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The Thin Line Between Man and Monster

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Hannibal knows who's knocking the moment he hears it. He knows because he expected it, used to, now, the boy's gentle manipulations. He knew, the moment he mentioned Bedelia would be leaving for a conference in Chicago, gone for the weekend, saw the idea form in Will’s mind as they had finished his therapy session.

Still, he closes his book and goes to open the door, unable to leave the boy standing outside in the rain, shivering and wet. He should turn him away immediately, the warmth of bourbon already coursing through his veins, his barriers already shaky at best.

He knows he won't, but he should.

He'll welcome him in, make him something warm to eat, avoid the shy but insistent stare he'll get as he moves around the kitchen. Turn down the boy's sweet, maddening advances, for the nineteenth time this week, cataloging them as he's done all the others to appreciate later.

Hush his gentle pleas, ignore the tug in his heart at the boy's anger, ignore the want to grant every wish begged.

Then he'll drive him home and fortify his walls once more, prepare to go through it all again at Will’s next session in therapy, or his next surprise visit to Hannibal’s home. Whichever comes first.

All of his plans fall away, however, when he opens the door and sees the slight purple shade surrounding Will’s right eye, the minute swelling that spreads down to his cheek, the unshed tears in his eyes.

“You- you said I could come here, if- when…”

The boy isn't wet or shivering, the rain having apparently stopped, but his lip trembles nonetheless when Hannibal ushers him inside.

“What happened?” He asks, though he knows. His blood boils beneath his skin, the sudden anger almost overwhelming in its intensity, but he manages to keep his face neutral.

“You know.” Will answers blandly, scrubbing at his eyes harshly. “Don't know when to keep my mouth shut and she- she was drinking and she always keeps hitting when she's drinking so I left. Spent what I had on a cab to get me here.”

Hannibal doesn't think about Will, sweet Will, not quite sixteen, small, beautiful , alone in some stranger's car. He doesn't think about the ways he could ensure Will’s foster mother never harms him again, because he can't. Not yet, not when Will is still in his court appointed care. In a few years, perhaps, when Will is gone from this place and her, Hannibal will find her. Show her exactly how he feels about-

“Should I leave? It's okay if you don't want me here.”

Hannibal swallows and releases a breath, a clench of something painful in his chest as he pushes the boy's hair back from his face, his blue eyes shining as he looks up at Hannibal, glowing under the brief touch. In this, there is no tactic, no manipulation in Will’s words. Just the sad acceptance that he's never wanted anywhere. A burden.

“Of course you're welcome here,” Hannibal says, gently holding the boy's chin to turn his head to the side. There's no orbital break, probably not even a fracture but the idea that she put her hands on this boy at all

“Have you eaten?” Hannibal asks, stepping back, distance to keep himself from touching Will’s smooth skin any longer.

“Yes.” At Hannibal’s raised brow, Will sighs. “No. It was food or a cab, Hannibal, I didn't have enough money for both.”

He's Hannibal here. Not Dr. Lecter. The monster inside preens at the use of his name.

When Hannibal turns to go to the kitchen, Will grabs his hand and the monster preens at this, too.

“Actually, could I just… sleep for a little while? I'm too tired to eat, anyway.”

Hannibal doesn't take his hand back. “Will, letting you sleep here crosses a number of dangerous lines.”

It sounds weak even as he says it. Hannibal crossed those lines weeks ago, when Will crawled into his lap during therapy and kissed him. When he kissed back. When he held the child in his arms and rejected him, far too gently, but kissed him for another moment anyway.

Will had left angrily, but when he came back the next day, Hannibal let himself be kissed again. Swore to himself it was the last time, and it had been. They haven't touched like that again, not for lack of Will trying.

“Please?” Will asks, stepping in close, so sweet and utterly dangerous. “I just want you to lay with me, that's all. Let me rest safely. For once.”

For once . It breaks Hannibal’s resolve, what little there was of it. This lovely child, already scarred by a cruel world and worse people. It’s the same reason Hannibal had allowed that initial kiss. Will wanted his first kiss, first touch, first time to be with someone he trusted, he’d said. That someone is Hannibal, his psychiatrist, who’s job is to help Will work through his various traumas. Yet, here he is, struggling not to make everything worse for the boy. 


Will’s father had died when he was five, he never knew his mother, and he’s been bounced from home to home ever since. Another prisoner of the system. He suffers from an empathy disorder that separates him from his peers, so he has few friends. Physical and mental abuse from various foster parents have left him vulnerable but aware, a certain perceptiveness that he should not have been forced to adapt at his young age.  

He’s alone, and it bothers Hannibal on a level that goes far, far deeper than just a doctor-patient relationship.

Will toys with Hannibal’s wedding ring, looking down, so small and frail, his curls hanging in his eyes as he anticipates Hannibal’s rejection. The boy believes it’s because Hannibal is married that he won’t accept his advances. With the life he’s lived, Will doesn’t feel his age and rarely acts it, circumstances pushing him to grow up much faster than any child should have too.

In truth, Bedelia has very little to do with Hannibal’s refusal, as terrible as it is to admit. He did feel something for her once, but it’s long since waned and she certainly feels the same, both comfortable to avoid a divorce but living somewhat separate lives.

