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Been A Son

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Will Graham was, in some ways, a fairly typical Alpha. Hannibal observed this as he watched the man fidget in his seat, his scowling face refusing to focus on the perceived lesser Alpha before him, an arrogance that was common for his gender. Annoyed at having to be there, Will left the comfort of his seat to pace Hannibal's large office, the dim light masking his expression as it put Hannibal's various books and artefacts scattered within it into long shadows. The small, unobtrusive fireplace was lit, the light reflecting off the white mantle, and while it was supposed to offer a feeling of calm, the flames licked furiously against one another, igniting the quick of Will Graham's temper that was always lurking just beneath his surface. Hannibal pretended to make notes and then, when he caught Will grimacing at him as he heard the pen hitting paper, he gently placed the pen onto his side table and closed the black notebook, placing it on top of the manila folder Will had brought with him. Will stared at the volume in Hannibal's lap with angry suspicion.

He said nothing, the silent argument spewed forth in Alpha pheromones of latent aggression that Hannibal shielded himself from with a fierce measure of self control. It displayed itself in a mask of bland calm, one that he'd found could hide all manner of instinctive reactions, and in this case, the rolling, fearful tug of submission that his body's chemistry insisted on creating. The intrusion was annoying, and Hannibal further hid it with a small click of displeasure with his tongue against the roof of his mouth at Mr. Graham's reticence. If he felt Hannibal's unspoken opinion was worthy of acknowledgement, Will likewise hid it as he crossed his arms and stared out the office window and into the bleak, dimly lit streets of Baltimore, the contours of his messily bearded face obscured by a darkness that seeped into him from the night.

"Trusting people is impossible when you can figure out exactly how they are lying to you." Will turned, slightly, and Hannibal watched him carefully, every micro movement a hint of the possibility of revelation. But Will Graham was too embroiled in metaphor to see things plainly, and it was this that Hannibal used to his advantage. Obscurity meeting clarity.

"Trust must be earned. Does this ability to so easily see the lie make you feel like a thief?"

"I feel like my anger is justified."

"Some truths are deeply personal and the obfuscation with lies a necessary evil. You cannot take personally that to which you are only a voyeur."

Will sighed and crossed his arms. "Jack Crawford thinks I'm his bloodhound, and him making me come here is my leash. Tell me how that truth is not supposed to make me angry."

Hannibal quietly contemplated this, allowing a cool moment to pass long between them. Animosity would not help his cause, and he needed Will Graham on his side. "Jack Crawford feels that you are an asset in his hunt for the Chesapeake Ripper, that your gifts of empathy will eventually prove to be the killer's undoing. What he doesn't understand is that you are not as single minded as he is in his perceptions. He wants you in the killer's mind and no one else's, yet he expects you to be amongst the burden of the crowd. Working crime scenes requires a considerable amount of teamwork. I imagine this is becoming increasingly problematic for you."

Will grimaced at this and moved away from the window, and Hannibal inwardly chided himself for enjoying the way his firelight lit upon Will's movements, bringing his large, expressive eyes into dark relief. Scruffy and unkempt, Will Graham was that most rare of Alphas, so carelessly dismissive of his own skin that he didn't care what his outward appearance said about him, his mind too busy with higher things to waste on petty gender politics. His hands were loose in the pockets of his black trousers, a wrinkled white cotton shirt peeking out from beneath the knit hem of a fisherman's sweater, one that was probably almost as old as the man himself. He was messy and earthy, a sharp contrast to Hannibal who was suddenly very aware of the cut of his own expensive suit and the outward perfection the lines of it suggested. He found he rather liked Will's rumpled imprint upon the world, especially since it was born of a deep seated need to push others away, content as he was in his own company.

"Jack thinks I'm some sort of broken teacup, an old mug." Will shrugged. He was still pacing Hannibal's office his fingers alighting on the tips of a white ceramic sculpture of a stag, the pad of his thumb teasing the tips of the barbed antlers. "He doesn't know me at all. I don't like being around people because they are distractions from my tasks, they always want more than I'm willing to give. I can see so clearly into them, it's overwhelming to me, all their petty squabbles and stupid beliefs in what is and isn't the proper way of being."

