Will has made himself at home while Hannibal returned Gideon to the cellar. He sits by the fire in the study with a glass of 45 year old scotch. It was one thing to know that Will had done so in Hannibal’s absence, and another to see it in person. How utterly at ease Will is in his own skin, all the more beautiful in his confidence. He passes Hannibal his own glass and looks at him from over the rim with steady eyes, dark in the firelight.
“Tell me what you had planned.”
Hannibal sips his scotch, allows the flavour to warm and blossom on his tongue, before swallowing down the burn. “I believe you know the most of it.”
Will dips his head. “I want to hear it. Indulge me.”
“They would have found Miriam first,” Hannibal says. “Jack should be visiting the cabin any day now, I imagine.”
“And there, the groundwork for my innocence,” Will muses.
“She would be unable to recall much about her captivity, though enough to exclude me as her captor. Instead, it would be Frederick Chilton’s voice in her memories.”
“You’re so certain of that?” Will says. “I was able to overcome your suggestion.”
“I think we can agree that you are unlike any other patient I’ve encountered,” Hannibal says. “Even discounting your abilities. Regardless, Miriam is only one link in the chain. Between her discovery, the contents of the cabin, and the clues left with Mister Isley, Jack will be forced to reexamine the case against you.”
Will tilts the glass toward the fire, studying the contents as though they hold some meaning. “Curious thing, isn’t it, Doctor Lecter?”
Hannibal hadn’t realised until just now, the pleasure he took from hearing his given name from Will’s mouth. The intimacy of the syllables caught between tongue and palate, the luxuriant, almost obscene roll of the vowels. He misses it. “What’s that?” he asks.
Hannibal locks down his expression a second too late, he knows, from the way Will smiles. “I know,” Will says, “I’ve been hesitant to put a name to it myself. To give it weight. To consider the possibility that you are capable of genuine human emotion.”
The muscle of Hannibal’s jaw tightens to the point of distraction, and he forces it to relax with a long, slow exhale through his nose. It is true, that the depth of feeling he possesses for Will has snuck up on him. Teasing at the edge of his awareness with a fondness that is familiar enough, similar to that he feels for Alana or Bella or Jack.
The full extent of it has only recently begun to unfurl. A queasy, disorienting tug that has upended carefully laid plans. Somehow, it is far more unsettling to examine the true nature of his affection for Will than to accept Will’s otherworldliness. And that speaks volumes to how completely out of his depths he is in this.
“All the effort you expended to see me locked away, and now, the lengths to which you’ll go to see me free again.” Will rises to make a slow turn of the room. Thumbing through Hannibal’s music collection. “All the time fostering codependency in me, while failing to recognise the effect it was having on you.”
Will moves among Hannibal’s space with a sense of ownership, an ease that speaks to how often he has inhabited it in Hannibal’s absence. The idea of anyone invading his home rankles, an offense great enough that he would not hesitate to kill any other trespasser. Yet in this instance, the sense of intimacy it engenders smoulders pleasantly beneath his skin, stoked higher when Will draws a hand along the back of Hannibal’s chair, fingers ruffling the ends of his hair.
“As always, your insight is beyond reproach.” Hannibal says.
“Is that your way of declaring your love for me?” Will asks. His tone is teasing, as is the smile on his face, when he settles himself in Hannibal’s lap, but there’s something harder lingering in his eyes.
Hannibal lifts a hand to brush the curls back from Will’s brow and travel down the curve of his cheekbone, pink in the firelight and dusted with stubble. Power radiates from him, unseen, unheard, altogether intangible yet present all the same. The potential for violence, the threat of punishment and promise of reward; it compels him to speak honestly. “I suppose it is, ineloquent though it may have been.”
Will’s smile widens, warms into soft approbation, finally reaching his eyes. “We’re less concerned with how you express yourself than the sentiment behind it.”
Intrigue sparks bright within Hannibal at his words. “We?” he echoes.
Oh, Will blithely ignores that altogether, though there is a twinkle in his eye. “So Miriam points the finger at Chilton, and I’m free, and then the authorities find Gideon less a few limbs in his home, which is all amusing, no doubt. It’ll distract Jack for a while, but it’ll never stand up to scrutiny.”
