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“Do you remember your first real friend?”

Hannibal lifted his head from Will’s chest and smiled at him. “Yes. His name was Aksel and we were in the orphanage together. He taught me how to sew. I often wondered after my uncle retrieved me what happened to him. Do you remember yours?”

Will ran fingers down Hannibal’s cheek. “You.”

He watched Hannibal’s face light up at the confession yet he feigned otherwise. “I’m sure you had many---”

Will shook his head. “We never really stuck around much anywhere when I was a kid. Dad worked for cash on boats and trucks. It wasn’t a suit and tie type job but we got by. I was always the new boy, remember? I never had time for friends and honestly the few people who tried I just…had a hard time trusting.”

Hannibal rolled on top of him and looked down at Will. “Yet you trusted me without much thought.”

“Look where that got me,” Will joked.

“Yes,” Hannibal purred, leaning in close to kiss him softly, “Look where that got you.”

They kissed slowly then, tasting each other but neither ready to go again. This was comfort, home for them both, and Will never wanted it to stop.

When they pulled back for breath both panted, red faced and smiling.

“I think that’s why it was so hard when I realized it was all---”

Hannibal put his finger over Will’s mouth. “I think I spoke out of turn just now. Real friends are those you can trust with all and every part of you. Aksel knew me as the sad, quiet boy whose family were found dead. He didn’t know the real me. No one did….until you. I think you were and are the only real friend I’ve ever had.”

Will smiled. “What a pair we make,” he whispered, “Too weird to be ourselves to anyone else.”

He sighed when Hannibal laid down on his chest again, pulling him so tight he could barely breathe.

“The way it should be,” Hannibal whispered, kissing his chest, “No one should know you this way but me….and I will never be the me I am with anyone but you. I promise you that.”

Will grabbed his hand and threaded their fingers together. “I promise too,” Will whispered through his tears, kissing Hannibal’s fingers one by one.

They fell asleep in each other’s arms, tight together warm and sated, a home that they both would kill to keep.