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The Imposition of Order and Harmony on a Design

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“Hannibal.” Will winced at how timid he sounded. It had been going on for too long, and Will could no longer sit idly by and watch as it happened. He took a deep breath and began again, conviction finally present in his voice. “This has to stop.”

He watched with trepidation as Hannibal paused, looked up at him, clearly disapproving of the interruption. Will blinked, nervously swallowing a mouthful of coffee in a feeble attempt to hide his discomfort. Hannibal continued to watch him, likely unaware how the little moue of distaste he wore made him appear more kissable than formidable. Will attempted to hide behind his mug, where it was safe.

Will Graham had not failed to notice the meticulous attention to detail and penchant for extravagance Hannibal Lecter exhibited. His love for the finer things in life was quite apparent, even to someone not sharing his bed. What he had failed to account for, though, was that this perfectionism was somewhat dramatically applied to every aspect of the man’s life.

It had been amusing at first to have a front row seat for all the unseen, intimate performances that comprised Hannibal’s daily routines. Will never before suspected the word Wagnerian could be applied to the simple act of brushing one’s teeth, yet he could almost hear orchestral accompaniment when watching Hannibal do so.

The man approached laundry as if he were a vengeful god, hell bent on the eradication of stains, wrinkles, and undesirable creases. His dishwashing technique evoked images of Lady MacBeth. And as much as Will enjoyed watching Hannibal do just about anything with his hands, he was beginning to cringe whenever he saw the man reach out to minutely adjust something.

Will knew Hannibal, like himself, was unused to sharing a living space, so he had bit his tongue, but as of late they’d been spending a bit more time in his home. As a result, Hannibal had apparently become comfortable enough to begin imprinting his design over Will’s own.

He had been willing to turn a blind eye when Hannibal’s esthetic invaded his kitchen; after all, the man did all of the cooking, so it was only right. He said nothing when he returned home from a trip to find all of his books almost maniacally rearranged. Convinced himself to just let it go when he began noticing the precise angles in which his possessions were methodically being repositioned. It was just...

“You have to stop washing my dogs,” he blurted, exasperation evident as he spilled a bit of coffee down the front of his shirt. As if they understood what was happening, several of the dogs barked their agreement, tails thumping happily against the porch.

Hannibal frowned, momentarily studied the dog he was currently towel drying before refocusing on Will. “Johann seems to enjoy it.” In an act of betrayal, the dog barked his consent.

Will grimaced, set his mug on the windowsill, and ran both hands over his face. “That’s not... his name,” he said through clenched teeth, frustration mounting. “And he’s clean now. Everything is clean now. You’ve cleaned all the things, Hannibal!”

Perhaps he had held his tongue for a bit too long. He hadn’t meant to sound quite so venomous. Will inhaled, exhaled, opened his eyes. Hannibal was standing now, drying his hands, his face calm and expressionless. To any outside observer, he would have looked perfectly at ease, but Will knew differently. As if in testament to the amount of time they’d been spending together, Will could almost hear a frenzied choir singing Dies irae somewhere in the distance.

“That didn’t. Exactly,” he ran a hand through his hair before extending it in supplication toward Hannibal, “come out the way I wanted it to.”

Hannibal sniffed almost imperceptibly, sucked his lower lip into his mouth as if biting back his first choice of words, and began carefully folding the towel he was holding. Will felt a muscle in his cheek twitch involuntarily. He took a tenuous step toward Hannibal. “Really, I’m sorry.”

“I should be the one to apologize,” was the crisp response. “Boundaries play an important role in any relationship. Clearly I have failed to adequately respect your own.” He finally turned to face Will, a carefully crafted neutral expression firmly in place. Will thought of it as his Doctor Lecter face.

Before Will could attempt another apology, Hannibal turned aside and began fastidiously rolling down his shirtsleeves as he headed back into the house. He emerged a moment later, suit jacket once again in place, coat draped artfully over his arm. “Wait, you don’t have to leave,” Will said, cringing at the hint of desperation in his voice.

“At the moment, I think it for the best,” Hannibal replied, a forced smile flashing briefly across his face. As if in some strange role reversal, the psychiatrist was now the one avoiding eye contact. All Will was able to manage was a desultory squeak of protest as he watched Hannibal leave.

