Work Header

through a glass

Chapter Text

The sun was in the wrong place. Will first noticed the shine of it as it turned the black of his closed eyelids into a splotchy kaleidoscope. His entire body went stiff against the gentle give of the mattress, which was the third aberration.

The first: his living room in Virginia faced west, so it took sunlight quite a while to reach him on winter mornings, the dogs following bars of warmth across the floor during its procession. The second: Will hadn't seen the sun in nearly two months. Not outside of his weekly accompanied walks around the fenced-in garden at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, anyway, stooped and favoring his still-healing left side.

He sat up, his heart starting an anxious kettledrumming. The covers fell from his chest to pool in his lap like a sheaf of water. It wasn't his bed. The thread count of the sheets on his bed back in Wolf Trap claimed to be five hundred, but he'd found them in a bargain bin, and Will remembered how they felt distinctly: crisp, thin, and cheap. The cot at the hospital had made them feel heavenly by comparison, but his current sheets were better than any hotel the Bureau ever put him in. They were outside of his tax bracket.

Will had gone to sleep in his hospital-issue white shirt and pants, his back aching from weeks of sleeping on a cot. He remembered what he'd eaten for dinner the night before—a gristly piece of chicken with a soggy ear of corn and tater tots. He remembered trying to tune out Miggs masturbating in his cell down the hall until he'd fallen unconscious. He remembered the weeks and months leading up to last night, with some patches of confusion and hallucination that were difficult to assemble into sense. Will had gone over the time with a fine-toothed comb to try to spot the traps Lecter had laid for him. Will had found most of them, though there were probably several that had yet to spring.

The bedroom; the buttery-smooth sheets; the fine furnishings; and the grey fireplace he could see from the bed, they all screamed one conclusion.

He had no idea how Lecter had managed to transport him from the hospital to his own guest room, but he'd accomplished it somehow. His ability to mold the universe to his own design had reached Mephistophelean levels that Will had forced himself to stop questioning.

The fact that he wasn't tied to the bed or drugged insensate was a shock. The previous night, he'd fallen asleep normally, no sign of a sedative, and he felt clear-headed this morning. The lack of precaution, the lack of side effects, was wrong. More than that, they were not risks Lecter would have taken. As good as Will had become at retroactively deciphering the traps, his ability to see them coming was still annoyingly rudimentary. Will swung his legs over the side of the bed, and his feet touched the exact spot where Lecter's rug met smooth tile.

When he glanced around the bedroom again, he realized that his first assessment of the room—subtly masculine, expensive, even lovely with its ocean colors and symmetry—was all wrong. It wasn't a guest room. It was too big, and, more importantly, Will knew that Lecter slept in that production of a bed. The smell of him lingered on the pillows, that faint cedar. He spotted another door that led to an attached bath. Will could hear the shower running.

He nearly knocked the lamp off the bedside table in his shaky-handed search for a weapon. There was nothing too useful, but still more options than he would have allowed. Will would never have put a prisoner in a room filled with sharp-edged objects, crystal decanters, tiepins, or a heavy statue. He thought to go for the statue, but it was unwieldy and difficult to conceal.

As he skittered his hands across Lecter's dresser, he noticed them: his own cufflinks, the solitary pair passed down from his father when Will had graduated from high school. He stalled when he found them, flicked one over with his finger to verify that it was his own. There was no mistaking the white-gold squares. There was a tiny scratch on one that rendered the pair imperfect and unique.

They were an oddity, something Lecter probably lifted from Will's house in order to engineer a reaction. More than likely it was a taunt, Will decided. A reminder that Will was without his father, without family, without a legacy. That he was completely alone.

When he found two pairs of his own underwear in Lecter's dresser, Will's mouth firmed into a line of irritation.

He wondered if Lecter's goal was to incite Will to try to kill him again. To plant seeds that suggested Will had orchestrated his own escape, flown to Lecter's house, and tried to finish what he'd started in Minnesota. That was small-minded and bizarre, but the idea left a brackish tinge of irony under Will's tongue that rang of Lecter. He couldn't discount it, and no other theory made anything like sense. There was no way Jack and Chilton would have facilitated Will's release into Lecter's custody? Jack was a radical, he'd do almost anything for results, but his actions were textbook in their predictability. And Chilton was a petty control freak. There was no way he'd sign off on something that let Will out of his reach.