He said the last bit of his sentence with a dripping amount of scathing venom, the scowl that was ever present deepening. "I don't get how being the top of the pack is supposed to mean I like going to parties and mingling and flirting with Betas for an easy lay."

"You don't consider yourself personable?" Hannibal asked, and not without amusement.

"I'm not 'sociable' enough for people." Will grit his teeth, and Hannibal crossed his legs, not liking how that little spark began rolling around in his belly once again. "It's exhausting, being forced around them all the time, being constantly asked when I'm going to just settle down and get myself some fluffy little Omega to sink all my aggression into. I'm judged all the time for it, and it doesn't matter when I try to explain that I can't do it, that any relationship just falls apart because I can *see*, I can get into a person's head and know all their secrets and lies and history and it's too unsettling for me to handle. I long ago gave up trying to explain it. It's just easier being on my own."

Hannibal contemplated this, watching Will carefully as he continued to pace, like a caged tiger in his office, his steps moving back and forth across the open window, the breeze creeping in through it pulling the dark sheers into Will's influence as they billowed alongside him. As a criminal profiler who the FBI consulted with, Will Graham was considered too unstable to become a full agent, though Hannibal had to wonder what societal prejudices had been in play in this regard. He was a nervous man, yes, with unexpressed aggression that had much to do with his prickly nature. His empathic abilities, though useful, were wildly untamed and had the potential to make him lash out in uncontrolled, unpredictable ways, both physically and mentally. Getting into the minds of killers was a type of clairvoyance Hannibal knew was a rare trait and not one usually found in Alphas. For Will, his empathy was a tool used to hunt, not to find genuine connection or understanding. Feelings were to be pulled out and brought into his vicious grip to be devoured and savoured over. His empathy brought him the very souls of killers, and Hannibal was pleased to understand that this made Will Graham the most rarest of predators. Will hungered for killers because their motives satiated him.

"A fluffy Omega does not interest you?" Hannibal said, and gave Will's darkened glare a crooked smile. "I suppose you have some sort of family history to fall back upon to explain why this is."

Will raised an impatient brow at this. "Really? We're going to discuss my childhood? Not exactly an original starting point."

"You don't feel that's where you were shaped into the man you are now?"

"I feel that sometimes history has nothing to do with the present." Will sighed and collapsed back into the chair across from Hannibal, who felt relieved Will had finally stopped his aggressive pacing. "I have no interest in starting a family with some passive mate that society forces on me just because it's expected of me. That kind of easy company means nothing to me, I like to be challenged and Omegas are practically trained from birth to be sweet and submissive, traits that irritate me." Will drummed his fingers on the arms of the chair, and the cool breeze teased the flames in the fireplace, lighting them higher. "I know what you're about to say, that I'm not limited to Omegas, though for Alphas like me they are considered ideal, that I could find a nice, happy Beta to do the whole family package with. Settle down. Bring in the bounty of children and all that good for the soul crap we're fed since birth." Will's large eyes roved around the confines of Hannibal's office, taking in all of the vast learning and pomp that he had cocooned himself in. "You're an Alpha of some status yourself, Doctor Lecter, do you feel a bland Beta is someone you could spend an eternity of your pillow talk on?"

"I believe you are making a sweeping generalization," Hannibal said to him. "I have met a few feisty Betas in my time."

"Yes, but you didn't bond with any of them, did you?" Will narrowed his eyes on Hannibal, and the psychiatrist knew he had to deflect Will's attention before it became too uncomfortable.

"I have used my supposed Alpha determination towards education and the advancement of my career, all admiral traits that are worthy of our gender. However, like you, I have also come to the conclusion that partnerships unworthy of my intellect and drive are not feasible. This is not to say I am not social, but I do derive most of my pleasure from my work and my personal hobbies."

Will raised a brow at this. "Hobbies?"

"I like to cook. I'm quite good at it."

Will laughed at this. "Ours could be quite a congruous friendship," Will observed. "I like to hunt."

Hannibal smiled. "Camaraderie can be an acceptable compromise. Do you have many friends, Will?"

"Of course I don't," Will quipped. He gave Hannibal an impatient, sideling roll of his eyes. "I suppose you think you can fill in that blank."

