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Chapter 1


Will looks to Hannibal, breathing in the salty scent of the air. “How did it get to this?” Will asks himself briefly, his heart pounding in his chest as he realizes the extent of damage that Hannibal and his own bodies have endured. His mind is spinning. Flashes of the cliffside house.  The adrenaline of slaying ‘The Red Dragon’ together. The freedom from Jack Crawford. The memories still tantalize him. Hannibal stares into his eyes knowingly, a smirk gracing his thin lips.  

            “Not changing your mind now, dear Will?” Hannibal breathes. Hannibal fixes his sand color hair with his bloodstained hand.

            “It would be too late for that.” Will spits back.

Perhaps long ago, before the cliff and before the betrayals, Hannibal would have found this tone of voice rude. He would have killed Will and feasted on his tongue, a nice Tongue Burgundy perhaps, paired with a dry red wine. But now he couldn’t dream of eating Will, not physically. He wanted to consume him differently, and he hoped Will wanted to consume him too. His heart swelled at the thought—but it was the wrong time to sink into fantasies now. Hannibal knows that their safety and freedom are their priorities.

            Will stares out at the vast sea, watching blood from Hannibal’s bullet wound drip down to his feet and slowly trickle into the bubbling shallow waters. The water is pink tinged with red; Hannibal’s lost too much blood, but he doesn’t seem weak. “I can’t take you to a hospital,” Will says quietly, fear coating his voice.

            “This isn’t the first time I’ve been injured like this; there is no need to fret.” Hannibal’s fingers brush against Will’s hand. “We need to walk a few miles down the shore along the cliffside. There should be a boat there; one that I’ve stowed away for occasions such as these—”

            “You make it sound like you’ve planned an activity for a rainy day,” Will cuts him off. “Can he even walk a few miles?” Will’s own injuries are severe. “We don’t have a choice.”

            “One should always be prepared,” Hannibal counters. With this, Hannibal takes Will’s hand fully, boldly into his own. “This could be quite romantic,” Hannibal sighs internally. He’s grateful that Will hadn’t pulled his hand away.

            There’s a sensitivity to Hannibal that Will hadn’t quite seen before, on the day that Hannibal had turned himself in, and the day where Hannibal stroked Will’s cheek as he stabbed him. Their relationship was a slow, deadly dance. Hannibal’s eyes are like rivers that pour out feelings, and while Will can’t read every thought that Hannibal has, he knows that it would deeply injure the man’s feelings to pull his hand away. So he doesn’t. He doesn’t tell Hannibal that he feels like they won’t make it walking. He simply lets Hannibal do as Hannibal wants. And so they walk on, salt water kicking at their feet.


            Will is supporting Hannibal as they walk; he didn’t want to say he was right—but he was right. “How much farther?” Will asks the man, hoping for a response.

            “Just a few more yards, and you will see a small gap in the cliffside.” Hannibal enjoys this, though he doesn’t want to admit it out loud. He didn’t need Will’s help, but the result of his feigned weakness was satisfying and comforting.

            The boat is just where Hannibal had left it, covered in seaweed, but nonetheless in perfect condition. Will lets Hannibal sit down against the rocks so he could tug the boat from the rocks. The scraping sound muddles Will’s thoughts, and he’s thankful for the thoughts to be drowned out. Then he notices the rolling sound, and Will peers in, pulling out a bottle of wine. “I won’t be so naïve as to assume that there isn’t a bottle opener in here as well.” Stuck in the bow, the bottle opener greets Will.

            “I cannot do without the finer things in life,” Hannibal chides. “And the wine is a much better alternative to sea water, in any case.” It is a Château Ste. Michelle 2003—a very good year for this wine. Hannibal hadn’t tasted it for years, and his tongue is salivating at the memory of its decadence.

There are two large jugs of water further in the crack of the cliff, and Will puts these in the boat as well.  “We may have to do without those for a while.”

“All the more reason to have kept the wine with the boat,” he teases. Hannibal stands and helps Will push the boat into the water, and Will realizes that Hannibal had not needed his assistance after all. Hannibal smiles at Will.

“You smug bastard.”

“Language, Will—language.”

They go out to sea, sipping their wine from the bottle. They recount stories of their sessions, finding it too difficult to let go of the past. After a while, Will drifts into sleep and Hannibal daringly strokes a few of Will’s fine brown curls. He looks like a Greek statue, a modern Adonis. Hannibal feels himself to be a lucky man, having finally been able to hold Will in his arms. “You won’t ever leave me,” Hannibal whispers quietly knowing Will won’t hear. Will had no choice to leave now, not really. Hannibal would sooner kill them both—murder suicide, the most perfect crime.