Will’s letting the dogs out in the morning, in his sweat-covered shirt and grungy boxer shorts, covered in dog hair, when he sees Alana’s hybrid coming up the driveway.
It’s been a long time since they’ve done friendly visits. The last time Alana came to visit, he’d scared her. But Alana gets out of the car, slams the car door shut, and saunters up to the house with a smile on her lips like she does this every day.
“Hi,” Will says, suddenly aware of how bare he is.
He wonders if she’ll be here long, if he should go inside and grab a robe.
“I want to apologize,” Alana says, “for how I acted the other day.”
“You do?” Will asks.
He stares at her, at her bold red lips and her pristine white dress, the sleek shine of her brown hair. It’s hard to tell if he knows her, anymore.
“Will, I know about the plan,” Alana says, stepping closer. “I know about Freddie, and I -– Will, what happened to you?”
“What?” Will asks.
She’s staring at his neck, Will realizes, at the prominent hickeys there, and Will remembers too late that he’s covered in Hannibal’s art.
“I slept with someone,” Will says, bringing a hand up to hide his neck.
His movement unintentionally showcases the bite marks on his arm. He follows Alana’s gaze to them, then down to the deep purple bruise on his inner thigh that disappears under his boxers.
“Will, is someone hurting you?” Alana asks, voice urgent.
She’s babying him, Will knows. Just like Jack Crawford. Just like everyone in his life except for Hannibal.
“I had sex,” Will says. “It’s a thing I do sometimes. It’s not a big deal.”
“This doesn’t look like just sex,” Alana says, stepping closer still. “This looks like brutalization, Will.”
“Has it ever occurred to you that maybe I like being brutalized?” Will asks.
Alana furrows her brow, then turns her deeply pitying gaze on Will.
“Who’s doing this to you?” she asks softly.
Will stays silent, knowing that he can’t tell the truth. But Alana always knew how to get the truth out of him.
“Will, is it Hannibal?” she asks.
Will scoffs. “I wouldn’t go this far just to maintain my cover.”
But Alana’s face falls.
“Oh, Will,” she says. “Is he -– are you -– are you letting him rape you?”
“I’m not letting him do anything,” Will says, exasperated. “This is fully consensual.”
Alana takes a step back, eyes wet.
"That’s not how consent works,” Alana says. “Will, I know you want to help the investigation, but you don’t need to go this far. You can’t let him hurt you like this.”
“I begged for this,” Will says, voice low. “I begged for his mouth, for his cock, for his hand on my throat. I pleaded.”
“I’m sure you think you did,” Alana says. “But you still can’t consent to someone you know to be a serial killer, a cannibal. You can’t.”
I love him, Will wants to say.
Instead, he says, again, “It was fully consensual, what he did to me. I -– I wanted it. Wanted him. More than anything.”
It’s silent then except for the lonely sound of a few crows cawing. Alana’s expression becomes, if anything, even more pitying as she reads between the lines.
“You don’t love him,” she says, shaking her head. “Maybe you think you do, but you don’t.”
“It’s a messy, angry kind of love,” Will says, “but it is love. He knows me, he sees me like nobody else can.”
Alana is looking down.
“You have to leave him,” Alana says, voice wavering.
“Of course,” Will says.
He puts a hand on her shoulder, reassuring, but the gesture is empty. He knows then that maybe, when the time comes, he’ll make the call to Hannibal. That maybe, when the time comes, he’ll let Hannibal escape.