Will tries not to think about it too hard, in the days before he does it.

The first reason he tries not to think about it too hard is because every time he does he gets an erection.

Which isn’t exactly a bad thing. It’s just that these days, when Will has an erection, Hannibal notices. Hannibal has always paid more attention to Will than to anything else in the room– anything else in the world, really– and now that they’re missing and presumed dead, and have a house and to some extent a countryside to themselves, the amount of energy that Hannibal has to pay attention to Will has increased proportionally. The degree to which Hannibal can focus on each aspect of Will– his empathy, his nightmares, his skin, his hair, his love of fishing, his desire for a dog collection, his taste in wine, his erections– feels like each piece of him now merits what the whole of him was getting, before.

It’s overwhelming. And also nice. Will probably shouldn’t think it’s nice, but if he were going to balk away from Hannibal’s obsession, the time for that would have been before the cliff. Or before entering the prison. Or before– well, that way lies madness. So of course if Will gets an erection, Hannibal invariably wants to do something about it. Which is how Will ends up lying on his back on the plush carpet of their new sitting room with Hannibal’s balls slapping into him as he plunders Will’s ass thinking oh christ, I’m not ready, I wasn’t really going to do it right now.

He could, of course. Hannibal, it turns out, is as uninhibited about sex as he is fastidious in his daily life. Will isn’t surprised by that– more pleased, that his suspicions were correct. His profile. The balance of hedonism and restraint could only tip one way, when it came to carnal pleasures. Sex is like eating, to Hannibal: something to be done both ostentatiously and with the utmost attention to wringing every drop of pleasure from the experience that you can.

So it’s not because of any sort of hasty planning that they’re on the carpet and not on a bed. It’s a particular aesthetic, specifically whatever aesthetic it’s called when Hannibal practically sneaks up behind him, catlike, and cups Will’s hardening dick with a hand, and growls “down on the floor” into his ear. The aesthetic of rugburns on Will’s back that Hannibal will probably insist on soothing with lotion, later, after a bath or with Will laid out feastlike on silk sheets.

Blood would fit this aesthetic just fine, Will thinks, moaning, reaching down to run the tip of his finger over the edge of his hole where Hannibal’s cock is stretching him. Blood is the only substance that seems to fit every single one of Hannibals’ varying senses of personal style. He could do it now.

Hannibal is even leaning in, trying to get every single point of contact possible between Will’s body and his. Will feels the abrasion of Hannibal’s chest on his, sweaty and sticky and hairy, and he pulls him in farther so that Will’s lips are just beside his ear, like he’s going to say something. His lips reach out as if to kiss the lobe, but before they can make contact Hannibal grunts, a deep animal sound that makes Will feel simultaneously mortified and completely overwhelmed, and comes inside him.

So it’s too late now, isn’t it, you missed your chance, Graham, Will thinks deliriously to himself as Hannibal pulls unceremoniously out of Will’s ass and dives down to finish him with his mouth. But then, he hadn’t meant to do it then, hadn’t wanted it yet, wasn’t ready, though God knows what he was waiting for. He had just been thinking about it, and accidentally gotten hard as a result. He is, however, definitely waiting for something, even if he doesn’t know what.

Which leads to the second reason that Will tries not to think too hard about what he’s going to do, which it is a matter of profiling.

It’s stupid. He knows it’s stupid, and he wants to turn it off. Perhaps he could turn it off: after all, he has access to a psychiatrist of considerable skill, and an inversely proportional number of scruples about the use of same, who has a proven track record of being able to reach into Will’s mind and rearrange the furniture at will. But he doesn’t ask Hannibal for help with this. Not yet, and maybe not ever. Because it’s useful, in a way, to keep the part of his brain that worked for the FBI, that makes connections between patterns of behavior and builds profiles out of patterns of violence. It’s just that now, the patterns he has to feed that part of himself with are Hannibal’s– well-studied and extensively documented– and his own. His own far less defined patterns of violence, which are only now showing their true colours.

So part of Will’s mind is participating: planning, fantasizing, questioning if he’s really going to do this and answering strongly in the affirmative. But Will Graham, FBI Criminal Profiler, is sitting on his shoulder like some sort of weird morally neutral angel, trying to construct a corkboard presentation of his own motivations. It’s irritating. So Will simply smothers the analytical fire by refusing to give it the oxygen of forethought (and oh, won’t his profiling-mind have something to say about that afterwards), until he–

–is on his back again, but this time Hannibal is riding him, and they’re on a bed. Will had chosen the location this time, and his choice was guileless; perhaps Hannibal really is rubbing off on him in wore ways than just the physical, because he’s grown to value the feeling of what else he’s touching, when he and Hannibal have sex. The smooth grain of the old wooden wall against his back for a hard fuck with his legs wrapped around Hannibal’s hips. The lumps of the grass under the blanket after a picnic in the yard, mouths tasting of wine, sun warming places it usually doesn’t. The smooth tiles warmed by water in the shower, washing away their sweat and spunk as quickly as they can produce it.

And tonight he’d wanted silk, the pure smooth cool of expensive bedsheets. Lights dimmed, a candle lit on the dresser. Classic. Theatrical. Also, machine-washable.

Blood will wash out quite well, Will knows, as long as you get it in the washer quickly and run it on cold. Perhaps that capability is why Hannibal had insisted on such an expensive washing machine; Will hadn’t asked.

But that isn’t why he’d chosen the bed for tonight, it isn’t. He hadn’t given it any thought at all, he had just acted. Just like Hannibal wants him to. Instinct, not thought.

