"-and your assignment for tonight is to finish your analyses of the pictures I showed you. Don't forget that these pictures have not been released to the public at any time, so there's no point in trying to search the internet for the origin. And believe me, people, if you don't give damned good reasons for why you think the killer is whoever you think it is, I will tear your paper right in half and give you a zero. Dismissed."
Will finished scribbling down everything that the professor had just said, and then he quickly packed away all of his things, and waited another few seconds for everyone else to leave so he wouldn't get caught up in the tangle of people before he headed out as well. Today's lesson had been quite interesting, but Will already knew he didn't need to do any particular research to figure out who the killer was of the gruesome crime scene in the photos he'd been assigned. Each student had gotten a different set of photos, and Will suspected that some of them were actually impossible to solve, just to teach the students a lesson about how not every criminal would be caught.
But Will had gotten off easy. When the photos had first been distributed last week, the person sitting next to him had glanced at Will's assignment and gone green in the face before telling him that he'd need a lot of luck to figure out who was behind the crime. When Will had glanced at his classmate's assignment at the time, he'd immediately realized that some of the photos had been faked. He wasn't sure exactly what the professor was playing at, but he knew that he would be alright, and that's what mattered.
Admittedly, it had taken Will longer than he would've liked to realize who his assigned killer was. But after staring at the photos for long enough, taking them in as the art works that they were, he realized that they belonged to the same hands that had created other, similar art works lately.
There was no name for the killer yet, because the police weren't actually very intelligent, and seemed to think that all the bodies were brought about by different killers. True, they all had different styles and designs, but even so, they all had the same feeling to them, and Will had even gotten a pass from one of his professors to visit a couple of the crime scenes. They hadn't been as fresh by the time he got to them, but it was better than nothing, and he knew they were all the same person.
Of course he hadn't bothered saying anything about it to anyone else. The most likely scenario was that they wouldn't even believe him, since he was just a grad student, not an experienced cop or agent of anything. And they probably wouldn't have very much confidence in him if he told them that he saw the same imaginary stag at each of the crime scenes. And then on the off chance that they did believe him, they'd ask him how he knew, and he'd have to launch into an awkward explanation of his many deficiencies, which were none of anyone else's business. And, of course, the main reason he said nothing was because it could help the police get closer to actually catching the murderer, and that's the last thing Will wanted.
It's not like he had any particular wish to see innocent people get hurt. But he couldn't deny just how beautiful those bodies were, and he could see how much talent and effort had been put into making each scene look absolutely perfect. Will had a slightly unhealthy admiration for the person who'd created those scenes, and he didn't want them captured. Or maybe he did, but he at least wanted to be able to meet them and speak with them in person first. And then he'd let whatever happened after that just happen.
And Will knew without a doubt that the photos he'd been assigned belonged to a scene created by his mystery killer. But he still hadn't even started working on his paper yet, because he wasn't sure what angle to approach it with. Did the professor also suspect that all those people had been killed at the same hands? Did the professor know Will was weirdly interested in the case? Was this some kind of test for Will to prove that he was really on the side of law enforcement? Would he be taken seriously if he explained his theory about there being a single killer, or would he fail the assignment? It was a tricky situation to figure out.
After moping around in his tiny apartment for a while, Will decided that he needed to find the killer and get answers directly from that person before he could really decide on what he wanted to do. Of course, trying to approach someone who had possibly killed eleven people in a single year, and possibly more if they were really as intelligent as they seemed to be, was a bit dangerous.
Will pulled out the profile of the killer that he'd been working on for a while, and checked every detail before deciding not to change anything. The killer was most likely a man, just based on statistics alone, but it wasn't a certainty. They would have to be intelligent and have a medical background to surgically remove certain organs. They would have to be appreciative of the fine arts to pose the bodies the way that they did. Will wasn't quite sure why anyone would keep organs of all things as trophies, but he knew it wasn't his place to judge. The killer would probably have to live alone to avoid detection if they went out that often, but would be smart enough to have an alibi for each murder. Someone with lots of friends, even if they didn't actually care about any of the people they spent time with. They were probably a bit on the older side, since Will had dug through old files and found cases that seemed similar from years ago, and suspected he'd find more if he knew where the killer had lived before they'd come here.
Unfortunately, that wasn't really a lot to work with. There were plenty of smart, older, single men who were doctors. And a lot of profiles for a lot of unknown killers sounded pretty damn similar.
