Notes:

Mostly, although perhaps not perfectly, a fill for a prompt on the Hannibal kink meme discord, for Will using the word “daddy” sarcastically and discovering Hannibal is into it.

They’re cooking and planning their next hunt when it happens.

Will’s chosen the victim. Will chooses all their victims, now. Hannibal doesn’t seem to mind; in fact, it appears to give him a certain perverse pleasure to give up his own criteria in favour of Will’s. He thrusts the responsibility for the hunt into Will’s hands, and watches carefully to see if Will will crumble from the weight of it, or rise to the occasion.

Will rises. He loves the way Hannibal’s eyes glow with pride and lust every time Will brings him the next one, and in return for the fact that all of Will’s choices are in some way ethical, he does his best to choose the ones who are aesthetically objectionable, as well. There’s more overlap between the two than he’d thought there would be: they end up eating a lot of businessmen and slimy low-level European politicians.

Hannibal is mincing garlic for the meat’s persillade, Will plucking leaves off a basil plant for a salad. “He is not cautious,” Hannibal observes, nodding at the newspaper article Will has laid out on the table. “This one—” he points to the heart on the cutting board, ready to be sliced— “was a shy boy. Careful.” He gestures towards the knife block, wordlessly asking to be handed the blade.

Will rolls his eyes, because Hannibal could easily reach the knife himself, and because calling the blackmailer whose flesh they will be dining on a shy boy is just as ridiculous a moniker as it had been when applied to Francis Dolarhyde.

“Here you are, Daddy,” he mutters as he hands it over, turning back to the salad.

But he doesn’t turn back fast enough to miss how Hannibal’s hand goes tighter on the knife, how his lips part minutely to allow in a soft whoosh of air, how everything about his energy becomes darker and stronger and more focussed. Hannibal always seems to burn with some irresistible fire when he’s cooking, but Will would have to be— well, not Will Graham— to miss the change.

Huh, he thinks. Interesting.

***

He tries it out the very next day. They’re washing up from lunch, Will with tentative plans to head to a small lumber yard nearby to scout out materials for a back deck on the house.

“You should come with me,” he says, just to bait Hannibal’s refusal. Although, he does rather want to see Hannibal in a lumber yard. It’s not like he’s making up the desire entirely.

Hannibal puts the last plates back in the cupboard and glances up. “I trust your decision-making in these matters, Will.”

Perfect. Will leans back against the table and flutters his eyelashes and says “Please, Daddy?”

This time, Will knows, there’s no mistaking his intention. He’s not joking: he’s testing, throwing a sinker into the water to see how deep it runs. Will tilts his head back, exposing a bit more of his neck, lips parted. It would feel completely over-the-top– if it weren’t for the fact that Hannibal’s face is utterly blank and expressionless, which is usually a sign that he’s nearly overwhelmed with emotion.

Hannibal drops the tea towel he was holding onto the counter, going very still. Then he advances on Will, who is trying to suppress both a triumphant grin and the urge to flee at the way all the air seems to have been sucked out of the room.

Hannibal steps decidedly into his personal space, his feet bracketing Will’s and their chests nearly touching. Will feels suddenly very small, despite them being nearly the same size, which was clearly the intent. That makes him want to laugh, though he knew if he actually did it would emerge from his throat significantly breathier than intended.

“Does it arouse you to call me that?” Hannibal asks.

Will rolls his eyes. It’s a pathetically obvious ploy to redirect attention from himself, and from the fact that they both know exactly who is currently bulging against his pants and practically weak in the knees from a few little words.

Oh, Will is aroused all right. But not at the simple fact of the word “daddy.” He’s aroused at the way Hannibal is looming over him like he wants to grab him and fuck him into the floor. He’s aroused at the fact that this man who has such a pathological attachment to control over his fellow humans that he feels compelled to eat them can be laid low by a simple reference to sexualized fatherhood. And he’s particularly aroused by the way there’s a hint of uncertainty in Hannibal’s eyes, despite his seeming confidence. He’s nervous about this, self-conscious at how much he’s affected by something so simple and common.

It makes Will want to reach out and reassure him, to be the little boy— the shy little boy— that Hannibal clearly wants. It also makes him want to reach into this tiny crack in Hannibal’s armour and pry it open with a crowbar.

