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Title: Vulnerability
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Will Graham/Everett Hobbs (Original Character)
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Table: Quotables, Part 2, tv_universe
Prompt: "No matter what you change of your past .... one thing shall remain the same -- who you are. And that is a fate you can never escape."
Author's Note: Everett's face is Benedict Cumberbatch.
Disclaimer: This is entirely a product of my own imagination, and I make no profit from it. I do not own the lovely Will Graham or Lee Fallon, unfortunately, just borrowing them for a while. Please do not sue.


He couldn't change the past, or who he was.

Everett leaned his head against his hand, closing his eyes. He was going over all of the paperwork he had on Hannibal yet again, but coming up with nothing new.

He knew that Hannibal was responsible for untold numbers of murders. He knew that Hannibal was the killer that the FBI was searching for.

Hannibal was the Chesapeake Ripper. He knew it in his heart and soul, just as Will did, but they had no way to prove their knowledge. Hannibal had covered his tracks too carefully, and more than that, he had managed to ingratiate himself with the law here. They were on his side.

Yes, Will had been proven innocent, but Everett knew that a cloud of suspicion would always hang over him. People would remember that he'd once been in jail.

A murder accusation didn't just go away, even when the person was cleared of all charges. The only way to prove Will's innocence conclusively was to arrest the real killer.

This experience would change Will's life forever.

Everett sighed again, feeling a wave of helplessness wash over him. All of this had changed his life, too. He'd changed as a person, more than he'd thought he would.

He wasn't the same person he had been before Hannibal Lecter had wreaked havoc on his life. He was harder, more irascible, more determined. He had grown a thick skin.

Before, he'd been softer, more vulnerable. Now, he had built walls around himself -- and Will Graham had been the only person who had been able to get through those walls. Everett still wasn't sure if that was a good or a bad thing. He wasn't used to opening himself up to so many emotions.

But he did know that he wanted Will to stay in his life. He felt so much for Will that hadn't felt in far too long, and didn't want to give that up.

Even though everything that he'd been through had changed him in a lot of ways, under all of those changes he was still the same person, with the same hopes and dreams.

He might want to believe that he was tough, that he'd turned hard and cold, but he knew that wasn't entirely true. He had changed, but not at his core. No matter what he'd changed of who he'd been in the past, one thing would remain the same -- who he was. And that was a fate he could never escape.

He would always be that same vulnerable, emotional boy, no matter how many layers of protection he tried to hide those emotions under. He would never be able to obliterate his deepest self.

Underneath his resolve to put Hannibal behind bars, he was still the scared young man he had been after his first encounter with Hannibal. That fear was still a part of him.

Everett took a deep breath, straightening up in his chair.

But he was going to fight that fear, rather than let it overcome him. He was going to push it aside, do battle with it, and put it in its place. He would do it for Will.

Will needed him, just as much, probably even more, than he needed Will. His boyfriend needed a strong man to lean on, a man to stand beside him and fight evil with him.

He would be what Will needed. He would put that scared boy behind him, just as he'd been doing for all of this time, and he would keep the past where it belonged. He might still be the same person, but he had grown and changed, and he had become much stronger than he'd ever thought he could.

Not only that, but he had Will in his life now. He had no reason to cling to the past. It was over and done, and he had moved on from it. He couldn't bring that past back.

He could never recapture the person he had been, Everett told himself firmly. And really, he didn't want to. The person he'd become was much stronger, much more capable.

He liked who he had become-- and more importantly, Will liked him as he was.

He'd managed to change who he had been in the past, surrounding himself by walls that Will had broken down. And he was finding that he wanted those walls to stay down.

Everett closed his eyes, conceding one thing in his mind. He might have been able to change who he'd been in some ways, but the basics still remained.

He hadn't been able to completely change himself. He was still vulnerable -- to his own emotions. He was even more open now than he'd been then; now that Will had come into his life, all of his walls had come crumbling to the ground, and he knew that he couldn't put them back up again.

Would that be a disadvantage in bringing Hannibal to justice? He hoped not; he hoped that Hannibal wouldn't be able to bring him to his knees again by exploiting his vulnerability.

He couldn't escape who he was, and who he had been. And maybe, Everett told himself, just maybe, that wasn't such a bad thing, in the long run.

Will wasn't his vulnerability. Will was his strength.

Who he was might not have changed at the core of his being, but he had learned a lot in the past few years. And now that he had Will by his side, he had a reason to go on.

Everett took one deep breath, then another, a smile curving his lips as he did so. Hannibal was going to have to deal with two very formidable enemies before all of this was over.