The crime scene is littered with gore. This, in itself, is not so unusual—it is a hazard of the job, and to see crusted, dried blood speckling the walls is as unsurprising to Will as the presence of a corpse.
What is unusual, though, is the source.
The woman’s form is prone on the wooden floors of her downtown apartment. The countertops gleam under the thousand-dollar light fixtures; flecks of blood mar their otherwise flawless appearance. In her low-cut evening gown, the woman could be the sort of dazzling socialite dreamed up by a romance novelist; she is stunning.
Apart from the bites, anyway.
And they are bites; Will is certain of this. A chunk of flesh has been gnawed out of her pale neck, her white arm, her exposed thigh. Will stoops low to get a better look at her elegant neckline; he can see the meat of her, red and raw and—he swallows—wet. It is obscene.
Will’s gaze travels north, regarding her lifeless brown eyes (he has never had a problem meeting the eyes of the dead). Her lips have been torn into with such ferocity they are dangling, barely attached to the muscle of her face. There is no grace in this crime.
And because he has been brought in, because he alone can work out the whys and hows of a crime that has seasoned investigators as stupefied, Will closes his eyes. And with frightening ease, he sees.
He recounts it to the investigators: how the man (no semen present but it is, undoubtedly, a man) entered without force, how he dressed her with the careful hands of a worshipper, how he tore into her pale throat and milky thighs like a starving dog. And Will explains that there is love here, in this crime, and that the man simply got carried away. He evidences the clean bites and how they gradually slacken, becoming more frenzied. They look at him with suspicion, with disgust, and Will carefully excuses himself without meeting anyone’s eye.
When Will arrives home he is trembling. His hand shakes as he tries to unlock the door, fumbling with his keys in the dark. From inside a light flickers on, and with a quick unlocking of the door, the good Dr. Lecter is ushering him inside. Will feels his mouth twitch up in a small smile; giving Hannibal a key had been one of his better ideas.
“I didn’t know you’d be here,” Will mumbles, following Hannibal into the small kitchen. His eyes catch the stacks of tupperware. “You really don’t have to keep doing that...”
Hannibal lets out a small laugh. “It is no trouble.” He turns toward Will, smiles lazily. “I enjoy feeding you, Will.” Hannibal goes back to his dishes, arranging them artfully in Will’s barren refrigerator. If he catches the flush in Will’s face, he does not acknowledge it.
“This will last you for a few days. Until our next session, at least.” Another glance. “Although perhaps something is troubling you tonight.” Hannibal’s eyes are startlingly bright in Will’s dark kitchen.
Ordinarily Will would refuse, would push away these small intimacies, but with Hannibal he finds himself helpless. Will nods soundlessly, seating himself in one of his shabby kitchen chairs. Hannibal smiles again, a small upward quirk of his thin lips. He does not sit.
“It’s easy for me to get in the heads of monsters,” Will starts. He stares at his hands as he speaks. “Sometimes it just...surprises me, how easily.”
Hannibal shifts on his feet, leaning against a countertop. “You fear a physical manifestation.” Will does not respond. Hannibal presses on: “You are no killer, Will. Whatever the grisly nature of this crime, your ability to empathize with the criminal does not make you a monster.”
“It should not have been so easy.” Will glances up at Hannibal, who nods minutely. Go on, the look says, and Will obeys. “Empathizing with...with someone who strangles, or stabs, or rapes, even...it’s not. I mean, I could picture this so easily, so readily, I could practically taste it...” Will swallows thickly.
“Will,” Hannibal asks softly, “what was the nature of this crime?”
Hannibal goes very still. It is a minute change, as imperceptible as the whites of a crow’s eye. Will looks up, and his eyes are so wide and open and hurt that it makes Hannibal’s breath catch in his throat. He is breathtaking in his distress.
“And this scene...it bothered you more than a normal crime?”
“I swear I could taste her,” Will whispers, and inwardly Hannibal breathes a sigh of relief. Her—it is not one of his, he only takes men, and he would never be so sloppy as to leave the body—but that is beside the point. Hannibal suddenly has a vivid image of Will, face red with gore, choking down chunks of wet, meaty flesh.
It is terribly arousing.
“The tasting of flesh is nothing to be concerned over,” Hannibal says. Will’s evident confusion prompts him to continue. “It is a common occurrence; even you, Will, have feasted on the pleasures of the body, every time you bury your face in the neck of a beautiful woman.”