"Friendship has its merits. As you know, Jack has not assigned me to officially be your psychiatrist but in a capacity much as yourself, as a 'consultant'. In this realm, friendship is not out of the question. I would not be averse to it."

"So we're to be 'friends', doctor?"

"I should think we are already."

Will laughed lightly at this, and to Hannibal's great delight relaxed more comfortably in his chair, his ankle crossed over his knee. Much of his work involved putting his patient at ease, and if this ruse was what best got under the thick layer of Will's insecure, uneasy self preservation then so be it.

Will slid his glasses further up his nose, his eyes fleetingly meeting Hannibal's before falling away again, a strangely submissive gesture that he had a habit of repeating. It could easily be misinterpreted as flirting, but Hannibal understood that Will was doing all he could to avoid the aggressive stance his steady gaze would generate. "Though I admit I enjoy my own company a great deal, it would be wrong of me not to say that at times it is a little...Isolating. I'm not an easy person, Dr. Lecter. Friendship with me might be more daunting than you expect."

Hannibal pursed his lips at this, watching as Will's mental form again retreated into shadows as the fire began to lower. "There is a difference between solitude and loneliness. I do hope you don't mind my candour in saying that we are both suffering a certain malnourishment in spirit when it comes to the enjoyment of another's company. For myself, I find my peers often lacking in insight and their self congratulation over their efforts tiring. Working steadily amongst other Alphas will do this."

"I would have thought there would be more Betas in the field of psychiatry," Will said, frowning. "They tend to be more helpful than the average Alpha."

"Psychologists and low level therapists, yes, but the medical field of psychiatry is quite cutthroat. One is only as good as one's last published paper and most of those are too flimsy to be used as kindling. I understand you have a pack of dogs at your house in Wolf Trap, do you find their company more satisfactory?"

"They're all right," Will said, shrugging. "I live in a wooded area, pretty isolated. People get tired of their dogs and they dump them in the forest. The excuses are the usual, mundane cruelties. Maybe the dog pissed on a rug or bit a kid who was hurting it or got too old to love. People do things like that. It's very easy to be discarded. People do that dogs and they do it to each other. Friendship still has limitations." Will clasped his fingers together in a tight knot over his lap. "That's quite the arrogant stance you've taken against your peers, Doctor Lecter. A tad bitter, don't you think?"

"The truth is bitter." Hannibal reached for the small manila folder that Will had placed on the side table and that was now laying beneath the large black notebook. He would be sure to pen his impressions in it later, after Will had left. In future sessions, he wouldn't bring the book out at all, and would lock it in his desk drawer, a precaution that was necessary. Will did not get deflected easily.

"I took the liberty of looking over the details of your latest case before you came to see me. Jack appraised me of it." He noted the way Will bristled at this, the thought of Jack leashing him still sitting ill within Will's gut instincts. He tucked that reaction away for use later, and opened the manila folder in his lap, the pictures from the crime scene particularly brutal in their gory detailing. Hannibal shook his head, and clucked lightly at the poor angles of the photographer, though he hoped Will sensed a projected feeling of disgust that was, most definitely, false.

Will took one of the photos out from the pile and held it up. "I didn't feel bad about these guys being dead either," he admitted, and Hannibal felt a pang of recognition hit deep inside of him, that little seed in his belly hopping all over the place and that had to quashed immediately lest Will Graham's keen perception find it. "Not when I found out the truth of these so called 'victims'."

"You have no empathy for their plight?"

Will shrugged. "I feel worse for the ones they made suffer. This is more about...Justice."

Interesting. Hannibal shuffled through the various photographs in his lap, the long notes made in Will's small but scrawling script a plethora of impressions and concepts that had little to do with any actual evidence found at the scene, but more often than not led to it. The murders were, of course, Hannibal's own handiwork and he was especially proud of the aesthetic he had managed to display, and even more so when he glanced over Will's notes and discovered the misanthrope of an empath had read the message Hannibal conveyed with an almost wistful clarity.

