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“I know what kind of crazy I am,” Will insisted, frantic. “This could be, a – a blood clot, seizures, a tumor…”

He rested his weight on the ladder behind him, breathing coming quicker and shallower.

“Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth,” Dr. Lecter said. “Do not allow yourself to panic. Tell me what you need.”

Will tried to follow Lecter’s instructions, but anxiety balled up tight in his throat, brittle and bright, and refused to let him swallow. “I need, I need,” he stuttered, “Will you just –“

“I need you to ask me, Will. I can only help if you ask me.”

Will squeezed his eyes shut. His head fell back against a rung on the ladder. Lecter was very close. When he opened his eyes again Lecter seemed concerned, and broad, and his eyes glinted strangely. Dr. Lecter’s mouth, Will thought, was slanted in a way that could imply either extreme cruelty or white-hot tenderness.

Haphazardly, Will launched forward and kissed it.

He found that he couldn’t breathe – not because he was kissing Lecter, but because his panic was intensifying. His head swam. And then Lecter pushed Will until his back was to the ladder again, and Will’s mind became abruptly, beautifully clear when Lecter bit down hard on his bottom lip. For a blissful moment Will’s world was narrowed down to the slickness of Lecter’s mouth – despite Will’s clumsiness, Lecter at first kissed meticulously, as if to be polite; and then he kissed endlessly, like he meant to devour.

Will heard a sound and found it was his own whimper.

“Please,” Will said.

He saw the sharp glimmer of tooth – a very small smile – before Lecter’s head descended. He scraped his teeth across Will’s ear, and Will turned his head like a flower to the sun, shivering to his toes. His hands found the ladder on either side of him, and he gripped at the wood.

“Please what?” Lecter asked patiently against Will’s neck.

“Put your hands on me,” Will said, trying hard to catch his breath. “I need – I need to feel your hands on my skin.”

Lecter pushed up under Will’s henley obligingly. Around the sides of the ladder, Will’s knuckles turned white.

“I want – I –,“ understanding of the situation was returning, Will noted dimly, and with it a hot rush of embarrassment. What had he been thinking? Lecter, thankfully, chose that moment to kiss him again. He was unrelenting about it now, and one hand moved from Will’s half-exposed belly to cup his jaw with iron strength, tilting his head back and back. Lecter’s thumb pressed to Will’s cheek, mapping the motion of the kiss, and then to the corner of Will’s mouth. And then Lecter withdrew, his thumb tracing idle patterns to Will’s numb and reddened lower lip.

“Will, listen to me,” Lecter said. Something in his voice had changed. “Do you want me to stop? If you do, tell me now.”

Will heard him very clearly, and tried hard to weigh his options, but Lecter’s thumb was still rubbing the slickness of their shared saliva into the skin of his mouth. “Don’t stop,” Will finally said. His eyes met Lecter’s for a split second of searing contact. He found himself smiling, laughing at himself. Reckless. “Do not stop.”

Lecter did not seem to see the humor. He pressed his mouth to Will’s again and their hips slotted together, Will’s moan muffled when Lecter’s thigh spread his own. Lecter was hard, impressively so – Will could feel him even through their clothing, and his head fell back. Lecter pushed Will’s shirt higher.

“I –“ blunt nails raked painfully hard down Will’s belly, stopping at the line of his jeans. His hips hitched with his breath. Heat rushed through him in the pain’s aftermath, making his mouth drop open. “Yes,” he hissed, nonsensically. For whatever absurd reason he felt he should not move his hands; that he should let this happen to him instead, that it would please Lecter if he stayed where he was. Will shook while Lecter capably and unconcernedly undid Will’s jeans and shoved them down and away, boxer briefs too.

Lecter’s hand was warm, the texture of his palm rough and maddening when he took Will’s cock in hand. Will bit down on his own bottom lip, something he could not recall ever having done before during sex. He wanted something in his mouth – he wanted Lecter’s fingers in his mouth. As if reading his mind, Lecter fit his other hand snugly against Will’s throat, thumb dragging his bottom lip out from under his teeth, inserting easily into Will’s mouth. Instinctive, Will sucked at the pad of the thumb.

“I would like very much to fuck you like this, sometime,” Lecter said lowly. His hand rose from Will’s cock to his pelvis, but at the thought – the thought of Lecter’s huge hands bruising into Will’s neck, pulling his hair, of that solid heat Will could feel against his hip inside – Will’s cock jerked like he might come untouched. His breath came in pants with the effort of restraint. Lecter continued, unaffected: “But I’m afraid there isn’t time for it today. You said yes a moment ago. Yes to what? Do you like pain, Will? Do you want me to be rough with you?”

Lecter’s thumb fell away from Will’s lip. Will scrambled for words.

“Yes,” he managed, stupidly.

“Yes what?”

“Make it hurt,” Will said, his head swimming, knowing that normal people set up rules for this kind of thing: guidelines, agreements, safe words. He didn’t care anymore. His voice was hoarse and quiet, and around his throat Lecter’s grip had tightened. “Choke me, touch me, I need, I need to feel, I need it to be hard, I need – I want to be good for you, Dr. Lecter –“

He didn’t even know what he was saying, wasn’t sure if he was absorbing and reflecting Lecter’s sexual fantasies or if he had somehow dug up the darker ones of his own, ones he always pretended never to have; he heard the slow-burn drawl of Louisiana creeping back into his speech, slurring up all his words; Doctah Lectah, his past as shamelessly exposed as his belly.

Lecter hushed him – he had trailed off into whimpers. Will’s cock, trapped between them and smearing wetly, throbbed. The hand at Will’s throat, impossibly huge, shifted and squeezed. The pressure increased in steady, overwhelming increments. Lecter kissed him then, muffling Will’s desperate and broken little noises. Will’s hands clenched the ladder so hard the old wood creaked. He felt split open and pinned like a butterfly, legs spread, back arched, his head tipped back, a bruise surely blooming around his neck, his cock rubbing damply under his navel – Lecter dug in his thumb hard into the underside of Will’s chin, and the air rushed straight out of his lungs and in to Lecter’s mouth. Will could feel a hot flush spread down his neck and chest and stomach, and when Lecter pulled away he made a noise like a sob. And then with his other hand Lecter raked his blunt nails again down Will’s pelvis to rub intently with the pad of his thumb at the underside of the head of Will’s cock. Will could hear himself, as if from a very far distance, gasping, ah, ah, ah, obscene and hushed as a result of Lecter’s diligent asphyxiation. The hand around his throat began to inflict pain, began to crush his windpipe, and in the split-second moment of delirious fear that Lecter would not stop squeezing, Will’s toes curled and his knuckles turned white, and he came, chest heaving, white spots sparking behind his eyes.

Lecter choked him through it.

“How do you feel?” Lecter asked, once Will was more or less coherent.

Will wanted to find a quip to that – only a shrink would say that after what just happened – but Lecter had, by some miracle, scrubbed Will’s mind completely blank.

“Sore,” Will finally decided, his voice coming out a whisper. “Patched-up.”

Lecter’s grip around Will’s throat finally loosened. Will shifted, trying and failing to withhold a whimper when his oversensitizied cock brushed Lecter’s trousers. “I feel whole.”

“Good,” Lecter praised, and stroked his hand over Will’s raw stomach. Belatedly, Will realized Lecter had drawn blood. “Very good, Will.”