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Mark me not a Savage

Chapter Text

It all started with that letter. Will knew who had sent it the moment he saw the simple white envelope on the kitchen table, right where Molly always left his mail. It was the handwriting that made it unmistakable. It was that of either an eighteenth century nobleman, the Queen of England herself, or Hannibal. He snatched it off the table with one hand, creasing the paper under tightly clenched fingers and hid it in the most discrete brown envelope he could find, as if to quell the thick, silken voice he heard inside his head every time he saw his name written in that hand, as real as whispering lips against his ear. He then shoved it into the drawer of the dresser in his bedroom. Their bedroom. Molly and his. It was out of sight, away from Molly's eyes and away from his. Never, however, away from his mind.

He opened it on a quiet Sunday morning, almost three sleepless nights after it first arrived. Molly and Wally had gone to visit Molly's mother and with the house all to himself, he'd decided that the heavy weight of Hannibal's grip on him, even now, was something only he, himself could end. And he would end it. He would read the letter so he would never have an excuse to wonder what it might have said. He would then burn it, both the message and the memories. And he would keep trying, like these past couple of years, to forget who he had been when he was with Hannibal. And how it had made him feel.

He took the envelope, sat down on the edge of his bed and felt the cheap, prison paper under his fingers. His joints faltering momentarily, crackling when he turned the envelope in his hand, and his skin prickling at the touch. Nerves, he thought, not without shame. He cut along the seam with his sterling silver letter opener, shaped like a miniature sword, and touched the paper inside. Thicker, this, more his usual style. He pulled it up between his thumb and index finger, out of the surrounding envelope, and almost dropped it when he felt an unfamiliar singe burning under his skin. Like a restless army of ants, painless, but odd. His hands shook when he folded the paper and read his name. Dear Will, it said. Dear Will.

An imaginary fist tightened in his chest and his damp fingers pressed into the thick, ivory paper, undoubtedly marking it with his prints. He swallowed hard against the sudden lump in his throat and closed his eyes. Dear Will. He could still see the words, written in the curly elegance of Hannibal's hand, burning behind his eyelids. He breathed deeply through his nose to try and calm the unsteady flutter of his heart. A deep breath. One that penetrated his nostrils like a liquid, a smothering sting he felt intruding behind his eyes.

One. Deep. Breath.

And then it took him.

There was rush of something deep and dark, spreading from his chest to the tip of every branching vein. He smelled the smell of campfire in a winter night sky, streaming up his dusty nostrils. He felt the touch of dark, icy water – just below the surface of a stream, untouched by the sun– and it woke his numb, clammy skin. He saw a chapel made of ancient bones, chandeliers made out of human skulls, and he heard a choir of the sweetest, most fragile voices that echoed against the rooftop dome. And then he felt the pain.

Will doubled over when he felt a violent, wrenching fist yanking at his insides, like a fishhook had embedded itself right behind his pelvis. He cried out in shock, as he rolled to the side of the bed, trembling violently on the unmade sheets and folding his arms tightly around his middle like a wounded animal protecting its vitals. He whimpered quietly, as he felt lashing flames licking viciously on his insides and kept himself still, soaked with cold sweat within minutes. He was shaking and panting like a dying fish, caught, as he clenched his teeth at the ripping sensation behind his abdomen. His loins were on fire, screaming and burning and yearning, gagging and binding him with intensity. He couldn't move. He couldn't speak. He could only let the cruel burn of hell spread through his body limb by limb, bone by bone, hair by hair. Will lay there, unmoving, wondering if he was waiting for death.

Molly found him like that when she came home hours later, and helped him out of his wet clothes and under the covers. The scorching torment had numbed itself to a whiny ache that seeped deep into his marrow. “Should I call a doctor?” she asked. Will didn't like doctors. Not anymore. “No,” he said, feeling his damp skin shivering against the cold air, while inside he was still burning hot, hot, hot. “It's probably just the flu.”

She saw the letter on the floor, abandoned, but not forgotten. “Is this yours?” she asked, and he clenched his teeth to stop the sudden flash of helpless anger that boiled, instantly and unprepared, from underneath his lungs and threatened to spill. She had no right to see it. No right. “Put it on the nightstand,” he said from between his locked jaw, short and curt. It was the best he could do. She did, and then she left the room, and for reasons unexplained he felt she had taken a thick, strangling smoke away with her.

He touched the letter again when he felt like he could properly breathe. He smelled it, felt the thick paper on his skin, carefully this time. There was no sense to why he would, why this was a risk he was willing to take, but the option not to do it had simply vanished from his scourged and scattered brain. Something savage lashed out from within and drew claws against his pink insides as he smelled the fire, felt the water, leaving no more than an ache this time. And he read the letter. Again. Again. Again. The feel, the smell, the words, they hurt. They hurt more and more every time he read it. But there was something else this time. That edge, small, but present, that filled a place inside him that he never knew existed, with a marble of delirious, concentrated pleasure amongst all that pain. And when he put away the letter, folded it and hid it in the drawer, the song died out, and there was nothing but an intense yearning. A longing so maddening he wished to dig it out of himself with his bare fingernails. A need for something he didn't even understand.

That night, he didn't sleep. There was a swelling in his throat, beneath his jaw, that kept him awake. Swollen glands, nothing odd for a flu, but they itched and ached and pressed against his skin so hard that he couldn't stop touching them. His ears caught the sound of traffic down the far away road. His nose smelled the lingering odor of the fish Molly had cleaned for dinner and the stench of his bottle of aftershave, hidden in the dresser. He had never noticed such things before.

The oddest thing, perhaps, was the amount of sweat that seemed to steadily pour inside his boxers. A thick fluid of which he could not explain the consistency. A slick, clear sort of secretion that clung to his fingers and had the smell of pine cones in early fall mixed with the musky scent of a male body. The whole room was starting to smell like it, and it made that tormenting ache pulse harder and louder in that empty, empty spot inside of him. He clenched his ass once, around nothing, wondering why it suddenly felt like that was unwanted. He squirmed unhappily against the mattress and rolled onto his belly. Oh, and there was that. He now seemed to be in an almost permanent state of semi-arousal, with his dick half-hard against his belly and asking for attention that he instinctively knew wouldn't satisfy him. Molly had noticed when she came to bed and had simply rubbed her hand over his upper leg without any other intentions. But the touch alone had made him roll away as his stomach only clenched harder. No. He didn't know why, but his body seemed to scream it. No.

When the sun rose early morning, none of the aches had eased within him, but he got up anyway and distracted himself with everyday life. “Don't you want your glasses?” Molly asked him when he was reading the morning paper. No. No, he didn't. His eyes seemed to be... they seemed to be fine, really. It was odd, very odd, but not odd enough for him to search for answers when he had so many other things to occupy his mind. The slick, thick sweat that forced him to change his underwear about four times a day, for example. The persistent fiery heat in his lower region. Everything around him seemed so sharp, so loud, yet very, very far away. Words had never flown that easily, but grunting was most of what he did now. And the aversion when Molly, his lovely Molly, touched his arm or kissed his cheek... He didn't talk to her about it. He silently hoped it would simply pass if he just ignored it, but the only thing his mind could focus on was the fire that burned and squirmed in the pit of his belly, and Hannibal's letter in the drawer.

Jack came, like the letter had predicted, and Will wanted to tell him to go away, never come back. He wanted to punch him right between his smug eyes, threaten him and warn him to never, ever come near his family again. But he didn't, because apart from his mysterious, physical predicament, there was one persistent thought that poked him, stabbed him, gorged him every breathing second since he had opened that letter.

Hannibal's letter. The Tooth Fairy's case. Jack wanted him to go. Molly wanted him to go. Hannibal had asked him not to. And Will, he didn't want to go. He didn't want to. He couldn't go.
He had to go. He had to go. He had to. Had to. Had to. HAD. TO. GO.

Will shot up from his pillow that night and quickly padded to the bathroom wihtout making a light. He ran icy water over his burning face for the fifth time that night and stared at the red rims around his bloodshot eyes. He had to go. Why didn't matter. He had to go back to Baltimore.

Chapter Text

Baltimore State hospital for the criminally insane. He walked past security, pockets checked for sharp objects, and suddenly he could breathe a little easier. His chest expanded, decreasing the pressure around his ribs while simultaneously feeling a sensation behind his pelvis, aching and pleasant at once, like someone was tightening a cord along his loins. He swallowed and continued walking, barely noticing the familiar walls that had once been his own residence.

These past days had been about traveling, crime scenes and empty hotel rooms. He had sat on a queen size bed with his cock in his hand, stroking half-heartedly as his body told him no, no, no, this is not enough. Tucked in bed, he had stared at his phone, letting fingers hover over Molly's name on the screen before giving up. His head hadn't been with him during any of it, tucked away deep inside himself, living in a state of trance. It was as if his body and mind had unknowingly decided that something like a murder scene, a whole family murdered in their beds, wasn't worth his effort anymore. His work and his wife, too, not in range with the unfocused, spasming bulk of deranged, internal energy within him. That thought was devastatingly not as devastating as it ought to be. Truth be told, it barely existed.

When he'd arrived, he had done what was expected of him, but with an honesty that sounded nothing like him, he admitted to himself he wasn't here for the case. The Tooth fairy. The families. They were never more than half a second on his mind. He had visited the house, saw the corpses, smelled the blood. And how strongly he could smell it. Reconstructing the scene was mere minutes of work. In fact, he had never been faster. But he wasn't here for that, could barely bring himself to concentrate. He was sending out radio-waves in another direction, following after them, and even though he wasn't sure what it was exactly that he was here for, his mind pounded on him from a place beyond his understanding.

He was now permanently wet between his thighs and no matter how often he touched his own body in the lonely room of his hotel, it didn't bring any relief to his aching bones, the madness in his mind. He could keep going and going, like a touch starved teenager with a lock on his door, but it didn't silence the restless craving that simmered in his belly, deep inside his core. The letter he had promised to burn was in the inside pocket of his jacket, humming an imaginary, warm song against his chest. He hadn't been able to part with it, feeling its presence was a gentle caress to the restless, pushing ache in his mind. It felt like the one thing that grounded him, and stopped him from drifting outside the gravity of his body. Anchoring him to a single place. Every step, every breath, every movement pulsing the same thought against the stem of his brain. Baltimore State hospital. Baltimore State hospital. Baltimore fucking State hospital.

Hannibal was there. Yes, of course he knew that. It wasn't an afterthought, he knew it was him he needed to see. That it wasn't about the case. Not about the stupid case. But what that reason was, he couldn't seem to verbalize or give shape inside his head. Every time he thought of him, even briefly, even just his name, his mind howled in violent desperation, ripping at him and shaking his bones to the roots of his teeth.

The question why remained unanswered, didn't matter. All he knew was Hannibal was the reason his mind was clawing against his skull like a caged, rabid chimpanzee. He had to see him, he knew it with every fiber in his being. He wasn't even sure he wanted to. No, actually, he was definitely sure he didn't want to see the man. He hadn't forgotten all that had passed between them. He hadn't worked so hard these past years to move on to a normal life, with a normal family. But it wasn't a conscious decision. He had to see him, had to, had to, had to – really, really had to. The thought just clawed and scratched and dug with bloody fingernails until the choice was no longer a choice.

Jack had agreed to it, fast. Will knew he had hoped for things to take this turn from the moment their eyes had met in the snow outside his house. He wanted Will's empathic brain on the case, but Hannibal's intimate knowledge of a true serial killer's mind. No imagination needed. Front row seats, so to speak. And he knew that Will, of all people, had the fairest chance to get such information out of the notorious cannibal. When they met at the entrance of the stretched hallway, Jack handed Will the case file, who then took it with clammy, flexing hands. The file. Sweat rolled down his back beneath his shirt as they walked down the long corridor. Will's mind seemed to spiral in and out of the thick, hot fog that smothered the memory of why he was here in the first place. The case. The file. The family. He swallowed hard against his swollen glands. Alana Bloom was head of the hospital now, Jack informed him, and they would stop by her office before he could make the visit. Will nodded, barely registering. Visit Alana Bloom. Visit Hannibal. Hannibal. Hannibal.

Alana shook his hand. A warmth that had always accompanied her eyes seemed lost behind something hard, impenetrable, like a film of glass. He hardly noticed. He hardly noticed anything about her. Not the sharp suit, the walking cane against her desk, the dried purple felt pen stains against her wrist that spoke of a young child's coloring. He would have noticed all these things and more, merely days before. Now he watched past those glass eyes with a clouded stare as the three chatted stiffly yet politely amongst each other. Jack took an uninvited seat in one of the two visitors' chairs and Alana followed as she lowered herself into the chair behind her desk. Will sat, staring at a blank spot on the wall as he heard them discussing the Tooth fairy case, the murdered families and then, for some reason, the prison's new air conditioning system. He heard the words, felt them passing by and watched them going down the drain of his mind. Will's fingers flexed next to his body. His nails dug into his palms. Being here, it seemed to hurt him less, but it ached so much more. There was a thrumming inside him, coming from the depth of his bones and beating like an African drum in a rhythm his body wanted to surrender to. He needed to go, go, go, go.

“When am I going in?” he blurted, interrupting Alana mid-sentence as he perched up on the edge of his seat. There was a stunned silence and a quick exchange of pointed looks between Jack and Alana. She pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes in what seemed to be a fine mix of surprised and irritated concern. A lovely range of emotions that surpassed Will completely. Maybe his behavior was indeed more unsuitable than usual, but Will thought only of what was ahead of him as he felt a tickling trickle of slick sliding down his inner thigh. He must have looked sick, flushed and unsteady as drops of sweat clung to the tips of his unkempt curls, but if anyone noticed, no one mentioned it. They would label the ripe circles under his arms as nerves. Awkwardness had always accompanied him, after all.

“Almost,” Alana said after seconds had ticked away, a pinch of authoritative distance in her tone. “It takes about 20 minutes to air-seal Hannibal's room completely.” Will heard the name penetrating the thick fog in his mind and it cleared the path of his hazy attention span. His ear peaked like a dog's hearing a can opener. “Air-seal?” he said, his voice ringing hoarse and loud against concrete walls. “Why?” his eyes shot restlessly between Alana and Jack, seeing them clearly for the first time since his arrival. His feet bounced against the floor and his hands grabbed the armrests tight. Alana shrugged, unaware of the odd eagerness before her. “Precaution,” she said with a light shake of her head. “Lecter is a thoroughbred Alpha and we are required by law to protect him and ourselves from any spikes in his hormones. We can't take any risks, even with Beta's.”

Will's breathing had stopped, but he only realized when the world started to sway before his eyes. There was one thing that spiraled in his mind, words on a roundabout, coming back and back and back again, like a tape being rewound and played continuously. Lecter is a thoroughbred Alpha. Lecter is a thoroughbred Alpha. Lecter is....Alpha....Alpha. Alpha. He's an Alpha.

“The air he breathes is from a filtered air conduct and every opening, like the transition holes in the glass, are sealed off. He can communicate through the microphones we have installed in his room. We usually don't bother with all this when it's just the staff, but we can't take risks with visitors.”

Will's thighs trembled at the effort to stop himself from... from... from inexplicably crying out, howling, like some sort of animal. He bit his lip against a whimper that pushed up in his throat. “You have to do this every time someone visits Dr. Lecter?” Jack asked Alana from behind his coffee cup. Her lips twitched, nodding unenthusiastically at the Special Agent. “It's standard procedure worldwide now,” she said, “ever since an Alpha visited a very deranged Beta inmate in 1984, who presented Omega on the spot. She had to be released to the Alpha, by law. It was a mess.” - “A mess indeed,” Jack hummed affirmatively without revealing if he had been aware of said event. Alana glanced at her wristwatch. “Luckily Hannibal is the only presented inmate we have here,” she commented offhandedly, winding up the little clock with two long fingernails.

Neither of them noticed the thick vein pulsing in Will's neck. Neither of them saw the bob of his Adam's apple as he swallowed and swallowed again against something insubstantial. Neither of them noticed his red-rimmed, searching eyes, his twitching lips, opening and closing, dry against the office air. “H-Hannibal is an alpha?” he choked, barely audible to himself over the wild beating of the blood in his ears. “Oh yes,” Alana nodded, raising an eyebrow as if the notion of it was merely irritating. Jack too, seemed unfazed. It must have been front page news once, years ago. “He hid it well, didn't he? None of us knew,” Alana's voice was laced with a menace now, an offense. She had shared his bed, she had shared his food, his house, his life. It had all been a facade.

Will felt a flare of hot madness thinking about it as the thick fog became a blazing, battering blizzard. He pushed his nails even deeper into his palms until he felt hot blood dripping onto his flesh. “It all makes so much sense in hindsight, of course,” Jack added, draining his coffeecup. “The heightened senses, the strength and speed, his intellect. We should have seen the signs, if it hadn't been so rare.” Jack looked to his left, where Will was a sweating, trembling mess of man. He guessed he'd looked that way too many times before, for them to notice. “What do you know about Alpha's and Omega's, Will?” Jack asked, and Will shook his head, straining the tense muscles of his neck. “Next to nothing. Text book stuff,” he said, voice tight and eyes growing wider, wilder in his head.

“Well, at least you know of their existence, then,” Jack said, unwittingly aloof. Will nodded, once, and again, and again, like a nervous tick. He had learned something about them, in Biology, 20 years ago. “It is an extremely rare occurrence,” Alana followed, eyeing the tapping fingers against his knees and undoubtedly filing it under the nervousness Will would understandably feel about seeing his old psychiatrist. Will, he had no idea anymore where to file this. “He has been an Alpha all this time?” he said with his voice too high-pitched, and Alana nodded. “Alpha's present in their preteens. Omega's used to present in their early twenties, when they are most fertile, but these days they often only present when they meet a compatible mate, and if they are physically and mentally in the right state.”

“Which is usually not at all, which is why it's a dying breed,” Jack added, turning his attention to Alana at her desk. “Did you know the male Omega can present even as late as 50 years old, because their infertility makes their age irrelevant?” She tilted her head and a flicker of amusement washed over her pretty features. “You did your homework,” she noted and Jack sighed with tightened lips. “I promised myself I would never make a mistake about these things again. There is no book on the subject that hasn't passed my hands, I assure you,” he said. None of them noticed Will had started to grind his teeth, staring a hole through the coffee table.

A beep of a phone, and a glance at the screen. “He's ready,” Alana announced as she lifted herself from her leather chair. Her movements were still awkward as her hips did not automatically rotate with the rest of her body. Will didn't notice. He was caught in steaming tunnel vision, following after Jack as his hands rested on his inner pocket, over the letter. Jack picked up the thick paper file from the desk, forgotten, and handed it to Will. He took it with unsteady fingers, sogging the paper with wet prints. “If he wants to help us, show this to Dr. Lecter,” he said and Will nodded, shallow and fast, too many times. They walked through a long corridor where Will felt his heart jumping higher with every step, and the illness in his bones faded into the background of his mind.

“Dr. Bloom,” Jack broke through the silence. “Can Will still hand Dr. Lecter the file, if the room is sealed?” Alana huffed, close to a chuckle, as she walked fairly steadily, if not fast, without her cane. “If he agrees to help, which I sincerely doubt,” she said, cockily running her tongue behind her teeth. Jack's jaw clenched, but his voice remained steady. “Even so...” he said and Alana inhaled through her nose. “Yes. The deposit box is still open. Will and Hannibal already know each other – all too well, I might add – so I'm willing to take that risk.”

Will didn't look up at the sneer she barely hid behind her casual remark. Not deliberately. He hadn't even heard it, to be fair. There was a pulse in his chest, a beat, a lifeline, something he was following after. “Good,” Jack nodded and they arrived at the last of the doors, there were five between her office and Hannibal. All she had to do now, was unlock it.

“Remember what we talked about, Will. And don't forget the file,” Jack hissed in his ear, tapping fingers against the papers in his hand. He didn't remember what they talked about. He didn't even remember talking. A guard gave him more instructions about staying away from the glass, not accepting anything Hannibal offered him, and other words that seemed to slide against the shell of his ear before bouncing off like water on oil. “Yes. Yes, I understand,” he murmured in every direction and the key clicked in the look. The door opened before him. Without anyone accompanying him, he stepped forward into the room and breathed.

Oh, how he could suddenly breathe.

Chapter Text

The room was large, glass and wood and artificial light. Rows and rows of books in between the outlines of a closed fireplace. All white and gold and hardwood flooring. Will's eyes moved fast, restless, as they darted around the restricted space in the tunnel that still closed tightly around his vision. Those crawling ants beneath his heated skin marched up over his spine, down his arms and fingers, over the sensitive flesh of his throat. His nostrils flared when he smelled it, vague but so familiar, weakening and wakening alike, like a siren to a stranded sailor. The craving inside him churned like a heavy, solid gear, roaring and clunking pitifully beneath his bones. And then he saw him.

He was turned away from him, facing the fireplace with his hands clasped behind his back. Pale gray prison suit, short hair, shoulders broad and tense. Uncharacteristically so. He was unmoving, waiting, but turned when Will's feet lead him closer to the glass, drawn by an almost tangible pull. Their eyes met, and Will's lungs filled like those of a drowning man. He saw the eyes of a golden tiger gleaming at him from the other side of the cage and felt alive, blooming, awake in every cell. That hint of fire and winter night, it was enough to ease the cruel fist that held such a firm grip on his ribcage. He looked at Hannibal and felt a sudden stream of something light and soothing, like balm on gentle fingertips, behind his burning, aching face, down his neck, around his throat, cleansing the pain and ache that burned painfully inside his bones. A fire that seeped low, lower, behind his pelvis. He looked at Hannibal and saw him, breathing, watching, unblinking with tiny drops of sweat on his light brow. It was a warm embrace. A spring in the desert, locking eyes with him.

“Hello Dr. Lecter,” Will said, air tight in his throat as his chest rose and fell almost mechanically behind his drenched shirt. Hannibal blinked, not once, but two, three times, and eyes that usually gleamed steadily like gems were now shifting, restless in their sockets. His lips parted, his breathing shallow. “Hello Will,” he said, and heat shot straight to Will's core when his ears caught the familiar timbre that came to him through the speakers. He hadn't heard it in a long time, but not once had he forgotten what that velvet tongue sounded like, curled around his name. A small noise arose from the back of his throat, but Will forced it down and watched how the hairs on Hannibal's neck stood erect against his tightened skin. His fingers searched his jumpsuit for something undefined – anything, really – twitching against the fabric before settling against the palm of his hand, pressing nails into flesh. Will remembered his equally mangled hands from his own restraint.

“So...” Will swallowed as he stepped closer to the glass, in search for guidance. Jack had asked him to come here, and now he was. The case, the file, they needed to discuss the file. His hand clenched around the dry, sharp paper but through the glass, their eyes never wavered, meeting and mingling. Ocean and land. Will shuddered, weakened by desire and a scorching heat that coiled around him like a deadly snake. Far away in his mind, he heard the choir sing. The beautiful, fragile voices. In that same mind, he saw himself throwing away his murdering restraint, and destroying this torturous wall with a tank.

They had to talk, it was to be expected. Some banter about their unfortunate pasts perhaps, or endless dance steps around the subject of the case in the form of poetic riddles. Maybe even some double entandres about Will's current life, with his family. It didn't happen. Will looked at Hannibal, feeling tight and hot and far, far away, and Hannibal looked back. Will's words were lost, beyond the mist that fogged his mind in hazy clouds. They both stood, facing each other with strained shoulders, as if resisting against a hand pushing on their backs. Bound by an invisible rope, winding tighter and tighter, glass or no.

Will took a short breath and rose the file in his shaky hand. The Tooth fairy case. The families. “J-Jack said you have to look at this file,” he said, his voice coming from a place far away from himself as he stared helplessly back into Hannibal's unblinking eyes. He was static, hard tension underneath his prison suit and Will noticed the sight of bulging muscles under the strained fabric. He shuddered and a small, restrained sound escaped Will from behind closed lips. Hannibal did blink then, repeatedly, before he took a deep breath and expanded his ribcage. “Yes,” he said, pushing out extra air through his lungs with his answer. His eyed were wide, his lips tight and his brow furrowed deeply atop his eyes as he, too, seemed surprised by his own, pliant answer. Will blinked, unmoving in silence before he cleared his throat. “Yes,” he said, equally lost and dazed as he squeezed the file between his fingers.

Their eyes were never off one another, but after another pregnant pause where facing each other and breathing seemed a hard enough task to accomplish, he gestured to the deposit box present in the door of his cell. Will's eyes followed, quickly, before looking back at Hannibal. His lips parted, running his tongue against dry skin as Hannibal swallowed behind the glass. They moved as one, slow, deliberate, and without losing eye-contact as they stepped to the deposit box between them.

Hannibal nodded once and Will touched the handle, opened the little door and placed the soggy file inside it. It fell from his unsteady hands, to lie there in the tiny barrier between them. Hannibal blinked again, and Will pushed it shut and forwards, into the cell.

Hannibal stood on the other side, watching him as the file fell on his side of the box, and as if in slow motion, reached to open the door and grab the file before the box closed and turned to open on Will's side of the room.

That's when all hell broke loose.

Will felt buried, like being slammed down and pulverized by an unforgiving avalanche. Everything he had felt, dreamed, if was here. He felt the spark of the roaring campfire against his nostrils, the brush of winter air against his cheeks and the cold stream of icy water high around his thighs. He heard the choir sing and the bones of the chapel rattle inside his mind. All his life he had been so utterly lost, in the world and inside his own mind. Now he was home, home, home. From the roots of his hair to the marrow in his bones.

The slick between his ass wet his seat as it seeped endlessly against his inner thighs. His scent glands pushed against the skin of his throat, swelling and itching under his reddening skin. But more than that, he felt a clenching, searching ache of desperate need and howling want inside his empty, pulsing insides. His body felt open, unfulfilled and unprotected. Cold, despite the unbearable heat in his loins, and fragile between the hard glass and stone surrounding him. He shook his shoulders and a whimper escaped from between his lips.

A deafening howl pierced the room and pierced Will through solid bones and muscles. His head shot up as he staggered on his feet, searching Hannibal with barely-seeing eyes. He was there, on the other side of the glass, even if he barely recognized him anymore. The hair on Hannibal's neck was upright like that of a wild, dangerous animal, and his sharp teeth were bared behind viciously curled lips. His prison suit spanned tight around his bulging, expanding muscles and his eyes were blood red around the rim. Veins pulsed purple, hands clenched into fists and one shoulder was trashing mercilessly into the glass walls that separated them. The shockwaves of each impact reached his ears, failing to translate into sound as Will became consumed by the emptiness within him. He whined deep in his throat in a desperate answer to the ravenous man on the other side, who growled continuously, loud and wild with flaring nostrils. He was an animal, savage and caged and the noise went straight inside Will, from his ear down to his high-pitched fire in his lower abdomen. Before he knew what was happening, a howl clawed its way up from deep inside him as he stepped to the glass and pressed himself against the hard, cool wall that thumped with every one of Hannibal's efforts to damage it. Will didn't stop, the howl in his throat only became lower and Hannibal grew wilder until there was no white left in the whites of his eyes.

They touched their hands to the glass and clawed desperately at the barrier that separated them, no longer ocean and earth but blood meeting blood as their veins popped and overran their uncontrolled eyes. Will let out the most pitiful whimper when their skin failed to meet and Hannibal reached for a chair to bash it into the glass. Not even a shard, not even a dent, and Will whined against the wall, fogging it with his breath,

Hands landed on his shoulders, around his waist, and before Will could register anything else, he was dragged off by strong guards' arms and out of the room. Hannibal's outraged howl became a pained one, tortured, burning. It was unbearable to hear, and Will's answering wail only grew louder as he struggled viciously against the hold on his body. They were taking him away from Hannibal. Away from Hannibal. “Get him to Medical,” Alana's voice sounded nearby, distressed. More arms. Lifting his legs. He snarled as he was carried off, feeling a sickening ache growing heavy inside him with every step away from the cell.

**

Will wasn't sure if he had lost consciousness, but everything around him seemed to come from far away. The sound and the colors reached him in a muted state, like a wall had been placed around his head. People moved around him, touched him, talked over his head, as he lay on a bed in a sterile white room. Leather cuffs were tight around his wrists and ankles, restraining him as he looked at the world around him with skittish eyes and a permanent snarl around his lips. He tugged restlessly, relentlessly, drenched in sweat and slick and spit that formed in the corner of his mouth like foam. There was pain, an unbearable itch inside his flesh, an ache that tortured him with stings like biting bugs right on the nerves, so bad he wanted to scratch at the skin until it would come away in chunks. The echoes of voices against the thick, windowless walls of the room reached him like he was under water, lost in blue green flickers of light against the lids of is eyes. He was shaking, moving, shifting against the bedding as a man with a white coat stood by his bed and talked to faces that looked like Jack, Alana, prison guards.

“He is in heat,” the white-coated doctor said, helplessly running old hands through short, silver hair. Will heard commotion around him and he hissed at the shapeless sounds. “How?”Alana implored, eyes wide and lips open around the vowel as she used her arms as punctuation, with no intention of hiding her outrage. The doctor shook his head, fast and shallow, wiping wet palms on his clean coat. “Mr. Graham has presented Omega.” There was an uproar of disbelieving shouts and curses that followed around him. “Omega.” He had presented Omega. It seemed like something important that he needed to understand, but his mind refused to think in sentences containing more than two words, and all he came up with was Omega...Omega... Alpha, Alpha, Alpha.

“What? What?!” Alana breathed the words with desperation, but Jack thundered over her, taking an intimidating step towards the doctor who paled under his old, papery cheeks. “He's an Omega? Just like that? After one whiff of Hannibal?” he bellowed in his familiar way that always made everyone shrink into themselves. The doctor cleared his throat, holding the head of the bed for support. “He was already in a state of pre-heat,” he quickly added, his voice self-assured. “He must have presented about a week ago. No one noticed this?” The question was posed neutral, but both Alana and Jack looked at each other with accusing, calculating eyes. They both looked flustered and confused when Jack's lips twitched downwards, “He seemed quiet and sweaty, but Will...” he started, hesitant to continue. “...Will is always kind of quiet and sweaty,” Alana finished, equally abashed. Will felt a flare of tight, stabbing heat flashing through his abdomen and arched up, moaning into the wrist that was bound next to his face. Both Jack and Alana stepped forward automatically, placing concerned hands on his shoulder and arm. Touches that felt scorching on his already burning skin. “There's only one thing we can do,” the doctor said, a pained look in his watery blue eyes and a frown on his dark, bushy eyebrows. “We need to send him in with the inmate.”

“No!” gasped Alana. “No!” hollered Jack. Will wailed, writhing against his soaked bedsheets. Alana placed a hand on the doctor's shoulder in a gesture of dominant guidance. “Is there nothing else we can try? Pills? Toys? Anything...,” she said, urgent and under her breath, as if concerned for Will's modesty. The doctor sighed and watched Will's eyes rolling dangerously in his sockets, rasping for air as he trashed on the bed. “Not in this state,” he said. “He is in full heat, his first one and he has already seen and scented his chosen Alpha. He will suffer unbearably if we keep them apart.”

Alana's hands trembled as Jack 's held himself steady on the bed frame. “Can't we just find another Alpha?” he asked, voice laced with hope as he stared at the trickle of saliva creeping out of Will's mouth. The doctor only smiled ruefully at the agent, pressing his lips together. “Like I've said, they've scented each other and by their reactions to it I would say they are a match,” he said, signaling the significance with his eyes. “A lesser Alpha would get killed by either one of them, and I daresay that there is no better Alpha for Mr. Graham available.” The doctor bared his cigarette-stained teeth in a dazed smile as he rose a finger to his face. “I've never witnessed or read about such a strong reaction between Alpha and Omega in my entire career. This could be a Per mutua nexis couple.”

Per mutua nexis, Will heard through the fog in his head. Per mutua nexis. Words on that roundabout in his head, that kept coming, coming, coming back. He rutted his ass against the mattress, shamelessly searching for friction to ease the ache inside. “Per mutua nexis,” Alana whispered. Jack tried, but seemed to choke on the words. “No,” he said, desperate and determined in disbelief. “We have to find a way to help Will. We can't let this happen.” Will arched against his restraints, hot fire ate away at him from inside his belly where his body clenched down on nothing but air, and roared in violent anger because of it. He wanted....he needed.....

“There is nothing I can do for him. He needs his Alpha,” the doctor said, cleaning his glasses on his coat and offering a tight-lipped smile. 'Alpha, Alpha,' Will howled at the word spoken next to his ear. He didn't understand much of anything anymore, but his body responded with a natural 'Yes, Yes, Yes, NOW!' “Look at him, even sedated the pain and absence will induce madness inside of him. It's inhumane,” the doctor spoke as Will whimpered pitifully, and Jack and Alana looked at each other with pained, horrified expressions.

A door opened and a tall, blond nurse carrying a clipboard came to stand by the foot of the bed. “Dr. Lecter is in a full rut, Dr. Hammings,” she spoke, matter-of-factly, but a little white around the nose. Will cried against the open air, now alternating between pushing his ass down against the soaked mattress and pumping his seeking hips into the air. No one in the room looked at him directly anymore, feeling the decision to restrain him had been the right one.

“What's happening in there?” Alana said, visibly worried... for the expensive prison cell, most likely. The nurse shook her head, eyes wide in her head as if reliving a moment. “He is tearing down his cell and trying to break the glass,” she said. “The chair and the bed are smashed to pieces and he's... working on the table. He's like a wild animal.” A shudder ran down the poor girl's back as Dr. Hammings placed a comforting hand on her arm. “An Alpha in a rut without his Omega can be as strong as an adult gorilla,” he affirmed. Alana huffed through her nose, crossing her arms. “A gorilla that only smashes what I'll have to replace for him,” she muttered under her breath. “I'm sure his books are fine.”

“We'll have to make a decision,” Dr. Hammings pressed, a sharp eye on both Alana and Jack. When Jack remained silent, looking like he was trying to fight the bile rising in his throat, Alana stepped forward and bent over Will's bed, trying to see into his unseeing eyes. “Will. Will, can you hear me?” she asked, kindly. Much like she had been when they were still friends. Will moaned in response, yanking on his leather cuffs, dark curls wet over his forehead. “What do you want us to do, Will?” she asked, trying to calm him by holding his restless wrists in the restraints.

“A-A-....” Will panted, restless on the ruined bedding. “Will?”Alana asked, patiently now. “Do you want to go to Hannibal? Or do you want us to try and help you?” she stroked a finger over his hot cheek, a touch he followed before he turned away. His breath became a wheeze, a desperate tightness around his voice. “Alpha,” he rasped, pushing it out, feeling the golden silk of the word pleasuring his throat. “Alpha,” he tried again. “Alpha. Alpha. Alpha.”

There was a silence when Jack and Alana stared at each other in unspoken defeat. Alana stepped back from the bed, took a deep breath and nodded to the doctor.

“Send him in.”

Chapter Text

The fluorescent lights flashed past Will's eyes as the bed rolled down the long, dark corridor. He was still bedded and bound and watched the blues and greens of the cheap overhead lights flicker off and on against his sensitive eyes. The bed made a turn, and another, two locks were undone and suddenly there were strange voices by his bed. He was surrounded by men, dressed in black, armed and visibly on full alert. A small army of them gathered in front of a door that Will, despite himself, recognized instantly. He whined deep in his throat, pulling and thrashing against the restraints that started to cut into his flesh. But he felt nothing of the sharp leather scraping his raw skin as nothing rose above the twisting, burning, iron fist that stirred tightly in his guts, screaming and begging and fueling the fire high.

“What the hell is going on?” Jack asked, eying the gathering guards around the door. “Is Hannibal not restrained?” Will growled, showing his teeth at the name and the growing scent that slowly drifted into the hallways from underneath the closed door. There was a loud bang on the other side of the door and one of the guards, tall, broad and blond – a small arsenal of weapons hanging from his belt – stepped forward. “We've tried to restrain him,” he said, showing the rips on one of his sleeves, fabric stained with rusty brown splatters of blood. Will thrashed and cried at the faint smell of Hannibal on the guard. “But the only way to restrain Dr. Lecter now would be to tranquilize him. “Will's lips curled up high over his gums as he growled, releasing foamy spit onto his chin. Alana frowned at the damaged guard, shock evident on her face as she pressed her lips together, contemplating her options. Her eyes met Dr. Hammings', who cleared his throat, shaking his head sternly at the suggestion. “That would be very counterproductive in this situation, Dr Bloom,” he said pointedly, and Alana chewed her lip. Will smelled the faint smell of snow and burning wood and he wanted nothing but to go, go, go. “Hgnnn....,” he pushed violently against the cuffs, openly and angrily yelling as he pawed and kicked around him in search for a chance to escape. Something crashed on the other side of the door.

“Dr. Lecter is still locked in his cell,” Dr. Hammings said, collected and calm around everyone's frantic blinking and shuffling. “Just open his cell, push Mr. Graham in and close the door.” He was eying Will with growing concern, seeing the distressed Omega growing pale against his pillow. There was only one thing that could help him now. “You can always sedate and restrain them when they are calm and asleep. Right now, they need to be in the same room with each other, both with their consciousness intact.” He gave Alana an unnecessary, meaningful stare, and both Alana and Jack looked at each other before they let their eyes run over Will. Sweating, trembling, foaming Will. They both paused, reaching desperately within themselves to think of something, anything, any other way than throwing Will in with the lion.

Another crash behind the door and Will ground his teeth so hard his eyes spilled tears over his cheeks, wetting what was already soaked. He was suffering. “Do it,” Alana said, short and empty. Jack nodded once in response, hands clenching into fists. Dr. Hammings stepped forward and reached for the restraints around Will's ankles as the armed guards stepped closer and placed themselves between the hospital bed and the door, where Alana handed the key to the blond security guard. “I'm so sorry, Will,” she whispered, pain and moisture in her eyes as she reached fingers out to the snapping, snarling beast on the mattress before she stepped away from his bed. Will's legs were freed from leather cuffs, but before he could move he was instantly held down by the guards by his bed. He wailed and pushed against strong muscles, but nothing shifted under the strain as he cried angry, desperate tears that seeped down his cheeks and over his ears. His arms were next, equally bound by determined hands that smelled like gunpowder and the cheap hand soap from their staff bathroom. It made Will's insides rip and tear in protest as he was forced upright, socked feet on the stone floor.

“Easy,” one of the men warned, holding on to Will's buckling thighs. Their gloved hands touched his sweaty arms, the soaked back of his pants, and Will wanted to lash out and tear their unrighteous fingers away with his bare teeth. It was all wrong. His eyes, however, stayed fixated on nothing but the door, that door, and the blond guard with the key. There was a click of the lock, a squeak of the heavy hinges and then a push to open it. Eight hands tightened on him when his body trembled and tensed at the whiff of fire and winter sky that washed over him. The scent, pure and whole and rich, was like acid filling his scorching lungs, his withering heart, his crumbling bones, but this time the destruction felt like a beautiful, choreographed dance inside his chest. Like everything burned would be replaced with something better.

He heard a roar that pierced his heart, and his head shot up, with teeth bared and muscles pushing against his human cage. He was dragged in, lead through the open door and his heart pulsed an aching pleasure when he saw the hardwood floors, the white and gold, the light and the glass. And behind the glass, was Hannibal. Gray prison suit, short hair, looking absolutely wrecked and wild. His fingers were bloody and his eyes were laced with broken veins. His suit was ripped around his knees and across his chest and his graying, usually neat hair was sticking up from the neck to the front in wild, unkempt strands. He was standing amid the rubble of broken furniture and ripped bedding, and as soon as he noticed Will being dragged into the room he launched himself at the door, growling like an untamed lion with a rumble that came from deep within and made Will's insides quiver.

When Hannibal noticed the guns pointing at him and his Omega, he stepped back, baring fangs that shone red with the blood of some unlucky guard, no doubt. He looked ready to kill, to skin, to slaughter and tear, and he kept the growl in his throat, low and dangerous as a clear warning, but held still when the door between them was unlocked by a guard. Hannibal had his back hunched, his spine round and his fingers bent into claws as his bloodied eyes followed every single movement from the gathering guards, and the barrels pointed at Will's damp curls.

The scent rolled in like a thick fog, winter and autumn that their hearts recognized as home, and both Will and Hannibal let out a high-pitched whine against the border of pain and relief. Their eyes met, wild and unsteady, but seeing nothing else than each other as Will growled, clawed and lurched forwards like a starving wolf that smelled a fat rabbit. He felt a push against his back, a hurried shove into the room, and a very, very quick click of a lock being shut behind his back.

They were both here. They were together.

**

There was that one second of white, wide, bottomless silence within Will, right before Hannibal's presence, his nearness, washed over his skin and sunk deep, turning everything inside to loud, black and blood. What followed unleashed a raging storm inside his bones, roaring and gnawing, blinding him and wrecking all restraint left inside. He felt himself being dragged under in the black, icy water of the stream by the pushing, throttling hands of a raw, savage need within him. He couldn't think. He could barely hear or see anything anymore. But he could feel, and he felt it all.

Hannibal was near, hidden in the dark fog behind his eyes, and the icy heat of winter fire that blazed around him soothed the unendurable burning flesh of Will's face, down his neck, the blazing skin behind his ears. It was flowing like a seamless twirl of bliss and darkness, like that place where the water gradually grew deeper, colder, inescapable. Will was captured but liberated, breathing freely, so lost and blind but safe with a body so empty, but so close to completion. The beast within him howled through Will's teeth and inhaled the smell of blood and burning wood. Home. It was a boundless, uncontrollable piece of paradise inside the deepest pit of hell.

It was no more than three seconds inside that Will heard a low, furious growl near his ears and lurched towards the sound, grabbing at the source of it with blind eyes and hands, snarling into nothing as he searched for hot Alpha flesh. Strong, hot skin found him with clawing hands and sharp nails that yanked and tore at his shirt as he fell forward into the tremor of hard muscles of a broad, clothed chest. There was a deep growl to his ear, a primal warning, before he felt hands on the skin of his face and trembled in the wild relief that pressed tears from his eyes. The pleasure it brought to the furthest tips of his nerves was like breath, life, after being buried in the soil for too long.

The hands were big and strong and rough as they enveloped his jaw with fingers closing hard around the bone, yanking him forward, nails to flesh. Hands like these, masculine and powerful, had never before touched his skin. They were stronger than his own, overruling and overtaking him. The pain was sharp and Will whimpered in delirious want, pawing blindly at the air. Strong arms pulled him forward as fingers scoured every bit of him, searching frantically across his cheekbones, his hair, his throat. There was a continuous rumble in his ear, like the purr of a mountain lion, as a nose pressed and pushed under his chin and against his neck, brushing skin with hot air. The touch felt like a heartbeat, a breath of air, vitally necessary.

There were a thousand fragile voices singing in the chapel, and he felt the pain, embedded so deeply he couldn't remember being without it, blossoming and elevating with every breath, to something that filled every crease of him with the warm, thick liquid of euphoria. But the empty, wailing ache inside him, squeezing tight behind his pelvis, remained. It expanded, gnawing against his lower belly.

Will snarled and reached his fingers out to find the soft, shaved skin of Hannibal's cheeks. It was pure light to his hazy eyes, and he briefly envisioned clawing it open and crawling inside. “Will,” Hannibal's voice vibrated dark and low against his throat and his name on that tongue was enough for Will to careen forward and press into broad shoulders and warm flesh. There was a deep rumble before he felt a wet tongue against his throat, on his glands, hungrily lapping at him like he was to be devoured. Will cried, a screech too high to be human, and he clawed at everything he could find. Shoulders, arms, a strong back. He pushed his body close, folded one leg around Hannibal's hip and lifted one knee against his waist as if to climb against him, on him, in him. The contact of their bodies sent a deep thrill from toes to teeth and his hands lashed out, pushing nails deep into the thin fabric of Hannibal's jumpsuit as he scratched and pulled at the unwanted material. Another violent snarl erupted as arms came up to encircle his waist and grabbed his lifted leg to push them closer together.

Their groins were hot and hard and pressing close as they moved backwards in synchronicity, away from the door and into the room. Hannibal's hand roamed Will's body, hard and demanding, yanking at his curls with vicious pulls as he mouthed the skin of his face, his neck and collarbone. Will's nails pressed into Hannibal's jaw, breaking skin and drawing blood that he lapped at with a hungry tongue, tasting something that he knew had always belonged to him. Their minds were lost, primal and primitive. Will could feel his glands pulsing under his skin and the slick pouring steadily against his legs from under his pants as his ass and groin grew hot, hot inside his pants. “Will,” Hannibal rumbled again, raising bloody, golden tiger eyes to meet him with a gaze he fought hard to keep steady. Will gasped and shuddered, his name from those lips a white, soft cloud in the thunder storm, and he blinked, focused his line of vision and saw him, met him, connected. Those eyes, they were in all his dreams and all his nightmares and Will felt him hard and deep like sharp electricity pumping through his veins.

Hannibal's body tightened at the contact, a furious need shimmering in his golden, bloody eyes before he lashed out, capturing Will's pink, open mouth and bared teeth with his own. That kiss was their first, but neither one of them could consider the sentiment as they growled and moaned and pulled at lips with fangs like sparring wolves. Their tongues licked against teeth and teeth bit against lips that searched and slid and pressed together as Will fell slack onto Hannibal's chest. He felt taken by a frenzy of raw pleasure that pumped through him at the feel and taste of his Alpha, of his and of home. The stabbing, pulsing, empty, angry heat inside of him only wailed harder and louder to be filled and he shamelessly rubbed himself against the body of his taller Alpha, who sank a sharp fang into Will's bottom lip and placed one pressing hand against Will's back. Will growled when he tasted his own blood and snapped his teeth at Hannibal's lips. Their mouths opened at the dripping blood, tongues meeting in hungry, depraved, demolishing lust.

There was a deep need to destroy, take, devour and fill. It was their need and nature pushed too far by separation, absence, built too high and too strong. What they needed was heat and skin and flesh, blood and slick and semen. Will moaned in desperate, repressed pleasure that took over the last remains of his sanity when Hannibal's hands cupped his soaked ass through his clothes and pushed their hips together in unsteady, uncontrolled friction. He threw back his head when Hannibal's big hands ripped at the wet shirt that hung on his frame. “Alpha,” Will moaned when he heard the snaring sound of ripped cotton and watched pieces of his ruined shirt fall to the floor. Sharp nails ran hard over his exposed chest, leaving red marks on his pale skin that stung beautifully and deep pink.

His own hands, in return, started gripping at the thin material of Hannibal's pale gray prison suit as the Alpha bit and broke skin on his collarbone and ran hands down to grab Will's hips. It wasn't gentle, it was desperate and raw as Will heard the uncontrolled panting of hot air from Hannibal's nose close to his ear and Will howled his approval as he clawed cruelly at the flesh of Hannibal's neck. The touch, the scent, the sound, they made his skin sing like an opera. It rooted into him so deep it made him feel like liquid under those strong searching hands. It was a bloody piece of heaven they both had been designed for.

Between the hungry bites and licks at his heaving, pounding chest, Will's attempts at undressing his Alpha became careless until Hannibal tore the fabric between his own fingers and let it fall from his arms and shoulders to hang around his hips. Will's hands clutched Hannibal's white undershirt and Hannibal's hands unbuckled the belt on Will's pants, ripping and tearing at the leather before it came undone. They pooled around Will's ankles, leaving him standing in his boxers with Hannibal's hard, sharp claws, lips and blood-filled eyes all over his exposed skin.

Hannibal ripped his undershirt off his chest and kicked off his prison loafers before yanking down and stepping out of his pale prison suit, looking wild and naked, damaged and bloody with red scratches and bites on his skin. There was a whine that rose from Will's throat and couldn't be stopped as he watched the Alpha through his hazy, ocean eyes. He was beautiful, fierce limbs, strong but soft around his waist with hair adorning his chest, like a graying wolf. Eyes wild, red and yellow, teeth sharp and stained with his blood, spine curved like a haunting, stalking wolf ready to pounce. Will saw the strain in his white boxers before they were pulled away, falling from Hannibal's slim hips and Will's whine became pitiful with a desperate, pathetic, tearful need that hurt so bad inside his belly. Hannibal was an Alpha. He was bigger, larger, than any mere human. He was thick, growing thicker even around the base, and he was long and hard, cock curving up towards his belly. He was huge and Will wanted it, he wanted every inch.

There was no time or sense or will to stare and hesitate, because Hannibal was already pouncing on him, yanking his curls, digging nails at his back and nosing possessively under his jaw. “My home,” he growled and dipped his hands under the waistband of Will's pale blue, soaked boxer shorts. Will buckled wildly against Hannibal's naked body, rolling his eyes back when one finger grazed the wet slick that gathered around his hole. His body screamed victory at the contact, shooting hot streams of sparkling fire up his knees into his belly and Will all but sobbed at the feeling of the demanding touch before Hannibal brought his hand back up and sucked a slick finger into his mouth. “Omega,” he purred, low and dark, closing his eyes involuntarily like a man in the desert savoring his last drop of water. “My Omega,” he hissed against Will's lips, who wheezed an ongoing mantra of “Yes. Yes. Yes.”

Will's knees were weak when he stepped back and hit the table that stood in the middle of the trashed room as they ripped and licked at each other's mouths and skin with fangs and tongues and bruised, bitten lips. One of the table legs had been ripped off and one corner seemed like a large, strong fist had punched a hole right through it, but Hannibal pushed against him, shoving his hips onto the tabletop. Tiger eyes, he could see them almost clearly now as he was pushed roughly to his back on the wobbling furniture, mewling against nothing and lifting his neck up in a search for more skin, more contact, closer, faster. Lips found his as Will's hands clawed desperately at Hannibal's naked torso, pinching and pushing and biting Hannibal's forearm when he leaned over him imposingly. He was muscles and hair and skin and Will wanted all of it. He wanted to see everything, feel everything, and right now, he wanted to be bred, filled, fucked by his Alpha, so much it made him wail like a lost pup.

Hannibal's tongue followed after Will's opened lips and licked into his mouth, bringing the taste of blood on his sharp teeth, burning coals and smooth, soothing Scotch. It tasted like Wolftrap, before it all went to hell. He whined, pushing his hips forward as Hannibal positioned himself firmly between his legs. “Will,” Hannibal shuddered, directionless against Will's ear, eyes lost behind the beast within as his hands squeezed Will's inner thighs. There was nothing left in him that wasn't Hannibal, and those hands on his skin, so close to his slick, empty body made it impossible to form a single coherent thought in his mind except one, repeating, pounding thought. “Fuck me,” he moaned, teeth bare and hips tilted wantonly upwards. “Breed me.” Hannibal bared his fangs, hissing hot air against his ear shell and he leaned forward over the table to shove Will's boxers past his hips with ripping, demanding hands. “Yes,” he growled, grabbing Will's hips to position his body on the edge of the table with rough, impatient hands.

Those golden eyes ran over the slick between Will's legs and nails dug sharply in Will's ass cheeks. Hannibal growled with hot pride and satisfaction before he palmed the hard cock that curved proudly between Will's legs. Will snarled and pushed his head into the table as he wriggled away from the touch. It was a detour. It was torture. “Please, please, please,” he cried, begged, leaking tears from his eyes as he pushed up his hips. Hannibal's fingers slid lower, spreading his cheeks to expose the tight, pink hole, shining, dripping with slick. Hannibal moaned, his breath like a prayer at the sight and dipped his head until Will felt a smooth tongue running between his cheeks, over his hot, clenched hole. “Fuck, fuck,” he shuddered violently, buckling against Hannibal's face. He wanted to feel this, wanted to have this, but for now, it wasn't, it wasn't, it wasn't enough. His body wanted one thing only, and it was to be filled until there was no room left inside. “Please, please, please, Alpha,” Will cried, wailed, more tears pressing from the corners of his eyes as he rode his desperate hips against Hannibal's face. A finger pushed inside alongside the lapping tongue, sliding in the slick tightness of Will's thrashing body with ease, as he clenched around the intrusion, inviting it in further, harder.

Another finger and Will mewled his despair. It didn't alleviate the pain. It didn't sooth the empty ache. Hannibal's fingers were trembling, his thighs against the table were shaking, and Will knew it was due to pure and hard restraint that he wasn't already being mounted with teeth in his neck like a savage beast. His Alpha didn't want to hurt him, unknowing that it was the wait itself that was truly agonizing. “Alpha. Alpha,” Will screeched, sobbing into his own two hands when Hannibal removed his fingers. “Now. Now. Please.” He knew he was crying quite obscenely now, and Hannibal pulled back, lips gleaming with Will's pouring slick, and crawled onto the table with the grace of a cat before sliding his sticky lips over Will's, eyes gleaming gold and blood like a monster in the dark. Will's tongue darted to his lips to taste the sweet musk that was his own. “Hannibal, Alpha,” he said, breathless against the body that covered him, hairy chest against his smooth skin. The strong, soft stomach pressing on his. The large, large erection against the crease of his thigh. Hannibal's breath hitched when he heard his name, and his eyes burned over with uncontrolled lust when he hoisted Will's knees up around his hips and aligned his cock with Will's desperate, dripping hole. “Yes, now,” Hannibal growled breathlessly against his skin and Will groaned at the words from the pit of his being when he felt himself being breached by the large head of Hannibal's cock. No more waiting.

The intrusion was a large stretch inside his tight body. The pain was there, but the fill was an immediate, glorious, inexplicable sense of absolute, heavenly completion. Hannibal thrust in quickly, trembling from the rumble he held in his chest, and he seemed instantly lost in the velvety slick of Will's tight, virgin body. Hannibal pushed until half of his pulsing cock was inside Will's burning body, and pushed against the barrier of clenching muscles without a pause. Even half way, Will's body was euphoric, singing from every pore, in every cell, from his tail bone to the top of his spine at the base of his skull. His body clenched happily around the Alpha inside him, the Alpha that belonged there, that he needed, that he whined and sobbed and begged for. Fuck, fuck, fuck. This was his cure, his prayer, his medicine, the remedy for his pain and suffering, everything wrong with life.

Their eyes met, wild and wide and wet as they felt each other everywhere, in and out. Hannibal's cock nudged impatiently inside his heat and Will felt the fill inside fixing all that had been wrong and broken before. They panted and growled, mouth against mouth, breathing each other's air and nipping at broken lips. They were rising and falling, chest to chest on the wobbling table underneath. Sharp finger nails were cruel against their tender flesh, and Will saw blood on his fingers where he clawed wild and lost on Hannibal's shoulders. They didn't hear how the wobbling legs sighed under their weight and trembled on the hardwood floor.

The Omega brought up his legs when Hannibal fucked harder into his body, that had become pliant around the Alpha inside him. Hannibal's nose pushed against his throat searching for his glands, nudging like a begging dog, as he deeply inhaled Will's scent. Teeth glistened behind his lips and Will's eyes were drawn to the sight as he watched Hannibal's eyes resting on the exposed, bare flesh of his glands. Deep in a delirious heat, Will struggled hard to understand, to remember, why that was such a dangerous sight.

It was everything, a waterfall of pleasure that rained upon him as he felt the movement and the stretch inside. His cock was hard, leaking on his belly, and for the moment, completely forgotten. Will wanted more, needed more. Everything. Hannibal leaned down to kiss his lips, his chin, the gland in his throat, and they both groaned as Hannibal's cock moved deeper inside Will, pushing further into the Omega underneath him. Will's strong and gripping muscles contracted tightly around Hannibal, who wound his fingers in Will's hair and around his throat to yank and squeeze brutally on the delirious Omega.

Will felt Hannibal wanted nothing more than to claim, to tear at his flesh with his teeth and slam into him so forcefully he would tear him apart and that anything other was for Will's sake and safety alone. He whimpered, tilting his hips as Hannibal pushed inside him and pressed his heels into the Alpha's hips to force him in all the way without stopping. The burn that accompanied Hannibal's entire length was a cruel one and Will thrashed and cried wet tears, trembling around the cock buried mercilessly inside him. He was full, so full. Everything was deep and hot and pulsed like an open vein, but his body was made for this, and he felt himself hungrily rolling his hips down against Hannibal's pelvis to ensure he had it all. Hannibal growled from between his bloody teeth, slamming his hips further and sharper into his Omega before he pulled back, pressed nails into the Omega's tightened throat, and forced himself back inside.

Will howled around the clutch on his windpipe, clawing his fingers on Hannibal's shoulders and grabbing onto hot flesh with already bloodied nails. He felt himself expanding and tearing, maybe even bleeding, but there was no stopping them now. He was right here, filling a dark space that had been empty without him all this time. He belonged here, right here. He looked up through the tears of pain and burn and beauty and met with wide tiger eyes welling over with penetrating pleasure and an open-mouthed stare. Hannibal was completely lost inside Will's body, who finally felt the endless void within like a sheet of paper colored to completion as his Alpha's hard cock dragged inside through tight, wet, hot, endless pleasure that belonged there.

Will breathed hard around the fingers on his throat and felt Hannibal pushing in harder, shorter, sharper. He let his hands run up across Hannibal's rocking belly with searching fingers, there was a kiss to his lips, a squeeze to his throat and a cruel pull at his hair and suddenly, Hannibal hit something inside of him that made him feel like he was weightless, falling backwards into nothing, filled to the brim with a painful rasp of pleasure. Hannibal pulled back before hitting that pleasure spot dead on with the head of his cock and Will hissed through his teeth, pawing wildly at his Alpha's ribs as he was left with a delicious drag out before it was repeated all over again.

They were a tangle of wild wolves in the night, fighting and fucking vigorously as they pushed and pulled in their furious need for their mate. Wanting closer. Wanting blood. There were kisses made from open mouths and sharp teeth, caresses with sharp, vicious lashes of hands, and the room was filled with growls and moans and snarls as they mated and fought and wanted each other only closer. Hannibal let his teeth sink above Will's nipple, ripping at the skin and making the Omega snarl when hot blood poured from his skin and pain twisted with his pleasure.

Will's body was so new and tight, but Hannibal pushed fearlessly past that strangling grip, fucking into him completely and with abandon as he roared and snarled and reached for soft, Omega skin. His eyes were close to the flickering orange of an untamed jungle cat as he nipped along his Omega's jaw, lost in the way Will squirmed and squeezed and dripped around his cock like he was born to do. The Omega was a weeping, whimpering mess, pulling at his own hair and biting his lips in cruel, liberating extacy. “Oh God, Oh God,” Will was lost, blinded, groping at Hannibal's arms, chest and face as his prostate was pounded into wild heaven and back as the animal inside him screamed “Yes, Fuck, Yes. This, This, This.” He felt safe, protected, confident to surrender as he felt Hannibal's cock moving inside him, heard his growls in his ear and felt the caress of his breath on his throat. He felt kept, marked. Belonging.

Hannibal pressed in harder, tighter, deeper, pushing himself upright onto his knees as his hands lifted Will's hips to follow after. Will was still pressed to the table, his back arched almost completely off the surface as his nails scratched helplessly against the tabletop and at his mate. His prostate was stimulated with such nerve-wracking pleasure, and he knew he was close to his release.

He reached between them and palmed his angry and forgotten, swollen erection as he squeezed up with every thrust. “Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Will never heard the table creak, didn't feel it sway beneath his back, as he clenched hard and tight around Hannibal and trembled, feeling liquid fire pulsing hot and devastating through his wrecked body before he shot his load all over his abdomen. The cry he let out was raw, bone crunching, barely human as Hannibal bucked into him with vicious thrusts and fucked him through his climax.

That was when the table collapsed, bringing their joined, naked bodies to the floor with a loud bang and a hard slam. The floor trembled, pieces of wood and metal went flying and the two crashed onto the hardwood floor, mouths pressed into a furious kiss. Will rolled to the side from the impact of the fall, separating their bodies involuntarily before his head shot back up and his lip curled, looking at Hannibal with widened, ocean eyes. There was a pause, one second, a deafening silence, before they both moved inwards as one and their mouths crashed back together. Lips slid together, wet with saliva, and tongues met inside hot, moaning, growling mouths that searched for more and deep and hard. Hannibal's mattress lay close by on the ground, ripped and torn from his rage, but Will wasted no time crawling onto it, giving in to the desperate, primal need to sink to his elbows and knees and bend his back like a cat, pushing his ass into the air. Will looked over his shoulder and Hannibal snarled trough his fangs, eyes rolling back at the sight as he positioned himself behind Will at wolf speed and thrust back deeply inside his Omega before he could take another breath.

Will trembled, his insides still thriving and riding on his previous release as a new pressuring heat already started to build inside his belly. Their coupling became frantic, desperate, painfully necessary as Hannibal made Will's whole body shake with every thrust forward and laced ruthless fingers around his chin, pulling backwards and forcing Will's head up. Will was filled with the entire length and girth of his massive alpha, but still his body was on fire, in search for more. More, more, more of Hannibal, as the Omega in him knew there was. He almost howled in relief when he felt the root of Hannibal's cock starting to thicken inside of him. “Yes, Yes,” he moaned and sputtered against his quivering arms, encouraging Hannibal, who howled and scraped his teeth into the back of Will's neck when the Omega thrust down onto the swelling of his cock. He was growing, bigger, wider, fuller with every thrust and if he was afraid to tear his sweet virgin Omega he would be the only one, because Will, delirious with the heat and pleasure and savage need, bore down on the Alpha's knot like it hurt to be without it. And in a sense, that was true.

Hannibal hauled Will's body up, pressing his front to the Omega's trembling back as he kept fucking his pliant body and growled in his mate's ear. It became harder and harder to move with the knot expanding in Will's body, but he kept rutting against Will's ass as he held his hands flat and hard against the Omega's belly, feeling himself moving beneath the skin. Will's cock was full hard again as he pushed back on the knot, short thrusts with his hips as he was trapped around the large bulge inside him. Finally, finally, fucking finally, the ache inside him seemed to stop screaming, and to bleed out into a puddle of the purest golden syrup of warm, spreading pleasure. This. This was it. This was what he had been looking for. This was what forever felt like.

Hannibal's hand on his cock set him off again, and as he clenched down hard around the Alpha's cock and cried with his head thrown back against Hannibal's shoulder. His Alpha followed after him, beautifully stroked and played by Will's squeezing, rippling insides. Will felt himself filled with streams of thick release, deep, deep inside the empty place that had begged him for something, to be filled, to be nursed. This was it. This was what had been missing. Will's second orgasm was eye-crossing and deliciously painful as it ran up all the way to his jaw, making his teeth tingle and rattle in his mouth, his insides throbbing and pulsing around the still pouring semen. Bittersweet pleasure.
Hannibal's arms were tight around him, still thrusting against the obstruction and quivering from the power of his orgasms that seemed ripped from him with every pull. His throat bore a continuous purr of deep, dark content as his nose came up under Will's gland again, inhaling sharply at the skin. Sharp teeth grazed the skin there and Will remembered something far away in the mind that was not yet returned to him. There was a promise there, beneath that skin. An eternity. A bite. A bond.

He stiffened when he felt the tip of a fang against his skin and Hannibal stilled inside him. For a moment neither of them moved, or breathed, before Hannibal pulled away from his throat and wrapped Will close to him, letting them fall to their side on the mattress as they spooned together, bound by the knot inside Will's body. He was in bliss, thoroughly, to the tips of every single hair on his body. He didn't stop trembling and suffering, a rumble rising from their chests. Never before had he been so sated and warm and safe. Everything, everything was right. He clenched around the right amount of fullness within him and Hannibal shuddered behind him, wrapping his arms tightly around the Omega.

His body calmed. His heartbeat slowed. His breathing became even. For the first time in a week, he could let himself rest. Will closed his eyes and curled back into his Alpha's warm body as the wild animal inside him fading into slumber. It was sated and ready to give back what it had taken away.

It was ready to give him back Will Graham.

One breath, two breaths.......Will's eyes opened. Pupils tightened, blood drained from his face. His vision became clear and wide. The thick fog had lifted from his mind.

“Oh....

…...oh God.”

Chapter Text

Everything inside Will was still. He wondered, briefly, if he had died there, in those arms that wrapped around him. The noise, the pain, the fog, the endless furious screams were gone and instead there was nothing but his own breathing, his calming heartbeat, the steady rush of blood inside his veins. It was overwhelming, this silence after such violence within. A blissful peace that made his insides sway like the gentle rocking of a floating boat.

But with that peace came room inside the walls of his mind, forever dented and scratched by the nails of the wild beast that had roamed there. And that room brought clarity, a space to remember who he was. Where he was. What he had done. Presenting evidence like a slide show behind his eyes as he grew colder and stiller as silent minutes ticked away.

He felt the strong arms around his bare waist, pulling him closer into the broad, hairy chest against his naked back. He heard the gentle purr that rose from behind him and felt a searching nose pushing onto the crook of his neck. The air was hot and slow, the rumble against his shoulder blades a low vibration on his his skin. Will didn't have to look to remember the orange eyes of blood and gold, the sharp teeth, the naked, damaged skin. The room smelled of winter sky and autumn rain and unmistakably of sex, as blood and sweat and musk hung heavy in the air around them. The floor around the mattress was littered with broken furniture that lay scattered all around them in the aftermath of... of......

“Oh God,” Will whimpered weakly, tensing from the panic that rose hard and fast to the surface and clenching involuntarily around Hannibal, still buried deep inside his body. He felt a hitched breath against the back of his neck. “Do that again and I'll...,” Hannibal started, voice in a chokehold, but Will's body shuddered and his hips jerked, blindly and uncontrollably searching for a way to freedom, escape, room to breathe. His heart was in his throat as his muscles contracted around the intrusion and Hannibal groaned behind him, shuddering against him with a stutter of his hips as he placed one hand on Will's belly to try and keep him steady. Will felt a stingray of pleasure at the buckle against his insides and the new release of warm liquid inside him, and he sobbed at the unwanted twitch of his own cock.

He released a breath through pursed lips and forced himself to stop straining against Hannibal's hold on him as he folded into himself with trembling shoulders, hands clutching at his ribcage. Inside his head there were flashes of images coming back to him, hot and hard, and his throat began to feel tight. He remembered the letter, seeing Hannibal in his cell and feeling the wrecking ball of his scent filling his nostrils, making him lose all control. The hospital bed, Hannibal's fingers on his throat. The touches, the words, the table – oh God, oh God, oh God. He felt it everywhere, remembered it everywhere. His ribs felt tight, his lungs too small, and his breathing became shallow, short, less and less satisfying. Cold sweat broke out in his neck as he struggled against the tight arms around his waist, and wheezed for air that didn't seem to be there. “Shhh.....,” Hannibal's voice soothed against him as he placed an open hand on Will's sternum from behind and gently pressed down. “Just breathe. Follow me.” Will felt the slow expansion of the sturdy chest against his back and tried to follow, closing his eyes and breathing in deeply through his nose, before feeling Hannibal releasing the air against the back of his neck.

Slow and gentle, in and out, hold and release. Finally, with that broad hand on his chest, Will found air in his lungs and felt his heartbeat slowing down. That voice against his ear, soothing him, it sounded so much more familiar than before, when they... Will knew Hannibal, too, had come to his senses. There was a silence as they both breathed, holding still as Will's shoulders hunched vulnerably forward. “We're stuck,” he said, voice hoarse and small, but very much his own. His body was still trembling and weak and before he could stop himself, his muscles contracted again around the large knot that was buried inside. Hannibal made a choked noise behind him, thighs trembling against the back of Will's legs. “Yes,” Hannibal uttered, more air than sound. “It appears so.” A flat hand ran over Will's chest, grazing the bite mark above his nipple before stroking a tender thumb over his collarbone. “God,” Will breathed, lost in the fear and bewilderment that still clawed at his throat, and the curling branches of pleasure that grew when either of them moved. The hand touched his forehead, gentle and unrecognizable as it pushed against the skin, lolling Will's head back onto a strong, bare shoulder. This was a dream. It had to be. One crazy, twisted dream.

Will wanted to shake off that touch, lift his head and move away as far as he would be allowed, but instead, he let himself be lead and rested against warm skin and steady bones. He had felt the silence and the dread, but there was more to feel inside his body. He wished to ignore it, but now it seemed to settle so deeply within him that that was no longer an option. His body felt consumed by the licking flames of his pleasure which had left a heavy, satisfying blanket of soft ashes on his skin. He was filled, complete, and his body sang its approval from deep within his loins.

He clenched involuntarily at the thought, unable to stop himself, making Hannibal's hips snap further into him and brush right against his abused prostate. Without having touched himself, Will's oversensitive body convulsed through an orgasm as Hannibal shuddered violently inside him and stroked flat hands over Will's twitching torso. The pleasure was maddening, ripping violently at his insides, and left him blind and deaf, clawing at whatever his hands could reach as his belly collapsed in a quivering wildfire of liquefying pleasure. Will sobbed, thrashing in the firm hold Hannibal had on him, and shivered through the release that left him boneless and burned.

“Please, no more,” Will whimpered and begged, as Hannibal gently stroked his fingers through his hair. “Just try to relax,” Hannibal said in a hushed voice against his ear, bringing his fingers to Will's cheeks and wiping the skin. Though wet with tears, Will hadn't even realized he was crying. “This could take up to an hour.” The words washed over him and Will's lips tightened. An hour. After this week, what was an hour? Will closed his eyes and gave into exhaustion, sagging against Hannibal in an effort to relax himself and stave off more orgasms. There was no fight left in him.

“I must apologize for my earlier behavior,” Hannibal gently broke through the silence, when their bodies were breathing as one. His tone of voice had a certain fragility that Will was not familiar with. A sense of shame, disgraced, to be anything less than a true gentleman. Will could have laughed at it, if only he remembered how. He felt Hannibal's fingers on his back, stroking up and down his sore skin. Bruises were probably already forming underneath. Hannibal sighed against his neck. “I was rather... overwhelmed.” The hot stream of air felt like a tingle against the drying sweat on his skin. Will swallowed, his mouth suddenly dry as something inside him wavered. Hannibal must have been as much overtaken and unprepared as he had been, safe for the part where he knew he was an Alpha. Something uncontrollable, for such a controlling man, it was an almost cruel irony.

“I'm an Omega,” Will whispered, clutching his arms tightly around himself. There was a screaming urge to deny it, but there was no point. No other possible explanation to any of it. He was dripping slick around a knot in his ass. He was an Omega. “You're an Omega,” Hannibal hummed in agreement as he pressed soft lips to the back of his neck. “My true and only Omega.”

Will grew cold inside the cocoon of his hot skin and his breath stuttered at the feeling of featherlight presses of lips beneath his ear. His Omega, he said. Hannibal's Omega. “No, no, no, no...,” he mouthed, whispered, lips restless around the repeated word as he squeezed his eyes shut against the mattress under his head, burying his face into the white cover. Hannibal's arms tightened around him once before loosening. “Shhh, stay calm, easy breathing,” he whispered, commanded, and Will felt those words like a caressing stream of warm water against his skin. His body obeyed, went slack, and Will stopped his squirming.

Hannibal. It had to be Hannibal. Will wasn't even truly surprised. It was not hard to remember the first time their eyes had met, many years before. It wasn't hard to remember every passing day since either. Something about Hannibal had always been alluring to him, there was a weakness, a path through unchartered territory that had always excited him. He had never denied that their connection was more and stronger and much much deeper than he could ever give shape in his head. And the most dangerous of it was that he had always wanted to follow Hannibal on that path, in that dark place without morals or boundaries. It was why he had given up, those years ago and sent Hannibal away before he would tumble into Hell with him and become what he feared himself to be. But that forbidden path inside him, hidden from sight behind a fence of politeness, quiet evenings at home and hard work, it had never disappeared. It hadn't even faded.

And now Hannibal said he was his, that they belonged together, Alpha and Omega. Biologically speaking, Will believed him. He believed him because he felt it too, and there was no doubt in his mind that that part was true. Physically they were an obvious match, but he had not forgotten who Hannibal really was, behind the skin. He had escaped that Hannibal, successfully, years ago. Now he was here with him, on the floor....“Oh God,” he breathed again, and felt Alpha lips smiling against his neck.

“I have never seen anything more beautiful,” Hannibal's voice stroked at him and Will bit his lip, stifling another moan when Hannibal's hips pressed close, pushing himself even deeper inside. “Ohhh,” Will whimpered shamefully in a mix of hopelessness and deep, deep pleasure. “I felt it when you presented,” Hannibal said, accent thick and voice hot against Will's neck. There was more than just the calm he had heard before. There was a warmth, a heat, excitement. “It awoke a primal yearning in me that only stopped screaming until I could touch you.” Will closed his eyes, knowing that feeling so well he could still relive the furious cries and the dragging nails inside his mind.

“I felt it when you left your home,” Hannibal continued, lips to Will's ear and every word thick with his curling accent. “I felt it when you entered this building,” Will's head lolled back of its own accord, feeling Hannibal's smooth cheek against his stubble. “The moment I saw you I almost wept tears of joy.” Knuckles caressed his cheekbones, one hand pressed over his heart. “But when I smelled you, properly smelled you, my heart sang the most beautiful hymn,” lips pressed close to his temple and Will, despite everything he wished to do, melted back into the warmth his body so longed for, “praising you over any God.”

“I heard it,” Will admitted weakly, cradled safely by arms that stilled the rising battle within. His mind tried, tried so hard, to remember the faces of his family. To remember what they sounded like, smelled like, what they talked about during dinner. But right now, it wasn't there. His body craved but one touch, and his mind remembered only one voice. A voice that caressed him like a warm Summer breeze. “We are connected,” Hannibal spoke softly, humming the words close to his ear. A nose inhaled against his neck and Will remembered a memory wrapped in misty pleasure, the hint of teeth that scraped against his flesh, his throat, his glands. Hannibal inhaled the scent of him with his nose pressed into the dip of Will's shoulder. “You smell like autumn rain, falling in the woods. The decay of dead leaves on wet soil,” Hannibal murmured, positively worshipping Will with his voice as he held on to his naked belly with two flat hands. Will shuddered, for reasons all wrong, but he couldn't be helped. “Why is this happening?” he said, broken words hissed between his teeth. He didn't look back, not even when a chin rested on his shoulder. “Why now?” He knew he sounded frightened and resented every bit of it as he tried not to sink inside the warm pool of golden Alpha male.

“You were ready now,” Hannibal said patiently, running gentle fingers down his sides. Will's body ached for that touch, reeled under it, but inside his head he fought the mindless desire under his skin with whatever he had left in him. This was Hannibal who was touching him, who had fucked him – far, far away from his life and his home. Hannibal Lecter. Hannibal fucking Lecter. And the cruel joke was, every part of him allowed it, craved it, needed it. It was all so, so wrong. Sick. And he knew, without a doubt in his mind, that it was everything Hannibal had ever wanted.

Will froze when a hideous thought suddenly crept through his head. “It was you,” he pushed out through his clenched teeth. “You did this to me.” He swallowed hard, angry, remembering just where it had all gone wrong. “That letter...,” he finally twisted his head to face Hannibal, watching one sharp cheekbone, and an amber eye close to his face. Hannibal smiled at him, an honest joy to see him as he ran his nose along the side of Will's. It was animal devotion that could have made Will weep in anger, weakness, boneless desire.

“I gave up the hope that you would present for me many moons ago,” Hannibal said in the same lazy voice he had used before, not at all riled up by the accusation. “But I will not deny it's everything I could have wished for.” Will's ears flamed red as he turned his head away from the affectionate nudges. “It was deliberate. That letter. Your scent...,” his anger spiked, his nostrils flared when all he heard behind him was an endeared chuckle. “I had no way of knowing, but it never hurts to try,” Hannibal said into his ear and Will shuddered against him. Hannibal and him, their lives and attraction had been a web of obsession and pain. And now he was trapped in this situation where his body had suddenly decided for him that he belonged to the monster of which he had wanted to free himself. It seemed like faith's cruel, cruel joke.

Teeth started to graze against his throat again, Will's breath stuttered and his body froze. “I wish you would let me bite you so I could show you what you already know,” Hannibal said, a dark edge around his words. “We belong together in every way nature has provided.” Will whimpered, feeling his body weakening and his ass growing even slicker around Hannibal's knot. “No, no,” he moaned, forcing himself to hold still and fighting the urge to grind down against Hannibal's pelvis. “I want us to be bonded. Entirely,” Hannibal said with an earnest voice, filled with longing. “No,” Will gasped again. Their embrace was tight and strong and lasted several seconds too long until Hannibal loosened his grip on him. He didn't speak, but held a low rumble in his chest.

“You knew about me.” Will stuttered after a short silence, breath raging in his tight chest. “You knew I was an Omega.” Hannibal melted against his back and exhaled against his skin. “I have hoped,” he admitted, “and I have waited.” Will gasped when lips kissed his ear. He had waited. Waited for Will to present, while he himself had never, ever even entertained the possibility. Never had Hannibal mentioned this to him. “I never even knew you were an Alpha,” Will breathed, shaking his head as he felt Hannibal's forehead against his hair. “It wasn't in my best interest to tell anyone,” Hannibal said, a small smile stretching against Will's skin, which caused it to tighten as waving heat pulsed inside his body. “Of course,” Will said, soft and dry. “Super strength, speed, eyes... convenient traits for the Chesapeake ripper.”

They lay in silence, locked in their embrace and Will could feel exhaustion crawling on his bones like maggots on the dead. He wished to stay awake, to understand, to fight everything he could fight, just to say he had tried, but there was nothing left in him to give. “Sleep now,” Hannibal spoke into his hair. “We won't have much longer than an hour, maybe two.”

Will swallowed, blinking in confusion. “Before what?” he asked, voice hoarse. Hannibal breathed a small chuckle and caressed the skin of his arm with soft strokes. “Before your heat will demand us to do all of this again,” he said and Will bit his lip to stifle a moan as he jerked his hips in pure and utter shock. “Oh God.” Helpless desperation mingled with shameful desire inside. Hannibal bit gently on his shoulder and curled up, body soft and loose with sleep.

Minutes ticked away before Will could close his eyes as he stared into the wrecked prison cell. “I'm an Omega,” he said, quietly into the room, shivering against the delicious heat of Hannibal's body. Hannibal's lips pressed under his earlobe as he hummed against his skin. “You're my Omega.”

Chapter Text

On the inside of his eyes, Will was being held down to the ground by strong, Alpha arms, forced on his back as he watched a broad chest rocking over him, onto him. He was being fucked hard and fast by a large Alpha cock that drove deep inside his body until he was fuller than he knew he had ever been. It was hot and strong and wet and it went on and on, growing hotter and wetter still as he heard himself begging for hard and deep and more, more, more. The air around him grew rich with the scent of their mating, sweat poured down their burning skin and then... Will opened his eyes from his dream and found himself empty on a mattress of the prison floor.

“Fuck,” he whimpered, arching his back as he reached for his hard, dripping cock against his belly. He was so wet, so hard, so desperate to be touched. Everything below the belt and above the knees was screaming from the agonizing emptiness he felt inside and in a frantic search for something to press back on. He was dripping obscenely as slick, hot like fire, poured from between his ass cheeks, down to his knees and soaking through the mattress he had slept on.

His hand on his cock added nothing but a strain to his aching need and Will whined like a wounded animal before he sat himself upright with wild, searching eyes. He snarled wantonly when he saw Hannibal fast asleep on his back beside him, in all his naked glory. The fog that had blinded Will's heated mind returned to him in all its intensity and he whined pitifully at the sight of his exposed and available Alpha. The flames within Will were scorching, restlessly maddening, and all he could think about was how much Hannibal's touch on him, inside him, had become a violent necessity.

He had to have it now, now, fucking now. He moved to his knees to crawl close to the sleeping Alpha and felt the slick seeping from between his cheeks onto his thighs, along with a stream of the Alpha's semen that had still been deeply embedded inside his body. The scent of their essences mixed together made Will's cock bounce stiffly against his belly as he whimpered under his breath, feeling it wade around him like a soft blanket against the winter cold.

He leaned over the sleeping form of his Alpha, who didn't wake under his stare. Hannibal's eyes shifted beneath his closed lids, indicating how deeply he was under and Will wondered briefly if what he saw in his sleep was similar to Will's own heated dream. The Alpha's cock, perhaps peaked by Will's pheromones that lay thick in the air around them, or the mingling scent of their sex, or maybe the filthy dream inside his head, caused him to lie completely hard and thick against the coarse, graying hair of his belly.

Will looked at the thick veins, the hard, gorged flesh and the large, swollen head that already shone wet with his own fluid and he was overcome by a clawing, untamable need to have it inside his body, to fill the painfully empty void. There was room for nothing else inside Will's heated mind and, bold as the Omega inside him presented itself to be, Will climbed over the sleeping body of Hannibal and straddled his hips with his slick thighs.

“Fuck,” Will whimpered again. The nearness and the feel of that warm skin against his was already a soothing balm to the burning ache. Hannibal rolled his head to the side, remaining in a deep slumber as Will's hands ran through the thick fur of his chest and over the strong, broad shoulders. Will needed him. He needed his Alpha. He reached behind him for the big, hard Alpha cock that poked against his back and lifted his hips to place the large tip against his hole. No preparation, this time.

The thick head pushed against his entrance as he lowered himself, feeling it breach the rim as it slowly slipped past the ring of muscles and inside his body. “Fuck, ohh fuck,” a painful moan ripped from Will's throat, as he felt the burning stretch of his insides spreading a most glorifying pleasure to his bones. This was what he wanted, this was what he needed. This. This. This.

Hannibal's head lolled back on the mattress, a groan rising from deep within his chest as Will lowered himself further, all the way, until his ass was flat against the root of Hannibal's thick cock. The stretch inside him was deep and wide and too much for his inexperienced body, but the fill was wrecking him with entwined agony and ecstasy that made him sob out against his own trembling shoulder. “Ohhhh, fuck, yes.”

Hannibal did not wake, but the growl that rose from his throat was now consistently there as drops of transpiration formed in his hairline and his hands grabbed blindly for Will's hips with nails clawing at the skin of his thighs. Will gasped, doubling over on Hannibal's chest as he started to rock his hips against his body, moving his Alpha in and out of him with harsh pants from between his lips and a continuous flutter of his lashes.

Hannibal's eyes rolled behind his lids, his head moved restlessly against the mattress, his nails sunk deep into the flesh of the Omega's thighs as Will fucked himself on his cock with high whines and low grunts. Teeth flashed sharp behind the Alpha's lips before a vicious snarl ripped from his throat and tiger eyes of gold and blood suddenly sprung open.

Wide, alert, but confused with sleep, those bloodied eyes searched wildly for his Omega and a violent growl escaped his throat when he looked up at Will straddling his hips. Hands tightened on Will's skin as the Omega sunk back down around Hannibal, feeling him deeper inside than ever before as their eyes connected in the heated fury and fog of their frenzied need.

Will wailed with every thrust down and saw the predator eyes of his mate rolling back when he clenched around him and took him in all the way, roaring at the filled, stretched feeling his body had been dying for. Will continued to move his hips until Hannibal reached for them with strong hands and tilted his pelvis forward to change the angle of his cock inside Will's body.

This position made Will shudder violently on top of him when Hannibal successfully aimed for his prostate, and without a chance to recover, Hannibal pulled Will down by the neck, claiming the smaller man in a hungry, violent kiss between sharp teeth, that left them both with lips swollen and bleeding as they brushed and licked and tasted each other. In their embrace, Hannibal was holding down Will's body with both arms around his back and fucked into him, hard and fast and cruelly as Will cried out in long, high bursts through his nose.

Will's prostate was abused with brutal force and Hannibal held him down until the Omega sobbed and cried real tears into his neck from the maddening over-stimulation that set him alight with a torturous, blinding bliss. The Alpha licked a hot strip across Will's cheek, catching the salty tears before he released the back of his neck and pushed Will back up on his body again. “Ride me,” his voice croaked, watching through hooded lids as he slid his hands over Will's quivering belly. Will trembled and arched as he leaned back and lowered himself further, releasing a high-pitched howl when he felt himself stretching deeper again around the Alpha inside of him.

The Omega's noises made Hannibal run sharp nails over his Will's lithe, smooth body, leaving red marks on already marked skin. Will rolled his hips, lifting himself off of Hannibal's cock before forcing him back into the tight, slick hole of his body with the grace of a rider on a horse. It was a seductive dance of his slender body, pushing back and forth to work himself over his Alpha, who scratched desperately against his thighs and belly as Will picked up the speed to chase after his own hungry hunt for pleasure. His prostate was still swollen from their previous mating, and every drag of Hannibal's fat head against the little nub inside of him made his thighs quiver and his cock leak on itself.

He bounced himself faster on his Alpha, throwing back his head with closed eyes as he pushed his hips forwards and fucked himself on Hannibal's cock with real and true abandon. He was chasing something powerful, and – fuck, it felt so, so good.

Hannibal moaned, growled, bared his teeth, voluntarily helpless under his mate as he watched his mate and ran wild hands over Will's body until he reached one hand around the Omega's cock. YES, Will's body screamed, arching into the fingers around him. Hannibal's hand rubbed against the sensitive skin of his cock, pumping him with his large hand and one smooth thumb on the slit while his own erection was still sliding in and out of Will's slick and tight, pulsating body.

Will felt the magnificent fullness, the hot, thick cock against his prostate, dragging inside of him with every roll of his hips, and the large, strong hand on his leaking cock. It was perfection. Never had his life been better. Never had it been complete. Will felt his orgasm like a tight fist deep in his core as he clenched hard, hard, hard around Hannibal's cock and threw his head back with a loud, high, Omega wail as he spurted white shots of cum over Hannibal's chest and hit the underside of the Alpha's chin. Never before had he felt so good and he never wanted it to stop.

He didn't still his hips, insatiably hungry as Hannibal held his thighs and fucked up through the clenched, tightening of his body. Meeting his thrust harder and harder as Will felt the now familiar thickening at the base of Hannibal's cock starting to form against his ass cheeks, rubbing the outside of his opening. Will bounced against the swelling knot, crying out at the wideness against his ass, until Hannibal pushed himself up and held down Will's hips hard, forcing the knot inside the Omega's swollen hole with powerful thrusts. Will snarled, Hannibal growled, both snapped and nipped at each other mouths with vicious teeth as the knot stretched Will so far he saw nothing but sharp, red stars before his eyes. It hurt him. It hurt him so, so good.

Will fell boneless against Hannibal's chest and the remains of his own release that still clung to the Alpha's skin. Hannibal, however, refused to let him go slack as he grabbed both his arms and shoved himself as far as he could go inside Will's body before holding the Omega tight against him and released deep, deep inside his mate. Will felt himself filling again and all he could think about was bliss, bliss, pure fucking bliss. It was so right, so very right to feel himself so whole with his Alpha's seed inside his belly. For once, he was happy. His mind peacefully void of the noises that lived there. Purpose fulfilled.

Will's body was aggressively manhandled by another orgasm that ripped through his loins when the knot inside his hole grew into its full size and got caught behind the rim of his opening. He spasmed against Hannibal's sticky chest as the Alpha stroked large hands over his back and shoulders, as far as he could reach, holding on to his weakened Omega's shivering body. Will buckled, feeling more semen spurt from his own, untouched cock and clenched his body harder around Hannibal, who, in his turn, groaned at him and coated his insides further with his release. They were a continues mess of moans and cries, whimpers and growls and pleasure, pleasure, so much mind numbing, maddening pleasure.

They stilled after long, long moments in each other's embrace as Hannibal let himself fall backwards on the mattress, bringing Will along with him through their connection. Will buried his nose under Hannibal's chin, scenting his glands and accidentally smearing his nose with the remains of his own semen. They breathed, chest to chest, as silence settled around them. Every now and then, one of them shifted inside or clenched around the other, and together they would shudder and gritted their teeth, until they could both take no more.

There was a thin blanket on the floor, belonging on the prison bed, and Hannibal managed to drag it over Will to shield him from the naked air and the naked eye. Will's hands rested on Hannibal's shoulders as the Alpha stroked lazily over Will's spine and for another moment, there was that white cloud, that unfamiliar silence within him that made him want to close his eyes, ready to doze off with his nose buried in the Alpha's neck

“They brought us food,” Hannibal spoke close to his ear, startling Will with the sudden smooth tones of his foreign accent. The Omega cracked open one eye, looking up at his mate and then following the direction of his gaze. In front of the hatch in the glass door, there was a food tray with its contents hidden by a gray, plastic cover on top. “Not that we are in any position to get it,” the Alpha groaned, stretching his back as he ran his hands under the sheets and over Will's ass until his fingers brushed exactly where their bodies were joined. Will didn't feel it. He didn't feel it when Hannibal reached up to nuzzle his jaw and he didn't feel the deep purr that rose from the warm chest underneath him.

That tray, that stupid plastic tray, the sight of it cleared the fog from his mind and the heat from his belly like a vacuum. “Fuck,” his shoulders shook at the visual proof of a world outside this room and he could almost hear the bursting of the bubble they had created for themselves. Someone had been here. They had been seen together, sleeping, or worse. Maybe Alana, maybe even Jack. Maybe all of them. Everyone. They had seen them losing their minds on each other, him and Hannibal, mating like rabid animals. And what if they reached out to Molly? What if they told her about him? Showed her what was happening?

“Fuck. No. We can't keep doing this,” Will cursed, shoving himself up on his arms and off the hairy chest to look Hannibal in the eyes, by which he only pressed himself further down on the Alpha's cock. Will stifled a whimper inside his throat as Hannibal openly showed his appreciation by holding the Omega's hips down tightly with both hands. Their eyes met, tiger gold and ocean depths. Hannibal blinked, a small smile on his lips as he wiped a curl out of Will's eyes and stared back up at him. “You're in heat, Will. What do you presume is going to happen?” he asked, sincere, endeared by Will's naivety.

Will looked down at the familiar face of his old psychiatrist, his long-lost... friend had never been the appropriate term... Hannibal. Dr. Hannibal Lecter. For the first time since their reunion, he had the sense, the clarity and the angle to look and see him like the man he had once known. It had been so long, but even after all these years, his bone structure remained a sin. He had changed in appearance, the short, silver hair, the deepened wrinkles around his eyes and the slight softening of his waist, and yet he was exactly like Will remembered him. “When will it end?” he asked with shaky breaths, trying to ignore the caressing hands on his sides and the wide knot inside his body. “Soon,” Hannibal answered, touching dry fingertips to Will's pale skin. “An Omega's heat lasts mere days.”

Amber eyes shone up at Will, who swallowed at the heat that spread across his chest and face under the Alfa's open stare. “And then I can go home?” he asked, letting his eyes drop to the gray chest hair under his fingers. Hands ran up over his bare back before gently pressing down on his shoulder blades, folding Will's body back against the Alpha's chest. Will followed the guiding hands, feeling his weak muscles eager to comply as he placed his cheek on Hannibal's ribs. The knot inside of him pulled at his opening and Will heard a sharp inhale against his curls as he tried to stop his thighs from quivering.

“Do you know what we are, Will?” Hannibal said close to his ear, his voice soft and patient and much like he remembered it from those days in his office. Will scraped the scruff of his face as he tried to lift his chin on Hannibal's sternum. “You're an Alpha,” he said, not trying to hide the uneasiness in his voice. “I'm an Omega,” he looked up, but failed to see anything but the stretch of lips over a defined jawline. “You are my Omega,” Hannibal corrected him. “I am your Alpha.” The tone was light, but the inflictions were bright and clear.

A hand stroked over Will's shoulder to the back of his neck, but the Omega twisted his head away at the touch and the implication.“We are not bonded,” he hissed under Hannibal's chin. “You didn't bite me.” He felt the Alpha tilting his head in an attempt to look at him. “No,” Hannibal confirmed and their eyes met briefly, before both felt the strain in their necks and sagged back down into their previous positions. “But we are destined mates. You presented... for me.” Will heard the rumble of Hannibal's voice deep inside his chest as he lay with his cheek against the warm skin. “I don't know what that means,” he said, feeling fingers brushing through the messy curls on his head.

Hannibal breathed, and the rise and fall of his chest cradled Will with a steady, strong pace. “The male Omega is a most rare occurrence, Will,” rumbled the warm chest against his ear. “They only present when their subconscious mind finds a need for it, and when they meet a highly compatible Alpha with whom they want to bond.” There was a soft purr that rumbled beneath the words and spread throughout the Alpha's body as he stroked Will's back with strong, steady, open hands. Will tried not to melt into the touch and pressed his lips into a tight, stubborn line. “I wouldn't say want,” he said defiantly. “It wasn't a choice.”

Hannibal's hands ran lower, cupping around his ass and sliding spread fingers along where his cock disappeared into Will. His touch made the Omega clench down hard as bursts of deep pleasure shot from his opening to his belly button. “Don't... Fuck,” Will hissed, holding himself still against his Alpha as Hannibal slid his hands back up and settled on Will's waist with a content sigh. They lay there, together, both shuddering lightly from the pleasure that fizzed beneath their skin.

“So what now?” Will said against Hannibal's collarbone “I have to come back with every heat?” The thought alone grabbed him by the throat as he envisioned Molly, his home. He had a life, a comfortable place in the world where everything he saw inside his mind could safely stay there. He didn't know how often an Omega went through heats like these, but it would certainly interfere with everything he had worked so hard for, and with who he had worked so hard to be. If he had to be with Hannibal... If he had to come back to Hannibal...

There was a sigh inside the chest he was using as a pillow. “Will,” Hannibal said, patience and endearment laced around his voice as he stroked those restless hands down Will's messy curls. “Our connection is extraordinarily strong. I would even dare to say it is the ultimate. We are mates by the choice of our deepest, most primal subconsciousness, and even unbonded, living without each other will be nothing but unbearable,” he spoke gently, never ceasing his caresses as Will's breathing stopped, hitched and stuttered. “W-what?” he stammered, trying to lift his head up as he felt his chest pulling tight like a vacuum. “That can't be true.” His ocean eyes were widened and searching as they met a flash of gold.

