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Playing People, Not Poker (it's only polite)

Chapter Text

There were people everywhere. Whipping around the lobby in a tornado of humanity that threatened to blow away what little sanity he had at the moment.

It was almost worse than the Monte Carlo airport. Because at least there, the throngs of people were mostly tourists, normal people carting around the picture-perfect families of four to a random place with a cool name that they saw on the travel channel.

Here, in this hotel lobby, with its’ steep price point and reputable high-stakes casino, practically everyone reeked of tragic backstory and black money; it was enough to make his delicate mind dance the fucking cha-cha on a cliff right above the sea of instability.

“Hello, sir. Checking in?” The perky woman’s bright smile matched her glinting nails, which shined blue and silver in the bright light of the chandeliers.

She was young, new by the glossy name tag reading ‘Isabelle’. Smart, yet almost certainly hired for those bright grey eyes and long, curly caramel hair, just like the plush-lipped, blonde man working the computer next to hers; their positions were less function and more for appearances sake.

Will looked down at those inch-long, shiny, blue things, wondering why would anyone subject themselves to carrying those around with them only to-

Ten streaks of pain slowly cut their way down his back.

Those egg-shell blue nails dug into his back, raking themselves down his skin like small razorblades; her preferred method of praise. The pain completely evaporated Will’s arousal, but she couldn’t give a damn.

His pain was her pleasure, and-

“Sir?” Her bright voice cut through the hallucination, the same way she sliced open his back-

 “Y-yes,” Will stammered, trying to get a hold of himself.

“What’s the name?”

Breathe in.  Please don’t give yourself away as an unstable disaster wrapped up in cute curls and glasses on the first day- leave something to work up to. Breathe out.

“William Holmes.”

Will’s sense of humor when sleep-deprived knew no bounds, because why not keep your first name, and have your alias be the last name of a famous detective to hide the fact that you’re a world-famous detective?

Well, profiler, not detective. And, maybe, world famous was a bit of a stretch- excluding the psychiatric community, of course, in which he was basically their version of a fandom favorite.

“Very good sir,” Isabelle gushed, as she poked his name into the keyboard, effortlessly maneuvering around her nails, “Ah, yes, Mr. Holmes. You’re in room 2847 on floor 19… Here’s your room key, which will also get you into the casino. Have a good day and please feel free to contact our desk for any assistance.”

Will suppressed a shiver as the tip of one of her nails scraped his finger as she handed him a purple keycard.

When she gestured at the elevators behind him, will mumbled a ‘thanks’, heaved his carry-on over his shoulder, and made his trek through the scourge of humanity milling about the lobby, taking care not to touch anyone.

Despite the light crème suit he was wearing, the empath still felt woefully out of place, practically feeling the eyes of the crowd on his skin. Like they knew he didn’t belong, that his Versace suit was rented and his FBI badge was hidden deep in his luggage.

He pressed the button on the elevator and waited, desperately trying to remember why he signed up for this stupid idea anyway.

“Will- CIA’s asked us to send a profiler to a casino in Monte Carlo. They’re trying to corner a, an, accountant or something during a poker game, and have the idea that a profiler in the area would be helpful in picking apart poker faces.”

“Okay? So?”

“They specifically asked for you.” Jack’s tone is a strange amalgamation of apologetic and commanding, but that was hardly anything new coming from him.

“Why me? Were they specifically looking for a mentally unstable, unqualified for field work, professor?” Will asked, knowing that he was fighting a hopeless battle.

“You’re the best, Will. This man… He directly cares for terrorist money, hundreds of millions… Bombs, Missiles, Drugs. All bought from the money this bastard keeps safe. You can’t tell me that you want this guy roaming free?”

Of course, Will couldn’t tell him that, yet at the same time, a sharp, vicious part of him shrieked that his mental health was more important, who cared about potential lives saved, versus the very real concept of his own sanity.

He could hardly handle being in Quantico for more than 8 hours before he began imagining brutally murdering his students. God knew what would happen to him in an unfamiliar country.

“You’d save countless lives, Will.”

Morals he knew he should have-

A gentle tap on his shoulder shattered the memory.

The elevator was here, and likely had been here a while, if someone was alerting him to it.

“Mr. Holmes? The elevator’s here.” An accented voice stated from behind him, it’s tone was completely blank, but lacking the monotone that usually accompanied masked words.

It was enough to kick up his heart rate.

Will whips his head over his shoulder, only to find his fucking target, Le Chiffre, looking at him.

Le Chiffre. Real name: Hannibal Lecter. Accountant to a dozen armed insurgent groups, three international mafias, two terrorist groups. Keeper of billions of dollars in blood money. 

He was standing less then a foot away. 

The accountant had an earnest expression so fake it gave Isabelle’s nails a run for their money. The genius’s posture was relaxed, hands in his pockets, looking completely at-ease, despite that he'd be playing for his life at the poker table tonight. 

He looked exactly like Will knew he would: high cheekbones, ashy-blonde jelled hair, 6 foot frame, athletic posture with a tapered waist, expensive suit cut from plaid grey fabric, un-calloused hands with nimble fingers.

Yet, despite being shown so many pictures of Le Chiffre that Will had started to see the accountant’s face when he closed his eyes; there was something jarring about being right next to him. Gleaming intelligence writhed in his gaze, cold in the striking sky-blue eye and calculating in the scarred, frosted-over eye, both equally unsettling in a way that a camera could never hope of capturing.

That scarred eye, with a delicate red line running through the skin above and below, had completely taken over his presence in a photo; in person, however, it was little more than a side note.

The intimidating presence of the man himself was much more overpowering.

“T-thank you,” Will nods, turning away, silently wondering just how fucked he was.

There’s a soft hum that follows him as he steps inside the elevator, letting him know that Hannibal had followed him inside. A moment later, the elevator doors closed, trapping him with the international criminal.

Will reached out to press his floor number- only to have Le Chiffre press number 19 before he could.

Why can't I have One. Good. Day? Or even a mildly okay day? 

Leaning against the wall of the elevator, Le Chiffre glanced at him with the same fake earnest expression. “Sorry, I heard the receptionist say your floor number, I hope I’m not scaring you, Mr. Holmes.”

That bloody accent- Lithuanian, CIA had told him- slithered around Will’s head, leaving blood and ink in its wake.

“Or, is it Mr. Graham? I’m a bit confused.”

Well. I'm fucked.

“Either one works,” Will replied, stalling with sarcasm, feeling irritation bubble up in his chest.

At that, Hannibal gives a soft laugh, that’s an adorable attempt at trying to stall but I’m still going to kill you, little boy.

The cool metal of a gun presses against Will’s left temple, not firing yet, but it will any moment now, and Will is going to die in an elevator because while Le Chiffre wasn’t a killer, money was a Jerusalem that he’d fight crusades for any day-

"You know I can’t let you into that poker room, Mr. Graham,” the mathematician sighed, like he was the one inconvenienced by Will’s upcoming death, “A profiler in a room of poker faces really wouldn’t be a good fit- you understand, of course?”

Will blinked, reeling for a moment, before the words fell from his tongue with a challenging confidence that came from the overall zero fucks that he gave at this point, “Am I really the best use of your two remaining allotted homicides?”

Le Chiffre allowed his confusion seem into his face. “Excuse me?”

Will slowly pushed himself up from the elevator wall, slipping the duffle bag from his shoulder, and taking a definitive step towards the man. “Your back up plan, if you can’t get the 500 million from this Hail-Mary poker game, is to run back to the very governments chasing you. Offering information in exchange for safe haven.”

Will smiles, a slow, seductive thing, that’s inspired by the lingering presence of razor-nailed Isabelle ghosting over his thoughts, but completely supported by the dark shadowed part of his head that grinned at crime scenes.

But, there’s only so much  those governments will forgive you for, democracy is stupid like that. You’ve already killed, or paid to have killed, two Interpol officers yesterday. Balance of probability gives you two more, before deals are off the table. And quite frankly, a teacher with a penchant for hallucinating is hardly a good use of a slot. Especially considering there’s at least four more agents in the hotel at the moment.”

Processing the information, Hannibal stared at Will, curiosity and strategy clearly scrawled across his handsome features, mixed with something that Will could have sworn was interest.

Will was likely going to regret giving away the ‘good guys’ like that later, but right now, all he could feel was a vindictive pleasure from startling Le Chiffre with some cold hard logic of his own.

You aren’t the only one with some statistics, bitch.

The elevator doors dinged, and Will couldn’t stop the sassy click of his tongue as he broke eye contact to grab his luggage.

As he walked out of the elevator, Will called over his shoulder, “Room 2847, if you decide to kill me.”

Yep, definitely regretting this later, Will decided as he walked down the hall, looking for his room.

Chapter Text

 

Will walked into his hotel room, already feeling bubbles of guilt-Why would I say that? - only to freeze.

There was a person in his room.

An African man with a short frame, warm eyes, and ill-fitting suit, who jumped in surprise when Will opened the door.

“William Graham?” he asked, already getting up to shake Will’s hand.

Honestly what was the point of an alias if no one uses it?

“That’s right.”

“Richard Dell, I’m your CIA contact.”

Richard’s hand was limp in Will’s hand, and the empath wasn’t sure how he felt about being the dominant one in the situation.

Recognizing the name, Will nodded, “Right. They said they’d send someone to fill me in on anything else I needed to know.”

Richard nodded, but it was more of a happy bob to silent music than confirmation.

A newborn baby was screeching in Richard’s arms. Will watched as the CIA agent cooed at and bounced the swaddle of white linens, looking down with large awed eyes.

He was happy, so happy. He loved little Janine, more than he thought possible. He missed her fiercely, being halfway around the world, but at the same time, being a father was enough to keep him cheery.

After all, it was nice to give life instead of taking it-

“Yep, I'll try to give you the important highlights, if that’s alright?”

Will nods.