The kitchen is dark but it does not hide the blush, deep and red, coloring Will’s face. And suddenly Hannibal’s suspicions are confirmed, brought to life with Will’s rising flush. Hannibal leans forward, watching him with the hungry eyes of a shark. “Or perhaps, for you, it is not so common.” Will does not move, does not nod or twitch or even jerk his head in refusal. “You have no desire to be with a woman.”
It is not a question, but despite himself Will cannot help but nod. It is a small gesture, like the fluttering of a bird’s wings. This submission encourages Hannibal; he presses forward.
“With a man, then,” he says with affected nonchalance, and Will’s head snaps up with a whipcord edge. The panic, the fear in him is palpable in the air; it rests heavy on Hannibal’s tongue. He smiles indulgently at Will and releases his grip on the counter. With a few quick, precise strides he is at the table. Will has not moved, has barely breathed. Looming over him, Hannibal can hear his sharp intake of breath. He reaches out and touches Will’s shoulder.
Will does not flinch, and Hannibal knows he has won.
“It is not so unusual, Will,” he says, squeezing Will’s shoulder tightly. The man below him lets out a choked, desperate sound. Will glances up at Hannibal’s face quickly before resuming staring at his hands.
“A man like you, Dr. Lecter...you have no idea—”
Hannibal tightens his grip, silencing him. He leans down. “I think we both know that’s not true,” he murmurs hotly in Will’s ear. He sees Will’s throat contract, hears the hitch in his breath, feels the pulse quicken. Signs of arousal, signs of fear. Hannibal enjoys them both.
His grip is ironclad.
“Now would be the time to move to the bedroom.”
Will, trembling like an insect, like a moth in a spider’s web, rises on unsteady feet. He does not look at Hannibal as he stumbles to the bedroom, but as Hannibal’s hold slides from his shoulder to the meat of his bicep, Will does not push him away. It is as close to consent as Hannibal will receive.
The bedroom is not large. The sheets are crumpled and clothing is strewn across various pieces of furniture. There is doghair on the floor. Hannibal wrinkles his nose slightly, quietly disgusted. When they reach the bed, Will falters. He turns to regard the doctor, panic rising.
Hannibal takes his cue.
“You won’t be needing these,” he says quietly, divesting Will of his clothing with medical efficiency. The jacket goes first, then the shirt. Hannibal places a hand on Will’s chest, forcing him to sit on the bed. Will’s hands are clenching the sheets, shaking as Hannibal kneels to remove his trousers.
Hannibal leaves the clothing in a heap on the floor; to take the time to fold them would give Will too much of an opportunity to flee. The shoes and socks join their brethren on the ground, leaving Will shivering in a thin pair of cotton boxers. He is visibly aroused.
Hannibal stands, drinking in the sight. A streetlight gives off an eerie white glow, casting into the room and leaving Will’s skin moon-white against the dark bed. Against his ashen complexion, Will’s dark hair is a vibrant shock. Chiaroscuro, Hannibal thinks, and he is pleased. Awash in shadow and flushing blotchily, Will is the very picture of nervous sexual energy. Hannibal is a great admirer of beautiful things, and in this instant Will is truly beautiful, an ancient porcelain vase, a priceless Caravaggio painting.
Hannibal likes to admire beautiful things, but he much prefers to own them.
Will quakes under Hannibal’s unwavering stare. He opens his mouth and shuts it quickly, fumbling for words. Finally, he settles on a well-worn tactic to break the silence: awkward, uncomfortable humor.
“You look like you want to eat me,” Will says with a breathy little laugh.
Will’s skin reddens more noticeably; he attempts to deflect the gravity of this statement. “When I said I could see the killer’s design, I didn’t see this. I’m...I’m not sure how the two relate, actually...” He trails off.
“There is no greater intimacy than the consumption of flesh; sexuality is entwined with the act. Think of The Bacchae,” Hannibal offers. He shucks off his suit jacket, letting the thousand-dollar material fall crumpled to the floor.
“I’m not familiar,” Will answers, averting his eyes. The sight of Hannibal clad in his shirtsleeves and vest is strangely intimate; it speaks of the act to come, and it makes Will uncomfortable (Hannibal is aware of this, and will insist, in subsequent encounters, of always remaining partially clothed).
“It is a play by Euripides,” says Hannibal. “The Bacchae are attendants of the god Dionysus—god of wine and revelry. He has a very interesting epithet. Omophagos. Do you know the meaning?”
Will is silent. Hannibal watches him through hooded eyes.
Bright eyes meet Hannibal’s dead gaze. Will, for once, does not look away.