He wasn’t sure how long he stood there, heart pounding in his ears, immaculately groomed dogs his only company.

 


 

Will went through the motions of the following day as if wrapped in muslin, his focus never quite where it ought to be. He had slept very little. The night was spent alternating between righteous indignation that his friend was unable to respect his desire not to have every last bit of his life arranged neatly, and a gnawing guilt over having handled the situation so badly, for being so unwilling to just accept Hannibal’s little quirks.

The dogs had trouble keeping up with the reversals and, one by one, even they abandoned him. All save the freshly groomed Not Johann, who watched him with curious brown eyes as he went through his home, undoing all of the sharp angles imposed upon it by Hannibal.

At some point, he had fallen asleep just long enough to have vivid dreams of alternatingly chasing and being chased by something through the woods nearby. In the dream he had caught his foot, was going to fall and knew it meant the end of him; with a thunderous crash, he fell from the chair he had been sleeping in, catching his lower lip between his teeth in the process. It wasn’t until he had washed the sleep and blood from his face in the kitchen sink that he realized he was going to be late.

Will had driven on autopilot. Had a vague recollection of a student attempting to discuss a paper with him, of choking down a dry, uninspired sandwich at lunch, of long, painfully awkward moments of silence increasingly being injected into his lectures as the day progressed.

He sat at his desk, crime scene photos smeared across the surface, a case he knew Jack wanted him focusing on, but when he tried to find the thread of the killer within the fabric of his imagination all he could think of was Hannibal.

Will had sent a text message from the car on his way to work, had left a voicemail at lunch, had checked his phone compulsively over the course of the day, yet had received no reply. Physically exhausted and emotionally wrung dry, he simply sat, cradling his glasses in his lap and staring at the crime scene photos with unfocused eyes until the carnage resembled surreal, blooming flowers scattered across his desk.

“Will?”

He thought he had heard his name being called from somewhere far away, but before he was able to decide whether it was real or imagined, someone was touching him. He jerked in response, turned to find a very confused and concerned Alana Bloom standing beside him.

“Hey,” she said, worry very much present when he dared a fleeting moment of eye contact. Her hand was still on his shoulder. “Are you feeling okay?”

“Fine. Great,” he lied. He wanted to simultaneously shake off her touch and to press his face against the warmth of her, hold on for dear life.

“Are you sure about that?” she cocked her head to the side, studied him before leaning against the desk, obviously not going anywhere anytime soon. “You don’t look great. No offense.”

Will Graham let his head fall back momentarily as he released a long, weary sigh. He ran both hands over his face roughly before lowering his head to the desk, rapping his forehead lightly against the wooden surface several times.

“Will?” Alana sounded even more concerned now. His forehead was still resting against the edge of the desk, leaving him staring down at his own legs. It was only then that he realized he’d never bothered to change and was still wearing his clothes from the day before.

He finally looked up when he heard Alana digging through her purse. She had her phone in hand, looked as if she had decided upon a course of action. “I’m calling Hannibal,” she explained, noticing he was watching her.

“Great, I bet he’ll even answer if its you,” Will heard himself say bitterly. Alana’s eyes widened, the click of her smartphone being put back to sleep sounding impossibly loud in the room.

“Oh,” she finally said, sliding the strap of her purse off of her shoulder. She took a moment to retrieve another chair, settled down opposite Will. “Do you want to talk about it?”

Will tossed his glasses onto the desk, jaw working as he warred with himself over how to proceed. He and Alana had never really discussed the whole Hannibal situation. He knew she knew, Hannibal had explained as much. Things had been awkward between them since then, had at least felt awkward to Will.

He watched his hand, as if possessed, reach out to adjust the position of his glasses so they were at a 90° angle. “I... hurt. Hannibal’s feelings,” he finally managed, stealing a glance at Alana sitting patiently across from him. Not intending to, he blurted, “He wouldn’t stop washing my dogs, Alana!”

Her eyes widened once more as she pressed her lips together, only momentarily losing her battle with laughter. She looked appropriately shameful as she covered her mouth with both of her hands, giggles escaping nonetheless. “Oh, I’m sorry, Will, it’s just,” she attempted to get herself under control, but it was too late.

Will felt the tension leaving his body as they laughed together. “I’m sorry,” she said again, after a bit of time had passed. “Was this your first fight?”

