There was a gentle rap of knuckles on wood as Hannibal reached to shut the light at his side off. He didn’t answer – he hadn’t for nearly a month – and Will had stopped waiting for a response anyway. Hannibal pulled the comforter next to him down and watched as Will came towards him on light feet, dressed in his boxers and a soft grey shirt.
As he had every night for weeks now Will sat on the mattress and pulled his knees up towards his chest as he turned his body into the bed, straightening his legs out and sighing gently as he settled into the sheets, warmed by Hannibal’s body.
The large windows of Hannibal’s room were open, letting the cool night air flow into the room against billowing curtains. The world outside was black, granted only the faintest light from the sliver of the moon and the blanket of stars above.
There was no other house for miles.
No other souls but them, the broken and cooling body in their freezer having slipped any signs of life earlier in the afternoon.
Tomorrow they would plan a week’s worth of meals from the man who had bred dogs into fight rings. They would strip his bones, marinate his flesh and boil down the marrow until nothing remained of him.
But for now, they would sleep.
This is how it had been since they had survived their plunge into the Atlantic. It had been almost a year since that first motel, since they had crawled into bed together and woken in a pile of soiled and bloody sheets. They had clung to each other just as they had on the cliff, Will’s head and arm resting on Hannibal’s chest, his fingers clasping weakly at Hannibal’s shoulder. Hannibal’s arm was solid around Will’s waist, his nose buried in his salty, sweaty hair.
Every evening since then had been a recounting of that first night after the ocean.
Their new home had two bedrooms but Will’s functioned only as storage for his clothes; he spent every night in Hannibal’s bed, laying against him and listening to the endless drum of his heart.
Most nights Hannibal would get hard, the outline of his cock unmistakable against Will’s thigh. Sometimes Will would bend his knee slightly, just enough to give Hannibal something to press against, but they never took things farther, never discussed it.
They kissed sometimes.
Will’s lips would find Hannibal’s cheek as he cooked, his temple as they cleaned away the smell of copper, his lips as he left their home for an afternoon at the river.
Hannibal would offer his cheek, his temple, and his lips – always leaning into Will’s careful touches but never initiating.
Sometimes Will would find Hannibal’s mouth as they lie together in bed, breathing into him as Hannibal’s long fingers carefully wove through the strands of his hair. Hannibal would touch him so carefully, as though any more pressure would break the illusion that Will was truly with him, in his bed, and touching him of his own accord.
Tonight, as Hannibal opened his arms, Will rolled to his side and then moved to straddle Hannibal’s hips. Will could feel Hannibal already growing hard at the weight of his body against him and he experimentally rocked his hips, hearing Hannibal’s sharp intake of breath in the dark.
He found his mouth and kissed him with a new determination; Hannibal’s stubble rubbed hotly against his beard as he placed a flat hand on Hannibal’s bare chest, fingers tangling in the grey hair there.
Will’s tongue slipped between Hannibal’s lips as he pushed his body down harder, his cock responding to the hot weight of Hannibal beneath him. Will’s hand on Hannibal’s chest slowly slipped down, a breath away from the waistband of his long cotton pants, before a gentle but firm grip on his wrist stopped him.
Hannibal’s voice was gravely and warm, his fingers rubbing against the skin of Will’s wrist though it continued to halt his movement.
Will rocked his hips again, groaning at the pleasant but unfamiliar feel of their clothed cocks pushing against each other.
“Will,” Hannibal repeated gently, his other hand coming to Will’s hip. “No.”
Will’s eyes had started to adjust to the darkness around them, he was just now able to make out the shine of Hannibal’s eyes and the high arch of his cheekbones.
“You want to touch me,” Will responded. “Why won’t you?”
Hannibal released his hold on Will’s wrist, pulling his hand up to kiss the tips of his fingers.
“I am concerned,” Hannibal answered. “that you are seeking a momentary comfort.”
Will sighed and sat back and up.
“Isn’t that what sex is?”
“In part,” Hannibal said. “And for some relationships that is all that is needed to sustain them. You and I are … infinitely more complicated.”
Again, Will drove the weight of his body against Hannibal; both of them were fully hard now.
