  Lecter wasn’t FBI, consulting was a pastime for him.  He wasn’t really involved; he maintained a dignified, scholarly distance from the reality of gristly death. 


Yet Will had turned to Lecter rather than a Bureau insider like Crawford because he sensed that he had reached the limits of Bureau procedure.  He felt that in Lecter there was a knowledge that went beyond forensics and psychiatry into an unnamed realm. 


He needed that knowledge. 


“There may be something I can do to help you,” Lecter said. “With your extraordinary capabilities, you’re quite capable of solving this case but it seems to me that you’re holding yourself back.”


“You have a gift for seeing into the mind of monsters, to feel what they feel, to understand them but you’ve told me you find it disturbing to do this.  In the past you’ve been damaged, both physically and mentally as a consequence of using your abilities.   As a result your mind is protecting you and protecting itself by failing to comprehend, by refusing to see from this killer’s perspective.”


“Is there something you can do?”  Will asked.  “Anything you can do?”


“That, my boy, depends on how far you are willing to go.”





“During the second World War I witnessed horrors I had never imagined including the death of my parents and the murder of my younger sister,” Dr. Lecter said as he carefully lifted a red cloth from an elaborately carved box.  “To preserve my sanity and my will to live, my mind protected me.  It locked away the memories of what I had seen.  As a medical student I was able to remember what I had witnessed under the influence of Sodium Thiopental.  Since then I’ve continued to experiment.” 


He opened the cloth, inside was a hypodermic needle, a syringe, a glass vial.  Will shivered.  This was a side of Lecter he had never expected, the distinguished physician shooting up barbiturates….


“It’s not like that,” Lecter said as though he had read Will’s mind.  “My interest is scientific, not recreational.  There are some amazing chemicals available, Will, with therapeutic potential that hasn’t even begun to be explored.  We’ve gone very far beyond Sodium Thiopental in the past decades.  Are you at all familiar with MDMA?” 


“I think I might have read about it,” Will said.  “It’s used in couples’ therapy isn’t it?”


“Sometimes, yes but it has the potential to be so much more.  Imagine Will, a drug capable of boosting empathy, removing the boundaries of communication…”


“Is that what you’re going to be giving me?”


“One of many… ingredients.”  Lecter said as he filled the syringe.  “There we are.”  He said tapping the glass.  Will rolled up his shirtsleeve.  “You seem nervous, Will.  Please be assured if you don’t wish to go through with this I won’t be offended in any way.” 


“I have to do this, Doctor Lecter.  If there’s even the slightest possibility this will get me closer to the Ripper, it’s worth it.  You’ve used this on yourself, you know what it does and I trust your judgment.”


The Doctor seemed moved by this; Will could have sworn there were tears in his eyes.


“I’ll take very good care of you, my boy.”  He said. 




The needle slid into Will’s arm without pain.  As the drugs entered his bloodstream he swore he could feel them uncoiling inside him, like a fern opening its leaves, uncurling along his nervous system.  All the rigid tension of his body relaxed deliciously, he sunk into the leather chair almost gasping with pleasure feeling ridiculously languid and sensuous.  Yet he remained lucid, his mind sharp.  He started reviewing everything he knew about the Chesapeake Ripper… the way he planned and controlled his murders, seeming to commit them without either anger or passion, something cold, clinical about it, a contempt for the victims, a distain, he was better than them…


“Please stop, Will.”  Lecter said sternly.  “I haven’t given you a magic potion that will miraculously grant you the insight you’re looking for.  What we need to address isn’t the Chesapeake Ripper but the thing inside you that keeps you from using your abilities.”


“You’re right, you’re absolutely right.”  Will agreed.  With the drugs amplifying his emotions it was almost frightening how much Lecter’s admonishment made him feel like an errant child.  He hated incurring Lecter’s disapproval.  He knew he wasn’t on Lecter’s level but he very much wanted the Doctor to think he was intelligent, that he could keep up, that he understood.


“Tell me, when did you begin having difficulties doing this thing you can do, entering into the minds of your quarry?”


