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Title: At the Wrong Time
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.


"Could we ever have worked, Will?"

Hannibal's voice was wistful, even a little regretful. The sound of his words startled Will; he hadn't realized that the other man still thought along those lines.

"Of course we couldn't have," he answered, his own voice a bit sharp. "Do you seriously think that there could have ever been a relationship of equals between us, Hannibal?"

Hannibal slowly shook his head, his dark gaze meeting Will's. "No, not equals," he said slowly. "But a meeting of the minds, as it were. A relationship of teacher to pupil. You could have been so much more than you have settled for, Will. You could have become something extraordinary."

"Something, Hannibal." This time, it was Will's turn to shake his head. "Not some</i>one</i>. You only want to see yourself reflected in me. You never truly cared for me."

They had been destined to end this way, facing each other through a glass partition, with Hannibal behind bars and Will a free man. He had always known that.

Hannibal was exactly where he belonged.

He knew what this man would do with the rest of his life; he would be a caged animal, a curiosity, his freedom taken away from him. It was better than what he deserved.

He'd been officially declared insane, but Will knew that wasn't the truth. Hannibal had never been insane; he had always been fully cognizant of all that he had done.

No, he wasn't insane; he was merely evil. It appalled Will to realize that at one time, he had considered this man a friend. He hadn't been able to see past the human mask that Hannibal wore to the monster inside, not until it was too late to stop that monster from changing his life in far too many ways.

But at least he had been lucky enough to escape.

Thank goodness he'd managed to slip free of that destiny, he told himself. If he hadn't, then they wouldn't be where they were at this very moment.

He would more than likely be dead, a cold corpse mouldering in the ground, and Hannibal would still be free to kill other people, to continue his murderous career.

He could feel proud of himself for being able to stop that from happening.

If Hannibal had somehow been his destiny, then he'd managed to sidestep it. He didn't want to be destined for any kind of contact with this man; he didn't want to think that Hannibal had somehow been meant to be a part of his life. All he wanted was for their association to be over and done with.

Hannibal had been a part of his life for far too long, and he still felt like a fool for ever having trusted such a monster, for falling into the trap of believing Hannibal's lies.

Those lies had cost him his freedom for a while; they had nearly cost him his very life. He didn't ever want to be in that position again. Once had been more than enough.

No one else would ever be allowed to have that kind of power over him.

"Would things have been any different if we had met at another time, do you think?" Hannibal's head was tilted to the side, his eyes bright and inquisitive.

Will slowly shook his head, denying those words. "No, they wouldn't. I might have met you at the wrong time of my life, but in this instance, no time would have been right."

They had been destined to end in this way. Something within Will had always known that his association with Hannibal would turn out badly; some warning siren had gone off in his brain right from the beginning, from the first handshake, telling him that this man could be dangerous to him.

Yet he had forged ahead, thinking that they were developing a friendship, when all along he had only been some sort of experiment for Hannibal.

He had only himself to blame for doing that, and he was never going to let himself be fooled in such a way again. He would be much more careful from now on.

He would be extremely cautious about who was allowed entrance into his life.

"It was destined to end this way, Hannibal," Will said, his voice very soft. "There was no other way it could have ended. You and I are too different."

Hannibal nodded slowly, obviously agreeing with him. "I was a fool to think that I could change you, Will," he said, and to Will's amazement, his tone carried a certain sadness. "I had thought that you would be a protégé. I couldn't have been more wrong about that."

"You certainly were," Will agreed, not knowing what else to say. There was nothing else that he could say, not really. There were no more words left between them.

He took a long look at the other man, the last he would ever have.

"Goodbye, Hannibal." He didn't say anything else; there was nothing else to say, no other words that they could exchange that would mean anything to either of them.

He didn't hear Hannibal's words of goodbye when he turned and left. He had no idea if the other man had even said goodbye, and he didn't much care if he had.

This was how it had been destined to be.

And he had no regrets about how it had all turned out.