Waking Up-Ish
Jonothon Starsmore furnaceface
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Jono's Room, The Apartment Above Groovy Tunes, Stupid-Early Sunday Morning
So far, the night had been... it had been heavy, and while Jono and Hannibal had done a fair bit of talking, Jono had wound up asking for more time to think on things, to wrap his head around what he'd been told and to come up with the right questions and the nerve to ask them. And there were some big ones, too. Why Karla had encouraged Hannibal to not tell Jono, for one. It wasn't as though Jono didn't have plenty of close friends who wouldn't hesitate to put down people like those, after all.

What had happened to the parts that weren't accounted for, for another.

Maybe it was exhaustion, or maybe it was denial. Hell, maybe it was just some vain desire to have one mostly normal night of just being curled up against him, pretending everything was okay in spite of the marching-ants feeling that something was amiss even beyond what was going on right there in his room. Whatever the case was, they had fallen asleep on Jonothon's bed, some manner of classical music playing that Jono had really only been half paying attention to in the first place.

And it was very nearly a comfortable sleep, too. Jono wasn't going to announce it for the world to hear or anything, but there was something about being held while he slept that was just... safe. It was a pity his head wasn't telling him the same thing. In his dreams, there were the faces, always the same faces, of people that he'd killed, of concentration camp prisoners who he often dreamed of, always pleading him for mercy, which were almost as bad as the ones who weren't. The ones who weren't were the ones who had already been broken, after all.

And in his dream, Jonothon was a snake, a great hungry serpent who crept after them in the dark of night, his face gaunt and made of flame. They didn't see him coming, not really, not until it was too late and he'd already moved in to strike. And once he'd bitten them, those poor bastards who hadn't even had a chance this time around to beg for their lives, they were his. They would dance for him if he asked, so that the snake became the charmer, and they would paint themselves across the walls and create something so beautiful out of the suffering that even he, the artist, had difficulty looking away. And Jonothon, the snake, would devour whatever was left, so that they'd burn, burn, burn as he gorged himself on those faces that haunted him, and never once did they ask him why, tonight. Never once did they dare question why they were the prey. A man he once knew, a woman who was taking the place of her children, an elderly man, a young boy--

Jono shot awake in a cold sweat, sitting up with wide eyes and no small amount of distress rippling off of him in waves.

And then he buried his face in his hands and tried to scrub the remnants of the nightmare from his mind completely.

[OOC: For that guy! That Jono woke up from a nightmare is okay to broadcast, everything else NFB. Warnings for discussion of Murder, Child Abuse, and, yes, Cannibalism in the comments.]


2015-03-15 05:35 pm (UTC) (Link)

Hannibal slept well, but not particularly deeply. The sudden movement of the bed woke him, and he took a moment to assess the situation. Then another to let Jono begin to recover his dignity.

Then he sat up, moving the mattress enough to alert Jono, and wrapped an arm around him. "Bad dream?"


2015-03-15 05:36 pm (UTC) (Link)

//Always,// Jono murmured, shoulders tensing a little, though they likely would have no matter who was moving to put an arm around him just then. //This one was new.//

He squeezed his eyes shut tightly, and then ran his fingers through his hair. He was awake, now. Something about waking up in a blind panic tended to do that to a person, even if he didn't have a heart to beat in his ears.

//Sorry,// he added, a little lamely. //Didn't mean to wake you.//


2015-03-15 05:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

"I don't mind." Hannibal loosened his arm, rubbing Jono's shoulder but giving him room to leave if he wanted. "Would you like to talk about it, or just sit?"


2015-03-15 05:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

//Just sit,// Jono replied immediately, and then, almost just as quickly, he went and contradicted himself in what would have otherwise been the same breath. //It was the faces again. And I was a snake. A great burning snake who was also the charmer, and I made the faces dance before I devoured them into flame.//

It was actually an apt parallel, though the faces were different, do what he had done with Morton in Glacia to ensure Karla's safety. Get what information he needed from their targets, and then burn them away. And if he was too tired to go into their heads and muck around first, and if they hadn't already been killed by Morton, he'd feel every moment of it too, as if from somewhere far away.

