let me back
let me back
i promise to be good
This is the thing:
Hannibal says to Will that everyone is created in God’s image.
“God is a killer, my sweet William, and He made us in His image, did he not? Therefore is a man who kills necessarily evil? That is something which I have always wondered.”
A church in northern Idaho collapsed yesterday during the morning sermon. Something about heavy snowfall and rotting wood. 17 dead, 21 injured the headline reads. The newspaper is folded on the table. The picture shows two crying women wrapped in blankets, hugging each other. The snow is up to their knees.
Hannibal has a fork in his hand when he says this, and it is morning, a golden, sleepy morning and they are at the table. Hannibal has a fork in his hand and Will has his hands wrapped around a blue mug of coffee, both of them with breakfast scrambles in front of them. Will is still sleep-mussed and warm from the bed, clad in his pajamas and an old cream colored sweater of Hannibal’s, feet bare and flat on the cool floor. The sweater smells like tobacco and whatever cologne Hannibal wears. It’s something expensive in a silver bottle that smells clean and spicy. Will smiles when he inhales it.
The tines of Hannibal’s fork are pointed down and there’s a crack in Will’s mug. He eyes it before taking a long drink. Outside the sun beats down hot and the blinds are open so the light can filter through.
“Depends on what you think is good and what you think is evil,” he says finally around a mouthful of coffee. He takes a drink. His throat bobs. The coffee burns his tongue, burns on the way down.
At this, Hannibal’s lips twist into a smile.
A sudden revelation and Will is vomiting into the toilet. There was another dead body, this time, a twenty-five-year-old kid named David Greenwood, his liver, lungs, heart and kidneys removed expertly and Will suddenly knows.
It all makes sense and suddenly he’s wondering if he were just being purposefully naïve, deliberately obtuse or if Hannibal really is that clever. He decides it could be anything and that it doesn’t really matter.
“Why David Greenwood?” he says, his voice low and trembling. “Why all those people?”
Hannibal barely glances up from the notes he’s writing. A slightly amused look and he says, “So you know?” in a tone that Will finds almost insultingly calm, given the circumstances. “I suppose you would have probably found out in time.” He straightens his papers. “Some of them, my darling Will, deserved to die.”
His eyes are too bright in his dark face and Will nearly flinches away.
The Chesapeake Ripper takes Virginia by storm. The name shows up on every news station and headlines most newspapers. Freddie Lounds manages to crop up at every crime scene, somehow manages to dodge the officers and asks for facts, opinions, quotes, a soundbite, anything. She chews on a pen and it presses against her ripe lower lip. Her red hair is a beacon against the overcast sky, the brown autumn leaves.
Will says, “No comment” and she snaps a picture of him anyway.
Two weeks before a man walking his dog found David Greenwood’s body on a park bench at 5:00 AM, there was a dead woman on the sidewalk outside of her apartment.
(You need to know this: the Chesapeake Ripper did not kill this girl.)
Her name is Emily Frye and her throat was slashed from ear to ear, a jagged red smile against the white of her neck. The blood is clotting thick and black in her pale blonde hair, down to her chest. She is all long limbs and sharp elbows and knees, her collarbone protruding out from underneath her baby blue shirt.
There are track marks on the inside of her skinny right arm and she was raped with a foreign object before her throat was cut. There are dark mascara lines on her cheeks; she had been crying, probably begging for her life.
Emily Frye’s eyes are large in her grey face, her mouth open wide in a scream. Her teeth are white, her lips turning blue under the smeared pink lipstick. Will can smell the blood and her fading perfume, the smells interwoven and he thinks fresh meat.
Forensics shows that she was murdered inside her apartment and that her body was left in the sidewalk in a gruesome display. The pavement underneath her is probably stained. Her fingernails were torn off.
Will goes to Hannibal’s that night. Hannibal makes him tea, draws him a bath with scented oils, wraps him in blankets. He fucks Will slowly, hands travelling carefully, gently over Will’s body. He makes Will come twice (once with his mouth, twice buried deep inside of Will with a hand wrapped around his length) until he’s boneless and trembling and blissfully relaxed, cocooned in clean sheets with high thread counts and blankets as soft as a lamb.
Hannibal kisses him on the head and whispers, “Oh, Will. My sweet, sweet Will.”
The Chesapeake Ripper inspires copycat killers.
When they catch one, he screams, “I am the Ripper’s successor” as they load him into the police car.
Freddie Lounds turns this into another article and she calls the Chesapeake Ripper the next Manson. She calls it “the copycat cult” and compares it to doomsday.
“David Greenwood killed Emily Frye,” Hannibal says. His elbows are on his desk, fingers steepled in front of him. Will stands in the doorway, body tight and thrumming with adrenaline. The room is dim, lit only by a solitary lamp on Hannibal’s desk. The heavy curtains are drawn. Hannibal is wearing a crisp white shirt and a deep blue waistcoat. “She was his first kill. He raped three girls before her. Someone had to stop him.”
“So are you some kind of vigilante?” Will hisses, his teeth clenched and bared.
Hannibal just cocks his head to the side, unbothered. “I wouldn’t say that, no.”
“Then what would you say?”
“I prefer to think of myself as doing God’s work.”
The Chesapeake Ripper kills again, this time an older man wearing an expensive watch, taking his liver and kidneys. His neighbors found his body at around three in the afternoon. Forensics says he’d been dead for about two days.
