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13 October 2013 @ 11:28 pm
Strange Truths (3/5)  




“It’s a kind of ghoul.” Sam describes the creature, Cas has heard the explanation before and isn’t quite listening, but this is the first time Dean and Balthazar have really heard the details. Will listens with rapt attention.
“A Ghoul?” He questions carefully, mulling the word around in his mouth as though he’ll understand it better if each of the letters soak into his tongue.

Dean leans forward, his fingers drumming against the half drunk glass of whiskey Will had handed him before they’d all sat down at the table. “Yeah, nasty creature. Hangs around graveyards, eats human flesh.
Will balks a little, but Sam is talking again reviewing the facts in a loud, clear, voice.

“This one takes the form of a woman, usually, really old or really pretty.” He scrolls down a bit and continues. “They’ll seem normal, except they’re always tired since they prowl at night. Big, blood shot, eyes make them recognizable… Major obsession with children, especially little girls. Silver ought to kill it…”

Something niggles away at Will as he listens, the pendulum in his mind quivering, waiting to crush through the cobwebs and the dust to show him the truth. But it’s not there yet, not quite. On the tip of his tongue, almost, something he knows,  something he can’t explain.

“Our girl’s been hunting on Tuesday nights.”

Swing

Jack lets me start late on Wednesdays

The voice is faint in the back of his mind, not loud enough to distract him yet, though the prickling of sensing someone, something, else in his mind is starting to be overwhelming. He concentrates on the table in front of him, forcing himself to listen.

“She’s circling, been to Ashburn, Sterling, and Reston. The likely possibilities for where she’s heading are Bethesda, Rockville, and Gaithersburg.

Swing

Nieces. Going to go visit them in Rockville tomorrow.

Swing

“She’ll be looking for a pregnant woman, one who already has a child.”

Swing

Swing


An envelope of congratulations

A stamp for a child

Tired, red, eyes

She’s hungry, unbearably hungry for them. The girl she’s seen from afar, even found a picture of her to look at. No one will remember, no one will see. She’ll burn it tomorrow after she’s feasted, when she’s strong once more. She’s so tired now, she looks around to make sure no one is watching her as she writes another letter. So tired. This body is weak, it wants to be shed, she wants to transform, but she is safe here and her feeding secure. She must fight the exhaustion.

The letter she puts in an envelope. It will be her last one to them, she’s inquired after the health of the child already, she’s made sure it will be due in time for her to experience the ecstasy of two from the same line, child and newborn.

The stamp is placed on the envelope as she seals it, a stamp appropriate for the occasion. Children love balloons and storks and she loves children. Yes, so very much.

Carefully, she addresses it.

Greenwood

Rockville

Swing.

“Will?” Someone is calling him as he re-emerges; his still-bleary brain tries to place the voice as it hurtles towards reality once more. He’s out of practice, hasn’t immersed himself in another’s mind in too long. A heavy grogginess fills him. Is It Jack? But that can’t be right, he’s at home, he can see the blurry outlines of it stretching familiarly out in front of him now, guiding him back. He shivers, a cold fear rushing him as the lines dim for a moment. What if he loses himself again?

“Will?” The voice is more urgent, hands on him, but he shakes them off with a growl and the touch fades from his body.

Not Alana or Beverly, it’s a man, not Hannibal, no. He’s far away…gone. He remembers something else at the thought, a case, murderers, transformations…angels.

Angels. The last word hits him like a bucket of icy water as recollection springs in him, shocks him out of the trance.  Everything that he’s missing slams back into him, all sharp, rocky, edges.

“I know who she is.” He blurts out, the worried faces that hover above him turn confused, and he realizes that he’s fallen to the floor. They tower over him like giants, faces grim.  Cas’s blue eyes are piercing, sharp, as he appraises him.  He pulls his body in on itself, struggling to stand, the floor growing dizzily father away.

“You… know who she is?” Dean prompts him, there’s doubt there, but the same raw hope he hears in Jack’s voice every time they call him; the hope that someone may have all the answers so they can stop beating around the bush and attack, attack, attack. He extricates himself from Dean’s psyche before his own can cling.

