It had been a couple of months since they had plunged over the cliff after slaying the dragon together, narrowly missing the jagged rocks below, Hannibal had pulled them from the surf, clothes soaked with sea water and blood from their becoming.
Their limbs had quickly grown heavy with exhaustion as pain settled in; they slowly mad their way towards a small inlet that was not easily seen from above, a boat waited for them there.Within the small cabin of the boat, finding the first aid kit quickly Hannibal had tended to him first, stitching his wounds up with steady hands. Blood not flowing from the stab wound as easily as it had before, wills hands pulled at the hem of Hannibal's blood soaked sweater.
Finishing the stitches on wills face, he backed up slightly so he could begin to unbutton Wills shirt to gain access to the other injury, simply dropping it to the floor before cleaning the wound, will kept his eyes on Hannibal not quite believing that he was here with him as he stitched up his shoulder watching the intense concentration on his face.
Soon after they had relocated to one of Hannibal's getaway houses, this one that they were currently staying in was well away from anyone who could recognise them, letting them heal in near peace.
Will knew that Hannibal had loved him in some way, and for Bedelia to confirm it was not all that surprizing, what was surprising though; was that Hannibal had made no move to act on anything or do anything affirming Du Maurier’s words, though it was clear from the lingering looks Hannibal gave him while tending to their wounds.
If Hannibal wouldn’t do anything; He would.
After they had tended to their wounds that night, Hannibal had retired to bed before him, will finished up and soon joined him, climbing into bed beside him, Hannibal lay on his uninjured side facing away from will, reaching his hand out towards Hannibal; will slowly traced the ridges of the gunshot wound, feeling the gnarled skin beneath the tips of his fingers, before sliding his hand up to rest on top of Hannibal’s chest, absent-mindedly playing with the thick patch of chest hair. Pulling him closer, Will burrowed his face into the back of Hannibal's neck; feeling the warmth of Hannibal's back through the thin fabric of his night shirt.
Hannibal froze under will’s grasp, letting out a shuddering breath, before he spoke “…will?”
Will hummed into the back of Hannibal's neck breathing softly, “The last time I spoke to Dr Du Maurier; I asked her if you were in love with me...she said you were”
“…Did she?” voice hesitant, will slowly traced patterns across Hannibal's chest, speaking into his ear whispering “she asked if I Ached, for you…” will mouthed the back of Hannibal's neck, just behind the shell of his ear, “Bedelia is correct. I love you wi-” he was cut off by will pressing a kiss to the side of his neck, “I do ache for you…”
Hannibal tilted his head back, leaning into wills embrace, bringing his hand up to cover wills own where it rested on his chest, eyes threatening to spill down his cheeks.
“I love you Hannibal…”
Will hooked his leg around Hannibal's own pulling them flush against each other, holding him as the tears begin to fall.
“Will…” sounding like a sob his voice sounding hoarse with unspoken emotion, will maneuvered them so Hannibal was lying on his back with will pressed at his side. “Do you mean that will?” his hands now cradling wills face looking for any sign of deceit.
“Almost five years Hannibal, I have never known myself as well as I have known myself when I’m with you. There is only one thing I’m sure of, you” reaching towards Hannibal's face brushing a strand of hair behind his ear.
“I am not asking you to change who you are or stop what you do, when I say I love you, it’s not because I wish to deceive you, I love what you are, what you do. I have seen the best and the worst of you, I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are and love you for it. You are it Hannibal, I chose you, no one else, only you…”
Brushing his knuckles gently against Hannibal's cheekbone feeling the wetness against his fingers, as he pulled Hannibal's face to his, lips just fractions apart; Looking into Hannibal's eyes before pressing their lips together, will could taste the saltiness of Hannibal's tears as he kissed him, moving one of his hands Hannibal held onto will’s arm tightly nails biting into will’s skin as he would his fingers into wills messy curls.
They only pulled away when they needed air, Hannibal pressed their foreheads together, the only sound was their breaths, before will spoke up “Hannibal would you ever say to me ‘Stop. If you loved me, you'd stop?’”
With a smile on his face Hannibal spoke before he kissed will again
“Not in a thousand years.”