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Hypnotize Me

Chapter Text

“Your eyes will not settle, a hunger.

You'd be happier in your grave.

When we meet, share stories, you stretch me. I see,

I see a semi-circle of teeth.

 

The dark cylinders of half-smoked cigarettes.

For me, I'm your sorrow, Calling in your dreams.

For me, I'm your shadow, Howling in the streets…”

 

"Hypnosis?"

Will looked at him with restless eyes that usually couldn’t endure someone else’s gaze for longer then a few seconds. The way he pronounced this small word revealed everythig he felt about the suggestion Hannibal had just offered: confusion, fear, hesitation. What an enthralling mixture.

Hannibal knew what strings he should pull, what words to choose in order to push Will in the desirable direction. He glanced over the slightly bent back, tense shoulders, and nervous eyes of a wounded, cornered animal. Piece of cake.

“I believe a hypnosis could solve the troublesome symptoms you keep on telling me about. Hallucinations, nightmares, disorientation. I cannot guarantee anything, but there is a high probability that all of that will disappear with time.”

Will took a deep breath and exhaled heavily. Hannibal saw him clenching his teeth as his face suddenly became more tense. Apparently, he was preparing to say something he found difficult to say aloud.

“Isn’t hypnosis supposed to only work on sane people? ”

Oh, so that was the problem. Thinking of himself as an oddity seemed to be the source of his discomfort. As though he was somewhat defective, merely a mockery of a human. Hannibal couldn’t understand why Will didn’t see that he was much better than others, how he surpassed them with his sensitivity, how his empathy improved his perception and understanding of the world. He had never before seen someone so capable of invading the minds of others, unerringly seeing through all their motives and secrets. Such an ability was a sheer beauty itself, and provided enormous potential, as well as having the advantage of crushing dominance and being at least a few steps before everyone. Hannibal, even with his intellectual superiority over others and experience built by years working as a psychiatrist, couldn’t see through people with such a crystal certainty as Will could. It was fascinating, to see so much potential strength and destruction in this shivering, overwhelmed form; to see the chaos caused by this raw power reflected in that pair of sorrowful, amazingly blue eyes. Could there be anything more frightening, more beautiful?

“You are not insane, Will. Hypnotic induction is useless and can even be dangerous in cases of schizophrenia or other mental disorders that deform patients' perception of reality. I don’t see any complications for you, though. In my opinion it could bring you some relief, and do you good.”

So much good to penatrate and explore your unique mind, Will.

His statement definitely caught Will's interest. Hannibal observed with pleasure how his face slowly changed; a gleam of hope took place in his features. Merely a few lies skillfuly knitted by appropriate words, decorated with a gentle tone and warm smile, could turn his deep deception into acceptance or even nervous anticipation.

“If you say so,” Will replied, rubbing his tired eyes with his hands. “Maybe it would make sense to give it a try. I’d love to get rid of these nightmares… And pull myself back together. Sometimes… I open my eyes and I don’t even know where I am, or how I got there…”

With his every word his voice was becoming more broken, more distant. He didn’t look any longer in Hannibal’s direction; it seemed that he even forgot about his presence. His eyes were gazing at a massive bookcase, but he didn’t see it, nor did he see an exquisite office surrounding him; he was too submerged in his own dark thoughts. Thoughts that didn’t even belong to him, stranding him in a deadly maze of murder scenes; a macabre portfolio that he shared with a horde of all kinds of villains.

“I believe we can solve this problem, Will. Hypnosis should calm your mind, make it more integrated. Shall we start in our next session?”

Will slowly nodded. Hannibal’s voice was like a balm, meticulously gentling his nerves, bringing a little bit of relief to his aching, shattered heart. He somehow felt that this voice had already surpassed the boundaries of professional care and cold courtesy. He had never heard Hannibal speaking in such a manner to anyone else, which not only made him feel special, but also gave him a certainty that this time someone really did want to help him.

Chapter Text

Every time Will stood in front of Doctor Lecter’s office, he felt a kind of unwitting aggravation. When his hand outstreched to press the cold, metal handle of the door, something tied a hard knot in his stomach, icy tentacles of fear embracing and compressing his insides. He had thought this feeling would pass with time and that he would get used to revealing his mind to someone after a few visits. He didn’t. Time couldn’t overcome this intense need to turn around, run, and enclose himself together with his demons somewhere in a dark, empty room, where nobody would see them. Every time he walked over the threshold of this office, he didn’t belong just to himself anymore. Doctor Lecter led him step by step with his every question. It felt as if every word that the man said was slowly unwinding a razor wire from his body, every movement deeply cutting his skin. Sometimes he felt dizzy, as if he was spinning around. He didn’t know anymore whether the wire was releasing him from its deadly grip or clenching tighter and tighter around him, changing him into a deformed, bloody piece of meat. The only thing he was constantly aware of was an awful headache pulsing through his skull and a constant sense of dissociation. He couldn’t remember the last time that he had slept normally. Every time he closed his eyes, all kinds of atrocities emerged from the land of his nightmares. And the voice, the voice that would follow him till his dying day, he was sure about that.

See? See…?

He did see. He did, although he didn’t want to. He didn’t want to look anymore, but everytime darkness embraced him, it came to him naturally. Hundreds of empty, dead eyes, faces frozen in an expression of dread. The victims that he had killed. He could see his own hands, covered in their blood; tools of destruction that meant an end to all of these people. They were innocent, their only mistake was appearing in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

It doesn’t make any sense. I know it wasn’t me who killed them, any of them. Why do I feel as if I did?

Looking into the minds of murderers had never left his mind intact, but it also never had made him feel as integrated with them as now. Crawford was always calling him on a whim; Will started to suspect that he didn’t believe he could solve the case without his involvement, whether he could or not. In his eyes he was like a draft animal; no matter how much weight was piled onto his back, he was still expected to move forward.

“You’re saving peoples' lives. We wouldn’t have been able to catch him without your help.”

Always the same, like a prayer. He couldn’t say he didn’t agree. If he hadn’t helped, maybe more people would have died. Wasn’t it worth it?

Hannibal said that hypnosis could help him. At first he disapproved of the idea, sometimes he was exhausted just by conversations about it. They made him feel breathless, embarrassed, stripped of all his secret thoughts. He kept on laying all his cards on the table, one by one, and let someone look. There was something terribly intimate in that, something that tightened his throat and made eye contact even more difficult to maintain then usual. Each word that was taken away from him made him feel more vulnerable. 

However, he didn’t quit these appointments, although he couldn’t clearly state the reason. Probably it was due to Lecter himself, his self-control and collectedness that were a perfect contrast to Will’s state of mind. His aura itself was usually enough to calm him down. As if Hannibal, dressed in his magnificently extravagant suit and with elegantly crossed legs, became something solid in his complicated life, as if just the strength of his character could guarantee that he will be fine, that he won't someday wake up from his nightmares and start killing in reality. Maybe the reason was his warm, calming tone, an offer of friendship. Hannibal could see him as he was; could really see him. He listened to all the horrors that lived in his head, depicted with vivid details, yet he didn’t look away with disgust. Full acceptance, not going along with hypocrisy, was something Will had never experienced before.

All of that had always made him come back. He also came back this time, even though the word “hypnosis” was still echoing in his mind. He felt much more unease than before with their usual appointments. Setting his demons free and handing the steering wheel to someone else truly horrified him. But he trusted that Hannibal knew what he was doing. After all, wasn’t he a prominent psychiatrist?

 

***

 

The knocking on the door broke the silence. Hannibal thought that this intermittent, low sound suggested some sense of uncertainty. The corners of his lips curved slightly; for a moment he just enjoyed the silence, the sudden break between this and the next chord of the sweet music he was about to play, the music that he had composed himself.

It’s going to begin.

He knew he had to be careful. Will, even in his current state, was still a very sharp tool that Jack used without any scruples. He frowned, suddenly strongly displeased. Will was like a very valuable, rare piece of art that wasn’t recognized as such by some vulgar simpleton and, as a result, was misplaced and put among his old, worn-out belongings. Well, that will change in the future. In the right time, Hannibal will use his skilled, careful fingers to disentwine all the bonds that connected Will to others. He just had to be patient.

“Come in.”

The door opened and this very unique man slowly came in, even more lost and gloomy than usual. The way he moved revealed his enormous, crushing tension.

“Hello, Will.”

His jaws opened with difficulty, a small, strangled sound coming out of his mouth, probably an attempt to respond to his greeting. He sat down in the opposite armchair and loosened the collar of his shirt frantically. Hannibal noticed his hands were slightly shaking.

“You look nervous. Did something happen?” he asked diplomatically, but he knew perfectly well that the source of Will’s discomfort was in this very office, not somewhere on the crime scenes, decorated with creatively disfigured corpses.

“It’s just... that hypnosis makes me feel a bit insecure,” he admitted.

"What exactly is your concern? We shall talk it through. I think the whole process would be much more effective if I can first dispel your doubts.”

Will slowly nodded in agreement; the possibility of discussing the matter made him a little bit more relaxed. He didn’t look at Hannibal while asking his first question, his eyes settling on some spot on the opposite wall.  

When you’re staring in the same spot while walking the line, you won’t fall. At least they say so. You keep your balance and, despite the fear, you get to the other, safe side. However… What will happen if I push you? Or pull you down? I would love to see how you fall. Would you learn to fly? Or maybe you would fall to the ground and shatter into a million pieces. Would you be revived as something new, even more breathtaking?

Hannibal blinked, suddenly realising that Will was now looking at his face with concern. It seemed that he became too engrossed in his own thoughts and momentarily lost track of the conversation.

“Pardon me, I got distracted by something. Could you repeat, please?”

Will smiled. This time it wasn’t a bitter, nervous smile which Hannibal was used to. Ache and exhaustion disappeared from his face for a moment, making him look younger. 

“That’s not like you, doctor. Daydreaming like that in the middle of work. How... unprofessional.”

Hannibal smiled back.

"Forgive me, Will. I promise it won’t happen again. However, taking your statement into consideration… You are not my patient, so maybe sometimes I can afford such a… wrong-doing.”

“Oh? Am I not? I am coming to your office, dragging behind myself all that… that…” He made a hand gesture, as if he couldn’t find the right words. “All that… chaos, a crowd of dead people and killers… I am telling you about my nightmares, hallucinations, thoughts that are not mine… Who am I, in this case, if not a patient who is quite out of his nut?”

As he spoke his words were becoming sharper; something apparently displeased him. Hannibal wasn’t sure whether he was the reason, or if Will’s state itself caused such frustration.

"You are my friend,” he replied without a moment of hesitation.

Will flinched; it wasn’t a response he expected. He looked straight into Hannibal's eyes, suddenly forgetting about the discomfort it usually caused him. Hannibal didn’t look away, nor did he blink. He understood very well that Will was searching for confirmation of his statement, afraid that such words of affection could be caused by simple politness, hypocrisy, or in the worst case, pity. However, he must have not found any of them reflected in his eyes, because a ghost of an embarrassed smile crossed his face, and he quickly changed the topic.

“About the hypnosis… I was afraid, what if I stop being conscious of myself and I suddenly become one of them… And I would try to kill you?”

How nice of you, Will. So concerned about my safety. I am afraid you wouldn’t be able to kill me on your best day, even if you tried very hard, let alone when you give away all your control.

"Your care is very much appreciated. However, it will never happen. I cannot take away your free will, or make you become someone else. It’s a form of therapy, not a magic trick. You can, in any moment, stop the whole process if you feel such a need. A patient can be hypnotized only when he or she feels safe and is willing to take part in such activity. If you feel fear, discomfort or reluctance, it will not work out. A hypnotist is a guide, not a god. The control of mind you might probably be familiar with is just a product of Hollywood cinematic nonsense. ”

“What about all these people who suddenly turn into chickens or start barking like dogs?” Will asked doubtfully.

“These people don’t feel any strong averseness to take part in such a game. If they didn’t want to, it would not happen.” Hannibal explained.

"So that means that if I, consciously or subconsciously, don’t want to do something, hypnosis cannot pull me in such direction, is that right?”

“Exactly.”

Unless you strongly desire it, but just don’t know it yet. You may try to suppress your true nature, but I will make you look into places you’re looking away from now. You will see them differently, Will. And then you will indeed be put back together, I assure you. You will become whole.

“What is more,” Hannibal added after a moment of silence, “do you think such a serious man as I would primitively enjoy making his patients bark like dogs or cluck like hens?”

Will looked shocked for a moment, then he suddenly burst into laughter. It seemed his own reaction surprised him, as though he forgot the simple thing that laughter was a long time ago.

“That pacified me, somehow I can’t imagine this kind of scene here. All right. So what should I do, doctor?”

 

Chapter Text

III.

 

His eyebrows raised in surprise when a glass filled with dark, red wine was handed over to him.

“I see our appointments are becoming more and more informal,” Will said, accepting the drink.

Sarcasm wasn’t exactly part of his nature, but it was the perfect tool to conceal his anxiety, embarrasment, and doubt. Hannibal probably knew, but he had never showed anything. A harsh tone helped Will maintain his distance, keep balance and quiet down the pressing questions that kept on appearing in his mind.

Why is he so nice to me? Why doesn’t he forget about me every time I leave his office, just like all his other patients?

Will wasn’t blind; quite the opposite. He was painfully aware that a man like Hannibal Lecter, with his erudition, impeccable manners, and tailored, high-priced suits, could easily find friends as refined and prestigious as himself. Instead, he chose a man like him, isolated from the world and people in general, closed together with a pack of his strays in an old, ratty house in the middle of nowhere. When Will started thinking about the differences that divided them, he felt quite awkward, as if he tried to jump up to the higher shelf, the shelf that should never be accessable to him in the first place. That is why, when Hannibal called him his friend, this simple word rang painfully in his ears, just like some kind of a bad, sad joke. That wasn’t the worst part, though. He felt even more insecure and confused, when he started asking himself why exactly Hannibal wanted to pull him closer so much. He didn’t have to think for long to come to the conclusion that his so-called personal charm or the smell of his cheap perfume, which Hannibal had even commented once, had nothing to do with that. The only reason he could easily point out was professional curosity. His empathy wasn’t something ordinary, something easily found, even in most exquisite, expensive places. His gift, and curse at the same time, was something that made him special, interesting to explore. He remembered how sick he had always felt when other psychiatrists had looked at him with their sparkling eyes and ill-masked excitement, as if they were watching a very intriguing, distinctive laboratory rat. However, Hannibal had never looked at him like that. Such an argument provided no explanation for his warm voice, long glances and… this strange, electrical atmosphere that was always surrounding them. Will couldn’t fully comprehend this slowly building tension, as well as Hannibal’s true motives. He had never met a person that seeing through caused him such difficulty. Many times he had the impression that each of his carefully chosen words and each graceful movement were just an act, a very well prepared performance to enjoy while all the rest was hidden from sight behind the thick, impenetrable curtain, safe from intrusive eyes. It was like seeing just the tiny top of the mountain while all the rest was invisible, hidden under the ocean's surface. What was underneath? Despite all his best efforts, he lost the scent every time. Now he didn’t have enough pieces to make the jigsaw come together.

“The basic rule of the hypnotic induction is making a patient relax,” Hannibal said, sitting in the armchair with his freshly filled glass of wine.

