Summary: Will hasn't eaten meat since his dad died when he was a kid-hasn't been able to stomach it. It's not moral, it's just unappealing. Too bad his dad never gave him the name of his butcher.
He doesn't mind Hannibal's cooking, though, and if he could only remember to ask him who his butcher is...
Hannibal is simply curious how deeply Will's nature is buried. He'd almost missed seeing it himself.
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I don't know what I'm thinking. I have too many universes in my head.
The Vegetarian Option
Will doesn't eat meat.
He thinks the last time he ate meat and enjoyed it was probably back when he was a kid. When his dad was still alive, he thinks, and that seemed like such a long time ago; eons even, a whole lifetime away.
He ate fish—and he thanked any and all of the powers that be that he could still stomach it, but he was mostly vegetarian.
That's what he told people anyway.
It was the easiest way to get around having to politely starve when being served each cut, after all.
He had fond memories as a child of barbeques, roasts, chops, burgers and stir-fry's, whole meals revolving around whichever cut of meat his dad would get from his butcher. There was always meat for dinner, with leftovers and fish for breakfast and lunches, and he had an unfortunately vague sense memory of the smells that would waft from windows, smells that would call Will away from whichever game he was playing.
But then his dad died, and suddenly any sort of meat was awful.
Almost as bad as having to be around people.
His dad and he never had the money to spend eating out—and Will hadn't wanted to—but he'd never noticed how stomach churning the smells coming from deli's and diners were, never noticed how the smells from neighbors barbeques could smell so strongly of charcoal and souring musk. It must be something psychological, he'd thought at the time, but fish was still alright, and it was easier to get fish and mourn than it was to bring himself to any sort of doctor, so he'd left it.
Fishing was a way to feed himself and mourn his dad and remember him, anyway; a three for one action as it were. He learned how to fish from his dad, learned how to clean and prepare it, and those lessons were paired with how to fix boats. They travelled a lot, but fishing, fixing boats, and having meat dinners were constant.
On especially bad nights he thinks that if there was one thing he wished he could have asked his dad before he passed, it would be for the number for his best-kept secret.
But, whoever it was never called, didn't show to the small funeral, and was more than likely long gone by now.
So Will said he was vegetarian, and sometimes he got sneers from those who thought eating fish was cheating somehow, got scrunched eyebrows from people who really loved meat, and he had so many more demons in his mind than the thoughts of vapid and vicious vegetarians, of baffled omnivores that it really wasn't an issue.
He bought meat for his dogs, being a great believer that kibble wasn't the only thing they should be eating (especially since they regularly came from the streets), and it didn't have quite the stink that cooked and processed meats made for people had, so he could handle it.
Turkey necks and beef and pork knuckles went into the freezer for special snacks for his slow-growing pack, and one of the crisping drawers in his fridge went towards the scraps and fatty bits he's gotten from the local butcher, all sealed up in plastic bags.
He thinks perhaps it's his willingness to still buy meat for his dogs that has people questioning.
It's why he's perfectly happy with the fact that he doesn't know people well enough for them to know his eating habits, so he doesn't actually have to put up with questions.
After a while, it even became… known, he supposes, that you didn't try to feed Will Graham.
He has vague memories of being an active child, lots of running and playing in fields, forested bits, climbing shipyard while his father worked. He was still active now—he hiked with his dogs, searched out traps left out on his land and closing them, and when his thoughts bounced off and bruised the inside of his skull he ran through the training exorcises from when he was in the police force. But he had nowhere near the same level of energy or health as he did when he was a kid.
He figured it was probably due to a slightly unhealthy diet—you can't entirely substitute out meat with fish, after all.
So he might always look a little wane, a little underfed, but things had gotten to the point where people just learned not to try and feed him. The "I packed too much for lunch" excuses petered out under his consistent social awkwardness and faintly ill expression.
The Nichols' looked at him with sad, tired eyes, and with the scent of reheated meatloaf in the air bringing bile to the back of his throat, he asked about their cat.
He didn't like cats much, but he has to give it to the little guy when he's sniffing under Elise Nichols' door.
It's a relief to have the thick smell of blood at the back of his throat, enough that he can keep Mr. Nichols away from his daughter's body.
