Chapter 1: Truth or Dare
"Alright guys! Everyone's here, it's time to get this party started!"
Will winces, glaring into his red solo cup as Beverly pushes past him, carrying an empty wine bottle she undoubtedly pilfered from her parents' recycling bin. She hooks an arm through Will's and forces him to stumble along behind her into the main living room.
Beverly's parents house is big, in the nice part of town – now Will's part of town, since his dad remarried and they moved into one of the upper-class suburbs with the likes of Beverly, and Alana, and, of course, Will's new stepbrother, Hannibal. Hannibal, who barely deigns to give Will the time of day (though that doesn't really bother him, since he's far from sociable himself) and who keeps flirting with Alana (which does bother Will since he's had a crush on her since junior high) and Margot, Alana's new girlfriend.
They're all gathered in the living room on the array of giant bean bag chairs, big white couches, and a single large coffee table in the middle. Beverly grins at all of them – among the group are two of her classmates, Jimmy and Brian, both of them looking more like scared lambs to her wolfish grin.
She displays the bottle like it's the Holy Grail, and asks loudly, "Who wants to play?"
"Spin the Bottle?" Will asks, disengaging his arm from hers. "Seriously? We're not in middle school anymore."
"If you don't wanna play, you don't have to," Beverly replies, eyebrows arched in challenge. Will can practically hear the chicken noises she's making in her head. "We could play Truth or Dare instead. Or Ring of Fire!"
Will groans, and plops himself down on the floor by the table, between Hannibal and Alana. Alana is sitting with Margot on one of the couches, and Hannibal has chosen to, rather uncharacteristically, sprawl on one of the bean bag chairs, like Jimmy and Brian are, opposite him. He's got the beginnings of alcohol blush on his cheeks, and his smile is wide when he looks at Will.
"Let's put it to a vote," he suggests.
Will glares at him halfheartedly, and Beverly claps her hands around the bottle, jumping up and down with glee. "Alright! Spin the Bottle, Truth or Dare, or Ring of Fire?"
"I don't know how to play Ring of Fire," Margot says. "So I vote for one of the other two."
Will huffs. Alana grins at him, and says, "I vote Truth or Dare."
"Spin the bottle," Brian and Jimmy both say.
Hannibal hums, lifting his chin. "I think Truth or Dare would be fun," he says.
Will winces. He doesn't want to play either game, but he doesn't want to be called a coward either. Nor does he particularly want to play Spin the Bottle, since there's only two people in this room he'd even want to kiss, and one of them has a girlfriend and the other is his own damn stepbrother.
"Ring of fire," he says.
Beverly lifts her brows at him, and then smiles at Margot. "Looks like you're gonna have to break the tie," she says, and plops herself down on the floor on the other side of Hannibal, between him and Jimmy.
Margot sighs, and rolls her eyes. "Well, statistically Spin the Bottle isn't going to work in my favor," she says, and blushes, smiling at Alana. "So, Truth or Dare it is, I guess."
Will winces, and takes a long, long drink from his cup. It's cheap whiskey, the kind Beverly's father drinks. Of them all, Hannibal is the only one legally allowed to drink in America, the rest of them only eighteen and nineteen, but he refused to buy alcohol for any of them. Beverly's parents are cool like that, not minding if they drink in their house as long as they keep out of trouble, but it means none of the fancy wines and high-proof brandy that he or his mother prefer.
"Alright!" Beverly says, and sets the bottle on the table. "We'll take turns spinning, and whoever it lands on has to play. Sound fair?" Everyone nods, and Beverly takes the first spin. It lands on Brian. "Brian, truth or dare?"
"Uh, truth," Brian says, his eyes wide.
She grins at him, and taps her finger to her mouth as she thinks. "Is it true that you went to third base with Madison at prom senior year?"
Brian sputters, coughing around his drink, his cheeks turning a very dark red. "No! No, it absolutely is not!" he says weakly. Alana giggles behind her hand, and he looks at everyone sheepishly. Will rolls his eyes and drinks from his cup. "We made out a little but that's it!"
Beverly laughs, and nudges the bottle to Jimmy. "Alright, spin!" Jimmy leans forward, a little uncoordinated from alcohol, and spins the bottle until it lands on Hannibal. Hannibal meets his eyes calmly, sharply enough that Will shivers, biting his lower lip, and Jimmy asks, "Truth or dare?"
"Truth," Hannibal murmurs.
"Um, shit, I have to actually think of something, hold on," Jimmy says, blinking several times, slowly, like he's trying to focus. "Ummmm…"
"C'mon, Jimmy, ask him anything!" Beverly says, bouncing in place.
"Um, shit, fine! Um. So. I guess, well, there's a rumor going around that you and Anthony have been hooking up for most of the year. That you're, well, gay." Will blinks at him, and then at Hannibal, and finds his expression unchanged – that same placid smile, though it makes Will think of crocodiles hidden in the river. "Is it true?"
"Is it true that I'm gay, or that Anthony and I are sleeping together?" Hannibal purrs. Will shivers again, thinking of the other guy, and hates the little coil of tense heat that blossoms in his stomach at the thought of them being together. Will has no right to be possessive of Hannibal – and he's not. Of course he's not.
"Um. Both, I guess?"
"You can only ask one question, Jimmy," Will snaps, earning a startled look from the other man. He flushes immediately, like Hannibal himself is the one to have spoken.
"It's quite alright, Will," Hannibal says with a dismissive wave of his hand. "I don't mind answering. No, Anthony and I are not sleeping together. And no, I'm not gay."
Will frowns at him, because he could have sworn…
Brian leans forward and spins the bottle, and it lands on Hannibal again. Hannibal says 'Truth', and Brian asks; "What are you, then? I'll eat my hat if you're one-hundred percent straight."
Hannibal laughs. "If you must put a label on it, I suppose I fit best on the pansexual side of things," he says, and takes a drink. He's drinking wine, from an actual glass, because he has rules even at a stupid house party. "My ability to be attracted to someone has little to do with how they identify."
Brian sits back, appeased by that. It's Margot's turn next, and she spins the bottle, and it lands on Beverly.
"Dare!" Beverly declares, lifting her chin.
Margot grins at her. "I dare you to give me your phone and let me text one person, whatever I want, and you're not allowed to say it was me if they respond."
Beverly blinks, and laughs, pulling her phone out of her pocket and handing it over. Margot sits back, hiding the screen from even Alana. She scrolls through Beverly's contacts and finds something that makes her smile turn knowing and sly, and types out a quick message.
Will blinks, as his phone vibrates in his pocket. He takes it out and reads a message, from Beverly's phone; "Hey hot stuff, you DTF?"
"Oh come on, Margot, really?" he complains.
She looks at him, wide-eyed. "Bev, you have Will saved in your phone as 'sexy puppy boy'?"
Beverly doubles over, almost hitting her forehead on the table, shaking with laughter. Jimmy and Brian are cackling, and he can feel Hannibal's amused look on the side of his face.
"Oh my God," Beverly says, slapping her hand on the table, tears in her eyes. "Yeah, I do! Holy shit!"
Margot tosses her phone back, pouting. "Okay," Alana says, and holds up a hand, "come on. We have to talk about that."
"Am I wrong?" Beverly asks with a shrug, and nudges Will. "I mean, look at him! He's so cute, and he looks like a little puppy when he's all confused and upset." Will glares at her, and puts his phone back in his pocket, blushing in a way that has nothing to do with the alcohol.
"You're an asshole," he mutters, and finishes his drink. He stands, swaying a little. "Anyone need a refill?"
"Please, Will, thank you," Hannibal says, and holds out his glass. Will takes it, and tucks the stem around his fingers by his cup. Alana asks for a refill as well – she's drinking rum and cokes – and he takes the cups into the kitchen. He returns with refills, his own cup almost to the brim with more whiskey, and settles back down.
"My turn!" Alana says, and spins the bottle. It lands on Hannibal, and Will rolls his eyes. "Truth or dare?"
"Truth again," Hannibal replies, sipping his wine.
She hums, and lifts her chin, folding one leg over the other. She nods to Will. "Tell me how you really feel about your mom marrying Will's dad, and how you feel about Will."
Will sucks in a breath, his eyes wide, but he refuses to look at Hannibal. For a long moment, there is silence.
