A/N: Thankyou to all of my lovely reviewers... Here we have come to the end of our journey together... snicker... sorry always wanted to say that, well write. Anyhow this is actually the last part to this, so enjoy.
Heaven wheels above you, displaying to you her eternal glories, and still your eyes are on the ground.
The mouth curves deliciously around the words, lips lush and stained, not so different from their usual shading, deep and rich, sweet looking and Pascal question whether it would really be so bad to kiss them- just once. His eyes flick over the deceptively kind-looking face, noting the pleased glow that the pale skin now has, those eyes seeming so much brighter.
"I promise not to bite Inspector." The voice is light, teasing in its lilt and yet perhaps it is something that Pascal should make him promise seriously, all things considered.
Pascal bites his own lip, his breath coming in tight painful pants, body so completely at ease with what it wants, so ready, so against his mind which is a myriad of conflicting thoughts, duty clashing with desire and Pascal's not entirely sure what one he wants to win out.
"I can't." He breathes mournfully, trying desperately to explain everything with the simple sentence and a pleading look, hoping that Hannibal will understand. Apparently, though it is not as hard to accomplish as he thought, Hannibal tilts his head back a little more, his mouth lifting, and his eyelids drooping. It's a sensual, casual, lazy look that clearly says he doesn't care about the Inspectors moral predicaments and that if he insists upon having such flimsy ethics in the first place perhaps it's his own fault anyhow.
"It's remarkably simple Inspector-" Again the voice implies- promises everything... give in, give up, give yourself over… and that's the end of the struggle, no more confliction. Peace and in this case, pleasure, an extra persuasion, which leads Pascal to believe that perhaps this is punishment for not going to church as often as he should.
"I'll lead-" The hands slip from his grasp and whether it is because his grip has slackened or he didn't really have Hannibal in the first place, he doesn't know. The hands link up behind his neck, arms resting light and warm against his shoulders.
"And I follow-" It almost carries the same weight as a death sentence and Pascal winces as his hands drop down to rest against the slender hips, his entire body taut with tension as he makes himself accompli to the act.
Pascal closes his eyes trying to calm the wild fluttering of his heart. There's the soft brush of wine scented breath against his cheeks, warm and yet cool compared to the hot flush that has already blossomed there. A nose slides gently along his own, hair tickling against his cheeks and he parts his mouth slightly, anticipation coiling tight in his stomach.
"So beautiful…" Is whispered against his mouth, soft lips whispering over his own. The Kitchen door opens and then swings shut with a dull weighted thud, the rhythmic clicking of heels coming in its wake and Pascal stumbles back from the embrace clumsily with a sharp inhale, which to his credit isn't quite a gasp.
"Hannibal-" The voice stops with the heels and Lady Murasaki's standing staring blankly at them both.
"Hannibal, one of Medical Professors has incited quite a crowd. They are quite adamant that you should speak to them about your sketches and principal findings on the hearts atriums." She says evenly.
"Of course my Lady, my apologies for abandoning you." Hannibal says fixing the heavy mask back into place, speaking as though everything is as it should be, as though he is forever the proper gentlemen and Pascal finds the rapid shift and flippancy dizzying.
"Inspector I-" Pascal holds up his hand, feeling a wave of sickening misery rise up in his stomach.
"I need some air." He mutters shaking his head, stumbling to the kitchens side door.
"Hannibal." Lady Murasaki cautions gently, his speech has been given, guests with medical leanings now efficiently subdued, chattering quietly amongst themselves.
"I promised the Inspector I would keep his company." Hannibal explains, pausing at her side, she shivers a little against him, though on this particular occasion he believes it has to do with the cold draughts drifting in from off the snow, wide French doors hanging open before them, the yellow light from the room settles in a bright rectangle on the blanketed ground.
"Yes so I've seen." She says, the sad edge in her voice too pronounced for the tone to be truly accusing. Hannibal thinks of it more as contrite, though cannot fathom what the Lady would have to be remorseful for.
"You do not approve."
"It is not my place to approve or disapprove… I am afraid." He smiles lightly and strokes her angular cheek lovingly.
"He will not hurt me." A delicate hand closed over the length of his wrist.
"I am not afraid for you."
"I will not hurt him." He reassures.
"Then leave him be Hannibal." She pleads.
