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The Benefits of Murder Families

Chapter Text

 

Hannibal was almost ready to leave for Will's place to poke through his things – under the guise of feeding his dogs, of course – when his personal phone rang. With a slight frown, he noted the California area code and decided that he could spare a few minutes. It wasn't like the dogs would mind if he was late.

“Hello, this is Hannibal Lecter.”

“Hannibal, hi. It's Noah.”

With that, Hannibal felt himself become mildly interested. He hadn't heard from Noah since the man had threatened to arrest him if he'd stayed in Beacon Hills any longer. He still sent things for Mieczyslaw occasionally, and of course put money into the boy's college fund, but kept his word and his distance. It wasn't like he particularly cared about them one way or the other, it was more part of his mask. The genial, far-off 'uncle' figure too busy to visit and with too much money.

“This is a surprise. What can I do for you Noah?”

There was a pause, and Hannibal could hear Noah trying to keep his breathing even. Hm. Getting more interesting.

“It's... Something's wrong with Stiles. He's been getting in trouble, turning up at crime scenes. Last week he went missing. When he came back he was all beat up, but wouldn't say who did it. Then he went out again and crashed his jeep into a building. Something's going on and I don't know how to help him.”

“Fascinating. So you agree that your absentee parenting style might not be the most effective after all?”

“I'm asking for help. There's something wrong with this town, and I want to get Stiles out of here before I lose him completely.”

“And you believe that I'm a suitable guardian? You flatter me.”

“Cut the crap, Hannibal.” Frowning, Hannibal reminded himself that Noah was a Sheriff, and more connected to him than most of his pigs. There would be a great deal of scrutiny if he turned up as art. “At the very least, you could teach him how to avoid getting caught at crime scenes he didn't create.”

“Hm.” That was the closest they would come to acknowledging that Noah was certain that Hannibal was a killer. It was an arrangement they had come to after Claudia's death and Noah's near breakdown. Hannibal stayed on the other side of the country out of Noah's jurisdiction and Noah didn't tell the FBI his suspicions. Noah didn't drink himself to death and let Hannibal pay for Mieczyslaw's education, and Hannibal didn't challenge him for custody. Everyone won.

Well, except the FBI – but they didn't deserve to win.

“Very well. I shall arrange for a ticket to Baltimore. Would he prefer train or aeroplane, do you think?”

“Definitely plane,” Noah huffed a laugh. “Keeping that kid still for a train ride across the country ain't gonna happen.”

After organising the details, Hannibal hung up the phone and thought for a few minutes. His game with Will was just barely starting. Could he afford to pause it while Mieczyslaw was present, or would it be better to change tactics? Perhaps Mieczyslaw would be able to help, but on the other hand his morals might be too strong. It would be a challenge not worth the effort to retrain Mieczyslaw at the same time as he broke down Will.

It took some time, but eventually Hannibal decided to wait and see how Will reacted to Mieczyslaw. Maybe there would be something he could use there. Until then, he would hold off on some of the mind games.

He could still watch the effects of so many killers filtered through a person with such high levels of empathy. That would be very interesting to observe.

 

 

Chapter Text

Hannibal sat at the terminal gate waiting for Mieczyslaw and drawing the boy as he was remembered. His schedule for the afternoon was cleared so that even though the plane inevitably was taking longer than expected to disembark, it wasn't causing more irritation than usual. Finally the first passengers started to trickle through the doors and Hannibal put his sketchbook and pencils away.

Just as he was finishing, a young man came through and met his gaze instantly. There was a fading scrape along his cheek bone and a healing split lip, but there was still defiance in the way he held himself and humour in his grin. That was most definitely Mieczyslaw – and for the first time in many years, Hannibal felt the strange stirrings of protectiveness. He'd have to keep an eye on that. It wouldn't do to get too attached.

“Mieczyslaw,” Hannibal smiled as he extended his greetings, “it's good to see you again. Welcome to Baltimore.”

“Dude, do you have to call me that?” Mieczyslaw's face scrunched up in annoyance, but there was another emotion behind it. Wistfulness? Perhaps.

“It is your name.”

“Only on paper. In real life it's Stiles.”

Deciding to pick his battles, Hannibal bowed his head in acquiescence. It was a small thing to make the boy happy.

“Very well. I shall call you Stiles if you will refrain from calling me 'dude'.”

“I'll try,” Mie-Stiles shrugged. “It's what I call everyone. Are you still okay with Uncle?”

Hannibal considered it for a moment, then nodded. It would help his mask, and it wasn't offensive. It would do.

“Cool,” Stiles continued. “So, where to now?”

“Now we collect your baggage,” Hannibal indicated the direction and they started walking. “Then back to my house. We shall have a light lunch, then you can spend the afternoon getting settled. After dinner we can discuss your plans for the summer. Does that sound agreeable?”

“Sure.” Stiles seemed to relax with the loose plan in place. Hannibal wondered which aspect appealed to him more, the discipline or the freedom. He'd find out which it was over the time the boy was here.

 

~HMF~

 

~HMF~

 

“I trust you slept well?” Hannibal inquired as Stiles came stumbling into the kitchen. The boy still seemed half asleep, though his sniffing indicated he was looking forward to breakfast.

“Yeah, that bed is amazing. Firm and soft and big enough to starfish.”

“I'm glad.”

They passed small talk for a few minutes, as Hannibal finished plating their food. He'd shown Stiles how to use the coffee maker the night before, and the boy seemed to remember well. They sat together at the table, though Hannibal hadn't set it properly. From what he could gather, teenagers were unlikely to appreciate a full dining experience prior to midday. Stiles ate with few manners and little grace, but he was enthusiastic and made several little noises of approval over the sausage and bacon. Hannibal wondered if he would appreciate it quite as much if he knew the source of the meat.

“Do you have any plans for the day?” Hannibal asked as Stiles automatically started gathering up the dishes. He was pleased with how the boy was willing to clean up after himself, it made for a much more polite atmosphere.

“I dunno,” Stiles shrugged. “Watch some TV. Play games. Figured you probably have work.”

“I do. It is only a short day however, I should be finished by two. Would you like to do anything this afternoon?”

“Not really.” There was a moment of silence as Hannibal rinsed off the plates and Stiles finished his coffee. “I kinda just want to relax for a few days. Things at home have been a little crazy. Think I need some time to decompress.”

“That is certainly doable,” Hannibal nodded. “However I hope that you will still leave the house on occasion. For instance, I believe you and Abigail could be of great help to each other.”

“Yeah, that might be good. Meeting someone completely removed from the situation.”

Hannibal had filled Stiles in on Abigail's situation the previous night. The boy had seemed sympathetic to her plight, which was promising.

“Perhaps we could visit her this afternoon. If the two of you are amenable, we could bring her back here for dinner. A home cooked meal would be much better than whatever they serve there.”

“Sure,” Stiles grinned, the good humour quickly taking over his face. “I'm game.”

 

 

Chapter Text

As they pulled up to Abigail's temporary residence, Hannibal kept part of his attention on his ward. Stiles was rarely still, but seemed currently to be fidgeting more than usual. He was chewing on the collar of his shirt, and after turning off the car's engine Hannibal gently reached out and tugged the clothing away. Stiles started as though he hadn't noticed what he was doing, then smiled sheepishly.

“Sorry Uncle. Nervous habit.”

“What is it about meeting Abigail that makes you nervous?”

“It's not necessarily meeting Abigail. It's meeting new people in general. I don't do well with new people.”

“You have trust issues.”

“You could say that.”

“If you want to work on that, I can help you while you stay with me.”

“Free therapy? I'm sure Dad would be thrilled,” Stiles' grin flashed across his face, something sharper peeking out from behind the harmless teen visage. Hannibal was intrigued. Apparently the chaos of the universe had handed him three extremely interesting individuals to play with.

“If that is how you wish to see it,” Hannibal nodded. “However, as I am discovering with Will Graham, sometimes a series of discussions between friends can work just as well.” He'd given Stiles the bare outline of Will, since they would assuredly meet.

“Maybe,” Stiles shrugged as he unclipped his seatbelt. “Would work even better if the secrets were mine to tell.”

Unsure if Stiles had meant that last part to be heard, Hannibal decided to leave the subject for now. Loyalty was an admirable trait, as long as it worked in his favour.

When they got to Abigail's room, Hannibal was curious to see how the teens interacted. There was barely two years between them, and they came from vastly different families, but there was something dark in them both.

“Hey, Abigail,” Stiles waved at the older girl who looked at him, puzzled. “I'm Stiles. Hannibal's kinda like my uncle. He said you could use a friend.”

“I guess I could,” Abigail responded, sitting up on her bed. “You live in Baltimore?”

“Not usually. I'm from this tiny town in California, but things got weird and Dad sent me to stay with Uncle Hannibal for a while.”

“Oh, okay.” Abigail seemed a little disappointed, but recovered quickly.

“So since this place probably sucks balls, wanna come back with us for dinner?”

“Stiles,” Hannibal admonished with a frown, “that language is inappropriate.” The boy just grinned unrepentantly, and it coaxed a small smile from Abigail as well.

