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Second Star to the Right

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Germany occupied Lithuania left little for the children of the country to do, Hannibal and Mischa Lecter included, despite their royal heritage. None of that mattered to the German troops. Outrage and uprising swept through the country and with it their parents, leaving pre-teen and his younger sister with their overbearing uncle, Robertus, to deal with them. He kept a strong, tight grip on them both, never allowed to roam the garden, leave the castle, let alone play. The troops surrounded them, and the last thing Robertus wanted was his niece and nephew shot and killed like their parents.

“With your father gone, Hannibal, it is your right to take the title, but you must earn it. Time to stop playing, stop reading your books of fairytales, and grow up.”

“It also depends on how I present,” Hannibal pointed out with a cant of his head. It was discussed that he had all the makings of an Alpha, naturally, especially with his wit, and confident nature. “Do I disappoint you, Uncle? My reading has hardly affected my ability to perform my chores.”

“You'll be an Alpha,” his uncle sneered, narrowing his gaze on Hannibal. “Studies are fine, but feeding your sister's head with fairy tales has to end.”

Hannibal grinned, just faintly, enjoying his uncle’s upset. His expression changed to emotionless at the mention of his sister, he knew what was best for her, not the vile man before him. “As you say, Uncle.”

“I expect you both to finish your homework and prepare for supper.” Robertus left, leaving Mischa tucked behind Hannibal’s back, grasping his shirt.

“Come, Mischa, it's alright, okay? I will help you prepare for supper,” Hannibal said, softly as he turned around and kissed her brow. Inwardly, he seethed at his uncle.

Mischa was years younger than Hannibal, quiet since their parents had been killed, and only ever going to Hannibal, never their uncle or his his wife. She nodded her head of blonde curls, staying close as Hannibal lead her to their room. He got her ready and then set out her toys. His homework was long since finished, so he pulled out their favorite book.

“Would you like a quick story before supper?” he asked with a smile.

Mischa nodded her head and crawled up by the window in their favorite spot to read, by the low setting sun that shone oranges into through the panes. Hannibal took his place, and gently put his arm around her, beginning to read. It was an escape from their life, their… imprisonment.

***

Once supper had finished, Mischa and Hannibal dressed down for bed, as the sun set quicker this time of year, Robertus didn’t trust them to not wandered away if they were left alone in the house to do as they pleased. Once dressed, he entered, in a tux, fixing his cuff links.

“I’m heading to a party. I trust you’ll be well behaved for the staff.”

“Yes, uncle, we are ready for sleep,” Hannibal stated, looking at his Uncle. He hoped he never returned, an accident of some sort.

“Very well,” Robertus said and kissed Mischa’s head and patted Hannibal’s shoulder. “To bed.” He reached to turn the flame down on the wall lamp.

“Yes, sir.” Hannibal nodded with a farce smile, and took Mischa’s hand, walking his little sister to her bed. He would wait until he knew his uncle was gone before reading yet another story to her.

Robertus left, locking the door behind him.

Mischa crawled into bed, big brown eyes gazing up at him as she made room for him, patting beside her. With a smile, Hannibal got the book and got into bed with her, keeping her close as he used a nearby candle to light the way. He began to read once again, stroking her curls as he did.

As Hannibal read, Mischa started to doze off. The story was about a boy who lived as a boy forever so he never had to grow up, and never had to present his second gender or be an adult. He lived with fairies and other creatures, fought pirates and dragons, and all sorts of fun that Mischa thought it would be. With a yawn she gestured to the window. Hannibal stood, tucking her in, and opened it. As the story went, ‘Peter Pan’ flew through the windows to visit children and take them to Neverland, to never grow up.

Who was he to deny her the fairytale and hopeful wish if even for a night. So he went back and got into bed with her again, continuing the story, speaking a low, soothing tone, describing every rich, whimsical detail of the world they both wished they were in. He wanted to be in a far off place, somewhere where secondary genders didn’t matter, which would mean he wasn’t forced to take over in his father’s stead. Where they could forget about the pain and loss of their parents.

