Joy was last.
Fear and Disgust and Anger came before her and Sadness after them. The three didn’t remember who exactly showed up first, but they all knew that Joy came last, and Sadness arrived shortly before her.
She did have to work when Hannibal was younger. As a baby he was happy when he was nursed and when there was music and lights. His first Island of Personality was for Food, and the core memory that powered the island was glorious yellow, Joy’s color. His second Island, Music, was powered by a yellow memory of Hannibal’s mother playing the harpsichord. Joy was very happy to have inspired two islands.
She would have loved to inspire more, but the next Island that was created was Family and it was powered by a memory Anger and Sadness had worked on. The red and blue core memory wasn’t something Joy liked to look at, but Hannibal’s parents rarely brought him joy outside of feeding him and making music.
Hannibal's fourth Island of personality was difficult to describe. After some discussion Disgust and Anger, the main influence for it, called it “Humanity-is-beneath-me” Island which was very fitting if a bit long as a name. It was Disgust and Anger’s greatest pride.
As Hannibal got older, it became harder for the emotions to influence him. The control center was always very cold, and the control panel started to freeze over when he was stressed. Pushing the buttons became difficult. Fear rarely bothered trying because he was worried about damaging his fingers.
For Anger it was easiest. He did run hot, and the ice melted when he worked on the controls. They all learned to work with Anger to get through to Hannibal after a while. Disgust was best at it. She dragged Anger to the control panel and made him push buttons for her if necessary.
But no matter who of them tried it, Hannibal didn’t like to be pushed. With every year that went by, he learned to stop their influence, learned to freeze them out. The buttons, seemingly always damaged from all the ice and fire treatments, got brittle.
More and more memories showed up without any color. They were clear and no emotion were attached to them. According to the manual, it shouldn’t have been like this. The panel should be useable, they should have some control. They didn’t.
Sadness was in constant despair about the situation, but she wasn’t very strong, and without Anger she was rarely able to influence Hannibal. But Joy heard her moaning that Hannibal would always be alone and people would never understand him. Joy was determined not to let that happen.
He was learning and drinking in knowledge like a dying man drank water in the desert. Joy was sure that one day Hannibal would master something that made him so happy that there would be another yellow core memory creating another island. Hannibal liked learning, but he was only really happy about something he had mastered. She just had to be patient and be ready to work the panel when her chance came.
But when it finally happened, it came, like everything in Hannibal’s mind, very different than expected. It was something else that shouldn’t have happened according to the manuals. Fear hid in a storing cabinet for weeks after.
Hannibal’s teacher explained memory palaces to Hannibal and Hannibal immediately took up working on one. Joy wasn’t sure if it was possible first, but after a few weeks she saw that Hannibal was influencing the structures in the long-term memory storage area and then one day the shelfs started moving and all other things too. Their world was shifting and shaking. They all stood at the window and watched in awe until Joy realized her chance and ran to the control panel. The buttons moved under her hand with ease. The memory of the moment the memory palace started had no images attached, it was just bright and yellow. Still, it moved to the core memories without any problems.
But no new Island was created when the new core memory got connected. The energy passed the Island section and lit up the memory shelves instead.
“We have to take it out!” Fear exclaimed, and Joy felt a bit offended by it. Whatever Hannibal was doing, it seemed to make him happy. She wanted him happy.
“It will be more orderly,” Disgust commented and ignored Fear.
“It will make him even more different,” Sadness bemoaned and sat down.
“It’s all this teacher’s fault!” Anger shouted, but he didn’t go to the control panel to stop it. Only Fear stood there and hesitantly tried to push the icy buttons.
“He has blocked us out even more!” he cried, sounding genuinely worried as usual. They all went over, and Anger tried to melt the ice but gave up exhausted after an hour. Fear went and hid in a cabinet. Joy went back to the viewpoint and watched the shelves move. For the next few weeks, there wasn't much they could do but watch as the shelves shifted.
They watched Hannibal rearrange his mind when he wasn’t interacting with the outside world. It was a slow process, but day by day the shelves transformed to rooms, and the memories were moved and transported. Joy hoped the mind workers where alright and not too scared of what was happening.
“He isn’t throwing any out,” Sadness remarked at some point. Joy nodded. She had never liked that memories were thrown away, but Hannibal was trying to remember everything forever and that was worrisome. According to the manuals people weren’t supposed to remember everything.
“It makes him happy,” she still said. She wanted him happy. But it was hard that he was freezing them out. They wanted to help him, and he didn’t let them.
For the moment though, Joy accepted Hannibal’s rearranging. At least she did until Music Island started to move.
Impossible!, she thought and stared open mouthed as the Island got integrated in a part of the memory palace. It wasn’t like the shelves, it was still there, but the island kind of melded with some of the rooms and shelves and wasn’t an island any more. It looked like it had been eaten by the memory palace. The shelves seemed to integrate with the island and Joy ran to the core memories. Food was fine and the new one without too, but Hannibal’s memory of his mother’s music was flickering.
“Noooo,” Joy wrung her hands, unaware how much she channeled Fear and Sadness in that moment.
She watched the memory flicker for days and then, after a very long session of Hannibal working on his palace, some musical memories, yellow and some blue ones, were retrieved from storage. They were projected on the screen one after another. The weird thing was, instead of going back to storage they moved into the core.
