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The Passing Bell

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Will had been trying to imagine what he’d do when he found Hannibal since the day he started looking. A year later, the stubborn blank spot in his mind persisted. There was no plan, no possibility of a plan. When he spotted Hannibal from the back, across a crowded street in Bucharest, he realized that it didn’t matter. Any plan would’ve crumbled to dust at the sight of him.

Will ran, narrowly escaped collision with a taxi, stumbled into a young woman so hard that both of them fell to their knees, gasped an apology, and ran on. He grabbed Hannibal’s shoulder and yanked him around so they were face to face.

“You look just the same,” he said, though he could hardly have looked more different. Longer hair, tattoo on his neck. And something— Something wrong. His eyes were the right color, but Hannibal would never have looked at Will like this. Anger, maybe, though Will had hoped for something else, but never this impersonal hostility.

Hannibal knocked his arm away and shoved him up against the side of the building, hand on his throat. "Who the fuck are you?”

Will stared. "You're not him.”

The man's face smoothed out all at once. "You're Will Graham. He said you'd show up sooner or later."

"You know him?"

"Yeah. I'm Nigel. Come with me."

Nigel led Will to a battered blue Peugeot and drove him out of the city. Will sat beside him in silence. He didn't want to ask questions. He didn't want to know if this was going to turn into another cold trail. He wanted, for the space of the journey, at least the possibility of hope.

They stopped at a yellow farmhouse more than an hour later. A man stood on the porch. He wore faded jeans and a T-shirt, and his hair was barely longer than his stubble. A new scar cut across the right side of his jaw, and a fading bruise surrounded his left eye. For all that, Will knew him immediately, and it was clear that Hannibal recognized him, too.

Hannibal's hand raised a few inches and then fell again. He wet his lips with a quick stroke of his tongue, and they remained parted. Will stepped forward, closer, closer. Touching distance. Hannibal reached out again and stopped himself again.

"Do you want to see it?" Will asked.

Hannibal nodded. Will pulled up his shirt to bare the scar on his stomach. This time, Hannibal’s reaching hand didn’t stop. He pressed it against Will's skin, warm and rough. Both of them stood perfectly still. Will, for his part, thought he might never move again.

“Didn't this asshole try to kill you?" Nigel asked. The accent was nearly identical, the tone and pitch just the same, but his words were harsh and unmeasured.

“He didn't try very hard. I thought your family was dead,” Will said to Hannibal.

"They are, so far as I'm aware. We are both orphans, Nigel and I. Presumably we share some distant connection."

Nigel slouched next to them, leaning against one of the carved wooden posts that supported the porch. “I heard about him pretty fast when he hit town.”

“And I was nearly arrested,” Hannibal said, with a barely perceptible sneer. “For extortion and armed robbery.”

Will smiled, imagining it. “That must’ve been a shock.”

“He nearly killed me when he found me,” Nigel said.

“But since then, the resemblance has been reasonably useful.” The look Hannibal sent Nigel was not fond. He let his hand fall away, finally, from Will’s stomach. “I believe I’ll start dinner.”

He disappeared inside. Will sat down on the porch steps, not quite ready to follow. He could still feel Hannibal’s touch on his skin.

Nigel lit a cigarette and sat down beside him, legs sprawled out in front, hands braced behind him on the bare wood. “What’s the story with you two? Were you fucking or what?”

“Or what." Will glanced over to find Nigel studying his face, cigarette hanging lose between his lips.

Nigel smiled at him, all teeth and warmth and a peculiar species of charm. “He asked me to watch for you. Said you were a pretty thing.”

“He didn’t say that.”

“No. He said, ‘You will know him when you see him. He has a beautiful darkness about him.’”

Will swallowed. “That sounds more like him.”

“He was right.” Nigel’s gaze slid up and down the length of Will’s body. “You’re something.”

"I'm tired."

"Tired of what?"

Will leaned back on his hands and looked up at the porch roof, cobwebbed and rotting out in patches so that the evening sky showed through. "Tired of this. Tired of pursuit."

"You're tired of running after someone who doesn't want you. I know how that is."

Will glanced at him. "Do you?"

"My wife. My Gabi. You showed him your scar. You want to see mine?"

"All right."