“You see the implications, I think. This god of immense sexuality has his followers engage in the ritualistic consumption of raw flesh. The acts are entwined. Your killer likely has the same conception, and that you can so easily picture it should not trouble you—it is ancient. Timeless.”
Will sits, unmoving, but Hannibal sees the relief in his face. He is easy to read.
Hannibal bends down and catches Will’s face in his hand. “I think you see the appeal,” he murmurs, breath hot on his lips. Will’s throat contracts as he gulps audibly, and Hannibal cannot prolong it a moment more; he leans forward, capturing Will’s mouth in a rough kiss.
And it is rough; there is no soft edge, no gentle caress in this act. Hannibal consumes him with teeth-clanking, tongue-scraping intensity. One hand twines in Will’s curls, tugging at his scalp, and Will can do nothing but submit. The kiss is devouring and goes on for an age, until finally Will pulls back to gulp air. His lip is cracked; a trickle of blood leaks down to his chin. Hannibal watches its progress.
“I meant what I said, Will. I would very much enjoy eating you.” He fingers Will’s erection lightly, evoking a shuddering breath. His other hand has fallen to Will’s throat; it squeezes delicately against the pale flesh. Hannibal feels a blue vein flutter against his palm.
Will is delirious from the kiss. He does not see the predator’s glint in Hannibal’s gaze, the raw intensity of the doctor’s dark eyes. He is too caught up in the game to stop and think. “Tell me,” Will demands. Hannibal shoots him a feral grin that goes straight to his groin.
Dimly, Hannibal is aware that this is a dangerous game he is playing—a step too far and Will could easily, effortlessly slip into his mind, could strip him raw and open in his revelation, and it would be the end of him, of everything. But he watches the blood coagulate against Will’s bottom lip and feels the pulse of the man’s cock in his hand, and Hannibal thinks the risk, for Will, for this moment, is worth it.
“Euripides tells us that it is worshipful,” Hannibal says. His voice is rough and deep and prompts a definite hitch in Will’s breath. He pushes Will back into the bed, and the man submits willingly. His stare flits between Hannibal’s mouth and his eyes.
Will is stretched out on the mattress like an animal hide. Hannibal straddles him, keeping their hips aligned. He cocks his head slightly, taking in Will’s form with a considering gaze. Finally, he settles a hand over the center of Will’s bare chest, directly over the myocardial cavity. “If I were to worship you—that is, to eat you,” he begins, enjoying Will’s heavy gaze, “I would start with your heart.”
And before Will can laugh over the implied sentimentality or balk at the disturbing imagery, Hannibal is bent over double and giving Will’s chest a short, sharp bite.
Will swears. Hannibal laps at the red flesh; the skin is not pierced but the outline of his teeth is clear against Will’s milky complexion. “What the fuck...” Will breathes, and Hannibal actually laughs.
“You cannot pretend you did not enjoy that,” he says, and he reaches a hand back to slip beneath Will’s boxers and grasp his erection in a tight grip. He strokes it lightly—Will is starved for touch, too much stimulation will bring this encounter to an unfortunately rapid climax. His strokes are timed to keep Will fully aroused but well beneath the edge.
“Of course, you would not enjoy true Bacchic worship,” Hannibal concedes. He continues tearing into Will with small, delicate bites as he works Will’s erection. “I would take you here,” he mutters, mouth pressed into the torn, swollen skin above Will’s heart. “I would chew through the sinew and the fat and I would bury my face in your beating heart.” He keeps biting; soon the white chest is speckled with red. Under him, Will is drunk with sensation, barely listening as he writhes and shudders. Hannibal unfurls his hand, sticky with precome, and moves it to encircle Will’s neck.
Will stares at him, pupils blown. Flushed and trembling and adorned with a thousand red teeth marks, he looks obscene. Hannibal kisses him.
“You taste like blood,” he says, and Will blinks.
“No need to apologize,” Hannibal answers. His thumb lazily circles Will’s pulse point. The humming of the vein is a living thing beneath his hand. Hannibal leans down and noses Will’s neck, reveling in the man’s sharp intake of breath. He mouths the skin there, dragging his incisors over meat and bone and flesh.
Will lets out small gasps and groans, and beneath the fabric of his suit Hannibal can feel a cock pressed against him. It will stain, but it is not his best suit. It is worth it, to have the distant, unknowable Will Graham crushed beneath him, gripping his clothing with the intensity of a drowning man, whimpering and grinding against Hannibal’s leg. It is worth it, to own this man.