“Doesn’t feel that complicated.”
Hannibal grinned and placed a hand on the side of Will’s face, his thumb tracing the mark left by the Great Red Dragon’s knife.
“Have you been with a man before?”
Will’s hand found its way back to Hannibal’s chest, his fingers curling slightly into the coarse hair there.
Hannibal’s hands found the tops of Will’s bare thighs.
“It will be different.”
“I know how it works, Hannibal,” Will said, his voice accented with annoyance.
Hannibal grinned under him, his fingers tightening against Will’s hard flesh.
“It will be different between us,” he said. “Much more so than if I were any other man; our relationship will shift. Potentially in a way which you are not prepared for. Nor I, for that matter.”
“I don’t know what you’re saying,” Will said. “I’m here. I want this. And I’m relatively sure you want this too.”
Hannibal let his hands slide up Will’s thighs slightly.
“Then why not? Why can’t we have this?”
Hannibal considered his words before he spoke.
“When was the first time you wanted to kiss me?”
Will’s hand flattened against Hannibal’s chest as he considered.
“The night I pulled us over.”
“And why? Why did you want to kiss me then?”
“In that moment, I knew you as much as I have ever known myself. I looked at you, looking at me and -”
He trailed off.
“I saw myself through your eyes; I felt your desire. And I wanted to quench it.”
“You empathized with me.”
“And now as we lie here, are you thinking of your own passion? Or of mine?”
“Are you asking me if I’m horny?”
Hannibal’s body shifted as he softly laughed.
“I’m asking if your desire is truly your own and if you’re looking for a sexual release or something more.”
“I like being close to you,” Will said. “I like feeling you. Kissing you.”
“When you’re alone and you touch yourself, do you think of me?”
Will sighed as he shifted on top of him.
“I think of us. I think of killing Dolarhyde. I think of blood and sweat and salt. And you.”
“Me as a man? Or me as a part of your nature? Does the thought of me putting my hands on you excite you?
Will’s breathing was getting heavier.
“Because of the violence those hands have done; I think about them slick with blood.”
“What of the rest of my body? Do you think of my chest, my legs, my cock? Do you think about giving me pleasure and taking pleasure from me – just me – this man who lies under you now. Do you think about exploring my body? Of being inside me? Or of me being inside you?”
“You’re already inside me,” Will said, his voice trembling. “You have been for years.”
Hannibal leaned up and gently kissed him, a strong hand coming to the back of Will’s neck.
“And I have been in love with you for years, Will; in love in a way I never have before. It is all consuming and dependent. I love you for your mind and your nature. I love you for how you see me.”
Hannibal’s voice grew thick as he spoke.
“And I love you as the beautiful man that you are and I fear that were we to engage in sexual intimacy it would shatter things between us if you didn’t feel the same.”
Hannibal kissed him again, slowly and carefully.
“I can’t bear to think of my life without you now. This peace between us still feels fragile and unsteady; I would not do anything to jeopardize it.”
“And if I never want you just as a man,” Will asked. “What then?”
Hannibal smiled and let his fingers tangle in the soft hair at the base of Will’s neck.
“Then I should be endlessly happy to continue as we are.”
Will pulled Hannibal’s hand from where it rested on the back of his neck and brought it to his lips before he moved off of him, coming to rest with his head on Hannibal’s chest. Hannibal’s arms came tightly around him, his lips finding the center of Will’s forehead.
Hannibal’s fingers trailed to the small of Will’s back, tracing the dimples there.
Will sighed and concentrated on the press of Hannibal’s body against him, the feel of hard muscle and chest hair and itch of his stubble against his forehead. Where all of Will’s past bedfellows had been soft and malleable, the body against his was undeniably masculine.
But the thought of moving out of Hannibal’s embrace was unconscionable.
All Will wanted to do was get closer; he wanted to push himself against Hannibal until they ceased to be separate beings.
He wanted to invade every cell of Hannibal’s body.
He let his lips drag against the skin of Hannibal’s well-defined chest before he placed a kiss there and settled, content in this ever-evolving partnership that defied definition but was etched in understanding.