“Hannibal, do you, uh… see that?”
Will’s hallucinations had stopped after the round of antivirals he’d been given to treat his encephalitis. He hasn’t seen anything that wasn’t there since before he’d been admitted to the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, but what he’s seeing now is making him reconsider if that’s still true.
“Yes,” Hannibal sighs, looking in the direction of the man who shoots a fang-lined grin in their direction and waggles his fingers at them.
Will’s eyebrows shoot up. “Really? Because there appears to be a horned man chain smoking in your dining room.”
“Demon,” the man helpfully supplies. “The name’s Nigel.”
Hannibal frowns. “I can’t get him to take his shoes off the dining table.”
“Okay.” Will closes his eyes and pinches the bridge of his nose. He had signed up to honeytrap Hannibal into giving them a confession. He hadn’t signed up for… whatever the hell this is. “Okay, why is there a demon in your house?”
Hannibal’s frown deepens. “I don’t actually know.”
“Huh. That’s... kind of a relief.” He’d hate to have to amend his profile of the Chesapeake Ripper yet again. “Good to know you don’t actually cavort with the devil in between all the, y’know, literal cannibalism.”
Hannibal shoots him a look, and Will doesn’t bother to hide his grin.
Nigel clears his throat loudly, swinging his feet off the table, which causes his chair to land firmly back on the ground with a loud thump. “I’m standing right fucking here, Jesus.” He points a finger at Hannibal. “For someone who supposedly hates rudeness, you are being pretty fucking rude, let me tell you.”
Can he say Jesus? Will mouths to Hannibal, who raises his eyebrows in the facial equivalent of a shrug.
Nigel gives them both a withering glare, which is considerably more effective when your eyes are backlit with what Will assumes is actual hellfire.
“Does your boss know you’re here?” Hannibal asks coolly, and the demon in the room actually looks a bit sheepish. Will mentally amends his earlier assessment to ‘Hannibal really might cavort with the devil.’
“Not as such, no,” Nigel drawls. “I’m here on my own business.”
He gets up from the table and walks around to where they’re standing, and Will draws just a little closer to Hannibal—whether to protect or be protected, he couldn’t have said. Maybe just for the simple fact of comfort.
“Does that mean you’re here for someone’s soul?”
Nigel rolls his eyes. “Christ, the stereotypes you people sell each other. No one’s made a deal for a human soul in damn near 900 years. No offense, but you lot aren’t that fucking special. Turns out colloidal silver can do basically anything a human soul can do, better and cheaper too. No, I’m here for information.”
“I have no idea what information you think we could possibly give you, but I’m pretty sure we don’t have it,” says Will.
“You do.” Nigel pulls an incredibly ordinary looking pack of cigarettes from his pocket and taps one out. He sticks it in his mouth and lights it with the tip of a finger, puffing his first drag of what certainly smells like ordinary tobacco before saying, “Strip, both of you.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Strip,” Nigel says around the filter in his mouth. He gestures vaguely in their direction. “I want to watch you have sex.”
“You can’t possibly think that—”
“Look,” Nigel says, and his voice suddenly carries the echo of the resonant earth, the shifting of tectonic plates, hellfire and brimstone and the gnashing of teeth. “You can do it with each other, or I can smite you and burn your bones to ash. Your choice.” He pulls his chair out and sits on it backwards to watch, legs dangling over the sides like an overgrown child. The strange eldritch power is gone from his voice when he adds, “Please.”
Now he just sounds like any other Eastern European man who’s smoked one too many cigarettes—sounds like anyone who’s been chastened one too many times to remember to say ‘please,’ Nigel; it’s polite. Will shakes his head and frowns, wondering where that memory came from. The scent of sulfur still lingers in the air.
He puts it out of his mind and looks at Hannibal who gives him a small shrug and reaches up to loosen his tie.
Will watches for just a moment, watches nimble fingers work the knot loose just enough to pull the length of silk away from his neck. Will doesn’t know what on earth possesses him to close the gap between them and put his fingers over Hannibal’s, stilling them.
Maybe it’s nothing on earth at all. Maybe it’s something in hell that makes him murmur, “Let me.”
