“I hope this thing isn’t too loud,” grumbles Will, pressing his forehead into this folded hands.

Hannibal chuckles. “You’ve never heard this music before, have you, Will?” He nudges Will’s legs apart a little more, angling Will’s ass even farther into the air on top of the pillow shoved under his hips.

Will wriggles, his half-hard cock digging into the damp pillow. “No,” he mutters. “What’s the concert again? I wasn’t paying attention the first time you told me.”

He gets a slap to the inner thigh for that, though he can tell Hannibal is amused. “Can’t imagine why,” Will adds, as Hannibal’s lube-slick fingers play around his exposed entrance.

“Gustav Holst’s The Planets,” Hannibal says, and his fingers disappear for a moment as he busies himself with the lube. Then Will feels the cold, slick press of plastic against his rim, and Hannibal says, “and I can assure you, in a concert hall with good acoustics, there are moments in the music loud enough that every person in the audience could have one of these inside them, buzzing away, and not a thing would be audible above the racket.”

“Sounds fun,” WIll attempts, but it is lost in a moan as Hannibal pushes the vibrating plug inside of him. It’s not large, but it has a distinct bulge that pushes insistently on his prostate, and the thought that it’s going to be inside him for hours feels insurmountable.

“There,” Hannibal murmurs, and pats Will’s ass in a way that he should probably object to on the grounds of it being incredibly condescending, but just jiggles the plug inside of him enough to drive all other thoughts out of his mind. “Oh, Christ,” Will says into the sheets. “Hannibal, I don’t know if I can do this.”

It’s the wrong thing to say, certainly, if he wants Hannibal to stop. Which on some level, Will doesn’t. He knows that Hannibal wants him apprehensive. Hannibal loves taking Will to the symphony, showing him off, but he’s also distinctly aware that it’s challenging for him; the concerts are long, and filled with people who are all thinking and feeling so very hard and obviously. This will be, at the very least, a distraction.

Will doesn’t mind the idea, if he’s being honest with himself. And the concert will be less difficult than usual— some new series, with only one long work on the program and no intermission. At least he won’t have to hang around in the lobby being shown off while Hannibal tortures him from the inside out.

Hannibal’s finger trails lightly up WIll’s spine, and he feels the weight on the bed lifting as Hannibal climbs off of it. “Get dressed, Will,” he says. “I want you ready to go in twenty minutes.”

Will groans, then steels himself and does as he’s told.


They arrive with just enough time to pick up the tickets and get to their seats. They had left late, mostly because at the first buzz of the vibrator from the remote control in Hannibal’s pocket— which he had only tried out once Will was fully dressed— Will had doubled over in shock, gasping with sudden arousal. Hannibal had watched with clear amusement as Will tried to get control of himself. “You’re going to have to disguise it a little bit better than that,” he’d said, but didn’t seem concerned at all that Will’s behavior might call attention to them. But then, will thought viciously as he climbed into the car, Hannibal was never concerned with anything.

Now they’re sitting in a balcony box, and Hannibal hands Will a second program that he had been too distracted to notice an usher was handing him. Will opens it and slumps down in his chair, eyes scanning across the page without taking in a single word of it.

“Posture,” Hannibal murmurs, and he must have had his hand in his pocket before that, because Will doesn’t get the warning of any visible movement before the buzz of the vibrator erupts inside of him.

It’s only for a second or two, but it’s enough to make him jump nearly out of his chair in shock, and give thanks that the couple who appear to be headed for the seats beside them are only now opening the door to the box and checking their tickets to find their seat numbers. Will growls, both at Hannibal and at nothing in particular, and wishes it was cold enough to have worn a jacket. Back in Baltimore, he would be able to cover his extremely unwanted erection with something in the early fall; here in California, there was nothing for him to do but settle back in the seat— upright enough to get an approving nod from Hannibal, a position that pressed the vibrator further inside him— and hope the lights went down soon.

“We’re right here,” says the pretty young woman sitting down beside him, leading her boyfriend behind her and indicating their seats to him. She smiles at Will. Great, he thinks, A chatty neighbor. Just what I need. He feels Hannibal’s amusement faintly radiating off of him.

“Almost didn’t make it on time!” she says to him, with a tinkling laugh. “They’re setting up a star projector in the lobby for after the concert, isn’t that exciting?”

“Oh,” says Will, and he reluctantly allows his own version of a sociable person suit to drop down over him, only because he knows he’ll get another buzz if he doesn’t. “That sounds very interesting.”

“Yes,” Hannibal chimes in. “Wonderful. We’ll be sure to go see it after the performance.”

