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Title: Golden Collar
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: One-shot.
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.


"I hope you like your Christmas gift, Will," Hannibal said as the two of them rose from the table. He had prepared a sumptuous meal, knowing that Will probably hadn't been eating well at home in Wolf Trap. That always made him worry a bit.

Will never took very good care of himself, so Hannibal felt that he had to compensate for that by taking care of his young lover. And he didn't mind that at all.

He found that he rather enjoyed taking care of Will, feeling protective of him. Perhaps this was what he had been looking for -- someone to take care of, someone who needed him. Not just as a lover, but as a protector. It was unexpected, but not unpleasant.

That instinct had always been within him; Will simply brought it out.

He felt more protective towards this young man than he ever had towards anyone -- even his sister when they were children. Added to their sexual relationship, that protectiveness added up to what Hannibal was almost sure could be called love.

He had no experience with love; he hadn't let himself feel that emotion since he was a child. But Will had broken down those barriers, made those walls crumble.

And now, at their first Christmas together, he had made a decision that he'd been contemplating for months now. He didn't know exactly how Will would take it, but he hoped that what he intended to do would be received with pleasure and acceptance.

"I'm sure I will," Will said softly, his voice breaking into Hannibal's thoughts. "I hope you like yours, too. I thought about it for a long time."

"As they say, it's the thought that counts," Hannibal told him with a smile. Rising from his chair, he took Will's hand to lead the young man into the living room, settling him on the couch and then turning to his desk to take out the square box that Will's gift was in.

He had wrapped it carefully, lovingly, wanting the package to look attractive.

Will reached into his pocket, pulling out a small, carefully wrapped box. Hannibal was fairly sure from the size that it was a piece of jewelry.

The thought pleased him. To think that Will had picked out a piece of jewelry that he could wear, one that he could look at every day and think of his young lover with a smile, made him feel warm and pleasantly surprised. He hadn't expected something like that.

"Open mine first," Will said, handing him the box, a small smile tugging at his lips. "I want to see how you react to it. I .... tried to make it special."

"Will, any gift from you would be special to me," Hannibal told him. He meant every word; anything that Will chose to give him would indeed be special, and give him a great deal of pleasure. He took the box from Will, holding it for a moment before carefully unwrapping it.

Yes, he had been right; it was a ring box. He liked the idea of wearing a ring that Will had chosen for him; it would be a constant reminder of the young man.

Slowly, he opened the box, a smile curving his lips when he saw the ring.

It was, quite simply, exquisite. Finely chased silver, with Celtic knot designs on the band, and a beautiful sapphire stone that reminded him of Will's intensely blue eyes.

"It's beautiful, Will," he said softly, sincerity ringing in his words. "Exquisite. You have marvelous taste." He held out the box to Will with a smile. "Would you like to slip it on my finger? I believe that would be a symbolic gesture for the two of us."

Will nodded, moving to his side and taking the ring out of the box, then handing it to Hannibal. "Read what's inscribed on the inside of the band before I put it on you."

Hannibal took the ring from Will, doing as his young lover asked. He almost gasped as he read the words that were inscribed there; they indicated just how deeply Will loved him. Hannibal was sure that no one had ever felt this way about him before.

My heart. My soul. My lover. My love.

The words made his throat tighten. He was sure that he'd never seen anything so beautiful, anything that touched his heart more. He glanced at Will, seeing his smile, knowing that he was relieved to see that the ring was appreciated and would be treasured.

He gave the ring to Will, then held out his hand, to let the young man slip it onto his finger. He wasn't surprised at all when Will chose to slip it onto his ring finger.

It was a perfect fit. Vaguely, Hannibal wondered just how Will had known what size he wore -- but the man was an FBI agent, after all. He probably had his ways.

It wasn't something he needed to think about. He didn't care how Will had discovered his ring size. What he cared about was that his lover had given him such a beautiful gift, one that revealed his heart and made the bond between them feel even stronger.

Now it was his turn to give Will his gift.

He had chosen it carefully, after a great deal of thought. This was something that was meant to represent their relationship -- and lead them forward into a new stage of it. He had no idea if Will would feel the same, but he had felt that this was the best way of finding out.

He handed Will the long, slim black box, watching as his lover opened it. Will's blue eyes widened, and a gasp left his lips, his gaze flying to Hannibal's.

Will carefully lifted the gold chain-link necklace out of the box, letting the delicate yet strong links sift through his fingers as he did so. He looked questioningly at Hannibal as he hefted the small golden lock at the end of the chain in his hand, raising an eyebrow.

"Yes, Will, the chain link and lock are meant to represent something," Hannibal said quietly, almost holding his breath as he waited for Will to speak.

"It's a collar," Will said softly. "A golden collar."

"Yes," Hannibal answered, his own voice just as soft. "And I hope that you will see it in the way that it is intended. Not as a sign of ownership, but of love."

"As a sign of protectiveness," Will murmured, nodding. "A symbol of you wanting to keep me by your side and protect me." He raised his gaze to Hannibal's those blue eyes looking directly into his, a smile on his lips. "I love it, Hannibal. It's beautiful."

Hannibal could feel a surge of relief sweep through him. Will understood. He didn't see the collar as being restrictive; he saw it as it was meant to be seen.

"I want you to put it on me," Will said softly, handing Hannibal the necklace, along with the key that was also in the box. He turned around, presenting the vulnerable nape of his neck to Hannibal, who felt a strong urge to bow his head and brush his lips against that soft skin.

But he wouldn't do that. Not now. Kissing and caressing could wait until later, when they were in bed and he was making love to Will.

Who would be wearing that golden collar around his throat.

Hannibal did as Will asked, lifting the golden links over his lover's head and settling them into place against his slender throat, wrapping them around once so that there were two rows of links against that pale skin, one just over the other.

He loved how that looked. Will's throat encircled by a collar that he had put there, a collar that was a symbol of his love for Will.

Will was right. This didn't signify ownership; their relationship had never been about that, though he did feel that Will belonged to him. He belonged to Will just as much; he would never stray from his lover, never betray him with another.

He locked the collar, not tightly, but enough for Will to be aware that he was wearing it. The small golden lock rested on the back of his neck as Hannibal turned the key.

Mine, he thought. Yes, his. Will was his to hold, his to kiss, his to make love to. And his to love. His to love and cherish, to protect, and to hold dear. He always would, even in another realm of being, when they no longer wore these bodies.

Even death would never part the two of them.

Will turned around to face Hannibal, raising a hand to touch the delicate golden links of the collar around his neck. "I don't ever want to take it off," he whispered. "It's beautiful, Hannibal. And it's .... us. It's a symbol of what we have together."

"That it is, my dearest William," Hannibal agreed, oddly moved by his young lover's words. "An outward symbol of my love for you. A love that will never die."

With those words, he folded Will into a close embrace, one that reached out to his lover with all of his heart and soul. He didn't know where this might lead. Perhaps loving this much was making a mistake. But for now, it was all that he could ever possibly want or need.