Anthony Dimmond was entirely too easy to find for Hannibal's taste. It's hardly a hunt when the quarry has as much survival instinct as an inebriated pigeon. Worse still, the man had engaged him at the party, prattling on about his writing habits and his work, which was dubious, at best.
If he weren't here with purpose, Hannibal would be irked at the loss of his week’s worth of vacation. Now, he is in the unfortunate position of owing Dr. Du Maurier for taking on the single patient who steadfastly refused to reschedule. God only knows what Bedelia will demand after dealing with Franklyn. Hopefully something expensive and alcoholic instead of a favor.
Dimmond will pay for this, too, but first, he will pay for the most heinous crime of all: plagiarism.
Hannibal ducks under the awning of a café, lights a cigarette he won't smoke, and waits for his quarry to wander down the street toward home.
Author William Graham has had a book on the bestseller list for the better part of a decade. Nothing could ever measure up to his first novel, of course, an intrepid, riveting tale of a man driven to murder out of passion, not for a lover, but for his daughter. The story of Garret Jacob Hobbs was so vivid, so moving and empathy-driven that it captivated the nation.
But Graham is a recluse—no interviews, only a rare book signing or lecture. Otherwise, no one knows much about the man beyond the words in his novels and the requisite headshot on every cover. Even the blurb printed underneath his scowling, bespectacled face, framed by a head of messy curls—
“Oh my God,” said the woman strapped to the surgical table, “will you hurry up and steal my kidney already?”
Hannibal peeked above the edge of his spiral-bound notebook. “That’s very rude of you, Miss Boyle.” He took off his own thin-framed glasses, resettling them on top of his head. “Besides, I intend to remove your lungs.”
“It’s no secret how obsessed you are with him,” she continued, ignoring him. “At least, not to me. I’ve been doing your taxes long enough to notice the hearts and hyphenated names in the margins of your records.”
“Your comments on my scribblings were most unappreciated.”
Boyle snorted. “Most people’s hearts and arrows aren’t anatomically correct.”
“They were javelins.”
“Please, Dr. Lecter. Just kill me.”
Even now, tailing the swine himself across the Ponte Vecchio Bridge, Hannibal remains in a state of disbelief that anyone could be such a brazen thief. The scandal had rocked the mystery fiction community. Hannibal himself had taken to Twitter, joining the other bookish types in their ranting and raving.
William Graham’s first novel had been a work of genius. To lift phrases and lines directly from Apéritif for use in an insipid modern-day retelling of Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket was simply unconscionable.
Everyone, from critics down to the fakest fan, had expected a lawsuit, or a press release at the very least. But Graham kept silent. In fact, he was so silent that there had been neither word nor novel from him for well over a year. Dimmond, too, had retreated from the public eye; now that the controversy had mostly died down, though, he’d returned to public life, attending various social events and the like.
It was child’s play, really, following from Paris to Florence, from one gathering to the next. The man was utterly predictable, appearing anywhere that promised a friendly atmosphere and a chance to discuss his second book.
He must be stopped before its completion.
Anthony Dimmond must die.
“Do you really think Graham would approve?” Bedelia asked him during one of their therapeutic conversations. Hannibal had plied her with wine and a mild sedative before broaching the subject.
“I know he writes of the darkness inherent to human nature,” she added as she popped the cork from another bottle of Burgundy. “But that nature is the flipside of a Janus coin, so there must be light in him, as well. To assume he would appreciate your…artistic endeavors based solely on his imagination? That, Hannibal, that is foolish.”
Hannibal looked glumly into his glass.
“Oh, don’t pout. It looks all wrong on you. Like too few breasts on a Picasso.”
“I had hoped he would say something about my tribute to Apéritif. It made national headlines, after all.”
“So did the Copycat Killer,” Bedelia reminded him, “and the both of your respective artworks are…” She took a long sip of her wine. “Excessive, I believe is the best word.”
