Blood Drive

“I can’t believe you didn’t know,” says Will. “it’s not like I was keeping it from you. It just didn’t seem very important.”

Hannibal just looks at Will, with that creepy stillness that means he’s as close as he ever gets these days to wringing Will’s neck where he stands.

“You know everything else about me,” Will tries. “Come on, you— I had no reason to think you hadn’t read my email. And my phone records, and my calendar.”

More silence.

“I don’t understand why this even matters to you,” Will continues. “You don’t object to people’s lives being saved in theory, do you? Or did you take some sort of… anti-Hippocratic oath?”

Hannibal glances down at the computer screen again, eyes narrowed like the words might change if he glares at them terrifyingly enough. Will can only assume that the subject line Book your next donation appointment with the Red Cross today! remains obstinately in place.

“Jesus,” says Will. “Just— say something, will you? Come on, I’ve been going every two months for— I don’t know, decades. Since before I was a cop. I’m O-negative, they always practically beg me to book my next appointment.”

That was either the wrong or the right thing to say, because Hannibal finally pushes himself away from the new computer, which Will had inaugurated by indulging in his curiosity and signing into the email account he hadn’t checked since before their disappearance. Hannibal looks furious, and Will has to remind himself that he hasn’t actually done anything wrong as Hannibal towers over him.

Hannibal, of course, has always had his own criteria for wrong.

He lifts a hand up slowly, cupping Will’s cheek and jaw, and Will shivers. He’s reminded viscerally of how Hannibal had looked before stabbing him, every damn time Hannibal touches his face— which Hannibal is clearly aware of, and uses to his advantage.

Hannibal leans in, his lips brushing the stray hairs near Will’s ear as he whispers, “How many people, Will?”

Will’s heart sinks, because he isn’t stupid. He knows what this is about. Probably knew from the beginning, if he’s being honest with himself.

He swallows, and pulls on the tiny thread of defiance he can feel curling in his belly, pushing up like a weed that won’t stop growing through the cracks in the sidewalk. God knows Hannibal’s stomped on it enough times, but then, he only does it because he enjoys watching it grow back. At least Will knows that for sure.

Will takes a deep breath and leans in, pressing his forehead against Hannibal’s shoulder and tilting his head slightly to bare his neck as much as possible. “Been giving blood for… let’s say the last twenty years or so,” he says. “Six times a year. Probably missed a few appointments from the stab wound, and then the encephalitis, and then the other stab wound, and then the stab wounds after that, so we’ll knock off a few. Maybe a hundred and ten appointments, in all. About a pint each time. The average patient requires 4.6 units of blood—” Will fuzzily tries to recall the feel-good statistics from the brochures in the waiting rooms— “so, let’s say at least twenty-five people walking around with my blood in them.”

Will doesn’t bother pointing out that it’s not that simple, that there are plenty of ways donated blood can be processed, that a sickle cell patient might have a transfusion every few weeks and thus Will’s blood would have passed through them only briefly, while a patient requiring only a small amount of blood might mean that the total number of people carrying around bits of Will Graham inside them is actually much higher.

Hannibal knows all that, of course, and he also doesn’t care. Wil finds himself walked slowly backwards and crushed against the wall, Hannibal holding him in place while he grabs at Will’s wrist and holds it up to his face. Smelling him. Smelling his blood. Typical.

Will was caught off guard at first, but now he’s in on the game, and he intends to enjoy it. “It just kills you, doesn’t it,” he murmurs. “All those people. Normal people. Going about their business, all while they have me inside them. Bits and pieces of me, packaged and sent out to hospitals all over the country.”

Hannibal sets his teeth against Will’s skin, and Will tenses. He would let him do it, of course, but the prospect of blunt teeth punching through the delicate skin of his arm isn’t exactly pleasant. He’s relieved when Hannibal just nips and tongues at him.

Will is practically delerious with pleasure— who knew having your arm licked could be so erotic— by the time he hears Hannibal’s muttered, “That’s not what offends me about it.”

Hannibal does’t offer any explanation, and Will is too busy trying to shove Hannibal’s pants down his legs to ask for one. It’ll come up again, he figures. It’s not like blood is ever far away from their thoughts.


Will is settling into an armchair after dinner when Hannibal approaches him with a medical bag.

Hannibal takes the phrasebook Will had been planning on studying and places it on the coffee table. Will watches with interest as he ties a piece of elastic around Will’s bicep. Hannibal doesn’t look him in the eyes— not avoiding contact, just focused on the work of screwing a needle into a fresh syringe and rubbing an alcohol wipe over the site of the most prominent vein.

Will’s eyes wander over to the bag, wondering what Hannibal’s giving him. There’s about an equal chance that it’ll be healing or hellish, with the most likely option being that he simply thinks Will is too tense and wants to sedate him. He doesn’t mind the idea; Hannibal would let Will do it to him too, probably. He’ll stare at Will’s soft slack-jawed sleepy body like it’s the most wonderful, desirable thing in the world, and then lay him out on the bed and bite and lick and fuck to his heart’s content while Will just accepts, completely incapable of any sort of reciprocity. The idea that Hannibal likes him like that, completely useless, is both logical and completely terrifying. He settles down a little in the armchair, getting comfortable.