Will wants to glare daggers at him, but the woman is looking at them now, and Will can’t afford more of an erection than he already has, so he gives Hannibal his sweetest smile and says, “Of course. I’ve always wanted to see one. Space is fascinating, don’t you think?

“I’ve always thought so,” says Hannibal calmly as the lights go down.

Will thinks for a moment, at the very beginning, that he might get away unmolested for a while. It’s quiet— for about ten seconds. Then the music starts rising, something rhythmical and vaguely terrifying, and Will feels his heart sinking as he feels Hannibal’s smug anticipation beside him, and then feels the vibrator come to life the moment the sound is loud enough to cover it.

Will squirms in his seat, which of course only serves to make the thing shift around inside of him. He can’t find a position where the vibrator isn’t pressing into something exquisitely sensitive, no angle that isn’t pleasurable agony. His fingers are gripping the armrests on both sides of him tightly enough that the woman to his right surely notices. Normally Hannibal would be irritated at being distracted from the music— and if it were anyone but Will doing the distracting, irritated enough to take drastic action— but now it’s clear that he didn’t come to this concert to hear the music. He seems to be deliberately ignoring it, in fact— perhaps it’s too vulgar for his tastes, Will thinks, desperately trying to distract himself from the way his cock is straining against his underwear by focusing in on the conductor, who is flailing dramatically in a way that can’t possibly be necessary to keep the musicians together.

It turns out to be a mistake to pay attention to the orchestra— the combined force of the nerves of seventy anxious, neurotic people force Will to turn back, focus in on himself and his immediate surroundings. Hannibal clicks off the vibrator for a second, just enough to watch the jolt in Will’s body as it comes back on again, and Will can’t stop himself from reaching out and grasping at Hannibal’s hand, because if he doesn’t, he’s going to grip the armrest hard enough to break it. At least Hannbal deserves to get his hand broken; the armrest hasn’t done anything to Will.

Hannibal allows it, and they go the rest of the concert like that. Hannibal clearly knows the music well enough to anticipate which sections are loud enough to torture Will some more, and switches the vibrator on an off accordingly. Will, who has no such knowledge and is spending most of his energy on trying not to know which musicians are the most nervous, spends the loud sections in squirming, leaking agony, and the quiet sections in terrified anticipation.

It ends quietly. Will isn’t so naive as to think that will be the end of it for him: the cacophony of the applause follows soon after, and everyone in the audience seems to be aware that you’re supposed to stand. So of course the instant Will attempts to follow suit, Hannibal clicks the remote, and Will staggers forward and grasps at the railing for support. The woman beside him looks at him with concern, probably noticing the sheen of sweat on his face, hopefully not noticing too much more. “You okay?” she asks.

“Great,” says Will, forcing a smile that feels distinctly twitchy as it enters and leaves is face. “Just— er, leg cramp. Long show.”

She nods, glancing down at his leg, which— fuck— is twitching, with his erection prominent and obvious just above it.

At least she doesn’t talk to him again, and when the applause dies down, the audience starts filing out noisily, and Will glares at Hannibal. “Happy?” he says.

“Transcendently,” he says. “The only thing that could make this night better is a spot of stargazing.” He’s smiling, and his hands are hanging loosely at his sides, no intention to reach back into his pocket and turn the vibrator off to let Will walk out of the hall somewhat normally. Will winces, and starts gingerly making his way towards the door to the lobby. The vibrator shifts inside him with every step, rocking from side to side, rubbing over his prostate. He’s not longer desperately hard, but he feels damp, and all Will wants to do is go home, get fucked into the mattress with Hannibal’s nice hard non-vibrating cock, and get away from all these people.

Now that the concert is over, the emotional tenor of the room has changed. Gone is the overpowering sense of nervousness emanating from the stage, and instead the cacophony of the mass of humanity around him presses in on Will’s mind.

The lights in the lobby are down, and the night sky is projected on the domed ceiling, and Will can’t concentrate on any of it. By the time they get to the entrance of it, Will isn’t sure if it’s the vibrator or the emotions of the crowd that’s worse.

Then a young man wearing a neat suit and a NASA lapel pin says, “Hello, have you seen a star projector before?” and suddenly Will knows which is worse. The vibrator is worse, because all of a sudden he’s sinking into the clear earnestness of the man’s gaze— somewhere around Will’s left shoulder, just where he likes it himself— and the emotions of the crowd are gone. For the first time in Will’s life, he is in the middle of a crowd, and everything is quiet.