Bedelia groaned and glared. “Your William? Really, Hannibal?” She rolled her eyes and added, “You should try dating. Someone appallingly normal, perhaps.”
“That sounds distasteful,” said Hannibal, and he cleansed his palate with the rest of his wine.
“You could always test-run your recipes on them. In case the impossible happens and you not only meet ‘your William’—”
“That tone is quite unnecessary.”
“—but manage to string enough words together to hold a conversation.”
Hannibal mulled it over as Bedelia refilled his glass before he could protest. “I suppose that would be tolerable.”
She smirked. “Just don’t moan out your idol’s name in bed. And don’t Chesapeake too soon if you do.”
“Go rip someone a new afterlife and get over it.”
Hannibal hadn’t expected Dimmond to have likewise rented a set of rooms; he seemed more of a cheap hotel type, a place, “with character,” as he would say. Heaven forbid Anthony had chosen a hostel. Hannibal would’ve been forced to burn the place to the ground.
But he hadn’t, so Hannibal won’t. Instead, he will wait across the street. Yet another awning, yet another cigarette, though he’s tempted to risk the integrity of his leather pants and jacket and smoke it this time. Hannibal isn’t sure why, doesn’t understand the odd prickling at the base of his spine. Turning back becomes an option for the first time.
Then again, there’s a siren’s call to this hunt that Hannibal’s never experienced before, either, a magnetism that draws him closer. Hannibal knows it has nothing to do with Dimmond; Anthony had propositioned him one too many times at the party, enough to turn Hannibal’s stomach, a monumental feat, indeed. It’s undeniable, though, the arousal that stirs low in his belly. Hunting has never provoked such a reaction in him.
Neither has porn, now that Hannibal’s thinking about it.
And sometimes erotica.
And often fanfiction, but regardless, Hannibal can’t abandon the chase now. He’s far too curious as to what really awaits him in the swine’s borrowed sty.
Besides, he purchased a new vinyl suit specifically for the occasion.
Alana Bloom had been his mentee during her residency. In a way, their relationship was one of pupil and teacher—it appealed to Hannibal in a Platonic sense, though Alana was hardly an Aristotle. She was normal, appallingly so, as Bedelia had suggested. Her company was pleasant, however. Hannibal hadn’t realized how lonely he had been until now.
There were too many irreconcilable differences between them to truly last, however. Alana was enchanted by the theramin, yet turned off by soprano solos, and utterly indifferent to the harpsichord. She drank beer instead of wine, which was fine, except that he had no one to show off to, and Hannibal was certain that was part of courting. It was impossible to peacock if the peahen was colorblind.
All they really had in common, then, was their background in the medical field, their chosen professions in the psychological sciences, and William Graham.
Until they suddenly didn’t.
“We need to talk, Hannibal,” and that was when he knew the charade was finally, thankfully over.
Even so, he continued clearing the plates from dinner as if he knew nothing. “What about?”
She sighed, slumping back in her chair, smoothing the napkin on her lap until it might as well have been part of her outfit. The white napkin was bound to leave lint clinging to her skirt. Hannibal was pleased; he intended to take whatever schadenfreude he could from the situation.
Alana finally looked up at him. “It’s not working.”
Hannibal feigned surprise. “Do you mean—”
“Us,” she confirmed. “Yes.” Alana seemed uneasy that Hannibal remained towering over her instead of sitting down as she had probably expected. “I’d love to be cliche and say that it’s me and not you, but…” Her smile looked forced. “It is very definitely you.”
“Whatever have I done?” asked Hannibal. “Have I offended you?”
“No! No, you’ve been—you’re a wonderful person, Hannibal, a true gentleman. Really, you are.”
He tipped his head down, tilted it to the side. Inquisitive, but also chastising. “But?”
“Could you—could you maybe sit down?”
“I was on my way to the kitchen.”