“Alright, great. Let’s have a seat.”

The man proceeded to explain Will’s role in this. Will was simply expected to sit at the bar, and discreetly watch Le Chiffre, processing his actions for any tells.

If he saw something that could be helpful, Will would inform the CIA agent playing at the table, during the allotted one hour breaks. If it was urgent, Will had a signal, which would call another agent over.

Basically, he was expected to be a hidden spectator. It wasn’t the worst job in the world, all things considered.

“Le Chiffre won’t even know you’re there, I promise,” Richard assured.

Too late for that.

Will briefly considered telling the agent about the incident in the elevator, but quickly decided against it. After all, he had basically pointed a gun at his own team mates… Which wasn’t image Will wanted to present of himself.

“Anything else?”

“TI-84.”

Will blinked, “That was my high school calculator. Is that supposed to be an innuendo? Don’t let Le Chiffre plug in his numbers?”

Richard shakes his head, a soft laugh escaping him as he digs around his briefcase for a file; he opens a beige manilia folder, pointing to a picture of an elegant blonde, white woman, 35-ish years of age, walking with an umbrella in her hand.

“Bedelia de Maurier. Le Chiffre’s right hand. She’s known at TI-84, or T.I. Bedelia handles daily maintenance and regular meetings. She used to be Le Chiffre’s own accountant, before he recruited her. She’s staying with him in the apartment suite on floor 28.”

Will inspected the photo.

It was easy to see what Hannibal saw in her.

There was a timeless grace in her features: soft, blonde hair, arching eyebrows, high cheekbones, slim lips. Yet, despite that beauty, all Will could see was her tense shoulders and careful, measured steps. Her heels were high, but they just drew attention to the way her calves were toned and taut.

The picture was taken, when Bedelia had been scanning her surroundings. Her face was smooth with a brittle strength that reminded him off glass shards. In her icy eyes, there was a numb look that sent a shiver down Will’s spine.

No question, Bedelia de Maurier was a rifle, awaiting Hannibal’s orders but definitely able to fire on her own. Hannibal might have been the boss, but there was no doubt in Will’s mind that Bedelia was definitely not to be messed with.

"Alright. I’ll make sure to keep an eye out. What else?”

BEEP.

Richard glanced at his phone before going pale.

“Sorry, but we’ll have to continue this later,” he said, as he quickly grabbed his coat and briefcase, “An MI6 agent is here.”

"Okay. Um. Bye, Richard.”

 "Bye, Mr. Graham. I’ll come back in 5 hours, so 4 in the afternoon.”

 

- IN ANOTHER HOTEL ROOM--

 

Bedelia raised her eyebrows, unsure if she should be amused or terrified, as she watched Hannibal stare into space with a small smile on his face.

The boss had walked into their hotel suite, a glazy dazed look on his face; it was such an unusual expression to see on Hannibal that Bedelia had actually jumped to attention, expecting orders to call an ambulance or hitmen, or both.

Instead, Hannibal looked at her and said. “2847.” His tone was serious and completely unhelpful.

Bedelia pulled out her phone, trying to figure out what path of action was expected from her. “Twenty-eight… Forty-seven… That’s Will Graham’s room,” she remembered, speaking out loud in hopes of getting more information from the man.

Instead of answering, the criminal sat down on a plush couch, and stared out into the distance, a smile slowly loading on his lips.

“Hannibal?”

Hannibal didn’t move.

“Hannibal?”

No answer.

Bedelia waited another two minutes, waiting for Hannibal to get up and tell her what to do; he didn’t move, just sitting there with a dopey smile.

It was unprecedented.

Hannibal was the king of conversation. He always had to have the last word, always had something to say, though he might imply it, rather than say it. He enjoyed twirling long drawn-out metaphors around Bedelia until she had a noose of confusion and manipulation strung around her neck.

He’d never just sat there, unresponsive, unopinionated.

He’d gone to scope out Mr. Graham, threaten him, then call Steve the Strangler to finish the job.

Bedelia decided to check if the chain had been completed.

               

To: Steve (MO: Strangulation)

                Did Le Chiffre call you? – T.I.

 

As she waited for a response, she walked around the couch to face Hannibal, repressing the childish urge to wave a hand in front of his face.

“Mr. Lecter,” she repeated. Her smoky voice firm and a bit concerned, though she’d never admit the maternal affection she held for the dork.

“MmmHmm?” Hannibal hummed, releasing a gentle sigh at the end.

This could be a test.

But that would be stupid. And weird. And completely unnecessary.

So basically, Hannibal’s MO, Bedelia’s inner bitch retorts, and damn if doesn’t have a point.

               

Steve (MO: Strangulation)

                Nope, still at the pizza place, waiting instructions.

 

The ever-growing weirdness of the situation only continued to grow.

There were options of what she could do: call an ambulance because Hannibal might have a concussion, kill Will Graham, interrogate Will Graham, leave Hannibal alone, raincheck the poker game, ask Hannibal what was wrong, call off Steve, check out room 2748…

The list went on and on.

And it was impossible to know what Hannibal would want; what she did know- Hannibal would happily fuck up her credit score for making the wrong decision, which was totally not on.

I just finished getting it up, too.

So, instead of guessing, she swallowed her pride and asked, “Should I kill Will Graham?”

At the question, Hannibal appeared to jerk out of his trance.

Finally looking away from the window, with his typical alertness, the accountant looked at Bedelia with a stern expression, “No one is to touch Will Graham.”

Bedelia blinked, confused.

“Would you prefer to do it yourself?”

Her employer stood up, employing a textbook intimidation tactic, as if Bedelia would ever find him intimidating in any sense. That ship had sailed a long time ago.

“Will Graham is not to be harmed. That is not a prohibition; it is an order.”

“Okay,” she nodded, pretending like she understood. “I’ll send out a memo.”

In response, Hannibal nods, gracefully turning on his heel, moving towards the bathroom.

“Sir?” she called.

Le Chiffre stopped walking, indicating he was listening.

“Any elaboration on room 2847?”

“I’ll be spending my evening there.”

And then Hannibal closed the door, clearly signaling the end of conversation in the most dramatic way possible. Briefly, Bedelia considered letting it go, but she was far too interested to be polite.

So instead, she called through the door, “Like an interrogation session with Will Graham?”

Hannibal’s answer was sarcastic and indignant, though slightly muffled through the bathroom door. “Like a date.

“Wait. Will Graham is what had you staring out the window like an idiot?” she questioned, incredulous and a bit annoyed.

“I was considering how I would proceed. Strategy is of the utmost importance.”

Le Chiffre’s Lieutenant thought about that for a second.

“So, Will Graham asked you out?”

That seemed impossible on so many levels; Bedelia couldn’t even imagine how that conversation would happen.

“No.”

“Then, you asked him out?”

“No. Stop prying, Bedelia.”

“Well. If you didn’t ask him out. And he didn’t ask you out. Its. Not. A. Date. Hannibal.”

There was a pause. A long drawn out silence, and she could practically hear Hannibal’s pout though the door.

“We chatted in the elevator. He told me his room number. I’m going to see him. It’s a date. Now, if you’ll excuse me. I’d like to take a shower,” Immediately afterwards, the sound of water hitting the shower tile, rumbled through the door, signaling the definite end of the conversation.

Running a hand through her hair, Bedelia turned away from the door, compartmentalizing as she went back to her laptop to continue watching House of Cards.

Chapter Text

In the next few hours, Will took the time to shower and unpack. Settling into his hotel room, and taking a nap.

When he woke up, body finally stocked up on its necessary sleep, it was two in the afternoon.

TIme for lunch. Too bad, Will had no idea where to go, didn’t speak French, and he definitely wasn’t going back down to the lobby to ask Ms. Blades-for-Nails for directions.

Why did I learn Spanish in highschool?

Though that was really nonsensical complaining, considering that the only words he remembered from High School spanish were ‘how are you’ and ‘homework’.

It seemed like he’d just have to manage from google recommendations.

Will pulled out his phone, about to search for restaurants, when there was a knock at the door.

Fucking hell, Richard. What happened to ‘back at four’.

Will heaved himself up from the couch to trek to the door, ready to announce, if RIchard wanted to talk to him, he could do it over a plate of fries.

With a ‘i’m not happy’ look on his face, Will swung open the door, only to freeze. In front of his door was Le Chiffre.

Standing there. Casually. In a different suit. Slightly more close fitting, and in a dark navy. A hand in his pocket, and another hand holding his phone. Which he looked up from when Will opened the door, sleekly slipping his phone back into his pocket.

One of the most dangerous men on the planet was right outside Will's hotel room, and with the combined money and influence of even more dangerous men at his back, Hannibal Lecter could very easily slaughter him and leave him staining the hotel carpet red, with little to no consequence to him.

And this was the moment, Will had finally realized that Hannibal Lecter has got to be the most handsome man Will had ever seen. Not precisely because of his face- the Lithuanian man didn’t have that staple rugged jaw and bushy eyebrows- but because of a strong, seductively dominant presence the man seemed to wear like a cloud of intoxicating perfume.

“Hello.”

Knee jerk reaction. Will slammed the door closed.

Only the door met hard resistance moments before it closed. Looking down, Will saw Hannibal’s shoe caught in the doorway. Will’s mind flittered, but his body stayed still, frozen in indecision.

Hannibal’s voice is chiding.

“Will, you’ve caught my foot.”

As if Will had been fishing for Italian loafers.

Like Italian loafers were an endangered species, and Will was the asshole that still fished at their breeding grounds, because fuck the rules.

And Hannibal was the eco-activist that just loved Italian loafers, because he’d had a lot of them as a kid or some shit, so he automatically hated Will’s guts and had already drawn up a petition to prevent Will from making a profit on black-marketing those Italian loafers.

Except Hannibal was a manipulative bitch, because Will was fishing in a completely legal lake, and Hannibal had tossed a shit ton of Italian loafers into the waters, knowing that Will would accidentally catch one.

