Hannibal never expected Will Graham's death to surprise him.


Author's note

The title and the "incarnation" and "holocaust" lines are references to The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Also, if anyone actually watches Hannibal, hmu! It's so underrated

1. Enchanted/Repelled

Hannibal had thought that he'd be able to tell. He'd thought that when Will Graham died, he'd know just as if he'd killed him himself. There'd be a flicker of recognition at the back of his mind, a symbol, an omen- some sort of sign to soften the blow before it truly came. "Dead," the wind would whisper in hushed, fervent warning. "Dead," the sand would spit out as it tore itself relentless from the sea. There'd be a mighty crash of thunder, a sudden drought, an untimely telephone call.

As it was, Will Graham died alone to the sound of his own screams. Everywhere else was ordinary to the point of animosity. People were too caught up in the humdrum rush of cars and tweeting birds to listen for anything beneath that: and that's exactly as it always is. No one ever feels the need to stop and listen. 

If no one's there to hear your screams, did they even sound at all? 

Hannibal had found out - incredibly irritatingly - from Freddie Lounds. Freddie Lounds, of all people. She'd called up asking for an exclusive interview- as Will's esteemed psychiatrist, did he agree that it was the FBI which had driven his patient to death's door? Hannibal suspected that she'd known he wasn't yet aware of the circumstances; she was like that, always playing the game of power. She'd even been at the scene before Jack, which was a first.

This was ridiculously inevitable, Hannibal told himself again and again and again. Will's death was inevitable. All those hundreds of empty killers he'd traced and retraced and out-manoeuvred... One of them, eventually, had always been bound to be smarter than he was. And yet Hannibal had hoped, perhaps a little extravagantly, that the one to out-smart Will would be him alone.

Alas, the wants of man are rarely granted credence by the gods.

Since he'd heard the news two hours ago, Hannibal had been gripped by a horrific urge to go and visit the body. The urge could only be described as horrific because- honestly- in thrall to his own emotion, he really didn't trust himself to retain his dignity around Will's corpse. It was still lying flat in the house in which it was butchered, invaluable as it was to the scene of the crime.

Hannibal closed his eyes and breathed in deeply through his nose- in, out, in, out, like a child wondering whether the water is quite safe enough to swim. He imagined Will, as blank and as pure as he'd ever seen him, blood staining his hair an unearthly red and ruining his favourite shirt. His mouth- would he even have a mouth, anymore?- would be as twisted and contorted as a man attempting to eat the fire of hell, his eyes scalded black and sealed shut. Hannibal would bend forward, push the hair from Will's forehead. His touch cool beneath his plastic gloves, Will's body still retaining the ghost of warmth...

Oh God. Hannibal let a small moan part his lips. 

It was decided. He'd visit the body later that night. That hour. He had to go now.

He'd heard that the murder was brutal, the very walls coloured crimson. Jack, Freddie had informed him, had taken one look at the body and stormed out, his angry tears whipping into wind and mingling with the rain. He was staying away, and advised that Hannibal should do the same. The crime scene was closed, for now, but the FBI would be swarming there in droves come the morning. 

If he wanted to get to see Will on his own, Hannibal's best bet was to go now. Go now! And besides, he reassured himself, he'd be careful. He was always careful.

God knows he had to allow a few human indulgences every once in a while.

When he reached Will's house, ducking under the bright yellow CAUTION tape, Hannibal found the front door unlocked. It swung open easily at his touch, creaking softly against the darkness. In the sky there were no stars- nothing but a paper moon, oblivion's gentle grin. Surprisingly, there was no one there at all, which Hannibal hadn't expected. He'd been ready to tackle at least two or three rogue reporters, ready to silence a couple of miserable crime junkies. 

But there was no one there. No one but Hannibal, and the corpse in the house, and the small, slight figure who slipped unseen against the wall. 

Hannibal tread quietly into the house, following the trail of blood up the stairs to Will's bedroom. There were no dogs, for once. Someone must have found them a home (or, more likely, they were slumming it at the kennels). It was a pity, mused Hannibal. Those dogs loved Will, just as he had loved them back. For his part, Hannibal would have welcomed the sight of some creature who might share his pain, share the aching, gaping hole that sheared his stomach.