Then, quietly, as soft as a prayer; "He's my brother," Hannibal murmurs. "I adore him."
Will swallows harshly, so he doesn't make a sound. He drinks, so he doesn't say a word. But he can't ignore the way Hannibal is looking at him – can see, out of the corner of his eye, Hannibal's face turned to him, his expression soft.
He's your Goddamn brother, Will growls to himself. Stop it.
"I suppose it's my turn, now," Hannibal says, and shifts his weight, ungainly in the big beanbag, and spins the bottle. It lands on Margot.
"Truth!" Margot says.
Hannibal nods. His eyes drop to her shoulder – until recently, her arm was in a cast, and she refused to tell anyone how she broke it. "How did you hurt your arm?" he asks.
Margot blinks at him, her eyes widening, and she clears her throat, looking down at her drink. "I don't want to say," she replies curtly. A very thick tension comes over the room, and Will is shivering, far too drunk to say, 'Let it be', and tell Hannibal to ask her something else. No one else seems willing to do it, though.
"Was it Mason?" Hannibal asks. Margot swallows harshly. "Did you know Will was the one who put him in the hospital, after he saw you like that?"
Margot's head snaps up, and she stares at them both. Will snaps his teeth together and glares at Hannibal.
"Will…. Is that -? Is that true?"
Will takes another drink. "Not my turn to tell the truth," he replies tersely. He sends Hannibal a sharp look and shows his teeth. "And not your truth to tell, either."
"Of course," Hannibal says, but he's smiling as he sits back in his chair. "Forgive me."
Will hisses out his breath, and before he can spin the fucking bottle, his phone starts to ring. He sets his cup down and sees it's his father, and answers it. "Yeah?"
"Time to come home, boys."
He nods, and hangs up. "Dad wants us home," he tells Hannibal, and Hannibal nods, rising gracefully to his feet despite everything that makes a beanbag chair rendering it impossible to be graceful, by design. Hannibal always manages it. "I'm too drunk to drive, can you?"
Hannibal smiles at him, and nods again, helping Will to his feet.
Beverly huffs, but doesn't protest, and walks them to the door. As they're gathering their shoes and coats, Margot appears. She doesn't say anything, but throws herself into Will's arms, embracing him tightly, her face pressed to his neck.
"Thank you," she whispers, and Will sighs, and hugs her back, before he lets her go.
"I'd do it again," he tells her. "I will, if I have to."
Her eyes are watery, and she smiles, and pats him on the shoulder. Then, Hannibal's hand takes over from hers, and he steers Will out of the door, and to Hannibal's car, which is parked on the curb. They get inside and Will sighs, collapsing into the passenger seat, the cool air making his head spin as Hannibal settles and turns the engine on.
"If you ever pull that kind of shit again, I'll kick your ass," he mutters.
He can hear Hannibal's smile when he says; "I'll remember that."
Will nods to himself, huffing through his nose, as Hannibal starts to drive.
"Did you mean it?" he whispers, alcohol and lack of common sense not keeping his tongue fucking still as it should be. Hannibal hums in question. "What you said? About me?"
He opens his eyes so he can see Hannibal nodding. "I love you dearly, Will," he replies. His eyes flash to Will's briefly, before he sets them back on the road. Nothing about him speaks of shame, or guilt – he is the kind of person who loves openly, freely. His lack of attention towards Will isn't malicious, Will knows that, but rather he is the kind of person who exists as himself, and welcomes newcomers easily, but will not force someone to interact with him. No, that fault lies with Will, for he was the one cagey and bristling, the one who wanted to hate the new family his father found. The one who discovered he couldn't, but by the time that happened, it was too late to start from the beginning.
So he says, "I love you too." Because he does. Not the way he should, but he does.
Hannibal's smile is wide, bright with pleasure. Will would give anything in the world to make him smile like that all the time.
"I'm glad," Hannibal says, soft as a purr. He reaches over and gently pets Will's hand, where it's resting on his thigh. He returns his hand to the steering wheel, and drives on, and Will's fingers curl, and he tries to ignore the fervent, howling heat set into his skin where Hannibal touched him.
Hannibal's mother is, in a word, beautiful. Will can see why his father loves her so much, for she is kind and lovely, and exactly the kind of mother Will imagines raising a child like Hannibal. She is graceful and elegant, sweeps into and out of rooms like gusts of spring air, and makes everyone around her smile.
Her name is Cassandra, and Will's father calls her 'Cassie', with so much love it hurts to hear it.
"Hannibal, my darling," she says, and cups his face, bringing him down so she can kiss his forehead, since Hannibal is easily a foot taller than her. She does the same to Will – that took some getting used to – but he's smiling when she sighs and pats his cheek.
She fixes her son with a stern look. "You have both been drinking," she says.
Hannibal nods, unrepentant as he always is. "I had a small amount," he tells her. "I drove."
Her eyes clear, and Will wonders what it must have been like to have such a reasonable, accepting parent. Not that his father is a bad man, by any means, but he's the kind of father who teaches with the belt and sharp words, and if the lesson doesn't land the first time, would let his idiot son get himself into whatever foolishness he pleased, knowing he would be left alone to get himself out of it. Speeding tickets, overnights in the drunk tank, they're all Will's responsibility if he ends up with any of them.
Though, he senses, with Hannibal as his brother now, the chances of getting caught being bad are slim to none.
"Will, darling, you must make sure to drink plenty of water, and eat something before bed," she says with another firm nod, petting his cheek. Her perfume is crisp and heavy, raspberries and mint. He nods dumbly, content to just stand and be petted, until his father rounds the corner. He has a suitcase in each hand.
Hannibal's brows lift. "Little late for a trip, isn't it?" he asks.
"A little moonlight drive sounds lovely, don't you think?" Cassandra replies with a bright smile. Will mimics it – the Grahams are infamous for their love of the night. When he was a boy, he'd stay up to all hours with his father, tinkering with boat engines or helping him make lures, so much so that his teachers would complain about him falling asleep in class.
"Where are you going?" Hannibal asks.
"To the cabin on the bay," Bill says. Hannibal and Will nod, stepping to one side to allow him space to carry the bags to their car. It's about a four-hour drive away, and Will understands now why they're leaving so late at night – at any other time, the D.C. and Baltimore traffic is less than kind.
He shivers, at the thought of being alone with Hannibal.
"How long will you be gone?" Will asks.
"Just for the weekend," Bill says, and takes off his cap to wipe his hair back over his head. He fixes Will with a sharp look that makes Will straighten, like a soldier at attention. "Winston's been fed, just gotta make sure he doesn't dig a hole under that fence before I can fix it." Will nods. "There's food in the fridge, and signal's shitty at the cabin so I left the landline number by my desk."
Will nods again. "Yes, sir."
"Good," Bill says, and when he turns to Hannibal's mother, his entire face softens. Will wonders if, one day, he'll ever have a person who looks at him like that. His father wraps an arm around her slim shoulders and pulls her in, giving her a kiss on the top of her head. "You boys be good, don't touch my beer, and try not to burn the house down."
Will laughs, and slouches on the door frame as they walk to their car. He watches, until the headlights peel away and he can't see the rear lights as they turn the corner, and then Hannibal's hand is on his arm, gently pulling him back inside.
Will goes, stumbling and coltish, and laughs again when Hannibal steadies him with his other hand. "Come on," he says, and is smiling, "she was right; you are in desperate need of water and some food, before I let you rest."
Will huffs, but allows Hannibal to guide him into the kitchen, lets Hannibal sit him on one of the bar stools lining the island. He slumps over the island, idly tracing patterns in the mottled green-white-grey, and lifts his head to watch as Hannibal fills a glass of water for him from the fridge, takes out two aspirin, and sets them in front of Will.
"Don't take these until you eat something," he warns, and turns away again, to fetch food. Will huffs through his nose, takes the pills and swallows them dry. When Hannibal turns around again, he has some slices of bread with a thin layer of butter on a plate – untoasted, Will doesn't like the smell of toast, and wonders when Hannibal figured that out, because he's never mentioned it – and he blinks in dismay to find the pills gone.
He shakes his head, and sets the plate down in front of Will. "Are you always this contrary when you're drunk?" he asks with another fond smile.