That night, Hannibal cooks Will a balsamic glazed liver for dinner. After they’ve cleared the dishes, they fall into bed, Hannibal’s suit neatly folded on the chair across the room, Will’s jeans and flannel shirt in a heap on the floor, balled up and kicked under the bedside table. Hannibal opens Will up with his tongue and slick fingers and then Will flips them, rides Hannibal hard, his thighs burning, sweat dripping down his back and pooling at the base of his spine.
Will laces their fingers together and clutches Hannibal’s hands for dear life, his hips twitching and Hannibal smiles at him, arching his hips hard into Will. Will comes with a gasp, body taut like a bowstring and Hannibal follows him shortly, holding Will’s hands and groaning.
Hannibal lifts Will’s knuckles to his lips and kisses them, biting on one of his fingers gently. Will is still straddling Hannibal’s hips and Hannibal is softening inside of him and Will whispers, “Don’t pull out,” his lips against Hannibal’s neck. “Stay inside me, please. Don’t – don’t leave me, please.” He’s begging and he hates to beg but he needs this closeness
“I couldn’t leave you if I tried.”
Another Ripper copycat appears after a time, this one targeting college-aged boys with dark hair. Beverly combs carpet fibers out of their jeans, Freddie writes her articles, Jack eventually catches the killer and wounds him with a gunshot wound to the leg.
Hannibal makes Will a steak and kidney pie and holds his head in his lap, stroking his hair until he falls asleep.
Everything must end.
“Some people deserve to die, don’t they, Will?”
“No one deserves to die.”
“And killing feels good, doesn’t it, Will? Didn’t killing Garret Jacob Hobbs feel good?”
Hannibal ties Will’s wrists to the bed with elegant silk cords. They’re loose and Will tugs on them experimentally. He could wriggle out of them if he tried, but he won’t.
He never could.
Hannibal grabs a handful of Will’s unruly brown curls and kisses him savage and deep. “I would never hurt you, Will,” he whispers against Will’s mouth, biting down on his lower lip brutally. Will can taste the copper of blood in his mouth and Hannibal licks it away. Two of the doctor’s fingers are already slicked up and pushing inside Will, curling expertly and making him gasp and arch up. “I could never hurt you. You have nothing to worry about.” And Hannibal fucks him hard and Will nearly screams because he wants nothing more than to touch and he can’t and Hannibal whispers against his neck, “Do you want me to take off the restraints?”
Will just grunts out a no and Hannibal’s hips snap into him. “Oh, sweet Will. My sweet Will.” He thrusts into him and Will pushes back and Hannibal whispers, “My beautiful Will” and Will comes all over his stomach.
When they’re finished, Hannibal cleans Will with care, wiping him clean with a warm, damp cloth and Will clings to him under the sheets. Outside, rain is falling, it’s lashing against the windows and Will closes his eyes. He tries to steady his breathing and Hannibal strokes a hand through his curls.
“Go to sleep, William. I’ll be here when you wake up.”
That’s the thing about Hannibal:
He (usually) keeps his promises.
It is raining when Will finds the Wound Man drawing.
He thinks it’s appropriate.
(Other drawings in Hannibal Lecter’s sketchbook include: Will sitting in a worn armchair in his house with Winston’s head in his lap, Will tying a fly fishing lure, Will wrapped in Hannibal’s cashmere robe.)
It takes Will an hour to muster the courage to confront Hannibal.
When he finally does –
Well, you know.
(There is a sound like every blade of grass in the world snapping.)
And Will is young, still, so young and so naïve and he’s so hopeful and he nearly weeps when he begs Hannibal, “Please, stop, please, if you love me, you’ll stop.” He knows it’s useless but he thinks that maybe he should try anyway.
It’s funny because he barely feels the knife. He feels the IV in his arm later, feels the stitches, feels the pain with every drawn breath, but he doesn’t feel the knife.
There’s a wet, slopping sound when all of his insides fall to the polished floor and a tiny part of his brain is glad that they’re at Hannibal’s house and not his because the floors are cleaner and he’s not sure exactly what the dogs’ reaction would be.
Hannibal is gone and there is blood all over Will’s phone and his hands and the clean floor and his insides are everywhere and Will wants to laugh at the absurdity of it all but instead he remembers the way Hannibal had whispered, “I am sorry, William” before the linoleum knife cut into him. There had been something like regret on his face.
There’s not much else he can do now.
The newspaper is on the breakfast table. There is the newspaper, and the glass jug full of orange juice and the coffee pot and Will’s blue mug with the crack, the crack that runs down the middle. The stereo is on and Chopin wafts out of the speakers.
It is a golden morning but the floor is cold on Will’s bare feet and he wraps Hannibal’s old sweater tighter around himself as he adds cream to his coffee.
“You should put some socks on,” Hannibal advises, putting the plate down in front of Will. “You look chilled. Uncle Jack will never forgive me if I let one of his top profilers get sick.”
“I’m fine,” Will says with a smile. It’s a rare smile, one that reaches his eyes and not just the usual baring of teeth. He takes a long drink of coffee that burns on its way down. “Cold feet won’t hurt me.”
They finish their breakfast and they clear the plates, loading the dishwasher and wiping down the table where crumbs fell. Hannibal packs Will a lunch because he insists that Will can’t live off coffee and cheap bologna sandwiches forever and Will lets Hannibal take care of him because secretly he likes it. Will takes a shower and uses Hannibal’s luxurious French-milled soap as Hannibal ties his tie and combs down his hair.
As they’re leaving, Will smelling like expensive soap and aftershave and Hannibal with his pocket square and messenger bag and suddenly Hannibal puts his hand on Will’s hip, gentle but firm, stopping him.
Hannibal says, “William.”
Hannibal kisses Will on the mouth.