The Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane never slept. There was always someone awake within its bowels: the orderlies on night duty, the armed guards stationed along the darkened halls, or the inmates crying out in their sleep. Nor was it unusual for the hospital’s administrator, Dr. Alana Bloom, to hole up in her office until the early hours of the morning, watching the security feed for the cell that held the country’s two most notorious criminals: Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham.
Tonight, though, Dr. Bloom had left the building before midnight, with strict orders to call her if anything changed. Rumor had it that her son was sick, and that her wife was showing symptoms of the same illness.
Her absence always left the hospital feeling cold and off-kilter. Dr. Bloom had an air of calm authority about her that put even the most skittish of orderlies at ease, so different from that of her predecessor, Dr. Chilton. Without Dr. Bloom, it was up to the guards on surveillance duty to watch the various cameras and keep the place from catching fire, metaphorically or otherwise.
Currently, forty-three-year-old Joel Morrison was that guard.
Joel sighed and rubbed his eyes, desperately trying not to fall asleep. It was dangerous to have only one man watching the surveillance cameras, he knew that, but Andrew, whose turn it was to share night duty with him, had called in sick at the last minute and there was nobody to cover for him. He probably isn’t even sick, Joel thought spitefully; he just wanted to avoid the night shift. Lazy bastard.
Thankfully, the security of the entire building didn’t rest solely on his shoulders. There were guards stationed on every floor, guarding all the doors and patrolling the darkened corridors. But it would’ve been helpful if he wasn’t the only one in the surveillance room. The hospital had too many cameras for one human being to realistically track.
The most important camera, of course, was the one fixed on the holding cell of Dr. Lecter and his husband — accomplice? victim? all of the above? no one was quite sure — Will Graham. Joel’s eyes always lingered on their feed after skimming all the others. The room was dark, the picture grainy and night-vision green, but the sleeping forms of the two men on their cots were unmistakable. On the far right side of the cell, Lecter resembled a corpse ready for open visitation, on his back with his eyes closed and his hands resting on his chest. On the other side of the cell, Graham lay in the same position, but with his head towards the camera and entrance to the room, an eerie mirror image of his partner.
Joel suppressed a shiver. Graham’s eyes were wide open, and in the night vision, they glowed like an animal’s.
Most of the guards were more afraid of Dr. Lecter, considering that he had murdered and cannibalized an unknown number of people, but Joel didn’t dare underestimate Graham. Besides the fact that Graham gave the hospital staff far more problems than his partner, there had to be a reason why he was the only person who had ever survived being around Lecter for this long, and mostly in one piece, too.
Lecter’s track record spoke for itself: Dr. Bloom had been defenestrated, shattering her pelvic bone and god knew how many others, and the threat of death hung over her and her family as long as Lecter was still breathing. The former hospital administrator, Dr. Chilton, had been disemboweled, shot in the face, and burned alive. Agent Jack Crawford had been stabbed in the neck with a shard of glass. The woman who Lecter had kidnapped and taken with him to Italy many years ago was found with both her legs missing. Anyone who got too close to Lecter was dead meat — literally.
So if Will Graham was still around, and married to him no less, then he must be dangerous and terrifying in his own right. It didn’t take a genius to figure that out.
Joel yawned as he glanced over the other cameras. Everything seemed normal: sleeping inmates, tired orderlies, stock-still guards... His eyes flitted back and he froze.
Graham was no longer in his cot.
Animal metaphors ran rampant among news outlets and BSHCI staff alike when it came to Hannibal and Will. The general consensus was that they were predators of some kind, but the exact details varied. Wolves, coyotes, hawks, lions, tigers, pumas...felines were an especially common conclusion.
One might say that if Hannibal was a domestic feline, then Will was a feral wildcat. Hannibal grew fat on praise and lean and temperamental on inattention. He could be content within the same four walls for an eternity as long as he was given his creature comforts. His calm demeanor made him that much more terrifying, his wildness hidden beneath a veneer of civility. But Will... Will was too restless to be caged. He was all claws and bristling fur and bared fangs. There was no taming him. Yet people still felt the need to try to subdue him, in the same misguided way that a person might try to domesticate a tiger while denying that its wildness is innate.
Will Graham felt a lot like a caged tiger at the moment.
