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Will is stumbling around the city in a daze. His thoughts have been blurring, combining without his consent, and he finds himself unable to separate his genuine feelings from the ones he told himself he was faking in order to draw Hannibal in. Months ago, when he sat at that ice fishing hole with Jack, he had felt confident in his ability to lure the killer into a confession without falling too deep, but he had overestimated the power of his own anger to keep him grounded. Every path feels like it leads to disaster. No matter which outcome he considers, whether it’s Hannibal in jail or him saying ‘fuck it’ and just stabbing him the next time he sees him, it sends sharp stabs of anxiety and despair through him, and the thoughts are overwhelming in their severity. He needs, desperately, to let everything go, even if it is just for one night.

It goes unsaid that he is looking for a bar, somewhere he can get wasted before calling a cab home to empty his feelings into the toilet. Despite living pretty close, he is not familiar with DC proper, searching blindly for the sound of a shitty jukebox and the sour smell of cheap alcohol and vomit. He almost passes over a building, pulsing lights visible just beyond the entrance, but the steady, throbbing beat of the music from within stops him. He drifts closer, unsure what his intentions are, but a steady glare from the bouncer sends him inside before he can be barked at to ‘get in or fuck off’. 

Several people just at the entrance to the club shoot him surprised looks as he enters, likely because of his clothes. Most people are dressed the part, in thin, shining shirts and tight pants, while Will is clad in a ratty jacket, ratty pants, a ratty shirt. Seeing Hannibal hadn’t been on his schedule, so he is dressed in the same old shit he usually wears. He doesn’t like to think about the fact that his usual wardrobe has started to feel less like a comfort and more like an obligation as of late. He goes to the bar and orders a drink.

Even the bartender shoots him a look. “You don’t really look the part,” she explains, serving him the whiskey. “Don’t order it, either.”

“Trying something new,” Will grunts, and knocks back the drink. The sound is loud, almost painfully so, and while it should have aggravated his chronic headaches he was finding that instead it pulses to the same beat, painlessly. 

“There’s an upper level,” the woman suggests with a kind smile. “Places to sit, take everything in without getting sucked into the madness.”

He has his drink refilled and tips her well before taking her advice. Instead of sitting he makes his way to the balcony, set back far enough that it would be very difficult for anyone to fall off in a stupor. Beneath him a thick sea of people dance to the music, uncoordinated and synchronized all at the same time. He feels them prickling at the back of his mind, stabbing forward with the music, trying to burrow into his brain. 

Well, he had said he wanted to try something new, hadn’t he? Will downs his drink, takes off his glasses, slides them into a jacket pocket, and allows himself to drop his barriers.

The effect is instantaneous. He feels the music, all the way to his core, alongside a rush of emotions the size of which he has never allowed himself to experience. It’s shades of joy, mostly, excitement and a manic energy he has never felt without the discoloration of rage and violence. They move as one being, something larger and greater than humanity, losing themselves in the experience. It feels transcendent, and why the fuck is he all the way up here when he could be a part of the greater whole?  

His jacket would have gotten in the way so he leaves it upstairs, thrown carelessly across a chair. It’s old and full of holes, and he doesn’t truly need the glasses inside of it, so if someone wants it that badly they could have the damn thing. It really is like an ocean, down on the main floor, waves crashing back and forth to the beat of the music. He is familiar with the ocean and enters the crowds easily, finding quickly that movement is simple as long as you move with the current instead of fighting it. As he goes, he locks eyes with many, some staring back with an unfocused gaze, and with every one he feels more and more slipping away from him. No one judges him here, no one expects anything of him, everyone else here simply to live.

Something tugs at the sleeve of his flannel, and he spins to see a young woman, face sparkling and shining. “Why are you wearing this?” she giggles.

He looks down at the burgundy pattern and realizes he does not have an answer. “Why am I wearing this?” he wonders aloud, staring at the alien fabric. “Should I not be?”

The woman whoops. “Yeah!” she cries. “Take it off!”

And so he does. He has an undershirt on underneath, thankfully black so it does not easily show his sweat, and he is soon holding the offensive shirt in his hands, unsure what to do with it now that it is no longer covering his body. “Do you want this?” He offers the shirt to the stranger who feels like a friend.