But Will's presence in Lecter's bedroom didn't fit, the more he thought about it, and neither did the cufflinks. He couldn't put his finger on the right answer. Every possible explanation he tried out was like trying to mash the wrong puzzle pieces together.

If Will did decide to bash Lecter's skull in with one of his decanters and attempt another escape, he'd prefer to do it in more than his underwear. He noticed some of his own clothes strewn atop one of the chairs near the foot of the bed. Will shoved his legs into his pants quickly, a small corner of his mind welcoming the familiarity after too long spent in a jumpsuit not quite his size. One of his undershirts was there as well, and that went on next. His still-fresh scar tissue pulled when he raised his arms, though adrenalin saved him from the twinge of pain he knew he'd ordinarily have felt.

Last to go on was his black sweater, inside-out in a hastily discarded bundle. He turned it the right way and found several long strands of dog hair clinging to the collar. A huge and terrible longing rose up and made him shake. He smelled his own familiar smell, Old Spice and dog and rural Virginia and the bitterness of engine oil.

Will tugged his sweater to lie flat and remembered in a flash the last time he'd worn it. He'd worn it to Minnesota. To the Hobbs house. He'd worn it on Garret Jacob Hobbs' kitchen floor as blood trickled sluggishly from the hole that went through fabric and flesh and muscle. The same sweater, the one Will knew because he'd nearly frayed one of the cuffs, had no such hole. It had no evidence of mending, and no trace of dried blood.

Lecter might have been able to twist the universe to his whims, but he couldn't unfire a gun. He couldn't perfectly replicate Will's sweater or transport Will from an asylum to a bedroom with absolutely no evidence or motive. Will rubbed the scar under his clothes, reassuring himself that it was still there and that he was not crazy. Even if the circumstances told him he was, he'd spent enough time under Chilton's ineffective treatment and Lecter's sporadic needling to know that he was not crazy. He didn't feel like how crazy felt. His hallucinations were apart from reality, especially in retrospect, preternatural and haunting. But Will had never felt a stronger sense of reality, standing in Dr. Lecter's expensive bedroom.

He found himself pushing his finger harder against his arm, like he might have been able to poke a bullet-shaped hole into the fabric himself.


Will give in to his animal panic. He didn't whirl around, wide-eyed and nauseated and clearly on the verge of running. Lecter's voice had been normal, casual, and Will did his best to arrange his face to reflect something similar before swiveling around. He put his hands in his pockets and dipped his shoulders into the slouch he wore when he wasn't locked in a cage.

Hannibal Lecter stood in front of him wearing a royal blue robe, and he had a white towel draped over his shoulders like a rich woman's mink. In one hand he held a comb that he'd been using to style his wet hair. His expression was neutral, though his eyes were curious, and Will knew that he'd never before in his life seen Lecter wear a real expression. Not until that moment. He'd never seen anything but brilliant artifice. Even when Will had learned the truth, Lecter's face had still concealed most of it. Even as the jaws of his trap had snapped closed and shut Will inside of an asylum, as Lecter had smirked through the bars, he was still not honest.

Will swallowed. The world refused to right itself. He swallowed again.

"Leaving?" Lecter asked. Will watched his lips curl at the corners into the smallest hint of a smile, and it felt like watching muscle and sinew work under flayed flesh; Lecter seemed that thoroughly unmasked.

It took him a few moments to make his decision. He had next to no information that he could make sense of, and there was a good chance that Chilton had unleashed a new and actually effective torment-slash-treatment on him that he was experiencing the results of, but what choice did he have? Whoever, whatever he was dealing with, it wouldn't do Will any good or get him any answers if he started yelling. And Will knew Lecter could take him if he ran.

If this is a game, Will thought as though hearing his own thoughts from the opposite side of a wind tunnel, I'll play along.

"The dogs," he said awkwardly, lifting his uninjured right side in a shrug.

Lecter seemed to take that explanation as if it were expected. Maybe even routine. Will had not spent the night at someone's house in years, before his collection of dogs had spiraled semi-out of control, but he never had suffered hospitality with much grace.

But Will's cufflinks, his briefs, the easy way Lecter looked at him, his very location in the master bedroom. It was adding up to something impossible. A sickening feeling like he'd had in the Hobbs' kitchen started to roil in his stomach, and Will was so unarmed by what he was seeing, the stark truth and the impossibility of it together, that he couldn't even use his innate ability—whether his eidecking or his empathy—to navigate him through the situation.

