A Walk Through Florence

Title: A Walk Through Florence
Author: ExcentrykeMuse
WordCount: 1.5k
Rating: PG
Fandom(s): Hannibal Extended Universe / Harry Potter Series (EWE
Pairing(s): (past) Harry/Ginny, Hannibal/Harry
Prompt: For “Rebecca is Cool” – Prompt: “Omg yes please, Harry/Hannibal would be awesome! ❤️❤️❤️❤️”

Warning(s): Ginny bashing, Hannibal is love, magic has a mind of her own, Harry is gay, gay stereotypes, no mentions of cannibalism but we all know Hannibal IS A CANNIBAL

June, 2000, Florence, Italy

Le luci di Firenze brillano nei tuoi occhi.”  His voice was dark and haunting and it couldn’t help but bring a blush to Harry’s cheeks even though he hadn’t an single idea what Hannibal had said to him.

“I asked if you spoke Italian,” Harry chided as they walked down the cobbled street, “not if you had the perfect accent.”

At this, his companion chuckled and looked over to him, a light in his dark eyes.  “I told you what I was thinking.”

Harry’s green eyes shone with curiosity.  “What were you thinking?”

“I was wondering,” Hannibal told him with an open face, “what you’re doing in Florence.”

Biting his lower lip, Harry thought that Italian was either a seductive language, or he was right in assuming he was gay for life and was never going to prove to himself otherwise even by marrying Ginny.  Scuffing the bottom of his shoe against a worn stone, he admitted, “I left my bride at the altar.  This is our honeymoon.”

“I assume,” Hannibal murmured, “you came alone.”  His tone was soft and pliant, begging Harry to tell him his secrets, and damn if Harry wasn’t going to this evening.  He had had just enough wine at the opera for his lips to have loosened enough to be bold.

“I was standing there,” Harry admitted.  “She was in her overpriced white gown—”

When he paused, Hannibal interjected—“I can guess where this is going but please, my friend, but please…continue.”

Harry laughed a little at this, and then admitted—out loud, for the first time—“then I thought, I am such a raging queen even I can’t find anything fashionable in that monstrosity!”

For a moment, Hannibal paused, and then he threw his head back and laughed fully and beautifully, the sound echoing into the night air and catching in Harry’s heart.  When his bright eyes landed on Harry’s again, alight with humor and joie de vivre, he admitted with a smile, “I never would place such a stereotype upon you, Harry.”

“No,” Harry agreed, placing both hands in his pockets so he wouldn’t reach out to touch—taste—kiss. “No, I like my Guinness, I like my,” (his breath hitched as he caught himself so he wouldn’t say “quidditch”) “football, and you’d never catch me with a fashion magazine.”  He gave Hannibal a crooked grin as if to say, “Take me as I am.”

“But the sentiment stands,” Hannibal suggested, this strange mystery of a man whose English was tinged with French nasal consonants that reminded him of Fleur Weasley and yet had guttural vowels that brought back memories of hand jobs with Durmstrang students back in fourth year.

Tipping his head, Harry agreed, “The sentiment stands.”  A few steps of silence: “I’m here alone.  Everything was in my name.”

“Wise,” Hannibal told him.  Then, a few more steps.  “Fortuitous.”

Harry sighed.  “She was always after my money.”

This had Hannibal stopping so that he could turn and take in Harry.  His eyes seemed almost black in the darkness, but Harry’s Auror instincts could tell that he was being assessed from head to foot.  He felt like a predator was with him, hidden in this exact street in Florence—he only hoped that meant good things if he could convince Hannibal to come back to his villa for the rest of the night.

The street seemed to shiver with the intensity of the looks that passed between them, but neither moved, both standing just three feet apart from one another.

“I am facing a difficult decision myself,” Hannibal confessed, one of many confessions since they first saw each other at the open air opera there in Florence earlier that evening.  “I came to Florence as a young man to study medicine, and I’ve come back to her to decide whether I should abandon her for another avenue in life.”

“Why would you give it up?” Harry asked immediately, sensing more to the story, a deeper tale hidden behind the public facade.

“I lost a patient,” Hannibal replied with casual surety in his voice.

“You must lose many patients.  What was so different about this one?”

