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Every step of the way

Chapter Text

The building was huge. One of the most luxurious in the city. Will was wearing a blue shirt and jeans.He felt a little out of place browsing the lobby and in the elevator full of wealthy people. Except for the part where he was locked in a small space with excessive and sweet perfume around him, everything was perfect aesthetics around him.

*

- "Everything is in order. Massage and exercises have helped a lot with muscular atrophy. Call me if you need me or if you have back pain. I will see you on Friday".

- "Thank you Francis. Have a good night. Until then."

Hannibal said goodbye to the physical therapist, who nodded. The man was already walking towards the door accompanied by Reba, Hannibal's personal assistant.

*

His hand was about to touch the door when it burst open. A black woman and a very tall white man looked at him. 

It surprised him a little. He noticed the man was wearing a white coat.

- "Doctor .. Lecter ?."

- "No ... Good night ... Reba."

The change in  thetman's behavior was drastic. He went from emitting an aura of mistrust to one of kindness and smiles towards the woman when he mentioned her name. He passed by Will's side without looking at him after she said goodbye to him.

Will was still watching him walk when the woman invited him in.

It was a gallery type apartment. A large space and a large part of the walls were floor to ceiling windows. His eyes swept over the luxurious furniture to the other side of the place. It was huge. His small department was  like a closet in comparison.

His eyes suddenly met other ones reddish amber colored. A man sitting on the bed watched him with a smile.Probably in the  good humor at watching  him staring at his home in admiration. Will smiled ruefully.

- "Doctor Lecter..I guess." 
- "Nice to meet you, Officer Graham." 
- "The pleasure is mine ... your reputation precedes you  ,Doctor. Your last book was incredible ... I passed my thesis thanks to it." 
- "And how about your grades?" 
- "The best of the best ..."

They both smiled. The admiration was mutual.Without realizing it, they had spent an hour addressing the case. Hannibal was delighted with the young agent's brilliance and Will with the doctor's amount of forensic psycopsych and historical knowledge .

Reba brought them dinner. They ate and kept talking. Their conversation drifted, after a while, to historical and scientific topics, briefly going through the arts until Will felt confident enough to ask him about the origin of his current condition.

He cleared his throat and tentatively asked.

- "Umm ... can I ...can i ask you a personal question? You don't have to answer me if you don't want ... how do you..umm.how?  .."

Hannibal  answered  before he could finish the question.

- "A patient attacked me in my office. He didn't have an appointment. I was just ... about to retire to my home at the end of the day. He burst through the door. We argued and he attacked me. We fought, but he hit me several times with a decorative  ornament on my lower back. I managed to snatch it and hit him in the temple with  great force. Too much force I must say ... after recovering I moved here. 

- "The woman who opened the door for me .." 
- "My assistant ... are you surprised that I chose someone who is blind?" 
- "Ah..no. I figured it must be someone competent and loyal... ad to someone as independent as you would place your trust in her. " 
-"Smart boy.."

Will blushed and looked down. Hannibal smiled like the cat that got the cream. 

- "It's true..Reba is a dear friend of mine and very efficient."

A few knocks on the door interrupted their conversation. 

*

Jack apologized for being late. They addressed the case. Revisiting each test and each theory again.

- "There was a piece of bone. And a small piece of paper with a Chinese symbol on it that appears commonly in the mayong game. Also next to it was a particularly old nut."

Will said showing the pictures of the scene.Hannibal smiled, while looking at him. Jack spoke up.

- "My team determined that it is a human bone belonging to the radius. It seems that it was recently extracted. It is not from the same person to which the hand belongs."

Hannibal commented looking at the photograph of the bone.

"Probably from the wife or son. It's a clue for us to find both or one of them specifically. The killer leaves breadcrumbs for us."

- "Jack. Did the lab said something about the bone density ? .. We can determine if it is from the mother or the child with that."

Jack pulled out his cell phone and dialed. A short exchange of words and then  he cut the call. 

Hannibal was pensive looking at the photograph of the nut.

- "This is very old. From the rust stains you can see that it is  old metal ... maybe early 1900s. It is very large. It reminds me of those used in the piping system in London..Will could you pass me a book on that shelf, please?

The officer got up immediately.

-"Sure". 

- "Thank you.  The thick blue one that is in the third row."

In the doctor's hands, after viewing the index, the pages were flipped so fast that neither Will nor Jack could read a word. Hannibal clearly remembered a reference he had read before. He found the page he was looking for and a grayscale photograph showed them that the piece provided was from  old steam pipes. Hannibal closed the book.

Jack's cell phone rang. Brief words were exchanged before Jack hung up.

- "According to the bone density, it is an adult over 30 years old. Thank God ... it is not the child's .."

Jack looked up at the ceiling while rubbing the bridge of his nose, he started walking in circles. 

Will rubbed his eyes with his fingertips and leaned back in the chair by the doctor's bed. 


- "Where are there old pipes of that type in this city? .. that are still working."

Jack called his team again. 

- "They will have the information in a few hours. It is not exactly information digitally available .. what does this mean? .. what the hell does he mean? .. it is obvious that this is a game for him .."

-"The Red Dragon.."

Hannibal whispered.

Will and Jack asked in unison. 
-"What?!."