"Nah, I'm this contrary all the time," Will replies with a grin. He drinks, and eats, content to do so while Hannibal keeps watch. Outside, in the back yard, he can hear Winston snuffling around, tied to a long leash on a stake stuck in the middle, that lets him wander all around the yard. The doghouse is by the back door, to protect him from bad weather.
Hannibal's lips twitch up at the corners, his eyes bright with humor. He sits on the other side of the island, on another bar stool, watching Will eat.
Will flushes, after a moment, unused to having Hannibal's entire attention on him for so long. "Thanks," he offers, and salutes with his last bite of bread before he eats it, washing it down. Hannibal stands immediately, and refills the water glass, handing it back to him.
"Another," he commands, gentle but firm. Will drinks, slower this time, aware that the contents of his stomach is mostly liquid at the moment, and to drink too quickly would only upset the delicate balance right now.
Will eyes him as he drinks, takes in Hannibal's relaxed posture, his elbows on the counter, his back perfectly straight – that's relaxed for him, Hannibal doesn't slouch. He eyes the careful styling of Hannibal's hair, the sit of his jacket, the smile lines just beginning to gain permanence around his mouth and eyes.
He tilts his head, and says, "I really thought you and Dimmond were fucking."
Hannibal blinks, as though surprised Will is choosing to speak to him. He laughs. "No," he murmurs, with a shake of his head. "I like him well enough, but he's a little too…" He lifts a shoulder in a half-shrug. "Persistent, for my tastes."
"Persistent?" Will repeats, brow arching. "Do you not like forwardness?"
"Of a kind, certainly," Hannibal replies. "But there's forward, and then there's arrogant. I have no appreciation for someone who thinks being with them is something I should be grateful for." At that, his lips purse in a sour pout.
Will presses his lips together. "Should he be the grateful one, then?"
"It's a matter of mutual appreciation," Hannibal says plainly. "No one is better than anyone else, in the grand scheme of things. We are all explosions of light and color; life, contained in shells of meat and bone. Being with someone should be a matter of mutual gratitude, and mutual betterment. Not pedestals and trophies."
Will winces, for his sake. "Is that why you broke up with Bedelia?" he asks. She was his girlfriend, until shortly after Hannibal's mother and Will's father married. Through their courtship, Will would see her sometimes, and she held the air of an heiress, far too grand for the likes of Bill Graham and his wild son.
"One reason of many," Hannibal concedes with a nod. There is something dark in his eyes; nameless, a void that begs Will to step closer and peer inside.
Will clears his throat, and wipes his hand over his mouth. "You and I have never really…talked like this, have we?" he asks, wincing. "About anything."
Hannibal nods, and says, "You don't like to talk to people." Will can't argue that. "I don't believe in forcing conversation, or closeness, Will – not to say you're incapable of it. But if you don't want to talk, I will never make you talk. About anything."
"I want to talk to you," Will breathes, and swallows again. "I want to know everything about you."
Hannibal blinks, like this surprises him. But when he smiles, it's as he did in the car – wide, showing his uneven teeth, and brilliantly happy. "I do, too," he says warmly, and reaches across the narrow island to touch Will's hand. It sends a blaze of heat through Will, and he tries to ignore it, because the Lecters are a tactile folk and he's sure it doesn't mean anything. "It appears we have the weekend all to ourselves; we can talk about whatever you'd like."
"Okay," Will says, and smiles, eager and excited at the idea. "I'm pretty drunk right now, though, so I might say some stupid shit. Don't think less of me for it."
"I doubt there is anything you could say that would make me think less of you," Hannibal murmurs, and the way he's looking at Will, the way he says it, Will believes him.
Will takes another drink of water, and watches Hannibal rise, gathering a glass for himself, and sits down on the other side of the island again. He drums his fingers on the counter, trying to dispel the energy within them, though it doesn't help in the slightest. His leg jogs up and down, heel on one of the stool rungs.
Hannibal smiles at him, and says; "I want to ask, for I am terribly curious, and you already know about me – are you straight, Will?"
Will blinks at him.
"I've never heard of you partaking in any relationship, with any gender or sexual identity. Never even seen you give someone a second glance. I'm curious."
Will clears his throat, flushing darkly. "I guess it's kind of like what you said," he replies. "I don't really…feel attraction to people. Not surface attraction, at least. I can appreciate beauty, and I like…looking at beautiful people, but that's never evolved to sexual, for me."
"Never?" Hannibal asks, brows rising.
Will hums, looking down. "Maybe once or twice," he says, and, feeling brave, alcohol doing nothing to stop his treacherous tongue, he adds; "But I think I have to love them, first. I don't hate the idea – I'm not sex-repulsed, or anything," he says, remembering Beverly's very detailed presentation for one of her human sexuality courses depicting asexuality – Will had found it fascinating, and the sense of rightness he felt when she talked about it settled that voice in his head telling him he was broken, for not wanting to fuck any and everything that crossed his path. "And I know whoever I end up with will statistically expect some kind of physical relationship, but I guess I just…need to know a person."
"Sex can be very intimate," Hannibal says, soft with understanding. "Even one-night stands require a certain level of trust and expectation, to be sure both parties will leave satisfied." His head tilts. "Have you ever had sex, Will?"
Will blushes. "I don't think we should be talking about that."
"Of course. Forgive me – I think the wine is catching up to me," Hannibal says with a soft, sheepish laugh. Will rolls his eyes.
"Lightweight," he teases, because Hannibal had maybe two glasses the entire night. Hannibal smiles at him, and takes another drink of water. Will does the same – swallows when he does, sets his glass down when he does. Sighs, as he does.
"It's not something to be ashamed of, Will."
"I'm not ashamed of it," Will replies, shifting his weight. His eyes are on Hannibal's hands, the large, strong spread of them around his glass. He clears his throat and can't meet his eyes. "Have you had a lot of it, then? Sex?"
"I suppose that depends on your definition of 'a lot', but every relationship I've had evolved to that at some point, yes." Will nods, and doesn't like the urgent clench in his belly, thinking of him and Bedelia like that, entwined and moving together in the dark. It's not jealousy, he tells himself, except it is, and he's a Goddamn liar.
Hannibal regards him for a moment longer, and then says, very quietly and very softly; "I think, Will, that whoever you end up being with will be the luckiest person alive."
Will sucks in a breath, and tries to smile. "Should they be grateful?" he asks, and the words come out bitter and sharp.
Hannibal smiles. "Mutual appreciation. Mutual gratitude."
Will nods, dumbly, and finishes his water.
Hannibal does the same, and places the glasses by the sink to wash in the morning. He approaches Will, and gently helps him to his feet, leading the way up the stairs. Their bedrooms are next to each other, sharing a wall, bed to bed. Will often finds himself lying awake at night, unable to sleep, just listening to Hannibal breathe and shift in place while he sleeps.
Hannibal leaves him at his door, embraces him in a one-armed hug, and kisses Will's forehead, just like his mother does.
"Sleep well," he murmurs, and Will shivers, and wishes his stupid tongue would move enough to beg Hannibal to stay. He wants to reach out and touch, wants to grab, wants to fall asleep with Hannibal's heartbeat beneath his ear.
He asks for none of that. Just nods, and says, "You too."
Hannibal smiles at him, and they part ways. Will watches his bedroom door close, watching the little line of light and his silhouette moving within it. He sighs, runs a hand through his hair, and goes into his bedroom, shutting the door behind him with a quiet 'click'.
Chapter 2: Milk and Brandy
Will manages to make it almost two hours before he can't take it anymore, and rises. He goes across the hall to the bathroom he and Hannibal share, uses the bathroom and washes his face with water, eyeing himself in the mirror. A dull throb is in his head, hinting at a hangover, and he sighs, rubbing his wet hands up through his hair and cradling the nape of his neck.
He knows that he won't get to sleep any time soon – nineteen years of fighting shitty sleep patterns and nightmares gives him a well-honed sense of when it's safe to sleep, and tonight is just not one of those nights.
He leaves the bathroom, content to go downstairs and watch bad TV until he gets tired again, but pauses, when he sees that the light beneath Hannibal's bedroom door is still on. He frowns, worrying his lower lip, and sucks in a breath.
Crosses the hallway, and knocks.
"Hey," he says, when he hears Hannibal give a soft 'Yes?' in answer. "Can I come in?"