“But how is that possible?” Disgust asked appalled. Nobody answered her. There was only space for maybe 4 or 5 core memories and somehow Hannibal had just fitted about 20 new memories in there. Joy decided she was just happy that they were mostly yellow, and she hoped that meant Hannibal would be happier now.
When the whole process seemed to be finished they opened the core and peaked at the memories. The music memory was changed. Before it had been a single memory, but now it was a memory ball with many small memory balls in it, mostly yellow with some hints of blue.
“He made it stronger,” Joy decided. Anger, Disgust and Sadness were looking at the other memories that had not changed.
“Will he do the same thing to the other core memories?” Sadness asked worried.
“Why can’t he leave things as they are?” Anger shouted and stomped off. Disgust huffed and followed Anger.
“It’s not a bad change,” Joy told Sadness and patted her shoulder. “It’s just a lot of memories instead of a single one. You know Hannibal likes to overachieve. Why be happy with one if you can have many?”
Weeks went by in which Hannibal continued to work on his mind. Humanity-is-beneath-me Island moved closer to the memory palace and, as with Music Island, shelves grew into it and built bridges. Anger and Disgust constantly checked the core memory for changes. But of course, the change of the memory only happened after Hannibal was done merging the Island with the memory palace. They watched a long line of memories, more than for Music Island, and Joy wasn’t surprised that none of them were yellow, but all other colors were represented. She went to the cabinet and got Fear out to watch with them. As some of his memories went into the core he should be there to see it, she thought.
They expected Food Island to move next, but it didn’t happen. Instead, they saw Hannibal wandering in the palace on the screen.
“Do you think he can see us?” Disgust asked, and Joy thought it was a good question. Hannibal wandered through his mind and wanted to control everything in it. Maybe he would find the control center at some point. Joy would like to meet Hannibal and let him know how much she loved him. How much she wanted him to be happy.
“He can find his memories without us now, AND he has frozen us in,” Fear fretted.
For a good time now, all new memories were clear and without emotions attached.
“Maybe he doesn’t need us anymore,” Sadness observed, and tears were falling from her eyes.
“But he won’t be happy without me!” Joy said.
“And how will he be safe without me?!” Fear whimpered while chewing on his nails.
Anger was repeatedly hitting a wall instead of commenting, and Disgust frowned at the screen.
“Well, without me he will start dressing like his father and that will be a horrible sight.”
With the control panel out of order and nothing to do, Joy spent her days watching Family and Food Island. Hannibal was still working on his palace every day, and she expected the merging to happen soon.
Joy had always felt she should have some say in Family Island, that the memory powering it should have some yellow in it. But Hannibal’s parents were a bit difficult. They weren’t very affectionate, and Hannibal wasn’t easy to be affectionate with. Very few family related memories were yellow and most of those that were, were also music memories.
Maybe that was why he wasn’t integrating Family Island into the memory palace. It would be painful, and Hannibal wasn’t good at dealing with painful events in a constructive way.
“Hannibal, we have to talk to you,” was something Hannibal’s father rarely said. It got the attention of all of them when he did. Normally information wasn’t given directly from Hannibal’s father to Hannibal. The servants were messengers between them.
Joy, Disgust, Anger, Fear and Sadness all stood around the frozen control panel and watched as Count Lecter informed Hannibal that he was getting a sibling.
Joy thought that it didn’t sound so bad. A sibling would ensure that Hannibal wouldn’t be lonely anymore. But Fear completely flipped.
“They will realize how different Hannibal is! And they will send him away in the woods or hide him in the basement!”
“They what?!?” Anger shouted, and together they started hammering at the control panel.
Sadness looked with big eyes at the screen. “We will be even more lonely because they will only look after the little one,” she moaned and leaned on the frozen buttons.
“A screaming and urinating and vomiting and shitting little human,” was Disgusts reaction, and she too started trying to use the control panel.
Joy took a few steps back and that’s why she saw when the stands started breaking.
“Guys!” she shouted, but they ignored her. “The stand is breaking!!! Get off…”
She went silent as a rip went through it and a load crack could be heard. The panel broke apart in many ice-covered smaller pieces and Anger, Fear, Disgust and Sadness were lying shocked on top of it.
On the screen Hannibal calmy offered congratulations to his father and then went to study math.
The months that followed were the worst that Joy had ever experienced. As long as the control panel was there, they had hoped that they would be able to help Hannibal. Now it was gone and their hope as well. They were all worried that they would spend the rest of Hannibal’s life in the control tower, unable to help, and Hannibal would walk the earth without feeling anything. He would never be happy again or angry or sad or disgusted or fearful. Joy thought it might be what he wanted. She tried to convince herself it might be better for him. He had never been good at dealing with emotions. It might be easier for him to have none and work with his intellect alone. He wouldn’t be happy but being content might be enough.
A few weeks before the baby was due Hannibal stopped making music, and Sadness went into a never-ending wail of despair when the core memories for Music Island started dimming. Joy for all her optimism felt like joining her when she saw that bits and pieces of Family Island fell into the pit every day. Fear lived in the cabinet again, and Anger and Disgust were constantly on each other’s throat.