“I don't think I'm allowed to leave,” Abigail said softly, “after I climbed the fence.”

“I've made arrangements,” Hannibal indulged her with a smile. “You could say I'm one of your guardians.”

 

 

~HMF~

 

 

~HMF~

 

In Hannibal's opinion, the evening had gone well. He had contemplated asking Alana to join them and placing her as the mother figure in Abigail's mind, but there was somehow tension between Alana and Stiles. His boy didn't seem to like the good doctor, so he saw her out with some reassurances.

Meanwhile, Abigail and Stiles had bonded nicely, helped along by the mushroom tea. Hannibal had allowed Stiles a few sips, and though it didn't have much of an outward effect, the boy's smiles came a little easier, and the shadows seemed a little farther from his eyes. Since Stiles had accepted the rule about no phones at the dinner table, Hannibal refrained from commenting when the boy retrieved his phone and spent time messaging someone afterwards. He was polite enough to put the phone on silent so it didn't detract from the music, and Abigail giggled every time it vibrated against her shoulder.

It was with some regret that Hannibal returned Abigail to her temporary abode, realising that he would much rather have both his children at home. The stray thought took him by surprise, and he quite firmly stared himself in the rearview mirror. /The/ children, not /his/ children. He couldn't allow himself to grow attached until they had proven their loyalty to him beyond a few pretty words.

To distract himself, Hannibal started to plan when he should introduce Stiles and Will to each other. He had considered bringing up Stiles' visit during the last discussion with Will, when talk had turned to families, but it wasn't the right time. After all, he was still deciding what part Will was going to play.

He was a threat, to be sure – one of the few people capable of catching him if he really chose to look. On the other hand, he was one of the few people capable of truly knowing him, of choosing to remain by Hannibal's side. That would be worth a lot. If Hannibal could coax out the violence, the rage that hid behind the fear, then Will would truly be a glorious creature.

Until Will proved his colours, however, Hannibal would watch and wait.

 

Chapter Text

Apparently, Will had been sleepwalking. A rather interesting development, Hannibal considered. There were a few possibilities, but until he had more evidence he would encourage Will to look on it as PTSD, a side effect of being manipulated and emotionally abused by Jack Crawford. With his ability to make leaps of logic and know where to look for evidence, Will was one of the few people capable of catching the Chesapeake Ripper, and he wasn't ready to be caught yet. By sowing a few seeds of dissent between Crawford and Will, Hannibal bought himself some more time to decide what to do with the intriguing young man.

Just as they were finishing up their conversation, Stiles came into the kitchen already dressed for the day. Actually, Hannibal wasn't sure that the boy had undressed from the previous day. Stiles had extremely poor sleep patterns, and sometimes either fell asleep at the desk Hannibal had given him in the study, or kept going through the night. If it continued after this first week, Hannibal would sit him down and have a talk about the importance of sleep.

That or sedate him, depending on Stiles' attitude.

Stiles came around the counter and leaned against Hannibal's side, eyes still half shut and apparently unaware that they even had a visitor. Hannibal chuckled and set about making another cup of coffee.

“Allow me to make introductions,” Hannibal sad. “Will, this is the son of an old friend of mine. A surrogate nephew, if you will. Mieczyslaw is staying with me for a while.” Stiles knocked Hannibal with his shoulder and grumbled, though his eyes opened properly. “He prefers to go by 'Stiles'. Stiles, this is Will Graham. A friend who works with the FBI as a teacher and occasional profiler.”

“Hi,” Will mumbled, gazing into his coffee cup.

“'Morning,” Stiles responded easily. His face, though, had gone still and calculating, eyes assessing Will for any threat. It was the same way he'd looked at Alana before dismissing her as being unworthy, and Hannibal was curious how the boy came to his decisions. The silence held for a few seconds, before a smile flashed across Stiles' face and he came alive again.

“Uncle Hannibal said you have a whole pack of dogs and an insane amount of room to run around on.”

“Yeah, I guess I do,” Will answered, shoulders losing a little tension.

Hm. Interesting.

The two were talking about dogs, a subject which didn't particularly interest Hannibal, so he settled back to watch. Will still didn't make eye contact, but he was looking in Stiles' general direction, his pinball-gaze flicking over the boy's almost-healed bruises and rumpled clothes, his wide gestures and easy smile. Hannibal wondered what he saw. In return, Stiles was talking at his usual speed and heading down some unusual tangents, but Will was able to keep up and answer any questions. It seemed that they would actually get along just fine.

Reluctantly, Hannibal excused himself to go and get dressed. Early as it was, he still needed to get ready for work. Stiles just waved him off and stole Will's cup back to refill it.

When he got back downstairs, something had clearly happened. Stiles was sitting on the counter, sipping his coffee, and Will was looking rather pale and even jumpier than when he'd first arrived. He looked... almost scared of Stiles.

Well. That was new.

Before he could comment, Will was gathering himself and bade a hasty farewell. Hannibal turned back to Stiles and raised an eyebrow.

“Just setting some ground rules,” Stiles shrugged. “I like him.”

“I like him too. Perhaps you could try not frightening him more than necessary?”

“Whatever you say.”

“Now get down from there. I have stools for a reason.”

Stiles' grin was gleeful as he jumped down and instead climbed onto a stool to watch Hannibal cook breakfast.

“Man, I missed your cooking. Didn't realise how much 'till I got here and tasted it again.”

Hannibal covered a smirk with ease, turning it into an indulgent smile.

“Is that so?”

“Yeah. I tried, but I could never get the flavours right. Of course, I don't have an insane kitchen with all the doo-dads, and we just get whatever meat's on special at the supermarket.”

Hannibal didn't have to feign a shudder at that.

“Hey, don't be a food snob,” Stiles sounded like he was pouting. A glance over his shoulder confirmed it, though a smile was clearly fighting to break through. “Not all of us can have a successful career and still have time to hunt our own meat. So, are you gonna take me hunting while I'm here? 'Cause I still suck at the whole 'keep quiet and stalk the prey' thing, but I'm still a pretty good shot. Dad finally let me try a shotgun. I may have bruised myself with the recoil.”

Letting Stiles' chatter wash over him like white noise, Hannibal contemplated what it would be like to hunt with someone else. Introducing the boy to the joys of stalking down the rude, carving them up side by side, seeing what designs the boy could make from the scraps of flesh not worth taking. It was a glorious image. And if his imagination crept a bit and added in another man and a young woman, a whole family of hunters... well, that was just between Hannibal and his memory palace.

 

~HMF~

 

 

~HMF~

 

“You would have been welcome at dinner,” Hannibal spoke softly. Stiles was curled up on a couch in the drawing room with his new laptop, and had kept out of sight while Jack and his wife Bella were at the house. The boy shrugged, then closed the computer and looked up.

“I don't like strangers. I don't like FBI. Probably biased because Scotty's dad's a total dick, but... yeah. I didn't want to ruin things for you, and I knew I wasn't gonna be good company.”

Taking in the words, Hannibal crossed over and sat by Stiles' feet. He knew vaguely about Agent McCall, though Stiles had never really spoken about him. A thoroughly unpleasant man, by most accounts. Still, it wasn't good that Stiles was isolating himself. Hannibal wanted to know him, and that wouldn't happen if he hid away half of the time.

“Be that as it may, you still need to eat. I worry about you.”

“Sorry Uncle,” Stiles shifted guiltily, gaze dropping.

“Come and have some dessert. And then perhaps it is time for bed?”

Stiles pulled a face at that, but didn't argue. He walked close to Hannibal on the way to the kitchen, and Hannibal found that he liked the proximity. It soothed something possessive in him to be able to reach out and touch whenever he wanted to.

“Mrs Crawford' sick, isn't she?”

“What makes you say that?” Hannibal asked, surprised. Stiles hadn't even met the woman, how could he know?

“The acoustics in this house are pretty weird,” Stiles shrugged. “I could hear the conversation. You could tell she was sick, couldn't you?”

“Yes,” Hannibal nodded, pleased at Stiles' ability to put things together. “She has cancer.”

“Mr Crawford doesn't know, does he?”

“No. I believe she is keeping it from him.”

Hannibal dished up dessert of a modified Italian custard with fruit and chocolate sauce. It made Stiles smile again, and they ate together at the kitchen island.

“Hannibal?”

“Yes?”

“Could... could I have Will's phone number?”

“May I ask why?” Hannibal was slightly surprised. He hadn't anticipated Stiles wanting to contact Will again.

“I wanna go visit his dogs,” came the answer. Something about it wasn't right, and Hannibal narrowed his eyes. He did not approve of Stiles lying to him. Thankfully the boy seemed to realise his misstep, and after a moment of dithering sighed. “He kinda reminds me of someone. I want to talk to him. I'll just text him, I promise.”

It still wasn't the whole truth, but it was closer. After considering, Hannibal nodded.

“Very well. When you feel like telling me everything, I shall listen.”

 

~HMF~

 

 

~HMF~

 

Will's session was just wrapping up, when the man started in on a new tangent.

“Your nephew, Stiles.”

“Yes?”

“He's... odd.”
“He has already contacted you then. I apologise if it was unwanted, he promised not to bother you.”