Nigel unbuttoned his shirt and let it hang open. The right upper quadrant of his chest was solid with scar tissue. "Operations. Infections. Almost died. Blah, blah, blah."

"Your wife shot you?"

"For some fucking American shithead she'd known two minutes. Love, eh? What can't it do to us. We soak it up, and it wrings us dry."

*

Dinner was a much simpler affair than Will was used to from Hannibal, but still more elaborate than he'd thought the bare kitchen could produce. Hannibal sat them on opposite sides of a square wooden table and himself at what he clearly considered to be the head.

"Beef scallops in port reduction, new potatoes with ramp pesto, and green beans with almonds." He set their plates in front of them and poured their wine.

Will looked down at the meat and then at Nigel, wondering how much he knew.

"It's not human," Nigel said. "Unless he's been trapping farmers in the fucking woods back there." He waved a hand wildly toward the back of the house. "And he better not. I told him, pull that shit on me once, we're done."

Will took a bite and then found himself saying, half against his will and entirely against his better judgement: "Haven't you ever wondered what it would taste like?"

Tension filled the room like a soft fog. He looked from Nigel to Hannibal and back again. Nigel sawed at his beef. The knife scraped against the plate.

"Wondered, sure," he said. "You can wonder anything. You can wonder about walking into a fucking restaurant and shooting every last useless fuck in there, but you don't do it, right?" He gestured with his fork. A smear of blood red port reduction cut across his lower lip. "You don't do it."

"Why not?" Will asked.

"Because he fears being caught," Hannibal said.

Nigel pointed the knife at him. "Fuck you."

"You were never afraid of getting caught," Will said.

"No. Such fear implies that my outward circumstances control me, perhaps even define me. They do not. I live within my mind."

"Is that why you're hiding out in this fucking shithole in the middle of nowhere and sending me on errands to buy fucking opera CDs? If you're not scared, get out of here."

"I am not afraid, but I still have no wish to surrender so easily to opposing forces. What do we have but our struggle against the dark?"

"Which inevitably ends in failure," Will said.

"Yes. But I would prefer it end later rather than sooner."

"You're scared of prison," Nigel said. "You're shit scared, and you're hiding. Don't dress it up and then tell me I'm afraid to eat fucking human flesh. Some things you don't just don't do."

"And what would you consider beyond the pale?" Hannibal asked. "Apart from cannibalism."

"You don't hurt kids or animals. You don't hurt girls unless you have to. No rape. No stealing from your partners. Unless they fuck you over first, then you kill the bastards and take everything."

Will glanced at Hannibal. He could see the stormfront building behind his eyes, but Nigel couldn't. Nigel would never see it, not until it was too late. "Hannibal has a more flexible concept of morality," he said.

"Yeah, I've heard. Some pretentious art house bullshit about how it doesn't mean anything or it only means what you want it to mean. Right and wrong is right and wrong. That's it."

"Did you let her shoot you?" Will asked.

"Yeah. Stood there like a chump. Fuck it, I handed her the gun."

Will didn't look at Hannibal. He didn't have to. He kept his eyes on his plate for the rest of the meal, and no one said another word.

*

Hannibal showed Will to a small room at the top of the stairs. It had a twin bed, a foggy mirror, and a white painted dresser. The curtains were yellow.

"You knew I'd find you," Will said.

"I never doubted it."

"You were waiting for me."

"Did you think I wouldn't wish to see you again?"

Will couldn't answer. Hannibal watched him for a few long seconds and then left him to his scattered thoughts.

Will took off his shoes and lay down on the bed. He didn't remember closing his eyes.

He woke to darkness and chill, a searingly cold wind from the half open window that sent the curtains streaming toward him like sallow ghosts. The house was quiet. Sleep had become steadily more uncertain for him the longer he pursued Hannibal. He could tell it wouldn't be back for him any time soon.

The stairs creaked gently as he descended, and the front door opened with a low squeak. Nigel was already outside, smoking on the porch steps again. Will sat down next to him.

Nigel looked at him through lowered lashes. "Did you come looking for me?" he asked.

"Couldn't sleep."

"I could help you with that. You know the oldest cure for insomnia?"

"Not sure I'm that desperate yet."

Nigel clutched his heart with such drama that Will couldn't quite hold back a smile. He looked up at the sky. He'd been hoping for a clearer view of the stars, but he could see the low brown glow of light pollution on the horizon. They were visible, but with nothing of the clarity they'd had over his own house.

