Nigel settles into life with Adam—what passes for it these days, and he stays as far away from Will as he possibly can. The man isn’t playing with a full deck, and even if he was, he’s still fucking Nigel’s boyfriend. Nigel’s killed men for less.
Will gives him the fucking creeps.
As far as he can tell, the feeling is mutual. Will hasn’t tried to talk to him since that first day on the beach when he sought Nigel out—Nigel still has the scar to show for that conversation.
So they live orbiting round the same center (Adam) while staying out of each other’s way as much as humanly possible. It works, but only to a point. There are times when they can’t avoid each other. Meals, for one thing. Hannibal insists on eating breakfast and dinner together like a fucked up farce of a family. Nigel has no problem telling him where he can shove his ideas of family, but Adam loves him. Adam loves the both of them, and he wants them all to get along—wants them to eat fucking dinner together like Leave It to Beaver—so Nigel goes. He goes and sits and eats their food, and he keeps his mouth shut even when he has to bite his fucking tongue to do it.
Christ, love has made a fool out of him.
There are still more times when he can’t avoid Will fucking Graham, rapist and asshole extraordinaire—times when they bump into one another, bare-chested and barefoot in the kitchen that looks like it’s come from some prissy catalogue. Times when Will tries to talk to him, and Nigel wishes he fucking wouldn’t.
Like right now.
“There’s supposed to be a full moon later tonight. Adam and I were going to walk along the beach and watch it rise, if you want to come.”
Nigel counts to ten and breathes through his fucking nose, slamming the plate in his hand down with more force than necessary. His hand twitches in the direction of the knife laying across the cutting board, the one he’d just been using to cut slices of onion for a sandwich because at least for lunch everyone leaves him the fuck alone. He sees Will’s eyes flicker in the direction of the knife block briefly, calculating the same thing Nigel is—can I do it before he does? But Will’s posture doesn’t change, and he doesn’t so much as make a move in its direction. He keeps leaning against the counter opposite Nigel, elbow draped casually over its bright tiles.
If he thought he could get away with it, if he thought Adam wouldn’t get hurt, Nigel would slit his throat. Maybe carve the smug smile right off his fucking face.
“Maybe,” Nigel says instead. He picks up the knife, but only to glide it through the sticky flesh of one of the tomatoes they’ve started growing in the garden.
“Great. I’ll come find you later.” Will sets his empty glass down in the sink with a fine clink. Of course the fucker can’t even wash his own goddamn dishes when Nigel is clearly using the fucking kitchen.
Nigel watches the skin split beneath the blade and pretends it’s Will Graham’s neck.
* * *
Later comes sooner than he could have hoped.
Will comes to get him, as promised. He and Adam both find Nigel where he’s sitting in the yard chain smoking cigarette after cigarette. He avoids actually being in the house as much as possible, and tonight is no exception. He looks up at the approaching footsteps to see Adam trailing a few steps behind Will, the both of them backlit by the motion-activated light on the porch.
“Ready to go?” Will asks.
“I guess,” Nigel says, stubbing out his latest cigarette in an overflowing ashtray.
With the light in his eyes, he can’t make out their faces. Unfortunately, he can’t miss the way their hands are intertwined. When he stands up to a chorus of joints cracking, every muscle in his body hurts—especially his heart.
Adam offers him a soft smile, and Nigel tries to give it back, but it feels out of tune. Adam’s smile falls. They leave it somewhere on the ground.
* * *
They’re sitting in the living room, cautiously sharing the same table. Will is bent over a bunch of fishing gear, while Nigel is doing his best to read one of the few decent books he’d found in the house. All of it is unbearable, cerebral crap, and he might have found the one thriller novel that made it past whatever pretentious screening procedure this lot has.
“Do you ever regret it?” Will asks. “Meeting him.”
“Never,” Nigel says without hesitation.
Nigel looks at him sidelong. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Something Nigel’s noticed living here, is that Will doesn’t look at people when he talks. Not unless they’re Hannibal, which he’s not. Will keeps fiddling with a fish hook while they talk, tying something bright and feathery around its barbed end with bright red thread. “Nothing. You’re lucky, then.”
Nigel snorts. “Yeah, lucky me.”
Will looks at him, then—actually looks—and it’s jarring. He’ll never get used to seeing those eyes, the same deep blue as Adam’s, in a monster’s face.
“You are,” Will insists. He goes back to his fish hook, tying something that looks like a chip of bone into its bright bouquet. “Sometimes I regret meeting Hannibal. You know I was married once before?”
