The parking lot is entirely dark and empty, and the lights of the gas station shine with a yellow glow that, in Will’s exhausted state, seem welcoming.

They’re not welcoming, and he knows that. Gas stations have TVs, and internet connections, and people. There’s no way of knowing how far the news of their escape-or-possibly-death has travelled, and every time they stop there’s the possibility of finding out the hard way. Still, he’s been driving for nearly 24 hours, and Will is hungry. Hungry in that anxious, tired, nasty way that reminds him all too much of roadtrips with his dad as a kid, speeding to their next temporary home and wondering if he’ll be allowed a chocolate bar or a bag of Cheetos at the next rest stop they pass.

Hannibal is dozing in the passenger seat. He’s been spending most of his time sleeping, which Will can only assume is a good thing for the bullet wound in his stomach. He’d followed Hannibal’s delirious instructions for cleaning and bandaging it, and half-expected him to be dead by the first morning. But if Hannibal is one thing, the man is lucky, and he hasn’t been running a fever so far.

Hannibal stirs as Will pulls into a parking spot a little bit away from the building and clicks off the headlights. For a moment he just sits, closing his eyes after hours of staring at the road, leaning forward against the steering wheel to stretch out his back with a groan.

Inside the gas station, there’s— food. Hot drinks. Will’s mouth waters as he pictures the flavoured coffees from the dirty machines, the ones you press a button to dispense and that taste thick with sweeteners and preservatives. He hasn’t eaten anything like that in ages; his and Molly’s cooking was usually simple vegetarian dishes, and it would never have occurred to either of them to buy junk food. And before that there had been Hannibal, and the thought of Hannibal is usually so invasive, so all-encompassing, that the concept of eating food that would probably cause Hannibal to murder someone had never even crossed Will’s mind.

It’s crossing it now, though. It’s three in the morning, they’ve eaten everything they were able to throw in the car from the cliff house, and Will is beginning to suspect that the new Will Graham that was rebirthed from the Atlantic Ocean is someone who will have no problem at all eating a Mars Bar in front of Hannibal Lecter.

That doesn’t solve Hannibal, though.

Will watches as Hannibal tries to yawn, then catches himself with a wince and an aborted flutter of his hand to his stomach. He breathes carefully, slowly through the pain, then looks over at Will. “Hungry?” he asks.

“You read my mind,” mutters Will, and warily angles the rear-view mirror to catch a glimpse of his own face.

It isn’t good. The stitches holding his cheek closed aren’t Hannibal’s best work; they zigzag crazily across the wound from the way his hands had been shaking. Will, perversely, loves it; has been worrying his tongue into his cheek to feel the stitches all day. They’re a reminder of how human Hannibal had looked, how fragile, his eyes frightened as he tried to disguise his own pain while patching up Will.

The gas station attendant probably won’t see it that way, though. Will winces and glances over at Hannibal. He looks tired and pale, but the evidence of his injuries is hidden under a loose-fitting shirt. The stubble on his face is a drastic enough change from his usual look that it’s possible he won’t be recognized.

Will licks his lips. “So, are you desperate enough to actually eat anything in there?”

Hannibal is already digging around in the bag for some cash, and he looks up in surprise. “Of course I will eat. Did you expect me to refuse?”

Will frowns. “Gas station food? I mean, I— I didn’t know what to expect. Figured a Twinkie would be equivalent to some sort of torture for you.”

For a moment Hannibal just blinks at him, and Will realizes he’s genuinely confused. It’s actually slightly enjoyable, until Will realizes he should probably be embarrassed. “Okay,” he admits, “That was… probably a stupid thing to think.”

Hannibal folds the bills and carefully puts them in his pocket, trying to remain as upright as possible as he does so. Then he says quietly, “I also knew hunger as a child, Will.”

The car is quiet. Will swallows, and blinks back tears that he’s sure are mostly from sleep deprivation. It’s easy to think of Hannibal as an entity that only happens to other people. But not even Hannibal is an island. Things happen to him, too.

Hannibal reaches around to touch a gentle fingertip to Will’s cheek, just above the uppermost stitch, and Will turns to look at him. He’s smiling, the tiny quirk that Will loves because he’s certain the only one who can even see it. “What would you like?” Hannibal asks.

