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The sounds of Jack Crawford’s yelling fills the house, despite the fact that he is actually on the second floor. The CSIs sweeping the ground level are tense with discomfort. Hannibal Lector listens unabashedly as he rises the stairs.

“The clock is ticking, Graham.” The sole use of Will’s last name is new. The situation must be extreme. “We don’t have time for you to—”Hannibal strides into the room in time to hear clearly the bitter emphasis on the last half of the sentence “—‘expand your technique’!”

At first, Hannibal does not even see his patient, just sees Jack Crawford’s back, like a broad wall, taking up a disproportionately large portion of the small room. It takes the doctor a moment to realize that Will Graham’s hunched over form is completely obscured by Jack’s shadow. Hannibal must cross half the room before he can see the man.

“Is there an issue with my patient that I should be aware of, Agent?” Hannibal’s carefully trained voice gives nothing away, but inside he is fuming. Jack turns abruptly, but Hannibal does not remove his eyes from Will’s form.

“Mr. Graham has deemed today an acceptable opportunity to switch methods on us.”Hannibal doesn’t respond, waits for Will to explain himself.

“I just…It’s hard to—to keep going into these people’s minds.” Will is stuttering, tone somewhere between a weak excuse and a pitiful apology, directed more towards Jack than Hannibal. “I want to help, I do, but I can’t—“

Hannibal understands. This situation, this conversation, is in reference to Will voicing his desire to stop. No doubt Hannibal’s voicing of his belief in Jack’s manipulation played some part in Will’s decision.

Unacceptable,” Jack growls, rudely cutting Will off. Hannibal momentarily imagines Jack as a simmering pot of French cassoulet on his stove. It is fleeting; Hannibal is very aware that Jack is of more use to him alive than dead. He has no intention of introducing Jack to his dinner table, aside from sharing a meal with him from time to time. “People are dying, Will. The condition of your psychosis is not at the top of my list of priorities. That’s what I pay Dr. Lector for.”

Will has not moved throughout this entire conversation, but his head slowly turns towards the body at the front of the room, arranged in a standing position, leaning against the windowpane so any passerby could see. Hannibal had seen the body from below and assumed the form was living. An interesting arrangement. Hannibal is curious at what Will shall discover by delving into the murderer’s mind, but is not pleased by Jack’s messy control of him. Will Graham is not difficult to influence, Hannibal knows, but he would rather be the sole manipulator.

“Alright,” is the answer Will gives, consenting to Jack’s demands. “Ok. I’ll do it.”

Jack grunts, not bothering to provide any expression of his appreciation, and walks from the room. Leaving Will and Hannibal alone with the rotting, half-dressed, woman.

Hannibal feels possessive jealousy wrap around him slowly but firmly. He does tend towards greed, with the occasional inclination towards lust and gluttony, but this goes farther than that. This feeling is not simply a desire for Will Graham—he wants to own him, to possess ever fiber of his being.

When Will’s eyes briefly flutter between Hannibal’s chest and the space above his forehead, a counterfeit of eye contact, there is a tired look on his face; he did not sleep last night. Removing his glasses, he rubs his hand against the back of his neck before sweeping it across his chin and up to his eyes. Wipes furiously.

Hannibal realizes, with a sudden surge of anticipative pleasure, that he has waited too long to place his claim on Will Graham. The tug-of-war between his and Jack’s influence has gone on for far too long, has become far too severe. This day, this case, is the final battle and Hannibal knows what he must do to attain his victory.


Six hours later, Crawford drops Will and Hannibal off at the nearest motel. He had tried to pressure Will further, into pulling an all-nighter in the house, though the body had been removed hours earlier, but Hannibal insisted that Will needed sleep. When Crawford had accepted Hannibal’s verdict, firm mouthed, and left the room for a moment to obtain a vehicle, Will gave Hannibal a quick smile of thanks. Hannibal felt a smug smile tug at his lips—his decision had been less for Will’s benefit than for his own.

While Hannibal waits for the manager to retrieve the keys for their rooms, he watches Will out of the corner of his eyes. He sits on the couch, staring at the gaudy flower pot with a sort of intensity that Hannibal knows is reserved for his unsolicited empathic contemplations. His mouth hangs open as he shifts his jaw back and forth, constantly changing the angling of his skull as if it will allow the thoughts to pour of out of his mind.

Though he is too far away to know for sure, Hannibal imagines Will’s fingers twitching as he drives a knife into the woman’s back, over and over again. An infinite loop of delectable homicide.

