Coming to the opera, Will decides, had been a terrible idea. Like any couple, he and Hannibal had their ups and downs (like when he found out that his boyfriend was the Chesapeake Ripper, for example), but this might actually be the last straw. Pulling the wool over the eyes of rich people in fancy clothing might be one of Hannibal’s favorite pastimes, but a half hour of actually having to talk to the people in question and Will was willing to say without a doubt that he prefered the socialites on the dinner table as opposed to sitting at it.
The only saving grace was a woman named Mrs. Komeda, who seemed genuinely kind underneath the gossipy, frou-frou syntax that everyone seemed to speak in, and who had, apparently, been one of Hannibal’s friends since he first came to America. Currently, they were trading stories of Hannibal’s culinary exploits over the years, and it takes most of Will’s effort to stifle his laughter at the doctor’s ridiculous cannibal puns. After Will had recounted the story of Hannibal’s attempt at making pigs in a blanket (skipping over the part where Hannibal had proudly showed off his “pigs” wrapped in literal blankets, which Will had to admit was pretty funny), Mrs. Komeda commenced her scolding of Hannibal for his recent lack of proper dinner parties.
“I will again,” Hannibal promises. “Once inspiration strikes. I cannot force a feast. A feast must present itself.”
Will almost misses Mrs. Komeda’s reply (snarky yet still polite and friendly) because he is schooling his face into an Appropriately Solemn Expression for when one’s partner is discussing cannibalism in polite company. It’s a difficult task, but he manages it and is even able to add a comment about his own “unrefined palate” and “unexpected culinary wonders.”
Everyone’s polite laughter is interrupted by Mrs. Komeda, as yet another over-eager fan of Hannibal’s (there had been quite a few so far) approaches, this one closely followed by a taller man who screams psychopath even more than Hannibal does. (Although Will supposes that to the average person, Hannibal doesn’t scream psychopath at all.) During the introductions, Hannibal addresses the man as Franklyn, and the pieces fall into place. Franklyn, the one who is in love with Hannibal and keeps trying to be friends. The Divination by Cheese guy. The one who keeps stalking Hannibal at the pretentious, overpriced organic grocery store he insists on buying all of his non-people ingredients from.
“How do you two know each other?” she asks.
Hannibal responds without missing a beat. He may have insanely questionable ethics, but he (mostly) respects doctor-patient confidentiality.
“There should remain some mystery to my life outside the opera,” he says.
Mrs. Komeda doesn’t buy this. Will briefly considers rescuing Hannibal by faking an emergency of some sort (pretending to get a text from Jack would probably work), but then decides that he is far too entertained by the proceedings to intervene, and merely smiles politely when the older woman calls him a “delightful young man.” The situation only gets better when Franklyn decided to clear up the misunderstanding himself.
“I’m one of Dr. Lecter’s patients,” he says, and Will had to cough to cover his laugh.
“Did you enjoy the performance?” Hannibal asked, and his voice sounds strained, probably with the effort of keeping it polite and non-murder-y.
“Loved it, every minute.”
“His eyes kept wandering.” Tobias chooses that moment to rejoin the conversation. “More interested in you than what was happening on stage.”
Will stops internally mocking Franklyn’s pining and focuses again on his companion. In a way, Tobias is just as interested in Hannibal as Franklyn is. He can’t know that Hannibal is the Chesapeake Ripper — Hannibal is much too clever for that, and besides, Tobias still has a questioning look in his eyes that convinces Will that he only suspects. He doesn’t know… not yet, anyway. But he sees something in Hannibal that interests him; something that hints at darkness.
Will should probably say something to Hannibal later. Tobias’ interest has the potential to be inconvenient, to say the least.
At that moment, Will actually does get a text from Jack, and he sighs in relief as he checks it, grateful for the distraction. Even if it is a crime scene, it won’t be one of Hannibal’s.
“Mr. Graham, was it?” Franklyn’s voice, now addressing Will directly, cuts through his thoughts. “What did you think of the opera? Or perhaps you were too busy scrolling through your messages to pay attention?”
Will rolls his eyes, then blushes as Hannibal jumps to defend him. Even if the part about “saving lives” is complete bullshit, the obvious love and affection in his partner’s eyes is enough to make him blush every time. He supposes he should feel bad for Franklyn, who, in all likelihood, will probably end up on Hannibal’s dinner table sooner rather than later. He should probably do something about that, if only because one of Hannibal’s patients going missing would be suspicious.
As Hannibal politely yet firmly dismisses Franklyn, Will goes back to talking with Mrs. Komeda, making a note to ask Hannibal for Tobias’ last name. Just in case.