Hannibal cares about Will in the same way I care about my copy of my favorite book. It engages my interest and it gives me good feelings, like comfort, pleasure, and excitement. I would say that I love this book. But my feelings toward the book are all centered around myself; I love the book because of how it stimulates ME; I can do whatever I want with the book; I am a person and the book is an inanimate object. I don’t worry about the book’s well-being. I don’t hope it has a long and fulfilling life. If my copy is destroyed, I’ll grumble about having to buy a new one, but I won’t grieve the loss of an independent life, a separate world, because it doesn’t matter whether that particular physical copy is at hand; what matters is that I can read whenever I want. Essentially, that kind of love is nothing like the love I bear for other people, where I care about them separate from myself, but that’s the kind of love Hannibal has for Will.
Hannibal doesn’t care if Will is happy, healthy, or sane. He cares if Will is his. He wants Will to be there for Hannibal’s own pleasure, and that’s all that matters. He has proven willing to destroy Will if that’s what it takes to keep Will under his control. Yes, he’s very involved with and attached to Will, but it’s in the same way that a child loves their favorite toy. Will is ancillary to Hannibal; Will is the best book Hannibal has ever read.