The boy was so young and desperate for affection. The other boys mostly ignored him; he had no Lithuanian and no-one would bother to learn English for him. Instead, he was shouted out in increasingly loud and angry tones until the boy correctly guessed what was expected of him. They didn’t sleep in the same dormitory, but Hannibal had seen the bruises on the boy’s body; he was not a defender of the young and innocent any more, that part of his life had been ripped away from him. The young American’s troubles were none of his concern.
The American would be an omega. Hannibal could smell it on him already. He was only six but the scent of his latent fecundity was there for anyone who cared to notice. No-one noticed.
The omegas were kept in a separate wing and not allowed to mix with the alphas and betas. Their windows were screwed shut and stopped up with cloth, so that the teenage alphas couldn’t smell them and go mad with lust. The betas who ran the orphanage grumbled about the extra responsibilities that come with looking after so many omegas; the effort they had to go to tying them down when they were in heat; how careful they must be with the omega’s fragile bones when they beat them. And yet, in return, the orphanage would not be paid a bride price when the omegas are claimed by their alphas. The omegas who grew up in this orphanage would be thrown outside the gate when they turn eighteen and be claimed for free by the first alpha to wander past.
When the American presented, in a few years time, he would be thrown in that wing and not allowed outside again. Not until he was placed outside the gates, like so much rubbish. Hannibal didn’t care; it was unfortunate that the boy’s life was already mapped out but it was not his concern. It was just another example of the barbarity of mankind.
Nonetheless, it was still pleasant to sniff the American. The scent was very faint and Hannibal had to be close to him in order to smell it. The boy had taken to him, searching him out when the other boys bullying became too much. Hannibal did nothing to protect the American, but the younger boys were too scared of him to stay in his presence long. The American was scared of him too, but not enough to stay away and take a beating. The boy risked the unknown silence of Hannibal against the certainty of the younger boys fists; it was curious but Hannibal had other things to occupy his mind. His family home was being plundered and he had bullies of his own to contend with.
The American didn’t talk much, there wasn’t much point. Of course, Hannibal remembered his English lessons and he understood the few things that the boy tried to tell him. Maybe not everything that the boy said, but he understood that the American was not an orphan; that he had been abandoned by his father. He knew the boy’s name was William.
Today, he had snuck out and hidden himself in the woods. Hannibal knew he would not be missed for hours, perhaps not even until tomorrow, depending on whose duty it was to check the beds tonight, and how drunk the man was.
He could feel his Rut approaching. It would be his second, and he already loathed it.
There were so many advantages to being an alpha; the little betas were so easily cowed by him, it only took a glance. But, in return, he had to pay a price. Every three months he would lose control of himself, his sanity slipping away as he felt a violent need for something. He needed to bite and thrust and grind and he wanted so much. When he got older he would have an omega, and the medical books said it would make his Rut easier. His omega’s blood would sooth him, let him keep his sanity and cool the fires of his desire.
Hannibal supposed it would be worth it. He hated the idea of sharing his life again, of having someone who depended on him, but he would rather that than live like some mindless animal.
He’d found a small clearing, isolated and perfect, where he could pass his Rut without the interference of anyone from the orphanage. He did not want to be shut up in a cell in the cellar again. Lying down on the grass, gazing at the sky, as he slowly fisted his cock, was far better. It was still early yet and his hand felt good, rather than the almost painful desperation that would come later as his biology betrayed him, driving him to do whatever was necessary to claim and impregnate.
A faint scent wafted through the clearing and Hannibal knew he was no longer alone. He jumped to his feet, making no move to hide his nakedness but ready for any attack. He took a deep breath through his nose and recognised the scent. It was little William, come to find him to escape from his bullies. This time it would have been better if the boy had stayed in the orphanage and let the other boys beat him.
A twig snapped and Hannibal knew exactly where the little boy was. He relaxed his stance and watched the large tree that William was hiding behind. A small head peered round the trunk, a mop of dark hair sat on his head. The child was far too innocent, he didn’t even understand the danger of following an alpha in their Rut. Hannibal beckoned him forward with a blunt finger.
He wasn’t sure what he was going to do to the boy. He could do anything.
Even now, the boy had no sense of self-preservation. Wide, blue eyes stared up at Hannibal. The child’s eyes reminded him too much of Mischa, and her blind trust that her brother would make everything better. Hannibal’s cock bobbed close to the child’s face.
Hannibal got to his knees and looked the child in the eyes.
