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Unexpected Gifts

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Someone must not have thought to check Franklyn Froideveaux’s house after he was murdered because when Hannibal snuck in and entered the security code, he was greeted by a sad, desperate dog.  Froideveaux had given Lecter the code during a suicidal episode, and Lecter had gone to a quiet Baltimore suburb to find a despondent Franklyn.  Hannibal’s neurotic patient was standing on a chair with his head in a noose, looking at his dog and sobbing.  In fact, on that day, Franklyn’s Shiba Inu, Amadeus, had helped save his master’s life as the dog’s soulful eyes regarded Franklyn, convincing him to pluck his cell phone out of his pocket.  “Siri, call Dr. Hannibal Lecter.”

The odd dog had stuck in Lecter’s memory.  He was surprised at Franklyn’s attachment to a non-human, although he realized that when no one else would listen, Amadeus would put up with Franklyn’s incessant prattling.  Now, because of the actions of others (including his own actions, if he were being honest, Hannibal realized), Amadeus had been without food or fresh water for days.  The dog had been desperate and resourceful enough to drink from his master’s toilet bowl even though he knew that such acts were not allowed.  In fact, Amadeus’ master absolutely frowned upon it, but his master had left and hadn’t returned for half a week now.

Many, nay – most —people would view Hannibal Lecter as a monster if they knew of his cannibalism, but that was because no one else alive really knew what happened the day that Mischa died.  If people knew, maybe they would see that Hannibal was not truly abhorrent after all.

Hannibal was in the process of collecting all traces of Amadeus when he lifted up a blanket and saw him.  “Mew.”  A tiny grey kitten.  The cat had brilliant bright green eyes and surprisingly soft fur.  “Mew.”  Hannibal hadn’t expected this – Franklyn never mentioned that he had a kitten and, in fact, the little beast was so puny that Hannibal couldn’t help but wonder if Franklyn had found a stray just before his death.  “Mew.”  He knew that Will would gladly accept Amadeus, but – “mew!”  He called for Amadeus and the dog came but seemed disinterested in the cat.  Hannibal was surprised that the cat hadn’t become a meal for the Shiba Inu, but perhaps it was extraordinarily well-trained.  “Mew!”  Hannibal picked up the frail form and tucked it into his blazer as he worked.  He found a barely used container of kitten formula – that was the only other trace of the kitten besides the little creature itself.  Hannibal would give Amadeus along with his various paraphernalia to Will, but he was keeping Frédéric -- whom he’d named after his favorite composer, Frédéric Chopin -- for himself.  After all, the cat had grown dangerously skinny in Franklyn’s absence and would die if Hannibal didn’t start feeding him within an hour or two.  “Mew!”

Hannibal went home and called Will, asking him to stop by because he had a gift for him.  “Hannibal, it’s nearly 9 o’clock at night.  What could be so important that it couldn’t wait until tomorrow?”

“A dog needing a home.”

“I’ll be right over.”

~~~

After Hannibal hung up the phone, he made up some formula and used a syringe to feed his new companion.  “I do hope that I’ve made it to your liking, Frédéric.”  PURR!  The kitten’s green eyes closed as its tiny paws wrapped themselves simultaneously around the syringe and Hannibal Lecter’s heart.

When Will arrived, Frédéric was passed out in a milk coma, asleep on Hannibal’s pillow in his bedroom.  Hannibal would tell Will about Amadeus’ sad circumstances without mentioning the identity of the dog's previous owner.  Additionally, he would omit meeting the tiny ball of fluff asleep upstairs.  Will was both ecstatic to take in a new dog and touched that Hannibal thought of him while Hannibal was glad that Franklyn’s beloved dog had a good new home.  While he enjoyed seeing Will, Hannibal was happy when Will left with Amadeus so that he could go back upstairs.  He set an alarm to go off every four hours so that he could feed Frédéric, and he then laid down on the bed gazing at the little furry form.  When Frédéric’s eyes fluttered open, Hannibal began to pet him gently.  “Mew.”

“I love you, too, Frédéric.”