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Title: Only When I Breathe
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Sequel to "Crashing Down To Earth."
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.


He had to wonder if he would ever feel lighthearted and happy again.

He'd talked to Jack, told him what he had seen in his dreams. And, surprisingly, Jack had agreed with him. He had said that Hannibal was already a suspect.

When Will had asked why, Jack had given him a clear and concise answer, and Will wondered why he hadn't thought along the lines that Jack did long before now.

Jack had told him that he'd suspected Hannibal from the first few murders, since all of the dead men resembled Will, some of them to an alarming degree. As far as Jack knew, the only person who was that obsessed with Will was Hannibal, and he had started to look into the other man's past.

It seemed that wherever Hannibal had lived and worked in the past, several murders had been committed. None of them had been traced to Hannibal, but Jack had become suspicious.

He hadn't been able to prove anything, but he was sure that Hannibal was responsible for several murders. And he thought that Hannibal was behind these present killings.

Will hadn't wanted to agree, but he'd been forced to do so.

The evidence was irrefutable. Hannibal had murdered these men, probably because of his overwhelming obsession with the man who was his lover.

He didn't want to believe it. He didn't want to think that the man he had given himself to, the man he'd made love with, fallen in love with, could be a cold-blooded killer.

But the evidence was conclusive. The only person who could be killing these men was Hannibal, even though Jack had no solid, concrete proof of what he'd done. Still, Will couldn't turn away from what he knew in his heart had to be the correct conclusion. Hannibal was a murderer.

Had he killed other people, as Jack said? Or were these his first killings, brought on by an unhealthy obsession with the person he was intimately involved with?

They would probably never know, unless Hannibal confessed. And even though Jack had his suspicions, Will wasn't at all convinced that those past murders could be laid at Hannibal's feet.

Will hated having the knowledge; he wanted to push it away, to throw it back like a fish he'd caught that was too small to keep. But this was no small knowledge; this was huge, this was something that would impact a lot of lives, particularly his own as well as Hannibal's.

It hurt to think. It hurt to breathe. It was as though a burning sensation had settled into his lungs, searing him from the inside out each time he took a breath.

It only burned when the tried to breathe; it only hurt when he let himself think of what he knew. It was so hard to wrap his head around this knowledge, to admit that it was the truth.

It was even harder to wrap his heart around it.

Hannibal was a killer. The man he loved had committed several murders, and if he wasn't stopped as soon as possible, he would kill again. Will was sure of that.

He'd sensed that fact when he'd gone into the killer's mind -- Hannibal's mind -- at the crime scenes, utilizing his empathy to find out more about the murders.

How could he believe this about Hannibal? How could he so wholeheartedly concur with Jack's belief that the man he loved was a killer, that he had committed all of these murders? How could he turn against the man who held his heart, go from love to horror in a matter of moments?

Because of that dream, he told himself. The dream that hadn't been a dream at all, but a vision of what Hannibal truly was. A monstrous, cold-blooded murderer.

He didn't want to believe it, but he had no choice -- because in his heart, he knew that it was the truth. He had given his heart to someone he'd never really known.

It would be so hard to take that heart back, but he had to do it.

He would have to live with that burning in his heart and soul every time he thought of Hannibal, with the regrets for what might have been. He had no choice in the matter.

Will knew that his heart was going to feel that burn every time he took a breath, for the rest of his life. And he knew that the flames would eventually turn his heart and soul into nothing more than ashes.