***

They drifted off to sleep, and some time during the night Mischa woke to rustling, the windows wide open. She peeked out from her covers, watching as a dark, curly haired boy seemed to be wrestling with something dark. After ten minutes, the boy looked at her and the dark figure darted away and hid. Huffing, the boy flew off back out the window, closing them as he went, and Mischa ran to the drawer in her chest where she saw the thing go.

Hannibal woke up at once and went to Mischa, touching her shoulders, wiping sleep from his eyes. “Mischa, you're dreaming, come back to bed.”

Shaking her head, she tried to open the drawer but it was stuck. Finally she let Hannibal lead her back to bed and crawled in once more with him. She’d check in the morning.

When Mischa was asleep, Hannibal got put of bed and went to the drawer, opening it after some trouble. He was curious about what his little sister had been doing, which he often was of a inquisitive, seeking mindset, especially when it came to the only person he cared for on this earth. No sooner than it was open, he saw a black, shadowy figure, with horns rise out from it, and it made him tumble backwards, more shocked than afraid. The boy looked over to see if Mischa was disturbed and when she wasn’t, he began looking around the room for the figure.

The shadow darted around, behind a bookshelf, knocking things over, hiding once more. Mischa stirred but never woke, curling up in her blankets, sound asleep. Hannibal snarled, hair in his eyes as he looked behind the bookshelf but didn't see it. It was far too dark in the room and he didn't dare light a candle or oil lamp for fear of disturbing his little sister.

From behind, the shadow pushed Hannibal over and tried to dart from the room, but the locked door made it impossible. Getting to his feet, Hannibal grabbed the shadow by the ankle and held fast, trying to understand what he was seeing. The thing wriggled and tugged, but to no avail, it was stuck in Hannibal’s grip.

“What are you?” Hannibal asked, quietly, not sure if it could even answer, but he wasn't letting go until he had some sort of an idea. “I see you.”

The thing kick and squirm, no mouth seen, just a large shadow with antler like horns, vaguely reminiscent of a human like creature.

Hannibal was intrigued, and he felt a sort of connection to the thing. “Not much for conversation,” he chuckled, quietly, and then recalled the story he’d been reading Mischa. No, that wasn’t it, was it? Surely this was some sort of hallucination. So he let go, wanting to see if it ran away again, since there was not much to be done.

Unable to speak, the thing pushed Hannibal over and bolted to the ceiling, flat to it, and clearly glaring down at the young boy. An eerie sense of darkness filled the room, darker than the night itself. The windows burst open, a gust of wind and leaves with it, and the a soft padding of feet on the hardwood floors behind Hannibal.

“Aha! There you are. I knew you’d come out!” At the voice, the shadow tried to dart for the window, but was caught by the boy who tugged it down, wrangling it in.

“And who are you?” Hannibal asked, speaking in hushed tones. He gestured to his sister and put his finger up to his mouth to show he didn’t want her awoken. It was all very strange but he wanted to see this through.

The boy turned at the sound of another voice, clutching the shadow to him, big blue eyes wide. He’d never talked to a regular human child before, seen of course, but never spoken. “Will.”

“I’m Hannibal,” the boy whispered, and walked closer, his amber eyes illuminated by the moonlight. He thought that he had never seen someone so… ethereal looking before. “That belongs to you, I take it? Why did you lose something so important, Will?”

“He ran off. He does that,” Will said, sitting on the ground, trying to stick the shadow back on with his spit. Fire worked better, but there were not candles lit here. “He hates when we come to the mainland.”

“Oh,” Hannibal said, scratching his chin as he watched with a canted head. “You’re trying to put him back on? I can help, if you’d like. I am rather good at sewing, you see.”

“Sewing?” Will cocked a curious brow at the other boy, they were close in age, a lot like he and his right hand. “Fire will burns him on, but he always manages to get away.”

“I can light a lamp, the one in the corner, away from my sister, Mischa,” Hannibal offered, wondering if Will would feel the pain of it. A fun experiment, even if, for some reason, he didn’t find him distasteful.