When he approaches the man, places his hand on a quivering, stooped shoulder, he breathes in deeply. Heady with the smell of passion—edged with blood likely dried on an unnoticed patch of clothing.

Hannibal leads the way to their rooms. Will follows in silence. They are on the far side of the stream of rooms, right next to one another.

“May I come in?” He asks. “Or would you prefer to be alone with your thoughts?”

A look flutters briefly across Will’s face. Yes, Hannibal knows, he would like to be alone, would like to sleep despite the inevitable nightmares. But he is too drained from a day under Jack’s pressure to put forth the effort necessary to be rude. He opens the door and allows Hannibal to step inside ahead of him.

Will drops unceremoniously into one of the two chairs in the room while Hannibal sets about removing his jacket, locking the door and pulling the drapes closed. Will doesn’t notice, takes off his glasses so he can more easily rub at his stubble-covered face.

It takes a total of fifteen seconds for him to circle around Will and wedge a thin strip of fabric between his teeth—an improvised gag. After binding it tightly at the back of his head, Hannibal uses a pair of handcuffs, swiped from a particularly oblivious police officer guarding the crime scene’s perimeter, on one of Will’s wrists.

Despite all of Will’s training, all of Will’s preparation for something like this, it is tragically easy for Hannibal to drag him, struggling and screaming through the gag, to the bed. Hannibal attributes it to Will’s exhaustion, as well as his own experience restraining victims. But Will Graham is not a victim. At least, not in his traditional sense.

Hannibal pins Will to the mattress using his hips and loops the handcuffs around one of the bars at the head of the bed. Only once Will’s free wrist is safely confined does Hannibal lean back and look at him.

In the scuffle, Will received a bruise on his neck and a small cut beneath his left eye. A pity—Hannibal would have preferred each and every mark on Will, temporary and permanent alike, to be experienced meticulously by both Will and himself.

Hannibal allows himself to look directly into Will’s face, and what a sight it is. He blinks rapidly, the beginnings of tears leaking from the creases of his wide eyes. Hannibal wipes at one with his thumb, hushes him when he gives off a high-pitched whimper, anchored in the back of his throat.

“Relax, William, relax…” He commands. The order is not instantly met, of course. He is confused; Hannibal has never before given Will a reason to fear him, never released any violent vibes for him to stumblingly interpret.

Hannibal takes his Laguiole pocket knife from his pocket; Will attempts unsuccessfully to buck his hips and throw Hannibal off him.

“This does not need to be as difficult as you are making it…” Hannibal murmurs. He brushes his finger thoughtfully over the simply sculpted forger bee at the edge of the knife’s handle, so that Will can plainly see. The knife flicks open. He’s shaking now, unsure what this means for him as Hannibal cuts the first button of his shirt with a pop. He makes his way down the shirt, one button at a time, thrilling when Will flinches at the slightest tip of the blade making contact with flesh through the thin fabric. Exquisite.

When the shirt is cut open, Hannibal shoves it out of the way as best he can. He may choose to rip it away later, but for now he enjoys the clash of red plaid against Will’s pale skin, in lieu of yet-unshed blood.

Hannibal trails the knife lightly up his chest and Will pulls his body impossibly tight against the bonds. The metal is cool and Will’s skin is hot and flushed in anticipation of pain.

The knife pierces Will’s skin below his nipple. The cut is shallow at first, but as Hannibal drags it horizontally across his skin he allows it to dip easily downwards. Will cries and arches his back against the handcuffs. Blood pours out of the wound, falling over his chest in both directions, a waterfall. Hannibal dips down to lick at the wound, enjoying the warm, metallic flavor that spreads over his tongue. The rate of blood flow is slightly worrisome; Hannibal could not help himself from pressing the blade deeper that was strictly benign. He tears a strip of fabric from Will’s already ruined, blood-soaked shirt and lays it lightly across the wound. It does not function nearly as effectively as a bandage would, but Hannibal makes do.

Tongue and mouth still red with Will’s blood, Hannibal trails kisses across his collarbone and up his neck, nipping playfully in a way that is only vaguely meant to entice. Shivers make their way up and down Will’s spine. When he reaches the top of Will’s neck, he presses his lips against a fleshy earlobe. The flesh tastes delicious, the texture smooth and perfect against Hannibal’s teeth.

