AN-Adagio For Strings, op. 11 was composed by Samuel Osmond Barber II who was an American composer of orchestral, opera, choral, and piano music. He is one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century. The piece is beautiful and moving yet sweetly sad. I obviously do not own anything.
No beta. Here's your obligatory Blind fic.
Sometimes referred to as the 'windows to the soul'.
Most of the time they saw too little.
Sometimes though they saw too much.
In Will Graham's case, it was the latter though when it came to certain things….certain some ones…..he let his eyes be covered willingly because the reality of it all was too bloody and brutal for him to handle. As it was, his grasp on what was real was so tentative and fleeting. He knew things though, had known the truth all along. It had been sitting fat and ugly in the back of his mind, waiting for him to take notice of it. When the truth got tired of waiting and being ignored by its incredibly stubborn keeper, it sent out its envoy in the shape of a feathered stag to lope through Will's mind, to guide him to it.
Epiphany, as unsettling and sharp as witness to lighting move over open water, came to Will while in Lecter's office, the empath alone and waiting for the doctor to return as he made a firm goodbye to a rather tenacious patient. Will had been looking idly over some of Hannibal's artwork, admiring the intricate detail of the pencil drawings. The man really did have a gift for the complex and apparently the graphic as Will shifted through the drawings, coming upon a rather explicit depiction of the Wound Man…..
…whose countenance was one of the Chesapeake Ripper's victims.
His mind going blank with deafening static, Will became aware of the stag towering over him from behind. It was breathing down his neck, the scent of spilled blood and certainty coming off it in heated puffs that made Will's skin slick with ill sweat. Hands shaking, body trembling as the information transferred itself from the hindered subconscious to the open consideration, Will was finding it a challenge to keep breathing in a normal fashion, like the actuality had suddenly grown claws and was bearing down upon him, trying to choke the life from him for his failure to see what had been in front of him all along.
Will recognized himself though and he knew that he was intelligent and perceptive to a detrimental fault, so why hadn't he known that the monster was in the room with him. It was Occam's razor in a nutshell. The obvious answer was that he had let himself overlook the obvious, to turn his gaze away from the horrific answer he had known all along. Will had placed the scales over his own eyes and let himself to led around by a serial killer, an artistic murderer, a devourer of human flesh.
His world closing in on him, Will told himself he should have known that this was all too good to be true, this safe little corner he had carved out for himself with Hannibal. He was never meant to have anything good in his life and that was all Hannibal had been to him. The warm memories of delicious meal taken together, of easy times spent in each other's company, of the growing momentum in their relationship that had moved on from just clinical to passionate wavered in his mind like over cooked air over scorching asphalt. All of it burned and turned to ash in Will's mind, leaving him feeling chilled as ice water sorrow flowed through his vein to replace his blood. It carved out his insides until it felt like nothing was left, he left so incredibly empty.
They could never be together again after this, now that Will knew, now that he had seen Hannibal's design. Even if he somehow managed not to inform Jack of his quarry's identity, Will wore stress too painfully and openly, the jagged suit of it cutting through into the skin to mutilate his core, shredding it beyond recognition. There was a distinct possibility that he would not survive under the weight of this growing burden. Will could already feel it crushing the life out of him, his fingers and toes going numb and stiff as he slowly began to lose life through his pores. Revelation was like poison to him, eating into his flesh and leaving behind rot in its wake.
Will looked around the room as if for some sort of escape. He only found the Chesapeake Ripper staring back at him from every corner of the room. If one knew what to look for and where to look, Hannibal was clearly telling everyone who and what he was. The man was utterly shameless and so proud of what he had accomplished while everyone was looking on but no one was bothering to see him. They were all witness to Hannibal's art, a captive audience bound in chains of ignorance to keep watching the show he painted for them in broad, colorful strokes of hell on earth. His bliss now stripped from him by the bastard truth, Will wanted to scream, feeling the sensation trapped under his chin like a fluttering bird in his too tight throat. It promised never to end its raw song of anguish if he let it out though so he painfully swallowed it down, breaking its neck.
