Will has never thought to characterize himself as shy. He prefers the company of dogs to people, but finding people exhausting and unpleasant isn’t the same thing as having a social phobia. He’s not, as a general rule, self-conscious. He knows he has a conventionally attractive face, a body that’s in reasonably good shape despite the scars wrapping around it like landmarks. He can see it in the mirror and in the way people look at him sometimes.
Still, there’s a difference between abstractly knowing you have the kind of face that people want to let into their beds and having someone pry you open and stare straight into your asshole.
He squirms uncomfortably the first time it happens. It isn’t the first time they fuck—the first few times had felt familiar, getting lost in a tidal swirl of need and lust, lips clashing and fingers probing in the dark. It’s not that Will minds being fucked—he likes the way it feels, likes the feeling of being stretched open, all other thoughts driven directly out of his head by the driving press of Hannibal inside him, hard and unrelenting.
He minds this—Hannibal between his legs, holding his thighs open and tracing a reverent finger over his hole. He twitches at the gentle brush of pressure, still warm and tender from sex. He minds the way Hannibal looks down at him, adoring and stunned, lips slightly parted and eyes damp at the corners.
He jerks his legs shut. He awkwardly shuffles his way to the edge of the bed because they’ve both come already, so they’re done, right?
“I’m going to go take a shower,” he announces abruptly, already out the door before Hannibal has a chance to reply.
It happens twice more before Hannibal says something.
“Are you uncomfortable having sex with me?”
Will jerks back like he’s been burned. His fingers uncurl from where they’re wrapped around Hannibal’s cock. “This is kind of a weird time to ask that, isn’t it?” He gestures at himself, gestures at Hannibal, both naked and hard. “If I was uncomfortable, I wouldn’t be here.”
Hannibal tilts his head, looking uncannily like a large, Lithuanian bird of prey. “So it’s not sex that makes you uncomfortable. It’s intimacy.”
Will sighs and plants his hands on his thighs. “You really want to have this conversation now?”
“There’s no time like the present.”
Will can feel his chances of getting laid and getting out of this without talking rapidly dwindling. He sighs again, looking down at his already-wilted erection.
“I’m fine with intimacy. You and me—it doesn’t get more intimate than this.” He glances over at Hannibal who’s still watching him, waiting patiently for him to continue. Hannibal looks wholly at ease in his skin, as comfortable wearing nothing at all as he was in those ridiculous suits he used to wear in Baltimore. Will has a brief, childish moment of hating him for it. He feels a headache brewing. “It’s just—you do this thing where you look at me.”
Hannibal’s mouth curls into the hint of a smile. “As far as I’m aware, we look at each other all the time. It doesn’t usually seem to bother you.”
“Yeah, but sometimes you really look, you know?” He’s fidgeting without really meaning to. He can’t tell if Hannibal is genuinely confused or if he’s just trying to make Will say it. “Okay, look. Sometimes you stare at my asshole, and it’s weird.”
“I appreciate every part of you, Will. Every inch of your body deserves regard and care. Does it make you less uncomfortable to know that I enjoy it? That I find the sight of you arousing?”
“No,” Will says, but his cock filling against his thigh says something else entirely.
* * *
“I would like to draw you,” Hannibal says.
It’s not a particularly outlandish request. Hannibal’s artistic pursuits are just part of the landscape of the life they’re cobbling together, brick by elusive, shifting brick.
“Sure,” Will says, without bothering to look up from the article he’s reading on his tablet.
Hannibal doesn’t approve of electronics at the kitchen table, but Will doesn’t like facing another human being until he’s had some coffee. They compromise—tablets at breakfast but not at dinner. Lunch, they often spend on their own anyway. It’s an unspoken agreement, like so many between them. It works, to the extent that nobody dying can be called working.
Hannibal covers Will’s hand with his own now, partially obstructing his view of the screen. The intrusion causes Will to meet his eyes with a cocked eyebrow, questioning. It’s surprisingly rude, for Hannibal.
“I’d like to draw you nude. In your natural state, as it were. It would please me to capture your essence.”
“And you can’t do that with my clothes on?” Will can’t keep the note of skepticism out of his voice, the sneaking suspicion that Hannibal is up to something.
“Clothing can enhance a form, bringing out facets of oneself. It can also be used to conceal.”
“Kind of the point, isn’t it?” Will mutters into his coffee.
Hannibal gives him a look. “You needn’t agree, if it makes you uncomfortable. It’s merely a request.”
Hannibal means it; Will knows he does. If Will says no, there will be no cajoling, no guilt trips, nothing more than the slight downturn of Hannibal’s mouth in shades of muted disappointment. Hannibal won’t ask again. Really, Hannibal doesn’t ask for much in general. He actually asks for basically nothing, outside of Will’s continued presence in the house Will’s come to think of as theirs. The scales of their relationship are weighted so far in Will’s favor that they will never resolve—Will tolerates—the murders, the cannibalism, the years of mutual destruction. All of it. Hannibal accepts and doesn’t ask for more.
