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After You

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            Will Graham woke up at 5:26 am to the sound of blaring alarms and urgent voices.

            The lights overhead were entirely too bright, and, when he attempted to open his eyes, he found that he couldn’t focus on one thing. Only on those damn lights that sprinkled over his vision like dispersed glitter.

            “Hannibal,” he forced out through his throat. “Where is Hannibal?”

 

X

 

            “This has happened twice already, Will,” Jack said. He stood beside Will’s bedside, the sheets as white and artificial as the walls. “How many more times will it be until he has you in a coffin?” Will looked down at his hands, at the blisters and the bruises. He was aware that a lot of those were from the fall, but he couldn’t remember getting them. He couldn’t remember hitting the water, only holding on to Hannibal the entire way down. To his sleeves, to his refusal of letting go.

            Will hadn’t wanted to let go of his humanity then, but he wasn’t sure if he didn’t want to now.

            “There are men dead,” Jack said again in that voice. The one he’d always used with him. “Men with families. They were left on the side of the road like excess trash bags. Did you forget that, Will?”

            Will didn’t answer; he didn’t look at him.

            “There are dead men,” Jack repeated, exasperated. “There are dead men, and someone will have to pay for it.”

            The door behind Jack closed with a slam, a gunshot within closed walls, but Will didn’t startle.

            He’d lost his humanity, and he didn’t care. He’d always cared. Always wanted to care. Always ignored that darkness within him. The one that told him that he could be something better. Something greater. He’d ignored it because that’s what humanity demanded.

            But what could he do now that humanity was lost?

            What could he ever do after Hannibal?

 

 

X

 

            When Will saw on the news that Hannibal was back in the Baltimore Institute for the mentally insane, he ripped off his IV, grabbed his jacket and limped out of the hospital doors. He called a cab and left Maryland for a very long time.

 

X

 

            He sent letters. He sent them under a fake name with a real address. He sent secret messages in the guise of a fan, and, for the first few months he didn’t receive a real reply. Not until Clarice. That’s when Will knew that times were changing again.

            Once he realized, all that he had to do was wait.

            Will would provide the pen, and Hannibal would do the rest.

           

X

 

            When Will met Hannibal’s eyes again, it was two years after sending that first letter. He searched that tan skin as if he were feeding on just the sight of him. The sight of Hannibal in slacks, in a loose shirt and a soft sweater.

            Hannibal saw him almost immediately. It seemed out of character when he paused and stared. When Hannibal finally moved towards him, Will’s hands reached up to pull his sunglasses up to his eyes, his fingers slightly shaking.

            “Your skin is tanned,” Hannibal noted, and, if he didn’t know any better, Will would have thought he sounded awed. “It suits you.”

            Will’s throat was parched with nerves and excitement, and, when he reached forward, his index finger hinged on the V-neck of Hannibal’s clothing.

            “This person suit suits you,” Will said back, a smile decorating his lips. His eyes didn’t waver from Hannibal’s.

            That gaze promised the world. It promised the showing of his becoming. Of how the night of them hunting the Great Red Dragon had showed Will the humanity he’d lost. It promised Hannibal recounting his secrets and of the woman he’d met in Will’s absence. Of how similar and how different they were.

            It promised connection.

            “Now,” Will said, “would you like to come home?”