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Enlightenment

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Six days.

It had been six days since everything blew up in Jack Crawford’s face. Six days since Will Graham figured out the horrifying identity of the Chesapeake Ripper. Six days since Dr. Hannibal Lecter disappeared from his office, from his home. Six days since Will Graham disappeared with him. Crawford had overhauled nearly half the FBI’s staff and they still could not find a single trace of either man. Honestly, it would almost be better if they’d found a body. Then, Jack would at least know. Instead, he was stuck constantly worrying what Lecter was doing to him, mind flickering through all the possibilities.

Will Graham had said it himself—the Ripper was a sadist. He got his name from literally ripping organs out of his victims while blood still pulsed through their veins, while they still held on to life with quickly-waning grips, so they could feel every ounce of pain. Will Graham had also said he couldn’t understand the Ripper. Indeed, Dr. Lecter had fooled them all.

Crawford buried his head in his hands, trying to wipe the ever-present cold sweat from his face, to rub some life back into his sleepless eyes, to no avail. Six days. Six days, and about thirteen hours, if you were counting, which he was. Crawford knew it was pointless, that it was wrong, but no matter what he did he was completely unable to shake the thought that this was his fault, that if only he hadn’t been so ardent that Will stay in the field, he would be safe. None of this would have happened.

“C-Crawford,” a voice stuttered from the doorway. He looked up too quickly and winced at the ache he felt in his neck. It was Beverly Katz. Instantly he felt worry settle in his stomach—Katz rarely stuttered. He nodded at her. “Have you…Have you checked your email recently?”

“What is it?” He asked. His computer was shut off, screen black as night, but as Katz approached his desk he began to start it up, feeling a dropping sensation in his stomach.

At the top of his inbox was a single new message with no subject title. The email address was registered to some website Jack had never heard of and the name was just a stream of randomized letters and numbers. He clicked on it. Inside the message was a link, another long stream of numbers.

An audience would be much appreciated. –HL

“What is this?” Crawford barked at Katz.

“It’s a link to a video. Nothing’s playing yet but…” He was already clicking the link, waiting for the webpage to load. It was just a black box on a white screen. No embellishments, no title, but plenty of terrible potential. He returned to the message itself.

“Who received this email?” The list of email addresses went on and on.

“Everyone.” She ran a hand through her hair. “The entire FBI. He got through all our fire walls, hacked our servers and got the email of every, single person. Even the students.”

Jack cursed, loudly. He began to stand but though better of it and returned to his seat.

“Is Tech dealing with this?” He asked, already knowing the answer; he didn’t bother to look up to see Katz nod.

“No luck taking it down. Each link directs to a back server somewhere in Brazil. Whenever one of ours tries to get into it, that server takes over and the computer shuts down to keep from being hacked. Whoever he got to set this thing up... He’s good.”

Crawford shook his head. “We’re better. Stop trying to take it down, put everyone towards tracking it.”

Katz nodded and rushed out of the room. Not even a minute after she left did a loading bar appear on the screen. He watched, with a harshly beating heart, as the bar slowly filled up, before disappearing as it became full.

He would never erase the next image from his mind. It was the body of a man upon a bed, arms raised above his head, red nylon ropes binding each of his wrists. He had his face turned away from the camera, curly brown locks visible instead, but Jack could tell from the quick rise and fall of his chest that he was awake.

Jack Crawford stared at the image of a naked Will Graham, bound to a bed for what seemed like an eternity. Then, the view was obstructed as a man, impeccably dressed in gray trousers and a dark blue dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up, slid to the center of the screen.

Lecter,” Jack growled at the screen.

“Good evening,” Hannibal said, and for a moment it felt like he was speaking directly to Jack. His accent laced his every word and there was a strange glint in his eyes that Crawford never noticed before, never knew to look for. Strange how enlightenment can make one see everything in a wholly new light. “It has been some days since I have seen many of you. The same goes for William.”

In the background, Will’s head twitched slightly towards Hannibal.

“We are aware that you have been searching for us, I’m afraid we will not meet again for quite a while. I believe I can speak for Will as well, when I say that I wish you would cease the chase.”

