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Title: Bad Reception
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Sequel to "The Edge of Eternity."
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 up when the phone rang, a frown furrowing his brow.

No one called him at this hour, not unless it was Jack calling to say that they had a new case. But even Jack wouldn't call him this late at night; it was nearly midnight, and he should have been in bed already.

It was probably Jack, Will thought as he got up from the couch and went to pick up his cell phone. It didn't matter that it was so late at night; if he had a new murder that he felt he needed Will's help with, it could be the dead of night, and he would still call and expect Will to haul himself to wherever the crime scene was.

That was one of the big problems with being Jack's pet freak, Will told himself as he clocked the cell phone on. He was regarded as a performing monkey that was always on call to do tricks.

For a moment, there was nothing but static on the line; Will almost thought that the caller had hung up when he hadn't answered in the first three rings. But that was unlike Jack; he would let the phone ring a dozen times if that was what it took to get Will to pick up the phone. Of course, it would go to voice mail long before that.

"Hello?" Will said the word once, then again. "Hello? Jack?" When the caller still didn't answer, Will was sure that they must be in a place that had exceptionally bad reception.

"Who is this?" It was only then that he thought to look at the number.

Whoever it was, it wasn't Jack. The number was unknown, and the static was still on the line. It hadn't gotten any worse, but it hadn't gotten better, either. Will wished that whoever it was would speak up.

"Look, if you don't say something, I'm going to hang up," he said loudly and clearly. "You need to go somewhere that has better reception. I'm not going to sit here all night and wait for you to talk to me. It's late, and I've got to get to bed." He hoped that would make whoever it was decide to say something.

When the person on the other end of the line finally spoke, the voice shocked him; it was one that he hadn't expected to hear again, at least not this soon. "Hello, Will."

Will almost dropped the phone in shock, his breath catching in his throat. Then he realized that the worst thing he could do was to let Hannibal know that this phone had shaken him to the core.

"Hello, Hannibal," he answered, trying to keep his voice level and even. "Where are you? And why is this reception so bad?" He was fairly sure that Hannibal was in some faraway place where the reception was spotty at best; he didn't think that his nemesis would risk calling him from any place near Wolf Trap.

"I am nowhere near you, Will, if that's what might be worrying you," Hannibal told him, his voice smooth and soft. "I simply wanted to let you know that I am still here. I'm not out of your life just yet."

That information made Will swallow hard again; it wasn't what he wanted to hear.

He didn't want Hannibal Lecter in his life. He just wanted to find the bastard, put him behind bars, and then walk away from him -- just as Hannibal had done to him.

All right, so Hannibal hadn't exactly walked away. But he had put Will in an untenable position, and tried to take away all hope from him. Hannibal had tried to completely break him down, but he hadn't succeeded. Will had survived what had been forced on him, and now it was his turn to do the breaking.

As calmly as he could, he spoke into the phone. "So why are you calling me, Hannibal? Are you still playing your little cat and mouse game? If you are, I'm not biting."

"It's not up to you to decide what games we play, Will," Hannibal told him, a rough edge in his voice now. "You forfeited your right to dictate any of those games when you betrayed me. Betrayal always comes with a price, you know. And you have only begun to pay that price, Will. You still owe me."

"I don't owe you anything," Will managed to say before the phone went dead. The connection had been severed; the crackling static was gone, and so was the tenuous connection to Hannibal, wherever he was.

Will knew better than to try to speculate on where his nemesis was; there was no way of knowing.

At least Hannibal wasn't anywhere near him -- at least, that was what he had said. But Will knew all too well just how well Hannibal could; facile untruths tripped off his tongue like a waterfall.

Slowly, he clicked his phone off and put it down; he would have to tell Jack about this call tomorrow, of course. He would have to let his boss know that Hannibal wasn't done with him yet, and then Jack would probably insist that he have bodyguards, and people watching his house on a constant basis.

Somehow, he didn't think that Hannibal was far away from him. He could almost sense the other man; bad reception on the phone notwithstanding, Hannibal was near. He could feel his nemesis closing in.

Will closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. He seriously doubted that he would get any sleep tonight.