Hannibal lay awake, his fine sheets scratching at his back and his cock achingly hard. He was in heat.
Retinul, the drug he’d been taking every day since it had been invented, meant that his heats were manageable. He was spared the indignity of turning into a mewling omega. He refused to be one of those weak and pitiful creatures who would cry and beg for an alphas knot every three months. He was the master of his own biology and he would not let the world see him as anything less than a purebred alpha. He was so far beyond the swine that surrounded him and he refused to be looked down upon just because he had had the misfortune to be born an omega.
He’d tried, in the past, to blunt the burn of his desire by hunting during his heats. It was not ideal. His mind was not as organised as it usually was and there was a chance that he’d make a mistake. He could not afford to ever be anything less than perfectly meticulous. If he were finally caught solely because of his heat addled mind, if he were finally caught because he was an omega, then he would be humiliated. It was better, safer, to not hunt. His freezer was full anyway and the burning in his loins had curbed the pangs of his appetite.
It was a sleepless night. He was aroused and hungry, he yearned for control. Killing was more satisfying than fucking. Or so Hannibal imagined. An alpha would never allow themselves to be fucked, so nor had Hannibal. He might have taken a beta or an omega to his bed, but they would have realised that he lacked a knot.
He rose and dressed himself in the armor of an self-respecting alpha. He was fortunate that, physically, he so closely resembled the American ideal of the broad-shouldered alpha. The tie tightened around his neck as the double windsor slid into place, nestling against his collar and he felt complete. The Retinul erased his abhorrent omega scent and he refused to wear an alpha cologne that would give him a fake and chemically stench. Instead, he smelled of nothing and those who met him assumed that, as a psychiatrist, he took scent suppressants for the benefit of his delicate patients. He sniffed his wrist carefully as he adjusted his cuffs; even after a drug suppressed heat, he was still entirely without scent.
Working with Jack Crawford was going to prove fascinating and he was interested to meet the man was supposed to have the ability to catch him. In person, Will Graham was a disappointment to behold. As an alpha he was a failure; his thin frame made him look weak and he stank of dogs and rotten fish. It amused Hannibal to poke at the man’s pathetic defenses and watch him retaliate with all the aggression of a yapping puppy.
“I’m sorry, Will. Observing is what we do. I can’t shut mine off any more than you can shut yours off,” Hannibal apologised with all the sincerity that was expected of an alpha.
“Please, don’t psychoanalyze me. You won’t like me when I’m psychoanalyzed,” Graham spat out, not looking at Hannibal. He had planned to do nothing more than toy with the FBI profiler and use him merely as a way to ingratiate himself into the Bureau but what he saw before him was a beautiful opportunity.
“Will,” Jack Crawford warned, but Hannibal only had eyes for Will Graham.
“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go give a lecture on psychoanalyzing.”
“Maybe we shouldn’t poke him like that, Doctor. Perhaps a less, uh, direct approach,” Jack said, not understanding the beauty that Hannibal had seen flare to life.
“What he has,” Hannibal began, his face composed, “Is pure empathy. He can assume your point of view, or mine, and maybe some other points of view that scare him. It’s an uncomfortable gift, Jack, to be able to mirror anyone.”
He smiled to himself as he walked freely along the corridors of the FBI. Mirrors would reflect back anything, mirrors had no control over what they reflected; if a mirror was placed in just the right way it could be made to reflect anything at all.
A mirror could reflect anything their owner wanted. And Hannibal wanted. He wanted Will as uncomfortable in his body as he already was in his mind. He wanted Will to loathe his alpha knot. He wanted Will to feel that he’d been born into the wrong skin, just as Hannibal had been. And then, when Will was desperate and broken, Hannibal would save him.
He killed a girl and left her for Will to understand the Shrike’s design.
If Will Graham had been an omega, or even a beta, Hannibal would have invited himself round to the man’s house for breakfast and to celebrate his kill. But Will was an alpha and it would be considered rude, almost an act of aggression, if Hannibal invaded Will’s territory without his consent.
Will would not come to him of his own volition, he would have to coaxed and groomed. Hannibal sat through one of his morning lectures. Sitting near the back as he watched the little alpha quake, recounting to his class what it felt like to be inside the head of serial killer, Hannibal had to keep a tight control over himself to stop himself getting aroused as his cock hardened. Retinul kept his asshole tight and dry but it did nothing to stop the spike of lust. He wanted to rip into Will Graham, he wanted to penetrate and tear until there wasn’t a thought in Will Graham’s head that he hadn’t put there.
“Good morning, Will. Your lecture was fascinating, your students are very lucky to be able to benefit from your experience.”
Will’s lip curled in a snarl but he ducked his head, trying to hide his ingrained hostility.