"Of course, Will," Hannibal replies. Will steels himself, and opens the door, blinking at the shadows in Hannibal's room. He has his bedside lamp on, and a book propped up against his knees. He smiles at Will, and Will closes the door behind him. "Are you alright?"
"Can't sleep," Will says, feeling stupid, like a child begging to stay in his parents' room tonight. "I was, well, if you're feeling up for it, I was wondering if you wanted to…talk more."
Hannibal's smile does not change, except, perhaps, to grow fonder. "I would love to," he says, and closes his book, setting it to one side. It's a book on anatomy – Hannibal wants to be a surgeon, or so Will remembers him mentioning, once. Will himself hates hospitals, and learned the backwoods way of stitching up a wound or resetting a bone, but he thinks he would be much more inclined to go if someone like Hannibal was the one treating him.
He imagines Hannibal's big, warm hands on his shoulder, imagines how gently he would grip, how capable and forceful the snap of bone finding joint again would be. The flare of pain, he knows well, the feeling of being petted after, less so.
He forces the thoughts from his mind and goes to Hannibal's bed, and sits awkwardly on the end of it. Hannibal pulls his feet up to make room, and then, after a moment, moves to one side, so he's nearest the lamp.
"Come up here," he says, and pats the space by his hip. Will is too drunk, too stupid, or too desperate to resist, and he crawls up Hannibal's bed and flops into place on the pillows by his side. They are warm, and smell like him, and Will only barely manages not to turn his face and shove his nose against the fabric to take a greedy inhale.
Hannibal slides down, correcting his blankets around his chest, and rolls so that he's facing Will, and Will sucks in a breath, because now they're not just two brothers staying up all night talking. They're in the same bed, and Hannibal is so close Will can see the lines beginning to form around his eyes and mouth from smiling. Can count the shades of brown and amber and red in his iris.
Hannibal sighs. "I'm sorry you can't sleep," he murmurs, and reaches out slowly, like Will might shy from him like a startled animal. Will forces himself not to move as Hannibal thumbs, gently, beneath one of his eyes, which he's sure are dark with bruise-like shadows of exhaustion. Will hasn't been sleeping well recently. "I can make you some warm milk. It used to work wonders on me when I was younger."
"Used to?" Will repeats, and doesn't know how he manages to keep his voice so light.
Hannibal grins at him. "I haven't needed it in many years." He pushes himself upright, propped on one arm, and Will desperately, desperately, wants to slide beneath him and have Hannibal press his weight, heavy and warm, over Will's shoulders. His chest, his back, he doesn't know which way but he'll take it whatever way he can get it. "I shall go and make you some."
"Wait," Will says, verbal protest meek, but there's no denying the frantic way he reaches out and tugs in the excess of Hannibal's t-shirt, hanging from his torso. "Come on; I take up half your bed, make you stay up to entertain me; I'm not gonna make you get up and make me a kid's drink too."
Hannibal's head tilts, and he looks at Will as though seeing a gem shine in a new angle of sunlight. "…Will," he begins, and then pauses, and starts again; "Will, my love for you may not be as brotherly as if we shared the same blood, but it is also not one borne of obligation." Will blinks at him, startled, again, to hear Hannibal speak of love so openly. "If I didn't want to do it, I wouldn't offer."
Will doesn't know what to say to that, so he simply nods, and Hannibal smiles at him, and brushes his knuckles gently across Will's blushing cheek, before he pushes himself upright and rolls his shoulders. "I'll return shortly," he says. "Do you need anything else, while I'm up?"
Will shakes his head, and sits upright as Hannibal leaves the room, door cocked open to reveal a slip of the hallway as he turns on the light and makes his way downstairs. With Winston tied up outside, Hannibal doesn't fear dog hair on his clothes or things – he keeps his door closed at all times, when Winston is in the house, but never complains about the animal.
He returns quickly, as he promised, holding two steaming mugs. One, he gives to Will, and it is frothy milk with a swirl of something amber within it. His own mug holds a cup of tea – chamomile, if Will were to guess from the smell. He lowers his nose to his own mug as Hannibal sits back in bed, careful with the hot drinks as they negotiate bedsheets and pillows and each other, and he takes a sniff.
"Did you put some of your mom's brandy in this?" he asks, squinting at Hannibal.
He receives an unrepentant laugh in return, and Hannibal nods. "A two-for-one," he replies proudly. "If this doesn't help you sleep, I fear nothing will."
Will huffs. "Aren't you supposed to be dissuading me from underage drinking, as my big brother?"
Hannibal pauses, his nostrils flaring as he breathes in his own tea. He presses his lips together, and says; "Well, you've already been drinking. We both have. I'll save discipline for when I have regained my high horse."
Will flushes at the mention of 'discipline'. Despite his relative lack of interest in sex, one isn't friends with people like Beverly, Jimmy, and Brian without seeing pretty much any section of the weird, the dirty, and the dark. Hell, Brian's the reason their school has blocked pretty much every Google search nowadays, to the point where even an innocent biology project is almost impossible without going home or using the public library.
He takes a drink, humming at the taste of the milk and brandy. Warm milk is not, he has found, a pleasant taste in of itself, but the caramel-like addition of the alcohol, and the fact that Hannibal has clearly sweetened it with sugar as well, makes it palatable.
He lowers his mug to his lap, sitting with his legs crossed, and blushes when he sees Hannibal watching him. "It's good," he says. Hannibal smiles, preening and delighted, and drinks from his own mug.
"I'm glad," he murmurs. "Let me know if it begins to work." Will nods. "Now, what did you want to talk about? Or perhaps you simply wished to talk." Will lifts a shoulder in a shrug, and Hannibal eyes him again. He huffs, almost sheepishly, and shakes his head. "I think I was wrong, before – it's not that you don't enjoy talking to people. You just don't like being forced into tepid conversation."
"Most people don't talk about anything at all," Will replies with another nod. "I've heard it, in the lunch room, around my friends. They fill hours with endless chatter and it's all so…flat. They could have been silent the whole time and achieved the same level of exchange."
"Some people like the implicit socialization, of having a vibrant and loud friend group," Hannibal says – not in reprimand, though Will winces internally, unable to help feeling that he's being scolded. "For some, their internal battery, if you will, is charged by the presence of others, and is drained when lacking diversion. For others it is the opposite."
"Which are you?" Will asks, for he has never seen Hannibal discontented, whether he is surrounded by people, or left to his own devices.
"Sometimes both, sometimes neither. I do not mind being around other people, and can entertain myself in most situations, but I agree with you – it seldom invigorates me." Will bites his lower lip, and takes another drink.
"Did Bedelia 'invigorate' you?" he asks, and doesn't know why he asks, except his head is warm and his belly is starting to feel heavy. It's a good feeling, not quite tiredness that would lend itself to sleep, but getting there. Hannibal, he is finding, is not a draining presence; he is, in a word, 'invigorating'.
Hannibal blinks at him, and sips at his tea before answering. "She bothers you very much, doesn't she?" Will winces, and looks down. "Are you jealous?"
"What's there to be jealous of?" Will snaps, sharper than he meant to. He winces, and turns his head away.
"Will, I'm not blind." Will's breath catches, and his fingers curl tight around his mug, hard enough that the pads of his fingers are stinging from the heat. Hannibal can't possibly…know, can he? Will has been so careful, tried to hide his feelings, and yet -. "You may not be a social creature as people might define it, but you clearly crave connection."
Will breathes out. "I'm not jealous of what you had, because that ended. Clearly it wasn't that great."
Hannibal smiles at him, and though Will cannot quite meet his eyes, he feels the warmth in his gaze like a physical thing; like nails, raking down his spine, making him shiver. "An unfortunate side effect of being human – we do not know what will happen, until it happens. Bedelia was…" He pauses, hesitating, and Will looks up, finds Hannibal's face a mask of indecision, as though he's not sure he should say what he planned to, next. But he must decide to, for he sighs, and sips at his tea; "Bedelia is beautiful, and a lovely young woman, and I wish her all the best. We simply weren't compatible, when all was said and done. We…wanted different things."
Will's head tilts. "Are you sad about it?"
"The loss of potential should always be mourned," Hannibal replies. "I think, if our mindsets were a little better aligned, I would have married her at some point." But he shrugs, as though this no longer troubles him. "We would not have made each other happy."