“He didn't bother me,” Will was quick to reassure. “He's... helpful. Why is he staying with you?”

“Because his father didn't know what to do with him,” Hannibal decided to be truthful. “I was close with his mother. She was a favourite student of mine, before she decided that psychiatry wasn't her forte. We remained good friends until her death when Stiles was eight. After that, I kept in touch with Stiles and his father. When Stiles was abducted and refused to speak of it on his return, his father grew concerned. I opened my home to him, as somewhere he can recover in peace and safety.”

Will nodded, and Hannibal dearly wanted to know what it was they had spoken about.

“He's a good kid,” Will said finally. “I don't mind talking to him. Hell, if he needs something to do he can come out and play with the dogs. They'd enjoy someone new to run with.”

“I shall make the offer,” Hannibal smiled. It seemed the family was pulling together with much less effort than he'd anticipated. How very interesting.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

“Uncle...” Stiles drew the word out, a grin on his face, and Hannibal knew the boy wanted something. It was something of a relief, actually. He'd been gradually showing more life over the past two weeks, but had yet to really ask for things.

“Yes, Stiles?”

“Can I go meet Will's dogs tomorrow?”

“Certainly,” Hannibal nodded, having expected the question for some time. “As long as it's alright with Will.” It would also give him more chances to watch Will in a casual environment, and possibly solidify his position as a friend.

“I already asked, he said it was fine if you were okay with it.”

“Excellent.” Hannibal allowed himself to smile at Stiles. Politeness was to be encouraged, after all. “Do you wish for me to take you?”

“That'd be good. I don't know the area yet. And you can keep Will company while I steal the dogs.”

“You're not bringing any of them home.”

“Figure of speech, Uncle.”

 

~HMF~

 

 

~HMF~

 

There was something that felt like fondness growing as Hannibal watched Stiles and Abigail running around the open field with a pack of dogs surrounding them. He had no idea what the game they were playing was about, but every so often they'd throw something and the dogs would tear off after it.

Stiles had suggested that Abigail could do with some time away from the watchful eyes of the Port Haven facility. Since it was something that would foster relationships, Hannibal had agreed. Will had been pleased to see all three of them, relaxing when Stiles bumped shoulders with him. Abigail had followed Stiles' lead and hugged Hannibal when he picked her up, and then Will when she saw him. For someone who usually avoided contact with others, Will seemed happy to indulge the children in casual touches.

The two men stood on the porch of Will's isolated house, both with coffee. It was a comfortable silence, broken only by the distant shouts and barks, and Will's occasional chuckle. As much as Hannibal had enjoyed watching Will during their discussions, and especially while distressed, there was something much more lovely about him when he was relaxed and smiling.

After a while, his kids came trudging back to the house, worn out but still giving each other friendly shoves and giggling. Will rolled his eyes, but picked up one of the small dogs who was trailing behind a bit.

“C'mon inside. I have lemonade iced tea.”

“That sounds great,” Stiles said as he bounced inside. Hannibal noticed that he brushed against Will's side as he went in, as did Abigail. It was curious, something to watch, but didn't seem worrying just yet.

Abigail and Stiles collapsed onto the floor in the living area in front of the fireplace (which, for some reason, had a space heater inside it) and immediately started whispering again. Hannibal paused, but decided to follow Will to the kitchen area and help with drinks.

“Thanks Hannibal,” Will remarked without meeting his eyes. “Are you happy with the tea, or did you want something else?”

“Iced tea is fine,” Hannibal replied. “I hope you don't mind the invasion.”

“Not at all. I know the dogs appreciate it. And it's good to see Abigail happy.”

“You feel responsible for her unhappiness. Now you can also be responsible for her happiness.”

“Hannibal, stop with the psychoanalysing.” A brief flash of annoyance crossed Will's face, and Hannibal had to choose whether to keep pushing, or relent and possibly gain some loyalty. It was a surprisingly easy decision.

“I apologise. I have said that we are friends, yet I keep treating you as a patient. I shall try to remedy my behaviour.”

At that, Will seemed to lose all tension and gave him a blinding smile.

Ah, Hannibal thought. Yes. Definitely partner. The desire to simply take, to have Will by his side, was almost overwhelming. He quickly shut down that line of thought for examination later, and instead took the offered glasses back to the children. Upon reaching them, however, he sighed.

“It seems I must resign myself to getting a dog.”

“Why do you say... that.” Will was clearly holding in a laugh as he came up to Hannibal's shoulder and took in the scene before them.

Stiles and Abigail were both fast asleep in the pile of dogs, looking quite comfortable. The largest was curled around both pairs of feet, keeping bare toes warm, while the little Jack Russell Terrier was held in Abigail's arms like a teddy. It was a surprisingly sweet sight, and Hannibal decided to not care about the dog hair that was going to be left in his car. It could be cleaned.

“Should we wake them?” Will asked. Hannibal shook his head.

“Leave them be. I know they both have trouble sleeping at night. They need the rest.”

Accepting it easily, Will drew Hannibal towards the sofa. Hannibal had been inside the house before, feeding the dogs when Will was away, and he'd found the setup curious even then. The front of the house seemed to be a combined living area and bedroom, with kitchen, bathroom, and mostly empty dining room to the back. The top level seemed to serve no purpose – the rooms were all empty, not even lavatory paper or towels in the bathroom. He was sure that it was at least partially contributed to past trauma, wanting to have advance warning for anyone approaching. Part of it was also likely for the comfort of the dogs. They seemed to all sleep in their own beds, not on Will's, and there was probably not enough room for all of them to be on the floor of the master bedroom without trapping the inhabitant.

Instead of talking about living arrangements though, Hannibal decided to bring up the piano sitting in one corner of the room. With that, they were off and having a delightfully in-depth discussion of their favourite pieces to play versus their favourite pieces to listen to.

From the corner of his eye, Hannibal noticed Stiles' eyes slit open as a grin crossed the teen's face, before he seemed to go back to sleep. Hannibal decided not to call him out on it, and instead kept his focus on Will's arguments. Whenever the man spoke of a particular piece, his unoccupied fingers played the notes in the air, seemingly unbidden. It was a strangely charming trait.

 

~HMF~

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Hannibal raised an eyebrow as he watched Stiles attempting to study. The boy had several books spread over the desk, his new laptop propped up on its empty box, a highlighter between his teeth, and several printed sheets. In the middle of the desk was the journal he was writing up his findings in. Hannibal wasn't sure, but he had a hunch that if he hadn't banned food and drinks other than water from the study, there would probably be random bits of processed sugar and disgusting 'energy' drinks littered around as well.

Even with his mind occupied, Stiles still kept moving. His feet were tapping a rhythm different to his fingers, and every now and then he would mutter something indecipherable as he wrote. It was interesting to watch, especially as it seemed to work for him – the pages filled rapidly, with the boy flipping back and forth now and then to make notes and re-read what he'd already put down. Every now and then he'd consult his phone when it chimed with an incoming text, before firing something back. There was a fond smile on his face, tinged with mischief, and Hannibal was almost certain that he heard a muttered “you fucking creeper” - said with affection, oddly enough.

“May I ask what you're studying?” Hannibal decided to make his presence known. Stiles jumped in place, taken by surprise, before flushing and glancing around. “I wasn't aware that you had homework over the summer break.”

“Nah, it's... well, I was reading some of your books, and there was one about Rusalki, and it got me thinking about mythological beings tied to water, and I wanted to look at the differences with mermaids. But mermaids don't really fit, they're more like sirens, but really like La Llorona, and then I got kinda sidetracked cross-referencing them all and seeing where the legends agreed or deviated, and, well...” he indicated the explosion of information over the desk. “I get sidetracked easy.”

A smile tugged at Hannibal's lips as he came closer and let his hand drift over Stiles' head. It was an impressive amount of research for something that seemed to have just randomly passed through the boy's head. He knew the book that Stiles was originally talking about, and that also pleased him.

“You have kept up with your Polish, then?”

“Yeah, and I try with Lithuanian. It's hard with no one to practice with. I tried teaching Scott, but he had trouble with the different alphabet. The spoken language he could probably learn, but, yeah. And we were pretty young. Maybe he'd do better now.” A frown passed his face, then it lightened again. “Hey, could we teach Abigail?”

“If she wishes to learn, then certainly.” Hannibal was pleased with the idea. “I'm not sure if you found it in your research, but there is an opera based on the tale of the Rusalka. Two actually, one in Russian and one in Czech. If you are interested, I could find out if there is a current performance of either that we could attend.”

At that, Stiles sat bolt upright, eyes alight and an expression of wonder on his face. It was the more pronounced version of the look he always had whenever someone did something nice for him, and for a moment Hannibal felt the urge to hurt everyone who had taught Stiles to not expect nice things. Stiles was his boy, he should only have nice things.

The thought made Hannibal pause, before he decided to give in. Stiles had wormed his way into Hannibal's heart, and now that he was there he wasn't going to be allowed to leave.

“That would be amazing,” Stiles breathed, apparently unaware of how Hannibal's world had just shifted. It was probably a good thing.

“Very well. I shall look into it.”