"There are places further out," Nigel said. "You can see the Milky Way."

Will looked over at him. "So you don't just look like him, you can read my mind like him, too?"

"Is that what he does? He doesn't read mine. Never seems to know when I want to plant a fucking fist in his smug face."

"He knows. He just doesn't care. Don't push him too hard, Nigel. You won't like it when he pushes back."

"He doesn't seem so dangerous to me."

"Have you read the newspapers?"

Nigel shrugged, a huge gesture that involved shoulders, hands, arms, and eyebrows. It dismissed Hannibal the Cannibal entirely.

"He's probably the most dangerous man you'll ever meet," Will said.

"No. Not him. Me. I am the most dangerous."

"I used to work for the FBI. Did you know that?"

Nigel looked at him sideways. "You were a cop?"

"Under Hannibal's influence, I beat a man to death with my bare hands. I have scars from that, too. Hannibal gave me all kinds of scars."

Nigel took his hand and examined his knuckles. They had healed patchy white in places. The battering he'd taken from Randall Tier's armor had gone too deep. Nigel kissed his knuckles, so soft and gentle a touch that it made Will flinch.

"The human body is tough," Nigel said. "Holds together as long as it can. It's not an easy thing to kill someone with your hands. Guns are better."

"Less intimate," Will suggested. Hannibal's voice echoed in his head. It had never really left him.

"Killing isn't intimate. It's something you do to someone, not with someone." Nigel leaned over and pressed his lips lightly to Will's. "Making love, that's intimate. That's why you don't use a fucking gun."

Will leaned toward him for a moment and then pulled away. He stood. Nigel didn't try to stop him, just took a pull on his cigarette and watched as he stepped inside.

On the stairs, Will met Hannibal going down as he was going up.

"Do the nightmares still trouble you?" Hannibal asked.

"They always have. You thought they'd get better after what you did to me?"

The screen door creaked open behind him, and he heard the soft tread of Nigel's bare feet. Nigel stopped just behind him, body pressed along his, proprietary hand on his hip. He smelled of smoke and aftershave that probably had a ship on the bottle.

Hannibal's eyes darkened. "I can see you have no need of further company," he said.

"Since when has that stopped you? After what you did to Abigail and Margot, I assumed acquiring company of any sort was going to end in blood."

"I did nothing to Margot."

"Are you going to— No. I’m not doing this. You know what you did."

"What did he do?" Nigel asked. He dropped his chin to rest on Will’s shoulder.

Will leaned back against him, eyes locked with Hannibal's. "He murdered my unborn child."

Nigel’s head jerked up. "He what?"

"Will is twisting the truth to suit his purposes."

"Wonder where I learned to do that, Dr. Lecter."

"Only Mason was responsible for that loss."

"You might as well say only the hired surgeon who performed the abortion was responsible for that loss. Mason guided his hand. Mason set it in motion. And you set Mason in motion."

"I was acting, as always, with your best interests in my mind."

"My best interests. I don’t even know what that means anymore, Hannibal. And you never did."

"Hey," Nigel said, with a squeeze to Will’s hip, a reminder that he was present. "He really did that?"

"Yeah, he really did that. He’ll tell you himself. He may not know how to take responsibility for the suffering he’s caused, but he won’t lie about it."

"People are the source of their own suffering," Hannibal said. "Their choices, their actions. Margot and Mason are a prime example."

"I can make him regret it," Nigel said.

Will laughed. "No, you can’t."

"I could fucking try."

Hannibal took one step down, one step closer, eyes still solely on Will. "He is easily led, is he not? And strong, I must admit. Perhaps you have found the instrument of your revenge."

"Do you dream of me?" Will asked. Hannibal didn’t answer. He didn’t need to. Will could see the answer. "I said you’d changed, didn’t I? And I was right."

Hannibal moved quickly, down the last three steps, to drive Will back against Nigel’s body and splay his hand open across Will’s scar. "Is this your revenge then? Do you mean to shut me out?"

"You left me," Will said, and closed his eyes. He sounded angry. He hadn’t known he was so angry about that. "You left me and you left Abigail because we— Because I wouldn’t dance the way you wanted me to dance. Because I was myself and not a reflection of you."

"You betrayed me."