“Will this ‘sewing’ keep him on?” Will asked, sitting on the shadow so it couldn’t move, the thing writhing under him. “If not, the fire will do.”

“We could use the fire, and then sew him,” Hannibal suggested, good at problem solving, even at the age of twelve. It was strange, this whole interaction, but he always thought it was fine to be weird, or have unique experiences.

Will nodded his head of dark, floppy curls. “Do it.”

With a bite of his own lip, Hannibal nodded, and walked over to light the lamp, also procuring the needle and thread. He went to Will, and set the lamp down, along with the other items, taking a candlestick and transferring the fire for an easier burn. “Feet first?” he asked, closer to the strange curly haired boy, looking up to meet his eyes in question.

“That’s all I need,” Will whispered, more than aware of the little girl now as she tossed in her bed once. He laid the shadow out, docile for now, and set it over his feet, stuck to his soles. “Go on, with the fire.”

Hannibal nodded again, and didn’t delay, burning the shadow’s blackened foot to Will’s. He looked up to see if there was any sort of pain response, once he did the other foot. “Is that suitable? I’ll start sewing now, if you’re ready?”

The boy had done it time and time again, there was no feeling left to be had, so he merely watched Hannibal with doe-like eyes. “Ready.”

With a flick of his wrist, Hannibal put out the candle, and set it down, taking up the needle and thread. He pulled it through the eye and began his work on sewing it expertly to the soles of Will’s feet. After a few minutes, he was done, and then used his teeth to cut the excess, setting everything down. “Okay, finished. I hope it’s...to your liking.”

Standing, Will flicked his feet and the shadow followed. He smiled, flitting off the ground to be sure the Shadow would stay. “Yes, much better.”

Hannibal stood, glancing at Mischa, and then back to Will. “Good. Now, how are you doing that? Flying? It’s impossible, or so I thought.”

“Nothing is impossible,” Will teased, floating higher up, flying a circle around the other boy. “Fairy dust, mostly.” At the mention, a small tinkering light flitted into the room and landed on the dresser. “From Molly-Bell. And happy thoughts.”

Dark eyes flitted to the fairy in the room. The Fae had always enchanted him, he loved reading stories that involved them, as well as other beings, and here, in his room, was that very thing. Quickly, he looked back at Will, awestruck as he the boy flew. “I haven’t many happy thoughts, but I am happy when Mischa smiles,” he said, thinking about it, seeing if anything happened, even if he had no dust from Molly-Bell yet.

Will scrunched his nose up at the girl, who was starting to wake, the light from the fairy was near blinding. “Her? That thing?” Will made a face. Girls.

Hannibal turned to Will with phenomenal speed, and narrowed his eyes, snarling. “She is not a thing,” he said, his tone warning the other boy to tread very carefully. No one called his Mischa a thing and gave her any sort of look other than one of respect. “Mind your tongue, or you’ll lose it.”

Will pulled a dagger from his belt, swooping near Hannibal, Molly’s glow making his shadow bigger on the wall, antlers large and intimidating. “My tongue for your lungs.”

“Not here,” Hannibal growled, stepping closer, grabbing the letter opening from the table. He didn’t want to disturb his little sister, and he had no intentions of leaving her alone in this world. The boy brandished it tightly in his hand, circling Will, with no fear. “This is how you repay someone who’s helped you? After you break into their home?”

“You threatened me first,” Will pointed out, clear that he knew very little social graces. “You act like the adults, the pirates. Pompous and awful.” Molly flew over and tugged on Hannibal’s hair, small grunts resounding as she fluttered about him, pulling until he flew back to Will and sat on his shoulder.

“Hannibal?” Mischa whispered from the bed, peering out over the edge, hair messy. It was the first word she’s spoken since their parents died.

Hannibal had been about to offer a retort to Will, or maybe stab him, he didn’t know, but then he heard that sweet voice, and he hid the weapon behind his back, looking at his little sister, while keeping Will in his periphery. “Mischa... go back to sleep, love. It’s alright. I’m…. playing with Will. A new friend,” he said, and then glanced back at him, speaking quietly. “I’m not what you think. There is a story to tell but not time enough to do so now. Leave. Find me later, for tale or tragedy, but not here, not now.”

