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Title: Judgment
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Table: writers_choice
Prompt: #114, Judge
Author's Note: Sequel to "Hands."
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.


"Who are you to judge me?"

Hannibal's tone was angry, more so than Will had ever heard it. If his nemesis was on the other side of those bars, the sound of that voice would frighten him.

But he had no reason to be afraid of Hannibal now, he reminded himself. He was safe; Hannibal was the one who was locked up, and he was the one who was free. He was on the outside, and Hannibal was a prisoner, exactly where he belonged.

He would spend the rest of his life behind those bars, and still, that wouldn't be enough to atone for all of his crimes. Not in Will's eyes.

Nothing could ever atone for all the evil that Hannibal Lecter had done.

And that thought wasn't just for himself, for all that he had suffered at this monster's hands, Will reiterated to himself. It was for all of Hannibal's victims, for all the ones who hadn't managed to get away, all the ones whose lives he had brutally taken.

And for what reason? So he could eat them, make them his meals, as though they were no better than pigs, or lambs to the slaughter?

The way that Hannibal looked at human beings was revolting. Will knew that he could never see other people in that way -- but then, Hannibal wasn't truly human, was he? He merely wore a human mask, and now that facade had been stripped away for good.

No one would ever be able to look at Hannibal in the same way again. He had gone too far, and now that his crimes were known, he would never escape the punishment.

Just putting him in jail wasn't punishment enough, Will thought, his fists clenching. He wanted to see this hideous monster suffer for all that he'd done, all that he'd put people through. Not only himself, but the families of all his innocent victims.

He turned his attention back to the man in front of him, focusing on Hannibal.

"You cannot judge me, because you don't know me," Hannibal intoned, his dark eyes meeting Will's candid blue gaze. "I gave you the opportunity to know me, Will. I would have let you see inside me. But you didn't want that. Instead, you betrayed me."

"You would never have let me see inside you," Will said softly, shaking his head. "You'd never have been able to reveal everything that you are to me. Never."

Hannibal tilted his head to the side, as though he was considering Will's words. Finally, after what seemed like an interminable silence, he nodded, then sighed. "Perhaps you are right, Will. But would you really have wanted to know?"

Will wasn't sure just how to answer that question.

Would he have wanted to know? Would he have wanted to see completely inside Hannibal, to tear away all the masks, pull down every facade that had been in place?

If he was honest with himself, the answer was a resounding no. He wouldn't have wanted to know everything about Hannibal. He would have wanted that mask to stay in place, not knowing what was behind it, still thinking that they were friends.

Friends? He almost wanted to snort at that word. Had they ever truly been friends? The things that Hannibal had done to him precluded any kind of friendship.

Hannibal had nearly caused his death by withholding the information about his encephalitis. And he hadn't done that out of any kind of friendship, that was for sure.

No, he had never been anything more to Hannibal than an interesting experiment. This monster might have thought that he could make some kind of human connection with him, but in reality, it would never happen. They were too different in their fundamental outlooks.

This .... this thing looked at people as though they were nothing more than food, inanimate objects meant for him to use and not give a second thought to.

Hannibal was an inhuman monster, and Will was nothing of the sort.

Maybe he was judging Hannibal, but damn it, after what he'd been put through, he had every right to do so. But he wasn't going to point that out to Hannibal; this monster he was facing wouldn't see it in that light. He still thought he'd had a right do do all that he'd done.

That was what was so incomprehensible to Will. How could anyone think that they had the right to treat someone the way that Hannibal had treated him?

How dare this hideous mistake of nature put forth the opinion that it had some kind of divine right to treat Will as an experiment, to use him and lie to him, and still call the two of them friends? How dare he think that he could ever have gotten away with it?

But the fact remained that Hannibal did think in such a way.

"I can judge you because I'm a better person than you are," he finally said, in answer to the question that his nemesis had asked. "I don't murder people and not give a damn about what I've done. I actually care about being a decent person."

Hannibal raised his brows, his eyes darkening with anger. It was obvious to Will that he hadn't said what this monster in front of him had expected to hear.

He'd probably thought that Will would say he had no right to judge, Will told himself. But he did have the right, just as the courts who had put Hannibal here in jail for the rest of his life did. He was nothing more than a criminal, and he should suffer for his crimes.

Will sincerely hoped that he would suffer, each and every day that he was incarcerated. He hoped that Hannibal would forever grieve the loss of his freedom.

He wanted Hannibal to feel as hopeless as he had felt when he was tossed into jail through the fabricated "evidence" that Hannibal had used to frame him. He wanted his enemy to know just how he had felt, and to know that Will had turned the tables on him.

He wanted Hannibal to feel exactly like the prisoner he was.

"You can't judge me," Hannibal proclaimed, his voice calm and quiet. "You have no idea who I am, Will. If you did, then you wouldn't presume to judge."

"I can judge what you've done to other people -- including myself. How you've treated them. That's my right, Hannibal. That's the right of anyone who you've committed crimes against," Will told him, his voice equally soft. "And that judgment has brought you to where you are."

"You know what it's like to be here." Hannibal's voice lowered even more, his gaze boring into Will's. "Do you really think I deserve this? The loss of my freedom?"

Will didn't hesitate for a single second.

"Yes," he said, his voice firm and strong. "You deserve it a thousand times over. And it still wouldn't be a harsh enough sentence for all the crimes you've committed against humanity."

He could see the surprise written on Hannibal's features; that monster hadn't expected him to say those words, had expected Will to be on his side. Was he insane? Will didn't think so. It was his hubris, his pride; it was simply the way he was made.

Hannibal would never see the error of his ways, never consider his disparagement of human beings as a crime. It would be sad, Will thought, if it wasn't so repulsive.

"You're barely human, Hannibal," he said, still keeping his voice very soft and low. "You aren't even close to anything I'd want to call human. I only do so because you're in a human body. But you're nowhere near even the worst human beings I've ever known. You're much worse than them."

With those words, he stood up without casting another glance at the man behind the bars; he turned and left the room without looking back.

He'd had enough. He didn't want to look at that reptilian face for another moment.

Yes, Hannibal Lecter deserved all that he'd gotten, and worse. To Will's way of thinking, he should have the death penalty, but that was, unfortunately, not on the table.

He did have a right to judge, as one of the people who Hannibal had tried to make a victim. He'd been lucky enough to escape those machinations, unlike most of Hannibal's other victims -- but not without having some terrible inner scars to show for it.

But he could overcome those scars, Will told himself. He was already well on his way to doing so, now that his nemesis was safely behind bars.

Oh, he could judge, all right. And in this case, he'd already pronounced the sentence.