domenica 2 ottobre 2016

Italian holidays

 +++Italian holidays+++

Written by
(for the Hannibal Big Bang 2016)

Illustrated by us, FuriaAndMimma

Warning: this is a multichapter fanfiction that we illustrate and we decided that we will post on the blog only the chapter one. If you want to read the rest, follow the link at the end of the chapter! And don't forget to leave a kudos to our talented writers ;) Thank you!

CHAPTER 1 - Palermo

They went back to Italy for their tenth wedding (or rebirth, or falling off a cliff. Or whatever you want to call it) anniversary. After years of cautious waiting, Hannibal decided to surprise his husband with a trip that could be considered as the honeymoon they couldn’t have, as running from the FBI doesn’t exactly qualify as such.
When Will found out, he didn’t immediately take it well as he started worrying until he was informed of Hannibal’s careful planning, that left space for complete enjoyment and even a bit of hunting, if they felt like it.
Hannibal had decided to keep as first and last destination of their holiday the two places that were the most important for their personal history in the country: Palermo, where he was almost sure that nobody would come and find them, since the only probable witness to their encounter there was already dead, and Florence, where the crowds of tourist would keep them hidden in plain sight. That was all Will knew about it, as his husband had decided to keep everything else as a surprise, with the only reassurance of being safe.

They arrived in Palermo after a few days of sailing (they had taken a little break in Sardinia to have a swim in the beautiful sea). It was late in the morning, and the salty smell of the sea and the fish from the harbour was starting to mix with the acrid smell from the workers and boat owners’ sweat in Hannibal’s sensitive nose. The sounds of the screaming seagulls created a familiar environment for Will, reminding him of past days of travelling from dock to dock and fishing in the ocean as a kid, then in that same Mediterranean as an adult, near the house he and Hannibal shared. “I wish I could swim right now” the younger man said “I swear my bones are melting”.

“You could go to the hotel’s swimming pool” Hannibal replied “I knew you would have wanted to swim away the day’s heat, and as the beaches are too far from the city, and we’re only staying here for a few days, I made sure that the hotel we’re staying at has a nice swimming pool for you to have a dip. I would never deny you your connection to the aquatic world; it is what brought us here, after all”. “Of course you’d turn my wish to swim a little into a deep monologue about our Becoming; I forgot I was talking to Hannibal Lecter, the only man in the world that doesn’t relax even on holiday” Will said sarcastically, while moving to hug his husband in recreation of the event that brought them together in both life and death. “It is true that I’m not relaxing in this moment, but that is due to the heat and smell that is surrounding us in this moment and the long journey that brought us here, and you should know that I’m not making any additional effort in talking the way I am. Now, let’s go to the hotel, so we’ll have some time to rest before lunch”. With that, they started going to their hotel, which of course was the best one in the centre of Palermo.
They checked in, unpacked only what was strictly necessary for a few days, then Hannibal decided to take a nap, while Will swam for a while in the hotel’s pool, and then joined his husband for what remained of their resting time. When Hannibal woke up hungry and shook Will until he had woken up as well, they decided to officially start their holiday and get some lunch. “I think we should have some typical street food, southern Italy has some good options for that” Hannibal offered. “You say this as if I has any choice. You’re the only one of us that knows Italian, and I wouldn’t know where to start even if I did. I want to see you get street food, anyways, I’m sure that would be fun”. They got out in the streets and walked for a while before getting some pani ca’meusa (sesame flavoured bread stuffed with chopped veal's lung and spleen boiled and fried in lard, with local cheese on top on the meat) at a place near the Vucciaria market that looked so dirty Will considered it a miracle that Hannibal decided to get their food there, but both men were impressed with the great taste of their meal. “Italian local cuisine often has animal organs as ingredients, as cattle was expensive to buy and to keep, so when it had to be slaughtered nothing of it could be wasted” Hannibal explained “I wouldn’t mind to make some variation of this meal, once we’re back home”. “I’m sure your version will be unnecessarily fancy as always” replied Will “And the meat not quite the same. I’m sure I’ll like it anyways”.

