Categories > Books > Hannibal > Hannibal Family Values

Arrivals... and Departures

by screamingferret 0 reviews

Nothing ever goes to plan, particularly when there isn't one...

Category: Hannibal - Rating: G - Genres: Drama, Humor - Published: 2006-02-06 - Updated: 2006-02-06 - 1551 words

Disclaimer: All is Harris's, except the bits that aren't.

Arrivals... and Departures

The lights and bustle of an airport had never seemed so welcoming to Emma, who normally hated them. And despite her not inconsiderable misgivings about the Lecters going to Britain, she was pleased to be going home herself. Recent events had soured Italy for her, and she did not expect to return.

Parking the Jaguar in an empty space as close to the main entrance as she could get, Emma roused the children. Sleepily they piled out of the car and huddled together in the dark.

"Where're we going?" Jade wanted to know.

"London," Emma informed her shortly.

Gabriel let loose a whoop of glee. "Yeah! I want to see the Tower of London!"

"And so you shall," Emma muttered, picking up Tycho. "If we're lucky, maybe they'll lock you in it."

"I heard that," he shot back as Jade giggled. Emma ignored them and headed for the entrance.

She was tired and preoccupied, so she did not see Clarice Starling lurking in the waiting area. Starling saw her, though, and while she didn't exactly sneak up, Emma still leapt out of her skin when Starling's voice spoke in her ear. Once the au pair had been coaxed down off the ceiling, Starling filled her in.

"Han... Henry... booked the tickets as soon as he got off the phone to you," she explained, cuddling Tycho. "We were so worried..."

"I'm so sorry..." Emma began, but Clarice cut her off.

"It's not your fault," she said tiredly. "Similar incidents have happened before, although there were generally more fatalities.

I bet, Emma thought, and wished she hadn't.

"You panicked, that's understandable," Starling continued. "After all, protecting the leading member of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List was hardly in your job description. I'm sorry you had to get involved."

Emma snorted. "You said it, not me. But I suppose I owe the doctor... Where is he, anyway?"

"Oh, he's... around. He went shopping."

Emma was well aware that the good doctor was fond of spending tasteful amounts of money on equally tasteful items. However, under the circumstances, she thought that his priorities were somewhat skewed. She was about to venture this opinion when she noticed a be-jeaned and leather- jacketed gentleman hovering nearby. His head turned slightly as she watched, and he winked. There was no mistaking that maroon gaze, or the effect it had on her. It was as if a bucket of ice had been poured down her spine, and she looked away.

A change of clothes, of course. One can hardly run very far in eveningwear. Come to that, Clarice was now clad in new cargo trousers and a denim jacket.

Gabriel tugged his mother's sleeve. "Mom, I really need to pee," he complained.

Clarice sighed. "Watch these two while I take Gabe to the restroom, would you?" she asked.

"Of course I will." Emma settled back on her chair with a crumpled copy of The International Herald-Tribune and Clarice's cup of coffee. Beside her, Jade was once more deeply engrossed in her computer.

"Surely you can't get the internet on that thing in here?" Emma asked, leaning over to see. The odd word or phrase from the screen jumped out at her, among them the names 'Lecter', 'Starling' and 'Las Vegas'.

"What is this?"

Jade flushed. "Some people online write stories about Mom and Dad. I saved it before we left."

"Oh." Emma considered the screen for a moment. "The Misplaced Earnings of Unrighteousness?"

Jade buried herself behind her screen again, declining to comment.

Emma left her to it and sipped the rapidly cooling coffee. She began to peruse the newspaper.

That is to say, she got as far as the headline before Tycho announced his boredom by biting her on the ankle. Yelping in pain, Emma deposited the remainder of the coffee in her lap. Furiously she reached down and hauled the unrepentant toddler out from under her chair, where he had become bored playing 'Hannibal Lecter in Prison.'

The laptop on Emma's left giggled.

Tycho wriggled as the au pair firmly sat him on a seat, telling him in no uncertain terms to stay there. He simply grinned up at her, pleased at the attention.

Emma resumed her seat just as Clarice Starling and her eldest son strolled into view, bearing milkshakes.