After a few days it became clear that Hannibal had substituted music with hunting and dissecting small animals in the woods. He also made detailed anatomic notes and drawings in a notebook. Only Disgust had an opinion about this, she was absolutely against it, but without a control panel, nothing could be done about it.
The baby was born, and the Lecter’s called her Mischa. Hannibal watched her sometimes, like he watched the animals he hunted in the woods. Otherwise he didn’t interact with her. She smiled and laughed a lot and Joy imaged her counterpart working tireless. Joy wished Hannibal would be as happy as Mischa, but he was different and there was no changing him. She could only hope he was content.
Joy liked watching Mischa, the little girl was like a ray of sunshine in Hannibal’s gray world. Weeks and months passed, the control tower had become a dark place with only pale and white memories lightening it up during the day. Hannibal watched Mischa more and more. At first, Joy believed this to be a good thing, but then she realized he was stalking his sister, like the animals in the woods.
“Don’t,” Joy whispered to the memories, hoping they would transport her message to Hannibal when they were integrated in the palace.
“Love her,” she said.
“Protect her,” she begged.
“Teach her,” she suggested.
The others watched her sometimes and shook their heads.
They had stopped taking night watches. They couldn’t influence Hannibal’s dreams and watching them seemed stupid. But Joy sometimes stayed up and watched. It was in Hannibal’s dreams that she saw him killing Mischa. She stood in front of the screen and shook like a leaf after watching it.
“It won’t bring you joy,” she told the memories distressed on the next day. It didn’t help. The memories stayed clear when they should have been in the pale purple of Fear or the yellow of Joy. Hannibal needed Fear for self-preservation, Joy realized. Without Fear he was just doing what came to his mind without thinking about possible consequences. He needed Fear. He needed them all, no matter what he believed, and she had to make him see it.
It took her the whole day to come up with a plan. It was risky and she would have to be tough and brave and do something that shouldn’t work according to the manuals. Well, this was Hannibal’s mind and the manuals could only tell you so much. If Hannibal could break the rules, so could she, she decided. But she would have to involve Fear and that made her feel guilty. Fear wasn’t one for adventures.
When the evening came and it was nearly time for the daily memories to go into the palace, she started kicking at the tube for transport.
“What are you doing?” Disgust asked. She was stepping backwards away from Joy like her madness was catching.
“Taking action,” Joy said between kicks, and then the tube got loose.
“Why are you breaking some of the few things that are not broken?” Anger shouted.
“Hannibal doesn’t listen to us anymore,” Joy explained while she pushed the tube so that the memories wouldn’t fit in and she could climb into it. “And we are prisoners here. I will make him listen. And for that we have to leave the tower.”
“You can’t leave!” Fear exclaimed. “You have to be here. We all have to be here!”
“We can’t DO anything here, Fear!” she told him and stepped a bit closer to him. “But down in the memory palace, where he walks around and reorganizes, down there we might be able to reach him.”
The signal came, and Hannibal closed his eyes to go to sleep. Joy gripped Fears wrist and pushed him to the tube. As she held him, she heard shouts from the others, but then the pull started and they were in the tube getting moved away from the control center and closer to the memory palace. Fear screamed, and Joy smiled with satisfaction about having broken the rules. If she had to fight Hannibal for his happiness, she would.
They landed on a hill of pale white memories and Fear curled up in a ball, whimpering about being lost and that they would never get home. She ignored him for a moment and looked around.
It was different than in the manuals, of course. Hannibal had changed too much.
It’s an adventure, Joy decided.
“We need to help Hannibal, Fear,” she told her companion. Her words had no impact on him whatsoever. “He dreamt of killing Mischa last night.”
Fear stopped shaking, got very stiff and looked with wide open eyes up to her.
“They will kill him or put him in a cage and everyone will hate him…,” he stopped speaking because he ran out of air.
“And we need to show him that, you need to show him that!”
“But how should we do that?!” he asked. “We are in long-term memory.”
“Memory palace,” Joy corrected. “We have to work within Hannibal’s rules. He has changed his mind and we have to work within the new rules.”
Fear stood up and wrung his hands.
“Do you have a plan?” he asked.
Not really, Joy thought but said: “Of course, follow me.”
She held Fear’s hand while they walked.
“And what’s the plan?” Fear asked hesitantly.
“The control center is no longer working, but down here Hannibal is active. He still dreams, he still has a subconsciousness, we can influence him here. He needs to feel something, and we have to show him that.”
For a moment, they just walked and then Joy said: “We need to find Mischa’s room.”
“Mischa?” Fear asked. “But he hasn’t felt any emotions since Mischa.”
“Yes,” Joy agreed. “But Mischa is still our biggest chance to make him feel. He thinks about…,” she swallowed. “He thinks about killing her, and he doesn’t fear the consequences. His memories about her will be in the room, and you will fill them with fear.” And she would try to fill some other memories with joy. But the most important part was that Hannibal needed to fear. He needed fear to survive. Him not surviving was not an option.
“Hey,” Fear said after they were walking for a long time through the hallways. “Are those mind workers?”
“They should be resting,” Joy said confused and the both looked at each other before they ran to the three mind workers.
They ignored Joy and Fear when they came to them.
“Hello?” Joy greeted them. “Shouldn’t you be resting? Hannibal is sleeping right now.”