He meets Hannibal’s gaze and sees something there—accord. Tacit agreement. Complicity. Whatever it is that makes Hannibal incline his head and take his hands away, allowing Will to finish loosening his tie, to unbutton his waistcoat and push it open, to open the fine little buttons of the shirt below. If they’re going to do this, he reasons, they’re at least going to do it right.
He pushes the jacket, the waistcoat, the shirt, off broad shoulders and onto the ground. He smooths his hands over bared skin although he doesn’t need to. Comfort—giving or taking? The edges blur.
The impact of fabric on carpet shouldn’t sound like a gunshot.
He’s never seen this much of Hannibal’s skin before. The thought ricochets through him. Hannibal is softer beneath the armor of his finely tailored suits, lightly furred and improbably tanned, with the slight animal musk of sweat beneath his cologne. Will suddenly hates the demon sitting in the corner as he’s hated few other things in life—it seems wrong that anyone else should see Hannibal this way.
Mine, something deep within him says, guttural and primitive. Mine, mine, mine.
His hands still when they touch Hannibal’s belt buckle, and Hannibal looks up at him, a question. No?
Will shakes his head. Not no. He takes Hannibal’s hands and brings them to his own chest, quirking a small smile as Hannibal gets the hint and starts undoing Will’s buttons. Even steven. He is neat and efficient, divesting Will of his shirt with a practiced surety that has Will wondering about its source—did he learn to do that from lovers or victims?
(Does it actually matter?)
They take turns stripping each other bare. Belts, shoes, and socks all follow. Will bends to undo the laces of Hannibal’s shoes, loosening them more than he would his own, taking care not to pinch as he slides them off. A pristine black sock follows—nothing at all like the ratty ones one Will’s own feet, the ones he should have thrown out months ago.
Will has the sudden urge to kiss, to touch. He follows it, pushing Hannibal’s pant leg up to press his lips to the ridge of pale bone on the outside of an ankle. He doesn’t miss the quiet gasp that follows, tiny and intimate and somehow just for him.
Will expects that the demon will get bored, that he’ll tell them to hurry it up and get to it already, but when Will hazards a glance, Nigel is watching them, rapt. Will doesn’t look again.
Instead he stands back up so Hannibal can undo his belt. So he can unzip Will’s pants— loud, so loud—and slide them down past his hips, boxers and all. Will helps for this part, kicks the legs off himself, steps on them with one foot then another to pull them all the way off—before helping Hannibal out of the rest of his clothes.
“You are lovely beyond words,” Hannibal says, regarding him with an intensity he doesn’t want to think about too closely.
Will expects to feel nettled. To feel embarrassed at the frank praise or exposed with the eyes of their interloper on them, but he feels none of those things. Instead he just feels warm, flushed with pride and something else. Something he doesn’t quite want to name.
Fortunately he doesn’t have to.
There’s the clearing of a throat behind them, polite but insistent. “This is touching, really, but I’m on a deadline. Could you pick up the pace a bit?”
Hannibal addresses the demon without taking his eyes off Will. It’s fine, they seem to say. This is fine. Trust me. And Will does. Without hope, without reason.
“This would be more easily done in my bedroom. More comfortable for everyone involved, I should think.”
Nigel sighs. “Fine, fine.”
He lets them lead the way.
* * *
There’s no chair in the bedroom, nowhere for the demon to sit, and Will expects that was probably intentional on Hannibal’s part. He looks entirely too pleased with himself at the way Nigel stands awkwardly in the corner, unsure of what to do with his hands.
Good, Will thinks. You can be uncomfortable too.
For their part, Hannibal wasn’t lying—it is much more comfortable in the bedroom. It’s warmer up here, comfortable even without clothes on. He still has goosebumps creeping up his arms, but it has more to do with the way Hannibal is looking at him than anything else, hungry and admiring.
He clambers awkwardly onto the bed, feeling weird about putting his bare ass on what are probably Hannibal’s million thread-count sheets.
“Deadline,” Nigel reminds them, and they both ignore him.
Hannibal fits them together, turning his head so they can kiss. Will turns his head at the same time, and their noses bump. They laugh and laugh again when their teeth clack together on their second attempt.
The third try goes better.
The third time, their lips slide together, soft and chapped. Hannibal is as thorough and methodical in this as in everything else he does. He sucks gently on Will’s lower lip, teasing with his tongue and nipping until he finds a combination that makes Will gasp. That makes Will open his mouth to let him in, sliding his hand up to cup the back of Hannibal’s neck and tangle fingers in the fine silk of his hair. He tightens his grip experimentally and grins into the kiss when he feels the way it makes Hannibal moan.