What he does think about is how absolutely incredible it feels to be inside Hannibal Lecter, and that Hannibal is resting on his knees and just the tips of his fingers to help him slide up and down, and that his eyes are closed and his thrusts back onto Will’s cock have the same rhythmic quality as the way the sways back and forth while playing the piano. They don’t have a harpsichord yet, and Will decides, as his balls slap against Hannibal’s ass obscenely, that he should investigate getting one.

That is what at least part of his mind is thinking about, when he does it: harpsichords. As if he could, with a distraction, throw FBI-Profiler-Will-Graham off the scent. And the thing is, it actually works: as any doctor knows that the physician who treats himself has a fool for a patient, so any profiler-cum-serial-killer should know that the profiler who tries to understand his own motivations is too biased to be of any use on the case. He has learned the trick of parallel trains of thought, perhaps picked it up from Hannibal. So it is that the analytical part of him is completely absent, distracted, when Will flips Hannibal over to shove roughly back in while staring deep into Hannibal’s eyes. It is also absent when Will feels himself getting close, and he leans down, whispers “I promised you a reckoning,” into Hannibal’s left ear, opens his jaw as wide as it will go, and bites the ear off in the sudden spasming strength of his orgasm.

It doesn’t come cleanly. He feels the cartilage compressing, then stretching, then finally beginning to tear as he tries to yank it away from Hannibal’s skull. Hannibal is, despite everything, only human, and he hadn’t been prepared for pain; he lets out a strangled scream, and his hands grab Will’s waist hard enough to bruise and nearly punch the air out of Will, but he stops himself just before he completes the instinctive motion to throw him off. He pulls him close instead, crushing their torsos together, so that Will can feel every pained gasp as he slowly, painstakingly bites through every piece of chewy flesh connecting the ear to Hannibal’s head.

It’s big, a bloody mouthful that makes his cheeks bulge out. He has had an ear in his mouth before. It had felt enormous then too, making its way up his throat like not just a piece of flesh but something monstrous and living was struggling to be born from him. But he’d spat it out, of course; the image of it, slimy and unmistakable in his sink in Wolf Trap, presents itself vividly in his mind, and he chokes.

(Perhaps, deadpans the now revenant FBI-Profiler-Will-Graham side of this mind, if you’d asked me, I could have reminded you that you have a traumatic experience of ear ingestion.)

Blood and saliva run down his chin. Bile rises in his throat and he sits up, his cock still seated inside of Hannibal but going soft, and his jaw muscles work to try to spit it out.

Hannibal follows, faster than someone with a bloody hole in his head should possibly be able to react. There is blood leaking from his head, but actually not as much as Will had expected; there are a few ragged bits of cartilage still attached, like the outline of an ear that has yet to be sketched. He slaps his hand over Will’s mouth and growls, “Chew.”

The hand helps, actually; Will opens his mouth, lets some of the mess push against Hannibal’s palm as he starts to chew on the ear. He stares at the blood dripping down the side of Hannibal’s face, and at Hannibal’s pained eyes but parted, wondering lips, and his stomach stops rebelling quite so hard. He can do this. His jaws work mechanically, compacting the gristle to a gummy substance that has to be swallowed whole like a pill. He keeps going, working on it in small sections, and Hannibal’s hand on his face stops being merely an object forcing him to swallow the gore, and starts being something else.

Hannibal takes it away and Will almost protests, but he’s only switching them, covering Will’s mouth with his left instead of his right so that he can reach down and take hold of his own cock. The erection he’d had while Will was fucking him has flagged, but he strokes himself quickly in time with the movements of Will’s jaw, and soon Will can feel the rhythmic clenching of his muscles through the hand against his face.

It tastes like blood but besides that doesn’t taste like much of anything. There is no real meat on an ear. Will puts both his hands over both of Hannibal’s hands, one on Will’s face and one on Hannibal’s cock. Hannibal’s expression is wild, abandoned, the exact opposite of the careful but loving face he’d worn as the first ear had gone into Will. I hate you, Will thinks, would say if he were capable of saying anything, but thinks that if he did, it would be the most loving thing he’s ever said.

He swallows the last of it, and since he can’t say anything to tell Hannibal so, instead he just opens his mouth wide behind the palm. Hannibal probes a shaky finger into his mouth, feeling for himself that what once belonged to Hannibal is now inside Will. His other hand speeds up, and Will squeezes overtop of it. Hannibal comes with a cry that sounds like he’s dying.

They stare at each other. Hannibal moves his palm slowly, stroking Will’s blood-smeared lips, spreading the blood over the scar on his cheek. When he leans forward to kiss him, it is tender. Will strokes over the ruined remains of his ear as they breathe into each others’ mouths, and Hannibal flinches and shivers but doesn’t pull away. In a moment, Will should go find something to clean him with. If he’d thought about this in advance, he could have had it ready. But he hadn’t– had he? He wraps his arms around Hannibal instead of examining the question. He is shivering.

“You promised a reckoning,” Hannibal whispers, as if to himself, “and you always keep your promises.”

Will thinks again about the feeling of the ear coming up, forcing itself up out of his body the way it was forced down. For the first time, he doesn’t feel nauseous at the memory. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, an ear for an ear, and all is healed. It will take the rest of their lives, probably, for all of their wrongs against each other to be avenged. And yet when the future stretches out before him, wrongs waiting to be passed back and forth like pearls slipping through fingers, all he can feel is love.