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Family Values by chimosa (Hannibal TV, Will/Hannibal, Abigail)

Title: Family Values
Fandom: Hannibal
Characters: Will/Hannibal, Abigail
Warnings: Violence (duh, it's Hannibal)
AN: Hey guys, it's been a while, huh? Well, I wrote this... enjoy?

Hannibal Lecter has made himself a family, but Abigail and Will are only his playthings, when it comes right down to it.




The first time Abigail Hobbs called Dr. Hannibal Lecter at fifty past midnight, her hands were shaking so badly she nearly dropped her cell twice. The sweat on her cheek was uncomfortably warm against the phone’s glass face, but that didn’t stop her from pressing it painfully close to her ear.

Each unanswered ring brought another sob muffled by her fist. He’s not going to pick up,she thought hysterically.

She felt sick at the thought of walking back down the hallway to the room she shared with two other girls. What would she say if they saw her like this?

Sorry, Daisy, but your new dormmate is having a tiny mental breakdown. No need to wake up the RA, but if you wouldn’t mind, there’s a man in the FBI you could contact instead.

I’m so sorry for waking you up, Amanda, but I was just dreaming of my father’s victims again.

“Abigail.”

Abigail couldn’t speak past the erratic stutter of her lungs, but Hannibal knew what she couldn’t say. He always knew.

“Calm down, Abigail. Agitation is completely normal for anyone entering into a new phase of life, and it’s hardly surprising your nightmares have resurfaced.”

Closing her eyes tightly, she could almost see the perfectly controlled man in front of her- face as smooth as a lake’s surface, his clothing pressed and tailored, even at this hour.

He probably wears a suit to bed, Abigail thought and could feel her muscles loosen until she was slumped against the bathroom stall door. The tile floor’s coldness was beginning to seep through her flannel pants.

“When you applied to the University, we discussed the possibility of a resurgence of your previous anxieties-”

Abigail had to admire the way he danced around the words they were both thinking.

The murders.

Somehow even that thought couldn’t pierce the web of comfort that Hannibal’s voice weaved around her, words draping around her shoulders until they stopped heaving.

“- but remember, you are stronger than this, Abigail. You are a survivor.”

A survivor, Abigail repeated dully as exhaustion crept into the spaces that terror had recently eased out from. I am a survivor.

“Now, tell me truthfully. Must I come get you?”

She had to clear her throat three times before she could reply.

“No.”

“Good girl.”

The second time she called Hannibal Lecter fifty past midnight, she nearly dropped her phone.

Blood will do that, Abigail thought as she pressed the phone to her ear, mindful of her slippery fingers.

This time there were no tears. Instead, she felt like she was floating. Like she was shadows suspended on dust- the phrase came from the hidden groves of her memory and brought with it a rueful smile.

Still the phone continued to ring, and somehow in this altered state Abigail knew Hannibal was refraining from picking up until the last possible moment. Toying with her, like he toyed with everyone. Like a boy, pulling the wings off flies just to watch them crawl.

“Abigail,” he said and suddenly she could feel gravity bringing her back down to herself. The room spun and she had to lay down, forehead to the floor.

“Hannibal,” she finally was able to slur in return. Abigail could feel the music from downstairs shake the floorboards, just as she could see the light from under the door reflected in the whites of the boy’s wide, unblinking eyes. “I don’t feel so good.”

“Are you drunk?”

To catch Hannibal Lecter off guard was such a rarity, Abigail couldn’t help but laugh. “You sound surprised.”

“When we last talked you indicated you were having difficulty socializing with your peers.”

“Well, now I’m drunk in a frat house. The quintessential college experience,” and Abigail was proud she could say “quintessential” with only the tiniest difficulty.

“And you called to tell me this?” He asked, the slightest hint of amusement curled against the edges of his words.

“No.”

They were both quiet, Hannibal waiting with his infinite patience that stretched across millennia, Abigail trying not to look at the bloody scissors that only moments before had been in a guy’s guts. She could remember the way his beer-stale breath had felt on her lips; how he had shoved her into the wall when she had tried to tell him “Stop.”