“I can see you are rather fond of unconventional methods. I thought you’d make me imagine myself lying in a meadow covered with flowers.”

 "Unconventional methods have always been used to break the pattern, born out of a need to walk on a new, unforseen path. They are the first step to revolutionary discoveries and new solutions.”

Every time Hannibal spoke, the flow of his words was as smooth and accurate as if he knew Will’s every question before he had even asked. As if Will was meant to be wrong and defeated, no matter what he said.

“Regardless of the method you intend to use, I think it will be pointless. The last time I felt entirely relaxed was when I was around five.”

“That is a long time. What happened afterwards?” Hannibal asked, although Will was quite sure he knew the reason perfectly well.

“Afterwards I started seeing other people’s minds,” he answered nevertheless, probably just for maintining the conversation or convincing himself that his therapy was not a useless conceit, a pretext to believe that one day he won’t be waking up in the middle of the night, disturbed by his nightmares, feeling as if his life was just a cruel joke of nature.

It is said that hope dies last.

“I don’t want you to think about that now, Will.”

He frowned, not really understanding what Hannibal meant by these words.

“Don’t push yourself. The more you force yourself to relax, the more tense you will become. Try to forget about it, behave as if you just came to pay me a visit.”

“What should I be talking about, then? I guess a common subject area won’t do,” Will mumbled sceptically, taking a first sip of his drink. It had a tang of sweetness, but was harsh in its essence, leaving a sour aftertaste in his mouth.

“About anything.” Hannibal radiated with serenity, sitting comfortably in the armchair and slowly sipping his wine. Will was sure he exposed himself this way on purpose, hoping to make him calmer, trying to make him involuntarily reflect his own emotion.

“Anything? It’s not that easy. I don’t feel like we have a lot in common.”

“Just the opposite. We do, more then you think.”

Will raised his gaze to look at Hannibal’s face, intrigued by this unusual statement. His eyes were emanating with something intense, his lips curved slightly as if he was enjoying some inside joke understandable only to himself.

“For example?” he asked silently, feeling perplexed by the pair of those unmoving eyes. His mouth became strangely dry, as if there suddenly wasn’t enough air in the room.

"Both of us can understand people, see through them very deeply. I even dare to say, it gives us some kind of sensitivity, makes us understand life and its rules better.”

“You say it as if it's some kind of advantage.”

“Is it not?”

“No one wants to see and know more then they should. Otherwise they end up… like me.”

“Don’t think like that, Will. You are not ended.”

He wanted to laugh wryly, but Doctor Lecter’s penetrating gaze paralyzed the muscles of his jaw and kept him pinned in place with ease. He used all of his strong will to look away. His glass was drained in one gulp.

“I feel as if I am.”

“You are just going through some kind of crisis. I believe our therapy will help you to regain your stability, but we need time for it. Time, and an appropriate attitude. It has a crucial role in your recovery.”

Will sighed deeply and nodded slowly.

“I see... I am ready.”

Hannibal raised his eyebrows and looked at him in surprise.

“Are you sure? You don’t look…”

“I am more relaxed then ever,” Will interrupted him sharply.

Doctor Lecter’s mouth twiched in a grimace of irritation. He was probably displeased by Will’s bold behaviour and poor manners. In a moment, however, his face relaxed again, as if this little offence was immediately forgotten and forgiven. It seemed he was much more likely to treat Will leniently then any other person.

A balanced smile appeared on his face, as if nothing had just happened.

“That’s perfect. Let’s start, then.”

 

***

 

”I would like you to focus your gaze on some concrete spot on the wall. Remember this spot, don’t bow your head. Every time you open your eyes, look at the same spot,” Hannibal explained.

“Aren't you going to wave some kind of magical-looking watch in front of my eyes?” Will sneered.

”Just in case you want to arrange some demonstrational presentation for your students.”

“I think I'll pass,” he snorted, “ Even without this, they look at me as if I was a specimen of some strange, not entirely characterised species.”

“All right. Focus on my voice and try to quiet down.”

The sudden silence was filled with the sound of Will’s nervous breathing. Although he tried to look confident and in control, Hannibal could practically smell his fear. Under his perfectly crafted human mask, he could sense his own blood speeding up in his veins, a brutal, inconquerable instinct that was constantly urging him to finally invade that unique mind, tear it apart, and crawl inside like a poisonous parasite. When he saw him like that, all scared and unsure, he couldn’t help but imagine how he could destroy and consume him and observe with amazement how he slowly dies, just like a beautiful, bloody flower, torn away from its source of life. Sometimes he was worried that his eyes would betray him, revealing what was hidden beneath. But it was usually just for a second, during which he smoothly put his mask back in place. He knew that self control and patience were crucial tools to achieve a rich harvest.

Not letting a single emotion break through, he said in a plain tone:

“In a moment I am going to count, starting from one. When I say ‘one’, close your eyes, please. Open them on ‘two’, and continue the same sequence with following numbers. Every time you open your eyes, look at the spot on the wall. With time, you will be more and more drowsy. When you feel that your eyelids are too heavy, let them stay closed. ”

Will nodded, looking a little bit more relaxed than a moment ago. He kept on looking at the opposite wall, as Hannibal instructed him to. It seemed that lack of eye contact helped him to unwind his nerves. He had noticed many times that it was always his gaze that made him most nervous and uncomfortable, sometimes even breathless. Every time it happened, Hannibal indulged himself in the feeling, drinking up every emotion that was reflected on his face.

“One. Close your eyes, but keep them on the position. Two. Now open them slowly. Three. Close your eyes again, feel how good it is to let them take a rest…”

He spoke with a calming, soothing voice, making the syllables somewhat longer then usual, giving them a tang of sensous touch. He was a master of his own game and knew perfectly well what spices he should use to give his creation a particular, but not too sharp flavour.

Precision was essential.

“Four. Slowly open your eyes, look into the spot. Five. Close them easily…”

He was enjoying the sight of Will’s eyelids going opened and closed; he noted with satisfaction how easily he could pull the strings of his favourite toy.

“Six. Slowly open...”

He saw a deep, mesmerizing blue, what an ideal colour to depict pain and melancholy.

How perfectly well it would go together with crimson.

“Seven. Close... Feel how heavy your eyelids are becoming, how difficult it is to keep them open…”

Will’s chest was rising and falling slowly, his clenched fists laying in his lap. He wasn’t really relaxed. Hannibal was aware that his state of mind could be an obstacle to a successful hypnotic induction. Everlasting stress, anxiety, stream of consciousness… He knew, however, that it was doable. He would probaly have to spend lots of time and energy to accomplish this task, but he always was very persistent in achieving his goals.

“Eight. Open your eyes, nice and slowly… Nine. Close. Feel how relaxed you're becoming, how your body is slowly losing all its tension, how it's disappearing completely…”

He shivered momentarily, just like a sleeping cat. Hannibal looked him up and down slowly, enjoying his moment. Sometimes it overcame his mind, how many levels Will Graham fascinated and magnetized him. Every time they met, he felt the thrilling, electric pressure that pierced through his mind and body whenever he was near him. A hurricane of racing molecules, a wild call of implacable, unrelenting biochemistry.

Does he also feel it? Can an empath like him shelter himself with ignorance and hypocrisy, even if he wants to?

“Ten. You slowly open your eyes, your mind is clear and empty, you’re not thinking about anything…”

Clear, like a sparkling surface of the lake, like a white sheet of paper, on which Hannibal intended to write his own poetry.

 

***

 

 

Chapter Text

IV.

 

Will thought the lack of eye contact would make the whole experience less intimate. He hoped it would build a wall between them, a wall behind which he could fence himself from Doctor Lecter and his invading influence. He hadn’t expected that his voice, just his voice, would crawl under his skin and pierce through him so thoroughly, conquering everything it met on its way. With each word and each breath, the feeling was mounting gradually, and that voice was permeating through his lungs, controlling his heartbeat, making him feel more and more powerless.

“You are less and less aware of your thoughts, you let them flow away… You can see that they are flowing by slowly, but you let it happen, because you don’t need them anymore. With every passing moment you are more and more relaxed; with each of my words your tension is decreasing, you can feel yourself being surrounded by comfort and safety. Nothing is important anymore, only my voice, that is slowly making you sink into a trance…"

He felt confused. His tension wasn’t decreasing at all; he felt too nervous to believe that the whole process was going smoothly. However, all his attention was focused on Hannibal’s voice, as if there was nothing more important, nothing he had to think about anymore. It felt as though it stole that moment in time and space, the whole world be damned. Every word falling from his lips was tightening a grip around him, making him more excited, dazed, caught in a trap.  On the other hand, he was feeling building pleasure and comfort, a need to give in and let his consciousness be taken away from him… Every word was like a caress, like a gentle touch closing his eyelids and making him sleep… a sweet whisper into his ear telling him to stop thinking…

“You feel better and better, you stop being aware of your body… but not immediately. Step by step, you are slowly heading towards blissful relaxation. You’re listening to my voice and relaxing at the same time... Very good. You want to go deeper, you know you will feel even better. Just now… you’re sinking into a trance. “

He didn’t know how he should feel and whether the induction was successful, but he could feel his attention becoming sharper and a need to follow the voice growing stronger. Despite his nerves, he impatiently awaited for each following word.

"Just like that, very good. You relax more with every exhale. Now I would like you to imagine you are standing by a river. You are observing silvery, flowing water; you can feel its strong, fresh smell. You are more and more drawn to the stream, as if it is calling you…"

A river…? How did he know?

“After a moment you can feel that merely looking is not enough. You want to come closer, feel the fast-flowing water. You keep on walking forward, and with each step you are becoming more relaxed. You slowly step into the river. At first, the water is covering only your feet, but it gradually goes higher, you can feel the pleasant waves slowly covering your whole body. It unravels your nerves, making you calmer and calmer. When the water touches the tip of your head, you can feel overwhelming, absolute relaxation. Your every muscle gives way, as though it begins melting, surrounded by the depths. Your whole body is melting, disappearing, you are not aware of it anymore…"

The visualisation didn’t cause him any difficulty. He had imagined this so many times before, but this time he felt so clearly that the cold water was flowing around him, cooling down his feverish body and mind, always in flames. It soothed him and deadened his far too sharp senses. It felt so good to give away his consciousness, forget everything, let be led… Nevertheless, his instinct, that had never failed him before, was warning him now not to give away his control, it shouted to fight back this invasion in his mind. What was more… Hannibal’s voice touched something unusual inside of him, it pulled the strings that shouldn’t be touched. It entwined him in a surprisingly… pleasant way.

“You are fully relaxed now, and you feel safe and secure. You are swimming further and further from the bank. The further you go, the better you feel…”

He licked his chapped lips. He wanted to move, to stop this, but at the same time he couldn’t force himself. He couldn’t recall the last time he felt so good, when he felt such clear, overwhelming bliss…

“With each of my words, your every muscle becomes twice as relaxed. You can feel the relaxing wave circling around your head, you can feel how warm it is. First it touches your neck, then it goes through the back of your skull, moves freely in your head, makes all remains of stress or any stray thoughts vanish completely. The feeling is gentle and refreshing, just like a light, summer breeze...”

His breathing fastened. He could feel the pleasurable feeling growing gradually, until it made him entirely stunned and breathless. He felt as if he was stripped of his own skin, the lightest caress setting his bare and vulnerable body on fire. Every word was like a touch on an open wound, it tore apart his barriers, making him hurt and confused.

Willing for more.

It was too much, far much more than he could take.

His eyes flew open and he choked in air, as if he had held his breath for too long.

As if he had just surfaced out of water.

His body shivered, his chest rising and falling. Between heavy breaths, he slowly raised his gaze.

He was almost surprised to see his psychiatrist, sitting still with crossed legs, the same as before they had started. He was sure that the moment he opened his eyes, he would see the familiar black deer who never left him for too long, or maybe another creature emerging slowly from the land of his nightmares. He wouldn’t even be surprised if he saw a siren; deadly and seductive, luring sailors with her sweet, melodic voice and devouring them mercilessly in the depths of the ocean.

Hannibal was looking at him with questioning eyes and a polite, enigmatic smile.

“It’s too much… I…”

His mouth was dry, his thoughts chaotic and restless again. All of Hannibal’s effort had been spoiled in just one second. Now he wasn’t even able to produce one coherent sentence.

”Are you alright, Will?”

The air seemed to vibrate with that rich voice. When he heard it once again after a moment of silence, a shiver ran through his body, reminding him what he had just experienced.

A voice that made him feel such pleasure.

The very thought made him avert his gaze once again, but somehow it wasn’t enough. He would be enormously pleased if he could melt into the wall or the ground, alternatively.

Damn, such an ability would be much more useful in life than empathy.

“Yeah, I'm ok. I just… felt a bit strange,” he answered, looking at the nearest table.

“I am sorry, it is my fault. I thought it would be more difficult to hypnotize you than other patients, but I didn’t anticipate that your empathy would make you so much more… pliable.”

"Pliable?” Will asked, finally raising his gaze at Hannibal, who looked strangely pleased with himself.

“More prone to suggestion. It seems you can feel it deeper than an ordinary person.”

He involuntarily bit his lip, glowing with shame. He wanted to say something, to refuse, but no sound could escape through his tightened throat.

“It has its advantages, though. Now we know hypnosis does work on you, so with time we can solve your problems quite smoothly, I presume.”

“I am not sure whether I want to do it again.”

I am sure I would love to.

“Could you tell me how you felt?”

Definitely not.

He took a deep breath, preparing himself to answer. He looked over the room, taking his time to carefully choose the right words.

“At first, I felt like I was becoming more and more relaxed. You indeed reduced my tension. But then… everything, all the feelings… became too overwhelming.”

Hannibal nodded with understanding.

“Maybe I should slow down?”

His heart stopped suddenly, and he felt a hot wave of shame and humiliation fill his body.

Did he really mean it?

He couldn’t believe Hannibal would decide to expose and ridicule him like this, so he looked into his face and studied it carefully. He didn’t see any sign of mockery, though. Just a deadly serious, professional attitude.

Is it possible he didn’t notice the ambiguity of his own words?

He opened his mouth, trying to say something, but he was left speechless once again. Unable to force himself to say anything appropriate, he abruptly stood up and almost lost his balance.

“I think that’s enough for today,” he said finally.

“Of course,” Hannibal stood up as well, walking him to the door. “I am just trying to help you, Will. I am sorry if I caused you any discomfort.”

Will was already holding the door handle, but the penetrating gaze he felt upon himself made him look over his shoulder. Hannibal’s eyes were emanating with the same strength and intensity as his voice; they were piercing through him like a blade, moving him so deeply that it was impossible to remain unwavering. They were somehow the same as his favourite wine that he had treated Will with so willingly; dark, heavy, and leaving a bittersweet aftertaste in his mouth for a long time.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

V.

 

In Wolf Trap, the dusk was slowly gathering. The air was getting colder and colder, the view in front of him becoming more and more blurred. Will disliked this moment,  the time when day slowly turned to night; it brought anxiety and nervous anticipation for something bright and well-known to lose its clear shape and equivalance, to drown in the arcane, dangerous darkness. He knew that in a few moments everything would disappear, consumed by night, and familiar black eyes would stand out from within the forest, ready to pierce him with its inscrutable gaze. 