The question was, why did Hannibal go through the hassle of pouring endangered Italian loafers into Will’s regular fishing space?

Or, maybe a better question is how the fuck did Will get so invested in this metaphor.

“Did you come here for a reason, Le Chiffre?” Will called through the door.

Keeping his foot firmly in the door jamb, Hannibal retorted, “Before you assaulted me with the door, you mean?”

A childish urge to repeatedly slam the door on the man’s foot bubbled up in Will’s chest.

“William?”

And that was the absolute last straw. Swinging the door back open to glare at the intolerable man, Will worked up his best glare.

“I’m starting to wonder what the point was of making an alias in the first place, if everyone in this hotel seems set on using my real name.”

A polite smile danced on Hannibal’s lips, “A bit more research on maternity websites, and a bit less humorous irony, goes a long way in creating a functional alias. Mr. William Holmes isn’t exactly the most subtle name.”

“Right. Like Le Chiffre is the epitome of subtle.”

Hannibal jerks back, like that statement literally wounded him.

“What, exactly, is wrong with Le Chiffre?”

As he puts his hands on his hips, Will’s jaw drops, part in mock-shock, and part in genuine incredulousness.

“You are kidding, right? Le Chiffre literally means,” Will throws up jazz hands, “ the number . That’s got to be the nerdiest thing I’ve ever heard, and I’m a professor.”

Hannibal’s eyes narrow, those mismatched, intelligent orbs in bloody maroon and frosty grey glinting in that masculine face, like

the accountant’s hands reached out, large palms and nimble pianist’s fingers wrapped around Will’s slim, fragile neck.

A squeeze would be enough to cut off his air supply.

A jerk would be enough to break his neck.

Instead those hands just curled around his neck, a warm support propping up a weak pillar, as sharp teeth approached Will’s-

“I wanted to ask if you could go out for lunch.” The dark look in the foreigner’s eyes was long gone, dissolved in friendly amiability.

Scoffing, Will shook his head. He was smarter than that. Taunting a criminal in an elevator was one thing. It was quite another to go to a second location with one.

Especially if the criminal in question was Le Chiffre.

The accountant had a longer kill list than some professional hitmen.

“Yah, uh- No. I’m not too comfortable with the idea of you taking me to a second, unknown location. It’s the first step of being kidnapped.”

Then feeling as if his tone was a bit too harsh.

“Thanks though.”

At that, Hannibal shifted, crinkling his nose in distaste, and deep, deep down, behind all of the barbed wire and neon no trespassing signs, Will had to admit, that nose crinkle was the most adorable expression he’d ever seen on a grown man.

“If I was going to kidnap you, I wouldn’t do it like this. That’s just amatuer.”

A smile forced itself on Will’s lips; the petulant tone in Hannibal’s voice was just too cute, and it was a struggle to remember why he wasn’t supposed to like the accountant.

He indirectly funds terrorism.

He’s a murderer.

He’s an intolerable, self-absorbed prick.

“How would you do it then? Kidnap me?”

That sounded sexual. Did that sound sexual to anyone else? What if he thought that was sexual?

Le Chiffre bared his teeth in a bright smile, somehow appearing dangerous and appealing in one fell swoop. “With all these agents swarming around you? With your intelligence and keen eyes? It would have been a long and drawn out game, dear William.”

The profiler swallowed, feeling thirsty all of a sudden.

“The first step being?”

Le Chiffre took a small step forward, calling attention to the two feet of air fizzing between them; Will found himself stepping forward, pretty much in the hallway and definitely within the accountant’s reach.

“I would have built your trust. An unneeded gesture, out of the kindness of my heart,” that accent was thick and velvety, seductively sliding across Will’s skin, “Perhaps lending you my jacket, or dropping you home. Or maybe, I’d have cooked for you, brought you lunch in an intimate setting.”

There was a warmth pooling in Will’s stomach, hot and burning, begging for Will to just do something.

“Then what?”

“Won’t you join me for lunch, Will?”

Hannibal stepped back, letting the light back in, space and air swelling the gap between them, cooling Will's warm stomach, breaking the spell; however, the odd answer to Will’s question made the profiler’s heart pound uncomfortably.

Are you implying something? Or just changing the subject?

Either way. Will was fucked, and really shouldn’t spend more time with the man. It was clear Hannibal was seducing him, sexual or no, Will was interested, and that was dangerous.

Will was an FBI agent, dammit.

Hannibal was a known criminal.

It should be easy. Just say no. Within fifteen minutes of conversation, Hannibal Lecter had completely torn down Will’s defenses; there was no way Will would survive an entire lunch conversation.

Except, Will found his mouth curling into, “Sure, why not?”

And he told himself, this is an opportunity. I’m a profiler. More context for the profile, the better.

He would try to dig for as much incriminating information as possible during their lunch conversation.

And deeper down, Will knew that wasn’t going to happen.

Chapter Text

 

After a quick couple minutes to tame his curls and change out of his sleep crumpled suit and into another FBI rental that Will couldn’t possibly afford.

Hannibal, gentleman that he was, chastely waited for Will to return in the hallway outside.

The elevator ride down had been silent, Hannibal flashing an apologetic smile, before typing out enormous calculations into his phone; Will had attempted to keep track of the numbers and how they interact, but once the numbers went into the billions- Will decided to study the ceiling instead.

Hannibal Lecter might be sexy as fuck, but even he wasn’t worth a revisit high school algebra, (or more appropriately: college-level rocket science)

Will had gotten through that period of his life with blood, sweat, and formulas written on his palms, thank you very much, and there was no way he was going back.

But, I might consider getting a calculator nickname.

Maybe.

Either way, once they made it down to the lobby, Hannibal started to move towards the desk, the concierge desk, where Lauren was.

Will was rather done with sexual sadomasochism for today.

“If you’re about to ask her for restaurant recommendations, I’m going to punch you in the face,” Will states plainly.

Hannibal stops, turning towards Will with a teasing smile, “I’m going to ask her to bring around my car.”

“I think you have to ask the valet for that.”

“The Valet is outside, WIll.”

Will aggressively rolled his eyes, and then feeling as if the effect wasn’t strong enough, he gave his baby blues another headache-inducing roll.

“What? Are you afraid of melting in the sun? Or are you so dedicated to the accountant stereotype that you refuse to exercise more than needed?”

Hannibal frowned disapprovingly at Will; lips curving back between his lips momentarily, as if to physically prevent words from leaving his mouth.  A beat of silence passed, enough to make Will feel distinctly uncomfortable, before Hannibal haughtily raised an eyebrow and explained.

You may have forgotten, Will, but I am in a state of financial trouble. Dire enough that many of my narrow-minded investors would gladly kill me off and then make attempts at scraping open my bank accounts. Hitmen, mercenaries, snipers, are all an ongoing concern at the moment. So I’d prefer to limit my exposure as much as possible.”

Guilt slowly dripped into Will’s chest cavity, the faucet typically containing his emotions gone rusty by shock, and then he realized something.

“Then why are you taking me out to lunch?”

The smile on Hannibal’s face was soft, sweet, and spoke of lewdness in the extreme.

“Because, I’m always up for a gamble if the stakes are lovely enough. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go speak to the desk about the car.”

As Will watched Le Chiffre’s slim hips sway in that plaid navy suit, blood pooled in his cheeks, because how else was Will supposed to react to statement.

Nevermind, I’ll definitely take that calculator nickname.

 

--

 

After 15 minute car ride, involving Hannibal pointing out various landmarks, speaking phrases in Arabic and French, and referring to historical incidences Will didn’t know, they arrived at a restaurant Will was not expecting.

It wasn’t a hole in a wall, not by any means; it just wasn’t a five star restaurant either. It was a local restaurant, a small two story cafe with an Arabic twist, and a line curving down the block.

Hannibal made to move out of the car, but was stopped by a soft “Le Chiffre” spoken by the unknown driver. They’d been in the SUV before Will and Hannibal got in, and were hidden by the foggy grey partition separating the Bentley in two.

“I’ll be fine. I do want you to call Bedelia, inform her that I’ve changed my mind regarding our new investors.”

“Yes… I will wait in the car.” The driver’s words were softly hissed, every syllable full of double meaning, like a brooding snake’s song.

“Good,” Hannibal turned toward Will, “Shall we?”

--

After exchanges of several hundred dollar bills to three people, they completely skipped the line and were seated within minutes.

Will took one glance at the French and Arabic menu, before telling Hannibal to order for him.

The accountant looked surprised, before smiling proudly, no doubt happy to be in a position of intimate trust

It was only fair , Will decided, as he belatedly realized that he’d forgotten his wallet, considering Hannibal would be paying for him, too.

With renewed vigor, Hannibal read through the menu.

When the waiter came over, Hannibal spoke a long list of French words that had Will squirming in anticipation. After all,  except for a stack of oreos on the plane, Will hadn’t eaten a proper meal in hours.

“So, why this place?” Will asked, finally letting out his curiosity.

Hannibal tilted his head, “What do you mean, William?”

Feeling distinctly uncomfortable in directly pointing it out, he slowly said, “It’s just… This place doesn’t seem like your type.”

Wow. You sound like a jealous ex girlfriend. Can you be any more embarrassing?

“I like to enjoy proper ethnic cuisine when traveling. It’s the best way to learn the true intended taste of  cultural dishes. After all, no one makes better noodles then the Chinese.”

Will blinked at the honest explanation, completely humble and accepting in its logic.

“Learn? Do you cook?”

A proud nod. “I do. One of my few hobbies. There’s something very calming about the directions and license to creativity.”

Will tried to imagine Le Chiffre in a suit, stirring a pot of some fancy soup, and couldn’t quite imagine it.

“Do you just cook for yourself?” Will questioned, “That seems like a lot of labor for a meal of one.”