He realizes, after a few moments, that he’s simply staring at the man with his mouth open. The buzz in his ass is still present, but fading into the background as a result of sheer shock. He should think of something to say, because the man is probably expecting an answer, probably wondering what’s wrong with Will, or noticing his strange stance and the bulge in the front of his pants— but when he finally blinks himself back to alertness, the man isn’t doing any of that. Will can focus on him, allow the edges of himself to blur with the edges of this stranger with his own clear brown eyes but somehow open and honest and sure in all the ways that Will feels uncertain and unsettled, and he feels no judgement of or curiosity about Will’s state. He’s simply waiting for Will to answer him.

“No,” says Will, managing to remember what the question was and pull up the correct answer. “Uh— no, I haven’t seen one of these before. What is it?”

The man’s face lights up, and Will feels a ball of excitement building in his own chest as well as he gestures to the projector set up in a discreet corner. “This model is Japanese,” he says. “Technically it belongs to my employer, but I chose it, and I travel and set it up for demonstrations. It can project up to—”

Will can’t concentrate on what he’s saying. He’s too distracted by what he is; someone that Will can sink into and find himself completely insulated from the minds of other people. Not even Hannibal can do that; Hannibal is distracting, to be sure, but his very presence isn’t enough to block out everyone else, not in a crowd like this. It’s not force of personality, then; Will is reasonably sure he will never find someone to outclass Hannibal in that department.

“It’s because you don’t have empathy,” Will says suddenly, interrupting the miraculous man in the middle of an explanation of the distances between stars. “Or at least not the kind I have too much of. You don’t know what other people are thinking, so now I don’t either.”

The man stops talking, and just blinks at him.

“Jesus. Sorry. I didn’t mean to… I don’t normally blurt stuff out like that,” says Will, then feels a rueful smile creeping onto his face. “Something tells me you do, though.”

He keeps staring, and Will can feel that he’s not going to do anything else, the ball is still in Will’s court conversationally— which is fair, since Will has just said something that would be confusing by anyone’s standards.

“I— jesus. Sorry,” he amends, and holds out his hand, because handshakes are a clear social cue, and he wants to start this particular interaction over. “My name is Will. What’s yours?”

The man reaches out and shakes his hand readily, firmly. “Adam,” he says. “And you’re right. I don’t usually know what other people are thinking.”

Will is grinning like an idiot, he realizes, and then suddenly he feels the almost-forgotten vibrations inside him click off, and the heat of Hannibal’s body beside him.

And then Will actually has to turn, has to frown into Hannibal’s face and try to read him. Will Graham puts actual conscious thought into figuring out how Hannibal feels, and is rather pleased when he manages to dredge up that Hannibal isn’t angry; he’s interested. Apparently interested enough in what’s going on here that it outclassed his previous source of entertainment in importance, and will let the vibrator be for the time being.

Adam wants to talk about the sky some more, and Will wants to feel that fierce joy radiating from him again, so he asks if they can see any of the planets they’ve just heard about in the concert, and then basks in the pure goodness of Adam pointing out features of the night sky. Will tries to listen, and lets Hannibal observe. He has no idea what Hannibal is thinking beyond being reasonably sure that he isn’t going to snap Adam’s neck for the crime of having caught Wills attention, and he loves it, wants to get lost in Adam’s single-minded focus and complete lack of emotional perception.
Will would have happily basked in the quiet focus of Adam for hours, and is only shaken out of it when Hannibal somehow manages to slide into Adam’s speech without quite interrupting him, and says, “Adam, the lobby is clearing out, but I believe my husband is quite taken with you. Perhaps we can assist you in packing up your projector, and you could come home with us for a drink.”

For a moment Will feels sheer panic, and he rounds on Hannibal with no, Hannibal, you can’t lodged in his throat. But he holds himself back a moment, studying Hannibal’s face, and realizes that he’s misunderstood; Hannibal is entirely sincere, and as far as Will can tell, has no murderous intentions at all. His own panic recedes, leaving only Adam’s uncertainty to deal with. It’s a longing kind of uncertainty, though; a desire only tempered by previous experiences of social invitations gone horribly awry.

“We have a big sitting room,” says Will encouragingly, and it comes out almost pleadingly. “We could set up the projector there. If you wanted.”

Adam does want, and it’s the work of only about fifteen more minutes for the remaining patrons in the lobby to be ushered out, for Adam to awkwardly shake the hand of the orchestra’s outreach director who’d hired him, and for a stage hand to box up the projector (Hannibal’s offered help having been refused) and start wheeling it on a dolly towards a loading dock at the back of the building.

Will swallows nervously, partly his own nerves and partly Adam’s. “I drove my car here,” says Adam. “I didn’t have a car before, because I lived in New York. But I had to get one when I moved to California.”