Will’s head turned again to stare straight up at the ceiling. His face was unnaturally pale and small blue bruises patterned his arms in the shape of fingerprints.

“I know it was a bit cruel to leave all of you in the dark for so long,” Lecter continued. “So we are broadcasting this video to you live in hope that we can clear a few things up.” He paused to look back at Will. “Look at the camera, William. We wouldn’t want them to think I harmed you…”

His words carried an evident air of sarcasm. Will’s body instantly tensed up but he made no move to turn his head. After a long moment Hannibal repeated the command, and Will Graham turned his head, eyes finding the camera instantly.

“Very good,” Hannibal praised. “Ah, Will, look at our viewer count. More than two hundred of your colleagues and students have tuned in to see you.”

“Katz!” Jack snarled, loud enough so whoever was standing in the hall could hear. He looked up as the door opened, but it wasn’t Katz. Instead, a frightened looking intern stared shakily across the room. He didn’t have time for interns. “Get Beverly Katz and tell her to send out an email telling everyone to get off this video.

Will wouldn’t want people to see, he wouldn’t want people to know. The intern nodded and scuffled backward as Crawford turned his eyes back to the screen.

“There’s no need to look so melancholic,” Hannibal murmured, but it was obvious that he wanted the camera to pick up every word. “Give the people a smile.”

He was talking to Will as if he was a five year old and it was making Jack sick. If this was live, why wasn’t Will shouting out information about his whereabouts? Will shook his head minutely and turned away again. Jack could see how jumpy he was, how he flinched slightly each time Hannibal shifted where he sat on the edge of the mattress. 

Katz walked in, with Zeller behind her, just as Lecter reached back and grasped Will’s ankle with his hand; it was obvious that Will was working terribly hard to not try and shake himself from the hold.

“I sent the email. Everyone should be getting off now.” Jack didn’t even listen to her speak, he just shook his head curtly. Beverly noticed the look on Jack’s face and circled his desk to see what was happening.

Will—“ She hissed, shock filled her voice as her hand flew to her face. Lecter was still talking to Will about something, but the gears in Jack’s head were turning too quickly to hear anything.

“Alright…” Jack knew he would regret this, but he had no choice. “Get this recording. We’ll… We’ll need this for evidence.”

Zeller nodded and yelled a command out the door before returning, walking to stand beside Katz behind the desk. The three of them watched as the horrifying situation on the computer screen unfolded before their eyes.

Hannibal’s hand trailed up Will’s leg to his knee while Will watched. The complex emotions flitting through Will’s mind were extremely apparent on his face, lips twitching and eyebrows drooping a hundred times a second. “What I’m hoping to convey with this broadcast is that I’ve claimed Will Graham.” His hand grasped the flesh of Will’s thigh and Jack watched his face contract, his shoulders roll upwards, as Hannibal squeezed. He got up onto his knees on the bed, sitting back on Will’s legs. Let his hand drift to Will’s cock, which lay visibly limp against his thigh. His thumb strayed between Will’s legs, dragging the fingernail across his balls and up the underside of his shaft, then back again. Will’s teeth clenched momentarily before his mouth fell open. Hannibal took his sweet time bringing Will’s cock to life, waiting for it to harden and rise up slightly before cupping his balls in the palm of his hands. When he squeezed, Will pressed his eyes tightly shut and a small whimper escape his lips. A flush began at his neck and slowly trailed upwards until his previously pale cheeks were bright red, contrasting vibrantly against the white sheets.  

There was, at this point, no question what they were watching: Dr. Hannibal Lecter was live-broadcasting his sexual assault of Will Graham to the entire FBI. And here, in this building, miles and miles away from the attack, there was nothing they could do about it. Jack Crawford watched Will lay panting under Hannibal’s weight, feeling more powerless than at any other point in his career.

From a back pocket, Lecter produced a small pocket knife. As he flicked out the blade Will’s eyes perceptibly widened. He sank slowly into the mattress, trying to make himself smaller, but there was nothing to distract Hannibal from Will’s innocent flesh.

“In my experience, pain, in the physical form, can act as a release from the more human inhibitions of the mind…” Hannibal explained, voice pulsing with a carefully contained amount of excitement. “When presented with a situation in which endurance becomes necessary, the human mind can be so… burdensome.”