“Deposed in court. The adventure will be yours and mine today.”
Will gathered up the papers from his desk, each move skittish and nervous, as if he were already aware that he was the lesser alpha.
“I would apologize for my analytical ambush yesterday, but I know I will soon be apologizing again and you’ll tire of that eventually, so I have to consider using apologies sparingly.”
“Just keep it professional,” Will muttered, his arms cradling his papers like an omega cradling a newborn.
“Or we could socialize, like adults. God forbid we become friendly.”
“I don’t like other alphas,” Will snapped back as he walked past Hannibal. With Will’s back to him, Hannibal allowed himself a toothy, shark-like smile.
“You will,” he promised his profiler, following after him as they began their hunt for the Minnesota Shrike. It was fascinating to watch Will twitch his way through the investigation but Hannibal wanted to see his little pet covered in blood. He wanted to see him kill and be glorious. He picked up the phone and warned Garret Jacob Hobbs that the FBI was on their way.
Hannibal’s warning worked more perfectly than he had dared hope. The wife was already dead when they arrived and seconds later his Will became a killer to rescue the omega daughter.
Hannibal’s finger pressed against her neck, holding her life blood inside her whilst Will collapsed next to him. He had killed her father and saved her life, but his anguish at becoming a killer was more beautiful than the scent of blood that misted the air. Will had wanted this girl to live. Hannibal staunched her blood flow and looked at her, calculating how she would fit into Will’s life.
The teenage omega looked up at him with wide, scared eyes. Will would love this vapid little creature; he would feel responsible for her being orphaned and his lacklustre alpha instincts would be awoken. He would protect her from the world, just as her father had. Perhaps he would love her as an adopted father, but maybe it would be more. The omega would be able to control him through his guilt.
Hannibal was sickened by the thought of anyone else manipulating his newest toy. He let his fingers loosen around her neck so that her blood began to seep out and onto the cheap linoleum that lined the kitchen floor. It pooled around her, soaking into Will’s jeans as he huddled, hiding himself away so that he didn’t have to see his victim.
If only she’d been a beta, then he could have let her live. She might have been useful to him.
“Did you just rubber stamp me?” Will asked in surprise, looking down in amazement from Hannibal’s elevated catwalk. Hannibal tilted his head to look up at him. It was necessary to try and look Will in the eye as he assured him that their conversations were important him, but it pained him to bare his neck to the alpha. He didn’t usually allow any of his patients up there, but Will was special. He’d gone up there to hide, rather than to find a higher position to assert dominance over Hannibal, like any other alpha would have done..
“Yes. Jack Crawford may lay his weary head to rest knowing he didn’t break you, and our conversations can proceed unobstructed by paperwork.”
“Jack thinks real alphas don’t need therapy. He’d never admit it out loud, but that’s what he thinks. And now he’s sending me to get therapy!” Will laughed bitterly.
“What you need is a way out of dark places when Jack sends you there, your dynamic is irrelevant.”
“Yeah, says the ..” Will made an abortive gesture with his hand and gave a one shouldered shrug. Hannibal understood what Will did not say. His whole office was unashamedly alpha: the furniture laid out to intimidate his patients into submission. “Alpha,” Will finished, glumly.
Hannibal looked around his office slowly, as if Will’s words had only just made him realise how alpha his office was. As if he hadn’t spent hours planning out every detail to project the exact impression that he desired.
Hannibal did not remind him that Will was himself an alpha.
“Our inner thoughts often bleed out into the way we present ourselves to the world. By the things that we surround ourselves with. Tell me, what do you surround yourself with, Will?”
Will snorted and turned his back to Hannibal. He didn’t mind. The seeds of Will’s submission had already been sown. He could be patient and wait for Will to bloom. Their unofficial chats became regular meetings and during each session Hannibal watched and waited for signs that the skittish alpha was growing into a demure omega.
“Sometimes, I imagine, it must feel like your mind is betraying you. How can you know which thoughts are your own, and which belong to one of Jack’s monsters?”
“I’m not insane,” Will spat out viciously before hunching his shoulders over and making himself look as small as possible. He no longer physically fled from Hannibal, instead he sat opposite him and looked beautiful; his head bowed down in complete submission. Most alphas, when in another alpha’s territory, would be struggling for dominance; they would be quick to anger and prone to aggressive posturing. Hannibal savoured the alpha’s discomfort as Will squirmed in his seat. The alpha’s eyes remained fixed on the floor, but Hannibal didn’t let his delight show on his face. He had barely begun his game of converting Will to his desires, but, here, already were the first tangible signs of what Will might eventually become.
“No, dear Will, you are not insane,” Hannibal said neutrally, “But there is no shame in admitting when you are a little lost, when you are in need of guidance.”
