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              Will had been a fool.

              To think that he had once believed he had the power to resist Hannibal Lecter was now laughable.  He knew he was moments away from cracking; and even that was a lie, because he had already, irreversibly cracked; when, he didn’t know and couldn’t place, but he was already past the point of no return.  Perhaps it was Randall Tier.  More likely, it was Freddie Lounds. 

              Hannibal stood behind him in his office, too close, as he often stood, and for a person so acutely aware of social graces as Hannibal, to try to claim it was an accident was as preposterous as trying to claim the sky wasn’t blue.

              Will could feel the heat coming off of Hannibal’s body, he stood so close.  Merely an inch between Will’s back and his chest, and Will knew, he knew that Hannibal would go no further.  He would manipulate and persuade and place the knife into your hand for you, but the stabbing he always left up to you.  But just like the killers Hannibal had created, in the end, Will felt as if he had no choice.  As if he’d never had a choice. 

              Except that he did.  And that was the beauty and utter horror that was Hannibal; that while Will was perfectly aware that the next choice he made was completely of his own choosing, he also felt Hannibal had manipulated him there, into this corner, with absolutely no other way out.  Into this place where Hannibal wanted him.  Into his arms.  Into his body.

              Will dared to lean back.  In the end, Hannibal had made it so easy that Will hadn’t even needed to take a step.  All he had to do was lean.  And lean he did; until his back was pressed up against Hannibal’s chest, and Hannibal’s lips which hovered over his shoulder now brushed against his neck.

              “This is very intimate, Will.” his voice, the voice Will heard in his sleep, in his dreams, in his nightmares and in his fantasies, rang through his ears.

              “Yes.” was Will’s reply, swallowing nervously, trying to keep his voice from rasping.

              “May I inquire as to why you’ve chosen to place yourself here?”

              “Isn’t it for the same reason you haven’t moved away?” Will retorted, crossing his arms in front of himself, but not moving away, either.  He might have been the caught mouse, but that didn’t mean he had to give up the entirety of his personality.  He was going to be a match for Hannibal, even if in the end, they both already knew Hannibal had won.

              Hannibal lifted a hand, his motion as smooth as oil, to place his arm over Will’s as it crossed in front of his chest.  He placed his palm over the back of Will’s hand, and that simple motion was enough to remind Will that his heart was already racing.  Then Hannibal pushed, ever so slightly, to squeeze Will between his arm and his chest.  Will cracked.

              The stiffness fell away from him like dust.  He leaned his head back, it falling onto Hannibal’s shoulder, unable now to resist at all.  He’d given up the last of his cards…his intentions, and what he wanted, were now perfectly, crystal clear.

              “Do you enjoy that I’m holding you?” Hannibal whispered, the heat from his breath washing over Will’s ear and neck, making them burn.

              “Yes.” he managed to whisper back.

              “And why is that?”

              “It isn’t possible for you to stop playing games, is it?  Not even when you have what you want.” Will spat. 

              “And what is it that I want?” he asked, his lips brushing Will’s ear now, erasing all pretense that this was anything but sexual.

              “Why don’t you tell me?” Will said back.  “You imply much, but always avoid stating your desires explicitly.”

              “I could say the same of you.” Hannibal said, his other arm snaking around, entrapping Will, as he brought the backs of his fingers up to stroke against Will’s cheek.  Will closed his eyes in surrender, pressing the other side of his face against Hannibal’s neck, allowing himself to get lost in the sensation that was Hannibal’s fingers tenderly stroking his face.

              “It is a challenge, then.” Hannibal continued.  “Neither willing to be the first to speak the plain truth.”

              A half-sarcastic, half genuine smile flickered wide on Will’s face and then vanished.  Hannibal continued to stroke him, his fingers moving back now to comb through Will’s hair, and Will continued to press his body into Hannibal, who stood behind him as sturdy as a brick wall.

              “What if I told you you could have anything you want from me, if merely you ask for it?” Will whispered, almost unable to get sound into his voice.  It was both an admission and it wasn’t; but it was enough of a first step for Hannibal.

