You wake with a jolt, sitting up in an unfamiliar bed with covers that smell strange, boyish even. You try to recall the memories of the night before, but all you remember is falling.
How did I end up here? I should be dead. Your legs ached with a constant dull throb, the feeling mermaids get when they’ve been out of the water for too long. You throw the covers off and walk up to the window. Neverland. You were still on the island. You turned hastily around, set on leaving this second, but a figure blocked the entrance out.
Peter Pan stood with a smirk and his arms crossed over his broad chest.
“Morning there, love. Leaving so soon?”
“I need to get back home. So if you don’t mind…” You muttered trying to push past him, but all efforts were in vain. Pan laughed as he pushed you backwards on the bed. “You’re not leaving. I forbid you.”
“You forbid me? Last time I checked, you don’t rule over me.”
He smirked and leaned over you, arms perched on either side of your hips to barricade you to him.
“I’m pretty sure I do rule over you here, love. While you’re on my island, my kingdom and in my bedroom, you must follow every command I give you.”
You pushed at his chest with a scoff. “Well good thing I was just seeing myself out. Neverland was lovely, but I won’t be coming back.” You duck out under his arms and run towards the door, throwing it open and picking up speed into a full sprint.
After minutes of running through the woodland, you come up to the very shore you found yourself on yesterday. Feelings of déjà vu spread through you as you knelled into the water making the bracelet on your wrist glow.
Relief spread through you as your change to your true form, your tail fluttering in the waves. You drag your body down further into the water, laughing out loud at the fact that you were going to be home. You couldn’t wait to see your friends, family, your fiancé waiting back home for you, —
“You do realize that when you arrive home, time will not be as it once was.” A voice called out to you.
You whip your head around your shoulder, only to be met with Peter Pan. He walks towards you as one walking towards a strange dog would, carefully. Cautiously.
“…What do you mean?” You yelled out behind you, annoyed that you have so sit on this island a minute longer.
He smirks, aware of the fact that he’s gained your attention.
“You’ve spent a night in Neverland. Did you not know that a night is worth a year in the real world?”
You stop in realization, Peter Pan’s words freezing you colder than the water of Neverland.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if that fiancé prince of yours has moved on. Your family became so worried about you not returning home for a year, that they assume you stayed here. With me.” He taunted you further.
You try to drown out his voice. He was right. I forgot about Neverland’s catch.
“My offer stands, (Y/N). Stay with me. Be my Lost Girl.”
With a final shake of your head, you flap your tail and dive under the water. You flow through it freely, speeding up and heading back to your palace.
Within a few hours, the underwater kingdom of Atlantica appears before your eyes. The sparkling aqua reflects off the light through the water and you run your fingers through the silky sand of the ocean floor. You swim the rest of the way up to the kingdom gate, the guards positioned firm and tall at the entrance. Soon, you arrive at the palace doors.
“Mother!” You shouted through the halls. After the royal guards recognized you, they rushed off to find the Queen to alert her of your coming home. In the grand hall, schools of various colorful fish swim around you and royal paintings of kings past hang on the walls . You make your way towards the grand bedroom your mother rests in, pushing the doors open.
The Queen of Atlantica sits at her vanity. Her fiery red hair, which has dimmed with age, floats freely around her and she looks into the mirror before her playing with shell necklaces. At the sound of the doors being opened so hastily, she looked up to find you, her daughter who hadn’t returned after the mission she sent you on a year prior.
Her hand comes to cover her mouth, the simple appearance of you is overwhelming. “Melody?” She whispers, eyes watering up.
You nod frantically, swimming towards her with arms extended. She welcomes your hug and squeezes you tight. After some moments, you pull back. With a sad sigh, she frowns.
“We thought you were pulled in by that evil boy. We all thought you weren’t coming home.”
“You don’t understand Mother. I was only away for a night! I left yesterday and I’m back today!”
She shook her head, “I’m afraid it’s been far more than a day. You’re father and I have been waiting for a year.”
“Well I’m home now, I never tried to stay there.” The thought of your fiancé pops into your head. “I have to tell Cai! Have you seen him, is he still staying in the —”
“I’m … afraid that Cai is no longer to be your husband… He left after months of waiting for your return.”
“He left?” You said in shock. You and Prince Cai, were childhood friends. When it was announced that you two were to be wed, it made things uncomfortable. You didn’t love each other in that way. Soon enough you looked forward to marrying each other, it was just going to be like marrying your best friend. But now, it hurt to hear that your friend, your fiancé, had left you.