No, Hannibal’s refusal is almost entirely due to Will’s age, and the sickening feeling he gets in his stomach every time he thinks of Will. How the slight weight of the boy in his lap made Hannibal feel more alive than he’s felt in years, perhaps ever. The way he pressed his lips to Hannibal’s, unpracticed and messy yet confident. The way he smells. How soft his curls are.

How bright his eyes are, like they are now, looking up at Hannibal with such desperate need for affection. How could Hannibal ever tell him no?

“I’ll hold you until you fall asleep,” Hannibal says softly, unable to resist carding his fingers through Will’s hair again. “Then I’ll retire to my bedroom.”

“You don’t have to.” 


“Will.”

“Fine,” he sighs, rolling his eyes but he’s smiling, pleased, pushing up onto his toes to smudge an innocent kiss to Hannibal’s cheek. It makes Hannibal feel warm throughout.

“My guest bedroom is upstairs on the left. Go to the ensuite and get ready for bed. I’ll be along in a few minutes.”  

Hannibal watches him walk away, sees the tell-tale signs of exhaustion in his limbs as he drags his feet. If he were a lesser man, he’d leave him asleep and butcher that lecherous, vile woman in the night. Leave her corpse to be found in the most humiliating fashion.

He understands it’s not a possibility yet, so he finishes his last sip of bourbon, washes the glass and the few dishes left in the sink, and locks the house up for the night. He opts to leave the kitchen light on, in case Will wakes and needs something to drink.

The arresting sight that awaits him in the guest bedroom, however, all but knocks the breath from his lungs. Will, small and sleepy, sprawled out with the covers resting at his waist. He’s shirtless, having stripped down to only his boxers, Hannibal presumes. Hopes. His mop of dark curls splayed across the pillows.

He’s a vision. A dangerous, lovely temptation.

Hannibal steels himself and walks toward the bed, slipping off only his shoes before he lies down. Will turns over and wriggles backward, pressing himself to Hannibal’s chest.

Hannibal takes a calming breath, then gently circles Will’s waist, sliding his other arm up under the pillows.

“Everything here smells like you. Smells good.”

Hannibal silently prays that Will can’t feel the goosebumps covering his flesh.

“Sleep. I’ll fix you something for breakfast in the morning, then take you home.”

Will doesn’t protest, just reaches down to hold Hannibal’s hand against his hip, snuggling back even further. He’s quiet for a while, simply tracing the veins on the back of Hannibal’s hand with his fingertips.

“I’m really jealous of your wife,” Will mumbles, sounding half asleep. “She’s always off somewhere and all I can think about is how I don’t ever want to be away from you.”

Hannibal sighs and tightens his arm a fraction. “I enjoy your company, as well. A great deal.”

“I bet if she was dead, you’d never send me away,” Will says, teenage bitterness coloring his tone before his voice drops to a whisper. “Sometimes I think about killing her. I could do it and never even get caught.”

Will is asleep before Hannibal takes another breath, stunned into utter silence. The boy spoke with such confidence. Hannibal can’t fight the smile that touches his lips, and the monster grins even wider. 


The boy doesn’t budge when Hannibal slips away from him to sleep in his own bedroom.

 

*

 

Hannibal wakes to the bed dipping beside him, little hands coming up to touch his bare shoulders and whisper his name. He slowly opens his eyes, seeing the new light of dawn seep through his curtains before he tilts his chin down, finding the sleepy-eyed boy smiling up at him.

He groans lowly as he rolls over, cradling the tiny thing to him, burying his nose in Will’s hair. He’s warm, so soft, and he smells of Hannibal now.

“What are you doing awake so early?” Hannibal asks groggily, voice roughened and slow.

“Dreamt about you,” Will whispers, running his fingers through the hair on Hannibal’s chest. “About kissing you again. About doing this.”

That brings awareness to Hannibal as quick as lightning, and he has to swallow around the sudden lump in his throat. He breathes in deeply one more time, wanting Will’s scent in his lungs for as long as possible before he tries to pull back, intending to leave the bed despite his arousal already thick between his legs.

But the boy clings to him, forces Hannibal to look down at him again with a whine. “Please?” Will begs, blushing scarlet down his chest, arching like a little feline. “Please, just for today? We can go back to who we are tomorrow, just give me today, please…”

Hannibal releases a slow breath, searching for even a shred of his resistance in the face of such willing beauty. He presses his nose back to Will’s curls, feeling the gentle touch of soft lips against his chin, his jawline, down his throat.

When a small hand pushes against the front of his pajama pants, thin fingers cupping his bulge, his shuddering sigh fans across Will’s cheek and he aches .

“You feel so big,” Will mumbles, exploring, precious little kisses across Hannibal’s stubble. “I'm not nearly as big.”

Hannibal swallows thickly, quickly but gently grasping Will’s wrist to still his hand, idly wondering how long it's been since he's been so thoroughly sickened with himself. Has he ever? He's not one for guilt, or regret, as neither emotion accomplishes much of anything.

But when Will’s tiny whimper evokes little besides a further spike of heat, a need to hear it again and again, Hannibal feels the gross twist of disgust in his gut. 