One of them looked up to her like she was mad.
“He never really sleeps,” he whispered and kept working.
“And the memory sorting needs to be finished in the morning,” another added.
“Well,” Joy said. “We don’t want to interrupt you. Could you maybe tell us which way is to Mischa’s room, and we will be out of your hair?”
They told them the way, and Joy gripped Fear’s hand, and they ran towards Mischa’s room.
The door was the same as the door of Mischa’s nursery in the outside world. Joy opened it and walked in. Fear stayed behind her in the doorframe and looked scared inside.
Hannibal had kept it close to reality, but it felt like it lacked details, like he hadn’t ever really looked at the room and just copied the general setup. Pale white memory balls were placed everywhere, and Joy started looking for the ones of Hannibal stalking Mischa. Not surprisingly, there were a lot, and Joy quickly had a pile of recent memories ready for Fear.
“Come in,” she told him.
“Why are you afraid?” she asked. Of course, he was always afraid, but right now he seemed close to a collapse.
“What if Hannibal doesn’t like us being in here?”, he asked very quietly and ducked.
Joy smiled thinly. “He doesn’t feel anything right now, Fear. That’s what we are trying to change.”
She held up a memory for him and waited until he could overcome his worry and take it. Fear looked at the memory and sat down beside Joy.
“How do I do this?” he asked and rubbed over the shiny surface.
“Try,” she told him and got up. “I will tell you if I find out before.”
She walked the room again and took out other memories that she found happy when they were created. With them in her lap, she sat beside Fear and concentrated.
They tried every tactic they could think of in that night. Fear cried and hugged the memories and they both rubbed and polished them. Joy sang and laughed and told them how brilliant it would be if Mischa and Hannibal were friends. But it had about the same effect as her words in the control center.
In the morning when the lights came back on and Hannibal awoke they are both exhausted. Fear was panicking about not being good enough to help Hannibal and had the memories clutched to his chest. Joy stared at the memory in her hands of Mischa grinning up at Hannibal where she was lying on a blanket.
What was this memory worth without any emotion? She wondered.
She knew it should be a joyful memory but Hannibal didn’t because he didn’t let it be joyful.
“He doesn’t deserve them!” she said and stood up, the memory ball in her hand. She took a deep breath, raised her arm and threw the memory with full force down to the ground. It shattered, and the memory in it was free. A shiny little Mischa was lying on the ground and grinned, Joy grinned too.
“I will set you free,” she said and took another memory.
“Joy what are you doing?!” Fear called, but she ignored him and threw the memory against the wall. Memory after memory she destroyed and shining lifelike images of Mischa filled the room.
The room shook, and Joy lost her balance and fell to the ground. She looked up and saw that the walls and the ground were moving.
“Oh, no!” Fear was screaming. “Oh, no. What have you done? What is happening?”
“He has noticed it,” Joy said excited. “Hannibal noticed that something is wrong in his memories.”
Fear didn’t look calmed at that and he probably shouldn’t. Hannibal was able to lock them out, there was reason to fear him. But Joy didn’t care. Even a confrontation with him was better than just sitting and waiting.
“Leave if you want,” Joy told Fear. “The recall tubes should still work. If you enter them you go back to the control tower.”
“What will you do?” Fear asked panicked while their surroundings still shook.
“Wait for Hannibal,” she answered. “He will come; he needs to find out what happened.”
She waited in the middle of the freed memories that replayed again and again. To her surprise, Fear stayed without saying anything. He just clutched the memories closer as if to protect them from her.
It didn’t take long for Hannibal to show up. Joy’s guess was, that his tutoring lessons hadn’t started yet. It was early morning and he had some free time between breakfast and class. She expected some shock at her and Fear’s present but Hannibal didn’t react at all. It was like he didn’t see them.
Is he really so unaware of us, that he doesn’t see us? Joy asked herself and couldn’t find an answer.
But he saw the freed memories, and he saw the shards of the broken balls. He frowned and looked at the forever grinning Mischa. With a curious expression, he kneeled down beside the memory and gripped her throat with his right hand. Joy knew with sudden clarity that if she touched him now he would feel happiness. At the thought of killing Mischa.
“Fear!” she said and ran to her fellow emotion. “You need to touch him like now, you need to make him feel afraid. Please. He doesn’t see you, you don’t have to be afraid of him.”
She pulled him up to his feet and closer to Hannibal who was squeezing the life out of Mischa's memory.
“But…”, Fear said and Joy pushed him against Hannibal. It was an instant change. Hannibal had looked very real and multicolored when he entered. But with Fear holding onto him he became as pale as his memories and Fear’s purple colored him. Hannibal’s face transformed from a motionless mask to panic. He let go of Mischa and stumbled backwards. Joy acted on instinct when she hugged him from behind and whispered: “Fear let go now, quickly.”
And then she was all alone with Hannibal and held him. She let all the joy and happiness she wanted him to have spill out of her and into him. He got soft and still in her arms and collapsed to the ground while she was still holding him. Holding him like nobody ever dared in the outside world.
“It’s okay to like her,” she told him. He might not be able to hear her words but maybe he could feel them. “It’s okay to feel. I know you don’t want to, but without feeling anything what is life worth? If you don’t feel the music, it’s just noise.”