His world without Hannibal was gray and lifeless, promising only a sort of loneliness that Will knew would end him eventually now that he had been shown better, known better. An ache borne of separation and loss would whittle him down to sallow skin and bare bones in its grief filled cuts and scrapes to leave him a caricature of himself.
Thanks to Hannibal, Will had been damned to appearance not only kindness and comfort, but also acceptance in the form of well cooked meals, light careful touches, and near immeasurable patience. Bringing the truth out into the light meant that these things would be taken from him forever. Even worse when Hannibal was revealed, everyone else would revile him by association, his friendship with the Ripper a social plague.
Will had never been seen as normal, always the outsider growing up, his social interaction a lifetime of daily failures. Like everything else in his life, his relationship with Hannibal would be scrutinized, broken down, torn apart, and ultimately judged, found wanting and condemned. That was if they managed to apprehend Hannibal alive.
If Hannibal's capture and incarceration didn't kill him, the man himself would if he were it escape. Even if he decided not to tell Jack or the authorities about his discovery, Will was a dead man walking. The empath was fluent in all things Hannibal now and knew that he would never let him live, at least not for much longer. The Ripper's survival instincts was too keen for him not to. Will was a threat to his existence and would ultimately have to be dealt with in a permanent fashion.
Even as these thoughts churned in his mind and venomously bit at it, Will found a solution to all his problem in the most unlikely of places as his gaze alighted upon Hannibal's desk, gleaming bright and silver. He walked toward it, feeling strangely light in his movements, his mind clear as he reached for the tool of his salvation with hands that did not shake or were hindered by hesitation and fear. It was so simple, it just might work.
His resolve kept him silent, only a high pitched whine escaping his tightly pressed together lips as Will pulled back the lid of his left eye to make room for the scalpel's blade. Bittersweet tears of sorrow and joy mingled, readily turning scarlet with success.
Hannibal noticed the scent of blood before he even reentered the room. It was prevalent enough that the doctor quickened his step in order to locate its most likely source. This wound didn't smell like a paper cut to him. It was thick and layered with the bitter odor of suppressed pain, souring the more pure metallic overtones of the crimson fluid. He would be displeased if his favorite experimentation in the human psyche decided to ruin all his plans by doing something unfortunate though self harm could be contained and treated. He didn't think Will had it in him, but suicide would be rather permanent as well as a disappointment. Hannibal hated boring endings.
Will was found readily enough , his back turned toward the doctor as he looked out the window. Though he appeared to be calm and collected as Hannibal move toward him, the doctor noted that Will held a bloody scalpel in one hand while the other loosely clutching at something Hannibal couldn't quite make out just yet. It was dripping scarlet into his expensive rugs though, ruining the intricate knotting of long dead Persians.
Approaching Will softly from behind as not to startle the man into afflicting further injury upon himself, Hannibal soon realized there was no need for it. Will's eyes were closed, the lids of them were unnaturally sunken in, the crescent slits glued closed with wept blood and other vicious fluids that oozed thickly down his cheeks. It didn't take a huge mental leap to realize what Will held in his hand now or what had just occurred while in his absence.
"So you have finally figured it out." Hannibal said softly, taking a place beside Will who only nodded back in answer.
"I believe I told you that self harm was not recommended." Hannibal continued. Will shrugged, the gesture half hearted like his mind was elsewhere at the moment. Hannibal thought it might be a distinct possibility actually and wondered for a second where Will's mind was walking now that he had freed himself of a sense.
"Will you be letting Jack or the FBI in on what you have learned today, what you have known all along?" Hannibal asked even though he already knew the answer. Out of habit, Will turned his head toward him, shaking it.
"May I please have my scalpel back? I think you have done enough damage today with it. " Hannibal took Will's armed hand in his own without waiting for an answer, his grip upon it light, his touch almost tender as he removed the sticky blade from Will's loose hold upon it with his handkerchief. He set the scalpel off to the side, its value as of yet undetermined.