The sound goes straight to his cock, which has finally started to become interested in the proceedings. Hannibal is hard too—Will can feel it against his thigh—and he shifts to press his leg into Hannibal’s groin, to give him something to rub against.
Hannibal’s hand snakes downward to wrap around Will, and he can’t help the noise he makes at the touch because it’s Hannibal. Hannibal is touching him. The sound that claws its way out of his throat is strangled and utterly undignified, and Hannibal just drinks it down, muffling it. Keeping it between them alone.
He pulls away with one last lingering kiss, opening the drawer of the nightstand beside his large, plush bed. He returns with a clear glass bottle full of something Will assumes is lube. His heart starts beating double-time at the implications.
Hannibal must sense his reservations—must feel it in the tensing of his muscles or in some arcane, intangible shift in the energy of the room (he quite probably hangs out with Satan, who actually fucking knows at this point)—because he soothes Will with a gentle hand on his flank, rubbing him like Will would pat one of his scared dogs.
Hannibal pumps some of the lube into his hand, but he doesn’t do anything more threatening than circle Will’s cock again, coaxing it to hardness. The slip of the silicone lube combined with the firm pressure of Hannibal’s hand feels way too fucking good, and Will thinks he hasn’t been this turned on by a hand job since he was sixteen in the back of his dad’s pickup truck with Jenny Holloway.
He lets his eyes slide shut and just enjoys the sensation until Hannibal’s voice brings him back to himself. Back to the room and its cloistering warmth. Back to their observer tucked away in the corner of the room, arms folded as he watches intently.
“I assume you want one of us to penetrate the other?”
“Please,” Nigel says.
There’s that weird feeling again—like a memory half-remembered, the sensation of beating white wings. Will shakes it off.
Hannibal cocks his head. “Do you have a preference as to who?”
“Dealer’s choice,” Nigel says with a grin.
Hannibal looks to Will, who says, “It’s really weird that you’re negotiating this as if you’re deciding what to order for dinner.”
Hannibal makes a gesture that’s very nearly a shrug, if such a thing weren’t so undignified as to be beneath him. He leans in and kisses Will until he’s dazed—kisses the tartness right off of his lips, until he forgets what he was complaining about in the first place.
“And you, my dear?” Hannibal asks. “Do you have a preference?”
If anyone had asked Will, at any point leading up to this moment, what his answer would be, he could not have predicted what would come out of his mouth next.
“Fuck me,” he says.
Yes, everything in him screams. Yes, this.
Hannibal makes a sound like he’s been hit. “Really? Are you sure? I don’t mind if—”
“Hannibal,” Will says, cutting him off with a word. “I’m not going to say it again.”
Hannibal bends his head, and it looks so much like reverence. It looks so much like prayer that it takes Will’s breath away.
Hannibal pulls Will’s legs out from under him without further warning, lays him flat out on his back and pushes his knees up to his chest. Will squawks at the indignity of it, halfway through saying Hannibal, what the hell, when Hannibal pushes his balls aside and fits his nose right along the seam between Will’s thighs.
A warm, wet tongue laps against his crack, and then anything at all Will might have said is lost to a loud, low moan.
His hands fly to Hannibal’s hair without his conscious input, pushing him closer, holding him in place while he groans, “Hannibal. Hannibal, what the fuck, holy shit—”
Hannibal spreads Will’s cheeks wide with his hands, kneading at the flesh as he sucks and licks at his opening with abandon.
“Oh fuck, oh fuck.”
It goes on and on. When Hannibal finally points his tongue, holds it hard and rigid so he can slip the tip inside, Will positively keens. His back arches off the bed and he wants more and closer.
He can’t tell if he’s saying it out loud—he’s lost track of whatever the fuck his mouth or any other part of his body is doing—but Hannibal must hear him through words or telepathy or goddamn fucking black magic because his tongue is replaced by an impossibly slick finger, blunt and pressing its way into him, and Will practically sobs with relief.
Hannibal keeps lapping around his hole, teasing the puckered skin while he fingers Will open, slipping in another finger and fucking shallowly in and out. When he turns his palm to the ceiling and crooks his fingers, brushing along the edges of the little nub of tissue inside, Will can’t help the way his body jerks.
