It’s the full moon, of all things, that seems to do it.

Which makes Will think it must be a curse, right, that’s how curses work, something eldritch and terrifying, something they ran afoul of during their weeks-long flight across the border and through endless forest dark and cold enough that it was easy to believe some sort of force was out there, just waiting to curse you. And if anyone deserves to be cursed, Will would be the first to admit it’s probably him and Hannibal.

Only… if this is the curse, if this is really it, it’s… well. Not so bad. It had been terrifying for a few moments, feeling his body warp and transform into something longer and more muscular and the layout of his mind changing, those damn mirror neurons melting away like ice thawing. But being in Hannibal’s body is… nice. He’s got aches and pains, but so does Will. And it’s entirely pleasant to feel what Hannibal’s brain is like from the inside, a mind so well-fortified against everything but Will himself that it’s like being in a sensory deprivation chamber, if a sensory deprivation chamber could actually work on Will Graham.

The first time, he’d been a little concerned the first time that it could be permanent. He doesn’t mind being in Hannibal’s body, but is isn’t his, and he doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life there. If anything, the curse has clarified that there are still barriers between them, at least on a physical level. They are still separate people. It’s both reassuring and banally disappointing.

But they’d spent a single delirious-seeming night switched, and then woke up the next morning in the bodies they came into the world in. And when Will had taken out the dogs the next night and stared up at the clear moon and realized that the moon was just starting to wane, a shadow creeping over its right edge– he’d marked the calendar, just in case. And so far, it seems that he was right. If werewolves are real, and they turn into horrible beasts every full moon, Will isn’t sure what it says about them that he and Hannibal turn into each other.

So really, it’s not much of a curse.

More of a… well.

Will can’t quite think of the right word for it, not right now. Not while Hannibal is stretched out on their bed, and he’s set up a mirror on the vanity across from the bed (vanity, indeed) and is making eye contact with Will out of Will’s own (he has to admit) quite striking pale blue eyes.

Will leans against the doorframe and crosses his arms. It’s not quite a Hannibal-posture, a little too casual, a little too slouched, but it’s close. He can feel the press of the muscles of his forearms together, his strong nimble hands, and he has to resist the urge to run them over the bullet-wound scar on his stomach. There will be time for that later.

Hannibal is naked on his back. There is a pillow with an easily washable cotton cover beneath his hips, and two or three silk-slipped ones propping his head up so he can watch himself in the mirror. His knees are splayed easily to the sides, and he is thrusting two fingers firmly in and out of his ass. The smile-shaped scar on his belly ripples as Hannibal writhes with pleasure.

On the bedspread beside him, there are a selection of objects. They don’t have an extensive toy collection– the tiny, seedy sex shop in the nearest town had only one variety of anal-safe vibrator, which is there, already lubed and ready. Will eyes the other two, which have both been brought up from the kitchen: a wooden spoon, and a piece of ginger with the skin peeled off one of the spindly arms.

Will raises his eyebrows. “Sadistic fuck,” he says, and enjoys the sound of it. He speaks in his own accent out of Hannibal’s mouth, of course, but the tongue still shapes the syllables a little bit differently, the vibrations travelling up him in a rumble, and he delights in the control he has over Hannibal’s voice. Somehow, that has always felt like the most powerful weapon of them all.

Hannibal’s fingers make an obscene squelching noise as he forces a third in alongside the first two, and curls his back a little to get a better angle. Will stares at the place where the fingers enter the one place on his own body that he’s never really gotten a good look at. It’s a slightly vertiginous feeling, to be staring straight-on at his own asshole, and Hannibal can clearly tell he’s uncomfortable with it, because he just spreads his legs wider, tips his hips up to give Will a better view, and moans.

It’s an obvious invitation, so Will takes it; he smacks the exposed top of Hannibal’s thigh as hard as he can. The skin goes only lightly pink, and only for a moment. He’ll be fixing that later, Will can only assume.

“Fuck,” Hannibal pants. “Yes. More.”

Will raises his eyebrows. He enjoys making dramatic facial expressions in Hannibal’s body; had spent half an evening doing them in front of a mirror, the first time, so he knows exactly how bizarre and alien they look. He hasn’t asked Hannibal yet how he feels about seeing his own face like that. But then, when they’re like this, Hannibal often isn’t particularly focused on faces, unless it’s to insert a cock into one.

Will considers. The vibrator is already lubed up and ready to go, but he’s tempted not to use it. If he’s going to have to feel all the pain and none of the pleasure, come morning, perhaps he should at least make sure Hannibal is getting off to pain alone.

