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When You Return

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*

There is no peace in divine intervention.

Maybe for others.

Will feels his insides as a mass of trembling, thorny roots, pricking him, sinking him into the bowels of darkness. They wish to feed on something already missing. No rightful bloodshed. No act of God waving a hand and no light at the end of the tunnel.

It's only… a sense of loss.

His loss.

Thessaly suffers from a lack of rainfall. The lime trees wilt in the heat, as well as the olives and dates.

He gazes out to the sweet chestnuts trees and grey poplar and French tamarisk growing along the ridge-line. Will remembers smelling the dirt on Hannibal's hands, and how lightheaded he got, and how Will's throat burned with the familiar stretch of Hannibal's cock. 

Neighbors were quickly charmed by Hannibal's witty ripostes, inviting him and Will for a meze dish of Spetsofai complete with the hot peppers and loukaniko, as well as sliced, cylindrical-shaped Manoypi. One of the neighbors ordained their marriage. 

Will thought it better for their cover if masquerading as a 'husband' turns away the law's eyes…

But truth be hold, Will enjoys it.

He remembers that first night, after moving in, getting nauseous after watching television and letting Hannibal rub his temples.

Will let him slip off his dark, loose-fitting pullover. His lips caught Hannibal's, basking in the slow-smoldering kiss, holding his face and laving his tongue deliriously across Hannibal's teeth. Hannibal murmured out Will's name, frisking open Will's belt, shoving his hot hands underneath and groping for Will's ass, teasing him in pinches. Will suspects he impregnated him that night.

But sometimes…

He does miss Botticelli's Primavera at the Uffizi Gallery. Will misses Florence and he misses the simplicity of life then.

Things made sense.

Will could eat, and sleep, and walk around on his feet without his mind on the edge of being swallowed up.

"There's this poem I can't get out my head," Will mumbles, listening to Hannibal's soft and purposeful footsteps from the villa's back-entrance. He doesn't get out of the wooden chair. "My roommate out of Highlands Community College in Virginia scribbled it out before failing his AP Calculus test, and I didn't understand half of it—mainly because a lot of it was in Greek." 

"But I remember seeing this part about sucking out the egg's yolk in his morning breakfast, and making it return to the bird," Will wrinkles his nose, contemplating what he's saying before taking another mouthful of wine, "it was supposed to be symbolism for another chance at life."

"Are you the one sucking out the yolk or are you the bird, Will?"

"Think I'm one burying a shit-stained cage deep under the earth," he replies. "Because I hate the reminder that the bird ever existed."

Hannibal's laugh sounds breathy.

"When You Return—that's the Greek translation of his poem's title," Will croaks.

He repeats the poem's title feverishly.

"It's chilly," Hannibal insists, clutching onto Will's hand not trembling around the wine glass. "You should come inside, Will." 

It works, only because Will is pale and shaking and almost drunk. He undresses in the bathroom, ignoring the mirror, hating the reflection waiting for him. Will hasn't let Hannibal touch him in weeks. The neighbors keep their sympathy to themselves. 

The warm water hits Will between his shoulder-blades, and Will looks at Hannibal undressing, and he just wants it to stop.

To wake up.

To feel like himself and pin a very naked Hannibal against the shower-wall, and renew their sexual desires, but all Will can do is sob softly in humiliation. He hasn't lost the baby weight. Water runs down Will's flushed face, burning the tears away. 

Hannibal says nothing, massaging Will's arms before bidding him to turn around to wash Will's hair.

Everything else hazes out.

Around midnight, Will finds clarity, leaving their room and finding Hannibal setting down two plates in their dining room. The meat looks like finely cut blood sausage, stuffed and roasted to a crispy black. No garnishes. No mint salad or sautéed Italian onions.

It takes a moment for Will to recognize the eerie solemnness in Hannibal's expression.

"Are you of the mind to partake of the yolk, Will?" Hannibal asks. "Perhaps the bird is hungry."

Will huffs. 

"Not if I have anything to say about it."

He pulls open a dining room chair, reaching for the white wine bottle and sipping. "I would not punish the bird. Death could nourish life," Hannibal reminds him, his mouth quirking up when Will frowns. "You could allow it to become an essence of life's fruition."

"That's a fancy way of saying you want me to consume our unborn child's blood and matter."

Not even an eye-blink out of Hannibal.

Of course.

OF course it was prepared.

Will gives him a semi-sour look when his husband maneuvers to where he is, grasping Will's nape comfortingly. Sometimes, sometimes Will thinks it's real. What they feel. The roles they're playing perfectly. He wants it to be real once.

"I would be grateful if you shared in this experience with me, Will. We will honor our mylima as best we can."

Hannibal's accent thickens, and Will shudders out a sigh, finally nodding.

They reach for their plates.

It was just a lump of cells and blood, Will knows that. It was not fully alive and never would be.

It doesn't make it hurt less.

Will sinks his teeth into the crispy skin of the animal-intestine, tasting the viscous, under-cooked middle and managing to swallow, feeling the cold bloody gush trickle down Will's esophagus. He savors each bite, closing his eyes as Hannibal does.

You return.

You.

*