He stood by the glass, staring at the security camera as if he could see who was behind it, as if he could dig down into their very soul and lay them bare. Unfortunately for him, he had no way of knowing if there was someone on the other side. Will turned away and began to pace back and forth in front of his cot. Several minutes passed before Hannibal shifted onto his side to watch him from across the room. It was impossible to tell if he’d been awake the entire time or had recently woken up, sensing Will’s distress and responding accordingly.
Similarly, Will didn’t have to look up to know that he had garnered his husband’s attention. He continued pacing, and eventually sighed and said, “I can’t sleep,” answering a question that hadn’t been vocalized but hung in the air all the same.
“I’ve noticed.” When Will didn’t respond: “Can I assist in any way?”
“We’ve already had this discussion,” Will said, but he stopped pacing. “What would be most helpful for me is currently forbidden.”
There was a long, meaningful pause. Neither man took his eyes off the other.
“We can find a way around that,” Hannibal said slowly, sitting upright.
“Don’t tempt me.” Will’s voice was sharp, but he took a step toward the middle of the room.
“No rules need to be broken. Or even bent.” Hannibal’s eyes lingered on the delicate curve of Will’s neck, the hint of collarbone peeking out from his jumpsuit, the sloping bones of his hands. Even in the dark room, Will’s beauty was captivating, like a glowing angel of death. Hannibal drank it up. “It’s a shame, really; I would love to see you bend the rules.”
Will clicked his tongue disapprovingly. “You get less subtle every day.” He took another step forward. “You can do better than that, doctor.”
“I will, if you give me the chance.”
Will closed his eyes for a moment and then opened them. “Mmm, that one was better.”
Another step forward. Will now stood at the edge of the desk bolted to the center of the room. Hannibal hadn’t budged from where he sat on the edge of his cot, but his muscles were taut, as if anticipating victory.
“You’ll sleep better if you can relax.” Hannibal licked his lips. “Loosen the tension you carry in your shoulders. Experience some release.”
Will barked out a laugh. “I’m not jerking off, Hannibal.”
“There would be nothing to be ashamed of if you did so. The human body has needs. Those do not suddenly go away under constant surveillance.”
Will took a slow step around the back of the desk, eyes trained on Hannibal. “Yet I have the feeling that is not what you have in mind. It’s not...intimate enough.”
Hannibal blinked slowly, like a cat.
Will’s eyes trailed over to the security camera and then back. Another step, almost teasing. “What if this is a ploy to try to kill me again?”
“Deception would not be necessary, mon cœur. What would I gain from such an unfair advantage?”
Will narrowed his eyes. Another step. “Oh, now you’re just gloating. Gloating is rude, you know.”
Hannibal’s resulting smile was wicked. “I guess you’ll have to eat me, then.”
“Don’t give me any ideas.” But the sharpness of Will’s tone didn’t match his body language as he drew nearer to Hannibal, like two magnets skittering across a tabletop to reunite.
“Come, sit down. I promise only to look, not touch,” Hannibal added, looking at Will in a faux-bashful manner.
“Don’t.” Will showed his teeth. “If you promise, you can’t break it.”
Hannibal’s eyes crinkled around the edges. “I have no intention of breaking it, my dear Will. You have made it clear you don’t want to break the rules.”
In one fluid motion, Hannibal stood up from his cot, and Will stopped abruptly a few feet away from him. They resembled lions poised to attack one another, or butt heads, or both. After an eternity, in which all three possibilities happened in their minds, Will dropped onto Hannibal’s cot and let out a long sigh.
“I didn’t say I didn’t want to break the rules,” he muttered. “Just that it would be ill-advised.”
Hannibal’s mouth twitched, but he didn’t take the bait. “Lay down.”
Will locked eyes with Hannibal and then lay down across the cot, slowly, languidly, every movement carefully calculated to stoke his husband’s hunger. A growl rumbled from deep in Hannibal’s chest. The heat between them could’ve lit a match.
“Good,” Hannibal said. “Now we can begin.”
Joel stood frozen in the surveillance room. Sweat pooled on his palms, and the coffee he had drunk earlier to stay awake threatened to make a reappearance. Listening to two serial killers flirt was a level of discomfort and conflicting emotions he had never experienced before. He hovered uncertainly by the emergency button. If they so much as grazed each other, Joel was ready to sound the alarm. But they hadn’t so far, not even as Graham lay on Lecter’s cot and Lecter stood over him, eyes roaming over his clothed body like a starving man presented with a feast. The lack of contact made Joel more nervous than if they had tried to strangle each other.
