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Will drags Hannibal out of the sea. He lies on the sand next to Hannibal, both of them stretched out like corpses on their backs. Will stares up at the sky, heavy and low with clouds, the water dragging at his feet. He's so cold the icy water feels hot. Bare, thorny trees claw at the sky, and it begins to rain, as though they've ripped the clouds apart.

He lies still and holds his breath until Hannibal coughs up water and blood, and breathes too. They have fallen together into this next circle of Hell. Salt, and sand, and rain burn in the wound on Will's face, his arm feels like it's on fire. Hannibal reaches out blindly, knuckles skidding across the ground until he can fist his hand in Will's shirt.

"Not yet our end, it seems," Hannibal says, rough, and coughs again, blood in lines down his cheek and chin. "You would have died with me. Will you now live?"

"With you?" Will says. "Don't count your chickens yet, Hannibal."

Will means more that they're both very likely still to die of hypothermia, blood loss, exposure, a hundred other things. He sees Hannibal take it as further indecision and puts his hand over Hannibal's to stop that in its tracks.

"If we live," he clarifies.

Whatever god watches over Hannibal Lecter continues to smile on him. They live.

The veterinarian surgery they break into is sterile and has enough supplies for Hannibal to make do with. He shoots up with Ketamine and performs surgery on himself, the wound mostly just flesh and muscle. He stitches Will's shoulder and face with the utmost tenderness, eyes blown black, all pupil. Will declines anesthesia, one of them has to be functional. Hannibal's hands are cold and his breath smells of blood. He keeps getting distracted, staring at Will's mouth. Will reminds him what they're doing and Hannibal touches his hair reverently, high as a kite.

After he's finished fashioning Will a sling, Hannibal passes out on the operating table. Will, shaky with shock, strips off the rest of his clothes and washes in the sink, water hot enough to turn his hands and face red raw. There are spare scrubs in a closet, ill-fitting, too big, but they're clean, and dry, and warm. He takes a towel, wets it, and begins wiping the blood off Hannibal's face and chest.

It should be strange, he thinks, being so free with another man's body. He hasn't seen this much of Hannibal before, but it feels less inevitable, and more like they must have been here already. Everything they've been through, it seems incredulous that he hasn't seen Hannibal with his shirt off.

His nipples are small and brown, peaked from the cold, from the drag of the cloth, from the adrenaline. Will puts his hand flat on Hannibal's chest to feel him breathing. One of his fingers brushes a nipple. He touches it properly, feels the crinkle of hair around it. He's cold.

Will strips the rest of Hannibal's clothing off, wet and stiff with salt, and lets it fall into a pile on the floor. It's not easy to do with one arm. He rewets the towel and scrubs Hannibal's body, trying to warm him up. Hannibal's body is an animal thing, just like any other. His penis is limp and small against his thigh. His pubic hair is dense and Will wonders if that's from being in the BSHCI, if he usually trimmed, or shaved. Will gets another towel and drapes it over Hannibal's lap before he continues trying to warm up Hannibal's hands and feet.

X X X

No one is at Will's house. Not Molly and Walter, not the FBI. Hannibal disappears for a few minutes while Will is moving the canned food into the boat. When he returns he has two suitcases filled with linens, Will's clothing, and all Will's first aid supplies.

Will showers, careful of his stitches, and takes the painkillers Hannibal gives him. He lies in his bed, in the bed he shared with Molly, in t-shirt and boxers, drugged, staring into space. He'd thought the sheets might still smell like Molly, but they just smell a little musty.

When Hannibal finally comes out of the bathroom, after a small eternity in the shower, he smells of Molly's soap and shampoo and he's wearing a pair of Will's boxers snug around his hips. Will continues to stare at the ceiling as Hannibal gets into the bed with him. He can hear Hannibal's breath hitch, as though he's going to speak, but he doesn't say anything.

"D'you take painkillers?" Will asks.

"No," Hannibal says. "It's my turn to keep watch."

Will turns his head just enough to see Hannibal, head on the pillow next to him. "Just take the fucking drugs," Will says. "No one's looking here."

