A/N: At long last, here's the next chapter. I had no motivation to write it these past few months, but now that Hannibal is coming back, I'm going in a downward spiral of insanity.
I should point out that yes, Abigail is upset that her father was a cannibal and furnished their house with the bodies of his victims. For argument's sake, she's okay with the fact that Hannibal is a cannibal and that the three of them eat people, because Hannibal only kills and eats the rude. Just don't think about it too much and you'll be fine.
At four fifteen in the afternoon, the school bus came to a stop at its usual corner. As the students who got off at that stop stood up and swung on their backpacks, Abigail pushed her way off of the school bus and nearly fell out of it as she stepped out. She couldn't see where she was going; tears had filled her eyes and made her vision blurry. She pressed her hands hard against her ears, desperately trying to block out the comments that the occupants of the bus were spewing at her. Sobbing, she ran home as fast as she possibly could, her backpack, thrown over one shoulder in a rush, bumping against her back each time her feet hit the ground. She reached the front door to her house and tore off her backpack, fumbling around in the pockets for her keys. She sniffed and wiped at her eyes to get a better look. She grabbed them and immediately dropped them, her hands shaking. She bent down to pick them up, causing her backpack to unzip and fall from her shoulder and drop onto the ground, littering the immediate surrounding area with papers, pencils, and textbooks. She began to sob even harder and curled up into a ball, leaning her head a bit too quickly on the door, hitting it. She didn't care. It didn't hurt her.
Across the street, a group of people from her school spewed profanity at her and she pressed her hands against her ears again, shaking her head, willing them to go away. She didn't know that she was repeatedly screaming "No!" and "Stop!" at the top of her lungs until she fell back as the front door opened, her fathers wearing concerned, angry, and confused faces. Will caught her just before she hit the floor, catching her in his arms.
When Hannibal learned what was happening, his look turned murderous. His hands balled into fists and his jaw clenched. Causing a scene and confronting the offending party at that moment would be a very bad idea. Instead, he committed their faces to memory for another time.
"Abby, Abby!" Will pulled her inside and onto his lap and wrapped his arms around her.
Abigail only sobbed harder and clinged to the front of Will's shirt as if it were her lifeline.
Will rocked her slowly and stroked her head. He let her cry her eyes out in peace, knowing that he wouldn't get anything out of her until she had calmed down. He whispered soothing words to her, telling her that he was there and that she was going to be alright.
Hannibal turned his attention to the school supplies that were strewn about the front porch. He quietly and efficiently gathered them up and set them down just inside the door. He went into the kitchen and returned a moment later with a box of tissues.
The men shared a look and Hannibal sat down next to them and pulled a tissue out of the box. Gently, so as not to startle Abigail, he told her that he was going to move the hair out of her face and not to be frightened. He slowly raised his hand to her face and told her that he was going to do it then. He didn't know how upset she was and how she would react if he touched her, although she wasn't minding being wrapped in Will's arms.
He moved the hair out of her face and tucked it behind her ear and wiped away the tears with the tissue. Tossing it to the side, he took another tissue from the box and wiped away what was dripping out of Abigail's nose.
Will motioned to Hannibal that they should take her into the living room. Hannibal nodded.
"Abigail, we're going to move into the living room now. Do you want to walk, or should I carry you?" Hannibal asked softly. She opened her eyes and stretched her arms out to him, tears still a steady stream down her face, indicating that she preferred the latter. He kneeled down in front of the two and Will handed her off to him as best he could; she was bigger than a child and weighted more, but he managed. He carried her bridal style and Will followed them into the living room, bringing the box of tissues with him. Will couldn't even begin to guess what caused her to become this upset, but he had an inkling.
Hannibal walked over to the couch and sat down, Abigail in his lap. She was still shaking, but not as badly as before. Will sat down beside him just as Abigail went into another fit of hysterical sobbing. Hannibal rubbed her back and Will wiped away her tears as needed.
Abigail's eyes were as pink as the rest of her face. Her eye makeup was smudged and runny and her tears had left trails down her cheeks, cleaning away little paths of her makeup. Her hair was a tangled mess, and was that remnants of food stuck in it?
