“You seemed very thoughtful as Francis prepared to kill me and record his defilement of me.”
It didn’t surprise Will that Hannibal had eventually gotten around to asking about it, but it wasn’t the most comfortable subject. They both knew perfectly well what Francis did with the bodies, what he was planning to do to Hannibal. They both knew Will had taken his time before acting to prevent it. He nodded, and shrugged stiffly.
“Side effect of the job, I guess. You know what I saw after he went after Molly; I couldn’t completely cut myself out of his perspective. Lines became… not just blurred, but liquefied. Swimming through one mindset or another, or caught by the fingers of a riptide.”
A small smile graced Hannibal’s face, as it often did when Will spoke of the inner workings of his mind.
“You said you intended to watch him change me. How did that sit inside you? Did you intend for our becomings to be simultaneous?”
Will sighed and sat back, his heart feeling unsteady in his chest. He contemplated deflecting the question, but by now obfuscation seemed a pointless exercise between them.
“I didn’t have any certain intentions. I was just feeling my way through the scene that materialized in front of me. Contemplating his vision.”
“And how did his vision strike you? Did you feel the sense of victory that would swell within him when he claimed me for the Dragon?”
Will looked down at his own fingers, which rubbed together absently. “I felt the sense of anticipation. Hot, like… embers burning in the belly of the beast.”
Hannibal tilted his head slightly, his expression as shrewd as ever.
“Anticipation, or excitement?”
Will’s throat clicked as he swallowed, too dry. “Bit of both, I guess.”
“Tell me what you saw, in your own words.”
“Why?” He had not intended the growl in his voice, and it was painfully obvious that he had become defensive. But Hannibal didn’t point that out directly—instead, he steepled his fingers and looked directly into Will’s eyes until they met his restless gaze for a bare moment. Will immediately looked away, but was aware of a damning heat across his face.
“I looked into your eyes and saw something new reflected within,” Hannibal said finally. “Not quite the righteous fury you had when you previously confronted me with ill intentions, but something no less fierce and proud.”
He allowed himself to entertain the question, closing his eyes for just a moment.
“I saw you as he saw you. All your power and glory, a worthy opponent to the might of the Great Red Dragon—but brought down by a bullet. Suddenly vulnerable, a captive or a prize. Conquered. Your pulse fluttering in your neck, soon to be extinguished.”
“Did you see yourself killing me, carrying out the same actions he would have? We’ve trodden this path before. I know how intimate it would have been for you.”
“It would've been intimate, yes,” Will murmured. “And satisfying.”
“Tell me what you imagined.”
He drew a deep, steadying breath. He looked at Hannibal, though kept his eyes slightly lowered. “I imagined myself painted with the blackish hue of your blood. I imagined holding my hand against your chest so I could feel the last pulse of your heart. Would have been close enough to feel your dying breath.”
“Close enough to capture the breath of life for yourself,” Hannibal said quietly. “There are countless myths in which one’s breath is a more or less literal representation of one’s soul or life force. I would exhale my final breath, and you would breathe it in and be transformed.”
“More than that.” He wet his lips, and realized only a moment before he spoke that he wasn’t going to hold back the final truth of it. “Your body would still hold the imprint of your power, until its heat dispersed. And I would take that heat for my own. I would… infiltrate it. Lay claim to your body, take it as Francis wanted to take it for the Dragon. Metabolizing it—as your heat left you, mine would grow. I would become more than myself, and the melding of ourselves would transcend the physical plane. And I would be victorious.”
Though intently focused anywhere that was not Hannibal’s eyes, he couldn’t resist stealing a glimpse, eyes flickering quickly enough that he hoped it wouldn’t fluster him. Hannibal was looking at him with something approaching awe, and Will huffed, a grim smile tugging at his lips.
“You’re not supposed to look so enamored by the idea.”
“‘Supposed to?’ By whose rules? If we follow the norms set forth by society, I would just as well conclude that you’re not supposed to be aroused by the thought of murder and necrophilia, and yet here we are.”
“That’s not…” He trailed off when he realized he couldn’t in all honesty say that’s not what he meant, and he had already as well as admitted his own interest in it. “You asked how I felt that night. Francis was excited at the prospect, and I’d spent long enough getting into his head that I got pulled along as well. It doesn’t say anything about my interests at any other time.”
“Doesn’t it? Tell me, Will. How do you feel now, imagining it? What sensations do you notice at the thought of killing me and violating my body?”
He couldn’t entirely repress a flinch. “Don’t say it like that,” he said, teeth gritting together.
“If there are words you’d prefer to use to describe the act, I’ll follow your example. But if you intend to avoid the subject entirely, I’ll use whatever words I see fit.”