“Am I doing it wrong? Is that why you don't want to?”

“No,” Hannibal reassures quickly, his voice a low, rumbling growl in his chest, “you're perfect, absolutely perfect, Will-”

A stronger man would leave, roll away, get as far from such temptation as possible. He would not grip the same small hand, cover it with his own and press it harder to his erection, head tilting back against the pillow as his hips flex forward, guiding those gentle fingers up to the head, groaning weakly at how absolutely wonderful it feels.

Hannibal feels the hot flush of arousal like he hasn't since adolescence, spreading like a flame through his limbs, an almost hurtful clench in the pit of his stomach. He looks down between their bodies, lids heavy and his jaw slack, cock throbbing at the sight of his large palm practically hiding Will’s smaller hand.

Will is caught between Hannibal’s grip and the slow roll of his hips, almost entirely out of his control now, seeking relief against the inexperienced fumblings of this boy. Curling his fingers, Will strokes upwards as best he can through the fabric, sweet little sounds falling from his pretty mouth.

Hannibal presses their foreheads together and closes his eyes, unable to handle the sight of himself losing control any longer. Will turns his wrist so he can keep rubbing as he snuggles closer, smearing a messy kiss against Hannibal’s lips.

Hannibal pants softly over his mouth, letting go of his hand to grip his hip instead, squeezing to feel the jut of his bone against Hannibal’s palm. His other arm is beneath Will’s neck and he grips his soft curls, clenching each time those curious fingers find the head of his cock.

“You really like it right here,” Will whispers, focusing on the ridge through the silk, trembling in Hannibal’s arms.

“Yes,” Hannibal breathes. “A little harder, sweet boy, oh-

He wants to disconnect from the situation entirely. Pretend it's his wife or a stranger or anyone other than the child bringing him such pleasure. But how can he with those lovely little noises filing his ears? The gentle curiosity and the smell of Will’s sweat and arousal surrounding him?

Hannibal’s body moves without permission, hips flexing as his hand finds Will’s bottom, cupping and squeezing gently. Plush and soft and Hannibal can feel the heat of it through Will’s boxers. The monster inside wants to sink his teeth into that warm flesh, slip his cock between and fuck into it with wild abandon. Take the gift he's been given and ruin it for anyone else.

He wraps his fingers around the back of Will’s skinny thigh, lifting it to drape his leg over Hannibal’s hip. Will moans sweetly, digging his heel into Hannibal’s lower back when Hannibal dips his fingers under the material of Will’s shorts to touch.

Hannibal traces the crease where Will’s thigh meets his buttocks, just the back, knowing if he feels the heat from Will’s arousal he'll lose all sense entirely and grip the boy's cock instead.

Will’s breathing speeds and he arches back into Hannibal’s touches, whimpering even as he strokes harder over Hannibal’s bulge. Hannibal feels like he's struggling to breathe, cock twitching forcefully as he draws nearer to orgasm.

“I hope you'll let me put my mouth on it today,” Will says quietly. “I think about it all the time.”

Hannibal comes with such blinding intensity, it's dizzying. Pulse after pulse, throbbing deep in his bones and against tiny fingers as he groans audibly, unable to temper his pleasure.

His nails curve into the supple skin of Will’s thigh, come soaking through the front of his silk pants like a teenager. Like the boy that put him in such a state.

Will kisses him immediately, giddy, drawing Hannibal closer by tightening his leg still wrapped around Hannibal’s back. His thin arms drape over Hannibal’s shoulders.

He can feel Will’s erection pressing against his stomach, small and insistent and further clouding Hannibal’s already foggy mind. He slides his hand from the boy's thigh to slip between their bodies, another pulse of pleasure leaving his spent cock when Will moans loudly.

“Oh, yes, please …”

His voice is high, needy, shaking from his throat as Hannibal rubs his thumb up the underside of Will’s cock.

The man makes rationalizations in his mind. Through the clothes. Nothing worse than Will would do to himself. No skin. No actual contact.

The monster rages. Take him. Fuck him. Slip your fingers into his tight heat. Feel him clench with pleasure. Milk his cock and enjoy the claiming of his innocence.

Will buries his face in Hannibal’s neck, keening, frantically pressing his hips into Hannibal’s palm. Hannibal massages beneath his cockhead, both grateful and loathsome of the fabric that separates them.  

“I'm gonna come, I'm gonna come,” Will chants, youthful, stunning in his need for this and for Hannibal.

Hannibal feels another flush of arousal speed through him, too soon after his release, a painful clench low in his belly. Feeling his boy-God fall apart in his arms.

“Come for me, lovely thing, let me see-”

Will muffles his shout against Hannibal’s throat, clinging tightly, his little cock pumping into Hannibal’s grip repeatedly, a warm spread of fluid seeping through his boxers. The scent is heady, overwhelming, and Hannibal buries a kiss into Will’s hair, trying to calm his speeding heart.

“Wow,” Will breathes around a laugh, panting, going limp against Hannibal. “I wanna do that as many times as possible today.” He laughs again, child-like, happy beyond words as he ducks his head to find Hannibal’s lips again.

