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He hadn't meant to look in Hannibal's closet. Closet was actually the wrong word; it was a small room lined with sliding doors. He had come up to change his shirt, which was streaked with wine. For a moment, at the table, his fingers had become nerveless and his vision had greyed out, and the next thing he'd felt was the cold touch of wine soaking through his shirt. Hannibal had suggested that he take one of his.

Hannibal's shirt was smooth against his skin. It was of crisp white cotton and it was a little too large for him. He put his jacket back on, and as he did he noticed that one of the sliding doors stood open. It seemed to invite inspection, as a chink in a solid brick wall would tempt the eye. He moved closer.

Among the dark shapes of the suits was something else. He reached out and touched the dark red silk of an evening gown. It flowed over his fingers, so soft that it was almost frictionless. He took his hand away quickly.

His gaze followed it down. Below it, in the heavy oak shoe rack, were a pair of elegant heels, patent black with a red sole. They were precisely the same size as the pairs of polished brogues and oxfords that sat next to them.

Realisation came with a small shock: they were Hannibal's.

“Will, did you get lost?” Hannibal said, coming in. Even without turning, Will could easily guess the expression on his face. Surprise, very mild, perhaps a raised brow, and then adjustment back to his usual still mask of calm. “What do you think?” Hannibal said, after a pause.

He wanted to see Hannibal in them. The notion and the desire hit him at the same time like a train. His mouth became sticky and clogged with fear, and he looked back up to the dress. “I think you choose your clothes very carefully.”

“Always. They say so much about one's identity.”

“And what do your clothes say about yours?”

“Perhaps they say that it's fluid, and can be changed.”

“Simply by putting on a dress?”


“It shouldn't be so easy.”

“It changes the way I move, and the words I choose, and so it changes my thought processes. Clothes make the man. Or woman. Perhaps I'll show you sometime.”

Will turned to look at him. There was something he hadn't expected: an almost challenging edge to his smile, as in invitation to a duel. A clear picture formed in his mind, of Hannibal softened and made vulnerable, his body made into something softer and more curved, something gentler. Dinner was waiting downstairs. But that seemed a world away from this small room.

“Show me now.”

Hannibal's lips parted. Perhaps he hadn't expected Will to accept. They stared at each other. “Really, Will?”

“I think this colour would look good on you.” He took a breath. His head swam with shock at his own boldness. “Put it on. And the shoes.”

Hannibal reached for his tie. “I had no idea you were so demanding. What else do you have in mind to ask me for?”

“I'll be waiting downstairs. Don't be long.”

He descended on legs heavy and shaking with nerves. He took his seat at the table and refilled his glass. Thankfully Hannibal didn't make him wait long. Will heard the hard percussive tap of his heels on wood, a normal walking speed, which meant he was used to moving in them. He wore them often enough to be confident in them. This was a habit, not an anomaly.

He turned to look. The dress was a sinful fall, long sleeved and high necked, so that it disguised almost all the most masculine angles and bones of him. It was cleverly cut to cling to his waist and to the rounded push of his buttocks, giving that part of him a faint illusion of curves. Hannibal had pushed back his hair, had darkened his lashes and smudged his eyes with dark powder, and had painted his lips with a colour that matched the dress.

Freed from its casing of wool and plaid, the true shape of his body was clear, and it was one leaner and more powerful than Will was used to. He moved differently like this, each step even more considered than usual. Will tried to stop staring, but failed.

“I hope I didn't keep you waiting?”

Will shook his head. Hannibal's voice was different. Not higher, but softer. The pointed tips of the shoes showed under the hem of the dress.

“How do you think I look?” Hannibal said. He stood, arms at his sides, waiting.

“Unexpected. Beautiful. Unexpectedly beautiful.”

He was sure he wasn't imagining the flush that bloomed across Hannibal's cheeks. Hannibal sat and dropped his gaze demurely to his plate. “Thank you, Will.”

The whole effect was more androgynous than feminine, truthfully. The small amounts of cosmetics he'd used brought out the fine-boned architecture of his face. The feminine lines of the dress, so different to anything else Hannibal had ever worn in his presence, jarred him constantly. This was Hannibal, yet it wasn't.