He presses closer to Hannibal while he speaks, arms twined around Hannibal’s shoulder, his weight settling comfortably over Hannibal’s lap. “He’s physically weak, not to mention his inability to digest meat, none of the trademarks of that sort of sociopathy. So tell me, what next?”
“I didn’t anticipate the ease with which you tendered your forgiveness.”
Will’s nails scrape up the back of Hannibal’s neck hard enough to sting, and he grabs a fistfull of hair, before releasing his hold and combing his fingers through it. “Don’t mistake acceptance for forgiveness, Hannibal,” he says. “You have a ways to go yet.”
Hannibal nods, a carefully measured gesture. He has underestimated just how dangerous Will is, and won’t make the same mistake again. “I was certain you’d come to finish the job you started in Minnesota once they released you.”
“Oh believe me, I wanted to, at first,” Will says, with a poison curl of his lip. His fingers continue to play through Hannibal’s hair, gentle and soothing in counterpoint to his words and tone of voice. “The first time I visited you here, all I could think was how easy it would be, and no way to pin it on me. And even before I imagined the weight of the gun in my hand and the pressure it would take to pull the trigger. The satisfaction of seeing the blood pooling from the wound in your head.” He punctuates the words with the tip of a finger pressed between Hannibal’s eyes.
“So I come to kill you, and then what?”
“I honestly couldn’t have said whether you’d go through with it or not,” Hannibal admits.
“And you were willing to risk your life to find out?” Will arches a brow.
Hannibal allows himself to touch, to rest his hands on Will’s waist. Reverence for beautiful things is nothing unusual to him, but it feels particularly burdened with meaning in this moment, where Will is concerned. He is aware of Will’s benevolence in this, allowing himself to be touched, for Hannibal to convey his reverence through it.
“As you so deftly pointed out, I love you, Will. All I wished was to see you reach your full potential. If it required my death, who was I to stand in the way of your Becoming?”
Will scrutinises Hannibal’s face, reading every minute expression, every tell Hannibal isn’t even aware he possesses. Reading him, as plainly as though Hannibal’s mask, constructed with painstaking care over decades does nothing to conceal him. “No, there’s something else you haven’t told me yet.”
Hannibal smiles. “Then that’s two of us.”
Laughter bubbles up from Will’s chest, cheerful and delighted. “Alright, keep your secret for now.” He strokes a finger down Hannibal’s cheek, presses his nail into the wrinkle at the corner of his mouth, sweeps a thumb across his bottom lip. “Now about Gideon.” He trails off, and like that his attention is elsewhere.
Will rises from Hannibal’s lap gracefully and Hannibal has to rush to keep up after him when he disappears down the hall. Through the foyer and dining room into the kitchen, right up to the locked pantry door. Will’s hand rests on the handle briefly before he simply walks through the door, and opens it from the inside.
It’s a very calculated move, to show off his abilities. A playful, taunting reminder of what Will is capable of, and the fact that Hannibal has no idea from whence they came, nor how far they extend. And undoubtedly an invitation to discover the answer to both, in time. He must know that Hannibal is helpless but to follow.
The cellar is not how Will imagined--aside from Gideon, there is nothing incriminating here. Maybe Hannibal actually possesses an ounce of self-preservation after all. He’s cleared out anything that might point to his less savory hobbies.
Instead the cellar is stocked full of shelves of rare ingredients; jar after jar of preserved peppers of every stripe, exotic fruits, grain of paradise, frankincense tears, mushrooms and various roots.
At one end, Gideon lies unconscious on a hospital bed, hooked up to a machine monitoring his vitals. There is a prep area--slaughtering hooks, spreader, skinning knives and cleavers. Will passes by it in favour of the glass and wire enclosure for a cochlear garden, set upon a raised platform. Inside, the snails are feasting upon a recently severed arm that has been soaked in a dish of wine.
“You just couldn’t resist, could you?”
Hannibal doesn’t look the least bit remorseful, reading something on the medical machinery. “You’re going to deprive me of my guest ahead of schedule,” he says. “Allow me a few leftovers.”
