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Haunted By Ill Angels

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Will had never been more completely unsure of anything in his life than the moment that Hannibal pressed a spare key into his palm, and told him to come over straight away if he ever needed anything. He was certain, however, that this violated several different doctor-patient ethical boundaries; but he and Hannibal had never had a conventional doctor-patient relationship in the first place. Still, it felt strange to him to be walking up the man's driveway, in the middle of the afternoon, completely unannounced. He'd spent the long drive over trying to convince himself that he didn't need to be here, over an hour of arguing with himself only to end up parked behind Hannibal's Volante anyway.

Will had to wonder if this was some sort of test; if he was meant to resist the temptation of letting himself into another man's personal sphere, or if the invitation was as implicit as it seemed. He thought about knocking, but the key hung heavy in his pocket and Hannibal's words kept repeating themselves in his head. He dug the key out of his pocket, turned it over a couple of times in his palm, and finally reached out to slip it in the lock. It clicked open with the barest noise and Will eased the door open, toeing his shoes off just inside the door.

The house was silent, cast in dim afternoon light from scattered open windows. It was almost serene in how still and quiet it was, but something about that was completely unnerving to him. He felt like an unwanted intruder, like he should announce himself before taking another step inside, but somehow his voice had abandoned him and he had to push on without it. Chewing nervously on the inside of his cheek, he wandered through the house to the kitchen, expecting to see some sign of life there, if nowhere else. Sure enough, a tea kettle sat out on the stove, with an empty saucer and catch of used leaves on the counter next to it. Hannibal was still nowhere to be seen, but Will now had some idea of where he might be.

It must have been an instinct that led him through the French doors into the back yard, pausing only long enough to tug his socks off and shove them down in his pocket so they didn't get them dirty. He walked barefoot across the neatly cut grass, warm from the sun, around to a small covered patio behind the house where he found Hannibal stretched out it a lawn chair with a book draped over his lap and a cigarette dangling from his fingertips.

He wasn't sure what was more surprising, that Hannibal was a smoker or that he was capable of wearing something other than his impeccable three-piece suits. This afternoon had him in casual slacks and a loose linen button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows, as barefoot as Will. He looked every bit as polished as he usually did, but there was a such a different air about him that Will was struck again by the feeling that he was imposing on something forbidden.

There wasn't enough time to backtrack before Hannibal noticed him, glancing up briefly, only to break into a smile a moment later. He waved Will over, sliding a bit of leather into his book to mark his place before setting it aside.

"Good afternoon, Will!" he said, swinging his legs to the side and standing. He reached out a hand to beckon Will in further and motioned towards a chair across from him. "What brings you here?"

His words still failed him, and he rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. "A key," he answered, and Hannibal's grin widened.

"I assumed as much. Can I get you something to drink?"

"No, thank you," Will shook his head. "I'm not... imposing, am I?"

Hannibal gave him a softly chiding look, "Of course not," he replied. "If I didn't want you here, I wouldn't have given you the key."

That eased Will's nervousness well enough and he slowly slid down into the chair next to Hannibal, paying a quick glance to the book he was reading - some thin volume in French, laid face-down, that Will couldn't read the title of - before he turned his attention back to the doctor.

"I didn't know you smoked," he managed.

Hannibal glanced down at the cigarette, as if he'd forgotten it was there, then delicately flicked the ash in a nearby ashtray as he settled himself back down. "A bad habit I picked up as a teenager," he explained, "and never put back down. I can put it out if it bothers you..."

"No," Will shook his head, "it's perfectly alright; I was just a little surprised, I guess."

Hannibal nodded, taking that as his permission to lift the cigarette to his lips again and take a slow drag. Will was instantly transfixed. It wasn't as if this was the first time he'd ever noticed Lecter's mouth. Sometimes when the man was speaking, he had to remind himself to listen because he was so distracted by the way his lips formed around words, the way they stretched around a smile or a grimace. Even the sight of him sucking on the end of a cigarette was elegant. Smoke unfurled from his lips as he exhaled, settling back in his chair again and putting his feet up.

Will noticed, perhaps a moment too late, that Hannibal was staring at him, and did his best to shake himself from his reverie. "You... ah, you grew up in France, didn't you say?"

"With my uncle," he nodded, a flicker of a smirk playing on his lips. "For a time, at least. And when he died, I continued living with my aunt for several years before coming to the United States to finish my medical degree. With the exception of a few short trips abroad, I have lived here since."

"Right," Will nodded, swallowing down the lump in his throat.

He had the distinct feeling that he'd been caught in the act and a light flush worked its way up on his cheeks, unrelenting, as obvious as the embarrassed stammer in his voice. He wet his lips nervously and looked over just in time to see Lecter pluck the cigarette from his lips again. Watching him exhale was more captivating than anything else, the control it took to let those thin coils of smoke slip from his lips. Will knew his way around smoking, though he'd never picked up a cigarette in his life, and he knew the way the tongue had to curl to form those wispy shapes. He found his mouth suddenly very dry and wished he'd accepted that offer of a drink when it was first made. At least then he'd have something to do with his hands now instead of nervously rubbing them over the front of his jeans.

The silence stretched on between them, and while he kept expecting Hannibal to say something, the man merely watched him with that intense gaze of his, thumb rubbing contemplatively across his bottom lip. That almost did Will in completely, and he began to wonder if Hannibal wasn't toying with him, trying to see how far he could lure Will in without him noticing that he'd been baited and hooked already.

"You didn't come here to discuss my bad habits," Hannibal finally spoke, and Will's attention snapped up from his mouth.

"Ah... no," he shook his head, forcing himself to lean back in his chair. He rested his elbows on the arms of the chair in his best semblance of casual, something that Hannibal no doubt saw right through the moment he'd affected it. "I don't suppose you'd believe me if I said I was in the area?"

