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The Death and Resurrection of Will Graham

Chapter Text

“This is all I ever wanted for you Will.” Hannibal panted. “For both of us.”

 

Will clutched onto the doctor’s shirt, leaving another streak of red on his expensive dress shirt. A weak laugh escaped his lips as he was suddenly reminded of the years of betrayal and deceit. Abigail. Italy. Molly. Was their loss necessary to achieve this perfect moment of honesty? He knows that he should ache for their loses, but instead of anger or contempt, Will was too entranced by the older man’s visage; red eyes glinting with desperation, bereft of his usual veils and facades.

 

“It’s beautiful.” Will murmured, caressing away the doctor’s uncertain smile. Hannibal turns his head towards the touch, his split lips kissing the cuts and welts on Will’s hand as he sighed in relief. They were finally at peace, two men leaning against each other for comfort, recognizing the same monsters that lurked inside their heart in one another.

 

Suddenly, the raw strength and adrenaline that kept Will going faded into nothingness. Gone was the unflinching beast that stared down the dragon and sneered. He was left with his creaking bones, and something as simple as a sharp intake of breath was enough to make him aware of all his wounds and injuries.

 

Hannibal noticed the man’s swaying body and caught him in his arms, his body steady despite having gone through the same ordeal that Will did. ‘Worse even.’ He thought absentmindedly, feeling the sharp burn of a bullet that went through his abdomen.

 

The scent of blood and cedar enveloped Will, calling forth warm memories of their companionable dinners. ‘I am safe.‘ Will thought in both realization and relief, sagging deeper into Hannibal’s arms. ‘With him, I have always been safe.’

 

“Stay with me Will.” Hannibal whispered, unable to hide the rising cadence of his voice. The Dragon’s blood on his fingers glinted like liquid ebony, a wendingo’s claw digging deep into Will’s arm. Hannibal’s touch hurts more than the wounds Dollarhyde dealt, but the pain jarred Will back to reality, to their reality, where dragons were slain and perfection was attainable.

 

Blue eyes struggled to keep Hannibal’s gaze, wavering in panic. Hannibal was suddenly reminded of Will’s seizure. Back then, Hannibal chest fluttered at the prospect of manipulating the vulnerable empath, but now that he’s faced with the same situation, Hannibal’s chest only tighten in fear. He cannot let Will lose the identity he had just discovered.

 

“My dear… Stay with me.” The man pleaded again, but his words only seem to agitate him even further. Blue bleeds into black and his pupils narrowed down into mere dots, darting back and forth as he looked for an escape.

 

Those were the eyes of a prey, but Will was no mere prey. Not anymore.

 

Hannibal almost couldn’t bear to watch. One second Will was his equal, a magnificent creature of raw power and passion, and the in the next he is back to a mere man, consumed by the pressures and shame that the mass has imprinted upon this beautiful creature.

 

‘It was nice seeing the real Will Graham, even if it were just for a second.’ Hannibal thought, bringing the man deeper into his embrace, knowing full well that this might be the last time he could freely embrace the object of his desire. Will twisted and pulled against him, a frenzied protest rising from his chest.

 

“I am with you, Will.” He said, his voice deep as he tried to swallow his welling emotions. “I will always be with you.”

 

He knew what comes next. Hannibal could smell it on him, the acrid scent of betrayal, as familiar as aftershave with ships on the bottle. The man pulled away, placing a gentle hand onto the side of Will’s bleeding cheek.

 

Stormy blue eyes welled up with tears.

 

‘Hannibal

 

'Let go

 

Save yourself’

 

Moonlight fell against Hannibal’s blood red eyes, and his tears made them glitter like rubies. His gaze remains warm. His smile, gentle. His hold, true.

 

‘Never.’ They answered

 

Will sighed and raised his arms, embracing Hannibal for one last time, and leaned them both off the cliff edge.

 

***

 

He used to fancy himself Hades, eager to tempt the beautiful Persephone with his pomegranate seeds. It wasn’t until now that Hannibal understood his role. He was the divine maiden, helplessly drawn to his intended, forever pulled back to his orbit even if it meant plunging deep into the underworld.

 

Yet, in spite of that knowledge, Hannibal found himself content.

 

He has no need for a heaven, because the genuine second they shared together is as sweet as any biblical paradise. He held no fear for the fires of hell, for the knowledge that they will soon part is enough torment for his soul.

 

Still, he welcomed their fates, and would again if given the chance.

 

The waves below them roared, it’s ever-churning maw as fearsome as Jörmungand’s mighty jaw. Hannibal could feel Will’s duress wet against his chest. What was he crying about, he wondered. Is he mourning for the wife and child that he’s leaving behind? Is he weeping for his canine companions, all who will be bereft without him by their side? Or maybe he is regretting ever meeting him, the snake that tempted him away from his idyllic frozen paradise?

 

‘It doesn’t matter-‘ Hannibal thought, his heart light and unburdened.’ -because we are finally together.’

 

***

An eternity stretched between the cliff and the surface of the Atlantic, and before they broke the water’s surface, Will knew that he had made a mistake.

Three times he denied Hannibal, and each time resulted in the death of someone he loved. Now they fall together, another betrayal, another denial, but the only loved one remained was there with his arms wrapped around his body.

‘God. Please no.’ Will prayed, but there was no god. There were only them, divine in their mortality until they smashed their head upon the rocks.

Will thought he was doing the right thing. Rejecting the temptation of sin, protecting the innocent -killing the monster inside that called out for Hannibal's- Isn’t that what good people do? They serve and protect, lay down their lives if needs be, all for the sake of protecting the helpless from monsters like Hannibal.

Oh, but what a lovely monster he turned out to be.

Ever since Hannibal’s letter disrupted his life, Will has been struggling to see the good in this world he so adamantly defends. The laughter of family and friends isolated him, their concern and kindness only confirming the one irrevocable facts he has chosen to ignore.

He only ever belonged to Hannibal, just as the man had only ever belonged to him.

So he retreated back into his memories and reminisces. Companionable nights together, shared over dinner or wine, ended with whiskey and whispered secrets.

Overtime sessions spent together trading wits, fencing with words sharper than swords, ending each sentence with a playful smile, a balm to soothe the wounds each eager to bear.

The way his eyes softens when he said his name.

“Will.” The sweetest melody nature could ever replicate.

Those memories sustained him, but only barely. He was like a doe wading through an endless stream, filling his belly with water while he slowly starved.

Eventually Will became sick of himself, of his weakness. Every fiber of his being was drawn to Hannibal and he knows it. When they are together, the loneliness that has made home in his heart is gone, giving space to joy. Space to love.

His demons was absent in Hannibal’s presence, but instead of holding him close like a priceless talisman, Will pushed him him away and settled for mediocre substitutes. Alana. Margot. Molly. God, Molly. How in the world could someone so normal replace the perfection that is Hannibal?

Angry tears flooded past his periphery and soaked into Hannibal’s shirt. He should’ve gone to Italy with him. He should’ve reached for his hand instead of that knife. He should’ve invited him into his bed and threw his metaphysical scribbles away, and told him he doesn’t need them anymore. Time did reverse. The teacup was whole again. They were whole again.

Alas, he didn't, and now his time has run out.

‘-but Hannibal's shouldn't.’

With every bit of his strength left in him, Will twisted his body and pushed Hannibal’s above his. Judas’s death might have absolved him of his betrayal, but Will’s sould can only be cleansed if Hannibal lives.

‘If there is a God,’ Will thought, praying earnestly for the first time in his life. ‘then may he be merciful towards us.

It only took him a second to realize just how ludicrous his thoughts are. If there is a god then it might as well be Hannibal, a cruel deity whose favor brings him immeasurable bliss and suffering. Will could only hope he had properly worshiped him because, ‘You are worthy Hannibal, worthy of my life. You’re worthy of my soul.’

The water hit the back of his head like concrete, stealing his breath with a violent rip.

‘Live.’ He thought, grasping Hannibal’s hand. ‘Live.’

Darkness took over his vision and fire lit up in his lungs. On the edge of his blurry vision, he saw the ravenstag, dissipating into the currents like a blotch of ink in water. It was then that Will Graham knew that death is near, yet he was unafraid, because he was no longer alone.

Chapter Text

Hannibal came back to life with a burst of water and air. His body ached, his skin stung, eyes burning from the seawater, but they’re mere superficial pains. The more immediate threat was the bullet wound in his abdomen. It throbbed with a heat that ebbs and flares along with his heartbeat. The hole looked like an abyss of undulating flesh, cruelly torn and savaged. The sight is enough to shock any layman into an early grave. Hannibal felt nothing but a faint pang of irritation at their existence.

 

He slowly traced the outline of the wound, feeling for any hard traces of the bullet. When he found none, the man took off his shirt and tied it firmly over his abdomen, hoping that it would somewhat staunch the slow bleeding. If he’s lucky he might stumble into some remote clinic and temporarily assume the identity of the doctor there. It would certainly give him to the supplies he needed to survive.

 

With immediate survival in mind, Hannibal’s body quickly oriented itself, naturally finding it’s bearings like a thirsty deer might find a stream. Bereft of his suits and fineries, Hannibal looks almost savage, a wounded beast racing against death, with only one goal in mind. Vengeance.

 

The names in his list seemed endless. Alana and her family, for their transgression during his stay at the hospital. Jack for his hubris. Bedalia for her treachery. That one orderly who shoved his lunch a little too hard, spilling the already disgusting slop he was forced to consume. Now that his life hangs in the balance, their name surfaced again, along with the indignities he suffered on their hands.

 

But there is one name that he could never really add to his little murder list.

 

“Will…” He sighed, whispering it like a sacred prayer.

 

There is a large chance that Will had succumbed to his wounds, or was pulled under by the relentless currents of the Atlantic. A cold rational part of him knows that he can’t afford the time to grieve, but he still stared longingly to the very ocean that may still held his William hostage.

 

‘We can still be together.’ He lamented, watching the receding waves sink his trembling leg deeper into the sands. ‘It may not be as you intended, but we could still meet again.’

 

Hannibal is not afraid of death. He had lived a long and full life. To quietly wade into his end was a much more preferable fate than living a mediocre life.

 

He knows how it will go. He will survive and escape into some foreign country, where he will live as he has always does, distracting himself with art he has already seen, tasting food he already savored, while taking on lovers he’s already tired of, so he may distract himself from one immutable truth.

 

Only with Will Graham could he truly be complete.

 

And so it will go, the great Chesapeake Ripper disappearing into another version of his person suit, a benign old man who quietly ages and dies. Forever unseen, unacknowledged, like an artist without an audience.

 

He refused to suffer such indignity.

 

“WILL!” Hannibal shouted for the man, all thoughts of surrender erased from his mind. He never felt more alive now that he that he has seen the banal reality of a life without the man. It was as if the beast inside of him was roused, and it hungers for it’s mate.

 

The man searched the stormy banks, each passing minutes chipping away at his already waning composure. It didn’t matter that he could barely see in anything. Hannibal needed to find him.

 

‘Or at least, his body.’

 

His steps turned desperate, heavy feet digging into the sand as he stumbles and grasped around the dark shores like a blind man desperate for purchase.

 

Will was the only one that stayed. He saw Hannibal’s monster and didn’t shy away like Bedalia, quietly savoring his truth like he savors wine. ‘and blood’ Hannibal thought, shivering as he remembered Will’s maw full of dragon’s blood.He fought together with him, used his own body to protect him. He shared a kill with him, and they reveled in a way that only monsters can.

 

How can he not believe in fate? In love? How can he forsake such beauty for something as dull as survival? What was life if not the joyous moments we steal between our birth and death? To leave Will, to leave such beauty right after it was given to him, would be sacrilegious.

 

Hannibal needed him.

 

He imagined that this was what his patients felt when they took his advice and abandoned the confines of a traditional job to pursue their passion. Exhilarated, anxious, hopeful, like an exuberant child bursting with emotions.

 

Just as his fervor reached it’s zenith, despair began to surface. ‘This can either end as a comedy, or a tragedy.’ He hummed quietly, resuming his search, each step stamping more doubt, more grief into his heart.

 

The clouds parted and dawn began to bless it’s warmth onto the dark shores. In the distance a single ray of sunlight fell onto an unruly mop of dark hair and Hannibal simply stood, stunned into silence.

 

Like a fair faced youth in a Botticelli fresco, Hannibal found Will between the jagged rocks, laying on a bed of wrack, shells and debris, all strewn artfully about him. It was as if the old masters had placed them there themselves, elevating the mundane into something sacred. Will’s pale skin stood in contrast against the craggily rock that rose around him like a nest, like an angel gently sleeping amongst destruction, and he was beautiful.

 

No Renaissance painting, no Grecian statue, no macabre tableau in the would could compare to what he saw before him It took everything he had in him to keep standing and not fall to his knees in prayer. His soul ached to do so. Just as an artist requires his audience, something so divine demands absolute worship.

 

‘If you would let me, I would lay the world as a sacrifice in altar of your beauty.‘

 

With trembling hands Hannibal reached out and placed his digits on Will’s exposed neck, counting each faint pulse and taking note of his shallow breath. A tentative sense of relief washed over him. Will was alive, but his lack of consciousness worried him. It may indicate a more serious injury, one that cannot be soothe with mere bandages and splints. It could be anything really, the blood loss, the cold-

 

‘-it could be the fall scrambling his pretty little brain on impact.’

 

Dread wound itself tightly around his heart like an evil serpent. No. He wont let him fade into a husk. Not after everything they shared together.

 

He hate to destroy the shrine nature had created to shelter him, but Will required more than mere aesthetic to survive the night. Hannibal went to work with quiet efficiency, untangling each limbs and pushing aside wreckages. In no time at all, he had the man in his arms, cradled lovingly like a cherished bride.

 

With each step he could feel his legs creaking, but a greater purpose propelled him forward; a faint promise of a teacup, mended, not by the reversal of time or magic, but by the bond they shared together, each memory more precious than gold.

 

When he found Dolarhyde’s abandoned car, Hannibal was suddenly reminded of the their escape from muskrat farm, one where the threat of losing Will made him realized just how truly precious he was to him.

 

Thought the memory of their talk in Wolf Trap was one he could happily forget.

 

But he didn’t. He couldn’t. Even the their most painful exchanges seemed precious to him.

 

“I'm not going to find you.

I'm not going to look for you.

I don't want to know where you are or what you do.

I don't want to think about you anymore.

 

Good-bye, Hannibal.”

 

Hannibal let out a vicious howl and slammed his fist onto the steering wheel.

 

Well, maybe not that precious.

 

Hannibal push back his hair and took a long and deep breath, tempering his anger to a cool sizzle. This is not the time to be sucked back into the past. There are more pressing issue on hand, and with a bullet wound, he only have a limited time before he would pass out in fatigue. 

First, a doctor. As he inventoried Dollarhyde’s weapons and provision, he began to recall a certain old friend from medical school who he promised to call on. Ah yes. He smiled, tuning the radio to an opera station as he inputted the address on to the GPS. He would do just fine.

His rolodex may been burnt to ash, but Hannibal never forgets his victims, especially when they have marinated in fear for so long.

Chapter Text

Hannibal arrived at the decrepit old home of the Edward family, and like many of his victims, he tried to slam the door in his face.

‘Tried’ being the principal word. Thomas was not the first to attempt such nonsense, and Hannibal was ready for his futile resistance. With a firm foot jammed between the peeling door, Hannibal pushed past the man and into the manor, stirring decades of dust and desperation that seemed to settle on it's every crevice of the place.

The sole survivor of the Edwards clan fell back, an old withered thing that reminded Hannibal scampering rodents sold for snake feed. He descended upon the man, all shadow and malice, clasping his trembling arms while bearing a charming smile.

“Now, now Thomas. Is that a good way to greet your old lover?”

 

***

 

Butchering Mischa’s killers might be his first foray into murder, but Hannibal perfected his craft during his formative years as a medical student in Sorbonne.

Upon entering the prestigious institution at an early age, what Hannibal lacked in money he made up in both charm and intellect. His professors favoured him and his classmates doted on him, cementing his place as everyone’s beloved little brother, charming and smart, but not threatening so.

When he was not in class, Hannibal would spend his day in the preparations lab, working for a small wage that he would spend on black bread and salt. He was an aristocrat living the life of a pauper, unwilling to rely on his remaining family out of pride and resentment.

 

Enter Thomas Edwards, a rich American student, banished by his family for fucking the help. Like many spoiled heirs that came into the school, Thomas remained as rotten in Paris as he was in America, choosing to forsake the opportunity for growth for the ease of paying his problems away.

In many ways, Thomas is everything that Hannibal is not. The American was on the cusps of adulthood, already twenty-three when he arrived, the oldest in their program. Constantly tethering between expulsion and suspension, Edwards preferred to spend his time gambling, soliciting whores, and just generally looking down at the French like most Americans tend to do during their stay.

While Hannibal had no taste for people like him, Tom was in fact infatuated with him. To him, the young penniless count was an unconquerable fortress, beautiful and majestic even without the money to support his tittle. Hannibal may had to depend on scholarships and side jobs to survive, but he held a certain grace and dignity that the young American rarely ever encountered.

Thomas' passing interest turned into a serious courtship that lasted until Hannibal’s eventual emigration. Expensive dinners and private opera boxes became a constant thing for him, given freely for the cheap price of a kiss, a kind word, an intimate touch on his hand.

The man was starved for affection, and Hannibal knew it. The boy rationed each kindness in careful increments, rewarding good behaviour and praising his terrible ones, twisting Edwards into the very profile of a madman who would kill and savage his victims for fun.

There was one gift Thomas gave him that Hannibal still treasured dearly to this day.

“Do you love me Thomas?” he asked, gently holding the man’s cheek with his bloodstained hands.

“Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes.” Tom muttered desperately, his eyes following the swinging light bulb, unaware of the needle in his arms, chock full of sedatives, hallucinogens, and illicit stimulants.

Hannibal let the man babbled incoherently, humming his approval as he pushed more of the foul concoction into his system.

“Then you should know that having a murderer as a lover would reflect badly on me.”

“A.. m-murderer?”

“Yes. Can’t you see? You killed that couple in Florence and arranged them like La Primavera. Look! Now you’re here attempting to do one by Raphael.” A bloody silhouette of a corpse looms behind them, arranged to look like the angel Michael smiting down a demon.

“Oh no… That’s not good.” Tom gasped, his hands trembling as searched for Hannibal’s for comfort. 

“No. It isn’t.” the boy frowned, pushing him away, sickened by his desperation.

He would prefer to castrate the man, a proper punishment for all the lewd advances he inflicted on him, but Hannibal knew that the police would ask question. This needed to be a clean case, so that when he was finally in America, Hannibal may start anew without the suspicion of Police trailing him to the new world.

“Please… Don’t leave me.” Thomas mumbled as he sensed Hannibal’s retreat. “I’m so scared Hannibal.”

The boy smiled, shivering as a rush of power run through him. “It’s okay. You will see me again. I promise.”

***

Hannibal carefully examined the unconscious man by the door, weak, feeble, and worn by age. Quite frankly the very sight of Thomas offended his base nature, but now is not the time to fret over something like beauty, not when he has an unconscious young Apollo sleeping on the sofa. Thomas will have to wait. The man deserved a carefully orchestrated ending for his tiresome existence.

Securing the mentally disturbed man to the chair was easy. Thomas was thin and malnourished, his body bearing the evidence of stress and horrors of his time in French prison. Hannibal know that it would be more prudent to kill him now, but the idea of dragging a corpse in his current state ached his already creaking bones.

So he focused on tending to Will’s wound instead. Using the medical bag he found in the Dragon’s van, Hannibal made neat little rows of sutures to close Will’s many lacerations. Muscle memory came back to the surface, aiding in his precision as he steadied his fatigued hands out of sheer will alone. He will not leave Will’s face with a scar. It would be a sin to mar such beauty from carelessness alone.