Will sighed, annoyed at his inability to find his killer, and decided to go for a walk to try and clear his head. He had to hand in an analysis of his photos in two days, and he hadn't even started yet. He needed to figure out how he was going to come at this one, and then he'd be able to work from there. Will carefully stowed his profile away again, and then grabbed a jacket before heading out. It wasn't too chilly out right now, but Will knew that he had the tendency to lose track of time, and didn't want to be wandering without any protection after the sun went down.
Even though he was just a broke college student, Will couldn't resist occasionally trying to enjoy some of the finer things in life. They weren't even usually that great, but there were lots of things that would at least make him feel a little bit better. He headed to an area of shops that generally seemed aimed towards the more pretentious, and rich, clientele.
Will wandered around for a while, peering in through the store windows to see if there was anything really worth blowing so much money on. He had a job as an assistant in the campus library, but it only paid minimum wage, and the majority of that went towards his share of the rent.
After a little bit of time, he ducked into an antique book store. He loved browsing this particular place, and was usually able to find some pretty neat little treasures. He ended up finding three different books that he'd love to own, but knew that realistically he could barely even afford one. He spent some time deliberating on it before finally choosing which to purchase, and tried not to actually wince when he handed over his card to pay for the book.
As he left the shop, Will felt a strange prickling feeling all down his spine, and it was like all the little hairs on the back of his neck were suddenly standing upright. He furrowed his eyebrows and slowly swept his eyes across the area, trying to take in as much of it as he could. There were a few people out and about, though it was late enough now that there weren't many shoppers left. But he'd gotten the oddest feeling just now. Maybe it was nothing, but Will knew by now that if he was going to risk trusting anything in this world, it would be his instincts.
But if there was nothing there to catch, then his instincts were useless, and Will couldn't do anything but head home. He turned a bit too fast to see someone else coming down the sidewalk, and their shoulders ended up brushing past each other. The other man paused for a moment, and Will was quick to issue an apology while taking in every detail about the man that he could. He was tall, sophisticated, dressed nicely but like it was normal for him, had ash blonde hair, and strangely red eyes. The man kept walking, but Will's eyes widened as he realized he could see his stag walking right alongside that stranger. Sure, on a purely aesthetic basis, the man could fit the profile, but that wasn't really enough to know anything. And yet Will's instincts clearly believed that this man was somehow important to the case.
He knew it was wrong, but Will couldn't resist the urge to follow the man down the street. He stayed far enough back that he wouldn't be spotted thanks to the growing darkness. He didn't even think about what he'd do if the man got into a car and started driving, and instead decided to listen to his gut, and follow the guy.
They walked for a while, until they were far away from the friendly shopping square and all it's streetlights, leaving them in complete darkness. Will could barely make out the silhouette of the man he was following, but he knew that he couldn't just stop now. He was already stalking a complete stranger, so he way as well at least go all the way to figure out why his mind singled out this man in particular.
Eventually they were back in an area with street lights, and Will was wary to continue forward when he knew that it would be far too obvious that he was following. He paused just outside one of the circles of warm light, and then looked around to see if he even had any idea of where he'd wound up. He hadn't been paying much attention to any of the street signs he'd passed, like some kind of amateur.
Will let out a very soft sigh, and then looked around to see if the man planned on stopping anytime soon. But Will couldn't see the man anywhere. Had he already gone into one of the fancy looking homes that were spaced apart from each other all down this street? Will swore under his breath, and decided that there was nothing else he could do tonight. He could come back here in a few days to try and figure out where the man had gone.
This was disappointing, but Will accepted the temporary defeat, and turned to head back the way he'd come. He was only able to take a few steps before he suddenly felt one hand pressed tightly over his mouth and an arm wrapped around his stomach, strong enough to pick him up off the ground. Will struggled and squirmed around, but whoever had just grabbed him was apparently a lot stronger than Will.
Since he clearly wasn't going to get out of this by struggling, Will forced his entire body to just relax, though it was a difficult task when he had so much adrenaline coursing through him, and his natural instincts suggested that he run the hell away from here as fast as humanly possible. It did help that he could see his stag standing right in front of him, which meant that the man holding him had to be his killer. There was no other explanation for this. Except for that maybe Will had just snapped and gone crazy, but Will didn't really want to consider that as a likely possibility.