Hannibal takes the painkillers and goes to sleep. Will lies awake for a little longer. He feels good, floating in his skin, half hard. He's too stoned to move, sex is a far away thought. It's warm under the sheets, nice in the way that sharing intimate space with someone else is nice. He's drifting off when Hannibal shifts, leg bumping up against Will's and Will is suddenly very aware of Hannibal's body. The smell of him, the weight of him on the mattress. Sex is no longer such a distant idea. A small noise, somewhere between a groan and a breath comes out of Will's mouth.

"Hannibal," he says, but Hannibal is asleep.

He puts his hand on his cock, gives himself something to push against, but doesn't do more than that. Will lies in the dark and aches. He doesn't remember falling asleep.

X X X

Will wakes up with Hannibal spooned around him and it's so strange to be the little spoon that it takes Will a moment to realize Hannibal's hard cock is pressed against his back.

Will moves away, sitting up. The room is cold and he immediately wants to curl back up under the blankets, but he thinks he might be panicking a little bit. His face hurts but his shoulder is already so much scar tissue that the stab wound doesn't feel nearly as bad.

"Will?" Hannibal says, eyes slitting open.

"It's morning," Will says. "We should go." He gets dressed in the bathroom.

Will's clothing doesn't fit Hannibal very well. Up in the attic there's a box of Walter senior's things that Molly was holding onto for Wally. They fit Hannibal a little better. In the grand scheme of things, Will figures he's done worse to Molly. Whether he's declared dead, or she divorces him in absentia it doesn't matter. He's gone.

It takes both of them to hitch Will's sailboat up to the back of their stolen car. Hannibal is moving very slowly, half curled over himself, hand hovering over his side. Will can't use his right arm.

The boat's too big for the car to pull properly, and they burn through gas more quickly than Will would like, but it's the wee hours of the morning, and no one's on the roads yet. He directs them down to the marina, Hannibal behind the wheel. It's a dangerous job with just the two of them, but Will unstraps the boat from its trailer and stands on the dock, heaving lines in hand, as Hannibal backs the trailer up.

Almost immediately the weight of the boat starts to pull the car along with it. Hannibal gets out just before the front end of the car is dragged into the ocean, standing in water up to his knees. They watch as the car goes under and the boat, deep enough now, floats free of the trailer.

"Should one of us ask the other if they are certain?" Hannibal says, walking down the dock to join Will. "That this new path can be taken alone, that we might survive such a separation."

"No," Will says and takes Hannibal's elbow so he can help him onto the boat.

X X X

They head out to sea, south bound. If Hannibal has any genius escape plans, or false identities stashed away, he doesn't mention them. He seems happy to follow Will's lead. Once they're away from shore, he takes more painkillers and some antibiotics. He's listing where he sits, watching Will pilot the boat.

The icy wind is harsh on Will's face, he feels flayed open. He tugs his wedding ring off, holds it for a minute, and then lets it slip from his hand into the sea. You go off a cliff with someone, that's death do you part. And they're not dead yet.

"What?" Will asks, when the silence gets heavy.

"If I was in less pain, I might believe this was all a dream." Hannibal's voice is slurred from the drugs. "Perhaps I died on that cliff."

Will has a flask of whiskey in his coat. He opens it and takes a slug. "You and your goddamn teacups. It's real, Hannibal. So be here, be with me."

Hannibal sits quietly, just watching him, until his eyes start to close. Will kicks his foot. "Go lie down," Will says.

There's a perfectly good bed below decks, but Hannibal just stretches out next to Will, head on his thigh. Hannibal smiles at him, soft and unfocused. "My dear boy," he says. "How I love you."

"I know," Will says. He puts his free hand in Hannibal's hair. His head is warm and heavy. Will smoothes a thumb over one of Hannibal's eyebrows. "Get some rest," he says.

X X X

As the sun goes down, Will pilots the boat close enough to shore to drop anchor for the night, somewhere around North Carolina.

Hannibal uses the tiny little kitchen to make what he can of their tins of food while Will reefs the sail and gets everything stowed away. When Will goes below, there is a real dinner waiting for him. Hannibal poured a few fingers of whiskey into dented mugs and set the fold-away table with mismatched cutlery. It's ridiculous, he's laid a tablecloth, folded the napkins nicely, and apparently he'd brought candles because there's a tealight in a sturdy candle holder flickering away.

The food is tinned, there's no saving that, but Hannibal put in the effort and make it look as beautiful and delicious as everything else he has prepared for Will. Will washes his hands and sits. He tells himself it's no more or less romantic than any other meal they've had together. He realizes that means exactly nothing, because Hannibal has loved him for a very long time.