She is staring at his arms. “I will take this,” she says very seriously, “for the good of the people. ” It is taken from him, and then the woman vanishes back into the crowds, leaving Will to dance alone once more.

Time blurs together, flowing perfectly from minute to minute as the music follows. It starts steady but upbeat, everyone bouncing along with the bass, but soon bleeds into something more melodic and soaring that makes Will feel as if he is floating. People crush in and sweep out, sometimes so close that Will cannot move without rubbing against another person, sometimes so far that Will almost feels as if he is the only one here. The lights flash and sweep across the room, illuminating faces sporadically, revealing eyes closed in pleasure and faces laughing with joy. He sees people connect, almost intimately, sometimes definitely intimately, and longs for a connection of his own. 

The feeling must have shown on his face because he is drawn towards another, a faceless figure, pressed flush against their back. An arm slides around his waist, holding him in place, but the grip is weak enough that he can easily break away if he desires. He finds that he does not. They move as one, close enough to feel each other’s heartbeats, and when Will feels a hand tilting his head back he allows it to be done, relishing the feeling of a mouth against his neck. Hands connect with his shoulders, a gentle pressure urging him to turn and face his partner, but Will shakes his head and the hands retreat with a lingering touch of disappointment. Will breaks free, and slips away into the waters before him.

He dances with countless people, some simply laughing and enjoying the moment, some so close they share breath. With each partner something builds inside of him, a pressing feeling he cannot identify, until his very bones shake with the movement of the crowd. One more partner, one more connection, and suddenly it bursts, sending him stumbling outside of the club.

Will calls a taxi and gives them an address that is not his own. He is dropped off at the doorstep of Hannibal’s ostentatious home, shivering from the cold, and pounds on the man’s door until it opens for him. A great many emotions pass through the monster’s features, everything from irritation to concern, finally landing on something closer to confusion. “Come inside before you wake the entire neighborhood,” Hannibal sighs, and Will pushes past him to enter the house himself. 

“I was about to just break a window,” he says, voice light.

“It’s two in the morning,” Hannibal points out. Will wanders away, into a random room, and as Hannibal follows he feels the older man’s eyes assessing him. “Where is your jacket?” he finally asks.

“Forgotten,” Will answers, trailing his fingertips along the antlers of a stag’s head he had located.

“And your shirt?”

“Someone else’s problem,” Will bites back. “Why do you care?”

“Because you have shown up on my doorstep in the middle of the night in a state of disarray,” Hannibal grinds out, and when Will turns he sees that irritation is finally winning. “I assume from your attitude that nothing bad has happened.”

“Not yet,” Will answers cheerfully.

Hannibal tenses, and Will does not miss the way his eyes flick around the room, searching for a weapon. “Are you threatening me, Will?”

All of a sudden, the burst pressure that was coursing through Will’s veins, throbbing in time with the music he still feels deep inside himself, resolves into a pure, white hot rage. “Yes,” he spits, mouth turning downwards. “I knocked on your front door and woke you up just to kill you. I wanted to ensure I had the lowest possible chance of success.”

Across from him, Hannibal’s posture tightens, and he balls his hands into fists. “Will,” he warns. He is wearing fancy matching pajamas, and the fact only angers Will further.

“I’m so sick of this,” Will bites out. “All your bullshit. Whatever this stupid fucking game we’re playing is.” He approaches Hannibal, palms open, showing he is unarmed so the asshole didn’t immediately stab him or whatever shit he wants to do. “You manipulate me for the better part of a year, send me to prison , and when I finally embrace this ‘inner darkness’ you’re always on about, you know what happens?” He jabs a finger out, pressing it harshly into Hannibal’s chest. “You don’t even have the fucking decency to die.

A hand is on his throat, pushing him back until his back is slammed against a wall. “I would suggest that you reconsider your words,” Hannibal tells him, his voice so devoid of emotion that Will can tell he has nearly torn apart the person suit.

“I’ve spent every interaction with you doing nothing but considering my words,” Will gasps, the hand on his throat tightening. “It’s fucking exhausting.”