"The Inspector enjoys our time together and I find that I cannot deny him anything he- wants… my Lady." She winces in disgust or resignation at his tone- he cannot tell which with absolute certainty, he takes the hand from around his arm and kisses his knuckles lightly before letting it drop back to her side, trying to soothe her ruffled sensibilities before leaving her to the celebration.
It doesn't surprise Hannibal in the least to find the Inspector leaned against one of the slender stone pillars inside the arbor, the smooth rock now over run with rambling roses, the blooms thick against the green of leaves and grey of stone. They spread up from several different gardens, vines reaching together over the arches, winding into tight, twisted ropes, adding support as they each start their way across the roof, Hannibal won't be surprised to find it completely covered by next Summer.
The roses themselves seemed something of a marvel, growing better now in the midst of winter than they ever had during spring or summer. It perhaps had more do with his aunt though, than the plants themselves. She had selected the once fragile looking bushes, had seen to the planting and where as she had been quite happy to leave the summer care of them to the gardener she now kept a tight rein over what befell the delicate looking buds. A foul smelling, warm green liquid was poured over their bases each morning after the thin layer of banked up snow had been cleared away and warm embers were kept burning inside the arbors curiously shaped hearth, staving off the worst of the cold.
Hannibal could understand the theory behind the actions, just as he understood what children hoped to accomplish when they jumped from short heights flapping their arms wildly. However, just as surely as those children came crashing to earth the blooms should also have frozen and perished, fire warming the arbor stone or not. He was beginning to believe that they might subsist on Lady Murasaki's will alone.
Hannibal brushed aside a large, fragrant blossom as he passes under the arch, petals a little stiff beneath his fingers, the arbor cooler than usual, its gentle blaze having been neglected in favor of the party. The embers still cast an orange glow, adequate light to see by, but only just, the hearth cool enough to lean against, and Hannibal does just that. He stretches his arms up over the warm structure, which sits on a stumpy pedestal, with the fire-resting low in its stone belly, a peculiar egg-shape, with large curving slits opening up the top of its hallowed out form. He rests his face against his hands and stares at the Inspector, who's leaned against a scarce bit of bare wall, rose buds twined above his head.
"What do you want with me." He says quietly after a beat, voice a little rougher than usual.
"What answer would you like Inspector." Hannibal asks voice calm and lazy.
"A truthful one." There's a decent bit of space between them and yet Pascal moves to increase it, pushes off the wall and goes to stand at the other side of the burnt out fire.
"Truthful? The truth is very open to interpretation Inspector. I could say that I want the pleasure of your company, or some intelligent conversation, or I could just as easily say that want to lay you down right here in the snow…" His voice is even and polite.
"And fuck you- until you scream." Voice still sweet and conversational, which makes the words sound all the more obscene.
"You see, all of those sentences have equal amounts of truth to them… and yet they are very different in- context." He explains.
"In pleasure or pain?" Pascal questions before considering the encouragement in the sentence, the provoking quality of the words… he is not entirely sure why he would ever ask such a thing. Hannibal arches a brow as if to say 'no weak, (this is inappropriate) protests?'
"You're teasing me Inspector." He drawls pushing away from the hot stone, stalking towards Pascal, there is plenty of open space to back up into, and yet Pascal finds the warm arch of stone against his back in seconds, Hannibal's arms braced around him. He has to wonder if Hannibal isn't right, if the only reason he's in this nightmare is because he wants to be.
"One has to know what to expect when- they're going to be fucked." Pascal's voice doesn't waver through the obscenity and Hannibal's eyes glitter because of it.
"I would never hurt you Inspector… unless you asked." An illicit shiver tracks up Pascal's spine, as they both pause for a moment, assessing.
"I still want my kiss Inspector." Hannibal finally demands, as though it is something owed to him. Pascal stares at him for long moments, looking uncertain. Hannibal leaning further up into him, noting that the other doesn't move back, doesn't flinch as Hannibal lips hovering before his, because he wants it, wants Hannibal to kiss him. Unfortunately, their wants don't seem to mesh, Hannibal wants the Inspector to kiss him and he's not willing to make any exceptions or except any less at this point.
"Your eyes are forever going to be in the dirt Inspector." He spits and watches the taller man flinch at the harsh tone. Hannibal twists away sharply, not particularly angry at all, his patience is lengthy even with the most tedious of people, and Pascal is anything but boring. The Inspector however needs a well-placed push.