Frowning at his almost perfect job, Hannibal turned to his own wounds while stamping down the foreign feeling of inadequacy. He wanted to only present Will with perfection, to clothe him in fineries so it may enhance his own fine features. Will deserved that, and after their many trials, Hannibal deserved to witness his magnificence.

Failing to provide that for Will bothered the man more than he cared to admit.

Just you wait my dear. You shall never be in want.” Hannibal murmured, using the icy anger nipping at him to fuel his own ministration. 

The wound on his abdomen was tricky to close, and he couldn’t find any painkiller to make the process easier, but Hannibal made due. By the time he was finished, his hand is too unsteady and weak to continue, forcing him to rely on a surgical staple instead.

After dry swallowing a handful of pills, Hannibal contemplated Will’s own dose. He could shove them down his gullet with his fingers, but he feared that Will might choke on them like a geriatric would choke on piece of potato. If they weren’t fighting for their lives then Hannibal would’ve laughed at the thought.

‘I would never let you die in such a pedestrian manner Will. Your death, our death shall be glorious.’

After finding a case of bottled water, Hannibal gently pushed a pill into Wills throat, bringing their lips together as he nursed with with a trickle of water from his own lips. With one hand he cradled Will’s head, and the other gently massaged his throat, urging the peristaltic moment to carry the down, eased by his watery kiss. By the fourth pill, Will began to struggle, and Hannibal soothed him like he soothed his sister on the day of her death.

“I know, I know. It must feel like drowning again.” He cooed, kissing Will’s lips to administer comfort to the sleeping man. He had hoped that it might stir him awake, like a twisted version of a true love’s kiss, but Will remained asleep.

Hannibal sighed and settled on the floor, his back warmed by Will’s presence he wrap an old musty blanket around himself. The house groaned, Thomas snored, and the steady breath of his unconscious partner began to lull him to sleep.

Hannibal dreamed of that glorious moment again, where Will looked at him with complete love and understanding. The dragon dissolved into a nest of bone, which Will claimed as his own. He laid down at the heart of it, finally at peace. Hannibal walked towards him, and he found his legs leathery and scaled, a pair of massive black wings raising behind him.

He curled his massive body around the nest. If his kiss may not wake Will from his slumber, then he shall settled to be a dragon, jealously guarding Will from anyone who dared to touch him.

After all this time I finally have you, and I will never let you go.

Chapter Text

 

Cold sweat and fever wrecked through Hannibal’s body, but their intrusion didn’t bother him as much as Thomas’s persistent thumping on the floor. On the first night the man was silent, convinced that he was going to meet his end. When he saw how weak Hannibal became on the second day, Thomas began to beg for release. It slowly morphed into jeers, then threats, and the occasional mad quips about demons in his house.

 

Despite the constant annoyance of his grating voice, the man remained securely tied onto his chair, just as alone and unacknowledged as hew was before Hannibal’s arrival.

 

It seemed that prison life has broken more than just Thomas’s spirit. His mind was addled with anti psychotic and sedatives, addictive little things that reduce healthy minds into obedient little dolls. Not like Thomas was of sound mind and body to begin with.

 

It was amusing seeing him come lucidity only to lose it once more, but eventually even his distress grew tiresome, and when Hannibal came close to administer a sedative, the man had enough agency to dare and snap at him.

 

Hannibal just sighed, went behind the difficult old man, and snapped his neck, killing him instantly.

 

Pain spread from his shoulders to his back, aggravating his still healing wounds. Hannibal hissed, clutching his right arm and shambled toward Will’s still sleeping figure.

 

I’m glad you are spared from the worst pain of recovery.’ he thought, stroking Will’s stubble cheeks fondly. Before long, it was all that he could do, latching onto the unconscious man’s chest, each heartbeat tethering him to reality as fever took over his body.

 

Memories of frozen castles and murky soups escaped from the dungeons of his mind. Various degrees of evil colored his vibrant palace with blacken footprints. He could still remember Mischa’s relentless coughs, shaking him down to his bones as he curled protectively around her. Hannibal knew how this story ends, but he still stayed beside her, like he stayed beside Will.

 

Long shadowy figures emerged from the darkened corners of the room, beating their metal plates to the beat of Will’s heart. Hannibal bared his teeth, clutching onto Will and Mischa tightly, wishing he could swallow them both up so they might spare them.

 

It’s was futile. Memories don’t work that way.

 

Thump

Thump

 

The wolves came out of the shadows and sang their song, a nightmarish tune that lured little Mischa down a rows of yellowing teeth. Hannibal tried to call for her, but chains clasp around his neck, choking him into silence.

 

Thump

Thump

 

“Hannibal?” She looked back, reaching her tiny hand out to him. Rotting teeth slammed close, severing her hand and gulping her out of existence. Hannibal caught the still flailing limb, devastated but ravenous at the same time. His grief is an endless abyss, and he could only satisfy it by consuming the hand he used to tightly held.

 

Her flesh moved through his body like a block of heavy lead, settling on his gullet like an anchor, dragging him down, down, down, into the deepest parts of the Atlantic.

 

Thump

Thump

 

He found himself in Wolf Trap, still a famished little orphan with manacles around his neck. Red eyes stared up into Will’s blue ones, still beautiful even in his suffering. He called for the man, professing his love, but the chains choked him into silence and all he could do is stare as grief ravaged his soul.

 

Thump

Thump

 

“You delight. I tolerate.” Will said, looming shadows of the soldiers falling over his face. They tapped on their metal plates, ravenous eyes locked onto the broken man’s whose supposed to be Hannibal’s to consume.

 

Thump

Thump

 

“Goodbye Hannibal.” He whispered.

 

The bed came alive. The creak of it’s spring a nightmarish chorus of the soldiers’ song, Metal railings curled into rows of sharpened teeth. It gnashed Will’s bones into dust and grinded his flesh into nothingness. Hannibal screamed and lunged at it, but the chains kept him down, helpless but to watch as shadowy wolves scavenge around for scraps.

 

They devoured his flesh, his bones, his shadow, leaving nothing for Hannibal to eat.

 

 

**

 

Hannibal stand vigil over Will’s bed like the Virgin Mary stood before her son’s dead body, devoted and unmoving. He bandaged his wounds and anointed him with what little ointments they had, hoping to heal the minor cuts and bruises.

 

Scars and bruises wouldn’t matter if he’s dead.’ He quietly told himself, but Hannibal quickly shook those thoughts away. He has faith that Will would pull through, and he was unshakeable in this.

 

**

 

He dreamt of walking into a tomb, empty except for a mess of fabric on the floor. Anguish settled into his heart, and Hannibal brought them close, but weren’t enough to staunch the tears from his eyes nor the weeping wounds on his wrist.

 

When he exited the tomb he found Abigail was outside, laughing with her hair blowing in the wind, looking very much like the daughter he always dreamed of.

 

“Why do you look for the living amongst the dead?” She asked, eyes crinkling with laughter. When Hannibal reached out to her, the wound on her neck opened and stained her angelic white dress red. She smiled and guided his hand westward, before disappearing in a rumple of crimson.

 

Aching feet carried him onto a hill made of undulating corpses, many of them in different states of decay, all still alive, dripping with fear. He realized that they were his creations. Cassie Boyle. The Wound man. Primavera. Every one of his artworks piled up on top of each other like bricks of twisting flesh, robbed of their beauty and meaning.

 

No. He realized. They have been given life anew.

 

Hannibal climbed through the hill of gore with great difficulty, often stumbling and tripping as his victim came to life to screech and grasped for him. It was nightmarish, but Hannibal remained unfazed. You are all nothing but cattle and meat, he thought, stomping on every disobedient body and molding them into stairs.

 

On the summit he was suddenly blinded by a silhouette of a man, shinning brighter than any star and burning hotter than the fires of hell. Hannibal fell onto his knees, shielding his eyes from the sheer power and majesty this God

 

“Hannibal.” A familiar voice called out to him. On the hill of gore a found Will standing on it’s summit, head crowned with a crown of antler

 

He looked divine. He was divine.

 

***

 

Hannibal woke up, alone and starved.

 

“Will?” Weak hands clutched into empty air, desperately searching for the man he had faithfully looked over.

 

“Will.” He stood up, legs protesting after days of stillness. Only the suffocating silence of the house answered him. Thomas’s body was absent from his seat, ropes coiling loosely around the chair, as if the man has disappeared into a puff of smoke.

 

“Will.” He called again, but his still remained and it sapped the strength away from his body and left him trembling on the floor. This time his voice barely broke above a whisper.

 

He’s so hungry, so cold. Hannibal shook and groaned, not from the pain from his wound, but from the familiar ache that only Will’s absence could conjure up. At least he wanted to die together, wrapped around each other’s bones like lovers buried under the ashes of Pompeii.

 

Strong hands came up from behind him, pulling him up to his feet so that he can fall back onto the sofa. Gasped and grabbed the arm, noticing the unmistakable scars, the familiar strength in the tendons.

 

“Are you real?” he asked through clenched teeth. “Or are you just one of my fever dreams?”

 

Will didn’t answer, but Hannibal could still feel his radiant eyes boring deep onto the back of his head.

 

***

 

The sound of a cleaver splitting bones woke Hannibal up from his shallow sleep. Thomas’s face stared at him, silhouetted by the roaring fire stoke ablaze before him.

 

“No… don’t. Bad meat.” Hannibal all but croaked. He could smell the faint stench of decay on them, as well as the sour taste of antipsychotics. Will’s hand stilled and the man nodded, dragging the dead body out of sight and into the many other rooms in this dilapidated house.

 

He came back with a glass of water, cracked, but cool to the touch. He pressed it against Hannibal’s lips, who dank from it greedily until the very last drop. He dropped the glass onto the floor with a thud and wiped his mouth. “If you’re hungry you can… my body. I’ll let you -” Hannibal whispered.

 

“No, Hannibal.” Will replied, his eyes eyes unreadable, and Hannibal felt the pang of rejection that stung in his eyes. He never felt such guilt, such shame for failing to provide before. Cool hands cradled his jaw, caressing him with forgiveness before the words could leave his mouth.

 

“I’ll get us something to eat.” Will murmured, and Hannibal nodded into his hand. “Will you wait for me?”

 

Hannibal clutched the palm against his. “Yes. I will always wait for you.” Shuddering as a smile so sweet cascaded over his body like a gentle stream worth wading into.

Chapter Text

Tension cradled Hannibal’s body like virgin Mary cradled her son. La Pieta seemed like an apt allegory for his predicament, but Hannibal was neither virginal nor divine. He only embodied the title, for he was pitiful to behold. Weak, weary, and alone.

 

Woe was truly him, to finally have his freedom only to be constrained by a prison of his own making.

 

Will you wait for me?”

 

The question was asked a week ago, but his faith ran out yesterday. Hannibal was hungry for some conviction, but only the sight of Will would sate his gnawing soul. Until then, he sequestered himself in limbo, a transitory place that prove just as punishing as hell without Will.

 

“I’ll get us something to eat.”

 

Since then only water had passed through his lips. Hannibal refused to touch the sodium-laden rations the dragon kept in his car. He will not break faith, not even after faith abandoned him.

 

Will was on his way. He will nourish him. He will strengthen him.

 

‘Or I will die, just like he planned.’ A traitorous little voice spoke up. It was his reason, and Hannibal didn’t want to listen to it. He doesn’t want to survive, or at least, a part of him doesn’t. He wanted absolution. He wanted Will, and those desires weighed over the simple need for food.

 

Every day that the sun sets without Will’s arrival Hannibal would fall in supplication and pray, ‘Lord forgive my disbelief.’ But there was no god, only Will, and he was too far away to hear his pleas.

 

‘His absence is by design. He’s punishing you. Killing you. Would it be so surprising after so many of his betrayals?’

 

A mind divided between survival and loyalty was a truly dangerous thing. His inner monologue was in a constant dialectic state, shifting fickly from his desire for immense violence to a numb acceptance of his own death.

 

In the end, his own words bounded him in place. “I will always wait for you” he said. Hannibal was many things, but he was never one to turn on his words.

 

So he stayed, hungry and alone.

 

Like a man stuck in a desert Hannibal drank till he couldn’t taste the rust in the house’s tap water. As days passed and his strength waned, his senses began to dulled, and soon his memory followed. Sorrow drowned the halls of his mind palace, muffling previously unforgettable arias, blurring inks on eternal books, and bloating the faces of people he wished he could recall.

 

In those sunken halls, Will’s presence followed him like a wraith, but his face was all wrong. He wore a mask made of a thousand faces, fragmented like the facets of a diamond, but instead of reflecting light, it only reflected darkness, a void.

 

Not even a shadow of his beautiful smile remained in his memory.

 

“Will you wait for me?”

 

“I’m still waiting, cruel boy.” Hannibal sighed, wishing death would come take him soon, for not even the indignities he suffered in Alana’s domain could compare to the tragedy of his own steady demise.

 

 

***

 

 

When time lost it’s meaning and the outline of his ribs began to appear, Will arrived, and with him he brought torrents of rain and thunder.

 

Shadows clouded his face, shielding him from view, but he moved with the same quiet grace that still left Hannibal breathless. Sure even steps rang into the empty hall, louder than the pounding rain outside, deafening. Lightning split the sky into two, revealing a flash of his silhouette.

 

In one hand he held a flashlight that he used to searched for Hannibal, but he didn’t need to go far. The man remained right where he left him, a skeleton occupying the space where his unconscious body used to lay.

 

The light was shined aggressively into Hannibal’s face, forcing him to avert his gaze like angels turning away from god’s own majesty.

 

“You’re here.” Hannibal said, flat and cold.

 

“And you’ve wasted away.” Will replied just as coldly.

 

“You told me to wait.”

 

“I didn’t tell you to die.” The man flung the bag he was carrying across the room. Hannibal didn’t flinch. He didn’t have enough calories to fuel such instinctual reaction.

 

Angry at the man’s lack of response, Will seized Hannibal’s hair and hauled him up, knocking their heads together. They were too close to properly see each other, but Hannibal could still make out the blues in his eyes, blazing bright like a funeral pyre.

 

Burn me and lay in my ashes.’ Hannibal trembled. Will smelled of blood and soil. They were the first scent his nose could recognize in weeks, and that alone almost broke Hannibal down.

 

“I didn’t give you permission to die.” The man growled, his hand coming to grab Hannibal’s jaw, painful and claiming. “What do you have to say for yourself, hm?”

 

Those words stung Hannibal’s pride more than he cared to admit. With the last strength that he could muster, he opened his mouth and bit down onto the fleshy skin of Will’s thumb and forefinger. ‘Feed me.’ He thought, but the only sound he made was one of a dying animal.

 

“Look at you.” Shadowed head shook in disbelief. “Too weak to even sup from my flesh.” His calloused hand turned his face in careless nonchalance and pulled away, unscathed.

 

There wasn’t even an indent of teeth on Will’s hand.

 

It was then that Hannibal realized just how weak he was, and it almost made himself sob. He raised his fists to pound at the cruel creature, demanding that he let go of his body and his heart. Instead of raining down pain, trembling arms wound themselves around Will’s neck, tender and unsure.

 

They both still and held their breath.

 

“Oh Hannibal.” Will crooned, as sweet as the devil himself. “Hannibal, Hannibal, Hannibal…” Strong hands cradled him close, folding under his knees and supporting his back, carrying him with ease. ‘He’s so strong.‘ Hannibal quietly thought, awed at the way he managed to make him feel small and protected.

 

Then the man looked up, his body shivering as dread began to uncoil from his empty stomach. ‘What if I couldn’t see his face? What if my nightmares came to life and I couldn’t remember his face?’

 

But Hannibal did remember. He looked up and Will was there, his true self, not the mask of strangers he wore, not the walls of impenetrable defense he put up for the world. Just him, and his beautiful smile, looking down at him like he was a cherished little princeling.

 

Hannibal instinctively reached up to touch the healing scar on his cheek, relieved to find his neat sutures healing well. Lush lashes fluttered close when he passed along his eyes, leaving a trail of butterfly kisses on his palm when he felt for his strong nose and sharp jawline. “Will.” Hannibal sighed. No words could ever be enough to expressed his welling emotions.

 

Will’s chuckle made the bones of his weakened body tremble. “Still pretty enough for you doctor?” he asked in amusement.

 

“Devastatingly so.” Hannibal croaked, and Will’s laughed even harder, shaking him to his very soul.

 

 

**

 

Hannibal didn’t remember falling asleep, but the scent of bubbling broth entered his nose and roused him from his slumber. It made his empty stomach clench around itself in painful anticipation, but the dread in his gut remained. “Will.” He called out, blindly reaching for the man even as his eyes were still bleary with sleep.

 

His hand found warmth and sunk itself into messy curls. “Stop pawing at me.” Will snapped grouchily, staying crouched over a pot of violently bubbling soup. Hannibal’s first instinct was to tell him to turn down the heat, that he’ll destroy whatever flavor he’s trying develop by boiling the ingredients to hell.

 

Instead he just continued combing the chocolate curls in front of his eyes, unknotting tangles until his shiny hair bounced back into place. Despite his protest, Will remained unmoving, letting the doctor gorged himself on the touch he had been denied for so long. ‘It took us three long years and an eternity for you to let me comb your hair like this.’ Hannibal thought, but he didn’t voice out that sickly sweet sentimentality.

 

“Hungry?” Will asked.

 

Hannibal nodded and pushed himself to sit up on the lumpy sofa. The bullet wound on his abdomen never healed right, and it smarted when he jostled himself too fast. Will twitched when Hannibal hissed, as if he could feel the pain in his own body too.

 

Soon, a small bowl was placed into his hand. It was filled with thick broth has turned milky white from hours of boiling. The scent alone made his mouth water, and after blowing gently to cool the surface, Hannibal brought his lips to it, forcing himself to sip despite wanting to chug everything down his throat.

 

Flavor exploded on his tongue. The broth was thick and rich, creamy almost. It leaves a moreish film that made Hannibal smack his sticky lips and hum in pleasure. There wasn’t a lot of complexity to it, no seasoning and spices other than salt, but it was hearty and warm, just what he needed after a long period of self imposed starvation.

 

“It’s good.” He sighed, reaching over for the ladle to serve himself another portion. “Thank you Will, I-“

 

Will’s rough hand caught his wrist and twisted it painfully. Hannibal growled and dropped his bowl, which Will caught before it can clatter onto the floor. “No. You’ve had enough.” The man said sternly as he served himself with the bowl Hannibal just discarded.

 

“You’re going to make yourself sick if you eat too much.” he patiently explained, but Hannibal already knew that. He didn’t care. All he wanted was to feel the thick silky mouth feel of the broth on his tongue again. When a thick chunk of meat was ladled into Will’s bowl, Hannibal had to look away to hide his face, fearing he might look like a pitiful hungry dog.

 

“May I have a piece?” he asked, barely reigning himself back from saying please.

 

Will ignored him and quietly finished his bowl, returning to the pot to fill it up once more. A bigger chunk of was visible this time. Hannibal swallowed and closed his eyes. He wanted to ask again, but he wont. It would be too much, too humiliating. He’s debased himself enough for today.

 

“Come here.” Will said, snapping Hannibal’s eyes open with the order. He sighed in relief and came to stand in front of the sitting man, towering over him but feeling so terribly small. “Closer.” Will said again, regarding him with darkened eyes that stirred his stomach with a different kind of hunger.

 

Hannibal’s breath hitched and his knees folded from under him, kneeling on the sofa next to Will. He’s hungry, but he wont kneel on the floor. He was no animal.

 

Will clicked his tongue in disapproval, motioning with a jerk of his head for Hannibal to come nearer. Hannibal only dared to scoot and inched until he could their thighs grazed each other.

 

“Hannibal.” Will sighed and wrapped a hand around the man’s waist, pulling him stumbling onto his lap. “Closer sweetheart.” He said in a deep southern drawl.