He pushes at Hannibal’s hip, asking him to turn over. His fingers just barely miss touching the scar. He hasn’t touched it from the outside, yet. He knows it’s exquisitely sensitive. He used to spend guilty evenings lying sleeplessly next to Molly, stroking a hand absent-mindedly over it. She wouldn’t have minded, if she knew; she would have told him it’s OK, it’s normal, and she loves him. He never told her.

Hannibal hasn’t touched it, either in his own body or when they’re switched. He seems to be waiting for an invitation, and Will hasn’t issued one yet. He’s not certain what’s stopping him. Perhaps he just likes that it’s something Hannibal gave him, and he wants to keep it for himself. He values it too highly to just hand it back.

Hannibal is lying on his belly now, his hips still propped up on the pillows so that his ass is sticking up invitingly into the air. It’s better, with Hannibal showing his back. Unlike Hannibal’s, Will’s body has fewer identifying marks on the posterior side. Will runs and finger down his spine, pressing into the humid crack between his ass-cheeks, and Hannibal tries for and pulls up somewhat short of his usual low, seductive rumble. Will chuckles.

“Does this stuff actually get you hot?” he asks, running his fingers over the spoon and the ginger plug. “Or are you literally just getting off on making me suffer tomorrow morning? Because you could do this shit to me when I’m in my own body, you know. If my suffering is all you’re after.”

“Would you enjoy that?” Hannibal asks, dodging the question for a moment but with genuine curiosity in his voice. Will swallows, staring at the toys. They’ve had sex plenty, since they got here, starting probably before they were really healed enough to be doing so. But this thing is still new, and the edges around it are fuzzy. He’d always imagined that they would do everything, that it would be impossible to stop once they’d started. But the reality is there’s still a long list of things that he has no idea if they’re actively avoiding, or if they simply haven’t gotten to them yet.

“I’d let you,” says Will, evading the question in turn. “Isn’t that enough?”

“I don’t need your permission to act upon you,” says Hannibal easily, and maybe it makes it easier that the words are coming out in a lightly-accented version of Will’s own voice, and maybe it doesn’t. “I didn’t ask about let. I asked about want.

The real answer is that Will isn’t sure if he wants Hannibal to care about want, at least not when it comes to getting spanked with a wooden spoon. Perhaps he’d rather try it first and figure out if he wants it after. He definitively dodges the question instead, by picking up the vibrator and setting it on the dresser on top of a tissue.

Hannibal’s face is impassive, and Will wonders if that was what he looked like to the outside world, back when he was sitting in jail. Fishing in the stream. It’s certainly discomfiting.

“If you want pain, you’ll get pain,” says Will. “Untempered. If you want to be spanked, then you’re not coming.”

“Or?” Hannibal’s fingers twitch, a minuscule tell that makes Will want to pin him down and kiss him.

“Or you can fuck this body as deep and hard as you want. You can have me on my back and come staring deep into your own eyes.” Will’s mouth twitches. He’d just caught Hannibal wanking in front of a mirror, after all, and he’s willing to bet he’s done it in his own body as well as Will’s. It’s not so far-fetched that Hannibal would get off on the idea of fucking himself, even if the notion makes Will feel slightly queasy.

For a moment, Hannibal looks innocently, sweetly undecided. Will wonders if that’s how he used to look, sometimes; if some sort or ersatz innocence shone out of his face and made people want to trust him.

Probably not. Hannibal was always better at looking innocent than he was.

Then the expression clears, and he says easily, “pain.”

Will nods. It’s not exactly an unexpected choice, and it’s not like Hannibal won’t have another chance to fuck his own body, now that Will has put the idea in his head. Hannibal will probably jump him before Will’s even settled in his skin, the next full moon.

Will stares at the ginger and the spoon, and then back at Hannibal’s borrowed ass, wriggling slightly in anticipation. Asshole. So to speak.

Will picks up the ginger, and he doesn’t want to think too hard about the fact that it actually makes it easier, that he’s going to shove it into his own body. After all, that is just Hannibal convincing him to participate in his own destruction; business as usual. Comforting. His cock jumps at the thought, and he wonders if Hannibal’s brain is somehow physically hardwired to his dick at the thought of hurting Will.

He pushes Hannibal’s cheeks apart clinically, with thumb and forefinger, and Hannibal spreads his legs to let him. His entrance is pink and puckered; clean, thank God, not that it would really make any sense for Will to be embarrassed at the sight of his own dirty asshole. The skin on the ginger is rough enough to grip easily, even though the juice from the peeled portion is slipping down over Will’s fingers. That’s going to hurt like hell, and it’ll probably leave behind some of the burning wetness for Will to feel in the morning. Of course, he wouldn’t have expected Hannibal to choose substandard produce, for this.