              “I am not the asking type, Will.  I’m used to taking whatever I like.”

              Heat flushed through Will’s entire body, blooming up into his neck to redden the tips of his ears and blush his cheeks.

              “And yet, in this case, you wait.” Will said, opening his eyes to find Hannibal’s gaze burning into him.  “Your patience is maddening.”

              Hannibal’s fingers tightened in Will’s hair, grasping his curls with far more ferocity than was necessary.  He tilted Will’s head as he brought his own around, his eyes never leaving Will’s as he brushed their lips together ever so slightly, so that it could not even be called a kiss.  He wanted Will to break, and he did, pushing his own head closer, closing the kiss, so that even now it was up for debate who kissed who first.

              But once it was begun, neither could retain composure.  Will had not expected to be so drawn, so powerfully, into Hannibal’s lips; before he could even think he was turning his body around, wrapping his arms behind Hannibal, opening and closing his lips in a fevered, desperate motion that gave away far more than he’d intended.  Hannibal fared no better, his hands framing Will’s face, his fingers trembling as he drew Will’s lips into his own, sucking on them, licking them, his tongue eager and desperate to taste.

              As it turned out, Hannibal was capable of casting games aside and taking what he wanted.  He pushed Will backward, towards the leather couch, and Will went, stumbling until he was seated on it.  When Hannibal pushed his shoulders back he eagerly lay, fingers tightening in the fabric of Hannibal’s suit jacket to pull him on top of himself. 

              Hannibal crushed his body over Will’s, pressing him into the leather, and Will was the first of them to make a sound at all, in the form of a desperate, needy whimper.  Hannibal pulled back from their kisses, strands of his hair fallen out of place, his eyes dark and hungry.

              “Tell me your intentions, Will.” he said, and there was husk to his voice; more emotion than Will had ever recalled hearing in Hannibal’s voice at all.

              “I don’t know my intentions.” he said.  “You’re the Chesapeake Ripper.  You’ve made me suffer with Encephalitis, framed me for murder, killed Abigail Hobbs, had me committed to an insane asylum, then freed me from said asylum, all for your own amusement.  I know what you are and who you are; and yet I let you manipulate me into killing, I eat at your table and enter your office and find myself unable to do anything but want you.  I should want to kill you.  Instead I want to make love to you.”

              He watched Hannibal’s composure wither away, and for the first time in all their sessions, and conversations, and confessions, saw him vulnerable.

              “You seek to undo me.” Hannibal said.

              “In every way.” Will replied.  He knew Hannibal was looking for assurances; some promise that this…whatever it was between them would keep Will from eventually using the evidence he’d gathered and confessions he’d heard to imprison Hannibal.  But Will could make no such promise.  When he said he didn’t know where he stood, he meant it.

              He shouldn’t, for example, want the lips of a man whose teeth had bitten human flesh upon his skin, and yet here he was, desperate for it.

              “Come to my home.” Hannibal said.  “Spend the night with me, let us partake of each other, and after that, do what you will.”

              Will nodded with sincerity.  That he could agree to.


              He’d expected to spend the drive torn, deep in thought as his mind tortured itself with possible actions he should take, but he didn’t.  He had made his decision, or rather, he had allowed Hannibal to make his decision.  He wanted this, and damned be the consequences; perhaps he would arrest Hannibal, and take him to court, and during the trial this would come out, and it would sour every bit of the evidence.  Then Will could, in good conscience, claim he’d tried, at least, to catch the killer, but then in the end Hannibal would be free.  And perhaps his. 

              It was a scenario he found himself  very able to live with.

              Maybe he wouldn’t bother to arrest him at all.  Maybe he’d tell Jack he’d made a terrible mistake and had been wrong this entire time.

              Maybe he’d kill Jack.

              He dwelled on that last thought as he pulled into Hannibal’s driveway.  Will could no longer deny how killing Randall and Freddie had made him feel.  He’d done horrific things, and knew he would continue to, if it meant he could be close to Hannibal.  If Will couldn’t un-convince Jack what he’d almost convinced him of, then he could simply kill him.  What were morals, anyway?