You lay on a rock. The summer sun beats down on your skin, and a cool breeze floats through the bare sea. You were in the middle of no where and decided to relax and stretch out before having to return to your royal duties. It had been a few weeks since arriving home and your last encounter with Pan, but life had returned relatively normal.
You close your eyes and sigh. After a while of laying there something hovers over you, blocking the sun. Your eyebrows furrow and you open your eyes only to be nose to nose with Peter Pan.
With a shriek of surprise and a push to his chest, he stumbled off from over you and lands on the flat rock beside you with a groan.
You sit up and attempt to slide back under the sea, but he sat up as well, grabbed the sides of your head and pulls you into a deep kiss.
Your eyes widen as he gently held the back of your head to his, keeping you steady while he kissed you. You begin to push him away once again, too shocked to enjoy kissing him back.
He detached from you with a mushy pop of the lips and stared at you with a boyish smile, “I’ve been looking everywhere for you (Y/N)! I’m so happy I’ve found you, I can’t wait to take you back to Neverland —.”
“Wait, wait. Take me back? I’m not going back Peter?”
His smile drops and he shakes his head.“But I thought… you wanted to come back with me?”
“I… I never said anything about wanting to come back. I don’t know where you got that.” You say tucking a piece of damp hair behind your ear. He takes your hands back in his and squeezes them tight. In a low voice, he leans in close.
“We could go back together (Y/N). You could be the Queen of the Lost Boys. Why sit around here waiting to take the throne, when you could come back with me right now and become my little ruler?”
The offer sounds intriguing, you admit. But what about your family? You can’t tell them you’ve decided to run away with Peter Pan.
“I heard about your fiancé,” He continues on. “Shame, it is. The lad couldn’t wait for his soon-to-be wife to return so what does he decide to do? He abandons her.”
The combination of the hot sun and his harsh words beating down on you makes tears cloud your vision. “Why are you offering this to me Peter? It’s not like we love each other. I don’t even know you…”
“But if you gave us the chance, we could know each other. Love each other. Just one simple yes, and we’ll leave tonight.”
You break your gaze from him and looked down, unsure what you will do.
If there was one thing demons could do, it was track down
what was theirs.
It took almost no time at all to find Hannibal. And it
wasn’t as though he was hiding. He was living the high-life amongst the wealthy
and well-to-do, extremely visible, making no attempt to disguise his mysterious
good fortune. To Will, this meant he was either very shrewd or very stupid.
And, in either case, very vain.
Still, walking right up to him would be too easy. How much
more fun to present himself to Hannibal in the guise of someone else, take him
Will inveigled himself into a space he knew Hannibal was
going to be. FBI profiler did not make immediate sense, but his was not to
question, but to perform. And he was perfectly happy doing that.
He relished the way Hannibal’s eyes widened when he lifted
his head and saw him standing there as the person he was meant to heal. But if
surprise was what Will had been hoping for, he was disappointed. Because it was
not surprise, but recognition that altered Hannibal’s features, dilated his
pupils. That was disappointing, and yet… flattering. Hannibal remembered him,
remembered what year this was. Perhaps not so stupid then.
“Dr. Lecter,” Will nodded behind the glasses, he thought
they were a nice touch for this character.
“Will.” And he said his name with all the knowing
familiarity of an old friend. An intimate friend.
What proceeded Will had difficulty recalling, he spoke little,
but kept his eyes fixed on Hannibal, who even when he looked away, always
seemed to be watching him too. Still within earshot of the others, Hannibal
turned to him, “Would you care to accompany me to dinner tonight, Will?”
“Dinner?” Will raised an eyebrow.
“To better get to know one another before we begin therapy.”
If the others paused, if the others blinked and stared, they
at least had the sense not to say anything and made excuses to themselves as
they left the room.
Will’s lips pursed, “Sounds unorthodox, but…” his eyes
flashed above the glasses, “I am so hungry.”
By the time Will arrived at Hannibal’s door, the performance
was all but shed. Oh, he might look the part of scruffy, recalcitrant
dog-owner, but that was all to do with what Hannibal wanted to see. And
Hannibal was not particularly interested in Will pretending to be more human
than he was.
“Good evening,” Hannibal answered the door before he could
knock, “Please, be my guest.” He stepped back graciously, allowing Will inside.
Will cocked his head, fixing him with a look before inviting
himself in, “How did you know?”