Very carefully, Alana folded her napkin—in half, in quarters, and a futile attempt into eighths. Her eyes were riveted to the centerpiece as she said, “You’re very...esoteric. Some might even say eccentric.”
Hannibal set the dishes down on the table and began to stack them neatly. “Well, yes, I suppose—”
“Strange,” she continued.
“I can see where—”
“To be honest? Kind of scary.”
He blinked. That was unexpected. “Have I frightened you, my dear?”
Her napkin folded as far as it would—a pity that Hannibal hadn’t had time to teach her origami—Alana began to fold her hands. “It might be best for you to ask that when you aren’t looming overhead.”
“Of course.” Hannibal sat down, but continued to put the dirty dishes into order. “Now, then. Do I frighten you?”
Alana bit her bottom lip; it was a tell Hannibal had seen many times before, watching his resident consider her words at the bedside of a patient beyond help. “Not so much you,” she said, “but your obsessive nature.”
That gave him pause. Hannibal swore he had never once obsessed over her. He wasn’t even interested in the charade of trying. There was no passion between them, not from Hannibal’s side, at least. He’d had to write himself a prescription just to bed her, and Alana had called him an old man, and then, of all things, Da—
“Are you even listening?”
“You have my full attention.”
“No, I don’t,” she said, slamming her hand on the table. A pomegranate went scurrying away from the centerpiece; it hit the tip of an antler and rolled off onto the floor, leaving rivulets of juice in its wake. “You were probably thinking about Will!”
“I most certainly was not thinking of my William—”
“Your William? Really, Hannibal?”
Hannibal bristled, managing to sit up even straighter in his chair. “I was thinking about sex,” because he had been, strangely enough, for once.
She laughed bitterly. “Couldn’t have been with me.”
“Do you have any idea how many times you’ve said his name in bed?”
Over an hour has passed since Dimmond went into the building, and Hannibal is tired of waiting. He collects the butts of the cigarettes he never smoked, wraps them into a handkerchief, and puts the whole lot into a plastic baggie. There’s no one to be seen in either direction, but Hannibal wouldn’t have been worried about being seen crossing the street even if there were. At times, it can be beneficial to command full attention, if for no other reason than to know how best to blend in.
Hannibal lets himself into the building. It’s nice enough, though not as ostentatiously furnished as his own. The layout is similar, and Anthony isn’t passed out drunk in the bathroom, which is a blessing in and of itself.
His vinyl suit goes on silently, and Hannibal goes up the stairs silently, and he follows the sound of heavy breathing silently, and he opens the bedroom door silently—
He’s been preempted.
Anthony Dimmond lies on a plastic tarp on the floor, naked save for his ridiculous polka dot scarf, which also appears to be the murder weapon. He’s smiling, strangely enough. Hannibal takes in the rest of him, and there’s a condom, lubricant glistening in the moonlight. Messy stuff.
“Why don’t you take a picture?” says a man behind him as a cloth-covered hand claps over Hannibal’s nose and mouth. Pulled against the man’s body like this—impressive, given the difference in height—Hannibal can feel the hard outline of his assailant’s cock. He could overpower him, Hannibal thinks, but he’s intrigued; no one’s ever managed to catch him by surprise. It crosses his mind that he could simply hold his breath and wait out the man’s patience, but Hannibal wants to see where this goes.
So he inhales, deeply, but is surprised by the lack of odor. He is surprised by the jab of a needle in his neck, and then Hannibal doesn’t have time to be surprised by anything.
Will smells wonderfully masculine, like pine and leather and something distinctly him that Hannibal can’t identify, even with his amazing sense of smell. The author gazes dreamily up into Hannibal’s eyes; his irises are so impossibly blue, like someone purchased two Kashmir sapphires, scooped out Will’s previous orbs, and jammed them into his face. Or not, because the brunette’s eyes are more beautiful than sapphires. Hannibal wishes he could preserve them in a crystal jar to look at forever, and Will appreciates this sentiment and doesn’t find it unusual, at all.