Before he can find the answer to Dean’s question though, the younger Winchester finds his voice. “What was that? You don’t have a headache, do you? See things?”

“I – ” He hesitates, furrowing his brow as he tries to figure out what exactly he’s being asked, Dean makes an impatient noise in the background but he ignores it. “Well, the headache hasn’t left since I took on this job, if that’s what you mean?” His lips twist into a grim reconstruction of a smile, the best he can manage under most circumstances. “I can see things, people, sometimes, I guess you could say.” It’s not a gift, exactly, useful perhaps, and he’s reminded of how much in times like these. “They call it empathy. I look at what gets left behind, the evidence, the leftovers, the fallout, and I find the owner in them.”

“You’re reading minds?” Balthazar’s leaned in now. He’s looking for something different than Sam, his face curious. Cas’s face is carefully blank. But Will thinks, at least here, he can understand what they’re really wondering -- if he’s magical somehow, if he’s like them, or like what they were. But he isn’t, he shakes his head.

“I’m reading information.” He tries to keep his voice from going too rough, tries to keep his mind from analyzing itself too deeply. “I see what’s in front of me and I put it together, it’s not –“ He shakes his head. “I know their motives, their feelings, sometimes I get lost inside their heads, but it’s just…it’s an echo.” Garrett Jacob Hobbs’s face swims in front of him for a moment but he shakes it away. Just an echo, he repeats in his mind, just an echo.

“Yeah, so what do you see about us?” The elder hunter’s voice is drawled, but there’s something loaded about the question. Enough that it makes Will look up to find his gaze for a moment, before he lets his own creep back to a safe, blank, spot on the wall.  But in the heartbeat where they’d locked eyes, he thinks he managed to put another piece of his new companions together. He stays silent.

It’s Sam that breaks the moment though, waving away the fragile spiderwebs of understanding from the air.

“Dean, he’s not a puppet. And besides…” He takes a seat and pulls the laptop towards him again. “You were right, we need to talk about the killer.” Something shifts from curious to business, and it makes Will just a shade less uncomfortable. Cases -  that he understands. “You know who it is?”

“I … I think so.” For a moment, he’s the monster again – his eyes narrowing, fingers twitching, and the hunger, he’s so hungry. “It…she’s a secretary at the FBI. She’s tired constantly. Whenever I see her, there’s coffee on her desk, her shoulders are slumping, eyelids falling closed. And…” He hates looking at eyes, but he’d noticed. “She has chronic dark circles and bright red veins. More than that, there are pictures of little girls all over her desk.” It could all be circumstantial, he knows that, but something eggs him forward. “I know she’s going to Rockville tonight, which you mentioned…And I can see her now. It feels like her.” They’ve never seen him do this, they haven’t been here for the events of the past months, but he trusts his brain again, the connection it makes. He’s looked at what’s in front of him and he’s seen who’s  responsible and it’s her. “The Greenwood family.” He remembers. “She’s going to go after the Greenwood's.”

He hears Sam’s fingers typing into the computer as he speaks, looking for the family undoubtedly. None of them speak as he works, looking up all the Greenwoods in the area, finding the one in Rockwood and pulling open page after page of information. Will thinks privately that he might give the FBI’s best detectives a run for their money, though more than once he’s certain something’s been hacked open to find. His normal instincts rebel against the idea, but this is a special case, and he’s not special investigator on this one, he’s a visitor into a world he barely understands, so he stays silent.

By the time the hour ticks by, already late afternoon, the sun lazing in the sky, they’ve got a pile of information about Mrs. Greenwood that goes sky high. She has a daughter, the files say, a family, she lives in a fitting area, and there are hospital bills in her name for a bunch of recent date.

But it’s not until Sam clicks into her facebook, and a picture of Mrs. Greenwood, her hands on her stomach, a little girl clinging to her side, sits staring at them from the page that Will can feel the impact hitting hard.
It’s her and they all know it.