“Smell,” Hannibal shut the door, locking it, “The scent of hell
is quite distinct, sharp, peppery, and smoky.”
Will cocked an eyebrow, “Did I give you that?”
Hannibal’s lips spread, “I have taught myself many things,
but I confess your gift has proved no small aid. May I interest you in an
aperitif before dinner?”
Will nodded, following him down the hall. As they walked,
Will took the liberty to admire the man Hannibal had become. Forty years did
much to a human; they grew and changed in the oddest ways. Hannibal was so tall
now, strong-shouldered, with lines of laughter and despair claiming his face.
He wore it well, remarkably well; age was no shame to him.
That was rare enough in Will’s line of work, so many summoning
him, longing to be younger, prettier, thinner, willing to barter their souls to
do it. He had come to think that all humans must someday sacrifice themselves
to their vanity. But perhaps not all. He eyed the silver sheen in Hannibal’s
slicked-back hair, caught the subtle suggestion of his face in the neat, soft
lines around his eyes. Some of them had the sense to accept.
If Will thought Hannibal had been well-groomed earlier when
he first saw him that day, with his soft-leather shoes and deliberately askew
hair, he was now flawless. Hannibal had chosen a charcoal suit, riven through
with a lightning sort of blue, just catching the light every now and then, the
same shade as his tie. He had deliberately set the brightness of it against a
deep blue shirt, like a silky ocean, becoming on his broad form. And yet…
something about it struck Will as being off, wrong somehow. Blue was not his
color. Red, on the other hand…
Hannibal pushed open a heavy, carved wood door and lead Will
into a dark alcove, every wall lined with books. Prior to Will’s arrival,
Hannibal had already set out a decanter and small crystal glasses for the
liqueur, which he now approached. Will flicked his eyes around the room,
walking to the wall and brushing his hand over the texts. Some of his old
friends were still here, old and leather-bound and terrible. They were one of
the few consistencies with Hannibal’s previous life.
“So this is your home,” Will sighed, stepping away, “I miss
“Do you?” Hannibal lifted his head, capping the decanter and
approaching him with a drink.
“You were suited to it,” Will sniffed at the glass, floral
but not too sweet, before gulping it down.
Hannibal smirked, “I’m afraid castles are out of fashion on
this continent and in this year. More’s the pity.”
Will glanced at him, wondering for a moment if Hannibal was
trying to sympathize with the very devil who bought his soul. He snorted,
“You don’t seem at all surprised to see me.” That fact still
stuck in Will a bit, resentment tempering his casual tone.
Hannibal’s mouth curved. He took a step forward, humming, “Not
at all. I kept a close record of the date I bartered my soul. You’re early, as
a matter of fact, but I thought to expect you some time before the year was
Will felt his lips purse and turned aside, concealing his
pouting. He thrust a hand into his pocket and noted the tightness of these pants.
Hannibal was either looking or certainly wanted to.
“Have you thought about me?” And there it was.
Will half-turned back, keeping his eyes off Hannibal, making
him work for the attention. He shrugged, hand still in his pocket, “Didn’t need
to, had you in my pocket the whole time.” But he couldn’t resist flashing a
smirk at him.
Hannibal’s eyes glittered when he smiled, as if the joke
were not at his expense. He parted his lips, wetting them briefly before
speaking, “I’ve thought about you, often.” His voice grew soft, fond.
Will ignored him; he paced around the perimeter of the room,
not too quickly, intentionally unfocused.
“Always the same, always just as you are now. I never
dreamed a demon could appear so beautiful,” Hannibal turned with him, his voice
following him, floating high over his shoulder at his ear, “You were always
with me. I was always glad to see you.”
In his mind’s eye, Will could see exactly what Hannibal
meant, not that he needed to. Hannibal infused his words with such emotion it
was impossible not to catch how much he had thought of Will and under what
circumstances. Writhing on a bed, still young, body tortured by feelings never
before expressed… Will shook the images out of his head roughly. He did not
come here to get distracted.
He returned to the decanter and poured himself another
drink, feeling Hannibal’s eyes flick over him curiously.
“No, it doesn’t affect us,” Will muttered, before elegantly
straining the liquid through his teeth. Didn’t mean he didn’t enjoy the taste
though. After all… they shared a hunger.
Will exhaled slowly, “Is this what my gift has brought you?”
He raised his eyes to Hannibal, lifting one eyebrow with effort as if both were
Hannibal’s lips danced, somehow completely secure in the
change of subject and completely delighted. His mouth strained not to smile too
hard. The look was… infatuating.
