Oh! Soulmates prompt! Hannigram / tattoo or mark with what the other loves -- mostly bc I find the thought of Hannibal having a puppy soulmate mark hilarious -∠( ᐛ 」∠)＿ (Or it could go the other way and Will is always ashamed / angry about the literal bloody horror show on his body until he finds Hannibal and is just like... of course he had to be a serial killer OF COURSE)
this is like… the opposite of the last prompt. light angst ahead!
When Hannibal is seven years old, a small puppy appears on his wrist. He shows it to his mother and she smiles.
“Look at that.” She traces one finger over the delicate lines. “Your soulmate was just born.”
Hannibal cups his wrist to his heart and prays that they are kind.
When Hannibal is eight years old his mother dies. His mother, and his father, and his sister. He decides then that nobody is kind, nobody at all. He takes a sharp rock and scrapes off the skin of his wrist until the puppy is gone. It scabs over, turns into a pale scar that fades over time. The mark does not come back.
When Will Graham is born, the word kind is scrawled in small, hesitant letters across his stomach. His parents take it as a sign of good fortune and show it to their family and friends.
“How lucky, to have a mark so early!”
Everyone coos and dotes over the beautiful baby and his fortunate mark. Will’s parents nod and smile.
When Will Graham is one year old, he wakes up in the middle of the night screaming.
His father rushes in to find his infant son writhing in his crib, clutching at his stomach. He lifts him out and tries to calm him, but Will won’t stop. His mother holds out her arms but Will just kicks and cries for hours, hands scrabbling at his midsection.
When, finally, Will exhausts himself, they pull his hands from where they were curled tight around his stomach.
Will’s father gasps. His mother begins to sob.
Kind has disappeared. In its place, another word, longer and far less charming.
When Hannibal is 46 years old, the puppy comes back. He ignores it.
The next day he meets Will Graham.
That night, another puppy appears. A week later, another. Then another, and another, and another. Within a month Hannibal has a litter of puppies, linked in a row that travels from the inside of his wrist and wraps all the way round to his elbow.
Hannibal examines his mark thoughtfully and smiles.
Will Graham gives up believing in soulmates fairly early on, much to the relief of his father. He’d hoped that his lack of faith might make the mark fade, but it never does. Over time, the characters became more elegant, slowly joining into a practiced cursive. The beauty of the lettering can’t stop the word from being ugly, though, and Will starts covering it with foundation just so he doesn’t have to look at it all the time. He gives up on relationships not longer after that, tired of explaining either the smears of make-up on his skin or the terrible word.
By the time Will Graham is 38 years old, he is very very tired of vengeance.
Then he meets Hannibal Lecter.
That night he goes home, and when he takes off his shirt to go to bed he catches a glimpse of his reflection and freezes in shock.
He turns slowly in the mirror and sees that his mark is gone. No, not gone. Replaced. One word, shorter and simpler and somehow even more terrifying.
“Can I ask you something, Doctor Lecter?”
“Do you have a soulmark?”
Doctor Lecter’s mouth purses and he tips his chin to the side. Will feels heat suffuse his cheeks.
“If I answer yes, will you ask to see it?”
Will swallows around the sudden thickness in his throat.
“I, uh, no… that would be rude.”
Hannibal crosses his legs at the knee and smooths one hand down his thigh.
“If I answer yes, will you let me show you?”
“If you want.”
“Then the answer is yes,” Hannibal says smoothly, “would you like to see?”
Will nods mutely.
Hannibal undoes the cufflink of one sleeves and gracefully rolls the sleeve up to his elbow, holding his arm up for Will to examine. Will’s heart begins to skitter in his chest.
“That’s… you’re… I…”
Hannibal leans forward in his chair.
“Come closer, Will.”
Will feels uncomfortably like a fly caught in the web of a terribly charming spider. His fingers tremble as he reaches forward to touch one of the small dogs that cover Hannibal’s arm.
Then the word vengeance flashes in his mind in blood-red graffiti and he recoils.
“I have to go,” Will says, and stumbles out the room.
They don’t talk about it again.
The day that Hannibal cuts into Will’s soulmark, he feels the pain twice over. He clutches onto Hannibal’s arm, where he knows the mark is, and tries to breathe through the overwhelming hurt. Hannibal holds him tenderly, and Will decides in that moment that vengeance feels an awful lot like love.
When he wakes up in the hospital, they’ve stitched him up and his mark is gone, nothing but clean unblemished skin left behind.
When the plane takes off for Florence, Hannibal feels a stinging burn at his elbow. It starts to travel downward to his wrist and he clenches his teeth against the sensation. Bedelia looks up at him serenely from the seat beside him and he turns away.
Ten hours later, he unpeels his shirt from his skin, expecting to see emptiness, a blank slate.
Instead, there is one word, writ in large and bloody script and wrapped around the same stretch of skin where the puppies used to be.
Three and a half years later, as Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham fall from a cliff, their soulmarks change for one last time.
Neither of them know it, wrapped too tightly together to notice the sensation. But as they tumble through salt-drenched air, the same word forms across the same patch of skin directly above their hearts.
The ocean swallows their marks with them.