And that’s frankly the worst realization of all, because it’s what makes Will say, “Yeah, okay, I guess.”
* * *
Apparently, Will should have read the fine print. There’s posing nude, and then there’s posing nude. It’s the difference between art gallery nude—tasteful marble statues reclining in dignified repose—and porn mag naked, raunchy and suggestive.
This is most certainly the latter.
Will’s legs are spread open, wide and lewd. He’s reclining on the grass, feeling the tickle of it against his skin every time the wind blows.
“Did we really have to do this outside?”
He’s retreating into petty complaints to mask his discomfort, and they both know it. Hannibal offers him the thin shroud of his own ill temper as a security blanket, allowing Will to cling to his grouchiness like a baby with a soother. The knowledge of being coddled only adds to his already considerable embarrassment.
Hannibal doesn’t bother looking up from where he’s drawing in a chair opposite Will. “The light is better out here. Besides, the walls around the garden are high. No one will see you.”
It’s true, of course.
“That’s not the point,” Will mutters, but he doesn’t get up, and he doesn’t move.
He watches Hannibal for a little while. Will can see him if he contracts the muscles of his neck, raising his head just enough to see over the valleys and plains of his own chest and belly, gone concave with the pull of gravity.
Hannibal doesn’t scold him for moving, simply works with careful attention to detail, sometimes watching Will for long stretches of time, his arm always moving.
Eventually, Will’s neck gets tired. He lets his head fall back to the ground, lets it fall to the side so he can breathe in the faintly sweet aroma of clipped grass. He turns his cheek to it and feels comforted, so close to the earth. Everything is quiet and still. The wind ruffles the leaves of a nearby tree, a soft susurrus, like a half-remembered melody. Sunlight drips over his skin, warming him all over. He can feel it between his legs, the incongruous heat over his balls and crack.
After a while, he even falls asleep.
* * *
Will had made a living on his imagination. It had earned him accolades and professional curiosity, the regard of the most fascinating, infuriating man he’d ever met, and the dubious honor of poking around inside the heads of more killers than he could count. But even his vaunted imagination could never have predicted this fresh hell.
Will Graham wakes up to the worst sunburn he’s ever had in his life, in the worst place you could possibly get a sunburn.
“I literally have a sunburn on my fucking asshole. Why the hell didn’t you wake me up?”
A small furrow takes up residence between Hannibal’s barely-there eyebrows. “I confess I’d assumed you’d applied sunblock.”
“On my asshole? Who the fuck puts sunscreen on their asshole?”
Hannibal presses his lips together in the way that suggests he’s trying to suppress a laugh.
Will jabs a finger in his direction. “Don’t you fucking dare. If you laugh, I will rub Nair all over your head while you sleep. I sent you to prison—don’t think I won’t.”
Hannibal clamps his lips together a little tighter.
Will tries to sit on the bed and immediately regrets it. He can’t help the hiss of pain that escapes as soon as his legs make contact with the comforter that suddenly feels like it’s made of knives. The backs of his thighs are the same bright cherry-red as the soft skin between his cheeks, and all of it is ungodly painful. “Great. I’m not going to be able to sit for a week.”
He expects Hannibal to laugh at him, to say something smart or smug, but he doesn’t. Hannibal’s hand lights on his shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze. “Lie on your front,” he says. “I have something that will help.”
Will sighs. He guesses he could do worse than listening to Hannibal at this point. In for a penny, and anyway, this particular misadventure had already gotten as bad as it was going to get. He gets on the bed carefully, pressing his uninjured front into the soft duvet. He needs to keep his legs slightly parted to maintain any semblance of comfort. When he closes his legs, the friction of his own cheeks against his sunburned skin feels like dozens of ants biting him all over, but at least lying on his stomach does feel better.
Will looks up when Hannibal returns a few minutes later, carrying a tube of something in one hand.
“Aloe vera,” He says at Will’s wary look.
Will grunts. “It used to grow in the woods behind the trailer, in one of the towns we lived in when I was a kid. Me and the neighborhood kids used to cut stalks of it and rub the goop over our sunburns when we stayed out too long in the summer.” Will smiles a little, thinking of it. It’s a good memory, one of few.
“Aloe has many useful medicinal properties,” Hannibal agrees. “May I?”
Will hesitates before nodding. He spreads his legs a little wider so Hannibal has room to perch between them. The sound of the cap opening is loud in the quiet room. It reminds Will uncomfortably of doctor’s visits, medical exams and cough please. He squirms a little, although it lights up fresh currents of pain.
“This will feel a little cold,” Hannibal says.