The monster revels in the soft kisses, Will taking every advantage while Hannibal is pliable and not actively pushing away.

Hannibal hadn’t actually agreed to Will’s demand of the day, but when Will’s tongue slides into his mouth, another of those sweet sounds following, Hannibal wonders how he’ll ever ease the boy back. If he’ll even want to.

Refusing to let Will see his turmoil, he strips them both of their soiled pajamas and tells the boy to have a shower. He leaves him to put the clothes to wash, then Hannibal showers in the guest bathroom. He spends a long while under the spray, trying to clear his mind now that Will isn’t near him. It doesn’t work.

Will is still in the master tub when Hannibal finishes, the door wide open. He retrieves a pair of his own boxer briefs and a plain white under shirt for Will to wear while his clothes are in the washer. Hannibal is partially dreading how big they’ll look on him, and what the image will do to his already tattered restraint. 

Logically, Hannibal knows Will isn’t that young. Sixteen in a month’s time. Hannibal had already seen four different countries and killed two men by that age. But leaning against the door in the bathroom, watching Will fully extend his limbs in the large tub, a look of awe on his beautiful face at the size…

Hannibal feels bile rising up his throat and he swallows harshly, looking down at his shoes. Why this boy? He’s never, in all of his life, felt anything close to this, and certainly not toward a child. Is it just Will? Is it fate? Were they meant to be and the Universe or the Gods or whatever damnable power is out there knew that Will needed Hannibal now? That he wouldn’t last another five years?


He can dress it up all he likes, rationalize his attraction, make excuses and compare their lives and blame invisible forces but in the end, he’s still sick.

“This tub is huge, Hannibal.”

Perverted. Tainted.

“Or perhaps you’re just very small.”

An abomination above all else.

“I’m not that small,” Will laughs, flicking water Hannibal’s direction. “I’m nearly as tall as you.”

Hannibal doesn’t dare move. Even one step over the threshold and he’ll break, again.

“Nearly being the operative word. I see you managed to create bubbles, after all.”

Will grins, cupping the suds and blowing them into the air. “You might have slightly less shampoo now.” He closes his eyes and tilts his head back, sighing heavily. “You know, I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy before.”

The most disturbing thing about the whole situation is how absolutely devastated he sounds about it. The knowledge and acceptance that his happiness will not last.

Hannibal breaks, walking over to the tub and crouching next to it, cupping Will’s wet cheek. The boy turns into it, covering it with his own soapy hand, opening his eyes to look at Hannibal.

“Please don’t make me leave yet.”

“She’ll wonder where you’ve gone,” Hannibal says softly, eyes following a droplet that glides over Will’s throat, down his smooth chest and into the water.

“No, she won’t,” he replies definitively, a faint trace of bitterness. “She doesn’t care. As long as that check is in her account at the beginning of every month, she doesn’t give a damn what I do.”

Hannibal sighs slightly, tracing Will’s cheekbone with his thumb.

“Let me stay today and tonight,” Will continues, fidgeting under Hannibal’s gentle touch. “You can take me back first thing in the morning. I’ll tell her I showed up on your doorstep and you immediately brought me home. Just… please , give me today.”

This will only end poorly for Hannibal, he knows that. Still, those deep blue eyes are worse for his self-control than even the strongest liquor he’s tasted. The blatant hope written on Will’s face, and underneath, the tiniest shred of doubt, of fear that Hannibal will still deny him, as he’s been denied most of his life.

Hannibal is nodding before he’s even made the conscious decision, then he’s being kissed with such gratitude that any latent thoughts of rejecting the boy flee his mind entirely. He kisses back, sliding his fingers up the back of Will’s neck and into his wet curls. He braces one knee on the floor to deepen the kiss further and Will whines against Hannibal’s tongue.

“Thank you, Hannibal,” Will breathes, relieved, the dread floating away from him as he rises up onto his knees.

Hannibal pays no mind to the drips that spatter his slacks as Will leans over the edge of the tub. He’s too enthralled to care, truth be told. Not even the ache from his position could distract him from Will’s mouth.

“Will you touch me again?” The boy asks, so sweetly, sounding shy enough that Hannibal would almost believe it if not for Will taking Hannibal’s hand and placing it on his chest.

Hannibal shudders, feeling Will’s smooth skin under his palm. Will has his hands braced against the edge of the tub, already panting in anticipation.

The man hesitates, unsure if he can do this again. The first time, he can blame on grogginess, being awoken by a willing, warm body and acting purely on instinct. A mistake.

The monster, however, drags his thumb over Will’s nipple lightly, relishing the boy’s gasp, doing it again just to elicit a shiver.

“Didn’t know that could feel so good,” Will mewls, resting his forehead against Hannibal’s. “ Oh do it again?”

“Lie back,” Hannibal whispers, fighting to keep his voice from a growl, torn between leaving the room all together or wringing every ounce of pleasure from the small, begging body.

It is a terribly thin line between man and monster after all. Hannibal takes a slow breath and buries his disgust. There’s no place for it here anymore. Not today.

“Oh, don’t-” Will starts to say as Hannibal slips his right arm under the water, not even bothering to roll up his sleeve, but the boy’s words cut off with a sharp inhale when Hannibal’s hand wraps around his cock.

