Sat at one end of a comfy white leather sofa in the living room, Will closes his eyes. The dinner that Hannibal had prepared for him was delicious, and this Will could already imagine, having admired the man’s skill during breakfast. But this time, he had outdone himself. He had served two courses, both from Italian culinary tradition, so elaborate that Will had to ask how he had made it in such a short time.
“Agnolotti di asparagi e aragosta,” he had said, putting the dish in front of him. Will had asked him to repeat the name two times before he could make the words out, and still, he had asked him a third time because he liked the way the words sounded from Hannibal’s lips. And Hannibal most likely had realized this, because the next time, as he approached him with the dish in his hand, he pronounced the name carefully, articulating each consonant that, coming from him, didn’t sound foreign at all.
“Scaloppine di vitello con funghi, Marsala e timo.” He had looked at Will, putting the dish on the table, and their eyes locked. Will hadn’t been able to hide a smile and, without a glimpse at the food, he had said: “I love this.” Hannibal had smiled back, knowingly.
He feels stuffed now. He opens his eyes, stares at the television, which he had turned on just because he could, and not out of any interest, and then turns towards Hannibal, who’s reading some papers at the other end of the sofa. He wears reading glasses; they make him look older, adding something dad-ish to his persona. Will wonders if he has children. He asks as much.
“I do,” the man answers, casting the papers aside and taking off the glasses. “A girl. She is not my biological daughter, though. But I do love her as if she were my own. Why do you ask?”
Will shrugs and tries to picture in his mind the man he has been around in the last twenty-four hours, with a child. He realizes it doesn’t come easy. Hannibal Lecter seems made of stern looks and composed manners, and those things don’t work well with the bustle of children’s behaviour. Does he play with her? Is he willing to sit at a pink table and pretend to drink tea with her dolls? Does he let her paint his nails? The thought itself makes him giggle, but it’s lovely at the same time. Will’s not sure he would be a dad in the future, but if it’d ever happen, he would do all those silly things in a heartbeat.
In the meantime, Hannibal has focused on the tv. The volume is low for Will had turned it down not to disturb Hannibal’s reading, but the man listens to it attentively, regardless. He looks tired; his eyes are slightly circled and, from time to time, they attempt to close. Yet, he doesn’t appear particularly interested in going to bed, and stays on the sofa, with Will at his side, savouring the company of another human being just for the sake of it. He must have such a lonely life.
Will extends a leg towards him, moving it freely without the suit. He had taken it off soon after dinner and, instead of pajamas, he had opted for a cotton shirt and briefs. He had not even bought pajamas, in truth: Hannibal’s words about nudity had been stuck in his head ever since he had said them, and Will had seriously considered walking around the suite as the day he was born. But the briefs had worked just fine.
With the tips of his toes, he pokes Hannibal on the hips. It’s a soft touch, more like a tease, nothing that could be labeled as rude. As a reflex, Hannibal grabs his ankle. He doesn’t move his eyes from the tv, but he mustn’t be paying much attention to it as he starts drawing circles around Will’s malleolus with his thumb, even though he wants to play the stubborn and not show any interest. Will moves his toes against the fabric of Hannibal’s shirt once again and, this time, tries to slide his foot along the man’s thigh. But Hannibal’s grip gets tighter, and Will finds himself trapped between his hands. It’s then that the man decides to turn and look at Will.
“Am I tickling you?” the boy asks, amusement in his voice. Hannibal shakes his head. “Good,” Will replies and resumes his task of being annoying. Hannibal groans then, and Will bursts into giggles.