Will knew the answer; it wasn’t something he needed to think about.  He’d never articulated in words or even in his own thoughts but he could pinpoint the moment he began to fight his own impulses to see the world through the eyes of another. 


He didn’t want to talk about it, didn’t want to think about it but there were lives at stake and with Lecter’s hands resting reassuringly on his shoulders and the drugs easing his inhibitions he forced himself first to think, then to speak. 


“It started after the Hobbs case.  Before that, it was easy for me to let myself imagine what killers felt, why they did what they did.  I think it was too easy, I didn’t understand that there were consequences.”


“And what were these consequences?”  Lecter began to knead his shoulders, soothing away the knotted tension that had been building in them for weeks.  It felt wonderful, too wonderful; Will could hardly stop himself from moaning. He fought to keep focused, to respond to the Doctor’s question rather than to the disorienting physical contact.


“For eight months, the whole time I was tracking Hobbs I thought I was living in his mind.  After I found him, after I killed him, I realized he was living in my mind,” Will said.  He had to speak slowly, it hurt to remember.  He didn’t want Lecter to see how weak he was but as part of his weakness he wanted to tell, wanted to open himself to this man.  Hobbs was dead, but I’d made him a part of me.  My thoughts, my feelings, I couldn’t tell which were Hobbs’s and which were my own anymore.  I couldn’t stop thinking about blood, wanting to see blood the way he did.  It got bad, really bad.  I had nightmares, for nearly two months I didn’t sleep for more than a couple of hours a night.  I couldn’t be with Molly…”


He stopped; it seemed too intimate to tell what had happened between him and Molly during that time.  He could feel Lecter standing behind him, when he leaned back it was as if the chair wasn’t there and he was reclining against Lecter.  He could feel the warmth of the Doctor’s body supporting him. 


“Tell me, Will.  Tell me everything,” Lecter whispered. 


“I couldn’t be with Molly, I couldn’t sleep with her.  I couldn’t get it up without thinking about blood, bodies cut open, murder.  I couldn’t get hard without fantasizing about murdering her.  Just thinking about it, that wasn’t something I could do to her…God, it was so terrible.  She didn’t understand why I couldn’t do it any more.  I couldn’t tell her…she thought I was pushing her away.  I was pushing her away.  I was afraid I’d hurt her.  I couldn’t be near her, I couldn’t be near anyone… I ended up hurting myself, cutting myself on my chest, my stomach, my thighs.”


“Here?”  Lecter asked, touching him lightly.  “And here?”  Somehow the brushing of his hand seemed to validate Will’s words, make them real.


“Places no one could see.  I didn’t want to hurt anyone, I though it was better that way.  Molly found out, she convinced me to check myself into the psychiatric hospital…”


“What was that like, Will, for someone in your line of work to find themselves being the one locked away?”  He thought he heard something sneering in Lecter’s tone, something he didn’t like.  He chose to overlook this, continue as though he hadn’t noticed.


“It was a relief.  I felt like I was where I belonged, like I’d finally captured Hobbs.  They helped me there, helped me figure out how to separate myself from the things I imagine.” 


“But in a way that’s blinded you, hasn’t it?  You aren’t able to put together the pieces that will allow you to find the Chesapeake Ripper the way you found Hobbs.  Tell me Will, why is that?”


The drugs had weakened Will’s resistance; they made it possible for him to think and to admit what he hadn’t been able to face for days and weeks.


“I’m afraid,” Will said.  “I’m afraid of the Ripper.  I don’t want to find him.  I don’t think I can handle it.  Hobbs was conflicted; a part of him still knew right from wrong and hated what he did.  The Ripper isn’t like that.  He feels justified in what he does, almost righteous.  He’s a moral invert.  In his conception of good and evil he’s on the side of the angels.  If I let myself understand him, I’ll have to give up everything I understand about right and wrong.  I can’t do that.  I can’t let myself be like him.”


