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Title: Easy Way Out
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Table: Quotables, Part 2, tv_universe
Prompt: "I did it because it was easy. It was a mistake. There were other paths, harder paths. And I wish I had taken them."
Author's Note: Sequel to "That Day Hasn't Come."
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.


"I still find it strange that you fell in love with Hannibal."

Will glanced over at Jack, but he didn't say anything. There really wasn't much of anything to say; sometimes he found that fact hard to believe, too.

But he had fallen in love, and he was still trying to get over the fact that his life had gone down in flames, and there was nothing left but ashes.

He kept telling himself that he could put his life back together, that losing the man he'd loved, turning him in to the authorities, wasn't the end of the world. If only he could believe those words, he thought with an inward sigh. But they still rang false, falling flat upon his ears.

Why had he loved Hannibal? That was an easy question to answer, really. He'd fallen in love because Hannibal had completely accepted him, exactly the way he was.

Hannibal hadn't wanted to change him. He hadn't turned away from Will's abilities; Hannibal hadn't seen him as some kind of freak of nature.

Hannibal had been intrigued by him, interested in all that he was.

Of course, he knew now that his former lover's interest had only been in the academic sense; he doubted that Hannibal had ever truly loved him, not in the way that Will had loved.

Hannibal was a serial killer. He was a murderer, someone who had very little regard for human life. People like him weren't capable of love, of finer feelings.

It still shook Will to his core to know what his former boyfriend had done; Hannibal might say that he had done it in the name of love, but Will knew that in his heart, he could never believe that. The murders that Hannibal had committed were too violent, too horrific, to be about love.

His faith in that institution of the heart had been shaken, and he knew that it would never be the same again. He also knew that he would never love in the same way again.

He would never find anyone else who had accepted him the way that Hannibal had. That wholehearted acceptance came along once in a lifetime, if ever.

That wasn't something that could be duplicated within another person, and he knew it. Oh, he might develop some kind of relationship in the future; he might even be able to fool himself into believing that he was happy. But there was a crack in his faith, and he knew that it would keep widening.

Hannibal had changed him forever, and he would never be able to see life in quite the same way again. He was forever changed, and not, he thought, for the better.

"I still can't believe I fell in love with him, either," he murmured in response to Jack's words, even though he was sure that the other man didn't expect him to say anything.

"Why did you do it, Will/" Jack whispered. "Why did you let yourself fall?"

He wanted to say that he didn't know why he'd fallen for Hannibal, but he did. He knew exactly why, though a part of him was ashamed to admit the true reason.

It hadn't been because he was so deeply in love. He wouldn't be ashamed of loving, even if it was more than obvious that he'd chosen the wrong person to fall in love with.

"I did it because it was easy," he whispered, his voice a broken thread of sound in the quiet of Jack's office. "It was a mistake, and I know it was." He swallowed hard, closing his eyes, as though to block out his own words. "There were other paths, harder paths. And I wish I had taken them."

Any path would be better than the one he had chosen to take, the one that had led him to Hannibal's bed. But that had been the easiest thing to do, to follow his own desires.

Something had told him that he was doing the wrong thing, but he hadn't wanted to listen to that sobering voice of reason. Instead, he'd pushed it away, paid no attention to it.

And he would regret doing that for the rest of his life.

He had taken the easy way out by letting himself fall in love, but now that it was over, there was no easy way out of the emotional quagmire he'd become immured in.

Because, in spite of everything that he knew about Hannibal, he still loved the other man. He was sure that he would be in love until the day he died.

"There's no easy way out of love," he whispered, unable to hold the words back. "I was a fool to let myself fall, and I know that. But how do you come back from that? How do you start over when everything you wanted has crumbled to dust? I don't know where to go from here."

Jack shook his head, sighing softly. "I wish I knew what to tell you, Will. But just like there's no easy way out, there are no easy answers to what you're asking."

Will nodded slowly, looking away from Jack. He knew that there were no real answers to his questions. If there were, then he'd have to find them for himself, not expect to get them from someone else.

He suspected that he'd be looking for those answers for a very long time.