Will tried to focus on the file before him, tried to place himself within the grisly photos. His brain was fried. He closed his eyes, took a long breath out, and tried to clear his mind.
A hand found itself on his shoulder.
He flinched, immediately trying to shrug it off. The hand moved, but the feeling stayed. That awful, crawling phantom weight that settled wherever an unwanted touch was placed.
"What?" He snapped. He turned to see Doctor Lecter looming over him.
"I'm sorry Will, I didn't mean to startle you," He said, speaking louder than he usually did.
Will shrugged again, trying to dislodge the feeling on his shoulder. "You could've just said something, like a normal person."
"It didn't seem like that was an option afforded to me," He replied, gesturing to Will's head.
Will sighed, tense. He pulled the earphones away from his head with a pointed look. "There's nothing playing, I can hear you," He said, replacing them over his ears.
"Why are you wearing headphones with nothing playing?"
Will turned back to his file. "The world can be...loud, at times," He said, slowly, like the very act of saying it was grating. It was.
"I wasn't aware you had sensory issues, Will."
"Are you here for a reason, Doctor?" He asked, harshly brushing the topic aside. He had no interest in discussing this further, especially not with his therapist.
"Jack wanted me to observe your consultation process," He said, placing a hand on the back of the chair opposite Will. "May I sit?"
"If you can keep quiet, yes."
Doctor Lecter moved to sit, observing him. Will bristled under his gaze but said nothing.
A few silent minutes passed before he spoke again. "Do you suffer from visual overstimulation as well, or is it exclusively an auditory issue?"
Will considered ignoring him, but didn't want to run the risk of Doctor Lecter repeating himself. "Sometimes. Not as much."
"It's quiet, now. Did you experience something triggering earlier today?"
Will smacked a hand down on the desk. It's a reflex, he's prepared to apologize if necessary, but the man across from him didn't flinch. He took a deep breath. "Can we please talk about this another time, Doctor Lecter? I'm really not in the mood."
"So I finally have to pull the guy aside and say 'Either you mixed something up or we need to call a cryptozoologist,because there's dog DNA in this blood sample'," Price said.
"Yes! I mean, I had to say something, right?"
Will closed his eyes tightly. Wished for the dozenth time that he'd brought his headphones with him.
"I don't know, I've never really seen myself as a fish person, but I didn't feel like I could say no," He heard Alana saying on the other side of the room. Doctor Lecter nodded along politely. "So now I'm having to do all this research..."
Will tightened his fist. He's getting worse. His mind was becoming more sensitive over time, made raw by Jack's constant abuse. It used to take crowds, big ones, to make him feel this sick. But here he was, about to scream at the pain of being near two simultaneous conversations.
They blended together, cacophonous, and rubbed salt into his wounded psyche. He tried to take a deep breath.
"Excuse me for just a moment, Doctor Bloom."
The next thing he knows, there's a hand on his shoulder again. It made him flinch, made his skin crawl, made him angry. The usual.
Doctor Lecter's voice is low, pleasant. "Could I speak with you for just a moment, Will?"
Will followed nervously as the doctor lead him out into the hallway. They eventually arrived at a couple of small chairs set against the wall. Without a word, Doctor Lecter sat in one and looked at Will expectantly.
After a moment, Will huffed and joined him.
"So what did you want to talk about?"
Doctor Lecter smiled innocently. "Oh, I just wanted to give you an excuse to leave the room," He said.
"You didn't have to do that."
Will looked at the man beside him, calm and composed as if nothing could ever faze him. He looked at his own hands, shaking for no reason.
He shrugged, the feeling of Doctor Lecter's touch still heavy on his shoulder.
"You can go back in there, I'll just be a minute," he said, dismissive.
"Would you prefer to be alone?"
Will meets Doctor Lecter's eye at that. It's a difficult action, but he finds himself doing it with the doctor with increasing frequency. Yes I want to be alone, I always want to be alone. Always.
He swallowed. "Don't feel obligated to stay with me."
"I don't feel obligated, I enjoy your company. Even when you are upset."
Will closed his eyes, let his head hit the cool wall behind him, and focused on breathing. Doctor Lecter was silent, but he didn't leave.
Will was pacing in the lab, acutely aware of the psychiatrist observing him from the corner. He's stressed, it's becoming common.
Beverly was trying to talk him through a case, gently keeping him on task. He's doing what he can to focus.
Zeller walked in, speaking more loudly than Will would've liked by a generous factor.
