Hannibal Lecter has his hands inside the body cavity of another human being. It is, without question, the loveliest thing Will Graham has ever seen.
It was Beverly, in the end, who had figured out that the ambulance driver – Devon Silvestri – Will has just seen cuffed and dragged off was responsible for the string of corpses. Which is how they had ended up here, in an isolated stretch of land, with a fortunately-present Hannibal taking Silvestri’s place in order to save the man who lay, cut open and almost minus a kidney, in the back of the ambulance. And how Will came to be witness to the striking sight of Hannibal rolling back his cuffs to plunge his long, elegant hands into a bloody disaster that he had, in his usual, understated, Hannibal style, deemed as having been executed quite poorly.
Under other circumstances, Will would have smirked at that.
The fact that Will cannot wrest his eyes from the bloody scene in front of him is not, in itself, a problem. It is his job to look at bloody scenes and, in any case, there are several others watching with him. The issue is that Will is not watching the body, or the blood, or the crime scene. He is watching Hannibal – his hands, his skill, his calmness – and Will is beginning to realise just how far he's come from considering the man as just his psychiatrist. How much greater than – God forbid – “friendly” he has allowed his feelings to grow. Will looks at Hannibal and what he sees is Alpha.
Or, more specifically and far more worryingly: my Alpha.
And it is this realisation that likely causes Will’s own Omegan body to call attention to the presence of his ideal mate in the near vicinity.
Will feels his feet place themselves firmly on the ground, his body straighten, his shoulders pull back.
Oh no. Not here. Not now.
He feels his chin lift, throat exposed, and his mouth open.
He releases the cry perched beneath his chin.
His Omega cry.
The sign that tells the intended Alpha, I choose you, you are my mate, we are compatible. Take me, knot me, bond me, breed me.
The upshot of this biological loudhailing is: a) a satisfyingly low divorce rate amongst Alpha/Omega pairings; b) the immediate onset of a powerful, days-long heat/rut, assuming the Alpha in question responds in the affirmative; and therefore c) the existence, in many hospitals and hotels, of discreet facilities into which soon-to-be-bonded mates can check without prior notice and enjoy their subsequent heat/rut in peace.
The upshot of Will's cry is deathly silence and an expression on the face of Hannibal Lecter, still engaged in the continuation of a man’s life, which lasts approximately two seconds but, to Will’s uniquely tuned mind, displays shock, confusion, joy, possessiveness, lust, irritation and calculation in approximately that order.
Will is reasonably sure he got them all but he admits he's not on top form at this precise moment.
Because once an Omega has given their cry, they are physically unable to do anything other than speak until they receive a response from their prospective Alpha. Fortunately, running at top speed in the opposite direction is generally taken as a no because otherwise the streets would be littered with frozen Omegas.
So, while everyone else in the area shakes off their shock/annoyance/amusement, Will is left a vibrating, anticipatory, paralysed mess.
And that's a problem because Hannibal is a little occupied right now and if he responds with a Yes, Will, you are the one for me, then his subsequent rut is going to get rather in the way of any lifesaving endeavours.
So, in a voice pulsating with Alpha command, he instructs the entire room to “Please, remain still. I request that nobody move or make noise for the few minutes I require to ensure this man’s survival. After that, you may complete your work and we will deal with this issue calmly.”
This issue. That doesn't sound like enthusiasm.
Will is about to explode from embarrassment and dashed hopes, when Hannibal adds, in a much quieter tone, “Are you quite alright, Will?”
Will pulls himself together enough to answer, “I'm not the most comfortable I've ever been but I'm coping.”
“Good then,” Hannibal replies, stealing a glance from his work, “wouldn't want my mate to suffer on my behalf.” And then he winks and Will thinks he might actually begin glowing from the inside out.
It is still, though, the longest ten minutes of his life.
Nobody dares come near him. Not even Jack, who surely is about to burst a blood vessel from all the shouting he is not currently doing. Instead Will waits and watches Hannibal work – which is exactly what got you into this mess in the first place – and wonders what those hands will feel like on his body.
Ten minutes pass with the impression of eternity.
Hannibal does not rush. He knows the man can be saved and so he ensures it. He knows he must clean himself afterwards and so he does that too. And then, with the strength of an Alpha with pressing business, he lifts the stretcher down from the ambulance single-handed, passes the patient off to the waiting EMT’s with some words about the requisite aftercare and finally kisses Will, a powerful, claiming thing with the promise of many more like it, over years and years to come.
And then he drags the younger man back into the ambulance and slams the doors.
At which point, Jack Crawford decides that he has permission to shout again and does so. At length. With, at one point, both feet braced against the ambulance, arms straining at its locked doors.
“That is a crime scene! An active, unexamined, uncatalogued crime scene! You are breaking the goddamn law and I will throw the pair of you in jail, heat or no heat!”
“Boss!” Beverly Katz, the only person present brave enough to confront the livid beast before her, rushes over, trying to get Crawford's attention. “Boss! Jack!”
“What?” he roars, still attached to the vehicle.
“Ok, I never thought I'd get a chance to say this but: if the ambulance is rocking, don't come a-knocking. Especially if it's being rocked by post-cry bonding sex.”
Jack glares at her, a look that would make lesser women back down. Beverly simply looks back and says, soothingly, “That scene is already ruined, boss. There will be no uncontaminated surface in there. If Lecter's half the Alpha he seems, by the time they're done we’ll be lucky if it still has walls.”