"Do you know what would make you happy?" Will murmurs. Hannibal looks over at him again, and Will forces himself to maintain eye contact.
"I have an idea," Hannibal replies, just as quietly. "My vision of a perfect life changes shape, its edges growing and fading away as time passes, but the centerpiece is always the same; someone that I am comfortable with, that I feel I would need to hide nothing from. Someone that trusts me, and loves me as much as I do them. Someone who understands me, and whom I understand, as deeply as possible."
Will smiles. "That sounds nice," he says, and though the words are flat, he means them. Knowing what little he knows about Hannibal's preference in a partner, it doesn't surprise him in the slightest, hearing that.
Hannibal smiles at him. "And you, Will?" he asks around another drink. "Do you know what would make you happy?"
You. Will's mind shrieks the word. He swallows, and takes another long drink of the milk-brandy mix, gasping at the burn of it on his tongue, down the back of his throat, behind his heart. Or maybe that warmth just comes from the way Hannibal is looking at him.
"What did you mean?" he asks, his eyes on the swirl of his drink. "Earlier, when you said…you love me. But not in a brotherly way. What did you mean?"
"Simply that we were not raised together, and have only been officially brothers for a year or so, but that doesn't mean I do not love you."
Will swallows. "My dad told me about Mischa," he says, and looks at Hannibal again. Sees, around his eyes and mouth, a tightening, a shadow of old grief. "Well, he told me never to mention her at all, especially around your mother."
Hannibal sighs, and nods, looking away. "She died too young," he says. "A loss of potential we both still mourn, to this day. But it's an old wound, and throbs only occasionally." Before Will can apologize, he adds; "I don't mind speaking of her, in what small ways I can. It's part of why I want to get into medicine." His eyes travel to his book on the nightstand. "I want to honor her, by saving lives, when hers was so tragically lost."
"Does…" Will sucks in a breath, lets it out slowly. "Do you love me like you loved her?"
Hannibal's eyes are dark when he meets Will's, and he says, without anger or malice, but coolly; "Do you love my mother like you loved yours?"
"I never knew her," Will replies. "She left before I was two."
Hannibal's eyes flash, and he murmurs; "I'm sorry."
"I'm not," Will says. "I don't want a mother who doesn't want me. Maybe it's petty, but I refuse to think about her at all. My dad does too – I never asked, he never shared. No idea what she even looks like." He lifts his shoulder in a shrug.
Hannibal's head tilts. "You inherited her hair, I think," he says. Will flushes, and runs his fingers through it, but it's true – his hair is much lighter and wilder than that of the flat, black hair atop Bill Graham's head. "And your mouth."
Will blink at him, and blushes deeply, wiping his hand over his jaw, fingers resting on his lips. "You shouldn't be noticing my mouth," he says, very quiet, breathily. Not at all truly scolding. Hannibal smiles at him.
"I notice lots of things," he says, and Will's breath catches again, his heart freezes like a rabbit in the eyes of a wolf, ready to bolt. He looks down at his drink, his hands shaking, and then tips up his cup and swallows the rest of it down. It is cooled enough now, thankfully, that it doesn't hurt him.
Hannibal takes his mug from him and sets it, along with his tea, on the bedside table without a word. Will's body is sleepy, but his head feels lit up like fireworks, sizzling and cracking in the nighttime canvass of his mind. He wants to sprawl himself across Hannibal's belly and chest, wants to put his ear to Hannibal's heartbeat and feel big, strong hands in his hair. He wants to touch – not for anything sexual, though if it led to that he's sure he wouldn't mind – but just because Hannibal looks so soft and yet so strong. He wants to know what steel feels like beneath velvet, wants to touch the sharp points of his teeth, the plush, damp softness of his mouth. Wants to know if that's really stubble or just a natural coloration on his face. Wants to pluck the tendons in his neck like strings of a guitar and listen to the thrum of his heartbeat beneath them.
He wants so much of it, all of it, so desperately he feels like he might die.
Hannibal reaches out, startling Will, and Hannibal's fingers curl beneath his chin, making him lift his head. "Has my potion done its work?" he asks, and Will wants to close up on himself and hide away, because Hannibal loves him, like a brother, and Will loves Hannibal in every other way.
But he nods, because the warm milk and the brandy are definitely getting him somewhere towards the realm of unconsciousness, and he's too exhausted to fight it. Hannibal's smile widens, pleased at the notion of getting Will to relax, and he pulls the sheets back so they can both settle more comfortably beneath them.
"I can go back to my room," Will mumbles, though his head is already on the pillow, and it smells like Hannibal, and his room is soft and golden and he's warm – and Hannibal, as he is, had thoroughly hemmed him in, and fighting free would take more effort and coordination than Will is capable of right now.
"Nonsense, Will," Hannibal replies, a laugh stuck in his throat. He slides down further on the bed until the curve of his shoulder makes the bed dip, the heat under the blankets grows stifling. Will doesn't open his eyes, not until the bedside lamp shuts off and the orange halo disappears from the backs of his eyelids.
He blinks, and sucks in a breath because he knows that Hannibal is looking at him. He can feel it, a deep, dark stare that tugs around the back of his ribs, compels him closer. "Do you want to keep talking?" he whispers, and wonders how 'talking' sounds so much more intimate, so suddenly. The idea of pulling the sheets above their heads and hearing Hannibal's whisper-growl, tasting the tea and brandy on their breath mixing together…. Will's brain is far from tired.
He flinches, so caught up in sound and scent he doesn't feel heat, and breathes out when Hannibal's hand gently settles on the side of his face. His fingers spread, cup Will's ear and makes him hear the ocean, and then his palm flattens and his nails push Will's hair from behind his ear and his neck, exposing flushed and sensitive skin, and Will lets out a sound that isn't quite human.
He doesn't react to seeing someone attractive – at his core, he doesn't feel attraction that way – but physical stimulus, well, his body is all-too happy to react to that. Always has been. He feels, sharp and powerful, and his neck is turning out to be unbearably sensitive, even to such a light touch as Hannibal's nails against it.
If Hannibal can feel Will's heart racing, or notices how he's shivering, he doesn't mention it – neither seeks to soothe nor apologize. Maybe he's waiting for something, but Will can't tell, because he can't see Hannibal's eyes. Can't read the shades in them that would give Hannibal away.
Hannibal keeps petting him, idly letting Will's curls drag and be tamed by every finger, the same way Will might entertain himself petting Winston when his coat gets thick and shaggy come winter. Hannibal's thumb brushes over his ear, curls beneath it, and Will flinches and reaches up to stop him when he brushes over Will's hammering pulse.
He clears his throat, and is glad the room is too dark to give away his blush. "You'll send me right to sleep, doing that," he replies, though it's almost certainly a lie, for while Will's body is heavy and warm, his heart won't rest for a moment, and his brain is on fire.
Hannibal doesn't pull his hand back, just lets it rest beneath Will's, over the corner of his jaw. "Do you want me to stop?" he whispers, and God, Will wishes he could see his eyes.
He can't speak.
"I meant it, Will," Hannibal continues, in his silence; "I won't force you into anything. Do you want me to stop?"
Will sucks in a breath, slowly, so that he doesn't make a sound. His fingers curl around Hannibal's, find his palm and fingers soft, strong, warm, and he can't -. Hannibal can't possibly be asking what Will thinks he's asking.
"I don't think you should be touching me like this."
"Not what I asked," Hannibal says, and Will can hear the smile in his voice. "Americans are practically touch-starved, I've noticed; there's nothing wrong with a little physical affection between friends, or brothers." He pauses, and Will swallows hard enough that his throat clicks. "If you're uncomfortable, I can stop."
"I don't want you to stop," Will says before he can stop himself. "I just…. I guess you're right. I got overwhelmed. Probably the alcohol."
Hannibal hums, and his fingers curl, and Will lets him go, so he can start petting Will again. He's careful to avoid Will's neck, instead pushing Will's hair from his forehead. Will shivers, and lets his hand rest on the small amount of space between them.
"So…in Europe…people touch each other more?" he asks, because if he doesn't say something dumb he'll say something stupid.
He hears the crease of Hannibal's pillowcase beneath his cheek as he nods. "It's not uncommon for friends to be physically affectionate with each other," he replies, and adds with humor; "I'm sure you've seen movies. Italian and Russian mafia exchanging kisses or embracing."
