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Wage Your War

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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!)

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You’re a fine piece of real estate and I’m gonna get me some land. – Shania Twain, I’m Gonna Getcha Good

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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.

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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.

And then?

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.

Tock.

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.

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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.

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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.

And looks.

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.

It doesn’t.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Chapter Text

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I've already planned it - here's how it's gonna be, I'm gonna love you and - you're gonna fall in love with me. – Shania Twain, I’m Gonna Getcha Good

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No one, Will muses, really likes going to the doctor’s office and Will is no different, but this time, he doesn’t mind it quite as much. Normally his visits to his gynecologist – a beta with a whip-sharp sense of humor and all seeing eyes – are pretty routine. Will comes in, gets the pipes checked out and gets his six month prescription renewal for his suppressants and birth control.

The waiting room, naturally, is usually the worst part. All those omegas, mentally and literally loud omegas, round and huge and beaming with their fertility had never sat too well with Will, the almost beta spinster. Now however, with his fledgling plan developing in his mind and that ever-present tock, Will sits in the waiting room with the tiniest smile on his face.

If it all goes according to plan, that will be him in a few months.

Will can’t begin to describe how much he’s looking forward to that.

But he can’t get too ahead of himself.

So he tamps down that feeling and steps up into the examination room when his name is called, taking the uncomfortable paper dress that the nurse hands to him and changing into it with, what he thinks, is an acceptable amount of eye rolling.

His doctor, who takes one look at him and snorts in good natured empathy clearly disagrees, but honestly, this is why Will picked her. Dr. Watson – “Yes,” she’d stated deadpan, the first time Will had shown up for an appointment six months off the force and tired of life in general, “that really is my name. Want to make something out of it?” – reminds Will of his father a bit, with her sharp wit and simple wisdom.

If his father had been a five foot nothing redhead beta woman, of course.

For the record, he wasn’t.

Which is why, when he starts the appointment with, “I’d like to go off of my suppressants,” with no explanation after thirteen years, she only smiles, cocks an eyebrow upward and drawls good-naturedly, “Is that so?”

“Have you been feeling any side effects on them?” She then asks, mostly because she actually is a good doctor and it is procedural, and Will squirms a little at that one because, well.

See the thing you have to consider is, there are four commercially available types of suppressants. Three of them are over the counter – lower impact, they supress ovulation, heats and, so to some degree, omega pheromones and have very few side effects – and one is available by prescription only. Naturally, the three over the counter ones happen to be the ones that Will is allergic to. Instead, Will is on the prescription suppressant – the one designed originally for the military, which does everything that the other three do but also suppresses his scent so well that without the beta cologne, he’d smell as fresh as an unpresented child.

They started regulating it after they found out how popular it was with pedophiles.

But that isn’t the point.

The point is, it also has a fun grab bag of side effects including, but not limited too; night terrors, night sweats, insomnia, unusually disturbing nightmares, suicidal thoughts and even, on occasion, visual and auditory hallucinations.

Yeah.

“Possibly all of them?” Will finally says, sheepishly to his doctor’s collarbone, not in any particular hurry to see the disappointed look on her face that accompanies her slow, chastising, “Will…”

“The trade-off was worth it before,” Will cuts in, before she can really wind herself up into a lecture – which Will undoubtedly deserves, but isn’t interested in hearing right this moment, “but now there are…other factors in play.”

“Uh huh,” Dr. Watson with a look on her face that says, you’re not getting away that easily, before she asks blandly, “Are you expecting to change your level of sexual activity?”

“If it all goes to plan, then yes, I’m hoping to drastically increase it,” Will says, equally as blandly, finally meeting her eyes, and he can’t quite keep the little half smirk the thought brings him off his face.

“Ah so it’s like that, is it?” Dr. Watson chuckles, but it’s a kind laughter, no malice or judgement before she makes a note on her clipboard and asks, wry smile on her face, “And are we interested in birth control?”

“No,” Will says simply, and he is certainly smiling at the thought that one brings – the curve of his stomach, ripe with the swell of a child, being traced over by fine boned, olive skinned ex-surgeon’s – he’d known he was right about that one - fingers.

No, he is not interested in birth control.

Dr. Watson just rolls her eyes, before setting the clipboard down and gesturing for him to lie back so she can do a quick physical check-up. As she does, she tells him, voice comforting and professional to offset the invasive nature of it, “You’re going to go into a withdrawal after taking the suppressants for so long – a barren heat – no ovulation but all the rest of the symptoms of your regular heat. It’ll be pretty immediate but it shouldn’t last more than a day or two. After that it should take anywhere from three to nine months for your first heat to appear, and they should settle out into a pretty normal cycle after that.”

And then, physical done she snaps off her gloves and gestures for Will to get redressed, politely burying her head in her computer as he does. Once he’s redressed – hard to care about modesty much with the lady who just examined your cervix – she turns back to him and informs him, “You will be susceptible to rut induced heats again, so you’ll want to keep that in mind.”

Oh, Will has.

This, he doesn’t share.

He thinks it must leak through though, because Dr. Watson slaps a list with the telling title Pre-pregnancy supplements into his outstretched hand with a wink and a cheeky but sincere, “Happy hunting.”

Dr. Watson, will knows thanks to his little party trick, pursued her mate, a high profile old money beta male lawyer with a level of skill that would have made Sun Tzu jealous. They have three children – he’s seen them in her office photographs.

Will hopes to be just as successful.

“Thank you,” he says, because it’s polite and because he genuinely appreciates it, and she smiles and says, as she makes a gentle shooing motion towards the door, “I expect to meet this alpha of yours at some later date.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” Will says instead of, Oh, you will.

No need to jinx anything.

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It’s pathetically easy to get Jack to agree to two days off. All he has to do is stutter about Hobbs, and few days to clear his head and Jack signs off on the time before he’s even finished speaking.

And well, if Will uses a few omegean appeasement gestures on him – a submissive tilt of his head to frame his neck, a demure tone and gaze – then that’s no one’s business but Will’s, is it?

He didn’t think so.

And so, Will goes home, takes his pack out for a run, makes himself eat something – toast, because heat and complex meals do not go hand in hand – and then he makes himself lay down in his bed. From what he can remember from his heats, it’s the anticipation that’s the worst part. Heat is heat, and Will’s got toys for that, the most useful of them the dildo with the simulated knot that he’s already set out on the bedside table, but the anticipation – that time when there isn’t anything to do wait for something you know isn’t coming – that’s the hard part. It’s easier just to jump right into it, and since Will doesn’t have an alpha in rut on hand to induce him into a heat – not yet, anyways – then sleep is the next best thing.

So Will closes his eyes, and makes himself dose off into a surprisingly peaceful sleep.

When he wakes up, some indeterminate amount of time later, his body is a warzone.

That ache – that undeniable heat ache, the clenching desire radiating from his very cervix to be mounted and filled and bred – is all consuming, so strong it nearly chokes him as it churns in his stomach and his throat. He’s burning up, dripping in sweat and in slick, so much that his thighs slide together frictionlessly as he shifts for the dildo, grabbing it between shaking hands and shoving it, without any prep, all fat and rigid and hard into his aching, needing, desperate hole.

Ahhh. Perfect. Not as good as a real alpha of course, all warm and throbbing, but next best thing, and his aching hole can barely tell the difference, grasping the hard silicone just as greedily as it would an alpha’s cock.

And so, the desperation of heat clawing at him Will wastes no time on something as banal as foreplay. Instead he sets a fierce rhythm, hard and fast that batters his plump, needy prostate with it, and imagines that instead of his favourite toy it’s a living cock, Hannibal’s cock. Bigger than his toy, heavy and thick and long, with that thoroughbred girth that will fill him to nearly bursting.

Imagines that instead of being alone in his own bed, he’s in Hannibal’s, with the man himself looming over him, pressing Will into the bed as he pounds into him with that huge, fat cock of his. Imagines the look in his eyes, the perfect darkness, and how he might look unhinged, that iron control of his fractured, sweat beading on his temples, mouth open to bare teeth, perfectly coiffed hair falling onto his forehead with the sheer force of his thrusts.

And then he imagines, whispered into his ear without a pause in rhythm, rasped in that accent, sibilant and base, “You’re going to give me such beautiful, strong children.”

Will comes so hard he thinks he’s gone blind.

And then, just because he can, he thinks of that fat, thoroughbred cock and he does it again, and again, and again.

It is, needless to say, a good night.

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See, the thing about the omegean imprinting is this. On one hand, it’s great. Its evolutions way of handing the knowledge to the omega, of saying, you want strong, capable children then look no farther, without all the unnecessary and messy alpha dominance fights. Evolutionary biologists and social anthropologists theorize it came about in response to a shortage of alphas caused by overly violent dominance hierarchies that left the winners too battered to pass on their genes, and that’s great, because it solves that problem pretty well.

On the other hand, it’s a fucking pain in the ass.

The problem with it is this – there’s no proof an omega can offer to said alpha. Sure, an omega might imprint on an alpha, but with no answering alpha response, the alpha has to take the omega on their word. And of course, given that the omega can have a lot to gain by a particular mating – and conversely an alpha a lot to lose – lies happen.

The divorce rate isn’t that high just because divorce is easier these days, and that is to say nothing of the domestic murder rate.

But he digresses.

So, to compensate, society has an unwritten set of social norms for courting that, although no one ever teaches them in schools, most people know and follow. An omega will approach an alpha they have imprinted on and declare their interest. Then it’s up to the alpha to accept or deny and, if they accept, court the omega. This way, the alpha can determine compatibility for themselves, through providing for an omega, scent marking, and other courting gestures. If the courting falls apart and the pair aren’t compatible, then it’s assumed that the omega lied and the alpha and omega are free to take up another suit if they chose with someone else. If the couple feels like they are compatible then they’re free to mate, marry or pursue whatever life arrangement they chose. It’s not a perfect system, but for the most part it works out all right.

The bottom line is, for the most part, omegas don’t go after alphas. Even his own parents, failed as their marriage was, followed this trend. His mother had shown great courage in courting the lowly handyman who’d worked at her family’s summer home against the will of her old money New Orleans family. That she’d eventually run out of that courage and buckled under her family’s will is regrettable, but Will’s never been able to resent her for it.

Of course, Will’s not one for social norms.

And he has much more courage than his mother.

Will has no intention of announcing his interest to Hannibal in anything so simple as words, nor does he have any interest in handing that power over to Hannibal so soon. Will plans to snare the grand puppet master himself, and so Will has to act accordingly.

And so, a few hours before his first appointment with Dr. Lecter, he applies his own slick, saved by him after the delirium of his heat had worn off to his pulse points like the world’s most obscene cologne, coating his hands liberally before covering them with a thin pair of gloves, and gets ready to go hunting.

He thinks he’s never looked forward to an hour of therapy more.

******************************

In terms of expectations, Hannibal Lecter’s office does not disappoint. Hannibal the man presents a very careful image – sophisticated, controlled, a man of fine tastes and the resources to acquire them, and of course, above all else, alpha. There is no one, not even the least sensitive beta, who would walk away from even a casual encounter with Hannibal Lecter and not know that the man was an alpha. Will has no doubt that the effect is intentional, every last detail planed out by Hannibal himself to ensure that his person suit is as pristine and perfect as is humanly possible.

His office naturally, presents the same careful image.

The deep reds, the smooth greys, the leather of the chairs and their very careful placement – everything is designed to show that this is Hannibal’s domain, that he is lord and master here, a subtle, well accented statement of his power and alpha presence.

No one would walk into this office and mistake who holds the power here.

But Will thinks, maybe, just for a second, today, for the first time ever, it’s not Hannibal.

Because – and there is no other way to put it – Hannibal has…stalled.

See, Will’s been working on this hypothesis of Hannibal. To exude the control that Hannibal does, to create the flawless mask that he wears, there must be an amazing amount of preparation that goes on just behind the scenes. Will imagines that every interaction that Hannibal has is planned for and prepared, every word carefully examined and selected and weighed before they ever cross his lips. As such, Will can guess what he’d prepared to see in this encounter – a beta Will, guilt stricken and fragile about his killing of Hobbs, and vulnerable to Hannibal’s…persuasions.

The single, compulsive throat swallow that Hannibal makes at the sight of a visibly stable, omega Will smelling fresh off a heat, as if all his careful preparations just died in his throat is a beautiful validation of Will’s theory.

He recovers admirably though, this Will can say for him. There is no signs other than that one, tiny lapse, likely only notable because Will is looking so closely. When Hannibal gestures for him to sit, taking his own seat in one of the two leather chairs, he looks as composed as Will’s ever seen him.

Will’s going to try and do something about that.

So Will takes a seat on the little Freudian couch with its silly little throw pillow instead of the expected chair, forcing Hannibal to shift the chair he’s in to face Will. It is, Will acknowledges, an entirely meaningless power play, but even insignificant victories are still victories.

The flash of something that looks a great deal like hunger that flickers in Hannibal’s eyes when Will removes his gloves, placing them on the sofa and Hannibal no doubt catches a whiff of just what those hands smell like, is most certainly a significant victory.

“You…went off your suppressants,” Hannibal begins, voice modulated and calm, entirely professional, no sign that he ever did not know that Will was an omega, the kind of entreaty that any therapist might make of a patient.

It is also absolutely not that, Will can tell, just this side of too carefully constructed to be impartial, and he makes sure none of that knowledge – or the satisfaction it brings - is visible on his face.

“Is it that obvious?” Will asks instead, bringing his gaze to his knees and picking up the pillow to fiddle with it, and his embarrassment is not even something he must create.

Will does not do social interaction well. He’d never thought it would be an asset until this moment.

That he is running his hands over the pillow to transfer the slick from them to it, saturating it in the scent of heat and Will is certainly his own design.

“I have a very…strong olfactory sense,” Is Hannibal’s response, voice toned just so to give the inflection of apology, and if it’s true or feigned Will can’t say, but it makes no difference really.

“I was on Onestapam,” Will says to Hannibal’s shoulder, hands still subtly stroking slick onto the pillow, knowing a man of Hannibal’s medical background will recognize the brand, “and the side effects were beginning to make an appearance. And then,” he says, moving his gaze up to Lecter’s chin so that he can observe the man’s eyes in his peripherals, “once I was off them I couldn’t help but think about staying off them and giving looking for a mate one more try.”

“You feel a desire for a mate,” Hannibal says slowly, paraphrasing the words back in a psychoanalytic trick Will is familiar with, designed to get Will to expand on the subject himself. But it is look in his eyes, the look of contemplation and potential that Will sees that makes the otherwise futile trick oh so effective.

“I feel a desire for a family,” Will says honestly, leaving the pillow on the couch to get up and pace the room, feeling the weight of Lecter’s gaze in every step, “I always have, but maybe this thing with Hobbs and Abigail brought it back up to the surface.”

“You feel a parental obligation to Abigail Hobbs, for your role in the destruction of her family,” Hannibal says, and it’s so smooth that if Will wasn’t looking, if he didn’t know what Hannibal was, he’d probably never pick up on how carefully the sentence is designed to wound.

But Will does know, Will is looking, and so he simply appreciates it for what it is – Hannibal’s nature.

Will, though, Will has a nature of his own.

“Yeah, a bit,” Will says, because this true enough – he does feel something for Abigail, something that he will have to sort out fully at a later date. But then he continues, because this too is also true, “But Abigail is almost fully grown, and she had parents, no matter what kind of people they were. I…” He says, and the pause is deliberate as he casually, in a movement designed to appear unconscious, strokes his hand over his flat stomach, as if caressing a child slumbering within, “want to make my own family.”

And then, to Lecter’s face, “Is that wrong?”

“One might argue,” Hannibal says, so slowly it is nearly a purr, and his eyes never leave the gentle motion of Will’s hand for a second, “that it is the most natural desire in the world.”

“Have you…someone in mind already?” Lecter asks, in that same too casual to be real tone, and so Will directs his gaze back to the floor, the image of casual dejection, “No. But well,” he asks the floor, just the right amount of careful optimism not to be suspicious, “I figure I’ll never find anyone if I don’t start looking, right?”

“Yes,” Lecter drawls slowly, letting his accent drag the words out, with something that looks like calculation in his dark eyes, “I suppose that it true.”

Will knows this too, is a victory.

The rest of the session – perhaps all ten minutes of it – are rather routine. Will doesn’t make eye contact and Lecter rubber stamps him for the field, and then they make their goodbyes and plans for the next appointment in a week with little fanfare.

Will does not mention that he has every intention of finding a reason to come back far sooner than that, but he hardly imagines Lecter would mind if he did.

It’s a good feeling.  

And so Will goes out to his car, and then he waits, deliberately, one, two, three minutes. And then he gets out of his car and retraces his path back to Hannibal’s office, knocking politely on the door.

“I forgot my gloves,” Will says, aiming for sheepish when the man himself appears at the door, and waits patiently there, gaze following Hannibal as he moves to the couch and picks them up, and brings them back to Will who thanks him quietly before leaving.

The little throw pillow, saturated with the scent of Will’s slick, is nowhere in sight.

On the way home, Will makes a pit stop at the local drug store, a smile on his face.

He thinks now is probably a good time to start taking that folic acid.

******************************

Dead diabetics to grow mushrooms.

Will wonders, just for a second, how it is he seems to get all the weird ones.

Though, it does have the added bonus of acting as his “coming out” to his coworkers, who all take his change in status with varying degrees. Jack gives him a look that might be best characterized as that’s what you did with those two days!? But Will can see him make a judgement – Will knows he looks more stable than Jack has ever seen him, and although Jack may have some affection for Will, it will always be balanced against the work – and then move on. Zeller and Price – both alphas, though heterozygous for the gene – rib him a bit, but it’s not in a hurtful vein, and Will lets it roll over him. Katz – also an alpha – slaps his shoulder good naturedly and tells him she’s going to set start setting him up with her alpha friends, in spite of his stuttered protests.

And Alana…Alana Bloom, the lovely, caring beta.

Alana looks…disappointed?

Will concedes that he might have something else that needs to be sorted out later.

But first, murder.

******************************

Beverly Katz comes and finds him when he is practicing his shooting at the target range. Will couldn’t exactly tell the FBI that he’d shot Hobbs ten times not because he wasn’t a good shot, but because he’d wanted to, and so, here he is at the range. Still, he doesn’t really mind her company.

Katz, Will knows, is part of the population that identifies as homosexual. For year’s omega/omega and alpha/alpha couples were met with shame and hatred and condemnation and they kept mostly to the shadows, but the growing movement for marriage equality has changed a lot of things. It’s certainly not perfect, but they’re making progress. Still, Will admires the courage that it must have taken Katz to bring her alpha boyfriend to the FBI Christmas party last year, as he knows she did.

The short of it is, Katz will never be interested in him for anything more than friendship, omega or beta.

It is one of the two reason why he lets what happens next, happen.

“You’re a Weaver,” Beverly says from a position on his left shoulder, “I took you for an isosceles guy.”

“I have a rotator cuff issue, so I have to use the Weaver stance,” Will answers back, because he knows exactly what she will do next. And sure enough she does, moving in to drape herself over his back, setting his arm and, though unintentionally, scenting herself all over the sweater he is wearing as she banters with him about pencils.

She is right, Will allows as he takes the shot, it does help with the recoil.  

Once she is gone, Will shifts into the isosceles stance and takes three shots, all of them piercing dead center on the target.

Will’s rotator cuff is just fine.

His sweater smells of Beverly – of another alpha.

He did say there were two reasons.

Now all he needs is an excuse to see Hannibal again.

******************************

When he shoots Stammets, there are two thoughts in his mind.

James Bond was right; it does get easier.

And, now he won’t even have to create an excuse to end up in Hannibal’s office again.

Excellent.

******************************

When Will arrives and Hannibal meets him at his office door to usher him in, Will takes care to step just a little too close to Hannibal as he clears the door. Not so close as to brush into the man, or to arouse suspicion, but close enough that Hannibal will not be able to mistake the scent of another alpha that lingers on him.

The flaring of his nostrils is the only proof Will needs to know he’s succeeded.

And so, casually, he takes the sweater off and hangs it on the coat hook on the wall by the door, and takes a seat – this time in the leather chair opposing Lecter.

He’s already got his victory.

That in mind, Will let’s himself be drawn into a conversation of Lecter’s manipulative take on why shooting Stammets didn’t feel as good as shooting Hobbs – as if Will hadn’t figured that one out on his own – before he poses the unrelated question, “Is there a washroom here?”

“Door just to your right,” Lecter gestures gracefully, and Will nods in thanks, making his way over and into the room. It too is everything he was expecting; cold, white marble, hand towels of dark, royal blue hanging perfectly straight and shining, stainless steel fixtures. And so, though he hardly needs to, Will makes himself urinate, and washes his hands very thoroughly, drying them slowly on the towel, checking his watch – three minutes - before he remerges back into the office.

When he returns Hannibal is still sitting calmly in his chair, and when Will sits down again he muses that he thinks God feels powerful when he kills.

Sitting in his car after his session, Will brings his sweater to his nose and takes a long, deep sniff. It smells of alpha.

It does not smell of Beverly Katz.

Will does not even have to let the pendulum swing to see what happened to bring about such a change. Hannibal Lecter – he of the iron control and formidable will – in the three minutes that Will dithered in the bathroom, crossed his pristine office, took Will’s sweater off his coat hook and rubbed it to his scent glands, like some hormone driven alpha teen just popping his first knot to erase the smell of another, lesser alpha. And then he set it back exactly so, and waited in his chair, as calm as could be for Will to return, as if the action had never happened.  

Will thinks he might know exactly how God feels.

******************************

And well, if Will gets himself off that night with his favorite toy buried in his needy hole and the strong, musky scent of Hannibal in his nose, sweater pressed to his face, that’s no one’s business but Will’s.

After all, a job well done always deserves a reward.

******************************

Chapter Text

 photo wageyourwar11_zps82ba1127.jpg

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Don't wantcha for the weekend, don't wantcha for a night. I'm only interested if I can have you for life – Shania Twain, I’m Gonna Getcha Good.

******************************

When Will gets a phone call from the hospital informing him that Abigail Hobbs has woken up from her coma, he acknowledges that the time to deal with that something he feels her has come.

Because here’s the thing, what he said to Hannibal was not a lie: Will has no interest in being her father. Will intends to build his family up from the ground floor, and he is not content to accept any substitutes. That said, Will is also self-aware enough to realize that the affection he feels for her is best described as paternal. Perhaps it is the last remnant of Garrett Jacob Hobbs, this lingering affection, or perhaps it is organic, built from Will’s own soft spot for strays, but honestly, the cause hardly matters.

What he does with it…now that is a different matter.

Will does not see her as the child he so desperately wants, but he can see her in that life. A standing plate at the dinner table, someone to take fishing and teach his own little art to, the fun, pseudo aunt to his children. And yet, that life – this creation of his that he will build on a foundation of blood and bone if he must – no matter how beautiful it will be, will not be without its own costs. Will is certainly willing to pay them, but will Abigail?

Ultimately, it comes down to one question – is Abigail Hobbs willing to play by the rules of his little war – she is willing to maintain the status quo? Does she even have the capacity to do so?

“I remember you,” Abigail Hobbs says, eyes wet and vulnerable with tears Will can tell are at least in part of the crocodile kind, accusing, but voice wavering just enough to play it off as unintentional, “You killed my dad.”

Well, Will thinks, hiding his smile, that answers that question.

“Would you give us a moment?” Will asks to Hannibal, tilting his head to frame the submissive curve his neck, eyes cast demurely to the floor to hide that fact that Abigail’s barb missed its mark.  

“Of course,” Hannibal says graciously, the right response for all the wrong reasons – Will imagines, with a certain fondness the scathing lecture he knows Alana will deliver to Hannibal when she hears that he did this – and no one that was looking, as Will is, would be able to miss how his gaze lingers just a little too long on the pale flesh of Will’s neck, “I shall be right outside if I am needed.”

“So that’s how it is,” Abigail says after Hannibal is safely out of ear shot, a contemplative look in her eyes, and Will moves into the space beside her bed and sits down, and considers what he knows about Abigail Hobbs.

Abigail, who liked hunting with her father and baking with her mother. Abigail, who always wanted a dog but never asked because she knew what would happen to it if she did. Abigail, the omega who would have done anything to keep her family.

Even lure in girls for her father to kill.

Considering the sheer number of just the Ripper’s known victims and his willingness to put that aside in his own quest, Will thinks it would make him an incredible hypocrite if he couldn’t relate to that.

Honestly, for the most part, he just admires her dedication.  

“Yes, that’s how it is,” Will says, taking one of her hands in his and leaning in close, like they are old friends having a chat, “And here’s how it also is – you acted as bait for your father’s victims because you would have done anything to keep your family together, and I shot your father ten times because after the first shot I realized I liked it.” And then he pauses to make sure she truly understands the situation she is in before he finishes with, “I admire what you did for your family – you and are alike in that way. And so I want you to consider this - what do you suppose I would do to make sure I can build mine?”

The single, dry swallow that she takes is all that Will needs to know that she has.

And at that, it’s like a light switches turns off somewhere inside her, and the manipulative little spitfire flickers out so that the girl who just lost her family is the only one left. The girl who, when she picked up a phone call – and don’t think Will isn’t aware who was on the other end – had a family and then woke up in a hospital with nothing but a scar on her neck and wounds that not even time will be able to heal.

Will might be able to admire the former in some strange way, but he can feel sorry for the latter.

“I’m not sorry I killed the Minnesota Shrike – I am sorry that you lost your family,” he says, kinder than before, and now his posture truly is one of affection, as he asks her quietly, meeting her eyes, “Do you understand the distinction?”

“Yes,” she says finally, and Will can see that she really does, this strange, remarkable girl, this little wolf in lamb’s wool.

But only a little wolf.

“You don’t want to know where the game you’re thinking about playing ends, but I can promise you it doesn’t end well,” he says, and he hopes that she takes his advice for what it is – a kindness, and the most he can give her without jeopardizing what he isn’t willing to lose, “You’re a smart girl, but you’re a little fish and there is blood in the water and sharks in the pond you’ve found yourself in.”

He doesn’t say Hannibal’s name.

The look in her eyes tells him he doesn’t need to.

“I’m not interested in replacing your mother, and I won’t offer Hannibal as your father,” He says instead, and then he makes an offer that he will only make once, and he maintains eye contact to make sure they are both aware of it, “But, if you were willing to play by the rules of my game, I could promise you you’d always have a place with us. Sound fair?”

And so, Abigail Hobbs looks at him, the little wolf in lamb’s wool, the girl who never got to be girl, and Will meets her eyes the whole time, the one man alive that can see all of the things she is and keep looking.

And then, as Will watches, Abigail Hobbs decides.

“Sounds fair,” she says, squeezing his hand gently, and there is something like gratitude in her eyes that sets off an answering response in him, the feeling so like the one he feels when he saves a life.

He thinks it might be an appropriate feeling.

“Want to let Hannibal back in before the curiosity kills him?” Will asks, the smile on the edge of his lips an unspoken agreement just for them, and she giggles like the teenage girl she never really got the chance to be and nods shyly.

And so, raising his voice loud enough to project but not enough not to be rude, Will calls the beast back in.

That he doesn’t come alone is a bit of a surprise.

“Abigail, your…friend is here to visit you,” Hannibal says, the hesitation barely noticeable, though Will catches it all the same and catalogues the gesture and its implied meaning before he lets his attention be claimed by the girl that Hannibal has brought, reluctantly, into the room. Abigail’s age, all dark brown hair, and pale, wind burned skin.

Very Mall of America, the part of him that can still think like Garrett Jacob Hobbs whispers.

Well, Will muses, stomping that part back down into submission, that answers the question of who was next on the Shrike’s list.

But he digresses.

“Who the hell are you?” The girl demands into the silence that Will’s musings have born, and alright, yes, Will can forgive that one. It’s entirely possible he might have been staring at her with a serial killer’s gaze, and he can imagine that might be a bit unsettling.

“Ah,” he begins to her shoulder, offset slightly by the overtly confrontational nature of her query, “I’m Will Graham.”

“Uh huh,” She says, blatantly unimpressed, steamrolling over whatever he was going to say next as she asks in a tone that makes it inescapably clear exactly what she thinks, “and just what were you two talking about all alone in here about?”

Will’s not sure he’s going to forgive that one.

“Just omega stuff,” Abigail says, skillfully diffusing the tension with a hint of teenage coyness, before she flashes him the tiniest conspirators smile and continues, a teasing air to her voice, “Like whether or not Will is going to ask out that cute alpha nurse.”

And hey, a single covert look to Hannibal’s direction informs him, there’s that tension again.

This time though…Will finds it comforting.

Abigail Hobbs, the omega who would do anything to keep a family.

“Abigail!” He stutters out in surprise that is only partially feigned and yet it disguises his fondness all the same, trying to rack his brain for information on any of the nurses, much less ones that would be considered cute by a teenage omega.

Abigail’s still unnamed friend, apparently satisfied by the implication of his interest in alphas that Will isn’t going to molest her friend takes that one out of his hands as she asks, voice casually vulgar as so many teens seems to be these days, “Who, the cute redhead one? You should totally fuck him, he looks like he’d be dynamite in the sack.”

From his peripherals, the look in Hannibal’s eyes makes him wonder if Hannibal is going to forgive her for that one.

The fluttering in his stomach that answers that look – the one that promises terrible, grotesquely beautiful murder – is probably not the socially acceptable response.

Will finds he’s never cared about social norms less.

“Marissa!” Abigail exclaims, finally shedding some light on her friend’s name, and Will makes her tone as genuinely scandalized on his behalf, and Will hides his humor at that thought – that this is what scandalizes Abigail Hobbs – by focusing his eyes to the floor before tilting them back up to Hannibal’s chin as he says, sentiment genuine but delivery augmented for best affect, “He isn’t really…my type.”

The flash of dark, possessive satisfaction that graces Hannibal’s dark eyes before it is marshaled back down beneath his mask is a breathtaking sight to behold.

“Whatever man, your loss,” Marissa says, all teenage dismissiveness as she directs her attention to Abigail, having apparently deemed him no longer interesting.

Ah, Will thinks, the heat of Hannibal’s continued gaze a brand that burns in the best way, I don’t think so.  

This, he doesn’t share.

“We should be going, and let you and your friend reacquaint,” Hannibal says to the room at large, placing the situation back into his control, and Will demurs like a good little omega, squeezing Abigail’s hand in a private, fond farewell before directing an awkward one in her friend’s direction – nothing like the smooth elegance of Hannibal’s own, all courtesy and charm – before he falls into position behind Hannibal as they head towards the parking lot.

And then, as they are walking out of the hospital, Will catches the barest glimpse of red, and, out of nothing more than curiosity takes a second glance to see if this is the infamous redheaded nurse. He only gets a second to process – blue eyes brought out by blue scrubs, vague All American good looks and pale skin that is offset nicely by the dark red of his hair – before his observations are cut short by the body that oh so casually steps into his line of view, blocking the redheaded man from his gaze.

Hannibal’s body, to be precise.

The move is so smooth, so natural that Will barely catches the careful design of it. However, the hand that Hannibal puts on his back, the one that stays there all the way to where they part at Will’s car, so light it’s hardly felt but with a weight, an implication that even the dimmest of casual observers could not miss, he certainly does catch.

It is an hour long drive back to his home in Wolf Trap, and Will’s smile is his companion for the whole ride.

