Title: A Late Night Slice

Summary: Death and Hannibal have a chat over pizza

~ Story Below ~

The small pizza shop, tucked between two larger buildings was not Hannibal's choice of establishments. Unfortunately everything else was closed and Hannibal is hungry enough to consider eating here. It was late enough that finding a decent parking space will not be a problem, his vehicle was expensive enough and it would be rather unfortunate if anything were to happen to it. After all, he took great pride in taking care of what's his.

The weather was gloomy outside of his car and it was windy. The notion that it might be best to find a hotel instead of continuing to drive flickered across his mind briefly. But first, there was priorities. His hunger being one of them, he spent enough time hungry when he was younger. Never again. The acknowledgement was enough to push him into a worse mood. Something he had to rope in and bury, it would do him no favours to showcase his own emotions. It would raise too many suspicions and curiosities in matters that were no one's business but his own. His Will would see through it of course, his remarkable boy.

With a breath, he got out of his car and stood against the wind for a moment. Wondering faintly if he heard wrong because for a second he could have sworn he heard a horse's hooves clicking against the pavement. Seeing nothing but another car, odd that he never noticed it beforehand when he first parked. It was nice and well kept, Hannibal can appreciate the effort that obviously gone into taking care of the antique car.

The bell hanging on top of the door wrung as Hannibal entered. It by all purposes should have alerted someone of his entrance. Yet, the small pizza shop remained silent. It was well kept inside and that eased Hannibal a bit, at least he can expect food that someone took some care into creating. Especially considering Hannibal can pick up strong scents of cleaning product in the front and coming from the back. The interior was cleaned regularly.

Pictures of the wall spoke of the history of this place, a business that was family ran and passed down. Pride was seen on each face in those photos. There was one other patron, but Hannibal disregarded him momentarily as he approached the cashier till to see if he could gain any services. A small pizza should do him fine, it's been some time since he had pizza anyway.

When no one came forth, Hannibal found himself frowning. Such neglect is intolerable and unspeakably rude when you are in a business that serves the general public that comes through that door. Yet there was no one here to tend to his needs. It was not helping his mood. However, such negligence did not fit the pride that he saw in the photo's. It was that that kept him tempered and willing to hear whatever excuse they could possibly have.

If someone did not have a good excuse that Hannibal can support, he would possibly restock his fridge.

Perhaps Will would like something more common, like Pizza? An Italian themed supper perhaps.

"The owner is Mexican, not Italian." The only other patron said, words calm but disinterested. Hannibal once again looked at the photo's on the wall. Perhaps they sold it, or perhaps the current owner married into the family and his photo has yet to be added to the history? Regardless of what it was, so long as Hannibal gained proper service and proper quality it doesn't matter.

Turning his attention away from the photos, Hannibal regarded the rather thin looking man with a gaunt face and pale complexion. The man all around looked thin despite the junk food the man appeared to have taken a liking too, not only did he see pizza on the table but chips and a large glass of soda.

"It's rude to stare." The man said, the faint and barely there amusement made it seem like the man was in on some joke. Perhaps one made with himself and at Hannibal's expense? "Sit. Eat, you might as well. That is what you are here for, is it not?" The idea of refusing crossed his mind, childishly for the reason that he was called out for staring. Granted the man was correct, but that was besides the point. Hannibal put forth a polite but apologetic smile and apologized while graciously accepting the offer. Hunger was a funny thing and Hannibal hated feeling that sort of emptiness after a long and rather demanding day. It has been some time since he felt hungry.

However, let it never be said that this was the reason why he retrieved organs from his personal art projects. That was so banal, such reasoning would only belong to a student just starting to learn how to profile. Certainly not someone who should even start working on the Chesapeake Ripper case. As the good agent learnt the hard way with one Mariam Lass. The clever girl had so much potential, yet pushed into the deep end without even realizing it until it was far too late.