'...They are to be punished for what they have done, the world will now be a better place without such souls within it. Note the removal of genitals and hearts, as though the two were too intricately combined to be of use to either. These were primal Alpha males, self seeking in their appetites and cruel in their pursuits. The first victim, Robert Allen, was a recruiter for a modelling firm in the Baltimore area and was known for hiring female Omega models whom he ritualistically deflowered and left unbondable when he fired them after their contracts were finished. His business partner, Salvo Cortez, supplied him with the Omegas, often promising their unwitting parents large sums of money and modelling contracts that never came to fruition. The result was a stream of young, innocent Omega females with no future left open to them as they are now perceived by most in the Alpha realms as 'spoiled goods'. Twelve of the twenty Omega girls used this way have since committed suicide....

...They make promises and delight in the lies they tell, and now they are strung up, shown to be what they are. No lies left. The Ripper kept the bodies hung until they partially rotted before putting them on display. Now they themselves are spoiled meat. In place of their missing hearts, there are razors, the cut of their cruelty that they used to wound deep. These were evil men. They came to an evil end. The Chesapeake Ripper is not moralistic, but pragmatic. Allowing such men to remain alive would result in the beauty of Omega models to diminish as they would be fearful of taking on that kind of work. There are few avenues of respectful employment for Omegas and model work is one of them. The Chesapeake Ripper would prefer they remain visible. Art demands it..."

He was mostly right, save for the flippant understanding at the end of his analysis, which Hannibal forgave Will for. He was an Alpha, after all, and though empathic he was still at the mercy of his sex, incapable of certain subtle perspectives. He was far removed from the plight of the least of those in the sexual castes of their society. Omegas were meant to be the trophy wives of the most elite of the Alphas, their ethereal, almost alien beauty one that was prized above all others and that misguided Betas often tried to emulate. But there was a great price to be paid for such exaltation and it came in the form of imprisonment, a bonding to an Alpha that would not be permitted to be broken. Alphas and Betas could divorce at will, and an Alpha with an Omega he or she lost interest in could take on Beta lovers and even move them into their family home. The bonded Omega had no such freedom, and regardless of the compatibility of the union, the Omega was to be sequestered, hidden from public view unless there was a public event where they were to be put on display. Abuse was rampant, and one might even say it was sanctioned by their supposedly progressive society. There was no higher suicide rate than that of bonded Omegas.

Thus, any kind of work that would offer an Omega some control over their destiny and delay bonding was something to be cherished and the cruel wrenching of this by Allen and Cortez was a crime that could not be left unchecked. He was looking forward to seeing the pale form of Victoriana Alcott, his young Omega patient whose parents had brought her to him after several unsuccessful suicide attempts. She had made him aware of the abuse she'd suffered at the hands of the two men, her livelihood and independence stolen from her before she'd even been photographed. Her parents were not wealthy and they were relying on Victoriana's successful marriage to a wealthy Alpha to help get them through retirement. This was now no longer feasible.

The first visit had been one fraught with tears and overly submissive postures, her tiny, pales lips unable to do much more than quiver over a soft voice that could barely find words. She was a pale and bone thin ghost without the advantage of death. For the past month he had been working on building her inner strength, moulding her spirit into a fiercer form instead of the domicile creature her parents had believed she was set to become. Victoriana was not only a survivor, but now the Chesapeake Ripper had vindicated her. She was ready for the next step in her development, her mental armour prepared. It was his hope that one day she would be strong enough in her power to join him in his war. From the practise cuts she had inflicted on the screaming body of Salvo Cortez she was already showing some true talent with a knife.

"Some people may feel that justice has nothing to do with this, that this is the result of an angry parent who is upset that their Omega child will no longer fetch a wealthy Alpha who will support the extended family financially. How are you so certain this is the work of the Chesapeake Ripper, with such obvious suspects in the background?"

Will gave Hannibal a look that was tired, as though he'd been explaining this exact point over and over in another, perhaps brighter room. The lab and amongst the forensics team, then. It suddenly clicked why Will was so determined to discuss his need to be alone and how much he hated working in a team. His belief it was the work of the Ripper had been challenged and rather than ferociously fight back in a way that could have easily ended in assault charges, he had internalized his aggression instead. 'I believe it's the Ripper because I know him, I'm in under his skin." Will's jaw shook, his eyes piercing into some unknown place within himself that he found distasteful. "He's...He's progressive, in a way. But proud, overly so, believes himself to be above others. He likes to fool people, to be the lie and to expose lies. He's vain, fond of performances."