“A bit,” he shrugs, stepping sideways to wriggle out from between the counter and Hannibal’s body, feigning indifference. “But I need to do some errands this afternoon.” He practically sashays down the hallway, feeling Hannibal’s eyes boring holes through him as he picks up his keys. Then he turns, intentionally softening his posture and widening his eyes into something beseeching and vulnerable: “Will you be here when I get back…?” The omitted word hangs heavy in the air. Hannibal is gripping the countertop tightly, the only tell that his composure is strained.

“I’ll be waiting for you,” he says, entirely calmly, and now Will is the one suddenly weak at the knees. He flees the house, hoping that he still managed to win the exchange. Whatever the prize might be.

***

Will doesn’t go to the lumber yard. He decides instead that it’s time to push his luck.

There aren’t as many strays in the woods surrounding their little French cottage as there were in Wolf Trap. None at all, in fact, so Will actually has to drive into town and find a shelter, and then fill out a stack of forms he barely understands.

The dog he coaxes into the car an hour later is exactly wrong in every single way. He’s too big to be a lapdog, but too small to be something useful or majestic. He’s a mutt of completely unidentifiable parentage, shaggy and shedding with a high whine of a bark. He’s about eight years old, according to the shelter, and Will guesses he’s got four or five years left in him— just long enough to get attached, but not long enough to feel grateful for a long and happy life together when he goes.

He’s a terrible dog, and Hannibal will hate him. Will feel practically itchy with glee.

Will arrives home and is halfway through setting up the crate that will serve as the mutt’s bed and occasional cage before he feels Hannibal’s presence behind him. Will purposely ignores him, arranging a large cushion and several old towels inside before placing a few dog treats in the back to lure the mutt inside. Only once the dog is settled, accepting the treats and starting to chew on the edge of a towel contentedly, does Will turn around to face Hannibal.

He casts his eyes down around Hannibal’s feet, curling in on himself. Shy boy. “I’m sorry, Daddy,” he says. “I know I should have asked first. But I wanted him so much.”

Hannibal steps away from where he’s leaning against the doorframe, arms crossed. He stalks across the room to stare down into the wire crate. “That’s an ugly dog, Will,” he observes.

Will flinches. It’s half fabricated and half real, now; sinking into the corresponding role to Daddy-Hannibal feels just like mirroring someone else. It’s as if Little Will already exists somewhere inside Hannibal and all Will has to do is fall into him. “I’m sorry,” he says. “Please don’t make me take him back.”

Hannibal reaches out, two fingers catching under Will’s chin and forcing his head up to meet Hannibal’s eyes. Will finds himself genuinely unwilling, which surprises him— although he still prefers to stare in the vicinity of a shoulder or hairline when he’s talking to strangers, it’s been ages since he felt any discomfort in meeting Hannibal’s eyes. When he finally acquiesces, he finds Hannibal’s face intent and searching and just that tiniest bit uncertain.

As before, it’s the uncertainty that does it for Will; convinces him that he has to follow this thread and see where it goes. There is the barest hint of a tremor in Hannibal’s voice when he says “You’ve been naughty, Will. You should have asked permission.” Will can feel the tension in him, the fervent desire to be received in the same spirit that he extends his offer. To be understood.

Will lets the moment stretch out, enjoying every bit of discomfort that he can squeeze out of Hannibal. Time seems to extend and then start to strain, growing more brittle as it stretches longer. Finally, just as it’s about to break, Will casts his eyes back down to the ground. He leans forward into Hannibal’s fingers so slightly that with any luck it will register as subconscious, and says tremulously, “Are you going to punish me?”

In a moment, all the uncertainty evaporates; Will has accepted the terms of the game, and Hannibal is decided. It takes Will a moment to realize that the butterflies in his stomach are a mirror of Hannibal’s emotions, not anything Will is generating himself. Hannibal is hiding it well under layers of confidence and sheer excitement, but he’s still nervous.

