tobias abel
Remember (that you are) to die - 13empress - Hannibal (TV) [Archive of Our Own]
An Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works
By Organization for Transformative Works

Chapters: 25/?
Fandom: Hannibal (TV)
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Relationships: Will Graham/Hannibal Lecter
Characters: Will Graham, Hannibal Lecter, Alana Bloom, Jack Crawford, Beverly Katz, Bedelia Du Maurier, Original Graham-Lecter Child(ren), Tobias Budge, Freddie Lounds, Abel Gideon, Dr. Frederick Chilton
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Different First Meeting, Amnesia, Established Relationship, Implied Mpreg, Omegaverse, Alpha/Beta/Omega Dynamics, Alpha Hannibal, Betas rule the world, Dark Will, Gaslighting, Domesticity, Murder Husbands, Attempted Murder, Grey Will, Omega Will Graham, Non-Traditional Alpha/Beta/Omega Dynamics, Serial Killer Will, Post Mpreg, Slow Build, Vulnerable Will Graham, Manipulative Will, Established Will Graham/Hannibal Lecter, Hannibal is Hannibal, Secret Identity, False Identity, Fluff, Plot, Cannibalism Puns, Sassy Will Graham, Happy Ending, Mystery, Murder Mystery, oh my gosh so many cannibalism puns

“How long have I been here?” Will asked, but immediately waved off her answer, realizing it didn’t matter either way. “Look, my name is Will Graham – I don’t know what happened but you have to give my partner a call.”

“I’ll get the doctor,” she told him, her voice trained to the mellow murmur just about all medical professionals used on omegas.

Will opened his mouth to tell her that there was no need, that he felt fine, and if she would just listen, he could discharge himself and be out of her hair in thirty minutes flat. He grabbed the safety rails and forced himself to stand, though the motion made him a little dizzy. Something on his peripheral vision grabbed at him. The whiteboard strip above the hospital bed – W GRAHAM-LECTER, omega, male, B positive – struck him like a physical blow.

“Will Graham was not a suitable substitute for therapy.”

The fact that Hannibal, unprompted, compares his relationship with Will to his therapy sessions with Bedelia is very revealing imo. It makes sense when you consider that until Will showed up, Bedelia was the most important person in Hannibal’s life.

She was the closest thing Hannibal had to a perceived equal and confidant he could be something adjacent to truthful with (he had leverage over her after she killed Zachary Quinto & she had the power of a psychiatrist over a patient, hence a relatively safe balance where Hannibal could reveal glimpses through his person suit to a trustworthy guide), and he was emotionally dependent on her because of that relationship. We see this in the blatant Franklyn parallels (”I am a source of stability and clarity, Franklyn, I’m not your friend.” // “You are my patient and my colleague, not my friend.”), we see it when she mentions his refusal to accept her referral to another psychiatrist, and we really, really see it when she walks out the door in Sakizuke.

Right after Bedelia says “please don’t come to my home again,” he says, unprompted, “I’m resuming Will Graham’s therapy.” Like, his desperation for someone to talk to is so tangible it’s almost comedic. When Bedelia walks out, she leaves a huge hole in his life that he needs to fill.

When Will returns to Hannibal’s life he doesn’t just replace Bedelia, he obliterates her. He sees and knows Hannibal far better than she ever has, he encourages Hannibal to talk freely with him in a way he’s never done with anyone (at least, no one who hasn’t been subsequently killed like Abel and Tobias), and he offers a much, much greater emotional connection.

In fact I’d go so far as to say that the moment that really doomed Hannibal and made it clear that he was not going to be able to extricate himself from Will was Su-Zakana’s “Don’t lie to me.” It strips Hannibal of his person suit defense. Being seen and known makes him incredibly vulnerable because it’s what he craves, and Will uses that to gain his absolute trust and manipulate him.

In season 2, Will may technically be a patient, but he is a patient who is fully aware of Hannibal and Hannibal’s intentions, and, as the show likes to remind us, persuasion works best when the subject is unaware. Now Will is the manipulator and persuador with hidden intentions and Hannibal is the unaware subject, caught in a scheme. The show even offers a nice ice fishing metaphor to explain it and show that this is all intentional on Will’s part.

Will is deliberately coaxing Hannibal into emotional dependency because he is very aware of how desperate Hannibal is to have a friend who genuinely sees and understands him. “You’re as alone as I am, and we’re both alone without each other.” Hannibal has tried to alienate Will, but Will has successfully alienated Hannibal from Jack and, by Tome-Wan, Alana as well, while regaining their trust himself. And their patient/therapist conversations are now charged with truth on Hannibal’s side too - the lure of being able to reveal more of himself than he had even to Bedelia is irresistable to him.

Like, by the end of Tome-Wan, Will’s plan has devolved from manipulating Hannibal into doing something nefarious to Mason so he can arrest him, to letting that fall by the wayside in favour of straight up just telling Hannibal to confess to Jack, and it’s poised to work before Freddie’s hairspray ruins everything. Hannibal’s trust in Will is absolute.

Hannibal’s feeling of betrayal in Mizumono is very similar to Will’s in Savoureux imo - both manipulated and used by someone they truly trusted, believed in, and relied upon. Will is obviously justified because he’s trying to stop a cannibal serial killer while Hannibal was doing villain shit, but yk, the general circumstances are pretty similar, encephalitis and degrees of villainy vs noble intent notwithstanding.

So in Antipasto when Hannibal tells Bedelia that Will “was not a suitable substitute for therapy,“ what he’s saying is that Will usurped Bedelia’s role in his life of confidant and emotional support, of seer and knower, and he was incredibly unsuitable because he did it with devastating effectiveness, leaving Hannibal no other support to fall back on or defense from the emotional onslaught of being known and seen.

In a way, by taking Bedelia’s place, Will was granted some of the power Bedelia was granted as Hannibal’s therapist, despite not having the credentials. Will is the one with the upper hand in season 2, with secrets and hidden motives and the intent and power to manipulate as he allows and encourages Hannibal to bare his soul - which Hannibal bitterly acknowledges after the bloodbath.

(s/o to this post for also saying awesome things about a similar topic and making me say screw it i’ll just post this thing that’s been sititng in my drafts now too and make it a will + bedelia day in the meta tag)