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The Standard Monograph

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It comes as no surprise to Will that Hannibal Lecter is terrible at pillow talk. To be fair, Will probably isn’t all that great at it either, but even he knows better than to talk about murder immediately after sex. Is Hannibal like this with everyone? Will tries to imagine Hannibal with some faceless stranger, laying in bed with them and talking about how killing must feel good to God, and he just can’t see it.

“You wrote the standard monograph on time of death by insect activity, is that correct?”

“The one by Mant and Nuorteva is better,” he responds automatically, before fully processing what Hannibal has said because what the actual fuck? It’s not as if Hannibal never asks Will about himself. In fact, Hannibal has always been very upfront about his desire to know every part of Will (in every sense of the word). But why ask a question that he clearly already knows the answer to? More importantly, why ask the question in a straightforward manner and not obscure it with condeluded metaphors about life and death and morality?

“I am sure you are just being modest,” says Hannibal, still giving no clues whatsoever as to what exactly he is hoping to get from this conversation. Smug bastard.

“It has more pictures. And a table of invasion waves. Where are you going with this?”

“Why did you write it? Your specialty is in behavioral science, not forensic entomology.”

Will looks up from where his head is pillowed on Hannibal’s shoulder.

“My specialty is in interpreting the evidence. Sometimes that evidence includes insects.”

“Do you mean to tell me that you emphasize with beetles?”

Will sits up properly now, looking down at Hannibal in what he hopes is a superior manner.

“I mean to tell you that I have several degrees in forensic science and that my skills extend beyond my so-called empathy disorder.”

“Are you telling me that you authored a benchmark forensics text simply to have something next to your name other than your empathy disorder?” Hannibal, being the expert in all things smug and superior, is unaffected by Will’s display. (In Will’s defense, he’d probably look more intimidating if he didn’t have sex hair and hickeys all over his neck and shoulders.)

“Well, I also needed the money.”

Will and Hannibal mock-glare at each other for several moments before Will lies back down in Hannibal’s arms and Hannibal’s free hand goes back to drawing lazy patterns on Will’s back.

“In all seriousness, Will, I am aware that you are exceptionally talented and that your knowledge extends well beyond your more unique skills. However, people rarely write monographs on subjects that are not their specialties, especially monographs that are considered standard in their fields.”

Now that Will thinks about it, Hannibal’s question does make sense. It’s a reasonable thing to wonder, and the answer is so simple that he won’t have thought of it. But messing with Hannibal is fun, so Will decides to keep playing.

“Whatever FBI officials and TV shows might say, behavioral analysis isn’t an exact science. And nobody at the BAU could do our jobs without a thorough understanding of the mechanics of a crime scene, which means we all have secondary specialties. Beverly’s is fiber analysis. Mine is environmental factors. I need to understand how much of a crime scene was put there by the perpetrator and how much was put there by nature.”

“I am aware of the existence of secondary specialities, Will. But why are you not known for one of your other monographs?” Hannibal actually looks invested now. Checkmate, asshole, thinks Will.

“Hannibal, it’s really not that much of a mystery. I’ve written a ton of monographs, most of which are considered standard. You know this. But which is going to be more useful at a crime scene, information about determining the time of death by insect activity or the information about the effect of cyberbullying on existing cognitive disorders and its use in identifying perpetrators of violent crimes? It’s my bad luck that forensic entomology is both useful at a crime scene and a small enough field that there’s not much competition for the best monograph.”

Will considers that maybe, just maybe, pillow talk isn’t necessarily a battle of wits that can be won or lost. That said, he did win this round. Probably.

“As Uncle Jack would put it, it is your bad luck that you are the best.”

Fuck you, thinks Will. Whatever pillow talk should or shouldn’t be, Will definitely won and he should totally lord his superiority over Hannibal until the end of time.

“If you ever mention Jack in bed again you’ll sleep on the couch for a week.”