The migraine he gets after… socializing with Katz, Zeller, and Price, after being pushed about by Jack is intense. He doesn't know if it is solely from the interactions, or if any of it is from the great wall of whydidyoudoit and howareyousorryyoukilledher he's getting from the case, or even if it's from the noxious smells from the Nichols' kitchen…
But it's relieved somewhat by Winston.
The angry tight feeling behind his eyes and pounding through his mind relaxes at the sight, the click of nails against the road, and by the time he gets back to his place, gets sausage, gets back to where he saw him, and eventually back to his place with Winston in tow, his mind is calm.
He knows dogs.
He knows his dogs, particularly, and he thinks Winston will fit in just fine.
Elise Nichols fits into his nightmares just fine, too.
Jack Crawford, in fact, is a different kind of nightmare, but he fits too.
He's loud, and angry, angry even when he's looking calm, and Will can see irritation tick under his skin when he can stand to look at him. Jack shouts and rages, and Will can't handle that. Not after he quit the police force, not after he took up talking at students to replace conversing with people, not since—
Jack was on a mission to get more out of Will than Will thought he had inside; Jack wanted to scrape him hollow, scrape out his heart thumping with fear, scrape out his twisting guts, leave him empty for Jack to fill with glorious purpose and drive. The shell of his skin replaced by armor of his imagination.
But, he wanted to shout, it wasn't going to happen. It wasn't going to happen.
And then the autopsy, and his mind feels scraped clear in a way that Jack hasn't managed.
"Huh, why would he cut it out if he was just going to sew it back in again?"
"There's something wrong with the meat."
"Yeah he's—eating them."
The sterility of the autopsy bay and the tang of blood weighs heavy at the back of his throat and on his tongue, and no one, not even Jack, tries to get him to eat anything.
The article Freddie Lounds writes is tasteless—if his choice of words reminds Jack to forget about feeding him, then all the better—and it's Jack's eyes he looks to, betrayed, when he's psychoanalyzed by the stranger Jack brought in.
He looked charmed at Will's awkward and sub-par socializing skills, his eyes alight with interest that made Will snarl while making his escape—he wasn't lying.
He did have a class.
The other man got Will's hackles up, and he kept his eyes alternatively downturned or closed the whole class to avoid glaring into the darkness.
The man was charmed—charmed—by Will's manner, and the last man to show interest was the one who got him into this nightmare of a case, who set Will tracking a sensitive psychopath with a taste for human flesh…
So having this man, this Doctor Hannibal Lecter, knocking at his motel room door with Tupperware in hand…
His appearance at the motel was almost as much as a surprise as the smell coming from the Tupperware he was carrying.
It smelled… good.
The containers must have a crack in them, for him to smell it.
"A protein scramble to start the day," Doctor Lecter was saying, "Some eggs, some sausage…"
The sausage fairly melts in his mouth, the flavour coating his palate and taste buds, and suddenly he's starving.
This, he thinks, this was what I've been missing.
The noise of appreciation he makes without meaning to seems to please Dr. Lecter, a small smile tucking itself into the corner of his mouth even before Will compliments and thanks him.
And then there's small talk.
Only it's not as awkward as it usually is, likely due to Dr. Lecter's experience as a psychiatrist, though Will can't keep himself from deliberately keeping his side of things stilted. He focuses on the eggs, saving the sausage for last, savoring how the juices from the meat had lent flavour to the scramble, and he means it when he says that Lecter doesn't interest him.
He's interested in who his butcher is—but that's not the same thing.
He's interested in where he learned to cook like this—and that's closer, but still not…
A much-neglected laugh is pulled from his throat mid swallow when gives his insight on how Jack sees him—because he can see it himself now that it's mentioned—and talking about the most recent case is startlingly easy. Lecter seems genuinely pleased that the, the profiler's block he'd been experiencing in regards to The Minnesota Shrike has lifted, and his expression doesn't shift when Will says the copy-cat killing was practically gift wrapped for Will.
(no, not practically, it was, and it was a little, a lot, flattering interesting to think of a crime scene gifted to Will, made with him in mind if not dedicated in design. If Lecter hears any of it in Will's voice, sees any of his thoughts in his face and movements, his expression still doesn't shift, and he's a little more interesting for it)
He is so very easy to talk to, even after the strange (flattering, interesting, poetic, lovely, insightful) comparison between a Mongoose and Will, and it's odd that Dr. Lecter takes pleasure in Will enjoying his food.
