It was late when the coach turned onto the street towards Chelsea House with the Capital just waking up for the night all around them. The gas lamps cast their eerie, soft glow on the world, a misty haze sparkling with moisture and mystery, but Will had no eye for its beauty. He sat gazing out of the window with solemn intensity, as if the force of his stare would carry him to Hannibal’s side all the faster.
It was a long ride back, a long time to think, a long time to feel his bond to Hannibal dim from piercing horror to something much worse—the settled and inescapable certainty that there was nothing more he could do. It made Will even more anxious to reach him, cursing the fact that he had left with so much unresolved between them.
The coach pulled to a stop at last and the weary footman jumped down to open the door. Winston leapt out, hastily relieving himself before Will could even exit the coach.
“Try not to wake the staff if you can avoid it,” Will said, tugging his heavy coat around him as he emerged into the cold, damp air. “The night watchman will let you in around back.”
“Yes, m’Lord, we’ll manage,” Will was told.
“Do you and your men have boarding you can seek?” Will asked, turning to the Captain, and got a nod in return. “Have them charge the cost to Chelsea House and return once you’ve rested. My husband will expect I’ll not try to be rid of you. He is remarkably persistent at times.”
He only hoped Hannibal’s persistence would not keep him from seeing reason, and silently girded himself with his Gift for what was to come. He drew a deep breath, mindful of Winston tugging on his lead, and quietly focused on the bond. Continue reading