″Still wish you would have killed him?″ Lecter was flipping through the latest case file. The clock ticked off in a corner and cut the silence after the doctor's question like a leaky faucet.
The two of them were admittedly interested in this case, for very different reasons. Graham found a killer who purposefully chose athletic or difficult kills to be extraordinary dangerous. Lecter was interested in seeing if this was an actual worthy killer. So far, however, Graham's assessment meant that he was lacking. A serial killer who left headless bodies. It was likely he had a trophy room.
Graham paced. He was in that dreamy state where the parts were falling together in his mind. A complex series of cylinders sliding bolts into the perfect strikes. The corner of his mouth twitched into a sort of snarl. He was otherwise silent.
If Graham wasn't going to say what he was thinking on his own, he was going to get prodded to. Lecter flipped up one picture of a man in jogging pants. The thick bodybuilder's neck was, predictably, missing its head. ″Would you have done this better, you think?″
Graham started and glanced over before he turned on heel and poured himself the last cup of coffee. ″I'm wishing I had a motorboat instead of a paddle boat.″ Graham wasn't looking. He'd been extra careful to not make eye contact after... that odd evening. Jack had insisted that he have regular sessions with Lecter to ease his own mind or something.
″Now, Will... do you mean that?″
Graham glared at the space just between Lecter's cheekbone and ear. Little tricks saved people's professional lives, avoiding eye contact while still looking like you were making it was his favorite. ″Today I do.″
However, the trick didn't fool everyone. Lecter's mouth was an expressive frown. ″Still, you are back, no?″
″You're the one who let me come back.″
And the mouth turned back up to a smile. ″What can I say? You fascinate me, Will.″
″And you're still not that interest...ing.″ Graham crossed to the desk Lecter was sitting in and snatched the picture from his hand. He then flipped the file around and pulled out an assortment of evidence photographs. He was especially focused on the car tire treads. Graham looked back and forth then leaned forward against the desk. He was close enough for Lecter to smell his shampoo. As Graham's eyes pressed shut the picture in his hand crunched like a dry leaf.
“Will, it's quite late, may-” Lecter reached his hand forward as though he was going to touch Graham's hair, but the other man jerked back to stand upright.
Graham had an odd expression, something very hard had migrated behind his usually wide, frightened eyes. “We're taking your car.″ He didn't wait for a response as he hurried out the door.
Lecter started to follow Graham out the door, pulling his keys from his pocket. “Shouldn't we contact Jack?”
“There's no time, he's going to kill her.”
The two of them said nothing as Graham lead Lecter down the stairs and out to the police parking garage. Lecter opened the passenger door and walked around the front of his car to the driver's side. He looked at his companion a moment before getting into the car.
Graham slammed the passenger door with authority that was otherwise unlike him. ″Go to the girl's house.″
Without a word, Lecter nodded and took off. ″Will, what are we doing?″
″Just drive. I … I'll lose it if you don't hurry up.″
Lecter clamped his mouth shut, but he didn't seem satisfied with that response.
About fifteen minutes into the drive, Graham started talking. ″No... no... turn right.″
″I said turn. Right.″ As the car made the wide turn, Graham continued talking. ″It's behind her house, but not too close... Just enough. Enough where he can walk. He pulled her on top of the car, not in it. He did that with all of them. Sticks them with a needle... something to disorient them. But he cuts below that... we'd never know. He had something on the other side. He knew that we'd start looking for the car... smaller house... off the road. Left.″
The road was not well maintained. It bucked them up and down. Graham's eyes darted back and forth twice before they drifted closed. ″It'll be dingy... dark... like wood. There will be no windows, no glass, he doesn't like glass...″
″Found it.″ Lecter did not convey emotions readily, but he sounded a bit impressed.
When Graham opened his eyes the old fear found itself back around him like a cloud of flies. He swallowed and ripped out his phone. ″Jack.″
Lecter's hands gripped the steering wheel with a squeak.
″No, just... just trace my phone and hurry up, I'll explain later. Just... just get here. Please.″ Graham got out of Lecter's car and threw his cellphone on the passenger seat.
The two of them walked slowly up to the small house. It had, at one point, been used as a manager's house for a train yard. There was a faint aroma of oil and rust permeating the air. Hooks and worn metal all stained brown with rust and flecking off onto the ground - the leverage. The pair of them walked up to the front door.
Graham froze and put his hand out in front of Lecter's chest, stopping the other man behind him. Once he was certain that Lecter was staying put he leaned forward to listen to the door. Graham adjusted to lean closer, but couldn't hear anything. When he could feel Lecter pressed against him and listening in the same fashion above him, his shoulder twitched.
Lecter's hand was just at his old injury. A scar that was smooth while being jagged. His voice was low ″shouldn't we wait for the police?″ This particular criminal killed men and women who were athletic, after all. He specifically went after difficult kills. Lecter set his jaw, obviously uncomfortable with the idea. He was used to always having the upper hand, it seemed that the idea that he didn't wasn't sitting well.