 

For a split second the impact of the name made his head spin, but slowly Hannibal’s stiff spine began to unfurl. He bowed low, nuzzling his face against the man’s neck. Will’s beard was long and unkempt, and it scuffed against his skin, but Hannibal loved the slow burn of his thick hair, the sound of his confident breath and steady heartbeat.

 

“Hmm.” Will rumbled deep in his chest. “Just like that darlin’.” He muttered in that irresistible twang again. Rough fingers stroked his sharp cheekbones before digging into the bowl meat, tearing a steaming piece of meat that he placed against chapped lips. Hannibal’s breath shuttered and parted them, letting the man place the morsel on his tongue, controlling himself so he wouldn’t suck and moan against them like a bitch in heat.

 

“Go ahead.” Will said, tearing a piece for himself, smiling when Hannibal savored the bite like it was ambrosia from the gods themselves.

 

The meat was so tender that it all but melted in his mouth. Juicy fat covered his tongue in a luscious slick of savory flavor, and just like that it was gone, swallowed greedily down his gullet. He looked up to Will with a pleading look.

 

“That’s enough. You’ll get more later.” Will said, but his tone was less gruff this time, pleased, even.

 

Hannibal nodded and return to his place on Will’s chest, content to just sit and watch the fire as Will eats his meal. He was sated in the most substantial way, but new hunger and desires began to rise up and raise his cock. Hannibal ignored it, forcing himself to be content with what he already have.

 

When he was finished, Will set aside his bowl and rubbed the small of Hannibal’s back, nuzzling him back and breathing in his scent. Even in his state of extreme self-disregard Hannibal still kept himself clean. ‘Just like a cat.’ Will thought, pleased by the comparison.

 

“Who did we just eat?” Hannibal asked softly as Will caressed his back in comforting circles.

 

“My wife and child.” He replied, murmuring his answer into Hannibal’s hair. His eyes remained flat and unchanging even when Hannibal pulled away and stared at him in muted surprise. Will just shrugged.

 

“I wanted to make you feel special.” He said, pulling Hannibal back against his chest so he can pet him again.

 

Hannibal was so overcome with emotions that he just froze in place. “Did it please you sweetheart?” Will asked intimately, loving the way he could make the man tense and shudder with a gently whispered word.

 

Hannibal took a deep breath, calming his racing heart so he could return to a resemblance of his old self. “I can never truly predict you, can I, Will?” he said, refusing to give the man a satisfaction of a straight answer.

 

Will just laughed, enjoying the sharp rearing pride that still remained within the good doctor. He will enjoy breaking it out of him and making him his.

Chapter Text

 

Aside from leaving his family manor unattended, Thomas’s various mental illness gave way to an excessive hoarding behavior that made the spacious property feels claustrophobic and small. Rooms upon rooms were filled with expensive trinkets and useless baubles, turning ballrooms into indoor junkyards, a grave for useful things and healthy minds.

 

Hannibal didn’t venture into those sealed abandoned places. There was no need to stir the tragic memory of a stranger’s madness, not while his own gnawed at the edges of his sanity.

 

Despite this, Hannibal remained a good guest. He tidied the living room and turned Will’s proverbial empty tomb into a welcoming home, banishing all traces of chaos and squalor like a wife might tidy a home as she waits for her husband’s return.

 

The similarity was not lost on him, and it was only amplified when Will returned and nourished him back to health. Provider. Protector. Bringing home the bacon while drawling in his addictively southern twang.

 

“Come.” Will said to him, sans the accent. Hannibal blinked up at the curt order, already missing the pet names he so lovingly bestowed.

 

He followed the man through dark halls and into the bathroom, the only other place he bothered to keep ready and clean. A wave of humid heat rushed past Hannibal’s face, bringing with it a scent of flowers and burning paraffin.

 

Will had drew him a bath, scattering roses on the surface and lighting up a candle for atmospheric charm. “You like it?” Will asked, his breath warm against Hannibal’s ear.

 

The man swallowed and gave a jerky nod, unsure of how to respond. He never truly had relationships before, only affairs, and even in those fleeting moments of physical exchange he was the one who would initiate what little romantic gestures needed to maintain such arrangement. To be on the receiving end of one felt terribly odd, but it made him happy all the same.

 

Will chuckled at Hannibal’s awkward response like it was the sweetest thing he has ever seen.

 

“Good.” His rough hands move from Hannibal’s jutting shoulders down to his torso, pulling on the sweater that has grown too big for Hannibal’s shrinking frame. “I would like to bathe you.” Will whispered, caressing the skin underneath the humble clothes.

 

In an instant Hannibal’s desperate hand stopped his wandering ones. “No.” he said, pulling away from Will’s warmth to sit at the water’s edge. “I would like to bathe alone.”

 

A threatening gleam of dissatisfaction flashed over Will’s face. Hannibal stiffened and slowly reached for a towel, ready to use it to choke the man out if he ever decided to do something rash.

 

Eventually the silence broke and Will caved.

 

He sighed and scratched his head, raising his hand in a defeated shrug. “Alright Hannibal.” Will relented, turning to leave, but not before leaning in and nuzzling Hannibal’s cheeks. “Enjoy yourself, alright?” he purred, his voice thick and syrupy with desire.

 

Hannibal had to take a moment to settle himself after the door close, completely moved by Will’s obvious overtures. Despondency and hope had taken much real estate that his mind never even considered the possibility of romance or sex. Now Will was back, bestowing gifts and pet names as he showed a side of himself that Hannibal suspected existed, but never really encountered.

 

The man was so shaken that he couldn’t even think of a way manipulate this situation to his advantage.

 

‘There is one sided outcome that will even prove advantageous.’ He thought briskly. ‘Not with Will. We either thrive together or we’ll die.’

 

With only the candlelight as his witness, Hannibal shed his clothes and stared at his reflection

 

He was thin, terribly so. Starvation ravaged his body like an invading troop ravages a nation, pulling every available resourced and razing them to the ground. The thick muscles that made his frame wide and powerful atrophied into nothing. Pallid skin clung painfully close to jutting bones, creating shadowy valleys where mountains of healthy flesh used to be.

 

The tragedy lies not in this eerie skeleton that has come to life, but in the death of the person he used to be. His body was his weapon, steadfast and true, but in his grief, Hannibal had let it whither away, leaving him in the body of this pitiful creature staring back at him with empty eyes.

 

Pathetic’

 

He looked away from the pitiful sight and snuff out the remaining candles, ignoring the hiss of his pride and lamentation of his vanity that only grew in volume in the darkness. ‘What was lost can be rebuild.’ He quietly told himself, slipping into the oppressively warm bath while clutching a small seed of hope. ‘You can be strong again. You must. Otherwise, how else will you survive?’

 

The thought alone made him shiver. Hannibal curled into himself, pretending that each bump of petals were Will’s fingers grazing playfully against his skin.

 

**

 

He emerged in a billow of steam and darkness, wrapped in a silk bathrobe that Will had left out for him. The man welcomed him with a smile, drawing Hannibal’s damp figure close so he could brush his face against the pinking skin on his neck. Hannibal let himself sagged into Will’s solid body, breathing in the scent of fading gunpowder, blood, and lighting. He smelled like death and life at the same time.

 

Will chuckled in satisfaction and stood there, hands in deep in his pocket as Hannibal nuzzled deeper into his hair. “I probably need a bath.” he muttered, and Hannibal shook his head in disagreement. ‘Suffocate me in your scent.’ He pleaded, clutching at the seams of his robes so he wouldn’t clutch desperately onto Will’s shoulder.

 

“I have a gift for you.” Will said, his eyes twinkling with laughter when Hannibal stiffened and pulled away. “It’s a gift Hannibal, not a trap, come.” A strong sinewy arm wrapped themselves around Hannibal’s waist and guided him to the main entrance.

 

For a moment even the moonlight seemed too bright for his eyes, but Hannibal quickly adjusted, smiling at the scent of wet soil and charred grass. The world continued on even as he stagnated, and the inevitability of it comforted him.

 

Next to Dollarhyde’s van was a large RV, almost as big as a bus and painted black for discretion. The windows were tinted and curtained. On the front bumper was a license plate from Maine.

 

“A motorhome, Will?” Hannibal said, hiding his distaste behind mild amusement.

 

“No. Your gift is inside.” He opened the door for him and turned on the lights. “Come have a peek darlin’.”

 

Hannibal had to dig his nails into his thumb so he his breath wouldn’t hitch at the sound of that name.

 

The man tentatively followed and stepped into the golden light. Inside, the interior looked new and clean, with plush seats still smelling of new leather and burnt rubber of an assembly line.

 

Hannibal crinkled his nose and moved on, noting the kitchenette equipped with a gas stove, refrigerator, and sink. He curiously peered into the fridge and clicked his tongue, glaring at a half eaten burger from Mc Donald.

 

“God, of course you’re going to loiter around the kitchen.” Will came up behind him and laughed. “It’s not it doctor, and I’m not sharing my burger with you.”

 

Hannibal breathed out sharply in a polite scoff. “I would rather starve.”

 

Somehow those words of his chilled the playful air between them. Each seconds ticked by, glacial in it’s speed until Will broke the ise and slammed the fridge door shut. He pushed up his body against Hannibal’s, claiming him like a possessive animal would to his territory.

 

“I don’t want to hear anymore of that nonsense. I’ll force feed you as much processed beef and soggy fries that I need to help you survive. You will not starve Hannibal, not in my presence. Understood?”

 

What else can Hannibal do but nod and accept the violent passion of Will’s devotion?

 

“Good.” The man smiled, wet and warm against Hannibal’s nape. “You can judge the shitty gas stove later. Your gift is in the back. Go on, git.” Will snapped playfully, patting Hannibal’s thigh with a nonchalance that burned Hannibal’s cheeks.

 

The man threw Will a reproachful glare before continuing his way down the galley, admiring the shiny wood finish that decorated the many cabinets and doors. They’re simple and sleek, Americana in their aesthetic, which was far from his usual classical taste. Still, Hannibal could appreciate Will’s effort. He could’ve just stayed practical and stole a van with a mattress. Instead, he bought a new motor home with Hannibal’s comfort and needs in mind.

 

It made Hannibal feel strange again, but once more his happiness outweighed the alien discomfort of being wooed romanced.

 

He opened a sliding door that revealed a bedroom with a modestly sized bed. What caught his eyes was the décor. It had none. Instead, whatever free space it had left was occupied with railings, from which his old suits hangs, the very ones that the FBI had confiscated during his incarceration.

 

“Oh Will.” Hannibal breathed, touching one of favorite herringbone jackets and savoring the familiar feel of the fabric. “How did you manage this insanity?”

 

Will leaned against the doorframe and watched Hannibal run his hands over the plastic covered suits.

 

“I have my ways.” He grinned, stepping close to touch Hannibal’s shoulders and began massaging them. “I know how important it is for you to look good.”

 

Those words were said so gently but it ripped through Hannibal’s chest like a hunting knife aiming for his heart. He blinked back the sting of tears forming his eyes, shaking his head vehemently to mask their existence. How can he even begin to explain their magnitude to Will?

 

It’s more than just for appearance’s sake. His suit was his armor, a sign of wealth and power that felt as natural as his own skin. It elevated him from the groaning masses. It camouflaged him amongst the elite. It provided him with the ability to move through the world with the privileges only money can buy.

 

A suit is just that. Replaceable. ’ He used to told himself in his cell, especially when the polyester blend of his prison garb would itch and chafe at his skin. He minimized them, indulging them only in memories alone while repressing the grief he felt at the loss of something so essential to his identity

 

“You magnificent boy.” Hannibal sighed, taking one jacket off the rack and holding it close against his chest. “Thank you.”

 

Will smiled at him, not as the dark heavy beast that he was, but as a man who was overcome by the sight of his beloved’s happiness. It stunned Hannibal into silence. Slowly a playful thought entered his mind. Maybe a life dedicated to bringing such smiles onto Will’s face would be a life worth living.

 

While he was lost in his interior musings, Will stalked over and tacked him, sending them both crashing down against a plush of plastic covered suits.

 

“Are you happy doctor?” Will asked, smiling wide like a puppy begging for approval.

 

“Oh yes.” Hannibal smiled, petting Will’s head until the man all but panted in delight. “Very much so.”

 

“Put one on then.” He purred. “Let me see you all dressed up for me.”

 

Hannibal froze and pulled his hand away. It was nothing more than a flirtatious request, but the impossibility of it wrenched his guts in a painful twist of disappointment. He was too small to even fit into his slimmest pants, and he would just drown in his jackets, even with a shoulder pad on. Hannibal no longer had the build to gracefully wear and carry them like he did before. That man was gone and he was-

 

‘Too small. Too weak. Pathetic.’

 

“No.” Hannibal croaked, pushing Will aside so he busy himself by straightening the fallen hangers. “This is not the time for such nonsense. I have suitable clothes inside the manor. They will do for now.”

 

A dangerous gleam fell onto Will’s eyes, dimming the life that had brought those icy blues back to life. “Fine.” He said, a quiet little declaration that made Hannibal stop in his tracks. The man stood up and brushed the newly straightened hangers aside, pinning Hannibal with a cold stare before exiting the vehicle.

 

“Will.” Hannibal called, an apology ready on his tongue to appease the man, but he was already gone, slamming the manor door with such a force that it made the raindrops on the window shudder and weep.

 

Hannibal followed Will inside and found him staring at the roaring fireplace. In his hand he held what the meager clothes Hannbal wore in his self imposed prison. He raised them in one hand, a darken silhouette affronted by the mere sight of them.

 

“You would rather wear these rags than the things I brought for you?” Will asked, his tone even and calm, but Hannibal knew that the man was far from it. “Fine.” He said, throwing them one by one into the fire, sending sparks of embers spraying up into the air. “Now you don’t have a choice.”

 

Hannibal can tolerate a lot of things for Will. Prison. Torture. Indignity. But this show of pettiness was not one he would stand to take.

 

Without even so much of a growl to betray him, Hannibal launched himself at Will’s back, knocking his head against the fireplace with a thud. The man staggered aside, before tackling Hannibal onto the ground, hands gripping tight into his hair.

 

They grappled onto the floor, each man alight with life and the need to dominate. Each time Will pushed him down Hannibal would expertly maneuver himself to a superior position, only to be pulled back down as they continue to fight for control.

 

Will had his strength and tenacity, but Hannibal had more experience fighting both monsters and men. They were evenly matched, and amidst their struggles both men hummed in delight, satisfied that they have found an equal as fierce and strong as they were.

 

The two continued on, grappling on the floor like mating snakes, silent except for their heaving breaths. It went on forever, neither backing down as they fought until they couldn’t make out which one of them was winning anymore.

 

In the end Hannibal’s strength failed him, and Will pinned him down with a victorious sneer, holding down both of his wrists with one hand while choking him with the other.

 

Then something changed between them. Will’s hand slipped from Hannibal’s neck and planted itself on his thighs, clawing them close so they might wrap tighter around his waist. Hannibal moaned, feeling Will’s hardness rubbing against his own erection. His thick shaft peeked out from the robe’s parted folds, painfully hard, begging to be touched.

 

Hannibal snarled, snapping his teeth at his own body’s betrayal. “Tsst, tsst.” Will hissed, silencing him like he would one of his dogs. He leaned down and rubbed his nose against Hannibal’s, an agonizingly tender gesture amidst the violence they’ve inflicted against each other.

 

“No biting.” The man murmured, kissing Hannibal’s curled lips until he moaned and returned it just as passionately.

 

To Hannibal, the kiss was like drowning in a lake of fire, or free falling from summit of Olympus itself. It was like being crushed under Atlas’s foot and sinking deep into mother earth’s embrace.

 

Hannibal was helpless, consumed by the very man he had hungered for so long. Now that he’s had him, the man could do nothing but hold on and pray for death, for nothing could ever surpass the sheer ecstasy of this very moment.

 

When his head was beginning to swim from lack of air, Will pulled away and groaned, his lips trembling against Hannibal’s cupid’s bow. “God Hannibal.” He sighed, face twisted up in a pained mess that matched how Hannibal felt. The man hummed in agreement and nodded, placing gentle kisses against his stubbled chin.

 

Slowly Will’s hand moved up from his thighs to part the edges of Hannibal’s firmly secured robe, gentle hand growing impatient as he began to unknot the sash with one hand.

 

“No.” Hannibal gasp, panic rising deep within him once he caught onto what Will was trying to do. He jerked and wrenched one of his hands free from Will’s grasp, catching the man’s wrist. “Stop.”

 

Will’s eyes flashed dangerously and he bared his teeth as his caring hands turned savagely cruel. “No.” He snarled, slamming Hannibal’s hand back into his unyielding hold, ignoring his wishes as he indulged in his own.

 

“Will.” Hannibal gasped, his legs kicking and bucking fruitlessly under his weight. “I don’t want it. I don’t want it. Please!” He screamed, throwing away the very pride that prevented him from begging in the first place.

 

Will ignored him, vengeful in his desire as he jerked the piece of silk away and threw Hannibal’s robe open.

 

The air stilled.

 

“Don’t look.” Hannibal whispered, covering his shameful face in the crook of his arm.

 

“Hannibal.” Will said, his voice tight and curt, his rough hand tracing his visible ribs and sunken stomach.

 

“Please!” Hannibal begged. “Don’t look at me! Just-”

 

Tender lips seared his skin like a red hot poker as Will leaned in and kissed up from his navel to his chin. He counted every ribs, mouthing over them like they weren’t horrific or cruel. Each kisses felt like the humming buzz of a saw, cracking into his bones so the man may suck his marrows clean.

 

“Mercy… please, mercy.” Hannibal pleaded. It’s too much. The shame, the anguish, the glimpses of paradise that flashes every time lips touched his hellish body. “You’re killing me, Will. Stop.”

 

“Hush.” The man said, murmuring against the thin skin stretched over his sternum. His order rumbled right through Hannibal’s body and rattled his skull. “We already died, remember?” he said, letting go of Hannibal’s clenched up hand so he may slide down and suck on his waning erection.

 

The man arched his back off the floor and held onto Will’s shoulders, pushing deeper into the warmth of his mouth. He grabbed Will’s hair to pulled him off, but the man wrapped his arms around his legs, leaving no other option for Hannibal’s body except to go deeper, deeper, until he exploded into his chocking throat with a strangled cry.

 

Hannibal fell back onto the floor in a mess of sweat, seeping fragrant musk into his silk robes. He only noticed a small flick of finger on his perineum, gathering the mess of saliva, before it was unceremoniously pushed into the tight pucker of his ass.

 

This time he didn’t struggle. He only clench around the intrusion before Will kissed the prominent peak of his hipbones and urged him to relax. “Let me stretch you out for me sweetheart.”

 

Hannibal nodded closed his eyes, unable to watch Will stretch and fuck him open with his fingers. Before he could get used to them Will added another one, and another, each addition moving insistently, stretching him past his limit.

 

“Enough.” He gasped, bearing down on the twisting digits. “I’m ready Will.”

 

“No you’re not.” The man said, taking his fingers out anyways. “I’ll hurt you.”

 

“I don’t care. Please, just- ah!” Hannibal gasped when he felt a slick wetness pressed itself into his hole.

 

Will’s head disappeared between his legs and began laving over his stretched hole, sucking on the soft muscle and tongue fucking in his spit until it dripped down his cheeks. Hannibal writhed wordlessly as he was devoured. In the end he was seeping and flushed, eager to be filled.

 

“There.” Will pulled up and grinned, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. “Now you’re ready.” The man whispered, kissing Hannibal so he can taste himself as Will pushed his hard cock into his ass.

 

Hannibal gasped and held onto Will’s back, surrendering under his indomitable strength. He could feel each strained muscle scream and protest against the invasion, but Hannibal held on. When was halfway in, his muscles clenched even tighter, rippling as the fat cock found his little nub of prostate.

