A slight disclaimer:
Most of what I remember is fragmented. None of these puzzle pieces fit together in the proper order; there is no defining picture to discern when they're put together. Just a pile of pieces.
In the beginning, my life consisted of fear and the crushing weight of other people's expectations. Every interaction with another human being was a test put upon me, and each time I felt that I had failed. I had once been told I had a gift, and that it would be unthinkable to waste it. After leaving the force, I stayed to myself. One of my only solaces was my home, far, far out of the way of anyone who wasn't looking for me. There was safety within it's walls, and I made sure that I kept them filled with the kind of company I knew I could appreciate.
Alana and I hadn't been close - not in a conventional way. She was one of the only people that I would have considered more than an acquaintance or colleague at the time. Whenever we happened to be together I could always tell she was going out of her way to be curteous to my... needs. She saw the boundaries that I had put into place and for a while, she respected them. Until Jack.
Jack was never a friend. At one time, I may have considered him as such. Now when I look back, I can only do so with disdain. Jack Crawford measured my worth in the success rate of the cases on which I profiled. I was a weapon, a mere tool to be used and pushed to the breaking point. He didn't believe he had the power to push me to that breaking point, and so he never considered the consequences of what would happen when he did.
Dread had rushed over me like a bucket of ice water when I saw Jack walk into my lecture hall that day. Looking back, I would compare it to seeing the grim reaper stand before you. It was inevitable, regardless of the pretense that I could decline the invitation to work on the case. Time and time again during those cases I would find myself pressed against a metaphorical wall, alone with Jack as he slowly chipped away at me. Each decible that his voice rose higher, every demand barked between walls, even down to the most miniscule of body language was designed to keep me on edge. There are no breaks for tools. No one ever considers whether a protractor needs a rest. If I wasn't stressed to the limit of my pull, then I wasn't deemed a useful tool.
These days I believe it's the combined weight of it all that pushed me, along with the irresistible pull of Hannibal Lecter, that came together to create my 'becoming'.
Beverly and I had gotten closer than I had ever expected we would. I actually considered her a friend, rather than just someone I worked with. She had no concept of boundaries, no regards to my comfort most of the time, and yet I never once saw a hint of pity in her eyes. I wish I could have had her in my life longer.
The first day I met Hannibal Lecter is the most clear day in my memory. Jack introduced us in the morning, at the doorway to his office. The light was low, overcast outside. Hannibal looked ordinary. There was nothing about him that would betray the things that would follow. Speaking to him was grating, and I can easily recall how short the whole ordeal was. I got frustrated with him quickly, and stormed out. I had believed that he was Jack's newest way of grinding those last few useable bits out of me. I was convinced that he was there working along side me in order to be my own personal torment.
That was before Hobbs. Before Abigail.
Everything had made a lot more sense before. I can remember the way Abigail's blood had felt gushing between my fingers. Both times. I willed them to stop shaking, over and over and over. The first time, his hands were suddenly replacing mine and I watched, through a growing veil of disconnection, how competently and calmly he contained the blood spilling over the kitchen linoleum.
I remember walking into her hospital room to see his hand on hers while they both slept. I can recall the realization, the recognition of some part of him that was human. We were the only two people who were there, who had been so intimately intertwined with Hobbs downfall and Abigail's surivial. It brought us closer in a way nothing else other than a shared experience could have.
It was after that that it all started. My waking dreams started making as much sense as most of my nightmares. Things would drift in and out of reality as they pleased, and those same expectations meant that most of the time, I would make myself an observer to my own insanity. I watched these things happen and made no real attempt to stop it. Not at first. I didn't want Jack to think me uncapable. I didn't want Alana to look at me with the pity in her eyes that I despised so much. The only person who ever heard my doubts about the situation was Hannibal. During those first months, I grew to find comfort within the four walls of his office, lined with his books, his notes, and the words that I would never tell anyone else along the walls. Even as I grew further and further apart from reality, there wasn't a moment I didn't feel the safety within that office.
