Word Count: 943
Summary: With Will lying unconscious on the kitchen floor and Crawford no longer having his attention on the psychiatrist standing behind him, Hannibal has one more thing he'd like to indulge himself in. Tag to "Savoreux".
For just the briefest moment it seems as if Hannibal has lost control. Will is raising the gun; hands trembling, his breath coming in ragged gasps, but there's a look of resolute determination in his eyes that makes it clear he intends to pull the trigger. The muscles of his finger twitch with a desire to overcome the resistance of the gun's firing mechanism and fully contract, sliding back the metal to propel a bullet from the barrel in an eruption of sound and speed. And while Hannibal has orchestrated the situation they're in down to the finest detail possible, the laws of physics are one thing he can't control. If Will's finger moves a split second too quickly, it will end Hannibal's life.
Speed, however, is not something Will is favoured with in his current state. Jack is faster, raising and firing his own weapon in one fluid motion. As the crack of the bullet leaving the barrel breaks the air, Hannibal flinches. The movement is partly voluntary, partly an instinctive reflex that he knew he could not overcome, and so played into for Crawford's benefit by turning his head away. He doesn't see so much as hear as Will's body hits the floor, but he feels the light droplets of moisture that land on his cheek as he's sprayed with Will's blood.
The aftermath seems strangely silent following the harsh noise of the gun. In the illusory quiet, Crawford takes a step towards Will, and as he does so Hannibal retreats back a couple of paces to watch the rest of the scene play out. Will is injured, but still conscious. His eyes are struggling to stay open, but they flicker briefly to Crawford as the federal agent kicks the gun on the floor out of Will's reach, and then his gaze returns to Hannibal, who moves forward slightly to get a better look. Will's breathing is shaky and laboured, but he still manages to gasp out a word.
He looks back to Crawford again, as if pleading with him to do just that, but as Hannibal glances at Crawford to gauge his reaction, it's clear that the agent doesn't understand.
Desperation and fear are evident on Will's face, as is a look of what can only be described as pure hatred as his eyes come to rest once again on Hannibal. The psychiatrist merely looks on passively, watching as Will gradually loses his fight with consciousness, and the younger man's eyelids flutter for a moment before settling closed. Jack Crawford fishes inside his coat pocket for a cell phone, which he uses to call for an ambulance, but he still hasn't turned his attention back to Hannibal.
With all eyes no longer on him, Hannibal silently raises a hand to touch the side of his face, which is still damp with Will's blood. He has a handkerchief in his breast pocket which he could use to wipe it away, but as he looks at the blood already seeping out onto the floor from Will's wound, it seems to him like such a waste. Instead, he draws his hand back to hover just a couple of inches from his face, his fingers now coated with fine smears of red. His mouth opens and his tongue extends to delicately taste the liquid, before he brings his fingers to his lips to more efficiently suck it away. The scent of Will's blood already sits in his nostrils, but now the taste of it is running over his tongue, the fragrance and flavour harmonising like a fine wine.
There's the sharp tang of iron that Hannibal lets linger in his mouth before swallowing it down, appreciating its contrast with the sweeter undertones of the sugar in Will's blood. While it's usually his preference to cook whatever human produce he consumes, blood is something he can savour in its purest form: raw and unadulterated, still drenched with the adrenaline that had been coursing through Will's system and fresh enough that it almost still feels warm, despite the fact that the droplets have had time to cool on his skin.
As Hannibal looks at Will lying on the floor, so weak and vulnerable, while he swallows down the life contained in the blood that passes his lips, it seems to cement his absolute control over the younger man. Now Will is exactly where Hannibal wants him: discredited, disbelieved, and isolated from every other person he had ever reached out to as a source of stability. But also, he's now been forced closer to Hannibal than he's ever been before. Hannibal has Will under his thumb and behind his lips, and although Will's knowledge of the truth may grant him the illusion that he's taken back some control, Hannibal's plans for him have only just begun.
Crawford's phonecall seems to be reaching a conclusion, and Hannibal allows himself to savour the taste of the blood for just a moment longer before letting his now clean hand fall once again to his side. He has to return to playing out his role in the scheme he's devised, but so far, he's very satisfied with how things have turned out. With Abigail, it had saddened him that he'd been unable to both keep her in his life as well as on his dinner table, but with Will, he's pleased that he's found a way to achieve an element of both.