******************************

Will’s high school chess club teacher used to say that thing about playing the long game was this – pacing is always key. It doesn’t matter how sure you are you can win, if you rush ahead, if you push too far, too fast, then you’re doomed to lose. Chess, the man had liked to say, was a seduction – slow and steady wins the race.

It’s advice that Will finds especially pertinent these days.

Of course, Will’s high school chess club teacher also liked to say that chess was the most strategically challenging game in the world. And, with all due respect to Mr. Miller, Will has to say the man was wrong on that front.

Will’s playing sex chicken with the Chesapeake Ripper, and he’s playing for keeps.

This is the most strategically challenging game in the world.

Still, it should be mentioned, Will was killer at chess.

Pardon the pun.

That in mind, Will amps down his campaign a bit in the coming weeks. Not a full stop, of course, not when he’s made such inspiring progress already, but he plays it especially subtle and low key. A subtle tilt of his head to frame the soft meat of his neck, a demure glance here and there and the occasional deferment to Hannibal’s judgement without question – all classic omegean appeasement gestures – are all he allows himself. No more rival alpha scents on his clothes, no slick staining Hannibal’s belongings – not even the new little throw pillow that sits on the Freudian couch, its predecessor’s absence never mentioned or acknowledged in their sessions.

Given what Will did with his sweater, he only hopes Hannibal similarly enjoyed that pillow.

And so this strategy - designed, as most omegean mannerisms are to get the alpha to instigate behaviours – is the one he rides through the case with the Mother and her Lost Boys, this terrible, tragic little family, something that, considering the goal of his own endeavour, stirs up some mixed emotions in Will.  

Will cannot fault her desire, can even understand it, but he has little sympathy for her chosen method of execution.

Things you steal never really belong to you – only things you fight for, things you earn do.

Will plans to earn his family fair and square.

Hannibal shows up at the crime scene with a single thermos of handmade black ‘chicken’ – this, Will strongly doubts – soup, just enough for Will alone. “Silkie chicken in a broth, good for that cough you are trying to hide,” Hannibal says, eyes slyly pleased as he passes off his stereotypical and yet solely unique alpha courting gift off as an act of medicinal friendship. And then he watches Will’s mouth as he takes every sip with a look - that just peeks out through a crack in the mask - so primal that it makes Will want to cant his ass up and present in front of all of his colleagues, a dead body and thirty assorted strangers.

Will thinks the ‘chicken’ might have had red hair.

The rewards of patience have never tasted better.

******************************

And then, because why the hell not, as soon as they close that case, Will’s time and attention is rapidly snapped up by someone who has decided that snow angels are for pussies and has skipped right to corpse angels.

Seriously though, all the weird ones.

Will is starting to wonder if there’s something in the water around here.

But, for all he jokes – in the confines of his own head, because he knows his particular humor would go over like a lead balloon if he ever voiced it – the case does leave him feeling a bit drained. Will’s fully recovered from the damage that the suppressants did, but he’s still just as vulnerable to sleep deprivation and overworking himself as the next guy. And so, after they close the Angel Maker case, Will comes home, feeds his dogs and then falls face first into his bed for a long needed rest.  

Consequently, the next morning when Alana Bloom opens his door after knocking several times and calling his name, she is met not by Will, but by a racoon skittering across the toes of her shoes with six dogs hot on its heels.

Will, who by this time has managed to drag himself out of bed and shuffle to the door, admits that the noise she makes – somewhere between a startled yelp and a terrified squeal – that would be ridiculous on anyone else, is unreasonably adorable on her.

“I appear to have racoons living in my chimney,” is what Will ends up saying instead of hello, and the look she sends him, a marriage between shock and no shit Sherlock, before she responds, uncharacteristically shrill though perhaps characteristically dry, “You don’t say!,” only serves to make her seem cuter.  

“Really fast racoons apparently,” Will replies bemusedly, staring out across his yard at his pack – minus Winston, who stands beside him and allows himself to be petted, himself seemingly looking out at the pack with an expression that Will thinks might be the canine equivalent of morons – who are still chasing after that elusive raccoon.

“Want to help me round up my dogs?” Will asks, shifting his attention back to Alana with a little half smile, and instead of a verbal response, he is met with a kind, but rather pointed look from Alana at his legs.

His very bare legs.

Right. He knew he was forgetting something.

“Right after I go put on some pants,” Will says, and he knows that the tiniest flash of disappointment that runs through her eyes at the thought means the time to deal with that other something is soon to be at hand.

But first, pants.

******************************

Rounding up the dogs turns out to be an easy enough endeavour, as by that point the raccoon has long escaped, adding further proof to the fact that Will’s dogs are all loveable, fantastic marshmallows, and so after a brief walk Will finds himself inviting Alana Bloom into his home for a talk he’s not sure how to have.

Given how truly dismissal Will knows he is at even casual conversation, he figures he might as well stall with a polite convention like an offer of a beverage. And so, knowing that his fridge is sorely lacking in variety, Will asks, "You want coffee or something?,” already turned towards the cupboard to reach for a mug, and this is why Alana Bloom, whom he has several inches and probably a weight class on, is able to take him by surprise, crowd him up against his counter and kiss him with everything she is.

And, just for a second, Will let’s himself imagine, and kisses her back.

Imagines that he is that beta that he pretended to be for so many years, and that he could have this. Alana Bloom of the lovely heart and the lovely soul, and a nice easy life of smiles and contentment filled with children and dogs. Imagines that his cock - a perfectly respectable six inches, no matter what Hollywood would have you believe with their omega cocks are tiny nonsense – is capable of producing seed that could take root in this beautiful women and create children with brown curls and Alana’s kind eyes.

For a second, Will imagines, and it is a lovely thing he sees.

But only for a second.

Because the inescapable truth of it is, Will isn’t that beta. Will is an omega, and the things Will wants are the wants of an omega – a mate, a thick cock with a sizable knot, claiming teeth at his neck and the heaviness of children - and cannot be given to him by a female beta.

They can only be given to him by an alpha.

By Hannibal.

And so Will Graham lets himself have that second, a compensation for the lovely thing that he is going to turn away in favor of the hideously beautiful thing he is going to build to get what he needs, and then the second ends, and so too does the kiss as Will pulls away gently, placing his hands on her hips and directing her carefully backwards.

“I just…I’ve always been interested in you but you weren’t well, and then suddenly you were but you were an omega and I know some omegas prefer betas and I would have regretted it the rest of my life if I hadn’t at least tried,” Alana rushes out, all in one breath, as if she expects Will to have something brilliant to say that would merit his interruption instead of the absolute nothing that is running through his mind right now.

And then, in the silence Will meets her eyes, and to his absolute horror there are tears there, just in the corners, and Will can’t manage anything more than an achingly sorrow filled, “Oh Alana…,” rendered utterly helpless by the sight that moisture in her eyes.

“There’s someone isn’t there?” She says, the always clever Alana, and it is not quite a question but neither is it an accusation, “An alpha that’s…caught your eye.”

“Alana…,”he says, helpless again, unable to let Hannibal’s name slip from his lips for fear of what damage she might do to his progress in her good-natured protective rage, but also equally unwilling to let this lovely woman think that this is somehow a fault of hers.

“No it’s alright, I understand – you’re an omega,” Alana says, like that’s the answer to everything, breaking a little bit on that last word, and in the most basic way she entirely right.

That he lets her believe that’s entirely it is perhaps an act of cowardice, but faced with those tears, Will thinks it’s the action that men far braver than he would take as well.

“If I was that man you thought I was – that beta man – wild horses couldn’t have kept me away from you,” he says finally, meeting her eyes so he knows she knows he means it, and if it is kind it is only because it is the truth, before he shrugs his shoulders in helpless apology, “But I’m not that man,”

“I really do understand Will, and I’m happy for you, because I’ve never seen you this stable in your life, and I’d never begrudge you anyone who did that to you,” Alana finally says, and Will can see that she truly means it, this remarkable woman, before she quips, with a self-deprecating air, “Doesn’t mean I can’t wallow in a little disappointment though does it?”

“No, I suppose not,” Will says, awkwardly, and where another man might make a funny quip about being flattered Will can only manage the blurted query, “Friends?”

“Always,” Alana says, heartfelt and sincere, and Will takes her hand in his and squeezes it gently, and for a second his chest hurts with the weight of the miraculous thing he is sacrificing on the altar that is his plans for his family.

But only for a second.

******************************

For a second, after Alana Bloom has left his home, Will sits in his kitchen and considers not telling Hannibal about Alana’s visit. One the one hand Will knows that, if played right, this could be just the push he needs to move this little campaign of to the next level, and he didn’t even have to create this. It was just dropped in his lap with a big tempting red bow on it, just daring him to pull it open piece by piece.

And yet, on the other hand Will also knows that Alana – kind, lovely Alana with her warm eyes and warm heart – deserves more than being a battleground in a war she doesn’t even know is being waged. Alana’s only crime is caring about him, and she doesn’t deserve whatever punishment Hannibal might deem worthy of that. Will doesn’t think that Hannibal will kill her for it – he can tell that Hannibal does not lie when he calls Alana a friend, whatever that terms means to him – but still, he is not sure if the risk is worth the possible reward.

For a second, he considers not telling Hannibal.

“Alana Bloom kissed me,” Will says as soon as Hannibal opens the door to his home to greet his unexpected visitor.

But only for a second.

Will cares for Alana, but this reward is worth any risk.

And oh, what a reward it is, because at Will’s words Hannibal’s pristine mask slips for a second and even without letting the pendulum swing Will can see exactly what Hannibal is thinking.

Sees Hannibal grab him by his nape and drag him into the house, sees him loose his teeth up Will’s neck, a claiming necklace of bruises that Will would never be able to hide no matter how many scarves he wore. Sees him rend the seams of Will’s cheap flannel to get to the skin underneath, licking and nipping at the skin exposed until Will’s body was the story of Hannibal’s conquest, the ink broken blood vessels and bruises. Sees Hannibal rip open the fly of his own suit, ruining the tailoring in his haste to free his cock and sees Hannibal lay him out on the nearest flat surface and make him take that fat, thoroughbred cock, driving it into Will’s soaking, needy hole like an animal and fuck him until they couldn’t tell where one of them started and the other one ended.

For a second, Will sees and it is glorious.

But only for a second.

Because then…he sees the monster recede, and the person suit return, and instead of feeling disappointed as he might have expected, Will just feels…satisfied.

Hannibal Lecter is playing a long game as well.

He thinks that bodes well for their future.

After all, half an arch cannot stand.

“Well,” Hannibal says, as calm and unaffected as if Will had just announced the weather to him, impeccable mask firmly back in place, “come in.”

Oh, it is so on.

Hannibal leads him to the kitchen, because of course he does; the kitchen is the heart of his house and the seat of his power, and so Will props his hip up on one of Hannibal’s expensive counter tops and helps himself to a front row seat for the show as he watches the man himself remove two of some kind of pastry from his oven.

“I hope I didn’t intrude on you and a guest,” Will says, though it is at best an empty platitude as Will’s nose paired with the sterile cleanness of Hannibal’s house is enough to tell him there hasn’t been anyone in this home but himself and Hannibal all day. Still, Will has noticed that Hannibal appreciates the effort of social niceties, and given that Will hopes to reap some appreciation from Hannibal himself, this is the least he can give.

“No, I always make enough for two,” Hannibal says, hands deft and graceful as they plate up whatever it is he is making, placing fresh fruit and delicate cream with a flourish that Will best characterizes as peacocking, “I often find myself with unexpected guests, and so one learns to be prepared.”

And then those dark, dark eyes lift to meet and pin Will’s own and, without a change in that calm, casual tone, as he pours sauce as red as blood onto the plate, “And how did it feel to kiss Alana Bloom?”

And oh, the things that live in those eyes that are waiting to hear the answer to that question are monstrously beautiful indeed.

Tread very carefully from here, Will’s lizard brain whispers to him.

“She’s lovely and sweet and very kissable,” Will says, because this is true enough, but because he only wants to do enough damage, he tampers it by immediately following it up with, “But it…she wasn’t what I wanted. I want…someone who can give me a family,” Will says quietly, the pause careful and oh so deliberate, the barest implication of a name and the words, I want an alpha lie between the spaces of what’s he’s said, unsaid but from the look in Hannibal’s eyes certainly not unheard.

The monster in those eyes is very happy.

“Well, the first step in knowing what we want is understanding what we do not,” Hannibal says calmly, the smooth, professional tone of a therapist only betrayed by Will’s empathy. “I’m glad you came to me with this Will,” Hannibal says, voice softer, designed to lure trust and for all that the tone is an artifice Will can tell that the sentiment is entirely genuine as Hannibal finishes, dropping the baited hook into the water, “I want you to feel comfortable sharing these things with me.”

“I do,” says Will Graham, truthfully enough, eyes abashedly lowered to hide the fact that he is the man who sold Hannibal that bait.

“Good,” Hannibal purrs, and only a lifetime of self-restraint keeps the first hint of slick from dribbling down Will’s thighs at the promises in that single word.

Slow and steady, after all.

“Eat your pudding,” Hannibal commands gently, passing him the plate with flourish and Will tilts his head down to frame the pale curve of his neck and does, like a good little omega. And so he takes a bite of what he assumes must some kind of bread pudding, and as he does the taste of Alana Bloom wilts on his tongue, no match for the strong, savoury sweetness of Hannibal’s creation, garnished with Will knows not who.

The gleaming darkness that lingers in Hannibal’s fathomless eyes tells Will that was exactly his intention.

That night Will goes to sleep, and dreams of what other intentions Hannibal might have.

They are not all good dreams.

But they are all beautiful.

******************************

When Will wakes up in the morning, the first thing he smells is Hannibal.

Everywhere.

The smell is so ever present, so inescapable that Will actually checks the house twice to make sure that he hasn’t missed the man himself lurking in the shadows somewhere. And then, once he is sure that he is alone – save for seven hungry dogs – he goes to his kitchen, feeds his pack, and then stands, and thinks.

Omegas, typically speaking, have a much weaker sense of smell than alphas, though certainly more sensitive than betas. To the average omega the scent in his house would be relatively faint – a subtle suggestion of a presence to the edge of their consciousness – they would certainly be able to identify it as alpha, but probably not be able to pinpoint exactly which alpha it was.

Will’s been called many things in his thirty-eight years of life: average was not one of them.

To Will, every room in his house positively exudes the scent of Hannibal Lecter. It’s like being cradled by the very presence of the man.

The reason why it smells that way is a beautiful thing, and Will cherishes the thought like he would a child, swaddling it in warmth and cuddling it to his chest to protect its preciousness.

Hannibal Lecter waited until Will had returned home, and then he drove an hour and a half, in the dead of the night to Wolf Trap. And then he broke into Will’s home and scent marked his belongings. At least one or two in every room. It would have taken him hours.

And then, on a half thought hunch, Will ambles over to his medicine cabinet in his master bathroom and picks up the pill wheel from where it sits in the left corner of the topmost shelf, as always. They’re birth control pills; he’d bought a month’s supply about a week before he walked into Jack’s office on that fateful day, and although he’s not touched them since then, they give off the perpetual accidental message of being in use. And so, hunch in mind, Will cracks one out of the package and grinds it to his incisor, just deep enough to get a taste on his tongue.

Sugar pills.

Hannibal Lecter drove an hour and a half, broke into his house, scent marked his things, and then walked past seven dogs and a notoriously light sleeping Will, and replaced his birth control pills with placebos.

From a psychopath of Hannibal’s caliber, Will figures this is probably the preverbal green light, so to speak.

Will’s smile lasts right up until he gets the call from Jack saying there’s been a suspected Ripper murder, and that he’d better get there.

Quick.

Then he stops smiling.

For a second, everything was going so well.

But only for a second.

******************************

Chapter Text

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“The fire burns, I'm not the one with the match, man. That gun is loaded, but it's not in my hand.” – Red Hands, Walk Off the Earth

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It occurs to Hannibal as he stands in his office, the silk of his throw pillow pressed to his nose and his own semen cooling in his fist, that for the first time in a very long time, he has no idea how he came to this point.

Well, he admits only in the privacy of his own mind, wits returning to him deplorably slowly, this is not perhaps completely accurate.

Will Graham.

His cock, spent in his own fist, twitches violently and makes a valiant attempt at hardness once more.

Yes, Hannibal acknowledges, casting a rueful glance down at his eager flesh, that would appear to be the place to start.

******************************

A pity he’s a beta.

It is Hannibal’s first thought upon setting eyes the man that is introduced to him as Will Graham, all poorly tailored flannel, shaggy curls and downcast eyes. Perhaps it is a strange one, but it is not, as so few of Hannibal’s thoughts are, an intrinsically sexual one. Sexuality, to Hannibal, is both an extremely fluid and yet hardly considered concept. Will Graham is certainly of an interest to Hannibal, even upon that first, hesitant look from those blue eyes, and yet it is not an interest based in matters of the flesh, so to speak.

Pure empathy.

Will Graham, hidden behind his dumpy clothes and concealing glasses, possesses the ability to climb into the very minds of the most depraved and beautiful monsters that society has to offer. To wear their skins, to live in their thoughts, to see the parts of them that the tasteless, uninspired masses could not even begin to fathom.

Hannibal finds that thought positively…appetizing.

And this, as it would turn out, is where his musing on Will’s orientation comes into play. It takes no more than the look of Will Graham, splattered with the blood of Garrett Jacob Hobbs and shaking and yet so very alive for Hannibal to decide that he is going to take Will Graham and whisper into his chrysalis until a butterfly as beautiful and monstrous as he can make it emerges. Something shaped in Hannibal’s image, that will look at him with death and adoration in his eyes – that will see him and still keep looking.

Sex, Hannibal acknowledges, as they sit by the bed of a comatose Abigail Hobbs, would be the easiest way to accomplish this.

Now, Hannibal has no particular hang-ups associated with the fact that Will is a male beta – it would certainly not preclude him from pursuing that avenue of attack if he only had his own feelings on the matter to consider. Hannibal’s own sexual history is mostly a laundry list of brief, impersonal liaisons with betas of both the male and female persuasion, with the exception of a single omega in medical school who had been on birth control and entirely disinterested in the concept of mating in general. However, all of the encounters were similar in that they were designed only to cater to the physical, and, although entirely satisfying in that regard, largely devoid of anything else.

Still, Hannibal must also consider Will Graham’s feelings on this matter, and this is where he begins to run into problems. From his conversations with Alana Bloom about the man, he has largely divined that Will, if he shows any sexual interest at all, only does so to female betas, a fact further supplemented by the telling blush that had hinted her cheeks. Now, this is not an insurmountable obstacle, but if Hannibal intends to dedicate his attention to crafting Will Graham into a killer, he cannot too embark on a campaign to rewire the man’s sexual orientation.

One metamorphoses at a time.

And so, as Hannibal readies himself for his first appointment with Will Graham, he concedes that he will not be able to exploit the path of least resistance in his goal, but rather try something a little more…experimental that will require a great deal more work.

Yes, Hannibal thinks, rising to answer the timely, polite knock at his door, it’s a pity he’s a beta.

And then he opens the office door, and abruptly thinks nothing at all.

******************************

Hannibal is no stranger to omega pheromones. His position as an unmated thoroughbred of a certain status makes him a white whale, so to speak, in the society circles he frequents. Hannibal cannot attend a soiree or opera opening without having to field off at least one or two omegas pushed on him by older, status-grubbing relatives who practically salivate at the idea of tying their insipid little omega brats to a thoroughbred alpha of his status and caliber. Some have even been thrust at him on the cusp of their heats, smelling rudely of their pheromones considering the polite company they had been in at the time.

And yet, for all that Hannibal is every inch an alpha, and as such susceptible to alpha ruts, it had never been a hardship to turn those omegas down with a polite refusal, as unaffected as he would be standing in a crowd of betas. This, Hannibal knows, is because humanity, by and large are swine. While Hannibal can make no true claims to divinity, he can say without irony that he is something so far above the droning, horrible masses of humanity that he might as well be a god to them, so far out of their understanding is he and his ways. To know that, and then show interest in one of those boring, bland, little omegas?

It would be like…showing sexual interest in a goldfish.

Hannibal was never one for pets.

And yet, the first wave of Will Graham, fresh off a heat and smelling of slick and need and omega, hits Hannibal like a knife to the heart, piercing and swift and deadly.

Will Graham, with his monster seeing eyes. Will Graham, who smells heat and satisfaction and slick, needy omega.

Will Graham, the unmated omega who desires a mate.

Only an iron will, honed from a lifetime of living as a wolf in lambs clothing, spares Hannibal from conducting the therapy sessions achingly, excruciating hard. And it’s that iron will that Hannibal uses to get him through to the end of the session, rubber stamping Will for the field and making polite small talk about his next appointment. And then Will leaves, and Hannibal finds himself over at his couch, staring at the little pillow that sits there like a man in a trance.

The pillow is from a little custom showroom on the harbour front. Hannibal bought it specifically for this couch, the one that no one ever sits on, and he picked it for the sheer feel of the wild silkworm spun silk, the rareness of the fabric making it an expensive item.

That very silk is now saturated in the smell of Will Graham’s heat, a causality of the man’s anxious slick covered hands that had fumbled with the pillow as he’d not met Hannibal’s eyes, accidentally transferring his very essence to the pillow, staining the silk.

Hannibal has never seen anything so beautiful as those few streaks in his life.

He can’t remember commanding his hands to pick up the pillow, but he can feel the cool silk against his fingers none the less.

And then, before he has time to do anything, there is a knock on the door and Hannibal, instead of putting the pillow back on the couch, as is its proper place, takes four quick strides across his office and drops it into the drawer in his desk where he keeps all his precious secrets. It’s ends up being Will at the door, sheepish and embarrassed about left gloves, and Hannibal retrieves them for him, lest Will and that scent come back into his office and force Hannibal to do something…rash.

And then, as soon as he hears the outer door close, Hannibal is back at his desk again, and with hands that are not as steady as they should be, Hannibal pulls open the secret compartment in his desk to revel its treasures.

A sketch of the wound man, a linoleum knife, and a pillow saturated with Will Graham’s slick.

Hannibal takes the pillow out, the only true treasure to be found, presses it to his face, and finally inhales.

Sweet, like the succulent smell of a fever, something ashy, like the smoke of a burning fire, and the undeniable heat musk of Will Graham, of fingers shoved in a dripping, needy cunt, thighs trembling, cervix aching for an alpha to mount and fill him up and breed.

Hannibal has his fly undone and his achingly hard cock in his own fist before he realizes he has done it.

And so, the scent of Will to his nose, Hannibal fucks his cock, so red it’s almost angry into his own fist and imagines Will, alone, battering that needy, swollen prostate of his with some inferior toy when all he’d really needed was a cock, Hannibal’s cock, bigger than his pathetic little toy, hard and thick that would fill him so full that there’d be no room for any thought that wasn’t Hannibal. Imagines pulling that insipid toy from his body and putting his own mouth to that dripping, wanting hole, diving in to engage in a little carnal cannibalism until the only word Will would know was Hannibal. Imagines thrusting his own fingers into that slick, wet passage, stretching that hole so that Will could take his girth and feeling that hole convulse around him as he made Will come again and again and again.

Imagines that instead of his own hand, he’s pushing his swollen cock into Will’s soaking, needy cunt, fucking his way into that tight, warm, slick channel until he’s balls deep. And then pounding into him as Will hissed encouragements, putting his teeth to that perfect, pale neck so that the whole world would know exactly who had won Will. Imagines knotting him so deep that Will will never be able to get away, imagines that Will will look at him, and see him, all of him, and not want to get away.

Imagines that he’ll clench around Hannibal’s swollen knot and whisper even as he comes around him, the world will forget what I look like not swollen with your children.

He’s never come harder in his life.

When Hannibal come back into himself, he finds his cock in his fist, knot bulbous in the open air, the silk of the pillow crushed beneath the vice of his fingers, and semen on his suit, so far up as his shoulder.

The suit is bespoke – custom tailored for him, made of only the finest imported fabrics and ringing in at just over two thousand dollars. His drycleaner, a veritable miracle worker, would likely be able to get the stain out, as good as new.

Hannibal has no intention of sending this suit in.

Perhaps, sometime in the future, he’ll bring this one out on the anniversary of the birth of their first child, and see if Will is interesting in dirtying it up a little more.

His cock certainly seems to like that idea.

******************************

Hannibal, for all his moralizing and theorizing on the subject of divinity, is largely first and foremost a man of facts and science. Hannibal has read several peer reviewed studies on omega imprinting and its social implications – he has even been the coauthor on two such papers himself. As such, Hannibal is well aware about the high rates of incompatibility, domestic abuse and divorce in omega/alpha pairings where imprinting has not occurred compared to ones where it has. The couples tend to report higher levels of agitation with partners, less sexual activity, and overall higher levels of dissatisfaction with their mates and their lives in general.

The gist of all of all of these peer reviewed articles in prestigious journals written by psychologists that Hannibal actually admires is this – alpha/omega mating’s where imprinting has not occurred is not recommended.

Hannibal finds he has never cared less about science than in this very moment.

If nature has not seen it fit to have Will Graham imprint on him, then Hannibal will correct that flaw by whatever means necessary, and he will eliminate all challengers who might try to get in his way.

Hannibal once killed a woman for the crime of spilling hot coffee on his pristine white shirt and not apologizing. He poured burning hot coffee down her throat until she could feel her own lungs scalding, and let her drown that way. Then he cut those very lungs from her still warm body and made ‘lamb’ kabobs marinated in coffee which he brought as an appetizer to the housewarming party of a colleague and his wife.

His drycleaner managed to rescue the shirt.

For any pathetic, lesser alpha that attempts to take his intended mate from him, that commits the delusion of thinking that they are worthy of his Will, of putting their teeth to his neck and their inferior cocks inside his needy, gluttonous cunt, dirtying it their substandard seed?

Oh, now that is a crime that has the monster in Hannibal’s soul roaring for blood.

Those, Hannibal will slaughter like the swine that they are and feed them from his own hand to Will as he writhes on Hannibal’s swollen knot.

Slowly, deliberately, Hannibal smears his seed into the silk of the pillow, mixing the scent of himself and Will together at the most base, animal level before lifting it to his nose once more for a sniff.

It smells divine.

Will Graham is his.

Now all Hannibal has to do is ensure it.

******************************

Well, that and buy a new throw pillow.

******************************

When Hannibal sleeps that night he finds himself wandering his memory palace until he comes to a door he has not seen in many, many years.

The brass nameplate, dull and lackluster from neglect and lack of use, proclaims Family.

When Hannibal pushes the door open, he expects to feel bone numbing cold, the sharp, aching pain of fragile bone broken and the soul killing agony of the sight of three little milk teeth at the bottom of a rough, wooden soup bowl.

Instead, he finds himself in his bed.

Hannibal wonders for one brief second if he’s woken up, before he looks to the door and the sight that he is met with answers that question and steals his breath all in one fell swoop.

Look Papa, a proud, loving little voice says from beside the bed, all wild ash blond curls and Will’s blue eyes, tiny, white fabric roses adorning her pristine white nightdress, Daddy and I made you breakfast. And Will, standing by the door, watching with a twinkle in his eye that says, guess who you’re having for breakfast this morning as red hands rub gently over the heavily pregnant swell of their child that slumbers within him.

When Hannibal wakes up the next morning, for the first time in forty years, he feels alive.

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Chapter Text

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“You can bet your bottom dollar, in time you're gonna be mine.” – Shania Twain, I’m Gonna Getcha Good

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When Will pulls up to the crime scene and sees Alana Bloom, hale and hearty and breathing, standing beside some unknown person in a blue FBI windbreaker, he lets out a breath he didn’t even know he’d been holding. Relief flows, a heady drug through his veins, even as Will acknowledges that it is perhaps not what it should be.

Because, here’s the thing – Will would have still gone ahead with his plan even if it had been Alana’s corpse was awaiting him.

Will knows that this certainly excludes him from the ranks of good men, but it is the truth all the same. If he had found Alana’s corpse here, taken from the lovely, kind woman that she is and transformed into whatever hideously beautiful art that Hannibal deemed worthy of her trespass, it would not have been enough for Will to call the whole thing off. It would have hurt of course, the guilt of his misstep, of over-playing his hand, of the loss of a woman as good as Alana is, but it would not have been enough to outweigh his desire for the heaviness of Hannibal’s child in his womb.

It might not have even been enough to outweigh the appreciation he knows he will feel when he does set his eyes on whatever art piece Hannibal has created for him, presenting his skill as an alpha to all before him, a conventional practice in perhaps an…unconventional way.

Sometimes, Will wonders what he’s becoming.

Sometimes, he admits he’s been like this all along.

Still, he’s painfully glad he doesn’t have to make that distinction today.

One day, he will make sure he…expresses his gratitude to Hannibal for that in an appropriate manner.

But for now…there’s a crime scene for him to see.

That in mind, Will heads toward Alana, not seeing Jack anywhere in sight. They’re at the entrance of a park, a footpath wooded in to give the comforting illusion of security, and Will knows that whatever awaits him is in a location with a little more…gravitas than this, most likely in some area central to the park, where everyone from the morning jogger to the mother pushing her baby carriage could behold the horror of Hannibal’s gift.

It’s strangely flattering, really.

Of course, Will makes sure to keep this thought off his face as he approaches Alana who, after an awkward greeting on both of their parts, leads him further into the park. There is a hesitance to her, a downturned look that Will first attributes to the residual embarrassment of their ill-fated kiss, but then, just as they come over the crest of a small hill so that Will can see the milling FBI agents and Jack, a half head above most, standing in the center and directing the show Alana stops him with a gentle hand on his forearm, bringing his attention to her, and what she says makes Will revise his theory.

“I know you like to go in without anything clouding your vision, but I just…I don’t want you to be unprepared. It’s Abigail’s friend,” Alana says, quiet and gentle, but somehow still resolute – the sign, Will has always thought, of someone with good intentions – her painfully kind eyes offering all the comfort they can, not realizing how little is needed, “Marissa Schurr. Do you remember, you met her once at the hospital?”

The rude, Mall of America girl who suggested that – in Hannibal’s presence - Will fuck someone other than Hannibal.

Oh yes, Will remembers her.

“Vaguely,” Will says, hiding his eyes in his shoes so as not to let her see the truth, and Alana clearly takes this as some kind of internal sorrow as she squeezes his arm once more in comfort before dropping it as Jack finally notices them, hailing them over with a sweeping wave of his arm that draws Will attention towards him.

And of course, to Hannibal, who stands next to him.

It is not particularly a surprise to see Hannibal there – Will knows that there is no way that a psychopathic borderline narcissist of Hannibal’s level would be anywhere else than here, so as to take in first hand Will’s reaction – but it’s still a jolt to see the man there, an awareness that runs through his very veins at the presence of the man.

The look, visible only through the tiniest crack in Hannibal’s mask, all dark promises and savage possessiveness, that Will catches as the man breaks away from Jack to make his way over to Will and Alana tells him he’s not alone in that feeling.

Well, that and the fact that Hannibal, without so much as a polite greeting to Alana, inserts himself into the space between their bodies and ushers Will over to Jack, his every move a very subtle message indeed.

This is mine, this is what I can have and you cannot by the sheer fact of our DNA and nothing you can do will ever change that.

Will would be lying if he didn’t say it makes him just the tiniest bit wet.

And then Will catches sight of her, and just stares.

