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Every step of the way

Chapter Text

The alarm went off once, it was one of those old alarm clocks that had a chicken and chics around it on the screen, a hand hit it off. Will got up immediately and walked, completely naked, to the bathroom door of the small apartment. 

It was a perfect apartment for him, but so small that it always sparked arguments with Frederick about when he was going to move in with him. Will did not want to. He would not give up his independence. Also, Chilton was one of those guys who liked to synchronize schedules and even clothes with his partner. Will would still be authentic even if no one else cared. 

He showered and started dressing in his uniform. Chilton's cell phone began to vibrate as soon as he put on the police cap. He took it to see if he should wake him up or not, since he still slept in bed. Lorna was his secretary. He answered to tell her that he was running late, but  he would be arriving at the office soon. Lorna was a kind old lady who had worked as Chilton's father's secretary and one of the few people to congratulate him on their relationship a year ago.

Before he could say good mornings a male voice screamed in his ear in annoyance.

-Frederick, where the hell did you sleep last night? .. I was waiting for you to come to take me to the theater  .. what the hell is wrong with you? ..
.. it is our anniversary .. i am sick of this .. did you hear me ?. .

Will remained silent.
-Frederick? ...

-He ... is sleeping ...
-What? ... who's talking? ...

Will ended the call. Frederick watched him sitting on the bed with his eyes wide with panic. Ready to go to work, the officer only took his  weapon and his belongings that were on the night table. Without looking at his partner for a year, he said dryly.

-When I come back I don't want you to be here ... or I'll throw your things out the window myself ...

Will left, slamming the door on his way out.

*

Mr. Marlow opened the door of the taxi so that his wife and son could get in. Once inside, while the vehicle navigated the streets of the city, the family discussed their plans after a well-deserved vacation.

The taxi driver looked from time to time in the rearview mirror at the family. 

The man was in his forties. Medium complexion, it would not be a problem for him. The woman had a nice body and her pale calves stood out in the black skirt that tightened her legs to below her knee. He stared at them for a second and then looked back at the traffic, his tongue wetting his bottom lip. His cleft lip was  more noticeable by the gesture. 

In the middle of the couple was the boy. He appeared to be 8 years old. Quiet. Aware the holidays had only caused more tension between his parents. Each immersed in their phones after talking for 3 minutes. It was obvious the little one would be in the middle of a divorce soon.

The taxi driver felt compassion for him. It reminded him of his own childhood just before he fell into the hands of his paternal grandmother. He would kill him fast and painlessly ... maybe ..

*

Will was leaving the coffee shop with a coffee in his hand. He was walking towards his motorcycle. The weather was cool. It wasn't as cold as yesterday, but he still felt a bit of sweat  on the edge of his binder. He wanted to scratch there.

He was next to his motorcycle and was almost finishing his coffee when two visibly alarmed teenagers approached him .

*

Minutes before...

-We shouldn't be here ... this place stinks ... let's go.
-Don't be a chicken ... this place is abandoned. No one will bother us here ..
-But I don't like it ..

The tallest black teenager wrapped his arms around his boyfriend's waist. A few rays of light light that entered through the collapsed ceiling allowed him to see  the beautiful freckles that covered the redhead's nose. They started kissing.

As the kisses grew more intense, the young black boy began to arrange them so that they lay down on the dirt floor of the building in disgrace.

The redhead looked to the side as his boyfriend left marks on his neck. His eyes widened in terror ..

He screamed.

Chapter Text

Will had taken  statements and data from the nervous boyd. Now he bent down to examine the hand protruding from the ground. The skin and muscles from the finger to the knuckles had been removed, exposing the bone. A thick ruby ring rested on the bony forefinger. He put on gloves and started taking photos with his phone.

His eyes narrowed as he noticed what looked like a small piece of paper with a Chinese symbol written on it. Next to the tiny paper was a nut and another piece of bone.

Will rummaged through his pocket for a quarter coin. He placed it on the side of the objects for a comparative photograph.

*

- "Jack ... what do I owe this pleasant visit? Are you coming for work or will you accompany me to lunch?"

The former forensic psychology consultant to the FBI asked. A suspect in a case in which he had managed to elucidate the identity of the criminal, had broken into his office and attacked him. After a fight to the death, the man lay dead on the floor, while Hannibal was panting lying on his stomach on the carpet with a serious bleeding wound on his lower back. A bloodstained deer ornament lay a few inches from Hannibal.

In the following months the doctor had undergone operations and rehabilitation to regain mobility in his legs. Most of his days  spent in bed reading, drawing and consulting on the phone. Most of his patients had refused to be referred and  he attended to them by video calls. Sometimes Jack called him, but usually he visited  in person.

Jack smiled at him. They shook hands.

- "I'm afraid it is for work, but the talk will last until lunch. If it's not inconvenient."

- "It is always a pleasure to have a friend for lunch."

After eating and having reviewed the photos and reports, Hannibal asked curiously.

- "Who took these pictures ?."

They had been done impeccably and with a meticulousness uncharacteristic of the team's photos with which Jack normally worked.

- "A rookie officer."

Jack smiled. Hannibal raised an eyebrow. It wouldn't be any rookie if Jack already had them in his sights for the BAU.

- "I would like to meet him .."

Jack sighed and pulled his chair closer to the bed.

- "Are you looking for a ward? Are you planning to stop helping us? .. You know that you could only return ... No one would think anything if you return in .."

Hannibal laid his head on the back of the bed. He closed his eyes to further dramatize his performance.

- "I do not even want to consider a wheelchair .. I have been analyzing the possibility of an exoskeleton that allows me to regain my autonomy ..."

Jack nodded and stood up. He started to put on his jacket. Hannibal had already provided him with the information that the photographs could give, but he needed to interview Will to get a better view of the scene. The idea of bringing those two minds together in a team was starting to form in the agent's mind when he left the loft apartment.

*

Will entered his apartment after a tiring day of work. Jack had harassed him from the academy and would not leave him alone now that he was in a case involving the FBI. He dropped the keys on the plate on the small table by the kitchen.

The bed was made and there was a bouquet of red roses on it. He took the note that said "I am sorry, I love you." He turned it over to see the reverse ... nothing else. He threw bouquet and note in the trash and went to shower.

He cried a little ... from frustration and from his hurt pride. His feelings for Frederick had been fading for months. He had a job that consumed most of his time and an apartment that although tiny were things he had accomplished on his own ... by himself.t Things he loved. 

