A/N: Based on the promo and the promotional photos for this week's episode. Not 'speculative' in a 'I think this will happen" way, but just a "this fits with what we know so far and I can't get it out of my head" kind of way
I'm the hero of this story, I don't need to be saved
It's the first thing out of Will's mouth, a panicked, terrified sound. The psychiatrist in front of them - the psychiatrist they'd mistakenly thought would be Dr. Gideon's next target - blinks at him in rapidly increasing confusion, but Jack glances sideways at Will, his expression grim.
Will fumbles for his phone, urgently calling her, the other men's voices fading to white noise in the background.
What's this all about?
A prisoner you interviewed, Dr. Abel Gideon, escaped. He's targeting psychiatrists who profiled him, and we're going to need to put you in protective custody until-
"She's not answering!" Will cuts him off, his voice too loud, the pitch of it sliding all over the place. He redials, terror trickling slowly down his spine.
They should have put her in protective custody the second Gideon escaped. Chilton's voice floats into Will's head, remembering what he said to Alana the day they'd both gone to interview Gideon, back when he was claiming to be the Chesapeake Ripper.
He is very familiar with you. He's given you a lot of thought.
Will's stomach contracts as he listens to the empty, ominous dial tone at the other end of the phone. "Jack, Alana ISN'T ANSWERING."
Jack immediately turns his attention to Will, his voice calm and steady. "Will. We will get to her. I'll call a unit over to her place now, and as soon as Dr. Ryan's protective custody arrives, we can-"
But Will's already moving, slamming out of the house and sprinting to his car. He stumbles into the drivers seat, and his fingers shake violently as he cranks the car. Will takes a second, forcing himself to breathe. He closes his eyes, trying to focus.
And suddenly he's outside Hannibal's office.
It's that fast. He opens his eyes and he's standing in the empty waiting room. Sunlight streams in through the shutters, though seconds ago it had been nighttime.
Will stares at his watch. 4:53. He'd gone with Jack to check on one of Gideon's psychiatrists at around 10 pm.
He's lost the better part of a day.
Will's chest tightens, terror becoming a physical, threatening being. He can almost taste it, sharp and metallic in the back of his throat, and Will grabs at cell phone once again. He presses Send twice; it calls her.
Immediately, he gets voicemail.
The phone clatters out of Will's hand. He screws his eyes shut, scrambling for a thread of memory, anything after throwing himself in the car to go after Alana.
He comes up blank, and he tries not to think about what Hannibal said last time this happened, when he'd been examining a totem of bodies and suddenly found himself standing in this very spot: that Will's mind had disassociated because of the trauma.
What could be so traumatic that he'd lose almost nineteen hours?
Suddenly the door to his office opens and Hannibal steps out, looking surprised. "Will. Didn't think I'd be seeing you today."
This seems ominous, and Will's stomach twists even tighter into knots. "Alana," he manages to get out in a strangled voice. "Is...is she...?"
Will's staring at Hannibal with raw, panicked desperation, but it still takes him a moment to answer. Hannibal's face slowly changes as realization dawns. "You lost time again, Will?"
Hannibal ignores the question, his eyebrows knitting together in apparent concern. His voice is maddeningly calm. "What was the last thing you remember?"
Something cracks inside Will, and he advances on Hannibal, one hand grabbing the front of his suit, his voice borderline unhinged as he demands, "Tell me if she's alive."
For just a second, something flashes across Hannibal's face, something transformative and dangerous that makes Will let go out of pure instinct. As soon at it comes, however, it's gone, his features smoothing out as he finally answers, "She's alive."
A crooked, gasping sound emerges from Will's throat. His whole body goes limp with relief, and he slumps into a chair. It's a few moments before he can speak. "So she's...she's okay?"
"Completely unharmed. A little shaken up, I would imagine, but Dr. Bloom's quite resilient." Hannibal open the door a little more, gesturing for Will to come inside. "I'm more concerned about you right now. You're missing a significant period of time...this is a serious escalation."