“Then maybe you would see fit to stop talking,” Hannibal answers, voice low.

Instead, Will knees Hannibal in the chest, sends him off balance enough that he stumbles and falls to the floor. Will is on him in a flash, but instead of punching the man, he hauls him up by the collar of his stupid fucking silk pajama shirt and kisses him.

Hannibal pushes him away almost immediately, shock evident on his face. “I think you should leave,” he says, voice tight.

“Oh, fuck off,” Will answers, rolling his eyes. He stands, makes his way up the stairs, knowing that Hannibal will follow. “You think I don’t see the way you look at me?” He finds an open door and guesses correctly, slipping into what is unmistakably Hannibal’s bedroom. “I’m not sure if you actually think I’m oblivious or just take advantage of the fact that I don’t seem to care.”

As expected, Hannibal enters the room with him, face unreadable. Will peels the undershirt off, throwing it carelessly to the floor, and stretches his arms above his head. He feels the way Hannibal’s eyes track across the line of his torso, landing on the marks along his neck, and sees his expression tighten. “You will regret this later,” Hannibal tries, and Will knows that he has won.

“I guess I’ll have to regret it for the both of us since you certainly won’t,” Will spits out. “You’ve never actually cared about my feelings, so why the fuck are you still pretending?”

“I take offense at the implication-”

“Oh, sorry,” Will interrupts, a wicked smile on his face. His pants are next, discarded somewhere far away. “You care plenty about the feelings you think I should have. If I’m not convenient, not playing along with your machinations, is it suddenly too much trouble?”

Carefully, Hannibal approaches the bed Will has sat down on, as if he was approaching a bomb. “You are not thinking straight,” he says, voice trying to soothe, but it’s obviously fake and has the opposite effect. “Your thoughts are not your own.”

“On the contrary,” Will hisses, hand shooting out and grabbing Hannibal’s collar once more. “This is the first time in so long that all I feel are my own thoughts.” He pulls Hannibal closer, puts his mouth by his ear, and whispers “And if you aren’t going to fuck me, I’ll go find someone else who will.”

He blinks, and then his body is flat against the bed, Hannibal straddling him. “In doing this, you have lost the right to later complain,” he warns, hands burning hot against Will’s bare chest.

“Do you want me to sign a fucking contract?” Will growls. He bucks upwards, trying to throw Hannibal off, but the weight of the larger man is too great.

“If you want this so badly, why are you resisting?”

Will is able to spin, put himself on his belly, and with the ability to brace himself on the bed he throws Hannibal off, smiling when he turns to see the dark look on the other man’s face. “Because you like to see me struggle.”

Something finally cracks, and Hannibal is on him again, sitting on his back and pressing his face down into the mattress, choking off his air and darkening his vision. He hears a drawer opened roughly and feels tight fingers around his wrist, followed by a cloth, and then his arm is stretched forward. More rustling, and when he tries to pull his arm back, he finds it does not move. The pressure relents and he takes in great gasps of air before raising his head to find he has been tied securely to the headboard, anchored to one of the ornamental spires that sprout from either end. “Why the fuck do you have ties next to your bed?”

“Does it matter?”

“Shouldn’t you do the other arm?” Will sneers, already moving his other hand to untie himself. “Did you use them while you were fucking Alana?”

His free hand is grabbed and twisted painfully behind his back, answering both questions at once. “Shut up,” Hannibal hisses, other hand squeezing around Will’s throat.

“I’m sure you have more,” Will taunts. “Go ahead and gag me. I think you like the sound of my voice too much to do that, though.”

Hannibal pulls Will’s boxer-briefs down and off, throwing them into the void of the floor. He moves back, and Will realizes the tie wasn’t all that was pulled from the drawer when he feels something hot and slick push between his cheeks. Harsh hands dig into the globes of his ass, pulling them apart, and then Hannibal is pushing forward, and inside.

Will is tense, has been nothing but tension from the start, and he feels his body try to resist the intrusion. It burns, it must for them both, but the sting lights up his spine and sends shivers through his body. “ Yes, ” he groans, loving the way it feels like nothing he’s ever felt before.