              He followed Hannibal up the walkway and into the foyer that was by now very familiar.  They removed their shoes and Will followed Hannibal silently through the house, to the stairs that he’d looked up tens of times, but had never travelled upon.  Now he followed Hannibal up them, seeing the second floor of his house for the first time, though he hardly noticed any of the décor as his attention was wholly focused on the man in front of him.

              Hannibal flicked on the light to his bedroom.  He waited for Will to step inside, turned, and shut the door behind him.  Will stood in the middle of the room, hands in his pockets, while Hannibal removed his jacket and waistcoat, draping them carefully over the armrest of a chair.  Neither spoke.

              Somehow, Will thought, the mood should have been broken.  A drive, a walk in fresh air, the change in atmosphere from the dim office to the bright lights of Hannibal’s bedroom, and yet, it wasn’t.  He turned to Hannibal with hungry eyes, who merely gestured at the bed as he reached up to undo his tie.

              Will walked over to it; unsurprised to find it king-sized and luxurious, high and fluffy and covered with a very expensive looking duvet.

              Hannibal walked over to him and stood behind him, pressing his chest into Will’s back as he stood with his knees pressed to the bed, stroking his hands down along Will’s arms, pressing light kisses into the side of his neck.

              “Never did I think this dream would become reality.” he said, moving his hands to spread over Will’s stomach, then up his chest to the top button of his flannel shirt, his lips never leaving Will’s neck as he undid the first button.

              “Welcome to my nightmare.” Will replied, and he felt the small smile in Hannibal’s lips as he pressed them to his neck, heat rising to his cheeks once again as Hannibal’s fingers brushed against his chest as they worked, unfastening his shirt one slow button at a time.  Hannibal moved his lips to Will’s ear.

              “Am I the monster that plagues your nightmares, Will?” he said, his voice playful.

              “Yes.” Will replied, the last button releasing his shirt to fall open.  Hannibal’s warm, calloused hands brushed over his stomach, his palms pressing against his skin, his fingers exploring every inch of him.  Down his sides, across his pelvis, then up to his chest to brush over his nipples.  Will inhaled a sharp intake of breath, and Hannibal hummed with soft affection.  He brought his thumbs up to stroke Will’s nipples then, rubbing them synchronously, and Will’s head lolled forward as heat bloomed through his body.

              “Fuck.” he whispered, bending forward just a hair, enough so that his ass pressed against Hannibal’s pelvis.  He felt his erection then, and pushed back into it.  Hannibal ground into him, rubbing his hardness against Will’s jeans, and Will’s hands flew to his own belt, hurrying to get it off.

              His haste changed the mood entirely, and Hannibal stepped back to begin removing his own clothes as quickly as he could.  Naked, Will crawled onto Hannibal’s bed, and before he had a chance to position himself Hannibal was upon him, one knee between Will’s legs, his chest pressed into his back, his left arm snaking around his stomach while his right hand moved up to caress Will’s hair.  His lips pressed into the back of Will’s neck, and Will arched into the touch, suddenly feeling more like an animal than a man, on all fours as Hannibal pressed his warm cock against his ass.

              “Oh God.” Will said, his voice shaky, his body trembling.  Hannibal made a soft, guttural noise that was part growl, part purr.  His fingers tightened in Will’s hair and he pulled, yanking Will’s head up.

              “You know what I am.” Hannibal said, his voice husky, his accent thick as his lips brushed Will’s ear.  “Yet you would trust me this way?”

              To emphasize his point, yet still without making a straightforward confession, Hannibal took the lobe of Will’s ear between his teeth and gently scraped them over it.  Will shuddered under him, blood rushing to fill his cock and blooming up to make his ears red.  His voice was ragged and he pushed backward, pressing his ass against Hannibal’s erection.