“Why are you nay beard?” William asked, his face curious. Hannibal cocked his head and thought about the question. His English was too limited to understand anything beyond the fact that William had no idea of the danger he was in.
“I fight tria dol but you wy doo l’hungry?” William asked shyly. The boy reached into his pocket and brought out two biscuits, offering them to Hannibal on a flattened palm. He stared down at the boy’s small hand. With his wrist exposed, Hannibal could smell that trace of latent omega more strongly than ever.
He took the two, dry biscuits and put them on the grass.
“You don’t like fiz gou?” William looked down at the biscuits with a frown, “I she tokem pour you.”
William seemed sad that he hadn’t eaten the proffered food. Hannibal almost smiled at the child’s simplicity. Instead, he started to undo the buttons of William’s orphanage issued shirt. The metal buttons slipped out easily and, although William stiffened slightly, he still had no suspicions of what Hannibal was about to do.
The cheap, scratchy shirt was quickly undone, and William made no protest as Hannibal pushed it from his shoulders. The boy was as thin as everyone else that lived in the orphanage. His pale flesh was littered with bruises, some dark and only a few days old, some yellow smudges that were all that remained of last weeks beatings.
The scent of omega was even stronger now. Stronger than Hannibal could ever remember, although he knew he must have smelled stronger omega scents before. After all, his mother had been an omega.
His stillness had finally alarmed William. The little boy shivered despite the sunshine.
“Whaz rog? Is chute be nef? Hannibol?” William’s face twisted in concern. It was amazing that, even so many years before he would present as an omega, William was exhibiting all the caring tendencies that omega were renowned for.
With the child in front of him, Hannibal’s sexual desire had died, but the need to own and to bite and to conquer remained as strong as ever. Moving as fast as a snake, he struck. He buried his face in William’s neck and bit down. His teeth burst through skin and blood vessels and, finally, the small, underdeveloped bonding gland that lay buried and dormant. It tasted delicious, sweet and innocent and purer than anything he’d eaten in years. After years of orphanage rations, this was perfection. He gulped back the blood and the sweet nectar that had been inside the bonding gland.
He pulled back and realised that William was screaming at him. Small fists were beating ineffectually at his chest and shoulders. He released the child, but the boy couldn’t stand on his own two feet and William collapsed on to the grass. Hannibal didn’t help him up. He had done what he wanted. He had claimed an omega, albeit a juvenile one, and his Rut was already calming.
Hannibal dressed slowly as William continued to sob into the ground. His hands still trembled slightly with the hormones that had flooded his system, but his cock was soft. He’d thought before about leaving the orphanage, he’d already realised that there was nothing left for him there. There was no reason to return now, not when he would only be returning to be punished for biting William. As it was, the young omega was injured and would take several hours to return to the orphanage. That would give him time to get back to there, gather a few belongings and take a bloody revenge on the alpha who had been taunting him.
He slipped from the clearing without a further thought about the sobbing boy he was leaving behind.
It was only years later, sitting in a lecture hall in Paris, that Hannibal learned about the dangers of bonding with juvenile, unpresented omegas. The lecturer droned on about curing the sexual dysmorphia of beta-omegas with the application of alpha saliva when he mentioned how this condition could, occasionally, be confused with cases of child abuse. An early puncture of the bonding gland would stop an omega from properly developing, and they would remain unpresented unless they were exposed to the saliva of the alpha that they had formed a nascent bond with. The omega would be forever trapped as a prepubescent omega, some even believing themselves to actually be betas.
Sitting there, the youngest man in the room, he’d felt a shiver of pleasure, thinking of William, his omega, still in that Lithuanian orphanage and thinking himself a beta. His biology permanently subdued because of Hannibal’s bite. It was a powerful feeling. To have so much control over someone, despite not having touched them in years.
Perhaps the boy’s father had finally rescued him and returned him to America. Hannibal looked down and smiled into his notes. A person on the other side of the world was living every second of their life affected by him.
His own Ruts were practically non-existent nowadays, and he’d always supposed that as he had matured he been able to control them better. That age had given him mastery over his own body. But now he learned that it was because his body was reacting to the bonding bite. That he was, in essence, permanently bonded to the little American. He would only go into full Rut as a response to his omega’s heat. That was unsettling thought, he disliked the idea of his biology being tied to anyone; but as he would never see his omega again, it was not particularly important. Even later, when he emigrated to America, he didn’t think of his little omega.