He held his hand to his lips to numb the trembling. This wasn't like him- but, you know, getting murdered and left to rot wasn't all that much like Will Graham. 

Deep breaths, Hannibal. Count to ten.

He pushed open Will's bedroom door, and the incarnation was complete.

There was blood on the walls, flaking intermittently like cherry blossoms or shedding skin. Blood on the walls, blood on the floor, blood on the ceiling: everywhere, blood, blood, blood, so much of the stuff that it swam before Hannibal's vision like a premature sunset. His eyelids fluttered, letting it soak through his skin. He could smell it as if it were his own scent- smell Will as if he were his own scent. For every deep, dark part of Will's soul that Hannibal had thought he'd unearthed: here was something deeper and darker. 

Oh, God. He loved it. He loved Will. 

He was lying on his back, his face turned up towards the dripping, scarlet sky. It was nothing like Hannibal had imagined at all, and yet irrevocably, irretrievably perfect. His face was exactly as it always had been, slack-jawed as if he were simply drowsing. Bizarrely, despite the blood slicked lavishly over every other inch of the room, Will's face was entirely clean. Like a baby, newborn.

Like an angel.

There was something so innocent and yet distinctly carnal about it all. Hannibal bent down as he had in his fantasy, smoothed Will's hair away from his eyes. It was beautiful- Will was always beautiful, to Hannibal- but also something quite arrestingly numb. Hannibal couldn't bear to touch him anywhere else, couldn't break the spell.

He thought that if he gave in to it, succumbed to his emotions in the slightest capacity- he didn't know what would happen- and still even as he thought this, his hands began to tremble once again. Will. His mind ached for him. Will. His body burned for him. The idea that Hannibal had spent so long yearning, searching for someone to understand him, to have that someone then slip through his fingers like sand... 

The only man that Hannibal Lecter ever loved was dead. 

It was a lot to take in. 

He tried not to cry but couldn't bring himself to stop, tears dropping and nesting on Will Graham's eyelids.

Oh, how it was to be human. Even monsters have their joys and even dragons love their treasure. 

Will's body was unrecognisable, broken in more ways than Hannibal could count. Someone had done a horrible job of ripping his organs from his body, and then apparently thought better of it and decided to put them back in again. There was blood, of course, splattered and smeared in snail-trails across the sprawled cadaver. His fingernails were blackened and sunken in, his elbows crusted with green and brown puss. 

It was horrible- Hannibal would have done it very differently, much more cleanly. And yet, something struck a chord with him, as if this- exactly this- was exactly as everything was meant to be.

He sat in the blood and brushed his lips against Will Graham's. He tasted of the dead, and Hannibal longed in that instant to rip open his heart and eat it whole.

But to Hell with it all. He swallowed hard and pinched his own leg. He was letting sentimentality get the better of him, he reprimanded himself, as he stood up and turned to face the door.

That was when the small, slight figure stepped out of the shadows and stuck a knife in his back. Oh- Hannibal had been careful, sure. Not careful enough. 

He staggered forwards, blood spurting from his lips in a furious cry. He twisted, hair flopping down into his eyes, trying to move his sluggish hands to find the killer's neck. From behind, she had the knife in his back again, skewering his shoulder as his head spun round and round like the earth on its axis. Hannibal found, with a growing, stifling urgency, that he couldn't coordinate his movements anymore.

As his legs stumbled over the slick carpet of blood- as the knife slashed and sliced and tore chunks from his back- he felt himself fall to the floor with a dull thud. It was curious: almost as if he were someone else, reading about the experience in a newspaper. He felt the urgency topple and give way to an overbearing calm, a disturbing peace of mind that belied the desperate situation. 

Everyone dies eventually.

The killer rolled him over to his front, and he groaned. She ripped and tore at his body; his ribs broke and his throat constricted. He'd convulse and he'd shudder, but he'd scream only without realising; he was trying to keep his dignity, though screaming wasn't anything to be ashamed of, really. They all scream in the end. Hannibal knew with a cutting certainty that his killer was the same as Will Graham's, and yet as she bowed her face closer so he might know his reaper, he let his eyes slide sideways to meet Will's perfect, angel face. 

Then, in his last moments, he didn't want to know anyone but Will. 

Hannibal Lecter died violently to the sound of his own screams. The love of his life lay next to him, and the Holocaust was complete.


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