"I'm going to take off your shoes, Abby. Is that alright?" Will asked her.
Abigail looked over at him and nodded.
Will unlaced her boots and pulled them off carefully. He set them down on the floor on his other side.
She began to calm down after about five minutes, and she adjusted her feet so they were resting on Will's thigh. She sniffed, cleared her throat, and wiped at her eyes. She wasn't finished crying, but she knew that her dads wanted to know what was upsetting her.
"Feeling better?" Hannibal asked her. She shrugged and nodded slightly. "Are you ready to tell us?" She nodded again.
Abigail took a few deep breaths before telling them. "People figured out who I am."
"What do you mean?" Will asked.
Her voice cracked. "Someone at my school heard about what happened in Minnesota. And they told people and now the entire school knows." Tears welled up in her eyes again. "They threw food at me during lunch today." The tears fell from her eyes again and the crying overcame her once more.
"Oh, my sweet girl…" Hannibal held her closer to his chest.
"And – and they threw… threw clumps of dirt at me and – and told me that I was g-going to hell and that I'm the scum of the earth but I didn't know! I didn't know that my dad was feeding me people and that our pillows were filled with their hair!" she practically screamed. "It's not my fault!" she began shaking again, the tears falling just as hard as they had before. She kicked her feet, hitting Will's thigh with her heels. She was hurting him, yes, but she needed to get it all out. "They say that I'm a monster."
Hannibal and Will had decided to send Abigail to a small private school in the area with less than two hundred students, not expecting anyone there to know of her past. They knew that it was inevitable that someone should find out and bring it to light, and now it was happening. The only remaining solution would be to homeschool her.
Hannibal was appalled. "No." Hannibal kissed the top of her head. "I know what monsters are. You're a victim." He began to rock her gently, just as Will had before. "Will and I, we're going to protect you."
Will nodded. "What about Nithya and Chloe? Did they do this to you, too?" Will asked, handing her a tissue to wipe her face.
Abigail shook her head. "I d-don't know. I didn't see them at – at all after it h-h-happened." She hiccupped. Her breathing was becoming short and quick, on the verge of hyperventilating, and Hannibal had to have her calm it down before she fainted.
"Abby, I need you to listen to me for a moment. It's okay for you to cry, but I need you to focus on slowing down your breathing. I need you to take deep breaths. Can you do that?"
Abigail nodded and tried to slow her breathing. At first she would let out a sob each time she exhaled, but she managed to get it under control.
"Good, thank you. Is there anything else you want to tell us?"
"I'd like to know why you didn't call us during school."
She cleared her throat. "I thought I c-could handle it. It was a few of the druggie guys a-and I didn't think anyone would believe them but they printed out articles and- and they posted them all over the school and now everybody knows!" she groaned and buried her face in Hannibal's chest. "And I had a test in my last class today and I needed to stay at school to take it and I tried to ignore them and my teacher let me take my test in an empty classroom to get away from everyone but I know I failed it and I didn't want to bother you and I thought I could handle it but I couldn't and oh I'm so sorry. I know I should've called you right when it happened but I just – I just –"
"Abby, Abby. It's alright." Will reassured her. "We're not angry with you. If anything, we're angry with the morons that caused this."
"That's right, Abigail. We both love you very much, and we are not happy with them in the least. You did a brave thing, and I'm very proud of you."
Abigail gave him a weak smile. "Thanks, daddy." She sniffed. Her crying had finished.
"You're a good girl, Abby." Will told her.
Abigail smiled at him and held out her hand for Will to give her another tissue. She wiped the last of the tears from her face and blew her nose. She sighed. "I guess this means I'm going to be homeschooled now, right?"
Hannibal smiled, relieved that she was beginning to feel herself once more. "That would be the wisest decision. Is that alright with you?"
She nodded. "I guess. I figured it would happen eventually…" she sighed.
The family sat there on the couch in comfortable silence. Abigail nodded off for a few minutes, exhausted and emotionally drained.
"You know what would make you feel better?" Will asked her after she'd woken up.
"I can think of a few things. What are you thinking of?"
"A girl's night slumber party."
"I don't want to see anyone from school."