 

“God. Hannibal.” Will sighed, looking down at him with his lips parted in awe. Hannibal quivered in his arms and nodded.

 

“More.” He groaned, clutching desperately as Will moved to fill him further. “Yes.” He moaned, arching into the pain, for within it was delicious pleasure that blinded him even to the tragedy of his thin body.

 

Will moved slowly, yet his every thrust robbed Hannibal of his breath and wits. He urged the man to fuck him harder, faster, until their tender lovemaking grew violent and harsh and he cried out joyfully at every the searing thrust.

 

Hannibal adored the way Will’s hand gripped him like it seek to crumble his bone. He cherished the intimate glances they share between each beat of their pounding hearts. He memories every kiss, even the ones that devolved into bloody bites and animalistic yowling.

 

He reached his climax with tears blurring his eyes, forgetting any learned propriety and pride as he clawed deep into Will’s back, knuckle deep. Will screamed and released into his weeping, torn hole, returning the pain with a sting of seed, marking Hannibal with a scent that burned his throat and made him choke with gratitude.

 

Will’s heavy body fell onto his, and slowly they reeled in their violence, trading them for gentle caress and kisses. Hannibal felt sated, wrecked, and utterly loved.

 

“You cruel boy.” Hannibal murmured, smearing the his bloody finger across Will’s cheeks like war paint. The man caught his thumb between his lips and sucked.

 

“Fit for a cruel man such as you.” He smiled, lips rouged with blood and cheeks flushed pink with life. He was beautiful.

 

“You’re beautiful.” Will said, tender and true. Hannibal breath hitched and stared deep into Will’s eyes. He found no pity there, no lies. Only a violent devotion that matches his own.

 

“When you’re strong enough, we will go and do whatever our hearts desire. You will show me the world and I will never let you go hungry again.”

 

Hannibal let out a shudder, knowing full well that it was a promise, not a request. He wrapped Wills arm tighter around himself thinking of a way to say yes. Before he could find the words, sleep claimed him.

 

That night Hannibal dreamed of nothing, for all he could ever want lay firmly on top of him. Will was his home, his life, and someday he will be his grave.

 

**

 

Will woke up alone, cold, and thus, unhappy. “Hannibal.” He grumbled, tearing open the seal in his mouth and wrenching the crust away from his eyes.

 

“I’m just in the bathroom.” The man replied, his voice muffled by the sound of running water. Seconds later a door opened and footsteps came near.

 

“You’re supposed to warm my bed sweetheart.” He drawled, eyes still closed with sleep. “C’mere.” He patted his lap, eyes flicking open in irritation when Hannibal did nothing to comply. “You’re testing me. I’m not afraid to pull you over my lap and spa…“

 

He forgot what he was going to say when he saw Hannibal standing proudly in the morning light. He was dressed in a pair of pants, T-shirt, and a well-fitted blazer. His long hair was pushed back and neatly combed, revealing a clean-shaven face with cheekbones so sharp it could cut glass.

 

“Oh wow.” Will hummed, standing up to circle Hannibal with a wolfish grin on his face. “Look at you.” He purred, tracing the seam of the obviously old but well maintained blazer.

 

“I found my old clothes from when I was a freshman in university.” Hannibal explained, pulling on the collar of his shirt self-consciously. “It’s a bit short in places, but-“

 

“But nothing.” Will drawled, pleased that Hannibal managed to find something to wear. “You look good enough to eat darling, and I am starvin’.”

 

Hannibal laughed himself pink, feeling like one of those girls on the docks accosted by sailors and fishermen alike. “I find your occasional burst of southern accent quite charming. Sometimes it’s even as strong as mine.”

 

“That’s ‘cause you turn me on, darling. Can’t you tell?”

 

Hannibal brushed his hair back, preening in delight as Will pulled his close, murmuring deliciously scandalous things in a growingly thicker accent. When the man began to crowd him against the wall, Hannibal had to laugh and push him away

 

“I have several promises I need to keep. Old friends to visit.” He said, giving Will a meaningful look. The man rumbled in approval, licking his lips hungrily “Come with me?”

 

“Always.”

 

His enthusiastic answer made Hannibal smiled so wide his cheeks began to hurt. He leaned down to kiss the man, wishing he could taste the delightful twang of Will’s words on his tongue. “You know,” He said into Hannibal’s perfectly combed hair. “Margot still owes me a son. Owes us a son.”

 

Hannibal frowned, unsure of what to make of his cryptic words. “If I recall I’ve given you a child before.” ‘and took her away.’ A part of him retorted back. Will didn’t seem fazed at all by mention of his old surrogate daughter.

 

“I remember doctor. We’ve lost Abigail, yes, but that doesn’t meant we can’t try again.”

 

Hannibal swallowed the growing lump in his throat and pulled away. “What are you saying Will?”

 

“Lets make a family.” he whispered, blue eyes twinkling bright with a joyous glee only a madman could have. “Come be my family, Hannibal.”

Chapter Text

Ensconced in a private estate in the Montana wilderness, the Verger matriarch held tightly onto each other’s hands as they stared onto their television screen. After months of media circus and nervous speculation, the FBI finally released a statement. It left them speechless and spellbound, but it did not reassure them one single bit.

 

‘Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham. Missing, presumed dead.’

 

The agent said it in such confidence that Margot almost believed him herself. She certainly wanted to. The woman was desperate to escape this purgatory and return to civilization. She wanted her old life back, where her wife and child was safe, and monsters only existed in the past and in fairytales.

 

Nevertheless, reality pays no mind to her wants and needs.

 

“You know that they’re not dead right?” Alana said plaintively as she caressed her heavily pregnant belly. “Jack was desperate enough to buy into Will’s plans, but he isn’t so stupid assume their death.” Her voice was clam and pleasant, but her expression was anything but. “He would’ve wanted to see a body. He knows better than to release a statement like this.”

 

She tried her best to be calm. It’s not good for the baby if she gets all worked up, but her heartbeat hasten as she recalled Hannibal’s chilling words.

 

“You died in my kitchen when you chose to be brave. Every moment since is borrowed. Your wife... your child... they belong to me.”

 

“They’ll come for us, won’t they?” Margo asked, her voice trembling with trepidation.

 

Suddenly the light went off, plunging them into darkness. They waited for the emergency generator to go up, but instead, a red alarm blared in the darkness, signaling an invasion. Margot immediately reached for her phone, cursing their remote location when she noticed the lack of cell service.

 

The tranquil little retreated morphed into a battlement. Well trained bodyguards drew down metal shutters and barricaded entry points. Hidden guns were pulled out of their holsters and frantic orders shouted.

 

One of their most loyal ones, Phillip, urged them towards their panic room, promising to bring down Morgan to them.

 

Margot pulled her pregnant wife deep into her arms and held her tightly, trying her best to be brave, to be hopeful for both of them.

 

“It’s okay.” She said. “This house is made to defend against kidnappers and robbers. We’ll be fine.”

 

Alana shook her head. “We’re not dealing with kidnappers or robbers.” She said with a resigned expression of a woman who has accepted her death. In the distance guns went off, followed by a screeching scream of terror. Blood seeped through the open cracks of the panic room, and Margot pulled it shut, trembling with fear and shame.

 

“Oh my god. Morgan. He’s still out there. I didn’t think-”

 

Alana laughed, a hollow empty thing that sounded like the absence of her sanity. “It doesn’t matter. They’re already here.”

 

 

**

 

 

Blood curdled in the veins of the unworthy, freezing their bodies as soon as they laid their eyes on him. He was a god, dripping with the blood and viscera of his enemies, and he will not stop until he received his promised sacrifice.

 

Will grinned, unnerving the last three remaining guards. They shouted orders for him to ‘Stand down!’, but his only reply was to throw the severed head of their comrade. It skidded across the gravel and landed on their feet, eye socket bloody and empty, tongue ripped out, like the graverobber who dared enter the pharos’s tomb.

 

One coward ran, but he only managed to scramble for a few steps before Will shot him on the head. The remaining two remained frozen, minds stuck on a feedback loop that says. ‘I’m going to die. I’m doing to die. I’m going to die’  Will laughed as their human facades melted away, revealing their true nature as mere prey animals.

 

Like cornered rats the two men raised their sidearms and emptied the clips onto the creature’s chest. The man continued on his advance, barely jostled. He was nightmare incarnate, a monster that feasted on flesh and blood instead of being made of one.

 

Empty guns clicked uselessly on trembling hands, their sound as deafening as a funeral bell. One desperate fool pulled out a knife and charged, only to have his hand twisted behind him and secured against the approaching creature’s chest. He as but a human shield to defend against his fellow soldier.

 

“Please!” he squealed, but before he could beg for his life, a bullet zipped through his body and imbedded itself into the other guard’s chest.

 

Will threw the body down and nudged it with his foot, wondering whether he had time to dig around their chest cavity. He was feeling amorous today, and he would love to present Hannibal with a bouquet of a dozen hearts.

 

Before he could reach for his hunting knife, a bullet zipped past his ears and imbedded itself in giant garden ornament. Will turned and found the flash of a muzzle aiming at him from the balcony above, a frowning soldier behind it, looking tense and afraid.

 

Will unsheathed his knife and pointed it up towards the fool, promising death and pain. He answered with a volley of bullets, all which Will dogged as he broke off into a sprint. He ran under the balcony, out of line of sight, before clambering up the pots and planters to reach his quarry.

 

The man was gone when he arrived.

 

Will flipped his knife so he was gripping it with the blade down, feeling the thrill of the hunt. He circled the perimeter of the balcony, noting the heavily barred doors and windows.

 

The Vergers took their security very seriously. The house was practically a fortress, but it wasn’t impenetrable. In his time in the police, Will learned enough about assault tactics that he knew that no place is ever truly secure. The thought of conquering something so formidable reignited the spark of adrenaline coursing through his body.

 

He circled the perimeter of the balcony, keeping his steps light to avoid raising any alarm. The new moon provided no light to aid him, but Will saw everything like it was daytime. Over the perimeter guards all died at their post, some mercifully executed, while others were torn beyond belief. Will couldn’t help himself. The night brought something out of himself, a darker side birthed from his plunge in the Atlantic.

 

It was as if he was finally settling into his bones after a painful growth period where he tried to hunch over and hide his true height. Will felt settled. Calm. He no longer denied himself his desires, and he found that it made him a much more happier man.

 

Another person who brought him happiness stepped out of the darkned awning and turned to face him.

 

“Well aren’t you a sight for sore eyes.” Will purred out loud.

 

Hannibal approached him, dropping the dead body of Will’s attacker without much ceremony. He looked stunning in his three-piece suit, substituting fine silk vest for protective Kevlar much like the one Will wore. There wasn’t a single scratch or dent on it. Even if there were, Hannibal would’ve still made the clunky protection look like a high fashion item.

 

Will stalked over, meeting him in the middle as he gave him a hungry look. Hannibal was immaculate, not a hair out of place, but his red eyes gleamed with wonder as he beheld the gore that Will wore on his person. The two monsters stood, barely containing their ravenous desires, itching to push one another against a wall and rut against each other like animals.

 

“You look stunning, Will.” Hannibal gushed. The man looked like something out of a painting, all fearsome with the classical beauty of Adonis himself.

 

Will grinned and ran his hand down Hannibal’s chest, turning his palm to cup on his groin before flicking his finger back up. Hannibal took in a sharp breath but said nothing, but it was enough to make Will grin. He slipped his finger underneath the bulletproof vest and tugged him close.

 

“I can’t wait to get this off you.” Wil purred. Hannibal returned with a rumbled of his own, capturing Will’s lips in a kiss.

 

“After.” He promised. “And only after you shower and shave.” Hannibal added, pressing the warm muzzle of the gun against Will’s eager body to put some distance between them.

 

“Aw, you don’t like my scruff?”

 

“I detest it. I still bear burns on my thighs from your scruff.”

 

“Hm. I do like seeing you all marked up.” The man said, moving his palm over the innocuous spot on Hannibal’s thighs. The man hitched his breath, unamused.

 

“You like hurting me.”

 

Will gave him a toothy grin that looked like a crescent of a sharpened scythe.

 

“Only because you’re so pretty sweetheart.”

 

Hannibal scoffed and turned to hide his amused smile, leaving Will in the darkness as he made his way back inside the house with his gun raised up and his flashlight popped under it. Seeing his departure,  Will rushed forward to open the door. “After you.” He said with a flourish, and this time Hannibal didn’t stifle his chuckle of disbelief.

 

The inside of the state was a slaughterhouse, albeit it was cleaner than the warzone outside. Hannibal had sneaked in before the power outage and made quick work of the guards. Unfortunately, he wasn’t quick enough to catch either Margot or Alana before they went into their panic room.

 

They stepped over the dead bodied and tasteful high-end furniture to come before a large steel reinforced door. “They’re in there.” Hannibal said, shining his flashlight over the cold gleam of metal. “It can only be opened from inside, and there’s no way to break in from outside.”

 

It was an unfortunate development, but not something they didn’t expect. Will took the flashlight and inspected the door even closer, exclaiming in delight when he caught sight of a small little camera imbedded in the door.

 

“Good evening ladies.” He said, making sure of his manner because he knows just how much Hannibal hated it if he’s unnecessarily rude to others. “Would you like to come out for us?”

 

Other than the mute blinking of the camera, the large metal door remained silent.

 

“I don’t think your blood-soaked figure is inspiring them much confidence, Will.”

 

Will looked at his gore splattered figure and rolled his eyes. “Please. You’re much more intimidating than I could ever be.”

 

“Oh? You really think so?” The man asked, pleased by the nonchalant way Will lavish his praises.

 

“Of course. Hannibal the cannibal. You’re practically mythologized. And it rhymes! That makes it ten times scarier.”

 

“Will.” The doctor sighed. Will doesn’t need to shine his light at him to know the exasperated little frown he had on his face. He’s quite familiar with it already.

 

“I’m sorry darling.” Will laughed, placing a sloppy kiss on his shark cheekbones. “You’re just so cute when you’re blush.”

 

“I’m not.” Hannibal lied, grateful that Will couldn’t see his pink cheeks in the dark.

 

A small sound from the distance caught their attention and the two men instantly raised their guns, ready to fire on sight. The light fell onto a small figure of a boy, rubbing his face sleepily and whining at the bright light shining right on his face.

 

“Hullo? Have you seen my mommy?” he called with a small voice.

 

“Is that you Morgan?” Hannibal asked, his voice expectant and friendly. “We’ve been looking for you.”

 

From behind the metal door Will could hear the scrambling of heels and one furious pound on the door. He grinned and nodded at Hannibal, lowering the flashlight he could approach the boy calmly.

 

“Hey buddy.” He said, slowly stepping up the stairs and kneeling so he could see the boy eye to eye. “We’re looking for your mommy too.”

 

“Oh.” Morgan said plainly, blinking in confusion at the stranger’s appearance. “You’re messy.” He giggled, making Will join in as well.

 

“Yeah? How about now?” He raised his hand and rubbed the dried blood off his face, flaking it all over like red confetti. Morgan laughed and reached out to catch it in his hand.

 

“Pretty!” The boy exclaimed, staring at the glittering blood with wonder.

 

Hannibal watched the scene from below and felt a twinge of something nostalgic and sad deep in his heart. The life that he wanted was within his reach, but no matter how badly he wanted it, Hannibal had experienced enough loss to know that too much hope is just as insidious hatred and resentment.

 

Just as he began to doubt, Will turned around and offered him his hand. Hannibal took it, trusting the man with all his heart. If it’s with Will then the man dared to hope. If it’s with him then he can put away the memory of Mischa and Abigail for another chance at happiness.

 

“Trust me.” Will urged.

 

I already do.’ Hannibal though as he was guided up the stairs and brought down to his knees. Morgan looked like a typical four year-old, with chestnut hair that looked like it could be a mixture of his and Will’s, and calculating eyes that spoke of intelligence more than other children his age.

 

Will’s words echoed in Hannibal’s mind, it’s cadence following the beat of his heart.

 

“Let’s make a family.”

 

They didn’t spoke about it during their trip, but the idea lingered in Hannibal’s mind, festering like an untended wound that was sure to poison his rational mind. It’s lunacy driven to the highest degree, but there Hannibal was, already buying into the idea of a son.

 

Look at him. Fearless and smart. He’ll fit in nicely with us, a better Abigail we can mold and nurture to secure our future legacy. A son. Our son.’ The idea affected Hannibal so profoundly that he couldn’t trust himself to speak and not broke out into tears.

 

Will smiled and squeezed Hannibal’s hand in understanding. He turned to the boy. “My name is Will and this is Hannibal. Do you want to look for your mommy with us?”

 

Morgan frowned and considered the offer quietly. “Okay.” He said, reaching with his arms out for Will while keeping his eyes trained at Hannibal’s. Will hiked the boy up in one arm and offered Hannibal the other. Bringing the man close and kissing him tenderly. Morgan gasped.

 

“You’re kissing him!” He exclaimed.

 

“That’s right. You want one too?”

 

“Eww no! Kisses gives cooties!”

 

The pure innocence in that statement made the two men laugh, bringing levity to the precarious little situation. So many things could’ve gone wrong, threatening to unmade their dreams of a family, but Morgan came through, their perfect little boy that seemed to delight in their shared darkness.  

 

‘Of course, he’s a Verger baby.’ Hannibal thought fondly, thankful for Mason and his psychopathy.

 

Their shared little laughter trailed off as they reached the metal door. Before they can truly be a family, there was one important thing that should be done.

 

“Alana. Margot.” Will knocked a whimsical little rhythm, making sure that they were all in front of the camera. “It’s time to come out now. Your son needs you.”

 

They only took a minute until the impenetrable door beeped and began it’s complicated unlocking mechanism.

Chapter Text

Harrowing cries of women quieted down into a muffled hum as Will closed the door behind them. For a child’s bedroom Morgan’s place was massive and unnaturally tidy. It’s decorated in muted blue, beige, and burgundy, all soothing colors that came straight out of a maternity educational book.

 

One wall was stuffed from celling to floor with books, both for children and otherwise. The shelves were free of dust and the books well worn, indicative of the frequency of their use. The sight made Will smiled, for both he and Hannibal were voracious readers in their youth, so it pleased him to see that Morgan was one too.

 

A single mattress bed stood in the corner, bursting with comforters and pillows like an earthbound cloud, wrangled down from the heavens for the boy’s comfort alone. However, other than a small table set and closed chest of toys, the room was clinical and empty, like a children psychiatrist office where anxious parents brings their troubled child in to.

 

It bore the pleasant artifice of an interior design magazine, but it had none of the playfulness and joy of a children’s space. Looking at it made the man feel incredibly sad, for in this perfectly maintained space of liminal order, Will could taste the bitter pang of a gifted, lonely heir, protected, but never loved.

 

As a child he may grew up poor and neglected, but least Will had the ocean. He could stare at it’s endless horizon and think of sea monsters and adventures to escape his loneliness. Morgan only have this space, an artificial nest of soft inoffensive walls and dull colors. It wasn’t the sort of place where a little boy can be happy and thrive

 

“Are you going to hurt mommy and aunt Margot?” came the quiet question from the little boy.

 

Will knelt into meet his eyes and considered his answer carefully. He could lie and mollycoddle the boy, spin some sort of fantastical story that will fall apart as soon the boy learn how to deduce and analyze. It wouldn’t take long for that to happen either. Will recognized the spark of intelligence behind those hazel eyes. Smart boys like Morgan does not do well with half-truths and hidden secrets.

 

“Yes Morgan. Hannibal and I are going to hurt them. They did something bad and they have to be punished now. It will be very loud and very messy, so I want you to be a good boy and stay here for me, alright?”

 

The brutal honesty of his answer stunned Morgan into a dazed silence. “You didn’t lie.” He whispered, both in awe and confused by this strange adult.