“Hannibal,” Will says, over and over, like a prayer, like a hymn. Hannibal’s cock twitches against Will’s hipbone.
“Will,” he says, “please turn over.”
“Why?” Will chokes out. It is very comfortable, to be pressed into his bed and worshipped by the doctor, and Will does not want this to end. “I really like this,” he says, and he closes his eyes.
“I would like to fuck you.”
Will’s cock turns to steel. “Oh, God,” he moans, and the sudden, overwhelming desire to be filled, to be owned and crushed and impaled by Hannibal fills him with a sort of hot dread. He barely comprehends the whispered “only me” and he is flipped over, face buried in the pillow.
Hannibal is straddling him again, cock pressed into the cleft of Will’s behind. He reaches over to a bedside table and roots around for lubrication, finally retrieving a small bottle of lotion. Hannibal extracts himself from his trousers; he is engorged, harder than he’s been in recent memory. He slicks himself with the lotion; at the sound, Will lets out a noise bordering on hysteria.
“You have not done this,” Hannibal states, and Will’s head jerks in assent. Hannibal cannot see his face but he is sure it is red.
A good man would offer assurances, would ease into his partner with gentle fingers and soothing words and as little pain as possible.
Hannibal is not a good man.
He presses into Will with the single-target intensity of an executioner. Hannibal has a hand fisted in Will’s dark hair as he drives forward, pushing Will’s head into the pillow hard enough to restrict air flow. Under him, Will is clenching the sheets and breathing hard. “Relax,” Hannibal hisses, and beneath what is surely no small amount of pain Will consents, loosening up just enough for Hannibal to thrust deeper, sheathing himself into the bitten and bruised body beneath him.
“How do you feel?” Hannibal asks. He is balls-deep in the man, pressed thickly inside him and yet perfectly, eerily still. It takes an immeasurable amount of self-control for him to stay like this; he prides himself on his restraint.
“Full,” Will gasps out. Hannibal bends down and presses his mouth against his ear. “Like you’ve just had a nice meal?” he inquires, and Will nearly laughs.
“Like I’m split open. Like a pig on a spike.”
“A lovely image.”
He stays like this, leaning heavily into Will, watching the sweat drip down his back. Hannibal waits.
He wants Will to beg for it.
“Please,” Will says. Hannibal can hear him losing control by degrees. “Please, please move.”
“If you insist.” And then Hannibal pulls out, and Will is gasping beneath him and begging and pleading and Hannibal, finally, mercifully, presses forward. Will is pushed against the mattress as they find a rhythm, cock scraping the fabric of his sheets.
They rut in silence; Hannibal loves words but he loves sensation more, the slide of skin against his tongue, the tight flesh of Will’s body encircling his cock. He fucks Will roughly, and for all Will’s noise he is evidently quite enthusiastic about the whole affair. Hannibal is pleased—Will could be molded into a truly wonderful partner.
Hannibal drapes himself over Will’s back, covering him completely. He finds Will’s cock wedged against the sheets and strokes it with graceful efficiency. “Next time,” he pants, punctuating his words with a harsh squeeze, “I will take you in my mouth, Will, as you respond so well to biting.”
Will lets out a strangled half-sob, spending himself against Hannibal’s large, capable hand. His muscles spasm, contracting around Hannibal’s cock. It takes Hannibal only a few more thrusts to reach his own completion.
He rests, spent, collapsed against Will’s back. After catching his breath, Hannibal pulls out in one long slide, noting with pleasure the small affronted noise Will lets out. He could get used to this.
Will remains with his face pressed into his pillow as Hannibal adjusts his pants, tucking himself back into his suit and smoothing his hair. The silence is bordering on unnerving when suddenly Will rolls over, catching Hannibal’s wrist in one thin white hand.
“I would like that,” Will says, and his voice does not shake, and his gaze does not waver. Hannibal is quiet for a moment, a hare’s heartbeat, before breaking out in a grin that could be called feral.
“I am free tomorrow night. Come to my office at seven.”
Will gives him a very hopeful smile. “Seven. Perfect.”
Hannibal bends down and kisses him; his teeth trail over Will’s bottom limp, still plump with blood. “I’ll have you for dinner,” he whispers. Will laughs, and Hannibal lets him, and he does not take Will’s neck in his mouth with a viper’s speed, and he does not bite until he can feel the crunch of bone and the taste of living meat. And Hannibal thinks it is worth it, to wait for these things, because you do not rush through a good meal.
You savor it.