              “It’s not a matter of trust.  I can’t resist you anymore.” he whispered.  “You draw me to you in a way I’ve never been drawn.  You tell me I’m a killer; and I am, but I was able to fight it, Hannibal, it took all I had but I’ve fought that need for thirty years, and I succeeded.  So I know the strength of my own willpower.  And yet in months you have undone what it took me a lifetime to build, every wall I’d erected to keep myself from harming others, even at the expense of my own sanity, you have crumbled with the barest of touches.  And how have you done this to me?” Will asked, his voice trembling and shaky, Hannibal never having ceased pressing his kisses to Will’s skin, across his shoulder blades, along his spine.  “How have you taken me so easily apart, gotten under my every defense, when I know how strong those defenses were?  The answer, Hannibal, is that what I am, without question, is yours.”

              Hannibal’s arms encircled Will fully then, both of them around his body as he pressed his entire self against Will’s back, causing Will to have to hold almost his entire weight up with his arms.  Instead he chose not to, and sank into the mattress, where he felt Hannibal press kiss after kiss after kiss along his neck, his shoulders, his back.

              “Then this is more than tonight.” Hannibal finally asked, and Will could hear the vulnerability in his voice, then.  He had probably never asked that question of a lover in his entire life.  He had probably never cared before.

              Will rolled over, so that he was on his back, and tentatively reached a hand up to stroke Hannibal’s cheek.

              “This,” he said, unable to find any better words to define it.  Instead he slid his fingers down Hannibal’s arm, tracing them over one of his scars, a reminder of the time he’d attempted to kill him.  “This…is unbreakable.  I know, because I’ve tried.  You’ve tried.  The things we’ve both done to each other.  If anything should have pushed me away, it was when you killed Abigail.  Oh, I tried to kill you.  Oh, I thought I hated you.  Part of me still hates you.  It doesn’t matter.  No matter what I do, or how I think I feel, or what I think I want, it all ends with me here, in your arms.  Do what you like and be what you want.  I can’t resist you.”

              Hannibal’s kiss was fierce, powerful, and needy.  His lips sucked Will’s into his mouth, and Will opened and closed his own just as frenetically, his arms reaching up to wrap around Hannibal’s shoulders.  Their tongues chased each other, each desperate to taste the other, though eventually it was Will who found his tongue sucked into Hannibal’s mouth, grazed between his teeth, and the fact that he felt no fear when he should have made him realize he did trust him.

              Hannibal’s hands slid over Will’s body, touching every inch of him.  His palms caressed his stomach, tickled his sides, rubbed over his nipples.  Will’s head fell back and their lips parted, though Hannibal’s face stayed close, his eyes never leaving Will’s expression.  When his fingers brushed against Will’s dick, the sharp intake of breath he gave surprised even himself.  He became aware again of Hannibal’s cock, pressed into his thigh, and his fingers darted down to try to reach it.

              Hannibal growled, and Will stopped moving, his blood growing hot at the sound.  He couldn’t open his eyes no matter how he tried, and so he was lost to sensation as Hannibal’s powerful fingers wrapped around his cock and gently, much too slowly, started to stroke.

              Will’s back arched, his voice betraying him with whimpers, Hannibal’s thumb teasing around the tip while the rest of his fingers pumped him, too slowly.  If Will had had any self-control up until this point he would have lost it, and without shame started to buck his hips up into Hannibal’s hand, trying to increase the speed.

              “Shhhh,” Hannibal whispered, stroking his other hand along Will’s face.  “Let me play with you.”

              It should have evoked anger within him; but instead, Will melted into a useless puddle, stilling underneath the predator that loomed above him and letting it do as it pleased.  Hannibal’s hand continued to stroke him, too slowly, making Will’s blood burn, making his skin fire.  He again tried to open his eyes but the best he could do was make them flutter.  It was enough.

              What he saw above him was not Dr. Lecter, perfectly composed and carefully maintained.  Instead he saw a face with emotion, and for the first time since he’d given up trying, Will reached out with his empathy. 

              It overflowed him in waves; need, desperation, fear, affection.  Affection, affection, desperation, fear.  Will gasped from the power of it, his mind lost to words, overflowing with Hannibal and the sensations happening to his body.