"I thought as much. But that's why we would have a girl's night slumber party."
Abigail looked at him skeptically. "What?"
"That might be a good idea, actually." Hannibal added.
"I'm pretty sure that a girl's night slumber party requires more than one girl, dad."
"If we found some girls to join us, would you find that acceptable?" Hannibal asked.
She shrugged. "Sure. I mean, I'm all about it with just you two. But who would we ask?"
"Not anyone from school. Which means I guess we could ask Alana and Beverly." Will suggested.
"I'm cool with Alana and Beverly." Abigail perked up.
"Would they be comfortable with that, though?" Hannibal asked.
"Oh. Um, I'm sure they won't mind. I mean, Alana won't. I don't know about Beverly."
"Alright, then. Shall I call them now, then?"
"Yeah!" Abigail nodded profusely.
"My mobile is upstairs. You'll have to get up if you want me to call them." Hannibal told her.
She huffed and rolled her eyes dramatically and immediately scooted into Will's lap, then moved to where Hannibal had been sitting once he stood up.
Hannibal walked up the stairs and into his bedroom. He took his phone off of its charger and called Alana.
"Hey, Hannibal. What's going on?"
"Hello, Alana. Well, it seems that Abigail is going to be homeschooled from now on."
"The student body uncovered her past life and stuck up old news articles of it all over the school."
"What the hell? You're going to talk to the principal, yes?"
"Of course. She came home today and Will and I found her curled into a ball sobbing and screaming outside the front door. Some students had followed her and were spewing profanity at her. We just got her to calm down."
Alana huffed. "Oh, the poor darling. Is there anything I can do?"
"Actually, yes. That's why I called you. The three of us are having a girl's night slumber party tonight and–"
"You're having a what? A girl's night slumber party? You and Will and Abigail? Oh my God, Hannibal. That's hilarious."
"Yes, well, in my defense, it was Will's idea. But I thought it would be beneficial to get her mind off of today's events."
"And you want me to join you guys?"
"That was what we were hoping, yes. Abigail told us that a girl's night slumber party requires more than one girl. We're also planning on inviting Beverly."
"That sounds like a great idea, Hannibal. Anything for Abigail. What time should I come over?"
"Does seven o'clock work with your schedule?"
"It might conflict with something. Hold on." There was a brief pause and the sound of pages turning. "I have a meeting tonight from six to seven in DC, but I'll be back by eight. So I'll come over at about eight-thirty. Is that alright?"
"That sounds lovely."
"Great. I hope I make it back before it rains tonight. God, I haven't been to a slumber party in years. That means I'll be sleeping over then, yes?"
"Sounds like a plan. I'll see you at eight-thirty."
"Good to hear it."
The call ended and Hannibal scrolled through his contact list until he found Beverly and tapped the call button.
She answered on the first ring.
"Yes? Hello? Hannibal? What's up? How ya doin'? Need something? Anything?" she asked almost frantically. Hannibal heard her say "please" under her breath.
He was surprised at her enthusiasm. "Hello, Beverly. To answer your questions, Abigail had a difficult time at school today. A group of students learned of her past and decided to inform the entire school, who in turn decided that it was a good idea to throw food at her and bully her. She came home crying, and Will and I only just got her to calm down."
"Oh, the poor thing. What's going to happen now?"
"We're going to homeschool her. She was surprisingly okay with the idea; I figure she must have thought it over when she decided to start school here."
"Can I do anything for her?"
"There is something you can do for her, yes. Will had the idea of having a girl's night slumber party tonight. I think it would be a good idea to distract her, and it would make her feel better."
"But I thought the kids at school were being jackasses to her?"
"That's why it's going to be the five of us. Abigail, Will, me, Alana, and you."
"What, really? You're inviting me to a slumber party? At your house?"
"That's the idea, yes. Alana has already said that she will join us. Will you?"
"Yes – oh my God, please get me out of here. Zeller and Price are still staying with me and for reasons I cannot even begin to understand, they have not stopped having sex since two in the afternoon and it is driving me crazy. Just tell me what time and I'll come over."
Hannibal wished she hadn't told him that bit of information. "Seven o'clock."
"Can I come at six-thirty instead?" She was desperate to get out of her house.