Alone, even without the context Will knows that will rush in soon after, it is a lovely, macabre tableau. A single, solitary figure kneeling in the picturesque little gazebo, positioned just so that morning sun will strike her face. Pale skin made ivory by the early pallor of death, accented by dark brown hair that falls in waves over her right shoulder and complimented by the elegant, pristine white dress that adorns her form, face tilted towards the heavens, hands in front of her, palms up as if in offering.

If it wasn’t for the gaping hole in her chest where her heart once was and that now houses flowers, white petals blood streaked as they spill artfully out, bracketing the whole blooms, and the heart that sits in those very palms, the last gift she will ever give, it would make a lovely photograph for some insipid clothing magazine.  

As it is, it is a lovely picture of another kind indeed.

Will tampers down that feeling, but just slow enough that he knows that Hannibal, standing at just the edge of his peripheral vision will see the appreciation that Will has for his terrible, beautiful gift.

There is a perfect darkness in those eyes that Will is dying to explore.

“What do you see Will? Is it him?” Jack demands, breaking the moment before it could truly form, and Will lets it pass; The Ripper is Jack’s own personal cross to bear, his own white whale, his obsession so strong Will knows it has erased any thought of Abigail’s connection to this from his mind in a single minded focus of The Ripper, and one day Will will have to confront the problems that causes, but today is not that day.

Instead, he lets the pendulum swing.

Wrath. Anger so hot it is cold, tempered from the wild, uncontrolled thing it wished to be into the brutal elegance before him. Every motion, every cut, every angle of her body chosen carefully, this rude, insignificant little swine that was alive right up until her still beating heart was expertly removed from her unworthy chest and used as an offering for a better cause. The hands bound with fishing wire, so as not to disturb the aesthetic, the all-important presentation, and the flowers placed with a certain gentleness into her bleeding chest, care shown to them not shown to her. The girl is insignificant, picked only for her sharp, rude tongue and the dark fall of her hair that provides a much needed proxy, but the message isn’t, the heart and flowers considered and carefully arranged so that only the best impression could be left.

It’s a dare, it’s a plea, it’s a challenge, and it’s all for Will. Look, here I am, in all my glory. Do you see me? Yes, you do, don’t you.

Can you want me?

What do you think of my design?

“It’s The Ripper, and it’s a message, but…,” Will says, shaking his head as if he is coming out of a trance, words deliberately slow and laboured, “I think only the person it’s for would be able to tell what it says,” and it isn’t even a lie, eyes downtrodden to imply omegean subservience, disappointment at his failure of an alpha.

Jack’s frustration visibly amps up at that – as, Will notes, does the intrigued look in Hannibal’s eyes, who has caught the clever wordplay that Jack has missed – but Jack doesn’t channel his frustration out at Will as he might have in the past – a remnant of that old world attitude of chivalry towards the ‘weaker sex’ – instead lashing out at the team assembled around him, “What kind of flowers are those?”

“Orange blossoms,” Zeller answers, and then at the incredulous looks he receives from almost all fronts, a bit defensively, “What, I’ve got hobbies and emotional depth.”

“What do they mean?” Jack asks as a follow up, shifting his intense focus towards Zeller, but it is Katz who answers, voice solemn and just this side of dreading, “Fertility.”

It’s possible that makes Will more than a little bit wet.

“Maybe the Ripper’s looking for a mate,” Price says, somewhere between joking and serious, trying to diffuse the tense silence that Katz’s revelation has spawned, but from the dawning looks of understanding on Jack and Katz and Alana’s faces, it massively backfires, making it only tenser still.

“Just what I need,” Jack says, anger and frustration escaping him like air out of a leaking balloon, and although Will doesn’t risk a look in Hannibal’s direction, he knows if he did he’d – and he alone – would see a feral, dark satisfaction in those dark eyes at being the cause of Jack’s malaise.  

“There’s some missing, of the heart,” Beverly says, from her position by the body, tone tinged with hesitance at making the mood worse as she holds Marissa Schurr’s heart in gloved hands and gently turns it over, “The back is hollowed out or something.”

“Check her mouth,” Will says, something terrible and beautiful running through his mind, and Beverly Katz, after a horrified look at him, does just that.

She brings out a single rose blossom, carved from Marissa Schurr’s heart like a tomato rose, delicate and grotesquely lovely.

Most alphas would just buy flowers.

Hannibal Lecter carves a single rose out of the heart of a rude little girl, and then places it in her mouth, so that her last act, even in death, will be a perversion.

Will’s never cared much for most alphas anyways.

“I need a drink,” Jack says, voice heavy and full of regrets, and Will finds himself agreeing with Jack, though for a different reason he is sure.

Will would kill for a celebratory whiskey right about now.

Away from the prying eyes of Jack, Hannibal and everyone else, as he leaves the crime scene, Will secrets a single, blood soaked petal away into his pocket, and it doesn’t feel like a crime at all.

After all, they are for him.

******************************

“You told Jack you couldn’t see The Ripper’s message,” Hannibal says that night, about halfway through their session that evening and a quarter of the way through the blush wine that Hannibal brought out for the occasion, the pink of it the same pink of the blood staining the once pristine white petal that rests in Will’s pocket.

Will doesn’t particularly think Hannibal planned that, but he wouldn’t put it past the man.

“You caught that huh?” Will says to Hannibal’s incredibly expensive shoes, swirling his wine glass in a way to suggest nervousness, the illusion of prey that has been caught.

“It seemed that you were not being…entirely honest,” Hannibal says, voice as smooth as the leather of the chairs they are seated in, displaying none of the true feeling Will knows slumbers beneath his surface, “I am merely curious as to why.”

“There’s this sonnet,” Will says, not quite in answer, lifting his eyes up to Hannibal’s in a rare move, because this he must see in Hannibal’s eyes, “from Dante. Do you know it? He woke her then, and trembling and obedient, she ate that burning heart out of his hand. Weeping, I saw him then depart from me.”

Could he daily feel a stab of hunger for her?” Hannibal purrs, picking up beautiful from the trailing hook that Will left him, and the look those dark eyes of his is something that falls short of words, “Find nourishment in the very sight of her? I think so. But would she see through the bars of his plight, and ache for him?

And oh, Will would like to fall asleep in that particular look in those eyes, kept warm and safe by the monsters that live there and their terrible adoration.

“That’s what the Ripper was saying – that was his message,” Will says, soft and quiet, still to Hannibal’s eyes, unwilling to waste one second of the precious moment they’ve found themselves in, “He’s found an omega to court.”

“And how does that make you feel, knowing that?” Hannibal asks, a route psychoanalytic question, but Will can tell that the bestial part of him just below the immaculate person suit is the one that is listening for the answer this time.

Will doesn’t intend to disappoint that part.

“It should make me terrified, or repulsed,” He says, voice hushed as if he is revealing a great secret, almost against his will, “But honestly? It just makes me envious I don’t have someone who loves me like that. I wanted to…protect his message from Jack and the others, because they’d never see the beauty in it.”

And oh, Will has never seen anything more beautiful than the helpless, deadly besottment that he sees in those eyes.

Yes, this is the only alpha for him.

“That must be wrong, to feel that way?” Will says, finally breaking eye contact to meet Hannibal’s chin because he must for this, the plea of the ordinary man he is pretending to be, the question that he must ask so as not to show his cards.

“It can be argued,” the monster pretending to be a man answers, voice an elegant purr to hide how terribly untrue the truth he is trying to sell is, “That no feeling is ever wrong, so long as it feels right to you.”

Will has spent a good chunk of his life in shrink’s offices, studying psychology at university and learning the inner workings of the ‘talking cure.’ He can say, without impunity or prejudice, that what Hannibal just said is actually the worst therapeutic advice that he’s ever heard.

Good thing Will isn’t here for the therapy.

“This is really excellent wine,” Will says instead, a non sequitur that he knows that Hannibal will take for avoidance rather than what it really is – satisfaction at getting what he is really here for.

“Château d’Esclans 2011 Garrus Rosé. A particularly good year for rosé wines,” Hannibal says, taking the offered bait and sitting back into his chair, once again cloaked in his person suit, but there is the tiniest glimmer of dark pleasure that slips through as he finishes, a sharks smile on his lips and this time, Will can tell it really is a truth, “I am so glad you are enjoying it. We must always take time to savour the things that bring us pleasure.”

“Yes,” Will says, taking a sip of the wine to hide the smile born of the knowledge that once he has left, Hannibal will bring Will’s wine glass to his own lips and steal the residual hint of Will left there for his own, “I agree.”

******************************

“She was talking to that reporter, that Lounds woman,” Abigail says the next day as they walk around the gardens of the facility, when Will comes to tell her of her friend’s death. “She was selling out all my secrets and smiling to my face as she did it.”

And then she stops and asks, face tilted up to his, an honest inquiry from a girl who has had far too much experience with lies, “Is it wrong that I’m not sorry she’s dead?”

“Hannibal says it can be argued that no feeling is ever wrong, so long as it feels right to you,” Will says, because it’s terrible advice and he wants to see if the little wolf can see it as well, and at the same time, teach a lesson that she will need.

Don’t rely on anyone to tell you when the lion is in the room.

“That…doesn’t sound like good therapeutic advice,” Abigail says, eyebrow raised skeptically at him and Will smiles, full and bright at her, the proud teacher before he says, a conspirators promise, “I know. Don’t tell Hannibal.” And then he sobers, tucking a stray lock of hair behind her ear as he offers her all the kindness he has to spare, and that it is the truth is an added luxury, “But you’ll be ok – you’re a strong girl.”

“Thanks,” Abigail says, and Will can see that she is truly grateful, no artifice or manipulation in those eyes. And then she makes an effort to brighten up, this remarkable little girl and asks, cheeky little smile on her face, the smile of a shared secret, “So how’s the war coming along?”

Will thinks of a still missing throw pillow, a scent marked sweater, gourmet homemade ‘chicken’ soup, his still scent marked home, sugar pills sitting in his medicine cabinet and the heart of a rude little girl, Abigail’s own friend who lived and had a family of her own, offered to him as a bloody rose and an even bloodier offer.

And smiles.

“I think it’s progressing well,” Will says.

******************************

“So,” Beverly says over the fiber samples of the dress of a dead girl, life cut short so as to be fashioned into a courting gift for Will, “There’s this alpha I know.”

Will’s pretty sure he didn’t actually vocalize his, oh my god please no, but it must appear on his face, because Beverly lifts both of her latex covered hands up in the universal gesture for do not fear me, I’m unarmed, before she says, “Now just hear me out.”

“He’s a great guy – absolutely not a psycho. He loves dogs – he started a charity to help shelter rescue dogs, he’s smart, funny, outgoing and everyone I’ve met seems to love him. He’s an ex-Raven,” she says, and Will has a second of confusion, imagining some monstrous creature with the feathers of raven, inky and dark, before his mind snaps back into the real world and he realizes she’s taking about the football team, “so he’s loaded and but’s he’s not your typical sports asshole. He uses his fame to build awareness for his charitable causes, and also he really loves dogs.”

“You mentioned that already,” Will says, a bit bemused internally that he’s been branded with a must love dogs sticker in regards to dating, before he asks, eyebrow upraised sceptically, genuinely curious, “And you think he’d be interested in an omega like me?”

“Don’t sell yourself short – I might not be interested in your type, but even I can discern that you’re a babe under all that flannel and stubble,” Beverly says, with a once over that makes him feel both strangely like meat – and this is truly impressive, as the actual cannibal he spends time with hasn’t even managed this - and also a bit flattered, “He’s looking for someone smart and kind, who likes dogs and doesn’t give two shits about his money or his fame. That sounds a bit like you to me Graham.”

Will gives her an awkward nod of what might be considered acquiescence, but because it’s Beverly, he also asks, tone largely making it clear that he already knows the answer, “Why do I have the feeling this is all leading up to something?”

“Well…” Beverly wheedles, absolutely no guilt in her sparkling eyes, tone entirely one of false hesitance, “I may have mentioned you to him and he may have said that he’d like to take you to dinner this Friday.”

Will takes a second to stare pointedly at the calendar on the wall, just to confirm to both of them that it’s Wednesday.

“Beverly…” Will starts, fond exasperation not feigned in the least, but he’s cut off by Beverly’s earnest and heartfelt, “Hey, you’re my friend Will, and you deserve happiness just as much as the next omega.”

Will freely admits that he’s terrible at making and keeping friends, but he thinks that no one could dispute the fact that what he lacks in quantity, he more than makes up in quality.

“I’ll think about it, but I’m making no promise,” Will says, waving a finger at her, the sincere affection in her eyes for him making it impossible to turn her offer down right off the bat, and he takes a second to appreciate how sometimes the most honest feeling is the best manipulation of them all.

It’s a piece of advice that could come in handy, after all, especially if he one day finds himself with the need to coax a certain alpha into meeting any weird pregnancy cravings he might have.

“Works for me,” Beverly says, bringing him out of a pleasant fantasy of the look on Hannibal’s face if he walked into his kitchen and found a heavily pregnant Will eating something like a peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich and then just had to accept it, but then a machine dings and her attention is taken up with whatever findings are printed out on the sheet.

“Man, Egyptian cotton and look at that thread count,” Beverly says, voice admiring in a way that Will is sure is at least half a defense mechanism against the horrors that they all see daily, and then with a joke he knows is one, “At least he’s got good taste, your monster.”

Will strokes the petal in his pocket, a soothing silkiness masked as a nervous gesture, and thinks not of thousand dollar suits and fine dining, but of little alpha children with dark eyes and dark curls.

“That he does,” Will says.

******************************

When Will googles the guy on his phone before he leaves to make his appointment with Hannibal, he knows he’s not going to be able to make that date.

And the thing it, it has absolutely nothing to do with the guy himself.

He seems handsome enough – tall enough that he’d make Will feel like a midget, but Will likes his alpha partners taller than him – with a nice, conventionally attractive face that speaks of open emotion and uncomplicated feeling. Still as muscular as when he played, and as wide as a truck, but every picture Will finds of the guy involves him cradling some animal in incredibly gentle hands, and the only negative article he can find on the guy is about some botched interception in one game in a sport that Will doesn’t even care about.

All in all, he seems like a really nice guy.

If Will goes on a date with him, Hannibal is going to kill him.

This, as it would turn out, is not the problem.

Will is perfectly fine with Hannibal killing any lesser alpha rivals and serving them up to him on, given the man’s seemingly undying love for puns, an actual silver platter.

And yes, he is aware that should be the problem. He’s moved way past that.

The problem, as it were, is that the guy has a quarter million twitter followers, gets recognized at bars and has at least three fan sites dedicated to him, and that’s just what Will found in five minutes of googling.

The problem is; people are going to notice if this guy suddenly drops off the face of the earth or ends up as The Ripper’s next piece of art. And at least one or two or a few hundred of those people are going to be able to put together the fact that it happened right after he went on a date with Will.

It doesn’t do Will any good to put in all this work if he’s only going to have access for heat mandated conjugal visits.

And Will is not interested in being a single parent.

So, he concludes, as he parks outside Hannibal’s office, not going on a date with that guy.

“Beverly wants to set me up on a date with one of her alpha friends this Friday,” Will says as he walks past Hannibal holding the door open and into his office.

What, no need to let such a lovely opportunity go to waste now, is there?

He didn’t think so.

The look that Hannibal gives him, all causal inquiry except for that fact there are far too many teeth on display when he asks, “Indeed?,” is a beautiful confirmation of that hunch.

“Well, actually she may have already set me up with one of her alpha friends for dinner this Friday,” Will says, making sure there is just enough disinterest in his tone so that he won’t wake up tomorrow to the corpse of Beverly Katz.

Indeed,” Hannibal says, and there are still a frightening number of teeth on display, but he’s clearly picked up on Will’s hint as he continues, voice all false calm, a thin layer of ice over the deep ocean that Will knows rages within him, “You do not seemed…excited about this development.”

“Yeah,” Will says, angling his shoulders into a move of confused dejection, “I should be – I mean I went off my suppressants to try and find a mate, and I’ll never find one if I don’t take opportunities like this one. And he even sounds like a great guy.” And then, neck tilted just so to frame the pale curve, eyes just meeting Hannibal’s own through the fringe of his lowered lashes, like it is a secret just for them, “It’s just…it feels wrong, to think about dating him.”

The it feels wrong to date anyone but you might be unsaid, but the gleaming darkness of Hannibal’s satisfaction that slips through a crack in his mask indicates it is certainly not unheard.

Will wants to stay in that darkness with Hannibal, to only emerge into the light to care for their children, whom Will will not let anything steal their innocence, not even himself or Hannibal.

But he’s getting ahead of himself.

“Our instincts are powerful things,” Hannibal purrs, bringing him back to the moment, all careful, sensual manipulation camouflaged as friendly concern and therapeutic advice, “perhaps this is your mind’s way of telling you that you would not be compatible.”

“Yeah maybe - I just don’t know how to say no politely,” Will demurs, tilting his head towards Hannibal, every bit the submissive omega looking to the solid presence of an alpha for direction, “Beverly will be disappointed if I just say no without having a good reason as to why. I just wish I had a good excuse, or other plans or something.”

And then, just to bait the already hanging hook, as if it is a thought that is just coming to him, still half formed, “Maybe I could make plans with Alana to try and patch up our friendship. Beverly would understand that.”

And oh, the monsters in Hannibal’s eyes don’t like that one bit.

“I would suggest giving Alana a little more time to adjust to her disappointment on her own. Any action now would likely just be aggravating an open wound,” Hannibal says, and Will must bite his cheek to hide his smile at the thought that even sharks on a hook are still as caught as any other fish, and then Hannibal continues, a new light in his eyes that Will can’t categorize, “You could accompany me to the opera – a new soprano is preforming Handel, and I happen to have an extra ticket,” and Will finds he must stop himself from gaping instead.

“I couldn’t impose like that,” Will blinks, the shock that colors his tone something he does not even have to manufacture. He hadn’t gone into this with any specific goals really; dinner, perhaps, a meal at Hannibal’s home, something he often offers to friends but with the potential for more, and enough that he could turn Beverly down without guilt. But this?

This is not something one offers to a friend, least of all from an unmated alpha to an unmated omega. Will has little context for the rules of society, but even he knows that this has migrated far out of the realm of friendship. The question then becomes, does Hannibal know that Will knows?

“Nonsense. You are my friend Will, and it is never an imposition to share something that brings joy with a friend,” Hannibal asserts, all warm calm and clever wordplay so as to use the truth to hide a lie, and as he continues, entirely rational and the image of propriety, Will tastes blood as he bites down to hide the look that wants to escape him at the answer to his question, a lovely, resounding no, “And your presence would be additionally beneficial, as it would allow me to enjoy the performance without the distraction of the social climbing omegas that tend to…swarm at such events.”

“So, in truth, you would be doing me a service by attending,” Hannibal finishes, earnestness a shield to hide the slick skill of Hannibal’s manipulation of turning a favor for Will into a favor for Hannibal that Will could hardly deny him.

This too, it is quite possible, makes Will just a little bit wet.

“I…wouldn’t have anything to wear,” Will offers up, and although it is a truth, it is also a token protest, and he thinks they both know it. Hannibal seems quite set on having Will on his arm for this little event, and well, who is Will to deny his ‘friend’ something that will bring him joy?

What Will hopes it will bring him is another matter indeed.

“I will have something appropriate sent to you by Friday,” Hannibal says, and Will can almost see the plan of action developing in those dark, intelligent eyes, the calls he will have to make and the small miracles he will demand to ensure that everything meets his extremely exacting standards.

Will rather hopes to exceed those expectations, but he doesn’t think Hannibal will mind too much.

“Are you sure?” Will asks, posture, tone and form all crafted to portray entirely the man who has no idea how he has come to this point and is just going along for the ride because he doesn’t want to admit he is lost, rather than the man holding the map.

Absolutely, dear Will,” Hannibal purrs warmly, just this side too much of the satisfied alpha to be the casual friend.

“Well,” Will says demurely, looking up through fanned lashes, the good little omega, “as long as you’re sure.”

******************************

“Will,” Beverly asks, walking into his office the next day with a large white box in her hands and a look that would make hardened criminals quiver on her face, “Do you want to explain why a package just came for you from an exclusive tuxedo store?”

“No?” Will says, taking the coward’s way out and using it as a moment of distraction to steal the box out of her hands.

William Shannon Graham,” Beverly starts up, the sign of a truly epic lecture incoming, and Will takes a second to rue the day she hacked into his personnel file before he cuts her off with an entirely casual, “Also, I can’t make it to dinner with your friend tomorrow. Please apologize for me – something has come up.”

Beverly shoots him a look that says, you’re lucky I like you, or tomorrow you’d wake up and find a body part in your bed, before she says, all mock danger, “I will let it slide, so long as the reason is that you have a date with Dr. Alpha Sexy Plaid Suits.”

“Beverly!” Will splutters, more as a reaction to the nickname than anything else, before he answers back, still largely a token protest, because Beverly is too smart to really believe otherwise, “It is not a date. It’s just two friends, attending an operatic performance.”

“Yes, because I always take my platonic friend to the opera and buy him a tux,” Beverly retorts, sarcasm inescapable in her tone before she changes gears at the speed of light and says, a fond, devilish smile on her face, “Speaking of, I want pics. The two hottest people I work with are getting all dolled up and I need to see this.”

“It’s not a date,” Will insists, only because he likes having the plausible deniability, and then because this must be said, just for the maintenance of Will’s sanity, “And I’m not snapping a selfie at the opera.”

“Uh, huh, you just don’t want to share,” Beverly says, entirely undeterred, and Will must admit this at least is true before she continues, all wicked mischief, “Will Graham, you sly dog. That man is falling right into your vagenda,” and possibly for the first time in his life, Will Graham goggles.

Vagenda.

Where does she come up with these things?

Well, he admits, only in his own mind, the part that savored that ‘chicken’ soup, it is rather fitting.

Still though.

“I’m leaving now,” Will says affecting the long suffering tone of the last sane man alive and Beverly’s response is to put her hands dramatically to her heart and simper, eyes twinkling but kind, “my baby is all grown up. I’m so proud!”

Will rolls his eyes fondly and makes for the door, making it a few strides down the hallway before Beverly’s bellowed, “Seriously though, pics. For the good of humanity Graham!” reaches him.

“I’ll see what I can do,” Will says, not turning around as he retreats, box in hand, and Beverley’s answering squeal of delight follows him all the way down the hallway and puts a tiny smile on his face.

He thinks he might be getting better at this ‘friends’ thing.

******************************

When he gets home, he sets the box down on the counter and lets the dogs out so that he can open his gift without fear of getting hair all over it. And then, with the reverence applied to great works of art, Will unties the sleek black ribbon, opens the lid, and carefully pulls open the fragile sheets of tissue paper that cover the prize within.

It doesn’t disappoint.

Will can claim to be any kind of expert on men’s fashion, but even he can tell that the tux before him, all crisp, clean edges in a flawless midnight black is an absolute masterpiece. He knows, even without taking it out of the box, that it will be tailored to him to perfection, even without the proper time or measurements for such a thing, and Will can already image how it will fit him, contouring to him like a glove and no doubt accentuating the parts of him that Hannibal is…particularly fond of.

Don’t think Will hasn’t noticed all those covert looks to his ass.

Oh, he’s noticed.

And, he notes, as he carefully moves the suit aside, the box contains more than just the suit. A crisp, perfectly pressed white dress shirt, a sleek black bow tie, shining silver cufflinks inlaid with mother of pearl that Will dreads to imagine the price of and a gleaming pair black dress shoes, exactly his size and a dark pair of socks are all in the box, and all of them smell undeniably of Hannibal.

Tomorrow night, other than his underwear, there won’t be anything on his body that isn’t a gift from Hannibal.

Well, Will thinks with a smile, it is subtler than scent marking his whole house, and certainly more intimate.

The only thing it’s missing is a boutonniere, Will thinks, a bit of whimsical humor, and then he smiles as the thought occurs to him – well, that’s not entirely true, is it?

After all, Hannibal already got him flowers.

******************************

Friday arrives with little fanfare, despite the momentousness of the occasion. Will goes into work, gives a lecture that his students only pay half attention to, their minds already chasing the pleasures of Saturday and Sunday, and Will, in a particularly good mood himself lets it slide.

Then he goes to his office, and puts in a few hours on The Ripper case, which largely amounts to playing Angry Birds on his phone and googling the Baltimore Opera, because it’s not like he hasn’t already solved this case.

It’s just sharing that knowledge that he is unwilling to do.

Jack does drop by later in the day, and after some back and forth he does eventually pose the question of whether or not Abigail is the omega The Ripper intends to court, as Will knew he would. Thankfully, Will manages to kill that theory effectively with a submissive tilt of his head and the droll, yet entirely truthful statement that although he has little experience with romance, even he knows that killing her best friend would be the worst way to try and court her favor.

He leaves out the part where it has proven quite effective so far in winning Will’s favor.

Jack acquiesces, and leaves Will’s office clearly frustrated, and by then it’s time for Will to leave for home so that he can get ready for his…not date. The drive is largely uneventful, and given that Will is meeting Hannibal at the opera house, he gauges that he’s got plenty of time to get ready before he has to leave. And so he lays the impossibly expensive tux and all of its assorted accessories out on the bed, takes a shower with a bath wash and shampoo that he’s sure Hannibal will approve of, sandalwood with a hint of vanilla, and then he dries himself off and stands in front of his bathroom mirror with a razor in hand and shaving cream in the other and considers.

Historically, Will kept a nice layer of stubble because he was trying to pass as a beta, and the added roughness helped this illusion. When Will shaves, he tends to look…not so much young, but soft.

Soft, in a way that suggests pure omegean vulnerability, all milky, smooth skin that makes alphas want to simultaneously put their teeth to that skin and mark, and yet also makes them want to protect, to bracket the curve of his face with the flesh of their hands or the curves of their necks, as if by doing so they could hide him away from the world, a sight only for themselves.

Naturally, this was an effect that, as a beta, he grew the stubble to try and avoid.

Now though?

Now, Will smiles, lathers up his chin and brings the razor to his face.

And gets ready for quite the performance.

******************************

Chapter Text

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******************************

“You can betcha by the time I say "go," you'll never say "no",” – Shania Twain, I’m Gonna Getcha Good

******************************

It occurs to Will as the makes his way up the stairs of the Baltimore Opera House, all decked out in his expensive tux, with his clean shaven cheeks and his gel tussled curls, that this might have been how Cinderella felt.

If her prince had been a cannibalistic psychopath, of course.

He wouldn’t put it past the original fairy tales – those Grimm Brothers were well, pardon the pun, grim.

Honestly, sawing toes off to fit in slippers?

Tasteless.

No prince could be worth that.

Well, Will concedes, catching a glimpse of Hannibal at the top of the stairs, a striking profile, head turned away from Will’s direction, entirely too edible in his own tux, perhaps no prince.

His monster, on the other hand…, Will thinks, as from his point midway up the stairs he has a perfect view to watch as Hannibal turn, eyes searching until they settle upon Will, and then the look that blooms on his face – helpless, slack-jawed yearning and yet somehow entirely predatory as well - when he finally finds him steals his very breath.

Will, contrary to what seems to be popular belief, is not a blushing virgin. Will has had beta partners and alpha partners, and he is not unaware of his own appeal. On the rare occasions when Will felt compelled to dress up for a date his partners were always appropriately appreciative of the effort, and the heat in their eyes or the words they whispered in his ears always confirmed it.

But no one has ever looked at Will the way that Hannibal is looking at him now, as he makes his way down the steps in a rolling predator’s gait. Will thinks perhaps that no one ever in the history of all humankind has ever looked at someone that way before.

Because it’s not just the sheer, base animal desire that Will sees, the dark, powerful urge that Hannibal is subverting to drag Will down on the stairs and claim him in front of every bored society wife and cockholded rich husband here, though Will admits, as he feels a single drop of slick roll down his leg, that part certainly doesn’t hurt.

But no, it’s not just that.

Rather, it’s the other thing he sees, the warm thing that is no less dangerous even despite its softness. That part of those eyes say to Will, I’m going to keep you. I’m going to fill you with the swell of my children until you forget what it feels like to be alone in your own body. I’m going to give you the world, place you on the throne next my own and we’ll rule our little makeshift kingdom of death and beauty together. I’m going to gift you the heart of everyone who ever made you shed a tear, and I’ll do the same for our children, because they’ll be the best of us, and I’ll raze cities and lay waste to empires for the family you will give me.

Oh there you are, that look – that terrible, beautiful, burning look - says, I’ve been looking for you forever.

I’m never going to let you go.

Oh yes, Will thinks, mouth achingly dry, entirely worth it.

“You look…maniškis,” Hannibal says, stopping at the step above Will, hands clenched at his side as if he is afraid they might rebel against him and touch, nails little more than talons, voice is so rough it makes the foreign word sound like it is being dragged out of his throat over broken glass, and although Will doesn’t recognize the word, he can guess it’s nature.

“I’ll take that as a compliment?” Will says, pushing the words through his parched throat, aiming for bashful uncertainty, as if he is unaware of the sheer visceral heat that is in Hannibal’s eyes as they linger over the bare, unblemished skin of Will’s chin and cheeks, unabashedly, unapologetically hungry.

Perhaps from an actual cannibal the look should worry Will, but he doesn’t even need his empathy to tell that this is a hunger of a different kind of flesh.

And besides, by this point Will is practically ravenous himself.

“It was, I assure you,” Hannibal assures, and although his charm an instinctive shield against the world, Will can see the sincerity in it, a civilized veil over the churning dark storm that Hannibal is mastering with nothing more than the strength of his will, as Hannibal finishes, “You look…very fine.”

And oh, the dark promises in that purr are lovely indeed.

Satisfied that the reassessment of the facial hair was a good idea – and a little bit worried that if he belabors this point anymore, he’s going to ruin the fine cut of his suit with his slick – Will aims a demurely accepting look downwards, a man uncomfortable with praise before he changes the subject as he begins to follow Hannibal in, finally taking note of his surroundings, “I’m not late, am I? I expected there to be more people.”

“I didn’t think you would enjoy the formalities beforehand, so I asked you come for a time I knew they would be concluding,” Hannibal says, entirely too alpha for modesty, even feigned and the guiding hand on Will’s back is neither mentioned nor acknowledged as they move out of the lobby and into the hall itself, that Will notes is nearly full, “I hope I have not overstepped a boundary.”

“No,” Will says, pretending that he does not know that Hannibal’s utterance was little more than a courtesy, because Hannibal most certainly does not care about boundaries, but his words are true all the same, offered like a gift from beneath lowered omegean lashes, “that is very thoughtful. I appreciate that.”

Hannibal’s smile, as he leads Will to his seat and takes the one beside him is entirely one of alpha satisfaction.

And then, as if they were waiting for Will and Hannibal alone, the lights dim, the chatter dies, and a woman adorned in gold comes out, opens her mouth, and sings.

And Will lets the music, his lovely reward, swell over him.

And listens.

******************************

Will freely admits he has no experience with high society. The closest he’s ever come to an operatic performance was watching that scene in The Fifth Element with the blue alien, and he doubts that counts. The Le Fontaine’s, his mother’s family, might have been old money, but they’d pretty much disowned their alpha daughter for the period that she’d been mated to Will’s father, and they’d had little to no interest in the omega whelp that she’d left behind, especially after Bill had traded the cost of a college fund for Will for reverting back to his maiden name and changing his son’s to match.

