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Title: Frosty Atmosphere
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Author's Note: Sequel to "Stray."
Disclaimer: This is entirely a product of my own imagination, and I make no profit from it. I do not own the lovely Hannibal Lecter or Will Graham, unfortunately, just borrowing them for a while. Please do not sue.
***This was going to be a good weekend.
Will couldn't keep the smile off his face at the thought as he moved around the kitchen, putting plates and silverware on the table in preparation for his dinner guest.
Hannibal had insisted that he bring Will dinner tonight; he had said that he needed to get out of the city, and that the house in Wolf Trap was the perfect place to relax.
Usually, Hannibal didn't like coming here, and Will knew it. He felt that it was too far out in the country, too isolated. Hannibal was a creature of concrete and walls, of crowds and civilization. Will was the complete opposite; he needed open spaces and solitude in order to survive.
They were so different, yet they still somehow managed to make things work, Will thought with a smile as he set a glass beside Hannibal's plate. Opposites did indeed attract.
He looked over at Max, smiling as the puppy yipped at him and perked his ears up. "We'll go play fetch later, boy," he promised, bending down to scratch the little dog behind his ears.
What would Hannibal think about him having yet another dog?
Will laughed at the thought, trying to imagine Hannibal's words. He would probably say that Will had yet again taken in a stray that reminded him of himself.
Hannibal had always likened him to a stray puppy, even before they'd gotten together as a couple, Will told himself with a soft laugh. Maybe he was, to some extent.
He had been wandering aimlessly in his life when he'd first met Hannibal, even though he had a good job and he was secure in his career. He had needed the stability that their relationship gave him, and he would always be grateful to his lover for giving him that rock to stand on.
Where would he be now without Hannibal? Will shivered at the idea, not wanting to think about it. He'd more than likely be a sour, bitter man, with no love in his life.
He didn't want that for himself. He never had, even though he had been headed in that direction before the day that he and Hannibal had met.
Hannibal had given him a life that he'd never thought he could have. Hannibal made him feel loved and wanted, needed in a way that he wasn't in any other aspect of his life. He had finally found his niche, and it was a comfortable one that he wanted to settle into and enjoy.
Max yipped again when he heard the sound of wheels on gravel; Hannibal was obviously here, and Will couldn't help laughing as he and Max headed for the front door.
"So he'll get to meet you before he even gets in the house, huh, boy?" he said, bending down to pet the dog before he opened the door to welcome his boyfriend.
He wasn't prepared for what happened next.
Max backed away as Hannibal made his way up the few steps that led to the front porch, growling and then barking at the top of his lungs, looking as though he was about to attack.
"Max!" Will was shocked at the dog's actions; after all, Hannibal hadn't done anything that even looked in the least threatening. He had simply walked up the steps.
He couldn't help but notice a sudden temperature drop; it was as if the air around them had suddenly turned frosty with Hannibal's displeasure at being so greeted. Will knew that in his eyes, even a dog should have good manners, and this would be a black mark against Max from the start.
"I don't know why he's acting like this," Will said by way of apology, grabbing Max's collar and taking the dog to the laundry room, closing the door behind him. "He's usually so friendly."
"Another new dog, Will?" Hannibal said, sighing as he put the picnic basket that he carried on the kitchen table. "I would have thought that you had quite enough animals."
Will shrugged and smiled, trying to lighten the moment.
"You know me, always collecting strays," he said, wondering what was making Max act so unfriendly. He wanted to apologize for the dog again, but decided against it.
Maybe Max just needed a while to get used to a new person, he told himself. Yes, that had to be it. He didn't seem like the kind of dog who was naturally wary.
Whatever it was that had Max on edge, it hadn't seemed to stop. The dog was still scratching at the door and growling, and Will didn't want to let him into the kitchen while he and Hannibal were cooking. He was afraid that Max might sink his teeth into Hannibal's leg and refuse to let go.
"You should put that dog outside, Will," Hannibal said, the temperature drop apparent in his voice. He sounded cold, unyielding, not at all like the man Will knew.
Will sighed and nodded, wishing that he didn't have to do what Hannibal suggested. "I think you're right," he murmured, going to get Max and leading him outside.
The dog went down the steps, then came back up again, curling up near the rocking chair.
"All right," Will told him, frowning. "I'll let you sit out here and play guard dog. But I don't know what's wrong with you. Why are you acting like this?"
Max gave him a long look, as though to say that if Will couldn't figure it out, he wasn't going to be told. He looked distinctly frosty, just as Hannibal had.
"I think the two of you have more in common than either of you want to admit," he said with a sigh, shaking his head. "You guys had better learn how to get along. Because he's going to be in my life for a long time to come, I hope, and I don't want to have to give you away."
Max only stared at him, and then turned his head towards the door and barked, followed by a low growl from the back of his throat. Will definitely wasn't getting through to him.
Will could only shake his head and sigh, petting Max on the head before going back into the house and closing the door behind him, feeling confused and a little annoyed.
The festive feeling of the evening was completely gone.
Why was his dog acting this way? And how was he going to get Hannibal to keep coming here if one of his pets didn't warm up to him and act more friendly?
Sighing again, he went back into the house, hoping that the frosty atmosphere had thawed somewhat and that their meal would be a pleasant one.
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