Hannibal Lecter didn't know why his doorbell was ringing bright (or maybe not) and early in the morning. He pulled himself from bed and straightened the collar of his shirt before heading down stairs to check the ever-increasing speed that the doorbell was ringing. Whoever was on the other side was not willing to wait for him. It must have been an emergency.
When he pulled open the door, Hannibal watched a soaked Will Graham look up from the room to past him. He knew the other wasn't a fan of eye contact. "Hello, Dr. Lecter."
Hannibal moved towards the side and gave the younger man a gesture to come inside. "Will. It's quite early. Is there a problem?"
Will's expression changed, but he didn't look at Hannibal. Instead of the exhausted face he normally wore, his features changed into one of contempt and malice. "It's you."
Hannibal cocked his head to the side and looked at Will with feigned confusion. "What is me? Are you feeling alright, William?"
"I feel fine," Will said, pushing past the doctor and walking inside. The other didn't given any indication that he know what Will was talking about, but having fooled the younger man for so long Will knew he was capable of more than what he appeared to be.
"Who are you?" Hannibal asked, walking away towards his bag and pulling a small back notebook and handing it to Will. "If you will, please. The exercise."
Will gritted his teeth and winced, taking the notebook and opening it to an empty page. He started to draw a clock like the previous times. "It's 3:17 a.m. My name is Will Graham. I'm in Baltimore, Maryland. Are you happy?"
Hannibal took the notebook back from Will and glanced at the clock the other drew. It was completely skewed to one side and compressed together like a crowded mess. The doctor glanced back up to the other man and nodded, closing the book and pushing it back into his messenger bag. "Quite. Now, Will, what is the issue at hand?"
Will didn't move from his stance near the door. He would need to be close if anything went wrong. "It's you. The Chesapeake Ripper. It's been you the whole time."
Hannibal's face remained placid but the corners of his mouth gave a little twitch. "Since I am not one for dancing around an open flame, yes. I am the Chesapeake Ripper. I do admit that I am curious how you came to that deduction though."
The young man before him looked like he was swimming in his own body. Not even that; he was trying to swim and continued to fail. He'd fall to the bottom of the pool before he learned how to float.
Will still wouldn't give him direct eye contact, but after countless sessions together and not getting better at it he wasn't really expecting him to initiate it. Besides, Will wasn't looking past the doctor he had worked with now. He was looking past a psychopath; a cannibalistic psychopath. He was looking past the Chesapeake Ripper who just happened to a psychiatrist that he knew.
His lips broke apart as he started to form words, but then he shut them. All of a sudden Dr. Lecter wasn't worth his words anymore. He clenched his hand into a fist and blinked, his eyes looking dangerously close to the doctor's. "How many? How many times did I come over here and had dinner with you? How many times… How many times did you feed them to me?"
Hannibal stared, unfazed. "I don't know. I don't count our dinners, Will."
Will unclenched his fist and shakily brought up his hands and ran them through the sweat-dampened locks. His fingers were quivering. He wasn't sure it was because of his lack of mental stability or the man before him. "You're unbelievable," he muttered, closing his eyes. He moved his arms down in front of him and pulled at the skin while staring right at the tip of Hannibal's nose. He could see the other's eyes, but it wasn't direct. "I thought I could trust you. I came to you with my problems. I fell asleep on your couch because I was sleep deprived to the point I couldn't do your stupid exercise." He grabbed the collar of his shirt with one hand and tried to get the feeling of suffocation to wear off.
"I don't know what you wish me to say, Will. You did trust me. You did come to me with your problems." Hannibal's face was unchanging as Will stood before him, shaking like a jack-in-the-box that just wanted to explode. "I am still the same person I was before you came to this conclusion, I'll let you know. The only thing different is you. I haven't changed."
