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Title: Better Than Today
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Author's Note: Sequel to "Hard Road."
Disclaimer: This is entirely a product of my own imagination, and I make no profit from it. I do not own the lovely Hannibal Lecter or Will Graham, unfortunately, just borrowing them for a while. Please do not sue.
***"Thanks for making dinner, Hannibal," Will said, pushing his chair back from the table. "That was great. I usually just run out to a local restaurant and get Thanksgiving dinner. I didn't expect you to want to cook a three-course meal."
"It's Thanksgiving, Will." Hannibal leaned back in his chair, a satisfied smile on his face. "It's a traditional meal. And I thought you needed it."
"I think maybe I did," Will said, a small smile on his lips. "I was hungrier than I thought."
"You don't take very good care of yourself," Hannibal told him, his tone slightly reproving. "You really should eat better food, William. You should watch what you put into your body. After all," his eyes slid down Will's slender frame almost caressingly, "it is a rather beautiful body."
Will blushed as he got up from the table, wondering just what had prompted Hannibal to say those words. "Th-thanks," he mumbled, his tongue stumbling over the word. "You're not so bad yourself, y'know. But then, you're more careful about what you eat."
Hannibal gazed at him, that small smile still on his lips. "Yes, I do," he said softly. "I'm glad you enjoyed the meal, Will. It was a pleasure to cook for you."
Will cleared away the plates silently, carrying them to the sink. He didn't know what else to say; there didn't really seem to be anything for him to put into words. It had been a wonderful evening; he and his lover had been completely relaxed with each other.
Had he ever felt that way with Hannibal before? He didn't think so.
They had gone shopping for food this morning; Hannibal had insisted on cooking a turkey, albeit a small one, and on purchasing all of the ingredients for a traditional Thanksgiving meal. He had spent the entire day in the kitchen, gently refusing Will's offers of help.
Will had finally simply sat on the couch and read a book, though he kept glancing into the kitchen to see what Hannibal was doing.
They'd talked during the meal, and the conversation had been surprisingly light and relaxed. There was no reference to what had been happening in the context of Will's job, and not even a reference to their personal relationship. They had simply talked about innocuous subjects.
He'd found out more about Hannibal during that conversation then he'd ever known. He had discovered that his lover's favorite color was blue, and found out more about his personal likes and dislikes on a myriad of subjects. It had been extremely edifying.
Hannibal had found out more about him, as well.
He had talked about his childhood, about what it had been like to grow up poor, and to feel that he wasn't loved by his parents. But even that topic hadn't gotten uncomfortable; he had merely discussed it, taking a few steps back and pushing his personal feelings aside.
Somehow, it was easy to do that with Hannibal. He didn't feel that he was pushed into talking about any subject that he wasn't comfortable with; the other man had simply sat there and nodded, letting Will ramble on about anything he'd wanted to speak about.
Maybe that was how their psychiatric sessions should have always gone, Will thought with a smile. But he had always been too nervous to just let go.
When they'd had sessions, he had always felt cautious about revealing too much of himself. But this wasn't a session. This had just been two people talking to each other -- two lovers spending time alone together. It hadn't felt as though he'd been revealing too many secrets.
Secrets? He didn't have any secrets. Not from Hannibal.
This man knew everything about him -- and oddly enough, that didn't bother him. If anyone else had been as close to him as Hannibal was, if they'd known so much about his past and his feelings, and simply about who he was, he'd have run away.
But with Hannibal, he didn't feel the need to hide. In fact, he wanted to reveal more about himself and his inner feelings to this man.
Maybe it was just because they were lovers. Or maybe it was because he felt so comfortable with Hannibal on a personal level. He didn't know. But he felt as though he could tell this man anything, and he wouldn't be rejected. Rather, he would be welcomed with open arms.
No one else had ever made him feel like that, and Will was sure that no one else ever could. There was an ease to his relationship with Hannibal, a level of comfort that he knew he would never be able to achieve with any other person.
He was more grateful for that than he could say.
Hannibal didn't judge him. Hannibal didn't expect anything from him. This man was simply here for him, in a way that no one else had ever tried to be, or had wanted to be. Hannibal was not only his lover -- this man was also .... his friend.
Will was sure that he'd never had a day before this that had been better than today. He felt as though he had crossed some kind of invisible barrier that he hadn't even known exited -- and that he had ended up by being exactly where he needed and wanted to be.
There was a feeling of comfort, a feeling of belonging that he'd never had before. Was it because of the fact that they were here alone in his home, on a holiday?
He couldn't say. He didn't know the answer to that question. But he knew that he felt better about how his life was progressing than he had in a long time. He felt more at peace, both with himself and the world, than he'd thought he was capable of feeling.
And it was all because of Hannibal being here with him.
He couldn't recall many days in his past, even after he'd met Hannibal and become involved with him, that had felt better than today. Maybe it was just because of the holiday, but he felt peaceful, and for once, he felt completely connected to the world.
Was that because of being with Hannibal? He wasn't sure exactly what to put the feeling down to. Will was just glad the he could let himself feel this way.
It had been a long time since he'd felt this relaxed and happy. It might not be solely because of the man he was with, but he knew that if he was at home celebrating Thanksgiving alone, he wouldn't feel this content. He would more than likely feel lonely.
With Hannibal by his side, he didn't have to feel alone. He never had to be alone again. Oh, he could spend time by himself, but there was a difference between being lonely and being alone. With his lover in his life, loneliness would never assail him again.
So many changes, and all for the better. Because of Hannibal.
"I can't remember a day in my life that's been better than today," he said, surprising himself by uttering the words. "You make me feel .... safe. And happy. I think I'm really happy, for the first time in my life. Thanks for that, Hannibal. I mean it."
"I can recall a day that was better than today," Hannibal told him, moving behind him and sliding strong arms around his waist. "The day I met you, Will. The best day of my life."
As Will closed his eyes and leaned back into Hannibal's arms, he supposed that his lover was right -- the day that they'd met could be seen as their best day. But, he thought as he turned and raised his face to Hannibal's for a kiss, this one was turning out to be pretty special.
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