Abigail sat down at the kitchens island as Hannibal placed a stack of pancakes in front of her, there was three almost identically shaped pancakes, the small square of butter had started to melt, oozing down and mixing with the honey slathered over the top of them all, no doubt the honey was from some fancy beekeeping business Hannibal had hidden.
She poked the stack with a fork and looked up at Hannibal.
“How’d you make pancakes look fancy? Like they’re all the same, Wills are never this symmetrical.”
Hannibal raised an eyebrow, “Will made you pancakes?”
“Yeah, when I was in the hospital.”
“Were they good?”
“Scarily good, everything about them was perfect, like, the complete opposite of his whole thing, y’know?”
“Is he a good cook?”
Abigail shrugged, stuffing a forkful into her mouth, “I guess if he had more than stale bread and off brand cornflakes. To be honest, he can only really cook fish, but according to Beverly he’s amazing at baking. Speaking of, where is Will? Isn’t he usually up really early?”
“He’s got a hangover from last night, why do you ask?”
“I wanted to ask him something...”
“I could try and help?”
“It’s uh... about... fish.”
“Ah, I see. I’ll try and wake him up, no promises though.”
Hannibal opened the door and peered inside, Will was curled up in a makeshift nest out of his blankets and pillows amongst his dogs on the floor.
“Morning... Jack called me again, got another case.”
“Not sure, they think it’s a copycat.”
Hannibal extended his arm and helped pull Will to his feet, “Copycat of the ripper?”
“Apparently, my house got fixed too, so that’s also a plus, means I can finally get out of your way.”
“You’re moving back in?”
“Yeah, don’t like mooching off of people, ‘specially you... no offence.”
“What makes you think you're mooching?”
“I’m living in your home, eating your food, using your utilities, and you’re giving me really expensive gifts.” Will said in exasperation, gesturing around the room, “I can’t repay this stuff, you know that.”
Hannibal scrounged around in his brain in a panic, trying to find a way to get Will to stay with him, he couldn’t bear to be away from him, especially not now that he had managed to get so close and lower his guard.
Will tossed on his old jacket and started to make his way out, Hannibal sidestepped in front of him, blocking his way, “What about Abigail?”
Will stopped in his tracks and looked at Hannibal in bemusement, “What about Abigail?”
“You’re her father figure, what if she needs you?”
“Then she can come visit me, you can always drive to Wolf Trap, and you can always come stay over, let me cook for you for once.”
“Alright, I’ll help you pack up and drive you there. Abigail also wants to speak with you, she’s downstairs.”
Will nodded, giving Hannibal a gentle smile, before happily heading downstairs with his dogs at his heels.
Will glanced around the body, trying to brush off the feeling of him being watched as he shuffled around, clicking his pen as little thoughts popped and fizzled in his head like firecrackers as he clicked.
He sighed turned around, slamming into what felt like a brick wall, sending him stumbling backwards until he felt hands quickly pull him back up and steady him.
“Sorry about that, I should’ve let you known I was behind you, you just seemed so lost in thought I didn’t want to bother you.” The man stumbled over his words, Wills eyes darted around the man’s body before settling on staring at his shirt collar.
“Sorry... I didn’t see you.”
“It’s alright, I’m Matthew Brown, I’m an orderly at Baltimore’s Hospital for the Criminally Insane.”
“Will Graham... I’m Uh... the FBI profiler.”
Matthew nodded and smiled, “I know, I researched you, read all your books and files as well, you should really come visit the hospital sometime.”
“I’ll think about it...”
Will looked around, trying to find Jack amongst the crowd to come rescue him, but finding no such luck, Matthew leaned closer to him, brushing shoulders.
“They said it was a copycat.”
“The killer, I heard them say it was a copycat of the ripper, you know?”
Will narrowed his eyes, poking the flesh of the corpse with his pen before jotting down something; he wrinkled his nose at the smell, definitely sulphur.
“How'd you even get back here? There’s police tape.”
“Did Agent Crawford not tell you?”
“Not tell me what?”
“You’ve been assigned a new therapist.”
Matthew chuckled and shook his head, watching Wills pupils dilate at the noise, staring intently as Wills eyes inched closer from his collar to his face, “Unfortunately no, you’ll be under my bosses care, Dr. Chilton?”
Will frowned immediately.
“Other than he’s a prick?”
Will pulled away from Matthews grip, itching to get the burrowing feeling of touch away from his skin, he pulled his jacket further over his body, sidestepping to hurriedly reach Jack.
Jack turned to smile at Will and gestured to the man stood beside him.
Will frowned, “Dr. Chilton.”
“Hello Mr. Graham.”
“Ran into your orderly, Matthew?”
“Oh yes, he’s very eager for the opportunity of working alongside you.”
He narrowed his eyes at Jack, “You let Chilton be my new therapist?”
“With Hannibal and your relationship becoming... cordial, I can’t run the risk of violating therapist patient dynamics. Now, you’re just in a relationship with someone who happens to be a therapist.”
Will huffed silently and shoved his fists into his pockets, looking back at the corpse but meeting Matthews gaze instead, he turned to look back at Jack and sighed.
Hannibal recalled the conversations he had with Wills father, talks about creatures that lurk in the unknown, he read more in depth about the ones skulking around Wills home state of Louisiana, trying to uncover the cause of his fathers delusions.
If Will knew French, then he never bothered to properly show it, preferring to assimilate with Wolf Trap, hiding his accent and knowledge, the reasoning behind it lost in Hannibal.
It frustrated Hannibal that Will wasn’t as easy to open up like the others he had previously done, he craved to pull apart the walls and dig up what made Will operate, what kind of thoughts and urges simmered beneath all those delicious layers of Will.
He looked down at his collected notes on Will, there were gaps and holes, contradictions or parts that didn’t make sense, like playing a game of cat and mouse with the past, trying to piece together the fragments that were scattered so long ago.
Pulling up a picture, he gazed at all the old remnants of Will Graham, the boy always looked tired and bruised, worn down to the knob by the man meant to protect and love.
Hannibal wouldn’t allow it.