 

“I don’t lie. Why should I?”

 

Nervous little hand twisted into the worn fabric of his stuffed animal, a Mr. Bear no:12, whose stitches were already falling apart from the boy’s demented games.

 

“Everyone lies.” Morgan mumbled, clawing into Mr. Bear’s stitches until an arm pop off and spill fluffy white stuffing. “Nobody ever tells me anything. They think I’m too dumb to understand, but I know when they’re not telling the truth.”

 

“They? Who are they, Morgan?”

 

“Nanny and Harold and Mr. Smith. And everyone else that works for aunty and mommy.” He mumbled, rattling off a list of retainers and bodyguard that substituted for jobs his parents are supposed to handle. “They’re dead now.”

 

“Yes they are. We killed them.” Will said. Morgan nodded and fiddled with his Mr. Bear, tugging on a lose beady eyes. “Does that make you sad?”

 

The little boy shrugged nonchalantly, already used to censoring himself in front of adults. His mother and aunt gets so scared and angry by his answers that it’s just easier not to say anything. Will could see the hesitation on the boy’s face, and he couldn’t decide if he’s impressed by his evasiveness or angry at the environment that has shaped him this way.

 

“It’s okay to be sad, but it’s also fine if you’re not.” The man said fondly. With calculating eyes Morgan looked up to him, distrustful of his honeyed words and gentle touches.

 

“You’re playing a trick on me.” The boy mumbled, unnaturally cynical for a boy his age.

 

Will laughed, amused by the boy’s brash tenacity. “A trick? And why would I do such a thing?”

 

“Because you can. Adults lies and play tricks all the time.” The boy said spitefully. “They think I’m too dumb to notice.” His tiny hands tightened over Mister’s bear’s head, quietly channeling his anger so that the adults wouldn’t tell on him to mommy.

 

Will was no longer amused. Morgan was not your typical boy, but with his Verger parentage his behavior was far from normal. Children his age were supposed to be playful and trusting, not evasive and destructive. Only a boy denied of affection and trust would turn out so distrustful and unaffectionate.

 

It baffled Will how someone like Alana could let such a thing happen to her son. ‘That’s because they don’t see him as their son, only a tool to secure the Verger fortune.’ The realization made Will want to snarl and trash this terrible prison they’ve corralled their son into.

 

Instead of wrath and destruction, Will brought Morgan into the fold of his embrace and gave the boy what he needed.

 

“But you’re not stupid aren’t you Morgan?” Will countered. “You’re a very smart boy who deserves better parents than liars like mommy and aunt Margot.” The boy tensed in his arms and tried to pull away, but Will’s hold was steady and true as his words. “You’re special.” He insisted, and that was enough to gentle the boy into his arms.

 

Kinship may not be the appropriate word to use, but Will felt utterly bound to this lonely little boy. There is a sense of duty that surpasses his desire for Alana’s pain and Hannibal’s need to humiliate Margot. Call it a protective instinct or a sick sense of morality, but Will knew that the boy belonged with them.

 

His divided loyalty failed Abigail, but now Will is a new man free laws and moral inhibition that reduced him into a twitchy little man. He’s was reborn, baptized into a world that is ripe for him to take. He has claimed his mate, and he will soon claim his child. This time, he will not fail them again.

 

Fueled by the surge of protectiveness Will carried the boy into his bed and tucked him along with his mangled little bear. He looked so sweet and innocent like this, tired and confused. One day he hoped he could make the boy happy.

 

“Go to sleep. We’ll talk again tomorrow, okay?” Will said as he looked down to him with fondness and affection. It was strange, almost uncomfortable for the boy, but Morgan was too tired to protest.

 

“Sweet dreams Morgan.” Will murmured against his soft hair. “Sweet dreams Morgan’s bear.” He said, kissing the toy just to make the boy giggle.

 

The boy didn’t reply, but he watched the man’s retreating back from the safety of his bed, giddy with prospect of seeing the very nice man again tomorrow. Maybe he’ll show him his collection of old Mr. Bears and they can play with them together. It’s very fun to rip them apart, and he’s confident that the strange man with the blood wouldn’t be mad at him like Margot and mommy used to be.

 

A sliver of dried blood fluttered from his hair and onto Mr. Bear’s cottony white stuffing. Morgan picked it up with the tip of his fingers, instinctively bringing it into his lips to taste it’s coppery flavor.  

 

You’re special.”

 

Those words brought joy and light into the boy’s world, and he was glad that someone as strong and awesome as those men can recognize him for what he truly was. He snuggled close to Mr. Bear and closed his eyes, lulled to sleep by the muffled sound of pain of his mean old aunt Margot.

 

 

***

 

Fanciful rumination about fatherhood and family almost swept Will away from his current reality, but before he could lose himself behind the familiar swing of the pendulum, a woman’s stuttering sob caught his attention.

 

A peek over the banister revealed the Verger heiress securely tied down onto a chair. Her defiant face was broken, peppered with welts and bruises that somehow made her that much prettier. Will could see why Mason was so fond of tormenting her. She was much more interesting look at when she’s broken.

 

On a nearby counter her perfectly manicured nails lay gathered in a small bowl, a bloody plier set just on the rim. Beside it was Hannibal’s jacket and vest, neatly folded with his two guns weighing them down.

 

“Do you need help?” Will asked his partner helpfully. Hannibal had the sleeves of his shirt rolled up to his arms, revealing two thin sinewy forearms, not as thick as it was before, but still just as powerful.

 

“No, but thank you for the offer. I’m making good progress as it is.” Hannibal answered, grabbing Margot’s hair to show off his work to. Despite already seeing everything, Will hummed and nodded approvingly, just so he could enjoy the proud little smile that graced Hannibal’s shapely lips. “How is Morgan?” He asked. “Did you have trouble tucking him in?”

 

Will wavered his palm from side to side. “We had a bit of spirited discussion, but in the end we understood each other well enough. He’s quite perceptive for his age, intelligent too.” Will leaned onto the counter, finding it hard not to gush praises about the boy. “I think you will really like him.” Will sighed with a loving smile that caught Hannibal completely off guard.

 

He abandoned his prisoner and came close to his beloved. “If you even favor the boy even in the slightest, then I shall love him like he is my own.” Hannibal whispered, tilting his chin down so he can look up at the man with a devoted little shoulder. The gesture was not lost on Will, and he but all growled and attacked Hannibal’s lips in a fevered kiss.

 

“The things you say cher’… the things you say.” Will drawled sensually as he patted the man’s chest and pushed him away. A shy laugh escaped Hannibal’s lips, and it was so terribly endearing that Will had to remind himself that they shouldn’t indulge in pleasure before their work was done. They have a habit of losing hours and days in each other’s body.

 

When Hannibal pulled away Will noticed Alana’s terribly pointed glares. He only replied with a shrug, unapologetic about his gratuitous display of affection. “Your son is a very brave boy.” He supplied generously. “You should be very proud of him Alana.”

 

The sound of her son’s name made what little color she had drain completely from her cheeks. Alana looked like a scared rabbit caught in a hunter’s crosshair, but Will sensed that she might not be afraid for her son’s safety like most mothers would.

 

“Ah, so that’s how it is.” Will muttered darkly when his empathy caught on the minutia of Alana’s emotions. “You’re afraid of your son, aren’t you?”

 

Those words were uttered quietly, hatefully even, but it captured Hannibal’s attention nonetheless. He turned to the pregnant woman with an amused little smile dancing on his lips “Oh Alana.” A patronizing little coo taunted her. “A mother shouldn’t be afraid of her own child.”

 

“Fuck you.” Margot croaked, defending her wife even in her terrible state. “You don’t know what a little monster he is.” A choked gasp escaped from her hoarse throat that devolved into a laugh that sounded as crazed as she looked. “I’m not surprised that men like you would praise that bastard.”

 

“Margot please-“ Alana tried to interrupt, noticing the genuine anger forming on Will’s and Hannibal’s features.

 

“I should know that nothing good could come from my brother’s disgusting seed.”

 

The very mention of the late Verger brought Will’s blood instantly to a boil. After grabbing a knife from a chopping block, he strode and made his way toward Margot, blue eyes promising the very aguish of seven hells.


Fearlessly, or maybe foolishly, Hannibal place himself in Will’s warpath and stopped him in his advance. “Will.” He implored, while managing to do so without groveling. “I can’t let you touch her yet.” Talented hand pushed gently onto Will’s heaving chest, placating the raging beast that threatened to emerge and pointed it’s horns onto him. “Be calm my love.” Hannibal purred, smiling when he managed to catch Will’s attention with the name.

 

Those sweet honeyed words made Will’s heart flutter and hum, but the blatant attempt at manipulation made him grab Hannibal’s wrist and twisted it painfully. It was one that he could easily escape from, but Hannibal remained on his spot, craving Will’s excruciating expressions of love like an addict craves the sting of a needle.

 

“Fine. I’ll give you two hours, darling. No longer.” Will drawled, noticing Hannibal’s arousal and forcing his hand to bend even further. “If you’re not done playing with your food by then, then I’ll take these two out back, burn them alive, and then make you lick every last speck of their cremated remains. You hear me sweetheart?”

 

“Of course, dearest.” Hannibal replied with a curt icy tone, but no matter how hard he tried to keep up his proud façade, his lust laden eyes only screamed worship and devotion, lost in his own personal reverie.

 

Finally Will pulled away, anger tempered by Hannibal’s honest show of desire.

 

“Go on.” He purred, rubbing a thumb over Hannibal’s lips so he could feel him composing himself. “Don’t let me down sweetheart.”

 

“Never.” Came the crazed reply. Hannibal was utterly besotted, too drunk in love to notice the gilded cage he so willingly walked into.

Chapter Text

Burning bodies piled high until it resembled a castle tower set ablaze by dragon fire. It lit in up the darkness like a sun without it’s systems, radiant, but alone in the vast emptiness of space. Though intense heat radiated from the pyre, out there in Montana wilderness, all that Will could feel was a cold sense of desolation.

 

He wished he could share this beautiful sight with Hannibal and their soundly sleeping son.

 

Margot’s despicable words fueled his back breaking labor, though much of his anger has largely dissipated during his task. Even so, Will still has every intention of keeping his promise. One way or another he will see Margot. She has transgressed for too long, and Will was eager to collect his debt.

 

She used him as an unwitting donor and proceeded to lose the only child Will has ever conceived. Then she dared helped orchestrate their capture, cutting short what would’ve been a beautiful reunion in Firenze.

 

‘Though without their interruption I supposed I would be missing chunks of my brain.’ Will thought in amusement.

 

As morbid of a notion as was, being eaten by Hannibal isn’t a fate Will would actively try to avoid. In truth the man’s obsession delighted him, for it matched Will’s need to completely own Hannibal in return.

 

The old Will would’ve balked at the idea and lamented over it for days.

 

“You look pensive.” The man that circled around his thoughts emerged from the shadows. Will held out his hand, beckoning for Hannibal to come close. The man obeyed, collapsing into the fold of his embrace despite the intense scent of burning pine and charred flesh.

 

“I think might’ve hit my head a bit too hard on the fall…” said Will, muttering the fact casually as if he was talking about the weather. Hannibal twisted out of his arms to face him, horrified at the nonchalant confession.

 

“What’s wrong? What symptoms are you showing? Headaches? Nausea? Loss of time?” Desperate hands clutched Will’s face and pulled him close, red eyes frantically examining Will’s for abnormalities he might’ve missed. “Why haven’t you said anything sooner? There could be a risk of aneurysm, or cerebral contusions, or even bleeding. You could die-”

 

Hannibal’s despair drew a pleased chuckle from within Will’s chest. With the familiar brusqueness he pushed Hannibal’s hand so to make room for his own hand. His touch was claiming and possessive, and it made Hannibal want to crumble onto his knees.

 

“Nothin’ like that darling, so don’t you worry your pretty little head off, alright?” drawled Will, his southern flavor slipping out whenever he was overcome in his affection for this wonderful man. “I was just thinking about how nice it to be in your belly forever.” He grinned, sliding a hand down from Hannibal’s face so he could caress the man’s flat stomach. “Sumthin’ only a man with a broken noggin could be happy about.”

 

A sharp intake of breath hitched and was subsequently held back. Never had Hannibal struggled this much with his emotions before. Will was like a storm, upturning everything in his path, and still Hannibal chased after him, addicted to the fearsome power he exudes.

 

“Will…” Hannibal muttered ravenously, at a loss of what to say to him.

 

“Would you like that sweetheart?" Asked the man, kissing Hannibal’s lips with barely concealed adoration. “Would you like to dine on my flesh?”

 

“I would like to live with you.” Hannibal said sternly, wishing he could pull away from Will’s unwavering hold. “Isn’t that what we planned? To live together with our son and flourish? I can’t do that with pieces of you on my plate Will.”

 

“I’ll let you, you know?” Will growled, pretending not to hear Hannibal’s protest. His was voice low and deep, as if he was the one wrestling with the profane need to eat his mate. “I’ll let you eat any part of my body. Just as long as you promise to stuff yourself full afterwards. I can’t bear thinkin’ bout your bone sticking out after I’m gone.” His hold slid down Hannibal’s still slim waist so he could pull Hannibal against his erection. “I can’t knock you up, but I can still make your belly swell.” He purred.

 

“Stop it.” Hannibal hissed, yet his hands still held onto Will’s shoulders. “What is the purpose of this horrendous exercise? Are you conditioning me for your absence? Is that it, Will? Are you planning on leaving me again?” The doctor hands turned to claws as he held onto the man with renewed desperation. “I won’t let you. One time was enough.” He growled.

 

“Hannibal.” The man chuckled. “You just killed a dozen men, but here you are, absolutely trembling.” Hannibal frowned at his tone and chose to shove Will away. He no longer amused by his good-natured teasing.

 

Despite his best effort Will remained relentless. He pulled Hannibal back and slammed him against his chest, uncaring of the bruises that would bloom under their skin. “I adore you mon cher, I won’t die till you’re ready.”

 

“Ready?” Hannibal whispered in disbelief. “I will never be ready for your death or absence, Will. Don’t ask me to do the impossible”

 

Memories of that solitary month still haunted the edges of his reality. To be given something he desired for so long and have it wrenched out of his grasp was beyond cruel. The ache in his chest never truly healed.

 

Yet despite the man’s pain Will couldn’t help but smile. The sight was so beautiful to him, for never in his life has he found someone who wanted him to the point of madness.

 

“Then I guess I’ll just have to stay with you forever, don’t I?” Will promised, loving the way Hannibal lips open for him despite his reservation.

 

As they stood in the dark, Hannibal sighed and accepted Will’s hungry kisses, trying his best to not to lose himself while reciprocating in kind.  It’s so easy being with him, this version of Will who rose from the dead. He left with sweet promises and came back with the swagger and drawl of a previous life, a new man, but achingly familiar and unchanged in his core.

 

Gone was the twitchy man who zealously avoided eye contact. Will was unbound in his desires, unafraid of other people’s headspaces, for he has complete dominion over his own mind.

 

It’s beautiful to see his dark potential flourish, but Hannibal still mourned for the life he had envision for them.

 

“What’s wrong?” Will asked, sensing the shift in his mood before he even opened his eyes. “Talk to me Hannibal.”

 

The man pulled away, feeling strangely naked under Will’s searching blue orbs. ‘That’s because you don’t need to hide from him. Not anymore.’ Hannibal thought. ‘You are partners now. Equals. Speak to him as one.’

 

Just starting was as was as nerve wracking as their plunge from the cliff.

 

“We share a room in our mind palace, and we move in battle as one.” Hannibal smiled, remembering the precious moment where they killed Dollarhyde and escaped from the Verger’s farmhouse. “… and yet your thoughts are still beyond me, Will. After everything I presumed we were going to be of one mind… but then you died and rose again with thoughts as elusive as the clouds.”

 

Despite his confession, Will remained unchanging, patiently waiting for Hannibal to reveal his desires. The sight made Hannibal feel weak with gratitude, and he Hannibal cradled Will’s face with the desperate longing of a lost pilgrim. “I resent our plunge. I don’t regret where we are right now, but I wanted…”

 

“Tell me.” Will kissed Hannibal’s hands, laving gentleness over the bruise circling his wrist. They laid over his vertical scars like crucifix, and Hannibal bore his crosses so beautifully it made Will want to nail him right then and there. He resisted. “Tell me what you want Hannibal.”

 

“I want…” he hesitated before continuing. “I want to live between the very space of your neurons, inhabits the folds of your brain, and make my home in the voids and caverns of your heart.” Hannibal turned to the fire, jealous of the heat that can seep deep within Will’s body while he was confined to his. “To eat you would never be enough. To be consumed by you would never be enough. I fear that nothing would.”

 

For a while only the crackle of the bonfire was all that was in the air.

 

“Ah. I see.” Will finally replied, smiling as he tried to contain his amusement.

 

“You’re mocking me.” Came the terse accusation that preceded Will’s uproarious laughter.

 

“Oh my bad sweetheart. It’s just-” Pine scented hand came to wipe at the corner of his eyes. ”You’re disappointed because we’re not ’Sharing the same thoughts and be of one mind?’ Really Hannibal?” Will shook his head. “You adore my unpredictability. The fall was the best thing that could’ve happened to us.” He kissed the space between Hannibal’s brows to soften the blow of the smarting reply. “We’re good sweetheart, we’re better than good. Lets not waste time on something that could’ve been when what we have is fantastic, alright?”

 

Though he hated be wrong, Hannibal knew that Will’s words were rooted in the truth. “I can see the merit in that argument.” He replied, all haughty and curt. “-Although I absolutely despise it’s delivery.”

 

“That was rather rude of me to laugh like that, wasn’t it?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“My bad.”

 

“Hm.”

 

“I promise I’ll make it up to you.”

 

“I fully expect you to.”

 

Will snickered, completely undeterred by Hannibal’s cold shoulder.

 

“Come on cher, give me a kiss” He crooned. “Mon doudou”

 

“Your French is atrocious.”

 

“It’s Cajun.”

 

“Ah, a bastardization of the civilized language.” Hannibal exclaimed while rolling his eyes. “That would explain why you’re lacking in civility and behaving like an absolute bastard.”

 

“Okay. Wow. Ouch. I deserved that.” Will winced. “But that really hurts Doctor.”

 

“Serves you right.”

 

“I don’t think I’m gonna make it.”

 

“What a tragedy.”

 

Will faked a cough and clutched at his chest, falling flat onto the ground and playing dead like one of his dogs. After two whole seconds, he peered up to see if was enough to make Hannibal smile. It was, for Hannibal was too in love with him to resist smiling at his attempt to humor him.

 

“There it is.” Will grinned, pulling himself up to rub the edges of Hannibal’s crinkling eyes, satisfied that he’s back in the doctor’s good graces. “God, I’m starving. Can we have dinner now?” He groaned as he allowed his partner brush his clothes free of debris.

 

“Of course.” Hannibal graciously nodded. “They’ve handed the accounts and the preparations are set.” A shy little glance was thrown to meet Will’s eyes. “We could retrieve last ingredient together, if you want.”

 

“Thank you. I would like that.” Will eyes lit up in excitement. “Nothing better than a quick organ harvest to lift the spirit.”

Chapter Text

There was no doubt about his feelings. Where Will Graham was concerned, Hannibal Lecter was completely and utterly smitten.

 

It’s a strange thing to admit, especially when so much of his survival has revolved around the suppression of his emotions. He prided himself on the perfect mastery over his mind and body, a superhuman feat he perfected through years of discipline and training. Being in love unraveled all of those, leaving him as vulnerable as the average man

 

Hannibal used to be able to slow down his heartbeat in command, but now the little organ jumped without his permission at the thought of Will’s smile and dangerous drawl. Where lust merely was a bodily function more often relegated to perfunctory uses, now it rages through his veins at the sight of Will’s body, making the man feel lightheaded and absolutely wanton with need.