When they kiss, it’s like nothing either of them have ever experienced, too impossible for words, though Hannibal knows he could write at least seven odes about it and probably shall. Will’s stubble scratches the doctor’s face, so unlike a woman’s kiss, even though Will is impossibly pretty. Hannibal clutches the shorter man’s head in his hands with impossible strength and deepens the kiss.
Their tongues battle for dominance.
Will tastes like the meal they just consumed, less a meal and more of a religious, sacred experience. There’s the flavor of the ortolan, chestnut and salt, bitter bones and succulent heart. The sweetness of the Armagnac, like fruit freshly-picked after a summer storm, clings to the back of Will’s teeth, and Hannibal can’t help but think of those teeth rending his own flesh. Shall his lungs taste as delicate to Will as the flesh of the ortolan? Who is to say. Certainly not he.
They rut against each other, cocks hard as stone. The blonde man doesn’t even remember when they took off their clothes—time is meaningless now. But Will’s skin is hot as fire against him, and Hannibal is glad to burn. Their hands are everywhere at once, and Will says, “Oh,” in response to the taller man’s ministrations.
As they reach a dizzy climax—
“Okay, wow,” Hannibal’s current victim began, “I don’t know who your beta is, but I hope you send them an entire case of booze every time they have to read your hideous fanfiction.”
Hannibal jerked his head up, scowling. “This is art, and, while every interpretation is valid, yours, Miss Lounds, is wrong.”
“I do this for a living, you might recall.”
“Yes,” said Hannibal. “Your hideous review of Oeuf is why you’re here.”
Lounds sighed in exasperation. “The evil children trope is as overused as the ones in that tripe you called a story.”
“You wrote a D-list love at first sight shoujo manga and there aren’t even any pictures,” she said, looking at him incredulously. “And don’t even get me started on the epithets. Jesus, you aren’t even blonde!”
Hannibal tossed his notebook down in front of his dinner plate; it disturbed the ostrich vertebrae. “I’ve never had a single negative comment on my RPF, and my kudos to hit ratios are excellent.”
“You’re in a generous fandom,” she replied, waving her hand dismissively. “Let’s see, what else is wrong…”
“You’re playing a dangerous game, Freddie.”
She groaned. “Your speech patterns are even cliche. Hopeless.”
“I won’t hesitate to—”
“You’ve already taken my legs, Hannibal," snapped Freddie as she snatched up the notebook. “I think we both know how this is going to end.”
He hesitated, then gestured for Freddie to continue. It would be foolish to turn down free editing.
“Do you have a red pen? ‘Cause I’m gonna need it.”
Hannibal wakes up on his feet, bound to the bedpost. His vinyl suit has been removed, as have his shoes and socks, but his attacker has seen fit to let him keep the rest of his clothes. Honestly, Hannibal would have preferred to wake up without his shirt; it’s going to be difficult to get the rope wrinkles out of his turtleneck.
Dimmond still lies dead on the floor, though his groin has, thankfully, been covered up now with another terrible scarf. Directly across from him, however, sits Hannibal’s captor, likewise dressed in black, his dark curls much longer than they are in his photograph. He isn’t wearing glasses, either, and Hannibal had never considered that he might not actually need them. In the moonlight, Hannibal can see the hint of a blush on his cheeks; it’s impossi—unrealistic to try and not consider if that same rose doesn’t bloom all the way down his skin, but Hannibal makes the attempt.
He longs to speak, to confess his love for this impossi—beautiful, dangerous man, but Hannibal’s been gagged with yet another ugly scarf, head likewise tied to the bedpost, tight as a bit. So Hannibal simply commits the image to memory, as well as his current state, in order to revisit the encounter should he survive it.
“Well,” says William Graham, leaning forward, elbows on his knees, a knife dangling from one hand. “This is awkward.”