Unwanted mongrels were much easier to ignore when they weren’t flouting your high society last name apparently.  

But honestly, when Will says he’s not bitter about the fact that he didn’t grow a New Orleans Le Fontaine with all the trappings and toys that entailed, he means it. Will’s seen too much to have the luxury of believing that money solves everyone’s problems, and he’d much preferred the quiet warmth of Bill’s genuine love to the lavish falseness that he knows he would have found in his mother’s home.

Besides, it means he gets to come here, with no expectations coloring his view, and share this experience with Hannibal.

When the soprano hit her high note, there is a tear, just a single one, gathering in the crinkle in the corner of Hannibal’s eyes.

Will wants to taste it.

There is very little Will wouldn’t trade for this moment right now.

And yet, Will is not unaffected by the music himself. He doesn’t think he’d go out and buy a CD of it, or download it for an mp3 player, but here, where it is meant to be, Will can’t help but be swept into the moment, the powerful emotion of it all. Will’s empathy has always been a bit of a mixed blessing, and nowhere is this truer than with music. Will is designed to lose himself, his mind a thing he must try to restrain as its natural state is a desire to roam, to immerse, and although music is not as dark as the places that Jack leads him down, it is no less seductive in its allure.

As a consequence, in the past in scenarios like this – concerts and the like - Will often forced himself to wander, just a little bit, to make sure that he kept his head above water. And so for a second or two Will makes himself turn away from the music, from the moment of sharing this with Hannibal, the heavy, tangible weight that is Hannibal’s presence beside him, and looks at the crowd. Society housewives and their omega offspring, here for the opportunity to try and land an appropriately wealthy alpha mate, and bored alpha husbands, here to network. The occasional genuine music fan sprinkled amongst the crowd, just enough so as not to leave a sour taste in his mouth that the sheer waste of a performance like this on the rest of them.

And then, just as he is about to draw his attention back to the soprano – and, he admits, back to Hannibal – there is something that draws his attention away. The feeling of hateful eyes on the back of his neck, even across a crowded room has Will bringing his own gaze to its source, cautious and curious all at once at the cause. Will’s job certainly doesn’t make him the most popular guy, and if he’s somehow picked up a dangerous enemy who also happens to enjoy classical opera – Hannibal, if nothing else, is certainly proof that not all psychopaths are without taste – then Will wants to be aware of it, so he can take the appropriate steps to deal with it.

And so he looks, and then he is just baffled.

The hateful, fire filled gaze is coming from a man in the back row, dark hair and a dark beard, and a bit more portly than is society’s convention. And yet, he is also a complete stranger to Will. Too submissive to be a threat, to be a killer, entirely devoid of any alpha confidence or presence and yet not the right form to be an omega – his added weight and stockiness scream beta – and these are the two facts that have Will baffled. If he was an omega, it would be a simple enough case – Will may not understand high society, but he went to high school – the omega that shows up with the most popular alpha is always treated to some middle school style envy, and Will as the unknown, unmated nobody omega that is suddenly on the arm of a thoroughbred of Hannibal’s status was expecting some of that.

But, even from his inconspicuous look across a crowded room, Will can tell that the man’s venom isn’t as simple as that. Its envy, most assuredly, but it’s not overly sexual, and Will can’t pin it down from across the room. But it – whatever it is – is certainly harmless, and not enough to keep him away from Hannibal and the music, and so Will makes to tilt his head back away and remove the man from his peripherals, but as he does his gaze skims the one of the man beside his portly little hater, and there it catches.

Subtly alpha, without the power of Hannibal’s presence, but not without at least some of the class. Skin like dark chocolate and dark eyes to match, which meet Will’s own with a very particular light that Will has only seen in one certain subset of the population.

Intelligent, sophisticated, alpha psychopaths.

Well hello there, that look says, what do we have here?

I just can’t wait to find out what makes you tick.

Baltimore Maryland, Will thinks with a rueful sigh, serial killer capital of the world.

How do they all find him?

But even this new monster in the game isn’t offering anything more than curiosity, and that most certainly isn’t enough to keep Will away from Hannibal, who is hopefully offering much more than that, and the music, that is swelling temptingly, and so Will pulls his gaze from the man’s with less than a thought, and returns it to the soprano and, peripherally, the overwhelming presence of Hannibal, and, just for a second, he lets himself be immersed.

If he had to, Will thinks he could live in this moment, in the swell of the music and the warmth of Hannibal, the tangible spark that he feels every time Hannibal oh so deliberately brushes against his side.

Will thinks he might just see the appeal of the opera after all.

And then the soprano ramps up, hits her finishing crescendo, and Will is helpless to do anything but feel the sheer weight of the utter emotion in her voice, and so Will closes his eyes, and for a second, lets himself fall.

When he and Hannibal stand in synchronization without prompting to applaud, and Hannibal shoots him a look so full of promise that Will almost feels dizzy with it, Will knows that Hannibal has caught him.

Oh yes, Will thinks he could be talked into something like this again after they are mated, if Hannibal asks just the right way.

No need to make it easy on the man after all.

******************************

For all of Hannibal’s ‘thoughtfulness’ in allowing Will to miss the opening formalities, Will knows that a man of Hannibal’s status can’t avoid at least a little bit of schmoozing after the event, and after the performance Will is in a good enough mood that even brushing shoulders with the likes of the people here won’t bring him down.

Besides, although he’ll only admit it in the privacy of his own mind, Will actually rather likes the idea of Hannibal wanting to show him off – of thinking that he is special enough to deserve envy, or beautiful enough to merit being eye candy.

Will is going to blame that on his latent omega instincts that he’s recently revisited, and also on his entirely sincere desire to get fucked by said alpha like soon, please.

Honestly, he acknowledges that the mental shift of ‘Will is friend and not food’ probably took Hannibal some time and willpower, and he’s even appreciative of said willpower, but right now – dressed in clothes that Hannibal bought, smelling of Hannibal and being escorted discreetly around the room to be shown off by Hannibal – said willpower is mostly just excruciatingly frustrating.

Really, they could be fucking right now.

Excruciatingly frustrating.

Given that Will really is going to ruin his suit if he keeps on that path, he once again lets his mind wander, tipping back into the conversation that Hannibal is having with a Mrs. Komeda – an omega with sharp eyes who’d, when Hannibal’s gaze was diverted, had given Will a look that had said I know exactly what you are doing and I approve – who is haranguing Hannibal about the fact that he hasn’t thrown a dinner party in such a long time.

Will doubts that would be her attitude if she knew exactly who those dinners were really made of, but honestly, he rather likes her. Anyone who has the guts to tease Hannibal, a man who oozes predator from his very genetic level, gets a gold star in Will’s book. That said, Will is also aware of the fact the next questions are likely going to be about his own presence, and as much as he thinks he likes this woman, it’s certainly not that much, and so Will tries to pre-empt that conversation by scanning his eyes out into the crowd to find a distraction.

And then he succeeds, and immediately regrets it.

Said distraction happens to be a particular pair of dark eyes that are watching Will just a little too closely, and a jealous pair of eyes beside him, that have noticed the direction that his companion’s gaze has moved.

And now, they are both making their way over to where he and Hannibal are.

Oh, this is not going to go well.

The portly little man reaches them first, speed born of nervous anxiety while his friend is a few steps behind him, an unhurried predator’s gait. The alpha smells of something subtle, some kind of flower mixed with something that reminds Will of rosin, while the beta smells of sour desperation and…cheese?

Alrightly then.

“Hello,” Hannibal addresses laconically to the portly beta, only at the prompting of Mrs. Komeda, who has a look in her eyes that says that she has read the situation accurately, and is entirely amused by it.

Given that the beta is staring at Hannibal like he hung the moon, Will can’t fault her for that.

“Hi,” gushes the beta, entirely missing the disinterest in Hannibal’s tone, voice effusive with some emotion that reminds Will of a thirteen year old girl with a crush, “It’s so good to see you.”

The look on Hannibal’s face – pained, but likes he’s trying to disguise it - makes Will wish he really had brought his camera phone to this event.

“I’m Franklyn Froideveaux,” The beta – Franklyn – says undeterred, now to Will, like it is some kind of boast that makes him better than Will, “I’m a patient of Dr. Lecter’s.”

“Will Graham,” Will says, keeping his gaze to the floor mostly in an effort to resist the urge to roll his eyes and restraining himself from responding, ‘I would be a patient as well, but he wants to fuck me until a baby pops out so he keeps me off the books,’ instead concluding with the simple – and accurate, if incomplete – statement, “Friend.”

Franklyn looks a little bit like Will just told him that Santa Claus isn’t real.

“Will is a very talented profiler who works with the FBI on high profile cases,” Hannibal injects smoothly, a hint of alpha pride in his tone as he turns just so as to indicate that he is showing Will off, and the realization of what Hannibal is doing brings a look to Franklyn’s face that Will might best describe as ‘heartbroken toddler.’

Will is a little worried that Franklyn is going to start crying.

In the corner of his eye, Will catches Mrs. Komeda excuse herself with a hand over her mouth that Will would bet the metaphorical ranch is covering some socially inappropriate laughter.

Will feels a great amount of kinship with her right this moment.

Franklyn recovers well, this Will will give him, as he bounces back, a child trying to show off his shiny new toy to an authority figure in a desperate grab for approval, gesturing to the man beside him, “This is my best friend, Tobias.”

And oh, Will thinks, as Tobias ignores Hannibal and Franklyn entirely, his gaze a laser focus on Will alone, this is going to be trouble.

“Tobias Budge,” The man introduces himself, voice smooth and subtly alpha like the rest of him, and he offers his outstretched hand to Will, who takes it more out of the unconscious impulse of societal convention than anything else, not wanting to make a scene and expecting a quick handshake. “I’m the Owner and proprietor of Chordophone String Shop. Best catgut strings in all of Baltimore,” Tobias continues, pride in his tone at his work, a smooth alpha peacocking, Will’s hand still in his own, “It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

And then he raises Will’s hand to his mouth, and brushes his lips against limp fingers.

Tobias Budge. Intelligent, sophisticated, alpha psychopath.

Who wants to fuck him.

Will, in his peripherals, see’s Hannibal bare his teeth in a smile that would not be unfamiliar on the face of a shark.

Oh, yes, this is going end in a great deal of blood.

Will kind of wonders how big a check Hannibal would have to write to the Opera House to pay for getting blood out of their carpets.

Also, the subject line of said cheque would probably be a little hard to explain.

Really not the time for that though.

“That’s…nice,” Will says as laconically as he can, extracting his hand carefully from Tobias’s own and drawing back into the warmth of Hannibal’s body, a classic omegean appeasement gesture that Will hopes will help delay said blood shedding until a more…appropriate venue. It seems to work, at least a little bit, as Hannibal unclenches, just the slightest in response, making his body more soft and welcoming to allow Will to fit in, diverting his attention towards Will and away from Tobias.

“I couldn’t help but notice how much you enjoyed the performance,” Tobias continues, entirely undeterred, once again to Will alone, excluding a baffled-and-trying-to-hide-his-hurt-Franklyn and a glacially murderous Hannibal from the conversation entirely, “do you play?”

Honestly, if Will wasn’t already sure Hannibal was going to kill Tobias, the rudeness would probably be enough on its own.

“Afraid not,” Will says, mostly to the floor, Hannibal’s presence a tightly wound live wire beside him, and Will chances a look at Franklyn to try and diffuse the uncomfortable tension that has formed around them. Franklyn, however, is absolutely no help – the man might as well be wearing a neon sign above his head that flashes why doesn’t anyone ever love me?!, and at that, Will can’t help but feel a second of empathy for Franklyn. A beta who can’t decide if he wants to be an alpha or too be with one, and all too self-aware of the fact that he can’t accomplish either of those things. This particular scene – ignored completely by two alphas that he holds in esteem in favor of some omega – must be something out of his worst nightmares.

Honestly, given the fact that the last time Will got between two alphas over an omega he’d been a cop and he’d gotten shot, Will thinks he’d trade positions with him, at least for this one moment.

Absolutely none of the others though. Those belong to him alone.

“Not to worry,” Tobias purrs smoothly, the amusement in his eyes too sharp for him to be ignorant of exactly the kind of bear that he is poking, his voice an invitation as he finishes, “perhaps you could come in for a lesson sometime. I’m sure we could make some beautiful music together.”

Hannibal makes a noise that might be best described as a growl.

Will ruthlessly pushes down just how hot that is in favor of not actually having to bail his not-therapist and not-quite-yet mate out of jail for manslaughter – and yes, Will does sort of have a problem with the fact that alpha dominance fights that result in death aren’t considered murder but this is certainly not the time for that – in favor of weaving his fingers into Hannibal’s clenched ones and stroking, soothingly, an omegean display of submission and intimacy that Hannibal clearly responds too, bracketing Will’s fingers with his own as if to protect them from the world.

Strangely enough, it is Franklyn who provides the out that Will is desperately looking for as he says into the uncomfortable silence, “Well we should be going,” his voice more a plea than a command or even a social nicety, but Will jumps on it all the same, answering back for himself and Hannibal both, “Us too,” and then, as an afterthought and hardly sincere, “Nice to meet you.”

Franklyn, in his effort to hurry Tobias off, doesn’t take the time to make a rejoinder, though Tobias sends him a look that says volumes.

Will pointedly ignores that.

After the departure of Tobias and Franklyn, Hannibal doesn’t say much and Will doesn’t press, keeping himself close to Hannibal as he makes only the most necessary goodbyes and allowing himself to be led out of the opera hall and too the parking lot without complaint or discussion, aware of the fact that Hannibal has been pushed far enough tonight.

This is not a night for any…sharper manipulation.

Long game, after all. Handle with care.

“I had a really amazing time with you tonight,” Will says finally as he stands by his car, the shy omega, but everything, from the look in his eyes to his tone is sincere, so as to subtly set the stage for the much needed flattery of Will’s second statement, “certainly better than dinner with that friend of Beverly’s.”

“It is good to hear that,” Hannibal says, and Will can see some of the tension drain from him at the subtle declaration that he is a better alpha for Will than Beverly’s friend, his instinctive alpha satisfaction serving to provide him with enough control that Will watches him slip back into his mask, all pleased alpha as he purrs, “I am glad you enjoyed the experience.”

And then, with no hint, no single gesture that Will could have read his intention off of, Hannibal takes Will’s hand – the same one that Budge had held – and brings it smoothly to his mouth and presses a kiss there that cannot be construed as anything but exactly what it is.

Claiming.

“Sleep well, dear Will,” Hannibal purrs, releasing Will’s with a look that practically scorches his very nerve endings, and then without another word Hannibal Lecter ambles off into dark of the lot and disappears into the night like some mythical beast of old.

Yeah, Will thinks as he feels the undeniable gush of slick trickling down his leg, he’s going to need one hell of a dry cleaner to salvage the seat of these suit pants.

******************************

The first thing Will does when he gets home, besides feed his dogs, is sit down at his laptop and pull up google translate. Because of all of the things – the veritable rollercoaster of things – that happened tonight, Will still hasn’t forgotten the fact that his appearance made Hannibal forget how to speak English for one brief, lovely second, and that, even more so than his still tingling hand, has Will’s interest. And so, after a few missteps – not quite as phonetic as it sounded, naturally – Will comes across the word that Hannibal purred at him, nearly rendered unrecognizable by the gravel in his voice.

And oh, it is certainly interesting.

Maniškis, the screen displays blankly. Language of origin, Lithuanian. Pronoun.

Meaning?

Mine.

That Will nearly wears the batteries out in his favorite toy after that little revelation is really no one’s business but his own.

Will goes to sleep thinking of the warmth of Hannibal’s lips on his hand, and wonders what beautiful, terrible art will await him tomorrow.

******************************

This, Will thinks with a sigh, standing over the morning’s crime scene, was not what he had in mind.

Throat cellos.

Motherfucking throat cellos.

There’s definitely something in the water here.

But he digresses.

Will hardly needs his little party trick to figure out who’s responsible for this murder. A five year old could put Tobias Budge, intelligent psychopath and Owner and Proprietor of Chordophone String Shop, known for his ‘catgut’ strings and the human cello together, and end up with the right answer.

Still, given that Will isn’t exactly going to volunteer why he knows that, he makes a show of it, going through the motions of his little party trick, seeing the message the way that Tobias wanted it to be seen.

Honestly, for all that he prefers Hannibal’s courting gift to this, he must at least admit that this is, if nothing else, impressive.

The symbolism is a bit blunt force trauma though.

Honestly, we could make some beautiful music together?

Not exactly Dante.

This too is not something Will intends to share with the general public.

“It’s a serenade. I believe he wants to show someone how well he plays," Will says instead to Jack and the assembled team – after he has endured their good natured ribbing about his lack of facial hair - and neglects to mention that he is the someone he is referring too.

There is a vein throbbing in Jack’s forehead. Will thinks it probably isn’t a good sign.

“The Ripper and now this guy,” Zeller pipes in, tone teasingly sarcastic, trying to lighten the mood, “What is this, psychopath mating season?”

Well now that you mention it, Will thinks ruefully, and even he cracks a small smile at Price’s rejoinder of, “Don’t hate because the psychos have better game than you,” that has Beverly chortling, Zeller spluttering and even manages to get the vein that is throbbing in Jack’s forehead to recede a bit.

He waits until after, when they are back at Quantico, to present Beverly with a small picture from the society pages, of himself and Hannibal in their tuxes, with Hannibal’s arm on his back, the caption reading Dr. Lecter and companion.

The sound she makes might be best described as a ‘squee.’

All in all, Will thinks it’s shaping up to be an okay day.

******************************

Will ends up in Hannibal’s office that afternoon to discuss something or another for Jack on the maestro case, and given that it’s his first time seeing the man since he kissed his hand at the opera, Will can tell that Hannibal is dying for Will to bring it up so he can talk about it without it being his idea. And to be fair, any rational person would bring it up – a question about intentions, a demand for answers, anything.

Will doesn’t mention it at all.

He’s already mentioned how he’s hardly rational.

There’s a vein starting to throb in Hannibal’s neck.

It’s glorious.

And so, because Hannibal is unwilling to bring the topic up, they end up actually discussing the maestro case, and given that both of them are skirting around the fact that they know who the killer is, it’s not the most productive discussion they’ve ever had.

It’s not without its own humor though.

“Are you still hearing this killer's serenade behind your eyes?” Hannibal asks, after Will puts his hands over his face to hide a wayward smirk, and Will makes him for about half genuinely concerned and half furiously jealous, and considers that an acceptable split.

“Well,” Will says ironically, thinking of Tobias and his offer of making beautiful music with some distain, “it’s our song.”

That vein is definitely throbbing in Hannibal’s neck now.

Will has to bite back his smile when the next words out of Hannibal’s mouth – after a not quite covert enough look to Will’s gun - are how perhaps he should interview ‘that man they met at the opera – Tobias Budge’ as his patient Franklyn had mentioned that Tobias is now supplying the symphony with trombones.

Just for research, of course.

Will simply thanks him for the great idea, and tells him he’s going to do just that.

Will chambers a round in his car just in case, and considers exactly what he is going to do with this particular opportunity.

After all, this isn’t like Beverly’s famous friend.

Very few people are going to miss Tobias Budge when he’s gone.

Certainly not Will.

******************************

It occurs to Will, as he makes his way to the shop of Tobias Budge, alpha cellist instructor, crafter of human instrument strings and undeniable psychopath – all on the less than subtle hint of the alpha that is courting him - that another omega might be offended in this scenario.  

Well, he amends, any other rational omega would likely run screaming into the night at the mere thought of this scenario, but removing that from the equation, offense would likely play a role.

And yet, Will rather thinks that this is positive sign than a negative one, all things considering. Will’s not so naïve as to imagine that Hannibal hasn’t at least noticed that Will is certainly amenable to his interest, even if he doesn’t think he has yet clued into just…how amenable Will is.

And yet, Will also knows Hannibal hasn’t made a move yet because he doesn’t want to concede to Will and let Will have the upper hand. Hannibal wants Will, but he wants Will on his terms, and Will is certainly not going to give Hannibal that. He has no intentions of being one of those omegas that let their alpha run their lives – Will wants a partner, an equal – and he knows that Hannibal has the potential to be that.

Of course, he also realizes that, as a borderline obsessive compulsive control freak – and of course, psychopath - Hannibal isn’t just going to offer him that carte blanche, which is why Will needs to be the winner of the first stage of his little war. It’ll be impossible to fight all the other battles he expects they’ll have once their mated if he buckled and lost the war, and Will hasn’t come this far just to fall short of the finish line. And, bringing that back to his original point, it’s why he thinks that Hannibal sending him, for all intents and purposes, to kill Budge is a good thing. If Hannibal wanted an omega lap dog he’d just kill Tobias himself as The Ripper or as another persona. That he’s given the opportunity to Will – that he’s trusted him with this – is a good indicator that Hannibal is looking for a mate that could be his true partner, someone with strength and darkness to match his own.

In many ways, sending Will to Tobias is a test.

Of course, Will thinks as he enters Tobias’s shop, flipping the open sign over to closed as he does, Will has a test of his own.

“Ah, William,” Tobias says, looking up as his entry, and his drawing out of Will’s name is not half as pleasant as when Hannibal does it. His eyes are all dark excitement though, a predator that has found a new toy and wants to show off, wants to play as he says, alpha satisfaction layering his tone, “I knew you’d come. Tell me, what did you think of my gift?”

“It wasn’t without its charm,” Will allows, because this as least is the truth, before he brings his eyes up to Tobias’s and says, with just the right air of mocking condensation, “but compared to the other offer I’ve received it was…notably amateur.”

That the next thing Will finds himself doing is keeping his hand at face level so that an enraged Tobias doesn’t end up choking him to death with a cello string would probably have been a surprise to anyone but Will.

To Will, however, it’s simply the expected outcome of a well-played move.

Will adds reckless to the list of reason why Tobias wouldn’t make a good mate.

That in mind, Will delivers a sharp head-butt to Tobias’s face, and uses the man’s momentum to duck free of the wire and pull his own gun on him, effectively keeping Tobias in one place.

Given that his own hand is bleeding from where the string cut him, Will doesn’t feel all that sorry about the fact that he seems to have broken Tobias’s nose.

“You didn’t let me finish,” Will says patiently, as if he wasn’t holding a gun on the man who had just tried to strangle the life out of him with an instrument string, giving his hand a cursory look and deeming it mostly superficial before throwing Tobias a cloth laying on a nearby chair for his nose.

“My apologies,” Tobias says, voice a bit muffled through the cloth, but the amused charm is still clear, Will calm restoring the levity back into his eyes as he recalibrates, adjusting this new knowledge into his existing schema of Will and, apparently finding it to his liking, he invites smilingly, “Do continue.”

“I have a better offer now,” Will says leadingly, so that there can be no doubt about who he is speaking, and he puts just enough feeling into it so that he appears genuine in his interest, but not enough to seem suspicious, “but if you were to…best that offer, than we could consider…making some music together.”

It clearly works as a terrible gleam comes into Tobias’s eyes as he says, dark and smitten, “You are a rare and beautiful thing, aren’t you? You are going to give me exquisite children.”

“We will see,” Will says, all unimpressed omega before he sasses gently, raising his eyebrow tauntingly, “Don’t you have somewhere to be right now?”

“Wait right here,” Tobias drawls, all overconfident alpha predator, as he picks up only his coat and the string – no omega would take an alpha that had to use a gun to win a dominance fight – that is still covered with Will’s blood, something made obvious by the sniff that Tobias takes and the look he gives it, “and I’ll be back with quite the present for you.”

I sorely doubt it, Will thinks to his retreating back.

And then?

And then Will looks at his watch, and waits.

It’s a fifteen minute drive from Tobias’s music shop to Hannibal’s office, where both he and Budge know that Hannibal will be. If Will accounts at least five minutes – though ten, probably, to be charitable, because there will be some alpha bravado that will slow the whole operation down – then that leaves twenty-five minutes before Hannibal will be calling anyone to report an incident – self-defence won’t be too hard for a man of Hannibal’s intellect to spin – and Will doesn’t want to get in the way of anything before that time.

It occurs to him, as he examines the cellos in Budge’s store, and wonders how many of them are strung with the guts of humans, that another omega would probably feel worried about their alpha’s safety knowing that a killer was on their way to them.

Will just feels…secure. Tobias Budge might be an intelligent psychopath but he’s not in Hannibal’s league by any definition. Honestly, if Will was a better man, he might feel guilty about sending Tobias to Hannibal’s to be killed in the hopes that a little action might bring Hannibal’s rut pheromones closer to the surface.

The smile that is on Will’s face when he gets in his car fifteen minutes later and starts the drive to Hannibal’s office probably certifies him as ‘not a better man.’

Well, that and his response when he picks up the phone and the caller ID says Jack Crawford.

“Jack, I’ve been trying to call you. Fucking phone died and I had to use the car charger,” Will says, injecting just the right amount of panicked frustration into his voice as he hurries the rest out, knowing that his presence at Budge’s music shop will need an official story, “The maestro, he’s a music store owner named Tobias Budge. I confronted him but he got away and I don’t know where he is.”

“He’s at Dr. Lecter’s,” Jack’s voice says, grave and heavy, “and he’s dead. He went there to kill a patient of Lecter’s, and after he did Lecter managed to fight him off. He killed him in self-defence. I’m almost there - I’ll need you there as soon as you can.”

Fuck,” Will says, and he makes sure no part of the huge, beaming smile that has graced his face is in his voice, as he pulls his car off onto Hannibal’s office’s street, “I’ll be right there.”

Hannibal killed a rival alpha, for Will, in broad daylight, and was clever enough that he managed to play it off as self-defence to the FBI.

Will’s so close to everything he’s ever wanted, he can taste it.

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When Will walks into Hannibal’s office the first thing he sees is two body bags, which by scent he determines as the unlucky Franklyn Froideveaux and the overly confident Tobias Budge.

The second thing he sees is Hannibal, bloodied but victorious over the rival that Will sent to him, and at the look in those dark eyes when he sees Will – dark and possessive and yet incredibly relieved - Will stops looking at anything else.

“I was worried you were dead,” Hannibal says as Will makes his way over to him, an intimate confession made only for Will, and there is something in his tone, something so true it makes Will wonder if every word the man has said before was a lie.

Because Will, Will can see that he really means it. Hannibal, who weighs and selects and mulls over every word that he lets slip from his lips, picked this one because it’s the only one he could. Hannibal killed Tobias not because he was a rival, nor because it was his nature. Hannibal did it because he thought Tobias had killed Will.

Hannibal was afraid for him.

When Hannibal accepts Will’s offer of a ride home, Will thinks of a chess term that his old teacher had particularly liked.

Zugzwang.

The point in the chess game when a player realizes he'll inevitably be checkmated. He has to decide whether to resign, or to play through to the bitter end.

Will wonders if Hannibal knows that he’s already lost.

But honestly, he thinks, pulling into the driveway of Hannibal’s home, that’s alright.

This is the one game where you still win by losing.

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They end up in the kitchen, because of course they do, and without a word Hannibal disappears and reappears a moment later with a first aid kit, and Will hands his injured hand over without prompting, hardly about to protest an opportunity to have Hannibal’s hands on him. Will stays silent as Hannibal works efficiently, his skill as a surgeon mixing well with his instinct as an alpha to protect and erase the presence of the – now deceased – competing alpha.

Will would be lying if he didn’t admit that made him feel a bit more than warm inside.

“In the days of old,” Will says, as Hannibal is applying the gauze to his hand, quiet and gently, breaking the silence, because he’s far too close to let this opportunity pass him by, “after an alpha had defeated his rival, shown his dominance over the lesser of the species, he would have been gifted with the omega of interest, his for the taking, to mate and breed, like a prize.”

And then, a hushed admission to Hannibal’s dark eyes that have now fixated on his own, and to the monsters there that linger, hungry and waiting, “Too the victor, goes the spoils.”

“Yes, but we are…civilized now,” Hannibal responds slowly, fingers almost unconsciously stroking Will’s bandaged hand, and there is something like reluctance in his voice as he says, “We no longer hold to such practices.”

Checkmate.

“Pity,” Will says simply, baring his neck to Hannibal and finally, finally letting every ounce of feeling – every dark, primal emotion, from that lizard brain of old - he has seep into his eyes, and then he waits.

And Hannibal?

Hannibal breaks.

With a savage grace that Will is sure serves him well as a serial killer Hannibal comes at him, trapping Will against the counter, the violence of it not quite offset even by the lips that crash into his own, fierce and demanding and consuming.

And everything Will has always wanted.

And so Will lets himself go with Hannibal’s momentum, opening his own mouth to Hannibal’s ravaging one and reaching down, he grabs two fistfuls of that glorious ass so he can tilts his hips to finally meet that hardness he’s so enjoyed dreaming about.

And oh, it does not disappoint.  

Hannibal makes a noise into his mouth that is barely human in response – a noise primal and animal and base – that has the first gush of slick seeping down Will’s thighs, and then he rips his mouth from Will’s own to bring his teeth to Will’s neck in a move that cannot be called anything but claiming.

And Will?

Will tilts his throat up for better access, and, staring at Hannibal Lecter’s pristine kitchen ceiling with the man himself at his neck, takes a second just to smile in glorious triumph.

And then he grabs a fistful of that ash blond hair, yanks that proud head back to where he wants it and, inhaling deeply the first of the rut pheromones that will send him spiralling into his own heat, dives right back into that sinful mouth.

After all, it’s like he said – to the victor, goes the spoils.

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Chapter Text

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My child arrived just the other day/He came to the world in the usual way. But there were planes to catch and bills to pay/He learned to walk while I was away – Harry Chapin, Cat’s in the Cradle

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She notices it when she is reading her morning papers. She reads four of them, each morning, as is her ritual. She still reads them on actual paper, even though buying an online subscription would be cheaper, one of her only frivolities. Nothing beats the sound of real paper as she flips the pages, and of the faint ink stains that linger on her fingers.

Bill always used to bring her the paper in the morning, with a glass of orange juice and a smile just for her. Her wife is always pestering her to switch to the iPad.

Occasionally, she wonders if that’s the reason why she won’t.

But she digresses.

Anyways, she reads four papers every morning; The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Orleans Times-Picayune and the Baltimore Sun. The family’s business interests dictate her choice, as those are where the majority of their holdings are, and the business section is always read first, so as to ensure that she never goes to the office unprepared. If, and only if, she has time, she will read the society or the lifestyle pages, less for the sheer enjoyment of it, and more because sometimes this too is information that is useful.

The price of being a New Orleans Le Fontaine.

She used to save the comics for the children every morning, as they filed into the kitchen, and they’d read them, tired and sleepy eyed as they sat beside her before school.

Now they are all grown, and she hardly sees them except for work. Her two eldest, alphas both work for her and the company, while her youngest, an omega, is working her way through law school at Stanford, perhaps because she couldn’t have gotten any further away from home without leaving the country. Her second eldest daughter manages their interests abroad, while her husband, an omega doctor gallivants off with Doctors Without Borders. They have a son, a little boy of two that she’s only ever seen in pictures.

Her eldest, and current VP of the company to her own CEO works a few offices down from her own. She and her omega wife have three daughters that Shannon hasn’t seen in two months, since she took them for a day to the Bronx Zoo. Her daughter never calls, unless it is about work.

They aren’t, by any stretch of the imagination, close.