Hannibal introduced himself as he sat down and watched as the other man set a pizza slice on a plate that could have been set for a friend that either has yet to show or failed to do so. The courtesy of introduction in return was not taken, and Hannibal has yet to learn it. The irritation it caused was carefully set aside for later. Once that was done, he kindly thanked the man for the slice of pizza. Using that statement to enquire about his name with a casual, "I didn't catch your name."

"And I didn't give it." The man replied, giving Hannibal a look that clearly told him to put a stop to the game. Though this one a more innocent game compared to the others Hannibal has on the go for the moment. "Julian." Was the man's offer after a few minutes. Amusement now clear in his eyes. It would appear that Hannibal was not the only one playing innocent games, or perhaps this man Julian was just passing the time at Hannibal's expense. Something that could be very well true if not for the fleeting sensation that this man might have more then enough time on his hands. He seemed to be in no hurry to eat or talk for that matter.

"It is a pleasure to meet you, Julian." Hannibal stated, it wasn't completely true but basic manners would accept nothing less then the polite statement. A twitch of thin lips was the only response given for a brief moment, amusement like Hannibal had said something comical. A joke even.

"The owner has two daughters but they are not his blood, he married into this business and there mother the previous owner passed away. One of his daughters aspires to be an artist and the other a musician." Julian said, Hannibal figured that this was a family friend or sorts. Or he came into there lives some other way, a business partner or accountant for this business? Perhaps someone who worked on the wife's funeral, and that could explain why he was familiar with the owner and his family. It did fill in empty spaces in the change of ownership.

"He takes his job very seriously, if the interior is any indication." Hannibal calmly said, waiting for the man's opinion on how the pizza shop was. It had nothing to do with games, just a simple enquiry.

"He takes a lot of pride in this place, it is why it's one of my many favorite stops." Julian replied, dabbing the corner of his mouth with a napkin before reaching for the soda. He offered some to Hannibal, which was politely declined. Hannibal found himself asking why there was no one here if the owner took such pride in this place. Hannibal let it slip into his words, his own disapproval. Julian only stared at him for a moment, a stare that left Hannibal feeling slightly unsettled.

It was now that Julian chose, much to Hannibal's mild surprise, to inform him of the owner's heart attack that happened a little over an hour ago. That he was rushed by the waitress and the cook to the hospital. The workers here clearly were close if both of them rushed to his aid. One followed in a car, the other went into the Ambulance with the owner.

It left Hannibal with more questions. None about the owner and his chances, Hannibal knows about heart attacks and knows the chances already. His questions were more around why was Julian still in the store, why was Hannibal even in here when the door should have been locked and a closed sign should have been put on the door. As well as why and how Julian knows so much.

"He'll live." Julian stated. Hannibal made it seem like he was glad for that and earned himself another look. One that was harder to decipher. Pushing that aside, Hannibal questioned Julian in how he knows the family. His next answer made it seem like he was the one in charge of the services for the owner's wife's funeral. A funeral director perhaps? He seemed to fit the role in appearance at the very least. Reminding Hannibal of a skeleton barely covered with flesh and skin.

"Were you the one who handled the owner's wife's funeral?" It was an honest question, designed to either prove himself right or correct his assumption.

"No." The only response given.

Silence took over at this point, Hannibal finishing his slice of pizza and found another to take it's spot with the curt order to eat. Julian must have known that Hannibal was hungry. After a few bites of the second slice, conversation picked up again. Nothing to do with the owner. Small questions and small answers passed back and forth, Julian seemed to be enjoying himself when it comes to conversation.

The conversation turned towards hobbies and Hannibal found himself struggling to keep things innocent in this part, Julian asked some rather direct and detailed questions. Made an comment in regards to Hannibal collecting church collapses, considering it to be an odd collection to have. But in truth, it was no odder then collecting things about favorite disaster or tyrants. Julian apparently has taken up a hobby of eating certain junk foods all around the world and playing board games with a close friend. The original person who was supposed to be eating here today.