He shook his head, thumb resting just below his lower lip, elbow on the arm of his own lounge chair. "I don't imagine this is an area you have much of a reason to be in otherwise, is it?"

Will grimaced and shook his head. He couldn't dodge questions forever, especially if he expected Hannibal to believe he hadn't just come there to leer at the doctor. "I caught myself sleepwalking again last night," he finally said. "Fortunately I hadn't gotten as far as last time, but I was behind my house, staring at the field beyond, this thick morning fog covering everything. Despite not being as jarring as waking up in the middle of the road-" or on his roof, "-it was somehow more unsettling than any of the other times."

"Do you remember what was going on before you woke up?" he asked, dropping his hand for long enough to ash his cigarette before he brought it to his mouth again.

This time Will looked away, staring at the ground between them instead of letting his gaze continue to linger on Hannibal's mouth. "No," he shook his head. "Just that when I woke up I felt like I had come to in some other world; in this marshy gray world with no ground or sky, only gray. Like," his brows furrowed, "if I took another step forward, I would fall off the edge entirely."

Hannibal shifted, angling his body towards Will's curiously. "Were you still asleep?"

"I don't- I don't know," he shrugged. "I don't think so."

He gripped the arms of his chair, rubbing his hands over them nervously as Hannibal put out his cigarette and reached for his tea off the table. Instead of drawing it to his lips, he mercifully rose from his chair and motioned for Will to follow him. He felt remarkably like a stray dog following Hannibal inside, gaze downcast, watching his bare feet cut through the manicured lawn on their way back to the house. Hannibal held the door open for him, his hand falling gently between Will's shoulder blades to guide him inside.

He was silent as he filled the kettle again and put it on, then reached for another cup from the cabinet. Will leaned against the counter and watched as he emptied the used tea leaves from the catch and pulled down a small black tin to fill it again. When he finally had everything neatly laid out, he placed a hand on the counter and pivoted towards Will with a soft sigh.

"I don't think you've been taking very good care of yourself, Will..." he said.

Will had to laugh - a soft, desperate sound that came from a place of pure exhaustion - and he lowered his head. "What gave you that idea?"

Hannibal pushed off the counter, taking a couple steps towards him, and reached out to cradle Will's jaw in his palm. His skin smelled vaguely like nicotine and vanilla, and Will found himself tipping his head towards the touch. That alone was strange for him, he usually pulled away from touch instead of gravitating towards it, but something about Hannibal's touch and his warm flesh was more inviting than it was off-putting. Perhaps there was part of him that wanted whatever Hannibal had to offer, part of him so overwhelming that in this moment of vulnerability, he allowed himself to let loose of it. Whatever reason behind it didn't matter now, as Hannibal's thumb brushed softly against his lower lip and drew him in. He went without protest, lifting his gaze just enough to let his focus linger on the shape of Hannibal's mouth again. In that half of a second before their lips touched, Will let out a heavy sigh that he felt he'd been holding in for weeks.

It lasted only a breath, then the kettle squealed on the stove behind them and Hannibal pulled away, reaching over to click the burner off and pour still-bubbling water into each of the two cups he'd set out. Will swiped his tongue across his lower lip, trying to see if he could still taste any hint of the man left behind, anything he hadn't been given the chance to taste before, and all the while his gaze still lingered on careful curve of Hannibal's mouth, all the more elegant in profile, slightly parted in concentration as he watched dark tea bleed from the leaves in their cups. Will dragged his lip through his teeth, waiting until Hannibal had set the kettle aside again before he reached out and curled his fingers delicately around the collar of Hannibal's shirt.

He seemed surprised by the touch, canting his head curiously. Something on Will's face must have betrayed his discomfort, not at the idea of intimacy itself, but at the fact that he had no idea what he was doing anymore. There wasn't time to sit back and analyze this scene, he was acting on impulse alone and that left him feeling completely out of control, which was never something that set easy with him. Hannibal didn't wait for him to speak, didn't linger any longer than he had to before his arms slipped around Will's waist and drew him forward again.

His shirt still felt warm from the sun as Will pressed against him, holding tight to Hannibal's collar to anchor himself against the other man's body. Hannibal was surprisingly soft in his embrace, slowly coaxing Will's mouth into place until he had Will's lower lip caught between his own, sucking softly on it. Will groaned, pulling back a fraction of an inch only to cant his head and press more firmly against him again, gaining a little more confidence with each moment that ticked by. Hannibal became more assertive as well, not because he'd ever lacked the confidence before, but because he was so plainly waiting for Will to relent to him. Once he had, Hannibal had the permission he was waiting for to gather him in firmly against his chest, one hand splayed between Will's shoulders and the other against his lower back.

It wasn't the moments where their lips were pressed together that excited him the most, but rather the moments when one or the other had pulled back just enough, noses and foreheads touching, breath warm between their mouths. It was the bare brush of Hannibal's lips against his own, the feel of his tongue and teeth teasing chapped flesh, that had him reeling. Will couldn't imagine he was that exciting to kiss, but Hannibal seemed every bit as consumed with this as he was.

His breath shuddered softly, and he tried to smooth Hannibal's collar down after loosening it from his grip, nervously wetting his own lips and finding the taste of the other man's mouth left behind. "I- ah..." he started, struggling to find the words.

"That was improper," Hannibal murmured, though he made no effort to pull away. Will could only nod. "I should-"

"No," Will laughed, that same desperate sound again, "you really shouldn't."

He could feel Hannibal's mouth twitch into a smile, which only sent another sliver of excitement to his gut. "The tea..." he offered, one last vague attempt to make certain that Will didn't want him to pull away.

"Damn the tea," Will muttered, tipping his head up in search of another kiss.