              “I matter to you.” he whispered, and Hannibal’s response was a soft snort, and Will felt humor, laughter.  “I can feel you, Hannibal.  Normally you’re closed off to me…I thought you couldn’t feel…”

              “They say I can’t.” he replied, gently pulling his hand away from Will’s cock, which was now red and swollen and dripping with pre-cum.  His strong palms pressed under Will’s knees, drawing them up, and Will allowed them to bend, his heart pounding as if he were a virgin, as if he’d never been taken this way before.  He might as well have been.

              “And for forty years, I believed it.”

              Will didn’t know how Hannibal’s fingers were slicked; his mind was hardly paying attention to the room anymore; but whatever it was it was warm and smooth and not distracting at all, leaving Will to concentrate on Hannibal’s fingers as they slid between his ass cheeks, rubbing gentle strokes over his hole.  Will whimpered, tilting his chin back, parting his lips to pant. 

              “Relax, Will.”

              Only then did he realize the tension that he held in every part of himself.  He tried; but he spent most of his life tense; he wasn’t even sure he knew what relaxing felt like.  Hannibal’s other hand came up to stroke his cock again, and in seconds Will was butter, coherent thought vanishing from his mind, along with his ability to be tense.

              “Incredible.” Hannibal said, and there was only genuine truth in his voice.

              “That I am so pliable in your hands?” Will said, trying to sound sarcastic, but his voice was too raw, too open.

              “That you respond this way to me.” Hannibal replied, and Will felt it, felt his loneliness, felt his pain.  His desperate longing to be understood; to be not alone.  It was so genuine, it was so human, and all Will wanted in that moment was to comfort him, forever.  Fill that emptiness, take that loneliness away, make it so that Hannibal was never alone again.

              He very, very strongly doubted that he was ever going to turn Hannibal in, now. 

              Hannibal pressed, his finger pushing against Will’s tightly closed muscle, breaching him open.  Will gave a soft whimper and again clutched his fingers tightly in the duvet, surprised that Hannibal had even left it on the bed.  It was going to get ruined.  The fact that he didn’t care was just one more testament to how deep his feelings went for Will.

              He pushed his finger in deep, and Will panted, unused to this sensation; it had been years, after all.  He pulled it out again, slowly, then pushed back in, moving with the same slow, patient rhythm that he was stroking Will’s cock with, and Will melted under his hands.

              As he felt every ounce of tension leave his body, Will found it easy to open his eyes, then.  He looked up into Hannibal’s face and had no doubts any longer that Hannibal was in love.  The emotion was so clear, so unmuddled, that Will found himself unable to hold back his own love any longer.

              “I’m doomed.” he whispered, eyes half-closed.

              “To be fair,” Hannibal said, sliding his hand gently away from Will’s cock so he could lean forward, hovering his face just above Will’s, “so am I.”

              They kissed, long and sweet and deep, this time.  The rush was gone.  There was no need to hurry, now.  Hannibal pressed a second finger into Will and he groaned, spreading his legs wider, his lips dancing over Hannibal’s as if they had always been there, as if this wasn’t their first night together, but their fiftieth.

              “I can feel your love for me.” Will whispered, and Hannibal’s eyes opened to gaze into his.

              “Then you know how doomed I truly am.” he replied, sliding his fingers gently out.  This time Will saw him dip them into a glass jar with a foreign language on the label, before he brought whatever it was to his own cock and slicked it, all the while his free hand never ceasing to stroke Will’s hair, his lips never moving more than an inch from Will’s.

              “Fate was cruel to place us in lives where we would be enemies.” Will said, surprised at his own voice, which sounded as thick as honey; drunk, but yet so clear.

              “Are we, still?” Hannibal asked, rolling so that his body covered Will’s, sliding himself between his legs, the tip of his cock pressed against his hole, so gently worked open. 

              Will’s eyes sought out Hannibal’s and got lost in them.

              “No.” he said, and Hannibal’s entire face changed, the mask falling away to reveal a man, raw and vulnerable and relieved.

              He pushed, and Will opened for him, panting as Hannibal worked his cock in slowly.  His eyes never left Will’s face, gauging him, watching every flutter and twitch.  Will’s mouth opened slowly, and he wrapped his fingers in Hannibal’s hair. 