“You’re a very moral person, Will, but your morality is limiting you.  You need to let go of your judgment and accept what you feel.”  Firmly, gently, Lecter was massaging his temples.  “Close your eyes Will, let your thoughts flow through your mind.   Don’t judge, don’t qualify, simply feel them…”


He tried.  Memories of the days before his hospitalization crowded back on him- a dangerously close proximity to madness.  For a moment he panicked, his breath quickened, his fists clenched but the indecipherable murmur of Lecter’s voice, the cool pressure of Lecter’s fingertips on his forehead kept him grounded.  He felt the feelings the Chesapeake Ripper felt when he killed, a godlike superiority, a sense of setting something right, avenging something.  He felt his own attraction to this way of seeing things, so unwavering, so certain.  He felt longing for that kind of strength, that kind of power, the kind of power Lecter had…


“No,” he gasped, his eyes snapping open.


“What is it, Will?  What’s upset you?  It’s important that you tell me.”


“There are things that I want… things I shouldn’t want.  It’s wrong…”


“There is no shouldn’t, no wrong, only what you want.  What is it, Will?  What is it that you want that is so hard for you to accept?”  


Will closed his eyes again.  Desire was a dark river within him.  He sank back into numbing, ice-cold midnight waters; he tried not to fight as the current pulled him under.   


“I love Molly.  I made a vow to her…”


“Don’t be afraid, Will.  I’m guiding you; I won’t let anything happen to you.  It’s safe; you can surrender your judgment.”


It wasn’t so much that he trusted Lecter as that he felt consumed by the man.  It was like drowning, and finally being able to breathe.   


“I want you to kiss me,” Will said.  “I want you to make love to me.” 


His eyes still shut Will opened his lips to the Doctor.  It had to be the drugs but when Lecter kissed him it felt like being fucked, he thought he would come from the touch of Lecter’s tongue to his.  A series of shudders rippled through his entire body and he found himself panting, clinging to Lecter, clawing at his clothes.


Lecter on the other hand remained cool and very much in control.  He was aroused, hard, Will could feel it and yet Lecter betrayed no urgency as he guided Will towards the bedroom.  There was no sense of need, of being overwhelmed by passion.  And yet he must have wanted it, hadn’t he made this happen?  Hadn’t he been working a meticulous seduction?


“You set me up…” Will managed to gasp between kisses.  Lecter’s bedroom was carpeted and draped in red, paneled in dark wood.  The walls were adorned with artifacts Will judged to be of Asian origin and very old.  “You drugged me…”


“And how does that make you feel?”  Lecter asked smoothly, clearly unfazed by the accusation.


How did that make him feel?


Will fell back on the bed, dragging Lecter down on top of him.  Words like violation and coercion passed through his mind but none of them applied, not to Doctor Lecter, not to the man whose small, strong body covered his own, whose will seemed to cover his own. 


Lecter’s hair had come loose.  It fell heavy and grey around his shoulders, over Will’s face.  Through the veil of that hair, Will saw a face on the wall looking at him—a wooden mask of a wolf or a fox. A fierce and intelligent hunter that killed and ate the weak.  A predator beyond morality or law. 


Will reached for the mask and Lecter obligingly took it from the wall and handed it to him.


“Put it on,” Will ordered as the Doctor deftly undressed him.


“And why would I do that?”


“Because it’s who you are, it’s your real face.” 


And Lecter smiled. 


“Oh, you are good,” he whispered stroking Will’s hair.  “So perceptive.”  Gently, with a certain amount of reverence he placed the mask over his face.  “You could understand me, Will.  There are very few who have that capacity.  You mustn’t disappoint me.”


Will felt no pain as Lecter entered him.  Somehow it made him think of the hypodermic needle.  Exquisite control, no passion or anger betrayed.  The pieces of the puzzle came together.  He had been closer to the killer than he realized. 


Will writhed under Lecter, trying to open himself more completely, to be penetrated more deeply, consumed more fully.  He wanted to understand.  He wanted to hold on to the truth he had glimpsed.


But the mind protects itself.  The pieces of the puzzle came apart.




When he woke up at Doctor Lecter’s townhouse he accepted the explanation that he’d fallen asleep going over the Chesapeake Ripper case files.  It made sense; he’d been driving himself to exhaustion for weeks. 