Images of Will’s body cut to bits, of Lecter’s mouth wet with blood as he chewed a piece of meat off Will’s back, filled Jack’s mind and he hoped and prayed that he would not be forced to play witness to the man’s butchering.

Will seemed to be experiencing similar thoughts, because when Hannibal placed a hand over his heart he said, “Calm yourself William. I did divulge to you my preferences for your continued breath. Your mind is too valuable, too beautiful to eliminate entirely.”

These words did nothing to calm the man down. His already accelerated wheezing became more so with each breath.

Hannibal rested the tip of the blade at Will’s collarbone, listening to him inhale for a moment. Upon exhalation, he dragged the blade slowly down Will’s chest, barely missing his left nipple before halting its path. Will didn’t cry out, indicative of his experience as both a cop—it was not the first time a knife had pierced his flesh—and a trained FBI investigator. In addition, the wound really was nothing more than a scratch. While blood was flowing, it was in no way life threatening. Will’s understanding of this was obvious in the way he slowly managed to relax the muscles in his face. The blade was then set aside to stain the sheet below it red.

Dipping his head, Hannibal ran his tongue along the cut, pressing down slightly and removing the thin layer of blood that formed there. He began below the cut, at the top of Will’s abdomen and ended at Will’s chin. Some of the blood smeared beneath his tongue, creating a light red streak up the throat.

“You taste divine.”

When Hannibal’s tongue prodded Will’s clasped lips, it took a hand in the brown locks, violently pulled backwards, for him to gain access, no doubt dragging the taste of blood with him. As he deepened the kiss, his other hand grasped around Will’s cock again, pumping slowly until Will discernably moaned with every stroke. The longer the kiss went on, the faster Hannibal’s assault on his cock became and the more Will’s arousal deepened. Even as Will clambered awkwardly upwards, against his bonds Hannibal gave him only what he chose to give, and nothing more.

When Hannibal finally allowed Will’s head to drop back down to the pillow, Will’s face flicked between emotions like a slide show—arousal, longing, comprehension, shock, humiliation. Hannibal watched these reactions unfold with a look of barely contained glee, resembling a predator enjoying the slow, torturous destruction of its prey.

Will buried his head in the crook between his shoulder and the strained muscle of his upper arm, unable to contain the single sob of distressed stimulation, paired with self-hatred, that gushed, albeit quietly, from between bruised lips.

“William, what I think all the lovely people at the FBI fail to see is that I didn’t bring you here by force.” Hannibal dipped his fingers into a bit of the blood and brought them up to Will’s mouth, waiting patiently until his lips parted and his tongue poked out, wiping the blood from Hannibal’s fingers. Hannibal trailed his wet fingers down Will’s chin, eyes constantly on Will’s. “You came to me.”

Out of nowhere, Hannibal’s hand closed around Will’s neck, cutting off his air supply. After a few moments, panic flew to his eyes, head twitching as he tried to shake his head at Hannibal, silently begging for him to stop.

“True, you did come with the intention of catching me and bringing me to, ah, ah, ah—“ Hannibal tutted as Will attempted, unsuccessfully, to wrench his neck from the grip. “—Justice. But that doesn’t take away from how familiar we have become.”

As Will’s eyes rolled up towards the ceiling, Hannibal finally released him.

“Of course, none of our friends in Virginia watching this will believe me… But the truth is that I convinced you that you were better off with me than with the leeches trying to morph your ability into a tool for a poisoned bureaucracy.”

Will’s eyes were open again and he was beginning to breathe normally. Hannibal’s palm slapped lightly at the side of his face and his eyes snapped back to attention, unfocusedly pointed at Hannibal.

“And wasn’t I right, Will?” A finger brushed lightly against the cut on Will’s chest, almost ponderously. Then, Hannibal added another finger and twisted it violently into the wound, making it deepen, making the coagulating blood moisten again, running free. “Are you not so much better off here?”

Will cried out, eyes squeezing shut as his face reddened in obvious pain. The request for it to end seemed, to Jack, to be on the tip of his tongue, but it never came.

“Answer me, Will.”