"I told you they were coming. I told you to run!"

"How could I?" Hannibal’s fingers pressed into the scar as if he meant to claw it open. "I tried to give you a second chance, Will. Our last supper. I asked you to go away with me. Why—"

The word ended too abruptly. Hannibal’s eyes were bright with anger or madness or tears. Will couldn’t tell which.

"You destroyed everything I loved," Will said. "You took it away, piece by piece, until there was only you, until I didn’t have a choice. What the hell ever made you think that was the only way I would have you?"

"You are one fucked up son of a bitch," Nigel said.

Hannibal’s other hand came free of his pocket with a flash of silver. Will had been waiting for it and caught his wrist before the knife could connect with Nigel’s ribs. Will twisted his own hand sharply, and the knife clattered down the stairs out of reach.

Hannibal’s hand flexed open and closed. His eyes were on Nigel now instead of Will, face calm, intent clear.

"Don’t," Will said. "No one’s killing anyone tonight."

"Who is going to buy you liver and opera CDs if you do, huh?" Nigel said. "You two could only live off my fucking corpse for so long."

"He’d be on his own. I’m not staying."

Hannibal jerked his hand free of Will’s grip to wrap it around his throat. "You are," he said.

Will smiled at him, a bitter expression and one that showed too many teeth. "Haven’t we learned this lesson yet, Hannibal? You can’t make me do what you want. You can only punish me for failing to live up to expectations."

Hannibal’s grip tightened. Will wasn’t sure he cared anymore. He didn’t know what purpose his life could have beyond finding Hannibal, and he’d done that. It almost seemed right that it should be over. Maybe this was how Abigail had felt at the end.

His breath became shallower, quicker, little gasps for what air he could get. The already dim stairway darkened further.

Nigel hauled back his fist and punched Hannibal in the face. It upset the delicate balance between the three of them, literally. Hannibal was thrown back onto the steps, Nigel forward to one knee, and Will, caught between them and weak from lack of oxygen, fell across Hannibal’s legs. He heard Nigel’s loud, genuine laugh with disbelief.

"You two," Nigel said. Will looked up to see him grinning and shaking his head. "The fucking worst. Maybe you were right," he said to Will. "Maybe he is worse than me."

He pulled Will to his feet and kissed him. Conscious of Hannibal watching, Will let him do it. More than let him. Melted into it and pulled him closer and let a soft moan escape him.

Hannibal stood. Will heard the steps creak as he started to climb. Will looked back over his shoulder at him. "Are you going to leave again?" he asked.

"You seem to have made your choice. Once again, it does not include me."

"It could."

Hannibal’s face showed nothing at all. Will started up with Nigel just behind him. He reached for Hannibal’s hand as he passed, and they climbed the stairs together.

"He’s got the biggest bed," Nigel said. "Second door on the left."

Hannibal stopped in the doorway of the bedroom. Will could see his unmade bed, white sheets faded to gray, twisted in a way that was familiar to him from a lifetime of disturbed sleep.

"Is this the only way?" Hannibal asked. "Do you insist upon this?"

"I’m not insisting on anything. You’re free to do whatever you want. You always have been."

"You’ll let him have you."

"Does it matter? Do you really care?"

"The physical act is nothing."

Will took his shirt off and threw it to the floor. "Depends on which physical act you’re talking about."

Hannibal’s eyes fixed on his scar again. Slowly, he dropped to his knees and laid his lips on it. His tongue traced the red line, and Will might have fallen if Nigel hadn’t been there, just behind him, holding him up.

Hannibal sucked and licked along the wound. Will bit his lip and still made sounds he hadn’t intended to let Hannibal hear, high and desperate, echoes of the pain he lived with for so long while it healed, inch by inch. His cock was hard, too, so suddenly that it left him dizzy. He heard Hannibal’s long inhale and knew he could smell it. Hannibal cupped him through his jeans and rubbed, and Will’s knees turned to jelly.

"The bed," Nigel said.

Will shook his head. "Don’t stop, don’t stop."

But Hannibal did. It took him and Nigel both to get Will walking, to get him on the bed with the sheets tossed down to the foot. They undressed him together. Will let them do it. His eyes passed from one of them to the other, the cropped hair, the tattoo, the scars, until they blurred, one into the other.

