Title: The Dinner Party
Author: Saydria Wolfe
Characters: pre-Hannibal/Will Graham
Prompt: Rule 63! – always a girl Will Graham
Word Count: 1567
Warning: No beta, implied cannibalism, this one might come down because I reserve the right to expand it
Summary: Will is an awkward little snowflake, Hannibal is charmed.
When Alana RSVP’s to his first dinner party in two years with a plus one, Hannibal is surprised.
When she showes up with a woman wearing what he knows to be one of Alana’s own -older and unfavored- dresses, he’s confused.
He’s thoroughly aware of Alana’s pansexuality. They’ve discussed sexualities on both professional and personal levels so her showing up with a woman is not the surprise so much as her showing up with someone at all. Specifically, her showing up with someone other than him.
Alana has been trying to induce him to ‘make a move’ for years now and while he’s not uninterested, he’s having fun drawing out the game. Waiting for it to be something he can use to his advantage. To suddenly lose? And to a previously unknown suitor?
That is unacceptable.
“Alana,” he greets her as he enters the sitting room to invite everyone to be seated.
“Hannibal!” She smiles. It’s the same open and flirtatious smile she’s given her since she started their little game and he can see now that this too is just a new play. She is showing him the wrong one to help him see her as the right one. And she’s using a woman that considers her a friend to do this.
“May I be introduced to your companion?”
“Of course! Dr. Hannibal Lecter, meet my friend, Willow Graham. Will, Dr. Lecter.”
Will Graham. As in the profiler with pure empathy. No wonder Chilton’s been hovering despite Alana’s social no-trespassing sign.
“A pleasure to meet you, Ms. Graham.”
Ms. Graham nods at him absently but accepts his hand to shake. Her obvious disinterest and discomfort are strangely alluring.
“Surgeon?” she asks, glancing from his hand to his chin.
“In a former life, perhaps. Now I am but a humble psychiatrist.”
She snorts and meets his gaze around ill-fitting glasses frames. She blinks, blinks again, and tips her head so that the frames are no longer between them. “You left off dissecting human bodies to dissect human psyches.”
She tilts her head and focuses like she’s trying to be sure of what she’s seeing. She opens her mouth to comment but instead stops and pulls her hand from his grip.
How rude. Hannibal is charmed.
“Come,” He says, offering her his arm.
She takes it with a show of reluctance and he turns to speak to the room. “Dinner is served.”
He proceeds to personally escort Ms. Graham to his dining room table and seats her in Alana’s place to his right, unceremoniously bumping Alana down a peg to the seat labeled for her guest.
Alana is not amused but Hannibal is and Ms. Graham’s flush as he tucks her in is the most delightful thing he’s seen in an age.
“Why a dinner party?” Will asks, taking in the plating in a way that suggests she would rather be at a crime scene as his staff bustles busily around the seated table.
“Baltimore Opera has acquired a new diva, of which I am an avid fan. And when Marsella here,” he indicates the woman on his left. “Offered a private show for myself and a few guests, I simply had to make an occasion of it.”
“I’ve never been to the opera,” Will confesses directly to the diva’s cameo necklace.
Marsella smiles, obviously as charmed as he is by the other woman’s awkwardness. “We are opening Carmen in two weeks. You simply must come.
Ms. Graham’s eyes go wide, her face goes pale, and she looks faint at the suggestion.
Honestly, killing Marsella’s predecessor has to be one of the best decisions he’s ever made.
The profiler starts to stammer some excuse, Hannibal steps in quickly. “It would be my pleasure to take you. Opening night.”
Will flushes with what he thinks might be pleasure and struggles not to gape but the diva is beaming at them. “I’ll arrange backstage passes, shall I? You can see all the magic, before and after the show.”
“That would be perfect. If you’ll excuse me.” Hannibal stands, silently reminding himself to be careful. Regardless of how fetching she looks both flushed and pale it simply would not do to end their evening early by inducing a headache in his dear Will.
Seeing he has everyone’s attention, Hannibal raises his glass. “Before we begin you must all be warned: Nothing here is vegetarian. Bon Appetit.”
