“It’s like you actually want to get caught again.”
Will pinched the bridge of his nose and tried his best not to look at the telltale signs of Hannibal’s particular brand of cuisine. The kitchen island was covered with neatly organized bowls and plates of ingredients, the offending piece of meat sitting innocuously on the cutting board as if it wasn’t very recently a part of a human leg. Hannibal stood poised above it, knife in hand, his expression unabashed and bordering on amused.
“Apologies, Will, but I don’t know what you mean.”
“We are here, ostensibly, on holiday,” Will bit out. “But that shoddy cover doesn’t change the fact that Paris is one of the first places the variety of people lusting after your blood would think to look. Hence why we waited so long to come here.”
“And yet I see no police battering down our door,” Hannibal hummed, not a single care in the world.
“You told me we were here to meet a contact and get some much needed documentation.” Taking in a deep breath, Will kept his voice as even as he could. “Care to tell me why that contact is currently bleeding out in the dining room of our rented apartment?”
Hannibal blinked once, staring intently at Will for only a moment more, and then he was back to attending to his ingredients. “He attempted to extort a handsome amount of money from me in exchange for his silence. This would have been in addition to the already agreed upon sum for the obtained documents. To renege on our agreement in such a way, to behave so indiscreetly and unprofessionally...terribly rude, don’t you agree?”
And that did it. That was it. The straw that broke the pro-fucking-verbial camel’s back.
Will’s jaw unhinged from its tense grating and he laughed, wild and full of impotent rage.
“Ok,” Will nodded, turning away from Hannibal, the kitchen, the goddamn dining room with a half-dead person sitting at the seat that would have been across from Will’s. “Ok.”
Ignoring the curious, but ever calm, call, Will grabbed his coat, slipped on his shoes, and left.
Hannibal waited for Will to return. The man always did, afterall. But it had been many hours, the dinner Hannibal couldn’t stomach to eat without Will long gone cold. The body in the dining room was summarily disposed of and Hannibal wouldn’t admit to worrying. Not aloud. But he felt it all the same. And so he went in search of his wayward companion.
Will was a creature of habit, Hannibal knew. For all his unpredictability, he liked his own routines. And when he was irritated he liked to drink, to sulk in his cups, and Hannibal suspected Will would be occupying the stool of a bar not too far from their temporary residence.
He walked the wet Parisian streets, eyes shifting in a controlled search. The nearest bar was hardly a five minute’s walk away, far more extravagant than Will preferred in his drinking holes, but close by. Hannibal kept his steps confident and sure as he made his way towards the bar, freezing only when he caught a flash of scent on a particularly strong inhale.
Head swivelling, Hannibal peered down the small alleyway, eyes alighting on a familiar form. A familiar form that was currently entangled with another.
Moving as stealthily as he could, Hannibal was soon close enough to make out the embracing pair in the dim lighting of the alley. Will had another man pushed against the wall of the bar’s building, hips pressed flush together. One hand was curled in the other man’s hair, pulling his head back so Will was fully in control of the kiss. The other hand pulled at the man’s tie, the fabric wrapped around Will’s knuckles. With a deft, graceful movement, Will had their positions reversed, the man now pressing Will to the wall at Will’s insistence.
Hannibal did not see red. He did not fall into a frenzy of violence. He did not succumb to a blind rage. But oh, how he wanted to.
Instead Hannibal moved fast, taking advantage of the change in positions. As soon as the man pulled away to breathe some slurred French against Will’s lips, Hannibal struck - slamming the man’s head forward and to the side with a sickening crunch. He crumpled to the ground, rendered immediately unconscious and very likely on the way to being dead.
Hannibal expected Will to startle, to fight at the sudden threat.
He did not anticipate Will gracing him with a withering glare before spinning on his heel and marching away.
“Will,” Hannibal called, following him immediately. It seemed Will was ready to return to their apartment, if the direction of his furious steps were any indication.
“Of fucking course,” Will spat. “Of fucking course you’d show up.”
“Will,” Hannibal snapped again.
“No,” Will hissed, turning on Hannibal for a moment, fire in his eyes. Then he was back to looking straight ahead and mumbling curses against Hannibal to himself.