Joy had never felt so good, had never felt as useful as in those moments of touching Hannibal, of giving him joy.
“He is crying,” Fear said, and Joy opened her eyes.
“Tears of joy,” she told him with a calm smile, right now she knew how Hannibal felt.
She didn’t want to let him got but at some point, he just vanished from her arms. She heard Fear shout out when it happened and sat up.
His mind work must have been interrupted, she thought.
The room was transformed. Everything glowed in yellow and purple. Not just the memories in their containers or the freed ones, no, the whole room was filled with joy and some fear. For a long time, Fear and Joy stared in wonder.
They cleaned up the room a bit and used one of the recall tubes to return to the control tower. Fear was a bundle of panic and anxiety the whole time. Joy was proud of their achievement and had already decided to keep going out if necessary.
“The teacher woke him up,” Disgust told her. “They were speaking about repressed memories and suppressed emotions. He promised Hannibal he would bring him Psychology books.”
Now they weren’t talking about anything memory related, they were talking math. The five emotions huddled together in front of the broken control panel and the screen, and Joy told them about Fear’s and her adventure. She made sure everyone knew how difficult it had been for Fear and how brave he had been.
“And Hannibal felt joy and fear?” Sadness asked with envy. Joy nodded.
“It’s not the easiest way but if we have to, we can do this again. He can’t push us away completely.”
The others weren’t sure about her suggestion, but none of them totally rejected it. They were all tired of not being heard. For the moment, they agreed to wait.
It didn’t happen overnight but Hannibal started to make small changes. He began reading books about psychology, and the constant building in the memory palace stopped for the time being. The control tower was a bit less frosty, and Hannibal had started to watch over Mischa in a different way as before. He was watching while pretending to read with her in the room. The nanny was nervous the first few times, but learned to ignore him.
Joy tried to read the books he read, and after a while she understood that he was researching his experience with her and Fear. Of course, he didn’t find a perfect explanation, but what he did find was definitions and symptoms of psychopathy and sociopathy and in one of the newer books was a new theory of a condition called “Alexithymia”.
It didn’t really matter for the five of them in the control tower, they had known for a long time that Hannibal wasn’t normal, but it had an impact on Hannibal.
He burned his notebook with the notes about his dissections and stopped going into the woods. He also stopped his work on the memory palace completely. And then, one morning, after a night watch from Sadness some mind workers showed up and installed a new control panel in the tower. It was very simple, like the first one they had after Hannibal had just been born and they were all hesitant to even touch it. There was no ice on it, and it had only 1 button and 1 dial.
“I think the dial is for intensity,” Sadness said. “And the button is for on.”
On the screen, Hannibal was getting ready for breakfast. Joy stepped a bit closer to the console when he reached the dining room and dialed as far down as she could. She waited until he stepped into the room and when he saw Mischa, she pressed the button. A beautiful yellow memory showed up afterwards, and Joy couldn’t help but hug Sadness, who was closest to her and pulled her to a dance around the room.
Life… became easier but also more complicated after they got the new control panel. Hannibal seemed to accept their influence as long as they didn’t push him too much. They were all careful about using the control panel; they didn’t want to lose it again.
When Mischa started crawling and later walking, Hannibal became even more involved with her. For Joy it seemed like he had moved his anatomic interest into watching Mischa’s development. He started drawing her and also began an anatomic study based on books his tutor gave him. The area that had once been Music Island gained an area that Joy thought could have been an “Art Island”. As it was, no new core memory was created when Hannibal drew, but Joy found herself often on the control panel when he was busy with his pencils.
Mischa grew and started walking and Hannibal re-started his mind work. As his sister was following him around in the outside world, her mostly yellow and sometimes green memories spread through the palace. Family Island merged effortlessly with the palace and only Food Island remained a separate entity. Joy wondered if Hannibal would lose interest in food in general and just let it fall into the pit instead of merging it. They would have to wait and see.
Talking was a skill Mischa mastered slowly compared to Hannibal, but he was endlessly fascinated by her progress and continued to spend more time with her. He taught her words, read to her, and patiently explained any question she asked.
“If he wouldn’t be like… he is,” Disgust noted one day as they watched Hannibal answering questions for nearly two hours, “he would be really annoyed by her demanding so much of his time right now.”
“Sometimes being different is good,” Joy decided. Disgust huffed, but didn’t comment.
And then winter came. It wasn’t their first, but it was the winter in which everything changed. It was a very hard winter. Food got scarce. Hannibal didn’t eat much as he gave Mischa most of his portions. Some servants left them to join their families, and as the snow continued to fall and surround them more and more, the world became a silent, cold and white place.
The men came in the night and killed Hannibal’s parents and his tutor. Anger had been on night watch and was dialing up the panel when the other’s joined him. He was hiding from the strangers, and Fear pushed Anger to the side when they realized Mischa wasn’t to be seen. Hannibal went looking for her. He woke her up, and they tried to go downstairs as the men found them. They got locked into an unused room. Joy stood at the back of her fellow emotions and watched them work. She wanted to do something, but she knew it wasn’t her time. Twice, she was pulled forward by the others when Mischa made Hannibal smile for a short moment. Otherwise, she stayed back and let them try to help. She was never sure if they did. The men took Mischa, and the control panel froze over with lightning speed. When he found Mischa’s teeth in the soup he had been given, the panel suddenly unfroze, and Joy left as the others jumped to work the dial and the button. She suddenly knew she wouldn’t be needed for a long time, maybe forever. Maybe Hannibal would die too, and then the men would eat him. She walked to the window and looked at Food Island. It was crashing into the palace as she watched, pieces of it broke off and flew into every part of Hannibal’s construction. It felt like the end of the world.