"Guess who just won three- count 'em three- free steak dinners!" He said, triumphantly holding the coupons aloft. "It's my lucky day." He moved to Beverly, holding up a palm. Beverly smiled, high-fived him and turned back to what she was doing. How is it so easy for other people to shrug that off?
Zeller rounded on Will, hand still raised. Will stared at it, swallowed. He suddenly felt like he was being held at gunpoint.
After a tense moment, Zeller lowered his hand and raised his eyebrows. "O-kay," he said, clearly offended.
Before Will can speak, Beverly addresses Zeller for him. "Will doesn't touch people, it makes him uncomfortable."
Zeller let out a bemused chuckle, gave him a quizzical look. Will could feel Doctor Lecter's eyes boring into him.
"What, no one? Ever?"
Will glanced over to Doctor Lecter, felt hot embarrassment creep up his neck. We're going to have to talk about this, aren't we? His eyes flicked back down to the floor.
"Never. Unless I absolutely have to."
Zeller laughed. Will wanted to sink into the ground. "Why?"
He grit his teeth. "It's like I can...feel where they've been on my skin."
"Yeah, that's what touching is, Graham."
Will shook his head, exasperated.
Beverly cut through the awkwardness, releasing Will from scrutiny. "So you're giving me one of those steaks, right? You, me, and Price?"
Will was sitting in Hannibal's office, trying to take deep breaths. It was silent aside from his breathing in his own ears. The lights were off.
He'd had a panic attack at work. Jack told him to leave early. Luckily Hannibal had an opening and squeezed him in, even though it wasn't their usual session time. The attack itself was over, but the sensitivity that was left behind was in full force.
Hannibal was watching him from the other chair, but he hadn't spoken in a while. He was just waiting, observant, for now.
When he finally did speak, it was soft. So soft Will might not have heard it if it wasn't for the all-encompassing quiet of the office.
"Do you want to talk now, Will?"
"You're sure? I won't push you. We can do whatever you need."
Will's used to that sentiment. Hannibal is always patient. It's reassuring.
"I'm okay. We can talk."
"Don't hesitate to let me know if you want to stop talking," Hannibal said. He stood, moving a little closer to Will. "How long have you had issues with being touched?"
Of course. Will had seen this coming. "Since I was a kid, I guess. I remember freaking out when we went to Holiday dinners. I didn't want my extended family to hug me or pinch my cheek or anything, but you know. People get really uppity about that kind of stuff, like they're owed physical contact."
"Did it upset you when your parents touched you?"
"No. When it was somebody I trusted, it didn't bother me. Just felt like- I don't know. Felt how it probably feels to normal people, I imagine. Nice."
He coughed, felt a familiar embarrassment under Hannibal's appraising eye. "So yeah, when I got a little older I told people I didn't like being touched. Just my family and my friends."
"And then the list of people you trusted to touch you got shorter and shorter over time," The doctor said, filling in the gaps.
Will nodded. "Now there's nobody on it. Hasn't been for a while."
"Physical intimacy is an important aspect of the human experience, Will."
Will shrugged. "Not my experience."
"When was the last time someone touched you?"
"You've touched me before. A few times."
"That's true," Hannibal said. "Why didn't you tell me that it made you uncomfortable?"
Will looked up at him. The darkness was partially masking Hannibal's intense stare. It made looking at him easier. "I knew you would make me talk about it."
Hannibal nodded. The situation hangs in the air. And here we are, talking about it. The very thing I wanted to avoid.
"The last time you willingly touched someone, then," Hannibal said, determined to move forward.
"It's been a while."
"How long is a while?"
"I didn't write it down," Will said, voice on the edges of irritation.
Hannibal was quiet for a few moments. Will knew he was frustrated.
"I'm not going to tell you to stop maintaining your boundaries, Will. If you want to be selective with regards to physical contact, I support that."
"However," Will groaned, but Hannibal ignored him. "I think it would be good for you to put at least one person on that list. Touch can be grounding, many people find that even something as simple as the touch of a hand can be very useful."
Hannibal knelt beside Will's chair. He held a hand out, palm-up. Will sighed.
"I'm not going to force you, Will. But I would like to help ground you."
Will regarded the hand before him with slight anxiety, though he wasn't shaking. He and Hannibal were friends, weren't they? Something resembling friends, at any rate. They were close. He couldn't think of anyone he felt closer to.
"You are completely in control of this, Will. You aren't obligated to touch or be touched by anyone, for any reason. Even if you allow it today, you can resend that consent tomorrow, and I will respect your boundary. I swear that to you."
Will looked Hannibal in the eye, dark and dilated. He was being sincere, he always was when he said things like that. Will believed him. The knowledge that he could change his mind made it easier.