His captor seemed slightly surprised by the way Will just gave up on trying to get away, but only tightened his grip in response, too smart to make a silly mistake that would allow Will to flee from here. He leaned closer to whisper into Will's ear. "You chose the wrong person to pursue tonight." No, Will was pretty sure that he'd chosen the exact right person. He shook his head, but gently so that it wouldn't be mistaken for more random struggling. He hoped that his captor would talk more, since they had such a nice sounding accent, though Will couldn't place it for the life of him. He got his wish when the man continued a moment later. "Do you know who I am?"
Then the hand was slowly removed from his mouth, but Will was under no illusion that he would be able to scream or shout for help quicker than this man would be able to kill him. Will admired the killer for a reason, after all. "I've been looking for you," Will responded in an equally quiet whisper. There was no point in lying or beating around the bush. "I'm a fan of your work. I never understood what true beauty was until the first time I saw one of your scenes."
The arm around his stomach tightened even more, to the point where Will felt like he couldn't even breath. "You claim to know who I am, and yet I've no idea who you are," the killer breathed out.
Will realized that the killer would never directly admit to his crimes, at least not to some random person who'd been following him around. The killer was clever, and was bound to dance around the subject for as long as possible. Will didn't need a confession to know that he was right, though, and since he wasn't planning on turning the man over to the police, he couldn't think of any reason that he would ever need a confession. "I'm a student. It's my last semester. I just… admire you. Everyone thinks that all those bodies were unrelated, but I know you killed them all." It was strange how confident he was able to sound even when talking to someone he knew to be a serial killer.
"What makes you think that?"
Will struggled to think properly with the way his breathing was cut off, but he knew he had to explain everything so that the killer would understand. "They were all so different, but similar enough to anyone looking. Missing organs in all of them should've been the most obvious clue, but no one else seems to think so. And they all…" he trailed off for a moment as he got lost in thought of what it felt like to be at those crime scenes. "They were all pigs," he finally whispered. "Beneath you. You wanted them to know that they were beneath you. You wanted them to hurt. You took away parts of their physical selves, and then took away all of their dignity with the way you left them behind. And what you left behind was beautiful."
The arm around his stomach slowly loosened up, though didn't release him completely. He was gently turned around to face his captor, the same man he'd been following for longer than he'd bothered to keep track of since starting. It was too dark where they were standing to get a very good look at the man's face, but the glimpse he'd gotten earlier had been enough to make Will's stomach twist up in knots. "Who are you?" the killer asked with a strange mix of awe and wariness.
"I told you, I'm a student. All I've wanted for a while now is just the chance to meet you. That's all, I swear. When I realized how many cold cases belonged to the same killer, I didn't even tell anyone, because I didn't want to see you get caught."
The man tilted his head, and moved his hands so that they were resting gently on Will's shoulders, though Will wasn't stupid enough to think he'd be able to bolt away even now. It wasn't like he wanted to run though, so he didn't mind. "And who would you have told?"
Will sighed. "My professors most likely. I'm majoring in criminal justice. I have-" before he could finish his sentence, he was being slammed back into a hard brick wall, knocking the already precarious breath out of him.
"If I were who you seem to think I am, it would mean that I have gotten too careless. I am only human."
Will quickly shook his head. "But you're not! You're greater. Something more than the rest of us. You know it's true, that's why you see all those people as pigs, not as victims. Though for you to hold on to any piece of a pig doesn't make any sense…" he furrowed his eyebrows to think about what the killer could possibly need organic trophies for. Unless- they were pigs, and the parts that were taken- he gasped. "You eat them," he managed to choke out through his own surprise. "Oh my god." Eating human flesh was one of the biggest taboos out there, and apparently his killer had been doing it all along. As soon as he said the words out loud, he knew that he was right. It was the only thing that made sense, and this man would be too smart to keep trophies that could potentially be used as evidence against him.
Both of them were silent for a moment, until the killer let go of Will's shoulders, and took a very small step back. "I find myself at a loss of what I'm supposed to do. This is a quite unprecedented situation. And I'm not entirely sure that I should believe you."
Will could feel his stomach rolling around, but wasn't sure what to do to change the killer's mind. "Please, will you tell me your name? I'm Will Graham, and I live in apartment 3b in the crappy building on Western Ave."
The killer frowned. "Why would you tell me that?"
Surely the man had to be smart enough to realize it on his own, but probably wanted to hear it from Will himself just to get some strange delight out of it. "If I have to die young, I'd want it to be at your hands. I know that you would make me look beautiful in death, so it's okay. And now you know my name and my address and you can do whatever you want with that information. Unless you think that I just made that up. I swear, I'd do anything to prove to you that I mean you no harm, and just want to go on admiring you."
