Written before 5/30 episode. Takes place s01e05. First Hannibal fic, no beta. Enjoy... *smirks*

Will looks strung out. Will looks tired.

Therefore: Will is malleable.

Hannibal considers the tract their conversation has wandered to. Something that should be boring but is infinitely fascinating because Will makes it so.

At the moment, Will is bouncing ideas about the killer, an amateur who skins his victims into visages of angels, off of Hannibal.

Hannibal, the astute psychiatrist that he is, can see that Will is worrying about his connection and common interests with the latest maniac. He isn't sure whether he is reflecting the killer's desires or creating them himself. He scares himself. He is at war with himself. Ergo, the prominent sleepwalking problem.

Hannibal noticed early on in their complicated relationship that Will often lets his mind wander when he is stressed. He leaves the conversation for extended lengths of time, coming back briefly to give a satisfactory reply before taking off again. Right now, Will is beyond stressed. He is taxed to his limits, and Hannibal can almost find it in himself to sympathetic towards the wayward empath. Too bad he's too manipulative to let such an opportunity pass.

"You realize you have a choice," Hannibal says as demurely as always, choosing his words carefully. Will snaps out of his own head for a moment and takes the bait.

"What is it?" He looks desperate. He wants validation that he isn't the same as the killer. Hannibal is reluctant to give it, hoping to get a glimpse of the ever growing cracks in his patient's psyche.

"Angel maker will be destroyed by what's happening inside his head. You don't have to be." He says calmly. Not exactly saying that he isn't the same as the cancer riddled killer, but giving a bit of hope all the same. Will seems to ponder this. He retreats back into his labyrinth of a mindscape for a while.

Hannibal is essentially alone in the room.

Now, the cannibal prides himself his self control, but with Will looking so vacant and ethereal at the moment, he can't help himself.

He slowly approaches the troubled man, careful not to scare away his prey. Just one smell, he promises himself, nothing more. After all, he had always found that a particular scent of a person is almost good as reading the mind. He suspects Will should be no different.

It could be his imagination, but it almost seems like Will bares his neck to him.

It had been a while since he had smelled something so multifaceted as Will. There were hundreds of layers to his scent, ones that spoke of his deepest sense of self that Hannibal hardly ever got to see.

The top was like any other person. Sweat, cheap cologne, dogs, whisky. Irish Springs. A hint of sandalwood. That was what normal people would smell on the profiler at any given time of the day. But Hannibal's nose was far from normal, it was what let him enjoy the difference between human and animal meat when everyone else was none the wiser.

He could smell the next layer down, predictably, fear. But fascinatingly enough, it wasn't his own fear that was there. Rather, the fear he had stolen from the victims of the crimes he replayed in his mind over and over. There was the fear of the comatose diabetics, the girls that Hobb's slaughtered, and Hannibal's own victims. The smell was heady and overwhelming.

But what took Hannibal's breath away was the overall current that tied Will's aroma together. It was what Hannibal was looking for in the first place. Will's own fear, deeply buried under the terror of others. It spoke of a man not afraid of being the next victim of the crimes he helped solve, but the fear of becoming the next killer. Becoming the next monster he usually had to empathize with.

"Did you just smell me?"

Shit.

Hannibal took three steps back, letting the intoxicating scent fade from his olfactory system. Will looked not so much afraid as perturbed. The serial killer psychiatrist cursed himself for being so reckless.

"Difficult to avoid," he said smoothly, before stumbling over the quickest excuse that came to mind. "I really must introduce you to a finer aftershave. That smells like something with a ship on the bottle."

Cologne?

That was just about as good as screaming ulterior motive. Where had that even come from?

Will didn't look convinced, and rightfully so.

"Well I keep getting it for Christmas..." he said said with an awkward laugh, not sure how to call Hannibal out on his lie.

Not for the first time, Hannibal was inordinately happy that Will had a hard time with social interactions. It made things so much easier to pass off as nothing.

All it would take was a little nudge-

"Have your headaches been any worse lately?"

- and things were back to the way that they were, as if Hannibal hadn't just fantasized about eating Will raw and bloody, consuming him and his fears with all the enthusiasm of his first kill.

Take time to review! I really need feedback because I'm working on a Hannibal multi chapter fic and I want to know what I should change if anything.

Cheers!

EP