They began to eat. The food was good, as it always was, but he couldn't give it any attention. “So, what do you do when you get dressed up like this?”

“I do exactly as I like.” His voice was softer than usual, less force behind his words.

“You know what I mean. Do you go out? Do you... entertain?”

“I have occasionally entertained.” The look he gave Will lingered, and his smile was nothing but flirtatious.

Will took some time to swallow his mouthful. Hannibal would be dressed like this, sitting here with... a man? A woman? Both? He had an abrupt blood-red vision of Hannibal clinging to the edge of his own dining table, dress pushed up around his waist, moaning as he was taken from behind. The hostess serving her guests. Heat rose through his chest to his face. Christ.

Sex was something he had sometimes wanted to be able to set aside, and this was why. Hannibal was watching him under his lashes now, and Will felt speared, as if his fantasy had been projected onto his forehead.

“You want to know if this has a sexual component,” Hannibal said.

“Please excuse my blinding transparency.”

“It's natural to be curious.” Hannibal dropped his gaze and smiled. “Would you like to find out first hand?”

Will's mind showed him a raw flash: silk travelling over soft bare skin, smooth and shaved to mimic the feminine ideal. “What are we talking about here?”

“Isn't it obvious?”

He nodded, feeling as if reality had just taken a break. Everything had changed, and the rational part of his mind couldn't keep up. “Tomorrow,” he said. “After our appointment. I'll come for dinner. Dress up for me.”

The look Hannibal gave him was somehow demure and eager simultaneously. His red lips parted in a slow careful intake of breath. “It will be my pleasure.”


Jack called him out at seven am, summoning him to the site of what looked like a double suicide. The little town was not unlike an upscale version of Wolf Trap – a pretty rural sprawl of farms and family homes. The day dragged. However hard he tried to push last night away- he was working- Hannibal would walk into his thoughts. Not just walk, but sway, in the dress and the shoes with heels that were nothing more than black spikes.

On his third trip for coffee he noticed the earrings; two long strings of rubies and diamonds in the window of a small antique shop. Will bent closer, his breath fogging the glass. They lay on a white velvet pad. Antique diamonds and rubies, the little card said. They will make her look and feel beautiful. The rubies were the same red has Hannibal's dress. He closed his eyes and could see the diamonds sparking fire against Hannibal's skin.


He could afford it. At a time when most people his age were paying for kids and for school fees and mortgages, he wasn't, and money accrued in his account like a reproach. He ducked into the shop, and came out ten minutes later with a flat velvet box wrapped in black tissue and tied with a white ribbon. The last time he'd spent so much money had been on his car.

The box sat in his bag all day, until it was time to drive to Hannibal's office.


Hannibal opened the door and smiled. “Hello, Will.”

Will couldn't help but look him up and down. Hannibal's expression became warm and amused. “Does my outfit today meet with your approval?”

“You wear some things I wouldn't, let's put it that way.”

“Are you referring to my gown?”

His gown. “Not just that.” Will waved a hand up and down, encompassing Hannibal from head to toe. The dark blue suit with a pinstripe, the purple shirt in glossy cotton. The ostentatious tie. He sat, and so did Hannibal. “Everything.”

“I wouldn't expect you to wear clothes like mine.”

“No one would. You have a unique sense of style.”

“I am headstrong in my sartorial decisions. But I do try to adapt to the occasion.”

“Is that why you dress entirely in beige when you're at the BAU?”

Hannibal's smile almost showed teeth. “Protective colouring. But here, I dress as I choose.”

“And at home.”

“There too. You have no notion of protective colouration, it seems. You wear the same clothes whatever the occasion.”

“As long as it can survive a hot wash, I'm not that picky.”

Hannibal gave him a long look. “I don't think that's true.”

“So, what do my clothes say about me?”

“You like wool. You like cotton that is soft and faded. You prefer sturdy waterproofed coats, and pants that look as if they could do service as hunting garments at a moment's notice. You prefer to wear clothes that are one step away from the blue collar uniforms that were familiar to you as a child. Tough clothes, for straightforward tasks. As if your work, both teaching and with the BAU, is merely a hindrance to time spent fishing and hunting.”