“I throw dinner parties, fairly often. Company makes for the best meals,” Hannibal smiled, “I think food is more people-based, than most people think.”

That. Will can imagine. Mr. Lector lording over a long gaudy dinner table, with a dozen people singing his praise and begging for the recipe or any information-

Information. We’re here for information.

Say it with me

In-for-ma-tion

in a foreign nation

You, Will Graham

are not on vacation

Will’s logical voice proceed to ruffle it’s Pom-Poms.

“Hmm, speaking of people, you said you were rejecting a client?”

Smooth.

“Fishing for information Will?”

Not so smooth.

“No, just wondering what you criteria for rejection is, considering you take on terrorists.”

Hannibal chuckled, “I liked it better when you were fishing for my loafers, Will.”

The teacher sent Hannibal a death glare, still very sensitive over the fishing metaphor.

“The simple answer, Will, is that they simply didn’t have the money. Eighty million dollars of black money isn’t worth the effort it takes to clean it and keep it safe.”

“Eighty million?” Will choked.

Hannibal raised his eyebrows, about to say something pretentious and probably insulting, when the waiter approached the table with a cart.

“Sir? Your appetizers and your wine. We have the…”

Will’s ears tuned out the French, chosing instead, to look at the breaded balls and dark sauce, chip-like things, and small rolls.

The waiter set the five appetizer plates down, poured their wine, and promised to return in a few minutes.

“Wow.” Will said, not comprehending the table in front of him.

“Here. This is Kalamatra Hummus. These are cucumber crostini. A true example of Morocco’s Arabic and French culture. Just dip and eat,” Hannibal explained, holding a chip in front of Will’s mouth.

Blushing, Will reached out and took a bit out of the chip in Hannibal’s hand, inadvertently brushing his lips against Hannibal’s fingers.

The chip was like a flattened, cucumber-flavored crouton that cooled his tongue from the strong swirling spice from the hummus; it was one of the best things Will had put in his mouth.

“What about this one?” Will asked, pointing to the rolls.

“That is…”

After that, conversation seemed to flow, kickstarted by explanations about the food, followed by origin stories that always reminded Will of a story of his own, which led to Hannibal’s deep commentary, which lead to Will’s sarcastic retorts, and then the next course came, and the entire thing started all over. During the entire thing, Will found himself becoming more and more endeared by the man.

His charm was slow and curling, taking full effect over their long conversation, so much that by the time they had finished their sweet, oily desserts, Will was seriously doubting his ability to analyze Hannibal during the poker game only a few hours later.

“Let me pay the bill, and then we can go back to the hotel,” Hannibal said, pulling out a slim metal case, about the size of a thick iPhone 5, functioning as a wallet, and walking over to the cashier.

Will was delightfully full, and watched as Hannibal paid cash for their meal, sent a quick text on his phone, and walked back to Will.

Will stood up, smiling at Hannibal, “this was really nice, thank you.”

Hannibal smiled, “I’m sure not being kidnapped is also a plus.”

Is it though? Being chained to a bed doesn’t sound so bad if it’s yours.

Wait, what?

“It is… Definitely… Is.”

“Shall we?” Hannibal motions for the door.

“Yes. I’m a bit-”

CRACK.

The sound was loud and sharp, cutting Will’s ears like a whip. The sound of shattering glass and snapping wood just background to the unmistakable sound of a gunshot.

“Down Will!” Hannibal shouted, only to tackle Will to the ground himself.

They moved just seconds before another gunshot echoed the room.

CRACK CRACK CRACK CRACK CRA-CRACK-CRA-CRACK.

Repetitive gunshots, too booming and loud to be anything but shotgun shells, rang through the restaurant, amongst the screams of customers and splintering of wood.

The most surprising part of all of this was Hannibal. He’d managed to completely tuck Will between him and the booth seat. His long legs encased Will’s and his lean arms covered Will’s head; Hannibal made himself into Will’s armor, helpless attempting to protect Will from harm.

A bullet tore through Hannibal’s back, shattering his ribs, and stopping at his sternum.

Blood poured through Hannibal’s chest and onto Will’s back, but apart from a pained moan, Hannibal didn’t move. Didn’t dare. Not till his precious cargo was safe.

After all, Hannibal had just found him, and nothing was going to take-

Another gunshot pulled him out of it, leaving Will in a state of vertigo.

CRACK.

And then silence. Ten shots. They were probably out of rounds.

Will tried to move only to be stopped by Hannibal.

“Wait.”

They stayed frozen for a minute, and then another, and only then, did Hannibal get up, look around, and finally let Will stand up.

It only took one look at the decimated restaurant, wounded customers, and bloodied corpses for Will to become overloaded at the unexpected carnage. His knees weakened and a strangled whimper left his throat.

The sensitive man collapsed against Hannibal’s chest, succumbing to the only available support.

“Shhh. It’s okay. We have to leave before they come back, Will. I'm so sorry for putting you in danger. I should have known it was too dangerous. Can you walk, Will?... Will?” Hannibal questioned, worry riddling his tone.

It was struggle to nod, but Will managed.

“Hannibal?” The soft, hissing voice called out. Will looked up at a slim woman, with a dark coat and abyss eyes. “We have to hurry. They will be back.”

“Yes.”

The three of them slowly walked out of the restaurant and into the SUV. Will was promptly lifted into the car, buckled in, and tucked against Hannibal’s chest, who offered soft reassuring hums and phrases. The woman was in the driver’s seat, speeding the car down Moroccan streets.

"I am so sorry, William. I understand if you hate me after this," Hannibal whispered in a broken voice that chiseled at Will's heart.

It was a herculean struggle to push past the tiring fog blurring his senses, but Will managed to get out a, "Not your fault." 

"Thank you." Hannibal whispered, voice still so broken and worried, but Will's fragile head couldn't take anymore stimulation. It took less than a minute for Will to slip out of his traumatized state and into unconsciousness.

---

Hannibal kept up his terrified coos for another minute, making sure the FBI agent was sound asleep, before ceasing.

“He’s. So sensitive,” Chiyoh comments, slowing down the car to a sensible speed “Too sensitive to be compatible with you.”

Hannibal smiles, brushing a thumb against Will's delicate cheekbones. His tone confident and his fingers steady; there was a complete and sudden absence of the anxious energy that the accountant had been radiating moments before. “He’s sensitive enough to understand, Chiyoh. Unbridled empathy is so very unique.”

“If understanding requires such… encouragement, it is simply, misplaced emotion.”

“Any passionate emotion has the potential for empathy, and can always adapt to it’s new placement.”

The two of them went silent, agreeing to disagree.

“Regardless- thank you. My goal was achieved and I appreciate it. I understand I didn’t give you much forewarning.”

Chiyoh clucked her tongue disapprovingly, “My shotgun did not appreciate the abuse. I require new silencers.”

“Only the best for my bodyguard,” Hannibal agreed with a smile.

“Perhaps, only the best for Will Graham, for a while.”

Hannibal rolled his eyes, tucking Will closer into his chest, “I have no intention of breaking him Chiyoh. This was just some needed persuasion.”

Will’s eyes fluttered open, and Hannibal brought a desperately concerned look on his face, and Chiyoh sped up the car again.

 

Chapter Text

When Will slowly started to open his eyes, it became very apparent that Will wasn’t in his own bed.

For one, his hotel room didn’t have a pretentious patterned ceiling, nor did his bed have soft cotton sheets. But, even if that wasn’t enough, it became certain when Will saw Hannibal’s bodyguard standing in a corner of the room.

She was looking at him with those pitch black eyes that just freaked him the fuck out; her eyes were dead, and if it were possible, her mannerisms were even more polite than Hannibal’s.

Oh my god, how long has she been watching me sleep? How do teenage girls find this attractive?

All I feel is violated.

“William,” she started, “Do you feel well enough to get up?”

“Who are you?” he asked, not exactly in the mood to double check.

“I am Hannibal’s… protection. You may call me Chiyoh”

And then Will realized something- Hannibal wasn’t here, which wasn’t surprising, considering the fool that Will made of himself earlier, but it still hurt.

“Where’s Hannibal?” he asked, sitting up in the much too comfortable bed.

What’s this mattress made of? Angel cum? Well that’s a liquid... Maybe angel hair would be more appropriate. Literally.

She frowned, “It’s seven, you have been asleep for six hours. Hannibal is in the private casino, setting up for the game. He asked me to look over you… until you were able to join him downstairs.”

Will blinked. “Oh, well, I can go down there right now-“

“If I may,” she interrupted, not really asking permission as much as stating that she had it, “It would be wise- to get dressed and eat something.”

“I am dressed.” Will looked down at the FBI rented suit he was still wearing, yes it was a little crumpled, but it was still far more expensive than anything he’d usually wear.

“Not properly,” she emphasized in her soft, threatening voice, “Hannibal has laid out a few suits for you to choose from. We guessed your sizes, so apologies for any ill-fit.”

Laid out three suits… Guessed my size…

“Sorry- He bought me some suits that he wasn’t even sure that I’d wear? Does he realize that I’m here to aid in his arrest?”

“I’m sure he’s aware. And besides, Pretty Woman is one of Hannibal’s favorite movies,” Chiyoh said with a shadow of a smile.

“That’s a lie.”

“Is it?”

“That is definitely a complete and absolute lie.”

Chiyoh just hummed, turning and walking out of the room. Will was just a bit too frozen to ask her where she was going.

Pretty Woman?

No… That would imply that Hannibal didn’t want to kill me. (Not to mention that would make the beautiful, charismatic escort)

Did he?

Somewhere along the line, Will had completely lost sight of what was real and what wasn’t.

The facts:

Hannibal threatened him in the elevator, Will goaded him to kill him in his hotel room

Hannibal showed up at his hotel room and asked Will out to lunch, said nothing of a homicidal nature

Okay but Hannibal not orally expressing his desire to kill him, doesn’t really mean anything. I mean I want to kill Freddie Lounds, but I don’t give her a twelve minute speech with an accompanying PowerPoint about her eventual murder?