Slowly, he brought his fingers to brush Hannibal's palm. It was soft, and warm, and Will's sense of control helped alleviate the crawling sensation. It's still a bit uncomfortable, a bit too much of a reminder that the other man was flesh and bone, blood flowing through his fingers.
Will closed his eyes. He let his fingers thread through Hannibals, pressed their palms flush. Hannibal closed his fingers around Will's hand.
They didn't talk. They didn't move. After the initial contact, Will actually did find the action somewhat soothing. It quieted the din of white noise in his head, forced him to focus on the skin against his own.
"Are you okay, Will?" Alana asked.
"I'm fine," He said, pacing slightly on the carpet of the office.
"You're still having nightmares, aren't you?"
"I said I'm fine, Alana."
"If you're slipping, I need to know," Jack said, watching Will from his desk. "This guy moves fast, Will. We don't have much time before he kills again."
"I know, I know," Will said, at last moving to sit in one of Jack's chairs. "I'm just struggling to find his pattern." He lowered his head, pinching the bridge of his nose.
When he looked up, Alana was giving him a curious look.
He followed her gaze and felt himself blush. His arm was on the armrest of his chair, his hand slightly raised, palm-up. He cleared his throat, curling it back into a fist and letting it fall against the material.
"I uh, have a session with Doctor Lecter tonight. With any luck, I'll figure something out. He's exceedingly talented at helping me focus."
He flexed his hands the entire drive, clenching them into fists around the wheel. He couldn't believe he'd done that.
Will was getting more and more accustomed to Hannibal's grounding techniques. Damn it, I know that's not what it is. We're holding hands, for Christ's sake.
The feeling helped him think, now. Any time he felt overwhelmed during their sessions, Hannibal's warm palm was there, giving him an anchor.
And Will had asked for that anchor, as he was accustomed to, in front of Alana and Jack. It was muscle memory, he hadn't even realized he'd done it. How embarrassing.
He was shaking by the time he reached Hannibal's waiting room. He felt sick, tense and irritable. Alana was right, the nightmares were getting worse, he was exhausted.
Will took Hannibal's hand as he entered the office. Hannibal said nothing, but Will could tell he was pleased. He likes being the only one on my list. Has a taste for rare and exclusive things. He gripped it tight, knuckles going white.
"Is everything alright, Will?"
"I had a stressful day at work."
"Would you like me to get the lights? Or perhaps give you some peace and quiet?"
Will felt a tightness in his chest. It was a tightness that was becoming too familiar, one he was trying to ignore. "No. It's fine."
Will looked down at their conjoined hands, felt his heart leap into his throat. He didn't pull away.
"I feel so on edge lately," He said softly, eyes still fixed on where Hannibal's thumb stroked along the back of Will's hand. "I feel like I could unravel at any moment."
"Have a seat, Will."
Hannibal tried to disentangle their hands, and Will squeezed tighter. He could feel the doctor's eyes on him, studying. "Get comfortable, then we can resume contact," Hannibal said. Will hated how clinical that sounded. At first this cold professionalism had made the touch easier to stomach, added some much-needed distance between Hannibal and himself. Now he wanted that distance to disappear.
He sighed, letting Hannibal go and falling into his usual chair. Hannibal pushed his own chair a fair distance closer to Will's. It's close enough that Hannibal will be able to comfortably touch him.
"Irritability and increased stress are very common in those suffering from touch starvation," Hannibal said, sitting in his chair and holding out a hand. Will took it instantly.
He scoffed. "I'm not touch starved, Hannibal. If anything, I'm touch repulsed." He knew his actions directly contradicted his words, but he didn't care.
"People with sensory issues can still experience the effects of physical isolation. I admit, I feel partially responsible for your recent discomfort."
"You didn't seem to realize you were touch starved until I encouraged you to take my hand a few weeks ago." He swallowed, regarding their hands. "However I do worry what the result could've been, if you'd waited much longer for contact."
Will wanted to argue, to say he was only trying to ground himself. To say that Hannibal's touch hadn't made his already complicated feelings for the man become even more hazardous.
"Do you want to stop using Contact Grounding as part of your therapy?"
There he was again, checking on Will's comfort.
He laughed. You made that term up to make me feel better. "Call it what it is, Hannibal."
Hannibal chuckled softly, ran his thumb along Will's skin again. "Do you want me to stop touching you like this? Or at all?"
Will let a smile quirk at his lips, let himself enjoy the feeling, for now. "Not right now. I'll let you know if I change my mind."
