They can’t leave Nigel tied up forever. Adam knows that. It still doesn’t mean he wants to hear it.
“Mielasis, you do need to let him go.”
Adam shakes his head and keeps pacing the floor. Chews his thumbnail.
“The way he’s bound places pressure on his ulnar nerve. There could be permanent damage and loss of sensation if you leave him there too long.”
Adam makes a frustrated sound. “Why did you bring him here?”
“Baby, you asked about him for months,” Will says.
“I stopped asking,” Adam says. “I didn’t want this. Why did you give me this?” He narrows his eyes and jabs a finger in Will’s direction. “You’re being cruel.”
He doesn’t stop to look, doesn’t stop to see how his words land. He just keeps pacing like he’s trying to wear a hole in the carpet. He knows how Hannibal hates that.
Sure enough, “Adam, come here,” Hannibal says.
His voice is just as calm, just as kind, but there’s an undercurrent of command in it that soothes Adam right down to his bones. He stands sullenly in front of Hannibal, who tilts his chin up and forces Adam to meet his eyes.
“Everything will be fine, dear one. What is this about?”
“He’s going to hurt someone when I let him go,” Adam says, not daring to tug his face away, although he desperately wants to. “Or he’s going to get hurt. I don’t want either of those things to happen. I want things to stay the way they are now.”
Hannibal keeps looking at him, waiting for more. He has an uncanny knack for knowing when Adam is hiding anything, when there’s something he doesn’t want to tell them. It doesn’t fail now. He sits perfectly, eerily still, waiting for the thing Adam really doesn’t want to say.
Of course it spills out of him.
“He thinks you’re hurting me,” Adam says at last. He rubs at one of the bruises on his neck, pressing into it with the pads of his fingers to really feel it. “He doesn’t understand. I don’t like the things he thinks about you.”
Hannibal pulls Adam into his lap, and yes. Yes, this.
“But you can make him understand, can’t you?” Hannibal asks.
He tilts his head up to lick along the underside of Adam’s jaw, tasting him, and Adam tips his head back and sighs. His hands go to Hannibal’s shoulders, and he grinds down into his lap, shamelessly seeking friction.
“I want you,” Adam says. “Daddy, please.”
He’s rewarded by Hannibal pressing a hand to his crotch, rubbing with firm strokes that make him gasp. Hannibal kisses him, and Adam does it the way Hannibal likes, slow and unhurried, even when he wants it faster and harder. He gasps when Hannibal bites his lower lip, closing his teeth around the soft, tender flesh until the feeling tips over into pain. Adam makes a low, desperate sound and grinds into Hannibal’s hand.
He licks his lip once Hannibal lets him go, chasing the residual pain, surprised when his tongue comes away without the taste of copper. He’s disappointed.
“Show me,” Hannibal says with heavy-lidded eyes. “Show me what you want.”
He takes his hands off Adam all at once, withdrawing against the arm of the couch. It’s all the permission Adam needs. He unbuttons his pants and squirms his way out of them, shoving his underwear down and kicking both onto the floor.
He lies on his back and spreads his legs as wide as he can, knees falling open against the couch. Hannibal watches as Adam sucks two fingers into his mouth, coating them with spit. His cock lays heavy and leaking on his stomach, and he ignores it. He’s not allowed to touch it, but he’s allowed to do this. He reaches down and finds his opening, sliding both fingers in without preamble—too dry, too fast to be comfortable. It’s good anyway. It’s friction and pleasure that makes him squint his eyes shut tight and moan.
He fucks himself while Hannibal watches, and he knows Will is watching too. The thought sends a jolt of heat to his belly, makes his cock twitch and leak. He opens his eyes and groans when he sees Hannibal looking at him, hungry and intent. Hannibal has taken his own cock out, and he’s holding it it loosely, obscene and flushed against his pants, foreskin pulled back. Adam wants to taste it. He licks his lips and fucks himself harder.
