the painful knotted end of a rope


Entirely thanks to this article: Mads Mikkelsen beat James Bond’s testicles with a rope, he’s about to do the same to Newt Scamander, and if he never did it to Will Graham on Hannibal then it definitely happened off-camera, and now there’s another major franchise hero who’s about to meet the painful knotted end of a rope: Indiana Jones. I mean, look. It’s not like I can BLAME our intrepid A.V. Club reporter for imprinting hard on That Scene. But let’s just say this took some doing.

The fact that parents are low-hanging fruit has never stopped Hannibal from yanking on the branch. Eventually, something he found ripe and sweet was bound to fall. It’s just irritating to Will that he failed to see in advance what it was going to be.

“Did you fish with your father when you were a child, Will?”

It’s such well-trodden ground for them– he can still see Hannibal’s face etched behind his eyelids, intoning wade into the quiet of the stream when the scar on his belly aches– that he’s somewhat surprised to realize he hasn’t actually stated this part out loud. Where he got it from. Will is standing in the shallow water, waders up to his knees, with Hannibal sitting on a rock jutting out from the shore, so he has to raise his voice slightly to answer. Because it’s a nice day and he’s feeling generous, he says, “When I was little. By the time I was a teenager his joints had gone downhill, so anything we did together was more likely to be indoors.”

He’d expected his father’s declining health to be the thread of trauma that Hannibal would want to yank on; had offered it for just that reason. Instead, Hannibal says, “What kinds of things?”

“What kinds of things did we do indoors, you mean?”


“Uh. Followed sports. Watched movies sometimes, I guess. There was a video rental place in one town we went to a lot.” He can picture the place, actually: “2 FOR 1 VIDEO” in big white letters on a red sign, two cramped aisles and a musty-smelling carpet, a back room behind a curtain where they presumably kept the pornos. He’d read in the local paper something about the owner being charged with child molestation and let off on a technicality, but it hadn’t occurred to either Will or his dad to stop going to his shop. There wasn’t anywhere else to get videos.

“What movies did you watch with your father?”

Will laughs a little, shaking his head. He stares into the water rushing past and between his legs. Seminal texts. He’d gotten to know Hannibal’s, after all; sat in the Uffizi on the bench where Hannibal had sat as a teen, staring at the works that had brought him to the person he is today. Hannibal values the influence of art on the self. Of course he wants to know what movies Will and his dad had watched in their trailer after dark, sipping beer and eating microwave popcorn.

And, as embarrassing as it might be, it’s not like Will can claim to be uninfluenced by his solidly blue-collar history in entertainment. Off-colour comedies, action flicks, cop shows; good and evil in their purest, or perhaps just most naive, form. He’d chosen a career that would put him on the right side of the divide, at least as he’d learned it. A good guy; the one who’s allowed to shoot. Licence to kill. For all the good it did him.

“Uh,” he says. “I don’t remember a lot of them. He liked Bond movies.”

Hannibal has taken off his shoes and socks and rolled up the cuffs of his pants so that he can dip his feet into the stream as it passes him by. He frowns slightly at this.

“You’ve never seen a Bond movie, have you,” says Will.

“I haven’t,” says Hannibal, dignified.

Will shrugs. It’s not really the sort of thing he’d expect someone who didn’t grow up with it to catch up with in adulthood unless they had some specific reason to. “We could watch one,” he offers, entirely expecting to be refused. “Don’t have any particular desire to re-live the ones from the seventies and eighties, but I think they rebooted it from the start of the timeline pretty recently.”

“All right,” says Hannibal, and Will nearly drops the fishing rod in surprise.

“All right,” he echoes, wondering at the infinite unpredictability of their existence.


Will makes popcorn (in a pot on the stovetop, with a tasteful quantity of butter that is less than he wants but at the limits of what he can get away with) and pours them beer. He ends up snuggled against Hannibal on the couch, which isn’t entirely unusual but somehow seems to surprise Hannibal. Like he has just realized that he’s sitting at home on a Friday night watching a movie with his husband, instead of out causing murder and mayhem, and isn’t entirely sure how to feel about that.

Will smothers his laugh. He tucks his head against Hannibal’s shoulder and fixes his eyes on the screen.

“That guy looks like you,” he comments when the villain appears.

“He certainly does not.”

“He sure does,” Will insists, and then squirms in exasperation as Hannibal finds a fold of skin on Will’s side and pinches him hard. “Okay! Fine, you’re unique in all the world, nobody looks like you, no actor could possibly capture the terrifying sense of menace that you–” he snorts in some combination of pain and laughter as Hannibal pinches him again, nearly spills beer all over the couch, and lapses into silence to keep watching.

He manages to stay pointedly silent as Hannibal’s Hollywood twin makes his way through illicit business negotiations, long sucks from an inhaler, steely bloody-eyed stares across a poker table, and– well.

