Will recognises his footsteps now, the particular way they echo down that long corridor. He holds himself very still as we waits, trying to push himself into an animal state– aware of everything, allowing himself to anticipate nothing.
It isn't any use pretending to be asleep. Will had decided from the beginning to show no evasion, no avoidance. He can't hide, after all. No need to reward his psychiatrist with an exhibition of just how powerless he is in here.
He looks his psychiatrist full in the eyes, and won't let him wince at the way his voice rasps.
Dr Lecter smiles at him. "It is good to see you looking better."
Will doesn't respond.
"How have you been occupying your time since my last visit? I don't see the book I left for you. Did you dispose of it, or did our friend Chilton?"
One of Will's hands tightens into a fist, involuntarily.
"Ah, it was you. This is childish, Will." He sounds disappointed. Will transfers his gaze to the floor and tries not to think about how that thought burns in the back of his throat.
"Will," Hannibal says gently. "I can't help you if you don't speak to me."
Will focuses on his breath, in and out. The floor is dark, well trodden linoleum, scuffed by the tread of endless footsteps. Not much to do here, but walk back and forward. Up and down his cell. Read the books Hannibal brought for him- or simply tear them apart page up page.
Hannibal sighs, a short exhalation of breath, barely audible – but enough to make Will look up. Unfortunate.
"You used to trust me." Hannibal says.
Will can't help it this time. A bubble of sound escapes his throat, the beginning of a laugh or a sob. Hannibal makes a brief aborted movement towards him, expression concerned. He stops short of course, eyes turning to the bars on the window of Will's cell.
"I always forget." He says, a little ruefully. "If you were in my office I would be able to offer you water. Or a glass of wine."
Breath in, breath out. It isn't enough. His muscles, strung tight with tension are beginning very subtly to shake. Will turns his face away, goes back to lie on his bed. He closes his eyes. Play dead. Will hears a sound like a huff of breath, but cannot tell if it is disapproval or amusement. It isn't long before Will hears Lecter's shoes receding again down the dark corridor.
There is a new pill in his medicine cup at lunch.
"What is this?" he asks the infirmarian.
"Anti depressant." The man says shortly.
Will looks down at it. "Who prescribed it. Dr Chilton – or Dr Lecter?"
The infirmarian shrugs. "I have to see you swallow it." He says.
Will doesn't swallow the pill, at least not until two of the guards are brought in to hold him down, while a third shoves it down his throat. Will thinks helplessly about the pale white shell of an ear in a sink and tries to retch. They hold his mouth closed.
There is no sense in trying to calculate a logic to Lecter's visits. Sometimes the man visits him twice in as many days. Sometimes weeks elapse. It is three weeks precisely until Will hears his shoes again and he stops exactly where he is, mid pace down his cell.
Lecter tilts his head at Will.
"You weren't expecting me. I did ring ahead, instructed them to inform you. I hate to surprise you like this. It's most uncivil."
Will folds his arms across his chest and waits.
"Are you going to speak to me today?"
Will looks at him, and hopes Lecter can read the contempt written across every muscle in his face. Perhaps he can because Lecter's face seems to grow even stiller.
"Mutism is a symptom of severe psychological distress." He says. "I had hoped the anti depressants would help. Perhaps I should add an anti psychotic."
Will finds himself again envisioning large hands pinning him to the bed, a pill being forced down his sore throat.
"I'm not in distress," he says, his voice sounding rough, gravelly from disuse. "Except at your presence, Doctor."
Hannibal's eyes warm at that, crinkling a little at the corners. "Well, I am glad to hear that." he surveys Will for a moment with apparent fondnesss, an uncle contemplating a favourite nephew.
"And how is the medication taking?"
"It makes me nauseous."
"SSRIs can do that. I can prescribe an anti emetic if you wish."
Will shakes his head.
"This is a difficult period for you, Will. Transition. You have to get used to new ideas about yourself. New horizons. I can make it easier."
Will looks at the floor.
"I know that you're angry, and that is understandable. I hope that one day you will see that your anger is misdirected."
Will laughs, a short frightening burst of sound that seems to echo off the walls and ring in his ears. Lecter doesn't flinch, merely inclinging his head a little, as if to catch the sound more clearly.
"It's a little more than anger, Dr Lecter." Will says.
There is a short silence, and when Dr Lecter speaks his voice is soft enough to feel almost like a caress.
"I should hope so."
Will dreams that his cell is full of trees, growing close together, packed tight around him, their gnarled trunks almost pressed together. The trees are growing, Will thinks dimly, slowly choking out the remaining oxygen, branches crushing against his chest.
