XI. Will VI
Will Graham-Lecter, more often than not, resented Jack Crawford’s drive. They had only been home in Baltimore for approximately nine hours, and he was helping Klara prepare for her first day back at Kindergarten after the New Year.
“Fairytale castle or unicorn,” Will asked with all the seriousness that the matter deserved when choosing a lunchbox.
Klara was standing on a stepstool at the counter, next to Hannibal, helping to prepare everyone’s lunches. With the focus of the young, she deliberated for a moment before stating firmly, “You choose, Papa.”
A small smile curled over Hannibal’s lips as he cut a sandwich diagonally, having already taken off the crusts. Similarly, a blush formed on Will’s neck and he ducked his head, still not quite getting used to how they were all truly a family. Clearing his throat, he looked between the unicorn and the castle, and firmly decided on the bright blue lunchbox with a castle on the front.
Hannibal handed Klara her wrapped sandwich (Hannibal always preferred Tupperware or brown paper tied with string, believing plastic baggies were too pedestrian) and she then stepped off the stool and offered it to Will with a bright smile.
“Castle okay today?” Will checked—and she nodded enthusiastically, her small ponytail waving in the air with the movement. “Well, all right, then.” He was just accepting the container of sliced apples with a small section for honey (the Lecters ate their apples with honey, and Will rather liked the treat, especially given that the honey was from a local farm and not from a plastic bottle shaped like a bear)—when his phone rang.
He was rather startled when the Imperial March played. Lifting his eyebrows in question to Hannibal (who looked back impassively as if he hadn’t been the one to program the new phone he insisted Will have ‘for the sake of safety’), Will answered it. “Lecter-Graham.” A thrill went down his spine at finally being able to say his married name, that was all signed and sealed legally.
“How soon can you be in Northern Virginia?”
Will blinked. He recognized Crawford’s brusque tone and he suddenly understood Hannibal’s choice of ringtone. It wasn’t quite Hannibal’s style—he didn’t even realize Hannibal was aware of the cultural phenomenon of Star Wars—but his husband never ceased to amaze.
Turning back to the conversation over the phone, he greeted, “Jack. Nice to hear from you. The honeymoon was lovely.” He borrowed Hannibal’s disaffected gaze and poured it into his tone of voice.
He smiled at Klara who was watching him, her eyebrows drawn together. Hannibal clucked his tongue lightly to draw her attention and she jumped and went back to helping him prepare their lunches dutifully. She was so terribly like Hannibal that it was startling.
“Will, focus. How long?”
“I technically don’t start until 10 AM, Jack,” Will reminded him casually, closing the lunchbox with one hand and pulling forward his own kabuki style box, most of the pieces having been already placed in front of him. Of course, Hannibal not only demanded that he have a proper lunch to stem his recurring fevers, but Hannibal refused to permit him the usual paper bag. “If you like,” Will preempted before Crawford could say anything else, “you can text the address and I’ll get there as soon as possible, but it could be several hours depending on which part of Northern Virginia you want me to visit.”
Pulling the phone away from his ear, he looked over at Hannibal and mouthed, ‘Darth Vader?’ exaggeratedly.
A small smile curled around Hannibal’s lips in response, showing he understood.
“Graham,” the irritated voice of Crawford shivered out of the phone, loud enough for all of them to hear.
“Lecter-Graham,” Klara corrected, half under her breath, from where she was standing.
Will smiled at her and shoved the phone back to his ear.
“Yes, ma petite,” Hannibal agreed, looking down fondly at his daughter. “Papa is a Lecter now.”
“I’m here,” Will reassured Crawford back into the phone as he turned away. “Why don’t you get one of your gremlins to take some good photographs and then have them delivered to my office? I can take a look and come to the crime scene later after it’s been processed if I need a feel.”
Crawford grumbled on the other end of the line, barked something unintelligible on his end and then growled, “You’ll have three scenes on your desk by ten. I expect to hear from you.” He then hung up abruptly, not that Will minded. He didn’t need Crawford this early in the morning under normal circumstances, and certainly not on his first morning officially as Mr. Lecter-Graham when at home.
He put the phone down firmly on the counter and went back to the lunches.
Klara looked up at him, her eyes wide and blue. “Is it an evil queen?”
“No,” Will promised, turning from what he was doing and making direct eye contact with her. “No, not an evil queen, I swear. I think it’s some sorcerer’s apprentice who got a little ahead of himself.”
