Will's teeth chatter noisily. It's the dead of December winter with mid-morning winds — Maryland's winter pales dreadfully in comparison to south of St Petersberg, Russia.
"You know I haven't skated since forever, right? I told you that?" he blurts out. Will's knees feels about as stable as newly refrigerated Jello when he shuffles forward towards the ice. "Last time I tried, I was eighteen… I landed on my ass and almost broke my tailbone."
Hannibal's gloved hands reach for his, squeezing around Will's fingers encouragingly. It's an impulsive thought, but Will considers making a show of jerking away, rejecting him.
Maybe it's too late for that. They've already gone off the edge of the bluff, after defeating the Red Dragon. Sank into tremulous, choking-deep waters and fought off the need for survival.
There's no going back to America. It's crowded and bustling in Moskovsky Victory park, but hardly enough to be concerning. No security cameras. No police monitoring the outdoor ice rink. It's… restful, with little to no attention on Will himself or Hannibal.
"Rest assured, I would not allow that to happen," Hannibal answers Will's earlier statement about his youth, all rumbling and calm tones. "It's quite safe. Come."
Will's feet ache in the confinement of the skates. He's glided out onto the rink for not even fifteen seconds before his equilibrium slants, and Will falls with a startled cry.
Instead of hitting the ice ass-first, he's cushioned. Hannibal's arms protectively cradle him from behind, gripping onto the material of Will's parka and easing him upright. Will's cheeks burn. It's probably embarrassment, but it's probably… … also not.
"Hannibal, there's seven-year-olds better than me at this."
Will feels slightly childish for muttering this, but his partner — there's no other descriptive or fitting word for what Hannibal is to him— gives a hearty, low chuckle.
"You are a newcomer to this; they're not. Do not judge yourself so harshly."
"Aren't you a confidence booster…" Will mutters, omitting any sarcasm this time. He does think Hannibal is trying to get him to relax. To make less mistakes.
It's hard to do that when Will feels like he's gonna fly out of his skin at any moment, when Hannibal gazes too-long over him or touches him with such reverence. Even in that stupid ushanka, covering Hannibal's skull and ears with the brown, mink fur, he's…
Will's mind scatters, pulling its own focus towards a nearby couple skating in rhythm and mimicking body language. One man with silvery hair, and the other with darker. They lock eyes, slowing, moving in close and grinning and touching each other's cheeks softly with open palms.
"They're good," Will finds himself breathing out. Frost pools around his cold, raw nostrils.
He doesn't mean to be so full of awe, or to be reddening with the attention when Hannibal staring thoughtfully from the couple to Will, the faintest of pleasant smiles on him.
"Indeed they are…"
Mid-morning thaws into noon.
"You're doing exceedingly well," Hannibal observes from Will's side. He doesn't consider voicing it, but a twinge of disappointment creases Hannibal's mouth.
Will no longer seems unsteady on his freshly sharpened blades or in need of someone's guidance. He may not be performing any stunts or racing across the ice, but he moves as smoothly as Hannibal does, circling along the edges of the man-made, snowy rink.
"I'm not as bad as I thought, I guess," Will says, exposing his teeth and gums in a broad, cheerful smile. The harsh weather has chapped and pinkened Will's lips and his skin.
Hannibal excuses himself for a moment, picking up speed and heading towards another end of the outdoor rink when a tiny, bright red ball bounces its way to his feet. He spots its owner — a fair-faced, blonde child waddling determinedly through the snow. Without hesitation, Hannibal crouches down, holding up the stray item — he has no intentions of returning it so quickly.
"Is this yours?" he asks, using slow and deliberate Russian.
She nods, overly eager.
"You must be more careful with your things. Someone might take them." Hannibal uses the opportunity to lightly scold her, presenting the ball to her. When her little hand reaches, he pulls back, and Hannibal taps her nose, earning a giggle. "Promise me you'll be more careful?"
The child nods again, more frantically, squirming in place.
Hannibal's lips curl into a smile.
"Since I've done you a favor… can you help me with something?"
Will doesn't wanna say he's mastered ice skating, but this all feels familiar to him somehow. Instinctual. Almost like a form of muscle memory, reviving and pumping blood.
It's not as strong as fishing or hunting — this is no less enjoyable.
"… Hannibal?" he calls out, gazing at his surroundings.
There's no sign of him, until he spots the brown, mink fur-cap on top of Hannibal's head.
Will drifts in his direction, until they're within a few feet of each other. "I thought you got lost or—shit!" Will yells out, alarmed by the nameless child skating lightning-fast right in front of him.
He can visualize it: a rust-colored bloodsplatter when Will's nose impacts the snow-crusted ice, and the blaring surge of pain ringing through Will's senses as his entire body—
—lands right against Hannibal's front, his arms once again embracing Will.
Will's breathing goes ragged, too-audible and stinging deep in his chest. He peeks up, his chin digging into the twill of Hannibal's overcoat. "Were you worried about me, Will?" Hannibal murmurs, as if they're having an ordinary conversation by themselves.
Away screams the long-suffering, hushed impulse, to remove himself from Hannibal. To abandon this fantasy of secreted lovers, and to end a reign of terror. Away.
"Occasionally," Will replies truthfully, clutching on, his brows furrowing.
(It's too late for that.)
NBC Hannibal isn't mine. It's officially December so it's time for some winter-themed fics! Did any anime fans catch the famously and canonly gay reference I threw in? I'm very transparent and I know what I love. ANYWOO. Back when I was rewatching Hannibal, I found this prompt on the hannibal kink meme and I ended up saving it. Thoughts/comment are very very appreciated! Any of us Hannigram shippers still kicking it?