Hartford House was quiet as it settled down for the night, though staff still hurried about below stairs getting things set to rights after dinner. With their guests packed off back to Fernhill and Grandfather retiring to his suite, it seemed a pall had fallen over the evening. Their happy homecoming had been pressed with the potential for tragedy and Will found himself restless as he mounted the stairs, his thoughts returning time and again to Alana and how frightened she must surely feel.
Winston whined uneasily at his side, anxious. Peter had returned him to the house freshly brushed and smelling strongly of mint, and Will was grateful for his company as he let himself into his suite, his presence keeping Will’s dread somewhat at bay.
He undressed in silence in his massive dressing room, the echoes of his movements a hollow sound that brought his spirits low. He put his cufflinks and pocket watch away, smiling as he ran his fingers over the filigreed watch cover. Jimmy had procured a proper box for him and the sight of all those watches Hannibal had purchased lightened his heart somewhat. He would even now be on the train to the Capital, Will imagined. No doubt he had paced and frothed at the station, anxious to be on his way, exhausted to find himself returning so soon.
Will very deliberately did not touch the bond, though he was tempted. He couldn’t bring himself to, not yet and not now. The abrupt haste of their parting under such dismal circumstances had knocked him off balance, a light flick from Fate’s fingers reminding him of days past when he believed that his happiness would always be momentary, would always be punished.
“Not anymore,” he murmured, fighting the loneliness that threatened. He missed Hannibal. He missed him with a strength that frightened him. It was only a fraction of what he might feel had they bonded properly, he knew, but even that fraction was quite enough. Continue reading