Nigel didn’t know that.
“What happened?” he asks, curious despite himself.
Will doesn’t look up again, but his mouth twists into a wry smile. “Hannibal tried to have her murdered—her and her son.”
“What the fuck.”
“Right.” He huffs a laugh. Nigel wonders how he can laugh about that.
“It’s a fucking wonder that you haven’t killed him.”
Will shakes his head, turns his palms up in the universal gesture for helplessness. “Love makes monsters of us.”
The words sit between them, heavy as a leaden weight.
“I was married too,” Nigel offers finally. “In Romania.”
“What was she like?” Will asks.
“Fucking beautiful. Face of an angel and a mean right hook. She was a musician, a good one.”
“Sounds like a hell of a woman.”
“She was,” Nigel says, feeling pierced through with a stab of nostalgia.
“So what happened?”
Nigel snorts. “She ran off with some cocksucking American and fucking shot me.”
“That sounds familiar,” Will laughs, and Nigel doesn’t get a chance to ask what he means. “We’re not so different, you know. You and I are just alike.”
The words hit like ice water trickling down Nigel’s back. The illusion of camaraderie shatters around them, and Nigel comes back to himself in a rush. He remembers that this is the enemy, that they aren’t fucking friends.
“Fuck you,” he says, pushing his chair away from the table with a loud clatter. The legs squeak harsh and loud against the floor, ringing through the room. He jabs his finger in Will’s direction. “We’re nothing alike. Fuck you.”
* * *
Every word out of Will’s mouth is cancerous, spreading sticky into the dark reaches of Nigel’s mind. He can’t get the words out of his head, like some kind of fucking curse out of a storybook—you and I are just alike.
He stalks down to the kitchen late at night, when everyone is asleep or doing whatever it is they do behind closed doors.
(Nigel knows what they’re doing.)
(He doesn’t want to know.)
It feels like a stroke of good fortune that he runs into Will in the hallway, as if God himself is giving him the chance to take out some of the violent rage simmering beneath the skin. It’s a torture of its own having all this energy and nowhere to put it—no business to run, no one to fucking fight. As soon as he sees Will, Nigel forgets all about the drink he was going to find, the booze he was going to steal.
“You’re up late,” Will says.
Nigel corners him against the wall, eyes glittering in the dark. He bars his forearm against Will’s throat and pushes. “What is it with you? You have some kind of fucking death wish or something?” He presses harder, until he can feel the grind of fragile cartilage under his arm, until Will wheezes with every indrawn breath. It fills him with a vicious, brutal joy.
Will’s mouth opens. He tries to croak something out, but it comes out as a rasping rattle, barely anything more than breath.
“What’s the matter, no smart words for me tonight?” Nigel hisses close to his face.
There are no knives here now. No knives, no guns. Nothing but the brutal efficiency of fists.
Will takes a swing at him. His fist connects with the side of Nigel’s head before Nigel can grab his wrist. He lets go of his grip on Will’s throat in favor of taking that wrist and yanking it behind his back, turning Will around and slamming his head into the wall in the process. He twists the arm up, wrenching the shoulder he’s seen Will favoring until he forces a harsh, sharp bark of pain from him.
Will kicks out behind him, and Nigel takes a blow to the knee before crowding into Will’s space, pressing him against the wall and kicking his legs apart, widening his stance to the point of instability.
They’re both breathing hard now, ragged breaths mingling in the quiet hall.
“You going to kill me now that you have your chance?” Will’s voice sounds wrecked, cigarette smoke over broken glass, and it shouldn’t go to Nigel’s dick the way it does. Fucking and fighting have always lived so close together.
“I should,” he says, twisting Will’s wrist higher. If he twists it any more, he’ll break it. He wants to. He lets go instead, shoves Will away from him, not giving a shit if it means he shoves him right into the wall again.
He’s not actually sure who starts it. One second they’re staring at each other, panting in the darkened hallway. The next, they’re on each other. Will has his hand on Nigel’s hard-on, and Nigel has his hand down the back of Will’s pants, squeezing his ass while he shoves his tongue down Will’s throat.
He groans into Will’s mouth, pulling his hand free so he can work the front of Will’s fly open. He shoves them down unceremoniously, pants and boxers, trapping Will’s legs in the cage of fabric.
“We’re going to do this?” Will asks. He runs his fingers up the bare skin of Nigel’s arms, raising gooseflesh wherever he touches. Nigel bats his hand away so he doesn’t have to fucking think about it.
He shoves Will’s shoulder, hard. “Fuck you. Turn the fuck around and shut up.”