“We will discuss all of it in due time, Will, do not stress yourself. Right now you are tired and you are in heat,” Hannibal said, calm, like a teacher lecturing a slow student, and Will bit hard onto his own lip as he felt his temperature rising hot red. “You're lying to me,” he hissed and knitted his eyebrows tight in an outraged frown, hands resting on Hannibal's sternum. Hannibal ran a soothing thumb over the wrinkled skin between his eyes and smiled that rueful smile he often used when pained. “You can choose not to fight this. It will not change the outcome,” he said, tilting his head to one side as he dropped his hands from the Omega's face. Will breathed, feeling weak and breakable under those eyes as he looked down at his fingers in Hannibal's chest hair. They drew meaningless patterns on Hannibal's skin in an unconscious, nervous gesture. “What did you expect?” Will asked with a humorless chuckle. “For me to pack my bags and move in here?”

“I'll admit the circumstances are unfortunate,” Hannibal said, looking around his wrecked, once stylishly decorated, prison cell. “But this is nothing we cannot overcome.” Will followed his gaze around the room and huffed, a bitter laugh in his throat. He had walked from the man years ago, and here Hannibal was thinking this prison cell was the only reason they weren't shacking up. Will breathed in deep, feeling stuck on the tiny tip of that gigantic, hidden iceberg under water. “I have a wife,” he said, catching Hannibal's eye. “I have a family.” He tried to keep his eyes on Hannibal this time, hard, steady, real, but Hannibal merely smiled at his words, stroking his cheek with his fingers. “I am aware and unsurprised that you have found your much needed window dressing, Will,” he said, cupping Will's face with loving fingers as he stroked a curl behind his ear. The smile around his lips stretched, showing a hint of sharp teeth behind soft lips as the tiger eyes glistened with predatory pleasure, and blood. “But you were always mine.”

Chapter Text

Hannibal's words had slashed their way through Will, raw and vile and with a pain that felt ripping, exposing flesh and bone beneath his skin. Those words, they had been spoken so loving, when they had been so, so cruel. Will wanted nothing more for those words to hurt him, bruise him, to make him so angry he could lash out and growl, bite and spit fire at the man who seemed so eager to disrupt his well-earned family life, and merely smiled at the mention of everything important to him. But even when he tried to summon those feelings of outrage, they remained a distant vision in the embrace of his Alpha. Instead, he felt a warmth he couldn't shake, secure inside a cocoon of strong arms. He felt safe and soft and cherished and he wished such feelings, given their roots, would make him cry, claw, rebel...but familiar skin surrounded him and then the chest under his head became a white, fluffy cloud that he floated on, soft and warm and quiet. He fell asleep.

They were separated when Will woke up a short hour later, covered by the prison blanket drawn up to his shoulders. He rolled to his back and sat up, supported by his arms, and spotted his Alpha on the far end of the mattress with a thin, white sheet around his waist and a half eaten sandwich in his hands. Hannibal's eyes had already been watching, and scanned over Will's face with an unhidden spark that lit up his golden eyes when the Omega blinked sleepily at him.

“You should eat,” the Alpha said, pushing the gray tray towards him with a careful push of his fingers. Will eyed the plastic cups of water and bland, whitebread sandwiches with an unidentifiable spread. Tuna from a can, going by the scent. “But know that it pains me not being able to offer you something of... nutritional value and taste,” Hannibal said with longing eyes and disapproving, tightened lips as he shredded the bread between his teeth and chewed with a weak, unenthusiastic grinding of his jaw. “If I ever have the pleasure of meeting the hospital's cook, I will not neglect to teach him the finer points of the culinary arts.”

Will took a deep breath, blinking away the image that popped into his mind, of Hannibal harvesting the organs of a tied up, still living cook and instructing him on how to perfectly marinade his kidneys. Will watched Hannibal eating the stale bread and felt the disapproval, the disgust, the outrage the Alpha exuded towards his meal. He felt it deep down in his bones, without even needing to look at him.

“It must be torture for you to eat this food every day, given your proclivity for life's finer things,” he said, feeling nothing but both Hannibal's and his own distaste when he looked at the offered food in front of him. Hannibal looked up, and Will didn't miss the way his eyes burned hot over him at the mention of 'finer things'. He ignored the blood that pumped up to fill his cheeks and stared right back at the Alpha. “Yet you choose to be here, voluntarily.”

Hannibal smiled fondly at his words, a small jerk of his lips around his mouth. “I close my eyes and eat my own cooking, at my own table,” he said, demonstrating as he shut his lids and let his shoulders sag in relaxation. Will knew it was just that easy for him to be elsewhere, even while locked within these four walls. “In your mind palace,” he said, and Hannibal's eyes popped open – redder, deeper, darker. “We've met there,” he said, leaning closer to Will, like a subconscious, magnetic pull was reeling them together. Will wet his lips with his tongue as he looked at the silver hair, the sharp bones, the paled skin. “We have,” he admitted. He could never forget those moments, where their minds had been aligned so perfectly they had been able to step into each other's worlds as one. Blurred, conjoined. It had been the darkest, most liberating feeling. Terrifying.

“When we bond, our meetings there will no longer be coincidental,” Hannibal said, a spark in his eyes as he leaned back to his previous position and took a casual sip from his cup of water. Will could only manage a grimace at the outrageous confidence behind those words, and turned his eyes back to the tray. Next to it were two folded, pale gray pieces of cloth that Will recognized by the color. “I think this is their way of asking us to put some clothes on,” Hannibal commented with a chuckle behind his teeth. “But I think that would be rather redundant, at least for another while.”

Will basked in Hannibal's familiarity, which, after everything that had happened, felt exactly the way it shouldn't. It was comfort, a warm blanket that he wanted to bury himself in. A safe shade in the vicious sunlight. Will wished to hate it with the purest rage he could muster, but all that bitterness was lost in the sweet, fiery shimmer of the thick, foggy scent of autumn and winter and home.

When Will bent forward to pick up the tray, he was hit by another scent. One that curled dangerously in his nostrils and made his muscles tense. It was on the food. It was on the clothes. “Alana was here,” Will said, remembering how the thought of another presence had occurred to him before, before he had fallen asleep on top of and around Hannibal. A tight panic rose in his chest and he drew the blanket higher around his shoulders. She must have walked in here. “She probably saw us.” The thought was... it was mindbogglingly unacceptable. Even if they had been asleep, they would still have been connected, together. For him to be seen like that, with him, by her...

Hannibal's eyes shot up to the ceiling overhead. “Do you see that red, little light in the corner, Will?” he said, nodding to a small black square device with a red, steady light. “Everything that is said and done here is recorded, taped and watched by security,” he mentioned it as a side thought, not worth an extra blink, but Will felt himself gasping against the strangling, stabbing fear that flashed behind his ribs, squeezed his lungs and made his cheeks burn scorchingly, excruciatingly hot. “Oh God. Oh God, no. No, no, no” he stammered, trying to keep his breath steadily and his shoulders low as the shock spread like wildfire through his veins.

“You don't even care that we were watched, doing what we did?” he spat at Hannibal, who was calmly sipping from his plastic cup of lukewarm water and watched him with amber eyes. “There is no shame in what we did,” Hannibal said, careful with his chosen words. “But I'll admit the notion is a little... intrusive.” Intrusive. Intrusive, he called it. It was a downright violation. Who could say what would happen to such tapes? “God. What if they show this to Molly?” Will wheezed, mostly to himself as he grabbed the hair on his temples between his fingers and bowed his head between his knees.

He could picture it. Molly standing in the control room, watching Hannibal and himself doing the things they had done. The tears in her eyes before she looked away a stormed out of the room. He tried to build it in his head, picturing her screaming and yelling and brokenheartedly kicking a chair. He was desperately looking for that feeling of devastation, guilt, grief, but even with his skin hot with shame, he found it hard to feel anything over the way his body oozed pleasant warmth, sitting near Hannibal.

“I doubt they will be so cruel to show such footage to your wife,” Hannibal stated dryly, handing him the untouched sandwich in the tray. “Eat.” Will did eat, tasting nothing, and he did drink, tasting the plastic of the cup. It didn't matter. He had not been hungry or thirsty to begin with He only felt the steadily rising heat behind his pelvis, the growing slick against the mattress, the half-hard cock against his thigh. And Hannibal, he was sitting there with his tousled hair, his bare chest, the toes that peaked from under the sheet. Inside him, the animal whined, high and desperate, for his Alpha.

He shook it off, hard and determined, as he ate his stupid, useless sandwich and tried not to feel Hannibal's eyes on his throat, or the red dot of the camera on the back of his head. “This is insanity,” he croaked, feeling the sandwich sit awkwardly in his stomach as he tightened fingers in his hair, huddled under the blanket. He glanced sideways after a silence, seeing Hannibal's eyes on him with a curious concern, hidden underneath dark, dark predatorial lust. “How did you know I was an Omega?” Will asked, swallowing away the dry bread that lingered in his throat. Hannibal blinked, as if in a trance, bloody gold eyes never off the Omega. With those bare toes wiggling from underneath his sheet, he was as nonthreatening as a sunbathing lion. “I wasn't certain, I told you...,” he started, but Will held up his hand.“You suspected it. Why?” he demanded, pulling the blanket tight around his throat to cover every inch of skin. In the corner of his eye, the bright dot of the camera made him hunch over with unease.

“It was numerous things,” Hannibal said after a moment of contemplation. “You are an extraordinary empath, for one.” An adoring squint of those eyes made Will's skin tighten. “Your talent is to see people in their truest form and to understand their motives, their emotions and their intentions, without needing a single word exchanged between you,” Hannibal leaned in closer, lids low on his eyes as he dipped his head to scent Will close to his shoulder. “So?” Will asked, instinctively inching closer and feeling his own eyes fluttering at the nearing heat, when he knew he should be leaning back. Hannibal smiled, revealing one fang behind his lips. “It is a very primal quality, instinct,” he practically purred in pleasure and self-indulgence. “That is what I recognized in you. That bestial spirit.”

Will's lips parted at the unhidden adoration in Hannibal's tone, and the very clear shimmer of arousal that poked through the words. He inhaled sharply, mouth dry and eyes wide as Hannibal's chest rumbled gently underneath skin and bone. “Dogs gravitate towards you, because you understand their needs,” he said. “You speak their language.” Will's lips twitched at the mention of his dogs. A notion of pride and grief both at once as he looked back at Hannibal, helplessly enchanted by his words. “And then there is your need for solitude, your love of the outdoors, your preference to lure instead of hunt.”

Hannibal's words were warm, almost corporeal against his skin, kisses on frostbite. “God,” Will swallowed shakily, tightening his fingers in the blanket around his body. Hannibal stretched out his legs, revealing strong, hairy shins that peeked out from underneath the sheet. “And the lack of body hair...,” he added, an afterthought with a hint of teasing, and Will whipped his head back up to glower at the Alpha. “I can grow a beard in less than a week,” he bit back, running a hand over the days old scruff on his chin. He was an Omega, but he was not, by any means, effeminate.

“But the rest of your body is smooth, and petite. Delicate,” Hannibal said, his voice factual, if not for the underlaying smolder around the brim of his eyes. Will saw it and bared his teeth at the man across from him. “I'm not petite. I'm average,” he said, color high and bright on his cheekbones at the implication. Hannibal smiled with teeth bared, running a subtle tongue over his lower lip. “Average is not a word I would use to describe you,” he said, running those tiger eyes over the blush on Will's neck and face.

Will turned away, huffing and wrapping two arms around his waist. He was smaller than Hannibal, yes. In every imaginable way, certainly. But he was not petite. He was not delicate, Goddammit. “Was that a satisfying answer to your question?” Hannibal probed, and Will shot him a sharp look. “You could have told me about your suspicion. There was a time we talked rather a lot,” he reminded Hannibal stiffly and ignoring the glimmering self-assuredness that always swam in the Alpha's temperance, even beneath the lustful, tiger eyes. “Will watched Hannibal's eyes lower briefly before meeting him again.

“I wanted it to take you by surprise,” he answered, his face softening with sincerity, and Will closed his eyes for a brief moment. “You were curious to see what would happen,” he said, soft spoken, remembering the cruel times he had heard those words. But Hannibal shook his head once, and pressed thoughtful fingers to his lips before he spoke. “Had you known about me, you might have chosen to never set foot inside this facility,” he answered and Will felt his mouth go dry. Hannibal had done everything in his power to claim him, to have him, to bring out the beast in him, he had no doubt and the thought scared him.

It also made him hot. Very, very, uncomfortably hot. It was a sharp stab deep inside his belly and it made a trickle of slick stain the blanket around his thighs. It was just there, beyond his control. “Is this what an Omega is?” Will moaned out his frustration as he squirmed, shifting on the dirty mattress. Hannibal's nostrils widened momentarily before their eyes met. Both knew where this was heading and there was no way to stop it. “You have a lot to learn about yourself, Will,” the Alpha said, subconsciously biting into his own bottom lip. “And the moment your heat ends, I will teach you everything you need to know.” Will heard Hannibal's breathing become tighter, less effortless, and he felt his own sync up.

“Oh, I understand perfectly fine,” Will said, trying to keep his voice steady as he let the warm blanket slide an inch off his shoulders. “I am a slave to my own biology, my reproductive organs. I'm an animal.” Hannibal's eyes didn't miss the sliver of exposed skin and Will almost felt his hungry stare like a touch. Their conversation, however, did not waver. “On the contrary, Will,” Hannibal said, “becoming an Alpha or an Omega takes nothing away from who you are.” His eyes burned so deep, so passionate, it reminded Will of the times they had talked about Italy, art, cooking, ancient Greece. Then, it had been a spark. Now, it was the fires of hell. “It does, however, open up an extra layer of depth in your consciousness. One that was always there, but never truly experienced. It offers you your truest form of self-awareness. It's honest, pure, instinct.” Both men were slowly leaning forward on the mattress, chest heaving and pupils wide as Will felt another trickle of slick pouring from his body. Hannibal inhaled, clenched his teeth, and pulled up one corner of his lips. “It doesn't make us less, it makes us so much more,” he almost whispered, never breaking eye contact as Will shivered visibly under his words and arched his neck in an instinctual invitation he was not ready to make, or to understand. Hannibal's eyes almost fluttered, inching closer on the bed, but Will huffed at his words, clinging to his dignity and the blanket around his body.

“Honest and pure,” he murmured, swallowing hard as he shook his head, folding closer into himself. Hannibal pushed the tray from beside the bed with his bare foot, before he came to sit beside the Omega. “We instinctively know what is good for us,” the Alpha said gently, reaching out to cup Will's cheeks with his fingers. It earned the Alpha a burning stare of simultaneous lust and anger. Skin searched and pushed into his touch. “Good for us?” Will asked with silent outrage. “I'm nothing but a quivering, mindless mess.” He pulled the blanket from around his knees to show how they trembled with longing. “Being an Omega creates desires that I've never...”, but strong fingers on the bare skin of the back of that unsteady knee hushed him, and Hannibal placed a kiss below his ear. The smell of a campfire on a winter beach, with its worn wood and salty flames, was enough for Will to push his nose greedily against Hannibal's throat.

“It doesn't create, Will, it only bares,” Hannibal spoke, lips brushing against the shell of his ear. “No pretense. No ethics. No more doubt.” They both pulled back, before leaping forwards again, searching each other's lips like pulling magnets in a blazing storm.

Chapter Text

Will felt himself being pulled into a kiss that strung a tight band of intrusive, inescapable pleasure around every nerve inside his body. Blinded, he reached for Hannibal's soft hair and laced his fingers through the strands as he breathed against the pink, open lips sliding against his. The gentle pressure he found was almost tender compared to the snapping teeth that had been there during their previous mating. It was forceful and demanding still, but their tongues slid together in what was more dance than combat.

Inside his chest, Will felt a feral flutter, sweeping against the layers upon layers of dust within him and celebrating the wild beating of his heart as Hannibal licked into his mouth, past his lips, and chased after his taste. Hannibal always tasted like smoke and wine and thick, rich sauce poured over red meat and it left Will hungry, hungry, hungry for everything more. He felt the blanket around his shoulders being pushed away by Hannibal's searching hands, but the air was not cold against his blazing skin. It was stroking, light, a chilling relief against the burn of the heat that sizzled and cracked beneath the surface and Will whined desperately when Hannibal growled against his mouth, shedding his own sheet from around his waist.

The Alpha moved down to kiss the skin of Will's neck, inhaling and scenting the pale, sensitive flesh before his sharp teeth grazed his glands, making the Omega shiver and whimper against the hot, dangerous mouth on him. Hannibal moved searching lips to his shoulder, nosing at his collarbone before biting down his sharp fangs into pale flesh and drawing drops of bright blood to the surface. Will moaned openly, wantonly, when he felt his skin breaking under those piercing, sharp teeth and he laced his fingers tighter in Hannibal's short hair as the Alpha licked his blood into his mouth and sucked against the broken skin to gather all he could of the coppery taste.

His hands slid over Will's belly down to the angry red, hard cock between his thighs and the keening Omega almost went completely slack in Hannibal's arms when fingers caressed the swollen head of his erection and grazed the heavy skin of his balls before pushing further down against his twitching, dripping hole. “Ohhh, yes, fuck yes,” Will pushed himself up on his knees to give Hannibal better access to his body and the Alpha pushed two shallow fingers into his wet, tight entrance. They pumped into him to the first knuckle only, gathering slick, twisting and probing before pulling back out, surprising Will and leaving him to snarl in displeasure at the Alpha beside him.

Hannibal bared his teeth, stained with blood, yet without real menace, before his strong hand curled around Will's hard shaft and started pumping the hot flesh with his naturally lubricated fingers. “Ohhh God,” Will moaned, feeling the slick skin of his sensitive cock sliding against the warmth of Hannibal's palm and building up a needy pressure in his balls. The touch was teasing, exploring, not meant to bring him to higher grounds. “Fuck, please.” It was almost torturous how that one hand pumped him, teasing and causing friction against the underside of his leaking head, while the other stroked up his thighs, his belly and over the nubs of his peaking nipples. Hannibal's lips traveled from his throat up to Will's mouth, capturing him back into wet, lazy kisses and sharp, playful nips.

The Alpha was toying with him, building up something that was already far across its border, and Will trembled at the overthrowing, fulfilling pleasure that was nothing but maddeningly unfair. It was so far from enough, and he knew his Alpha knew it, too. At this stage, this hysterical heat, they failed to understand anything more than pounce, take, breed, fuck. Nothing but the stretch and fill of his Alpha inside his body was enough to relieve the choking strain, cure the blinding madness, bring that unimaginable sense of satisfaction and peace inside Will's body and mind. But for now, he felt his insides clenching painfully around nothing and begging to be filled as his whole body throbbed at the teasing touches with the screaming need for more.

His vocabulary was very limited at these moments where his heat seared through his loins, but the deep whine that he pushed from his throat sounded a lot like “Alpha. Alpha...” Hannibal growled like a vicious, reckless wolf against Will's skin, and the Omega knew Hannibal was torturing him as much as himself by delaying their inevitable mating. Foreplay, after all, was hardly for the savage, but rather for the gentle lovers. And yet, Hannibal seemed to want to slow down for him before his rut overtook all other senses, and to pleasure him as more than a mere Omega with his ass up in the air. After his desperate, wailing cry however, Hannibal too lost the last of his restraint.

Will snarled with feral teeth when felt himself being dragged up to his feet, as Hannibal yanked him up from the mattress by his waist and a fistful of his hair and turned him over in his arms. Two steps forward, a pushing hand on his neck, and his cheek pressed hard against a wall of glass. 'YES,' his animal mind howled approval and he moaned a low whine all the way from his belly as he tilted his hips back at Hannibal, who pressed against his back and rumbled low in his ear. The Alpha's nose was in his neck, kissing and nipping at the reddening skin as one large hand spread over Will's belly and pressed, pulling him further back. “Fuck,” Will moaned, fogging the glass wall with his panting breaths as Hannibal's free hand dipped between his dripping cheeks and plugged in two impatient fingers.

That plunging touch of twisting digits inside his ass was so glorious, Will groaned with open lips against the glass and stained it with saliva. “Please. Please, Hannibal,” he heard himself begging as tears started to leak from his eyes when the Alpha stroked a fingertip against his swollen prostate. It was the first time he had used Hannibal's name during sex, which was a thought that shot through his heated brain like a fleeting snowflake. Hannibal, however, pressed himself even closer against Will's back and tilted his Omega's head with a demanding hand under his chin. His kiss was as invasive as the pumping fingers inside his body as he sucked demandingly on his tongue before pulling out his hand and positioned the large head of his cock against Will's slick, tight opening.

The sounds that erupted when he pushed in were wild, unrecognizable as anything human and Will felt his eyes rolling and his teeth baring. Mind numbing relief washed through him as his insides were filled and stretched wide and deep, bringing pleasure that expanded to his thighs and up under his ribs. “Yessss.” Hannibal pushed the long length and thick girth of his Alpha cock into the tight Omega body in one powerful stroke that left them both weak in their knees and with heads thrown back in blinding pleasure. It was deep like this, so very deep and Hannibal wasted no time fucking into Will with long, hard strokes.

Will had both of his hands flat against the glass, nails scratching and searching in vain for some grip. The side of his face was pressed against the glass wall, bumping back and forth on the bones of his cheek and chin with every thrust inside his body. Hannibal pounded his cock into him, grazing hard on his prostate with a quick pull back and a powerful thrust forward as he pressed two hands firmly against Will's lower abdomen, giving him the leverage to push inside him hard and cruel and mindblowingly right, and allowing him to feel himself moving under Will's taut skin. “Uhh, uhh, uhh,” was the continuous sound that erupted from Will's throat with every push against and inside his body.

It was as overpowering and primal as their previous fucking, but when Hannibal pulled Will's head sideways with a flat hand on the Omega's forehead and pulling fingers on his hair, the kiss they shared was one with sliding tongues instead of shredding, biting teeth. Will pushed back, hot in Hannibal's embrace as he pressed his forehead against the glass and writhed his ass back against the Alpha's body. He didn't stop until he felt Hannibal's hipbones against his ass cheeks and sobbed at the beauty of the fullness inside him. Hannibal curved him, tilted his hips with the pressing hands on his belly and ripping pleasure from his core that he could feel even behind the roof of his mouth. It was so deep, so good, he felt his face sliding lower on the glass in weakening bliss and lowered his head further to look between their bodies.

His thighs bulged with effort, quivering from the liquefying pleasure in his bones. His cock was untouched and angrily so, crying milky fluid on the head as it bounced against his belly every time Hannibal plunged back in to his body . He took mercy on himself and reached down to palm his erection while simultaneously pulling the skin of his swinging sack forth so he could see where he was being penetrated, and the sight made his cock pulse dangerously in his hand. The large, bulbous and veiny shaft stretched his leaking hole to a point where the slick rim colored a blushing shade of alarming maroon, as Hannibal's erection, angry pink and glossy with Will's lubrication, pushed into the Omega's body to the wide, thick root.

“More, please,” Will sobbed against his arm, feeling Hannibal's fingers running down his thighs and brushing the hand Will still had around his cock. He didn't give him more, however, as the pace remained hard, deep, maddeningly steady while Hannibal's lips searched to kiss his neck, ignoring the persistent buckling of Will's hips by stilling him with firm hands on his belly. The Omega inside Will growled openly through his teeth and threw his head back on Hannibal's shoulder, snapping at his neck, just one bite out of reach. “Fuck you,” he growled and Hannibal's Alpha nipped warningly at Will's lips with a wild growl and sharp fangs bared, digging blunt nails into the man's hips as he kept his steady pace on him. Hannibal didn't like vulgarity, Will recalled, and wasn't that just the paradox from bleeding hell. Will pushed himself back harder, restrained by Hannibal's strength over him, as the Alpha drove into his body with steady, slow thrusts that were all too civilized for Will's reeling hormones.

With hands on the glass, Will let himself sag forwards against the transparent wall, his body going soft and pliant against the Alpha's, who growled his approval against his neck. Will was faking defeat, giving himself over willingly to Hannibal's wishes of torturously testing his patience, but the moment he felt the hands on his body loosening, he pushed back with all his might, using arms and legs and all his strength to throw himself away from the wall and stumble backwards with full force against the Alpha's body, who grunted and searched for balance as he grabbed Will tight around the waist and stepped back one, two, three steps before toppling over backwards and onto the mattress. Will toppled back on the hissing Alpha, who yanked at his hair to nip at his ear with punishing teeth, without ever separating their bodies. But Will nuzzled the sharp fangs beside his face, feeling victorious over his stronger mate as he pushed himself up with his hands back beside Hannibal's shoulders and his legs spread over Hannibal's knees. He moaned, openly, abandoned, as he pushed himself back down the Alpha's cock, harder and faster than Hannibal had been willing to give.

Hannibal roared in anger and surprise, and sat up as he placed his hands firmly on Will's hips to steady his Omega and support his weight, thrusting up to meet Will every time he let himself fall down around the Alpha's cock. The bigger man spared him no mercy after his rebellious act, crashing their bodies together with an angry, bruising force that left them both hissing and growling and wildly desperate for release. Will wailed, pumping his hips hard and fast as he fucked himself on Hannibal's pulsating Alpha cock at his own desired pace, riding him with his back to Hannibal's front. Hannibal's hand roamed over Will's quivering thighs and belly as he let himself be fucked hard and wild by the smaller Omega. It was hot, Will thought. So fucking hot. He had never before found the time to notice anything other than the blinding heat inside his core, but now the thought simply crashed inside his mind. Will couldn't help imagine the picture they painted, and it made his balls draw tight to his body.

Hannibal groaned, loud and wet against the skin of his Omega's shoulder as his hand found Will's cock again. Warm fingers closed around his throbbing shaft before Hannibal gripped his free arm over Will's chest and pulled him backwards. Pressed flush together, Hannibal held him tight, pumped his hard cock and bit into his shoulder, groaning openly and vulgarly at the taste of Will's blood. He fucked into him harder and faster than he ever had, and the Omega screamed, wailed, howled and sobbed until he had no voice left within him, and all he could feel was his prostate being pounded on over and over, so quickly it was almost like a continuous press inside his body. A fast, light touch moved over his cock, jerking him in the rhythm of his Alpha's thrusts inside his ass and Will could feel the bulge of Hannibal's knot pressing on the outside of the rim. “Fuck. Fuck. Fuck,” the feeling pushed him right over the steep, steep edge.

He wanted to curse, to claw, to cry out for his Alpha, but all sound got stuck in his throat as his body tightened hard and mercilessly around Hannibal's cock, who in turn clenched his arms hard around Will and released inside of the Omega with a powerful, primal growl in his mate's ear. The pleasure was a knife to his gut, biting into everything it could touch as it fought its way up and down, from toenails to eyeballs. His semen jerked and shot over his chest, onto his throat and the seam of his jaw. Hannibal's release pulsed hot inside his ass, deep and lasting as his cock continued to twitch inside of him, and his fingernails pushed into the side of his knees, drawing blood from beneath Will's skin. They pulsed and pulsed until their bodies went slack.

Ecstasy remained a burning glow inside him as Will hummed, stretched and relaxed against Hannibal, who seemed to have taken his pleasure and pulled out of his body. That was a new development, Will noticed after a long moment of nothing but golden bliss where their bodies piled together and their skin formed a cocoon of glorious warmth. Hannibal hadn't pushed his knot inside, trapping their bodies in a forced moment of togetherness. It was... it was strange, different. It was something his body had wanted and now missed, deep down inside the core of his Omega. Will wasn't sure what to think of it. He rolled off of Hannibal, an odd sense of freedom, and felt his lips twitching down at the emptiness inside. He moved to his side with his back towards Hannibal, who stretched himself, scratched at the hair on his belly and dug his shoulders deeper into the mattress to find comfort.

Hannibal sighed contently. “It doesn't create, Will. It only bares what is already inside,” he said, repeating words of their previous conversation, as if it hadn't been interrupted by a wild display of animalistic sex. Will didn't move, staring at the glass wall and the smudge of hand and face prints they had left behind. Hannibal's body rolled over, coming to spoon behind him as he ran a caressing hand down Will's arm. “The desire to be here with me was yours already, Will,” he spoke close to Will's ear, and the Omega grimaced at the goosebumps that rose on his skin, betraying how much the Alpha's nearness affected him. “We both know we have recognized each other as equals a long time before this.” Lips pressed against his bitten shoulder and Will closed his eyes, in search of a deep breath. “Is this your idea of afterglow conversation?” he said through stiff lips, tensing his back against the soft hair of Hannibal's chest. “Tell me I'm wrong,” the Alpha pressed, pushing his nose between Will's shoulder blades and settling against him.

Will felt a nose drawing patterns on his skin and sighed angrily at the happy hum that rose from within his body. “None of this makes any sense,” he huffed, “this Alpha and Omega thing is just so... idiotic.” His words were murmured against the mattress, and Hannibal chuckled behind him, running fingers over Will's naked ribs before pressing another kiss to his neck. “Let us not...,” he started, but was silenced when Will turned his head up and pushed his shoulder back to face Hannibal with an angry scowl. “I'm in heat. My body wants me to breed when I cannot even bare children. How is that not pointless, primal idiocy?” he bit at the Alpha, who blinked with eyes soft with satisfaction, briefly considered him and pushed his nose to Will's ear with a smile. Animal affection. Endless animal affection.

“Oh no, Will, that is not all a heat is for,” Hannibal said, purring into his hair. “It is a way to help create and maintain a bond between Alpha and Omega mates. Physically as well as mentally.” Will leaned in when Hannibal pressed their cheeks together, the comfort it brought stronger than himself. “Mentally?” he scoffed, tilting his head back to give Hannibal room to nuzzle at his glands. “Of course,” Hannibal said against his throat. “Sex is just one of the components. The time that comes after is equally substantial.” There was a hint of tongue against Will's skin, a threat of teeth, and it made his subconsciousness fully aware of what would happen, would Hannibal bite down.

“Like when you... when we... when you're stuck inside me?” Will stammered, feeling his cheeks flush as Hannibal pulled back to look at him. “Knotted, yes,” he said, as his hand reached for Will's and lazily played with his fingers. “Jesus,” Will cursed, feeling his blush deepening as it spread to his ears and down his neck. He lay his head back flat on the mattress, eyes on the ceiling. “We didn't... we didn't do that this time,” he said, carefully toneless as he kept his eyes off Hannibal, who kept stroking his fingers undisturbed. “I figured it would be more comfortable for you,” Hannibal responded casually, making no effort to meet Will's shy flicker of eyes. Instead, he kept looking at Will's fingers, bending them at the knuckles and stroking his nails.

They stayed like that for minutes, silently in a room that was still clouded by their blended scents as Will felt his slick trickling out of him, mixed together with Hannibal's seed. It felt dirty, lying in their sticky fluids, but he didn't move. He had almost closed his eyes before Hannibal spoke again, gently. “I will give you all the time you need to accept the situation, Will. I will answer all your questions and I will not stop you when you walk away. But you need to understand that there is no running from who we are. You will always come back to me. We belong together.”

Will's eyes popped open, shooting sideways where Hannibal was staring at him with intense, amber eyes. Will rolled to his side, facing Hannibal, and inhaled, smelling that scent that made his heart sing. “I've never trusted you,” he said, voice husk. Their eyes met in a long stare of ocean and earth. “And you never could,” Hannibal said. “Until now.”

Chapter Text

They were dozing together, front to back, and when Will awoke he realized he had lost all sense of time. How many days, how many nights had passed, was completely lost in the rhythm of sex, sleep, sex and sleep. When his eyes fluttered open, body stirring under the sheets, he felt himself welcomed to the world by soft lips pressing against the bare skin of his neck. The kisses were gentle, barely there, so different from the brutality they contained when they were driven by the heat and the rut and both of them couldn't think about anything else than a beastly need to be close enough to taste blood.

This, this was different. This was not mere lust or a leftover exchange in the golden clouds of the afterglow. Those lips on his neck showed no hurry, no intention to wander or to spur him on, but spoke of nothing but a simple, honest wish for touch, taste, nearness. Hannibal wasn't shy about his affections, and he never had been. Will remembered those lingering touches of fingers on his shoulder, a caress on the back of his hand and a cupping palm on his cheek, those first months in his office. His Alpha had never made a murder pit out of his heart, even when he did out of everything else.

For Will, feeling those lips on his neck without the fog in his mind was other territory. This was real. This was Will Graham, even if the animal within him still keened at the need to throw back his head and push into the caressing lips against his skin. What Hannibal showed him was whole-minded tenderness, sentiment, and Will took a deep breath to steady himself inside the warm arms that wrapped around him. He inhaled the blanketing scent of Alpha and Omega, Hannibal and Will, which was deeply embedded on their skin and in their sheets. He felt lips against his throat like the soothing water of the stream, and heard the song beneath his skin, the thousand fragile voices in the chapel made of bones. Everything about it, even without the clawing need in his loins, felt like it belonged.

His nose followed after the fiery musk and before he had turned his head up completely, his lips were sought out and captured by a soft mouth, surrounded by a chafing stubble. The kiss was nothing but lips as their mouths brushed and slid and found their way to fit seamlessly against each other. They burned each other's skin with sharp day-old beards and they clutched unwashed hairs between their fingers as they brushed and slid and pulled until no air existed between them. The moment was something that flooded Will, engulfed him completely, and he would not consider his behavior again, until much, much later, simmering shamefully in the darkness of his mind. But at this moment, something considerably more difficult to evade and avoid was rattling at the gate of their togetherness, and demanded their attention.

“Will?” Alana's voice sounded from the other side of the glass wall. “Hannibal? Can I have a word?” She sounded hesitant underneath the stern confidence she always tried to exude. Will's head shot up, pulling back from Hannibal with widened eyes and bright burning cheeks as he whipped his head to the side and looked right into a lovely shade of blue eyes from the other side of the wall, mere feet away. “I could come back,” she said a little hasty, pulling at the sleeves of her maroon suit. “Are you... connected, right now?” There was a tinge of pink to her cheeks but her tight lips didn't show anything that could be considered less than cold, hard professionalism. It was admirable, at the least.

Will twisted away from Hannibal and reached for the sheets, suddenly very much aware of his nudity, the raw marks on his neck and shoulders, and the blood-filled lips that must be tinged red from their pressing kisses. He pulled the white, dirty sheet around his shoulders and folded the material around his body, hiding everything but face and feet as he sat up, threw Hannibal, naked and undisturbed, a quick and flustered stare and scampered to his feet. “No. no,” he stuttered, out of breath, stepping towards her behind the glass, only briefly meeting her eyes.
“Alana, what a lovely surprise,” Will heard Hannibal greeting her jovially behind him, and he watched him rise from the mattress with so much grace it made Will's jaw tighten before he turned his burning eyes away. Hannibal did not seem to care much for modesty, and forwent the blanket he could have used for cover. He was naked, blemished with marks and bites and scratches on his skin, and he wore them like the most precious jewelery. It was a game, Will thought. A power play, of prisoner and guard, an Alpha who finally found his intended: 'I am vulnerable, yet you cannot harm me. You cannot touch me. You cannot have me. I no longer belong to you.'

Alana's eyes burned a hole through Hannibal's skull, carefully making sure her eyes would not wander anywhere else. Her lips still tight, her fingers twitching. She was uncomfortable, bordering on pissed. “We will get dressed, it will only take a minute,” Will said, eyeing Hannibal disapprovingly, if a little heated, and twirled his finger bidding Alana to turn, which she did. There was probably nothing here she hadn't already seen on her security cameras, but Will still had a scrap of pride in him and he was clinging on to it hard. If only he could stop the bubbling burn behind his balls that was already shimmering inside him.

He grabbed his prison suit and tossed the other to Hannibal when he didn't make a move to get himself decent. He caught it in one hand, ignoring Will's pointed stare and hoisted himself in the pale gray overalls without any underwear. Will quickly looked at the accommodating socks, shirt and underwear on the floor, but forfeited them with a roll of his eyes. Hannibal had been right when he said there was no point to getting fully dressed. The suit was too big, Hannibal's size, and half of his hands and feet disappeared under the fabric. It didn't help the situation, really, looking like a boy dressed in Daddy's suit.

When they were all facing each other from other sides of the glass, Hannibal clasped his hands behind his back, taking his signature stance, and smiled dangerously at Alana. Her pupils dilated, but nothing else about her so much as moved. “We have about 15 minutes to spare,” Hannibal informed her and Will's brow shot up despite himself. “What?” he hissed between his teeth. “How do you know that?” He did not desire being left out on the biological part of a situation he was at least 50% part of. Hannibal's lips twitched, betraying the tiniest hint of a smirk before he made a show of closing his eyes and inhaling deeply through his nose. Nostrils flared and Will felt heat rising from his neck to his ears. He clenched his insides and felt slick pooling around his hole. Hannibal could smell him, better than Will could smell himself. He was attuned to him, like Will was attuned to Hannibal's musk of winter fire.

“Right,” Alana said, her voice an octave higher, and Will snapped his eyes away from Hannibal's leering gaze and onto Alana's rapidly blinking one. “This situation requires some delicate decisions from us, Will,” she said, pointedly leaving Hannibal out of the conversation. Will inhaled, feeling himself step closer to the glass as he placed a hand against the cool, smooth material. His mind hadn't allowed him to think much further than where he was now. With Hannibal, in his cell, with nothing but each other. There was a world out there, outside these walls, and there was a life waiting for him. He wanted to think, think, think, but his mind steered away from any subject that was beyond these walls.

“Did you contact Molly?” he asked Alana, pulling at his bottom lip with his fingers. Behind him, Hannibal sniffed once and his scent of warmth became laced with something hot, like sitting too close to a fireplace. Alana nodded, carefully, an apologetic twitch of her lips. “She called us,” she said. “We told her you have Typhoid fever. Quarantined. No visitors allowed.” Will's eyes widened, trying to think about his poor, sweet, worried Molly. “What did she...?” he said, stuck on the sentence as he breathed the hot fire that Hannibal emanated into the room. “We told her not to come, but she wants daily updates. Dr. Hamming is making up something adequate, I believe,” Alana said, sucking her bottom lip between her teeth, a gesture laced with nerves no doubt caused by the fire-breathing lion in the room. “I assumed you didn't want her to know, or see.....” - “No, no,” Will confirmed hastily with a wild shake of his head, gathering trembling breaths between his teeth. Their eyes were locked, and he looked at a kindness in her face he recognized from years before, when they were friends. It was warm, and open, and sad. It was pity, he realized now. It had always been pity.

“We will figure something out,” she said, promised, quiet and sweet, trustworthy with those big, blue eyes you could drown in. That very moment, he wanted to bare his teeth at her and growl, lash out against the glass wall, but all he did was was nod. He turned from the glass and noticed Hannibal's eyes on him, seeing into him as if his skull had been cracked open and laid bare. Their eyes met briefly, ocean and earth, and Will breathed, feeling his lungs open and his feet steady as the rage behind his chest settled in that instant. His shoulders sagged, his hands unclenched, he was calm. Alana turned to Hannibal, unaware of what transpired. “So,” she said, eyes fixed firmly on the Alpha as she crossed her arms over her chest. You... outdid yourself on the furniture,” she wrinkled her nose in disapproval as her eyes scanned over the room, currently in a state that would have made a hurricane proud. Hannibal tilted his head, and pursed his lips with unmistakable mirth.

“Both of us did,” he said, stretching his linked hands behind his back. “Did you see?” his eyes were challenging, probing for the tiniest hint of an expression that would betray if she had indeed, seen them, breaking that furniture. Alana's eyes widened before she quickly recovered and sighed in dismay as if the question was merely a distasteful one. Will eyed her carefully from beside Hannibal, his cheeks hot red and palms sweaty, but if there was anything to read on her, it was lost on him.

“Some of the staff is coming to replace what has been broken, and to clean up this mess,” Alana said, ignoring Hannibal and evasively watching the devastated room behind them. “How generous,” Hannibal said, hands still clasped, eyes still shining. “Safety regulations,” Alana replied coolly, her eyes never making it back to his. If she was trying to be professional about her distaste, or rather her apprehension, for the man that she had once called a lover, she failed.

Her eyes moved back to Will, who was starting to feel weak in his bones and hot in his loins. His distance from Hannibal was ever so slowly crossed with the occasional shuffle of his bare feet on the wooden floor, as his nose searched the air for more of his Alpha's scent. Alana watched him, undoubtedly noticing the helpless pull. “I wanted them to be here in twenty minutes and have Hannibal restrained, but...” she paused, shifting her gaze from one to the other, gears almost visibly spinning inside her head as she watched a heated, squirming Will gazing mindlessly at Hannibal, whose body was practically throbbing under his thin uniform. “We could go someplace else,” Hannibal suggested, pulling up a teasing eyebrow at her before following his nose into Will's curls. Alana huffed and crossed her arms, cheeks flushed hot pink. “You could go into your private shower. I'm sure you could both use one,” she said, and Will felt her looking at the dirty sheet on the floor. Crusted with slick and semen, sweat and blood.

“We can't be... connected, in my private shower,” Hannibal countered, leaving a dramatic pause in the sentence to repeat Alana's own awkward phrasing back to her. “It would hardly be comfortable for my Omega.” Hannibal ran a hot tongue over the skin behind his mate's ear as Alana's cheeks burst with color and Will had a sudden vision of Hannibal knotting him whole and deep against the cold tiles. One drop of slick fell on the back of his leg and Hannibal's nostrils widened. “It's fine, Alana, thank you,” Will hurried to say, pitying her for the position that was forced on her. In fact, the only one not to be pitied for forced positions, was Hannibal. Alana stepped closer to the glass, meeting Will's eyes and lowering her voice. “This only takes a few more days, Will. When your heat is over we will sort this whole thing out. Maybe there's a cure,” she said, soft, hopeful, kind.

“The cure is death,” Hannibal deadpanned dryly beside him and Alana's head shot up, turning to him with a vicious glare. “I've done my research,” she said, pedantically. “There are pills that...” - “That control your hormones? Tamper your heats?” Hannibal interrupted her, smiling, mocking, but with a fiery, dangerous glint beneath the amber of his eyes. Will caught it, and felt his insides sizzle and crack with newfound heat. “Not when you have found your one, perfect mate,” the Alpha said, eyes shining like liquid fire, and Will felt his knees trembling under his weight and his already hardening cock twitching against his prison suit. Alana huffed through her nose, her bravery, even behind glass, astonishing. “You are not bonded,” she pointed out, fingers clenched and brow drawn tight when Hannibal pursed his lips in self-satisfaction as he stared those fire-breathing eyes straight into her skull. “We are a Per mutua nexis couple, Alana,” he said and cocked his head towards the undamaged rows of books on the wall. “I too, have done my research.”

Will's Omega ears picked up the grinding of Alana's teeth as she stared silently, cold and hard, at the haughty Alfa. “A permanent separation between us, heat or no, will be impossible,” Hannibal carried on when Alana stayed silent. “Will, will have to stay with me.” The Omega's eyes peeked up through the thickening mist of his rising heat. “What?” he said, dazed, but Hannibal only extended his hand to stroke his curls, and Will instantly calmed under the touch, nuzzling against the Alpha's wrist. “Or you will have to hand me to him,” Hannibal continued, tilting his head challengingly at Alana, whose eyes widened visibly at the mere idea of what Hannibal was suggesting. “It is far from proven that you two are a Per mutua nexis couple, Hannibal. Don't get ahead of yourself,” she hissed with sharp venom on her tongue before she turned back to Will, taking a deep, calming breath.

“We will talk about this when you are no longer in heat, Will,” she said, still flustered from the argument, until she looked into those lost Omega eyes and softened her blue eyes. “Don't worry, Will. We will find a way to help you.” Will blinked, hardly seeing Alana through the blazing beauty that was his available Alpha mate beside him.“Yes. All right,” he said absentmindedly as he stepped so close his chest was pressed against Hannibal's arm. That arm found a way around his waist and Will ran his nose over Hannibal's neck before latching his mouth to the tender skin, tasting his mate like it was a vitality. Alana took a step back as blood rose to her cheeks, but the two stepped forward in tandem, Will folding himself around Hannibal's every move.

“Alana,” Hannibal said, no color to his voice as he stroked Will's neck like one would a beloved pet. “I am in a most agreeable mood, in such delightful company.” His eyes rested on Will, who was nosing along his jawline with content little sighs, and his eyes shone with proud, pleased, possessiveness. “It is so agreeable, in fact, that the promise I have reserved for you could slip from my mind altogether.” Will could barely see anything through his smothering need, but he did hear Alana's hidden gasp, stuck in her throat. Both she and Hannibal were close to the glass, eyes locked almost painfully. “But if you force a separation between me and my Omega, and he suffers because of it, I'll upgrade that promise to new, glorious heights and I will slaughter ever single person that ever touched your life. Like Verger pigs.”

He spoke the words with bone-chilling honesty as Will licked his ear like a purring kitten and pushed one leg around Hannibal's hip to grind against him through his onesie. “Excessive,” Will commented offhandedly, as he started to reach for the zipper of Hannibal's jumpsuit. Graying chest hair came in sight, and he buried his nose against the newly revealed skin, rubbing the scent against his glands. He heard Hannibal's words as if in a dream, but what he said next penetrated deeper in his mind, and remained. “This is my mate, Alana. If you think you know devotion, think again. I won't just die for him. I'll mutilate, violate and burn everything and everyone that doesn't move to accommodate him.”
Will felt a hot burn in his chest and pushed his hands inside the prison suit, wrapping his arms around Hannibal's naked waist. “Fuck me,” he said, finally pulling Hannibal in for a real kiss and sliding his tongue between the Alpha's lips to stroke against Hannibal's. He was so wet and so hard already, staining and straining his new jumpsuit as his legs moved to climb onto the Alpha's hips. Hannibal held him steady with firm hands on his lower back, but he too, was already too far gone to heed the woman in front of them. It was then that the loud sound of a buzzer rung through the cell, and Alana's head shot up and out of what seemed like a high, faraway place in thunderous clouds.

The staff members were there to replace the furniture, and things were getting out of hand, very quickly. “How about that shower?” she said, flushing red high on her cheeks. Hannibal shot an eye her way before he tightened his grip on Will's hips to lift him, and the Omega wrapped his legs around the Alpha's waist. “I'll take you,” Hannibal rumbled low against his mate's ear as he carried him off to the back of the room, while Will was tugging at his earlobe with his teeth and grinding his hips against Hannibal's belly.

“Yes, yes, take me,” he moaned, beyond all shame as Hannibal walked backwards into the oak door that was positioned in the wall behind the bed, to push it open. That door was one that Will had seen before but never considered, and now he could see for himself that it revealed a bathroom with creme tiles, a sink and a rather spacious, walk-in shower made entirely from glass walls. It wasn't a bathroom to Hannibal's standard, but for a prison shower, it was absolutely outrageous. “This... How?” Will panted through the heat, managing those two surprised words with widened eyes at Hannibal, who still carried him around his waist.

“With good behavior come all kinds of privileges, Will,” the Alpha bared his teeth and Will felt those words all over his skin like a thousand hot needles sunk into him at once, pain until unbearable pleasure. If Will had not been delirious like a dog in heat, he would have remembered just how Hannibal had earned those privileges from his ward. The Verger child, securing a great inheritance that reeked of foul blood and betrayal, and it was Hannibal that had supplied that one necessity to make it so. And that man was watching him with hooded eyes of gold and blood, hot and heavy and traveling down his face until he lurched forward to capture Will's lips between blunt teeth.

Will moaned quite obscenely around a hot, soft tongue that licked into his mouth as Hannibal pressed their bodies into the nearest, tiled wall. He threw his head back against the hard stone when Hannibal scraped his teeth lower over his neck a released a needy growl that peaked the ears of Will's Omega, pressing fangs right over the sensitive glands of his throat. Will felt his body quivering with want and need and terrible weakness, safely held by Hannibal's strong arms and pressed against his strong, strong body as the Omega inside him cried and howled and begged to be bitten. Claimed. Bonded. But Will, he was there too, and his voice was regaining strength with every passing minute since the beginning of his heat, pushing through from the back of his head. No. No. Not that.

And Hannibal heard him too, even when his hands shook from the effort to move from the Omega's exposed, undamaged skin. The Alpha could easily overpower and claim him without as much as a real struggle and the thought scared Will as much as it added to his arousal, coiling like a ball of furious fire behind his pelvis. Hannibal was strong like a savage predator that could only safely be beheld behind a wall of glass, and that Alpha licked longingly around the shell of his ear. “Please, Hannibal, please,” Will pleaded, his throat tight and his eyes wet as Hannibal's hand started ripping his clothes, forced to let Will's feet back to the floor to undo the fabric over his hips. “I told you, clothes are no good at all during heats,” he said through the low growl that steadily rose from his chest as he squatted down to press kisses onto Will's naked belly. “No good,” Will agreed, pulling at Hannibal's own prison attire. In the background, male voices could be heard through the walls. They were cleaning up their mess, while they were here making more. “Fuck,” Will sighed when Hannibal spun him to pull the suit off his feet before sitting up on his knees and pushing his tongue in between Will's cheeks, finding his tight, wet heat. “Oh Fuck,” Will pushed back against that probing tongue with true abandon, arching his spine dangerously deep into the fiery licks against his opening while his face rested against cold tiles. “Oh God, please, please. Alpha,” he begged, knowing already what it did to his mate when he begged him so prettily and he felt the uncontrolled heat coming off of Hannibal behind him as he groaned deep against Will's hole.

Will felt the vibration of his Alpha's deep voice buzzing against him as the hot tongue lapped at the slick around his opening. It was maddening, torturously hot and wet, and Will's knees quivered and buckled as he pushed himself firmer against Hannibal's face. The wet, devouring noises and rough moans that rose between them were obscene, and Will cursed loudly against the tiles when Hannibal pushed one, long finger into his ass, and rubbed teasingly against his needy prostate. “Fuck, shit, THERE,” the Omega cried out his approval ecstatically loud, and the voices on the other side of the thin wall silenced at once. Those men cleaning up their mating mess, those men could hear them through the wall. They could hear the grunts and the moans and the cries and wet licks of an Alpha tongue against dripping slick, but Will didn't notice as he pushed back wholeheartedly against Hannibal's face and hand, openly welcoming the fingers on his prostate with a high-pitched whine.

Slick flowed freely and the scent of sex, musk and autumn rose in the air around them as the sticky fluid stained Hannibal's mouth, chin and fingers as he hummed blissfully against Will's entrance with closed eyes and his tongue pushing in beside his stroking finger. No one had ever done this to Will before, and the idea had always struck him as odd, but that was no longer a word he would use as he clawed at the creme tiles like a lost, frightened animal and felt a heavy tension building inside his balls. Coming like this, it wouldn't be enough. He knew he needed to be bred, filled, belly bloated with his Alpha's cum, but for now there was room inside his head only for this, this, this, and it felt so, so good. Oh yes. “Oh fuck yes.” Hannibal worked in another finger, as he licked around Will's tight rim. He felt it in his cock, his ass and his abdomen as those pinpricks of pleasure and heat wound tight around his upper thighs like ropes of silk, tightening bliss.

A hand slid between his legs and long fingers brushed his balls before wrapping around his cock and pumping his erection with a loose grip that left Will staggering on his legs. He pressed his face and one shoulder to the cold tiles, missing any kind of real leverage, except Hannibal's face between his cheeks. “Ohhhhh,” Will whined, more and more like the Omega that was already howling inside his head. Will could smell Hannibal's arousal thick in the air as it danced with his own, and shuddered hard around the fingers and tongue inside his tight body. Hannibal growled low in his throat, stroking the sound inside Will, who jerked back against the grip on his cock. The tightening pleasure was everywhere, clawing and gripping and building to an unbearable pressure in his belly. “Hannibal, please, please make me come,” he sobbed shamelessly, wild and desperate as he rocked his hips in search for more and hard. Outside the wall, there was the dragging of furniture and the tinkering of construction, but not a voice could be heard.

Hannibal snarled at his words and squeezed Will's cock tight in his palm as his fingers plunged deeper into Omega's opening. Will knew Hannibal could have dragged this out for days, his pure delight and enjoyment in this position evident on his face and against the strained fabric of his jumpsuit, but Will couldn't wait. The steady rhythm of teasing fingers and licks was only fogging his mind harder and hotter gradually turning him into a desperate, clawing animal, in search for relief. Hannibal continued to rub his prostate in teasing circles until Will swayed on his legs, balancing on a very high, steep edge between heaven and pain. He wanted it so, so bad. And then, the fingers were gone, the tongue slipped out, the hand released him. Hannibal rose and stepped back from Will, who huddled against the wall like a weak, desperate pile of Omega man and howled pitifully as his bare hips rocked against nothing.

“No, no, no, no, noooo,” Will wailed dramatically, open lips pressed against the cold tiles and eyes tightly pressed shut. Hannibal smiled as he stepped out of his own clothes, whipped his mouth with the sleeve and grabbed a large towel as he walked into the shower. “Come with me,” he said, turning on the water and checking the temperature with his hand. Will followed instantly, wobbling on unsteady legs as he reached for his naked Alpha, nose against throat. “My Omega,” Hannibal sighed contently into his hair and hummed his satisfaction when Will reached eagerly between their bodies for the Alpha's cock, hard and ready against his belly. He stroked over the hard flesh as he kissed alongside Hannibal's jaw, who in turn soothed him with stroking hands on his arms and back, rumbling approval in Will's ear that made the Omega glow warmly under his skin. Steam was rising all around them as Hannibal checked the temperature of the running water before grabbing his mate and pushing him under the stream with his back against the glass wall. The water was hot, the glass was cold and Will was writhing against his mate. “Yes,” Will sighed, reaching out with grabbing hands to pull Hannibal towards him. “Fuck me.”

Will felt big hands lifting his hips again and wrapped his legs back around Hannibal's hips in the same instant. His head was already back against the wall as his hips pressed down in search for Hannibal. No more stalling, there was only so much his starving animal brain could take. When Hannibal pressed the head of his cock against him without pressing in, Will growled from between his lips as he shot a furious look to the Alpha, who smiled challengingly at his mate. Will snapped at Hannibal's throat with teeth and squeezed his hips punishingly tight around the Alpha's waist. “Fuck me,” he yelled demandingly. “Fuck me, fuck me, FUCK ME!” On the other side of the wall, something heavy dropped and two people cursed, but the noise was drowned out by Will's cry when Hannibal grabbed his hips and slammed home in one brutal stroke.

Will's head slammed against the glass as his back arched as far as his spine would allow itself to bend and Hannibal fucked unforgivingly into his tight, wet opening. The pace was merciless as he slammed himself all the way into his Omega before drawing back with a wet drag against Will's insides, and forcing Will's hips back down again. His hands were on the back of Will's thighs, carrying his weight as he pressed him into the steamed up glass, leaving prints everywhere Will's naked body touched. “Yes, yes, yes,” Will moaned wildly as he met his mate with every thrust, feeling his neglected release building back up at whirlwind speed.

“They're listening,” Hannibal growled into his ear as he pushed his nose into Will's wet curls. They were both soaking wet, with hot water pounding on their heated skin as they moved hard and frantically against each other. Will knew, somewhere in his sex-fried brain, that he was referring to the working staff in the cell outside the bathroom. The sounds of furniture being rearranged and rebuilt had slowed to almost nothing, but there were indeed still half a dozen men present in that room. “Yes,” he hissed against his Alpha as he pushed his hips forward to claim every thrust inside. His prostate was abused, his hole was swollen red and his cock was crying from neglect. He wanted more, more, more.

“Do you want me to stop?” Hannibal asked huskily, teasing as he dragged his tongue across Will's ear shell “Don't you fucking dare,” Will moaned, wrapping two strong arms around Hannibal's shoulders as he held on tighter and bounced harder against the glass, on the Alpha's pulsing cock. “They can hear what I'm doing to you,” Hannibal hissed, sucking a bruise under his earlobe. The heated words made Will's balls draw tight and his eyes roll back as Hannibal's cock pressed heavy on his prostate and dragged deliciously in and out of his body. “Shit,” Will cursed, moaning when Hannibal held him up with one hand only to graze Will's pink, peaked nipples with this thumb.

“They can hear how much you love being fucked by me,” Hannibal grunted, pumping into him harder as he reached down Will's belly. “Fuck, yes, yes,” Will cried harder, uncaring who heard as he sobbed his pleasure against his Alpha's neck. “They can hear how much you love to be fucked by your Alpha,” Hannibal growled, lost in Will's pleasure as one hand tightened on the Omega's hips and pounded into his willing body, hard and fast and with full abandon. “They can hear you belong to me,” Hannibal hissed through gritted teeth and Will howled when Hannibal's free hand wrapped around his cock and squeezed him tight. “Fuck. Alpha.”

Hannibal's tongue flicked behind his earlobe. “They will jerk off to the noises you are making when they get home,” he croaked against Will as the hot water streamed across his face, strained with effort and the painful pleasure that was theirs. “Hannibal,” Will whined, clawing at his Alpha's back as Hannibal's hand pumped his cock as he pushed the Omega hard and whole over his large, throbbing cock. “And I'm going to kill every single one of them for it,” Hannibal snarled, baring teeth as he bit into Will's shoulder and shuddered violently inside as his hand worked fast over Will's angry red cock. “Fuck, fuck fuck,” Will screamed, hearing himself echoing back against the walls as his body clamped down hard and his thighs shuddered with unforgivable pleasure. He felt himself shooting sticky, hot cum between their bodies as the Omega in him howled its victory when he felt Hannibal releasing himself deep inside his belly. It was an endless stream of hot wetness that filled him gloriously as he spasmed around Hannibal's swelling cock, knot pushed past the rim and growing inside as the Alpha's hips stuttered forward inside his body.

His powerful orgasm took the wear out of his bones and replaced it with weightless pleasure that made him feel like he was floating on a sizzling, electric cloud. Hannibal had stopped moving his hips as he buried his face against Will's bitten shoulder. He hadn't bitten him where it counted even when Will had felt the strongest possible desire in Hannibal to do it, and Will felt that knowledge taking place inside his mind. Even when both their animals had wanted that bite, Hannibal had controlled himself.

The knot was deeply embedded past his ring of muscles and he squeezed around it, making Hannibal groan and shudder against his shoulder. “We're stuck, like this,” Will said, not yet able to sound displeased at the odd position they were currently in. “Cozy, wouldn't you say?” Hannibal said against his skin, and Will could feel his bare teeth in a smile against his shoulder. Before he could consider their options, however, Hannibal had pulled a strong arm around him and pulled the awaiting towel off the rack to wrap it firmly around Will before he carried him, connected and bare, to the door.

Will felt Hannibal shuddering with every footstep but he didn't slow his pace as he opened the door and walked into his prison cell, that was once again pleasantly unoccupied. The smell of sweaty men was very much present, but everything broken had been restored. The bed was back in place, with a twin placed right by its side. The table, the chair, and another chair. It was replaced, repaired and there was now room for two. Will couldn't help but feel a pinch of gratitude towards Alana when he eyed the extra bed that Hannibal laid himself on, with the Omega curled around his torso and fresh sheets over their naked skin. Face to face, knees beside Hannibal's hips. There was a tired kiss on his lips that he returned. “Are you really going to kill them?” Will asked, yawning as he pushed his nose under Hannibal's chin. “If I ever get the opportunity,” Hannibal promised, all softness and pink skin.

“That sounds dangerous, coming from you,” Will said, closing his eyes as his limbs went slack on the clean, new mattress. Hannibal sighed in his hair. “I meant every word I said to Alana,” he spoke softly, wrapping his arms around Will's ribs to pull him closer in their embrace. “I know,” Will replied, slowly falling into slumber.

Chapter Text

It only took a short hour for the knot to loosen inside Will, allowing them to separate. Then, it took an afternoon for Will to actually roll off his Alpha's chest and onto the adjoined, empty bed beside them. Two beds, they had now. A comfortable surprise, Will thought as he stretched out on the fresh sheets, cool against his bare skin. But he also felt something else entirely; this arrangement seemed... permanent. It was a change that made it feel real, like buying a litter box when adopting a kitten. It was like an unspoken agreement that he was now part of some sort of living arrangement. It made his chest feel tight and his face feel hot as he watched the windowless walls around him from his place on the bed. Those walls seemed thick, too thick to breathe easily and he felt like they were closing in, trapping him and squeezing the air from his lungs.

But before the wave of panic could crash behind his ribs and swallow him, a strong arm wrapped around his waist and pulled him back against the naked skin of a bare chest. “The two beds are required,” Hannibal's groggy voice croaked in his ear and Will's eyes shot back towards the nose that pressed against his cheek. “Two people, two beds. Due to health regulations.” Will breathed, steady and calm against his Alpha as he felt the tight fist of his fear vanishing in the cocoon of warmth that shimmered around them. “Was I thinking out loud?” he asked weakly against the mattress, remaining slightly shaken as Hannibal inhaled against the curls at his temple. “You always are,” he rumbled. “Now more than ever.”

Soup and bread were brought in by an unfamiliar staff member, a middle aged lady with frizzy hair, a shade too red for her ashy skin. She refused to make eye contact, even when she was politely thanked by the two men dressed only in sheets. They sat at the table, each in their own, new chair and Will ate after Hannibal insisted, even if his stomach twisted in hesitation at the sight and smell of food. “It is quite normal to lose one's appetite during a heat. Your body wants to keep itself light and clean to ensure a successful pregnancy,” Hannibal said airily, spooning his bland tomato soup into his mouth with eyes like bloody diamonds. “Thanks for that,” Will deadpanned as he narrowed his eyes at Hannibal from across the table, who smiled friendly around his spoon.

Will noticed his mind seemed cleared somehow, calmer, steadier, since their last time together in the shower. His dreams had been less frantic, more clouded around the blur of naked skin he saw behind his eyes. Instead, there was a newfound clarity, more room to drift to practicalities, and of course, uncertainties. Molly was there, in his mind, more prominent than before. “I would ask you what is on your mind...,” Hannibal broke through the glass film on the staring Omega's eyes. “But I wouldn't want to give you the feeling that we're back in therapy.” His tone was gentle, a touch of humor present in his warm voice, but his eyes so probed violently curious that Will quickly blinked the vision of his wife from his mind, as if Hannibal could look into his eyes and see her too. It always felt like he could.

“My heat is... diminishing,” Will said into the spoonful of soup he quickly lifted to his lips and Hannibal hummed from across the table. “It gradually reduces, naturally,” he said, waving a hand as if to usher away such obvious thoughts while his eyes crept over Will, who quickly hunched back over his meal and took a bite out of his chicken sandwich. His legs twitched under the table, bouncing on one toe in a nervous habit as Hannibal leaned forward across the tabletop.

“How does that make you feel?” Hannibal asked, coaxing a curling of the Omega's lips as he briefly met Hannibal's eyes over the table. “Now I am back in therapy,” he said, shaking his head once before peeling the crusts off his bread with restless fingers. Hannibal's eyes were on him still, waiting. Will could see them on the inside of his skull before his eyes could even meet them across the room. “It makes me feel like I am having sex with an inmate while my family is home waiting for me.” Their eyes locked, but Hannibal seemed unfazed. He took a patient spoonful into his mouth and swallowed before he smiled. Kindly, but without his eyes. “Those are facts, not feelings,” he said analytically, “But I would guess the word you are looking for is guilt.”

Will felt a trickle of annoyance seeping down his spine and tightened his lips at the smug Alpha across the table. “The word I'm looking for is shock. Outrage. Exploited, by my own nature,” he bit across the table, slurping his soup noisily from his spoon to emphasize his anger. Hannibal remained perfectly upright in his seat as he placed his plastic spoon before him on the table and folded his hands in his lap. “Maybe the word is satisfied,” he said in a voice Will recognized as 'Dr. Lecter' who raised a single, challenging eyebrow on his stoic face. Will coughed against the soup as it almost went down the wrong pipe and pressed a hand to his mouth, watching Hannibal with outrage as he felt heat rising from his neck to his forehead.

Hannibal interrupted him before he could find his breath to foul-mouth him. “Or maybe the word is simply complete,” his shoulders dropped an inch, and golden predator eyes grew a soft amber. “I can only feel my end of the string that pulls between us, Will, but it certainly feels like that to me.” Hannibal's eyes were large and wide in the soft, overhead light, or maybe it was just an illusion that filled him like the soft, golden tingle that spread from his spine and his body like an embrace. Will bit his lip hard in anger that he longed to keep as Hannibal's voice stroked the air like a Summer breeze. “Ever since you presented, the endless mazes in my mind have found a destination. Everything that was dead and dry is nurtured and fertilized back to life. Everything that was raw and bare, is now gloriously restored.”

Will pressed nails into his palms to keep his hands from trembling as Hannibal's face opened like a fresh flower touched by the spring sun. His eyes were gold, deep, warm, wet, human. His lips were parted, pink, curving up into a dazing, dreamlike smile that was directed at the Omega across from him. “When we met, your presence was a bandage to my wounds, but now it is the new, rosy flesh on my bare bones,” Hannibal's voice was smooth like silk, husk like smoke and steady as he rolled his tongue around every vowel. Will's throat felt tight and there was a pressure behind his eyes that he couldn't blink away as their gaze blended over into one of earth and ocean. They both swallowed, mouths dry.

When Hannibal smiled again, softness turned sharp. “We differ, more than I once cared to admit, but I understand your mind like only I ever could.” Hannibal leaned closer in his seat, his eyes an oasis of amber and deceitful like the ocean. There was a calm shimmer to the surface, but Will knew what lived beneath as he held on to the table before him and wet his lips with a sliver of pink tongue. Hannibal's eyes caught the movement and his lips twitched. “There will be guilt on your conscience for the rubble you will leave behind when you choose me. Maybe even for knowing deep down that this is what you've always wanted, from the moment our eyes met.”

Hannibal's eyes were grabbing him tight and deep and Will took a shaky breath, blinked and finally managed to pull away from the gripping, pulsing gaze that pumped black, forbidden pleasure into his veins. He ground his teeth close together and smiled without any humor. “Sex with you?” he asked, trying for mockery but achieving little more than sounding fearful. Hannibal's fingers pressed into the table top with an urgency. “A life with me. Alpha and Omega. Bonded,” he said, pressing his teeth close enough to hiss. The soft paradise that had shimmered in his eyes was replaced by a destructive storm of Hell fire.

The Omega pushed out a noise that resembled a whimper and threw his head back in desperation, a sparkle of tears in the corner of his eyes. “I don't even know what that entails,” he breathed, rubbing hands over his temples as he closed his eyes. There was nothing he could grip, nothing to control. Fear flared hot inside his body as he whimpered again, loud and clear. “I presented Omega, but I know nothing about what it means to be one,” he said, a pitiful whine present in his voice as he pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes. He didn't want to think about Hannibal's words, or how he felt about them. He didn't want to feel anymore. He didn't want to think anymore either. Not about that click inside his mind, every time their eyes met, or that feeling of safe completion that threaded like a spiderweb inside the cavity of his chest, whenever their skins touched. It was strength, protection, it was happiness. And it was completely and utterly beyond his control. Beyond rationality and beyond his wishes.

“You've talked about us with Alana,” Will wheezed out, remembering some words spoken between glass, something about him staying here, or about Hannibal leaving prison. It was far and vague but it seemed important. His mind had latched on to the moment, even when he had already been so far gone. “What do you remember?” Hannibal asked, tilting his head, his folded hands on the table and wrung together. The Omega stared at the slide of the skin of Hannibal's hands. He remembered one thing about that conversation, very clearly, but felt reluctant to share. “Will?” Hannibal pressed, watching his mate's Adam's apple bob and his cheeks stain a deep pink.

“I... I remember how your lips moved when you talked. I remember that,” Will mumbled as he looked back to his own hands in his lap. There was no option to ignore the pressing Alpha when he wished to, he knew. Everything about him refused to refuse him. Hannibal was smiling when he spoke next, Will heard it in the way the words formed against his lips, and how his voice exuded his pleasure. “Do you find it difficult to lie to me?” the Alpha asked, and Will's lips pulled into a stretched smile beyond his own doing. “I think I always have,” he confessed, remembering the time he called him up to warn him about Jack as he met tiger eyes and felt his insides drawing tighter, hotter, wetter when they gazed up at each other. No, not now.

“There is a lot for you to learn,” Hannibal said, patiently, ignoring Will's confession. “I will answer whatever questions you have, when your heat has tempered enough for us to have that conversation.” His voice was kinder, milder this time and Will wrapped his arms around his chest, shaking his head in desperation. “I need to understand this,” he urged, leaning forward over the table. “I need to know what my life will be like when this is over,” he pushed out, voice breaking under the strain. “I need to know what choices will still be mine to make.” There was a choked attempt to breathe as he felt tears wetting his eyes. He brought up his hands to shield his face when tears started to spill onto his cheeks. “I need to know what to tell my wife.”

There was a scratch of metal against wood and Will knew Hannibal was walking towards him, even when he didn't make a single sound. Tears streamed down the Omega's face, still hidden behind his hands. His shoulders shook out of anger, grief, guilt when he thought of his wonderful family, about the burning in his loins and the maddening, endless slick that was already wetting his seat, and that moment he and Hannibal had shared that kiss out of his heat. “Come, Will,” Hannibal said, not as a command but a request. Gentle hands lifted him by his shoulder, moving him to stand as strong arms wrapped around his back. Will looked at him, wiping at his ocean eyes with the sleeves of his jumpsuit, and sagged into the touch because he was weak and tired and he wanted nothing more than that touch that made him safe and home and whole. The embrace he was pulled into was like a heater for a freezing man. It was life, soothing his troubled mind instantly and wrongfully so.

“You're angry with me,” Hannibal said into his neck as he rubbed his hands gently up and down Will's back. Will sighed against his ear, resting his head on a broad shoulder. “You're very presumptuous about the outcome of our Alpha and Omega... whatever this is,” he mumbled into the skin of a warm neck that smelled like fire and snow. “I am also right,” Hannibal said, tightening fingers in Will's curls just as the Omega pulled back, pressing his lips together as their faces drew in closer. “You need to respect that I find this whole situation impossible. I have a wife and a stepson and a life away from you.” Hannibal's lips parted close to his and Will blinked away fresh tears that threatened to overflow. “I chose that, years ago. That was my choice,” his voice sounded fragile. It had been the right thing to do, even if it hurt more than anything ever had. He had chosen a normal life. A life where he would bury his urges and be a respectable citizen. Plain. Polite. His nose hovered mere inches away from Hannibal's who ran his eyes over the Omega's lips. “The only thing I respect is your happiness, Will. That lies here, with me,” Hannibal said, leaning in closer to nip at his lips.

Will flinched at his words and pulled back from the touch as he pushed his hands against the broad chest against him. He lashed out with arms that were captured in Hannibal's strong grip by the wrist, keeping them close as Will struggled against the hold. “You.. Fuck you,” he hissed between his teeth and Hannibal blinked, raising an eyebrow. “Oh, you are angry,” he said, both surprised and amused as they stood chest to chest, Will huffing fire against the taller Alpha. And even now Will knew, not without contempt, that even if Hannibal would let him, he would not step away.

“Yes, I am,” he spat as Hannibal leaned in close to nudge Will's nose with his own. They stared at each other and Will eyed the row of sharp, hungry teeth in Hannibal's mouth, feeling the need inside him rising despite himself. The hands released his arms and slid lower to cup his ass through his prison overalls. “Let's see how angry you are,” Hannibal said, but before he could finish the daring smile he wished to plaster in his face, Will rose to the challenge and closed the distance between them with a bruising, punishing kiss.

**

“Good evening Frederick, please come in,” Alana offered politely, opening the door to her office at the knock at exactly two minutes to two. The sharply dressed man, slacks, shirt, tie and shiny black dress shoes, nodded in greeting and walked past her with his wool coat slung over his arm. From up close, Alana could clearly see the scars of the bullet hole in his cheek, but from a short distance, the prosthetic on his face was an excellent one. “Thank you for seeing me on such shot notice, Dr. Bloom,” Dr. Chilton said formally, but the excitement in his voice was undisguised.

Alana knew that when she had gotten the call and the self-invite, that Chilton had gotten a whiff of Will Graham's presence alongside Frederick's favorite inmate, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Since he had lost his place behind the desk that was now Alana's, Chilton had become notorious for the many written works on the life and behavior of the infamous serial killer, cannibal and Alpha, who now had found his Omega in Will. Alana knew he smelled gold. “So...,” Frederick said, dumping himself on a chair and crossing his legs. “Can you believe it? Mr. Graham is Hannibal's Omega. Well, I am shocked,” Chilton gasped, clutching his chest and Alana pressed her lips into a line as she took her place behind her desk and folded her hands on the desktop. “We were all surprised,” she said, her smile faint and her eyes stern.

“I assume they are still in each other's company, right now?” Frederick probed without trying to hide his scavenger-esque curiosity and Alana clenched her teeth behind her lips. She had never liked Frederick but since she had taken over his position as head of the hospital, his nosy, interfering and downright rude characteristics were starting to wear on her even more. “Yes. We expect Will's heat to last at least two more days,” she said stoically, and Chilton pressed his hands together as he rocked himself on the edge of his seat. “My, oh my. Quite scandalous, really. Who would have thought that Hannibal would enjoy his time in prison this much,” he said, his smirk positively malicious and Alana pursed her lips tight, shooting him a blank stare that he knew to take as it was meant. “I apologize,” he quickly spoke with a wave of his fluttering hands, even though the smirk did not disappear. “I'm just so intrigued by this development.”

“It is a very rare occurrence,” Alana replied dryly, shuffling some papers on her desk and avoiding the absolute pleasure that danced on Frederick face. “And poor Will,” he said, a giddy chuckle under his breath. “Well, yes,” Alana said, trying to numb down the nervous twitching in her hands. Chilton clucked his tongue. “What is he to do when his heat is over? Will he stay here?” he asked, the constant shuffling of his shoes on the hardwood floor betraying his eagerness for information. “We haven't had that discussion yet,” Alana shook her head, waving him off. “Will has an appointment with the head of our medical department tomorrow.”

“Hammings, yes, yes,” Chilton said, rubbing his chin with two fingers to emphasize his thinking process. “Can he be separated from Hannibal for such a period of time?” The worried tone in his voice was a display of laughably poor acting. “We'll see,” Alana said with a painful hint of an attempted smile. She was raised to be polite, but some people made it nearly impossible. She straightened the collar of her blouse and sighed. “I will discuss the options with him once he is no longer in heat,” she said. Chilton smiled and opened his mouth to reply, before his face suddenly fell in uncertainty. A hint of white pulled up around his nose.

“There is no...” he started, before he cleared his throat and tried again. “There is no possibility of Hannibal's release, is there?” he said, his voice a little tighter, a little higher, than before. Alana, too, felt the blood draining from her face at the mere mention of such a scenario. “No. No, that is out of the question,” she said assuringly, if only for herself. She was still trying to figure out the legal aspect of this situation, but under no circumstances would she allow Hannibal back onto the streets. “What if Will takes this to court and...,” Chilton continued, but Alana didn't let him finish his thought, waving her hand. “It won't get that far. We will provide him with something suitable,” she said, confident and definitively, at which both sank back into their chairs. They agreed on one thing, at least: no matter what happened, Hannibal had to stay behind his wall of glass.

“Can I see them?” Chilton suddenly peaked up as he rubbed his palms together. Alana frowned.
“You want to talk to them?” she asked. “I'm afraid I can't...” But Chilton leaped off his chair, holding up his hands. “No, no, just a peak into their behavior on the monitor.” Alana looked at the boyish smirk and pulled her lips tight in distaste. “I don't think...,” she started before Chilton placed both his hands on her desk and leaned forward. His teeth shone from behind his lips as he leered at her. “There are a lot of people interested in this story, Alana. If I'm telling it, you know I will be very discreet about what's happening here, and very generous towards you and the facility.”

Alana breathed deep to calm the boiling insults she had ready behind her teeth, but she knew he was right. Whatever Chilton would write about this, would be read by many. As distasteful as he was, he had never written a word against the prison and herself in all his years of writing and reporting. He wasn't Freddy Lounds, who was undoubtedly already snapping pictures outside the building. He was, in his own, twisted way, an ally of the hospital. It was why she allowed him so many privileges, even when she despised the whole ordeal. “Follow me to the control room.”

The control room was a small, dark booth with rows and rows of monitors on the wall. All showed sharp, clear images of inmates locked in rows of cells. Some of them were pacing, some were sleeping, others just stared straight into the camera without blinking. Then there were the ones doing push ups, smearing their feces on the glass wall or simply masturbating. Alana didn't like to come here. “Hello Dennis,” she said to the blond, beefy security man, sitting in the only chair in the stuffy, dark room. “Dr. Bloom,” Dennis nodded, politely taking his black cap off his head. Alana found him a little simple, if not kind and a hard worker. To some too blond, overly tanned, fake-breasted girls, she imagined he would be quite the catch.

Chilton followed in behind her, feasting his eyes on the images that flashed on the walls. He was searching hungrily for the proper screen, but Alana knew exactly where to find it. Top left on the wall to her right. The monitor showed nothing but black and Alana felt a nervous twitch around her eye.
“Why is the monitor in Dr. Lecter's cell turned off?” she asked tight-lipped, and watched Dennis shuffling in his seat as he looked at her with an apologetic frown. “If I watch them, it is hard to concentrate on the others,” he said, twisting his body back and forth on the rotating chair, looking a little sheepish. Alana felt her cheeks burning hot as she turned back at Frederick, who looked like he was eyeing an enormous chocolate cake as he walked up to the mysterious black screen. “Well, I mean,” Dennis sought to correct himself when he was interrupted.

“Cameras are never allowed off, Dennis. You know this,” Chilton said with an utmost moralizing tone. “Especially Dr. Lecter's room. He is the most dangerous inmate you have here.” He ticked an impatient finger against the glass. “Turn it on.” Dennis looked back at Alana, who blinked rapidly and folded her arms over her chest. She hated that disgusting little man, but unfortunately he knew the prison rules almost better that she did, and he was, of course, absolutely right. “Turn it on,” she said, lips and eyes pulled tight. She was certain Chilton was looking for something scandalous he could use in an article or book, and scandalous, he certainly would get.

“Yes, Ma'am,” Dennis said, reaching for buttons on his dashboard and with a flicker of the screen, Hannibal's cell came into a perfect, clear view from the left corner of the ceiling. Alana had prepared herself for the view she was expecting to see, but what came into the frame was enough to make her mouth fall open as she drew a sharp breath and gulped a flustered “Oh.” Beside her, Dennis sighed, seemingly familiar with what appeared on screen while Chilton gasped openly in shock and delight as he clasped his hands together in front of his chin: “Oh my,” he gasped, in an act of surprise as he stepped closer to the moving image in front of him and roamed his eyes freely over the frame. Alana almost, almost considered telling Hannibal about it afterwards.

They were fucking, that much was obvious. Of course, with Will's heat, it was an essential and often repeated activity in Hannibal's cell. Alana had heard the whispers among the guards of how loud, hard and creative the two could get, and there certainly had been no complains about shifts on the monitor room since the past two days. Will was sprawled over the table on his belly, clawing at the edges as Hannibal had a firm hand in his curls and pulled back his head as he pumped his hips hard and fast to fuck into his reeling mate. The tugging fingers on Will's hair caused him to move his torso upwards, following after the strain and it wasn't before long that Hannibal grabbed the Omega by the throat and heeled him up against his chest as he kept up the punishing thrusts with his cock, disappearing completely into Will's trembling body. One of Will's knees came to rest upon the table as he spread his legs wider, encouraged by a stroking hand across his thighs and scraping teeth against his neck.

“Turn on the audio,” Chilton said shamelessly, and before Alana could protest, Dennis had turned open the volume with his thumb. A stream of heated growls and grunts filled the control room, together with a howling whine of a desperate Omega. “Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck me,” Will's broken cries sounded over the speakers and Alana swallowed, averting her eyes. Chilton wrung his hands together and his good eye shone like it was Christmas morning. “Who knew Mr. Graham had such a foul mouth,” he said, barely repressing a grin. “Frederick,” Alana scolded, her lips agape in disgust as she stared at him, but Chilton was unfazed by her disapproval. “Well, it is quite something, isn't it? Look at them,” he said, practically pressing his nose to the screen.

“I'd rather not.” Alana shuddered as Hannibal pulled completely out of Will and flipped him over to his back. Will's howls without his mate were those of pain and despair and Alana felt the noise wringing her soul like the cry of a wounded animal. “I had no idea Dr. Lecter was so... well equipped,” Chilton chimed, turning an eye to Alana. “You did, of course.” Dennis coughed into his coffee and Alana felt certain she was going to tell Hannibal about this. All of it. Yes, Hannibal's Alpha form was truly impressive. She wasn't blind. It was even more impressive now than it had been when they...

Hannibal had pushed himself back inside and Will was positively mewling with every thrust as he clawed at Hannibal's chest and arms and face to get as much as he could. Hannibal had Will in a vice grip with one hand on his sternum and one back on his curls to pull back his head. Their kisses were furious snarls of their teeth, nipping blood from lips and tongues. It was a savage piece of art, but Alana would never, ever admit that to anyone other than herself. Chilton's ears peaked when Will's voice wailed over the speakers and shuddered. “He is just beside himself, look at his eyes,” he said, pointing at Will's tilted head with eyes that only showed white and twitched uncontrollably while they had rolled back in his head. It was quite eerie, how this showed his complete and entire surrender.

“They are animals, so raw and pure,” Chilton said, a hint of longing in his voice as he pressed his face so close to the monitor his nose almost touched the screen. “Touch me,”Will begged and Hannibal wrapped steady fingers around his leaking cock as he pounded into the pliant body beneath him and bit Will's shoulder until he bled into his mouth. “It's not always that rough,” Dennis said, staring at the monitor with something that resembled melancholy. “They cuddle too, when they're not...” A powerful roar shattered through the room and interrupted Dennis mid sentence when Will arched his back and tensed hard around his Alpha. White splatters of release landed around them as Hannibal fucked him hard through his orgasm. “Oh, not the table,”Alana heard herself say and she flushed red when Hannibal bent forward to lick at a splatter of white on Will's belly as the Omega continued to shake and shudder. They kissed, open mouths, tongues and Will's semen exchanged between them and the control room was stunned into silence, watching those lips smile into the kiss.

The Alpha collected his mate in his arms as he pulled him up in an embrace before sitting back in the chair positioned behind him. Will was on his lap, still connected, deep and whole. Their lips touched in short, sweet kisses that sounded wet and loud over the microphone as they pressed close and nuzzled each other like loving animals. Will's breathing was heard gradually slowing, calming as Hannibal stroked down his table-marked back. “Oh that was powerful,” Chilton said, a little breathless himself and eyes glued to the screen. The room was filled with those wet noises of lips on lips, quiet whispers and the slide of skin on skin. “See, I told you they cuddle,” Dennis said innocently. Alana wanted to look away and show her disapproval, but then Hannibal reached for Will's hips and pulled him down around his cock as he thrust up inside the Omega. “I'm going to make you come again,” he whispered, and that voice over the speakers, saying those words, made Alana's skin tighten in goosebumps. “Can he?” Chilton asked, looking at Dennis with curious, manic eyes. “Oh yes, he can,” Dennis affirmed, nodding enthusiastically.

The change of positions showed a very clear view of where Hannibal's cock slid into Will slick hole, and when the Omega whimpered into Hannibal's mouth and started to move his hips gracefully up and down the Alpha's hard cock, Alana admitted to not looking away while Chilton and Dennis were staring wide-eyed at the screen. They fucked, first with grace and then with strength, until they both growled and cried and whispered against each other, muffled by mouths that nipped and licked and bit against skin. Will came between them, penetrated hard and deep as well as stroked wholly by Hannibal's tightly folded hand, releasing himself for the second time on his own belly and his Alpha's fingers with a wild cry and trembling thighs. Hannibal's cock swelled at the base as he fucked his knot inside Will's eager body with a dangerous growl and embedded himself to the hilt into the sobbing Omega as he too trembled and groaned through his orgasm.

“Is he...?” Chilton started, staring as the wide part of Hannibal's knot disappeared into Will's tight opening. “They're usually stuck on each other for about an hour,” Dennis said, and Chilton gasped audibly as he watched where the two men were joined. Alana breathed, forcing her heartbeat to slow. She hadn't wanted to see that, but now that she had, it was going to be hard to erase it from her retina. “My lord, does he ever stop?” Chilton said when Hannibal shuddered inside Will again, who clenched hard around his mate. Over the speaker, Will was heard chuckling against Hannibal's neck. “It usually takes a while.” Dennis said. “Does anyone want coffee?”

Chapter Text

Alana did not meet their eyes once when she came into the cell to inform Will about an appointment she had arranged for him with the head of Medical. “He might be able to answer some of your questions,” she said, handing him a piece of paper with a time and name that failed to find footing in Will's head. Her eyes were on the wall, on her shoes, on her hands, heat evident on her face when Hannibal twitched his lips while standing behind Will's back. Will took the paper from the deposit box and thanked her. She left with a nod, the click of her heels and nothing else.

Will pressed his fingers into the paper and heard it crinkling under his touch. “I have an appointment with Dr. Hammings, tomorrow at 10:45,” he said, grateful to see the word 'tomorrow' actually printed out on the page. He had no clue whatsoever of how much time he had spent here, what date it was or which day of the week. The name Dr. Hammings, rang a bell far, far away through a thick fog inside his mind, where there was cheap fluorescent light, sterile beds and pain, pain, fiery, screaming pain.

He swallowed at the memory and lowered the paper sheet as Hannibal came to stand beside him. “How considerate of Alana. An undiscussed, unapproved doctor's appointment,” he said through pursed lips as he ran a possessive finger down Will's spine. The touch made the Omega shiver for every reason thinkable, as Will turned his head away and folded the paper between his fingers. “I approve,” he mumbled defiantly before stepping away from the dominant touch and tucking the appointment inside his sleeve. The jumpsuit had, unsurprisingly, nothing that resembled pockets.

“What will happen when I leave the room without you?” Will asked, both curious and concerned as he turned to Hannibal, a newly created distance between them. Hannibal looked back, an unbroken stare with eyes made of earth and ice, rather blue than red, before he focused on the closed off fireplace beside him. “Your heat is already quite contained,” he said, his voice undefinable. “I suspect we will both feel the sting of the other's absence, but you will not be taken far,” he said, absently caressing the empty mantelpiece with his fingers. “I'm certain they will bring you back to me if our separation becomes unbearable.” Will watched those fingers, unable to stop imagining them on his skin, and felt something restless clawing up from his knees to the hollow of his throat. He remained silent, staring at his Alpha's profile, stark against the white wall, until those amber eyes caught him with a cold, deep longing.

“What about you?” Will asked, running his gaze past the sharp bones of his face, the scar on his cheek, the silver streak of hair. Hannibal's lips smiled, but nothing else in his face followed. “I'm certain they will be less considerate of me,” he said and Will grimaced openly, unable to stop the downward pull of his face. He knew it was the truth. Hannibal would not be helped, or saved, or even considered, being who he was, where he was. Outside, he had never needed anyone, but in here...

If Will stopped, for a mere second, fighting everything that was reeling under his skin, wailing inside his mind, howling in his very soul, he would feel the outrage inside of him at the thought of his Alpha, alone and suffering inside this suffocating place, vulnerable and weakened without his mate. He would refuse to set foot outside this cell, refuse anything other than what could keep them together. Inside his bones, there was a primal tug, a call, a reckless desire to protect. But Will never did stop fighting those Omega cries. He never stopped fighting any of it. Fighting was all he ever knew. And it was all that was expected of him.

Hannibal stepped closer, lifting a single finger to stroke down Will's cheek as his cold smile warmed, and his hard eyes grew soft. “Don't worry,” he said, reading what Will laid bare in his eyes. “We will have close contact before you go.” He brushed a curl off his Omega's forehead and Will rose an eyebrow. “Close contact...,” he repeated, keeping straight eyes on the Alpha as he tilted his head in question. Hannibal didn't blink when he answered “I'll knot you”, making Will's eyes widen and his cheeks burn. “Jesus, Hannibal,” he mumbled, stepping away from the Alpha's touch and turning towards the table. Before he could move, however, Hannibal's finger brushed past his torso and pulled the folded invitation out from the inside of his sleeve.

Will watched him take it as he let himself fall into a chair, unwilling to have another argument. Hannibal unfolded the paper and scanned its contents as he took a seat across from Will. “Dear Dr. Hammings,” Hannibal inhaled sharply through his nose before bringing his eyes back to his Omega, who had placed both his arms on the table to rest his head upon them. “If he lays a finger on you...,” Hannibal's voice was laced with threat that he would certainly do good on, but Will ignored him, pondering as he scanned his eyes over windowless walls. “How long have I been here? I completely lost my sense of time,” he sighed, rubbing hands over his tired eyes. Hannibal brought his eyes back to the paper in his hands. “Three full days by tomorrow morning,” he answered, eyes lingering at the top of Will's wild curls, who had dropped his head to rest on his arms.

“It feels longer than that,” Will murmured into his arm. “And shorter, somehow.” Hannibal tilted his head and slid the refolded paper across the table, offering it back to Will who stretched out his fingers in a weak attempt to grab it. “It is very common to lose your senses in an isolated situation such as this,” he said, and Will sighed against the fabric of his sleeve. “You don't,” he said, hearing the confirmation in Hannibal's silence and he smiled into the crook of his own elbow, continuing: “to me, this is one outstretched moment in which everything just bleeds together.”

He could hear Hannibal tapping his fingers on the tabletop across from him. “Well, we have been rather occupied,” Hannibal said, a hint of a pull at his lips as Will flicked his eyes up, fixing Hannibal with an unimpressed glare of ocean green. Will tucked the paper back in his sleeve and placed his chin on his hands, looking up at the Alpha opposite him as he scratched at the rims of his own fingernails.

Just for a moment, those amber eyes seemed to be away, gone somewhere deep and lost, a moment of frozen time, before he looked right back into Will's open stare. “Ask the doctor whatever you wish to know, Will,” Hannibal said, his voice even but his eyes thick with the smoke of a starting fire. “But when you come back, please ask me the same questions and I promise I will tell you the truth.” There were hard lines around his mouth, and Will lifted his head off of his arms. “What do you think is going to happen?” he asked, his dark eyebrows knitting close together and his pink lips parted.

“They will try to separate us,” Hannibal spoke with a hushed voice, leaning closer over the table, a twitch of his nostrils visible. Will saw a hard strain behind his eyes, a lack of control, an untamable force that Hannibal always carried within, although that never showed on the outside. But to Will, as he looked back at his mate, it was clear as day. Hannibal was vulnerable, now that he had something that could be taken away, that he could not afford to lose. The thought of being Hannibal's Achilles' heel made Will's insides clench, but to look across the table and see the almighty, unslayable Hannibal looking so human in his weakness, did give the Omega a secret thrill of satisfaction, accompanied by a sweeping tenderness that spread inside him like a misty spray of water drops. “You're a convicted serial killer and a cannibal, and I'm Jack's special pet project,” Will said sourly, raising an eyebrow at Hannibal. “Can you blame them?”

It was only due to Will's improved hearing that he heard Hannibal's teeth grinding inside his mouth, face stoic, eyes like slits. “I can do so much more than that, Will,” he said, and the Omega felt the words traveling heavily down his spine and pooling around his thighs. “Even now.” Amber was burning in those tiger eyes he had come to know so well. Every promise of Hannibal Lecter was a certainty, a happening in waiting. Will pursed his lips and stood up from the table. “I have no doubt.”

**

“Hello mister Graham, please take a seat,” Dr. Hammings smiled kindly at the fragile Omega stepping into his office, and gestured to the empty seat from across his desk. Will looked small and pale in his oversized prison suit, escorted by big and broad security guards who were dressed in black and armed with guns. Will stepped into the room and looked back to see the guards had placed themselves on either side of the outside door, before they closed it behind him and Will jumped a little at the sudden movement. Dr. Hammings rose from his chair, again gesturing to the empty seat with a patient, gentle expression one would sooner find on a caretaker of wounded, frightened animals.

“No need to be worried, mister Graham, I'm here to help you. Please,” the doctor said, lightly tapping the seat, his smile baring cigarette-stained teeth. In his other hand, he held reading the glasses hanging from a chord around his neck. Will stepped forward, feeling disoriented inside the bright, white office, illuminated by sunlight that streamed in from surrounding windows and showed traffic driving by on the road below. It was unnerving to see how the world still existed, moved and turned outside that cell, away from his Alpha. Will felt like a kept animal, released in the wild, restless, aimless, feeling like every step forward was a wrong one. “Unless it is uncomfortable for you to sit?” Dr. Hammings suggested gently, but Will noticed his soft tone was suddenly laced with implication as his blue eyes widened meaningfully at the Omega. Will swallowed and felt the blood pumping straight to his ears. Certainly, he wasn't implying...