Will woke with a start, the sound of his own scream sounding foreign in his ears. His dogs were barking in an instant. He held up a hand to placate them. "It's fine, it's fine, I'm sorry," He said softly.
He tried to even out his breathing, to stop gasping for air. He could feel his heart pounding wildly. He was drenched in sweat, as usual. He closed his eyes, feeling a wave of nausea as visions of antlers surged to the surface.
He felt lost. He always felt lost.
He picked up his phone and looked at the time.
"It's...1:52 AM. I'm in Wolf Trap, Virginia. My name is Will Graham."
The words were soothing for many reasons. It was a familiar ritual now, there was comfort in the routine of it. Helped him sink back into his clammy skin. But the mantra also reminded him of Hannibal, and his trembling began to calm slightly at the thought of him.
"It's 1:52 AM. I'm in Wolf Trap, Virginia. My name is Will Graham," He repeated, moving to his contacts. The last time he'd messaged Hannibal was a few weeks ago. 'got home safe'.
He felt a bit embarrassed. It was the middle of the night, for crying out loud. But Hannibal told him to reach out, didn't he? Hannibal wanted Will to rely on him, to lean on him when it became difficult to stand.
It's been a long time since Will had something to lean on.
'hey, are you up?' He sent, not really expecting a response.
Just a minute later, his phone buzzed. 'I am, though at this hour I really shouldn't be. Neither should you.'
Even through the lingering panic, Will felt a smile tugging at his lips.
'Are you alright, Will? You don't usually text me unless it's necessary.'
Will curled his body tighter, felt his heart settle into heavy longing. Even without him here, just knowing that Hannibal was reading his words, reaching through the phone for him, it was like a balm to his skin.
'nightmare. bad one. i just wanted a distraction.'
He paused after sending, then sent a 'is that ok?' in its wake.
'Of course, I'm glad you contacted me. Is there anything I can do for you?'
Yes, but Will wouldn't ask for it. 'just helps knowing youre here, honestly. feels like I'm not alone'
Hannibal didn't respond for a few minutes. Will worried his last message had been overly sentimental, felt a rush of fresh anxiety.
'Would you like me to come over?'
Will's heart stuttered. 'its like 2am, Hannibal. I'm an hour away'
'Are you actually concerned about those things or are you just making excuses?'
Will laughed, couldn't help it. Of course he didn't care.
Before he could make himself reply, Hannibal sent another message.
'I don't feel obligated to offer, Will. I want to help you feel better. If you want, merely say the word, and I'll make my way to you.'
Will felt guilty, selfish, but yes, I can't think of anything I'd like more. Please.
'if you want to, I wont say no to the company'
Will curled in on himself further, hugged his knees to his chest. He let out a shaky sigh. Everything is gonna be fine. Hannibal is coming. Hannibal can hold me together, he won't let me fall apart again.
Hannibal is coming. Will was suddenly acutely aware of his own sweaty skin. He had plenty of time to take a shower.
He stood under the warm water of the shower, let the heat burrow itself under his skin. He sighed. There was nothing he cherished more than a hot shower. Some days, when the world became too much to bear, he would sit on the floor of his shower until the hot water ran out completely. He let his eyes slip closed.
The next thing he knew, his dogs were all barking. He jumped, shivering violently at the sudden chill of the water. Did I really zone out that hard? How long have I been standing in the cold?
He turned off the water in time to hear a car door shut. He tried to quiet his dogs, quickly toweling himself off.
They went ballistic when they heard a knock. Will felt mortified. "Just a second!" He called out, barely audible over the dogs. He threw a t-shirt and some sweatpants on, fighting his way through the canine crowd to open the door.
Will smiled. Hannibal looked more casual than usual, which made sense. He let Hannibal in, careful to avoid letting the dogs escape. The dogs all knew him, remembered being fed sausages by his hand. They all ambushed him, jumping up for affection. It was taking a lot of restraint to keep Will from doing something similar.
"Sorry," He said awkwardly, picking up his towel from the bed and scrubbing at his wet hair. "I just got out of the shower."
"Do you enjoy hot showers?"
"Everybody enjoys hot showers."
"That's true," Hannibal said, leaning on the kitchen counter and scratching Winston behind his ear. "I was asking because we subconsciously use hot showers and baths to simulate the feeling of physical intimacy. It's an incredibly common form of stress relief, mainly because of that association."
Will made a noncommittal noise to show he'd been listening and threw the towel in the general direction of his laundry hamper. He joined Hannibal near the counter, smiling to himself at how happy Winston was to be near the other man.
