Camp Mullerin had many prisoners, but the hallway connecting Hannibal's office to his bedroom housed the undocumented human experiments. Clipboards hung from nails. Jarred samples filled a cabinet. Fans of light spilled from sliding hatches at the bottom of the cell doors, and Hannibal stepped over these from shadow to shadow like a vampire.

Hannibal never kept more than five patients at a time. The doors were six-inch steel and each one equipped with a five hundred gallon salt-water tank in case the cell needed to be flooded. The sigils on the locks suggested even less orthodox security measures. Hannibal wrapped his fist in one end of Will's leash and rushed him down this darkened passage, with a gallery of dead clocks on one side and screams coming from the other.

"Slow down."

"Hush Will. We need to move before they know you're here."

Who's they? Will thought. Though Will could see himself quite clearly in the clock faces, Hannibal's reflection appeared strangely distorted as though seen through smoke, or from very far away, or often not at all. It was difficult to tell in the moonlight.

An oil lamp lit the room as Hannibal fastened the chain around the foot of a steel bedframe. It was a sturdy lock but still gave Will a good six feet of slack to move around. "I have to take measurements. I won't be long."

"I'm not going anywhere."

"This is so they don't take you from me."

"Who would come back here?" Will's eyes lit on a heavy curtain covering one wall. "Is this a dangerous place?"

Hannibal took Will's face in his gloved hands. His voice was low, his cologne was sharp, and Will thought he might faint from all the blood rushing to his head. "I'll be back. Lie down. Touch nothing." Hannibal emphasized the last two words with a raised finger and walked out the door.

Will waited for his footsteps to fade then looked around. Files filled a claw tub. Pipes snaked across the uneven ceiling. A few white tiles survived, but otherwise the walls were three different colors of cracked paint fighting to win the room.

He bent his ear to the near inaudible sound originating from the corner. An insectoid chirping but with greater regularity. He imagined an atomic typewriter that had sprouted feelers, climbing the glass of a terrarium in the glow of it's own background radiation.

Pulling back the curtain, Will started at what he thought was a cluster of officers with their heads nodded, only to watch them flatten into a smooth plane beneath a row of clocks in a nightmare portrait he would pass only once more in the coming days.

He could smell the paint. Fresh paint. The fancy-pants kind, not the prison slop home-brewed from beets and coffee grounds. Even if Hannibal had purchased the art supplies locally, acrylic was heavily rationed, and not the sort of expense one could bury in a line item when every cent went toward pumping out V-2 rockets like sausages. The higher-ups had to know this was here. Will shuddered to think what other masterworks of Hannibal's might have been blessed by the administration.

Survivors who later testified at the Nuremburg trials whispered about such unholy art collections, though most of Hannibal's work would be shelved by Soviet bureaucrats and classified into obscurity. This particular mural was Hannibal's darling. And Will was to be it's last audience.

He traced the brushstrokes. It was an exceptional copy of da Vinci's "Last Supper", except that the apostles had clocks for heads, the sacrament was a human ribcage, and Christ wore a mask, his head tilted in silent conference with the blank space beside him. Judas had yet to be drawn in.

Hannibal returned to find Will seated, staring at his reflection in a vanity table. "What is it?"


"You were having a conversation with the mirror."

The bed sank behind Will. Hannibal's uniform hung in the closet, having changed into a crisp white shirt that set off skin two shades darker than Will's. Will cleared his throat. "You're dressed sharp, Doctor Lecter."

"It's a happy day."

Hannibal stood up, his shadow a spindly monstrous thing that smoldered green in the lamp light. Unbuttoning his shirt sleeves he stripped to the waist, still spattered in blood, a mannequin face atop a body honed by discipline and demons and a life of daring-do. Will feigned disinterest.

"It's like watching a Greek tragedy." Will kept his voice steady. "Your mask I mean."

"I didn't know you enjoyed the classics."

"Not really. Though I was a fan of Virgil in my youth."

"That is more appropriate than you know."

"You think I need a poet?"

"I think you need a guide through Hell."