 

The loss of control should bother him, but Hannibal found himself eager to embrace these feelings. Afterall, was it not natural to shed a tear at the sound of a soaring aria, or to balk and shiver before the hellish works of Hieronymus Bosch? Experiencing such emotions meant that he was living, and Hannibal never felt more alive than when he was with his beloved.

 

He would never deny himself those feelings, for doing such a thing meant denying Will himself. Hannibal simply could no longer do that, for the hungry adoration Will directed at him fed his starving soul and nourishes his spirit.

 

When he first met the man Hannibal had hoped that Will might share a tinge of the same darkness he has within himself. Now that he has flourished, Will spread his own darkness like a hawk taking flight, gliding naturally through unadulterated horror with the joy of a man made for it. It was marvelous. To be desired by such a man was a heady thing, and Hannibal quickly found himself growing quite addicted to the singularly delicious feeling.

 

He might not survive another separation, but Hannibal didn’t want to. He fully intent to spend the rest of his life with the man, whether it’s by his side or in his belly.

 

***

 

Hannibal smiled when Will closed and tucked his chin over his shoulders. They were similar in height, the doctor winning over him by an inch or two, but he never felt so small and fragile as he was when Will was behind him, nosing the base of his neck with an animalistic purr.

 

“Beautiful.” Will said dreamily, ignoring the intricate display of fabric, pearls, and bones that Hannibal was arranging and lavishing his attention onto the man himself.

 

Hannibal has spent so much of his life as the pursuer, the dominant and mastermind of his relationships and life. He forgot just how trilling it was to be in the receiving end of such lustful devotion.

 

The doctor pushed away his ornate arrangement and turned to cup Will’s cheek in his hand, opening his lips so the man can kiss and lick his way into his mouth. He was putty in Will’s hand, helpless to resist him in every way.

 

“Let me take you sweetheart. It’s been so long.” Will purred, his hands reaching under Hannibal’s vest to feel the warmth trapped between the expensive fabric. The man chuckled, tangling his fingers between Will’s so they wouldn’t start stripping him like he usually does.

 

“You laid with me yesterday.” He said accusingly, though he didn’t mean it as a protest in the very least.

 

“Exactly. More than twenty four hours without you warming my cock? What a travesty.” Will murmured against his nape, his Louisiana drawl crawling back as he began to lose himself in Hannibal’s body.

 

Such vulgarity used to utterly disgust the doctor and his heightened sensibilities, but Will has a way of making each expletive sound like raw condensation of his desires. It made him want to give in, and he almost did.

 

Hannibal allowed himself a lapse in his impeccable control and leaned his head back onto Will’s shoulders, allowing the man to place wet kisses onto his sensitive neck. The man shivered and sighed. “We still have dinner plans and guest to attend to my dear. It would be rude to abandon them.” He quietly reasoned, though he would not resist if Will were to push him down and take right there.

 

The man rumbled unhappily, teeth scraping the lobes of Hannibal’s ears in careful warning. “After then.” He relented, for as helpless  as Hannibal was before Will, the man too felt compelled to give the doctor everything he desired.

 

Rough hands grabbed onto Hannibal’s neatly combed hair and yanked him back, forcing dark eyes to meet steely blue ones.

 

“I’ll drag you up to Alana’s room and fuck you in her bed.” Will growled. “I’ll have your ass up in the air and your face on her pillows. Every time you think of her face, her scent, you’ll remember me.” A strong hand grabbed onto his ass, squeezing hard enough to leave a bruise. “Pounding you. Taking you.” He palmed over Hannibal’s hard cock. “Making this cock spurt and leak until you beg for me to stop.”

 

“How possessive of you.” Hannibal gasped, sagging against the table breathlessly when Will finally release him.

 

“You enjoy it.” The man retorted back

 

“Absolutely.” Hannibal sighed, quivering in anticipation of Will’s rough lovemaking. With a bark of a laugh Will pulled away and caressed the slope of Hannibal’s ass, admiring the way he quivered by his touch alone. “In the meantime, I would appreciate your assistance in bringing our guest in.”

 

Will groaned dramatically but moved to complete Hannibal’s polite little request. He looked back and grinned as he spied the doctor hiding a silly little smile behind his hand.

 

He truly was beautiful when he’s happy.

 

***

 

From the rigid study of psychology to the not-so-rigid practice of sexual sadomasochism, it’s well known that anticipation of pain was as important as the delivery itself. Hannibal was an expert at both roles, but tonight he wore the mantle of a cook and an executioner, for the only pleasure he will bring was one to their palate and tongues, safety be damned. This will be the first dinner party that Hannibal together with Will, and the man was eager to show off his skill.

 

He quietly rolled up his sleeves and don his apron on, watching almost jealously as his lover brought their main event into the dinning room with such care that would border on affection.

 

“You doing ok Alana?” Will asked warmly as he adjusted the straps that secured her to the butcher’s block.

 

“Dizzy.” She whispered, squinting her eyes at the intense light from the chandelier overhead.

 

“Yeah, the shots do that to you.” Will chuckled, remembering the terrible effects of Hannibal’s personal brand of sedatives when he coughed up Abigail’s ear. “Not to worry though. It’s supposed to wear off soon. You’ll be completely lucid in just a moment. Here, have some water while you wait.”

 

“Thank you.” Alana sighed, her world spinning under the bright lights. “Can you help me get out now? Please?”

 

Her words made the man laugh maniacally. “I’m afraid I can’t do that.” Will stroked her hair, noting how that the so called ‘pregnancy glow’ was nothing more than just a buildup of sweat and oil. “Hannibal is running the show now. I’m just playing assistant.”

 

“Show?” Alana asked, suddenly aware of the menacing glint of surgical tools laid neatly next to gleaming plates and bowls. A shadow darkened her field of view, and Alana knew that her end was near.

 

“… Is this about me taking away your toilet?” She slurred, embolden by the sedatives to say the things she otherwise would’ve thought better to swallow.

 

“Amongst other things.” Hannibal approached the butcher’s block. “There’s one thing that you said back then that remained with me until this very day. What was it that you told me I’m afraid of? Indignity?” A cruel little smile spread across his handsome face. “Tell me Alana, what are you afraid of?”

 

“Not much.” She laughed fearlessly, but it rang hollow and empty as the drugs in her system duller her senses as well as her emotions. Alana continued on anyways, eager to say her peace before death could claim her. “I’ve seen the devil’s face, shared his bed, became his warden. You know what I learn?” The woman chucked. “You’re just a man, Hannibal. Not the devil. Not god. Just a man.” Hannibal’s face remained politely impassive, the same face he wore when he’s attending to his patients in his office.

 

She then turned to Will, redirecting all of the venom and frustration towards him. “I’m surprised you’re complicit in this.” Alana looked to Will, angry. “He hurt you the most Will. Remember Abigail? You should be trying to kill him.”

 

The man look down on her, watching her with a curious expression that she couldn’t quite place. “I did Alana. I pulled us over that cliff. We died together, but not even death could keep us.” Will sighed, reverent in his possessiveness as he laid his eyes on his beloved.  Hannibal took his hand, placing kisses between murmurs of ‘Je t'adore, Will. Je suis à vous.’

 

Alana could only watched in silence, stunned at the sight of someone so monstrous looking utterly human and in love. Will accepted his adoration, returning it with a  caress that one might give to a pet. Seeing that sent chills down Alana’s spine.

 

This was not the Will she remembered, the one who picks up strays and pushes himself to the limits for other people’s safety. No, this man was the one who whispered murder into an orderly’s ear and found peace and power in the act. This was the animal who bit off Cordel’s cheeks, the animal who mounted Randal Tier, the monster who sailed Europe out of love so he could forgive his beloved with a knife.

 

It was at that time that Alana realized that she will find no ally in him, for Will has become the most dangerous creature they’ve all feared he might be; himself.

 

“He really did get to you, didn’t he?” Alana asked bitterly. Will merely turned away, already bored of her fumbling attempts to understand him. She looked to Hannibal instead, trying desperately to make sense of her situation. “What did you say before? A mutually unspoken pact to… to-“

 

“-To ignore the worst in one another in order to continue enjoying the best.” Hannibal gushed, his eyes sparkling with the light of a burning star.

 

“Not ignoring.” Will strode over to Hannibal’s side and kissed him. “Seeing. Accepting. Forgiving.” He took the man’s hand in his, caressing the bruise he left on his wrist. “I forgive you Hannibal.” The man whispered against those marks.

 

“And I forgive you, Will.” Hannibal said, overwhelmed by the sweet gesture that he thought would forever remain unsaid. Will chuckled and kissed him. It felt like a wedding, consecrated not by some deity or priest, but by the blood they drew together and will continue to spill.

 

Alana and Margot watched on in horror, helpless witnesses to the unholy union of two fearsome monsters.

 

“I’m sorry ladies, that was terribly rude of us to ignore you both.” Hannibal said, face flushed with happiness. “Now, what were we talking about?”

 

“Fear and indignity.” Will supplied helpfully, stepping away from the man so he may perform to the best of his ability.

 

“Ah, yes.” He sighed, coming to Alana’s side, a scalpel in hand. “I think I know just what yours are.” He patted her heavy belly with a smile.

 

Will was right. The sedatives were wearing off, and as her senses her turned so did her emotions. She could only felt one thing.

 

Terror.

 

***

 

Each pass of the sharp blade parted deeper layers of fat and muscles of her abdomen. Alana could feel every futile strand of fiber holding onto itself before Hannibal sliced them apart, merciless and uncaring, much like a torrent of wave was to a drowning man at sea.

 

Her wife’s anguished cried faded behind the pounding of her heart, and the pain no longer felt real. Instead the stinging burn of air made her sob in disbelief. How could such pain exist? Not even Morgan’s birth was a painful as this meticulous form of disembowelment.

 

It was like witnessing a magician pulling out an endless loop of scarves. Pinkish grey bowels spilled out and tugged away, leaving them coiled onto the floor. The ground seared her, in places she never knew could hurt. How much more could she endure before she was allowed to succumb? Alana wanted to let go so badly, to pass before she could witness the true horror that awaits.

 

Hannibal would never let her. He would want to shame her for all the offence she dealt him in the hospital.

 

Finally the doctor placed down his scalpel and separated the thick flabs of her belly with his hands. “Please.” Alana croaked, shaking her head from Hannibal and Will, begging for mercy. She found no pity or compassion in their eyes, only a sick gleam of fascination as they slid their hands into her abdomen and pulled her still forming child out into the world, still shrouded in

 

When she felt the sharp tug of her afterbirth separating from her womb, Alana ceased her struggling and merely endured her existence as she awaited her end. ‘Don’t look at it.’ She told herself, trying to preserve he last thread of sanity. ‘Don’t look at it. Don’t look at it. Don’-‘

 

“Oh Alana.” Hannibal crooned, looking down onto the lump of meat in his palm. “You were going to have a little girl.” He sighed, showing the aborted fetus right in front of her face. “See?” Alana shook her head, trying to tear her sight away from the stillborn baby. She couldn’t. her child lay on Hannibal’s hand, still and grey. Alana tried to speak, to scream, but her body just laid there, witnessing the death of a life barely formed.

 

Will joined Hannibal’s side, eyes wide and fascinated by the dead fetus no bigger than their palm, eyelids just barely developed, with thread like veins running beneath her translucent skin.

 

“She’s beautiful.” He exclaimed with a look of pure wonder.  “Thank you, Alana. She’ll make a wonderful dinner.”

 

With one last guttural sob that shook her bound body, Alana let out a small whimper before her body finally gave out. She sunk readily into the blissful oblivion and prayed she would never wake again.

 

“You sick fucking monsters.” Margot muttered, glaring at the two awestricken pair. “How could you?” She wanted to shout, but anguish and despair reduced her back into the shell of a victim she though she abandoned with Mason’s death.

 

Hannibal quietly regarded Margot with a fond smile. As her doctor he spent countless hours helping her move past her trauma and take back the strength she lost. It felt right to be the one to take all of that away again.

 

“Can you please clean our guest up while I work on dinner, dear?” Hannibal asked, as polite as ever. Will readily agree and sent him off with a kiss, turning his attention to Alana’s gaping wound and the mess of entrails on the floor.

 

“I’ll try and sew her up as well as I can.” Will said to Margot as he stuffed Alana’s guts back into her abdomen with a handful of tiny white flowers to fill out her empty womb. Baby’s breath, a poetic little jest that only the two would remember and appreciate.

 

“It doesn’t matter anymore. None of it matters. You took our baby and now you’re going to–“ Margot retched.

 

Will tilted his head and look down on her, pitying the limited mind of prey animals like them. “It’s just meat Margot.” He said plainly as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. Margot didn’t hear him. She was too busy commiserating their absolutely wretched fates.

 

Will sighed and turned his attention to Alana instead, suturing her close with the same calmness he had when he worked on his lures. It’s alright. Not everybody has the capacity to understand them. Afterall, it’s silly to expect a sheep to understand the urges of a predator.

 

***

 

“Foetus confit, fondant potatoes, and mélange of glazed snap peas, carrot, and pearl onions. Served with a side of chilled tomato consommé topped with konbu cured placenta. Bon Appetit.”

 

An artfully decorated plate was placed before them. The vegetables are colorful and glossy, looking like they might just crack like glass. The potatoes were well cooked, smothered in whipped compound butter. Leaning against it were thin slices of meat, curled around the sides like a misshapen smile.

 

Margot can see the telltale sign of tiny fingers on her plate. She just stared at it blankly, images of her dead child taken from Mason’s pig surrogate flashing back into her mind and seizing her in silent horror.

 

“It smells amazing Hannibal.” Will said from one end of dining room table. They were all dressed to the nines. Hannibal had on a red and black suit, his figure slimmer than what it was before, but somehow he looks ever more menacing. Will followed suit with a simple dinner jacket, his eyes adoring as he witnessed his beloved preen and plume himself up before their victims. Amongst all the prisoner’s there, he alone was Hannibal’s captive audience, eager to witness him returning to his full form.

 

“Please, do dig in.” Hannibal graciously said as if it was one of his normal soiree. Will picked up his cutlery and sliced into an underdeveloped piece of brain.

 

“Delicious.” He praised.

 

The sight made Margot viscerally gagged and retched, drawing the attention of their two captors. Will’s faced twitched in annoyance but he choose ignored her like one might ignore a disobedient dog at a dinner table. Instead Will focused all of his attention on savoring each bite of tender succulent meat, following each rich morse with bites of buttery soft potatoes and sweet vinegary vegetables.

 

“You’ve outdone yourself Hannibal. The meat is unbelievably tender.” Will exclaimed, digging into his plate with a gusto. Hannibal was practically glowing with pride.

 

“At some point a fetus will go through ossification, a process where their cartilage will harden into bones.” He delicately arranged a tender morsel onto the end of his tines. “We’re quite lucky to in this regard. No bones at all.”

 

“Not at all like the ortolan.” Will chuckled, remembering the crunch of the fragile bones underneath his teeth. Hannibal eyes lit up.

 

“How strange that you mentioned that. I was planning on recreating that meal if Alana was fortunate enough to carry twins. One for you, and one for me.”

 

“How could you?” Alana muttered weakly, cutting into their pleasant dinenr conversation. Somehow that tame little plea enflame Will more than anything Freddy could ever write. He slammed his cutlery down and glared at Alana, his raging eyes more terrifying than Hannibal’s cold detached stare.

 

“Will.” Hannibal called, imploring him to stay calm with one simple word. The man blinked twice and stared hard at Alana, daring her to spout out more discourtesy at their table. The only sound that was heard was Margot’s incessant sobbing, a much music than Alana’s feeble protests.

 

Tonight symbolic dinner was as much about Hannibal as it was about revenge. He willingly gave up much of his power during his isolation, a wonderful gesture of love and submission on his part, one that Will returned with equal reverence and dominance.  Will wanted him to reclaim that power, to build his body back up to the majestic specimen it once was, so they may finally match each other in cruelty and strength, equals coming together to share in each other’s pleasure.

 

This dinner will be the first amongst many, and Will would not ruin it with  his temper alone.

 

On the opposite end of the table Hannibal remained outwardly unaffected by Alana’s interruption, continuing to enjoy his meal amongst the women’s whimpering’s and cries. Alana has gone delirious at this point, shock and blood loss setting into her system. Margot too was inconsolable, loss in a maze of her own mind as past nightmares melded into present ones.

 

A barely audible rustle from the stairs caught his ears. “Ah, Morgan.” Hannibal smiled, standing from the table to welcome the youngest Verger. The little boy flinched, scampering up the stairs at the approaching stranger, peering over his torn-up bear to watch the scene carefully with his cold hazel eyes.

 

“It’s okay, I’ll get him.” Will said, standing up from his seat to approach the boy like he has known him all of his life.

 

The man returned to the dining room with Morgan in his arms, clutching his torn-up bear while rubbing the sleep away from the corner of his eyes. Hannibal’s chest ached at the scene. Watching Will take up the mantle of fatherhood brought up memories of Mischa, how he used to carry her in his arms in the exact same maner when her little feet grew tired from their many adventures.

 

Will noticed the longing looks Hannibal sent their way and beckoned him close, murmuring reassurance to the sleepy boy who didn’t recognize Hannibal in the light.

 

“Hello Morgan. Did you have a good sleep?” Hannibal asked softly, holding Will’s arm instead so he wouldn’t scare off the little boy.

 

Morgan looked at him uncertainly and nodded, seemingly fascinated by the gold lining on Hannibal’s tie. Encouraged by his responsiveness, Hannibal reached up to smooth down his unruly bedhead.

 

“Are you hungry little one?” The boy stared back at him with those unflinching eyes and look towards Margot, unconcerned for her bloodied state. In fact his eyes widened as he leaned in to get a better look at the violence splattered across her face.

 

Will grinned and nuzzled into the fussy little boy’s neck. “Come on. I’ll let you sit on my knees and eat at the table like a big boy.”

 

The boy didn’t say anything, still half asleep and confused by what’s happening around him. Usually Mommy and Aunt Margot wouldn’t let him go near any sharp objects. He’s sequestered to his own table with his Nanny and bodyguard, so being in the grownup table is a new thing that he never experienced before, something the boy was excited to try out.

 

Despite his apprehension Morgan knew that as long as he was with Will everything will be okay, so he went along with the nice man, trusting him not to snap at him like Aunt Margot and Mommy often does.

 

Hannibal joined the two, abandoning his seat at the head of the table so he could be close to them. Not even Abigail had aroused such paternal instinct within him before. The man wanted to fuss over the child, to murmur endearment against his forehead and cradle him like Will does.

 

It’s completely irrational. Not even a day has passed and yet Hannibal has attached himself to the boy like bee to a blooming flower. In truth he always avoided children for this very reason. Hannibal couldn’t help but look for traces of his dead sister in them, always looking for the perfect surrogate to satisfy his vestigial need to father, nurture, and protect.

 

However no matter how eagerly he might want to be a guarding society would not look kindly upon an single man taking on guardianship of a stranger’s child, so Hannibal relinquished such fanciful thoughts. In fact, he all but forgotten about them, that is until Will came along and plucked the desire from deep within his psyche as easily as one might pluck a wildflower.

 

And now there they were, watching intently as their future son fumble clumsily with the cutlery on the table.

 

Hannibal never loved anymore as much as he loved Will right now.

 

“Here, let me.” The man said, spearing bits of Morgan’s sister onto a fork and offering it to the boy. Morgan opened his lips obediently and took a bite, sleepily chewing the meat as he rubbed his eyes and seek warmth from Will’s body.

 

“ ‘s good.” Morgan mumbled, taking the fork into his own hand and began stabbing onto the plate noisily. Hannibal swallowed hard, trying to contain the sheer exuberant joy washing over him. His son accepted the meal he cooked. Hannibal has provided. He is worthy.