Searching for a respite from the loneliness he’d rediscovered after his break-up with Alana, Hannibal had tried to join a book club. The hope was to temper his obsession with his Willia—with William Graham by discovering new authors.
Except, none of the circles he joined seemed to be interested in new authors. It didn’t matter what book store or home or coffee shop or library Hannibal went to; every book club was, without fail, currently reading Jane Austen. No one had ever read Dante. At least one person took recommendations from Oprah.
Needless to say, Hannibal always left horrified, and then promptly went out and murdered someone to release his frustration. If he could come home with a decent meal, then the night hadn’t been a total waste, he figured.
Frederick Chilton had been a member of the seventh club Hannibal tried out, and Bedelia was both proud and surprised that he’d finally managed to make a friend who didn’t have to be inebriated in order to spend time with him. Hannibal wasn’t particularly fond of Frederick, but he was witty and put up with his wandering philosophical monologues. Most importantly, Frederick enjoyed his cooking, particularly the sanguinaccio dolce.
After a few months, Hannibal felt that it was safe to casually bring up his favorite Graham novels. Frederick grudgingly admitted that he had read and enjoyed the Jack Crawford arc up until the protagonist’s wife died. He believed that it was pointless and only served to further what Frederick called, “man pain”. Surprisingly, Hannibal agreed; it had seemed, to him, like a demand of the editor or publishing house rather than Graham’s own words.
Everything was going very well.
And then, Chilton saw the shrine.
He walked into the study to find Frederick gaping at the inside of the china cabinet, doors flung open. He’d sworn he locked it back after his daily vigil, but it didn’t matter now; the damage had been done. Frederick turned his head from the inside of one door to the other, and it likely wasn’t to admire the childhood photographs. The scrapbook full of critical reviews and newspaper clippings of Hannibal’s tributes lay open on the floor.
Hannibal had only two regrets about Frederick’s sudden disembowelment: first, that he’d ruined the meat with an unnecessary number of stab wounds to his guts; second, that he’d gotten arterial spray on the sofa.
“Do you know who I am?” Graham asks Hannibal, who nods with difficulty. “Shit.” He runs his empty hand through his hair, and Hannibal wonders what it feels like, if it is soft from good care or brittle from cheap shampoo. His imagination helpfully provides an image of Hannibal bathing him.
Graham stares out the window for a bit before asking, “If I ungag you, are you going to scream?” There’s a quiet twang, a Southern slowness and softness to his tone—musical, in its own strange way.
Hannibal shakes his head, so Graham rises and takes one giant step across Dimmond and the tarp. This close, and with his nose unfettered, Hannibal can scent him properly, and Graham smells nothing like he does in his fanfiction. His cologne is terrible, and his hair smells like anti-dandruff shampoo, but it is soft. Graham’s cheek is so close to his own, close enough that Hannibal can feel the warmth of his skin. The urge to turn his face enough to touch is difficult to suppress.
If this gets anymore unbearably intimate, Hannibal’s going to come all over the inside of his pants. He’d prefer not to explain that to his dry cleaner, no matter how discreet Jimmy may be.
“So I know why I’m here,” says Graham, still fiddling with the knot behind the bedpost, “but I can’t figure out why you are. You’ve been tailing him since Paris, so it must be personal, whatever it is. And don’t worry,” he adds, stepping back slightly. Graham winds the scarf around both fists, like he’s prepared to regag him at any moment. “It’s not that you’re bad at it. You’re actually really good. I just know what to look for, is all.”
Hannibal stretches his mouth; his tongue is dry, his jaw sore. “It’ll last longer.”
Graham blinks, confused. “Come again?”
“I’d love to,” and Hannibal adores Graham’s spluttered laugh. He doesn’t even mind the spittle.
“I meant the first thing you said, you weird bastard.”
“You asked me if I wanted to take a photograph,” explains Hannibal, “but you never finished the phrase.” He cocks an eyebrow and asks, “Propofol?”