"What guarantee do I have that you will keep my secrets?" Hannibal asked, turning Will gently by the shoulders so that they faced one another. He admired the way that the empath wept blood, the rivulets turning black. Will was like his very own ruined Botticelli angel, made tender flesh and broken will by the kind of truths that kills.
In answer, Will held up his other hand, unfurling it to reveal his ruined vision, the orbs mostly intact to the doctor's mild surprise as Will met his gaze unflinching for the last time from the palm of his hand. He silently offered them to Hannibal who took them with a smile, his real one that still remained unseen by the living.
"Thank you, Will." Hannibal said as he placed them in his mouth to swallow the sightless blue eyes down. He licked his fingers clean of any trace of blood and ocular viscera, savoring rare flavors of sight.
"This is all your fault! You let him get too close, see too much. You knew what that did to him!"
"I needed him to look! People were dying!"
"Well, obviously you made him look too long!"
Will sighed, using slow movement and stretched fingers to locate his Jello cup. It was the only thing worth eating in this hospital. Whatever else was on the tray did not smell appealing or even really like food now that he thought about it. Alana and Jack had both come to visit him. Unfortunately they had decided to do so at the same time. The fallout from their meeting outside the courtrooms and hearings had been going on for some time now, the combatants growing in volumes as verbal blows were exchanged and landed. Will was genuinely surprised a nurse hadn't shown up yet to shush them or kick them out. This was a place of healing after all. Jack's overly loud rants could hardly be categorized as medicinal or therapeutic.
"I'm blind, not deaf. I'm also sitting right here." Will reminded them helpfully. He wasn't surprised in the slightest when he was ignored, Alana and Jack too wrapped up in their point of views to take notice. Shrugging for his own benefit, Will focused on spooning gelatin out as carefully as possible to his mouth, considering it was the only thing worth eating. He pleasantly discovered it was lime flavored. Will mused that it was kind of fun to be surprised by food now.
Feeling responsible for Will due to the part she had inadvertently played and much to Will's own amusement, Alana had created a mission in life for herself. Like a righteous angel of vengeance, she seemed bound and determined to personally avenge Will of every grievance that she considered Jack's fault. Not only was Alana fighting for Will to keep his job at the academy, she had hired a lawyer on Will's behalf to sue Jack via the FBI for not only recklessly endangering Will's life but for also being the cause of his self destruction.
It was a sweet gesture on her part but Will couldn't have cared less. He was too busy enjoying himself at the moment. His whole life had been spent dealing with his terrible gifts. They were still there but feeble from the damage he had inflicted upon them. It was like he had been living with a crushing pressure that had surrounded him nearly to the point of suffocation, permanently on the highest setting. By cutting out his own eyes, Will was finding that he had accidentally achieved some sort of normalcy. His other senses were heightened but were working in tandem with each other now, instead of against him. Sight had been such a poor leader to them.
Though toned down to manageably levels, Will's empathy was still present as his hearing dissected Alana's and Jack's voices, cataloguing the wealth of emotions found in both, He scented the air, smelling spicy aggression, the bitter tang of sorrow, and the sweet sour aroma of guilt though different versions of it. Alana felt guilty by association, the odor of it light and almost floral, but Jack reeked of it, sweating it out of his pores vinegary and acidic like a recovering junkie.
As entertaining as this was, Will felt the need to clear the air a bit. "Alana, could you please give me a minute alone with Jack?" Will said firmly as he set aside his cup. He was proud of himself for placing it back in its spot on the tray and not into the mush that was poorly imitating sustenance.
"I really don't think that's a good idea." Alana glowered, Will easily envisioning the pointed glare that she was sending Jack's way. If looks could kill, Jack would have been gelded, drawn, and quartered many times over.
"I'll be fine. I'm of no use to him now. Too broken." Will admitted easily. Partially because it was true, but mostly because it would hurt. When he heard a sharp intake of breath, Will knew the barb had struck where he had intended.
