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Title: Earning His Trust
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Sequel to "How He Truly Feels."
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 watched Hannibal as the other man took a seat across from him.

"So, Will, what shall we talk about tonight?" Hannibal inquired, leaning back in his chair and crossing his legs. "I'm open to discussing anything you like."

"What's on your mind, Hannibal?" Will countered, trying not to sound too eager. He didn't need to give this man the impression that he wanted to get inside his head for a change.

"Will, this is your session, not mine," Hannibal protested with a small smile. "You are the one who tells me about your feelings, and we talk about what is on your mind. You may not be my patient officially, but I believe that you are more in need of therapy than ever."

"After what you did to me, yes, I probably am," Will admitted, his own smile thin and fleeting. "You know it was wrong, Hannibal. You need to admit that."

"Perhaps it was wrong in the eyes of the world, but not in what I am trying to do for you." Hannibal's voice was strong, firm. "I am trying to rebuild you, Will."

"In your image." Will's voice was flat, emotionless. "I know that."

"You have to trust me, Will," Hannibal said softly. "You must believe that I have only the best of intentions. I want to set you free. I believe that is best for you."

Yeah, sure you do, Will told himself. You want to turn me into a carbon copy of yourself, so I can become the same kind of monster you are. Not on your life, buddy. We might all have good and evil inside us, but in me, the good wins out. I'm nothing like you.

But aloud, he only said, "I'm still not sure about that, Hannibal. You have yet to completely win my trust. I'm working on it, but it's going to take some time."

Hannibal nodded, looking unruffled by Will's words -- even pleased.

"I understand that, Will," he said. "I did not expect you to trust me -- or to trust that I have the best intentions for you -- so soon. I know that trust takes time. It must be earned."

Well. He hadn't expected that from Hannibal. He'd thought that Hannibal would demand trust from him, that he would have to prevaricate and say that he trusted Hannibal to a point -- which he most decidedly did not -- or make up some incident that might gain Hannibal his trust.

When Hannibal was at his most pleasant and charming, Will knew that was when he was least to be trusted. He'd given Hannibal his trust before, and look where it had gotten him.

He wasn't going to be so stupid again. Hannibal counted on that, counted on him being trusting and unwary. He knew better now. He'd learned his lesson well.

He knew that there was nothing trustworthy about Hannibal, and nothing decent about his motives. This man was evil to the core; there was nothing about him that was good or honest. WIll knew that he'd been a fool to trust Hannibal in the past, but fortunately, that past was behind him.

He was going to make this man give him some kind of confession about what he was. He was going to be the victor in this game, the most important game of his life.

Hannibal had won last time. He wouldn't win again.

Will knew that he could never trust this man again, no matter what Hannibal might protest to the contrary. He'd been foolish to do so before, to his own detriment.

It was the hardest thing in the world for him not to jump to his feet, fists clenched, and tell this monster directly to his face how much he was hated. But he couldn't afford to do that; he had to be discreet, had to be careful. Right now, Hannibal still had the deck stacked in his favor.

But all it would take was one little slip, Will told himself. One small mistake, and Hannibal would fall into his hands. He counted on this man making that mistake.

Sooner or later, Hannibal would slip up.

He hoped that it would be sooner; he was running out of time, and he knew it. Jack and the FBI would only wait so long before they'd give up on Will's plan.

He had to get that confession, had to make Hannibal trust him enough to let his true intentions be made known. He just had to get an admission of even one crime Hannibal had committed.

That wasn't going to be easy. He'd known it ever since he had formulated this plan in his mind. But somehow, he'd do it. He had no choice now. He was too far into the game to give up. He didn't want to pull back and try to find some other way of bringing this monster to justice.

So he merely nodded in response to Hannibal's words, forcing himself to relax back into his chair. "Yeah, you have to earn my trust again. It might take a while."

Hannibal nodded, looking serious. "I realize that, Will. And I am prepared to earn your trust. Simply tell me what I must do, and I'll try my best."

Well. That was definitely lobbing the ball back into his court, wasn't it?

The truth was, he didn't exactly know what to tell Hannibal about winning his trust. How was he supposed to do that without giving his real feelings away?

And then .... it came to him. The perfect way to get a confession, and to convince Hannibal that he needed to do all that he could to earn Will's trust. It was so simple. Why hadn't he thought of it before? It would have made this pretense a lot easier -- and a lot shorter.

Leaning forward, he fixed Hannibal with a steady gaze. "Tell me all about what you are, and why. If I'm going to become the image of you, I need to just what I'm going to be."

He waited, holding his breath, wondering what Hannibal would say next.

The other man's words came slowly, as though he was picking and choosing them carefully. Words that Will needed to hear, words that he hoped would give him the evidence he needed.

"All right, Will. I suppose that you do deserve to know just what you're meant to become. It's time that you knew all about me .... and why I am who and what I am."

That was what he had needed to hear. Exactly those words.

Now, it just remained to be seen if Hannibal would follow through on them.