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Twilight burns in lavender pinks and ambers overhead, laced delicately to smoky blue clouds. The surrounding air frigid while inhaled and lining his throat, gusting to his face.

He runs.

Until the beats of adrenaline pump in time with his bloodstream and his heart, drowning outside noise, until everything blurs. Hannibal runs, because he must survive. The clear distinction of the trees melt into blackness, from speckled pine to yellow birch to ash, they are now merely leaping shadows to his obstacle among the night falling.

There can be no trusting what he sees. Hannibal must rely on his instincts, bred by his knowledge and passion of hunting others and of being hunted. His adversary comes.

A stray, low-hanging branch ripped into his gingham suit-jacket a half a mile back. He shucks it off, sweating heavy, feeling a glaze of what must be blood smearing to his palm.

It's a mistake.

The twang of a distant bow sounds in the deep, winter woods.

Something pierces into Hannibal's thigh, white-hot like a knife scraping at bone, but lasts far longer. It embeds and juts out from the meat. His bare fingers scramble at the fresh wound seeping with body-warm, dark fluid, for the arrow head and grasp around it.

Hannibal breaks the vane, slides out the steel rod of it carefully, precisely-timed. He wastes no time to shred a portion of his ruined jacket for a makeshift bandage, knotting.

No time to be neat about it. No time to be gentle.

Blood flecks the grey, slushy ground. Dime-sized spots of his blood, gleaming ebony. Connected to the greater promethean puzzle between him and his beloved hunter.

He loves them.

No bobbing flashlights on the horizon, no footsteps, no howling dogs, no police uniforms. No guns. No lies.

Just the reality of his own breathing, and the chill of the Maine North Woods.

The chase is on, and on, when the sun begins to wane. He has the company of another person with him to see them through it, cloaked in shadow. They come for him. For a moment, Hannibal imagines it would be a relief. He doesn't mean to run from his beloved hunter, like a spooked animal, like he has something to hide.

He stumbles over debris, elongated tree roots and litter, but rights himself. Picks up speed in another three miles.

Light abandons him, fragmenting achromatic and dead colors.

The waters of Allegesh River soak into his fine, Italian shoes.

Hannibal turns in the remote, outdoor clearing, and then meets eyes with the sharp-end of a new arrow. One poised between his eyebrows. Beneath the noises of pebbles and choppy water, and the ache-fierce of their limbs, he has been found, mucking in the banks. The bottoms of his pant legs drenched to his calves.

He calmly eyes the arrow, and the old bow held up by pale, lightly freckled hands.

And begins clapping slowly.

"How did I do?" Abigail says after it goes quiet, after he stops, her eyebrow cocked and arrow no longer nocked. She had made the decision to tie her auburn hair into a ponytail, behind her remaining ear. Hannibal reaches out, lips curling into a small, thin smile as he loops one rebellious strand behind it.

Feels her lean into his touch as a look of complete trust echoes in her grin.

"You injured your prey," he says. Her blue eyes skim down to his dressed thigh with pride.

"Showed a ruthless and unforgiving nature to your opponent. You struck them down when the opportunity presented itself." Hannibal's blood-dried fingers touch to her wool sweater, to her arm. "You did very well, Abigail. You will soon be ready."

"I'm ready now."

"In time," and this response brings a glare to her expression, but silent. "Impatience will not allow you to grow as a young adult." He reminds her, "We must wait."

Soon.

Very soon, Will Graham will be held accountable for multiple counts of first-degree murder. Jack Crawford will resign from his position, leaving someone less competent to take over. Alana Bloom will seek answers. And he will seek her out, cut out her living heart and consume its sorrow, its darkness.

The faraway daze in Abigail's eyes means she is also thinking. Perhaps of the same man who killed her father to save her life, who fought on her side convinced over her innocence, and who they still wished to introduce as a permanent member of their broken little family. But who could never be.

His thumb presses to her bicep, drawing her attention.

"How about I make you marshmallow swirl truffle ice cream tonight after supper?"

The grin returns, hopeful. "Extra nuts?" she whispers.

Hannibal chuckles, loud and clear into the night, and winds an arm around her shoulders.

"Extra nuts," he promises, limping back with her into the abyssal thicket.

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Hannibal is not mine. DID EVERYONE ENJOY THE SEASON FINALE? (Abigail is totally alive, what. No worries. HANNIBAL WANTED TO KEEP HER, SHHHH.) I'm convinced Alana and Will's dogs are planning a break out for Will. Give it time. A very happy birthday to my darling Colleen or auri mynonys. The Hannibal to my Will. The mongoose to my teacup. That one guy who makes me draw clocks and creeps on me all sexy-like and I secretly liiiiiike it. Yeah, anyway, wheeeeee.

Hannibal kinkmeme prompt:

"any/any or gen, someone hunts Hannibal with a bow & arrow"