Lecter saved him from having to construct another sentence (with Will's luck, it would have been "Why was I in your bed?", and he didn't want to know the answer, not even if it involved sleeping off a hangover or monitoring him for seizures). "I'd offer to make us breakfast, but I'm running late."

His appetite had only recently begun to return after weeks of refusing food in the hospital. Now thick and bitter bile rose up in his gorge over the idea of eating. It had taken weeks of supplements and at one point a feeding tube until he could choke down the bland cafeteria food Barney sent into his cell three times a day.

Will managed a tight smile. "It's fine. Thanks."

Lecter adjusted his towel and studied Will, still curious but not yet confused. His gaze tracked Will's expression, the fit of his sweater, his tan pants, registered that his clothes had already been worn, presumably the night before, and his eyebrows pulled together the smallest amount. Not enough to suggest disapproval, Will noted. "There's a fruit salad in the fridge. You're welcome to it. I'll be finished soon."

"Okay," Will said as Lecter closed the bathroom door behind him, not quite quickly enough to conceal the flash of bare shoulder Will saw as he'd begun to disrobe.

Jesus. The level of intimacy implied by that gesture just added to the pile of Will's mounting suspicions—his batshit insane suspicions.

Will waited until he heard the clatter of toiletries against the counter and unstuck his feet from the floor. He left the room, filing what he knew of it away for later, resisted the urge to take his cufflinks with him in his pocket, and took the stairs until he was back in an area of Lecter's house that he recognized.

If there was any lingering doubt that Lecter was somehow the same and had staged an elaborate performance, it was gone when he saw the rest of the house. It was the same space, with the same colors, the same furnishings, the same aesthetic. But it was slightly more. Will noticed art hanging on walls that he'd never seen in Lecter's home before, less Leda and the Swan and more impressionism. A half-read newspaper was left waiting on the edge of a chair. His own pair of shoes was by the front door, laces trailing to the floor. Will unlocked the door itself and then tried the handle. It swung open with no fanfare. A bite of icy air hit him in the face, strong enough to water his eyes.

Will leaned out of the threshold, checking the street for a car or a bullet-riddled van patched up with Bond-O, but there was nothing. A few high-end cars that clearly belonged in Lecter's neighborhood, no one in them, with a layer of ice thick enough on each to suggest an overnight presence. His own Volvo sat in the driveway, a crust of ice on its windshield as well. There was no one stationed on any nearby roofs, no one pretending to read meters or repair phone lines. Will glanced down at his own shoes, still discarded by the doorway, and shook his head. He closed the door to his freedom. It wouldn't be that easy.

And if he were inside his own head, he was in no real danger.

Will almost laughed at that. His mind was not somewhere he'd readily call a safe place.

He made his way into the kitchen for a final comparison. There was a bowl of fruit on the steel island, fresh bananas and mangos and even a kiwi, and a coffee mug by the sink. Will knew it was his mug, that some version of Will Graham had bought it, but he knew that he hadn't. The mug had been selected specifically to sit in Lecter's kitchen, to be used by Will in Lecter's home. Will saw that he'd made an effort to match it to Lecter's taste but had fallen short.

A creeping numbness gradually washed his brain clean of thoughts, the question of his own sanity chief among them. Will heard Lecter's footfalls on the stairs. He shook himself out of his stupor.

He considered the myriad of knives he knew Lecter kept, all of them sharp and gleaming to perfection. He discarded the idea more quickly than he had the thought of running away. He was still weak from undernourishment, still healing from a gunshot wound and fucking encephalitis, and shaken to his bones. If he wasn't going to run out of the door—and straight into a squad car and then back into Chilton's psychotropic arms, if it all was some elaborate game—he wasn't about to pull a weapon he wasn't very skilled with.

Lecter wore a suit Will had never seen, a checkered brown plaid with a plain—but silk—blue tie. Will watched as he was noticed standing in the kitchen, a stock-still figure with a blank look on his face, and he braced himself. Lecter in any universe, even in Will's own bitter mind, could immediately spot something that didn't belong.

But Lecter just offered him another half-smile and opened the fridge to reveal a stacked set of tupperware. "Give my regards to the dogs." He said it with such intimacy that Will was unsettled again. He leaned in, retrieved his tupperware, and opened the leather bag he'd slung over his shoulder to carry it in.