What he couldn’t explain was the pinprick at the crook of his elbow or the bruises on his hips.  He couldn’t explain them so he let himself forget them.  There were more important things to deal with.  There was a killer there.


Some nights he woke up gasping and screaming because he’d had another nightmare about being raped by a creature that was half-man and half-wolf.  That wasn’t so unusual.  He’d been having nightmares for years.  Even Molly had gotten used to it.


He spent hours everyday on the Chesapeake Ripper case.  He went over it again and again.  Everything was there, everything he needed.  He was so close he could almost see the killer’s face, hear his voice, feel his touch.



( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 23rd, 2008 08:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 23rd, 2008 08:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for reading and commenting.
Jun. 24th, 2008 12:55 am (UTC)
Oh my! I don't even know where to begin. This story left me gasping. Poor Will, and clever, clever Dr. Lector! Wonderful, my dear.
Jun. 24th, 2008 02:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I'm glad you liked it.
Jun. 24th, 2008 04:26 am (UTC)
Very well done. This is the first new piece of Red Dragon slash that I've stumbled across in several years and it was worth the wait.
Jun. 24th, 2008 02:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much, I'm glad to know you liked it.
Jun. 26th, 2008 01:22 pm (UTC)
I like it! It treads the same thin line of sanity as the books. I like the relationship between Lecter and Graham, and it was nice to see it made to work on another level. Well done!
Jun. 26th, 2008 05:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I'm really pleased to know you liked it.
Jun. 28th, 2008 08:24 pm (UTC)
Ooh, always on the looks out for some beautifully written Lecter/Graham slash. Your doctor so in character, manipulative and smooth. Do you permit archiving or linking to your work? I would love to post this to my website, wwwe.keonkwa.com, a multifandom slash site.

I have 2 corrections I would like to comment on: Lecter lived through World War II not I, but perhaps that's what you meant and it's a typo. Also, Lecter name is spelled with a er at the end, not or. I do not mean to offend, just offering some helpful advice. :-) P'al Kwai
Jun. 29th, 2008 12:21 am (UTC)
Oh dear, you'd think that during all the time I spent researching this I would have noticed that it was Lecter not Lector. Thanks for pointing that out. I corrected it but
I think the other error you spotted is actually okay-- there's a place where it looks like it mentions World War I but the full line is “During the second World War I witnessed horrors..."

Thanks so much for your comments. I'm glad you liked the story and I'd love to have you archive it on your site.
Jul. 4th, 2008 08:16 pm (UTC)
EEEP! and GUH!

I'm a big fan of Manhunter so Peterson/Cox will always be my vision of Graham/Lector and this fit perfectly into that. So very wonderful and evil. Of course Will wants the doctor. I'm surprised there's not a bigger fandom for the pairing.

Thanks for sharing this.
Jul. 6th, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much, I'm glad you liked it. I admit I was thinking of Norton/Hopkins when I wrote this because I've seen it more recently but I also like Manhunter a lot though I haven't watched it in about 10 years. I love Brian Cox. Did you ever see L.I.E? He gives one of the most chilling, complex performances I've ever seen in that film.
Jul. 7th, 2008 03:35 am (UTC)
Haven't seen L.I.E. Looks interesting, but I have issues with the theme.

I think Manhunter got a seriously bad rap at the time, including I'm afraid, by me. (I wanted William Peterson as he was in To Live and Die in LA and was disappointed by what I got.) It's definitely grown on me since then.

(Deleted comment)
Jul. 11th, 2008 09:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, I'm really glad to know you like it.
Dec. 30th, 2008 07:37 am (UTC)
Even after a long time and without reading, the image of Will reaching out for the mask and the rape nightmares. Thank you, really enjoyed it.
Jul. 17th, 2009 11:50 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed reading this story., At first. the fact that Dr. Lecter revealed so much of himself to Will seemed wrong to me, but then I considered how Lecter told Clarice his whole life story at the end of the Hannibal book, and decided that that part was actually probably quite accurate. Dead-on characterization throughout; a really wonderful read
Jul. 19th, 2009 10:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, I'm really pleased you liked it.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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