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Liberated

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Will was bent over Hannibal's desk, naked, sweating and recovering from a thoroughly enjoyable orgasm when the world darkened again.

 

It had been three months since the incident with Hannibal's patient, Greg Walker.

 

Three months since Will and Hannibal had admitted that they loved each other.

 

A lot had changed in three months. Some things were quite small; Will's hair had been trimmed, his ankle was healing well and he could walk again, and he had gained six pounds from constantly eating the delicious food Hannibal prepared.

 

Some things were a little bigger; Abigail was a permanent part of their life. She had been staying with them, and Hannibal had been tutoring her so that she could go to college. Will had moved in officially with Hannibal, along with his dogs, much to Hannibal's irritation.

 

Some things were huge. Hannibal had not killed, at all, in those three months.

 

Every morning, Will woke up to find Hannibal smiling down at him. He was told every day that he was loved.

 

Life was- impossibly- happy.

 

Will's rough checked shirts were folded in a drawer with Hannibal's smooth ones. His scuffed shoes shared the rack with Hannibal's polished ones. Two toothbrushes nestled together by the sink.

 

Hannibal was teaching Will- slowly- how to cook. Will had attempted to teach Hannibal to fish.

 

Abigail had taught them both things. Patience and humour.

 

Will had woken up one night to find the bed empty. He had found Hannibal holding a sobbing Abigail in her bedroom, where she had clearly had a nightmare. The idea of Hannibal as a parent, as a caregiver, was bizarrely beautiful.

 

Will had questioned him about it the next morning, and Hannibal had merely responded quietly, “We are her fathers now.”

 

There were other things he found fascinating about living with Hannibal. His moods were mercurial at the best of times, but mornings found him at his most grumpy, and Will's cheerful morning moods annoyed him.

 

Will stumbled across a notebook in which Hannibal had drawn nothing but Will- dozens of sketches, including one from the first day they had met. Some were violent, and depicted him holding a knife. In some, he appeared to be sleeping. In a particularly grim one, Will was holding Hannibal's dead body.

 

Hannibal still possessed this darker side, and Will was always aware of it. They had eaten nothing suspicious since he had arrived, but Will could tell Hannibal was growing tired of chicken and beef. He had dark moods were he kissed Will until both of them had bleeding lips.

 

Generally, though, they were content, although Will was aware it couldn't last.

 

And so it was, in Hannibal's office, with Will bent over the desk, that Hannibal changed the game.

 

“I need to speak with you,” Hannibal said, and Will heard him fastening his trousers.

 

Will was panting, his hands still clawing the wood. He heard the words through his blissful haze, and he knew what was coming, and he knew that Hannibal's timing was deliberate. “Bastard,” he choked out.

 

Hannibal did not reply to that, although Will could imagine his displeased expression.

 

Will struggled to his feet, reaching for his jeans with shaking hands and pulling them on. He pushed his damp hair from his eyes and perched on the desk, eyeing Hannibal, who had sat down on the chair, one leg folded neatly over the other. He looked utterly neat, not a hair out of place.

 

“Bastard,” Will repeated again. He wanted a reaction.

 

Hannibal adjusted his cuffs with steady fingers, one eyebrow cocked as he stared back at Will.

 

“You want to kill again,” Will said.

 

Hannibal inclined his head.

 

“Are you asking my permission?” Will asked, folding his arms. His heart was still thundering.

 

Hannibal clicked his tongue absently before leaning forward in the chair, resting his palms on his knees. “I am asking you to join me.”

 

Will didn't hesitate before responding. “No.”

“It is your true nature, Will. You must embrace it.”

 

“No. Do what you have to do, but leave me out of it.” Will realised as soon as the words had left his mouth that perhaps he had been tricked into agreeing to allow Hannibal to kill. Indeed, there was a certain satisfaction in the way that Hannibal sat back in the chair.

 

“I am disappointed,” Hannibal said gently. Something in his eyes showed that this was the truth.

 

That night, Will sat alone in the dark with a whiskey after Abigail had went to bed. He stared at the clock, watching the hands slowly move. Hannibal was out taking care of his urges. Will hadn't asked for the details- he didn't want to know.

 

He knew he should get an early night. Jack would be ringing tomorrow asking for his help.

 

Instead, he sat waiting for Hannibal.

 

He had known that this would happen eventually. It was the price of a life with Hannibal. A price he had decided to pay.

 

A little after two, he heard Hannibal arrive home. He heard the sounds of him moving about in the kitchen. He waited a while, not sure he could handle the sight of anything that would make what Hannibal had done tonight feel any more real.