“What do I look like?” Adam asks, breathless. “Daddy, what do you see when you watch me?”
“I see you,” Hannibal says. “My darling boy, so beautiful and brittle. So eager.” His lips curve. “I see something that’s mine.
Adam sighs. "Yours. Fuck me, daddy, please.”
Hannibal leans forward so that he’s folded over Adam. He sticks his fingers into Adam’s mouth, proprietary and testing, just because he can. Adam sucks them eagerly, glad for the privilege of touch. He chases them when Hannibal finally pulls them back, thumping his head back against the couch when Hannibal drags those same fingers lower—when he circles Adam’s nipple, painting it with saliva so it catches a chill from the still air in the room.
Hannibal gets to his feet and undresses while Adam watches, breathing hard. Adam turns his head to look at Will sitting on the chair opposite, stroking himself lazily as he looks on. He gives Adam a smile that makes his heart flutter.
Hannibal slicks himself with lube from the end table, and then he’s settling between Adam’s legs and pushing in and oh.
Oh, it’s perfect.
Adam wraps his limbs around Hannibal and clings, rubbing their bodies together, opening up and letting it happen.
“Yes,” he pants. “Yes, yes, yes.”
Hannibal kisses him and fucks him and loves him, and it’s perfect. Nearly perfect.
Adam turns his head and locks eyes with Will, whose gaze is exactly where he knew it would be—on his face, watching him. Loving him too.
“I want you,” Adam says softly. “I want you too.”
Will gets up, slow and deliberate as a predator and kneels beside the couch, close, so he can bend his head near and capture Adam’s lips with his own. He swallows down the short, sharp sounds Adam makes as Hannibal fucks him impossibly deep. He pulls back to lick Adam’s ear, drawing a long, full moan from him.
“How do you want me, baby?”
“My mouth,” Adam says, gasping for air. “I want to taste you.”
Will groans. “Fuck, baby. Okay.”
He looks at Hannibal, who pushes Adam forward like he’s no heavier than a doll, so his head hangs off the edge of the couch. Will crouches so he can bring his cock to Adam’s lips, and Adam opens so he can slip the head inside.
It’s awkward and ungainly, all of it. This is far from the best place they’ve picked to fuck—the couch is too small and the wrong height—but they manage. They find the right angle so Will can thrust into Adam’s mouth as Hannibal fucks him, the dual sensations nearly short-circuiting his brain. Will shoves deep into the back of his throat, cutting off his air and bringing tears to his eyes, and he moans around it and rides it out. He can hear the sound of Will and Hannibal kissing above him, wet and messy, the sound of them getting lost in each other—but they never forget him.
When Will comes, Adam keeps sucking and licking as long as he can, until Will finally pulls away with a whimper, oversensitive and sated. He stays, sitting up by Adam’s head and petting the hair from his sweaty forehead. He tells Adam what a good boy he is, You look so pretty, sweetheart. Look how well you take daddy’s cock. You can squeeze my hand if it hurts, baby.
“Can I come?” Adam asks, frantic. “Please, can I come?”
“No touching,” Hannibal says, pulling Adam’s wrists away and pinning them up near his head. “You can come from this or not at all.”
Adam whimpers at the cruelty of it. It’s so unfair he could cry.
And he tries, oh, he tries. He’s so close to the edge, and he tries to tip over it, clenching his muscles and grinding down on the cock buried deep in his ass. In the end it’s almost but not quite enough.
Hannibal stills suddenly and spills in him with a soft groan. He holds Adam, staying inside him until his cock stops pulsing, until he grows soft and slips out with a strange sensation that makes them both grimace.
He gives Adam a deep, thorough kiss that only ratchets his need higher.
“Please,” Adam says, clinging and petting and wanting, so hard that it hurts. “Please, please don’t leave me like this.”
“But it’s what I want from you,” Hannibal says. “You’ll endure it for me won’t you?”
Adam grits his teeth and nods, sitting up with a wince.
