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Title: Be My Downfall
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Author's Note: Sequel to "Candles in the Dark."
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.
***Will sat outside Hannibal's cell, staring at the other man.
This was disconcerting. It reminded him far too much of the times that he had spent in Hannibal's home, with this man acting as his psychiatrist.
It was too much like all of the times that they had sat in chairs across from each other, and Hannibal had waited patiently for Will to spill some secret, and then discuss it.
He didn't have to give up any more secrets. This man wasn't his doctor any more; Hannibal was now a prisoner, here in a jail cell for the rest of his life, convicted of horrible crimes against humanity. And Will had been the one to supply the proof that had finally brought him to justice.
He should be proud of that. He should take satisfaction in the knowledge that he had been the downfall of a merciless killer, someone who should be behind bars.
But a part of him would always feel guilty in some ways, even though he knew that he had done what was right. He had sacrificed the one for the good of the many.
Hannibal deserved to be here, and he knew it.
Still, a part of him grieved for the lost friendship that he knew he would never have again. No one would ever understand him the way that Hannibal had.
No one would ever look at him in the way that Hannibal did, as though he was some priceless work of art, as though his singular abilities made him something special and wondrous, not just some kind of freak of nature to be exploited and thrown away when he was no longer useful.
Hannibal had always seen him as someone to be prized, someone to be nurtured and teasured. He had just wanted to nurture the wrong aspects.
He sighed softly, finally lifting his head to look into Hannibal's eyes.
He'd expected to see pure hatred there, an acknowledgement of the fact that it had been Will who had put the other man here, behind bars that he could never break free of.
But there was only a deep sadness, a look of regret, on Hannibal's features. Will hadn't expected to see that; he also hadn't expected to see the slow smile that spread over Hannibal's face. What could this man possibly find to smile about? he asked himself. There was nothing good about his situation.
"I should have known that you would be my downfall, Will," Hannibal murmured, his voice barely above a whisper. "You seem to have won this round of our little game."
Game? Hannibal thought of all the murders he'd committed, the struggle that Will had been through to prove once and for all that Hannibal was a killer, as nothing more than a game?
He had to remind himself that Hannibal wasn't in touch with his emotions, that he had no empathy for other people, or any kind of respect for human life. He had to keep telling himself that Hannibal wasn't like other people, and that he didn't look at experiences like a normal human being would.
"I wish things could have been different," Will finally said, knowing that his words weren't entirely true. "But what you are made that impossible, Hannibal. You know that."
The other man merely shrugged, his smile still fixed in place.
Will was sure that Hannibal wasn't as nonchalant as he appeared to be; he didn't doubt that this man would plot against him in any way he could, even from a prison cell.
"I had thought that you would become my protégé, Will," Hannibal told him, leaning forward slightly from where he sat. "But you are not the person I was led to believe that you were. It was very clever of you to keep your plans hidden so well. I must admire you for that."
Will didn't know what to say; he was taken aback by Hannibal's words. He hadn't expected this; he had thought that Hannibal would threaten him in some way.
Or maybe this was meant to be an oblique, disguised threat.
He knew that he couldn't trust Hannibal, not even for a moment. There was nothing good or benevolent about this man. Hannibal was a killer through and through.
If the man sitting in front of him, behind those thick bars, had harbored any feelings of friendship towards him at one time, they had to be completely obliterated at this point.
Had Hannibal always known that Will would be his downfall, or had he discounted the possibility that he wouldn't be able to turn the man he'd tried so hard to control into what he'd wanted him to become? Will couldn't help but wonder if Hannibal had ever had those illusions.
He should have known that light would always triumph over darkness, Will told himself. He should have known that his evil wouldn't always have its freedom.
But no, Hannibal's hubris had been his real downfall. He'd thought that he could keep Will under his control -- and he had paid the price for having too much pride.
That price had been steep indeed, but he deserved to be where he was.
Will got to his feet, not wanting to say anything else, but feeling that he had to direct just one question at Hannibal, even though he knew there would be no answer.
"If you knew that I would be your downfall, then why did you even try to turn me into a carbon copy of yourself?" he asked, looking directly at the other man. "You knew that you would never win me over. And I don't think I ever fooled you for a second into believing that you were."
"That you didn't, Will," Hannibal told him, shaking his head. "I knew that it would come to this. But don't make the same mistake that I did, of having too much pride."
Will stared at him for a moment, then turned his back and walked away.
He could hear Hannibal's soft laughter following him, and he was sure that he could hear words that hadn't been spoken echoing in his mind, words that Hannibal had said to him in one of their sessions.
"Pride goeth before a fall, Will. And there are some falls that can be much harder than others, though they may take longer to take place. They will ultimately happen."
The memory of those words made him shudder.
Maybe he was destined to be Hannibal's downfall -- but Hannibal might be his, as well.
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