Joy left the window and went to the cabinet Fear liked to hide in, she locked herself in it and cried. She was alone in the dark for a long time. At some point Sadness came and knocked on the door. Joy didn’t have the energy to tell her to leave her alone.
“Hannibal ran away,” Sadness told her through the door. “Police have found him, and he is warm and there is food.”
Okay, Joy thought, but didn’t react. She was too tired and she knew he didn’t need her. Being warm and full wasn’t enough to make him happy. Nothing ever could make him happy again, not with Mischa gone, with Mischa in his belly. Sadness left.
Later, much later, Anger ripped the door of her cabinet open and dragged her out. Shocked and overwhelmed Joy let it happen.
“This can’t go on!!” Anger shouted as he moved her to the control panel. “He can’t stay like this!”
“What?” Joy asked. Didn’t they understand that her time was over? She couldn’t help. Still, she looked up at the screen and saw a dark room which she recognized as their old wine cellar after a few moments.
“You need to help him be happy again!” Anger told her.
“Why is he back?” Joy asked shocked. “Do the men still have him?”
“No,” Sadness intervened. “The men are gone, but people from the government came and took the castle. It’s an orphanage now and Hannibal… Hannibal is…”
Sadness sniffed and tears started rolling over her face.
Hannibal is an orphan now, Joy finished the sentence internally. It hurt her just to think it and she really understood Sadness in that moment.
“The other children are very rude!” Disgust told her. She stood beside the control panel, and to Joy’s surprise that had gotten bigger again.
“And they get him in trouble all the time, and then he gets punished for their misdeeds!” Anger shouted.
“He is dying,” Fear whispered. He was standing by the side and was shaking really bad.
“Yes,” Disgust added. “He is.”
“That will be so sad!” Sadness sobbed. “He is the last of them and nobody will be remembering Mischa when he is gone.”
Joy hugged herself and stared through Hannibal’s eyes into the dark room.
“I don’t know how to help,” she admitted. “I don’t think there is anything left that could make him happy after what happened to Mischa.”
“You have to try!” Disgust insisted. “Because if he doesn’t find something to live for, he will die. In his own house while it’s occupied by strangers, by thieves!”
“Rawrrr!” Anger roared and stomped off.
Joy sat down on the ground and let her head hang down. She wanted to go back into the cabinet, but Sadness sat down beside her, still sniffling.
“Maybe you can try?” Sadness asked. “We all tried, but nothing makes life better for him. Maybe you can find some joy? For Hannibal?”
For Hannibal?, Joy thought. For Hannibal she would do anything.
“I will try,” she agreed with little hope.
It was devastating to watch Hannibal live his new life. He was an outcast in his own home and it broke Joy’s heart to see it. She wanted to crawl back into the cabinet every day, but if Hannibal could get up and walk through the halls his sister had lived and died in while the other children and caretakers bullied him, then she could watch.
After a while, she wished she could find something for him to be happy, but there wasn’t. The orphans were fed and had beds and some basic schooling Hannibal had long exceeded. There was nothing exciting in his life and nobody was nice to him. The children and some of the adults were incredible rude about him having lost his family and about living in the castle. It felt like they thought he deserved what had happened. He didn’t and it made her angry. She knew Hannibal was angry too because Anger was constantly reacting and using the control panel.
He didn’t show it though until one of his tormentors had an accident on the stairs and broke his wrist. Hannibal saw it happen and couldn’t look away, his gaze was transfixed on the bent appendage. Joy didn’t think about it, she pushed Anger away from the control panel and made sure Hannibal felt some joy.
“What are you smiling at?” another boy shouted at Hannibal as they brought the hurt child away. It made Fear loose it for a bit, because he worried about being tormented even more.
But Joy was inspired by the incident. She remembered the anatomy sketches and how Hannibal had stalked Mischa. She thought about it for a while and stared at the control panel. It had a slot for ideas. She didn’t think anybody had used it since the panel had been extended again.
It might be time for an idea, she decided and went for an idea light bulb in the storage area of headquarters.
“What’s that?” Fear asked worried when she came back with it.
“An idea,” Joy answered distracted. “I need some help with this, Anger.”
“With an idea?” he asked confused.
“Yes”, Joy confirmed and polished the bulb. It was very dusty.
Hannibal was walking through a hallway, passing the door to Mischa’s former room. Some other children were coming closer from the other side and gave him dark looks.
Joy held up the shiny bulb and smiled.
“Revenge?” Anger asked intrigued.
“They make him suffer, he can make them suffer in return,” Joy said and screwed the bulb into the socket.
“Make him angry,” Joy told Anger as the children passed Hannibal and one of them pushed him as they went by.
“No problem,” Anger told her and got to work.
“But what if he gets caught?” Fear shouted and tried to stop Anger. Joy stopped him.