"Wait." Hannibal barely manages two steps before the strained voice reaches his ears. He keeps his back to Pascal, feeling the tiniest of thrills when the weight of a hand falls on his shoulder and hip and Hannibal lets the other turn him around, hand sliding to rest at the opposite hip, the other reaching up to pull the mask free of his face. He tosses it aside carelessly, his fingers moving up further to track through Hannibal's neatly combed hair, brushing it into disarray so that locks hang about his face.
"I stopped on the pretence that I was going to be kissed Inspector- not petted like some fretful kitten." Hannibal taunts, finding the caress enjoyable and yet hardly the point.
"You're manipulating me." He points out, voice thick and Hannibal manages to keep his expression neutral, though in future he must remember that the Inspector is far more perceptive than he ever lets on.
"Such concentration Inspector… an stalling- are you so out of practice?" Hannibal teases, dodging the accusation and Pascal nods absently in agreement and then move to shake his head as well.
"I was just… lovers kiss on the mouth, friends and family- the cheek- where does one kiss a man that they're trying to imprison." Hannibal wonders if the subtle dig in the sentence was accidental.
"You shall have to be very bold Inspector and start your own trend." He teases deciding to let the taunt pass unmarked. Pascal stalls a moment longer; eyes tracking over Hannibal's face wildly. Hannibal's about to comment once more when Pascal suddenly leans forward, hand moving to cup Hannibal's face while his mouth dips to press quickly over each of his eyelids. Hannibal can feel Pascal's frantic breaths buffet his face.
"Your eyes are beautiful." He mutters and Hannibal can only imagine his desperate expression since his eyes are still closed from the gentle caressing.
On the quiet air, soft chimes drift out from the house and the volume of noise inside increases a notch or two as people hurry to the front of the house and then outside to catch the fireworks Hannibal has arranged. There's a faint burnt smell before sparks of green crackle across the sky moments later, illuminating the night with neon bursts of color, rippling the still the air with dry pops, and dull hisses.
The warm hand dropped from Hannibal's face, falling down to his hip, fingers splaying wide over his lower back, the other hand mirroring the action. There's a quiet moan from Pascal as their lips finally meet and Hannibal's arms slip back over broad shoulders as he is pulled tight against a hard chest, kiss deepening as their mouths part and a hot tongue slides over Hannibal's own, tasting of wine and mint. Hannibal drags his teeth over the soft muscle, amused when Pascal doesn't shy away, rather he holds Hannibal tighter and thrusts deeper.
They part as the last sparkle dies on the obsidian sky, stars twinkling again in its wake, their cheeks flushed in hot shades of red, with panted gasps of breath staining the air in moist bursts. The Inspector takes a step back and Hannibal catches Pascal's almost idiotic grin as the light settles back into the warm yellow glow of the almost spent embers. The Inspector purses his lips and then smiles again and it's almost infectious.
"It is the first of a new year; I guess that means this is goodnight then Doctor." There's still caution in the voice, doubts clearly written on this face and yet Hannibal finds smug satisfaction that the number is significantly less than their previous meetings.
"Yes- Or I could escort you to my room."
"Your room?" There's the slightest tint of amusement to the slightly apprehensive voice and in truth Pascal is taking the offer with less offense than Hannibal had expected. He didn't actually believe the other would except or even consider anything of the sort, but he has yet to choke on his own tongue and that is promising.
"Yes I found knew bedding in Paris recently- it really feels quite exquisite." Hannibal teases and tests. Pascal stares at him for a long moment then drops his eyes and shakes his head, arms crossing over his chest.
"To your room, to feel your- bedding… after being disheveled in your courtyard- you're shameless." The tone is warm and is more amused than alarmed.
"Yes." Hannibal admits.
"But- to be entirely fair Inspector-" He brushes hair from his face to highlight a point.
"You disheveled me more than I you." He smirks as he other moves to stare at the ground again for long seconds.
"I cannot join you tonight." The self-satisfied expression slips a little from Hannibal face, the Inspector fidgets, nervous once more and if Hannibal is not very much mistaken in the dimming light, he is blushing quite violently as well. It all gives more weight, an underlying vein of truth to the tense words.
"I have a very early appointment tomorrow and it cannot be missed… I would make for a poor guest and I would have to leave very early and… I do not think I would want to." Hannibal stood where he was; he knew how much the confession would have cost such a guarded person.
"Until next time then Inspector." He said kindly, pressing for nothing further.
"Yes." Pascal nodded, pausing for a second as though unsure of what exactly to do.
"Goodnight." He settled for finally and turned abruptly, heading back to the lighted house.