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Title: Best Interests
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
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 stared at Will across the desk, a frown creasing his brow, his hands clasped together in front of him. He looked as though he was digesting all that Will had just told him -- and that it wasn't easy for him to swallow those words.

He shook his head, his frown deepening when he spoke.

"Why, Will?" he asked, his voice very quiet. Will could swear that he almost sounded .... hurt. "Why would you think that I don't have your best interests at heart by bringing you here? Why would you think that of the person who saved your life?"

Now it was Will's turn to shake his head; he couldn't meet Hannibal's candid gaze, couldn't make himself look into his lover's eyes.

Why did he feel this way? He really shouldn't, not after what Hannibal had done for him. He owed this man his life; he could never let himself forget that. And really, he owed Hannibal so much more, as well. He owed his lover a debt he could never repay.

if it weren't for Hannibal, then he would still be that scared little mouse who hid himself away from the rest of the world, afraid to reach out for what he wanted. With Hannibal, he had become more bold, less afraid of his own needs and desires.

No one else could have done that for him.

He wouldn't have let anyone else get close enough to do that. He wouldn't have let anyone else touch him in the way that Hannibal did. No other person would have had the power, both physical and emotional, to draw him out of his self-imposed isolation.

"Hannibal, I ...." His voice trailed off; he didn't know what to say. "I owe you more than I can ever repay you for. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be alive. I just .... sometimes I feel like I'm not so much your lover as a kind of experiment for you."

There. He'd said it. The words felt awkward on his tongue, as though they didn't want to be spoken. As though he shouldn't have spoken them.

Will felt a rush of guilt go through him; those words should never have seen the light of day. He knew that they would hurt Hannibal, and that was the last thing he wanted to do. He wanted to bring them closer, not seem as though he was trying to push Hannibal away.

Why did he seem to have such a talent for fucking everything up irreparably?

He couldn't meet Hannibal's gaze; he didn't want to see the disappointment there. He didn't want Hannibal to think that he wasn't grateful -- or that he didn't share whatever tender feelings his lover might have for him. He just felt .... confused.

And guilty. Horribly guilty. He didn't want to feel that Hannibal was somehow manipulating him. He wanted to believe that his lover did indeed have his best interests at heart, that there was nothing behind Hannibal's facade other than concern for him.

It was just hard to believe that Hannibal did anything without an ulterior motive. Will couldn't help thinking that even his own seduction had only been a means to and end. It was an uncharitable thought, but he couldn't get it out of his mind.

No. He pushed that thought out of his mind, locking it away and slamming a door on it. Hannibal cared for him. He wouldn't be here if that wasn't the case.

He wasn't going to let himself think otherwise. There was no reason to.

Hannibal loved him. He might not have said so in those words, but Will could feel the other man's emotions whenever they made love, whenever Hannibal gazed into his eyes. The words didn't need to be said. They were there, just under the surface.

Okay, so maybe he was fooling himself. Maybe Hannibal didn't love him as most people understood love. But there was an emotional bond there; Will had felt it in those moments when life was fading away and Hannibal had been holding him.

Hannibal had pleaded with him not to die. There had been anguish in those words; the emotions had come directly from Hannibal's heart.

Those words hadn't been spoken lightly. Hannibal didn't want to lose him; that was obvious. But Will couldn't let himself believe that Hannibal's reasons for wanting to keep him here by his side were anything but good ones.

It might not be love, but it was caring. That was a start.

"I'm sorry," he said softly, reaching out to lay his hand on the desk, hoping that Hannibal would take that hand in his own and realize it for the peace offering that it was. "I don't know why I thought that. Just going a little stir crazy, I guess."

Hannibal nodded, though his dark eyes were still somber. "You have to trust me, Will," he said, his voice very soft. "If you don't, then we really do not have much of a relationship, do we? Trust is required before one can open one's heart to another."

"I know," Will said with a sigh. "And I do trust you. It's just that .... I've spent such a long time being suspicious of everybody that it's hard for me to open up to trust."

Hannibal nodded, a small smile curving his lips. "I can understand that. But you cannot let mistrust color your entire life, Will. Sooner or later, you have to let those walls down and trust someone. And as your lover, I believe that I am the one you should place your trust in."

Will nodded in agreement; he believed that, too.

"But if you do not feel that you can put your trust in me, then our relationship has to end." Hannibal sounded defeated, even .... sad. Will was a little surprised by that; he hadn't realized that ending their relationship would hurt Hannibal so much.

Only he didn't want them to end. He wanted to be with this man; losing Hannibal was not an option for him. Not like this. If and when they parted, it would be from a mutual desire to do so, not because they had literally been forced apart.

"I'm not ending anything," he said softly, reaching out again to place his hand on Hannibal's. "I do trust you, Hannibal. I wouldn't be here if I didn't."

"I hope you can find it in you to keep trusting me, Will," Hannibal said, his voice quiet, taking Will's hand and squeezing his fingers gently. "I would hate to think that you didn't. I am, after all, the man you have chosen to be your lover. A certain amount of trust is expected."

"And it's there," Will whispered. "It always will be."

He was telling the truth. He did trust Hannibal. Any niggling little doubts about that would be pushed away and ignored. They weren't worth his attention.

Will closed his eyes, letting the warmth of Hannibal's touch seep into him. From now on, he would put his trust in this man, his lover, the man who had saved his life. He owed Hannibal that trust and that loyalty -- and any doubts that it was misplaced would have to be buried and locked away.