There was a pause, as if no one had asked Hannibal this and the two men continued to look at one another.  Hannibal was a man dressed beautifully in his wealth, used to it as a man is used to breathing air, and Harry found that undeniably attractive about him.  He let his eyes skate over Hannibal’s face, to the cheekbones that could cut glass, up to the smooth forehead that was partially hidden by a fringe of sandy hair.  Next, Harry’s gaze fell to Hannibal’s eyes, dark with lust and wine, which Harry knew must mirror his own green ones. 

As they assessed each other, a natural frisson of magic hovered in the air between them, nearly electrifying the evening.  Then, Hannibal took in a deep breath of the magic and admitted, “She looked so much like my dear sister.  Same hair, same smile, same childlike innocence.”

“You couldn’t save your sister,” Harry realized, stepping forward carefully, hands still in his pockets so he wouldn’t move forward and make the mistake of rushing the seduction.  The magic whispered to him, never to let go, and he listened to it and paused.  Then: “So you wanted to save this patient as you wanted to save your sister.”

Up close, Hannibal’s eyes almost seemed chocolate-red, if such a color even existed, barely two inches taller than Harry who was quite tall himself.  Harry rather liked the dynamic, being slightly shorter, having to reach up to kiss the man he wanted to kiss.  The magic begged him to kiss, but he knew to wait, wait for what the magic was promising him.

As he looked up into Hannibal’s eyes, which were hidden beyond veils of uncertainty, he thought that now was about the time he should think about getting a proper boyfriend.  He’d left Ginny at the altar, he didn’t need to worry about disappointing Mrs. Weasley as he had disappointed her already, and the Prophet might be sympathetic if he came out as gay.  And this magic—this magic was something other, something new, something he hadn’t quite encountered before.

Licking his lips, Harry murmured, “What would you do instead?”

Coming to himself, as if somewhere deep in thought, Hannibal admitted, “I thought I’d pursue psychiatry.”

“Fix the mind if you cannot save a life?” Harry asked, slightly bemused.  “Never held with psychiatry myself.”

Hannibal grinned slightly, as if trying to hold it in.  “You’re a closet homosexual.  I’m certain you are afraid of the clichés, and I firmly respect your opinions.—Tell me, why did you almost marry this girl?”

Looking away, Harry shrugged.  “It was expected.”

“The money,” Hannibal mused.  “Title?” he guessed.

Harry glanced back at him.   “Baltics by way of France?  You, too?”  A hush through the darkness.  Like recognizing like.

“I usually mislay my title when I’m in America,” Hannibal admitted, grinning fully to show a full set of teeth, pointed canines included.  A thrill of excitement ran through Harry and the magic responded, thickening so much that Harry could almost taste it on his tongue.

It should have been menacing.  It should not have been sexy as fuck.

Centering himself, Harry swallowed.  “I try to mislay mine all the time.  Ginny wouldn’t let me though.”

“Your fiancée’s qualities become fewer and fewer,” Hannibal admitted. 

Harry shrugged again.  “It was expected of me.”  Then he changed tactics, “Are you good at being a doctor?”

Hannibal didn’t look remotely shocked at the redirection of topic—pleased, almost.  “The best.”

Harry had expected as much.  “Then you should stick with it.  There will be a patient one day, a girl just like this patient, just like your sister—and you will be in the position to save her.  Save her, Hannibal.  Who else will be good enough to do it, if not you?”

The words were warm and firm and seemed to wash over Hannibal, the magic humming between them, and he nodded.  “I should love to have you for dinner,” he murmured after a long moment.  “Would tomorrow be convenient?”

“Does that mean you don’t want to come home with me tonight?” Harry asked, only to be met with a long, strong, possessive kiss.  He knew, when he walked away from his own wedding that he was doing was the best thing for him, but as the magic jumped between their skin and the kiss deepened, he realized he had made the luckiest of escapes.  This man—this near stranger—who had picked him out of a crowd and offered him a glass of wine then asked him if he’d like to go for a stroll was the answer to a question Harry hadn’t known he’d been asking his whole life:

Will I always be alone?

The answer, decidedly, was “No.”

The End.

Published by excentrykemuse

Fanfiction artist and self critic.

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