The man stared at him with confusion. "You make for quite the intriguing figure. Let's say that hypothetically I am the person you are searching for. Why are you so eager to prove yourself to me?"
Will hadn't exactly started the day planning on proving anything, but he understood the need for the question. "I've seen a lot of murderers, and I've understood all of them. But none of them have ever shown themselves to be anywhere near as interesting or talented as you are."
There was another moment of silence, and then the man took a small step back. "If you are truly a fan of… art work, then I'm sure you would have no problem making some of your own." Then he seemed to practically melt into the shadows, and Will knew that he had no chance of catching up to him now.
Make his own art work? That would mean killing someone. Will had imagined plenty of people being killed in his life, as an unfortunate side effect of his empathy combined with his chosen field. He'd often pictured himself as the one in the position to be doing the killing. But he'd never considered the idea of actually killing anybody for real. Though he had the odd feeling that getting away with it would be the more difficult aspect. That, and making a dead body into art to the point that his killer would acknowledge him for it.
But Will didn't think of himself as a quitter. He'd finally gotten the chance to meet the person he'd been hoping to meet for ages, and he wasn't going to let the man down. He wished he'd been given a name to call him, even if it was a fake, but he could appreciate the man's caution considering the fact that he didn't know anything about Will, not really.
Will's paper was due in two days, and he wanted to be able to have a candid talk with the killer before then, which meant he'd have to work fast. It would be impossible, though, if he wanted to avoid getting caught and put enough effort into it all to show that he cared. It meant he'd have to write his paper without any insight from the actual killer. Maybe that was for the best, though. He wouldn't want to accidentally write an analysis so good that the professor suspected him to the be the killer.
It was already late, and Will's legs were sore from all the waking around he'd done, so he called his roommate to come and give him a ride home. The woman was annoyed, but Will knew that she had a bit of a crush on him, and he had no problem using that to his advantage. Unfortunately, by the time he got home, all he could actually summon the energy to do was collapse onto his bed. He'd figure out the rest tomorrow.
Will passed his paper in on time with the rest of the class. He'd written it as if he'd never seen any other crime scene photos from that killer. He was honest about explaining why the victim had been completely random, and that the killer didn't even know them. He was confident that even if it wasn't the best thing he'd ever written, it would work.
Everyone in the class had to share the main ideas of their papers, and Will listened intently until he got what he needed. Someone who's case was made much easier by the fact that their killer had been arrested after the photos had been assigned. The suspect had posted bail and gone home, and was a rapist and a murderer. Will knew what he needed to do.
It wasn't difficult to find the man's home, though luckily, it seemed as though the reporters hadn't swarmed yet. He waited and watched for a couple of days, hoping that his killer wouldn't get too impatient with him. Will learned that his intended victim basically just stayed home all day everyday, and even got all of his groceries and supplies delivered straight to his door. He must've known that no one would want to see him out and about in public.
Will had never killed anyone before, but he just knew that he needed to do this with his hands, or it wouldn't feel right. He waited until he was sure his roommate wasn't going to leave her room again for the rest of the night, and then played some show on Netflix with the volume loud enough that his roommate would be able to hear it through their thin walls.
Then he went into the kitchen, moving very quietly, and wrapped his hands and arms in plastic wrap. It was uncomfortable, and he started sweating grossly before he even left the apartment building, but it was the best he could do with his current budget. He went to his victim's house, and easily jimmied the lock on the backdoor to get in. He was carrying a heavy stick he'd broken off of a random park tree the other day, and had already plucked all the leaves off and cleaned it of any dirt.
As soon as Will saw the man, he swung the stick as hard as he could to bash the man's head in, sending the guy sprawling down onto the ground with a loud grunt. Will dropped the stick, and carefully knelt down so that he wasn't actually touching the man anywhere, and then shoved his hands forward to wrap around the man's next. He struggled, but his movements were slow, probably from a combination of the alcohol he'd clearly been drinking, and the potential concussion Will had just given him.
He kept up the tight pressure around the man's next long after he'd stopped struggling, constantly glancing down at the watch he was wearing beneath the plastic wrap. When ten minutes had passed, Will knew for sure that the man had to be dead. But he didn't want there to be any chance of a potential revival if he were to somehow miraculously make his way to the hospital right away.