"You used to trust me." A voice whispers in his ear. "Don't you miss it?"
Will wakes with a starts, locating his glasses with difficulty. There is a fine sweat on his back and forehead. Blinking for a moment he is sure there is someone in the cell with him, but when he makes himself look again, it is empty.
He feels peculiarly hollow as lies back down to sleep.
Lecter appears the next day, as if Will had somehow summoned him.
"You don't look as if you are sleeping well."
"Any return of your previous symptoms. Nightmares? Sleepwalking?"
"Where would I walk to?"
Lecter doesn't smile. "I take your health seriously, Will, even if you do not."
"It 's not exactly my biggest problem right now."
"On the contrary," Hannibal says, "Being careless of your own well being is what led you here in the first place."
"Yeah. If I'd just eaten my vegetables like you and Jack told me I'd be doing great."
"We both know it is a deal more complex than that." Lecter says calmly.
"I'm sure Freddie Lounds could write several books about the things we both know." Will says.
Lecter raises his eyebrows just a fraction. "A pity she will never get the opportunity."
"She and Abigail were writing a book. She was going to tell her story. Is that why?"
Lecter's shoulders rise and fall, eyes rising momentarily to the heavens, suppressing a gentle sigh.
"I can't help you if you don't cooperate with me, Will."
"I don't want your help."
"That is very foolish of you," Lecter snaps. "Without therapy your mental state can only worsen, Will. You might require more serious interventions. Sedatives, anti psychotics. Perhaps even electric shock treatment."
Will's mouth is suddenly very dry "You won't be allowed –"
"I am your primary physician, Will. I have your best interests at heart. Everyone understands that." Hannibal's voice seems to lower slightly, the timbre sounding a little roughened, rich with regret. "You used to understand that once."
"I want someone else to look at me. Alana. Chilton"
"You have to understand, Will, that for most people painful things are best kept out of sight. Out of mind. A lot of people were mistaken about you. It takes peculiar and unusual courage to confront our worst mistakes."
"Courage only you have?"
"I feel that I failed you, Will. I failed Abigail. I want to make it right."
"Well, there's really only one way to do that."
Hannibal blinks at him for a long time, then sighs, turning to go. "If you wish to do this the hard way, Will…."
"Wait," says Will. Hannibal stops to look at him.
"What is it exactly you want me to do?" Will asks.
"I want you to do what you have always done, Will." Hannibal says, eyebrows slightly raised. "I want you to confide in me."
Will digs his fingers hard into the palms of his hands at that, breathing through his nose. The urge to hurt rises black and swift as a tidal wave. There's a reinforced steel door between him and Lecter. The only blood he can draw is his own.
"I'm afraid like I can only be of limited entertainment to you, in here." Will says.
"On the contrary."Hannibal says. "I rather miss our old companionship. Don't you?"
Will looks at him for a long moment. Then he takes a step forward, feeling a smile spread across his face. It's the same smile he sometimes feels at crime scenes, the unleashing of some dark and predatory part of him, a sickening kind of euphoria. It's as if he can taste blood on his teeth and for once, it seems sweet.
"I tell you what," he says, "we can make it into a game."
Lecter's eyes narrow just a fraction. "I'm not accustomed to playing games with patients."
"Ah, but I wasn't just your patient, was I? We were friends." Will bares his teeth.
Hannibal looks at him for a long moment. It is impossible to tell what thoughts might be living behind that impassive edifice of a face."What do you suggest?"
"I'll answer your questions," says Will. "But for every question I ask, I get to ask you one in return. And you have to answer - honestly. I'll be able to tell. You can't lie to lie to me. Not now I've seen who you are."
"I am your psychiatrist, Will." Lecter says. "You are not mine."
Will holds up his hands, showing bloodied palms. He sees Lecter's expression shift ever so slightly, a brief flicker of something almost human.
"Then you'll have to drug me with everything in the pharmacy, Doctor. You'll have to zap my brains until there isn't anything left. Because I won't stop fighting you, not while there is any part of me still alive and awake. You'll have a walking corpse to run your thought experiments on, not me. Nothing interesting in that."
"We will have to work on your destructive impulses, Will." Hannibal says coolly. He raises one finger to his lips, tracing the arch of them with his finger. "What you are proposing is very unorthodox. But it could be very beneficial." All of a sudden Hannibal's eyes seem to brighten with a tawny gleam. "You always manage to surprise me."