But Hannibal doesn’t pull a vial out of the bag. Instead he just plunges the needle right into Will’s vein and starts drawing out blood instead.

Will sits up a little straighter. He has to push down some fucked-up disappointment that he’s not going to be drugged; but then, he can always ask for it later. This is different.

“Do you like it here?” Hannibal asks, his eyes fixed on the dark red slowly filling the plastic tube.

Will hums. “Well enough for how long?” he asks. He does like it, at least better than plenty of the other places they’ve ended up in recently. It’s secluded, with a small lake and a patch of forest obscuring their house. It’s as if Hannibal were trying to re-create Will’s Wolf Trap house, as closely as he can.

“A couple months,” says Hannibal. The syringe is full, and he pulls it out of Will’s arm and replaces it with a cotton pad. “I still wish to go to Europe with you.”

“But fleeing to the Continent is your usual pattern,” Will acknowledges. “We should lay low for a while first. Yes, I like it here.”

Hannibal carefully tapes the cotton over the puncture mark. “Good,” he says. “Then a toast is in order.” With that, he disappears into the kitchen.

“You don’t usually do cocktails,” Will grins when Hannibal returns— at some length— with two glasses.

Hannibal shrugs in acknowledgement. “I don’t usually have such fine ingredients.”

Will sniffs his glass. It smells earthy, but also somehow sweet; the only components he’s certain of— besides the featured ingredient— are orange juice and Scotch.

He holds it up to the light. It’s well-mixed, although it would probably separate given a little time. He imagines Hannibal in the kitchen, taking Will’s blood, dividing it into glasses, adding sweetness and flavour and alcohol, then— no. Will’s mind rewinds. He’s missed a step. The one where Hannibal rolled up his own sleeve, drew his own vial of blood. He’s certain, and sure enough, there’s a small bulge of cotton on the inside of Hannibal’s left elbow.

“Are we exchanging?” he asks. “Or mixed together?”

Hannibal just smiles and holds up his own glass in a toast. “To a new home,” he says.

Will is fairly sure it’s the latter. Hannibal wouldn’t pass up on a chance to have their essences mingled, cojoined beyond even a hope of pulling them apart. He raises the glass to his lips and sips.

It’s not bad. He would have drank it all even if it were revolting, but he also has more faith in Hannibal than that. The distinct coppery tang of the blood is more a sense memory than anything else; it clouds his mind with the feeling of being close to Hannibal. At all of the turning points in their shared lives, Will’s senses had been flooded with the taste and smell of blood. He shivers, and takes another sip.

“A juiced blood orange,” Hannibal lists, “Cherry liqueur, creme de cacao, Amaro Averna, cold coffee, scotch. You, me.”

“It’s delicious,” says Will, and wonders how many times he’s said that to Hannibal, and how many times it’s been the physical essence of a human being that Will is complimenting him on. He imagines, for a moment, the two of them as a flowchart: human life and energy flowing only one way, out from the world and into Will and Hannibal. There’s only a thin trickle in the other direction: the twenty-five (roughly) people whose bodies are sustained by cells made by Will.

He raises his glass in a mock toast. “Does this make up for it, then?” he asks. “All the others who have this?”

“If it were possible to identify them, I would drain each one of them dry,” says Hannibal easily. “Strung up, with the heart still pumping to hasten the blood flow. Something quite artistically satisfactory could be arranged with a good supply of dessicated corpses, and it would be discovered quite easily outside the local Red Cross.”

Will just rolls his eyes. He feels loose and indulgent from the alcohol. “Drama queen,” he comments.

Hannibal doesn’t dignify that with an answer, or possibly he just knows he has no defense. “Their simple possession of your blood is not my objection,” he says.

Will watches the reddish-brown liquid swirl in the glass. Hannibal isn’t much for cocktails, but this one, Will has to admit, is exquisite.

“Your objection is that they didn’t appreciate it,” Will says. It sounds hubristic when he says it, of course, but he knows it to be true for Hannibal. “All they did with it was use it to sustain their gross, unimportant, leaky, fragile human bodies. They couldn’t appreciate the aesthetic of it. They didn’t even want it in the first place— presumably they would have preferred to be able to keep the blood that God gave them in the first place.” Will takes a sip. “Am I right?”

Hannibal just sips his own drink, eyes dark. “Such disregard for beauty is inconsiderate indeed.”

Will nearly laughs, but he doesn’t want to ruin the moment. Because, well. As ridiculous as Hannibal is, it is rather sweet.

Instead Will locks eyes with him, deliberately drinking the rest of the cocktail in one gulp, like it’s cheap beer and not expensive liqueurs mixed with human blood. He watches Hannibal wince at that, and grins as he saunters over to lean over Hannibal in his armchair.

He kisses him, letting Hannibal taste the residue of the drink on his lips. “You’re the only one who knows how to treat me right?” He teases. “Really, that’s your pitch?”

“Unsubtle, I know,” says Hannibal, and he closes his eyes and savours as he downs the rest of his own drink. “But accurate. You are infinitely precious, Will.”

Will leans back in for another kiss, and wonders if innocent people will die as a result of the bank losing a regular donor of a rare blood type. If perhaps his contributing to a blood shortage is just another church roof thrown down by God: inevitable, maybe even helpful.

It’s worth it, he decides, and offers himself to be devoured.