“It wasn’t even a fight, really,” he explained, running a hand through his hair. “I just yelled at him and he went all clinical and then left.”

“It’s hard to imagine Hannibal fighting,” Alana admitted, smiling at Will. “It would be too uncivilized.” Will clenched his jaw and nodded slowly in agreement. “In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard him so much as raise his voice above a conversational level.”

“I think if Hannibal ever decided to shout, the entire world would fall silent in abeyance.”

Alana watched him carefully, considering. “You’re in love with him, aren’t you?”

Will felt a sharp tugging inside of himself at her words, wondered if this was what it felt like for the fish he had caught over the years, torn out of familiarity, left gasping in an environment unsuitable for supporting life. He watched in confusion as his hand trembled against the desk, feeling foolish that such a simple question could have such a profound effect on him.

“Sorry, none of my business,” Alana said, trying to smooth over the moment affably.

Will hardly heard her over the sound of his own heart pumping blood through his body at a furious pace. The breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding came out in one long, ragged exhalation, leaving him feeling brittle and hollow and giddy. He realized his mouth was hanging open and quickly pressed his lips together in the hopes of containing himself. Then he was smiling wide, reopening the cut on his lip, the coppery taste of blood meeting his curious tongue as he prodded the wound.

“Yes,” he heard himself saying, and shook his head as the realization sank in. “Sorry, I just,” he tried to stop smiling, found he couldn’t. “I never actually thought about it before.”

Alana smiled, reached across the desk to give his hand a little squeeze. “Go find him and talk it over,” she advised. “Everything will be fine.”

 


 

Will sent another text message before driving to Hannibal’s office, only to find it dark, Doctor Lecter nowhere to be found. Next he tried Hannibal’s home, which was similarly abandoned. Considered camping out on Hannibal’s doorstep, but decided against it. Feeling dejected, he aimed his car homeward. His thoughts were so scattered when he finally arrived that it took him a moment to process the fact that Hannibal’s car was parked outside and the lights were on in his house.

As if in a dream, he walked into his home to find the dogs lounging comfortably and Hannibal Lecter standing by the fireplace, nose deep in a wine glass, as if it were any other evening. The sound of a violin soloist’s virtuosic arpeggios coming from the other room lent a strange surreality to the moment. As if just noticing his arrival, Hannibal half turned in Will’s direction. “Ah, there you are,” he said mildly.

Will crossed the room in purposeful strides, half tempted to knock the glass from Hannibal’s hand. “There I am?” he asked, incredulous. Hannibal’s expression changed minutely as Will gaped at him, exasperated. “I’ve been trying to get a hold of you all day!”

He held his breath as Hannibal reached out, stroked Will’s cheek with his knuckles before cupping his face gently, thumb brushing back and forth, back and forth against his skin. “It appears I left my phone here last night,” he explained as he placed his glass of wine on the mantle.

Will swallowed, exhaled shakily, tried to process the information as Hannibal cupped his face and tilted his head slightly into the light, running his thumb over the split in Will’s lip with a question in his eyes. “What have we here?”

There were a thousand ways to answer and each seemed to be clawing its way through his chest, hoping to be the one born from his lips. Will wanted none of it, was sick of it, brought his own hands up to break Hannibal’s hold on him. Watched the dance of confusion play out on Hannibal’s face, grasped him by the back of his neck and brought their mouths together for a crushing kiss.

The taste of Will’s blood mixed with that of wine as the split in his lip once again reopened. He had rough handfuls of Hannibal’s hair between his fingers, was unrelenting in his domination of the man’s mouth. Will broke the kiss, feeling balanced and in control of himself for the first time since Hannibal’s departure the night before.

He began to undress Hannibal, starting with his jacket, admiring the way the blue contrasted with the doctor’s paleness. While he worked on the vest he watched Hannibal’s hands carefully undoing the Windsor Knot at his throat, smiling as he remembered receiving what could only be described as a lecture on the proper way to remove a necktie after Hannibal had witnessed him shedding his own one evening.

Will successfully resisted the temptation to rip the expensive shirt open. Instead, he attempted to mimic Hannibal’s care, slowly working each button through its respective hole before he was finally rewarded for his patience and able to slide his hands across Hannibal’s bare chest, over his shoulders, down to trace the muscles in his arms.

