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Title: An Ocean of Darkness
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Table: Quotables, Part 2, tv_universe
Prompt: "It was a brief flicker of light amidst an ocean of darkness."
Author's Note: Sequel to "From Unpromising Beginnings."
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 looked across the dinner table at Hannibal, quirking an eyebrow.
"You've been awfully quiet tonight, Hannibal," he murmured, wondering why his boyfriend wasn't talking much. Usually, Hannibal was the one to initiate conversation.
But tonight, the other man seemed lost in thought -- and unless Will missed his guess, Hannibal actually seemed a bit nervous. He had no idea why that should be.
Was there something that Hannibal wanted to tell him? He could feel his stomach muscles tighten with anxiety; the only thing he could think of that Hannibal might want to say was that they couldn't go on like this, that their relationship was over and that they were better off just being friends.
Those weren't the words that Will wanted to hear. He was sure that if Hannibal said them, a part of him would crumble into dust and die -- the part of him that wanted to trust again.
Hannibal was the first person he'd felt that he could trust in a very long time. The first person that he had ever given himself to, and the only one he trusted with his heart.
He couldn't bear the thought of that trust being turned away.
He couldn't bear the thought of losing Hannibal. Not being with this man would leave a hole in his heart, in his life, one that he would never be able to fill again.
Will's breath caught in his throat; he could almost feel tears burning behind his eyes. No, he wasn't going to cry; after all, he didn't yet know what Hannibal wanted to say to him. Maybe he was looking on the dark side for no reason, and he had nothing to be afraid of. Maybe he was just being paranoid.
All he could do was sit here and wait patiently, let Hannibal gather his thoughts and put them into words. And hope that whatever he lover said would be something that he wanted to hear.
His gaze met Hannibal's, his blue eyes wide in anticipation.
"I have been thinking of how to say something to you," Hannibal replied, his voice very soft. "I am not quite sure how to put this so that it will sound .... right."
"Just say it," Will told him, feeling as though his heart had just leapt into his throat. "Whatever it is, just get it out in the open, Hannibal. I knew that you had something on your mind, and I need to know what it is. Even if it's something bad, I'd rather know and be able to deal with it."
Hannibal laughed softly, shaking his head. "I hope that this is nothing bad, Will," he said, a smile on his lips. "Quite the contrary. I hope it is something that you will want to hear."
"Whatever it is, it sounds like you've been thinking about it for a while," Will said, feeling cautiously optimistic. It didn't sound as though Hannibal intended to break up with him.
"I have," the other man stated, his voice succinct. "What I want to say is this, Will." He leaned forward, gazing into Will's eyes, clasping his hands on the table in front of him. "I don't know of any other way to say it, other than to be direct and honest. I am in love with you, Will." He paused, then said it again. "I love you."
Will's eyes widened even more, the shock of Hannibal's words running through him. He knew that his jaw had dropped, and he briefly, inanely, wondered how that made him look.
Of all the things he'd expected to hear, this wasn't one of them.
These words were all that he'd needed to hear, all that he'd hoped Hannibal would say, and they still felt unreal to him. It was taking a while for their meaning to sink in.
Hannibal loved him. Hannibal actually returned his feelings. He hadn't thought that would be possible; he had thought that their involvement wouldn't last, that Hannibal would find someone far more interesting -- not to mention more socially acceptable -- than he was.
But these words proved otherwise. Knowing that Hannibal loved him was something that he could hold on to, a feeling that he could keep close to his heart.
It was a brief flicker of light amidst an ocean of darkness.
That light would keep growing as he moved towards it, the brief flicker becoming a beacon of hope. He would keep reaching out for it until he held it within his grasp.
"And you, Will? How do you feel about me?" Hannibal asked, his voice still quiet, but increasing in intensity. Hie eyes seem to bore into Will's, a relentless gaze that he couldn't look away from.
Will swallowed hard, then found himself answering almost before he could formulate the words in his mind. "I love you, Hannibal," he whispered, then said it again, his voice gathering strength. 'I love you. I've loved you for a long time, I just didn't know how to say it before -- or even if I should."
The light that suffused Hannibal's face as his smile grew almost seemed blinding. Will didn't think that he'd ever seen his lover look so incredibly happy.
"Oh, you should have said it, Will," he murmured, never taking his gaze from Will's face. "You definitely should have. And I'm so very glad you did. More than I can say."
With that, he reached across the table, taking Will's hand in his own.
Just one touch of his lover's hand, and the darkness seemed to melt away. There was nothing but a bright, blinding light -- the light of happiness, Will told himself.
All of his doubts fell away; it was as though a wall that had been standing between them had finally crumbled to the ground, and they would never have to deal with it again. They each loved, and were loved. The knowledge washed over them both, rendering them silent.
No longer was the hope of Hannibal's love only a brief flicker in the ocean of darkness that surrounded him. That darkness was gone forever; the only thing that remained was the light and the love.
Will hoped that love would be there forever, and never fade back into that darkness.
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