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Title: Through the Valley of Death
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
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.
***He had stared death in the face, and he was still alive.
Will sighed as he lay in his hospital bed, looking up at the ceiling. It was so quiet here; he was used to solitude, but at the moment, he wanted some companionship.
He didn't like the feeling that Hannibal could come walking through that door at any moment, though he knew that was a slim possibility.
There were guards here in the hospital, of course. After Hannibal's attempt on both his life and Jack's, Will knew that neither of them would be left unprotected. No one was going to take the chance that Hannibal might be able to get to them and finish what he'd started.
He would be protected, and actually, being here in a hospital room was probably much safer for him than being alone at his home in Wolf trap.
At least he knew the dogs were all right; they were being taken care of. He'd been assured that they were safe, happy, and well-fed. He had no worries there.
His main worry was for himself -- and for Hannibal's future victims.
He was fairly sure that his nemesis wouldn't stay in the States now -- no, he would want to flee, to get out of the country and as far away from here as possible.
Which would make finding him that much harder, Will thought grimly. There was a huge world out there, and Hannibal could hide in any place that he chose. Though sooner or later, he would trip up and make a mistake that would lead Will and the FBI directly to him.
Hannibal was too arrogant to stay out of sight forever. He had too much hubris, too much confidence. And that pride, in the end, would be his undoing.
Will would make sure of that. He would bring Hannibal down.
That thought gave him a grim satisfaction, after his unsolicited, impulsive warning to Hannibal had caused such carnage the last time he'd been within the clutches of justice.
What had possessed him to do such a thing? Will still wasn't sure. It wasn't loyalty to Hannibal; he didn't feel the slightest bit of loyalty to a conscienceless murderer.
Or had he, at the time? He had to wonder about that. After all, Hannibal was the person who had seemed to understand him, the one who had taken the time to get under his skin, to look behind the mask that Will always kept firmly in place.
Hannibal was the only person who had cared enough about him to do that. Or at least it had seemed at the time that he'd cared.
Hannibal was a serial killer. He wasn't capable of caring about anyone.
Realistically, Will knew that. But he couldn't reconcile the person who had been his friend with the person who had framed him for murder -- and who had killed all of those innocent people and then eaten them. They didn't seem like one and the same.
Yet, they were, and he knew it all too well. Hannibal was a murderer, and unless he was stopped, a lot more people were going to die.
Will knew that he couldn't, in good conscience, leave things as they were. He had to finish this, had to see it through to the bitter end.
He had walked through the valley of death, and he had come of that long, dark tunnel on the other side. But he had seen far too many unsettling, disturbing things to ever be able to rest easily again until Hannibal was caught and put behind bars.
The one thing he'd seen that haunted him the most was Abigail's death.
Will swallowed hard, closing his eyes. That was going to be the hardest thing of all to get over, seeing the man who was his greatest enemy murder the girl who was like a daughter to him.
Of course, that was why Hannibal had done it. He had wanted to show Will just how much he had lost by not bowing down to Hannibal as his lord and master.
He would never do that, Will told himself fiercely, his hands clenching into fists on the covers by his sides. He wasn't some puppet to be manipulated and controlled by a remorseless killer. He was his own man, with his own mind. Hannibal didn't own him.
Hannibal would have something different to say about that, he thought with an inward snort. Hannibal seemed to think that he had completely control over Will.
That was what Abigail's murder had been about. Exerting control.
Will knew very well that Hannibal had left him alive, missing his most important internal organs, for a reason. Hannibal intended for him to suffer even more.
Hannibal saw what he had done as a betrayal. Will simply saw it as the right thing to do, though he knew that Hannibal would never view his actions in that light .Hannibal expected Will to make sacrifices, to give up all that he believed in, to betray himself and his own conscience.
Well, he wouldn't do that, and he had proven it. He had stood up to Hannibal -- but look where it had gotten him. Flat on his back in a hospital bed.
He had stared into the valley of death, but he was still alive.
He had been left alive only so he could be made to suffer. He knew that. But he wasn't going to let Hannibal get to him. Not in that way. Not any more.
Never again would he let that monster be inside his head, he vowed. Never again would be view Hannibal as a friend, or someone who had his best interests at heart.
He'd been a fool in the past; because he had never really had many friends, he had been horribly naive and had thought that Hannibal actually cared about him. Well, he knew better now, and that was a mistake that he would never make again.
Not with anyone, he told himself, his fists clenching again. He had been so right to keep himself away from people and relationships for most of his life.
The experience with Hannibal had proven to him beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was meant to be a solitary man, going through life on his own, depending on no one but himself.
That was the way it had always been, and the way it would continue to be.
That was what he had always felt most comfortable with, and he'd been a fool to step out of the confines of that comfort zone. From now on, he'd stay well within those limits.
He wasn't going to step outside of his personal boundaries again when it came to building relationships. He had been so right in feeling that they were for others -- not him. He would rather be on the outside looking in than go through that kind of soul-twisting again.
The loss of Abigail, the wrench of seeing her die, had taken away any need he might have had to get close to anyone else again. He was done with all of that.
He only had one goal now. To see Hannibal Lecter in prison.
And he would achieve that goal, Will vowed to himself, his inner voice firm and strong. He had come through the valley of death intact for that very purpose.
He wouldn't stop until that purpose had been completed. And then, he could go about the rest of his life in peace, with the satisfaction of knowing that he'd achieved a lofty goal.
He would achieve that goal.
And this time, he wouldn't have to walk through the valley of death to make it happen.
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