"Did you do that, back home?" Will asks, quivering and breathless.
"When my mother and I lived in France, and then in Italy, yes, I was quite close with a number of my friends," Hannibal murmurs. Will would give the world to know what he's thinking.
"Do you miss it?" he asks.
Hannibal pauses, and sighs. "The culture shock was quite jarring, I'll admit," he replies. "I find the idea of any physical affection between friends being interpreted as inherently sexual…short-sighted." He huffs. "The pack bond is a powerful thing, Will, and everyone, whether they admit it or not, knows the scent of their friends and family, knows their footfalls and the way the air changes as they pass."
Will knows – for a long time everyone thought he and Beverly were dating, just because she is prone to flopping all over any- and everyone she cares to, and Will is a frequent target for her tackling hugs or drunken slouching. He can recognize Alana and Margot by the click of their heels, the scent of their perfume; knows when Hannibal is near because his entire body grows warm in his presence.
Hannibal's fingers slow, apparently running out of hair to push away. His thumb brushes over Will's blushing cheek, and his fingers pull back, wrist resting over the back of Will's knuckles, on the bed. The loss of Hannibal's heat on his face, the tug in his hair, makes Will shiver.
He shouldn't say anything. He should go the fuck to sleep and roll onto his other side and block out Hannibal's heat, the sound of his breathing, the scent of him in the pillows. He should go back to his own fucking room and wait until dawn breaks and they can see each other, and they're both sober, and forget all of this.
He should. He should do a lot of things.
"You're right," he murmurs. "About the…the culture thing. It's stupid, if two people enjoy touching each other, they should be able to, no matter what their relationship is."
"I agree," Hannibal says, his voice a purr.
Will turns his hand, and Hannibal's fingers spread, letting Will push his own between them. Their fingers do not lace, but curl together, and Will's heart is flying.
"Hannibal?" he whispers, and hears Hannibal hum in answer.
Will has never been a man of many words – he prefers actions, for they are so much easier to read. And he's run out of things to say, because he doesn't want to say anything stupid, to ruin this. So he pushes forward and tugs Hannibal to him, curls in until Hannibal's arm must move, and lies against his flank. Will's knee knocks against his, and he bites his lower lip when Hannibal straightens his legs as though to give him room.
He pauses, a terrible chill running down his spine at the thought that he did read everything wrong – that Hannibal was just speaking in general hypotheticals, that he doesn't want to touch Will – and then he lets out a quiet sound as Hannibal's hand flattens on his shoulder.
"Do you want me to touch you, Will?" he asks.
"Yes," Will replies, rushed and soft.
Hannibal's hand tightens on his shoulder, an involuntary flex of his fingers and bite of his nails, and his exhale is heavy and warm on Will's face. He must have been waiting for it; for plain consent, because there is no hesitation as he wraps an arm around Will and pulls Will to his chest, and works his knee between both of Will's, and Will's heart suddenly goes still, and beats so slow it's like he's been injected with a sedative. The clamoring in his head goes silent.
Hannibal's hand slides up and wraps in his hair, and he tucks Will's face to his neck, his cheek on Will's temple. He breathes in deeply, like he's starving for it, and his other arm worms beneath Will's neck, allowing him to use his bicep for a pillow. He smells so good, like paper and his cologne and liquid heat. Will's hand flexes, and settles on the rise of his flank where his ribs start.
"It's nothing to be ashamed of, Will," he breathes, and Will shivers, able to feel the vibrating of his voice in his neck, in his chest. "I want it, too."
"Just…hugging?" Will says, and winces, because the word sounds so juvenile.
"If that's what you want, then yes," Hannibal replies. He smiles. "I wouldn't offer if I didn't want to."
"But what exactly do you want?" Will asks. He doesn't move otherwise – it's too dark to see Hannibal's face, but the thought of meeting his eyes is too daunting, even in the darkness. "I want to take care of you, too."
Hannibal is silent, for so long Will starts to get nervous, and shifts restlessly against him. One of his legs is above Hannibal's, and he runs the arch of his foot down his calf, squeezes gently with his knees. He won't retreat, now that he's gotten this far – finally, the alcohol has made him brave.
Hannibal shivers, and presses his knee more firmly between Will's, until Will can't deny that he's gripping Hannibal's thigh, instead. Closer to his chest, he curls up, presses, and tucks his nose beneath Hannibal's jaw. Can feel that Hannibal's own heart is beating strong and quick beneath his skin.
Hannibal, still, has said nothing. Will swallows. "You mentioned kissing."
Hannibal's hand tightens in his hair, and his exhale comes as more of a shaken growl that makes Will's chilled spine turn, suddenly, molten. "Do you like kissing, Will?"
"I don't know," Will replies. "Haven't really…done it all that much." He swallows. "Kissing usually leads to other things."
"It won't, with me," Hannibal promises. His head tilts, cheek brushing over Will's hair, and Will presses his lips together, tilts his chin up. "Would you like to?"
"Yes," Will breathes, his hand tightening on Hannibal's waist. Hannibal's arms loosen, to allow him to pull back, and their foreheads touch, and Will doesn't know if he's more excited or nervous, but he's definitely shaking.
Hannibal cups his face with one big, gentle hand, fits his fingers beneath Will's jaw, thumb to the corner of his mouth. He holds Will still, and leans in, and their noses brush, and then Hannibal's lips are on his, soft and full and warm. Will sucks in a breath, slides his hand up until he's gripping Hannibal's side beneath his arm, nails digging through his shirt.
It's closed-lipped, and chaste, and so, so warm Will thinks he might burst into flames, but it's also nice. Will knows Hannibal meant it – it won't lead to anything if he doesn't want it to. Hannibal's touch on him is not impatient, doesn't promise anything more. Hannibal lets it end, and Will is gratified to hear him breathing just as heavily as Will is.
"You're good at that," he whispers hoarsely.
Hannibal lets out a quiet, pleased sound, and brushes his thumb down Will's cheek. "Would you like to do it again?"
Hannibal keeps him still, arches a little closer so that every inch of them, chest to foot, is touching, and Will shivers, parting his lips, lets Hannibal's tongue dip between them for just a moment. He feels teeth along his lower lip and moans quietly, gripping the front of Hannibal's shirt tightly, keeping him close, his other hand still embedded in Hannibal's side. Brothers don't kiss like this, even Hannibal will admit that, he's sure, but Will doesn't care. They crossed that line at some point between the beginning of this night and now, and Will is sky-high, warm on the inside just from the simple pleasure of kissing the man he loves.
Hannibal breaks the kiss again, and rests their foreheads together. Will's lower lip is tender from his teeth, his mouth tingling and sensitive, blush-warm. He touches his lips and smiles.
"If…" He clears his throat, surprised at how rough and low his voice has gotten. "If you wanted to do that more often, I'd be okay with it."
Hannibal makes a noise that's almost a purr; Will can feel him vibrating with pleasure. Still, he does not press for more; nothing in his presence suggests that he's aggravated by Will's passivity, or his lack of desire to take things further.
"If you want me to, I will," he says.
Will presses his lips together, his brow creasing against Hannibal's forehead. "You want to as well, though, right?"
Hannibal laughs. "Will, let me say this as clearly and emphatically as I can, and know that I am being sincere; I will happily touch you as much as you are comfortable." Will blushes, and is glad, suddenly, for the darkness that hides it. "Whatever you want to do, and however often you want to do it, I wouldn't, if I didn't desire the same."
"I don't want you kissing anyone else," Will says, petting down Hannibal's flank. "I don't have any right to demand that, and I know that. Tell me now if it's not something you're okay with."
"You have every right to ask for it," Hannibal replies smoothly. Will can hear that he's smiling. "I will admit, thoughts of you have been with me for a very long time."
Will blinks. "Oh?"
"It's…one of the reasons Bedelia and I parted ways," Hannibal says, softly – not hesitant, but slow. "I spoke of you so often, she grew jealous of my attention to you." Will frowns, because until now they've barely shared a more intimate conversation than planning the day for carpooling, or the whereabouts of their respective parents, or attending parties and lectures together, or -. "She wanted me to ignore you entirely, and when I told her I would not do it, she ended our relationship."