Perhaps Will should be more nervous, he realizes, as Hannibal places firm, domineering hands on his shoulders and guides him towards a chair in the corner. Hannibal sits down in it and rolls up his sleeves. Will licks his lips, watching the firm muscle of Hannibal’s forearms slide into view. He manages to work up a bit of nervousness, as Hannibal spreads his legs wider and beckons him over, but the fear is mitigated by sheer interest; he wanted to know what would happen, and now he will find out.

Will knows Hannibal isn’t ashamed of his desire, exactly. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that he’s surprised, that something as prosaic and normal as spanking a lover can get him this hard, this fast.

Will tears his eyes away from the bulge in Hannibal’s lap and allows his nerves to grow, rise up and wash over him, taking control of his reactions. It’s easy to give himself completely over to fear, once he decides to do it: his mouth is dry, his skin tingling. Hannibal’s hands run over his knees, and Will’s thighs clench together involuntarily at the thought of those hands on him, hurting him. It’s mild compared to, well, everything else Hannibal has done to him, but this is different. It’s measured. It’s a game, and somehow that makes it serious.

“Take off your pants and underwear, Will,” says Hannibal. It’s as if he can feed off of Will’s fear to fuel his own calm. If Will decides to reclaim some of the calm, Hannibal’s fear will increase in equal measure. Will could do it at any moment, but he doesn’t; he guzzles greedily on fear, his breath catching as he slips his fingers beneath the waistband of his pants and boxers and pulls them both down to his ankles at once. The air feels cool against his skin.

Will swallows. “I’ve never been spanked before,” he admits.

“Not even when you were a child?”

“No. My dad wasn’t really a ‘hands-on’ parent, in any sense of the word.”

“Hmm.” Hannibal reaches for his wrist, not holding so much as just stroking down Will’s arm. “It’s a good thing you have me, then. A sweet thing like you shouldn’t be left entirely without discipline.”

Will feels the words sweet thing and discipline like electric shocks down his spinal cord. He glances fleetingly towards the dog, which is showing no interest whatsoever in the proceedings across the room. “I’m sorry, Daddy,” he says. “I know I deserve it. But please don’t hurt me too much.”

Hannibal makes a tsk sound, finally pulling Will’s wrist to bring him closer and pushing down on the small of his back. Will goes, folding himself over Hannibal’s lap and bracing his hands against the ground. His half-hard cock makes contact with the fabric of Hannibal’s pants, and he wonders if rubbing himself against Hannibal’s thighs will make his punishment worse or better. He’s not even entirely certain what the words “worse” and “better” mean in this situation. When he asked Hannibal not to hurt him too much, did he mean it? Will has absolutely no idea, and the confusion is both disturbing and a welcome fuel on the fire of his arousal.

“I’ll be the judge of what you deserve,” Hannibal murmurs, and his hand sweeps up Will’s thighs and settles over his ass. Will shivers. Hannibal has touched his ass before, of course, but only ever in situations that were, well, reciprocal. It feels impossibly exposed to simply lie here, doing nothing, with Hannibal’s handprint feeling like it could burn into Will’s skin. “Ten to start,” he says. “Can you take it quietly, precious boy?”

“I— I don’t know,” Will admits honestly.

Smack. Will yelps and practically jumps with surprise as heat spreads over the swell of both his cheeks. He’d expected an answer to his admission, not a practical test.

Hannibal chuckles. “Apparently not,” he says. “For each time you cry out, you’ll get two more.”

Will takes a deep breath. Before that blow he wouldn’t have said that adding two more was a lot, but fuck, it hurt. The grownup part of Will is vaguely aware that he could put a stop to this before it even gets started, and a large part of him wants to. But the larger part, the part that was so valuable to Jack Crawford for all those years, is completely lost in the role. He can’t stop this; Daddy is disappointed, and Will needs to be punished. At least, after the punishment, all will be forgiven.

So Will grits his teeth and scrabbles for purchase with his fingers on the floor, preparing himself. He’s not sure that he can stay quiet, but he also genuinely doesn’t want to add any more to his tally, so he resolves to try. “I’ll be good for you,” he says, and it comes out in a high, breathy voice that was completely unintentional.