"Alpha, obviously," Hannibal added, and was surprised when Will didn't instantly alight on this.

"I think so. There's just...Something isn't quite right about him, though. That seems too obvious, maybe he's a wishful Beta, taking extra hormones to up his levels, but it still doesn't fully explain the impression I get when I see his work..."

"His work?" Hannibal smiled at this, doing all he could to keep it from being bright. "Is that how you see his murders?"

"There's always a message within it. He wants to educate, to bring the best of what is possible out."

Hannibal really was amused by the turn of his conversation. He allowed his gaze to rove over the contours of Will's body when he wasn't looking and dared to lick his lips in anticipation of his answer. "What is it he is longing to bring out, Will?"

Will's head shook, his eyes narrowing behind the large frames of his glasses as he tried to focus inward, on his uncomfortable thoughts. "It's like he's hiding himself in plain view. It's such an Alpha thing to do...But I don't know...If I didn't think it was crazy, I'd say he was an Omega but there's no way that's possible. You might as well say these murders are being committed by my dogs."

Hannibal carefully placed the photos and notes back into the manila folder they had come in and closed it, wordlessly putting it on the small table beside his chair. "A truly ridiculous train of thought," he said, his voice cold.

"Maybe there's an Alpha who is bonded to one, and he's going out committing these crimes as a way to assuage his guilt for what he's doing. You know as well as I do that male Omegas aren't much more than sexual slaves to those creeps. The Alpha could be a family man with a Beta wife and a couple of boring Beta kids on the surface, doing all kinds of deviant things to his male Omega chained up in the basement. Isn't that how most of those arrangements end up?"

"Urban legends at best, Will," Hannibal said, lightly chastising him. "Male Omegas are extremely rare. You'd have a more logical argument saying the Ripper was easing his guilt over killing a unicorn."

"Maybe," Will said, frowning. He rubbed the back of his head with his palm and stood up abruptly from his chair, his hand held out to Hannibal, who didn't shake it but instead gave the manila folder back to Will. "So what's the verdict, am I allowed to keep working for Jack or is this to become an even shorter leash after this session?"

"I have no intention of putting you on a lead, Will." Hannibal rose from his seat and followed Will to the door of his office. "I do, however, feel our conversations will prove to be fruitful, if you allow them to continue. I will be willing to sign your papers saying you are stable enough for work, but you must promise me that you will be open and honest with me when we converse."

Will shrugged. "You haven't given me a reason to be obtuse about how I feel."

Hannibal smiled at this. "Do I dare ask it?" Hannibal lightly pursed his lips. "Do you trust me, Will?"

Will frowned, his gaze meeting Hannibal's in a fleeting shot of worry and then quickly flicked away again. "Yes. Yes, I think so."

"Good. I will see you again soon. Shall I pencil you in for Tuesday?"

"A couple of days from now?" Will chewed on the immediacy of the meeting, slightly taken aback only to acquiesce. "I...I guess so. Sure. Tuesday."

Hannibal was satisfied with this answer and shook Will's hand as he left the office, his jacket thrown on as he made he way out of the small sitting room and down the steep stairs of the Victorian era building. He waited until Will's car was brought into life and the headlights of his old Ford beater slid out of the parking lot and into the Baltimore night, heading for the long trek to Wolf Trap, Virginia.

Hannibal licked his lips and thought on the evening, the flutter in his stomach difficult to ease. He knew it was a momentary physical reaction to an Alpha and nothing more, and he forced it to quell as he grabbed his own coat, shutting down lights and ensuring there was nothing incriminating remaining in his quiet, earnest domain. The fire in his hearth had died out with Will's exit. For some strange reason, it seemed a fitting congruence.


