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The Greatest Gift

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The soft glow of an early morning sun illuminates the bedroom as Will wakes. The smell of spiced coffee, and unexpectedly, pine, permeates the air. He takes a deep breath and takes his time to stretch his sleepy body beneath the warm covers before leaving the bed to find Hannibal.

Florence’s floppy ears perk as she wakes suddenly, realizing that Will has left the bed. After overcoming a great yawn, she stretches her legs and jumps off the bed to quickly follow Will through the house, nails clicking on the hardwood as she scurries beside him.

Will bends down to lift her into his arms and carries her the rest of the way to the living room where he finds a tall, fully decorated Christmas tree proudly standing next to the lit fireplace. Beneath its branches rest several presents, each one meticulously wrapped in ornate paper and tied with a large bow.

As this discovery brings the realization that it is Christmas morning, strong arms wrap around his waist. Florence wriggles in Will’s arms, climbing over his shoulder to get to Hannibal’s face. She whines and licks at his nose and cheeks. Hannibal smiles and rubs behind one of her silky ears before Will lets her down on the floor to roam freely. He returns to his place in Hannibal’s arms, nuzzling his cheek with his forehead.

“This is a surprise.”

Hannibal’s smile widens, he slips his warm hands up the back of Will’s sweater to rub along his spine.

“I thought it would be nice to enjoy a traditional Christmas together. Is it a pleasant surprise?”

Will chuckles, the corners of his eyes crinkle as he grins, “Of course. It’s great. And you chopped it down all by yourself?” he asks incredulously.

“Indeed I did,” Hannibal insists, tightening his hold on Will as he nuzzles his cheek.

“I’m impressed,” Will says as he leans into the touch. He glances at the presents surrounding the tree, “And are those all for me?” he asks.

Hannibal chuckles, pulling away to run his fingers through Will’s curls, his eyes trace the beautiful imperfections of Will’s face, “They are.”

Will drapes his arms around Hannibal’s neck, brows furrowing as he touches his forehead to Hannibal’s.

“But I didn’t get you anything.”

Hannibal looks into Will’s eyes, the lights from the tree reflected in the deep blues of his irises.

“I only need you,” he whispers before leaning in to place a gentle kiss to Will’s warm lips.

Will smiles into the kiss and pulls Hannibal closer, deepening their kiss while carding his fingers through his short graying hair.

When they finally separate, they both gaze up at their sparkling Christmas tree.

Will releases a deep sigh of contentment.

“Merry Christmas, Hannibal.”

“Merry Christmas, Will.”