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Title: Another Lonely Christmas
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 1,385
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.


It would be yet another Christmas of being alone.

Well, what of it? Will asked himself, lifting the glass of Scotch to his lips. He was used to being alone, wasn't he? In effect, he'd been alone all of his life.

Even when he was a child, and he had shared the holiday with his parents, his empathy had still made him feel that he was an outsider within his own family.

They had wanted him to hide that side of himself, hide who he was, and he hadn't known enough to do it. So he had been an outcast, a pariah, and he'd felt that ostracism most keenly at times like this. At the holidays, when he should have felt close to family and friends.

But the truth was, he'd had no real friends when he was a child, Will thought bleakly. He'd been an oddity, the neighborhood freak.

All of the kids he'd grown up with had looked at him in that way. And he was sure that a lot of people still did, even though adults were better at hiding it.

He had never been accepted, and very likely, never would be.

He shouldn't let that bother him. After all, he was more than used to being lonely. And besides, he had his dogs, didn't he? He wasn't completely alone.

But as much as he loved his pets, they couldn't talk to him. They couldn't give him the kind of love he craved, the love that could coem from one special person.

He had no one in his life to give him that kind of love, and in a way, that broke his heart. The dogs could give him unconditional love, but it wasn't the same as having someone to give his heart and soul to -- someone to cuddle with at night, someone to keep him warm.

Of course, he'd closed himself off from all that, Will told himself with a sigh, taking another sip of Scotch. He had convinced himself that he was better off without emotion in his life.

But he was lying to himself, and he damn well knew it.

How much longer was he going to keep trying to talk himself into believing that he was better off alone, when his heart and soul screamed out for someone to share his life with? How much longer was he going to keep denying the fact that he was lonely?

The dogs were companions, yes, but their companionship could only go so far. He was missing out on having a real relationship, something that he'd never managed to do.

He had never trusted anyone enough to let himself fall in love. He'd been interested in a few people, but those feelings always faded away very quickly.

The only person who he'd felt drawn to lately was Hannibal Lecter. He didn't know why, but there was something about the man that made him feel as though he should reach out, try to bring Hannibal into his world. There was something there that intrigued him, drew him closer.

He couldn't put a name to that feeling. It definitely wasn't desire.

Or was it? The idea that he could actually want Hannibal, deep down inside, made his breath catch in his throat and his blue eyes widen in shock.

Will knew that he preferred men to women. He wasn't ashamed of that fact; it didn't bother him to know that he was a gay man. But desiring the man who was his psychiatrist and friend? That just .... well, it didn't seem right. And it could get Hannibal into a lot of trouble.

If he followed through on any kind of desire that he might be keeping buried, and Hannibal reached out to him in the same way -- he could be seen as unethical.

Even if Will took himself out of Hannibal's psychiatric care, if they didn't have sessions any more, he would still have met Hannibal when he was a patient.

Didn't that make it just as suspicious?

What if people realized how he felt, and started looking more deeply at his relationship with Hannibal? What if he let something slip and revealed that his interest was more than professional?

Yes, he could admit it to himself, if not to anyone else. He wanted to be more than a patient to Hannibal. He wanted more than the friendship that had been offered.

He couldn't help what he wanted, could he? Will sighed softly, lifting the glass of Scotch to his lips again. His feelings weren't something that he could put a lid on, shove down, or control. They were running wild, rampant, refusing to be held back.

Every time he went to a session with Hannibal, he was afraid that he would do or say something to give the other man a clue as to how he truly felt.

That would surely make Hannibal back away. He wouldn't want to keep seeing Will on a doctor/patient basis, or even a friendly one, if he knew the truth of those feelings.

There was no way that Hannibal could feel the same things for him.

Why would Hannibal want a man like him? Will thought with a sigh. He was rough around the edges -- too rough for someone like Hannibal to be interested in.

It was enough that Hannibal was friendly with him, and had been interested enough in his empathy to take him on as a patient. That would have to be enough.

He couldn't risk opening himself up to ridicule and rejection if he came clean to Hannibal about his feelings. It was better to nurture those feelings in private, in the darkness of his bedroom, in his dreams, than to let them out into the open and share them with anyone.

If he told Hannibal how he felt, Will was sure that their relationship, such as it was, would end abruptly. Hannibal would push him away and turn his back.

Everyone always had in the past, which was why he has spent more lonely Christmases than he could even begin to count. No one could accept him for who and what he was.

Not even someone who had promised to be his friend.

Then again, Hannibal knew all of his faults and foibles -- well, at least most of them -- and could see into his soul, whenever Will let him have a glimpse.

If Hannibal could be his friend with all that he already knew of him, and all that he'd seen of how torturous the paths of Will's mind were, didn't that bode well for a possible future?

He wasn't going to let himself think like that. If he did, then he would only inevitably be disappointed, and that was something Will didn't think he could deal with. It was better to let these feelings for Hannibal go unrequited than expose them to the man they were intended for.

He knew that he wouldn't be able to deal with Hannibal's rejection. No, it would be better to keep his emotions a secret, to hold them close to his heart and never reveal them.

They were his to hold, his to keep. Even the man he secretly yearned for didn't need to know about them. They were a priceless treasure that he had to guard carefully.

Even if it meant spending every Christmas, and every night of his life, alone.

Maybe in the future he could tell Hannibal how he felt, but right now, Will didn't feel that it was safe to do so -- either for his heart, or for anything else.

Who knew, though? He stood up, lifting the glass to his lips and draining the last of his Scotch before turning towards the kitchen to pour himself another glass.

He'd tell Hannibal. Someday. When the time felt right.

Until then, he would spend another lonely Christmas locked inside his self-imposed isolation.