“No, no. Not at all,” Will stammered quickly and he hurried to the empty seat with two large steps and promptly dropped himself onto the wooden surface, and if that didn't prove how well he could still sit... “Thank you for coming,” the doctor said, reaching out an old hand to shake Will's. The touch was unwelcome and Will's fingers curled away when the cool, parchment like skin touched his. No, everything inside him rebelled, that touch wasn't right. Will drew his hand back the moment he was released and leaned back into his chair as far as he could without slouching. Dr. Hammings only smiled, placing his joined hands before him on the desktop. “Do you remember me?” he asked and Will blinked. He remembered the white coat, and he remembered the voice beside his bed. “Flashes,” he admitted and Dr. Hammings smiled. “That is perfectly normal,” he said, as if Will had expressed concern. “My name is Dr. Hammings and I am the head of the health department of this facility.”

“Prison,” Will corrected, glancing at the guards that could be spotted outside through a strip of glass beside the door. “It is officially a hospital facility,” Dr. Hammings countered, his lips twitching under his smile and Will bit the inside of his cheek. “For the criminally insane,” he added, pressing his arms close to his stomach and folding further into himself. There was a silence that lasted for mere seconds but felt so much longer, before Dr. Hammings cleared his throat. “Which brings us to the subject of Dr. Lecter,” he said, and Will felt a cruel stab in his chest, an open, bleeding hole that was the absence of his Alpha. Inside, everything felt stiff with cold, and hollow with emptiness, exposed and vulnerable without the blazing heat that surrounded his mate.

“Right,” Will said, a little absentminded as Dr. Hammings took hold of a notepad on his desk and placed the reading glasses on top of his crooked nose. “I understand you have many questions, but I will first...,” he attempted to open, holding a pen to the top of a list of words written down on the opened page, but Will placed both his hands firmly on the desk before him. “What is Per mutua nexis?” he interrupted. “Is that what we are, Hannibal and I?” his voice was urgent and his eyes demandingly targeting the poor doctor, who looked back up at Will with a stunned expression as the pen in his hand sagged downwards in his loosening grip.

“Mister Graham, I'm afraid I don't have the proper education...,” Dr. Hammings stammered, eyes back to his notepad, but Will scraped his seat close to the table and leaned forward. “Are we?” he urged, feeling his lips twitching with the fear he felt brooding, nesting and breeding within him. “Doctor, I have a wife,” he said, his voice unsteady at the thought of his Molly. His insides churned and ground at the image of her he carried in his head. An image that appeared so briefly, so fragile, he could barely make out her face before she was erased by tiger eyes and winter fire. “I need to know what I'm going to tell her.” Dr. Hammings swallowed visibly before folding his hands back on the desk, his notepad forgotten. Watery blue eyes looked into Will with a pity that made Will's lip want to curl up into a snarl, but he controlled the urge as the doctor took a deep breath.

“I believe you and Dr. Lecter are indeed a Per mutua nexis pair of Alpha and Omega,” he said, carefully, formally, and Will's breath stuttered. “What does that mean?” he demanded, digging nails into the desk. “I need to understand.” Dr. Hammings nodded, his fingers playing absently with the reading glasses that were back around his neck. “It's a rare occurrence,” he said. “Even rarer now that your species is so close to extinction. It means that you and your Alpha are a perfect match, biologically, physically and mentally. Two sides of the same coin, so to speak.”

The same coin. Will's lips parted as he stared at the old man across from him. If it wouldn't be so cruel, he would have laughed. You and I have begun to blur, he had said. We're conjoined. He had felt it, then. He remembered. But he never understood what it meant. “How does that differ from a normal Alpha and Omega?” he asked, breathing heavily through his nose. His loins started to grow warm inside his belly and his skin ached like a sunburn. It was already becoming painfully clear that he wouldn't last long outside the cell.

“Per mutua nexis means intertwined. You are, in many ways, the same,” Dr. Hammings said and Will couldn't help but huff loudly at the words. The doctor ignored his bitter chuckles and patiently continued, trying to hide his hesitation behind his professional demeanor. “You were both, in a sense, created for the other. There is no chance of a stronger, better suitor for either one of you, and no change of a more satisfying partnership. Together, you will be stronger, safer, healthier, happier, more satisfied...,” he said open-endedly, his pale cheeks turning pink at the last part of his sentence. Will pressed his lips together with so much vigor they turned white. A tight hand seemed to have wrapped around his ribcage, squeezing around his heart and lungs. “Really?” his breathing became shallow. “How can you be sure that that's what we are?”

The doctor smiled, and Will wanted to claw those old, thin lips off his face. “In my long career I have witnessed Alpha's and Omega's presenting and mating many times,” he said, a splatter of pride mixed in with the words. “And even if I combined all of those, it would still be more civilized than what I have witnessed between the two of you. Your primal instincts and urges are, simply put, off the charts.” The pink was back on his ears and Will bit his lower lip until it would certainly bruise. “It doesn't normally go like this?” he asked, wishing he would sound less exposed. Their violent, desperate mating, that was something he had excused as 'normal' behavior for an Omega in heat. “Not typically, no,” Dr. Hammings shattered that idea to pieces. “It is extremely fascinating to see how perfectly aligned you are. Your needs, your primal urges, your physical compatibility, your fury and... enthusiasm.” The pink ears turned red now as the doctor started cleaning his glasses with his white coat and Will folded his fingers into a fist to hide the tremor in his hands.

“I'm just going to ignore everything that implies that you've watched us fucking,” he said bluntly, watching the old man's eyed widening and his face turning a shade of maroon. “For research purposes, of course. I'm sure you understand,” he quickly stammered, holding up his hands as Will flicked his eyes to the ceiling. “Swell.”

“The point I am trying to make...,” Dr Hammings swallowed as he tried to overcome the stutter in his voice. “Is that I'm indeed convinced you and Dr. Lecter are a Per mutua nexis couple.” He folded his hands back on the table, trying to seem undisturbed and professional. “The way you presented and the way your Alpha responded, was beyond anything I have even read about, let alone witnessed,” he said, pausing as he scratched behind his ear and caught Will's shifting eyes. “I feared for your life, when you were brought into my care. If we had kept you apart, I'm certain this condition, in your case, could be fatal.” Will lowered his eyes from the doctor's gaze, biting the inside of his cheek until he tasted copper. He felt weak and ill and raw liked chafed skin. He needed Hannibal. The doctor cleared his throat. “But, we can never be completely sure that you are an Per mutua nexis couple until the two of you have bonded.” Will coughed against the saliva that was sucked into his lungs when he gasped. “Why would you think we are getting bonded?” he wheezed, eyes wide and lips agape as little red veins popped in his eye-whites.

Dr. Hammings jumped slightly at his outraged cry. “My apologies,” he quickly offered. “I assumed, because it's in your nature to do so and it has so many advantages... Forgive me,” he said, showing his palms to the Omega. “I certainly did not mean to imply anything.” Will licked his lips, his eyebrows low over his eyes. It was harder and harder to concentrate when he felt a tug from the inside, pulling him in an opposite direction. “Advantages?” was all he replied and Dr. Hammings nodded quickly. “After bonding, a couple's connection grows much stronger. Your minds and emotions will be attuned, aligned. Heats will be less aggressive and it will improve your health, happiness and lifespan for both of you,” the doctor said. “Unbonded, the Omega in you will continue to crave that bond, as it provides you with the ultimate protection for you and your family.”

Will felt a violent twitch at that last word. For a brief moment, his mind pictured Abigail, sitting at the dinner table in Hannibal's house, placed on a chair between the two of them. He blinked to get rid of the image. “Male Omega's are unfertile,” he snorted and Dr. Hammings lowered his eyes before looking back at the seething Omega. “Family can mean whatever you want it to mean, mister Graham.” He said, rueful smile around his lips. Will swallowed, his nostrils flaring. “What if I want it to mean my wife and stepson?” he said between tight lips and Dr. Hammings frowned his gray, bushy eyebrows. “Living separately from your Alpha will be difficult, Mr. Graham,” he said, and Will felt his throat closing and his skin tightening. “Difficult... But not impossible?” he choked. If it wasn't, if it wasn't, he would have to try, for Molly. He would have to go. He would have to. She had already lost one husband, she couldn't lose him too. Not like this.

“It depends how much you want it,” the doctor said, and Will wished he could snort, but found that he couldn't find the air. “The quality and lifespan of your life will be reduced, but if you can tolerate it, there might be a chance you can live separately between your heats,” the doctor said as he crossed out something on his notepad. Will stared at him before he closed his open mouth. “H-heats? How many heats?” Dr Hammings clicked his tongue. “Once every three months is regular. I wish I could subscribe you medication that would suppress it, but in your case that would be most unhealthy,” he said, shaking his head and meeting Will's reddening eyes. “Heats without your Alpha, even unbonded, can be fatal for a Per mutua nexis pair. Even the regular pairings can suffer heart problems and sometimes brain damage during heats without their mates, mostly due to hyperventilation, exhaustion, enfeeblement,....”

There was a silence during which Will stared at the wall behind Dr. Hammings' head. The pain inside him, the absence, was baring down on him harder and harder already. But he knew now, that when his heat was over, he would have to try and leave. For Molly. For the man he had decided to be, those years ago. “I understand you do not wish to stay with Dr. Lecter?” Dr. Hammings asked, his voice surprisingly neutral as Will's eyes shot down to his hands. His tongue pressed against his teeth as he swallowed against the thickness in his throat.

“I'm married. I can't just...,” he knew he sounded lost and fragile and not at all in control of his life anymore as he let the silence trail on without finding the right words to break it. Dr. Hammings held up his hand. “I do understand,” he said with an encouraging smile. “However, it is most common for a presented Omega to leave behind any other attachments.” His voice was factual, but the rising of Will's eyebrows made him backpedal. “Not that I am...” He didn't make an effort to complete the sentence as he clapped his hands in front of his face. “Look,” the doctor said, “your emotions and regards change from the moment a pair meets. Love connections for an Omega with any other than his Alpha are extremely difficult, even before presenting.”

Will knew how unstable he must have looked when he laughed openly and humorlessly with his head in his neck. Difficult to make a love connection with anyone, the doctor said. He had never felt more than an adorable flutter for any love interest in his life. There had only ever been one who made him feel, and what he made him feel shattered him completely with its intensity. As much pleasure, as much of it pain. “I can't abandon my family. They have been so good to me,” Will croaked, thinking about his soft, warm, quiet life with Molly. The heat and the beauty only ever skimmed the mere surface of his being, but it was the closest thing he had to normal, stable, content.

Will blinked, looking right into those pale blue eyes and shuddered as he spoke. “But it hurts to breathe without him,” he confessed, swallowing heavily. The doctor smiled again. “It is perfectly normal for a new Omega...,” he started but Will shook his head. “No, I mean... It was like that, even before I presented,” he uttered between his teeth, his cheeks paling and his pupils dilating at the thought of his mate. “It's worse now, certainly, but it was always like that without him. My body knew, long before my brain did, that we are made to be together,” he said, letting the words fall out as they came to his mouth, before he could rethink them. Admitting the truth to a stranger, before he could even admit it to himself.

The doctor didn't look appalled. Instead he nodded at his words. “That doesn't surprise me,” he said. “Even when your mind and body were not ready to present, it already must have recognized Dr. Lecter as your perfect match.” Will chuckled this time, eyes on his knees. “My perfect match. Hannibal Lecter,” He said, defeat present in his voice. “He's the representation of evil and death,” Will breathed out between his clenched jaws. “He's the devil.” He said, raising his eyes to the old man before him.
“And I have always felt such a desire to join him.”

Will's voice was a whisper, knowing the good doctor could have had him crucified for that confession, but instead he said nothing and Will felt the moisture gathering in his eyes. “And there is a part of me that feels that this could be an easy way out of the suffocating sanity of this world, and into the darkness that is his,” he sniffled, his nose dry, and he heard the doctor shuffling in his seat. “You are afraid to become like him? That your true self is like Dr. Lecter?” he asked and Will lifted his eyes to the old man before him.“I am him, remember? Isn't that what we are discussing here? Per mutua nexis.”

The doctor took a breath, his eyes on Will. “You are afraid to lose yourself in your desires,” he said and Will tightened his lips. “No,” he whispered. “I'm afraid to find myself in them.”

Chapter Text

“Touch me,” Will breathed, quickly moving towards his Alpha the moment Hannibal was freed from his restraints and the guards had left their cell. “Yes,” Hannibal met him halfway with equally fervid strides and instantly wrapped himself around his smaller mate, pressing open lips to the Omega's neck. His hands slid over Will's back, clad in jumpsuit, and held onto the two full cheeks of his ass with a firm squeeze. Will felt hot breath beneath his ear and chuckled when he experienced a rush of pure, golden pleasure replacing the tight, raspy pain of loss he had carried inside. He was bathing in everything good and right, like coming home from a war.

“Just a touch, Hannibal. A hand on my shoulder would have done,” he said, a smile tugging at his lips and heat stirring inside his belly. Hannibal pressed them closer with firm hands on his mate's lower back, sharing body heat through their clothes, before he loosened his grip and pulled back his head. “I apologize,” he said, a hint of mirthful smile around his mouth. “But please consider this more than civilized, compared to the first time you walked in here.” The words pulled at Will's lips as he saw a flash of their vigorous coupling on the damaged table behind his eyes, before shaking the rousing image from his mind and looking back into his Alpha's face. “Have you been in pain?”, he asked, his concern honest on his face as his back pressed against the touch of Hannibal's hand. The amber eyes that stared back lacked any emotional reflection for him to read as Hannibal tilted his head with careful precision. “In your absence, always,” he said, baring a hint of teeth, on the verge of mocking and Will pursed his lips in annoyance, feeling ridiculed for showing kindness, vulnerability. Maybe Hannibal recognized it for something else instead. Guilt, to blanket and hide the rubble beneath.

Before he could step away, Hannibal grabbed both his upper arms and stepped past him to move in from behind, nose to his neck, breathing in deep. “So, what did the good doctor say?”, Hannibal hummed against his skin, ignoring Will's tense shoulders as his lips brushed beneath the skin of his ear before inhaling deeply and openly in Will's hair. “Are you trying to smell him on me?”, Will asked, stepping forward and out of Hannibal's scenting, intrusive nose. “Fortunately, not a lot,” the Alpha grunted behind him, meaning every word, and Will turned back at him with a derisive chuckle.

“Did you think he invited me over for a fuck?”, he asked Hannibal, playfully raising his dark eyebrows. There was a second of thick, white silence where Hannibal froze and Will could see the muscles in his body tensing up under his clothes. Not a hair on The Alpha's body as much as trembled as his pupils blazed into open fire, before he grabbed the nearest chair within his reach and threw it against the glass wall with full force. Will jumped back at the sudden crash, gasping out loud as the piece of furniture bounced from the undamaged glass and landed back bent and dented on the hardwood floor. Then, silence.

“Jesus, Hannibal,” Will exclaimed with widened eyes as he rose his arms wide. “It was a joke.” Hannibal stood on his spot, shoulders low and eyes unblinking before he turned sideways, slowly, intently, to look at his mate. “It is beyond me, Will,” he confessed, looking rather unsettled behind his stoic posture. “Yes,” Will said, feeling breathless. He crossed his arms over his torso and let air escape between his tightened lips. “I understand that feeling.” He inhaled deeply and shuddered at the memory of all the things that had happened beyond him. Hannibal nodded, swallowed and looked at the damaged chair, folded on the floor. “Forgive me,” he said, his eyes trailing back to Will, whose lips stretched as he shook his head to dismiss the apparent need for an apology.

The Omega perched himself against the edge of the table, leaning against the surface while still resting both feet on the prison's hardwood floor. “He told me some things about Omega's and Alpha's,” he broke the pressing silence, shifting eyes towards Hannibal who had folded his hands behind his back. “Did he explain to you the meaning of Per mutua nexis?”, Hannibal asked, back to his old, calm exterior, and Will licked nervously at his dry lips. “Yes,” he said, wiggling his toes in the cotton, prison loafers. “Did he confirm that that is what we are?”, Hannibal pressed, rocking himself ever so slightly on the balls of his feet as Will placed his hands beside his hips on the table, leaning back. “He didn't specify,” he said between tight lips, bending and twisting the truth to accommodate him, but Hannibal stepped towards him with curious, smoldering eyes of liquid gold. “Don't play games,” he all but whispered, prowling towards him until they were knees to knees and Will could feel the heat of his skin. “It is what we are. I know it, and so do you.” He leaned in, and lips brushed the skin of Will's cheek before Hannibal pulled back. “And so does the good doctor.”

They stood close together, Will leaning against the table while Hannibal placed his hands next to his mate's, close to his hips. Will remained silent, but never looked away from the eyes of the predator before him who stared back with a deep, searching longing before he blinked, briefly lowered his gaze and suddenly bared his fangs in what appeared to be dangerous amusement. “Did he comment on our mating?”, Hannibal asked rather boldly, raising his eyebrows as Will flinched, snorting quite involuntarily. Hannibal's eyes narrowed, only a fraction of a second. “Because I happen to know he is quite the fanatic collector of certain prison tapes. All in the name of mother science.” The sly smile on the Alpha's lips promised blood and Will looked away, grimacing deeply before a huff and then a chuckle escaped from between his lips. Hannibal knew, always, everything. “Oh, he did,” the Omega grunted before he took hold of the front of Hannibal's jumpsuit with his fingers. “He said you have much to learn from me,” he couldn't help but tease. He looked at the open, lively eyes before him, unable to stop himself from smiling as he watched Hannibal mirroring his expression. “That I do,” the Alpha said, a fondness in his eyes that made it harder for Will to breathe.

Hannibal leaned close again, pressing lips against Will's. “Per mutua nexis,” he whispered, brushing around Will's parted mouth. “Together we are one, perfect being.” Will closed his eyes, pleasure weakening his lower jaw as he felt hands drifting over his overalls. “Stop, please,” he whispered, placing two hands against his Alpha's broad chest. Hannibal froze, straightened and pulled away the moment Will said the word, leaning back from his face and body with concerned, searching eyes.

Will swallowed, pushing at the heat in his loins as he looked at his Alpha and took a deep, unsteady breath. “My heat is almost over,” he said, voice soft as his knuckles pressed into the table. Hannibal looked back, trying out words on his lips. He looked more vulnerable now than Will had ever seen him, more even than when Will had asked him to leave, to go, to never come back. Hannibal asked him now, plain and simple; “Will you leave?”

The question was oddly straightforward for a man of so many words, but Will felt it stinging deep within him. “Yes,” he said, watching Hannibal's face remain unchanged, but his eyes deepened, darkened, pupils drawing wide like a dangerous beast, ready to pounce. “Are you going to see your wife?”, he asked and Will inhaled, hands restless against the table. “Yes,” he said again and watched Hannibal licking his lips briefly before he blinked, clenched his teeth and leaned closer. His face had become a maze of purple, blood-filled veins and his eyes a black, bottomless abyss. There was a heat to the room, a fire, hot and scorching, uncomfortable to bare skin, that filled the air around him.

“Will, listen to what I have to say...”, he started, keeping their eyes connected hard and hot and stinging. “If she touches you...”, the words were spoken softly, gently almost, but Will curled up his lip at them, feeling a spike of anger flaring at such an unfinished, unjustifiable threat. “Then what? What are you going to do?”, he hissed, defiant and angry, before he saw Hannibal freezing again, trembling with rage before him, until he turned to the nearest bed and snatched it up, inhumanly fast, inhumanly strong, hurling it across the room with a violent growl from between his teeth, only barely missing his books. Will jumped, hands up next to his head. “Ok, ok,” he gasped, feeling his mate's turmoil like a blizzard inside his own heart. “Just... calm down,” he hushed soothingly, as he approached him with careful steps and reached out his hand to instinctively place it on Hannibal shoulder. Muscles hard as rock seemed to unwind under his touch.

“I've told you this is beyond me,” Hannibal said quietly, his breathing a little uneven as he looked at the broken bed frame, already an unwelcome reminder that they would not be sharing a space anymore. He turned to Will, eyes close to pleading. “You don't believe I can't find a way out of here?”, he said. Will looked and heard him. It was not a threat, but a warning. The beast inside him was not always under his control. Not anymore. And Hannibal wished to spare Will from the grief he knew would follow, would the Alpha in him find a need to escape.

“Be sure not to smell like her when you come to see me,” he spoke, controlled again, careful, critical, and Will felt his skin breaking out in harsh goosebumps. “Don't tell me you were with her.” There was defeat in his words and Will swallowed against the grief that fell on him like a dark, smothering blanket. Hannibal had always enjoyed and reveled in his bloodlust, but now that his Omega would be released to the perilous world, he knew the Alpha inside of him could become his master, leading him beyond his own controlled and mapped-out mind. He leaned against the table beside Will before taking a deep, calming breath. “This is all very unsettling,” he said and Will almost laughed, hanging his head low and watching his curls fall before his eyes. He felt boiled, slowly, inside a thick concoction of pure misery.

“Not just for you,” he said, pushing up with his arms to lift himself onto the table. Hannibal was next to him, one hip against the edge, one foot linked across his ankle, and even in his casual posture, Will thought he would put a ballet dancer to shame. Full control and pure grace, once again. “Did the doctor tell you it is safe for you to leave when your heat is over?”, Hannibal asked him, pink lips pursed in unpleasant thought. Will wished he did not feel the need to slide closer to the Alpha and wrap arms around those tense shoulders, feel them loosen. “He told me I can try and live without you, the months between my heats,” Will said, remaining on his spot on the table and Hannibal turned to him with a sharp turn of his head. “No,” he said, shaking his head with a short, jerky movement as his eyes glowed a matte orange, reminding Will of frozen fire.

“It could be possible,” Will said, as Hannibal stepped from the table to fully turn to him. “It will be agony, Will,” he said and Will saw, for the first time, open fear in his amber eyes. It was a curious sight, one he was unfamiliar with, and it instantly threw him off. Hannibal stepped closer, pain evident on the sharp angles on his face, and reached a finger out to stroke against Will's cheek. “You will suffer,” he whispered, keeping his eyes on the Omega so intrusively that Will averted his eyes to his knees. “I can't just choose you, Hannibal,” he spoke quietly. “What would that make me?” He stared at the fingers of his hands as Hannibal leaned closer, brushing lips to his temple. “Mine,” he spoke, deep, possessive, breath hot as Will shuddered at the lips against his ear. Fingers reached for Will's, but the Omega quickly pulled back his hand and slid off the table. “I have to try,” he said, knowing Hannibal could see the pressing tears in his eyes. “For my family.”

“Your family?”, Hannibal said, a smile around his lips as though listening to Will in the midst of telling a joke, but his eyes never lit. “And what is it you want, Will?”, the Alpha asked, and Will narrowed his eyes as he threw Hannibal an venomous glare. It was cruel to ask him that. It wasn't something he could think about... it couldn't be a concern. “I have to do this, for the person I ought to be, Hannibal,” he bit. “I can still choose to be the person I have decided to be, that day you walked out of my home.” Hannibal heard him, watched him, and for one brief moment, they were back in time. The bed, the chair, the conversation, the shut door before the silence that would last those long and many years.

Hannibal moved closer, a tender look in his eyes, shimmering behind heavy eyelids. “It's head against heart., the Alpha said, plain and simple, and Will bit on the inside of his cheek as he let his lips pull up. “And would I choose my heart, I would choose you?”, he asked, a tight smile and weak, tired eyes. Hannibal stepped forward, fast, smooth, like a prowling lion. He came to stand so close, Will felt his breath on his cheeks. He closed his eyes when the Alpha leaned in, hearing words against his ear. “I am your heart, Will. I am everything,” Hannibal said, like a whisper from a dream. “I'm the blood in your veins and the breath in your lungs.” Will inhaled sharply, eyes opening to see the tiger eyes of gold and blood so close he could stumble and drown in the fire.

“You will come back,” Hannibal said, self-assuringly, but Will caught the sliver of pain that crept behind his steady gaze. “I will be here for my next heat,” he said, trying to sound comforting, but Hannibal smiled a wide, toothy grin at his words. “I will be impressed if you last a week,” he said and Will watched the muscles of his jaw tighten under his skin. He reached out, an unconscious gesture that Will forced himself not to dwell upon, to touch that tense jawline under soft, clean-shaved skin.

“What about you?”, he asked, swallowing against a sudden rush of tightness that crept up in his chest. Hannibal tilted his head, pushing into Will's soothing hand. “I will be here, waiting,” he said. “Suffering?”, Will asked hesitantly, his lips twitching at the ache inside his chest. Hannibal smiled lightly, bringing up his own hand to cup the side of Will's scruffy cheek. “I have always suffered without you,” he said, poetically, dramatic, and Will grunted, taking back his hand as he bared his teeth at the man before him. “Stop it. It's an honest question I need a real answer to,” he scolded, watching Hannibal's soft eyes tightening.

“It's not a declaration of romantic love, Will,” he said, his voice laced with something stern that made Will's stomach churn. “You and I have always suffered without the other. It is in our nature.” Their eyes danced, never still and never disconnected, as the two stood in silence. There was so much Will could let himself wonder, so much he could remember about them both and so much he could let himself feel. But he had forced himself to close that part of his mind, every minute of every day since he choose a life without Hannibal. His Alpha watched him, undoubtedly seeing the turmoil on his face, and ran a single finger over the outer shell of Will's ear. The brush of skin reminded him so much of the time Hannibal had gutted him, with that unbearable look of pain in his eyes. That pain had been as murdering as the knife in his belly, and now, Will felt it squeezing around his heart with sharp, dirty nails.

He watched as Hannibal closed his eyes and leaned in, before soft lips brushed his with a firm but tender caress. A kiss, one that came from affection instead of lust. Will let Hannibal's lips lead his own into a soft dance of push and slide and search, feeling a soft tongue against his lips before he opened completely under the touch. Tongues slid together, teeth pulled gently on lips and it was painfully, unbearably moving, frail and slow and warm; hands on necks and cheeks and hair. It came from a place of pure devotion, worship, but Will pushed those thoughts into a dark corner of his mind labeled 'All things Hannibal', a corner that was never lit, and yet never had a single cobweb, or a speck of dust upon it.

Hannibal held his face in both hands when he pulled back, cupping him like a wounded bird as he smiled that barely-there smile. “That was a declaration of romantic love,” he said, and Will froze, blinked rapidly and took a sharp, stuttering breath as he felt his cheeks flush hot. Hannibal didn't step away, hands sliding down to Will neck. “You do not trust me with your heart?”, he asked, his voice thick and smooth and rich like honey, unable to shake off your skin and from your ears. Will's bottom lip trembled as he felt the warm touch of Hannibal's hands framing his skull, entangling in his hair. It was possessive, and despite everything, it felt just. “Given our history, I think our hearts would make a most destructive match,” he answered, his voice fragile in his throat as his eyes, overflowing with deep, pained longing shot back to Hannibal. Hannibal shushed him gently with a finger to his bottom lip, to still the trembling with a pressing thumb. “Now you have found your true form, that is no longer a concern,” he spoke, teeth bare with a smile while shimmering tears reflected the light in his eyes. “Bond with me,” his words were calm, but everything abut the Alpha burned bright and hot at the pleading request, “and I promise we will never hurt each other, ever again.”

Will felt one tear spilling on his cheek, followed by another, until he was blinded by a clouded vision of grief. He didn't speak, but whimpered when lips came to brush against the damp skin of his chin, his nose, his cheeks, kissing away the evidence of this torturous pain as hands stroked lightly through his hair. Will closed his eyes, feeling more drops slipping out from between his lids and he tilted his head back into cradling hands. “Will you let me touch you?”, Hannibal asked, and the warm simmer in Will's belly instantly flared hot. Yes. Yes he wanted that. He needed that, they both did. He was still in heat. They could still have this, for now.

“Touch me,” he said, winding fingers in Hannibal's sleek hair.

**

They ended up on the single bed that remained, Will on his back and Hannibal between his thighs, pushing fingers in the Omega's slick hole as he slid his wet lips over Will's painfully swollen erection. “Fuck, that feels so good,” Will croaked, knowing how he had begged the Alpha to forego anything other than good, hard penetration only yesterday. His heat really was decreasing, leaving room for more than just breeding. A thought he pushed from his mind as he bucked up into Hannibal's slick, hot mouth and cried out when soft lips brushed tight over the sensitive head.

He felt his cock hitting the tight muscles of the Alpha's throat, contracting tightly around him and taking him in deep as his tongue stroked the underside of his length. It was exactly how he liked to be touched, combined with the three fingers that pumped in and out of his dripping, clenching hole. Hannibal knew his body well, which was, again, a thought Will refused to dwell on. Instead, he concentrated on the hand that cupped his balls and rolled them gently in the palm. Everything was sliding and grinding and on the edge of something fierce as his cock slid far and deep against the silk walls and gripping muscles of Hannibal's throat. Fingers tapped his prostate, undisturbed and rapid, and without the maddening, blinding haze of lust and heat, Will found the sensation of Hannibal's touches almost unbearably pleasurable. There was a new sharp edge, a sting, a harshness poking at his nerves that seemed to intensify his senses and made him squirm and wriggle at the ecstatic torture that was nothing more than bright, hard pleasure.

Will released into the warm mouth encompassing him with strangled cry and spasming muscles, so forcefully he almost buckled off an aroused, thoroughbred Alpha, determined to swallow all of him down. The sight of his seed dripping from Hannibal's lips was enough to bring Will into a desperate frenzy, pushing Hannibal up to sit on the bed with his back against the wall. It wasn't enough. He flung himself into his lap and pushed their lips in to a fiery, feverish kiss, tasting fire, winter and sex on their tongues. Hands were sliding, fingers were gripping and Will wasted no time to lift his hips and position himself over the Alpha's cock, sinking down until there was nothing left to take. He was shaking hard enough to make the bed frame shudder, and the sight of tiger eyes blown wide and looking up at him in such warm awe, made the tears start to press behind his eyes. One strong arm was around his back and one hand on his shoulder as they started to move together. Hannibal held him steady, guiding his rolling hips and thrusting up to meet him as their bodies rocked together. Will rode him, deep and shuddering and whimpering against his mate's neck as his back was stroked by soothing hands and his ear filled with a deep, gratified purr. Will pulled back from Hannibal's shoulder so their mouths could meet and fuse as their bodies worked together towards a completion only Alpha and Omega could receive.

Will tilted his head up and bent his spine back, hands linked around Hannibal's neck for support as he worked his hips to move the Alpha into and out of his body, stretching his insides wide and deep and brushing against his throbbing prostate as his Alpha reached for his growing erection between them and folded his large hand around it. Pushing up and down, thumb pressed under the swollen head, Hannibal pumped him with the rhythm of their thrusting bodies. The pleasure they could receive and achieve together was not a human sensation. It was always something more, crown to toe, skin to bone, head to heart to soul. Deep mud to stars. Will felt it all when he climaxed around Hannibal's cock, spilling over Hannibal's hand, writhing deep and hard on the knot that stretched inside him, bigger, larger, always too much to take and never enough, never tearing him. They were a perfect fit, unsurprisingly.

Hannibal groaned and their lips opened on each other as Will felt himself deeply filled with his Alpha's liquid release. His body was plugged and full with hot semen as his mouth was invaded by hungry licks and nips, a low growl in his ear. Will's hips didn't stop rocking until he was physically unable to move and he collapsed as dead weight against Hannibal's chest. Arms came around his back and one cheek rested on his shoulder as they sagged against the wall together.

The pleasant pulse that waved through his body took away all the sickening aches that had crept under his skin like venomous spiders when he had been in Dr. Hammings' office for over an hour. It was like a cold sweat, a tremble in his muscles, before it became this nauseating headache between his eyes. Leaving Hannibal, even outside the heat, would bring him cold, grubbing pain. Will felt a nose nuzzling under his jaw and he let his eyes close at the feeling of lips on his neck as Hannibal pulled a sheet around their joined bodies.

“We are Per mutua nexis,” Will said, after a moment of sharing each other's heat in a silence that could be called blissful, if not for the razor sharp edge around the rim. “Yes,” Hannibal said into his neck, a low vibration brewing under his chest. In this moment, he was happy. Will knew it, he felt it and he envied him for it. He buried his nose into the Alpha's hair. If only he had presented the moment they had met, maybe...

“And if the choice was mine alone, we would be a bonded Per mutua nexis pair,” Hannibal hummed, nose nudging against his gland. Will pulled back and raised his head to lock eyes with his Alpha. “It's not,” he said, letting Hannibal's soft, golden gaze brush over him before he closed his eyes and sagged back against the comfortable chest.

“What happens when one of us dies?”, Will asked after another beat of skin on skin, breathing in harmony. His voice was quiet as he kept his nose against Hannibal's collarbone to avoid showing anything more than curiosity. Hannibal inhaled deeply before he answered and Will felt his chest expanding, and heard a rush of air entering the Alpha's nostrils. “Right now, the other would perish, living an empty, meaningless and shortened life filled with an incurable ache. Alphas and Omegas can exist without their mate, but it is little more than that.” Strong arms tightened around him as Will released an unsteady breath.

“Bit dramatic,” he said, finally opening his eyes to give Hannibal an unimpressed look that didn't nearly match how he felt. Hannibal continued, undisturbed. “Bonded, our life span would increase quite considerably and when one of us eventually dies, the other would naturally drift into their own death, shortly after,” the Alpha sighed against Will's temple. “It is God's poetry.” Will swallowed hard against the cold, dark water that flowed down his warm spine and forced himself not to clench around Hannibal. “It's very deranged,” he objected through his tight throat as Hannibal hummed into his ear. “It's beautiful, like swans. They choose one mate and stay together for the rest of their lives. If one of them dies, the only thing the other can do is lie down and wait for their own death.”

Will frowned deep, whipping his head to the side to squint at his Alpha. “Swans don't do that,” he said with indignity before meeting with the longing gaze from Hannibal. “It is what I will do, would you die before I do,” he said, and Will blinked, turning his head back with red heat on his cheeks as he ignored a deep, hot flutter scratching at him from inside his belly. “Can't you just find a new mate?”, he mumbled awkwardly, pushing through the sudden hoarseness coating his voice. Hannibal stiffened against him at the suggestion and Will knew exactly why when he, too, felt the beast in him turning his insides in disgust.

“We are Per mutua nexis, Will. You can only settle for a better mate,” Hannibal said, lips no longer at his ear. Despite everything he felt was right, he turned back his head to chase after that touch and pressed his nose alongside his Alpha. “Which doesn't exist,” he whispered, remembering. Hannibal leaned closer, pressing their lips into a soft kiss as his hips simultaneously pushed up and close into Will who instantly felt his thighs trembling as he squeezed around the cock buried inside. “Exactly,” Hannibal hissed before he stuttered his hips up and brought them both another round of building and collapsing pleasure in their guts.

Chapter Text

Everything was different.

Will's eyelids fluttered open, fighting off the rosy, peaceful slumber he was under, and the realization was immediate. He stiffened and sat himself upright, away from the warmth that surrounded his bare skin. He felt the stirring of the man in his embrace as he slid himself off the deflated Alpha knot that was still snug inside his body, leaving his insides clinging to nothing but emptiness. The man before him twitched, uncomfortable with cool air against warmed skin and Will looked up to see Hannibal's eyes open, alert, amber and brown, but without the rim of run-out blood he had grown so familiar with. No more tiger eyes of liquid gold. Instead, a bare circle of earthy colors stared back at him. No more cocoon of heat and skin and desperate need, explored with teeth and claws and warning growls. Their gaze lingered on the other as Hannibal sat up straight against the wall, and Will's bare body leaned backwards on the bed. He felt it. Everything he had grown unfamiliar with the last few days. He felt the cold. He felt the hunger. The world around him was suddenly hard and bright, a violation to his senses. It was... as it always had been. Will Graham, normal.

“My heat is over,” he said, stunned by the naked, vulnerable feeling that crept under his skin, and he scrambled for a blanket to wrap around his bare body, half an eye on the red dot of the ceiling camera. Hannibal moved towards him on the bed with hands on the mattress, his face bloodless under his skin. “Yes,” he confirmed breathlessly, his tone of voice and expression unidentifiable as he looked at Will with human eyes that almost looked cold compared to the orange, wild glow Will had gotten used to. He wondered what Hannibal saw changed in him, and if the Alpha, too, could tell by the color of Will's eyes and the lack of blood beneath his skin, that it was the truth. Will looked at his mate, unblinking, and saw that the previous golden glow that had warmed him, now hidden below the surface of Hannibal's skin, leaving him looking paler, tired. Will felt the immediate desire to touch the sharp bone of Hannibal's cheek and see if he felt as chilling as he appeared, his lips a deeper shade of purple. But he didn't touch him. He turned away instead.

He was himself again. No more heat in his loins, no haze before his eyes, no raging beast beneath his chest. Instead, he now felt that same beast stomping behind the closed doors to the attic of his mind, present, but no longer intruding. Once again, Will Graham was the master of his own being. The man with the dogs, the boat, the family. That was him. Will blinked into the silence that fell over the room and looked at his familiar pale feet, peeking from beneath the sheets. He noticed his nails were getting long. They needed cutting. It was a casual observation, but one for which there had been no room, mere hours ago.

He pulled his blanket tighter, bringing it close against his throat, hands twitching with tremor, and he looked at Hannibal beside him. He was there. He was Hannibal. Will's eyes slid carefully across the sharp angles of his features and the ashen tones of his sleek hair. He knew that man, from the curve of his fingers, to the taste of his lips, to the scent of his skin as it shimmered with sweat. He also knew the merciless heart that beat beneath the soft hair on his chest, the skillful way those digits curled around a knife or a saw, the screaming and slicing agony within them both as they lived and breathed to cherish, nurture, betray and destroy the other.

The feelings that accompanied him now, when he looked at Hannibal were pain, the real, slicing anger of betrayal, and a deep, deep longing to be part of every single inch of him. That last realization was one that made Will shrink further into his sheets, as he swallowed against his dry throat and stared at his unkempt toenails. Those feelings, they weren't new, they weren't different than they had been before, but this time he recognized them for what they were. Never before had he dared to identify the heat in his belly when he thought of his old friend and enemy, Hannibal Lecter, as more than resentment grown from deceit. Honest instinct, Hannibal had called it. He had told him that being an Omega would bare hidden desires, expose the layers of his mind and make him see himself with honest eyes, and now, Will understood. All these years he had tried to hide any form of undesired want and need behind his anger and his guilt. He couldn't think of him that way. Not his doctor, not his friend, not a man, not the devil. Not someone other than his wife. But despite the pain being there still, after all they had been through, he felt that deep desire had now created a room for itself, settled, and stayed.

“I...,” Will stammered, flickering restless eyes to Hannibal and back to the room. “Will,” the warm voice of his mate curled around his name, smooth but urgent. Will felt him moving closer as he looked up to meet amber eyes, open and bare behind the shimmer of earthly colors. Oh yes, he had always ached for the Alpha, long before he had presented Omega. But he was still Will, with his choices and memories and morals, his family and his home. And Hannibal, he was still the man that made him wake up in terror from a horrific memory, presented back to him in his dreams. He had chosen differently, many years ago, and he could still choose differently. He could choose to be that man with the family and the dogs and the boat. He could look at Hannibal, remember the knife in his gut, the bone saw on his skull, Abigail's ear in the sink, and he knew he would have to give everything to try and walk away. The thought alone caused something deep inside to shatter as the Omega in the attic howled unhappily and the human within him punched a hole through the wall of his mind.

“I have to leave,” Will said, his voice tight and his words choked. Hannibal leaned closer, placing one hand on his shoulder. “Will, listen...,” he said, pulling his Omega in with a warm, pleading gaze that made Will want to fall forward and drown a sweet death in amber liquid. He turned his head, away from the open stare. “I have to. Hannibal, I have to,” he heard himself whimpering and he watched steady eyes growing restless as Hannibal leaned towards him, taking hold of his upper arm. “You can't stay away for long,” he said, as much a plea as a command. “Will, you can't...” But Will placed a hand on Hannibal's to stop what he already knew was coming. “I can't stay here with you,” he said, trying for a rueful smile that became a grimace as Hannibal pressed his lips into a tight, hard line. “You won't allow yourself,” he said, darkened hazel eyes deep on Will, “but you can.”

Will huffed, pulling away from Hannibal's intense stare as he fought angrily against the grief that boiled behind his eyes. “How could anyone sanely choose this?”, he snapped, flicking his eyes hard on Hannibal to emphasize 'this'. Hannibal looked at him, his face as unreadable as only he could manage. “I'm not asking you to choose sanely. Only truthfully,” he said, body unmoving, but his pain evident on every pore.

Will shuffled across the bed and reached for the first prison jumpsuit he could find. It smelled like Hannibal, but he pulled it on anyway, underwear foregone. “I want the control over my life back,” he croaked, raising his voice involuntarily as he zipped the gray material over his chest. Hannibal rose himself up, sliding gracefully from the bed, stark naked. “When did you lose it, Will?”, he asked, reaching for the remaining jump suit which could only belong to the Omega. “Or should I ask you when you felt you had it?”, Hannibal said, a hint of that upper-class snobbishness Will remembered, as the Alpha dressed himself, eyes never leaving his mate.

The Omega looked back and moved his lips in a silent stutter, unable to decide on an answer to the question which would be both desirable and truthful, as Hannibal made his way towards him. His eyes were almost yellow under the fluorescent light, and his hand was cool when he placed it against Will's cheek. “You want to go back to your normal life with normal people, doing your normal things. And every single one of those polite days makes you crumble down a little further, until there is nothing left of Will Graham,” his voice was hushed, but Will caught every words effortlessly. “The only control you have there, is that you choose to be defeated.”

Will felt a hard, biting punch behind his eyes as he looked into Hannibal's face, pale from the absence of sunlight for years and years, and he wished he could turn away, or laugh, or push. He wished with all his might, that he could tell him he was wrong. Hannibal pressed his lips in that barely-there smile that was a peek behind the curtain of that endless depth behind the mask of his person suit. “You were born for something much greater,” he said, a spoken whisper. “You were born for my world, where everything is beauty and nothing is limitation.” Will felt his bottom lip quivering as Hannibal brushed his chin with his fingers. “You were born for me.” The words were not more than a light whisper, but Will felt himself trembling at the tangible desire that laced through every single one. A thumb stroked his cheekbone, hard behind soft flesh.

“Hannibal,” he said, his voice cracking as the rest of his sentence faded into nothing and he bit the inside of his cheek to stop himself from breaking under those amber eyes. They moved closer, breathing the same air as their noses brushed. “Promise me one thing,” Hannibal said, his voice gentle, but with a hint of sternness as he showed a sliver of teeth from between his lips. “Stay close and come back to me when it starts to hurt,” lips brushed against Will's cheek, whose eyelids fluttered at the contact. “Don't be brave. Come back to me when you're in pain.” Hannibal's eyes flickered down to Will's mouth just before their lips brushed. It was soft and dry and barely there. “Promise me, Will,” Hannibal said against his mouth before Will pressed them firmer together.

“I'm not making any promises I don't fully understand,” Will breathed between their kisses, torn in his Alpha's arms as he let their lips press together one last time before pulling and stepping back, away from Hannibal. He heard the lock of the cell door being turned, and both him and Hannibal jerked their heads in the direction of the cold, metallic noise. News spread inside this prison like hot, hot fire, and Will would not at all be surprised if Alana already knew about his ended heat from the guard in the control room.

“Promise me you will return to me, Will,” Hannibal said, an urgency in his voice that yanked sickeningly on Will's insides. The lock turned again, an audible click. Will looked at Hannibal and hoped the tremble of his lips didn't show when he said, “I owe it to more than just myself to try and find out if I can bare life without you.”

Without another word between them, Will was escorted from the prison cell. He saw Hannibal restrained, emptiness in those amber eyes, but he didn't miss the flash of fangs when Alana placed a hand between Will's shoulders to lead him out the door.

**

Will stepped into Alana's office, wearing jeans and a gray jumper one of the staff members had been kind enough to collect from the suitcase in his abandoned hotel room. He remembered having been in that room, remembered the suitcase he had placed beside the made bed, but beyond that the memories and outlines of his days in pre-heat were shapeless in his mind. Alana took her place behind the desk and the other chair, the one that had held Jack Crawford during his first visit, now showed Dr. Hammings, perched up and smiling with a notebook on his lap.

“Four days of heat, a perfectly average score,” he said, as if to congratulate Will with the achievement. Will took the last remaining seat beside the doctor and flashed him a humorless, empty stare. “Lovely,” he spoke impassively, his vacant exterior a shield for the hot spark of irritation he felt scratching and scraping against his insides. There was that ill ache against his nerves, broken nails against sensitive skin, a sickening itch he couldn't reach. Will felt a headache coming on.

“Of course, if we start counting the heat from the moment you presented, it actually lasted...,” Dr. Hammings rattled on, unfazed by the pale and frosty Omega beside him. Alana, however, cleared her throat with an eye on the doctor, and the sentence died down. “Will,” she said, business-like with a soft, furry edge, “now that your heat is over, there are some legal matters that need to be discussed.” She kept her voice soft and clear, her sky blue eyes straight on his, but this time it was Dr. Hammings who cleared his throat and ripped away her gaze and concentration. Alana sighed as she exchanged a quick look with the older man across from her. “But Dr Hammings has assured me that, for today, it's best we solely focus on discussing and monitoring your mental and physical health.” She penned a quick scrabble on her notepad before she smiled pitifully at him and leaned closer over the desk, folding her hands together. “How are you feeling, Will?”

Will blinked, caught both pairs of blue eyes and felt himself scrutinized as Alana and Dr. Hammings both adjusted their posture to stare at him with calculating, searching stares. Being the focal point of the room was something he had always resented, but the little gear inside his chest that wound tight and tight and tighter caused him, instead of lowering his eyes to his knees, to snap at the two openly undressing his skull. “I'm fine,” he said curtly. “It's been five minutes.” He tightened his lips and eyed them both defiantly from under his damp curls.

“Separation from an unbonded mate after heat can have immediate consequences for your physical and emotional well-being, Mr. Graham,” Dr. Hammings said. “The stronger the connection...,” he waved his hand, as if the rest of the words would fall out of his sleeve that way. “Enfin, are you currently under emotional distress concerning Dr. Lecter?” He leaned forward and placed a hand on Will's armchair, as if to create a more friendly environment for him. Will blinked rapidly as he looked from the doctor's prying eyes to Alana, who stiffly tapped her pen to her bottom lip. “I think I can speak for Will and say we are all under emotional distress concerning Dr. Lecter,” she answered, raising a sharp eyebrow at Dr. Hammings as Will fidgeted with a loose thread on his sweater.

Dr. Hammings gave Alana a disgruntled look she chose to ignore, before he sat back into his chair, crossed his legs and turned back to the agitable Omega beside him. “I am sorry to tell you this, Mr. Graham, but even though your heat has ended, I have to urge you not to return home to your family immediately,” he said, squinting his eyes at Will as if expecting a certain hissy fit. Will breathed steadily, the air only breaching the shallow part of his lungs as he stared at the noses of his brown, worn-down shoes. Home. Family. Those terms had never ceased to be abstract in his mind, unable to take footing. Now, he failed to even find the room they had taken up within him, overshadowed by liquid gold that stuck and dripped from every wall.

He wasn't quite ready yet, to go home. “Fine,” he agreed dispassionately, teeth pressed together behind his lips as he watched the doctor and Alana quickly crossing eyes with each other. “Yes, well...,” Dr. Hammings hesitated, unsure of where to continue after the unexpected reaction. “It is just too much of a risk, one we're not willing to take,” the doctor, lost in his own unfit script, continued. “We need to monitor the situation, see how you respond without your Alpha.” Will's nostrils trembled at that singular word, which went unnoticed by the doctor. “If all goes well in the first week, we can certainly discuss...,” he continued, but Will shifted impatiently on his chair, feeling his skin pulling too tight over his bones. “I know. I know. It's fine,” he interrupted with rushing, restless hands as the continued stammering of Dr. Hammings rubbed against him like a rash. He pulled at the fabric of his sweater, feeling it scalding too hot against his body. It was chafing his skin. It just wasn't right.

“We can certainly book a flight for your wife Molly to meet you here,” Alana offered, quick to try and ease the flare of irritation that showed in the Omega's eyes. Will grimaced at the kind offer, picturing his Molly, sweet, gentle, hugging him, crying, clinging, telling him it would all be alright. Taking care of him, like she always did. The idea made his shoulders twitch from the cold shuddering that pinched at him beneath his skin, followed by remorse over his own, inexcusable reaction to the idea. He loved Molly. He loved her while the Omega in him bared his teeth. It is beyond me, Will, he remembered Hannibal's words. Be sure not to smell like her when you come to see me. Seeing her now, here, today, it wasn't safe. Not yet. In a week, he assured the man inside him, the one with the dogs and the boat and the family, in a week he would go home to his wife.

“Thank you,” he said quickly. “But we'll make our own arrangements.” He blinked at a frowning Alana, “Oh, well... If you change your mind...,” she stammered, momentarily dazed by the surprising decline. “Thank you,” Will spoke again, before Alana nodded, cleared her throat and regrouped. “You should also know, I received a phone call from Jack Crawford,” she said, letting her pen balance between her fingers as she tapped it against the opened notebook. “He wants to meet with you.” Will's fingers clenched hard into his thigh. Jack. Jack wanted to meet with him? He had disappeared most entirely during Will's heat and now he, what? Hoped to talk to him about that case? That Tooth fairy case? There was little in the world Will could care less about.

He tensed, fingers playing with the loosening elastic inside his sock. “In a few days maybe... I'm...,” he mumbled, and was strengthened by Dr. Hammings who backed him with an “I agree with Mr. Graham. Anything work related will have to wait.” The voice and look that accompanied the doctor were those of a medical professional caring for a patient, and for once, Will truly was grateful for his presence. Alana didn't press any further, but fished something out of her drawer and pushed it across her desk towards him. It was a silver key, with a wooden plate on the chain. On the polished surface shone the number 27 in golden letters.

“We extended your hotel room for another week,” Alana said, plucking a card from beneath her desk and handing it to Will. A calling card. White with blue stripes, very clinical. “This is an excellent psychiatrist in the area, in case you want to talk to a professional about the past week,” she said, and Will blinked, swallowed and tried to keep his lips from stretching too far down to openly display his distaste. “I think I have seen enough psychiatrists for a lifetime,” he deadpanned, eyes tight on Alana, who met his stare, pursed her lips and nodded stiffly as if to tell him, 'fair enough'.

Dr. Hammings had lifted himself off his chair and was now circling Will like a bald eagle while carrying his brown doctor's bag. “I would like to monitor your health, Mr. Graham. If you'll allow me to do some tests,” he asked without asking, and promptly took out a stethoscope and a blood pressure pump. Will watched the doctor scandering around him as he sat in his chair and underwent cold metal on his skin. Light in his ear, one of those ice-cream stick things on his tongue and a thermometer against his forehead. All the while, Alana was watching him, contemplating, quite obviously looking for words Will hoped she wouldn't find.

“So,” she said, as the band around his arm inflated, smiling ruefully as she unfolded her hands, showing her palms upwards. A sign of trust, vulnerability, a lure to make him feel safe. “How are you feeling, Will?” There was that familiar pity in her open face. Her blue eyes were weak with it. “It must be awful for you now, to fully understand that Hannibal is your Alpha.” It wasn't mockery, Will knew. She meant it, and said it in an attempt to comfort him. But her words were equally unwelcome either way. “His Per mutua nexis Alpha,” the doctor found it appropriate to add as he tapped the metal point of a little hammer against Will's knees. If he kicked the old man in the shin, it was completely by accident.

“I don't know what to say other than how deeply sorry I am for you,” Alana continued, her therapist voice thick as she offered him that pitiful smile. “I wouldn't wish this on anyone, let alone my dear friend.” And he was back to being her stray, her kicked little puppy. A slave to his biology and a martyr in Hannibal's clutches. Poor, victimized Will, the little lamb to the big bad lion. It was not at all... It wasn't like that. No one would understand it, but it wasn't like that. He just didn't know what it was. He looked from her eyes down to the stethoscope on his chest. “I have to make a phone call,” he said, ignoring her offered kindness as he shuffled on his chair. Dr. Hammings took the metal off his skin. “Your heart-rate is a little increased and so is your blood pressure, but nothing troubling,” he said, noticeably satisfied as he rested an amiable hand on Will's shoulder. “I would like to see you every day for the following week to check up on you.”

Will turned to the doctor, subtly shaking off the unwanted touch from his shoulder as he looked up into the watery blue eyes. “I'm not coming back to this place every day,” he said, feeling himself shiver at the thought of being so close, so close to Hannibal, without... “Oh, but I would definitely encourage you to come in and visit your Alpha this coming week, Mr. Graham. Maybe even seek out intimacy.” The doctor spoke casually as Will clutched his hand hard around the armrests of his chair, eyes and lips wide in confusion. “W-what?”, he stammered as he saw Alana offering him a sympathetic look from behind the desk. The doctor smiled his infuriating smile, calm and patient with a pinch of superiority. “The chances of a successful separation would certainly improve with a gentle phasing off, rather than going completely 'cold turkey'”, he spoke, air quoting the last two words and Will ground his teeth violently inside his mouth. “No one told me about this before,” he bit, confusion and anger blending perfectly on his face. The doctor sighed, nodded his head once in politeness and opened his hands. “The choice is yours, Mr. Graham, I simply feel it would be beneficial for your separation and health to ease gently into your time apart. Even a phone call could take the edge off of your symptoms.”

Will shook his head, the words and possibilities a swarm of birds around his head, cawing at him cacophonously. This wasn't how he had pictured this. He was going to come to his own, read a book, overcome the aches that arose and go back home until his next heat. He wasn't going to go back, he wasn't going to see him. “Will,” Alana's voice broke through the wall of noise inside his head. He looked up at her, seeing her leaning forward on the desk, holding another calling card between two fingers. “We can offer you all of the possibilities here. Whatever you need.” He wished he could growl at her as her lips pressed together in a pitiful pout. “You are allowed to visit and enter the cell, whenever you need to,” she spoke, handing him the card in her hand. “I've written down the number you can call to reach...”

Will took the card, shoving it straight into his pocket as he jumped up from the chair. “I have to go,”
he said urgently, as he reached for his coat. “Mr. Graham...,” Dr. Hammings started, his doctor voice back in place, but Will reached forward to grab the key from the desk. “I really have to make that phone call,” he said, and without a second glance back, he walked out of Alana's office, down the hall, and out of the building into the first fresh air he had had in days.

Chapter Text

Will moved down the stone steps of stairs that lead into the main street below, with squinting eyes registering nothing but what was directly in front of his feet. The light was bright and the air was cool against the skin of his face, filling his cramped lungs with oxygen. Unfiltered. There were cars, bikes and people, scattered, moving seamlessly around him as he walked, walked, walked, without a moment to stop and think of where to go. He didn't realize he was crossing a road until something shining, red and massive nearly bumped his thigh, and he flinched at the honked horn close to his ear.

But he walked on and continued walking and with every step, he felt the pull. There was a tug on his mind and a tug on his body, as real as actual hands on his skin and his brain, and it wasn't hard to figure out whose hands those were. Will looked at the concrete passing beneath his shoes, watched patches of grass go by, and one hopping, impertinent pigeon. He had needed to get out of that office, away from prying eyes and prying instruments. He knew Alana, he even knew Dr. Hammings to an extent, but their company felt like that of total strangers, unwilling and unable to understand the works of his animal brain, still very much present within him. Also, forgotten and a mystery even to him, his human one.

They had looked at him, wanting a solution, a cure, a way for him to live without his Alpha and even outside of his heat, the thought made the beast inside him stagger with outrage. He felt a sickening shudder beneath his skin, a violent pounding against his temples, the rising thrumming of the blood in his veins that screamed for one, and one alone. Will, however, the man with the family, could write himself a book of reasons why walking away was the only walking to be done. He remembered choosing a family life of quiet and endless snow to hide behind. He also remembered, more clearly than anything, the kiss Hannibal shared with him only yesterday, speaking of his feelings of romantic love. Will's lips tightened as he kicked at an empty beer can with the toe of his shoe. The powerful struggle of head and heart had begun the very moment he first crossed eyes with his mate. Now, he was unsure if those parts still even belonged to him.

He found an abandoned bench in an abandoned park and dropped himself down as he reached inside the pocket of his coat with restless fingers, scouting for his phone. He switched on the little black device, tapping out the password and ignoring the numerous missed calls and messages that popped onto the screen, before he scrolled through the address book. The name he was looking for was easily found. Odd-looking, staring back at him so plainly, cheaply illuminated. He pressed the green button before he could stop to think.

The phone rang only twice before she picked up, an urgency present in her voice. She sounded so familiar, like calling a childhood friend after years and years of separation. “Molly?”, he said, and heard her big sigh of relief through the speaker against his ear. “Will, oh thank God,” she said, elated and simultaneously worried, a mother's trait. “I was about to hire a dog-sitter and jump on a plane. The doctor told me you have Typhoid fever but they wouldn't let me speak to you...” Will balanced his foot on a loose branch as her voice echoed in his ear. He hadn't bothered to remember what his made-up story was supposed to be. He wasn't good with those things. “No, Molly, it's... I'm OK. I'm not sick,” he interjected as he looked up at the white clouds above his head. No matter how he would dress up the truth, damage would be done. “What happened? Are you coming home?”, Molly's voice sounded impatient, far away. What hurt him most was that it didn't hurt more, being so close and so far away from her. His Molly. His friend. His sister. His sweet, good Molly that never stopped smiling, or fighting, or trying. She was the sun where he was the moon. And where Hannibal was the dark, dark abyss.

“I want to. I can't, I...”, he said, and closed his eyes. Inside of him was an iron thread that yanked and pulled as his skin searched and yearned for the warm touch of strong Alpha hands. Even talking to his good, dearest Molly, he could envision being back on that mattress, watching that smile around sharp, sharp teeth. “What's wrong? Tell me, please. Whatever it is, we'll...”, she rambled, worried, kind...
He watched the clouds, and the beast within him howled defiantly at the voice on the other end of the line. He lowered his eyes to his knees as he wished simultaneously that he could see her, and not speak to her at all.

“I'm an Omega,” Will interrupted her, his voice soft but clear. He licked at his dry lips and balanced one foot on the nose of the other. The line was silent. Dead silent. He couldn't even hear a breath until Molly inhaled sharply into the horn, momentarily startling him. “You're...”, she breathed, speaking slowly against the receiver and getting stuck on the word. Will could envision her perfectly, standing in their kitchen with the phone against her ear, her eyes seeing nothing but endless void as she stared out of the window, mouth and eyes agape. “I'm an Omega,” he repeated and he heard her sigh. The sound was whole, long, ending with what sounded like a chuckle and his skin tightened hard around his body. She was relieved, he realized, feeling the hairs on the back of his neck rise, because he wasn't wounded, or damaged. She didn't understand, just like he hadn't, what it meant to present for an Alpha.

“You presented? You presented in prison?”, Molly asked him and Will ran his tongue over the roof of his mouth. “Something like that,” he said. He was a prick for not telling her about that letter, but he couldn't find the strength to start at the beginning of a story that seemed to have started decades ago. In his mind, he saw the golden glow of tiger eyes. “Well... I guess you have a little dog in you after all,” Molly said, a sweet attempt to lighten the heavy mood, but only breaking his heart further. “How did it happen? Did you present for someone you met there?”, she asked bravely and Will felt his throat squeezing tight under the hopeful spark that colored her gentle voice. He swallowed hard, trying not to picture her lovely face, tear-stricken and crushed. “I presented for Hannibal,” he said in a single breath, answering her honestly.

The silence returned for a moment while Will watched a cloud in the shape of a fish. “Oh. Oh wow, I... Hannibal...”, Molly stammered, and Will squeezed his eyes together hard to fight the unfair throbbing behind his temples. “I didn't know I was an Omega. Molly, I had no idea this was going to happen,” he told her, not knowing why he felt the need to clarify. Why, after all, would she think... “No, of course not, I know it is not a voluntary thing,” Molly reassured him, like he was the one who needed reassuring. “No,” he breathed, itching his arms beneath his sweater, the fabric rough on his sensitive skin.

“So, what happened? Did they keep you at the hospital wing? Treat your heat symptoms?”, Molly asked and Will felt his gut and heart dropping and shattering into a million pieces. He loved Molly because this was who she was. She was light, innocent, she was there and she trusted him to make the right decisions. Not like Hannibal, who instead always encouraged him to become the worst version of himself. She was at the other end of the spectrum. He remained silent, wondering what would happen once she knew the truth. “It must have been difficult for you, Will,” she broke the silence in misplaced sympathy. Sympathy for pain that was not his, oblivious of the pain that was. Will wished he could cry. It would have been a fitting demonstration of his affection and his guilt. But there were no tears behind his eyes to press out.

“Molly...”, he tried instead, but her voice carried over his. “What happened, Will? Why couldn't I see you?”, she asked persistently, when he simply held his breath and released. The fish cloud was now an ice cream cone. “I wasn't in the hospital wing,” he spoke slowly, his eyes squinting shut. “I was with him.” His voice was barely a whisper. His fingers brushed a scab on his collarbone under his sweater, marks of sharp teeth. “I was with Hannibal during my heat.” This time, the silence on the other end was longer and he could almost hear the frown that was undoubtedly etching deeper on her face. She was trying to understand what he meant, what else it could mean instead of what it surely sounded like. “Molly, there was no other way,” he added, his voice much flatter than he had hoped for as he looked at his fingertips. There was blood on them, drawn from the scab he had been scratching. Molly stuttered her words: “Oh. Oh, so...Did you...? So you, and him....”

He brought his finger to his lips, tasting the blood. It was such a familiar taste on his tongue. It brought back images of teeth on lips and skin, just as her questions pulled up visions of him against the table, the bed, the wall. “I am so sorry,” he spoke almost inaudibly, into the phone. He heard her intake of breath, an indication that she realized just what he was trying to tell her. Will watched two ducks chasing each other for a crust of bread as Molly breathed into his ear. “How... how are you, now? Are you OK?”, she stuttered, concern still dominant where there could have been outrage, jealousy. Not Molly. Molly didn't expect him to have done or felt anything wrong. He ran a finger absently over his bottom lip, remembering sharp and soft kisses in the same breath. “It's complicated,” he said, and hated himself for uttering such a cliché, bullshit thing to his concerned wife. He didn't add to it, however. Instead, he was rubbing fingers over the bite mark on his thigh.

“Yeah, I believe that,” Molly said, her voice dense with obvious shock. “But your heat is over? Can you come home?” There was so much hope in the color of her tone that Will felt cold under his sweater and jacket, sitting in the bright, morning sun. “No, not for another week,” he admitted. “They want to see how things go, with me, without...”, he closed his eyes. If he inhaled deeply, he could smell a lingering trace of winter-fire on his skin. The scent made him want to weep. “I want to come and see you. I'll put Wally up with my mother, and...”, Molly spoke and Will's eyes shot back open, pulled from the hot depth of his mind. “No,” he spoke, too quick, too loud. He quickly corrected himself. “No, I don't feel like myself quite yet. I-I need some time...”, he stuttered on, wishing he could rip that feeling out of him and jump on a plane, kiss his wife, forget this ever happened. Instead, the thought made his muscles ache with tension.

“OK. OK. I completely understand,” Molly said gently and Will dug nails into his knee as she soothed him further. “Whenever you need me, I'll be there.” It was so undeserved, Will would have laughed if he remembered how. Instead, he sighed, willing away the memories of his nose pressed under his Alpha's jaw. “Oh Molly, I... Thank you,” he struggled. Across the street walked a woman with a Bloodhound on a short leash. His droopy eyes reminded him of the Basset Hound he used to have, growing up. His name was Jeff. “Are you sure you're okay? Did he... did he hurt you at all?”, Molly's voice sounded in his ear, soft and tender, like a gentle hand through his hair. Again, Will could feel those teeth sinking into his flesh, the squeezing hand around his throat, the stretching knot inside his body. “No,” he breathed hard. “No, he didn't hurt me.” She sighed in relief, and Will blinked at all the images that filled his mind, of writhing, naked flesh.

Molly swallowed audibly. “Was it... was it really awful? I mean...”, she asked, unable to push her voice past the lump in her throat. How she saw him as the wounded animal, the frightened pup in the lion's den, just like all the others did. No one saw the wolf. No one ever had, no one but Hannibal. “It's difficult to explain,” he offered her, pain tearing little holes in his words. It was difficult, that was the truth. But it was also gutwrenchingly hurtful to do so. Molly soothed him with a gentle hum that rang warm against his ear. “I'm sure it was a shock for both of you, such a sudden change,” she said and Will rested the inside of his cheeks between his teeth. There was an English bulldog across the street, sniffing under the Bloodhound's tail. “Yeah. Yeah, it was,” he said, eyes on the playful wagging of the bulgy dogs across from him. He didn't tell her Hannibal knew, Hannibal suspected, Hannibal lured him in, and he followed, without enough of a fight. Presenting was nothing he could blame himself for. Soft morning kisses on the mattress, for that he had no excuse.

“As long as you're OK, we can find a way to deal with this. We will work it out, somehow,” Molly said, assuring him, and Will closed his eyes as the animal inside him dug hard at his memories of sleek, silver hair between his fingers. “Molly, I am so sorry,” he gasped, finding the shame and the guilt within him at her sweet, optimistic words, her belief they were a team, side by side, instead of feeling the depth that had fallen between them. “Don't,” she quickly interjected. “This is nature, biology. There is nothing you could have done.” He inhaled sharply before he sighed shakily into the palm of the hand supporting his phone. Molly chuckled again, trying to ease him when she said, “You were always the rebellious kind.”

He wished he could throw his phone into the duck pond. Scream at her the things he had rebelliously done, long before her. After Hannibal. “Yeah, well...”, he mumbled instead, flexing his fingers around the device that was beginning to heat up against his ear. Molly hummed again, making him feel like a spluttering, lost toddler in his mother's embrace. Coddled, but not heard. “Luckily, we live in a time where doctors and medication don't force us to be slaves to our bodies anymore,” she said encouragingly and Will feared he would grind his teeth to the root. She didn't ask, but she assumed. How could he tell her now, that there were no pills for him? No treatment, other than to spend his heats with a dangerous inmate that also happened to have a hold on his heart. He didn't speak. He let the silence hang between them as he watched a young woman pushing an elderly man in a wheelchair around.

Molly breathed into the phone. “Look,” she said, “how about you try to come to yourself for now, call me tomorrow, or whenever you want to talk, and when you come home we will work out what our options are.” The offer was more than kind, accommodated to his every need. And Molly was ready, so ready to fight with him to fix this, to make this work, to understand. He wished he would feel relief, instead of suffocation. “Yeah, OK,” he said. “Good?”, she checked at the flatness of his tone. “Yeah. Yes, good,” he tried harder, and heard the smile in her voice when she sighed. He cleared his throat and sat himself up straight. “Thank you Molly, I-I will speak to you very soon,” he said, feeling his hot ear, the cramped feeling of his jaw as he watched the sky through the trees. The ice-cream cone was gone. Replaced shapeless clouds. “Don't worry too much,” Molly said. “Everything will turn out fine.” Her soothing tone stroked against his skin, never reaching deeper. “Bye, Molly,” Will said. “Bye, Will,” she replied.

Afterwards, as he walked back to his hotel, Will realized he hadn't asked her how she was feeling. He hadn't asked what she had been through this past week, or how Wally was doing. He also realized, he probably never had.

**

It took Will close to twenty minutes to arrive at the shabby motel room. He was greeted by a pale green door with chipped paint along the side and a large number 27 nailed right above the peephole. He buried his hands deep in the pocket of his dark brown coat, fishing out the plated key with unsteady fingers. He barely remembered arriving here, only days before today, as he looked around the parking lot behind him. The motel was a cheap, ground floor row of rooms, and his was at the far, far back. All he could recall as he took in his surroundings, was a crazed blur of painful Omega need that burning him alive from the inside out. Now, all he felt was the remains, smoking ashes, burned and curled up wallpaper in the rooms of his mind palace. He pushed the key into the lock and stepped onto the shabby, maroon carpet of a small room with a queen size bed, curtains drawn shut and his black suitcase messily pushed into the corner. That suitcase, his stuff. It felt foreign now, as he looked at the corner of a book, a sleeve of a sweater and the tube of a sock that peeked out between the opened zipper. That was his. He recognized it with his eyes, but he didn't feel like it belonged to the man he was now. Maybe too much had happened in such a short time, for him to come back to himself just yet.

He sat on the edge of the bed, dropping his body down with a long and heavy groan as he placed supportive arms behind him and dropped back his head, staring at the nicotine stained ceiling. The way here had been a blur as he wandered through the meaningless, seamless streets filled with dull, gray houses and faded family cars. He hadn't even considered the possibility of calling a cab, grateful for the air blowing at the whirl of ashes inside his skull, and the opportunity to try and clear a head that had long ago proven to be unclearable. It stung him like a venomous bee that the walk, one that should have been filled with the haunting, repeating memory of the gutwrenching phone call to his wife, had instead spread a throbbing hum inside his belly, clawing up memories of lips on his skin and a scent of burned wood that seemed permanently housed inside his nose.

Will sighed, long, fragile, as his arms failed to hold him up, forcing him to lower his head onto the cheap, spring mattress that squeaked with every breath. He felt empty. He felt cold. He felt lost. He would have to survive here, for one week, before he would return home. One week without Molly. One week, he was still allowed to see Hannibal, speak to him. Touch him, if Dr. Hammings' advice was anything to go by. He wanted the best chance to survive his time before the next heat, but he didn't feel he could return to the cell. Not with Hannibal's claws still so deep in his back.

So now, he had time. Days of just Will. Not Hannibal's Will, nor Molly's. Just Will. He wrapped both arms in front of his face, blocking his view as he breathed into the crease of his elbow. Was he just going to exist, be, feel how much it was going to hurt? He felt a tear seeping from between his closed lids onto his cheeks, soaked up by his jacket's sleeve. He missed Hannibal. Already. He missed him with all he had to give, after mere hours of separation. It was the only thing in him, after the whirlwind of emotions and thoughts, that stuck out clearly, unfazed, undamaged. He missed his Alpha.

Will sat up, violently rubbing at the streaks on his cheek as he yanked off his coat and flung it as far from the bed as he could manage. This, it reminded him so much of the time Hannibal had turned himself over to Jack. He cried then too, when they had all left, and he was alone inside his house. He had missed Hannibal then too, but it was easier to admit to himself when Hannibal was really gone. Now, Will felt the Omega in him, pacing in the attic. Angry, restless, searching for its mate, and he wondered where his feelings sprung from this time. How could he possibly know if the Omega wanted his Alpha, or Will wanted Hannibal.

He took a shower, closing his eyes and leaning his head against the tiles as the hot water streamed from his face to his feet. He stood there, arms braced on the wall, refusing to touch his own skin as he let his body go numb under the heat. Everything hurt, but the most vile, cruel, unbearable part of it, was that he knew this feeling. The raw ache of his skin, the tightening of his stomach, the never ending tension of crooked toes, digging against every surface. He had felt this way for many years, bearing it. He didn't remember ever feeling different. But now that he had tasted the pure, powerful bliss that was the nearness of his Alpha, that pain was like raw beans compared to an ongoing, glorious feast. He had tolerated it, but it had become intolerable. He toweled himself off, quickly and imprecise as he slid his naked body between cheap, clean white sheets that felt crisp against his skin.

He didn't have a plan. He could only wait, and feel, and if everything would go as expected, slowly perish by himself in this tiny motel room before he could try to return to the real world. He would have to survive, just until next Monday, and he would fly home, start fresh. 'I will be impressed if you last a week,' Hannibal had said, and Will swallowed at the sickening buzz under his skin, as if his body wished him to move, to search, to stop resting and find whom it needed most. Instead, he closed his eyes. “Fuck you, Hannibal,” he mumbled under his breath. He didn't know how long he would last, the pain that kneaded around his muscles already enough to make him squirm. Pain like a toothache, right on the cavity and deep into your jaw, that was what it felt like.

Bonded, it would be easier, they had said. Bonded, separation wouldn't hurt like this. But bonded, he would never, ever be able to make a place for himself without Hannibal, with his family, within his own mind. He should drink, eat, he should get dressed, the sun still out behind the curtains. Instead, he stayed where he was, watching the ceiling for fading hours, running his head past the days, the memories, the sounds and scents. He was trying to fit it all in, shape it around, find a way to make it work. What he wanted, what he felt, what he desired, it was a box of endless entangled rope, impossible to see where it starts, and how it could come undone.

He fell into slumber, exhausted from days upon days of physical and emotional havoc, and hovered behind his eyes in a state of half sleep, half alert, half dreams and half thoughts for hours and hours. When he woke up, it was dark outside, and Will sat up straight, fingers scratching wildly at his windpipe. He couldn't breathe. He couldn't breathe anymore. In his dreams, he had been alone in the woods at night, following his nose to the smell of burning wood until he found the beast he had been looking for. Large, tiger eyes, silver gray hair, prominent, sharp fangs. The beast growled at him, hunching his back with hairs rising up from its neck. Its lip curled up, its golden eyes squinted. But Will wasn't afraid. He approached the beast, raising a hand, touching the muzzle above the nose. For a moment they stared at each other, watching, curiously, until he noticed that the beast was whimpering. It was quiet, so quiet he could barely hear, but when he looked at his hand, he realized he was pushing his own nails deep into the bridge of its nose. Blood streamed down the muzzle, the beast's eyes flared red, and before he could step back, sharp fangs closed around his throat.

“Fuck,” Will wheezed, finding his breath in his tightened lungs, slowly coming to himself in the dark as he looked at his fingers. No blood. It was a dream. It had felt so fucking real. He fell on his pillow, feeling his body spasming around his ribcage as the sour pain returned to his veins. His breathing didn't steady, but stayed rapid as he swallowed and blinked at the ceiling, sweat forming a thin layer on his skin. An hour passed. Another one. He couldn't breathe. And it hurt, so bad. It was still pitch black when he lifted himself out of bed and fumbled around for his pants. His fingers reached into his pocket, finding a crumpled piece of paper before he folded his naked body back between the sheets.

Before he allowed himself to think, if that were at all possible over the acid pain in his veins, Will took the phone on his nightstand off the receiver and held it against his ear, punching in the number on the calling card in his hand. He wanted to hang up before the call could make it through but his fingers only twitched around the horn as it rang once, twice, three time before he was greeted by a male voice. Will stuttered around his name when he said, “This is Will Graham calling for...”

“Dr. Lecter. Of course, Mr. Graham. I'll put you through,” the voice replied, and Will froze at the name spoken against his ear. Again, his fingers twitched, again he wanted to let go, end the call, make it stop. But minutes of silence pressed on, and he never moved. There was a short click, a breath, and a voice that made his skin bloom like the first rays of sun on spring flowers.

“How is the world without me, Will?”

Chapter Text

Will's lungs opened under the gentle rumble against his ear, allowing the soothing, vital air into his increased bloodstream. He closed his eyes, pressing them shut as his fingers tightened painfully around the horn in his hand. He wasn't going to cry. He wasn't going to scream. He wasn't going to laugh out loud from the feather-like strokes of relief that brushed against every raw, pulsing ache beneath the surface of his skin, a cool touch to the chafing burn. It was not enough, however, to quell the flames that licked and lingered deeper.

“I feel completely lost,” he croaked into the phone, resting his head against the device out of pure exhaustion. It hadn't been a full day since he left, but already his muscles felt mangled, like he had been thrown around like a rag doll within his own skin. “As do I,” Hannibal admitted from the other end, without shame, without hesitation. Will almost breathed a chuckle at the easy, familiar flow of his Alpha's voice against his glowing ear as he wiped the sweat off his forehead with the back of his hand. Weakness never shone through in Hannibal, but Will could hear in the aura around his words that he, too, felt a strain that loosened the moment their voices met.

“And I hate myself for calling you,” Will confessed, his hand settling over his eyes as he sank into the pillow behind his back. He loathed his lack of control, restraint, but it was hard to truly feel regret now that the fist around his throat finally eased its grip. He was an addict in the throes of withdrawal. “At 4 in the morning,” Hannibal added, a smile around his lips that Will could envision before his eyes in a single heartbeat. He pressed two palms against his sockets, clenching the horn between tense fingers. “Fuck.” He hadn't even looked at the time. It hadn't mattered. But now, he felt a pinch of embarrassment at the desperation his actions surely screamed. He hadn't even been able to wait until morning. He hadn't been able to wait a full day.

“Will...,” Hannibal said, the timbre and curve of his voice dancing a seamless curl around his name. It pulled at something inside the Omega, yanked at him, right behind his bellybutton. He shot upright on the bed, the horn pressing hard against his ear. He heard it, the tremble of a plea beneath the honey of his Alpha's voice. “Answer me honestly,” Will demanded, his voice louder, sharper, with a tinge of fear to underline his words. “Are you in pain?” The question made his own body shudder and twitch against the mattress, a reminder of the agony that still scratched within him. The thought of Hannibal, alone in his cell, constantly watched, dressed in rough cotton and bothered with offensive prison food as he curled up on his single mattress with arms around his weakened body, made Will want to lurch for the TV, anything within his reach, and hurl it out of the motel window. The urge was sudden, but it was wild.

But then, as Hannibal told him: “The pain of separation is very much a mental anguish for an Alpha.” Will felt his violent temper converting into a sharp sting of hot irritation. A mental anguish? He, Will, he was suffering like a wounded animal. The stabbing, head-splitting pulses in his joints, the nauseating burn in his belly, the wrecking flow of acid through bones and veins and nerves was a constant vibration beneath his every heartbeat. He was broken, trembling, already feeling his body breaking down and now Hannibal told him...

“You don't feel pain?”, his voice was undignified on the brink of childish, even to him. It quivered with outrage at an injustice he felt like a knife to his back, even if a hint of solace simultaneously seeped through the cracks of his mind and washed away the previous, harrowing image of his suffering Alpha. There was a pause on the other end, and when Hannibal finally did speak, it was through tightened jaws. “Do you truly believe that is what I said?”, he asked sharply and Will heard a scrape of metal against his ear. The Omega pictured his mate taking place in one of the seats at the table, and he breathed in deeply through his nose, feeling his chest expanding without trouble.

“An Alpha's strength lies in his strength,” Hannibal told him, factually. “Physical weakness would not be beneficial to his protective nature.” Will smiled despite everything, unable to open his eyes under the pressure of sleep, pain and near-relief that seemed to weigh on his eyelids. “Whereas an Omega just needs to stay near his Alpha,” he breathed into the phone, making sure to put a cutting edge around his words as he rested against the mattress, bare under the sheets. Hannibal hummed, disapproval evident in his tone. “For safety. It is purely instinctual,” he spoke, otherwise ignoring the derisive tone in his mate's voice. “An Alpha, in turn, is designed to protect his Omega and ensure his family's wellbeing.
I am in no position to do so here.”

Will heard the words and felt the deep wound that was uncovered by them, but lost the voice to speak in return. That one word, it was enough to make him lose his grip on his own, slippery mind. Family. He blinked and thought of Molly, Wally. He thought of Abigail, his Dad. It was foreign to him still, that term. For some reason, it would never fit around him and take the shape he had envisioned. Once, family would have made him think of a home, a wife, a flock of children, and a pack of dogs. And even as he tried to picture it in the moment, those faces in his mind were never formed, never shaped, never colored in.

Family. At times, it reminded him of the two swans that couldn't exist without the other, roaming together from pond to pond. “Will...”, Hannibal sighed away the silence, the pain in his voice more evident now, mostly because he allowed it to peek through. “I know...”, Will muttered, grief heavy behind his eyes as he breathed hard into the phone. “We both suffer,” he said, and with those words he acknowledged the pain of his mate, however different than his own. Something they both needed as even alone, and even with divergent needs, no one would ever understand them better than the other.

“Yes,” Hannibal said into the horn, a sigh, followed by a much more intrusive: “Did you get to speak to your wife?” Will's eyes widened at the unexpected question, finally able to keep them open as he frowned at the receiver. “I thought you didn't want to hear about Molly,” he said defensively and Hannibal hummed low in his throat, a noise Will suspected was meant to mask the growl that undoubtedly rested in his Alpha's throat. “I assume you did not yet see, or touch her.” Hannibal's words carried something supercilious, but the strain that ran under his tone was deep. “I spoke to her,” Will confirmed, his voice more timid than he cared for. “She knows what is happening.” His eyes shifted uneasily through the room as he spoke, picturing his mate's dilated pupils from inside his mind.

“Does she know who you presented for?”, Hannibal asked, and even though Will could not catch it in his tone, he was certain the Alpha was on the brim of gloating. “She knows it was you,” he spoke curtly, lips pressed tight. “And she knows who you are.” Will lowered his eyes to his bare chest, uncomfortable with the direction of the conversation as his heartbeat thumping louder in his throat. He wondered if Hannibal could hear it through the phone. “Is she aware of the nature of our relationship before you presented?”, Hannibal asked him, patiently, fingers right on the sore spot. Will closed his eyes. Hannibal had always seen inside his skull, as if he had succeeded in actually opening him up, that time in Italy.

“She knows I was your patient,” The Omega said evasively, halting his free hand as it started to wander down his ribs and hastily bringing it back up to rest against his shoulder. “You never were my patient, Will,” Hannibal hummed into his ear, his voice warm with affection yet tauntingly sharp. Will's ears warmed hot at the sultry tone, just as irritation flared up in his belly. He had not been hiding anything from her. He and Hannibal, their relationship might have been strangely intimate, deep, intrusive, but they had not been lovers. It had not been an affair.

“She knows about the time you experimented on my brain as I was suffering from encephalitis. The time you framed me for your murders, and the time you slid open my belly and left me for dead on your kitchen floor.” he bit viciously against the plastic of the horn. “And let's not forget the time you tried to crack open my skull with a bone saw.” His hands started to tremble at the incomprehension and grief that washed down his body as he spoke the words and saw the visions. He remembered those time between them all so well, and it never ceased to make him double over in pure anguish and sickening mania.

Will focused on the other end of the line as he swam inside himself, lost in the turmoil of emotions. Hannibal was there, and his breathing sounded warm and solid against his ear. “We betrayed each other, Will. You and me both,” he spoke, his voice echoing back a fraction of the agony that Will felt dripping from his brain down his throat, poisoning him. The Omega smiled into the darkness, and it hurt.

“Betrayal, attempted murder... we bring it out in each other so naturally,” he breathed, shoulders twitching at his own words. It was the truth. That realization was why he had sent Hannibal away those years ago, and why he had to walk from him now. The Omega in the attic thrashed against the walls of his mind, making it rain a cloud of whirling sawdust behind his eyes. Hannibal didn't speak for the moment, and neither did Will. Each listened to the other breathing, heard his presence there, and it made everything that little bit easier, and that little bit more maddening.

“I must admit, my actions regarding you around that time were not always as well-considered as I thought them to be,” Will heard his Alpha's voice through the silence, his words chosen carefully. “I was partly steered by a very unguided, very determined Alpha in me, dug out and brought forth by your presence,” he spoke almost melancholically, the moment one of rare self-reflection for the Alpha and Will sucked his bottom lip sharply through his teeth. “I hadn't presented back then...,” he replied defensively, and Hannibal hummed almost lasciviously into his ear. “But my Alpha recognized you right away. Long before even I did,” he replied, a low vibration in his throat that made the Omega's skin rise and tighten with goosebumps. “It made me push the boundaries with you, probing for the animal I suspected was dormant inside.”

Will lowered the horn to his cheek, closing his eyes as he lay breathing in the dark. Even then, they had recognized, subconsciously, what was hidden in the other. He couldn't deny it, not when he remembered it so well. He could see them clearly behind his eyes, talking in Hannibal's office or sitting at the dinner table, watching each other as they ate. Hannibal had watched him with a fire in his eyes that Will had felt as though it penetrated his skin. There had been a beast inside the monster inside the man. One that woke around the beast inside of him. Even then.

It took Will several seconds before he brought the receiver back to his lips. “You...,” he stuttered against the plastic and Hannibal breathed hard against the phone, pushing air through his nostrils. Will could almost feel the hot stream of air, as he had many times against his throat. “I saw the struggling, beautiful, caged beast inside you and it brought out the struggling, deprived beast inside me,” Hannibal said, with the melody of a poem. “We were both made for the other, but unable to fit we turned vicious.” The words curled around the Alpha's teeth in a hiss. “Starving in an ocean of bread makes an animal of the most civilized human being.”

Will pressed a hand to his eyes and felt his shoulders shaking before he laughed, loud, a fine line to sobbing. “You weren't human... I was,” he croaked as his muscles bent, pulled and shuddered on the mattress, a reflection of the wild waves inside his head. Hannibal's tone was cool silk to the raw skin around his shuddering, breakable bones. “Yet we battled and betrayed and loved each other like savages. That is what we are, Will,” Hannibal spoke, his words a caress that made Will rub his own cheek against his shoulder in search for a warm touch.

“You wanted to kill me,” Will whispered, a grimace flashing over his features as he ripped off the band-aid on an old, festering wound within his heart. A low growl rolled over the phone from the other end. “I wanted to bond with you,” Hannibal hissed and Will knew he had bared his teeth. “My Alpha was in a state of furious pandemonium, finding the perfect mate, unable to have or to attain. Which I did not fully understand until much later.” The words were bulbous with regret. Old sores were relived by both, breathing hard, fast, heartbeats elevated. Will writhed against the sheets, his skin in search for heat and touch and alleviation from the pain. His and Hannibal's.

“You and I were both disconnected from our true nature,” Hannibal said and Will rubbed his cheek against the receiver, unconsciously following the Alpha's voice. “And just when I came to realize this, you sent me away.” Will's eyes opened. The sentence, spoken kindly, felt like frostbite against his ear. Betrayal. Hannibal felt betrayed. It hurt the Alpha, like the knife in Will's gut. Will couldn't detect it in his mate's voice, but he felt a strain inside his own belly, and knew the pain was Hannibal's. The Omega hissed a silent stream of air into his lungs, and bit hard on the inside of his cheek. He remembered Hannibal sitting by his bed, in his chair, disheveled and smelling like his own, burned flesh. His face damaged with wounds that still imprinted his skin with scars.

“And now you live your life,” Hannibal said, his voice honey, but lingering like the sting of a bee. “With that ready-made family you have adopted as your decor.” Will swallowed as he listened to the voice, filling him to the brim. “Wife, child, a job. Normality. A play you orchestrated for yourself, giving you what you never had, even if you never desired it in the first place.” Will's breath trembled in his tight throat. The sting that was dealt to him was not meant to be cruel, nor demeaning, but Hannibal was determined to drive it through to him until it emerged at the other end. And it hurt. Will wanted to let go, in that moment. He wanted to hang up the phone, pack his bags and go. He wasn't sure where he would end up, would he walk out the door of his motel room, but he knew couldn't bare any more of the pain, the crushing brick behind his Alpha's words.

“Hannibal,” he whispered into the horn, pressing his whole self as close as he could to the device. “Stop.” It was a plea that escaped him wholeheartedly, before he could reconsider. “Stop putting your thoughts in my head.” His lips brushed against the receiver, open, moist, soft and searching, and the slight quiver in the drawn breath on the other end made him wonder if Hannibal felt it, as if spoken against his own lips. His breathing was fast, his chest shone with sweat and his fingers trembled as they stroked against the horn. “I sent you away because all we had left to give each other was pain.” Tears danced along the rim of his eyes, clinging to the edge. “I needed it to stop. I needed something else,” he quivered, weakness and desperation open in his words.

“And your Omega has found it for you,” Hannibal rumbled against his ear and Will clenched his jaw tight, pushing back the raw pain that clawed up his throat. “No. Stop,” he demanded again. “Don't tell me...” Will's voice faltered as he swallowed around a lump. “I want to be certain, for once, about what thoughts are mine,” he said, brokenly nuzzling along the plastic. “I need to know what needs and wishes and ideas come from my own mind.” His naked body slid against the thin sheets as he moved his legs, his thighs meeting. “All my life I have been walking the fine line between my own head and those of murderers, hunters... Cannibals. Blending and bleeding and seeping into my mind until I could no longer keep out the pieces that had sunken into me.”

He was whispering still, his eyes closed and his lashes wet, his plump lips touching the phone, Hannibal breathing into his ear. “And now?”, the Alpha asked him, voice husk and Will's body arched with the tingle that it danced down his spine. “Now what?”, he replied, strained and out of breath.
“Those pieces, are they still there?”, the voice asked. Will paused. Suddenly, silence pressed heavy on his ears, feeling close to painful, and his eyes widened. If his own mind stopped pumping around the endless flashes of color and sound for one brief second, there was nothing but the low rumble of his Omega in the attic.

He couldn't remember the day he had been without them, the voices he had allowed to crawl into his head, disturbing him with images, thoughts, degradation that became his own. The people that had inhabited him as he tried to understand their crimes. But truthfully, no, he hadn't heard them, not since those days in heat. The moment his heat died down, an overflow of thoughts and emotions had returned and spilled inside from an open faucet, but other presences, other voices, they hadn't returned. “No,” he said, dazed by the realization. “It's me and the Omega.” Will remained motionless as Hannibal chuckled into his ear, tired but warm. “The beast in you has chased away the barnacles,” he spoke, and Will felt his Omega stomping around inside him with heavy paws, huffing hot from the nose. “Never a better opportunity to discover what it is you both want.”

Will smiled weakly around parted lips, his nose clogged from the tears that seemed almost ready now to burst forward. “I know what my Omega wants,” he spoke, a crack in his voice, “but I want to understand what Will Graham wants. The man. Not the beast. No one else.” He blinked, his nails running blunt against the horn. “I need to know what kind of man is left of me.” His words trembled harder as his sentence flowed wilder and his fingers curled harder around the horn, as if to try and touch what was on the line. “And when you do, you will be astounded at what you find,” Hannibal breathed and it opened up every shriveled vein beneath Will's skin. “You are not a just a man.” Will could hear the smile in his voice. “You are not a normal man, Will.”

Will's eyes shut tight as he bit his lip and lowered his head until his chin touched his chest, allowing Hannibal's words to flow through him like waves of wild water, coming from within himself. “That beast you think you merely host inside of you, is very much a part of that man you are searching for. Allow yourself to collide with him and you will find yourself whole. The true Will Graham.” The Alpha purred intimately against his skin, and Will felt the rumble within his own chest. “He is most magnificent.”

**

Will stared at the yellow ceiling for hours after he had hung up, touching on every bit of their conversation and repeating it inside his head over and over and over, as the ache in him returned harder, harder than before. He finally got up when the sun was already high, peeking over the rail of his drawn curtains and hoisted himself into the same clothes he had worn yesterday, still wrinkled and damp on the floor beside his bed. When he picked up his mobile phone, it alerted him of a text message from Molly, a missed call from Alana and another text message, also from Alana. He didn't open them. He shoved the device in his pocket, reached for his coat and walked out the door instead.

The wind made the air feel cold, but his brown coat was warm enough to protect his skin from any chills. He bought himself a late breakfast, or an early lunch, when he passed a bakery. The coffee was stale and the croissants were greasy, but it was heaven compared to any of the food he was given in prison. He did not sit down to eat, however, but continued walking in a hurried pace, eyes unobservant of his surroundings. He had no plan, nowhere to go, but he needed the fresh air and a place that didn't hold the memory of Hannibal. Not the man, nor his voice.

He crossed a street, passed a park, took a turn left and wandered to the right, moving and moving with his eyes to his feet and his hands in his pocket. Away from everything, just for a moment. It could have been hours of walking in circles, right and left or even a firm u-turn when his feet got tired and his head had stopped screeching like a flock of seagulls. He lowered himself onto an empty park bench and after a deep breath, pulled his phone from his pocket and flipped through the screens. Molly wanted to know how he was feeling, and hoped to speak to him today. He would have to give her a call later, discuss nothing new. Tonight, maybe. Alana asked him how he was doing, urged him to come by for a medical examination and invited him over for dinner at her house in the same breath. Will huffed out loud at the the idea. There was only one answer to all three questions, and it was no. He wasn't going to go back to the prison, so near the source of the ache that filled him, and he wasn't going to play the polite dinner guest to be dissected by the woman that viewed him as incompetent. He wanted nothing more than to be left alone.

He tucked away his phone and he finally looked up at his surroundings. Green. He saw the trees, the grass, a handful of people on their way, and something more. His skin tightened under his coat and he cursed inwardly at the view he had chosen for himself. Above the swaying treetops peeked the roof of Baltimore State Hospital. “Fuck,” he snorted pitifully and shook his head at the sight. Of all places he could have wandered, he ended up here.

“You're Will Graham,” a soft voice suddenly spoke from behind him and Will's head shot up, twisting his body to see who had recognized him. Behind the bench stood a man with short, dark hair and a pale face. His eyes were narrowed, evasive, and a distinctive scar ran from his left lip to his left nostril. The man eyed him, sharp and intrusively as he seemed to suck in every detail of Will's face. “Can I help you?”, Will asked him, leaned backwards at the uneasiness that crept over him under the stare of the odd man. “You are Will Graham,” he repeated and Will quickly got up from the bench, turning himself to face the stranger.

“I am,” he said, a frown deep on his forehead as the eyes that Will could now identify as blue flickered briefly to the prison behind Will's back. “You were in there,” the man said. “With him.” Will felt himself grown cold under the vicious blue eyes and blinked rapidly as he bit down on his teeth. Him, he'd said. You were in there with him. “How do you know?”, he quickly fired, sweat simmering on his back beneath his shirt. Was this public knowledge? Had it been published already? His mind zoomed around Freddy Lounds for a brief second. The man stood unmoving, apart from the nervous twitch around his right eye. “You left,” he said, ignoring Will's question, his voice breakable but his eyes shooting short bursts of ice-cold fury.

