A/N: This is it! The last official installment of Hannibal the Handyman. I'll save my gushing for the end of the chapter notes :'). Thanks to Trade_Jack and Kawamura on AO3 for pointing out the belatedness of the consent in Chapter 4. I've fixed it now :)
Many thanks to my beta, backwards_blackbird from Tumblr. She's an awesome girl and a great friend. And we're having a Hannibal marathon sleepover tonight. Without any further ado, here is the epilogue!
It was done. After almost four months of working repairs into his free time and spending nights sleeping amongst paint fumes, Will had finally finished fixing his house.
The once forlorn-looking country house had blossomed under Will and Hannibal's hands. They had had to re-shingle the roof (they brought in a commercial company for that particular repair), tear out and replace a lot of insulation, rewire the electric, and, basically, redo everything else. It had been a Herculean effort for the two men, a challenge fought in elbow grease and perseverance, but they'd won, and now Will had a home he could really enjoy.
Walking through the house felt like walking through a trophy room for Will, where every improvement was a shiny brass goblet of success. His living room, once filled with dilapidated couches and a scratch-post coffee table, now held a luxurious black leather sofa and matching loveseat. Will had originally protested buying such a decadent set of furniture, but Hannibal argued that dog hair would brush off it easily. Will agreed to buy it immediately.
Will had also bought a flat-screen TV. Hannibal had snorted and acted derisive at first, but Will insisted that having access to the outside world was important. A night of cuddling and watching Iron Chef had convinced the older man, and now one could often find him curled up on the sofa, making cutting jabs at celebrity chefs. Will could remember one such night in perfect detail…
Will and Hannibal had settled down after a horribly long day of bringing Will's old furniture downstairs and moving the new furniture into place. Their muscles were sore and their tempers were short. Will had already snapped at Hannibal several times, and the usually stoic doctor had responded in kind. Now that they were done, however, all they wanted to do was forget about the stress of the day and relax in each other's arms.
"Do we really need to watch the television?" Hannibal had sighed, looping an arm around Will's shoulders in spite of himself.
"Oh hush," Will said fondly. "You like the TV. Don't try to deny it."
Will turned to the Food Network and tucked his legs over Hannibal's lap. A show, some high-stakes competition program, was just starting. As the introductory credits began to roll, Will systematically relaxed his muscles. Hannibal had been teaching him physiological ways to reduce stress, and Will was doing his best to follow his advice.
Going back to work had been rough. A new, particularly violent serial killer had been attacking adolescent boys. Jack Crawford's team had been working on the case for a week with no real progress, but Jack had decided that Will's vacation time was more important than the killer's capture. Will couldn't disagree more, and the frustration of knowing that he could have saved lives, but didn't, caused all of the tension that had finally left Will's system to pile back on again. Not even Hannibal had been able to reach him. Will felt it was his duty to catch the killer as quickly as possible, no matter what the consequences. He felt responsible for these deaths, these young boys that would never get to go to college or have futures, and each new body was a new brand of torture for the profiler. He had eventually caught the killer, a woman named Elise Jenkins that killed young boys because she wanted to exact revenge on her first love. It was the ligature marks that had finally helped Will: the boys had been tied up and raped with a large dildo before being murdered.
Elise's first love had been gay, you see.
It was revolting and horrible and Will hadn't handled it well at all. Hannibal couldn't touch him for a week without Will running away to vomit, and he couldn't touch him romantically for even longer. Beverly Katz, the only member of Jack's team that actually gave a shit about the profiler, had been driving him home every night when Hannibal had late appointments. Will discovered he couldn't drive after he ended up in a ditch because he saw a bleeding, molested boy standing in the middle of the road. She would stay with him and talk about anything and everything she could think of to keep Will's mind off the case, and Hannibal often invited her to stay for dinner.
Hannibal began teaching Will methods to push away the images and calm his mind down enough to function. It had taken a few weeks, but Will slowly reverted back to himself. Some nights he still woke up with the victims' cries pouring from his throat, but Hannibal did his best to soothe Will, and the nightmares became steadily rarer.
Even though Will had dealt with more cases since Elise Jenkins, he still used Hannibal's calming techniques when his world made him feel claustrophobic. They helped center his thoughts, even when his worries were inane, like that time Hannibal had sent him to the supermarket and he hadn't even known how to pronounce some of the items on the list. He clenched and relaxed his muscle systems and, somehow, he was good again.
This time, though, he just did it to ease his aching limbs. Hannibal had done a lot of the work (and Will had made sure to make his appreciation for the help very well-known, in a very good way), but Will still felt stiff and uncomfortable.
"She should have used lemon zest," Hannibal commented, breaking thorough Will's thoughts.
"Hmm?" Will asked, confused.
"This woman." Hannibal pointed to the screen. "She used lemon juice when she should have used lemon zest. It would produce an oil that would diffuse much more easily into the dish."
"Okay," Will agreed, not understanding much beyond 'lemon' and 'dish.' He curled closer to Hannibal, breathing in the sweet tang of sweat and expensive aftershave. He nuzzled closer, licking at Hannibal's pulse point.
The doctor didn't seem to notice. He was humph-ing at the television, muttering, "Wrong, all wrong," under his breath. Will pushed even closer, nibbling on the skin of Hannibal's neck. His frustration with the day was manifesting into arousal, and Will knew just what to do to seduce Hannibal into bed.