"My dogs are usually kinda touchy around people," He said. "They freak out whenever Jack comes by, I have to hold them back."
"Animals are very empathetic creatures, they can tell when their owners are uncomfortable in certain company." Hannibal stopped petting Winston, found Will's hand instead, holding it firmly. "They are comfortable with me because you are comfortable with me."
Will swallowed, felt a blush spread across his cheeks. He made a point of looking at the floor. "Thanks for coming over, you didn't have to."
"I know." A beat, then. "What happened in your nightmare?"
"I thought you were coming to distract me."
"It might help to talk."
Will shook his head. "I don't...I don't want to think about it."
Will closed his eyes. He'd done something wrong, he could feel it.
"Why were you up so late, anyway?" Will asked after a moment, desperate to keep him talking, keep him close.
"It can be difficult for me to fall asleep, sometimes. As you put it, my mind can become loud."
Will could feel Hannibal's eyes on him. "Is your mind loud now, Will?"
Will grit his teeth. His head was swirling. You'll say the wrong thing, Will. You'll fuck this up, somehow, you always do. You'll push him away, because that's what you always do. Go ahead. Push him away.
"Yes," He said. He felt hot tears threaten to spill down his cheeks, and made an effort to blink them away.
Hannibal squeezed his hand, bringing Will's attention back to the contact. "Would you like me to quiet your mind, then?"
Will nodded. "Please."
Gently, he led Will to his bed. "I'd like you to sit, Will. Try to get comfortable."
Will did as Hannibal asked, sitting in the center of his bed. Hannibal settled behind him, not yet touching him but making the air feel warm from the closeness.
"I know you don't feel like it, but you are still in control. I don't expect a thing from you, and the only reason I'm touching you is to make you feel good. So if it stops feeling good, at any time, you are encouraged to tell me."
Will nodded, taking a deep breath and trying to calm his nerves. "I'm in control," He said, more to himself than to Hannibal.
Hannibal placed his hands on Will's shoulders, warm and solid. "Good."
The feeling was so different from what Will was used to- the crawling, heavy sensation that stuck to him no matter how much he tried to shrug it away. Hannibal's hands smoothed along the fabric of his shirt, gently massaging the tense muscle of Will's shoulders. He sighed, tried to release the tension in his body. His fingers traced down Will's arms, gentle and kind. The closeness was foreign, but decidedly pleasant.
The hands moved to his back next, stroking along his spine and splaying out near his shoulder blades. Hannibal altered his touch to put more pressure on his blunt nails, scratching Wills skin. He hummed happily, Eyes slipping closed again.
"Enjoying yourself?" Hannibal asked. Will could hear the smile in his voice.
Will just nodded.
"That's good. Tell me, have you ever had a scalp massage, Will?"
Will let out a breathy chuckle. "You know I haven't."
"Many people find them highly relaxing," He explained, hands drifting back upwards to lightly scratch near his shoulders. "They're even known to trigger an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response in those who are predisposed to it."
"I don't know what that means, but if you're asking if you can play with my hair, the answer is yes."
Hannibal laughed. He placed a hand on Will's back, not moving it but letting it ground him. His other hand moved upward, ghosting over Will's neck before strong fingers found themselves in his still-damp curls. They stretched along his scalp before lightly curling inwards again, carding through his hair.
Will's heart felt like it could burst. This, this is why people enjoy closeness. I get it now.
Another sound escaped from his throat, something pitiful and needy. Something that dangerously resembled a whimper. Hannibal didn't acknowledge it, just continued his ministrations.
Will leaned into the other man's touch, eyes drifting open. His dogs were piled up again, most of them already asleep. A couple of them were watching him, heads cocked in curiosity. He realized how much he must resemble them, begging to be pet.
"This is so weird," He murmured, but he made no move to pull away.
"It only seems weird to you because it's something you haven't indulged in since you were young," Hannibal replied, and Will could feel the heat of his breath on the back of his neck. "It's perfectly normal to crave physical intimacy."
"You would call this experience 'intimate', then, Doctor Lecter?" He asked, teasing him with unnecessary formality.
Hannibal's fingers left Will's hair and he bit his lip to keep from whimpering again. "I hadn't really given it much thought," He said, sighing as Hannibal stroked down his back again. "It's definitely more intimate than I'm used to. It feels...vulnerable."
"Vulnerability can be frightening. Are you frightened, Will?"
"No," He said, and he was surprised by how honest it was. "I trust you."
