Dexter watched the imposing man sit at the table in front of him and instantly reach for the napkin. He was bold and powerful, a threatening feeling of being outmatched began to trickle into Dexter's brain. Breathing to regain control, he smiled at the man and held out his hand.
"Dexter. Dexter Morgan."
"Good to meet you Mr Morgan. My name is Hannibal. Hannibal Lecter." Lecter shook the offered hand politely and sat back in his seat, a little disappointed. He had been intrigued to meet the Blood Spatter Analyst after he had been set up on a blind date by a mutual friend. Dressed so casually and carelessly, Dexter Morgan was nothing like he had expected.
"Good food here." Dexter smiled as he watched Lecter inspect the menu intently. "This your first blind date?"
"With a man. Yes. I have to confess, I am very intrigued." Lecter made eye contact briefly and then resumed perusing the menu.
"So, you work in forensics?" Dexter asked.
"I offer my expertise in various cases." Lecter looked up and met Dexter's intense gaze. "Sometimes the cases are very, very cold."
"I can imagine." Dexter choked back a chuckle and folded his arms on the table.
"Do you mind, Mr Morgan. One thing I cannot tolerate is rudeness." Lecter's eyes flashed with anger as Dexter shrugged and grinned manically in reply.
"I don't imagine you do. Tolerate rudeness." Dexter grinned and called the waiter over to the table. "I'll have steak and a beer. What will you have, Mr Lecter?"
"Interesting. We are dining at an exquisite French restaurant … and you order steak?" Lecter's eyes flashed with annoyance.
"I'm a creature of habit." Dexter admitted. "I like my steak."
Lecter sighed. "I will have the Salade Maison and Filet De Sole accompanied with a refreshing chardonnay."
The waiter nodded and took the menus away as the two men eyed each other across the table.
"You are an interesting man, Mr Morgan." Lecter confessed. "Unique among your peers. Most Blood Spatter Analysts are … not so … buff?"
Dexter laughed. "I work out. Pays to stay in shape."
"Of course. It is essential to your work." Lecter looked at Dexter intensely, as if working out the soul behind the eyes.
"Will Graham. How's he doing?" Dexter asked as the waiter brought out a bottle of beer and a bottle of chardonnay. "I hear he's on trial for murder. Can't believe it myself. Will never seemed like a killer to me."
"Killers never seem like killers. Especially serial killers. You should know this by now, Mr Morgan." Lecter eyed Morgan with disdain.
The meal came and the two men tucked in. There was a frosty aura around them both as Dexter chomped down on his steak and dribbled sauce all over the tablecloth. Lecter ate with delicate precision, his ire increasing with every mouthful Dexter took.
At the end of their meal, Lecter put on his great coat and turned to Dexter, a subtle gleam in his eyes. "Would you like to come back to mine, Mr Morgan."
"Ooo, sex. Haven't punctured the flesh for quite a while." Dexter's eyes glistened at the prospect.
Lecter smiled grimly. "You make it sound … so sordid, Mr Morgan."
"Not at all. I like fucking. Fucking is good." Dexter grinned at Lecter and linked arms with the man much to his embarrassment. "Where do you live?"
The drive took about half an hour. Half an hour of Morgan's incessant babbling about blood spatter and anal play. It was almost with relief that Lecter turned into his gated driveway and parked, eager to be away from the man. Already his thoughts were turning to the poker on his hearth and how he would penetrate Dexter Morgan in a way he wasn't going to be expecting.
The sadistical thought made Hannibal gleeful as he walked inside with Dexter hanging off his arm, giggling hysterically. Oh, the death of this man would be all the sweeter for Lecter.
"Please, make yourself at home." Lecter tried to untangle his arm from the other man's, preparing to make a beeline for the poker.
It was, with great surprise, when he felt the slight jab in his neck followed by the sensation of floating and heavy limbs. "What, what … have you done?"
Lecter fell at Dexter's feet, looking up in amazement at the now-grim countenance of his date.
"You're not the only serial killer, Doctor Lecter." Morgan's voice had a deadly edge. "I've been watching you for weeks. You are very clever at covering your tracks and shifting the blame onto Will Graham ... genius."
Lecter detected a note of admiration in Morgan's voice as he teetered on the brink of consciousness. "Very … clever … move … Morgan …"
As Dexter covered the unconscious naked man in clear wrap he smiled as a sudden memory overwhelmed him. A memory of Will Graham, locked and in chains, looking at Morgan with tearful eyes.
The hunt began shortly after this event, and Morgan allowed himself a broad smile.
Three weeks earlier ...
"Why did you call for me?" Dexter had asked as he watched Will Graham sitting so patiently in his cell. "I'm a Blood Spatter Analyst … not a counsellor."
"I know who you are, Dexter Morgan. Killer of killers." Graham had looked into Morgan's eyes deeply. "I know exactly who you are."
"What do you want?" Morgan asked with a voice edged with venom. "It isn't wise to call me out. Especially when you are trapped in a cell and covered in chains."
"I am not going to call attention to your …. hobby. I merely want you to look into someone who may be of interest to you."
"Who is that?" Dexter moved closer to the cell. He looked at Will squarely in the eyes and found nothing but truth reflected back at him. Will rose from his seat and moved to the edge of the cell. Both men were close, separated only by bars.
"Doctor Hannibal Lecter." Will breathed as he edged closer to the bars. "I think you'll find his company ….. stimulating." A ghost of smile edged onto Graham's face as Dexter edged closer. "My gift to you, Killer of Killers. May you bring down Goliath."
Their lips touched between the bars as Will's voice grew fainter. Soft, barely even a kiss, but Dexter's brain fogged at the contact. "Take him out, Dexter Morgan."
Dexter shook his head and stepped away from the cell. A small, twisted smile played on his lips. "And in return …."
Will Graham smiled grimly. "Me. I know more about your nature than anyone on this earth ever will. I can connect with killers on a personal level. I know you."
Dexter felt the pang of loneliness after being alone for so long. The logging community he had stayed with for three years after Deb's death had done nothing to ease his pain. The thought of a connection was like a fire that spread from his brain through his body and circled his stomach like devil's wings.
"Deal." Morgan turned away. "You'll be out before the month is up."
"And Lecter?" Will Graham's eyes gleamed with hatred.
"Will be found dead and implicated in all the Chesapeake Murders." Dexter spoke softly, no hint of emotion in his voice.
"Killer with a human soul. A killer that can only kill other killers. Where do I fit in?" Will Graham asked, his voice broken and sore.
"I'll find a place for you." Dexter promised solemnly. "When you are released, come to my home address. You can live with me for as long as you want."
Dexter walked away as Will Graham began to chuckle darkly. "See you later, lover."
"See you later, Will Graham." Dexter walked away, his thoughts in turmoil.
A new hunt was beginning and he was excited and thrilled by the prospect of netting such a valuable prey.
And in the end …. after the hunt … there was Will Graham.
The one person in the world that might possibly understand and accept Dexter as a person.