Will scowled at his knee.
“And that’s what you’re offering is it? To be my guide?” Will’s voice was quiet but full of sarcasm.
Hannibal resisted a smile as he clasped his hands together and put them in his lap. Every mannerism that he used let the world know that he was an alpha and that he was in control. He waited for Will to empty his lungs with a quietly irate huff.
“Is that what you feel you need? Everyone has certain expectations of you, and your disorder molds you to fit their expectations. Have you ever truly considered what you would be if you weren’t surrounded by those expectations?”
“I cope. I’ve always coped!”
“Indeed you have, but that is not what I’m asking.”
Will’s head fell, his neck was bared so submissively that Hannibal wanted to bite into it. He wanted to feel Will’s blood rushing into his mouth. Of course, they could never bond. Will lacked the necessary gland.
“Some of the dogs are sick. The vet doesn’t know what’s wrong with them,” Will shuffled awkwardly in his chair so that the leather creaked noisily. Will stilled automatically, embarrassed to have attracted attention to himself. Hannibal hid his smile. The drug that he had laced the dogs food with was not particularly harmful. It was unlikely to kill any of Will’s pack, except perhaps a few of the smaller animals.
“You cannot be responsible for everything that happens to your pack, Will. You have done a wonderful job looking after so many, but there is no shame in admitting when things become too much for you.”
“I haven’t been there enough. I keep on having to ask the neighbor to help out. I paid for a dog sitting service,” Will’s voice was barely a whisper. “When I was a kid every alpha I knew kept dogs. I can look after my dogs, my pack.”
“Of course, Will, of course. I would be very happy to assist you in any way that I can. Perhaps a change of environment would be good for them. You could bring them here. I have a heated shed in my back yard that would be perfectly suitable.”
Will shook his head reflexively.
“No! No, they’re my dogs. I can look after them.”
Hannibal stood and walked away, ostensibly to pour Will a glass of water from the small glass carafe that he kept in his office. It would be better if he didn’t have to drug Will so early on, but Hannibal was perfectly prepared to do just that. The omega hormones would only cause a few minor physical changes, but studies had shown that they could make alphas more docile.
Hannibal foresaw a time in the future when Will would swallow these pills down eagerly, a time when Will would freely choose to take such hormones to make his body more suitably omega for Hannibal’s pleasure. But, that would be far in the future. For now, Will would not know if Hannibal drugged him.
He paused, the bottle of hormones resting just above Will’s water glass.
“I couldn’t impose on you like that. Do you really think it would make any difference if I brought them here?”
Hannibal put the lid back on the bottle and slipped the hormones back into his pocket. It was not necessary to add anything to Will’s water, he could be made into a perfect companion without any drug-induced artifice. Hannibal smiled.
“Yes. There may be something toxic in their environment. I’m sure a little time away from Wolf Trap would do them the world of good.”
Will nodded worriedly and took the water that Hannibal offered him. He sipped it quickly, gulping it back loudly.
“Thanks,” Will muttered, handing the empty glass back to Hannibal. “What do you tell Jack about our sessions?”
“I am not your psychiatrist, Will, but I still view our discussions as private.”
WIll nodded slowly and rubbed a hand through his poorly maintained facial hair. It was an alpha affectation that Hannibal was looking forward to stripping from him.
“I don’t need a psychiatrist,” Will’s voice broke slightly, “I don’t need anyone analysing me!”
Hannibal cocked his head and regarded Will. The air took on the salty tang of fresh tears, but Will’s cheeks were still dry.
“Perhaps you just need a friend.”
“Are you offering?” Will snapped back sarcastically, fidgeting awkwardly in his chair. “I’ve been thinking about bonding. I tend to scare most omegas, I empathise with them. I feel what its like to be weaker and I want… I don’t want to protect them.”
Will’s eyes flicked up quickly to look at Hannibal and then away. His silent bid for reassurance; that there was nothing wrong with being an unbonded alpha in his thirties. Most alphas bonded as soon as they were able, the hormones that drove them were too strong for most to keep in check. Hannibal himself was occasionally asked why he was not bonded. People who asked such impertinent questions rarely remained alive to ask a second time.
Will took his glasses off and cleaned the lenses on his shirt sleeve. He rubbed away at it with nervous energy, although Hannibal knew that Will wasn’t paying attention to what he was doing. He was waiting desperately for Hannibal’s response.
Hannibal let him wait for a few long seconds as he savoured the way that Will associated his friendship with prospect of bonding. Will had taken to Hannibal’s manipulations so easily that he almost wondered if he could have risked a more direct approach
“Not every alpha is suited to bonding with an omega. Sexuality is rarely so easy to define.”
