The website was not what Will expected.
Not that he would have an idea what to expect, having never done this before. But he had a vague notion of sexy pictures, raunchy red, and a fantasy-laden bio. This website was none of that. It put his own to shame, and he was an author who frequented the best-seller-list. His site was professional and elegant.
This—This was something entirely else.
Without the 18+ content warning at the beginning of the site, Will might not have known it was a sex site. The design was modern and minimal, with the name HANNIBAL written in light caps at the head of the page, wide kerning. Below was a short header: Be my guest.
The photo gave Will pause as well. The headshot showed a handsome man, older than he expected, in a vibrantly patterned three piece suit. He wasn’t smiling, but there was a pleased gleam in his eyes. High cheekbones and beautifully smooth skin made him seem almost ethereal.
The writing below was enigmatic.
You need direction. I can provide. My time and company are precious, so I only spend with those who deserve it.
Below was a video clip. Will clicked on it cautiously. From a white blur, the camera focused on the back of a man in a crisp white shirt and slacks, bending over a counter in an elegant kitchen. Will watched the way his muscles moved against the material, his exposed forearms. The camera moved closer, not perfectly smooth but as if someone was walking towards him. The man—Hannibal of course—turned towards the camera and gave a tame but fond smile. His hands were covered in flour, which he rinsed in the sink, and then he poured two glasses of red wine. Each movement was precise and elegant. One glass he handed to the camera man and the other he raised with a little nod.
The video cut after Hannibal scented the wine, his eyes fluttering closed.
Will felt uneasy, like he had just witnessed something intimate and personal, not an advertisement for a sex worker. Although there was a sinful quality to him that Will couldn’t put his finger on.
Will read every sentence on the site.
He was just curious, he assured himself, as he looked over Hannibal’s photo gallery and read about his background. Just curious if the reviews would enlighten him to the nature of his services. Just curious to view the application form, and then to fill it out.
The whiskey helped matters along.
Name: Will Graham
Phone Number: ----------
Occupation: Non-Fiction Author
What brought you to me? My agent told me to get laid because the only times I leave the house are to walk my dogs or go fishing, alone. I don’t have people in my life, the ways others do, though I wouldn’t describe myself as lonely. I don’t even know if I’m interested in the sex, or if that’s something you do, but at least I’ll be able to tell my agent I gave it a try and get back to my hermetic state.
What do you want from my company? Can you refer me to an agent who will stay out of my personal life?
Have you hired a sex worker before, including escorts, dominants, cam workers, or pornographers? No.
What’s your relationship to pornography? I’m happier imagining things in my head instead of getting bogged down in the performance aspect. I guess I watch porn occasionally but it usually ends in frustration.
What work of art has had an influence in your life? The Stranger Beside Me, Anne Rule. I read it too young and it’s probably the reason I write what I do.
Years of experience with kink: None
Will submitted the form before he could think twice about it.
He didn’t think about the application or Hannibal the next day. He thought about chapter 8, which was falling apart every time he touched it like rotting wallpaper. Wow. There’s a fucking abysmal simile.
The manuscript for The Minnesota Shrike was due in a month, and Will was struggling with Abigail’s side of the story. He wanted to do right by the girl, who had come to trust him enough to give a few interviews; but his obligation was also to the truth. And sometimes, when he looked at all the evidence, he began to doubt her innocence.
It was unusual for Will to get personally involved with the lives he wrote about. He put himself in their shoes, enough to feel like he had been there, but that was all in his head and in his books. Abigail was an exception, and it was throwing him for a loop.
He wrote all morning, taking a break to run with the dogs around his property, and then back to his computer through the afternoon. Coffee, toast and eggs got him through the day until dinner, where he cooked first for the dogs and then for himself. After dinner was reading with a drink, stretched out on his couch with Buster curled on his ankles.
Another quiet, typical day. At least it was somewhat productive.
His phone rang on the side table, unexpected. Probably Beverly, she was the only one who called him with any regularity. Alana had been keeping her distance, as of late. Will grabbed the phone and answered without looking.
“Is this Will Graham?”
Will paused. The voice was a man’s, smoothed by an accent that Will couldn’t place. “Uh, yes it is,” he clarified.
“This is Hannibal.”
“I received your application. This is a complimentary phone call, I hope now is a good time.”
“Now is fine,” Will said, and sat up on the couch. Buster readjusted when his feet slipped away. “Is this part of the application process?”
“Yes, but please don’t consider this an interview. Compatibility is of utmost importance to me, and I find a voice conversation to be quite informative.”
“Sure. Want to hear if I have the voice of an axe murderer.”
“I haven’t detected it so far.”
“Well, give it some time.” Will leaned back and took a sip of whiskey. He felt on edge, not sure how this conversation was supposed to go, or what Hannibal wanted out of it.
“How are you occupying yourself this evening, Will?” Hannibal asked politely.
“A book, whiskey, and the dogs.”
“Sounds like a portrait of your life.”
Will chuckled. “Yeah, you got that right. Not much else to it.”
“What do you write?”
“You’re telling me you didn’t google me?”
“Hmm. I did.”
“Must have been interesting enough to warrant this phone call.” Will didn’t think his application had been that compelling.
“Are you always self deprecating, Will?”
“Well, you think very highly of yourself. See? We’re a perfect match.” Will bit his tongue, too late to hold back the rude remark. It had been days, maybe a week since he’d talked with another person, and his filter was shot.
But it didn’t seem to bother Hannibal. “When I looked up your name, I was hoping to learn a little more about you,” he continued, “but it appears that you live a very private life.”
“I don’t like to talk about myself.”
“Perhaps you’d be more comfortable asking questions of me.”
“I guess. I’m curious. I don’t really know what to expect of your services, or even what I’m supposed to say in this conversation. I mean—are you an escort, or…?”
“You’ll have to ask me a complete question, Will.”
Will flushed. Right. Okay. “Do you have sex with your clients?”
“Only a select few,” Hannibal answered.
“What determines that?”
“Not all my clients are interested in actual sex. Some are looking simply for companionship or dominance. And I only see pre-existing clients in person.”
“What do you do that isn’t in person?”
“I do phone calls, and text and email correspondence. I also send videos, and the occasional video call. My clients are invited to the private side of my website, where they can purchase videos and give gifts. In general I provide guidance and stress relief for my clients.”
“It can be sexual. Is that what you’re looking for?”
Will didn’t answer for some time. “I feel like that’s what I’m supposed to want, isn’t it? That’s why I’m doing this.”
“There’s nothing wrong with craving sex, or paying for it.”
“It’s been a long time. I suppose I should warn you that I’m not a people person.”