Occupied with his own minor juggling act and progression to the hall, Will at a careful following distance, he failed to notice Will's veil of an expression. When he righted himself, standing in the same spot Will had occupied earlier, just in front of his shoes, he glanced back up. "I'll see you tonight after your appointment?" He spoke casually, rolled the words around on his tongue with as much ease as Lecter's muddled European accent ever managed, but it was a question. Their dining together wasn't always a given, Will surmised. He wasn't a sure thing for a dinner companion.

Agreeing took a lot of effort. He nodded, a flicker of an uncomfortable smile on his face that he was extremely glad wouldn't be unfamiliar to anyone who'd met him, and Lecter returned his nod.

"I'll make dinner, then." He closed his bag with a quiet punctuating snap. He looked as though he was considering something, head tilted slightly. Regarding Will, sizing up Will's appetite and preferences like Will might have sized up a crime scene. "Fish or duck, whatever's freshest at the market. With a pilaf, I think."

Will's stomach lurched. Eating, and doing it in Lecter's company, no matter how apparently benign, was an unbearable idea. "Sounds good."

Lecter took a coat down from his rack, gray Herringbone, and draped it across his arm. He carried himself with an efficiency of movement that was familiar, at least, but he was less obvious about it than the version of Lecter Will knew.

"Eat something," he said, a reminder and an admonition. He leaned in, and Will finally felt the thunder to confirm his earlier lightning strike of realization. Will trembled with the effort not to move away, but Lecter only touched the bones of Will's wrist in a fond gesture of farewell. Will suppressed an unpleasant shiver as the dry, soft pads of Lecter's fingers took their time in parting with Will's skin. "Lock up when you leave."

He was gone. Will waited in the hall for his breathing to return to normal, for belief in his own sanity to return to him. The first did, but the latter remained elusive.


I woke up in Hannibal Lecter's bed, Will thought, gripping the banister too tightly as he made his way back upstairs. And I think he almost kissed me before he left for work. Not a big deal.

Never mind the idea that he'd woken up somewhere alien in the first place. Or that he'd woken up under the haze of some cocktail Chilton had slipped him, those rodent eyes observing every twitch and exhale Will made on a medical bed as he washed down bitter pain pills with sips of coffee. Will didn't believe in much, but on a scale of Chilton's experimentation to something supernatural, he'd put his money on Chilton.

That just left the question of what his own mind thought it was doing, with regards to the Lecter situation. Or how he'd managed to make it seem so real.

He paused in the upstairs landing, his ascent having nearly winded him. The door to the master bedroom was still ajar, but Will could see that Lecter had made up the bed before he'd left. Of course he had.

The room seemed to swallow him when he entered it, gently guiding him inside of its luxurious maw. Will seemed tugged as if by a leash toward the bed again. He knew, he already knew that whatever he was dealing with was exactly what it looked like, but he slid the drawer of Lecter's night table open anyway and found the lube and condoms. He'd known he was going to find them. He'd known since Lecter had walked out of the bathroom, droplets of water sliding down his neck, in a state no one but an intimate would have ever seen Lecter in.

They fucked each other. Will exhaled and sunk down to sit on the bed in the same moment, rubbing at his face. Wherever he was—no. Will had invented a reality in his head where he and Lecter fucked each other.

The drawer remained open, the condoms and lubricant evidence on Lecter's side of the bed, within easy reach. The lube was used to around halfway down the bottle, but the condoms—those had a thin, almost invisible layer of dust on their box. Breath held, Will leaned in and flipped the box lid open. Two or three were missing, which suggested the dust-free lube was used more often than the condoms. Okay.

It was such a small thing, but it gave him a flare of relief. Something to cling to, an answer that he could live with knowing. We fuck, but we don't fuck that often. Lecter was a fastidious man, and Will was—would still have been—reticent, even in his imagination. The two of them were busy, always working. Which meant Will could last the day, if he were there that long, if he didn't snap out of it, or maybe he could go even longer without having to let Lecter touch him. A week? Do people in relationships go a week without sex?

There was nothing else helpful in Lecter's bedroom. Will knew that without having to look, but he did a cursory search anyway. Lecter's walk-in closet was a museum exhibit, organized by season and by color, and his collection of shoes was almost embarrassing. His bathroom had an old-fashioned shaving kit, freshly used, on the counter, and Will recognized his own preferred brand of electric razor sitting in a charger on the opposite end of the sink. He hissed disgusted air from between his clenched teeth. Products, none of them with labels in English, filled the cupboards.