“Something hot and disgustingly sweet to drink,” Will says. “And a kit-kat. And something that might be bread but isn’t quite. And some kind of meat pressed into an unrecognizable shape.”

Hannibal nods, and his fingers brush through Will’s hair gently. Will shivers. “Certainly.”




The kitchen is a disaster zone. Hannibal is nearly always neat and organized while he cooks, but now there are ingredients strewn across the countertops, and he looks positively frazzled. Will glances around, and can’t figure out how any of the things on the counter— blocks of chocolate, cream, trimmings of meat, at least five different kinds of flour, and numerous jars and bottles that Will can’t even begin to identify— might fit together into a coherent dish.

They don’t, apparently. Hannibal opens the oven to check something, looks vaguely annoyed, and goes back to stirring a pot on the stove with a quick nip over to glance into the refrigerator. “This is more finicky than I expected,” he mutters, apparently at nobody in particular.

“Uh,” says Will, “What is it?”

“It’s an anniversary,” says Hannibal easily.

Will blinks, and tries to count back. This is the first time that Hannibal has used the word anniversary, but Will can’t think of anything particularly significant that happened on this exact day a year ago, except in the sense that everything since Hannbal’s escape has been significant. But it was a year and two days ago that they had killed Dolarhyde together, and Will had assumed that the venture capitalist currently in pieces in the chest freezer in the basement had been their anniversary celebration for that. And the day that they had finally crashed into each other sexually wasn’t due for an anniversary celebration for another few weeks, though Will was certainly looking forward to commemorating it.

Two days after Dolarhyde’s death, though, they had been… on the road, with Will blearily navigating them through middle America and Hannibal nipping into gas stations for more rations every few days before falling right back asleep in the passenger seat.

And then Will recognizes the smell wafting out of the oven, and he giggles. He can’t help himself. Hannibal’s mouth twists.

“You’re commemorating the one-year anniversary of our first time eating junk food together?” Will says. Hannibal pulls the tray from the oven, and the ingredients strewn around the kitchen start to resolve themselves into coherency. “Of course you are,” Will continues. “You liked it, didn’t you?”

Hannibal just smiles, sticking a toothpick into something that looks and smells very much like a Twinkie. Will leans in close and enjoys the aroma. “You don’t necessarily need your food to be gourmet," Will says, closing his eyes and analyzing the kitchen like a crime scene, purely because knows Hannibal loves nothing better than to be analyzed and understood by Will. “You need your food to be aesthetically appropriate. Just like your kills. And when you’re on the run from the FBI, eating junk food in the back seat of the car as you re-bandage your bullet wound is aesthetically appropriate.”

“Something hot and disgustingly sweet to drink,” says Hannibal, quoting Will’s own order back to him and pointing at the saucepan on the stove. It seems to contain some combination of coffee, hideously expensive chocolate syrup, and an array of thickeners and flavourings in little bottles beside the burner. Then he points to the refrigerator, beside which are resting a pair of tongs that look like they could be used to press a design into a wafer cookie, some molds, and the remains of several attempts at chocolate. “Kit-kat,” he says. He gestures towards the pan of Twinkies. “Something that looks like bread but isn’t quite,” he says, and finally, picks up cured meat pressed into a long, thin pepperoni stick. “And some kind of meat pressed into an unrecognizable shape.”

Will’s face is splitting into a grin completely without his conscious control. “Emphasis on the some kind of meat, I assume,” he says, and Hannibal dips his head a little in acknowledgement. “I have taken some artistic licenses in recreating our meal,” he admits.

Will swoops in to kiss him, and it’s only then that he notices the rather significant pile of wrappers in the garbage.

“So… how much junk food did you have to eat in order to get all this right?” he asks.

Hannibal squirms. “Quite a bit,” he admits.

“The sacrifices you make for me,” Will says, and he’s mostly joking.

“Have all been worth it,” replies Hannibal, and he is, Will knows, entirely serious.

“C’mon.” Will snags the tray of cooling gourmet kit-kat bars from the refrigerator. “We have to eat these in the backseat of the car and then snog each other silly. I don’t make the rules, it’s our anniversary.