Hannibal's home is just as much a museum as any other space he lives in, the true spaces within it that he finds solace hidden deep from view. He walked through his foyer and its plethora of antique fixings, including a rather dour samurai display that he inherited from Lady Murasaki, and walked past it as he headed straight for his kitchen. Hunger hit him and he longed for the heart waiting in its gentle wine and ginger marinade, a throwback to an Asian influence that never truly left him. Accompanied by a delicate frisse of rocket, goat cheese and juniper berries with a lemon poppy seed dressing, and tempura root vegetables, slices of the heart were seared quickly in a shallow pan before being drizzled with a reduced sauce of soy, brown sugar and garlic and gently sliced green onions. A twirl of cooked soba noodles completed the dish and Hannibal sat at the head of his table, eager to begin his late repast.

The heart was, of course, human in nature, and was rich in Alpha hormones, the meat cooked rare to ensure the enzymes continued to mask his scent. It was delicious paired with the tempura and soba, and made a most satisfying meal, especially when accompanied with a warmed sake. He didn't use chopsticks, but no matter. Lady Murasaki would still be proud.

He sighed in pleasure as the iron taste of the meat hit the back of his tongue and the blood slid down, a pleasing protein his body craved. The taste of an Alpha could sometimes replace the need for sex, and it was this that Hannibal enjoyed most, for human appetites were complex things and Hannibal had been intelligent enough to supercede them. Not for him the pulsing need of a body to satiate him, Hannibal had this, the once beating heart of a cruel cretin who had only served upon this earth to cause harm. It felt good to take his blood, knowing it had been spilled for such a worthy cause. He wasn't always this lucky, some of his victims had been, unfortunately, in the wrong place at the wrong time and Hannibal was in need of the proper hormonal sustenance to continue his ruse. But this was an especial treat, and he rolled the near raw meat along the centre and sides of his tongue, eager to take all of its available flavours in.

He cut into another slice of the heart and for some reason his thoughts began slipping towards his evening meeting with Will Graham, the angry, nervous Alpha FBI profiler who had been thrown into his care with rather haphazard abandon by Jack Crawford, who was all too eager to have what he deemed a secret weapon in his employ who could take down the Chesapeake Ripper. Hannibal couldn't help but smile at the bitter taste of the irony, the trust Will was willing to place in him a sweetness that cut through it and melted on his tongue. Jack Crawford was a fool, yes, but just how long could Hannibal keep Will Graham closed out of his own little secret rooms, where blood and screams dwelled so fervently within their confines? He imagined that Will would eventually figure the puzzle out, and what would he do then? Escape, he supposed. To Europe or other reaches of the world where what he was did not have the same dire consequences. The isolation would be stifling, Hannibal thought with some displeasure. There were no opera houses in northern Siberia, the last he looked.

His meal thoroughly enjoyed, Hannibal brought his empty dish to the sink, carefully washing it and the pans he had used to cook with and putting all of it away before turning in for the night. Though Hannibal owned a very spacious, lovely home filled with rooms that were brimming with every manner of expensive antiques and works of art, he was most comfortable in his little drop cellar, where his needs were secreted away beneath the creaking floorboards under his massive oak dining table. He crept beneath it, careful not to snag his expensive suit on the underbelly of the table, and hooked slender fingers beneath the round, metal hook of the hidden drop cellar door and pulled it open.

He slid beneath the floor, his steps careful as he made his way down the stairs into the near darkness, the light below ground dim at best, but not unpleasant. Harsh light for those like himself was particularly difficult to deal with, and he often suffered headaches after being forced to endure Jack's office in Quantico.

The house above had never been a place where he found his true comfort, that was for the game he was forced to play, the gaudy life of a successful single Alpha who had decided for whatever reason to opt out of a mate and put all of his vast amounts of extraverted, shining energy into his career and the prestige that came with it. How simple and stupid people were in their expectations! A few works of art and a silk pillow or two and maybe a piano and everyone truly believed you were a creature of great refined taste and style, one to be envied. Trappings, all of it. If the house burned to the ground tomorrow all he would miss of it would be the soft blanket he curled against in his secretive little basement bedroom lair and the matching warm pillow he pressed his body against every night.

