To say that Doctor Hannibal Lecter was pleased to hear of Will Graham’s release from prison would have been an understatement. While at the time, framing Will had been a necessary evil: Will was getting too close to the truth too fast, and his mental instability had set the perfect stage to set Will up as a killer.
Making Will into a real killer, Hannibal noted, would have to come later. First there would be trust to rebuild. Everything would need to be rebuilt, and no doubt it would take time.
Well…no one ever said that Hannibal Lecter was impatient. And Will, well, he would be a prize worth waiting for.
But first, they would need to resume their usual sessions.
As if on cue, his watch struck seven, and no doubt Will was waiting on the other side of his office door, sitting in his usual seat. Best not keep him waiting then. Hannibal mused as his opened his office door.
Though, to be fair, while the man sitting in the waiting room was technically Will Graham, it was certainly not the man Hannibal first dealt with. Gone was unkempt scruff and bird’s nest on Will’s head, not to mention his old worn-out clothes that made him look like a poor college student. Now Will’s cheeks were smooth and clean shaven, not even a hint of a 5 o’clock shadow, and his hair seemed to have product in it: the curls no longer escaping haphazardly, instead falling in an orderly tousled fashion. By design.
It’s his design, Hannibal noticed, pleased.
And Will had most certainly done well in regards to clothing himself as well. No more ratty jeans and worn corduroys, not to mention the rumpled flannel shirts. As Will stood, Hannibal could see the younger man was dressed in black dress slacks, pressed and neatly creased, and well-shined shoes. Hannibal also noted the cleanly pressed white collar (folded properly, of course) of Will’s dress shirt peeking out from the long navy blue peacoat.
And those god-awful glasses were gone.
My, William, how you’ve grown up…
“Doctor Lecter.” Will nodded, “Or should I call you Hannibal.”
“You may call me whatever you feel comfortable with, Will.” Hannibal replied, watching him as the younger man walked in. It was as Will brushed past him that Hannibal noticed two things.
First, that Will was carrying a bag, filled with rich food.
Second, Will smelled absolutely decadent.
“I found a better aftershave.” Will smirked when he noticed Hannibal sniffing him, “In case you were curious.”
“You’ve found several things that one would consider…better.” The doctor nodded.
Will chuckled, “Well when you’re falsely arrested and placed in a mental facility, there’s apparently a very good compensation.” He nodded, “I thought it was time to…start fresh.”
“Very fresh, I approve.” Hannibal was already pleased with Will’s metamorphosis so far. To think what he would be by the time Hannibal was finished with him…
“I hope you don’t mind,” Will continued, holding up the bag, “But I made us some dinner.”
Hannibal raised an eyebrow, “I was not aware that you cooked.”
“I usually don’t, but this a special occasion.” Will nodded, “You cooked for me the first time we worked together, remember.”
“I do.” Of course, how could Hannibal forget the first time he fed Will his own cuisine? “A nostalgic way to start fresh.”
Will shrugged, “Guilty.” He smiled, “I’m afraid my cooking is not nearly to the quality of yours—” It will be, in time. “—I’ve only made a cassoulet. I can only hope that I haven’t embarrassed myself too much in serving it to you.”
“You are too modest, Will.” French comfort food. It was a start, for sure… “I’ll get some wine for our meal.”
A red wine was the obvious choice, it was wine basics. But Hannibal couldn’t help but select one of his pricier wines from his collection. It was Will after all, and Hannibal’s plans were ahead of schedule. Here Hannibal had been worried about regaining Will’s trust, and yet now they were at the wining and dining stage of the plan. Even if Will had been the one to bring the food this time…well, they had to start somewhere.
By the time Hannibal had returned with the wine, Will had already lain out the table setting on Hannibal’s desk and was already serving cassoulet onto both plates. The peacoat had been shed and was now draped over the back of Will’s chair. While Hannibal did mourn the coat’s absence (it really did suit Will’s figure), seeing Will in a vest and dress shirt was just as tantalizing. Especially when Will had his sleeves rolled up to his elbows, “You brought your own place settings.”
“Guilty.” Will looked up at Hannibal, smiling softly, “I assumed that you wouldn’t keep place settings in your office.”
“You would be correct.” Hannibal nodded, “But luckily for us, I do happen to keep wine and glasses here.” He held up the bottle and glasses as proof.
“You never know when you’ll have a rough day at the office.” Will chuckled lightly before leaning against the desk, plate in hand, “I’m afraid my plating is not nearly as artful as yours.”
“I doubt there is an artful way to plate cassoulet.” Hannibal carefully uncorked the wine, pouring them each a decent amount. In truth, Will’s plating was dreadful. No doubt Hannibal would have to teach Will that even a cassoulet should not be slopped onto a plate like a sloppy joe (and make sure that Will never ate something as mundane as that).
Will picked up his plate, spearing a piece of sausage with his fork, “To new beginnings.” He smiled, taking a bite of food.
There was a part of Hannibal that cautiously watched Will to make sure he had eaten first. While Will had made great progress, Hannibal couldn’t let his guard down too quickly. Will had already tried to kill him once, there was no telling if he would try again. But seeing Will eat first, and with no hesitation to take a second bite, prompted Hannibal to eat his own food. After all, he still needed to gain back all of Will’s trust before they could continue down their path into darkness.
In short, it was delicious.