The candlelight softens the hard edges of Hannibal's face as he sits down across from Will. Hannibal catches him looking and says, "The Empress Josephine, in her later years, would only allow Napoleon to see her by candlelight. It forgives many things." He takes a delicate bite of canned fruit.

Will recalls with perfect clarity, the feeling of Hannibal's chest under his cheek, the way he'd looked in the moonlight. "I see you clearly," Will says. "I'd see you even in the dark."

Will takes Hannibal's hand and Hannibal looks at him with such adoration. It's so easy to make him happy, Will thinks.

After dinner, Will washes the dishes, Hannibal dries. Hannibal puts the last plate away and insists on checking Will's stitches. They've all held nicely and don't seem to be infected. Hannibal's hands are gentle on his skin, so careful. He touches Will so carefully, like now Will's willing to let him do it, he doesn't have to leave a mark every time he does.

"May I kiss you?" Hannibal says, raw and hopeful, after he's buttoned Will's shirt up over the new bandage. He looks tired, and rumpled, and so damn happy it makes Will's stomach clench.

"No," Will says, because his face still hurts. Because he's not sure he wants to kiss another man. It's so little a thing, so little, but he just can't. Not yet.

Hannibal doesn't seem overly bothered by that. He helps Will set the bed up, tucked into a dark, cozy space at the prow of the boat.

It's probably early - Will's watch stopped after their jaunt in the ocean, and he doesn't know what time it is - but he's tired and he wants to start sailing at first light. Will strips down to his boxers and gets into the bed. It's hot, tucked away as they are, and he doesn't bother with a t-shirt. It feels like giving ground.

He watches Hannibal get ready for bed, amused. He's never met a man who moisturized, but then, he's never met a man like Hannibal before. Hannibal also stole tea tree oil from the bathroom cabinet in Will's house. He sits on the edge of the bed, shirtless; the branding on his back has healed, thick and white, if there was a design at any point, it's gone now. Hannibal tries to apply the tea tree to the scar but twisting like that is too much for his stomach. Will takes it from him and rubs the oil onto the scar in small circular motions.

"I can't believe you didn't kill Mason," he says.

"Margot had the better claim," Hannibal says. "I couldn't deny her that."

The scar tissue is dense. Will wonders if it pulls, if it's uncomfortable when Hannibal moves in particular ways. He keeps massaging the area. Once the stitches come out of his face, he'll need to do something similar to prevent too much scar tissue. There's no helping his shoulder.

"I won't help you hurt her. Either of them," Will says. "Margot. Alana."

Hannibal turns his head so he can see Will. "I made Alana a promise."

"Good for you," Will says. "It's a lousy promise. They helped you save my life. Don't repay kindness with brutality."

"It was survival, not kindness."

"Hannibal," Will says and knows he's won this round when Hannibal sighs. He puts the little bottle of tea tree oil away and washes his hands.

They get into the bed together and Will hits the lights. It's pitch black in the cabin, the waves rocking them gently. Will's eyes are open but he can't see anything. It doesn't feel entirely real. Hannibal is lying on his side, facing Will. There's no way he can see anything either, but Will still feels his gaze on him like a physical weight.

"May I-" Hannibal says, but doesn't finish. He puts one large hand over Will's cock, warm though the thin cotton of his briefs.

Will digs the heel of his hand into one eye. "Yeah," he says, "okay." Because a handjob isn't worth getting weird about and after so many weeks of pain and stress Will really wants something nice.

Will shoves his shorts down around his knees, then kicks them down to the bottom of the bed. He stares into the blackness as the blankets peel back. The bed dips as Hannibal shifts his weight, and then there's a mouth on Will's cock. He jerks in surprise, grabbing Hannibal's hair.

"Ssssh," Hannibal murmurs, scratching his nails lightly down Will's thighs. He puts Will's cock back in his mouth, wet and warm, and Will can feel the press of his body against Will's leg, the prickle of his chest hair.

It feels really good. The way the boat moves under them, the curl of Hannibal's hand on his thigh, encouraging him to move his hips. Will pets his hand through Hannibal's hair and closes his eyes. He can hear the slick, sucking sounds, obscene and loud in the dark.