One of Hannibal's hands fell to the hem of Will's shirt. His fingers slowly ducked beneath the fabric, pressing the pads to Will's bare waist. Will tensed reflexively. Hannibal didn't move, simply waited. After a moment's hesitation, Will pulled his shirt over his head, tossing it to the floor.
He hadn't turned to look at Hannibal, but he's been able to feel his eyes on him the whole time. Now they seemed to burn into his skin.
Hannibal repeated the same touches as before, now on flesh instead of fabric, and Will felt goosebumps rise across his skin. The feeling of Hannibal's touch changed, now making Will feel more needy than soothed. He wanted more.
As if sensing this, his hands snaked around Will's sides, ghosting along his ribs. He dragged his fingers along Will's chest. Can he feel my heart pounding, when he touches me there? Can he sense how much I needed this?
Will sighed, leaning backwards. He fell against Hannibal and the other man held him close, kept caressing his chest. Will's eyes closed again, he felt like he couldn't bear to look at Hannibal like this. Like if he saw those dark, curious eyes, he'd melt into nothing.
"You're trembling." The sound of Hannibal's voice rumbled against his back and he whined, blushing fiercely.
"It's just...new." He said. "It's all very new."
At that moment, Hannibal's fingers brushed across Will's nipple. It seemed accidental, or very intentional and made to feel like an accident. Will flinched, loose bones snapping back to a tensed posture at the sensitivity.
"We can stop if you need to," Hannibal said, fingers hesitating for just a moment before moving away.
The world felt suddenly cold, now that Hannibal's touch had left him. He shook his head. He turned to face the other man. Will was aware how he must look, flushed and nervous and needy, but he was surprised to see Hannibal in a similar state.
"Kiss me, Hannibal." The words came out more like a plea than a command.
Hannibal was close, Will could've closed the distance between them himself if he wanted.
"You said yourself, this is a very new experience for you. I don't want to overstimulate you, especially not now that we've made so much progress."
He swallowed, eyed Hannibal with quiet frustration. I want to let you in. Smug, pretentious, eccentric man, you're the only person on my list. You're the only one allowed to touch me, the one I trust the most. I'm unlearning all of this for you, because I want to let you in.
"I'm in control," He breathed. "I want you to kiss me."
Will was expecting to go back and forth with him for a while about this, but Hannibal's fingers found themselves on Will's jaw. He tilted Will's face slightly, brushed their lips together. It was light, unsure.
Will had been kissed before, but he'd never asked for it. Never wanted it. I want it now. He pressed his lips against Hannibal's, gathered up a handful of his sweater. Will sighed at the feeling of Hannibal's mouth on his own, sealing and releasing him again and again. Hannibal's hand moved forward, passing his jaw to tangle once more into Will's hair.
Hannibal moved to press more kisses across Will's face. Along his cheeks, on the delicate skin beneath his eyes, his forehead, down his nose. Will couldn't keep from laughing, he pulled away just a fraction. "That tickles."
"Are you ticklish, Will?" He asked, and the fond smile on his face had Will's heart skipping.
"I'm not really sure."
"We'll have to find out," Hannibal said, kissing Will's lips again. The kiss was long, and made Will feel incredibly desired. "Some other time, perhaps," He murmured when he pulled away. His lips began to trail down across Will's jaw, before settling on his neck.
Will groaned in the back of his throat, lifting his chin to give Hannibal better access. The feeling of his mouth on Will's neck had his pulse jumping against his skin.
Hannibal drifted upward, let his hot breath hit the base of Will's skull. He shuddered. Hannibal moved to Will's ear, traced the shell with his tongue.
A strangled sound left his throat in response. The feeling sent a high-pitched sound ringing in his head. His whole body tensed, his head twitched sideways in an involuntary tic.
"Too much, too much, too much," He hissed, bringing a hand up to cover his ear. True to his word, Hannibal fully withdrew. Will's eyes were shut tight, but he could feel the other man looking at him. "Sorry," He said, hot guilt settling into his stomach. It took longer than I expected, but you finally got there- you fucked this up.
"I'm the one who should be apologizing," Hannibal said gently, still close by but giving Will space. "I shouldn't have acted so carelessly, I forgot myself."
Will hated this feeling, hated that he was fragile, that Hannibal needed to take this extra care with him.
"It's okay," He breathed, neck twitching again. "Don't be sorry, it's fine."
There was a quiet moment where neither of them spoke. Will kept his head down, shame swirling through his body. Couldn't just grin and bear it, could you? Most good things you've ever felt at once, and it still wasn't good enough to ignore the one bad feeling.
"Do you want me to leave, Will?"
There it is. You did it, Will. You pushed him away. Good job.