Downstairs yielded few results. The kitchen was roughly the same as Will remembered it. Lecter kept no paperwork in a junk drawer, not even a manual for one of his many complicated cooking implements. He moved on to the rest of the house, most of it unfamiliar to him.

There were two guest bedrooms, both smaller than the master but just as well decorated. Or well decorated by Will's estimation. One and a half baths aside from the master. A library and study, a more condensed version of what his office resembled. Will found his own cell phone charging in the sitting room, and he swept his hand across its plastic face fondly.

Will deliberately left the basement for last. Long weeks of recovery meant he'd had nothing to do but think. To deconstruct Lecter's design. He figured that if Lecter was killing people, and he knew for certain he was the Copy-Cat, he'd use his home as a base. Lecter was too smart and too organized to leave evidence in his garage, but his basement was far harder to access and received less foot traffic.

Lecter's basement was unlocked. Will sighed and pushed the door open. If it was unlocked, there was nothing down there. No revelation Will's mind had thoughtfully cooked up, and not even a heavy-handed metaphor. The Lecter he'd designed wasn't the Copy-Cat. He hadn't framed Will for murder, and he didn't have any extra-curricular activities worth hiding.

The lighting in the basement was good, not some bare bulb hanging in dank darkness. Will swept his gaze across the expanse of the large room. It would be interesting to see what sort of shit he'd dream up to entertain himself, if anything.

If he wasn't dreaming… It still wasn't worth considering.

Plastic-covered furniture was pushed against the walls. Antique lamps, a piano wrapped in the same plastic as the furniture, some projects Lecter must have started and set aside. A broken harpsichord. It was entirely boring; the full lighting removed any hint of leftover creepiness that could come from a room filled with the remnants of someone's life. There wasn't even the occasional skittering of rats.

Will spotted two tall file cabinets near the basement stairs on his way out, and he opened them out of curiosity more than anything else. He halfway expected his own childhood drawings to appear, maybe one of those goddamn clocks Lecter had made him draw. But there were only neatly-labeled files. Old patient files. Will flipped through the first few just to make certain, but nothing jumped out at him.

Until he saw his own name. Graham, William. He slid his file out from its place amongst the other Gs. When he opened it, the letter rubber-stamping Will to return him to active duty from their first session was the first page. The second, Will noted with an emotion not unlike intrigue hooking into his stomach and tugging softly, was a consent form.

I hereby give consent for my psychiatrist—Dr. Hannibal Lecter was scribbled in with Will's own penmanship—to utilize the content of my sessions for the purposes of review and supervision. I authorize him to do the following (check all that apply):

___ audio record sessions
___ review and discuss my sessions with Agent Jack Crawford

Both were checked, and Will had dutifully signed off on the whole thing. It was a curious find. His experience with Lecter hadn't involved any consent forms, and there had been no audio devices—obvious ones, anyway. He had assumed Lecter had a mind like his own and had no need of reminders. Will wondered what he was trying to tell himself, if the form was a breadcrumb he was supposed to follow.

He put the file back once it proved to be less than useful—all of the notes on him were held elsewhere, as far as Will could tell, and it was those that Will was truly interested in.

Upstairs again, he made another circuit of the house, letting his mind try to unspool the situation without the distraction of urgency or Lecter himself.

He had limited options. He could investigate the situation until he traced it back to Chilton or the FBI—highly unlikely, least on his list of priorities. He could attempt some kind of escape—not useful, especially since Will was probably in an altered state of some kind. He could play along, following whatever path of events his mind put down in front of him, brick after curious brick. He could hope to wake up in several hours, nauseated from the meds and in no state to deal with Chilton's attempts at therapy.

Whatever he chose, it was best to avoid anything that could lead to institutionalization. Will's body was likely still locked up in an asylum; his dreaming mind didn't need to end up there alongside it.


Will was on I-95 within thirty minutes of Lecter leaving.

He didn't think of himself as a terribly sentimental person. His belongings were sparse by most accounts; he required very little, only specific things, to keep himself occupied. But his dogs were a lodestone, and he'd gone months without them. If the body he inhabited wasn't literal, though it demanded food and drink and felt things as keenly as he did awake, he still clothed it, would feed it, and would keep it from harm. If he endeavored to do that, a human instinct Will couldn't shake, he would certainly drive an hour and a half back to Wolf Trap, to his own territory. To his dogs.