“Your reaction is causing the blood loss to escalate superfluously.” He allows his mouth the move lightly against Will’s inner ear as he speaks, the breeze of air purposefully obtruding the caverns. Will jerks away, unsettling the cloth on his abdomen. Hannibal stills him with a firm hand against his shoulder. Will convulses in silent sobs as Hannibal cuts him again, from collarbone to sternum in a smoothly arched curve on his left side. Hannibal repeats it on the right side, in perfect symmetry. Eyes press tightly shut, neck arches backwards more in defiance than in the submission such an action would imply if they inhabited an entirely animalistic universe. But it is submission Hannibal desires.

Keeping Will caged beneath his haunches, Hannibal presses the blade lightly against cheek. He is careful not to break the skin—face wounds not there the day before would cause even men like Jack to wonder—as he scraps across stubble, watching microscopic flecks of dark hair go flying.

“Look at me, William.” The command receives the accented staccato of the blade clashing against bared teeth, one at a time. Will obeys.

If Hannibal previously saw defiance in Will’s tense, angry posture, it all falls away at the sight of Will’s eyes subsequent the infliction of three blemishes upon his chest. Hopelessness.

“Watch me, or I will make it hurt.”

The sardonic twitch of Will’s face, the way his nostrils flare just so, is resonant of their therapy sessions—he knows it will hurt regardless. Still, Will pointedly lowers his eyes to the knife, obedience the equivalent of a plea for mercy, for his life. As if it is necessary for him to demand his life from Hannibal.

He sets about decorating his William, up and down his chest, curving lines into an abstract design that means both nothing and everything simultaneously. Symbolic through its lack of symbolism. Hannibal is an artist, has always considered himself one, be it in his artful murders, his sketches and building designs, or his masterpieces born in the kitchen. But nothing he has ever created, ever will create, can compare to what he is making from the slab of rock that once was Will Graham. The scars will never heal, they are permanent, but they are only the first of the many steps Hannibal will take.

“These marks make you mine, Will…” Hannibal whispers, voice low. He knows he is being needlessly cryptic, but Will’s understanding shall come in time. “They prove how much I care for you.”

Once Will’s chest is covered with blood and the bloodier lines of lacerations, Hannibal uses the knife to rip the remnants of Will’s shirt from his arms. Here, he is careful to make the cuts less deep, as arms shallowly house necessary arteries and veins that, if sliced accidently, would require more attention than a couple bandages, real or makeshift. Will cries out against the gag, though they have noticeably lessened in volume. He would have preferred to hear Will scream and cry throughout the process, but a motel is too public, he would almost certainly be heard.

Finally, after about an hour of careful effort, he deems his work complete. Will Graham was perfection before, but now he is divine. The scars are symmetric, too artfully done for Will to ever feign that they were inflicted through a car accident or some other preferable lie. Hannibal would like to do his back as well, but it would have to wait—the wounds needed to stay upright for as long as possible.

“This would be quite the predicament for us to be found in, no?” Hannibal says as he reaches behind Will’s head to cut the gag free. As if Will is in the situation by choice. “I recommend keeping quiet.”

The knife shuts with a click, but Hannibal places it visibly beside Will’s hip, silently stressing that it can and will be used if necessary. Will presses his teeth together and, to Hannibal’s surprise, does not cry out. He would not want to be the victim, after all. He doesn’t speak, doesn’t make a peep, until Hannibal pulls Will’s belt from his hips and pulls the final layers of clothing, jeans and gray-stripped briefs, down past his hips.

Don’t, don’t…” Will whispers. He is weak from blood loss but tries his best to express his anger. “Why are you doing this?You- You’re supposed to help me.”

“I am helping you, my dear Will,” He says, without even the slightest trace of irony in his voice. He brushes his thumb against the base of Will’s penis. “What happened today, with Jack, was completely unacceptable. You need not bend to that man’s whims.”

“J-just to y-yours…?” He speaks sarcastically, but his voice hisses out between gritted teeth. Hannibal does not respond, only smiles.

“My whims and yours are one in the same. You have yet to realize it, but it is true.”

Too quick for William to prepare himself, he twists his hand in a fist on Will’s cock. He groans, attempts to shake himself out of the grip despite the pain it must cause. Hannibal gives his hand three hard jerks, pulled up and down Will’s rising cock, with no lubrication but the mostly dried lifeblood on his palm and fingertips.

“Stop, stop,” Will murmurs, as if, should he speak too loudly, Hannibal would go back to slicing through his flesh. “You’ve done enough, stop!