They were within sight of their apartment when Hannibal thought to try again, Will having fallen silent only a minute before. “Will-”
“I said no,” Will whispered, lashing out like a whip despite his lowered voice. “I have tried everything, Hannibal. Absolutely everything. And you just have to fucking ruin all of it.”
The last half of the attack was leveled at their door as Will unlocked it and entered. Hannibal half expected Will to slam the door back on his face, but Will was too busy shedding the jacket that smelled of another man’s expensive cologne.
The scent was a sharp reminder of Hannibal’s own rage. While Will’s anger was a near tangible thing in Hannibal’s senses, the smell of another on Will filled Hannibal with a wrath both poignant and piercing. And not for the first time.
“What am I being accused of now, Will?” Hannibal inquired coldly.
Will turned on him with a pointed finger, his other hand moving to unbutton his shirt. “I have tried so hard to live with you, Hannibal. From the beginning. I tried to ignore you. I tried to rely on you. I tried to be your friend. I tried to capture you, I tried to kill you, I tried living without you. I tried replacing you. I tried killing us both. Then, against everything I was taught, against everything I was told, against every fucking rule of society, I decided to leave with you. To kill with you. To be with you. All of this I’ve done to somehow live with you and the way you are so much a part of me it aches. But it’s not enough. You have to have it your own way, don’t you? You can’t stand to listen to me for one goddamn week.”
Shirt unbuttoned, Will shook it off his shoulders and arms and retreated to their laundry nook. He shoved his shirt in the hamper, back to Hannibal, and stomped into his own room. Hannibal followed, attention fully caught by Will and the words that now rushed out of him as he threw open drawers and removed his night clothes.
“We’re not residents here. We are two foreign men whose faces match two famously wanted criminals. All I wanted was to feel safe and secure for the first time we finally travelled out of your safe house. I said no killing in the apartment, Hannibal. I didn’t even say no killing full stop. Just not in the apartment. That’s it. I just wanted to know for one week that your smug superiority over every other living creature on this earth and penchant for caprice wouldn’t get us caught. That’s all I asked you for and you promised, Hannibal. You said you wouldn’t.”
Hannibal backed up as Will stomped towards their large shared bathroom, sleep clothes clutched in his white knuckled hands. He left the door open, an unusual change in habit, but Hannibal knew it was because Will wanted Hannibal to hear and now that he started, Will couldn’t stop.
“You always brag about keeping your promises, Hannibal. But in my experience, you’re a goddamn liar,” Will huffed, shaking his head even as he started to brush his teeth.
Hannibal would have been enraged at the accusation and horrified at the sheer lack of manners as Will scolded Hannibal through a mouthful of toothpaste foam, but he found the younger man’s ability to berate Hannibal through his ablutions almost endearing.
Spitting into the sink and rinsing his mouth, Will turned on the shower, his tirade still in full swing. “I am so tired of not being minded,” he growled over the noise of the water hitting the tiles. Hannibal’s eyebrows lifted as Will stripped down to nothing and entered the shower without further ado. Through the frosted glass, Hannibal could see Will’s silhouette as he made quick, efficient work of cleaning himself. His chastisements, however, continued.
“I am exhausted. I gave you the benefit of the doubt and once again I proved to myself how absolutely shitty my decision making skills are. And for the sake of my own barely managed sanity, I decided to try something else. Switch it up. So I went to the nearest bar and picked up the first rich asshole who looked even a little like you.”
The water shut off and Will left the shower to towel off hastily. Still more than a little damp, Will shimmied into his sleep pants and shirt, water spots darkening the fabric.
“I figured that since nothing else I tried worked, might as well give this a shot, yeah? Worked when my first love broke up with me. Why not fuck you out of my system so that I wasn’t so overcome by rage at your bullshit that I took a knife to your throat or jumped off a bridge myself.”
Freshly cleaned and no longer smelling of the stranger meant to stand-in for Hannibal, Will padded into his room. He stopped in the doorway, meeting Hannibal’s astounded gaze with an irritated scowl.
“But naturally, you had to kill him. Now there’s two bodies you didn’t consult me about making, the first of which broke a pre-existing promise between us while the second was my one hope at releasing some of this mind searing tension you’ve caused. Thanks.”
They stared at each other in silence.
Will tilted his head, jaw clenched, and Hannibal took it for what it most certainly was - an order to respond.