"Fine. I'll be out in the hall. Call me if you need me." Alana sounded more than a little smug, a good gauge of the severity his comment had inflicted upon Jack. Will listened to the click of her heels, the opening and shutting of doors, and the silent exchange of enraged and outraged looks.
"Will…" Jack started now that they were alone, the man trailing off not knowing where to begin, sounding to upset and mad to continue.
"You sound tired." Will picked up the line of conversation for him.
"I haven't been getting my beauty sleep." Jack sighed, his tone weary. "I'm sure you can imagine why."
"You didn't break me, you know. Your conscious is clear on my account." Will decided to just cut to chase.
"Then why did you…" Jack didn't seem to be having any luck with words today. "Make me understand. How did it come to this?"
"I saw too many truths. It's simple as that." Will shrugged, the gesture more for Jack's benefit than his own.
"This doesn't feel simple. Nothing ever does when Lecter is involved." Jack snapped, sounding bitter. "He's the one that found you, right?"
"Don't take your anger out on him for my actions." Will sighed. How typical of Jack, looking to everywhere else and to anyone else who could alleviate the burden of his own guilt.
"He's your therapist! He should have seen the signs! He should have done something, told me…." Jack argued, his booming voice already beginning to pick up volume.
"Told you what, Jack?" Will said sharply, cutting him before he could pick up momentum. "That I was unfit for field work? We all knew that. It was only a matter of time before something gave. It was always going to be a when, not a where or a how. Don't drag Lecter into this. He's a therapist, not a psychic. You can't blame him for the inevitable"
"I can and I will. I thought you two were close, damn it." Jack muttered, his tone turning sullen and defeated. Will smiled, the expression soft and slight. As per usual, the expression never reached his eyes and now it never would.
"We are. We always will be in a way."
The duel visits left Will feeling drained, so much so he didn't even realize he had fallen asleep until he found himself waking up to the sounds of containers being opened and the delicious smell of grilled, seasoned meat punctuate the air with a savory smoky goodness that made Will's mouth water. There was really only one that could come with such odors.
"Hello Dr. Lecter." Will mumbled sleepily, resisting the urge to rub the eyes that were no longer in his head. There was a thick bandage placed over the empty sockets but the doctors still didn't want him touching that region. For once, Will followed his physician's wishes. He had done enough already.
"Hello Will. How are you feeling?" Hannibal's voice was soft, accented, and more alluring than Will remembered, every note of it a revelation. Will found himself turning toward it whether he meant to or not.
"Blind." Will answered simply to be met with the silence of one completing a task rather than guilt or awkwardness of any variety. It was kind of refreshing after being bludgeoned over the head with Alana's and Jack's own. "You came. I didn't think you would. Not now." Will continued to fill the space. Hannibal might not feel self conscious but he was beginning to.
"Why?" Hannibal sounded more curious than surprised or hurt by the assumption. Being what he knew Hannibal was, Will wondered if he could ever truly experience either emotion.
"I'm a puppet who cut its own strings. I can't dance for you anymore. I'm useless." Will said bluntly. It was easy to be unflinchingly honest now that he didn't have to play eye chicken anymore with people.
"You've never been useless. You were Jack's puppet, never mine." Hannibal said softly. Will jumped as a light hand cupped his cheek, strong fingers fanning out to grip at his jaw. Will resisted the urge to draw back, holding still in the other man's touch. Will was rewarded for his compliance as something warm and tender was pressed to his lips and past them, smelling like fresh herbs, buttery sauce, and excellence. Unashamed by what was happening to his taste buds, Will groaned around his required mouthful, the meat cooked so soft and succulent it practically melted on his tongue.
