Stupid, Beautiful Box (Pt 3)

Part three of Put a Collar on That Pup

Will frowned at the box while Hannibal was sleeping. He was an early riser since his teaching days thanks to his commute and old habits seemed to die hard, if at all. He felt fairly certain that Hannibal was deeply asleep still, on his side with his back to Will, that awful brand vivid on his skin. Will had traced it before he’d sat up this morning, as he always did, as if touching it with aching regret for the pain it must have caused would somehow make the thing disappear. It hadn’t so far but he would keep trying. If it worked, he had a lot of scars for Hannibal to pour over.

He thought of what Hannibal had said yesterday, of what he’d done in their bed last night. The bite of that chain had made him thrill with sudden danger, with sharp fear that faded as fast as it had come. But it had always been that way between them from the first, a chain response of fear followed immediately by acceptance and anticipation. Trust again, blind faith that it would never wind up fatal, even if only just barely.

It was a religion of two, complete with worship and smiting and sacrifices. It was a wonder anyone else had ever managed to survive their mutual infatuation. Continue reading

Not Quite What You Wished For? (Pt 2)

Part two of Put a Collar on That Pup

It bothered him, as Hannibal had known it would. Every morning when he woke up—the chain slick and heavy around his neck, Hannibal’s body a furnace of heat next to him—the first thing Will saw was that damned box. He took to glaring at it in odd moments when Hannibal was not around to catch him, his blue eyes tracing the contours of it, his heart rate kicking up at every little noise around him. Sometimes he thought he could smell the leather, sheened with oil and hand worked into supple softness. He wondered if Hannibal had special ordered it and figured he had, snob that he was. He wondered if Hannibal had measured him at some point for that inline lock to fit him, and laughed with resignation when he recalled the tailor taking measurements for his clothing.

“I’m not wearing that thing,” he assured himself, glowering at the innocuous box, his fingers on the tacked corners and his thumbs tracing idle patterns along the front. He pulled the shreds of his certainty around him, unable to prevent his vivid imagination from giving him very detailed circumstances that might rise up around this artful circle of leather. Continue reading

Be Careful What You Wish For (Pt 1)

Part one of Put a Collar on That Pup

It was an innocuous statement at the time, said with an offhanded laugh.

“I wish I was a dog sometimes.”

Will shook his head and palmed his brow, eyes closed.

He could feel Hannibal listening intently, hear the question unasked, and said with a harsh bark of laughter, “Dogs don’t have to worry about anything, do they? All their decisions…” he gestured helplessly in front of him and sighed again, head falling back. “…they can blame their owner, right?”

“They are also at the mercy of their owner, Will,” Hannibal said, moving in his chair with a slight creak, the soft brush of pencil lead over paper telling Will that his attention had shifted but not lessened. He was never dismissive of Will, whatever his state of mind or humor, especially since they were so often alone in each other’s company.

“Yeah, well, at least they don’t have to worry about being chased down by InterPol,” Will said, glancing back over his shoulder at the man who seemed completely at ease.

As if to reinforce this, Hannibal murmured, “Neither do you.”

And that had been the last of it.

Or so Will had thought. Continue reading