After lunch, they arrived at Piazza Pretoria to see the famous fountain. The heat of the southern Italian sun was starting to affect them again, so they found a nice place in the shade to admire it from, which wasn’t easy, as many tourists had the same idea, but in the end they could admire the beautiful circular fountain in all of its marble stairs and statues magnificence. “Not many people know the true history of this famous fountain, but I think that you will enjoy it, as it’s related to this holiday, amongst other things” Hannibal started explaining “You see, it was initially meant to be placed in a nobleman’s Florence villa, but then he died and left his son a lot of debts, so he had to sell it and it got here.” “That’s actually a nice tale, but do you really have to make everything in our lives about Florence? I know you love that city, but there is a limit to everything” “There is no limit to my love of you, either” “That was just cheesy, and you know it” “I cannot contradict you on that.” As they took a little break from the sun, Will looked around them at the people in the square. He was glad to find out that nobody was looking at them in a way that could mean that they were risking being recognised, then thought that probably many had identified them as businessmen on a working trip, since they were wearing suits (of course Hannibal would have insisted on that, even in mid-July). That calmed his anxiety about going back to places the police knew e and Hannibal had history. That also made him realize that he hadn’t actually seen Palermo the first time he’d been there, too busy questioning his morality and deciding whether or not to forgive Hannibal (he had already made a choice when he had sailed all the way across the Atlantic Ocean to reunite with Hannibal, but he was still in denial back then) and didn’t really visit the city. Now they had time to create new, better memories of them in Italy, and for that he was grateful to Hannibal.
They spent the rest of the day visiting churches (of course Hannibal would not risk losing any chances to make elaborate comments about the symbolism in the architecture and wall decorations, really, he should have been an art history teacher in another life), so when they got back to their hotel room they were exhausted. They had a quick shower and a relaxed dinner in the hotel restaurant (that of course wasn’t up to Hannibal’s standards, but was good enough for Will), then went back to their room to chill out in bed and talk. “So, what did you think of today?” Hannibal asked, suddenly worried of having been a bit too enthusiastic in his description of the architecture “I hope I haven’t bored you”. “I’m used to you becoming a bit of a know-it-all when you are exited, darling. I’m glad though, because it gave me a distraction from dark thoughts. The first time we’ve been here we weren’t as friendly with each other, and you talking to me just distracted me from that. So you would know by now that I’m not exactly looking forward to tomorrow” Will replied, while caressing Hannibal’s arm absentmindedly. He knew that the next day they were going to the place of their former reunion in Palermo, and he was afraid that he would ruin the whole holiday with some bad reaction to the memories the place would certainly evoke in him. “All the more reasons to go there” Hannibal replied unworried, while shifting to cuddle the other man “We can make good memories to distract you from retreating too much into your own mind and the emotions of betrayal and self-doubt you must have been feeling back then. Now, let’s get ready to sleep, so that we will be well rested tomorrow, and start the day on the right foot.” They did just that and fell asleep in each other’s arms, only wearing pyjama pants (made of silk, of course) and sleeping over the covers, chasing some of the cool night air that came from their window into their still warm room.
They woke up late in the morning, had breakfast (they ate cannoli and prickly pears, which the had bought  at the market the day before) and had a quick swim in the pool before getting ready and going for their second and last day in Palermo. They visited the Palazzo dei Normanni in the morning and early afternoon. The visit went all right, but Will kept on tensing up every time the chapel was mentioned by Hannibal, who was translating what the guide said, or by a signboard. He did enjoy the beautiful decoration, and lost himself in the richness and history the represented and told of. Afterwards they had lunch in a nearby restaurant that gave Will some pause and Hannibal some inspiration for future recipes.
When they went to the Cappella Palatina, it was the middle of the afternoon. The sunlight fell obliquely on the wall of the chapel, only to be reflected by the golden mosaic, creating an amazing game of hide and seek for the eye, leading the gaze those who entered toward he altar. It was a highly poetic image, and Will allowed himself to get lost in it, so as not to think about other things that floated in his mind. “Stay with me, Will. Come here, hold my hand. Let’s make this better for you” Hannibal said in Will’s ear, while coming to hold his hand and touching his wedding ring, reminding him that the past suffering only mattered because it brought them together, that the old wounds had scarred, but were mostly healed. Will relaxed at that, and allowed Hannibal to lead him towards a chair in the front row (that must be the only church with chairs instead of benches) and whispering sweetly in his ears the symbolism depicted in the mosaics and his own interpretation of them. After a while, Will started making sarcastic comments on what Hannibal said, and apparently forgot all of his previous insecurities. When they walked out, hand in hand, people stared at them, but they couldn’t care less, because that church had finally become a safe place for them, and the past had stayed where it was supposed to.
 That evening they dined at the hotel and packed their bags. They left that morning on the first ferry to Naples, ready to continue their trip: their next stop was going to be the great Rome, ancient and modern capital of Italy.

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