Jack sighs and drops back to the ground. Beverly is a little impressed by his strength. Then she realises that Jack’s furious tirade had been hiding the litany of filthy sounds issuing from the ambulance. Other women would have blushed. Beverly just cups her hands around her mouth and shouts “Ok everybody, show’s not nearly over, plenty to see here, but we're pros, we got a job to finish and none of you are going to be here when those doors open again. Got it? Good. And if anyone knows how to lead us in song, that might be a great idea.”
The gathered agents and techs follow her orders without pause (save the suggestion to sing, which means that, amongst other things, Beverly gets to learn what dirty talk sounds like in Lithuanian and that sex is the one area of life in which Will Graham is not shy and retiring). Given the general lack of evidence outside the vehicle, the area quickly becomes empty and quiet, save for the presence of Jack, Beverly and the presumably now-bonded couple in the ambulance.
It takes a much longer time for the sounds of mating to subside. Presently they do, however, and soon after the doors swing open and a positively wrecked-looking Hannibal and Will emerge, matching bite marks showing painfully on their throats. Jack and Beverly rise to meet them, the three men wearing slightly awkward expressions in contrast to Beverly’s knowing grin. She notes, with utter glee, that the new mates’ hands are clutched tight together, fingers entwined. As the four stand together, Jack looks past them into the ambulance and groans. It is every bit as wrecked as Will and Hannibal.
“My most sincere apologies, Jack,” Hannibal offers. “I believe it took every ounce of self-control I possess to continue the surgery while knowing that Will was waiting for me. Given how long I have been waiting for him to state an interest, I consider the fact that I was able to last ten minutes without claiming him as quite remarkable.” Will blushes at this and hides his face in Hannibal's shoulder.
Jack sighs and rubs a hand across his face. “No apology necessary, Doctor. You saved a man’s life, under difficult circumstances, that's the important thing. We caught Silvestri red-handed,”
“Literally!” interjects Beverly, waggling her brows.
“Katz!” Jack bellows.
“Sorry, boss,” she says, blatantly insincere.
“In any case,” Jack continues, “that should be more than enough to convict him.” He considered for a second and added, “Next time, though, Will, maybe ask him to dinner, first?”
“Won't be a next time, Jack,” comes the muffled response.
Beverly has never seen Hannibal Lecter beam before. It is an odd but surprisingly sweet experience.
“You know,” Jack adds, pointing to Beverly, “you really have her to thank for the lack of interruptions. If she hadn't talked me down, I was about to draw my gun and shoot the doors off the thing.”
Beverly greatly doubts this is the case but she thumps her chest anyway and declares, “I am but a servant for your love. And nookie.”
Hannibal looks mildly scandalised at this but inclines his head towards Beverly and says, low and dignified, “Thank you, Miss Katz. I owe you a great debt.”
Will can only peek up at her from behind his tousled curls, with a sheepish but pleased smile. Given that he accompanies it with fully four seconds of direct eye contact, though, Beverly takes it as the gushing thanks it is clearly meant to be.
They are speeding towards Hannibal's home in his Bentley when he poses the question to Will. “May I be so bold as to ask,”
“I think we passed ‘bold’ about seven orgasms ago.”
Hannibal smiles. “Yes, quite. In that case, I shall simply ask, what triggered your cry today?”
Will squirms a little, only partly from arousal, and hedges, “You can't guess?”
“You were affected by the sight of me saving a life, I believe. Your body responded to an Alpha with the ability to protect life. Survival-wise, a very sensible response.”
Will hears the Alpha pride in Hannibal’s voice. Not nearly as strong as he might expect under the circumstances – and Will feels just the tiniest spark of disappointment at that – but then, it is in Hannibal's nature to be emotionally controlled and understated. It seems, therefore, almost a shame to take this idea from him but it also seems counterproductive to lie about something so foundational to the man to whom he's just biologically bound himself. He just hopes Hannibal won't regret his choice.
“No, nothing that noble,” Will begins, trying not to sound bitter. “You might not like this but it was the blood.” He sees Hannibal's eyebrows rise and pushes on, heart in mouth. “It was you, covered in blood, elbow deep in someone’s body and with absolute power over whether he lived or died.” He doesn't verbalise the thought that should finish that statement: and I don't know if you choosing his death would have made any difference to my response. Will doesn't know what that says about him and he definitely doesn't want to know what Hannibal would think. He waits, in a moment that feels like a bruise, for Hannibal to respond.
Then Hannibal growls, a pure Alpha response that makes Will’s whole body shudder with relief and pleasure. Ok body, he thinks, good job on the whole compatibility thing. Somehow, it seems, he has found the only man who thinks that is not only an appropriate response but also a huge turn on. Because now Hannibal is suffused with pride, gunning his engine, driving the accelerator to the floor and placing a possessive hand as far up Will's thigh as he can without actually administering a hand job.
“Hannibal,” Will adds, writhing minutely but uncontrollably, “there has to be a hotel nearby. I don't think either of us can last long enough to get to your house.”
“No.” Utter Alpha dominance. Will knows this is an effect of the rut hormones on Hannibal, who would never be so domineering when in his right mind, which is why he allows his own hormone-driven moan of arousal to escape at this point. “In our home. In our bed.”
Will runs a hand along Hannibal's impossible cheekbone and into his hair, in lieu of just grabbing and kissing him. “I'm not selling my house.”
“I would not ask you to.”
“And after this heat, we're not instantly moving in together.”
“Not instantly, no.”
“And I might want to move to a new house entirely, one we both pick.”
“Very sensible, my darling.”
“And now I need to stop talking and you need to take your hands off me because otherwise I am going to come and you are likely to crash the car.”
“Of course, love.”
Please, God, let there be no traffic cops on the way home.