 

When he felt Will’s hand curling on the nape of his neck Hannibal had to look away and hide his tears from unworthy eyes prying at them three.

 

He’s their son. Hannibal was sure of it, and it’s only time before Morgan would look at them and call them father.

 

“You sick fucks.” Margot hissed, sputtering past her stupor once she caught sight of the happily little family. Morgan winced at the sound of her voice and tried to scamper away, but Will simply held him against his chest, murmuring comforting words that eventually stilled Morgan’s attempt to escape.

 

“Why can’t you just leave us be? You could just played pretend with some other family.” The woman cried, looking at her pitiful wife who could bare lift her head anymore. “Alana saved you, and this is how you repay us?”

 

“We had a deal Margot.” Hannibal reprimanded her sharply. “My freedom for your innocence, peace of mind, and of course, for dear Morgan.” Hannibal looked at the boy fondly. “Don’t forget who milked Mason for you. I’m as much as his father as your brother was. You two may have carried and raised him, but the very idea of him was birthed in my office, right from my very lips.”

 

“And you used me to bring that idea to reality.” Will said bitterly, remembering the drunken sex they shared, where she turned him from a lonely man to a hopeful father to be. “You lost our son Margot.” The man hissed, clutching onto Morgan’s little body with a fevered possessiveness. “Now I’m taking back what I am owed.”

 

There was real grief in Will’s voice, one that reminded Hannibal so much of Abigail’s death and the lonely months of their separation. “Instead of protecting the child, cherishing him for the gift that he was, you squandered it away. Can you blame us for our retribution?”

 

“You were the one who told Mason about the baby!” Margot screamed, frustrated by the two madmen who kept whispering half-truths and altered realities to confuse her.

 

“And you were too weak to protect it.” Will countered, taking reign of the conversation before Hannibal could lose himself in guilt and regret.

 

The loss of his unborn son had been profound, but like everything else in their life, Will has made his peace with it and forgave Hannibal for his transgression. Margot has not earned his mercy nor forgiveness, and from the way she’s acting Will was not eager to give her any chance to earn them at all.

 

Margot hung her head, unable to stop the helpless sob from escaping from her lips. Despite the obvious obfuscation, their words dug into her skin like talons of some predatory animal, picking apart her defenses to reveal the ugly truth about herself she had long tried to ignore.

 

She has always been a weakling, a victim who relied on the strength of others to achieve her goals. It has never been more evident than it was right now, where she’s been stripped of her money, status, and prestige.

 

“I just wanted a chance to be happy.” She quietly murmured, looking at her poor wife. “We both did. Don’t we deserve that after the lives we had? After what you put us through?” The woman glared at Hannibal, as if he was the source of her life’s unhappiness.

                                             

The two men looked down on her with a disdainfully. There was nothing more tiresome than to witness weaklings lamenting their fates. The crow on and on as if their screeching would inspire pity in pitiless monsters. Their end were inevitable, and yet they still struggled like a landed fish gaping for one last gillfull of water.

 

They much rather subject Morgan to music with florid expletives than keep him near Margot for any longer, lest he be infected by his forbearers’ weakness.

 

“Go on Morgan. Eat your food and we’ll go outside and play, alright?” Will turned the small boy around and placed the fork back in to his hand. “Don’t be scared.”

 

“Am not.” Morgan said as he shook his head. Those two words alone made the men swell up in pride. “Mommy?” he called out to his mother, more curious about her strange appearance than he was concerned for her health. “Mommy why do you look so weird?”

 

Alana breath hitched at Morgan’s voice, but all she could was look up. She smiled sadly at the sight of her son, mumbling something with her stiff blue lips.

 

“Are you going to die?” The boy asked innocently.

 

“Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! She’s not going to die!” Margot cried, completely in denial of her reality. Slowly Alana’s head begin to loll to the side, looking onto her wife with a silent plea. “Alana please!” but Margot’s cries fell onto deaf.

 

With one last unremarkable sigh, the lovely Alana Bloom has finally passed, wilting under the gaze of those who knew her best.

 

“Alana please!” Margot cried as grief torn what remained of her sanity. “Please don’t leave me alone! Please!” She sobbed.

 

For a moment the two men closed their eyes and allowed a solemn moment of silence for Alana’s passing. They did not weep for her, but they remembered her at her best; a bright student under Hannibal’s tutelage and a kind friend who took care of Will’s pack when he couldn’t.

 

That Alana died the moment she came to Mason’s aid, but they remembered the best part of her regardless, one last thanks for the first meal they will share to start their new life.

 

After they open their eyes Hannibal rose up to check on her plate. “She didn’t even touch her food.” The man quietly observed, more upset at her untouched food that he was about her death. He took the plate over to the kitchen and pushed the remnants of the cold meat into the trashcan.

 

The sight of Alana’s unborn child going into the trashcan was too much for Margot to take.

 

“You monsters!” She screamed, mad with grief as she turned her hateful eyes towards the remnants of Alana’s legacy. “You killed her! You killed her!” cried the woman, inconsolable in her sorrow.

 

The accusation made the young boy freeze in place. He didn’t completely understand what Aunty Margot was saying, but he knew that she didn’t like him. She never did, even when tried to be nice to her and share his Mr. Bears with her. Yet despite her standoffish nature, this was the first time she ever screamed like that to him, and it scared him beyond belief.

 

“Shh.” Will murmured into his ears, sliding his rough hands over them to block of Margot’s abuse. “It’s okay Morgan. You didn’t do anything wrong.” He kept saying over and over again.

 

Eventually Hannibal had enough of her screaming. He crept behind her and clasped a large hand over her mouth and nose, slowly suffocating her to spare Morgan from unnecessary cruelty.

 

“Close his eyes Will.” Hannibal instructed quietly, tightening his grip until he could feel her bones creaking under his hand.

 

Will certainly tried his best, but the little boy kept pulling his hands down, intent of watching Margot struggle underneath Hannibal’s unyielding hands. His small face remained stoic, with fearful tears streaming down his cherubic cheeks. There was no morbid curiosity in his eyes, only a pure unadulterated hate in return for Margot’s abuse.

 

When the last of her violent death throes left her body, Morgan fell back against Will’s chest and curled up into a small little ball. He sobbed, frightened by intense feeling of joy and relief.

 

Upon seeing the boy’s distraught state, Hannibal left Margot corpse to slide haphazardly onto the floor and quickly rushed to Morgan’s side.

 

“Oh dear. Look at you.” The man murmured lovingly, dabbing away the boy’s tears with a folded corner of his pocket square. “What a brave boy you are, isn’t he Will?”

 

“So brave.” Will readily agreed, lavishing the love he never received to the child trembling on his lap. “I’m so proud of you buddy. You did so well. Looking was scary, wasn’t it? But you did it anyway didn’t you?”

 

“That’s because he wanted to see what would happen. Such brave boy. Oh Will, just look at him. Notre petit chevalier.”

 

“Yes. We’re so proud of you Morgan.”

 

The boy didn’t reply. He couldn’t. His little body felt so utterly drained and fatigued by all the excitement he just experienced. All he wanted to do was go back to sleep with his hand buried deep in Mr. Bear’s stuffing.

 

Eventually gentle murmurs quieted down into whispers, and the dabbing of the handkerchief was replaced with caressing kisses. They lulling him slowly into slumber, a smile perched on his tear stricken face, for despite the horrific death and loud noises, Morgan felt completely loved and adored.

 

Chapter Text

 

It took almost a week for Will to wrangle himself under a passable person suit. The celebration feast left him incredibly feral and unbound, which endeared him to Hannibal to no ends, but left him unpresentable to the public. No one would recognize Will in this state. He was unbound, a man of instinct and passion, and only Hannibal and Morgan was the only ones safe in his fearsome presence.

 

Morgan latched onto them like he’s been theirs all his life, as if his birth came from the union of their soul. The Vergers were mere surrogates, a physical vessel to temporarily contain the uncontainable.

 

What power does those lesser being has against a force such as them? Hannibal and Will were the gods of their fates, and fate demanded for the child that was rightly theirs. The Vergers had no choice but to shatter and comply.

 

Will chopped what remained of Alana and Margot, stilling his aggression with the dependable burn of an honest labor. Morgan stayed by his side, silent and eager. When the limbs started to fly off the chopping block, he ran and chased after them so he may dutifully feed them into the fire.

 

The sight was more beautiful than anything Hannibal could ever imagine, a son and his father, bonding silently as they return the unworthy mothers to whence they once came. When the last bit of flesh joined the pit, Hannibal tousled Morgan’s head, lavishing words of praises and clutching his chest when Morgan blushed and replied with a polite “Thank you.”

 

As they sat around the roaring fire with fat slicked between fingers and lips, Hannibal imagined them in the dawn of the first epoch, a fearsome family who flourished on the flesh of weaker tribes. They would’ve ruled over them all, a predator more dangerous than the ones with fangs and teeth.

 

“Does this mean I don’t have tutoring tomorrow?” Morgan asked, eyes alight with relief and mischief. Will laughed, spilling the sparkling wine onto the scorched earth.

 

“No my boy. There will be no tutoring for a while. We will be off to an adventure.” The boy’s green eyes widened into saucers, excited to live out the scenes he only read before in his books. “But once we settle in our new home, we will be sending you back to school.” Hannibal added, expecting a boyish groan and a complaint.

 

“Oh.” Morgan said, biting his lips as he jiggled his feet excitedly. “I always wanted to go to school.” The boy whispered to his Mr. Bear, the toy deflated for the boy offered his stuffing as tinder to start his mothers’ funeral pyre.

 

Hannibal and Will looked down to their son with pride in their eyes, grateful that Mason’s odious existence could bring about this beautiful spark of life.

 

That night they slept together in the master bedroom, Morgan wedged between his fathers. Hannibal looked up sleepily to Will, who watched them like a silent guardian in the dark. He reached up and stroked the man’s cheek. “Sleep Will.” Hannibal whispered gently.

 

Will merely shook his head. “No. I’m a father now. I have to protect our son.” He rumbled, his soul alight with love and fervor over his family. Hannibal nodded understandingly. He sat up and leaned against his lover’s shoulders.

 

“We will both protect this family.” The man said, joining in his lover’s madness. Will kissed him, gratitude whispered against his lips, and together they kept watch, until eventually sleep claimed them in it’s gentle embrace.

 

In the morning Morgan was the first to rise, waking to a bed warmed with the heat of other people. He rubbed his eyes and found Will and Hannibal propped against the headboard, his stern protectors with gentle hands.

 

Morgan smiled and burrowed himself between them, the crooks of their bodies carved by pain and tragedy so he may fit perfectly between them.

 

 

 

***

 

 

Pastoral life always held a certain appeal to Hannibal, but in the day and age of rapid urbanization even the most underdeveloped countryside has plenty modern amenities. Not that he minded, for as much as he romanticized the simple life of feeding chickens and laying with lambs, Hannibal required access to the nearest gourmet grocery store to sate his culinary appetite.

 

Life in their picturesque village of Luberon was dreamily idyllic. With a modest estate and a generous vineyard, Hannibal takes up the mantle of a retired businessman, a cover the townspeople believe since he purchased the most expensive property in the county.

 

He spend his days tending to his harvest, with hired hands from the red bricked town coming in on the weekend to assist him in his task. Hannibal didn’t need much of a workforce. After all, the precious reserve was only ever intended for to grace their dinner table.

 

The old Lecter Dvaras coat of arms were repurposed into the wine’s label, but instead of wolves and a menacing titan overlooking a sinister serpent, stags and ravens took it place. The serpent remained as menacing, with a man firmly lodged between it’s jaws.

 

Others calls it ominous, but Hannibal knew that it was an apt sigil for their family, for just as they swallowed the flesh and blood of their enemies, so too has each of them crawled out from their personal perils, each emerging a new man from the belly of the beast.

 

For that, Hannibal would toil endlessly under the bright Catalonian sun, crafting the perfect blend of grapes just so he could daily display the symbol of their triumph as they nourished their bodies.

 

***

 

“You’ve clipped your curls…” Hannibal said in an equally clipped tone. He had a bag of groceries in one hand, oranges, avocadoes, and other treasures he picked from a nearby farmer’s market. On his other hand he held his son, who was holding to a new teddy bear, already missing an eye.

 

Will looked up from the sink to greet his family, brushing aside the dark stalks of hair scattering the marble sink bowl he installed himself. “You look devastated.” He sniggered openly at Hannibal’s sorrowful face. “Would you like to hold a funeral for them before I throw them in the trash?” The man gestured teasingly to the sink.

 

Hannibal stared at the lovely bundle of hair mournfully before shaking his head, irritated beyond but trying his best not to show it.

 

“I shall pass on you kind offer, thank you. You merely took me by surprise.” he said, putting both Morgan and his bounty on the counter. The young boy shimmied over to Will, knocking over a bag of citrus with his growing legs, interested at the strange furry pile with the same color as his Mr. Bear.

 

Will laughed and leaned down onto his elbows, watching Morgan poke and giggle at the content of the sink. “How about it sport? Wanna match your dad?” He said, ruffling the boy’s chestnut locks and playfully snipping the kitchen shears near his ears.

 

“Umm, yes!” The boy cheerfully exclaimed.

 

“Absolutely not.” Hannibal frowned, jolting straight up from chasing the rolling balls of oranges. “I refuse to subject our son to your unfortunate grooming choices.” The man said, returning to chase after the escaping fruits. “I mean it Will. Not a single cut or I will be very cross.”

 

“Ah, so the truth comes out. Your papa thinks I’m ugly now.” Will mocked sobbed and wiped his tears with one of Mr. Bear’s dangly ears.

 

Morgan brows furrowed, still having trouble recognizing emotions despite Hannibal’s fun educational games and colorful flashcard, but the overexaggerated gestures registered enough to awaken the boy’s defensive side.

 

“Papa you’re being mean!” He said, crossing Mr. Bear’s arms to indicate his vexation. For a boy with very little empathy Morgan was fiercely defensive of his two fathers.

 

Realizing that he must placate his son, Hannibal sighed and went to his husband, tilting his head up for a passionate kiss. Morgan giggled and erupted in a fit of ‘eeewww!’, a habit he picked up from the other kids in his new school.

 

“See? I still love your father very much mon cheri, so we don’t need to use our angry voice now, do we?

 

“Uhh okay!” The boy happily agreed, immediately jumping off the counter, which made Hannibal drop instantly to his knees to catch the boy at his waist.

 

“Morgan!” Hannibal gasped, but before he could chide the boy, Morgan was already barreling through their back door and into the garden, greeting the small flock of hens they keep for eggs with a jolly, “Bonjour petits poules!”.  Two large Great Pyrenes dogs bounded over to the boy, abandoning their cattle charges to greet the youngest of their pack.

 

Hannibal sighed and fell heavy against Will’s strong body, shaking his head while watching the boy scatter oats with fond but worried eyes.

 

Morgan was a far cry from the shy lonely child they found atop of the Verger’s hideout. With them he has bloomed into a happy young man, no longer deprived of the parental affection each men was eager to shower him in.

 

Still, at eight years old he retained that Verger coldness that unnerved most children and adults, and rightfully so. If left to his own devices, Morgan would’ve grown into a terribly spoiled psychopath not unlike Mason Verger, making up for the emptiness in his heart with uncontrollable violence and reckless spending.

 

Hannibal and Will would not stand for that. Morgan had the potential to be so much more than his predecessor. Under their guidance, their beloved boy shall surpass the sorry corpse of the cruel patriarch. He will be the best of them, an intelligent boy beholden only to the honor and virtues his fathers instilled in him.

 

For now, he remained a happy boy, spending his days in blissful ignorance in this paradise they’ve built for each other.

 

“He’s getting too rambunctious.” Hannibal whispered worriedly to his beloved. “It’s that terrible school’s fault. They put too much emphasis on outdoor activities and not enough on Latin and math. And his insistence on using uhs and hmms! I fear his vocabulary may actually decline if he spent more time with those insipid toads he calls his classmates. And don’t get me started on their school lunch program-”

 

“Now, now darlin’. Killing his friends will not improve his vocabulary, nor will killing the school cook improve his palate.” Will laughed, placing several playful kisses to smooth out the line of frowns from Hannibal’s cheeks. “Especially when he comes home to my terrible creole French and Nutella sandwiches.”

 

Hannibal’s eyes soften in adoration, staring at his wonderful partner that has his heart so completely. “I adore your atrocious accent my love.” He whispered, saying nothing of the vile concoction that was that jarred chocolate spread.

 

“Hmm, Just like you adore my short hair.”

 

Hannibal cheeks pinken. “They’re not so bad.” Murmured the man as he reveled in the feel of Will’s new haircut under his touch. He was a man of distinguished taste and standard, but Will has a peculiar way of making detestable things lovable.

 

Will laughed and ravished Hannibal right in the kitchen, jostling a rack of drying herbs as he pushed the man against the counter. “The workshop is too hot for long hair darlin’. Besides, I’m the one who does the hair pulling, yes?” as if to demonstrate he grasped Hannibal’s ashen hair to bare his throat to his lips. “Forgive me?”

 

Like every time Will directed those soulful blue eyes to his, Hannibal melted and nodded, reaching behind so he could kiss his lips and make them flutter close. Will growled and abandoned Hannibal’s hair to reach for his buckle, the man never failing to arouse him in any situation.

 

“Not in the kitchen Will.” Hannibal gasped, though he did nothing to stop Will as his fingers stroked his cock to match the hardness pressed against his back. It’s dizzying just how much Will desired him. The man has him completely, and yet daily he hungered for Hannibal’s body, plunging deep into him as if the mere act of copulation could fuse their souls together.

 

In truth, Hannibal has never felt more complete than he was with Will.

 

“Dad! Papa! No! You’re supposed to help me with my math homework!” Morgan cried. Hannibal had the decency to look fluttered, but Will remained unapologetic.

 

“Your turn.” He smiled, sauntering out of the kitchen with his back of clipped hair. Alone with their son, Hannibal straightened his clothes as Morgan began to cheerfully talk about the uptight Madame Eloise and how badly he wanted to exsanguinate her every time she brings up fractions.

 

 

***

 

 

Market day at the town plaza was as impressive as it was quaint. Roussillon was a beautiful town, with it’s deep red buildings situated atop of a massive ochre deposit, it’s cliffside location reminded Will much of the bluff they plunged themselves into.

 

As a notable tourist destination, the town was a vibrant as the nature that surrounded it. Bounties of wine, grapes, and other produce filled display granges to the brim. Artisanal dairy products joined the fray, perfuming the air around them with a distinct funk of lactofermentation.

 

It was all the things that Hannibal loved, but to an eight year old boy, it was a rather boring affair.

 

“Dad, can I go play?” the boy asked, already boring a little divot in the ground from grounding his heels in boredom.

 

“Sure buddy, but stay where we can see you.” Will replied absentmindedly, picking up an antique bird beak knife that would be perfect for gutting without nicking an animal’s innards. He had to adapt, the rude of Provence tends to run thin.

 

Before he had to suffer through his father aggressive haggling Morgan slipped past the stalls to a clearing behind the plaza, a small park. There were a single couple sitting on the edges of the fountain, baring their love under the benevolent gaze of a patina covered cupid. The boy looked at them with unrestrained curiosity.

 

Morgan doesn’t get love, the romantic kind that is. He understood the devotion his fathers had for each other. Afterall, they’ve been bonded together through something more than just fleeting feelings in one’s stomach.

 

A girl in his class told him that she had a crush on him, that just seeing him makes her happy. Morgan told her that he didn’t get it, and she ran crying, turning her small group of friends against him. The boys in his class hooted and slapped him on the back, telling him things like ‘Girls are cows.’ And that ‘They’re gross anyways’.

 

Morgan just shrugged. Most people are animals to him, so regardless of their gender, they’re equally disgusting in his eyes.

