"What's that? Keeping a diary? That's so sweet."

Will ignored Zeller's cooing snarky remark, focusing instead on finishing his latest thought.

"No." Will muttered, snapping the little leather-bound book Hannibal had given him shut with a sharp sound. It earned him a look from Jack which he ignored. Jack was always irritated about something these days. It seemed the longer the Chesapeake Ripper was on the loose, the shorter Jack's patience got.

"What is it then? You keep taking it out and writing in it, sticking post-it notes and business cards in it. Finally jotting down your memoirs to sell to Ms. Lounds?" Jimmy mused, grinning at the sour look he got from the rest of the team for various reasons. The infamous journalist of was not popular with anyone here.

The determined curiosity of his colleagues couldn't be faulted though. It was a major part of their job description after all. None of them would be here without an unhealthy dose of it. The empath also knew that they wouldn't leave off of him without an answer so Will decided he might as well fill them in on what was going on. It might make things easier for him later on.

"It is an exercise that Doctor Lecter recommended. He believes that I should be honing my empathy, like one would a tool." Or a weapon, Will uncharitable added to himself in the relative safety of his own head. Hannibal had made it a point to impress upon Will the importance of embracing his 'gift' instead of resenting and living in fear of it. It was realized that the only way he could do that was by using it, being comfortable with his empathy. He had spent a lifetime coping with his other side of self by hiding from it or avoiding it, like survival living with an abusive relative.

It was at Hannibal's urgings that Will learn to truly focus his empathy, to wield it in its fullest measure but to do so a little bit at a time by constantly using it at low levels. Hannibal equated it to muscle memory, that it would get to the point Will would just start using his true nature secondhand liking breathing. Will thought it was more like taking small doses of poison everyday to build up a tolerance. That was where the book came into play.

"I have to pick people I meet, notice, or run into and write down my observations about them, what they are, who they are, the meaning of their design." Will explained. It sounded stupid to him when he explained it aloud. Zeller's amused smirk wasn't helping either.

"So it's like mental exercise. Building up your cerebral cortex's six pack?" Beverly grinned, bless her heart. That was why she was Will's favorite.

"That sounds….incredibly boring." Zeller decided from his place permanently at the top of Will's shit list.

"For the most part, it is." Will shrugged. He never liked to agree with Zeller but it really was. Now that he was constantly 'on' he found that the motivations of the average, reasonably sane person were quite dull.

"Then why do it?" Zeller pointed out.

"Didn't your mother ever tell you that practice makes perfect?" Jimmy mused. "If you want to become a pianist, you have to practice scales for hours on end every day to play at professional level later on."

"So if you keep profiling Joe Shmoe on why he gets a pumpkin spice latte instead of a cappuccino, you keep from going crazy when the real shit hits the fan?" Zeller concluded with his normal amount of tactful charm.

"That's the idea." Will grumbled as he chose to ignore the others in favor of returning his attention back to his little book, scribbling in his next entry. Watching his unusual coworker, a thought suddenly occurred to Zeller, the man rising up on tip toe in an effort to catch a glimpse of what the little journal held within its leather confines.

"Hey, are you writing about me?" he asked to be answered by an amused snort from the empath, making Zeller squirm and everyone else chuckle.

oOo

The latest show was morbidly colorful.

Someone decided to feed some poor bastard…or several… through a wood chipper along with several buckets of paint. Chunky bits of human was spread out across a field in bright sprays of hot pink and neon yellow. It was a statement of some kind or the killer thought they were being clever by trying to destroy evidence by coating it in acrylic. Whatever the motivation, it was giving Will one hell of headache, the overly bright colors searing into his brain.

"Have you taken a look yet?" Jack growled, glaring down at the ground that looked like a rave had puked all over it. Foot placement was vital to secure evidence and remains. It was also important if one wanted to keep their shoes clean.

"A little hard to miss, Jack." Will said dryly, taking a sip of really bad coffee. The FBI seemed to have a pension for obtaining the worse brew possible but it was butt ass cold in this barren New Hampshire field so Will curled his fingers around the Styrofoam cup tighter, ignoring the corrosive flavor as the dark fluid that warmed him.

"Well, what do you see? What are we dealing with here?" Jack more demanded than asked. Will contemplated his lackluster beverage, wondering why Jack thought he was oracle or some kind of 8Ball of crazy. Make him smell the vapors or give him a good shake, and out pops an answer.

"An avid Pollock fan?" Will answered flippantly, earning himself a glare and a grumpy look from Jack which was to be expected. Will mused that Jack never seemed to appreciate his sense of humor. Or maybe he was just shit at telling jokes. Will sighed under the enduring gaze. "I don't know, Jack. I just got here along with everyone else. You should know that. You're the one who drove."

"I don't want to spend a lot of time on this. Figure it out." Jack snapped, stalking off in angry huff.

"Jesus, we've got to catch the Ripper before he loses it." Beverly said, shaking her head. She felt bad for Jack what with his beloved wife dying in inches from cancer and all, but it was getting to the point were he either had to take time off to be with her or resign from this sort of work. The Chesapeake Ripper was rapidly turning into an unhealthy obsession, one that was going to end badly for someone, perhaps permanently. Zeller was about to add in his two cents when an angry voice startled them all.

"Get off my property!" made Will and the forensic team turn around to find a bull of a man bearing down upon them, his puffy face bright red with anger. He was intercepted by the officers but it was apparent that he was the unfortunate land owner who's wood chipper had been used for nefarious artwork and body disposal. Will tilted his head, already getting out his little leather book as he listening in on the man screaming himself blue in the face about his rights. He didn't care that another human beings had been shredded apart like garbage, their remains disfigured beyond recognition, and further insult to injury, covered in obnoxious coloring.

It was worth noting.

oOo

Hannibal looked up when someone entered his office with only the briefest of knocking to alert him to their intrusion. Normally this would have been dealt with one way or another, but only one person could do this sort of thing and really live to tell about it.

"Good evening, Will." Hannibal smiled, briefly glancing up the acknowledge the other man. He was intent on finishing his latest masterpiece which actually involved his habitually rude lover in naked repose. It was funny how opposites attracted to one another. His progress was interrupted though when his desk was showered by business cards of all different varieties ending with an familiar looking journal being placed on the desk, its pages full of addresses and vital information of sins committed. Picking up one of the cards to peruse it, Hannibal looked up expectantly at Will who glowered down at him. He hated it when Hannibal was right.

"Go ahead and have your damn dinner party."