Hannibal stepped forward, bending over Will. “Would you like
to see my pantry?” he murmured, breath reminiscent of the smoke of hell. Will’s
eyes nearly lidded as he nodded.
Hannibal returned his glass to the tray with the decanter,
then beckoned Will to the door, waiting expectantly. Will set his glass down,
less carefully and less caring than Hannibal, but followed him deliberately out
of the room, down another dark hall, past the kitchen, to a black but otherwise
nondescript door. It had no outward show of being heavily locked, but as they
crossed its threshold, Will could sense a certain amount of power behind it.
“Enchantment?” Will frowned. If Hannibal had crossed paths
with another demon without him knowing, putting aside the staggering
unlikelihood, it would make this next part… sticky.
“Disenchantment, actually,” Hannibal clarified, coming to
the landing and hitting the lights, “nothing strong enough to cause suspicion,
but a gentle nudge to ignore that door.”
Will had to concede, the planning was impressive. It was
always refreshing to meet a human who took magic seriously. How much richer his
Hannibal proceeded through plastic tarps and suspiciously
scintillating tables to a butcher’s block where a partially dismembered woman
lay. Will brightened at the display, admiring the knife-work that had gone into
removing her stomach, kidneys, lungs, and tongue.
“She’s beautiful,” Will murmured.
“Thank you,” Hannibal bowed his head, “I so rarely get to
show off my selections.” He smiled thinly and Will couldn’t resist smiling
“The sweet meats are already cooking, but, as you are my
guest, and I trust your taste, perhaps you would wish to choose a cut?”
Will’s eyes traveled between Hannibal’s keen invitation and
the handsomely preserved body. Only a few days old, dry-aging in the air, her
meat should be tender. “It is a feast, is it not?” Will stepped in closer,
“Yes,” he murmured, hot and close, “To suit even your
Will allowed his mouth to curve up, just slightly. “This,”
he pressed at her thigh, “Give me her leg.”
Hannibal nodded, smiling with pleasure. He unbuttoned his
coat swiftly, folding it neatly out of the way, then unbuttoned and rolled his
sleeves. He removed a glinting knife from the wall and stepped toward Will, “If
you would please…” Will stepped out of his way, backing up to watch Hannibal
Hannibal bent over his work, sliding his hands over her like
a sculptor finding the grain of the marble. He located the joint he wished to
sever, pressed firmly, then took up his knife and, with all of his weight,
sliced into her. Will watched his shoulders move beneath the shirt and vest,
the broad, powerful levers behind his precise movements. The wave of muscle
mesmerized him, the bunch and ripple with each crushing stroke. It hadn’t
really occurred to Will until just then that he had made Hannibal a hunter,
that his gift required him to have a body to carry it out.
The leg now separated from the body, Hannibal broke it at
the knee and began the delicate business of flaying the skin from the meat. For
this, he reached for a new knife, sharper, but thinner, smaller. It slid
between the layers of flesh with scarcely any resistance. Will crept up closer,
peering around Hannibal at his elegant hands, at the steady, focused look in
his eye. Will found himself longing for the decanter from the study, to drain
it in one long swallow.
“I’ll roast it, bone in, until it’s tender enough to fall
apart,” Hannibal explained, turning to present Will with the finished cut.
Will swallowed, but nodded curtly, “I look forward to it.”
Hannibal’s eyes glittered with something that worried Will,
but as he turned to wrap the cut to carry it upstairs, the glitter was gone.
Will followed him up the stairs again, absently folding
Hannibal’s coat over his arm. Hannibal lead him into the kitchen, rich and
fiendish smells pouring out of it. Will took a deep breath and found himself
The main course was laid on the cutting board, then Hannibal
turned with a mildly puzzled expression. He spotted his jacket in Will’s arms
and beamed, “Thank you.” He moved to take it out of Will’s arms.
Will blinked, not remembering he’d picked it up. Flustered,
Will half-moved to put it on him, half-hand it to him, resulting in the coat
wrinkling, one arm dragging on the floor. Will winced, upset with his
clumsiness. He stepped away while Hannibal picked lint off the fine wool. He
reminded himself why he was here, felt the IOU burning in his pocket, and tried
not to think about the 40-years-older man standing behind him, nurturing and
treasuring his gift like… like it was a real gift. Humans like Hannibal were
few and far between…
No, he was here to take the man’s soul. But… no one said
that had to be tonight.