"Another half an hour," Starling informed Emma as Tycho blew bubbles down his straw. Then Gabriel began a tune with his. The two adults turned to look as Jade started to sing a charming little ditty concerning Old King Cole and a rather unpleasant hole he fell into. She was unabashedly loud about it, and more than slightly off-key. The old couple five seats away threw dirty looks as the milkshake orchestra interrupted their conversation. Emma heroically resisted the urge to scream.

Trying to keep the children amused for half an hour in a place that did not provide the entertainment they were accustomed to was something of a challenge, Emma felt. She steered the children away from further musical experimentation by suggesting a game of I-Spy. This seized the attention of all for a goodly length of time, until Gabriel realised that he could not, in fact, spy his father. After a minute or two of trying, he turned to his mother.


"Yes, Gabe?" Clarice was somewhat preoccupied, being rather stumped by her daughter's 'X'.

"Where's Dad gone, Mom?"

Immediately, everybody turned around to try and spot Dr Lecter. He had previously been lurking at a good vantage point next to a grotesque tub plant that rather resembled an escapee from Little Shop of Horrors. He was now nowhere in sight.

Briefly entertaining the amusing notion that the plant might have eaten him, Emma scanned the crowd again. She spotted a leather jacket and was about to say so when the wearer turned and Emma realised that he had far too many piercings to be Hannibal Lecter.

Worried, with only a few minutes to go, Clarice was dialling Lecter's cell phone. Her face fell as an electronic beep and automatic message informed her that his phone was switched off and that no voicemail service was available. Cursing, Starling pocketed the phone and glared furiously at the unresponsive tub plant.

"Of all the times to... The whole point of a cell phone is null and void if you have the damn thing switched off!"

Emma's heart sank. What else could go wrong?

"Maybe he just went to the toilet," she suggested brightly.

"And you switch your phone off for that, do you?" Starling snapped. "No, he's up to something. I know it."

Emma privately felt that if the good doctor was indeed up to something, it was better that he was not here while he was up to it.

"Well I can't think of anywhere else he'd be right now, Mrs Montero," she growled, matching her employer's glare with one of her own.

"Don't use that name!" Starling hissed, glancing around.

Emma's frayed temper unravelled a little more. "Then what name am I supposed to use? Clarice M. You-know-bloody-well-what?"

"I am Mrs Cassandra Blake."

"Oh, I'm delighted to meet you. Are these your lovely children?"

The sarcasm was not lost on Starling, who stepped up close. "If you hadn't... there'd be no need for Cassandra Blake..." She seemed to be on the verge of losing it entirely.

"If Mr - or is that Doctor - Blake hadn't put the fear of God up me, I might not have!" Emma screeched, unaware of their audience. The children stood in stunned silence, following the traded recriminations back and forth as if they were watching tennis. Violence seemed entirely possible from both parties, judging by Starling's white-lipped glare, and the tic twitching afresh under Emma's left eye. The old couple nearby got up and moved.

Fortunately, news of the impending departure of the late flight to Gatwick immediately derailed the conflict. Starling and Emma turned back to the children. Jade was near to tears.

"What about Daddy?" she wailed, clutching her laptop as if it was a teddy.

"Daddy will be coming soon, honey," Clarice assured her distraught offspring, devoutly hoping that it was true.

Emma took Gabriel's and Jade's hands in her own as Starling picked up her youngest. The two traded worried glances, a temporary truce declared.

However, Jade refused to move. "I want my Daddy!" she howled, stamping her foot. Gabriel began to sniff.

Oh please, not now...

Emma tugged at their hands. "He's probably waiting for us at the plane," she said, falsely bright.

Despite her tears, Jade managed to bestow upon Emma a look that could have withered a rainforest.

So much for that plan.

The announcement system bellowed to life again, warning passengers not to be late.

"Your father is more than capable of taking care of himself," Emma told the children. "You have to be more like him, and take care of your mother."

Only a very tiny snort betrayed Starling's opinion of that.

Jade wiped her eyes on her sleeve and sniffed loudly. "Okay," she said in a small voice. Relieved, but mildly suspicious of her own anxious feelings towards the doctor, Emma assisted Clarice in frog-marching the three children towards the gate, the waiting plane and Great Britain.
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