Hannibal bumps their foreheads together affectionately. “I’ll hold you until you calm down, if you like. Then you’ll put your clothes back on and go see to your guest. All right?”
He nods again.
* * *
It’s much later by the time he returns to his room. He can’t tell if he’s surprised to find Nigel awake—surprise requires expectation subverted, and he’s not sure he has any of those these days. It’s hard to expect anything when you won’t let your mind light on it for long enough. He open the door and closes it softly behind him, as if this is somehow secret. As if he can hide it from prying eyes.
He avoids looking for as long as he can. He looks at the floor, the maps lining the walls, the curtains, the lamp. He looks at the edges, at safe places only. He doesn’t look at Nigel until there’s simply nowhere else left.
Nigel is watching him with the saddest eyes. “You’re loud, you know. Would you have been that loud with me?”
He smiles like Will used to, the one that looked soaked in pain.
“I don’t know,” Adam says. “We never got to find out.” He looks at his hands because it’s better. “I would have liked to have found out.”
“Me too, gorgeous,” Nigel says. He sniffs and straightens. “So what happens now? You kill me for your new boyfriends?”
Adam tenses at the word boyfriends. It’s not the right one. It’s nowhere even close. “I’m not going to kill you. I wouldn’t do that.” He takes a deep breath. “I’m going to let you go.”
Nigel raises his eyebrows. “Just like that? You’re just going to fucking let me go?”
Adam nods. “You should probably go home. I don’t think anyone would try to stop you. That isn’t the point of this. Just—just go and forget this ever happened. Forget about me. Go and be happy somewhere. I’d like that for you. I’d like for you to have that.”
Nigel nods at the knife in his hand. “Alright, just go ahead and gut me with that thing.”
Adam’s eyebrows knit together. “What? Nigel, why would I do that?”
“Because that’d be better, Adam. Jesus, don’t you fucking get it? You can’t ask me to do this. You can’t ask me to just leave you here. I can’t fuck off back to America knowing that you’re here, and you’re letting them kill you.”
“They fucking are. They’re killing the best parts of you, sweetheart. If you want me to leave so bad, you can take that knife and stick me with it yourself because I’m not going anywhere without you.”
Adam closes his eyes and swears.
“I said fuck, Nigel,” Adam says, far too loud to be polite, yelling for the first time since the one and only time he raised his voice to Hannibal. “You don’t get it. This is what they do. They knew that this would happen. That you’d want to stay.” He throws the knife at the floor and can’t bring himself to care that it gouges the wood.
Nigel smirks. “It feels good to get angry, doesn’t it?”
Adam shoots him a withering glare, but it can’t last. He’s looking at Nigel. Nigel who he thought he’d never see again, Nigel who’s looking at him like he’s smart and capable and not at all fragile. A small smile cracks through.
“It feels pretty good,” he admits. He sighs and picks up the knife on the ground, scuffing at the divot in the wood with a toe.
“Your boyfriends gonna be mad about that?”
Adam makes a face. It’s easy to do that now—easier. It’s just Nigel. “My dads. Not boyfriends.”
“Don’t,” Adam says, gesturing with the knife before he realizes he shouldn’t. He drops the hand to his side. “I don’t want to talk about it, not right now. Please.”
Nigel shakes his head. “That’s so incredibly fucked up, I hope you know that.”
Adam purses his lips and frowns at Nigel before shaking his head. He starts cutting away the ropes holding Nigel’s arms together. “This is actually really hard to do. I feel like I’m going to cut you.”
“Well I’d appreciate it if you didn’t, darling. Although on the bright side, I can’t actually feel my arms anymore so it might not hurt if you did.”
“Sorry,” Adam says. “For not letting you go earlier. Hannibal said the ropes are impinging on your ulnar nerves.”
“Hannibal says,” Nigel mutters, and Adam ignores it.
