Will spends half the drive from Wolf Trap to Baltimore wanting to turn around; twice he does, and then turns back, and the radio keeps hissing with static, and he is trying to figure out if his mind is too full or too empty.
After wrapping up with Jack, Will drove home, relief at the conclusion of another case dragging him into an uneasy sort of calm. Except one nagging concern. Hannibal’s face, bruised and bloody and even though Will knew his- therapist? Colllegue? …Friend?- was fine, he didn’t feel it. He felt worry twisting in his gut (poor choice of word) and worry for someone else in such a natural(?) way was such a welcome relief of sorts, Will fed it, and drove all the way back to the city, snow starting to fall as he turned onto Hannibal’s street.
At the door, uncertainty gnawed. This was all wrong, this was what? Voluntarily checking up on him? He was fine. Or he wasn’t. And Hannibal had said his kitchen was always open to friends. Friends? Will took a breath and knocked, internally kicking himself for not bringing some wine, or what, hot chocolate? Did Dr. Lecter drink hot chocolate? How did one go about nursing or caring for someone who had just engaged in mortal combat, had a patient killed in front of him?
The door creaked open and there was Dr. Lecter, no suit, his hair flat, in a bathrobe, white bandages fastidiously applied to his wounds. POSSIBLY Blood was beginning to seep through one, delicate sprays of red starting to form. Will snaps the pieces together without conscious effort: : strange dullness in his eyes, his hands hanging limp. He seems tired. Possibly in pain; his arms are stiff.
Will stares, forgets to speak.
“Hello, Will,” Hannibal says, extending a hand and beckoning him in. “What a pleasant surprise on a cold snowy night.”
“Hi, sorry for, ah, barging in.”
Dr. Lecter tuts, then says as he walks back in, forcing Will to follow and get out of the wind, “As I have said, my kitchen is always open to friends.”
Will was led to said kitchen, where he was instructed to sit.
Hannibal set to boliling water in the kettle and toasting some sort of baguette.
“Do you need help?” will asked, the words thick and uncertain on his tongue, ears still pricking from the cold, then blurts,
“Shouldn’t I be making the tea?”, just as the kettle whistles. Hannibal has been making toast, and he smoothly shuts off the gas as he says, “I assure you my state is not impeding some simple tea and toast. On the other hand, I am not quite up to making my usual dinners.”
“Do you need- anything?” He looks down at the table, not wanting to even brush at meeting Hannibal’s eyes. “I came over to check on you, but I don’t think you needed it.”
Will laughs nervously. Hannibal nods and is silent while he plates the toast (thick, looks handmade, smooth lines of butter melting on top) and brings it and the tea things, all on a tray, to the kitchen table. Then he sits and says, “The support is well taken, Will. As I have said, my kitchen is open, for whatever the reason. I can assure you that I will be all right after what happened with Tobias Budge. I am, however, going to take a few days off.”
Will nods, pours water over his tea.
“I can understand that. I don’t know if Jack will appreciate the break in our sessions, but-“
Hannibal raises a hand, and Will realizes he has been pouring near-boiling water past his full cup and onto the saucer. He jerks the kettle back and sets it down, fighting to keep down the knot of embarrassment. Can’t even pour his own water anymore.
“No trouble. Will, though, I must ask, will you mind a break in our sessions? That is a lot more important that what Jack thinks, and I would be happy to see you here if you need. I just- that office is not a good place for me right now.”
“I wasn’t-“ Will begins, then closes his mouth.
“Will, you say you came to check on me, but how are you?”
I’m not fine, Will conceded to himself, easily, then tried to weigh how much of this visit was checking up on Hannibal and how much was trying to get his anchor back. The results came back in a haze of fear with no clear source. Or perhaps it was just that it came from everywhere. Pathetic. Will gulped down tea and took a bite of toast.
“This is delicious,” he said.
“Just a baguette from my baker downtown,” Hannibal explains, and takes a bite himself.
They eat in silence for a few minutes, until Will says, “I wouldn’t want to bother you while you’re recuperating…”
“Will, what must I do to convince you that helping you feel well is not an intrusion?”