“Mostly fishing. I almost never hunt, now. I know who I am when I'm fishing.”

“Things are much simpler then?”


Will could almost forget they were going to Hannibal's after this, and that he'd demanded that Hannibal dress up for him. His grip on reality, wavering from a day of imagining the dead, quivered under the strain.

“I have a gift for you.” He took the box out of his back pocket. The ribbon was a little crushed, and he smoothed it out before he handed it over.

“Did Jack give you a bonus?”

“Just open it.”

Hannibal sat the box on his knee and unfolded the paper. He opened the lid, and then stared down, his brow furrowing for a moment, then smoothing. Finally he lifted one to the light, and it flashed brightly. “These are beautiful,” he said softly. “You have exquisite taste, Will.”

“I know, it's a surprise. I never buy anything but dog food and fishing line.”

“I'll wear them later.”

Will curled his hands around the chair arms. He recalled the absurd tumbling rush of power that Hannibal had gifted him last night, by doing exactly as Will demanded. “No. Put them on now.”

Hannibal looked down at the box for several seconds. “Just as you say.” He clipped them on, and moved his head for Will to see. They fell to the edge of his shirt collar, wildly incongruous with his neatly trimmed sideburns and his six o'clock stubble.

“Do they make you feel good?” Will said.

Hannibal's cheeks had flushed, a faint glow of red. He closed his eyes for a moment. “Better than good. Illicit.”

“As if this isn't something we should be doing.”

“At least not here. I think it's time we should leave.”

Hannibal rose and unclipped the earrings, and laid them carefully in the box. It went into his jacket pocket. A moment later he put his hand flat on it, as if to check that it was still there. Will took in the very faint air of giddiness about him and the flush on his cheeks. He liked it.

“Will you follow me in your car? Let yourself in when you arrive. I'll be upstairs.”

“Doing what?” He knew very well, but he found he wanted to hear Hannibal say it, to give it life.

“Doing as you asked. Dressing for you.”


He drove slowly, with only that thought in his head, and when he pulled into Hannibal's driveway his palms were damp with sweat and his mouth was dry. He let himself in, as Hannibal had asked. A bottle of wine was uncorked in the kitchen, so he found glasses and poured two. The air was fragrant with cooking meat.

He wandered through to the sitting room, and let his attention be caught by Hannibal's collection of ephemera. They were nearly all biological in nature, which should be no surprise. Skulls, tusks, scales and feathers, a careful combination of the structural and the decorative. Power and display.

Footsteps sounded behind him, and he turned to see Hannibal in the doorway. He wore the same dress, and the shoes, a little more makeup, and his hair was soft and tousled, pushed back to expose the high flare of his cheekbones in an approximation of womanliness. The earrings glittered in the light from the lamps, and the ends of them fell against his neck. His eye make-up was something dark and pewter-like, softly applied in a dark smudge.

“Turn around.”

Hannibal raised a brow, but did, turning in a slow circle. The dress had a long slit at the back, travelling up in a shadowy V. He had on thin dark stockings, very sheer. Red silk clung to his waist and his ass. He looked as expensive and as strange as ever. The dress and the shoes changed how he held himself, somehow more defiant and yet more vulnerable.

Will stared, almost feeling the silken push of flesh against his palm. “Do you feel beautiful?”

Hannibal came closer, slowly. The air thickened between them. Diamonds shivered as he walked. He dropped his gaze, dark lashes on his smoothed skin, his mouth a deep red pout. “If you see me so, then I am.”

Will could barely find his voice to reply, and when he spoke it was fragile and wondering. “I do.”

Hannibal took a breath, deeply. It raised his shoulders, and widened his chest, and made the red silk slide over his skin.

“Raise your dress.”

A flicker of something dark on Hannibal's face. “Isn't that a little crude?”

“I'm crude. Does that shock you? I want to see how far you've gone.”

Hannibal nodded. His centre of balance was different, and he teetered very slightly. He pulled at the silk, raising it like the curtain at the theatre.