“Everyone needs human contact,” Hannibal said, “Even the most steadfast of loners. It’s programmed into our biology—we need touch, and social interaction.”
“And that’s what you can provide me?” Will asked, “The prescribed dose of social intimacy?”
He thought he could hear Hannibal smile across the line, and remembered the subtle turn of his lips in the video. “That I can.”
“And I should pay for it.”
“I can assure you, I’m worth every penny.”
Will wanted to scoff. That level of self confidence was borderline narcissistic—but it was a sales pitch, after all. “I don’t find you that interesting,” Will said.
A pause on the other end. For a moment, Will was sure he’d crossed the line. But when Hannibal spoke, he still sounded amused. “You will.”
Hannibal’s email was waiting for Will when he woke up the next day. It was instructional, commanding in tone, and something about that made Will perk up before he had even sipped his coffee.
I have accepted your application. I look forward to getting to know you.
Below you will find your invitation to the private area of my website. There you can create a username. You will also find a page under your name, where I may post content just for you. You are permitted to purchase any video you have access to.
I have strict rules around correspondence and I expect you to adhere to them. No messages to this email will be read. To contact me, send a payment of $_ to my CashNow account RomanFell with your message in the payment note field. At my leisure and my pleasure, I will text your phone in response. You may respond to my text messages until I terminate the conversation, indicated by my signature -Hannibal. Once a conversation has been ended, you must use the CashNow method to contact me.
I expect you to be courteous in our correspondences. You will refrain from crude language and explicit content unless at my command. You will not send me pictures, unless at my command. Under no circumstances will you call my number. If you break these rules, you will either receive one warning or be immediately blocked and blacklisted at my discretion. I do not give more than one warning.
Phone or video calls will be scheduled and initiated by myself, and I will send a prompt invoice. Gifts from my wishlist may be purchased at any time. Do not go off the wishlist unless by my command.
Please note that spending your money is how you show me respect and gratitude. My attention is a luxury.
Any logistical, legal, or financial questions can be directed to my assistant Margot at __________. Please treat her with the respect you treat me.
Will didn’t know what to think. More than a small part of him was offended—why on earth would he pay this man to text him? He had expected to pay for sex, not for chatting. And how did he know that he even wanted to talk to Hannibal any more than he already had? The man had an inflated sense of self worth, that much was already obvious, but paying for texts? It didn’t even seem to be sexual.
What on earth was Will supposed to get out of it?
Well, he wouldn’t be suckered like the others. He put Hannibal out of his mind and tried to focus on writing. Nothing would force him to pay and message the man.
Out on his routine walk with the dogs, Will realized that he also felt a sense of relief. He hadn’t really been prepared to pay someone for sex. Thinking through the logistics made him wince: the humiliation of it, the unknown social interaction, the need to perform sexually. He doubted he would really be able to get out of his head and enjoy himself. Beverly might have been a good agent, but she sure had shit personal advice.
Will was fine on his own. He had his work to focus on. He had his routine, with the dogs and the house to take care of, his fishing to center himself when his mind frayed at the seams. No one was around to judge him for being socially awkward. It was a simple life, but it was a good one.
Rejuvenated by the fresh, crips air, and a weight lifted from his shoulders, Will returned to his writing.
Will isn’t actually interested in whatever Hannibal is offering. He’s just curious.
Another morning, another chapter that was giving Will a headache. And he was out of eggs. Taking his empty refrigerator as a sign that he should get out, Will left the desecrated corpse of chapter 15 on his laptop, and decided to drive into town. Zoe decided that she absolutely had to join him, so he sat her in the passenger seat, and she looked happily out the window as he drove.
It was officially fall and the leaves were changing colors. This was Will’s favorite time of year, though it seemed to last just a moment before winter was upon them—a brief window of easy weather and vibrant colors.
Almost a year ago the Shrike was shot down during an attempted arrest. Will had been following and reporting on the story long before Hobbs was identified, but the story didn’t end with Hobb’s death. When the media tried to tear Abigail Hobbs apart, Will knew he had to write the book.
A year later, and he had come far in understanding Hobbs and the investigation, and had gotten to know Abigail as well. And now he was approaching the end of the manuscript. Once it was done, and edited, it would be time to move on from the case. He wasn’t sure how he felt about that.
Will came into town and parked in the lot of his usual store. Will tended to shop in bulk. He didn’t like being interrupted in his writing by errands, and wasn’t a fan of grocery shopping either. By the time his car was packed up, he was eager to get out of town and back to the sanctuary of his home.
On the ride back, his editor called.
“Hi Bev,” Will said, putting the phone on speaker in the cupholder.
“Hey Will, how are you?”
“Fine. Say hi to Zoe.”
Beverly laughed. “Hi Zoe!” she said, though the dog paid the phone little attention, paws on the windowsill. “How’s the writing coming?”
“Well, I’m not behind.”
“That good, huh?”
“It’s fine, I just keep questioning myself.”
“Because of Abigail? Listen, I know you care about her, but you can’t let that hold you back. You’re not Freddie Lounds, I know you’ll treat her story with respect.”
“I’m trying to.”
“You’ve worked with living victims before. What’s different?”
“I don’t know that I can explain it,” Will said, knowing rather that he didn’t want to look at it too closely.
“Well, I have complete faith in you,” Beverly said. “Just don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.”
“Anything else going on?”
“Nothing new in your life?”
Will groaned. “Jesus, that’s the last thing I want to talk about.”
“Why?” Beverly asked. “Was he bad?”
“What—No! I haven’t seen him, or anyone for that matter.”
“Did you check it out at least?”
“Yes,” Will said, exasperated. “I took a look.”
“Not your type then.”
“I’m not sure what you think you sent me, but I’m not convinced that Hannibal is even a sex worker.”
“What do you mean?”
“He just wants me to pay him to text him. He doesn’t even meet up with all of his clients.”
“Look, all I know is that he came highly recommended. For someone like you.”
“For someone like me,” Will said flatly.
“Well,” Beverly said, “I might have told my friend about you and she might have recommended Hannibal specifically.”
Will glared at the road in front of him. “Maybe you don’t know me so well.”
“Just give it a try, Will. Does talking to someone sound so terrible?”
“Yes,” Will said, petulantly.
At the end of the day, Will’s mind was scattered. He sent the dogs out for a final run of the night, and when they returned with wagging tails, he brushed them all down. He brushed Jack’s teeth as well, since he was prone to cavities and infections. Most of the dogs curled up in their favorite spots in the living room, and Will turned on the space heater for them.
He could have just gone back to his book and spent the rest of the night reading, but he sat back down at his computer. With a mix of morbid curiosity and affront, he returned to Hannibal’s website and followed the instructions to log in.