Will could have rolled his eyes at this stubbornness. Instead, he said, equally stubborn, “I’m not a necrophiliac.”
Hannibal tilted his head slightly and examined him very carefully. “I believe you. I don’t think it’s an act that has held any appeal to you in other contexts. I’ve seen you examine crime scene photos, and there has never been the slightest trace of arousal.”
“There you go, then. It was Francis’s influence, not my own.”
“You don’t believe that.”
Now it was irritation that flared up. “You just said—”
“I said ‘in other contexts.’ But this was a specific scenario, wasn’t it? A certain culmination of your fantasies about killing me, given a more provocative ending than you had previously imagined. The thought clearly appealed to you then, and still appeals to you. You said as much, and only withdrew when I named it for what it is.”
Will sighed. “Let’s say you’re right. What difference does it make? He didn’t actually do it, and I didn’t end up watching. And I’m not planning on slitting your throat and violating you, so no need to worry about that.”
“I’m not worried,” Hannibal said mildly. “But as usual, I’m interested in enabling you to fulfill your desires and potential. Rather than suppressing any thoughts about that night that you might consider unsavory, I’d suggest we discuss them openly. And perhaps consider roleplaying a scenario that would allow you to explore those feelings.”
Will had been following his logic right up until he suggested roleplay, and then his brain ground to a halt. He furrowed his brow, struggling to think of a reason why Hannibal would be so eager to encourage this. “You never suggested we roleplay me killing you. Why suggest we roleplay what comes after death?”
“I had reason to be concerned that the line between roleplay and reality might be difficult for you to maintain, at that particular point in our relationship. You are in better control of yourself now, more in control than ever. And you don’t seem to want to kill me unless you come along for the ride.”
Will met his eyes completely now, too curious to avoid it, and squinted. “That’s not the only reason,” he said slowly, as he became more attuned. “You like the idea of it.”
“I can see some appeal to it.”
“Why? If this is just a matter of me having sex with you—” He stopped short, because saying it aloud was more awkward than he expected, breaking some sort of silent, mutually agreed upon avoidance of the subject. He blustered, and ended up blurting, “Logistically, how would we even roleplay it? You just lay limp and pretend you’re dead?”
“Actually, I believe the use of a paralytic would be a more rewarding experience for us both.”
Will stared at him for a moment. “That seems like an uncharacteristic amount of control for you to give up for just the sake of your curiosity.”
“I have already ceded much control of my life by continuing our relationship. Compared to that, volunteering my body for your use for a short spell, no longer than 45 minutes, seems insignificant.”
It took a while for Will to find the words to respond. “You may say you’re volunteering, but I can’t help but feel like I’m an insect teetering on the edge of a pitcher plant.”
“Sarracenia. The smell is sweet, but the walls are slippery.”
“Slippery slopes seem an appropriate metaphor for more than just this part of our relationship,” Will said dryly.
“And what is it that you fear is at the bottom of this slope? You’re not afraid this desire will spill into other areas of your life, because it’s specific to me. And you’re not afraid of doing me harm.”
“I have a warranted caution when it comes to your plans for me.”
Hannibal tilted his head considerately. “You’re not afraid of me either, Will. You never have been, not even when your life has been in my hands. When we are together under the most challenging of circumstances, you fear yourself.”
He took a breath and exhaled. “More a sense of apprehension, at this point.”
“You have seen yourself in the mirrors laid by the Dragon, and you have assessed yourself as you would any predator. You have accepted it, just as you accept that stray dogs may bite. You do not expect otherwise from them, or yourself.”
“Hard to accept it’s so simple when I’ve also seen the mirrors in myself.” He thought back. “I dreamed it, during the case. I looked in the mirror and it shattered, and the shard holding my eye dropped away. Nothing behind it but darkness. Just reflections.”
“You’ve long known that the mirrors of your mind may reflect yourself and others in turn. Difficult to maintain a stable sense of identity under those circumstances, but it should not prevent you from seeking your own desires.”
Will raised his eyebrows. “You’ve exploited that lack of stability. Repeatedly.”
“I dislodged your assumptions about yourself so you could see the potential of what lay beneath. Perhaps that’s why you now find comfort in the idea of holding all the strings in an encounter. A certain delight at having me at your mercy. Or perhaps at the thought of having achieved a decisive victory.”
The image rose beneath his lashes—Hannibal gone still and pliable, no words of manipulation to speak, no force of influence beyond the animal instincts that rose up in Will’s own body. Not so different on the surface from when he had imagined himself killing Hannibal and staring at his lifeless body, but the undercurrent had changed. Death was not an end unto itself, and Will was propelled by something much more complex than simply vengeance.