Will shook his head. "I want you to stay."
Will finally opened his eyes when he felt the mattress shift beside him. Hannibal was sitting next to him, just a few inches between their thighs.
"How do you feel?"
Will sighed. "Embarrassed."
"You needn't be embarrassed, Will. You did exactly what I hoped you would do. You stopped feeling good, and you trusted me enough to voice that."
Will leaned over, rested his head on Hannibal's shoulder. "That was really nice, though. Everything before."
"Would you still like to continue?"
Will's heart stopped. "Is that...still an option?"
"Of course. I'll be sure to avoid your ears, and any other places that cause discomfort."
Will blinked, lifted his head to look Hannibal in the face.
"But that's entirely up to you, as always," Hannibal finished with a small smile.
Will forced himself to speak through the relief and excitement mingling in his chest. "Sure, yes, I'd love to keep going. I mean- I just assumed I'd spoiled the mood."
Hannibal placed a hand on Will's cheek, the return of contact sent light sparks along his skin. His thumb stroked his face with tender affection. "The mood will return, I'm certain of it."
Will kissed him, wrapped his arms around his neck to bring him closer. Hannibal's hand left his face, trailed along Will's side. Will let himself fall backward, pulling Hannibal with him. I'm going to get addicted to this man, someone help me.
Hannibal made his way back down to Will's neck, eager to mouth at the sensitive flesh.
"You know," Will said, cutting himself off with a heady sigh. "I never really understood the appeal of hickeys."
Will could feel Hannibal's smile against his neck. "Interested in seeing what all the fuss is about?"
Will pushed his fingers into Hannibal's hair, tried to mimic the other man's actions. It felt clumsy. That's okay, I'll get better at this with practice. Hannibal's tongue teased near his jugular, testing the waters along his pulse. Will let out a soft moan, curled his fingers. Lots and lots of practice. "I guess there's no harm in trying it."
Hannibal sucked gently on his neck, starting off slow. Will hissed, back arching upwards. He laughed breathlessly. "Yeah, okay, do that again."
He obliged, sucking harder this time. His teeth nipped at Will's skin and a moan left his lips. And just like that, the mood has returned. As if it never left.
Will's hands moved to Hannibal's sweater, tugging at it insistently. Hannibal eventually took the hint, tearing himself away from Will's throat to remove his shirt and toss it to join Will's. Will's hands found purchase on Hannibal's chest, strong and hot to the touch. He captured the other man in a kiss, needy and brave. He slipped his tongue into Hannibal's mouth, sweeping along the inside of his lower lip. Hannibal groaned into his mouth and the sound went straight to his cock. Will's hips twitched, rutting against Hannibal's thigh.
Jesus, I'm acting like a horny teenager. This is so embarrassing. Still, Hannibal didn't seem to mind.
The other man's fingers found their way under Will's waistband stilling at his hip bone, waiting for permission. "Go ahead," Will said between hungry kisses.
"Are you sure-"
Will laughed, slightly exasperated. "I'm in control, I'm in control, just- God, Hannibal, I've never wanted someone to touch me this fucking bad, please-"
Will's words dissolved into a moan when Hannibal's fingers stroked down the length of his cock. Will lifted his hips, pulling his sweatpants down his thighs. He kicked them to lay at the foot of the bed, completely exposing himself. He didn't miss the hungry look Hannibal cast on his naked body. Hannibal's hand found his cock again, started stroking him with a slow rhythm.
When Will looked up to Hannibal, he smiled. I know this face. This isn't a sex face, this is a therapist face.
"Have you ever been touched like this, Will?"
Will shuddered, the sound that escaped him caught between a laugh and a sigh. He really thinks I'm a virgin, how sad is that? He thought back to the few times he'd had sex, the traits those encounters all had in common- quick, uncomfortable, a little humiliating.
"Not like this," He said. His eyes met Hannibal's, he saw himself reflected in their darkness. "Not in a way I could actually enjoy. Not with someone I trusted."
Hannibal pulled him into another kiss. Will moaned into his mouth when Hannibal swept his thumb across the head of his cock between strokes.
"How do you feel?" He asked, still so close to Will's mouth that their breath mingled.
"I-fuck, I feel...overwhelmed," he confessed. He saw concern flicker across Hannibal's expression and added "In a good way."
"Being made to feel overwhelmed in a controlled environment can be pleasurable at times," He said. Will whined, rolling his hips into Hannibal's hand. "The source of the feeling eclipses other worries, however briefly."
"H-Hannibal" He gasped.
His hand stilled and Will groaned in frustration.