Now he had access to three more pages: Videos , Gifts , and Will . His own page was blank, with just a note that Hannibal would drop private content here. The Videos page was slightly more enlightening, with a score of videos he could purchase, and brief descriptions beneath a preview image.
May I play a song for you? It’s a composition of my own making.
- Cooking Dinner: Foie Gras au Torchon
Foie Gras may be known for its cruelty, but I never feel guilty for eating anything. Will you join me for dinner?
- Masturbation Instructions (Penises)
I tell you exactly when and how to touch yourself. Look at me. Listen to me. (For clients with penises.)
- Masturbation Instructions (Vaginas)
I tell you exactly when and how to touch yourself. Look at me. Listen to me. (For clients with vaginas.)
- Body Worship
I am joined by an anonymous pet who has the rare privilege of worshipping my body.
My anonymous pet has broken a rule. Find out what happens when you’re naughty.
- Petite Mort
A voyeurs glimpse into my self-pleasure.
So apparently there was sexual content to all this. That made it feel like slightly less of a scam. This was buying porn; pretentious, expensive porn. Will did well enough that he could afford to sate his curiosity, and he was considering buying one of the explicit videos before he paused. Hannibal would know what he bought, surely. Would he think Will was just horny and out for a good wank? He wasn’t, at the moment, more fascinated by this whole operation, wondering what kinds of people paid Hannibal for his time, and what they could possibly get out of it.
What did it matter what Hannibal thought anyway?
Apparently it meant something, because Will didn’t purchase an explicit video. Instead, he bought the first one.
The camera opened on a fancy lounge. Hannibal was sitting on a couch in a brown windowpane suit with a bold tie, hair slicked to the side flawlessly. Will would have never imagined a sex worker wearing such an outfit, although there was something quietly suggestive in the exquisite clothes. Hannibal perked up when the camera turned towards him, and greeted the viewer. “Thank you for coming,” Hannibal said, with a smile as if they were sharing a secret. “I’ve been looking forward to this.”
That took Will off guard. Of course Hannibal wasn’t looking forward to this instance of him watching, but the idea of someone looking forward to spending time with him was… tempting.
“I was hoping to play something for you,” Hannibal said in the video, standing from the couch and straightening his suit jacket. The camera turned with Hannibal towards the rest of the room, where a harpsichord sat before bay windows. The room was unexpectedly lavish. It was daytime, and light was abundant, making Hannibal shrouded for a moment in contrast. “I have been working on this composition on and off for a few years, but I think it’s finally ready to share.”
Hannibal sat on the bench, smoothing his hands over his thighs. He looked at the camera again. “The harpsichord is one of a few instruments I play. I prefer it to the piano. In the piano, notes can be held, lingering in the air like memory. But the harpsichord is immediate. Every plucked note has finality.”
Hannibal struck a note to demonstrate. “Every faculty of the mind and heart devoted to music is energy well spent.”
Then his hands hovered over the keys, and he began to play.
Watching his hands moving across the keys was captivating. The music itself was beautiful. And Will kept watching Hannibal’s face as he played—his peaceful concentration, the dramatic line of his profile. He was incredibly graceful.
When the composition ended, Hannibal’s eyes were closed, fingers held just above the keys, as though savoring the silence, colored as it was by his music. Then his hands were in his lap, and he looked towards the camera, which was quite close. His eyes were large and hooded, strange in shape and all the more intriguing for it. “I hope you enjoyed it,” Hannibal said in a low, warm tone. “For me, music has been a solitary pursuit, one that I only share occasionally. I’m glad you could join me today.”
The video felt personal. Intimate. Will knew it was an illusion, a piece of fantasy, but it still made him feel weirdly exposed—like Hannibal really was sharing something personal with Will. He wondered if Hannibal had this same presence and elegance with his jerk off videos.
Will could find out.
He shook his head at himself. That wasn’t something to dive into tonight. Maybe ever. It wasn’t that Hannibal wasn’t attractive, but it odd to watch porn of someone he knew, even briefly. Someone who knew him, and would know he had bought it. He wasn’t even looking at porn these days.
He wasn’t interested.
Will wouldn’t know what to say to Hannibal anyway. That was the thought that came back to him throughout the next few days. The plague of not knowing the right words was familiar to him as a writer, and when he got stumped at work, his mind would turn to the Hannibal problem.
‘Hello. How was your day?’ or any variations thereof were too plain to catch the man’s interest, and deceptively mundane. They weren’t neighbors waving across the fence. At least it would be polite.
‘I’m not sure what you can offer me’ was honest, but borderline disrespectful. The only reason to ask that would be to get Hannibal to make another sales pitch.
‘What do you get out of this?’ was accusatory.
‘What would you like to talk about?’ was just uninspired.
‘Why did you accept me?’ was self-absorbed. Although Will was curious.
Will eventually caved in and opened CashNow. He prepared to send Hannibal’s account money, and put the cursor in the note field. Another blank page, staring at him.
I haven’t talked to anyone in two days. It’s just me and the writing (and the dogs). I spend all my time with words and then I don’t know what to say. I don’t imagine the cat ever gets your tongue.
He left the tab open and went back to writing after that. By the evening he had nearly forgotten about it, and was just closing some unused tabs in his browser when he came upon the unsent message.
Down the rabbit hole we go , he thought, and sent the payment through.
Let the dogs out, cook their dinner, brush them down on the back porch, cook something for himself, pour a finger of whiskey. Will was feeling a little cooped up, so after dinner he put on his jacket and took his drink to the front porch. The night wasn’t terribly cold, just right with the alcohol warming his chest.
The phone buzzed in his pocket.
Will’s heart jumped to his throat. That could be Hannibal. He set the whiskey between his knees and fished out his phone.
It was him.
Hannibal: Good evening, Will. I hope you’ve had a productive day.
Will stared at his phone for a long moment before typing out his reply.
Will: It was actually.
Hannibal: So words are only giving you trouble when it comes to conversation.
Will: It’s not a problem if I don’t talk to anyone.
Hannibal: Then why did you contact me?
Will: Maybe I like creating problems for myself.
Hannibal: You’re a flatterer, too.
Will chuckled at that, half self-deprecating. He brought the glass to his lips.
Will: Sorry. Being an asshole is an occupational hazard.
Hannibal: I didn’t realize writing was so trying.
Will: Oh it’s awful. But true crime is its own beast. When you spend all day understanding the most depraved criminals it tends to distort your perspective.
Hannibal: The darkest notes of humanity must enlighten the best, if only in relief.
A strange idea. Will stared at the message, trying to form a reply—an interesting one.
Will: Or it’s a shroud that discolors.
