Warnings: Uh…cannibalism? Seriously, if I have to warn for that it’s possible you may be lost. Show level or less violence, much higher than show level sexual activity.
Disclaimer: Nope. Don’t own it. I do however own a lovely picture of Mads Mikkelsen in one of his Hannibal suits and my brother that my brother got for me while he was working as an extra on the Hannibal set. You’re the best bro (and I desperately hope you never find this particular corner of the internet!)
You’re a fine piece of real estate and I’m gonna get me some land. – Shania Twain, I’m Gonna Getcha Good
To say that Will Graham is still an unmated, childless omega at the age of thirty-eight is his own choice is true.
It is not to say that it his preference.
Confused? Let him explain.
Will’s mother left Will and his father when Will was three. Will has little to no memory of her beyond that of a vague image of dark, straight hair and sharp features. His father told him over the years that his hair color and the creamy paleness of his skin were a result of her genetic contribution, but the rest of him Will is sure he got from his father.
Including being an omega.
Yes, Bill Graham was an omega, and though he’d belonged to a rather unflattering statistic of the population – omega’s who had provided children for their alpha’s and then been left to raise them as single parents when the alpha decided they’d found someone better – Bill hadn’t been a typical indicator of said statistic. Bill Graham had been an eminently practical, good, hardworking blue collar man. Bill might have been left by his wife for some fancy east coast debutante, but he’d not been one to fall victim to bitterness.
Instead, Bill had provided Will with a comfortable life. They’d never had much in the way of materialism, but Will had never wanted for affection, wisdom, or the quiet support of a parent. Bill had always had a smile for his quiet son or a simple, tidy bit of wisdom stated in Bill’s solid, comforting drawl. When Will had presented as an omega at the tender age of thirteen, Bill had been there with a comforting hand through Will’s hair and a simple, “I’m proud of you son.”
No, Will had never wanted for much.
Except a family.
Yes, of course Will and his father had been a family, and happy in their own way, but that thing – that nebulous, unnamed thing he saw when he had visited his few friends homes and stared covetously at their siblings and their parents, numerous and together and happy – Will had wanted that thing.
And Bill, for all that he’d been a good man, had been unable to give it to him.
And so, Will had decided he’d have to go out and get it on his own.
“Dad,” Will had asked after he’d presented, too stuck in a hormone haze to realize that the question was insensitive given the state of his parents’ relationship, “How do you know when you’ve met your mate?”
Some people in Bill’s position might have reacted with vitriol or anger, but Bill had been a better man than those people. Bill had simply sat back on his haunches, run a soothing hand through his still shaking son’s hair and said, simple and calm, “You’re an omega Will, so you’ll just know son. They’ll be this feeling inside of you, like the ticking of a clock, tick, tick, tick, just waiting for a tock. And then you’ll meet someone – someone wonderful and worthy of you – and that tock will be there.”
And then Bill had paused, lost in a moment before he finished quietly, but with the most reverence that Will had ever heard from his father, “And you’ll look at them, and think, there you are. I’ve been looking for you forever.”
And that had been all that had been needed to be said on that subject – Will had never asked again for fear of poking an open wound and Bill had never volunteered – but Will hadn’t needed more than that. He could feel that thing his father had said, that tick, tick, tick sometimes, if he pulled himself far enough into his own head and out of the minds of others, and so once he’d been eighteen Will had hugged his father at his high school graduation, joined up with the police force and gone looking for that tock.
And yes, Will is perfectly aware of the fact that the scientific term for the phenomenon is omega imprinting – the rush of serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin released by the omega’s brain to signify that the alpha is the best possible genetic donor for future children and, to a lesser extent, most compatible mate. He’s also aware that not all of these relationships last - how could he not be – and that, as it is a phenomenon found solely in omegas, with no answering alpha response, it shifts the balance of power towards the omega, if oh so briefly. Mother Nature’s one gift to make up for menstruation, his high school biology teacher had joked.
Will knows all this, he just prefers his father’s term. It’s more poetic, somehow.
Also imprinting makes him think of omegas following alphas around like confused ducklings.
But Will digresses.
And so he’d got out into the world and then…nothing. For all that his thing - this empathy that the worlds nosy psychiatric minds were so fascinated about – was useful for police work, for getting into the minds of killers and suspects and victims, it was undeniably a detriment when looking for a mate.
Because, well, people were just so…loud.