He gasped for air, eyes open and looking about wildly, as if looking for a way out. But Hannibal Lecter was unrelenting, with each passing second digging his fingers into Will’s flesh deeper and deeper.

Finally, Will closed his eyes and groaned out, “Yes.”

It was the first word Will had spoken throughout the entire video. Hannibal hummed, sounding pleased as he removed his hand from the bloody puddle on Will’s chest. What he left behind was a gashing wound, three times the size and twice as deep as the original wound; it would undoubtedly scar.

“Very good,” he praised, lifting his blood-drenched fingers to Will’s mouth. Will opened without any hesitation, taking them in and for a long while the video stood still, as the sloppy sounds of Will sucking his own blood off Hannibal’s fingers erupted from the speakers. The sounds were gaudy, animalistic, and Jack wondered suddenly what had happened to the Will he knew. He felt instantly guilty; Hannibal was obviously threatening Will, none of this was the profiler’s fault. When Hannibal decided it was enough, he withdrew his fingers and wiped a few stray tears from Will’s face.

Hannibal brushed his fingers against Will’s cock, smearing saliva from the head to the base. Though it had flagged slightly, no doubt due to the pain imposed, it hardened quickly under Hannibal’s firm touch.

Lecter suddenly glanced at the screen, eyes aflame in a way that seemed, to Jack, alien to his features. That, paired with the bulge at his crotch, brought Jack to the stunning understanding that Lecter was getting off on causing Will pain. This shouldn’t have surprised him as much as it did.

“Oh,” he said, sounding disappointed. “The viewer count seems to have utterly diminished, William. Perhaps they aren’t pleased with your performance?”

As if to test this, he placed the blade against Will’s stomach once more and pressed slightly, drawing a thin stream of blood that toppled from his navel onto the mattress below. In hypersensitive response, Will arched his neck backwards, a silent whimper escaping from his mouth in a single puff of air.

“But no need to fret,” Hannibal crooned calmly. He ran a finger across Will’s neck, up his cheek. “Uncle Jack would not miss this for the world.”

Crawford let out a shout of anger that seemed to rattle everything in the room. Katz and Zeller both jumped in surprise, faces pale.

There had been no luck trying to track their location. If there had been, Crawford would have been the first to know. Instead, the Tech Division had been forebodingly silent, sending not even the vaguest message updating on their progress. At this point, it wasn’t even a matter of taking the video down, it was a matter of getting to Will and freeing him from Lecter’s easy manipulation of him.

A wary look crossed Will’s face as Hannibal removed the blade from his skin and raised himself up onto his knees. Gingerly, the doctor took hold of Will’s limbs and bent them as he pleased. Burying one arm in the crook of his knees to keep them in place, he pushed Will’s legs up against his chest, asshole easily exposed. In absence of any form of lubricant, Hannibal dipped his thumb and forefinger into sticky blood. With the insertion of the first blood-covered finger, Will cried out, attempting, in vain, to rock his body backwards, away from the intrusion. Hannibal shushed him, but gave no time to adjust before adding another finger. Eyes flicked open and closed, looking wildly about the room; legs shook under the strain of Hannibal’s grip. Jack heard someone running down the hallway, experienced a brief glimmer of hope before the footsteps passed his door.

Hannibal added a third finger. A thin trail of blood trickled over Will’s buttocks and onto the mattress—insignificant in comparison to how his chest was already bleeding—insignificant in comparison to how he would soon be bleeding. Hannibal’s strokes became less sharp and more languid, taking care to brush leisurely against Will’s insides, watching his face for every reaction. As much as Jack wished he could deny it, Will’s gasps had morphed into something very different from pain. His lips opened and pressed, open and pressed, in the form of silent pleas for release. Beads of sweat poured from his face, mixing with the blood on his chest. Hannibal tore his eyes away from Will’s face to press his mouth against the bared underside of Will’s thigh. Grazing teeth sent spikes of arousal through Will’s veins and into his aching cock. Then, he allowed his teeth to sink into the flesh. Will screamed, the tremors of the sound quaking his bones, but Hannibal held his body taut. The bite was deeper than the cuts, though not by much. Blood dripped down the leg’s muscle, around Hannibal’s mouth. By the time Hannibal’s teeth were pulled from Will, his lips were stained with blood. Fingers still buried deep in the other man’s ass, Hannibal licked the blood from his lips, unadulterated pleasure clear on his face.