And yet, Shannon can’t fault her children for that. She knows she was never around when they were kids – to busy working to make soft ball games and plays and birthday parties. She’d left the child raising to her wife, and for all that Anna can host a five course dinner for business partners with a perfect smile never leaving her face, she never had much aptitude for children, even her own. They’d been relegated to nannies, who’d given them the love and affection they’d so very craved from their parents, who’d in turn had dressed them up and totted them out for company Christmas cards and sent them to the best schools money could buy in New York, without ever asking them what they’d wanted.

Shannon, with the clarity that one gets approaching sixty with an empty nest, regrets that a great deal.

It’s Will’s birthday today. He’ll be thirty-nine. She hasn’t seen or heard from him in thirty-six years, not since she buckled to her family’s demands – she’d been their only alpha child, the only one they would have given the business to – and left him and his father for the life and the wife her family had selected for her.

There are many things that Shannon regrets.

And then, like a sign from some merciless god, as she is skimming the society pages of the Baltimore Sun, she sees it.

It’s an innocuous little thing, not a loud, garish announcement, as some of these things are. Standard sized font, only truly noticeable because of the small photo that is present, of two beaming men, each one holding a child of perhaps a few weeks old. It wouldn’t normally be something that would catch her eye, beyond perhaps a little instinctive aww at the sight of two babies, but this time, there is something that makes it impossible for her to turn away.

One of the men is Will.

She reads the text while holding the paper with hands that tremble.

Hannibal Lecter VIII and his mate William Shannon Graham are proud to announce the birth of their two alpha children, Helen Mischa Lecter and Alexander Wilhelm Lecter, born May 9th at Johns Hopkins Hospital at 3:02 and 3:10 am respectfully. Helen “Ella” weighed 5 lbs. 10 oz. and her brother Alexander “Alex” weighed 5 lbs. 6 oz. The twins are welcomed with so much love by their proud parents, canine brother Winston, honorary aunt and godmother Abigail and all their courtesy aunts and uncles at the FBI. The thrilled parents would like to offer very special thanks to the wonderful staff at John Hopkins Hospital, especially to the dedicated Dr. Watson, and to everyone who has celebrated the birth of their children.

Her son, her baby boy that she watched grow in Bill’s womb for all the months, who she watched take his first toddling steps towards her, has babies of his own. Has a mate of his own, some alpha man that she’ll never meet, never be able to look him in the eye and tell him that if he hurts her son, she’ll take him apart. She doesn’t have that right.

She’ll never know if her son loves him, this Hannibal Lecter, or if he did what she did – take the path of least resistance and harden your heart against all the things you left behind. She’ll never get to tell her son how beautiful he and his children are, watch them grow into their own little people, get to hold them in her arms.

Just more grandchildren she’ll never see.

There’s a river in Ireland that she’s named after. Bill promised he’d take her there, Shannon on the Shannon, so that Ireland wouldn’t be without its finest jewel. Bill was always saying things like that, just to make her smile.

She read Bill’s obituary in the Times-Picayune, more than a decade ago. She’d cancelled all her meetings and spent the day locked in her room. She’d lied to her children and her wife when they’d come home and asked about her red eyes.

Allergies, she’d said.

She went to Ireland on business ten years ago. She never offered to take her wife, and she didn’t visit the river. She couldn’t bear the reminder of all the things she gave away.

She doesn’t even know her son’s favorite color.

Because she gave her son away.

“Anything of interest?” Anna asks absently as she walks into the kitchen, just as a courtesy, all resplendent in white today – Chanel and Prada, if Shannon had to guess – as she spritzes her pulse points with White Diamonds, and they both politely pretend that they don’t know that it is a gift from her current lover. Shannon can’t stand White Diamonds. Shannon always buys her L’Air Du Temps, but Anna’s current lover, a beta male and an ‘artist’ of some kind swears that Anna favors Liz Taylor’s looks with an insistence that boarders on pretense.

Anna, who’s too old to claim mid-forties anymore, appreciates the flattery.

Though, Shannon herself certainly can’t pass judgement; her own lover, a young omega male and aspiring model, with Bill’s curls and Ganymede hips, is more than a decade younger than Will.

Shannon made her bed, and now there’s nothing to do but to lay in it.

“No,” she says calmly, biting down on her cheek hard enough to draw blood, which mixes with the bitter taste of regret in her mouth, offering her wife a bland look, “Not a thing.”

She sets down the paper, folds away the picture of the beaming son that she gave away and his happy family, strangers all, and gets ready for the day.

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Chapter Text

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You let me violate you, you let me desecrate you. You let me penetrate you, you let me complicate you - Nine Inch Nails, Closer

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Strictly speaking, it’s been Will’s prior experience that the prelude to sex – the removal of clothes, the positioning and the like – has always been a little awkward and well…unsexy.

Hannibal rips Will’s slacks off, rending the seams in the urgency of his rut, and when he notices that Will isn’t wearing anything underneath them, the sound he makes is positively bestial.

The gush of slick that escapes Will at the sound, wetting the cold countertop beneath Will’s suddenly bare ass, ensures that Will isn’t going to have to worry about any unsexiness in this process.

Hannibal is still wearing all his clothes.

Will thinks that’s a crime that needs to be rectified as soon as humanly possible.

“Why do you wear so many fucking layers?” Will demands, fighting with the stupid fucking buttons on Hannibal’s waistcoat, hampered slightly by the shaking of his hands, one of the signs of the beginning of heat that is encroaching fast, if the clenching hunger that is radiating from Will’s very cervix wasn’t enough. Hannibal responds by growling, person suit ripped away from him by the base nature of the rut, only the monster left as strong hands bat away Will’s own to rip at his own flies, ruining the tailoring of his suit in his urgency to free his cock so as to sheath it deep inside Will.

If Will produces anymore slick, he’s going to slide off these fucking granite countertops.

The seconds it takes Hannibal to free himself feel like hours in Will’s desperation, as he claws at Hannibal’s stupid fucking tie, managing to get it and a few of Hannibal’s buttons undone, revealing the tempting hollow of Hannibal’s throat to Will’s hungry eyes. Hannibal’s efforts reveal something far more tempting though, and although Will’s desperation is now a thing with claws scratching in his throat, he takes in that glorious cock, framed by a thatch of honeywheat pubic hair and the suit pants that Hannibal still wears, cock curved towards his stomach by hunger. Will can feel his mouth fucking water at the sight, proud and huge, bigger and thicker than even the best of his dreams, so red with need it’s nearly angry, and the eyes that meet his own are so feral there is almost nothing human left in them.

But Will doesn’t fear.

This monster loves him.

Will’s conscious mind takes its leave at about the same time that Hannibal thrusts one, two, three of those long fingers into his slick, soaked entrance, scissoring and stretching for preparation that is appreciated but hardly needed, given just how ready Will really is. His ass a slick cunt, quivering and desperate to be filled by that big, fat thoroughbred cock, to be glutted with seed and bred until a new life takes root in his uterus, grows there safe and protected.

“You won me,” Will hisses, a mindless creature, driven only by the need to be speared by that alpha cock, larger than those searching fingers, to be held down and knotted and bred, “So take me.”

Hannibal makes a sound like Will is killing him, and then, in one smooth movement he removes those fingers, grabs Will by the thighs and fucks in, in, in, all fat and rigid, not stopping until he’s fully seated in Will, all the way to the hilt.

Finally.

Will rewards his alpha’s obedience by coming immediately, pelvic floor muscles convulsing on that glorious, thoroughbred girth, shooting his own sterile seed all over his own and Hannibal’s abdomens.

Hannibal makes a sound perhaps best described as a roar, bearing his teeth like the last tether of restraint he was clinging to has snapped, and then he shoves Will’s legs over his shoulders and fucks him with everything he is. Will, heat mad and starving himself, does what he can to help, angling his hips into the brutal, growling fuck that Hannibal is giving him and the sound of slapping flesh as Hannibal drives into him, animal and feral, no thought in those monstrous eyes other than Will is more beautiful than any opera could ever hope to be.

“You are going to be so beautiful swollen with my children,” Hannibal growls, voice barely recognizable as human into Will’s neck, words accompanying a thrust so deep and perfect that the fat head of Hannibal’s cock hits his cervix, and Will screams his pleasure, coming a second time around that huge cock that doesn’t even pause in that fierce, driving rhythm.

Behaviour like that deserves reward.

“I scented that stupid pillow of yours with my slick,” Will drawls, voice heat stupid and slow, words slurred from orgasm but the sound Hannibal makes assures Will he’s heard them as those eyes glow almost red with intensity as those still pistoning hips begin to stutter with the first sign of an impending orgasm.

“I let Beverly scent mark my sweater so you would be able to smell her on me,” Will rasps, voice hoarse from screaming, and at the mention of the other alpha, Hannibal fucks into him with a punishing thrust, hitting his plump, needy prostate in his attempt to drive everything but himself from Will’s mind.

Will, nearly blind with pleasure, is certainly not complaining.

“I imprinted on you in Jack’s office,” Will moans, grabbing Hannibal by the neck so as to force those bestial, hungry eyes to meet his own, to hear him – to understand him - through the haziness of Will’s heat and the feralness of Hannibal’s rut, as he finishes, tilting his throat in offering for that final thing that will make Hannibal his forever, “and everything I did after was because I wasn’t going to let some other omega bear your children. They’re mine, just as you are mine.”

Will,” Hannibal groans, like he is helpless, and then he nails Will to the counter with one, two, three stuttered thrusts before he pushes in, so deep Will thinks he can feel Hannibal in his throat, knot swelling, locking them together and Will keens, so full he can barely handle it.

But it’s all worth it as Will feels Hannibal paint his vaginal walls with hot seed that will steal away into his body, find his egg in his fallopian tubes and battle it out until the strongest wins, combining to make a perfect little person, the best of himself and Hannibal for them to love and cherish and raise together.

And then, before he even has time to express his triumph over that, Hannibal, still coming, bares his teeth and takes what Will is offering him, biting down on Will throat, feeding the pheromones into Will’s blood that will bond them together, that will sync their cycles and make Will Hannibal’s.

If, of course, Will bites back.

The omega’s last defence against an unwanted bond, the denial of an answering bite. A half bond cannot stand, just as half an arch cannot, and omega’s for centuries have been using this one weapon against alphas who have tried to force them to bond. For omegas, answering a claiming bite with one of their own, feeding their pheromones into their alpha’s blood, binding them together forever, is the biggest choice they will ever make.

Will’s already made his.

Will puts his teeth to Hannibal’s neck, bites down in his omegean answering claim until he tastes blood, and makes Hannibal his.

And then, he comes around that huge, bulbous knot, smile on his face, exultant in his conquest.

******************************

When Will comes back to his own mind, he finds himself still locked with Hannibal on the man’s – admittedly no longer pristine – countertops, with the man himself still huge and hard and twitching within him.

It is, all around, an agreeable scenario.

Hannibal himself is a heavy weight on Will’s chest, held there in part by the fact that the muscles in his arms don’t appear to be able to quite support him yet – something that Will admits does his ego good – and also because of his alpha instinct to protect, to spread himself over Will’s body with his own, to make a shield of his own flesh.

Both reasons are more than agreeable to Will.

Hannibal’s upper arm strength returns to him soon enough, as he lifts his torso just enough off of Will’s own so that he can comfortably meet Will’s eyes, movements slow and calculated, so as not to disturb the place where they are still intimately joined. And yet, at the fondness he sees in those dark eyes, Will can’t help but ruin all his good work, threading his hands through ash blond hair and bringing them chest to chest again as he kisses Hannibal as he couldn’t before, in the frenzy of heat. And Hannibal offers up no resistance, lets his mouth go soft and pliant as Will coaxes sipping, lippy kisses from the man, slow and sweet until both their of mouths are red and wet and puffy, kisses him until they physically must stop kissing him for lack of oxygen.

“It occurs to me that I was meant to be seducing you,” Hannibal says lightly, as they finally draw away for breath, stroking a wayward sweaty curl out of Will’s eyes.

“Oh yeah?” Will teases, stealing one hand away into Hannibal’s pants to pinch one of the globes of that glorious ass, any edge that his words might have had entirely blunted by the sheer fondness in his tone, “How's that plan working for you so far?”

Hannibal responds by nipping him on the shoulder, teeth almost playful in their chastising retribution before Hannibal continues, a great deal more contemplative then the average man would likely be knot deep in their fertile mate, “I am relatively sure that I hadn't intended for you to win our little game.”

Ah, Will thinks, so he had known.

Good. Honestly, Will would be a bit disappointed in him if he hadn’t.

“Are you complaining?” Will asks, honestly curious, running a finger absently, softly over the indent of his own teeth in the flesh of Hannibal’s neck, a sign of their joining in the red of blood. Hannibal is perhaps the ultimate control freak, Will knew this from the beginning, and there has always been a part of him that has wondered how Hannibal would take this, Will’s storming of his gates so to speak.

The part of him that is all too aware of Hannibal’s hard length, still twitching deep within him, doesn’t imagine he’ll mind too much.

But he’s been wrong before.

Thankfully he doesn’t seem to be this time, as Hannibal smiles at him, a tiny, warm thing, genuine and Will is guessing unfamiliar to his face, before Hannibal moves one of his own fingers to Will’s claiming mark, stroking their gently, reverently as he says softly, “No. I find myself rather...pleased with this outcome.”

“Good,” Will says, aware that the smile on his own face must be disgustingly sappy, before he offers up a cheeky smirk, as he says, teasingly sincere, “If it makes you feel better, you're welcome to tell people this was your idea all along.”

“You are trying to appease my ego,” Hannibal says, eyebrow raised in something that is either gently bemused humor or pride, or perhaps, as Will thinks, a mixture of both.

“That is one way to put it,” Will says cheekily, as he does a kegel, squeezing his pelvic floor muscles around Hannibal’s cock in a way that makes the man groan, pressing his forehead to Will’s before he laughs, the sound rare and carefree as whispers into Will’s ear, like a promise, “I am going to keep you.”

“You better,” Will says, entirely serious, and the kiss that he receives, hot and possessive is just perfect. And so they kiss, alternatively hot and demanding and lazy and soft until Will starts to feel Hannibal deflate within him, and with some reluctance Will lets him slip out, feels hot seed escape his hole, that he knows must be puffy and used and empty, when he’d been so full.

He wants that feeling again.

So Will decides to get it.

“I imagine you have a bed somewhere in this great big mausoleum,” Will teases Hannibal, wrapping his legs around the man’s defined hips, sitting up on the counter so that he and Hannibal are pressed together again, and Will takes a second to rub his own sensitive nipples against the surprising amount of coarse hair that decorates Hannibal’s muscled chest.

“I have several, in fact,” Hannibal says, amusedly tolerant as he goes with Will’s momentum, grabbing Will’s ass with those big, elegant hands of his and lifting Will so that he is holding him up, aided in part by Will’s legs wrapped around his waist.

“Excellent,” Will says levelly, as if the resurgence of his heat is not crawling once again up his spine, demands to be held down, fucked out, knotted and bred creeping into his mind with it, before he pins Hannibal with his eyes and demands, quite reasonably, “You need to take me upstairs, put me in your bed, and fuck me until there’s no chance that I’m not carrying your child by the end of this heat.”

Hannibal has them up the stairs so fast, Will doesn’t even truly have time to appreciate the man’s strength at pulling off the maneuver.

The feel of Egyptian cotton sheets under his back and a hot alpha stare on his front means that Will hardy minds the loss. Instead Will, Will crawls to all fours, heat making him sinuous and lithe, and presents, ass canted up for his alpha’s appreciation and ease, a perfect lordosis reflex.

Hannibal has himself naked and inside of Will before he can even voice the demand. Given that every growling, powerful thrust that he delivers hits so deep Will thinks he’s going to be split open in the best possible way, Will is most certainly not complaining. Instead Will, heat mad and wanting lets himself sink to his elbows, angling his hips so that Hannibal’s fat cock hits him impossibly deeper, the angle of his body optimal for impregnation, one of the many filthy things that Hannibal growls into Will’s nape and hair, along with how tight and wet Will is, how perfect he fits him, like he was born for this, to writhe on Hannibal’s cock and how beautiful their children will be.

Will largely responds with gasping moans and whimpers, practically nonverbal in his desperation, but Hannibal seems to appreciate them all the same.

However, no matter how perfect their current position is, it is not optimal for kissing though, and though the part of him that is desperate and hungry, that needs to be bred appreciates it entirely, the tender, soft part of him misses the feel of Hannibal’s lips against his own. To compensate, he fits his injured hand into Hannibal’s own, twines their fingers together and Hannibal allows it, before the man brings their combined hands to his own mouth, painting Will’s fingers and gauze with wet kisses.

“I wish he was alive, so that I could kill him again,” Hannibal growls fiercely, accent broken, against the gauze, faintly reddish with Will’s blood, and he needs not say Tobias’s name for Will to hear it. Nor too the bestial, violent emotion behind it, all dark fury at Tobias’s trespass against Will’s flesh and fierce satisfaction at his triumph over him.

“Me too,” Will groans, desperate and half blind with pleasure, and Hannibal roars his relief, nailing Will to the bed with the strength of his thrust, knot swelling so fast it almost seems that it’s afraid of being late to the party, plugging him up full of Hannibal’s seed, milked from his cock by Will’s own orgasm that storms, storms, storms through him, sweeping Will’s every cell and molecule, until the only thing Will knows is Hannibal.

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Will loses track of the number of times they fuck in ensuing two days, though it is not for a lack of trying. Heat is a merciless thing – it gives much but it also takes much away – but this he does remember.

Splayed out on Hannibal’s dinner table like some kind of obscene offering, the man himself between his splayed legs, mouth wet with Will’s slick, eyes so dark and hungry. Moments or perhaps hours later Hannibal pounding into him so hard that the place settings rattled and fell to the floor, to shatter and be ignored entirely in their desperation.

Sitting on the kitchen floor in one of their lucid periods, naked as the day they were born, eating leftovers out of the stupid ceramic Tupperware containers in Hannibal’s fridge with their hands, like naughty children at a sleepover.

Fucking afterwards in that very kitchen, Hannibal bare assed and gasping on the floor, as Will rode him fiercely, hands alternating between skittering on the floor desperately for purchase and gripping Will’s hips so hard that he leaves bruises that Will will wear with pride for days to come.

Showering in Hannibal’s huge glass shower, letting the water run over them in jets before Will sinks to his knees and takes that glorious, huge, fat cock into his mouth. Gagging himself on that girth and only wanting more, stopping only when Hannibal pulls him off so that he can pound into Will’s desperate, wet cunt, using that incredible strength of his to keep them from slipping on the wet floors as the water runs cold over them, unnoticed.

And then, finally, with the madness of heat gone, sprawled on Hannibal’s huge bed, face to face, Will’s legs hooked over Hannibal’s back. Slow and sweet, thrusts in between syrupy kisses, heat exhausted and lazy, lovemaking instead of the animal rutting of heat. “I hope they have your eyes,” Will whispers into Hannibal’s ear as he comes, gentle as a cresting wave, and Hannibal comes at his words, throat working with whimpers, too hoarse for moans. Afterwards, when they have arranged themselves so they can spoon, still joined, he whispers to Will’s throat like a secret, “I hope they inherit as much of you as possible.”

This, Will thinks, coming from a borderline narcissist and undeniable psychopath, is probably a declaration of love.

“Your cheekbones at least,” Will quips gently, brushing a kiss over the afore mentioned feature, and then he curls into the warmth of Hannibal’s body and falls asleep, safe and protected, with the comforting sound of two heart beats within him.  

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There is a part of Will that marvels just at how not awkward the morning after their two day fuckfest is. He’d thought it would be, a necessary evil of the combination of the fact that getting almost everything he wants hardly means that his social skills are going to suddenly magically improve and the intrusion of Will in Hannibal’s well-ordered little life.

And yet, somehow, it’s just not. Will wakes up in Hannibal’s bed, gets himself ready for work and then ventures down into the kitchen where Hannibal lays out breakfast for him, delicate crepes with strawberries and freshly squeezed juice, and the silence that they eat in is so comfortable, so easy. And then, after eating they do the dishes and Hannibal invites him to dine with him that night, and then he kisses Will goodbye, soft and easy, as if they’ve been doing it for years already.

It’s so domestic, and so comfortable Will can hardly believe it.

Intellectually, Will realizes that this is probably due to the influx of oxytocin, serotonin and other hormones triggered by their bonding, designed to help them adjust, to lull them into each other, to help them become closer. Emotionally, Will is entirely willing to just enjoy it, the lovely, calm easiness of it, and let himself feel it.

And then Will gets to work, and finds Beverly in his office, and at the sight of him, the noise she makes, as shrill as a siren, breaks that nice, calm bubble pretty completely.

“Will Graham, get that!” Beverly says, in a tone that is perhaps best described as a squeal, practically bouncing up and down in place with the sheer force of her excitement. Beverly is an alpha, and given that Will practically reeks of Hannibal, he doesn’t waste any time on how she knows of his, let’s say change in status. In fact, Will pretty much doesn’t get to spend any time considering what he’s going to say to Beverly, because in the next breath Zeller runs into the room at full tilt, almost skidding to stop as he takes in the situation in the room, before he finally relaxes and rolls his eyes.

“Jesus, I thought someone was murdering Beverly!” Zeller says, looking first to Will, whose look of utter befuddlement must clear him of all involvement as he next shoots Beverly a look that Will hasn’t seen since he was a child and he misbehaved.

Bill Graham had an excellent disappointed parent face. Will hopes to model his own after it.

But back to the matter at hand.

“Nope,” Beverly says, entirely unrepentant, voice and every single mannerism as smug as the cat that has got the canary, “But you and Price and Crawford all owe me money because our very own Will Graham hooked himself a certain plaid suited alpha!”

She didn’t.

“Dammit Graham, you couldn’t have waited another two months? Then I would have won the pot,” Zeller gripes good naturedly, taking a casual seat on Will’s desk and most certainly not providing the denials that Will was rather hoping he would.

She did.

Honestly, Will can’t decide if he’s horrified or proud.

“You all bet on when Hannibal and I would get together?” Will says, voice even enough as pride – and perhaps just the smallest bit of shock – are winning out for now, though even Will admits that it is possible his voice cracks just the tiniest bit on the last query, “Even Jack?”

“It was Jack’s idea,” Price says, strolling in while nonchalantly eating a bag of chips and, after a once over of Will, where he must decide Will looks a little rough, he magnanimously offers Will one, as he says calmly, “I had Valentine’s Day – Lecter seems like he’d be into that old fashioned romantic shit. The suits and the chivalry, you know?”

Will, in the hopes that complex carbohydrates will make it all better, takes the offered chip.

It doesn’t help, but at least its sour cream and onion, a favorite of Will’s.  

Small mercies.

“I am leaving, because you are all crazy,” Will decides, because although this is undoubtedly his coworkers way of congratulating him and assuring him they approve of his mating, it’s also way too much for Will to handle this early in the morning and he – manfully - flees his office for the safety of one of the evidence labs, as Beverly’s gleeful, “Pay up suckers!” to Price and Zeller follows him down the hall.

And to think, Will once worried he was the crazy one here.

Will manages to hide in the lab for the majority of the day, overtly for purpose of looking over The Ripper case, though it really amounts to googling pregnancy symptoms and first response pregnancy tests.

Well, Will supposes, with a certain amount of dry humor, it does relate to the Chesapeake Ripper.

“I’ve heard congratulations are in order,” Jack says as a greeting, when he finds Will in the lab about a half hour before Will is to leave, something that Will doubts is an accident on Jack’s part.

Will is perhaps a bit pathetically grateful for this. His and Jack’s relationship is not always a comfortable one, especially when it comes to The Ripper, but Will can tell that beneath that gruffness, Jack does care for him, in a way that is part friendship and part paternal, as Will’s vulnerability makes him an appealing surrogate for the child that Jack never got to have with Bella.

It is a sentiment that Will appreciates, but it also makes discussions on his sex life a bit…uncomfortable.

“Is that all you’ve heard?” Will asks to Jack’s chin, and he’s honestly not sure that he wants to know the answer, because he likes Beverly, he really does, but in matters like this, she frankly terrifies the living crap out of him.

“I think it’s possible Beverly has started a scrapbook or something,” Jack says, and Will can’t tell if he’s joking or not, and frankly he’s too scared of the possibility that he’s not to examine it any further.

Jack, perhaps sensing that, or perhaps just displaying his typically blunt style of emotion, says only to Will, “He make you happy?”

“Yes,” Will says simply, because Hannibal does. Against all odds, the monster and the man who hunts monsters make each other happy, and Will will do anything to make sure it stays that way.

“Good,” Jack says, and lets the moment of honest, genuine warm emotion settle, a comforting weight for Will, before he smirks, and says, to lighten the mood, “But honestly, you couldn’t have waited another six months? That’s when I would have had the pool.”

“I hate my job and everyone at it,” Will declares flatly, as he makes his escape for the day, packing his bag quickly, and Jack’s booming bark of laughter follows him down the hallway.

Will is surrounded by crazy people.

When Hannibal greets him at the door with a kiss that makes him forget his own name, before sinking to his knees and eating Will out in the goddamn foyer, that sinful mouth soaked with Will’s juices, Will decides he’s alright with it.

And then?

Then things just keep on keeping on. Will stays over with Hannibal most nights, dines on the delicacies of Hannibal’s table, curls up with Hannibal in his sitting room and just lives with the man, sleeps in Hannibal’s bed with the man curled round him, safe and cherished. On the nights Will spends at his own home, caring for his dogs, Hannibal calls him before bed so that Will can fall asleep to the sound of the man’s voice, and Will leaves a message on his machine in the mornings, because he knows that Hannibal likes the symmetry of starting the day to Will’s voice when Will ends his to Hannibal’s.

Will keeps waiting for the other shoe to fall, for the honeymoon period to end, but it just doesn’t.  

Everything is, well, pretty perfect.

Well, except for the elephant in the room.

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Will doesn’t tell Hannibal he knows. About the secret ingredient in each meal. About the person suit that Hannibal wears to hide his monsters. About The Ripper.

About Hannibal.

He could, he knows.

Hannibal probably wouldn’t kill him, would probably be thrilled to know that Will knows, that Will can see him and still wants him. Bonding is hardly the thing that Hollywood would have you believe it is – there’s no psychic link, Will can’t feel Hannibal’s emotions or anything as trite as that – but there is a closeness there, a warmth, a togetherness lingering in the back of his mind that Will has never felt with another person and knows he never will again.

And yet, Will doesn’t tell him.

He wants to be pregnant before he does.

There is a survival aspect to it – the certainty that Hannibal will not react unfavorably in harming Will, even as an impulse, as it would mean harming their child as well – but that is not entirely it. Instead, Will wants to only have to do this once – to share Hannibal’s darkest secret for Will’s brightest one, quid pro quo – to seal their lives together in this one moment and pave their future without secrets or uncertainty between them.

He’ll tell him when he’s pregnant, and not before.

When he wakes up in his own home three weeks after his heat and promptly runs for the toilet so that he can throw up the entire contents of his stomach, it occurs to Will that time might be fast approaching. The seven pregnancy tests he does later that day, positive all of them, confirms it.

Will stands in front of his bathroom mirror, hands on his still flat stomach, and imagines he can caress the life slumbering there within him, tears of incandescent joy in his eyes.

Will is going to have a child.

There is a conversation that Will needs to have.

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Will spends three days vacillating between floating somewhere on cloud nine and wondering just how he’s going to tell Hannibal. For all the importance that Will has placed on this, he never really gave any thought to just how he would do it, and given that Hannibal likely won’t be able to scent it on him for another month, waiting for that is out of the question. He considers going out and finding some rude pig, slaughtering them and presenting them to Hannibal on his dinner table like an offering, and perhaps placing one of the pregnancy tests somewhere on their person for Hannibal to see.

Ultimately he ends up nixing that idea when examining a blood slide in a morgue lab makes him want to puke. If he can’t stand a tiny circle of blood, then the murder of a grown individual is certainly out of the picture. Vomit on the corpse would undoubtedly ruin the aesthetic he was going for.

Additionally, there is a part of him that rebels at the idea of mixing his child in with Hannibal’s…extracurricular activities. Will might not have any real moral qualms with it, but he will not let anything steal his child’s innocence away prematurely, not even himself or Hannibal.

And that, as it turns out, would be the crux of how Will ends up stating the news blandly to Hannibal at the man’s dinner table as a response to Hannibal’s simple, “Is there something wrong with the meal?” as he watches Will play with his food but not consume it.

It goes like this.

Hannibal invites Will over for dinner, the first one since Will took those tests three days ago. A weekend trip out of state with Jack for a case – just a man who decided to kill his wife and try to pass it off as the victim of a killer that, unluckily enough for him, though Will imagines more so for the wife, was pulled over on a speeding ticket that very same night and decided to confess everything for the fame – kept them apart for that time, and Will, so newly bonded is itchy to see Hannibal after even such a small absence.

So Will, of course, agrees.

And everything is just perfectly fine – Hannibal greets him with a kiss that fogs his brain at the door and flatters his ego massively, this tangible proof that Hannibal missed him - and then Hannibal sets down dinner in front of Will, some ‘pork’ dish in a red wine reduction, and Will realizes he has a problem. See, Will himself doesn’t have any moral qualms consuming Hannibal’s food; he knows what the man is and accepts him as such, but Will’s child hasn’t made that choice. This child, who Will has sworn to protect with his last breath will get its only nutrients from Will for the nine months it will slumber and grow in his womb, and Will doesn’t want to have his child be a cannibal before he or she is even born, when they can’t consent to anything.

And then, Hannibal asks, clearly noticing Will’s uncharacteristic hesitation, all concerned alpha instead of suspicious serial killer, “Is there something wrong with the meal?”

And Will?

Will tells him.

“I’m concerned about the health risk to the baby presented by consuming human meat. I know you’re selective, but anything can be missed.” Will says, keeping his eyes on Hannibal’s own and his voice deliberately light as he finishes, laying out his full quandary out blandly on the table, “Also, I suppose the ethics weigh on me as well. I chose this, but they did not. See my problem?”

If there wasn’t so much riding on this, Will might be tempted to whip out his phone and take a picture of Hannibal’s face, slack with shock, projecting what Will can only describe as does not compute.

Will thinks he might have just broken Hannibal Lecter.

Naturally, the man makes it just as stupidly attractive as everything else he does, but Will admits he rather likes this look in particular.

“There's nobody in these potatoes right? No,” Will says, just to break the silence, and although he gets no response he was certainly not expecting one anyways, as he brings the new potato to his mouth and makes a show of savoring, offering Hannibal a smile after he has swallowed, “Yum. Divine.”

It’s possible Will is having just a little too much fun with this.

“You knew,” Hannibal says slowly, and it is not a question as Will can see the cogs of that great brain have begun to turn again, working in double-time in response to the shock that Will has delivered to his system.

“Since Cassie Boyle,” Will says in response, and then, perhaps more flippant than necessary, though it is true enough, “I’d be pretty terrible at this whole empathy thing if I didn’t.”

Hannibal manages to side eye him reproachfully even in his contemplation, an impressive use of multi-tasking, before he says, slowly, as if he is trying out the taste of the words in his mouth, “You knew, but you pursued me anyways. Tied yourself to me anyways.”