Mischa was off the bed, ignoring her brother as she went to Will and reached to touch the fairy with big eyes. Molly fluttered down to her and dusted her nose with gold sparkles. Will’s eyes stormed, dangerously.

“It’s why I was here at all. Your stories, your tales. I liked listening to them,” Will confessed, but took a step back.

Hannibal stood in front of Mischa, when he saw the look in Will’s eyes, and moved her back, gently. “Offending my sister isn’t the way to go about it.”

“I wasn’t offending!” Will stepped back again, toward the window. He had liked Hannibal, he was nice, but now? Well, they could forget about visiting with him. “Come on, Molly. Let's go back to Neverland.”

The fairy flew back over and nodded, anxious to get going.

“Neverland?” Mischa asked, voice rough from not being used.

“Mischa…” Hannibal sighed, glad to hear her speaking but it was at an inopportune time. He looked at Will, and drew a breath. “You called her a thing. I think you should know I’m very protective of her. Our uncle is… he’s a monster. I would protect her with my life, and you seemed hostile, Will. What would you do if someone acted that way about your Molly?”

“We’re all things,” Will huffed, floating into the air once more. “You threatened me first. I protect myself just as you protect her. I don’t have anyone else, no brother or sister, no uncles.” Will folded his arms over his chest. “Don’t worry, we won’t be back.”

Mischa tugged on Hannibal’s shirt.

“No, please… stay,” Hannibal said, as he knew what Mischa wanted. He wrapped his arm around her, looking down at her for a moment, and then back to Will. “I apologize for what I said, but we’re not treated the best here. We - I - am always on guard. Survival instinct, which since you don’t have family, I imagine you understand.”

Will had no idea what family was, what it meant, none of it. His family, as far as he was concerned, was Matt and the all the lost dogs, which he had to get back to soon. Molly tugged on one of his elf-like ears. “Hold on, Molly,” he said, swatting at her with one hand to stop. “You could just come with me. You’ll never grow up in Neverland. No family to bother you. Just pesky pirates.”

It was a tempting offer, but Hannibal knew that never was an indefinite thing. “If I come, she comes with us,” he said, not willing to ever be apart from her. He’d suffer through his old age, and everything in between if it meant keeping her safe.

Will shrugged his shoulders and nodded at Molly. The fairy flew over them and sprinkled them with her gold dust. “Happy thoughts.”

Difficult for Hannibal, but he got Mischa’s coat on, and her shoes, grabbing her favorite bear before he took her hand and thought of her beautiful smile, as well as freeing her from their prison. “Mischa, think of something happy, yes?”

Mischa nodded and closed her eyes, thinking hard. “Candy, cake…”

Hannibal smiled, and up they both went, to where Will was. He kept his hand on hers, feeling magical like that. “This is… wonderful.”

Dogs were Will’s happy thoughts, all of them. He smiled and let Molly lead the way to the window. “C’mon then. Stay close.”

Mischa took Hannibal’s hand, as not to get lost. Hannibal kept his hand on Mischa’s not letting go for a moment as he flew with her to the window, and then out, with some caution, but they were in this together now.

“Lead the way, Will. We’re right beside you.”

Grinning over at them both, having never brought visitors to Neverland before, Will lead the way, up into the sky, high above the clouds where the stars shone brightly. “Second star to the right, straight on ‘til morning.”

The directions were odd, but Hannibal was in this now, and was determined to see it through, happy with things that were not boring. This certainly wasn’t. He nodded with a smile, and kept his sister close, following Will and the little fairy. “Mischa are you having fun?”

Wind whipped her hair and pinkened her cheeks that rounded with the smile plastered across her face. “Mhm.”

“Good.” Feeling happy about that, Hannibal took her higher, still keeping in tandem with Will. The night was beautiful, stars shining and seemingly so close they could touch them. He only wished he could see the look on his uncle’s face when he returned and they were gone.

