27 Overcoming

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The glass gas globes that lined the street were indeed as beautiful as Hannibal had hinted. Their light cast an ethereal glow on the world around him as the coach rolled past on its way to the ballroom affectionately referred to as the Colosseum. There was a festive air to the evening, the streets already busy with coaches, with people on horseback, with revelers on the walk. With nothing more to entertain them, those left to dwell in the Capital were more than eager to spend the evening in intrigue at the charity ball. Even those who could not attend were caught up in the atmosphere, pointing at the fantastic costumes and enjoying the spectacle.

Will could not resist the urge to stare out as they drew near, the image of glittering, elaborate costumes on the misty, lamp-lit streets etched in his memory. The sidewalks grew thick with people, those who could not come by coach taking a leisurely stroll to enjoy the anticipation.

He heard a clamor of hoofbeats and shrieking laughter and leaned to look out of the opposite window just as an outlandish fantasy of a pirate rode past bearing an equally reimagined barmaid on his lap. Will’s heart picked up its pace and he touched his mask again, feeling to be sure that it was firmly in place. The ties, knotted carefully by Jimmy, were twined to defy tugging and buried beneath his long curls. The reassuring security of it calmed him and Will took a deep breath, fruitlessly trying to quiet his nerves.

The coach slowed almost to a stop. Music reached him despite the closed windows of the coach. It was faint beneath the sound of laughter, the noise of people enjoying themselves already at even this early hour. He swallowed hard, excited and almost regretting that he had left Hannibal behind him.

Catch me for a kiss if you can…’

His own audacity shocked him, but this was a night for rash decisions heedless of consequence. This was a night for gaiety and dancing. Regrets could come tomorrow, with all the bitter flavor of familiarity, but tonight was Will’s and he intended to live a lifetime within it. Continue reading


26 Overcoming

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They remained there in the library, dessert exchanged for after-dinner brandies while the candles burned low. There were endless subjects to broach, tastes to explore, opinions to be sought, but their conversation only skimmed the surface. They were cautious of giving offence, treading gingerly past things that felt too sharp after the revelations of the day.

Hannibal told Will of the school he was sponsoring, finding it was a topic they could share without reservation. He was pleased to inform his mate that its charter would, in fact, now include Omegas. It made Will flush with pleasure and made Hannibal even more determined that he should only see Will’s delighted smile from now on.

It was much later than Will was used to when he was finally escorted to his room, his hand once more asked after, his permission given again. There was a difference now in the way it touched him, that press of soft lips against his skin. There was no barrier between them, no understanding of another whose place he might be occupying for a moment’s convenience.

There was only potential, ripe and incomplete yet there all the same, building a warmth that seemed to chase back the lurking threat of Will’s heat in a contradiction that confused him.

As he dressed late the next morning with Jimmy’s expert assistance, he ventured, “Jimmy, can I ask you something somewhat… intimate?”

“Naturally,” Jimmy said, never pausing in his work but flashing Will a curious glance. “I’m here to help.”

Will hesitated, framing his thoughts carefully before he asked, “Is it possible for an Alpha to suppress an Omega’s heat?” Continue reading

25 Overcoming

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The sun was already moving towards the horizon before Hannibal set out to return to Marsham Heath, plans settled behind him and the whole affair put to rest. By this time next week, Galley Field would be as empty and quiet as it had been when he had first arrived there over six years ago, fuming and hurt and plagued by nightmares, to take up residence in isolation.

His life couldn’t be more different now. That which he had sought to escape, he now rode towards, eager and anxious to be reunited. Will’s image blazed in his mind, in his heart, a brilliant light that he strained to reach.

He tried, and failed, to plan what he would say to Will. He never could predict his mate in anything, and did not trouble himself to do anything more than be prepared to tell him the truth, now that he had the details to supply in answer to the questions Will would most certainly ask him.

The little city of Moseley was lit by the time they passed through on their path to Marsham Heath, and the Capital was a haze on the horizon. The cloud of smog that had accumulated through the day reflected a yellow glow from the many street lamps, the light visible even from this distance.

The lamps at Marsham Heath were lit as well, a welcoming, beckoning path to guide him home, and Hannibal urged his horse faster, saying, “Quickly, now, Berger, and we might make dinner!”

“That’d be welcome, m’Lord!” Berger called, his sturdy little horse catching up quickly.