He lay naked and exposed to them, chest heaving. Hannibal bent to his scar again. He placed his open mouth on it and sucked with such force that Will imagined he could feel the skin parting, his body opening for Hannibal once again. It felt the same as these past few hours had: his mind yielding to Hannibal’s influence against his will.

Nigel knelt near his head and stroked his hair and his cheek. "Here," he said. "Come on." He urged Will’s mouth closer to his cock, held it right against his lips.

Will opened his mouth and let him slide it inside. He sucked and reached for something to hold onto. Nigel took one hand. The other skidded over Hannibal’s skull, fingers scratching through his hair.

"That’s good," Nigel murmured. "That’s fucking beautiful. That mouth, Jesus fucking Christ, you know how to use it right. Yeah, come on, just a little deeper, baby. You can do that for me, can’t you?"

It seemed so simple compared to Hannibal’s assault on his body and mind. Will opened wider and took him deeper and gagged as the head hit the back of his throat. Nigel let him pull back and then urged him forward again. His hands were so gentle, the choice so obviously Will’s to make that he pushed himself harder this time. He breathed through his nose and sucked hard until Nigel was taking hissed breaths and his hand was tight in Will’s hair.

"Christ, I want to fuck you," Nigel said, almost to himself. "I’d like to see that. Maybe both of us, huh? Two dicks in you. You think you could take that? I’d make sure he didn’t hurt you, I promise. I’d take care of you. You’d love it, wouldn’t you? You’d love to have us both."

Will moaned around his cock, high and loud and uncontrollable. Nigel pulled back and kissed him, tongue fucking into his mouth until he was more breathless than before.

"That’s a yes, baby? Hm? Sounds like a fucking yes."

"Yes," Will said. "Yes, do it."

Hannibal licked up his cock where it lay straining against his stomach and then bit the inside of his thigh. Will cried out and twisted a leg over his shoulder to keep him there. He looked down and saw the mark of teeth and the skin all along his scar red and wet. "Please," he said.

Hannibal closed his eyes briefly. "If this is what you want."

Nigel reached into the drawer of the bedside table and came back with lube and a strip of day-glo orange condoms. Hannibal frowned at them. Nigel shrugged. "I’ve had this place a long time. I don’t usually give up my room to pretentious fuckheads, but you are my guest."

Hannibal took the lube and coated his fingers. The first touch was so cold Will flinched. Hannibal didn’t give him a chance to do more than that. An arm across his hips kept him in place, and Hannibal’s fingers opened him up, quick and relentless. The intensity grew until it was almost too much, but Hannibal seemed to know when he needed a second to adjust. A second was all he ever got, and Hannibal had three fingers inside him, fucking him hard, in minutes.

Will listened to the slap of Hannibal’s hand against his skin, the wet sound of the lube, and his own heaving breaths. Nigel stretched out beside him. He played with Will’s nipples and teased his cock hard again. He kissed Will and licked over his lower lip. His thumb followed, pushing over the slick surface and then into Will’s mouth.

"Gorgeous," Nigel told him. "Love the way your mouth gets. I could watch you sucking my dick all day."

Hannibal’s fingers twisted sharply inside him, and Will arched his back, one heel digging into the bed, the other into Hannibal’s back. Hannibal rubbed hard over his prostate, and Will’s cock jerked a thin stream of fluid onto his stomach.

"Are you ready?" Hannibal asked.

They were both looking at him. Will thought about positions, tried to take hold of the situation, because he knew that if he didn’t, one of them would.Then again, maybe that was what he wanted.

"How?" he asked.

Nigel and Hannibal looked at each other.

"You on the bottom," Nigel said. "Me behind."

"Very well."

Both of them were naked now. Will didn’t know when that had happened. He looked Hannibal over as he stretched out on the bed and then looked to Nigel, comparing, contrasting. Same angles, much the same amount of muscle and hair. The only real difference was the scars.

Nigel took Will’s shoulders and drew him close. He cupped his face with both hands and kissed him. The kiss was easy to fall into. Will stayed there, leaning into him, until Nigel pulled back and urged him up onto his knees over Hannibal’s body. He could feel Nigel right behind him as Hannibal’s cock slid into him.

"That’s good, baby. Feels good too, hm? You like that dick inside you? Move around a little so you can really feel it."

