Hannibal doesn’t usually frequent this area. The houses are all squat, aged things when they manage not to be trailers. It reminds him altogether too much and not at all of the cold backwaters of Lithuania. Something to do with the eyes, he supposes. A certain hardened desperation.
But this is not usual. He’s been invited to a prestigious Psychology Conference in New Orleans. Except the presitigious conference is not actually in New Orleans, but rather at a luxurious resort outside the city. And while the rooms are stellar and the accommodations excellent, the food offered is decidedly not.
It’s true, that sometimes Hannibal must go off of his preferred… diet, but that never means the quality of his comestibles must drop so far. He refuses to consume the edibles- ha!-provided at the hotel.
This means he must drive long distances to more acclaimed restaurants, to prevent his own imminent starvation.
This means that he must stop at this rundown fuel station in the Louisiana bayou.
This means that, although the fuel station proclaims itself to be ‘full-service’, Hannibal has to walk himself up to the attendant’s window, and knock sharply against the glass to get his attention.
He has to knock twice before the man drops his magazine and turns his attention to Hannibal. Then he requires Hannibal to wait while he finishes his phone call.
The attendant is not apologetic at all.
That’s it. Hannibal has a policy about hunting in strange places, where he is made more vulnerable merely by the simple fact that he doesn’t know the area or the people. Moreover, he cannot take enough meat from each kill. There is no place to store it and he has only mediocre implements to prepare it. It is altogether a waste.
But this, Hannnibal thinks, will be worth it. For the simple pleasure of transporting this lowly, rude, blue collar worker into art. He will cut off the man’s fat hands, sever his jabbering tongue. He’ll slice open his soft belly, so careful not to perforate the intestines and ruin the meat, peel the skin and fat and entrails away, layer by layer, to pull out the man’s liver. He’ll place his hands inside the man’s body cavities, feel the systemic thrum of his heartbeat fade away with his hands. He’ll jab the man’s fat worthless hands into the cavity his liver should hold, until they sprout from his stomach like a grotesque flowering plant. And then he’ll wrap his dead fingers to gently clasp his garrulous tongue, a sweet tender tidbit offered to the investigators who will find him.
For that second, it’s too hard to keep his polite expression on his face, too difficult to pretend to be anything but that harsh lined creature Bedelia sees peeking out of the mask he wears as a second skin. It’s too hard, to be anything but the Alpha predator he is. The beta knows it. For one long moment Hannibal watches his terror unfold across his face.
Then he hears it. A soft, unsure ‘Oh’, no louder than an exhaled breath. Hannibal catches the scent in his nostrils the barest of seconds before he whips his head around.
It’s an omega boy, not more than sixteen or seventeen. So small his arms and legs are not fully grown; his hands and feet just a bit too large at the end of his skinny limbs. The little omega boy’s toes are bare, poking out, winking at Hannibal. Hannibal wonders what it would be like to bite them, to place the bare wriggling his toes in his mouth and mark them with his teeth.
A little Lolita child. Hannibal parts his lips, sucks a mouthful of the boy’s scent into his mouth, runs it delicately over his tongue. It’s exquisite, the scent of young omega ripening, priming up for its first heat. Hannibal fixes the boy with his full attention, watches with satisfaction as the boy’s body freezes, entire body caught up in an omegan startle reflex. He’s frozen, muscles locked up and unable to move. The perfect little prey.
The omega boy is wearing an oversized sweater, the neck stretched and worthless. It is a horrid grey, it’s only redeeming quality that it sags over the boy’s collarbone, revealing a stretch of pure, unblemished skin over skinny, underdeveloped bones. The boy is unmated. This boy, this tiny little strip of an omega cannot have even entered his first heat.
Then the omega boy bravely meets his eyes. For one long moment he looks at Hannibal, unthinkingly meeting an alpha gaze. Hannibal knows the boy sees what Hannibal is in that instant, knows he is looking at the biggest predator he’ll see in his entire life. Hannibal sees fear blossom in the omega’s eyes. The omega hurriedly jerks his eyes down, but it’s too late for Hannibal not to see the intelligence shining in them. The boy is right to be afraid.
Hannibal forces himself to exhale. The boy probably doesn’t know what he’s doing, standing there, his old, oversized sweater falling off of one shoulder and his bare toes curling in the ground. Exuding vulnerability. Tempting any alpha to take his first heat.
His first heat. He can have this beautiful omega child’s first heat. Hannibal looks at the omega boy’s face, angelic and sweet, hiding under a curly mop of soft downy hair. He can take this omega child, can bite his mark in a beautiful ring of red and purple around his neck, can mate him rough and hold him tenderly after, can claim him as Hannibal’s own. The thought brings Hannibal up short.
Just long enough for the omega boy to regain control of his limbs and bolt. Hannibal watches the boy tear off behind the fuel station, leaving only his sweat feverish scent behind. Hannibal rolls it over his tongue one more time, savoring the scent as he would a fine peach before he sunk his teeth into it. He can have that omega boy.
And he will.