Hannibal scribbles something on the back page of the concert programme, then tears out the page and hands it to Adam. “Our address,” he says. “It’s a little remote from the city, I’m afraid, but on a clear night like tonight, we may even be able to forgo the projector and view the source material directly. If you’d like, you would be welcome to spend the night. We have a guest bedroom that you are welcome to.”

Adam doesn’t notice that “welcome to spend the night” and “we have a guest bedroom” are unrelated items in Hannibal’s phrasing, but Will does. Adam nods and starts following he stagehand and his beloved projector towards the loading dock.

As soon as Adam is gone, the rush of Will’s empathy back into his mind crashes over him like a tidal wave, and by the time they reach the car he feels dizzy with it. He climbs into the passenger seat without offering to drive, and stares at Hannibal in profile as he climbs in and starts the ignition.

“You’re serious,” he says, as they pull onto the freeway. He’d known it before, guessed it from facial cues and body language, but after so many years, the cues that normal people rely on to guess at the emotions of others feel insubstantial to Will. Now he can feel it again, the bone-deep certainty of another person’s inner landscape. He can’t help the smile that spreads onto his face when he says, “You really just invited someone home with us because I like him.”

“Not quite,” says Hannibal, but the corner of his mouth twitches. It’s at least part of the reason.

Will rolls his eyes. “Okay. Because I like him, and because he’s interesting.”

“Not to me. He’s interesting to you. To me, he is only interesting in conjunction with you. Tell me, what did it feel like, empathizing with someone whose defining psychological feature is an inability to distinguish the emotions of others?”

Will stares at the lights of the freeway flash by, carrying them away from the crowds and towards their secluded country home. Seclusion has always been Will’s only option; the only place where he can feel free from the minds of others. Hannibal lives inside his seclusion, now; at this point it’s more like having another half of himself than another person.

“Peaceful,” he admits, and his stomach twists a little at the confession. “Addictive.”

But of course, Hannibal knows that Will’s gift burdens him. Hannibal loves it nonetheless, but he knows. And now— now that they are safe, now that they are long dead in the eyes of the law, now that they understand each other and are joined fully, with no chance of separation even if they wanted it— now, perhaps, Hannibal has permission to be merciful.

“Then your new friend must be consumed in small doses, to avoid addiction,” says Hannibal, and Will just rolls his eyes at the word consumed — merely metaphorical, for once— and snakes his hand over to squeeze Hannibal’s thigh silently in thanks.


Hannibal spreads a blanket on the lawn, and brings a tray with a bottle of wine and three glasses. Will fidgets, sitting down on the blanket as soon as it’s spread and watching Hannibal set up the rest.

“Afraid he’ll change his mind?” Hannibal asks.

Will thinks about it, sinking back into his memory of Adam’s mind. “No,” he says. “I think he’s probably gone home first, to put the projector back.”

“Good,” says Hannibal, and places warm hands on Will’s shoulders to press him down. Will goes willingly, allowing himself to be spread out on the blanket. The air is warm, and he pillows his head on his hands and doesn’t protest when Hannibal pulls his pants down and clicks the vibrator back on.

It feels nice, now that he’s been thoroughly distracted and has calmed down a little bit. Hannibal strokes over the small of his back and plays with the base of the toy, drawing small circles with it that press on Will’s insides. He wriggles his ass in the air, inviting. They’ll hear Adam’s car on the long driveway long before he comes within view, anyway.

Hannibal grabs great fistfuls of Will’s flesh, kneading him around the vibrations, and sighs happily. “You did well, I thought, during the concert.”

Will scoffs. “I was squirming like anything. I hope you enjoyed the show.”

Hannibal’s hands pull his cheeks apart, a gentle finger tracing his rim where he’s loose and relaxed from being stretched around the toy all evening. It makes him whine and arch up, the outside of his hole surprisingly sensitive now that he’s grown used to the vibrations on the inside.

“Would you like to come now?” Hannibal asks. “You may, if you wish. Or would you prefer to wait until your friend arrives?”

WIll pushes himself up on his elbows and twists around to stare at him. Hannibal’s expression is mild, and he’s idly playing with the base of the toy. Will swallows. “Are you… sure?” he asks. He’s certain that Hannibal has no desire to kill Adam at the moment, and he doesn’t want that to change. Hannibal feels jealousy when it comes to him, Will knows, but it doesn’t operate in within normal parameters. It occurs to him that there are many things Hannibal wouldn’t let anyone else do to Will, but sex simply isn’t one of them.

