"Is this seat taken?"
Will refuses to look up as Hannibal slides onto the barstool next to him. "I'm not talking to you."
Hannibal hums as agreeably as if Will had complimented his terrible shirt. He picks up one of the empty shot glasses in front of Will and examines it in the dim light, turning it so the last drop of whiskey shifts along the glass and, because he wouldn't be Hannibal if he didn't, bringing it briefly to his nose.
"We're supposed to be laying low," Will growls at him. The bar isn’t loud, exactly, but between the jukebox and the conversation around them, they won’t be overheard if they keep their voices down.
"It's not as if I left a mess," Hannibal says in that offhand way he has that makes Will want to strangle him sometimes. Then he tilts his head back and tips the last drop of Will's whiskey onto his tongue, and Will wonders if maybe Hannibal would let him.
It's not like he hasn't thought of it before, his hands on Hannibal's throat, in one context or another.
"Are you going to storm off to the nearest disreputable bar every time I do something you don't like?" Hannibal looks at him then, and Will remembers suddenly that he's not looking at Hannibal, not talking to Hannibal. He stares at his bottle of beer instead, picking at the label.
Will has, over the years, heard and read quite a bit of advice on how to train dogs. A lot of it is bullshit. Things about asserting dominance, about physical control. He feels like an idiot sometimes when he thinks how much time he's spent fighting to get Hannibal on his back, when the most effective deterrent he's ever found for bad canine behavior is to turn his back and ignore the dog until they stop acting up.
Hannibal will probably catch on to the strategy eventually, but it's been pretty effective so far, especially if he includes that time Hannibal turned himself in to the FBI. Smiling in private amusement, Will signals the bartender for another pair of shots.
"This is terrible whiskey," Hannibal complains, when the man is gone again. Rude to complain in front of a stranger. Not rude to insult Will's choices, of course. That's practically a habit.
"No it isn't," Will tells him, and drains his tiny glass slowly instead of shooting it, just to make the point. "I don't drink bad whiskey. You're just a snob."
"I have a refined palate."
"You practically licked my glass clean a minute ago."
"Not for the whiskey. I wanted to taste what you were tasting."
And there he goes. That strange, blunt honesty Will barely knows how to process after so many lies. It feels like it must be another manipulation, but Will has no idea what it's supposed to make him think or feel.
It's on the tip of his tongue to taunt Hannibal about his thwarted plan to taste Will himself, back in Florence. The thought scrambles itself somehow, and what comes out is, "what I was tasting, or what I taste like?"
It sounds more flirtatious than his bitter intent. If he curses he'll draw more attention to the words, so he reaches out for the second shot instead, since Hannibal doesn't want it.
Except, Hannibal's hand covers the glass before Will can reach it. Their fingers brush.
"Really, Will," he says, his damned eyes sparkling, "I'm not so young I can afford to be choosy when a man buys me a drink."
"Laugh now," Will tells him. "The tab's on your card."
He realizes his miscalculation a moment before Hannibal's whole face brightens. He turns his hand under Will's and grasps his fingers, for all the world like he's going to lift Will's hand to his mouth. Actually, he might, though as always the question of whether Hannibal would rather kiss him or eat him looms large.
"Really, Will," Hannibal says, thumb stroking Will's knuckles. "Letting a man buy you a drink is one thing, but so many invites certain expectations. Shall I take you home to bed?"
'Bed' at the moment is a second-hand mobile home, purchased with cash three states ago. Not a terribly romantic or seductive prospect. Will snorts a laugh and glances away, just in time to catch a glare from a flannel-clad trucker at the far side of the horseshoe-shaped bar. "Is that why you came after me?"
"Did you expect I would not?" Hannibal hasn't let go of his hand. "I thought you might need a break. We've been a bit in each other's pockets. But I shouldn't like to go to bed alone, with you out wandering and angry."
"You think I can't take care of myself?" Will asks, as amused by this turn of conversation as he his by Hannibal's new penchant for hand-holding. The cold shoulder worked, then.
"I think you can but often don't," Hannibal corrects.
And he was, at least on some level, anxious that Will wouldn't come back, whether due to discovery or desertion. Will had accused Hannibal of fostering codependency once, years ago, but it's a useful tool. Will only has so many weapons left in this war, now that Hannibal has stripped so much from him.
Without thinking what he's doing, Will lifts Hannibal's hand between them so that he can fetch the last whiskey shot and down it, ignoring Hannibal's faint frown. Will's accumulated a collection of empty glasses, yes, but he's also been here half the night. He feels warm and loose - too buzzed to drive. But he's not drunk. Not very drunk, anyway.
Hannibal is holding Will's dominant hand. Will really should have pulled his fingers free to take the drink, instead of letting their joined hands fall, now, to rest on the bar.
"Edinburgh," Hannibal says, without unneeded context.
"Better," Will allows. "The whole UK is nuts for public surveillance, though."