“Are you sure you wouldn’t rather I fuck you? Don’t you want to know what Adam sees in me? Aren’t you the least bit curious?”
Nigel can hear the smug fucking smirk in Will’s voice, and he gets his hand around the other man’s throat to tamp down all the ways he is exactly that. The way he’s dying to know what Adam sees in this fucking monster.
“I will fucking kill you, do you hear me? Do not fucking play with me. I may have to put up with you. I may have to deal with you fucking my angel right down the hall, but you don’t say shit about him to me, you got it? He’s not part of what we’re doing.”
Will tilts his head, odd and fey in the shallow moonlight that reaches them here in the hall. “And what is it that we’re doing?”
“Fucking, darling, if you’ll turn around and kindly shut up.”
“You kiss your mother with that mouth?” Will asks, and it startles a bark of laughter from Nigel.
He turns around and braces his hands on the wall, and Nigel grabs him around the ribs, splaying his fingers as he leans in to bite the place where Will’s shoulder and neck meet. He tastes like skin and sweat—he smells like Adam, like the soap and shampoo they all share.
Will arches into the touch, body rising to meet Nigel’s. They both hiss at the contact when Nigel’s cloth-covered erection meets Will’s bare ass. Will moans at the feeling of Nigel’s teeth in his skin, and Nigel bites down harder.
He’s not really looking to drag this out. This is a bad fucking idea, and he’s not nearly drunk enough to be doing this shit, so he yanks down his fly and pulls his cock out before he can change his mind. He sucks two fingers into his mouth and trails them down Will’s crack until he finds the spot he’s looking for, setting his fingers against the pucker there and pushing in until the resistance gives.
“Not going to fuck me dry?” Will asks, cocky and a little breathless.
“No,” Nigel says simply. “I’m not you.”
He’s not. He might fucking hate Will Graham’s goddamn cannibal guts, but he’s not going to hurt him like this. So he spits on his fingers and works him open steadily, holding him still as he pants and fucks himself back on Nigel’s fingers.
“Come on,” he says. “Come on, do it.”
Nigel pulls his fingers out with a growl—too quick, as Will winces. He spits in his hand again and uses it to slick the head of his cock, pulling one of Will’s cheeks aside so he can guide it in. Will groans at the intrusion, letting his head thump noisily against the wall. Nigel doesn’t give him any time to adjust, just grabs him by the hips and starts fucking him hard.
Will is awkwardly hobbled by his pants around his knees. He can barely move, can only stand there and fucking take it, and Nigel doesn’t mind that one bit.
“So fucking tight,” Nigel hisses in his ear. “What’s the matter, your cannibal boyfriend doesn’t give it to you good?”
“Better than you,” Will drawls.
Nigel gets a fistful of his hair and wrenches his head back, driving into him harder, pushing him into the wall on every thrust. “What was that?” Nigel asks.
“I said you fuck like a girl.”
“Do I, now?”
It’s less convincing when Will is making little mewling sounds every time Nigel fucks into him, when his fingernails are scrabbling for purchase against the smooth wall. Nigel hopes he scratches the fucking paint.
Nigel wasn’t expecting to hear that voice—Adam’s voice, uncertain and quivering. The hand he’s got in Will’s hair goes slack, and Will pulls himself free, grabbing for his pants as Nigel slips out of him.
“Adam?” Will asks. “Hey, baby. It’s alright.”
Will looks at Nigel, sending him a warning look, as if Nigel needs it. As if Nigel’s done fucking anything in the last few months except try to make Adam happy.
“Hey, angel,” Nigel says, trying not to feel awkward about the way he’s still got his fucking dick out, the way his angel had just caught him balls-deep in another man. Hannibal might know the etiquette for this, but Nigel sure as fuck doesn’t. And Adam’s still standing at the bottom of the stairs, faintly shivering in his pajamas.
Nigel holds out his hand. “Do you want to come over here and talk about it?”
Adam shakes his head. He turns and runs back up the stairs.
“This is your fucking fault,” Nigel hisses at Will.
That’s bullshit and they both know it, but Will doesn’t call him on it. He sighs, wincing as he tucks himself back into his pants. Nigel feels a childish, fleeting satisfaction that he’s left Will sore, in spite of everything. “I’ll go talk to him.”
Nigel sighs, and it ends on a growl. “Fuck. No, I’ll talk to him. You’re not the reason he’s upset. Goddammit.”
A look passes between them, an understanding, and Nigel hates it. The last thing he needs is anything more in common with Will fucking Graham.