Will crossed his arms over his chest, an unpleasant sensation crawling up his legs, and shoulders as he watched the stuttering stranger. “Who are you?”, he asked, his tone defiant as he squinted his eyes. The man froze, and Will felt cold when he looked him dead in the eye, seeing nothing but a face of stone. He watched the stranger's body tense at the question, before he started to arch his neck, twitching, as if working out a strain in his muscles. The man straightened himself, clenched his muscles and Will watched the ice in him die away by a sudden, furious fire. A transformation that left Will frozen to the spot as the man stepped closer, separating them only by the bench as he leaned forward, close to Will's ear. The voice that came out of his mouth was low, raspy, different and Will's eyes widened as he felt a scrap of teeth against his ear shell. “I am the great red Dragon.”

It was a whisper, almost, but it was chilling like ice down the back of his neck, and Will jumped backwards from the touch and the sound. As quickly as it happened, so quickly the stranger stepped back, eyes shifting nervously before he pulled up his hood and moved away, walking quickly, fluently, until he disappeared from sight. Will watched him go, eyes on the black hood, and knew the stranger was not just a madman. Will was an empath, still, and the tingling of his ear-shell made him shudder with the knowledge that the stranger had little human left in him.

But he was gone, now, and the pain that coiled in Will's body was still enough to make him weep, so the odd stranger was pushed from his mind, defeated by the Omega that howled and clawed at him for his Alpha. He had seen many disturbed people in his life. He had helped them, understood them, caught them and killed them, but for once, he did not have the time to focus on anyone but himself. He started walking, away from the hospital. Away from that place. Determined, with his back towards the building, he walked, and again, every step was like one through streaming water. But he balled his hands inside his pockets, and kept on moving. He might have a beast in him, but that didn't mean he wasn't going to try and tame it into submission.

Chapter Text

“Did you get any sleep last night?”, Molly asked, voice crackling with the bad reception that seemed to swarm around the motel like a cloud of insects. Will had been standing in front of the mirror on the wall above the dresser, when the buzzing of his phone had torn him away from his own, sunken eyes. “Not much,” he said, remembering the dream, and then the phone call. He twitched his lips, disgruntled when the tips of his ears heated with the memory of Hannibal's husky voice against his ear, so clear in his mind it was like pressing play on a recorder. He could tell her about it, that phone call, the dream. Will pushed back his cuticles with blunt fingernails. There was no need for secrecy, was there?

But none of the words would stick to his tongue and form into a proper sentence. He said nothing.

“Neither did I,” Molly breathed, and Will could hear the distant clanging of dishes in the background. “I kept thinking about what you must have been through these past days, and how lonely you must have felt.” Will's eyes met his own again in the mirror. The skin around his sockets was a grayish purple and the sharp contrast between his dark scruff and his pale skin made him look ill. He stepped closer to his own image and watched the whites of his eyes shimmer pink with broken blood vessels, caused by sleep and pain and the constant pounding of thoughts and memories against the walls of his skull. Molly sighed pitifully when he remained silent. “I know this whole situation is purely biological and there's no one to blame for it, but...,” she hesitated. Will could see the hint of a bruise peeping out from beneath the collar of his shirt. There were many more of those, all neatly covered up beneath the fabric of his clothes. “I hate that this happened to you,” Molly said, her pain for him almost tangible as she sniffled against the horn, and Will quickly pulled the collar higher around his neck.

“Molly,” he said, trying to keep his voice light as his eyes shifted shamefully from his own gaze, squinting critically at him from behind the glass. “Please don't worry about me.” He tried to sound assuring, soothing, as he wiped a damp palm on his jeans. There was a tremor in his voice he hoped she wouldn't detect. “It was... I barely remember any of it.”And that was a lie. His first true, proper lie. Before, it had always been bent truths, the twist of a detail, or just unspoken information. This was not that. He had lied to his wife.

His eyes shot back to himself and he watched his cheeks flush a deep crimson red, before he quickly turned away. Molly sighed at the other end, and he could feel the tension she released at his confession, as it crept right into his own shoulders. “Oh God.” She moaned against the horn. “That is..wow, really?”, and what was he to tell her? She was his wife, his home, his future. Could he say he had spent days and night in a frenzy of sex and sleep and touches, whispers, soft and wild kisses, fingers in hair and moans against ears? And should he tell her it was undeniable that it had made every fiber of Will Graham, the Omega and the man, tremble with a wild, untameable ecstasy?

Will rubbed a miserable hand over his eyes. There had always been missing pieces in their relationship regarding Hannibal, and he wouldn't change that now. He couldn't. Accountable for his actions or not, never would he want to answer a question about the two of them. What it had been like, how it had felt for him, what they had done. It was better like this, for the both of them. “I was in a complete haze throughout my heat,” he said instead, twisting a button on his shirt between his fingers. Not a whole lie, half-truths. Again, Molly sighed, a hum in her sweet throat. “That is such a relief.”

He sat himself down on the bed, feeling his skin growing cold from the perspiration drying under his clothes. “I was about to order pizza,” he murmured, unsure of how to continue and wishing to steer their conversation to easier waters. He had asked her about the dogs, he had asked about Wally, even his mother-in-law had made an appearance in the conversation, and he was proud to have remembered this time. He had remembered to show that he cared. “Must be nice to eat something besides prison food,” Molly said and Will's mind quickly rattled through the memories. The sandwiches, the conversation about the cook, the soup, the way the table shook when... “Yeah. You could say that,” he answered, pressing his eyes shut tight as he lowered himself backwards on the mattress, trying to free his head of the image of his naked back against the rocking table-top.

“Oh, your doctor called me today.” Molly shattered the heated mist behind his eyes and it quickly drifted away, lingering just outside the frame of his mind. Will frowned over his squinting eyes. “My doctor?”, he asked, confused. “Yes, Dr. Hammings? He's from the prison,” Molly explained and Will's eyes widened before he curled a lip over his teeth. Slimy bastard. He hadn't gotten what he wanted, an all access pass to Will's ins and outs, and now he had gone behind his back to get it. Desperate to claim his prized guinea pigs for his own, Will suspected. “Yeah, yeah, I know him,” he said, tugging at a loose thread on his sleeve. He did not want to go back there, to that building. He feared what it would do to him, and what it would make him do. “He told me you are refusing medical checkups and he is worried about you,” Molly spoke and Will clenched his teeth, swallowing down the irritation he felt boiling up his throat as his wife continued. “If they can't monitor your health and you get sick, going home could become much more complicated.”

His nostrils twitched. It was all nonsense, these checkups. That information would only be used as page-fillers for a best-seller Dr. Hammings was undoubtedly working on. Will didn't want any more tests, or any more questions. He wanted back the control over his body and his brain, and he surely understood himself better than any prying medical man ever could. He was fine. It hurt, yes, but he was fine. “Molly, this guy is not worried, he just.,” he tried and huffed silently when his wife wasn't hearing him. “Well, I'm worried,” she interjected. “I need you home, Will, but more than that I need you healthy.” Her voice had that edge to it, concern, a tinge of panic. “I am healthy. Molly, I'm fine,” he tried, but her sharp sigh made his shoulder twitch with the defeat he knew was inevitable. “Will,” she said sternly.

“Yes, alright. I'll stop by tomorrow,” he replied, rolling on his side and he heard the warmth seeping back into her voice as she breathed against the phone. “Thank you.”

**

Pepperoni. It was his favorite kind of pizza. Will flipped through the channels of the small TV on the dresser as he ate a slice out of the cardboard box and sipped beer from a six-pack of cans he had picked up at a local deli. He briefly wondered, as he bit into the crunchy dough, if Hannibal had ever tasted a greasy, take-out pizza, and if so, if he had enjoyed it as much as Will was doing now. He huffed into his can, his fourth and almost empty, as he tried to picture his impeccably dressed Alpha biting into a slice. Those lips shining with grease and a string of cheese hanging from his luscious mouth. He chuckled when the ridiculous image was followed by Hannibal's perfect dining-table, decorated with the flowers and the skulls, the wine. He pictured the plates made up perfectly, warm fig and goat cheese salad, an expertly cut quarter of pomegranate and three drips of a sauce as bright and red as fresh flowing blood. And in the middle, a slice of cheesy, dripping, take-out pepperoni pizza. Will snorted so loud, beer seeped back over his lips.

The room gradually grew darker as time ticked away, but the television didn't hold his attention for long and his mind drifted easily from his motel room to the glass prison cell, to his house in the snow, to the dark forest with the beast from his dream. And back, always back, to that glass prison cell. It wasn't before long that Will pushed the carton box to the side and fished his laptop from inside his suitcase, setting it up and plugging it in. While shredding the remains of his food between his teeth, he visited the old and loyal search machine and typed 'Male Omega.' into the bar. Part of his mind had advised him against this, afraid of what he would find, and what it would bring. The lines between fact and fiction were blurry in the outside world, and who could say what...? - Click. But he had already decided. If he was going to survive this, endure it, he needed to know anything, everything, whatever he could get. Will reached for another can of beer and cracked it open with a fingernail.

'The first known sighting of a male Omega dates back to 1726, when a young man named Paul Williamson presented Omega for an Alpha male named Bollard Hunter. Such an unusual occurrence was considered an act of unholiness and both men were burned alive during the consummation of their bonding', was the first article he found.

“Typical,” Will huffed through his nose, a brief shudder rising beneath his skin. It was the male thing, of course, that made it devilish. Gay. He ran a hand over his scruff as his eyes scanned the bright page. He wasn't...he didn't consider himself a homosexual. Not really. He had enjoyed being with women, and he had never before felt a serious attraction towards another man, until... Well, he was a male Omega now, with a very male Alpha mate. He wasn't sure what that made him to the world. Or to himself.

The male Omega is an extremely rare occurrence. Only less than 700 cases have been recorded throughout the course of history, dating back to the earlier 1700. The reported cases of the female Omega, however, run up to 1.2 million over the same time period.

It was rare. They had told him this many times, of course, but the numbers on his screen made it that much more real. 700 cases, 700 male Omega's, in 300 years. That meant only two men presented within a year, worldwide amongst billions and billions of people. Will huffed around his pizza crust and shifted his shoulders. Of course, he was that guy. One with a Per mutua nexis mate that was a cannibal and serial killer to boot. No wonder Dr. Hammings was so eager to wriggle fingers around in his brain. The good man had smelled opportunity on Will; he was a creature for the history books, against all odds, beyond any odds whatsoever.

In 1988 it was discovered that the male Omega possesses the Omega gene in their DNA (usually only carried by women), but whereas 2% of the male population possess that gene in their DNA, only one in every 475,000 presents Omega. The cause of this remains uncertain, though it has been suggested that a male Omega would solely present for an Alpha with high biological compatibility, and only upon meeting him under the right circumstances, both mentally and physically. Whereas the female Omega presents upon reaching sexual prime and attracts possible mates through the secretion of her pheromones. This could account for the relatively more frequent occurrence of Per mutua nexis pairings in male-male Alpha's and Omega's (3.4%) compared to male-female (0.3%).

Will dumped his leftover crusts in the otherwise empty pizza box. Twenty to twenty-five Per mutua nexis pairings in 300 years. That screamed something. Extraordinary. He swallowed away the memory of the howling, thrashing beast inside him at the sight of his Alpha, and perfectly recalled the hopeless longing, that desperate need, the wild, shredding desire. Not to mention the way they effortlessly flowed together in conversation, found hidden meaning in each other's words and expressions and how their flesh communicated, burned and moved as one.

He danced his fingers over the keys. There were many more websites, articles, confirming his uniqueness, in his kind and in his connection to his mate. It made his chest feel tight, like he was already trapped in a glass cage, captured and labeled an endangered species. Now more than ever, he had to keep to himself, Will realized. No doctors, no specialists, no writers, no journalists. He would go to the hospital and get that medical checkup, for Molly. Once. No more. He wasn't going to be used, experimented on or hunted down, like...

He got lost in his train of thoughts when he clicked on a link and was directed to a pink website, decorated with twinkling stars and Hello Kitty. There was an image of two people, holding each other passionately like on the cover of a cheap romance novel. The blue of his eyes was seeped through with red and his fangs showed from behind curled lips. Her pale skin was heated with passion that shone in her bloody, green eyes and the wave of her wild, auburn hair. It was the captured love, between Alpha and Omega. Will sighed, staring blank and bored at the pairing. He had almost finished his fifth beer, yes, but there was no way he would picture himself and Hannibal in such a pose.

One could easily say the 'Per Mutua Nexis' (Intertwined) Alpha and Omega pairing is one for the fairytales. Old folktale suggests that this couple came into this world as one, a single child, until it was cruelly punished, for it angered the Gods with its many talents, strength, beauty and the gift of a long and healthy life. As punishment, the human was ripped in two, living as separate entities that could very rarely find their way back to the other, suffering for eternity. Of course, now we know that the Per Mutua Nexis couple is actually based on the biological, mental and physical compatibility of both parties, but it doesn't make it any less magical that bonded, these two share body, mind and lifespan as one being. Now that is romance.

Will pushed the screen down, shutting his laptop with quick hands and a loud click of the device as he rolled himself from the chair onto his bed. Romance. That is romance. He laughed with his whole body, loud huffs of air into the silence. The ceiling above him laughed along, moving up and down before it started to swirl lightly around the lamp. Too much to drink, Will thought. It had been a while, after all. Outside, light was rapidly fading and the room swam in gray distortion that always seemed to come in the half-lit darkness. Romance. Per mutua nexis was a fairytale, something to dream about as a teenage girl, obsessing over her favorite pop star. For that girl, it wasn't being forcefully chained to another person, never being able to walk away or control your own actions and desires. Romance. Will laughed out loud again at the sudden vision of Hannibal in his cell, dressed in a suit, holding roses, lit candles on the prison table and a string quartet playing in the corner. Will held his stomach as a tear slipped from between his lids. Romance.

There was no dignity in any of it. It was a biological, raw, messy process of skin and blood and untamed animals going at each other. It was all heat and need and want that ran so deep it turned you disgustingly feral. No fairytale and definitely no romance. God no, it had been rough and vicious, teeth and lips hard and sharp and nails in skin and such a wild collide of... Will's lips pressed together, his hands clenched beside him on the mattress. He was also not, not, not, not at all turned on.

“Fuck,” he cursed, feeling the heat pool around his groin, bleeding in with the venomous pain that seemed to inhabit his body permanently now. It had been all this thinking about wild mating, heat and skin and...

He jumped up in bed, his whole body tense as a loud ringing broke the heavy silence in the room. His head whipped back at the motel phone on his nightstand, the little light on the front flashing red as its sharp noise scratched through the room. “What the...,” Will looked at the old fashioned device, feeling every ring like a fist between the eyes as the red light illuminated the dark room with every flashing blink. Who was calling him, here, close to midnight? The ringing didn't stop, and Will breathed deeply before pushing himself onto his knees on the bed before he shuffled to his nightstand, reaching clumsily around a half-filled water bottle to get to the horn.

“Hello?”, he spoke quietly when the plastic touched his ear, and the voice that rang through made the wringing tension seep from his muscles like morphine in his bloodstream. “Goodnight, Will,” Hannibal spoke from the line and a giggle escaped the Omega, his body weak with relief and shock and alcohol. A smile remained on Will's lips, feeling the sweet tingle of pleasure dancing on the surface of his agony. “How are you calling me?”, he exclaimed rather loudly, twisting his body to lean himself against his pillow. As far as Will knew, Hannibal would not just get excess to a phone whenever he pleased, nor did he have Will's number. Hannibal inhaled, the sound alone a caress to his ear-shell. “You have been drinking,” he said, his voice too tight for it to be a casual observation only. “Yes,” Will agreed non-committally. “Now you answer me.” Will could hear fingernails sliding across the horn and he shivered when he pictured the Alpha smug expression on the other end. “I can be very resourceful when I wish to be,” Hannibal answered mirthfully and Will huffed into the horn. “I remember,” he confirmed and Hannibal hummed into his ear, pleasure evident in the deep rumble of his voice.

“So, you are calling me to wish me goodnight?”, Will asked, a hint of teasing around the question that carried the absurd notion of Hannibal treating him like a high school crush. His Alpha, however, was not at all disturbed by his Omega's woozy provoking. “I am calling to see how you are feeling, Will,” he replied, direct but gentle, honest affection in his tone. Will swallowed and eyed the last can of beer on the dresser. How was he to know his feelings anymore when his head felt like a barrel full of marbles, each one a different screeching and howling burst of sensation within him. “Right now, I feel horny,” he said matter-of-factually, uninhibited, shameless. Out of all the marbles, the lingering heat in his groin had been easiest to identify.

“Well...,” Hannibal said after a pause, his voice carrying a lot of air, a heated hum. Will closed his eyes at the vibration he felt within his body and ran a finger along the buttons of his shirt. He could picture Hannibal so clearly, standing near the door with the phone in his hand, a camera capturing the pink glow of his ears, his closed eyes, his wandering hand as it slid inside his cotton suit... Fuck! “This is not an invitation to phone sex. I'm just stating a fact,” he quickly blurted as his eyes snapped open, pressing his legs together in his jeans as he removed his hand from his torso. His body was now starting to leak slick around his opening as his cock had started to fill inside his jeans. No. He wasn't in heat. He wasn't in heat. There was no excuse for any of this.

“Not to worry, Will,” Hannibal said after a moment of silence where Will could not detect a single breath from the Alpha. “When your body has gotten used to more sex, it will ask for more sex. As is the rule for many things in life.” Will shuddered at those words spoken into his ear by his Alpha's husk voice. It was not at all helping his predicament, and he wondered if Hannibal knew it, too. Sex. They had been everywhere, every way in that cell and he recalled every single time like a movie he could replay with one press of a button. He ran a hand over his forehead and pressed it down his face. “The amount of sex we have had in only three days...,” he mumbled, trying very hard not to envision them on, or even off that mattress, writhing, moaning, rocking. Fuck.

“Does it remind you of your teenage years?”, Hannibal asked him, his voice clean, but Will could tell he was prying. “God, no. I was never like that,” he replied honestly and heard a huff of air from his mate. “Physical contact and intimacy made you uneasy,” Hannibal spoke and Will closed his eyes. He remembered the giggling girls, parties, couples making out between classes... nothing about it had appealed to him.

“No relationships?”, Hannibal pressed, and Will smiled at the well-hidden desire of a need to know, everything. “A handful of one night stands, a few brief girlfriends. And Molly,” he said, eyes on the ceiling. Sex had always been something that just happened, because he let it. He didn't chase it, he didn't seduce or romance, but if a woman wanted him, it would be fine. Normal. When it happened, it had been nice, but eventually the touching, the kissing, the intimacy, the sharing and talking and trying to make room for yourself in someone else's life, never felt comfortable, like an ill-fitting shape around him. Then he'd met Molly,....

“No men?”, Hannibal burst through his brain and while the Alpha's voice was smooth and steady, Will felt a heat creeping up his neck. “No,” he admitted timidly. “That hadn't happened before.” He watched his fingernails as he willed away the blood that pumped up to color his face. He had noticed some of his classmates in his late teens. But just as with the girls, the idea of touching, sharing, being vulnerable around someone else, it hadn't appealed. Until Hannibal. In hindsight, the attraction had started on a psychological level, from the moment Hannibal had walked into his room with his home-made breakfast of human meat. But before he had even considered his own feelings, everything had fallen horribly, gruesomely apart.

Will cleared his throat and plucked dirt from under his thumbnail. “You must have had many conquests,” he spoke into the horn, picturing Hannibal waltzing with many beautiful women, cooking for numerous men, seducing them with charm and skill and satin sheets. Completely at ease within his own skin, beautiful people simply dropped at his feet. Will flinched at the thought, finding the image distasteful. The idea of regular people having sex with an Alpha made the Omega inside him shudder violently. “I take pleasure in many things,” Hannibal's voice ran smoothly, “but I found myself gradually growing tiresome of the rituals that come with seduction.”

Will licked his lips absently as the words pulled at something pleasant within him. He had not seen Hannibal with many partners before he turned himself in. Just one. “You seduced Alana,” he said, and Hannibal's voice rumbled in a chuckle through the line. “Perhaps she seduced me,” he teased and Will pressed his lips together.“She was convenient,” he protested. “You saw a way to make use of her.” Will knew she had been an alibi, a source of information, an object of manipulation. “I have always been fond of Alana,” Hannibal said, and Will quickly lowered the lip that tried to curl over his teeth. “But our affair was certainly not based on attraction alone.”

Maybe it was the beer, but Will laughed out loud at the coy tone of his mate. “Romance was never more than a game for you, was it?”, he said. “A power play, theater, a way to reel them in,” and he believed his words, because he understood. He knew what it felt like not to fit with anyone. When he found Molly, well... “As much as it was a chore to you,” Hannibal said. “Something normal people do. But it was never more than that, until you met me.”

Will wanted to scoff at the arrogance, laugh at the assumptions. But instead, he sagged against his pillow and felt his body draining dry of willpower. Of course it was true.

“Come back to me, Will,”

But it didn't change anything.

Chapter Text

He didn't have to do it. He could still choose not to go. He could just turn around, walk the way he came and pretend never to have been here at all. Molly would be upset, sure, but he could explain this to her. He could tell her... well, he could tell her the truth. He could tell her he didn't trust himself in the hands of any medical man or woman, having been confronted with his true value as a Per mutua nexis male Omega. A biological wonder. That was the truth, even if not the whole of it.

He wouldn't tell Molly that it hurt, physically hurt, to even stand before the Victorian building, with no more than the road separating him from the shell that housed the source of his suffering. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath of exhaust fumes, spat out by the cars flashing back and forth before him. Everything within him was elevated, standing so his mate. It made it better, a polished glaze over the rough surface beneath, but simultaneously cranked up the volume of the unhappy murmur in his head to a manic scream. Beneath his skin, everything ached and yearned and struggled against the tight reins on his willpower, craving that honey to fill the howling emptiness.

He opened his eyes, ignoring the feverish flutter in his stomach that tilted towards nausea, and rolled his shoulders back. His shirt was already drenched under his coat, already making him look the part of the trembling, sweating, deprived Omega man. He ran a quick hand through his curls to flatten them against his head as he sighed out the deep breath he had been holding. He had to go in. Fuck, he had to. He had chosen this life, one as a man instead of an Omega, and now he had to be strong enough to live it. He had to. For Molly. He would just get the medical examination done, in and out, and walk away. He would not go and see him, even just to talk. No. The more distance between them, the better, because he knew just how prone he was to this temptation.

He crossed the street before he could reconsider and just when his shoe was about to hit the curb, someone nearly bumped against his shoulder. He turned to catch the back of a black, pulled-up hoodie he instantly recognized. It was the stranger. The Dragon guy. Will halted as the man threw him one quick look over his shoulder with a sharp gaze of frozen blue. Their eyes met, and he felt the ice seep into his flesh, before the man turned back and quickened his pace. Will couldn't help but wonder why the guy had been hanging around the hospital, again. Especially since he had proven himself to have some curiously private information about what was going on on the inside. The Omega blinked and turned ahead. If he saw him again he would stop him, he promised himself, but the thought faded from his mind the moment he placed his foot on the first step to the hospital's entrance.

Every step forward shook him, made his bones weak with sour pleasure, all but unbearable to his sensitive, raw nerves. And every step pulled at him, hard, cruel, like he had to walk on his heels not to be hauled through the door. Heat twitched alive in his belly with the promise of nearness and he was weak already with the pulsing pain and quivering pleasure, grinding in his joints and spreading through his muscles. He wished he hadn't come. He was so close to giving up, already, so close to letting himself be lured into the Devil's lair.

He walked carefully, taking steady breaths and fumbling with the zipper of his jacket as he continued his way in. He wasn't going to show them, anyone, how whipped he was by his Omega, how weakened by his Alpha's call. His footsteps were conscious, slow, attempting to appear self-assured as he passed security, underwent the visitors' inspection, and continued into the hall. No appointment. No questions. He wondered if his name had been added to a list of regular visitors, or maybe even patients. His suspicions were soon confirmed when a white coat and gray hair came scurrying down the staircase on his right.

“Mr. Graham, I cannot tell you how pleased I am to see you,” Dr. Hammings panted, his short legs carrying him closer as he reached to shake Will's clammy hand with one of his own. His old face was glowing with excitement and exercise, and Will knew he must have sprinted his old body out of his office when the phone call that notified him of Will's presence arrived. The gleam in those watery blue eyes made Will's stomach tight with unease and he quickly withdrew his hand from between the clutching fingers.

“I want that check-up. Fast,” he said, curt, emphasizing his reluctance in the hope to quell the doctor's enthusiasm and expectations of the visit. He wasn't going to be a prized horse, or someone's golden ticket to a Nobel prize. “Certainly,” the doctor hummed, taking Will by the elbow and leading him up the staircase from which he had just emerged. “But...” Will freed his arm from the old man's grip and held up a hand, allowing the doctor to lead the way. “Just a quick check-up and we're done,” he said between clenched teeth, pain swarming above the roof of his mouth as the Omega hooked claws into his brain, digging for a way out. “Yes, well...”, the doctor mumbled as they entered another hallway. Will recognized this floor and passed Dr. Hammings as he looked over his shoulder. “And don't ever call my wife again.”

He knew he sounded threatening, his teeth bared, his body tense, but he didn't care. He was angry, annoyed, he was in such bittersweet pain and... “Mister Graham, you must understand...”, the doctor spoke from behind him and Will stopped dead in his tracks, feeling the man nearly staggering into his back as he turned around. He wondered what he looked like when blue eyes widened and pale, papery skin drained of color. “No, you must understand. I want nothing else than to move on with my life,” he said, curling up his lips. “Away from all this.” His Omega was growling viciously inside his mind, but he suppressed the urge to join in. He was here, after all, to prove he was fine. Annoyed, but fine.

The doctor blinked, his forehead gleaming and his yellow teeth clenched tight. “Of course,” he answered, and Will was reminded of a petulant child that had yet to get his candy. They entered the office and Doctor Hammings quickly started rummaging for medical equipment. Will took an offered chair and slung his coat over the back, crossing his legs and tapping his fingers as Hammings opened drawers and cabinets and that big, brown bag he always carried around. There was a silence where Will waited, and tried to stop his mind from registering any of the shredding, heated ache below his belly.

The sliding door of the filing cabinet to his left was not properly closed, as if the doctor had forgotten to do so in his hurry to greet his patient. Through the crack, Will spotted rows and rows of what appeared to be discs, covered by black cases and labeled with codes that contained numbers and letters. 027-C351ZT-JEN, was one. 045-F448KH-KLE another. But it was 014-W235FQ-LEC that caught his attention. He stretched his neck to get a better view and...

“Let's get started.” Will's eyes shot back when Dr. Hammings dumped a variety of metal instruments on the desk and looked up at him. “You are drenched with perspiration,” he frowned, his eyes squinting as he walked around his desk to step closer and take in the Omega's soaked shirt clinging to his back. “Has this occurred often since you left the hospital?” Will wriggled under the scrutinizing gaze, but tried to muster a confident smile around the sour pull of his mouth. “I ran the way over here,” he lied, a careless wave of his hand to emphasize the ridiculously obviousness of the scenario. “I do a lot of jogging.”

Two wrinkled fingers pressed to his damp forehead, feeling the heat his blood radiated through his skin. “Maybe jogging is not the best choice for you in your current predicament,” the doctor spoke, his tone even, careful, as he pulled back his hand and caught Will's eye. “I would refrain from any form of exercise for the moment.” The words, the tone, the phrasing, they were all innocent, but Will blinked and pushed his lips together at the images that quickly flooded his mind. He fought hard, but his body was weak and his groin was hot and he couldn't help but remember the last of exercise he had indulged in, and how his thighs had burned the day after he had straddled Hannibal's hips, working himself hard up and down his Alpha's cock. “Fine,” he said, his eyes shifting endlessly as his nails dug into his upper legs.

Hammings took a seat on the edge of his desk while reaching for his notepad and Will noticed the doctor's confidence and eagerness quickly blooming back to life. “You look a little... peaky, for lack of a better word,” he said, watching Will over the top of his reading glasses as he scribbled something on the paper. “How are you feeling?” Will tried not to shift in his seat too often, or to glance repeatedly at the door. He also tried to keep his fingers still and his shoulders straight. “Fine. I'm fine,” he spoke a little hasty. The doctor narrowed his eyes. Pen scratching on paper. Will knew what he looked like, drenched in cold sweat, legs pressed together, face flushed and quivering hands. His skin was pale, his eyes sunken, his hair wild and his clothes wrinkled and crooked from all the tugging and wringing.

“Do you get enough sleep?”, Dr. Hammings asked him, eyes still on his pad. Of course he didn't sleep enough. He had nightly phone calls and nightmares and the mattress squeaked too loud under his weight. He was alone on that bed. Once, he had preferred it that way, but... “Sure, yes, I sleep fine,” he nodded, trying his best to appear meek as he internally urged himself not to start yawning obscenely during any point of the examination. The doctor pursed his lips and tilted his head, his eyes drinking in every deepened line and widened pore on the Omega's face. “No other symptoms? No pain, fatigue, nausea, headaches, emotional outbursts?”, he listed, counting them out on his fingers as he shook his head, confirming the negative he could see shining in Will's oblivious eyes. He played that part well.

“Nothing that stands out, no,” he shrugged and the doctor's face pulled tighter and tighter. Will felt the old man's fierce suspicion as Hammings stared him down hard enough to bare his brain by sheer willpower alone. “Mmm,” the doctor replied after a tense moment before he turned around on his desk to grab the silver stethoscope. “Well, that sure sounds more than a little extraordinary, Mister Graham,” he commented, supposedly offhanded, but Will could see the displeasure pulling around his lips. “Thank you,” the Omega responded in turn, keeping his face smooth, open, unaware of anything but his own self, doing extremely, extraordinary well.

**

After the dead-end conversation came the tests. Blood was drawn, instruments were pressed to his skin and he peed into a cup that went straight to the lab. Twenty minutes, it took for a man in a mint green lab coat to bring back the results. In those twenty minutes Will hid in the bathroom, and stayed there for as long as he could while trying to fix his hair in the mirror and blow-drying his shirt. He didn't know if he could maintain a smoothed out expression for much longer, when he unseeingly bore this overwhelming battle between dancer and warrior underneath his pulsing flesh, wanting and hating and bleeding as honey and acid alike dripped down the walls of his shell. Not an hour inside this building and he was already going mad. He would do anything not to have to sit in that office, across from the man who wanted to keep him on his high shelf with the rest of his gold prizes and framed achievements. In the bathroom, at least, he could grunt, gulp water and tremble as much as his heart desired.

He passed the mint green coat on his way back, just in time for the results he didn't want to hear. Dr. Hammings gave him a most unreadable look, undoubtedly due to the fact he had just excused himself to the bathroom for close to half and hour, after he had peed in a cup. He didn't comment on it, probably sensing the high tension Will brought back into the room with him. “The oxygen level in your bloodstream is a little low,” the doctor started, reading from the paper sheet in his hands before he looked back at Will. “Do you experience trouble breathing?”

That dream. He remembered his own clawing hands at his throat, tight and thick and hot. He had wheezed and coughed and gasped for hours, only to be cured by his Alpha's voice. “No,” he said, hesitantly, and Dr. Hammings' eyes widened inquisitively. “It has happened,” Will reluctantly admitted when he realized he had trapped himself with his indecision. “Once or twice at the most. I'm fine now,” he quickly added as he watched the doctor's eyes gleaming while he started to look for the brown, leather bag.

The stethoscope was pressed to his chest once more as he breathed and coughed, inhaled and exhaled on demand. His throat was examined with a small flashlight and a wooden stick. “Your lungs sound clean,” Dr. Hammings concluded, returning to his seat and folding away the instruments. “I don't see any signs of asthma. Have you ever...?”, he prattled, scribbling on his notepad as Will ground his teeth behind closed lips. “It's not asthma,” he snapped, interrupting. “Just a little bit of uneasiness.”

The doctor straightened in his seat, plucking the glasses from his nose as he turned his full attention to the Omega. “Panic?”, he said, almost delighted. “Are you experiencing panic attacks?” There was greed in there, probably a new idea for a chapter in his magnum opus, Omega and Alpha behavior throughout the ages or whatever he would call it. “No,” Will snapped, curt. “I'm just feeling anxious at the memory of being unwillingly placed in the position of a barren breeding cow.” The roll of his tongue around the words was caused by the growl that crept up his throat, and Will hoped the doctor wouldn't notice. The old man only smiled, ruefully and a little... disappointed? “That is understandable,” he sighed, his eyes soft in a way that seemed to offer...comfort? Will felt a brief pang of guilt over his behavior, “Yeah, I would think so,” he mumbled softly in reply, lowering his eyes to the hands in his lap.

Dr. Hammings reached for the paper sheet again and put his glasses back on his nose. “Your kidney function is also a little below average,” he said, his lips twitching with a hint of dissatisfaction. “Are you drinking enough, Mr. Graham?” Their eyes crossed and Will felt like a scolded child under the doctor's pointed eyes. He didn't drink enough. He didn't do anything enough. Everything was always too much or too little with him. “Probably not,” he offered and the doctor nodded. “Please make sure that you do. You have lost a lot of bodily fluids in the previous days.” Will's eyes widened and his ears tinged pink at the suggestion. There had been plenty of bodily fluids, on and in and over and dripping out. His thighs pressed together, his ass pressed harder on his seat. “You need to drink more water, or you will be in risk of dehydration,” the doctor warned him, undisturbed, and Will only nodded.

“Your body temperature is 103 degrees,” Dr. Hammings continued and Will pressed his tongue to his teeth. Shit. “I have a fever?”, he asked timidly, clenching his fingers against his jeans. “Hyperthermia,” the doctor corrected him. “It is quite normal for an Omega's temperature to remain somewhat raised a few days after coming out of heat.” Will almost sighed out his relief at the words as the doctor clicked his pen. “But it is a little above the average, and something for us to keep an eye on, certainly.”

The list continued. “Blood pressure, 130 over 90. Again, higher than I would like, but nothing to be immediately concerned about.”
Will blinked as the words crashed over him like waves of the ocean, full of knowledge that didn't mean the slightest thing to him.
“Heart-rate, 114 beats per minute.”
“Urine, Iron, Liver, B12...”
“A little high...”
“Slightly out of range...”
“A tad unusual...”
“A fraction more than I would like...”
Always ending with that same; “But nothing to be concerned about....”

“So, I passed the tests?”, Will asked flatly after the flood of numbers had passed through his unregistering mind. Dr. Hammings tilted his head sideways, a half-hearted gesture. “You are not in any immediate danger,” he admitted hesitantly. “But I would very much like to check if that remains the case. If your condition changes, even slightly, the consequences could be serious,” he said, hissing air between his teeth as he tapped his pen against the desk. He looked troubled, which Will related to his failed attempt to get full access to the Omega's brain, rather than he was actually concerned about Will's wellbeing. Clearly, the good doctor was trying to retain his grip on his trophy. The biggest danger Hammings surely saw was his fame and fortune slipping into nothingness if Will walked out of the door without a follow-up appointment.

“A visit with your Alpha would also be beneficial to your health, Mister Graham,” the doctor nudged, his lips forming carefully around the words as he started rubbing his glasses clean with the hem of his shirt. “I'm fine,” Will bit defeatedly between his teeth, the blood pumping loudly in his ears at the mention of his mate. “I will drink water, sleep plenty, no more jogging...”

“And I would like to see you again in two days,” Dr. Hammings interjected, placing his spectacles back over his ears. Of course he would. Will dug fingers into the seat on his chair, feeling the Omega wrecking through his brain, clawing at his skull with a most horrendous sound. It was a restless, miserable attempt for control and it made Will understand better and better that separated mates would sometimes suffer from brain damage. “No. I can't. I'm not coming back,” he said, chin sticking out in determination as he hid his trembling fingers under his thighs.

“Mister Graham,” the old man sighed, patience seeping out of his voice as he leaned forward on his elbows. Before he could start the lecture Will suspected to come next, however, a voice sounded from the doorway. “Doctor, we have a situation on the second floor, B27,” a blond nurse spoke from behind Will's shoulder and he turned to see her standing two steps into the room, cheeks flushed and hair disheveled. Will could hear the doctor mumbling a string of profanities under his breath and his brain worked fast through the information. Second floor, that wasn't Hannibal, Will thought briefly, and he felt a warm drip of relief down his neck.

“I'm with a patient right now, Rosa,” the doctor said, strained and bothered as the young woman blinked rapidly and clutched her clipboard to her chest. “It's Burov, doctor,” she said meaningfully, a pointed look at her colleague as her clean, short nails tapped endlessly against the metal of her board. Dr. Hammings sighed hard and deep, his papery cheeks filling with blood as he stood up from his chair and walked past his desk. “Excuse me for a moment, Mr. Graham,” he said, as he passed Will's chair. The Omega could hear him swear again before he mumbled “I don't have time for this,” and followed Rosa into the hallway.

Just when they had been about to wrap things up. Will dropped his head back on his shoulders and grumbled at the spotless ceiling. He didn't want to sit here, waiting, as his Omega grew wilder with every passing minute. He was on fire, body and soul, and it was pain and desire mixed into a ball of absolute madness. He could just leave, now. He could get up and go. He didn't owe anyone anything, he decided. It wasn't very polite, much against his usual etiquette, but he was slowly scorched into a puddle of flesh and blood as he sat here, and that surely couldn't be good for his health.

But as he got up, his eyes drew back to the open cabinet and the coded discs. Will's eyes quickly flashed towards the empty hallway before he stepped closer and tapped the door with two fingers, sliding it an inch further to the left. Again, he flashed his eyes to the open, empty doorway before he squatted down before the rows and rows of labeled discs. 014-W235FQ-LEC, that was where he left off. It was followed by more numbers, ending with the same three letters. LEC. More LEC. Rows and rows of LEC. And then, he saw it. 056-C158DD-LECGRA. LECGRA. There were four discs with that code, one for each day he had been here, Will guessed. He stared at them, running fingers over the back as he contemplated what to do. He could guess what was on those discs, certainly. But did that mean he wanted to possess them?

He felt slick coating the inside of his boxers and shivered under his half-damp clothes. It was better to walk away, he knew. Exposure to this would only make him weak and vulnerable to... Footsteps approached in the hallway. Quick steps on old loafers. Will reached for the four cases and snatched them out of the cabin with one hand as the other closed the sliding door. Quickly, he moved back into his seat and shoved the square, slim cases into the inside pocket of his coat. A tight fit, but just enough.

“I apologize for the interruption, Mister Graham,” Dr. Hammings spoke as he closed the door behind him. His face was rather flushed and his breath short, Will noticed, and guessed that he himself looked very similar state at the moment. The doctor took his place behind the desk and folded his hands together. “Well...”, he started, but Will wrapped his hands around his coat. “Are we done here?”, he asked, a tad ruder then he would have liked. The doctor looked taken aback for a moment, but he recovered quickly as he leaned forward on the desk, a friendly gleam in his blue eyes. “I would very much like you to tell me how you have experienced these last few days without your mate,” he said, a kind smile around his mouth. Will sucked his cheeks between his teeth. It wasn't Dr. Hammings' fault, really, but he was not at all in the mood.

“Are you a psychiatrist?”, he asked rather bluntly and watched the doctor's eyes widening. Color crept up his neck as he laid the pen down on his desk. “Well, no...”, he said a little unsure and Will grabbed his coat and rose to his feet. “Then we are done,” he said definitively as he turned to the door. The memory would later make him flush with embarrassment to have behaved in such a way, but at the moment, he felt mangled by both beast and man within. It was too much, and he couldn't cope.

“Thank you for all your help,” he said as he reached for the handle, throwing one quick look over his shoulder as the doctor rose from his chair. “Yes,” he said, overwhelmed by the sudden departure.
“I wish you the best, Mr. Graham,” Dr. Hammings nodded. “And I hope to see you again soon, despite your determination to stay away.” Will pulled up his lips before he looked away and stepped into the deserted hallway.

His pace was fast, fast, fast as his eyes searched for familiarity. He was leaving, now. He took the stairs down to the hallway, knowing he was close to the exit already, and the thought felt like air to his lungs. He stepped off the last step, surrounded by the old walls of the prison entrance, and felt a heavy pull on himself, mind and body, so tight he was staggering. His head swept the way his body swayed like a nail to a magnet, and he watched the top of the staircase leading down. Down to the basement. He knew what pulled him. He knew who was there. He stopped walking and watched the stairs that lowered into the darkness and knew that if he would stop struggling, he would be led there like a man lost in a hurricane, wind in his back. He wanted to, he did. There was no reason to deny it to himself anymore. But it didn't mean...

“Will,” a familiar voice ripped through his distressed haze. “It is so good to see you here.”

Chapter Text

Will turned around to see Alana walking towards him, dressed in a white and black, checkered suit and high, maroon pumps. She came to stand before him, resting her hand on his lower arm. “How are you?”, she asked, her blue eyes wide and her smile weak; the expression reminded him of the way people approached his dad in the months after his mother had left. He covered her fingers with his own in a gentle squeeze before guiding her touch away from his cotton covered skin. “Fine, yeah,” he said hastily, trying to appear upbeat. “I just had my medical examination and I'm fine.” He knew she could probably see the sickly gleam of sweat on his skin in the well-lit hallway, but he tried to smile his teeth bare in the hope she would let him leave without any further inquiries.

Alana sighed in exaggerated relief, a flat hand pressed to her cleavage. “I am so glad to hear it,” she said. “I've been very worried about you since you... stormed out of my office.” Will swallowed when he felt her eyes picking at him, her disapproval almost tangible behind the memory. Again, her hand found his upper arm. “I didn't storm...”, Will flinched, feeling the pressure of her fingers burn through the fabric of his shirt. She must have felt the twitch of muscles there, as she brought her hand back to her shoulder.

“I sent you an invitation to discuss how we can best arrange your situation in the future,” she said, and Will remembered her missed calls, the texts he had left unanswered, and bit his lip at the swirl of guilt that kick-started in his belly. He had sprinted out of that office. He had refused all of her attempts to contact him. He was, indeed, causing her a lot of stress, even if nothing of it had been remotely his fault. But she had been kind enough despite it, of course. She cared, in a way that fit neatly inside her own box of emotions. “Yes,” he nodded, pushing a hand inside the pocket of his jeans as he pushed the hint of a friendly smile around his lips. “I... Yes, I'll be here.”

His willingness must have been encouraging, because her cool hand now clasped his, grazing the coat on his arm. The coat with the discs in the pocket. “Come by anytime, whenever you want to talk, OK?”, she said kindly, squeezing her fingers around his hot skin. If she felt the unnatural burn, she didn't comment on it. “Thanks,” Will mumbled, and saw her eyes weakening at the sight of him. He was a quivering mess of sweaty curls and a sickly shade of pale and purple. Disgusting, pathetic. Weak, so near his mate without the promise of a touch, or the sight of silver hair, amber eyes, sharp bones. The scent of high fire in the winter woods, lighting the darkness of the night sky with the promise of destruction. Will felt his knees trembling, weakened at the thought, and fought hard to stay upright.

“And you are more than welcome to join me and Margot for dinner sometimes. She would love to see you again,” Alana offered him so very kindly, her hand grasping around his upper arm when she felt the hint of a stumble beneath his bones. She felt his weakness, and knowing that made Will feel a sharp sting of anger. Goddamnit, he wasn't a whimpering, pathetic beast, begging for his Alpha. He was Will Graham, and he had never relied on anybody. “Thank you,” he spoke again, hissing the words when his jaw refused to unclench.

She dropped her hand after a firm rub of his skin and stepped back, clicking her heels on the tiled floor. “So, I guess you would want to see Hannibal? I can arrange it right away if you like,” she offered somewhat casually and suddenly Will felt himself blinded by the shattering blow of her words, when they hit right between his eyes. He staggered back on his feet as he felt his face drained of blood. “No, no, I...”, he stuttered, holding up his hands and shaking his head in short, jerky movements. Alana tilted her head of shoulder-length, brown curls, following his movement backwards with a step forward. “Maybe just to say hello? It really would be good for you to see him,” she urged and Will felt his skin tightening with hot and cold shivers at the offer. “You look a little....peaky.”

And that was the second time he had been called that within the hour. Fuck. The mere mention of a visit to Hannibal was wreaking havoc on his Omega – a writhing knife to his humanity. “I can't...”, he quickly protested and Alana smiled, as if to take his worries away with a simple pull of lips. Before he could turn away, another hand fell on his shoulder of someone approaching him from the back.

“Mister Graham. Good to see you,” a cheerful, male voice rang in his ear and Will looked over his shoulder to see a muscular, blond man dressed in the black uniform he recognized from the security staff. He remembered the face, but could not pin a name to the row of white teeth and the stylish coif of hair. “Are you here for Dr. Lecter?”, the man asked and Will gasped, audibly this time, his skin pulling so tight around his flesh he felt himself choking. “I...”, he almost whimpered, his bloodshot eyes widened and his pale face shimmered with a fresh flow of perspiration. “We were indeed just discussing the possibility, Dennis,” Alana filled the void of Will's faltering voice. Enthusiastic fingers squeezed tighter in his shoulder. “He will sure be pleased to see you, Sir,” the Omega heard Dennis say. “He has had quite the temper since you left. Even some of his own books didn't survive your separation.”

And the noise, the endless noise of screams and howls and shrieking pain, it stopped. The endless images that flickered in his mind, the burning rage of flinging, flashing screens of everything that had been, that was, that could be.....it ended. There was one image left inside the silence, and it was his Alpha, suffering alone inside his cell. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Everything within Will turned cold. “I-I-Is he aggressive?”, he stuttered, turning himself fully towards Dennis who released his shoulder and nodded his head left and right in consideration. “Only short outbursts,” he spoke thoughtfully. “But he paces back and forth for hours, like a caged animal.” Will blinked and saw the image from behind his eyes, like he was in the room to witness it himself. “He doesn't even draw much anymore.” There was concern in Dennis' light voice and Will felt the simultaneous sensation of wanting to kick the security guard in the groin, and feeling that kick land right between his own legs.

Hannibal was here, close, suffering. He was suffering. He felt pain, because Will stayed away. He... he... There were so many thoughts that had fought each other before, but it was nothing but white noise under the image of his mate, his Alpha, waiting for him. He wanted to walk away, and he almost had succeeded, but now, what choice was left for him? “Do you want to enter the cell, or are you only coming in for a chat?” That choice, it seemed. Will breathed deeply through his nose and blinked away the tears that pressed behind his eyes. He was stronger than this. He should be able to walk away.

“I... eh... a chat,” was the best he could manage. No touching, just talking. Maybe it would be for the best. They could get things out, face to face, before he would step on a flight home by the end of the week. Maybe it would dissolve all this confusion. “Follow me,” Dennis smiled, palming the large key chain on the belt of his pants. Alana touched his arm again and leaned in with a pleased sparkle in her eyes. “I will see you soon,” she spoke quietly against his cheek before pulling back and walking off. In that moment, Will felt the sudden suspicion he had been pushed in this direction all along.

But Dennis guided him, with a broad hand on his damp back, as they headed for the stairs that led them down below. The worst of the worst, they housed here. Dennis' keys jiggled cheerfully as he walked, and Will spotted a gun, shoved into into his waistband. “You can always come in for a visit, Mister Graham,” Dennis spoke pleasantly as his large boots stomped along the stone floor with authority. “Stay the night if you want.” Will swallowed, and avoided the gaze he felt directed at him. “As Dr. Lecter's mate, you have all those privileges.” They took a right, a left, and went down a long hall as they crossed rows and rows of glass cells filled with leering, whistling scum with wild growing hair, hands in their jumpsuits and missing teeth. Will felt a hot flash of disgust beneath his ribs at the idea of counting his mate among this filth, and was pleased to know the Alpha was at least treated like a queen bee, housed in his own space, far away from the common stench. Dennis kicked the glass of the last cell on the right when a bald and tattooed inmate spat against the barrier and hissed something about his mother's vagina, but didn't even look away from the door ahead of them as he worked his fingers over his keys. Will looked, remembered the route, watched the keys, and he cursed himself for doing so with Hannibal in mind. He was poisoned.

“You could even just use his cell like a hotel room you don't have to pay for,” Dennis laughed and continued the one-sided conversation Will had stepped down from long ago, and the Omega frowned at the guard as he unlocked the heavy door. A hotel room? Even if he would ever want to stay with his Alpha for good, he would never refer to that cell as a hotel room. Hannibal, as a criminal with this many notches on his cutting board, it was an absolute outrage how he could spend his day in a quiet, clean cocoon of his arts and his daydreams. But, luxurious as it was, as a hotel room he would surely rate it one out of five stars, if only for the lack of privacy.

“Thanks,” Will nodded with a forced smile and took the door Dennis held for him. Their eyes met in the exchange and Dennis cocked a curious eyebrow as a toothy smile brushed his face. “It's kinda strange to see you face to face,” he admitted. “After I've seen you so often on a screen.” He turned his back and Will released the door, hearing it fall into the lock behind him. On screen. “Oh,” he said and fondled his lip miserably between his teeth as he followed down another corridor. The need within him turned sharper, sliced deeper, with every step he took, and his vocabulary was growing limited.

“You're taller than I thought you were,” Dennis commented offhandedly, and cheerfully glanced over his shoulder. Will swallowed, and thought of the discs in his coat. Was that what Dennis had witnessed on screen? And was that something he wished to know? “Thanks,” he mumbled, feeling the Omega inside him throbbing like a heart, and showing teeth and eyes in the dark corner of his mind.

“There we are,” Dennis stopped before a large, familiar door, and before Will could step back and change his mind, he began working on the locks with practiced speed. “I-I....”, Will stuttered, but Dennis did not notice his hesitation as he clicked open the last lock. The scent of Hannibal washed hard and deep over and into him and his knees buckled, his Omega wept, and Will himself felt very near tears when that tight bear-trap around his flesh finally loosened and left the gaping wounds powdered with rosy new skin. In that moment, he hated Hannibal, he hated himself, he hated Dennis and Alana and Doctor Hammings. He hated Molly too. He just wanted to go on and wrap his whole self around his Alpha until he had sunken into him completely, without anyone thinking, looking, judging or hurting. No one, not one, could understand what this was doing to him, and that their views of him only made it that much harder.

Dennis had the door in his hand that beckoned like an oxygen tank under water. “I'm not going in,” he said quietly as he leaned into Will. “He always makes me feel like he's looking right into my brain, and he is not impressed,” the guard spoke and gestured his hand towards the open door. Will nodded, swallowed dryly and stepped past Dennis with feet that wanted to walk ahead of him, but were weak and fragile on his bones. Without another word, he entered the room he had grown so very familiar with. And it was everything. The scent, the sight, the nearness, the connection of their eyes, it was the restoration of everything that had been scooped out of him.

Hannibal was there, already close to the glass, standing tall in his gray prison suit and his short, silver hair. He was pale, his amber eyes were veined and an irritated red and his fingers twitched as he held his arms beside his body. “Will,” he said, his voice softer than usual as his Adam's apple bobbed at the sight of his mate. Will felt a rush of despair, a moment where he envisioned himself throwing his body at that wall for as long as it would take to crawl inside and touch him. His Alpha, Hannibal. His hands would roam and his lips would search as he would pull at the fabric of his suit until it no longer hid that fading bronze skin and silver hair.

“You came,” Hannibal said, pulling Will out of his vision. The Omega lowered his eyes, standing on his spot near the door that had closed behind him, and clutching his coat in his arms. “I wasn't...”, he breathed, shaking his head as a mantra as he searched for an explanation he himself would understand. “It just... sorta happened,” he admitted, shuffling a foot and blinking at the floor until he could no longer bare the pull he felt beneath his eyes and looked back into that amber liquid gaze. Hannibal stepped forward the moment they reconnected and Will could see the quick flutter of his lashes, the tightening of his throat. He felt their nearness too, and if his natural, stoic appearance was any indication, he felt it hard. The knowledge made the Omega inside him lash out, shredding at his core with merciless teeth.

Hannibal moved, gracefully and certain, until he came to stand before the holes in the glass, openings in the barrier between them at hand height. Hannibal rested his fingers on the lower rim before he moved a steady gaze on his Omega. On his forehead, Will saw the same gleam of cold sweat he felt on his own. “Touch my hand,” Hannibal said, not asking a question, and flexed his fingers to lure Will's eyes towards where their skin could meet. Will watched, and the temptation, the possibility, came crashing so hard on him he was almost certain it would break his back with a thunderous crash. Hannibal looked pained, but strong and self-assured. There was a sharpness to him that screamed of control, just what Will had left behind when he walked away from this place.

He wanted that touch. Inside, he struggled and twisted and howled for that touch. But it would be a relapse. It would only make it so much harder to leave, and for Hannibal, to be left behind. Will eyed the fingers wordlessly before he met Hannibal's expectant gaze. “It's just a touch,” the Alpha said, his lips curling into that barely-there smile. His eyes were fire, always, but that had never been different since Will had been brought in an Omega. Maybe even before. Will breathed a laugh, defeated, as he shook his head. “You know it's not,” he said, a bite in his tone to cover the pain, and Hannibal's amber eyes flared at his indirect display of weakness. Will could almost feel his need to protect, to hold, to nurture his mate back to strength.

“Please,” Hannibal then spoke, his voice close to nothing, but his lips betrayed the words. The need in him was as strong as it flowed in Will. He could see it, feel it, he could hear the Alpha's screeching inside his own skull when they stood this close together. And Will could not be strong for the both of them. He walked to the glass, turned around, and placed his back against barrier. All to avoid the biting pull of his suffering mate. He pushed his hands back to slide his fingers through the hole and the touch was instant. Warm fingertips slid against his and caressed his skin, linking their bones and squeezing gently into flesh. The groan of relief, of pleasure, of desire, was made by them both, conjoined into a single sound.

It was pure ecstasy, to be able to touch, even so briefly and so small. It was a sudden climax of mind and bone and blood. Will squeezed the caressing fingers and rolled his head to the side to see Hannibal standing beside him behind the glass, his damp forehead now pressed against the cool glass. “Is it good to see me, Will?”, he asked, lips near the wall between them as his eyes opened and closed under the strain and pleasure their unfulfilling nearness caused them both. Will threw his head back against the wall and laughed, openly, humorless. Was it good? It was everything. It was hell and heaven, pitch black and bright, a bipolar ride of extremes that housed on either opposite of everything. The word to describe it was not something so simple. “Good? No,” he breathed and sniffled when a tear fell into the curve of his nostril.

Hannibal stayed silent and played with the one offered hand with both his own. “I wish you would come in,” he spoke after a moment of just standing near. “I want to hold all of you.” Another tear fell and hid away in the corner of Will's mouth, making him taste the salt on his tongue. “No,” he said, a whisper of air into the room as he felt the soft slide of skin around his fingers. There was a sharp hint of nail into the crease of his joint, but before he could gasp at the sting or consider pulling back, Hannibal soothed the mark with a circling pressure of his thumb.

This was insanity. Everything of it. That barrel full of marbles had turned into into a warehouse filled with most outrageous contradictions. Will twisted his hand in the grasp and turned himself towards the glass, leaning his face near Hannibal's against the barrier that separated them. “You know what I don't understand?”, he hissed and watched the fog from his lips blurring the clear surface. Hannibal looked back at him, both hands on Will's pliant fingers. “You said you could get out of here,” Will spoke quietly, paying heed to the microphones around the room. “Why don't you?”

One hand loosened its grip and rested along the rim of the other hole. Will watched the gesture and followed, bringing his free hand into Hannibal's touch. “Is that what you want?”, the Alpha spoke, and if they were not both blessed and cursed with the hearing of an animal, Will knew he would not have caught the question. He licked his lips and briefly closed his eyes, his forehead resting near Hannibal, without being able to feel the heat of the other's skin. “No,” he whined low in his throat, and rolled his face against the glass. “I don't know.”

Hannibal pressed two thumbs on the inside of his palms until Will's fingers curled up and over his touch. “Part of you does,” he said, massaging deep into the tissue of Will's quivering hands. “There has always been a lively, writhing part of flesh inside you, filled with blood and veins and desires underneath the hardened clay.” Will looked to see the amber eyes across from him, and blinked at the nearness and the shivering heat that seeped right through the glass. “Part of you wants me to sweep you up and bring you into our lives together without giving you the choice,” Hannibal near smiled, and laced their fingers together to pull them even closer. “There would be no fault, no guilt, no responsibility. No one to blame Will Graham.” Will closed his eyes, leaning his forehead against the wall as he breathed deeply and unsteadily, visible against the glass. “And you would lie there as I hack away the clay and reveal the true beast underneath,” Hannibal hummed, his voice a tinge of satisfaction at the idea. “It wouldn't be your fault,” he uttered. “But it would accidentally be everything you have always desired.”

Will heard himself whimpering against the glass as Hannibal's words washed over him. It was cruel to say such things, even if the sketch Hannibal sharply penciled into this mind was not a new, untrodden image. He swallowed against a lump in his throat and reached for his Alpha's wrists with both hands, firming his grip on the bones of his arms. The pulse he felt there, was wild, like his own and Hannibal didn't pull away from the vicious grip. “I need you to know where I am,” he said, using his fingers to stroke at Will's wrists in return. “For when you need to return to me.” Will's hard eyes grew weak at the words and the touch as he remembered why his Alpha allowed himself to be caged like a dog in the first place.

“That is why you turned yourself in,” he said. “So I could find you if I presented, no matter where I was.” He had understood it only partly before, knowing Hannibal had wanted him to know where he was at all times. The reason for it had always been abstract in his mind. He had felt it to be a thing of power, a refusal to let Will move on without still picking at a part of his brain. But instead, Hannibal had been waiting, he had wanted certainty that he would never miss or be absent for his heated, needy Omega. When Will had sent him away, the Alpha had dedicated his life to his mate, waiting, even if forever. “Yes,” Hannibal confirmed, twisting his wrist up within Will's grasp to press their palms together.

“And if I leave here now, what will you promise me?”, Hannibal asked him, his smile calculating, his eyes knowing. Will shook his head, a gasp hitching in his throat. “I-I can't...”, he stuttered, feeling his own hand growing damp against Hannibal's, dry, warm skin. “Exactly,” the Alpha said, rubbing the cold perspiration back into Will's skin. Earth and ocean eyes observed and swallowed the other as they remained close, hands pressed together. “I would be a fugitive. A haunted Alpha.” Will swallowed at the idea. An Alpha was considered dangerous, he knew. If they caught Hannibal, they would shoot him, claiming he had gone wild and feral. No one would have any doubt. “But I would not be able to leave or move from the area without you.” Will's lips quivered, and broad fingertips pressed between his fingers. “If you do not choose me, Will, and I'm unwilling and unable to leave you, what is left for me to do?”

Hannibal's voice was stern, but Will could feel the gentle kneading of his flesh and watched the open eyes of blood and honey and dirt. “Kill whomever I do choose,” he said quietly against the glass. “Kill me.” His lips brushed the glass and Hannibal's eyes flashed towards the brush of moist pink, shielded from him by the powerful glass. “If I kill you, I kill me.” he said, tracing the rim of Will's nails. A smile of humor and sadness pulled at his lips all at once, and Will could see the wrinkles deepening around his eyes. The tip of Will's shoes touched the glass, as his torso pressed wholly into the hard material. Somewhere in the building, there must have been an alarm going off for standing too near, but he was certain they allowed them this, considering the circumstances. “So what would you do?”, Will asked him, rolling his lower lip between his fangs. Hannibal watched his sharp teeth, and ran a pink tongue along his own, larger ones. “My Alpha has grown much stronger since he has met your Omega,” he said, a low whisper against the wall. “I can honestly say I do not know what would happen.” Will blinked, unable to feel outrage by the confession, or even fear. It was the instinct, it was the life-choking desire, and he understood it well. Hannibal brought his eyes back to Will and licked over his lips. A drop of blood brushed over the pink skin, as his fangs must have pierced his tongue. “But, I do doubt any of it would be beneficial for a healthy start of a strong, bonded relationship.”

He wrapped their hands together in a strong hold of united fists as Will felt one eyebrow trembling with exhaustion and weakness. “I'm leaving here with you. Not before,” the Alpha said and Will pressed his lips together to fight the flow of tears that queued behind his eyes. Hannibal stroked the skin of his knuckles with a blunt nail and smiled. “I want you to have chosen me, no one else.” Will slipped his hands free, offering them palms up through the holes and Hannibal cupped them from below. It would have been easier, he now believed, if he had just gone in for sex. “What if that means you never get to leave?”, Will croaked, openly showing the pain that he didn't have the strength to hide any longer. More tears found their way down his chin, and he felt Hannibal's touch twitching for the need to comfort and hold. The Alpha pressed closer to the glass, eyes on his mate, and smiled until his teeth were bared.

“I don't believe it does.”

Chapter Text

Will felt his phone buzzing in his pocket to indicate the arrival of a text message. He was on his way back to the motel, walking fast but swaying on the joints of his knees and ankles. It was Molly, he realized when he pulled the phone from his pocket and swiped open the screen. She was curious, of course, about the results of the medical examination. Will read as he walked, staring at the screen until it faded to black, then unthinkingly shoving it back into his coat, a grimace openly on his face. Doctor Hammings was clearly terrific at trafficking information about him to his wife. Let him do the honors of filling her in.

Because Will was sick. He had been positively, undeniably ill ever since his hands had slipped from Hannibal's warm grasp, and he had stepped out of the building into the open air. He gritted his teeth as he crossed a street, only two blocks away from his motel room. He had feared for things to get worse after a visit, and he had been right. He was shivering under his clothes, soaked and cold and burning hot in the very same breath. His stomach had emptied itself in a trashcan in the park and his head was splitting along his temples with a wild pressure of cruel, angry fire that was enhanced by the roaring of his suffering Omega.

It was insanity. Walking away had felt like slow suicide and now he knew for certain he could not go back there, because he surely wouldn't survive. His body, his Omega, his mind, all of it was coming apart, ripping so far from the seams it would never again fit back together. It had been too much, or perhaps, maybe, the touch of those hands hadn't been nearly enough. Will shook his head and angrily wiped a drop of sweat from the tip of his nose.

Fuck. No... no. He tried to take a deep, calming breath as he walked. He wasn't dying, his charts were fine. He just couldn't go in there anymore until his next heat, that was all. That was all.

It also occurred to him that if the doctor was in contact with his wife, he might tell her about this, these chats or visits, and her understanding and support would not be endless. She didn't know what it was like, how frantic and urgent it had so quickly become between them. Molly, she didn't even know about the heats yet, the four times a year, lasting for days, breeding sessions he was required to participate in for the sake of his life. He would still have to tell her that there was no way for him to be able to turn away completely. No drugs, no medical treatment, no nothing.

When Will arrived at his door and grabbed the knob to push his key in the lock, he felt the door already giving way under his weight. It was already open. Inside the room, it was dark. The curtains were drawn and the lights were off, just as he left it, but Will could see the lock had been forced. A cold draft slithered up his back as he pushed the knob, took a step forward and moved his head around the corner. Empty. It was hard to see into the poorly lit space, but he noticed his belongings were scattered around his open suitcase. That was not how he'd left it. Will swallowed, cursed under his breath and felt a harsh pull on his skin as goosebumps rose fiercely to the surface.

With the door open behind him, Will stepped over the threshold and moved to flick the light switch. Click . Finally he could see the tousle of clothes on the floor, his laptop beneath a pile of his underwear and several of his books under the side table. There was a scent that clung to the small space, his belongings, his bed, and it was one he couldn't place or understand. It was that of strong, red peppers and smoke and the sharp tinge of Aconitum flowers. It wasn't human, not entirely, and it felt poisonous to breathe it in. His eyes watered at the sharp sting that it brought around the sensitive rim.

Will checked the closet, the bathroom, under the bed and behind the doors, but the place was deserted. He couldn't find anything missing from his belongings, and it left him with nothing but empty, eerie confusion. After a moment of mindless back and forth pacing, Will opened the window and the door to let fresh air stream in, and sat on his bed to watch his suitcase, his books, his laptop, as the scent washed out, bit by bit, replaced by nothing but the outside breeze that ruffled the curtains. He shook out his sheets, he fluffed out his pillow and before it turned dark, he pushed the key in the lock and shut the door from the inside out.

**

There was nothing Will would rather do, sitting on the bed, dressed in damp, dirty clothes, than take a long, warm shower. He was covered in old sweat and his skin was sticky with it. He could smell himself without even lifting his arm, and the ripe scent of man made him wrinkle his nose in distaste. Yet, here he was, on his bed, not making a move.

Will had felt rather shaken after discovering the mysterious break-in, and after closing the door, he remained apprehensive, suspicious of every noise outside his window. But after a lost feather from his fluffed pillow had made its way into his nostril, he had pressed a finger to his nose and dragged it up to stop himself sneezing. And then, he had felt calm. He had felt safe and he had felt strong, powerful, protected. He'd smelled his Alpha on his skin and it cured the pain, the fear, the noise. It had brought the peace he craved, and soothed his wild water into a gentle stream. And as sick and scared and tired as he was, fuck it, he would indulge in it. He had nearly moaned into the scent as he pressed both hands to his face and breathed, breathed, his mate into his lungs.

So that shower, that shower he needed and wanted and really, really longed for, it would have to wait, because he was simply unable to wash away that scent of winter fire and home. Home, even though he had chosen a different place for himself in the world. Will breathed out a laugh into the silence of his room. He was weak, yes. He was so incredibly, disgustingly weak, and not just for sniffing his own hands like a bloodhound with prey. He had gone to see him, touched him, and he had felt the contact all the way through. He had wanted to cross the barrier between them, so violently. If that door had been opened, he feared to think about what would have happened, even now he wasn't in heat. He felt him so strongly, always. His pain, his joy, his desire, and his touch, right on the inside of his skin. He wanted him. He wanted him so Goddamn much and it couldn't be allowed to happen. He couldn't allow it to change anything.

Will shifted his weight and heard plastic cracking under his hip. Oh. He was sitting on the pocket of his coat that was sprawled out on the bed. His bones had rested on the inside of his pocket, and inside... oh God. Inside were those fucking discs. Will closed his eyes, pressed his hands to his nose and inhaled so passionately it must have looked like he was getting high, but he didn't care. He was calmer now. The pain was at bay, just out of sight, and he was so weak, so tired, he just let it happen without the shame that would return when the scent on his hands had been washed away. Again, his hip leaned hard on one of those plastic cases and Will reached in, reluctantly, to drag out the four discs from his pocket and held them before his face. LECGRA. Lecter Graham.

He turned the plastic over in his hands and let his nail track the ribbed surface on the sides. Those cases, they felt warm in his hand from where his body had pressed on them. Will brought one of the plastic covers to his nose and smelled his own scent of autumn Omega, mixed with the stuffy smell of office and a sharp whiff of hand sanitizer. If these discs were what he suspected them to be, he would be able to watch himself through that camera, that red light in the high corner. He would be able to witness himself being brought into the cell, attacked and attacking as Hannibal and he fucked brutally on that damaged table, right before it would break and send them flying across the floor where they continued what they had so aggressively started. It was a haze, but Will remembered everything that had happened within the tunnel vision of his heat-affected eyes.

He swallowed, his mouth dry, and squeezed the cases tighter in his hand. Everything would be there. The sex, the talks, sleeping together on the ripped mattress. Eating, and kissing and crying. That morning he left....Will dropped the discs on the bed and swung his legs off the side. His hands covered his face, making him that much more aware of his Alpha's scent that lingered on his skin. The idea of watching those images made him feel so fucking vulnerable, like he was made of nothing but twigs and grass beneath a pile of heavy pebbles. It would show him what they had seen, guards and doctors, specialists and maybe even Alana. It disturbed him, but not enough. They were on there, in their cocoon of heat and need, and the connection that had spun a private world between them. Will wouldn't say he missed it, because that would just be... He sucked saliva through his teeth to hear it whistle. That would be admitting defeat. He would say it had been easier, somehow, than it was now. It had been calmer, clearer, and definitely more pleasurable. The sex, God... Will's groin stirred hot, ferociously, at the idea of what he now possessed in images. Slick coated the back of his thighs and his cock pushed impatiently against his zipper at the mere idea.

It was agonizing desire he couldn't control, so deep and connected to every root, ending in a swirling ball of darkness within him. It was savage, restless, wild without the promise of peace or a dot on the horizon, where it would end. Will whined low in his throat, the sound nothing but that of an animal. Hannibal. Fuck, shit, fuck, he wanted Hannibal. He needed to see him, to touch him and feel him and smell him, in and out and everywhere. Will looked at his hands before his face. That scent, Will's and his, had been deeply embedded in his skin for days, and it had become one unique perfume of dark seasons. It was having been so close to him, combined with the exhaustion and the fury of his Omega that made him feel like he was breaking, losing, unable to keep fighting. And he wanted to watch those goddamn discs too. He did. Of course he did. His body was throbbing at the mere idea of watching what he couldn't help but desire most, and for tonight, he allowed himself to treat the pain. By watching. Just watching. He was just going to see what was on there, he assured himself. Just a look.

He placed the laptop on his bed and sat himself up against the headboard with a pillow in his back before pushing a disc into the drive. Click. He opened the folder, he moved the mouse, he listened to the roar of the angry, tired laptop coming to life... and there it was. Video files. There were several, labeled by the time of the recording. The first one started at 6 A.M., and the last file ended at 6 A.M. the following day. Click. He opened the first file and waited, waited for a frame, a video player, and suddenly... he was back in the cell.

6 A.M. Will watched himself wrapped in thin sheets and Hannibal's arms on the floor of the prison as they slept together on the single mattress, surrounded by clutter. Everything was silent as they breathed together in a slow, steady pace. Will saw Hannibal's weary hair, his bare, broad shoulders, and looked at the curls that covered his own forehead as his eyes moved beneath the lids. It was surreal, watching himself in a state he had never witnessed before. Peaceful. Careless. Minutes ticked away where they just stayed spooned in their cocoon of sleep but Will didn't fast forward. He watched them, couldn't tear himself away. He watched every second that passed. It wasn't until 7:12 that Hannibal began to stir against him and opened his eyes. The blood and gold of predatory, awakened Alpha shone hard through the screen and Will felt it as if fingers reached inside his lower belly to squeeze around everything pink. His body hunched forward as he tore his eyes from the screen and took a deep breath before he dared to look again.
Hannibal was nuzzling along his neck, scenting at his throat, nudging against his curls and Will knew it was pure animalistic, honest affection. Those kisses that followed against the skin of his neck made the sleeping Omega stir and Will watched the contact, the tenderness on the screen before him with open eyes, parted lips, frozen limbs. He watched himself turn to Hannibal, following those lips, and kiss him, pressing closer, reaching up to touch his Alpha's jaw, his hair. The primal contact, pure and whole, it showed in them both. More so than he had realized at the time. He felt a sharp sting on his cheek and noticed his own nails pressing hard into the flesh of his face. He remembered this moment, of course, and he remembered feeling conflicted about such intimacy outside of a raging moment of heat. He didn't wish to see it, and yet he couldn't pull away. This had happened, because he had allowed it. Because he had wanted it to happen. That was as far as he had dared to analyze it, then and now.

Alana appeared on his screen, and for once he was grateful for her interruption. The conversation that followed was something he remembered fairly well when it started, but gradually slipped away as he watched himself wrap his arms and legs around his Alpha, a nose under his mate's chin. Fuck, yes he remembered. Oh God. His cheeks burned furiously with embarrassment as he watched himself shamelessly rubbing his whole body against Hannibal, right in front of Alana. He was thankful to see things did not escalate any further when Hannibal picked him up and carried him to the bathroom in the back of the cell with large hands supporting and spreading fully over his ass. Will watched himself disappear from the screen as he crossed his ankles and pressed his thighs together. He knew what would happen behind that door. He knew Hannibal would drop to his knees behind him and lick his way deep inside until Will's knees had buckled. Then, they had jumped into the shower and fucked hard against the steaming glass. The way it had felt, the things they had said... Will breathed sharply into the empty room, letting his fingers scratch at the jeans around his thighs.

Alana walked out of the frame, but soon the cell was opened by a guard who led in half a dozen men that carried a bed frame, a table, new mattresses and chair. Fuck, of course. Will pressed hands to his eyes. He had forgotten about the furniture being replaced while he and his Alpha had mated loud and violent only one wall away. “No, God no,” Will moaned as the men made quick work of gathering up all the splintered pieces of broken furniture. There were moans, groans and desperate whines that filled the cell and all of them he recognized as his. “Don't,” Will moaned his despair and bit his cheek hard at the mingle of hot shame and hot memories of what was happening inside that room. “Fuck, shit, THERE,” his own voice shouted through the wall, and Will almost whimpered with the vivid memory of being flushed against the tiles, his Alpha's tongue deep inside his hole as he pressed back against his face to take him deeper. One of the working men let the bed frame slip from his hands and three of the others abruptly paused their work, shifting their gazes between the bathroom door and each other. Ears were pink and eyes were wide. Will groaned pitifully, while simultaneously feeling his cock filling with blood at the soft string of moans and whimpers that rung from the screen.

One of the men mumbled something, another chuckled under his breath and the guy on the far right seemed to adjust himself in his work uniform. “God,” Will sneered at the sight, subconsciously adjusting himself inside his own, tight jeans. The noises never quelled as the men continued their work, glancing towards the bathroom that continued to metaphorically 'rock' with the obscene noises that had been brought forth by his own throat. “Fuck me, fuck me, FUCK ME!”, he heard, just as two men carried in the new table. The first one dropped it on his own foot and the other cursed loudly when the heavy furniture slipped from his own grasp and tumbled to the side. There was more mumbling, some profanities, and most of them were now blushing a deep, scarlet pink. Will noticed how the one in the back was rubbing his hands over his thighs while another pulled his shirt down over his crotch. It was absolutely disturbing. Disturbing. Will popped the button of his jeans and lowered his fly, just to give himself some room.
Hannibal had known about this. He had talked about those men, listening, getting off on the idea of what was going on inside that bathroom. And he had fucked into Will as he talked about it. He had reminded Will of his audience, and it had only added to the heat. He'd promised to kill them for listening in, for imagining just how Hannibal was pounding into his slick, Omega's hole. Will pressed an open hand to his groin at the images that filled his head. Hannibal had slammed onto his prostate with such pressure and speed that he had come all over....

Enough, enough . Will took his hand off his jeans and pressed the drive until the image went black and the disc was spat out by his laptop. He sniffled once, released a heavy breath and watched his hands shake before his eyes. That was....That had been surreal. He had been there, but he hadn't. It was a peek behind the curtain of something that shouldn't even exist. If his hands were not covered with his Alpha's scent, Will would have wiped at the sweat on his forehead, but instead, he let it shimmer on his skin as his fingers pried the second disc free of its case and slid it into place. Yes, he was watching it. Yes, even after this. He couldn't even think of a justifiable reason why he was, but he wasn't going to bother with one. It was bigger than he was, and he needed so see him. Just for tonight.

Click. And there he was. Beautiful and strong and completely savage. It was the first time Will had entered the cell, he realized, as he watched himself being escorted into the room by heavily armed guards. Hannibal was there, trembling wildly with uncontrolled need and Will swallowed hard at the sight. His mate looked so strong, so feral with blood in his eyes, fangs on display, his back hunched like he was prowling his prey. They scented the other, hunting like beasts with blind eyes before they pounced, using nails and teeth. Will remembered the bone crushing, mind shattering, gut wrenching desire within himself when he walked inside that door, and watching, he felt a flutter of something wild hitching in response. Hannibal yanked his curls back with grabbing fists and he watched his own head roll back in submission as his nails left bloody trails over Hannibal's back. “Oh,” Will gasped at the stream of blood drops that ran down Hannibal's smooth skin and his cock jumped harder inside his underwear. The scent of his arousal, combined with Hannibal's sent on his fingers, was an intoxicating, heady mix that filled the air around him as he watched them mating on the screen.

Hannibal pushed against him, and shoved his hips onto the tabletop that was already weak with damage. “Fuck me,” he heard himself moaning and watched himself rising his hips off the table like a wanton whore: “breed me.” Hannibal hissed and Will watched himself go delirious under his Alpha, while he felt himself leak wet and burn hot in his underwear at the sound. There was no point in stopping it, he knew. He was either going to touch himself while watching this, or touch himself later while thinking about it. His entire body was building a boiling pressure within him, and it was made of ecstasy amongst the endless torture. The cause was lost. Will whimpered heatedly into the room as his hand reached to undo the row of buttons of his shirt, from his collarbone down to his pelvis. “Please, please, please, Alpha,” he cried on the screen as Hannibal lapped at his opening with broad strokes of his tongue and eyes that closed and fluttered with the pleasure of tasting his Omega.

Will watched himself on screen in an equal state as his eyes turned white and rolled wild in his head. He jerked and whined unseeingly on the table as his nails clawed viciously at Hannibal's flesh, which made the Alpha snarl his teeth bare. “Now. Now. Please,” Will heard himself cry and reached down his bared chest, running nails along his collarbone. His breath hitched when he watched Hannibal hoisting his knees up around his hips and pushed into his body in one quick stroke. His large cock sank into wet, tight heat and Will watched his body stretch, slick and ready for all of his mate, and heard both Hannibal and himself whining desperately against the other. They were lost, completely swallowed by the dome of pleasure, just big enough to fit them both.

Their eyes met, despite the wild instinct to just rut and rock, and Will's fingers found the short pubic hair and scratched against the skin. They were so deeply connected, in complete surrender to their nature. They moved together and Will watched raw tears of pleasure on his own face. He could see the table wobbling under their weight as they fucked hard, fought hard, touched everywhere and loved it with complete abandon. “Fuck.” Will pushed his jeans and boxers over his hips to release his wet erection to the open air.

His fingers traveled up his hard shaft when Hannibal wound his fingers around the Omega's throat and pressed unforgivingly against his windpipe. Will watched himself howling and snapping his teeth in response, and he remembered that precise moment. He remembered the taste of Hannibal's blood on his tongue and the way his Alpha's cock stretched every inch of his body until his mate fit inside him so snug, every bit of him burned painfully with invitation. Will's fingers wrapped around his filled out cock as he remembered the pain that had only indulged his pleasure so cruelly. He hissed between his teeth as he watched himself arching off the table, his eyes blind with pleasure and his ass filled with all of his Alpha's cock. It was terribly disturbing and extremely, most extraordinarily arousing.

“Hnnnn,” Will moaned into the teeth that bit into his bottom lip as he stroked his own hard flesh with an unsteady hand. Spreading the leaking pre-cum over the tip and down his length as he worked his skin slowly up and down beneath his quivering fingers. He could clearly see the tear streaks on his own flushed cheeks as he watched Hannibal pounding into him without mercy, and saw his hips meeting his Alpha almost obscenely greedy as he tried to pull even closer. Hannibal bit him right above the nipple, and Will watched blood pouring from his skin as he pressed his hand tighter around his cock, feeling the beautiful pressure build inside his belly. The table broke not long after, but they hardly even seemed to notice when they were both flung to the floor. Will watched himself get on all fours, completely shameless, and push his dripping ass up in the air so lustfully it made him blush a crimson red as he stroked two fingers over his slick hole. “Fuck.”

Click. Another file, and here he was crawling over a sleeping Hannibal while positioning himself above his Alpha. “No. Jesus no,” Will moaned into his hand while the other continued to pump around the hard length of his cock. “Fuck, ohh fuck,” he heard himself whimper on the screen as he sank down around an oblivious Hannibal's erection. The Alpha started growling in his slumber and Will lowered his own hips on the mattress to sink a finger inside his clenching, empty hole. “Ohhh.” It wasn't something he normally did, but God, it felt good.

Hannibal's eyes sprung open and he scratched at Will's thighs with a furious growl before he tilted his hips to meet his mate's thrusts. Will watched himself shudder, whimper, surrender, as he was brought down for a hungry kiss that seemed to scream of a battle of dominance between them and left both swollen and red around the lips. Will pumped his cock faster at the sight of Hannibal's bloodshot, fluttering eyes when his Omega clenched tight around him. The Alpha hauled him to his chest to fuck harder into his wailing mate and Will pushed a second finger into his tight, slick heat as he panted between parted lips, and rubbed the head of his throbbing cock. “Ohhh God.”

It was obscene, how he cried and howled and scratched like a rabid dog while rolling his hips hard and wild on his Alpha's large and wide erection, so desperate to fit it all inside. Hannibal licked at his tears to soothe him before he marked him red with sharp fingernails over all his pale, exposed skin. A third finger fitted itself into Will's slick hole, staining his hand until it was drenched and slippery before he pushed down to meet the stretch of his insides. “Fuck,” he whimpered at the feeling of his nail brushing against his prostate, while watching himself ride his Alpha with such passionate, destructive energy, it was positively barbaric.

Next . Will stroked over the hard flesh of his erection and moaned openly and pathetically when he watched himself being pushed roughly against the glass prison wall he had touched only today. He watched Hannibal's hand press on his belly as he lavished his neck with kisses and nips. Their voices mingled in growls and howls and... fuck, Will pushed his fingers deeper inside the slick of his ass and grazed the little nub inside him with pressing tips. It didn't feel like when Hannibal touched him, fucked him, but it felt so soothingly familiar, and he couldn't help but pump his hips into the air as his cock slid into his fist. “Please. Please, Hannibal,” he heard himself begging on the screen as the Alpha attacked his mouth with his own and his ass with merciless pumping fingers.

Then, Hannibal pushed inside his body from an angle that provided a most spectacular view, and the air filled with noises that would not have been identifiable as human. They fucked hard, but slow, and it looked almost painful if Will hadn't remembered bright and vividly, that it had instead been everything else. Everything, if not enough. He watched himself scrambling against the glass, pushed into the wall from behind as Hannibal's hard, glistering cock slid in and from his body with controlled strokes. It looked hypnotizing, enthralling, and Will gripped his own cock hard in his hand as he smeared his own slick from his balls to the tip of his shaft. He wished, staring at the large, wide girth of Hannibal, that he could sink to his knees in that very moment, and take it into his mouth to see how much of it would fit. He never had tried. Not ever. Two slick fingers ran over his nipple and pinched the peaked flesh, before he brought his hand down to scratch helplessly against his flexing abdomen while pumping his hot, hard, slippery erection with a tight grasp.

“Uhh, uhh, uhh,” he heard erupting from his own throat with every push into his body, and Will couldn't help but mimicking the noise as he pushed his fingers back between his legs and started pumping. “Fuck you,” he growled on screen when Hannibal did not respond to his silent pleas for more and it wasn't long before they toppled over onto the floor, where Hannibal punished him with a brutal pace that Will could remember so vividly his hole clenched tight around his digits. He had thought of how hot this must have looked, working his hips to fuck himself hard on his floored Alpha, and the pressure in his balls and the tingling in his thighs were proof how true that really was.

On another file, they were fucking on the table after the argument they'd had about him leaving. Will watched Hannibal push him over the table with demanding, angry hands before he stripped away his jumpsuit and wasted no time to fuck him, hard and punishing. Hands pulled at his hair, nails dug into hips and Will whimpered at the memory of how good it had felt to be beneath the weight of his Alpha, completely at his mercy. His fingers pushed harder and deeper inside him, finding his prostate with the tip of his fingers with every stroke as he fisted his cock hard and tight in his hand with a thumb that rubbed circles along the slit of the leaking head. “Oh fuck, Jesus,” Will cursed at the hot pressure in his lower belly as he watched his own eyes fluttering wildly in his head. “Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck me,” he cried over the speaker and Will whined in response.

The scene of the next file was the last time they had sex. It was on the single mattress with Will on Hannibal's lap and the frantic strokes of his hand slowed at the sight of them, rising and falling together. Hannibal supported his weight as their bodies shuddered and their mouths met in slow licks and gentle pulls of lips. Hands roamed, but no longer viciously. They stroked, caresses, more worshiping than desperate, angry demands for contact. Will saw tears on his own face, much different than the ones he had seen there before, and witnessed the same glimmer in Hannibal's eyes. There was pain, more evident to him now than it had been then. He hadn't known here, how hard the choice he was going to make was going to be.

Warm hands loved his skin, held him steady, kept him safe from falling, and Will let go completely into Hannibal's arms. He watched himself shudder violently when Hannibal's knot began to swell at the base of his cock and felt an overwhelming need to spill his own tears and seed all at once as he stroked himself hard but slow, punishing. His wriggling fingers that rubbed against his prostate slipped out and he brought them to his face to smell sharp Omega slick and the heady scent of his Alpha, mingled, tangled, mixed together into perfect, feral darkness. On screen, he watched himself take Hannibal's knot inside him as he continued to tremble around him, spurting his release as his unseeing eyes stayed on his Alpha. who in turn tensed inside his mate as the muscles of his stomach clenched hard, before he followed after Will and watched him like he was the only thing ever worth watching.

And Will followed him, hand hard and fast on his pulsing cock and slick fingers with united scents to his nose, to his lips, in his mouth. He tasted them, together, and then he erupted. He watched their eyes, their gentle hands, their breathtaking connection, as he spurted over his fluttering belly. Pearly drops of white fell onto his sweaty skin as he groaned with eyes open on the screen, and his hands worked slowly, riding out the waves of pleasure that raced beneath his skin, into the deep tissue of his flesh. “Fuck.” Oh, it was good, the orgasm. It was what he needed. But it wasn't... that. It wasn't.....

It was seconds of hot pleasure, followed by the dull throbbing of the afterglow. It was human pleasure, familiar. What he had witnessed on the screen, that had been so much more. “Aah,” Will panted, coming down from his climax with his fingers still inside his mouth and his spent cock in the palm of his hand. He let go of himself, brought his hand to the sheets, but didn't wipe his fingers. Not yet. His head fell back, his chest was rising rapidly. Fuck. This was wrong. This was dirty and sick and wrong. Narcissistic even, not to mention that many others had watched this before him. That alone should have disturbed him enough not to have wanted this.

It didn't matter anyway, Will thought, as he tried to slow his heavy breathing. It hadn't worked. He'd wanted the pain to be relieved. Instead, after watching what he had just seen, he wished he could just ball up and cry. It had been such a rise and fall, what they had shared in those few days. It had been violent, raw, completely mindless at first. Then, it had started to become something different. Their conversations flowed like they had done in the old days and eyes had softened while touches gave instead of took. Their connection had been undeniable. By the end of it, it hadn't looked like mating anymore. It had looked like something else entirely, something for which he didn't want to find a name.

He stared at the ceiling. There was one more disc left, and it was their goodbye. He used the sheets to clean himself and hoisted up his underwear while he kicked off the jeans. He didn't want to watch that disc. All he wanted to do was turn over and sleep and hopefully it would allow him some moments of oblivion. But the disc burned in the case none the less, and he knew he wouldn't stop thinking about it until it had been slipped into the drive. Click.

He let the video play, even though he couldn't find the strength to watch it anymore. He just sat there, arms around his waist, his back against the headboard, and heard the words that were spoken through the speaker. But he didn't look up to see their eyes, the touches, the kiss. He didn't look up to see the face of his Alpha as he walked from him without looking back. He just let the video run, until there was nothing but silence on the screen.

Fifteen minutes passed, maybe twenty, and both rooms remained quiet. Will stared at the ceiling, listening to Hannibal's silence on the screen, and wondered if they could fall asleep together, like this. When he did look, maybe half an hour later, he saw his mate on the bed, on his back, staring at the ceiling, just like he was. He was completely still, but his eyes were open and his fingers that lay against his sides were bent with hidden tension. He looked like Will had never seen him.
Even if he hadn't possessed the strength to watch this before, he couldn't look away now. His mate was there, unreadable, unreachable, alone. His knee twitched once, his eyes, his shoulders, they jerked. Hannibal was the master of all control, Will knew. He didn't yawn or belch or fidgit. But now he twitched, and the sight was most disturbing. He never stopped staring at him as they lay together in silence for an hour. Then, Hannibal got up from the bed and started pacing, from the bed to the opposite wall, and back, and back, and back again. Will watched him, saw nails pressing into palms, saw sweat on his temple, saw teeth grinding behind closed lips.

Another hour passed, and Hannibal walked. Eyes unseeing, feet unstopping. Will could watch for hours, even if it hurt enough to consume him. Then, one of the guards came in, carrying a phone. “Your lawyer,” he informed Hannibal and plugged in the phone. Hannibal looked at the device, calculating, and took the call when the guard had left the room. What followed was a conversation Will couldn't decipher. His voice was soft, low, a murmur, and Will knew that was the point exactly. No one was supposed to hear, and Will felt his inside clench with the knowledge of not knowing. The conversation lasted six minutes, nearly seven, before Hannibal ended the call. The phone was collected and Hannibal returned to his bed.

Will closed the laptop with a final push of his hand. There was more to be seen, he knew. His phone call to Hannibal must have been recorded too. But he had had enough. All there was left on that disc was pain. Hannibal's and his own, and he couldn't bare anymore. He felt spent, in so many ways. What he really wanted, more than anything, was to hold him, and to smell him and to breathe into his neck just to feel him close. Will slid between the sheets, his shirt still open around his shoulders. He would be strong again tomorrow, he decided. For now, he could desire all those things. Tomorrow, he would be strong enough to arrange his flight back home.

As the clock ticked, and Will's eyes never closed, he tried not to think about how this was the first night without him that they hadn't talked on the phone. He turned his back to the motel phone on his nightstand and ordered himself not to keep an ear out, but even well after three, he still heard how the room stayed silent.

Chapter Text

The loud knock on the door made Will's whole body tense. His eyes shifted sharply from the phone in his hand to the direction of the offensive noise, made by heavy knuckles against thick, painted wood. He had been in the middle of writing a text message to Molly, but instantly slid the black device back into his pocket as he stood up from the bed and squinted his eyes. Who knew he was here? Alana knew. The person who had broken into his room did, too. He hesitated, deliberating whether he could just pretend not be in, but the knuckles rapped on his door again and he felt himself moving towards the intrusive, demanding sound. Before it could slice through his splitting head a third time, he opened the door.

“Jack,” Will said, surprised to see the familiar face on the other side of the threshold. Jack Crawford, with his coat and his hat and those dark eyes that could pierce a hole into your sense of self-worth. The sight of him was out of place, so far away from the old Will Graham. “Hello, Will,” Jack said, eyes straight unto his, and Will remembered with a cold jolt that the agent had been there when he'd presented inside the prison. He had witnessed how Will wailed for his Alpha, leaked slick on the hospital sheets and arched his hips into the air in search for contact. And that was before he was pushed into that cell with his mate where they had wasted no time devouring each other in front of whomever had wished to be a spectator. Will didn't know how long Jack had stayed to witness, but the memory was one of the many reasons Will couldn't answer that stare with one of his own.

They shook hands, with Jack's so much bigger and sturdier against his weak, clammy flesh. “Take a walk with me,” Jack said, and Will found the courage to look up and see the imposing special agent regarding him without a lick of self-consciousness, embarrassment or even the imaginable disgust. Jack didn't look at him with pity. He didn't look at him in a different light. Jack Crawford doesn't judge, not when you are of use to him. “Alright,” Will blinked rapidly and quickly collected his coat before stepping outside and following after Jack, who had already turned towards the park. For a brief moment, Will considered asking him to change direction, but the words died on his tongue with those first, alleviating steps, and he silently fell in line.

They kept their hands buried in their pockets as they walked through the quiet streets. Not a gush of wind was present to ruffle hair or sooth the stuffy heat beneath Will's skin, as his eyes flashed up to the gray, cloudy sky. “So, how are you?”, Jack asked him in his low baritone, turning his head towards Will, who quickly flung his gaze back to his shoes. “I'm...-”, he paused, brushing back his greasy curls with both hands. He never did have that shower, even now the scent of Hannibal had nearly faded from his skin. “Yes. This is all a big, big mess,” Jack filled in, a curt but sympathetic nod directed his way as Will dug his hands back deeper in his coat. ”But we'll figure this out,” Jack said, determined, his voice a low boom of confidence. “We will find a way to end this for you. We will find a cure, a solution...” Jack moved his hands in opposite circles to illustrate how his words would continue in a string of different phrases with the same, exact meaning.

Will smiled bitterly into the pulled up collar of his coat. His skin was burning, but the thick fabric made him feel shielded, an extra layer between himself and the world. “That sounds like you're planning on offing one of us, Jack,” he said airily, and Jack watched him with a stern, slow frown, and a resolved, tight line around his mouth. “You must know that if it's necessary to ensure your survival, I'm willing to find a way...”, he paused meaningfully as his shoulder bumped against Will's. Their footsteps never slowed during the conversation, but Will took an unconscious step sideways at the words near his ear, and created new distance between them. “That wouldn't cure anything,” he quickly interjected before Jack could speak the words Will knew rested behind his tongue. “It would only make things worse.” Will swallowed against the tight feeling inside his mouth and sucked the back of his bottom lip between his teeth. It wasn't a lie. Killing Hannibal would mean his own demise, in many ways. He would either die right along with him, or he would waste away until the moment came. More truthfully, he didn't want Hannibal to die. Not now, not then, not truly ever. As he predicted Jack's words inside his head, it became more and more a struggle to stop himself from snarling his teeth bare, as both Omega and man.