Long legs, smooth skin. He'd shaved them, Will realised, and it gave him a breathless hot kick in his stomach. He'd shaved them for this, for Will. There was a narrow band of lace around the top of each stocking. He pulled the dress up over his hips. They were narrow and flat, with no hint of a woman's shape. Hannibal had on women's underwear, a feminine cut, but they fit him perfectly, as if handmade. Quite possibly they were. They were made of translucent silk, so thin and colourless that it looked almost impossible. Every part of him was visible through it. The fabric clung to his cock, and to his bare skin.

“You didn't just shave your legs,” Will said.


“Did you do it for me?”

“No one else has seen me like this for many years.”

There was something mesmerising about how different he sounded, in the way he was modulating his voice to be softer. It wasn't that he sounded or acted like any of the women Will had ever known; it was that he sounded not like Hannibal, as if Hannibal were someone with less confidence, less arrogance, fewer expectations that the world would fulfill his needs. Someone who could be cared for, or controlled, or, the dark half of his mind supplied, preferably both. A painful gnawing lust filled him. He pictured the silk in shreds in his hands.

“I've seen enough.”

Hannibal let the dress fall. It moved almost like water, tumbling straight down the slim lines of his legs. “I've cooked for you,” he said.. “I'd like us to eat now.”

Will shook his head, feeling the floor tilt for a moment. “Of-of course.”

The dining room seemed new and unknown, with this version of Hannibal sitting opposite him. He was grateful that, as ever, Hannibal's portions were so small. He could hardly even think of eating. Hannibal laid his plate down in front of him, and refilled their glasses. As he moved, Will caught a drift of perfume, something sensual and warm.

Will’s hand shook as he placed his glass down on the table. “Have I gone too far?” he said.

Hannibal paused with his glass to his full red lips. “Do you think you have?” He closed his eyes to better inhale the bouquet.

“I wouldn't treat a woman like this. Tell her what to do, or what to wear.”

“Do you want to treat me as a woman? What do you see me as, right now?”

“Something unique. Perhaps even something more than human.”

Hannibal smiled, slow and pleased. “Something that you like?”

“Yes.” Will took another mouthful of wine, more than he'd intended. It was beginning to warm his blood. “I find you... confusing. You enjoy that.”

“This alters your reactions to me, just as it alters my responses. I enjoy seeing you change. I'd enjoy seeing a lot more of your responses.”

Will watched him, and the brief flutter of his lashes. “Do you enjoy flirting with me?”

“Just as much as I've always done. Does it feel different when I'm dressed like this?”

“Very. Like this, I know where I want it to end.”

“Where is that?”

His pulse thrummed through him. There was no reason not to say what he was thinking. “Inside you.”

Hannibal lowered his gaze, and his lips parted. They were damp, and they glistened, and his intake of breath was audible. From this distance, Will could see how perfectly he'd applied foundation and blusher, how artfully they matched his own colouring. His face was a canvas, expertly painted.

“Take me upstairs,” Hannibal said. He put down his knife and fork and set his napkin aside. “Please.”


They didn't touch as they walked upstairs. Will walked behind Hannibal. No, he had made sure to make him go first, and all the way up he watched the sway of his hips and the pull of the fabric across his body. The slit at the back drew wide with each step up, exposing a shadowed view of inner thigh. His fingers ached to touch, and his body ached as Hannibal pushed open the door to his bedroom. Ahead of them, the bed lay dark and huge.

“Oh, God,” Will said. He crowded up behind him and turned him, palms slipping on warm silk, and pressed his mouth onto Hannibal's, hard. He could barely process his senses. Hannibal was an impression of heat and hardness, of frictionless silk and hot breath mixing with his own. But then he began to feel. Hannibal's lips were so soft, and they parted obediently at the push of his tongue. His back was solid and straight, and the rounded curve of his ass was firm under the greedy slide of Will’s palm. Hannibal slid his arms around Will’s shoulders, and bent his head into the kiss, and it became hotter, and wetter, more covetous. Hannibal's hunger became almost heartbreakingly obvious, and Will dragged him closer, both hands rudely flattened on the taut smooth curves of his ass. Between them, pressing against Will’s stomach through the dress, Hannibal's cock was rigid, just as Will's was.

“Oh God,” Will said, again. He pulled back, and looked down between them, and saw the ridge of it bulging obscenely through the fabric. “Oh fuck. I want you,” Will said. “I want you.”