Squeaking in fear-tinged excitement, Klara put down the blueberries she was counting out for someone’s lunch. Will honestly didn’t know if he’d be getting the blueberries or if Hannibal felt an urge for antioxidants that morning. “Is there a flood?” she asked in an excited hush.
Hannibal twitched, and Will knew it was because he had introduced Klara to Fantasia as it was “an American classic.” He thought Hannibal would appreciate the musical elements. He had unfortunately underestimated Hannibal’s dislike for Mickey Mouse. Will found Hannibal’s opinion amusing. His reactions were also terribly cute, though Will would never suggest Hannibal could be anything so pedestrian as “cute.” Not verbally, anyway.
“No flood,” Will promised Klara, giving the question the seriousness it deserved. “They call in the firemen for floods.”
“I told Mabel,” Klara stated importantly, “that my new father worked for the F.B.I.” She carefully repeated the letters, not knowing what they stood for or exactly what it meant. “She was impressed.”
“I should hope so,” Hannibal agreed, finishing off the separate containers for the lunches and reaching down to run a hand through Klara’s bangs lovingly. “Your Papa catches bad people. He makes it safe for you—and me—and Mabel.” The last was clearly added for Klara’s benefit. Will doubted Hannibal had any positive opinion for Mabel who was more rude than forward-spoken and always seemed to convince Klara to partake in activities which ended in ripped tights or lost ribbons.
The lunches were soon finished and their bags packed, and Will delighted that he was officially on “Dad Duty” and got to take Klara to school for the first time as her legal guardian.
Klara skipped out to Will’s beaten up Sedan and got into her booster seat in the back, waiting for one of her fathers to come buckle her in. Will lingered on the step, pink travel mug and briefcase in hand, as he waited for Hannibal to lock up.
“I suppose the honeymoon is over,” Will murmured as Hannibal approached him. He thought wistfully of what waited for him at Quantico—to whatever cases Crawford wanted him to look at.
“We are not so pedestrian,” Hannibal replied, “to allow tradition and society to dictate our lives.”
His dark red eyes flicked down to Will’s lips, hooded slightly in desire, and Will remembered fevered nights after Klara had gone to bed, curled up in front of a dying fire, tasting Hannibal’s salty pleasure on his tongue as he swallowed him down greedily, the feel of Hannibal’s fingertips against his buttocks as he thrust in even closer. The taste of Hannibal’s dry lips, tinged with the flavor of coffee, pressed against his mouth, and Will smiled into the kiss.
The kiss lingered a moment, just enough, before they pulled away and smiled at each other before going to Klara. Hannibal reached into the car and saw her safely buckled in before kissing her forehead goodbye, and then with one ‘farewell’ went to his own car to start his own day.
An hour later, Will hoped that Hannibal’s first day back to the mindless grind was better than his.
Crawford had sent him (as promised) three separate scenes that Crawford had labeled, “Ripper Possible.” Within half a moment of just glancing through the pictures, Will knew it wasn’t the Ripper. This—whatever this was—was something else entirely. The forms of naked angels, carved from flesh, spilled out around him as he breathed in the details and attempted to get a firm grasp on what exactly they were dealing with.
The pendulum swung and Will fell into the crime scene photographs.
He felt the agony of the victims, made to look like angels with wings carved in their backs, forced to pray for something they didn’t believe in. It was the same scene again and again—people abducted at random and bent into a twisted facsimile of angels.
There was no elegance, there was no artistic vision to these killings. The killer did not believe his victims to be pigs. They were somehow sinners, forced to be better, to atone, to pretend at angelic harmony for the killer’s delusions.
Atone for what, though?
What were they supposed to be praying for?
Will texted off his initial findings to Crawford, fumbling over the touch keypad on the screen. He then composed a detailed report, only stopping to go to the cafeteria for lunch. Normally, he would stay in his office, but he had the crime scene photos taped to the walls, and the images were unappetizing. Hannibal always seemed to sense when Will didn’t eat, so Will tried to follow his recommendations, if for the simple fact that it made Hannibal happy.
When he closed his door and locked it behind him, he smiled when he noticed the nameplate had been changed to read “Lecter-Graham.” His life was shifting in a way he had never expected, but he wouldn’t change a single moment of it.
One thought on “(ManEater11)”