During lunch, Hannibal was sweet and flirty. Conversation was lovely and intelligent. Not to mention that the light in the restaurant had highlighted those high cheekbones that Hannibal had. Will wanted to bite those cheekbones, to leave his teethmarks in each zygomatic arch so that no one will ever be able to admire them without knowing that Will had been there first and-

Okay… So, that’s not creepy at all- have I empathized with a cannibal recently? Or I guess a really possessive person is more likely… Damn, Lauren just can’t give me a break.

 Let’s move forward, the shooting happened at the end of lunch.

And the thing about the shooting is that Hannibal knew it was possible; he’d taken the risk to go out with Will, instead of being smart and valuing his life. It would be cruel to not recognize the huge investment that Hannibal had placed in Will.

And then, during the shooting, Hannibal had protected him. Hannibal literally used himself as a human shield to protect Will from bullet fire, and then took Will back to the hotel and left someone to watch over him.

At the very least, it was romantic… At most…Well, it was enough to have Will weak-kneed.

Did… The deadliest accountant in the underworld… care for him?

And the more important question: Why?

At that point, Chiyoh walked in, a bowl of tomato-looking soup in one hand and three garment bags draped over the other. She gently handed him the bowl, “Fig and Tomato soup.”

“Room service was that quick?”

Chiyoh shook her head as she pulled out the suits from the garment bags, “Hannibal made dinner for Bedelia and me last night. This is leftover.”

Will looked down at the soup, it was a thick, opaque orange, speckled with different spices and pieces of meat. “What’s the meat?”

There was a long enough pause from her that Will looked up from the soup to see a contemplative expression on her face. “Pork. It’s very good. Bedelia and I couldn’t help but consider the taste… familiar if not entirely welcome.”

God this woman is so dramatic.

“Okay then, thanks.”

Will watched as she opened the garment bags, knowing that probably should protest a little, at least pretend to have a little pride and shame, but, dammit, if Hannibal wanted to spend some of his billions on some suits Will would only where once, who was Will to deny Hannibal the pleasure.

At the very least, Will would look bloody amazing when Hannibal was arrested.

Chiyoh takes the final suit out, and hooks all one on the door.

“This one?” she asked.

It’s a charcoal grey, with a thicker wool-looking material, light blue shirt, a vest, and oh my god, a light blue pocket square.

“Um. I mean it’s good? Might be a little too formal.”

She nodded like that’s exactly what she was thinking, and hooked another one on the door.

The second one is black, a seemingly straighter fit, and thin, oh so very thin. It almost seemed sheer, Will could practically see the shirt through the fabric of the jacket.

Will coughed, “Um… No. Definitely no. Everyone could see my nipples in that.”

Chiyoh frowned, like Will had greatly offended her, “I wouldn’t let you go out like that. I have Band-Aids.”

“Yah, um, no. Thanks.”

The more Will looked at it, the more it looked like something he’d like to see Hannibal wear. I wouldn’t mind seeing his nipples.

Don’t get turned on by a suit, Will Graham. Don’t do it. We are already struggling- we don’t need this on top of all the other shit going on.

Will took another spoonful of his soup, deciding to look at the bowl instead of the third suit that Chiyoh was hanging up.

“Will.”

Nope. Nope. Nope.

“Will,” Chiyoh repeated, and Will looked up, already cringing.

Actually… Not that bad.
It was a navy suit, a little tight looking, but a nice thick cotton coat, and straight slacks. No pocket square, and the tie was thin with grey and light pink pinstripes. The shirt was a light coral pink.

A little brighter than he would have gone for, a little more pink than he would have gone for, but over all much better than the Victorian and Lingerie options.

“This one?”

“Yah.”

She nodded, starting to pack up the other two suits, “Finish your soup and take a shower. I’ll lay the suit out.”

I better be pretty as fuck by the end of this.

Chapter Text

After Will had finished the soup that was, quite honestly, the best soup Will had ever tasted, he’d slipped into the rainwater shower. The whole experience felt less like him taking a shower and more like him getting a massage.

But regardless, after fifteen minutes, Will forced himself out of bliss and into the cold air of the bathroom, where the very expensive suit was waiting for him. There was a price tag hanging on the sleeve of the jacket, and Will cautiously turned it over.

€12,000

Twelve thousand bloody euros… Damn… I’m going to look snazzy as hell.

“William? Are you proper?” Chiyoh’s voice came through the heavy wooden door, snapping him out of it.

“One second,” he answered, roughly toweling himself off, before slipping into the suit.

It fit him pretty well for a suit that hadn’t been personally tailored; obviously, it wasn’t a Cinderella’s glass slippers level of perfect, but Hannibal had guessed pretty accurately. The coral button down was soft against his skin and the slacks made him seem leaner than he already was. And if he was self-centered enough to admit it, Will would say the navy brought out the blue of his eyes.

Will had lost himself inspecting the suit and what that meant on Le Chiffre’s opinions of him, when the door swung open, revealing Chiyoh.

It wasn’t that Chiyoh looked bad before. She was a beautiful woman after all, but Will had only seen Chiyoh had been in cargo pants and black sweaters, guns tucked into her waistband and a severe expression on her face. She’d looked dangerous, like she could murder Will eight different ways and considered it too easy to be worth the effort.

Now, with makeup to make her eyes look larger, a small smile, and a flowy, carnation yellow dress; she looked like she could murder Will and flirt her way off the consequential murder charge.

Like why go through the effort of getting away from the murder scene, when you could flutter your lashes and get someone to pay for your ice cream?

Which was, somehow, even scarier.

“What… did you do to your hair?” Chiyoh asked, fingers presumptuously running through his curls.

Apparently something not good.”

She raised an eyebrow, before grabbing a fancy glass bottle and pouring some pink liquid into her hand.

“What is that?” Will asked as she lathered her hands up with it.

“You’d call it hair gel.”

What the hell was that supposed to mean. I mean yah, I usually call things for what they are. For example, you’re a passive-aggressive, silent, creepy person...

Okay, I see some room for improvement.

Without any warning, Chiyoh began tugging and scrunching Will’s hair, almost painfully. Her short, blunt nails somehow managed to scrape against his scalp.

Quick, nimble fingers threaded through the dark, shiny locks of his hair, not dissimilar to the way they maneuvered around a gun.

Flexible, open joints rested under powerful, toned muscle. Corded arms and legs that have drilled and trained for so long that efficient, decisive movements are muscle memory.  Fingers turned into gun muzzles with ached to shatter the worthless skull underneath their fingertips.

But, first and foremost, she was a soldier. She had been tasked to protection by the only one capable of keeping her in a cage.

Hannibal Lecter could own her hands, or he'd take her freedom.

“There,” Chiyoh whispered, tapping her index finger against his temple, like she knew where Will’s mind had wandered.

Will blinked and looked in the mirror. His hair had subtle curls that were volumized rather than his usual distinct ringlets, creating styled waves that looked... Hot.

It literally looks like I’ve been fucked within an inch of my life.

Or a centimeter within my life.

Since I would rather my amazing sexual experience be recognized by 99% of the world, instead of just pretentious Americans who refuse to use the metric system. 

“I have a few errands,” Chiyoh states, sounding mysterious and intriguing all at once, “So Bedelia will be escorting you downstairs.”

Bedelia will be escorting you to the ball, Lady Graham, Will mocked in his head, don’t forget to wear the silk slippers, the ones that show off your ankles. The Lord Lecter is a connoisseur of delicate joints.

Though, Will had to admit, that all dressed up like this, he did feel drop dead gorgeous.

He probably couldn’t kill a man with his ankles, but his coiffed hair could butcher a bitch.

Huh. Look at that alliteration.

I’m so…

Damn what’s the word?

Eloquent.

I’m so eloquent.

Chiyoh silently exited the bathroom, with a flare of her skirt that clearly meant 'follow me'. Will trailed behind her, trying desperately to ignore the urge to run his hands through his hair. As they walked into the living room, Will realized that Bedelia was already here, typing something out on her phone.

Le Chiffre's assistant looked up when she heard them approach, slipping her phone into a shiny clutch, before looking at them with a sharp smile.

She was wearing an extreme v-necklined dress with a floor length skirt in a deep plum purple, and heels from hell allowed her to loom over him.

Unlike Hannibal, who had this aura that just couldn't be captured by photos, Bedelia was exactly like Will had expected.

Perfect blonde hair and sharp blue eyes. A straight nose and a slim face. Long manicured nails and soft palms. A tenseness to her posture that reminded him of a trigger on a machine gun.

“Is this the famed Mr. Graham?” she asked, using a tone that made it sound like Will was famous for selling macaroni socks or something.

Which wasn’t the worst thing in the world by any count.

After all, he could be selling banana gloves instead, which would be downright embarrassing.

“That would be me.” Will gave her a bitchy smile.

In reaction to his sarcasm, Will could literally see Bedelia sizing him up with a sharp look in her eyes and a tight smile.

Tight.

A string pulled taut, just waiting and ready to fire.

There was so much rage and sadism shattering against themselves inside her that she had to spend all her days sharpening and polishing them. Gleefully waiting the moments that she was allowed to use them properly.

Bedelia clucked her tongue, nodding towards Chiyoh, “You did dress him up very well.”

“He was a very… moldable piece of clay.”

That didn’t sound like a compliment.

Bedelia hummed like she knew exactly what kind of shady shit Chiyoh was implying, before looking at him with a plastic smile.

“Shall we? The game is likely about to start.”

She held her arm out like she was the man, and there was no way Will was taking that lying down, so he held his arm out like he didn’t see hers and kept staring at her.

And stared at her.

He added a brief nose crinkle, just to be adorably annoying.

And with narrowed eyes, Bedelia took his arm, holding it with two hands and a sigh.