"It would be worth the risk to introduce you to proper whisky."
"You think I've never had a pricey scotch?" Will laughs. "If I want to taste smoke I'll barbecue."
"I'm tasting smoke now. This place is abominable, Will. I know you have better taste, so I can only imagine you're punishing me."
"Hey, I didn't make you come here. I didn't even tell you where I was going."
But he knew Hannibal would come after him, and he stayed here until Hannibal did. They both know it, but Hannibal is entirely incapable of admitting he did something predictable. "I really do wish you'd reconsider Florence," he says instead, redirecting the conversation.
"If you really wanted to take me there," Will argues, "you probably shouldn't have killed so many people last time you went."
Hannibal scoffs, as if this is somehow a ridiculous idea.
"How was that supposed to go, anyway?" Will asks. "I've always wondered. I wouldn't have made a very convincing Lydia Fell."
"The identities I'd arranged for us were unsuitable for traveling alone or with a female companion.. I improvised."
"Oh," Will says. "No whirling me around Italian ballrooms, in your plans?" Okay, maybe he's a bit more drunk than he imagined, if that came out of his mouth. He thinks he's managed, so far, not to give away too much of his irrational hurt and jealousy that Bedelia was the one to be maybe-kidnapped for a European murder tour.
"I didn't say that," Hannibal says warmly, and shifts his hand, turning it to lace their fingers together.
"Sorry to ruin the fantasy, but I actually can't dance," Will tells him.
"I could teach you."
What a fucking disaster that would be. He doesn't doubt for a second Hannibal would take shameless advantage of that kind of proximity. "I'd step on your feet."
"You are graceful and fit, with a fighter's instinctive knowledge and control of you body," Hannibal says, looking at him seriously. "And you track me when I move, intuiting my intentions from the slightest shifts of my posture. Once you've learned the basic steps I don't doubt that we'd dance beautifully. As we did the night we slew the dragon."
Well, fuck. Will swallows against his suddenly dry throat and wishes he hadn’t finished off his beer.
A man brushes past them, riding leather and the smell of exhaust and old sweat. He jostles Will as he sits beside him, too big and too close, tattooed shoulder in Will’s space, forcing him to change position.
“This ain’t a fag bar,” he says, as the bartender pulls him a beer without asking.
From the corner of his eye, he sees Hannibal’s lip twitch.
Down, boy, he thinks, and turns to lock eyes with Hannibal. If he says anything Hannibal will probably kill the man just to prove he’s not going to let Will control him. Instead, Will just stares at him, because Hannibal is hardly ever the first one to look away.
Combined with his grip on Hannibal’s hand, it might look like a deep and romantic gesture to anyone who doesn’t know it’s actually a wrestling match.
“We heard you,” Will says, which makes Hannibal smile, and then, because Hannibal is behaving himself and looking to Will for a cue, “we were getting ready to leave, anyway.”
“Were we?” Hannibal asks, even as Will pulls him to his feet. He seems content to allow himself to be pulled along as Will settles the tab and gets them outside into the gravel lot. He loses some of his docility when Will drops his hand, though. “He was very rude.”
“You know,” Will says as he walks away, examining the vehicles parked in front of the bar. “Most men who spend a few years locked up, when they get out they try to make up lost time fucking, not murdering.”
“The opportunity for the former hasn’t exactly presented itself.”
Will freezes, his knife halfway out of his pocket. He turns slowly to look at Hannibal, eyes narrowed.
Dogs are social creatures, and social punishments and rewards are enough to motivate most of them. When a high-energy, high-intelligence dog acts out destructively, though, usually what they need is a lot of exercise, and something to occupy their time.
Maybe he’s been going about this wrong.
Will comes unstuck, and finishes unfolding his knife. It's barely the work of a minute to saw a few jagged gashes into the tires of the only appropriate bike in the lot.
Then he crosses the lot toward Hannibal, who is watching him and the knife with interest. "How did you-"
"Skull and V tattoo," Will explains as he folds the knife and puts it away. "Polaris shut down the Victory line a few years ago, so I didn't expect there to be many, and Harleys are really more common for that set anyway."
Hannibal has the same fascinated, sparkling look he always used to get when he watched Will at crime scenes, so Will catches his collar in one hand to hold him still and kisses him softly on the mouth.
He loves when Hannibal is this caught off guard, all his smugness wiped away. He goes entirely still, as if his brain can't process what affect is required for this situation fast enough to display the correct expression without a lag. It makes Will entirely too proud of himself.
He fixes Hannibal's collar and steps back.
Hannibal licks his lips.
"What do I taste like?" Will asks.
Hannibal reaches out and pulls him closer again, until their foreheads are pressed together. "Like very bad whiskey."
Will feels his own laughter reflected back off Hannibal's mouth. "Oh well, in that case…"
"Argentina," Hannibal says very firmly. "I'll teach you to tango."
"Maybe," Will concedes. "If you're a good boy."