"Yes, I believe that will be okay. Alana will arrive at about eight-thirty."
"Great. Perfect. I'll see you then. I'm going to go out right now and buy nail polish and food and rent a bunch of DVDs. You have really hi-tech iPod speakers, right?"
"Yes, I do."
"Brilliant. I'll see you then." Beverly hung up and Hannibal plugged the charger back into his phone.
It was going to be an interesting night.
The doorbell rang and Abigail ran to answer it, already in her pajamas. She was sporting a pair of yellow and green plaid pants and a red shirt.
"Hey, Abigail. How are you doing?"
"Trying to block it out. But other than that, I'm fine. Come on in, Beverly is already here. We were just about to start making a pillow fort." Abigail held the door open and Alana stepped inside.
"This is already exciting."
"So am I! You can change into your pajamas in the bathroom. And you know where to put your coat and things."
Abigail joined Beverly in the living room while Alana got ready.
"Alana's here. She's changing into her pajamas."
Beverly had arrived wearing her pajamas. They consisted of a pair of dark grey pajama shorts with a dark blue ribbon and a matching dark blue tanktop. The sleeves of her black cardigan were pushed up to her elbows. She had brought twenty-three different colors of nail polish with her, a case of brownies, three bags of chips, five movies, and a two hour long playlist on her iPod that she had put together for that night. She had hooked up the iPod to the speakers in the living room when she arrived, and the song that was currently playing was "Can't Get It Out of My Head" by Electric Light Orchestra.
Alana came out of the bathroom and set her overnight bag down by Beverly's. She was wearing a pair of black pajama shorts and a faded George Mason University shirt. "Hey, Bev. I see you've made yourself comfortable." She said as she sat down next to Beverly on the floor and kissed her cheek.
"I have, in fact. Thanks for noticing." Beverly shoved another brownie in her mouth.
"So I hear we're going to make a pillow fort?"
"That's the plan." Will said as he and Hannibal entered the living room, both carrying blankets and pillows.
"Who knew you had so many pillows and blankets. I'm honestly surprised." Beverly told Hannibal.
"I change the bedding each month. It's more sanitary and I enjoy the change of scenery."
"It's also because of my nightmares that cause me to sweat profusely." Will deadpanned.
"I meant to ask you about that, Will. Are they less frequent now?" Alana asked.
"Yeah. They're ah, they don't happen as often as they used to. Only two or three a week."
Alana smiled. "I'm glad to hear it."
"Yeah." Will said awkwardly and put the blankets down beside Abigail.
"Shall we create our fortress?" Hannibal asked the group.
"Yes! I've been waiting all night to make it." Beverly piped up.
"Okay, first we need to put the frame together. So let's move the armchairs over here…" Abigail took charge of the process. Hannibal and Abigail moved the chairs so the backs were facing each other, spaced roughly seven feet apart.
Over the course of the next fifteen minutes, sheets were pinned together and draped over dining room chairs, armchairs, and coffee tables. The group covered the floor under the fort with the various comforters, Abigail making sure that it was comfortable enough and that the television screen was still visible. They lined the inside of the fort with pillows and claimed their own spaces within the fort with their own pillows and blankets. Hannibal and Will deemed the back right corner as theirs, Abigail the middle, Alana the back left corner, and Beverly in the front left corner. Abigail took a picture of their fort when it was finished.
"Perfect." Abigail stated.
"I think now would be a good time to start a movie. I brought," Beverly reached into her overnight bag and pulled out five DVD cases, "Friends with Kids, The Switch, Bride Wars, Red Dawn, and Skyfall."
"I heard that The Switch is really good. We should watch that one." Alana said.
"What's it about?" Abigail asked.
"A guy who's in love with his best friend. She wants kids but isn't married, so she finds a sperm donor and in a drunken and drugged up state, the best friend switches his sperm with the donor's and he forgets that he did that and years later when he sees the kid after his best friend moves away to raise it and realizes that it's his." Alana explained.
"Who's in it?"
"Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston."
"Oh boy, do I love Jason Bateman." Beverly said, fanning herself.