“No,” Will says, serious now, and he makes sure that Hannibal is looking into his eyes, that Hannibal understands, because this, this is what is truly important, “I knew, so I pursued you, so I tied myself to you. You’re the only one I wanted to be the father of my children, because of who you are, not in spite of it.”

And, for the second time in less than five minutes, Will Graham breaks Hannibal Lecter. But that’s alright, Will knows, as he stares at Hannibal’s proud face, slack with shock and stunned disbelief, looking at Will as if he fears he is not real, an apparition that might disappear in front of his very eyes.

Will’s going to put him back together again.

Will,” Hannibal breathes, eyes shining with something like awe, as he pushes away from his seat, leaving his impeccable culinary creation forgotten as he makes his way over to Will, crouches down on his knees in the space Will has made for him, hands on Will’s knees like a supplicant, as he asks, as if the full measure of what Will said has just finally hit him, “A child?”

“Uh huh,” Will says, smiling at the fact that Hannibal is too dazed to protest at the inelegance, guiding Hannibal’s hands to his still flat stomach where their child slumbers, and Hannibal’s hands curl there, protective and oh so careful, “In eight months you and I and baby are going to be a family.”

When Hannibal surges up, oh so gently and kisses him, long and soft and worshipful, Will can taste the tears of joy that seep from his eyes.

That night Hannibal fucks him with something that feels like reverence.

He kisses him like he fears he might break, the tenderness clearly something he is unpracticed at, and all the more appreciated by Will for it. Hannibal slips into him gently and sets a pace that is satisfying in it’s sweetness, every thrust punctuated with wet, sipping kisses that Will hoards, threading his hands through Hannibal’s soft hair that has flopped adorably onto his face. Hannibal’s own hands are everywhere, but they mostly gravitate to Will’s stomach, fluttering there worshipfully. Will’s orgasm, when it sweeps over him is like the gentle popping of a cork, and when Hannibal comes a moment later with a stuttering thrust and a whine, Will feels nearly as full in body as he does in his heart.

It’s a good feeling.

“I have little reference for tender emotion,” Hannibal whispers into the afterglow when they are still joined, faces close enough to share breath, voice hesitant in a way Will has never heard it before, “You make me want to lay the world in your hands, just to see what you would do with it.” And then, not a statement but not quite a plea, as if Hannibal’s self-awareness in his shortcomings in this area have suddenly burbled to the surface, made him fear that his offerings are not enough, tinged with the faint helplessness of wanting them to be so, “I don't know if that is love. It could be.”

It is not, Will knows, love in the stereotypical Hollywood sense. Perhaps it is not even love in the healthy sense. Hannibal’s love is a dark, consuming thing with claws that wants to drag Will down into the depths of his depravity with him, to cradle him there safe and protected. Hannibal will never, ever let Will go, would keep him even if – for some impossible reason - it was against Will’s own wishes.

It’s exactly the kind of love Will craves, in the part of him that remembers the heartbreak on his father’s face every time someone mentioned Will’s mother’s name.

The only way Hannibal will leave Will and their child would be if he was dead.

It’s not the storybook love he’d heard of as a child, perfect and idolized and shiny, but it’s the only love he wants, thorns and all.

“It’s enough,” Will assures him softly, bringing that olive skinned hand to rest over his stomach, twining those fingers with his own so that they rest there, combined and protective, “You've already given me everything I ever wanted.”

“Oh Will,” Hannibal whispers, all dark, beautiful promises, the monsters in those eyes dancing in grotesque, extant joy at things even Will cannot fathom to imagine, “I am going to give you the world.”

That sounds good to Will.

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Chapter Text

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Every breath you take/Every move you make/Every bond you break/Every step you take/I'll be watching you – Sting and the Police, Every Breath You Take

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Hannibal has great respect for Alana Bloom.

She is a talented, beautiful woman with a truly magnificent palate and an impressive mind. Hannibal admires her grace, her spirit, and her impeccable manners. She is perhaps the closest thing to a friend he will allow himself to have, and, in his own fluid and often changing way, he cares for her, to some extent at least.

Standing in his kitchen, with Will’s echoing Alana Bloom kissed me haunting his ears, Hannibal wants to tear the lips from her still living face. He wants to rip the soft flesh of her cheeks from her face with nothing but the weapon of his teeth, until he has reclaimed every bit of Will she has stolen from him with her kiss.

Hannibal’s blood has not run this hot since the day he sunk his teeth in the flesh of the first of his sister’s killers.

Hannibal takes a deep breath, and sends a moment of thanks to the memory of his aunt, for her tutelage in mediation techniques. He doesn’t imagine she would be thankful to know the cause of his…unrest, but Hannibal is grateful to the Lady all the same. Rashness is the folly of the killer just asking to be caught, and Hannibal does not intend to let his conquest of Will be disturbed by something as…banal as prison.

Alana Bloom will not die tonight.

Hannibal, in his infinite generosity, can forgive her this one trespass. He abhors hypocrisy as much as he detests rudeness, and it would be a great hypocrisy on his own part to condemn Alana for falling prey to the temptation that Hannibal himself is…currently struggling with, shall we say. Will’s rejection of her advances soothes, to a certain degree as well his baser instincts to kill, claim and mate, like some rutting beast, and so too does the fact that Will came to him with his discovery of his new wants. Alana’s hurt feelings will force her to keep her distance, at least from a brief time, and Hannibal intends to take advantage of every second.

Waste not want not after all.

That thought in mind, Hannibal takes his time cleaning up the remains of his dessert with Will. Places the dishes orderly in the dishwasher, returns all reusable ingredients and leftovers to the fridge, and then, in an indulgence that he is so rarely offered, Hannibal takes Will’s fork, still smudged ever so slightly with his faint fingerprints, and brings the tongs to his own mouth, savoring the tiniest leftover essence of Will that lingers there. A sensual taste, the faintest hint of mint toothpaste blended with something earthy and base, and entirely Will.

His.

Hannibal is confident in his ability to secure Will as his mate. He does not particularly subscribe to the notion of fate, but finding Will, out of eight billion people on this earth, finding an omega who can do things that no one else in the world can, who compliments Hannibal so well? It makes Hannibal consider the idea of fatalism just a little bit closer. Will was made for him, and if Will’s biology is not yet sure of this, then Hannibal will correct this error.

Because well, even fate need a little…push sometimes.

An hour later, as he picks the lock on Will’s front door open, making his way uninvited into the home where his intended mate slumbers unaware, Hannibal is aware that he is, to a certain extent, rationalizing his behaviour.

He accepts this. He has always been secure in his sense of self, faults and strengths alike. It is what makes him such an effective predator, such an elusive killer and such a strong alpha.

Hannibal does not subscribe to the theory that one’s gender or secondary sex defines a person. Hannibal has met many weak and pathetic alphas’ and many strong and competent omegas’ and he would never stoop to believing in something so pathetically simple as that view of life. And yet, when Hannibal thinks of himself as a thoroughbred, it is in the most literal definition of the word. Hannibal’s heart pumps blood more efficiently, his eyesight is genetically superior and his body forms muscle more easily than the average alpha. Hannibal’s genetics do not assure him genetically healthy children, but it is a nice leg up, and his ability to provide for his mate and his children is second to none, his wealth born from inheritance and the fruits of his greater than average intelligence.

Hannibal is, quite simply, of a superior breed.

His scent of smell, however, has always been…extraordinary, even in regards to other thoroughbreds’. Hannibal can tell, by scent alone, every food item a person has consumed that day, and can extrapolate a great deal of information on their activities for that day from scent alone. That said, Hannibal’s olfactory impressions upon stepping into Will’s home are…quite varied. The warm, slightly wet smell of dogs is undeniably present, overwhelming even the musky, slightly woody smell of Will that Hannibal hoards, selfish in his desire to own all of Will.

But then there is the smell of Alana.

Light and sweet, the usually lovely smell of Alana’s subtle, tasteful perfume makes saliva pool in the back of his throat, with a rage that far exceeds the banalities of anger. Hannibal traces the smell to the kitchen, where it is strongest, and the dogs, who had demurred quietly to his entrance as the presence of an alpha of his strength demands, stay behind, their instincts clearly warning them against following him.

Hannibal is not overly fond of animals, but given the sheer, bestial wrath that courses through his very veins, he can admit that Will’s dogs are very clever ones indeed.

This is the spot where Alana kissed his Will. This is the spot where she pressed her feminine curves up against Will’s omegean softness and sipped the divine feast of Will from its very source, when Hannibal has had to make do with scraps.

This is the spot where she tried to claim what is Hannibal’s.

Yes, that Alana Bloom’s heart still beats in her chest, rather than cools raw between Hannibal’s teeth is a show of great restraint.

But still, there is the matter at hand. Will’s kitchen smells like Alana, and this is just unacceptable.

Thankfully, Hannibal can rectify that.

And so, after a quick listen to make sure that Will still slumbers unaware, quietly, meticulously, Hannibal starts his campaign. It is an easy thing to scent Will’s kitchen – his scent glands are practically pumping out pheromones in response to his pure alpha rage, and in no time Hannibal has erased Alana’s vulgar, unwelcome beta smell from the space, replacing it instead with Hannibal’s own strong, virile alpha one.

But he does not stop there.

Hannibal is, by his own admission, an obsessive perfectionist. It is a trait that serves him well as a monster masquerading as a man, and it is also what drives him from room to room of Will’s little home, scenting it with his own alpha musk. There might not be the smell of Alana, or any other lesser, pathetic competition in these rooms, but neither is there the scent of Hannibal, and this too he finds as unacceptable.

When Will awakens from his slumber in the morning, it will be too the scent of alpha saturating his home. Perhaps he will not be able to pinpoint that it is Hannibal’s scent, or perhaps Will will be extraordinary in this as well, but it hardly matters. Will will stand in every room of his house, and know that he smells an alpha, while his rational mind will fight against this claim, for surely no alpha could have made into his home past seven dogs. He will stand in his home and feel surrounded by an alpha, will bite his lip as is prone too and, perhaps even without his conscious mind’s consent, he will feel owned.

It is almost enough to make Hannibal want to stay until morning, just so he can witness the beauty of such a sight.

But alas, Hannibal cannot.

This is not Hannibal’s final stop of the night.

But there is still one last order of business here to take care of, before he can away, and so, silent in socked feet, the quiet gait of a predator, Hannibal makes his way up the stairs to the bedroom where Will slumbers.

The sight that awaits him once he reaches the threshold of Will’s door is one that stops his very breath.

In the pale moonlight, Will’s skin shines like the finest Corinthian marble, and the sheer vastness of it on display, sheets slipped down almost so far as to be indecent, the dimples of Will’s pert ass visible to Hannibal’s ravenous eyes.

Will, it would appear, sleeps naked.

It takes every single fibre of restraint in his being not to simply lunge forward and take what is so temptingly laid out in front of him. To feast on those soft, plush lips, so innocent and tempting in sleep, to lay claim to that buffet of naked skin with hands and lips until Will was gushing slick and begging Hannibal for his children.

Hannibal is afraid if he grips this doorframe any harder he is going to break it.

But he is here for a reason, and it is enough to move him away from the rush of pre-rut hormones he is feeling, to let himself reclaim his rational mind and make his way silently past the temptation that is Will sprawled out upon his bed like an offering and instead journey into Will’s small, tidy ensuite bathroom. He finds his prize on the upper shelf of Will’s bathroom cabinet, an innocuous little pill wheel three quarters full of a toxin that Hannibal will not abide in Will’s body.

Birth control pills.

Will’s body will not hinder it’s fertility – Will’s body will offer it’s gift of life to Hannibal, and Hannibal alone, and if Will cannot see the perfection of that decision yet, then Hannibal will relieve him of the burden and make it for him. That in mind, Hannibal replaces the pills with harmless sugar placebos with steady, surgeon’s hands, fixing the wheel back into place with a little ingenuity so that they look untouched, returning it to the cabinet as if he was never there.

And then, work done, he turns back to the bed, and to the man that still slumbers there, tempting and innocent and vulnerable in sleep – watches his chest rise and fall with his breath and stares at the embodiment of everything Hannibal thought he would never find, and wants, in a way he has never before and knows he will never again – and allows himself one final indulgence.

A single pass over silky chestnut curls, lighter even than the faintest gust of air is all that Hannibal allows himself, and his hands do not tremble. Soon, he will be able to bury his hands in those curls, soon he will be able to bring Will’s lips to his own with nothing more than a guiding hand in those curls, as Will rides his swollen knot, swell of his stomach huge with the weight of their child.

Patience, Hannibal reminds himself, after all half an arch cannot stand.

Soon, Hannibal will have it all.

He can wait. He will wait.

But not, Hannibal muses, hand still tingling temptingly, as he lets himself out of Will’s house and makes his silent trek back to his car, quietly.

Alana Bloom will not die tonight, this is true.

But the deep, too hot thrum of his blood, the rush of a claim threatened, deems that someone will.

And thankfully, Hannibal does not even have to make a mental pass through his rolodex to know who. He needs only to remember pale skin and dark hair and Who, the cute redhead one? You should totally fuck him, from vulgar, young lips to know exactly which canvas he will next coax art from. The physical proxy will do him good in channelling his…newfound aggression, and he is rather overdue for a…performance.

After all, Hannibal thinks, a particularly lovely sonnet from Dante rolling around in the vast halls of his memory palace, he does owe Will a courting gift.

As Hannibal starts up the Bentley, he thinks of blood on white petals, and a still heart in open hands, and very special rose in a rude little mouth.

And smiles.  

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Chapter Text

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Through every forest, above the trees/Within my stomach, scraped off my knees.  I drink the honey inside your hive/You are the reason I stay alive – Nine Inch Nails, Closer.

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When Will wakes the next morning, it is to the comforting weight of Hannibal’s arm over him, and to the warm gaze of the man himself.  Hannibal, upon noticing that Will is awake, moves that hand to Will’s hair and, propped up on one side, lays over Will just the littlest bit as he runs a thumb over the curve of Will’s cheekbone, soothing and reverent.  

It is, altogether, one of the most pleasant ways Will has ever woken up.  He’s rather hoping to get used to it.

And so, he kisses Hannibal, soft and sweet, morning breath and all.  Just because he wants to.  Because he can.

This too is something he hopes to enjoy getting used to.

Hannibal kisses back, the sharp lines of his face softer than Will has ever seen them, and Will knows that he is drinking in the tender emotion, thirsty after such a long drought.  After a few long, pleasant moments of lazy kisses, Hannibal draws back and then says, with the closest thing to actual hesitation on his face that Will has ever seen, “Although I hesitate to ‘ruin the mood’ with such trivialities, we are eventually going to have to discuss the particulars of our new situation.” 

Given that Hannibal looks - in his own especially emotionally constipated way - a bit like he’s battening down the hatches for an upcoming war, Will decides to circumvent his expectations.  Just because he can.

Will still hasn’t ruled out the fact that he might be a horrible person.  And that’s without the cannibalism.  

“I was thinking that I’d just move into your home.  Though I’d certainly like to hold off on selling mine until I’ve found good homes for the dogs,” Will says, casual as can be, propping his head up on his folded arm on the pillow, “Though I intend to keep Winston – he’d be good with children, and pets are character building.”

That the angle gives him a perfect view of Hannibal’s lovely impression of a confused goldfish – barely a flicker of an emotion, lasting barely a millisecond, but oh so satisfying – is just a coincidence.  

Definitely a horrible person.  

“That sounds…quite agreeable.”  Hannibal replies cautiously, tone somewhere between causal and ‘confused but I’m trying to hide it to preserve my illusion of being above you mortals.’

It’s a surprisingly sexy tone.

Will thinks it’s the accent.

“You were expecting to have to fight me over the living arrangements,” Will says, because this is true enough, and they are both to attuned to analyzing people not to know it.  

“The thought had occurred to me,” Hannibal allows, looking still as if he expects the other shoe to drop, which, naturally, is also a supremely attractive look on him.

Will allows the possibility that he might be a bias judge in these matters.  It doesn’t invalidate his opinion one bit.  

Those cheekbones make him want to do terrible, terrible things.  

“Your home is the most logical option,” Will explains instead, giving a brief second think of his own house.  It only feels like a home, he knows, because it served as the place where his family, strange little brood of canine strays though they are, were.  Will never had much attachment to it beyond that, and in the face of having an actual family, putting up a fuss over his home is the last thing on his mind. Will might not adore all of Hannibal’s decor - mostly because Hannibal’s home occasionally screams ‘serial killer’ and Will imagines eventually someone other than him is going to notice - but that can be changed, and, more importantly, as he tells Hannibal, a little chuckle in his voice as a stray thought hits him, “It has the room we’ll need, and it’s already…customized to your needs.”

Hannibal raises an eyebrow at him in response, a subtle gesture that very clearly gets his message of what has you so amused across, but the hand that raises to play with one of Will’s morning bed-head curls absently tells Will it’s a question in good nature.

“I was just wondering if a fully furnished murder basement would increase or decrease the property value of home,” Will says, smirking as his mind provides him with the image of some perky blond real state agent trying to sell that aspect of the home to some waspy prospective couple.

Fully renovated basement might be an understatement in that particular sales pitch. 

Hannibal can clearly tell where Will’s mind is, because he allows himself an eye roll, and a playful tug on one of Will’s curls in retribution, before he says, with far too much fondness to be anything other than a proclamation of affection, “You are, upon occasion, an absolute horror.”

“And you love it,” Will says unapologetically, because they are both aware of the fact that Will’s potential darkness is not a point in Hannibal’s “con” column for their relationship at all, before he continues with a summation, “So, we’re both agreed. I move into your home, we renovate one of your many guest rooms into a nursery, and I find homes for all of my dogs besides Winston.” 

“Yes, I suppose we are,” Hannibal says, calmly enough, still absently running one of his hands through Will’s curls, but Will catches something in his tone that has him taking another look at the man, trying to peak over his formidable walls for what it might be.  

“You’re…disappointed,” Will says slowly, not accusation per say, but rather an observation as he tries to parse out the why of it.

Hannibal, making the not unreasonable leap that Will means he is disappointed about their relationship hurries to correct him of that, attempting for what Will thinks is supposed to be comforting - Hannibal apparently wasn’t kidding when he said tender emotion is foreign to him, and the uncertainty of his tone is strangely charming - as he asserts, “No William of course I am not.”

“Not about me,” Will says, dismissing that frivolous idea with a wave of his hand, before he looks a bit deeper, searching as only he can for that thing that Hannibal is trying to hide from him, “But you are disappointed.  You got everything you wanted, and yet…” 

William…” Hannibal says, somewhere between a warning and a denial, but it is a futile defence against Will’s empathy, as Will clears that emotional wall and finds the answer he was looking for.  

“You were hoping that you’d have to persuade me!” Will says, triumphant and more than a little amused by the reason he’s discovered beneath that oh so proper person suit,  “You wanted me to fight you on it, so that we could indulge in a little…mutual manipulation.” 

Hannibal’s silence is particularly telling.

“Honestly darlin’,” Will says, letting that New Orleans accent he worked so hard to get rid of steal back into his drawl, slithering his way down Hannibal’s naked torso, stopping only when he is close enough to Hannibal’s still soft cock so that Hannibal will feel his next words on his flesh, “All you ever have to do is ask.”

Will pre-empts any reply of Hannibal’s by sucking that cock deep into his mouth, and if the speed that it hardens is any indication, it’s unlikely Hannibal has any complaints.  He has even less so when, after Will spends some time sucking that impressive brain out of Hannibal’s cock, Will slides up that body to seat himself on that lovely, thick cock, and then rides him hard until they both lose their minds.

After they’ve finally caught their breath, and are free of the knot, Will figures he could make a rode hard and put away wet joke, but he’s above that.  Well, that and he’s not quite ready to put anything away yet.

This pregnancy libido promises to be a fabulous thing, Will can tell already. 

“You’re going to love my obstetrician,” Will says, and then just waits, because there’s a part of him that feels that although yes, this was fantastic, he’s up for round two, and he’d really like to try manipulative sex as well.

Hannibal, possessive psychopath that he is, takes about half a second to imagine some other doctor - an alpha, Will’s sure he imagines, even though statistics say that less than 10 percent of OB/GYN’s are alphas, to say nothing of his own’s beta status - with their hands all over Will, and then responds accordingly, manhandling Will to his hands and knees with a snarl and then fucking him like some wild beast, putting teeth to skin as he asserts his claim in the most base, animal way possible.

Will comes so hard his vision whites out.

Yes, Will is definitely adding manipulative sex to the list.

******************************

The real argument against using an obstetrician for the delivery is quite brief, occurring at week six of Will’s pregnancy, while they are dressing for Will’s first ultrasound appointment, and goes something like this.

Hannibal: I am a licensed medical doctor.

Will: I had heard rumours of that.

Hannibal: I have delivered several children before.  

Will: But not this one.

Hannibal: I am perfectly capable of delivering our child.

Will: That is probably true.  However, if you ever want to fuck me again, you’re going to get into your car and drive me to my doctor’s appointment. And you’re going to be nice to my obstetrician.   

Unsurprisingly, they are right on time for Will’s appointment.

******************************

Dr. Watson, upon entering the room, stops, and without a word, does a long, through pass over of Hannibal, as if she is evaluating a piece of meat for quality. 

Hannibal, to his credit, does not fidget.

Very good hunting I see,” Dr. Watson says to Will, obviously having come to her judgement, a cheeky, approving smirk on her face.  

Will resists the urge to put his face into his palm, and simply replies with a - surprisingly sincere - “thank you,” in reply.  And then, because Hannibal is currently trying to make it look like he isn’t staring Dr. Watson down - not quite an alpha thing, Will knows, but really more about the doctor thing - Will makes the introductions.  “Dr. Watson, my mate, Dr. Hannibal Lecter.”

“A pleasure,” Dr. Watson says, tone just this side of pointed, extending her hand to Hannibal, and she gives him a look that says, I don’t care that you’re an alpha, a doctor, or rich.  I care about helping my patient, and if you get in the way of that, I will end you.

Hannibal, despite being all of those things - and also a serial killer - looks genuinely impressed when he shakes her hand.  Of course, he follows that up by saying, “I’m sure you’ll take every care with my mate and our child,” in a tone that very clearly promises exactly what will happen to her if she does not, so friends is probably not in their immediate future.  Though from the look acknowledgement Dr. Watson sends Hannibal in return, professionals with an admiration and a clear understanding of their roles isn’t out of reach.

Close enough.  Will will take it.  

That out of the way, Dr. Watson gets down to it.  She informs them that because of Will’s age, genetic screening is advised, though because neither one of them have any red flags genetically - “my family’s death is nothing that can affect my children,” Hannibal had said when they were filling out the forms, and although Will hadn’t agreed, because of course it will, in some way, he’d understood it in the way it was meant - that amniocentesis is preferred to chorionic villi sampling.

That was sort of what Will was expecting.

“Big ass needle?” Will asks, with a certain resigned air - it hadn’t looked any fun when he’d googled it, but he’s also aware it’s a pretty safe procedure, so Will isn’t freaked out.

“Big ass needle,” Dr. Watson returns, a commiserating smile on her face that tilts up just so at the look on Hannibal’s, which is somewhere between anal retentive at the less than professional use of the term and nervous, overprotective alpha at the idea of anyone touching his pregnant mate with anything, much less puncturing a hole with a needle.  

Alphas.  Can’t live with them, can’t stop wanting to have sex with them in their overly posh office.  

Such a conundrum.  

Joy,” Will says, with a resignation that is mostly feigned, and the look Dr. Watson throws him tells him she’s caught it, and is amused.

“Alright, lift up that shirt and we’ll see what’s going on in there,” she says, gesturing to Will abdomen with the hand that’s holding a bottle of ultrasound gel, and Will, after a sharp eyebrow to Hannibal - who sends him the least believable innocent look ever in return - does just that, making himself comfortable on the table, and taking the possessive hand that Hannibal offers him in one of his own.

It’s probably says something about his psyche that he’s so receptive to Hannibal’s possessive nature, but Will content to just enjoy it without question.

It has been the method thus far that has brought him the most spectacular orgasms.  

Definitely not the time for that though. 

In his distraction, Will misses the indication for the gel, and so he jolts a little bit just at first - the gel really is cold - before he acclimatizes too it.  Then there is the pressure to contend to - Will’s watched a few of those Baby’s Story shows on tv, but no one ever apparently mentions just how much pressure one actually has to use to get an image through the abdominal wall.  That said, Will actually did get shot before, and so, comparatively speaking, this is practically a pleasant experience.

And then a little grey blob appears on the screen, and it becomes an amazing experience pretty freaking quickly.  

“Alright, there’s the amniotic sac,” Dr. Watson replies, a smile on her face, as she does some complicated movement with the wand against his abdomen to focus the image better, before finishing, voice reassuring, “It’s a little too early to see the baby, but let’s see about that heartbeat.” 

Will and Hannibal are both particularly silent as Dr. Watson fiddles with the fetal heart monitor.  Will thinks it due to the realness of this moment.  Objectively speaking, they’ve known this was a reality for a month, but that was intangible, unproven.  Pregnancy tests are known to give false results, after all.  This though?

This will make it real.

And then, a steady, fast thump-thump-thump fills the room, and Will forgets how to breathe.

“There we are,” Dr. Watson says, at the fluttering steady thumping, a look of professional triumph on her face, “Nice and strong.”

Will squeezes Hannibal’s hand so hard he’s surprised he doesn’t hear bones creak, and yet, it’s the last thing on his mind.  Instead he’s entirely focused on that fast little fluttering rhythm, reassuringly strong.

Oh yes, this is incredibly real.  

That’s their baby.  

“That seems like an…unusual rhythm,” Hannibal says, voice oh so cautious, as if he is trying to talk himself out of being worried, and because Hannibal actually is a doctor, in addition to being an overly protective alpha, Will squeezes his hand even tighter, and turns to Dr. Watson for her answer.  

“Well, lets see…” Dr. Watson replies, reassuringly unconcerned as she makes another complicated twist of her wrist with the wand, pushing it to the far side of his abdomen, where she then stops, and says, a smile on her lips, “Well, how about that? Sac number two.  Twins it is.  Congratulations.” 

Will thinks it’s possible that Hannibal has literally lost his capacity for speech.  Will would mock him about it, but he can’t seem to force any words through his suddenly achingly dry throat.  

Twins

Not one baby, but two.  Their children will never feel the way Will did, longing for a sibling and a family that never materialized.  They’ll have two parents who love them, and who will never let anything happen to them, and a sibling their own age, so they’ll never be alone.

There’s a whole family in there.  

Dr. Watson, in all her professional wisdom, takes pity on both of them, gently urging Hannibal out of the room - ostensibly so he can get Will some water, but really so they can get themselves together, and the thoughtfulness of the gesture is something Will, entirely overwhelmed, appreciates more than he can say.   

This is everything that Will has ever wanted.  

“Twins are common after such a long period of suppressed heats, especially in rut induced heats. The body puts out more than one egg to make up for such a long dry period,” Dr. Watson says kindly, once Hannibal has left the room, as she is wiping the gel of his stomach.  And then, with a wicked twinkle in her eyes, she finishes, shooting Will a cheeky wink, “But I never say that in front of the alphas – much easier to just let them believe it’s a function of their own virility as an alpha.”

Will can’t help but chuckle at that, and as he does, he finds it just that much easier to breathe again, which he realizes was her intention all along.

Oh yes, Dr. Watson is delivering their baby, even if Will has to handcuff Hannibal’s hands to his  hospital bed in the delivery room to ensure it.

He’s sure Jack would lend him his, to say nothing of Beverly, who Will imagines would probably help hold Hannibal down to get the cuffs on.

It’s a compelling image - sans Beverly, though Will imagines she’d be game for that as well - that makes Will wonder about the structural integrity of their headboard at home.

A thought for another time.

“He’s a doctor, I’m sure he’s aware of it,” Will says, instead of thank you, as he buttons his shirt back up, tone light and utterly unserious.  

“Yes, but he’s also an alpha, and in situations like this, the little head overtakes the big one, if you catch my drift,” Dr. Watson says, with a wink this time that borders on downright filthy

Will’s still chuckling as he leaves the office, next appointment already booked. 

And then he makes it to the lobby, and finds Hannibal standing there, with a bottle of water in his hands, staring at it like he has no idea how it got there or what it is, with perhaps the dopiest smile on his face that Will has ever seen.

Alphas, Will thinks, feeling a swell of pure love sweep over him as he looks at his mate.  And this one is all his.  

And so, what else can Will do, but make his way over to Hannibal, relieve him of the water, and then put a hand on that bloody double Windsor knotted tie, and tilt those dark eyes to his own, and say the only thing he can say, which happens to be, “I love you.” 

“You do?” Hannibal asks, vulnerable in a way that Will has never seen him before, and Will realizes that this - standing in the lobby of the hospital - is the first time that he’s actually said those particular words to Hannibal.  He’s shown it in every possible way imagined by the human race - excluding balloon animals perhaps - but he’s never actually said it before, mostly because it never really seemed to need to be said.  

It needs to be said now.

“As certain dark things are to be loved,” Will says, pressing the ultrasound printout of their children into Hannibal’s hand, knowing Hannibal will recognize the quote, and take it as it is meant to be taken.

And he must, for in the lobby of the hospital, in front of all of the little, insignificant people that Hannibal so disdains, Hannibal kisses Will like he can’t not kiss him.

Will has never been this happy in his life. 

******************************

The two months that follow after that are not exactly tranquil, but neither are they full of conflict.  The physical move from his home to Hannibal’s occurs without incident, but the emotional move is not without it’s hitches.  For all that they are both aware that this is what they want, the reality of being a unit after they’ve been alone for so long is that it’s a learning curve.  Will might realize that finding homes for his dogs is best, but the actual process is not without it’s own pain.  Hannibal, in turn, has no idea how to live with a dog in the house, not even one as well behaved as Winston, and so the first time he finds Winston with one of his loafers in his mouth, he is nearly insensate with rage.  Then, there is the littler adjustments - Will not being able to find his clothes in Hannibal’s ridiculous closest, having to adjust his schedule to adapt to Hannibal’s time consuming meals, and Hannibal’s irritation every time he can’t find something that Will has moved out of it’s proper place.

And yet, they get through it with a healthy amount of communication, emotional sharing, and, in the interest of honesty, a lot of sex.  Like, a ridiculous amount - that pregnancy libido really is a fantastic thing.  Additionally, they’re helped, perhaps, by the fact that every serial killer in Baltimore and Virginia has apparently decided to take a vacation or something, meaning that Will hasn’t had to go out into the field since he announced his pregnancy to Hannibal, which has allowed them - and by that he means mostly Hannibal, because pregnant mate Hannibal is a thousand times more possessive and protective than serial killer courter Hannibal, which is saying something - a sense of security.  

And then Will gets a call from Jack, about a totem pole of murder victims, and their reprieve is over.

Hannibal, though he was in the kitchen when Will got the call, has clearly got the gist of it by the time he enters the living room, as he says, voice level but hands white knuckled on a pristine white tea towel, “Someone has been killed, and Uncle Jack needs your help.”

“Strictly speaking, a lot of people have been killed and then strung up as a totem pole, but yes, that is the core of it,” Will says, own voice carefully level, because this is one of those subtly important moments in their relationships.  For all that they are in a comfortable balance now, that power struggle still exists, buried deep down, emerging at moments like this, where Hannibal’s alpha instincts are pitted against Will’s desire for his own independence.  

