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Title: Only Hope
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Sequel to "Seen As A Victim."
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.


"We'll catch him, Will." Jack's voice was soft, yet determined. He put a hand on the younger man's shoulder, squeezing it gently. "He can't hide forever."

"I think you're underestimating Hannibal," Will said, his tone grim. "He has the whole world to hide in, and he might even already be out of the country."

Will sincerely hoped that his words weren't the truth.

More than anything, he wanted to put Hannibal Lecter behind bars, to find some way of punishing him for what he had done. Hannibal deserved a horrific punishment.

He was probably lucky to be alive, he told himself, shuddering at the remembrance of the last time he'd seen Hannibal. The memory was still far too fresh in his mind.

He'd expected a confrontation at some point, but he hadn't expected to be so completely helpless and unable to protect himself. He'd been taken unawares, trapped and brought to ground, just like a stag that was being hunted. Only Hannibal hadn't zeroed in for the kill shot just yet.

But he would. Will didn't doubt that for a moment. When he least expected it, Hannibal would be there, behind him, all around him, ready to deliver the killing blow.

He could never go for a walk in the woods again and feel safe. He could never relax when he was fishing in the lake near his house, for fear that Hannibal would be around.

That was exactly what Hannibal wanted.

He wanted to engender fear, to make Will feel that he was being watched all the time, to make him feel nervous and jumpy and on edge. He wanted to take Will's peace of mind away from him.

Will's lips thinned into a firm line as anger coursed through him. Hannibal wanted him to be fearful, to shut himself away from life. Well, he wouldn't let the bastard do that.

He wasn't going to be afraid to live. If he locked himself away, if he let his fears take him over, then Hannibal would win. He would be doing exactly what his nemesis expected of him,and he wouldn't give in to that. He wouldn't be what Hannibal expected; he would rise up and fight back.

He was no wilting flower to be used and thrown away. He wasn't the trash that Hannibal apparently thought he was; he was stronger than anyone gave him credit for.

He would get past this, even though it might be difficult. He wasn't going to let some psychotic murderer destroy his life, or his sense of self-worth.

"Don't let him get to you, Will," Jack told him, jerking Will out of his thoughts and back into the present moment. "You know that's what he wants. He wants to be in your thoughts, preying on you even when he's not around. Don't let him do that. You have to be strong."

"I will be, Jack," Will said, looking up at his boss with a wan smile. "I'm not going to let him break me. He may have tried, but he didn't succeed, I assure you of that."

"Good." Jack squeezed his shoulder again before letting go, nodding towards the doorway. "I need to leave for a while, but I'll be back. And Will? Don't give up hope."

Will nodded, taking a deep breath before he spoke again.

"Right now, I'm feeling like hope is about the only thing I have left," he said, his voice low, the words coming from his mouth honest and heartfelt. "I'm just holding on to it with everything I have."

"Keep doing that," Jack told him. "Will, we are going to get the bastard. And he'll have a rape charge added to everything else. He'll be put away for life."

"I know that." Will managed a smile as Jack left, watching the other man as he walked out of the door. Yes, Hannibal was going to be behind bars for hte rest of his life once he was caught. There was no way that he could commit all of those murders, as well as attack a Federal agent, and not pay for it.

But would that payment be enough? Will thought as he shifted uncomfortably in the hospital bed. Or would he always feel that Hannibal hadn't been made to suffer as he himself had?

He hadn't lied to Jack when he'd said that hope was all he had now. He could only hope that they would catch Hannibal, and the monster who had defiled him would pay for what he had done.

That was what he was living for at the moment.

He would be out of the hospital and back in his own home tonight; he wasn't going to stay here indefinitely. There was really nothing wrong with him at this point.

Will didn't know how he would feel about staying alone in his own home, but he was going to try to tough it out. Though he knew that he'd appreciate it if someone stayed with him, he couldn't ask Jack to do that. But maybe there was one other friend he could count on.

It would mean telling Bev what had happened, but he was sure that he could trust her to keep it to herself and not talk to anyone else. She wasn't the kind of person to gossip.

Yes, he could trust Bev. And he could talk to her.

Not many people would understand what he'd been through. They would think that he should have fought harder, that because he was a man, this shouldn't have happened to him.

But Bev wouldn't take that attitude. She would listen to him, and she would understand how he felt. She would be there for him, as a friend should be.

She would understand why he felt that only hope was keeping him going at the moment.

Clinging to that hope felt like the only lifeline he had left.