Hannibal: Amongst all the horror, is it difficult to make room in your mind for the things you love?
What things? Will thought with a bitter laugh. The wind crept in, and he pulled his jacket tighter around himself.
Will: I just try to keep the good things away so I don’t taint them.
Hannibal: When we speak, you don’t have to protect me from the monstrosities in your mind. And I will also insist that you make room for your enjoyment.
Will: You sound like a therapist.
Hannibal: Perhaps in another life. But in this one, I’m interested in our mutual pleasure and satisfaction. You don’t need to be fixed, Will. You need direction.
Will: I have direction in my life.
Hannibal: Beyond your career lies the social and personal. Do you feel socially and personally satisfied?
Will snorted. His glass was empty, so he padded back inside to the warmth and curled up on the couch, pouring himself just a little more.
Will: I suppose not. So what are my directions?
Hannibal: What do you want from me, now?
Will: No idea.
Hannibal: Then tell me about your day.
Will frowned at the phone, relaxing back on the couch. It had been so long since someone had really asked him about his day. Who knows what Hannibal would get out of it—but the simple command made his stomach flip. So Will obeyed.
Will watches another of Hannibal's videos.
Will texted with Hannibal almost every day that week, and the next. It became his method of unwinding at the end of the day. Hannibal was a good conversationalist, perceptive and lyrical, and Will enjoyed their banter. He wasn’t wholly comfortable talking about himself, but Hannibal seemed genuinely curious about true crime and behavioral science, and was fascinated by psychology and philosophy himself. So they talked about humanity, veering only occasionally to the personal.
It was also nice to have someone to tell about his day, although Will’s days were routinely boring. It had been years since someone was around to ask.
It didn’t feel strange to pay Hannibal to message him; it felt like buying a friend an expensive coffee while catching up, something Will had mostly theoretical experience with. Every time Will sent money, it came with a tug of self-consciousness and sense of dirtiness, quickly shoved to the back of his mind. He didn’t think about the money.
Hannibal was a gorgeous man, there was no denying that. His features were captivating, and in every photo and video he paid utmost attention to the aesthetic, making himself and his surroundings beautiful. There were no selfies in the gallery; everything was a professional quality shoot. But it wasn’t just the beauty that was drawing Will in—it was the power.
Hannibal was powerful. He was in control of himself, his performance, and the way his clients interacted with him. Will could feel that power like a tug in his gut, pulling him inexorably closer; like Hannibal was more dense than reality around him, and generated a gravitational pull. For all Will knew, he might be a black hole, consuming everything that strayed too close. Will wanted a taste of that power.
Will often wondered who Hannibal’s camera person and videographer was. They must be someone Hannibal trusted, Will thought with a spark of jealousy. He was greedy for everything at the edges of the performance, imagining outtakes, adjusting lighting, what Hannibal looked like when he was tired or strained, how he acted when no one was looking. His videos seemed to offer a glimpse into Hannibal’s private life, but it was still an act, and Will wanted more.
People were mostly transparent to Will. It had been a long time since someone fascinated him who wasn’t a serial killer.
Will had only purchased the two non-sexual videos, the harpsichord and cooking one. He was growing more and more curious about the others, but felt too ashamed to actually buy them.
CashNow Payment Note: I know this is absurd, but I don’t want you to think that I’m only interested in you sexually.
Hannibal replied almost immediately, making Will’s stomach flutter.
Hannibal: How else are you interested in me?
Will blushed. He got the sense that Hannibal was making fun of him, at least a little.
Will: You interest me. You have a fascinating mind.
Hannibal: Not all my clients are sexually attracted to me, Will, though they are attracted to what I can provide.
Will: I am attracted. I don’t want you to feel that I’m reducing you to a fantasy.
Hannibal: Presumptive of you to believe that I care what you think of me.
Will paused, taken aback—and for a flash of a moment, angry. He reread their conversation so far and considered how Hannibal would perceive his words.
Will: That sounded condescending, I apologize.
Hannibal: You’re self conscious about your desires, and come to me to be assuaged. I assure you, your reaction is quite normal.
Will frowned. He didn’t want to be normal to Hannibal. Hannibal was typing again.
Hannibal: I can provide comfort as easily as cruelty. Buy the video, Will. That’s not a suggestion.
His face heated and his stomach clenched with that strange feeling of dirtiness. Hannibal was ordering him. God, the feeling it evoked in him was better than any high, like a rush of blood and light in his head.
Will: Thank you, Hannibal.
Hannibal: You’re welcome, Will. - Hannibal
- Masturbation Instructions (Penises)
I tell you exactly when and how to touch yourself. Look at me. Listen to me. (For clients with penises.)
Will bought the video at night, laptop propped on his lap in bed. His gut was churning with a mix of shame and eagerness. The preview image for the video was Hannibal sitting on a teal couch in a windowpane three-piece suit, bright red lines on charcoal. His legs were spread, back arched, one hand firmly on his thigh and the other unbuttoning his waistcoat.
Will was incredibly fucked.
When the video was unlocked, Will took a deep breath, blood already rushing south. He clicked play.
The camera opened on a full length shot of Hannibal sitting on the couch, one leg crossed over the other and hands folded neatly at his knee. He had a slight smile on his face, looking like the devil himself about to offer Will’s deepest desires.
“Hello,” Hannibal said, voice thick and low, as the camera zoomed in. “Sit back and relax. I’m going to keep you here for a while.”
Will breathed an uneasy laugh as Hannibal uncrossed his legs, planting them wide. His hands moved slowly from his knees up his thighs, curling up at his hips to touch the edge of his suit jacket. “Do exactly as I say. I’m going to tell you when to touch yourself, and how. The first time you watch this, you won’t make it to the end of the video without orgasm. But see how far you can last.”
Will’s hands twitched at the computer. He was already swelling slightly in his pants, just at Hannibal’s words. Hannibal unbuttoned his suit jacket. The suit was immaculately fitted, clutching at Hannibal’s chest and waist and thighs. He ran his fingers over his tie, down the buttons of his waistcoat and to the top of his trousers, skimming to the side at the last minute to barely miss touching himself. His back and neck arched sinfully as he ran his fingers up the inseam of his pants.
Will was transfixed. He could feel Hannibal’s touches like they were on his own body, or like he was touching him, the slide of skin against expensive fabric. “Look at me,” Hannibal said, as if Will were not. “My thighs… my hands. Think about touching me.”
“Fuck,” Will cursed, his head falling back against the headboard. It was a good thing the laptop was over his lap, or else he would be sorely tempted to palm his erection.