“Relax,” Hannibal grunts, pushing in slowly, trying to allow Will the time to adjust.

“Does it hurt?” Will laughs. “Maybe it’s only right that you should feel a fraction of the pain you’ve inflicted on me.”

Hannibal growls behind him, something feral and unhinged, and he buries himself as deep as he can go in one smooth motion. It makes Will gasp, eyes flying wide, and he finally feels connected. He no longer waits for Will, pulling nearly all the way out before slamming back in, forcing Will’s muscles to relax mostly out of necessity. It’s violating in the best way possible, making him feel like he’s being used, the thrusts matching the pulsing beat deep inside his core. If he closes his eyes he can he hear music in his head, flowing and pounding all at once.

But he’s surrendered control to Hannibal too many times before, and the thought of doing so again enrages him.

He starts by tugging lightly at the tie securing him tightly to the bed, eyeing the wooden structure he is attached to. Hannibal had not tied him to the base of it, whether by design or pure coincidence, and he can see it wobble, only just. Next, he twists his torso back and forth, trying to free his pinned arm, which results in Hannibal taking his hand off of his neck and pressing his shoulder down into the mattress instead. The end result is that his upper body is tilted slightly, bound arm given a bit of slack, enough for him to grip the tie extending from his wrist. Hannibal does not seem to catch onto what he is doing fast enough to stop it, and Will uses all his strength to pull, wild and furious. The spire is ripped clean off the headboard.

Hannibal makes a surprised sound, and Will takes this opportunity to flip them over after kicking Hannibal out of him. He sits now, across Hannibal’s chest, holding the wooden spire to Hannibal’s throat like a weapon. “You said you struggled because I enjoyed it,” Hannibal accused, eyes flashing.

Will reaches behind him, his free hand finding Hannibal’s cock with touch alone. He lifts his body, lining it up. “I never said I intended you to win,” he smiles, and sinks back down until he is fully seated on Hannibal’s hips. 

The pace he sets is punishing, lifting and dropping his hips nearly as fast as he can manage, spire still pointed at Hannibal’s pulse. The man beneath him cannot move much, only lay there and take what Will offers, and Will wonders if he too can finally feel what’s it’s like to be used. The movements he is making cause Hannibal’s cock to brush past his prostate, rubbing against it teasingly, and he scowls. He leans back more to fix the angle, the weapon no longer close enough to stop Hannibal’s movements, and he feels it ripped out of his hand the same moment he finally lines everything up correctly and groans in pleasure, eyes fluttering closed. 

“This was a very expensive bed,” Hannibal chastises, untying the tie and setting the broken piece of the bed on the bedside table closest to them. He catches Will’s other wrist where his hand was braced on the bed and brings it to the other, looping the tie around them both and trapping him. It causes Will to growl, as he cannot lean back as far as he wishes without the additional support, and so he digs his fingers into the hair at Hannibal’s chest and pulls in irritation.

“I’m worth more,” he gasps. Will almost falls flat onto his back as Hannibal shifts, sitting himself up while keeping Will securely in his lap. He does not move further other than to wrap an arm around Will’s back, allowing him to lean back as far as he likes. Free to do as he pleases, Will tilts himself until everything connects, and then takes what he needs.

Hannibal is listening, taking in all the breathy moans and gasps that escape Will as he fucks himself on his cock, waiting for a cue only he can hear. It hits, and suddenly his hands are back on Will’s ass, assisting his motions and driving himself up in time. Will wants to growl, wants to tell him to fuck off and let him do it himself, but the relentless tempo they set together feels too good to stop it for anything. Hannibal noses at his chin, encouraging his head back and Will obliges, baring the column of his throat and setting his teeth across what Will knows without knowing are the hickeys he had collected over the course of the night. He bites down hard on each in turn, covering them with his own marks, erasing them. “Possessive,” Will manages to get out, laughing as the hands dig harder into his ass in response.