Will launches to his feet, barely registering a word Hannibal says. "I've gotta go."
Once again, he leaves a place without waiting for an answer, hurries to his car, and drives urgently to Alana's house.
After thirty seconds of knocking on her door a bit more persistently than is strictly necessary, Alana's form appears in the frosted window beside the door, peering out at him before opening it up.
Alana's dressed in jeans and a tank top, her hair in a messy ponytail and her face free of makeup. Will's used to seeing her put together for work, so it's a stark contrast, but other than that she looks normal; no visible signs of injury or trauma. And she doesn't seem surprised to see him, speaking before he has a chance to.
"I'm fine. They insisted I take the day off, didn't give me a choice."
The words barely register. Will's staring at her intently, the relief only just this second feeling real. After a moment, Alana narrows her eyes, confused, and Will blurts out stupidly, "You didn't answer your phone."
"Oh. I think it might be dead," she says vaguely. "Sorry."
Another silence stretches between them. Will doesn't make any move to come in the house. He just stares, something needy and frightened swirling in his eyes, like Alana will dissolve if he so much as blinks.
She shifts her weight, slightly uncomfortable under the intense scrutiny. "What is it?"
Will snaps out of his near trance. "Huh?"
"You've got that look on your face. You looked at me like that last night."
"I did?" His voice is a murmur, and now his gaze flits to the ground. He doesn't want to tell her, but they'd promised not to lie to each other. "I...I don't remember."
She frowns, thrown off. "What do you mean you don't remember?"
"I...I was at Dr. Fleming's house with Jack, and I realized that if Gideon wasn't targeting him, he was going after you. I tried to call and you didn't answer so I...I ran out to the car, I was going to come here and then..." He trails off. Swallows hard. "The next thing I knew I was outside Hannibal's office, and that was about twenty minutes ago."
Will's staring at the floor by the time he finishes this explanation. There's a beat of silence before he chances a look up, only to find Alana's expression bordering on alarm.
"It's happened before," he admits quietly, not sure if that makes it better or worse. "Though it's usually only a few hours lost."
She stares at him for another beat, then seems to realize he's still standing on the porch. "Come inside."
Will pulls up short as soon as he walks into her living room. There's a faded blood stain on the far wall, obviously recently attacked by the crime scene cleaners. His stomach churns. "Did he...did he hurt you?"
"No," Alana says quietly, her voice betraying the barest hint of disconcertment. "That's Gideon's blood."
Will swivels around to look at her, questions all over his face.
"Does Hannibal know about this? The blackouts?"
"And he knows about this particular instance?"
"Yes, I...I had to ask him if you were still alive."
Alana's face tightens a little, but her voice is controlled as she asks, "But he didn't tell you what happened?"
"No, I...I left as soon as he said you were okay." He lifts his eyes to her face. "Had to see you."
She smiles thinly, but it wilts instantly as Will's gaze returns to the bloodstain on the wall. She's quiet for a moment, fighting herself, but as she comes up to stand beside Will, Alana gets a glimpse of the helpless confusion etched on his face.
"You killed Gideon," she tells him in the most measured voice she can manage. Will's head snaps away from the bloodstain to look at her, his eyes wide. "It's okay. He...he held a knife to my neck when you came in, and..." Her voice trails off, and this time it's Alana looking away.
Will's throat narrows as he studies her. Alana's jaw is tight, and she's unconsciously cradling her left wrist in her right hand, a gesture that reminds Will of the way they found Gideon's first victim yesterday morning: strapped by the wrists, ankles and waist to his own chair in his office, his organs surgically removed while he was still alive. His eyes dart around the room and land on a dismantled desk chair in the opposite corner.
Alana looks up at Will and follows his gaze. She flushes; she'd torn it apart in a violent burst of energy this morning, and hopes that Will can't guess that, can't reconstruct it like a crime scene.