Hannibal loosened the tie at his neck, humming a soft note of desire, tongue at his teeth. “Do you want to see more of me?” Hannibal asked, eyes piercing the camera. “Unbutton my suit, strip the fabric from the skin?” He thumbed the top button of his waistcoat, other hand digging into his muscular thigh. “Gently rub your cock through your pants. Start getting hard for me.”
“Nn, god.” Will set the laptop beside him on the bed and palmed his cock. He tried to be gentle, slow, and was filling out embarrassingly quickly. He felt hot all over, aching between his legs.
Hannibal stood up, gracefully stripping out of his suit jacket and bending at the waist to lay it over the armrest. His hands roamed over himself with a sigh and he showed himself off, turning slowly one way and the other, showing Will a glimpse of his round ass and the growing bulge of his trapped erection. His hands skimmed to his hips, teasing along the hem of his trousers, and his eyes fluttered as he slowly, so painfully slowly, touched his cock through the cloth.
Will groaned. His empathetic response was overwhelming. It was too much and too slow and teasing at the same time. Hannibal’s muscular arms, the dance of his fingers, his goddamn perfect legs—Will was flooded with desire for him.
Hannibal unbuttoned his waistcoat and removed that as well. Then the shirt was untucked from his pants, and Hannibal teased a glimpse of the skin around his hips and navel, muscular but with a touch of softness. “Unbutton your pants and take yourself in hand,” Hannibal said, voice growing even more husky with desire. His head tilted back and his hips swayed just so. “You’re so hard already,” Hannibal said breathlessly.
Will gritted his teeth and hastily shoved his pants and boxers down. He was fully hard, the head of his cock red and slightly damp. He made a strangled sound as he gripped his erection and fisted up and down slowly, squeezing at the tip.
“I want you to take one finger and run it up the underside of your erection,” Hannibal said, finger stroking slowly in the air. “Up… and down. Rub around the head.”
Will was helpless but to comply. The single touch was agonizing. Hannibal put both hands on himself again, rucking up his shirt and unbuttoning his own trousers. “Lightly, lightly tease yourself,” Hannibal said, unzipping and opening his pants, revealing the bulge of his cock straining against red lace.
“Fuck!” Will cursed, loud enough that a dog whined at him. He clutched the sheets instead of himself, cock dripping with precome, body tense with too much heat and pleasure. Hannibal was touching himself so lightly, just a finger up and down that fucking lace.
His phone started ringing.
Will cursed again and shut the laptop closed, stopping the video and grabbing his phone from the nightstand. It was Hannibal. Will’s brain short circuited. Panicking, he picked up before it could go to voicemail.
“Hello?” Will said, clearing his throat.
That fucking voice. Will bit his lip hard and squeezed his eyes shut, trying not to moan. His cock was leaking against his belly, pants tangled up on his legs. “What can I do for you, Hannibal?” Will asked after a moment, voice shaking slightly.
Hannibal hummed in amusement. “Tell me what you’re doing.”
He fucking knows, Will thought. “I—I’m watching one of your videos.”
“Are you enjoying yourself?” Hannibal purred.
Will let out a little whimper. “Yes,” he admitted, flushed with embarrassment.
“Tell me,” Hannibal said, low and intimate.
Will took a shaking breath. “I’m so hard,” he said quietly. “I’ve barely touched myself. You’re overwhelming me.”
“What do you want, Will?”
He groaned softly, arching on the bed, fingers digging into his palm so he wouldn’t touch himself. He didn’t trust himself not to come if he did. “Tell me what to do,” Will begged. “I want to please you.”
“Good boy,” Hannibal said, and Will shivered violently. “Don’t touch yourself. Where are you?”
“In bed,” Will answered, mouth dry.
“Roll onto your stomach,” Hannibal said. “Rub yourself into the mattress. I want to hear you.”
Will went on his belly and thrust down into the bed, releasing a startled groan. “Feels good,” Will sighed, voice thick, flexing his hips. “You feel so good.”
“Did you imagine touching me? Tasting me?”
Will moaned, grinding hard against the mattress. The pressure felt so good on his cock. “I imagined being you.”
“What does that feel like?”
“Powerful… ah. Intoxicating.” Will shuddered again. He was close but he didn’t know if he could get off like this. “Hannibal—“
“Moan for me.”
Will choked and gasped out for air. He was swimming in embarrassment and need, hips thrusting and ass clenching with the effort. He opened his mouth and let the sounds tumble out, loud and trembling against the phone.
“That’s it,” Hannibal praised. “Touch yourself now.”
Will shoved his hand down between his legs and gripped himself hard, moaning again. “Tell me how?”
“Full grip,” Hannibal said in his ear. “Slow. Tight.”
Will lifted his hips up and obeyed, a whimper on his lips. “Ahh, ah.” He felt close to the edge, balls tight, and pure sensation licking up and down his spine, filling out his belly and chest. His cheek was pressed to the pillow, breath fogging the screen of his phone. “I can’t… keep this up,” he gasped.
“Slower. I could keep you here forever.”
“I want you to,” Will said, unable to be anything but honest.
“I could tell you not to come. To hold off, all night.”
Will groaned, trembling with the effort to keep himself from orgasm. The cruel words sunk into his chest like barbs. “If that’s what you want. Please, Hannibal, god; tell me what you want.”
“I want you to come while you think about fucking me.”
The filthy words hit him like a sledgehammer. He didn’t have any time to imagine it besides the rushing, consuming idea of having Hannibal beneath him, and then he was coming with a strangled cry, spilling over his tight fingers. His orgasm was long and powerful, tossing him rag-doll through waves of sensation. When he could hear again, he was panting loudly and shivering all over.
“Good boy,” Hannibal said again, fond and aroused. “You make such lovely noises for me.”
Will chuckled, embarrassed but warmed by the praise. “God, Hannibal… that was intense.”
“I’m glad you enjoyed yourself.”
Will wiped his hand on the sheet and turned onto his back, picking up the phone with his clean hand. “Is there anything I can do for you?” he asked. It seemed like the polite thing to offer.
“There are many things you might do for me, but they won’t result in listening to me masturbate over the phone.”
“I just…” Will scrubbed his hand over his face. “That’s not what I was asking.”
Hannibal made a considering hum over the phone. “You’ve pleased me tonight, Will. I’ll let you know what I want further from you.”
“Thank you,” Will said earnestly.
The call ended, and he dropped the phone to the bed. He couldn’t remember the last time he had an orgasm like that, and he was still twitchy from it. His pants were around his ankles and he shimmied out of them, then pulled up his boxers, and stripped down to his undershirt for bed. He lay there for a while, satisfied down to his bones and just allowing himself to feel. It felt like he was on the edge of a precipice, about to fall beyond where he could return.
But it felt too good to turn back.