Will shifted his hips forward, back, and the head of Hannibal’s cock came to rest against his prostate. He covered his face with both hands.

"Don’t hide," Nigel told him. "It’s supposed to feel good. Fucking good. Does it feel good?"

"Yeah," Will said, voice hoarse.

"So let it feel good." Nigel kissed his neck and nuzzled slowly along his shoulder. His hands on Will’s hips urged him to keep moving, and he did, little circles of his hips until he and Hannibal were both breathless, and a thin sheen of sweat gleamed across Hannibal’s neck and chest.

Nigel pushed down between his shoulder blades. Will leaned forward, and Hannibal reached up for him and drew him close. Will nearly whimpered into his mouth when he felt Nigel’s thumb skirt the edge of his hole and and start to push inside.

"I— I don’t know if—"

But Hannibal’s mouth was on his again, both hands framing his face, kisses so careful that they left no room in his mind for panic. Nigel worked slowly. Will could feel slick sliding down between his thighs. When he worked two fingers in beside Hannibal’s cock, Will and Hannibal both froze.

"God," Will choked. "Please tell me someone in this room has done this before. Oh, fuck. I really don’t know if I can."

Nigel kept his fingers still and kissed Will’s spine, licked sweat from between his shoulder blades. "I’ve done it. Don’t worry, baby. I’ve got you. You’re all right. You like the idea of it, huh? You like it because it’s driving him crazy. It’s crude, right? Getting yourself so stuffed full of cock that you don’t know which way is up. Making him be part of it."

Hannibal’s nails scratched hard across his back. The marks he left felt like the shape of wings, like the Angel Maker cutting into Will’s flesh. Will let his head hang down between his shoulders. Sweat dripped from his hair. His body was tightening rhythmically around Hannibal’s cock and Nigel’s fingers, and he couldn’t make himself stop, couldn’t begin to relax.

"Talk to him, you fucker," Nigel said. "It’s a lot to take."

"He’s taken more than this," Hannibal said.

"Not willingly."

Hannibal stroked Will's cheek and brushed his hair back from his face. "He’s right about this much. You do look lovely."

"You like seeing me in pain."

"I like seeing you." Hannibal kissed him again, tongue sliding against his, teeth on his lip, fingers digging into his skin as if he wanted to keep him there forever. "I like your vulnerability. The strength you find in it."

Will panted for a few seconds before he could get a whole sentence out. His heartbeat shook his whole body. "Your therapist told me that the traumatized are dangerous because we are unpredictable."

"You were dangerous before you met me."

"I didn’t feel dangerous."

"But you do now?"

Will forced his eyes open and looked down at Hannibal. "Tell me what you dream about."

He watched Hannibal’s face soften and saw the moment of capitulation. "You, Will. I dream of you. Nearly every night."

Nigel’s fingers retreated, almost unnoticed, as Will held his gaze. When Nigel shifted forward and started to press his cock in, Hannibal groaned, a wholly involuntary sound. Will kept his eyes open just long enough to see Hannibal overwhelmed, and then he was bending forward himself, clinging to Hannibal’s shoulders, trying desperately not to tense up again.

"That’s good," Nigel murmured. "You’re so good, baby. You’re taking it so well. Open your eyes. Look at him. Look where you’ve got him. You’re his whole world right now."

Hannibal’s eyes were closed, lashes pale against his skin, lower lip caught hard between his teeth. He mouthed a few words with no air behind them, but Will caught them anyway. You always were.

Nigel kept pushing. Nothing sudden, nothing that hurt too much, but a slow grinding burn that ate away more and more of Will’s mind and self control. He was still clutching at Hannibal’s shoulders, and Hannibal held him just as tightly. Nigel scattered gentle bites across his shoulders. It distracted him, but not enough.

"How much— How much more?" he asked, and his voice wavered on the last word.

"Only a little," Nigel said. "Be good, baby. Hang on. You want him to see you take it all, don’t you? You want him to see you like this. Make him see he’s not so special. Anyone can take you down."

"Oh, God— Oh—"

One last thrust that felt like the end of the world, and Will felt Nigel’s chest come to rest against his back and their hips fit together. They felt huge inside him, impossible, overwhelming. He could feel them move against each other, though both of them were struggling to stay still. Every centimeter felt perilous, and at the same time every slightest shift pushed against his prostate. The pleasure shot through him and made his body clench, and all three of them groaned.