They flew for what felt like hours, and finally an island came into view, beautiful and nearing dawn as the sun rose as they arrived. The water sparkled below them as Will took them closer to the surface, lying just beneath were mermaids, swimming about. Mischa laughed, watching, and wide eyed with wonder.

Hannibal took in everything, just as wide eyed, but kept a vigilant eye on their surroundings. He still half expected to wake up. As they flew, he saw a large pirate ship off in the distance, and he made a note of that but nonetheless, he was having an amazing time. “This is phenomenal.”

It wasn’t a safe place, but Will knew nothing else, and the adventure was always happening, be it creatures or pirates. He smiled over his shoulder at the two, curls wind-whipped around his face. He pointed off to the cove, a large gathering of trees. “That’s where we live, atop of the trees.”

“And the only adults here are pirates?” Hannibal asked, wanting to know even more. He smiled back at Will though, then at his little sister, heading towards those trees. The boy could sense the danger, like a dark whisper dancing in the clouds, and reverberating off the trees they flew over. It was entirely enticing.

As they flew over the water, the sun rose around them, sending Will’s dangerous horned shadow cascading over the shimmery surface. “Mostly.”

“You have quarrels with all of them?” Hannibal asked, looking at the shadow, and recalling Will’s dark side. It had sent his heart racing with delight at seeing it.

“Always. Captain Budge is the worst!” Will laughed at that, blasting off faster toward the trees.

Hannibal kept up, and made sure his sister was connected to him the entire time. “Captain Budge?”

They landed atop the trees, on the deck of a tree house, the sound of panting and wagging coming from the room inside, as well as down below in the forest. “The worst pirate of them all. He’s always trying to kill me.”

“He dislikes children or what reason does he have to want to kill you?” Hannibal asked, lacing his fingers with Mischa’s as they walked on the deck. The boy didn’t miss home, he knew he wouldn’t, but one day he might have to settle the score with his uncle.

“Any and all. I almost killed him once, chopped his finger off and fed it to the wendigo.” Will smiled mischievous. “He's been after Budge since.”

“Wendigo. That is a horned creature, I think, yes?” Hannibal asked, having read up on the beast, and having noticed it before. He smiled though, proud of the knowledge that he was right about the darkness he’d sensed. “I imagine he does hold quite the grudge.”

“Yeah. Antlers,” Will gestured over his head, his shadows antlers cast over the deck, over its horns. He gave Hannibal a knowing look. “The island changes you. You'll never grow up, you'll never present, but you'll be different.”

“I am open to that,” Hannibal said, looking at the shadow antlers, and then to Mischa, making sure she wasn’t afraid. He wondered how it might change her. It was a curious thought, and as long as she was safe, he was more than fine with it. “I was being groomed as an Alpha. I have all the signs of it, and am very close to presenting, or was.”

Will grimaced, and moved to push back vines and leaves, letting them through into the main hut where a pile of dogs and another young boy lie. “Good thing I found you.”

Matt looked up, rubbing his eyes as he sat and eyed Hannibal suspiciously. “Who did you find, Will?” he asked, as Hannibal quirked a brow, stopping himself from what he was going to say to Will in answer before seeing the other brown haired boy.

“Hannibal and a girl,” Will said, nonchalant, and tossed ruby red apples to Hannibal and Mischa.

They both caught the apples, Hannibal nodding in thanks as Matt huffed, but then made a decision. “Are they our parents? Or is she our sister and he’s our father?”

“He’s our age, how could he be our father?” Will rolled his eyes but then sized up Hannibal. He was rather… grown up. “Unless you wanted to be.” Molly tittered and laughed, sprinkling gold everywhere.

“What would that entail?” Hannibal asked, looking back at Will, stepping closer as he still continued to hold Mischa’s little hand in his own. In a lot of ways, he was her father, her charge.

“I dunno.” Will bit into an apple, standing near Matt. “We’ve never had parents. Can’t remember our own.” Will looked at Matt, chewing slowly.. “Tell us stories and...”