~HMF~

 

~HMF~

 

Hannibal was quite pleased with the events as they unfolded. Abigail had been ecstatic at the thought of joining him and Stiles in New York City for a weekend. With the three of them going, it hadn't been hard to convince Will to come as well. While they were away, Hannibal planned on raising the question of Abigail leaving Port Haven and coming to live with him and Stiles permanently, and was certain that he would have Will's support in that.

The Tuesday before they were due to fly out, Hannibal's phone rang in the early afternoon between patients. Seeing that it was Will, he answered immediately.

“Good afternoon Will. What can I do for you?”

“Hi Hannibal. Listen, I went fishing this morning and caught a couple of really good trout. Stiles told me he hasn't had good fish in years, apparently last time he had seafood at a restaurant he got food poisoning and hasn't been able to eat it since. I figured we could help him get over that. Would it be rude of me to invite myself over for dinner? I could cook in your kitchen, or you could cook if you prefer.”

It all came out in a rush, and Hannibal could easily read Will's nerves. He decided that it was rather charming, and allowed his smile to enter his voice.

“My kitchen is always open to you, Will. I hadn't yet planned tonight's meal, so you have saved me some trouble. You shall provide the meat, so I shall cook the meal.”

“Thanks. What time do you want me?”

Always.

“You may arrive whenever you wish, but no later than five. Stiles is home if you arrive before I do.”

They said their goodbyes and hung up. Hannibal felt very pleased with the general state of affairs. Perhaps he should start dropping more hints, binding Will further to him. He eagerly anticipated the day when the meat Will procured for their dinner table was the pig Hannibal favoured, but that day was likely far off.

Never mind. The predator within Hannibal was still pleased that his chosen partner was providing food for him and one of their tentative children.

~HMF~

 

 

Chapter Text

~HMF~

 

Hannibal leaned back in his seat, letting the sounds of the aeroplane getting ready for take off wash over him. Stiles had been restless all day, and it hadn't surprised Hannibal when the boy had hugged Abigail I greeting. It had, however, taken everyone by surprise when Stiles had thrown his arms around Will and clung.

After several seconds, just as Hannibal was about to pull Stiles back and (subtly, of course) reprimand him for being rude, Will had relaxed and returned the embrace. There had been a few whispered words exchanged, before Stiles had let go and started talking to Abigail.

The children were currently seated together across the aisle, since they were in a talkative mood. As hoped, Will was next to Hannibal. The flight wasn't going to be a long one – all told it would barely be shorter than having driven – but there were certain luxuries about travelling like this that Hannibal truly enjoyed. Not least of these was the ability to freely watch Will or the children whenever he chose.

Also, the thought of driving in New York with Stiles and Abigail was extremely off-putting. What if one of them got bored during the stay and attempted to drive themselves somewhere in New York traffic? It would simply be asking for disaster from the two small-town teens.

Shortly after take off, with the children still happily distracting each other, Hannibal decided to start the first part of his plan in ensnaring Will.

“I have been considering Abigail's living arrangements,” he murmured once he had Will's attention. “I believe that leaving her isolated at Port Haven may no longer be in her best interests.”

“I'm with you there,” Will nodded. “She hates it, and even though she likes talking to Alana the group therapy isn't helping her. It just encourages her to keep it all bottled up.”

“Yes. Meanwhile, she and Stiles have already created quite a bond. I certainly have plenty of space for another child. What do you think of me inviting her to live with us?”

Will looked up, shrewd gaze meeting Hannibal;s for just a moment, and he wondered if maybe he was being too overt. Then Will smiled, and the unease passed.

“I think that would be an excellent idea. And you can keep both Jack and Freddie away from her.”

“A very important task,” Hannibal agreed. “Of course, you will be welcome to visit whenever you wish. I believe that both children are quite fond of you.”

“Yeah,” Will glanced across at them, an indulgent smile upon his face. “Stiles helped Abigail warm up to me, and now I think she's happy to have a bond with me. With you too.”

“I am most pleased to hear that.”

Indeed, it was gratifying to know that it hadn't been a mistake to take Stiles in. The boy was more than making up for any inconvenient feelings with the way he drew people in. With a little polish he would make a wonderful hunting hound, gathering the details for future hunts without alerting their victims. The more time that they spent all together, the more Hannibal was certain that one day he would have his perfect family.

 

~HMF~

~HMF~

 

The hotel that Hannibal had booked was as efficient and lovely as always. He had booked two suites next to each other so that each person had their own bedroom, but there was plenty of private space for them all to congregate if they wanted to. In order to prevent Will from trying to pay for part of it, he had even pre-paid for the suites.

Before he could suggest how to split the rooms up, Abigail and Stiles moved to stand together next to one door.

“We take this one, you guys take the other, right?” Abigail asked. She and Stiles had almost identical grins, both filled with mischief. Hannibal narrowed his eyes, wondering what trouble they were going to get into if left alone.

“No pay-per-view porn,” Will interjected first. “No alcohol. If you're going to leave, you let Hannibal or I know where you're going and when you'll be back. Talk to us before ordering any meals so that we all know what's happening.”

“Yes, Dad,” Stiles rolled his eyes. Abigail giggled, but nodded her acquiescence.

“Then I don't have a problem with it,” Will shrugged. “Do you, Hannibal?”

“Not at all,” he hurried to assure them. “Now, I think we can all take some time to freshen up. Come and wait in our living room when you're ready, and we shall discuss the weekend's itinerary.”

The children quickly took their key cards, along with a spare one to let themselves into the adults' suite – and disappeared to claim their rooms. Will stared after them with a fond expression, then turned to Hannibal.

“Well then, shall we?”

 

~HMF~

~HMF~

 

Stiles was in a surprisingly good mood, even as the four sat down together to work out what they would do over the coming days. They decided to dine in the hotel's restaurant for their evening meal, then relax for the night. In the morning they would go clothes shopping – neither Abigail nor Stiles had clothes suitable for a formal event, and Hannibal secretly had plans to buy Will a new suit as well.

Depending on how long that took, they would would either spend more time shopping or possibly head to one of the museums before lunch and visit Central Park in the afternoon. In the evening they would dine out before the opera.

On Sunday, they could have a lazy morning followed by tourist activities in the afternoon and dine at another restaurant in the evening.

When they got to Monday, Abigail shifted a little before speaking up.

“Do you mind if, maybe, we – or I, I could go by myself. But, I want to check out some of the college options? I don't know if I can get into any of them, but it wouldn't hurt to look... right?”

She seemed so unsure of herself, and Will leant over to cover her hand with his.

“That sounds like a great idea,” he reassured her.

“I agree,” Hannibal nodded. “I can makes some phone calls first thing on Monday, and see if we can squeeze in a couple of tours. I would be happy to arrange for further visits in the future. Your education is very important.”

“Thanks,” she smiled at them. Stiles shifted his chair over a little so that he could lean against her, and Hannibal new his own expression was tinged with fatherly pride.

“What colleges do you want to look at?” Stiles asked.

“I don't really know. I've been thinking about maybe looking around New York or Baltimore, someplace where I could still be near all of you, but I didn't do much research.”

“Well,” Hannibal spoke thoughtfully, “there is of course Columbia or Cornell. There is also Barnard, if you want something smaller. Stiles, did you bring your laptop?”

“Of course,” Stiles rolled his eyes before Abigail flicked him on the forehead in reprimand. Hannibal decided not to add one of his own.

“Then perhaps we can sit down after dinner and research places you might like to visit.”

With the plan decided on – and Hannibal willing to extend their stay if they wanted to check more colleges than time allowed – the four headed downstairs to eat.

Chapter Text

Shopping with the children had been more fun than Hannibal had anticipated. Abigail was excited to try on any dress that caught her eye, and Stiles had been cooperative enough. The boy had even offered up his own opinions on the various outfits they tried. After a couple of hours though, Will and Stiles were both clearly done. They had their outfits and Stiles was growing steadily more antsy, before Will finally laid a hand on the back of his neck and the boy sighed out his tension. It was an interesting quirk, one that Hannibal had taken advantage of in the past as well.

“How about this,” Will suggested while Abigail was trying on another dress. “Stiles and I will go look around the game shop, then the book store, then we'll meet you at the cafe we passed at noon. We can decide where to go from there, and you and Abigail can take your time with this fashion stuff.”

“That sounds agreeable,” Hannibal nodded. As Will turned away, Hannibal flipped open his wallet and pulled out a few bills which he handed to Stiles. “Treat yourselves. Have fun.” Stiles grinned in response and took the money before jogging up to Will and brushing shoulders.

When Abigail came out of the changing room, Hannibal gave her a soft smile. It was one that she and Stiles seemed to react well to, associating it with approval. She spun for him, showing off the dress, then looked around.

“Did we lose the others?”

“Briefly,” Hannibal nodded. “They have gone to investigate video games and books.”

“Okay,” Abigail smiled shyly back. “I've never really gotten into the whole shopping thing, but I wanted to. Mom always said I was so pretty. I just... needed to stay under the radar. I couldn't get involved with anyone. If I had a boyfriend, if Dad thought that he was losing me to someone else, things would have gotten even worse.”