No one would ever tell him what to do with his life.Where to go, where to live, or who should  he be  ... not again.

He remembered his father and his rejection, although with much less intensity, it hurt him again.He only had himself. He would follow the same path he had carved out for himself and no one would stop him from enjoying it. Even his police station colleagues had accepted him without much fanfare after he clarified his pronouns. His father could keep roting in jail. He didn't hate him, but he wouldn't forget what he had done to him.

He touched his shoulder, where it was the scar from the kitchen knife that his own blood had nailed there years ago. He lifted his chin and took a deep breath. He turned off the shower and left the bathroom wrapping himself in his dressing gown.

He would have dinner and then watch some tv before  going to bed . Or so he thought when  there was a call  on his cell phone.

Chapter Text

The building was huge. One of the most luxurious in the city. Will was wearing a blue shirt and jeans.He felt a little out of place browsing the lobby and in the elevator full of wealthy people. Except for the part where he was locked in a small space with excessive and sweet perfume around him, everything was perfect aesthetics around him.

*

- "Everything is in order. Massage and exercises have helped a lot with muscular atrophy. Call me if you need me or if you have back pain. I will see you on Friday".

- "Thank you Francis. Have a good night. Until then."

Hannibal said goodbye to the physical therapist, who nodded. The man was already walking towards the door accompanied by Reba, Hannibal's personal assistant.

*

His hand was about to touch the door when it burst open. A black woman and a very tall white man looked at him. 

It surprised him a little. He noticed the man was wearing a white coat.

- "Doctor .. Lecter ?."

- "No ... Good night ... Reba."

The change in  thetman's behavior was drastic. He went from emitting an aura of mistrust to one of kindness and smiles towards the woman when he mentioned her name. He passed by Will's side without looking at him after she said goodbye to him.

Will was still watching him walk when the woman invited him in.

It was a gallery type apartment. A large space and a large part of the walls were floor to ceiling windows. His eyes swept over the luxurious furniture to the other side of the place. It was huge. His small department was  like a closet in comparison.

His eyes suddenly met other ones reddish amber colored. A man sitting on the bed watched him with a smile.Probably in the  good humor at watching  him staring at his home in admiration. Will smiled ruefully.

- "Doctor Lecter..I guess." 
- "Nice to meet you, Officer Graham." 
- "The pleasure is mine ... your reputation precedes you  ,Doctor. Your last book was incredible ... I passed my thesis thanks to it." 
- "And how about your grades?" 
- "The best of the best ..."

They both smiled. The admiration was mutual.Without realizing it, they had spent an hour addressing the case. Hannibal was delighted with the young agent's brilliance and Will with the doctor's amount of forensic psycopsych and historical knowledge .

Reba brought them dinner. They ate and kept talking. Their conversation drifted, after a while, to historical and scientific topics, briefly going through the arts until Will felt confident enough to ask him about the origin of his current condition.

He cleared his throat and tentatively asked.

- "Umm ... can I ...can i ask you a personal question? You don't have to answer me if you don't want ... how do you..umm.how?  .."

Hannibal  answered  before he could finish the question.

- "A patient attacked me in my office. He didn't have an appointment. I was just ... about to retire to my home at the end of the day. He burst through the door. We argued and he attacked me. We fought, but he hit me several times with a decorative  ornament on my lower back. I managed to snatch it and hit him in the temple with  great force. Too much force I must say ... after recovering I moved here. 

- "The woman who opened the door for me .." 
- "My assistant ... are you surprised that I chose someone who is blind?" 
- "Ah..no. I figured it must be someone competent and loyal... ad to someone as independent as you would place your trust in her. " 
-"Smart boy.."

Will blushed and looked down. Hannibal smiled like the cat that got the cream. 

- "It's true..Reba is a dear friend of mine and very efficient."

A few knocks on the door interrupted their conversation. 

*

Jack apologized for being late. They addressed the case. Revisiting each test and each theory again.

- "There was a piece of bone. And a small piece of paper with a Chinese symbol on it that appears commonly in the mayong game. Also next to it was a particularly old nut."

Will said showing the pictures of the scene.Hannibal smiled, while looking at him. Jack spoke up.

- "My team determined that it is a human bone belonging to the radius. It seems that it was recently extracted. It is not from the same person to which the hand belongs."

Hannibal commented looking at the photograph of the bone.

"Probably from the wife or son. It's a clue for us to find both or one of them specifically. The killer leaves breadcrumbs for us."

- "Jack. Did the lab said something about the bone density ? .. We can determine if it is from the mother or the child with that."

Jack pulled out his cell phone and dialed. A short exchange of words and then  he cut the call. 

Hannibal was pensive looking at the photograph of the nut.

- "This is very old. From the rust stains you can see that it is  old metal ... maybe early 1900s. It is very large. It reminds me of those used in the piping system in London..Will could you pass me a book on that shelf, please?

The officer got up immediately.

-"Sure". 

- "Thank you.  The thick blue one that is in the third row."

In the doctor's hands, after viewing the index, the pages were flipped so fast that neither Will nor Jack could read a word. Hannibal clearly remembered a reference he had read before. He found the page he was looking for and a grayscale photograph showed them that the piece provided was from  old steam pipes. Hannibal closed the book.

Jack's cell phone rang. Brief words were exchanged before Jack hung up.

- "According to the bone density, it is an adult over 30 years old. Thank God ... it is not the child's .."

Jack looked up at the ceiling while rubbing the bridge of his nose, he started walking in circles. 

Will rubbed his eyes with his fingertips and leaned back in the chair by the doctor's bed. 


- "Where are there old pipes of that type in this city? .. that are still working."

Jack called his team again. 

- "They will have the information in a few hours. It is not exactly information digitally available .. what does this mean? .. what the hell does he mean? .. it is obvious that this is a game for him .."

-"The Red Dragon.."

Hannibal whispered.

Will and Jack asked in unison. 
-"What?!."

Chapter Text

- "The symbol on the piece of paper is the symbol of the red dragon. It can be a clue or a signature. I am more inclined to the latter. Very smart thinking about the pipes, Will ... It can be a clue about the place where to find  mother and  child. "

- "Thank you. Umm ... why do you think he left the piece of bone on the scene? .."

- "The author of this crime wanted to leave a clue to the police ... he is narcissistic and self-centered. He wants our attention and knows that by giving us the possibility of finding the victims alive we will voluntarily enter his game. What I do not know is if he is a game with timer or not. "

- "Stopwatch ... time ...."

