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Title: More Palatable Fare
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Sequel to "Unwind."
Disclaimer: This is entirely a product of my own imagination, and I make no profit from it. I do not own the lovely Hannibal Lecter or Will Graham, unfortunately, just borrowing them for a while. Please do not sue.


"H-Hannibal." Will could barely get the single word out.

His mouth felt dry, his tongue tied in knots, his throat constricted. Why was it suddenly so hard to talk to someone he considered his friend?

Because he wanted more than that friendship, that voice in the back of his mind told him. Because he looked at this man and he didn't feel mere friendship -- he felt desire, an aching longing that wasn't ever going to go away as long as it went unfulfilled.

There was no reason for him to feel this way about Hannibal, he told himself, trying to push that voice away. It was useless, really. Those feelings weren't returned.

Or were they? That voice in his head piped up again, telling him that Hannibal wouldn't be here if he didn't have something in mind. Why would his psychiatrist have gone to the trouble of driving out to Wolf Trap and coming here to the lake if he wasn't looking for more?

No, he wasn't going to think that way, Will told himself firmly. Not until he had proof of just why Hannibal was here. He shouldn't jump to conclusions.

Still, he was here, and that said something.

Hannibal sat down carefully on the riverbank beside him; Will was surprised that he hadn't brought a blanket to protect his dark slacks from the sand.

"I did bring a blanket, but I decided that it was best to leave it in the car," Hannibal told him, laughing and raising an eyebrow at Will's look of astonishment. "I am not reading your mind, Will. It was written on your face, the question. I thought it deserved an answer."

Will had to laugh at that, shaking his head ruefully. "I know you can't read minds, Hannibal. But sometimes you seem to know me far too well."

Hannibal nodded sagely, indicating the picnic basket he had brought.

"I thought that you might not have eaten," he said, casting a disparaging look at the small ham and cheese sandwich that Will had brought with him.

Will blushed, knowing that Hannibal probably had what he would consider a feast in that basket. This man never did anything by halves; when Hannibal made a gesture, it was usually a grand one, and this seemed to be no exception to that rule.

Why was he here? Why had he gone to all of the bother of apparently canceling his appointment for the day and driving out to Wolf Trap to see a friend?

Will's breath caught in his throat as the obvious answer went through his mind; Hannibal had come here to take their friendship a step further, to push things over the boundary from friendship to .... something more. This was meant to be a first foray into the future.

Or was that really the reason? Maybe he had just come here to talk about something; again, he was jumping to conclusions when he had no proof. Maybe he should simply ask Hannibal why he was here, and get the question out into the open.

He couldn't ask Hannibal why he was here. It would seem too abrupt, like he was casting out a line as if it held a fishing lure on the end.

Well, that was what he would be doing, wasn't it? He would be fishing for the reason why Hannibal was here, and he doubted that he would catch anything. He didn't think that Hannibal would reveal the real reason why he'd come here, not without dancing around the subject.

"I wanted to see you today," Hannibal said, his tone calm. "If you're wondering why I'm here, that is the reason, Will. I simply wanted to enjoy your company."

Again, it was as though Hannibal could read his mind.

"I was wondering about that," Will murmured, unable to meet Hannibal's clear, steady gaze. He could feel the pink blush rising to his cheeks, a testament to his embarrassment.

"I knocked at the door, but when you didn't answer, I thought that you might be here." Hannibal leaned back on his elbows, as casual position that Will couldn't ever remember having seen him assume. "It is a lovely day. It's good to be out doing something."

Will bit back the instant response that it was an even better day now that Hannibal was here; that veered too close to his innermost feelings for it to be said.

Those words would take this conversation in an entirely different direction.

"I just came out here to unwind and do a little fishing," he mumbled, then thought that it was a stupid thing to say. It was more than obvious what he was doing.

"You didn't bring much of a lunch," Hannibal told him, picking up the picnic basket. "It's a good thing that I have more palatable fare than a dry sandwich." He opened the basket, taking out a small cloth that he spread over the ground.

Will had to smile at that; he should have known that Hannibal would bring something akin to a blanket if he intended to have lunch here. That was just his style.

He watched silently as Hannibal took potato salad, a loaf of French bread, brie, and a rotisserie chicken from inside the basket. He was startled when the other man finally produced a bottle of wine and two crystal flutes; he knew that Hannibal was elegance personified, but this was too much.

"Wine in crystal glasses?" he queried; this time it was his turn to raise an eyebrow. "Outside, by a grassy riverbank? We're not dining in an elegant hotel."

Hannibal shook his head, a small smile curving his lips.

"Any place can be made elegant if you have the imagination to do so," he answered, his tone light and even a bit playful. "Such fare deserves better than a can of soda for accompaniment."

So saying, he cast Will a glance that made the younger man shiver, the wave of desire that he'd felt earlier flooding over him again. The way Hannibal looked at him made him feel as though he was the "more palatable fare" that he had mentioned.

He didn't dare let himself hope that was the case; Hannibal was probably just here to talk, to have a friendly conversation with a friend. There was nothing more to his visit than that.

He wasn't here looking for more than friendship. That couldn't be the case. If Hannibal shared Will's feelings, he would have said something about it long ago. Hannibal wasn't the type of person to hold himself back; he would have made his intentions clear already.

"It looks great," Will said, feeling his stomach jump as he accepted the glass of wine that Hannibal poured for him. "Thanks for bringing this."

When his eyes met Hannibal's, any other words faded from his lips.