“I’ve given us ironclad alibis. Even when they realise that Chilton’s been framed, they’ll have no way to link it back to us.” Will plucks one of the snails from Gideon’s finger speculatively. Hannibal probably amuses himself with this little reversal of the food chain-those at the bottom preying on one at the top. “It would be great if you didn’t ruin it all because you had to keep a souvenir.”
“I can relocate the meat, along with Gideon, somewhere Jack and the FBI will never find.”
That sparks Will’s curiosity. “Ah yes, your safehouse. Another of your little hideouts like the cabin?” he asks.
No doubt there are more than a handful in the tri-state area alone, knowing Hannibal. Maybe even another prison or two for his victims. It should concern Will more, the idea that there might be others held and kept alive like Gideon and Miriam, locked away awaiting their fate, but he’s not troubled. That alone should be all the more troubling. “Will I get to see this one?”
Hannibal comes to stand at his side, a hand on Will’s shoulder. “I planned to take you eventually. I imagine it will be sooner, now. There is something there I’d like to show you.” He strokes his thumb up Will’s neck.
All the touching, to make certain Will is real, and truly there before him. Will can’t blame him for needing the tangible, physical evidence, after what he’s seen. Will himself spent years discarding the memories from his youth as nothing more than fantasy. He reaches up and takes Hannibal’s hand in his, fist closed tight around his fingers, lifts them to his mouth to brush a kiss across fingertips as he turns to face Hannibal.
It’s as much about his new resolution to more often give into impulse as to see the effect it has on Hannibal, and of course the effect is pleasing to him. Hannibal’s gaze catches and holds his own, and suddenly all the air has been sucked from the room, the temperature gone from pleasantly cool to stifling.
Will is inclined to surrender to the magnetic tug that pulls him towards Hannibal, as if he is his own source of gravity. Not for the first time, Will considers the fact that of the two of them, Hannibal should be the one with these abilities. Hannibal, so far from human that Will can’t even put a name to what it is he sees beneath the mask. But for that cold, unfeeling, alien creature that lurks within, Hannibal said that he loves him, and this Will believes to be true.
The voices, silent until now, whisper to Will now. Just remember you are the one who has caught him, and not the other way around.
That, however, is not entirely true, and they must know it. How tangled up in Hannibal Will has become. Not even the loss of Abigail nor Hannibal’s betrayal could drive him to cut ties, seek revenge. At least not the sort Hannibal deserves.
Will steps in closer, his hand resting on the plane of Hannibal’s chest, and tilts his head up to brush another kiss across his mouth. The drag of Hannibal’s generous lips is soft, and Will meant to be quick, but finds himself lingering, only parting with a sharp nip. “Do what you want with the meat, take whatever you plan on using,” he says. “But I’ll take care of Gideon myself, tomorrow.”
Hannibal’s curiosity is lost within his desire, and the voices are pleased with that. The way his hands ghost lightly over Will’s sides, asking silent permission. The inviting tilt of his head, lips parted close enough for Will to take, rather than taking himself.
Will, on the other hand, misses that thrill of adrenaline when Hannibal pinned him to the counter, rough hands on bare skin. He wants the chase and the struggle and the spark of pain alongside the pleasure. He runs his hands upward to curl around Hannibal’s neck, thumb tucked up against his pulse, fingers toying at the hairline.
“You knew when I was in the room, last night and today. No one else can do that. What gave me away?
Hannibal draws a deep breath. “There were times I would catch your scent, or when I felt the displacement of the air with your movements, when it seemed the house itself was breathing.” His touch is firmer now, fingers digging into Will through layers of clothing between them, to pull them flush together. The proof of his arousal nudges against Will’s thigh.
Will’s whole body throbs with a sympathetic heat. His own arousal seeps through his skin sticky-sweet, warm molasses in his veins. It makes him feel slow and heavy all over, centered on the weight of his cock growing harder with each passing second. He draws a ragged breath, already close to panting from how much he wants.
“But you knew exactly where to reach for me, and I think. I think when I’m like that, when I…” Will trails off, because how does he put it into words? What does he call it, when he disappears--not only becoming invisible but insubstantial as well. He laughs; it’s the only reasonable response.
“When I dematerialise,” he finally finishes, with a wryly arched brow, “I don’t think I make a sound. I don’t think I leave a scent, but you knew.”
