Actions

Work Header

Negotiations

Work Text:

There is a shower. That is all he is certain of, and even then he can't make himself believe that they are no longer in the ocean, sea and salt eating away at their skin. But no—couldn't be, because they’re standing on solid tile, dripping blood and staining grout lines, Hannibal holding Will up and the tiled wall of the shower hard against Will’s back, jarring the wound in his shoulder. 

“Where are we?” Will mumbles, but the wound in his cheek is swollen and the pain is suddenly too much for him to continue; he doubts Hannibal can make out the words anyway.

“Shhh.” Hannibal’s hand smoothing over his wet hair. A kiss to the corner of his forehead, so soft and tender it hurts more than a knife. “I need to flush out your wounds before I patch you up. I've got you, Will.”

Yes, yes you do, Will wants to respond, and it's just as well that he can't speak properly right now. 

Nothing left to do but tilt his head back and let the water beat upon him, bleed into his wounds and take away the poison. He drifts, eyes closed and knees locked so that he doesn't fall onto his ass, a futile act of self-preservation that comes too late, that tastes of bitter irony in his mouth.

A ragged exhale jolts him back to consciousness. Hannibal has one hand pressed to the tiled wall, leaning heavily. His face is ashen gray, and water streams over his eyelashes as he blinks, jaw clenched tight. The gunshot, thinks Will, something like panic ringing in his ears. He reaches for Hannibal, catches his arm, and somehow slips on the wet tile in the process. 

Hannibal tries to catch him and he goes down too. Will has enough presence of mind to twist, so that he cushions their blow, but it causes his elbow to crack against the floor. He feels layers of skin peel off; there’s more blood, but not enough to be of real concern. 

“Apologies, Will,” says Hannibal in a tone that is supposed to be brisk. His voice is weak, god, so weak. “My injuries seem a little more serious than I bargained for.” Hannibal’s body is half on top of him in the narrow shower stall. They are both naked, both wet and bleeding like they are still floating in the sea, the shower spray like the spray of ocean waves beating down on them. We could drown like this if we don’t get up, Will thinks. 

He forces himself to rise, to strain against Hannibal’s weight on top of him and lift them both up so they are sitting, kneeling with knees bruised against hard tile. Hannibal leans heavily onto him, forehead pressed to Will’s good shoulder, breath hot on skin, and it’s a natural thing to lift his hand and cradle Hannibal’s head the way Hannibal has so often cradled his. A fine shiver passes through Hannibal’s body at the gesture, and Will’s own body responds to that, mirrors the intensity of feeling, and they are both shaking on the floor, clutching loosely at one another. 

“You’re not allowed to die,” Will whispers, turning his head to touch his lips to the side of Hannibal’s face, more a caress than a kiss. “You—You took me away from everything. From Molly and Walter, from my dogs. From death. You’re not allowed to go now.” 

The silence stretches, just the thrum of the shower, growing steadily colder, and the harsh rush of their collective breaths. It is only when Will begins to believe Hannibal has lost consciousness that the answer comes: a small, hardly-there tilt of Hannibal’s head on Will’s shoulder—a nod of acquiescence. 

It’s another few minutes before Hannibal moves again, slowly straightening himself, lifting his head to stare back at Will. His eyes are clear and liquid, and Will breathes out a sigh of relief at the sight of them, so very bright, so present and with him. “I will never go away from you again,” murmurs Hannibal, and it’s a binding curse that pierces into Will’s soul. It’s a promise. 

Hannibal stands and offers a hand to Will. "Thank you," says Will. And takes the hand.