He puts his left hand back on Will’s chest, palm resting in the center as he lightly grazes the boy’s nipple with his tall finger. Will’s cock jumps forcefully, pulsating against Hannibal’s grip.

“God,” Will moans, slippery fingers clutching at Hannibal’s hand. “It’s so embarrassing.”

“What is, little darling?”

“How quick I want to… you know, with you touching me,” the boy explains breathily, flushed down to his ribs from arousal and the heat of the water, the most inviting shade of pink splattered across his ivory skin.

“I find it deeply flattering,” Hannibal admits in a rough tone, twisting his wrist from root to tip on Will’s erection, circling his nipple gently.

“Everything you do feels so good,” he groans loudly, voice echoing throughout, tilting his head back as his eyes drift shut.

Hannibal’s cock is rigid, aching as it thrums against the zipper of his pants. Utterly ravenous for this child and his own deviant wants. He tightens his grip, desperate to hear more of those precious little noises that have destroyed everything he thought he knew about himself.

The water sloshes from his movements, small waves battering the side of the tub when the boy arches his back. Both of Will’s hands clutch Hannibal’s forearm tightly, blunt nails digging in through the wet fabric.

“You’re stunning, Will, thoroughly breathtaking,” Hannibal whispers, closing his fingers to pinch the small bud, not too harsh but it’s enough.

The sound of Will crying out Hannibal’s name as he comes has the monster howling, makes the man’s cock flex forcefully, will be forever imprinted in Hannibal’s mind for as long as he lives. Will’s entire body tightens, knees coming up out of the water as he clenches, all but gasping for breath until it’s over.

He goes lax, jaw loose and his eyes nearly closed in bliss. Hannibal has never seen anything more ravishing.

Slowly, he pulls away and stands, pointedly ignoring his own need in favor of taking a towel to dry his hands. Somewhere in his mind, he rationalizes his actions, closing his eyes as he hears the boy step out of the tub.

He turns around, ready to tell Will to go downstairs, leave him in peace to calm down but the boy is on his knees and suddenly, Hannibal feels like he can’t breathe.

Will reaches up and opens Hannibal’s pants, freeing Hannibal’s stiff cock and whimpering in sympathy at how hard it throbs.

Hannibal can’t move, frozen in shock and astonishment at the sight before him. The little fae at his feet, magnificently nude, dripping a puddle around himself. Wondrous, searching eyes looking up at Hannibal, luscious mouth grinning in delight at what he’s about to do.

Distantly, absurdly, Hannibal hopes the boy is not too cold.

Shock gives way to blinding reality and Hannibal’s hand shakes as he quickly grips the base of his cock, the other hand shooting up to tangle in Will’s hair, holding tightly in a desperate but futile effort to stop himself.

“Will. You do not want-”

“Don’t try to tell me my own thoughts, Hannibal,” Will warns, eyes flashing hotly for a moment. “I do know what I want, and it’s this.”

Hannibal doesn’t know what to say, or even how to say it, unable to concentrate beyond Will’s full lips and scorching tongue.

“This is where you really like it, right?” Will asks, pressing his tongue to the sensitive spot he’d found earlier.

Fuck his throat , the monster snarls. Choke him. Make him beg for every breath. Lick the tears from his cheeks.

Hannibal feels that burning arousal spread through his limbs and he braces his forearm on the wall behind Will, not wanting to bear down on the boy instead.

“Just focus on the head,” Hannibal rasps, gritting his teeth in pleasure as Will dips his tongue into the slit. “Don’t-” his throat clicks around a rough swallow. “Don’t try to take too much.”

“Don’t think I could even if I wanted too,” Will chuckles, his hot breath ghosting over Hannibal’s flesh.

He pulls Hannibal between his lips again, swirling his tongue around, using the tip to massage the ridge, bobbing his head slowly. Hannibal leans his torso forward, resting his head against his arm on the wall, his other hand still gripping the base of his cock as tightly as he can stand. Looking down, he sees the top of Will’s head, damp, wild curls and the head of his cock disappearing over and over again. The beautiful boy looks so small at his feet.

Will hollows his cheeks, sucking hard, harder still when Hannibal moans helplessly. It’s inexperienced and sloppy, wicked, filthy , and Hannibal has never felt more aroused in his life. He could orgasm just from the sight of this little nymph on his knees in front of him.

Will pulls back with an obscene smacking noise, licking his lips. Hannibal’s eyes roll back.

“Am I doing okay?”

Hannibal barely has time to aim himself upward, coming hard over his own hand rather than across Will’s dusty cheeks and reddened mouth. The thought alone forces a choked, “Christ, fuck- from his lips, knees threatening to buckle under his own weight as his cock jerks fiercely, climaxing intensely enough to blur the line of pleasure and pain.

Moments later, Hannibal still panting against his forearm, Will giggles at his feet. “Well, I guess that’s an answer.”

He’s completely motionless as Will cleans him up and refastens his slacks, drains the tub, dries himself off and throws on the clothes Hannibal brought in for him. Hannibal is too busy trying to shake the image of the slight little thing on his knees, sucking Hannibal’s cock. The monster has never been happier.