The niceties of American society perplexed him, although he did not let his demeanor betray that. Omegas were treated with what liberals liked to call equality. If anything, alphas were the ones who were prejudiced against for being more aggressive and vicious. Hannibal made sure to present himself as being as calm and placid as possible; the mask he wore to fit into one society could easily be changed for another. He learned to call it his musth instead of his Rut; musth implied that an alpha’s actions were driven by elevated hormones, Rut implied the alpha was an animal driven to brutality because it was time to breed. One garnered sympathy, the other fear. Hannibal saw only hypocrisy in differentiating between the two words.
The years past and Hannibal worked as a doctor, revelling in the blood and gore that surrounded him everyday and taking a childish joy in holding between his hands the lives of his patients. As he matured, he found such entertainment became garish. Instead, he took up psychiatry and found that playing with people’s minds could be much more entertaining, and rendered him no less powerful.
It also led to the most interesting of situations. Which was how Hannibal found himself in Jack Crawford’s office being introduced to Will Graham. At first glance the man was nothing special, his clothes too baggy and his hair unkempt.
The man reeked of beta cologne and dog to an almost offensive degree. Hannibal sniffed delicately, sampling the air to find the man’s natural scent. There, buried beneath so much dross, was a the faintest whiff of something long forgotten. His little American. His omega.
He was still unpresented, just as the studies had said that he would be. His omega, walking around and thinking himself a beta. Hannibal drank in the sense of pure power. With one act his teenaged self had altered this man’s entire life drastically. It was beautiful.
Finally, Hannibal got to see the omega’s face properly. There was a confused flicker across Will’s face, not quite recognition. His omega had grown up to be exquisite, despite the scruffy beard and beta stink that clung to him. Will clearly had to hide how weak his natural scent was with beta toiletries.
Will frowned at him and glanced up to look at his face, still not quite looking into his eyes. Hannibal steeled his face to hide his amusement. His mate was utterly fascinating; nervous and fluttering gestures that Hannibal found more arousing than the usual preening displays of unbonded omegas. He could see the boy in the man before him, still shy, alone and isolated from everyone around him.
It was deliciously ironic that the profiler of the Chesapeake Ripper was the killer’s mate. He’d never considered finding his omega before; Hannibal enjoyed his solitary existence, but now he found himself tempted to just lean over and bite Will. To push his saliva into his bonding bite until the smaller man knew who he belonged to. To bend him over and fuck the beta scent out of him.
Will left Jack’s office angrily, and Hannibal leaned back, watching him leave, with a thoughtful expression on his face. When Will was truly his, the omega would know better than to be so rude. Although Hannibal had no desire for a completely submissive omega, the bond that would form between them would make Will more attuned to Hannibal’s desires. It would be fascinating to watch how the bond reacted with Will’s empathy. The omega would also wear much tighter clothes. The man would be beautiful in a tightly tailored suit; the clothing displaying his figure and his lack of ease in expensive clothes would show that it was his apha who had dressed him.
“Sometimes, I think it would have been better if Will had been born an omega,” Jack said wearily. Hannibal raised a questioning eyebrow. “He’s very useful, but…”
Hannibal heard the words that Jack did not say; Will would be more manageable if he were easier to manipulate. For all the politeness and semantics of American society, the casual sexism was still there for all to see.
“I believe I maybe of some assistance,” Hannibal schooled his face to be the picture of professionalism and thought about how he would arrange his next kill. This one would be just for Will, a courting gift really. It didn’t occur to Hannibal to not claim his omega, it was only a question of how he would go about it.
But, later, he found himself too distracted to hunt and instead absorbed himself with the slow cooking of a cyclist who had pedaled into his car and scratched the paintwork. The man’s braised belly would make wonderful rillettes. Even in the sanctity of his kitchen, he could not put Will entirely from his mind. He would feed Will, would fill his stomach with human flesh just as surely as he would eventually fill him with children.
He doubted Will had ever taken an alpha to his bed; this was a man who didn’t like to make eye contact, sex with an alpha, even flirting with an alpha, would have been too overwhelming for him. Perhaps Will was gay; beta-omega pairings were not uncommon, especially in this modern age when relationships where procreation was impossible were less frowned upon than they had been in the past. Of course, Will would have assumed he was the beta partner. Would he have been charmed by the gentle submissiveness of another omega? Would he have assumed that his own desire to be filled and fucked was just him empathising with his omega partner?
Of course, even if that were true, it didn’t matter anymore. Will would learn to love what he would soon become; what Hannibal would make him into.
Hannibal adjusted himself, his cock hardening as he imagined his Will naked and nubile, sweaty and wanton. The only question that remained was how he would take his Will.