For many months now life had been settled and domestic.
At first there had been the distance and caution. Pain. Both physical and emotional as they healed from their wounds in forced proximity, including those inflicted upon each other over the years.
And then it had settled. Slowly tolerable, and then companionable. And then, very slowly as Will allowed himself to give into the pull he’d felt for so long, the ache he had for Hannibal, it had become romantic.
It wasn’t like anything Will had ever known before. In fact it had started with their first fuck.
And that’s what it had been, hard and full of pent up emotions that needed to become a physical release. The day after that had been talking and touching, and then love making.
And every day since, they had fallen deeper into the comfortable domesticity that Will had never experienced.
He had tried with Molly, but there had been many times it had been awkward. Especially sexual intimacy. Will had already worked out by then that he was demisexual, and as much as he had wanted desperately the make things work with Molly, he’d only ever been going through the motions with her. And most of the time that had been enough for her, and sometimes it wasn’t and there would be a coldness for days that he couldn’t blame her for.
He forced himself to be romantic for her when it didn’t feel natural to him. He knew there were times she flinched because something he did reminded her of her late husband. Together, damaged goods, they had muddled through and accepted what they had together. And, overall, it wasn’t terrible. It was what they had both needed at the time.
But it wasn’t this.
Will had started to look forward to small things, like just waking up in the mornings. Knowing that he’d do so with Hannibal wrapped around him or vice versa. He looked forward to their days together, where before there had been only solitude as they recovered, despite the lack of space between them.
Now, they wanted for nothing and enjoyed each other in a way that bordered on hedonistic. And Will found he could happily live the rest of his days like this.
The first time Hannibal had casually told him he loved him and Will found himself returning the words without hesitation, the deal had been sealed. Somewhere over the many many months that had somehow stretched into almost two years, Will had come to consider them married for all intents and purposes.
He didn’t need anything official to prove it, he knew what was in his heart. And he knew what was in Hannibal’s heart too.
And despite all this, the morning held a surprise Will hadn’t expected, Hannibal neither from the looks of things.
When Will woke early Hannibal was spooned against him, he snuggled down and went back to sleep. When he woke again, still tired and achy from having been tinkering with an engine before coming to bed late, Hannibal was gone. He could hear him downstairs and smell the coffee brewing.
Will stretched and pulled on a t-shirt, treading down in just that and his boxers, his hair a mess. He needed a shower and was hoping Hannibal hadn’t had his yet so they could partake together.
Hannibal looked up when Will entered the kitchen, and gave him the affectionate smile he’d come to expect.
“Good morning,” Hannibal murmured.
Will walked over and kissed Hannibal’s cheek, accepting the cup of fresh coffee the man then handed to him.
"Thanks babe," Will said, before taking a sip and then stopping. The cup still pressed to his lips.
Will felt the word jar both of them. Unexpected and heavy. Strange.
Other than Will often calling him Han, and Hannibal occasionally calling Will, William, usually when he’d left muddy footprints in the hall, they had never used pet names for each other. Not even in the throes of passion.
“Babe,” Hannibal rolled the word over in his mouth as though trying to decipher a language he was not familiar with.
Will let out a chuckle and shook his head. He walked away with his coffee and neither of them said any more about it.
That strange little event didn’t come to mind again until a few days later when Hannibal ambushed a shower fresh Will, midmorning.
Will was only wearing his towel when he wandered back into their bedroom to find Hannibal waiting for him. Ready to pounce.
He whipped off Will’s towel and pushed Will down so that he was seated at the edge of the bed, and then further so that he was laid back on his elbows, with his legs over the side. Hannibal leaned over and kissed him passionately for a few long minutes before working his way down to Will’s now hard cock.
Will groaned when Hannibal sucked him down to the back of his throat before slowly moving up and down his cock with the perfect amount of pressure that he knew Will loved. When Hannibal then took hold of the base to hold him still as he rubbed at Will’s perineum with his free hand, Will grunted and shook. He was barrelling fast towards his climax. Hannibal had quickly learned exactly where and how to touch Will to make him come, or to tease it out for longer. To torture him if he really wanted to.
This was a sort of sweet torture, but clearly Hannibal had no intention of making him last, pressure perfect. Will could already feel his balls drawing up.
