XV. Epilogue: See No Evil
Will had been out of the hospital for a little over a week. He had been given breakfast in bed his first morning home, toast nearly burnt, but Klara had the most hopeful expression on her face, so he thanked her and dutifully ate it. She had informed him that she had made breakfast herself—even the jam, which she and Hannibal had made the previous season.
If there was anything outside of Hannibal’s culinary expertise (including homemade jam), Will would have been very much surprised.
Crawford called every so often to give him updates. One was particularly odd. “We have this consultant in—William Scott, if you believe it—and he said Gideon is not the Chesapeake Ripper.”
Grunting on the line, Will then reminded Crawford that he was on sick leave after a major illness, and he wouldn’t be consulting for another six months. He honestly wasn’t sure he would go back at all, as he was liking the idea of a baby and PhD (as if they were matching accessories, which they were not) more and more.
Winston was steady and true. He needed very little training and remained close to Will the way that Gabija remained with Klara.
Then, of course, one day everything changed and yet nothing really changed at all.
Hannibal always liked to keep up with TattleCrime for reasons that Will never really understood. He always supposed he liked the pop psychiatry of the pieces—which was always clearly incorrect.
That particular day, Will checked the tablet and found a full confession from a Dr. Abel Gideon that he was none other than the Chesapeake Ripper, with confirmation from Dr. Alana Bloom (or supposed confirmation) and even a quote from Crawford. He connected it slightly to a conversation he’d had over a month earlier over the phone, and he checked the date of the article. It was nearly as old and yet it was clearly displayed on Hannibal’s screen—as if it was something often revisited.
When he checked Hannibal’s list of bookmarks, a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach, he saw it was a “favorite”.
Haunted memories of fever and hallucinations returned to him mind, slowly trickling in, and he placed the tablet down carefully, not hiding that he had used it.
“What’s mine is yours,” Hannibal had once said, fully meaning every word of it, and it was more than a vow, it was almost a mantra.
After dinner that night, Will dried the dishes as Hannibal washed them. Klara was tucked into bed, monsters had been searched for and expelled, and Gabija was curled up on her usual pillow.
“Thank you,” Will whispered, glancing over at his husband, who looked back in quiet curiosity. “For not taking Jack Crawford’s bait.”
Hannibal’s dark red eyes dimmed in understanding and he nodded once. “I believed it would be ill-advised, if we are to become fathers again.”
Will felt a little warm at the bold assertion, not from fever, fortunately. “I’ll call Paris tomorrow. Start the introductions.” He went back to the dishes.
When he put a plate aside, there wasn’t another one waiting for him. Looking over, he saw that Hannibal was smiling at him, his eyes filled with his usual adoration. “How long have you known?”
“I don’t know all of it,” Will answered carefully. “I think I realized at the hospital.—Will you tell me sometime?”
Hannibal leaned over and kissed him there in the kitchen. It was answer enough.