They made a strange picture.
One of them was a boy with wild curly hair, badly in need of a cut, that only served to endear his rosy cheeks and cherubic face. He was wearing a too-big singlet that hung off his tanned-brown body, and denim shorts that were, once again, too big. He had a popsicle in one hand, fingers covered in the sticky residue. He was lying on his back on the side of a hill, knees bent, legs slender and youthful. He had one arm folded behind his head, staring up at the sky thoughtfully.
Beside him sat a suave man in a suit, his hair combed back. There was a briefcase next to him, and he looked so out of place, so proper, next to the boy, baking in the summer sun. A bead of sweat rolled down his temple, and he raised a hand to wipe it away.
Those that passed considered the pair only passingly; assuming that they were father and son, perhaps. The boy must look like his mother, they would think, and then they would look again at the older gentleman, spellbound by his strongly-built, almost cadaverous face. His cheekbones. His jaw. His curved lips and dark, impenetrable eyes.
Then they would look at the chocolate-haired boy, and wonder. Wonder who these two were.
Then they would move along.
“Do you wish to swim?” Hannibal asked quietly, watching the beach before them.
“No,” Will replied, “it’s nice here.”
“I thought you had plans for today.”
Will parted his lips, and sucked tantalisingly on his popsicle, insolently not bothering to reply. Hannibal dryly considered him, fully aware that Will knew the power of his allure all too well. They had done this six times this month alone; gone to the beach, where Will would swim and laugh and giggle, and men would approach him, men that would buy him ice creams and drive him home. Hannibal would follow. Will would touch them, moaning and gasping like he was just an innocent boy. His age seemed to change every time; nineteen, sixteen, younger. A college student, a schoolboy, a tourist. Whatever it took to lure them in.
Hannibal would follow, and they would bathe in blood together. In pastel kitchens, in beige bathrooms, in white hotel rooms. Painting it red, splashing the colour around, Will euphoric and naked and bright-eyed with the thrill.
In reality, Will was twenty-three. He was some kind of a nymph, some kind of boy-god, that Hannibal had seen splashing about in the water with all the abandon of a pre-schooler. He’d followed him, seen him seduce men, seen him hypnotise them. He’d watched the kill. Seen the deed. Felt the warmth inside him as he watched the young seducer allow himself to be guided into a bed by older, stronger hands, allowed himself to be touched, moaning and gasping into bedsheets. Watching the act through a window, hidden in the darkness.
Will had looked him in the eyes as the man pushed into him, and Hannibal had started, curiosity filling him as he realised that the boy knew he was there. He'd understood, later, when the boy had produced a flip knife, slit the man's throat.
He had known, then, what the boy was.
“It’s hot, William. If we have not come for a purpose, why are we here?”
Will smirked up at him, blue eyes mischievous. “I like seeing you squirm.”
“How terribly rude of you.”
“Mm,” Will drew his tongue up the length of the popsicle, an utterly obvious seduction that should’ve proved comical, yet only served to make Hannibal’s chest tighten, his breath quicken, “but you love it, don’t you?”
Hannibal swallowed. Oh, how he wished he could kill this boy. Maybe, one day, he would. He would best this desire, this craving within. He didn’t enjoy being controlled, being a slave to this boy’s whims; yet he was so helpless to it, so willing to be bested and tempted.
“You wish,” Will continued slowly, “that we were back at your home now. So I could climb in your lap. You want that, don’t you? Me in your lap?”
Hannibal met his eyes, smiling; the kind of smile that many men had seen before they had taken their final breaths. It was only Will that was unafraid of that smile; only Will that enjoyed pushing him, grating at him, taunting him, unafraid of the consequences.
Hannibal did not enjoy being mocked, yet he never tired of these games.
“I do,” he replied.
“You want to watch me take a life. My hands covered in blood. Don’t you?” Will’s voice was high, so youthful, so childlike. “Hannibal?”
“You know I do.”