Will makes some embarrassing google searches.
Will wasn't a morning person. He needed to get through his first cup of coffee before he could string two written sentences together. He didn’t sleep well enough, often enough to approach mornings with anything but disdain.
So his brain was exactly on when he carried his laptop over to the desk and opened it.
The video of Hannibal started playing again, and Will choked on his coffee. He set the mug down and hastily paused the video just as Hannibal was teasing his pants down his hips to reveal more of that damn red lace. Will aches, remembering everything that happened last night, and his morning wood came back with a vengeance.
“Jesus fucking christ,” Will cursed, closing the video. He pressed a hand against himself to calm down, and then figured it was good time to get fully dressed. Once he did, and settled back in his desk, he was almost ready to start writing.
Then he saw the invoice for the phone call waiting in his email. Will felt a flush rise to his cheeks. His stomach turned with shame or pleasure, he wasn’t sure which. This was becoming a distraction.
Will took a deep breath and grounded himself. The day was bright through the window beyond. Leaves tumbled through the breeze, and the sunlight glinted off the hooks of his lures. He was home, alone with his pack, nearly at the end of his manuscript.
But what do you want? Hannibal would ask.
He scrubbed a hand over his face and willed himself to calm down. Just seeing the invoice and the amount put him on the edge of arousal. What was happening to him?
Will made himself another cup of coffee, needing a distraction. When he sat back at his computer, he didn’t dive back into writing—he opened a new tab to search for…
What could he search for?
He didn’t know what this relationship or exchange with Hannibal was, or why it made him feel so—strongly. Was what they did typical?
“Types of sex work” got him an interesting and comprehensive article, but it didn’t answer his questions. He figured that Hannibal could be categorized as a private sex worker, or a BDSM sex worker. But BDSM sex workers usually didn’t have sex with clients as far as Will knew, and it seemed that Hannibal did both.
“Sex work talk to someone” got him closer. There were apparently people who only talked to people via text, and got paid to flirt, like phone-sex operators but in chat rooms. But Hannibal was only talking with pre-selected clients. His private practice was a mix of videos, phone calls and texts, BDSM and sex, and the occasional in-person session.
None of that answered why Will felt so strange when he sent Hannibal money.
Maybe it was just guilt. Shame.
Will paid the invoice with a tip, and a message: Can we talk about last night?
Hannibal didn’t answer until a few hours later, and Will was in the zone so he held off on reading the response until his lunch break.
Hannibal: I’d be happy to talk about it. Are you working today?
Will: Yes, until 6 or 7.
Hannibal: I’ll be free. Message me when you’re done writing for the day.
Will: Thank you.
The day was off to a better start after that. His head felt clear. He had a goal: to focus on writing, and then he would be able to talk to Hannibal. It was something to look forward to.
The writing went well, and it seemed like he would finish the manuscript a week early. Usually he worked and edited right up until the deadline, but he was feeling ready to send it to his editor Alana. Today he was working on the conclusion. Endings were difficult, but Alana’s feedback would help him find the right tone.
Will took a long walk with his dogs before the light fled. It felt good to stretch his legs and clear his mind of Hobbs’s bloody obsession. Then he fed the dogs and himself—beans, rice, and blackened fish.
Will: Hi. I’m done for the day. How are you?
Hannibal: Very well, thank you. How was the beast of writing today?
Will: Tamed, or at least sated. I’m basically done with my manuscript.
Hannibal: Congratulations, Will.
Will: Thanks. It will feel more worthy of congratulation after my editor has torn it apart and put it back together.
Hannibal: It’s still no small feat. You wanted to discuss what transpired last night. How do you feel about it?
I don’t feel bad about it , Will started to type, but that felt too vague and negative.
Will: I enjoyed myself. But I also feel uncertain about what’s happening between us. I didn’t expect you to call me.
Hannibal: I don’t usually make spontaneous phone calls.
Will: You wanted to catch me off guard.
Hannibal: And I’m very pleased with the results. You have guarded your desires closely. Last night was a breakthrough.
Will: Are your other clients more forthcoming about what they want?
Hannibal: Yes and no. Usually my clients make it no secret that they desire me sexually, or to submit to me. Their deeper, honest desires take time to uncover.
Will: By submission you mean BDSM?
Hannibal: Yes, power exchange. The majority of what I do falls under that umbrella. Have you had any experience with Dominance and submission?
Will: No, I haven’t.
Hannibal: You respond well to direction. I must admit I’m interested in your submission. I believe you’d take to it beautifully.
Will’s heart hammered in his throat, which felt dry, in need of a drink.
Will: I don’t like the idea of being out of control or powerless.
Hannibal: You’re not powerless, Will. Did you feel out of control last night?
Will: I felt like I couldn’t help myself.
Hannibal: Did you follow my directions, as you claimed to?
Will: I did.
Hannibal: Then you were in control of yourself.
Will: Your control of myself.
Hannibal: You asked me to give you direction, and wanted to please me.
Will remembered. He didn’t feel aroused exactly, but this conversation was doing something to him—he felt overly alert, excited, and just seeing that Hannibal was typing gave him a little thrill.
Will: I did. I wasn’t sure what to do with myself, and the direction helped.
Hannibal: All I provided was decisiveness?
Will: No. It felt good to obey you.
Hannibal: Do you still want to please me?
A tremble went down his spine. God, yes he did. He wasn’t sure the last time he wanted something so badly.
Will: Yes, I do.
Hannibal: Then we’ll proceed with our mutual interest in my direction and pleasure. I won’t lead you astray, Will. The more you give to me, the greater satisfaction you will reap.
Will: I still don’t know what to expect. Are you going to put me in bondage or latex?
Hannibal: Let’s start with answering some questions. When was the last time you had sex?
Will flushed. It had been an embarrassingly long time.
Will: Are you telling me to tell you?
Hannibal: Would it be easier to answer if I was?
Will: Three years.
Hannibal: Have you had other sexual contact since then?
Will: A few times, about a year ago.
Hannibal: Do you receive platonic touch in your day to day?
Will: I think you know that the answer to that is no.
Hannibal: So it’s been years since you have been sexually and sensually fulfilled by another. Your skin must ache with loneliness.
Will: I don’t think about it much.
Hannibal: I’d like you to think about it now. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Bring your awareness to your body and any sensations that may arise.
Will was skeptical, but did as he was told. He closed his eyes and entered the warm, red darkness behind his eyelids. He took a deep breath, ribs expanding, and let it out. Tired and aching muscles came to his awareness—the twinge in his shoulder and tightness around his neck. Will didn’t often think of his body and treated its needs as perfunctory.