But while Will is lingering over the last mouthfuls of sausage, the stilted silence smoothing to something comfortable between them, Dr. Lecter watches with smiles in his eyes and Will never gets around to asking him about his butcher.
The woman on the phone pricks at his patience, annoyance curling behind his eye lids even as whatever cologne Dr. Lecter wore soothed his senses. He'd been surrounded by it, suffocated in the most pleasant way, on the drive over, and he'd been annoyed at him for it. Alana had made him annoyed at first, too, because her perfume was soft and flowery, more an oil at her wrists and neck than the noxious cloud most women wore like a shield. She also didn't pry, didn't try for private conversation to pick apart his already fractured brain.
The comparison was annoying, too.
Will didn't want anyone else in his life, certainly not Dr. Lecter with his delicious food and good company. He didn't want him, or his cologne, but mostly he wanted the woman to stop gossiping.
He ignored her question.
One of the resignation letters left a number, but no address. First difference he'd noticed so far… He'd also missed work for days at a time.
"Garrett Jacob Hobbs?"
When she says she 'doesn't keep company with these people' the annoyance clenching in his chest gains claws; he remembers people like her from when he was a kid. He and his father were 'these people'. People didn't care if their kids played manhunt with the boat repairman's son, so long as they didn't bring him home for dinner.
When, while moving the boxes of paperwork to the trunk of the car, Dr. Lecter tipped papers into the woman's face, Will isn't sorry that she gets a paper cut right by her jaw. It's petty, he knows, but doesn't care.
He doesn't like her.
He doesn't know her, not really, but he knows enough, and doesn't care enough to look at her and see more.
Garrett Jacob Hobbs, though…
Will doesn't like him, but he knows him. Holds his hands over his wife's slashed throat and feels the rough edge to the cut—quick and uncaring, a hunter slashing the throat of a kept animal before turning to the doe in the forest.
Her hands clench on his arm, slick with her own blood, then slacken with blood loss, and he can't focus on her when Hobbs is off to hunt his Golden Ticked.
His Golden Hind.
Hobbs holds his daughter, struggling, breathing through the rapture of catching his prey, and even with Will appearing in the kitchen, even with blood on his hands and gun steady, he still savors the moment he's been avoiding working up to avoiding all this time.
Wills hand tremble, blood slick on the grip, and his sim wavers for only one moment—
Something foreignfamiliarstrange in him resonates in what he sees-hears-feels from Hobbs—
And that's when Hobbs pulls the knife against his daughter's throat, an animal sound leaving his throat even before the first of eight bullets finds home in his body.
He lunges for his daughter again—
Another shot, and then again, and then again, and again, again, again—
She's bleeding out, too, like her mother, the cut is smooth and clean under his palm, but shallow. A cut made against a struggling beast—
and he does—n't. He doesn't.
He sees too much, he sees too little, and he doesn't see what Hobbs does, but he does see Hobbs. Eight bullets, hardly half a round, and his heart shudders and aches for the nameless girl under his hands, because she should have been one before this. He knows. She should have been gone—
Strong—stronger—hands replace his own around her neck. He's panting, adrenalin coursing through his body. There's blood on—everything. There's blood on everything. It's on his hands, his arms, his face, thick on his tongue and sliding down his throat like honey. He sees Dr. Lecter—is he the right kind of Doctor for this?—through a mist of blood, as though the very air is made thick with the lifeblood of a killer, and he can't blink but he realizes it's blood splatter on his glasses.
He breathes in pants, short bursts until all he can smell is blood, blood and Dr. Lecter's cologne, and a spicy sweet smell that must be the girl.
He swallows convulsively, licks his lips and ends up with more blood in his mouth.
He shudders with feeling.
His heart beats too loud, and it doesn't calm until after he sees Lecter in the hospital with…
Her name is Abigail.
He dozes, eventually, Hannibal's cologne and what remains of Abigail's perfume blocking out the antiseptic of the hospital, and just breathes.
Warnings ahead: Cannibalism, descriptions of cannibalism, certain people enjoying their cannibalistic tendencies, sex (rating will change, warning will be given before chapter), killing, supernatural cannibalism, and...
Will not realising that he was simply raised to enjoy a certain 'cut' of meat.
Chapter 3 will be Hanni's pov and should clear up some things.
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Hope you enjoyed!