Hannibal’s grip on his arms tightened, and Will was so full that even that was enough to move them inside him. He whimpered, too far gone to keep anything back. "Still," he said. "Please, you have to—"

Hannibal rocked his hips, an inch, maybe less, and Will felt it everywhere inside him. The slippery slide of lube, the sound they made, the unnatural stretch. "Please," he said again, and this time he didn’t know what he was asking for.

"No one’s going to hurt you," Nigel said. "Just going to fuck you. I’ll make him stop if you need to stop. But you don’t want that, huh? You want to be fucking used till you’re begging for it like a little bitch."

"Don’t—" Hannibal said, and it came out raw and dangerous. "Don't speak to him that way."

Nigel laughed. "Too rude? Too crude? Maybe he wants it that way. Maybe that’s why he left you. Maybe you weren’t enough for him."

Will didn’t need to open his eyes to see Hannibal’s silent snarl. He’d seen it in his dreams often enough, fading into tenderness as he sunk the knife in deeper.

"Move," Will said, because he was afraid of what might happen if they didn’t.

Nigel started it, pulling back an inch and pushing in again, slowly. Hannibal mirrored him, pressing deeper as he pulled out, rocking back as he slid in. They alternated, rocking Will’s body back and forth between them, and he was always full, always, and sometimes too full, so that they pressed everywhere inside him, stretched him and touched him, and every part of him grew heated and sensitized.

His cock pushed up hard against his stomach, but he couldn’t imagine what it would be like to touch it now. Too much. He couldn’t think of coming, of any sort of end. He could only hold on. He was trembling, and his blood was too loud in his ears.

Nigel was whispering filth against his neck, but he only caught fragments of it: Nigel telling him how bad he wanted it, how he looked, the sounds he was making, whining and begging for it, all pitched low so Hannibal couldn’t hear, couldn’t tell him to stop.

Hannibal stroked his cheek. "Will. Open your eyes."

Will shook his head. He couldn’t take anything else, not one more piece of sensory input. They were moving faster now, still controlled, but more focused on their own pleasure. It shocked Will how much he wanted that, wanted them to get off on using him like this, seeing him like this.

Nigel took his hips and sunk in deep as Hannibal slid out enough so that the head of his cock stretched Will’s opening. Will cried out and felt tears wet his lashes, less from the pain than the overload. His thoughts spun away from him. Hannibal pushed in before Nigel had pulled back, both of them rubbing up hard against that spot inside him.

"Will," Hannibal said again.

Will opened his eyes and saw Hannibal looking up at him, as wrecked as he had been that night in the kitchen. Hannibal pulled him down onto his cock, and Will came so hard that the world swirled away into white around him.

He was just barely conscious of Hannibal’s gasp, the jerk of his cock inside him, and the rush of wet heat as he came as well. Hannibal’s hands on him, holding him to his chest. Will melted down against his body.

Hannibal’s cock slid out of him, and then it was just Nigel, gasping and cursing and shoving hard into Will’s body. He came with a grunt and rolled off to the side. Will could feel their come seeping out between his thighs.

None of them moved. None of them spoke. Silence filled up the room. Will put his head down on Hannibal’s chest and listened to the sound of his heart. Hannibal pushed his fingers into Will’s hair.

At last, Nigel stretched and sat up. He reached down to get his cigarettes from the floor and lit one. "Everyone shut up," he said. "It’s my goddamn room. My house. My smokes."

He took a couple of deep drags. He swung his legs over the edge of the bed and started to stand. Will caught his arm.

"Stay," he said.

Nigel looked at him and then at Hannibal. "He’s sorry, you know," he said to Will. "We’re always sorry afterward. People like us."

"It doesn’t mean he won’t do it again."

Nigel smiled, but it faded quickly. "And you want me here to protect you?"

"Just stay for tonight."

Nigel looked at Hannibal again, this time for permission. Hannibal nodded once, and Nigel lay back down. He pulled the sheets up over their legs. The smoke from his cigarette twisted toward the ceiling. "And in the morning?" he said.

Will had no idea, and sleep was pulling him down. The last thing he felt was the brush of Hannibal’s lips across his forehead, and the last thing he heard was Nigel singing under his breath, something low and wandering, about the stars.