Will swallows. "I don't know if I can give you what she did," he says, and hopes Hannibal understands what he means. "I might not ever."
"And if that's the case, then that's okay," Hannibal replies, and Will can tell he means that, too. "Tonight has been wonderful, and I could happily spend every night like this one. If you don't want to take it any further, then we won't."
Will doesn't know what to say to that. Except, "Should I be grateful?"
Hannibal laughs. "It's a mutual gratitude," he replies. "You have answered a question that has haunted me for months."
Will smiles, and closes his eyes. Warm in his chest, and his belly, and finally with a quiet head, he thinks he can sleep now. He tucks his nose to Hannibal's neck and wraps his arm around Hannibal's chest, shivering when Hannibal embraces him gently.
Hannibal sighs, and presses a kiss to Will's hair. "I love you very much, Will."
"I love you too," Will replies. Not in the way brothers should, though he's starting to understand that this, like gratitude, like appreciation, is mutual too. Hannibal doesn't love him the way brothers should, either.
"Sleep well," Hannibal murmurs, as his hand finds Will's hair again, curling loosely. He kisses Will's forehead, and Will smiles, pleased and warm. He lets the alcohol and warm milk tug him under, lets the weight of Hannibal's arm and the sound of his breathing and heartbeat soothe him, and it's the best night's sleep he's ever had.
Chapter 3: Gratitude and Appreciation
Will wakes in Hannibal's arms, his back to his brother's chest, blinking towards the wall. Hannibal is half on top of him, his cheek against Will's shoulder, his soft breaths curling around Will's bare arm. Will smiles to himself, letting out a contented sigh. It's just what he wanted – Hannibal, his scent embedded beneath Will's cheek, his warmth and weight pressing him down on the bed.
Hannibal stirs, nuzzling him absently, and Will sucks in a breath when he feels Hannibal's erection pressing against his ass.
Hannibal pauses, but only for a moment, and kisses Will's nape in something like apology. "Forgive me," he murmurs, and shifts his weight, pulling back. But Will doesn't want him to pull back – he aches as soon as Hannibal moves, suggesting he will pull away. He rolls onto his side, facing Hannibal, and reaches out to grab his shirt.
"Don't leave," he whispers. Hannibal meets his eyes, flushed from sleep, his hair adorably ruffled, his body lit from behind by the sunlight streaming in through his parted curtains. Outside, Will can hear Winston barking, probably trying to chase a squirrel.
Will presses closer, desperate to feel Hannibal against him again, and though Hannibal's arm wraps around his shoulders readily enough, he angles his hips back so that Will can't feel his erection. "Nothing a quick cold shower won't cure," he murmurs placidly, and kisses Will's forehead.
Will swallows, and knows he's being unfair when he says, "Please don't leave."
Hannibal's eyes flash, and he rubs at them, wiping away the crust of sleep. He wipes his hand over his mouth and sighs through his nose, and then nods, and rests his hand on Will's flank. Leans in, until their foreheads touch.
"Give me a moment," he says. Will nods, watching his face as Hannibal's jaw clenches, his eyes tighten. He sucks in a breath, and Will can't take it anymore – he leans in, touches Hannibal's chin, and kisses him. Hannibal answers him immediately, spurred into action by the press of Will's lips to his, and he tightens his hands on Will, rolling his hips so he ruts against Will's thigh.
He pulls back, gasping again, and goes utterly still. "Will," he growls in warning; "Don't do anything you're not comfortable with."
"It doesn't make me uncomfortable," Will replies. "I love you. I want to do this for you." Hannibal swallows, and it seems like he's searching for the answer to life's great mysteries in Will's eyes. "I wouldn't offer if I didn't want to," Will adds, throwing Hannibal's words back at him.
Hannibal breathes out heavily, and swallows again. "What do you want to do?"
Will bites his lower lip, drops his gaze. He can see the outline of Hannibal's cock through his clothes, and it looks big, and thick. He licks his lips and tastes Hannibal on them, and lifts his eyes again.
"Can I watch?"
Hannibal blinks, and Will sees his pupils flare out, utterly eclipsing his iris. Hannibal's hand flexes on him, petting down to his hip, then back up, like he can't quite figure out what to do with himself. But then, after another long moment, he nods, and leans in for another kiss.
Will meets him eagerly, rolls onto his elbow so he can prop himself up and kiss Hannibal from above. He cups Hannibal's face, and lets Hannibal taste him. If Hannibal cares about his morning breath, he doesn't voice it – Will doesn't care about his. Soon, his saliva covers the taste, and all he can feel is that now-familiar warmth.
He pulls back for air, blushing, and smiles. "Show me."
Hannibal nods, and looks down as he eases his lounge pants down his hips, over his thighs, baring his hard cock. Will sucks in a breath when he sees it, and sits more upright, admiring the thick patch of curling hairs around the base, the peek of slit and leaking precum from within his foreskin, the heaviness of his balls. The skin is blush-red, the head pink as Hannibal's mouth when Hannibal wraps a hand around his cock and gently eases the foreskin back, so Will can see.
"Mine's cut," Will says, because he's not sure what else to say.
Hannibal groans, his knuckles turning white as he strokes down to the base, and back up, so slowly. Will looks up and watches his face, shivering as Hannibal meets his gaze openly, his eyes black and the blush on his cheeks turning so much darker.
"What are you thinking about?" Will breathes.
Hannibal swallows, lashing fluttering as he drags his thumb over his leaking slit, works the pads of his fingers beneath the thick head, and his entire body shivers. "I don't want to make you uncomfortable," he rasps.
"Tell me," Will says, and lies down beside him again, turning his head so they can kiss.
Hannibal snarls against his mouth, hips arching to chase the tightness of his fist as he fucks through it. He's so wet at the head, it makes Will's mouth water. He wants to taste it, to see if it feels as good as when Hannibal kisses him.
"I'm thinking about you, Will," he murmurs, and cups Will's jaw with his free hand, rolling halfway onto his side. His arm bulges with muscle as he strokes himself, tugging on his cock and paying more attention to the head of it. "Always."
Will smiles, even though he knew that was the answer. It pleases him to know Hannibal isn't thinking about Bedelia, or any of his exes – just Will, even though Will hasn't done a damn thing for him. He kisses Hannibal again, swallowing his soft moan, and shivers when Hannibal's hand slides to his neck.
Hannibal notices, and his eyes flash. "Do you like it when I touch you here?" he whispers, thumbing over Will's racing pulse.
Will nods. "It feels good," he replies, and swallows when Hannibal does it again. He touches their foreheads together, shaking finely, and carefully eases a thigh forward, so that Hannibal's cock ruts against it. Hannibal stills, but just for a moment, before he releases his cock and cups Will's thigh inside, rolling his hips so that his cock slides over Will's sweatpants, through the bunching fabric, smearing his precum.
"What are you thinking about doing to me?" Will breathes.
Hannibal sighs, and smiles. "I…have a very sensitive sense of smell," he says, and Will nods, remembering when Hannibal and Cassandra first started living with them, Hannibal's compulsive need to clean and dust, and knowing what Will had for breakfast even past midnight, and knowing his mother was home just by the burst of her perfume before she even walked in the door. "A body in the throes of pleasure produces a scent that is -." He pauses, breath hitching, lashing fluttering for a brief moment. "I think about that, mostly. Soaking you with my scent and feeling you come apart beneath me, knowing I was the one to do it."
He reaches forward and curls his fingers around Hannibal's nape, lifts his head so Hannibal can press his nose to Will's neck, and his breath hitches when Hannibal growls, kisses warm and wet over his hammering pulse. It brings their bodies closer, sweating and warm in the oppressive heat of the room. Will kicks the blankets to their feet, grips Hannibal's ass so he can feel the flex of strong muscle as he grinds against Will's thigh, and up over his stomach.
"I've thought about you, too," Will confesses, kissing the words to Hannibal's red ear. Hannibal growls, and returns a hand to his cock, stroking tighter now. "Mostly just…how big you are. How strong. I liked waking up with you on top of me."
Hannibal moans, the sound surprisingly weak. His cock twitches and spurts another thick wad of precum onto Will's stomach, and it's warm and soaks into his shirt. Will can smell it, and he clutches at Hannibal and looks down so he can watch Hannibal's cock work through his fist. His knuckles are tight against Will's thigh, pressing to muscle with unyielding bone, and Will shivers again as the thought of Hannibal gripping him tight enough to bruise.