Graham keeps grinning. “Is there anything else?”
“I had thought for a moment you were using chloroform.”
He hums, nodding. “Too hard to dose right, and it never works like it does in fiction.”
“Which is why The Muralist was the last of your killers to use it, yes?”
Graham gives him an odd look. Hannibal misses the effervescence of his smile immediately. “Are you one of my fucked up fanboys?” he asks. “Because I really don’t want to have to take out yet another restraining order.”
“I am an ardent admirer,” Hannibal says carefully. “Your work inspires mine. You are my muse.”
“Oh God. Please don’t tell me you write fanfic.”
Hannibal clears his throat. “I won’t, then.”
“Or fanart,” he continues. “If I never see another rendition of myself as a dog, it’ll still be too soon.” Graham straightens. “Wait. I know you’re here to kill this asshole,” and Graham jerks his head toward Dimmond, still smiling up from the floor, “because you had on some sort of pornographic coveralls—”
“They’re easier to clean.”
“Look, if you’re an artist, then you’ve been given a name.” Graham grips both sides of Hannibal’s face, the scarf hooked underneath Hannibal’s chin. “Who are you?”
“I’m the Chesapeake Ripper,” says Hannibal, breathless.
Both of Graham’s eyebrows shoot up. “Oh,” he says.
“Most of you fanboys tell me you’re the Copycat Killer. All of you, actually, which is how I know it’s either their first kill or they just wanted to get my attention or—” Graham tenses, then relaxes, but never lets go of Hannibal’s face. “But you, you...you really could kill me. Not just plan it and get caught, or go through the motions mechanically but still be overpowered, but do it, with passion, with emotion, with—”
“Love,” finishes Hannibal.
“Yeah,” says Graham. He meets Hannibal’s eyes for the first time, and they aren’t impossibly anything, only a cloudy kind of sky. “Do you know why I know they’re lying?”
Graham leans in and whispers, “Because I’m the Copycat Killer.”
The girl opened the door of her home, a nondescript little bungalow in a nondescript little town in Minnesota. “Can I help you?”
Rude. “Are you Marissa Schurr?”
“Yes, I am.” She pushed the door open further and leaned against the doorjamb.
“I—yes, but—” She stared at him warily. “What’s this ab—”
Hannibal slit her throat in one quick movement. “No one sends me hate about my fanfiction and lives.”
He’s hard against Graham’s thigh, slotted in between Hannibal’s legs. “What were you going to do with the body?” Hannibal asks.
Graham tsks at him like he’s been naughty, and this is going to be how Hannibal dies, tied to a bedpost in a third-rate author’s rented rooms. “You first,” he insists. “And then you’ll tell me why, and then, if you promise to be good, I might let you go.”
“It’s quite fine if you don’t.”
He grinds his thigh against Hannibal, chuckles at his little groan. “I noticed. Tell me, anyway.”
Hannibal closes his eyes. “I was going to beat him to death, but purposefully, one strike for each word of yours he stole. His body would be broken down, folded into a heart—”
Graham nuzzles against him, and Hannibal’s eyes are quickly growing wet. “Go on.”
“I have a page from a first edition copy of Apéritif in my back pocket.” His breath hitches in Hannibal’s ear. “All of the words are blacked out save for five sentences.”
Hannibal takes a shaky breath. “‘You don’t know me and I suspect we’ll never meet. This is a courtesy call. Listen very carefully. Are you listening?'”
Graham’s fingers tug Hannibal’s hair, pull his head to the side so that he can kiss him, far more softly than Hannibal expected from the simultaneously rough treatment. It’s only a press of lips, nothing more, and Hannibal’s never felt so starved.
He wants to beg for another. Instead, he asks, “What were you planning on, William?”