Jack sighed a heavy sigh as they strolled under the rustling trees of the park and he reached out to rest a large hand on Will's weak shoulder. “I promise you...”, he started, his voice carrying a slice of something that hearkened back to an old, personal vendetta and the anger inside Will rose higher. It rose with every sympathetic, misunderstanding touch and glance that fell upon him. It rose with every personal agenda disguised as a helping hand. He snapped before he could stop himself. “Jack,” he bit, pulling the agent out of his intentions as both men stopped in their tracks. Jack's hand fell away from him as they simultaneously turned towards each other and the FBI agent regarded him with harder, more calculating eyes. Will knew how much the man had always depended on his authority. He demanded respect, leadership, control, and received it without effort. No one dared to go against the loud persona of the special agent.

But the Omega within Will arched his back and paced protectively around his throbbing brain. There was no tolerance for authority over Will Graham. There was no place for new leadership within his pack.

“I don't need help,” Will said, calming his voice and lowering his shoulders as he returned Jack's pointed stare with as much confidence as he could musher. The agent's nose jerked around the wings and his mouth pulled tight. “You've seen better days, Will,” he said, stepping back into the pace of their previous stroll as Will followed beside him. “Yeah,” he huffed through his nose. He had seen himself in the mirror this morning and he knew what he looked like. Every day was worse. His color was a mix between parchment white and infection-red, his eyes were sunken inside a blend of gray and purple, and his veins popped blue and black beneath his truculent skin. Even with his facial hair neatly trimmed, and his greasy hair combed, he knew he had never looked closer to death. “I've seen better decades, Jack,” he spoke dryly and Jack threw him a hard glare.

“This situation worries me,” he said, his expression stern and tight as he tried to keep their eyes connected and undoubtedly spear a point through his special agent Will. Will didn't look away this time, not feeling the heavy blanket of Jack's disapproval equally smothering as he once had. “You've always been drawn to Hannibal Lecter,” Jack said accusingly, and Will clenched his fingers tighter in his pockets. It was Jack Crawford, after all, who had been kind enough to introduce them. “I remember you once told me you had wanted to run away with him, and that part of you still did.” Will smiled despite himself as Jack's words rang out in tight, quiet confusion. He hid his lips behind his collar. Jack had never truly allowed himself to trust Will after that confession, he knew.

The agent seemed to ponder his own words for a moment, before he turned his dark eyes back to Will. “I am wondering about that part of you, now,” he said, deliberately careful with his tone, as if trying to lure a wild beast out of its cage. The Omega nudged at his insides and Will felt every limb grow heavier, sour, as they walked. “Part of me still does, Jack,” he said, honest with him and honest with himself. Will knew there had always been that part of him, and it would forever remain. That part that wanted to leave the world behind and sink into the darkness with the one person that made him feel alight. But he fought it every step of the way, as he had clearly shown by now. He had learned to live without Hannibal, and he would continue just that. For Molly. For...

“I've been thinking about this a lot, Will. I've been trying to understand,” Jack said as he pulled his hat off his head, twisting it in his large hands as they passed the duck pond. “And I think I finally get it.” A homeless man stared miserably at two screaming toddlers and what looked like their grandmother, feeding the birds a fresh loaf of bread. “It's the animal in you that wants this,” the agent said, and Will's eyes briefly shot back to him before he returned them to the shrieking ducks. “It's not you, Will. It never was you who wanted to take part in this. Even back then, it was the beast.”

Will rubbed a thumb over an eyebrow as they strolled past traveling people, leashed dogs, children on their little bicycles. He closed his eyes for a brief second, and saw himself back in the snow, confessing his desires to Jack. His betrayal. Jack had lost an ally in him, someone he could mindlessly thrust back and forth inside his circle. Jack's ego, his judgment, had received quite a blow that day. His pride had been bruised, and he blamed himself for the mistake in thinking he understood the special agent he saw in Will. It was failure, and Jack Crawford didn't do failure. He never had, and then along came Hannibal. Will's lips twitched again against his coat. This theory where Will was nothing but a slave to his Omega, forcing him to choose Hannibal when nothing in his human mind had desired it, was indeed a very flattering solution for Jack's writhing ego. No one to blame but Hannibal Lecter. “You've been doing a lot of thinking,” Will said, instead of the thousand other things he could have said.

“Yes,” Jack replied, his voice raised with growing enthusiasm as they swayed to avoid someone on roller skates. “And I've been researching ways to control and numb the animal gender within a person, or even destroy that part of the brain completely. There are people that claim...”, he chatted, gesturing wilder and wider with his arms as he spoke. But Will was sick, he was weak and still infused with a liquid pain that crept in every corner of his flesh. He was here, weak on his legs and mindlessly exhausted, listening to the booming voice of his former employer about cutting out a piece of his brain. “...electrodes are attached to both temples, and then...” His Omega started gnawing at the floorboards of the attic, huffing hot breath and scraping its claws against damaged wood until Will felt the sharp, slicing splinters as if they were under his own fingernails. It felt like the reins were slipping from his hands. Dr. Hammings, Alana, Jack, if he let it happen he would be swooped up and hospitalized, probed and cut and medicated until his insides were empty.“Jack,” he said, and never before had anyone dared to interrupt this man, this many times in one conversation, Will was certain of it. Jack looked at him with discontent, but kept himself composed as fingers pressed into the rim of his hat. He wasn't going to yell, Will realized. He must have decided on that before hand.

“I am not running away with him,” Will said, eyes meeting eyes as the two men crossed another quiet street. “I'm going back to my family in a couple of days.” Jack blinked back at him, visibly grinding the words over in his head. “Oh,” he then said. “That's good.” He gave one short nod, but kept restless fingers on his hat, staring straight ahead of him. Will felt one eye flinching at the lukewarm response his civil intentions received, coming from the man who had just half-suggested to lobotomize him. He felt the prickle of irritation on the back of his neck, but instead replied with; “I appreciate your concern and your help, Jack”, and gave the large man a half-hearted nod in return. Jack tilted his head, as a shrug touched his broad shoulders. “Of course,” he said, showing Will his rounded profile against the stark, gray sky. Will knew that Jack would never understand the scenario where someone would not indulge in his help, his attention, and chose his next words carefully.

“I need time to see how things will play out,” he said, trying to keep himself steady and sure on his near-crumbling bones. “I need to know if I can handle this on my own.” He dared to face Jack, eyes steady, and watched the emotions play out on the sturdy face before him. First there was that ever-present frown, a pinch of annoyance, probably due to the lack of enthusiasm. But the hard muscles softened as he looked back at Will, undoubtedly seeing nothing but the weakness and the paleness and the imposed vulnerability. “Just know that you are not alone,” Jack said and Will felt a shudder at the kindness that was offered beneath the clumsy conversation. People, they wanted to connect with him. They wanted to be let into his life and touch what lay beyond the veil, drawn in by the pain, the mystery, the helplessness he seemed to excrete. Only one of them had made it to the other side. And that one, he had his own veil, his own barrier that had fallen under Will's touch. He nodded, offering Jack a half-smile as he kicked a lost tennis ball away from his feet. Maybe it belonged to the blond lab, on the other side of the pond. It only rolled a few turns away. Fuck, he was weak.

“I'll be fine,” Will promised the agent with a smile that turned down at the corners, and he quickly pushed his hands in his pockets, his face behind his collar. Ahead of them, he could see the roof of the hospital rising above the treetops and he felt a pull below his bellybutton. “I'm sure you've got bigger fish to fry,” he said offhandedly into his coat, as he tried to stop dragging his feet along the road. At that, Jack clapped his hands together and Will almost jumped at the sudden sound. “Yes, which is also why I came to see you,” the agent confessed with meaningful eyes and Will felt cold, and soaked, and tired, as he swallowed at the fire that suddenly burned bright in Jack's dark eyes. He wanted to be left alone, but he had the feeling there were strings coming out of his back that people kept pulling whenever he tried to find his footing. He blinked when Jack took a rolled up file from the inside of his coat. “I have a murder scene I want you to look at,” he said, undisturbed. “Two adults, two children, shards of mirror in their eyes. It's unmistakably the Tooth Fairy's work and I need you to...”, but Will's blood turned cold at the memory of the pictures Jack had showed him of the previous murder scene. Dead faces, mirror eyes, blood on pale skin.

“No,” he interrupted the agent, the word hitching in his dry mouth as he averted his gaze downwards. Jack paused mid sentence. “No?”, the agent repeated, disbelieving, confused, trying hard not to show his displeasure. Will took his clammy hands from his pockets and wrung them together as he looked at Jack from beneath his damp curls. “I can't. Jack, I'm not ready for that. I'm still...” He stuttered, but Jack shook his head as he opened his hands and softened his stern expression. “I'm not asking anything of you other than to try,” he said, assuringly and confident, as if Will had already given his consent. “Just go in, have a look, see what happens. Nothing more, nothing less.” The sentence ended with a period. Done. Will felt his vision blurring around the edges.

“I'm giving you less. I'm sorry Jack,” Will almost choked, watching dark eyebrows rising in response. Jack closed his eyes briefly, regrouping, as he pressed his lips together. “You don't know if you've lost your talent until you try, Will,” the agent spoke, trying for soothing but succeeding in urging. “Maybe it will be a good distraction...” White foam formed around his Omega's sharp teeth as eyes flashed bright in the dark attic. “A good distraction?”, Will nearly cried, shock now coloring his voice as he watched his own eyebrows coming down into his line of vision. The FBI agent quickly nodded his head sideways, bringing nuance to his words with an impatient hand gesture. “I mean to say that maybe going back to work will take your mind off certain...”

Will clacked his tongue within his tightened jaw. “Nothing good can come of this, Jack. I have no room for another serial killer inside my head,” he said, hurrying his step as they crossed the street. The hospital was a flight of stairs away, and Will felt his hand quivering, his lips trembling. “Not anymore.” Jack met his gaze, but Will could only feel his annoyance, his incomprehension, and looked in the opposite direction instead. He looked right into the building, and felt his ears flow over with the wild rush of a dangerous stream. He was so close. “I see,” Jack replied stiffly. “I'm sorry you feel that way.” But Will could barely hear him. He felt so strongly reeled in from the opposite direction. His legs felt like they didn't belong to him anymore, his insides were boiling, and his vision was washed over with one image only. Hannibal, behind the glass. He could still see how his mate had stared at the ceiling for hours on end, how he had paced from left to right, hands clenched at his sides. Inside, the Omega whimpered, flat on his belly and chin to the floor. His strength was quickly fleeting.

Jack slowed his pace, coming to a halt before the steps of the hospital as he turned to face Will. His hand reached back into his pocket, and this time, he held an envelope between his thick fingers. “Would you at least look at these pictures and tell me what you see,” he said, unfolding the paper and reaching in to pull out a series of colorful images that showed flashes of dirty blond hair, cut, pink flesh, bullet holes, hollow sockets. Will felt the blazing heat within him sealed in by merciless ice that crusted upon his skin. There was nothing there but cold blood and open flesh, lifeless skin, purple and blue and rusty red. Everything hurt. Everything hurt. And Will had nothing left within to fight, or protect.

“No. No, I have to go,” he said, his voice strained in his narrow throat as he took a step away from the gore in Jack's hand. “I have to make a visit.” Jack frowned at the unsteadiness Will knew he radiated, as much in flesh as in mind, as his eyes flashed up to the entrance of the hospital towards which Will's body kept swaying.

“You're meeting with Hannibal?”, he asked him, bewildered, and Will swallowed at the plunge he felt inside his stomach at the name. His breath was shallow, his face was wet, his pain was tight like that of blood streaming back into limbs after hours without circulation. “Yes,” he said, lips jerking around the sound and Jack rubbed his own wrist with his thumb as he stared back at him. “That concerns me,” he repeated himself, superciliously and autiritarian, and Will felt a nauseating stab of anger flare when Jack never lowered the hand that offered the pictures. He quickly shook his head, trying to drown the whimpers of the pleading animal inside him. “The contact between us has to be reduced gradually, for medical reasons,” he spoke the words that had once been spoken to him, impressively so around his quivering insides. His open shrug feigned a casual attitude, but Will knew there was no one left to fool.

“I see,” Jack said, his mouth stern but his eyes openly worried when Will made his way to the stone steps of the stairs with feet that dragged rather than walked. “See you around, Jack,” he said, stumbling on his feet as he tried to walk away with confident steps he didn't have the strength for. Jack regarded him, his eyebrows low on his forehead. “Do you need...?”, he started, trying to step closer to Will as he reached out a helping arm, but Will quickly stepped away. “I'm fine,” he said, knowing he was boarding on sounding hysterical when his voice came out too loud and too high. “We'll talk later.” He turned away, taking another step up before Jack appeared beside him, handing over the envelope with the pictures and pushing them between Will's weak fingers. “Here, show these to Hannibal,” he said. “See if he knows something.”

Will gripped the envelope mindlessly in his hand and went, without looking back, going up, up, up until Jack had disappeared from his vision, far behind his back. “Take care, Will. I'll be in touch,” he heard the booming voice behind his back, but never turned to see him leave. He felt stranded in wild water, dragged down by heavy weight, and he was quickly growing so, so tired. When he reached the door, soaked with sweat, pale with exhaustion, he quickly made his way inside and passed through security without exchanging a single word with any of the guards. They eyed him with concern, but no one commented when he took off his coat and showed his clothes soaked as though he had dived into that duck pond. The pictures in the envelope were handed back to him without a question, and Will briefly wondered how many privileges he had indeed been given.

He walked into the hallway and went straight to the staircase that led down into the basement. He was near stumbling, unsteady, his vision swaying like waves of the ocean. Before he could reach the stairs, someone fell in line with his fast, wobbly steps. “Dennis,” Will nodded when the guard touched his shoulder and slowed him down, by u-turning his body in front of the Omega. “Mr. Graham. Good to see you back so soon, Sir,” the guard said, a smile on his face but concern obvious in his eyes at Will's dazed expression. Will tried to step around him, brushing against the strong shoulder that didn't give way as Dennis' hand came to rest on his collarbone. “Mr. Graham, you can't just...”, the guard spoke, looking straight into Will's red-rimmed eyes. Clear blues darted over Will's wet, pasty skin, his twitching muscles, his quivering lips and Dennis breathed sharply through his nose.

“I'll arrange a visit, right away, Sir,” he said, reaching for the walkie-talkie on his belt. “Or do you wish for something else? I could call Alana...” But Will's breath hitched as his knees buckled under his weight. His feet felt numb in his shoes, like he had been sitting on them for too long. “No,” he said between his teeth, pushing the air out with all his might. Dennis didn't ask any more, but instead talked into his walkie talkie, turning away as he mumbled some instructions to restrain Hannibal Lecter. “Walk with me,” he spoke right after, his hand never leaving Will's back, supporting the anemic Omega as he led him down the stairs.

And the walk was familiar, fresh in his memory from only the other day. He knew the corridors, he knew the rows of glass and the leering vermin on the other side. But while the scent of sweat and piss and vomit swept through the isolated space, Will could only smell the expanding trail of fire and snow that beckoned. And he wasn't turning away, or hesitant. His mind had melted to nothing but its core, and there was only one remaining need. Regrets were for later, but his survival counted now.

Before the door was opened, Will already had his cheek pressed against the cold steel and his quivering fingers scratching the surface. Inside, he heard his mate breathing a low roar, and he felt Dennis' hand on his shoulders as he clicked open the lock. “Easy. Stay calm,” he warned Will with a soothing whisper and opened the door.

And inside, Will saw everything.

Hannibal's hands were bound with sturdy cuffs through the glass holes. His back was towards him, but his head was already whipped to the side as his nostrils flared. On the outside, he was still and calm, controlled, but Will could feel the waves of heat pounding off of his tense shoulders. “Hello Will,” he spoke calmly the moment the Omega put a foot over the threshold. The scent, the sound, it was enough to make them both feel light in their limbs and heavy in their core, and before their eyes could even meet, Will could already feel his head rolling loosely on his shoulders from the melting tension in his back. Within the cell were three guards, all holding Hannibal at gunpoint. One was beside Dennis, while the other two were inside the glass prison with the Alpha.

“Hello, Doctor Lecter,” Dennis answered for him, his voice polite, if not a little wavering. He was nervous, standing so close to the criminal, Will knew. Hannibal moved his head to the other side, just enough to catch the eyes of the guard. “Dennis. Thank you for bringing in my Omega,” he spoke pleasantly, and Will tensed when he saw his Alpha's temple painted with dark purple veins. Dennis fingered the gun on his belt. “I will let him into your cell, but I need you to be calm. You will not move until the door is closed and your cuffs have been taken off, do you understand?” The blond guard spoke, as he held on to Will's shoulder. “Calm,” he repeated in Will's direction and the Omega nodded mindlessly without taking his eyes off his mate. “Certainly,” Hannibal said, and Will's stomach fluttered so hard he was happy to have skipped breakfast.

Then, there was a hand on his arm leading him in. With all guns drawn, Will stepped inside the cell and came into the line of vision of his Alpha, chained to the wall he was resting his back against. And fuck, the amber set him alight in an instant. His Omega roared back to life at the nearness and the needles in his bloodstream shriveled at the sight. Will heard himself moan openly at the bliss that filled him, and not once could he find himself to care. Hannibal in turn, growled low in his throat and curled his upper lip.

“Easy,” Dennis warned again as he released Will with a squeeze to his shoulder and backed out of the cell with the other guards as they kept their guns pointed at Hannibal. Will stayed put, even when everyone had moved to the other side of the glass and the door was safely shut. He watched Hannibal with eyes that wouldn't focus as life spread slowly into his dying flesh. Hannibal stayed still, waiting patiently as they clicked the handcuffs from his wrists, and brought his arms back out, holding them to his body. He looked thinner, frailer then ever, and his fiery glow of bronze had turned a pasty white that hid the scars on his skin. He too was a pallet of whites and grays, reds and blues. The heavy door closed, and they were alone. They were as alone as anyone could be with that red dot in the corner of the ceiling pressing down upon them.

Will would have taken a moment to think of Molly, had he found her within whatever was left of him in that moment, but instead he stepped forward, slowly raising out an arm to reach for the one thing that could make it all better. His mate, his Alpha. Hannibal. “Hannibal,” he heard himself break, his voice raw as he took another step closer, bringing up the other arm beside his body. And he was there, like a wrecking ball. Within the second, strong arms came to catch him, hold him, cocoon and shelter him as a warm, solid body pressed entirely to his own. And they both whimpered, they both moaned, they both cried in relief when the ceiling of their mental prison came down and brought back the sun and the warmth and the light. The pain was gone. The beasts purred like kittens.

A searching nose nudged against Will's throat as the Omega rubbed his face against Hannibal's temple and folded his arms tight around his shoulders. Inside him, the splinters of his bones were restored seamlessly, as his skin, once overheated and raw, now sang with a perfect, supple fit. He felt swallowed whole in their embrace and heard a sob coming from his own throat when broad hands rubbed gently along the length of his back. “I have you,” Hannibal rumbled in his ear, the words like liquid love, pouring over the empty, hollow ache in his chest.

Hannibal had all of him.

Chapter Text

Every part of Will Graham bathed in a stream of pure, weightless gold that wrapped around him hot and thick as blood, and sealed into his pores by tight, tangible bliss. He felt freed from his narrow, flesh-made prison, and all the agony that housed inside him dripped down to pool around his feet. Suddenly, he was safe, and kept, and warm, which catered exactly to all of his most primal, quintessential desires. He closed his eyes and almost swayed to the rhythm of life that flooded them in a mixture of heat and breath, scent and noise, as the Omega inside him purred his happiness, eyes shut and ears flat. Hannibal and Will folded together, pressing close and searching closer, inside a world where nothing else was given room to exist. Their hands didn't grab, but needily pushed and pulled the other nearer as neither one of them was willing to let any more space exist between them.

Will nudged his nose under Hannibal's chin, allowing the Omega in him to take over in mindless desire to scent his mate, who in turn tilted his head to give access to the bare skin of his throat. The contact was warm, like cocooning blankets filled with body heat on a chilly winter morning, and Will pressed his face deep into the tender, welcoming skin to smell the fresh air of snow-covered trees and the burned, black wood inside a smoldering campfire. Intoxicating, reviving and destructive.

A low rumble vibrated through both their chests as the beasts inside them rejoiced in their reunion. Hannibal's Alpha nuzzled his head along the Omega's soft fur, as the Omega huffed his nose along the row of sharp fangs behind the Alpha's lips and bumped his head against his mate's pointed ear.

Will's eyes rolled back in his sockets as he became lost in a state of absolute euphoria. He felt like he had finally been sewn back together and smoothened out along the seams after being torn limb from limb from fucking limb. “God,” he sobbed as Hannibal's breath brushed against his ear and he knew for certain that the only reason he was still upright was because he was huddled against strong muscles that caught and corrected his wobbling weight. Will pressed his mouth to the hot skin beneath his mate's ear in a feral need for closeness, and tasted the fiery musk against his open lips. Hannibal quivered against the careful touch and roamed his hands passionately over the dips and creases of Will's clothed back and shoulders, as if it fueled something deeper inside him. Will heard the air rushing inside his mate's lungs as he breathed deeply into his hair, and he brought out his tongue to feel the pulsing artery that pumped wild beneath Hannibal's skin. Flat hands rubbed firmly from Will's lower back to the curve of his hips as the Omega reached further to follow the rhythm of the thrumming blood with an open, searching mouth. A light stubble chafed the tip of his tongue as he grazed Hannibal's jawline and, as if entranced, moved open kisses to the corner of the Alpha's wet, parted lips.

In this moment, Will allowed himself to be dissolved inside his beast, body and spirit, and experienced nothing but striking beauty as his Alpha's breath ghosted against his cheek and large hands ran encouragingly up and down his prominent ribs. The Omega carted his fingers through soft, silk hair on the back of Hannibal's neck before he slid their lips together and opened his blown, veined, ocean eyes. He met the gold and blood of Hannibal's open stare as they stood together, nose sliding against nose, entangled and flushed, breathing each other in so deeply it swirled hot in their core. Bathing in each other's scent as if existing as one.

It wasn't a kiss, there was no pressure behind the touch as both watched the other, felt the other, and simply breathed. Conjoined like this, pure and primal, Will could have wept at what it moved inside of him, if he hadn't already used up all those tears in the previous days. Now, all he wanted to do was smile, and his lips stretched wider against Hannibal's who followed the pull of his lips with his own. The wrinkles around those tightening, gold eyes deepened, and Will felt something above his bellybutton twisting in weakness. It was only after that moment of stillness, that Will's tongue came to taste along his Alpha's lips and Hannibal wrung his hands into Will's shirt, opening his mouth to meet his mate's bold touch.

And, God yes, Will melted into the connection with fluttering eyes, falling and feeling boneless against the strong Alpha's arms as he pressed their mouths together into a true kiss, and shared moans that rolled from one tongue to the other. Hannibal licked gently along Will's dry lower lip and suddenly they slid together, smooth and easy as they pulled softly and tugged gently, coaxing and nudging and shyly begging against the other's skin. Soft, so soft still, that Will's moans turned into hopeless whimpers that made the puffs of hot air rushing from his nose stroke desperately against Hannibal's cheek.

The Alpha's tongue brushed against his lips before slipping fully into the wet heat of his mouth, and greeting him with a gentle, daring stroke against his short fangs. Will moaned deeply into Hannibal's mouth at the pleasure the kiss sparked deep inside his belly, and held on to his Alpha's shoulders to prevent himself from slipping as he met his gentle persuasion by licking wholly against the roof of Hannibal's mouth.

And then it turned wild.

Open mouths pressed together, hard and needy and completely as their tongues found each other, deep and pliant without submission. Their noses pressed against cheeks in a desperate attempt to get even closer and Will's fingers fisted along the sides of Hannibal's jumpsuit with real and primal strength. They both groaned hot against the other as the Alpha grabbed Will fully by the back of his neck and entwined his fingers tightly in his mate's curls to keep him close. Will could feel Hannibal's low growls trembling in the back of his own throat and he cried openly into his mate's mouth, making the vibration rush through both their bodies at once. He couldn't stop moving his fingers against silver hair and hot skin, mostly hidden by that god-awful jumpsuit which obstructed his hands from wandering where they wished to go.

The contact, the relief and the joy, it was... “God.” Will's eyes rolled back in his head when Hannibal's sharp teeth pulled gently at his bottom lip while hot hands slid up over the front of his shirt and burned the skin of his heaving chest through the cotton layers. They grazed his belly, his ribs, his hidden, peaked nipples and the hollow of his throat as Will arched and sagged into the touch with full surrender and unsteady, high-pitched whimpers. Wet lips moved to mouth along Will's cheekbone, his temple, the shell of his ear and the Omega trembled hard as he let his head fall back to give his mate full access to his sensitive neck. “Yes. Please.” He clawed at Hannibal's back with desperate hands and nails as his mate's hungry lips nipped at the skin below his earlobe with a hint of sharp teeth. A wet tongue licked down his throat and Will's eyelids fluttered wild as the fire that already burned deep inside his belly roared and spread down hot into his loins. “God. Oh God.”

That was when it flew into his vision. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Will's eyes opened wide at the sudden, awakening sight before him. It was a hideous pain in the midst of perfect pleasure. It was a bucket of ice inside the steaming bathtub. A rude awakening from a perfect dream. It hit him like the aim of a sniper, as it flashed hot on his retina. In the corner of his eye, high on the ceiling, he could see it. That fucking red dot.

“No. Stop,” Will heard himself moan weakly as he cupped his Alpha's face with both his hands in an attempt to halt his movements. They needed to separate. Something inside him shouted it, muted, like it was coming from behind a thick wall of glass. But the moment Hannibal's blown eyes came into his vision, he instantly plunged forward to lick greedily along his mate's sharp fangs. This was Hannibal, his Alpha, his mate. Everything else faded as he pulled the face in his hands as close as he could and kissed sloppily along the pink, swollen lips that rested against his. He felt the body against him losing tension as hands fell from Will's hair and soft lips stopped moving alongside his. Fuck. Desperate anger rose inside the Omega as he pushed himself tighter against his mate, lifting a leg around his hip while he fisted his hands violently into Hannibal's hair and breathed hot against his mouth. God, fuck, shit, Will hated that loathsome, horrifying red dot. He hated it with all his...

Will sucked the Alpha's lip into his mouth and challengingly bit down with his teeth as his hands slid from the top of Hannibal's head to the side of his ribs, nipping and licking and kissing along the Alpha's slack mouth and jaw. Moments filled with touching and moaning and biting were fueled by all that overpowering need that bubbled inside, before he could allow himself to notice how his Alpha no longer responded, and had refrained from touching him in return, other than the supporting hands on his back. The anger in Will spiked hotter as he tasted blood on his tongue when he pressed a fang into Hannibal's lower lip, probing for a reaction that didn't come. What followed was silence as he slowly deflated, deflated, leaving him gasping with a trembling weakness that overpowered everything else.

“Jesus,” Will panted hard when he finally found the strength to tear himself away. He didn't step back, but looked at Hannibal from a nose distance as he felt steadying hands spreading protectively on his back. Will's breathing was fast and uneven as he watched his Alpha's face before him, skin flushed, lips swollen, hair disheveled. His golden eyes were blown wide and rimmed red and it was a most familiar sight that wrung Will's insides tight. “You asked me to stop,” Hannibal spoke evenly between labored breaths as his finger flexed with poorly hidden tension. Will stared back at him with his hazy, unfocused eyes and swayed on his legs. Hannibal. He was here, with Hannibal. Somehow, the journey of how that came to be was like looking through thick steam in a wet sauna. “I think I'm losing my mind,” Will shakily confessed before he lowered his forehead to the Alpha's shoulder and closed his eyes.

Will's hands gripped tight into the fabric against Hannibal's back and the smile he felt against his temple was one of rueful recognition as the Alpha sighed deep from his belly. “You're very weak,” he said into Will's hair as he kept them both upright with strong, bulging arms. Will dug his nails deep into the pale cotton between his fingers and felt the tremor in the muscles that rested around him. “So are you,” he swallowed against the shoulder that held his head. His Alpha stepped back, folded one arm around Will's body and slipped his hand beneath his armpit. “Come,” he said, before he led them to the single bed by the wall, supporting almost all of the Omega's weight. He lowered his mate to be seated on the mattress with his back against the wall, and Will felt himself sagging into the hard brick that rested against his spine. Hannibal followed beside him, dipping the mattress with his weight, and Will was wrapped into a two-arm embrace as his legs were turned sideways to bend over Hannibal's. One gentle hand pressed to Will's temple, until his nose came to rest in the hollow of his mate's collarbone.

And then there was silence. Will melted against the curve of Hannibal's shoulder as the Alpha stroked one lazy hand through Will's unruly mop of curls. It was healing him from the deepest dark of his rotting roots and the heavy weakness in his bones stirred under the gentle caress. “Hannibal...”, Will murmured weakly against his Alpha's skin that he was currently wetting with his open lips. “Let me hold you,” came the soft rumble of his mate against his ear, and Will closed his eyes, allowing himself to be defeated and accepting Hannibal's effort to cure him from the black pain that had worn him like a tight-fitting suit. Only yesterday, Will had refused him this very request. Now, he nudged his nose under his mate's earlobe and drifted into slumber to the beat of Hannibal's slowing heart.

**

When Will's body stirred back to life and his eyelids fluttered against the artificial light from the ceiling, he found himself inside that same, strong embrace made of Alpha arms. He hadn't moved his head from Hannibal's shoulder, and the collar of the prison jumpsuit felt soggy against his open mouth. “Ugh,” he shifted himself half-heartedly from the damp spot on the fabric as he brought a hand up to wipe at the drool on his lips. The air around them was filled with a joint rumble, erupting from within them both, as their lungs in- and deflated in a rhythm that fitted their chests together like the lazy waves of a gentle ocean. Fingers stroked lightly through his hair as he blinked and twisted his shoulders inside the protective hold on him.

“Ohh,” he moaned when his mind started to catch up with his senses and the white prison walls slowly became less blurry around him. He tried to lift his head as his fingers hooked into the fabric that covered Hannibal's upper arms, and pulled back a face that felt entirely flattened from hair to skin to skull, where he had been pressed into a sharp, strong collarbone. And he remembered without a moment's hesitation where he was and how he had gotten there. Nothing about the chiming bells in his bloodstream and the sunlight in the attic of his mind could ever let him forget. “Hannibal,” he croaked sleepily into his Alpha's neck and two hands found his face and hair with warm, stroking fingers. “Shh,” soft lips brushed against his ear.”You've only slept a short hour,” Hannibal's voice caressed him as those gentle hands led Will's head to settle back against the Alpha's rumbling chest.

He was with Hannibal. Will's eyes flickered up and watched those familiar lips, visible over the curve of his chin. He saw the straight nose with the even nostrils. He saw the sharp angle of the cheekbone and the small wrinkles that settled kindly into the pale skin. He was so close, so real and warm. He was that reaching hand when your last fingers loosen their grip on the edge of a steep, steep cliff. And despite the gray exhaustion on his complexion, the purple veins beneath his cheeks, the dull skin on his cracked lips and the purple glow around his gums, Will could see a real shimmer of burning life inside his mate. A spark that danced inside him just the same, so near his Alpha mate.

“An hour,” he murmured, pushing himself back up against Hannibal's guiding touch to keep him close, and resting his head back on his own shoulders as he came eye to eye with the Alpha. That liquid amber shone bright inside the sunken sockets and Will knew he could feel the quiver that vibrated beneath his skin. “Have you been sleeping properly?”, Hannibal asked him, his voice deeper with exhaustion as he eyed his mate critically and with open concern. He, too, must have seen the way his mate was slowly perishing. Will moved his eyes to the neat, empty prison and felt a small pang of deep familiarity. They had shared everything here. They had shared every part of themselves, wholly and completely. In abandon. On this very bed, even. Will's eyes widened as he shifted on the squeaking mattress and felt his ears glow with rising heat. “I'm fine,” he mumbled, pressing a thumb between his lips and biting down on whatever was left of the tortured nail.

Will could feel hot breath against his cheek when his Alpha leaned closer, but didn't turn his head to meet him. “It hurts you,” Hannibal growled hot against his ear and Will inhaled sharp and deep with his eyes closed tight, and his trembling fingers digging into the knees of his jeans. Fuck, he was weak. He was completely defenseless, wanting nothing more than to bury himself against Hannibal without a single layer between them, and simply forget the rest of the world even existed. “It hurts,” he admitted as curls fell before his eyes and his shoulders hunched forward.

“Does this help?”, Hannibal asked him, and let one hand run over Will's hot forehead with a most gentle, patient pressure. Fingers stroked where skin met hair as one arm curled back around Will's fragile frame. “This helps,” Will sighed, before allowing himself to lean into his Alpha's neck, helpless against the purest need that clawed its way up inside him faster and louder than ever before. Safe. Warm. Protected. He inhaled the darkness of their scents, entangled and dancing around them, and lost all power to stop himself from wanting and having this. “Don't let go,” he whispered into the deep musk of his Alpha's neck and felt his breath hitch against the skin as Hannibal brought up a hand and wrapped his fingers against the Omega's bare throat. It was a protective, primal touch, Will understood, to shield his weak vitals from the world.

“No,” Hannibal agreed softly between them and rubbed the tips of his fingers along the underside of Will's sharp jawline. If he had possessed any less pride, the Omega certainly would have purred into the touch. They sat in silence, breathing and touching slowly as Will closed his eyes and felt himself slipping in and out of consciousness again. It wasn't before long however, that he heard Hannibal inhale sharply into his ear, and felt an intrigued nose poking against the side of his head. “Don't,” he moaned and pulled back from the embrace with a miserable grimace on his face. “I stink.” He just realized that days upon days without a shower and layers upon layers of old sweat must have been torturing Hannibal's delicate senses from the moment Will had stepped into the cell. His cheeks flushed at the thought, with tight, sour embarrassment.

Hannibal looked at him as a smile pulled along his lips, and he rose steady eyebrows at his mate while long fingers raked through Will's greasy, curly hair. “The only stench I smell on you belongs to Jack Crawford,” he said with admirable confidence, and Will forced himself not to throw his head back into the massaging fingertips on his skull. Instead, he rose his own eyebrows at the Alpha, pursing his lips. “Well spotted,” he said, with what he hoped was a small, unimpressed nod. One hand was still resting on Hannibal's waist, and he couldn't allow himself to move away further.

Hannibal's hands came to rest alongside his temples as he tried to burn that golden stare deep into Will. “Is he what's troubling you?”, he asked, a small twitch to his upper lip, and Will suddenly had a strong vision of Hannibal cutting Jack Crawford's throat in the broad daylight of the park. Fingers stroked lightly over his ears and Will sighed with a sour smile around his parted lips. “There is an abundance of things troubling me,” he said, as he flashed his eyes to the red dot in the corner. That fucking camera.

Hannibal dropped his hands down to collect Will's fingers between his own. “Yes,” he said. “Some things do not change.” Will was reminded of how they had touched just like this, only yesterday, and remembered how the scent had lingered in the deep groves of his skin. He looked back into Hannibal's eyes and wished he could kiss him again. Instead, he groaned his frustration out loud and dropped his head in his neck. “Someone broke into my motel room yesterday,” he heard himself confessing and almost rolled his eyes at the shameless need to share his worries with the Alpha. He should have kept him at arms-length instead of reeling him in closer, closer than anyone else. Molly didn't know, he realized. He never told her. “Nothing's missing,” he continued miserably. Hannibal didn't respond immediately, but Will felt his muscles tense and his fingers tighten on his hand. “That is most interesting,” the Alpha said when he finally did speak and Will sighed hot against his mate's skin.

Will closed his eyes and sagged further into the inviting warmth of his mate. Hannibal's fingers jerked once, but there was nothing but silence as they sat together, healing, surviving. “Theories?”, Will finally asked, before he could fall back into his previous slumber. Hannibal rubbed his thumbs into Will's palms and grazed the length of his Omega's upper legs with his nails. “Of course,” he said against Will's cheek and brushed his lips gently to the bone underneath. “But?”, Will asked bluntly as he met Hannibal's soft stare. Fingers curled around his jaw and Will allowed the weight of his head to rest against the supporting touch.

Hannibal smiled softly. “Nothing that requires immediate action or attention,” he answered, and stroked a hand through Will's hair when it threatened to fall back before his eyes. Will frowned at the words but before he could protest, fingers smoothened over the worry that showed on his forehead. “What you need is sleep,” the Alpha lectured. “Proper food.” Will thought about his pepperoni pizza. “And this.” Hannibal's arm slid tighter around him, bringing Will close to his chest as he pushed his nose into the Omega's hair. “Nothing else should concern you.”

Will heard his Alpha's steady heartbeat against his ear and sighed pitifully. “Not everyone agrees with you,” he said, trying to ignore the red dot in the corner of his eye. He tried not to think about the image they created on that screen. He tried to push away that haunting voice that reminded him just what he was doing, and undoing, by allowing this to happen. By making it happen. “Jack Crawford came to see you,” Hannibal said in answer to his words and Will sat up again to reach into the pocket of his coat. “He was trying to recruit me for a case,” he said, fishing the envelope with crime scene photos from his inner pocket and frisbee-ing them the short distance to Hannibal.

The Alpha let his eyes run over the colorful pictures in his hands, watching the dead faces, the bloodied walls, the pink, ripped nightshirt around the woman's shoulder. “He's been pushing these on me,” Will said with distaste, as he watched his mate flip through the stack with careful fingers. The empty sockets, the bloody shards of mirror, the bite marks on pale flesh. “There have been numerous families murdered just like this.” Hannibal arranged the pictures in a neat pile before he pushed them back into the open envelope. “Is this why you came to Baltimore?”, he asked, a tilt of his head. “To profile Jack's killer?” Will pursed his lips at the raging memory of needing to go, go, go to the Baltimore hospital and see the Alpha for which his Omega had thrashed manically inside him. He didn't answer, but rose both eyebrows at once as he saw the twitch at Hannibal's lips. Jack Crawford had been the perfect excuse, but Hannibal had been the only reason.

“Jack wants you,” Will said as he tore his eyes away from the growing heat in the Alpha's glowing eyes. “I'm just the best he can get.” He grabbed the envelope that now lay abandoned on the mattress and pulled it towards him as Hannibal pushed his fingers together against his lips. “I disagree,” he said. “You would already have a very clear vision of this killer, if you hadn't been otherwise engaged.” Will released the envelope and realized their hands were no longer touching. It instantly felt like something was missing, a wanting flame in his belly, but to reach out now would feel vulnerable, a naked display of desire. “Otherwise engaged,” he mumbled under his breath, eyeing his mate as his cheeks tinged pink. He hid the smile that threatened to pull at his lips and looked up from beneath his wild hair.

Again, the fire in Hannibal's eyes burned hot and high and Will quickly bit down on the inside of his cheek before the luring need for closeness would overtake him. He cleared his throat and scratched absently at the corner of the envelope with his fingernail. “They call this guy the Tooth Fairy,” he said, worrying his bottom lip. “Because of the odd bite marks.” His breath hitched when a hand slid up his calf and came to rest above his knee, as he rose his eyes up to see where warm fingers massaged circles into his jeans, and the weak flesh underneath.

“He dislikes that title,” Hannibal said, as his free hand ran up Will's upper arm and slid to the beginning of his long, bared neck. The skin there was sensitive, and Will remembered soft lips instead of fingers on the pale flesh. “I imagine he...” Will started, fingering the sheets on the mattress, right before he considered Hannibal's words. Around the haze of touch and want that swam behind his vision, and the Omega that rubbed his back contently against the wooden floor with all his paws into the air, the meaning sank in. “You know him?”

He looked back at Hannibal with sharpening eyes and felt fingers tightening on his thigh as a playful spark danced across his Alpha's features. A joke Will wasn't in on, and therefore one he didn't like. “He has contacted me,” Hannibal said honestly, but his voice took a dip for the sake of the microphones. Instead, he leaned closer to Will's ear and spoke deeply into the Omega's skin. “He is a great admirer of my work.” Will shivered into the rumbling words against the shell of his ear and ground his teeth inside his mouth when slick started to leak inside his boxers. “For God's sake,” he hissed against Hannibal's cheek, silently inhaling against his mate's skin as his hands twitched not to reach out.

It hurt to pull back, but pain was something he had grown accustomed to. It was unfortunate, however, that pain, when removed, hurt twice as much when it came creeping back inside the blissful bones. “So, what does he want from you?”, he asked the Alpha with a sharp edge of irritation. They didn't have time for this. This shouldn't be important. Hannibal covered the distance between them, rubbing a hand over the back of Will's neck as he moved his hips closer underneath Will's legs. More slick, more heat, more musk filled the air around them, but Will tried not to show how it hit home inside his head. He was not, after all, in a state of excusable heat.

“He's looking for a partnership, a means for his transformation,” Hannibal spoke like silk as he pulled his fingers tighter around the nap of Will's neck. “Or perhaps the appropriate term would be, leadership.” A touch rose higher up Will's thigh as the words were spoken so near his face he could taste the warmth of Hannibal's skin on his tongue. “Leadership?”, he repeated, blinking at his mate with squinted eyes that tried to resist responding to the kneading touch on his leg, or the playing fingers along the soft, weak spot on the back of his skull. Hannibal inhaled sharply and Will allowed his fingers to slide back to the front of the Alpha's jumpsuit to fist into the material, like a subconscious gesture they both knew it was not. “He is a wandering lamb,” Hannibal practically purred against Will's cheek as he leaned forward into his mate's touch. “Longing to be herded.” The nose of his Alpha slid along his, and Will quickly pulled back at the threat of a kiss. He wanted that touch. He wanted that closeness so deep, there would be nothing left of him by the end of it, devoured in completion... “By the big, bad wolf?”, he asked, bitterness on his tongue as his hand squeezed into the strong bone of Hannibal's hip. Hannibal smiled at that, showing his fangs, sharp and bare. “Exactly that.”

It was an impulse, unexplainable to him in hindsight, but Will leaned forward to mush their lips together in a kiss that stole away that grin and replaced it with a slack mouth that belonged to him, and him alone. Because there was something there, in that wicked smile, that Will didn't understand. And in that moment, nothing inside Hannibal that wasn't in tune with the Omega, was allowed to exist. The moment was hard but brief, and Will pulled away as quick as he had started. His eyes opened a second too late to be convincingly unaffected. “That doesn't explain these,” he said, rather breathlessly, as he gestured shakily to the pictures in the envelope.

Hannibal's lips were pink and parted and so inviting, as he leaned his head against the back wall and ran greedy eyes over Will, felt by the Omega to the depth of his wobbling core. “He is a shy boy,” Hannibal smiled fondly, and Will felt his stomach tightening at the sight. “But he knew just what would attract my attention.” Will hissed when the fingers on his neck and thigh tightened, and felt a sack of ice rip inside his belly. “This is all for you?”, he asked, his throat choking out the words as he swallowed against the rising chaos that started to stir within. Inside the attic, his Omega poked up his ears and growled, showing bloody, pink gums around glistening fangs.

Hannibal did not nod, cocked his head to the side. “This,” he said, gesturing offhandedly towards the dozen photographs of cruel, cold, family murder, “- is the ritual that feeds the process of his becoming.” Will's jaw tightened visibly at the words. His becoming. It had been Will once, who was to become. He hadn't allowed himself to get where Hannibal had desired him to be, and now, here was he. The Tooth Fairy. Hannibal didn't smile, or sigh or shrug. He only stared at Will and rubbed his touch into his flesh as he said: “He is to become the Great Red Dragon.”

Fuck. And there it was. The Great, Red, Dragon. His twitchy, pale stalker from the park. Will closed his eyes briefly and swallowed again as his Adam's apple bobbed up and down against the inside of his skin. He watched his arms and saw the goosebumps on his flesh. “And the Dragon needs something more to complete his transformation,” he said, rising his eyes to meet Hannibal in a straight stare that bore deep into the gold that shone challengingly back at him.

Will tried not to betray the havoc that was whirling inside as his Omega started to pace back and forth with a predatory growl and his insides soaked in shark infested ice water. “Something you can give him,” he said and watched Hannibal's lips twitching in response. The stroking fingers only rubbed deeper against his skin and Will heard a low groan rise from his throat. Hannibal tilted his chin before he answered. “He needs to bond with a strong Alpha.”

He remembered the man from the park well. How strange yet familiar his presence had been. “He's an Omega,” he realized. “He's a male Omega.” Hannibal watched him for a quiet moment as he brought a hand back to Will's knee. “Yes,” The Alpha said. Will wetted his dry lips with his tongue. “And he needs to bond with you,” he said, hearing his own words echoing back from the sudden hollowness inside him.

“Yes.”

Chapter Text

Will tensed his leg beneath Hannibal's touch, but couldn't bring himself to move away from the warm, lingering fingers on his skin. Instead, he placed his own hands behind him on the mattress and leaned his body back to give Hannibal a long, seizing stare. “Are you enjoying this?”, he asked, hoping to sound void of emotions as he referred to Hannibal's previous answer. Two male Omega's, an exceptional occurrence, both within the metaphorical grasp of a notoriously powerful, unbonded Alpha. One of them unwilling to bond, but a true Per mutua nexis match. The other very willing indeed, and as Will understood it, with very similar ideas of what was enjoyable recreation. Hannibal's senses as well as his well-groomed ego surely had been in overdrive since the moment he had received that phone call.

“I enjoy witnessing the process of his becoming,” Hannibal answered pleasantly as he squinted his eyes like a lion stretched out in the African sun, and he pushed one leg of Will's jeans up to his knee to stroke along the pale calf that appeared from underneath. Will shivered visibly, and knew Hannibal would undoubtedly feel the tremor beneath his skin. It took a deep breath for the Omega to find his voice again as he leaned back heavier on his supporting arms, tilting up his chin. “Of course,” he said, more unsteady than he had hoped as a whole hand stroked from his ankle to the inside of his knee. His legs would be buckling in no time if those fingers kept brushing against the sensitive skin right on the inside of his tendon.

“I've met him,” he quickly confessed when his knee betrayed him with a desperate twitch into the Alpha's touch, and he spread his fingers on the mattress to create a steadier grip. Hannibal's hand traveled down to where the elastic of Will's sock pushed snugly into his skin and allowed his fingers to slip beneath the stretching band. Will inhaled sharply when two fingers brushed against the inside of his bare ankle. “He came to me in the park,” he added breathily, and Hannibal's eyes met him, brief but hard, as nails scraped over the heel of Will's twitching foot. A crack in the veil. His Alpha was surprised.

“Well...”, Hannibal spoke evenly as fingertips soothed the traces of his nails. “I must admit, I never had the pleasure of meeting him face to face.” Gold eyes danced with ocean blue, curiously poking and provoking his Omega as his lips twitched around the corners. Fingers pulled at Will's sock to work it off his foot, and the Omega felt the true spark of arousal deep within his belly as he squirmed down against the mattress. Hannibal could smell the rising scent of slick that was forming on the rim of his entrance, Will was certain, but the Alpha only moved his hands to the other socked foot, and gave it the same, attentive treatment. “There is no pleasure to be had, there,” Will fired sharply from between clenched teeth, knowing how much of himself he was baring with those words, his scent, the tension visible in his posture, but he only rolled his head back at the punishing squeeze in his Achilles heel.

“He wanted me to know him,” Will said, with both his feet now bare in Hannibal's lap. “For me to know he is there.” And Hannibal hummed, caught his eye in silent agreement, and brought his attention back to Will's wriggling toes in his hands. The Omega braced himself for some unbearably oversensitive squirming from the sensations of soft fingertips against his extremely responsive flesh. He never had liked having his feet touched, as the skin of his sole was ticklish to the point of painful. But now, as those fingers started a deep, circling, massage against the tissue of his heel, he could only try to bite back a moan of surprising pleasure that rose high enough to feel it in the root of his teeth. What else could he have expected other than that Hannibal could touch him wherever, in a way that weakened him from toe to core, to the tip of his warm, glowing ears?

“So,” Will said, gathering himself back on his bones as Hannibal kneaded both his fingers over his bared skin. “This is for you.” He nodded his head back to the envelope on the mattress filled with the families, the heaps of mutilated corpses. He then tried to purse his lips in a display of his distaste, but failed miserably when his mouth went slack as Hannibal found that weak spot between the band of tissue on the cushy part below the joints. Will chuckled openly at his own defeat when Hannibal didn't speak, but circled his fingers below his toes with a touch that sung worship Will could feel hot in his groin. His lips curled around his teeth, hiding a deep grunt that roared in his belly as he lifted his head back up to look at his mate. He was watching him, eyes shimmering in the light and even a spot of color on his pale cheeks as he stared at his Omega in a challenging silence, honoring him with his touch. Will pressed his lips together when a flash of emotion, colored a nasty, toxic green, stirred inside his mind. “His becoming, his ritual murders, it's a courtship.”

Hannibal's lips stretched as he rolled the palm of his hands against the balls of Will's feet. “In a way,” he said patiently as his eyes shone bright behind the narrowed lids, watching his own fingers cup the back of the Omega's heels. “It's an offering,” he then continued. “To both the Dragon and myself.” Will struggled with his breathing when those hands grabbed hold of the underside of his heel, before they traveled back up to his calves. “Corpses instead of flowers,” he said, squeezing his eyes as he watched his mate flash a fang bare behind his neutral exterior. There was mirth behind the careful gold. “He certainly seems to comprehend my interests,” Hannibal spoke, attentive to his words. His fingers, however, slid back to the inside of Will's knees, just beneath the fabric of his jeans and Will's groin stirred as a flush spread from his chest to his hair. “Yes,” he breathed. “Because they are his interests.” He was flustered but direct, and Hannibal challenged him with a small smile around pink lips. Will knew his own features distorted in both pleasure and discontent as he lost himself in half a grimace. “Quite a match.”

Hannibal slid his hands against the back of Will's upper legs where his jeans were still loose enough to give the Alpha's fingers room as he stared back at Will with an adoring acquisitiveness. There was a quickly growing fire that simmered inside the black of his widened pupil as fingers traveled to the back of the Omega's thighs, and Will inhaled sharply past his bared teeth. “You have a willing, like-minded Omega at your disposal,” he said, making a display of sounding conversational, amused, but he knew his eyes were like steel, both in color and hardness. Hannibal's eyes remained soft, liquid like honey, a soft purr still present inside his chest. “So it appears,” he spoke, sharper than his lazy appearance would have him look. It was a game.

“And now you're curious to see how this unfolds,” Will said with a sly smile, and wished dearly that he could feel the indifference he was poorly feigning. It would be so much easier if none of this mattered. That his decision to leave, made in spite of whatever would happen to Hannibal, whatever would happen to the other Omega, separate or together, moot. But he wasn't big enough a liar to make himself believe that. Not when every little inch of him spat fire at the thought, too strong to rationalize away, or stop, or fight. “Not at all,” Hannibal said matter-of-factly. “I am simply curious to see how this will end for him.” Fingers brushed the back of Will's upper thighs and more slick slid from his insides to wet the outer rim of his hole. He was already so sensitive, with nothing but fingertips against his legs, and it was outrageously maddening. “Or me,” Will countered, squinting darkened eyes down his nose at the Alpha, while simultaneously growing hard inside his underwear. Fuck.

He knew the cold stare he was trying to exhude was ruined by the smell of arousal and the pink flush on his cheekbones, but Hannibal was careful not to show if any of this distracted him from the conversation at hand, as he blinked steadily at the accusation. “Not at all,” he said, nails tracing against the inside of an upper leg, and Will's nose twitched as he bent his knee upwards and limiting the room Hannibal's fingers had inside his jeans. “He knows about us,” the Omega bit. “If he wants you as his mate, he will come after me.” He was quickly distracted when Hannibal tried to reach his thighs with light, circling strokes and his insides clenched needily around the steady drip of slick.

“There is no honor or victory gained from slaughtering another Omega,” Hannibal spoke quickly as Will watched his nostrils flare, while a new darkness opened up within the fire of his unbreakable gaze. And Will looked back, knowing how his own eyes were glazed over, showing both desire and desperation, and the deep, dark sense of disturbance. Hannibal's pupils widened with the mingling scents of their arousal, but his touch remained steady and strong on Will's warm skin. “The only real triumph is to win the Alpha's interest and affection, the consent to bond, over a higher matched Omega.”

Will huffed, pushing out his upper lip with his lower one. “With this?”, he asked, tilting his head back to the envelope, as Hannibal moved his hands back from knees to calves to ankles and up, with broad, warm strokes. “For instance,” he said, and the dark fire flared in gold with playful licks around the pupil. Will gave a short nod, lips between his teeth as he again leaned his weight back on his arms. “Is that a possibility?”, he inquired, with his eyes moving upwards to draw patterns on the ceiling as Hannibal's hands squeezed a little firmer around the muscles of his calves. “For an Omega to win over an unbonded Alpha with a higher matched mate?”, Hannibal repeated, and Will reluctantly lowered his gaze back to the dancing lights of shimmering gold eyes, as his own face grew stiff around his lips, his jaw clenched tight.

Hannibal's eyebrows rose once, but purposefully. “It is a rare occurrence, but...”, he spoke thoughtfully and Will felt his lips curl up with a flare of feral agitation. “-But not impossible. Yeah, I get that a lot lately,” he sneered openly, before breathing deeply and lowering his head to look down his chest. God, what was he even doing? He had no right to have an opinion on the matter, if he himself chose to leave him behind. It meant nothing. But instead, the idea poked holes into him like a scolding hot sword that slashed into him left and right. Will closed his eyes and bit on the inside of his cheek. Hannibal wasn't his. He chose that. That didn't make it a good idea for the Alpha to team up with Mr. Another Serial Killer, but it also didn't give him the right to feel... to feel like someone was stealing his life.

Hannibal looked at him, the amber growing soft like dough and reflective like bright sun rays on oil as his hands slid carefully off Will's legs, turning his body sideways. The Omega pulled his knees back to himself when his mate moved closer on the bed, until he came to sit directly beside him, eyes on eyes, sliding soft, cupping hands around Will's scruffy jaw as his lips curved into a barely-there, real hint of a smile. The contact was so close, so intense, so real in its emotion that Will felt his lips quiver and his belly burn before Hannibal even spoke.

“Will, I was created for you alone,” he said, the fire around his pupils so wild and warm Will closed his eyes at the weakness it woke within him. His forehead came to rest against Hannibal, as thumbs stroked over his cheeks. “Anyone else would be blasphemy.” Will smiled wide into the touch, fighting against the sudden tears that pressed from beneath his lids, and exhaled sharply between their noses. “You are blasphemy, in the flesh,” he sighed, pressed head to head as Hannibal stroked fingers down his jaw, his throat, and back behind his ears. He felt Hannibal smile wider as thumbs came under his eyes to gather the starts of moisture spilling on his cheeks.“Nothing has ever been this holy,” the Alpha whispered and Will swallowed against his dry throat before he slid their noses together until lips touched into a soft kiss that was only there for tasting, closeness, showing both his desires and regrets.

They pulled back after nothing more than a press of mouths, and Will opened his eyes to look at his mate with a pain he knew screamed from all the lines of his face. “But, you know I can't just...”he struggled and something sharp sliced through the flames in Hannibal's eyes. Something of Will's pain lingered there, and stayed. “I either live with you, or die in solitude,” he heard the Alpha speak with nothing that gave doubt to the sincerity of his words, but Will choked a chuckle, and huffed out a breath. “Oh, those operatics,” he spoke, wiping one side of his hand over his cheeks as Hannibal's expression stayed unchanged, a gentle pool that hid dark, cold depths underneath.

Will pulled back from the touch, collecting himself with a loud inhale as he leaned back, and placed his hands over his knees. “If that's true, then why encourage him?” he asked, voice fragile, but his eyes unwavering as he looked at his Alpha. Hannibal blinked once, his posture stoic as only he ever could. “I've done no such thing,” he said, countering, and Will rose his eyebrows. “You enjoy the attention,” he accused with a pointed stare and Hannibal nodded his head to the side. “Who would not?”, he spoke, rather airily before he narrowed his eyes in satisfaction. “I am simply intrigued by his colorful mind.” His eyebrows rose once as if to challenge Will, but subtle enough never to be able to be accused of such a thing. Will ran his tongue over the inside of his cheek as he sighed, feeling hot and cold swirl but not mingle inside his belly.

“Wasn't that the foundation of our friendship, once?”, he questioned his mate in a similar manner, trying to feign a mild disinterest. Hannibal's tongue wetted his own lips as he tilted his head back to look down his nose. “Merely a lick on the surface,” he said, mirth on his tongue and Will shook his head as he tried to hide the pull of a smile on his mouth. He crossed his ankles and brought his legs to his body as he bit down on his lips, and brushed a loose curl off his forehead. He was contentiously trying to close himself to more contact, even if all he wished to do was make Hannibal smile his teeth bare, kiss his lips open, slide his hands inside that jumpsuit. In this moment, he wanted nothing but to stay. Stay until whenever.

Instead, he pushed his nails into his knees and cleared his throat with a quiet scrape of muscles. “I'm not sure I believe that honor is high up on your new Omega's list,” he said, willing away the unhappy fluster on his cheeks that came with the unwanted, internal confessions. Hannibal's eyes darkened, his shoulders straightened, a flash of beast beneath the man. “It is on mine,” he said, a drop in his voice. “He is well aware.” But Will shook his head, a grimace on his face as he flashed sharp eyes to the Alpha. “I don't trust him to leave me out of this,” he tried to bite, but felt his shoulders sag when Hannibal curled his fingers on top of his against his knees. “You fear for your safety?”, the Alpha asked, soft but inescapably direct as he folded his hands around Will's and squeezed, whole and safe. Will wished he was stronger, but his neck already loosened and his head tilted back as he closed his eyes and shrugged.

“Someone should,” he mumbled, succeeding in sounding offhanded, but failing to avoid the golden eyes that captured him so dangerously complete. Hannibal must have seen the weakness caused by his own touch, but always looked beyond, deeper into his skin, his flesh, the depths of his eyes. Will knew he looked at his Omega and saw the high wall of stubborn, fiery strength that Will knew had always been there, both too strong and too weak to be allowed to break down. “So arrest him,” Hannibal said, testing him with those glittering eyes and the warm, powerful grip on Will's hands and knees. And God, Fuck, if there was anything he would want to do right now, Will would take those hands in his and squeeze them until he could feel bones crack under his grip, before he would open that jumpsuit until he could fuck himself right and deep on the Alpha's cock, already spreading its scent from behind the cotton prison. Will breathed deep, and lowered his eyes to his knees. It was a rather quick escalation of actions and thoughts, he realized, and the Omega blinked rapidly as he pushed his legs closer together.

“Is that what you want?”, he croaked, shaking his mind clear from loose, floating fantasies as he forced himself to focus on the conversation at hand. Hannibal's fang grazed the skin of his own lower lips as he lowered his eyes down the Omega's neck, his chest, in between those clenched knees, before he found his own reply. “I'm merely interested in what you want,” he spoke evenly and Will sucked the sultry air between them into his lungs as he turned his head to the side. “I'm not a policeman,” he spoke around tight lips. Hannibal's eyes traveled back up as his hands ran down to grip around his mate's ankles. The touch could have felt controlling. Instead, Will was silently begging for him not to let go, while simultaneously cursing himself for thinking it. “You have the means,” Hannibal countered, with only a small twitch of an eyebrow that shafted against Will's insides like sandpaper on wood.

He was trying to rub sticks and start a fire, and Will took that challenge with squinting eyes. “Do you have his name, his address?”, he asked, raising his eyebrows and shaking his head as he watched his Alpha tilt his chin, warming every inch of him with those golden, claiming eyes. “That sort of information would be dangerous to share over a prison phone, don't you agree?”, he asked almost pleasantly, and pressed those pink lips together into a distracting purse of moist skin. Will breathed deeply from the nose at the glint that danced hot in the oily, amber liquid, and quickly turned himself on the bed to lift himself from the mattress to his feet. He stepped away, two steps, before he stopped. Two was enough to prove he was capable. More would surely hurt.

“I want nothing to do with any of this,” he said heatedly, pushing his hands in the pockets of his jeans as Hannibal sat up and moved himself to the edge of the bed. And he meant it this time, all the way through. This police work, it was piling on him, like it always had, but he no longer had the strength, the mind or the conviction to bear it. It was behind him, far and for good. “Families are dying,” Hannibal spoke behind him and Will clenched his teeth, his hands, his bare toes on the floor. A poor imitation of Jack Crawford, he now was, as his long lost trigger words became part of Hannibal's game, just to see what they would do today. Oh yes. Those pictures in the envelope, those families, they had suffered and died, innocent and young. It was a horror and a loss. It was a true waste of life and a reason for grief. “Does that reach not as deep as it used to?”, Hannibal probed, knowingly, and triumphant, that indeed it did not.

Will let his chest expand with a deep breath that never reached his belly, but lingered no further than his ribs. It was true. This case, the pictures, the pain and blood and murder, they were not as painful or as close as he remembered. They were not his anymore, taking over inside his body and mind as though they were those of relatives, friends, himself. They were strangers, far away, as the Omega in him kept whatever lingered outside his pack at bay. Not ours. Not our family. Will closed his eyes and smiled bitterly, feeling both the hurt and the relief at being freed from the intensity of his own, empathetic brain. “There is nothing left in me to give.”

Hannibal sat in silence, but Will felt him stare a hole in the back of his head as he slowly turned towards his Alpha. He was there on the bed, strong legs off the side, socked feet to the floor, watching him with a spark of life that made Will's insides dance, despite all else, in endless celebration, awakening pleasure, blooming hope, every time he looked at him. “I am not getting sucked back into that world,” Will said, swallowing his wavering determination. “Nor yours.” He shifted his eyes, first in unease, but was then quickly gripped by the way that gray jumpsuit clung to Hannibal's hips, thighs, arms, that broad chest. “It's done.”

He was beautiful. A lion. A godlike, demonic creature that deserved nothing but worship, but settled instead for Will's crumbs with the purr of a spoiled kitten. The Omega turned back around when the need and the want and the flooding affection he always felt overtook everything else when he looked at the man that had murdered him, killed his daughter, slaughtered his friend, ruined his mind, betrayed his trust. He was everything, still, and he destroyed him so carefully that Will could easily end up a willing pile of ashes in the palm of Hannibal's hand, Blackbeard's bride, or even just as Will Graham, Hannibal Lecter's bonded mate. Will pressed his hands to his eyes and swallowed back any sound that pushed up in his throat. He couldn't willingly choose it anymore. That chance had come and gone, long before he had decided to join the world and play the game.

“I'm going home soon, anyway,” he said, choking on the words, but steadying his back as he stared at the blank wall ahead of him. The mattress creaked, weight was lifted, and hands came to rest upon his upper arms as a warm body moved in from behind. “Will,” lips whispered against the shell of his ear in a low, hot brush of air, and the Omega's head rolled back on the shoulder behind him, already so weak, eyes behind fluttering lids. “There are things you do not yet understand. But you will.” Soothing words flowed against him and Will wanted them to be true. He wished to say yes, but whimpered instead. “I can't stay here.”

Hannibal's arms came around his belly, but Will turned himself in the embrace, desperate eyes on his Alpha. “The longer I stay, the harder it will be to leave.” He buried his nose into the Alpha's neck and inhaled the calming, glorious scent he found against the skin, but Hannibal pulled back and pushed them nose to nose as he held his face in his broad hands. “Look at me,” he said, not a demand, but Will's eyes followed it as one as Hannibal held his eyes with a deep stare, thick and warm like syrup. His face was open, vulnerable, a snake pit without the veil, but with a warm, deep fire that was unmistakably love. “Do you not realize by now how hard it will be without each other near?”, he asked, rubbing a thumb over Will's lower lip as he openly showed his own pain on the sharp, delicate features.

Fingers brushed his eyelids, his cheekbones, the bridge of his nose and the line of his hair. “We have both suffered enough, don't you agree?”, Hannibal whispered, before he leaned closer to place one, soft kiss to Will's open lips, an offering of peace amidst the war inside of Will. “Let us have what we deserve,” the Alpha said, his voice a haven in the darkness of the ocean. “It is why we were created.” Another kiss pulled at Will's lips, soft, lingering, a taste of calm and quiet, yet mindless desire he could only follow after when the moist mouth tried to pull back. Will's tongue licked along the seam in a desperate attempt for closeness, a connection that would take away the world, along with his own mind.

“I'm not blind to it,” Will spoke in a whisper, his own confession bringing pain like that of broken ribs. “I feel how well we fit,” he stared into those liquid eyes and hated his own words, meaning every single one, knowing what it could not be. “But I know something else too.” The Omega's hands reached around Hannibal's neck as he spoke with weakened lips. “and that is that together, we will not do the world any favors.” Will closed his eyes as his voice cracked, and leaned heavy into the hands that came to cup his jaw. They stood there, breathing heavily, close and warm, and in the flash of a second, Will envisioned them dripping around each other's feet like liquid, pooling on the floor until they were dissolved, mingled, as one.

There was a silence where Hannibal pressed their temples together and held him, breathed him, fed his strength with his own as he pressed his lips against his mate's earlobe. “Has the world done you any favors, Will?”, the Alpha asked him, before he pulled back, his face turned grim, and gray, and still. “Our separation could kill you,” he said, looking at his mate with a fierce agony, and Will's tired eyes had a sudden vision of thin, forked veins, black as ink, growing and cracking and expanding over the skin of his mate's neck, up his cheeks, and painting his lips a deep shade of gray. He blinked, and watched the face turn back to white, and pink, red and blue and purple gray, as his hand gripped around Hannibal's neck. “If I succumb to it, you can always take the other mate,” he spoke softly, the sharpness and venom hidden one layer behind the twitching of his lips as he watched Hannibal's eyes spit the deepest fires of hell at the blink of his eyes. Then came the pool of dark ash, where the Alpha closed his eyes, and shook his head.

“I had envisioned your jealousy to be somehow satisfying,” he confessed with a small but bitter smile that Will longed to taste, and he wound fingers into Hannibal's hair in a desperate attempt to hold him, keep him. “I don't like it,” he confessed with a careful nod. “In fact, I can safely say there is nothing about this situation or this guy that sits well with me.” Hannibal laced fingers in Will's curls and smiled a smile that didn't reach his eyes. Will mirrored the expression. “Did you expect it to change anything?”, he asked, running his nose rather shamefully along his Alpha's before he pushed himself back against the hollow of his mate's collarbone. He had all this pride, all this mind and brain and thoughts and heaps and heaps of memories. But it didn't matter. With a deep pain that boiled in a small kettle inside his core, he just let himself have that.

“No, Will. I hadn't even dared to hope,” Hannibal smiled against his hair, inhaling his scent as Will nuzzled closely into him and felt strong, safe arms wrapping around him. A warm breath brushed his skin and Will pushed himself fully into Hannibal's warmth. Love and bliss and happily ever after, it wasn't for him. Will had accepted it long, long ago. Somehow, the prospect of it, truthful or not, and having to let it go, was so much crueler. “I don't want you to hurt because of me,” he heard himself breaking against Hannibal's shoulder, who clung to him tighter, harder, warmer. “I can bear any pain,” the Alpha hushed, his voice layered down to an unreachable depth. “I can bear it until death.” Will's head fell back against fingertips that spread wide and firm against his skull. He watched his mate through hooded eyes, and saw the acid swirl of dissolving pain eat at the spark of gold inside as Hannibal spoke; “but I cannot bear your suffering.”

Will closed his eyes and surrendered into the cradling hands as he parted his lips and breathed in deep. “I can't bear it, Will,” Hannibal spoke, the pleading tone hidden around the growl that rolled from his throat. Will moaned when he felt soft lips pressing wholly against the skin beneath his jawline and heard the sharp intake of breath through Hannibal's nose as he scented him, tasted him, tightened his arms around him like he was trying to blend all the lines that existed between them. And Will let it happen, because it was the orb of air and fire and a blanketing sense of belonging in a world filled with blue, florescent light, fumes and metallic noise. “I'm sorry, Hannibal,” he said, his voice fragile, unsteady, and Will knew Hannibal could hear the speech did not have the sentiment, fire or determination behind it. Not anymore. “I can't abandon what I chose for myself years ago, simply because it doesn't suit me anymore,” he spoke so bravely, as he felt Hannibal's hands run down his arms within the silence. His lips twitched in uncertainty. “I have responsibilities.” Their eyes met again, sharper this time. “I have a wife and a boy that calls me Dad.”

And a piece of his heart broke away when he said it. Wally called him Dad. He had, ever since the wedding. He remembered Molly had sat him down and told him that Will was the closest thing to a father he would have now, and that had made it so. They'd both never gotten used to that title for him, Will knew. Not yet. Hannibal watched the miserable pull around his lips and cupped Will's chin to meet him. “A boy who calls you Dad,” he repeated, almost friendly, patient, bringing the words back to his mate without a single infliction in his tone to color them something else. And even now, Will heard the distance. “Don't do that,” he bit his teeth down and jerked his head from the fingers, but without as much venom as he had intended. “Do you love him, like a son?”, Hannibal spoke softly near his ear, with such a gentle innocence. “Does he depend on you, like he did his father?” And Will was reminded of the old days, where every sweet stroke of kindness was laced with manipulation.

“Don't do that,” he spoke again, this time hissing it between his teeth as he stepped back from the near-embrace they kept dancing in. But his step back was followed by a step forwards from the Alpha, stalking him, ever so gentle. “And your wife,” he spoke, as Will watched him move back in. “Do you think she can ease your pain?” A hand cupped around Will's jaw as they watched each other, eyes soft yet sharp, pooling and flooded with warmth and pain alike as a powerless love intertwined with hateful weakness. “I hope to ease hers,” Will said, defeated into the warm hand that held him like a baby bird. Hannibal smiled. Those pink lips that stretched wide and full showing the sharp glistening of his fangs. Will remembered the sting of them, the sharp points that pierced his flesh without a bitter pain, but a freeing one.

“And who takes care of Will Graham?”, Hannibal asked him, his voice direct and void of any leering or seduction as he watched him and held his chin with strong, steady fingers. “And why doesn't he deserve to be cared for?” Will shivered, pushing away tears as he tried not to feel the words Hannibal uttered so lovingly against him, but the touch so warm and gentle on his face made him feel weak and desired all at once. He was led back into a deep, warm embrace that pressed the lengths of their bodies close enough to bring back the still shimmering spark of arousal in his belly as hands spread over his back and ran down to the curve of his ass over the fabric of his jeans. “Hannibal,” Will sighed in response to the words as well as the touch as he gripped the Alpha's jumpsuit tighter between his fingers.

“Let me make love to you,” Hannibal spoke into his ear with the purr of that sunbathing lion. God. Will tensed in the arms, pulling back his head with widened eyes as he shivered around the words that fell from his mate's lips. “Hannibal,” he said, warningly this time as his eyes met the wide-blown pupils of the Alpha, knowing his own eyes could not be showing more than blazing black. Hannibal licked his lips and followed the curve of Will's hips with his hands. “It will help us both. For a little while,” he said pointedly around the heat that already glowed like orange specks on black coal.

Will breathed hard into the touch that made his insides clench around nothing but newly forming slick as it leaked into his boxers. Fingers traced over the back pockets and Will pushed back, never admitting out loud or to himself that he wished very hard for those fingers to slip under his waistband, and trace the same patterns on his bare skin. “I can't,” he moaned, pathetically weak and whiny as he slumped against Hannibal's shoulder. The Alpha traced his fingers lower, nearing the crotch of the fabric. “Because there is no excuse for it to happen anymore,” he said, well-knowing, as he kneaded Will's flesh and made his mate's knees buckle. The Omega growled in Hannibal's ear, but met his eyes at his patronizing tone.

“Yes, excuse me for not wanting to have sex with you while the world watches,” he sneered as his eyes shot towards that red dot on the ceiling. That fucking red dot. “Of course,” Hannibal said, bringing his hands up to the small of Will's back to dip beneath his shirt and stroke over soft skin. “How would you explain that to your wife?”, he stroked his words against his mate's neck, who stiffened against him and ground his teeth. Gold eyes burned hot in envious fury and black desire and Will suddenly wished he could scream out from the devastating war that raged within. Instead, he gripped Hannibal only tighter. “You cannot stand to see me suffer, and yet...”, he growled against the Alpha, who returned the feral noise, and nipped sharply at the skin of Will's neck.

“You don't know what makes you suffer,” he said, as he reached one hand between them, and curled it around Will's. “You don't know what makes you suffer, Will.” Stronger this time, pressing his cheek to Will as he pulled them together. “You don't know how much I long for you.” Will gasped, unable to breathe when the words hit him, and his free hand wrapped around Hannibal's arm, hooking nails tightly in his shoulder. “I do,” he confessed, with all his air and all his heart, wanting nothing more than to want this, with all that he was, and forget whatever was left behind. Lips found his neck, and Will whimpered.

“There is no camera in the bathroom,” Hannibal groaned against his ear, and a steady drip of slick released against Will's insides. “There is a microphone,” he bit back, breathing hard into his Alpha's ear as he felt a shudder run along his mate's spine. “Then be quiet,” Hannibal challenged him, mischief hidden in the heat of his voice, and Will felt an unstoppable smile pull up around his cheeks. Hannibal squeezed Will's hand inside his own in an unspoken question, and there was no need to reflect on an answer, or pretend that there was. There was no need to pretend there was any strength left inside him to fight it. He nodded against Hannibal neck, hiding his flushed face showing both his desire and relief, and felt the Alpha's shoulders fall loose from a tight grip of tension. Before he could take another breath, a warm hand pulled on his, and led him to the closed door.

Chapter Text

Will staggered into the bathroom as Hannibal closed the door behind them with a loud, determined clunk of metal. Inside it was dark, until the flick of a switch buzzed the overhanging light to life. The room was small, light in stone and glass, artificially warm and lit. A bunker in war, a womb for the defenseless. Will felt the previous tendrils of grief and anger, doubt and spite, melt away from his limbs and his mind as the walls surrounded, sheltered and secluded them. They both turned to meet again and framed by cream colored tiles, Will watched Hannibal's profile sharp and stark against the light. There were memories here, inside hot water and steam – wet, bare skin and blinding pleasure that Will could recall very clearly inside the fog that filled his mind. And inside the intimate space, such necessary privacy, Will suddenly felt free enough to step forward, openly willing to wrap himself back around his Alpha and press their mouths together in a warm, wet kiss, of tender lips and tongues.

It was messy, open and needy like impatient new lovers as Will clung to his mate with painful determination and licked inside Hannibal's mouth like it held the breath he breathed. It was as instinctual as it had been during Will's heat, but now their fingers were soft and their lips asked with gentle nips rather than demanding bites.

Goddamnit, Goddamnit, Will needed this. He wanted all of it. Everything. Their tongues met in an open search for closeness and taste and Will slumped inside the strong, steadying grip his mate had around his back. Surrendering and attacking all at once. Hannibal growled painful pleasure in his mouth and Will dug nails into his mate's neck in an attempt to bring him closer. It was fiercer, more passionate inside these walls, and hands pulled on hair as Hannibal started to back up his mate into the counter of the sink.

“Up,” he growled into the Omega's mouth as he brought his hands to Will's hips to assist him onto the stone, cream colored counter. He easily slid on top of the smooth, cool surface as Hannibal stepped between his open legs that wrapped around the Alpha's hips like it was second nature. It was, of course. Maybe even first. The Alpha grunted against Will's ear when their hips slotted together and their groins met behind layers of cotton and jeans. Fingers worked fast on the buttons of Will's shirt, opening them from top to bottom as Hannibal revealed his Omega's bare skin to his own devouring eyes. The Alpha pressed them close with a dominant roll of his hips and Will threw back his head against the mirror behind him when he felt a spark of hot pleasure burning inside his jeans. “Fuck,” he groaned as a greedy mouth nipped on the sensitive skin of his neck, and laced his fingers through the soft, silver hair.

The shirt came off his shoulders, leaving his torso bare, and Hannibal left no time wasted to praise the newly revealed skin with roaming hands and searching lips. Will's fingers scratched helplessly against the clothed shoulders of his mate as Hannibal dipped his head to run a pointed fang over his Omega's peaking nipple, while stroking down Will's showing ribs with large, steady hands. Will leaned fully back against the mirror as hot hands, teeth, lips and tongue tasted him, felt him, touched him with open worship that made Will arch into his mate, as he bit softly on the skin above his navel.

He was held up only by the supporting wall against his shoulders, close to horizontal, as his fingers fought and tugged with the gray fabric between them. “Off,” he said, pulling hard on Hannibal's jumpsuit and the Alpha groaned against his belly, running two hands up the thighs inside his jeans. Will's cock twitched at the nearing fingers, but he pushed against his mate with impatient hands, forcing Hannibal to raise his head and meet him. “Off,” he said again, demandingly gripping the front of Hannibal's clothes, with the frown of a spoiled child. Hannibal's eyes sparked bright at the clutching, searching fingers against his chest, before he grasped Will's hands in his own and brought them to his mouth, soothing frantic knuckles with light kisses. Will's belly quivered unsteadily, but a low whine tore from his throat as he wrestled against the grip.

“Take it off,” he growled with bared teeth, fighting himself up on the slippery stone with a fiery jerk as he reached almost violently for the buttons of his mate's suit. Hannibal smiled his teeth bare, stunned in the moment, but his eyes filled with hunger rather than amusement as he reached down to help Will's failing fingers on his clothes. The Omega pulled harshly at the material, almost ripping and breaking it as Hannibal's bare chest came into his view. The moment there was room to slide his hands inside the suit, he surrendered to the feral need to touch and feel his mate with a wild snarl as he curled his fingers into the soft skin of his Alpha's warm, strong back. Close. It wasn't gentle, but Hannibal quickly followed in his embrace as one hand worked down the rest of his buttons. Their bodies touched, chest to chest, and the soft slide of hair made Will's Omega purr in deep, primal satisfaction.

Will buried his face against the naked hollow of his mate's throat as Hannibal shed the prison jumpsuit down his shoulders, off his hips, over his feet. Will started to press open mouth kisses against Hannibal's revealed skin, tasting him, wanting everything that was on offer as he brushed his nose against the coarse, gray hair and stroked around the hardened flesh of rose colored nipples. Hannibal's hands slid down his back, to the waistband of his jeans, and Will lifted his hips when the fabric was pushed down to his knees, followed by his boxers. Off his feet, down to the tiled floor.

They were both naked, both hard, flushed, aroused and in over their heads. So much need to finally get what they had craved all this time without each other. And Will knew it wasn't just that one side, of breeding and mating and rutting, when Hannibal wrapped his arms around Will's shoulders, stood between his mate's legs, and kissed him, held him, showered him with loving strokes of his hands and lips and nose and warmth without any camera making the Omega want to twist away, or feel exposed. In here, Will accepted it, he felt it, and understood it. In here, they could hold each other in absolute stillness, silence, and disappear beneath the waves together. So they stood there, lost to the world, but whole inside their own, and time ticked away without having any meaning. As if it never would, ever again.

But Will opened his eyes when Hannibal's lips brushed against his throat with such tenderness and adoration, he felt it burn all the way down to belly, right before he felt himself slipping forward on the stone seat. He snorted clumsily against Hannibal hair when he started to loose his grip. “If you keep doing that, I'm going to slide off the counter,” he confessed, his head feeling heavy with rushing blood as Hannibal pulled back with questioning eyes. Only when Will lowered himself to step back on the floor, did he see the trail of glistering slick that the Omega had leaked on the cream tiles, and his pupils blew wide enough to betray any color. Will let out a huff that was made of laughter and moans when Hannibal pressed them into a passionate kiss, hard and lost, and trailed his hands down Will's back to dip two fingers between the mounts of his ass, sliding them against the Omega's dripping opening. Hannibal groaned into his mouth at the feel of him, the sweet, heady scent that filled the air around them, and Will answered him with a high-pitched whine when those fingers circled firmly around the fluttering rim.

Will rose to his toes to give his mate a better angle, as he panted against the sharp fangs on his lips. Oh, how he had missed this. He had dreamed of this, every night, every time he'd closed his eyes. Hot lips rained nips and kisses over his skin as a long finger pressed against Will's hole and entered into the slick entrance of his body. “Hnn,” the Omega threw his head back in a newly found and long lost bliss as he scratched at Hannibal's back with a needy whimper and pushed back into the touch. He couldn't help rubbing his hard cock against his Alpha's lower belly, pressing closer in a blind need for more of him, everywhere. “Oh. Oh,” he panted, feeling Hannibal's answering erection big, hard and wet against his hip. Fuck yes, he had missed this. No hand, no fantasy, no one else made it like this. No one had ever done it right.

A tongue traced the inside of his ear, as a wet, breathy growl made Will's skin tighten in hot and cold goosebumps while he sucked a deep bruise on his Alpha's jaw. The finger inside him pushed further in and was joined by another that started to stretch him wider. He was dripping wet, he knew, and Hannibal's touch entered him so smoothly it was almost sinful, shameful. The head of Hannibal's cock nudged beneath Will's belly button and he looked down to see them together, naked and hard, so wet and flushed and close. The sight made his insides buckle helplessly with desire. “Fuck,” a moan stroked along his throat when he watched them between their bodies, and he remembered the discs, the videos, as a brief flash of vision inside his mind. Hannibal was big and thick, uncut and glistering with his own arousal, and Will had seen it on that clip, where it had shown this cock entering him from that perfect, mesmerizing angle. Flushed dark pink and shining with Will's slick. He had wanted to taste him. He had wanted to sink to his knees and take him into his mouth.

Hannibal pushed the second finger to the first knuckle and Will almost went slack in his arms when a sharp, stinging pleasure burned and unleashed inside him like snowflakes in a blizzard. Fuck. And hidden inside these walls, inside the sheltering embrace, he felt brave enough to reach down and curl his careful fingers around his mate's swollen, heavy Alpha cock. Hannibal groaned low in his ear as Will folded a hand around his hard flesh and the Alpha's fingers pushed deeper and more dominant inside him. “Will,” the Alpha breathed, a plea hidden inside the name as Will pressed a hard kiss to his mate's shoulder and watched his own hand, small and pale around the large, blood-filled cock. He never had touched another man before. Not one. Not even Hannibal. Never had he dared, or allowed it. He tugged the foreskin back over the head to rub experimentally along the slit, and that was good, because Hannibal bit him softly on the neck, hissed, and used his free hand to grip at Will's naked back.

Hannibal was already dripping with his own arousal, and the slide of foreskin over hot, hard flesh was easy and smooth. Will closed his eyes when his mate moaned almost human-like against his temple and started to nip gratefully at his chin and jaw, as the Omega moved his hand around the wide length he was secretly already so familiar with. Slick poured down his own thighs now as Hannibal pumped his fingers in and out of Will's body, and the way his blunt nails grazed against his prostate with enough pressure to make him feel hot and tight, but never satisfied, was pure and agonizing poetry.

He let his hand speed up on Hannibal's throbbing, heavy shaft, never able to reach all of him at once as he shifted his fingers and rubbed moisture back into the slit. And this time, Hannibal was the one vocal about his pleasure. “Will,” he groaned again, his voice almost lost against his mate's skin, but the Omega heard his surprise at Will's sudden boldness. Never before had he given him pleasure, without simultaneously taking his own from the same source, and it felt intimate, a barrier crossed, a layer removed. In heat, Will remembered that all he had truly cared about was having Hannibal inside him, breeding him, filling him and knotting him until he body was full and warm and sated. Calm. But as time progressed, he had become curious about his mate's pleasure. The feel of him, the taste, the scent, the curve of his voice.

Two fingertips pressed into his slick hole to tap his prostate more provokingly rather than teasing, and Will felt Hannibal's free hand catch the back of his head as he let it drop back at the insistent, rousing pleasure it pulled up inside him. Everything was so hot and slick and centered, and Will's hand ran boldly down his Alpha's length to cup and palm the skin of his balls. Heavy and soft, he let the inside of his hand curve around the sack as his fingers stroked against the darkened seam. Impatient, loving teeth nipped beneath Will's ear as Hannibal rumbled a loud purr against his skin, never stopping his own fingers from exploring the inside of his mate's tight body, and feeling encouraged, Will moved his own hand back up the Alpha's impressive length, stroking him with a tighter grip on the shaft, and steadier fingers against the swollen head.

A nasal grunt huffed against Will's skin as he pumped his Alpha's cock with quick, upward strokes that moved the foreskin up and down over the leaking head, as he arched his back into the intrusive touch between his ass cheeks, filling the space with the obscene sounds of hot, wanton groans and wet, pumping fingers in slick. “Oh fuck,” Will choked when a third finger pushed against his already stretched rim, and felt his own cock twitch at the full feeling of having his body adjusting wider around the curving digits inside.

Hannibal hummed in response, allowing Will to run blunt fingernails along the length of his cock before he cupped his mate's hand with his own, and curled an arm around Will's narrow waist to twist him around, facing the counter. “Ugh,” Will grunted at the impact of his hips colliding briefly with the stone surface of the sink, and instantly bent forward to catch his weight on his elbows. Looking up through his curls, he came face to face with his own flushed cheeks, his blown, bloodshot eyes, the wet curls on his forehead. His neck was littered with red marks made with teeth and sucking lips, his mouth was red and bright from kissing and his bare skin was flushed a lively pink from the blood that pumped hard inside his veins. But the outside of the wide pupils, the enlarged depths of black, showed vibrant ocean greens and blues that seemed illuminated from the inside out. As bright and deep in color and light as Hannibal's golden tiger eyes. He watched the deep, feral glow of his Omega within him, stunned and enthralled by the vision, the tangible proof, and heard a grunt roll up from the back of his throat.

He hardly recognized himself as the man he had always seen in the mirror, but somehow, the sight that greeted him now was so much more familiar then anything he had ever seen staring back at him. Whenever he had brushed his teeth, or his hair, or buttoned up his shirt in the bathroom at home, he had always been looking through a film, a thick layer of something dull, thick, gray. Dust, that stuck to his skin, his hair, the dark rings around his eyes. Here and now, he was color, and light and very, very much alive.

The sight of Hannibal, tall, strong, bare and equally radiant behind him almost seemed an hallucination, as a golden glow radiated off of him and clung to his silhouette like a lover, marking him nature's crowned predator. The sick discolorations, the cold and pain and sallow, hollow flesh, it was gone. Hannibal nuzzled into his neck, kissed the knots of his spine, and pushed all three fingers in deep as Will sagged forward on his arms and dropped his chin to his chest. “Hannibal,” he moaned at the new angle that provided so much more opportunity for pleasure, as Hannibal tapped his bent fingers maddeningly into the slick inside of his ass.

Hot, wet breath tickled his skin as his Alpha huffed against his back like a wild beast, and in the mirror Will could see the glint of true tiger eyes from between Hannibal's squinting eyelids. “Fuck,” he moaned as teeth grazed the skin of his neck with sharp points that left red scratches on the flesh, and hot, open lips breathed down his spine as a sharp tongue followed the curve of his bones. Will's cock was now trapped against the underside of the sink, as slick poured down to his knees and over his naked, trembling legs. His breath came out in heavy pants as Hannibal moved lower to mouth at the small of his back while twisting his fingers in and out of his mate's body in a torturous, slow but demanding pace. “Please,” Will heard himself moan, and he couldn't even feel shame for being so openly desperate for his Alpha. He was once again reduced to single words of praises, profanity or begging, but he was helpless to fight it, so he didn't even stop to try.

In the mirror, Will watched his own eyes flutter, his arms wobble, his curls shake and his hips curve back. He was nothing short of presenting himself to be mated, and the sight was truly, painfully arousing to watch. He was man mingled with beast, and he was Will Graham, more now than he ever had been, buttoning up those plaid shirts in front of the bathroom mirror. Behind him was Hannibal, taller, stronger, broader than he was. His hair was damp and pushed back, bringing forth the sharp curve of his cheekbones as his skin glowed a golden bronze. The hair that trailed over his body stood out like silver against gold, and the strong, softness of his posture screamed comfortable dominance, and power that made Will's insides spill more of that thick, glistening slick.

His mate was so big and ready between his strong thighs, and Will bit down on his lip at the memory of what it felt like to have all of that inside. But the sight was taken from him when Hannibal stepped closer, and pushed his cock right between the cleft of Will's ass. “Yes, yes.” Will's eyes turned black as their gaze locked in the mirror and Hannibal pressed his body against Will's, making the Omega feel the hairy chest against his bare back while watching his mate lean in to reach his ear. “Anything,” he heard him purring deeply into his skin, and felt his entire body wobble weakly on its joints as he watched his powerful mate with his glistening fangs and burning, consuming eyes.

He whimpered like a pup, as his mind raced around the word. Anything. Anything he wanted. Hannibal would give him whatever, if he only asked. But there was only one thing to ask. Only one thing he wanted. “You. This,” he moaned against the lips that grazed his cheek, capturing his in a soft but hungry kiss before Hannibal pressed harder against him and ran his hands over the length of Will's back to the curve of his hips. He cupped them, tilted them backwards and squeezed one asscheek with his large hand to spread him wider.

“Like this?”, the Alpha asked with a tremble in his voice, watching Will in the mirror with a hungry stare, trying to show control, while Will could clearly see him barely hanging on. “Yeah,” he breathed into his own shoulder, never taking his eyes off Hannibal's face, his body, and the lost, wild pleasure in his tiger eyes. Hannibal never lost it. Hannibal was never out-strengthened by anything life had thrown at him. Hannibal always had all control. Until now. Until Will. The Omega watched his own fangs shining sharply in the bathroom light as he felt himself both warmed as well as heated by the thought and the knowledge of his own power over the Alpha. Hannibal pushed against him, the head of his cock leaving a wet trail on Will's cheek, before he folded himself closer around his mate, and wrapped his arms around his torso to hoist him back in his embrace. The large tip of Hannibal's erection now pushed impatiently against Will's drenched, stretched hole, and the Omega moaned in wild desperation at the nudge he felt there. Asking his permission.

“Yeah, like this,” he repeated, his voice barely a whisper as he curved his back and pushed back against Hannibal. “Fuck me.” The low growl that rose from Hannibal made Will's own lungs tremble beneath his ribs as he felt the blunt tip of his mate's cock pushing past the rim of his hole. They had done this many times, and it had never been anything but intense, but this time, outside his heat, Will felt the stretch of his body, the slide of hard skin inside slick, tight heat, and the hands on his belly holding his steady, guiding him back, like he never had before. There was no haze around the heat, the pain, the pleasure. It was so much more, raw and breakable and overwhelming, in a way no outline was blurred and smoothed.

And he watched himself in the mirror as tears filled up his eyes to the brim and sweat glistened on his skin like fiery sparks. He felt the thick girth of his mate's cock slowly entering him, pressing inside in a careful slide of skin. Behind him, Hannibal had closed his eyes and buried his face against Will's spine with open lips that twitched in pleasure. Short, soft hair that fell over his forehead grazed the skin of Will's shoulder blades as the Alpha's spread hands on Will's belly stroked unsteady, warm circles into his mate's skin. And everything, everything burned, burned, burned.

It burned Will deeply and completely and so, so unfairly in a sensation that balanced dangerously on the edge between heating and scorching. “Ohh. God,” Will grunted with a passion that was drawn up from his toes, and folded his hands over the back of his head as he stared between their bodies and willed himself to breathe. Hannibal pushed a little further, wider, and Will's insides stretched around him, spreading a heavy, dark fire in his belly that was made of a deep sense of wholehearted belonging, and a clawing, ripping sense of bone shattering weakness. “Ahh,” he huffed again, his throat tight against the effort of trying to hold himself still, calm, open and easy. It had never hurt before. But now, away from the blinding madness of his hormones, his whole body struggled around the impossible intrusion. Hot hands slid over his back, up his chest, down his sides, and Will curled up against his Alpha's soothing body to find solace in the love he was offered in the form of touch and skin. Open lips breathed unsteadily against the back of his neck and another push of hips opened Will further around his mate, meeting him by bearing down his own body against Hannibal's cock with more determination than sense.

“Goddamnit,” he moaned wholeheartedly as his ass stretched and protested with a burn that offered painful, cruel and tight pleasure that brought Will a sudden need to claw himself out of his own skin. His fingers yanked at his own curls as strong hands came to rest on his hips, keeping him from moving any further. And Hannibal's body stilled inside him. “Will,” came a hot voice of breath, wet against his back, and Will wriggled against the sure hold on his bones. “Don't,” he hissed wildly, bringing his hands down from his head as he lifted his chin and saw Hannibal's glowing eyes hidden against the back of his spine as he leaned over his mate with a tension in his muscles that screamed the struggle of his control. Never once did Will feel the press of his Alpha body as heavy or straining, but the bulging arms he could see reflecting in the mirror showed how hard his Hannibal worked to keep the pressure off his mate.

“Don't stop,” Will pleaded, hitching the moan that pushed up when his body clenched around the throbbing cock out of its own accord. “Just...”, he closed his eyes, willing himself to adjust to the size and the sensation that was somehow so much more, new and intense. Hands slid back over his abdomen, his stomach, over his chest that caged his rapidly beating heart. “Slow,” Hannibal choked against him, shivering from his hips to his shoulders and beyond where Will could feel him. His eyes opened again and the vision of the strong, feral lion, draped over his back, shivering and holding him, breathing him like life and tasting him with open lips, was absolutely shattering, breaking and blossoming every inch of him.

“Slow,” Will agreed with a tremble in his voice, and Hannibal pressed his forehead to his mate's shoulder as he embraced him fully around his torso. Will felt intensely, irrevocably safe and right within these arms, yet had never been closer to being ripped apart, torn to pieces, in every sense of those praises. Willingly captured in the lion's den, as an equal or a prey, Will ground his teeth at the burn inside him and almost smiled. He was the lamb. But the lamb had grown its teeth. Hannibal's breath came out from a raw, tight throat in hard, rough pants that stroked Will's skin like a paintbrush, and never before had the Alpha felt so animalistic and fragile at the same time. And never before had Will been so vulnerable yet so real and strong beneath him. “Yes.”

