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A Rose by Any Other Name

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“Are you prepared, as always?”  Chilton asks rather sarcastically as he sips from his large glass of red wine.

Hannibal sighs raising his own glass to his nose before inhaling the scent, it is a good vintage wasted on present company but Hannibal always refuses to lower his standards no matter what the circumstances.  “Yes I believe I am.” He is, of course he is.  They are sat at a small table in the faculty lounge bar.


“I see you were busy over the summer publishing another book.”  Chilton remarks attempting nonchalance but his jealousy is lingering in the air and Hannibal cannot quite help the brief smug smile that crosses his face.  


“Indeed.”  Hannibal replies taking a modest sip from his glass.  This whole meeting is a formality, one he feels he needs to do rather than would like to.  He had hoped the Dean du Maurier would be joining them but she had other plans, apparently, Hannibal doubts it as he knows she finds Chilton’s company as unremarkable bordering on obnoxious as he does.  “It was a diversion. What about you? Any plans to publish?” Hannibal asks knowing of course that Chilton did have a plan and the book which Hannibal published basically refuted Chilton’s current hypothesis.


To his credit Chilton only swallows and purses his lips slightly, he knows that Hannibal knows but has obviously decided to go with pretense that he doesn’t.  “I have a few irons in the fire Doctor.”


“I never doubted it for a second.”  Hannibal replies.


“I am surprised you give me much thought at all Hannibal.”  Chilton says smiling, though the barb is still there.


Hannibal laughs “I give you as much thought as I would any of my colleagues dear Chilton, as much thought as you give me undoubtedly.”  Hannibal says but he knows Chilton spends far more time obsessing over him than he does over Chilton. Poor fool , Hannibal thinks.


Chilton laughs genuinely at that “I think we both know the truth of that statement Hannibal.”


Hannibal does nothing but incline his head slightly and takes another sip of his wine.  “So are you prepared Dr Chilton?”


“Ha!” Chilton replies, “not as much as I should be, but let’s face it the new crop are always a little slow to challenge so I am sure I have a cushion of time.”


Hannibal may agree but he still respects his students and so always gives them his best, anything less is just impolite if you ask him.  This is probably also the reason he has the reputation he has and why his class is always over subscribed. “We shall see, I have heard we may have a few promising students this year.”


“Really?”  Chilton says interested now, the gossip he is known to be showing, “I am afraid I was otherwise engaged during the interviews.”  Chilton says, they both know he was galavanting in Spain with an omegan female far too young and naive to know better. Hannibal of course is far too discreet to mention it.


“Of course I remember now.”  Hannibal says with a slight smirk on his face which Chilton mistakes for his being impressed.  


“So a good crop then?”  Chilton asks.


Hannibal remembers hearing of one particular student who he had been told by the Dean was something of a prodigy.  Hannibal had raised an eyebrow at that. He then had a look at the student in questions record and been suitably impressed at what he had found.  “Yes, I believe so, perhaps a few to challenge us.”


Chilton laughs “me perhaps! I doubt you ever find yourself challenged Hannibal!” Chilton admits in a rare moment of self awareness that takes Hannibal aback slightly.


“Kind of you to say Chilton but I assure you I am often challenged.”  Of course he means he is challenged by others stupidity, he is challenged by being the most intelligent person in the room, any room.


“Humble as always.”  Chilton smirks.


Hannibal had stayed to finish the bottle of wine with Chilton, then made his excuses and gone back to his house.  There was only so much amusement one could glean from an encounter with Chilton, after a while it felt a little like shooting fish in a barrel.  He did have early start in the morning. He liked to have at least an hour to himself in his office before the lectures started especially at the start of a new term and year,  it was important for him to feel prepared. He had been one of the lead Professors at John Hopkins for the past ten years. He was well liked and respected. He lectured in aspects of psychology and psychiatry specialising in profiling, he also had a significant medical and surgical background and still published in these areas.


Living as a single Alpha alone for all of the time he had been here, taking a few lovers but no one had really managed to keep his interest.  Subsequently he was very much a mystery to the other faculty members and students who all wondered about him. He was good looking, intelligent, had money, he was in all aspects a catch.  He could have his pick of anyone but seemingly chose to remain alone. Mostly Hannibal did not really care for other people finding them exhausting, the thought of living with the same person for an extended amount of time filled him with dread and a low level anxiety.  He valued his privacy above all else, his home was his sanctuary and he wanted it to stay that way. His life was good, he felt no need to change it.