Sighing, he made his way into the low light of the room, the amber glow from his bedside lamp casting it into orange shadows. He paused at the refrigeration unit just outside of the small enclave, pulling open the steel doors and checking on his supply of hormones, the little bottles in neat rows of thirty along the inside of the refrigerator door. He had enough to last him another six months and figured he would bulk order more before the five month mark, citing as he always did that he was operating a free clinic looking to aid Alphas against unwanted pregnancies from pushy Betas trying to entrap them. The hormones were mild enough to not cause any severe side effects other than muting his scent, and for this he was grateful. He took one of the vials out and checked the date, and when was satisfied it had not expired, he reached for the small bag containing sterile needles and got to work.

The hormones were pink in colour, some paler than others and he knew that the contraband he'd picked up was of an uneven dosage, but there was little be done about that. Synthetic Alpha hormones were a glut on the black market at present, especially since some of the more insecure Betas had realized they could pass for an Alpha for a night on the town or two, earning a few trysts from unwitting other Beta partners in the bargain. It was also used as an Alpha contraceptive, though this was also severely frowned upon, for Alphas were supposed to be more than happy to spread their seed wherever they found fertile ground, be it in a pushy, sweaty Beta or a demure, submissive Omega. When it came to Alphas it was all about the babies. Make them healthy, make them strong.

Such a depressing raison d'etre.

Being that rarest of creatures, a unicorn as he'd dared to call himself, and he smiled at the memory of baiting Will with the imagery, as a male Omega Hannibal had much to rue about Alphas, and it was a sore spot for his pride that he was forced to emulate them in order to survive. No matter, life was full of tribulations and he had not succumbed to any of them yet and thus felt a certain absolution in this. He would take his medicine and eat his fill of their precious flesh and no one need know of his little side hobbies, his influence upon the soft, broken Omega females that sometimes drifted into his practise, and who left with far more steel in their grip.

Hannibal took out one of the small vials and rolled it back and forth between his thumb and forefinger. He jostled the pink contents before he smelled the bottle, seeking a clue as to where it had been manufactured. There was a distinctive paprika scent lingering around the tiny bottle. Hungary. Selections from that region tended to be trustworthy.

Satisfied, Hannibal took out one of the needles from the black bag situated on the top shelf of the refrigerator. Cortez's heart was vacuum sealed beside it, ready for another meal. It would do well in a stew, Hannibal thought, with red wine and perhaps a hearty french baguette made in an artisan style to soak up the rich gravy. Pommes anna and blackened red peppers would be a good accompaniment. Salvo Cortez was an overweight Alpha, and fairly sedentary. His enlarged heart would be too much for Hannibal alone, and he felt a thrill at the thought of having someone share it with him. Perhaps Will Graham. Yes, he would do.

Taking 3/10 cc's of the hormone and injecting it into his hip, in an area as calloused and bruised as a diabetic's, Hannibal pushed the plunger of the needle in with his thumb and wondered how it was that Will Graham kept creeping into the periphery of his thoughts. He discarded the spent needle and wiped the small dot of blood away from the injection site with an alcohol swab and likewise threw it away. He slid out of his expensive, silken suit trousers, liking the way the fabric felt on his skin as it moved, and draped it over his arm as he headed for his wardrobe on the far side of the cellar, where his bedroom enclave was. He grabbed a hanger and began undressing, each item carefully placed in its rightful position, a full suit ensemble at the ready for the next time he chose to wear it. Tomorrow, he would wear something brighter, the bold beige suit perhaps with the large blocks of brown plaid that had a svelte seventies throwback look to it. His fingertips brushed the sleeves and he smiled at the softness of the fabric and the silky way it slid across his touch.

Part of his adoration for such things was his nature, he knew this, his skin far more sensitive than Alphas and Betas, nerves too acute and easily over stimulated. A scratchy wool sweater was, to an Omega, a garment made of broken glass that felt as though it was tearing apart their skin. Expensive suits were not just for vanity, though they did please his aesthetic sensibilities.

Stripped down to silk boxers, Hannibal stepped out of these as well and tossed them in a nearby laundry bin as he headed for the comfort of his bed. The velvet softness of the coverings blanketed him in a warmth he always found alluring. The heavy, lumpy pillow beside him was a sad representation of a mate, something he most definitely had no inclination for, and yet the shape of it spoke to a physical need he was neglecting and he found himself curling against it and thinking, again, of Will Graham.