Will wandered into the man's kitchen, and grabbed the entire block of knives there. He went back to the living room, reached into his pocket to lay out a handful of pebbles on the carpet, then stabbed through the man's hands, feet, and neck, leaving each knife where it was. Then he stabbed three knives in a straight line down the man's stomach, to look something like the buttons on a fancy dinner jacket.
Reluctantly, Will pulled the man's pants down so that he could totally mutilate the genitals. Then he moved up to the man's head, and messily cracked it open with one of the larger knives. He scooped out the brain, which was already splattered and broken, then reached for the pebbles. He stuffed them into the empty skull that had housed the brain until recently.
Then Will stood up to look down at his work assessingly. He wondered if this would be enough for his killer. He knew that he'd never be as good as the man he looked up to, and didn't want to outshine him, but he didn't want to disappoint him either. He wanted his killer to accept him. After giving it a moment's thought, Will picked up his stick again, and smashed it down onto the dead man's face over and over until there was nothing but a bloody pulp left.
Then he walked over to study the crappy old television set that had a thin glass vase with withered flowers in it. He took a moment to steel himself, then went back to the body to remove the mutilated genitals and put them in the vase. Satisfied, Will left through the door he'd entered in, locking it before closing it behind him. He would've taken pictures to show to his killer immediately, but he wasn't stupid enough to keep anything that might get him caught.
Will walked a few blocks before slinging the bloody branch into the yard of an abandoned looking house. Then he walked a little longer before tugging off his plastic wrap, and carefully balling it up so that none of the blood dripped anywhere. He pulled out a ziploc bag from his pocket, stuffed the plastic wrap inside, then sealed it, and dropped it into the first trash barrel that he passed by.
Will walked even further than that before reaching the small park where he'd already been planning in advance. The shoes he was wearing were a brand new pair bought just a few days ago, using cash, and he toed them off. He bent down to scoop up handfuls of sand and small rocks to fill the shoes with before kicking them into the little pond. Then he went over to the the hollow of the big tree, and pulled out the plastic bag that had his regular shoes inside. He pulled them on, and then dumped that bag into a different random trash barrel.
By the time he returned home a few hours had passed, but Will felt confident that he'd done well enough to at least catch his killer's attention. He kicked off his shoes, changed into his pajamas, and then flopped down into bed. If all went well, then there should be absolutely no reason for anyone to ever even begin to question his involvement in the crime.
Two days later it was on the news that the body had been found. The person making weekly grocery deliveries had been worried when no one answered the door because he knew that the house's occupant was always there to collect his deliveries. He looked around, saw a glimpse of the body through the window, and called the police. The reporter who was talking warned everyone that they were about to view graphic and disturbing content, and then a picture of the scene was shown. The corpse didn't get better with age, but the meaning behind the work was still clear, at least as far as Will was concerned.
He wasn't sure what to do next, though. He didn't actually know where his killer lived, or even the man's name, so it's not like he could contact him to ask if he'd seen Will's design. But he got his answer a few days later, in the form of a letter. There was no return address or stamp, which meant that it had been hand delivered, though it did say Will's name and address on it.
Will eagerly slit the envelope open, and his eyes widened as he pulled out the paper inside. It was obviously a sketch of Will himself, even if it wasn't perfect, and in neat little letters in the bottom corner it said 'H.L.' It had to be from his killer. He must not have been able to get a great look at Will's face considering the fact that they'd met in the dark, but it was still an incredibly detailed and talented piece of work. This guy was definitely way out of Will's league.
Will waited patiently for more news from HL, but nothing came. At least not for an entire month, and then a man who looked eerily similar to Will was found murdered. That seemed like a pretty obvious sign that HL hadn't liked Will's 'art'. He considered packing a bag and making a run for it. The man knew his address and that he was a student, and while Will had been truthful about the fact that if he had to die, he'd want it to be at HL's hands, Will would prefer to just not die in the first place.
His roommate came home to the sight of him pacing back and forth through the living room, looking rather frantic. She reached out to grab one of his elbows, and tug him enough that he would stand still for a moment. "What the hell is wrong with you?"
Will wasn't sure how much he could really say without confessing to anything illegal. "Haven't you seen the news?" She shook her head, and Will sighed. "Someone died in a very violent way, and they- you know what? It doesn't really matter." He walked over to the couch to sink down onto it. "I may have used poor judgement to make a few decisions, but it doesn't even matter now. I can't just run away from the consequences of my actions. Whatever's going to happen next is going to happen regardless of anything I might try to do to stop it."