Hannibal braced a foot against the bedframe to unlace his boot. The sheets reflected white in the wells of his eyes. "Do you speak any other languages Will?"


"For code."


"Molto buono, signore."

"Perché così segreto?" (Why so secret?)

Emptying his pockets, Hannibal opened a wall safe and tossed in money, passports, a Luger automatic, and Heinrich Himmler's unpublished volume of erotic poetry, then twirled the combination lock with a flick of his fingers. "I muri hanno orecchie." (The walls have ears.)

He sat back down and his hands ran slowly up and down Will's chest, touching his jaw, his mouth, contemplating where to begin. "Tell me what to do. You have to tell me what to do."

Will's wrists pulled against the chain, into Hannibal's arms, and for a moment he forgot about his own imminent peril, that the doctor was anything more than a means of escape. Will had only been with a couple of men, hooligans who never lasted more than five minutes and hadn't a fraction of Lecter's satanic majesty when it came to seduction. The doctor's hands were patient, flat palms slowly warming Will's goosefleshed skin, up and down until Will lifted off the bed with him.

He had to let Hannibal believe he was in control. Surgical instruments lay beneath the oil lamp. Will twisted around to whisper, Hannibal's mask cool against his cheek. "Cut away my shirt."

"What a thing to ask for."

"Am I the first?"

"Those knives and I have a history."

Will showed his teeth, less a smile and more Will exposing a piece of his skull, that made Hannibal go hard as a table leg. "Do I look easily frightened?"

Hannibal did not have to get up, so long was his reach. He bent across the table without releasing Will from his left arm. The scissors opened with a flash of moonlight. The cold metal barely nipped Will with it's edge, then slid cleanly up his spine until his shirt fell to either side. Will looked at him over his shoulder. Hannibal stared at those dark eyes, breathing raggedly thru his mouth, blades poised over the pale blue veins of Will's throat. They closed harmlessly.

Hannibal's hands brushed Will's belt buckle, and Will squirmed away. "No don't."

"Why not?"

"Not tonight."

Knowing fingers slid inside Will's slacks, toying with the tender corner of his thigh. "Why can't I?" Will's chest rose and fell, desperate to get air in his lungs. "Why are you so protective?"

Will panted, his eyes unfocused, the seed of desire from a few days ago threatening to bloom. "Isn't it enough to know that I want it, but I can't?" Hannibal's hand crept closer. "That I would do...everything if I could?"

Hannibal pushed a black gloved hand down Will's pale skin. "Lie down. I want to look at you." Will rallied for a few seconds and then let himself slide beneath Hannibal's fingers until he sank into the pillow. A moth sizzled in the flame of the oil lamp.

Will took a shaky breath. "I don't...need...anything." Each word cost him, his traitor body lifting to meet Hannibal's touch.

"I always take care of my friends."

"No one's ever to."

"You won't even let me try."

Hannibal climbed in naked with one hip planted suggestively between Will's legs and waited. Will's eyes traveled to the shadowy sink of Hannibal's navel. He had the most beautiful mouth-filling cock, long, thick at the base, the kind that slides right down into your face. "Do you want to stop, Will?"

Will breathed in slowly. The room spun like a needle with no North. The echo of Hannibal's words in that enormous room seemed to lag, or perhaps Will just imagined it.

"We can stop Will. Right now."

Will lay helpless beneath Hannibal's weight. The screaming had stopped. The pipes hummed. The camp slept on without him. He tried to speak, but Hannibal had already unbuttoned Will's slacks, his full rounded arms already sheened with sweat as he levered out Will's cock.

"May I kiss you?"


Hannibal pulled a length of dark silk from under the pillow. "You will have to wear this. At least until we are away from here. It's not safe otherwise."

Will nodded, unable to tear himself from the mask's gaze as the scarf wrapped around and the room became one big bruise, and considered Hobbs' remark about Hannibal's previous conquests. Murder-minded madames, femme fatales of science mystery who would sooner loot his corpse and pack his head in ice. Hannibal was no Don Quixote, that was for sure. Will wondered what Hannibal did for kicks when nobody was around.

