Something very small and tinny in the back of Graham’s mind sounded like a long-forgotten alarm bell at an old school heard from some distance away. This alarm bell also seemed to hiss displeasure with Lecter’s words and raised some sort of subconscious alarm. Treated with…
Instulted. Graham visibly withdrew as Lecter’s body language pressed on with a silent chide. But, like a curious and cautious dog at a choppy lake, he quickly returned to test the waters for a drink. A taste of the uninteresting, thunder-stealing psychiatrist. With what was given to him, there was no reason for Graham to be sharp and cut-off. At least, there would be no logical reason if Graham happened to be anyone but Will Graham. To honor this, he pushed away his suspicions with a slightly grumpy look that lightened into a thin line as Graham consodered this and eventually nodded slowly.
"Of course," he sounded like a boy chided by his mentor. A boy who knew he was correct, but agreed with being wrong because he couldn’t prove he was correct.
How could Graham prove he was correct? Go back in time? He was quiet as he played with his own theories.
Cheshire purred so loud that it no longer sounded like a cat but a lion stretching from a long nap. He stretched his claws as if they were enclosed for many years and came out now; they made cracks and crunches. He didn’t know why he was so tired after his third nap today. Shouldn’t I be well rested? He asked himself as he walked along the walls that seem to tilt inward to his existence. Yet then again did he really even care? Of course not, he always asks himself questions he knows the answer to.
The colorful fur disappears from the new found human skin that emerges from beneath. The big eyes that scared people shrunk down into his skull. Cheshire’s form was no longer a cat and gave birth to a blond, dark eyed human. But if you stared hard enough in his eyes you would see the colors that were truly there. Clothes appeared upon his naked self and he let them be messy. His shirt was uneven and his collar was inside. As the walls leaned he scratched his nails against the wall that gave off high pitched screeches and were sharp as his claws before. Ever since he entered Virginia, searching for someone to entertain him, he felt strong minds from afar and knew he had to get to them. She or he wasn’t going to get away from him so easily. He was going to find out about their mind and what made them tick. The minds of humans was just a hobby but a strong and interesting ones were much more. Cheshire finally tracked down this human through his power of dreams and found where this human would be. And the night was young as ever.
He didn’t want to appear as a cat and changed because he didn’t know how he or she would react. But Cheshire existence was effecting the area. He couldn’t help it. Hopefully man-eating flowers wouldn’t appear from the ground and attack the human. All he had to do is stay calm and none of his world would come to this one. He crept the halls until he came to the area of Graham.
“Hello? Can I get some help please?” He asked as he entered.
A voice snapped Graham from his reverie and his tired eyes focused on the young blond man in the doorway. A stranger, which was peculiar in a fairly small school. Not in uniform. Not from this school. A student, perhaps. After a long second punctuated by the drag of Graham’s hand down his face, he nodded and stood.
"That would depend on what you need help with, wouldn’t it?" The response came out harder than he’d intended, but he hadn’t slept for days and frankly needed to grade student papers before his next assignment. Keeping up between cases and assignments became even harder as time continued. Graham saw a fruitless effort before now, but he’d never admit it properly to himself and pretended that this was an entirely new and unexpected consequence to taking on more than he could metaphorically chew.
An apology lingered in Graham’s mind, but did not worm out of his lips in the rude silence that followed his blurted question. Something didn’t seem quite…right about the man in the doorway of his office. Perhaps it was paranoia. Perhaps it was reasonable. His body language remained closed despite his willingness to help. Or apparent willingness.
A silent thanks was offered in a small nod, but easily missed. But what was he thankful for? Escaping himself for the time being? Only until the next catalyst. Graham was not a fragile piece of fine china. He was the old, reliable (yet chipped) mug on a long forgotten shelf.
“Don’t you worry,” he responded quickly, “I do not mind having you over.” Hannibal moved around in his seat, feeling rather uncomfortable. His undershirt slid up slightly, causing the string from the apron to irritate his skin. Hannibal slowly opened his mouth and let out a bit of a groan as the string began rubbing against his lower back.
Without hesitation, he removed the apron from his waist and hung it over the arm of his end chair. He was growing more tired by the minute passed and couldn’t wait until he could rest. Besides, he had an appointment for his own psychiatrist in the morning and he didn’t want to stand her up. Bite after bite, he finally finished and swallowed the last bite of the delectable meal.
Again, there was silence. Lucky for Lecter, he didn’t feel any awkward tension between the two. He just didn’t feel too sociable. Lecter cleared his throat and inched his eyes back up to Graham who seemed to be finished at that point.
“We did plan dinner for this week, but it was for tomorrow. No matter, though. If you have something you need to tell me, go ahead and say it,” he added, his tone and accent a bit more husky. For Graham, he could stay up for hours listening to him. He didn’t mind at all because he felt some sort of connection. Albeit, he didn’t want to feel it either.
Being considered a pest or intruder was the last thing on Graham’s mind as he ate. In fact, he was almost glad that he thought the dinner was that night because he did not know if he had enough food for a dinner. He knew he didn’t have enough food for a dinner as satisfying as what he finished off of his plate while Lecter removed the apron and placed it over the arm of his dinner chair; something Graham didn’t see, although he assumed by the movements Lecter made.
Ever unwilling to make eye contact, Graham’s eyes wandered around the room although he could feel Lecter’s eyes on him—or thought he could—and it made his skin prickle uncomfortably until he finally stood and pushed his chair in. Something in him felt obligated to take his dirty dishes to the kitchen, but he wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to follow through on obligations. He certainly didn’t want a desert.
Tomorrow night. Right. How could he have forgotten? It had been a long week. More recently, he found himself not allowing sleep out of uncertainty. Slowly, the agent shook his aching head, “I have nothing to tell you. Dinner was delicious.” With discomfort at his heels, he gave one nod and made his way for the door to leave.
There was only silence. Hannibal didn’t want to shift his eyes on Will, so instead he glanced down at the plate in front of him.
“What is the reason for coming over so late? Have your nightmares been getting worse lately?” he asked, slowly picking up the silverware beside the plate. Hannibal lifted the fork to his mouth and bit down on the food, releasing the fork and placing it back down.
Hannibal swallowed and added, “Or was it because we had planned something?”
Lecter sighed right after swallowing another bite of food and slowly sat back, crossing his legs and inching his eyes towards Graham. He could sense by Will’s body movement and facial expression that he was tense and a bit anxious. He felt as if Graham had made a slight mistake coming, but he knew it was something else. Lecter had asked too many questions at that point, so he awaited his response as he adjusted himself smugly in the end chair.
The mention of the nightmares caused a particularly nasty throb behind his eyes that caused Graham to squint and he was reminded of the one-man audience of Garrett Jacob Hobbs and how he once again plagued Graham’s mind. He never talked about the nightmares. At least, never in the horrific detail that they included. Now was certainly not the time to start.
"Well," he cleared his throat and shifted his stiff shoulders, "I…must have been mistaken, but I was certain that we planned to have dinner this week." Today, actually, but that was clear. Why else would he have appeared early in the week? An accident. Mistaken times.
Still a bit hungry, the agent continued to eat after he explained himself, although his frame remained tense. The old knot of a scar on his shoulder gave a small twinge of pain in protest against being moved.