He feels Hannibal’s cock jump against his belly, and it distracts him just enough that he’s surprised when the next smack lands. He presses his lips together, wanting nothing more than to swear out loud: Hannibal had hit him on his upper left thigh, and it stings worse than the one on his ass. The next one mirrors it on the other side, and Will realizes that although he isn’t allowed to shout, Hannibal hadn’t said anything about expressing his discomfort physically.

When the next four all land on his ass again, hammering over the same sore spot, Will lets himself arch up, thrashing around on Hannibal’s lap. Hannibal responds by using his elbow to press down on Will’s back, spreading his legs even wider to make sure he can’t roll off.

“Naughty boy.” smack. “You think you can bring home strays like you run this house—” smack. “—you need someone to keep you in line. Take care of you.” smack.

Will wonders, in the calm, hazy part of his mind that he has retreated to, what Hannibal would have done if he had brought home the dog without using it for this little experiment. Would he have said something absurdly normal, like I do wish we could discuss these things as a couple? Probably not. He would likely have ignored it, deciding that the strays were the price of having Will. Either that or he would have left its lifeless body in some grotesque but appropriate canine contortion and served its meat for dinner, just to see what Will would do.

I would have deserved that, he thinks. If Hannibal had killed the dog, it would have been my fault. The knowledge that it would, in fact, have been Hannibal’s fault, lives in the same remote part of his mind that on some level understands that he also didn’t kill all of the victims whose murderers he found for the FBI. The understanding is accessible intellectually, but not emotionally.

“Daddy,” he whispers hoarsely, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I won’t do it again. Stop. Please.” He finds that the tears squeezing themselves out of his eyes are real.

Will feels Hannibal thrusting up with his hips even as he pushes Will down, his erection grinding into Wills lower belly in a way that is vaguely uncomfortable for Will but apparently exquisite for Hannibal. Will suspects that Hannibal won’t kill the dog, and he won’t even mention it after. Perhaps he’ll even come to love it; if the dog is the price of this, he suspects Hannibal will be willing to pay.

As Hannibal’s hand continues to rain blows on him, Will realizes that if they were the normal couple, the couple that has a Serious Talk when one party brings home an unexpected pet, this is the kind of activity that would necessitate a safeword. Or at the very least, the fact that Will had just asked Hannibal to stop, and is on some level genuinely distressed, would have had an effect.

But they’re not. Hannibal can’t feel Will’s distress the way Will would be able to feel Hannibal’s, and Will likes it that way. He’d given permission for this, knowing full well that Hannibal enjoys him in pain with no escape. Hannibal wants to be understood, but he doesn’t care whether or not Will enjoys himself in this. In fact, he more likely wants to be the only one who can pull him through it, bring him where he doesn’t want to be and then take care of him on the other side.

But right now, Will is squarely in the middle of it. He’s making noise, and he’s lost count of how many times Hannibal has hit him and how many more he’s earned. He retreats to just hating Hannibal, sullenly if not sincerely. He waits for it to be over, slumped sullenly over his lap like the chastened little boy he— apparently— is.

Finally, the blows stop. The pain and sullenness continue, his ass and thighs smarting just as much in the moments after Hannibal stops hitting him as they did while it was happening. Will’s face is damp. He doesn’t want Hannibal to see him; he wants to curl up in his room (his room? Where did that come from? It’s their room, of course) and cry by himself.

And then Hannibal says, “That’s it. My good boy. You’ve made Daddy proud,” and Will feels like every muscle in his body can finally relax. He finds himself suddenly sobbing, his chest shaking with unrepressed heaving of the sort that he’s never allowed himself in front of Hannibal before: not when Hannibal was killing him, not when Hannibal killed others, not when they were both near-dead and in danger with no end in sight. He would never have let himself go like this, at times that mattered.

But now, Hannibal pulls him up onto his lap, and Will wraps his arms around him and cries, and thinks that crying just might be the best feeling in the world. Hannibal’s hand pats down his back, soothing and possessive, and he gradually lets himself be quieted until he’s simply slumped against him, legs splayed awkwardly out to the side, ass burning as his sensitive skin presses into the fabric of Hannibal’s pants.

After what seems like an eternity, Hannibal pulls back slightly to study Will’s face. Will is certain that he’s red and splotchy and snotty, and flinches a little.