Will looked at him thoughtfully as he said those words. He sighed and then looked into space.

The pendulum swung from side to side ...

Like lightning he lifted his head and sucked in air as if he had broken the surface of the water and took a deep breath for the first time in a long time.He stared at Hannibal and then at Jack.

- "Jack. Look for the pipes that are active and the hours they are open. The motherfucker is going to kill them with gas! .. We must hurry ..."

Jack said goodbye  with cell phone still in his ear. He had to push to work all night if necessary.They had  found them quickly. When he left, Will and Hannibal were left alone.

Will watched his hands silently. His mind still mulling over the details of the case. Hannibal watched him with admiration. At first he was curious to know why Jack was so interested in a simple officer, but after witnessing with his own eyes how the young man's mind worked, his curiosity and admiration grew.

Reba approached them after a few seconds.

- "Hannibal? .. I'm going home. If you need me for anything, call me. Good evening ... Good evening officer Graham."

Hannibal and Will said goodbye to her. Will got up from the chair and rested hid hands on his waist to lean back. A "pop" sound followed by a groan of relief brought a smile to Hannibal's face.

- "It's late. You must rest, officer." 
- "Will .. Will is fine." 
- "In that case call me Hannibal. It is possible  Jack will interrupt your daily tasks again tomorrow. Did you come in your own vehicle or taxi?" 
- "Umm.. bike. And yes, I'm sure Jack will extract me from wherever i find myself  tomorrow. He has wanted for me to work with him for a long time." 
- "And why haven't you accepted his offer? .." 
- "Too many people ... and a family incident prevented me from passing the psychological test ..."

Will looked uncomfortably to the side. Hannibal's hand found his. He lightly stroked the knuckles with his fingertips. Will still didn't look up, but he didn't remove his hand either. He blushed.

- "It is fascinating to witness the process in which your mind connects with that of the murderer ... Will ... do you see it in  third person perspective or are your hands the ones you see committing the crime ...?"

The doctor whispered softly. Will bit his lip. He closed his eyes and gripped the hand Hannibal was still stroking.

- "I see myself doing it ..."

The young officer also whispered back. The doctor raised his hand and flirtatiously kissed the back of it. Will looked at him in surprise.

- "Good evening, sweet William."

Hannibal said with his lips still brushing the skin of his hand.

 

Several minutes after Will was gone, Hannibal leaned to the side and picked up something that was hidden under his bed.

A pair of crutches.

He walked with their help towards the kitchen. He made tea and went to the window. He smiled cat-like thinking of Will.

Chapter Text

The slap burned, not only from the pain in his cheek and the split lip but in his soul. Will wanted to cry, but held his tears and stared with all his anger at his father. He was drunk, as always.

Minutes later everything was blurry and his head and shoulder hurt a lot. They had argued. He had chased him from the kitchen to the living room with a knife. Will hadn't noticed it until he turned around because of his screams. Cold metal pierced his shoulder. 

Everything happened so fast that his mind only registered sounds and smells. The noise of his racing breathing was all he could hear. He was on the floor. His shoulder was bleeding profusely. His father lay a few meters away passed out from a blow to the head. Remains of a broken vase were around him. 

With shaking hands he dialed 911. 

- "Willa ..."

He spun around in fear and watched the man crawl toward him with the knife. In a second he was on him. The bloody blade pressed against his neck. He couldn't breathe because of his fear.

- "Dad ... please! .."

Will sat on his bed. He was sweating and his face was covered in tears. He had a panic attack. He could hardly breathe. Hazy images of that day flashed through his mind like flashes of pain. He tried to calm himself by doing  breathing exercises. His hands squeezing the sheets. After several minutes, when his breathing returned to normal, his hands released the sheets to wipe away the tears on his face. Hee turned off the alarm that kept ringing.

It was 5 am. An incoming call   on his phone. It was Jack.


The team of men worked the best they could.Tearing down the ancient wall piece by piece. The police had closed the traffic of the streets surrounding the area above their heads. Will had a special suit on and smart goggles that allowed him to be in contact with Hannibal by voice and a small camera in them showed him the scene. The doctor had insisted that Will should be the first to go in.

That way he could see the scene before the forensic team walked in and Will could use his gift on a fresh scene. When they finished demolishing the wall, they stepped aside and at Jack's command, Will entered cautiously. Armed agents were behind him, but stayed behind at  the open hole so as not to contaminate the scene.

Jack and Hannibal could see inside the place, the first from behind Will and the second from the screen of his laptop in his apartment. Very thick metal pipes were interspersed with each other.Small steam escapes in them made the underground environment stifling.

Will kept walking and saw a figure that appeared to be sitting on the ground. He hastened his steps to have a better view. He was looking around in case the killer was close. His right hand touched his  weapon, as he cautiously advanced.

The steam receded a little with each step he took.On the ground chained to a steam pipe was a woman in her thirties. She was breathing. Will crouched in front of her and touched her neck looking for a pulse. She was alive, but unconscious.

Steam was beginning to cloud his goggles.Hannibal's voice leaked through the headset of his visors.

- "Will ... I need you to look around  slowly and to the ground around the victim ... calm down ... I'll be with you every step of the way ..."

Chapter Text

Hannibal's voice sounded  more nervous.

- "Will !! Please get out of there. You will burn !!! The steam is going to kill you !! Get out !!! Get out now !!"

The young man was crying. He couldn't save her.He took her hand while the lady cried and screamed for he to help her. 

-"I am sorry ..I am so sorry!.."

He got up just secinse before a column of steam burned the poor woman to a crisp. Desperate, heartbreaking screams filled the space. Will ran to the exit. Steam poured out of the gap, engulfing Will just as he crossed it. All officers recoiled from the intense heat.

The screaming stopped and seconds later the steam stopped coming out  . The clouds were fading and the temperature was dropping. Will was devastated. He was crying  helplessly. Jack lowered his head and rubbed the arch of his nose with his fingers.

Will began to remove his suit after handing the bag of evidence to a coroner. He threw the suit on the ground. The doctor's soft, worried voice was the last thing he heard before he threw the goggles to the floor.

- "Will .. you did everything you could .."

Jack approached Will to try to calm him down, but Beverly stopped him  with a hand on his forearm and a negative shake of her head. Will walked as fast as he could from the scene. 