Hannibal's arms came to wrap around his shoulder, caging him in as his hand linked in front of Will's sternum. Short, soft hair grazed against the blades of Will's shoulders, and in the mirror he could see his Alpha dropping his head forward in pure, torturing pleasure and patience as he moved his hips forward in a slow, agonizing pace. Will tilted his back further, opening up his body as he pushed himself up to meet his mate, while lowering his head in his arms on the counter top. “Yes,” he repeated, lost, as if answering in a state of unconsciousness as he lost himself in the feeling of Hannibal sliding slowly inside his body.

Another inch, and God, he was big. He wasn't halfway, and the feeling was already so full, so wide, with a demanding, slaughtering pleasure that came from the deepest possible inside out. It had a sharp edge like a razor blade, a warning glow like the heat of a nearby fire, but Will felt his Omega howling in completion and his limbs shivering in anticipation. And one nudge, one thrust of hips more, and Will tumbled hard into real pleasure. Right there, where the head nudged against his insides, was that place that curled his fingers and toes like a puppet on a string. He was lost in the fall, and wakened in the landing. “No,” he croaked, fighting himself up on his arms as nails clawed at the stone surface beneath him. He pushed himself back again, lost in a madding need, both his and his beast, as it overtook all his shaking senses, his throbbing mind, and his fear. “No, no.” his head shot up with a growl of passion and impatience as he searched and found his golden, tiger eyes. They pierced through him like a jolt of electricity, primal and wild, and Will knew in this moment he was created for nothing less than everything. They both were. “Not slow,” he said, his voice lost in breath and air. “Everything.” And the glint of burning gold turned dark with a copper glow that resembled blood in color and taste, pressing on the back of his tongue.

And the need, the restraint, the beautiful patience turned to fire and ash, rebirth and wanton greed, and fuck, Will had never known beauty until Hannibal's eyes turned that deep shade of red and connected with him in the mirror. He flashed his fangs in wild, untameable desire and conquered his mate's body without any more restraint. With one deep and determined slide, they were connected. The Alpha growled, the Omega wailed, and both their bodies shuddered so violently Will feared for a moment they would collapse. And it hurt, God, it burned. It pressed away against all the tension and demanded more room than his body seemed willing to give, and never before had Will been consumed in such a destructive, outrageous glory that came with his surrender. “AH,” he was caught inside Hannibal's arms, feeling his body forced to open under the intrusion as his mate pushed inside him until there was nothing more to give, and drew back with a slick, sensitive drag of hard flesh and quivering muscles, before pushing the bulbous head right back inside the raw and throbbing, wet heat. “Hnn,” Hannibal moaned tightly against his back, as inelegantly as the man had ever managed, and Will watched his mate's eyelids flutter, his fingers flex as he drove his hips against Will's ass and fucked him with strokes as steadily as he still could. Will was captured within a dominant hold, lost to the point of being reduced to complete surrender, and found his mate in the exact same state.

“Oh God, oh,” Will gasped out when their eyes met in the mirror like a glowing beacon of primal, animal heat and light, and Hannibal pushed inside his body to drag his wide length firmly against the sensitive spot of Will's begging, pulsating prostate. “Yes, yes.” And fuck, that was everything. Tears welled in the back of his eyes when that merciless burn mixed beautifully with the ever wrecking pleasure that fought hard beneath his skin and traveled from root to tip of everything he possessed. “Fuck, ohhhhh.” His whole body sagged within strong arms when Hannibal fucked back into him, hitting that same, holy spot that took him higher, further, deeper, so close to breaking. The pain, the burn, it devoured that pleasure into one, tight sensation of flaming ecstacy that spread down his thighs, his balls, to the underside of his ribs and he submitted against the powerful hold his mate had on him as he let himself be conquered again and again by his Alpha pressing so overpoweringly in and against him. “Hannibal.”

Hannibal answered with a groan against his ear, driving him wild with the tingling sensation on the outside as well as the inside of his flushed skin, and Will felt his eyes rolling back as he dropped his head against his Alpha's shoulder. He was straightened, pushed up by hoisting arms until they were chest to back, a hot press of skin and soft hair and hard, wet flesh. “Yes,” Will moaned when Hannibal used the new angle to fuck up harder and deeper inside his mate, as one hand reached over Will's spasming abdomen to find his pink, wet cock. Hannibal held Will's torso with a tightening arm when he threatened to slump forward at the brutal strokes against his sensitive insides, and the warm hand that squeezed around his erection. “God yes, yes,” he moaned, so lost and boneless as he bathed in unbearable pleasure, and blistering, cruel heat.

Hannibal's grip tightened on him, pulling them even closer as lips brushed against the lobe of Will's ear. “Microphones,” the Alpha hissed against his skin, a consistent growl rolling from his throat as Will tried to fuck himself back on the Alpha when he grew impatient with the slowing pace. “I. Don't. Fucking. Care.”, the Omega lashed, pushing out the vicious words between sharp thrusts as he grabbed hold of the counter again and leaned on his stretched arms while his mate tore him apart so beautifully by pushing into his narrow body and stroking the hard flesh of Will's cock. “You will,” Hannibal groaned in his ear and Will turned his head to the side to push their lips together, open and searching, before his tongue licked against his mate's sharp fangs. He tasted the fire, coal, a stingray of orange light in the dull gray world, always. “Fuck.”

Hannibal cupped his chin between two fingers, kissing him back with lips and tongue as he continued to stroke his mate with a steady hand, too slow for the rhythm of his more and more franticly pumping hips. “I love seeing all of you,” he breathed in Will's ear when their eyes met again in the mirror, and watched Hannibal rank his eyes over his naked body, from all the angles this position allowed in front of the mirror. “And I want to, until forever.” Will growled openly at the confession whispered so heatedly against him as he pressed his face alongside Hannibal's and closed his eyes, feeling the hand on his swollen cock, the slide of his mate in and out of his body, and whimpered more pathetically than the beast inside him ever had.

Over and over, he was blinded with the drag of hard flesh inside of him, right where the nerves ended in a swollen bundle, combined with the building pleasure of gentle fingers on his cock, his balls, teasing him away from the end. “Fuck, I missed you,” he confessed inside a long moan. “Hannibal, I missed you,” and Will felt Hannibal nipping his teeth against his neck. His hips pushed in harder, further, and his large cock pried open every inch of his buckling mate. “You missed me,” the Alpha growled in response, filled with fire as he drew an open hand up to press against his Omega's throat. Will swallowed against the touch and moaned when his mate's hand tightened around his cock. “Yes,” he almost wailed, throwing his whole body back against the steady, strong wall that was his Alpha as he leaned himself completely into his mate, pliant and willingly fucked harder and deeper than he had thought possible.

Nails scratched against his glands beneath the skin of his throat, and teeth nipped almost painfully beneath his jaw as they rocked together, shaking and panting and quivering in a pool of melting lust and desperation. The storm that rose inside Will twirled dangerously around his head, breaking or polishing the different thoughts, the ideas, the untruths, until one thing remained upright and was repeated so permanently it felt tattooed in his brain, his skin, his tongue. I need you. I need you. I fucking need you.

“Bite me,” he heard himself breathing hard as he stretched himself fully back, and pushed his head on Hannibal's supporting shoulder. “Bite me.” The words were rushed, tripping in their need to be released, and Hannibal huffed against his neck like a wild beast. Fangs grazed the back of his neck, stinging his skin, threatening to break it. Will growled viciously at the feeling, and jerked his head to move himself away. “No, fuck,” he hissed, feeling his cock throbbing in Hannibal's pressing fingers, and his body clenching wildly around the hot erection inside of him. “Bond with me,” he hissed in furious passion, as he reached fingers to Hannibal's bulging upper arm, and sank short, sharp nails into his flesh. “Bite me.”

In his ear, Hannibal growled without air, leaving the sound to die in his throat as his hips stuttered, his hand squeezed tighter around Will's cock, and his red eyes hit Will in the mirror like a raging ball of fire. The hand on Will's throat tightened until it closed the Omega's windpipe completely, and his hips snapped punishingly fast and ferocious into the tight channel of Will's body. “Ask me again when I'm not perfectly targeting your prostate,” the Alpha growled viciously into his mate's ear, as Will's eyes bulged under the pressure against his windpipe, cheeks flushing hot red before draining to a pale blue. Everything was floating, light yet heavy, and pleasure built hard and fast inside his loins as he struggled weakly against the crushing fist around his throat. When Hannibal released him, Will's body slumped forward against the counter as he fought to hold himself up on his feet. The rush of oxygen to his brain made him lightheaded, and mingled deliciously with the tight strokes and dark, pumping blood that pressed heavy and deliciously inside him.

“Fuck,” Will growled back, baring his teeth like an untamed beast as he pressed back against his mate as hard as his strength allowed. “Do it. Bite me,” Blood welled under his fingernails, breaking the skin of Hannibal's arm as he pressed his head back again, presenting his throat to his mate who kept hammering into him with barbaric strength. Will opened his eyes to see up his mate's face, so close to him, and caught the blue glint around the sharp point of his fangs as his Alpha's eyes had widened and blown to a complete, dangerous black. His breathing had stilled, his muscles had tensed, and Will submitted himself completely to his mate by arching his body and tilting back his chin.

“You want it. Do it,” he repeated with a breath that released all air from his lungs, as he closed his eyes, and waded into the quiet of the stream. And Will felt himself falling inside himself, as if in slow-motion, as he melted against the hot, strong Alpha that was his destined mate, and waited for pain.

And pain came. Pain came, hard.

In one hard sweep of strong arms, Will's body was slammed forward with a brutal force that smashed the side of his face against cold stone, from temple to chin, and he felt his teeth rattling inside his mouth. Behind him, Hannibal growled furiously, leaned over him as he bit down his teeth into Will's trembling shoulder, breaking skin, welling and drinking blood, ripping into flesh with terrifying strength. And as he did, his hand gripped mercilessly around Will's cock, pumping him hard and fast as the Alpha forced his Omega's body down with his own and took him over, fucking into him with such a callous force that Will felt his head colliding with the mirrored wall before him.

He would have screamed out in pain, fury and shock, but all sound froze inside his lungs, and died inside his sore throat as he bled and shook and clenched all around Hannibal, and felt a mighty pressure bursting through his belly and spreading in his groin with a true, venomous bite. “Oh God, oh God,” Will cried when his body quivered uncontrolled within the arms that held him tight, and he felt his insides clench, ripple and flutter at the fast approaching avalanche that erupted like a true force of nature. And then it overtook him. It overtook everything.

His orgasm hit him like a twisting hurricane, ripping his feet from the soil inside his core and tensing his muscles like the squeeze of an iron fist. Will's eyes went blind, his ears deaf, his feet and hands lost the surface and his lungs rejected any attempt for air. There was nothing left but fire, and flood. It wrecked all of him, as he drowned in blistering, liquefied pleasure that melted his bones to ash. He felt his cock jerking and twitching in Hannibal's hand, as release splattered wet and far and more, more, more, over Hannibal's fingers, and against his own spasming belly. Inside, he clenched painfully around his Alpha and felt himself filled with an endless stream of hot, wet seed that spread a blissful fullness through the length of his quivering body. And he pulsed and pulsed around his Alpha in waves that could not be ridden or tamed, but that dominated him with fierce spasms that shook every inch. They stood like this, Will with his forehead pressed against the fogged mirror, trembling on the counter with his mate plugged deep inside his body, and a slippery hand on his sensitive, dripping cock. Not breathing, or screaming, or growling any longer, but lost in the deep silence of a world that united them, and consisted of everything too much to bear. Hannibal jerked his hips against his Omega, equally lost and drifting from the Earth's coil as his teeth rested against the circle of ripped flesh on Will's shoulder. And both had no breath to make a sound, or strength to move away. Both were melted and shaped against the other, holding on with hands and teeth and nails.

Will was lost when Hannibal's arms slipped away, and he felt the Alpha stumble backwards with a low whine when Will clenched tight around his mate's sensitive flesh. The Alpha slipped out, and without his weight to support him, Will's legs gave way within a moment, after which he stumbled away from the counter, and slid down to the bathroom floor. The tiles were cold against his knees, and hot seed and slick mingled on the tiles as he felt hot blood pouring down the skin of his back.

“Hannibal,” he gasped, his vision still hazy and his head spinning as he reached out with his hands to feel around him. “Hannibal.” And knees dropped beside him, arms wrapped around him, and before Will could blink another time, he had folded himself around his mate, and crawled into his lap like a lost and wounded stray. “Will,” the familiar voice stroked him, and Will buried his nose deep into his Alpha's damp hair. “God. Oh God,” he breathed, feeling tears spill into Hannibal's neck as he gasped for air and fought for sanity. He was rocked inside the embrace, mesmerizing and slow, as hands stroked his skin, but steered clear of the bite on his shoulder. “I have you,” Hannibal breathed against him, for the second time within that day, and Will clenched his eyes closed as he clung to his mate's neck.

His vision returned, slowly, bit by bit, but the first thing he could see with clarity were the deep cuts on Hannibal's arms, where his nails had pressed into his flesh. He felt his blood slowing in his veins, his heart in his chest, the frantic air in his lungs, as a dark cloud of heavy pleasure remained and lingered in the depths of his belly. “God,” he whimpered again, breathing in his mate with every deep inhale as he felt his body spinning, tingling, stinging, everywhere. From his ass to his cock to his back to his eyes. His toes were cramped, as were his fingers, but his muscles smoothed out slowly in complete relaxation after its thunderous release.

“Shhh, Carissimus,” Hannibal smoothed fingers through Will's hair as he held him. “Intimacy out of heat is a much more intense experience, in pain as well as in pleasure,” Will let the words wash over him with closed eyes, and just breathed inside his safe cocoon of warmth and aches. And all was still as Will let himself be held, and soothed, and loved, and blood colored his back red, and tear streaks marked his flushed face. He would bruise, later. His temple, the fingerprints on his throat, strong hands on his hips, and the inside of him too. The bite would scab over, and the itch would remind him, every day it was there, how it had come to be.

Hannibal twitched around him and Will whimpered when his mate attempted to detangle from him. “Come,” the Alpha said. “Let me clean you.” Will let out a whine that was smothered against Hannibal's neck, as he clung his arms tighter around him. “You don't want to be cleaned?”, the Alpha asked, and Will swallowed tightly. This contact, the scent and fluid on his skin, it could feed him with his mate's soothing, healing essence for days. It could make everything easier, maybe. It could also be pure torment.

“I should be,” he said weakly as he pulled his head back to look at his mate. Amber gold greeted him warmly, rather than the red and black that had eaten at his soul. He was helped to his feet, stronger now, but still unsteady, as Hannibal ran the shower and tested the water with one free hand, as the other remained curled around his mate's back. When the water was warm, but not hot, Will was maneuvered carefully under the stream, with Hannibal pressed close to his front, offering him support as Will wrapped his arms around his back, and leaned his head into his chest. They stood like that, together, safe and silent, as reality slowly poured itself back into Will's ears, his eyes, his mouth, right into his pumping heart.

Fuck. Fuck.

What had he done?

“I bit your shoulder,” Hannibal spoke against wet hair as Will's shoulders twitched against the sting of water against the open wound. His insides throbbed, as his thighs were rinsed of the sticky trails of slick and cum. “You did,” Will said quietly before Hannibal pressed his lips to his temple as he rubbed his hands over the Omega's skin to help clean his tired body. Will opened his eyes and watched drops on his lashes. “I suppose I should thank you,” he said, his voice a whisper beneath the falling water, as he pressed his forehead to Hannibal's sternum. Fingers danced around the bite on his back, and Hannibal's chest fell with a deep sigh.

“I apologize for hurting you,” he said, honest grief in his voice. “I lacked the control to stop.” and Will closed his eyes again. Hannibal had fought everything inside him not to bite Will's throat, he knew it. His instincts, and his own deep desires. “No. No,” he huffed against wet skin, curling his fingers against his mate's sides. “God, no,” he laughed a breath before pressing his lips to the hallow of Hannibal's sternum.

Goddammit. He had asked for a bite, a bond, in a way Hannibal had already predicted he would, that first time he had come to visit him after his heat. “Part of you wants me to sweep you up and bring you into our lives together without giving you the choice. There would be no fault, no guilt, no responsibility. No one to blame Will Graham.”

How easy would it have been to bond now and blame the animal, the sex, the separation. How easy it would have been not to be blamed, or to take responsibility. “I'm sorry,” he said, and his mate inhaled, sharp and fast, before his shoulders sagged again. Then, hands came to push him back, so their eyes could meet under the stream. “I will not bond with you as a means to escape something you do not want,” Hannibal told him, soft, rueful, with loving fingers on Will's temples. “As opposed to it being something you choose for yourself.” Will breathed hard, a stutter in the deep inhale, as he pressed his face back against Hannibal chest with determined desperation not to think of his own actions, or Hannibal's, or how it made him feel. He couldn't think about it. He wouldn't think about it.

Will bit down on his own teeth. “Hold me,” he begged, like a child, and arms tightened around him within an instant. And it was like that, for minutes, hours, maybe. Maybe it was merely seconds, but inside Will, time was lost, and he never wished to find it again.

Chapter Text

Will had slept for hours.

Exhaustion had crept over him like a warm, weighing blanket the moment he had stretched himself out on the single, prison bed, maneuvered there by Hannibal's guiding hands on his back. The Alpha had held him through it, curled behind his mate with strong arms folding him into a safe, sheltering nest that warmed his skin from nose to socked feet. But when a guard had disturbed their cocoon of silence with a dinner tray, Will knew it was time for him to leave. He couldn't stay the night. He had already crossed too many barriers within the day.

When he walked out into the cool evening breeze, with shimmering streetlights illuminating the twilight sky, Will felt himself empty and disoriented, but stronger and steadier than he had in days. The hollow, dried up gap inside him was once more red with blood and pink with life, because Hannibal's presence, his touch, his voice, had cured him from that hideous pain that had eaten away at everything still worth eating. On the way back to his motel, he tucked his cold hands into the pockets of his coat and kicked at the pebbles and leafs before his feet as he remembered the conversation they'd had before he left, as he sat on the bed and tugged his shoes over his heels.

“I do not wish to control you, Will,” Hannibal had said, startling the Omega with an unexpected confession as he looked up from his shoes through his fringe. He had seen something unconstrained swirling in those amber eyes as Hannibal had held his gaze with an palpable tightness around his features. “Not anymore,” he'd added and Will tightened the lace before he sat up straight and watched his Alpha's forehead deepen. A frown was rare on the well-controlled, porcelain surface of Hannibal's mask.

“Do you believe differently?”, the Alpha asked him, seamlessly composed on the smooth stone surface but stirring thick like honey and gold beneath the depths of his eyes. Rarer still, a question, a search for confirmation from his Alpha. Will watched and heard the thin, skillfully hidden trace of desperation lacing around his mate like fish thread. He moistened his lips with the tip of his tongue as his fingers flexed against the mattress. “I believe that your ideas about what is best for me, do not always correspond with mine.” He pushed himself to his feet, steadied by Hannibal's hand on his elbow, and rose to meet the turmoil in his Alpha's eyes. Those lashes, those scars, dips of skin and curves of bone, he knew them as well as his own.

“I also believe you are unwilling to experience the world from any other point of view than your own,” Will said, smiling despite the words when a warm hand came to cup his face. He could tell there was a battle going on inside his mate, as he watched Hannibal's uncontrolled need to reach out and touch him, far beyond his humanity. The lingering hand on his cheek, and the answering smile, made Will realize that Hannibal didn't resent this weakness, but rather seemed genuinely content with every new pull from his Alpha's strings. “Not at all, Will,” he said, as he brushed a thumb over his mate's nose, lingering on his lips before he brought his hand back to his own chest. “I understand my own desires,” he smiled, heat in his eyes, “And I am not afraid to sink my teeth into what I want.” Will didn't miss the teasing glint that burned inside the glowing gold, and he snorted at the reference as he felt the throbbing of the open flesh on his shoulder. “Really?”, he huffed in reaction to Hannibal's choice of words, breaking the spell with an unimpressed cock of his eyebrow, an unavoidable pull up at his lips and hands deep inside the pockets of his jeans.

“I know you, Will. I know every inch,” Hannibal's eyelids lowered as he tilted his chin and gazed upon Will like the majestic beast that lay beneath the skin. “I have always felt your yearning for guidance into a world where you belong, just as I have felt my own need to share what my life has to offer to someone who appreciates the beauty of it,” he said, as if reciting a poem, and Will smiled again, breaking the insisting eye contact. “You make everything difficult,” he confessed half-heartedly, admitting the affect of the luring speech of his mate without having to use the words. Instead, he wrapped his arms around himself and stared down his feet. “I'm trying to resist you.”

He heard the silence, saw the prison loafers come into his vision, but when Hannibal leaned himself closer, Will didn't step away. “This is not about resisting me,” The Alpha spoke, his voice a low hum against his ear. “You are at war with who you are, and who you were taught to wish to be.” Their foreheads were close to brushing, and Hannibal placed one loose curl behind Will's ear. “But even without a bond, I can feel how deeply you crave a life with me.”

Will did step back this time, eyes back on Hannibal as fatigue took over his mind and body like the steaming heat of a sauna. “It's not about what I crave,” he said, between his teeth, shaking his head and wishing he could deny Hannibal's words with just a simple no. Yes, yes he did feel... he did want... but there was all this death and pain and Molly and so, so much blood. “It's about what I choose.” Will closed his eyes at the memory of when he had made that choice, that very first time. If he had just, just run away with Hannibal when he'd asked him to....

“Do you remember when we first met?”, Hannibal interrupted, and Will's eyes burned back to his. “Of course I remember,” he said, pulling the image to the front of his mind like a picture, a screening of a film he could replay and analyze from every desired angle. He could, he had, just like every moment he had shared with Hannibal. The Alpha smiled, and Will knew the clarity must have been visible in his eyes. “When I saw you, when our eyes met halfway into the conversation, my life went from a sonnet to a symphony,” Hannibal said, a real, tender touch of happiness deeply engraved on the lines of his face as he spoke, and Will closed his eyes at the sight, and the expansion of his own heart beneath his chest.

“I knew you were mine, and you knew I was yours,” Hannibal spoke, and Will let his head roll to the side, coming to face the empty, plain glass that caged him inside the room. Hannibal's body moved closer without touching, but enough to crowd. “You're still mine, Will.” He hummed, and the Omega felt his skin tighten, his blood pump and his jaw tremble as Hannibal's nose touched the shell of Will's ear. “I'm waiting for you and nothing will ever change that.” The warmth of their bodies touched, even when skin did not, and Will lowered his head as his tongue slid against his small fangs.

“You don't need to convince me of the authenticity of our connection. I've told you,” he said, as he looked back up at his Alpha, close enough to breath. “As we came to know each other, I felt and craved it too.” He watched Hannibal's pupils dilate as warmth spread in his belly. “For the first time in my life, something felt like it was happening beyond the thick, gray membrane around my brain.” His lips twitched at how accurate this words felt on his tongue. “I felt alive.”

He swallowed down the grief as Hannibal stared at him with his arms and hands beside his body, still. He looked unreal, like a dead tree in the playful wind. Will looked at him, and felt his own eyes soften at the sight. “It was real,” he said, pushing his own hands deeper in the narrow pockets of his jeans. “But I already told you our time together was an endless chain of mutual destruction.” Wills eyes fluttered briefly to the ceiling as he dragged the bottom of his shoe over the hardwood floor. Abigail, Alana, poor, poor Beverly. “And that of those around us.”

Hannibal breathed with his entire body as he stood and blinked, before tilting his head with a smooth stretch of his neck. “Because we were divided,” he spoke, theatrics Will knew came natural to his Alpha. Hannibal's eyes moved over him like a falling water drop before he brought them back to the Omega's. “Apart, we are imprisoned by the agony of our disjunction, but together...” His voice was almost dreamlike, longing and lingering as Will clucked his tongue. “Bonded, you mean?”, he broke through the soft edges of the scene and Hannibal stepped even closer into their circle as he nudged his nose along Will's with a soft purr. “We were meant to be bonded from the start,” he said, astute. “You would have known me and I you.” Fingers traveled up against the inside of Will's wrist, still bare outside his pockets. “We would have spared each other all that pain.” Will's arm twisted as he brought his hand out of his pocket and pushed his palm against his mate's. “The need to be connected has always overpowered our other instincts, and left them unreliable,” Hannibal's lips spoke close to his cheek, and Will held on to sheer willpower not to turn his head and follow. “We lost each other in the haze.”

Their hands pressed, but their fingers didn't lace inside the hold as Will looked up at his mate with a humorless smile. “Then why didn't I present?”, he asked, openly frustrated with either scenario as he clenched his teeth to stop a pressing snarl from his restless Omega. “If we needed that bond, why...” But Hannibal was calm, and gripped his fingers loosely around Will's wrist as if to drain his frustrations. “Because you're an empath,” he said, sure of his words like he ever was. “Your beautiful mind was always an open faucet, and you've taught yourself very skillfully how to close yourself off from the world. If not, you would have spilled inside those killers until all barriers would have been washed away.” Hannibal squeezed his wrist gently, once, beneath the bone. “Uncle Jack would have let you drown.”

Will's teeth unclenched, both at the touch and the words, as he let his wrist rest in Hannibal's gentle hold. It did drain the pain, being connected by skin. “I couldn't reach that part of you,” Hannibal said, letting his eyes rest just above the top of Will's head. Will watched the amber stare that reached far beyond this room. “God knows you've tried,” he said, watching the Alpha's lips and wrinkles smoothen out until he rested easy on his bones. “God knows,” he said, before their eyes locked again. The hand around his wrist released him, but Hannibal didn't step back from their close space.

“Until I let my guards down,” Will said, stretching his fingers around nothing as his skin longed to chase the heat of contact. “When I was far and long away from Jack and his homicide cases.” He grimaced at his own words and let the inside of his cheek roll between his teeth. “And you.” And a hand came to rest on Will's forearm. Not heavy, not clenching or clutching, but open and warm. “Was I away?”, Hannibal asked him, quietly, and Will was helpless against the need to lean in so close he could almost brush Hannibal's cheek with his lashes. “Or was I there with you every moment, like you were with me?”

Will breathed a long breath between pursed lips as the hand on his arms came around to cup his elbow. They were close, and together, and in Hannibal's eyes burned the warm fireplace of home after a long winter's day out. “Stay,” Hannibal said. “Sleep.” And Will huffed at the weakness that overtook his bones at the inviting, attentive words that brushed his ear. All his life he had longed for someone to come in, take the hard labor, the uncertainty and the loneliness from his hands and take care of him. No one had ever taken care of him. He wanted nothing more than to be understood and heard and fought for, secure and warm and comfortable. Love. Never in his life had he been offered even a few of those things, but Hannibal was offering them all. Just when he had accepted that was world was hard and cold, and that the pain was not to be fought, but the unavoidable, unbeatable mold in your home. It would return after every attempt and brush stroke to make it disappear.

“Hannibal,” he said, breathing in deep and stuttering out as the hand stroked up the back of his arm. “I'm afraid.” It was few words, but Hannibal heard everything that he couldn't say instead, and as their eyes met again, Hannibal wrapped an arm around his neck and pressed Will close against his shoulder in a smothering, sheltering embrace. “I know,” he said, and nothing else. Will closed his eyes and fought not to bite into the fabric of Hannibal's jumpsuit to hide a scream. The deaths, the betrayal, the pain, Molly. There was so much left unmended, and so many lives balanced in his hand.

Hannibal turned towards his mate and stepped closer, leaning forward to cup Will's chin and bringing him in for a gentle brush of lips that spoke of romance and eternity and rose petals on a bed with drapes. Will melted forward, pressing lips wholly against Hannibal's with an unavoidable hum in his throat. When Hannibal pulled back, his eyes were soft, that fireplace on Christmas eve. Not everlasting, but providing what was needed, here and now.

The embrace lasted until the guard came to collect the untouched tray, and Will left with him to the other side of the wall.

When he pushed the knob of his motel room door, he was relieved to find it locked, and searched his pockets for the key.

**

He was in the dark, on his queen size motel bed, fully dressed and sprawled out on top of his made sheets. Around him, the room was orderly, undisturbed. Even the stack of stolen discs remained neatly piled on the corner of his desk, just like he'd left them. Tomorrow, he would have to find a good hiding spot for them, he reminded himself, as he sank deeper into the mattress. But not now. Because now, he was afraid to get up, to move, to breathe. No one had come to thrash his belongings, or rummage through his things in his absence, no. No one had come in. But he wasn't alone.

There was an elephant in his room. A big elephant with dark gray skin and red eyes and horns that reached through the styrofoam ceiling. It was twice the size of the familiar feathered stag, and there was nothing he could possibly do to make it go away. It wouldn't let him sleep, or eat, or watch TV, because that big, dark elephant stomped his feet and blew his trunk and shook his head until his big ears flapped like wings in the wind, every time Will tried to think of something else.

And like the stag had been there to give form to his untasty thoughts, the elephant was here to remind him of one single thing. He had asked Hannibal to bite him. He had asked him, begged him, to bond with him. He had looked into those copper eyes and saw warmth, as well as heat, as well as scorching, merciless fire and piles and piles of ash. All a different spoke on the very same wheel. He had seen it, and he had wanted it, without allowing his mind to run and cool. He had seen his future there, amongst the warmth, the heat, the fire and ash and it had showed him the most vibrant colors in his existence. He wanted that bite and he wanted that bond inside the swirl of wakening pleasure and the beauty he found behind the lifted veil. And he had begged him: bite me, bond me, take me, have me. Be with me, help me, and make everything else just go away.

And if Hannibal had been nearly as self-absorbed as Will had always believed him to be, he would have officially been Mr. Will Lecter - Graham, or Graham – Lecter, at this very moment. A bite on his throat, like a ring on his finger. They would be united on the prison bed, never to be separated. But he was here, and Hannibal was there. Because Hannibal said no.

He flinched when he touched the side of his face, feeling the tender swelling on his cheek and temple where he had been smashed into the stone counter. There were bruises on his neck, a tight scab on his shoulder and his entire lower region throbbed with effort and thorough use. Will placed his hands before his eyes and bit down on his lip to keep himself from making noise. The pain, the pleasure, the memory, the shame...

Hannibal had refused to bond with him, believing Will wanted to try and avoid having to choose between the other options the world had to offer him. He wouldn't have to hurt or reject or define his own desires that way. And part of it was true. Will sighed deeply with his gaze on the empty ceiling, as he tried to keep himself from staring at whatever moved in the corner of his eyes. No, he didn't want the persistent, digging pain and the everlasting ache and the questions, the explanations, the unbearable pity. Yes, the gray outline of a future made of secrets, ongoing hardship, love without connection against the promise of the ecstasy of color and life and transparency within the windowless walls of his mind had been the drive behind his plea. He had surrendered to the part of him that didn't want to feel or think or remember whatever came before. The part of him that was bigger than his Omega alone.

Will swallowed against his thick throat and ran a hand over the bruised flesh. He felt like the crack addict that slept on that filthy bench in the park sometimes. He knew what he wanted. He wanted Hannibal. All of him, always, completely, forever. But like the crack addict's choices became questionable in the light of morality and care for humanity, Hannibal wasn't the right choice to make. No one else would think so. He couldn't think so either. If he chose a life of honesty, morality, and believed in the beauty of helping, protecting and sheltering rather than crushing, he would have to choose as a loyal, righteous, honest man. In that life, Hannibal was not the right choice.

“Fuck off,” Will told the elephant that stared him down, no matter what way he turned himself on the mattress. He could weep from the amount of guilt and shame that thrashed inside, enhanced like a snowball from the equally present want, longing, desire. Why hadn't he been stronger? Why couldn't he just be fucking stronger? Why had he caved and crashed and laid down his raw and naked fears and wants in Hannibal's presence? A fuck could be forgiven, but begging for a bite, a bond, and then going back to your loving wife when you're refused? It was undignified. Pathetic. How could he convince anybody, himself included, that Hannibal was not what he wanted, truly, after that?

His shoulder throbbed against the sheets, his face felt hot and his ass clenched painfully around nothing as he lay staring at the ceiling. He could still feel the fingertips against his throat and the feeling was more of a comfort than he would have wished it to be. He reached for his lips, tender from the use, and closed his eyes in the darkness. Carissimus. He remembered the word, the roll of Hannibal's tongue, and smiled ruefully into the night. Hannibal had called him Carissimus. The first term of endearment shared between them. Latin, maybe. He knew what it meant. He knew it spoke of love. Beloved. Dearest.

A pet name, like one a couple would exchange. A very unusual, old-fashioned, well educated couple. Will bit his lip and blinked his eyes back open. Even behind his lids he could see the angry red eyes and the sharp pointing tusks, making him groan his frustration as he reached for a pillow to place over his face. Oh yes, couples. He ground his teeth when he remembered, but this Dragon thing was not something he was going to break his head over for another night, he had already decided. Hannibal said he wasn't interested in his advances, and true or not, Will himself was going home in two days.....it didn't have a place here. And he refused to make space for it. “Fuck him,” Will growled under his breath, his face a permanent shade of deep pink behind the pillow, “and fuck you too.”

The Elephant huffed dangerously through his trunk and Will winced when he tried to roll himself away. He had ripped the scab on his shoulder, he was certain, and indeed felt a hot spill of fresh blood beneath his clinging shirt. He wondered, did Hannibal feel the sting of his arm as he lay in the dark? Did he feel those vicious half circles where Will had sunken his short but sharp nails deep into his flesh? Pained, he smiled into the dark. He really hoped he did.

**

“Will. Have a seat,” Alana gestured kindly to the chair opposite hers as she greeted him from behind her desk. The door was closed behind him by the guard who escorted him there. “I'm glad you came,” Alana smiled, her blue eyes bright with what Will could see was not mere hospitality, but a flash of fierce determination. “I would take your coat, but...”, she gestured to her walking cane that was propped up against the side of her desk as she tapped the side of her bad leg with a flat hand.

“I'm sorry to hear it's still bothering you,” Will offered politely as he shrugged off his coat and hung it on the back of his chair before he sat himself in the comfortable, cognac leather. “It's the humid weather,” Alana spoke with open distaste as light rain speckled the view from the spacious office. “It's usually not that bad anymore.” With a quick glance down Will spotted a sight he hadn't expected to find resting under the table. Pumps. High heeled, black and lacquered. Oh, vanity.

“I want to say, I'm glad you've visited Hannibal yesterday,” Alana said, silently offering him coffee she poured from a thermos, and he accepted the cup pushed towards him with two hands. Black. She remembered. “You do look better.” Will swallowed as he watched the dark coffee shake and slosh against the rim and kept his eyes where the hot liquid spilled slightly on the saucer beneath. “How do you feel?”, Alana pressed on the other side, and Will forged a smile on his mouth before he looked back up at his friend. His former friend. Head of the hospital.

“I'm fine,” he said, seeing an expression flicker past her eyes that reminded him strongly of the way Doctor Hammings looked every time he used that word. Disbelief, agitation and impatience. She blinked at him, reached for her own coffeecup and took a slow sip to regroup, or perhaps to repress any response she would come to regret later. She settled on, “Right”, and pressed her lips together in a tight smile before she reached for a thick, blue binder on her desk. “Well, you know the reason I asked you here is to discuss the future,” she said, opening the file to the first page. “Regarding both you, Hannibal and Baltimore hospital.”

Will blinked, nodded and swallowed as he reached back for his cup of coffee. She had told him this before, probably, but his brain seemed very one-tracked on what it would allow to stick these days. This visit, for example, was heavily overshadowed by his mind still lingering one foot deep in Hannibal's bathroom. “Have you been in contact with your lawyer?”, Alana asked through the steam behind his eyes and Will quickly looked up to see her leaning forward on her desk with her elbows planted on either side of the open binder. “No,” he almost choked on a sip of coffee. “No, I haven't.”

He watched the stiff nod and the tense, red lips as Alana sat across from him with files as thick as books and a twirling pen between her fingers. Was he supposed to have done that? And why? Will watched rings appear in his coffee as his hands started to tremble. Were there things happening, for, about or against him, that he wasn't aware of? Alana smiled kindly and encouragingly at the confusion that etched across his face, but Will watched that fierce blue sparkle of determination and fierceness, and recognized it now as fear. He was missing something. “What I want to do today is discuss your options,” Alana said, “and show you what I think would be the right way to go about this.” And that was it. Will stirred his coffee with the teaspoon on the saucer, despite having nothing to stir through it. There were options, and some of them didn't sit right with the hospital. Or Alana.

“Alright. Go on,” he encouraged her with a gentle nod and an open gesture with the hand that did not held the coffee cup. Alana sighed, and watched him with what he could have taken as a hostile stare, but Will could see she was reflecting inwards, contemplating and weighing before she did, indeed, go on. “I need to know your plans, Will,” she decided, rather forward, and Will swallowed his sip trough a tight throat. His plans. The spoon slipped from his fingers back onto the saucer and they both winced at the loud clang of metal on porcelain. “Sorry,” he mumbled, but she waved him away. Plans. He wasn't thinking long term. He wasn't even thinking weeks or months. Right now, he looked at the days, the hours, the minutes away or together. He had just one plan, and that seemed to grow more and more impossible with every one of those passing minutes.

“Well, I told Molly I'm coming home,” he answered, hiding his unsteady lips behind his cup as his gaze shifted restlessly from the desk to his shoes, to the rain against the window. “When?”, Alana urged and Will lowered his coffee with rapid blinking eyes. His forehead twitched as he shook his head, as if overcome with a nervous tic. His long curls waved before his vision; freshly washed, since yesterday. “I-I don't know,” he swallowed. “In about a week?” The balls of his feet started bouncing his knees under the desk as he breathed steadily through his nose. “A week from now?”, Alana asked. “Or a week from the moment your heat ended?” Will cleared his throat, and wiped one hand on the jeans that covered his thigh. “I don't know,” he said again, and sucked his lower lip between his teeth. “The Doctor said one week, at least.”

Without another word, Alana reached inside a drawer, collecting two sheets of paper and she placed them on the desk between them. Will spotted the numbers, the names, the codes, and knew just what he was looking at. “I've been so bold to buy you these,” she said, a small smile on her face. Will's lips pressed together at the sight as he eyed the little blue plane in the corner of the sheet. There was a plan here, with expectations of a heartfelt thank you. “Plane tickets,” Will said instead. A ticket home. A ticket to Molly, the dogs, the snow. “It's a two-way ticket,”Alana said, taking a sip from her coffee in a way Will would define as self-congratulatory. “You would be leaving next Monday, and you can return whenever you think is the right time.” And Will swallowed down the sour bile that rose up his throat at the suggestion. He hated it when people mingled with his life. He hated it when people arranged his business without his knowledge. He hated to be pushed and handled like a weakling, like many had ever since he had presented Omega.

And he hated it when his Omega howled and crawled and bit around him at the mention of leaving. “You arranged this,” he said, void of emotions as he placed his fingers on the tickets and dragged them towards him as Alana nodded once, with her eyes closed and her lips pushed up. Good Samaritan. “I felt it would be good for you to see your wife, after this,” she said sweetly, as she gestured towards Will in a way that seemingly should explain what 'this', she was referring to. “But I also think the separation between you and Hannibal should not last for too long.”

Will cast his eyes down again and read his own name on the white sheet of paper before him over and over and over again, until the silence pressed hard upon the room. “What do you think?”, Alana asked, as her high heel began to tap under the desk. Will looked up, and watched her self-righteousness replaced by her poorly hidden insecurity. “Thank you,” he said, not wanting to deepen the matter, and Alana nodded with soft eyes, so full of understanding. Will felt his skin itch beneath his clothes as she poured more coffee into his cup without inquiring after the need.

“You and Hannibal are exceptional mates,” she said, as she refilled her own cup. “And Doctor Hammings has explained to me how defined the connection between you already is.” Will watched the coffee ripple in the cup and took a sip too hot for his lips and tongue. He swallowed, and it left everything inside feeling raw with the burn. “Yes,” he offered, after a moment of silence, and felt Alana's eyes tugging impatiently at him. “But he told me I was fine.” There was a muffled noise that sounded like a tongue clacking against the roof of a mouth, before Alana's fingernails started scraping the sides of the stack of paper before her. “He told me you are on a fine line,” she corrected him sharply. “It seems more and more likely that the two of you are a Per mutua nexis couple.”

Will sighed, openly enough for it to be considered rude, as he threw a pointed look from the rim of his coffeecup. “I know all of this, Alana,” he bit. “It doesn't change...” And then he stopped. He paused, he struggled and inside he drew a blank looking for the appropriate word. Anything, he had planned to say. Things, he could have used. Their eyes met over the desk, and his fingers loosened around the cup in his hand as he quickly put it down. It was so easily said, but of course it was a lie. He knew more and clearer how much of a lie it was turning out to be. Of course it changed things. Of course it changed everything.

“Will, are you going home?”, Alana asked him, the blood beneath her skin retreating into the blue veins. “Are you going back to your wife?” Will breathed as he felt his heart thumping louder and faster inside his chest. “I...”, he gasped unsteadily. His wife. His wife Molly. He wished he could recall what she looked like, in this moment. “As the head of this hospital, I need to know your plans,” Alana spoke, her tone a little higher, her voice a little bit more business. She reached for the plane tickets before him and pressed her fingers against the paper. “Are you going to use these?”

Will's cup was trembling inside his clutch as he blinked back memories of Hannibal inside his cell. “Yes, yes,” he spoke without air. Bite me, he had asked Hannibal, only yesterday. “I have to go to Molly,” he heard himself say today. Alana sighed, a glimmer of relief, as she leaned forward and folded her hands together. “And you will return for your heats, or when the separation becomes unbearable? Is that still the plan?” She asked, using her sharp stare to force steady eye contact. Will blinked and willed himself to release a steady breath trough pursed lips. “Yes,” he answered meekly, before tearing his eyes from the clutching stare that made him feel a child.

Alana's shoulders sagged, as she allowed herself to slump back down into her chair. “OK,” she nodded, playing with the pen between her fingers as she stared at the binder before her. “It's important, because there are some legal matters I have to take into account.” Will's lips twitched. He was well aware that he had been steered clear of something she didn't want to breach. She put the pen on the desk and linked her fingers. “If you are Per mutua nexis and you choose to bond,” she started carefully, resting her fingers against her lips, “there are some grounds on which you could fight Hannibal's imprisonment in court and try to get him released into your custody.”

Ah. Will watched Alana's eyes burn hard with militant determination. “My custody?”, he asked with a low frown on his brow. Hannibal in his custody. There was a quick vision inside Will's mind of Hannibal living in his house, wearing a schoolboy uniform and bringing home report cards, as well as dead classmates. He huffed out a laugh and Alana's eyes twitched. “Yes. Will, I must tell you, the board and myself have already agreed that we will not support any attempt to see Hannibal out of captivity. We will fight any decision supporting his discharge, should you decide to...” Will watched her hair move out of its perfectly styled coup with every wild shake of her head as her cheeks flushed bright and eyes bulged every time she clenched her teeth around a vowel. He would have found this hot, years ago. Now it secretly went straight to a drawer in his file cabinet called 'malicious pleasures.'

“No. No, Alana,” he interrupted when he found the strength for mercy. He shook his head and held up a hand as she paused, breathing higher in her chest. “Trust me when I say I don't want any responsibility regarding Hannibal Lecter,” he said, sipping his coffee as he watched the world fall off of her poor shoulders. He pitied her. He knew she probably had been having sleepless nights over this possibility for more than a week. That he, Will, would try to get Hannibal out of his cell to live with him. The chances he would succeed were minimal, of course, the costs extraordinary and the trial would take years to complete, but there was a chance. And that chance would risk everything that Alana held dear in the world.

“Oh. Oh, Good,” she breathed, momentarily stunned, and wiped a damp spot of sweat off her temple. “That's good.” Will nodded against his cup and sighed away the rising compassion he felt fizzing up from his belly. Of course they wouldn't try to arrange this legally. If Alana had known Hannibal at all, she would have known he always found a way to manipulate the world to fit into the shape he desire it to be. He wasn't locked, he was waiting. “I'm very pleased to hear it.” Alana breathed again, nodding back as she fingered the binder before her. “I'm sure,” Will smiled, kindly, wondering briefly if Hannibal had concrete plans for her and her family, would or when he choose to get out. Knowing him, there were drawings, written scenario's, recipes...

“You would agree to unlimited visiting rights?”, Alana said, apparently feeling generous after the turn this conversation had made and Will shrugged. “I suppose,” he said. “I'm not signing anything, but...” but Alana waved his words away, no longer putting pressure on answers. “Call your lawyer when you get home. I'll see to it that we will settle this,” she spoke. She then offered him more coffee, which he declined, and then something stronger, to which he agreed. Sipping on expensive bourbon, they found themselves in front of the large window that stretched from ceiling to floor and overlooked the park. Alana's leg seemed a lot better, after so much weight had been lifted.

She sighed as she watched the gray clouds and dancing raindrops that ticked away on the glass. “Can I... can I assume you are not going to bond with him?”, she then asked as she turned towards him. Will looked down at the park, recognizing the Bloodhound he'd seen earlier, as he tried to chat up some mixed breed of Husky. “Will?”, Alana said, and he clenched his teeth. If she would ever listen to yesterday's audiotape, she would know how out of hands things had gotten. He couldn't guarantee...

“I have no plans to bond with him.” He said, eyes on the dogs and lips on the glass. The thick liquid burned his throat and warmed his belly. “That is...a careful way of phrasing your answer.” Alana commented after seconds passed, and Will finally tore his eyes from the world and looked at the blue beside him. “It is,” he said, before closing his lips back around the glass rim.

Chapter Text

First fic art ever! Made by the amazingly talented and insanely wonderful Erodingthebluff

Alana let the rubber tip of her cane touch the floor in rhythm with her steps as she walked Will back to the entrance hall. Her weight did not rest on the polished wood, however, and her heels clicked lively on the stone floor as they engaged in polite conversation. Work was busy, the weather disappointing, her holidays unplanned, and neither one of their minds was truly present during the necessary small talk. But both halted before the basement stairs, simultaneously, as their eyes met in a sudden, strained understanding.

“Do you...?”, Alana started carefully as she let her eyes run down the steps. Will followed her gaze and felt the torching flare in the already stirring heat in his belly, the uncontrolled fluttering in his throat and the yanking pull behind his pelvis bone. There was an involuntary twitch around his lips as he stared down into the dark, knowing that the answer should always be no. “Yes,” he breathed, nodding once as he watched the shifting noses of his shoes. “Just a talk.” He openly winced at his own words, but it didn't matter. He couldn't stay away. What had happened between them had shook everything from its proper place, and he needed to know where things had landed inside his Alpha. He longed to see that hot spark of life, if it had not yet been reduced back to silent torment. Just a talk. More, he couldn't justify.

“I'll walk you there,” Alana said, ignoring Will's flustered state as her high-heeled legs moved her gracefully down the stairs. Will took a deep breath before following behind, and once down, he was quick to notice the inmates were uncharacteristically silent when the head of the institution moved past the glass of their cells. They refrained from their usual insults and catcalls, and aside from a rare greeting, most prisoners remained completely quiet. They feared her. They respected her. She had, after all, the power to make their everlasting residence that little bit more comfortable, or hell.

“Call for a guard when you're done,” Alana instructed as she unlocked the door to Hannibal's cell. She wasn't going in with him, and for that he was grateful. The last thing he desired to witness now was yet another pissing contest between his mate and his mate's ex. He shook hands with Alana, and heard her heartfelt thank you for his attendance and her request for him to be in contact before his flight home. “Take care, Will.” They then said their goodbyes, and Will stepped into the familiar space as he heard the door lock behind him.

“Will,” Hannibal was on his feet, near the glass, close to the open holes that took away that little bit of barrier between them. His eyes were lit and Will swallowed at the addictive sight. He was illuminated, beautifully alive after their close contact. It wouldn't last for long. “Come in,” he said, a plea hidden inside the gentle command as they locked eyes. Will walked to the opposite side of the glass where Hannibal's fingers already reached for him, sighing his frustration at his own limitations as he pressed his head against the glass. “Not today,” he spoke through clenched teeth and reached his own fingers up to link them with Hannibal's. Something bright kick-started inside his chest. “I shouldn't even be here.”

He watched Hannibal's eyes run over the side of his face, checking for visible damage and bruises, but Will knew his skin was barely tinged pinker than his usual complexion, if not a little swollen. It was beneath his buttoned shirt he hid the red and blue marks Hannibal had left on him. His mate found little injury and relief twitched almost invisibly between the lines of his face, as his eyes grew soft and warm, like the used, cognac leather of Alana's office chair. “You should always be here,” Hannibal spoke gently from behind the glass and Will huffed with the chafing contradiction of self-loathing and deep, open longing that rubbed together inside his tired brain.

Their eyes were locked, their fingers intertwined and time ticked away outside any frame and meaning. Connected with his mate, Will could find a space for silence inside his pure brand of chaos, where one big ball of yarn contained hundreds of loose threads all screamed for release and a destination. It was every thought and dream and desire, but in the midst of that ball of yarn was a hole. It was a place were no thread reached through, and close to Hannibal, he could find it, and breathe.

“I would love to taste that bourbon off your tongue,” Hannibal said, his eyes squinting into pointy almonds as he burned a hot, playful fire through the glass and right into Will's sternum. The Omega felt his stomach pull tight in maddening anticipation, that would remain unfulfilled. But on the outside he smiled, and the one-sided pull of his lips could almost be considered flirtatious, had Will Graham held himself capable of such a thing. “It was good bourbon,” he admitted coyly, as if no longer surprised by Hannibal's keen observation skills and outrageous senses. Hannibal copied his posture and squeezed his hand as he slid his earth-toned eyes down Will's nose. The Omega knew with certainty that if there had been no glass to separate them, Hannibal would have nuzzled him like a fond cat.

“There's an old legend about male Omega's,” Hannibal said, momentarily confusing Will with the sudden change of subject. Will blinked, and squeezed Hannibal's fingers between his own as he stared back at his pausing Alpha, whose eyes shone like wet coffee grind, pure anticipation. “Do I have to ask?”, Will challenged when Hannibal continued to warm every inch of him with his silent stare. It was a difficult step back from yesterday, where they had been connected fully in skin, and whatever reached beyond. It was, in fact, becoming close and closer to unbearable to be separated. Hannibal rose his lip into a light-hearted snarl and met Will's clutching grip, before he eased his fingers into a cherishing, cupping hold and started stroking the Omega's hand with his thumb.

“As you are aware, the male Omega carries the gene within their DNA, but rarely presents in their lifetime,” Hannibal spoke, factually, but with eyes soft as melting butter on Will's dry, rough skin. The Omega smiled back with open irony as he shrugged his shoulders inside his coat: “Well, it is the most useless gender,” he provoked, but Hannibal ignored his words as his black, widening pupils pressed full and demanding onto his. “The legend says that a male Omega only presents when his life takes a turn away from his true identity, his desires and his purpose in life.” A sharp nail ran across the inside of Will's fingers and the Omega shuddered as he watched Hannibal's eyes glow like burning coals. “See it as a built-in protection system,” he hummed, eyes running past Will's parted lips. “Presenting and bonding an Alpha will anchor the unguided, unhinged Omega back to his true form, saving him the fate of a miserable, short and unfulfilled life.”

Hannibal nearly smothered him with his hooded eyes that made Will itch with desire to reach out and touch, caress, devour. But he kept his smile, adding a flash of his fangs to the mix as he let his tongue run along the inside of his teeth. “What a hero,” he responded, dry and defiantly, and watched Hannibal's eyes dance wilder with pleasure. Will's body thrummed with the bright sense of power that seeped from one body to the next, without settling. “I find the theory suitable for our situation,” Hannibal then said, blinking almost lazily at Will before he took his hand with both his own and folded his fingers around him as if cradling a baby bird.

Will closed his eyes at the feeling of such tenderness on his singing flesh, and let the smile around his mouth pull wider with a sentiment best described as bittersweet bliss. “Without this Alpha, the unpresented Omega would have died?”, Will asked him, his eyes remaining shut as he felt Hannibal's fingers massaging patterns into the skin of his wrist. Never meaningless, he knew. Hannibal was writing symphonies and poetry and old-fashioned love letters on the veins and tendons beneath his skin. “He would have suffered,” Hannibal whispered against the glass and Will opened his eyes to come face to face again with his Alpha.

He could have laughed at the phrasing. Would have? Suffering was all he was doing, ever since he had presented for Hannibal. “Do you think I was unhappy?”, he asked Hannibal, sharp and silent. “Before all this?” He had wanted to make the question rhetorical, but he couldn't get his voice to rise and imply the mockery at the end. Hannibal pressed his thumb to the center of Will's palm before he lowered his eyes to see where they touched. “Terribly,” he said with anguish, like the thought alone was a knife between his ribs. He brought his eyes back to Will, rich like bitter chocolate. “I could feel it every day, even before you presented.” There was a red tinge around the eye white and Will felt his lungs tightening painfully as he snatched his hand back from Hannibal's fingers.

“And you believe you can change that? You can make me happy?”, he bit, trying to snarl with teeth, blunter than he remembered them. He hated these words, and he hated whatever they implied. He was going home, to his wife Molly, the woman he promised to love and cherish until death would do them part. A promise. Yes, he remembered the hollow nights and the days where his eyes barely registered his surroundings, locked inside his mind, but... “A bond will free us from this prison, Will. It will fill the void that rests inside me, shaped like you,” Hannibal said. “And the one in you, shaped like me.”Again, his determination and pride hid the agony that rested beneath his words, and Will could try to choose not to hear it, if the sound hadn't already ripped shreds inside his flesh.

“I got these,” he admitted hoarsely as he reached inside his coat to pull out the plane tickets. Hannibal stepped back as Will pressed them to the glass, allowing his mate to see the contents. “They are a gift from Alana.” He bit his teeth down when his voice quivered in his throat, and fought to keep himself steady. Not for the first time since he'd presented, he missed his broad rimmed glasses to hide himself behind. He knew he sounded lost, and it highlighted everything that was weak and unsure behind his eyes.

Hannibal scanned his eyes over the pages with a gaze that was either calculative, or very far away. Will couldn't tell what went on behind those eye whites, that gleamed in the fluorescent light like mother of pearl. “How considerate,” he then said, carefully controlled and a soft smile on his lips, before he brought those eyes back to Will. “Monday,” Hannibal said and Will sniffled before taking back the tickets and folding them to fit into his coat. “I'm using this. These,” he said, soft but determined as he corrected singular to plural. “I'm coming back, but I will go.” His fingers trembled when he took his hand from his pocket, and Hannibal's hand reached back for him through the hole at the sight of his distress. Will allowed himself back into his Alpha's touch, and almost whimpered in relief when a rush of easy soothing burned away the thorny branches in his bloodstream.

“When will you come back?”, Hannibal urged, and Will kept his eyes on their linked fingers as he shook his head: “I don't know.” The Alpha's touch tightened around him and for a brief moment, he wondered what would happen if Hannibal would simply refuse to let him go. For a moment, he wished it. “Until it becomes unbearable to stay away?”, Hannibal asked. “Until they have to carry you in on a stretcher?” The Alpha's mouth pulled tight and his nostrils flared out, dripping grief from the seam of his composed mask. “Have you learned nothing?” The razor edged question was contradicted by a soft caress of thumb, as the earthy tones in his eyes darkened like rain falling on the dirt. Will's breath hitched as he shook his head, again and again, shifting his gaze back and forth without being able to settle. “I will come back,” he said, another promise. And he would, he knew this with absolute certainty. The circumstances as to how he would return, or what he would return to, however, remained unknown.

Hannibal watched him, but his face did not betray anything more. He remained still, silent, as revealing as a windowless wall and it reminded Will of the Hannibal he had known years before, when Will had just been Will, and Hannibal lived a double life. He swallowed hard and forced their eyes to connect, wishing to watch his mate soften and grow back into the man he understood so much better. “I will come back, on my own two feet,” he said, trying a small smile as he squeezed Hannibal's thumb. The Alpha remained still, but his pupils narrowed and widened like an adjusting lens of a camera. “Will I get to meet the family?”, he asked, the pull around his lips positively pitiless and Will closed his eyes, huffing air through his nose in a deep sigh.

“I hope to bring back something,” he replied with honesty, dragging his shoulders up to find the right words within himself as Hannibal waited, hand in his. “I hope to find clarity.” Their eyes were one as Hannibal stretched out his long, smooth neck. “Do you expect to step off that plane, look at your wife and child, and know things you do not already know now?”, he asked, reverting back to the ever-present therapist within him, and Will smiled joylessly at the question that lingered beyond. “I don't know what to expect,” he replied instead, feeling Hannibal's pulse pumping beneath his skin. Physically steadied, both, by their connection.

Will let his fingertips tap against Hannibal's palm as they stood together, letting the frustration drain through their touch as they stayed close against the glass and breathed. Minutes ticked away before Will released a long breath through his pursed lips and smiled tiredly, pushing a nail in the groove of Hannibal's pliant hand and resting his head against the glass. “Alana wanted to see if we don't have any plans to try and get you under my care,” he said, bringing his voice to a warm whisper to avoid being picked up by the microphones. The memory, the idea, the terror in her big blue eyes suddenly brought a tickling wave of weakness inside his abdomen, releasing a helpless huff of laughter behind his closed lips. Hannibal hummed as he kept his palm up and open under Will's touch, as a new light stroked his honey eyes. “That sounds lovely,” he said, his voice a low caress between the glass. There was a shared mirth through the heavy weight upon them, that Will felt and understood as his own. A secret shared between them, a code, a hidden language, like that between children in the playground.

“She seemed very stressed about that possibility,” Will smiled quietly, showing his teeth as his lips betrayed amusement that Hannibal observed with unhidden pleasure. Alana had been stressed about losing control. Alana did not know the control was never hers. “What did you tell her?”, Hannibal asked, as he bit a fang down on his bottom lip that stretched pink into a matching smile. Will shrugged and flicked his eyes to their hands, feeling a warmth that spread across his chest, and could not be blamed on that bourbon. “I told her I have no interest in having you released into my custody,” he spoke honestly, with a playful squeeze of his fingers. Hannibal scraped him gently with a nail, but his eyes stirred warm like ginger tea. “Pity,” he said, flickering his eyes openly to Will's lips and moved possibly even closer to the wall of glass. They couldn't, but Will felt the eyes, the desire, and the pull between them like no barrier existed.

“Is there nothing that could change your mind?”, Hannibal asked with eyes that danced with pleasure, shooting up toward the overhanging microphone on the ceiling. His voice had been loud enough to be picked up by one of those, and Will knew the Alpha wished to stir that little bit of doubt back into Alana's eased mind. “Perhaps,” he said, suppressing a smile, playing the game as he rose one amused eyebrow. Playful banter. Civilized, good natured conversation. If they'd ever had it, it was a long, long time ago. But the enjoyment was like a pure, thick ray of sunlight.

Hannibal bit a fang into his lip, vaguely pretending to think it over while staring back into Will's glowing eyes. “You could keep me on a leash,” he then offered, stirring the levity between them as his pupils blew wide at the image painted inside his mind. Will knew his own vision was nothing like Hannibal's, because his brain was quick to picture his mate with a collar on his neck, living in a very pristine dog house and dining from a ceramic bowl with his name on it. He snorted, ungracefully, and Hannibal squeezed his wrist. “I would get you a muzzle,” Will replied and watched his mate smile wide around his sharp fangs. He watched them as they gleamed like pearls in the artificial light.

“How is your shoulder?”, Hannibal asked him, noticing the direction of Will's gaze, whose smile twitched under those curious eyes. “It hurts,” he said. “Like hell.”

**

Monday. Two days from today. One day after tomorrow, he was going home to Molly. Will sighed as his fingers ran past the wrinkled paper in his pocket. Already it was a mess, with soggy fingerprints and badly folded comers. He was going to call her, soon, and she would be so happy. She would vacuum, probably. Change the sheets and go to the market to get fresh fish for dinner. She would be there at the airport and she would smile and wrap her arms around him. Kiss the corner of his lips. In her eyes he would see her joy, as well as the pain he knew this had caused her. But she wouldn't say that. She would hold his hand to the car and ask him about his flight first, the motel room second, maybe the food, before she would tell him all about the dogs, Wally, dinner and perhaps an anecdote about that rude thing the lady at the fish market had said, which they would laugh about. Then, at home she would make him coffee, and at the kitchen table she would ask him about Baltimore, the hospital, Hannibal. She would start easy, slow, but she would work deeper with every evasive answer, until he would close himself off, ending the conversation. She would make him that fish dinner, serve him wine and make him laugh. And when the curtains had lifted, she would try again.

Molly was amazing. She loved him. She took his feelings into account, but also wished to know what lived inside his head. Not to pry or judge, but to support and understand him. He was impossible at times, moody, brooding, but she had promised herself to reach through that, and she often believed she did. She wished to be connected, because she didn't know what Will had hidden in the back of the shiny bookcase he presented to the world. She didn't see the rotating door and the skeletons he had hidden from view. He didn't know what to tell her anymore, because there was nothing left inside him with an outlined shape. The only thing that remained, in vibrant, shining colors, was his Alpha.

Will reached for his keys as he came to a halt before his motel door, and turned the lock before he stepped into the darkness. Inside, he flicked the switch, turned to close the door behind him and reached for the zipper of his coat. It was all done quickly, within the same instant and without hesitation or a moment's pause. And before the scent could hit him, his arm was suddenly twisted behind his back, as his head smashed against the closed motel door. The bones in his nose crunched inside his head as his already sore cheekbone and temple bounced back against the painted wood. He grunted in surprise, roared in anger and tears sprung to his eyes when the scent of stinging spices and smoke filled his lungs as he struggled against a tall, strong body that pressed against him.

“Get the fuck off of me,” Will growled, exposing his fangs as he thrashed against the tight grip on his body, feeling hot pants of breath against his neck. His back was straining against the invasion as his shoulders tried to fend off his attacker, while one foot kicked blindly against sturdy legs. A right, sharp blow against a kneecap was enough for him to push back the weight that overpowered him, as he shook his arms free and turned himself around he came face to face with the intruder, a person he had long identified by his scent.

It was The Dragon. The other male Omega. The tall, shy man with the scarred lip, the brown hair, the evasive manners and the blue eyes that now seemed overrun by a black as deep as ink. Hannibal's suitor. Will snarled when The Dragon wasted no time to smash Will's body back into the door, reaching out and grabbing him by both wrists before burying his nose against Will's hands to inhale, deeply. “You smell like him.”

Will hissed, baring his teeth to his gums as he felt a wave of fury crashing through his helpless flesh. His arms strained inside the tight grip of The Dragon as he found new strength within his anger and managed to land the back of his heel hard against the fragile bone of the taller man's shin. He wrestled his hands free and pushed the rivaling Omega off his body. “You smell like the 18 layers of Chinese hell,” he spat back as he moved to take a powerful stance beside the bed; clenched fists by his hips, bended knees, straightened shoulders. Strong and ready for... but The Dragon closed the new distance with two strides, confident and swift, as he reached back for Will's hands and brought the fingers to his nose again.

“Dr. Lecter,” he breathed with a low, raspy voice, and Will's nostrils flared as The Dragon lowered his lids and smiled. “I've never gotten the chance to scent him,” he said, eyes black as raven's feathers as he ran the bridge of his nose along Will's fingertips in, what almost appeared to be a content nuzzle. There was a low rumble that buzzed up from his chest as he smiled his Omega fangs bare. “He is perfect.”

Will used all his strength to try and push the man back, away from him and his hands, that scent, but he quickly came to realize he might as well have been shoving a solid rock. The Dragon was tall and lean, but in no universe had Will guessed the massive strength that hid beneath those simple clothes. “Let me go,” he choked when his arms started to tremble under the useless strain and The Dragon smiled curiously at his obvious struggle as he kept Will's fingers in his clutch. Up close, Will could see the bright blue of his eyes that shone beneath the darkness, and the scar on his lip, the deep abuse and the lunacy.

“You are not nearly as strong as I am,” The Dragon said, openly pleased as he tightened his hold on Will's hands. The bones inside the crushing grip ground together, cracking and twisting beneath the skin until close to snapping as easily as chicken bones. A wave of nausea took him over when the pain, the disgusting feeling of his insides grinding close and the heavy spices of the Omega's dominant scent blended in a hideous sensation. “I could so easily destroy you,” he spoke, as if lost in a pleasant dream as his eyelids lowered and bliss etched around his features. The hand moved the bones against each other between nerves and veins and tendons, and Will felt himself pale under his skin.

“Is that why you're here?”, he asked, weak but vicious as The Dragon took another drag from his hands before brining Will's index finger to his damaged lips. Will's whole body tightened when that mouth wrapped around his skin and tasted his mate's touch with eyes closed in pure pleasure. Will was frozen in place, eyes glued to the scene before him, until he felt the blunt teeth pressing against his flesh. Panic rose, and he quickly restarted fighting the tight grip on his wrists with hard, quick jerks of his forearms. “Stop,” he cried out when a flick of tongue ran over the inside of his knuckle, and then, the grip was gone. Will felt his heart beating, his lungs expanding, as his hands were released and The Dragon stepped back with a dark spark in his light eyes, tongue tasting his lips.

“No,” The Dragon spoke, holding his arms beside his body in an inhuman-like still stance, that of a statue. Will silently wished not to show his relief, but he certainly felt the dive of his stomach as he faced the other Omega. “I'm here to show you,” he then said, and Will felt his skin tightening like touched by ice. “Show me?”, he repeated, a grimace on his lips that kept revealing his fangs. It was his Omega in the attic, unstoppable, growling around dripping razor sharp fangs.

Will breathed in deep through his mouth, avoiding the poisonous scent that pulsed from The Dragon in thick waves. He could not believe he hadn't smelled him that first time in the park. The wind, the thick coat, the odd angle must have been enough to hide it. There had been something shy about this stranger, then. Something undefinable. But now, it was like he was looking at a different man. That man who had whispered about The Dragon with eyes and teeth and fire in the flesh, strong and untamed. Will felt a twitch of real fear when he looked at him. This man could destroy him, there was no doubt. But Hannibal hadn't seen the threat, had never seen this man or felt his strength, smelled the death in him. Hannibal had not seen the pure, honest mania that shimmered behind his skin.

The Dragon turned his head, as if mechanically, and despite the deformed lip, Will knew he could be considered handsome. He didn't even have the crooked teeth one would expect from the bite marks on his victims. The Dragon looked at him, not a tensed muscle inside his lean form. He wasn't threatened. He wasn't impressed. “You know who I am. You know my intentions,” he spoke and Will felt the wild flinch that crossed his own face like it was done to him from the outside. “You want to bond with Hannibal,” he said between his teeth. In his head, a sharp vision clawed and chewed its way to the front of his brain, of himself and his Alpha in the prison cell, in the bathroom, in the shower, on the bed and the chair... Will breathed deep, watched the corner of The Dragon's mouth twitch and then, the images stuttered, distorted like on an old TV, before he watched himself being replaced. The vision stayed the same, but this time, it was The Dragon in the bathroom and on the bed and that fucking table. The images so similar the difference was hardly noticeable. Interchangeable. Will was not there. Will was at home.

He watched the other Omega's eyes tighten and became aware of the open snarl on his own face and the crooked fingers on his hands. But the Dragon wasn't worried about Will. “Dr. Lecter is the perfect candidate to fuel the becoming of The Great Red Dragon,” he explained calmly and Will blinked, flexed his fingers and straightened his back. “I'm not sure I understand any of that,” he replied, sliding in as much mockery as he dared, but The Dragon already turned to the bed, where Will now noticed a black briefcase. He opened it, not even keeping an eye out for the other Omega as he clicked the lock and took out a magazine. The thin paper was worn from touch, and cracks had appeared on the outer side of the print. But The Dragon opened it to the desired page with one flick of his finger, and presented it to Will without handing it to him.

It was a picture of a watercolor painting. The back of a magnificent beast, winged and horned and tailed and bulging with strength. Beneath him, in gold, was a woman looking up at him in what seemed to be glorious adoration. “The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun, by William Blake,” Will read out loud, flashing his eyes back to the other man, who was now standing closer than he cared for.

“Do you feel it?”, The Dragon purred in that hellish voice and Will swallowed deeply when a shiver ran from his neck to the back of his knees. “Feel it?”, he asked, hearing his own voice pitch higher. The Dragon tracked one finger over the beast's tail. “You are an Omega. I have wondered if you would feel what I feel. If you see it for what it is,” The Dragon said, voice low and soft but eyes leering, black like death. “I-It's a painting,” Will said, feeling the confused panic rising at the dangerous glow that covered the other Omega from head to toe. Dark, empty insanity.

The Dragon eyed him for a full minute, silent and dark and reeking of biting menthol before he brought the magazine back to his chest to close the page. “Good,” he then said. “If you had felt it too, I would have had no choice but to stop you.” The words were spoken softly, but Will felt his eyes widen and his jaw weaken at the cold, bloodless eyes of The Dragon. “I do not want to destroy you, it is not the way,” he continued, and Will swallowed hard under the haunting stare as he remembered Hannibal's words. Killing another Omega was not considered 'honorable'. He had huffed at the sentiment then, but oh was he grateful for it now.

The magazine was stored back into the briefcase with much care before the man turned back to him with eyes that had returned to blue. “Through this image, The Dragon came to me.” he said, sitting himself down on the mattress with hands folded in his lap as Will stayed upright beside the door. “This was the moment I presented Omega.” 

Will blinked, more times than he could count, as his lips closed and opened under the strain of his bewilderment. “You presented for a painting?”, he asked, openly stunned as he folded his arms across his chest. The Dragon's nostrils twitched and Will almost expected puffs of smoke to rise from the inside. “For The Great Red Dragon,” he corrected quietly, but Will heard the warning below his tongue. For The Great Red Dragon. He presented Omega for a piece of paper, a picture in a magazine, and Will realized it had manifested inside his mind as something tangible and real. Real enough for his DNA to believe it was something he could actually have...

“He is your Alpha?”, Will asked, pushing nails into his own upper arms as he tried to keep himself steady. “He is,” The Dragon answered with a nod and a spark of proud pleasure at his own affirmation. Will frowned, twisting his head around the words as he tried to puzzle a picture from the few pieces he was given. “So... not Hannibal?”, he finally blurted out, wondering if Hannibal had misunderstood his stalker's intentions. But that was unlikely enough for Will to feel a deep sense of unease, instead of the possible relief.

“Dr. Lecter has the life and strength to fuel my Alpha,” The Dragon spoke almost dreamily now and again Will paused, blinked, breathed. “But aren't you becoming The Dragon?”, he then asked, growing more and more confused with every answer. He took a step towards the bed, but when The Dragon rose to his feet, he was quick to claim back his old space. “The Omega is inside of me, but so is The Dragon,” the man said, growing a head of pure, glowing satisfaction as he preached with all his passion. “All I have to do is provide his life force.”

“Through a bond with Hannibal?”, Will asked through clenched teeth, trying to keep down the offensive noises from his Omega. “And killing innocent families?” Will took a step sideways, closer to the bed and away from the door. The Dragon huffed again, narrowed his eyes that flashed back to black as he watched Will shuffling sideways. “I am not killing them,” he said with sharp determination. “I'm changing them.” Will watched his shoulders flex under his shirt as The Dragon pressed his lips together. “It is how I become.” Then, his lips curved into a crooked smile that brought out the deformation of his lip. He sized Will up with an open stare. “My bonding with Dr. Lecter will complete the transition.”

Fuck that, is what he wanted to say, had he dared. Instead, he tried to keep his lips from curling as he asked him; “Why Hannibal?” The Dragon's smile softened and Will couldn't help but release a low growl from his throat. It wasn't so much that he, Will, belonged to Hannibal. But he knew damn well that Hannibal was not and never would belong to this lunatic. Oh no. He had thought them a perfect match before, but now he knew that couldn't be further from the truth. This man possessed no sense, no reality, no insight. Where he and Hannibal were more than human, this stranger was nothing but a savage beast.

“I've been a great admirer of Dr. Lecter's, even before he was known as the Chesapeake Ripper,” The Dragon said, stretching his neck, a challenging glow in his eyes. “I collected every article and wrote him many letters over the years.” Will pictured him in a little bedroom, cutting articles out of newspapers and flinched. “When I presented Omega, I knew there was only one Alpha that could fulfill my desire to find The Dragon within myself. He alone would understand.” Will breathed in deep and pressed his teeth together. Hannibal would understand. Hannibal understood madness, he was deeply fascinated by it, intensely passionate about it, but in no way was he, himself, mad. Hannibal had, ironically enough, an insane amount of clarity.

“I'd wished to free him, but of course I had not foreseen your sudden connection with him,” The Dragon added, and Will's lips twitched, upwards this time. “No one had,” he replied, rather dry, as he kept his eyes tight. The man stepped closer, eyes blue with a dangerous tremor beneath, like wrinkles on still water, as something came up from beneath the surface. “Together, we can bring him back into the world,” The Dragon spoke with a dreamlike pining as Will tried to shuffle back, hitting the windowsill with his lower back. That scent was like Tiger balm to his eyes and the closer they got, the more tears he would have to blink back. The Dragon came to halt before Will, with eyes that saw him, but did not seem limited to the room alone. “You, from the inside of the prison, and me on the outside.”

Will kept his eyes sharp and straight on the taller man as he pressed his lips together. “After that, it is every man for himself.” Will heard his own heart beating so loudly, he was almost as ashamed as he was afraid. “I'm not helping you,” he said without stuttering as a drop of sweat rolled off his temple. “If Hannibal wants out, he would be out. He doesn't need either one of us for that.” He watched the Dragon stare back at him without motion. There was silence, as they stood near, face to face, challenging and breathing the other until Will felt his throat swelling from the heat. “I'm leaving in two days,” he said, wanting nothing more than for this to end, and for him to leave. It would take him hours to get rid of the stench.

“To your wife and child?”, The Dragon asked, the scar of his lip pulled as he showed a bit of sharp fangs. Longer, sharper than Will's. His heart stuttered, his breathing stopped, and his eyes widened at the words as The Dragon observed him like a toad would a fly, ready to catch him with that sticky tongue. Will couldn't speak as he watched The Dragon step back, turning towards the briefcase on the bed. He knew about his life. He knew about his family. “You will not help free Dr. Lecter?”, he asked as Will pressed his back against the windowsill, holding the ridge with his hands behind his back. “No,” he shook his head as The Dragon walked from the bed, near the door.

“You have no intention of bonding with him?”, The Dragon asked, his face stoic, his lips closed, his eyes dark clouds full of disaster. He stared him down, but Will pushed his chin out as he looked at the other Omega. He got that question a lot, but the answer was a children's drawing full of endless lines and scribbles. “I know he will not bond with you,” he said instead, feeling bold as he glared back at the tall, dark, strong stranger. The victory didn't last.

A flash of brown hair, pale skin, black eyes and suddenly tight, strong fingers closed around Will's throat. And his grip was crushing and burning until his eyes teared and his vision blurred. This hold was one that could destroy his windpipe, break his neck, hold until all the life had left his body. He clawed at the hand, at the grip, but it was no use as he felt his feet lifted from the floor and his back pressed against the window. “He will bond with me,” the low, fiery sharp growl shook against his ear as he heard himself making pitiful choking noises. “He cannot resist the power of The Dragon. The moment we meet, face to face, Lecter will bond with me.” Blue and black took over his vision and Will was certain he was about to lose consciousness, feeling light in his head and heavy in his feet, until the hand loosened around his skin and dropped him to the floor.

He wheezed, grabbing at his sore throat that throbbed with pain and swelling as he watched the door open from the corner of his eyes, and heard it fall shut into the silence. He sat on the floor as he tried to catch his breath while blood pumped back into the narrowed veins of his brain. Tears were on his cheeks and his vision swam in dizzy color as he stroked his throat, and panted his relief trough open lips. He sat there for minutes, long after his breathing had returned to normal, before he found the strength to drag himself up and collapse on the mattress. “Good luck with that,” he mumbled hoarsely against his pillow.

Chapter Text

“Ugh.” He never buttoned up. Not all the way. There were always those 'casually' popped buttons from the top: one for business, two for downtime, three if he was feeling adventurous. But today, Will hooked two fingers behind the board of his done-up collar and felt the tight space it left around his throat, flexing his neck uncomfortably inside the stiff fabric. It would have to do. He pushed his hair from his eyes with both hands, still wet from the tap, and wrinkled his nose at the sight of his reflection. The worst of the discoloration was hidden, but there was still a red glow visible on the uncovered skin of his throat.

He had hideous bruises where The Dragon had pushed his fingertips against his windpipe, and the skin was a colorful mess of blue and purple prints, covering the previous, yellowing bruises Hannibal had left on him days before. It was swollen, throbbing with damage to the underlying, ruptured veins, but the wild pattern, resembling abstract watercolor art, wasn't even the worst of it. Will chuckled humorlessly as he ran a blunt nail beneath his itching jawline and flinched at the stinging burn it left in its wake. His skin seemed to have had some sort of allergic reaction to The Dragon's touch, causing both his hands and his throat to be covered in a painful, fiery red rash.

The burning itch had presented itself less than twenty minutes after The Dragon had left his room, starting with heated skin, inflammation, before biting little bumps had risen up from beneath his flesh. Around his Adam's apple, down his collar bone, on the inside of his wrist and between the knuckles of his fingers. After opening the window and door to his room and hanging the bedsheets and his clothes from the windowsill to air them out, he had held the irritated skin under the streaming cold water of the shower for close to an hour. By then, his skin had turned a sick purple blue from the freezing cold and the constant draft that streamed in from the dreary outside. At this point, he had locked himself in, folded himself in the bedsheets on the mattress and closed his eyes as he fought against his shaking shoulders and clattering teeth. But the burning itch, the pain, the adrenaline and the memories had made it impossible for him to relax, to rest, to fall asleep.

Morning had come after that long, dark night of nothing – and now Will watched himself in the bathroom mirror, and felt odd in his done-up shirt. As vibrant as he had looked yesterday, so sickly pale and hollowed out did he look today. His shoulders were drawn up, exhaustion visible on his face and the rash on his skin brought him right back to wounded, suffering animal. He sighed, lost in all this pointlessness, and dried his hands on the already damp towel beside the sink as he tried to ignore the thrumming soreness of the tender, swollen flesh beneath his clothes.

Will pushed himself away from the sink and moved into the bedroom to look for his shoes. He needed some space. Some air. There was nothing left for him to do here, and he hoped the cool breeze would relieve the burn on his skin, as well as the tired haze he carried with him like an unshakable swarm of bees. His hand patted the back pockets of his jeans in search for his wallet as his eyes scanned the desk for his keys. He wanted nothing more now than to get away from these scents and reflections and walls that limited the room inside his drowning mind.

There was more and more for him to consider, to puzzle and piece together, and to fit into one, narrow frame. Hannibal, Molly, The Dragon, his Omega. They swarmed together inside his head like a colony of woodlice beneath the bricks, unplaced and without purpose, and the feeling made him restless, anxious, pushing neurotic. There was too much of them and not enough room to lay them out, and the one thing to consider now, was what he wished the picture to show when he was done puzzling.

Will grabbed his coat from the bed and fished his cellphone from beneath a pile of his dirty clothes before he reached for the door handle and took a deep, calming breath. He had some time left, just for him, just today. After his confrontation with The Dragon, his upcoming departure from Hannibal and his return to Molly, all he wished for now was silence in his chaotic mind. Space to lay out his mind and his heart, and understand what it would show him.

But as the door swung open under the weight of his hand, he was surprised to come face to face with an unexpected visitor. “Will Graham, Good afternoon,” were the words that greeted him, and even stunned, Will had to suppress an open flinch at the sight of Doctor Frederick Chilton.

Will blinked at the sight before him. It was a long, long time since he had last seen this man, and the last time he remembered even longer. Their last conversation in the hospital had been overshadowed by the face of Abigail. The other times... Chilton's presence had never made it past anything but a foot note in the file cabinet inside his mind. Either a nuisance, or a tool. The only vivid memory he could dig out of the muddy clay was the man on his porch, covered in blood, asking to use his shower.

Will watched the now pristine, expensive gray suit, the black, polished shoes, the one invasive eye, and the skillfully hidden scars on the side of his face. “Doctor Chilton,” he said with a quick shake of his head, the open door firmly in his hand. No, not now. He had wanted silence. He had wanted... “What are you doing here?” The shocked aversion was barely concealed in his blunt words, but Chilton's expression of fiery curiosity, hidden behind arrogant politeness, didn't move an inch. The man grinned as he eyed the coat on Will's arm and the keys in his hand. “I see I'm lucky to catch you”, he gestured and Will's eyes widened when the man reached out for his hand to shake, touching his hot, raw flesh that pulsed swollen around the narrow bones. He quickly pulled his hand back when Frederick frowned and looked down at where their fingers met, undoubtedly feeling the inflamed, throbbing skin beneath his own, but he painted the smile back around his mouth without missing a beat when Will hid both his hands beneath the coat over his arm.

“I was in the neighborhood,” Chilton light-heartedly avoided answering, stretching his lips into that familiar businessman smile as he gestured casually around himself. “I heard you were staying here, and I was simply curious to see how you are.” Will's lips tightened at the kind words, disconcerted with the idea of someone spilling the address of his motel room to this man, with whom his relationship could never have been called in any way 'friendly'. He backed up when Frederick stepped closer, moving in on him with green eyes sparkling like those of a spoiled, house-trained parakeet. “May I come in?”, he asked, for form alone as he brought his shiny foot over the threshold. Before Will could find the breath for an answer, his shoulder brushed that gray suit, and Chilton had moved past him into his room. “I...” Will struggled with empty words inside his throat as the Doctor pushed past him in the narrow doorway, and up close, Will could see older, paler skin than he remembered, sagging a little loose around the damaged half of his face. He could also see the manic enthusiasm that had nothing to do with visiting an old patient and everything with outrageous self-enrichment. Chilton's notorious self-appointed entitlement.

Everything registered a second too late, and Will's head twitched as he followed Chilton inside with wide, bewildered eyes. “So, how are you holding up?”, the man asked as he took in his surroundings with much enjoyment, openly feasting on every detail. The pile of clothes by the bathroom door, the unmade bed stained with sweat, the drawn curtains, the empty beer cans in the trash. Will moved his coat to his forearm as he turned himself back into the room. Flustered and uneasy, the blood drew up past his throat and stung the inflamed flesh cruelly beneath his damaged skin, making him pull at the tight collar in search for relief as he felt salty sweat forming and biting beneath the fabric of his clothes.

Chilton's eyes flashed to Will's now exposed hands, red and raw, like he had undoubtedly felt them to be. “Allergies?”, he asked greedily concerned, his voice almost hushed and his lips crooked, as if adding a side note in an ongoing conversion. Will quickly folded his arms, wondering how much of the rash now sneaked from under his shirt when Frederick's eyes ran openly up his throat. He shook his head dismissively, a flinch around his narrowed eyes as he pursed his lips and tilted his head. “How am I holding up?”, he repeated the casual, over-familiar phrase as he hunched his shoulders in the hope it would drag up his collar and hide the inflamed skin.

Chilton smiled perfectly even, despite his expertly hidden prosthetic, and one green eye sparkled like a polished gem. “I've been told you have a very intense week behind you.” The friendly nod and gentle blink failed to hide the keenness that brewed behind the skin with a smoky, toxic fume and Will sucked in his bottom lip between sharp teeth. “By?”, he inquired stiffly as his toes curled inside his shoes. Had he been so inclined, he would have offered the man a chair and a cup of coffee, just for the sake of good manners. But he had outgrown those manners, a little more with every one of his overstepped boundaries.

“Alana Bloom,” Chilton waved, smug and pleased, alert like a seagull on a busy boulevard. “Watercooler talk.” Will almost smiled at the words as he looked at the polished, self-righteous man across from him. A transparent attempt to flash the name cards in his rolodex. Not a minute in, but it was already clear as the water of his stream. The contrast between them was stark, and the neat, alert enthusiasm of the Doctor made Will look the part of the scruffy, hazy, unshaved and wary haired mental patient once more. Had Will been anyone else, he would not have seen past the superficial first layer presenting Chilton's shining confidence and hearty interest, and move in deeper for the shimmering motive. But Will remembered Frederick Chilton's carefully peeled layers from many years back. He came here, looking like this, behaving like this, expecting to dazzle and overpower the weak, wounded Omega. He wanted something.

“You don't work there,” Will challenged with a cocked brow, taking a step closer to the shorter man who remained firm in his spot beside the bed and tilted his head. “She regularly calls on me for guidance and advice,” Chilton explained patiently as he ran a finger over the edge of Will's mattress. “I've been the head of that facility for many years, as you know, and she...” Chilton pressed his lips together and narrowed his eyes in a thoughtful gesture of compassion. “Well, she has her insecurities.” Will huffed quietly through his nose and sucked his lips against his teeth when Chilton dared to take a step towards him. “And most of them regard Doctor Hannibal Lecter.”

That was a test. Will felt the scrutinizing eyes when that name was dropped, right before Frederick took a gliding step back to observe his reaction. Pupils fixated sharply on his features, and Will fought to keep his skin passive and smooth in its proper place. He stared back at the man with nothing but blank boredom before Frederick broke the connection, wrung his hands together and smiled. “My personal relationship with Doctor Lecter is rather tumultuous,” he continued, that smile growing somewhat sour within the confession. “I did some writing about him, he did some writing about me... enfin, I'm sure you have heard.” Another casual wave of his hand to emphasize how hotly demanded he thought that information to be, as he threw a second glance over his shoulder towards the pile of dirty clothes by the bathroom door.

Will silently begged for his underwear to be hidden from view, knowing his slick stained the fabric rather visibly. “It didn't come up,” he said in return and Chilton turned his head back, his everlasting smile now tightened with a hint of offense. “Well,” he said, tilting his head to look down his sturdy nose. “I'm sure you had other things to focus on.” His nostrils twitched and his lips pulled challengingly around his lips as his green eyes lit up with a starting fire. Will felt his stomach clenching hard and cold at the hinted layer that shone beneath the words, and he suddenly wondered just how much Chilton had been informed by the Hospital. He watched the man with targeting eyes as hot blood bubbled up from his toes to the back of his skull. “I must say, you look a little worse for wear,” Chilton continued as he stepped closer to the desk and ran his eyes intimately over Will's dry, itchy skin and sunken eyes that the terrible night had brought back to his face.

Will stayed passive in his reply, robotic, a reflex, words he didn't bother to think about anymore. “I'm fine,” he said and Chilton's eyes lowered to his shoes with a pleasant hum in his throat. “Yes, well, I've spoken with Doctor Hammings,” he said, and Will's lip started pushing up the neat row of his teeth. He was lying. He had no medical authority left in that building. Chilton was lying. “I've come to understand you and Hannibal are quite the extraordinary pairing,” he said, bringing his lips in tightly to express polite interest and concern. He knew everything. “He told me it is physically painful for you to be separated from your mate.” The curious tone poked hot from beneath the dark pupils and Will's lips curled fully over his teeth with a growl that pushed from his throat.

His Omega hunched his back at the uttered word. His mate. His mate. His. Chilton had nothing... no right to even... no fucking...

Chilton's eyes widened, recognizing the warning as he held up his hands, palms up, in innocence. “I just wanted to say I wasn't at all surprised when you presented Omega,” he said, showing his own teeth in an uneasy grin that he most likely considered friendly. “Or that it was for Doctor Lecter.” Will suppressed a snarl at his Alpha's name. “You two always had that strange connection, that intensity between you,” Chilton rattled on, pride coloring his voice warm, convinced and self-affirmed of his gift in human insight. “I always knew you were destined, somehow.”

The intense stare and the self-pleasuring ego stroking before him made Will huff a chuckle, weak with astonishment over the absurd suggestion as his lips stretched wide. “Did you?”, he then asked, mockery open in his voice as he straightened his shoulders. “And when was that? When he framed me for murder or when he stuck a knife inside my gut?” Now it was Chilton who huffed at the slicing tone as he shrugged his shoulders and moved himself around Will, coming to stand before the television screen.

“I did say it was a strange connection,” he waved away Will's cynicism. “Not your common fairy tale.” Will dragged up his nose at the brief flash of a smirk as Chilton touched the top of his television screen before inspecting his finger for dust. “My point being...”, he said, rubbing his fingertips together, looking down his nose. Of course there was dust. “You have both risen to a level of animalistic, intimate savagery.” The green eyes were almost clouded as he spoke, but the sharp glint beneath was never gone from the dreamy haze. “It is extraordinary. Unique.” He was the magpie before the open jewelry box, beak watering and claws hooked into the windowsill. Chilton slid his hands in the coat of his jacket as he leaned against the desk. “It is a most enthralling thing to witness.”

And Will didn't move, didn't blink, but inside, the words were pulled apart, pressed together, torn down, closely examined beneath the sharpest lens as his eyes narrowed, his lips dropped in a grimace, his fingers curled inside his palm. “Witness?”, he repeated. “What exactly did you witness, Frederick?” He watched his own dark brow come into his vision as he felt a twitch of heavy, sizzling uneasiness rumble from inside his belly. That glint in Chilton's eyes, those teeth behind that sharp smile... he had something to trade. Something to use. Leverage. Chilton took his hands from his pocket and placed them beside him on the desk, leaning himself back in a posture that did not match the conversation. “The fire in you, mister Graham.”

The words were wrong. Spoken softly, warm and with the hint of pleasant secrecy. Will watched the man, saw his arrogance, his eagerness and greed and felt his stomach twist. “You disgusting little man,” he said, bringing his voice down to a hum as he smiled dangerously past his teeth and shook his head in amazed astonishment. Chilton's expression didn't change, but again, he held up his palms in a peace offer that Will wished to slice from his wrists. “I am merely saying that the dynamic between the two of you is one for the books,” the man explained, no threat present in his voice as he pressed his lips into that sickening smile.

Will realized it, watching him like this. Chilton did not see danger in Will Graham. Hannibal, he feared. But locked up so neatly behind glass walls, there was nothing to stop him. Will was weak. Will was an Omega. Will could so easily be manipulated. Acid green like poison bubbled up from between his shoulder blades and spread through his veins with a biting heat. Will had had enough. The Dragon had laughed at him. Alana had pitied him. Jack had overpowered him. And now, Frederick Chilton, the fucking village idiot, came here to extort him, use him for his own newfound hobby, because he was one for the books.

“And you want to write those books,” Will replied aloof as he straightened his shoulders and clenched his hands around his own upper arms. “Tastefully, or not so much, depending how much insight I am willing to provide.” He smiled, almost kindly, if not for the wild glint of blue and green that illuminated his eyes as he stepped closer to the Doctor. Chilton laughed a light chuckle, a lopsided smile on his lips but with eyes that remained untouched by the gesture. “All in good time, Mr. Graham,” he said, like a man trying to sooth an unpredictable animal. “Like I said, I am here to see how you are faring,” Chilton pushed himself off of the desk and his hands found their way back into his pockets.

“You are an old patient of mine and I...” But Will followed those hands, and watched fingers moving beneath the fabric of the gray jacket. “And you are not at all wired, by any chance?”, he inquired, pleasantly but sharp as he watched Chilton's eyes widen for the briefest second before he brought his face back to shocked surprise. “Certainly not,” he spoke, with feet that suddenly pointed to the still open door. “No recording device?”, Will asked, eyebrows up and shaking his head in question as Chilton's cheeks started to color pink. “Mr. Graham, I understand your need for suspicion, but...”, he spoke in that sickening, determined tone and Will felt all patience and pretend draining from his body at the mechanic click of a button he heard coming from Chilton's pocket.

In one strong, fluent movement that seemed quite impossible for a man looking as drained as he did, Will had moved in and pushed a hand inside Chilton's pocket, fishing out a small tape recorder with his swollen hand. “That is not... I...” the Doctor was quick to stutter as he tried to reach back for the device, but Will kept him at arm-length, clicking it open and shaking the little tape into his palm. A moment later, and he crushed it to pieces between his fingers with strength he wasn't aware he had.

“Leave, Frederick,” he said, handing him back the empty recorder. “I have nothing to say to you.” A growl was present in his chest as he stepped past the man and swung the door further open to gesture to the world on the other side. Frederick's smile had disappeared and his eyes widened as he pushed his recorder back into his pocket. “Will, this is...”, he started, back to the scolding school teacher, but Will's lips curled up with a snarl that sent Chilton two quick steps closer to the door. “Leave,” he repeated and Chilton's nostrils flared in defeated anger as he stepped over the threshold, reaching into his inner pocket.

“I'm sorry you feel that way, Mr. Graham,” he spoke tightly, back to business, as he handed Will a card with two of his stubby fingers. “Feel free to look me up, if you change your mind,” Chilton said, and Will pushed his lips into a humorless smirk, pushing Frederick back one step with a light poke of a finger against his sternum. “I only wish to understand and share your story, in a way that you...” Chilton continued, and for a short moment Will was strongly reminded of Freddy Lounds, right before he threw the door closed in his face.

“Christ,” he stayed there, behind the door, and minutes passed before he heard the man get into his car and drive off. He stood frozen in spot, leaning his forehead against the door post with a long, hard sigh. “When will it end?”

