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Tender

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If all goes to plan, Hannibal will be arrested and put away in an institution tomorrow.

If things go awry, Hannibal may get severely injured tomorrow.

Hannibal might die tomorrow.

Will’s heart begins to hurt in ways he never believed possible, and his hands falter. The metal fork makes an awful grating sound against the porcelain plate as he momentarily loses grip.

He notices how Hannibal pretends not to notice, and he suddenly wonders if Hannibal’s uncharacteristic suggestion that they flee into the night without having to hurt Jack was a test.

A test he’d failed miserably by refusing Hannibal.

He studies Hannibal’s grim profile, something in those burnt ochre eyes looking distant in a way Will found uneasy. When Hannibal looks at him, Will keeps his eyes trained on the usually predatory gaze, searching for what he’s used to finding – favour – only to sorely miss it.

Will feels his heart race at the thought that Hannibal would have figured out his double agent role in this ugly parody of Mr. and Mr. Smith film.

He needs to gain Hannibal’s trust again and rectify whatever it is that had given Hannibal reason to suspect him of ill intentions.

He places his knife and fork down.

“We will embark on our journey to no return tomorrow. I feel it’s only right for me to spend tonight in your company…to mark our Becoming.”

Will is pleased that that elicits a sharp response from Hannibal who pauses mid-chew at those words.

Will speaks again before Hannibal could say anything.

“Have I read you wrong all this time, Hannibal? The friendship you seek, the olive branch I offered, this intimate plan we are about to execute?”

Will sees amusement light up Hannibal’s face and is taken aback by how beautiful Hannibal is.

“I would have never thought that you would interpret Randall Tier as an olive branch.”

He reciprocates Hannibal’s smile, a shared intimacy over something disturbingly dark.

“I changed him into the beast he desired to be. Turning him into an olive branch surely pales in comparison.”

In spite of the charged air between them, Will still fails to read much more in Hannibal’s eyes.

“I have no guest bedroom here, Will.”

He keeps his gaze intent and even.

“I am well-aware. That works to our benefit.”

“You’re propositioning me.”

“Consider it an act of intimacy that precedes the other act of intimacy we intend to partake tomorrow.”

“Do you fear we will fail? That we’d be apprehended or killed?”

If he closes his eyes, he can see a wolf baring its fangs, hissing and spitting as it circles him, waiting for a moment to attack his neck.

Instead, he keeps his eyes trained on Hannibal’s mouth and angles his body forward, an act of trust, of sacrifice.

“I don’t fear getting killed more than I fear separation. I fear I wouldn’t survive it.”

“Would sexual intercourse prevent any chance of separation tomorrow?”

He almost flinches at Hannibal’s use of the literal and crude over heavily-laden metaphors. He begins to wonder if Hannibal’s genuinely not interested in him sexually, if Hannibal’s lingering gazes have been part of a ploy to lure but never to hook him.

“Not at all. Given your penchant for symbolism, I may have presumed that you would want to mark this occasion in a more tangible way.”

He feels a headache inching deeper into his skull, and he is half-ashamed, half-terrified for falling into a trap he’d set up himself. He lowers his gaze to the table, closing his eyes as he evens his breathing.

He hears Hannibal placing his knife and fork down.

“You did not presume wrong.”

He doesn’t dare to open his eyes, fearing that Hannibal would taunt or toy with him more than he’d already had. The hand over his own startles him from the warmth, and he finally looks up at Hannibal.

If he feels a tug in his heart pulling him forward to kiss Hannibal without preamble, he doesn’t think on it for the fear that he may have bitten off more than he can possibly fathom to chew.

The last word he would ever associate with Hannibal is tender but that was how he felt under Hannibal’s touch.

He didn’t know what to expect from kissing Hannibal on impulse but Hannibal’s hand on his cheek encouraged him to get up from his seat and move closer to Hannibal, pulling him so they’re both standing and Will realizes that he likes tilting his head up and getting kissed that way.

He cannot remember how they made it from the kitchen to the bedroom, but here he is, completely bare, with nothing but Hannibal’s skin against his.

Hannibal is tender.

Too tender.

Will breaks away from the kiss, holding Hannibal by the jaw, and studies him in the whiskey-amber glow from the fireplace. His breath sticks in his throat at the realization that Hannibal is tender not because he’s being careful not to hurt him but because he’s holding him at bay.

Hannibal pities him.

A sudden rush of anger runs through him and he shoves Hannibal off, quickly manoeuvring over him until he’s straddling Hannibal.

Hannibal doesn’t seem bothered or even surprised. Will pins Hannibal’s hands above him, frustrated by the lack of hunger he’s used to seeing in those eyes.

“If you didn’t want this, you should have told me no.”

“I’m not sure what you’re accusing me of, Will.”

He anchors his knees into the mattress, putting all his weight into holding Hannibal down, infuriated that Hannibal did not struggle one bit.

“Do you feel sorry for me, Hannibal? I don’t need or want your pity fuck.”

“I don’t pity you.”

Liar.

He’s semi-hard and frustrated and doesn’t want to admit how badly he wants Hannibal to want him. He looks down to see Hannibal’s completely flaccid dick and something sinks inside.

Will had always felt, no, he knew Hannibal’s thirst for him. He could feel the way Hannibal watches him like stalking prey, could sense the underlying desire in the way Hannibal touches his face or hands.

Could he have been mistaken? Whether or not Hannibal dies tomorrow, he’ll be taken away from him.

Could he live the rest of his life without the confidence that Hannibal ever wanted him?

“Don’t lie to me.”

He feels like a hypocrite, asking for honesty when he’s been hiding something so devastatingly huge from Hannibal.