Now, paying attention, a deep sadness welled from the pit of Will’s chest. It had been so, so long since someone had given him attention and care. So long since he had allowed himself to be vulnerable with another.
Will blinked away tears from the corner of his eyes. The phone buzzed next to him on the couch.
Hannibal: How do you feel?
Will: To be honest, I feel sad. Like I have been a stranger to my body and I’m not sure how to make it home.
Hannibal: Thank you for telling me. I wish I could warm you to your body tonight.
Will: Your company helps.
Hannibal: I’m glad to hear it. I’d like you to watch one of my videos again tonight, and touch yourself until you orgasm. See how long you can last. I want you to indulge, Will—you deserve it.
Will chuckled to himself. He wasn’t sure how long he could really last, since last night he had been so sensitive.
Will: Alright, I’ll do that.
Hannibal: Goodnight, Will.
Will: Goodnight, Hannibal.
“I think he’s trying to kill me, guys,” Will said to his pack.
Will has an unexpected visitor.
The manuscript was done. Beverly sent a bottle of nice whiskey, which had become something of a tradition for them, and this time it came with a basket of assorted gifts: a sandalwood candle, cologne, nice shaving cream. His editor dropped by to give her congratulations.
That was odd. Alana had made a point not to be alone in the same room as Will since his awkward advances a year ago. But there she was on his porch, coffee in each hand.
“Hi stranger,” Alana said with a smile, once Will had called the dogs away and opened the door. She raised one of the paper cups like in a peace offering. “I brought coffee.”
“The dogs want to say hi,” Will warned her.
“I don’t mind.”
He let her in and the dogs came up to sniff her hands, tails wagging, basking in her praise. “Who’s this one?” she asked.
“Winston. Found him almost a year ago, now.” Winston turned at his name and came over to Will for some good ear scratches.
Alana straightened, finished with saying hello to the pack. “Seems like a sweet boy.”
“Congratulations, by the way.”
“On giving you work?”
Alana smiled. “I love work.”
Will took the offered coffee and they sat at the table. “I just read the introduction,” Alana explained. “It was unexpected. Sounds like you’ve become close to Abigail.”
That sounded close to an accusation. “Is this a work visit?” Will asked.
“Did you think it was a personal one?” Alana countered.
Will huffed. “You’ve made a point of avoiding being in the same room as me. You were subtle about it, but…”
“Apparently not subtle enough.”
Will eyed her, indirectly. Why was she here? He got the sense, like he had last year, that she was attracted to him and taking cautious steps closer. But she had made her decision very clear the last time he tried to close that distance. Alana was always fairly open about her emotions, but she wasn’t immediately driven by them. It made her easier to interact with in some ways, and harder in others. “I don’t know what this is,” Will admitted.
Alana pursed her lips. “I realize it’s been a while. I just wanted to see how you’re doing.”
Maybe Alana was testing the waters again. “And you read the introduction,” Will said with a nod.
“I did.” Her smile was patient. “You address your critics and make yourself sympathetic through association with the girl. It’s too aggressive, but we’ll work on that.”
“So you approve.”
“It struck me as either manipulative or earnest.”
“Writing can be both.”
They both sipped their coffee. “You really care about her, don’t you?” Alana asked. She was definitely feeling him out, and herself in response, and Will felt himself go a little warm.
“I do care,” Will said cautiously. “She doesn’t really have anyone.”
“As I’m wont to do.”
Alana took up her coffee again, eyes drifting to the dogs. She looked contemplative, so Will let her work out her thoughts in silence. “ Who cares why he did it? ” she paraphrased from the introduction. “So. Did you figure out the why?”
“He killed for love,” Will said, slow and bitter. He didn’t add, and he ate for love too.
When they said goodbye, Alana’s hand lingered on his shoulder.
Will hadn’t masturbated like this since he was a teenager. Not regarding frequency, but intensity. This felt sinful, like he was first discovering pleasure with a stolen magazine, knowing that it was wrong but unwilling to stop. This felt naughty. Forbidden. And that made the pleasure almost painful.
Will’s face was flushed, heart rate up, chest tingling. The laptop was to his left on the bed and he had his right knee up, stroking his hip slowly. This was a new video for him, part of the next set he had unlocked after buying all of the previous—another “self pleasure” video. It was still a bit showy, but what Will liked about these videos were the moments when Hannibal was wholly absorbed in enjoying himself.
Hannibal was in the bathroom, all white marble and warm candlelight. He slipped out of a clingy black robe, utterly unashamed in his nudity, and stepped into the bath like a nymph out of a Pre-Raphaelite painting. He sighed at the heat, water slipping up his chest and darkening the soft hairs there. The camera was angled so that Will could see into the bath, the water clear and shimmering with oil.
Hannibal selected some music with a remote on the counter that wrapped around half of the bath; Shubert, Will thought, though he didn’t know more than that. His stomach grew tight as Hannibal ran his hands over his chest and down into the rippling water, where shadows caught between his thighs.
“Fuck,” Will whispered, pressing his palm over his hardening cock. Hannibal had leaned his head back against the lip of the tub and closed his eyes, candle light flickering across the sharp planes of his face. That small gesture was electric.
Will squeezed himself over his boxers. He couldn’t see what Hannibal was doing directly, but the motions of his arms set Will’s imagination on fire. Hannibal stroking himself slowly, his other hand lower, cupping his balls or… something else. Hannibal’s face slowly changed with pleasure—softer, flushed, a tick of tension in his jaw. He let out a little moan, barely audible.
Will spread his precum around the head, stroking there tightly between finger and thumb. Droplets of water ran down Hannibal’s knee, following the slender line of his leg. Hannibal opened his eyes and looked into the camera, and Will grit his teeth with a tight throb of pleasure. Hannibal looked amused, like he knew what Will was doing. Like he knew what he was doing to Will.
Will spat on his palm and stroked himself quick. He thought he couldn’t stand more of this, just the water and skin and wondering what Hannibal’s hands were doing—then Hannibal got up and sat on the edge of the bath.
Water slithered down his skin and pooled where Hannibal’s thighs stuck to the marble. His skin was pink from the heat, his cock dark red and straining between his legs. Will could hardly take it all in at once, and almost paused the video. Hannibal was beautiful: strong and soft, body cut with dramatic lines, like from shin to narrow ankles, and the curve of muscle over his hip.
Will matched Hannibal’s steady, slow strokes. It felt so good, the warm coil of pleasure, Hannibal’s eyes half-lidded, looking at him. Almost looking at him.
Hannibal cupped his balls and lifted them up, spreading his legs. He was clean shaven except for a trim thatch above his cock, and Will could see everything between his legs.