It seems that Hannibal has scattered farther than Will, because he says nothing in return and only bites down harder. His teeth break flesh, and for a brief soaring moment Will thinks Hannibal is going to rip his throat out, but instead he releases his mouth and licks the blood away hungrily. Will’s hands are still anchored in Hannibal’s chest hair and he uses it to lean back, feeling the way Hannibal’s spine curves as he follows, still licking the blood away and thrusting up to the beat of a song only Will can hear. “Please,” he hears himself begging, but to who he is not sure. “I need-”

Neither of them hear the end of his desperate pleas, because Hannibal licks into his mouth, and when he tastes his own blood on the other man’s teeth and lips he comes with a strangled cry.

Will is dazed in his orgasm, and it allows Hannibal finally take what he wants, pushing Will back down onto the bed and pistoning into him at a frantic pace. By the time his stuttering heart slows, Hannibal has stilled, and he feels something warm spreading deep inside him. “You didn’t wear a condom,” he pants, irritation creeping back.

“You did not give me the opportunity,” Hannibal eventually answers, a flimsy excuse. “I know we are both clean.”

“You just wanted to corrupt me in another way,” Will mutters, and he sees the flashing in Hannibal’s eyes that indicate he hit his mark.

“Where do we go from here, Will?” Hannibal asks, and in his gaze, Will is startled when he sees uncertainty.

“The bathroom,” he deflects, and feels Hannibal’s arms tighten around him. He forces them off. “I am not sleeping with your fucking semen inside of me,” he says through gritted teeth, and Hannibal reluctantly lets him go.

Will does not shower, just uses his fingers and gravity to clean himself, and then wipes his body off with a wet washcloth. When he emerges, Hannibal is sitting on the bed, face blank. “Stop thinking,” Will scowls, approaching the other man. “We can deal with this in the morning.”

“Putting it off will not make this any easier,” Hannibal says, voice strangely quiet.

“Not everything has to be this difficult, Hannibal,” Will sighs. He climbs into the bed behind Hannibal, making his way to the far side, sliding under the covers.

“I know you are working with Jack,” Hannibal says, out of nowhere. Will should have been frightened, but instead he just feels tired.

“He definitely didn’t ask me to do this, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

“I find that I do not know what it is that worries me,” Hannibal admits. “You have a way of causing me to lose my footing.”

“Hannibal, jesus.” Will sits back up, hands fisting in his hair, trying to choke back down the rage he feels welling up inside of him. “Everything with you is so complicated. Why can’t we just exist?”

Now, Hannibal turns towards him. “It is only a matter of time before I am caught.”

Will’s voice rises, and he throws his hands up in irritation. “Then let’s just fucking leave!”

The silence between them is a heavy, loaded thing. Hannibal swallows before speaking. “Leave?”

“Leave,” Will confirms, and it amazes him how the words coming out of his mouth just feel so right. “I’ll feed my dogs, leave a note for Alana. Burn your files. Hop on a plane.”

“Do you understand the extent of what you are suggesting?” Hannibal looks oddly vulnerable, face slack, no mask in sight.

“Of course I do,” Will hisses, but there is no real venom behind it. Just like that, the rage has melted away, uncovering nothing but a singular purpose. “Why else would I suggest it? I know you have safe houses, escape plans, that sort of thing.” Hannibal looks away, and Will continues, softer this time. “Didn’t you say you wanted to show me Europe?”

“I do,” Hannibal confirms. 

“Then show me,” Will whispers, and Hannibal turns back to face him. Their eyes meet, and Hannibal leans forward and kisses him, full of all the emotion he has always held back.

When Will dreams, he is at a forked path, many roads before him. One is illuminated, revealing a dark figure upon it, and when it holds out a clawed hand, Will takes it.


Alana arrives at Will’s house in the morning, after he called to ask her to take care of his dogs for a couple days. Her brow furrows when she sees Will’s car still in the driveway, and when she pushes past the canines into the house proper, the neatly folded piece of paper on the table sends her heart into her stomach. It sits next to a collection of items laid out on the table; his phone, his wallet, his FBI badge, the keys to his house and his car. She picks up the note and unfolds it, reading the only two words on the fine parchment in his familiar, cramped handwriting-

I’m sorry.

She closes her eyes, and allows herself to cry.