Hannibal closed the laptop on his lap. He looked at the ceiling and sighed. An incoming call to his cell phone pulled him from his thoughts.

-"Jack." 
- " Did you see everything? .."

 - "Yes .. You can come, but I ask you to let Will rest for a few hours. This experience was very hard on his psyche. When he is better he will look for you." 
- "Frankly, I hope he looks for you .. If he looks for me it will be to quit the case .." 
- "What Will has, Jack. It is a gift. The gift of empathy. Amplified by mirror neurons in his brain. Which makes what he experiences in the dark space he enters to shake his perception. Feeling what the killer and victim feel can be very disturbing. Be patient with him, Jack. " 
- "Patience? Have patience? I have been patient since he graduated from the academy..and now he  almost break at a crime scene ..!
- "If you press him, you will lose him, Jack. Let me help good Will. I think I can help him see the face of this murderer, without having him see the abyss by himself ..."


Hours later, when Jack had spent half an hour in Hannibal's apartment analyzing the evidence and DNA results of the victims, Will entered visibly exhausted and greeted them still visibly upset.

- "Will .."

Hannibal said compelling in one word compassion and concern. Will smiled sadly. Jack interrupted their quiet  conversation.

- "Are you okay? .. Tell me you can kept working .."

Hannibal closed his eyes at the agent's lack of tact and looked closely at Will, who answered lamely . As if he wanted to convince himself.

- "I'm fine .. I can .."

He sat down in the chair next to the bed. They reviewed the evidence.

There was another piece of paper with the mark of the red dragon. A handful of soil that was being analyzed by forensics, but  according to preliminary results had high concentrations of limestone and was native to an area on the outskirts of the city. Drops of blood on the generic paper on which it had been spilled the soil which belonged a pig's blood. And one nail that was next to the rest, and still had blood on one edge, belonged to a child's index finger. It had been plucked and also three rat hairs in the middle of the soil.

Will got up and went to the floor to ceiling window. He looked at the city lights. New York looked beautiful at night, but dangers lurked in the shadows. Dark corners where monsters crawled waiting to attack the next victim. Will closed his eyes and the pendulum began to move.

A child hung from his arms by chains. Drops of blood fell to the dirty floor. Hooks hung from the ceiling. The stench of old blood permeated the air.Some rats were beginning to come out of the shadows at the smell of blood. After a few minutes a crowd of rodents began to surround the little one in the darkness of the place. The boy freaked out and raised his feet as high as he could off the ground and screamed.

Will opened his eyes and gasped softly.

- "Ah! .."

He turned around and looked at Jack with fear in his eyes.

- "He is in a place where they used to butchered pigs! .. The place is in disuse. Kid is bleeding .. there are rats."

Jack pulled out his cell phone and started walking to the door without saying goodbye, shouting orders to Beverly about abandoned slaughterhouses on the outskirts of the city.

Chapter Text

- "Thank you .." 
- "What for?" 
- "For allowing me to bother you during your free time ... and at this hour. Sorry." 
- "It's not a bother. Your company is a pleasure. Do you feel better?"

Will smiled and took a sip of the whiskey Hannibal had offered him. At first it felt a bit strange opening the doctor's liquor cabinet. After a short conversation, his discomfort turned to anxiety at the memory of the woman's face begging for his help. He snapped out of his trance to a delicate brush of fingers over his knuckles. 

- "If you follow this path you will see even more things that will disturb your sleep and peace of mind ..., but I am certain that you have such a strength that does not compare to that of the officers who were present at the scene today ..."

Will rubbed his eyes after the last drink of whiskey. He rested his head on the comfortable back of the chair. It was late, but at least tomorrow will be a day off.

- "I knew it would be like that when I tried to get into the academy ... Does watching becomes easier with time? .." 
- "Sometimes .., but time makes it affect you less .."

Will sighed and closed his eyes for a moment. He felt fingers caressing his cheek. He slowly opened his eyes. Hannibal was looking at him smiling. Will sat up abruptly.

- "Oh! .. I'm sorry .. did I fall asleep? .." 
- "Mhmm."

The young officer got up to take his things.Hannibal was looking at him peacefully.

They looked at each other for a few seconds. Will's hands caressing his own jacket and he was playing with his keys. Hannibal tilted his head to one side and smiled at him.

- "It's late to travel by motorcycle .. you could stay if you want." 
- "No. I have to go. I already bothered you enough."

Hannibal nodded. Even after a few seconds of being immobile Will did not leave. He shook his head and said quietly to himself.

-"God damn it !.."

He leaned over the doctor and kissed him.Hannibal was a little surprised. For a few seconds their lips connected languidly. When Will began to separate, Hannibal grabbed him by both wrists. 

His tongue teasing the corners of the young officer's mouth. Will couldn't resist any longer and gave him entry. The kiss deepened . A small moan from Will ignited the flame of desire inside the doctor, capturing the delicate lips over and over again.

Will's jacket fell to the ground. The kiss became more intense. The desire was mutual. Will moaned again. One of Hannibal's arms went around Will's waist, pulling him closer. The young man lean his forearm on the pillow where Hannibal rested his head and slowly raised his knee to the bed.

Hannibal grabbed him around the waist with both hands and pulled him hard onto the bed so that Will was sitting on the doctor's lap, legs bent on either side of the doctor's body. They stopped kissing to looked at each other for a few seconds.

They were both exited. The doctor   hair was wild and his clothes disheveled. He was looking with dilated pupils at the young man above him. His reddened, parted lips were a temptation to Will. He gave him one last peck and put all his weight on the doctor's lap. 

Without taking his eyes off him, he began  unbuttoning his flannel shirt. The doctor's hands ran up the officer's legs. Shirt and binder fell to the floor. Will was starting to unzip his pants when Hannibal attacked his neck with kisses.

Will's hands gripped the doctor's shoulders.Hannibal sucked, leaving reddish marks on the young man's neck, while his hands went up, caressing the soft and delicate skin of his hips to then slowly traveled the entire expanse of his bare back. Will recaptured the doctor's mouth in kisses interrupted only by his attempts to remove the doctor's shirt.

Both of them stripped of their shirts, Hannibal latched onto his neck. Will tilted his head to the side to give him more access. Hannibal's teeth left marks on the pale neck that his tongue caressed tenderly. Will knew he would leave marks, but he didn't care. He wanted him. It had been so long since he felt like this: Wanted ... And the doctor  desperately wanted him . He could feel it through his empathy. Admiration mixed with a burning desire.

