Cupping Hannibal's face within weathered hands, mother exclaimed, "It is you! I wasn't convinced the man I'd met and spoken to was Hannibal Lecter. From your crimes, I wouldn't think you could be capable of the compassion you've shown."
"My crimes? So called, if you ask me. I am human, mother. I am capable of a great many things. Some of it very good, and as you've mentioned, some very bad, not unlike your God."
She patted his cheeks as she spoke, "He is your God, too. You mentioned you were attempting to earn your place in his kingdom."
"Yes, I did mention that, and you agreed to help me, did you not?"
He watched her eyes.
Sparkling with the joy of recognition, she patted his arm before settling fully in her seat.
"Yes, I did agree, but that was before I knew who you were."
Ever the gentleman, Hannibal remained standing until she was seated. When she appeared comfortable, he gracefully sidestepped between the chair and the table. It took a moment to adjust to the freedom of unchained legs, his stride somewhat shortened, but his movements were fluid. Smooth.
"Does it matter who I am? Paul, or Saul of Tarsus as he was previously know, was a persecutor of Jews before heeding his call."
Nodding, she agreed, "You're right. It doesn't matter."
The rhythm of prison life had taken hold in the short weeks he'd been incarcerated. Institutionalization was a sense memory he wore like a shawl. Draped over him while held, he'd shrug it from his shoulders the moment he found freedom once more.