Will notices that the tray with the wine also contains lubricant and condoms, and the juxtaposition of Hannibal’s genteel manners— of course he’d have to use a serving tray— and the coarse, obvious suggestiveness of it is enough to make him squirm.

“I did enjoy the show,” Hannibal says. “But there is another one I’m more interested in. And yes, I am sure.”

Will licks his lips, lowers himself back down to the ground. He considers saying something ridiculous, like “thank you,” but manages to hold back. Instead he just thrusts his ass up a bit, and allows a low moan to escape him as Hannibal pulls the toy slowly out of him, then wraps it in a handkerchief and places it in his pocket.


Adam has done more than just drop the star projector at home: he’s picked up a telescope, as well, and he sets it up beside the blanket with a single-minded focus. Will lays beside him and watches, while Hannibal sips wine from the other end of the blanket, observing them both.

Hannibal has placed him at something of a disadvantage, Will realizes, as Adam’s nimble fingers turn screws and adjust lenses. The reason Will feels so drawn to Adam is that losing himself in Adam turns off his gift in relation to anyone else. And Will loves it, could just lie here and bask in the serenity of Adam all night. Hannibal has even given him permission to have sex with Adam. Will can feel Adam’s willingness, a shy half-disbelieving thing, and it makes him feel warm and alive.

But Hannibal has also given him permission to have sex with Adam, and presumably is going to watch them. Under normal circumstances, Will would be paying assiduous attention to Hannibal’s emotions during an event like that as a matter of basic self-preservation. Only now… he can’t. As soon as he focuses in on Adam, he can no longer tell what Hannibal is feeling, so Will is forced to simply trust that Hannibal meant what he said, and will still mean it when it’s over.

Adam is kneeling, close enough that he’s looking nearly directly down on Will when he says, “here, look.”

Will smiles at him; clear, inviting, unambiguous. He pushes himself up, and when he leans in to fit his eye to the lens of the telescope, Adam only barely moves; his hip and chest are close enough to Will’s side that he can feel the heat of the other man radiating through his clothing.

“There,” says Adam, “you wanted to see some planets, right? I found Mars for you.”

Will looks, and sure enough what had appeared only as a pinkish speck to the naked eye is now visible with distinct, swirling stripes.

Will doesn’t exclaim in wonder or talk about the beauty of the night sky. Instead he says, “What’s the closest we can get to it?”

“Mars has a very eccentric orbit,” Adam says. “The closest to point to the sun is called the perihelion, and the point the farthest away, the aphelion. Earth’s orbit is also eccentric, so the closest they could ever get would be when Mars is at its perihelion and Earth at its aphelion. Then, we would only be 33.9 million miles away.”

“Close enough to spit,” says Will, as an experiment, and Adam scowls at him. He understands the phrase, he just doesn’t like it. “Sorry,” Will offers. “Close enough to spit if we could turn off gravity and the atmosphere for a while?”

“And if your spit had excellent navigational systems,” Adam adds. Will grins and sits back on his heels. “How about Venus?”

Adam doesn’t adjust the telescope: instead he just points. Will isn’t entirely sure which of the specks he’s pointing at; sometimes he thinks one points of light is brighter than the other, only to have it seem to fade in and out of view, his concentration playing tricks on his eyes. He swings the telescope anyway, vaguely towards where Adam is pointing.

Apparently it isn’t good enough, because he feels Adam’s warm hands close over his own, Adam’s chest pressing against his back. It’s gentle and commanding and entirely obvious.

“You’re good at this, you know,” Will says.

“I’ve been stargazing for a long time.” The telescope settles into position. “There. Look now.”

Will looks, and while his face is hidden by the lens, he says, “I didn’t mean stargazing. Though you’re good at that too. I meant seduction.”

Will keeps his gaze trained on Venus; he doesn’t need to see Adam’s face to feel his leap of excitement, and then the methodical translations of emotions to words before Adam speaks. “I’ve never been told that before,” says Adam finally. “Though, I did think I did a good job of seducing Beth. I left her tea and a laundry card.”

Will pushes back onto his heels, finally looking at Adam, though after a moment he allows his gaze to slide off just past his shoulder. “I’m assuming Beth is an ex, so, well done.”

“Yeah,” says Adam, then, “I think you’re not supposed to talk about how you seduced your ex while you’re trying to seduce someone else, but I think you wanted me to seduce you, and I think you’re kind of like me or maybe the opposite of me, so I can say things to you that I’m not supposed to say to NTs.”

Adam’s face is entirely open, so damn honest and straightforward and inviting in all of the ways Will has never let himself be. Terrible things happen to people like Adam, he knows; live wires with no insulation, both dangerous and intensely vulnerable. “Yeah, that seems right,” Will says.