“Sure,” Will finally answered, grinning like a winner, “Let’s go.”

Chapter Text

Will and Bedelia walking into the elevator together, very much detached at the arm.

With a graceful movement, Bedelia pressed the button for the Parking lot and then swiped her hotel card to make the elevator doors close.

“Any reason we’re going to the parking lot?” Will asked, wondering if Bedelia was about to pull an angsty teenager and buy drugs from a guy in an Abercrombie hoodie.

With a disgusted look, Bedelia shook her head, “The P,” she paused condescendingly, “Is for Private. As in the Private Casino rooms.”

Will rolled his eyes, completely done with her attitude.

The elevator doors open, and she grabbed Will’s elbow; there was something oddly intimate the way she wrapped herself around his arm, as if she was adding Will’s presence to her own. Like even after Will had won the argument, it was his body that became conquered in Bedelia’s campaign.

Exhaling loudly, Will looked around as they walked out of the elevator.

He’d been expecting some shitty carpeting, smoky rooms with poor lighting. It wasn’t like that at all.

And while the hotel was beautiful, it was clear that this area was where all the black money congregated themselves. Everything was clean and sharp. The floor was a polished white marble, and the walls were a deep, plum purple. Gold accents lit up the hallway and warm, golden light reflected off the floor.

With a firm tug, Bedelia moved him along to the two security guards blocking the entrance to the main floor.

Two tall, hulking beasts that barely managed to fit into their suits. They could have been advertising testosterone for how damn ridiculous they looked. Definitely belonging to the hotel, Will decided, unable to imagine that this is what Le Chiffre thought what constituted as suitable protection.

Hannibal’s preferences were sorely apparent in his choice of bodyguard: Chiyoh. The woman’s body had been tall and lithe, almost delicate in the right light, hiding corded muscles and a brutal efficiency that was often deadly.

“Names?” Testosterone Container #1 said.

“Tiffany Isben and this is…”

Will blinked at the name, wondering just where the hell Bedelia got Tiffany Isben from, before realizing the initials matched up to TI, which was her nickname.

Fuck that’s clever.

“William G- Holmes,” he said, catching himself before he made a terrible mistake.

While the bodyguard simply nodded, recognizing the names on the list, Bedelia sent him a look that clearly said, you’re an idiot.

Bodyguard 2 walked up to them with a metal detector, sweeping over both Will and Bedelia with slow, weighted movements. Their muscles weren’t doing anything more than making it impossible for them to touch their toes, Will decided.

He wouldn’t be able to overpower them, obviously. He jogged his dogs everyday but that was pretty much all of his exercise, which didn’t give him more than toned legs and a flat stomach. But, he might be able to disable them, if need be.

Somehow, the scanner didn’t raise any alarms, and the two testosterone containers gestured for them to enter.

Will leaned in to whisper in Bedelia’s ear as they walked in arm in arm, “Are you telling me, that you didn’t bring a gun? Because I find that idea rather ridiculous.”

She turned her head, giving him a sardonic look, “I’m an accountant, Mr. Holmes.”

“So no weapons? At all? That’s what you’re telling me?”

This line of questioning was about 65% professional curiosity and a solid 35% of personal no-fucking-way.

“Well,” Bedelia’s husky voice whispered as she leaned into the crook of his neck, “To be honest, I do have a calculator tucked between my breasts.”

That’s so not funny, Will told himself suppressing a smile.

That could have been a roundabout confession, but they both knew Will wasn’t going to check.

“Tease.”

“Hick.”

“Exhausting.”

“Exasperating.”

They both looked away from each other, twitching lips in stoic straight lines. A few people glanced in their direction before turning away from the man and woman standing by the entrance, but for the most part no one seemed to be making them any mind,

Well. There was one person.

A man in a slightly ill-fitting department store suit, and a posture used to compensating for a gun holster on his left hip.

CIA Agent Richard Dell.

Upon seeing him with Bedelia, the Agent’s eyes widened, before settling in a mask of indifference, quick enough for Will to consider it impressive. With a well-concealed pointed look, the agent turned back towards the bar.

And for the first time all day, Will realized just how morally grey his actions have been up until now. The agent could very easily get him suspended. Hell, Will would report any agent who pulled this shit during an investigation. Moves like these aren’t conducted without multiple consultations and discussions, and by appearing here, like this, Will not only put Agent Dell on the spot, but he put the entire CIA operation at risk.

When he’d been been a cop in New Orleans, he’d once had to turn away a box of freshly baked cookies from an apologetic teenager, since officers couldn’t accept gifts from people they officially reprimanded. And today, Will had gone out to lunch with a criminal, gone back to a criminal’s hotel room, and proceeded to leave said room wearing a suit worth 8 times more than the one he’d worn going in.

His feet began to move him toward the Agent, only to feel five sharp nails digging into his suit jacket.

Will had never seen Bedelia’s face without the disinterested veil she donned perpetually, so it came as a bit of a shock to see her glaring at him.

Soft hands strangled his throat, squeezing the life out of him in maternal righteousness, and once he was spasming from his lack of air, they let him go.

Wil fell to the ground with a thump and Bedelia climbed over him with steely eyes, ignoring his gasping pleas as she forces his mouth open.

Will struggled against her hold as he felt her fingers brush against his tongue. A soft, lulling hum escaped her throat as she forced her hand down Will’s throat.

Senselessly trying to break Will from the inside, the way he’s done to her poor, innocent Hannibal. A ripped open throat is hardly a-

“We are choosing to trust you. Don’t make us regret it,” her whiskey voice is low and hard, staccato like the first play in billards.

“Why don’t you just get rid of me?” Will asked, knowing he was sorta cheating by kinda reusing a line.

“If it was up to me, we’d have cut out your tongue,” she said bluntly, the violent quickly dripping away from her expression, “Can’t share secrets if you can’t speak.”

“Why don’t you then?”

 “Le Chiffre likes rimming. And I imagine it’s difficult to do without something to rim with”, she shrugged, like she hadn’t just said what she did, “I’m not going to deny him the indulgence if I can help it.”

 And perhaps there were more important parts of this conversation to focus on, but Will couldn’t get past…

Hannibal likes rimming.

I like rimming.

We should rim each other- preferably at the same time.

And then Will forced himself to remember that while Hannibal had beautiful enough cheekbones to make the gods cry and the intelligence of a really really smart person, there was no way Will would be able to schedule a mutual rimming appointment as Hannibal was going to be too busy with his previously scheduled meetings: being an evil genius at 6 PM and getting arrested while looking sexy at 10 PM.

“Will, “ Bedelia said, looking at him with a clear what does he see in you expression.

“Yes?”

“That was all I had to say. You can leave now.”

Will blinked, “Oh, right. I know.” He gets a hold of himself like he wasn’t just trying to schedule a rimming appointment with Hannibal Lecter and walks towards Agent Dell with a sheepish expression.

Chapter Text

Agent Dell spoke only after Will had walked all the way over.

“I have multiple questions,” he whispered, his voice just a little irritated, “But my first one is, did you just blow my cover?”

Will blinked, surprised- again- at the agents’ intelligence.

Maybe I should start giving the man a bit more credit.

Will shook his head, already having thought of this during his shower, “No. Han- Le Chiffre knows the entire CIA operation. He called me out of the lobby this morning, so I’m sure he could name all six of us by name.”

“Okay so you didn’t blow my cover, but you also failed to tell me that my cover had already been blown?” he asked.

And damn if he didn’t make Will sound like an utter bastard.

“I… guess I didn’t.”

The agent sighed, “Okay. Second question- I came back to your hotel room at four, and you weren’t there. Where were you?”

Will blinked, weighing his options before carefully answering, “I was having a late lunch.”

Technically, I’m not lying.

Technically, I’m also an asshole.

Dell narrowed his eyes, but likely couldn’t tell that Will was lying (Will’s only tick was curling his toes, which, as one could probably guess, was the Benedict Cumberbatch of nervous ticks).

“Okay. Third question- what in the hell were you doing with Bedelia Du Maurier?”

Will opened his mouth to answer.

Well, you see when I told Hannibal Lecter to come and kill me, he took that as an invitation to flirt with me. And after spending the afternoon being hand fed by a person on INTERPOL’s most wanted list, there was a shooting, which I also forgot to report to you, oops. And well, I passed out, and the man who probably has an unhealthy obsession with Pretty Woman decided I was his Vivian and nursed me back to full health. And since I might still have been a little shaky, the criminal accountant and his troupe of badass, passive-aggressives decided I needed an escort. And Bedelia decided she was the woman for the job.

Holding back a sigh, Will looked out into the room, seeing Bedelia effortlessly ease her way into a conversation with a dark glass of wine and a mysterious smile.

Keeping his eyes on her, Will answered, “She cornered me in the elevator. She tried to intimidate me into leaving or switching sides. I’m not really sure- she lost me when she threatened to cut out my tongue.”

The Agent nodded seriously at the threat, like he sympathized with Will being in grave danger; but literally, Will was desperately holding back laughter.

Because.

Like seriously.

Rimming, though.

“Really, Dell,” Will said through a grimace, “I’ve been trying my best. It’s just difficult for me to adjust to being around so many people. Back in the states, I’m pretty damn good example of a hermit.”

And suddenly, a flood of pity swept through Dell’s face, no doubt remembering the countless things he’d been told about Will.

He’s a sensitive one, Will Graham. The guy needs kid gloves, but if treated right, he can do great.

I wouldn’t use him. He’s unstable. He could very easily spend the entirety of the trip overwhelmed by the new environment as he would be of use to you.

That crazy? Why would you want him? Will Graham is a murderer waiting to happen.

With a soft nod, Dell whispered, “I understand it must be difficult… with your condition.”

I’m not pregnant. Jesus.

“But, from now on, we have to work as a team, okay? I know the FBI is more individually based, but we’re meant to be a tight-knit group.”

