It started out simple enough.
Will and Hannibal had been dating for almost three weeks now, and the first time it happened Will thought it may have been a mistake.
He was just about to end class, the lecture going on longer than intended, which was made perfectly clear by the glassy look on his students’ eyes.
He sighed, and looked at his desk, that’s when he noticed it. Hannibal’s pocket square. Well, one of Hannibal’s many pocket squares.
“So, in conclusion…” Will glanced quickly at it, just peeking out from under a load of manila folders, “if you are going to turn to a life of crime, you cannot be as sloppy as these people.”
One or two students chuckled, just to be polite.
“Class dismissed. Please be sure to go over chapter 17 of your Connors.”
The line of students spilling out of Will’s classroom was quick and efficient, and in a few moments he was alone.
He pulled out the pocket square and his immediate impulse was to smell it. Sandalwood and musk and Hannibal.
Will’s heartbeat skipped momentarily. He cleared his throat and put it in his pocket, then began to collect his belongings.
The next time it occurred, Will was at home making dinner while the pack sat and watched for any wayward scraps that might roll their way.
Will smiled as he stirred the chili bubbling away on the pot, when he walked over to the cupboard to pull out a bowl he noticed a tiny vase with one bright purple aster.
Will stared at it, brow furrowed. He then huffed, and shook his head as he smiled and grabbed the vase, placing it on his kitchen table.
It shouldn’t have surprised him when he looked up the meaning of the flower. Love.
Will sat at his table, eating his chili having love stare him right in the face.
After that, the gifts began to grow in both frequency and size. A beautiful handmade fisherman’s sweater. A bouquet of flowers on his Volvo’s hood in the Quantico parking lot. A dog masseuse showing up at his home, ready to give all seven dogs a personalized doggie rub: a joint stiffness and soreness massage for Winston, a warm-up massage for Dottie, a calming massage for Buster, and so on.
Up to this point, Will hadn’t mentioned the gifts to Hannibal. For one thing, he wasn’t sure how to say thank you –- it felt awkward to him somehow. For another, he wished they would stop and thought if he acknowledged all the lavish attention, it would only encourage Hannibal. So it continued: handmade chocolate truffles; a brand new fishing rod (A $1500 Shimano Stella Spinning Reel and rod, to be exact) sitting on his porch waiting to greet him after a long work day; a gorgeous Omega watch; a framed antique map of constellations with a note which read “For the boat you will one day have.” He hoped to god a boat wasn’t the next thing to land on his porch.
When a thermal container of beignets and café au lait from Café du Monde arrived at the science lab, Will decided that enough was enough -– much to the chagrin of Beverly, Brian and Jimmy who had been enjoying all of Will’s edible treats.
The next evening while Will was at Hannibal’s, he decided he would have to address the gifts. They had just finished dinner and Hannibal had been as attentive and adorable as ever. Of course, he wouldn’t make anything easy for Will.
“Thank you for dinner. It was delicious,” Will said with a smile. And he meant both the compliment and the smile.
“What would you like to do now, Will?” Hannibal asked with stars practically in his eyes.
“Do you want to go outside, for a bit? To the yard?” Will said, deciding it was now or never. He hoped he wouldn’t hurt Hannibal’s feelings.
Hannibal nodded, “Whatever you’d like, dear Will.”
The evening breeze was filled with the scent of rosemary as Hannibal’s herb garden swayed gently in the wind. Will took in the aroma, marveling at how anything herby or flowery or –- anything that smelled delicious instantly reminded him of Hannibal.
“What’s on your mind, Will?” Hannibal asked as he stood facing Will, and took his hand.
Their physical affections had only gone as far as hugs and hand holding, but Hannibal felt if that was all Will could offer him, he'd be satisfied with that forever. They hadn’t kissed since the last time, when Will impulsively planted one on Hannibal after he had lost Buster, found Buster, and given all the dogs a bath. Since that first kiss, they had agreed to take it slow, for Will’s sake, as this was all so new for him.
Will ran his thumb over Hannibal’s, stroking his knuckles.
“Please don’t take this the wrong way…”
“Yes?” Hannibal asked, eyes beginning to widen ever so slightly.
“You have to stop with all the presents. I appreciate it, but you have to stop,” Will said.
“Ah, I see,” Hannibal said, looking off to the side.
"It’s too much. Again, I appreciate it, I really do, but it’s just too much.”
“I apologize –- I didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable. That wasn’t my intention,” Hannibal said loosening his grip on Will’s hand.
“No. Don’t do that. I’m not rejecting you, Hannibal.”
Hannibal looked up and Will caught his eyes. They both smiled shyly.
“I don’t need all those gifts.”
“But they’re just simple gifts -–” Hannibal began to counter.
“A $1500 spinning reel is not a simple gift, Doctor,” Will teased.
“I…” Hannibal said and then stopped.
“I just want to show you how much you mean to me, and I tend to get carried away – I will admit that,” Hannibal said as he actually blushed.
“You? Carried away? Nonsense,” Will laughed, as he squeezed Hannibal’s hand, delighting in the flush of color on the doctor’s splendid face.
Hannibal looked down at their hands, his breath quickened. He took a deep breath and squeezed Will’s hands tightly.
“There are other ways…of showing affection,” Will said, as he slowly pulled his hand out of Hannibal’s grip.
“Oh?” Hannibal replied softly, looking into Will’s eyes once again.
Will reached out and cupped Hannibal’s face, then gently pulled him in with his hand, and gave him a kiss. Soft and sweet.
Hannibal sighed into the kiss –- the first kiss since that last kiss –- then suddenly and most urgently, Will felt the need to deepen it. And it was no longer soft and sweet. It was hot and unrestrained. Their mouths pressed feverishly into one another, seeking, wanting; hands carding through hair, tongues mingling, arms gripping tighter, closer and closer still.
Hannibal was the one who broke the kiss, resting his forehead on Will’s as their hearts thumped wildly within their chests. The heat of their rapid breathing fogged up Will’s glasses.
“So…yeah. There’s that,” Will whispered.
Hannibal swallowed then responded, voice thick with want, “I suppose you are right, Professor Graham. There is something to be said for the simple and understated.”
“Do you want to go inside?” Will said with a shy grin.
“I think we should.”
And with that, Will and Hannibal walked back into the house where they sat on the couch and explored the etiquette of gift giving for the next few hours.