It's not enough. There's too much in Will's head to relax into it. Will reaches out, groping in the darkness, until he finds the light switch. "Eyes," he warns, and turns the lights on.

Hannibal is curled up, broad shoulders hunched up over Will's hips, most his weight resting on his thighs. He has one hand between his own legs, and Will can't see what he's doing but the movement of his arm makes it pretty clear.

Hannibal looks up at him, letting Will's cock slip from his mouth. "Will?"

"It's good," Will says, "keep going." He watches Hannibal swallow him back down, cropped hair feathering over his forehead, the scarred line of his back rippling as he blows Will while jerking himself off. It's Hannibal, who has hurt him, and hurt him, and hurt him, sucking on his cock like it's the best thing that ever happened to him.

Will gets a hand back into Hannibal's hair, tugs on it, uses his grip to better fuck up into Hannibal's throat. Hannibal takes it like a pro, eyelashes fluttering against his cheeks when Will holds him down, breathing in deep gulps when Will lets him back up.

He wants to ask if Hannibal did the same for Alana, for Bedelia, so eager to put his mouth on them. So happy to perform this particular sex act for them. He doesn't ask because it makes him sound jealous and petty, and he already knows the answer is yes. He wants to ask how many people Hannibal's had in his bed, if he was thinking of Will.

When Hannibal comes he groans around Will's cock and that's all she wrote for Will. He comes in Hannibal's mouth and isn't the slightest bit surprised when Hannibal swallows, and then rolls onto his back, sideways across the bed, licking his fingers clean of his own cum.

"How's your side?" Will asks.

Hannibal turns his head, eyes half-lidded. He looks very pleased with himself. "Just fine, thank you."

"Get back up here so I can turn the lights off," Will says. He can sleep now, he's tired, knees watery, whole body relaxing.

Hannibal lies down next to him and as Will flicks the lights off, the last thing he sees is Hannibal's cat that got the canary smile. They lie together in the close dark. It smells of sex, strange without the scent of a woman.

"Roll over," Will says, and when Hannibal has turned onto his side, he spoons up behind him, one arm over Hannibal's waist, hand resting warm on Hannibal's stomach, careful of the bandage there. "Is this okay?" he asks.

"You know it is," Hannibal says.

X X X

Hannibal is awake and breakfast is waiting by the time Will drags himself out of the bed. He tugs his boxers on and crawls out thinking he's probably going to get shit for not getting dressed.

Hannibal isn't dressed either. He's wrapped in a spare blanket, drinking a cup of coffee, listening to the little FM radio.

"We are neither dead nor alive," Hannibal says. "They have found the Dragon, and our blood. They have followed the blood to the edge of the cliff but Uncle Jack is too wary now to make a call either way. So here we are."

Will pours himself a cup of coffee and sits on the bench seat next to Hannibal, stealing one side of the blanket so he can get in on the warmth. "Schrödinger's cannibal," Will says. He rests his head against Hannibal's shoulder because he can.

X X X

Hannibal doesn't ask him for any more physical intimacies after that. He is always there, within arm's reach, but he doesn't ask.

Will figures it's his move to make. Only, he doesn't know what it is, exactly, he's comfortable doing. Obviously he's flexible enough to let another man blow him, but he doesn't think that's much of a stretch for the majority of the male population. He thinks about putting his hand, or his mouth, on Hannibal's cock. It's not repulsive, but it's not getting him hot, either.

Thinking about it abstractly is uninteresting. But when he and Hannibal are in bed at night, lying in sheets that smell of both of them, Hannibal's body warm and familiar against his own...

They drop anchor off the Florida Keys and Will goes ashore. He gives Hannibal the majority of the money he'd stashed away in a coffee tin and leaves Hannibal at a Farmer's Market, frowning at an apparently inadequate zucchini selection. "I'll meet you back at the boat, I've got an errand," he says. He hesitates for a second then presses a kiss to the corner of Hannibal's mouth.

He glances back once; Hannibal has his fingertips pressed to his mouth and he's smiling.

X X X

The inside of Will's mouth has healed. The outside, not so much, but at least he can enjoy their dinner.
Hannibal makes them fat tana steaks with mango salsa, Jamaican rice and beans on the side. He picked up a bottle of red wine and authentic Key Lime pie.

"Drinking on your antibiotics, Doctor?" Will says, as Hannibal fills their glasses.

"It seemed appropriate for the occasion," Hannibal says.