He was a fascinating Alpha, rare in his own right thanks to his introversion and his rather progressive views against societal normatives. He had empathy and yet preferred to use it in a mostly negative connotation, to wind his mind inside of killers and pick away at the little psychotic needles that made their minds tick. Jack Crawford had insisted the work Will was invaluable, that they were saving lives, and while this was usually true he had forgotten that in the scheme of it all, Will's Alpha nature was set to cause conflict. He was unmated, wild and headstrong, the very picture of an FBI recruit who would be steadfastly denied entry into the force. And yet there he was, shoved onto the field without any personal safeguards to keep himself sane, a wide open book of rage and killing instinct that wanted to run with other predators. Will had said so himself, he openly wanted to be challenged.

Hannibal licked his lips thinking of Will Graham's eyes and their confused, but aggressive, piercing into the flames of Hannibal's fireplace. He had calloused hands from doing hard labour--working on boat motors, maybe, or some other manual work that occupied his time a great deal when he wasn't teaching. Hannibal thought about those hands, dirty, rough, oil still clinging beneath his fingernails, and how warm they were, almost clammy as they slid along the tops of his thighs, his dark pants absorbing their moisture. Hannibal thought about what it would be like to press his tongue in the centre of that sweating palm and lick the dirt and salt of Will's world into his mouth.

A trickle of slick between his legs marked arousal, and Hannibal slid uncomfortably to his other side, pushing the heavy pillow away from himself with a nudge from his foot. The need was unexpected and for a fleeting moment Hannibal wondered if the hormones weren't working as expected after all, that the dosage was way off, and he was going into a sudden heat. But the little flutter in his belly at the thoughts of Will Graham were mild, and he calmed himself with fingers tracing around his cock and then his opening, the image of Will Graham's face looming in the darkness, a rather benign Alpha threat in an old sweater and a pair of thick framed, cartoonish glasses. Hannibal imagined Will Graham watching dumbfounded as Hannibal pleasured himself and that thought made the slick pulse out of him with a lot more fervour, fingers stretching and diving deep, tickling that inner nub that swelled and made his breath catch as it was coaxed into ripeness.

Will Graham. Hannibal rolled onto his belly, groaning now into his velvet pillows, every muscle in his lithe body attuned to what was happening between his legs. He wondered if this would be enough, else he'd need a toy to finish himself off and it would be a restless night without sleep, his half conscious thoughts constantly reverting back to the way Will Graham had held that haughty tone to his voice and said, with a bold assertion that made Hannibal drip at the memory, "Easy company means nothing to me...I like to be challenged..."

He pressed his face into his pillow as his orgasm built, senses on high alert and his muscles tensing in anxious anticipation. He imagined Will Graham, mouth half open and slack, moving slowly up the inside of his legs, rough beard rubbing against the tender underbelly of his skin, a low Alpha growl sighing out of him the closer he got to Hannibal's hot, wet centre.

Hannibal cried and bit into his pillow, slick spilling out from him as his cock followed suit, a twinned orgasm that left him reeling in confusion against his thick velvet sheets. He curled his body inward, his fingers still buried inside of himself, not quite wanting to let the fantasy go. How ethical would that be considered, him thinking this way of a patient, masturbating to memories of his analysis? Perhaps it happened all the time, it wasn't like one's thoughts could be policed. Ethics tried, but it relied on one's own sense of guilt to work properly and Hannibal had long divested himself of that pointless virtue.

He slid onto his back, his palm cupping both his sexes, fingertips still teasing the damp entrance. A residual tension coursed up and down his body, one that would have been far more violent without the suppressants. The hormones drugged his system down, muting his physical desires. But the release had been enough. Hannibal closed his eyes, thoughts of Will Graham still in the forefront of his mind while sleep threatened to fully take him.

It was biology that said it, Hannibal knew. It wasn't his mind or his soul that watched Will staring into the flames of his fireplace and knew, with instinctive purpose, that Will Graham would be a man to throw himself onto the white hot coals should the one who captures his heart desire it.

"You think it's going to be you?" a derisive voice echoed within Hannibal's head. His own voice.

"Friendship will suffice," Hannibal tersely replied, aloud, doing all he could to make the lie the truth.