Chapter Text

After a few minutes, Hannibal's hands moved up his torso caressing his chest. He took one of his nipples into his mouth and sucked gently, then biting around it. His teeth nibbled gently down to the arch near the ribs. Will sighed ecstatically. The doctor moved to the other nipple and did the same, but this time he sucked hard on the delicate bulb finally.

Will tensed up. He could feel wetness between his legs. Hannibal's hands helped him peel off his ruined pants and underwear. The doctor contemplated him for a few seconds. His heated gaze full of desire traveled every part of his body.Will smiled and then helped him with his clothes.

Both naked, Hannibal's hands covered Will's buttocks, who was kissing him again. The doctor's hands went up to his hips and down to his thighs, repeating the path several times. Caressing and squeezing according to the passion of their kisses.

Suddenly Hannibal gasped in surprise. Will took him in his hands. The young officer stared at him, as he rose to his knees and slowly introduced the doctor's penis into his body. Hannibal closed his eyes for a few seconds as he fully penetrated his warm body.

When he was fully situated, he opened his eyes.Will's eyes were closed and he was breathing through his mouth. Hannibal's fingers tightened on his hips. The young officer moaned and opened his eyes. They looked at each other for a few seconds in silence. Will bit his lip and began to rise and fall rapidly. He was riding him ..

Warm inner walls were squeezing the doctor's member causing softs sounds to escape from his throat. Will's curls clung to his own forehead and neck.Hannibal's nails left half moons on the other's hips.

Hannibal was looking at him ecstatically. Will moving on top of him. The strength of his muscles. The sheen of sweat on the flushed skin of his chest and neck. The prominent muscles of his arms. The tension in his thighs he could feel under his arms .. He was sublime .. beautiful .. Hannibal wished he was his.

Will picked up his speed. He was panting and tilted his head back with the first signs of his impending orgasm. Hannibal was clenching his teeth from the power of the sensation.

At one point they looked at each other and held hands. They propped them up on the pillows behind the doctor. Hannibal whispered the young officer's name.

- "Will ..."

- "Nngghh..Haa..Hanibaaal .."

Will frowned and tilted his head forward. His hair fell to his forehead covering his eyes. Hannibal felt the first contractions. He squeezed the young man's hips harder. It would leave bruises that would bloom tomorrow.

They came at the same time. Together, in an explosion of pleasure that left them trembling  and a little tired. At least until  next time, hours later ...

 

*


The dawn light touched the boy's face. His wild curls covered one of his eyes. He wrinkled his nose. It was weird to him that his alarm didn't go off even if it was Saturday. He used  to go for a morning run. 

He felt warmth on his back and tried to turn around, but couldn't. He opened his eyes and was surprised.

The sun was rising on the far horizon and its faint morning rays colored the clouds. It was the beginning of dawn. He could see it through the floor-to-ceiling windows of Hannibal's apartment. 

He smiled and felt pleasantly sore in his sex. They had done it again several times during the night.After those sweet memories, a bit of panic infiltrated his thoughts without permission: "Oh shit! .. I slept with Dr. Lecter .. If Jack finds out .. oh .. no !. And if it was only a one time only to the doctor? .. God, Will what were you thinking? .. "

He felt the weight on the bed shifting and he was able to move. He turned around. Hannibal was leaning on his elbows to settle on his back. He smiled at him and, before lying down on the pillows, he stole a kiss from him.

Will blushed. He cleared his throat to wished him a good morning.

- "Good morning ... Will."

Said the doctor, while he stroked the curls on the other's forehead with his fingers. 

At that moment a cell phone began to ring in the room. Will recognized the ringtone and jumped out of bed completely naked to search his pants pockets, which had ended up on the floor overnight.

He straightened up and looked at the incoming caller ID. It was Jack. He answered and started walking to the floor-to-ceiling window and then back to where the bookshelves were.

Hannibal watched him with rapt attention. His eyes scanning once more, but this time with the help of daylight, the curves of his hips, the muscles in his arms and legs, the length of his neck. Everything about Will was perfect. He smiled unconsciously. 

 

Chapter Text


Will turned around in a moment and looked at him as he spoke. He looked down at his body and then back to Hannibal. He blushed from neck to ears and stuttered into the cell phone.

Then he hung up and started lifting his clothes off the floor and his shoes.

- "It was Jack. They checked 3 possible places where the boy could be. He thinks they found it, but there is no trace of the boy. The place is surrounded but they are waiting for me. Umm.. He wants me to use the googles from the last time." 

- "Will ..." 
- "Mmm .."

Hannibal pointed to a camouflaged door in one of the walls.

- "You can take what you need.  There are clothes that will fit you at the back of the walk-in closet.Take a bath and you can go from here to the scene. I'm sure you will find suitable clothing."

Will hesitated for a few seconds. He left his rumpled clothes on a chair and his shoes next to it. He opened the door slowly and his jaw nearly dropped in amazement. It wasn't a closet, it was a room the size of his apartment with rows and rows of clothes and shoes.

He entered and headed to the back of the room. Hannibal watched him until he disappeared deep inside the closet. Walking naked. As he passed, his fingers caressed the row of suits of different textures and colors. He got to the back. Indeed the clothes there seemed to be smaller . He grabbed a blue shirt that looked his size and a pair of black dress pants. It was too much to expect Hannibal to owned jeans, he thought.

In one corner he found an antique wooden cabinet with underwear and white T-shirts. He took what was necessary and left  to enter the bathroom.

When he was ready, he came out already dressed and putting on his shoes. Hannibal was not in bed.

Will was surprised, but thought maybe Reeba had come early and helped him to the kitchen. He went to look at the kitchen and what he saw made him smile.

Hannibal was filling two mugs with delicious-scented coffee. He was dressed in a red sweater and a pair of pajama bottoms. He was using crutches. 

Will put his clothes from the day before on an armchair and approached him smiling.

- "Do you have another surprise up your sleeve? .." 
- "Maybe ... coffee? 
-" Yes, please..mmm it smells delicious. So ... you can walk on crutches, but Jack doesn't know because..? .. "

Hannibal took a sip and handed him a plate of toasts. They were topped with procciutto, a cheese that looked like goat's cheese, and thinly sliced fresh tomatoes dusted with spices. It looked delicious. Will sat down on one of the bar stools that surrounded the central granite table.