Will nods.

Dell’s eye soften, and Will knows that he’s forgiven; being consistently underestimated is probably the only advantage of having rumors of your mental instability spread faster than Ax body spray in a middle school hallway.

Comfortable, Will looked around the room, finally allowing himself to look at Hannibal, only to realize the man wasn’t here. And neither was Chiyoh for that matter.

“Where’s Han- Le Chiffre?” Will corrected.

The aliases were really starting to get annoying.

Fuck it.

 I’m just going to call everyone ‘bro’.

“He was here earlier,” Dell responded, turning towards the bar to order a drink, “He’s likely having a final meeting with the bank, Swiss bank accounts have an annoying amount of paperwork.”

Damn. That’s the income bracket I want to be in. Where the most annoying aspect of my relationship with my bank is the amount of paper work.

I want to be annoyed by paperwork. I want to be able to comfortably afford sliced mango from Publix. I just want to be able to afford the medical bills for a thousand dogs.

Or fifty.

Fifty dogs is a reasonable goal. Right?

“Bourbon for me- You want anything, Will?”

Drinking probably wouldn’t be a good idea.

“Whiskey. Three fingers.”

The bartender poured their drinks with an elegant flourish that had Will slightly envious; she slid both their drinks towards them, before walking back down to the woman at the other end of the bar.

“Anyway- Well, since I couldn’t finish up earlier- let me give you a quick crash course, okay?”

Will nodded, taking a sip of the whiskey, and then frowning.

This is some fancy-ass bullshit. Is it brewed from flowers?

My throat is supposed to burn like the pits of hell, not feel refreshed and tingly.

“There’s about thirty minutes before the game starts, so we’ve got a little time. Thirteen players including Le Chiffre, a twenty-five million dollar buy-in and ten million dollar buyback. I know you work better with a bit of background, so we’ll spend this time describing people? I was planning on doing this earlier, but, as you know, you were a tad unavailable. One of these people is the M16 agent, though we have no idea who, and we assume they have no idea who we are. ”

Agent Dell begins pointing everyone out.

“The Indian woman in the far left is Leela Singh. Though she goes by ‘Sunthera’ which means pretty face in Hindi. She runs one of the biggest human trafficking rings in the world. While it’s her money in the pot, the young man is the one playing.”

She was tall, thin, and caramel skinned- late thirties- flashing a killer smirk in a tight, floor-length black dress. A cute, college-age blonde man looking around the room with an excited, over-zealous expression, but keeping his arm anxiously wrapped around Sunthera’s waist. At the far wall, three Indian men stood shoulder to shoulder with their hands behind their backs.

“The woman in red, next to Sunthera- We can’t actually find her name- just that she’s from China, goes by Doctor Formaldehyde, and heads one of the most efficient and reliable organ suppliers in the black market. As their businesses are rather intertwined- she’s very good friends with Ms. Singh.”

Bony Asian woman-late thirties- with a sleek black bob and pointed grey eyes that appeared to be appraising everyone’s health and approximate organ worth. She had a loose, gauzy red dress on, which matched the pocket square of the sharp eyed man speaking with her, and with the two feet of  space between them, only the glinting wedding rings gave any sense of intimacy. One of the Indian bodyguards had their gaze focused gaze on the Chinese couple.

“The blonde girl talking to Sunthera is Marissa Newberry. Runs a white supremacist cult in France with over 6,000 members in the country and abroad. She’s a firm believer in pretense and politeness, so she won’t cause any trouble.”

A cute, wide-eyed brunette- late twenties- in a coral pink dress that flared out at the waist and ended above the knee. She too was bubbling with bell-like laughter at Sunthera’s joke. Her date was a smiling, blonde woman who held onto Marissa’s hand like a besotted puppy. A couple steps away were two cult members keeping careful watch over their master.

“The man talking to them is hacker, goes by M. He controls a team of six, maybe seven, hackers, who specialize in identity theft. He’s screwed up thousands of people’s lives in just this past year.”

The man- late twenties- had slick, shiny black hair and sharp features that came from a lack of nutrition. He was loose lined with a very tight suit and jittery hands. He would have been completely insufferable looking, if it wasn’t for his wide, innocent eyes and the way he was practically draped over his date a stereotypically attractive blonde man with a California tan, a warm expression, and a thick red scar cutting through his face and down his neck.

 “The woman at the bar talking to the woman in a blue dress- Lisa Yakovna. Basically a one-woman Russian boot camp. She trains the best black market muscle in the world. Her bodyguards are quite literally the Gucci of the bodyguard sector.”

Tall, sturdy woman- early forties- with sharp cheekbones, a pixie cut of black hair, and the lazy grace of someone completely in touch with their body. She wore a navy suit and a white blouse, looking more masculine and powerful than most men in the room yet still effortlessly managing to look beautiful. Yakovna was nursing a bottle of beer and flirting with her delicate-looking female date while two other suited women scanned the room.

“The couple over there? The man is Cumar Tadalesh, Nigerian War Lord. He’s got his claws into so many oil deposits that if you want to buy Nigerian oil, you might as well just pay the man directly, more dignity that way. The pregnant woman is his wife, Olayemi.”

5’7’’, lean African man- late thirties- with scarred skin and warm eyes.  An expensive, tailored tan suit with gold cufflinks and calloused, nimble hands. His smooth-chocolate complexioned wife was smaller, curvy and dainty in a pixie way, dressed in a thick, pale-yellow chiffon dress, which rutched purposefully around her pregnant stomach. She was clearly restless:  moving every couple minutes- sitting down in a chair, then standing, then touching her toes, then hanging off her husband’s neck, before sitting on the plush floor carpet, frowning at her heeled shoes.

 

Will took another sip of the Whiskey, deciding that while it definitely wasn’t Whiskey- it wasn’t half bad.

 

“The guy over in the corner, Vincent Jenkins. He’s one of the best corporate hackers out there. For him, fortune 500 companies are little more than glorified savings accounts.”

Tall, stocky, blonde man- early thirties-with an easy smile and a roguish gentleman look about him. He was wearing a very well fitting tuxedo, and in easy conversation with his date. His date was tall and pale, wearing a sparkly black dress with a revealing neckline. Oddly, Will couldn’t seem to find any of their bodyguards.

“The two men over there? The pot-bellied man is an opium producer and distributor. Leo Aldana. He’s responsible for over 23% of the world’s opium, with plants in Mexico, Afghanistan, and Vietnam.”

A greying man- late forties-, with a confident press of his lips and a misogynistic set to his posture. His suit was a size too small, and his date was a decade too young. A young, blonde girl who looked very uncomfortable underneath the mask of stupid happiness. Against a wall were two suited men with muscles for days and a blank look in their eyes.

“Speaking to him is, Liam Beckett,” the agent’s voice drops to a whisper, “our agent, Agent Budge, pretending, to be one of the more prolific gun traffickers, specifying in siphoning military-grade weapons from western countries and pouring them back into the market.”

Lean, athletic man- mid-thirties- with an elegant posture, dark intelligent eyes, and smooth deep brown skin. His teeth were bared in a smile while he nonchalantly looks back at Will and Agent Dell with a raised eyebrow silently asking ‘does he know?’, before turning back and pretending to listen to whatever the drug lord was saying.

“The group of women speaking to Bedelia- The woman in a hijab is Rani Mirza. People call her Dr. Frankenstein. She was an Oxford graduated chemist, who decided that creating chemical weapons would pay better. 17% of all the chemical weapons in the middle east come from her.”

She was a tall, slender woman- early forties-, wearing a flowing emerald green gown with delicate gold embroidery and a gold hijab framing her face. She had thick black glasses and an intelligence in her eyes that made even Will feel uncomfortable. She was the only woman without a date, but the grace and poise in her posture made it indescribably clear that she really didn’t need one. With her was a woman taking notes on her phone, likely an assistant.

“And speaking to them, the woman in maroon. Malika Yesmin. Runs Blood Diamond operations in Sierra Leone and Angola. She easily has the highest death toll in the room. Also, she’s killed all seven of her late husbands. So I’d give her a wide berth.”

A caramel-skinned woman with curves belonged on a barbie doll more than a human being. She was biting a finger teasingly as she nodded along with what Bedelia said. Her movements were slow and sensuous, completely swallowing the man- escort- next to her. There were two thin, gold needles sticking out of her bun, and Will had no doubt she could kill someone with them. One bodyguard with a pin straight posture and flexible joints stood against the wall.

“And the couple on their phones to the left are Mr. and Mrs. Bellerose. She steals priceless art, and he forges their replacements. We can only estimate that they’ve stolen over 2.1 billion dollars worth of art in this year alone.”

The two of them were very easily the youngest in the group, in their early twenties, and it showed. The woman had a loose, casual boho dress and thick white glasses, while the man only wore slacks, a button-down, suspenders, and a bow tie. They both were tapping away at their phone screens, holding hands in a casual display of intimacy.

“I know it’s a lot to remember but even a little information might help you in the long run.”

Will nodded, feeling like it was the first day of school and he had been assaulted by 25 eager pre-teens. Though the agent did have a point, as Will felt far more solid and in-the-moment than he did beforehand. Knowing the personalities he was subconsciously empathizing with would help with preventing it from influencing him too greatly.

“So, Mr. Beckett, is he any good?” Will questioned, watching the dark-skinned agent flash a charming smile to the Opium dealer.

Very. We had a couple of practice games at the Agency. He won every single time.”

The agent threw another calculated glance in their direction, long enough for Will to understand the acknowledgment and subtle enough that it wouldn’t be suspicious.

Intelligence. Pompously polished and razor sharp.

A mind that considered itself the maestro of any situation.

He’d play Will so well. Cooing soft assurances as nimble fingers and strong arms pulled him taut. Breaking bones and tearing skin until Will was as thin as a wire.