The music room on the second floor of his house is of course the only room with the appropriate acoustics for a performer such as Marsella though the room had to be altered for his guests’ comfort and to add a proper staging area. The two weeks he’d had to prepare had been more than enough time to clean out the room, acquire and arrange a half dozen suitable couches, and redecorate.
On top of acquiring and preparing the meal, it had been a joyful challenge.
Not that anyone will ever know the lengths to which he has gone as he’s never allowed guests beyond the ground floor of his house but there is a flicker across young Will’s face, a silent glance his direction that says she sees the effort and is appropriately moved, if not actually grateful.
Hannibal seats Will on his couch at the center of the couch semi-circle as Marsella sweeps into the center performance area. Once everyone is settled, she boldly jumps into a piece from Carmen. For Will, obviously.
Will listens raptly. At first. The she slowly starts to list his direction, giving him more and more of her weight until her head rests on his shoulder.
He stares down at her, shocked and appalled until he realizes. She’s fallen asleep.
Will Graham, empath and profiler, famous for being socially awkward and physically uncomfortable with other people has fallen asleep on him, Il Mostro, the world’s most dangerous and prolific serial killer. Hannibal boggles.
Marsella ends her performance on a soft note, watching the two of them gently. Applause begins and Will stirs but Alana intercedes with more grace than Hannibal expected, getting people out of his house. Which is good. Because Hannibal has absolutely no intention of standing and possibly waking the magical creature resting on his shoulder, manners be damned.
He does adjust her slightly, bringing his arm around her back and drawing her head to his chest. Her hair is so much softer than it looks and the green of her dress contrasts so nicely against pale her skin.
Quickly he creates a room in his mind palace strictly for this moment. So that he can revisit it again and again.
When he returns to the waking world, Alana is standing alone before them. Her face is a study in contradictions. Hope and joy at her friend finding something so good for her. Jealousy that the good thing is Hannibal whom she wanted for herself. Confusion about Hannibal accepting -even encouraging- Will’s unintentional advances.
“I have never seen her do this.” Alana confesses softly. “She usually has trouble sleeping even in her own home but now-”
But now she’s sound asleep in a stranger’s house. She fell asleep surrounded by strangers, during musical performance of quite some volume.
“I would not deprive her of this.” Alana sighs sadly. “You’ll drive her back to Wolf Trap?”
“In the morning.” He agrees with a nod.
Alana nods back and turns. “I’ll see myself out.”
When he’s sure she’s gone, he strokes Will’s face. She wakes slowly, with a pleased hum and meets his gaze lazily.
“Would you like to continue this in a bed? I have several you may choose from.”
Will pushes away from him and stretches enticingly. “How about yours?” She asks, studiously not looking at him. “With you in it.”
For the first time in years beyond remembering, interest goes straight to his cock. He ignores it and stands, offering her his hand. “That can be arranged.”
Upstairs, wearing only the top of the pajamas he offered, she pushes back his duvet, crawls right across his side of the bed and flops down on her side. Hannibal has moved beyond charmed and straight into fascinated and he can’t find it within himself to be troubled.
She curls into him readily, sighs, and throws an arm across his body. “Your mind is so quiet.” She offers sleepily. “You are a very passionate man but your control is absolute. It’s insanely attractive.”
Hannibal feels himself preen internally. His control is absolute. The idea of being with someone that can see that, that can maybe see him. He didn’t even know he wanted such a thing but now he finds that he does.
“If I’d known serial killers were like this, I’d have started hunting you for a very different reason.” Hannibal blinks down at her in shock. Without opening her eyes, she pats his chest comfortingly. “The Ripper, right here.” A sigh. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell. If you want to do the sex in the morning, I’m down.”
There is so much in that statement he doesn’t know where to. No, he knows where to start. “I would much rather treat you to a whirlwind romance.”
“Okay.” She hums sleepily. “I’ve always wanted to see Paris.”
And she’s asleep.
Hannibal pulls her close. Hoping this is exactly what he thinks it is, he closes his eyes and holds tight. He has planning to do.
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