He was sitting on the porch with a glass of whiskey in his hand, persistently staring at the forest, throwing it his challenge. The real, inarticulate fear wasn’t caused by actually looking at terrible things, but by awaiting them; the awareness that they are hidden somewhere in the dark, carefully choosing the right moment to suddenly lunge from their secret place and sink their fangs and claws in him.

He was petting Winston’s fur mechanically, lost in thought. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Wolf Trap was a perfect choice, a desolate place where he could separate himself from people, sounds, smells, and thoughts. His own tower, his own deserted island.

This time he desired to be alone more than ever before. What had happened in Doctor Lecter’s office made his world’s foundations sway dangerously, tipping him in a strange, unknown direction. He didn’t expect his reaction to be so intense, making him anticipate… what, exactly?

Will sighed, taking a gulp of his drink. He was afraid what Hannibal could have thought about him. Had he noticed?

How could he not notice?

He recalled his fast breathing, his obvious embarrasment. Lecter was a clever and acute man, Will strongly doubted that he hadn’t noticed what had been happening with him. What he had made of him.

His glass stopped rapidly halfway to his lips as a sudden thought suddenly hit him. Was it possible that… Lecter was doing it deliberatly? Will remembered his purring voice, his carefully chosen words, burrowing deeper and deeper beneath his skin, twisting something inside of him mercilessly. Will knew hypnosis was usually quite sensual in its nature, but the atmosphere between the two of them seemed somewhat too electric, overwhelmingly intimate. And that ambiguous comment that Lecter had made at the end of their conversation… Had he been doing all of this… on purpose?

That new, shocking thought sent a wave of fear, as well as a thrill of nervous excitement, through Will's body. Long glances, nice words, lips curved in a subtle smile, all of this went surprisingly well along with that new idea. It filled empty places, suddenly providing him answers to so frequently asked questions.

He frowned, the hand stroking Winston’s head freezing. He didn’t want to draw any snap conclusions, but taking all of those facts into consideration clearly pointed out that Hannibal… had tried to flirt with him?

Will cautiously weighed that fact for a moment, wondering how it made him feel. He had always been attracted to women, nothing had ever pulled him in the opposite direction. How did it make him feel to know that Doctor Lecter was probably attracted to him?

Maybe it’s just nonsense. He's just responsible for my therapy, it’s nothing personal. Hypnosis just goes along with such a… seductive inplication.

He could still hear Lecter's voice, each word almost like a caress. He remembered his rising panic and an urgent need to free himself of the man's suffocating grip, when he suddenly realised he had been ready for more and he would have nothing against it if the voice was replaced by touch.

The striking realisation that he would like to be touched by this very man suddenly fell over him at full strengh. He froze, his breathing stopping.

That’s crazy.

A sudden, unexpected yelp jarred Will out of his thoughts. He suddenly  realised that his hand unconsciously closed in a fist and pulled his dog’s fur.

”Oh, sorry, Winston...”

Winston only wagged his tail, immediately forgiving him for the unintentional assault. Unusual impulses from his owner were nothing new to him.

Will finished his drink and closed his eyes, but even behind his closed eyelids he couldn’t escape from his persistant thoughts. He wanted to indulge himself a little bit and let his imagination take a few steps forward. He was curious. How would it be to…?

He exhaled heavily and rapidly stood up. The dog looked at him with a surprised expression, probably wondering what had caused his master’s strange behaviour this time.

Will didn’t want to think about it. He couldn’t. How could he step into Lecter's office next time, if he started weaving some stupid fantasies now? He was determined to get this silly thought out of his head as soon as possible, before it started growing and spreading its roots in his mind. He wandered into the house toward the kitchen, heading straight for the fridge. It was best to drown this horrible idea with a few more drinks.

 

***

 

The house was filled with thick darkness, illuminated softly only by the flames from the fireplace. Shadows were snaking in a soundless, lascivious dance reflected on the walls. Faces from within paintings gazed grimly from their frames, emanating with particular, sinister glory.

What a magnificent place that Hannibal had arranged for himself.

Every element, chosen with careful precision, fit together perfectly, creating an ideal reflection of his own soul. Refinement and beauty intwined with cold and darkness. The interior of the house, as if a living creature, was laughing straight in Jack’s face, despising the man's blindness and stupidity. Even Will, a man that was out of tune and torn by the cruelty of the world, couldn’t see through him. Nevertheless, Hannibal wasn’t a fool. He knew he couldn’t ignore Will as a potentional threat. He was perfectly aware that he wasn’t without flaws. One  uncontrolled glance or gesture could be enough to make Graham put all the pieces together and understand.  It would be most reasonable to reduce their contact to absolute necessity.

Staring at the flames, Hannibal sighed silently. For some reason, that thought caused him discomfort. He was too devoted to his little experiment , too curious to give it up now. He wanted to see just how far he could go in his machinations, to what extent he could influence and mold Will. He wanted to invade that delicate mind, plant within it his own seed. However, it wasn’t just that.

He recalled how helpless Will had been during their last session. So trusting, he allowed himself to be guided without any resistance, til the moment he had been suddenly frightened by his own reaction. Hannibal let his lips curve into a smile. He had had various possiblities in his mind before their meeting, but Will surprised him thoroughly. Parted lips, quickened breathing, that aura of… submission, wordless request, urgent need. Hannibal had had to use all of his iron will to keep speaking in that detached, unaffected manner. At the same time, he relished casting his gaze over Will's shivery figure, the man's face softened by pleasure.  He had gotten an urge to say something more suggestive, more provocative, but he knew it wasn’t the right time just yet. He knew the rules of his own game perfectly well.

That scene hadn't brought Hannibal any new discoveries. He had known before that his interest in Will would extend far beyond friendship or professional curiosity. Even though Will didn’t take care of himself as well as he should, he was still a handsome, attractive man. What surprised Hannibal, though, was the magnetic gravity between them, and his reluctance to pull away, despite the danger of getting so close to an empath. He was strongly displeased with this feeling. He had always been proud of the perfect control that he had polished with years of tedious work on himself.  He had always calculated what was best and most profitable for him, and never let someone influence his decisions. What happened to him that now a need to dominate and possess corrupted him entirely? True, he used to have affairs when it was safe and comfortable for him, sometimes he even provoked and played with deadly impulses of his patients, but he had always been ready to back off if there was such a necessity.

He could see a shadow covering his finely woven web. If he happened to go a few steps too far, he would fall into his own trap.

On the other hand, their relationship, so dangerous and unpredictable, fueled his hunger almost more then he could stand. What would he do to Will if he could finally put his hands on him…? Will’s fragility and vulnerability made Hannibal think of art; its charm, beauty, ethereal enchantment. He might just make his most beautiful creation out of him. He wouldn’t humiliate Will like the rest; he would show him respect. How would he feel slowly tearing away life from the man, raking his hands through Will's bloody, shivering body?

However, there were many other possibilities Hannibal could consider before that final, inevitable moment. He was a brutal, yet well controlled force; he knew how to shake Will up, how to make him beg to be opened up, in both mind and body. What’s more… taking into consideration his reaction during their last meeting, Hannibal could act with much more confidence next time. Outwardly, Will Graham seemed to be like ice and darkness, but instinctively Hannibal felt that under that pretence there was tameless wilderness and fire, burning him from inside, trying to break through.

 

 

Chapter Text

VI.

 

Despite how much Will tried to conceal it, his every gesture, each rapid, nervous glance, was betraying him. Hannibal needed just a moment to understand how much Will had been thinking about their last encounter in this very office. He was doing his best to make the opposite impression and hide his true feelings, but he was failing completely.

 

How is it possible that he is able to look into others’ minds all the time, yet hasn’t learned by now how to close his own?

“Will?” he asked his patient, after the man, engrossed in his own thoughts, didn’t react to the last question.

Unexpectedly jarred out of his thoughts, Will flinched.

“Sorry... What'd you just say?”

Hannibal could just repeat his question, and not comment on Will's unusual state, but he couldn’t help himself. He wanted to see the man lowering his gaze, paralyzed by shame and embarrassment, to smell his fear.

He assumed a crestfallen face and asked, “It seems you don’t feel very well today. Is something bothering you?”

Initially, Will wanted to smile and politely refuse, but in the process an expression of sheer panic broke out onto his face. It was just a second, though. He collected himself quickly and answered, “No, I'm fine. It’s just… the usual stuff. I have problems with sleeping, but recently my insomnia has been particularly bad. It’s difficult to focus, sorry.”

He is lying almost as badly as he is controlling his emotions.

“We can come back to this conversation later. For now, I’ll try to help you relax.”

He saw the other's movements perfectly well. Will swallowed nervously, his back bent, his neck automatically covered by his hand. In the case of both humans and animals, these were always the same non-verbal signs, there was no way to deny it. Exposed defencelessness, a desire to avoid a confrontation.

”I didn’t feel very relaxed last time,” Will tried to oppose faintly.

Maybe that’s because you went straight to a higher level of… “relaxation”.

“Try to stay positive. Success requires time. If you feel uncomfortable, we can stop at any moment.”

Hannibal saw a glimpse of clenched teeth, of fingers digging into the arms of the chair. Will looked as if he was preparing for shock treatment, not a session of hypnosis. After a tense moment, he eventually nodded slowly, giving the sign that he was ready.

“Take a deep breath. Close your eyes…”

They started the same as last time. Will, despite his nervousness, managed to calm down quite quickly. It was probably easier now that he already knew what he could expect.

Hannibal’s each word was full of warmth, his voice promising safety and serenity, but his each breath, each heartbeat was whispering softly:

Forget everything, give in, let me entangle you, blind you, hurt you…

The words, both spoken and unutterable, were intwining with each other; just like magical spells, they were piercing through Will with an inconceivable strength. Slowly, drop after drop, desire was overflowing his body and mind, teasing and tempting to give in, to reach out for more. 

 

***

 

"…Twenty four. Close your eyes. You feel so drowsy, your body is limp and relaxed… Twenty five. Your eyes stay closed. You feel so good that you don’t need to open them again. You feel warm and pleasant. It’s a perfect time to give in completely… Stop thinking… You are taking a deep breath, feel the air filling your lungs… Good. Now you’re taking a slow exhale, that makes you relax even further…”

With each moment, Will's anxious thoughts were drifting away, becoming something insignificant, unworthy of his attention. Not now, when he felt so peaceful. He craved this usually unattainable feeling. Why would he think, when he could just drift along with this voice, let it guide him…

”You feel as though a warm wave of energy is circling around your body, but it’s not touching you yet. When it happens, you will feel its vibration, slowly filling you up. It won’t happen all at once, but gradually. You will be sinking in that wave a step by step, inch after inch. Now you are waiting for me to make it start moving forward. You know there is no need to be afraid; you are safe, led by my voice. It’s the only thing you need to focus on, nothing else matters now. You are giving me all control, because you know you are safe and I know how to lead you…”

The conscious part of his mind was warning him that these skillfuly arranged words, like a glistening string of pearls, were supposed to tantalize, to awaken his desire, not just to reduce his stress. That disturbing thought was stuck somewhere in the back of his mind, but the urge to give in and accept the soothing pleasure was overcoming it, to the point that it was almost unnoticeable. For Will, submission wasn’t just a personal preference, but a possibility to give himself to somebody, as well as to give away his pain, guilt and despair, an opportunity to make someone else responsible for all of this. Maybe that is why Hannibal’s words were hitting a raw nerve in him, making him willing to open himself to his suggestion. They were offering him what he truly ached for.

“You are very relaxed, you can feel the pulsing energy approaching you. It’s closer and closer… First, it touches your feet, massages them lightly… All tension slowly disappears. The sensation is as strong as if it were someone’s hands touching your skin, making tense muscles relax even further…”

If it were his hands touching him... How would he feel? Would Hannibal really want to touch him? If he didn’t, would he still be caressing him with his clever words right now?

“It’s a pleasant feeling, isn’t it? As if someone massaged them after a long, tiring day. Now you don’t have to go anywhere anymore. You can just stay here, relax more and more, feel better and better… After a moment, the wave is moving along your legs, you can feel as it travels higher and higher and… it stops at the height of your knees.”

The feeling that overcame him was some kind of a revelation. He indeed felt the energy filling him up from his toes to his knees and he could swear it was a physical, not just psychological experience. How was this possible? Was the power of suggestion so powerful that it could influence an individual to this extent? The surprise and the questions, however, were just an echo, briefly occupying his mind. He was too busy following the voice, awaiting whatever the words were going to offer him…

”Half the length of your legs is already drawn into that warm, relaxing energy. You can feel how pleasurable it is, but you also feel that it's definitely not enough. That’s why it starts moving up again. Very, very slowly…”

Will held his breath, craving to hear more. He could feel his whole body suddenly tensing up again in expectation. He recognized that kind of pleasure and nervous awaiting, but he had never experienced it with such intensity and under such circumstances. For some reason, Hannibal kept silent for a moment. Will, trapped between his anxiety and excitement, aching for his next words, could hear the sound of his own quick breathing.

”It goes through your thighs, you can clearly feel a rising sensation as it crawls up… Now almost half of your body is inside of this warm, pleasant energy, energy that is building up your pleasure…”

That voice managed to take control over him completely, in that moment he lost the clarity of who he was, from where and why he came there… Priorities and their meanings vanished entirely from his brain. He was reduced to awaiting and wanting, feeling hot and greedy.

”Good. You are light and relaxed. The energy climbs up along the whole length of your thighs…”

His body flinched, shocked by the rapid, overwhelming sensation, his lips parted slightly. Will felt as if he was burning alive, all consumed by that teasing, torturous wave of pleasure.

“Then, it’s going through your loins, moving toward the base of your spine…”

The feeling was so intense that he couldn’t keep back a quiet moan. The sound, escaping from his own throat, woke him up and made him come back to his senses. The blurred lines became visible once again, the time and place – meaningful.

As well as the fact that he nearly came into his own pants, while sitting in Doctor Lecter’s office.

His eyes flew open, and he jumped up from the chair and stared at the man sitting opposite him in sheer horror.

“What the…? What were you doing to me?”

His voice, changed by excitement and embarrassment, sounded unnaturally high. He was pinning Hannibal with his angry glare, but the man didn’t seem uneasy at all. He just smiled leisurely and said, ”As I stated before, I am trying to help you relax.”

Will already opened his mouth to say something biting, but he stopped himself at the last second. Was there something really wrong with today’s hypnosis session? Did Hannibal really tease him, giving their session more ambiguous undertones…? When he really thought about it, he couldn’t find any actual argument against it. Maybe he only imagined that Hannibal would want something like that from him…

Feeling like a complete idiot, he cast his eyes down and said in much more agreeable tone, ”I-I'm sorry… I have no idea what’s wrong with me recently…”

As if I’ve ever had an idea. I should use it as a part of my self-introduction line. Maybe this way I wouldn’t have to explain myself after every awkward encounter. My name is Will Graham and I have no idea what's wrong with me…

”Will… Don’t be sorry.”

The sudden words jarred him out of his thoughts. Although their meaning suggested mere politeness, Will could feel that there was something else behind them from the way Hannibal spoke them. They seemed light, courteous, but he could sense something heavy and intense between the syllables. Still embarrased by his behaviour, he raised his gaze unsurely and… he was astounded.

He could see that same overwhelming hunger he felt himself reflected in Hannibal’s eyes.