Will doesn’t particularly enjoy these fights, not matter how spectacular the make-up sex after is.  

Hannibal shoots Will an unamused look at his sass, before he says, voice tight, as his opening argument, “It is not just your safety that must be considered now.”

Given how much he knows it costs Hannibal to even be open enough to have these arguments with him, Will generously ignores the implied insult in that statement and instead goes for the rational, standing his ground as he points out, “Hannibal, I’d no more put our children’s health at risk then I’d tell Jack that you were The Chesapeake Ripper, and you know that.” 

A reluctant nod is the only answer Will gets to that, but it’s enough for him to carry on as he says, trying to be as gentle as he can, because although he intends to win this, he doesn’t want to do so by wounding Hannibal, “But life is dangerous.  I could get sick, get shot in a drive-by getting groceries or get hit by a bus. No matter how much you might want to, you can’t keep me here, locked in this house and surrounded by cotton wool to keep me safe.  It’d smother me, and we both know it.”

“I…am unaccustomed to feeling this way.  I had only one person who mattered to me and I…lost her,” Hannibal says in response, quietly anguished, and it is less of an attempted justification than it is a stumbling explanation, and Will can see just how much that distinction costs him as he finishes, heartbreakingly sincere, “I cannot bear to have the same thing happen to you and our children.”

This isn’t the first time they’ve had a variation on this argument, and Will hardly needs his empathy to tell him it won’t be the last.  At the end of the day, they both have valid points, and so it falls really to a matter of compromise, as all things do with them, and because it’s his turn, Will offers this one, taking the towel from Hannibal’s clenched fists and replacing it with his own body.

“I can’t make you a promise that I won’t die, because that isn’t in my power.  But I will promise you this – I will never do anything that would put me or our children in unnecessary risk,” Will says, as he curls his body into Hannibal’s, a tactile comfort as well as an omegean appeasement gesture designed to calm alphas, before he brings his eyes to Hannibal’s and finishes, message entirely serious but tone firmly tongue in cheek, “The second I think field work has become that, I’ll tell Jack to go fuck himself – in the most polite way possible of course – and then I’ll just stay home and have lots of fat, pregnant sex with you.  Sound good?”

The tiny, tiny chuckle that escapes Hannibal’s lips and the loosening of those hands from their death grip means Will has succeeded in his mission.

“On one condition,” Hannibal says, a twinkle in those dark eyes, because Hannibal is not without his own sass, and his tone would be earnest to anyone who didn’t know him as well as Will does, “you must tell me beforehand, so that I can bear witness to the look on Uncle Jack’s face.  I would not want to miss such a sight.”

“Deal,” Will says, only have joking - honestly, there’s a part of him that wouldn’t mind seeing the look on Jack’s face as well, and after all, he still owes them for that office pool.  

Hannibal’s smirk tells Will he knows exactly where Will’s mind is, and he approves, and so what else can Will do but chase that smirk off that face with his own lips, until they’re both breathless and oh so happy.

And yet, Will wonders, as he’s cradled safe in the arms of his mate, why does it feel like he’s standing in the eye of the storm?  

******************************

 

Chapter Text

 photo wageyourwar11_zps82ba1127.jpg

******************************

“Sometime, somewhere, life always comes to a fight, and peace always comes to an end.” ― Rachel Caine, Lord of Misrule

******************************

Will rubs his hands together in a futile search for warmth, as he beholds the sight in front of him with a certain sense of fatalism.

Murder totem, Will thinks with a sigh, standing on a cold beach, desperately wishing to be anywhere else.  

Aren’t there just any people who just lose their minds and shoot people anymore?

“Is it just me, or do we get all the weird ones?” Beverly asks as she pulls up beside him and hands him a cup of something warm - tea, he discovers with a discrete sniff, and he is almost pathetically grateful, because it is cold, and if it’d been coffee he wasn’t able to drink he might have straight up cried - that he sips deeply, sending a grateful look in Beverly’s direction.

“No, it’s not just you,” Will sighs, watching Jack barrel over, a familiar look on his face, and so he breathes in the warmth of the tea, turns to the colossal totem in front of them, and looks.

Time to go to work.

******************************

The murder totem, for all it’s shock value up front, ends up being a rather sad, sorry little tale when they unravel it.  An omega who made a tough decision for the sake of their child, and the alpha who killed his own son in petty revenge over it.

It’s possible that Will takes just a little too much satisfaction in breaking that news to Mr. Wells.

He’s blaming it on the hormones.

But, for all that it’s a callous sentiment, Will is rather glad that it’s his first case post telling Hannibal.  A lot of people might be dead, and Will can’t change that, but they closed it pretty routinely, and Wells didn’t even put up a fight.  Hannibal is hardly thrilled about it still, but Will can see his position is wavering - there might have been an increase in sex in the last few days, Will can neither confirm or deny that - and honestly, Will thinks if they get a few more like that, they might be alright.

And then Jack calls about Abel Gideon breaking out of the asylum, and a dead nurse.

And the Chesapeake Ripper.

****************************** 

Will isn’t unaware of the name Abel Gideon, but he can’t say that he followed his case all that well.  His knowledge of the man extends only to the fact that he knows he was an alpha doctor, who murdered his omega and child, and that he ended up under Chilton’s care.

Honestly, if it weren’t for the whole ‘murdering his omega and child thing’ Will could almost feel sorry for the man.

As it is, not so much.

Hannibal, if the look on his face - perhaps most generously described as ‘thunderous’ - is any indication, also clearly has no kind thoughts for Abel Gideon.  But Will is perfectly aware of the fact that that has to do with the other thing.

The thing were Abel Gideon says he’s the Chesapeake Ripper.

See, the thing Will has always maintained about killers - and he includes Hannibal in this, for all that he agrees that to label Hannibal anything so trite as psychopath would be a gross under simplification - and still does, is that serial killers, the true intelligent psychopaths, are really just artists desperate to sign their name to their work.

It’s why, in the end, they almost always get caught.  It’s Will’s biggest worry, and his greatest hurdle in having a long life with Hannibal and their children.  Not the death, or the sadism, or even the cannibalism.  No, Will’s greatest enemy is simple human nature, because well, everyone wants recognition for their work, no matter what it is.

Even Hannibal.

And then, of course, there are people who want recognition for other peoples work.

Will never had to worry about that. Until now.

Because now, he’s watching Hannibal’s face as Jack talks over the speaker phone about how Gideon - and Chilton, though Will takes all of his ‘insights’ with a hefty grain of salt - believe that Gideon is the Chesapeake Ripper, and how that would mean that Marissa Schurr’s murder was a copycat - and Will doesn’t even take offence to the unintentional questioning of his ability - and that Jack needs them, now

And oh, Will thinks, as they get ready in a tense silence, Hannibal’s face is worrisome indeed.

And then, not thirty minutes later, as they are in Hannibal’s Bentley, on their way to Quantico, Jack calls them to tell them that one of Gideon’s psychiatrist’s has turned up dead, by way of a Colombian necktie, and suddenly Will has bigger problems to worry about than Hannibal’s - not inconsiderable - ego.

****************************** 

“You weren’t one of the doctors on his case, were you?” Will asks, breaking the silence that had fallen in the car, concern creeping into his tone.  It's not that Will doubts Hannibal’s…prowess, it just…just because Will has empirical proof that Hannibal can hold his own against psychopathic alphas doesn’t mean that he wants to particularly see it again, especially given his own pregnant state.

Tempting fate, and all that.

“No, I was not,” Hannibal says, just this side of too controlled, and the why of it becomes rather clear as he finishes, voice so neutral it might as well be an accusation, “But Alana was.  I note you have been…reluctant to inform her of your change in status.” 

Will considers mentioning that Hannibal withheld cannibalism from him, and thus never gets to have the moral high ground ever, but Will is a bigger person than that, so he refrains.

“You’re jealous of Alana!” Will says instead, a certain amount of wonder and satisfaction in his tone.

Ok, so, maybe not that much bigger of a person.  Baby steps.

“You held a certain…affection for her prior to meeting me,” Hannibal says, in a tone that might be better suited for someone being tortured with a blow torch, and given how warm it makes Will feel, he rather suspects his own moral high ground might be something akin to a speed bump.

Cannibalism, though.  It’s still winning even if it’s by default.  

“Yes I did,” Will says, as they pull up to the location of the latest crime scene, tone simple and honest, and at Hannibal’s nearly impermeable twitch - somewhere between pain and sheer, animal rage - he puts a soothing hand on his thigh.  And then, he makes sure that Hannibal has put the car in park and that his entire focus is on him before he says, soft and yet absolute, so there will be no misunderstandings, “But then I met you.”

It is possible they are a few minutes more getting out of the car.

The dead can wait.

******************************

Another day, another day guy, Will thinks, looking at the gruesome scene of Gideon’s dead doctor laid out before him, sparing only a second of remorse for the dead - all he can afford - before he is set upon by a furious, jumpy Jack, who gestures abruptly at the dead guy and demands without preamble, voice tight, “Well?”

Will doesn’t take offence.  He’s about one misstep away from verbally ripping someones throat out right now too.  

This kind of shit and pregnancy hormones do not mix, apparently.  

But he digresses.  

“Abel Gideon isn't the Ripper, Jack,” Will says, after a cursory look at the crime scene, only for show.  It might benefit him and Hannibal in the short term to say he is, but that too will ultimately fall apart, and when it does Jack will be only all the more dedicated to catch the Ripper, and suspicious of Will incorrect assertions to boot.  No, it is better in the long run to tell the truth here, which is what Will does as he says, a theory about Chilton and the consequence of his ‘therapy’ developing in his mind, “He might - and I think he does - believe he is, but he isn’t.”

Besides, he thinks it’s possible that Hannibal might actually lose it if Will says that Gideon is The Ripper, and the ‘dominance fight’ excuse is only going to go so far with a judge in explaining why his mate has pieces of Gideon stuck between his teeth.

Better to be safe than sorry.  

“Alright,” Jack grinds out, grudging acceptance dripping from his every syllable, visibly unhappy with Will’s assessment but trusting his judgement, as he growls out frustratedly, to no one in particular, “Then what does he intend to accomplish with this? What does he want?”

“I imagine Abel Gideon would want to find the Chesapeake Ripper to gauge who he is,” Will says, and he doesn’t look at Hannibal, standing about ten feet away, the picture of casual engagement in a bespoke suit to everyone that isn’t as intuitive as Will, as he finishes slowly, “And who he isn’t.”

A look blooms in Jack’s eyes, like the flickering of a light bulb, and Will can already tell, deep in his gut, that whatever Jack is thinking isn’t going to end well.

******************************

HOW THE RIPPER RIPS: ABEL GIDEON AND THE MIND BEHIND THE CHESAPEAKE RIPPER, the headline of the latest TattleCrime article reads on Hannibal’s tablet.  

The one that, if he grips it any tighter, the glass will crack.

Honestly, sometimes Will gets tired of being right all of the time.

“Something you need to tell me darlin’?” Will says, his attempt at a joke falling flat as Hannibal simply looks at him, and Will acknowledges the inadequacy of his attempt, sliding himself into the space of Hannibal’s lap, to rest chest to back as a silent apology. 

Hannibal does not relax, not really, but his hands to creep to Will’s thighs and rest there, a soothing weight, and so Will deems it an apology accepted.  

“You know it’s a trap,” he says quietly, stating the obvious - Hannibal was there when Jack aired his plan, and so there is no way that he cannot know - in the hopes the he might reach the underlying feelings through the cracks in the surface.

“Of course I know it is a trap,” Hannibal says, rubbing an unconscious hand across the barely noticeable swell of Will’s belly, before he finishes, voice notedly…sharp on the last word, “Knowing that does not make it any less…insulting.” 

And ah, Will thinks, now they’re getting somewhere.  

“No,” Will agrees, turning on Hannibal’s knees so that he’s straddling him, bringing his arms up to frame Hannibal’s shoulders and their chests close enough that their children are cocooned between the bulk of them, safe and sound, “But he’s baiting you.  Be the smarter, better alpha, and don’t take the bait.”

“Yes of course, mylimasis,” Hannibal says, almost crooning the endearment, foreign in language but universal in meaning, as he whispers, breath warm on Will’s lips, “I would never do anything to jeopardize what he have made together.”

And Will, who sees him, and who even loves the monsters he sees, sips kisses from Hannibal’s lips as he leads him upstairs, and believes him.

That night, Will goes to sleep curled in the warmth of his alpha, sated and happy.  

He wakes up to cold sheets, and Jack’s voice on his phone, telling him the Ripper - the real Ripper - left him a message from the deceased Miriam Lass.

And her arm.

The house is empty when he leaves, and Will practically shakes with anger at the why.

Hannibal Lecter. 

Chef. Psychiatrist. Lover of fine things. Narcissist. Psychopath. Thoroughbred alpha. Cannibal.

Liar. 

******************************

When Will gets home, after a day of staring at Miriam Lass’s arm and Jack winding himself up nearly into the ceiling and taking it out on everyone in his general vicinity, he finds Hannibal in the kitchen, preparing dinner in his pristine white apron, like nothing is wrong.

Later, Will will realize it was the apron that did it.  Perhaps later, he will care, and find it amusing.

Now, there is only betrayal.

“You just couldn’t help yourself, could you?” Will says into the heavy silence, voice like a knife, and his tone is so cold, so quiet that it is hardly a question.  

No, rather it is a fact, and the noise Hannibal begins to make in protest means that he knows it as well.  

Somehow, that hurts even more.

“No, I’m talking right now Hannibal,” Will says, not letting Hannibal interrupt him with some useless little manipulative platitude, and his voice is so level, so careful that even Hannibal knows to stay quiet, “Is your little game with Jack so much fun to you that you’d risk your future with a family?”

William…,” Hannibal starts, something that might actually be fear in his eyes, in an attempt to placate or rationalize or diffuse that Will doesn’t not care to distinguish, or to let him finish, too lost in his anger.

“Because that’s what you’re doing!,” Will shouts, uncaring of how rude it is to interrupt, finally loosing his calm, screaming at Hannibal in a way he never has before, all rage and terror. Because this? 

This was the one thing that Will has always feared, and the one thing that having Hannibal as a mate was supposed to mean would never happen, “Your goddamn need for an audience is going to get you a padded cell at best and a needle in your arm at worst, and with both of those I’m going to be alone, raising the children that you fucking left behind!” Will finishes, and his voice nearly breaks on the last two words.

Hannibal says nothing in response.  From the way his throat works soundlessly, Will wonders if he even can.

It is the third time Will Graham has stunned Hannibal Lecter into silence. 

Will is too shattered to care.

“I’m going out.  I can’t be here right now,” Will says, more defeated than angry, and he doesn’t look at Hannibal because he isn’t sure he can, throwing over his shoulder as he leaves him behind in the kitchen, just before he slams Hannibal’s stupidly expensive exported door shut so hard it rattles, “Don’t wait up.”

Will hopes he broke it.

******************************

Will doesn’t go to a motel, because he knows it would be a wasted investment for a bed he wouldn’t use.  Instead, he finds himself driving aimlessly around, his ringer on silent to avoid Hannibal’s calls, and thinking a great deal on many subjects, but of one thing in particular.

Miriam Lass.

The subject of Miriam Lass is not one that he’s ever brought up with Hannibal, but it’s also not one he’s never considered himself before.  Ethically, Miriam’s death doesn’t bother him anymore than any of Hannibal’s other victims do.  Hannibal may kill the rude, but rudeness does not equate to badness, or evilness.  Hannibal’s victims are, by most people’s standards, innocent of any real crime.  Hannibal is not a vigilante, and Will makes no allusions to this - Will loves Hannibal because of who he is, not in spite of it.  

And, honestly, in some strange way, Miriam’s death is the one that would weigh on him least, bizarre though it is.  Miriam, through a combination of her own cunning and Hannibal’s carelessness almost caught the Ripper, and the Ripper pre-empted her of that, and killed her to avoid detection.  Miriam’s death was a matter of self-protection for Hannibal, not an act of planned sadism, and Will respects everyone’s ability to protect themselves, even the monsters.  

Survival of the fittest, and all that.

And yet, Miriam’s death does worry him in one regard.  Miriam’s death is the one that turned Jack’s professional drive to catch the Ripper into an obsession, and Will was a cop for too long to not know that particular combo never ends well.  A case like the Ripper, a killer like Hannibal, meticulous, no real discernible victim pattern, an intelligent psychopath in control of his homicidal urges? Those are the monsters that can slip through the cracks, the Zodiac Killer’s and the Jack the Ripper’s.  The monsters who manage to fight off their need for recognition and live out their lives uncaged and die legends.

The problem is when those monsters go and make their own heroes.

The saying might be that heroes make their own villains, but Will knows that the reverse is just as true.  And Jack, for all that he doesn’t have Will’s talent, is not an unintelligent man.  Jack, if given enough time and opportunity, will figure this whole thing out, and then they’ll be in real trouble.

So, Will decides, as he drives aimlessly around, the faintest beginnings of a plan starting to sprout, he’ll just have to make sure Jack doesn’t get enough time or opportunities.

And he might not even have to kill him to do it.  

It’s a thought that cheers him up, even if it’s just a little bit.  At least, it does until his phone vibrates and the ID says it’s Jack, not Hannibal, who barks out instead of a greeting, “Gideon’s got Chilton.  We don’t know where.”

Because of course he does, Will thinks with a roll of his eyes, and for a second he contemplates leaving Chilton to his fate, before his better angels win out, and he gives the matter some quick thought.  

“The observatory,” Will says after a second, with a sense of surety, thinking like a man who is unsure of his own mind, and working off of the clues given to him to solve his quandary, “He’ll take him there.”

“I’m on my way.  Be there,” Jack says, in his brusque way, hanging up before Will can reply, and Will sighs, before he shoots a look to his phone, and thinks of Hannibal, and the promises they made.

And the promises Hannibal broke.  

He turns the phone off, lays it back on the seat, and takes the turnoff to the observatory.    

******************************

The observatory, when he arrives, is a mess of police lights and sirens, the sight nearly blinding.

Honestly, Will wonders why the police didn’t just put up giant we are here signs or something.   

Beverly’s long suffering eye roll and Jack’s look of barely controlled frustration tell Will that he’s not alone in his assessment, before Jack says, voice gruff and succinct, “Gideon’s still in there, as far as we can tell.  The local PD are going in the front and we’ve got the back.”

And then, with a look towards Will, an order that is softer than it might have been if Will was a beta, and if Jack probably wasn’t subconsciously picking up on pregnancy pheromones that Will’s daily suppressor nearly covers, “Stay in the car - if some twitchy local cop doesn’t shoot him, I’m going to need you to pick his brain.”

Will gives protesting a second of thought - really for the principle of omeagism more than anything else - but reality asserts itself quickly enough, and no matter how pissed he might be at Hannibal, putting their children at risk is never an acceptable retribution, and so Will nods, and settles into the warmth of the SUV and it’s heated seats.

Besides, the gleam in Jack’s eyes speaks more to the fact that Jack has apparently decided to reinstate the rule that the car is a ‘Miranda free zone’ and wants Will as part of the offensive rather than a perceived weakness based on his gender.  

That Jack is more militant than sexist has been both a sense of frustration and amusement in the past.

When a few minutes later, after the fanfare of the two pronged entrance on the observatory has died down and Will looks up to see Abel Gideon sliding into the drivers seat of the SUV, gun in his hand and blood on his clothes under his borrowed FBI jacket, Will decides that in this particular case it is frustration.   

“Special Agent Graham,” Abel Gideon says in greeting, almost sweetly, a strange, soft look in his eyes, “I have heard so much about you.  It is a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance.” 

Abel Gideon, an intelligent alpha psychopath who thinks he’s the Chesapeake Ripper.  

The same Ripper, whose last crime scene was clearly a courting gift.  

Honestly, if Will wasn’t pregnant, mostly happily mated and in the process of being kidnapped right now, he might be flattered.

Instead, he just sighs.  

Stay in the car his fucking ass.

******************************

Chapter Text

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******************************

“If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.” ― Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

******************************

Watching Abel Gideon as he drives is an exercise in the bizarre, Will decides. He has been nothing but polite to Will, though a politeness that has a familiar sharpness to it, to the point of it somehow being incredibly weird, enough that Will has skipped over feeling fear entirely, and is somehow now only curious. Will did not follow Gideon’s case too closely, this is true, but he’d bet all the money he has in the world that the Gideon that is driving the car now is not the one that was marched into Chilton’s asylum. This man is hardly that, a man, but instead a bizarre combination of men - a superimposition of a person over flesh that does not fit, and a mind that is trying to make sense of it all.

He is, in the simplest terms, wearing The Chesapeake Ripper - wearing Hannibal - as an ill fitting suit. He is a parody of a person - an exaggeration of Hannibal’s polite brutality twisted through a sense of humour only partially his own, and the picture he presents to Will is something of a caricature of his mate, and image that does not look like, but is also instantly recognizable, as Hannibal, to those who know him well enough to look. He’s a song with all the notes correct, but the intonation is wrong.

It’s strangely endearing, somehow, Will thinks, and yet also quiet sad.

This is not to say that Will has forgotten that he is being kidnapped, or the danger implied in being kidnapped by an escaped murderer. Will does not intend to take Abel Gideon into his pack of strays - Gideon will meet the end that he deserves, at the true Ripper’s hands, but Will cannot help but empathize with the man just the littlest bit. He remembers what it was like to wake up and feel like you were a stranger in your own skin, and that was a feeling he did to himself.

Gideon does not have the luxury of choice, of autonomy, as he did.

That Will intends to have a…talk with Chilton about his psychiatric practices is a thought for another time though.

Now is a time for getting unkiddnapped, so to speak, and Will already has a plan for that. The gun that Gideon has, likely the gun of whichever agent he ‘liberated’ the jacket from rests in the cupholder under Gideon’s still watchful eye, and Will thinks he’s got a plan to change that. Gideon isn’t treating him like a hostage, he’s treating him like an omega he’s taken out on a Sunday drive to court, Will’s pheromone blockers and perchance for baggy sweaters hiding the truth - that Will is mated and pregnant to another alpha - and if there is anything Will knows how to do, it’s manipulate psychopathic alphas.

So Will puts on his best acting face and grabs his stomach and groans in simulated pain, leaning oh so close to the gun, and lets his face soften into a look of omegean helplessness and dismay.

Gideon pulls off the road so quickly it’s like he’s been compelled to, and like a fish on the hook he turns back to face Will.

“Are you alright?” Gideon asks, and the concern on his face is so bizarre because it is Hannibal’s concern, the concern of a mated alpha, but in that moment Will couldn’t care less, because Gideon’s entire focus is on Will, and not the gun.

And so Will moves, so quick Gideon can’t even respond, and the weight of cool metal in his hands has never been so reassuring before.

“Yes,” Will says, lifting the gun with hands that do not shake, and firing it once into Gideon’s shoulder, watching with dispassionate eyes at the blood at pools forward from behind Gideon’s fingers as the man stares at him with huge, shocked eyes. He is polite enough to wait until Gideon scream of pain has ended before he says calmly, eyes hard, though voice falsely solicitous, “I’m just fine. And you?”

He doesn’t think Gideon hears him, but that hardly matters in the long run. Besides, it was a rhetorical question - Will’s been shot in the shoulder, so he knows exactly how not fine Gideon is right now, and that’s exactly how Will needs him.

Weak, and under control.

That in mind, Will takes a quick second to look through his peripheral vision to see where they are, and what he finds pleases him. They’re firmly in the middle of nowhere, on a stretch of highway lined with thick, thick trees that hardly anyone ever comes across.

Honestly, it couldn’t be more perfect for Will’s needs.

“I am sorry about your shoulder - I needed to ensure your hands will be too busy to try something foolish,” Will says calmly to Gideon, who by now has contained himself and is looking at Will, waiting for direction. Will obliges, stepping out of the back of the car and gesturing for Gideon to move out with the gun, something he does with little fuss as Will continues, still as calm as can be, “Though I should mention that you were the one who kidnapped me, so I’m perhaps not as sorry as I could be.”

Gideon laughs at that, a real, honest chuckle, and for the briefest of seconds Will almost feels bad for what is to come for him.

Almost.

“That’s understandable,” Gideon says with a twist of his mouth that signals that he understands the irony, as he stands besides the car, and he finishes fixing a tourniquet out of his stolen FBI slicker around his wound.

Unexpected benefit of shooting a doctor, Will supposes.

“I can’t help but wonder - why did you kidnap me?” Will asks him, because he thinks he knows why, but he’s been known to be wrong before, and if he is, he wants it out in the open now, “You might have made it under the radar by yourself, and taking me as a hostage ruins that chance.”

“Sometimes, I know who I am,” Gideon answers, self-aware sarcastic twist on his lips as he continues, obliging enough for a kidnapper whose just been shot by his hostage, “And sometimes I don’t. And when I don’t, when I’m the person I know I’m not really, I think of you. I suppose I was trying to figure out why that was,” Gideon says, with a nod to Will’s stomach, that is more obvious given the position of his body holding the gun, as he finishes with a certain resignation, “But I suppose I can guess now.”

“Yes,” Will says quietly, and his eyes inform Gideon exactly what will happen if he tries to take advantage of his new knowledge, voice as serious as any gun shot, “I imagine you can.”

Gideon clearly gets it, as he attempts to be make himself as deferential and small as possible - alphas might be dominant, but throw in a pregnant omega and every instinct they have to protect and provide fire all at the same time - as he asks, seemingly honestly curious, “So what are you going to with me?”

“I’m going to give you what you want,” Will says quietly, opening the trunk of the SUV and gesturing with the gun for Gideon to get in as he finishes, voice low and final, “I’m going to let you meet the Ripper.”

The look in Gideon’s eyes says he knows what that means.

“Well,” Gideon says, with an aborted shrug of his shoulders, and a quick grimace of pain at his abrupt reminder of his predicament, as he climbs without complaint into the trunk, “I suppose I deserve that.”

“Yes,” Will says, bringing the blunt base of the gun down on Gideon’s head, checking his pulse to make sure he’s only unconscious - he is, though it only matters because Will has bigger plans for Gideon’s death than this - and then, after he’s cuffed him for good measure he finishes, shutting the trunk on Gideon’s prone form, “You do.”

Standing on the road alone, Will allows himself one second to destress. One second to place a hand over his stomach for reassurance, one second for fear. One long breath to remind himself that he’s fine, his children are fine, and that everything will be alright.

And then he lets that second pass, and gets back to the task at hand. There’s work to be done, after all, and no benefit to putting it off.

Will discovered The Chesapeake Ripper and decided to have his children - he’s never really been one for panic anyways.

After that, it’s easy work to hide the SUV. Gideon disabled the GPS tracker before they even pulled out of the crime scene, so Will can be relatively sure that no one will find it amongst the brush that he drives it into, hiding it deep enough that no one would ever be able to see it from the road, and sweeping the ground back into a semblance of normality that he thinks will pass the inspection that Jack and the team will give it.

And then he puts on his best acting face, turns on his previously powered-off cell, and calls Jack, expecting it to be a bit of an explosion.

“Will!” Jack shouts into the phone, the poor service making his deep voice unfortunately tinny, and Will moves the phone about a centimetre away from his ear as he continues, “Will where the hell are you?!”

Ah, good old Jack. He doesn’t disappoint.

“Some miserable stretch of road,” Will says, because that’s true enough, significantly quieter than Jack, and then, because it seems polite, “Gideon kidnapped me.”

“Yes, we figured that out!” Jack says with exasperation, and Will manfully refrains from mentioning that the whole ‘consulting with The Ripper to find The Ripper thing’ means he really doesn’t get to use that tone, in favour of letting Jack continue with his sharp demand of, “Where’s Gideon?”

“Hell if I know,” Will lies, oh so prettily, ramping up all the omegean charm he can into his voice, and adding a little exasperation of his own seep into, a subliminal reminder that really, this is all Jack’s fault as he continues with his falsehood, “He let me go, and drove off.”

“What?!” Jack yells into the phone, the service turning it into a squawk as he demands incredulously, “Why?!”

“He didn’t take the time to make that clear to me,” Will says with some put-upon sarcasm to hide the fact that he’s got no answer to that query, and then, just to twist the knife in and really misdirect, “I’m fine, by the way, thanks for asking.” And then, cutting off Jack’s fumbles at some kind of apologetic retort to that Will commands kindly, “Just track my phone Jack, and come and get me.”

And then, causally, as if it is an after thought, and not the first thought in his mind in most of his waking moments, “And bring Hannibal.”

“I don’t imagine I could stop him,” Jack says, with some ironic resignation that brings to mind the likely image that Jack has spent the last couple of hours having to deal with ‘protective mate Hannibal,’ and yes, Will is probably a terrible person because that image brings him great joy.

Meh. The person he is now is comfortable in his own skin, mated with children on the way and oh so content.

If being that person means being just a little bit terrible, Will will make that trade any day.

“Your papa is kind of stupid at being a person,” Will tells his children with a resigned fondness, thinking of the trade-off he’s made and would make again, “But he loves us very much.” And then, with a look back towards the forest where the hidden SUV and Gideon are, and a fond rub of his stomach, “And he’s very good at other things.”

They’re going to be alright, Will thinks, the calming certainty of his mate’s love and his own plan buzzing in his head.

And then, Will waits for the cavalry.

******************************

That when the SUV and the Bentley with Jack and the team does pull up, that Hannibal is the first one out is no surprise.

That he is a visible mess is, just a little bit.

Because here’s the thing, Will isn’t unaware of how Hannibal feels towards him, or the depth of that feeling. Even with their recent fight included, Will’s never been worried that Hannibal doesn’t feel strongly enough for him or their children - that fight was really about Hannibal’s hubris and Will’s fear of losing him, and although Will maintains he was still right, he never once thought that Hannibal didn’t love him, or that something like this wouldn’t effect him.

But he never once thought it would be to this degree, because the Hannibal that gets out of the Bentley and burns a trail to Will looks wrecked. Dark eyes that look so damned haunted, something that can only be called a terrible hybrid between agony and terror in them, hair unkempt and clothing wrinkled from being run over by worried hands. He engulfs Will in an full body embrace the second he reaches him, burrowing his face in the soft flesh of Will’s neck and breathing in the scent of him through great, shuddering breaths punctured with whispered words that must be Lithuanian, because Will doesn’t recognize the as English.

He’s shaking. All over, full body shudders, as if he is helpless to control his own body. Hannibal Lecter, the man in the pristinely constructed person suit, whose every word and gesture is a work of art in it’s preparation and presentation, is shaking.

Because of Will. It shocks him right down to his core, this visceral demonstration of Hannibal’s devotion.

It’s so terribly lovely.

“Hey,” Will says, wrapping himself as far as he can into Hannibal’s embrace, making himself as soft and omegean as he can in physical comfort as he croons platitundal truths of comfort into Hannibal’s ear, a continuous soft litany, “hey, hey, I’m fine. I’m here. We’re all fine. It’s ok.”

Hannibal doesn’t respond, not verbally at least, but Will keeps up his mantra until the shaking has stopped, and until the hands that grasp at him only flutter, and Hannibal is able to pull some semblance of his person suit back on. Not the full suit, of course, but enough that he is able to pull his face away from Will shoulder and take a position at his side instead, tucking Will into the curve of his body, a protection against the world.