They agreed to watch it and Hannibal put the disc in and turned the television on. He made a bowl of popcorn while it loaded. The five of them took their places in their fort.
They made comments and laughed and pointed things out during the movie, "Alana, that character Pauline looks just like you" was one of the more popular ones. Hannibal was silently reacting to the emotional parts of it. Will was more vocal about it; he cried at the ending.
After the movie, Beverly suggested that they paint nails.
"Did you bring any of that crackle nail polish? I've never tried it." Alana asked as Beverly pulled out a plastic bag full of nail polish.
"Yeah, I did. I got it in white, red, and black."
"Alana, could you paint my nails for me? I suck at doing them myself." Abigail asked.
"Of course, Abby. What color?"
Abigail sorted through the various colors and picked out a dark blue and the white crackle nail polish. "These." She handed them to Alana.
"Oh, this is so much fun. I can't remember the last time I did stuff like this." Beverly clapped her hands. "It makes me feel like a teenager again."
"Me too. This is really exciting." Alana agreed.
Alana shook the red nail polish. "Here." Alana patted her knee. "You can put your hand on my knee for stability." She unscrewed the cap and began to paint Abigail's nails.
"Hannibal, give me your hand." Beverly commanded.
"I'm going to paint your nails."
"Oh, I don't think–"
"Oh, nonsense. Come on. It'll be fun."
"Yeah, come on. It can't hurt." Will laughed.
"It would make me really happy." Abigail batted her eyelashes at him.
Hannibal closed his eyes and sighed. "Fine."
"Great!" Beverly picked up the neon pink nail polish. "Give me your hand."
He reluctantly held his hand out and she took it, setting it on her knee. She shook the nail polish, unscrewed the cap, and began painting his nails. "I also got this cool instant-dry stuff. Just put one drop on each nail after you paint it and a few seconds later, bam, it's completely dry."
Abigail reached over to her phone and unlocked it. She pressed the camera app and snapped a picture of Hannibal getting his nails painted. Hannibal huffed but said nothing. If it made Abby happy, then he would do it. Even if he knew she was manipulating him.
"So, Bev." Alana started. "Why'd you get here so early?"
Beverly laughed. "Zeller and Price are still at my place. I swear, they're part rabbit. They've been in a constant state of sex since two. I don't know what started it, but they're so loud. I tried to get out of the house, but I couldn't find anything to do. I don't care that they're doing it, I care that they're so damn loud. They only took one break, and that was at four-fifteen and Zeller asked me if I wanted to 'join in on the fun.' I locked myself in my room after that."
"Well I'm glad we could save you." Abigail laughed. "I understand your pain." She shot a look at Hannibal and Will. Beverly busted out laughing and Alana facepalmed, snickering.
"Abigail!" Hannibal scolded. Will blushed furiously.
Abigail stifled her laughter. "What? It's true!" Abigail had never felt awkward with Hannibal and Will. Even though they were her parents now, she had become their friend first.
"It's nothing to be ashamed of." Beverly told them. "These two are even worse than Zeller and Price. At least Zeller and Price wait until they get home to start going at it. Do you even know what these two get up to in the storage closets back at work?"
Will covered his face with his hands and curled into a ball. Hannibal kept his head down, a hint of a blush creeping up his neck.
"A word to the wise: don't ever stop by Hannibal's office after hours. And don't touch the desk." Alana added. The three women were in fits of hysterical giggles.
"No – no! H-Hannibal makes sure that it's clean after- afterwards." Beverly said in between gasps. "Yo-you know how he is about th-things like that!"
"Keep talking, Beverly, and I'll tell the tale of why I wasn't surprised that Brian Zeller asked you to 'join in on the fun." Hannibal threatened.
Beverly gasped. "You wouldn't dare."
"What?" Abigail shrieked. "You and Zeller and Price? When?!"
"N-Never! I never did anything with them!" Beverly's face turned beet red, just as Will's was.
"Oh, you sly fox." Alana nudged her.
"I – I was just curious!"
"Yes, you were. Curious to see what it would be like to have intercourse in a morgue."
"Hannibal!" Beverly shouted.
"It's nothing to be ashamed of." He smirked.
Beverly smacked him on the shoulder. "You absolute jerk."