They've spent so long pushing against each other or playing keep-away that it's odd now to be working so easily together. Part of Will's errand involved picking up another bottle of whiskey. He drinks a few fingers with dessert, then a few fingers more while they're sitting on the deck, watching the stars.

"I want to want you," Will says.

Hannibal's sigh is one of pleasure. "I can wait."

Will doesn't make him wait very long, just until he's probably drunker than he should be and then he says, "You should probably kiss me now."

"I'd like that very much," Hannibal says, but doesn't move. "I don't know if this qualifies as properly informed consent."

Will barks out a laugh. "Bit late to worry about that." He leans forward and kisses Hannibal. Hannibal's fingers flutter next to his cheek for a moment, before he pets down Will's chest, the most delicate of touches, like he's afraid if he pushes too hard everything will disappear like smoke. Will cups Hannibal's face in his hands and kisses him properly.

X X X

They're both far too injured for anything adventurous. Hannibal gets Will to wait for him in bed and then spends five minutes rattling around in the head. Will drinks another gulp of whiskey. He's painfully hard. He wasn't expecting that.

Hannibal turns out the lights when he comes out of the head and Will is left blinking into the dark. Hannibal lies on his left side, so Will can spoon up behind him. Will's not entirely certain what he's supposed to do when he can't see. Then Hannibal's hand is on him, guiding Will's cock up against his ass. The little pucker of his hole feels swollen and wet, lube leaking out of him.

"How long have you wanted this?" Will asks, and shoves his cock in. Hannibal is tight and hot around him, wet like a cunt, and he makes breathy whimpers and grunts, little ah-ah-ah sounds, as Will fucks into him.

"The day we met," Hannibal says. "I knew I wanted you in every way I could have you."

"Jesus, Hannibal," Will says. He has no leverage, with only one arm, and Hannibal's got a bullet hole in his stomach. Frustrated, Will pulls out and slaps Hannibal's thigh. "C'mere," he says and turns the light back on. If he's going to do this, he's going to do it.

He puts Hannibal on his stomach, pillow under his hips, feet on the floor. The ceiling is a little low for this position, but Will stands behind him, leans over, braces himself on his left arm, and gets his cock back into Hannibal. Hannibal can't really move without straining his stitches, he just has to lie there and take it. Will can feel the healing wound on his face pull and sting and realizes he's got his teeth bared in a sort of feral grin.

"You know you're the first," he says, because it's true, and it makes Hannibal shudder with pleasure, whole body clenching up around Will. "Does it arouse you to know that? You're not the first to stick a blade in me, or the last. But you're the first man I've fucked."

"The last," Hannibal says, dark possession in his tone. He cries out when Will manages to hit his prostate, and his voice is breathless when he says, "I'll murder anyone you touch."

Will bites down on the back of Hannibal's shoulder and comes with the taste of Hannibal's blood in his mouth.

He pushes at Hannibal until he's lying on his back on the bed. Will wets his hand with a slick mixture of lube and his own cum that's leaking out of Hannibal, and puts his hand around Hannibal's cock. He's only got his left hand to work with, and the angle is all wrong.

"Put your fingers in me," Hannibal begs, pulling Will closer so he can kiss him again. Will obliges. He fingerfucks Hannibal and kisses his mouth, and Hannibal jerks himself off until he's coming all over himself, one hand pressed to his wound like he's trying to keep himself together.

Will is enough of a gentleman to get them a wet cloth and a cup of juice to share. They sit together in the wrecked bed, passing the cup back and forth. Will fucked a man. He doesn't feel much different.

He glances over at Hannibal to see how he's taking it. Hannibal's eyes are suspiciously damp, eyelashes clumped with unshed tears.

Will reaches up to the shelf above the bed so he can get down the final thing he bought on his errand run. Hannibal watches as Will gets a teacup out of its bubblewrap. The floor of the boat is carpeted, so Will tosses it against the wall. It shatters. The little pieces are going to be such a pain in the ass to clean up later. Hannibal watches the shards for a long moment then lies down on his back.

"You know," he says. "I think I would like for it to stay that way."

"Not a chance," Will says. "You're picking it up in the morning because if I cut my feet on your metaphysical bullshit-"

Hannibal kisses him, laughing into his mouth and Will's sure, then. He can be this for Hannibal. With Hannibal.