Hung up on the last few points of Will’s rather extensive complaint and with a mind full of the images of a nude and then rather wet Will, Hannibal tried, “I was under the impression that hate sex was meant to occur between the two parties involved.”
Will barked out a laugh, mouth turned up in a wry smile. “That’s the thing though, isn’t it? As much as I tried, I don’t hate you, Hannibal.”
The bedroom door was then shut, the lock engaging with an adamant click.
Hannibal had much to think about.
The next morning, Hannibal made breakfast as he usually did, awaiting for Will to come. His body thrummed with a unique energy that only Will was capable of inspiring - something utterly terrifying and exquisite.
When Will entered the kitchen and sat at the island, accepting the plate Hannibal offered with a groggy thanks, Hannibal’s reliably steady heart gave a tight clench.
“Will,” he began as evenly as he could while Will hummed around a mouthful of eggs. “I feel I would be remiss if I did not address some of your...concerns from last night.”
Hand coming up to cover his eyes, Will spoke to the table. “Just don’t kill the next guy I try to fuck.”
“I won’t promise that,” Hannibal answered at once and with absolute, stubborn finality. “I fully intend to kill any other person you’d take to bed.”
Will looked up with renewed rage. “Hannibal, I am going to lose my mind if you don’t correct that statement.”
“I most certainly shall not,” Hannibal nearly snarled. He pulled back, expression softening as he caught the mounting anger in Will’s eyes. “Please, allow me to explain. You said you were tired of not being minded. I see now where I have done you wrong.”
“Oh, have you?” Will snorted, biting savagely at his food.
Ignoring the intentional provocation, Hannibal continued. “I am not a man accustomed to minding others. I have always operated with a certain level of independence. I see that in adjusting to our new life together, I have made it more about continuing as I always have with you at my side. Rather than building a life with you, I tried to fit you into a predetermined life - one of my own design. I apologize.”
The anger washed out of Will’s eyes, leaving behind wary scrutiny. He pushed his plate aside and questioned, “What are you saying, Hannibal?”
“I shall be more mindful of your desires,” Hannibal told him with a brief bow of his head. “And I vow to make decisions with you.”
Will frowned, brow twisting. “You will?”
“I will.” Hannibal moved to stand near Will, bending so he could be close to Will while maintaining space enough for the other man to think, however slight that space may be. “On the condition that you won’t engage in certain activities with anyone but me.”
Will’s smile was tentative, burgeoning hope brightening his eyes. “If even just trying to screw someone else gets me these kinds of results, I kind of want to keep trying.”
Cupping Will’s face with a possessive, but worshipful touch, Hannibal spoke in a low, earnest tone. “I will kill them.”
“That only makes it better,” Will admitted, leaning into Hannibal’s touch without even the semblance of reluctance. “A proxy for intimacy, a proxy for violence. Sounds like a win-win for me.”
“No proxies,” Hannibal said at once, fingers tightening where they held Will’s jaw. “If you bestow your passions upon anyone, I would have it be me and me alone. I’m sorry if I ever made you feel disregarded, Will. I shall endeavor to never do so again. I want you to be happy with me.”
“This is a good start,” Will muttered into Hannibal’s hand. His lips fluttered in a barely there kiss to Hannibal’s palm, the token of affection setting Hannibal ablaze with want.
“You never gave any indication that this was something you actually wanted,” Hannibal murmured back. He dipped his head and spoke against Will’s lips, doing his best to erase the memory of any other who would dare try the same. “I would have gladly provided it at your earliest convenience.”
“Would you have?” With a puckish smile, Will pulled back and studied Hannibal, eyes as clever and all seeing as ever.
“Readily,” Hannibal answer sincerely and with reassuring speed.
“So no fucking facsimiles of you to get you out of my system, got it,” Will chuckled breathily. He tipped his head up and pressed a sweet kiss to Hannibal’s lips that had Hannibal straining, body and soul, in an attempt to get closer. “How do you feel about just plain fucking?”
“Oh, my darling.” Hannibal spoke the endearment with care, treating every syllable like it was the most decadent of desserts, sweet and rich and deserving of his palate’s full attention. “There will be nothing ‘just’ or ‘plain’ about it.”
Will laughed and closed the space between them once more, sealing the deal with a kiss.