 

As the couple grew more brazen, Morgan in turn also grew more irritated. He wasn’t shy or embarrassed, he’s seen enough of his father’s interaction to be immune to things that would make a young boy blush, but he hated that the couple would do so right in front of him. Morgan was trying to play, and they’re just dominating the space with their mouth sucking noises.

 

When the man began running his hand up the girl’s floral skirt, Morgan decided he had enough. He hopped onto the fountain’s edge and began singing obnoxiously. His plan worked, the couple stopped kissing to glare up at him, but just like they did, Morgan pretended not to notice them, carrying on with his song about old McDonald and his farm.

 

Va t'en garçon!” The man growled like the dog he was. Morgan turned up his nose at his currish behavior and continued moseying along the fountain edge, waving Mr. Bear around himself until it come precariously close to smacking the couple’s heads.

 

The man stood up, looking like he might smack the boy to teach him a lesson, but his lover grabbed his arms. She pulled him away while whispering sweet placating words. Morgan rolled his eyes, pushing down the desire to blow them a raspberry. Papa would not be happy with him if he saw his behave like that.

 

Instead he kicked off his sandals and dipped his toes in the fountain, scrutinizing the bronze cupid to make out just what his deal was. Does he have that much power? His fathers, the couple, the girl in his class, it’s like everyone was enraptured by him and Morgan was the only one immune to his arrows.

 

He’s at an age where such a thing shouldn’t bother him, yet they made him confused all the same. His Papa always tells him just how important it is to blend in, to his one’s nature so that the sheep of humanity wouldn’t run away in fear, but was Morgan so different that he couldn’t empathize with this thing called love?

 

Standing up in the cool water, Morgan walked over to cupid with Mr. Bear in tow. He pushed the bear’s snout against it’s cold, metal lips, making kissy noises and trying to imagine the two inanimate objects falling in love. It seemed improbably, but Morgan barely felt anything that sometimes it’s easier to imagine a statue and his bear bearing real emotions.

 

“You shouldn’t do that.” A man said in English. “Your teddy bear will get wet, and so will you.”

 

His papa always told him that he should always answer strangers in French, to feign ignorance especially when they speak to him in an American accent. But the man in his dark skin and ever darker trench coat was the most interesting person he came across all month.

 

“I’m trying to understand love.” Morgan said brazenly, his English perfect and untarnished by the thick French accent most native speakers had. The man raised his eyebrow can came closer, pulling out a kerchief to dab at the sweat beading at his temples.

 

“No need to hurry. One day you’re old enough and everything will just click.” The man said, giving him a toothy grin. Morgan peered closer at the man, noting the gap between his two pearly whites. “Are you a tourist?”

 

Morgan looked up and down at his wardrobe, cotton shorts and a light airy shirt, a preppy ensemble his papa paired with the nautical striped sandals he wears to accompany his dad out in his fishing trips. He doesn’t look like a tourist at all.

 

“Nope!” Morgan said, propping an arm on his waist and eyed the man back. “Are you?” he challenged, noting the many layers the man had abandoned and now carried in one arm.

 

“In a sense.” The stranger answered cryptically, intruiging Morgan further. “I’m looking for some people. An American and a European man.”

 

“There’s lots of European men around.” Morgan shrugged, jumping out of the fountain and plopping down right on the edge, kicking his feet back and forth to dry in the wind.

 

The teasing answer and his boyish attitude amused the man even more. He joined him, sitting down in the shade to take reprieve from the sun beating on his back. Out of his folded coat he pulled out a stick of gum, which Morgan accepted and squirrel away to eat when his papa was away. It left a delightfully minty scent on his fingers and he just can’t wait to taste it later.

 

“Do you recognize these two men?” The man asked, pulling out a manila folder with pictures of his fathers on each side. Morgan studied them closely, making his ‘hmm’s and ‘ahh’s just to make the stranger wait. The man didn’t seem to mind, clearly entertained at the boy’s playful nature.

 

His fathers had told him of men like him, FBI, Interpol, and inspectors from the Polizia who are out to get them. As kind as the man was to him, Morgan wouldn’t reveal anything that would put his beloved family in danger.

 

But then again, it would be so terribly fun to see another bloodbath in the house. They haven’t killed anyone at all this summer, and if things were to continue, it shall be the most boring summer ever!

 

Before he could speak up, a voice rang out to him form the busy market.

 

“Morgan!” His dad called in that funny accent he sometimes fall into. Morgan groaned and stood up, placing the file back onto the man’s lap.

 

“Wait! You recognized them, right?” The man insister, reaching out to grab the boy’s hand. Morgan swiped him away, giving him a glare that his papa taught him to scare away handsy predators.

 

“I have to go. That’s my dad calling.” The boy said, paying more attention to dusting his white pants than to the man clamoring for his attention.

 

The strangers cursed, sensing that Morgan was holding something back from him. “You must recognize them.” He insisted, eyes widening in realization once the name clicked in place. “You’re Morgan, right? Morgan Verger?”

 

His old family sounded jarring to his ears, and the boy couldn’t help let out an aggravated sigh at hearing it again He crossed his arms and looked down to the man, no longer amused now that he understood his motivations.

 

“You should come by the Dvaras Vineyard. It’s just down the hill by the river. My Dad and Papa would probably know the men you’re looking for.” He said, jogging away from the man before his fathers could give him a scolding. “They’re Americans. I’ll tell them you’ll be coming for dinner!” he added, waving goodbye to the strange man wearing black in the middle of summer in Southern France.

 

 

***

 

Morgan was all smiles when slipped between his worried fathers, grabbing both of their hands with an innocent look on his face.

 

“There you are.” Hannibal sighed, always the worrywart in the family. Before he could mumble out an apology, Will grumbled and hiked Morgan up to his face, nipping playfully at his stomach until the boy laughed uncontrollably for him to stop.

 

“Didn’t I tell you to stay close, you rascal.” Will said, lifting the small boy up high to sit on his shoulders. Morgan giggled and shrugged.

 

“It was hot, so I splashed around in the pool.” The boy answered, proudly splaying his still wet toes off for his fathers to inspect.

 

“There’s no pool in the square.” Hannibal countered, confused by his son’s explanation.

 

“He meant fountain, cher.” Will answered his beloved, tickling Morgan’s feet until the boy almost jostled himself off his shoulder.  Hannibal tutted, gently telling him off in French to respect public properties or the police would come and arrest him. In this household, there was no stories of boogiemen or evil witches taking naughty boys away. The force they feared was one of reality, and Morgan understood that completely.

 

“Nu-uh! There was a policeman there but he didn’t arrest me!” Morgan said indignantly. “Though he seemed pretty excited to arrest you papa. Got a whooole file about you and dad.”

 

Will and Hannibal ceased their steps and looked at each other warily. “Are you sure  it was a policeman?” Will asked to the boy.

 

Morgan just shrugged. “I mean, why else would they be looking for you Dad?” the boy shot back, his mischievous glee hidden behind an innocent look.

 

In an instant, the air around them turned solemn and quiet. Will handed over his reusable bags to the boy, taking out his new weapon, still gleaming with oil and silver polish.

 

“Stay here. Guard the groceries.” Will ordered, to which Morgan happily answered with an irreverent salute and a call of “Oui capitaine!”

 

“Don’t mock your father young man.” Hannibal flicked the boy’s ears, dropping a heavy crate fruits onto his son’s already full arms. When his fathers disappeared into the crowd Morgan rolled his eyes and dropped everything back on the ground, using the wooden crate of fruits as a seat.

 

A mere five minutes passed until Morgan finally gave up. “Okay, I’m bored.” He said, jumping up to his feet and wincing when he felt something wet clinging to the back of his pants. A few renegade raspberries escaped from its container and now adorned his pants with bright red juice.

 

Papa would not be happy with him.

 

***

 

Holding his new knife close on the inside of his sleeve, Will slipped past the crowd with his eyes on the lookout. Hannibal followed closely behind, already donning the leather glove he permanent keep on his persons.  They scanned the busy market, finding only recognizable locals and a group of tourist falling prey to free samples.

 

“This way.” Hannibal called, nodding towards the gap between the stalls where their son emerged.

 

Both men found themselves in the secluded park, faced only with the bronzed cupid who seemed to smile mockingly at them. Will rumbled, the instinctual need to protect his family taking over everything else.

 

Noticing his aggravated partner, Hannibal came over and placed his bare hand on the back of his husband’s neck. Will was running hot, like a canon who just let loose it’s deadly load and was gearing for more. “Calm down, my love.” He whispered, pulling him in a hug to stop him from running back into the crowd.

 

“I will kill anyone who threaten this family.” Will growled, more animal than man now the threat against his family has come true.

 

“And I will be right beside you, holding them down.” Hannibal said, his eyes so full of love for the beautiful monster Will was turning into. “But the man is gone, and it would do us no good to lash out in public. Lets calm down and regroup back home, alright?”

 

Will huffed and nodded, instantly calming down at the gentle pleas of his better half. “You think it might be Jack?” he asked quietly.

 

“It won’t be the first time he crossed ocean to find us.” Hannibal said, a plan already brewing in his head to catch the man off guard. It would be difficult to hide such a graphic murder in their small town. They usually hunted away from their home for fear of catching the police’s attention. Knowing Will and his protective nature, he would obliterate anyone who stepped into their property. “We might have to move. The aftermath would irrevocably paints us as the guilty party.” Hannibal sadly muttered.

 

Will nodded stiffly, not at all detached to the life they’ve build here in France. He’s always been a simple man, and four years of matrimony has not changed that. It didn’t matter where they are, as long as Will had his family, he would always find happiness.

 

Still, he didn’t like seeing the crestfallen expression adorning Hannibal’s face. “We’ll be fine cher. We’ll get another vineyard, another homestead. We’ll even take the dogs with us, and if it makes you happy, we’ll get a proper castle to fill with anything your heart desires.”

 

The soft placating tone did not suit the man at all, and Hannibal couldn’t help but melt at the amount of effort Will made to keep him smiling. “I’ll keep you to that promise my dear. A castle and a vineyard.”

 

Will eagerly nodded, capturing Hannibal’s lips in a passionate kiss. “Anything. Anything for you.” He whispered, fierce and true. Hannibal nodded, believeing every words that came from his beloved’s lips.

 

“Before we purchase any property, we should take care of this stranger properly. I refuse to run away from an interloper. It feels too much like a defeat.” Hannibal frowned. Will readily agreed, already hungry to taste the blood of his enemies between his teeth.

 

“It’s okay, Papa.” Morgan chirped cheerfully from behind them, his cheeks flushed pink from running back to them. “He’ll be back. I invited him down to our home.”

 

Will furrowed his brows, confused at the event that led his son to give out such a daring invite, but before he could chide the boy about the dangers of talking to strangers, Hannibal was already up in arms, an angry parent with the wrath of god behind his thundering voice.

 

“Morgan Lecter-Graham! What happened to your pants!” Hannibal demanded, and this time, Will had to be the one holding Hannibal back.

 

 

***

 

 

The relentless summer sun melted into the horizon, casting the lush countryside in rich burnt apricot hue. The Dvaras estate was not hard to find. It was the largest property in the area, spanning past the overlooking cliffs and well into the neighboring town.

 

In the middle of it was a rustic manor house, deceptively humble on the outside. However,  the dying light of the day caught the glimmering gold of the interior furniture, revealing the treasures that  . It was an unassuming house, filled with ostentations befitting royalty.

 

If Will and Hannibal would shack up together, Jack imagined their nest would look exactly like that house.

 

When he caught sight of two men walking out in the yard, Jack stiffened and reached for his shotgun. Though they were silhouetted, he could recognize Hannibal’s regal gait anywhere. Will followed closely behind him, his distinctive curls gone and replace with a much utilitarian cut. The talked with the same intimacy they had when together in a crime scene, focused only with each other in a bubble where no one could penetrate.

 

The memory of both men leap from Jack’s imagination and took place in their hidden faces, and though it was impossible, Jack swore he could hear the wind carrying their voices. ‘It’s them.’ He thought. ‘It must be them.’ The suffering on his protégé, the desecration of the Vergers, all those horrific corpses. Their crimes were innumerable, and there was no justice system in the world that could deliver the punishment they deserved.

 

Only death may spare the world of such monsters, and Jack was willing to step up as an executioner.

 

 

 

 

***

 

Long retired from the force, Jack carried his armaments like a one man army ready for war. He prayed that he only need to use the gun, Jack wasn’t one much for gore and blood, but he had on him several knives. The man came ready to die, and if he could save Morgan in the process, he would count his mission a success.

 

When darkness fall he moved quietly through the underbrush. The house was alight with conversations, drowned by the bleating or goats kept on the pen in the garden. To think that they could just escape and wish for a happy ever after angered Jack more than he should. Hannibal deserved only pain, not this perversion of family he insist on having.

 

A nearby howl made Jack froze, joined by aggressive barks that sounded like a lion’s roar. Guard dogs, and big ones by the sound of them. He should expect that from Will, always taking up strays even in this new life.

 

Jack moved away from the penned area, hoping to avoid an encounter with the hounds guarding the house. He circled around through the vineyard, a longer detour to get to his target, but a safer course to take.

 

The rows of overripe grapes nudged his as he passed, full berried falling into the ground, making the ground slick with it’s juices. Jack didn’t care, he only had eyes on the house and it’s occupants.

 

His sturdy combat boots slipped against the wet earth, making him fall against something hard and cold. Before he could registered the object on his mind, his hand felt unconsciously around, and in an  instant the sharp metal teeth snapped shut, trapping his hand in it’s biting maw.

 

Pained scream rang out into the dark, followed by clamoring bays of hungry hounds. Jack brought his injured hand close,  trying with all his might to release it from it’s jaws, but the hinges was immovable, sending shooting pain up his shoulders, almost paralyzing him in place.

 

Suddenly the houselights fell, plunging the estate into complete darkness. A lone figure walked out of the door, his terse command silencing the dogs. Chains rattled and the gates opened to make way for heavy pads, eager hounds eagerly waiting for their master’s commands.

 

Jack knew enough of French to understand that the sharp order was meant for him.

 

Hauling his heavy body up, Jack rushed away from the house, his trapped hands heavy behind him. He could feel the dogs coming in, their furs rustling the vines around them, howling and barking as they hunter down their quarry. He abandoned his bags of arms, keeping only one gun in his hand to defend against any attackers. “Jack.” Will’s familiar voice called, so impossibly close that he could almost feel his breath tickling the back on his neck.

 

Jack whipped around, his gun cocked and ready as he felt around the dark path around of this labyrinth. One of his feet rolled against a rock, and he stumbled to the side, knocking down the poles that held up a row of precious grapes. In his haste to scrambled up, his feet caught in the tangles of vines, as if nature itself was against his survival.

 

Wrenched free of the claiming tendrils, Jack stepped into another trap, the metal maw snapping so hard against his shin that he could feel the bones in his legs crack from the impact. Ravenous barks came closer as he desperately limped away, trying to put some distance from the unimaginable terrors chasing after him.

 

Dragging the metal traps along in his wake, Jack scored the earth with signs of his struggled. There was no breath left for him to scream, each lungful of air reserved for survival. How silly of his to think he could rush into the home of killers and assassinate them one by one. He could barely make it into of their property.

 

Behind him heavy footfall stopped and two large dogs growled at the sight fo him, baring their teeth in warning as he stumbled down into the ground and crawled away from them. They snapped at his heels, but did nothing more, standing their ground before melting back into the shadows at the sharp whistling of their master.

 

Jack was in the trenches of war, unable to rely even on his limbs to take him away from this hellish nightmare of anguished pain. He could almost see the light from the road, blessed reprieve from the darkness that engulf him. He barely avoiced another trap, and when a shadow blocked the light he was inching towards, Jack whipped his gun up fingers ready to squeeze at the trigger.

 

It wasn’t Hannibal or Will that came to greet him, but the silhouette of a small boy he met that afternoon, watching him with his mouth open in sheer shock.

 

“Morgan, thank god!” Jack almost sobbed in relief. “Please get some help! They’re going to kill me!”

 

The boy titled his head to the side, eyes dark with curiosity. “Morgan please!” Jack shouted, his voice bouncing over the mountainside to unhearing ears. The boy gave him a sad smile and raised a dented can of gasoline, dumping its’s odious content all over Jack’s face.

 

Hannibal came from behind him, handing the boy a box of matches while whispering quiet instruction. Jack screamed, raising his guns once more, but before he could pull the trigger a heavy foot slammed his hand down onto the ground, grounding hard until his hand could do nothing but relinquish it’s hold.

 

“How dare you point a gun at my family?” Will growled from behind him, voice deep and monstrous even to his ears.

 

“Will…” Jack winced, trying to twist around so he may plead his life to this man, but his hold on his was true, as if he would bury Jack alive into the earth if he can.

 

“Come here my love, Morgan is ready to light up the match.” Hannibal said gently, holding his hand out as he waited for Will to join them. The man nodded, wrenching the gun free out of Jack’s hold and pocketing it obediently.

 

“I should kill you for even coming here.” Will snarled, stepping right onto Jack’s skull as if he was no better than a stone in his path.

 

“Dad!” Morgan whined, clearly unhappy with the declaration.

 

“Now, now, don’t be greedy.” Hannibal chided the man, caressing his nape to soothe his angry lover. “Morgan lured him here, he deserves the kill.”

 

“You’re sick. All of you. How could you corrupt such an innocent boy like that!” Jack roared, his spirit indomitable even in the face of death. Hannibal merely answered him with a mocking smile, not even sparing a word for the unworthy man weeping on the ground.

 

Morgan stepped away from his fathers, lighting a match between his small fingers. “I’m not that innocent, you know? I fed my mothers to the fire once. Now I’m lighting you up too.” He said, eerily cheerful as he let the match drop on toe puddle of gasoline on the ground.

 

Flame spread onto him like a bright red snake lunging for his life, and in just a few seconds Jack was lit up in flames, the dry, dead plants around him adding onto the flame as he was burned alive. Unimaginable pain engulfed him, the metal on his limbs heating up and sizzling the flesh caught between it’s teeth. There was no reprieve,

 

The last thing Jack saw before his eyes melted away was the sight of the family watching him silently, untouched by the raging flame. In his last second of life, Jack realized that the devils were real, and they have left the underworld, walking amongst the living and feasting on their flesh

 

 

***

Epilogue

***

 

Luberon News

Devastating Fire Demolish Prized Grapes

-Daniel Pasquier

 

On Monday at 02:34 am, the small, understaffed Luberon Regional Fire Brigade (LRFB) received an urgent call for a possible arson on the Dvras estate vineyard. The property was famously sold to retired venture capitalist Adolphe Levasseur (45) just three years ago, who resides on property with his husband (39) and son (8).

 

Their homestead remained untouched, but the fire managed to swallow almost a third of the Dvaras vineyard, costing damages up to £ 82,000,000.

 

The exorbitant damages came in the form of grape plants, a mixture of sought after variety of Ruby Romans, Muscat Ottonel, and Cabernet Blac. Wine made from these grapes has net the Dvaras estate two Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, a great achievement for the private reserve.

 

An investigation led by the chief commissioner has found the body of the arsonist on ground. The unidentified man succumbed to the flames, unable to escape the bear traps placed around the property to deter Eurasian brown bears. Despite the public outcry of a hate crime, it is suspected that the arsonist came from a rival winemaker whose reserve was snubbed by the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles.

 

“We’re deeply saddened by the destruction of our grapes and the death on our property.” Monsieur Levasseur said, “But we are grateful to the great effort made by the LRFD and our helpful neighbors. Without them we may lost more than just a few grapes.”

 

Mayor Gabriel Tremblay is recently under fire for his recent budget cut to several emergency services. The Dvaras estate remained open and in operation, but despite it’s high demand, the wine remain off the market, enjoyed only by the Levasseur friends and family.