Hannibal looks amazed. His wonderment seems to pour out of him, filling Will up with it— a loving, complex, adult emotion. It jolts him out of his headspace a little. Ah. Will remembers, like breaking the surface of a body of water, that he had pushed himself into whatever strange frame of mind he’s currently inhabiting, and he can push himself out of it.

He accepts that knowledge with almost a sense of regret. He doesn’t want to go back to the real world, where his feelings about Hannibal are more complicated than simply wanting to please him. But he feels buoyant now, floating up to the surface whether he likes it or not.

He grips at Hannibal’s shoulders. Hannibal can still push him back down, give him a little more time here where only one thing matters. “Will you fuck me?” he says plaintively.

Hannibal’s fingers are already on his face, and at that, two of them thrust into his mouth. Will lets Hannibal push down on his tongue, feeling around the edges of it in a way that makes him feel just on the brink of choking. “Language, Will,” he admonishes.

“I’m sorry,” Will apologizes immediately. He just stares, knowing his eyes are huge and bloodshot and beseeching, and feeling Hannibal’s answering bloom of lust and power.

The two fingers leave Will’s mouth and trail a line of spit down his jaw. “Of course I will, sweet boy,” he murmurs, and Hannibal is standing up, helping Will to stay steady on his feet and leading him to the bedroom. Will trails behind, feeling otherworldly.

Hannibal positions him face down, with a pillow under his hips to thrust against. Will can’t see him this way, and he wonders if that’s intentional. Hannibal had noticed the brief period in which Will nearly came back from this, and the moment that he decided not to. He doesn’t let Will move so much as a single digit; when he adjusts a leg against the sheets, Hannibal tsks and lifts the leg up, re-positions it to his liking, and sets it back down.

Hannibal is working him open with gentle fingers, and when he adjusts even the slightest bit, Hannibal pushes him down. Apparently Will is to do absolutely nothing in this encounter, which is far from his usual habit, but the idea sends a wash of relief and arousal over him. It’s another challenge: Hannibal wants him to be still, to take his pleasure well just as he had taken his pain, and then Hannibal will be happy with him.

It no longer feels odd to whisper yes, Daddy when Hannibal enters him, or to accept his whispered litany of praise and diminutives and gentle filth. Will loves it; this version of Hannibal who is simultaneously more vulnerable and more threatening than his usual self, with his need for control shimmering along the surface of him instead of hidden underneath his skin. It’s like looking at him through a kaleidoscope, or turning him inside out. Which Will can do anyway, but Hannibal isn’t usually complicit.

It seems to take forever for Will’s pleasure to crest; every time he tries to move, to pull himself towards orgasm, Hannibal whispers “be good, little one,” and pushes him back down. He’s nearly sobbing with need again by the time he finally releases into the pillow underneath him, and feels the reciprocal warmth of Hannibal’s orgasm inside him.

This time, when Will starts to float up from wherever he was, he doesn’t fight it. Hannibal has rolled them onto their sides, his chest to Will’s back and his softening cock still buried inside of him, and Will shifts and pulls away. Hannibal doesn’t protest Will’s movements any longer, so Will sits up and tries to ignore the sensation of come leaking out of him in favour of concentrating on Hannibal’s face.

Will can feel Hannibal coming down, as if from a high, in equal measure to Will’s resurfacing. He looks momentarily dazed, and Will tries to take a picture of the expression in his mind. It’s not one he gets to see often. Will can feel something like I can’t believe you let me do that in Hannibal’s eyes, which should be absolutely absurd considering all of the things Will has let Hannibal do in their lives, but it isn’t. This isn’t bloodlust or survival or a grand Becoming; it’s just an exploration. New circumstance. New rules.

“So,” says Will, “Can I keep the dog?”

Hannibal blinks, and the fog seems to clear from his mind. He sits up, tilting his head, considering. “I suppose,” he says, “If you prove you can be responsible for it, little Will.” There is a twitch at the corner of his mouth.

“Mmm,” says Will. “Good try, but nope. You don’t get to hear it again today. Not now that I know how much power that word has.”

Hannibal leans up to kiss him, and mutters, “Should I be nervous for what concessions you’ll be manipulating out of me, from now on?”

“Terrified,” says Will, and kisses back.