It was hard to examine an individual’s better qualities when faced with a steady stream of, I wonder if I left the iron on, I bet that little omega slut would feel amazing around my knot, are we thinking chicken or fish tonight, is that a split end, wonder if he likes it hard and fast, break that little bitch with my cock was always distracting him. The lewd and the mundane all swirled into one mess, feelings and thoughts and emotions mixed so as to be nigh overwhelming to someone as sensitive as Will.
And so, through finding plenty of what he didn’t need through his time on the force, Will slowly began to eke out the vision of what he did need. He needed someone organized – a simple line between id and ego and super ego – I want and so I take, I like and so I care. Someone with passions that ran hot and consuming, but with control as strong as iron. An alpha of intelligence and wit who wouldn’t flinch away when Will dreamed of murder and death – who could put their teeth to Will’s neck and bore him down, burrow so deep inside of him that there’d be no room in Will’s head for anything else.
Will fiercely buried away that little voice inside of himself that whispered, from a place just below where civilization could reach – the lizard brain of old – then you need a killer, my boy.
Well then Will had gotten shot, and his father had died of a heart attack, and Will had figured that seemed like as good a time as any to throw in the towel. So Will had buried his father, learned how to breathe without pain again, went to university and, perhaps most importantly, started taking suppressants and wearing beta cologne. Will was all for the omega liberation movement of the sixties: he was eminently grateful that his status as an individual with ovaries didn’t mean he couldn’t hold down a job, but for all that, passing oneself off as a beta was still the ‘socially acceptable’ thing to do. It wasn’t a necessity anymore, and if the second wave omegists had anything to say about it it’d be a dying trend, but for the most part, if you weren’t making a political statement, mated or looking for a mate, you were on at least suppressants, and probably wearing a beta scent.
Will didn’t have much use for social niceties, but he didn’t mind this one. Easier to live this way – no posturing alpha pheromones, no omega heats triggering inconvenient ruts, no slick running down his thighs as he clenched, empty and wanting and desperate – just the easy, bland scent of beta that came from a bottle with a ship on it, and the easy, bland life it brought with it.
And so, time passed, as it was wont to do, and by the time he reached the age of thirty-eight, he’d been carefully resigned to his existence as an unremarkable, childless omega passing himself off as a beta, and quite proficient at just ignoring that tick, tick, tick.
And then Jack Crawford had come by his class with pictures of missing girls, visits to crime scenes and summons to his office.
His occupied office.
“Will,” Jack asserts, voice steady and level, the voice of a hunter trying to coax a wary animal into a cage, “I’d like you to meet Dr. Hannibal Lecter.”
And so, only because he knows it will cause waves if he does not, he makes himself look at this man, whom Jack is springing on him for he can guess what, makes his gaze leave the comforting print of the floor and scroll upwards to this doctor. He makes it past the expensive suit, olive skin of long fingers – musician or surgeon, Will would bet money on it – crests his gaze over cheekbones that look like they are cut from glass, and then, drags his eyes up to, just for a second, meet the answering dark ones.
And then Will just stops everything.
Oh, Will thinks, but does not say as he sinks into one of Jack’s uncomfortable office chairs, stunned into contemplative silence, there you are. I’ve been looking for you forever.
And then, directly after it, fuck.
A shrink, Will thinks later, caught between paralyzing hope, exhaustive anger and bizarre hilarity, having escaped Jack’s office and the overwhelming thoroughbred alpha – of that, there is no doubt in Will’s mind - presence of Hannibal Lecter, who specializes in psychoanalysis.
Of-fucking-course he is.
When Will opens the door the next morning in his underwear to find Hannibal Lecter at his door with breakfast, he seriously contemplates shutting the door in the man’s stupidly attractive face. Beyond the fact that Will owes his sleepless night to the man in question – and the sheer fact that it is too god damn early in the morning for this shit – Will is not in the mood to make shrink small talk with the man his body has decided it would like to bear children for.
Also, it is too early in the morning for this shit. It bears repeating. Will is not a morning person.
He has the sneaking suspicion Hannibal is. Then again, he has the less than sneaking suspicion there will be greater hurdles to overcome if decides to pursue this course of action.
But he’s getting ahead of himself.
Finally, he lets the man in, more because it would be rude to leave him out on the porch and Will’s father raised him better than that. Let’s the man fiddle with plating arrangements for his bloody protein scramble – that naturally smells better than any food has right to – and settles into a tense conversation about murder and Jack and tea cups. But Will, for all that he is good at many things, is not good at this – at conversations that matter, and conversations that don’t, and this is so far out of the realm of normal anyways, even if he is the only one who knows it – and so he tries to steer them back into the realm of boundaries and professionalism.
