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Title: An Offer He Can't Refuse
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Prompt: #466, Murder
Author's Note: Sequel to "Just What He Needs."
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. soar
***Will shuddered as he bent over the corpse on the floor, trying not to look at the face. He had already seen that the young man had curly dark hair, much like his own, and he didn't doubt that the face he finally saw would resemble his, as well.
How many had it been now? Seven, he told himself, shuddering again at the thought. The bodies were piling up, and they were nowhere nearer finding the killer than they'd been with the first corpse. He couldn't get any kind of breakthrough.
Try as he might, he couldn't get into this killer's mind as easily as he did others. Maybe he was just too close to the case at this point.
Or maybe it was just because all these corpses looked like him.
It was terrifying to think that he was in the sights of a serial killer. It was one thing to bring those kinds of people to justice -- it was quite another to know that a killer was running free out there somewhere, and that they had him in the crosshairs.
Jack had sworn that Will would be protected, but he had never felt as vulnerable in his life as he did when he was working this case. It didn't matter that the rest of the team was around him; he felt alone, isolated, naked in the killer's sights.
He'd never felt as exposed to pure evil as he did on this case. And even though he had Hannibal to turn to, even that wasn't helping. He was having more and more sleepless nights, more nightmares, and feeling ever more panicky about catching this killer.
He had slept in Hannibal's arms last night after they'd had sex, and awoken this morning feeling a little better. But that good feeling had gone to hell.
He should have expected that.
How was he supposed to maintain any kind of balance when he saw things like this? It would be so much easier if it wasn't obvious that the killer was focused on him; even people who didn't have so much as a touch of empathy could tell that every corpse looked like him.
Seeing corpses had never really been a problem for him -- not until this. But then, the dead bodies that he'd seen before when he had been working in the field hadn't all resembled him. And this one .... Will felt faint when he looked at the battered face.
This young man looked more like him than any of the others had. He didn't doubt that he would be having nightmares about this one.
He shouldn't touch the corpse; he knew that. But something made him want to. He wanted to brush this young man's hair back out of his bruised and bloodied face, murmur to him that he was going to be avenged, that he hadn't died for nothing.
He couldn't do that, and he knew it. There was no way that he could bring any kind of comfort to this young man; he would never know why he had been killed, or maybe even who had killed him. The killer had more than likely been a total stranger to him.
Just a random killing, at least in the eyes of most people.
But to Will, it hadn't been random. Not when the killer was searching out young men who looked like him. No, it was more than obvious, at least to him if to no one else, that he was the target here. The objective was his murder.
That thought struck terror into his heart -- but it made him angry at the same time. How dare this killer take the lives of innocent people, when he was obviously focused on just one man? How dare he make these young men a substitute for Will?
And how dare he focus on Will in the first place? What had Will ever done to him to make him the object of such enmity?
They had to find this man, Will told himself. They had to find him before any more innocent people died, and before he zeroed in on the target he really wanted to take out his apparent raged on. They had to find him before anyone else was caught in his crossfire.
And he knew exactly how to do that.
He would have to offer himself up as bait. That was the only way to catch this killer; he was sure of it. The only thing that would bring this man out into the open was to give him an opportunity that he wouldn't be able to resist -- the ability to have what he wanted.
He wanted Will. That was obvious. So, it made sense that they should give him what he wanted in order to lure him into a trap.
Will didn't like the idea, and he knew that Jack wouldn't approve of it, either. But there didn't seem to be any other way to avoid more killing. He already felt responsible for the seven people who were dead; he didn't want more murders on his conscience.
All right, so maybe this wasn't really his fault. He couldn't have known that a serial killer was going to take an interest in him and start murdering men who looked like him. But he couldn't help feeling that in some way, all of these deaths were his fault.
He had to stop them. And if offering himself was the only way to do that, then so be it.
He would be protected, of course, Will told himself, getting to his feet and looking away from the corpse. Jack wasn't going to let him risk his life without being sure that there would be ample backup. Jack might not even go along with his plan.
Will sighed softly, wishing that he didn't have to formulate a plan like this. He didn't want to put himself in danger; this wasn't what he'd intended to do when he had first started working for the FBI. But at this point, he didn't feel as though he had any choice in the matter.
He was the only person who could stop this. If the killer wanted him, then the only way to draw him out into the open was to present him with an offer he couldn't refuse.
The thought of being the focus of someone bent on murder shook him, made him feel exposed and far too vulnerable. But if this plan worked, if they could lure this killer out and catch him, then he wouldn't have to feel like that any more.
They could catch this killer, and it would all be over.
Will swallowed hard, pushing back the rush of fear that rose into his throat, threatening to choke him. He was terrified of what could happen, but he had to face it.
What would Hannibal think? He had to talk this over with his lover, get his opinion on it. Of course, he'd probably think it was far too dangerous an undertaking, but Will's mind was already made up. He was sure that this was the only way to stop the murders.
Hannibal wasn't going to like this idea, not at all. But now that it was in Will's mind, he knew that he had to put it into action. If offering himself up as a victim would make these crimes stop, then he didn't see how he could avoid doing it.
But he wouldn't be a victim, of course. Jack wouldn't let that happen -- and neither would Hannibal, or the rest of the team. They would make sure that he was protected. No one was going to let any harm come to him. Will was sure of that.
He wouldn't be the next murder victim.
Still, it was a frightening proposition -- but it was one he had to face. If he didn't, then these killings would keep going on -- and this murderer would eventually get tired of using substitutes and come after him anyway. This would only be hastening the inevitable.
And this way, the killer would come to him on his own terms, rather than surprising him and possibly turning that confrontation into a fatal one.
Will closed his eyes, taking a deep breath as he turned and left the room. He would have to run this idea by Jack, but no matter what his boss said, he was determined to put it into action and see it through. To his way of thinking, it was the only option he had left.
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