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Title: Leaving No Clues Behind
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Table: writers_choice
Prompt: #636, Search
Author's Note: One-shot.
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.


Where had Hannibal and Bedelia gone?

They had disappeared into thin air, leaving no clues behind.

Will worried over the puzzle as he lay in his hospital bed, wishing that he had some kind of clue as to where those two could be. But they'd left him no hints. None at all.

He was mystified as to where they could be hiding. All he wanted to do was to find them both, and put them behind bars where they belonged.

What had made him warn Hannibal that Jack and the FBI were closing in on him? he asked himself. And how many times had he laid here as he recuperated slowly, cursing himself for being so stupid? There was no reason for him to have done that. He was a fool.

Had he let some kind of misplaced feeling of loyalty to Hannibal lead him into doing something that he knew was foolish even as he was doing it?

Or had he just wanted to have something of a sense of fair play? With a soft groan, Will closed his eyes, leaning his head back against the cool, comfortable pillows.

He would probably never know why he'd done what he had.

Jack had berated him for it once he'd confessed his actions, but he had also added that Will had suffered enough for making that particular mistake.

And he was right about that, Will thought, wincing. He would carry the scar from being gutted and nearly having his intestines spilled onto the floor for the rest of his life.

Of course, Hannibal hadn't killed him. That would have been too easy. No, the bastard had obviously wanted him to live; he wanted to continue to taunt Will with the knowledge that he was out there, roaming around free in the world, and killing more innocent people.

Hannibal knew that would continue to eat away at him -- the fact that his own actions had freed that monster to continue preying on innocents.

How many times had he told himself what a fool he was?

Too many, Will thought with a soft sigh. And yet, he had still done it. He regretted those actions now, more than he had ever regretted anything. They'd had Hannibal within their net; all he would have had to do was let it pull tight around the other man.

Hannibal would have been caught, and there would have been no way for him to fight free. He could have even been killed in a hail of bullets.

After all, the FBI was good at shooting first and asking questions later.

Will had to admit that something within him would have hated to see that, even after all that Hannibal had done to him, both physically and emotionally.

He knew that Hannibal wasn't his friend, and never had been. To Hannibal, he was only a kind of experiment, a way to see just how much he could twist someone until they finally broke under the pressure of what he was doing to them. So far, he hadn't broken.

But he knew that it could have easily happened.

No, he wouldn't have let it happen, Will told himself firmly. He was stronger than anyone gave him credit for. He wouldn't have let Hannibal destroy him.

He had gained some knowledge of himself while he was in the Baltimore State Hospital For the Criminally Insane. He had discovered just how strong he could be -- and also, how devious his mind was. Maybe not as devious as Hannibal's, but he was, after all, still learning.

He would need to be a lot more devious in his dealings with Hannibal, particularly if he was to find his nemesis again and bring him to justice.

But he would do that, Will vowed. He would never stop the search for Hannibal; he would track him down, and finally put him behind bars once and for all.

Of course, that would be a lot harder than it might appear.

Hannibal and Bedelia had left no trace of themselves behind other than the homes they had lived in. Their personal effects were gone; it was as though they had never been there.

This probably wasn't the first time they'd had to run, Will thought grimly. He wanted to know exactly what it was that the two of them shared, what held them together.

Love? Of course not. Serial killers weren't capable of that emotion; that was one of the first things he had learned when he'd begun profiling. Hannibal didn't love Bedelia, nor she him. They were merely using each other. They were ..... convenient for each other's purposes.

Well, for the time being, that was. When either of them became inconvenient for the other, then one of them would die. It was just a question of which one, and when.

But he was fairly sure that it wouldn't be Hannibal. No, he would never allow a woman to be the end of him. He would consider that undignified.

Will lips twisted in a parody of a smile.

Hannibal thought that the search for them would come up against a brick wall, stymied at every turn. He thought that Will would eventually give up.

But he would never do that. He would track Hannibal down if it was the last thing he did -- and he would force a confrontation between them.

He would be the one to come out of that final confrontation alive. He would make sure that he did. He wasn't going to give in to that monster; now that the wool had been pulled from his eyes, he saw Hannibal in a light that he never had before.

He knew just how far that monster would go to win any battle that he might find himself in. And he knew that any words of friendship that Hannibal might speak meant nothing.

They weren't friends. They never had been. A friend would never have done what Hannibal had done to him -- not only physically, but emotionally as well.

A friend wouldn't have killed someone he cared for.

That was why he was going to search for Hannibal until he found him, to the ends of the earth if need be. He had to avenge Abigail's death.

He had to feel some kind of closure within himself. If he didn't, then he would be haunted by those last moments of her life for the rest of his days; as it was, he knew that he would never be able to forget the image of the girl he'd thought of as his adopted daughter dying before his eyes.

That would be seared onto his memory forever. It wasn't a sight that he could ever make disappear; it would be there until time immemorial.

He would never forget the sight -- or his own pain at witnessing it.

There was nothing he could do about it now, not while he was here in the hospital. He was still too weak to start the search. But he wouldn't be here forever.

When he got out, when he had regained his strength, he would begin searching for Hannibal with a vengeance. And he would find the object of that search.

When he confronted Hannibal, only one of them would be the victor.

He didn't really care if Hannibal survived that confrontation or not.