He threw his own jacket on the floor, allowed Hannibal to remove his glasses for him and place them on the mantle beside his glass of wine. “It’s okay,” he heard himself saying as if from a distance. He wasn’t entirely sure why he was saying it until he saw the effect it had on Hannibal, the corners of his mouth twitching downward, eyes closing momentarily before he reopened them and allowed Will to really see.

Guilt and anger and hope and fear and anger and love and hunger...

Will let it all in, watched as if his hand belonged to someone else as he took Hannibal by the throat, used it to steer the other man back toward the bed. Will maintained a tight grip throughout their journey across the room, marveled at the fact that, despite the wild look in his eyes, Hannibal’s pulse maintained steady regularity; Will’s own heart felt as if it would burst from his chest at any moment.

He stopped just as they reached the bed, pulling Hannibal toward him to once again lay claim to his mouth. Will brought his hands to the sides of Hannibal’s face, first to stroke and then to hold his lover still as he licked his way up from Hannibal’s mouth and over one of his obscene, impossible cheekbones. Took him gently, but firmly, by his hair and pulled, angling Hannibal’s head back far enough to be able to comfortably lick, suck, and bite his way along his jawline.

He took a moment to admire his handiwork. Will liked the way Hannibal looked when he was in a state of disarray, felt strangely possessive in those moments, not comfortable with the idea of anyone else being allowed to witness such a thing. He was captivated by the livid, hand shaped mark on Hannibal’s throat. The good doctor was watching Will, lips parted and swollen, eyes bright and dangerous as the tip of his tongue quickly darted out to retrieve the bit of Will’s blood that had been left behind.

Unable to help himself, Will reached for Hannibal’s belt buckle, smiling once he noticed the little telltale twitch of Hannibal’s fingers. He clearly wanted to touch Will, who only gave a little head shake ‘no’ in reply before unzipping and pushing Hannibal’s pants down over his hips. After taking a moment to stroke Hannibal through the expensive silk of his underwear, Will removed them as well. After a nod from Will, Hannibal toed off his shoes and socks, watched with only the tiniest twitch of dismay as Will kicked the pile of expensive clothing aside.

It wasn’t until the second time they had sex that Will had finally seen the doctor out of his suit. The first had been such a hurried affair they’d only adjusted the clothing necessary to complete the act. Once given the opportunity though, Will had done a thorough investigation of the man’s body, cataloging scars, lingering especially over the evidence of Hannibal’s run in with Tobias Budge.

Will was still pleasantly surprised that the aesthete didn’t find it necessary to remove his body hair, as its unexpected presence was so deliciously masculine. Will had marveled over the broad shoulders, had on more than one occasion managed to leave finger shaped bruises on Hannibal’s biceps, unable to keep his hands off of the man’s arms as Hannibal fucked him.

Will stepped closer, pressed his fully clothed body against Hannibal’s naked one, grinding their hips together, one hand returned to the back of Hannibal’s neck, the other squeezing Hannibal’s ass. A small noise of pleasure escaped Hannibal’s mouth at this, so Will repeated the move, loving the feel of Hannibal’s hardness against his own as he kissed his way back into the doctor’s mouth to steal the quiet noises he was making.

“Get on the bed,” he ordered, pulling free and giving Hannibal a little encouraging push in the right direction. Will stroked himself through his pants as he watched Hannibal position himself on all fours atop the bed, head turned so he could watch Will undress.

As he retrieved lube and joined Hannibal on the bed, Will realized this was long overdue. He’d lost track of all the places and ways Hannibal had fucked him, but this would be the first time Will claimed what he himself had happily offered time and time again.

He took his time teasing his fingers inside, stroking Hannibal’s cock as he did so, enjoying the soft, hungry noises he was beginning to make with increasing frequency. When he couldn’t wait any longer, Will dragged his fingers over the muscular body before him, took hold of a sculpted hip with one hand, himself with the other, and lost his mind a little at the sight of his cock entering Hannibal.

Will’s impressive imagination hadn’t adequately prepared him for the overwhelming sensations he was experiencing. It felt like an entire lifetime was spent entering Hannibal, but then they were locked together, Will’s fingers digging into the doctor’s hips, holding him steady as he caught his breath.