“I need you.”

***

The morning found Hannibal in his sunlight-rich kitchen, preparing breakfast. He was as competent with a frying pan as he had been the night before with that boy’s body. Abigail, raised to respect that kind of craftsmanship, could only stand and watch.

“Would you set the table?” Hannibal called over the crackle of heated bacon fat and she really shouldn’t be surprised that he knew she had been watching him. Abigail was beginning to suspect there was little he didn’t know, and that thought was strangely reassuring.

She was careful as she brought two plates from the cabinet Hannibal had indicated to her with a silent nod. They were heavier than the ones her parents had used, something she could only guess had to do with their quality, and it would really suck to have Hannibal mad at her for breaking his expensive china now that she had seen the things he could do with a knife.

Hannibal’s eyes never left the cutting board where he was expertly dicing onions, but since he knew everything he said: “We will be needing another place setting,”

Abigail looked at the two plates in her hand, confused. “You invited someone else to breakfast?”

“I wouldn’t say invited,” and there was that aristocratic amusement again. The barest hint of a smile on his lips. “All the same, our dear Will will be joining us.”

She was surprised, but not nearly as surprised as Will when he walked in halfway through breakfast, absentmindedly cleaning his glasses.

“Abigail! What are you doing here?”

She could feel the weight of Hannibal’s gaze even as he cut his omelet with surgical precision. It was so different from Will’s- so well-meaning and hopeful and slightly askew- for a moment Abigail found it jarring.

“I had a paper to write for school,” she found herself saying. Lying had always come easily to her. “The dorm was pretty loud. Thirsty Thursday, you know?”

“Thirsty Thursday?” Will repeated with that smile that seemed to be wrenched from a dark place against his better judgement. Like he had long ago become wary of smiling.

“It’s dumb,” Abigail said with a shrug. “Any excuse to get drunk. Make poor decisions.”

A side glance rewarded Abigail with Hannibal’s distant approval. “Our Abigail is too smart to get caught up in that.”

She was Our Abigail, just like Will was Our Will.

She looked around the table at the broken family Hannibal had assembled. Will, trying to banish the sight of bodies and killers that followed him wherever he went with a shake of his head, too broken to look up even now that he was in a place he thought was safe. Abigail, with the barest hint of blood still to be found underneath her fingernails. And Hannibal, the most dangerous of all, satisfied by his place at the head of the table.

This was her new place. This was where she belonged now, and she felt a swell of some emotion, something generous and tender for this new thing that they had become. It was enough that she blurted out: “We should go do something tonight. Together.”

“You want to go out?” Will asked with darting eyes, confusion in the lines of his forehead.

“Yeah, like go to a movie or something. My parents used to take me to the movies on Fridays.” Will blinked and Hannibal refolded his napkin.

“It’ll be nice. You know, like a family.”

Will’s quiet happiness at the word was nothing compared to the weight of Hannibal’s regard. He was pleased with her and that was a heady thing, even more powerful then whatever twisted feelings she had for her own father. For Garret Jacob Hobbs, she amended, finally renouncing his hold on her with the thought.

***

The problem with having her biological father die on her was that Abigail now knew that it was a possibility. Growing up, she never really questioned that her father would always be there. He could go to prison for killing those girls, maybe, but to have him die on her was such a profound paradigm shift it had taken two private psychiatrists, in-treatment at a mental hospital and even some members of the FBI to bring her back from the breaking point.

Now that she’s here, she’ll be damned if she’d lose another father figure. Not that she thought Hannibal would get himself killed. He was smart enough to cheat death and walk away unscathed. But she worried he’d decide Abigail wasn’t worthy of his time, more trouble than he needed to deal with. So Abigail began to become obsessed with ways to make him happy. Make him proud of her.

It wasn’t like it was a secret. Hannibal knew how she felt, of course he knew, but it amused him to watch her efforts.

Unfortunately for Scott Perkins, Abigail only really knew of one way to prove her devotion.