He works slowly and carefully, sliding his fingers underneath the rope so he can slide the knife in and saw upward, away from the vulnerable flesh of Nigel’s arms. It takes a long time, but finally the last coil of rope falls to the ground.
Nigel groans and brings his hands in front of him, stretching and flexing each finger one by one. He grimaces as he rolls his shoulders. “Fuck, that hurts. I’m going to fucking feel that for the next week.”
“Sorry,” Adam says again.
The ropes binding Nigel’s feet are easier. Adam’s had practice, and Nigel’s pants provide some cushion between blade and skin. He can work faster when he’s less afraid about slicing Nigel open.
Adam hesitates before starting on the last foot. “What are you going to do when you’re free if you’re not leaving? You’re still not leaving?”
“I’m not fucking leaving,” Nigel says, like it’s final. “I’d like to go downstairs and murder those two sons of bitches is what I’d like to do.”
“Nigel,” Adam says sharply. “I’m tired and sore, and I want to go to bed. I’m not going to thank you if you kill someone I love. That would hurt me badly, and I’d rather not be hurt any more today.”
Nigel twists so he can look at Adam. “You love him?”
“I love them both,” Adam says, sawing at the rope. He glances up at Nigel’s face, just for a second. He can tell Nigel’s upset, but he doesn’t know what to do about it. “A year is a long time,” he says at last. He jerks his head toward the window. “You’ve been living your life out there. I’ve had to make my life in here. I know it’s wrong in some ways, but it’s mine. It’s what I have, and I want to keep it.”
Nigel had been so good about keeping still that Adam is startled when he wrenches his leg away before Adam’s finished cutting the final rope. He jerks it hard enough that the last length snaps free anyway.
Nigel stands up immediately, although he’s unsteady on his feet from sitting for so long. When Adam goes to steady him, he jerks his arm away.
“Don’t touch me,” he snaps.
He leans against the wall, and Adam just stands in the middle of the room, flexing his hands helplessly.
As soon as Nigel can walk without falling over, he does, yanking the bedroom door open so hard the hinges creek.
“Are you leaving after all?” Adam asks.
The question pulls Nigel up short. He drags a hand through his hair and swears.
“I’m not fucking leaving,” he says. “I’m going to have a fucking smoke. I’m sure your dads wouldn’t like me smoking in the house.”
Adam bites his lip and winces when it’s still tender from Hannibal’s bite earlier. Nigel doesn’t miss that—his eyes narrow at the flinch.
“There’s a beach outside, a little ways from here. I don’t know if you got the chance to see it when you—when you came in. If you keep walking behind the house, you’ll find it in five minutes. There’s no lights so be careful not to walk into the water. I’ve done that before.”
Adam trails him down the stairs like a shadow, stopping at the foot of the stairs to watch Nigel storm through the living room, past Hannibal who barely glances up from his sketchbook on the couch and Will who smirks.
Nigel slams the door on his way out.
“That went well,” Will says.
“Appalling manners,” Hannibal murmurs.
* * *
Sure enough, the beach is right where the kid said it would be. It’s vast and deserted. Nigel can barely see the water, but he can hear the quiet crash of waves against the shore. The air is salty here, brine flooding his lungs on every breath.
It’s not nearly enough to soothe his foul mood. Not even fucking close.
He pats his pockets looking for his cigarettes and a light and growls with frustration when he comes up empty. Of fucking course. He’s not wearing his own clothes, is he? He growls again and kicks at the sand, sending a spray of it flying. It’s wholly unsatisfying.
He sits on the shore with a heavy grunt, ignoring the way the sand’s dampness leaches up into his clothes. The calm rush of the waves doesn’t make him feel any better.
He turns when he hears footsteps.
For a second he’d hoped it would be the kid, coming after him, hopefully coming to his senses and snapping out of whatever they’ve done to him, but of course Nigel has no such luck. Of course it’s Will fucking Graham.
Will takes a seat on the sand beside him, utterly silent. Must be easy to move like a fucking ninja when you haven’t spent the better part of the last day stuffed in a trunk and tied to a chair.