Will blushed slightly and looked up from the floor. His eyes settled on Hannibal’s crotch and Hannibal spread his legs slightly, so the bulge between his legs was more obvious.
“I’ll, uh,” Will crossed his legs hurriedly, “Bring the dogs round tomorrow?”
The dogs were a disaster. They shed more hair than seemed possible and made walking through the garden tortuous. Privately, Hannibal seethed at having to remove dog hair from every item of clothing that he wore each day, but he didn’t show his disgust to Will.
Two of the dogs had died before Will brought them to live with him. Five was still far too many and he shuddered to think how much hair seven dogs would have generated. Will visited him every day. Ostensibly to see his dogs, but each time he stayed a little longer, just spending time with Hannibal in his kitchen while he cooked.
“I’ve been thinking about what you said about bonding,” Will said, sitting in his kitchen with a glass of wine in his hand and more comfortable than an alpha should be while on another alpha’s territory. “I hadn’t really thought about being with a beta. I guess I always thought my empathy made me different enough without being gay.”
Hannibal’s hand paused as he whisked the flour, vinegar and the blood of a rude Swedish tourist.
“Have you had reason to question your sexuality before?” he asked in a steady voice, watching Will’s reflection in the window intently, but not turning round so that Will had the illusion of privacy.
“Yeah, well, no,” Will shrugged to himself. “I mean, sex is too revealing.”
Hannibal turned and caught Will blushing bright red. He pretended not to notice and asked his next question with a professional lack of judgement or concern.
“You see what your partner desires of you?”
Will gulped back his wine and Hannibal refilled the glass quickly so that Will couldn’t use that as an excuse to leave.
“I went out with an omega in college. I’d never had a relationship before and we didn’t… She’d kiss me and I could see her disappointment, she wanted this big, strong alpha to dominate her and tell her what to do all the time. And it was so easy to be the person she wanted me to be.” Will shoulders slumped and he took another sip of wine, his eyes glazing slightly as the alcohol affected him. “I thought, if I loved someone and it was so easy for me to pretend, then there’s no problem. Until I realised I wasn’t myself anymore, I’d warped myself into this whole new person just for her passing affection. So I stopped. And, of course, she dumped me and I haven’t gone near an omega since. Betas don’t want alphas, but,” he shrugged awkwardly and took a glug of wine.
It was not quite what he had planned, but the ease with which Will decided to experiment with homosexuality cheered Hannibal greatly. The question of why Will had never thought to experiment himself sat heavily between them. He knew everyone in Will’s life and there was only one beta who could have put such thoughts in his head. Alana Bloom.
He poured the blood mixture into the pot of hot stock on the stove, not letting his anger show as he stirred.
“Is that blood?”
“Yes, I’m making svartsoppa, a Swedish blood soup. Would you care to join me for dinner?
The man was so clearly torn between his desire to please his alpha and his repulsion at the sight of the fresh blood.
“I don’t want to intrude.”
“Nonsense, dear Will,” Hannibal said loudly, abandoning the saucepan and reaching around Will to get out two bowls from the cupboard. “I hope you realise you are always welcome here.”
Will fidgeted with his glasses, looking at Hannibal’s chin. There was no hint of aggression at another alpha being so close to him; he looked more uncomfortable with Hannibal’s ready affection than his proximity.
“If you’re sure there’s enough.”
Hannibal smiled gently and sniffed. Will’s alpha scent had never been strong but it smelled even weaker this evening. It was as if Will’s body realised its purpose before his mind did.
“Very sure, Will. Would you take these to the dining room? The soup needs a few finishing touches and then I’ll put it in a tureen and bring it through.”
Will nodded non-committally, not even realising the significance of his actions and went to wait for his alpha to bring him food. It was not a heavy meal, but Hannibal enjoyed himself immensely. Will’s progress was astonishing and he talked openly about the latest killer that the FBI were hunting. The killer even had some degree of taste; he turned his victims in musical instruments. It was an intriguing concept, made all the more fascinating by the open way that Will spoke. As he spoke about his work, he calmed down and stopped fidgeting, even daring to glance up at Hannibal’s eyes a few time during the meal. He was an omega being soothed by the presence of his alpha.
Hannibal had another heat that night. It was two weeks early. He hadn’t felt this frustrated since he started taking Retinul. The scratchy sheets irritated his skin more than they ever had before and he was forced from his bed. He spent the night in the shower, painfully humping the wall and thinking of his sweet William. The man was so close to being perfect. He would open up beneath Hannibal, giving him his virgin ass because Hannibal, even in the body of an omega, was a more powerful alpha than Will Graham. He would beg Hannibal to fuck him and Hannibal would be merciful.