He begins cautiously.
A small ceramic dog with a chipped tail, tucked in the corner window of a second hand shop.
“That looks like Winston,” he says.
Hannibal is beside him, warm hand in the small of his back.
“Would you like it?”
Will doesn’t hesitate. He leans into the touch, pressing their shoulders together.
Hannibal buys him the dog, makes sure the shopkeeper wraps it carefully in tissue, treating it as though it were a priceless heirloom.
Perhaps one day, sold at auction for enthusiasts of the macabre, it will be.
Or perhaps it will sit on their mantelpiece and collect dust until they pass peacefully on.
Will knows which is more likely, but he sets Winston Junior on the mantelpiece anyway, turned to face them as they sit together by the fire.
They pass a bookstore on their walk the next day. It specializes in rare and antique editions.
“I need new books,” Will says, “to occupy the time.”
Hannibal nods, opens the door for him. “Of course.”
Will heads straight for the glass case, selects an 1897 first edition of Dracula.
“This,” he points out. Hannibal ushers the meek sales clerk to unlock the case. He lifts the book out with trembling hands, holding it like a newborn.
Hannibal tilts his head, examines the other editions neatly preserved behind the glass.
“Surely you’ll need more than one.”
Will’s lips curve into a slow smile.
“Yes. I will.”
The clerk looks up at them from under bottle-thick glasses, the wisps of his hair quavering.
“We’ll take three more,” Hannibal says.
Will raises an eyebrow. “Four.”
“Why not five?”
Hannibal’s eyes are burning. Will thinks he might topple over from the force of it, but instead he digs in his heels and pulls the reins tight.
A spark of flame licks between them and Hannibal smiles without his mouth, his pleasure on full display for Will’s eyes only.
“Seven,” Hannibal doesn’t even look at the clerk. “We’ll take seven.”
Will swallows as the air around them vibrates, the scent of leather and parchment scratched out by the palpable heat Hannibal radiates towards him.
Between their silent exchange, the clerk stands. “Er, which ones, sir?”
Hannibal smirks. “It doesn’t matter,” he says with disinterest, “he won’t read them anyway.”
“No,” Will agrees, “I won’t.”
The shop’s practices are old-fashioned and so their books are wrapped in thick layers of butcher paper, tied with string.
When they leave, Will loops his hand through the crooks of Hannibal’s arm as they traverse the cobblestones.
“Dracula I’ll read,” he says. Hannibal brushes the back of his hand over Will’s fingers.
The thought scoops a thrill in the pit of his stomach. He reads aloud to Hannibal that night in bed, and when his voice grows gravelly and rough Hannibal plucks the book from his hand and kisses him on the mouth.
It is gentle and soft. Will pets at Hannibal’s hair and hums approval from his throat.
Hannibal falls asleep with his head pillowed on Will’s chest and wakes up the same.
When Will sees a watch he likes in the pages of the magazine he’s leafing through he flags the page. When he finishes the article he’s reading he stands and deposits the magazine open in front of Hannibal.
He runs his fingers across the picture of the watch as he walks past. He does not ask.
The next day there is a black velvet box on the dining room table.
When he fastens the strap over his wrist, Will realizes he’s half-hard.
Hannibal watches him from behind hooded eyes as he twists his wrist to see the light glint off his new present.
“Do you like it?”
Will just looks at him, eyes dark and voice thick. “You know I do.”
That evening, they make love for the first time, naked and bathed in the glow of firelight.
Will keeps the watch on.
“I think you’d give me anything I ask for,” Will says as he buttons the jacket of his new exquisitely tailored suit. Hannibal watches over his shoulder in the mirror.
“Have I led you to believe anything else?” he asks. He slips his arm around Will’s waist. Will traces over each bone in his hand.
“No,” he replies, “but I’m surprised how much I like it.”
Hannibal shifts behind him, presses closer. “And how much do you like it?”
Will tilts his head back to accept the kiss offered up to him.
They celebrate a year together in a lavish suite overlooking the Seine. They take champagne on their balcony and Hannibal feeds him fresh strawberries. He had instructed the hotel staff to acquire only fresh ones from Provence, chilled and set aside with a bowl of cream.
All of this at Will’s request.
Hannibal dips a berry into the cream and brings it to Will’s mouth, touching it teasingly to his lips. Will licks out his tongue, tasting the milky sugar, and bites. He kisses the sweetness back to Hannibal, feeding him his own desire as he does.
Hannibal wraps arms around him, a little difficult to do in the plump and sumptuous robes they have wrapped around them, but they manage.
Will sighs against the softness of Hannibal’s shoulder.
“It’s not the money,” he says.
Hannibal’s mouth pauses around the kiss he forms over Will’s brow.
“I know,” he replies, “it’s knowing the power you wield over me.”
He finishes his kiss and starts a warm trail of them, stringing hot and wet down his jaw to below his collarbone as he pulls Will’s robe to the side.
Will clutches at his hair and moans softly. He closes his eyes and they are back on the cliff, bruised and holy, seafoam and blood spiraling around them.
“I would buy the world,” Hannibal whispers into his skin, “and watch you burn it at my feet.”
Will wraps his arms tight and smiles around the dark.
“Bring me the matches.”