When he pulled up, mid-morning sun starting to melt the ice on his roof, they didn't claw at the door or bark for his attention. To his dogs, he'd been gone a night, not enough cause for more than a brief cold shoulder until he put out their morning food and took them on a walk. Still, his hands fumbled with the key as he put it into the lock, and at the first brush of a tail against his pant leg, Will fell to his knees. He didn't care if it was a dream.

"Christ," he huffed, the bottoms of his glasses fogged but thankfully not wet. He stayed where he was for a very long time, hands buried in fur, hot dog breath on his face. When he finally stood, Winston led the pack of them toward the door expectantly, and Will let them out with a reminder to behave that crackled in his throat like an ember.

Normally, he went outside with them, but Will had multiple purposes in Wolf Trap. His cell phone was the cheapest he had been able to convince Jack to give him, barely a smartphone. He used his laptop for everything else he needed: ordering parts to tinker with, compiling PowerPoints, watching nature documentaries. He often left it at work when he was lecturing, the carelessness almost passive-aggressive, like he was daring himself to lose it. No one had ever taken it, and he found it charging on the floor near his bed.

Seated where he made those damn lures, most of them still scattered across the desk, Will searched for "Will Graham." Almost all of the results led back to He clicked the most recent, ignoring the photo of him at the Stammets crime scene that Freddie seemed so attached to using, and skimmed it for anything that stood out. He did not recall having read that particular article when awake, but that meant nothing. Will tried another one and stopped short when he saw the picture of Abigail Hobbs being wheeled into an ambulance, Hannibal Lecter at her side, mouth turned down in a subtle show of distress.

So his mind had done him the favor of rescuing him from captivity, but it hadn't erase Garret Jacob Hobbs.

The sight of Abigail alive arrested him for a few moments, and he knew he wouldn't be able to stop his gathering of facts until he determined that his mind hadn't left her to her ultimate fate.

The Shrike Raids His Own Nest, Lounds had written in her lurid red font. The article made little mention of Lecter, though tellingly it also included no mention of a mysterious phone call. Mrs. Hobbs apparently died in the living room, not on the front porch. Will rearranged the memory in his mind to account for the difference. Why he hadn't spared her, he didn't know.

Hobbs hadn't been warned, but he and Lecter had still ended up walking into a crime scene. He wondered if Lecter had sat at Abigail's bedside, or if that investment was exclusive to the murdering version of him.

He went back to the search and typed in "Hannibal Lecter." Those results were a mixture of academic journals, a link to a Psychology Today profile, a list of donors to some fund at Johns Hopkins, and a staggering amount of mentions on the society page of the Baltimore Sun.

Hesitantly, he tried "Hannibal Lecter Will Graham" and leaned back with a shaky exhale when the first result was for the Baltimore Sun, the second for Tattle Crime. The picture was the star of the article. In it were Dr. Hannibal Lecter and his companion to the benefit, Special Agent Will Graham of the FBI. Will wore a modest but well-cut tuxedo that he would not have bought for himself, all of the jacket buttons left undone, and his expression was stiff and blank. Beside him, Lecter smiled vaguely for the camera and touched the small of Will's back with his hand. Will could almost feel the heat of it searing his skin through his clothes.

He stared at it for a minute. Will plucked off his glasses and dropped them to the desk with a clatter, scrubbing over his tired eyes with his palms. He blew out another shaky breath. Finally, he laughed, a bark of amusement and discomfort. "Goddamn. You have"—he worked the word around in his mouth, weighing it and finding it lacking for the scope of his incredulity—"problems, Graham."

It took him a while to notice, because he was still shaking his head and smothering dark chuckles, still staring at his own face, at Lecter's familiar touch and the way his own body turned into it, and he couldn't stop thinking I invented this?. But eventually he saw Tobias Budge off in the background of the picture, standing near a table lined with food Will wouldn't have eaten if he'd actually attended. Others might have called the look on his face haughty, or even detached. They'd have been wrong. The look was cold calculation, his eyes fever-bright and trained directly on Will's back. It was as if he didn't even see Lecter.

He checked the date. The photo had been taken two weeks earlier, going by the clock on his computer. By Will's estimation, Lecter had killed Tobias Budge months before then.

In the depths of Will's subconscious, Abigail Hobbs was probably still alive, but so was Tobias Budge. And Will was fucking Hannibal Lecter.

Will slammed the laptop shut and went out to throw sticks for his dogs. His own psychosis could wait.