- "A few years ago a patient attacked me as you already know. Shortly after I received a call to the  telephone of my previous home. It was his son. He promised revenge and said he was closer than anyone expected. Since then I have been cautious and I have not told anyone that I can walk on my own with the help of crutches and ... I have been .. practicing .. "

Will tilted his head to the side questioningly as he chewed on his toast.

Hannibal left the crutches leaning against the granite table and began to walk shakily and slowly toward the refrigerator. Will stopped eating.

- "Oh God! .. Hannibal ..!."

A wide smile lit up his face.

The doctor leaned back against the refrigerator to rest. He smiled and after a few seconds returned to the young officer's side.

They both smiled and continued eating.

- "How long ago was that call? .." 
- "Two years ago." 
- "You haven't told anyone .. Do you suspect  it could be someone close to Jack? .."

Hannibal didn't answer him, he just nodded, but the truth was that he had a clear idea of who it could be. He was just waiting for them to attack him first. He didn't say any of this to Will so as not to involve him.

Jack called Will once more insisting that he hurry.They  braced himself, and several minutes later Will said his goodbyes to Hannibal with a quick kiss and left. 

Chapter Text

Will's footsteps echoed in the gloomy abandoned slaughterhouse .Everything smelled of corroded metal and old blood. Some hooks hung from the ceiling. The light coming from his goggles allowed him to see a few meters ahead. Jack and the team were waiting outside. They had quickly check the scene. They had found nothing. Jack decided to wait for Will and  processed the scene later.

Will's breathing was normal and calm, but there was a tingling on the back of his neck that told him that things were not what they seemed. He went through an open door at the back of the gallery and saw shoe prints and drag marks that led to a wall.

He  got tensed. There was a delicate line on the wall. It looked like a door. Forensics and Jack's team hadn't gotten this far. Understandably since the door seemed to be camouflaged by the corrosion of the walls and grime accumulated by years of neglect.

Will pushed open the metal door with his shoulder, while holding up his regulation weapon. He entered through the small gap. He did not open the door fully. His breathing sped up. Will began to tremble a little when he saw the scene before his eyes.

There was a small shape of a kid hanging in chains by his arms. He was suspended in the air one meter above the ground. Thousands of rats filled the floor of the place. Some mounted on others trying to reach the little one. His naked body was covered in small cuts that dripped blood to the ground. 

Hannibal who was watching everything thanks to the cameras in Will's goggles spoke to him through the earpiece in a soft and calculated voice to calm him down.

- "Will..remember that I am with you .."

Will interrupted him whispering.

- "Yes .. I know .. Every step of the way .."

He could hear Hannibal smile a little. He then instructed him to shoot the rats to disperse them.Jack would come immediately because he was watching the live video and if not he would come  at the sound the gunshot.The murderer would probably have left by now as in  previous scenes. Will fired.

The little boy seemed unconscious. He  was startled at the sound .He began shaking a little and was whimpering. The rats dispersed immediately. Will ran to  free the little boy. He carried him in his arms and at that moment Jack arrived with the rest of the team. Several agents surrounded them and one of them released the little boy from the chains, while Will carried him.Another officer put a shock blanket over the boy's shoulders. Jack watched the whole scene with a bitter expression. 

Will whispered words of encouragement into the little boy's ear. The child was still crying. After a few hours the forensic team found no leads. Not even the signature of the red dragon. Will was in the ambulance with the child in his arms. His wounds had been examined and disinfected and then covered with bandages. Only his face was not covered in cuts.

He had fallen asleep in Will's arms and refused to be carried by someone else. Jack approached them. Soon they would be leaving in the direction of the hospital where the boy's grandparents were waiting.

- "Do you think he remembers something about the murderer? .. He did not leave anything this time .. would it be that this kid is his last victim in a while? .." 


- "It is possible  he covered his face, Jack .. We will not know until they question the child. I do not know If it's his last scene. Plus they haven't found the rest of Mr. Marlow's body yet. Hannibal thinks the killer expected us to be late, Jack. His game was to humiliate us. We both thought that maybe after a while he'll do it again and give us clues where Mr. Marlow body is or maybe he did and we haven't found them. "

Will was silent for a few seconds.

- "Analyze the dirt that was just below the child. The one that seems darker than the rest of the room. It may not be just blood..I don't know. It's just a hunch .."

- "Sir! .. Agent Crawford."

They both turned to see an agent approaching them. He came running and when he was a few steps away, he saw the boy sleeping and spoke in a low voice.

- "We found a piece of paper with a symbol on one of the rafters that held the hooks to the ceiling. And Dr. Katz believed the dirt in the scene is different in composition from the dirt surrounding the place, Sir."

Jack nodded and left Wil to accompany the agent.Will looked up at the abandoned building and then at the sky that was beginning to turn pink from the approaching night.

*

- "Thanks for dinner, but I have to go. Good evening, Hannibal. And Will..thanks for agreeing to work with us .."

Jack smiled finishing the last of his beer. Will also said goodbye.

- "I must go too..it's getting late."

They said goodbye to Hannibal and went on their way with Reeba who was also leaving for the night .Hannibal stayed in bed for a few minutes, reading the files for more clues leading to the capture of the red dragon.

The doctor looked up to see  the door opening slightly. He frowned and prepared  mentally for the encounter. The suspect calmly walked to where Hannibal was after silently pushing the door shut behind him.

They both looked into each other's eyes. Hannibal said in a low, grave tone.

- "Francis".

Chapter Text

Hannibal lay on the floor next to his bed. Francis had grabbed him by the hair and punched him until his lip  was torned before throwing him to the ground. Now he was walking a few steps from him.

- "All this time you knew it ... and you didn't tell anyone about my call  ... hahaha ... You self-centered. It's good for you to bite the dust from time to time."

Hannibal gasped. His teeth stained with blood. He replied with a voice that denoted  restrained anger.

- ".. I knew it was you. However, there is something that intrigues me. Your father never spoke well of you in our sessions. He did not love your mother ... proof of that is the number of women he raped and killed. You think that placing the blame for  your mother suicide and the death of your father in jail on my shoulders redeems them ..? .. " 
-" SHUT UP! .. 
- "Ughmnn!"

Hannibal squirmed from the kick to his stomach. The doctor smiled when he saw Francis  turned his back on him for a moment, while taking breaths to calm himself. Francis probably wanted to take his sweet time killing him. Those precious seconds allowed him to pull a crutch out from under his bed.