It’s not really Will’s fault that he has an inconvenient erection by the end of the movie. The scene was clearly intended to be erotic. And no erection is all that inconvenient when he’s around Hannibal, anyway.

It’s only later, when they’re lying in the dark with Hannibal gripping him tight around his waist as they fall asleep, that Will says “So, have you ever tortured anyone’s balls?”

“I beg your pardon?” Hannibal manages to sound indignant even while half-asleep.

“Have you ever–”

“I heard you the first time. Please don’t repeat it. What on earth would I do that for?”

“Uh. ‘Entertainment’ seems likely.”

“Go to sleep.” Hannibal’s fingers play threateningly over the sensitive skin of Will’s belly.

“Okay, okay,” Will mutters, but Hannibal can’t stop him thinking about it.


“His name is Mads Mikkelsen,” says Will, sitting cross-legged on the sofa with Hannibal’s tablet balanced on one knee.


Will rolls his eyes, then feels a bit bashful. He hadn’t meant to get quite this sucked in to looking at pictures on the internet of a Danish actor who looks almost, but not quite, entirely like the terrifying cannibal currently glaring at him from across the room, naked except for the towel he wrapped around his waist after his swim. He closes the tab he had been looking at. Hannibal doesn’t need to know that he’d gotten a twitter account– purely for research purposes, of course. “TIDDIES 😍😍😍,” the most recent post he’d retweeted proclaims, with an attached photo of the slightly furry-chested Mr. Mikkelsen staring moodily past the camera.

Still. It is kind of funny. Also, all of his new online friends have no compunctions about declaring their sexual interest in the subject at hand an unambiguously as possible, and it’s gotten him a little riled up. Maybe he had also come across a few gifsets treating the guy’s final scene in Casino Royale with a loving eye. And now Hannibal is glaring at him like he might finally snap and put Will out of his misery, which shouldn’t be a turn-on but hell, Will is way past worrying about what gets him hot at this point.

“Your ballwhipping doppelgänger,” he says, and then doesn’t have to fake his cower as Hannibal stalks across the room to loom over him, dripping salt water and irritation.

“Are you trying to antagonize me, Will?”

“I don’t see what your issue is,” says Will as lightly as he can. “He’s a very attractive man, and–”

--which is how Will finds himself naked and tied to the frame of a chair that he himself had been in the middle of building, which is really rather undignified, especially since Hannibal had been the one who was so enthusiastic about having a set of charmingly rustic home-made rattan chairs in the first place.

Hannibal swings the knotted end of a length of rope casually, testing the weight and the elasticity of it.

“You told me once that I know better than to breed,” Will pants, because if his dad’s movies taught him anything it’s that snark is all that’s left to you once the villain has you tied up and helpless. “You gonna make sure of that?”

Hannibal stares down at him, his eyes soft in the way they always are when he’s about to hurt Will, and that’s what tips him over into genuine terror– but he tests the strength of the ties securing him to the chair and knows, on some level, he could escape if he wanted. He stays.

“How many do you want, Will?” Hannibal asks, circling the chair slowly, and that makes Will’s thighs clench with arousal. He manages a whimper in response.

Hannibal swings the rope. Will is theoretically aware that he hadn’t even hit him all that hard, but his body doesn’t care; it feels like Hannibal is reaching back inside him and grabbing great fistfuls of his guts. He thinks he might be screaming, but he’s not sure. He breathes through dizziness for a long moment, then when his vision clears, looks up to find Hannibal crouching in front of him, looking somewhat quizzical.

One more, Will tries to convince himself for the sake of his pride. You can handle one more. Then he’ll beg for mercy, and for once he’s pretty sure it’ll actually be granted.

“The other guy must be stronger than you,” he says. “Guess he’s gotta keep those muscles up for the Hollywood thirst machine.”

The second one is harder. The world goes dark, centred around the stabbing then aching then nausea. As soon as he can speak again, he finds that he is babbling. “Alright, enough, god, Hannibal, stop, enough, please–”

Hannibal gives him another.

This time, when he is conscious of anything at all, it is of Hannibal’s hands on the side of his face, wiping the sweat from his brow, carding through his hair. He is vaguely aware of Hannibal helping him stumble to the bed, where he flops on his back, watching the spots dance on the ceiling as he gradually comes back to himself. He regrets it immediately; he aches like anything.

“I’d said enough,” he grumbles muzzily as soon as he’s able.

“And I desired– what was it you said? Entertainment.”

Will groans. Hannibal mouths at his cock, which remains resolutely soft, but his tongue still feels nice. Soothing.

“Fortunately,” Hannibal says, “Our little re-creation can end quite differently from the original.”

Even laughing hurts, but it’s Will’s own damn fault, so he does it anyway. “Fortunately,” he says, and spreads his legs to let Hannibal kiss it better.