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“So often you open your mouth and I hear Will Graham’s words come out.”

They stand on either side of the body, drawn out of its steel container. Beverly Katz’ black eyes catch the light in a mischievous glitter as she resists a smile. Hannibal Lecter sees the truth of it and doesn’t resist his.

“I have an arrangement with Will.”

Hannibal’s smile falters the slightest bit, despite knowing of this tidbit of information already. He can’t help his thoughts from shifting to the end of the woman’s words: ‘with Will.’

“He's agreed to consult with me on cases, if I keep investigating the murders he's accused of,” Beverly continues.

“I'm happy to hear that. Will needs a champion now more than ever,” Hannibal speaks the words while within he shuts a large mahogany door firmly and throws the latch on a current of jealousy.

* * * *

Later that afternoon, Hannibal waits patiently, coat folded over one arm. He hears Frederick Chilton hobbling down the stairs before the man speaks, opening the barred security door as he does. It squeals gently.

“Dr. Lecter. I am so embarrassed. Didn't get my message? I canceled your appointment with Will Graham,” the man is saying, limping into view, voice sticky with false regret and frustration.

“Is everything alright?” Hannibal asks, genuinely curious.

“I can explain,” Chilton answers, and then gestures behind him. “Shall we?”

What follows are accusations and narrow-minded revelations, both on Chilton’s part. Hannibal doesn’t think twice about the man possibly endangering his own person with such information, true or not. Their words are traded evenly, and when Hannibal leaves, the only part of their exchange that smarts is the unspoken one; the one that gives Chilton the power to keep him from seeing Will.

Later…

When Hannibal catches Beverly, the unfortunate mouse to his cat, a tiny amount of consolation is had at removing her from Will’s circle. He can appreciate the woman’s cleverness, her fierce countenance in the last moment’s of her life, and he can appreciate her being gone more so. He dispatches of her cleanly and spends the rest of the evening with a glass of his finest pink wine and a heavy volume of poetry.

* * * *

What follows Beverly Katz’ death is both beautiful and wholly revelationary. Will attempts to have him murdered in time by young Matthew Brown, and Hannibal is incensed not by the act, but by the attention given to him by the man that he cannot keep out of the halls of his mind palace. Will strolls there, victorious. Always.

And there he remains, even when he is no longer locked away in the cold recesses of the BSHCI.

Even when Will Graham stands in the waiting room at his practice, there in that familiar place at that familiar time. He’s groomed, dressed for Hannibal’s taste, and the smirk around his lips is invigorating, teasing, sinful.

“Hello, Will,” Hannibal says, and his body is drawn tight with -- excitement, it must be.

“May I come in?” Blue-green eyes glimmer.

“Do you intend to point a gun at me?” he can’t help but question, even if he knows already that Will won’t.

“Not tonight.”

He steps backwards and allows the younger man to enter his office, inhaling softly as Will passes him into the room. That cologne; disgusting, if familiar. Comforting.

“Are you expecting someone?” Will asks.

Will anyone interrupt us?, he doesn’t.

“Only you,” Hannibal confesses truthfully, for he has been expecting this moment since he heard about Will’s release from the BSHCI.

The unspoken ‘always you’ lingers behind Hannibal’s eyes.

“Kept my standing appointment open,” Will observes.

(Hannibal doesn’t have the habit of imagining in others what they are thinking when they speak, nor does he presume to know the truth of a man’s words. But the way that Will speaks just then curls pleasantly in his guts, because beneath those words he most definitely sounds pleased.)

“And you’re right on time,” Hannibal says.

The air is heavy with tension and intention. Will continues speaking:

“I have to deal with you. And my feelings about you. I think it's best if I do that directly.”

Will steps close, closer, closest, until his shoes touch Hannibal’s, and he’s reaching forward without any hesitance whatsoever. Fingers brush the hair at the nape of the older man’s neck, and the sensation is thrilling.

“I’d like to resume my therapy,” Will Graham whispers.

And he presses firmly where his fingers had touched so softly, draws Hannibal forward into a jarring, possessive kiss. Teeth and tongues meet, the former clicking at the force, the latter dancing and combatting for dominance. Hannibal allows himself to shift, raises his own arms to embrace that which tempts him (eternally). And, of course, that is when Will chooses to cease and step away quickly, shoes tip-tapping on the hardwood floor. His cheeks are reddened, and he pants slightly. Hannibal feels his brief touch burning upon his lips and at the back of his neck.

“Will,” Hannibal growls.

Those eyes, narrowed, and that mouth, smirking. Hair cut and smoothed back. Body covered with precise lines, fabric shorn for only him, fitted with perfection. The jacket folded over his arm. Hannibal takes it all in and then strides forward quickly, two steps and his hands gain purchase on warmth and muscle. One tangles in those curls, grasps tightly, while the other lays flat between Will’s shoulder blades. Their lips meet wet and hot, another battle of sensuality. This time, Hannibal emerges the victor, flattening Will’s tongue and claiming every bit of his mouth that he can. The younger man’s hands flitter along his sides before wrapping around him resolutely. When they draw away to breathe air together, Will’s eyes are so dark, pupils wide.

“Hannibal,” Will gasps.

He remains within Hannibal’s arms, staring at him head-on, no shying of eye-contact to be had. Hannibal remembers that day, when they met.

“Not fond of eye-contact, are you?”

“Eyes are distracting. You see too much. You don’t see enough.”

And he continues, damning them both in that moment unknowingly, for it was then that their fate became intertwined infinitely.

And that was when it all began, when Hannibal Lecter found Will Graham waiting for him, in that office, and in his mind palace, where he shook out the dust of several rooms and claimed them all as his very own. Then, he had not been expected, and how very quickly that changed.

Now, standing in the office, with barely an inch to separate them, Hannibal inhales as Will exhales. They breathe life one into the other.

Hannibal closes his eyes and Will opens his. A second passes, and then Hannibal pulls away (not without regret), smooths his hands over his suit, and walks to the two chairs facing each other in the office. He sits in one and crosses his legs. Will’s smirk returns as he sits in the other, mirroring.

“Where shall we begin?” Hannibal asks.