He slowly removed his arm from Will’s legs, making sure he would not move from the position. The blade-holding hand reached up to close around one of Will’s bound wrists.

“It is also quite likely that these bonds are giving them the wrong idea. You can leave at any time. All you have to do is ask.” Pausing the thrusting of his fingers, he held the bloodied blade up to the nylon with his free hand, ready to cut it free. “Do you want to leave, William?”

For a long time Will said nothing. Jack could see the young man’s quick blinks, pained looks crossing his face and he wanted to beg, out loud, for Will to say yes, for Hannibal to let him go, but Katz and Zeller were in the room and he’d already alarmed them with his earlier outburst.

Will said something, quietly, so quietly that it was illegible to whatever microphones Hannibal was using.

“Come now, Will, so the people can hear.”

Will sobbed, “I-I don’t want to leave!”

He gave up, rolling his hips forward, against where Hannibal’s hand met his hole. All the self-control he possessed had been pulled tight and it snapped to pieces uncouthly. 

The tips of Hannibal’s lips perked up noticeably, eyes crinkling in a terrible play on a smile. He kissed Will again, pressing blood stained lips against quivering ones. The blade fell away from the rope, slicing lightly across Will’s cheek instead. He didn’t even flinch, just forced his back to arch, propelling his face forward. In the short instances when Hannibal pulled away, anguished pleas could be heard, discharging from Will’s mouth.

“Hannibal, Hannibal, please, just—“ Hannibal had yet to move his hand again, but kept it firmly lodged between Will’s quivering thighs. He finally pulled back, using the freed hand to unbuckle his belt, unzip his fly. He unhampered his erection with steady fingers and placed himself at Will’s empty, gaping hole. Will’s eyes were on Hannibal—staring at his clothed chest before allowing his eyes to drift downwards, to the cock at his entrance—but they had a sort of hazy, misted-over sheen to them.   

“Look at me,” Hannibal droned. His voice was clear, but the arousal was definitely there. Will’s eyes met his and, abruptly, with the speed of a snapping cobra, Hannibal pushed into Will. He filled him to his base with one, forceful but easy stroke. Still, Will’s mouth opened in a pained groan, because nothing could prepare him for Hannibal’s cock, ripping his insides apart.

Will’s eyes fell away from Hannibal’s instantaneously. Neck arched backwards, eyes rolled upwards as his eyes squeezed shut. The sounds of his screams, not entirely born from pain, filled the room, accenting each thrust of Hannibal’s hips. The knife dropped to the floor beside the bed, discarded as the bed creaked beneath the continuously recoiling weight of the two men. Will’s head curled back down, watching the doctor, his doctor, with distant, jumpy eyes.

But then he opened his mouth and begged—“Please, har-harder, please”—even as blood poured from his flesh, coating his body in a thin layer of crimson. In absence of any control over his body, over his situation, he pleaded and whined nonsensical words of need, each syllable paired with the sound of flesh slapping repeatedly against flesh, bruises forming everywhere.

Heeding none of them, Hannibal listened to each request with an air of indifference. His usually perfectly laid hair shone with wet sweat, hanging in chunks around his face. The blinds that generally fell over his eyes, shielding the twisted veracities of his mind from onlookers, were all but gone. In their place was a look of vicious passion for the pain (emotional and physical) he was causing, could cause, the man beneath him: a psychopath stripped bare of all pretense.

“Because the truth is, Will…” Hannibal paused, shifting his cock inside Will slightly, rolling his hips just so. “You and I—we’re better than all of them, the swine.”

If Will had any understanding of these words, he didn’t show it. Just rocked forward, aching for friction against Hannibal’s cock. Lecter didn’t approve, pressing forward until all his weight pressed into Will’s bent, compacted body, so his movement was restricted completely. Using nothing but his thumb and his forefinger, he took hold of Will’s chin until he obediently froze and looked into Hannibal’s eyes. He resembled a beaten dog.