He listened to breathing above him, then there was a moment of cool air skating over his skin as Hannibal sat up to unbuckle the mask. It clinked on the surgical tray with a ting like a switchblade inside a teacup. Then a faint rattling as Will shivered in his chains when Hannibal's mouth opened against his throat and began sucking on him hungrily. His tongue was hot against Will's wet skin and kissed a slow wet line up to his ear.

Hannibal mouth drifted into Will's hair, fingers tenting on the bed to keep his balance. "I russi arriveranno in due giorni." (The Russians will arrive in two days)

"Perché non fuggire?" (Why don't you escape?)

"Hobbs ha pianificato un attacco contro i belgi. I razzi lanciano da un castello nelle vicinanze. Devo partecipare." (Hobbs has planned an attack against the Belgians. The rockets launch from a nearby castle. I must attend.)

"Si potrebbe fare una scusa." (You could make an excuse.)

"La mia assenza sarebbe sospetto." (My absence would be suspicious.)

"Invia un proxy. Qualcun altro potrebbe indossare la maschera." (Send a proxy. Someone else could wear your mask.)

Hannibal drew in his tongue. "Maschera non di tutti si stacca." (Not everyone's mask comes off.)

Will switched back to English. "I have a question."

"I have an answer."

"Did you kill your other lovers?"

"No. On the contrary, they themselves are now lovers. For good or ill, women connect at some unseen frequency after they've shared a man."

"Did you love them?"

"I love all women. They are soft and taste like fish."

Hannibal kissed deep, forcing Will's mouth open so that he might gain some understanding of the history of that tongue. "You on the other hand Mister Graham..."

Hannibal's fingers laced through Will's hair and wrenched him to one side, nails digging into the soft flesh of his neck, and bit down until he got a noise he liked. Will bit back. They both slammed backwards and the headboard bounced off the wall in a cloud of plaster dust. Hannibal smiled, pushing down Will's slacks with his free hand and sliding them onto the floor, fingers drawing a circuit around Will's cock, back up his waist, down again for a second round.

"Let me touch the top." Will's swollen cock leaked a medallion on his belly. Hannibal hovered between his legs. "I won't go inside. I know what I'm doing."

Will's tongue pressed to the roof of his mouth about to say 'No'. But he lay immobilized. As conscious as he was of Hannibal's manipulation, Will had a prescient intuition that he would live well beyond this night, and craved a single happy memory to counter-balance the starvation, deprivation, and chambers of horror that would inform his undiagnosed psychotic episodes until his mysterious death ten years from now. 'No' never surfaced.

What began as a sly thumb over the head of Will's cock quickly moved further down and took the entire length in a hot wet squeeze until Will was hallucinating in some combination of fear and exultation, he wasn't sure which.

"Posso rallentare." (I can slow down.)

"Non si ha un tocco molto ... gentile." (No you have a very...gentle touch.)

"Ti piace quello?" (You like that?)

Will shuddered. "Si signore."

Will peeked through the bottom of the blindfold. The room closed in in tandem with his rushing orgasm, the curtained wall sliding toward him like black water filling a pipe as Hannibal's worked him into a boneless heap.

"I want to watch you." Hannibal slid a finger under the blindfold, pressing his own painful erection against Will's hip with a sharp, deep inhalation before sealing his mouth over Will's. "Close your eyes. You must not see me. Hide your eyes. Nascondere i tuoi occhi."

Will tried to move but Hannibal's fingers bound his thigh and damn he was so strong, grip tight with bone and desperation as Hannibal slid wet against his skin and Will wanted to feel his mouth stretch on that wide hooded cock, feel it scrape the back of his throat...

Hannibal's dropped an octave. "Vi sono vicino ora." (You are close now.)


Helped on by rough hands and his own vivid imagination, Will twisted in the chains until all the pink went from his knuckles. As he shot into Hannibal's hand the curtain filled his vision and became a living thing of black scales coiled over muscle. It had knowledge to impart. It loved Hannibal. And it would learn to love Will too. It opened it's maw and swallowed him.

The last thing Will remembered between waking the next day and his mercifully forgotten nightmares was Hannibal bending down to whisper:

"Grazie signore."