“Hey,” Dean turns to Cas as they driving. Will’s let them go alone, murmuring something about not wanting to complicate the hunt for them, but Dean suspects it’s also because he’s FBI and they’re mostly wanted criminals. But hey, he gets it. FBI or not, probably wouldn’t be a good idea to let a rookie come along when a child’s life is on the line. “What happened before?” He stops, considering his words, tongue wetting his lips slightly. “You’re alright, right? Nothing…no weird business?” He doesn’t know exactly whether or not he trusts Castiel to tell them if he’s hurting. A part of it stems from all the shit that’s gone down between them, but mostly, he gets how responsible Cas feels, understands the hero complex and the martyr one to a tee. In fact, he’s aware he’s probably the dictionary definition. So he feels responsible to prod at Cas the way Sam might have prodded at him. That’s what they’re there for after all, to take care of each other. Not that he and Cas are like him and Sammy, but well the core of the feeling, family, that’s all the same.

He tries to keep his voice low, to imply that this is a private conversation. But even with Cas sitting right next to them, it’s almost impossible to do in this car.  She’s not as roomy as baby, they may have taken her to see Will, but she’s not going to a crime scene right now, not on his life. Sam may have fallen asleep, but in the backseat, Balthazar’s brows lift, though he keeps his gaze fixed on the scenery flying outside his window. Dean knows he has an audience, but ignores the sensation.

“I believe I am fine.” Cas’s voice comes after a pause, slow and measured. Sometimes on hunts, Cas will be pure action, will remind Dean of the angel he first met, daring him to get thrown back into hell. But other times, like right now, he’s so deliberate and human, it makes something clench inside Dean. He can’t quite tell if it’s a good something or a bad something. Maybe neither.  “I was merely…summoned.” The other finally decides on. “but it did not affect me in anyway. I suppose it only registered who I am…was, and brought me to the correct location.” His eyes flit back to Balthazar for a moment. “I think because he saw me with the girl when she transformed, he associated me more strongly with the answers he was seeking so the sigils chose me.”

Dean nods but peers over suspiciously. “And how did it know you were an angel at all? Thought you were human now, are you- is it- is it coming back?”

A low snort comes from the backseat and even Cas’s lips quirk up into the hint of a sad smile. “No Dean, it does not simply come back as such. Metatron has my grace and he…Balthazar’s has been torn from him. They do not simply grow again within us as a cut might heal.” He shakes his head, it’s progress, Dean thinks, the urge to reach out suddenly overwhelming, that Cas can even say these words now. His fingers grip the steering wheel tightly. He shouldn’t touch Cas if Cas doesn’t want to be touched.

“I believe…” The other continues. “That it was simply responding to the echoes my grace has left within me; faint traces of creation or altered parts of my being that will never be quite correctly human. It was very old angelic magic, some sigils I have not laid eyes on Earth at all. I…” He hesitates and then voices the question that Dean’s about to ask. “I wonder how Will came to have it.”

“He didn’t know?” From what Dean had gathered in the house, the agent had known Cas was an angel, he’d fucking summoned him after all, that doesn’t just happen by mistake. He turns another corner, the signs telling them Rockville is nearing them.

The sad quirk trades for the happy one and Dean feels momentarily pleased to have asked the right question to put it there. “No, Dean. It was a bit of a shock, you might say, to have me suddenly appear in his kitchen.  I think he was using the spell on faith, not belief.”

“In God?” Dean snorts, he hadn’t put down Will as a religious type, but hey, you never know, wait till he hears what a lame as-

Cas interrupts his thoughts, “In whoever gave it to him.” A half snuck glance at Dean, and a silence fills the car as the hunter ponders what exactly that means. Not faith in God, but belief in someone, and a look. A look from Cas. His eyes turn towards the road more fully and Cas’s towards his window. Quiet settles in the car as the miles fly past them.