A sharp squeeze around his balls serves both to draw a short cry of pain from his lips and to silence his wretched supplicating. With a cupped hand, Hannibal presses against the first wound, the deepest, and draws a new stream of thin, red liquid into his fingers. When he has enough, he wraps the moistened hand around Will’s cock and pumps again. This time his hand can glide faster, smoother, and Will’s pained exterior melts away to unwanted hedonism. He lifts himself off the bed slightly and Will’s hips follow him upwards, thrusting as much he can into the grip. Hannibal moves his hand beneath Will’s hips, skimming his thumb along the ridge between his cheeks until he finds the rim. It takes one forceful push to insert his index finger, up to the first joint. Will’s moans are beautiful, even as he shakes his head back and forth, begging for cessation. Forced orgasm is, Hannibal knows, one of the more horrifying forms of torture, especially for someone like Will Graham who is so transparently at odds with his body; he is likely a virgin still.

“See, William?” Hannibal coos. “See how good I can make you feel?”

Will pants, lips forming the first syllables of curses and empty threats. The truth of the situation is that Will Graham has nothing to give, nothing to offer Hannibal except his pain, and the sentimental sensations brought forth as he fights his way through it. Will is utterly powerless. Hannibal will work to change that, in time, but for now he appreciates the way it shoots jolts of pressure through his skull, down his spine, ending at his dick, where an erection quickly forms.

Hannibal imagines that Will’s muddled countenance has made the lines between pain and pleasure even more blurred than it would be for another person. Hannibal knows he delves into the psyche of victims from time to time, feels what they felt. It is simply easier for him to pull back from it, as their reactions to stimuli tend towards the ordinary. It is not so much an issue as an inconvenience if he receives a souvenir from them. All those souvenirs surface now though, as Will’s mind blatantly scrolls between the sensation of cutting and being cut, fucking and being fucked.

Killing and being killed.

“I adore you,” he whispers.

Hannibal leans forward and kisses Will, full on the mouth. He tastes blood, slightly, at the corners of his mouth, where the friction of the fabric against his skin was greatest. He envelopes the man, presses their mouths together with all the mercy of a raging storm upon the sea. Draws the tongue forcefully into motion to capture the wet muscle between his teeth. It is not enough to draw blood, and he has no desire to actually follow through, but he imagines sinking his teeth into the flesh, deep, and pulling it straight out of Will’s mouth. He imagines taking Will home with him, keeping him tied up and silent, without the use of a gag, for the rest of their days.

It is an attractive image, but then he would have no way of running his hands through the mysterious waters that make up Will Graham’s mind. Somehow, he does not think written language would make the process quite as enjoyable.

Hannibal removes his teeth from Will’s mouth, commands, “Tell me you love me, Will.”

He shakes his head, refusing despite his desperate need to reach orgasm. Hannibal bends the finger buries deep in Will’s ass to the side, scraping his finger nail in a way that makes Will scream.

“I…I…” He can’t say it, Hannibal knows. He gives two final pumps of his hand, one final thrust of his finger, so it is up to the knuckle, and he says it: “I…love you…

And though it may not be entirely true, not yet, Hannibal knows that in the mess of Will’s mind, paired with the exceedingly useful chemicals brought forth from sex, in this moment Will loves him.

Hannibal experiences Will Graham’s orgasm through their coupled mouths. Ropes of Will’s cum hits against his quivering chest; Hannibal scoops the thick liquid up with his fingers and pushes it through curly, sweat-wetted brown locks. Blood is carelessly mixed in through the process; it is not a terribly bad look for Will.

He would have liked to fuck Will—to pound against the man’s prostate until he fell apart beneath him again and again, but the movements Hannibal desires to make would only rip Will’s frayed seams to pieces. It is very clear to Hannibal that Will only barely does not need to be taken to the hospital. All good things to those who wait.

He rises gracefully from the bed, retreating to the bathroom for a washcloth.

“You have done very well…” He praises as he wipes up excess blood. Once that is finished, he retrieves bandages from his bag (also swiped from the crime scene) and places them on the deeper scared areas. His kisses Will again, brushing their tongues lightly together, drags his thumb down across his bobbing Adam’s apple.

“Please… please take the cuffs off…” Will pleads when Hannibal pulls away.

“I would release you, William,” he says. “But it is too likely that you would upset the wounds; they need time to heal. I will return for you in a couple hours, just past sunrise. Sleep—Doctor’s orders.”

He shuts off the light as he leaves the room to return to his own and Will gasps at the onset of darkness.

He knows William will not even close his eyes to rest.