XII. Hannibal IV
Hannibal had a half day, which was a treat as it meant more time to prepare dinner for Klara and Will that evening, without sacrificing time alone later with his husband. He could never seem to get enough of Will. Sometimes he wondered if this is what addicts must feel like. Every scent, every breath, every kiss, every touch just caused him to crave Will more. Part of him wanted to eat Will’s heart from his chest so that there was never any fear that he might give it to anyone else, but he tempered that insatiable hunger with memories of smiles and of light blue eyes laughing and the burn of lovemaking.
The telephone rang, the line from his receptionist, and he lifted it up, curious as to why she hadn’t knocked on the door. “Dr. Bloom for you, line 1,” Sarah apologized, voice quiet on the other end.
Taking in a deep breath through his nose, Hannibal composed himself. Sarah knew he had only a coldly polite relationship with his former student and that it had somehow soured once he had become romantically involved with Will Graham. She didn’t pry, which was exactly what he needed, but was a willing and sympathetic ear to those in the waiting room. Professionalism and courtesy wrapped in a plain face with too large a nose. Hannibal would trust her with Klara in a heartbeat, if the opportunity should unfortunately arise.
He hit the blinking button indicating the waiting call. “Dr. Bloom,” he greeted.
“Dr. Lecter,” Alana returned, voice cool but obviously worried. “This is a courtesy call as I can’t seem to locate Professor Graham-Lecter.”
Hannibal’s eyes narrowed in thought, remembering he had received a text about a murder at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, of all places. “I believe he had to shut off his cellular device due to his work with the Bureau,” he answered with composure and the slightest tinge of frost in his voice. Alana knew how he felt about her dealings with his husband, and how they were less than appreciated by him.
On the other end of the line Alana took another moment, most likely also composing herself. “As I said, this is a courtesy call,” she told him calmly. “Abigail Hobbs climbed over the wall of the group home where she’s living.”
Indulging himself as no one was watching, Hannibal ran a hand over his eyes, wishing this conversation never had to take place.
“Indeed,” he answered after a long moment.
“It seems that the author Freddie Lounds gave Abigail access to the internet, and the police—after confiscating Lounds’ tablet—found that her recent search history around the time of her visits to Abigail were about Will.” Alana’s slip into informality annoyed Hannibal, but he didn’t comment.
“And, to my knowledge, Freddie Lounds is uninterested in my husband as a subject for her particular—brand—of journalism.”
“We believe Abigail knows both his address in Wolf Trapp and yours in Baltimore.”
Hannibal looked down at the desk and his fingers brushed over the blade of his scalpel. “We have security, but I will be sure to inform the police if she trespasses,” he informed her coldly. “Thank you—”
“Hannibal,” Alana cut in, causing his ire to rise yet again and make him seriously consider adding her to his rolodex, “could you call me first? As a professional courtesy.”
He paused, only slightly, to make her believe he was considering it. “I will act in the best interest of my family. Good day.” He hung up the line and considered for the longest of moments.
A different sort of hunger than his desire for Will rose inside him. He always attempted to keep it in check, especially since his sister had given him custody of Klara, but the hunger had been present in his gut since that winter when his parents had been murdered. It had only increased after he killed his captor and ate his flesh raw and persisted once he lost his memories and ended in a Lithuanian orphanage with no memory of his name or his people.
Perhaps he had a different meal he might prepare after all… but would that kind of meat, of a succubus, sicken his dearest Klara and his beloved husband?
The thought carried him through going home and the initial preparations for dinner. He sizzled bacon made from a baker who looked at Klara with lust when he gave her a sugar cookie she had not asked for. He made pancakes with flour from wheat he ground himself in the basement, that had once been a cage for impromptu prisoners before Klara came to live with him. The bars had been taken out and given away for scrap metal, but the place was still cold and soundproofed, and no place for children, small dogs, or husbands. The butter was from a local farm, the melon imported from warmer climates, and when he squeezed the oranges into juice, he heard the back door click open.
He had left the house unalarmed and unlocked.
Abigail enjoyed her meal, talked about needing a father, and if Hannibal understood her deeper meaning, then she never realized.
When Will arrived home with Klara three hours later it was to find the dining room spotless and Hannibal making sausage in the kitchen.
“This is unlike you,” Will greeted, giving Hannibal an absent kiss in greeting, speaking of both comfort and familiarity. “I didn’t know you ate sausage, let alone made it.”
“I store it for soups and the like,” Hannibal agreed, pausing to wipe off Abigail’s blood from his hands. “But this is for Gabija or perhaps some of the neighborhood animals. It’s coarser, better for animal than human digestion.”
“So it’s not good enough for a protein scramble?” Will teased, putting down his pink traveling mug.
“Only when small ears are not listening,” Hannibal teased, reaching out and pulling Will in for a long kiss.
Of course, the small family had breakfast for supper, the batter already prepared and ready, the orange juice squeezed, the bacon ready to cook. They ate, however, at the kitchen counter to complete the effect, and not in the formal dining room where Abigail had eaten her last meal.
Two days later when Will was reading, his head in Hannibal’s lap, his cell phone rang with Livin La Vida Loca as ringtone.
Hannibal smirked, having programmed that in over a month earlier.
Will just rolled his eyes, clearly having gotten a call from Alana before, and answered. Hannibal ran his fingers through Will’s hair during the short phone call, and continued when Will hung up. “Well?”
“Abigail Hobbs is officially a missing person. I didn’t even realize she had run away.”
That was interesting as Alana should have reached out to him again given the seriousness of the situation. Hannibal’s fingers continued to stroke through Will’s hair, causing his husband to sigh and stretch slightly, almost like a cat. “Well, we’ll just have to make sure we continue to alarm the doors, not that she would know where we live.”
“Hmm,” Will sighed, thinking no more about it.
Neither, of course, did Hannibal once a sensation of calm came over him at the fact that he had successfully protected his family from this latest threat.
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