Hannibal Lecter rarely took women to his bed these days. His pleasures and tastes were intense, but solitary by nature of their intensity. Of course, he would have made an exception for Will—he would have done very many things for Will—but she refused to stay at his place.

It was a pity. He would have had her against his fine sheets and lush decor, a tender, trembling, pale thing to taste and penetrate and tongue until he was sated.

That would have to be later. She would not sleep in his bed; she would let him sleep in hers. His good Will was a tricky prickly little creature, and it was too soon to simply take what he wanted .

He lay on Will's bed, a more and more common occurrence. He was mostly undressed, as was she, his body long and large next to hers. It would be dawn soon, and Will was sleeping peacefully as was her wont when he stayed over. He was awake. He would not let moments like this, with Will asleep next to him and vulnerable, go unrelished.

Her room was utterly unlike Lecter's. Every piece of furniture had obviously been chosen almost touchingly for the safety and comfort it might evoke. At least that meant soft bedding, although there was a slight yet omnipresent odor of canine. There had been, he had noticed wryly, a massive uptick in cleanliness after the first time he had stayed the night.

His first real taste of her was in his office: a kiss, stolen by her, that had deepened. She had pushed him back onto the blue couch, straddling him, looking terrified. It had been hungry and rushed—a meal for the starved—and Will had kept him at length even as their bodies had joined, pushing back as he had drawn her closer, holding her, pinning her, snaking his large blunt hands purposefully through her hair to pull her mouth down to his. When she pushed back he almost snarled, and to reclaim her he vindictively thrust too deep and sharp. She had gasped, and relaxed and smiled, pushing back her curly dark hair and setting the strange and ruthless tone to follow.

Soon Hannibal had been in her bed. She surprised him by asking him to stay.

He almost didn't.

He was a man of icy control, all ivory and marble, but control could only take him so far. Especially with Will.

His Will was bright and striving and broken, as he preferred. Tortured by her own head, panicked and pinioned and barricaded by her own mind. He could help turn the spikes out instead of in—but that was in the abstract. In the present, in the physical universe, there was something so sharp yet simultaneously vulnerable about her as to be irresistible. He wanted to consume her, to ravage her, to eat her right up, as he bit and clawed and fucked her, and yet at the same time he wished to hold her, to protect her, to bend his lips to her ear and tell her for once the truth about exactly how he saw her.

Perhaps she sensed this, because she would not sleep in his arms, although lately she would lie and trace his face with her slim ragged fingers—the hollows of his brow and cheeks, the fine blunted nose, and especially the distinctive curve of his lips, that could too quickly curl too cruel if he wasn't very careful. (He was always very careful.) She laughed once, telling him he would look a skull in the moonlight, a death's head, if not for his beautiful, oversated mouth.

Lately, she would trace the curves of his broad, lean musculature—his arms, his chest. She would brush his hair in and out of place and he would let her, maintaining the blank bemused stillness he had first greeted her with, but still looking into her blue eyes which would still studiously not meet his.

He had to remain still for this, or she would balk.

He understood why she eschewed any real intimacy, and to a degree he appreciated it. They were the same in that they could let no one in. She because it would hurt her. He because it would hurt others, and thus inconvenience him.

She had no barriers except the ones she built, the ones she insisted upon. She was acutely sensitive to even the most minor stimulus, which was intoxicating, as he could manipulate her body and mind more subtly that he thought possible while still pushing her to her limits. He had to be careful, as well, that he didn't communicate too much. At least not too quickly. (He was a necessary expert on not communicating more than he wished the other to know.) He let her initiate. And as his reward, he would push her peculiarly receptive body until her mind couldn't take it any more, and she pushed him back.

Will was only comfortable when he was precise, clinical, distant; even more so when he was fucking her so hard, twisting her hair and digging his hands into her body, that there were bruises on her body and tears in her eyes when they were finished. She would encourage him; he indulged both of them, scraping his teeth against her soft skin, tasting her rawness rather than spilling out words. This was all she would allow—physical overload and gratification without dangerous intimacy. She wanted him to leave marks she could tend to and taste for days.

