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Title: Delicate Flame
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Table: Quotables, Part 2, tv_universe
Prompt: "Love. It's like a delicate flame. And once it's gone, it's gone forever."
Author;s Note: Sequel to "Not Afraid of You."
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 was hard to believe that he'd ever thought he could love Hannibal.

Oh, it had never been a physical love. He'd never felt that way about Hannibal, even though he was attracted to men as well as women.

He'd just never been attracted to Hannibal in a sexual way. No, he had loved the other man as a friend, as someone he felt that he could completely trust.

How wrong he had been about that, Will thought, with an inward snort. Hannibal had been the last person he should have trusted, the one person he knew who would throw him to the lions and watch with curiosity to see just how they would tear him apart.

He had put his trust in the wrong place, and he'd been lucky that his actions hadn't been fatal for him. He'd escaped, but he would always have the scars to show for it.

Both emotional and physical scars, he thought as his hand drifted to his stomach, tracing along the ridge of scar tissue that Hannibal's knife had left.

Those scars weren't nearly as bad as the emotional ones, though.

Will pushed that thought away as quickly as it came into his head. He didn't want to think about his last face-to-face meeting with Hannibal, or what had transpired then.

He didn't want to remember what Hannibal had done to him. There was enough of that in his dreams, the memories coming back to him when he slept.

His unconscious mind unfurled those memories night after night; there had been several nights in a row now when he had awoken in a cold sweat, sure that he could still feel the ropes around his wrists and ankles, Hannibal's hands on his bare flesh, Hannibal forcing himself inside his body.

Will shuddered, running a hand over his face. It still seemed so close, as though it had happened only yesterday, even though it had been weeks ago.

He should be over it by now. He would get over it. But he was changed forever by the experience, and he knew that he would never be the same person that he'd been before.

Rape changed anyone. But to be raped by someone who he had thought was his friend, someone he'd cared for at one time .... that had been an experience that cut deep into his soul. Of course, he hadn't still cared for Hannibal at that point, but he did regret how their friendship had died.

He'd had a kind of love for Hannibal, the love of one friend for another, a trust that had taken time and effort to build up. It hadn't been easy for him to give that trust.

The love that he'd had for Hannibal had been a delicate flame, one that had taken time to spark. And once that love was gone, it was gone forever. It could never come back.

Hannibal had made sure of that by his own actions.

If there had been any lingering regrets over his friendship with Hannibal crumbling into nothingness, there weren't any now. Will knew that he had an enemy, a very dangerous one.

Hannibal had already proven that he was willing to do anything, no matter how depraved, to bring Will down. He had no reverence for any human life -- including Will's.

The flame that had sparked between them had been snuffed out when Will was in prison, when he had realized just what Hannibal had done to him. And Hannibal's actions had only kicked more dirt on that flame, to be sure that it was dead in every way and would never burn again.

It was a friendship that had never really existed, Will thought with a sigh. It had been one-sided, never truly returned. Hannibal had never had real feelings for him.

Of course he hadn't. He was a serial killer, a conscienceless murderer. He wasn't capable of finer feelings; it simply wasn't in his psychological makeup.

The only thing he'd ever felt for Will was curiosity, and a need for someone to use.

He had been an experiment to Hannibal, nothing more, Will thought bitterly. His friendship had never truly been wanted; he had just been a toy to play with.

He'd been tossed away when Hannibal was done with him, and then his nemesis had come back for one last time for one final cruel act before he had vanished into the ether.

That flame had been doused more effectively than he could have ever dreamed it would be. At one point, there might have been a chance for some forgiveness, even after all that Hannibal had done. But now? Now there was only a block of ice where Will's heart had once resided.

That delicate flame of friendship would never burn again, and there was no reason to try to bring it back to life. Now, the only flame that burned within Will was a slow simmer of anger.

He would have his vengeance. He would see Hannibal behind bars, and he would stand there on the other side of them and gloat. He would have his satisfaction.

Yes, any hint of a spark was indeed gone forever, he thought grimly.

Hannibal had made sure of that. He had snuffed out that delicate flame ruthlessly, maliciously.

And good riddance to it.