Nigel turns back to the black water, unimpressed. “I may not have a gun, but I can still kick your fucking ass.”
“Is that your plan?”
Nigel shrugs. “It could be. The kid seems to think you’d let me go, let me just walk out of here if I wanted. That true?”
Will shrugs. “You going to tell the cops about us?”
Nigel’s lip curls. “I’m not leaving.”
Nigel sighs and takes the pack of cigarettes out of Will’s hand. It’s worse for the wear, crumpled and a little bit damp from the humidity. The cigarette he takes between his lips is crushed and crooked, but he lights it up anyway.
He glances up at Will. “You smoke?”
“Not really,” Will says, but he takes a cigarette from the extended pack anyway and catches the lighter when Nigel tosses it at him.
They sit there smoking on the beach in silence, invisible save for the lit ends of their cigarettes glowing in the dark.
“He loves you,” Nigel says. It sits between them like a heavy weight.
“He loves you too. It’s not a zero sum game.”
“Of course it is,” Nigel says. “Christ, I ought to kill you.”
“But Adam asked you not to, so you won’t. That’s what your love is. Sacrifice. Martyrdom.”
Nigel sneers. “And how the fuck would you know?”
“I love him too,” Will says simply.
“Fuck you. I love him. You fucked him up.”
Will shrugs, and Nigel considers punching his lights out.
“They’re not mutually exclusive.”
Nigel stabs his cigarette in the sand. “From where I’m sitting, rape, kidnapping, and love are all mutually exclusive, asshole.”
Will finishes the last of his cigarette before stubbing it out beside Nigel’s. “You’d think they would be, but you’d be wrong. Forgiveness, goodness—not really necessary to build a love.”
“Adam’s got goodness in fucking spades.”
“I know,” Will says. “He’s so unlike us, isn’t he? It’s beautiful.”
“That’s why you’re out here sulking instead of trying your luck against Hannibal and I—you would lose, by the way.” His lips quirk up in a creepy smile. “Hannibal would give your heart to Adam on a platter, and he would eat it and say thank you. I could fuck him with your blood still on his mouth.”
Nigel is on him in an instant. He tackles Will to the ground and punches him in the face, grinding his head into the sand with a tight grip around his throat. Listening to him struggle for breath is fucking satisfying.
“I should fucking kill you. I should do the entire world a fucking favor and kill you right here. I should kill you for ever so much as looking in Adam’s direction, you sick fuck.”
The beach is dark, and Nigel is running on nicotine and fumes. He doesn’t even see the knife before he feels the slash opening in his side. His hands loosen for a moment, and then Will is twisting out from under him, elbowing him in the face and staggering to his knees with a cough. Now Nigel can see the glint of a blade in his hand, dripping and ready to bite again.
He puts a hand to the wound on his side, and it comes away sticky black in the moonlight. He laughs and bares his teeth. “Is this the part where you try to kill me?”
Will spits out blood. “I’d rather this was the part where we go back inside, and you let Hannibal take a look at that cut.”
“Adam won’t thank you for bleeding out on the beach. I’m tired, and I don’t want to move a body tonight.”
Nigel considers jumping the fucker again. He doesn’t think the cut in his side is that deep, but it burns like fire, and his shirt is quickly becoming soaked through.
Will holds out a hand to help him up, and Nigel ignores it, staggering to his feet on his own. They walk back to the house in silence.
“Nigel?” Will stops suddenly.
“What?” he spits, still trudging his way doggedly toward the house.
“Hannibal would kill Adam, you know. If you’re going to try to kill me, make sure you kill us both.”
Nigel grunts, not in the mood for anymore creepy bullshit tonight. “Thought you two were his daddies—which is fucking weird, by the way.”
“Hannibal’s killed all my children,” Will says. “Why should this one be any different?”
Nigel stops dead in his tracks trying to parse that, wondering what the fuck he’s just stepped into.