“He needs this, Fear!”, she said as she held her hyperventilating fellow emotion back. “And he is smart, he can do it without being caught. Trust him!”
“He took it,” Anger said from behind her, and Fear stopped pushing against her.
All of them stepped to the panel and watched as Hannibal turned to look at the two boys. He did a lot of watching in the coming weeks, until an opportunity arose and he found one of his main tormentors alone in their old wine cellar, drinking from a bottle of wine Hannibal’s father had kept for a special occasion. The boy had routinely snuck down there through a passage the adults didn’t know about. Hannibal waited until the boy was drunk enough not to be disturbed by a little noise and then blocked the entrance.
The caretakers found him nearly two days later, after he had begun shouting for help. He got beaten up for drinking, and nobody cared how he had gotten stuck. But Hannibal knew, and Joy made sure it made him happy. He continued with the retaliation and with every plan his revenge got finer and bloodier.
They were of a mixed mind about it, because Fear kept insisting at some point one of the children would die, and Hannibal would get caught. Prison and pain were big worries in Fear’s opinion. Anger and Disgust sided with Joy, the children were Hannibal’s enemies and if hurting them made him happy, that was even better. Sadness kept insisting that he should be sad about Mischa and kept out of the discussion otherwise.
It would have gone on like this if Robertus hadn’t shown up. Hannibal first saw him when he was walking up from the front gate to the house, having left behind his car. The gates were always locked since the house became an orphanage. Hannibal stared out of a window as Robertus came closer. He looked a lot like Hannibal’s father, which made Sadness take over for a moment when Hannibal was called into the administrator’s office. Outwards, Hannibal didn’t react as he packed his spare belongings and walked down the road to leave the only home he had ever known and got into Robertus’ car.
Anger and Disgust started fighting over the control panel, unhappy about Robertus in general. Disgust was worked up because he had only shown up now, while Anger was furious about being taken from their home.
Robertus got into the driver’s seat and looked at Hannibal. He seemed less stern now, and his softer features made him looks less like Hannibal’s father.
“I’m sorry it took me so long to come here,” he said as Hannibal looked at his hands. Anger and Disgust stopped struggling, and Joy pushed them away from the panel.
“I don’t know what exactly happened, Hannibal,” he continued. “Nobody seems to know. When you are ready to talk, please tell me. I would like to know what happened to our family.”
Sadness came up and stood beside Joy. Instead of using the panel, knowing Hannibal wouldn’t appreciate it, Joy took Sadness’ hand and squeezed it hard.
“And I will look after you from now on.”
He slowly reached out and placed his hand over Hannibal’s roughed fingers.
As slowly as Robertus had, Joy took Sadness’ hand, moved it to the panel, and together they pushed the button.
Life got better after Robertus moved Hannibal to France where he lived with his wife Murasaki. Hannibal didn’t speak for the first months in France. He had weekly sessions with a child psychiatrist, and he didn’t go to school. He did read a lot, and Robertus got him to draw with him. Joy got busier, and Sadness had less to do. Hannibal restarted speaking and was able to communicate his wishes and preferences. He went back to school, and Disgust and Fear made sure he was well prepared and blended in with the crowd.
All seemed to go well, until they moved to a bigger house in another village. The local baker made very rude comments about Murasaki. Hannibal ignored him in the beginning, following Murasaki’s lead. But Anger was losing it from the inactivity, and then Joy remembered the satisfaction Hannibal had felt at the orphanage and encouraged Hannibal as he plotted against the man.
On the day Hannibal stalked him into the woods with Murasaki’s sword, Fear tried to intervene, but Anger and Disgust helped Joy to keep him away. It was bloody, it was beautiful, and Hannibal had never been as strong and alive as in this moment. He recalled the memory of Mischa’s killers as he cleaned the sword and for the first time in all the years that had passed since then, Anger and Joy accompanied the memory instead of Sadness.
Revenge, decided Joy, was the best idea they ever had.
“They found out!!!”, Fear screamed a few days later as the police came to the house. They all starred dumbfounded as the events progressed. Hannibal had thought all evidence had been destroyed, but the police obviously suspected him. For the first time in years, the panel froze as Fear tried to work it. They watched helpless as Hannibal was brought in for questioning and waited until Robertus and a lawyer joined him.
“They all hate us now,” Fear wailed in the evening, after they had left the police station and after a silent dinner where nobody had met Hannibal’s eyes. Sadness was crying beside him.
Joy wasn’t sure how to proceed. His family had made Hannibal happy, but not as happy as hurting the boy at school or killing the baker had made him. As the situation got resolved, there was no hard evidence and they couldn’t charge Hannibal with anything, Joy decided that maybe keeping away Fear was better than to refuse Hannibal happiness. It didn’t help their relationship, but she made sure Fear didn’t get too much time on the panel after it defrosted.
Robertus sent Hannibal to another psychologist to no prevail. Hannibal enjoyed toying with the man and didn’t open up at all. But he did start working on his memory palace again. Slowly, the headquarter moved downward until they just hovered over the edges of the memory palace.
“It’s very efficient,” Disgust remarked. “Recalls and storing memories is much faster now.”
The police never charged Hannibal to everyone’s relief. But Murasaki avoided him. Hannibal was mostly fine with the development.
