So I’m working on a lot of stories (longer WIPs) though I’ve been getting distracted a lot by election stuff. Lately I’m very angry and having a hard time concentrating. I’m way behind in my story comments even!
There are means of influence other than violence.
He heard the words, the whisper of the train across the tracks, but all he could feel was the burning from his bullet wound, hot blood spilling down his arm.
Hannibal leaned over him. His eyes were strangely soft in the dark.
“Give that a moment,” Hannibal said.
Will didn’t have a choice. Chiyo’s words and Hannibal’s face blurred in his mind – an impossible blend of water and oil.
When Will woke again, it was with a headache and an aching shoulder. The room was slow to come into focus and when it did, his heart lurched.
He saw a fine dining room, elegant and dimly lit. A long table with a brocade table runner was before him.
His shirt had been changed. The material was clearly a higher thread count than what he was used to, laying thick and smooth against his skin. The shirt hugged him like a glove, as though it was custom made to the exact length of his arms and neck.
Hannibal came into the dining room. He carefully buckled Will into his chair. His fingers were impossibly gentle.
Time blurred once more. Scents of thyme and butter invaded Will’s senses.
He opened his eyes. He was still wearing the white shirt. His arm still throbbed.
Hannibal had his back to him. Will could see that he was inspecting a bottle of wine by the pale light of the window, or at least giving the appearance of doing so.
“I guess I shouldn’t be surprised you changed my clothes.”
Hannibal’s reaction was told in micro movements, shirt tightening across the rippling muscles of his back.
“I wanted you to be comfortable.”
Will strained against the straps securing him to the chair. “Really?”
Hannibal faced him. “I admit, the restraints are purely for aesthetics.”
Will let that absorb. His mind opened like a book written by someone else, pages of memories and half-remembered dreams told as one story.
He saw Hannibal on every line.
“You stuck needles in me. Rubbed my feet with mud, slid a tube down my throat with an ear in it. Was that for aesthetics too?”
Hannibal stared at him impassively. “It’s not the first time I’ve changed your clothes, Will or transformed you. Why remark upon it now?”
“You’ve seen me naked but I’ve never seen you. Seems – unfair.”
Hannibal said nothing, but he walked away from the window and towards the shadows again. He set his chosen bottle of wine on the table, near Will’s own seat.
“You have seen me laid bare in the ways that matter.”
Will snorted. “Stop trying to change the subject. I’m asking how you felt, Dr. Lecter. Seeing me naked. Was it strictly doctor-patient? Promise to take your secret to the grave.”
“I have no reason to lie to you,” Hannibal said. He smoothed out the rumpled edge of the table runner. “I thought… you were beautiful.”
“But you never tried anything. Never tried to kiss me or date me.”
“Physicality was never a component of your interest in me.”
Will laughed, the sound as sharp as a slap in the stillness. “Wasn’t it?”
Hannibal’s face was a careful mask. Will plunged forward, desperate to see the shadowed veneer slip.
“Just find it amusing, I guess,” Will said. “You’re going to eat me but you’ll never really taste me. And I’ll never taste you.”
There was a long pause. Even their breaths felt suspended in the balance of time, the pausing hands of the clock.
“I did not realize that was on the table,” Hannibal said, finally.
“A stranger on a train once told me there are means of influence other than violence.”
“Don’t offer what you aren’t willing to give,” Hannibal said. It was nearly a snarl, Will could see the sharp edges of his teeth.
Will licked his lips. “Oh, I’m prepared to give, as well as take.”
Hannibal didn’t speak. Will watched as he took a knife from one of the place settings. He turned to Will, cutting Will’s restraints with little flicks of the blade.
The straps had barely fallen when Will grabbed hard as he could with his good arm, pulling Hannibal close.
“You’re not leaving without me.”