It slips in easily, Hannibal’s hole opening and welcoming in the pain; he’s bearing down, making it as easy as possible for Will to get the thing inside him. Will just stares at the nub of spiny rhizome sticking out, forming a small indent in either side of Hannibal’s cheeks. It’s slightly ridiculous. Hannibal Lecter allowing his food to hurt him. But then, he did have to borrow a body to do it.

Will resolves that he is going to do this again, once they’re back. Perhaps tomorrow, while he’s still feeling the effects of this. Yes, tomorrow is good. Hannibal won’t object. Hannibal never objects to anything.

He places a finger on the nub of ginger and rolls it around in a circle, trying to coat the inside of Hannibal’s passage with it as thoroughly as possible. That elicits a surprised grunt at the feeling of it pressing on his prostate, and Will smiles wide, just to remember how it feels to smile without pain.

“Good?” he asks, and Hannibal nods, his dark curls falling into his eyes and the pink scar on his cheek stretching slightly as his mouth falls open. Ludicrously, Will makes a mental note that he needs a haircut. Hannibal would cut his hair for him, probably, at least as well as any of the cheap barbers Will’s been to.

Will trails his hand outwards, grabbing a handful of flesh and squeezing lightly. There isn’t much to grab; they’re both thinner than they were before their flight, despite Hannibal’s best efforts so far. He doesn’t think about it too hard; just raises his hand and smacks down hard, then watches the faint pink imprint of his hand on the skin.

Hannibal stretches his arms out, grabbing great fistfuls of the silk pillowcases and burying his face in the pile. Will narrows his eyes, wondering if it’s a performance. Hannibal has been, ever since they met, to all appearances supremely unbothered by physical pain.

So it’s in the spirit of curiosity that he finally grabs the wooden spoon, not bothering with any sort of ceremony before he brings it down hard right over the print his hand has just left. The sound it makes feels like it reverberates all around the small room, and even louder– in presence, if not in volume– is Hannibal’s small gasp. Will matches it on the other side, and not only does Hannibal visibly wince at the sensation, he shifts his pelvis uncomfortably in the aftermath.

Will hits him again, and again, and with every hit Hannibal’s arms tighten on the pillowcases. Will can see the ginger working, now: each blow makes him want to clench around it, which only increases the burn on the inside at the exact moment the sting of the spoon is fading.

Hannibal is breathing hard, and it has to be a performance, it has to be. Will swallows and asks, “How does it feel?”

Hannibal turns his face to the side again, freeing his mouth from here he had been pressing his lips to the pillows. For a moment his mouth just works soundlessly, and then he says, “Keep going, please.” A pause, and then, “If you will.”

It’s almost instinctive; Will has a moment of reaching out, wanting to understand, expecting to understand. Trying to figure out someone else’s emotions has never been all that much of a challenge. Hannibal more so than others, of course, but there is no reason why Will’s brain shouldn’t be able to supply him with a reasonable facsimile of Hannibal’s emotions in this moment, at least accurately enough to understand if he’s in pain or not.

It… doesn’t. Where once there was a garish painting, too large, over-saturated, overstimulating, there is… whispers, traces and hints, but–

–Will’s brain does not supply him with the input he is expecting, because Will’s brain is not currently the organ supplying his thoughts. Hannibal’s brain is, and the architecture of Hannibal’s brain does not work the way Will is used to.

Will raises the spoon again with an audible swish, and watches Hannibal’s hands tighten on the sheets. He brings it down, and drinks in Hannibal’s pained moan like music, and laughs.

“Our access points to the memory palace are opposing,” he says delightedly. “Mine through the cellar, yours through the foyer. You’re lost, aren’t you? Whatever you– wherever you go when you leave, the place where pain can’t get to you, you can’t get there from inside of me.

Hannibal’s silence is as good as an answer; Will is stunted by a lack of empathy, but he’s not unobservant. He can see real fear in the taut lines of Hannibal’s temporary body, the sudden realization that he is vulnerable in a way he hasn’t been vulnerable in– Will has no idea. He wants to ask, but he wants to keep hitting him even more.

Will traces a finger over the red ovals already spotting Hannibal’s ass, and raises the spoon again. “Don’t fight it,” he advises. Smack. “Just let me in.” Smack.