“I understand perfectly. You dressed for camouflage. Now, however, you can dress to stand out.” Hannibal extended a floor-length, peacock blue velvet dress. The silver beading along the neckline added to the elegance, and he was certain that she would look stunning in it. Abigail's eyes widened, looking from the dress back to Hannibal, before she broke out in a wide grin and took it. “That's my girl.”

As she disappeared back into the changing room, Hannibal mentally ran through other supplies that they would need. Shoes, stockings if she wanted them, makeup, hair supplies... the tasks would easily take up the rest of the morning until Will and Stiles expected them. Hannibal found that he didn't mind in the slightest. It would be time well spent, binding Abigail closer to him and to their family. Speaking of which...

“I must ask, Abigail,” Hannibal raised his voice a little so that she could hear him properly. “Will and I discussed your living arrangements on the way here. You truly get no benefit from group therapy or living in a share house. If you could continue your sessions with Dr Bloom, would you consider moving in with Stiles and myself?”

There was silence for a moment, before the door wrenched open and Hannibal suddenly found himself with his arms full. He clasped Abigail back gently, even as he felt her arms tighten around his neck.

“Please,” Abigail nodded. “Please. I've never wanted anything so much in my life.”

As he stroked Abigail's hair, Hannibal allowed his true smile to cross his face. Perfect.

~HMF~

~HMF~

Hannibal felt supremely content as the four approached the coat check. Abigail had been delighted to let Hannibal do her hair and make up, and wore the velvet gown he'd suggested. Next to her, Stiles wore a complementary outfit with gunmetal shirt and blue waistcoat. Will was in a simple dark blue suit, dressed to blend into the shadows and avoid notice while the others drew admiring glances. Hannibal, of course, also fit the theme with one of his three-piece suits in blue plaid. They truly looked as though they belonged together, something that was apparent to others as well.

“You have a lovely family,” the girl at the coat check said with a warm smile. “I hope you all enjoy the performance.”

“Thank you,” Will responded before Hannibal could say anything. “I'm sure we will.” He took the proffered tickets and looped his arm through Hannibal's, easily steering them both back to where the children were waiting. Abigail was fussing with Stiles' collar, while he tried to bat her hands away. Since they were distracted, Hannibal decided to seize the moment.

“You didn't correct her,” he murmured. At Will's inquisitive noise, he elaborated. “You didn't deny that we're a family.”

“Well,” Will shrugged awkwardly, then turned more fully towards Hannibal with a small smile, “aren't we one? It's never really clicked before, but I'm starting to see the appeal.”

Hannibal managed to control his response into a single blink. This was so much easier than he'd thought it would be. Realising that Will's gaze kept flicking towards his mouth, Hannibal had just started to lean in for a kiss when he was interrupted by a squeal.

Will and Hannibal both turned to the children in time to see Abigail looking mortified as Stiles slapped a hand over her mouth.

“Abby! Shush!” Stiles hissed. “If you interrupt them now, who knows when they'll get their shit together!”

While Will stifled a chuckle, Hannibal realised that the children had been conspiring to set them up in a relationship for some time. For that, he could forgive the minor setback and wait until later in the evening. Clearly it had been excitement, not disgust, that caused Abigail's outburst. Meanwhile, Will was shaking is head, though he looked fond.

“I'm not kissing your uncle for the first time with an audience,” Will informed Stiles.

“Good thing we've got separate suites then,” Stiles grinned as Abigail finally pushed him away.

“Come on,” the girl shook herself off and gave everyone a smile, “we'd better get to our seats.”

“When we get back, there's something I need to talk to you about,” Will spoke low enough to avoid gaining the teenagers' attention. “Something you should know before we get to the kissing part.”

“Have you been keeping secrets, Will?” Hannibal asked.

“No more than you have.” That... could be taken in a few different ways, Hannibal mused, so he decided not to say anything.

The four made their way into the theatre itself and found their seats easily. They had a good view of the whole stage, and Hannibal was familiar enough with the venue to know that they were in a good spot acoustically as well. As the music started, Hannibal settled in and let it flow over him. The sprites were wonderful dancers, truly evoking the feel of water come to life, and he was content that even though his companions wouldn't understand the language, they would understand the feelings the song invoked.

Periodically glancing across at the children, Hannibal noticed when Stiles sat up straight when Rusalka starting singing the Song to the Moon, a look of complete surprise crossing his face. The girl singing was very good, hitting her notes cleanly and enunciating properly. After that, Stiles seemed completely absorbed. Abigail seemed to be enjoying it, and periodically Will closed his eyes to apparently appreciate the sound better. All in all, it was a wonderful performance and Hannibal thought it boded well for future outings.

During the first intermission, the four moved briefly out into the hall so that Will could get a drink. Stiles seemed far away inside his head, and hadn't spoken by the time Will returned – until Abigail poked him in the side, making him jump.

“What's got you thinking?”

“That song,” Stiles explained. “The one Rusalka sang right at the start. I've heard that so many places, and the music's been in films and games and shit, but I never really put it together. Now I know where it's from, it's making me rethink some of the scenes.”

“Cool,” Abigail smiled. “I thought I recognised it too. It's so pretty. And melancholy, I think that's the right word?”

“Yeah,” Stiles agreed. Hannibal was, for now, content to just listen to their conversation, as seemed Will. “Y'know, I read the story in the program. This is really like the original Little Mermaid fairy tale, the Hans Christian Anderson one not the Disney one. Which came first, do you think?”

“I don't know,” Abigail tilted her head to one side, frowning in thought. “It wouldn't be hard to find out. But yeah, now that you mention it I can see it.”

“Did you read the plot?”

“Nah, I want to be surprised. I'm probably missing details, but I'm pretty sure I'm getting the general idea. And it's pretty enough that I don't mind.”

When the lights flickered to indicate the intermission was ending, they went back to their seats for the second act. It was just as enchanting as the first, and Hannibal found that his emotions were being pulled to the front. Good music played well tended to do that, and he decided that he didn't mind his family seeing this weakness.

By the end of the final act, there were tears in Hannibal's eyes as Rusalka laid her Prince to rest and returned to the depths of the water. It was beautiful and solemn, heartbreaking yet leaving a lingering sense of peace. Abigail had tears running down her cheeks, and Stiles was holding her hand and sniffling. Will had taken hold of Hannibal's hand early on in the third act, and laid his head on Hannibal's shoulder. It was perfect. Hannibal's only regret was that it had to end so soon, but he was sure that they would repeat the experience.

~HMF~

~HMF~

With the children settled in their suite – still sticking close to each other, but smiling a little – Hannibal went to the mini-bar and poured drinks for himself and Will.

“So, what would you like to discuss?” Hannibal asked. “I, for one, would like to revisit the idea that the four of us could be a family.”

“Yeah, me too,” Will replied with a smile in his voice. “First I need to let you in on one of my secrets. It's pretty personal, but I think I can trust you not to tell anyone.” He took a gulp of his drink before slowing down. “I had planned on waiting until we were back home, so we both had room to retreat if we needed it.”

“If there is one thing I can promise you,” Hannibal spoke softly but firmly, “it is that I will never retreat from you. You are far too fascinating.”

Will was still smiling as they took seats at the sofa. He played with his glass for a moment, before setting it aside and turning more fully to Hannibal.

“What do you know about werewolf legends?”

Well that was unexpected.

“I believe there have been many different versions over the years,” Hannibal spoke slowly, unsure of where Will was going with this. “Lycanthropy has been used as a scapegoat for wild animal attacks, schizophrenia, paranoia and delusions for centuries. There has been research done, and there is no actual connection between the phase of the moon and human behaviour, although anecdotal evidence would suggest otherwise.” He rose and returned to the sideboard to pour another drink. “Why do you ask?”

There was an odd noise behind him, and Hannibal turned quickly, only to be taken completely by surprise. For sitting on the sofa where Will had been, surrounded by a pile of clothes, was a large brown wolf.

The wolf and Hannibal stared at each other for several heartbeats, and Hannibal knew that his mask was gone, his expression completely blank. There was... nothing. There were no appropriate responses practiced for something like this.

Inhaling deeply, Hannibal smelled the strong scent of wildness that still held Will's essence within it. There was no way Will could have faked this. It couldn't be a hallucination, the smells wouldn't be there. The same held true of a dream.

“Will?” Hannibal whispered, needing the confirmation.

He wasn't expecting the wolf to step down onto the ground and pad over to him. Its head was around hip-level, and Hannibal noted absently that the wolf took up roughly the same total body mass as Will had. It was shorter head to hindquarter, but it was build more solidly. This was a wolf that could take down cattle by itself.

The two locked eyes for several moments, and the eyes were the same. They were Will's stormy eyes – then they flashed a luminescent red before the wolf stepped backwards and... changed.

There were no words to describe it, Hannibal realised. Not in any language he knew. It was smooth, but disturbing, and within heartbeats Will was standing before him again with a sheepish smile.

“So,” he spoke before clearing his throat and trying again. “That's my big secret. I'm a werewolf.”