Wasn’t… Wasn’t he wrong, after all?

In that moment of electric, breathless silence, there was something definitely happening between them. Everything depended on his next step, his reality might change its course and take him to unknown, possibly dangerous grounds. Neither of them broke eye contact, their gaze unwavering. Will was towering over Hannibal from his standing position, yet he didn’t feel any sense of dominance. Something in other man’s gaze suffocated and paralyzed him, making him feel hemmed in, trapped and... desired. Hannibal was luring him in with his eyes, inviting him to make that last, final move.

Will looked over the distance dividing them, as if he was weighing his chances to make it to the other side of the chasm, preparing to jump. As it usually is, the natural gravity of mutual attraction was stronger than differences, doubts, and common sense.

In one momentary motion, he appeared next to Hannibal and crashed into his lips in a voracious, uncontrollable kiss.

 

***

 

Chapter Text

 

VII.

Although it was only the stream of the words between them, that one smooth sound that constantly fell from his lips managed to hit Will thoroughly. With his head leaned back in obvious pleasure, Will felt as though it were Hannibal’s hands and lips instead caressing his more and more agitated body. For a moment Hannibal found himself entirely speechless. He itched to abruptly stop this little game and claim what was his from the very first moment they had crossed paths. The only thing holding him back was some sense of dignity and the fact that he despised that kind of rushed, desperate behaviour. He quickly gathered his wits and continued with his carefully crafted words. 

Will surprised him. It was his plan to heat up the atmosphere a little bit, but he hadn’t forseen it exceeding his expectations this much. He watched with pleasure as the younger man shivered under the delicious influence of his words, as his legs parted slightly, revealing his urgent need and desperation. He was helpless against his own desire, waiting and longing for more. It was both thrilling and fascinating to have such power over the other man, to make him a hot mess of desire, with only his voice. What could he make of him if he decided to touch him…? 

He kept on pushing Will closer and closer to the edge, when something suddenly distracted him from his concentration and pulled him out of his trance. The spell was broken. He looked around, bewildered and mortified, afraid to look Hannibal in the eye, afraid to even breathe. It was almost funny, to see him this frightened and beet red. Hannibal intended to keep on playing his role, not letting a single emotion be displayed on his face. He didn’t expect that an apology and clearly shattering before Graham’s eyes would make him reveal his cards even a little bit. Regardless, he wanted to pull him closer, to gain his trust, not to thrust him away. 

One unguarded glance worked like an avalanche. In the blink of an eye, he felt the other’s teeth crashing painfully against his own, the man's tongue instantly slipping into his mouth. The kiss was full of chaos, aggression and untamed, uncontrollable desire. Will Graham tasted the same as his madness; intoxicating. 

Will broke the kiss and stepped away, giving Hannibal some space. He hung over him like that, momentarily paralyzed; not standing up, but not sitting in the chair either. His questioning, nervous eyes were holding Hannibal's gaze, urging him to make a decision. 

Time for his move. 

Hannibal wrapped his fingers around Will's waist and pulled him closer, making him sit in his lap. He felt Will tense, surprised and embarrassed by their sudden closeness. Will’s eyes widened as he realised the hardness beneath himself. Hannibal just gave him a sly smile in response and held him at the base of his neck, pulling him in for another kiss. This time he took control over it, taking his sweet time to penetrate and explore his mouth. Will was responding eagerly, his body relaxing again, giving in to the overwhelming sensation. He put his slightly shivering hands on Hannibals' shoulders; the first hesistant embrace. Hannibal was relishing in their intimacy, taking with passion what he had wanted to take for a long time already. Now he was kissing him deeper, each slick stroke of their tongues sending a wave of pleasure through his body. The hot, fast breath he was feeling across his face was encouraging him to go a step ahead.

He intentionally broke the kiss to look straight into Will’s eyes as his hands traveled along his sides, finally grasping him firmly by his waist. Will was gazing back with his hungry, blurred eyes, when Hannibal suggestively rocked his hips. Will gasped for air and moaned silently at that unexpected movement, enjoying the desired friction as much as Hannibal did. What beautiful music to his ears. His hands traveled further down and he rocked his hips again, letting Will fully feel his erection through the few thin pieces of clothing that separated them. Hannibal knew nothing could be more stimulating than fueled imagination, so he wasn’t surprised when this simple gesture totally took over Will’s mind, making him wriggle in his lap shamelessly and brush against his hardness with every movement. They didn’t take their eyes off of each other, the air thick with pregnant silence and growing desire. There was no hesitation left in the younger man. His want made him blind and desperate, ignorant of all possible consequences. It was too late to stop, yet too early too start regretting and asking questions. He was stunning when he was like this, all challenging and seductive. Hannibal knew they were thinking about the same thing; how would it feel if there were no clothes between them, with Will riding his cock, giving himself to him in abandon? The doctor looked him up and down, his eyes moving over his ecstatic face, rolling hips, and obvious erection, still hidden in his trousers.  When his hand squeezed him there lightly, Will shivered and groaned helplessly. Hypnosis made him vulnerable and excited beyond measure, to the point where everything was washed out of his head except a desperate need to fulfill his most base desires. Hannibal inwardly smiled to himself. He had played all his cards better and faster then he had intended to. He knew Will, he knew the attraction had always been there, but it had never been pushed far enough to act upon it. Now he had triggered all of his hidden emotions, making the man craving for more, longing for his touch. 

When his hand didn’t move, Will gave him a look of expectation.  

“Impatient?”

Will bit his lip, not answering. Despite his arousal, embarassment was still somewhere in there. Hannibal, as usual, wanted to push forward, to move the lines a little bit further, simply because he could and enjoyed doing so. He decided on a whim to make Will say something stimulating, to acknowledge with words what was happening. Judging by his current condition, it shouldn’t take too much effort.  

“Tell me what to do.”

“Touch me.”

His voice was a mere whisper, rough and almost inaudible. It felt as if they were sharing a secret, too intimate and overwhelming to say louder.

“I am touching you,” he answered with a meaningful smile.

Will looked away, apparently slowly losing his footing, embarrasment taking over. Hannibal gently prompted him further.

“Tell me step by step what I should do.”

“Hannibal…”

It was the first time he heard Will saying his name in such a manner, prolonging his syllables, his voice higher than usual. There was something intimate and sensual in the way it came out, making him want to put much more exciting words in his mouth, many words that he could beg him for another touch with. 

“Believe me, you will like it.”  

When the expression of doubt appeared on Will’s face, he added: 

“Do you know why?” He pulled him closer, whispering into his ear, “Because mere words… really excite you.”

Hannibal felt as the man's whole form shivered violently, the vibration sending a very pleasurable sensation straight to his groin. He looked at him expectantly, teasing him with a very light touch and waiting for his next words. 

Will swallowed heavily and uttered with difficulty:

“O-open my fly...”

Hannibal quickly obliged and looked at him again suggestively.

“...Pull my trousers down.”

Will raised his hips little bit, helping him out, and looked nervously around the room, probably suddenly realising what a perverse image they created: He was straddling his psychiatrist in his office with a hard-on in his pants, telling him how he should strip him. 

Hannibal could easily see how much it excited him.

“Now my boxers...”

Hannibal first looked at Will's underwear, already wet with precum, then upward, to his blurred, amazingly blue eyes, begging for release. He teased him lazily, moving his fingers along his whole length, but not doing anything beyond that. He watched with pleasure how Will’s body arched towards him, how his teeth clenched together. 

“How much do you want it?” Hannibal couldn’t help himself, but keep on teasing him. It was so entertaining to see him like this, entirely at his mercy, dying to be touched. 

“Much... I would love it. Come on,” Will said quickly, losing his patience. He bucked his hips again, hoping to make the doctor lose his composure. 

Hannibal couldn’t say he wasn’t successful. He was clearly mesmerized by what he was experiencing. Bare, pale skin, the tight clench of his thighs, his whining tone, the smell of his arousal… He knew he wouldn’t let Will's pretense mislead him. The suggestion of coldness was just a crafty illusion, a wall that Will had built around himself. Now, Hannibal was able to see another, passionate side of him. How much more did Graham hide from the world? Would he give himself up with such abandon if Hannibal bound him up and wrapped his hands tightly around his throat? Would he still beg him to fulfill his desires with his every gesture…?

He took Will in his hand and watched as his lips parted and his body arched even more, entirely consumed by the feeling. Will was enjoying himself for some time, neither of them saying a word. It was surprising, though, when the man suddenly held his wrist, stopping him. Hannibal looked at him, puzzled, waiting for an explanation. 

“Let’s do it together.”

He observed Will with amusement as he fumbled with his trousers awkwardly, impatiently. When he was done, warm fingers closed them together in a tight, firm grip. When he started stroking them enthusiastically, Hannibal closed his eyes, enjoying the sensation.

“Slower and harder,” he instructed after a moment, gasping in pleasure as Will obliged. 

“Is that good?”

“Perfect.”

He opened his eyes again, first looking at their cocks tightly pressed together, then up, at his lover’s face. There was something so dark and wild in there that he was under the impression that Will’s madness was… just beneath his skin. He could see it with such perfect certainty, just as someone could see a beast’s silhouette lurking underwater. It couldn’t be seen clearly with the eyes, but he was sure it was there. He wished to pull it forth and dredge it up from the shadows, to see it in its full beauty. 

There will be a time. 

Looking into each other's eyes was even more stimulating than staring at the motion of his hand. It brought a thrilling, overwhelming awarness of here and now, it was a constant reminder of just whom he was doing this with. Will was beautiful in his innocence, so trusting, so easy to kill. Hannibal almost couldn’t stand it. Such vulnerability naturally triggered his desire for destruction, for pulling things apart. He was dying to tear him to pieces, to destroy what was giving him such a tantalizing glow that he could not resist. 

He had never desired to kill him as much as he did in this moment. 

Will moaned, focused on his pleasure, his hand speeding up rapidly.

”It feels so good,” he gasped, although the words that came out seemed to surprise him, as though he never planned to speak them. 

”Indeed...”

Would he still shout if Hannibal had been slowly hurting him all the while, or would he beg for more? How would he look, covered in his own blood with a scarlet map of cuts streching all over his body? Hannibal wanted to open him up, to put his hands through his dying form, to touch and separate each piece that was making Will Graham and slowly turn it around in his hands.

Will’s body twiched, his mouth opened in a muffled scream. His voice was high and vibrant, entirely changed by what he was feeling. As Hannibal watched, fascinated, as he was coming, his own orgasm took him over. His vision became blank for a moment,and his body convulsed, all-consumed by overwhelming pleasure. The experience was magnificent.

Then they lapsed into silence, disturbed only by the sound of their heavy gasping. Hannibal observed with curiosity as all of the elements slowly came together in Will’s mind. The emotions had faded away and he was turning back into the same Will he knew from their sessions, full of doubt and despair. The realisation of what had just happened seemed to mortify him. His face became unreadable, and he was averting his eyes once again. Without a word, he quickly stood up and dressed himself. He looked as if in his heart he was begging to all known gods to disappear from this world, or to erase this moment from his history. 

“Will,” Hannibal started, fastening his trousers.

“It’s getting late. I have to go,” Will replied, his voice trembling slightly.

Hannibal made his best effort not to smile. He was such a child sometimes. 

The doctor stood and approached Will, cupping his chin to make him raise his gaze. Will tried to pull away, but the grip was firm enough to hold him in place. 

“Don’t panic. Such things naturally happen when two people are attracted to each other.”

Will was immidiately annoyed by his patronizing tone, and barked back in irritation:

“Oh really? Do you often happen to attract people in your office?”

Hannibal signed, suddenly content with his tediously exercised patience. 

“I agree it’s not the most appropriate place, but it doesn’t really matter. We don’t choose how we get to know the ones we are drawn toward. Don’t run from this, Will.”

Somehow, it worked. Will’s face softened a little bit. His eyes were no longer defensive, but rather confused, unsure. He looked at him in consternation, not daring to ask the questions that were occupying his head. 

Hannibal bowed and kissed him slowly and gently, answering them without saying a word aloud.  

 

Chapter Text

VIII.

The night was never merciful for him. Every time he closed his eyes, there was no comforting, blissful darkness softly cradling his mind to sleep; there was only dread and terror that followed him from the bright light of the day, from the crime scenes, to fill his dreams with blood and decay. Will could see everything he had seen earlier in great detail, all the horrifying ugliness of death, all twisted angles that a human mind could turn into. He could not accept and understand pointless, wanton cruelty directed towards innocent people, destruction just for the sake of destruction. But what he understood even less was the sheer pleasure of a kill he could feel every time he entered the minds of killers, the pleasure that he wholly shared with them. He imagined how the knife would fit into his hand when he pulled apart their bodies just like a child’s toys. What did it make him out to be? Was he just the same?

“Of course you are. I saw you. I saw how you were doing it. You like it.”

Will rapidly turned his head in the direction the voice came from. There, in the darkness, he saw the pale face of Garret Jacob Hobbs, who, like the deer, never disappeared for too long. Hobbs looked exactly the same as the day he had shot him down. There was still the gruesome hole in his head that the bullet had left. Sneering eyes were focused on his face.

Will sat up immediately, staring back at the phantasm. After a moment of silence, he swallowed heavily and said:

“You… With you it’s not the same. I did what I had to.”

“I saw you.”

He forced himself to close his eyes again and take a few deep breaths. He knew it was his mind playing tricks on him; he hoped that with enough strong will he would be able to make it disappear. 

It didn’t help. Nothing ever did. 

Through his shaking breath, he could hear approaching footsteps. When the man came too close for his liking, he couldn’t help but look. He was terrified to realize Hobbs was sitting on his bed, just a few inches from him, his face as clear and as alive as his own. When he leaned over him, Will tried to back up, but his back hit the frame of the bed. Hobbs made a weak, hollow laugh at his poor attempt. 

“You cannot escape, Graham. You cannot escape from yourself. No matter what you do, no matter where you go, it will always follow you. You can go to the end of the world, dig yourself a grave, and lie down in it, but as long as there is air in your lungs and blood in your veins, your nightmares will always be there with you. You know why?”

Will was at a loss for words and only managed to shake his head weakly. 

“Because you are rotten and you are weak. You cannot embrace what you should have. I saw through you, I saw how you enjoyed yourself while killing me.”

Will tried to move as far away from the man as possible, but he could feel the bed frame digging painfully into his spine. 

“That’s not true. You don’t know me. You don't know anything about me!”

Hobbs burst into horrible, hysterical laughter, revealing his own madness. After he managed to collect himself, he tilted his head a bit, looking at Will with amusement, as though he had just told a particularly good joke. 

“Oh, don’t I? Nothing about how powerful you felt? How good it was to dominate someone, to take away his life, to dominate life itself?”

Will swallowed nervously, his hands sweaty and not far from trembling. The words spoken by the man were bitter and metallic; they tasted disturbingly similar, like… the truth.

“You don’t exist. You're dead. Just… disappear… I won’t be talking to myself.”

He looked away and stared stubbornly into the wall, hoping that he would finally fight the hallucination. After a few silent seconds, he started to believe he beat it, but then the sharp voice cut through the darkness once again:

“What does your psychiatrist think about all of this, hmm? Oh, I forgot. You’re his favorite psycho, of course. Your treatment became secondary, after you found yourself devoted to… other, much more amusing activities, didn’t it?”

