Categories > Books > Hannibal > Hannibal Family Values

The Family

by screamingferret 1 review

Life with the Lecters is more than a little bewildering for one unwitting au pair...

Category: Hannibal - Rating: G - Genres: Humor - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2006-01-22 - Updated: 2006-01-22 - 1711 words

Author's Note: While suffering from chronic boredom, I decided to give my favourite monster a tidy-up and a repost on a fresh, new site. I am well aware that the premise for this fic is more than a little preposterous, and not an entirely popular subject among Lecterphiles (including myself - I have yet to read a believable Lecter-has-kids fic), but I'm informed that this one of the good ones. Bear with it, there is a plot ;)

Disclaimer: Dr Lecter and his lady belong to the incomparable Thomas Harris. No copyright infringement is intended. Emma and the kids are mine.

Chapter 1: The Family

Buenos Aires. Picture, if you will, a handsome Beaux Arts mansion set in exquisitely maintained gardens. Add to this picture a taxi waiting impatiently outside the gates and a young woman standing on the doorstep, gesticulating wildly.

Emma Robinson was having trouble. The axe-faced harridan who had answered the door had spent a full five minutes gabbling in Spanish, and Emma had not understood a word of it. Worse, the old lady didn't seem to understand English. Sighing, Emma tried again.

"I'm here to see Mrs Montero. M-R-S M-O-N-T-E-R-O. I'm the au pair for the children. The C-H-I-L-D-R-E-N. Oh God, you know?" Emma waved her hand at roughly child-height. "Kiddies. Kids. Bambin - no, that's Italian..."

The old woman cocked her head at Emma, her black eyes twinkling. Then she launched herself at the girl, grabbed her by the arm and hauled her inside to a screech of "Ahh! CHEELDREN!"

"Yeah" Emma said, smiling in relief. "Cheeldren." The old battle-axe gabbled some more, pushing Emma into what looked very much like a library. She then proceeded to dash out, muttering to herself. As the sounds of her footsteps faded into the distance, Emma allowed herself looked around. The library was large and spotlessly clean. It was not, as she first supposed, full of old, musty books that no-one ever read. A few crime novels were scattered on a table, along with a battered book called 'Mog'. It had a smiling cat on the front. The young woman was just leafing through one of the crime novels, when footsteps announced the return of the old servant. She was accompanied by another woman who had the unmistakable look of 'the lady of the house.'

"Hi." the lady said, in a faint American accent. "I'm Hannah Montero." She held out her hand. Awkwardly, Emma shook it. "Emma Robinson, Mrs Montero."

"Pleased to meet you, Emma. Is that your taxi outside?"

"Yes, he's got my suitcase - " Mrs Montero turned to the servant, who was gone before Emma could even finish her sentence.

"Bernardo will take it up to your room for you. Now, would you like to meet the children?"

Emma smiled in relief. "That's what I'm here for, Mrs Montero."

Mrs Montero led her further down the oak-panelled passage, to another door. "The lounge" she announced rather grandly, pushing the door open. Three children were clustered around a metal wastepaper basket. As the door opened, they scrambled to form a line, from oldest to youngest, in front of the bin. Mrs Montero sniffed the air. The children stared at a point about a quarter of the way up the opposite wall.

"All right. Whose idea was it?" The children shuffled their feet. Sighing, their mother stepped around them and gingerly picked up the waste bin. It was hot.

"Kids, that's the third pair this month. What have you been watching on television?" she asked rhetorically, poking the sad, smouldering remains of a pair of slippers. "Who did it?" Silence. "I want an answer" More silence. Mrs Montero played her last card. "If you don't tell me/, you'll have to tell /daddy when he comes home..." The three looked at each other. Sheepishly, the eldest raised her hand. "Oh Jade. No pocket money for you, young lady. I'll have to use that to buy your father some new slippers. Okay, enough of that. Kids, this is Emma. She's come all the way from England to look after you."

The three children stared at Emma. She smiled a little self-consciously. The boy in the middle had a particularly penetrating gaze. Their mother continued the introductions. "This young lady is Jade. She's an artist, and apparently a budding pyromaniac." Jade was skinny, with reddish hair and a sparkly top that told Emma that she loved her attitude problem. "I'm seven next week" she announced proudly. "You have to do EVERYTHING I say, for a WHOLE day!"

Next in line at five years old, was Gabriel Anthony, the boy with the piercing eyes. Emma blinked. Were his eyes maroon? Gabriel was a small, solemn looking boy, who clutched an overstuffed Yoda toy close to his chest and refused to speak.

The third member of the group was a chubby three-year old named Tycho, or Tyke for short. "Because he is" Jade giggled. Tycho grinned as Emma crouched to say hello, he shrieked with laughter when she picked him up, and he tried to bite her knee when she set him back down on the floor.

