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The room was pulsating, packed full of warm bodies grinding and dancing on top of each other.

Will sat alone at a booth against the wall, trying miserably to put a stand-still to his intruding thoughts that plagued his mind. As the night wore on it became easier to ignore the strobing lights and rhythmic beats the more he drank.

A golden whisky (third of the night) provided a strange sense of stability clasped in his hand as he took another long drag from it. Will licked his lips and sighed from the warm, burning liquid that coated his throat in a smooth layer as it went down.

He had come here with Bev and Alana who had both eventually taken to the dance floor, lost in the sea of people. Alana was the first to go, a young brunette claiming her with a drink and sway of her hips. Will wasn’t aware of Bev’s absence until he ordered his last drink and finally noticed she wasn’t beside him anymore. He felt guilty at first for zoning out on Bev, but when he searched the crowd for her, he thought it was for the best. He had looked up and sure enough, there Bev was, dancing in the throng of people, laughing and smiling widely. At least she was having fun.

It was as he went to take another gulp that something, or rather, someone, caught his eye. A lone man stood in a corner, his face in complete shadow until the strobing lights flickered onto him, painting him in eerie blue, green and reds.

Will decided it was the out of place clothes that caught his attention. The older man wore a three-piece suit with a matching pocket square and paisley tie. It was a wonder how he wasn’t sweating in the stuffy, humid temperature of the club.

Almost as though the man knew he was being looked at, the stranger sought Will’s eyes out. His hard gaze prompted Will to squirm and duck his head in embarrassment, feeling like a fool for staring so openly.

A heartbeat later, Will daringly returned his attention back to the mysterious man.

Even from a distance Will could see the slight tilt of the man’s head and quirk of his lips.

He started walking towards Will.

Will’s first thought was to panic. Should he get up and leave? Something kept him glued to his chair though, his mouth drying and hands starting to sweat. He licked his lips nervously.

“Hello.” The man stood towering over Will, blocking out the lights and filling his view entirely. “Do you mind if I join you?” He had a European accent Will couldn’t quite place and the low authoritative timbre of his voice had Will unconsciously sliding along the leather, making room for the other to sit down.

“Sure,” he said in a voice unlike his own. He avoided the stranger’s eyes as he sat closely beside Will. Will realised he still held the glass of whisky at his mouth; he quickly sipped a bit, wetting his tongue and sat it back on the table.

“My name is Dr. Hannibal Lecter.” Will was grateful he didn’t extend his hand out. “What should I call you?”

Will cleared his throat before quietly saying, “Will Graham.”

“Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Graham.”

“Will,” he quickly corrected, “Just call me Will.” Whenever addressed with his title he couldn’t help squirming, closing in on himself from the distant reminder of his father.

“Did you come here alone, Will?” There was a lilt in the man’s voice at the mention of Will’s name, almost as though Hannibal was savouring it.

Instinctively, Will glanced towards the dance floor. He could not see Alana or Bev now. Will briefly wondered what they would make of the situation he was in now, sat next to an older man in their booth; perhaps they would cheer him on, encourage him to make a move so he could finally get laid. At that thought Will mentally shook his head, there was no way this man would even be remotely interested in him. He decided to be truthful and said, “I came here with friends.”

Dr. Lecter nodded. “Of course. Might I guess it was their idea to come here tonight?”

Will shifted in his seat. “Did you come alone?” he said, redirecting the conversation off him.

A slight curve on the doctor’s lips told Will his approach hadn’t been subtle; Hannibal knew full well now the answer to his previous question had been yes. “Yes, I did,” Hannibal said.

He was still looking at Will, trying to catch his eye no doubt, but Will, almost stubbornly, had his eyes firmly locked on to Hannibal’s clean-shaven jaw.

Will knew his behaviour could be deemed rude to some, but he didn’t care how others saw him, especially that of a stranger who he would never see again after tonight.

“Not fond of eye contact, are you?”

Will waved his hand dismissively, “Eyes are distracting.”

“I must have been mistaken before then,” a hint of amusement coated his words, “I could have sworn I saw you looking my way.”

Liquid courage allowed Will to lift his eyes then until he was peering up at the doctor through a mop of brown curls. It was like being struck with a pin, an insect being dissected by curious entomologists the way ruby brown eyes met sea blue. Will couldn’t help the flush on his cheeks from the intensity of Hannibal’s gaze.

The man was undeniably handsome and suddenly Will was aware of their close proximity, their shoulders and thighs a whisper apart.

What Will did next he blamed solely on too much alcohol.

Will reached out his hand and placed it on Hannibal’s knee, slowly trailing his nimble fingers upwards. Even through the coarse fabric he could feel the heat radiating through Hannibal’s pants. He got midway on Hannibal’s thigh when his progression was halted by a near crushing grip that flattened his hand and made Will yelp out loud.

Hannibal released his grip gradually, but kept a firm hold on Will’s slender wrist.

“Will,” he cautioned. His voice was steady, perhaps Will had misread the situation entirely and actually insulted the older man with his stupid advances. Will blushed profusely, the tips of his ears aflame with humiliation.

But then, Hannibal idly brushed his fingers over Will’s knuckles whilst saying, “Such unnecessary hesitation yet coiled with boldness. Do you understand the outcomes your actions could have the potential to inspire?” With his other hand Hannibal brushed a stray curl off Will’s forehead and then stopped to cup Will’s cheek, effectively forcing Will to turn his head and look directly into Hannibal’s dark eyes. “A boy testing his bounds,” Hannibal said, his voice low. Will’s pulse was racing when Hannibal leaned in closer and breathed hotly against his ear. “How far, I wonder, are you willing to take it?”