He looked into Hobbs’s face once again, his eyes full of aversion and annoyance. The words cut him deep, made something twist within him uncomfortably. Something with the shade of… shame?

“It’s irrelevant. We didn’t stop the therapy,” he said, much quieter then he intended to, as though he was indeed speaking to another real person, who was occupying his room. He was repeating in his mind that it was just his imagination, his mind that somehow crossed the boundaries of normalcy and crept into dark and horrible paths. It wasn’t real life, it wasn’t the real world, it wasn’t, it wasn’t…

It didn’t occur to him that an unconscious part of his mind was trying to make him look at places he had tried to avert his gaze from; it was the light, abeit in this horrible and atrocious form, trying to illuminate the shadow.

“So that's how it is… In this case, Doctor Lecter clearly sees you the same as me.”

Will looked away, more and more unsure and ashamed of himself. He didn’t want Hannibal to see through him like Hobbs did. On the other hand, though… Revealing his most secret thoughts brought him peace and a sense of relief, a similar sesnation that death might bring. It was like a single, full breath after an endless period of suffocating, like saying the first word after a lifetime of silence. He could confess all of his worst thoughts, the deeds he had never committed, but had dreamed of committing so many times, and he would still be accepted and probably even forgiven, Hannibal swallowing all of his sins like a deep, dark, bottomless well. Was that the real reason why Will fell for him?

Hobbs drew him out of his thoughts, placing his hand on Will’s face. The touch was so real that he could swear the man was as alive as himself. The line between reality and dream was not only blurred, it disappeared completely, throwing him into an unknown land that didn’t belong to either side, but existed somewhere in between. If someone told him now that his life during the day was just a dream, he would believe without hesitation; he could feel the coldness and the weight of the hand as if it was the most real thing in the world. 

”I just wonder, Graham,” Hobbs continued, his thumb moving along his cheek, a mockery of a caress, “If he sees you so well, what is he planning to do with you?”

Will couldn’t react in any way, a single touch grounding him like a spell. He couldn’t think about anything but the fact that it was Hobbs, or rather the corpse of Hobbs touching him, mocking his need of closeness, ridiculing him thoroughly. He was unable to move or talk, he could only stare blankly into the pair of cruel, cold eyes, waiting for his next words.

“You know,” the man continued unperturbed, “it’s said that it’s much easier to open someone’s mind after you first manage to open up their bodies. The ties give up sooner. Makes sense, don’t you think?”

Hobbs’ thumb was now over Will's mouth, pulling down his bottom lip and baring his teeth. 

“All those young girls I killed... They were so resistant in the beginning. You wouldn’t believe how much they were ready to offer when it already got started. They were willing to do anything I wanted them to… What a pity, the only thing I was interested in was a clean hunt. The question is… What is it that Hannibal Lecter is interested in?”

Will grabbed his hand and threw it off himself, anger obviously emanating from his features. 

“Get out of here! I won’t be listening to this bullshit anymore. Go back to hell or wherever you came from!!!”

Hobbs smiled, but it wasn’t the same cold, mocking sneer that Will saw before; it was softer, full of indulgence, as if Will was still too young and inexperienced to understand. To his surprise, he actually did stand up and slowly walked away, not looking back. He didn’t have to – his awful gaze was still lingering for a long time before Will managed to fall asleep. 

 

***

 

”Will? Will?”

He stirred, waking up unwillingly. First it felt as if it was the distant echo or merely a wind howling his name repeatedly, but after a moment he realized it was someone’s voice calling to him, soft and pleasant, definitely belonging to a young woman. It was a familiar voice, but at first he couldn’t fit it to any person he knew. Out of curiosity, his bleary gaze started to search for the owner of that voice. He saw the cold, distant eyes of Hobbs placed in a delicate, female face. Abigail. 

”Hey... What are you doing here?” Will greeted her. 

“I came to see how you're doing,” Abigail said, sitting at the edge of his bed. 

It seemed the Hobbs family was going to torment him to his demise. It was as if some curse was placed upon him the moment he had crossed the threshold of their house. His life changed dramatically and the darkness swelled dangerously, flooding his heart and mind, invading his every single thought. 

When Abigail was saved, miraculously surviving her insane father, he clung to her desperately, as if she was the last thing preventing him from drowning, his last link connecting him to humanity. When he was looking at her, he was looking in the direction he was supposed to go as well; he remembered where he stood and why. Her youth, ruined and abused by Hobbs, was reminding him why he never said “no” to Jack Crawford, why he kept on chasing all these killers until he was out of breath and out of hand. Despite his growing madness. Despite the never ending stream of crime and dozens of dead bodies never disappearing from his view. The long, ugly scar stretching across her neck silently reminded him that there was always a chance to come on time. 

Abigail was his obsession. The symbol of his humanity. He knew that if he couldn’t save her, he would be damned as well. 

She was pale and silent, appearing in the middle of the night just like a ghost. He smiled, pleased with her presence.

”I'm fine... How are you?”

She smiled back. There was currently no fear in her eyes, although he saw it there often enough. Always scared, always ready to look behind her back, like a chased animal. The terror she had been through marked her permanently; there was nothing to do about it. He doubted she would ever forget about her past completely, not after all that she's been through. 

She was so young. Will’s heart clenched painfully, aware how terribly she was hurt, how unfair life was. 

“I'm fine as well. I just came by to tell you a bedtime story. Isn’t it time to sleep, after all?”

He burst into laughter, a little bit puzzled by her unusual proposition. 

”Considering our ages, shouldn’t the roles be switched?” 

She gave him a long, scrutinizing gaze, apparently thinking something over. 

“Not necessarily. I think I can teach you something new.” 

”And what is that?”

Her lips stretched into a smile, eyes gleamed playfully.

“Something that my dad had taught me. From which end you should start.”

He froze rapidly, his breathing stoppng for a brief moment. It was too horrible, she couldn’t…

“Start… what?” Will asked, although he would much rather pretend they never started this conversation. He wished to change the topic and forget about it, but something urged him to ask, he needed to know. 

”Quartering the hunt.”

The words burned into his brain, and he found it difficult to breathe, yet maybe he was wrong, there was still a possibility that that wasn’t what she meant… He cleared his throat and asked, aiming for a casual tone:

”You often hunted deer, didn’t you?”

Abigail nodded. 

“But you cut deer differently.”

Cold sweat started covering his body. He felt nauseous and breathless, and he couldn’t force himself to ask the next question. When he finally did, he sounded hysteric, his voice raising an octave, like it didn't belong to a man.

“Differently than… what?”

Abigail looked at him in amusement, as if he wasn’t bright enough to understand what she meant. The wide smile made her face look even younger, but her eyes were gleaming a cold, metallic azure. 

”Differently than girls.”

Will felt his throat clench painfully, as if someone’s invisible hands tightened their grip around his neck. He could feel his blood running in his veins, buzzing in his head. They stared at each other, pregnant silence saying more than any words could have. With each passing second, more and more thoughts filled his hand, filling his heart with disappointment and despair. Why? How could she? Why...?

Before he managed to say anything, something stirred in the darkness, just behind Abigail’s back. It wasn’t a shadow, rather something a shade darker and much more monstrous. He recognized it in a heartbeat. 

”No!” Will shouted, as if just his voice could stop what immediately followed; long, black antlers pierced through Abigail’s body and bloomed out of her chest, like a flower of evil, a hellish mockery of tenderness and beauty.

Will reached toward her, trying to catch her, but she was suddenly too far away; and besides, it was too late. She smiled at him faintly, then slid onto the floor. 

No, no, no, she couldn’t, this can't be happening, no...

He kneeled over her body, his hands grasping her motionless form. He shook her, first gently, then more and more frantically. Her body was like sand, passing through his fingers intangably, like unrelenting time, implacable like a moment of death. 

Will dug his fingers into her shoulders, hoping that his own life could be transferred into her dying form through simple contact.

”No, no, no,” Will mumbled as hysteria started climbing its way to his throat. He screamed out in agony, his voice unrecognizable, like a wolfish howl from within the bottom of his lungs.

A well-known shadow covered him and Abigail’s body. It felt like a black hole, consuming all light and warmth. He slowly raised his gaze, looking into the deer’s eyes, indifferent and undisturbed as usual. 

”I hate you. I hate you!” he snarled, his words barely distinguishable. 

The deer merely shook its head, splattering Abigail’s blood all over the room. The last gust of her life, falling onto him silently, meaninglessly. 

Is there anything more meaningless than unnecessary death?

The blood didn’t stop falling. Will raised his gaze once again, his heartbeat filling his ears. It was falling from the ceiling in a warm, unstoppable torrent, falling onto his face, soaking his clothes. He tried to wipe his eyes, when someone suddenly gripped him violently and tried to drag him down. Will started struggling and opened his eyes, despite blood blurring up his vision. He froze the moment he saw his opponent’s hands; a female’s hands, half rotten, but still grasping him firmly and pulling him down into the bloody ocean. He fought to get free with all his might, but after a moment, more and more pairs of hands joined the first one; the last deadly embrace of the murdered women, holding him in place, pulling him under. His heart fluttered desperately, fear freezing his aching lungs. He couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t do a single thing to save himself... Gruesome fingers clenched tighter all around his body, crushing his bones. He was already neck deep in blood, his consciousness slowly drifting away from him. 

Will suddenly heard familiar laughter and a voice that followed:

“You are damned, Graham. You are damned. You see?”

Hobbs’s words made his stomach turn upside down. Now he realized, this time the older man came to see how he was dying.

 

***

 

Will woke up screaming, the fragments of his dream still lingering in his head, right before his eyes. He stood up, wanting to be as far from his bed as possible, as if it was the cause of his nightmares and his distress. 

You cannot escape from yourself. The words were still echoing in his mind. 

He slid to he floor, feeling like he could collapse at any moment. The awful things passing behind his closed eyes, in a never-ending motion, never leaving him alone...

You are damned...

He could swear he heard the voice, that it wasn’t coming from his own head... His eyes darted around the room, but saw nothing. He swallowed heavily, trying to calm down. 

”I am so crazy,” he said to himself, his own voice sounded small and pathetic. 

Suddenly, he noticed a rapid movement in the back of the room, and his heart lurched in fear, but it was just Winston approaching him cheerfully. He probably thought that it must be breakfast time if Will had already woken up. The dog climbed into his lap, wigging his tail happily, unaware of the nightmares filling his master’s head. Will stroke the dog’s fur gently and was immediately rewarded with a lick on his cheek.

”Okay, okay, enough,” he chuckled softly and hugged the dog, hoping that his gentle words would calm the dog's vigorous affection. Winston stayed on his lap, and Will slowly relaxed, the smell of earth and outside air filling up his lungs in a soothing sensation. It was the smell of life. It was so real, it had to be – was there anything more real and simple than a dog? No ambiguity, no hidden motives, only their pleasant, comforting presence, minds unaware of awfulness of the world. When he calmed down completely, he suddenly realized how pathetic he must've looked. The only creature ready to offer him some comfort was his dog. He let go of Winston, unexpectedly ashamed of himself. He laughed bitterly, because he had no tears for too long a time already. 

Suddenly, some strange impulse made him search for his phone. He didn’t know himself what he was doing until there was Hannibal’s number displayed on the screen. Then, he realized what he was about to do and froze before he pressed the number. 

It felt inappropriate, to call him in the middle of the night like this... After all, what had happened between them last time didn’t change anything, did it? Will was too old to be so naive, it wasn’t some school crush, full of unrealistic and ridiculous expectations. They just acted on their mutual attraction, which was held back for too long. How stupid would he look, if he called him at three in the morning, expecting some comfort, his soothing voice, maybe his presence by his side...?

He knew better than that. Hannibal, so cultured and classy, could certainly be drawn to him because he was so much different then all the tight-assed, elite people who were usually surrounding the doctor. Will must emanate that exotic charm of someone too crazy and not right in his mind to be dated safely. It had to be thrilling, didn’t it? But surely it was nothing more than that. 

He sighed, letting his thoughts drift freely in his head. 

Eventually they became lovers. Was this one of his worst mistakes? Although it was worth the pleasure that was given to him that day, the experience more intoxicating than he could have ever imagined. He never thought that being touched by another man could feel that way; hands stronger than his own guiding him, possessing him, he enjoyed it so much. It definitely wasn’t enough, he needed more, he could imagine himself utterly helpless and begging...

Will forced himself to stop imagining these fantasies. It all was wrong. He knew from a rational point of view that he shouldn’t be drawn into this game, whatever Hannibal had in mind for him. He was his psychiatrist and he helped him keep his balance where so many other specialists in this field had failed. Now, whatever it was they started, it was disturbing this balance. Having an affair with the only person who somehow managed to keep him stable didn’t seem like a very good idea. 

He knew that he was being manipulated to some extent. Hannibal had used their therapy to seduce him, during the time where he was most sensitive and prone to suggestion. It was highly unprofessional and it was obvious that any other doctor – maybe not one so influential – could easily lose his or her position after an incident like that. But Will couldn’t be angry at him, despite Hannibal’s dirty tricks. Not when he recalled how passionately he was being kissed, how enthusiastically the Doctor welcomed his touch. He was strongly desired, no doubt about that, and even though it was just for the time being, he couldn’t help but feel pleased with himself that he managed to make this powerful man break his own rules, and stripped him of his impeccable manners. Will touched his lips absent-mindedly, remembering how the other’s lips on his mouth felt, how Hannibal had kissed him as if he had never wanted anything more in his life. He also enjoyed his playful tone, the words that were supposed to provoke and seduce, the way he made Will voice his desires. Nothing had ever excited him like this, nothing was nearly as thrilling as being pushed and controlled by someone capable of doing so. He needed to see this seemingly cold and emotionless man, perfect to the point approaching inhuman, being reduced to his most primal, burning desire. He wanted to strip him of his fine suit and etiquette and see what was hidden behind that exquisite facade. He had always thought that there might be something more to Lecter than what the man actually let the world see, and after their last encounter he had no more doubts about it. It was like a wide, unknown chasm stretching between what was visible to the others and what was his actual true being. There were some secrets carefully hidden and sealed inside, secrets that no one had likely ever seen. Despite Hannibal’s seemingly gentle nature and restraint, he could feel some sinister strength that was emanating from within him. Although he could not fully comprehend or articulate it, he could feel it, and his intuition had never been wrong. It was a dark, electrifying power that he clearly felt with every kiss and touch, freezing and overwhelming him, filling up his insides, piercing him deep into his bones. Even though he didn’t understand it, he wished to be claimed by that power.

He felt heat radiating from his body as he imagined more. He could see himself naked and on his knees, bound and exposed, ready for abuse, pleasure, pain, anything he was willing to take. For the opportunity to not be himself, to not have to be responsible for himself or anything in particular. Maybe, for a moment, not knowing anything anymore, just a blank space filled with pain, lack of control, his lover’s harsh and beautiful dominance. Then he would finally see that mysterious power step out from within the shadows and take its shape, gleaming proudly in its full, dark glory. What would he see?

These thoughts were horrifying to him. Although he would never confess to them in the light of the day, he could not lie to himself in the darkness of the night, in his room full of nightmares and monsters. He could not bring himself to act upon them, though. If he did, there would be no turning back, and he wasn’t sure he would ever be able to look himself in the eye again if he did. It was too dangerous, too shameful, too... tantalizing. 

