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Title: Born This Way
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Table: Quotables, Part 2, tv_universe
Prompt: "Nobody's born a monster. We're made. A product of a cruel world .... filled with cruel people."
Author's Note: Sequel to "One Good Reason."
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.


This was the last time he would come here.

Will gazed at Hannibal, so quiet and placid behind those bars. He had been the same way when he'd been imprisoned; it was as though all hope, all light, had gone out of his world.

Did Hannibal feel that way, too? He had to wonder about that. There was no telling how this man felt. Hannibal might see this as just another challenge.

Knowing Hannibal, he actually thought that he would be able to escape from his prison, that he would be a free man again. Will knew better. There was no way that Hannibal would be able to see daylight again; he was guarded too closely, too carefully, to ever emerge from behind these walls.

This place didn't seem to be lowering Hannibal's spirits; the other man had actually smiled at him when he had entered the room, and he seemed .... well, cheerful.

"I hadn't expected you to visit me again, Will," he said, his brows raised as though in question. "The last time you left, I had assumed that it was our last goodbye."

"So had I," Will told him, nodding in agreement.

But it hadn't been. Something had told him to come back here one last time, to ask Hannibal the question thta he had wanted to put to him ever since he'd discovered what this man was.

"I can only believe that this will be your last visit," Hannibal told him, and there was a tinge of sadness in his tone. "I will miss seeing you, Will, but it was inevitable."

"Yes, it was." Will didn't want to give anything away; he wanted to spring his question on Hannibal, wanted surprise to make the other man answer him honestly. "Why, Hannibal? Why did you do it? Why did you not only kill all those men who looked like me, but all those other people, too? Why do you kill?"

Hannibal shrugged, his gaze meeting Will's. "I do it because it is a part of me, Will. Perhaps I am conditioned to it. I don't really have an answer. Not one that you would understand."

"Try me," Will said, wishing that he could get more of an answer than that, but knowing that he probably wouldn't. He was sure that Hannibal had said all that he was going to say.

"Will, nobody's born a monster. We're made. We're a product of a cruel world .... filled with cruel people." Hannibal's voice was very soft, almost hesitant, and for once, Will could hear the ring of truth in what he said. He wasn't lying. He truly believed what he was saying.

Maybe he was right, Will told himself. Maybe he had been created. Maybe his urge to kill hadn't been ingrained in who he was, but was merely a product of all that he'd been through.

No, he couldn't make himself believe that. Monsters weren't created. The need to kill had to already be inside them; it wasn't manufactured. It had to be brought to the surface from within.

Hannibal was a monster. It was a part of him.

"I don't believe that," he whispered, his gaze not leaving the other man's. "I don't think you were created. I think you were born this way. What you are has always been inescapable."

Hannibal nodded, sighing softly. "Perhaps you're right, Will. But we will never truly know that for sure, will we? After all, you can't get inside my head the way that I can get into yours."

That made Will snap his mouth closed, swallowing back his reply. Hannibal was right. As good as he was at getting into the minds of killers, he didn't have Hannibal's ability to delve inside anyone's head. He didn't have the training, didn't know all of the ways of getting under a person's skin.

Hannibal did. He had always been good at that, at ferreting out information that WIll would have preferred to remain hidden, things that he hadn't wanted to reveal to anyone.

But that wouldn't happen again. Hannibal was behind bars, captured and restrained forever. The monster had been caught, and would never harm anyone again.

He would make sure of that. No more innocent people would die at Hannibal's hands.

"No, we'll never know for sure," he whispered, repeating Hannibal's words. "But whether you were born this way or not, you've ended up this way."

With those words, he got to his feet, staring at the man behind the bars, knowing that this would be the last time he ever saw Hannibal Lecter. He didn't intend to come back. He didn't need any more answers. He knew all that he needed to know about this man; he couldn't learn anything new.

Anything that Hannibal had kept hidden from him would stay hidden. The book was closed on this chapter of his life; and he had no interest in opening those pages again.

He was done with Hannibal, done with the mind games. He was .... free.

"Goodbye, Will." He heard the words as he turned to leave the room; he didn't turn around or acknowledge them. To his way of thinking, he'd already said his goodbyes.

His heart was light as he left the building, closing his eyes and raising hs face to the sun. it was over. The nightmare that he'd lived through when Hannibal was a part of his life was done.

He felt as though he could breathe again, after a long period of holding his breath.

It was the past. Now, it was time for him to look towards the future.

A future that wouldn't be haunted by the darkness that was Hannibal Lecter. A future where he wouldn't feel that there was a malevolent presence constantly looking over his shoulder.

He'd left all of that behind him. He refused to let it taint his life any further. And if any of it knocked on his door again, he would refuse to let it in.

From now on, the only monsters in his life would be the ones he chased in his work.

It didn't matter whether they had been born, or created.

All that mattered was that he caught all of them. And he had every intention of doing so.

After all, he thought with a wry smile, he'd done a pretty damn good job of catching the last one.