"I'm sorry," he says suddenly. "I shouldn't make you talk about this, that's..."
"No, I'm fine," she counters automatically, going to take a seat on the couch, nodding her head at Will to join her. "It's just...you really don't remember."
It's not a question, but he confirms it anyway, coming to sit beside her. "No. I'm sorry."
There's a tense, uncertain silence for a moment. Tentatively, Alana offers, "Do you want me to...I could tell you-"
"No," he says quickly. "No, you don't have to do that."
"Okay." She's quiet, the memories skimming through her mind anyway. Her whole kitchen is still a mess; she'd managed to put up a fight when Gideon first broke in, brandishing a syringe, but he'd grabbed her in the end. A needle in her neck, and the next thing Alana knew she'd woken up, strapped to a desk chair in her living room, Gideon readying an arsenal of surgical knives.
Will bursting in the front door of the house, yelling her name. Gideon behind the chair, one arm wrapped her chest, the other holding a knife against her skin. Will coming in the room, seeing them. The tiny, pleading tone of her voice when she said his name without meaning to. Fifteen seconds of thick terror. Will pulling the trigger. The knife falling into Alana's lap as Gideon flew away from her.
The fight between panic and gentleness as Will unstrapped her. The look on his face, the same look he had tonight when she answered the door. And the way she'd been suddenly in his arms, the two of them wrapped together, so quickly it was impossible to know who reached for who.
Alana leans her head on the back of the couch, looking up at Will. "You said...Hannibal knows about all this."
She hesitates, choosing her words carefully, as she always does in this area, trying not veer from concerned friend into professional consult. "And...what does he think's going on?"
"I dunno," Will mumbles, the heat rising to his cheeks. Alana knows enough of his instability.
Alana's quiet for a moment. "Have you...thought about seeing a medical doctor?"
"I did," Will answers in a hollow voice, dropping his head into his hands. "Nothing physically wrong."
The response surprises him. "Thank God."
He lifts his head to look at her, repeating incredulously, "Thank God?"
"If you had a tumor, or...I don't know, an aneurysm or something that could've..." Her voice catches, and she rests a hand on his arm, squeezing gently. "Whatever this is, it's something that can be fixed."
"I'm not so sure about that," Will mutters.
"It is." She pauses, gauging the level of his worry, and offers uncertainly, "I can...talk to Hannibal, if you-"
"No," he says quickly, and Alana's secretly relieved. "Thanks, but..." Will sighs. "Half an hour ago, I couldn't remember if you were alive or dead that's...a pretty intense wake up call. If I need to step back from field work for awhile, I'll do it."
Something loosens in Alana's chest and she breathes a sigh of relief.
They're quiet for a minute, letting Will's declaration sink in. Then, impulsively, she laces her fingers with his, between them on the couch. "Hey." She waits until he looks up at her. "You saved me. Even if you don't remember, I do, and just...thank you."
He allows himself to hold her eyes for a heartbeat of a moment, then looks away before confessing softly, "I was really scared, when I thought you might be..."
She gives his hand a squeeze and keeps their fingers woven together. They sit together for awhile, in companionable silence, and eventually Will sits up a little. "I should...get out of your way. Sorry for just showing up..."
Too quickly, Alana protests, "No, you can stay." He glances at her, and Alana amends, "If you want." She smiles, a little sheepishly. "You don't have to stay over again."
Alana realizes her mistake half a second before Will asks in confusion, "What?"
"Sorry, you...slept on my couch last night."
Will looks again at the bloodstain on the wall, the dismantled chair in the corner. "I can stay again, if you want." He does his best to make the suggestion sound casual, but Alana gives him a grateful smile anyway, shaking her head.
"Thanks. But it's okay. Gonna have to handle it myself eventually, right?"
Their eyes lock, and they smile at each other. The moment hovers: bittersweet and laced with a strange combination of worry and longing and possibility.
"But not right this second," she clarifies.
"No. Not just yet."