“It’s not entirely unappealing,” he conceded.
“Then I assure you, you will suffer no judgement from me if you would like to move forward with this plan. You have nothing to lose except for your own arbitrary inhibitions.”
“Loss of inhibitions is a more dangerous prospect where you’re concerned.”
Hannibal smiled. “Then it’s a good thing your actions would be entirely of your own volition, without any further interference on my end. You will be quite free to do as you wish once the paralytic takes effect.”
Although he took a few moments before answering, it was less a carefully weighed decision than it was a simple tug-of-war between what he seemed socially appropriate, and what he had to acknowledge he desired.
In place of a straight answer, he simply asked, “Do you want to discuss limits?”
“Would you be inclined to respect them?”
“More than you would be in my place, I reckon.”
“I wouldn’t wish to violate your trust to the extent that it would impede any further development of our relationship.”
He gave a small snort—because of course Hannibal would decide his actions based on how inconvenient the consequences might be later, rather than whether they respected any kind of prior agreement. “Considerate. Let’s say the same applies for me with you.”
“Then as long as I remain alive and relatively intact, I believe all we have left to discuss is the technicalities.”
Will raised an eyebrow. “No interest in knowing what, exactly, I want to do to you?”
The corner of Hannibal’s mouth twitched, and his eyes gleamed with amusement. “I am absolutely overflowing with curiosity. But let it remain a vague notion, for now—I think it will be more invigorating to discover your intentions as they occur. You may narrate then, if you wish, to tell me what you’re about to do to my body.”
The chill that ran through Will quickly turned to heat, a simmering anticipation that prickled over his body, made his stomach clench and his heart stutter. It almost scared him how strongly he responded to those words.
“Suits me fine,” he replied, belatedly and with a rough voice.
Hannibal smiled, looking far too pleased. “Excellent.”
Hannibal assured him that the paralytic would not be powerful enough to stop him from breathing, but Will still watched him inject himself dubiously. Hannibal had enough time to recap the needle and set it aside, roll down his sleeve, and lie back onto the floor, but little else.
Within a minute the small twitches of his body settled into pure stillness. His eyelids were closed, and his breathing was shallow enough that Will was only assured that he was still breathing when he crouched and felt the air stir above his mouth.
Hannibal was wearing a beige sweater quite similar to the one he had worn when Dolarhyde shot him, and it felt like an invitation to call the scene to mind in other ways.
Will straddled Hannibal’s legs and drew a knife from his pocket. He pulled up the bottom of the sweater and carefully slashed a shallow diagonal line over the scarring from the old bullet wound, then another on each side. He dragged his hand through the blood that welled up, spreading it over Hannibal’s still stomach, watching it cling to the hairs around his navel.
It was a shame he couldn’t cut deeper. Unlike the Dragon’s victims, there would be no arterial spray for forensics to trace, no red threads that would spiral around him like a spider's cocoon around an insect, no bright slashes of blood befitting the melodrama of his life. But it was satisfying, still, to have his blood staining his palm crimson.
He hiked up Hannibal’s sweater further, then decided to cut through it instead. The knife was recently sharpened, and if he held the knit fabric taut he was able to slice through it, shearing it in two.
There was a vicious pleasure in the ragged sight. Alive and knowing, Hannibal would not tolerate his clothes being treated in such a way, and he would never remain in something left in tatters. But here he was, unable to respond to it at all.
“You don’t need clothes when you’re dead, anyway,” Will said quietly. “Doesn’t matter anymore how torn up they get.”
He raked his hand up through Hannibal’s chest hair, spreading over his pectorals, feeling how strong his physique truly was. It made his neck prickle, to have such a powerful man fallen before him. Willingly fallen, sacrificing himself to Will’s whims as he had that night, knowing that the Dragon was following and watching and preparing to strike. And now Will all the power in the world over him.
He touched Hannibal’s face, gently tilting his head to the side just to see how limp it was, unresisting. He opened his jaw easily and pushed his fingers in. He ran them over the tips of Hannibal’s teeth, his astoundingly sharp canines. It was no wonder he was able to rip the Dragon’s throat right out, with teeth like these. But he couldn’t bite now, no matter how Will treated his body. He bit his lip and pet over Hannibal’s tongue before he’d even thought it over, stroking deeper and deeper with no response.
He didn’t want to suffocate Hannibal, not really—but this was a temptation.
“You always wanted a taste of me, didn’t you?” he murmured. “Guess you’ll get it now.”