“Oh god.” Will wiped a hand down his face. He could see, could almost feel, how Hannibal’s hole was open a bit. Soft. Stretched. “Fuck. Hannibal.”
He had to stop touching himself. He wanted to see Hannibal come first. Hannibal stroked over his hole, parted his lips in a moan. Will clenched the sheets.
Hannibal took his time. He seemed less concerned with reaching orgasm than finding the peaks and valleys of his pleasure. His touches were mostly slow and teasing, but occasionally he would stroke himself fast until his legs shook, then ease off and touch elsewhere. His cock was an angry red, but the rest of him was relaxed, save for the flicker of tense muscles under the skin of his stomach and legs.
He put a foot up on the ledge, angling his ass out, and reached for something on the counter that Will hadn’t paid much attention to before. At first he thought it was a toothbrush, but instead of a bristle head there was a round tip. Hannibal showed it to the camera and pressed a button to make it vibrate.
Hannibal pumped some lube into his hand from an innocuous bottle and smoothed it over the massager. Without preamble, he slipped the tip into himself and turned on the vibrations. His mouth went slack before any sound came out, then a low, long groan. Will watched his face with rapt attention as he shifted the toy against his prostate. Will wanted to see him fall apart.
No—he wanted to do more than see. He wanted to take Hannibal’s face in his hands and feel his moans brush against his skin; wanted to press against his back and feel every twitch of heat in his body. God, he wanted him. Hannibal.
It was like his body was seized with a fever, dizzy with the heat. Hannibal grew louder with every breath as he approached orgasm, panting and moaning, the inside of his thighs wet with lube and sweat and water. “Ah—” he cried out, and his legs twitched and cock leaked obscenely over his stomach.
Will jerked himself hard and quick, pulling himself over the edge in an instant.
Hannibal’s glazed, satisfied eyes stayed imprinted in Will’s mind long after he turned off the video.
When Will’s phone rang, his stomach lurched. No amount of preparation could keep his nerves from singing when he knew Hannibal was calling. Masturbating earlier had only taken the edge off, and his heart hammered in his chest as he answered.
“It’s good to hear your voice.”
“Likewise,” Hannibal said. He always sounded pleased to be speaking with Will, no doubt part of the trade, but Will could imagine it was just for him.
“How are you?” Will asked.
“Hmm. It’s been a long day.”
“I was dealing with a somewhat emotionally exhausting person,” Hannibal said. He never talked about his other clients—that would be unprofessional—but Will could infer.
“Do you want to keep this short?” Will asked.
“On the contrary,” Hannibal said, voice going low. “I’ve been looking forward to this all day.”
Will shivered, and bit his lip. His instinct was to say that Hannibal didn’t really mean that, it was just a line, but he held his tongue. “Me too,” he said honestly, and tried to keep his voice from trembling.
“And your day?”
“Unexpected,” was the word Will arrived at. “I had a visitor.”
“She brought coffee, at least. My editor,” he explained. “We don’t do many face to face meetings. Anymore.”
“It must have been important, then, for her to come to see you.”
“I guess.” Will rubbed his jaw. “I got the sense she was evaluating our… relationship.” He put some derision into that word.
“And what is the nature of your relationship?”
Will made an uncomfortable noise. “I came on to her, she rejected me. That was about a year ago.”
“I thought so.”
“Would you be receptive to more?” Hannibal asked, casual and curious.
Will felt a knot rise in his throat. He had always had a crush on Alana, and had wanted her badly when he kissed her. But things were different now. “No. I don’t want her like I did before.” He wasn’t entirely sure that was true—it could be hard to separate his feelings and desires from other people. Everything happened in context.
Maybe he just imagined it, but Hannibal sounded pleased. “Feelings are mutable.”
“That, I find to be less true.”
“Hope I’m not too predictable.”
Will shivered and sunk down into the couch. “What do you want to talk about tonight?”
Hannibal waiter a moment to respond, and Will’s chest went tight with anticipation. “Would you like to do something for me?” Hannibal asked.
“Yes,” Will said in a rush of breath.
Hannibal hummed, pleased at his response. “I want to see you. Go to your computer and open the link in your email.”
Will went straight to his desk, and pushed aside the lure he was working on to open his laptop. The night outside was dark and featureless beyond the rail of his porch. “Alright, just a moment,” Will said, putting the phone on speaker to free his hands. In the email from Hannibal was a link, nothing else, and when he clicked on it, it opened a window in Hannibal’s website he hadn’t been to before. There was a black video screen, and little else.
Will gave permission for the video to use his webcam, and his reflection appeared in a small square in the bottom right corner. A small icon, Hannibal’s logo, appeared in the center of the rest of the video.
“No quid pro quo?” Will asked with a little smirk.
“That’s not the nature of our relationship,” came Hannibal’s voice from the computer. He had hung up the phone call. “Did you want to see me?”
Will nodded. It didn’t feel bad to be denied by Hannibal, and his stomach twisted more. He kept glancing at the small square of his video feed—he looked like a scruffy mess, hair getting long, bags under his eyes, poor lighting.
“You have beautiful features,” Hannibal said.
Will’s cheeks went warm, and he shook his head. “I’m a mess. You should have warned me.”
“Nonsense. I like seeing you as you are. Did you have a drink?”
“If you want one, go get one.”
Will nodded, and went to the kitchen. He wondered if Hannibal was enjoying the uninterrupted view of his living room turned bed room. He poured himself some of the whiskey Beverly gifted him, and returned.
“This is the ground floor?” Hannibal asked.
“Yes. Front door is right there, porch,” Will said with a gesture.
“You guard your home, even in sleep.”
Will gave a small nod.
“Show me your eyes,” Hannibal said.
Will looked at the icon, and then lifted his gaze to the small camera. It was strange, knowing Hannibal was looking at him, but through the distance of their computers.
“Lovely,” Hannibal purred. “You want to be good for me, don’t you?”
Will’s throat went dry. “Yes.”
“My desires are unconventional, Will. Pleasing me does not necessarily involve your sexual gratification, or my own.”
“I know. I still want to give you what you want.”
“Why?” Hannibal asked, amused.
Will almost looked away from the camera. “Maybe it’s selfish. The feeling I get, talking to you now, it’s like stepping into the sun for the first time. You feel so powerful. Just your attention.”
“You want to feel that power,” Hannibal said in a low voice.
Will shuddered. “It terrifies me. Yes. ”
“You feel the pleasure of others as your own.”
“I do. But this is different—I know exactly where I stand with you.” Will closed his eyes for a moment, his whole body throbbing under Hannibal’s attention.
“And where do you stand?” Hannibal asked, words winding around Will’s heart and squeezing tight.
“Kneeling,” Will gasped. “At your feet.”