Alana's pretty face looks back at him from the tablet screen. The article is blandly titled, almost innocuous as it details Morgan Verger's high school graduation, but Hannibal's expression is grim.
Will waits for him to speak, but eventually he can't bite back his own words in the wake of such determined silence. "The man who made that promise died in the ocean."
"I disagree." It's immediate, almost petulant.
"Do you?" Will continues to press. He will always continue to press. To shove at the walls Hannibal has built for himself until they give way entirely. It's his nature to do so. "Are you saying you would make all of his choices again?"
"That man's choices led us here, to this moment." Sloppy argument, Doctor Lecter. And you know it.
"He would have let me die. He'd have regretted it, somewhat. But pawns can be sacrificed in the name of entertainment. That's their purpose, after all." There's satisfaction in the way Hannibal visibly flinches, though he does not give another inch of ground and it makes Will want to shove him, hard. Instead he smiles, and it's traced in the cruelty he learned from this very man. "Would you let me die, now? If my blood was fever-sweet, if I was seeing phantoms in corners and drawing crooked clocks, what choice would you make, compared to that man?"
"I would heal you." Hannibal's voice is so whisper-soft and reverent that Will feels a twinge of guilt in all this, but he doesn't disengage. This is a lesson he will have Hannibal learn and learn well.
"You would keep me."
"...as he would not have." Finally, some sense.
"Then keep me." There's a challenge there - dangling just on the edge and sneering defiantly in the face of one of the most dangerous men on the planet. Will hasn't survived this long by being cautious, after all. Nor did he win over Hannibal with meek words and soft hands. It's the steel in his spine his partner admires, and his willingness to show his resolve even as he dashes on and off script like the worst sort of improv.
"You act as though you'd leave, if I kept my word."
"I won't live by the rules the man you were made. This is our life now, our world, our rules. Either you live here with me, or you don't."