He finally straightens up, rolling his shoulders and turning away from the wall.

Will is staring at him, eyes shining brightly and a smug smirk on his lush mouth. “It’s really hot when you curse,” he says around a breathy laugh.

Hannibal anticipates the move before it happens, catching Will’s weight as he jumps into Hannibal’s arms and wraps his legs around him.

Little things like this forcefully remind Hannibal of the boy’s age, holding him like a child at Will’s request. One childish action in counterpart to the numerous mature responses he gets from him. A complex mixture of having to grow up too fast, and never experiencing a childhood in a safe environment. 

Hannibal pulls him closer.

“You’re an absolute menace.”

“I’d buy that if you didn’t sound so fond when you said it,” Will replies with a grin, tightening his legs around Hannibal’s waist. “So, I’ve been thinking about some things.”

“That certainly doesn’t bode well,” Hannibal says, carrying him through the bedroom.

“But I’ll need breakfast before I can share.”

“Of course.”

“Anything I want?” Will asks, leaning forward to kiss Hannibal’s neck.

“Of course,” Hannibal says again, suppressing a shiver as he totes him down the stairs.

“Pancakes?” His smile is so bright, hopeful. All Hannibal can think is how positively stunning he is in his happiness. How could he ever deny him a thing?

“As you wish.”

Hannibal sets the squirming boy down on the stool, rolling up his still-damp sleeves as he mentally recalls the ingredients he’ll need. He’s not entirely sure he’s ever made a pancake in his life, but he’s familiar with the process.

“Well, since you’re in such a gracious mood…”

“That is liable to change at any given moment.”

Will’s laughter fills the kitchen, a light, airy sound that reverberates throughout the space and down to Hannibal’s very core.

“You like giving me things, though,” Will says confidently.

“Do I?”

“Uh-huh. I can…. Well, you know. I can just tell.”

His tone turns shy, quiet, still uncomfortable with his empathy and how well he can read people. The monster inside wants to sharpen it, hone it, use it for the weapon it so clearly could be. Will has already shown himself to be capable of violence; certain turns of phrase he uses and his quiet but honest admission about Bedelia. He sees and feels the world differently. So does Hannibal.

Identically different.

“I do,” Hannibal answers, wanting the boy to keep his self-assuredness. “What maniacal plan have you concocted this time, I wonder?”

“You should petition the state for custody of me. And leave your wife.”

Hannibal only manages to save the batter from hitting the floor by years of practice. There is so much to be unpacked in that sentence. So many different issues with the very notion of the first, and the levels annoyances in the latter. The monster is screaming yes, yes, yes but Hannibal knows that he’ll have to see the heartbreak on Will’s face when he tells him no.

“Will-”

“Hear me out,” Will pleads when Hannibal turns to look at him. His feet are tucked beneath him, his mostly dried curls falling into his eyes as he leans onto the counter top. At Hannibal’s nod, he continues, already nearing excitement. “All I’d have to do is show them the bruises and they’ll immediately change my placement. But I’m almost sixteen, which means I can choose where I want to go…. If someone steps in to offer.”

“You are my patient, Will, there would be an astronomical number of-”

“I’ll fire you. Or, you know, whatever it’s called when I don’t want you to be my doctor anymore. Then there won’t be any conflicts of interest. I’ll tell the judge how much I trust you and that I’m comfortable with you. You would easily pass a home check and financial requirements.”

It is, unfortunately, absurdly logical. And entirely plausible. Will is excruciatingly manipulative when he wants to be. No judge would stand a chance against him, and Hannibal is the picture perfect option, as far as anyone would be able to tell. He can even see the sweet, friendly Alana Bloom speaking on his behalf, explaining to the courts how Hannibal was such a wonderful mentor to her and would be the most loving guardian.

“I can see you searching your mind for a problem and coming up empty.”

Hannibal swallows and quickly turns to flip the three pancakes before they burn, grateful that he doesn’t look as rattled as he feels.

“And the latter part of your suggestion?” He asks calmly, his back to the boy because it will surely be easier for both of them for this part of the conversation.

Will is quiet for a few moments, silence filling the space suddenly. Hannibal hears him move, braces for the touch of small, soft hands he knows is coming.

Will leans against his back, cheek pressed to Hannibal’s shoulder blade. “I know you don’t love her. If you did, you wouldn’t look at me the way that you do.”

Hannibal tightens his jaw and moves the pan off the burner, refusing to give an inch where Will can take a mile. If Hannibal agrees, Will’s got him. If he denies it, Will will call him on it, as he should. He’s quite difficult to lie to.

Will wraps his arms around Hannibal’s waist, nuzzling him. “Don’t tell me you’d miss her.”

Instead of addressing the accusation directly, Hannibal goes for a safer approach. “You don’t think moving you in and asking her to leave in a relatively short amount of time would be spoken about?”

Will snorts and nudges Hannibal until he relents and turns around. “I know you don’t give a damn about what people say about you.”

“I care about living my life under a microscope,” Hannibal says softly, gently, wishing desperately that the boy’s big, blue eyes and soft mouth didn’t affect him so deeply. “That maneuver would certainly draw scrutiny.”