Growing close to him was slow and sweet, like dripping honey. It's a blur of our therapy sessions, dinners, and... everything else. The times where I wanted my hands around his throat started to be rivaled by the times I felt his hands keeping me grounded within myself. I can remember his hand coming up to block my view and brush my hair back for me. There had been times where Jack would purposely touch me, or my clothes, in order to push my buttons. When Hannibal touched me it was a gift. Tentative at first, ready to pull back, but confident enough to keep going. I don't remember every stopping him.
The first time I felt alive was the night Randall Tier attacked me. For a few brief hours of time, there was no fear. All of it must have flooded my system when I first realized I wasn't alone - that I would have to fight - and drained a little more with each hit I landed on Randall. From the moment he fell completely limp to the floor, to pullling his dead body onto the table, to assembling his memorial, it was all so crystal clear. Hannibal had stood beside me, our sides brushing against one another as he delicately and carefully cleaned the blood off of my hands. He'd told me that I would want to retreat into myself and that I had to stay there with him, and the words that I wanted to answer with had stuck in my throat. I wanted to tell him that I was there. Really, truly connected to the world and feeling like more than just a bystander to my own life. I wanted to tell him that I didn't want to be anywhere else but there, with him, in that moment. I wanted to kiss him, and taste him, and breath in the air from his lungs into my own.
Instead he led me through everything. We talked about the best way to handle 'the meat'. He explained to me how I should go about setting everything up properly. Neither of us slept that night. I even remember when the sun finally started to rise over the horizon. I was finally back at my house, having already left Randall there to be found. I remember making myself a coffee, in the kitchen, and sitting down with one of the dog's heads in my lap begging for attention. Later that same day when they had found Randall, I wasn't scared. I had looked at Hannibal and had known that this was meant to happen. This was all according to plan. My voice didn't waver as I gave jack the profile, standing before the crime scene. Hannibal's voice had calmed me down as we threw the 'theory' back and forth. It had felt... empowering. Dangerous. Attractive. Sensual. I'd compare it to foreplay in the public eye.
I figured it out too late into Jack and I's double agent plan. I spent too much time agonizing over the morality of it all. I denied how much I wanted it all. Hannibal offered to leave, to run away, and there had never been anything I wanted so badly in my entire life. I wanted to fall into the idea of leaving it all behind and following him away. Away from everything. To live in a world where the feeling of being in the same room with Hannibal was not just a luxury but a constant. It was to face Greed itself and say no to decline the offer. It couldn't be that easy. Life wasn't that easy. There were consequences, and there was right and there was wrong. Leaving with Hannibal felt so right that it must've been wrong. I had to see the plan through to the end, like Jack and I had planned.
It had all happened so quickly. I called Hannibal, told him to run. Deep down, I had known that whatever I had with Hannibal was far more important than what I was attempting to do with Jack. Whatever Hannibal had done... It paled in comparison to how I felt about him. I left the obsession of catching him behind and wanted more than anything for him to run. I had showed up to Hannibal's house on time, and through the rain I could see a figure on the sidewalk. Alana, broken and bleeding. From there it blurs. I can recall moving through the house, going through the halls following the path of the fight in a daze. Then Abigail. I had thought she wasn't real, at first. I didn't want to find Hannibal there. I wanted him to have been far gone already. I could see the hurt in his eyes when we spoke then. I didn't understand what he did then, but I feel like I understand more now. Hannibal never yelled, never raised his voice. Every one of his movements felt so precise, to the very tone of his voice before the whole world shifted into pain from the blade of his knife. Even when he was livid, he was calculated. It was impuslive, though. Nothing more, nothing less than thoughtless revenge. I had betrayed him in his eyes. And I supposed I had. it had just taken some time to see it.
The hallucinations stayed after that. I don't remember a lot about it and what I do it little less than feelings. Aches, desires, fleeting moments that I try to grasp onto as they go by. There were times when I knew what the true world looked like and there were others where I fully believed Abigail had survived with me, that it was his design to keep us both alive and not a mere accident. That she was alive and that we had gone to Europe together to find him. That maybe time could reverse and we could be together, all three of us. I wanted it so badly, I probably would have let it cloud my vision of the real world given the chance. I wanted him. I knew well enough how to find him, how to think like him, how to use all my training to get there without the tools and manpower of the FBI. I left him messages like he did for me. I had learned his love language and knew how to do it to his tastes. I wanted him to see me. Like he had let me see him.