The first thing he became aware of was the rhythmic sound of the sea soothing him back to consciousness. It was still dark, so it hadn’t been long since their plunge from the bluff above.
Flashes of their dance with the Dragon seared black and bright across the inside of his eyelids, still shut against the lap of the waves washing over his face. He willed his body to respond, exhausted and limp from battling Dolarhyde and the unrelenting pull of the Atlantic’s powerful embrace. And embrace it surely was. He had survived. He wanted to laugh at the sheer absurdity of a God that would spare him yet again, but he didn’t have the energy.
Hannibal felt the expanse of flat, cold rock beneath that supported his back. He tilted his head first to the left to assess his position and then to the right, where his gaze fell upon the sprawled out body of Will Graham, chest down, his cheek pressed against the rock, just five feet away. The gash on his face was bleeding, though not profusely. Hannibal could tell he was still alive, albeit barely so.
Hannibal considered his options. He should finish him now. Could he require any more evidence that Will would never completely embrace his own beautiful darkness, that he could so blatantly attempt to sacrifice both their lives in the face of what he himself had moments before professed as “beautiful”? The battle within Will was too great. Neither side would ever concede defeat. The war would be never-ending. Best to take the matter in hand and resolve the conflict. It would be a mercy to free Will from this life. Hannibal’s last gift to him…
He heard the painful groan as he shuffled his body closer. Will was regaining consciousness. Both were weakened from the slaughter and the fall, he would have to use what little advantage he had quickly.
He watched as Will gently and with great effort pushed his upper body up and rolled to sit up on the rock. Hannibal carefully surveyed his face. There was a familiarity to it that did not belong to Will.
He conjured up a memory from his time as a surgeon. A boy who had suffered a rather serious fall, pushed off a sidewalk and into the path of a car as he was robbed. On the surface the concussion had not looked serious but when he regained consciousness it was obvious how serious was his condition. Hannibal continued to study Will’s face as he recalled the incident.
“What— what happened? Where am I?” he mumbled, the questions barely audible above the sound of the sea.
His voice was laced with confusion. His expression blank like a slate wiped clean, a mind reset.
Will Graham had amnesia.
Hannibal edged closer until he was inches from Will. “Be still,” he said. “We both took a serious fall. I’m amazed we survived at all…”
“What? I don’t understand… I don’t rememb—.“ He looked at Hannibal his brow furrowed, trying to recall the memories that weren’t there, skirting just out of sight before his mind’s eye could bring them into view.
“What’s the last thing you remember?” asked Hannibal gently, his hand on his shoulder in a gesture of reassurance.
Will’s hand rose to touch the gash on his face, grimacing at the pain as he did so. Hannibal took off a sock and placed it over the wound to help stem the minor blood flow.
“It’s all a jumble of images,” he replied, eyes closed. “I can’t make any sense of it…”
Hannibal remained silent, influencing with radiated calm.
“Blood and mirrors. Flowers. Walls of antlers. Steel tables and dead bodies…” His eyes were looking increasingly wild as the fragments of memory manifested in his mind. He looked at Hannibal in abject desperation. “I don’t even remember my name,” he groaned, gripping Hannibal’s upper arm frantically.
In that moment, Hannibal made a decision. Mostly because he could, but mostly because he was curious to see what would happen.
He pulled Will close in a gesture of comfort and protection. Today was not his day to die. “I can help you.” He pulled back to look in his eyes. “If you trust me and will allow me.”
Will nodded firmly.
“Good,” said Hannibal, pulling him close again. “I can at least tell you your name.”
“You know me?” the hope in Will’s voice evident.
“I know you well, and I’m going to do everything in my power to help you find yourself again…”
He took his face in his hands and bore his gaze into Will’s, making his eyes Will’s only point of reference before speaking again.
“Your name, is Hannibal Lecter…”