“But nothing anyone could prove,” he responds, unhelpfully. “Rumors, at best, which don’t bother you.”

“They bother you. If they follow you around at school and give the other children further ammunition against you.”

Will smiles, a sweet, genuine thing. “I’ll have you, though. I’ll be untouchable.”

Both man and monster preen at the insinuation.

Will leans up and kisses him, so gentle, and Hannibal’s eyes close before he can help himself. It’s short-lived, thankfully.

Will pulls back, eyes heavy-lidded as he licks his lips. “I better eat. The day’s wasting.”

The implication is painfully clear, and Hannibal feels a pulse of arousal blaze through him at the thought. He turns away quickly, busying himself with getting the syrup and plating the requested pancakes.

“This is the fancy stuff,” Will says excitedly, eyeing the syrup as Hannibal drizzles it, practically vibrating at the sight. Hannibal adds a few slices of kiwi on the side and sets it in front of him, barely resisting the urge to brush Will’s hair out of his eyes. “They’re so fluffy, too.”

“I hope they taste as wonderful as you think they look. I can’t recall ever making them.”

“Oh my God,” Will moans around a mouthful, immediately cutting a second bite. “Oh my God, these are amazing.”

Hannibal smiles and just, watches the boy eat. Realizing with unease how content he’d be to repeat this every morning, for the rest of his life. To see the boy fill out and grow under his care. To take him away and show him the beauty that the world has to offer. Help him sort through college applications, and then offers. Guide him through choosing a career path. Watch him age and become the man Hannibal knows he can be.

The monster has significantly darker plans. Plans that involve walking Will through his first experience with butchery. Teach him how quickly a man can die under his blade. Exhaust him with every debauched pleasure the body can stand. Groom him to be the other half that Hannibal has sought, but never found.

“You’re not eating.”

“I’m not particularly hungry today. I’ll have something for lunch, I’m sure.”

Will takes the now empty plate to the sink, rinsing it off before washing his hands, then taking a damp cloth to his mouth, erasing any trace of syrup left behind. He doesn’t turn away from the sink, avoiding Hannibal’s stare.

“Will you at least think about it?” He asks quietly.

Hannibal closes his eyes and releases a slow breath. “Yes. I’ll think about it.” If only to placate the boy for now, because there’s certainly no way what he wishes for can become a reality.

He opens his eyes to see Will rushing toward him, smiling wide. “Thank you,” he gushes, hugging Hannibal tightly. Hannibal wraps his arms around him, pressing a kiss to the top of his head. He smells of Hannibal’s soap.

 

*

 

“How does anyone ever leave the house?” Will moans, laughing, shivering where he sits astride Hannibal in the chair. “Feels so good. How could anyone ever want to do anything that isn’t this?”

Hannibal doesn’t have an answer for him, distracted by Will’s undulating against his cock. Truth be told, he cannot think of a time that anything has evoked such a response in him. How he’s managed another erection is beyond him, the idea that this will be his third orgasm today even more so. Seemingly no less powerful than the first two.

It’s revolting to him. The disgusting revelation that a child should bring about such emotion from him. The monster laughs, and grips Will’s waist tighter.

“I really like kissing you,” Will whispers against Hannibal’s mouth. “I really like doing all of this with you.”

Hannibal can’t speak, can barely think, fighting with all his might the want to sink his teeth into the skin over Will’s pulse point. He can see it thrumming, vibrant, youthful life pounding through the boy. He wants to taste it, drain it, feel it flow through his veins. The monster grins.

He’s already close, somehow.

He savors the taste of Will’s mouth, pushing against the boy’s lower back to make him rut harder. Will whimpers, helpless, movements turning uncoordinated and jerky.

“You feel exquisite, Will,” Hannibal tells him, honest, regretful and tortured and full of want for this child in his lap.

Will comes with a high moan, biting at Hannibal’s bottom lip as he writhes, entrenched in waves of ecstasy. He’s still trembling with aftershocks when he starts working open Hannibal’s pants, deftly freeing Hannibal’s erection and closing his fingers around it.

Hannibal’s hands quiver, sliding up Will’s thighs, curbing the urge to snarl at how lovely his smooth skin feels. The smell of Will’s release overwhelms his senses, the carnal sounds he’d made as he sought his pleasure, using Hannibal’s body to reach it. It’s all too much.

The sight of Will’s small hands, both of them now, against his flesh pulls a groan from his lips and he drops his head back, eyes closed as he breathes raggedly.

“I can feel your heartbeat,” the boy whispers, dragging his thumbnail up the throbbing vein.

Hannibal digs his fingers into Will’s thighs, panting as Will works his cock quickly. “Will- sweet, precious thing-” He groans again, louder as his erection pulses harshly, semen coating Will’s bony fingers.

His stomach tightens painfully, his body exhausted and wrung out from the day’s activities. Slowly, he steadies his breathing, unable to stop a smile from touching his lips when he opens his eyes.

“Let me up, you terrible creature. You’ll need your clothes from the dryer now.”

Will is beaming at him, gloriously proud and looking every bit the debauched child-God he is. Hannibal is ensnared, entirely. Will snuggles close again for another moment and Hannibal can’t stop himself from returning the sentiment, despite becoming increasingly uncomfortable and the itch to tidy himself prickles at him.