Mr. Thatcher had the door open right as he reached it, leaving Berger to hand the horses off.

“Have I missed dinner, Thatch?”

“No, my Lord; however, his Lordship has requested a tray in his suite,” Mr. Thatcher said, locking up the front door for the night. “Just as well. The dining room truly isn’t as we should prefer. Would you like me to send a tray to your suite as well?”

“Has it gone up yet?”

“No, my Lord, not quite as yet,” Mr. Thatcher said, shuffling to his side. He should have been retired ten years ago, Hannibal realized. It was certainly time for him to honor his duty to the people in the Lecter family’s care.

Hannibal debated a moment, long enough that Mr. Thatcher asked, “Should there be some change, my Lord?”

“No, Thatch, do as he’s said,” Hannibal told him. “But hold the tray for a moment. I’ll send Berger down with some instructions.”

“Yes, my Lord,” Thatcher said, and shuffled off as Hannibal moved rapidly upstairs. Continue reading

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Will woke in slow, comfortable degrees, blessedly free of his headache. The unfamiliar sounds of an unfamiliar household filtered into his awareness as surely as the strong mid-morning sunlight.

But not quite as quickly as the warmth of a large, decidedly male body curled protectively around him.

Will’s eyes widened to painful proportions and he wriggled with offended outrage, snared in layers of sheets and warm blankets, in the folds of his nightshirt and the tangle of limbs, somehow managing not to wake his sleeping husband.

“Hannibal!” he hissed, freeing one hand from the depths of the bed to shove at the heavy body half pinning him, the scent of Hannibal’s skin mingling with his own to create a perfume that made his body prickle with warmth. “Hannibal, wake up!”

Hannibal murmured something in his sleep and rolled just enough to ease the tension on the covers. Flushed and panting, Will wiggled to sit up and glower at his sleeping husband while he caught his breath. He pushed his hair out of his face and wiped at his sweat-glazed brow, amazed by the heat Hannibal was putting off.

“You really do sleep like the dead!” Will complained, giving him a sour shove.

A soft knock at the door sent Will diving back under the covers, cursing floridly under his breath when Hannibal’s arm snaked around him and he tucked Will close into the curve of his body.

“My Lords?”

“Come in, Mr. Berger!” Will called, his voice thin with embarrassment.

His embarrassment doubled when his imagination provided him with a detailed vision of what precisely was pressed to his round bottom, separated only by the layers of their nightclothes and underthings.

It was certainly enough to send him slithering from the side of the bed in a heap of outraged dignity to find his feet on the cold rug, hoping for the sake of his pride that Berger hadn’t seen him. Continue reading



He thought Will might be rough with him, quietly furious as he was, still and silent and staring at the corpse of Randall Tier on Hannibal’s dining room table, as if some other Will had placed it there and left this one to deal with the fallout.

He thought Will might turn the rest of that aggressive anger on him, was well prepared to accept it as his due, all things considered.

But he wasn’t, he didn’t. He followed Hannibal upstairs with that dazed expression slowly bleeding off of his face to reveal something pulsing and raw, like a heart beneath a parted ribcage, vulnerable without its shell of bone.

He stared at Hannibal unblinking as his bandaged knuckles were kissed, reverent, worshipful, the murmured words mere nonsense, the shining hymn of a believer finally seeing the vision he’d ached for.

Hannibal had been prepared for many things, but not for Will’s hand to flex, his fingers opening, turning to cup his jaw, gentle, surprising.

“Beautiful boy,” Hannibal breathed, the impassive stare finally fracturing. There was pride in those blue eyes, and desire, confusion, frustration, and something primal that had the flavor and scent of yearning.

He needed no words of encouragement past that. He held still and watched Hannibal shed his clothes, preparing for any eventuality. Will was as likely to kill him now in his state as he was to devour him.

But he didn’t. He watched, desire and surprise flaring in his features as Hannibal came to him, nude as a grape. He neither encouraged nor discouraged Hannibal’s hands on him, stripping him down to his skin so that he stood like a pale marble statue of Eros there before his bed.

“Whatever you want, Will,” Hannibal said, earnest and eager to pay him tribute. He backed towards his bed and Will moved with him, supple limbs and surprising muscle, his intensity sharpening with a new goal in mind.

Hannibal expected he would take his chance now to be cruel.