There’s Hannibal’s curiosity again, flaring to life. A sharp keenness like a dog pricking up his ears, Hannibal’s eyes darting back and forth over his face, dangerous and wanting. Will has given himself away with his choice of words. Shown just how lost he is, how new and foreign it all is to him, as well.
Will swallows back his anxiety and goes up on his toes to whisper in Hannibal’s ear: “Find me again.” Then he pushes off Hannibal, fading away. The clothing falls from his skin to land in a pile on the floor and Will extends his senses outward, pushing to see just how far he can go--no longer contained by the confines of skin. It is so much easier to just do rather than think about.
Hannibal goes completely still. His eyes fall closed, and Will waits, breath jagged. They haven’t even really begun yet, but the sensation is new and startling, when Will realises he’s not quite sure where his chest even is or where the rest of his body is in relation, completely without form.
He drifts through the room, buffeting up against the shapes of the things he passes on all sides. The cool, smooth/sharp edge of the glass jars and the grain and whirl of the wooden shelves, the sandy, earthy moisture that seeps through the concrete at his feet. The small sounds the snails make as the eat now thundering, louder than the distant hum and beep of Gideon’s machinery, and the voices are all around, faint and echoing, beckoning Will in every direction.
There is nothing to give him away; not even the rapid beat of his heart for Hannibal to hear, not when he’s like this. For a moment, Will makes himself solid again, just long enough for Hannibal to hear his footsteps on the tread of the stairs. The sensation of snapping back into his own skin is disorienting, as is the feel of the stair beneath his feet--the limitations of the flesh only picking out the superficial qualities and none of the essence of the wood.
Hannibal’s eyes open, and he moves with that single-minded purposefulness that sparks heat throughout Will, spread thin as he is. He hurries up the stairs and through the pantry and kitchen. Steps silenced again but this time Will holds himself more tightly together. Hannibal is on his heels, until Will diverges from the obvious path and takes the long way around the dining room table.
Hannibal continues on a few steps before he stops, sensing that he is no longer on Will’s trail. In this instant, Hannibal is the very epitome of the predator. Eyes dark and intently focussed. The quickness of his breath juxtaposed with the stillness of his body, and the way his tongue teases out from between parted lips, like a snake tasting the air. Every line of his body speaks of deadly potential, from the harsh slope of his brow to the hunch of his shoulders as he turns, slowly and silently, in his socked feet.
A spiky, sickly feeling not unlike fear crawls along Will’s skin, thinking of all those who have been hunted by Hannibal in the past. He knows that should frighten him, but it’s time to stop lying to himself about just what it is he wants. And what he wants from Hannibal, it turns out, is exactly what Hannibal wants from him: to see and know him for who he is beneath the veneer of civility.
With that thought in mind, Will changes tactics. He phases through the table, fast and light on his feet, and goes solid for a brief second to land a blow to Hannibal’s cheek, then immaterial again to dodge the reflexive punch Hannibal throws. Will’s knuckles split on Hannibal’s cheek, and they’re both bleeding. The whispers really like that, and before he can think about what he’s doing or why, Will goes solid again to reach up and grab Hannibal by his hair and haul him down to lick up the trickle.
Hannibal’s hands find his hips with unerring accuracy, nails digging ragged crescents, grip pressing bruises into skin. He doesn’t struggle against the hold Will has on him, but wrestles him against the top of the table to roll their hips together. Will hums his pleasure--at the sensation, and the taste of Hannibal. Something more primitive and essential that makes the voices hiss for more.
Will gets his hands flat on the table top and shoves back against Hannibal’s weight. It’s not enough to dislodge him, so Will cheats, fading through the centre of the table to the far side. His hand leaves a streak of blood there and on the edge of the door frame for Hannibal to follow, when he runs from the room.
This time he stays solid--it only seems fair that Hannibal have something to grab onto--but sends out a thought to silence his footsteps. He isn’t sure it will work until it does. Hannibal’s own footsteps are muffled on the marble of the foyeur. Each step he draws nearer sets Will’s heart beating faster. He takes the stairs two at a time and isn’t disappointed to hear Hannibal in pursuit.