Will presses his ear over Hannibal’s heart.

“Please don’t laugh at me but I- I think I’m in love with you.”

 

*

 

They spend the day doing nothing of note. Hannibal sketches Will as he lies on the chaise in the study, reading Faulkner. While Hannibal transcribes notes from the previous week, Will eats a tray of fruit and cheese, sitting cross legged on the floor and asking about everything from psychoanalysis to Hannibal’s favorite films. They have dinner together. They talk. Will kisses him every moment he can, shoves Hannibal’s hand into his boxers, cries out when Hannibal swallows him down.

Will says again that he’s never been so happy, and Hannibal agonizes over the realization that he feels the same.

More than once, Hannibal considers simply taking the boy and leaving in the night. To hell with everything left behind, as long as he has Will. In the end, he decides against it, refusing to give in to his base urges any further. He’ll take this day and cherish it forever, but it will end. He has to let it end.

 

*

 

Hannibal looks down at the sleeping boy, twisted up on the couch with an open book on his chest, breathing deeply. His curls have fallen across his forehead and his inviting lips are parted. The creamy skin of his thighs on display where his shorts have ridden up in his slumber.

He’s absolutely enchanting.

Hannibal clenches his jaw and takes the book, gently, closing it and setting it on the side table. Slipping one arm under the boys knobby knees and the other under his back, he lifts, careful not to jostle him too much as he gathers him to his chest.

Will wakes anyway, a sweet hum in his throat as he wraps his arms around Hannibal’s neck. Hannibal covers his aching sigh in a kiss to Will’s forehead.

“Sleep with me tonight,” The boy murmurs groggily, burying his face in Hannibal’s throat.

Hannibal carries the boy to his bed, placing him against the pillows and tucking him beneath the covers. “I’ll be right back,” he whispers to him as Will reaches out for him.

He takes his time getting ready for bed, partially hoping Will will have fallen back asleep before he can return. No such luck, however, when he comes back into the room to see his devious boy now in the middle of the bed, smiling softly at Hannibal and beckoning him with a crooked finger.

Hannibal swallows.

He’s barely under the blankets before Will is crawling over to him. They lie face to face, Will’s head on Hannibal’s bicep, curled as close to him as possible, knees pressed to Hannibal’s thighs. He’s learned today that Will likes having access to Hannibal’s neck, as he kisses over it softly.

Reasonably, because he can tell just how utterly it destroys Hannibal’s ability to form coherent thought processes.

“I dreamt again,” Will says. “If I asked you a question, would you answer it honestly?”

The boy is remarkable in his timing, as though he knows Hannibal would have terrible trouble lying to him with Will’s distracting mouth on his skin.

“I'll certainly try,” Hannibal says, smothering a sigh of annoyance in Will’s hair over how rough his voice sounds.

“Even if the answer could have really bad consequences?”

He just barely manages to stay still, knowing that pulling away would only tie Will’s tongue further, and curiosity is eating at him now. So, he allows no outward signs of concern, simply kissing Will’s temple gently.

“Would I have reason to worry about potential consequences?”

“No,” Will’s answers quickly, his voice going high in what sounds like something awfully close to panic. “No, I swear on my life. On everything . No matter what you tell me, I'll never repeat it to another person and it will not change how I feel about you.”

There's a tight feeling in Hannibal’s chest that radiates down to his stomach. He thinks it might be anxiety.

He knows what Will is going to ask, and he knows he's going to be honest with him. Suddenly, he's never felt more exhilarated in his life.

“Ask me, darling boy,” Hannibal whispers, encourages, squeezing Will’s hip.

Will is quiet for a long while, his breathing accelerated until Hannibal smoothes his palm up the boy’s back, touching his neck, caressing his hair, then back down again, repeating the cycle nearly seven times. Finally, Will calms but his hushed voice still trembles out of him.

“Have you ever killed anyone?”

Hannibal will have entire rooms in his mind dedicated to this moment. How unafraid the boy is, the way his teeth indent his bottom lip, how supple the skin at the base of his neck is. Everything. Every minute detail cataloged and stored in its own wing.

Releasing a slow breath, he says, “yes,” with a small kiss to Will’s cheek. “How does that make you feel?”

Hannibal can feel Will’s heart racing, a frantic gallop in his chest, and Will lets out a shaky sigh.

“How many?”

A great deal more than you've imagined, I'm sure."

At any moment, the boy could run out screaming and Hannibal knows, knows , he wouldn't stop him. He'd let him go, let him tell his stories to whoever would listen. It's distressing to realize that even under these circumstances, he couldn't harm him. Not a single hair on his beautiful head.

“Could you teach me?” Will whispers, so quietly that Hannibal is worried he might’ve imagined it. That is, until Will says, “I've already done it once.”

There will be no level of Hell suitable enough to provide the wrath that Hannibal will deserve after this. Utterly and thoroughly irredeemable.

Please don’t laugh at me but I think I’m in love with you.

I've already done it once.

He wonders how quickly Bedelia will agree to a divorce if he gives her his château in Florence. She's always been so fond of it.