The team, in a show of sensitively, have spent the last few minutes seriously contemplating the deep blue sky, something that Will can’t help but be grateful for. He’s not self-conscious about this, this show of Hannibal’s vulnerability - honestly, in the long run it’s beneficial, because no one who has ever seen Hannibal like this would believe him capable of The Ripper’s crimes - but he knows that Hannibal will be once he’s again himself, so their restraint is appreciated.

Honestly, for all he bitches, his coworkers are actually pretty alright.

“So Gideon just let you go?” Jack asks, in a bit of a blunt change of topic, but it’s what’s needed, and most importantly, what was expected, and so Will knows exactly what his next move is to be.

“He was going to use me as insurance if you guys caught up with him, but he noticed I was pregnant and freaked out,” Will says, spinning his tale as if it’s the gospel truth, adding just the right amount of exasperation and sarcasm to his tone to make it ring true, “Some deeply latent guilt about killing his kid I guess, so he kicked me out of the car and drove off that way.”

And of course, one rather important, attention stealing detail.

“You’re pregnant?!” Jack exclaims, throwing his hands and gaze upwards to the sky like he’s pretty much just had it up to here with surprises today, and he only barely manages to drown out Beverly’s squeal of joy.

Misdirection, thy name is pregnancy.

Will thinks money might just have exchanged Price and Zeller’s hands.

He takes back what he thought about this coworkers. They’re all lunatics.

“Yeah, like three months,” Will says, all faux, ‘I can’t believe you haven’t noticed,’ as if he hasn’t been hiding it using sweaters and pheromone suppressors all along.

The squeeze that Hannibal gives his hand is appreciated, not just because the tone rang true, but because it means he’s coming back into himself, slowly but surely. Will might appreciate the sight of this docile Hannibal as a measure of his feelings, but he has no desire to keep him around in the long term.

No, Will fell in love with the monster as well as the man, and he will settle for no less.

“And you didn’t tell us?” Beverly asks, brining him back into the moment, and she sounds a bit hurt, and Will can’t have that, because for all the games he plays and all the people he’s willing to hurt, Beverly has never been on that list.

“Well,” Will drawls, deliberately innocent to the point of parody, with a little smirk and a quick wink for Beverly’s benefit, “You’re not supposed to tell people until the second trimester.”

Jack looks like he’s contemplating having a stroke or something.

“There will be words about this, Will Shannon Graham!” Beverly announces, all faux outrage, but then, with a look at Hannibal, she finishes kindly, a soft smile on her face, “But later.”

“Later,” Will agrees with a smile of his own for her, and then he turns his attention to Jack and asks bluntly, the way he always sounds at crime scenes, “Can we go?”

“Get out of here,” Jack says, with a vague wave of his arms and he finishes, gruffly but kindly, “Go get…warm or whatever. You shouldn’t be out here in your condition.”

“Thanks Jack,” Will says, with a genuine smile in his direction, because for all that Jack is a bear about The Ripper, he truly is a good man, and Will really would regret his death.

And well, Will thinks, as he lets Hannibal lead him into the Bentley, if the next few hours all go according to plan, he won’t have to.

******************************

Will lets a few minutes of driving in silence pass before he motions for Hannibal to pull the Bentley over, and he does so without complainant or question. Once they are pulled over, Hannibal turns to Will in his seat, turning those tortured eyes on him and his hands flutter once, twice in his direction before Will catches them and brings them to the curve of their children, and the gratitude in those dark eyes is nearly heart-breaking at the gesture.

Will,” Hannibal starts, voice broken as he trails off and attempts to start again, “Will I…” and his eyes are so heavy with a thousand apologies that Will can’t ever imagine needing words.

But apologies are not why he’s stopped them.

“It’s ok, I understand, and I forgive you,” Will says, and he does, his anger vanquished at the sight of a wrecked Hannibal bounding out of the Bentley, but this isn’t what he needs now, as he takes Hannibal’s head in his hands and brings them forehead to forehead as he whispers, fond, but serious, “But later. Be that man - that mate - later. Now, I need The Ripper.”

“Will?” Hannibal asks, looking at him so lost, and Will understands his confusion, especially given their fight, but he has a plan, and it’s a good one, and it demands a Hannibal that is not this one, a Hannibal notably more…brutal.

Will needs the wolf now, not the lamb.

“We need to turn around and go back” Will says quietly, stroking his fingers soothingly down the sharp contours of Hannibal’s cheekbones as he finishes solemnly, “I have something for you.”

Hannibal, blinks once, confused, but in his docile state he simply does what is asked of him and does not ask anymore questions.

Once Will has lead him to the hidden SUV, and opened the trunk to reveal just who that something was, that changes understandably.

“I, I do not understand what you want from me,” Hannibal says to Will, undeniably remembering Will’s recent anger at his activities as The Ripper as he stares down at the bound form of Abel Gideon, who is now conscious, but silent, looking back up at them, awaiting his judgment.

“Yes you do,” Will replies quietly, bringing Hannibal’s gaze to his own, and he lets his eyes say everything that cannot be said with words, speaking to the monsters that still slumber in those dark eyes.

Come back out, Will entreats that darkness, there is work to be done.

“Yes,” Hannibal says slowly, as if awaking from a deep slumber, lips curving up in the tiniest terrible, beautiful smile, “I suppose I do.”

There you are, Will thinks, pressing a kiss to Hannibal’s forehead before he turns back to Gideon. “Abel Gideon,” Will says to the bound man quietly, like the epitaph it is, letting him take in the sight of Hannibal’s hands on the curve of his stomach, “I’d like to introduce you to The Chesapeake Ripper.”

It is not an introduction. It’s a death sentence.

The silence that follows means they all know it.

******************************

They transfer Gideon to the trunk of the Bentley, and then Will takes some time to enact a few forensic counter measures. The SUV is driven to a known criminal area, where it will be stripped down within the day, and Jack - with a light suggestion from Will perhaps - will determine that Gideon abandoned it for another car, and decide that Gideon is still at large.

Given that Gideon is currently a guest of Hannibal’s basement, Will can say this is certainly not the case.

Still, Will gives them an hour alone, in the basement. Whatever he thinks of Gideon, the man is owed some clarity before he dies, and only Hannibal can give that to him. Instead, Will takes advantage of that time to have a nice, warm shower, making sure to get any lingering scent of Gideon off of him. After that he takes some time to dress himself in a nice, soft cashmere sweater of Hannibal’s, and lingers in the kitchen for a few minutes to make himself a little snack.

Hannibal won’t start without him, he knows, and being kidnapped makes him hungry, apparently.

Learn something new everyday, Will supposes.

But then, when he feels he has allowed for enough time, Will makes his way down into the basement, to where his mate, garbed in a plastic suit stands between a steel table where Gideon is bound to and a smaller table where an assortment of various torture devices and blades are laid out, all in their proper place.

Will politely does not comment on the murder onsie. That Hannibal is letting him share this with him is enough to lend a certain amount of respect, and no matter its look, Will is sure it serves its intended function.

“Ready?” he asks instead, solicitously, taking both alpha’s silence as an indicator that they have finished their, unconventional therapy session, such as it were.

“Yes,” Hannibal answers, looking to his table before picking up a scalpel and turning back to Gideon, who looks back, silent and defeated from whatever they discussed. And then Hannibal pauses, scalpel just resting on skin and Will can see why.

His hands are shaking.

And well, Will thinks, with a surge of fondness at the reason, they cant have that.

“I’m here,” Will says, moulding himself around Hannibal’s back to wrap his hands around Hannibal’s trembling ones and steady them within the warmth of his own, as he whispers into Hannibal’s ear, “and you need steady hands for what he needs to become.”

“And what is that, mylimasis?” Hannibal asks slowly, looking over his shoulder at Will with such dark besottment, such terrible adoration that it can’t help but warm Will’s very soul.

Oh yes, if this is damnation, he’ll take it any day.

“A finale,” Will says with the finality that it deserves, and presses a kiss, feather light and almost ceremonial to Hannibal’s lips. And then he sits in the chair in the corner and watches as those much loved surgeons hands, with their fine boned olive skinned fingers move to do as commanded.

Steadily.

Will never looks away, no matter how loud the screaming gets, before it finally peters off, the silence of an abused throat. He’s always enjoyed watching Hannibal in his element, and this time is no different.

There is a plan that creeps into his mind, takes life there as he watches Hannibal work. An answer to all their possible worries in a neat, tidy bow.

He thinks he could get used to this.

And that’s handy, he thinks, with an absent rub to the swell of their sleeping children, because if everything goes to plan, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to.

******************************

Chapter Text

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It's a beautiful night/We're looking for something dumb to do/Hey baby, I think I want to marry you - Bruno Mars, Marry You

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“Hello, I’m here!” Abigail announces cheerfully, shutting the door behind her, and then, to the commotion she can already hear brewing in the next room, “Where are my two angels?”

“Auntie Abby, Auntie Abby,” said angels shout, running out of the playroom, all mops of bouncing ash blonde curls and Will’s big blue eyes, throwing themselves into her open arms.

Abigail always loves coming to visit.

“Candy?” Ella asks, peeking up at Abigail slyly, innocent as can be, and Alex is right there with her, batting his little eyes hopefully. And because these two little monsters have her number entirely, Abigail makes only the smallest show of reluctance before she presents two huge rainbow lollypops from behind her back with a flourish.

The twins squeals of delight are all the reward she needs.

“You are bribing my children with empty calories,” Hannibal announces from the doorway to the kitchen in greeting, and Alex runs to his legs, anxious to show off his bounty to his papa, where upon Hannibal picks him up with graceful ease.

“But of course,” Abigail says, raising lithely upwards from where she is crouching, Ella in her arms, and asks, in a clearly teasing rejoinder, “How else will I be able to steal their affections from you and Will?”

And for all that it is a joke - and Abigail takes care to make sure that they all know it - Abigail also knew, from the moment that Will announced his pregnancy to her that maintaining a good relationship with those children was her best ticket at living a long life and dying of natural causes. From that first moment, she’d intended to integrate herself into their lives, regardless of what she actually ended up feeling for them.

And then Will had handed her those two little miracles with a “go to Auntie Abigail,” and Abigail’s plans had become entirely irrelevant as she fell, quite simply, in love with the two little sets of eyes that had blinked up at her trustingly.

If anyone, ever attempted to hurt those children, Abigail would hunt them down, and the things she would do to them would make her father’s crimes look like the work of amateurs.

The twinkle in Hannibal’s eyes says he knows, and he approves.

“Is Will at work?” Abigail asks, as she imagines that if he’d been home, he’d of already come to greet her, given her one of those hugs of his that she loves, just the right kind of comfort.

“Yes,” Hannibal says with the tiniest of frowns on his face, the one that Abigail knows to read as ‘intrigued disgust,’ pitched low in consideration of the little ears in the room, “Apparently a woman was found sown inside a horse.”

Never a dull moment here, Abigail thinks, taking a second to tap Ella’s nose playfully.

“There are some sick people out there,” Is all she ends up saying, eyes lit with some irony, and Hannibal only lifts Alex’s wayward curl off of his forehead and says, eyes lit with mirth, “Indeed.”

Honestly, Abigail thinks, who says serial killers have no sense of humour?

And then there is a moment of silence, where Hannibal only looks pensively at her and the children, and Abigail only waits it out, tickles Ella, because she knows there is no rushing Hannibal. And then, when he is ready, Hannibal finally says, voice too careful to be truly casual, “I’d like to solicit your help in asking Will to marry me,” and Abigail understands the delay.

No, Abigail thinks, never a dull moment here.

“Wait,” Abigail says, giving Ella a bounce that makes giggle, before she turns her attention back to Hannibal and asks, with as much incredulity as she will let herself show around Hannibal, “you’re actually going to ask him? As in a question, where one of the possible answers could be no?”

Hannibal looks a little shifty at this, and Abigail immediately runs what he’s said through her Hannibal-to-human translator and comes up with, Will actually said no before, and I need a way to make him say yes because even though he bore me two perfect children and loves me completely and won’t ever leave, I’m actually an incredibly possessive cannibal and since I like his face too much to scratch my name there, a wedding band is the next best thing.

Abigail sighs fondly.

Men.

“Come with me, and bring the ruggrats,” Abigail only says, an idea forming in her mind, and the smile that she shoots Hannibal is just a little bit sharp, “I’ve got just the thing.”

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“This,” Hannibal says, as they stand in the store and she outlines her plan, a curve of a smile haunting his lips, “is incredibly emotionally manipulative.”

His tone is not, what anyone might consider, chastising.

“I knew you’d approve,” Abigail only says with a smile, and gives Alex butterfly kisses as Hannibal bounces Ella to make her giggle, and pays for their purchase.

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And so, that is how within the next hour, Hannibal ends up on one knee in front of Will at Quantico, Alex on one arm and Ella on the other, both in little shirts, one that says MARRY and one that says ME, all three of them looking up at Will with eyes that would soften stone.

“You absolute bastard,” Will demands extravagantly, and Abigail imagines if the smile on his face means anything, only a third of it is truly meant, though all of it is deserved, “How am I supposed to say no to that?!”

And Abigail smirks, thinks, well that was rather the plan.

If the way Will seems to be trying to count Hannibal’s teeth using only his tongue is any indication, Abigail figures he isn’t all that terribly bothered by it, and that the answer is probably a yes.

Ah, love, Abigail thinks, as Beverly cheers and Jack Crawford looks like he is divided between being happy for them and desperately wishing to be anywhere else right now, isn’t it grand?

And then the twins, clearly disinterested with not being the centre of their parents attention make their way over to her, and Abigail bends down and hefts one each onto a hip, presses noisy kisses to their plump little cheeks that make them giggle and squeal.

“Your parents are weirdoes, but don’t worry - stick with me kids,” Abigail says, Eskimo kissing Ella and bouncing Alex so his curls ruffle, a knife safe in its holster at her back and an aunt’s love in her heart, “Auntie Abigail will make sure you turn out ok.”

Will and Hannibal and the twins are her family, after all.

And Abigail would do anything for her family.

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Chapter Text

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ROTHKO: So, now, what do you see? - Be specific. No, be exact. Be exact - but sensitive. You understand? Be kind. Be a human being, that's all I can say. Be a human being for once in your life! These pictures deserve compassion and they live or die in the eye of the sensitive viewer, they quicken only if the empathetic viewer will let them. That is what they cry out for. That is why they where created. That is what they deserve... Now... What do you see?

Ken: How do you know when it's done?
ROTHKO: There's tragedy in every brush stroke.
Ken: Ah.
A fictional version of the artist Mark Rothko and his assistant/protege Ken - RED, John Logan

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“Actually, you said love, for you, is larger than the usual romantic love. It’s like a religion. It’s terrifying. No one will ever want to sleep with you.” ― Richard Siken, Crush

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It takes a long time for Abel Gideon to die.

A very long time, for a trespass such as his was never going to mete a brief punishment. Abel Gideon begins with screams, but Will can tell that Hannibal does not begin to become satisfied until Gideon’s throat has given out, abused to whimpers, and then finally just breaths, cracked and broken.

Will watches until the very last breath.

It’s gorgeous.

He never would have admitted this in the polite company that he occasionally keeps, to the Jack’s and Alana’s of the world, but in the privacy of his own mind this truth he has always known; the Ripper is first and foremost an artist, and that his preferred medium is death and monstrosity has never dulled the beauty of his work in Will’s eyes.

To watch him create, in his honour, in his name, with the weight of Will’s eyes on him and perhaps still the slight warmth of Will’s hands on his as he carves Abel Gideon open, turns him from the human and the mundane to the macabre, the higher?

Breathtaking.

And then, once Gideon has stuttered his last breath, once Hannibal has arranged and planned and finished he turns, and his eyes meet Will’s, and the look in his mate’s eyes, something beyond feral, beyond even love truly steals his breath.

And then they fall on each other, more beasts then men, and their mating is the kind of savage ferocity not hardly sent outside of heat. And yet Will is beyond desperate for it, answering with teeth and nails the call of his mate, his other half, his perfect compliment, marking Hannibal’s flesh with his own claim until his pleasure becomes so much he cannot contain it in the cage of his body and he whites out.

When he comes to once again, he find himself cushioned from the cold, hard floor by the body of his mate, who is running bloodstained hands over his skin, soothing, gentling.

There is a single bloody handprint painted over the slight swell of their children, both a brand and a warning against those who might think them harm.

Its really quite lovely.

Still, there is work to be done, and so although Will would be content to lay here a while longer, he makes himself get up, finds that soft sweater that Hannibal had ripped from him in their frenzy and puts it back on. Turns to Hannibal and says, after a meaningful look to the stairs and then to what remains of Gideon, “Try not to wake me when you get back.” And then, with a soft kiss to his lips, an omega wishing their alpha a good day at work, “I’ll need my rest for when Jack calls.”

“Darling,” Hannibal practically sighs, the monsters in those dark eyes oh so very enraptured, “You are a vision beyond compare.”

That night, Will curls, sated and safe and happy into their bed, and sleeps the sleep of the dreamless.

When the call from Jack comes, some indeterminate number of hours later, summoning them to the scene of Gideon’s found body, an obvious Ripper tableaux, Will answers it from the warm curl of his mates body, kisses Hannibal good morning, and then heads for the shower.

After all, it would be rude to keep Hannibal’s gift to him waiting.

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There is a playground about 20 minutes from their home. Will has only seen it in passing, as it lays on the fastest route to the house from Quantico, but he has never paid it much mind, even now that he is pregnant.

He’s paying attention to it now.

Because the remains of what was once Abel Gideon are displayed in that park, the art Hannibal arranged as Will slept, warm are peaceful in their bed.

What was once an alpha predator is now a parody of a man, held tight with what looks like fishing twine to one of those little bouncy horse toys, cut open form navel to neck. His guts jiggle as the toy moves, reacting to the wind, making Gideon’s vital organs bounce almost merrily. His arms are missing, nowhere to be found and the sleeves of his stolen FBI slicker flutter aimlessly in the breeze without them. Instead of eyes Gideon stares sightlessly at them with two lumps of shiny golden pyrite, the gaze of fool.

It rained last night, Will knows this. He can see it in the dampness of the gravel of the playground, heard it hit the windows of their home gently last night as he slumbered. And yet, if he did not, he would certainly know from this.

For where Gideon’s hair, scalp and brain once lived, there is now nothing but a crater. Will remembers watching Hannibal carve into his skull smoothly with a circular saw, watched him scoop out Gideon’s brain, but he was not witness to Hannibal cleaning the top of the skull and placing it inversely in the cavern formed by the lack of brain matter, to create a perfect little curve for water to gather.

And in the cistern of freshly collected rainwater floats a little yellow rubber duck, bobbing playfully on the tiny swells.

It’s beautiful.

Yet, for all the swell of love that crests within him at the sight is lovely, it is also certainly not for this venue, and so Will folds it back down into the darkness within him where it belongs, and turns suddenly weary eyes to Jack, to give him the answer he will spin into the truth, “The symbolism is a bit obvious on this one - the Ripper thought Gideon was child’s play, and he clearly didn’t appreciate anyone mistaking Gideon for him.”

“Why did he take the arms?” Jack asks, braced slightly, almost like he is expecting the answer to hurt.

Because he touched me, Will thinks, warm at the thought, but says instead, “I don’t think the Ripper was impressed with what he’d done with them,” a half truth. “What he’d created,” And then a lie to finish, “Removing the hands used to be a punishment for theft - maybe this is his for forgery.”

And it is a lie, because it is more theft than forgery, the thought of Gideon trying to take Will from him, but it would do no good to come this far and then trip up on the last step.

“That would be something he’d do,” Jack sighs, world weary and tired, turning away as in agreement back to Katz and Zeller and Price, and Will bites down on his lip to hide his smile.

Hannibal’s eyes glow at him from over his creation, full of a love dark and monstrous and everything Will has ever wanted.

He’s so close.

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“He’ll do one more,” Jack sighs heavily, staring at the murder board in once they are back in his office, and Will, sighting his opening, slides in like a knife.

“I’m not so sure Jack,” he says, deliberately wary, and yet hesitantly sure, and Jack reacts as he knew he would, cautious hope and scepticism mixing as he asks in return, “You think he’ll stop at two this time?”

“No, I think Gideon was his third,” Will says, spinning the truth to suit his needs, “Cassie Boyle, Marisa Schurr, Abel Gideon.”

“Cassie Boyle?” Jack says, snapping to attention with the tenancy of a bloodhound, “I thought you said that was a copycat.”

“I’m only human Jack - even I can’t see everything sometimes,” Will says, all omegean appeasement, letting Jack come to it slowly, weaving his story into focus until it seems the gospel truth, “But it makes sense - the Ripper always kills in a way that sends a message. Marisa Schurr and Gideon were, and Cassie Boyle was a message to us, to get us looking in the right direction on the Hobbs case.”

“I just..it feels like the Ripper’s already killed his sounder of three,” Will finishes, meeting Jack’s eyes and letting him see the - slightly edited - truth there, offering the bait so sweetly for the taking.

“You think we’ve missed our shot?” Jack says, slowly, as if he’s testing out the idea, but Will knows what that means.

Got you, Will thinks, the fisherman reeled in his prize, and does not smile with triumph. Instead he simply says, with slow certainty, a truth he will ensure himself, “Gideon...he felt different...like a finale. I don’t think we’ll hear from The Ripper for a long time.”

Jack nods, a weary thing, before he turns to Hannibal and asks, more for confirmation than anything else, “Dr. Lecter?”

“I concur with Will,” Hannibal says, and though he does not look at him, Will can see that he trusts him, and that is more than enough.

It’s everything.

“I can’t decide if you’re right, if it would be a good thing or a bad thing,” Jack sighs, in what Will knows it is acceptance, before he waves a hand dismissively and says, gesturing at Will with a smile, “Ignore me, I’m just being maudlin. Your maternity leave is all signed off on, so you get out of here, and...be healthy, or whatever.”

Sometimes, Will thinks, it is quite nice to get everything you wanted.

“Thanks Jack,” Will says, shaking the offered hand, and then he follows his mate out, and into their new life.

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“Are you asking me to stop?” Hannibal asks once they are home, standing in the kitchen, the first words he’s said since Jack’s office. And yet it is not accusatory or defensive, merely a query of curiosity, because Will knows that that if he did Hannibal would, no matter what it would cost him, and so this is only Hannibal wanting to know what Will has planned, nothing more, nothing less.

And well, that’s why his answer could ever only be one thing.

“No, I’d never ask that of you,” Will says warmly, because he would not - would miss too much that monstrous loveliness of his to ever ask such a thing - stepping into Hannibal’s personal space as he continues, “I’m simply asking for...change. A compromise.”

“You kill this way because you crave - need - an audience, as all art does,” Will says, running a gentle hand across those captivating cheekbones as he lets the insight he knows to be true slip free, finally, makes his offering, “My compromise is this - a trade. An audience of unkind masses for me, who sees and loves you. You can bring them here, your rude swine, bring them here to me, and I’ll watch you transform them, and I’ll look upon your art with empathy.”

And then, with greater intensity, to the monsters that live in the very depths of his mate, that meet and answer his own darknesses call, “I cannot give you numbers, but I can look upon your work and know that you took Gideon’s arms because he touched me, his eyes because he looked at me, and his brain because he thought of me.”

And then, softly, to his mate, the father of his children, the man he loves, “I can know that, and love you still.”

“Quality over quantity, if you will,” Will says softly, and brings those hands, instruments of such violence, to his lips, presses to them a gentle kiss.

The look on Hannibal’s face - all utter helpless, overwhelming devotion - is all the confirmation Will needs.

Will...” Hannibal says, barely more than an awed whisper, moving his hands to flutter them against the place where their children slumber, utterly and completely in love, “If I saw you everyday, forever, I would remember this time.”

And Will thinks of that single red handprint, washed from his skin but never truly from those hands. For Hannibal’s hands will always be red, the hands of a hunter, a killer. And yet, Will knows that those hands are capable of more than just terrible beautiful brutality. No more than now, as they rest on the slight swell of his stomach, is Will aware that those hands are capable of utter tenderness, of total gentleness.

Under those hands, their children move, pushing out in the first fluttering kick of life.

And as Will twined those oh so very lethal hands in his own he felt them tremble, and in the cradle of those hands he felt...

“And I you,” Will answers simply, victorious in his war.

Complete.

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FIN

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Chapter Text

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Epilogue

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“I think we ought to live happily ever after," and she thought he meant it. Sophie knew that living happily ever after with Howl would be a good deal more hair-raising than any storybook made it sound, though she was determined to try. "It should be hair-raising," added Howl.

"And you'll exploit me," Sophie said.

"And then you'll cut up all my suits to teach me,” said Howl. ― Diana Wynne Jones, Howl's Moving Castle

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Abigail finds Will in the kitchen around 3am, sitting at the breakfast table and eating ice cream right out of the tub. These little meetings have become a ritual in the weeks that she’s been back from university, so much so that Abigail knows to go to the freezer and find her own instead of offering a greeting. There she finds several half eaten pints - all homemade, nothing so pedestrian as store bought in the Lecter-Graham household - and one unopened one at the bottom that, at a glance, appears to be some kind of dark cherry.

“Not a fan of this one?” She asks, bringing the tub up to show Will, still half in the freezer, tilting her head to see his answer. It comes in the form of Will shrugging, shifting the bulk of his incredibly pregnant body, before gesturing at her with his spoon, “He made it out of that lamaze instructor that hit on me. No ‘people food’ for me while pregnant.”

“Ah,” Abigail says, and then, with a shrug of her own, because it’d be a little bit late for her to start quibbling over the mortality of this particular act, “Mind if I...?”

“Go for it,” Will says amicably, shoving another spoonful of his own - mint chocolate chip, if she had to guess - into his own mouth, and so Abigail cracks open the tub and dips her spoon in, tastes a bite and lets it melt on her tongue.

Dark cherry, as she’d thought; a little tart and the colour of deep, red blood.

Subtle Hannibal, Abigail thinks with a little snicker, of the promiscuous lamaze instructor and Will’s answering smirk tells her it didn’t escape him either. However then Will shifts, grips his spoon a bit tighter and breathes noticeably, and Abigail realizes quite quickly what’s gotten him up this particular morning.

“Want me to wake him?” Abigail asks, already making to get up from the table and go up stairs to do just that. But she halts at the shake of Will's head, and his negative hand gesture, seating herself gently back down at the table.

“Contractions are still too far apart, let him sleep,” Will says, one eye lazily on the kitchen clock, before he finishes, teasingly rueful, rubbing a massaging hand over the bulk of his stomach, “I suppose I should have expected Hannibal Lecter’s children would be morning people.”

“Probably,” Abigail teases back, and they both do not mention that there are certainly far worse traits the twins could inherit from their sire.

And yet, for all that that thought is truth, Abigail isn’t worried about the twins not turning out..alright. Because Abigail thinks of planning Will’s baby shower with Beverly Katz, and helping pick out the paint chips for the twins room. Of making peanut butter and mayo sandwich on store bought white bread to feed Will’s cravings and watching the vein in Hannibal’s neck positively throb as he’d watched them. Thinks of suggesting names for them and helping Will shoot down some of the ridiculous names Hannibal had suggested.

Abigail won’t lie, hearing Will tell Hannibal, “I don’t care how much that myth resonates with you as a symbol of our love, Achilles Lecter is going to get bullied at school and then we’re going to have to have a fight about why you can’t murder six year olds,” might actually have been one of the best moments of her life.

Needless to say, Patroclus Lecter was also vetoed.

But Will had winked at her as he’d done it, a conspirators wink that had made her smile. And Abigail thinks of all of the efforts they’ve made to carve out her own place in their little family, a place she’d never thought she’d have again when she’d woken up in that hospital bed with a scar and the ghostly weight of her father’s hands on her neck.

Hannibal stumbles down, sleep and his worry about his mate making him uncharacteristically uncoordinated, just as the clock strikes 4am. And once he has rubbed some of the sleep out of his eyes, he blinks at Abigail and Will, looks at them like all he’s ever wanted is in the room at this moment.

Abigail thinks the family you chose, and that chose you, are just as important as the family you’re born into.

How could those two babies not turn out just fine, with the family they’ve got?

“Contractions are two minutes apart,” Will picks that moment to announce, looking over at Hannibal with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes, “You should probably go start the car.”

She does acknowledge that they’re probably going to be little troublemakers though.

Hannibal responds by staring at Will, dropping his mouth open and working it soundlessly, before turning sharply down the hall and out the door, seemingly entirely unaware of the fact that’s he’s still in his slippers and dressing gown.

Abigail supposes that’s why Will had her put the hospital bags in the car a week ago.

“This has the potential to be fun,” Will says, winking at her, holding Hannibal’s stupidly expensive leather loafers in one hand as she supports his other arm and helps him out to the car.

Abigail thinks he might just be right.

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This is absolutely not fun.

Because, although Will had known that first parts of labor - which had personally consisted of almost a full 24 hours of pain, some really uncomfortable walking around the hospital and then an epidural that had helped, but hadn’t exactly made it enjoyable - were supposed to take a lot of time. He had sort of assumed though, once you got past all of that, the actual ‘pushing stage’ of things progressed a lot faster.

Push,” Hannibal entreats, echoing the nurse and Dr. Watson, at the two hour mark of doing nothing but fucking pushing.

Will assumed wrong.

“Tell me to push one more time,” Will says to his mate, utterly pleasant except for his slightly manic eyes, “And I will walk through your ridiculous closet with a weedwhacker.”

From her position between his splayed legs, Will is pretty sure he hears Dr. Watson snicker.

“Honestly darling, there is no call for violence,” Hannibal teases, even as he mops Will’s sweaty brow with a cold compress and Will can’t decide if he’d rather stab or kiss that stupidly attractive face of his.

And then another contraction hits, and Will settles for trying his best to break Hannibal’s fucking hand, bears down, and pushes.

And then finally, finally, with one great push nature takes its course, and the first screaming wail that their daughter lets out almost makes the fact that he has to push one more of these out worth it.

Almost.

The screaming wail of his son, moments later, just as healthy and perfect as his sister, does. Will has done many good things in his life - saved people, jailed killers, rescued stray animals.

Looking down at the two little perfect faces of his children in his mate’s arms, Will knows he will never do anything greater.

Will finally has his family.

******************************

This morning, Hannibal lies in his bed, as is his habit. He is alone, as he is rarely these days, but the mess of sheets beside him and the sound of footsteps on the stairs inform him this is only a temporary inconvenience.

So Hannibal stays in bed, and waits.

The scene that greets him is oh so similar to a dream he had once.

“Look Papa,” two little proud, loving little voices says from beside the bed, all wild ash blond curls and Will’s blue eyes. And there is Ella, his daughter, tiny, white fabric roses adorning her pristine white nightdress and Alex, his son, soft cotton pyjamas in the maroon of his father’s eyes, a sight most loved. “We made you breakfast,” they finish, all soft happiness, their scent fresh and innocent, the purity of youth tinged with scent of his mate, Hannibal’s favourite.

And as such, there is Will, his husband, his mate, standing by the door, watching with a twinkle in his eye that says, guess who you’re having for breakfast this morning as a hand rubs gently over the heavily pregnant swell of their child that slumbers within him.

In the vast palace of his mind there is a door, well kept and much visited, where a nameplate, impeccably shined, proclaims proudly, Family. And behind that door, a hundred different iterations of this scene rest, all just as precious - no, more precious - as that first dream.

And Hannibal Lecter smiles, for this time, like all those others, those oh so precious others?

He is awake.

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FIN

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