“I gathered,” Hannibal managed to find his voice. The implications of such a thing... he blinked rapidly and tried to sort his questions into a hierarchy of priority. “Does anyone else know?”

“Not many,” Will shook his head before heading back to his clothes and starting to redress. Hannibal watched him with a little disappointment, but realised the conversation was probably one that should happen while wearing pants. “Stiles knows. He figured it out within minutes of meeting me. He wouldn't say much, but he knows about wolves back in Beacon Hills. He promised not to bring down hunters on me as long as I was stable. Um, Bev knows.”

“Bev?”

“Beverly Katz. She's a beta. Her family is part of a pack, but she doesn't get along with the Alpha, so she's in DC alone. We've been getting closer, I think she might become part of my pack one day.”

“I see.” There were several things in those answers that needed clarification. “Anyone else?”

“Freddie Lounds,” Will growled – actually growled, nose scrunching up in annoyance. “She's... something. I'm not sure what, I don't really know much about the supernatural world, but she's not fully human.”

“Is Abigail aware?”

“I don't think so,” Will shrugged. “I haven't told her yet, and I don't think Stiles has. He promised to let me tell you both in my own time, but he might have started telling her about the supernatural in general. He knows more than I do.” He paused, then continued. “Oh, and the guy that wants to date Stiles is a werewolf too. He had to ask my permission since Stiles is becoming part of my pack.”

Well then. That just opened up even more questions.

“Stiles is part of your pack?”

“He could be,” Will reiterated. “Pack is basically an extended family. And I want you and he to be part of my family. Abigail too. I'm considering offering her the bite, but I'd need to wait until after the FBI attention's died down. There'd be too much scrutiny right now if her body rejected the bite, and even if she turned the pressure wouldn't be good for her control. I'll wait until she's safe.”

“So you can turn people into werewolves by biting them?”

“Yeah. Well, I can. Bev can't. I'm an Alpha. But there's always a possibility that the bite won't take, in which case the person dies. Abigail's in the best age range, and her personality makes me thing she'd be fine. I just want to stack the odds in her favour first.”

“Understandable.” Hannibal finally moved from his spot and sat down again. Will smiled and curled his legs up, feet on the sofa. He seemed to be making himself smaller, less of a threat, and Hannibal knew it was intentional. “You were bitten?”

“Yeah. In college. It was excruciating. I thought I was dying. Then the bite healed overnight, and I didn't know what the hell was going on. I could smell things, hear things, that I'd never experienced. There were all these new instincts. And then the Alpha that bit me tried to control me. We fought, and even though I was new, I had the advantage. He was insane. He assumed that since I'd just been a human, I wouldn't know how to fight. I tore his throat out.” As he explained, Will held up his hand and demonstrated as his fingers shortened and grew claws. “The Alpha power came to me. I holed up in the middle of nowhere for a while, missed classes and work. But I learned to control the shift, learned how to make peace with what I was. By the time I wandered out of the woods, I was able to stay human through just about anything.”

“And you learned to turn into a wolf.”

“Not at first,” Will shook his head. “That took a while. I could feel the power growing as I made my pack from my dogs. Then one full moon, I was running with them and it just... flowed. One minute I was running in my half-shift, my beta form, and then I was on all fours with the dogs. We ran as a pack, properly, and it was glorious.” Will laughed a little, eyes shut as he remembered. “Stiles told me that it's incredibly rare for a werewolf to be able to reach the full shift. For me, it's as easy as breathing. It's staying in human form that takes work.”

And didn't that just sum up Will Graham?

Hannibal had more questions, but Will opened his eyes and met Hannibal's gaze.

“I have to know,” he spoke softly, with such vulnerability that Hannibal wanted to gather him close, “is this a deal breaker? I want you with me, I want to try. Can you love me like this?”

The answer was easy. Hannibal could already picture him, standing above the Alpha he'd killed, blood dripping from his claws. It was simple to throw the view forward, to picture Will hunting beside him, realising that the rude, ignorant masses were truly inferior. It would be glorious, hunting as a pack with Stiles scouting out ahead and Abigail protecting her brother, perhaps even with Beverly and Stiles' suitor ranging alongside to take down even more difficult prey.

“I believe,” Hannibal responded slowly, “that I have never met someone as perfect as you are.”

Will's answering smile was sweet, and tasted like triumph when Hannibal finally leaned over to claim his kiss.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Hannibal woke swiftly as he always did, but allowed himself to remain in place. He was wrapped tight around Will, who seemed to still be sleeping soundly. While the younger man – werewolf, and that was something that would take some getting used to – wasm't comfortable jumping straight to sex, he hwad admitted wanting physical proximity. Hannibal was more than happy to provide this, the two finding sleep easy in the same large bed.

After several minutes spend enjoying the closeness, Hannibal pulled away to rise and get ready for the day. When he returned from his shower, it was to see that Will had turned and was now holding Hannibal's pillow hostage. It was almost sweet, and Hannibal chuckled lightly.

At the sound, Will opened bleary eyes that momentarily flashed read. Hannibal was surprised to realise how attractive he found that, but tamped down his automatic response to push Will further into the bed.

“Mornin',” Will grumbled around a yawn.

“Good morning,” Hannibal responded. “Are you going to rise, or attempt to become one with the pillows?”

“Pillows're comfy,” Will admitted easily. “But shower... yeah, that wins.”The showers were indeed lovely, certainly better quality than what resided in Will's home. Will stretched where he lay, looking rather canine even in human form, before rising. On his way past, he allowed Hannibal to reel him in for a soft kiss, then nuzzled his face into Hannibal's neck.

“Scent marking,” Will answered Hannibal's curious look with a shrug. “It's instinct, to make you smell like me, but I can stop if it makes you uncomfortable.”

“Not at all,” Hannibal waved him off, mind racing. “It does explain Stiles' propensity for touching you.”
“Yeah. He's been staking your claim for weeks.” With that, Will disappeared into the attached bathroom leaving Hannibal to return to his room to finish dressing for the day. He was glad of a little space to sort through all of the new information from the previous night – and consider potential consequences.

Will had confirmed that his senses of smell and hearing were at least as good as a canine, even in his human form. He was also incredibly strong, able to move his boat motors easily. And yet, it was still his empathy that drew Hannibal's attention to him the most. That particular quirk was completely separate from any supernatural influence, and the gift he struggled with the most.

The revelation of werewolves being real also threw an entirely new light on Stiles, from his first interaction with Will to his snap judgements of people. It explained much about his silence as well, which Hannibal was going to have to do something about. Loyalty to one's friends was all well and good, but what benefit had that loyalty brought Stiles? As far as Hannibal could see, the boy had been driven to the edge of a breakdown, had been beaten and abandoned, and it wasn't good enough.

“Woah,” Will commented as he entered Hannibal's room. “I thought I was the werewolf. What's with the growling?”

Hannibal was a little startled to realise that he had been making a noise of anger, and quickly stamped it down.

“Just thinking,” Hannibal decided to confide in Will. After all, that was what partners were for. “I don't think I approve of Stiles' previous associates.”

“They're mostly dumb kids,” Will shrugged, but it didn't sound like he was dismissing Hannibal's concern. “In general I think they just need proper teachers. The hunters, on the other hand, are absolute fuckers. Not that he said much, but I'm pretty sure his bruises were from over-enthusiastic werewolf hunters.” Moving closer, Will wrapped himself around Hannibal from behind. It wasn't a restrictive embrace, instead the closeness felt right. “Just, maybe talk to Stiles before you do anything drastic, yeah?”

“I wasn't going to do anything drastic,” Hannibal assured Will. Razing a town wasn't at all an over-reaction to his child getting injured.

“Oh really?”
“...I may have been planning to ask Noah to sign custody over to me so that Stiles never has to return there.”

“Yeah, that's not drastic in the least.”

~HMF~

\

~HMF~

Hannibal and Will opened the door to the children's suite, only to discover a most unusual sight. Stiles was curled up on the floor, Abigail was leaning back on the sofa, and both were laughing hysterically. Stiles' laptop was on the floor aw well, apparently dropped during the laughing fit. Just as the teens seemed to gain control of themselves, they noticed the adults and were off again.

“What's so funny?” Will asked, amused confusion clear on his face. Stiles managed to right his laptop on the coffee table, and Hannibal could see that it was open to a YouTube page. He picked it up and hit replay, only to see a rather old clip – presumably taken from a television show – with a woman dressed as a young girl start to play.

It turned out to be a musical clip between the woman and several puppets... about luring people into the house to be killed. For the second time in twelve hours, Hannibal found himself taken completely by surprise by his new family. The number was quite cheerful, especially with Stiles and Abigail giggling along – until it came to the final verse and they laughed almost loud enough to cover the song.

“So when you come to our house, our house, our house
When you come to our house, we will have some fun.
We will ask you to come in, and we will take you in the kitchen
And we'll put you in the oven until you are done!”

With that, the children sang along with the final chorus.

“But you're always welcome at our house!
Any time of the day!
Yes you're always welcome at our house!
And we hope you will stay.

And we know... you will stay!”

With that, they were laughing again. Hannibal turned to Will and raised an eyebrow at finding him chuckling as well.