Will gazed at the phone's screen for another brief moment, but now calling him just seemed like a horribly bad joke, even though he ached to feel the man by his side, to be mesmerized and entangled by his secrets...

He tossed his phone far away from himself and closed his eyes with a harsh sigh, letting the silence and emptiness fill him up.

Chapter Text

To be continued :D

Chapter Text

”What happened here last time was a mistake. I’d be glad if you just forget it and never mention it again.”

His voice was icy cold and rang in his own ears. It seemed to echo for a long time after he let the unfortunate words out. The words sounded muffled, as if getting them out of his throat was a difficulty in itself. Will thought he could start suffocating, everything in him protesting agonizingly against what he had just said.

But he had no choice. It was better this way.

Merely existing was pain, a sheer torment, where nothing was as he wanted it to be. Where something was always going wrong.

Not that he wasn’t used to things being this way already.

The room was filled with a heavy, pregnant silence, Hannibal’s eyes not leaving him for a moment. If his statement caused any disappointment, he couldn’t tell. There was something going on behind those eyes. He could almost feel some unknown emotions stir in the man opposite him, but it was so subtle that he couldn’t grasp anything specific.

”Will ... I understand it was little bit unexpected ...”

”Not for you,” he cut him off sharply, before the man could finish. Attacking was the best line of defence. He knew that otherwise, he would have no chance to win with a man like Hannibal. A spark of interest, any slight hesitation on his side, and Hannibal would turn the tables in a blink of an eye. That fact went without saying.

There was something he didn’t quite understand in the Doctor’s eyes, some cold interest, and childlike amusement. As if he was a puzzle to be solved and that was the goal itself. To pull things apart and see how they were working.

He felt hot rage at the very thought. That gaze helped him stand his ground; it reassured him he was right in what he was doing. Although it wasn’t anything he wanted, and would make him lose everything he craved for.

”I agree, it went little bit out of hand. But I didn’t plan it. I don’t know what makes you so angry, but to be honest ... I am interested in you, Will.”

His eyes fell to the ground. The sudden confession made him speechless and quite confused for a moment. It felt good to hear that, it made him want to...

”I am not.”

Will had never known his own words could hurt like that, cutting through his very being mercilessly. Some part of him wanted to take them back, to make both of them forget he started this conversation. He could just take a few steps forward, touch him, kiss him ...

When Will managed to look at him again, he could see there was something ... sincere there, something he decided to lose.

Then Hannibal smiled and said withot a shadow of doubt:

”I don’t believe you.”

Why is he making it so much more difficult?

He sighed and ran his hand through his hair nervously.

”I don’t need this ... this ... problem.”

Hannibal’s eyebrows raised slightly, clearly upset with his choice of words.

”Why would you call it that? What makes you consider me a problem?

Will had already opened his mouth to say some cutting, horrible words that would make even this man speechless, but something was holding him back. He knew it would be easier to disentangle himself from this mess if he lied, if he spit out all kinds of terrible accusations and barely audible, hissed words, but somehow he couldn’t. First, Hannibal was still his psychiatrist, no matter what happened between them. He needed to continue his therapy, to hold onto that frail balance he managed to maintain recently. Secondly ... it was so wrong, to cheat the man who offered him his friendship. And what blinded him even more was his undeniable desire and a promise of something more ... if only he wanted ... if only he reached for that ...

He could feel the ground crumbling beneath his feet. His lips parting, with the truth filling him up and boiling in his insides. Between two single breaths, he realizes he has already made the decision. The heavy stare of the other man’s dark eyes was tempting him, making him unable to stop when he had already started.

”Because I am too unstable? Too insane? Because no one has ever stayed no matter what kind of nonsense they said at the beginning? And in the end, I am always alone. Because I’ve always been one big disappointment to everyone I know. I am sick of this, Hannibal. Don’t behave as if it doesn’t matter and it doesn’t change anything when the two of us know perfectly well that it does.”

Will felt cold and empty when the words stopped flowing, but now nothing could take them back. The truth, bare and hurtful, had exposed him and left him vulnerable. Each syllable seemed to cut his tongue.

Hannibal kept looking at him, his eyes cold and unreadable. The man didn’t move as well, as if frozen in place and time.

Will looked down and buried his face in his hands. He felt so powerless.

”I am so tired. Sometimes I feel I can’t take any more. I don’t need other ... complications. Sometimes I feel as I don’t know anything anymore ... who I am ... where I am ... what I am supposed to do...”

He held his breath, when he heard the man stand up and approach him slowly. He couldn’t force himself to raise his eyes ... somehow it would be too terrifying to see Lecter walking towards him, a picture of perfect composure and confidence.

”I can show you ...” he held his breath when he felt a hand cupping his chin, forcing him to look at him, ”what to do ... and what to be.”

He swallowed hard, so captured in the moment, feeling paralyzed and excited at the same time. But he didn’t want it to show, and he tried his best to conceal his agitation.

”... how?” he managed weakly.

Hannibal’s lip curved slightly, and he looked so different than his usual self. In that moment, Will felt it was like seeing the door slightly ajar and, oh, he was so tempted to look and see, what was hidden behind them...

”In any way you want it to be. Or maybe I should say ... in every way you let me.”

Will felt he was trembling, suddenly set on fire by those dark eyes and the touch of the man’s hand. He coudn’t help but to want, to crave ... to do something.

But he couldn’t, no matter how much he wanted to. He dug his fingers into the armchair and  felt as if it was the only thing preventing him from drowning. He jerked his chin from Hannibal’s grip as he looked away.

“No matter what you say … those are just words.”

“Do you find me to be like all the other people, Will?” Hannibal asked and that question momentarily fazed him, but he started considering his answer nevertheless.

“No,” he said after a moment. “I see … I can feel it … you are not like everyone else.”

“In that case,” Hannibal started, still towering over him. “Don’t look on me like you look on the others.”

The more he was saying, the more it hurt. He wanted to finally say the last word, to let the pain linger for a while and then, maybe after some time, disappear. It was so hard, so much harder than he had expected.

“I am sorry. But I can’t. That’s my final decision.”

To his surprise, the man smiled. It wasn’t a smile full of venom. Indeed, it seemed quite the opposite. The phenomenon was as surprising as the words that followed.

“Then you don’t give me any choice, Will. I will take my time to properly seduce you and make you change your mind.”

 

***

 

Will surprised him. Usually, it was easier to control and mold a partner when the boundaries were already crossed, with a promise of instant gratification and growing affection slowly taking hold of them. But with Will it was different. Instead of being less alert and more involved, he deliberately took a few steps back. Hannibal frowned in confusion. What was the reason behind such irrational behaviour? He was sure he achieved all the steps as he should have, his way of seduction having been highly successful last time.

There were different possibilities now streching in front of him. Maybe Will was afraid of getting involved with someone, especially when he was alone for such a long time already.  Maybe he didn’t believe Hannibal would consider him as anything more then a plaything, an exciting distraction that he could occupy himself with in his free time. It was understandable and he would consider it a natural reaction of self-preservation. No one wanted to be misled or taken advantage of, after all. It wasn’t what was bothering him, though. Hannibal had much experience with all kinds of people, and he could be a seductive and persuasive partner when he wanted to. He didn’t consider it a big challenge, no matter what defences appeared in Will’s head. Will was lonely and clearly ached to be touched and cherished. There was an undeniable spark between them, so even if he didn’t try very hard, Will would submit to him, sooner rather than later.

The possibility that was entwining itself disturbingly through his mind was something else entirely. What if it wasn’t Will’s fear of getting close to someone? What if he had noticed there was something not right with Hannibal and it was his empathy, not his personal restrictions, holding him back? He always tried to be careful and not let anything slip. Hannibal was sure he didn’t say or do anything that could reveal his true nature, but Will’s empathy was so strong. He had never before encountered something that was almost beyond his comprehension. It was like a hidden blade, like a sixth sense, something so ungraspable that there was no way to protect himself from it.

He had to be more careful. If Will knew, there would be no other possibility then to kill him. To his surprise, the thought didn’t bring him the pleasure that it had before.

 

***

 

The days were passing by silently, grey and undistinguishable, turning into dark, cold nights. Hannibal never considered his life to be dull, as he was fully capable of managing his time and filling his daily routine with meaningful and artistic tasks. When the theatre or sweet music he produced with his instruments weren’t enough, he reached for more radical methods of spending his leisure time. Then, the air became pregnant with the sound of breaking bones and dreadful agony. The human beings he decided to dispose of were transformed into creatures not from this world. His mind replaying the music of the latest operas he had enjoyed as mental accompaniment.

He was a creative man of many talents. Despite the solitude his life was not empty, and he generally didn’t feel as if he lacked something.

Till he met Will Graham, that is.

The man was something else. Hannibal regularly saw through and manipulated dozens of people. Even though he wasn’t an empath, he could foresee how someone would react to this phrase or that course of action. It was simple, mere focus, accompanied by his intelligence and years of experience of talking to people. Hannibal could move his pieces any way he wanted to, all rules forsaken. But Graham … he seemed to work against any logic. It was as if the apple suddenly started falling upwards from the ground to the tree, with all natural laws of the world having turned upside down.

No matter how hard Hannibal tried, Will was unshakable. It was adorable and arousing during the first few weeks, but after that time he started feeling angry and frustrated. All his trials and not so subtle (anymore) moves were shaken off, as if they were worth nothing. He was surprised, shocked even, to see how much strength that pitiful, broken man had inside, and how stubborn and unaffected he could be. It was like banging against a wall and it was something that Hannibal was not used to. If not for the single moments Will didn’t watch himself, he would think his efforts indeed were undesirable. During those brief moments, however, he could see how much suffering and longing was hidden behind those blue, sorrowful eyes. Despite his cold, unimpressed demeanor, Will was screaming inside, mixed emotions and desire suffocating him.

Hannibal didn’t need more assurance than that. Seeing what he had, he was sure there were strings he would be able to tear out and pull. He just had to reach deep enough.

He knew how to be effective and subtle at the same time. Although all his best efforts had failed him so far, he knew that trying over and over again would finally push Will over the edge. They didn’t try hypnosis, at least for some time. They discussed Will’s dreams, fears, and scenes of crimes. Seemingly, they came back to normal, to the way the things used to be before. But anytime Hannibal saw a good opportunity, he didn’t hesitate to touch the younger man. His hand rested on the other’s back or shoulder every time he walked him to the door. His fingers would brush the younger man’s fingers or hands when he was passing him something. Will knew, he could sense it was deliberate every time it happened. He tensed and sometimes, he looked away. Sometimes he looked Hannibal in the eye defiantly, challenging him to back out. The doctor was unimpressed. He just smiled and withstood the fierce gaze, let his hunger show itself. Will only gritted his teeth and dropped his gaze, conflicted and in obvious pain. The more he fought his feelings, the more his desire rose.

Well, well. Hunger is the best spice, so they say.

He was sure he would break him. There was never a thing he didn’t manage to get, if he wanted it enough. Will could be stubborn and determined, much more than he would ever have suspected him to be. But the more Will tried to stay away, the more he craved for Hannibal. That was his weak point and with time, he would find his way. Even iron gave out if a certain amount of pressure was applied, after all.

It was fascinating to see him like this, to herd him to the very edge. On one side, there was a never ending line of crime scenes and murderers to chase. On the other was the desperate want, mixed with sheer fear, he tried to bury so desperately. Hannibal didn’t make it any easier, cornering and provoking him anytime he could. Sometimes the Doctor thought the man would just pass out, so worn and pale was he, trying to withstand so much more than he was capable of.

 

****

 

Will was sitting on the chair, back bent, half of his face hidden in his palm. He was like a bird enclosed in a tight grip, frightened, confused, and, oh, so easy to crush without a single effort. He wanted to do it so badly, to destroy him. And then help him stand up again, different, darker and entirely mesmerizing. Hannibal felt the heat building up in his stomach at the thought. He swallowed hard and drew his attention back to the present moment.

Will moved a little bit and said almost silently, as if even talking was too much effort for him right now:

“I didn’t feed my dogs today.”

Hannibal frowned. He didn’t expect such a shift of their conversation, and he certainly had no interests in Will’s creatures, but out of politness he responded:

”They will be fine. You can feed them when you get back.”

Will shook his head wildly, still not looking at him.

“You don’t understand. I forgot … about them.”

Hannibal waited for the continuation, sensing that something was clearly off, and that there was so much more that Will found difficult to say aloud. He waited patiently and then, after a moment of silence, the man said:

”I forgot ... that they ... I forgot I have them.”

His voice was shaking, clearly frightened by what he had just said. Oh, forgetting about seven big, noisy creatures, that happened to be surrounding him all the time? That counted for something. The man was becoming so delightfully insane, so much out of his depth. Hannibal couldn’t wait to see where it will lead him. What else could happen to him? What could he become?

”They had to be there ... in the morning ... waiting for me to give them some food. I didn’t ... I didn’t see them ... I don’t remember anything.”

”Would you like to go and feed them now?”

Will winced and raised his gaze quickly. He looked clearly confused.

”I just came,” he pointed out.

”I could take you home. I think you shouldn’t drive in this state, Will...”

Understanding appeared on his face, as well as a shade of annoyance.

”Oh, no, I can manage on my own. I think we should finish and then I can go.”

He knew he was being trapped, and now it was Hannibal’s turn to move the situation to his advantage.

”You are my last patient. We can finish our conversation at your home.”

Will’s face twitched, he was so angry. His body tensed, he was ready to fight Hannibal’s proposition fiercely.

Hannibal smiled inwardly. So stubborn ... so very stubborn ... breaking through his barriers like that seemed to be even more delightful, more gratifying.

”I don’t think so. You could drop this already. I am tired of your games,” Will said with a bite to his tone, although his words were barely audible.

He smelled like pure anger and madness, fire and smoke. Hannibal craved to lick that smell off him.

”Will,” Hannibal said even more sharply, not letting a single emotion flicker on his face.

The change of tone caught his patient’s attention, much as he expected.

”It’s not about you or me now. You are seriously exhausted and far behind your endurance limit. You are confused. Driving home in this state can be highly dangerous and I, as your psychiatrist, cannot agree to endanger your health or even your life because of such reckless behaviour. Please, leave your constant wish to prove your point to me for another occasion.”

Will seemed surprised and even little bit embarrased; he hadn’t expected to be lectured like a vicious child. He could probably see the point Hannibal had just made, because he kept silent for a moment. It didn’t make him give up completely, though.

”I just didn’t sleep enough ... it’s nothing,” he tried, but his words lacked the previous bite.

”Really? What happened in the morning, then? What was the first thing you did? What did you have for breakfast?”

Graham gasped, as if merely thinking about his loss of memory, about the time that escaped him, terrified him much more then he could acknowledge.

”I ... I don’t know.”

Hannibal saw his victory in bright colours. He could already see himself crossing the threshold of Graham’s door. Just to push a little bit more ... one more step and he would be there.

”And your lovely dogs, Will? Do you think you can safely drive home after forgetting and not noticing them today?”

Will sighed resignedly and shrugged his shoulders, pretending it wasn’t such a big deal after all.

”Ok. Let’s go.”

Chapter Text

 

 

X.