But he wasn’t. Will came to his bed with passion of a desperate, almost frantic kind, as if he had been too long without being touched, as if there was something lurking in that beautiful mind of his that drove him to excess. He devoured Hannibal, feasted on him, sharp teeth and sucking lips and teasing tongue, clever fingers and intuitive understanding of where to touch, what made him breathless.

They ruined his bed, and Hannibal didn’t care. Will covered him in bites and kisses, and Hannibal didn’t mind. He offered himself up and Will accepted. Hannibal waited for that violence to resurface, punishment for his manipulations.

But it didn’t.

Will spread over him in a blanket of firm flesh and pulsing breath, callused hands tucked beneath him, lifting him up, opening him for the intrusion he’d longed for. Will’s mouth and tongue and lube-slick fingers ensured he was buried to the hilt in one slow push. Hannibal folded up around him, heels dug in hard, hands gripping tightly, greedy for everything Will could give him, even his temper. But Will was gentle with him, tender with him, all of that resentment and anger forsaken for this moment of closeness Hannibal had only dreamed of.

“Anything you want,” Hannibal moaned, the deep, determined roll of Will’s hips far more satisfying than any vicious pummelling he might ask for. He was compelled to offer, all the same. Anything for this beautiful boy.

Will dragged his teeth down Hannibal’s jaw and breathed into his ear, “I don’t want to hurt you, Hannibal.”

“You won’t,” he said, but was pleased all the same and hoped that Will had forgiven him after all.

His climax, when Will finally allowed him to tip over the edge of pleasure, was fierce enough to leave him aching, subsiding in a satisfied slump of sweat and kiss-slick skin and heat. He tightened his thighs and cradled Will’s shuddering body, feeling the pulse and push of his sex within as he came. They hadn’t kissed this whole time, realized, laying there with his fingers deep in Will’s curls and Will’s breath pouring over his collarbone. Hannibal wanted Will to kiss him.

But he didn’t.

He kissed Hannibal’s throat, his shoulders, his chest, his belly, kissed as he coiled off and away, his blank stare returning as the heat between them faded.

“I have to go,” he said, dressing with haste, leaving Hannibal a satiated but bewildered mess behind him.

“Must you?” It felt petulant even to himself, even though he knew something must be done with Mr. Tier, that Will’s work was not yet done.

Will glanced back at him, pausing in the act of tying his boots. Hannibal had the most peculiar and unusual urge to cover himself.

“I don’t want to hurt you, Hannibal,” he murmured.

“You didn’t hurt me, Will,” Hannibal said, hoping to reassure him, even as Will left him there.

He didn’t understand then, in that moment, what Will had meant about hurting him.

Feasting on that encounter through his Memory Palace, bereft on his cot in the BSHCI, he finally did.

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Jimmy and Berger were directly on top of things and immediate, controlled chaos ensued.

Will soaked in a hot bath drawn by his husband, doors shut against the noise, the requisite pot of tea on a little table next to him at Hannibal’s insistence, and after the emotional drain of the morning, he didn’t put up a fuss over it.

Part of him wanted to. Part of him wanted to reject any comfort his husband offered, to drape himself in the cold steel of judgment that urged him to withhold his forgiveness, to rebuff Hannibal’s advances, to resist the temptation of acceptance because it would only lead him to future pain.

It was, he knew, his father’s instruction at play, that resentful kernel of mistrust and doubt.

The other part of him was still as deeply immersed in Hannibal’s words as his sore shoulders were in hot water.

I wish I could take it back…’

It pulled against his father’s teachings with relentless, shocking force, turning ‘what if‘ into potential rather than regret.

The future had always looked so bleak to Will, brief, unkind, and uncertain. He had lived for years on the cusp of leaving, never daring to put down roots in Hartford, never having more belongings than could be packed into his measly trunks and carted off for the inevitable day that Hannibal returned to oust him, no matter the ownership of Hartford House.

It didn’t seem so dismal a future to him now after the last few hours, not entirely. If Hannibal Lecter could admit to regret, could shed tears for Will’s sake, then perhaps even the dark clouds that hung overhead could be parted by a shaft of sunlight. It was enough to let Will draw a breath of hope untainted even by the threat of a would-be murderer still at large.

The future was still bleak and uncertain, but there was a possibility for something brighter, and that was more hope than he’d felt in a very long time. Continue reading