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Title: The World on His Shoulders
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Author's Note: Sequel to "Rising To the Surface."
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.
"Perhaps those memories are better off buried."
Will shook his head, taking a sip of coffee before putting his mug down and regarding Hannibal soberly from across the table. "Not the ones from last night."
"I wasn't referring to those memories," Hannibal said, raising his brows. There was something about the tone of his voice, the expression on his face, that made Will wary.
Hannibal's voice was too smooth, too prepared; it felt as though he already had stock answers to anything that Will might say. He couldn't help but feel that his lover was hiding something about what had happened last night, and he wanted to know what it was.
"What exactly happened last night?" he asked, frowning, unconsciously clenching one hand on the table. "I don't have any memory of what went on after dinner."
Hannibal shook his head, sighing as he poured syrup on his pancakes. "I told you, Will. We read for a while and went up to bed. You were tired. You fell asleep quickly."
The tone he spoke in brooked no argument; for Hannibal, the subject was closed.
Will felt as though he was being pushed aside, anything that he could say negated by Hannibal's attitude. It made him feel annoyed -- and contentious.
But he didn't want to start and argument, not this early in the morning. And besides, Will asked himself, was it really all that important to know about last night?
Whatever had happened, it obviously hadn't been anything important. Maybe he and Hannibal had made love, or maybe he was just imagining things. Though he didn't think that he was; the sensations in his body told him that they'd been intimate.
"Hannibal ...." Will swallowed hard, then decided to ask. "Did we make love last night? Because if we did, I don't have any memory of it at all."
Hannibal looked surprised, his brows rising again.
"Of course we did," he said, his voice very soft. "I am surprised that you don't remember it, Will. It was quite lovely. But you have been very stressed lately."
Will nodded slowly, agreeing with Hannibal's words. His boyfriend was right; he had been terribly stressed lately, so it probably wasn't all that surprising that he couldn't remember what they had done. Still, he couldn't help feeling more than a little guilty about it.
"I'm sorry that I can't remember," he said, his voice very soft. "I wish I could. I hate to think that we made love and I don't have any memory of it."
"It's quite all right, Will," Hannibal said with a smile that seemed genuine. "It was a wonderful experience, and I am quite sure that it was as good for you as it was for me."
"I'm sure it was," Will said, unable to keep the flush of shame from coloring his normally pale cheeks. He didn't know why it was so important to him to remember every moment of what had happened last night. It would all come back to him, surely?
"Will, you seem to have the weight of the world on your shoulders lately," Hannibal told him, reaching across the table to place his hand over Will's. "That worries me."
There was no denying the sincerity in his lover's voice.
"If I wasn't so stressed, I'm sure I'd remember last night," Will admitted, not moving his hand away. "I feel bad that I can't. I should be able to."
Hannibal shook his head, the movement quick and decisive. "Will, lovemaking is a way to relieve stress. A very good one, I must say. I am sure that you'll remember, in time." He squeezed Will's hand, then let go, his gaze not wavering from his young lover's face.
Will heaved a sigh, shrugging his shoulders as he took another sip of coffee. "I hope so. I don't like to think of missing anything that the two of us do together."
"The memory is there in your body, and in the back of your mind," Hannibal told him, speaking softly. "That memory will come forward when it is ready to do so."
Will could do nothing but nod, and hope that Hannibal was right.
It just bothered him not to know. There were flashes of memory, bits and pieces, but that was all. There was no coherent memory of what they had shared.
He could remember walking in the garden -- couldn't he? Though for some reason, it felt as though he had been alone there, that Hannibal wasn't by his side.
Will frowned, putting down his fork. That couldn't be right, not at all. If he'd taken a walk in the garden, then he knew that Hannibal would have been right there with him, probably making comments about the flowers growing there and the ones that he was thinking of planting.
He wanted to push that thought to the side, to not let it grow and take shape in his mind. The idea that for some reason, Hannibal hadn't been in the garden with him.
But that had to be wrong. Unless he had gone out into the garden while Hannibal was putting their dinner dishes into the dishwasher, he told himself. Maybe that was the case.
Well, it wasn't something that he had to think about now.
Will knew that he couldn't push the niggling doubts out of his mind that easily. He would replay them, over and over, worrying them like a dog with a bone.
Was it possible that the memory was just hidden under a bank of clouds, and it would come out once his mind was clearer? He hoped that was the case.
He didn't want to think that the memory of what had passed between himself and Hannibal the night before was completely gone, that it would never surface. He didn't doubt that it had been good for him, as his lover had said; sex with Hannibal was always good.
But it bothered him that he couldn't remember what they'd done. It was as though there was a huge puzzle piece missing, and he desperately wanted to slide it into place.
He hated the feeling that a part of him was incomplete; it was bad enough to know that was the case when it came to whoever had attacked him while he was sleepwalking.
He didn't need yet another mystery to add to the first one.
It was enough that he was trying to deal with bringing those elusive memories back into his mind. He didn't need more to join them in some uncharted wilderness.
Will sighed softly, shaking his head as he looked at his boyfriend. "I keep saying that I don't want those memories of the night I was attacked to come back, but I think I do," he said slowly. "But I want the ones from last night to come back more. I wish they would."
"I think they will eventually come back to you," Hannibal told him, his gaze catching and holding Will's. "Just give it some time, Will. The stress could be blocking them."
Will nodded, hoping that what his boyfriend said was correct.
If not, then he was in for some tough times ahead, he thought with a sigh. He would go over and over last night again in his mind, trying to bring memories to the surface.
He hoped that wouldn't be as hard to do as bringing the memories of the night that he was attacked back into the forefront of his mind was proving to be.
Hannibal was right. He was far too stressed.
He did feel as though he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. And Will knew that weight would be there until he had some answers, when those memories finally surfaced.
He smiled at his boyfriend, trying to lighten the moment, and his thoughts. "You're right. I've been stressing too much lately, and I've got a lot of weight on my shoulders. I need to stop worrying so much, don't I? If I don't, then the stress is just going to pile up and get worse."
Hannibal nodded, a small smile playing around the corners of his lips. "That is exactly right, Will. You need to try to relax. That will make the memories easier to access."
Will nodded, forcing a smile to his lips, though he didn't feel like smiling at all.
He desperately hoped that he'd be able to access his memories sometime in the near future -- all of them, including what had taken place last night.
If he didn't, then he was just going to keep adding to the stress he felt, adding to the weight that was already heavy on his slender shoulders.
A weight that would crush him if at least part of it didn't dissipate.
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