"It's necessary. What happens to Jack has been pre-ordained."
Will hears the words reverberating in the warm, dark air between him and Hannibal. But inside, somewhere deep down, in a forest of thorns, he cries. He cries bitterly and unashamedly like a child.
See, Garret Jacob Hobbs whispers. See.
No, Will sobs, shaking his head. No. No. No.
He clutches his belly and his hands come away bloody. His intestines glisten through the slice in his abdomen and he lies in his own blood on the thorny forest floor. Abigail lies next to him, blood streaming from her throat until they're both drenched. Somewhere in the forest he can hear Jack dying, smell his blood. Alana too.
See, Hobbs slithers down to Will. This is the person you've become. You'll let everyone die so you can have your reckoning.
For Abigail, Will says.
Not for her, Hobbs says. She's dead.
"We could disappear now. Tonight," Hannibal says. "Feed your dogs. Leave a note for Alana and never see her or Jack again. Almost polite."
Will reorients himself Hannibal's dining room; the table laid for two; lamb still giving off gentle, palatable warmth.
"Then this would be our last supper," Will says. He looks down at his stomach, relieved he is physically intact.
Abigail. He whispers her name again in his mind and the thorny forest and lakes of blood disappear. Abigail. The wide blue and silver and green of the river. Abigail standing in the center, smiling as Will wades out to her.
"Of this life," Hannibal murmurs. "I served lamb."
Will's stomach rolls over on itself.
Abigail, the sun glowing off her doe brown hair.
Abigail, a shadow falling across her pale, freckled face.
"Sacrificial?" Will asks.
"I don't need a sacrifice, do you?"
Abigail, reaching out to hug Hannibal as he joins them.
The knot in Will's throat makes it painful to breathe, to speak.
"I need him to know," he says, and understands the words to be a lie, more than anything he has ever said to Hannibal. "If I confess to Jack Crawford right now . . ."
"I would forgive you," Hannibal says.
Hannibal, beautiful in the sunlight. Grotesque too. The Wendigo is still there, shifting just beneath the surface of Hannibal's well tailored person suit. But then, he seems more human too. The reflected light from the river flickers across his features and makes him seem -- alive. And when he smiles it is genuine.
Will begins to cry at the dinner table.
"I haven't known what I wanted for a long time. Not since I knew who you were," he struggles through tears. "I wanted to kill you, and then I wanted to catch you and then . . ." he gasps.
"And then?" Hannibal asks.
We could disappear now, he'd said. Leave a note for Alana and never see her or Jack again, he'd said. Will realizes this is Hannibal's way of saying he will spare them, for himself, for Will. Because he cares about them, but also because he loves Will.
The summer sun halos Hannibal's head and shoulders as he looks down at Will. There is a kind of calm in his expression, and not the dead calm of a predator. It almost seems like -- contentment. And a kind of warmth that makes the sunlight seem weak by contrast.
He is looking at Will like that now. Like Will is the beginning and the ending of all life. Will is the answer and the key. Will is the most devastating and gorgeous piece of art ever crafted.
Will feels himself break, softly, inside, and knows what he wants.
"Forgive me," he says. "I was trying to play you. With Jack. I was trying -- to capture you. Lock you up. Forgive me."
He waits for Hannibal to come across the table and snap his neck. Or gut him like a pig. It would serve him right. Luring Jack here. Getting Margot hurt. Putting Alana in danger. Thinking everything was about Abigail. Selfish, selfish Will, he tells himself. You didn't need to play Hannibal. You just needed to get him away from all the people you love.
Hannibal rises and comes to Will. He cups Will's face in his hand, and tucks a strand of hair behind his ear.
"I forgive you," he says.
His thumb runs over Will's lower lip, lingering.
"I do want to come away with you. Tonight," Will murmurs, cock half hard and front hole already wet.
Hannnibal looks briefly shocked, then pleased.
"Yes," he says and kisses Will like they are both drowning, sinking down into the river together.
"I'm sorry," Will repeats over and over as they fall to the floor and shed clothes. Hannibal sinks his cock into Will, rough and quick. Fucks him as Will keens and digs deep red crescents into Hannibal's back. Fucks Will hard enough to make his eyes water in pain.
"Forgive me," Will gasps as he comes, thighs and back shaking.
"Always," Hannibal whispers, stroking Will's cheek again. Will sobs with sorrow, with elation. Sorrow because he will never have anyone but Hannibal again; Hannibal will make sure of that. Elation because he's not sure if that won't be enough. If it won't be enough to know that Alana and Jack are alive and safe. If it won't be enough to know no-one else will be hurt by Hannibal. If it won't be enough to be loved by Hannibal.
It's more than some people get.
It's more than Abigail got.
"I want to show you something," Hannibal says after they re-dress.
"A surprise for me?" Will says. At least he won't have to lie to Hannibal anymore, won't have to act and pretend. He can just be Will Graham, and he feels the relief of that settle around him, feels like himself in his own flesh and blood and bones again.
"Yes. Come," Hannibal holds out his hand and Will takes it. Lets Hannibal lead him up the stairs into a dim, quiet room he hasn't been to yet. Hannibal doesn't turn on any lights and it's hard to see anything but the vague outlines of bookcases and silver mirrors. Outside, street lamps glitter through the windows.
"You can come out," Hannibal says.
The shadows in the mirrors move, and the lamplight scatters around the form of a girl. A young woman, with doe brown hair and a pale, freckled face. She's so ghostly in the half light that Will thinks he is hallucinating. He looks at Hannibal. Hannibal smiles and nods.
"Abigail," Will stammers.
Abigail makes a whimpering, gasping noise: piteous, terrified, stunned.
"Come on Abigail. He's waited a long time to see you," Hannibal says.
Abigail is soft in Will's arms, still the girl he remembers. Though she smells different now -- there is an acridness, like fear, to her -- she melts into his embrace as if she trusts him. And when she looks up at him her eyes say: I didn't know what else to do. So I just did what he told me.
Will nods and whispers in her one ear: "You did the right thing, Abigail." And his arms try to tell her she is safe now. And always will be. He'll make sure of that.
"Now we can leave. Together," Hannibal says after awhile. Will thinks he can see tears in his eyes, but he can't be sure.
"Yes," says Will. "Together. Thank you."
And he laughs. He laughs because it is finally over. Abigail is alive. Hannibal kept her alive -- maybe, at first, for his own purposes -- but now, definitely, for Will. Will finds himself grateful and humbled by that. By the depth of Hannibal's love for him. A sociopathic love, to be sure. Unhealthy, inhumane. But love in its way. Will wonders if he could ever return that in equal measure. But he doesn't think Hannibal necessarily expects that, either. Hannibal only wants Will to appreciate what Hannibal gives.
One doesn't love to receive, Will thinks. One loves to love. Even Hannibal.
They leave just as the sun rises. On the flight to Marseille, Hannibal and Will drink champagne, and Abigail drinks orange juice, and they probably look like a happy family. Maybe we can be, Will thinks, as Hannibal touches his hand.