As if in reward, another small piece was placed to his lips, more of a suggestion this time rather than a prompt. Will accepted it readily, his tongue brushing up against Hannibal's fingers. He lightly bit down on the digits to keep them in place so that he could swipe his tongue across their prints teasingly. To Will's delight and surprise, Hannibal let him, the doctor keeping posed and still as any statue. When Hannibal's fingers were thoroughly cleaned, Will released them. "Is puppet too mundane a word for you?" he grinned, feeling the hospital bed dip as he joined upon it,. He would have shifted over to make room but was held gently in place, Hannibal moving to sit behind him.
"My knight, not my pawn." Hannibal murmured sounding entranced as he began to feed Will small pieces of tender meat again, the kind of which he hadn't bothered to identity. They both knew what it was. The 'who' was irrelevant. After being subjected what laughingly passed off as food in hospitals and essentially living off of Jello, Will was starving for a decent meal. He couldn't really bring himself to care that someone had had to die for it.
"In shining armor? How romantic." Will chuckled around his meal seasoned to perfection by skillful cruelty and vicious intent. This experience was becoming rapidly intimate for Will with Hannibal's thighs on either side of his own, caging him, the doctor's ridiculously expensive version of Tupperware resting in his lap. His back was pressed flush to Hannibal's chest as the doctor held him in place with one hand on his throat and the other continually pressing food to his mouth. "What am I now to you? Dinner? An appetizer? You've already eat my eyes. Is the rest of me destined to grace your table as a main course?" Will managed out in between savory bites.
"I would have hated them to go to waste." Hannibal said, his lips grazing the back of Will's neck, making his shiver at the dry silken sounds of flesh touching.
"What did they taste like?" Will asked. He was genuinely curious.
"Unburdened sorrow, unshed bitter tears, and blood that left a lingering sweetness in the mouth." Hannibal murmured the unlikely description into the shell of his ear.
"An artist and a poet. Ironic that I'm learning more about you blind…." Will gasped as he cut himself off, Hannibal's teeth sinking into the crook of his neck, clamping down to bruise but not render.
"You didn't….", Hannibal whispered harshly into the rapidly darkening flesh, dispersing his anger into Will's shoulder with quick bites. Will had no idea how they were going to explain themselves if a nurse happened to walk in on them. He found he didn't really care though.
"I did." Will interrupted, taking the risk of being impolite with the psychopath gnawing on him. "There was no other way. I would have killed you or you would have killed me. Like this, we have options."
"All in my favor." Hannibal pointed out, his grip on Will's pulse tightening to the point of pain before releasing.
"It's always been in your favor. The games been rigged the entire time so why change now? You decide whether or not to end this…..end me." Will admitted easily enough, catching his breath back. It was almost surreal how serene he felt in this moment, with evil at his back and stroking the arch of his neck with a killing touch. "I promise I'll never see it coming."
"Tell me why. I fear I do not understand." Hannibal admitted, giving of himself so that he could receive. This was one of the reasons he was so drawn to the empath, Will's motivations and methods to his madness a Pandora's box of mystery and secrets to Hannibal. It was entertaining as it was engaging.
"Love is blind." Will said wistfully, relaxing back against his killer as he enjoyed the sensations of their body heat mingling and the rare feel of movement from another body against his own. "The thought of losing you made it all worth it. So I broke myself, cut out my own eyes because I couldn't live in a world without seeing you in it, even if you're not mine or by my side. I am…..was the only one who could have caught you. Jack knew it. You knew it. I knew it so I took myself out of the equation. You're safe now and that's all that really matters to me."
"I can not give you the relationship that you want, at least not in the normal manner. I fear I may be too entirely removed from the concept of such things by now." Hannibal warned, his voice hushed and cold as winter's air.
"Normal has never worked for me before. Why start now?" Will decided. "Anyway, I'm flexible. Do the best you can. I'm more interested in knowing if you want to be with me. Can we be together, with me like this? Or am I too damaged even for you?"
The food was plucked from Will laps and set neatly aside. The empath found himself being arranged so that he that he now straddled Hannibal's lap, his hands placed on broad shoulders. They were bonier in composition and more covered in sinewy muscle than he remembered under the feel of the suit's expensive material.
The kiss pressed to his lips was gentle answer.