 

They didn’t talk during the drive to Wolf Trap. Will was looking out the window, his gaze never leaving the cold glass and quickly changing landscape. Hannibal couldn’t tell whether he was deep in his thoughts or deliberately chose not to talk to him. The man probably believed the lack of conversation helped to build an invincible wall around him, protecting him from unwelcome intrusion. Hannibal smiled internally. It didn’t bother him. He was the master of pulling things apart. This wall would crumble and vanish the moment he put his hands on it.

Once they arrived at Wolf Trap, they stepped out of the car, still in silence. Will didn’t even look in his direction. His body was tense, hands buried deep in his pockets.

”I will walk you to the door,” Hannibal offered.

Will just nodded absent-mindedly, but the proposition didn’t amuse him in the slightest; he visibly tensed further, the atmosphere between them becoming thicker and thicker. Hannibal could almost swear he heard his quickened breathing, but maybe it was just his imagination or the dull sound of the distant wind howling in the forest.

They walked side by side, the echoes of their footsteps loud in the night. The place was dark and desolated with no distinguishable sounds in the darkness. It was just early in the evening, but it felt like the dead of the night and silent as the grave. 

Such a wonderful place to hide Will’s screams.  Unheard by anyone, with the sounds slowly dying in silence. And in that moment, when Hannibal was watching him from the corner of his eye, he wasn’t entirely sure whether he meant screams of pleasure or agony. Both option seemed equally tantalizing, urging him to move and take action. He could feel the tingling in his fingertips when they reached the door.

Hannibal stood by while Will reached for the key and opened the door. When the man raised his eyes to look at him finally, the doctor’s lips were stretched in a thin, but polite smile, eyebrows slightly raised. He was waiting for some words to come. Will knew he wanted to be invited in. It would be extremely bold and impolite not to do so, after the long ride he took to drive him home. His lips twitched when he asked with difficulty:

”Would you like to come in and rest for a while?”

”Yes, thank you.”

They stepped into the house, the sound of the closing door loud and somewhat final. When the beasts rushed to welcome their master, Hannibal cautiously stepped away to avoid the tumult. He could see as Will relaxed, surrounded by his beloved creatures. It seemed he even forgot about him for a moment, engaged in petting his beasts’ heads and whispering some gibberish to them.

”They indeed seem to be very hungry,” Hannibal said, reminding him about his presence.

”Yes ... Come on, take a seat in the room ... I will join you in a moment.”

Hannibal did as he was told and while already seated, he looked around. The house was gloomy in its nature, but it was a very different kind of darkness than that spreading itself in his place. Here the old fixtures and a thick layer of dust gave him the impression it was a haunted place, no wonder the man suffered from nightmares every night. For a moment he wondered whether he would get better in his home, surrounded by luxurious furniture, spacious rooms, and provided with his gentle care. Would he, although in hands of a monster and in a place that witnessed the terror and end of so many, forget his own anguish that spread its seeds in his mind such a long time ago? Could the power of lies and manipulation be that powerful?

”Hey, here’s some water.”

Will’s sudden words drew him out of his thoughts and brought him back to the present time.

”Thank you,” he reached for the glass and watched as Will sank to the sofa next to him, but maintaining quite a ridiculous distance. Was it not against all reason and acceptable behaviour, he would probably sit himself on the floor or in the corner of the room.

”It’s a while since I’ve been here,” Hannibal started lightly to engage him in conversation and reduce that impossible tension between them.

”Yeah, it has been some time.”

”It must be quite lonely to live here, so far away from all other people.”

Will took a deep breath and thought about it for a moment.

”You know that was actually the reason. It was my choice. It’s better this way, without all the crowds ... and their thoughts ... ”

”Do you dislike other people, Will?” he asked casually, but he was really curious to know the answer.

Will frowned and went silent. Is it possible he never considered this question before?

”I wouldn’t say ... I dislike them. It’s just ... I cannot fit in. The way they speak, how they move ... it’s so natural. The world they see ...”

”... is so different from what you see?” Hannibal offered when the words died out in Will’s throat.

The man nodded slowly, but didn’t say anything more, as if there wasn’t anything more to say. It was after a long moment, when he added suddenly:

”I am so much out of tune.”

”You just produce music much more sophisticated and intense then others.”

Will smiled and at first Hannibal thought it was because of the compliment, but when he turned his face in his direction, he saw it was a sad and ironic smile.

”You take pleasure in my suffering. You find it beautiful.”

The statement was so sure and so much to the point that it made Hannibal breathless for a moment. He didn’t let it show on his face, however. He just returned his smile and replied:

”As an enthusiast of the arts, I cannot stay blind for the tragedy and sublimity of your position and the beauty of your ... very being, Will.”

The words carried so much weight it was hard to stay unaffected, for both of them. It was probably too much and too soon, because Will’s face changed suddenly. He sighed and said dismissively:

”I would be glad if you already stopped this, Hannibal. I told you I don’t want anything from you.”

His tone became sharper and Hannibal didn’t like it at all. The more he tried, the stronger the resistance grew, it seemed.

”Not even my support and my friendship?” he asked and there was a cutting edge to his question, a note of warning clear and unmistakable.

”Stop that. We both know that’s not what you have in mind.”

”And what do I have in mind?”

”How to ...”, Will started, but then the words didn’t come. The glimpse of his teeth was visible, hesitation vivid on his face.

Hannibal knew pushing further was probably too much, especially when the man was still so unresponsive and even a bit aggressive towards him, but he couldn’t stop himself. He wanted to see Will’s face change, he needed to see that look in his eyes ...

”How to pleasure you? How to touch every inch of your body, make you moan and give yourself to me?” he said in an equally casual tone, and watched mesmerized as Will looked at him in sheer horror. But there was something more behind his eyes, something that was begging him to continue, ”I can’t say that’s something I didn’t think of. After I had you last time, it’s difficult to forget how delightful it is to possess you, Will.”

”Stop it,” Will barked back, finally gathering his wits and recovering his voice.

Despite the anger and rejection, the younger man obviously wanted more as well. He was desperate for it, and that was the reason he was so angry, so frustrated, yet so unwilling ... Hannibal craved to change that ...

”What would be so bad about that? You fight me so fiercely, even though it is something you truly want and enjoy. There is no game going on, my dear Will. You can just reach out and take it. It would be so easy ...”

Will’s eyes were shining with want, he could see it so clearly, but his lips changed into a thin, angry line, still as tenacious as he always was.

”I would make you feel the way you want. You’ve thought about it, haven’t you?” he whispered moving slightly closer.

”And what it is that I want?” he asked through his gritted teeth, his voice almost inaudible.

Hannibal was now just beside him, his lips almost caressing his ear, when he answered slowly:

”Being held down. Submitting.”

He could hear the other man’s panting, and could almost sense his body heat rising.

”I can give it to you,” he whispered, now letting his lips touch the other’s skin. One of his hands reached to the younger man’s neck, while the other started caressing his lips.

”No.”

”Why?” he half-smiled, expectant and seductive.

They were so close to each other. He could feel Will’s breath on his face, the wetness of his mouth on his fingers.

”I can’t.”

”You want to and you can,” he whispered gently, his fingers brushing one side of his neck, tender and arousing.

”No. Hannibal, stop it. ”

Despite the words, Will didn’t do anything to jostle him away. His body was so willing and he could not fight it any longer, it was his moment to act...

”I won’t hurt you.”

Oh, I most certainly will. When the right time comes...

His hands travelled across the younger man’s sides, making him tremble, finally reaching to his groin. He felt how hard he already was ... how his body begged for him ...

”For fuck’s sake, Hannibal!” Will shouted angrily and pulled away suddenly, ”Get out of here.”

It wasn’t what he had expected.

”It doesn’t seem like you truly want me to leave.”

”First you pretend you worry about my well-being, then you force yourself into my house and force yourself on me. Just get the fuck away from here!”

It was barked in sheer rage and a highly disrespectful manner and he didn’t like it a bit.

”You’re turning me out?” He asked and there was a disbelieving edge to it, anger mixed with hurt and disbelief.

”Yes, I am! Leave me alone!”

It had never happened to him, as far as he could remember. He wasn’t a person to be cast out and the humiliation it brought was disparaging and unpalatable. In that moment he didn’t consider the man’s cold approach amusing and adorable anymore. It was just infuriating.

”As you wish,” he said gravely and stood up to leave his room. Will sat in silence, not looking in his direction even once when he was leaving his house.

 

***

Will was sitting on his ragged sofa in absolute silence, his shaky breath ringing in his own ears. He was overwhelmed, his mind clouded, any coherent thought long gone. It was a few minutes later when he realized how exhausted and cold he felt. As if all blood was drawn out of him.

What just happened ?What could have happened if I ...? If I hadn’t ...

The man took a deep breath and closed his eyes. Sometimes he just wished to die. As simple as that. Not in his full glory, chasing after some vicious killer and saving lives of others, but silently, in the darkness and intimacy of his own home, taking his final breath as if he was just falling asleep. How simple that would be.

But he couldn’t. As for any other creature, the instinct to survive, to live, was the strongest. No matter how miserable he felt.

Maybe Hannibal was right. He could just let it go and give in, let the other man do what he wanted. What both of them wanted ... What would it change? No matter where it would lead them, no matter what Hannibal would do, could it get any worse than now? He still remembered the man’s angry expression when he threw him out of the house. The relationship between them was getting bitter and tense. He never saw Hannibal looking at him like this ... maybe he could just forget himself for a moment ... let him ...

Then he heard the laughter coming from the corner of the room.

”Oh Graham,” Hobbs said, still fighting his amusement, ”You have no idea.”

Will looked at the man’s pale, ghosty face, but didn’t deign to answer. He was just observing the shadows dancing on Hobbs’ face, strangely similar to shadows reflected from the flames.

”Wanna go for a ride? It will be the bullet train taking you straight to the pit of hell, believe me.”

Will pulled his knees under his chin, relaxing slowly. Hobbs’ company somehow became a usual part of his daily routine. Something so natural, that he wasn’t trying to fight the hallucination any longer. Somehow he was grateful, as the other’s company made him less lonely. On days like this one, he even managed to forget how crazy he was. He didn’t realize anymore how much he got lost in his own mind.

”You don’t know Hannibal,” he finally said.

”What if I told you I know him much better than you do?”

Will snorted, gazing at the wall, recalling the other man’s taste, the pleasant weight of his hand on his side ... on his lips ...

”I won’t believe you. You always lie.”

One of the dogs barked in the neighboring room, but somehow it didn’t make the moment any less grotesque. There was only a cold, empty silence for a long time. It made him think the man had disappeared. After a while, he spoke again, silently, but full of amusement:

”That’s the thing with us liars. You never know when we say the truth.”

 

***

There was a body spread in front of him, but there was no beauty in it. Neither the cold, detached calculation nor the art of pulling things apart and putting them back together. There was only chaos and cruel anger and the thick smell of bowels filling up his nostrils. He looked like an angel of death, fully motionless and all covered in blood.

Hannibal knew he had to gather his wits not to leave any tracks behind. How stupid that would be. That once thrown off-balance, he would give the police the perfect opportunity to follow the clues and get to him. What if Will found him himself? No, he was far too clever for that.

He took one deep breath and focused on leaving the place unnoticed. He didn’t plan to hide the body; anyhow, judging by the location it won’t be found in a long time and no one would probably even connect this murder to Chesapeake Ripper. It was so different from his usual kills.

Yes, he wasn’t himself tonight. What Will did to him, it was beyond his comprehension. How could he dare to offend him like that? How was it possible that it affected him this much?

He remembered the sweet closeness of the other man’s body, his smell, the prospect of disrobing him and filling him up, making him desperate ... and he could see perfectly well that none of this had anything to do with a desire to commit a murder or play with somebody’s mind. It was just primal, carnal lust, as old as the world. All these feelings were confusing him, because, yes, he did feel such a hunger on many occasions in the past,but it was never something like that. This clouded his mind. It made him lose his temper and act foolishly, as if nothing else mattered or even existed. He had to have this man even if it meant he needed to burn the world to the ground. Hannibal had always enjoyed carnal pleasure, but never he had known it could be as consuming and overwhelming as that. It was new and thrilling, as well as something he would be much better off without. It took him years to separate his emotions from himself. To grasp such a perfect hold on his personality, both the false and the real one, the one as close to him as his own skin. What was happening to him now?

He sighed, slowing down his pace, and letting the coldness of the night fill his lungs. If he knew Graham would influence him like this, would he have started his little game?

Don’t play with fire, huh?

Chapter Text

XII.

It was like torture. Having to wake up every morning, to move his aching limbs and force himself to do anything. Will had experienced many bad days since his early childhood, many problems that seemed unsolvable. He knew anguish and despair earlier then his peers managed to get their first girlfriends. It was always such a mess to look at people and really see them. To get into their minds so effortlessly and when he was younger, it was something entirely beyond his control. It was as if the world was turned upside down. He didn’t have any single idea where he ended and others began, when he was so entangled with others’ thoughts. It was always bad, but it was never something like this.

His phone was ringing for the third time already while he was empting his stomach into the toilet, his head still full of the images that his dreams left him with. When he thought he was finally finished, he stood up on his shaky legs and answered the call.

”Where the hell are you, Graham?! Waiting for the special invitation?!” Jack shouted angrily, not even waiting for him to say anything.

”I am sorry. I didn’t feel well.”

The man on other side just sighed, Will’s shaking voice somehow managing to placate him a bit.

”Come as soon as you can. We need you. It’s really disastrous this time.”

”When isn’t it?” Will snorted.

”Maybe after everything we’ve seen, you automatically start judging according to the scale.”

”So how many points this time, from one to ten?”

”Eleven. Come on, Will, hurry up. We can’t stay here for the whole day. We’re not on a picnic.”

After that Crowford just hung up, not waiting for him to say anything. Will blinked, trying to fight away his nausea and dizziness. He had no idea how he would manage to drive in this state, but what else could he do? There was no one to replace him, because he was unreplacable. Some people believed it was all pride and glory, but they had no idea how dark and rugged this road was.

 

***

 

”I don’t know, Jack,” Will said, after he had finished examining the body.

The man looked at him with a puzzled expression on his face. ”How can you not know?”, his eyes were saying with a reprimand although he didn’t dare to say it aloud. He was like his little police dog, always expected to do as he was said and succeed, like a machine that could be turned on when needed and thrown into a corner later on.

”What do you mean?” Jack asked instead.

”There is no motive, no story behind it. Just pure fury.”

”So you mean someone did it to get rid of his negative emotions?”

He nodded slowly.

”It wasn’t planned. He didn’t arrange it earlier. Something had to happen and he found the first person that could face his anger.”

”In this case it could be anyone with anger issues.”

”Not necessery. Look at this ... Did they even recognize it was a human body when it was found? It’s such madness ... I think someone who usually kills to find an outlet of his frustration, doesn’t get so ... out of hand. Not to this extent. It was probably a single incident. Something big happened and he burst out. I would say it’s someone who does usually kill, but not in this way. Not because of this reason.”

”I see ... Will?”

There was that unmistakable tone in the other man’s voice, a note of concern preciding a well-known change of topic. He sighed mentaly, because he knew very well what was coming next.

”Yes?”

”Are you all right? You look like...”

”... death? I am fine, don’t worry.”

”I do worry.”

Oh, of course you do. Who will solve your crimes when I collapse dead to the floor one day?