"What else," Will demands, breathless now. He pets through Hannibal's sweaty hair, breathes in the saltiness of it on his neck. "Are you inside me, in your head? Or am I inside you?"
"It varies," Hannibal breathes, and kisses Will's neck again. "I've thought about you wild, about me having to hold you down. Thought about going to my knees and making it last, until you were begging me to let you come."
Will's stomach clenches. He's so warm, so warm. He knows Hannibal has an accommodating nature, and likes making people happy, but this is more than that. This is service, this is worship.
He kisses Hannibal's ear, and bites the arch of it, a tremor running through him at the sound Hannibal makes to his neck. He pulls back for air, catches Will's jaw and kisses him fiercely, and rolls his hips powerfully enough that Will is forced onto his back.
Hannibal freezes at once, and his nostrils flare. "I'm sor -."
"Don't," Will says, and kisses him again. He tucks himself beneath Hannibal's chest, and rolls onto his belly. Hannibal is shaking beside him, trembling with indecision. "Weigh me down," Will adds, and looks at Hannibal, making sure Hannibal knows that he's not uncomfortable, not in the slightest. "Please?"
Hannibal nods, and pushes himself to his hands and knees, crawls over Will and presses himself flat. His cock ruts against Will's ass, his thighs trap and encase him so Will cannot buck, can only kick. His hands, big and wide, spread over Will's wrists and force his hands beneath the pillows.
Will lets out a weak, happy noise, because it feels better than he could have imagined, having Hannibal pin him down like this. His fingers flex, and lace with Hannibal's, and he arches his shoulders up, seeking more of Hannibal's mouth.
"Tell me if I need to stop," Hannibal says, and nuzzles Will's messy hair. Will nods, and Hannibal drags his nose down his nape, tucks under a single curl just shy of his spine, and grinds his cock fiercely against Will's flesh. He breathes out, and the warmth of his exhale sends a powerful shiver down Will's spine, that feels like it lights up every part of him.
"Oh," he gasps, and feels goose bumps breaking out down his neck, down his shoulders and arms. "Hannibal."
"Sensitive?" Hannibal guesses, and kisses over that tender spot.
Will nods, swallowing harshly. "I've never -." He moans weakly, when Hannibal parts his lips and licks, a small slip of his tongue that sends another shot of electricity down Will's spine. His hips arch up involuntarily, and he whimpers when Hannibal uses his body to force Will back down. "Oh, God, that feels…"
Hannibal presses his nose to Will's neck, and trembles just as harshly. He brings Will's hands together, tucks them beneath Will's chest, strong arms caging him in as Will pants against the pillows and writhes as much as he can, wanting Hannibal to feel good, wanting to chase that new, urgent heat that's gathering low in his belly.
"Hannibal, please," Will begs. "Please, don't stop."
Hannibal growls, and nips gently at that tender, pink spot on the back of Will's neck. Licks over the bite and kisses there instead. "I'm going to finish soon, Will," he says, low and rough. Will moans, frantic and nodding; please, please.
"You can come on my back," Will says. "I need to wash this shirt anyway."
Hannibal huffs a laugh, though it's somewhat strangled. He grips Will tightly and uses him, grinds hard and warm against Will's ass, and then rears up, one hand planted to Will's back between his shoulder blades, and Will gasps at the sound of him stroking his slick cock.
Hannibal's thighs tense, pull in, and the sound he makes when he comes makes Will smile. He flinches at the first spurt of come on his back, unprepared for it despite knowing it was coming, but relaxes soon after, sighing and closing his eyes as Hannibal spills over his back with a heavy, sated groan.
Hannibal bows over him, gentling his weight between Will's shoulders, his other hand planted by Will's head. Will's nostrils flare, smelling his mess, and he lets out a curious sound, turns his head and grabs Hannibal's hand, and brings his fingers to his mouth to taste.
It's not pleasant, and he wrinkles his nose, and Hannibal huffs another laugh, and kisses Will's red cheek.
"Can I do anything for you, Will?" he whispers, and Will can hear how much he wants to.
Will bites his lower lip, and takes Hannibal's dirty hand, worming it under his belly. He's hard, he started getting hard as soon as Hannibal laid on him, and with the touches to his neck and listening to the sounds Hannibal made as he moved against him, he's aching.
He whimpers when Hannibal's hand wraps around his cock, and Hannibal growls, and flattens himself to Will's back again. "Fuck, yeah," Will breathes, arching up so he can feel all of Hannibal's powerful body against his own. He closes his eyes, relishing the scent of him, that place in his chest that is so warm whenever Hannibal smiles at him is building in heat, and he might burst into flames and consume them both.
"Oh, Will," Hannibal growls, and kisses the back of his neck again. "I'll keep you smelling like this for the rest of my life." Will whimpers again, face screwed up as he feels the heat building, building, fuck, it has to go somewhere, it has to. Hannibal's other hand wraps in his hair and pulls, gently, but enough to make Will gasp. "You're mine, Will, and I am yours."
Hannibal purrs, a rumble in his chest Will feels against his slick back, and puts his teeth to Will's ear. "It's alright, Will. My sweet, wonderful little brother."
Will curls his fists against the bed, whimpers, closes his eyes as tight as he can. Grits his teeth.
"I love you so much, Will," Hannibal whispers, and kisses his neck. Slides his other arm around Will's chest to hold him tight and corral and consume him beneath Hannibal's weight. "I'm here, I've got you."
His hand tightens around the head of Will's cock, slides down to the very base, and Will moans, biting the pillow as he comes, quivering and shuddering beneath Hannibal as Hannibal works him through it. It soon becomes painful, but Will doesn't want it to stop – he likes it, he likes that Hannibal is still touching him, still weighing him down. If he wasn't here, Will would never stop flying.
Hannibal lets him go when Will spills his last, both of them breathing heavily, and Hannibal embraces him, and rolls onto his side so that he's not crushing Will anymore. For a moment, Will can only lie there and breathe, and then he turns to face his brother, and grabs him, and kisses him fiercely.
Hannibal's eyes are bright, the sated flush on his face is beautiful. Will wants to keep him like that for the rest of his life.
He kisses Hannibal again, unable to stop himself. He feels wild, raw, stripped bare, free. How long had he been so ashamed of what he wants, of who he wants – and yet Hannibal has no room in himself for shame. By proxy, Will doesn't either.
Will swallows, wets his lips, and rasps, "If you wanted to do that more often, I'd be okay with it."
Hannibal smiles, and pets his hair from his face. "Only if you want to," he says. "I know my actions haven't exactly been…proper, but I won't force you to -."
"Hannibal," Will says, and rolls his eyes, stopping him. "You're the smartest idiot I've ever met. I told you I have to love someone, first. I love you," he finishes plainly, because it is as plain and simple as that. "I want you in any way I can have you. In every way I can have you. Just…slowly?" He winces internally, because it sounds so childish to ask.
"As slowly as you need," Hannibal replies, his eyes shining with affection, his smile wide and loving.
Will smiles back, and then sighs, the rush of blood in his ears fading so that he can, once again, hear the rest of the world. "I have to go feed Winston."
"He can wait a moment longer," Hannibal replies, and pulls Will close. "Just let me hold you for a while."
Will smiles, happily nuzzling Hannibal's neck and curling up against his chest. He'll always be more than happy to cuddle.
"Well, since our last game was cut so short, I think Will should go first! Will, truth or dare?"
"Truth," Will replies, and grins at her.
Beverly's brows rise, superior and triumphant, and she smiles. "Tell us how you really feel about having Hannibal as your brother," she challenges, like this is a challenge.
Will's smile softens, and he looks to the side of him, where Hannibal is once again lounging in that beanbag chair, not a care in the world. Hannibal's eyes are soft with affection as he meets Will's smile.
"He's my brother," Will murmurs, and reaches out to take Hannibal's hand, squeezing gently. "I adore him."
Hannibal's eyes shine as he squeezes back, and Will's chest is so warm, heart fluttering so wildly, it might never go still again.
"Ugh, you're no fun," Beverly huffs, and turns her attention away from them. She spins the bottle, and it lands on Brian. "Aha! Alright, Brian, truth or dare…"