His roommate gave him a strange look, but then ended up just shrugging and slinking off to her room. Will got up and returned to his own room. If someone like HL wanted to kill him, then it wouldn't matter where Will ran, he would always be chased after. He may as well spend his remaining time enjoying his life, instead of feeling constantly afraid of what was going to happen. And he was confident that even though HL didn't like Will's sign of devotion, his killer would still dress him up so nicely in his death.
Three months passed, each bringing a new body. One of them had the first name William, one had the last name Graham, and one had curly hair and glasses. All of them different enough to not be marked as any kind of pattern or preference. There was no way that any of that could be coincidence. It was HL's doing, and he was trying to intimidate Will by letting him know that he was the intended target.
Though that did bring up the rather relevant question of why the hell Will was still alive if HL wanted him dead so badly. Will decided that he wasn't just going to sit around passively and wait for his body to be the next one in line. It took a little bit of wheedling, but Will was able to get a signed letter from his teacher that very politely asked the captain of the local precinct to let Will look at everything that was on file for the cases he'd 'randomly' selected.
Will cleared his schedule for an entire day, then headed to the police station. He spread out all the photographs from all the files, and looked through all of the bagged up evidence. He hadn't actually seen any of the warning bodies in person, and had only heard the vague descriptions and seen the pictures of the victims on the news. But now that he was actually looking, Will wondered if he'd been wrong about HL's intentions.
As utterly bizarre as it sounded to even think about it, Will couldn't help thinking that all of the corpses looked more like, well, like love letters. It had to be impossible. Will couldn't have really impressed HL that much, right? It was probably directed towards someone else entirely, and Will was just being egotistical to assume that it was all about him, and-
He cut himself off, and quickly gathered up all the materials to return them to their correct boxes and folders. There was only one way to find out for sure, right? Will wasn't very fond of the actual killing part, but if that's what would get HL's attention, then that's what he would do.
Apparently he lived in an area just full of shitty people, because it wasn't very long before he found the next appropriate victim for himself. The man had kidnapped a child, and then claimed that he had only been trying to help return the missing boy to his home. The kid was refusing to say anything to anyone, most likely due to trauma, but it unfortunately meant that there was no one to testify against the man.
Will planned everything out very carefully, not wanting to wind up stuck in jail so that HL would go off to find someone else to communicate with. He went through with the killing, making sure to stage the body as artfully as possible. As an afterthought before actually leaving the scene of the crime, Will decided to cut out the dead man's heart. Of course, Will had no surgical skill or knowledge, so it looked much messier and more unappealing than any of HL's bodies, but Will figured that it was the thought that counted.
Luckily, Will's roommate was at her girlfriend's for the night, so Will was able to get the heart into the apartment without any fuss. He wasn't particularly good at cooking, especially not with raw, bloody flesh like this, but Will wanted to show HL that he could accept every part of the man.
In the end, he had a reasonable enough meal, and Will stored it in the fridge, carefully marking it as his so that his roommate wouldn't steal it from him. He cleaned everything up, and then went to bed.
When Will woke up the next morning, he gathered the meal he'd cooked, and headed out. He didn't know exactly where his killer lived, and wasn't sure if the direction he'd followed the man in last time was even close to being correct, but it was the closest Will had ever gotten to his killer, so he figured that it was at least worth trying.
He walked down the street from the antique bookshop, going in the same direction as last time. He ended up walking further than before, and was just about to turn back when he noticed a crisp looking business card on the ground. Will scooped it up, and saw 'Dr. Hannibal Lecter, Psychiatry' and then an address and a phone number. It was a fancy looking card, but that's not what caught Will's attention. Hannibal Lecter. HL. The address written on the card was for a place just a couple buildings down from where Will was standing. A client must have accidentally dropped the card after visiting the doctor.
Even though he could feel butterflies in his stomach, Will knew that he couldn't just turn back now, so he took a deep breath in, and walked up the stairs to the door of the building. He went for the doorknob instead of knocking, and found that it was unlocked. He stepped inside to find himself in a small, but elegant, waiting room. There was a young woman sitting behind a desk in the corner of the room, and Will walked over to her. He gave her one of the smiles his roommate always called charming. "Hi, is Dr. Lecter in right now?"