Then would come the bleaching. And the acid bath. The sanding. The polishing. The varnish.

Before Will is finally pretty enough to play, a prepared instrument-

“Do you have any history with poker?” the agent asked, “I’d forgotten to ask earlier.”

It took Will a moment to realize that his body wasn’t crippled into an impossible thinness and his tongue wasn’t a bleached pile of ash. “A little, from when I was a cop,” Will answered, “Texas hold ‘em was a frequent happy hour activity.”

Just how kinky is Agent Beckett? Like. Who. The. Fuck. Is sexually attracted to violins?

Not kink shaming… But- violins though.

The agent nodded, “Right, well, you don’t have to be an expert to read people’s faces, I suppose.”

Will nodded, looking around the room, only to realize Hannibal was back.

Standing across the room in a tight, double-breasted maroon suit and gelled hair.

And he was looking right at Will, with an absolutely rakish smile.

Fuck me.

Can he?

Please?

Will turned to ask Agent Dell, before realizing the question likely wasn’t the most professional of questions. Instead, he whispered, “Le Chiffre.”

 “Oh,” the Agent sighed, “He’s back. Creepy fucker. Why is he staring at you?”

“No idea,” Will rasped, still making eye-contact with Hannibal.

Those eyes, too far away for Will to see their deep maroon coloring, looked Will up and down with a slow, seductive confidence. By the slightly raised eyebrow, it was clear Hannibal knew exactly what that gaze was doing to Will.

But. The absolute worst part was when, Hannibal tilted his fucking head, emphasizing those cheekbones and his hard jaw. The movement clearly saying, come over here, darling.

Oh, sweet Jesus, I think I just came.

Wait.

Okay, sorry, false alarm.

Will’s mouth was dry, and it took all of his strength to look down at his drink, a soft, coy rejection.

He’s a criminal.

Stop it, Will Graham.

He also saved your life.

The least you could do is flirt back.

With that thought, Will looked up, only to Hannibal walking towards him, slim hips swaying ever so slightly in a tall, straight posture.

Oh god.

“Is he coming over here?” Dell whispered, incredulity coloring his tone.

“Seems so.”

Both of them watched as Hannibal politely maneuvered his way around people attempting to pull him into conversation. The human trafficking lady tried to engage Hannibal in conversation as he passed, but Le Chiffre just gave her a nod and continued his path.

The accountant wasn’t making eye contact with Will, but the smug smile was still present on his face.

Will downed the rest of his hippy juice, needing a bit of courage, as the accountant was almost right in front of him.

“William,” Hannibal greeted, as Will lowered the glass.

“Le Chiffre,” Will answered, feeling uncomfortable, unsure how Hannibal wanted this conversation to go.

“Won’t you introduce me to Mr. Marrs?” Hannibal asked.

At the Agent Dell’s widened eyes, Will had no doubt that Hannibal just dropped the man’s real name.

Le Chiffre took another step towards Will, standing very close to Will, so much so that Will and Hannibal appeared to be a pair speaking to Agent Dell, instead of the other way around.

“Um. Le Chiffre this is Mr. Dell, Dell this is Le Chiffre. There. Did you need anything?” Will asked, trying to cut this conversation as short as possible.

Hannibal smiled, putting a soft hand on Will’s shoulder. “I wanted to check on you. The last time I saw you, you were dead asleep in my bed.”

That. Sounded like something that didn’t happen.

Will glanced at Dell, only to see the man looking back at Will with wide eyes.

“Right, well, I’m fine now. Thank you. I just passed out, nothing major,” Will answered, desperately trying to shut this down, but at the same time, struggling to not hyperventilate at just how close Le Chiffre’s hand was to his neck.

Hannibal smiled at him, looking at him with mild amounts of guilty protectiveness and amusement. “Yes, I’m afraid it was my fault, wasn’t it, for tiring you out?”

Hannibal’s words were laced with innuendo and sensuality and for a moment Will had to ask himself:

Did I fuck Hannibal Lecter?

Will paused for a moment, tensing his ass muscles.

Nope. Not sore.

Then again, Hannibal could just be the deity of foreplay.

“It was just lunch, Hannibal. Not your fault.”

At that, Hannibal perked up, beaming at Will like a proud child, “Thank you for forgiving me, Will.”

As he said so, Hannibal’s hand slowly slipped from Will’s shoulder down to his waist, possessively curling his arm around the slimmest part of Will’s body.

“I’m not… That wasn’t what I was doing,” Will frowned, unconsciously leaning into Hannibal’s arm.

Pretending like Will hadn’t spoken, Hannibal turned towards Dell, “Would you mind if I borrowed dear William for a few minutes.”

Dell opened his mouth, but no sound came out, entirely blind-sided at the aggressively affectionate accountant.

Aggressively Affectionate Accountant.

That’s an alliteration I never thought I’d say.

“No? Lovely,” Hannibal answered on Dell’s behalf. Then the accountant turned back towards Will, looking at him with adoring eyes, “Join me?”

Hannibal bowed his head slightly, as if Will was princess of the kingdom, and for some reason the deference was incalculably sexy.

“Fine,” Will sighed, heart beating thunderously, linking his arm through Hannibal’s, allowing himself to be gently guided towards a secluded corner of the room.

Chapter Text

Hannibal’s arm was gentle weight around Will’s waist, settling in the arch of his back and coming back around to Will’s front, resting a flat palm against Will’s abdomen.

It was- hands down- the most possessive embrace Will had ever been in.

 Will took a deep, shaky breath; ever so away of not only Hannibal’s arm, but also the way the accountant’s body pressed up against his own, longer legs and broader shoulders looming over his own like a shield.

When they reached a secluded corner of the room, Will waiting for Hannibal to move away. He didn’t.

Instead, the man slowly brought a hand around Will’s neck, softly brushing the skin.

“Um, Hannibal-” Will started.

“You look very dashing, William. A true siren. I can only hope you will merciful with my fate,” Hannibal whispered, grabbing Will’s hand and pressing a soft kiss to the knuckles.

It was sweet, and weird, but mostly sweet.

And then Will remembered that Agent Dell and literally everyone else in the room could see them.

Hannibal,” Will hissed, grabbing his hand back.

“What is it, William? Are you feeling unwell?” Hannibal asked, looking down at Will with a concerned expression.

“What? No. And stop fucking interrupting me.”

At the harsh tone, Hannibal squinted, like Will was the weird one.

“Are you sure you’re feeling well? You may still be shaken up from the shooting,” Hannibal pressed a hand against Will’s forehead, “Perhaps you should go back up to my room, Chiyoh can take care of you.”

At this, Will had to blink.

Because if I’m mad at Hannibal, there’s got to be something wrong with me.

What. An. Asshole.

A small voice at the back of Will’s head chirps, ‘Yah, he’s kinda an international criminal. Interpol doesn’t put just anyone on their watch list. Interpol is the hottest girl at school, the Google of employers, you’re going to need a really douche-y personality and a first class resume to get on that list.

“Are you serious?” Will finally asked.

Furrowed brows and an even more concerned expression. “Of course.”

Will took a deep breath, and then another, suppressing an urge to strangle the man.

“Okay. Frankly, I find this insulting. You are going to be honest with me, or I swear I will arrest you here and now, poker game be damned.”

It was almost scary how the innocence drained out of Hannibal’s face. Concern and lust were still apparent on the accountant’s face, but his expression was dark with intelligence, and the effect was striking. The straight posture was straighter and the curious look in his eyes became calculating.

“Better?” Hannibal questioned. His tone was still warm, but there was a mocking undertone that made Will shiver.

If by better, you mean scary as fuck, then yes, I suppose this is ‘better’.

Will only paused for a second, before answering, “Yes, thank you. Now, would you like to get your hand off my neck?

Hannibal gave him a small, hard smile, “I really can’t.”

“I’m sure you can.”

“Well, I could technically speaking, but that would hardly work in your favor, dear Will.”

“Excuse me?”

Hannibal bent down, edging his face close to Will’s, warm breath fanning over Will’s skin, whispering, “No one here is an idiot, dear one. We are all very much aware that both the FBI and MI6 are here. The only question is who. Allowing me to introduce you to people, ensures that a fog of doubt does not trail you for the rest of the night. While it may not appear so, everyone is watching us, and walking away from me now, especially in an agitated manner, will cause your ruse to unravel far sooner than you’d like.”

The only thing I’m going to unravel is your goddamn face. Actually, no, because your face is gorgeous and I’d never be able to put it back together again, and your face deserves a better fate than humpty dumpty. But still goddamn you.

“Are you saying that you’ve forced me to hang out with you? Because it seems like that’s what you’re saying.”

Hannibal smiled. A very clear fuck me or fuck off smile. “Of course not. Shall we? My friends will adore you.”

Will sighed. His fingers were twitching from the overwhelming urge to strangle the man, but there was no denying that Hannibal had backed him into a corner.

“You’re an asshole,” Will whispered in a sing-song tone.

Hannibal frowned, “Rude, Will.”

“You’re rude.”

Hannibal gasped softly, “I. Am. Not.”

Will nodded, pursing his lips like a bitch, “Yes. You. Are.”

“I’m trying very hard not to be offended right now, William,” Hannibal said, as if he had the moral high ground.

The only high ground the man had was his steaming pile of bullshit.

“Well, I already am offended. So welcome to the club.”

 We do have some positions available. Treasurer. Secretary. Vice-President.

 Literally everything except for President, because I’m at peak so-freaking-done right now. I’d suggest Treasurer considering your mad financial skills, but I mean if you want to try and diversify your skill set then that’s okay too.

Hannibal took a deep breath, light honey-yellow eyelashes fluttering against his sharp cheekbones, as his eyes shut. When they opened, deep maroon and icy grey orbs displayed again, he looked at Will with a bright, plastic smile.

“Will. Dear. It would be an honor to introduce you to my friends.”

“Well. When you ask so nicely.”