Only it wasn't working. Hannibal was acting like he hadn't even noticed Will's attention, still mumbling about the show. Will redoubled his efforts, sliding one hand over Hannibal's chest as he moved to suck at Hannibal's collarbone.
"Honestly, Will, do you mind?" Hannibal had griped, batting Will's hand away.
Will moved back, shocked. Hannibal instantly realized what he had said and tried to apologize, but Will stopped him.
Will bit his lip. Hannibal had just pushed him away from interrupting the TV. That was rude. That was wrong. That was… fucking hilarious. Will roared, Hannibal's concerned-upset expression only making him laugh harder.
"You- you said you didn't want a TV," he gasped between chuckles. "You said it was stupid!" Will pulled away from Hannibal and bent over from laughing so hard. Really, though. Who would have ever thought that Hannibal Lecter, the man that went to operas to end world hunger and played the harpsichord for fun, would actually watch TV? And shitty cooking shows, no less?
"I never said it was 'stupid,'" Hannibal said. "I said that it was a poor substitute for other forms of entertainment. I stand by that."
"Sure, sure," Will wheezed, trying to catch his breath. "I love you, Hannibal. Jesus."
He stopped suddenly. Had he just? He had. He had said the "L-word." He wasn't supposed to do that. He had no idea how Hannibal would react. No. Why had he gone and said that? Shit.
"I," Hannibal said, caught in a rare moment of speechlessness. He sat for a moment in silence, thinking. "I—I love you, too, Will."
Will hadn't heard him right, couldn't have heard him right. Hannibal loved him? Really? Will had always known that he held a spot in Hannibal's heart—he'd been told that rather explicitly many times—but love? Real, proper, I-would-kill-for-you love?
That night, Hannibal and Will had sex in Will's house for the first time. No, that wasn't right. They didn't have sex; they made love.
That night changed them. Will was more protective of Hannibal, snapping at colleagues whenever they mocked his formalness, and Hannibal was more nurturing, often coming to crime scenes to help Will deal with the consequences of his gift. They balanced each other even better now, and everyone could see it.
Will's house reflected this relationship. Some aspects were very "Will," all nature-friendly and forest greens, while others were very "Hannibal," full of old-world charm and sophistication. The kitchen had drastically changed, of course; it now mirrored Hannibal's, featuring a Dutch oven and an upscale gas range. Will's microwave had been unceremoniously thrown in the trash.
(Will snuck it back into his house while Hannibal was away. It was hidden in his office. He loved Hot Pockets too much.)
The dogs had newer, nicer beds, too, though Lucy was more often found curled up beside Hannibal than anywhere else. Hannibal didn't mind, though he knew now to change out of his suits before coming over.
Will still hadn't gotten over Hannibal in casual clothes. Somehow, Hannibal didn't seem to mind.
Their garden had flourished, and many of Hannibal's meals featured home-grown produce. They had plans to make it even bigger next year. For now, though, Will's pumpkins were just ripening. Halloween would be coming soon and Will couldn't wait to start carving jack'o'lanterns. Hannibal had reluctantly agreed to help, which made Will even more excited; with his surgical precision and his eye for aesthetics, Hannibal's pumpkins would be awesome.
But the biggest difference, the greatest improvement, was in Will himself. He was happier, smarter, saner. He was catching criminals more quickly than ever, now that he had a support system to come home to. He felt loved, wanted, normal, and it showed. He was one of the most well-liked teachers in Quantico, his easy humor and sharp insight making him a favorite for many students.
Alana had been so pleased to see his change in demeanor that she'd kissed him. He'd pushed her away, telling her about his relationship with Hannibal, and that had made her even happier. She was now a close friend of the couple's, and they had had dinner at Hannibal's house once a week ever since.
It felt surreal, leading such an abnormal-yet-idyllic life. Every day, Will saw the worst of humanity. Every night, he was reminded of the best of it. And it was all Hannibal, his quiet power and continual strength. Hannibal had given so much, taken so little, and cared so deeply that Will was almost forced to heal so that he could deserve such love.
Will didn't know what the future would bring. He could be taken down by a serial killer, Hannibal could be targeted as bait—anything could happen. It didn't matter. Will was finally happy, finally healthy. That was what mattered. He and Hannibal, they were what mattered. And you know what?
This home, this life? This was their design.
A/N: What a perfect end to such an amazing journey. And it really has been a journey, for Hannibal and Will, for you guys, and for me. I was push-mowing just last week and I said to myself, "Wouldn't it be just hilarious to see Hannibal mowing the lawn in his little suit and tie?" And this was born. It's absolutely amazing to me.
Thank you to everyone that followed and favorited this story, and WOW thank you to the people that followed/favorited me! I've been in a really deep funk lately (college tends to do that to you), and the overwhelming support and love I've gotten on my stories has brought me out of it. Thank you. Thank you all.
Okay, sappiness over. Just so you know, I've already been asked to do a follow-up one-shot where Hannibal takes Will shopping for clothes ("Now that you are a part of my life, William, you must have the tools necessary to navigate through it. This, of course, includes a tuxedo."), so be sure to keep an eye out for that! I'm also working on a very big AU story that's a GoT/Hannibal mashup, so if you like kings and knights and the like, that'll be out eventually, too.
Thanks for reading!