In length, if there had been any doubt in Hannibal’s mind about keeping Will, it was dispensed of. He was already fantasizing of all the truly decadent foods he and Will would cook together… “This is quite delicious Will. I am very impressed.” Hannibal nodded, distracting himself with a sip of wine (and taking the opportunity to drink in Will’s relaxed stance as they leaned against Hannibal’s desk).
Will chuckled, taking a sip of wine, “I should hope you enjoyed it.” He smiled, “It’s your recipe.”
Hannibal paused slightly, fork poised in the air, “My recipe?” He queried, taking another bite.
A nonchalant hum escaped Will, whose mouth was full at the time, before he reached into the back pocket of his slacks. Hannibal’s eyes couldn’t help but recognize the familiar faded notecard that was in Will’s hand as it was passed to his own, as well as the elegant scrawl of his handwriting, detailing the recipe.
The card was still warm in his hand, but Hannibal felt a shiver pass down his spine, “I did not realize I leant you this.” He stated calmly.
“You didn’t.” Will replied, unfazed as he continued his meal, “But I must say, I made sure to follow the recipe. Exactly.”
A silence hung in the air between them as Hannibal’s fork paused at his lips, “Exactly, you say?” He looked at Will, “I always did find that using the right meat was always the most crucial step.”
“I agree.” Will nodded, eating his sausage slowly, “I must say, it took me ages to find the right pig.”
“Oh?” Hannibal gathered more of the meat on his fork, looking at it closely, “And the duck?”
“Trust me, I found the right fowl.” Will set down his plate, moving closer to Hannibal. The younger man reached out and took Hannibal’s wrist, brushing against the doctor’s scar as he pulled Hannibal’s fork to his own mouth. Hannibal could only watch as Will ate off his own fork, chewing down on the succulent meat and licking away the rich juices. Seeing he had caught Hannibal’s attention, Will smirked, “Do you want to know what you’re eating tonight?”
“Besides the obvious cassoulet?” Hannibal raised an eyebrow, trying in vain to ignore how close Will’s body was.
A laugh escaped Will as he picked up Hannibal’s wine glass, “True enough. But luckily for us, a biker nearly hit Winston as we were on our walk.” He said casually, taking a sip from Hannibal’s glass.
Well indeed, Hannibal noted as he watched Will’s Adam’s apple bob ever so slightly. “You certainly have made quite the transformation during your stay in custody.”
“Not really.” Will shook his head, “It merely brought it back.” At Hannibal’s bemused expression, Will smirked once more, “What can I say, Hannibal?” He stroked the scar on Hannibal’s wrist slowly, “You bring out the worst in me.”
“Worst?” Hannibal raised an eyebrow, taking another bite of his cassoulet (it was delicious, after all), “Or best?”
Will gave him a knowing look, “I suppose it would depend on who you ask.”
“You’ve killed before.” It wasn’t a question.
The profiler smiled, a spark in his eye, “I always did love the irony that, while you got me arrested for being the copycat killer, it wasn’t for any of my copycat kills.”
That amused Hannibal, “You’re a copycat killer.”
“If I feel the urge to be dramatic.” Will smiled, “Sometimes, when it comes to serial killers, it’s so easy to just…slip another victim into the body count.” He chuckled, “If the killers deny killing that victim…well, who would believe them?”
“And since you know their minds—”
“I can kill just like them.” Will chuckled, “Though sometimes I can’t help myself and I confront the killer…” he picked up his wine glass, “Do you honestly think Elliot Buddish was able to skin himself and string himself up in that barn?”
After a moment, Hannibal chuckled, “That was reckless.”
“Jack has tunnel vision worse than anyone I’ve ever seen.” Will rolled his eyes, sipping his wine, “But all joking aside, I’m afraid we do need to talk business.”
Hannibal raised an eyebrow, setting aside his clean plate, “Business?”
“The Ripper, Hannibal.”
Ah, so they were back to that…he did hope things wouldn’t end bloody, “What did you wish to discuss, Will?”
Will ran a hand through his hair, mussing his curls, “I think we should share the Ripper.”
“Share…” Hannibal paused, “Share the kills?”
“Share the identity.” Will nodded, “The Chesapeake Ripper has already been profiled as a single individual. And since we’re both already well known to the FBI, we could be each other’s alibi.”
That was an intriguing offer, “So while one of us makes a kill—”
“The other is seen in public.” Will finished, “So neither of us alone could be the Chesapeake Ripper.”
“At least until someone changes the profile of the Ripper.” Hannibal drawled.
Will shrugged, “True…but I don’t plan on doing that either. And, knowing Jack, he wouldn’t want it changed even if I tried.” A smirk crossed his lips, “If he did try to catch us, we could just frame him.”
“I do hope it won’t come to that, though.” Hannibal nodded, finishing his wine, “Though I’m still not quite convinced of your…metamorphosis.”
The profiler chuckled, picking up his plate once more, “Well we can go about testing my…metamorphosis in one of two ways.” He leaned back against the desk, “You could bend me over this desk and screw me six ways to Sunday.” He gave Hannibal a wink and a pointed glance toward his groin as gathered more food on his fork, “Or…”
Hannibal was intrigued now. Will was just tantalizing enough to tempt Hannibal with his offer, professionalism be damned, “Or?”
Will smirked, holding his fork so that the tender meat was touching his lips, “Did I mention that biker happened to have a brother who wouldn’t stop calling me fagot?”