There comes the easy glow of the morning sun, filtering through the stained-glass eastern windows, mildly reddening Will Graham's hair as he yawns and stretches in bed. It is just about dawn, and he feels energy reaching for his fingertips. Invigorated.
Often, this early in the morning, he greets the sun bare-chested with a cup of tea, or a mug of hot honeyed mead, standing beside Hannibal on the back deck of their cozy cottage. This morning, Will surmises, must be some kind of special day: the scent of sweet cinnamon things wafts through the air, and Hannibal is busy in the kitchen already.
Curious, the former Special Agent watches from the armchair for a while, uneager to speak and ruin the moment; it is Hannibal, always, who must speak first, he who controls their two lives so neatly, and who was he to deprive the man of that power? Eventually, Hannibal turns back to the table, and it is at this point that Will cannot suppress a gasp of surprise and wonder at what he sees.
"They're rather nice, yes," Hannibal says curtly -- his tone reveals amusement -- as he brings he second plate of tall Belgian waffles to the table, and seats himself at the northern end, as always. Will hesitates to eat them, not out of some fear of the ingredients, but out of delight at their very appearance. Six squares of fluffy joy, chocolate chips half-melted down the sides, and fresh whipped cream on top in a dainty swirl: the plate glistens merrily, and brings Will back to the very last time he ever saw his grandmother, who made these kinds of extravagant breakfasts too.
Naturally, nothing measures up to Hannibal's cooking, not with Will's deep-seated admiration; and eventually, Will takes the first bite, and all his senses feel the spark of flavor in their own way. "Mmh," he tries to express his gratitude, but there really are no words.
Across the table, Hannibal's eyes shimmer with the subtle pleasure that he feels when his food is complimented so honestly. The powdered-sugar-dusted stack of waffles is a testament to his enjoyment of the man before his eyes; that they have lived together for this long, and not grown bored of each other. That, it seems, they never will.
Hannibal Lecter does not know 'love' as we would so casually term it; no, he does not experience that sequence of neuron firings and chemical responses in the same way that most do. Only for Will does he expend such effort on things; only for Will. Perhaps it might be called love. Only for Will.