They'd learned early that it was far preferable for a blade to deliver the killing strike, if they wanted to be particularly functional for the remainder of the night.


2015-03-15 05:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Given last night's talk and Hannibal's recent transformation, the imagery was no mystery. And given Jono's predisposition to guilt, neither was the rest. Hannibal could have told him that; could have said that there was no reason for it, or that it was only a dream. But Jono knew all of that already.

Instead, he did what he always did when Jono woke from a nightmare. "Share my breaths. I'm breathing deeply; focus on that." He took another, then another. "Feel the air moving."


2015-03-15 05:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

Jono nodded his head a little bit and did as he was instructed, pouring his focus into attuning himself to the sensation of the air moving in and out of Hannibal's lungs. In, and then out. In, and then out. In a way, it was actually more soothing than if he'd been able to do so himself. It took slightly more focus away from the dream itself, after all, just to tap into Hannibal's senses in the first place.

In... and then out.

//I hate this,// he murmured, leaning a little more heavily into Hannibal as he felt himself calming down.

He was probably referring to the nightmares and the ensuing panic. Probably.


2015-03-15 06:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

"I know." Hannibal kissed Jono's temple and just held him, prepared to wait for as long as he needed it.


2015-03-15 06:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

Jono nodded and leaned a little closer still, before finally, finally glancing up again.

//You never said,// he hedged, //why Karla thought it would be a bad idea to tell me you did those things. I know plenty of people who would do the same. Who have.//


2015-03-15 06:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Hannibal just looked back for a moment, assessing. Then he nodded. The nightmare might still be hanging about, but with Jono tuned into his steady breathing, there was unlikely to be a better time.

"It was less due to the killing, and more due to the artistry. Both that at the scenes, and the more private type I reserved some pieces for. She said that you had had your own prior bad experiences."

You were sharp, Jono; could you figure it out from that?


2015-03-15 06:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

With the combination of Hannibal's most notable hobby, the pieces of the murdered that had gone missing, and Karla's mention of bad experiences, it would have been difficult not to. Add to that the spectre of his dream, the snake devouring his prey, and what you wound up with was a Jonothon who had gone deathly still.

Deathly still, and he was praying that he was mistaken.

//You've been eating them.//

Of course. Of course he had.



2015-03-15 06:58 pm (UTC) (Link)


Hannibal was breathing still. Focus on his breaths, Jono. Could you feel his heartbeat, slow and steady?

"I prefer to eat those that deserve no better."


2015-03-15 07:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

Breaths. Breathing. Heartbeat. All of those things, those parts of Hannibal, that he'd been allowed to use as a focus. Encouraged to. There they sat, breathing together. Existing together. Being alive together.

If Jono had a heart in his chest, it might've skipped a beat. If he had lungs of his own, he'd be holding his breath. But there Hannibal went, continuing to live, continuing to breathe.

//And... how do you judge who does and doesn't deserve better?//


2015-03-15 07:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

"How does anybody?" Hannibal asked. "I use my best judgment. And I'm very good at evaluating people."


2015-03-15 07:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Jono nodded a little, deciding that maybe saying outright that 'eating people' was probably not exactly the most sound judgment out there. But then, who the hell was he to say that? It wasn't as though he was a pillar of wise decisions and respectable life choices, himself.

//When Emplate did it,// he shared, //it was a matter of who would give him the most power when he gorged himself on their marrow. When Dracula - my world's Dracula - did it, it was because he thought I'd make a powerful pet, and he had a grudge against my family. I'm sorry, Hannibal. I have to ask. I'm trying to understand.//


2015-03-15 07:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

"Why apologize?" Hannibal asked. He kissed Jono's temple again. "I appreciate that you're asking." He leaned his head against Jono's. "I don't choose people because of my cooking, though I may choose what I take from them because of it."

He stroked Jono's hair lightly. "I choose them because they are rude. Ugly. Life is a beautiful gift. I dislike those who would make it an ugly thing for others without reason."

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