His heart rabbited as he unzipped his jeans, the noise as sharp as a whip in the silence. He rose just long enough to step out of his pants, then sank down straddling Hannibal’s neck and shoulders. Hannibal’s jaw remained lax and open where he had left it, but he still pulled it slightly wider to lower himself in. He hissed at the sensations—the slight graze of teeth, the heat and moisture of his tongue, the soft puff of breath.
His thighs trembled slightly and he needed to rest some weight on a hand, but he didn’t stop. He carefully dropped his hips lower until Hannibal’s mouth was stuffed full of him. Even when he lifted and lowered himself again Hannibal remained frozen, not even the slightest flicker of his eyes, and barely a flutter when his gag reflex should have triggered.
He pulled out, letting his damp cock fall heavy against Hannibal’s face, sliding over his lips and along his nose. It was almost shocking to see Hannibal bear this indignity. To do what he wanted, no matter how crude or senseless.
He slid back into the mouth that waited slack for him, torn between the allure of the fantasy and the sizzling knowledge that despite appearances, despite being entirely unable to move or respond, Hannibal was fully conscious and aware of what was happening to him.
Conscious or not, he had no say now. Will had full control of everything that happened now.
He sidled back, awkwardly tugged Hannibal’s pants down, and rolled him onto his stomach. He set his hands on the back of Hannibal’s bare thighs, rubbing gently at the exposed skin as his eyes wandered further up to where they met. He bit his lip. He had lube, but something about that seemed too premeditated. A bedroom game, rather than capturing the rawness that had appealed to him about the original scenario. He settled on olive oil, instead. Something that Hannibal always kept in stock in his houses, whether permanent or temporary, that would have been easy to obtain that night. And less concern of unpleasant friction than trying to go without anything.
He slicked himself with it, nose wrinkling at the sudden unctuous smell, and poured a generous portion between Hannibal’s cheeks. He slid between them, enjoying for the moment the silky feel and the way his cock looked peeking out among the gleam of oiled skin.
Then he leaned forward, hand smearing traces of oil along Hannibal’s back, and lined himself up. There was no point in prepping a corpse, and he figured the paralytic should at least prevent him from clenching. It was tricky to manage when the head of his cock kept slipping away on the path of least resistance, but eventually pressure and persistence paid off, and he sank in.
He gasped at the sudden tightness, but didn’t hesitate to push further, harder, slamming home with a grunt and finding himself unsteady, his arms shaking slightly beneath him.
He pulled back and slammed in again, and the total lack of response from Hannibal shouldn’t have been so intoxicating, it shouldn’t have felt good at all, but it did. His hips slapped against him, he grunted and groaned and all Hannibal could do was lie limp and jolt slightly forward with each hard thrust. He could fuck and fill him at his leisure and Hannibal would remain nice and still for him, perfectly complacent as he was defiled. Oblivious as he was defiled, if Will indulged his fantasy—and it was impossible not to do so when reality so closely mimicked it, and he could imagine Hannibal dead now with ease. And Will had split his corpse open, denied him a dignified death. He was claiming him.
He let that awareness settle into his bones with each thrust. Every push into him, tight and unforgiving despite the oil, was another inch he was claiming for himself, triumphant. Taking. The power was still visible in every detail of Hannibal’s body: the broad shoulders, solid muscle, scars of battles he’d survived. A body fed on the meat of men. And now it was Will’s, and Hannibal was no longer the apex predator—Will was.
He scraped the heels of his palms up Hannibal’s back and opened his hands flat on his shoulders. He pushed down as he thrust, undeniably dominant and soaking up the lack of resistance that told his animal hindbrain without a doubt that he had won. He imagined he was forcing out whatever knots tied Hannibal’s power into his physical form, kneading them free and loose so he could drink his fill. Then he lowered himself, adjusting so he could still work himself in and out while laying as close along Hannibal’s back as he could.
He bit and held Hannibal’s flesh captive between his teeth as he flexed his hips, drawing out his pleasure and feeling like an animal with its prey locked in its jaws. He moved over the man caged in his arms, taking new bites—never drawing blood, but leaving reddened imprints of his teeth in his flesh. A corpse wouldn’t have the ability to bruise like a living body, but capillaries could still be broken open, blood could still pool beneath the skin. And things broken would never heal, could never scab or scar or mend themselves like a living body—Will’s marks would remain until decomposition rendered them unreadable. He would decide the final state that Hannibal’s body lay in, the canvas that the coroner would view and read and record. He found the idea pleasing.