“Then take me.” Hannibal's expression was almost one of pain, and his breathing was ragged.

Just like that. Hannibal made it so simple. “How do I get you out of all this?”

“You don't.”

Hannibal kissed him, giving him no time to say anything else, and they moved to the bed like that; Hannibal walking backwards, wobbling, struggling to keep his balance. Will ran his hands over him, hungry for every play and flex of muscle and tendons. Will let him go when they reached it, and kicked off his shoes and dragged at his shirt and pants. Hannibal made to lean down to take off his own shoes.


Hannibal nodded, and swallowed, and drew himself back onto the bed. Will shed the rest of his clothes and crawled over him, hands and knees, until he could lower himself down on top of him. Hannibal spread his thighs in a slow deliberate cradling, and Will moaned as he moved between them, letting his hips grind as they wanted, searching for pressure and heat. Hannibal's dress slid between them, cool at first but quickly warming.

“If I'm not careful I'm going to ruin your dress,” Will said, lips brushing Hannibal's.

“Clothes are to be worn, to be lived in.” He kissed Will. “To be spoiled, or ruined.” He pushed his fingers through Will’s hair, and ran them down to his shoulders, and then lower, sliding down his waist to his ass. He dragged his nails as he went, leaving a livid stinging trail. “Or torn.”

Will panted against his mouth, and leaned his forehead against Hannibal's. He thrust his hips, and moaned at Hannibal's answering push. “I want to tear all this off you.”

“You'd destroy a couture garment. It cost thousands. Handstitched to fit me.”

Will closed his eyes to capture the image: Hannibal draped in only this in the discreet back room of a tailor's shop. “You don't care.”


“Then why tell me?”

“I want you to know the value of what you destroy and to choose to do it anyway.”

Will groaned, and knelt back. Hannibal's lipstick was smeared, and his eyeshadow had smudged. Will wanted more. He wanted to rip any composure Hannibal had apart.

He trailed his palms over Hannibal's chest and stomach, hands meeting at his groin to press down hard on his cock, and then dividing to travel down each leg. He pushed the dress up, revealing the slim but powerful length of calf and thigh. He caught hold of Hannibal's ankles, and held his legs open wider. The thin lingerie was darkened with fluid. Hannibal slid a hand down into them, holding Will’s gaze as he touched himself. Then he wriggled, and twisted over onto his stomach.

Of all views, this was the one that could be interpreted most easily as female. Long legs, sinuous curves, and the dark slit of the dress spreading invitingly, pointing an arrow at the place Will wanted to go. He slid his fingers up along it, tracing smooth inner thigh, until he met Hannibal's underwear. He took his own cock in one hand, and stroked it helplessly, and slid his fingers up, pushing aside the thin fabric until he was touching skin. Hot delicate skin. Smooth. He shivered, and Hannibal made a sound that was somewhere between a moan and a gasp. The back of his balls, and his perineum. Will slid his fingers higher and found his opening. He met no resistance at all, and was guided in by slick and impossibly tight heat.

“Oh fuck. What have you done?” he said, crawling closer. He pressed his face into the back of Hannibal's neck, and drove his finger in deeper. Hannibal arched into his thrust. Will fixed his teeth on the back of his shoulder and pushed a second finger in alongside the first.

“I'm ready for you,” Hannibal murmured. “I wanted to be ready. To be wet.” His eyes were closed, lashes fluttering, and his lips were as lush and as full as rich red fruit. “To be able to take you as a woman would.”

“When did you do this?” Will said.

“While you were driving here. The dressing took moments. This took... longer.”

He licked Hannibal's skin, and watched him from inches away, wondered at his own self control. He was in to the knuckle, and Hannibal was so well slicked that he was making wet noises with every movement. Why wasn't he already inside him? How were these flimsy maddening clothes still on him?

He knelt back and pulled his fingers free, then took the edges of the slit and pulled it hard, so that it ripped up the back seam. He let it fall either side of Hannibal's body, like two red wings. He dug his fingers into the seam of the panties and wrenched. They came apart like tissue, leaving Hannibal exposed. Will moved forward and notched the head of his cock to Hannibal's opening. Balancing on his knees, his hands smoothing Hannibal's lower back, he pushed in.