Hannibal keens as Will peppers him with sharp hits; carefully up across his back, avoiding the brand mark (it surely isn’t all that sensitive, and he wants every blow to hurt) and then harder, back down his ass and thighs, until Will’s arm is actually sore with the force he’s putting into the action. Hannibal’s body is fairly strong, but they’re both diminished and out of shape; his shoulder starts hurting eventually, and Will is used enough to his shoulder hurting in his own body that he doesn’t want more of the same in this one.

So eventually he stops, because his shoulder hurts. Not because Hannibal’s had enough; he’s had only half his mind on Hannibal’s reaction since he realized Hannibal was going to actually have one. He’s mostly focused on… himself. How good it feels to unleash violence even in this small way, the press of his dick against the pants that he maybe should have taken off, before this. He glances down. While Will has been busy uncomplicatedly enjoying his own sadism, Hannibal has gone limp, and tears are tracking their way down his face.
Will wouldn’t want the physical infrastructure of Hannibal’s brain forever, but shit, does he ever love having it right now.

He shoves a hand down his pants, getting the fly open with this other hand and shoving the briefs underneath halfway down his thighs. The tip of his cock is nearly coated with pearly precome, and he smears it around as good-enough lubricant as he climbs on top of Hannibal, kneeling on all fours with one hand braced beside his ribcage and his cock nearly grazing Hannibal’s reddened ass. The ginger plug twitches as Hannibal shifts a tiny bit, and Will just snarls, “don’t move. I’m going to come on you.”

Hannibal, as instructed, does not move, just lies there lax and red and apparently crying as Will jerks himself hard and fast and rough and spurts a string of semen over Hannibal’s lower back. It lies partly on pale untouched skin and partly on raised red welts, and Will can only stare for a moment. Then he allows himself to collapse down, his entire weight on top of Hannibal’s, smearing his own come into the white shirt that Hannibal had been wearing before they switched.

For a few minutes they just breathe together. Or at least, Will just breathes, and wonders why Hannibal is still making tiny circular motions with his hips, and then remembers that Hannibal is still hard and aching. Will lifts up and smacks his ass again, light but overtop of the worst of the bruising. “You’re not coming,” he says, “So don’t even try.” Hannibal’s answer is a muffled, resigned-sounding groan.

Will reaches down and pulls the ginger out of him. If he leaves it up to Hannibal, Hannibal will probably want it to stay in all the way until morning, at which point Will will wake up to a sensation he’d really rather not. It joins the neglected vibrator on the table, and Will rolls Hannibal back over, removing both the temptation and the possibility of him rubbing himself against the sheets.

Will watches his Hannibal’s expressions through the medium of Will’s own face, and his heart seizes with strange longing. There are, indeed, tears streaked down the uneven canvas of his cheeks, and Will wonders how many times Hannibal has seen him cry. He hadn’t bothered to keep count, nor keep track of which were genuine and which deception. The wrecked expression seems very Will, which is surely a suggestion buried deep in the recesses of Hannibal’s brain matter; but behind the tears his eyes are worshipful, and that’s all Hannibal.

Will swallows, then stretches out beside him. He eyes Hannibal’s stiff cock, and then his somewhat glazed expression. “How do you feel?” he asks.

Hannibal’s throat works for a moment with no sound coming out, tongue making wet sounds in his mouth as he readies himself to speak. “Despite the…” he starts, and then trails off, which might be a first in Hannibal’s entire life, for all Will knows. He starts again: “You were correct that I found myself… unexpectedly trapped, with sensations I am not in the habit of experiencing fully,” he says. “And yet, I now find myself… elsewhere, regardless.”

Will thinks on that for a moment, and then he practically snorts. “So what you’re saying is,” he says slowly, “You were planning on mindlessly enduring some pain for the sake of hurting me, and instead my body handed you a twisted new kind of pleasure, and you still get to leave me with the bruises.”

Hannibal’s smile is slightly off-kilter and entirely honest. “It seems so,” he admits. “I would be happy to demonstrate the effect on you, if you’re curious.” He twists and glances down at the marks that are already starting to darken into bruises. “Perhaps,” he adds, “Once this has healed.”

Will rolls his eyes. He’s too happy and sated to be irritated at Hannibal for always, somehow, finding the most pleasurable way to experience the world. Instead he removes the dirty, sweaty shirt he’s still wearing, then deliberately places a bottle of lube on the counter within easy reach. He’ll want it, the moment he wakes up in his own sore, unsatisfied body. He pulls Hannibal in close and presses his own scar against the dull ache of Hannibal’s bullet wound. “Insufferable,” he mutters, and they twine together to wait for morning.