Rockville, it turns out, is even smaller than the other towns they’ve visited, midwestern suburbia. If Dean were a monster, yeah, he can tell why this might be a good place to go hunting in. The yards are massive and the houses spread out, children are playing alone in the yards, as though there’s no cause for concern at all. He guesses that the panic hasn’t spread here yet, after all what’s three children in three other towns. The sight of them makes his teeth gnash, where are there parents?  Why isn’t anyone watching them?

Next to him Cas shifts as though to say something but doesn’t. Dean makes himself relax.

 “Okay.” Sam says, having finally awoken. His hair is rumpled and Dean smirks at him. “We’re looking for 159 Maywood drive. Should be just up the way and around the corner.”  He instructs as Dean drives, eyes scanning the road. “It’s early still, she usually doesn’t attack until midnight or later, but it doesn’t hurt for us to figure out locations to hang out in where we can see.”

“And shoot” Dean supplies.

Balthazar stretches in the back seat, his eyes finally coming away from the window. “Just don’t shoot the child, Dean.”

“I believe that this will lead us to the street.” Cas cuts in, Dean turning the wheel harder than strictly necessary. It’s supposed to be a distraction but it’s not.

“Hey, I’m not the one who missed all the targets for three months, am I?” He tosses back at the blonde, who’s smirking now. Cas shakes his head next to him, but Dean feels himself grinning. They pass a woman on the street, but none of them pay her any mind. “Not to mention that huge fucking werewolf back in Utah.”

Sam sighs and his face mirrors Cas’s, but there’s nothing more for him to interrupt with so he stays quiet.

“Why were we even hunting in Utah again?” Balthazar responds, ignoring the words completely. And Dean snorts, turning the corner onto the correct street, eyes watching the house numbers go up.
“Because Princess, we go where the monsters take us and not where the best restaurants are –“

He stops the car short as 159 comes into view. It’s a tall house, two storied, large yard. A mailbox with two cardinals sits in the driveway. And in the grass, near the flowers a little girl is playing, with her, a large dog. The mother is nowhere in sight.

“Jesus.” Dean’s hand is already on the silver blade in his pocket. All traces of humor from mocking Balthazar have left his face. They can’t use a gun with the girl in such close proximity, though they have ones stocked with silver bullets as well, but they’ll have to try killing it anyway. They have to get it while they can, before it attacks.

But the rest of them seem to have other ideas.

“Keep driving.” Balthazar hisses in his ear as the car rolls to a stop.

“What, why?” The thing is there, the monster, they have to get rid of it, right now.

“Because it could simply be the family dog.” Cas’s eyes are narrowed, watching the child interact with the animal. “And we cannot simply charge at it while it is looking right at us, Dean. It will run and we don’t have a good way of finding it once more if it does.”

It’s true the dog has stopped to look at them, and it’s a fucking eerie gaze. But they’re right, he pulls the car into a slow drive down the street, waiting until they’re safely out of sight to park. It could just be Old Yeller is a freak, and they don’t need exposure if they can help it. Definitely not for coldly killing some kid’s pet.

There’s a thicket of trees on one end of the yard and they move wordlessly through it until they can see again. Half of Dean is certain that when they look, they’ll see another gutted carcass, but the child is still playing happily, shrieking and running. Cold relief fills him and Cas’s arm brushes against his own. He doesn’t know if it’s circumstance or comfort, so he says nothing, but doesn’t shift away.

The animal seems to sense their approach, sniffing at the forest and barking once, the child shushing it gleefully, pressing her head to its side, but it doesn’t come to explore. And fuck it’s hard to tell whether or not it’s because it’s their monster, confident they’re unimportant, or just a loyal family pet.

It’s earlier than usual too, if it is the Aswang: they’re usually only night hunters, Dean remembers, and this one has certainly fit the pattern thus far.

Another half hour of anxious waiting passes before anything else happens, but Castiel feels it when it does like a shock to his system, the currents of supernatural energy flooding the air. Balthazar feels it too, he can tell, their eyes meeting as Cas nods. His eyes follow the threads, not sensing them as he might have once, but feeling their echos and finds that the dog’s teeth have grown, its tail longer, fur more matted. He can tell Dean realizes they’ve seen something, but can’t find it exactly, though his eyes strain towards the monster.