Looking back, it was really too easy to slip back into the role. Bait, as Nicholas Boyle said, even though she couldn’t stand to hear that then. She’d made peace with it by then, and never let it be said that therapy didn’t work. Abigail knew her strengths, her weaknesses, and everything in between because she had discussed it all, at great length. She knew her greatest gift was to widen her eyes and smile like she had never known the stink of death even as she led someone to their own.

“What is this?” Hannibal asked as he entered his study, warily eyeing the bound and gagged man on the floor.

Abigail’s hands twisted, nervous behind her back. “For you,” she offered, even as she felt the first stomach-plunging feelings of doubt. Had she gotten it wrong? She looked at the man, trying to see what Hannibal was seeing, with that still face carved of stone.

It was Scott Perkins’ faint resemblance to Will that first caught Abigail’s attention. She had been studying at a coffee shop and there he was, walking in like the words “For Dr Hannibal Lecter” were engraved on his forehead, and now she wondered if she should have carved the words in herself.

It was Garrett Jacob Hobbs’ love for Abigail that sent him after girls that looked her. Who else did Hannibal care more about, in his twisted way, then Will Graham?

“Oh, Abigail,” Hannibal sighed sadly, and suddenly she knew she hadn’t gotten it right, not quiet. Upset tears stung her eyes, but she knew Hannibal wouldn’t find those amusing, not now, so she refused to let them fall. “It was never about love for me.”

She was an idiot, the thought tightened inside her throat as she felt his chastisement somewhere deep and complex.

Hannibal bent over Scott Perkins, examined his bound hands and feet as he mused aloud, “What is to be done with you?”

He removed Scott Perkins’ gag with the practiced slice of a particularly sharp letter opener.


“What the fuck? What the fuck!” Scott Perkins began to scream, his scruffy cheeks reddened unpleasantly as his blue eyes bulged. “What the fuck, you fucking bitch! Where the fuck am I? Let me the fuck go!”

Hannibal’s expression closed off, and Abigail was afraid to so much as blink. It was like the heavy, grey air before a storm, a gathering chill that had terrible possibility.

Too bad for Scott Perkins that he was too busy calling Abigail a cunt to notice.

“There’s no need for that kind of language,” Hannibal chided softly, before bringing the letter opener down with practiced ease.

Hours later found Hannibal contentedly humming along with the violin of some fancy concerto or another (she could never keep them straight, no matter how many times she was told, they all sounded the same to her) as Abigail set the table for three. The liver in the frying pan sizzled merrily, filling the house with the smell of dinner. Of home.

A heavy hand on her shoulder made Abigail startle. She never heard Hannibal coming, especially when he was in his own home, but she quickly relaxed into the warm weight. Hannibal’s fingers stroked her neck in approval. “Thank you, Abigail,” he said, surveying the set table, but she knew he was talking about more than the flatware.

“Of course,” she said, even as she heard Will making his way through the hallway. Just in time for dinner, for once. “Anytime.”

***

It came as a surprise, the day Abigail learned that Hannibal and Will weren’t a couple.

Hannibal’s fascination with the other man just seemed so all-consuming, Abigail couldn’t imagine it didn’t extend to all matters Will. He controlled what Will ate, who he trusted, what kept Will up at night. Hell, they were even raising her messed up ass as their pusedo-daughter. To Abigail it just seemed like a given. Sex was just so banal, of course they were doing it.

When she mentioned it, Hannibal had looked at her sidelong. “It’s understandable that you would feel this way. You see Will and me as stabilizing forces in your life. It’s natural to project onto us the same relationship your parents had with one another, to make for a more cohesive family unit. But I assure you, Abigail, it isn’t necessary for my relationship with Will to be anything other than platonic for us to support you.”

Abigail had bitten her tongue to prevent herself from following the subject any further. She had a tendency toward the sarcastic, and it was hard to predict sometimes when Hannibal would find it amusing and when he would get that preternatural stillness, like he were imagining what her viscera would look like splashed against the wall.