“They used you—let your mind take the fall for their inabilities to understand the obvious. They pushed you to the brink of annihilation over and over again—And you know how they speak regarding you, when they imagine you to be elsewhere, as if you would not care.“

Will groaned, shook against Hannibal’s hold. He was unwilling to hear these words, unwilling to allow the poison to fill his mind so entirely.

“None of them care… Even now, the imbecilic men and woman of your prior reality search for you—but not for your sake... Merely to bring me to their twisted version of justice.”

Will was shaking, the words sliding over his skin like snakes, creating gooseflesh that bloomed him from head to toe. His head jerked slightly, as if to nod.

He spoke, quietly, so quietly that his voice was only barely picked up by the camera’s microphone: “I know, I know.”

“I am all you have; I am all you need.” He shifted his hand up, releasing Will’s chin to stroke along his hairline, a mock-lovingly, an imitation of something pure. Will nodded his head slightly in dazed affirmation, leaning into the touch.

Lecter pulled back, releasing Will’s body from his harsh pin. Will relaxed slightly when Hannibal leaned back, but he tensed immediately when the man began thrusting again, merciless in comparison to the earlier assault.

Hannibal’s teeth nipped lightly at Will’s neck. His cock hit a spot deep inside Will once, then again. With a certain suddenness, Will tensed up, eyes going wide and mouth opening to moan. In response, Hannibal bit down, teeth gripping into the flesh, already bruised from earlier asphyxiation. Orgasm found Will immediately, resplendently. Cum splayed over his stomach and chest, mingling with the blood.

Hannibal did not release Will’s neck, continuing to bite as his thrusts quickened, became less rhythmic, more sporadic. In the aftermath of orgasm, Will’s oversensitive body quivered under the bite as he struggled to keep quiet. Hannibal’s mouth moved away, licking at the blood slightly, to bite down at the shoulder instead.

A whimper fell from Will’s mouth and Hannibal made one final thrust, hard, into Will’s ass before halting to spill his seed. As he rode out the orgasm, still buried inside Will, he moved his mouth to Will’s. Bit Will’s bottom lip with enough force to draw blood.

When he pulled himself from Will, moments later, blood and cum leaked out with it. His wiped his softened cock against Will, coating spread legs with the pinkish mixture. He dragged a bloody hand through Will’s hair, as if stroking a pet. Strands of hair clumped together, wet with the dark liquid and Jack wished he could unsee the way Will mouthed at Hannibal’s wrist when it passed by.

A unnerved expression crossed over Will’s face, eliminating the post-coital exhaustion in a heartbeat. It was indisputably obvious that he had forgotten the camera in the heat of sex—the knowledge brutally slammed back into him. He turned his body away from the camera slightly, ashamed. Sharply turned his neck. Eyes fell on the far wall, distress lining his every movement.

Hannibal watched this reaction with a look of vague amusement. The man, the villain, tucked himself back into his trousers and stood from the bed, leaving a bloody, sweaty, semen-covered Will Graham behind him, still shaking as almost-silent sobs erupted from his throat. Will Graham was a mess, beaten, dirty and destroyed and Hannibal Lecter was still perfectly clothed, having managed to go through the entire ordeal with nothing but a few stray drops of blood on his otherwise pristine clothes. Dr. Lecter approached the camera, letting Will fall into his shadow.

“And so, to the few left watching, I say thank you. Until we meet again.”

The video cut out.

For a long moment, the three of them sat silently, saying nothing, in complete and utter shock.

“Katz…” Jack finally said. “Check on Tech. See if they found anything useful. And Zeller… Find everyone else that watched that video. The next step is damage control.”

They both shuffled silently out of the room, and when Katz turned back to look at him, the shock on her face was evident. Only when he was alone did he angrily slam his fist down on the table, three times.

Will Graham was lost to him.

 

Miles and miles away, in another part of the country, Will Graham buried his head in Hannibal Lecter’s chest. Hannibal fed him small bites of the loin of a former business lady, cooked slowly in butter with carrots and mushrooms, while he waited for the sobs to subside. Will was not his yet, not entirely, but he would be. This day was but the first step in what would be a long, congenial relationship.

“My dear Will.”