The first few days on the boat all they do is eat, sleep and put up with Chiyoh checking their dressings. The discomfort gives them something to bond over, Will realises, when Hannibal locks eyes with him the second day.
The next time it happens, he looks away.
"When you built this boat, what were you thinking?"
Will doesn't want to talk about that. He has new scars settling over the old ones, but they haven't gone away.
"You put in a bed large enough for two."
"It was--" Will stops, but it's too late. Hannibal has found the weak spot as he always does. "It was part of the design."
"I'm sure it was," is all Hannibal says.
At night they sleep back to back, sharing a comforter. It isn't ideal, but Chiyoh took the extra blankets to her nest up on deck. She says they both smell of death, and she can't sleep in a coffin.
Neither of them feel inclined to argue with her. She's the only one who knows where they are right now.
Will wakes up from a dream where Hannibal is drifting away from him across the ocean. No matter how hard Will tries he can't catch him, but when he opens his eyes Hannibal's face is over his, a hand warm and solid on his shoulder.
"Here," he says, and Will lets Hannibal roll him back onto his side, lets him fit himself against his back.
The fourth day, Hannibal helps him wash his hair in the tiny shower room sink. Hannibal's hands are gentle, and Will can't help thinking of the first Hannibal Lecter he knew. The good, trustworthy doctor that made good, trustworthy Will feel safe.
He shouldn't feel safe now.
"I don't remember anyone doing that for me before," he says, instead of thanking him. He can still feel the ghost of fingers massaging his scalp. Somehow it felt more intimate even than the warm press of Hannibal's body against him.
Hannibal's steamed-up reflection smiles at him. "Get in the shower and I'll wash you," he says.
Will hesitates with his hand on his shorts, but he knows it's pointless. Hannibal can probably smell his arousal already, and there's no part of him Hannibal hasn't scrubbed clean, let alone seen, in the last few days.
It just means his body is healing, that's all.
Hannibal doesn't mention it. He lathers up a cloth and washes Will's stomach and legs, gives a perfunctory scrub through the coarse hair around his erection without any fuss, and sprays him down with the shower head afterwards.
Will returns both favours even more carefully; Hannibal's dressings cover a much greater area. Hannibal doesn't seem to have any problem with inconvenient erections, however. He's either still in too much pain, or he has impressive control over his own body.
Will feels... unbalanced by it. Yes, unbalanced. That's a much less dangerous word than disappointed.
"I'll leave you to take care of that," Hannibal says when he's towelling his hair dry. "Unless you want a hand." There's a smirk twitching at Hannibal's lips. He likes his little jokes.
"I don't want a hand." Will takes a deep breath and looks Hannibal in the eye. "I want your mouth."
Hannibal rubs the towel over his face and returns Will's gaze steadily. Will realises after a moment what he's waiting for and ducks his head. Of course.
"Please," he says, and breathes in sharply when Hannibal drops to his knees.
He's not expecting the thrill of power that goes through him. Maybe if his demand had been anything but a reckless impulse, he would have been. The barely formed thought Hannibal's going to want something in return is a second rush coinciding with Hannibal's lips closing around his cock and Christ, he's not going to last long.
Hannibal's mouth works at him greedily, as if he wants to taste all of Will at once. His hands hold Will gently though, careful of his bruises, and his face-- Hannibal can't look at him that way, it's not-- it's not. Will doesn't even have the words, but he knows it can't be real.
His eyes prickle, and he blinks. It's better then, his vision blurs just enough that Will can't see that look. Hannibal is too good at mind games, and he doesn't give up this much ground without a reason.
It almost feels like Will is the one giving something up when he comes, Hannibal swallowing hard around his cock. As if Hannibal can somehow magically divine Will's deepest, darkest fears and desires from the taste of him; as if it's his very essence, not just a mouthful of common bodily fluids being consumed.
It's ridiculous, fanciful. Hannibal has never needed any black arts to unearth Will's secrets.
"I didn't really think—" Will says when Hannibal releases him. "You didn't have to do that."
"I know." Hannibal pulls himself up to the sink and runs a cloth over his face. "But I've wanted to for a long time."
Will washes his hands while he thinks about whether he wants to know. "How long?"
"If you'd asked," Hannibal says, "I would have done it the day we met." He leaves him with a quick kiss to the temple and too many questions that Will can't sort out right now.
Hannibal settles against Will's back once more when they go to bed, a hand over his waist. He makes no attempt at any intimacy greater than that, even when Will presses back against him to see if there's any reaction.
There isn't, and Will feels even more off-balance. He needs to start repaying some of his debts, and if Hannibal isn't going to ask for anything--
"The bed was for us," he murmurs slowly, teetering on the edge of sleep. "I didn't know, when I left--"
Hannibal might be able to follow several different trains of thought at once, but Will has mastered the art of ambiguous feelings.
"I didn't know what I'd do when I found you."
If Hannibal replies, Will isn't awake to hear it.