What does take him off-guard is the hand on his ankle, the sharp yank that lands him on the ground hard. The stairs catch him on the tops of his thighs, across his stomach knocking the breath from him, forearms braced on the landing. It’s almost automatic at this point, to escape a hold by fading out, that Will has to force himself to remain solid when Hannibal grabs his other ankle and drags him down a step. Will’s elbows skid across the berber, a painful counterpoint to the press of Hannibal’s covered cock against his ass.
Hannibal’s hands are all over him now, more how Will likes them, rough and demanding. He gives a firm squeeze to the curve of Will’s asscheeks before stroke up the line of his back, laying out Will’s form through touch. One arm wrapping around his waist, to pull Will close against him, one hand around his throat, fingers digging in under Will’s jaw to urge him back.
“You didn’t make it much of a challenge.” Hannibal’s breath stirs Will’s hair. His lips ghost along the shell of his ear as he speaks.
Will grinds his ass back onto Hannibal’s cock and grins at the groan he earns. “Maybe I wanted to be caught.”
Hannibal bites down on his earlobe and flicks it between teeth and tongue. He flattens his palm over Will’s stomach and smooths downward to take him in hand. Will hasn’t even realised how hard he is until now, so wrapped up in the adrenaline-high, but Hannibal’s hand on his cock brings him crashing back down. He bucks his hips forward into the tight grip of Hannibal’s fist and back again to his groin.
Some of the tension in Hannibal’s frame relaxes, he settles in over Will, tracing kisses over his jaw as he strokes up and down his cock. A sort of confidence from his win. Will turns his head to meet Hannibal’s kiss, wet and slow. The soft suck of his top lip between Hannibal’s, his tongue tracing the bow of it, and the tease of his thumb over the head of Will’s cock.
Then Will slips free, laughter shaking loose when Hannibal falls flat against the stairs in his absence. He lets out a growl and pushes himself up and after Will, who runs ahead into the bedroom. Tumbling onto the bed still laughing, and he’s not even sure if he’s still invisible or not when Hannibal crashes into him and lays him out flat over the covers.
The laughter dies on a moan when Hannibal reaches between them to trace his fingers against his hole. Will’s been thinking about this since he was dragged back to his cell last night. The residual soreness has been a reminder of the pleasure. As much as he wanted Hannibal, he still hadn’t anticipated how good it would feel, and how much he’d want it again, but he does, so badly.
“Yes, please,” he manages and swallows hard. “God I want you to fuck me.”
Hannibal presses his face in the back of Will’s neck, breath moist on his skin. “Do you have any idea--” he begins in a rough voice. “Turn over.” Will obeys. “Let me see you.” There is that same entreaty as before, soft and wondering. Will flushes with pleasure at the sound of it, and consciously wills himself visible again. “Look at you.”
“I’d rather get you naked.” He grabs at Hannibal’s belt, tugs it loose, pulls down his zipper. “You’ve got too many clothes on.”
Hannibal’s fingers make quick work of the buttons down his shirt. “We don’t all have your skill at undressing via incorporeality.”
Will snorts. “I don’t think that’s a thing.” Finally he pushes Hannibal’s slacks down over his hips as Hannibal shrugs out of his shirt. Together they get his pants and boxers out of the way, twisting and wriggling, and Will revels in the press of warm skin against his own, the slide of bare legs urging his open.
At the sight of Hannibal’s cock, his mouth waters, and Will goes with impulse to wriggle lower on the mattress and take the head in his mouth. Hannibal shudders and pushes deeper, and Will opens wider to take him. He moans around his mouthful, runs his tongue along the length. His own dick throbs insistently at the rush of pre-cum on his tongue.
Will pulls back with another lick across the tip and pushes himself up the bed. Later, when they have more time, he’ll take Hannibal apart with his mouth, but right now he wants something different. He spreads his limbs out in welcoming. “Come on, Hannibal,” he says, and kicks him on the ankle.
Hannibal spares him a smirk. “Your impatience is flattering.” He reaches for the lube, still out on the bedside table from last night. Will has an image of Hannibal touching himself this morning before coming to visit, as it it were the only way to be sure he wouldn’t succumb to the temptation to touch, and it delights him.