"Ah!" Will yelled, and pushed his hands over his ears and scraped into his hair. He was looking at Hannibal straight in the eyes now, pupils twitching like a meth addict's fingertips. "You and your fucking mind games! You brought me to get tests done and I'm sure there's something wrong, because there's never been any problem with my mentality before now. You've been tearing you apart this entire time and the only thing you have to say is that I'm the one who's changed?" He broke eye contact and looked past him again, staring at the bookshelf along the wall. He took a large breath and waited for some kind of response.
Hannibal was waiting as well. He needed to think of a response, one that would suffice. It was true – the fact that he was taking Will apart piece by piece. He wasn't about to say that he hadn't been. And it was also true that Will's brain was the problem. The physicality of it of course, not the mind it possessed. He couldn't lie about that either.
It was an internal debate, it really was.
"I was a serial killer before you knew me, William. I haven't changed. The only difference is that you know of my acts. I don't know what else you want me to tell you."
Will narrowed his eyes and felt his anger rippling inside of him. "I don't even know what else I want to hear. I just…" Will stopped and glanced towards the doorway then back to the bookshelf. "I need to call Jack."
In four strides, Will was outside and the door was shut.
Hannibal stared, fixated on the spot the younger man was moments before. He wasn't going to let Will send him away, and if he was planning on calling Jack, there was no way he was leaving here alive. The doctor slipped off his black dress shoes and slid across the floor quickly to the other side of the foyer, closer to the kitchen. He slipped a knife from a drawer and held it behind his back. He waited for a second before the front door opened again and Will stood there, phone open in his hand, looking to where Hannibal was before.
"Dr. Lecter, can you just tell me you didn't do it? I really don't want to belie-"
Cut off in the middle of a word, Will felt a presence against his back and a sharp sensation in his abdomen. His body shook as he looked down, forgetting all about the phone in his hand. Out of his stomach was a linoleum knife, wooden handle still in the good doctor's hands.
"I am deeply sorry, Will, but you won't be calling Jack."
Will took a deep breath and looked up and out from the knife in his stomach and towards the open room in front of him. Memories – not his own – flashed before his eyes as Hannibal moved the knife inside of him. He saw each killing. He saw the murders take place as if he was the man turning the knife in his own stomach.
His heart lurched and his breath got caught in his throat.
Hannibal pulled the knife from his abdomen and wiped it on Will's own shirt, already stained profusely with blood. The younger man leaned back on him for support as he choked on stale air and Hannibal was there to give it to him.
"I'm not going to kill you, William. We are friends. Friends do not kill each other." Hannibal lowered his lips to Will's ear and sent a ghosted breath across the chilling skin. "But I will tell you now, if any of this gets out. You will be a dead. You will be dead and I will be eating the best part of you."
Will sucked in a breath and grabbed over his shoulder for Hannibal's shoulder, catching his pajama top in his hand. He grasped at the fabric, pulling it hard and needy. "I understand," he replied shakily. His breath was coming in shorter gasps by the second and Hannibal turned him around.
"You showed up to my house with a knife wound, just like you do when you get nightmares. I will take you to the hospital. You will not answer any questions. You're not in the right state of mind." He slipped off his shirt with one arm and pressed in hard into Will's stomach. "You did not call Jack, correct?"
Will nodded his head slowly, holding onto the cloth with one hand and Hannibal with the other.
"Good. Then we shall leave."
Hannibal opened the door and lead Will outside to his car and helped the other man slide into the passenger seat. Once he was seated himself and the car was on, his turned on the heat to keep the other man warm. "I apologize for stabbing you. I just needed to you to know how serious this matter is."
Will didn't respond. He was still trying to catch his breath with each second that passed.
"We will be there soon, William, and you will be fine." Hannibal casted a look over at his friend and once again felt a twitch at the corners of his lips. "But do not forget. This is the only warning you will receive. I do not like being crass, but if you do not keep this to yourself, you will be dinner."
Hannibal watched the road as he drove, hearing Will's breaths even out slightly. They were growing slower, but at least Will was in control of them now.
"Telling someone our secret would just be rude."