He reached over, drew a thumb over Will’s mouth. His pink lips. Risky, to touch him this way in public. They would surely be prosecuted for it. But no power in the world could come between them, like this. The Chesapeake Ripper and his beautiful boy.
Hannibal lifted his hand to his mouth, licked the popsicle’s stickiness from his thumb. Will smiled. They maintained eye contact. Steady. Wanting. Equal.
“I am not the men you kill, William. You do not have to seduce me.”
“But I want to,” Will replied, “and you want me to. You want me like this.” One of his hands wandered down his chest, fingers searching, coming to rest tantalisingly on his stomach. Not close enough. Not nearly.
“You want me,” Will breathed, “on my back. Under you. You want to be inside me.”
Hannibal was becoming impatient. “Come. I’m taking you home.”
Will smiled angelically, so innocent. “Are you?”
He moved inside Will.
So warm, so tight, so young. He placed his hands on Will’s hips, heels of his hands digging into skin, fingers fanned over his flat stomach. Will arched off the bed, eyes half-lidded, moisture from the hot weather making his eyelashes wet, his face shine, his body damp. In the half-light of the room, he was shades of brown and pink, his eyes as blue and unburdened as the sky outside.
Hannibal enjoyed comparing him to the sky. To that vast expanse of space. Without conscience, without mercy, and without intent. It simply existed to be beautiful. It simply was.
“Hannibal,” Will gasped, “you feel so good,”
Hannibal leaned down, pressed his lips to a sweat-moistened throat, rolled his hips in a slow circle, feeling Will’s legs rise, wrap around him.
“Inside me,” Will panted, “inside me, I love it when you’re inside me-”
“And do you tell all the men that?” Hannibal drew his teeth over skin, slowly, pressing his tongue into brown skin. “When you allow them to touch you? When you allow them to take you?” He thrust his hips forward, hard, heard Will let out a choked moan, “Like this?”
“I do,” Will arched his neck, “but it’s a lie.”
“Is it?” Hannibal lifted his head, regarded him. Will’s cheeks were pink, his wet lips parted, his face desperate. He was a bared nerve, an open book, never failing to fall submissively under Hannibal’s hand. He loved it. He needed it.
“Yes,” Will breathed “I love you, you know that-”
“Or,” Hannibal asked, still moving his hips, hands braced either side of his boy, “are you a sultry seducer, who opens his legs for any man who looks his way?”
Will blushed furiously. “Don’t say that. You know that I-”
“That you are a whore?” Hannibal pushed deeper, harder, and watched the way Will shook.
“Stop it, Hannibal-”
“Look at you, like this.” Hannibal smirked, teasing him. Taking his revenge. “Can you really deny what you are?”
Will was gasping, open-mouthed. Tears were brimming in his eyes, and his lips had started to shake. Hannibal knew it was an act, just as his false jealousy was also a play. Their game. Their false contest. He knew that Will was his property, just as Will knew he had Hannibal wrapped around his little finger.
“Stop it,” Will whispered, “stop it, Hannibal, you know that I love you the most, you know that I do.”
"Oh? How may you prove it?"
"Stop it," Will whimpered, eyelashes fluttering as Hannibal moved faster, "please, enough, please-"
"Stop it," Will was starting to cry.
Hannibal kissed him, softly, caringly. “Oh, my darling William."
"I love you. Hannibal, I love you, stop it-"
"Shhh, my sweetheart. I know. I know.” How willingly Hannibal played the part his boy desired. How willingly he spoke the words this insolent child wanted to hear. "I love you also."
“You tease me,” Will clutched him, his small body arching beneath Hannibal’s, “why do you always tease me?”
“Because I cannot resist.” Hannibal smiled.
Will smiled at the ceiling too, eyes falling closed as Hannibal moved faster, as a growl built in Hannibal’s throat. He smiled wider, gasping with euphoria as Hannibal buried a hand in his hair, pulled. They were sin incarnate. Killers, lovers, boy and man, child and gentleman. Wasting away their days in decadent sex, the opulence of touch and need.
“Yes,” he moaned, the charade dropped, “I know, Hannibal.”