*

Francis screamed at the top of his lungs. So loud that Hannibal doubted anyone wouldn't hear him in the building. Blood spurted from the man's injured eye. Hannibal had thrust the tip of the crutch into his eye. Francis was so furious that he snatched the crutch from him and started hitting him with it.Two blows to his head and Hannibal was already dizzy.

This time he managed to take the end of the crutch and pull it. Francis fell to his knees and they immediately began to fight.

The door slammed open against the wall. Hannibal glanced toward the door and Francis punched him on the temple. The doctor fell knocked out to the floor.

- "STOP !! .. Hands in the air! .. Turn slowly ... any movement and I  am gonna shoot .."

Francis rose slowly with his hands up. He turned around very slowly and smirked. He pounced on the young officer. Will fired.


*

Will was on the ground. They had fought and although at first he managed to dominate  Francis, when he tried to handcuff him the man hit him hard, grabbing him by the head and slamming it against the floor. 

His head hurt a lot. His vision was blurred and a cold substance stained his right eye. He was bleeding. He lifted his head and then had to lay down again. Everything was spinning. He faintly remembered being hit with the butt of his gun just after looking at the ground closely from his head being slammed against it. 

Francis was panting, holding his side. Will had managed to shoot him in the side and shoulder before they fought and he could take the gun from the officer. Will was stronger than he looked despite his small size. Francis face still ached from Will's fists.

Francis knelt in front of Will. Both legs on both sides of the young man. He began to feel him down for his cell phone or identification. He had to make sure that he had not called anyone before entering.His fingers felt a very particular softness on the young man's chest. Francis was surprised, but then he chuckled. He could not believe it. He looked at Hannibal who was still on the ground a few feet away.

Hannibal didn't sit up, but blinked in daze as he watched them. Francis smiled sinisterly. With his hand he wiped blood that flowed from his own nose. He spoke in a low, somewhat hoarse voice.

- "I'm going to do to your girlfriend as my father did to those women .. and then I'm going to tie her up on the pier next to the corpse of that bastard Marlow .. Like two lovers with their hands tied. Hahaha .. She'll drown when the tide rises. Don't worry .. I'll kill you after I make her mine. You won't have to watch her die .. "

Hannibal was still panting, but his eyes were now focused on Dollarhyde. His lower lip and teeth  covered in blood. He showed him his teeth, but said nothing.

Francis looked at Will. He started unbuttoning his shirt and when the last button was free he sighed a little. His hands slowly traveled over the young man's belly and then went up to his breasts and squeezed them in the palms of his hands.Francis was beginning to pant. He licked his blood-covered lower lip.

His thumbs squeezed Will's nipples to harden them. Will  shook his head from side to side in and out of unconsciousness. Francis wasn't going to wait any longer. He released his small breasts and without taking his eyes off the young man, he began to unbutton his pants. He got up on his knees and lowered his  zipper.

Bloody fingers appeared on Francis's head. His eyes widened and a second later a sick sound of bones breaking was heard in the silence of the place.

Hannibal had broken his neck.

Dollarhyde's body fell sideways to the floor.Hannibal had crept to his feet. The sight of the open zipper brought bile to the doctor's throat. Will whimpered and Hannibal was on his knees beside him in a second.

Hannibal took Will's cell phone out of his pocket and dialed Jack's number.

- "Hannibal.?." 
- "Will. You have a concussion .. Help will come soon, don't worry ... But why did you come back?

Hannibal stroked the curls on Will's forehead. The tones of the call being connected from the cell phone were very loud for the  officer. Will stared at him for a second and closed his eyes again as he replied in a weak tone.

-"I wanted to be with you..."

Hannibal smiled .. The call was connected at that moment and  Jack voice leaked into the silence of the apartment ...

Chapter Text

The light of the dying sun was reflected on the murky waters of the pier. The sunset with its sadder colors than usual in the bay. Agents and forensics moved around him without Will noticing. His eyes fixed on the corpse of Mr. Marlow. The body was beginning to swell and the skin was of a sickly gray color. Green and brown bruises showed where the dragon had struck the man to dominate him. The fish had preyed on his eyes and tongue.

Will put his hand to his head. It hurt a bit. A bandage surrounded his head. It was too early to leave medical care, but the young officer could not bear to be in hospitals. After this he would go to Hannibal's. At his request, he would spend a few days there. The doctor wanted to look after him. He was concerned about the psychological consequences of the attack. Will didn't really remember much, but Hannibal was visibly upset.They had talked about what happened. Will was grateful to him for saving him at the last minute.

At that moment Jack arrived and stood beside him. He looked at the removal of the body with a frown. In a deep voice that reflected the exhaustion of two sleepless days, he asked no one in particular.

- "Will cruelty stop one day? .."

Will replied without looking at him. It was getting late and he was tired. He just wanted to eat something solid and sleep through the weekend.

- "As long as the human being exists ... there will be cruelty ..., but there will also be people who want to remedy it."

Jack smiled at Will, patted him on the shoulder and told him to go rest. In a few days he would contact him.

*

Soft music played coming from the master bedroom. Soft light from aesthetic lighting reflected off the marbled surfaces of the antique tub. Multi-colored glass bottles with fancy labels were lined up on the luxurious shelves.

The water was warm and scented with fragrances Hannibal had chosen. The doctor's hands roamed the expanse of Will's bare back. His gaze focused on the drops of water that ran down Will's skin.

The floor near the tub was wet from the small waves  caused by Will's movements. He moaned the doctor's name. His hands clung to both pristine sides of the white tub that ended in golden lion paws. Without a doubt an antique.

From the first day he had accompanied Hannibal on his move back to his old home, Will had fallen in love with the house. From its dark corners and eccentric art. Its antique furniture and Hannibal's collection of books. He was particularly struck by the painting of Leda and the swan in the dining room. He couldn't  forgot about it. The image was imprinted on his memory as his gaze had been fixed on it when he mounted Hannibal in one of the dining room chairs, just after dinner. It had been quick and incredibly sexy to make love half dressed. Their pants  below their thighs, just enough to allow them to move without restriction. Hannibal had loved it. So much so that he made sure to take Will home to dinner at least once a week. Those dinners always ended the same to  the pleasure of both ...

In the present Will rose and fell gently. He tried to control himself so as not to make a mess of the beautiful floors, but it was difficult. With his back to Hannibal and his legs tense in a limited space, Will did his best not to came so soon to the sensation of Hannibal's member being squeezed by the walls of his sex. He bit his lip.