“Ah, yeah darlin, right there. Just like that.” Will growled the words as he slipped a hand into Hannibal’s hair, gripping tight at his scalp but not restricting his movements.
Hannibal hummed around his cock and Will’s eyes rolled, “Fuck, yeah, like that darlin.”
Hannibal’s head bobbed as he hummed again, sucked on the head of Will’s cock and then plunged down. When he swallowed with Will’s cock at the back of his throat, it was all over. Will cried out and started to come, thick and heavy down Hannibal’s throat.
Hannibal pulled back enough not to gag and choke, drinking down everything Will had to offer.
“Oh fuck, darlin,” Will crooned, his Louisiana accent peeking through as he moved his hand from Hannibal’s hair to his face, stroking down his jaw as he looked at him with sated awe.
Will was still panting, collapsing back onto the bed once more as Hannibal drew back, settling on his haunches at the side of the bed as he muttered, “Darlin?”
Will wasn’t sure about going on his fishing trip. He’d spent months doing up the fishing boat that he planned to take out overnight for some long anticipated night fishing. But Hannibal had seemed off for a week or more and Will wasn’t sure why.
He hated to leave whilst there was still some strangeness in the air. It didn’t seem directed at him, but there was something definitely on Hannibal’s mind. As much as he denied it when Will asked. And in spite of the fact that Will had reminded him that Hannibal was completely incapable of hiding anything from him these days, since he’d dropped the remnants of his person suit. But Hannibal had simply smiled and waved it off.
So Will was making a rather half hearted effort of packing together all his fishing gear in the mudroom. With a sigh he picked up his bag and took it out to the back of his truck before heading to the kitchen to make some food to take.
He’d asked if Hannibal wanted to come along, in case it was that. That he wanted to join in or, at the least, not wanted to be apart. But Hannibal had smiled and declined, saying that it was good and healthy for them to spend time apart, and that this was something Will needed to do.
He wasn’t wrong. As much as he loved Hannibal and what they had between them, it was also incredibly intense. Overwhelming. Which on occasion he delighted in, but sometimes he needed to step back and have some time alone to recalibrate. Hannibal understood that about him more than most. That was why they worked so well.
When Will got to the kitchen, he found Hannibal there with a small icebox on the side that he was packing items into.
“I thought I’d make you some substantial sandwiches. Keep your appetite sated until your return.” Hannibal told him with one of his barely there cheeky smiles, as he turned to greet Will.
“Ah, sha.” Will breathed out the words, “You’re too good to me.”
He stepped forward, delighted to see that Hannibal really did seem okay about the whole thing, and slipped his hands around the man’s waist.
“Sha?” Hannibal asked, continuing to pack up food, even as he melted back against Will.
“Cher, the Cajun slips out sometimes,” Will chuckled.
“Cher…” Hannibal rolled the word in his mouth and went rigid in Will’s arms.
Will frowned and pulled back, “Everything okay?”
“Of course,” Hannibal replied curtly before placing the last item in the icebox and closing it. He turned and smiled at Will, leaning in to place a soft kiss on his lips, cupping his face with one hand. “Have a wonderful time, d-, dear Will.”
Hannibal slipped from his grasp, leaving Will slightly bewildered. Maybe it was Hannibal that needed the time alone? That made Will’s chest ache, but it was something he wouldn’t deny him.
Will picked up the icebox and headed out to the truck.
It was late the next evening when Will returned, and by the time he’d cleaned everything up and brought it inside, gutted the fish and placed them in the freezer, he was in need of a shower.
There was no sound in the place so he was quiet as he took the shower and then headed towards their bedroom.
It was so quiet. So very quiet.
He secretly had hoped he would wake Hannibal to greet him. And Hannibal often slept lightly, so it was odd not to have woken him.
Will took in a shuddering breath as he padded down the hall in nothing but his robe over his damp skin, suddenly terrified that Hannibal wasn’t there at all.
No, Hannibal surely wouldn’t leave him? Not after everything. He knew the depth of Hannibal’s feelings as well as his own, but there had been those odd moments over the last few weeks.
Something was going on and Hannibal wouldn’t talk about it.
Will didn’t realise he had quickened his pace until he heard the beat of his feet on the floorboards.
Relief flooded him when he pushed open the door and saw the shape of Hannibal laying in their bed.