As planned he had made it to his office early, treating himself to a takeaway coffee and danish, he was sat in his office reviewing the rostra of students in his classes.  He looked at the names and smiled once more as the young prodigy had signed up to this class. Mr Graham from New Orleans, the youngest of his year he had graduated his high school a year ahead of his classmates.   His father was a police officer who had been injured and forced into early retirement he now worked on boat yards. Mr Graham had spent the next summer helping his Dad to make extra money for college while also studying, a very dedicated and intelligent young man.  The FBI was already sniffing around him.


Checking the time he realised he had ten minutes until his students arrived.  He finished his coffee and threw away the serviette he had used for the danish before leaving his office for the large lecture hall.  He arrived to see his assistant Matthew Brown had set up the room as he had requested, course handbooks ready for the students to take, the laptop with the slides setup and ready to go.  “Morning Brown.” he says as he enters the room leaving the door open.


Matthew looks up from the laptop and smiles “morning Professor.  Everything is ready as you requested. Is there anything else I can get you?”


Hannibal moves closer to the desk and can see everything is to his satisfaction, he smiles “no thank you Brown you have exceeded yourself as always.”  Matthew beams under the praise and Hannibal only just manages to stop himself from rolling his eyes. “Perhaps you could greet the students as they come in makes sure they all find us?”  


“Yes Professor, of course.”  Matthew says and makes his way to the door and stands just outside.  Hannibal shakes his head but he does think at least Brown is keen, better to have a keen assistant than a lazy one.  He makes his way to the front desk and leans just against the edge surveying the empty room he closes his eyes for a moment and then he hears the first few voices of the students entering.


“Please”  he says gesturing to the pile of course guides “take one.”


It takes about twenty minutes until the lecture hall is completely full and everyone is settled, a murmuring of voices as everyone gets acquainted.  Silence though is immediate the moment Hannibal stands and clasps his hands together signalling he intends to start. He surveys the group and notices all are paying rapt attention he smiles.  He begins.


The lecture goes well as always, his students laugh in the right places seems suitably awed and excited by what he has planned for the syllabus and also terrified at the workload he expects from them.  When he is done he receives an applause which he pretends to be made uncomfortable by. He waits as the students leave in case of questions, a few stop him and he directs most of them to Matthew who will be the main person they can contact.  Once they are all done, Matthew has excused himself to go and sort out some student queries with the department office, Hannibal checks his watch he has half an hour until his next seminar.


As he starts to leave he hears a cough and rustling of papers from the back of the lecture hall he turns and looks up to find a young man still sat in one of the upper rungs of the lecture hall seating gathering his bag.  “My apologies” Hannibal says “I thought everyone had left. Are you alright?”


At the sound of his voice the young man looks up from packing his bag and begins to wrap a tartan scarf around his very long, pale neck.  Hannibal can see now he has messy, curly brown hair long at the top and shorter at the sides, he is wearing a grey jacket with a slightly off white shirt underneath and jeans.  “Oh no, I just prefer to let everyone leave. Not a fan of crowds.” The young man says as he pushes his glasses up his nose and pointedly does not look at Hannibal. Obviously not a fan of eye contact, Hannibal thinks as he watches the young man shoulder his battered leather satchel.


“Understandable.”  Hannibal replies.


The young man is now making his way down, eyes downcast, the steps closer to Hannibal who watches him with interest.  He is much younger than the other students and this is when Hannibal realises this must be Mr Graham “Are you Will Graham?” Hannibal asks just as Will reaches him, he stops, mumbles something and nods.  “Ah! I thought so. It is good to meet you.” Hannibal says and holds out his hand for Will to shake.


Will looks at Hannibal’s hand, a range of emotions crossing his face until he finally looks up at Hannibal, frowns and then takes his hand and shakes it, a firm handshake.  It is in this moment Hannibal realises a few things at once, Will Graham is an omega, he is exceptionally beautiful and that he is made incredibly uncomfortable by direct eye contact but that ironically his eyes are absolutely stunning.  Hannibal is rendered momentarily speechless at all of these realisations. It is Will that drops Hannibal’s hand and coughs again awkwardly “well I best be going.”


“Of course, please let me know if there is anything you need.”  Hannibal says rather lamely, hearing his voice sound embarrassingly breathless, he is usually much better with people than this.  


Will smirks and raises an eyebrow which makes Hannibal almost fall over so unexpected gesture, there is obviously a very confident young man under this awkward exterior.  “Thanks, will do.” Will adds before turning and leaving. Hannibal is left feeling a little shaken at this encounter. He shakes his head as he thinks what an intriguing young man.