“Or we could socialize, like adults. God forbid we become friendly,” Lecter purrs smoothly, and it is not quite mocking – more an invitation, a dare for Will alone, if only he is brave or stupid enough to take it.
And so Will, who never really learned how to resist the bait even when he knows it’s a trap takes his eyes away from Lecter’s sculpted chin and brings them to his eyes.
Darkness. No wandering thoughts, no idle musings. A clear lake, smooth and calm but Will can see there are monsters that swim beneath the surface. Controlled and precise, every movement fitted to perfection, like a person suit, but Will, Will can see the cracks that whispers and spew dark promises and savage, deep feeling.
He’s fiercely, grotesquely beautiful.
“I don’t find you that interesting,” Will lies, just to see what will happen, and if Will wasn’t on such effective suppressants, the dark flash of something that flickers in Lecter’s eyes would have slick running down his thighs.
“You will,” Lecter says, taking a tidy, precise bite of his meal, and it is nothing short of a promise.
What kind of monster are you Doctor Lecter, Will wonders, forking a mouthful of fluffy eggs and savory meat into his mouth.
It should bother him that he wants to find out.
Looking at the body of Cassie Boyle, Will knows he won’t ever be able to describe exactly what it was that made him look just that little bit harder. Because, well, this isn’t the work of the monster they are looking for – their nightmare Wonka and his golden ticket – Will knows this without a doubt. Looking won’t help the case – won’t help them find the Shrike.
And yet, Will can’t help himself.
He never really learned how to resist the bait, even when he knows it’s a trap.
The pendulum swings and…
A shadow of a man, no face and yet, somehow clearer than he should be. A man shrouded in darkness. No wandering thoughts, no idle musings. A clear lake, smooth and calm but Will can see there are monsters that swim beneath the surface. Controlled and precise, every movement fitted to perfection, like a person suit, but Will, Will can see the cracks that whispers and spew dark promises and savage, deep feeling.
He’s fiercely, grotesquely beautiful.
What kind of monster are you Doctor Lecter? Will had mused only that morning.
Well, Will thinks, staring at the terrible, beautiful art that was once a girl that walked, talked, had friends, had a life, that answers that question.
“It’s a copycat,” Will tells Jack, and nothing else, and wonders what kind of monster that makes him.
Will resigns himself to another sleepless night.
And then there is Hobbs, Hobbs and the girl, the golden ticket and blood, too warm as it splatters on his face and the rush, the incomparable rush as he pulls the trigger again and again and again and again as the life escapes from Hobbs eyes as a result of Will’s design.
And yet, through all of that, it will be the burn of Lecter’s fingers as they had brushed his, blood sliding between them as he’d wrapped them around the girl’s neck and the look that he’d given Will, shaking and blood splattered like some nightmare Jackson Pollack that will stay with Will as he sits in that uncomfortable hospital chair.
That, and the fact that when he looks at Lecter, whom he knows has killed – brutally, savagely and without remorse - at least one person and likely many more, he still feels that tock.
Will goes home alone that night, and knows he has much to consider.
The first thing Will Graham does when he gets home is pour himself a socially unacceptable sized glass of scotch.
The second thing he does is set the glass away, untouched.
He’s going to need a clear head for this one.
Hannibal Lecter is the Chesapeake Ripper.
Hannibal Lecter is also, according to his genetic make-up, his most compatible mate.
Breathe in, Will reminds himself, and out. Nice and slow, you can do it. Alright.
He knows it’s a jump to say that Hannibal is the Ripper, but Will lived inside the Ripper’s head for two years during grad school, and so he has the authority to make this jump. Cassie Boyle is not a “Ripper Murder.” The Ripper won’t claim this one, and it isn’t part of the three body cycle. And yet, Will knows as sure as he knows his own name that this murder was done by both the Ripper and by Hannibal, and even in his little corner of the world two and two equals four.
Hannibal Lecter is the Chesapeake Ripper.
Will admits that this certitude should probably make him feel something other than what he feels now. He should feel horrified, repulsed – should have already called Jack and had him search every inch of whatever palace Will is sure Hannibal Lecter calls home for the evidence that he knows is there.
But Will? Will just feel…steady.
Will’s father was not an alcoholic, but no matter how many times they moved, Will always found this one fridge magnet on their fridge, battered and worn but still legible and applicable.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
Will can’t change the fact that Hannibal is a killer, or that Hannibal is his best shot at a family. Will’s two choices are: accept it, and plan accordingly, or ignore it, and hope that what Hannibal is planning doesn’t bite him in the ass.