 

Eventually, he walked into the kitchen, knowing he had serious eyes and dark circles, a frowning face and dishevelled hair.

 

Hannibal was down to his shirt, leaning against the counter and sipping wine delicately. His eyes were burning as they travelled from Will's whiskey glass to his face.

 

“Was it worth it?” Will asked.

 

“Why not empathise with me and find out for yourself?” Hannibal said in a low voice.

 

“No.” It was a conscious effort to stay out of Hannibal's head, one he had to fight to make constantly.

 

“Are you scared of what you will find out about me? Or is it a fear of what you would find out about yourself?”

 

Will gritted his teeth. He was on the verge of anger.

 

He had known that he would be unhappy when this moment arrived. He wanted to cry. He wanted to shout. He wanted to punch Hannibal.

 

He was angry. Disappointed. Jealous.

 

Are you feeling regret about your decision to stay with me?” Hannibal asked lightly.

 

Don't say it like that. Don't say it like you don't care.” Will took a step towards him, muscles tense.

 

Hannibal placed his glass down gently and stood up straight.

 

Was it worth it?” Will repeated.

 

You know how it feels to kill someone. You have been inside the heads of many killers, myself included, during your work. You have killed yourself.” Hannibal smiled. “It is always worth it.”

 

Sometimes, I truly hate you,” Will said, surprised to realise it was the truth. He was still slowly advancing on Hannibal, who was standing still.

 

You hate me because I remind you of yourself.” Hannibal leaned forward slightly. “You hate me because I have embraced what I am, and you cannot.”

 

Will punched him.

 

It startled both of them. Hannibal stumbled back, raising a hand to his face. His lip was split and it was bleeding. He was smiling.

 

It was not my intention to touch a nerve, dear Will,” he said in a low, mocking tone, licking his own blood.

 

Will was furious, horrified and aroused. He dived at Hannibal, who caught him easily and reversed their positions, so that Will was pinned against the counter.

 

Hannibal glared down at him, his eyes glowing, still smiling eerily. Will could feel that Hannibal was as aroused as he was. It had been months since he had felt real fear of his lover, but looking into those bright eyes was unsettling and frightening.

 

You once observed,” Hannibal said, bending his head low and murmuring the words into Will's ear, “that you are attracted to danger. I believe that this proves it.”

 

I suppose it does,” Will conceded, bucking his hips involuntarily.

 

You wanted this.” Hannibal was speaking against Will's throat now, rubbing his blood across the skin. Will could feel it, wet and hot. “That is why you waited up. You wanted to taste the moments after the kill, wanted to be a part of it.”

 

Hannibal...” Will was clinging onto his shirt, his anger overshadowed by desire.

 

You belong in the dark. With me.” With that, Hannibal kissed him.

 

Will kissed him back, desperately, taking in the salty metallic twang of Hannibal's blood. Hannibal's fingers squeezed his throat, a little tighter than usual, making Will moan helplessly into the kiss.

 

Shirts were not unbuttoned but were shredded by violent hands. Hannibal wrenching Will's jeans from him hurt his ankle. Will growled at him, and was rewarded with teeth nipping his bottom lip painfully, drawing blood.

 

Hannibal pushed into him roughly, muffling his cry with his hand. Will moaned into Hannibal's palm, his eyes closing, unable to do anything but accept Hannibal's painful, pleasurable onslaught.

 

Afterwards, Hannibal washed the blood from Will's face and neck with a damp cloth. Mercurial as ever, he was calm and gentle again.

 

Will felt that he couldn't look Hannibal in the eye; he often felt that way with nearly everyone, but it had been a long time since he had overcame his aversion when it came to Hannibal.

 

The truth was that Hannibal was right. Will did belong in the dark. It was something that was becoming almost painfully obvious.

 

Did I hurt you?” Hannibal asked.

 

No. Well, yes. But it's fine.”

 

Hannibal tipped his face up firmly, forcing him to make eye contact. “I am sorry.”

 

Don't start that again. We both know it isn't true.”

 

Can we go to bed? I don't want you to be upset.”

 

Apart from the times when you do want that. As much as you love me, I'm still a plaything to you at times, aren't I?”

 

To his surprise, Hannibal gave him a small smile. “I suppose this is what I get for falling in love with someone who understands me.”

 

You promised you would try not to be cruel.”

 

This is me trying not to be cruel.”

 

I give up. Let's go to bed.”

 

Hannibal helped him to his feet. “I hope you always acquiesce that easily in future, Will. It is very gratifying.”

 

Oh, shut up before I punch you again,” Will said, mostly joking.