“Do you want to have sex here, or inside?” Adam asks.

Will grins, and spares a glance to the side to Hannibal, partly because he knows Adam won’t notice his moment of distraction. Hannibal is sitting back, bracing himself on his arms with his legs outstretched, head upturned like he’s watching a fireworks show. He has that little half-smile on his face which Will doesn’t need to be in full possession of his empathy to translate; Hannibal is very pleased with this development indeed.

“You don’t mind having sex outside?” Will asks, and Adam runs a hand over the blanket, appraising. It’s a sturdy, thick fleece, both soft and heavy enough to avoid lumpiness on the grass. It’s also machine-washable.

“No,” Adam decides. “This is nice. I want to do it here. Did your husband choose it for us to have sex on?” He’s glancing over to Hannibal for the first time since his arrival, when Hannibal had intentionally faded into the background.

Will can feel a tiny tendril of fear from Adam— fear is most peoples’ first reaction upon meeting Hannibal, an instinctive feeling of being in the presence of a predator. It’s an instinct so apparently unjustifiable that they usually quash it down immediately; it’s unfair for a civilized, rational person to feel afraid of someone for no reason, after all. Since he’s started paying attention, Will has been able to identify a predictable pattern of reactions to Hannibal. The instinctive fear giving way to the rational mind, a conscious effort to force goodwill to make up for the initial transgression, ending in a higher level of trust than would ordinarily have been afforded to Hannibal. It’s useful, and fascinating to watch in action, but Adam doesn’t follow the pattern. He doesn’t quash down the fear, try to cover it up with rationalizations; he simply feels it.

Hannibal can tell, Will is sure of it in the pleased quirk of his mouth and the way he’s his own particular kind of sincere when he says, “I did. I’m glad it’s acceptable.”

Adam looks back at Will, a little uncertain, and Will reaches towards him and pulls Adam into his lap. He’s thinner and lighter than Will, a lifetime of desk work and picky eating having made him practically waifish, but he settles with his ass pressing into Will’s upper thighs with no hesitation at all, and what weight he does have is pleasant and solid. “Ignore him,” Will says firmly. “He’ll watch, but he won’t say anything from now on. Don’t worry, he scares everyone like that.” He almost wishes he could gauge Hannibal’s reaction to that, but he doesn’t want to distract himself from Adam now: Adam just nods, his nagging fear entirely dispelled now that Will has brought it out into the open (though not— Adam fails to notice— dismissed it as unjustified.)

Up close, Adam seems even smoother and softer and more appealing than he had in the lobby of the concert hall. Will leans forward and kisses his neck, marvelling at how he feels no destructive impulse at all. If he were with Hannibal— well, if he were with Hannibal right now, he would be nearly crushed under the weight of the man sitting on him. But beyond that, Will and Hannibal have a tendency to be violent, and it feels odd not to be biting and scratching and writhing. Instead he cups Adam’s jaw, tilts his head slightly, and Adam allows Will to expose even more of his graceful, long neck.

Will presses a line of kisses from his clavicle to his jaw just beside his ear, and is about to open his mouth and lick up the nervous sweat collecting there when Adam mutters, “you have to do the other side,” and Will nods. “Symmetrical,” he mutters. “Got it,” and repeats the kisses on the other side of Adam’s neck, until Will feels him sigh and relax, his chest pressing forward into Will’s and his erection rubbing up against Will’s belly.

“D’you like kissing?” Will whispers, because he’s empathetic, not a mind-reader, and he very much wants to taste the inside of Adam’s mouth.

Adam cocks his head. “Kissing is what gets you in the mood for sex,” he says slowly, and Will pulls on the thread of that thought back to its origin and finds the echoes of uncertainty and vague revulsion. Kissing as just another social nicety that Adam doesn’t want or understand, but needs to learn to get by. He shakes his head, and allows his hands to travel from Adam’s face down his sides, rubbing at his hipbones.

“I’m already on the mood for sex, in case you couldn’t tell.” Will punctuates that with a roll of his hips, the clothed mound of his cock thrusting up into Adam’s ass. “No kissing required. What do you want, Adam? What did you think about, while you were driving here, that got you hard before you even got out of the car? That’s what I want to do with you.”

Will hadn’t expected any embarrassment from Adam for his arousal having been noticeable, and he doesn’t get any. Adam just moans a little, grinds down into Will so that their erections press together deliciously, and says, “I thought about penetrating you.”