From the other side of the door they could hear a scream.
Graham pushed back and made Lecter stagger backwards. In one fluid motion, he shot the lock from the door and planted his foot next to the knob. The door flew open and slammed against the wall. The sound echoed through the nearly empty room. Off to one corner, tied to a chair, was the woman. Her red hair was matted and darkened with blood, she'd somehow managed to get her mouth partially free, the gag around her mouth was caught on one of the nails on the wall.
″We're with the police.″ Lecter started.
It was all the woman needed to hear ″hurry!″
Graham holstered his weapon and sprinted across the room. He met her eyes for a swift moment. She could move, she wasn't too injured to run... she was okay, she was relieved... there was someone behind him. Behind him. Graham stood and spun just as the killer's shoulders connected with his side. Graham's feet left the floor and his arms lifted up. He made a fist with his right hand, cupped it with his left and jammed his right elbow down with all the force he could muster.
The blow jarred his attacker and the two both hit the ground roughly. Graham fell hard against his right side and immediately threw his left knee forward to connect with the killer. That had been somewhat expected and the killer blocked with his own leg before he threw a punch that blazed pain down Graham's arm from the shoulder. In the next moment the killer rolled on top of Graham.
He couldn't help but look the man in the face. Graham snarled, the killer's eyes were bright and green. They were handsome.
Humans were all pathological.
With his shoulders pinned to the wooden floor, Graham reached up and gripped the other man's elbows. All he could hear were screams... war drums, mistranslated notions from a native culture that the man above him believed to be gone. Violence to kill a warrior was to become them to take their strength. The warriors way was a path of honor. Graham bucked up in an effort to free himself.
Warriors fight till the death. He couldn't feel his own heartbeat anymore. Just the man who he was going to kill.
The two rolled to their feet and walked in a stiff half circle around each other. Graham could feel the power that was supposed to be promised. The true and honest belief that this was the way to eternal life and prosperity. In that moment, the idea was completely sane.
The man rushed at Graham again shouting out what could have been a war cry. He is going to take the crowbar off of the wall. He is going to spin and try to swing it with a backhand
Graham sidestepped at the last moment and grabbed the killer by the wrist that held the crowbar. Using the man's momentum, Graham flipped him over his shoulder and through a door. The door gave way to a staircase and the man's body roughly bounced off the steps to land on a heap at the bottom.
Graham tossed the crowbar aside, but he didn't hear it clang. He won. This was over. That man's power was his now. He pulled his gun from his holster. With a prone target, Graham didn't need the sights.
″William Graham!″ Jack's voice boomed through the small space.
Graham sucked in a breath and froze. He could feel his shoulders start to shake as the realization set in. His own thoughts pushed the killers away. The gun clattered to the floor and Graham took five full steps away from it.
Jack Crawford lead a team of agents who swooped in. He glared at Lecter who had been untying the young woman. ″Why didn't you stop him?″
″Do I look suicidal?″ Lecter snapped back.
Jack glowered and walked up to Graham. ″Will. … Will, talk to me.″ Slowly, as though he was worried that Graham would lash out, Jack put a hand on the other man's arm. ″Will.″
It was as if that connection jump started Graham's breathing. He staggered against the wall and wrapped his arms about himself. ″I'm here. I'm fine. I'm... he's at the bottom of the stairs.″
Jack nodded and slowly picked up Graham's gun. He dropped the clip and clenched his jaw when he counted the remaining rounds.
″Th-the lock. I shot the lock out.″ Graham's head was leaned back against the wall. He pressed his eyes shut until Jack touched him again. The gun was held between them. Shakily and with great caution, Graham took the gun from Jack and re-holstered it.
″Good work. We got it from here.″ Jack patted Graham's shoulder lightly.
Part of Graham wanted to snap about if he'd earned a biscuit or not, but he knew Jack didn't mean to be patronizing. In fact, it was .. comforting to have someone between him and the obvious distrust the rest of the cops had. Graham shook his head. Pain started to settle into his limbs as joints and he limped up to where Lecter had untied the young woman.
″Thank you. … thank you.″ She seemed to want to say more, but a police officer intervened and pulled her aside.
″You don't look in any state to drive.″ Lecter said after an awkward moment.
″I have to go home and feed my dogs.″ And lay on the floor with them. And possibly never leave the house again.
″I will take you then.″ Lecter opened the passenger door for Graham, who picked up his phone then eased into the seat.
Once he sat down the pain migrated from his side to his head. ″Got an asprin?″
″Glovebox.″ As Graham pulled the bottle out, Lecter looked him over. ″That was... quite a display of physicality, Will. Unexpected.″
″I've been in fights before.″ Graham swallowed the asprin dry and leaned his head against the glass of the passenger window. He didn't say anything else.