When Will invited Hannibal to visit him at work, he was being facetious—he never imagined he would actually show up. Hannibal Lecter, with his silk shirts and gourmet cooking, would never stoop to the level of even entering an establishment like this. Would he?
But there he was, walking on in with his pristine leather briefcase in hand—since very college student needed a fucking briefcase to lug their shit around in. The guy was ridiculous sometimes.
"Hannibal," Will greeted blankly, too surprised to know what emotion he was supposed to be portraying at the moment.
"Will," he replied smoothly, looking around the store in something like morbid fascination. "So this is your place of employment."
"Welcome to Subway," Will responded weakly. It was almost a joke, and Hannibal almost smiled. Will was glad the store was dead at the current moment, because something about having Hannibal's intense gaze on him always left him just a little flustered. He couldn't imagine trying to work with the ethereal creature lurking just beyond the counter.
Beverly was somewhere in the back—probably doing dishes or something—so Will and Hannibal were essentially alone. Hannibal's dark eyes surveyed him unnervingly and Will's social anxiety started to kick in.
"So what're you doing here?" he elected to ask, just for something to say.
Hannibal's eyebrows went up just barely as he took a few steps closer. "You did invite me," he said matter-of-factly.
"Well yeah, because I didn't think you'd actually come."
"Which isn't to say I didn't want you to come," Will added hastily—he always managed to say the wrong thing in every situation, it seemed. "I just thought…"
Hannibal didn't bother to save Will from his own awkwardness—or say anything at all—as he came forward and looked inside the bane at the sandwich ingredients. His lip curled in distaste. "This is supposed to be food?" he inquired.
"Uh, yeah, for us normal people, sure." After a while, Will had started to feel that way about the stuff too. He'd had it enough times to have stopped really enjoying it ages ago. But he got it free, so he still ate it. "I'll admit," he added a moment later, "the steak does look a little shifty. I mean, how do we know it's even beef? Could be human for all I know."
Hannibal met Will's gaze. "I don't think that would pass health standards."
"No, I don't think so either," Will agreed. "So…"
"I figure since I am here, I might as well try one."
"Really? You're gonna hate it."
"Most certainly, but you eat it, and I endeavor to understand how and why you do the things you do. So I'll try it."
"Okay then… What do you want?"
"The steak should be fine."
After Will made Hannibal his sandwich, he made one for himself and told Beverly he was going to go on his break. The two men sat at one of the tables in the lobby and Will couldn't help but stare at Hannibal as he sat in this place that seemed so unworthy of him. Will had only ever seen him eat at a fine table with a dinner suit and wine and now he was eating a shitty sandwich off of paper and had a tiny plastic cup of water. It felt so wrong.
As per usual, Hannibal started in on asking Will about his day. Their friendship was strange in more way than one, but Will had not missed the fact that Hannibal never wanted to talk about himself. He was endlessly fascinated with Will's goings on, but never divulged much at all about his own life. Basically all Will really knew about him was that he was a Psych major, was filthy rich, and loved having people for dinner.
So Hannibal was now asking Will about his job—basically psychoanalyzing him, as per usual. What do you do at so-and-so time? And how does that make you feel? Will couldn't believe Hannibal used to want to be a surgeon—he was obviously born to be a therapist.
But Will just went with it. Sure, he didn't like people prying much, but this was just work. Venting a little wasn't going to kill anybody.
"It's Thursday, so Dickhead is going to come in tonight," Will said conversationally.
"And who is 'Dickhead', may I ask?"
"Just this regular. Every Thursday, he comes in five minutes before close. I want to murder him sometimes."
Hannibal looked thoughtful. "And coming in right before close…"
"Is annoying as hell," Will inserted. "We're trying to get the store clean and Dickhead comes in and gets everything dirty again. Anyone who knows anything about eating out knows not to go in within a half hour of close. And this guy comes in often enough that he knows he's being a douche. He just doesn't care."
"How rude," Hannibal murmured.
"Yeah, right? Well my ten minutes is up. Gotta get back to it." In fact, during the break a line had begun to build. Beverly was getting started, but she'd need help in a minute.
"I think I may just stay here until your shift ends. Is that a problem?"
Will had just been thinking about how impossible it would be to work knowing Hannibal was watching. But how could he say no?
"Won't you get bored?"
Hannibal scanned the other side of the room, where Beverly was making sandwiches for a couple rowdy college students. "I could never be bored in a place that's full of food—no matter how uncultured it is."
Will didn't really know what he meant—Hannibal didn't really say what he meant most of the time anyway. Will didn't even try to get it.
"Well, okay. I get off in two hours."
Will had an easier time working than he thought he would. He forgot about Hannibal, for the most part, who was trading between sketching in one notebook and writing in another.
He and Beverly were pretty ahead. They were basically done with everything. But soon Dickhead was going to come in.
"You know what sucks?" he said to Beverly.
"The floor isn't dry yet. Which means Dickhead is gonna fuck up my mop job."
She rolled her eyes—as she was the one who made up the nickname, she definitely knew who Will was referring to. "Three minutes and counting," she muttered. And three minutes later, right on the dot, they could see him approaching. "At least he's punctual," she added dryly.
This regular was basically Will's worst nightmare. Not only did he come in so late, but he also always wanted cookies. Which was fine, of course, but this close to closing they were out of cookies most of the time—there was no point cooking them now for them to go bad overnight—and he always made a fit about it.
So he got his stupid tuna sandwich with extra cheese and disgusting amounts of barbeque sauce and then he got to the counter for Will to ring him up.
"Don't suppose you actually have cookies for once."
"No, not tonight," Will said. "Sorry about that."
"I mean, you sell cookies. How are you out so often?"
"We just don't make them this late."
"Then wouldn't it be a good idea to make more earlier in the day?"
Will wanted to sock the guy, but he was literally paid to be nice, so he just said, "Yeah, you're probably right."
"Maybe they should hire me instead."
"Then we'd never be out of cookies."
Will could feel Hannibal watching the conversation, which made him a little uneasy. But luckily, Dickhead didn't make much more fuss.
The guy headed out the door and, in a surprise move, Hannibal got up and followed him out. He stopped him close enough to the store that Will could see them. They were having some sort of conversation. Dickhead smiled a little after a moment—Hannibal was rather charming, so Will wasn't shocked it even though he'd never seen Dickhead smile before. They shook hands at some point.
Then Hannibal came back inside.
"What was that about?" Will asked.
"Oh, you know, he seemed like the type of person I'd like at my dinner table."
Will rolled his eyes. You could never get a straight answer from him.
Will never knew what Hannibal actually said. It had looked like a friendly enough conversation, but he couldn't help but wonder if Hannibal mentioned something about it being rude to come into a place that late.
Cuz the guy never showed up again.
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