              Hannibal pushed in halfway and then slowly started to pull out again, pushing just a little farther when he came back, working Will open with the patience of an experienced predator.  Will felt his heart open along with his body, laughing at himself weeks ago, days ago, an hour ago, that he’d ever thought he could be separated from the creature above him.

              “I would never turn you in.” he whispered.  “God, Hannibal, why haven’t you made me an accessory to one of your murders, so I can’t turn you in without destroying myself, the way you do all the time?  Why haven’t you?”

              Hannibal didn’t respond at first, instead concentrating on moving his body smoothly, in a perfect rhythm, as he worked Will slowly open.

              He leaned down to brush his lips against Will’s ear.

              “I wanted you to come to me of your own free will.”

              Will trembled, then, as Hannibal finally admitted the truth, all the truths, in one sentence, but not until Will was his, not until his cock was buried deep inside and Will belonged to him, wholly and helplessly.

              “Well.  Here I am.” Will replied.  “Aren’t you tired of being patient?”

              Hannibal lifted his lips to crush them to Will’s, and he started to move faster.  Will pulled away to gaze at him, watching his muscles flex, his abs contract as he thrust.  Will’s body was ready now, and soft moans started to escape him each time Hannibal pressed in.

              “That all you got?” he said, and Hannibal gave him a flirtatious smile.  He thrust, hard, and Will moaned, his hands moving up to Hannibal’s shoulders, his fingers curling into his flesh to pull him close.

              Hannibal thrust again, and again, still as smooth as butter, but with power, now, and Will groaned under him, pleasure singing up his nerves  from his ass to his balls to his cock.  It spread up his spine and down to his knees, and he clutched Hannibal harder, moving his own hips back in time, trying to get closer, to be nearer, to become one.

              “Take me.” he whispered, and Hannibal purred in his ear, a low, feral sound that made Will shudder.  Hannibal’s fingers moved to Will’s hips and he pounded into him, his breath heavy as his skin glistened with sweat.  The bed creaked under their movements, as Hannibal thrust and thrust, words leaving Will.  All he knew was Hannibal’s emotion and his own pleasure; lust and desire and need and love.

              He fell back to the bed, panting with every pound of Hannibal’s cock into him, his eyes tracing over his face as his straight hair shook, hanging free and disheveled.  Hannibal’s lips pulled back in a snarl, bearing his teeth as his entire body tensed.  He roughly grabbed Will’s hand and closed his fingers around his own cock, and at the touch Will crumbled, stroking himself fast and hard along with Hannibal’s desperate thrusts.  His fingers clasped Will’s shoulders and their eyes met, Hannibal’s thrusts ever-quickening until he came with a cry.  His expression was raw, vulnerable, and the sight of it tumbled Will over the edge of the cliff with him, until they fell together, bare and naked, hearts pounding together, pleasure singing through Will from both his own body and Hannibal’s.

              Hannibal collapsed on top of him, shaking, his fingers clasping Will so tightly they turned white.  His heavy pants flowed over Will’s neck, his open mouth resting against his skin.

              “Oh God.” Will managed, raising his arms to wrap them around Hannibal tightly, knowing that he wouldn’t care about the mess all over his hand.  Hannibal peppered kisses on his neck, keeping himself inside of Will, keeping them joined.  He moved his kisses up to Will’s lips and he gave into them, his hands flying to Hannibal’s hair, the kisses deep now, slow.

              “What are we?” Will whispered, and Hannibal gave him a smile, real, genuine, such that Will was certain he was the only person who had ever seen it.

              “Do you need a term?” Hannibal replied, his voice still ragged.  Will brushed his fingers along Hannibal’s cheek.

              “There is no term.” he said softly, and Hannibal smiled at him again, knowing, now, that Will was caught.

              He gently pulled out of him, the sound of squishing and slickness accompanying Will’s grunt of discomfort.

              “We’ve ruined your fancy bedspread.” he said.  Hannibal snorted.

              “I can easily afford a new one.”

              “Of course you can.”


              Will looked up into Hannibal’s face and brushed the strands of frazzled hair out of his eyes.


