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our gentle sin

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Dolarhyde’s dead. Dolarhyde’s dead, and Will, he can’t look away from Hannibal.

Will’s never had an out-of-body experience before, but this feels like one now. This feels like something bigger than just him and Hannibal, staring into each other’s eyes after finding catharsis through hunting down a man who had blood on his hands. Will takes a deep breath, fingers still tingling with murderous energy, adrenaline still numbing his pain and speeding up his reflexes, making him into an apex predator.

“See?” Hannibal says, and Will, finally, he does see.

Hannibal says, “This is all I ever wanted for you, Will. For both of us.”

Will’s never really believed in God, but this feels downright holy. This is the spiritual experience to end all spiritual experiences, holier than the dreams Will’s had that seem to come from outside of him, holier than all his years being Jack’s martyr. God is in the way he’s gazing at Hannibal and the way Hannibal’s looking right back into his soul, the way Will’s never felt more seen.

“It’s beautiful,” Will says.

He needs to say something else, too, but he can’t say it in words. Now isn’t the time to verbalize those three words, the ones that have been bubbling up in him for years when he thinks of Hannibal. He hates to break the eye contact, but he steps closer and lays his head on Hannibal’s chest, draws Hannibal’s hand up to his waist and holds on.

Hannibal’s heart is beating wildly like the wings of some tiny hummingbird, helpless in the path of something larger, something that could crush and kill him. It’s strange to realize that as much as Hannibal plays God, he’s just an animal, too. That all he wants now is for Will to lift his head and lean in, to press his lips against Hannibal’s like Adam once did to Eve.

There will be time for that later, Will thinks. But first, it’s time to be reborn as the man he’s known he was for a long time –- the man he’s known he was for maybe his entire life, but never had the courage to become.

This will be a baptism, Will decides. This will be a promise. This will tether him to a new God.

The ocean water below has been slowly eroding these bluffs, hemming Hannibal in and keeping him prisoner. It’s only fitting to reach out to Hannibal, to pull Hannibal down with him, because Hannibal needs to be free of his bonds, too.

Will doesn’t know what he’ll find in this new life. Maybe he’ll be like one of those infants buried in cemetery graves nobody comes to see, dead so soon after their immersion in water.

But Will knows that he’ll fight like hell to live, because finally, he has something to live for.