He gets one slick finger in Will. It feels just as tight as it had the first time, but slowly, slowly he works Will open. One knuckle at a time, then a second finger, and then Will’s body begins to welcome it rather than resist, pulling Hannibal’s fingers back every time he tries to pull them loose.
Fuck it feels good. Will lifts his hips to meet the join of Hannibal’s fingers, and it’s still not deep enough. He can’t stop the little sounds, breathy, gasping moans, the please please please when Hannibal stops working his fingers in and out and just presses down hard on his prostate with a beckoning motion.
Hannibal runs a hand through Will’s sweaty hair, pushes it back from his face, and leans in to kiss him when his cock replaces his fingers, nudging in slowly. Will opens for him mouth and body, Hannibal licks into him and rocks forward deep.
The slide is so good, the width of Hannibal and the angle just right. He moves with a fluid grace that leaves Will breathless and arching into him. Kisses trailed over his chin and down his throat to the bruise he left on Will’s neck. When Hannibal sucks on the spot, Will’s whole body convulses at the sensation, still tender and over-sensitive. There’s something about the press of teeth against skin, the potential for deadly violence reigned in, that makes Will’s cock jerk and dribble pre-cum.
Will clutches at him, with fingers slipping down the sweat-slick skin of Hannibal’s back until he digs in his nails, gets a nice firm grip to use as leverage and rock up to meet each thrust. He thinks maybe he’ll cum just like this, from the feel of Hannibal’s mouth on him and the drag of his cock over his prostate and the stretched edge of his opening. The pleasure is so different than he’s used to, bordering the line of too much and not quite enough, and he just teeters there.
Then Hannibal shifts his weight to take his cock in hand, firm and slick with lube. Will’s grip slips lower, ragged scratches left in his wake, to grab at Hannibal’s love handles. With Hannibal’s confession of love, there’s an intimacy to it, when Hannibal draws back to watch Will’s face. He’s partially inclined to shy away, to close his eyes, or just maybe fade away under Hannibal’s gaze, but he forces himself to meet it.
Whatever he sees, Hannibal’s lips stretch into something not quite a smile or a snarl, sharp and dangerous. Will lunges up to snag his lip between his teeth, and it turns into something violent, both of them drawing blood in the kiss. Hannibal’s hips stutter and stall, and then he’s coming in a hot rush, cock slamming home again and again.
Whether it’s the sensation of Hannibal’s cock jerking in him, or the knowledge that Will’s the one to have made him fall apart again, the one who keeps reducing Hannibal Lecter to his basest desires and emotions, that’s all it takes for Will to cum, too. It starts low in his gut, his balls seizing up tight, and then his muscles, as he trips over the edge and shoots in Hannibal’s hand.
This is almost better than the sex itself, the lazy, sated sensation that sweeps through his whole body after. Hannibal’s turns the kiss gentle again, slow, soothing swipes of his tongue over the cut on Will’s lip. Soft, slick suction, the glide of nibbling teeth, counter to the dead weight of his body pressing Will into the mattress. His mind hums pleasantly with low-grade static.
Will has never been on to stick around long after sex. Even if he can turn off his thoughts long enough to get off, they’re always quick to come back in the aftermath. All the intrusive impulses and regrets, and an aching hollow feeling in his chest that feels more like a crushing weight at times.
Of course it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Hannibal is the exception in this, as in everything else. Will finds himself drifting, pliant in Hannibal’s arms when he finally moves, shifting them further up the bed to rest on the pillows and pull up the sheets over them. It’s comfortingly warm, silent in a way that it never is in the cool damp of the hospital with half a dozen mental patients down the hall. Will rolls into Hannibal’s welcoming arms that close around him and pull close.
Hannibal rests his chin against the crown of his head. “Do you need to go?” he murmurs.
Will shakes his head, rubs his face in the soft hair on Hannibal’s chest, breathes deeply of the scent of sex and sweat and hums in pleasure. “Not for a while longer. They’ll let me know when it’s time.”
Tension ripples briefly through Hannibal’s frame, the effort of refraining from asking the questions that rise to his tongue. Will lays a kiss against the skin beneath his mouth, and Hannibal lets out a long breath, and says nothing.