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His Gaze

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Hannibal was an extremely meticulous and careful person. Will Graham had picked that up from the moment they had met and interacted with each other in Jack Crawford’s office. Jack Crawford was frustratingly explaining how all the Minnesota Shrike confessions coming in had too many details thanks to Tattle Crime journalist Freddy Lounds. Will was sitting down in front of Jack’s desk while Hannibal perused the map containing the pictures and the locations of the abducted girls.

Will made a comment about the tastelessness of Freddie’s actions, feeling empathetically ashamed at how nonchalant people like her could take and make a profit from the actions of this criminal. It was the utter indifference that was borderline disgusting to Will. This prompted a brief and precise question from Hannibal. Will couldn’t look at him, both because he had just met him and because he felt uncomfortable with eye contact in general. Will was sure if he searched his feelings deeper, he’d find some of the hesitation was due to Hannibal’s profession. He hadn’t had many good experiences with anyone from Hannibal’s line of work.

“Do you have trouble with taste?” Hannibal’s question was light and seemingly conversational, and his voice had a deep timbre to it, his European accent foreign but indistinguishable from where exactly. Will didn’t meet Hannibal’s gaze after the question was directed towards him, but felt it against the skin of his face until Hannibal turned his attentions back on the map. The electricity against his skin calmed.

“My thoughts are often not tasty.” Before he answered, Will took a big breath and practically sighed out his answer. He wasn’t against the psychiatrist making conversation with him, but the question felt odd, prying and unnecessary. Will’s arm reached out for the coffee mug in front of him as Hannibal answered too quickly back.

“Nor mine. No effective barriers.” Hannibal spoke toward the map, leaning in and peering at the white lines drawn between the cities and the corresponding victims. Hannibal also had an offhanded tone, reflecting the way Will answered.

Will personally found it difficult to look at the victims on the board for too long. The pictures of the girls, now eight in total, who all had the same maiden brown hair and bright blue eyes, were smiling back at whoever stared at them, unaware that their lives would be interrupted by a stranger with alternative plans for them. They couldn’t call these actions murders just yet, since they still haven’t found any of the girls’ bodies, but Will knew immediately what they were. Their unknowing happiness and too hopeful faces made Will uneasy and provoked unwanted thoughts into his mind. To distract himself, he lifted the coffee mug from the desk and brought it to his lips, answering swiftly before a big gulp of office coffee. Anything to excuse himself from more unnecessary interaction.

“I make forts.” The office coffee was less than satisfactory, but it didn’t need to taste good for him to make any kind of socially acceptable action to not continue talking. Will felt and heard Hannibal ignore his attempts, however, Hannibal taking strides over toward the other empty chair beside him while pursuing the conversation further.

“Associations come quickly.” Hannibal spoke from behind Will’s chair with Will still gulping at his unsatisfactory coffee. Will wasn’t used to such quick and precise conversation. Will thought that Hannibal’s profession came through slightly with his questions and responses, making Will slightly less cooperative. Before Hannibal had reached his chair, Will gulped down his coffee to respond.

“So do forts.” Will flashed Hannibal a glance as he was finding his seat, hoping that would be enough.