“It’s her.” He murmurs quietly, and he doesn’t think that it heard them, perhaps it’s clumsy or too single minded to pay attention to anything not its victim. “She’s getting ready.”

He feels strongly pleased when Dean only nods, doesn’t ask a million question, doesn’t try and parcel out exactly how he knows or why, just takes Castiel’s surety as his own.  Balthazar’s hand brushes his arm briefly and he smiles at him for a heartbeat before they’ve all turned their glances to the Aswang. The creature is still playing with the girl, but there’s something about it that seems to creep now, more of a prowl than a bounce; the predatory nature showing through the mask of harmlessness.

“We have to get the kid away from here.” Dean murmurs, his voice as low as it can possibly get.  Cas knows he’s trying to avoid the monster hearing, but thinks it hardly matters, it’s not leaving here without attempting to eat the girl. He remembers reading that when starving, the Aswang is single minded in its pursuits, will not be moved even in times of dangers to itself.  “And then we can shoot it and hopefully that’ll be that.”
As Sam nods and answers that he will take the child away, Castiel studies the eagerness in Dean’s face, the desire for this hunt to be completed, something of a futile desire, as they will only encounter another one tomorrow. But Castiel knows a thing or two about futility, so he keeps the thoughts to himself and only nods as Dean orders them to be ready, counting down so that they all charge out together. It is still a manageable size, the Aswang, they’d like to kill it before it becomes something much more out of hand.

The adrenaline that starts in him as they run is something new.  As an angel, he would feel nerves before a big battle, a preparedness of sorts, but in the end it was more of a calm. The chemical mix of emotions that hits him these days is entirely human; raw mixes of different secretions that result in his heart beating faster and his breath puffing in quick, short, spurts.  He’s beginning to grow accustomed to it as time goes by, but the first burst of it always takes him aback, the way it overwhelms him without his realization. He’s learned to only let that happen for a moment though, to let it consume him, but then to push back, to use it to his advantage
It’s not a long sprint, but at their sudden appearance the dog begins to growl, turns to pounce on the girl, claws lengthening and glinting in the sun, but Balthazar has already slammed into it, pushed it away before it can get a good grasp on the situation. Sam snatches up the child and runs, loud, high pitched sobs filling the air. Sam’s fingerprints will remain on the girl, he knows, but perhaps they will be long gone from this place by then. Are they going to tell Will goodbye? He wonders as he moves behind Dean, his gun out, waiting for Balthazar to get clear before they shoot. Or are they simply going to leave the dying creature for him to find as they disappear into the wind. Perhaps he will write the other a letter; he finds himself fond of the strange human, and his curiosity is peaked. The sigils, they must have come from somewhere: someone with angelic knowledge, and a vast amount of it, is lurking in the shadows. Perhaps they will be able to convince whoever it is to lend them support. To help them find the angels.

Dean’s gun shots ring through the air as Balthazar finds his way behind them again. The creature turns, snarling, its eyes a pure white now, hellish looking and angry, empty gaze skirting back and forth as it dodges and growls. One bullet skims its leg and a howl rushes out of it, but as the silver finds its home, lodging into its shoulder, it doesn’t seem to have the desired effect. There’s no instant death on contact as the books described, no crumpling up as the Aswang reverts to all its forms and then dies. It only yelps, fury in its voice and turns away, shooting into the trees.

Dean follows it, but they’re all aware it’s too late. The monster is gone. At least, Cas thinks to himself, at least  the girl is alive.



Will sits there for a long while after they all leave, thoughts blowing through his mind as he attempts to put them into some kind of order. Angels and monsters, and Hannibal had known somehow, had known all about them, of course he had.

A part of him itches to go back to the hospital and demand answers, but he doesn’t think he has his head on straight enough right now.  To come to Hannibal with his thoughts scattered and everything confused and jumbled is inviting trouble, he knows that, no matter how much he’d like to.