He looked Jack in his face and tried to smile to make himself more convincing, but the muscles of his face somehow didn’t want to cooperate.

”I’m just tired. That’s all.”

”Why don’t you tell him how miserable you feel? How much you hate it? How it destroys you? He said he is worried about you, didn’t he?” Will heard Hobbs’ voice whispering right by his ear. He shivered but didn’t react. After all, he tried to convince Jack he wasn’t as worn out and crazy as he actually was.

”You look seriously ill. I think you should find some time to relax.”

Will raised an eyebrow and looked around the basement all covered in blood and human remains.

”Not entirely relaxing atmosphere, don’t you think?”

Jack sighed, thinking about something appropriate to say.

”Maybe you could take some time off. Go fishing.”

Will wanted to laugh hysterically. This man, always so strict and commading, wasn’t meant to succeed as a ... caring and sensitive companion.

Could it get even more awkward?

”Until the next killer knocks on our door? It’s pointless, Jack.”

And now the high time for question number two. Oh, it was almost as if he was the one writing Jack’s script, so predictable the man was.

”How is your therapy, Will? What Hannibal Lecter is saying about your ... progress?”

Well, recently he doesn’t say anything much, except how much he would like to fuck me.

”He says I made some progress. I am more stable then before.”

”And you keep on lying to him ... Why not let him know you are unable to continue this job? Why is that, Will? Should I tell you?” Hobbs didn’t give up.

Jack couldn’t find anything more to say, so instead he offered:

”I will drive you home. You look too tired to drive yourself.”

”What about my car?”

”I will pick you up tomorrow for your classes. Then I’ll drive you here to get your car first.”

He slowly nodded, because he was indeed too exhausted to go back home by himself. How he didn’t crash into anything when he had been coming here, was a mystery.

When he was already sitting in Crawford’s car, he heard the well-known voice again:

”That’s the truth, that’s the answer to my question ... You’d rather make yourself fall to pieces than refuse Jack, becaus e... He drives you crazy with the crime scenes and stuff, but at least he needs you. And it does feel good, to be needed. So much better than to be disposed of like trash and forgotten. Isn’t it? How pathetic you are. So hungry for someone’s approval and affection...”

”Shut up,” Will hissed under his breath.

”Did you say someting?” Jack asked, starting the car.

”N-no ... nothing. Just ... go.”

He kept on looking at the road for some time, but the passing landscape made him sleepy, so he fell asleep, welcomed again by the land of his nightmares.

 

***

 

Sitting in the Doctor’s office was torture. It was not a therapy anymore, but some impossible race he had to accomplish. Hannibal was clearly pissed off by his outburst last time, his eyes cold and face serious. Why did he keep on coming here? It was as if he decided to voluntary undergo this torture a few times a week. Such a bitter pill to swallow, just to make himself even more painful and miserable. Why did he not forsake this poor excuse of a therapy when it started getting complicated between them?

There was a clear, non-ambiguous answer somewhere in the corner of his mind, too terrifying to even think about or try to say aloud. Because he wanted to be close to him. Even if all the reason he had in himself was protesting against it. Even his madness, in the shape of Hobbs, stated clearly that it was a very bad idea. Nevertheless …

He let his gaze wander, his eyes scrutinizing Hannibal’s figure, moving over the lines of his body. He looked so strong; it would be so easy for him to overpower Will. The very thought made his mouth dry. The man was so sleek and elegant, so much different than all the people Will encountered so far. It was like he was from a different world, shining and exotic, and it was such a tantalizing glow that urged Will to reach for him and touch. He could easily place him in another place and time, somewhere when a man and his etiquette were indispensible, but there was sheer steel beneath all the pleasantries and glamour. It would be somewhere in the harsh times, when a man was expected to handle his dinnerware as impeccably as slit someone’s throat when the situation called for it...

He got so lost in his thoughts that he didn’t even noticed when Hannibal approached him until he placed his palm on Will’s hand. He looked up, petrified, and their eyes inevitably met.

”You are thinking about me,” the Doctor stated with a smirk. The revelation somehow made his previous anger fade.

“Nonsense,” Will barked and tried to jerk away his hand, but Hannibal closed it in a grip.

“You are such a poor liar”, he said amused.

Hannibal looked at him with a knowing smile and caressed his skin with his thumb slowly. It was a light touch, but it was somehow enough to set Will’s skin on fire. He gasped, hoping, begging mentally that the man won’t listen to his protests and would just crush him with his weight, taking as much of him as he liked …

But the Doctor withdrew after a moment and returned to his chair, leaving his patient with his heart beating furiously in his chest.

Hannibal was looking at him with a small knowing smile lingering on his lips, but kept on with the therapy as if nothing happened at all.

Will’s whole body was aching, craving to be touched. He couldn’t fight his arousal away till the end of their meeting.

 

***

 

He could not refuse himself any longer. It was beyond him, how he could not think about it, not do that so far. Will closed his eyes; recalling the way Hannibal looked at him today, gaze dark and seductive, full of desire. He wet his lips and let his hands wander over his naked chest, imagining it was Hannibal touching him, caressing his sides and stomach in the same way as he touched his hand today. Slowly and softly, a prelude to the pleasure he was going to offer. He let out a soft gasp, imagining how the man’s big hands would travel across his body. He was already hard, so he let his hand move lower and he closed himself in a firm grip. He remembered very well how his touch felt, how delightful it was to stroke both of their cocks pressed tightly together. He stirred in the bed, feeling as his arousal was growing gradually. He would love to be touched like this again, to touch the man in return.

But there was something he wanted even more … He kept on stroking himself vigorously as he imagined being on his knees and Hannibal standing in from of him, feeding his cock into Will’s open mouth. How would he taste, how would it make him feel? The mental image was almost too much to take. He saw himself opening his mouth willingly as Hannibal took hold of his head and fucked his mouth without restraint, thrusting faster and deeper each time. He moaned, totally lost in his pleasure. He didn’t want to finish yet, so he let go of his cock and closed his eyes, indulging himself in his imagination. What would come next?

Now he pictured himself being on his hands and knees and the man behind him, his fingers slowly caressing him ... He was panting as he touched his opening, imagining it was Hannibal doing it to him. He never tried to pleasure himself like that, so feeling the tip of his finger inside himself was a little bit strange, but after all what wasn’t strange in his life? Will felt embarrassed and excited at the same time, aware what he was doing to himself, who he was thinking about … How will he look him in the face next time they meet? But for the time being he didn’t care, he was too hungry, too desperate; he needed it so much … The strange sensation disappeared after a moment, making him feel pleasantly full. He started stroking himself again with his other hand. If only it was Hannibal’s hand … Hannibal’s cock … It would feel so good, he was sure …

There was no more shame left as he wiggled in the bed and imagined Lecter thrusting into him in fast and deep strokes, fucking him mercilessly … The fantasy made him mewl loudly as he came into his hand and on the sheets. The orgasm was so intense that his vision blurred for a moment, all thoughts incoherent and unclear. He was lying in senseless bliss, recovering slowly. For a moment there was only one thought left, disturbing and powerful, but he was too exhausted to pay attention to it.

He thought he wanted this man so badly that he needed to have him no matter what. Even if it would be the very end of him.

Chapter Text

The days passed without real notice; Hannibal barely acknowledging his patients’ presense while replying to their tiresome, repetitive problems. They were like old, clichéd books he had read too many times. Portraying the same motives and conflicts over and over again, something unworthy of his attention. There was nothing for his interest, no subtle pleasure to decide for someone else and manipulate their lives long gone. They seemed too trivial and too dull to even bother. He performed his duties half-heartedly, writing something down or commenting from time to time.

Even his kills didn’t bring him the thrill and satisfaction they used to. Hannibal looked emotionlessly at another piece of art, something he cut out of this waste of space, a ridiculous parody of what human life should be. However, he failed to see his acomplishment this time.  Instead feeling just terribly tired and unaffected.

There was the same, obtrusive thought occupying his mind constantly. Something he would rather not think at all, especially while he was devoting himself to his dark passions, so raw and sublime at the same time.

However, he couldn’t help himself. And it wasn’t something he was used to. He was a man with an iron self control, after all. He could place all the pieces of his game together or make the jigsaw fall apart if he wanted to, but he never let some baseemotions cloud his vision or paralyze his moves.

He liked it less and less with each passing day. It seemed Will Graham had a stronger grip on him than he considered possible. How come his little whim, this fascinating,but fragile and weak man influenced him so much that he seemed to be entangled so completely in his own web?

Initially, Hannibal didn’t take the man’s behaviour as anything more than being childishly stubborn, but weeks had passed and no matter what he tried to do, how he tried to approach and impress him, Will always stayed equally unaffected. First he tried a subtle way of seduction, much more adequate for his tastes, but his every word, every gesture and invitation was always turned away. It was almost beyond his comprehension. It seemed the man himself wanted him more and more with each passing day, but instead of giving up, he fought harder, as if his life depended on it.

What is he so afraid of?

The questions circulated costantly in his head, never letting go. It didn’t seem Will suspected anything, though. He was sure he could sense the change if Graham knew he was the Chesapeake Ripper, but it didn’t seem like this. Will was afraid and troubled, but the source of his distrust was somewhere else.

He was occupied with these thoughts the whole way home. The cold night breeze helped him cool down his mind. When he reached the gate of his house he did feel much more refreshed and collected. There was no strain in his movements when he entered the house and started making himself comfortable. The well-known darkness and stillness welcomed him, swallowed him down and hid inside, his own kingdom full of secrets and shadows.

There was still some place left for one secret more.

Hannibal sank down in one of the armchairs with a glass of wine in his hand. He didn’t move for a long time, nor did he produced a single sound. He was sorting his thoughts, shuffling the cards of his game and planning the next moves with a careful consideration.

Life was the greatest of all games, after all. Macabre, cruel, but beautiful and breathtaking at the same time.

 

***

 

Will sat opposite him, but it felt as if there was a solid wall between them. It was almost as if they had travelled back in time to the moment they had just gotten to know each other. His eyes were always down, body closed and tense.

”The case is not going well. There are no traces. The killer’s way of thinking doesn’t make any sense. There is no logic,” Will kept on, still not looking at him, as if he was talking on a phone instead of to a person next to him.

”Do you believe him to suffer from some kind of disorder?”

”Not really. There is something logical even in the behaviour of most mad people. This is something else.”

The answer came the same way as the previous one and Hannibal was more and more irritated with each passing moment. He disliked being ignored a lot, but this – this was crossing all possible bounderies of appropriate behaviour, something he most certainly couldn’t let go. He was treated as a mere tool to solve Will’s problems, the man armed to the teeth with cold, bold ignorance, cutting off each of his attempts like a blade.

And it was too much, and for far too long. It was the high time to speed up the pace anyhow.

”I would be probably more motivated to help you figure out this problem, if you stopped talkig to the wall and started talking to me, Will,” it came out sharper then he intended.

Will flinched, not seeing this coming. He waited for a few seconds before letting out unconvincingly:

”I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

”Oh, I am sure you do.”

”I don’t think so. Maybe let’s just...”

Hannibal wasn’t sure if he wanted to shake him or rather slit his throat open.

”Let me remind you, then. I mean, you cannot forget how you shivered under my touch and how you enjoyed yourself while climaxing on my lap, yet you are unable to go a few steps further to come and take it again. On the other hand, you also cannot go back to what we used to be.”

”Fair enough,” Will said, apparently embarrassed and discomforted. He could see the flush he brought to his cheeks.

”So,” Hannibal said crossing his legs, ”How about discussing this instead of your mysterious killer today?”

Will huffed and opened his mouth to say something, but couldn’t force himself to.

”I try to act normally,” he said finally, as if trying to explain himself.

He sounded as if he wanted to continue, but there was only dead silence after that, so Hannibal asked:

”Are you even aware you didn’t look at me once during our last four sessions?”

”I have a problem with eye contact.”

”Oh, I coudln’t really notice while you were bucking into my hand...”

”Stop it,” Will interrupted him sharptly.

”...and moaning, entirely consumed by pleasure...”

”Can you please shut up?!” he barked, finally looking him in the face.

Oh, the sweet power of provocation.

When he finally saw his eyes, the view took him by surprise. There was not only anger and embarassment reflected there, but such a hunger and longing, that something stirred in him, taking away his breath for a moment.

Why is he doing this to himself?

It was as if some magnetic power made him stand up and approach his troubled patient. The man stood as well, probably preparing himself to flee rather then confront him. He didn’t touch him, knowing Will was probably expecting him to do so, but the distance between them was painfully small.

”You know,” Hannibal said silently, a tone of promise present in his voice, ”I could give you that again. And so much more. I would be honoured if you let me.”

”Why?” he asked in a breaking voice. There was so much endless, beautiful suffering that Hanibal almost couldn’t stop himself from raising his hand and...

”Because I cherish your company the same as I desire you.”

There was something shattering behind Will’s eyes, lips slightly parted, his figure motionless.

”Why me?”

”I feel comfortable and happy with you. You are not like the rest of them. You are incredibly honest and wild in your behaviour, and that feels so fresh after all these dull people I have a displeasure of encountering. And you’re an undeniably irresistible, attractive man, very much to my taste and perception of beauty.”

Hannibal said all of this on one breath, because he could lie the same as breathe – without any effort. However, he had kept on lying in so many situation and for so many years, that he didn’t even notice when his tongue turned against him, revealing what his heart truly felt, instead of saying things fabricated and untrue. For now, though, he kept believing it was just another lie, that it was only a part of the game, of the challange he kept on looking forward to.

Then something strange happened. Will’s gaze travelled to Hannibal’s chair, but it wasn’t the same as when he deliberately averted his gaze not to look at him; it was as if Will was looking at someone sitting in the chair. Was it possible he still suffered from hallucinations?

”Will?” he tried again, hoping to get his attention. ”Is something wrong?”

”Everything is wrong...” he just said and Hannibal’s eyes hardened at being rejected once again, especially after what he had just said.

Will must have noticed that, because he recollected himself quickly.

”I am sorry ... I didn’t intend to make it sound like this ... Did you just ... say...”

His hand travelled to Will’s face, caressing his skin lightly. The touch was soft and slow, not too invasive, he didn’t want the man to back off like last time. This time it was different, it was almost unnoticable, but he felt as Will leant to the touch a little bit.

”Don’t refuse me, just because you are afraid. You will never learn how to fly if you don’t jump first. ”

Or fall deeply, dragged to all the places I intend to take you to...

”I am not lying to you, Will. You somehow have become special to me. Give us a chance.”

He saw each sentence, a string of words that was bounding him tighter and tighter. He could almost sense his hesitation crumbling slowly and turning to ashes...

”I... ” the man cleared his throat, at loss for words. Was it relief emanating from him? He seemed both moved and ready for something more, after long, exhausting weeks of restriction and aching. He was finally opening slowly, welcoming in unforseen invasion and destruction that were fundaments of Hannibal’s being. Even poison wrapped in a beautiful package could be tempting and desirable, magnetizing for willing hands, ready to show its contents...

How much happiness lies could bring...

”I ... I believe you...” Will whispered silently, as if he was revealing a secret or confessing a sin. Then, he grabbed Hannibal’s shirt and pulled him into a kiss, relief and want clear and overwhelming.

Checkmate, my dear.