The doctor's hands ran possessively over his skin.From his neck to his thighs, leaving in his wake the feeling of being branded with fire. Will had discovered that he enjoyed a slight pressure around his neck from  and Hannibal had noticed. The large, veined hands, incredibly soft and delicate in their treatment around the column of his pale neck.

Hannibal's hands began to go down. Caressing Will's clavicles and sternum. They briefly perched on his chest and played with his erect nipples. They continued on their way, gently clawing at the young officer's ribs until they reached his hips where they positioned themselves tightly. Perhaps his fingers would leave bruises in the morning.Hannibal was helping him up.

Will moaned his name as he was lifted up and then lowered to impale himself on the hard member. they were at this for a while. Both taking it easy. Every time Will got dangerously close to the precipice of orgasm, his movements slowed down. 

But then suddenly Hannibal grabbed him by the neck and bit his shoulder. Wil was panting erratically. Hannibal whispered in his ear seductively. His voice deep with desire:

- "Beloved .. turn around. I want to see you come..".

Will letout  needy whimper. He didn't want to part, but he had to get up if he wanted to see him face to face. So he did. He stood up and turned around.Hannibal was sitting with his back resting on one end of the tub. Will was standing in front of him, in all his glory, damp and his hair tousled and glued to the back of his neck. Drops of water ran down his body and Hannibal wanted with all his might to chased after them with his tongue. He looked imposing, strong,  sublime androgynous beauty . Will smiled, noticing the scrutiny.

He knelt down to sit on Hannibal's lap. The doctor took advantage of the moment to attack his neck. Sucking and licking the water from the soft skin.Then he took his earlobe in his mouth and sucked. Will groaned.His nails dug into Hannibal's shoulders. Gasping he said his name. The doctor's hands ran down his damp flanks and back to rest on him buttocks, where they squeezed lasciviously.

Will broke off the sweet attack to kiss him. For long minutes their tongues communicated mutual desire. The urge to be together beyond their skin .Hannibal sucked Will's lower lip into his mouth and then licked the corners of his lips, driving  the young officer even more crazy from desire.

- "Hannibal ..".

Chapter Text

- "Hannibal ..".

The young man gasped. The urgency in his voice was obvious. Hannibal helped him up by taking him by the hips. Will got carried away. He was still amazed by the strength of Hannibal's arms ... and aroused by that at the same time. He rose to his knees and took hold in  his right hand  the doctor's erect member. Hannibal gasped in surprise and momentarily closed his eyes.

Will began to slowly lower himself onto his member. When he began to be breached, they both groaned at the sensation. He kept going down, feeling his insides being  deliciously estimulated .The doctor's dick pulsed. He could feel their hearts pounding inside. One day he would make Hannibal feel the same, he thought ecstatically as he descended lower and lower until he was completely seated on his lover's lap.

He gasped for a few seconds, as he settled into the intrusion. When he opened his eyes, Hannibal was watching him with such admiration and love in his gaze that Will felt overwhelmed and looked down.The older man's index and middle fingers touched his chin and gently lifted it so that Will looked into his eyes.

- "Will..I..".

Will cut him off. He knew what he would say, but it was too early for him. Feeling so much in such a short time was strange to the young man and it scared him a bit. So he intercepted his words with his mouth and began to kiss him hotly. Hannibal returned the kiss with equal force. After a few long seconds they parted. Will rested his forehead on Hannibal's and without opening his eyes began to move.

They both groaned at the same time. Hannibal's fingers dug into Wil's hips. They would leave marks that would bloom the next morning. Will bit his lip as he moved up and down on the doctor's member.Hannibal hugged him around the waist and began whispering sweet words to him in his native language. Maybe Will wasn't ready to hear him say I love you, but the sweet cadence of Hannibal's voice in his ear clearly conveyed what he felt.

Will hugged him loosely by the shoulders, as he moved up and down. Going after the first signs of one of several orgasms to come. Hannibal sensed it. He smiled felinely and stopped whispering in his ear to nibble on the young man's pale shoulder. His nails scratched gently from Will's shoulders to his lower back, leaving in their wake the sensation of small charges of electricity coursing through his body. Then his fingers began to play with the young man's pinkish nipples. Will increased the speed of his movements.

Hannibal latched onto his neck and began to suck and bite leaving reddish marks above the line where  should be covered by  his collar shirt. Will was panting harder. Hannibal stopped marking him to help him up and down powerfully. Will moaned more and more, he sounded more needy.The volume of his moans indicating the closeness of him orgasm. Hannibal whispered:

- "Good boy .. Let me see you come .. come for me, sweet William ..".

Will groaned once more before coming. He tilted his head back and then rested it on his own forearm. His arms encircled Hannibal's shoulders crossing behind his head. He felt the doctor clenching his jaw and exhaling forcefully through his teeth.Warm liquid filled his insides a second later. Hannibal ad come inside him. 

They rested for a few seconds. They helped each other clean and dry themselves and then went back to bed. An hour later they were mapping their bodies with lips and hands. Freely exploring each part of their bodies until they were satisfied. 

The second time Will came was on Hannibal's deft fingers. He climaxed arching his body to the sky.Sweat stuck his hair around his neck and made his skin glow. The third time was when he had Hannibal in his mouth. For long minutes he led the older man to the edge  until at the last second a fit of selfishness made him think that he did not want to see a drop of his semen between his sheets. He rode him at the exact moment he was coming only to feel it once again warming up his insides. At least this time he wanted it all just for himself.


They snuggled up after cleaning each other.Hannibal whispered into his tousled hair: 

- "Stay ..." 
- "Hannibal .. I .. I wanted to ask you if I could .. just a couple of days. The case of the" lost children "has been ... umm ... difficult for me. And I ... " 
-" I beg you .. "

Hannibal said, as he kissed his shoulder. Will felt tickled:

- "Hehe, you are incorrigible ..." 
- "And .. being..incorrigible ...  works?

Punctuating each word with a kiss from Will's neck to his breast. Will sighed with his eyes closed.

- "No ... but  this time ... I came prepared just in case ...".

They both smiled. Hannibal turned him to place Will on his side. The young officer's back against his chest and without warning, with one hand on Will's belly pushing him towards him and the other lifting his knee slightly, he penetrated him again.Will groaned sweetly at the intrusion.

                           
                                        THE   END