It does. It’s extremely cold—Hannibal must have kept it in the refrigerator—but the sensation of the cold gel making contact with his overheated skin feels like heaven itself. Will lets out a long, satisfied groan.
“Oh fuck, that feels so much better.”
Hannibal hums lightly. “I’m glad.”
His hands are gentle as they spread aloe over the skin of Will’s ass, over the backs of his legs. It soothes the itching, fire ant burn, and Will sighs heavily, relaxing into it. He tenses again as Hannibal’s hand dips between his cheeks, running along the seam of his crack. He has half a mind to tell Hannibal to stop, but the aloe’s relief is too good to pass up, and he bites his tongue before the words make it out of his mouth.
A second later he bites it again, choking back a moan that tries to work itself free.
He can practically feel Hannibal’s satisfied smirk as his finger brushes across Will’s sore hole. He takes longer than he really needs to. Will should tell him to stop, but he finds himself pressing back, just a little. His traitor cock is starting to get hard where it’s pressed against the mattress, trapped beneath his body.
It feels good as much as it stings like hell, irritated and a little itchy, and Will has the most confused boner he’s ever had in his life.
“God, what am I doing?” he asks no one in particular, rocking his hips a little more insistently onto Hannibal’s cool finger. He’s asking Hannibal, himself, whatever god finds the pair of them absolutely hilarious, and maybe this is actually hell.
“Enjoying yourself,” Hannibal says, leaning forward to press a kiss between Will’s shoulder blades, on a patch of skin that was mercifully spared from the sun.
Will’s about to bite out a denial, but the next thrust of his hips slides the tip of Hannibal’s finger into his hole, just a little. It’s just the barest hint of penetration, but Will groans like he’s dying.
Hannibal stays perfectly still, frozen in place while Will shudders at the sensation.
“What do you want?” Hannibal asks.
Will closes his eyes. “You know what I want. Just do it already.”
There’s a long, awful moment where Hannibal doesn’t move at all, where Will thinks he might actually make him beg for it, but instead there’s a rush of cool liquid—more aloe being drizzled over his skin—and the feeling of Hannibal pushing in.
It’s horrible, no two ways about it. It burns like hell, not only at the point where his body swallows Hannibal’s, but at every point where their skin meets. The ridges of Hannibal’s knuckles against the cleft of his ass, the places where the rough wool of Hannibal’s pants scrapes the inside of his knees, it all feels like fire.
“Fuck,” Will hisses.
But then Hannibal finds the perfect spot inside him with an ex-doctor’s unerring aim, and the pain blurs into something layered and complex. Something that has him fucking himself back against Hannibal’s finger and leaking into the sheets. Hannibal slides his finger out and on the next thrust in, he adds another.
Will’s back arches off the bed, his entire body unsure if it wants to get away or get closer.
“You’re an asshole, you know that?” he pants
“And you’re beautiful,” Hannibal says, without a hint of mockery.
Will twists to look over his shoulder. He’s met with the sight of Hannibal watching him with rapt, unadulterated adoration. His heart stutters in his chest.
“Fuck me.” The words fall out of his mouth without permission. He’s not even sure if he means them, but Hannibal looks at him like he’s been punched, and suddenly Will’s never meant anything more in his life. He gets up on his hands and knees without dislodging Hannibal’s fingers and bucks back against his hand. “Come on, do it. Fuck me. You know you want to.”
He does. Will can see it in the hungry set of his face, the feral light in his eyes. There’s a moment where the scar on Will’s stomach twinges with remembering.
Hannibal doesn’t protest, doesn’t say no, I’ll hurt you, and Will doesn’t expect him to. He hadn’t chosen that kind of monster.
He chose this kind, the one that hauls him closer by the hips, hands feeling like hot iron brands against flesh lit up like a Christmas tree. The one that unzips his pants with sticky fingers and slicks himself with aloe vera gel that does absolutely nothing to temper the absolute hellish burn of being speared open by his cock. Getting fucked feels like dying all over again.
Will drops his head and bites the pillow until Hannibal gets a handful of his hair. He doesn’t pull, just curls his fingers against Will’s scalp, caressing his skull.
“Let me hear you,” Hannibal says. He says it the way some people say I love you.
Will lifts his head and growls. He’d bite Hannibal’s fingers if he could reach them, which is probably why Hannibal keeps them well away. He fucks Will like he means it—without mercy, without apology.
Will gives as good as he gets, meeting every thrust with bucking hips. It’s agony—every bit of it is agony. The coarse fabric of Hannibal’s pants feels like it’s flaying the skin from his bones—as if he’ll be nothing more than a hunk of raw, oozing muscle when they’re done, wet and open, seeping horrible, unrelenting love like a stain.
His own sounds are a curious cacophony, a symphony of one. He yells and swears and shakes his way to an orgasm that’s less a pleasure and more a brutal resurrection.