“It’s okay,” he heard himself saying for the second time that evening, eyelids fluttering in bliss as he felt Hannibal clenching around him in response. He ran his hands up the muscled expanse of Hannibal’s back, pushed down on his shoulders, happy when Hannibal’s arms went out from under him and he lay with one cheek pressed against the mattress. Will liked the look of it very much.

Slowly, he rocked himself in and out of the body below him, taking his time, one hand gripping the back of Hannibal’s neck, the other his hip. Will studied the side of Hannibal’s face, wondering again what it was he sometimes saw watching him from behind Hannibal’s eyes. Reached around to take the heavy hardness of the doctor’s cock in his hand, to squeeze and stroke, desperately trying to undo the control that Hannibal seemed to have in all things. “Hannibal,” Will begged, face pressed against Hannibal’s back as he ran a thumb over the head of his lover’s cock.

As if he had been waiting for permission, or as if he finally understood what was being asked of him, the ever present readiness seemed to uncoil from Hannibal’s body. He moaned beneath Will, ground his hips back hungrily, pressing his face further into the mattress as he did so. Will liked this even better, began fucking Hannibal in earnest then, losing himself in the sensory overload as the sweat began beading up over Hannibal’s muscular frame.

Will loved him. He wanted to scream it, was made terrified and ecstatic by the truth of it, tried to show Hannibal with every thrust, every stroke. It would be the easiest thing in the world to whisper the words against Hannibal’s back, but he couldn’t bring himself to do so. Instead, in a frustrated fit of possessiveness, Will bit down into Hannibal’s shoulder hard enough to draw blood. There was a guttural cry and words he did not understand, but nonetheless Will called out happily in response, licking the mark he had made as beneath him Hannibal came and came.

Will lost himself to orgasm moments later, the taste of Hannibal’s skin, the smell and feeling of him all encompassing. He licked and kissed around the bite mark, unwilling to move, gasping for air as the room reverberated with the sounds of his dogs howling their approval.

He wasn’t sure how long he stayed curled over Hannibal’s back, clutching at him as if it was the only thing keeping him from being swept out to sea. Eventually, Hannibal shifted, prompting Will to extract himself and flop back on the bed. He stared at the ceiling for a moment before propping himself up on his elbows to stare at Hannibal. “Did I make you speak another language?” he asked.

“I’m afraid your diseased brain is once again plaguing you with hallucinations, Will.” It took him a minute to decipher what had been said, as Hannibal still had his face pressed into the bed. Once he figured it out, he smacked Hannibal on the ass for the comment and then went to get something to clean up with.

When he returned, he found a still naked Hannibal had returned to his discarded glass of wine. “So, I’ve been thinking,” Will began, suddenly feeling nervous. He tossed a cloth at Hannibal, who caught it easily with his left hand as he set his glass down again with the right. “You can have the kitchen...”

“Have?” Hannibal interrupted.

“To arrange obsessively,“ Will continued. “And the bathroom. I’d prefer to have creative control over the furniture and the rest of my possessions.”

Hannibal watched him with hooded eyes, somehow managing to look completely poised and intimidating, even as he was wiping Will’s semen off of himself with a damp cloth. “That is very generous of you,” he replied cautiously. “What of the dogs?”

“Ahh,” Will grinned sheepishly. “How about we just wash them when they’re dirty?”

“I believe we have different definitions of dirty,” Hannibal pointed out. As if to prove his point, he began circling the room, retrieving their discarded clothing.

“Once every two months?”

“Surely you mean once a week,” Hannibal countered.

“You can bathe me once a week,” Will offered, not sure if he should be scared or excited by the look in Hannibal’s eyes upon hearing the counter-counter-offer. “Once a month for the dogs.”

Hannibal approached him, reached out to tousle his hair, wrapping a strand around his finger as he smiled slyly at Will. “Agreed. Also, I cut your hair from now on.”

Will was definitely feeling concerned. “Only if at least one weekend out of each month you aren’t allowed to shave and have to wear something I might actually wear. Possibly even flannel.”

A muscle twitched beside Hannibal’s left eye and Will thought he heard teeth grinding. “Only if I have final say on the clothing.” Will could live with the compromise, so they shook on it, then kissed on it.

It wasn’t until later, as he watched dinner being prepared, that Will found himself wondering why there had been so much guilt and anger in Hannibal’s eyes.