What was he supposed to do if they didn’t break any established rules?
The question became more and more pressing as Joel watched their feed. Lecter was saying something, too quiet to be picked up by the microphones. Then Graham slowly opened his jumpsuit, exposing first his neck and collarbones, then his shoulders, his pale chest, his lean stomach... Lower and lower until he freed his sizable cock, already less than half-flaccid, and the trembling muscles in his thighs.
Joel gritted his teeth as blood rushed downward against his will. No, fuck, he was not going to be turned on by this. He resolutely set his hand down next to the emergency button and waited. Surely they had to touch, and when they did, he could shut this down for good.
Five minutes later, that was looking more and more unlikely, and Joel was more and more uncomfortably turned on.
Whatever Lecter was murmuring to Graham was inaudible, but it wasn’t hard to imagine the nature of it. Graham’s bare chest heaved up and down, his cock fully hard and begging to be stroked. Lecter’s own cock strained against the front of his jumpsuit, even bigger than Graham’s, and just as hard.
Joel could handle the visuals, as long as he imagined that Lecter was describing horrific murders to Graham in great detail. He didn’t even have to create the details himself; all he had to do was think about the various photos he’d seen on Tattlecrime, and the pressure in his pants would lessen drastically. There was nothing like the image of Graham shoving the sharp part of his handcuff into an orderly’s eye, or Lecter biting the face off a poor nurse, to kill a hard-on.
What Joel couldn’t handle was the noises Graham was making.
They started out as soft, breathy moans. Graham’s breathing wasn’t loud enough for the microphones to catch, just as Lecter’s continued encouragement was barely a murmur, but the moans cut through the static and went straight to Joel’s groin. The longer that Graham lay on Lecter’s cot without touching himself, the louder and longer his moans became, and the harder they were to ignore.
Then the moans became punctuated with “ohhhh”s and “fuck”s and “god damn it”s and “Haannnnnnniiiiiibaallll ”s. Graham’s mouth was absolutely filthy — and Lecter had no problem telling him that, which did not help with Joel’s hard-on.
Or Lecter’s, which had begun to leak onto the front of his jumpsuit.
Meanwhile, Graham had a stranglehold on the sheets, rocking back and forth with his back arched in the air as if it would do anything to ease the pressure. Out of desperation, he turned onto his side and rutted against the cot, his cock leaking pre-cum onto Lecter’s sheets at the addition of blessed friction.
A growl rumbled in Lecter’s chest. His next words were fully audible: “Don’t make me hold you down, Will.”
Graham whimpered and rolled over onto his back dutifully, but then, as he watched Lecter through half-lidded eyes, he said breathily: “Or what? You’ll touch me?”
Lecter crouched down until he was level with Graham, and Joel hovered his hand over the emergency button, trying desperately to resist rutting against something to relieve the pressure in his pants. For the first time since he’d been hired at the BSHCI, he wanted nothing more than for the inmates to break the rules so he could sound the damn emergency alarm, go home, and take a freezing cold shower.
But Lecter didn’t touch Graham. Instead, he leaned in and whispered in his ear, and Graham cried out, “Oh, Hannibal ” and came in long, shuddering spurts all over Lecter’s sheets. The combination of sight and sound was enough to push Joel very close to the edge, and was successful in Lecter’s case, as Lecter came in his jumpsuit only a few seconds later. The resulting groans from Lecter’s lips nearly tipped Joel over the edge, but he resisted with extreme difficulty.
The look that the husbands shared as Lecter stood by the cot, chest heaving from exertion, and Graham lay recovering held an entire conversation in itself. Eventually, Graham got up and rebuttoned his jumpsuit, and Lecter sat down on the bed, straightening out the sheets and observing the mess that Graham had left.
“I think I can sleep now,” Graham said.
Joel couldn’t see Graham’s facial expression, but Lecter smiled, and it was one of the softest expressions Joel had ever seen pass across his face. “Good night, mon cœur.”
Graham settled down on his cot on the other side of the room, and within a few minutes, everything was back to the way it was before he had stood up, but this time, Graham’s eyes were closed, and a smile played on his face.
Joel shifted uncomfortably in his seat, resolutely ignoring his throbbing erection.
The end of the night shift couldn’t come soon enough.