"How is it any different than what you three were just doing?"
Beverly glared at him and turned back to painting his nails.
Thunder rumbled outside. A few minutes later, Alana announced that she was finished with Abigail's nails.
"Whoah! Look at this, dad!" Abigail leaned back and held out her hands to show Will.
"That is pretty cool. Do you uh, do you like it?"
"Yeah, I'm loving it. Thanks for doing it, Alana." Abigail leaned back up into a sitting position.
"Oh, I forgot to put on the instant drying stuff. Give me your hand again." Abigail put her hands back on Alana's knee. She put one small drop on each of Abigail's nails.
Beverly took it from her when she was done and put one drop on Hannibal's nails. "Now you're officially the fairest in all the land."
Hannibal rolled his eyes, but he cracked a smile. "It looks good. I would say that it's a job well done."
Rain began to fall outside.
"Isn't there supposed to be a thunderstorm tonight?" Beverly asked.
"Yeah, I read it this morning." Alana answered.
"My dogs!" Will blurted out. He quickly scrambled to his feet and ran to the back door, unlocking it and throwing it open. He ran outside and over to the dog houses, ignoring the cold rain.
He unhooked each of the dogs from their doghouses and ushered them inside. "Come on guys, inside. Good dogs, inside. Come on, that's it."
Will followed the last dog inside and closed the door behind him, locking it back up. The dogs ran right over to the fort, sniffing at and jumping on Alana and Beverly.
"Oh, uh – guys, come on, get off of Alana and Beverly. Will tried to push the dogs off of them.
"Don't worry about it, Will. Your dogs are the best. Yes they are, yes they are!" Beverly picked up Buster and nuzzled him. Buster jumped when a loud crack of thunder sounded.
Winston obeyed Will's command and padded over to him. He shoved his snout under Will's hand, looking for some love and Will stroked his head. The rain was coming down harder now, and he was glad that he could get his dogs inside before it got bad.
Beverly threw a dog toy that Sebastian had brought over and he and Max ran after it. Max picked it up first and the two dogs began a game of tug-of-war. Their playfulness started a chain reaction with the other dogs, and soon everyone was playing and wrestling with a dog. Winston was sitting on Will's chest, Will gently pulling on his ears and barking back and forth.
Hannibal joined in with them, rubbing Winston's back and belly. Will nudged him with his hip and Hannibal grasped onto Winston's snout and growled at him. The dog wiggled out of his grasp and barked at him, his tail wagging. Hannibal nudged the dog who, in turn, raised a paw at him and gave him a half-hearted bark. Hannibal barked right back. Hannibal then buried his face in Will's neck, and Will giggled. Hannibal liked that. So he did it again and nibbled on Will's ear. Hannibal gave a low growl and his husband shivered.
Hannibal pushed the dog off of Will and slid on top of his husband, straddling him.
"Are you an animal now, Doctor Lecter?" Will rasped.
Lightning lit up the night sky outside. "I am, William." He growled again. "And I'm hungry." With a mischievous grin, Hannibal leaned down and bit and licked his way down Will's jawline and up the other side, earning him a few gasps from the man pinned underneath him.
Hannibal felt a foot hit his side and he toppled off of Will, landing next to him.
"See? What did I tell you? They're the actual worst." Beverly joked.
In response, Hannibal wrapped his arms around Will – who was blushing again – and held him tight to his chest, planted a huge kiss on his cheek, and buried his face in his neck. Despite Will's halfhearted protests, he only held him tighter. Hannibal gave Beverly a look that said "Mine."
One hour, a pillow fight, and a bag of chips later, the group found themselves tucked up in their fort, Friends with Kids playing on the television, surrounded by dogs.
Abigail fell asleep first, curled up in a ball next to Winston. Beverly and Alana fell asleep with their heads on the same pillow, dogs tucked up all around them.
Hannibal and Will were the last ones to fall asleep, Will wrapped up in his husband's arms.
"We've done well so far, Will." Hannibal told him quietly.
"Yeah." Will sighed. "Yeah, we have."
And with that, they drifted off to sleep.
A/N: Reviews are always appreciated. They keep me motivated to write.