So instead, he goes for a walk. The day is cool and crisp, the fresh air brushing around him and it helps, as he walks, breathing hard, struggling to leave everything that had happened, all the head spinning revelations, back in the kitchen, to not let them haunt him as he loses himself in the step of nature.

The path he chooses winds away from all the neighboring houses, deep into the woods, following the trickling of a small stream that stretches out for miles in either direction. He’s so caught up in his own mind, that he almost doesn’t hear it, the faint sniffling, the pained yowls, all the signs of a stray in peril calling to him. But he’s so conditioned to respond to them by now, the desire to protect the animals from harm so deep within him, that he wakes up to it eventually, whirling around on his heel  until he finds the direction the sounds come from.

When he’s turned the corner, the smell of blood greets him, rising up from a small, white, puppy who’s breed he can’t decide off hand. There’s a cut circling its leg and a bullet lodged in the shoulder. He swallows hard around a lump in his throat. He never forgets how monstrous people can be, but still they manage to surprise him sometimes.

The puppy turns its eyes up as he comes closer, whimpering softly, trying to move but shrinking back in pain after the attempt. He bends over and gently picks it up, avoiding the wounds.

“Hey there.” Will’s voice is soothing, the take charge aura that only fills him when he’s dealing with a stray rising to the surface. “Get yourself in a little trouble, little guy?” He shrugs off his jacket and wraps it gently around the small, shivering, body. “Well, we’re going to take real good care of you. The others will be happy to meet you.”

He’s glad for it, actually, the distraction of finding another stray, something small to keep him busy and in control, to stop him from doing stupid things and involving himself in what he shouldn’t. What does he care? He thinks to himself as he and the puppy, which he’s already christened Charlie in his mind, walk slowly back through the underbrush. What does he care about creatures and angels, he doesn’t. He doesn’t have to. He does what he can, doesn’t he? Will continue to help Jack catch monsters of the human variety and leave the Winchesters and their clan to do as they wish. He should know better than to try and mess with things that are too far above his pay grade now, no matter what his instincts are trying to tell him. He’s already done that and look where it’s led him. Some part of him rebels at the thought, tries to tell him that there’s something important afoot here, but he ignores it. Lost to the world as he is, crunching back through the leaves towards his house, he fails to notice that the cut on the dog’s leg has steadily been knitting itself up as they walk. By the time they find themselves on his deck, it’s all but healed.

He sets Charlie on his bed when he enters: he doesn’t think the dog needs a cage, too injured to run and not showing any apparent signs of attempting when Will lets go of him. Instead, he lets the rest of the dogs outside, just in case they’re eager to get too close to the new arrival. There’s always a little uneasiness around new additions at first, before they have time to properly meet each other…But there’s something about the way they’re all growling and pacing unhappily that makes him think giving them a little extra adjustment time is probably a good idea. He doesn’t know what they can smell on the injured puppy that displeases them, but he’d rather not risk accidentally hurting the stray more. Winston stays at the edges of the door though and won’t leave until Will shoos him out. Even then, the puppy prowls the deck, watching on alert as Will turns away and heads back to the bedroom.

He fills up one of his metal bins with warm soapy water and carries the heavy load back to the bedroom, towels and first aid kit slung over his shoulders.  Usually, he’d prefer to do this outside, but this seems like a special case and it’s important that Charlie start to acclimate to the house as soon as he can.

The puppy is standing up by the time he reaches it though, pacing back and forth around the bed, making small noises now and again. Will stops short - peering it at it with some degree of confusion. He could have…could have sworn that there were two distinct injuries on its body when he’d found the animal. Now there’s only blood matting the white fur, and the pain is gone from its eyes.  The dog’s gaze turns up to meet Will’s and suddenly there seems to be something almost feral about it. He takes a step back, but then the instant passes and it’s crying in pain again, just as helpless as ever.