Will draws in a quick breath, staring up at the gorgeous, unrestrained man now practically riding his lap. He wants to glance over at Hannibal, but he doesn’t. Will isn’t certain that, when he’d encouraged Will to have a sexual encounter with Adam, Hannibal had been imagining his husband writhing on the cock of another man. But then, there was no reason that he shouldn’t have imagined it. If he was surprised, it would serve Hannibal right for his lack of imagination.

“Yeah,” pants Will. “Yeah, I want that. God, Adam, I want you inside me so much. Are you undressing yourself, or should I?”

Adam answers by pulling back and starting to unbutton his shirt, which he folds carefully and places on the corner of the blanket. Will does the same, folding his clothes where he would usually leave them crumpled, and now that it’s decided, he finally spares a glace for Hannibal.

Hannibal just raises an eyebrow— entirely, shockingly unreadable— and hands the bottle of lube to Adam.

“Done this before?” Will asks as he lies back on the blanket, spreading his legs. Adam kneels in between them, carefully measuring out a portion of lube onto his fingers.

“Yes,” says Adam, “to myself,” which is an answer that would be either hilarious or infuriating if anyone else in the world were saying it. But Will can feel Adam’s steadiness, the way he truly doesn’t see putting his fingers in Will’s ass as any different than putting them in his own, so Will just smiles up at him. “Okay,” he says. “I like just one finger to start. In a sort of circular motion, and then lightly over my prostate.”

Adam nods, businesslike, and reaches forward. He doesn’t tease, just slips his index finger right in, slimmer and smoother than Hannibal’s. Will moans, an unmistakable sound of pleasure, and can feel Adam’s quiet pride at the reaction.

“You’re loose,” says Adam bluntly, and Will stifles his laughter as much as he can with another low moan. “Yeah,” he says as Adam’s finger starts to work him open, “We, uh— we were playing a game at the symphony, actually.”

“A sex game?” Adam’s index finger slips in and out, pressure firm but not excessive, and he draws little circles with it, as instructed. He glances briefly up at Will’s face as he speaks before his eyes slide back down, settle on the sight of Will’s hole stretching around him.

“Yeah,” says Will, and arches up when the sudden shock of Adam’s finger stroking his prostate hits him. “He kept a vibrator in me all night. Turned it on and off with a remote control during the show.”

“That sounds awful,” says Adam, and Will laughs, because of course it would be awful for Adam, having the barriers between areas of life crashing down, private and public melding into one. He’s extending himself enough by having sex on a blanket instead of a bed, and that only because it had been specially assigned for the purpose. Will can feel the sharp, comforting angles and delineations of Adam’s life, the way the forts in his mind are ancient and weathered and impermeable.

Will loves Adam’s forts abstractly, the way it’s only possible to love something you can never have. Will had tried to build forts, after all, and they had come crashing down with the wave that was Hannibal. Will doesn’t think anyone would be able to knock Adam’s down, and having Adam breach his body is like taking refuge behind the strong walls of his mind.

“Well, H— he is awful,” Will allows, catching himself at the last moment with the realization that he hadn’t even bothered to give Adam a name for Hannibal, and is far too distracted to think one up now. Adam frowns, and slips another finger into Will beside the first.

“Yeah,” pants Will, feeling so utterly safe that it’s its own kind of desperation. “Yeah, like that— you can put your cock in me any time, you know.”

“Okay,” says Adam, and reaches for the lube again to slick his cock. Will can feel him get a bit lost in the sensation, stroking and fucking into his own fist for longer than strictly necessary, before he comes back to himself and says, “Why do you love someone awful, then?”

The head of Adam’s cock presses against his entrance, and Will can’t speak, certainly can’t provide any kind of coherent explanation for the one consistently inexplicable thing in his life. I just do, is all, he thinks, I always have. But that isn’t quite right, and even as Adam is pushing into him slowly but firmly and every inch of his velvety skin seems to drag along Will’s insides, Will can’t stop thinking about Hannibal watching this, watching another man claim him, and wondering how Will is going to answer Adam’s question.

And he can’t say nothing, because Hannibal deserves better than that.

Adam bottoms out, his hips pressing up against Will’s ass, staring down with what feels to Will like shock. He can’t help laughing a little at Adam’s expression. “Different from what you’ve done before?” he asks.

Adam doesn’t answer, but the answer is obvious in how he bites his lip, pulls out and then thrusts forward almost tentatively, more afraid of the weight of his own pleasure than of the possibility of hurting Will.

“Go on,” murmurs Will, only barely restraining his desire to grab Adam’s hips and force him to move, nearly desperate for the velvety drag of his cock. Instead he just runs his fingertips down Adam’s arms, guiding him to brace himself on either side of Will’s chest.

