Will is supremely confident in his decision to kill them both. Hannibal Lecter is a cannibal, a manipulative shit, and an irredeemable snob. The fact that Hannibal’s persnickety aesthetics bug Will more than the manipulations and cannibalism is probably a pretty good reason for Will to take himself out as well. He knows he’s made the right decision, the just decision.
Here lies Will Graham: He took a swan dive to save humanity from himself and his true love, please look after his dogs.
His mental epitaph complete, Will feels a small twinge in his chest and glances down at the face of his soon-to-be final victim. Of course, Hannibal doesn’t look worried. His maroon eyes are serene, mouth slightly parted in a be-fanged smile that is positively sappy. Will hates that face. That stupid, handsome face. That face that is seconds from shattering when it smashes into the water.
The regret hits seconds before the water, it hurts just as badly. When he surfaces, Will opens his mouth gasping for air, desperate to let Hannibal know he’d made a mistake, that this hasty end to their story can be rewritten.
Will realizes his hands are empty.
He dives down, eyes searching in the blackness for something, anything. Where’s that damn stag when you need him?
He surfaces and looks out into nothingness.
Please no, please, please no.
Will starts to call for Hannibal, managing only a frantic wail. He faintly remembers the kiss of Dolarhyde’s blade before he chokes on the blood from his cheek. He feels everything now: His shoulder is locking up, saltwater is lapping through his tattered face, and his traitor fingers, once wrapped securely in Hannibal’s sweater, are empty.
He scans again, breathing becoming a chore. Three shuddering breaths and he realizes he’s sobbing. Something nudges his back.
Face-down and limp, his body brushes Will’s again. This is wrong. His love. His beautiful beast. This isn’t what he wanted, not at all. With a trembling hand Will reaches out.
There’s a pulse, and he’s warm, both good signs. In fact, the pulse is rather strong for a limp body.
Oh, you absolute shit.
Will looks at this man. This terrible, disgusting man. A man so despicable he would play dead to punish Will for something as trivial as trying to kill them both. He really was petty. And fussy. And about 40 seconds away from drowning for real if one of them didn’t end this stalemate.
Will stares at the limp body smiles, he’ll let the cannibal have this one. It’s the least Will can do after his cliff diving act. Will pulls his love close, gurgling apologies through his wounded mouth as he heads for shore.
Hannibal knows the push is coming when Will shifts. He curses all of Will’s father figures from Uncle Jack to Papa Graham for instilling such a boring sense of morality into such a beautiful creature. He had hoped the Dragon’s blood would be enough to wrest Will from the last vestiges of his former self.
So it will be baptism by blood, followed by an ocean plunge. A little overwrought for Hannibal’s taste, but he could help Will hone his dramatic sensibilities later.
Slipping free from the ground and plunging toward the abyss, Hannibal acknowledges he’s short of the total victory he was hoping for, but he is still fairly confident he can make this work. He glances at Will, who’s in his head, still. Probably composing the eulogy he hopes his insipid little wife will read to their dogs.
Will Graham - adoring husband, tortured genius, and giver of walkies - can’t drive the minivan in carpool today because he had to martyr himself for humanity.
Hannibal doesn’t have time to dwell on the soon-to-be ex-Mrs. Graham, he has a mongoose to catch. He decides euphoric devotion is the best way to go. Lips parted, a hint of a smile curling the corners, Hannibal waits for Will to notice.
Annoyingly, Will is still lost in thought. Hannibal has seconds before his perfectly crafted smile and adoration-filled eyes will be lost to the water. He can’t wait for Will to exit the dog fur filled halls of his mind palace.
In desperation, Hannibal pinches his true love. Not his finest moment, he admits, but he’s working with a hard deadline.
Blue eyes snap into focus.
Come on, darling boy.
Will’s eyes drift over Hannibal’s face, then just beyond his head to the waves that are rushing toward them. Will’s face shifts. Grim set jaw goes soft, eyes fill with tears. Hands suddenly clutch at Hannibal’s sweater with desperation. Hannibal admires this transformation from tragic hero to regretful lover, watching Will shatter and reform was always awe-inspiring.
There we go.
Hannibal’s triumph is broken by the water. He’s managed to turn them enough to avoid concussion, but he’s nearly certain his ankle is broken. He allows himself the brief vision of a remorseful Will doting on him as he recuperates. Bringing him tea. Reading him Dante. Fluffing his pillows… in a French maid’s uniform. He mentally shakes himself – now is not the time.
Hannibal surfaces first, spotting Will’s frantic thrashing within seconds. He stills himself, sinking low in the waves and watching as Will unravels. Hannibal doesn’t want to deprive his beloved of his sense of drama, after all.
When Will starts diving down, Hannibal decides they’ve both lost enough blood to end the game. A toothy smile stretches Hannibal’s face. Maybe just one more crescendo for his dramatic little mongoose?
He moves closer slowly. Will would notice if he wasn’t so busy having an existential crisis. When he’s three feet away, Hannibal begins the dead man’s float, and gently propels himself toward Will.
Water laps at his ears, but he still hears Will’s gasp when his limp body connects with Will. Then…nothing.
Turn me over, Will.
This is taking longer than he imagined. Hannibal’s gut is clenching and his lungs start to burn.
Turn me over. Turn me over. Turn me over.
He feels Will put a shaking hand to his head, stroking softly at Hannibal’s hair.
Don’t pet me, Will. Turn. Me. Over
Finally, Will thinks to grope for a pulse, and Hannibal feels himself turning. It’s all he can do not to gasp for air. A bloody mouth brushes over his face, the tear making Will’s words an indistinct litany of loving tones and wet presses of skin. A strong arm wraps around him, Hannibal relaxes into Will’s body and lets himself be rescued.