Because here’s another thing Will knows – Hannibal is planning something. No one shows up at someone else’s door that early with breakfast because of common courtesy, and furthermore, if he wasn’t, Cassie Boyle would be a “Ripper Murder,” instead of whatever she is now. Will can’t see a clear design yet, though mostly he thinks this is because Hannibal doesn’t have one yet. Still, Will can intuit a few things.
Hannibal, if left to his own devices, will wind him up just for the pleasure of watching Will go, and Will can’t even be offended by it. Hannibal is psychopath – destruction is in his nature.
The question then becomes, is there a plausible alternative?
Will thinks there might be.
Hannibal is fascinated with him, this much he is sure. His empathy is the source of it so far – this brilliant new toy just for Hannibal to play with – but Will doesn’t think it would take much to make that fascination extend just a little bit further. Hannibal thinks he is a beta now – he is a thoroughbred, this is true, but the suppressants that Will uses deadens his scent even to the dogs – and he still wants to take Will and shape him into someone of his own design. If he knew that Will was an omega – someone who he could literally control, whom he could tie to himself so strongly that he’d never leave, that he could bury a living part of himself into and watch it grow into a person that could carry on his legacy – if he knew all that?
Well, that opens a few doors up.
Because here is the other thing about Hannibal Lecter that Will Graham can see.
Hannibal Lecter is lonely.
It almost seems too banal an emotion for someone like Lecter, Will thinks, but it is the right one none the less. Something happened to him, something terrible; Will can’t see clearly enough, the loss of someone, a sibling maybe, younger most certainly and cannibalism – the other thing that Will has figured out and should bother him but doesn’t – was undoubtedly involved. And so Hannibal Lecter turned himself into a sword, into a hunter and then he realized, as too many men do that not all swords can be melted back into plowshares, and so he stayed that way.
Will is not under any delusions that makes the things Hannibal does acceptable – The Ripper swats pests because he can, turns swine into art in more than one way - he is not a vigilante with a heart of gold. These are beliefs that would ease Will conscience, but are ultimately untrue, and honestly, would hurt his cause if he maintained them and went forward.
Because, well, Hannibal is lonely because he has no one who can see him.
This is the great tragedy to art – it needs an audience to live, and as such, so too does the artist.
This is why so many serial killers get caught. Because no one wants to be the guy who painted the Mona Lisa but can’t tell anyone about it.
This Will knew from grad school: The Ripper - and by his new knowledge Hannibal - is dying to have someone to tell, to have someone see in a way that won’t have him end up behind bars for the rest of his natural life.
If Will offers him that, he knows he won’t be turned away, no matter what his own concessions – namely children - are.
And so, there is only one real question left.
Does Will want it?
To say that Will is not overly social is perhaps a massive understatement. He has his dogs, his own little makeshift family, but even Will is human, and humans are social animals. Humans, at their core, crave certain things: the love of a parent, the casual affection of friend, the passion of a lover. A person can chose to be alone, but no one chooses to be lonely.
Will is so tired of being lonely.
Will Graham, in the end, wants what he’s always wanted since he was a covetous little boy.
Will wants a family.
And then again, whispered from that lizard brain of old – then you need a killer, my boy.
But this time…this time Will considers it. Being bound to an alpha that will hunt for him, that will kill those lesser alphas like the warriors of old and serve them up to him on a literal platter.
The strongest hunter around.
It’s everything every omega wants beyond that veneer of civility, in the deep, dark, primal part of themselves, and Will Graham is no different.
It will be, Will knows, the most dangerous game of his life, and he still has the blood of the man he killed under his fingernails, so this is saying something.
But yes, Will is going to go get what he wants.
And, god rest his soul, he’s going to use one of his father’s teachings to do it. Because of all the things his father taught him, this resonated with Will the strongest.
“Alphas are easy boy,” Bill had drawled, staring over the water, a half smile on his face and half drunken beer in his hand, “You just have to make them think all your good ideas came from their own minds. Then you get what you want, and a satisfied alpha, all in one.”
And so, plan crystalizing in his mind, Will picks up the phone and dials his gynecologist, propping his hip up on the counter as the phone rings and petting Winston’s head absently as he books an appointment for tomorrow morning.
Hannibal might not notice he’s an omega now, but he’d be hardly worth the trouble if he doesn’t when Will shows up to his first ‘not-therapy’ appointment smelling like slick and available omega.
Honestly, Will thinks, this has the potential to be great fun.
And then, once his business is completed he sends one more longing gaze to that glass of scotch before finally pouring it down the drain. He’s going to have to get used to not drinking after all.
He won’t be able to when he’s pregnant.