“And guide you all?” Hannibal finished, questioning as he did. He bit into the apple, sharp fangs tearing the red, shiny skin, and then began to chew. There was a regal maturity even when he did that, his features moving with each bite. “I’ll tell you stories, for starters.”

Will knew that was a mother’s thing, but he’d take what they could. There were no genders here except with the pirates. Will tossed the apple over the edge to the forest floor and got up close to Hannibal. “Guide us for what? I’m the leader. You’d just be the pretend adult.”

“We would guide them together,” Hannibal offered, looking at Will in the eyes, his own dazzling with a spark of power, darkness, and intrigue before he took another bite.

Laughing, Will rounded his shoulders. “We’ll see how you hold up against pirates first.”

Mischa tugged on Hannibal’s hand; it sounded dangerous. She liked it here, but she wanted to play with the fairies and the dogs.

“Yes, well, should they come around, I’ll deal with them, but for now, why don’t you give us the tour and let us meet the dogs,” Hannibal suggested, giving Mischa’s hand a gentle squeeze of reassurance.

“Well, this is where we sleep,” Will said, since it was just him, Matt, and the dogs usually, everything was cozy. “Molly’s house is just there.” He pointed to small little box that looked like a tiny apartment hanging from the window.

Moving them toward the heep of dogs, he took Mischa’s hand and lead her to them. “These are the Lost Dogs. Any dog that ever ran away from a bad home, or wasn’t wanted anymore, they come here.”

“All of them?” Mischa asked, her voice small as she pet a mangey looking dog with an overbite.

“Most of them.”

Still ever watchful, Hannibal stayed close, but when he saw how Will spoke to her, he smiled, feeling more at ease with their interaction for now. “I assume they aren’t from here?”

Mischa was small, and if there was anything Will knew, it was that small ones had to be protected, especially in Neverland, girl or not. Will looked up at Hannibal with blazen bright eyes. “No. We don’t have dogs in Neverland.”

“Until you,” Hannibal grinned, canting his head a tick as he smoothed down his hair. He gestured to his and Mischa’s clothing, since they were still in their pajamas. “Do you have any extra attire we could put on? Before story time begins?”

Will had what he wore and then a few other outfits, nothing great, but little tunics and tights, vines and leaves, whatever he could find, sometimes left overs from the pirates. On that, “You and I could go find some at the pirate’s dock.”

“And Mischa?” Hannibal asked, not willing to part with her, unless he was more than certain she would be safe, and even then it wasn’t likely. Still, they needed clothing.

“Matt can watch her, or Molly. The dogs won’t let her go anywhere,” Will insisted. “She’s safer here than with pirates.”

Hannibal took a moment to contemplate that, and then looked at Mischa, nodding. “You have a point,” he said, and then sighed, crouching near his sister. “Is that alright with you, love?”

Mischa snuggled into the dogs, letting them lick her all over. “Yes, that’s alright.”

Will didn’t ask Matt or Molly what they wanted, but the fairy fluttered over to Mischa anyway, perched uptop an orange dog.

“Very well, I shan’t be long,” Hannibal assured, and then kissed the top of her head, before he turned to Will. “I’m ready then, Will.”

Will watched the affection and turned away, looking at Matt. “Hold down the fort.” He went to the window and flew out, easily, no need to rethink about any happy thoughts.

Hannibal did the same, catching up to Will since he'd gotten his bearings with flying. It was hard to intrust Mischa to strangers and dogs but putting her at risk wasn't what he wanted either. Will waited up as they got to the clouds, turning onto his back to watch Hannibal.

“We’ve never had a girl here,” he whispered and slowed down to match Hannibal. “Sorry for calling her a thing.”

“And I’m sorry for threatening to remove your tongue,” Hannibal said, just as quiet as he looked over at Will. “It is understandable when the only female presence you’ve had is Molly-Bell.”

“She’s just a fairy.” Will lead them along, keeping a watchful eye on Hannibal. He was nothing like Matthew, but had a much darker shadow lingering around him, threatening to change as Will’s had so long ago.

“Yes,” Hannibal mused, as they soared through the sky. He wondered then, canting his head towards Will anew, “Have you ever been given a kiss?”