On Will’s side.
Will smiled at the sight, his heart slowing as he sighed.
Hannibal wasn’t sleeping, that was clear from the rise and fall of the blankets, not the deep breaths of slumber.
He closed the door softly and disrobed as he walked to the bed, slipping in behind Hannibal on Hannibal’s usual side of the bed.
“Miss me, darlin?” Will asked gently, as he curled around Hannibal.
Hannibal’s breath stuttered and he froze in Will’s embrace.
With a frown, Will pulled back and rolled Hannibal in his arms so that he was looking down at his lover, just visible in the dim light coming through the curtains.
“Okay, what is it?” Will asked, more sternly than he had intended, but he was getting seriously concerned. No good ever came of Hannibal keeping secrets or telling half truths.
Hannibal let out a sigh and closed his eyes.
“Cher, talk to me.” Will pleaded, cupping Hannibal’s face with one hand, “Please.”
Hannibal shook his head ever so slightly and opened his eyes again, “I love you, Will.”
Will couldn’t help the smile that spread across his face, “I know. You’ve told me plenty.”
“I… have been hesitant.” Hannibal continued but then seemed unsure of his words.
“In loving me?” Will asked, cocking his head and trying to crush his concerns. Because if there was one thing Hannibal had never come across as hesitant in, it was being clear about his love for Will.
“No, with endearments,” Hannibal looked a little pained, as though he wasn’t just upset himself, but that he expected Will to be upset too.
“Um, what are you talking about?” Will asked, confused.
Hannibal let out a sigh, “I didn’t want to scare you off. I bit my tongue every time I wanted to call you darling or mylimasis.”
“Melu-what?” Will blinked.
“Mylimasis, it means beloved.” Hannibal admitted with a heavy sigh, as though he had said something wrong.
Will couldn’t help but start to chuckle. He moved off and sat up in the bed, shaking his head. Everything clicking into place.
“Okay, so,” Will broke into another chuckle, “I get it. Every time you’ve weirded out on me it’s been when I’ve used a, uh, term of endearment?”
“Weirded out?” Hannibal bit back with a frown and sat up too, facing Will.
Will laughed, “Yeah, babe. Now I get it, you were having some kind of minor freak out about us, right? About our relationship?”
Hannibal grumbled some words that Will couldn’t hear and wasn’t sure if they were even in English.
“Oh, darlin.” Will shook his head and reached out, pulling Hannibal to him until he had no choice but to settle straddling Will’s lap. “Don’t you like it when I call you these things?”
At that Hannibal blushed and tried to look away, but Will cupped his face again and wouldn’t let him look away.
“Fuck, cher, you’re so gorgeous when you’re vulnerable like this for me.” Will pressed his hips up a little as he growled the words, his cock starting to stir. “You wanted to call me sweet things too, huh? And it threw you off when I started to? When I was relaxed enough and felt so sure about this thing between us that they slipped out without me even knowing?”
Hannibal’s breath caught in his chest, “Yes, mylimasis.”
Will shook his head, grinning. “You’re an idiot, but I love you, cher.”
He pulled Hannibal into a kiss, slipping his hands down to the waistband of Hannibal’s silk pyjamas and sliding them beneath the fabric to grab at his ass.
Will broke the kiss to nuzzle against Hannibal’s ear, “You call me what you want. You won’t scare me off.”
The thought was at once both ludicrous and not. All the things that had happened between them over the years and it was pet names that Hannibal had been worried about? On the surface it seemed crazy, but Will knew it spoke more of Hannibal’s fears of losing Will, of their emotional and sexual intimacy one day being too much and scaring Will away.
Will pulled Hannibal tight to him, grinding their hard cocks together as Hannibal began to pant against his neck.
He wanted to reassure him, not just physically. It needed to be more than that. He needed Hannibal to know he was never going to be scared away from this, from Hannibal.
Will moved his hands up to Hannibal’s chest and gently pushed him back, even as their hips continued to rock together. He looked at Hannibal with total adoration as he said, “I’m not going anywhere, ever. Mylimasis."
Hannibal let out a deep breath, and chuckled. Will having no doubt mangled the pronunciation.
"Cher," Hannibal replied, almost moaning the word as he pressed their lips together once more.