AN-

'Danza delle ore' means 'The Dance of Hours' and it was written by Amilcare Ponchielli. I obviously don't own it or anything else in this. I got nothing. My brains hurts and I've had about 8 hours sleep for the entire week and I'm starting to hallucinate veins in the walls. Enjoy the results of my numb exhaustion.

oOo

It happened all very quickly as did most events when they came down to Sherlock. It seemed one moment they had been in London getting a call from FBI and the next, the consulting detective and his blogger were in Maryland meeting some people who were working on the high profile case that Sherlock had been invited to come advise on.

Upon meeting the FBI's star profiler Will Graham, and a psychiatrist named Hannibal Lecter at the said doctor's office, John realized he must have lost track of things somewhere along the line because Sherlock was stepping quickly into Will's space, too close for anyone's comfort, his cool hands cupping man's flushed forehead.

"Fever. Thought as much. Do you have nightmares? Lose time? Sleepwalk?" Sherlock demanded in rapid fire, ignoring everyone looking strangely at him and Will's struggling to escape the strange man touching him.

"Yes. What are you…" Will stammered obviously uncomfortable as Sherlock continued to grope his face. He wasn't the only one, John making a face as he told himself that he wasn't jealous at all as he watched Hannibal take a moment to rearrange a few items on his desk, one of them being a scalpel oddly enough. "How did you…"

"You have encephalitis. Obvious really, in its advanced stages. You should go get that checked out." Sherlock released his latest victim to turn him around roughly by the shoulders, shoving Will towards the door.

"I've already had a brain scan." Will snapped, digging his heels in. He only succeeding in pausing Sherlock momentarily.

"Then your doctor is an idiot. Or he's lying." Sherlock said with definite certainty, resuming his efforts. "I am more inclined to believe the latter."

"He's dead actually." Will supplied. John sighed, staring up at the ceiling as he refrained from the urge to face palm.

"Changes nothing. Could still be both. Go get a second opinion. Now." Sherlock said in clipped words, the kind he resorted to when his mind was running miles a minute, light years ahead of everyone else. He looked to the other doctor in the room for some help to find Hannibal staring at Sherlock with the strangest look of non expression he had ever seen on a living human face. It looked too constructed to be real, the placid blankness of it that of icy ponds found only in Russian winter.

"But…." Will stammered, looking back at John and Hannibal. Sherlock followed his gaze and found something he didn't like there or more correctly, someone.

"John go with Mr. Graham and get him sorted." Sherlock ordered, giving Will a final push out the door, nearly sending the man head over heels onto the floor.

"Sherlock, I'm not a doctor here." John started to argue even as he found himself complying. "And stop bullying the poor man. He's obviously not well."

"Hence why he should have a doctor with him. You know all the lingo, all the ins and outs that can get Mr. Graham diagnosed quickly and I assure you, time is of the essence." Sherlock stated gravely, giving John his own push out of the office.

"Alright, alright. Keep your shirt on about it." John grumbled to have the door slammed in his face. "What in blazes was that all about?" he asked Will, who shrugged in answer.

oOo

"Now that I've taken your knight off the board, the game can truly begin." Sherlock turned back to the monster in the room, who regarded him coolly, the doctor's posture relaxed with his hands behind his back.

"But you have sacrificed your bishop to do so." Hannibal pointed out, a scalpel already hidden in the palm of his hand.

"Oh this is exciting. I've never broken bread before with a cannibal. You'll understand if I pass on a dinner invite though. I don't know who it has been." Sherlock smirked, the consulting detective having already figured it out as he soon as he entered Lecter's office.

"You seem so very sure about who you think I am." Hannibal was willing to give the man an out. He would prefer not to kill someone who so high profile but then again, Sherlock wasn't from the area and tourists got lost everyday, never to be found again.

"Don't be tedious and attempt to play your little mind games with me. They won't work." Sherlock snapped, keeping a space between them as the men began to circle one another whether they realized it or not.

"I would still like to know the method to your madness." which was as close Hannibal was going to get to asking him how Sherlock had figured it out.

"It's simply observation really, the kind of which most people are too bloody stupid to manage on their own. I notice things others don't. It's really as simple as that really."

"You're being quite rude."

"How does that make you feel, Doctor?"

oOo

In celebration for Will's full recovery and release from the hospital, Hannibal invited the profiler over for dinner, making it his usual grand affair.

"This looks amazing." Will sighed happily down at his plate. With the few exceptions of Hannibal surprising him with visits and home cooked meals, Will had been living on hospital food for far too long and often for his liking. The rich, savory smells of butter and garlic wafted up, making Will almost wanting to tear up in appreciative joy from it. "What is it?"

"Sautéed cervix" The French words obtained a strange richness from Hannibal's Baltic accent, Will savoring them almost as much as the fragrant food. His grasp on French was pretty firm thanks to his upbringing in Louisiana and learning Creole there. He had never had fried brains before but anything coming from Hannibal's kitchen was guaranteed to be good.

"Weren't Sherlock and Watson supposed to be joining us though?" Will asked, noticed the other guests' absence but was feeling grateful for it. He had missed his time alone with the good doctor.

"They are with us in spirit." Hannibal said, smiling slightly for a moment. Will caught it though, nearly dropping his fork as he connected the joke to the dish, his brilliant healed mind taking all the leaps it needed.

"Damn it, Hannibal!" Will snapped, glaring down at the beautiful brains on his plate, fried to golden perfection.

"Language and tone, William. We are at the dinner table." Hannibal admonished lightly, taking a delicate bite, the meat so tender it practically melted in his mouth. He even amazing himself sometimes though he was beginning to grow annoyed that Will had set his fork to the side and was currently glaring at him. "Yes?"

"Why are we eating Mr. Holmes for dinner?" Will asked in the same tone he used on his dogs when they had displeased him. Hannibal narrowed his eyes back, letting the empath know he didn't appreciate his application of voice.

"He was rude." Hannibal answered simply, like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

Will groaned into his hands, like he was in odd anguished prayer. Hannibal wondered in amusement if he were asking the powers that be for some patience. "This is cruel, even for you. Making an Englishman into a French dish."

"He was very rude." Hannibal amended with a dry sniff.

"And where, pray tell, is Doctor Watson? I can't imagine he would be too pleased with his detective missing and all." Will sighed, picking up his fork again to poke at the meat and its complimenting side dish, creamy potatoes with a rich sauce over them. "Come to think of it, I haven't seen him either since I was admitted."

"Yes, but he is never too far behind." Hannibal hinted, to receive a flat look from Will as he stirred up the potatoes, their richness of texture and sauce revealed by the meat hidden within them.

"Seriously? You made the vegetables people too?!" Will looked like he wanted to throw something at Hannibal's head. The doctor appreciated the profiler's restraint, seeing as it would have grievously interrupted dinner. Will redirected his anger at his plate, aggressively eating the former detective and doctor.

"No." Hannibal corrected, because rubbing salt in other people's wounds was fun. "Potatoes are a tuber." He took Will's answering eye roll as an unspoken victory.

"This is really good." Will admitted with reluctance after a moment.

"I know." Hannibal openly preened.

"Narcissist."

"Repressed."

"Psychopath"

"Takes one to know one, my dear William."

"Touché, Doctor Lecter."