“Our children share a very strange sense of humour,” Hannibal commented. Will shrugged.

“I'm just glad she can joke about it.”

Hannibal conceded the point with a nod. If Abigail could laugh about cannibalism jokes, it showed that she wasn't damaged by what her father had fed her. It boded well for future revelations, when the time was right to inform his family of their primary source of protein.

~HMF~

~HMF~

The rest of the trip passed quickly. They ended up spending most of Sunday morning exploring Central Park. With Will no longer hiding his abilities from the others, he could lead them in different directions to where he could hear, smell or just plain sense something interesting. In the afternoon they went to the Brooklyn Art Library, something that was probably more for Hannibal's benefit. The kids seemed to enjoy it though, and Will found it just as fascinating as Hannibal did. Getting to flip through artist journals revealed whole new angles to view the world, and it was well worth their time.

On Monday they had a quick tour of Columbia, and although they didn't get to go into much detail, it still seemed to settle something in Abigail. She seemed more confident about making plans for the future, plans that involved further education and staying close to her new family.

Despite having a grand time, everyone was relieved to finally be home on Monday evening. Abigail had to return to Port Haven, but Hannibal assured her that he would start making arrangements for her to come live with him and Stiles.

Everything was coming together. The next step, of course, would be arranging cohabitation with Will as well, but that could wait. For now, this was enough.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

In the days that followed their trip, Hannibal was kept busy with appointments during the day and household logistics in the evening. There were quite a few details to sort out before Abigail could be released into his custody, not to mention that he was also looking into how he could ensure Stiles stayed with them as well. As far as Abigail's situation, he had a surprising ally in Alana. The good doctor could see how much better Abigail was after the trip, how she seemed able to adjust easier around a new family unit, and the fact that Hannibal was encouraging them to keep their sessions helped as well.

It wasn't until Friday that Hannibal realised how much he'd been neglecting certain areas though.

Hannibal returned home for lunch, reasoning that he hadn't spent much time with Stiles that week. When he walked into the kitchen, Stiles appeared to be having lunch already, but Hannibal was prepared to join him. What he wasn't prepared for was what the boy was eating. Stiles was sitting at his kitchen counter, eating grey... flakey... something from a tin, it smelled vile, and he was happily piling it on crackers and putting it in his mouth! This would not do.

“What is that?”

“Huh? Oh, hey Uncle H.”

“Stiles. What are you eating?”

“Uh... tuna. On crackers.”

“...No.” Hannibal was horrified. “That is not tuna. Tuna is a delightful fish, pleasant cooked or raw when prepared properly. That is... I don't even know. Dispose of it.”

“Seriously?” Stiles raised an eyebrow, looking far too amused. “It's tinned tuna. Possibly with some dolphin or other sea creature in there as well, but it's fine.”

“No. If you want sushi, I will take you to a Japanese restaurant. But that is leaving this house, and not coming back in.”

The two stared at each other for several seconds, before Stiles shrugged and stood.

“Your house, your call. Sushi sounds good.”

“Excellent,” Hannibal nodded. It was possibly the first time that Stiles had run into a boundary here, and it was good to know that he wasn't going to push it. So Hannibal decided to reward his good behaviour with information, which Stiles seemed to soak up like sunlight. “I am very particular about what goes into my body. I wish only the best for you as well. Therefore, I do not wish for you to poison yourself with the additives and chemicals in mass-produced food.”

“Not all chemicals are bad, Uncle,” Stiles shrugged, though he was still putting the possibly-tuna in a bin bag for disposal, so at least he was listening. “Just like not everything organic is good.”

“Mercury is bad when ingested,” Hannibal said flatly.

“Yeah... okay, you have a point there.”

Hannibal stood back as Stiles moved past him to put the rubbish in the outside bin. This wasn't exactly what he'd pictured when he'd considered taking Stiles in, but it did highlight that he needed to be firm with the boy's diet. Who knew what horrendous items he was willingly eating on a regular basis? Hannibal would need to go through the refrigerator and pantry later to find any other terrible things.

~HMF~



~HMF~

It was Sunday, and Hannibal was supremely content with the world. Stiles was upstairs, lost in a book of Lithuanian fairy tales, Abigail was spending her final night in Port Haven, and Will was next to him on the lounge, curled under Hannibal's arm and laughing at Stiles' earlier antics. Although the werewolf (and that thought got easier each time) would have to leave soon for his own home, he was spending increasing amounts of time in Baltimore with Hannibal and the children.

“I can't believe you learned how to make curly fries,” Will shook his head.

“I had no choice,” Hannibal spoke gravely. “Unless I wanted to face an all-out rebellion, it was either learn to make them or allow Stiles to visit that wretched place.”

“It's a fast food restaurant, Hannibal,” Will was still trying to contain his laughter. “Not a drug den.”

“That is your opinion.”
Hannibal had found that a laughing Will was one of the most beautiful things in the world. They were still no further in their relationship than a few kisses and a lot of scent marking, but Hannibal was content to take things slowly. Will seemed to need the slower pace, and Hannibal liked giving Will what he needed.

Or wanted.

Or expressed the slightest interest in.

So maybe he had a slight problem. It had been such a long time, though, since Hannibal had had anyone that he wanted to lavish his attention and money on. Now he had three, and they still barely made a dent in his personal finances.

Abigail was the easiest to spend money on. She needed material things to replace those that she didn't want to retrieve from Minnesota, and she loved the dresses, shoes, make up and accessories that Hannibal was perfectly willing to buy for her. So far they had been visiting upscale stores to fill out her wardrobe, but Hannibal had been making a few enquiries to find a suitable seamstress to tailor-make outfits for social events. Abigail was also, however, perfectly happy in jeans and shirts, and didn't want to be dressed up at all times.

Stiles was a little trickier. He was used to a single-parent household, enough money to pay the bills and keep him in decent clothes but having to save up for 'luxury' items. He would accept some things from Hannibal, but then balk at seemingly random things. It was perplexing, and Hannibal was eager to find the cause.

Then there was Will, and his pride. Will had accepted Hannibal's offer of treating his pack to a doggy day-care spa day (where several of the staff had fallen in love with the well-trained mutts), but refused to let the man near his clothes. He accepted a new French press coffee machine, but refused to let Hannibal buy him a new car. It was occasionally vexing, but at least it was interesting.

“Hey Hannibal, you still here?”

“Of course,” Hannibal responded, shaking himself. “I was merely considering how our lives are changing and entwining.”

“Sure,” Will smiled easily. “And not at all plotting to got me to accept a new car again.”

“Not at all. Although...”

“What now?”
“What are your feelings about cohabitation?”

Will paused, then drew back to look at Hannibal properly.
“My first thought is that neither of us would be happy living in the other's house. Second is that we'd both need separate spaces for when we get too much for each other. The third is that you'd have to deal with my dogs being in at least part of the house. The fourth... is that I'd really like to be able to see you and the kids that much.”

“You raise sensible points,” Hannibal nodded. “What if we purchased a new house together, something that could blend our styles and have enough room for all of us?”

“Hm. Maybe.” Will squirmed a little, then moved back to his previous position. “It's still a little soon.”

“Very well. We can always revisit the idea later.”

Will nodded, which turned into nuzzling Hannibal's shoulder, which turned into sweet coffee-flavoured kisses. With that sort of incentive, Hannibal was perfectly content to let the subject drop.

~HMF~

Chapter Text

~HM

Hannibal was in a good mood when his children finally made their way downstairs for breakfast. Abigail was slotting quite nicely into the routines of the Lecter household, still reserved around outsiders but relaxed and open with her new brother. As far as Hannibal could see, Stiles never judged Abigail for the things she had done, and in return Abigail gave him her trust. They worked well together, and Hannibal couldn't regret encouraging their closeness even when they conspired to drive him up the wall.

They were currently whispering about something, huddled over Hannibal's tablet – which Stiles frequently commandeered – as Hannibal put the finishing touches on their crepes. He had just finished plating when his phone rang, and felt a slight twinge of annoyance even at the sight of Will's name.

“Good morning, William.”

“Hey, Hannibal. Sorry to call so early. Have you seen TattleCrime yet today?”

“Not yet. The children have stolen my tablet.” At that, Stiles and Abigail shot him innocent looks. Abigail was far more successful.

“Check it. Jack's on the warpath, Chilton's freaking out, and I'm being put into a position where I like something Lounds did.”

Well, that was intriguing.

“I shall call you back in ten minutes.”

“Actually, can you come to Quantico? ASAP? Jack's summoned me, and I... I could really use your help as a buffer. You know how he gets when things don't go his way.”

“I certainly do. I leave as soon as I am up to date.”

After saying their goodbyes, Hannibal took his tablet back from Abigail. It was on a local cinema's screening list, which explained the whispering. He closed the window and brought up the TattleCrime app, and froze when he saw the top article.

 

FBI FRAMES DR ABEL GIDEON FOR RIPPER MURDERS

 

Hannibal barely noticed the children eating as he read through the article which detailed Gideon's murder of the nurse, the staging of the body, and Lounds' interview with Gideon. Hannibal was able to read between the lines, and he was furious. Apparently Dr Chilton – head of the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane – had somehow manipulated a petty murderer into believing that he was the Chesapeake Ripper.