"What sort of board games do you prefer?" Hannibal found himself asking, simply glad that the spotlight was now away from his own hobbies. He didn't mind talking about cooking or drawing, but Julian apparently poked at each answer for holes and weak spots. Much like his Will would when in the mood.

"It comes down to whatever game he brings. The last one was operation. I won." Julian answered, it was not what Hannibal expected in the least. In his opinion, that was such a childish and at times frustrating game that only served to drive you insane every time you hit the edge. It was the reason why he never played the game himself, it would annoy him.

But to each there own, it was not in Hannibal's place to decide on other people's hobbies. He had more important matters to attend to anyway.

By the time Hannibal was nearly finished the third piece of pizza, one he didn't even realize he had started in the first place, there conversation moved to career's. Hannibal of course was the first to have his job brought out into the open and discussed. Even the fact that he at times assists the FBI when they need profiles to be made up or evaluations of suspects or witnesses. Sometimes to aid Will, but that he did not mention. Questions were asked about that and about his former job as a surgeon, at this point Hannibal reluctantly let himself admit that when someone died on the table he could have sworn to have seen a shift in the air. Nothing that merited more of a look, but enough for a whimsical thought.

More so now when he took note of the interest that seemed to be shown by Julian. It gave Hannibal an opening to ask about Julian's job.

"I did a multitude of jobs in my day. Executioner, coroner and funeral director. My latest job is managing a delivery job." Julian answered, a glint in his eyes told Hannibal that there was story and a connection between all three jobs. Hannibal couldn't help but note that it's perfectly normal for someone to have more then one job in there lifetime, he himself had three jobs. Surgeon, Psychiatrist and a part time work with the FBI without being an Agent himself. It did give him remarkable room to learn and better himself in his secret hobby. Pushing his own thoughts aside, Hannibal asked questions about the jobs.

Julian made it sound like he had each job all at once, something that couldn't make sense.

Hannibal sat back, turned down a forth slice of pizza and once again soda. He allowed Julian to carry on talking about his job's. Waiting for a break in his prattle to interrupt and ask about the person this plate has been set out for.

"A friend, he was to come tonight and bring another board game. But other matters came up and he cancelled." Julian answered calmly, Hannibal pushed for more detail and only found out that the friends name was Chuck. Any conversation made after that walked a fine line between mundane and pointless. And not for the first time did Hannibal get the fleeting feeling that Julian had all the time in the world to just sit and eat and talk. Hannibal on the other hand had a schedule to keep to and it would be unforgivably rude if he were late. Some of the things spoken about with Julian earned enough credibility to bring to Will and see what his remarkable mind could pull from it.

Saying as much, Hannibal stood up and offered to pay his part in the pizza, it would only be polite. The only problem was the lack of workers, something that should have changed by now or he should have done something about it in turn.

"I wouldn't worry about it. On either matter." Julian had a distinct disinterested tone to his voice as he stood up as well. Tidying his side of the table before regarding Hannibal again. It allowed Hannibal to really notice how thin the man appeared in certain lights. Taking up a cane that he didn't seem to need Julian added, "I have to leave as well, I have a business to run after all and I ensure that it is ran efficiently and on time." Hannibal could respect this. It was always proper to be on time and keep things running smoothly. It only reflects on you as a person.

"I doubt I would be seeing you again, Dr. Lecter. However, one of my workers will no doubt cross paths with you one day." Julian calmly stated and Hannibal asked for the name of the delivery company Julian manages. Unfortunately he never gained an answer due to his own phone ringing, Jack Crawford on the other line and Julian heading towards the door and flipping the open sign to a closed one on his way out. Hannibal followed, half listening to Jack and watching Julian enter his car and drive away.

A sound that could only be found in his imagination could be heard, after all there was no horse around. The pizza shop suddenly felt so vacant as well, prompting Hannibal to just slip a fair amount of tip money into the tip jar and leaving the pizza shop as well. His jacket held tightly around him as he walked through the wind and answered Jack whenever he decided a viable answer could be given.