Will knew just why the man had come here. He wanted page fillers for his future best seller. Preferably from the horse's mouth, since that would increase the value and credibility of the story quite considerably. Will had feared Doctor Hammings to be the one after that idea, but he had not been aware of the other vultures that circled the exceptional corpse. And Frederick Chilton, oh he had leverage. He knew the prison, the people, surely had one puppet string on Alana, and he had, most likely, seen Will and Hannibal in compromising situations. Something he could choose to write about in exposing, uncomfortable detail, should Will choose not to cooperate. He had the sources and the material for blackmail, and that was why Will knew that Chilton knew his business card would very likely be used after a long, hard think from the Omega.

He sat in silence as he looked down at the neat print on the expensive card, before taking out his wallet and folding it inside.

**

He did go for that walk, twenty minutes after Chilton had left. And the fresh air did feel good against his rough skin. The gentle breeze did feel cool against his heated brain. He bought lunch, found an empty park bench and enjoyed a few rays of watery sunlight as he ate his chicken sandwich without tasting the bland meat, or the soggy lettuce. And then he called Molly.

She picked up, and he told her. He told her about the tickets and the plane and the flight home. And she was happy. She was so happy she cried. She didn't tell him that. She tried to hide the sniffle and the thick throat, but he heard it. And it was enough to make him feel that little bit more worthless.

She had been through hell, all by herself, not for the first time in her unfortunate life. And now he was coming home. He had disrupted their lives, and they had both suffered, but soon his plane would land and everything would go back to the way it had been.

Will swallowed away the tight shiver he felt brushing his spine as they said their goodbyes, and he pressed her away. She didn't know yet that there was no point of return to what once was. He didn't know what it meant just yet, for them, but there was no denying anymore that there was no life for him without Hannibal. There would be visits, heats, pain and longing, and in all fairness, it would be quite a radical change to add this to his relationship with Molly. How could he ask of her...?

He jerked when his phone beeped with an incoming message and saw Alana's name flash up on the screen. It was short and simple, but it sent his heart flying to his throat. His eyes scanned the words several times over before he put his phone back inside his pocket.

Just got an update from the airport. Your flight has been advanced to 10:00 A.M. tomorrow morning. Check in time is 8:00 A.M. I'll send someone by to pick you up at 7:00 A.M.

No. No. Will sat on the bench, feeling his breathing pick up higher in his chest as he wrung his hands together. Tomorrow morning. He was supposed to take the red-eye. Tomorrow morning at 7:00, that was... He checked his watch with a twist of his wrist. He had been sitting here for a while, and now it was 3 in the afternoon. 16 hours. 16 hours left, that wasn't enough. He quickly gathered the remains of his lunch to dump it in the trashcan beside him. He had so much to do. He needed to pack his things and... and...

Will stood beside the bench, hands restless on his clothes as he watched the world in complete, sudden bewilderment. What was there to do, still? Where did he need to go? There was something screaming inside of him, and it wasn't his Omega. No, the beast was locked in the attic and refused to regard him ever since his phone call with Molly. It wasn't the animal, but something furious clawed at him, something human, begging for his attention. He didn't have much time, he didn't....

Who knew when he was going to see him again.

Fuck. Fuck.

Fuck.

“Will Graham for Hannibal Lecter,” he said into the phone against his ear after pressing the first button of his speed-dial. His feet started to walk him further into the park, away from the bench, across the busy street.

“Hello, Will,” came the soothing tones, clear as a single note from a harp's string, yet with an aura of distortion like that of a poorly closed valve on a bicycle tire. It felt like gentle fingers came within his chest, massaging his heart back to life. “Hi,” he said in return, hearing himself out of breath as he watched the duck pond coming into view ahead of him. “Where are you?”, Hannibal asked, a tremor of concern present behind his vocal cords and Will could envision him so perfectly in his mind's eye. The frown wrinkling the skin of his face, the narrow eyes, bourbon smooth but sharp, and the parted lips that curled around his words with obscene dedication and understanding.

“I'm coming to see you,” Will said, picking up his pace even further as he turned his body to slip between and pass two strolling seniors who blocked the sidewalk. Hannibal breathed into his ear. “To say goodbye,” he said on the other end and Will sucked his tongue to the roof of his mouth. There was no need to ask. “I'm leaving tomorrow morning,” he said, feeling his stomach twist in the wake of his words.

“Then come,” Hannibal said, a stroke of warmth against Will's throat as the Alpha's voice poured over him like hot honey. Caressing, yet painful. “Yes,” he breathed, walking two steps faster to avoid colliding with an oncoming bicycle. “Yes.”

He walked and breathed and sped up as much as he could without breaking into an actual run. And he didn't hang up. He kept the phone by his ear and felt the low hum of his Alpha cure the black spots that danced inside his chest like living mold. Hannibal waited for him, silently, without breaking the connection between them. He just waited, and Will almost smiled at the odd sensation of being out in the open, together.

Chapter Text

There was a warm hand stroking the curls from his face as his eyes drifted open and closed under the gentle caressing. Fingers were laced with his own, clutched to his chest, and his head was rested on the warm legs of his Alpha's lap. “Sleep,” a husk voice hummed near his ear, but Will shook his head against the firm thighs. “No,” he murmured, willing himself to keep his eyes open, his mind clear and sharp. He wasn't going to sleep. If he slept now, he wouldn't wake until it was already time for him to leave. He wasn't quite ready for that.

The fingers massaged against his skull and carded through his hair, cherishing him like a beloved pet, or a sick child. But in the wake of the previous events, Will reveled in the feeling of being held and cared for. He surrendered to the sensation of being touched, rather than pushed or pulled, or choked within an inch of his life. He needed this. And he needed it now more than ever.

The silence lingered, blissfully, as Will lay on the bed with his head in Hannibal's lap. His Alpha was propped up against the wall, the position he had taken as soon as he was unchained. He had seen the vulnerability in his Omega's eyes, the powerlessness that sucked him in like quicksand. He had seen the cranking anger, the sour spite, the fear spreading like vermin, and he hadn't even needed to beckon his mate as he sat himself down and folded his arms around Will's exhausted, willing frame without a word wasted.

It was like that for a long time. Will didn't sleep, but his eyes were closed under the warm touch, the healing scent, the soothing presence. The pain, the burn, the defenseless anger faded to the back of his mind as the tension left his aching muscles, allowing him to rest. He forcefully kept his mind cleared whenever an unwanted thought crept up inside the corners, and let himself sink into the golden glow that seemed to reside permanently beneath his Alpha's skin. It would be all the more difficult in his own bed, tomorrow, he knew, but right now he was selfish and hurt and so, so tired. Abused by the world. And nothing else would fix it. Here, he was filled to the brim with nothing but belonging, and let himself be just that.

A nose pressed to his ear, tracing the shell with the warm tip. “Return to me within a week,” Hannibal spoke against him, pushing the bridge of his nose behind Will's ear with a deep inhale. Will knew what he would smell on him, but he had yet to comment. “Promise me.” The urging words were soft and warm like a lamb's coat, but Will felt the trickle of thorns it brought along his temple and pressed one hand to his face.

“No,” he murmured miserably against his still swollen skin as Hannibal continued to stroke his hair, along his forehead and back to where his skull ended in the spine. Will breathed and smelled the spices on his fingers, before lowering them away from his face and closing his eyes again. He didn't want to think, or promise, or plan. He wanted now. Just now.

“You are already so tired,” Hannibal sighed ruefully into their silent space, not aimed at anyone in particular. He was worried, and the thought brought a squeeze to Will's heart that was warm and tight. Too tight. “You know why I'm returning to Molly,” he spoke hoarsely against the mattress, squeezing the fingers between his own in frustration. “Don't you?”

“Because you are a stubborn boy,” Hannibal answered him fondly, briefly tightening his fingers in Will's curls before he soothed the strained skin with apologetic caresses. It was clear evidence of the tension that was buried beneath the gentle, golden eyes. Will flinched before turning his head up, meeting Hannibal's gaze and watched the dull shimmer stir in the thick bourbon. “No, answer me,” Will demanded, soft but rigid, and felt his bottom lip twitch against his teeth. “Answer me like you know I want you to answer me.”

Hannibal's hand stopped stroking for a mere, lost second before he smiled and showed a sliver of pointed fangs. “Molly Foster saved your life,” he said, and Will turned his body until he lay fully on his back, staring up at the stars in Hannibal's galactic eyes. “She took you in when you had nothing to offer in return. Ruined and lost inside yourself.” Hannibal closed his eyes as he smiled, and when he opened them, the stars had dulled into dirt. “Because of your time with me.”

Will breathed unsteadily through his teeth as he looked back at his mate and remembered. Back then, Hannibal had woken up something irreversible but incomplete in him. In the time they had been together, he had gone from a shape with no outline, to a man with one arm, and one leg. Immobile, unfit to achieve the things his mind screamed him destined for. Hannibal had woken the Omega, but Will had been unable to set it free.

“She forgave you your moodiness, your silence, and chased away the ghouls from the past. She added joy to your misery,” Hannibal continued and ran a finger over the bridge of Will's nose, forcing him to close his eyes. “She made you a home.” Will sighed at the words that brought a sickening pressure behind his eyes. He kept them closed and felt a soft fingertip tracing over his lids, withdrawing the tears from the back of his sockets as he fawned out Will's lashes with a soft caress.

“How else could you repay her, but by filling the hole that had been left in her own life?”, Hannibal spoke, almost as if reciting from a book. His voice even, pleasant, soft like the pastel colors in an old-fashioned children's book. It was easy to forget that the words had razorblades to the bottom of each letter uttered, marking their way into Will's flesh. To forever be carried, and forever read back.

“You repaid her with a marriage,” Hannibal concluded, running his fingers up into Will's hairline and the Omega sighed deeply through his mouth before opening his eyes. He stared at his Alpha, all strong, sharp lines and earthly dark eyes, and breathed. For a while, it was all they did. Hannibal wasn't waiting for him to speak. He didn't need Will to deny or confirm anything he had just said. Yes or no, it didn't change the outcome.

Will was startled out of the haze when Hannibal started to unbutton his shirt by the collar, moving his fingers down to expose the hidden skin on his throat. He let it happen as he watched Hannibal's eyes come into contact with the brutal rash, and the hideous discoloration of his bruises. Nothing changed in his physique, no muscles pulled, no fingers twitched, but Will thumped the back of his head against Hannibal's knees when he was startled by a sudden flash of bright, hard, orange flames inside his Alpha's skull, roaring and twisting and sparkling like a campfire in a storm.

“Tell me what happened,” Hannibal said, even, easy, but Will knew the devil was hidden big and bright behind those perfectly sculptured bones. He huffed, bit his teeth into his bottom lip and shook his head at the beast before him. “Your boyfriend came to visit me,” he chuckled dryly and watched flames lick around the perfectly round and pitch black pupils that, in close-up, resembled a howling abyss. Hannibal did not answer him, but traced the patterns of his swollen flesh with his fingertips. Up around his Adam's apple, and down against his collarbone.

“Ow,” Will whined when Hannibal brushed his windpipe with his thumb, and the Alpha was quick to remove his fingers. Instead, he reached for Will's swollen hands and took them into his. “I apologize,” he said, and pressed a kiss to Will's palm as he observed the bumpy rash near his eyes. Will winced once under the touch on his oversensitive flesh, but did not fight the attention lavished upon the damaged skin. That too, after all, lessened in his Alpha's presence.

“He is deranged, Hannibal,” Will snorted fiercely, bringing his eyes to the ceiling as Hannibal kneaded a thumb into his palm. “He presented for a watercolor painting. Did you know this?” He briefly brought his gaze to Hannibal, pointed, widened, and watched the Alpha tend to his hands without lifting his eyes to meet his Omega. “Yes,” Hannibal spoke evenly and Will huffed, lowering his head back to Hannibal's knees as he shook his head. “His Alpha is a fucking picture, Hannibal. He wants to bond with you to 'fuel' a fucking picture.” He knew he was raising his voice as his jaw tightened around the words, but yesterday's fury had not yet been suppressed, and he felt it singing just beneath his sternum.

“I am aware,” Hannibal said, his voice thrumming with something primal, calming, and Will gritted his teeth at his own slowing heartbeat. Fucking animal tricks. “Yes, well, I'm not,” he grunted. “I have no fucking clue what it even means.” Will blinked when he suddenly felt his finger enveloped by a wet, soft heat, and lifted his head to watch Hannibal suck his index finger past his lips. “Wha...,” he barely suppressed a moan when a tongue ran over the inside of his knuckles, right before the Alpha let him slip from his mouth again. “He presented for the manifestation of what the picture represents,” he said against the wet fingertip. “Don't look at it with reason and expect to understand.”

Will pressed his lips together as he stared back at the dull ceiling. “Don't bond with him,” he spoke stiffly as he felt Hannibal's open lips press to the skin of his wrist. Will struggled to hold still when the Alpha licked a broad stripe along the inside of his palm. “That's of no concern, to either one of us,” Hannibal said before sucking Will's thumb between his lips and licking around the digit with an exploring tongue that made Will whimper on his Alpha's lap.

“What are you doing?”, he stuttered, raising his head again to get a proper look at his own finger between those pink lips, and with a flash of his memory, he thought back of the last time someone had brought his fingers to their mouth. “Are you tasting him?” A sudden but hot flash of envious anger burst up as he launched himself upwards and yanked back his hand, cradling it against his chest as his nostrils flared and his eyes twitched with wild fury. If he was now being used as a vessel for a sick courtship between...

“No, Will,” Hannibal was quick to hush him, almost smiling as his eyes grew tender, and his fingers reached back for Will's clutched hand. “I'm curing you. Look at your hand.” Will was reluctant to obey, stubborn and ashamed, but curious enough to slowly unfold his fingers in Hannibal's cradling hold. The skin was a beautiful map of colors now, between fiery red to pale pink and everything in between. He could clearly see where Hannibal's tongue had touched him, as the rash had already begun to fade.

Will blinked at the sight and shifted his eyes to Hannibal's. “Are you the antidote to my arch nemesis?”, he said with raised eyebrows and for the first time today, he watched Hannibal smile his teeth bare. “I'm a cure to his rivaling hormones,” he responded and Will huffed a grin, teeth on his bottom lip. “But of course...”, he mumbled sarcastically. He stayed upright in Hannibal's lap as the Alpha brought his hand back to his mouth and continued to lavish his skin with gentle licks and sucks. “Your Omega feels the threat before you can,” he spoke between presses of his tongue, “to which your body responds by revealing the biological imbalance between you.” He kissed open mouth kisses along every finger as Will watched him with eyes that blew wider with every stroke of tongue. “This results in an intolerance for a rivaling Omega's scent and touch,” Hannibal smiled against his palm before kissing the side of his little pink down to his wrist. “See it as your own, built-in warning system.”

Will breathed deep, only half-listening as he followed Hannibal's pink tongue on his flesh. “It is the far opposite of our connection,” Hannibal all but purred against his mate as he worked his moist lips over the swollen, sensitive flesh of Will's hands with soft nips and pushes. “Together, we are in perfect balance,” And then, there were no more words, but only the wet noises of mouth on skin and Will struggled to keep still and quiet when Hannibal's greedy tongue lapped between the dips of his fingers. The feeling and the view were more than enough to stir heat inside his tightening jeans.

But the rash disappeared, like snow in the sun, and it wasn't before long that Hannibal pushed Will's shirt further open, and started working his mouth over the sensitive, red and bruised skin of his throat.
“Uhh...”, Will moaned the instant those lips brushed the pulsing point beneath his collarbone, and he felt himself go slack against the wall. He wrapped his arms around the gray-clad shoulders as Hannibal licked stripes up his throat, beneath his jaw and down to the hollow of his sternum. “God.” Will was hard and wet inside his jeans within a moment as his mind clouded with hot need. He arched into his mate's touch, desperate for more and lower and everything Hannibal as he bared his neck and whined needily into his Alpha's hair, pulling at his clothes, buckling his hips, and, and, and...

... And then it stopped.

“It's improving,” Hannibal said as he pulled back, looking at the skin with scrutinizing eyes as two fingers came to wipe the corners of his mouth. His hair was slightly disheveled, his eyes were blown and his cheekbones were a lively pink. He reached out a hand over Will's bruised throat with regret in those near-black eyes. “This, I can't cure.” Will blinked, flushed bright and bewildered as he reached for his own throat. The rash was gone, the skin was smooth. “It will heal,” he said, out of breath as he watched Hannibal pull away and take a seat beside him on the bed. He, too, was hard beneath his clothes and Will felt his breath hitch as he looked at the closed bathroom door.

The desire, the need for him was all that was left. “Do you...”, he started, struggling with the words as he reached out to touch Hannibal's thigh. “Do you want to...?” A hand covered his, squeezed gently and wrapped itself within his touch. “No.” Hannibal answered.

Will's head whipped to the side as he looked straight into his Alpha blown, light golden eyes. “No?”, he frowned, stunned by the unexpected reply as he watched Hannibal's tired smile, and felt his hand rubbing gentle circles on his own.

“It would feel too much like a goodbye,” Hannibal said, and Will's jaw tightened. He let his eyes fall to his knees and blinked hard to keep emotions at bay. Hannibal's nose found its way to his neck before he pressed a light kiss beneath his ear. “I don't want to taint something so perfect with something so devastating.”

Will pushed away from the wall and dropped himself sideways, back with his head in Hannibal's lap, as he sniffled against the prison jumpsuit. “In other words, you are too sad to fuck me,” he grumbled, drawing patterns on Hannibal's knee with his cured index-finger.

Hannibal pushed out air in a laugh, and brought his hand back to Will's long curls. “Crudely put,” he answered as Will buried his face against Hannibal's legs, hiding the shame, the tears, the longing he knew would be open for his Alpha to read. Hannibal only soothed him with warm, sturdy hands on his shoulders, down his back, up his sides. “Come back for it,” he then said, almost gentle enough for Will not to hear the challenge. He huffed against Hannibal's knees before he turned his face upwards, watching the warm, ginger eyes stir with hot sorrow.

“Will you call me when you get to the house?”, Hannibal asked, and Will smiled tight and broad at the parental quality of the question. He pressed his hands to his face and pulled the skin down in a tired, less than elegant gesture. “I don't know,” he spoke tiredly. “I don't...” -

“Try,” Hannibal urged and Will laughed one, humorless chuckle as he grabbed hold of his Alpha's hands, absently playing with the fingers. “I think I should try not to call you,” he said, a helpless shrug to his honest words and Hannibal blinked a second too long. “I know you think that,” he said, tracing a finger over Will's eyebrow.

The Omega huffed, shaking his head as he squeezed Hannibal's hand in his. “I'm not dying,” he said pointedly, lips and eyes determinedly tight. “I'm coming back. On two feet, remember?” Will held his Alpha's eyes for as long as he allowed him. “I can't promise myself to you. But I can promise you that,” he said, watching a suppressed snarl dive under the surface of Hannibal's features as he looked back at his Omega. And Will hated it. Will felt that pain like his own, and it made him ill from root to tip. He couldn't promise his mate what he had promised someone else. Wasn't that how it worked?| Wasn't it no longer his to promise?

Hannibal's finger ran over Will's teeth until the skin caught on the fang in the corner of his mouth. He tasted blood on his lips and watched it fall from the little mark on the fingertip before it landed on his tongue. “You are the only one I've ever allowed to make me bleed, beyond my control, with a fair chance of death,” Hannibal said, almost pleasantly as he smeared the newly welling drop against his Omega's lips, as if feeding a baby animal. Will licked his tongue over the rusty red and shook his head before he grabbed Hannibal's hand, and brought his finger between his lips. “No,” he whispered. “No death.”

**

Dinner was served. Two trays arrived, and it was never questioned whether Will was joining Hannibal for his evening meal this time. Mashed potatoes, overcooked cauliflower and two pork sausages that drenched the paper plate with a dark brownish-red grease. They both moved to the table, took their usual seats across from each other, and picked at the sand-like mash with their plastic forks. Will leaned his head on his hand as he tried to bring the food to his lips, but their eyes were never far from the other, and there was no room for hunger in his belly.

“Frederick Chilton,” Hannibal then dropped as he took a sip of water, his little finger raised into the air. Will sighed, dropped his fork unceremoniously to the table and leaned back into his chair. He had secretly hoped the dominant stench of The Dragon would overpower everything else, but it was no surprise Hannibal's sharp nose had picked up on the man's presence.

“He watched us have sex,” Will deadpanned, as if it was a perfectly decent answer to the non-question. Hannibal's fork speared a sausage until the meat split under the force. His expression, otherwise, remained undisturbed. “Did he tell you this?”, the Alpha asked him, appearing only mildly interested in the information, if not for the calculating glance behind his conversational demeanor. Will smiled as he briefly closed his eyes. “It was implied,” he said, bouncing one leg from where it crossed atop the other. “He didn't need to spell it out.”

Hannibal hummed, and Will could see the Alpha's fingers gliding up and down the plastic fork as his eyes became lost in what could well be a vision of the future. “I have a special place reserved for him,” Hannibal spoke softly, pleased, almost seductive, and Will heard the beautiful darkness pulling beneath the words. “In hell?”, he resorted good-natured as he tapped his bottom lip with his plastic spoon. “Or amongst a wide range of herbs and spices?”

His mate chuckled, warm, soft and caressing like a cashmere sweater, with eyes that shimmered with a brush of heat, but this remained the only answer as he carved into the other sausage, cutting vertically along the midsection, as if dissecting or operating on a small animal. Will let the plastic slide between his teeth and tapped his shoe against the side of the leg of the sturdy table. “As long as you don't feed him to me,” he said, imagining a time and space far from here, and watched Hannibal's silent smile stretch his face when he noticed his mate grimace.

And he did sleep, after that. Wrapped in Hannibal's arms, nose pressed against his Alpha's shoulder, a cocoon of warmth on the bed. Just a few hours, he promised, because he couldn't keep his eyes open any longer. And it was dreamless, and it was safe. “Shhh,” Hannibal soothed him whenever his eyes flew open, searching for the time on his watch. “I'll wake you.” And then his eyes would close, and his bones would sag back into the warm comfort that they longed for, but rarely found. “Trust me,” he heard Hannibal whisper against his hair, and smiled wide against the clothed collarbone with his eyes tightly shut. If only.

When he woke again, the daily light had yet to be turned on. What had woken him were rubbing hands down his back, and searching lips on the corner of his jaw. Will pulled back, letting their eyes connect in the dark, and just like the animals hidden in the forest, Hannibal's eyes lit inside his skull with a yellow glint that was terrifying for others, as it was beautiful to him. “It's 4:30,” Hannibal said, and Will dropped his head back on the pillow, cursing obscenely against Hannibal's arm. He had to leave soon. He still had to pack, and he needed to be ready by 7:00 A.M.

Instead of moving, however, he pushed himself against Hannibal's body and arched his neck when those lips found their way back to his rosy skin. “Hmmm,” he sighed into the night as that soft mouth kissed a smooth path up to his jaw, over his chin, and pressed gently against his lips before pulling away. No teeth, no tongue, just clean, dry, soft lips. Will lifted his own head to chase after the touch, and pulled his lips full and firm against his Alpha, opening his mouth into the kiss as his hands grabbed hold of the prison suit in the dip of Hannibal's waistline.

His plea for more was denied when Hannibal smiled against his open, gasping lips before pulling away and his hands came to grab Will's when they tried to slide down and curve over his ass. Then, there was a moment where they blinked at each other in the darkness, and in the reflection of Hannibal's glowing orbs, he watched a hint of blue green, shining from his own. He sighed long and deep, lowering his eyes as Hannibal's hand came to caress the sides of his face. “I'm sorry,” Will muttered, feeling his throat swelling under the sudden shame and grief that took him. He had no pride left, where Hannibal was concerned. Hannibal, on the other hand, had enough pride to offset all human insecurity worldwide singlehandedly. “Come back for it,” Hannibal repeated with a smile, but his eyes, too, were strained with an unbearable sadness that only Will could detect.

He was suddenly overcome with a maddening need to just give up and have this. To not leave, or think or feel, but just reach for Hannibal and forget the world. He could do that, today. Maybe even tomorrow. But he wondered how long it would take for it to start eating away at him. How often he would dream of Molly's tears or Hannibal's knife.

They both sat up, facing each other on the bed as Will reached for Hannibal's hand. “I am sorry,” he said again, hoping he could bring a deeper layer to the message this time as he swallowed hard and looked at his mate through his too long fringe of hair. Hannibal looked back, let his hand be taken and illuminated the darkness with his eyes. “Come back,” he said this time and Will huffed through a smile as he lowered his eyes to their joined hand. “Yes,” he agreed breathlessly as Hannibal brushed the offensive hair from his forehead.

“And be very careful,” he said, slow, deliberate, underlining the message with the intensity of his voice and eyes. Will flicked his eyes back up and shook his head before pulling back his hand to search for his shoes. “This Dragon guy...”, he started with a sigh, and threw up a hand to indicate no other words were coming, or needed. The room stayed silent and Will turned back to his mate, one shoe clutched between his fingers. “Hannibal?”, he asked as he watched the Alpha on the bed, his eyes suddenly frosted, far away, and his body tight with sudden tension. Will frowned. “Do you still believe he is not out to get me?”, he asked, sitting back on the bed as he fished his other shoe from under the mattress. “Do you still believe he has no intention to hurt me?” He rubbed a hand over his sore, swollen throat and watched Hannibal's eyes flash heavily to the bruised skin before Will added, “More than this?”

Hannibal watched the discolored skin. Despite the already fading colors, the picture was still very much present. His eyes became duller, flickering like a dying candle, as he watched Will with a face of smooth marble. Beautiful, impenetrable, shielding his thoughts and feelings with unbelievable skill. “I do not believe he wants to kill you,” he said, and Will felt a shiver of cold run down his back when he peeked inside the mask through those black pupils, and saw the definition of hell. Hannibal was angry. Hannibal was furious. And this hell wasn't just hot. What he saw in that dark abyss had the destructive capacity of a thousand blazing suns. It was total and complete annihilation. Just a blink, and it was gone.

Will breathed in deep, sat himself upright and shook his head. “OK,” he said, slightly bewildered, shoes forgotten on the floor. “I... OK.” Hannibal leaned forward at Will's fidgeting frame and took his hands, showing now the gently golden liquid that stirred warm inside his eyes. “He will not hurt you,” he said, not just determined this time, but with absolute certainty. His eyes might have been warm with affection, and unquestionable love, but the outside was glass as hard as the prison walls. He knew there was more behind the words, and that there was a story Hannibal kept stored behind his tongue, but it didn't matter. It didn't matter, because he was leaving.

The tension quickly melted when Hannibal moved in to kiss him, and this time, it was real. It was a tender press, but lips opened, hands wound in hair and Will moaned when he felt his Alpha lick greedily into his mouth, cupping his face with two broad hands. Their lips slid together, sweet and warm, as they both tasted autumn and winter, united as the dark season they represented. They were close, so close, and pulling even closer on clothes and hair and backs of necks. Hannibal moaned when Will bit gently on his lip with a short fang, and Will shivered at the abandoned noise. His fingers dug hard into the back of Hannibal's skull as he conquered all of him, and said everything that countered what he spoke with his words.

He sucked Hannibal's upper lip between his own, grasping him with both hands with eyes closed, suppressing tears made of his own frailty. His own incapability. Hands pressed harder on his cheeks, and with one last press of lips, Hannibal pulled back from him. Foreheads rested and leaned on the other, both men flushed, disheveled, breathing short and sharp, and as Hannibal's hands fell away from his neck, Will felt his consciousness bleed from his head, down to his feet.

...Shoes. Right, shoes. Fuck. He was helped into his coat by Hannibal as he buttoned his shirt back to the top. “I hope you will find the answers you are looking for,” Hannibal said quietly as his fingers moved Will's fidgeting hands on the buttons and reached to do them up with much more precision. “As I hope you will take good care of yourself.” Will sighed, and he wondered how many people had seen the man behave in such a human manner. He was in pain, but it took a hawk with infrared vision to see it. Will was that hawk.

“You're the proudest man I have ever met,” he said with a genuine smile and eyes that burned, and Hannibal mirrored the expression, a glint behind the black of his eyes. “I have reason to be proud,” he spoke, straightening his shoulders as his eyes stayed calm and straight on his Omega. Already, Will could see the longing he recognized as his own. “You do,” he said, swallowing against the pressing feeling on his chest.

“Shall I?”, Hannibal gestured towards the button that would warn the guards, but before his mate could ring the bell, Will pressed a hand on Hannibal's arm. Their eyes met, and Hannibal watched him with curious wonder as Will took a breath, and awaited what his mind would push forward first. “I've... I stole the footage of us from Dr. Hammings' office,” he said quietly, his words hurried and his lips twitching with uncertainty. Hannibal looked at him, steady and still, before he rose one eyebrow, widened his eyes, twitched his lips. Expressions that were easily missed by anyone else, but never Will. He was surprised. Amused. Aroused. “Stop,” Will warned his Alpha with squinting eyes as he watched his mate blink away the betraying emotions. “No,” Hannibal responded, holding up one hand as his eyes narrowed with pleasure. “I must say, well done.”

They watched each other, mixing amusement with agitation, and Hannibal tilted his head back an inch to watch his mate with more scrutinizing eyes. “Did you watch?”, he asked, but the question mark was barely there. Amber eyes sparkled like bourbon, and Will looked down at his hands. “I wasn't going to,” he replied through stiff lips, feeling the pressure of embarrassment rising to his ears. “But you were curious,” Hannibal said, all-knowingly, always, and Will looked sideways in defeat, as he felt a betraying smile of his own play on his mouth. “Yes.”

Hannibal linked his hands behind his back and tilted his head to lure Will's gaze back to him. “What did you think?”, he asked, rather forward and Will huffed at the question as he met the now lively eyes of his ever plotting Alpha. “There's not a word in my vocabulary that would provide a suitable answer to that question,” Will said as he shook his head, watching his mate watch him in return as a sudden, scheming glow lit inside the depths of his black pupils.

“Keep them somewhere safe, but don't destroy those discs,” he instructed, leaving Will to stare at him as he crossed his arms in front of his chest. “You want to watch them,” Will said, not longer pretending to ask as he ran a playful tongue behind his teeth. “I do,” Hannibal answered outright, as his eyes lured Will in with sweet honey, before they bore a hole into his skull and scooped out the inside.

Will felt the hot shame replaced by hot images of him and Hannibal sitting on his motel bed, watching those discs together as they let their hands wander over clothes, beneath clothes, without clothes. He pressed his lips tight as his Alpha rang the bell. “For research purposes? Medical interests? Study resources,” he couldn't help but tease as he zipped up his coat, keeping his eyes on Hannibal as he stepped forward and stole one last kiss from his mate's lips. Hannibal responded tenderly to his affection, lingering before pulling back. “No,” he said, his eyes glittering with that hot honey. “Nothing like that at all.”

Chapter Text

He had packed everything. His clothes, toothbrush, laptop, one of those toenail clippers that shoots bits of nail across the room at high speed, never to be found again. He had bought one of those in the corner shop a few blocks from here, a week earlier. His nails and hair grew like weeds since he had presented Omega, and he had barely been able to fit inside his shoes the day after his heat had ended.

He checked for forgotten items in the bathroom, under the bed, behind the desk and around the pillows in the chair. Nothing. Everything was tucked away inside his single suitcase and his slouchy overnight bag. He was ready. 4 minutes to 7:00 A.M. He had made it in time. He let out a long sigh as he sat on the stripped bed and rubbed his hands together. He was going home. He had known this day would come but now it was upon him, he couldn't quite grasp what it meant, or how it should make him feel. Right now, he could not get his head around the idea of not being able to walk into that prison cell anymore and see his mate, short hair and dressed in pale gray, standing behind the thick glass. His eyes smiling, even when his mouth didn't.

Now, was he forgetting something? What was he supposed to remember? Will sighed as he glanced around the room and watched the empty desk, the TV, his duffel bag with his laptop. Oh, God. Those discs. Will's eyes flashed to that spot right beside the television where he knew he'd last left them. There was nothing. Had he packed them? He must have swooped them up along with the books and the dirty socks that had littered the space, right into the open suitcase holding the messy pile of his belongings. He had only returned a quarter past six, and in the packing and cleaning frenzy, there had been little room for detail. He got up and checked behind the desk, inside the drawers, the trashcan and even the inside of the unused wardrobe. Nothing. He must have packed them. He must have. And even if he had felt the desire to turn his suitcase inside out, there simply was no time left.

Yes, he must have packed them.

He checked himself out at two minutes to seven, waking a large, balding man in his late fifties who sat behind a desk and drooled into his coffee. “Pleasant stay?,” the man grumbled through a bushy mustache and Will gave the best friendly smile he could manage through his cramped jaws. “Yes, thank you,” he replied and remembered the nightmares, the phone calls, the elephant, Jack, Chilton and The Dragon choking him against the window. He also remembered the three fingers pumping in and out of his dripping opening as he watched himself being fucked by his dominant Alpha mate.

“Where you off to now?”, the man asked without looking up from his computer screen. It was a common question, of course. Standard procedure. The bare minimal of customer hospitality. And Will's answer was just the same. The bare minimal of polite conversation. “Home,” he mumbled, as the man lifted his round head to meet his gaze with small, beady gray eyes. “Where's home?”, he grunted, his bushy blond eyebrows low on his forehead. And fuck, if that wasn't the question. Will's shoulders tensed as his tongue faltered on the answer. He froze. Because, what he should have said was Sugarloaf Key in Florida. That was where he had his house, his family, his job. Instead, he looked at the man who eyed him critically from behind the desk. “I'm not really sure,” he answered.

Before the man could respond, a car horn honked outside the window and had both Will and the bald man stir in surprise. “That's my ride,” Will said, swinging his bag over his shoulder as he put up his hand in greeting. He was grateful for the disrupted moment and took the handle of his suitcase as he hurried to the door. “Safe trip,” the receptionist huffed from behind his mustache, right before Will dropped the heavy door and let it fall back in its lock.

Outside, a large, pitch black Hummer was parked in front of his motel room. Leaning against the door and sucking on the end of a cigarette was a young, blond man dressed in an all-black uniform. He smiled as Will approached and gave a friendly wave before stomping out the half-smoked butt. “Dennis,” Will said in the form of a greeting as he frowned at the unexpected face. Dennis grinned at him, the heady scent of smoke clinging to his skin. “Mr. Graham. I'm here to bring you to the airport, sir,” he spoke, enthusiastically polite and Will's eyes widened. He had expected Alana to call him a cab, which would have been more than generous. He had not expected, however, to be escorted by one of her very own staff members.

“Aren't you a security guard?”, Will asked, lowering his bag from his aching shoulders to the side of his feet. Dennis nodded again, and rummaged through his bomber jacket before extracting a loose, unwrapped stick of gum. He gestured to Will with the slightly discolored piece, who quickly shook his head and watched it disappear between those perfect, straight, white teeth. “I run errands for Mrs. Bloom all the time,” he explained, rather pleased with himself, reaching for the handle of Will's suitcase. “Here, let me take your luggage.”

Will watched in amazement when Dennis took the heavy suitcase and the bag in one hand, bounced around the car on his heavy army boots and lifted them into the back of the Hummer with an easy swing of his arm. “All set?”, he yelled from the back of the car as he slammed the trunk and slid on a pair of pitch black sunglasses. Will felt his stomach knot at the question, and flashed his eyes in the direction of the park. He had to go. He had a family. “Yeah,” he said through his thick throat, and sunk his thumbs in the narrow pockets of his jeans. He was afraid, terrified, of what this time and distance between them would do. But if he ever wanted to give himself a chance at a normal life, a life he had promised someone else, there was nothing else to be done but get in that car and go.

Dennis gestured to the passenger seat as he climbed into the monstrous vehicle, and Will took his seat beside the guard without another word, without another thought. He fastened his seatbelt with a click as he threw a glance over his shoulder to inspect the spacious inside of the Hummer. “Pretty cool, huh?”, Dennis beamed when he watched Will's wandering eyes. “This baby is not a work car. She is all mine,” Will could almost hear the twinkle of the sunlight that reflected off those perfect teeth, and gave a polite smile. “Very nice,” he offered, trying to find a way to lift the pressure he felt around his head, like a tight belt around his temples.

Dennis turned the key and an obscene roar erupted from under the hood as the car shook to life. His chair vibrated pleasantly under him as he looked down on the road from his high seat. One last time he glanced back at the motel door, hating the place with a violent fury, yet remembering every nightly phone call, that smooth, husky voice against his ear. Dennis turned the car and the door was gone. His eyes settled on the road ahead, one hand clutching the belt across his chest as the other rested on the seat beside his leg.

“So...”, Dennis said as he expertly steered around the other traffic with a car much too large for these streets. “Time to go back to the ol' ball and chain, huh?” Will blinked rapidly at the words, wrapped inside the cheerful tone, as he turned his head and looked at the too blond, too tanned man beside him. “What?”, he asked, startled by the blunt remark. Dennis sat back in his seat, clutching the large steering wheel with both hands as he looked at Will from over his sunglasses. “Your wife? It's a joke,” he said, grinning so innocently carefree that Will could only nod back, no matter how inappropriate the comment. “My wife, yes,” he sniffled, digging nails into the seat, and he kept his eyes straight ahead on the endless outside.

“Must be nice to see her again,” Dennis said as he turned onto the highway and roared the car into higher speed. Will bit on the inside of his cheek, almost wishing he had accepted that stick of gum to keep his mouth occupied. “I have no idea, Dennis,” he sighed truthfully as the guard zigzagged his way through traffic with much enthusiasm and brilliant skill. “Well, no,” he said, shrugging his shoulders and nodding his blond head. “I mean, things have been a little weird, of course. I get that.” The conversational tone made Will smile despite himself, as he huffed air from between his teeth. “Yeah,” he said. “A little weird.”

Dennis drummed his fingers against the steering wheel, bobbing his head along to the soft tunes that sprung from the radio. Will hadn't even noticed it was on. His head was full with white noise, and screeching, scratching whines from his beast. He tried to listen to the music instead, focusing to hear the tunes above the dull, pounding bass. A car honked its horn when Dennis cut in front of him, and the guard raised a hand in an apology that didn't match the wide smile on his face. “I hope things work out,” he said kindly, eyes on the road behind his dark glasses. Will ran his tongue over his teeth. “With whom?”, he asked, shifting his eyes back to the guard as his nails scratched at the seatbelt across his belly.

“Whomever,” Dennis shrugged again and chuckled as he leaned his body back in his seat, arm stretched out to hold the wheel. His posture was the poster boy definition of cruising. “I know Dr. Lecter is not...”, he started, wiggling his head from side to side, searching for an appropriate word Will doubted he would find. “No Dennis,” he cut him off. “He isn't.” He felt the eyes shifting beneath the dark glasses as Dennis held up one hand from the steering wheel and pulled his lips into a lopsided grin.

“Look, I know it's none of my business,” he said, eyes twinkling with contradiction. “I've know the man for three years now and to be frank, he's always scared the shit out of me.” Dennis' eyes suddenly widened behind his glasses, showing Will his perfectly shaped, blond eyebrows peaking above the dark frame, as the guard pressed three fingers to his lips. “Shit, sorry, sorry,” he quickly grimaced and Will knew he must have broken some sort of rule by using profanities on the job. He chuckled dryly, shaking his head has he stared out of the right window. “It's appropriate phrasing,” he said with a stiff smile as he watched the trees rush by in a green haze.

“He has always been nothing but polite to me, really,” Dennis continued, steering into the empty left lane and hitting the gas with his foot. “But it's in the eyes, you know?” Will looked back at the security guard, who shot him a look over his glasses. “Like, behind all the good manners there is a lion that can pounce at any moment.” Will huffed at the analysis and folded his arms around himself. “I know,” he said, closing his eyes at the image it painted inside his head. There was nothing untrue about the statement. Hannibal was that lion, majestic and proud and powerful. He was also the wolf, with glowing eyes and dripping fangs, hunching his back before leaping, grabbing, shredding any threat to tiny little pieces. And he also was that man, intelligent, elegant, evil in the purest, cleanest form.

“Yeah,” Dennis sighed, smacking his gum between his teeth. “And when you came, everything intensified, like, a hundred times over.” Will's ears peaked, but he didn't move, or shifted his gaze from the road as Dennis licked his lip with the tip of a pink tongue. “Before you, I hardly ever saw him smile or frown, cry. He was just... you know, a mask. It freaked me out. Like, psychopath killer style,” Dennis said and Will felt his insides wring tight as he willed himself to watch the passing trees. “Sure,” he said, and laughed a breath in afterthought at the words. Psychopath killer style. Hannibal wouldn't enjoy that.

Dennis put up his hand when another Hummer passed them on the right lane, and a similar gesture returned from behind the other windshield. Will wondered briefly if people with the same vehicles were expected to greet each other like that. He sure never had. Dennis popped his gum again, leaving a strip of white on his upper lip. “And now, I have seen him do all of those thing like....a dozen times in a week. It's really weird,” he shook his head, dragged up his nose and went back to tapping his fingers on the wheel while Will felt all the blood, all the energy pull from his face down to his feet. God. Fuck. Fuck.

He gritted his teeth together and tried to not envision his mate, doing all those things, alone in his cell. He also tried very hard not to envision his mate not doing those things anymore, alone in his cell. The thought just hit home, so deep, he struggled to breathe calmly. Hannibal in pain was a thought he could no longer bear, without making it his own. “That's what love does, man,” Dennis continued innocuously, smiling with pressed lips as his eyes seemed lost on the road ahead. “It's the best and worst thing in the fucking world.”

The profanity thing seemed out the window now, but Will didn't even hear it. His mind was stuck on that single sentiment. Love. This, between him and Hannibal, was raw, instinctual, animal. He had no doubt in his mind, however, that Hannibal did love him. In the way he could love, Hannibal loved him, and even though Will struggled to understand what that meant, it speared his heart as much as it warmed it. And what he felt, was chaos. There was love inside him, for Hannibal. And there was anger, and regret and pain and yes, beneath that, a sliver of hope, and real genuine affection. Love was among all that rubble, and he wondered if it could ever truly be shoveled out of the way, for it to be allowed to grow.

Dennis did not notice the tight pain on Will's face as he swayed his head to the music. “I had this girl once...”, he started, and Will turned his head back to the right to watch the road go by. Dennis continued his own stories of unfortunate conquests, and Will let the words pass his ears as he tried to drown his thoughts. He heard his stories about hot, blond babes that kept following him around after one-night stands, or the girlfriend who complained he spent too much time at the gym. Then the older woman who wanted a baby, the even older woman who bought him an expensive watch, and the barely legal student whose mother made a pass at him. Will sat like that, listening, watching the world for one long, empty hour.

Then, airplanes came into sight, taking off not far from the highway, and speeding low over the road ahead. “Are you good with flying?”, Dennis asked, shaking Will from a trance as he took his hand from under his chin. “Huh?”, he croaked, having been silent for a good while. “Do you mind flying?”, Dennis asked him, and Will shrugged. “Eh... I don't enjoy it,” he admitted. Flying was not something he feared, but he didn't like being stuck in a single space with many other people. He also didn't enjoy being alone with his thoughts for many hours.

Dennis reached past him to open the glove box, taking a out a strip of white, round pills. “I always take one of these when I have to fly,” he said, handing Will the strip as he brought his hand back to the wheel. “One pill, one scotch, and you're out like a light for two hours straight.” He flashed Will a toothy grin as the Omega eyed the strip in his hands with heed.

“You want one?”, Dennis offered, but Will shook his head. “No, thanks,” he said, watching the tablets in his palm. He wasn't fond of pills. Not anymore. Not since he had vomited some of them back into the sink, together with Abigail's ear. They continued in silence as they watched the planes getting bigger, nearer, louder. The traffic thickened, the watchtowers peaked in the sky.

“Do these shorter flights have those little television screens in the headrest?”, Dennis wondered out loud, and Will sighed deeply against the passenger window, fogging it with his breath. He hadn't thought of putting a book in his hand luggage, either. It would be hours of just him, and his head. “I'll take one,” he croaked, holding up the strip of pills before pushing one into the palm of his hand and stuffing it down his pocket.

“Better safe than sorry, no?”, Dennis nodded, his smile as bright and generous as it ever was. Will pulled his lips up, a painful attempt. “Yeah, that about sums it up,” he answered, unable to stop himself from reflecting the answer on more than the mere pill. Better safe than sorry. He was fairly certain that one did not exclude the other.

**

He ordered two fingers of Whiskey the first opportunity he got, and tried not to notice the stewardess' odd stare as she went to collect him his drink. It was 9 A.M., and this would certainly earn him a place on a special list somewhere, but he didn't care. He took the pill, downed the Whiskey and leaned back in his chair, ignoring the overweight, sweaty businessman beside him that stared at his bruised throat, visible beneath his unzipped coat. He waited, as he kept his mind clear, numb, and tried to suppress the nerves. Yes, he was nervous. He was very, very nervous.

He could already feel the strain of being separated from Hannibal. It was that feeling of holding a leash while the dog just ran off and pulled at your arm. He felt that pull around his waist, behind his pelvis, inside his chest. He was afraid to see Molly again, and he wasn't sure why. Maybe he was terrified to look at her and feel nothing. Maybe he was afraid to look at her, and feel everything. Maybe he was just scared that she would reach out to him, and he wouldn't be able to reach back.

He closed his eyes and let his mind fall into black, as he closed the heavy door of the attic with another thick chain. The Omega was fuming, eyes red rimmed and teeth gnawing at the flesh of his own paw. But he was silent, for now, and Will turned away from him as he let the dark embrace him. It wasn't long before he was in a deep, mindless sleep.

And when he opened his eyes, he was in Wolf Trap, Virginia.

He was outside in the field behind his old house, surrounded by the evening sky. It was dark, except for the lights that shone from the inside of his small home, lighting the sky with a glow that resembled fire. He stood in the field while his dogs played in the grass, sniffed the trees, barked at the critters that came out at night, and looked back at the picture he had so clear within his mind. The house, the safe haven. The boat on the sea. Nothing had ever felt like that, ever again.

He turned around and made his way to the porch, looking inside through the dirty window. He remembered it so well. It had been his own little paradise, away from the world with his family of strays. The closest thing to a home he had ever found. Will blinked as he looked around himself. He hadn't been here in years, not after he had sold it. He had thought of it often, but never returned.

Everything was silent but for the rustle of leaves in the wind and his hand reached to turn the knob of the back door. It was unlocked. Winston and Buster rushed past his legs as soon as the door swung open and he followed after them, stepping inside. It was exactly right. The scent, the colors, the furniture, it was all the same. It was his house. His home. He walked into the living room, spotting the unmade bed in the corner, and felt his heart shrink at the painful sight. No matter how much he had adored this place, he hadn't been able to stay. Too many memories. Too much of it too fresh, too real, too disturbing.

“Yes, I know you want some too. Wait your turn,” Will whipped his head to the side at the sound of a familiar voice coming from the comfy chair, and watched his dogs gathering around expensive, Italian leather shoes. “Hannibal,” he almost whispered as he walked around the chair to come face to face with his mate, impeccably dressed in a blue plaid suit. His hair was longer, his skin was tanned, his eyes were glowing. In his hand, he had little bits of sausage, and he was feeding it to Will's impatient dogs.

“Hello Will,” Hannibal said, smiling at him in a way that made Will weak in his core. Hannibal held up a piece of the meat and Buster lowered his butt to the tiled floor. “Good boy,” Hannibal praised as he gave the terrier his treat, and Winston was quick to follow the example, sitting himself down beside Hannibal's chair. “What are we doing here?”, Will asked, dumbfounded as he sunk himself into the opposite couch. He felt the broken spring, the worn foam beneath his seat. Even the stains on the fabric were an exact match.

Hannibal looked healthy, young, bright, beautiful in his well-fitting clothes. “I don't know,” he said, looking rather amused as his eyes roamed across the familiar room. “I was in my cell and I must have dozed off. When I woke, I was here.”

Will frowned as he watched his mate pet Buster's ear, rewarding his obedience with more treats. “Is this real? Are we really here?”, he asked, hearing his voice rise in tone and pitch as he started to feel his sweat sticking to the skin beneath his shirt. “Yes and no,” Hannibal answered, a sly smile on his mouth that Will wished to take right off his face. With a kiss, or possibly a slap. “Meaning?”, he pressed between his teeth and Hannibal's eyes lit at his obvious agitation. “We are together, but only in spirit,” he said, brushing a finger over the worn leather of his comfy chair. “Our minds connect.” As did their eyes, over the cluttered coffee table between them. “You must have subconsciously called for me to join you in this room of your memory palace.”

Will let out a stuttering breath as he watched Winston jump on the couch on the seat beside him. The sausage was gone and Will sighed as he ran a hand through the soft fur in his neck. He missed that dog. He missed him the most. “I didn't know we could do that,” he said, thinking of all those wasted, nightly phone calls between them. “Neither did I,” Hannibal confessed, an ungrounded look in his eyes as he watched Will on his old couch. The Alpha folded his hands together on his lap, and in that moment it looked like they had traveled years back in time, where everything was like it ought to be.

“I don't know how I did it,” Will sighed, placing his boots atop the coffee table as he leaned back into the pillows. “That's not very helpful.” Hannibal eyed the dirty boots among the books, glasses and whatever little things littered the table. “We now know of the possibility,” he said with a thoughtful nod. Will let his eyes roam across the room as more dogs peddled in and settled on the rug near the fireplace. He watched the motor block, the piano, the desk with his fishing gear. That last sight was a clenching fist around his heart, forever bound to betrayal. It was why he had left this place.

“Why are we here?”, he asked, turning his eyes back to Hannibal, who tilted his head with a sweep of his longer hair. Buster was trying to jump on the Alpha's lap, but he stopped him with one, open hand against the little dog's furry chest. “This is your mind,” Hannibal said, moving his eyes along the ceiling. “You must still be fond of this place.” Will poked his tongue against the side of his teeth as he brushed one hand over the gritty fabric of his couch. “I am,” he admitted and Hannibal's smile deepened in the lines, his eyes wrinkling around the corners.

“We can make a home, together,” he then said, running his tongue over his lower lip. “One just like this.” Will's smile faltered as he brought his eyes back to his mate, and watched Hannibal's gaze run over the shabby couch, the worn rug, the clouds of dog hair in every corner. “Well, some alterations would be required,” he corrected himself with half a smile. “But something we would both enjoy.” He scratched Buster behind his ear, who proceeded to lick at his fingers as he pushed his hungry nose into the Alpha's palm.

Will hummed under his breath and crossed his arms over his chest. “Oh, I don't know,” he said, feigning skepticism. “I would always be wondering if you've been messing with my fishing lure.” Hannibal's gaze sharpened as he sat himself up straight and met the challenging stare from the Omega with open wonder. “You don't trust me,” he concluded, with a voice that bled like a deep wound beneath his skin, and Will felt his insides ache at the sound. But there was no room for pity. Not when he had his memories. “You set me up,” He bit at his mate. “You had me thrown in jail.” His voice rose in volume with every word and he felt himself growing heated with anger that had been long locked away. “Of course I don't trust you.”

A wince crossed Hannibal's face at his Omega's sneer before he folded his hands together and leaned his elbows on his knees. “Will,” he said, calmly determined. “What happened was unfortunate, but necessary. It was only ever a temporary solution.” Will chuckled, raising his eyebrows with a stiff smile on his mouth. “Because the arrow was pointing at you,” he said, his voice heavy on the words. “I was the decoy. The rabbit for the fox.” He bit a sharp fang on his own bruised lip and smiled up against the pain. “They didn't know they were hunting for a lion.”

Hannibal pressed his touching fingertips to his lips and watched him with those golden eyes. “Precisely,” he spoke, his eyelids low, but his eyes a sharp glint inside his skull. “Nor did they know that the rabbit they had caught was only a disguise,” Hannibal purred and Will tightened his lips when his mate regarded him with deep fire in his wild eyes. “A wolf that had yet to understand that the costume was not his true identity.” Will grimaced openly before he dropped his eyes to Winston, and scratched the furry chin with two blunt fingernails. “I wasn't in on your little joke,” he mumbled, biting on his cheek as he cocked his eyes back at Hannibal, who sat back up in the chair and straightened his shoulders. Will wrung his hands together and tried to shake the pain that melted like hot glass in his heart, down his ribs, into his belly. “You are always curious, always playing games.” Their eyes crossed hot and hard across the room. “Always.”

Hannibal sighed a breath that came from deep within, and took his time with the next. His eyes flashed outside where there was nothing but darkness, but Will knew he could see plenty on the inside of his eyes. “My curiosity regarding you died the day you presented, Will,” the Alpha said after a moment of silence and Will felt his nose twitch at the heartfelt, lost stare that landed on him. He blinked at Hannibal before shaking his head. “I don't understand what that means,” he confessed between his teeth.

Hannibal stood up from the chair and made his way around the coffee table. Beside the couch, he halted, and reached down to scratch Winston behind his ear. There was that one spot that made the dog close his eyes in pure bliss, and Hannibal found it on the first try. “It means we are connected, bonded or not, and my instinct and my regard for you makes it impossible to harm you,” Hannibal said, and Will felt his chest tighten as he watched his Alpha with large eyes. “Directly, or by proxy.” Hannibal's eyes were glowing like heated glass and Will felt his heart pound harder in his chest.

He rose to his feet, coming to stand before his mate who reached to touch his cheek. The sensation was odd. Real, but not. It was like touching your own skin when you've been sitting on your legs for hours straight. There, but far away. Hannibal smiled, no doubt finding the experience similarly wondrous as he stroked his fingers experimentally down his Omega's neck. “If you would die...”, Hannibal said, releasing his words in a long, rueful breath. “You will perish,” Will finished for him and Hannibal smiled as he brushed his fingers through Will's hair. “I have told you before that you can trust me, now that we are mates.” He smiled when Will closed his eyes into the touch. “You too must have felt the connection. Us together, right here, is the very proof of it.”

Will pressed his lips together at the smile in his Alpha voice and let his head fall into the supporting hands that rested on his head as Hannibal continued to speak. “I cannot harm you or deceive you, if not out of love then out of self-preservation.” Will opened his eyes, and met glowing orange fire. Lips met his ear. “Your pain feels like my own.” The Omega lowered his eyes, bit his lip and shook his head as he reached for Hannibal's hand. “Even if you would not harm me...”, he choked, and Hannibal squeezed his hand, brushing his nose along Will's damp temple. “I could harm others,” the Alpha finished the sentence and Will tightened his lips, unable to stop himself from nuzzling against his mate. He was warm, but not as warm as usual. He smelled his scent, but not as strong as he normally would. They were together, but not really. “Yes,” he said.

“And how do you feel about that?”, Hannibal asked him, pulling back to look at his mate who only tried to push closer with his nose beneath Hannibal's jaw. “I don't know,” he rumbled against the skin, wishing to bury himself there and just stay. Hannibal hummed, caressed the back of his head like a nursing mother and folded his arms around the Omega's waist. “A bond would change that,” he said and Will huffed a warm chuckle against the Alpha's neck, followed by a long and tired moan. “You have no idea how tempting that sounds,” he admitted defeatedly as he settled himself against Hannibal's shoulder and wrapped his arms around the Alpha's shoulders. “I do,” Hannibal said in return and Will swallowed hard at the words, turning his forehead to press into his Alpha neck so he could no longer see, or feel or think anything else.

They stood like that, as if dancing without moving, until Hannibal nudged his ear with his nose. “I do feel the need to assure you that my reasons for not wanting to harm or deceive you, come from my affection and regard for you,” he hummed against the Omega's ear and Will pushed back, looked up at his Alpha's sharp features, glowing eyes, pink lips. Hannibal smiled at him, illuminated like a firefly. “I do not wish to harm you, Will,” he said, his words close to drowning in the stream of air. “There is no room left for anything but my admiration, my desire, my devotion.”

Will breathed deep as his body felt liquefied around his bones. He looked at Hannibal with large eyes as his mate smiled, and cupped his warm neck with both hands. “For you, I have only love,” he spoke and a deep warmth spread from within Will, making his knees buckle, his head loll on his neck, as he reached for Hannibal's face with both his hands and brought him down for a kiss. Their lips brushed featherlight before...

“Please fasten your seatbelt, fold away your table and put your chair in the upright position...”, Will gasped as he bolted upright in his plane seat when his eyes were suddenly assaulted by harsh light, and his ears by a shrill voice over the intercom. His breath stuttered as he looked around him and saw the businessman giving him a distasteful look before he turned away to look outside the window.

He tried to relax against the seat as the plane got ready to land, and blinked rapidly as his fingers touched his lips. It had seemed so real. Had it been a dream, or was it really possible that he had met Hannibal inside his own head? He didn't understand their connection quite yet, but maybe, possibly... it had felt so fucking real.

He tried to shake off the moment, the feeling, the confessions, the conversations. Now was not the appropriate time to dwell. Now, he was going to see his wife.

His fingers shook as he carried his bag out of the plane and walked to baggage claim to collect his suitcase. Fuck. He was only half present, and that half felt sick with nerves. The other half was still feeling those lips on his.

He got his suitcase, went to the bathroom, scrolled through his phone and then there were no more moments left to stall. He wasn't ready, but would he ever be? The doors opened before him as he walked out and let his frantic eyes shoot across the arrival hall.

And there she was. There was Molly. His Molly. She was sunlight and beauty and her eyes lit up like the summer sky when they met his. She was radiant and bright, a light in the darkness, warmth in the cold, cold winter night.

He looked at her.

He looked at her and smiled.

“Molly,” he said as he opened his arms to wrap her in his embrace.

He looked at her, and felt immensely sorry.

“Hey,” she said, smiling blissfully into his shoulder as she buried her nose in his neck, tears shimmering in her eyes.

“Hi,” he replied, brushing her hair from her face as he rested his chin on top of her head.

He looked at her, and felt he didn't belong.

“Welcome home.”

Chapter Text

What followed after the arrival could best be described as fragile moment upon fragile moment. Will let his mind retract inwards as Molly folded herself inside his arms on their walk to the car, burning like a hot pebble one just couldn't drop. “God, it is so good to see you,” she sighed, rubbing his shoulder with a flat hand as she pressed the button on the car keys in the other, unlocking the silver vehicle with a click from the doors. “Yeah,” he breathed in return as she released him, allowing him to walk around to get to the passenger's seat. Molly liked to drive, and his head was already bursting at the seams along his skull. “It's good to see you.” He reached for the door handle as their eyes met over the roof of the car, and he felt her blue gray gaze brush firmly along his features. Pain flashed through the curled lashes, hidden almost well enough.

“What?”, he asked as they both stepped into the car and lowered into their seats. Her curvy lips pulled up and her eyes shone with tender melancholy, before she reached out and grazed a finger along the purple skin beneath his eyes. “You look pretty dreadful,” she said with an honesty that showed the cracks of her troubled mind, as her hand slid down to cup his scruffy jaw. Will felt her skin, smelled the lotion on her hands and reached up to cover her finger with his own. “I'm OK,” he smiled closed-lipped but encouragingly before he redirected her touch from his face by lowering their linked hands to his lap.

It hurt. Her touch, it was pain. It made the Omega rattle the chains on the attic door as his Will's own flesh coiled at the mismatched structure and balance of their physical needs and compatibility. It felt sickly almost, weak, barely there and too much in the same instant. But he didn't let her go, as she squeezed his fingers reassuringly and inserted the car keys in the ignition. He came here to try and fight for his marriage, his promise, her happiness. But when he felt her eyes on his temple, he couldn't bring himself to meet the loaded stare and kept his gaze on their hands in his lap. Wishing more than anything he could slip out of the tired grip on his bones, without hurting her feelings.

“Let's get you home, huh?”, she said, perking her voice up to ease the tension she must have felt on him and Will used the opportunity to free his fingers as his wife grabbed the wheel. “I'll make you a big cup of dark roast.” He smiled, keeping his eyes ahead of him as he swallowed against his dry throat. “Sounds good,” he nodded as he watched the familiar road, the houses, the thin layer of snow on the grass passing by the window. He was back home, after a little less than two weeks away. Instead, it felt like he was remembering this place from a long forgotten memory.

“Where's Walter?”, he asked after glancing at the empty back seat, as if the boy would have been sitting there the entire time without speaking. Two comic books littered the chairs, but there was no trace of Molly's son. No trace of his stepson.

Will winced, remembering Hannibal's words like he could hear them whispered against his ear this very moment, A boy who calls you Dad. Not his son, not his child, not in his heart like a father would embrace his children. A boy who calls you Dad. No, he hadn't noticed his absence before now, nor had he expected him to be present. He hadn't been on his mind, until he had seen those comic books. Will ripped his eyes from the colorful pages of the disheveled books and dug nails into the legs of his jeans as he swallowed hard at the realization. As much as he had wanted to connect with the boy, he had never been much more than a side note in his marriage. He knew it, as much as he knew the boy had never looked at him with anything more than polite tolerance.

“He's at my Mom's,” Molly answered him, placing her gentle hand on his knee as she steered with the other atop the wheel, attempting a reassuring, comforting gesture. “Oh,” Will said as he fidgeted with a loose thread on his sleeve and scraped his teeth over the dry skin of his bottom lip. “I figured we would be in need of some peace and quiet,” she said, offering a kind but crooked smile as she continued to pet his leg. Despite her invasive touch, he couldn't help but feel a grateful buzz beneath his chest at her consideration, as his stay would certainly be challenging enough without having to smile convincingly at a moody boy in his early teens.

Will chewed on the nail of his thumb as he watched the window of his hair salon flash by, and flinched while reaching absently for his messy curls. He would have to get himself a haircut, soon and short, because he knew very well he was starting to resemble more animal than man with these wild manes framing his face. He wound a dark strand around his finger, breathed in deeply and tried not to remember just how Hannibal's fingers enjoyed entangling and fisting the unruly mop atop his head. Fuck. He bit down on the side of the nail again, clipping off a sliver with the sharp point of his fang.

“Stop that,” a familiar voice burst from the inside of his skull, and Will's eyes widened as his shoulders jolted foreword at the fierce tone on the tightly spun accent. Had his inner self started to scold him in the voice of his Alpha mate, now? He pressed one open hand to his forehead, covering his eyes in the process. 'Fuck me.'

“I'll go get him when things have settled a bit,” Molly offered kindly, still on the subject Will's mind had so quickly brushed past, and threw a worried glance in his direction. Will was quick to bring his hands back to his lap and smiled at her with pressed, stretched lips. “Sure, yeah. You know I....”, he started, not sure what to express while staying within the truth. He fell silent and felt her hand squeezing briefly in his upper leg, but didn't tear his gaze away from the offensive bumper sticker on the red car in front of them. 'It's a jeep. If I wanted a Hummer, I would call your sister' it said, and Will suppressed a huff, thinking of Dennis' monstrous vehicle. “I know,” Molly soothed, understanding what he didn't as her touch lingered on his knee before pulling her hand back to the wheel. He knew he would have to endure the touches, the kisses, the affection she wished to show him and would undoubtedly desire in return. If he wanted to try, for her, and see if things could go back to normal, he would have to give this his all, and meet her halfway.

“How was the flight? Did they seat you next to bad breath or smelly armpits?”, Molly tried as she aimed for that joking banter they had always been good at. Friendship was something they had always shared, easily, and Will smiled around his teeth. “Armpits, actually,” he said and huffed when Molly pulled a face as she steered the car onto a frozen dirt road. “It didn't bother me much, though. I slept through the flight.” He watched the trees pass by the window and tried not to let his eyes haze over with the memory of Hannibal, touching his face with phantom hands.

“Well, I'm glad you at least got some rest,” Molly said with a quick glance over his sickly pale skin. He knew what she saw, and he knew she was afraid, much more than she was letting on. “You still look tired,” she then added, keeping her tone purposefully light, and Will wondered how much of her struggles were kept from him. He wondered how much she suffered alone. Perhaps, just as much as he hid from her the things he knew would only hurt her more. The things he endured, without her. And in the process, they were losing each other in the heaps of altered facts and realities.

“I am,” he admitted, scratching the back of his neck with a lost hand as he watched the roof of the house come into sight on the long road ahead. Her house. Their house. He dug his nails deep into the skin beneath his hairline, nearly drawing blood at the sudden, restless panic that crept up from inside his guts. “Shh,” whispered the voice inside his skull and he was quick to withdraw the hand from his neck. He wondered, with bewildered curiosity, how deep this connection between him and Hannibal actually reached.

**

His dogs came rushing out the back door when he stepped into the yard, and he squatted down to greet them with open palms. For the first time since he'd landed, a real smile stretched out over his face as his eyes sparkled bright at the sight of the wagging tails and long, dripping tongues. “Hey guys,” he cooed, scratching William under his chin as Daisy nudged her nose against his fingers. Mo and Smokey, Lizzie and Brent, Stewart and Dana, they all came to welcome him with wet licks and noses and clumsy bodies that bashed against his legs.

“I missed you,” he sighed as he ruffled Stewart's long fur and stroked Mo's soft, wrinkled back. “They missed you, too,” Molly said from beside him, towering over him as she placed a hand on his shoulder.
“We all missed you, you know?” He rose to his feet at her careful smile and looked at the caution inside the blue storm in her eyes. She was afraid to break him, would she push too hard. But she, too, needed something from him, even if she wouldn't ask.

He breathed deep before he embraced her, pulling her against him with strong, determined arms as she rested her head against his chest. It wasn't a kiss, or a confession of love as they stared into each other's eyes. But it was the best he could do, and he hoped, for now, it was enough. He sighed against her hair with closed eyes and wished so badly he could unclench his painful jaw and tight fingers. All those traits he had cherished before, all those things he had liked about her, because she wasn't Hannibal... the warmth, the light, the soft and blond, the smile so easily given, it suddenly felt too hot, too bright, too soft. “I'm here,” he said, assuring her and heard his voice waver on the words. He was here, with her, in the most literal sense of the meaning. That too, was the best he could do.

When the connection made the ache in his nerves near unbearable, he gently pulled away, tried to smile with his eyes and led them to the door with a hand on her shoulder. The dogs followed and inside, they lingered in the hallway as Will unzipped his coat and hung it on the untidy rack, bulging with various winter coats and jackets. “Jesus, Will,” Molly uttered when he turned back towards her, and he noticed her eyes flashing to the skin of his bare throat. Oh. “What the hell is this?”

She stepped closer and rested careful fingers against his bruises, no longer glowing pink but still a wide range of purples and yellows in color, making him resemble a beaten banana. Her touch made him swallow down the urge to growl and he quickly flinched to feign pain, making her retract her hand from his skin. “It's healing,” he said, waving her worries away with a careless shrug before he brushed past her into the kitchen. He had to be more careful. He'd almost...

“You said he didn't hurt you,” Molly called from behind him, and he paused on the threshold. Yes, he had promised her Hannibal hadn't hurt him, physically, and it had been a lie. How would he bring himself to explain that any pain caused had not been unwanted, but welcomed? These bruises, however, had a different set of fingerprints attached to them. “No,” he said, turning towards her with one hand on the door frame. “No, this wasn't...” His hand pressed against his collarbone, hard enough to make him feel the sting of his damaged veins. “I got into an argument.” And that was very nearly not a lie, albeit an understatement.

Molly frowned, and her lips parted as she watched him with those innocent, bewildered eyes. “An argument?”, she repeated, taking her time with every vowel to emphasize the odd choice of words as she took a step towards him and placed her hands in the dip of her waist. “Did they put you with other prisoners?” The disbelief and outrage twisted beautifully on her glowing face and Will quickly shook his head to dispel her assumptions. “No, no,” he said, holding up both hands in defense as he cursed himself for not buttoning up completely. Not that it mattered, of course. She would have seen soon enough.

“It was a guy, in the park.” Which was, again, true enough, and incomplete to the point of unfair. But he couldn't. He was tired and hurt and he wanted it to stop. He could see her lips pressed around another question, and that tight belt around his temples made his blood rush inside his ears like waves on the shore. He felt weak, he felt cold, he felt shame, and so very far away from the one person that could make it better. “Let's just...”, he grumbled with a weary sigh, and the exhaustion and exasperation must have shown bright and clear on his face, because her soft cheeks smoothened, and her shoulders dropped.

“OK,” she said, brushing past him into the kitchen as her hand grazed beneath his chin. Her eyes were gentle, her gaze soft, and full of misplaced understanding. “It's OK,” she assured, watching his red-rimmed eyes and deeming him that little lamb everyone now regarded him as. “Let's get you that coffee.” Will breathed in deep as she hurried to the machine, and dropped himself on one of the kitchen chairs around the square table. “Thank you,” he sighed, smiling up at his wife when she placed a steaming cup of black, black coffee before him. Dark like dirt, with a hint of earthly brown, just like Hannibal's eyes when he was irritated or tried to suppress his anger. He would squint around the iris and his nostrils would flinch up in a snarl. His lips would pull up over his sharp teeth and... Will dropped his head in his hands as Molly grabbed a chair and dragged it across the tiled floor to take her seat beside him.

Stop.

**

Coffee was filled with Molly's easy chatter on every day life, and how she had kept herself occupied in the past two weeks without him. He enjoyed a conversation that only required him to hum, or nod, or smile as he sipped on the hot, soothing drink in his hand. It was obvious that she wanted him comfortable and calm, before she would undoubtedly start to nudge at the shapeless cloud that hung between them. For now, he enjoyed the crystal tones of her voice, and the layer-less words between them.

It was only during their afternoon walk with the dogs that she turned her head towards him and showed a depth behind the blue-gray of her eyes. “I want to talk about what happened,” she said, as they trod on the frozen dirt roads that led them to the woods behind the house, and the dogs romped happily ahead of them. And with that, she broke through the shallow wall he had tried so hard to keep standing.

Will flinched when he watched Brent slip on a muddy puddle and coated his thick, white fur with brown, watery slush that would cake against the coat, once dry. Then, he turned to the eyes he felt pressing against the inside of his well-sheltered mind, and watched the pink flush on Molly's cheeks, caused by the cold weather and the uncertainty he knew lingered beneath. Easily detectable, would he look, but he couldn't take on her pain. There was no room left inside him for anything other than the anguish that pulled on his flesh and mind like a raging tow truck, trying to steer him back to where the pain would end. Not a day in, and he had already found himself on a deep, steep edge.

“I'm willing to wait until you are ready,” Molly said determinedly and he smiled a sigh as she looked at him with those big blue eyes, through her fringe of dirty blond hair. “I wish you would stop worrying,” he replied, squeezing her hand when she reached for his, and enduring the touch with forcefully pliant fingers. Ready, he would never be, and neither would she. “I'm just trying to figure out where we go from here, you know?”, she said, so very reasonable about their predicament, which was a trait he had always admired. Molly didn't speak her words like she was lost in the dark, flowy folds of her own ego. She didn't solve problems by influencing others, but worked hard, wore her heart on her sleeve and fought for what she thought was right. Never had they sparred or challenged or tried to upstage each other with flowery interpretations of the truth. Molly did not deceive, manipulate or lie.

She smiled, and rubbed three fingers along his. “I want to know how to help you, and what you need from me for us to get past this,” she spoke, so beautifully honest, and he breathed in deep, smelling the rotting leaves beneath the runny snow. The scent reminded him of everything he was trying so hard to leave behind. “I wish I had all the answers to that,” he told her, and wanted so badly, here and now, to lift her spirit with a promise. But the painful truth, here, was that there was nothing he needed from her, but distance, forgiveness, understanding of what he had become. Never would they go back to the way things had been, no matter how hard he could push himself to try. He was an Omega now, and Hannibal was under his skin like the blood and breath of his very body. In a way, he always has been, but now it had become undeniable. Irreversible. Indestructible. Part of Will was still there, right now, in that glass prison, but there was no way he could tell her that without bringing her pain. And so he didn't. He waited, in vain, for an easier answer.

“You're an Omega,” she breathed, shaking her head in wonder as she smiled at him, pain hidden beneath her pupils, small against the bright and low winter sun. “Yes,” he told her, as he whistled back Smokey from the far end of the line. He wasn't ready to talk, but he knew she was battling her own insecurities and fears. “Did they give you medication, or any treatment that can help with your symptoms, or... heats?”, she pressed, holding onto his hand as he felt the nerves beneath the skin itch uncomfortably inside the grip. The sour sensation of overexercise came to mind, but never before had he felt that inside the muscles of his fingers. Before he answered her, he pulled himself free from her grip by feigning the need to brush back his long curls from his eyes.

“No,” he swallowed, as he watched the wet dirt stick to the bottom of his shoes. “There is no treatment for my situation.” He felt it when Molly looked at him, like a hot lamp on his temple, but focused instead on the frozen leaves crunching beneath his boots. It was oddly satisfying. “What does that mean?”, Molly asked the evident question and Will huffed, smiling tight as he shrugged his shoulders. What did it mean? Where could he possibly begin to explain her? Truth be told, he, himself, didn't know what it meant, but what he did know from the tight ache just below his throat, his chest, his groin, was that the maximum week of separation Hannibal had wished to limited him to might very well turn out to be too much.

“Will you get another heat, at some point, and just go back?”, Molly's voice rose to a pitch that made Will wince inside his thick scarf. At last he flashed his red-rimmed eyes to hers and swallowed. She was frustrated, naturally, and he wished more than ever he could smile, feel the warmth he should feel when looking at his wife, and make it better. He should tell her he would fight this, find a cure, endure the pain. Even get that brain surgery Jack had told him about. Anything to be with her. But he couldn't, because behind that thrumming, nauseating pull inside his throat, pulsed only one desire. One he very gradually came to recognize as not an alien addition, but something of his own since long before he and Molly ever met. He shook his head, and tried to find a deeper sense of grief for it. “My connection with Hannibal is... complicated,” he spoke half-truths as his throat fluttered around his mate's name. “Time will tell what that means, Molly.” He swallowed, feeling his mouth pull at the words as he watched her through heavy, stinging eyes. “I'm sorry.”

He could see the spasm on her lips as she reached to wrap her arm inside his. “You shouldn't be sorry,” she spoke, pressing the side of her face against his shoulder as they walked beneath the empty trees. Daisy was carrying a branch between her teeth that was larger than the little dog's body, and Will watched her happy, furry frame bouncing along the road. “I don't like the idea of you...”, Molly paused, but Will knew just what it was she didn't like the idea of. Of him, belonging to someone else. “But you are the victim in this, and I realize that.” She squeezed his arm with hers, as Will kept his eyes on the playing dogs ahead of them. “You don't deserve this and I will do whatever I can to either fix this or help you through it, OK?” Molly told him, her cheek against his upper arm, and beneath the layers of his clothes he felt the skin itch at the nearness of her warmth.

“Molly...”, he breathed, trying to find his voice inside his tight throat, and heard the air breaking. “For better and for worse, right?”, she interrupted, rubbing his arm in a way to sooth him. “We'll work this out.” And they walked on, in silence. Peacefully, perhaps, for Molly, but Will felt like an open sore, probed by fingers until thoroughly infected. Without Hannibal, he felt vulnerable, as if without skin to cover the nerves, the bones, the veins.

“I bought fresh fish for dinner,” Molly said.

**

Dinner and dessert were easy affairs, where Molly chatted about Wally's reducing school grades, her mother's ulcer, and another dog someone was trying to find a home for, just a two hour drive away. Will listened, but there was no room inside his head for the words to settle, and it was right after his after-dinner Whiskey he excused himself to bed. “You should get some rest,” Molly agreed, and followed him up to the room. Climbing the stairs, Will wondered with sudden agitation if he would be allowed to take a piss all by himself. But no, he shouldn't... she had been worried, and alone, and he was here now, barely opening up.

She fluffed his pillow, flattened his sheets and pulled out a nightshirt as he started to undress himself. “What is...?”, he suddenly heard her mumble behind him, and before he could turn, her hand was on his bare shoulder. “That's... That's a bite mark,” she spoke quietly. “A human bite mark.” Will sucked in a sharp breath as her fingertip rimmed around the wound, and he twitched his shoulder at the intrusion. “Yeah,” he said, without turning towards her to see the question in her eyes.

Again, her fingers traced around the skin, and his shoulder jerked involuntarily at the contact. “Does it hurt?”, she asked, finally taking her hand away, and came to stand beside him. “No,” Will shook his head, guilt creeping up at him like a permanent second skin. “It just itches.” Molly stepped in front of him and reached out to cup his tense jaw. “What the hell have they done to you?”, she asked, a whisper as her sympathy shone like teardrops in her eyes. And Will should have cupped her hand, kissed her palm and told her everything was over now. But he only felt his resistance. No, to the gentle hand on his jaw. No, to the tearful pity in her eyes. No, to her fingers on Hannibal's mark.

She watched him, and he wondered what she saw when she pulled back her hand and frowned deep lines of better understanding. He must have felt cold, beneath those lovely hands. “Was it him?”, she asked, a pale glow around her nose. Will wouldn't pretend, or insult her by asking. They both knew who she was referring to. “It was Hannibal,” he confirmed, eyes flashing down to the carpet beneath his bare toes. Molly stepped closer, and he watched her socked feet come into his line of vision. She didn't touch him, this time. She waited until he was brave enough to lift his head and look at her. “Are you still my Will?”, she asked, her eyes big and blue and he suppressed the urge to moan his misery out loud. There were so many things he could answer, but within the truth, none of them would bring them sleep tonight.

“Molly...”, he said, bringing his hand up to reach for hers. It felt odd. Like touching a dead body that once belonged to someone close. He loved her, still. He loved her like one might love a caged, wild animal. Only contained, out of reach, it was safe to feel affection. But outside, exposed, touched, smothered, that love turned to fear. That love turned to threat. “I'm still Will.”

She didn't join him in bed, but went downstairs to clean up. That was what she told him, but he knew she, too, needed time to think. She was alone, even now he was here, and that thought should have been enough for him to follow her down and hold her, tell her he was with her and that they were going to make things right again.

Instead, he closed his eyes, tired in every inch of his body. He lay there, minutes, hours, and in the dark, there was a flicker of something familiar behind his eyes. A glass cell, a prison bed, white walls and rows and rows of books. There was the scent of winter fire and a brush of soft lips against his temple, before he fell deep into the darkness of his own mind. In sleep he dreamed of nothing, but he stirred beneath the blankets when a new scent drifted from the cracked window. Spices. Smoke and poison. Eighteen layers of Chinese hell.

Chapter Text

Hannibal's POV

Eyes on the wall. Eyes on the wall. Eyes on that little, black dot on the wall.

Tick, tick, tick, said the antique grandfathers clock inside his mind, shaped and sized to the pettiest detail as the one that had stood in the foyer of his childhood home. One second at a time, time ticked away, and the clicking of the clock's hand matched the steady stream of blood, dripping on the floor.

Eyes on the wall. Eyes on the wall. Eyes on that little, black dot on the wall.

Whenever the hour struck, the clock echoed inside him like a gong, and emphasized the hollowness, the empty, wasted darkness within the cage of his bones. His heart throbbed weakly, evidently finding no meaning or purpose to pump his blood through the chambers, filling and emptying into the veins with nothing but a wet cough.

Eyes on the wall. Eyes on the wall. KEEP your eyes on that little, black dot on the wall.

The Alpha had been pushed to the corner of his mind and obeyed the command to lie low, endure, wait, suffer. His yellow eyes were dull in his skull, and his tail twitched on the floor of Hannibal's mind.

Don't move. Don't think. Don't feel.

Eyes on the wall.

With attention, it would expand within him, and it would outgrow its shell until everything would splash to the floor and onto his feet. It would drip like blood and entrails, and it would feel ripped from his chest. There, where he had once felt and lived and breathed, had now grown a big, black beast with claws the size of trees.

He might not come back.
Sharp nails inside his belly.

He might stay with her.
Razors to his lungs.

He might be able to live without you.
Bloody claws along his throat.

The pain was monstrous. Like watching your baby sister being ripped to shreds before your eyes.

No. Eyes on the wall. Eyes on the wall.

Keep everything tight, pulled in, bound and hidden. Stay numb, stay quiet, stay very, very still. Hold your breath, don't blink, don't exist.

He'd done it before.

He had to, because if anything poured out, now, nothing would stop him but a bullet in his brain. A bullet that would gladly be given. And death couldn't come now. Not before he knew.

“Hannibal?”

He kept his eyes on the wall.

“Do you want treatment for that?”

He kept his eyes on the wall.

“No thank you, Alana.”

His hand was slippery, sticky, where his sharp nails pushed deep inside his palm. The blood seeped between his clenched fist onto the prison floor. The cuts were deep, his nails dirty, but the pain was a welcome stabilizer between mind and body.

“Do you need anything else?”

Eyes on the wall. Her voice could have been a welcome distraction, but similarly, it could pull him down the rabbit-hole, right into the clouds of his memory.

“No thank you, Alana.”

She left. She knew better than to poke at him.

Eyes on the wall, listen to the clock, feel the scrape of your nail against the bones in your hand. Don't think, don't think, don't think of anything but the dot on the wall, the clock in your head, the pain of the bared bones in your hand.

Dinner would be brought and taken away. Breakfast would be the same. By noon tomorrow, he would be asked to drink something, and he would. He would fall asleep, narcotized by medication they deemed necessary, and when he would wake, all the furniture but the bed would be taken. Fear, for him to harm himself, or others.

It had been like that before.

Soon, he would have to eat, shower, breathe. He would have to live, and believe he would come back.

But for now it was easier to just keep his eyes on that little, black dot on the wall.

Chapter Text

Will woke in his own bed, in his own room, and he was alone. Molly's side of the bed was warm, still, and the dip of her weight in the mattress was visible on the fitted sheet, but her beige robe was missing from the hook on the door, and from downstairs he could hear the clangs of pans and plates being used. Breakfast. She was making him breakfast.

He turned himself on his back and watched the spotless, sand-colored ceiling as he stretched his body beneath the soft, warm sheets, praising the comfortable box-spring over any cheap motel or prison bed. His muscles sang gratefully for the quality mattress, that had treated his body with so much more compassion than whatever else he had been forced to rest himself on these past weeks. Hannibal, he thought with sudden flash of hot cheeks, not included.

Most of his night had been restful and dreamless, up to the point of early morning where his pressing bladder had forced him to pad barefoot to the bathroom. After returning and sliding carefully between the sheets to avoid disturbing the peaceful expression on his wife's lovely features, he had closed his eyes and lingered in the shadows of reality. It was the state of sleep that only breached the surface of the mind, and he had floated on the waves of consciousness. There, he had found himself staring at his Alpha's face, hidden in darkness. Resting on his prison bed, with eyes closed and silver hair tousled. The image had buzzed in and out behind his lids, like a flickering, zooming tube of fluorescent light, and it wasn't until the dark sky had already shown the lighter rim of blue at the horizon, that Hannibal's face darkened in the lines, fading and sinking into the depths beneath the surface of his mind.

The alarm by his bed now showed him a bright red 07:58, and his heavy legs found their way over the edge of the mattress. Fuck. He rubbed his temples with his fingers and took a deep, calming breath before rising to his feet. Yes, fuck. He was rested, he was fed, he was warm and cared for, without any real injuries causing him discomfort. But inside, the insisting pull on his core, his guts and bones, was harsh and cruel and maddeningly impatient as it dug inside his flesh like sharp ropes trying to slice through pink intestines. It burned him, it hurt, almost as much as the howling, screeching Omega in the attic made his skull throb beneath his skin like a bee sting, as the beast ripped further into the flesh of his own, bloody paws.

It was bad. Worse, even, than last time. Maybe it was the distance, maybe the company, or maybe it was due to the connection that had been allowed to grow outside the days of heat. But he already felt weak, starving, as his skin crawled to be touched, his bones to be held, his mind to be understood, soothed, indulged.

Will refused to look in the mirror when he undressed himself in the bathroom, and twisted the hot water of the shower open as far as it would go, adding only half a turn of blue. When steam rose up to fog the room, he climbed into the peach colored bathtub, closed the flower-patterned shower curtain, and positioned himself head-first into the powerful, wonderful, caressing stream. “Ughh,” he moaned through parted lips as he placed both his hands against the tiled wall and closed his eyes while the water beat down on his torso and back. A good shower, that too had been a long time coming.

He kept his eyes closed as he stood in place and dropped his chin to his sternum as the exhaustion pulled him down, down, and further back into his own mind. He should have washed his hair and used one of the many bottles of shower gel, but he couldn't make himself move as the rain fell from the large, round shower head above him, and tried to bring life to his stiff frozen muscles. He was home. This was his home. And everything here was hard, and raw and too bright for him to look at. And everything here was feeble, and fragile and too shapeless for him to understand. He could have cried, here, beneath the water that would disguise any evidence of tears, but he couldn't even muster up that kind of grief anymore. Instead, he let the hot water sooth him into nothingness as he tried so very hard not to feel, or think, by letting his mind drift into a safe familiar black.

A flicker of light behind his closed eyes made him jump, and his lashes fluttered as he pulled his head from the stream with a gasp that made him swallow water. He was certain he had seen something, clear and real, inside the dark walls of his empty mind. A flash of color, and sound, and even scent. It hadn't been a thought, no, it hadn't been a dream. Not even a memory. He hadn't dozed off in the shower, no, he had seen it, observed it, as if watching the world through plastic goggles. And the image was familiar. Creme-colored tiles, glass shower walls, wet, gray hair on a bare, broad chest. Will breathed in deep and blinked the water from his lashes as his eyes moved along the walls around him.

No, no, it hadn't even been a fantasy, it hadn't been an idea. He had heard the water splashing against the tiles, he had smelled the soap and the winter fire of Hannibal's skin, and all of it had crept into his senses as real as it would have, had he been standing in the prison shower again. “Shit.” He pressed his back to the wall as the water beat against his torso, breathed in the hot steam, and closed his eyes again. It was harder this time, to find the empty darkness inside him, and his heart thumped wild inside his chest as his eyes moved within his sockets, searched beneath the darkness. Hannibal.

Within a minute, the image came back into his mind, and this time he didn't open his eyes again. This time, he watched his mate, because he knew what he saw before him was real, and happening right now. Hannibal was in the shower, this very moment, in his prison shower, at Baltimore hospital, and Will moved his eyes behind closed lids to take in the scene inside his head. He wondered if his mind had reached out and touched what it had needed most, beyond his own control, and he breathed deeply through his nose as he watched his mate, close and wet and bare before him. He could see his Alpha's naked back, as he stood turned towards the spray to let the water run over his bent head and silver hair. Soap slid down the glistering skin and Will's lips parted as his eyes traveled along strong shoulders, a defined spine and the dip of the slender waist. Then followed the swell of the very well-formed curve of his Alpha's ass, muscular, round and smoothly soft in the same instant, and as Will watched the water and soap sliding in between the crease of his mate's flawless shape, his body began to flush and stir and redirect the blood flow in response to the image.

No, no, don't. Fucking don't.

But Will breathed hard through his open lips as his eyes settled faithfully on Hannibal's ass, and he felt the blood rise to his face when he was suddenly overthrown by a gripping desire to reach out and cup one of the full, firm cheeks. He never had the opportunity before to study Hannibal's physique with this much attention, but that didn't mean he hadn't felt the longing to explore his mate with unlimited access and control. Oh yes, Will had felt the desire to taste his mate, to make the dominant Alpha surrender to him with his hands and mouth until he begged and cried undignified for release. He had fantasized, more than once, about running his tongue over the tight, pink pucker of Hannibal's opening, pushing his cheeks apart with his hands and opening him up until...

Will almost jumped when Hannibal turned around, and widened his eyes beneath his closed lids when he came face to face with his Alpha's handsome, flushed features. His eyes were closed, his lips parted, and Will was helpless against the need to lower his gaze over those pink, peaked nipples, that strong, soft stomach, that trail of silver hair that dipped down from his bellybutton all the way to... Oh. God. Oh Jesus. Will heard his own breath loud and raspy in his ears as he witnessed the enlarged, swollen, angry red cock that sprung from between his mate's strong legs and rested heavily in Hannibal open fists. Fingers massaged over the bulbous head as the Alpha pumped his own, large erection in a slow, agonizing rhythm, with his head thrown back against the shower stream and his eyes closed in pure pleasure and concentration.

Will hadn't even touched himself, but watching the muscles flex beneath Hannibal's belly and seeing those fingers rub the foreskin along the leaking slit, made him stand tall and hard. He stared at his mate's pleasure, and heard Hannibal quietly moaning beneath his ragged breath as he touched the thick, long shaft with his broad hand, unable to reach all the way around himself. Fuck. Will was trying, he really was, but all he could manage to think now was that the image before him was immensely, enormously... hot.

He reached for his own filled cock between his legs, smaller in size but already flushed and painfully hard in his hand as he groaned deep in his throat as he stroked the sensitive flesh with his eyes glued to the sight before him. God, how had he managed to fit all that inside his body? Hannibal's eyelids fluttered in his skull and oh yes, oh god yes, Will rubbed over the hot pink skin of the leaking head in his fist as he flashed his widened pupils from Hannibal's closed eyes, his teeth in his bottom lip, to those teasing fingers that jerked around his swollen Alpha cock. The Omega was hooked, mesmerized by the beauty, and felt his body swaying in the rhythm of both their fingers as he matched his mate's cruel pace. His eyes frenzied over every dip and twist of his mate's exquisite form as he squeezed his fingers over the head of his leaking cock, lost within the moment, until he heard the Alpha moan from between those bitten, swollen lips.

“Will.”

His name. His fucking name. Oh Jesus, Will grasped his erection tight in his fist as he moaned deep within his own throat and felt his balls tighten, already pushing for release. “Hannibal,” he gasped his response, thumbing the slit and spreading the gathered liquid around the swollen head, so close, so good, so... Oh. Will froze when he watched the Alpha's eyes shoot open the moment his name fell from Will's lips, and the Omega felt his own heart thrumming in his chest as he heard the low growl that rose from Hannibal's chest. His mate dropped his hand from his heavy cock and Will's breath stuttered violently as he watched his mate's tiger eyes dash manically around the room. He had heard. Hannibal had heard him. The Omega's skin tightened up at the sight of his bewildered mate, as his hand squeezed motionless around his own throbbing shaft. Were they really here, together? Were they...

“Hannibal,” he said again, clearer, louder and watched his mate's ears peak behind his own closed lids, watching the Alpha search for him with open eyes. Hannibal's gaze brushed him with an empty stare, not seeing the Omega before him as he searched, in vain, in the world before the veil. “Hannibal,” Will cried out, frantically searching inside himself for the directions he could give the Alpha on where to find him. But Hannibal didn't need that. Hannibal blinked, before his lips jerked up in a smile. The Alpha understood, Will realized, so much better than he ever could, the possibilities between them.

He watched in astonishment as his mate breathed in deep, connected the dots in his head, and all tension left his body. He closed his eyes as his head tilted back against the stream, falling into his own mind, his own darkness, behind the veil of their connection. When he opened them, it was within their own made realm, and it looked as if his pupils shone through the closed eyelids onto his Omega before him. He had found Will, inside himself, with a solidness and speed that had Will baffled.

“Will,” Hannibal said, calm and pleasant, if not for the little quiver that traveled through his voice as he looked straight into his Omega's eyes. Will's breath stuttered, gaping at his mate as Hannibal took a step towards him and reached out to touch. “Ooh,” Will gasped when the fingers brushed his bare chest, with an off, phantom-like sensation that sprung from within himself. He felt it, but it was the memory or the imagination of what it would feel like, that brought the connection to life. “Can you see me?”, Hannibal asked him, a soft stutter in his breath as his fingers lingered on Will's naked torso, and even now, like this, it was enough to make Will's muscles tremble with desire.

“I see you,” he breathed his conformation and Hannibal smiled his sharp fangs bare as he stepped close enough to brush his hand down Will's quivering stomach, his touch like a gust of wind against the wet, naked skin. “Fuck,” Will whispered as he reached his own hand to stroke across one of his Alpha's tightened nipples, and watched Hannibal hiss at the contact that only existed inside their minds.

“Fuck,” Will cursed again as his cock hardened to the point of unbearable, and he reached for himself with his own, solid hand to ease the ache of his arousal. “Yes,” Hannibal approved with an abandoned groan and he watched the Omega stroking along his own erection before he, too, returned his touch to the solid weight of the pulsing cock against his abdomen. Like this, awake and drifting in between worlds, their connection was fragile and limited, but their own hands offered real friction as they stared at each other's naked, aroused bodies in the hot, wet shower. Both men groaned with hungry eyes and flushed skin as their desire overtook them, touching themselves to the living, breathing image of the other.

“Touch yourself,” Hannibal growled, fangs sharp and eyes nothing but slits as he pumped himself with a twist of his wrist around the head, while his free hand cupped the darker skin of his tightened balls against his body. Will mimicked the specific way his mate stroked the swollen, purple flesh of the head, knowing exactly what Hannibal wished to see him do. Without missing a beat, he brought two fingers to his own lips and slid them inside his mouth to lick along the already soaked digits. “Will,” the Alpha sighed, and growled low in his belly when his mate brought the spit-coated fingers around his body and pushed them both, simultaneously inside his hole.

“Fuck. Ooh God.” He was already so wet with his own slick, and the slide in was tight but smooth and he groaned his pleasure when his crooked his fingers rubbed experimentally against the sensitive bundle of nerves. Hannibal's lips parted in arousal as he watched his mate's fingers disappear entirely inside his slender body. “Just like that,” he moaned, lost inside Will's skull as both their hands worked along their own swollen, blood-filled cocks, their bodies tightening and begging for release. Will surrendered to the intensity of the pleasure he evoked by working blunt fingers against his own throbbing prostate. He was still new to the angle, to the action, but submitted completely to the way it made his nerves sing and his balls pulse tight against his body.