This... this Would Not Do.

The article went on to describe how Jack Crawford attempted to manipulate Freddie into confirming that the Ripper was already incarcerated in an attempt to draw him out of retirement, forcing him to show his hand and possible leave clues in his anger. Hannibal knew himself well enough to know that it might even have worked.

No, this wouldn't do at all.

“Uncle?” Stiles' uncertain voice broke into his concentration, and Hannibal forced his nature back behind the mask before looking up. “Is everything ok?”

“It will be,” Hannibal assured him. “Will requires my assistance today. Will the pair of you be all right on your own?”

“We were gonna go to the movies,” Stiles shrugged. “There's a cinema doing a Batman marathon, all the movies in a row. Starts at ten. Is that ok?”

“That would be excellent,” Hannibal nodded. It would keep the children out of the way while he decided on a course of action. “I shall pack you a hamper.”

“We don't need a hamper for the movies.”

“That is your opinion.”

Abigail giggled as Hannibal and Stiles gently bickered over food arrangements. Soon enough the children were on their way – with Hannibal's credit card so that they could buy decent food once there – and it was time to head to Quantico, and decide what to do about dear old Jack.

~HMF~

 

 

~HMF~

Hannibal stood shoulder to shoulder with Will as Crawford essentially threw a temper tantrum. It was most undignified – but now that Hannibal knew more about Will, he could see how Crawford's anger affected him. In a group, the effects of any one person's mood (or personality) was lessened as there was so much information coming in that Will could filter out what he didn't want. It was when he was alone with someone that the mirroring truly became difficult, with Will unable find escape from foreign emotions.

It was little wonder that Will enjoyed teaching – being in a room filled with people who were focused on the information he was imparting – but hated interviews.

Hannibal also found himself watching Beverly, with his new knowledge of her part in the supernatural world. He could now see the unusual rapport that she shared with Will, how she was much more at ease with him than anyone else in the room, and how she was able to follow much of his leaps far easier than her colleagues. She had also picked up on their relationship within seconds of Hannibal walking into the room – she had inhaled, glanced between them, then broke into a wide grin and flashed them both a thumbs up.

That had been this morning though, and all good mood had soured by now. As the day passed to afternoon, Hannibal regretted not packing a lunch for himself and Will. He had apparently underestimated Crawford's ability to rant and demand unreasonable miracles from Will.

Just as Hannibal was reaching the end of his impressive patience, Crawford received a call on his cell. Will heaved a sigh of relief as he turned to answer it, and Hannibal placed a hand on his lower back in support. He was about to mention slipping away to find sustenance, when Jack's tone pulled everyone up short.

“When? Where? … We're on our way.”

He hung up and stood for a moment, breathing heavily, before turning with an ashen look on his face.

“There's a body. Preliminary reports suggest it's the Ripper.”

Hannibal blinked slowly in an effort to keep his annoyance at bay. Was everyone going to try and take credit for his work today?

~HMF~

 

~HMF~

When they finally opened the door to the small office where the body was, Hannibal felt his breath catch in his throat. It was... beautiful. It was creative, whimsical, and even from here, he could tell that the man had died during the process of having his internal organs removed. The invoices folded into origami replicas were already stained with various bodily fluids, but Hannibal could easily see the message. The garden gnome was a nice touch, too.

Then he looked at the man's face, and Hannibal felt his breath catch. He recognised him. This builder had done an extremely poor job in maintenance work back when Hannibal was interning at Johns Hopkins – and his business card was in the rolodex in Hannibal's study.

He was on the list to be killed by the real Ripper.

As Hannibal was trying to keep himself calm – and mostly succeeding – Crawford ushered everyone back out of the room, leaving Will in there alone. No one spoke, not wanting to interfere with Will's reading of the evidence. Hannibal wondered if there was going to be any evidence. If whoever it was had managed to copy his motive and method so far, would they attempt to frame him? Or would they enjoy confusing the police as well?

It seemed as though no time at all had passed when Will opened the door and stepped out, one hand rubbing over his eyes.

“Well?” Crawford barked. Will gave him an irritated look, but nodded.

“It's him. It's the Ripper. I think he's annoyed at you, Jack.”

With that, the rest of the team went in to start cataloguing anything they could find. When it was just Will and Hannibal left outside, Will did a very curious thing.

He winked at Hannibal.

With that, everything fell into place.

Stiles, so quick to make decisions about people, so guarded and so ruthless when he wanted to be. So much like a younger Hannibal. He could easily have planned it, could have chosen the victim if he had found Hannibal's rolodex. He was certainly clever enough to put together all the pieces by himself whilst living with Hannibal.

Abigail, already a killer hiding in plain sight. She would have known how to stay hidden, how to lure their victim into a false sense of security. How to kill without hesitating. If she had recognised the meat he served, even though she had pretended not to, she may have truly begun to see Hannibal as a surrogate father and wanted to please him.

And Will... Will had made sure that Hannibal had an iron-clad alibi. He had probably smelled the blood on him, smelled the death, noticed the difference between the emotions Hannibal presented to the world and those he actually felt. He could easily have guided the children, helped them iron out the details and given them intimate knowledge of forensic procedure so that they wouldn't get caught.

Oh, they were perfect.

And they were all his. Hannibal's perfect little murder family.

 

Chapter Text

It had been a long and frustrating day. Hannibal was usually good at tuning out the mundane complaints and working on auto-pilot for the more routine issues, but today he'd needed to pay a little more attention to some truly boring clients. Now, all he wanted to do was to get home and relax with some art and then a good meal.

What he hadn't counted on, clearly, were the two teenagers he had claimed as his own.

As soon as he opened his car door, Hannibal could hear the muffled noise coming from inside the house. Letting himself inside, he was hit by a wall of sound, something atrocious and auto-tuned with little personality left. It didn't take much to track the source of the 'music' to the study on the ground floor, where Stiles and Abigail were using his expensive, state of the art sound system to blast their music at a level that had the collectibles rattling on their shelves. Meanwhile, the two were jumping around the room in a very energetic, if not particularly accurate, attempt at dance.

Usually Hannibal liked to encourage his children to bond, but today he was just frustrated. The noise was quickly bringing on a headache, and it took an uncommon amount of energy to keep his human mask in place.

It only took a few seconds for Stiles to notice his presence, and quickly turn off the music.

"Hi, Uncle!" Stiles greeted happily, then paused. He seemed to notice that something was wrong and bounded over to hug Hannibal. "Are you okay? Do you need anything?"

Abigail quickly joined them, snuggling under his other arm and looking concerned. Neither child seemed inclined to let go.

"I am fine," Hannibal assured them. "I just have a slight headache."

The children looked a little guilty at that, and Hannibal found himself instantly forgiving them.

"Do you want us to make dinner?" Stiles offered.

"Or we can make ours later," Abigail suggested, "if you want to make something special for yourself."

"We can make ourselves scarce," Stiles agreed. "Abby's behind on Marvel movies, we can go watch one in my room if you want some alone time."

With their obvious concern for him and attempts to take his preferences into account, the children bought themselves considerable leeway against future transgressions.

"Thank you," Hannibal made sure to smile at them. "I believe I shall sit quietly and draw for a while. If you can wait, I shall make us all a late supper in an hour or so."

"That's fine Da-aaaa-annibal!" Abigail tried to cover up her slip, blushing slightly, and Hannibal lit it go. Outwardly, at least. Inside he was delighted to have already usurped the unworthy in her eyes.

"Off you go then," Hannibal gave them both a squeeze before letting them out of his arms. "I shall call you when dinner is ready."

"Sure," Stiles grinned while Abigail just nodded, and the two headed upstairs at not quite a run. At least they were fairly quiet in their movements. Hannibal's mood was already improved, simply from interacting with his children.

Perhaps he would call Will later, surely that would complete the restoration of Hannibal's equilibrium.

 

~HMF~

 

Upstairs, safely behind Stiles' closed door, he and Abigail exchanged a high-five.

"Good job on the 'dad' slip," Stiles congratulated. "Did you see him light up?"

"And his eyes when you offered to cook," Abigail grinned back. "He was soooo pleased."

"Even so, we need to show him our hunting skills soon," Stiles decided. Abigail nodded in agreement. Their new family was coming together, it was true, but they were stalled and currently waiting for something to break down the final barrier. Neither of them had chanced upon a suitable pig yet, which was a little aggravating.

"Okay," Abigail decided. "Tomorrow while he's at work, we break into The Rolodeath and pick out an old card to track down."

Stiles nodded, following Abigail's thoughts easily. Once they had a target - one that they knew Hannibal wanted dead - they could work out the other details. It was just a matter of time now, and then everything would be out in the open.

Well, not everything. There were still a couple of secrets up Stiles' sleeve. He doubted anyone would ever know all of them.

"Now that that's settled," Abigail began, a spark of mischief in her eyes that already had Stiles wary, "when do I get to meet the old perv who's trying to get in my baby brother's pants?"

Stiles just stuck out his tongue and smacked her with his pillow while Abigail laughed.