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I can barely believe my own words, the sound of my own voice reverberating through the dim catacombs.

Hannibal and I forgive you.

He pivots -- like he might turn back -- and I can taste the blood and bile in my mouth again. I remember his arms around me, holding me steady as he pulled me open, inch by inch.

Something crosses his face and then; he is not leaving. He's coming towards me: his shadow swelling and devouring all the light, until he's upon me, his mouth against my throat, hard enough to draw blood, and then my lips, his hands on me, shoving me into the walls of the catacombs. Here I'm suffused in the smell of old bones, dry and tinny, and fresh damp earth, fragrant as the spring. It's like being pressed against both death and rebirth all at once.  

I forgive you, no more than a whisper in the dark as he kisses me and I yield to him just as I did in the kitchen, the blood pouring from my body. I yield because it makes me powerful: hearing the way his breath hitches when I bite his lower lip. Feeling how he burns against me, his cock already throbbing through his trousers.

I am powerful because he still wants me, and maybe he even still loves me. He still wants us.

And I am powerful because I can break myself for him again, if that's what it takes.

Hannibal, I gasp into his mouth, grabbing his hair, long and lose and soft and he has me against the wall. His hands are nearly shaking as he unzips my pants, his breath rough and uneven as he yanks clothes out of the way.

I forgive you, I say as he pushes into me, one hard thrust that splits me wide open. I forgive you, I grab his hair and his hip and just brace as he fucks me into the wall, our bodies howling for one another, and each thrust is sweet, like coming home; each thrust is sweet as the knife in his hands had been.  

I forgive you, when he says my name.

I forgive you, as he comes inside me.  

I forgive you, when I feel his hands tracing the scar on my stomach.

I forgive you. I forgive you. I forgive you.

My words still echoing back to us through the long dark.