The woman gave Will a tired look. "He's in the middle of an appointment. If you want to schedule an intake consultation, you can, but you won't be able to see him today, I'm afraid. And he is booked out for the next couple of weeks."
Will nodded once. "I understand. I don't need to make an appointment, but thank you." Then he took another deep breath before walking past the receptionist and through the only other door in the room. He found himself in a small office, an unassuming middle aged woman in one chair, and Will's killer in the other. Dr. Lecter arched one eyebrow primly, and Will knew he didn't have long. "I'm terribly sorry about this, and I know it was very rude of me to just come in here uninvited, but I just don't know what you want from me, and I'm tired of sitting around and waiting for who the hell knows what, and I brought you some lunch." He thrust the cooler out in front of him, and Dr. Lecter gave it a very long look before starting to shake his head. Will knew he sounded desperate, but he couldn't stop himself from stepping closer to the doctor. "Please just try it. I know it can't be anywhere near as good as anything that you're capable of making, but I borrowed a recipe from your book, and I really want to know what you think."
Finally, the doctor accepted the cooler, and then nodded towards the door. "I promise that I will try your dish, since it sounds like you put a lot of effort into it. Now if you'll excuse me, I am in the middle of an appointment, and if you don't leave, I will be forced to call the police."
Will nodded, and without another word, hurried back out the door. The receptionist was already on the phone, angrily waving her hands around, so he rushed outside of the office, and began jogging down the street. He hadn't given the woman his name, and he didn't think that Dr. Lecter would do such a thing, but he still didn't want to be anywhere nearby the place if the police had been summoned there.
Two days later, there was an oddly polite knock on the apartment door. No one ever knocked, because the only people who ever came by were Will, his roommate, and his roommate's girlfriend. Will and his roommate both had keys, and the roommate's girlfriend always texted when she was on her way so that the roommate knew to leave the front door unlocked. Which left no one else.
His stomach felt like it was twisting in knots as he got up to answer the door. He pulled it open, and wasn't even sure whether he should feel surprised or not at the sight of Dr. Lecter standing there. The older man looked out of place in the rundown apartment building, but Will didn't hesitate for a second to open the door further and step back so that the killer could step in if he wanted to.
Dr. Lecter did enter the apartment, carefully closing and locking the front door behind him. Then he turned to face Will, an unreadable look on his face. "You did quite well for an amateur chef."
Will could feel his heart pounding in his chest, and got the feeling that Dr. Lecter knew exactly how nervous he was. "Thanks," he said softly. "Can I get you anything?"
Dr. Lecter made a small noise that seemed to be most curiosity before answering. "I wasn't sure at first that you could get me anything. But it has been four months, and I've yet to have any police banging on my door for any reason. All I've gotten is a response to the query I put out into the world. You are unlike anyone I have ever met before."
"That's a good thing, right?"
There was a pause, and then Dr. Lecter smiled. It made the skin near his eyes crinkle, and his entire face seemed to light up. It was a genuine smile, and Will felt proud of being the one to put it there. "Yes, Will. That is a good thing." He reached out to gently touch Will's cheek, and Will let him without flinching away. "I feel as though I have been searching for someone like you my entire life. Join me for dinner on Friday." It clearly wasn't an invitation, but a demand.
Will cleared his throat once, and he knew he was playing with fire, but if he was really getting the opportunity to get to know this man better, he wasn't going to let it become about the killer wanting all control over everything. "I have plans on Friday," he lied even as his heart began beating even quicker. "How about Monday?"
Dr. Lecter narrowed his eyes for just a second before smiling again. "Monday works." He reached into his jacket pocket to pull out a small glossy card, which he handed over to Will. "My phone number and address." He blinked once, and then reached out for Will's face again, this time to drag him closer to the older man. Without giving any warning, he pulled Will into a deep kiss, which Will was very quick to reciprocate. Then he pulled away, and took a step back, leaving Will standing where he was in a slight daze. "I look forward to seeing just what you will become." Then he left the apartment, seemingly unaware of the havoc he had just wreaked on Will's entire self.
Will eventually found himself sitting down on the couch, though he was mostly unaware of how he'd even gotten there. All he could think about was his killer, and just how excited he was to actually get to know the man. He knew that their dinner together would be tense, and that it would most likely contain more tests to see if Will was really as devoted to Dr. Lecter as he claimed to be. But Will knew he would enjoy it all the same, because it would be more time to spend with his killer, and that's all he ever really wanted.