“Will,” he says against Hannibal’s mouth. “William’s the monolith that writes for money; the Copycat is the murderer who kills for pleasure; as for the man, it’s only me.” Another quick kiss, and Hannibal chases Will’s mouth as far as he’s able. “I don’t even know your name—your real one, I mean.”
“Hannibal.” He earns another kiss; it’s delightful, not only because it’s Will—really, actually Will, and not a photo-realistic pillowcase—but because Hannibal’s enjoying kissing, and he never has before. To be fair, Hannibal was never attracted to anyone before Will. Poor Alana never had a chance. “What were you going to do to our good friend, Mr. Dimmond?”
“Well, you’ve seen step one, which is the part where I sneak in and wait for him to come home, strangle him quickly, and leave him lying out in a ludicrous manner for you to find.”
His heart leaps. “You left me a trap,” says Hannibal, elated. “You’ve trapped me twice, then.”
“Are you always this sappy?”
Will mouths along his jaw first, but Hannibal isn’t about to complain. “I was going to let you watch me dismember him—” He stops again, this time to laugh darkly at Hannibal’s moan. “Maybe I still should,” he continues, “just leave you standing here to watch me work.”
Hannibal swallows; his already tight pants are now more than uncomfortable. “Gagged again, I suppose?”
“It was my design, yes.” He bites at Hannibal’s jugular, tugs it, worries it a little. “Anyway, I was going to chop him into pieces and load him into my cooler. Get back on my boat, sail away, and then push Anthony off and into the Atlantic, insulated coffin and all.” Another bite, and Will sucks at his pulse, too, to the point of pain. Hannibal relishes it. “Except for his heart.”
“What were your intentions there?”
“Nail it to the front door.”
Hannibal can’t stop his own grin, or the tiny laugh that bubbles out of him. “Do you have ninety-four others to nail alongside?”
“Nah,” says Will, “I figured one thesis was enough to get my point across.”
“I was going to take his heart, as well.”
This is the make-or-break moment, Hannibal thinks. Either Will shall accept him wholly, or else suffer him no longer. “A midnight snack made in his own kitchen.”
And it’s Will’s turn to groan, and Hannibal comes with a gasp.
Will pulls back, wide-eyed. “Did you just—”
Hannibal has never been embarrassed in his life and he isn’t going to start now. “Yes.”
Kiss upon kiss upon kiss, until Hannibal feels like he could drown in the sensation, fuzzy-headed from both his orgasm and shared oxygen.
“You know,” Will murmurs against his temple as Hannibal’s head droops under its own weight, “no one’s ever made a snack for me before. I’ve never invited anyone back to my boat before, either. Nor have I ever butchered for an audience, and I prefer sounders.”
“I’m still amenable,” says Hannibal drowsily, “to all three of those.”
Will’s laugh is positively wicked. “What about to tying your head back to the bedpost?”
Hannibal opens his mouth, and lets the scarf do the heavy lifting.
“Maneater” goes off for the third time, but Hannibal has no interest in getting out of bed, not when there’s six feet of gorgeous, brilliant psychopath sprawled over him. His muscles ache from overexertion, but he’s been promised a massage so long as he, “does that thing with his tongue again”. Besides that, the small bed is surprisingly comfortable, and the rocking motion of the boat is soothing, and—
“I swear to God, Hannibal,” Will mumbles against one of the bruises on Hannibal’s chest, “if I have to listen to Nelly Furtado one more fucking time, I’m carving out your liver.”
Will grins sleepily against Hannibal’s skin, then kicks at him half-heartedly. “Just go answer your phone.” He lifts his head to meet Hannibal’s lips as he crawls over him. “Come back and wake me up nicely.”
Fishing his phone out of his jacket pocket, Hannibal walks into the claustrophobic closet of a bathroom and calls Bedelia back. “Good evening.”
“And good morning to you,” quips Bedelia, “which is the problem, seeing as you were supposed to call me after your little tete-a-tete last night.”
“My apologies,” Hannibal says to her. “I was a little tied up at the time.”