While Abigail hadn’t said anything further, it certainly didn’t stop her from watching them together, from mentally cataloguing away the evidence to support her theory.

Exhibit A:
Will looked at Hannibal. Like, really looked. Where meeting anyone else’s gaze was so obviously a painful effort, Will could look into Hannibal’s long enough to smile. That had to mean something.

Exhibit B:
Will would always eat one last bite of what Abigail had dubbed Family Dinner to meet Jack Crawford and whatever horror show the FBI wanted to inflict on him next. Hannibal would smirk, that smugly satisfied look, and wish him well. True, most times it was because Hannibal probably already knew what fresh terrors awaited Will on the other end of that phone call, but it couldn’t all be that, could it?

Exhibit C:
Because, when you thought about it, those macabre scenes Hannibal crafted, the ones that added lines to Will’s face, were sort of their own love letter, weren’t they?

Abigail had spent enough time watching TV crime dramas, and living her own crime drama, to know it was hardly enough evidence to convict. So she had to take Hannibal at his word that that was that.

That was, until that one night she couldn’t sleep.

By now, the three of them had formed their own rhythms, times they spent apart and together. Now Abigail spent the weekend at Hannibal’s place. It was nice to get out of the dorms and away from the CW-esque teen melodrama that was the University of Maryland’s undergraduate class of 2017. There was only so much boy-related shrieking and bitching about the puke smell in the shower that Abigail could take.

Besides, the melodramas at Hannibal’s were more Shakespearian in scope, more cloak-and-dagger, and she had learned that a taste for the rarified was something one developed when hanging around Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

Abigail was in the kitchen, rummaging for a midnight snack, when she heard the first hoarse yell. By now she knew that Hannibal preferred his space while he “worked,” but curiosity got the better of her. Following the sounds found Abigail at Hannibal’s bedroom door.

As a rule, she never went in there. Not that he had ever brought it up, it just seemed like something he’s get persnickety about.

After all, this was the same man that kept everything on his desk at a right angle. He folded his still-damp dishtowels after drying dishes. A place for everything and everything in its place, and Abigail was smart enough to know her place wasn’t near Hannibal’s bedroom.

But the door was cracked just enough that she could push it open with a single fingertip and it was too easy to stand sideways and peak inside.

And she only meant to take a peak.

Will was in the deep throes of a nightmare, that much was evident. The fact that he was naked was almost an after thought compared to the sheer agony written in the tendons straining his neck. The sheets twisted around his ankles even as his feet jerked for freedom, scampering like he was trying to run. The sweat on his skin glinted in what little light shone into the room, but all that was nothing compared to the hoarse screams.

To be this close to the sound, to watch as each new shout began from somewhere so intrinsic that his entire body quaked with the sound, it was enough to make the hairs on Abigail’s arms stand up.

She was so engrossed with the sight of Will that it took a long while for her brain to process anything else, kind of like those stupid Magic Eye tricks everyone had been obsessed with in junior high. Look at it once and all you see is the chaos. Step back and suddenly there’s a sailboat.

Step back and suddenly there was Hannibal.

Twisted around Will like an invasive vine slowly smothering an oak tree, as if by pressing his skin to Will’s he could soak away whatever vitality Will had. His mouth was pressed to Will’s sweaty cheek, but it wasn’t in a soothing kiss. He wasn’t chasing away Will’s nightmares, he was reveling in them. He was tasting the sweat and tears even as he muttered words into Will’s temple. Abigail couldn’t hear what he said, but Will’s whimpers were enough to know that whatever paths his fervid imagination were following, they were steeped in human decay, and blood, and all those things that Hannibal could craft so masterfully when he was left to his own devices.

It was a sick symbiosis that she witnessed, this thing between the two men that was beautiful in a way that made her want to vomit. Will was glorious in his destruction, he was Hannibal’s obedient plaything, writhing to Hannibal’s puppet-master voice.

She didn’t make a sound as she turned away, she had seen enough, but still Hannibal knew she was there-

(of course he knew, he always knew)

- and he caught Abigail’s gaze and smiled.


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June 2013

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