Hannibal hums against him, smug satisfaction or maybe agreement. He keeps rubbing along Will’s prostate, creeping up to the edge of too much and backing off again when the sensation begins to tip over into pain, doing it over and over again until Will’s convinced he’s going to lose his mind.
No one’s touched his cock since any of this began, but Will’s pretty sure he’s about two seconds from coming.
“Stop,” he gasps. “Stop, stop. Hannibal.”
He tugs weakly on Hannibal’s wrist, who to his credit does stop. His hand stills, and there’s the vague, crushing sensation of loss when he pulls his fingers free. The only movement from either of them is the soft, constant lapping of Hannibal’s tongue against his skin, soft and slow like comfort. Like liking a wound.
Will could throttle him for it. Of all the fucking times to finally listen.
He tugs Hannibal up with the hand still wrapped around his wrist.
“Fuck me,” he says simply.
“Will, are you sure?”
Will growls. “Fuck you, and fuck him.” He doesn’t have to jerk his head toward the demon watching from the corner for Hannibal to know who he means. “Just put your fucking cock in me.”
Hannibal smiles like the cat who got the canary. “If you insist.”
He coats his cock with lube and settles on top of Will, who bites his lip. He can’t help staring, looking at what’s happening between their legs with some unnameable feeling that’s equal parts anxiety and anticipation.
“Will,” Hannibal says, gentle. “Look at me.”
He does, and the eye contact is searing. Hannibal holds his gaze as he presses in, breaching Will’s body with something that feels impossibly large and solid. His breath hitches in his throat, and Hannibal rests their foreheads together, watching Will’s face with the strangest expression he’s ever seen—it’s something caught between predation and love, and isn’t that just them all over.
“Does it hurt?” Hannibal asks, and Will nods.
“Yeah,” he laughs. “Yeah, it fucking hurts.”
“Do you want me to stop?” Hannibal asks, already moving his hips in slow, deep thrusts that jar Will right down to his bones.
Will rocks back against it instinctively, finding a rhythm that sets off little sparks of pleasure along his nerve endings, a tempo that transmutates the aching burn into something incandescent.
“Don’t you dare,” he says.
Hannibal grins, and it’s the predator come to the surface, all sharp teeth and dangerous angles. He pulls back and slams into Will, hard enough to knock the headboard into the wall.
Will grunts in surprise and hooks his legs around Hannibal’s back, holding on as Hannibal fucks him into the mattress.
“Yes,” he hisses. “Oh, fuck, Hannibal you— I—”
He was going to say something. Something true that he’d regret later, but Hannibal saves him. He shoves three fingers into Will’s mouth unexpectedly, and Will can taste himself and the artificial bitterness of lube. It’s dirty and undignified and Will moans loud around the digits in his mouth.
Then he bites down hard enough to draw blood and feel the bone scrape beneath his teeth, and Hannibal yelps and comes with a shout, hips stuttering out of time as he spills deep inside Will.
He jerks his fingers out of Will’s mouth, tearing some skin loose in the process, then reaches down and brings Will over the edge with his wounded hand. It doesn’t take more than a few strokes until Will’s eyes slam shut. He clamps his teeth around Hannibal’s shoulder as he comes, desperate for something to sink his teeth into.
It’s bloody and messy and something dangerously close to perfect.
After, neither of them move for a very long time. When they do, it’s just to shift a limb here, to move an arm there. They slot themselves together and don’t bother to clean up. They leak fluids into Hannibal’s pristine bedclothes, and no one cares one bit.
When Will finds the strength to open his eyes, finally—when he looks up—Nigel is gone. There’s no one but the two of them in the quiet room, no sound but their slowing breath, no sensation but sweat and lube and come drying tacky on their skin. Will wonders if he didn’t imagine it after all, the demon and his threats. He wonders if Hannibal hadn’t put something in the wine.
He considers asking, goes so far as to open his mouth, but when he looks down and catches sight of Hannibal resting against his chest—mussed hair and flushed cheeks and an improbably toothy smile—he can’t bring himself to do it.
If it’s an illusion, maybe that’s fine. If it’s a madness, maybe they can keep it.
He falls asleep to the lingering scent of cigarettes.