“You were like this all through dinner,” he said, thick voiced, staring down as Hannibal angled his hips to better take him in.

“Yes,” Hannibal said. He sounded half winded, and his fingers were gripping tight into his own smooth cotton sheets. Sweat was forming in the shallow dip of his lower back. Will touched his fingers to it, and traced the narrow elastic waistband of Hannibal's ruined underwear. He ran his fingers lower, navigating a path down through the scraps of fabric until he could run his fingertip around the place their bodies joined. Hannibal moaned at his touch, dropping his head and spreading his thighs a little. Will drifted, caught between emotional and sensory overload. He liked having Hannibal pinned like this; speared immovably on him. He pressed a hand down hard on Hannibal's spine where the torn back seam of the dress ended, the same place the neat bow of his apron usually sat, and sank in a precious extra inch.

“So you expected this to happen,” he said, eventually, when he could breathe again. “You were so sure.”

“Was I wrong to be so certain?”

Will shook his head, knowing Hannibal couldn't see his answer. Instead he began to move, small slow thrusts, grinding his hips as he had once with previous lovers, all women. It had the same effect on Hannibal: a low gasp, and a greedy arch of the spine, a quickening of breath. He reached back to touch Will’s hip, pulling at him in a mute request for more.

“You were sure that your transformation would lead to this,” said Will.

Hannibal had his eyes closed, and his head down. “You have a certain way of looking at me.”

“Tell me.”

“As though I'm something you want, but you think you're not allowed to have.”

Will planted both hands flat on the sheets. He bent to kiss Hannibal's neck. The scent of his perfume was stronger there, as if he'd dabbed it into his hairline expecting to be kissed exactly like this. The idea made him want to plough in, to ram and to batter at Hannibal's body. “I do. Move your hips. I want to feel you move.”

Hannibal was obliging in this, as he was in most things. He pushed back onto Will, finding a shallow slow rhythm. Will pressed his face to Hannibal's hair and listened to his small sounds of pleasure, lost in the hot slick tightness of his body, just as Hannibal seemed lost in taking his cock. He looked down, eating up the view, mesmerised by Hannibal's strong thighs with their stocking tops, and his powerful arched feet pushed into those amazing shoes.

“You'll dress like this for me whenever I want,” Will said, close to his ear. He should've made it a question, but he didn't. Hannibal shivered, and clenched down hard around him. “You like that idea. I felt how tight it made you.”

Hannibal was silent, and perhaps there was nothing to add. His body had betrayed him enough.

Will nuzzled at his neck, his hunger spiralling rapidly. He pulled Hannibal close and rolled them, so that they were on their sides, Will behind him and still buried deep. One torn half of the dress fell away to expose Hannibal's hip. It was narrow and hard, but grew a little soft around his waist, and Will dug his fingers into the flesh there, wishing there were more. He slid his hand down to Hannibal's thigh, pushing it up as he pushed himself in deeper. Hannibal found his hand with his own, and leaned back against him.

Will pushed his mouth against Hannibal's ear, and slid his hand down under the silk to take hold of Hannibal's erection. He was a mess; wet and smeared with pre-come. A lot of it. Will formed a tight grip with his fingers, and Hannibal gasped.

“Is that good?” Will asked. “Too tight?”

“No. It's good.”

“Tell me where you're most sensitive.” He kissed Hannibal's neck, carefully watching his face as he explored the landscape of silky skin and hard flesh, in the same way he had explored the unfamiliar folds and dips of women's bodies. He slid his thumb up to the head and pressed underneath, working against the fine-textured skin there.

“There, oh,” Hannibal said, under his breath. He let his eyes slide shut, and wet his lips. Will pulled his fist up Hannibal's cock, and let his thumb slide over the slit, parting it as much as he was able. “How about here?”

Hannibal arched against him. “Will... I'm almost there.”

“Good. I want you to come first.”

“Are you always this chivalrous?” The words held a tremor.