He, meanwhile, felt shortchanged. He was forced to gulp her down, if we wanted her at all. (He wanted her; he wanted all of her.) She wanted him to overwhelm her, with brutality, with ferocity, wordless animal pleasure to turn off her head. He happily obliged; he wanted, though, to savor her as much as he could before she was all gone.

(It wouldn't be too much longer now. It was inevitable. Even as she knew in her heart the truth of him, he knew the truth of her, and that they would each undo the other. Some part of them knew that to get too close would be disaster: he'd be lost; she'd be gutted.)

She turned, suddenly, to nestle against him, her arm resting on his chest, with a soft, uncalculated sigh. The casual confidence of the gesture let Hannibal know his Will was still asleep. In the half-light, it was the id-driven senses that held sway. Smell. Taste. Touch. Soft, almost inaudible animal sound. While he might restrict his outputs, Hannibal Lecter never was one not to indulge his inputs, and he relished her against him.

He stretched a long arm out to accommodate her and she pressed herself closer, arching her breasts against him, grinding her hips against his as she nestled in. She was smaller, but warm and luscious, soft and pliant against his tense length. He closed his red eyes, savoring, as the twin urges (two expressions of the same desire) fought in him: to devour; to worship.

She shifted again, mumbling nonsensically as she stroked his broad chest, absently, angling her hand downwards to drop insistently down the front of his pants. Since she was asleep, Hannibal allowed himself a small, sharp exhalation as she reached his cock, and started to—but it was her quiet keen of delight at his response that really did it.

Anything more and he'd have to do something about it. He shifted to face her, grasping her thin wrist easily and precisely, removing her hand. She smiled in her sleep as she mis-processed the gesture, guiding his hand to her throat and breast—between her legs, where she was slick and hot. He leaned into her, pressing his forehead against hers as she bucked—thoughtlessly,instinctively—against his hand. He slipped a finger inside before drawing it out to start rubbing her clit.

She moaned and stirred, and he feared waking her.

He pulled away again, moving up and around her ass to pull her against him, to find some gratification himself beyond the pleasure she found in him in her sleep, even as she moaned, helplessly, not like the tight muffled cries he was used to, that she always tried to bite back. She wrapped a leg around him. Again he leaned forward to kiss her on her mouth—something she did not like to allow when she was awake.

He saw her eyes flutter open, and register what was happening—

And then close again, too tightly and quickly to be anything but purposeful, to maintain the facade of sleep so she could continue kissing him, and pulling him closer, without missing a beat.

They both already pretended the other wasn't too clever by half for them. They could both pretend that Will was still asleep, that this intimacy would be unreal and thus not count.

He gently shifted so he was on top of her, between her legs, propped up on his elbows even as he brushed the hair from her face and kissed her slowly, languorously, as she was frightened of when she was awake—it was too strong a stimulus.

Their breaths and bucking soon found a slow rhythm, and Hannibal drew himself out from his pants to enter her slowly, deeply, for once without any resistance or cries of delighted pain—just a moan of pleasure from her, and him.

She knew, somewhere in her heart, that this was temporary, and she couldn't let him too far in. But they could pretend.

She kept her eyes closed. But her breath hitched and rose with his, as he angled her with his hands—well-cared for, but sinewy and rough—so he could move deeper inside. His strokes were slow and steady, as he brought her to join him on the cusp of orgasm with one hand, propping himself up with the other arm as he kissed her face, her neck, her lips, as he whispered endearments in languages she didn't know, and in some she did, just because he couldn't help even now but be a little cruel. And he allowed himself to whisper what he really thought of her, and how much—how brilliant, how strong, how beautiful he saw her.

When she came she shivered and juddered and clutched at him desperately, shuddering out his name. The pained sound was so sweet and sharp in the pre-dawn air that he joined her, spilling into her with an unwonted cry.

For the next few hours, he held her in his arms.

Hannibal's pleasures and tastes were profound, but all delights were transient.

All tastes leave the tongue. All sweetness fades and nourishment of any sort is temporary. Hannibal Lecter had known this for a very long time and never wished differently. But these moments alone did he want to linger—this would he remember in the cell she put him in, and this was how he would remember her face long after he had ruined it along with the rest of her.