"Would you like me to overwhelm you further, Will?"
Will was barely listening. Fuck it, do whatever you want. "Yes."
Hannibal settled between Will's legs. He stroked a hand along his hip bones, soothing his frayed nerves. "I recommend you close your eyes, Will. As much as I enjoy looking at them, I'm worried you might become overstimulated."
"I thought that was the point," Will said, but he closed his eyes anyway. He let his head fall against the pillow, tried to relax his muscles.
"A miscommunication on my part, allow me to reiterate." Will felt the heat of Hannibal's breath on his dick, his words leaving in a low purr.
"I want the only thing that exists in your mind to be this feeling."
The next thing Will felt was a warm tongue on the underside of his cock. Will draped an arm across his eyes, focusing on the sensation.
Hannibal's lips wrapped around the head, slowly sucking him down.
"Fuck, Hannibal," Will panted. It was hot, wet and intense and- "So fucking good."
Hannibal developed a steady rhythm, taking him deep and lavishing him with his tongue.
"God, I'm not- I'm not gonna last," He said between moans. "Been too long." And it felt dishonest on his lips, because it's never been like this, with anybody else.
Hannibal groaned around him, sending vibrations through his skin and making Will's hips jerk. Will was half-aware that he should apologize for that, but it felt beyond his abilities in that moment.
Will's other hand found itself back in Hannibal's hair, fingers tangling in his soft locks.
His moans lapsed into nonsense, he couldn't have strung a sentence together if he tried. He probably wouldn't have been able to tell Hannibal his own name if he asked.
Hannibal sped up, though it was barely necessary. Will felt good, God, he felt so good that it didn't feel real, like he had to be on drugs or in a dream or dying.
He cried out, so loud that if he didn't live in the middle of nowhere he probably would've bothered his neighbors. He was glad Hannibal had asked him to close his eyes, because they flashed red behind his lids and he trembled, legs shaking even as Hannibal rubbed soothing touches into them. He didn't pull away until the tension in Will's muscles finally snapped and he fell boneless against the sheets.
Will's chest was heaving, he gasped for air. He'd never come so hard in his life, he was exhausted.
"Did you enjoy yourself?" Hannibal asked, sitting up to regard him from between Will's knees.
Will felt a slight sickness penetrate his post-orgasm haze. Hannibal was speaking in that politely clinical way again, completely calm like nothing had happened. He sounds like my therapist.
"What...was that?" He slurred.
"I believe they refer to it as a blowjob," Hannibal responded with a chuckle.
"That's not what I- shut up," He said, laughing in response.
Hannibal made his way back up the mattress, sitting beside him.
"I just meant, was that, you know...'Contact Grounding'? Or something else?"
"It's important to me that you find a way to get more physical intimacy, Will. Touch Starvation is a serious issue, regardless of your negative association with touch."
"But to be honest with you, I was thinking of this as something more akin to making love than a therapy exercise."
He let out a long breath. "In that case, yes, I enjoyed it very much." He forced himself to sit up, fighting the unbelievable weight in his bones, and pulled his clothes back on.
He swallowed. "Sorry, I didn't even- Do you want me to-"
Hannibal held up a hand. "This experience was about you, Will. You don't need to worry about reciprocating."
Will fell back against his pillow the second he had his pants on, shirt left abandoned on the floor. "I'll get you on the next one," He mumbled.
"You'd like to do this again, then?"
"Fuck, yes. I've got like, twenty years of good sex to catch up on."
Hannibal laughed, standing. He picked up his sweater from the floor, pulling it back on.
"You're not leaving, are you?"
"Did you want me to stay?"
"It's like four in the morning, just sleep here." He sighed sharply. You already let him in, just be honest. "Yes, Hannibal. I want you to stay with me."
He laid beside Will, a little cramped in his narrow bed. "We should do this at your place next time," Will said with a tired smile. "Bet your bed is massive."
Hannibal wasn't touching him, there was a small space between them. His heart felt tight, but his nerves were buzzing, sensitive.
"I feel conflicted," He said, eyes closed under the weight of exhaustion.
"Why is that?"
"Because I just got a lifetime's worth of touching, I feel like if I touch anything again tonight I'll short circuit and burst into flames," He said, settling into a comfortable position. His hand was lightly curled in front of him, knees bent. "But I want you anyway."
Hannibal shifted to mirror Will's position, brought his hand up so that the backs of their hands were the only things touching. It had the same grounding effect, but Will still felt like he had plenty of space. "How's that?"
Will smiled, felt himself slipping into a sleep that would last late into the day. "Good. It feels good."