It was Christmas Eve, and Will Graham was carrying out a fine Graham Christmas tradition: getting piss drunk on whiskey.
“An’ another thing, Wisston. It’s Christmas Eeb. And Hannibal is not here. Why? Why do you think??? It’s cuz he’s an ASS. But you, Wisston, you love me, right? I love you. Who’s a gooboy? Iss you! Commere Wisston, lemme scratch your ruff, buddy.” Will reached out to give the long-suffering Winston some well-deserved neck scritches, but overbalanced and landed on the floor.
“FUCK. Goddammit… where is Hannibal. I’M ON THE FLOOR AND HE DOESN’T CARE. Wisston, he’s probably out murdering, you know. Can’t keep his scalpel in his pants ONE NIGHT. It’s the holiday season, it bringss out the rude. BUT HE’S THE RUDE ONE, LEAVING ME ON CHRISSMAS. We had plans. Oh no, Wisston, does that mean he has to murder hiself? …. WISSTON! DOES THAT MEAN HE HAS TO MURDER HISSELF?!? He can’t. It’s not allowed. I will murder him for him because he’s an ASS, as we discussed. He only keeps me around so he has someone to feed people meat to.”
Will flopped around on the floor as he chatted with Winston, trying to unwrap himself from the blanket wrapped around him, only getting more and more trapped.
“He probably got caught by the EFF BEE EYE because he’s an ASS who couldn’t not murder ONE DAY. And now I can’t get out of this blanket and I’m going to DIE HERE Wisston and no one will ever eat my meat.”
Just then Hannibal opened the door of their cabin hideout / charming winter getaway, swooping in and carrying a wrapped present that looked super classy.
“I apologize Will, the errand took much longer than I… Will? What… let me help you up.”
As Hannibal reached for Will to untangle him from the bloodthirsty blanket, Will slapped his hand away. “NO YOU LIVING PAISLEY PATTERN! I’ve wasted my youth and beauty on you and you only want me for my ability to stomach organ meats. Don’t laugh that was not one of your smart-ass cannibal puns. I’m really mad at you.”
Hannibal set about untangling Will from the offending blanket, dodging the occasional swipe. He finally released him and Will clambered back up on the sofa.
“Will, I apologize. I did not forget about you. I regret that I was delayed on an errand, but I would never have left you alone on our first Christmas Eve together if I had a choice. I was picking up your present. Unfortunately it was not ready until tonight.”
“A pressnt? For me?” Will started weakly slapping at Hannibal again. “You ASS, I don’t have anything for you, or for Wisston, oh no I’m sorry I called you an ass even though you are a pretentious ass like, eighty percent of the time AND wear too many patterns at once. Can I open it?”
Hannibal took a moment to inhale and process what he had just heard. “Well traditionally we would wait until Christmas morning to open presents, and hopefully would do so at a time when you were not intoxicated. I suppose you can open it tonight. If you black out I will just rewrap it and you can open it again tomorrow.”
Will looked mildly affronted. “Hannibal, I’m a whisskey professional. It takes more than this to get me to black out. Believe me. I have the experience. I once woke up to a cryptic note from myself saying DON’T EAT WHAT’S IN THE BLUE TUPPERWARE EVEN IF HANNIBAL SAYS IT’S GOOD and to this day I don’t know why but I know drunk me was protecting sober me.”
“So that’s what happened to… nevermind. Will, here is your present. Merry Christmas.”
Will tore into the beautifully wrapped package like a man possessed. After the carnage was over he was left holding a beautiful, soft sweater of so many different colors. Golds, browns, whites, greys, it reminded him a little of Hannibal’s eyes in that it couldn’t decide what color it was. He held it close to his face and inhaled, and it gave off such a comforting scent of safety and home that he just melted.
“Oh, Hannibal, a Chrissmas sweater, it’s so beautiful and soft…”
“Tell me Will, do these colors look familiar to you?”
“Should they?” Will asked nervously. “You know I don’t know about fabric…”
“This sweater is woven from your dogs’ shed fur. I’ve been collecting it for months, after their twice weekly brushing sessions. I found an artisan who spins pet hair into yarn and weaves with it. It is fortunate that you are relatively slight and that you have so many dogs that shed so much.”
“This… this is the dogs’ hair?”
“Yes. Now you won’t have to roll around with them to be covered in their fur, as you are wont to do. And no matter how much dog hair you get on it, it will just blend in. Will… Will are you alright?”
Will was frozen. This was the most beautiful symbol of love and acceptance he could imagine. Suddenly, the image of Hannibal carefully collecting shed dog hair into a beautiful container for later use popped into his head.
“Merry Christmas, Hannibal. I love this, and I love you,” Will said suddenly.
Hannibal’s heart exploded into a million smaller hearts that filled up his chest cavity to bursting. It had all been worth it - the secret dog hair collection, finding an artisan to fulfill his specific requests, making special dog treats to ensure their coats stayed as soft as possible… it was worth it for Will. And if a little of his own hair had made it into the sweater as well, well, who was to know.