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I'm A Chemical Too

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Will comes home from his lectures to a kiss on the cheek from Abigail and Hannibal laying the table for dinner, a white cloth draped over his arm like a concierge. She is re-applying for colleges out of state, tells them about the hassle of it all while they eat. Hannibal tells them the Italian name of the dish, and no further details. He's allowed to delegate the washing up, having dutifully cooked, and stands in the corner of the kitchen while Will passes Abigail dripping clean plates.

Will isn't allowed to be left alone with her.

*

Hannibal has a genuine wood fireplace in his drawing room, a convenient wine rack and a loveseat that Will's dogs constantly appropriate, curling themselves on top of it and underneath. The sofa by the fire is big enough for the three of them as long as Abigail doesn't mind her head in one lap and her feet in another. Mostly these days she keeps her feet down by Will; he has an unconscious habit of stroking her scar when she bares her neck to him. So it's easier like this.

*

Abigail was teenage-girl experienced, missionary and coercion, before she moved in with Hannibal and Will. Naturally, Hannibal would have none of it.

He told her to ask politely, and then ate her out. Will curled up at the end of the bed and bit his thumbnail and watched; reached out and touched her ankle as it curved splayed up above Hannibal's shoulder.

On the edge of her orgasm, Hannibal had leant back and wiped his bottom lip with his thumb, and kissed Will. It distracted him enough from the way she looked when she was coming. Will couldn't look at her like that. It gave him panic attacks, you see.

Because she looked like she was dying.

*

They have a workaround. Will makes love to her from behind, her elbows and knees spread, his thrusts always gentle and stuttering. Hannibal sits beside her and soothes her through it, and does not mind the face she makes when she comes.

He doesn't mind it at all.

*

When Abigail and Hannibal get home at just after two in the morning and shower together, Will tentatively asks to join them. Abigail says he's an idiot and rolls her eyes, and Hannibal bows graciously as an invitation, and both of them kiss him under his jaw so he doesn't have to look down and see the blood swirling down the drain by their tangled feet.

*

Will finds all her college applications un-sent in a drawer in Hannibal's desk. He asks her about it at dinner, and she looks like a child guilty of nothing more than spilt milk. "I just figured you'd kill me, if I tried to leave," she says, popping a mouthful of wilted spinach between her lips.

Hannibal laughs at that, a grin like the moon.

Will means to say "Of course not," only he forgets one of the words.

*

She kisses up the inside of Hannibal's thigh, kneeling between his long legs, and her back is like the desert, freckled and pale. Not entirely grown into her body, Will can count the notches of her spine, and he does so, his fingers playing up every knot in the rope of her back. When he reaches the nape of her neck, he pulls her hair aside like a theatre curtain. Her scar comes into spotlight focus, as it always does. He's fixated by it. The sign of her survivorship.

"William," Hannibal says gently, putting his hand on Will's wrist. "She is dying."

He doesn't know how long he'd been strangling her for, but it takes ever such a long time for Abigail to catch her breath after Hannibal pries Will's hands from around her neck.

*

Will comes home from his lectures to his postcard life, kisses on the cheek and dinner on the table.

There's no doting wife, no loving daughter, and Abigail and Hannibal both have blood caked under their fingernails.