He peeled his teeth from Hannibal’s flesh so he could speak into his ear. “They’ll know it was me,” he murmured, sounding as short of breath as he felt. “When they take you to the morgue, they’ll find every mark I’ve left on you. They’ll record and analyze everything, and they’ll know what happened. They’ll know it was all post-mortem. And they’ll figure out it was all my doing.”
He shuddered and bit his lip.
“They’ll find my bite marks, not the Dragon’s. They’ll take a swab and find my DNA in the cum I've left dripping from you. They’ll know I fucked your corpse. They’ll know I wasn’t coerced, I didn’t fall prey to you—I just decided to stake my claim once and for all. Victorious. Shameless.”
He snarled, and his fingers clawed into Hannibal’s shoulders to brace himself. He was rushing now, taking what he wanted and feeling the clenching pleasure each time he embedded himself completely, each time he thrust in so hard that his hips smacked audibly against Hannibal’s rear. Under most circumstances he wouldn’t dare to treat a partner so roughly unless he was asked, not when he knew how easily tears and abrasions could occur—but this was different. He slammed in without mercy, because this moment was his own, entirely his own.
He felt the pressure building in his groin, ever tighter and aching for release. He grabbed a fist of Hannibal’s hair and braced another hand on his shoulder and chased that feeling, distantly aware of how loud and ragged his breathing had become, how a growl of exertion made its way from his chest each time he hauled himself forward.
He imagined how Hannibal would look when he was done with him, dead and discarded, bloodied and covered in bites and scratches and gaping open, leaking Will’s cum. And that was all he needed to go over the edge.
He latched onto Hannibal’s shoulder as he pushed in as hard as he could and came. His jaw locked as his orgasm rushed through him and he grunted again, his bite finally hard enough that he tasted iron. He rolled his hips, squeezing the last pulses from his cock until it was too much and he dropped panting against the back of Hannibal’s neck.
It took him a minute to come back to himself fully. When he did, he rolled off Hannibal and checked his pulse to make sure all was still well. It was rapid, but steady.
Then he shuffled back to look at his handiwork. He spread him wide enough for the reddened rim to gape slightly, and watched as a dribble of cum leaked out. The sight was mesmerizing, and he licked his lips.
The thought that came into his mind next was filthy and depraved, and it made him shudder in some collision of disgust and furtive arousal. But the fantasy he had already acted out was no small deviancy to start with; why deny himself one further debauchery?
Keeping Hannibal spread, he leaned in and swiped his tongue up his perineum to gather the cum that had escaped. The olive oil that still coated his skin covered up whatever flavor it would have had on its own, and that gave him the courage to take it one step further. With a thrill shooting through him, he mouthed around the swollen, well-used hole and dipped into it with his tongue, licking him clean. Eating out his corpse—something even his fantasy had not dared to dream of. A disgusting perversion, yet deeply satisfying.
Finally, he pulled away and lay at Hannibal’s side, until movement returned to him—slow, tentative movements of his arm extending and retracting, a ripple along his back, the clicking of his throat. Until Hannibal was able to roll onto his side, fixing Will with an unsteady gaze.
Will had been worried about this part. The aftermath, where Hannibal would be able to look at him knowing what he had done, what he was capable of. He didn’t fear judgement like he would with a normal person—Hannibal had made his openness to this very clear. But he felt unsettlingly exposed.
Hannibal cleared his throat.
“How do you feel?” Will asked, preempting whatever comment he may have been considering.
Hannibal closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. “Well-used,” he said in a throaty voice.
Before Will could stop himself, he replied: “Good.”
Hannibal’s mouth twitched. “You’re satisfied, then?”
He nodded. “It was…” He searched for a word. “I felt…”
“In a word.”
Hannibal watched him for a moment without comment. Then said calmly, “I didn’t expect that last part.”
Will’s face colored immediately. “I—” He exhaled sharply, not sure what he could possibly say.
“I don’t expect you to provide an explanation. Following out most base urges often leads to behavior that is difficult to rationalize.”
Will raised his eyebrows. “Fancy philosophy for someone who’s supposed to be feeling well-used.”
“I’m adept at compartmentalization.”
Will’s hand flexed around nothing. “Is that what we’re doing with this? Compartmentalizing it and setting it aside?”
“I won’t be inclined to fully set it aside until I’m no longer feeling the physical effects of your actions. And I suspect it might take a few days for that to be the case.”
Thinking of Hannibal keeping that ache with him as he went about his daily business made Will’s breath catch, and he felt the low tightness of arousal spreading through him.
“Do you wish to compartmentalize it, Will?”
“No,” he said, voice barely above a whisper. “I don’t.”
Hannibal smiled, “Then I think we’re overdue for a conversation on the direction of our relationship.”