Wrinkling his nose, his voice quieter as they approached a pier at the cove. Landing he looked at Hannibal. “A what?”

“A kiss. I feel as though you deserve one, seeing as you’ve taken us in the way you have, and it would also be another way to prove my apology,” Hannibal whispered, standing in front of Will.

“It’s a reward? A token?” Will asked, sheltering them off from being seen for now, they didn’t need Budge on their tail. “Treasure?”

“Yes, something like that,” Hannibal answered, smiling and looking around cautiously as well. “After we’re done here, let’s go someplace private, and I’ll give it to you, if you’d like?”

Brow furrowed, Will nodded, taking his dagger out to protect himself as they walked silently toward the pirate ship, The Cello. “Okay. Stay down and do only what I do.”

Hannibal still had the letter opener tucked into the back of his pajamas, miraculously, and he pulled it out, gripping it tight in preparation as he stayed low. “Yes, okay, Will.”

They slid along the side of the ship and Will floated up to look through one of the slots and on to the deck. Pirates were bustling about their duties, and Budge was at the helm, contemplating with his right hand man beside him. Will looked down at Hannibal and offered his hand to come up and see.

“That’s Budge and Franklyn.”

Hannibal took Will’s hand, and peered in, remaining cautious as he did so. They looked like an odd pair, he thought to himself, but it hardly mattered as long as they left them alone. He nodded at his new friend, and awaited his next command. It was admittedly unusual for Hannibal to allow someone his age take the lead, but he didn’t mind with Will, despite the hint of Alpha instincts that had just started to show up before he and Mischa were lead to Neverland.

Budge was dressed in a fine wine colored coat with white ruffles out of the sleeves, the contrast stunning with his complexion, and he knew very well how much so with the strut he took up whenever he walked. Will rolled his eyes and sneaked around the side further, making sure Hannibal was with him. As much as he loved his mischief, he promised this would be quick.

“Here,” he whispered, a little clothing line where a few pirates were cleaning their clothes and letting them dry. “Not much for girls though.”

Hannibal took it, with a nod in thanks, and saw a smaller outfit, presumably for one of the much smaller, almost dwarf like pirates, so he took that as well for his sister. “It’s alright, this shall do nicely.”

“Great.” Will took more for good measure and then flew straight up and knocked Budge in the head with his foot with a laugh as he flew off.

Looking down as he flew next to Will, he and Budge locked eyes, and a sort of familiar understanding seemed to occur. It was nothing positive, and Hannibal knew it meant trouble for later but he said nothing, just wanting to get away.

“C’mon!” Will reached to grab Hannibal’s hand once more and tug him away faster. “He has cannons, we can’t dawdle long.”

Hannibal gripped Will’s hand as he flew as fast as he could go, sniffing a little snarl at the thought of the vile pirate and his first mate. “He is a monster, much like my uncle.”

“He is!” Will agreed with a laugh. “Monsters can be fun, but he’s the kind you don’t want around. Just an awful cod.”

“I did enjoy tormenting my uncle,” Hannibal admitted, his thoughts even darker now than they had been back home. He followed Will, waiting for a safe location to land to give his kiss.

Will laughed. “I saw him, he was awful too.” He landed on a rock near the mermaid lagoon, far from anyone else and bundled the clothes up in his arms.

“Yes, very much,” Hannibal chuckled, and landed right in front of Will, taking in their surroundings. “Are you ready for your kiss?”

Will set down the clothes, for now, and then held out his hand. “Yes.”

Hannibal had been about to pucker up when he saw Will’s hand extend, so he then considered it, and reached out to take it into his out. He pressed his lips to Will’s pulse, letting it linger enough to feel it beat. “Your kiss.”

The other boy flushed up to his pointed ears, watching Hannibal’s every move, wondering if he’d bite him, but when he didn’t he curled his fingers into his palm. “That’s a kiss?”

“One type, yes,” Hannibal answered, his own tawny skin a bit flushed as he smiled and licked his fangs as though he’d considered biting into him as well. They seemed to be on a similar wavelength, even if they weren’t aware yet. “Did you enjoy it?”