Will smiled against his neck, and knew Hannibal would be able to hear it in his voice. “Always,” he said softly. He began to stroke Hannibal more quickly, keeping his own hips still and allowing Hannibal to move as he wanted, to find his own pleasure. “I've never been with a man before.” He nuzzled at Hannibal's ear. “You're my first.”

Hannibal moaned, a soft lost sound, as if he were giving something up. He reached up and back and grabbed Will's hair, fingers tightening in it as he thrust his hips hard and came in Will’s hand. Will stroked him through it, then rolled him back onto his front and began to drive into him. He fisted his slick wet hand in the dress at Hannibal's waist. The cloth made a low tearing sound but he didn't care.

“Yes,” Hannibal breathed, and he canted his hips back, urging him on. Hannibal's total acquiescence, his flagrant lust for this final act, wrapped around Will like a fist. He lay in his ruined clothes, opening himself in the most intimate way for Will.

He buried his nose in Hannibal's hair, and pinned him to the bed, and fucked him, letting himself go as hard and as fast as he needed. Oh, and he needed. The bed shook. Hannibal was silent apart from his rough breathing. He came very soon, a rush that was more like an electric shock. The peak of it was almost pain, and he hissed as his balls squeezed tight, as he emptied himself into Hannibal's body.

Will lowered himself down, sprawling on the hard cushion of Hannibal's body. He kissed the back of Hannibal's neck, letting the salt sweat spread over his lips. Hannibal lay still, bearing his weight. He'd always wondered in the past if women found this part onerous, or if they really didn't mind his weight. But Hannibal seemed to have no problem with it, at least for several minutes. Then he began to make the tiniest of movements.

“I can take a hint,” Will said.

“I'm aware.”

They settled together facing each other. Will pulled up the covers. Hannibal reached out to stroke his hair. He smiled, free and boyish, almost something shy in it, and Will’s heart squeezed.

“I didn't expect you to be like this,” Will said, after a while. “That it would be like this with you.”

“What is it like?” Hannibal said, curling a lock of Will’s hair around his index finger. He tugged on it, then let it slowly spring free.

“That you'd be so... abandoned in your search for pleasure.”

“I've scattered my life liberally with clues. I'm surprised you've missed them until now.”

“I hadn't missed the theatrical nature of your aesthetics. How could I?”

Hannibal frowned. “Theatrical?”

“You still have lipstick on,” Will said, smiling.

“So do you, now. On your neck. On your mouth.” He touched the edge of Will’s lower lip, then pushed his hand down between them. He ran his finger around the base of Will's cock. “Do you want to wear it here?”

Will reached for him, hands cupping his face, and kissed him. It was good, more than good, especially when Hannibal sighed gently into his mouth, a small sound of desire that reverberated to fill Will’s head.

“God. Next time,” Will said.

“You're assuming there will be one.”

Will stroked a hand down to Hannibal's waist. “Am I wrong?”

Hannibal shook his head, and his smile was soft and wry, but there was something very careful in the way he watched Will. “You're all I want."

"I am?"

"Does my honesty alarm you?”

“People don't say things like that. At least not to me.” Maybe Hannibal said things like this all the time, to his lovers. But Will didn't truly believe that. “How can you know?”

“You're unique.”

“Meaningless. So is everyone.”

“No, they're not. Not truly. Most people are unborn, spend their lives in a darkened room, turning away from the light that tries to crawl in at the window.”

“And I'm not?”

“You see, where others don't, or can't.”

“I see the worst of people. No one's drawn that as a positive aspect of my personality before.”

“There's nothing you won't look at.”

“And that attracts you.”

“Honesty is in short supply.” Hannibal touched his face, cupping his jaw and running his thumb along the top line of Will’s mouth. It tickled, and was an almost unbearably soft caress. “You are one of the few truly honest people I have ever met.”

Will leaned his face into Hannibal's neck, so he could block out Hannibal's gaze. “I know who I am, if that's what you mean. I'm certain.” If he said it aloud, it might become true.

Hannibal slid his arms around Will, one burrowing under between bed and body, the other curling around his ribs. It was possessive, and safe. He leaned into Hannibal's chest and let out a long breath, curling closer. Hannibal kissed his neck, bending to draw a line of kisses from collarbone to ear.

“So am I.”