They moved to Paris when Hannibal got accepted into medical school. Despite drifting away from his family, Hannibal greatly enjoyed Paris. The art and music part of the memory palace grew as much as the new area Joy called “anatomy and medicine”. The latter was very close to the area that had been “Humanity is beneath me” in the past. Joy and Sadness sometimes talked about it. They thought that while Hannibal had altered his mind, he hadn’t been able to fundamentally change it. The Islands of Personality were still there, even when they had gotten swallowed by the reorganized Memory Storage area. Joy tried to explain it to Fear so he would see that Hannibal wasn’t that different. Fear though, Fear was constantly panicking that Hannibal would go to prison if he continued on his path.
“He won’t!” Disgust intervened. “He won’t make the same mistakes again.”
But Fear didn’t calm down, so they kept him away from the panel as much as they could, and more and more the panel froze when he made a pass and overdid it. Hannibal didn’t want to feel fear. Sadness spent a lot of time with Fear after he realized Hannibal didn’t want him.
Hannibal got a stipend for a school in the United States and as his relationship with his family was still strained he told them he would go. In the summer before he left, he visited Florence and fell in love with the architecture and culture. Inspired, he went on a killing spree. They called him “Il Mostro de Florence”, and Joy had never been as busy as during their time there.
He left his family and Paris and moved to the States. As he studied, he rarely had time for clean murders. But learning how to break apart and then fix bodies was a good trade-off, and when he started his residency and got to work with real people that helped too. Slowly, Hannibal built his life and he was mostly happy. At some point he switched from surgery to psychology and it was even more rewarding. Cutting open minds as a psychiatrist was as wonderful as cutting open bodies as the Chesapeake Ripper.
Once an investigator got to close, and he stole her away from the FBI, hid her, and got even more careful. Life was good until Jack Crawford came to his office.
They had just finished a session with Franklin, Disgust had kept her hand on the buttons the whole time, when he found Jack Crawford in the room for leaving patients.
“Rude,” Anger growled, and Fear started screaming.
“He is here to arrest us, we are doomed!!”
“Not without an army,” Disgust said.
But they let Fear hit some controls because this was a moment for Fear and caution. And then they watched with wonder as they were invited to join an investigation. Joy couldn’t help but dance through the room in excitement.
Hannibal was giddy the whole morning and Fear had to tell Joy to reign it in when Hannibal arrived in Quantico. Him being overly smug wouldn’t be good to stay inconspicuous. He had read up on the profiler they were supposed to support and found him very interesting. Hannibal was looking forward to meeting him.
Crawford welcomed him, and Hannibal was checking a board with information when Will Graham joined them in the room. Crawford threw out a quick introduction and Hannibal decided to not immediately make contact with the other man and asked some questions about the case to give Graham time to get used to him. Things got more interesting when Graham reacted to what Hannibal had said.
“Tasteless,” Graham said and Disgust snorted on Joy’s left.
“Like his clothes,” she noted. Joy absently thought she sounded hesitant, like she wasn’t sure about her statement. But Joy didn’t have the time to ask as Hannibal and Graham got into a little squabble about his and Hannibal’s mind which Hannibal greatly enjoyed.
“He doesn’t look at Hannibal,” Sadness noted beside Joy and surprisingly pushed a button as Joy was distracted.
“Not fond of eye contact, are you?” Hannibal asked, and Anger stepped beside Sadness and stared with a frown at the screen. Graham unapologetically continued to avoid eye contact.
Instead, Graham started ranting about eyes being distracting. Fear came and stood beside Disgust, transfixed at the screen as they all were.
“He is very smart,” Fear whispered. “Maybe it’s better when he doesn’t look. He could see.”
“He won’t,” Joy said confidently and dialed up Hannibal’s enjoyment when he answered Graham.
“I imagine what you see and learn touches everything else in your mind. Your values and decency are present yet shocked at your associations, appalled at your dreams. No forts in the bone arena of your skull for things you love.”
“Whose profile are you working on?” Graham asked furious.
“See?!” Fear whispered crouching into himself.
“This will be fun,” Joy promised. “He isn’t as smart as Hannibal.”
“You don’t know that!” Fear replied.
“Please don’t psychoanalyze me. You won’t like me when I’m psychoanalyzed. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go give a lecture... on psychoanalyzing.”
Graham scooted out of his chair and exited the room, leaving Hannibal and Crawford alone in the office.
“Beautiful,” someone behind Joy said as Crawford rebuked Hannibal. Joy had never heard the voice before and turned in surprise as did the other emotions. The speaker stood behind them, but didn’t look at them.
“Who are you?” Anger asked with a fiery voice.
The newcomer didn’t reply and stepped between Joy and Disgust to the control panel.
“Hey!” Fear called out.
Joy reached for the stranger’s hand as they reached for the buttons. Instead of stopping them, Joy and the newcomer pressed down together. Worried Joy looked up the screen. It didn’t seem to affect Hannibal as he spoke about Graham’s empathy.
“Who are you?” Joy repeated as Hannibal studied the photos of the Minnesota murder victims for a second time.
“Love,” the newcomer said. “I’m Love.”
“This cannibal you have him getting to know... I think I can help good Will see his face,” Hannibal told Jack.