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Title: Off Balance
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Table: Alphabet Challenge, tv_universe
Prompt: M - Mental
Author's Note: Sequel to "Don't Always Look At the Rain."
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.


Hannibal frowned, shoving himself away from the desk and getting up from his chair. He was supposed to have a session with Will tonight, and there was less than half an hour before the young man would be here, in front of him, waiting for them to talk.

It was highly unethical for him to be both Will's psychiatrist and his lover -- though technically, Will wasn't his patient and never had been.

Their sessions were simply .... talk. A talk between two people who happened to need each other. Two people who were attracted to each other. If that talk helped Will maintain his mental health, then so much the better. But they weren't really psychiatric sessions.

No, they were more of a way for him to get inside Will's mind.

He had managed to do so with more than he'd thought would be possible. It almost amused him how easily he had peeled back the layers of what Will thought were protections, layers that he had kept wrapped so tightly about himself for so long.

Those protections had been as nothing for Hannibal to break through. He'd had no problem razing those barriers, stripping them away and leaving Will vulnerable and exposed. And that was when their real dance of desire had begun.

He'd swept Will off his feet -- and that had been incredibly easy, as well. Will had been ripe for the picking, ready for someone to come into his life as a lover.

Will himself hadn't realized just what he'd been searching for in his life; that had amused Hannibal as well. The young man thought that he knew what he wanted -- but Will had no clue as to the deeper, darker desires that Hannibal knew resided in his heart.

He would bring out those desires, front and center.

He was already doing so. But for the moment, he would settle for keeping Will unsure, keeping him off balance, not knowing in which direction he should move. Keeping him confused was the best way to insure that he turned to Hannibal for guidance.

Of course, he wasn't to know that Hannibal was the person who was blindfolding him and spinning him in circles until his mental faculties were blurred and indistinct. If Will realized the game that Hannibal was playing, then the careful setup would come crumbling down.

He would have to be very careful; playing games with someone's mental health, especially someone as fragile as Will already was, could have dire consequences.

Yes, he would take care to preserve Will's mental faculties at the same time that he toyed with the young man as a cat plays with a mouse, keeping it under its paw until it decides to administer the final, killing blow. Though that wasn't precisely what he had in mind.

He wasn't going to dispatch Will. Oh, no. He had other plans.

He wanted to break Will down, then remake this young man in the way that he viewed Will -- rather like Pygmalion with his Galatea, only he had to say that his Galatea was far more beautiful than any he'd had ever thought to lay eyes on before.

Will would become exactly what Hannibal wanted him to be -- but he would never be a mere puppet. No, Will's mental strength would keep him from that.

As fragile as he was, there was an inner core of steel in Will Graham -- and though Hannibal was sure that he could be broken down, piece by piece, he would also retain those mental faculties that made him so irresistible to Hannibal in the first place.

Hannibal had no wish to destroy Will; only to break him to the point where he could be remade. For that, he would need Will's trust -- and these games that he played with the young man would make him feel that he needed Hannibal even more than he actually did.

Push him away, then draw him in even more closely.

It had worked so far, and Hannibal saw no reason to believe that he couldn't cast out the line and then reel it in a few more times. Will was hanging on the edge, dangling from a precipice; it wouldn't take much more of this for him to crack.

He would facilitate Will's mental breakdown, guide it, and own it. He would know exactly when to push, and when to pull back. He was an excellent judge of such things.

And he would keep Will off balance during all of that time, pushing and pulling at him, blindfolding him and spinning him around as though this was a children's game of Blind Man's Bluff. He would make sure that the only direction Will could move in was towards him.

Will's mental state was in a delicate balance at the moment -- and Hannibal knew just how to turn that balance to his advantage. He would spin Will around, confuse him, make him feel unsure about their newly burgeoning relationship.

And then, he would hold out a hand amidst the confusion.

It was the perfect way to bring Will to him. Unbalance his mental stability, then offer to help him find that balance again. And Will would never realize the truth.

Hannibal turned as he heard a knock at the door, a smile curving his lips. Will was here, and the next phase of his plan could begin. It remained to be seen just how off balance he was -- though Hannibal was confident that he could work with whatever was presented to him.