He lets Hannibal’s wrists go as Hannibal sits up, hands placed on his shoulders, uncomfortably professional.

“What’s upsetting you, Will? Isn’t this what you wanted?”

He must look like a pathetic fool, sitting on Hannibal’s lap, naked as the day he was born.

“Whoever you are trying to be in this moment with me, you’re not you.”

“And you don’t want that, do you, Will?”

He’s a lost hare walking right into a bear trap.

“No, I don’t.”

“You want all of me.”

He can’t see in the dark, his bunny nose sniffing at the opened metal jaws.

“Yes. I don’t want you to pretend being someone else.”

The smirk on Hannibal’s face is the most genuine emotion he’d witnessed since he’d kissed him in the kitchen.

“Could you do the same for me, Will?”

His neck snaps, rabbit bones crushed in the clamped metal teeth.

Hannibal knew. How long had he known?

Will swallows, hands running up Hannibal’s chest, settling on the sides of his neck. He knows what Hannibal is asking of him. He found it troubling how easy he wants to give in to Hannibal.

“You have all of me, Hannibal. I’m not lying to you.”

The moment lingers in the air, a stand-off between two rivals who are playing lovers, and Will doesn’t know if Hannibal’s going to kiss or kill him.

He gasps when Hannibal’s hands slide down his body, grabbing his hips and yanking him close until they’re chest to chest, and Will can feel the temperature in the room rise from the way Hannibal’s looking up at him.

“Be careful what you ask for, Will.”

He doesn’t get a chance to reply before Hannibal’s kissing him hard, open-mouthed and filthy, owning his tongue and lips. He’s moaning shamelessly, hands on Hannibal’s shoulders as he gyrates his hips. He’s never wanted to be wanted by anyone the way he craves for Hannibal’s attention.

He keens at the sensation of Hannibal finally hardening under him, and he gives as good as he’s getting, rubbing his leaking dick against Hannibal’s.

“Let me hear you.”

He doesn’t know what Hannibal means until Hannibal’s hands play with his chest, mouth latching onto the side of his neck, clearly intent on leaving a visible mark to commemorate their union. Will arches his back, pushing his chest into Hannibal’s greedy fingers, throwing his head back so Hannibal could ruin him further. He’s openly whining, begging for more in the same breath he’s begging for mercy.

He knows Hannibal wants Jack to see the mark, wants everyone to know that their relationship has taken one step further.

Will moans at the hand wrapping around his length, thumb pressing into the slit on his cockhead. He could feel Hannibal’s teeth breaking skin and he gasps, clinging onto him tighter, desperate for more. He rocks up into Hannibal’s hand, rubbing down against Hannibal’s cock.

He knew he wouldn’t last long, not when he’s so overstimulated.

“Gonna come. Hannibal. Fuck.”

Will surrenders his body and mind in the moment, and keens at how much harder Hannibal’s sucking on his neck, his hand pumping him faster.

When he comes, he cries out loud, tears mingling with his perspiration, and he lets Hannibal lay him down on the bed, looming over him, owning him, and he’s falling, falling, falling.

Hannibal’s eyes are dark, darker than he’s ever seen them, and he barely realizes that Hannibal’s sprayed his load across his abdomen.

All he remembers is how free he feels.

How right.

When Alana calls to say that the FBI was on their way to arrest him, Will’s first instinct is to call Hannibal.

When he hears Hannibal’s voice, his heart breaks because it dawns on him that he may not survive the separation.

When he hangs up the phone, he aches from knowing that he may have just lost Hannibal for good.

It took Will far too long to get to Hannibal’s house and seeing a body on the ground was the first sign that he may not be fully equipped to handle the man he’s decided to stand by. When he saw that it was Alana, he realizes that he may very well die in Hannibal’s hands tonight.

He’s a lost hare walking right into a bear trap.

He knows that Jack’s hurt, but it’s Hannibal he needs to find.

The smell of blood greets him as he enters the house, and he guards himself uselessly with his gun. Will knows that Hannibal could do more damage with a kitchen knife than Will ever could with bullets.

The last thing he expects to find is a trembling Abigail, blubbering in fear, and it all comes crashing down on him.

He could have had Hannibal and Abigail had he agreed to run away with Hannibal yesterday.

He could have had it all.

“You were supposed to leave.”

He hates that Hannibal didn’t take heed of his warning, but on a deeper level, he appreciates that Hannibal is here with him.

“We couldn’t leave without you.”

He can’t see in the dark, his bunny nose sniffing at the opened metal jaws.

He’s shaking from the chill on his skin and bones, mind filled only with questions, and he can’t help but lean in when Hannibal touches his face, already so touch-starved after having had Hannibal sate his hunger yesterday.

When the blade pierces his abdomen, the physical pain registers later than the pronounced feeling of his heart breaking from the way Hannibal has shut himself out from him. There was no instinct to inch away from the knife but to stay put to receive his punishment. The cut runs across his torso, a bloody smile, and all he knows is the utter disappointment that is bestowed upon him in Hannibal’s stormy gaze.

His neck snaps, rabbit bones crushed in the clamped metal teeth.

“Do you believe you could change me? The way I changed you?”

He wishes he could make Hannibal understand but he could barely manage breathing, let alone a speech about his feelings. Will dares to match Hannibal’s teary-eyed rage with his own wet stare.

“I already did.”

He could have had it all. Hannibal and Abigail by his side. Jack and Alana completely free from hurt and pain.

When Hannibal calls for Abigail, Will bursts into panicked tears, already reading Hannibal’s mind.

He could have had it all.

He could have had it all.

The last thing he remembers is Hannibal kneeling by his side, running a hand down his cheek before he passes out.

Hannibal was tender.

Too tender.