“Fuck, Hannibal,” he sobbed, begged, whimpered into his own mind as he kept his eyes glued on Hannibal's fluttering muscles beneath the beautiful skin. The leaking, pulsing cock inside his mate's hand, not big enough to fit the girth and length, drove a maddening heat through Will's loins that caused his muscles to spasm around his own, slick fingers. “Oooh, ooh God,” he cried helplessly at the sight, feeling the pleasure from his toes to the roots of his teeth as he stroked along the inside of his body and pulled the skin around his dick with an upwards twist of his wrist. “Will,” Hannibal moaned, equally lost with eyes deeply entranced on every angle of his aroused Omega. “Let go.”

The words were not spoken as a command, but Will rubbed pressing fingers over the head of his cock as his hand stroked firmly against the inside of his tight, slick entrance, and all was lost. “Hannibal,” he whimpered wild and tight as he felt his ass clenching hard around his own fingers while his release spurted plentifully over his frantic hand and up against his trembling belly. “Hannibal. Hannibal.” The sensation was one of falling into the depths of dark, dark oblivion and bliss, but where he would have normally closed his eyes to give himself to the black realm of pleasure, he now kept them glued to the ecstasy on his mate's beautiful features. Hannibal growled, fluttered his lashes and, as his muscles spasmed violently beneath the skin, released a flowing stream of pearly white semen over his own clenching fist. “Yes, God yes,” Will hissed at the sight, his own, painfully sensitive cock spasming helplessly inside his grip. His mate was flushed, trembling, beautiful in his naked form and stained with his own release and, fuck, all Will wanted now was....

“French toast?”

Will's eyes blew wide open and suddenly, he was in his own bathroom, under the streaming shower, palming his own, softening cock inside his hand as a load of sperm coated his fingers and belly in sticky, clingy ropes. Knuckled raps on the other side of the locked bathroom door. “Will?”, he heard Molly's voice coming from the other side, and he took a quick gasp of breath as he dove back under the full spray.

“Y-yes?”, he stuttered as the hot water beat against his face, and the semen on his belly became granular under his fingers. “Do you want French toast?”, she asked again through the door, and Will brushed a frantic hand over his skin to rid himself of the evidence of his release. “Eh... yeah. Yeah”, he replied, not quite sure what he was agreeing to in the moment, but feeling relief and guilt washing over him with similar pressure when he heard her footsteps dying away in the hallway, as she went down the stairs.

Oh, oh, oh, fuck.

He released a long, hard breath and knew he would have to get out of the shower soon to join his wife for breakfast. But for now, all he could manage was to press his head against the tiles on the wall before him and curse, curse, curse. “Goddammit.”

**

To avoid any real conversation, Will went along quite enthusiastically when Molly suggested going into town, and shop for groceries at the local market. They could have walked the distance in less than thirty minutes, but Will feared what that time would bring up between them, and offered to drive. She seemed lifted, pleased by his willingness to continue their everyday lives' activities, and he found himself wishing that every breath he took in her presence, would stop feeling like a lie.

“What do you feel like?”, Molly asked, referring to tonight's dinner as her eyes roamed over the fresh vegetables and fruits, stalled out to be admired and bought. Will knew he could shrug, or tell her he wouldn't be hungry anyway. He could say he could barely taste anything, ever since he had stepped aboard that plane. But he knew it would make her happy if he asked for her food and allowed her to provide and nurture. “You know I love your lamb chops,” he smiled, offering whatever he had left to offer as he watched her happy smile stretch wide over her teeth. “Are you talking dirty to me?”, she teased, biting playfully into her lip as she nudged his shoulder with hers. “In public?” The feigned shock on her lively face was adorable, and the flirtatious joking so familiar between them. He chuckled as his stomach clenched tight, trying to enjoy the carefree moment, without feeling the drag of heavy weights around his neck.

He waited beside her as she ordered the meat, and let his eyes glide over the blood that pooled beneath a pile of steaks. Hannibal wouldn't even touch these, he knew. Hannibal would want a specific cut, a specific type of animal, fresh, thick, exactly right for some outrageously complicated dish. His lips twitched at the memories of all the exquisite dining experiences they had shared, remembering only after the chops had been tucked away in the shopping bag, that most of that meat had probably been human.

Molly chatted away beside him about potatoes, onions, some kind of yellow carrots, and he followed her mindlessly, nodding his approval when she pointed out ingredients and carried her bags as she made her purchases. This wasn't much different from what such a visit would normally look like, he realized, packing three red peppers on top of the other groceries. He had never engaged much during their shopping trips, as crowded places and fast decision making were not things he could combine. Molly had never seen any different from him, and he allowed himself to enjoy the permitted silence as he followed after his wife like a passive, domesticated husband.

“Molly?”, a high-pitched voice blared across the square, and before Will could register the source, Molly was pulled aside and entirely claimed by a woman he recognized as one of her yoga friends. This one was the loud, chatty one with dark brown hair and the kind of Latina curves that almost had her rip those yoga pants. Not that he had looked, of course, but it had been hard to miss. “Hun, I love your new coat. Is the this the one you've been talking about?”, the woman said with the enthusiasm of a sorority girl, as she pulled back to size up Molly's long, beige coat. Was that new? Had he seen it before? Was he supposed to have noticed these things?

“Thanks, Jessica. It is,” Molly beamed at her friend's compliment before showing her the ruby red lining by undoing two of the buttons. It was an expensive coat. He should have noticed. “And Will, how good to see you out and about,” Jessica turned towards him with a radiant smile that had him taking a hesitant step back. “Molly told me you've been sick.” She said, swiping her dark brown gaze across his face and messy curls. “Oh yes,” She said, pursing painted lips, “That flu must have hit you hard, love. You look like you've seen death.” Will huffed a quick chuckle as Molly joined his side, linking her arm through his as she smiled her teeth bare with a nervous giggle. “He does, doesn't he?”, she humored Jessica, who was kind enough to bring the conversation back to her own life, rattling about her husband, Mario, who had apparently nearly died last year in a horrible chicken pocks tragedy.

Will was quick to tune out, but as he stared at the worn shoes on his feet, he felt a cold prickle against the back of his neck. A gust of wind, or intuition. He turned his head, but in the masses of people walking and meeting in all kinds of direction, it was impossible to spot anything out of the ordinary, or too familiar. He turned back, but the uneasy tickle remained, and this time he felt eyes sharp enough to slice trough his skin traveling along his neck. Again, he turned his head, but the attempt to find the source remained fruitless. The sensation of biting fire-ants on his neck, however, didn't fade. Not even when he rubbed the skin with his own icy fingers.

“Am I boring you, Will?”, Jessica's sneer shook him out of his trance as he turned back to the woman before him. In the corner of his eye, he watched Molly raising an eyebrow at both him and her friend, similarly caught off guard by the exchange. “What?”, he blurted, before his nose picked up on a spicy, eastern scent. Tiger balm, pepper seeds, the bitter taste of dandelion. “Am I boring you?”, the feisty brunette repeated daringly as she placed a hand on her wide hip. Will blinked, swallowed, and tasted bitter heat in the back of his throat. “I don't know, Jessica.” He answered her distractedly, as his eyes flashed around the crowded square. “I wasn't paying attention.”

Molly was still giggling when they returned to the car, highly amused by her yoga friend's outrage. Will laughed along, pleased to see her smile, but never did his eyes stop searching for the source of the biting heat in his neck, and the burn on his tongue. It wasn't until they had stepped into the car and drove onto their frozen dirt road, that the feeling finally left him completely.

Chapter Text

The real problems started that evening when Molly joined him in their bed. Dinner had been uncomplicatedly pleasant, and wine Hannibal wouldn't even consider bringing to his nose had flowed freely until both their cheeks glowed a rosy pink. After the dogs' last evening walk, Will had kissed her on the cheek and said goodnight, but as he settled himself on the mattress he'd felt her sliding beneath the covers beside him. In that moment, he had realized what the easy flow of wine and laughter had brewed between them, and inwards, he felt the tight dread of watching the train approach without being able to move.

He had not dared to turn his back to her and kept his eyes glued to the ceiling when he felt her turn to him, one hand supporting her chin. A finger had brushed at his hair, his cheek, his jaw, before she had leaned in and kissed him on his temple.

No. Please, god no.

The contact ached like a bug beneath the skin and Will fought not to react in a manner that would hurt her. He had smiled, tired and stiff, but his lips had quickly dropped when her mouth returned, pressing against the corner of his. Will didn't turn towards her, he didn't move or meet her eyes. He just breathed, deep and slow, as he fought to keep his mind clear, and his body steady.

The Omega in him gnawed so hard on the chains on the attic door, its gums started to bleed over its fangs, and every inch of Will's body twitched with controlled resistance.

It wasn't right. It just wasn't right.

Her lips found his neck, and it was wrong. So wrong, he had to do everything in his power to suppress the urge to snap his teeth at her for touching such intimate, vulnerable territory. Of course he had known this might happen, and of course he had considered his own actions within that scenario. But he had thought he could at least try, close his eyes, let it happen. Maybe it wouldn't be that strange, or unwanted at all.

Never had he anticipated his mind and body would become aggressive under her loving touches. Or the downright refusal to perform. Never had he thought he would feel such aversion towards his own, sweet Molly. “Mmm, God, I've missed you,” she breathed against his ear as her hand dipped beneath the covers, and trailed along his t-shirt covered chest. He managed a stuttering gasp in response and she smirked flirtatiously, confusing his distress for boyish lust.

No. No, no, no.

Sweat poured down his forehead as her hand traveled lower, down his stomach, over his abdomen, until her fingers dipped beneath the waistband of his boxers.

No.

Ocean eyes flashed pitch black in side his mind, as the Omega's bloody teeth snapped against the squishy, pink flesh of the walls of his brain.

”NO.” Will's hand shot down to grab her wrist and pulled her touch away from his skin with a sharp jerk of his arm. “No,” he repeated, hoarse and out of breath, wide eyes full of spilling panic. This couldn't happen. Everything in him screamed it like a thousand banshees had been released inside his fragile, hollow skull. Not this, not her, not there, not that.

Her hand was in his as he brought it up between them and he looked straight into her startled eyes. “Molly...”, he breathed brokenly, feeling the tightness in his chest squeezing all the air from his lungs. “...I can't. I can't.”

He watched her staring at him with those round, wet eyes that reflected the table lamp light like a hundred burning candles, before she allowed their linked fingers to gently separate and sat up against the headboard with a deep, stuttering inhale. He wished to feel the need to reach for her, but didn't when the feeling never came. “I'm so sorry”, Will whispered at the lost look in her eyes that tugged at his heart. She looked so lovely in her red, oversized nightshirt, her loose, straight, blond hair that framed her pretty, round face. She was all soft, sweet, woman, with that spark of life and that fiery passion for everything right. And then she said; “It's OK. I'm sorry...”, and only made it that much harder.

Will propped himself up on his elbows, as he turned his head to look at her. “No,” he said, shaking his head as he swallowed, and felt his throat flutter in the process. “It's just...”, he started, his eyes large as he breathed one long, deep sigh and felt his cheeks burning hot and bright on his face. Where to begin, he had no idea. In his head, he had practiced all the possible conversations a dozen, dozen times, but here and now, everything he could say was either a lie, or something that would hurt her.

Because it wasn't 'just' anything. And it never had been.

Hannibal had told him many times already that Will shunned making hard decisions. Will didn't want the responsibility. Will couldn't afford to play the part of the wolf, relying still on his reputation as the loyal, obedient dog. Why would he place himself in that position, when Hannibal already played the beast so perfectly, good enough for the both of them?

Molly's finger hooked on the hem of her shirt as she drew her bare legs up to her chest. “You don't have to explain anything,” she said, and the smile around her lips hurt them both. He wished, for once, that she would just scream her pain at him, yell and curse and hit him with a flat hand across the cheek with enough force to make it sting. He reached to touch her bare ankle, and his stomach churned sourly at the contact of skin while her eyes shone warmly at his effort. “It's...”, he choked, failing again to find any words as he pressed his fingers deeper into her warm skin. Determination and anger, as the ache of the contact made his clenched teeth throb inside his mouth. “Yeah,” Molly said, pressing her lips together as she caressed his fingers with hers. Will allowed the ache to spread like wildfire, until the veins in his arms tightened uncomfortably.

Bonded to his mate, things wouldn't be this bad, this intense, Dr. Hammings had told him. Bonded, the distance and the contact would be an easier experience. But bonding with his mate was irreversible, a life-lasting connection, and there would be no place for Molly in it. If he chose to bond, he would be choosing Hannibal, only Hannibal, and it would be forever.

Will turned his eyes back to the ceiling as Molly pulled the sheets over her exposed legs. His fingers released her ankle, and life streamed back into his veins as she sniffled into the semi-darkness; her back against the headboard, his head on the pillow beside her. “I just... I've got so much to ask you and I don't know where to start,” she confessed, a rawness to her words, as if she finally allowed herself to lift the veil she had used to spare him, hiding her own concerns. Will sucked his upper lip between his lower teeth before he released it with a slight pop. “I know,” he swallowed, and felt like the lowest form of life when all he could do was wish for her to stop this, leave him be, go to sleep.

So he could close his eyes and maybe try to reach a place he had been thinking about ever since this morning.

No. Ever since he'd left.

But Molly pulled the blankets up to her chin, and hardly ever had he seen her look this vulnerable. “I know you had sex with someone else during your heat, but I...” Will heard her sigh, struggling for what to say, or to ask. A search for questions to which she truly wanted an answer. “Do you – do you really not remember any of it? Or are you saying that to spare me?”, she then asked, and Will felt his face tighten from the misery that pulled at his muscles. God. He had known she had her doubts from the moment he told her the lie. Had he not liked her for her motherly intuition, after all?

“Molly...”, he practically whimpered, undignified, and wondered if he should break away from the conversation entirely. Ever since he had left Baltimore, a nauseating ailment had settled in his nerves, never allowing him to forget that he was misplacing himself.

Did he have to hurt her with the truth, if there was nothing left to mend? But that thought was unexpected, unwanted, terrifying, not allowed to exist within him. He had to fight. He had to....

“I don't want you to have to deal with this all by yourself,” Molly said, touching his shoulder as a plea bled through her voice and Will closed his eyes, squinting the lids from the pain moving through him as if caught in his bloodstream. And it ached unbearably, needfully, for something unjustifiable.

Molly's hand ran over his damp forehead, touching him, but not feeling the hazard that lingered beneath the smooth skin. “Don't pull away from me now,” her voice whispered, needing, pulling, making guilt drip hot on an already open sore. “I don't know how”, he confessed, pressing palms to his sockets as he tried to quell the noise from within. The roaring, scratching Omega that lay bloody and weakened on the damaged attic floor, the smooth tones of his Alpha's voice that bounced against his skull like the unintelligible hum of an echo...

“Be honest”, Molly said. She didn't beg him. She had her dignity. But the message was clear, and the request not to be denied. Fingers brushed his hair and Will hid the snarl around his nose with his covering hands as Molly's touch slid to the back of his neck. “There is nothing for you to be ashamed of.” Her words made him huff into his own palms, and the rage that clawed up his windpipe was directed at no one but himself. He had sex with Hannibal outside of his heat. He had begged Hannibal to fuck him, to bite him, to bond with him, because he had wanted it more than anything else, and because he was a coward. He had lied to his wife, who deserved only happiness after all she'd been through. He had so much to be ashamed of.

“You told me your heat was a haze...”, Molly tried again, encouraging him to add to the conversation, and with a jerk of his head, Will sat up against the headboard. “My heat was a haze...”, he repeated, taking a deep breath to calm himself as he turned towards his wife, and forced himself to look her in the eyes. She asked, she pressed and lingered, because she knew. Not nearly the truth, but enough to understand there was more. He watched her eyes through blond bangs, knowing he shouldn't treat her like the fool she wasn't. He took a breath, and felt his lips tremble against the stream of air.
“But I do remember... some of it, yes.” His confession was fragile, and Molly didn't blink until the rim of her eyes turned dry against her lashes. It wasn't nearly everything he ought to give her, as she deserved to be given. It was a peek behind the curtain, a toe in the water, only, because he knew that beyond that point lay nothing but destruction. Permanent destruction. Permanent change. He didn't dare to breach it.

Molly's arms wrapped around her blanked-clad knees. “You lied,” she said, after a brief moment of silence as her lips pressed into a tight smile. He had lied. He had told her he remembered nothing. The lie now seemed, in comparison to everything else, not as big as it once was. He realized that to her, without that comparison, it was bigger. “That's new.” She hugged her knees close to her chest as she looked at him with longing, melancholy. “I hope it's new.”

Will licked nervously at his lips as his fingers tangled in his own hair. “Molly...”, he said again, but she shook her head, always too good, and too pure to understand him, or allow him to be blamed. “I'm not mad, Will,” she said. “But you can't shut me out.” Their eyes met, and Will honestly missed those days were Molly believed to know all of him. Where she looked at him, watched the surface and deemed the picture complete. He also missed the moments where Hannibal would look at him, just once, and see better than he, himself what filth and weakness crawled behind his skin. “We can't let it come between us,” Molly whispered, resting her chin on her knees as she looked at him with those round, shiny orbs. “I don't want to let it.”

He watched her, and thought she looked younger. Vulnerable. Not the woman he married, and maybe, after all this, she would never be that woman again. “I don't want to cause you pain,” he croaked to her emotional plea, and realized he didn't even know what that meant anymore. What it would mean to continue lying, to stay. He couldn't reach deep enough to find truth in the chaos of his mind.

“There was sex,” Molly broke through his haze like a sledge hammer, and his shoulders jerked at the words penetrating his ears.
“Yes,” he breathed, stiff and weak.
“Lots of it,” Molly continued, and Will felt his throat tighten as his nails pushed into his pillow.
“Yes,” he confirmed again, but kept his gaze on his knees and his lip between his teeth.
“With Hannibal,” Molly spoke, her voice strained around the name and Will felt as if a bucket of ice water had been splashed against his abdomen. Fuck.
“Yes, Molly,” he bit, feeling his whole body tightening in strained tension and pain at the mention of his absent mate. “You know all of this.”

He hoped he hadn't sounded as catty as he did to his own ears, but he felt poked and bruised a little more every time she opened her mouth. “What was that like for you?”, she pressed, and he had to press fingers to his lips to keep himself from groaning. He knew she thought he was traumatized by damaging, abusive experiences he just couldn't get off his chest. It was sickening, to think how he had done nothing to convince her that the opposite was true. And the pushing and poking in his pain-ridden brain did not make him as empathetic and patient as he desperately wished to be with her.

“Animals in heat, Molly,” he spoke between clenched teeth, and watched how her eyes widened, filled with questions he wished he could just burn to ash. “What is there to explain?”, he nearly sobbed when she stayed silent, watching him with painful wonder. What could she possibly expect from him? Would she like to hear they fucked so hard they broke a table, or how he had climbed on top of Hannibal as he slept, and rode him awake with that cock deep inside his leaking, begging hole, that his forehead thudded against the glass when his Alpha drove into him from behind, or how Hannibal had rimmed him in the shower until his chin was dripping with Will's slick. Fuck, no, she did not want to know these things. She had no idea what she was asking, and he had no idea what she wanted to hear.

“You watch the Discovery Channel,” he added between his tightened lips and Molly's eyes narrowed at his awkward choice of words before she took a deep breath, pressed her knees tighter together and bit her lips into her mouth. “Will,” she sighed, and he knew instantly he had been trying to provoke her into anger, or disgust, because as she spoke his name full of pity, he felt the sudden urge to yank his curls right out of his skull.

Fuck. Stop.

Molly didn't get mad. Molly loved him, trusted him. He was the victim. He was the wounded lamb. The weakling. The Omega.

“Was it painful?”, she asked him.
“No,” he answered, because never had it hurt for the sole purpose of bringing pain.
“Was it awful?”, she then asked, and he knew this question had been seasoning in her brain for quite some time.
“No,” he replied without making eye contact. At last, truth, in its bare minimum.
“Did you... enjoy it?”, she asked him, after half a minute of everlasting silence, and he felt his skin tighten and his muscles clench as if fighting an eerie cold wind. The question was incomplete. A simple yes or no wouldn't provide a suitable answer. Enjoyed it? God, it had been everything, everything thinkable, everything experience-able, everything real and everything unreal. But 'enjoyable' was not a word in the same realm as what those moments had been, as they had only ever lingered on either outer rim of the spectrum.

Molly confused his silence for hesitation, and broke through the flow of words that tried to compose a proper response behind his eyes. “It's OK if you did, I mean...”, she said, quick to comfort him when she thought she had pushed too far. He didn't look at her, but Molly brushed a hand over his upper arm, demanding his attention. “I'm sorry, I just can't get my head around this, you know?”, she said, apologetically, and this time, he did look at her. “I'm glad that you can't”, he confessed, feeling a cold shiver run up his arms at the hint of a frown on her forehead, beneath those full, blond bangs. Whether he stayed with her or couldn't, there were things she should never try to imagine inside her innocent head. “I know you think you want to know these things, but you don't, Molly.” He reached for her sheet-covered ankle, knowing he was being terribly unfair, and the pain that crunched beneath her eyes reflected that back to him. “Let's try to move forward.” Because try was all he could at this point, and even if the alienation and secrecy she was trying to breach would stretch and grow, she would still be safely far from what would be damaging truth and reality.

“I don't want to know, Will,” she bit, and he pulled his hand back at the sharp slice of her sweet voice. “But I need to.” Her hand came flat against his sternum before she clenched her fingers in the fabric of his shirt, and he looked up to see her lean closer. “If this...”, she started, pointing between both their chests, “can become us again, you will have to start letting me in.” Her big blue-gray eyes stared deep into his, and he noticed the use of the word 'start.' Not again, or continue, but start. Did she realize she had always been placed right outside the outer rim of his mind, or had the word slipped in unconsciously, revealing an old, hidden, frustration?

He pulled the blanket higher up his chest, clinging to something that would make him feel less exposed. “It was just something that happened, Molly”, he said, “Beyond anyone's control.” He lowered his eyes when she nodded, once, and pressed nails into her fingertips. “Did it start at the hospital, when you saw him there?”, she then asked him. As innocent as the question was, so unbearable was the answer. Where did it start, for them? Where had this connection ever started? When he had read the letter? When they'd first met? When his mother had given birth to him on an old, dirty mattress in the first house, of many, he had lived in? “Maybe, I don't know,” Was the shortest version of the truth he could safely provide her.

“It must have been a real shock that it was for someone like Hannibal,” Molly spoke through the memories, and he turned his head towards her. “He was your therapist. You trusted him.” Her hand moved over his knee, on top of the blanket. The joint ground under the touch. “And then he turned out to be a monster.” Will knew she was thinking of the smile on his belly, just as her eyes slid along the silver line on his forehead. All the visible souvenirs of their time together. Anyone who looked at those scars would see abuse, but whenever he slid his own fingers along the marred skin, he felt nothing but their hopeless search for forgiveness.

“Hannibal wasn't just my therapist,” he heard himself say, words flowing before he could properly dissect them as the outlines of his Alpha started to form behind his eyes. His Omega purred weakly at the vision, a distraction from despair. “He was my friend.” He would have huffed at his own word, unfitting for what it was they had shared, and what they still shared today. Hannibal had been his friend, his villain, his obsession and his darkness. The worst or the best of him, depending on the beholder.

Molly looked at him, took her hand back and lifted her chin off her knees with a carefully spun expression. If there was anger, she hid it. “You've told me what he's done to you,” she said, her eyes steady as they brushed across his face. “Do you still consider him a friend?” She was curious yet confused by the innocent words, spoken with the weight he had given them.

No would be the wrong answer, just as much as yes. He looked at his own hands, sprawled across his knees. In his head, the outlines of his mate were starting to tuck and twist in more accurate detail. “Hannibal and I always shared an intense connection,” he confessed, closing his eyes briefly when he felt the scratch he was dealing her. He hadn't told her about him. Nothing beyond factual. He had hidden Hannibal from the world, and his own wife, like a diary he kept locked in his nightstand. And maybe it was all because he had understood, deep in his subconscious brain, just how far their connection reached within him. And how the world, and his wife, would look upon it.

“You've not been open about your relationship with him, before you met me,” Molly said, almost clinical as she curled her hands over her knees. She didn't act surprised, witnessing the layers of guilt on his face. “He wasn't just your evil therapist,” she read him like a profiler, and pressed her full lips together as she moved her eyes over the lines of his face. “And you were not just a helpless victim of his crimes.” She smiled then, with one corner of her lips drawing up in painful satisfaction. “How am I doing?” And she was no fool. Will wondered if she saw this now, or if she had simply dismissed the knowledge that already existed inside her a long time ago.

He did huff this time, and the pull of his chest felt like a punch to his sternum. He hadn't told her about his time with Hannibal. Not because of shame or pride or because it wasn't important. It had been a different time, a different life, and nothing that would help anyone understand him better. “It doesn't matter,” he said, shaking his head as he breathed out through his tightened lips, knowing he wasn't meeting what she required as she huffed through her nose.

“Were you lovers, back then?”, she asked him, and it wasn't an odd direction to take. She didn't even sound angry, but tired of being blinded. Of being the fool.

“No,” Will said, lifting his head as his eyes met her hard and determined this time. “It wasn't like that.” The initial 'at all' got stuck between his teeth, as he remembered the cupping fingers on his jaw, the longing looks, the hands sliding over shoulders. It had never been nothing.

Molly nodded slowly, and bit her bottom lip with her front teeth. “Were you in love with him?”, she asked, and this time her voice was a fragile bell of thin glass. A tight fist that lived inside Will's chest squeezed around his windpipe at the sound of it. He looked at her, eyes wide and shimmering like that of a exposed deer, and remembered how he had found love for her in himself, years ago. It was a choice to love her, to be hers, and it had brought little pinches of joy to his life. But Hannibal, he had never fallen in love with him. The emotion that belonged to him, then and now, never was to be described as a flutter of his heart, a cloud to drift upon, a caressing ray of warmth on his skin. What Hannibal had done, was grab him whole with sharpened claws and drowned him in the darkness that pooled endlessly inside him. Everything there was exquisite, excruciating, glory and devastation.

Hannibal was all love, all death, all pain and pleasure wrapped in one smothering blanket that shielded him from the sun. A sun that had always felt too bright to his eyes, too hot on his skin.

“It's not...”, he breathed, unsure how to proceed. In love was not the term, but no wasn't the answer. It was beyond, it was higher and deeper and... “Are you in love with him now?”, Molly asked, her voice cracking on the words while Will's breath stuttered when he watched the lamplight reflect harder and brighter in her watering eyes.

“Molly, I can't...”, he breathed, gasping as he sat upright with a hand pressed against his own chest. His heart was thudding violently against his palm as panic pushed up inside him.

No. Not this. Not this.

How could he explain something to her he didn't understand? And how could he explain to her that feeling didn't matter. Choices, choices were what mattered. “Don't lie. Please don't lie,” she croaked, as one, lonely tear fell on her rosy cheek. Her hand cupped the side of her own face as she breathed deep, and Will felt like he was watching his own house burn down. There was no way to stop it from destroying what you worked for so hard to build, to keep, to have. Molly sniffled, wiped at her eyes, before clearing her throat. “I just need to know what point we are starting from,” she said, finding her voice and her strength.

“So we can fix whatever is broken.”

God.

Her words were heavenly sweet, maddeningly cruel. Still, she could forgive him, even if he did love another. But where to begin to fix things when everything was already ash? “We can fix this,” she repeated, and reached for his hand with all the fire she had left inside her. “Can't we?” The question was so fragile, already cracked along the edges, but he looked at her, saw her fear in those round, blue eyes and squeezed her hand. “That's why I came here,” he said, sucking the inside of his cheeks between his teeth as he played with her clammy fingers in his. “To try and fix things.”

And that wasn't an answer, but it was all and all truth. He was here, to try, and he was trying goddamn hard for her. So goddamn hard he was forgetting whose life it was he was trying to fix. His, hers...

“Hannibal is your Alpha,” Molly said, and Will's teeth ground at the name, the term, the wave it crashed against his ribcage. “Yes,” he said, being a coward as he tried to keep his eyes on hers. It was hard, and it hurt, but she couldn't be alone. “Are you b-bonded?”, she asked, a little hitch in her voice as her eyes brushed over his hidden shoulder, where she had seen the mark in his flesh. “No,” he was quick to answer her with an unsteady cry, shaking his head as he placed a hand on her bare arm. “No, we aren't.”

She waited for more of him, and he knew he could only disappoint when everything stayed locked inside his head. He looked at the doubt in her open eyes and wondered if he truly preferred it to downright pain. “Will...”, she spoke his name, a sigh, tired of pulling at him when he fought every step she tried to take. He stroked her arm, once, and placed his hand on the sheets. “He is my Per mutua nexis mate,” he answered her plea, and at last, she lowered her eyes from his face. She smiled as her hair fell into her eyes. “You belong to each other,” she said, a hum, a whisper, as she picked at the short nail of her index finger. It bloomed life within his chest, just to hear those words from someone else, and at the very same time he watched the free fall in her eyes and tasted sour on his tongue. When he stayed silent, she looked up with tight eyes, fighting whatever lingered beneath. “I did some research of my own,” she told him when she watched his bewildered expression, knowing he had hoped for her not to understand the volume of the Latin term.

She sighed, very deep, very long, very, very tired, and Will looked at her and saw a broken bird on the side of the road. His nature was to help. “It doesn't matter, Molly,” he said between clenched teeth and took her hand between both of his with a determined squeeze. “I'm here, with you.” His grip was tight, as was his jaw, as was his quivering core. He held her hand like it was his only means to stay on the edge of that cliff, and in a way, he knew it was. Molly met his widened stare, and he knew she saw his fear.

“Yes, you are,” she said, letting her hand grip his in return, matching the strength of his muscles. “And what is this?” Her lips and jaw were tight, and her bags brushed against her eyebrows. “You can't even look me in the eye. You haven't, ever since you got back.” There was a real tremor in her voice, and Will held her hopeless blue gaze with his own. He couldn't break the contact, even though it weighed on him like like a pushing thumb between his eyes.

Her pink, soft cheeks were flushed when she said: “Did you choose me for you, or for me?”
And in that moment, the world around them was still, frozen in sound and color and breath. “Do you love or pity me, Will?” They held each other with eyes and hands, as the light of the table lamp framed her against the darkness. Her chin was tilted, her eyes strong, her posture as proud as it was vulnerable as she waited for the sudden rush of white noise in his head to form around an answer.

Their fingers folded around each other, their palms pressed together, hot and damp. Her dark lashes blinked, fawning against her cheeks as another tear fell against the smooth skin beside her nose. She was that broken bird, and he didn't know how to help anymore.

Both of them jumped when a shrill ringing ripped the moment and cut through their bubble like a razor blade. “Fuck,” Will growled as their hands pulled from each other with a crack of his joints. The noise didn't stop, but grew in size as a loud buzz rose from the table beside his bed. His phone. It was his fucking phone. The clock said 00:30, and he hissed at the cutting, shrieking noise as he flung himself to the edge of the bed.

“ID Caller Unknown,” he read out loud, and heard Molly sniffling behind him. “Let it ring,” she replied as she moved to sit up, and swung her legs over her side of the bed. She stayed seated, however, and Will watched the phone in his hand. The screen was lit as it trembled against his bones. Unknown. That was what it said. ID caller unknown. But it wasn't.

He knew his caller. He felt his caller.

The outlines behind his eyes had become solid, in detail and color.

Hannibal. Hannibal was reaching for him.

And like that, his heart was in his throat, his breath was in his belly, his mind was in his gut. He needed to answer. He needed to connect.

“Hello?”, he breathed, picking up after the fourth ring and bringing the mobile phone to his ear. He didn't hear Molly make any noise behind him, and didn't turn to look at her. “Will,” came the voice on the other end, and the Omega felt as if a rope had been tied around his ankles, as he was suddenly swooped up into the air. Upside down, dangling and helpless, light and full of flutter. Hannibal's voice sounded very far away, but relief burst like lightening through the smooth tones of his voice. He sounded weak, worried, and every hair on Will's body stood on edge at the tone.

“Leave the house, Will. Leave tonight,” Hannibal told him, and Will knew his Alpha had found a way to reach him, but didn't have the time. Seldom was he ever hurried. “Now.” Will gasped into the phone, and felt Molly's weight moving on the bed as his pounding heart danced beneath his singing skin.
“Hannibal,” he whimpered, feeling naked and exposed, but helpless to hide it. “What is this?” He was already out of breath, his voice barely above a whisper. Molly stood, walk around the bed and came to stand before him, but he didn't look up to see the questions on her face.

“Find another place to stay,” Hannibal urged, a growl seeping through the words, and Will knew his mate was clutching the phone like a lifeline. “Bring your family.” The lightning he had heard in Hannibal struck him with a thunderous fear at the realization. Will's eyes finally flashed up to his pale wife, standing in her nightshirt with her arms crossed over her chest.

“He's coming?”, he asked, as his eyes met hers. “Yes,” Hannibal growled against his ear, and Will swallowed deep at the way his skin tightened at the sound. “You said he wouldn't come for me,” he spoke, hoarse and damaged into the receiver as his mind flashed back to their last night together. The black, hidden pools of Hannibal's eyes. “He isn't,” Hannibal hissed, almost as if his lips were truly against Will's skin. Will heard a stuttering breath and ran his eyes back up Molly's face, before everything went cold.

He was coming. The Dragon was coming for her.

Chapter Text

The line died with a mechanic click, and the hollow silence that followed pressed on his ear like the deep and dark bottom of the ocean. The loss was overwhelmingly isolating, silent yet ringing, like a ruptured eardrum after a thunderous explosion. The connection with his mate was ripped away, again, and the removal began to feel more and more like having the same strip of his skin cut out, long before it had properly healed. Deeper and more brutal on the marred, scarred flesh, every single time.

He turned to Molly and saw her eyes wide and confused in her pale face, as her fingers clutched the sides of her nightshirt. The fear and doubt that claimed her gentle features, however, were now merely a secondary concern”. “We have to go,” he said, gently but rapidly as he lowered the phone to his chest. “Get dressed.”

He swiftly turned towards the chair, grabbing his old jeans and worn socks, but the movement of his hands felt delayed, flashed, like linked pictures before a blinking light. He was beyond scared, he was beyond tired, he was slowly ripped apart from the depth of his core, to the roots of his teeth. “That was him,” came her voice from behind his back as he yanked the socks over his ankles, and felt perspiration forming on his temples. Everything felt slow, except for the violent thudding of his racing heart. “Come on, Molly,” he pleaded with half a turn of his head, and he watched cold fear lash across her face at the sight of his. She then, too, hurried to the abandoned clothes by her side of the bed.

“That was Hannibal,” she spoke determinedly as she shimmied her hips into her jeans and reached for her beige, fleece vest. “It was,” Will confirmed, absent and hastily, as he pocketed his phone and wallet. The world shivered around him, making all the smooth lines harsh with tremor, like a heartbeat on a monitor. Their eyes met before he brushed past her into the hallway, and Will heard her following after him as she caught up with his hurried steps down the stairs. “Why did he call you?”, she demanded, catching the coat Will threw her as he searched for his car keys in his pockets. “Is he out?”, her voice lowered with hushed, squeezing fear that shimmered openly in her eyes as she pushed her arms through the sleeves. “Is he coming for you?”

Ice crusted cold and hard over Will's skin at her words, and he knew she could see the open grimace that jerked down his face. Her fear, her aversion and the sharp edges on her words were more than justifiable, reasonable, and yet the slightest poke against his mate was like a hard slap to a damaged cheek. “He's not who's coming, Molly,” he grunted, as he unlocked the front door and stepped into the cold darkness of the night.

He was coming. Hannibal had told him. Soon, or now? His eyes darted through the empty darkness, and his nostrils flared as he took a deep whiff of the air that surrounded him. The rotting leaves, the damp wood, and the melting snow.

Nothing but the calm, cool, evening breeze.

“Then who?”, she urged as she zipped up her coat and watched him in bewilderment, his eyes moving restlessly through their front yard. “Get in the car, Molly,” Will hushed, moving alongside her as she passed the threshold. “Ask me a million questions later.” His voice was nothing but a whisper as he tried to calm his own, deep breathing and he opened the car door for her.

He wasn't here. The Dragon wasn't here. Will's nose detected no scent, no spices, no hell. Not yet. In this moment, there was nothing but the grass, and the trees and the frozen dew that covered them.

He slid behind the wheel and turned the car key in the ignition, before pushing the stick into reverse and glancing over his shoulder. The car roared under the fierce foot on the gas pedal and the moment Molly had buckled her seatbelt, the car shot back over the bumpy dirt road, made a sharp turn, and steered them away from the house.

His heart was in his throat, his blood in his ears, and no word was exchanged between them as he drove the car through the deserted streets of the sleeping village. Molly was grasping her seat, cheeks pale and eyes far away, and Will glued his vision to bricks and then asphalt as he veered the car onto the highway.

The lonely, black road flashed underneath the tires, and nothing could be heard over the rumbling of the old, loyal vehicle. And in the silent, empty night, it was just them, side by side and drenched in the grip of uncertainty and fear. He had brought it with him, when he'd returned from the depths of a hell that had fit him so effortlessly, and watching her now, he couldn't even think of a way to reach out, explain, or help. Because from the moment he had set foot into their lives again, he'd felt her pain, as well as he'd felt pain for her, but the emotion was shallow and the light around her was largely blocked by the dominant shape of his Alpha behind his eyes.

He wanted to give her what she deserved, but every time he dove down to retrieve it, he came up empty handed, tired, aching and destroyed. Eyes and mind on someone else.

He saw the moon, bright and full in the sky, and watched it travel with them, lighting the darkness. “There's another male Omega interested in Hannibal,” he then said over the purr of the car. His breath was smoke against the cold air, but he never felt the icy sting on his overheated skin. “Another?”, Molly repeated, the thick swallow revealing the fear that ticked away beneath her exterior. “Yes”, he answered hazily, eyes on the road, mind on Hannibal's words against his ear, but quickly turned his head when he heard the sharp intake of breath. “No, no,” he corrected, a quick shake of his head. Fuck this. There was no time to pick at the phrasing of his statements or her questions. “There is another male Omega,” he broke down the sentence and watched a wary, distraught look burst across her face. “He's interested in Hannibal.”

He's coming for you?”, she breathed, open and outraged confusion tinging her words as her fingers grasped the seatbelt across her chest. “When? Why?” Will's hands clenched hard around the steering wheel as the questions stung like a thick needle to his vertebra. “Possibly now,” he answered her honestly and watched her nose twitch beneath her widened eyes. “And I don't know who he's coming for.” He wished it had been a lie this time. He knew the possibilities, but he didn't know the Dragon's plan. “I don't know anything for certain.” Their eyes met through the darkness of the car. “But I know we have to go.”

He watched the lanterns flash by the window and drove the car away from the village, into the city. They would have to find a hotel, stay the night, and that was as far as his plan reached at the moment. He looked at Molly, skin and hair pale blue in the moonlight, and watched her frantic eyes on the road ahead. There was nothing more he could think to say or do for her, and he swallowed as he pushed his eyes back to the road.

He couldn't even call the cops, because their questions of how and when would lead back to Hannibal, and his involvement with The Dragon. There were only so many incidents needed for Alana's authority to be overruled, and Hannibal's plea for insanity to be reopened. The only options left were flee, or fight. And this, fleeing in a car in the middle of the night, was an unbearable abnegation of his own instinct to find The Dragon, and push his fingers against the burning skin of his throat.

He wouldn't put Molly in harm's way, nor Wally. Not ever. But inside, he thought of the way The Dragon slaughtered those families, impressing Will's Alpha, desperate to win him for himself. Fuck. He had to fight his own hands not to yank at the wheel and turn the car as he gritted his teeth inside his mouth. The Dragon wanted Hannibal. The Dragon wanted to murder Will's family to impress the Alpha, seduce him, bond with him, be with him.

The Omega in him was starting to foam around his bleeding fangs, and Will felt the urgent desire to find The Dragon as he came for him and his family and threatening to destroy his life. He wanted to claim his Alpha, his Alpha, his Per mutua nexis mate, HIS. Will felt a low growl bursting from his throat and noticed Molly shuffling in the seat beside him. The desire to sink his fangs deep into the Omega's toxic windpipe was greater and bloodier than ever before, and his fingers twitched involuntarily on the wheel.

“Did Hannibal send him to us?”, Molly asked him just as he spotted their exit, and the car swerved dangerously on the empty road. His nails pressed into the leather as he looked at her wide, burning blue eyes. “No,” he barked, as his throat tightened with a heavy, nauseating pull. “N-no.” He remembered the black pools of hidden depth in Hannibal's eyes and felt his own tongue tighten in his mouth. “He was the one who warned us to leave, Molly.”

It was an assurance for himself and her alike, but he did close his eyes a second too long with his next blink. Hannibal didn't want him dead. Will knew, with everything he dared to be, that Hannibal no longer wished to truly damage him. But he did love the games, the challenges, and was endlessly curious, a puppeteer to the world around him. Hannibal always got what he wanted and Hannibal wanted a life with his Omega. Will's family was a definite nuisance.

Suddenly, Will wasn't all that sure what the answer to Molly's question was anymore, and the lamb chops for dinner were working their way up his gullet.

“You don't want me to have anything in my life that's not you.”

“Where are we going?”, Molly asked him, long overdue, as he steered into the exit and drove passed a neon lit fast food joint. “A hotel,” Will breathed, eyes dead on the road ahead. “Any hotel.”

**

The room was cheap with walls thin as paper, a narrow queen size bed and with the prominent stench of cheap, lavender toilet cleaner. Molly was on the bed, her phone lighting her features with an unflattering glow as she scrolled along different news articles. “The Tooth fairy,” she mumbled, as she clicked on a link with a press of her finger. “That's the Omega? That's the same guy who's after you?” Her eyes narrowed at the screen, before they widened in alarm. He briefly wondered if Freddie Lounds had any detailed pictures available on The TattleCrime.

“He calls himself The Dragon,” Will corrected her, a sour glaze over his mocking words. “But yes, that's the guy.” Molly swallowed as her eyes moved left to right, reading text off the screen as the corners of her mouth and eyes twitched. “If you know who he is, how come the police didn't catch him yet?” She asked, and Will lowered himself in the wicker chair by the balcony door. “Because he's really good at not getting caught,” he said, absently running a hand against his throat. “He's fast, he's strong and he doesn't stand out in a crowd.” Fingers danced along his collarbone, pressing against his old bruises. “And he doesn't desire any attention from anyone but Hannibal.” The named was gritted between his teeth as his eyes flashed hastily to the floor. Control.

“Is he the same guy from the park?”, Molly asked, ignoring the burst of emotions, and for a moment he was stunned by her ability to link previous events, putting two and two together in a time where all sorts of numbers were already flying. “The one you had the 'argument' with?” Her eyes flashed over his throat and Will quickly brought down his hand from his marred skin. “Yes,” he said, a hoarse rasp to his voice and she huffed, lowering the phone to her lap.

“We do need to call the police,” she said, and Will felt his back hunch and his arms tighten. She had heard him, but hadn't listened. They wouldn't catch him. The Dragon had been successfully invisible for the authorities for a long, long time before today and the only thing a phone call would bring was an opportunity for them to make a connection between Hannibal and the fugitive Omega.

But what could they do? Would they go back home in the morning, hoping for the exercise to not be repeated? Would they pack their things and go, far enough not to be found? Further and further from his Alpha, that pulled the strings around his heart so tight it was starting to bleed within his chest.

“Will?”, Molly asked, holding up her phone as she looked at him in question. Her cheeks were flushed, but beneath the blush was a grayish tint that gave away the fear and exhaustion she tried to hide behind that brave mask. One she always carried around him and Wally.

He quickly shook his head and rose to his feet to glance out the window, as she blinked at him and lowered her phone back to the bed. “Do you think Hannibal is lying?”, she asked, and his whole body twitched at the name. She ignored his distress, but lifted herself off to bed to stand before him. “Is he trying to trick you into coming back?” She looked into his eyes, and he almost smiled at the nature of the sweet question. How innocently she was still thinking.

“No, Molly. I know he isn't lying,” he said, and brushed a finger over her heated cheek. Trick him into coming back? Maybe it was the ultimate goal of whatever game Hannibal was possibly playing, but that would be only after his family had been buried in the local cemetery, mirror shards removed from their empty sockets. “You are very quick to trust someone who isn't known for being very trustworthy,” she spoke, leaning into his touch, but her eyes on him were deep, growing deeper as he felt himself invaded. “I know him,” he was quick to counter. The response was instinctual, a primal urge to defend, but questions pushed from the walls of his mind as he wondered, just how strongly his mate was connected to the deranged, family murderer.

“Why is this man, allegedly, coming to our house, Will?”, Molly demanded, her teeth visible as her upper lip curled in frustration. “Is it because we are a family? Is he coming after all of us?” There was a shrill slice of panic rising from her words as she stabbed him with sharp realization. “That is what he does, isn't it?”, she gasped between her open lips. “That is what he does.”

And Will knew she was talking about The Dragon,...

...but the words echoed back to Hannibal. His Alpha. Will had left him, and what would be more beautiful than to take away the reason for his leaving? To make the Omega come back to him without any attachments left in the world, and his own hands clean? That's what he does, isn't it?

Fuck.

But he had called.

He did call.

Molly grasped his wrist with her fingers, demanding his eyes back to hers. “He kills the families,” she said, her voice thick and her breathing shallow. “The kids, the pets....oh God, Will.” He could see the fear seeping through the cracks and wash over her features before she turned back to the bed. In the same instant, the words whipped against his back with such a fierce strike he almost stumbled on his feet. “The dogs,” he gasped, eyes wide and mouth agape as he realized how their family of strays was currently curled up and asleep in the scullery.

In his blind panic, he had forgotten. He had forgotten they, too, could be a target, and they could be in danger.

“Walter. Wally. I have to call my mother,” Molly murmured hastily as she reached for the phone on the bed. Her thoughts were those of a mother. His, those of the man who lived with his family of strays, like when he still lived in Wolf Trap.

“I'm going back,” Will said, zipping his coat back up as his eyes darted to the door. The Dragon could so easily hurt them. Lizzie was still limping from the operation on her left paw, and Stewart was getting stiff with age. They couldn't all outrun him. The couldn't all defend themselves. “No,” Molly snapped, holding up her phone in search for bars. He searched for the keys in his pocket. “Will, no,” she warned him, stepping towards the balcony door and sliding it to the side. “No reception,” she mumbled, as she started pacing on the dirty, wet tiles, phone clutched in her fingers. Finally, she was able to press her thumb over the green icon to connect the call, and brought the device to her ear.

“Stay here,” she bit at him, before her mother's alarmed voice rung from the other side of the line. Before Molly could turn back to look at him a second time, he was out the door.

**

Will parked the car by the edge of the road, avoiding drawing attention to his arrival. He didn't lock the vehicle, but dimmed the lights as he treaded carefully over frozen gravel beneath his heavy boots. He wasn't armed and ready for battle, and he didn't come with a plan other than get his dogs out of that house and into his car. Where he would go after that, with eight dogs stuffed and cramped together in the modest vehicle, he had no fucking idea.

The rocks scrunched under his boots and the air bit into his damp face, but he kept his pace fast, light yet determined, as he approached the front door of their family home. The lights were on, the blinds were shut, just like they had left it. Nothing seemed different from the ordinary, and Will tried to calm himself with a deep breath that filled his lungs with cool winter air, the scent of wood and grass and rotting leaves...

And a hint of red, spicy peppers.

He slowed his pace as he walked up to the porch and reached the front door. He didn't touch the doorknob, knowing the scent wasn't leading inside, but stared at his cold, unsteady hands instead, and listened to the silence of the night around him. He breathed deep, tasted the burn on his tongue and briefly closed his eyes. Then, he turned.

There, a rough ten feet away from him, stood a saw the tall, broad frame of a familiar man. The figure had moved in on him without making a sound, but Will wasn't shocked to see him already there.

The Dragon wore an old, brown jacket, and hid his large hands in the pockets on the front. His smile was barely there, but enough to pull at the scar on his lip, showing a hint of gleaming fang. He was hidden in shadows, but his eyes shimmered red in the light of the full moon that pulsed in the sky.

“They're not here,” Will said, balling his hands into fists as he watched his enemy stand perfectly still in the chilly wind that pulled around them. “It's just me.”

The Dragon let his fierce eyes run up the house, over the lights that glowed behind the curtains on the first floor. “Mr. Graham,” he said, his voice as low and penetrating as grinding gears. “I did not come for you, tonight.”

Will's breath froze in his lungs as he felt the weight of the words. There was nothing new in them, but the reality of the situation suddenly made his head spin. “You came for my family,” he said in return, and watched The Dragon's glowing eyes burn past the confinement of his sockets, making the back of Will's hair rise from his skin. “I did.” He spoke, and the hiss that slithered from between his pointed teeth reminded Will of a serpent. “It's my offering to Doctor Lecter.”

And there, Will felt everything in and on him tighten so cruelly he could feel pressure behind the orbs of his eyes. He felt a growl pushing up his throat and gritted his teeth at the words. An offering. His family was an offering to his mate. A gift from another Omega, to his mate. His Alpha, his Alpha, HIS FUCKING ALPHA.

He knew he had no control over how his mind prioritized these things anymore, nor did he have any time to feel an appropriate amount of guilt as he felt the animal inside him push up and pulse with newfound life that made him curl his lip over his upper teeth with a low growl.

“Then why wait until I got here?”, he challenged with a question that continued to linger in the back of his mind. The Dragon had waited, with purpose, for him to return home. If he didn't wish to kill him, then why? The red eyes flashed with passionate delight when he saw Will's anger so openly on his face. “Because your suffering and your grief will make you worthless as a mate,” he answered, teeth gleaming blue in the moonlight as his eyes burned an orange flame. “I wanted you to see.”

Will felt he could crush his own molars with the pressure he was grinding on them, as he realized just how he was played. His family had been a target, unsafe all through his absence, but The Dragon had waited for all his pawns to be positioned just right to do the ultimate damage. The grief for his family would be a convenient tool to make him less the attentive, interesting partner for a man as well-made and self-reliant as Hannibal. It was a smart enough thought, as much as it was absolutely, madly disturbing. Most of all, it was exceptionally wrong.

If Will had it in him to laugh in this moment, he would have done. Oh, how wonderful the proof that The Dragon did not know Hannibal at all. Had he, he would have understood that broken spirits were perfect to mold back into the desired shape, already crumbled down to lumps and easier to knead. It wasn't without reason Hannibal had chosen to become a psychiatrist. He had worked so hard, once, to make Will into that warmed, pliant, piece of clay.

Will didn't tell him that.

“Two birds, one stone,” he said instead, and watched The Dragon take his hands from his pockets, folding them before his coat-clad abdomen. “I was hoping to catch three,” the Omega purred in return, and Will pushed his toes hard against the nose of his shoe. Walter. He wanted Molly and Walter dead, Will damaged beyond repair, and his own claim on Hannibal.

“Did he tell you I was coming?”, the man proceeded, his tone low, nearly casual. It made Will unsteady on his feet, as something pushed up within his chest. Something faint, but hot. He didn't have to ask who The Dragon was referring to. “How does he know you were coming?”, Will countered, and watched the smug expression slide over the modest features of the rivaling Omega.

“I informed him about my intentions,” he said, provoking him with a heated glance, as if the memory of the conversation was one he savored for long, lonely evening. “When?”, Will asked, ice pulling over his face like a tight mask. When had he known? How long before his mate had chosen to warn him, while his family had been in danger from the moment he'd presented? The Dragon's eyes gleamed, arousal evident as he watched Will's poorly hidden despair. “Before tonight,” he threw him, knowing it would burn. “Generously so.”

Will's head filled with nothing but the dark abyss of Hannibal's eyes. He had called him. He had warned him, yes. But before tonight, he had wanted Will's family to suffer a cruel death by the hands of his other suitor. He had intended to let it happen, and watch Will suffer the loss. Hadn't he? Will waited for the meaning to sink in, for the anger to explode inside his belly, for the betrayal to push for room inside his head. But only the faint, hot claws that dug up from his core were grazing at his insides with sharp nails. Hannibal had wanted it. After everything, no part of that thought was a surprise to him. He had never trusted Hannibal to try and spare him or his loved ones from harm, even by proxy. But Hannibal had called him. At the last moment available, with room for Will to fail, but he had called him. That was the true surprise.

“I am disappointed he chose to reach out to you,” The Dragon shrugged lightly in his brown jacket. His breath, too, came out like puffs of smoke, and the image was eerily appropriate. “But he does enjoy testing my skills for improvisation.” The fond tone was sickening, and Will hated the hot pleasure he could see dancing in the red eyes of the other Omega. He spoke about Hannibal as a close relationship, thick as thieves behind Will's back, and Will felt the bloody claw push hotter from within him. He knew Hannibal. He knew him. Whatever this lunatic imagined to be true.....

“He's not going to fucking bond with you,” he hissed fiery between his teeth as The Dragon rubbed his hands together. To fight off the cold, or in pure enjoyment. His eyes shone wild and bright, and Will pushed his own nails into his upper legs. “Listen...”, he growled, feeling a choking desire to rip those smirking lips off The Dragon's face and watching the blood drip black on the snow.

But The Dragon shook his head and folded his hands before him with a rise of his eyebrows. “If not willingly, a one-sided bond will suffice,” he said, staring at Will with unblinking eyes as his perfectly steady posture clashed with the rustling world around him. “A what?”, Will hissed after a white moment of nothing, as his mind reached franticly for all the Omega terms that had ever passed his ears. “All I need, is access to him,” The Dragon spoke, calm, in stark contrast with his opponent, and Will started to feel his organs chafe and bruise within his body. Not long now, before they would start to bleed.

The Dragon smelled the distress, and bathed in it like champagne as his eyelids lowered with pleasure. “As I told you before, I have discovered a way to make that happen.” And Will remembered The Dragon's offer, a way to bring Hannibal out of his prison, and into the world. Whatever he had been thinking of, it was clear he had perfected his plans into being executable. Access to Hannibal. “You're going to bite him?”, he asked, his voice rising in outraged confusion. If The Dragon would bite his Alpha, what would happen to Hannibal? An Omega biting an Alpha wasn't how a bond worked. Or was it? He suddenly wished he had listened more carefully to Dr. Hammings, when he'd had the opportunity.

The Dragon's eyes glazed over as he dove into the fantasy he imagined behind his eyes. “All I need is his life force, to...” But everything within Will was grinding and pulling and rubbing together until it started to fume. “Yes, I know, fuel The Dragon,” he spat, nostrils flaring, despite his desperate attempt not to breathe in the spicy, burning air that the wind could not blow away from him. “What does that mean? What is a one-sided bond?”

The Dragon looked at him with nothing but a small push of his lips, but his eyes seemed already lost in the cave of his mind, where he undoubtedly already had the Alpha in the desired place. Will understood, for the first time, he had misread the words, misunderstood the intentions, and unexpectedly, that only made it worse.

“You don't want to be his mate,” he said, and watched the burning eyes light up The Dragon's own features. It shrouded every crease of his face in shadows, and made it look like he was crafted from dark, expensive wood. “I will change him,” he answered Will, his low voice soft and played by the wind. “He will become the heart of The Dragon inside me.”

Will felt a slow drip of his blood from the inner walls of his belly, cold as ice as they landed on the pink flesh beneath his pelvis. “You want to use for him for your ritual,” he said, a rumble in his broken voice as The Dragon burned majestically from the inside out, before his eyes. “The energy in him is pure, beautiful darkness. I want to release it, and become one with it,” he rumbled smoothly, and the heat that pulsed from his body was like standing too close to an open fire.

Will didn't step back. He let it burn, as his own body started to fill up with the spill of his blood. “You want to kill him,” he whispered, his chest hollowed by the words, his mind blackening into blindness at the thought.

The Dragon blinked lazily. “I want to honor him, by sacrificing him to The Dragon.”

And everything in Will suddenly drew tight, tighter, enough to make his own blood splash against the bones. The claw that pushed up burst through the attic of his skull, breaking free the wounded, foaming Omega inside. Blood overtook him, coloring everything black in the moonlight. Will felt his teeth grow, his nails lengthen, his back hunch, and with a loud, piercing howl, he found himself launching forward, until his body connected with The Dragon.

There was only one thing left inside his mind. It wasn't Molly. It wasn't Wally. It wasn't even Hannibal. All he could think, and breathe, and desire, was to kill.

Chapter Text

The air around them froze in time and temperature alike, as Will's body collided hard with a wall of solid muscles and hot skin. The impact was deep and sudden enough to send them both crashing into the unforgiving soil beneath their slipping feet. And as he reached out and locked his cold hands around the blazing skin of a bare throat, a roar made of pure fury and surprise filled Will's ears. The contact burned cruelly against his hands, barely endurable enough to hold on, but Will's bared teeth were purposeful and merciless as they snapped forward in search for breakable flesh, until sinking into the underside of a tilted chin.

The anguished howl against Will's ear was mixed with pure rage as he locked his jaws deeper into the vulnerable flesh. The blood that passed his lips seeped through the cracks of his teeth and burned his tongue like a blazing soup made of boiling red ghost peppers. But the way it slid down his throat and into his belly made the freed Omega in him blaze with vociferous glory. The eyes of the beast shone wild and bright as he rejoiced in the taste of his enemy, and it was everything from thunderous destruction, to howling, baring life.

This was war, power, carnage, and only one of them would walk away from it alive. The knowledge made Will's body tremble with both fear and desire as he felt himself fold out into a beastly shape, where the length of his spine curled up and sharpened beneath his skin, and fingers and toes spread wide against the surface beneath. He latched on to the torn flesh, ripping at the bleeding skin between his teeth as The Dragon struggled beneath his hold, and never before had he felt stronger. More alive. Completely in his nature.

It was beautiful.

“OH,” came the push of air from his lungs when a tight, strong fist connected with his ribcage with such power it sent him flying backwards, slamming his head back into the frozen dirt. He wheezed and growled, grabbing his chest as he fought for air in his compressed lungs, while The Dragon's blood seeped from his mouth onto the virgin white snow. Will heard a vicious snarl coming from just beyond his vision, and knew the element of his surprise attack had worn off rather too quickly.

The Dragon jumped to his feet with one hand pressed against his damaged throat, and in the gleaming moonlight Will caught sight of the smoking skin, pale and frosted around the bite. His bite. He fought the air back into his body as his chest expanded under the strain of his bruised muscles, and realized with panting victory that where The Dragon was hot like fire to him, it appeared he was cold like ice to The Dragon.

Will moved quickly to get back onto his feet, and felt his claws jerking against the palms of his skin as he watched his rival's exposed, impressive fangs. “I didn't come for you, Mr. Graham,” The Dragon hissed low in the back of his throat, lighting the darkness with eyes so red they appeared to be bleeding. “That doesn't mean I won't take you, if you insist on it.” His silhouette was haunting in the darkness, and his eyes flowed a misty red along his features as he hunched his back, and licked his fangs. Blood trickled over the hand covering his throat, but his stance was strong and unwavering. Will mimicked the position, and watched his enemy through the eyes of his beast. He knew the man, the human, inside him was not be as strong as The Dragon was, but his wolf had proven long before now that he was savage and ruthless and refused to be overlooked.

Will didn't provide a response, nor did he find the fear that should make his hands shake and his heart pound. Instead, he moved himself steady, weightless, with nothing but destruction on his mind. Right now, he was adrenaline, he was instinct, man as well as beast, defending and claiming what was already his. His Omega howled from every corner of his skeleton and Will knew he would fight until death.

The Dragon shot forward and Will growled when he was pushed back against the side of the house, before a long, dirty nail suddenly pierced his cheek. He snapped his sharp fangs, but the sting was shocking and became unbearable when the tip of the claw grazed his teeth inside his mouth. A harrowing cry ripped from his throat as the knife-like nail ripped through his flesh from his ear to the corner of his mouth, and he felt the skin parting beneath the razor sharp claw as blood spilled down his chin. The pain was scorching, burning the open skin around the wound with a horrific stench of smoldering flesh, but the helpless panic that whirled up inside Will was instantly crushed beneath the paws of his beast, as he felt a primal strength stirring in his limbs and searing through his veins.

With a ripping growl, Will kicked off his attacker and launched himself right after the stumbling body. Jumping forward, his own claws slashed over The Dragon's clothed chest and shredded the brown coat and shirt until blood welled from beneath and spilled over the fabric. The Dragon snarled at the contact, as Will tried to reach for the skin of his belly, marking it with red lines, not deep enough to truly damage. Will had never knows his claws to be so strong and sharp, but it explained why The Dragon had never needed weapons to mutilate his victims.

A violent whack to the skull made Will's head spin and his curls bounce as he stumbled on his feet, feeling his temple throbbing beneath the bone before he was hauled up by a large, burning fist that clenched around his windpipe. His snarl became a whimper, as he grabbed the strong fingers around his throat with both his own hands, and looked into the burning eyes before him. There was no air to breathe, no strength in his human limbs, but all he saw was the fierce glow from his own eyes, reflecting back in The Dragon's. Blue and cold like the ocean, the snow in the forest, a storm in the sky.

He was an Omega.

He was a powerful, savage Omega.

Never had he understood what that meant, until this moment.

He hissed his teeth bare and kicked at The Dragon's stomach before bringing his fangs down into the man's fiery arm. Deep, hard, until blood spilled into his mouth, and he growled savagely when he latched onto the bones chafing against his fangs. The Dragon hissed, and with a breaking crash, Will was back on his back in the dirt as his arm was twisted away from him, and hot fangs buried deep into his shoulder blade.

And fuck, did it hurt, but Will felt the rush and the pleasure of his wolf as he tried to twist away from the shredding teeth, and fought to destroy what needed destruction. Justice, revenge, honor. It was beautiful, intimate, with nothing of what nature had given them, and it was right. It felt right.

He threw himself backwards to yank The Dragon's fangs from his flesh, and flipped himself onto his stomach as he crawled to straddle the wounded man on the ground. Blood dripped from his own chin onto The Dragon's bared chest, and the liquid formed into ice crystals the moment it landed on the skin. Will paused, just for a second, to watch the demon-like creature beneath him and wondered for the briefest moment if he, too, looked like he had risen from the depths of hell.

What he knew, now, here, was that this was the closest he'd ever been to truth. About himself, about the world, who he was and what brought him life. What brought silence, and beauty, to the ugly whirl of noise inside him.

Hannibal had told him this, had known him without ever needing to witness it. He had been right.

The Dragon's eyes flickered with a storm of fire that lived within, but Will bared his fangs, growled past his sharp teeth and felt the blizzard of his own Omega rattle his bones inside his body. The beast was free, and unwilling to let that freedom go to waste. He dropped himself forward against the burning demon beneath him and bit down hard into the Omega's jugular.

A howling shout pierced the sky as hot blood stuttered and splashed free from the ruptured artery. Thick, and black, smoking against the cool evening sky.

Death.

“NO,” The Dragon gasped, struggling beneath Will as he brought one hand up to press against the vicious tear in his throat. The hellish fire in his eyes spat and stuttered sparks across his pale cheeks as he gasped for breath and life, clinging to Will's shoulders with his long, sharp claws. Blood poured from his mouth, painting his fangs a hellish red as the light in his eyes dimmed and flickered inside his skull.

“The Dragon needs him,” he rasped. “The Dragon needs me.” His voice was lost in a gurgle from his throat, slowly drowning in his own blood.

He was dying.

He was dying, because Will made it happen.

And Will felt triumph and pure euphoria pumping through his veins as he watched the life pour from the Dragon's body, and heard the choir inside his head, singing in the chapel. He felt the cool stream of his river, smelled the wood and snow and gave in to the deep pleasure of the victory that was watching something that had threatened your existence, die beneath his hand.

But victory was pain, as much as it was pleasure.

Because there was a violent sting, a vicious jerk at the flesh of his back, and sharp claws slid through the skin across his shoulders, down to his flanks. The Dragon's eyes widened at the effort, and Will felt his own skin tear against the bones as hot blood poured down his back. But he was silent and still as he watched The Dragon's eyes flash and stutter, before fading to a deep, dead black.

And as he slid off The Dragon's mutilated body and fell, face first, upon the frozen cold dirt, he felt himself slipping into nothingness. He didn't feel pain, but the steaming blood seeped from his wounds into the snow, and the world around him grew colder and darker with every breath from his lungs. His eyes fluttered, his hands clenched against the frozen grass, and before he could start his fight for consciousness, everything had already left him.

**

In front of him, was a door. A most familiar one.

It was a simple, light painted, wooden door, with a touch of classic workmanship to give it that finishing touch of elegance.

He had seen it many times already. He had stared at it, feeling impatience, excitement, even fear. He had opened it and entered it in various stages of well-being, emotional as well as physical.

Usually, he was to wait until he was welcomed by what lived on the other side, but as he stared at the pale wood, he felt an increasing throbbing spread from his face to his back, and quickly grew restless. Anxious with discomfort and timelessness.

The handle wasn't cold under his touch, nor was it warm. The weight and temperature of it was almost without sensation, as if only existing inside a dream, a memory. Then, Will stepped inside the poorly-lit room he had spent so many of his evenings. Comfortable, terrified, intrigued and pained.

The colors, the furniture, the drapes and the black stag statue made of solid bronze. It was the same. He remembered the smell of the books and wine and Hannibal's cologne. He remembered the dying sunlight sneaking through the tall windows and casting them in a warm, orange glow. He remembered the warmth and the shadows cast on the walls by the flames in the fireplace.

And then he felt the pull, the weakness that overtook his joints and muscles, and he closed his eyes as a staggering yearning crept into his nerves and veins, smelling of winter, burned wood, and home. He felt struck, overwhelmed, and his lashes fluttered against his cheeks as he breathed in deep, and found the strength to turn.

And in his chair, he found him. Knowing he had been there, dressed in a gray and blue checkered suit and with that neat side parting in his ash blond hair. The vision was paradise, infernal.

“Hannibal.”

The smile his Alpha gave him, barely visible on his stoic features, was one of spotless joy. But the corners were encrusted with honest agony, and around the flawless image of his mate swarmed a hint of gray distortion. A glitch on an, otherwise perfectly, attuned television screen.

Will's throat squeezed tight at the sight of his Alpha in the long abandoned setting he knew so well, and watched how his mate crossed his legs before him.

“Will, please, take a seat,” Hannibal humored him with an echo of the past as he gestured to the chair opposite himself. Will hesitated before he sank into the familiar leather of the coffee brown seat, and let his legs fall open under the weight of his sagging posture. The scene was comfortably surreal.

“I took the liberty of picking the location this time,” Hannibal spoke pleasantly, eyeing and gesturing to the office around them. Will blinked at his words, with eyes deep on the sharp lines of his Alpha's face. Features, dips and curves he could dream to the last crease, as was evident in the current situation. “Are we in my mind again?”, he asked, and Hannibal smiled at him with gentle, bourbon eyes that shimmered no deeper than the surface alone. “And mine,” he replied, fondness thick in his voice, but strained inside the smooth tones of honey. “I discovered that we share this place.”

Will felt the tender stroke of his mate's gaze like a glorious fire for his frozen limbs, a stroke of bliss in a battlefield, and he had to restrain himself not to pull from his chair, and land on his knees before the Alpha. “Oh,” he said, instead, hypnotized by the voice that sang around and around inside his skull, savoring the tones, the curl of his tongue against each letter breached. Hannibal breathed deeply through his nose and folded his hands together on his lap, as if in need for something to hold on to. “I suppose we both have good memories here,” he said, and even as the corners of his lips twitched up, his eyes showed deep rings on the surface of the dark pools, made of something unfamiliar on his Alpha. On anyone else, Will would have called it fear.

He looked at his mate's hands, fingers twitching against each other in a way that could be called fidgeting, and Will swallowed visibly as the cloud of distortion on Hannibal's features grew rapidly more disturbing. Hannibal did not fear, or fidget, or reveal what he wished to conceal.

“So, tell me everything,” the Alpha then said, his tone perfectly conversational, and Will folded his own hands together as he watched his perfect mate spilling, leaking life onto the floor. Their eyes touched, as if it was the only ledge left to cling to.

“I was with The Dragon,” Will answered, his eyes suddenly darting around the room, as if expecting to find him there between the bookcases. Hannibal hummed low in his throat before he spoke, and the sound was pushed through tightened, raw vocal cords.

“You fought him,” his mate confirmed, eyes sharp on Will's face as they traced down his cheek. Suddenly, the Omega felt a dull, throbbing sensation along the skin above his jawline and moved a hand to his face. “Y-yes,” he stuttered and brushed fingers along the stubbles beneath his cheekbone, but the skin was intact, and no damage could be detected under his touch.

“I think... I think I killed him,” Will said, his throat squeezing dryly at the realization. The Dragon was dead. He, Will, had ripped out his artery with his teeth. “God.” And he, Will, had been stabbed and scratched and beat down, until the pure, white snow drowned in the crimson of blood.

Will's breath hitched as he cast wide eyes to Hannibal. He had attacked The Dragon, pushed him, scratched and bit him, and even now, sitting here, he could still feel the pulsing, shredded throat beneath his fangs. “I killed him.”

He rose from his seat, and Hannibal stood when he did. Will allowed himself to step forward, as his Alpha closed the rest of the distance with a quick stride of those elegant legs. They were so close, shoe noses touching and desperate eyes searching and deeply inhaling to collect the other's scent. Ocean eyes met deep amber, and Will's lungs filled only with shallow breaths as he reached out for the labels of Hannibal's jacket.

“I enjoyed it.” The confession was a fierce whisper, followed by a needful brush of Will's lips against Hannibal. A memory's touch only, but a sob broke from his throat at the brief slide of warm, soft lips on warm, soft lips. “I killed someone,” Will wheezed against Hannibal's open, panting lips as his shoulders started to tremble. “Intimately.”

And suddenly, his body was enfolded by Hannibal's embracing arms, sheltering and strong around him, his face buried in the crook of his neck. “Shh,” came a hush to his ear, and hands stroked through the Omega's curls before cupping the back of his neck with careful fingers. The shadow of the sensation was enough to make Will shudder, and to make his eyes wet in pure despair. He was here, with him, and the echo of their pain was slowly leaking from their pores as he fit perfectly against his Alpha. Fuck. God, he had missed him. He had missed him to the point of devastation, insanity, self-destruction. Absolute fucking madness.

“Ohh,” he moaned, pushing his nose beneath the Alpha's chin as fingers tangled in his hair. “Oh God, Hannibal.” His body was trembling so thoroughly he could hear his teeth rattling inside his mouth. And Hannibal soothed him with hands on his hair and neck. Hands on his shoulders and his arms. Hands that shook, but touched him with certainty, as he breathed love and pain into the Omega's ear. “Shh, Will. I have you. I have you now,” Hannibal whispered against him, breaking him from head to toe as the words cracked under strain of his mate's voice.

Those hands that soothed, held and caressed him, however, never once grazed the skin of his back. “How bad is it?”, Will croaked against Hannibal's throat, and felt his mate's lungs quivering inside his chest. “You're dying,” Hannibal whispered, both rough and gentle against his ear, and Will's fingers released their grip on Hannibal's jacket. He froze as his arms slid down to hang useless beside his body as the room suddenly seemed to pull vacuum around him. When Hannibal moved back to look at him, at last Will understood what he saw in those eyes.

“I'm dying,” he repeated, his voice void of color, as his fingers hooked aimlessly on the rim of Hannibal's pockets. “Just like that?” He had fought The Dragon and he had won. He had defeated him. Yes, he had not come out unscathed, but a little blood loss wouldn't... “Someone will find me,” he fired, remembering how he had slid into the deep darkness of unconsciousness in the bloody snow of his front yard. The sun would rise, and somebody...

“They did,” Hannibal broke through the memories. “You have been in a comatose state at the local hospital for two days now.” A little buzz zoomed across Hannibal's face, as if lightning struck through the energy that flowed around him. Will felt that lightning bolt between his own eyes, as every cell in his body shrunk in it itself before expanding. A pulse of his body and mind. “What?”, he mumbled confusedly, hooking two fingers inside Hannibal's sleeve as if fearing he would disappear, would the distance grow between them. “I just got here.”

Hannibal reached out in return, fisting Will's shirt between his fingers without pulling. “Here, yes,” he answered him, and Will could see the strain of his mate's muscles beneath his pale skin. Amber eyes flickered briefly to his lips, before they met his own gaze. “Your wife made the decision to have you brought back to me,” Hannibal said, and the lightning was followed by a hopeful crack of sky-splitting thunder.

Will swallowed at the words, his mouth dry, his arms weak. Back. Back to Hannibal. Because Will was dying, wounded, anemic, unconscious, and the world knew there was only one that could cure him.

Molly knew.

“So I'm... on my way?”, Will whispered, to both himself and his mate as he grabbed the sides of Hannibal's silk waistcoat. Hannibal nodded and moved closer into his touch as he placed an open hand on Will's sternum. “I was able to connect with you here, because you're getting closer,” he said, and Will's eyes widened as strong fingers stroked along his glands. “Where am I?”, he asked, frantic as he tried to listen for any sounds coming from beyond the chamber inside his head. He was already traveling, moving, getting closer and closer to his Alpha.

God, God, oh, God yes.

“The FBI is escorting you here,” Hannibal said, curling protective fingers in the nap of Will's curls. “You were flown in by helicopter, and you should be in an ambulance by now.” Will watched his mate's Adam's apple work beneath the skin, and wondered what the world would look like through those earthly eyes. “FBI?”, Will repeated with a stunned expression. “Helicopter?” He could have laughed. Since when was he considered a big enough deal for those kinds of expenses? He remembered when he had been a consultant, and every rental car and motel room had been one from the dusty, lower shelf.

Hannibal pushed gently against the tendrils of his neck until their open mouths met again in a kiss that was desperate and wet, as he licked dominantly into Will's mouth. Will whimpered and moaned brokenly against his mate and fluttered his lashes against his moist, lower lids. He clawed at Hannibal's clothes and hair with a high whine in his throat, because all he wanted was closer and more. He wanted to climb so deep inside his mate he would disappear from the world. Entirely and forever.

Hannibal pulled back, lips lingering and cheeks tinged on otherwise pale, lifeless skin. “You've lost a lot of blood,” he said, grasping the curls behind Will's ears on both sides as he forced the pain behind his eyes into his mate. “And you were too far, too long, without me.” Will's breath stuttered as Hannibal's eyes dripped like open faucets, filled with tears and blood and torment that swam in the whites of his eyes like hellish blots of red and black watercolor. The Devil locked in his own hell.

“Your heart is giving up,” Hannibal said, the edges around his words crenelated as he placed one, open palm wholly against Will's chest. “They are barely keeping you alive.” The Omega felt, in that moment, what touched Hannibal's hand on the other side of his ribcage, and it was weak, unsteady, like a dying, fragile bird fluttering its wings. He was losing life, he realized. He was sinking like a damaged ship, where every second counted.

“I'll make it,” he whispered, pressing his own hand on top of Hannibal's as he gritted his teeth with all the determination he had strength for. “I'll make it back.” Hannibal stared at him, his eyes dim and his whites red. His fingers against Will's chest twitched, as if wanting to dig under the skin and squeeze around the failing organ beneath. And Will tightened his grip on Hannibal's hand, desperate to feel an echo of the skin that could heal him.

“I promised you,” he said, wishing nothing more than to ease the torment he watched swimming beneath Hannibal's skin. “I might not walk in, but I won't die.” Because he wouldn't. Will refused to be defeated after he had already won. They were here, together, already. He had found the Omega in him, and his Alpha had found him in the dark. He was stronger than ever before.

Hannibal's features buzzed around the lines, like a moving, pixelated image. His nose, his eyebrows, the lines around his mouth, they flickered sharply on the skin, forking and blurring and breaking, as he kept his eyes deep and red on Will's. “Is this your grief?”, Will then whispered, bringing his hand to stroke down the vibrating skin of Hannibal's cheeks. His hand was caught by Hannibal's, and pressed firmly against the bones of his mate's sharp skull.

“What do you see?”, Hannibal asked, mimicking the volume of Will's voice, pressing his fingers in between the Omega's. “Grief,” Will answered honestly, and Hannibal's lips jerked, before he lowered his eyes, and inhaled deeply against the skin of Will's hand. “Then I'd imagine it is,” he said, and Will felt a shiver running up his spine at the sight. Hannibal was made of glass, dried clay, chalk. Hard and strong on the outside, but one push would shatter him on the hardwood floors.

He had done this. He, Will, had made him a ghost, a shadow of the man he really was, with hollow bones and paper skin. He hadn't considered this happening, because Hannibal had always been an indestructible force to him. He hadn't considered this, because he hadn't wanted to see it. He had been purposely blind. Selfish. Cruel.

He reached out with both hands to cup his mate's face, stroking along the defined bones of his cheeks.
“If we touch here, will it ease the pain?”, he said, and Hannibal sighed, leaning himself closer until his nose grazed Will's temple. “No,” he said, shaking his head lightly against Will's. “But it might distract us from it.” Will huffed a smile and closed his eyes as Hannibal's lips opened against the skin of his neck. A tongue flicked against his pulsing point, barely responsive under the skin, and Will reached for the back of Hannibal's jacket as he gripped his fingers into the fabric.

Their embrace lasted, as did their silence, both of them afraid, pained, and unwilling to let go of the other. Will pressed his forehead beneath Hannibal's chin, as lazy lips tasted his skin along the length of his throat. The Omega sighed and squeezed fingers into Hannibal's upper arms.

“You sent him after my family,” he said, after the thought became too heavy for his mind to bear. Will swallowed back the sudden nerves that played along the walls of his belly, because he needed to know. It was an established fact that he could not be without his Alpha, but that didn't mean that nothing else mattered. If Hannibal was the still that same man he had been forced to walk away from all these years ago, he knew he would have to fear for himself and anyone around him, for the rest of his existence. The idea tasted sour in his veins.

“No,” Hannibal denied grudgingly against his collarbone, and Will nudged his nose beneath the Alpha's jaw. “You knew about his plans,” he hissed against the bones, and felt Hannibal's nails digging punishingly into the back of his neck. ”I warned you,” the Alpha growled low against the skin beneath his ear. “And your family is safe because of it.” There was a scrape of sharp teeth against his skin, and Will whimpered at the feeling as his fingers hooked behind the back of Hannibal's collar.

“A decision of the last moment,” he panted his reply, as Hannibal's fingers raked over his skull with a demanding pressure of his hands. “Yes,” was his answer, sharp and hot from his lips, before he jerked Will's head back from his skin with fingers in his mate's messy curls. Will looked at him, saw his blown pupils shine like raven feathers, and licked his lips as he allowed the pull on his hair to tilt his chin. “You feared for my safety,” he challenged the Alpha. “Or perhaps my mental state, after.”

“Yes,” Hannibal was quick and shameless in his answer, and Will watched the narrow rim of golden amber burning back into him, making his skin warm and his stomach tight. Hannibal was Hannibal, always, but perhaps he hadn't lied when he had said that he was no longer curious about Will. Old habits die hard, but in that moment, with that phone call, he had decided not to play the game.

“You were so tempted to just let it happen,” Will said, brushing a strand of ash blond hair behind his mate's ear, and watched Hannibal's lips tighten. “I wanted it to happen,” The Alpha admitted, eyes tight and hard on Will. “I wanted you to lose them.” The confession was not spoken as one. Hannibal knew Will knew. The hidden words were the ones that spoke so much louder. The one that said that despite Hannibal's desires, he had chosen differently. He had chosen Will over himself.

Fingers tangled in the mop of curls on top of Will's head, guiding him to look up, straight into Hannibal's flickering eyes. “Did you miss me?”, The Alpha asked him, fierce yet broken, and Will knew exactly how much this was cracking the smooth, porcelain shell of his mate. He was vulnerable, rejectable, defeatable, and those things were all emotions on a scale Hannibal hadn't allowed himself to put any weight on, for many, many years.

“Hannibal,” Will whined, as fingertips massaged against his skull.“I'm dying without you.” The meaning was open for interpretation, he knew, and Will allowed it to be. Hannibal grimaced, but released his grip on Will's hair, lowering his hands to press against Will's collarbone.

“Then why are you such a stubborn boy?”, he asked, almost pleasantly resentful, and his fingers curled lightly around Will's throat. Will felt the fingers on his windpipe as he swallowed, and Hannibal smiled, baring sharp teeth. “Because you are not ready to give up that life.” His mate said, almost gently, but his jaw remained locked. “There are still a few dead ends inside the labyrinth of your mind.” The Alpha brushed two fingers along the scar on Will forehead. The meaning wasn't lost.

“But you are so close to coming home, aren't you?”, Hannibal whispered, his voice slicing sharply through Will's ear as he whimpered weakly at the words, the tone, the hole in his heart that pulsed and begged for that one thing. Home.

Hannibal pressed his cheeks against Will's, fingers still digging into his throat, caressing along his glands. “So close to embracing who you truly are,” he spoke against Will's temple, and Will trembled as he closed his eyes. His Omega. He had experienced his beast alongside his humanity, and it had clicked together like two broken shards.

“This is your becoming,” Hannibal spoke, words like a serpent, and Will huffed into his Alpha hair before he drew back. Becoming. Hannibal had always talked about his true form, the real shape of him, and how he had yet to be who he was destined to become. Somewhere it had always stung, to believe there was more to him, that others could see, but he, himself could not reach. As if this version of himself was... lacking.

“Fuck my becoming,” he growled into Hannibal's face before he gripped the paisley tie in his hand, and yanked it towards him until their mouth met, hungrily, in the middle. Their lips pressed together, hard and greedily, as the fangs clashed and their tongues slid into the wet heat of their mouths. A memory, still, but it was real enough to make Will's skin tighten in pleasure and goosebumps.

“I feel closer to you here, than that time in the shower,” he murmured between kisses as Hannibal chased after his lips with a pull of his teeth. Will wound his hands in Hannibal's hair, as Hannibal's fingers curled into the belt loops on his jeans. “Because you are unconscious,” The Alpha panted into Will's open mouth, leaning his forehead against the Omega's as he pressed their hips together with a pull on Will's waistband. “Similar to a daydream not reaching as deep and wholly into the subconscious mind, compared to a dream experienced in a state of sleep.”

Will felt Hannibal's hardness press against his thigh, as his own cock quickly filled out in the confinement of his jeans. “God, Hannibal,” he moaned, pressing their lips back together as he stroked passionate hands into his mate's hair and down the back of his neck. “We need to touch,” Will groaned against Hannibal's lips as the Alpha had started to maneuver them towards the desk. The moment Will's ass touched the edge, he shifted back to sit atop the furniture. Wholly, this time, instead of the many moments in this office where he had only leaned against the wooden surface.

“I need to touch you,” he moaned, wrapping his legs around his Alpha's hips as Hannibal's lips trailed down his chin, and against the sensitive flesh of his throat. Hands slid up his thighs and the feeling was amazing, and arousing and beautiful.

Also...

“It's not enough,” Will gritted his teeth as tears threatened to spill down his cheeks. This wasn't like it was when they were together. Really together. That was pure bliss and light wrapped in darkness, and endless pleasure on the edge of pain. It was everything. And this was all of that, but just out of reach, just on the other side of the veil, a fingertip away. It wasn't going to satisfy his needs for closeness and touch, for Hannibal. Nor would it heal them, like they both needed healing. “And it will never be,” Hannibal kissed against his throat. “until you come back to me.”

Will moaned when the Alpha's hands squeezed the bulge in his jeans, and he pushed his hips forward to capture more of the teasing touch. “Hannibal.” And the name came out as a sob, desperate, begging, filled with his regrets. “I'll die without you.” Hannibal pressed his teeth against his mate's shoulder at the confession, as he growled through his nose. Tenderness and anger, love and spite. “Quite literally in this moment.” The Alpha growled at him, and Will's breath shuddered as he clung his arms around his mate's narrow waist.

“When they bring me in...”, he croaked, and Hannibal pulled back the teeth from his skin to look at him. His eyes were black, close to bleeding red, but the pale lips shone pink with their kisses. “I'll make it better,” he promised, and Will felt his dying heart expand until it left nothing else inside him. Treasured, cherished, desired. Fuck, how he wanted it. “Yes, yes.” He nodded helplessly, as Hannibal gentle bit into his earlobe.

“I'll have you,” he said, devotion and arousal floating atop a thick layer of his fear. “Yes,” Will breathed, closing his eyes as he pressed his nose alongside Hannibal's, who vibrated with a low rubble that rose from his chest. “I'll wake you,” he pledged, and Will gasped when soft lips trailed along his cheek. It tingled, oddly so, and Will knew Hannibal was brushing his mouth along the length of his ripped cheek. He wondered if it showed, to his mate, in this moment.

Then, he blinked, and pulled back to see Hannibal's lips were not stained with anything other than Will's saliva. No blood. Not here. “Wait,” Will said, knitting his eyebrows at his mate's words. “I'll be unconscious when they bring me in.” He watched Hannibal's eyes flicker from black to amber. “Do you think they're just going to let you...?” He didn't finish the sentence, but watched one side of Hannibal's lips pull up at his innocence, as he folded two strong arms around Will's body.

“Why do you think they're bringing you to me?”, Hannibal spoke against his cheek, brushing the skin as his lips moved. “What can I give you that they can't?” Will closed his eyes as his head fell back at the jolt of pleasure that ripped through his body. His broken “Fuck”, was an exclaim, instead of an answer to the rhetorical question, but Hannibal huffed against his ear despite it, as his fingers started to work on the buttons of Will's shirt. “We just have to wait,” he spoke gently, “And you have to hold on.” The hushed tone was a plea, and Will nodded feverishly against him.

He pulled Hannibal's shirt from his pants and slid both his hands under the fabric, over soft, fragile skin. “I'm holding on.”

Chapter Text

“Close your eyes, Will.”

Hannibal's voice flooded him from the inside out, between near and very far away, and its sound guided Will further from the darkness of his own mind.

“Breathe through your nose.”

Will breathed and the blissful scent of his Alpha stroked him internally; intense enough to be real, but Will was just aware enough to know it could not originate from outside of himself. There, beyond the warm, safe familiarity of his own head, something tinged the air. A movement coming from behind the window. A sound from beyond the wall.

And then, a scent best described as stinging and sterile.

“Concentrate.”

And he tried so hard to comply as Hannibal's warm thighs rested against his, and his breath stroked the back of his neck. He kept his eyes closed and pushed, searched for anything beyond the membrane of this room. He did concentrate, but it was hard to muster the conviction to find a way out while fearing what would lie on the other side.

“Listen,” Hannibal's voice was urging, commanding, and fear caused a hidden tremor in the back of his throat. His thighs squeezed tighter around Will's hips, and even without touching his chest, Will could feel the Alpha's heartbeat rising loud and strong above his own.

He had to succeed. He had to fight for himself, and he had to fight for Hannibal. It was so easy to melt back into the Alpha's embrace and let himself tumble into the bottomless pit, threatening to keep him until his heart would give up, and he would slip from his body completely.

“Where are you?”

Will heard the distant rumble of a vehicle purring from under him. He heard the steady, slow beep of a machine and sirens wailing from far above his head. There was the mumbling of people, the screeching of tires, centripetal force pushing at his body.

Will heard the world outside his mind.

“I'm coming.”

**

At first, they had simply stayed close against the desk as Hannibal had pressed their lips together in languid, unhurried kisses that Will savored with a sigh in the depths of his throat. Hannibal had touched him from the back of his neck, to the lengths of his sides, to the denim-clad flesh of his thighs. Squeezing him, rubbing, feeling whatever had remained undamaged, and leaving Will to respond with mindless surrender and desperate, speechless need.

He had rubbed one cheek against Hannibal's with the force and pressure of pure animal affection, moaning wordlessly as he clawed and gripped at his mate with his eyes closed and his cheeks flushed. He rocked his hips forward the moment Hannibal brushed a hand over the bulge that was his hidden, begging cock, and whined like a helpless beast when his mate took back his fingers from his strained crotch.

“Not yet,” Hannibal hushed the pitiful noise that brushed through Will's nose, but kept an open palm against the tented fabric of Will's jeans, just to feel him grinding in an open search for pleasure. “We'll be together soon.” They kissed with open mouths, searching for the illusion of heat and contact as their tongues brushed and stroked inside their fused mouths. Will shivered in his Alpha's arms, weak in all possible ways as he rested his weight in the strong embrace, unwilling to have one cruel inch between them.

Fuck, this was the real pain. Being so close but needing so much more and not being able to reach it. All the doubt, the regret, the guilt was pushed down, and in its place was something big, furious, howling and screeching. It was need. It was desire. It was a wild craving to be and belong.

Will felt Hannibal's hard cock answering against his thigh and whimpered as he reached down to rub his hand against the dampening fabric of his Alpha's trousers. But his mate snarled at the contact, grabbed Will's wrist and yanked his hand away from already full hardness behind wool and silk.

“That would be very counterproductive,” Hannibal warned through his teeth, and Will was thrilled to hear the strain in his voice, the pants of his breath. His Alpha was just like him, thoroughly aroused and ready to burst from nothing but the ghost of their union.

“Yeah,” Will sighed a hiss, eyes down as his lips stretched over his fangs. “I guess it would.” He leaned forward to rub his nose along Hannibal's temple, pushing their bodies close, but not enough to cause friction. “You still have to...”, Will's lips stretched in a smile over bare teeth, knowing Hannibal must have felt his fangs against his cheek, “...mate me awake.”

He felt mindless with the fabricated pleasure that brushed along the endless torture that was life without Hannibal. And there was nothing he could do but revel in the crumbs of his mate's presence. He laughed when Hannibal's hands came to fist his hair, adapting a look of perfect disapproval. “I do not assign any fairytale qualities to these circumstances,” he said, and the little spark in his amber eyes was not plagued by any forked distortion.

“No?”, Will questioned as his hands curled around his Alpha's waist. “Beauty and the Beast would be fitting.” He was teasing, high on the idea of pleasure, and it made Hannibal's honey eyes liquid with joy. The Alpha kept his eyebrow up, an unspoken challenge as Will sank deeper into the sticky warmth of that shimmering gold. “Assign the parts as you see fit,” he said with pursed lips and watched his mate's mouth twitch as he raked hands through Will's brown curls.

Hannibal's fingers touched the bridge of his nose, the swell of his lips, the flow of his chin, as Will watched him, felt every touch he received and moved to meet every form of contact between them. He saw those amber eyes starting to flash brighter in the sharp lines of Hannibal's sockets, and the buzz of distortion became clearer within the deeper colors of Hannibal's skin and clothes. Their eyes met, and Will saw his Alpha watching him with similar curiosity. “You're getting closer,” Hannibal answered for the both of them, their banter forgotten as his fingers traced the curve of Will's ear. “I can envision you more clearly.” And as his Alpha spoke the words, Will could see the lines around Hannibal eyes crinkle deeper, sharper, more alive and sick in the same instant.

Will breathed in deep and felt the room shudder beneath his feet. The walls shook, the air purred, the temperature dropped. He was moving. Traveling. Transported in a vehicle. Hannibal's hand pressed to Will's chest as he licked his dry lips with the pink tip of his tongue. “You heart is very weak,” he said, his mouth pulling tight but his voice steady and soft. “But I can feel you nearing.”

There was a distant throbbing sensation creeping up on the Omega, stringing up from his back and the right side of his face as Will felt the room growing stuffier around him. Pure alcohol. Gasoline. A tinge of copper. “Me too,” he breathed, feeling the walls narrowing around him. He didn't want to go. Hannibal wouldn't be there, would he wake up now. Not yet. There would just be pain and blood and doctors that couldn't help. And Will didn't want to feel pain anymore. He was tired, exhausted, and he no longer felt he had the strength to take the hollow, sick suffering that was their separation.

Hannibal watched him with unseeing eyes before he folded his hands loosely around Will's throat and felt a weak fluttering under his touch. His eyes shimmered more and more like the tiger, the lion, the wolf Will knew lived underneath, and the beastly sight was hot water on a frozen heart. “You'll soon be strong enough to wake,” Hannibal said, pressing his forehead to Will's as he whispered in a hot stream of air that brushed between the Omega's eyes. “We have to try and bring you out.” He was determined, tense but gentle as his fingertips pressed against the weak artery beneath Will's skin. “You have to wake up.”

Will swallowed against the warm fingers before leaning against the grip to place a lingering kiss on Hannibal's lips. The pressure on his windpipe, even when imaginary, became a struggle to withstand, forcing him to pull back. “Can't I stay?”, he whispered against Hannibal's cheek. “Just until I'm there with you?” This time, it was Hannibal who leaned in to capture his mate's lips, sighing deeply into the kiss before he pulled back and released Will altogether. The air against Will's throat without the Alpha's shielding hands felt cold, naked, and as he watched Hannibal take a step back, he felt a tight pull from behind his own ribs.

“No,” was Hannibal's resolute answer, perfectly controlled within the lines of his exterior. His image was clearer now, steadier, and so was the bruised sheen breaking through his sickly pale skin. The Alpha pressed his bitten lips together before he spoke, as if trying to find something within to steady him. “The chances you'll die or stay in this comatose state forever will grow greater with every moment you don't fight for your life.”

And Will watched his Alpha's image buzzing before his eyes, as if slowly crumbling, shedding little pieces of himself around their feet, the underlying image of the fear behind his words. While the image became clearer and sharper before him with every minute passing, it