 His hand goes up to his head almost reflexively, the fear of the disease resurfacing flooding him like a punch in the gut. Is he hallucinating again, seeing things that he shouldn’t be? Every time this happens, he convinces himself that he’s alright, that he can rely on what he sees, but then at the slightest confusion he feels the doubt rush through him all over again. He wonders if he’ll ever completely stop doubting his reality. He shakes his head, turning to the living room as the doorbell rings.

Outside, he finds a delivery boy of some kind, holding a large food container and looking as though he can’t wait to deliver the thing and be done with it. Will looks at him with some bewilderment as he shoves the package into his hands.

“I didn’t order this.” Will says as the other man turns to go, and he gets a huff of breath in return as the delivery guy turns around.

“Your name is…” The guy pulls out a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket. “Will Graham?” He waits till Will nods, then shrugs his shoulders. “Look, it’s already paid for. Oh –” He digs around some more and comes out with a crumpled envelope. “There was this too.” Will takes it, but stares at him dubiously. The guy sighs. “Look buddy, it’s yours, you can do whatever you want with it. I just get told to bring food places and I do. Take it up with your friend or management if you don’t want it to happen anymore. I’ve already been tipped so -”

He turns around and leaves at that, clearly not in the mood to hang around anymore, debating free food with customers. Every step seems to make him fidgety and he casts a suspicious glance back at Will and the dogs before high tailing it back to his car and zooming down the empty road.

Will watches him go, the weight of the carton in his hands is nothing compared to the heaviness of the letter. The moment of bewilderment gone, he’s pretty sure he knows where this food came from. It could be Alana checking up on him, or Beverly’s sharp foresight, but it’s not.

He sets the food down on the bed without thinking and then gets up to pace as he slits the envelope. Crumpled now, but it’s expensive paper, the fold marks in it clearly the delivery man’s carelessness and not from the original hand.

With a suddenly shaking hand, he unfolds the paper inside. It’s in Hannibal’s neat script, as he’d known it would be. But how the hell had he gotten it out of the jail - how had he done this? Will’s not sure he’d like to know.

Will,

I was concerned that with all the excitement of your latest casework, you had not taken the time to properly eat. This idea I found to be displeasing, so I thought I would provide you with sustenance, just in case. As you know Will, it is important to take proper care of yourself, and since I am no longer available to ensure that you do, I hope I might trust you to do so for yourself.

Do enjoy.

Hannibal

He reads the letter, and re-reads it and reads it another hundred times it feels like, his feet carrying him across the floor as he paces. He doesn’t understand, he never understands, it’s sincere, it sounds sincere, but how the fuck can he read it to be sincere after everything? He knows well enough to know by now that Hannibal never does anything just because. He just felt like sending Will dinner, because he somehow knew he hadn’t eaten?  And so what if he hadn’t, he’s entitled to do whatever the fuck he wants, and Hannibal has no say in it. If Hannibal wants something from him, the other should just come out and say it, should stop with the games, enough with the games. All these weeks of silence and then angels and a note. And yes, yes, he had gone to Hannibal, he probably shouldn’t have done that, but…the anger in him starts to deflate. But, he’d missed him. Of course he had. He’d missed him and Hannibal had only echoed the sentiment. Will hates them both for it.

His fingers tighten around the letter, wanting on some level to just crumple it up, toss it into the trash. And maybe, maybe that would be the best way after all, keep his distance, ignore contact. It’s what Jack would tell him to do, what Alana and Beverly and Zeller and Price would too, if he asked. But something in him can’t, and he sets it on the table with a sigh. He can’t throw it away, but he can’t do this either - can’t live in games and half truths and answers that only come out after he’s already knee deep in them. He leans over the table, trying to steady himself, trying to get a grip.

Behind him, the dog shifts, silently making her way towards the food lying on the bed, easily undoing the opening with her teeth. The smell of human flesh makes her feel stronger, lets her think more clearly. It’s not fresh, but it will make her stronger, strong enough to transform again, so she can feed on something more alive. She noses into the food, inhaling the blood in it, the chunks of delicious heart, her jaw elongates, grows bigger so she can fit more in and then she’s inhaling it; a savage, hungry, predator.