Cuba’s the opposite of Virginia. Hannibal said he chose it because of their extradition laws, but Will thinks it’s partly because he hopes the jarringly different setting will help him let go of the past and feel more comfortable with him, because they won't be surrounded by so many reminders. It’s not needed though. After their fight with the dragon, Will’s come to accept Hannibal, as well as himself, and forgive him for the past.
He still has nightmares, and there are times he’s pulled into flashbacks. But Hannibal’s nothing if not patient. When the nightmares come, he wipes the tears away from Will’s eyes and changes the sweat soaked sheets while Will puts on some clean clothes. When they lay back down, they’ll hold each other in the dark, and Hannibal will recite poetry in French as he strokes a hand through Will’s hair.
The flashbacks are harder to handle, Hannibal feels helpless at times when physical touch will send Will spiraling. During these times, sometimes Hannibal has to leave the room until Will can recover himself, but he always waits patiently until Will feels well enough to come find him. He’ll usually end up curled on Hannibal’s lap, his face pressed against his neck. Hannibal will run a hand softly up and down his back, kissing the top of his head, one hand combing through his hair and reminding him how much he loves him.
Will’s not the only one who has nightmares, every so often Hannibal will wake with a start in the middle of the night, breathing deeply to expel the imaginary water from his lungs. His nightmares are most often about the ocean, and how it swallowed them up after they fell. He watches Will die so many different times. Will’s hand will slip from his as he’s swallowed by the ocean, and no matter how hard he tries, he won’t find him.
The worst though is the one that was almost reality. When they fell, Will had hit his head and passed out, despite Hannibal’s best efforts to take the brunt of the fall. Despite his mind being muddled by panic and blood loss at the time, the memory is sharp. The feeling of Will’s body going limp and his arms releasing their harsh grasp on him. Hannibal had been able to maintain his hold on Will and drag them both to shore, but Will’s skin was paper-white and his chest was still, but through CPR, cries and begging words, Hannibal had been able to bring him back. It haunted him though, in his dreams Will never came back. His bright blue eyes blank and staring up at the sky, his curls splayed around him as his heart refused to beat. That night, when Will had coughed up seawater and his breath came out in gasps, Hannibal swore he would never take anything about Will for granted ever again.
So he worshipped all the small things he could about him, drinking in every detail he could and painstakingly filing it all away in his mind palace so he would never forget.
And that’s how it started.
Hannibal had always stared at Will, it wasn’t anything new. But now, with the stares came small, seemingly random compliments or observations. The flecks of green in Will’s eyes, the small freckles he had on his knee, the way he wrote different words, how his southern accent came out more when he was angry. Each was observed with a look of wonder and adoration, like Hannibal had just discovered the most beautiful thing. Every time it was something new, and the remarks never failed to warm Will’s heart.
Today was another warm day, it was just about 11AM on a Saturday and Hannibal was sitting on the porch swing at their beachside house. The house was beautiful, made of dark grey stone with red-brown details. Will hadn’t wanted anything too big, and they couldn’t get anything flashy at risk of bringing attention to themselves, so the house had been the perfect balance. It had 2 small guest rooms that shared a bathroom, an open dining room and living room next to each other, a large kitchen, and then the main bedroom that had its own bathroom. The house had a basement as well, perfect to use for their hunting and butchering.
It sat at the edge of the sea, which Hannibal was currency watching, clear blue waves calmly rolling up to shore. The palm trees swayed with the light breeze, and birds could be heard off in the distance.
Since it was a Saturday, Will often slept late, especially if he had a nightmare or trouble sleeping the night before.
Hannibal heard the door close as Will shuffled out, rubbing his eyes and carrying a blanket around his shoulders. He held an arm out, wrapping it around Will as he sank in next to him on the swing. He laid his head on his shoulder, his curls tickling Hannibal’s neck as he watched the ocean.
Hannibal brought his hand up, playing with Will’s hair as they sat in silence for a little while longer. Eventually, he broke the quietness.
“Your hair is really soft” was mumbled quietly as a kiss was pressed to Will’s head.
Will smiled, rubbing his cheek against Hannibal’s shoulder.
“Is that why you’re so obsessed with it?” he teased. “It’s almost down to my shoulders, I have to keep putting it up. I’ve been thinking about cutting it.”
If Hannibal was a more expressive man, he would have grimaced. Will laughed, he could practically feel the distaste in the air.
“Tout ce qui est nécessaire, mon amour. But it is lovely as it is now, it would be a shame to cut it.” (Translation - Whatever’s necessary, my love.)
Will loved it when he spoke French, so he often used it to get his way when he wanted something. Will knew a little Cajun French from his time growing up in Louisiana, but since their fall he’s taking the time to become near fluent in French, as well as Spanish.
“I guess I can keep letting it grow out a little longer, seeing as you like it so much. It might just be my best asset.”
“ Everything about you is wonderful, Will. There is no one thing better than another.”
Will grinned again, leaning up to look at Hannibal. “Out of my physical features you like my hair and my eyes the best, and we both know it. Don’t worry, I think it’s endearing.”
Hannibal just nodded, his eyes soft and full of adoration as he gazed at him. Will leaned up, softly pressing his lips against his and kissing him. Even now after so long, it still took his breath away every time Hannibal kissed him. The kiss was soft and loving, soft lips against each other. Eventually they pulled apart, forehead to forehead as Will held Hannibal’s face in his hands. Hannibal’s hands were buried in Will’s hair, softly caressing it.
“Je t’aime Hannibal” (Translation - I love you)
“I love you too Will.”