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Title: The Way It Should Be
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
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 don't want to, Hannibal," Will whined, shaking his head and holding up his hands in front of him. "It just doesn't feel right to me."

"Will, we discussed this," Hannibal said with a sigh.

Of course they had, Will told himself. They'd talked about it a lot. But even though he had thought that he was ready for this next step in their relationship, he wasn't.

"Will, wearing a collar does not make you any less of a person. It does not diminish you in any way. It merely shows that you belong to someone, that you are claimed and in a serious relationship." Hannibal's voice was very soft, almost seductive. "It is a symbol of what you mean to me."

Will nodded, swallowing hard, not turning his head to look at the man behind him. He could feel Hannibal's breath on the back of his neck, warm and comforting.

Why was he having such a hard time with this? Hannibal was right. Wearing a collar didn't diminish him in any way. He wasn't less of a person; he was more, actually, knowing that he was cherished and .... that he belonged to someone.

So why did it make him feel like a dog that had to be kept at heel? Why did it make him feel that he was a piece of property, and less of a human?

That wasn't what Hannibal intended for him to feel.

No, his boyfriend wanted him to take pride in their relationship, to wear that collar proudly and let people know that he was loved and claimed.

"I feel like ....a possession," he whispered, cutting through all of the oblique words and coming to the heart of the matter. "I feel like you just want to own me, to control me. And that's not what a relationship should be like. One person shouldn't control the other."

Hannibal's arms slid around his waist, and he was pulled back against that lean body, leaning against his lover and closing his eyes.

Hannibal sighed softly, his lips brushing across Will's cheek.

"Will, that isn't what I feel for you at all," he said, his words sounding heavy, as though he was somehow searching for what to say. "I don't want to control you."

Why did he feel that those words weren't true? Hannibal had no reason to lie to him. Their relationship was based on mutual trust and respect; he knew that Hannibal did respect him, and that his lover would back away if he truly didn't want this.

Or would he? He seemed pretty insistent that Will be collared, that this be a symbol of their relationship. He didn't think Hannibal would back down.

And really, did he want his boyfriend to do that? One of the things he loved about Hannibal was his strength of will, his refusal to compromise on his beliefs.

He believed that Will belonged to him -- and most of the time, Will felt the same. It was only when he was alone in bed at night, on the few nights he didn't spend with Hannibal, that he wondered if he was doing the right thing for himself.

How would people who knew him look at him if they knew that he was in a relationship where it seemed as though his significant other felt that he was property?

But weren't all relationships like that? he asked himself.

Everybody wanted to feel that they somehow owned the person they were involved with, that their lover belonged to them. Hannibal was no different.

And really, if he was honest, he did belong to Hannibal. He had never given his body to anyone else, and he never intended to. He'd never given his heart, either, and he knew that he never would. This man did own him, heart, body and soul.

What use was there in denying it? The collar would only be the physical symbol of what he already felt in his heart. There was no reason for him to refuse it.

"Okay," he whispered, his voice a mere breath of sound. "Put it on me."

"With pleasure, my sweet," Hannibal murmured, one hand moving up to stroke his fingers through Will's unruly curls. "It will look lovely on you."

Will held his breath, closing his eyes as he felt Hannibal move away for a moment. He knew that his lover was picking up the leather collar, holding it, even moving it between his fingers to feel the softness of the black leather before it went around Will's throat.

When it did, he swallowed hard, hoping that Hannibal wouldn't pull it too tightly. It felt .... alien, too restricting at first, cold against his skin.

"Don't fight it, Will," Hannibal whispered into his ear. "Let it become a part of you. It is yours, you know, my love. It is not only a symbol of what you are to me, but of what I am to you. It's a tangible symbol of the fact that you can always call on me, that I am always here for you."

At those words, Will relaxed. Hannibal was right. This collar didn't mean that he was a possession. It didn't merely mean that he belonged to Hannibal.

It meant that they belonged to each other.

That was the way it should be, he told himself as his hand moved to his throat to stroke the leather. And in the end, that was the way that he wanted it to be.