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Title: Candles in the Dark
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Author's Note: Sequel to "The Deepest Secret."
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.
***Jack didn't want him to be there when Hannibal was captured.
Everyone else he worked with would be there, at Hannibal's home, arresting him. They would be leading him out of the house in handcuffs, on the way to jail.
Will had done what he had needed to do -- he'd gotten that confession from Hannibal, which had given the FBI probable cause to search his house thoroughly.
Will didn't know what they would find, but he could guess. He was sure that the visuals would be something out of his wildest dreams -- and worst nightmares. He didn't really want to see them, didn't want to know the extent of what a man he'd once considered his friend could be capable of doing.
He wished that he could simply shut his eyes to everything -- but he couldn't. He was still a part of this, as much as he didn't want to be.
He was the one who had brought Hannibal down. He hadn't done it single-handedly, of course, but he had been the catalyst, the one with the plan.
He'd put that plan into motion, and it had yielded results.
He didn't doubt that Hannibal would hatch plots against him, didn't doubt that the other man would simmer with the need for revenge. He had made a lifelong enemy.
That didn't really seem to matter at this point, though. Maybe he and Hannibal had always been enemies, and the uneasy friendship that had developed had been an illusion. He'd never felt completely comfortable with the man, not even at the beginning.
Had it really come as a shock to find out that Hannibal had been using him as a kind of experiment, that he'd been no more than a pawn in a psychopath's deadly game?
The fact of how he'd been used still made him shudder.
Hannibal had literally given him a potentially fatal disease, simply to find out how far he could be pushed. He could have died, and his so-called friend hadn't cared about that.
That monster had never truly been his friend. He knew that now. A friend wouldn't have framed him for murder -- and attempted to make him doubt himself.
The worst of it was that he had almost believed he'd killed Abigail -- before those dreams, or visions, or whatever they were, had set him straight. He had started to think that he was a murderer, that he either belonged in prison, or dead. Hannibal had nearly made him give up all hope.
He'd almost fallen into that deadly trap. But he had managed to climb up those steep walls, had managed to extricate himself from Hannibal's evil before he'd gone under.
But it had been a narrow escape. One that he was grateful for. Fortunately, he'd had the presence of mind, and the good sense, to listen to his better judgment.
Jack had told him, very firmly, that his part in this was done, that he should keep himself occupied during the time that the FBI would be taking Hannibal into custody. So he had come here, to this church, to seek some kind of peace of mind, though he'd know that he wouldn't find what he was looking for.
He wasn't even Catholic, Will thought with a grimace. Why had he felt that he would find any kind of succor here? It had been a ridiculous idea.
But still, he did feel calmer -- and for some strange reason, he felt safe within the confines of these walls. He felt as though no evil could touch him while he was here.
Of course, that wasn't true. Hannibal's evil knew no boundaries.
Here, he could feel safe, protected. Will wasn't sure just why he felt the need to be here at this moment, but it was enough for him to know that he did.
He'd lit two candles and put them where a lot of others were, on the altar at the front of the church. He didn't really know what his candles were meant to signify, but it felt right to put them there, to watch them begin to burn down. It felt right for him to sit here as afternoon turned into early evening.
Light turning to dark, day giving way to night. Those candles shone through the dark, giving him a sense of warmth and light, even though he was sitting a few feet away from them.
Still, the illusion of warmth was comforting, something he needed right now.
Time passed, the shadows in the church lengthening. Still Will sat there, watching the candles he'd lit burn down, their light flickering in the growing darkness.
He didn't know why he felt so reluctant to leave; maybe it was because he would have to go back to a situation he'd much rather be completely done with when he left this sanctuary.
He would have to testify in court, of course. And he knew that when he did, Hannibal's dark gaze would be boring into him as though that monster was seeing through him to his very soul, as though he was being judged and somehow found wanting, as though he had failed some sort of test.
Well, in Hannibal's eyes, he had failed. Hannibal had wanted him to become something monstrous, to follow in his footsteps like a carbon copy.
He would never have done that, especially not after he'd realized just what Hannibal was. He would have run as far from that as he could get, never surrendering to Hannibal's wishes.
In the end, that was just what he had done.
He'd run here, to this sanctuary, where he could light candles in the dark and feel safe and protected. But that time of sanctuary was passing quickly; he couldn't stay here for much longer.
He would have to go back out into the real world, face what he had caused to happen, and come out on the other side. He would do that, and even though he might be forever bruised and scorched by the experience, he would emerge from it the victor. He would have slain his demons.
That was what he'd have to take with him from this whole horrible experience, Will told himself firmly as he got to his feet. The fact that he'd made it through in one piece.
He had fought his battles, and he'd not only survived, but emerged the stronger for it.
Will took a deep breath, squaring his shoulders as he headed for the door of the church and turning his back on the candles that he'd left burning on the altar.
He'd needed this time alone, time to try to settle his thoughts, but now he had to return to the world -- and to the end of the story that he had to see through to its bitter end.
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