“Yes,” Will blurted out, not pulling his hand back, but instead touching Hannibal’s sharp teeth, leaning closer. “Are you part beast?”

Hannibal nipped at Will’s fingertip, just grazing, and cut his eyes up to ethereal blues, grinning at that. It was flattering, both that he’d enjoyed it and that he thought he might be part beast. “We all can be beasts, I think,” he said, not entirely sure, not at his age, but he assumed so. “Not literally though.”

“Here you will be,” Will insisted, taking Hannibal’s hand and pressing his lips to his pulse in turn.

A breath was drawn when he felt Will’s lips on his skin, and in his mind, a pact was made. They were friends now, always, and he felt an indescribable joy. He didn’t mind if he became a beast, or a demon, whatever the case, as long as his and Will’s played together, and Mischa was safe. “Thank you, Will. That… I really enjoyed my kiss from you.”

Beaming, Will let go and picked up the clothes. “Let’s get back before your sister worries.”

Hannibal helped, and smiled, nodding. “Yes, let’s,” he said and then lifted off, floating in the air with his free hand held out.

Will took his hand and off they flew, soaring through the clouds. They landed close and when they did, to announce himself this time, the sun fully up and the island awake, Will let out a howl.

Hannibal found he like that, and snapped his teeth delightfully. His immediate action after that was to look for Mischa, clothes in hand. “Mischa?”

Mischa was asleep in the pile of dogs with Molly-bell curled up on her shoulder, yawning. Will set the other clothes aside, for later. Hannibal smiled and set the clothes he had down, save for one big jacket, which he used to cover her up with.

“Looks as though we have more time to ourselves.”

Will didn’t see Matt, but he was probably out hunting. “So we do. Did you want to see more of the island?”

“I would, yes, but nowhere too far since Matt isn’t near,” Hannibal suggested, wanting to be within earshot incase.

“Good idea,” Will sighed, “we can go down forest level.”

“Yes, I think that’s good. I can tell you a tale while we’re there, if you wish?” Hannibal suggested, wanting to make Will smile, since he heard that sigh.

“Okay.” Will smiled over at Hannibal and then floated down to the surface.

Hannibal floated down with Will, after throwing on a change of clothes behind the brush. He smoothed down the white ruffled shirt, over the black trousers and smiled at him. “Much better.”

Will just laughed, used to seeing it on pirates, but Hannibal pulled it off okay.

“I believe you were going to show me around the perimeter?” Hannibal said, looking at the way Will’s pointed ears lifted when he laughed.

“There isn’t much.” Will took Hannibal’s hand and tugged him close. “It’s not so dangerous here. Cannibal cove is far more dangerous.”

Hannibal braced a hand on Will's shoulder, looking at him up close. He ticked his head to the side at that and pursed his lips. “Cannibals?”

“Yes. There used to be more of us boys here,” Will said with a little smirk. “The wendigo lives there.”

“You don't seem upset by the loss of the other boys,” Hannibal noticed, smirking at that. Will was a beautiful creature.

“They were stupid.” Will picked up a rock and tossed it toward the water. “The dumb ones always die first.”

“I feel as though that's a part of the process. Natural selection, I believe it's called,” Hannibal agreed, taking a rock and doing the same, watching it skim across the water perfectly. “In the end, it's about survival, and finding one or two people to keep close, to progress together.”

“I don’t bring other children here for that reason. Some show up, the fairies grab them, but Matt’s the only one that’s lived,” Will explained and looked at Hannibal. “Mischa has to stay away from the cove.”

“I will not let her near it,” Hannibal assured, a growling promise in his tone that wasn't aimed at Will.

“But you’re curious.” A glint in Will’s eyes shone through as he stepped closer to Hannibal. “I can take you later.”

“I am, yes,” Hannibal agreed, mimicking Will and stepping forward, as though they were just alike. To him, they were. “I'd rather enjoy that, Will.”

“Tonight. It’s best at night, in the dark. Mischa can sleep while we go.”