And only once Adam has found a rhythm, once Will can buck up and press into him and feel the glorious crash of their bodies fitting into the spaces of one another exactly the way their minds do, does Will squeeze his eyes shut and say, “It’s possible to be awful and beautiful at the same time.”

And he can tell that Adam doesn’t understand, but maybe it’s a side effect of not understanding a whole lot about other people’s emotions that he just nods. Adam believes Will without the need for understanding, and when Adam finally presses his chest down with one last thrust and comes deep and hot inside of Will’s body, Will holds him tight like he’s discovered something infinitely precious, and finally, it doesn’t even occur to him to wonder what Hannibal is thinking as he follows Adam into release.

When Will finally moves, it’s only because Adam is grimacing at the tacky feeling of semen on his belly. Will pushes him up gently, not concealing his wince as Adam’s cock slips out of him, and then startles at the feeling of a warm body behind him.

Hannibal, his eyes adoring, holding out a silk napkin to Wil that he’s dipped in a glass of water. He seems amused, a certain tilt of his thin lips that Will recognizes but can’t place, and after he’s wiped the mess off of Adam and is handing the cloth back to Hannibal, he realizes that he’d promised Adam that Hannibal wouldn’t talk to him, and Hannibal is keeping Will’s promise.

Taking advantage of the gift seems the only appropriate way to say thank you, so once Adam is satisfied that his skin is free of semen— and Will has reassured him that he doesn’t mind the feeling of it slipping slowly out of his hole in the slightest— they end up curled up together on the blanket. Will goes to twine his arms around Adam but Adam just shakes his head, pushing a little on Will’s hip and saying, “you’re the little spoon.” Will tries to untangle the web of associations that had led to that decision— some sort of chauvinist-if-charming lesson from a mentor in the role of the penetrator in sexual intercourse, perhaps?— but finally decides it doesn’t matter all that much. Adam feels like a literal shield, wrapped around him protectively and blocking out all other input, and it’s glorious.

Will only realizes that he’s fallen asleep when he’s roused by Hannibal’s gentle hand on his shoulder. “I believe you and your guest would be more comfortable in a bed,” he says, and Will has to groggily admit that he is correct.

Adam is tense as they walk up the lawn towards the house, and finally Will hits upon the source: “Guest room,” he says, pointing him towards the appropriate door, and Adam relaxes. Will gives a crooked grin at the idea of Adam sleeping peacefully in a bed with two other people; appealing on some level, but extremely unlikely to actually happen. “You should trust me more,” he says to Adam.

Adam smiles. “Okay,” he says, turning towards the private room with palpable relief. “I’ll trust you more next time.”

“Sounds good,” says Will, and allows himself to be led into his own bedroom.


Will collapses down on the bed, staring up at Hannibal, feeling him again. It feels like coming home after a pleasant vacation, and he opens his arms in a plea for contact.

Hannibal takes longer to tease out the threads of emotions from, as always. Will holds him, basking in love and pride and a not-unpleasant sense of possessiveness. And something else, which Will is only feeling the edges of when Hannibal says, “Would you live there all the time?”

Will knows where he means: within the clean and elegant walls of Adam’s mind, protected from the intrusion of the rest of the world.

Once, Will would have said yes. When he was with Molly, perhaps; he feels certain that if he’d met Adam instead of Molly at the time that he and Molly had crashed together, the two of them would probably still be holed up in the woods— assuming he could have convinced Adam to move to the woods— with Hannibal rotting in jail and Jack Crawford still chasing the Red Dragon.

It’s both a comforting vision, and makes his stomach twist. “No,” he says. “No, this is my home. I chose it here.”

Hannibal tries not to show his relief and reassurance, but Will knows it’s there anyway. “A bit presumptuous, to assume there will be a next time,” Will says. “Will there be?”

The question hangs in the air like a gift being offered, which is exactly what it is.

“Your mind and body both belong to me,” Hannibal says, and Will doesn’t protest, because that’s been true for a long time, and at least now the ownership is reciprocal. “I would be foolish to waste such a powerful tool in shaping them.”

Will just rolls his eyes. It’s clear Hannibal-speak for yes, you may have sex with him again— when I want you to.

These days, Will trusts Hannibal’s intentions for both his mind and his body entirely too much to read Hannibal’s delight in controlling him as a threat. He suspects what Hannibal really means is I’ll decide when you need a vacation from yourself, and allow him to provide it.

“Yeah, that checks out,” Will mutters, burrowing himself farther into Hannibal’s chest, allowing the boundaries of himself to blur with Hannibal, as they’re supposed to be, and relinquishing himself to sleep.