              Hannibal had nothing to say, but leaned down and pressed another long, deep kiss to Will’s lips, and he eagerly opened his  mouth for him.


* * *

              Will awoke to the sound of angry knocking.  It was insistent, and loud, and very annoying.  He buried his face in the pillows, opening one eye to see that Hannibal was already up, throwing on a bathrobe and a pair of pajama pants, which made Will laugh for some reason.  The sunshine filtered in through the window and over the white sheets, though Will barely remembered pulling back the bedspread to crawl under them, last night.

              “I’ll go see who it is.” Hannibal said, leaning down to press a lingering kiss upon Will’s lips.  Will listened to the sound of Hannibal’s footsteps descending the stairs and then to the door open.

              “Jack.” Hannibal said, genuine surprise in his voice.  “What brings you over at this hour?”

              At the sound of Jack’s voice, Will’s blood turned to ice and his heart clenched tightly in his chest.  He grit his teeth with furious anger that Jack would dare to come here now, now that it was too late.  With rage, Will rose, searching the floor for the first pair of pants he saw, realizing only after he stepped into the hall that they were Hannibal’s.  All the better.

              “The Ripper struck again last night, Hannibal.  A body down on Water Street.  There isn’t anyone who could verify your whereabouts last night now, is there?”

              “I can.”

              Will stood, leaning against the doorframe, shirtless and wearing a pair of Hannibal’s slacks, which were too long on him and obviously not his.  Jack stared, his mouth gaping.

              “He was with me all night.” Will said, making no effort whatsoever to hide the venom in his voice.

              “Will.  I.  Um.  This is…unexpected.” Jack stuttered, trying to regain composure on his face.

              “Yes, well.  It is acceptable these days for two men to sleep together, is it not?” Hannibal asked, and Will had to struggle not to laugh as Hannibal so easily twisted Jack’s shock away from the real reason and to something completely false.

              “No, I mean, yes, of course.  I just.  The last time we had this exact conversation, it was Alana standing in that doorway…”

              “You slept with Alana?” Will said, surprised at how easily he made his voice sound convincingly upset.  Hannibal took his cue perfectly and turned to Jack with offense on his face.

              “Jack, I’m going to have to ask you to leave, before you meddle more in my personal affairs.”

              Jack stammered, his eyes growing wide wish shock and embarrassment.

              “Hannibal, I’m sorry, I…”

              “Please leave now, Jack, before you make this any more uncomfortable for me, in my own home.”

              “Yes, yes, of course.”

              Jack stumbled out the door and Hannibal closed it behind him, just slightly harder than necessary.

              He turned to Will and a devious, delighted smile spread across his lips.  He rushed to him and swept him into his arms, planting kiss after kiss upon his lips.

              “Oh, that was brilliant.” Hannibal said, unable to hide the delight in his eyes.

              “Thank you.  I’ve been playing a part for three decades; a little acting now isn’t all that difficult.”

              Hannibal grinned again and started walking towards the kitchen.

              “Breakfast?” he asked, and Will followed after him, a smile growing on his lips.

              “It wouldn’t happen to be anyone from Water Street, would it?” he inquired, and Hannibal gave him a wink.

              “I wanted to be able to make you something fresh, for our first meal together as a couple.”

              Will leaned against the kitchen counter as Hannibal started to work, removing his bathrobe to hang it on a hook behind the door, leaving Will to watch him wearing nothing but a thin pair of pajama pants.

              “You snuck out in the middle of the night to kill a present for me?” Will said, and Hannibal turned to him, beaming.

              “You seem to rather like the idea.”

              Only then did Will realize the smile he was wearing.  It was so real he hadn’t even noticed it appear. 

              “I think I rather like this entire situation.” he said.  “I’ve spent the last few months trying to convince Jack that you were the Ripper.  Now I’ll start unconvincing him.” he said, his fingers wrapping around a glass as Hannibal placed it in front of him, pouring orange juice.

              “That.” Hannibal said with a grin, “Sounds like it would be a lot of fun.”

              He raised his own glass, they toasted, and drank, the beginning of an entirely new life.