Once the introductions had been made, Mrs Montero pulled Emma to one side. "I've got to go out and get some new slippers for my husband. Jade will show you around if you like, and the servants are here. D'you think you can manage?"

"Of course I can, Mrs Montero" Emma said in a reassuring tone whilst trying to fend off Tycho. Tycho's mother shot her a grateful look. "Thanks. I'll give you my mobile number, if you get into any trouble just ring."

As soon her mother was out the door, Jade grabbed Emma by the hand. "Gonna show you around" she said importantly. Emma was then treated to a garbled and rather whirlwind tour of the kitchen, Dr Montero's study, the garden, the garage and then the upstairs rooms. The little tour guide ended the expedition in the children's playroom. Emma's eyes were drawn to a number of Barbie dolls hanging from the ceiling. "I don't like Barbie anymore" Jade said, happening to noticing what her new friend was staring at.

"Oh. Right - lovely." Emma glanced around. Aside from the Barbie dolls, everything looked normal. Scalectrix in the corner, cuddly toys, dolls house, play kitchen etc. Jade dragged her over to the latter. "Look! Daddy got it for us. Cool, innit? I'm gonna learn to cook JUST LIKE Daddy!" she exclaimed, throwing another doll into a red plastic frying pan.

Further explorations of Daddy's cooking methods were suddenly interrupted by an unearthly animal howl from downstairs, followed by feet thudding up the stairs. Gabriel appeared in the doorway, gasping for breath. "Jade!" he gasped. "Tyke's gone and bit the cat again!"

The cat, a fluffy white Persian, had taken refuge on the chandelier in the dining room. The poor animal resembled a loofah, its fur sticking out at all angles. It was resisting Tycho's best efforts to dislodge it with a broomhandle. The toddler, giggling wickedly, seemed to have formed a vague alliance with the numerous Montero dogs. They paced underneath the cat's perch, waiting for it to move.

Emma strode into the thick of the conflict and scooped Tycho up, disarming him. Shooing the dogs ahead of her into the lounge, she deposited Tycho on the sofa. Jade and Gabriel trailed in behind her, closing the door.

"That poor cat. Tycho, that was terribly cruel. I don't want to see you tormenting him again, do you hear?"

Tycho wriggled. "Cat!" he shrieked. "CAT!"

"We think he's declared war on poor Mog III," Jade informed Emma.

"Mog Three?"

"Actually, it's Mog The Third. It was Dad's idea. The other two died. In suspicious circumstances" she added, glaring at Tycho. "He's only a kitty!"

Emma flung herself onto the sofa next to Psycho Tycho. The dogs came and dribbled on her knee. Petting one, she turned to Jade.

"Nice dogs. What are their names?"

Jade and Gabriel giggled. "They're Mom's. That one is called Ox, 'cos he's so big. The black and white one's called Maul."

"I called him that," Gabriel said proudly.

"And the one that's drooling all over you is called Hannibal," Jade finished. "He likes to have his tummy scratched."

Obligingly, Hannibal flopped onto the floor and rolled over, legs in the air.

"Oh yeah" Jade giggled again. "And we got a tortoise called Britney."

"Why Britney?" Emma wondered, for the sake of civilised conversation.

"Mom says she looks like Britney Spears. And Dad hates her. I think she's cool." Jade began to gyrate in an approximation of the dance to -

"OOOPS! I did it again! I played with your HEART, got lost in the GAAAAMEEE!" She shrieked in a credible impression of the pop star, and flung herself at Emma. "Come on, we can listen to Britney Spears! I'm not allowed to while Dad's here, but he's not, so we can!"

It is going to be a looooong six months, Emma mused as she was dragged upstairs to Jade's bedroom and a towering stack of Britney Spears, Steps and Backstreet Boys CDs. God and all the Saints have mercy on my soul

Hours later, Emma collapsed gratefully into her bed. To say she was exhausted was a gross understatement. She had NEVER seen children like these before. They were smart, inventive (especially when it came to new games to play) and she was certain young Tycho was a menace to society. But she couldn't help liking them. And their parents too - Mrs Montero was lovely, although her husband, Dr Montero, was a little creepy. At least the kids came by their maroon eyes honestly, she thought sleepily.

In the mansion's master suite, Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling shed the personas of Dr and Mrs Montero for the night. Clarice snuggled up to Lecter, who wound a powerful arm around her waist. "What do you think of the new au pair?" she asked him.

"She seems nice, and the children like her. She'll do fine. She's lasted longer than all the others."

Clarice laughed. "Remember that one with the wig? Gabe tried to barbecue it. She only lasted an afternoon."

"How can I forget?" The doctor chuckled. "We'll see how well she holds up at the Zoo tomorrow."
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