I love this so much. I love that Hannibal wasn’t just randomly sitting there and missing Will occasionally, that he kept the appointment time open, so he sat there REGULARLY for WEEKS, looking across at that empty chair, longing for the day Will would fill it again, feeling Will’s silence like a draft.
And Will KNEW it, he KNEW Hannibal would be there waiting, just as the two had always known where to find the other without the need to call ahead, no matter the distance and inconvenience between them, that compulsion to find the other that sent Hannibal to Quantico when Will was 30 seconds late for THIS SAME appointment, bypassing Wolf Trap because he knew Will wouldn’t be there, that same compulsion that sent Will to Hannibal’s home, knowing he’d be there and not at his office, when Will had to drive a hour in the snow to unburden himself.
And while Hannibal faithfully waited for Will all those nights, he’d no reason to believe Will would show up now; Will had been free for days and left him waiting. Will had been to his home and almost killed him, and Will had left, silent and still angry, so that when that knock came on the door of his office, Hannibal did a double take at his own appointment book, even though he knew damn well what time it was. And he opened the door and there Will stood, just as he’d always stood, in the center of the waiting room and facing away—no need to sit when he knew Hannibal would never keep him waiting—demonstrating such trust that only giving someone your back can demonstrate, especially knowing the violence Hannibal is capable of. He had a confidence in their relationship even Hannibal is no longer sure he can give Will anymore, not now that Will is becoming what Hannibal always knew was in him to become, and in so buying that transformation, Hannibal may have cost himself the friendship that had become dearer to him than anything, because Will was dearer to him than anything, even when he believed Will was not a murderer after all.
But here Will is back, the same and not the same, their friendship is back, the same and not the same, and Hannibal himself is back, the same and not the same. “You changed me,” Will says, and Hannibal replies, “The friendship we had is over. The Chesapeake Ripper is over.”
He gave it up for Will—not killing, not who he is—but his very favorite expression of who he is. He had been consumed by frustration and outrage when someone took credit for his Ripper killings previously, and here he goes and just gives the credit away—and to a man he doesn’t even respect—all for Will, so he can fill that silence in his life and bestill that cold and empty draft.
"The Chesapeake Ripper is over," he says to Will. You changed me too.