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Title: Crutch
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Table: writers_choice
Prompt: #60, Glasses
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, why do you insist on wearing those terrible glasses when you have no need of them?"

Will's head jerked up at Hannibal's question; his mouth opened, then closed again. He didn't know what to say to those words; he hadn't thought that anyone would notice that the glasses he always wore were only plain glass, not prescription lenses.

Of course, he should have realized that Hannibal would be astute enough to see. The man seemed to see right into his soul sometimes.

And he seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time staring at him, Will thought, shifting uncomfortably i his chair. Hannibal seemed to be able to draw his secrets out without even trying, even when Will hadn't thought he was looking for them.

Hannibal had a way of seeing right through him.

There was no use in trying to keep secrets from this man, and he knew it. But still, he didn't have to give up everything to that penetrating stare.

If he did, then he'd have no shield to hide behind, nothing to keep him safe. He wasn't going to relinquish that protection, no matter how much he might want to let down all of his walls and trust Hannibal. He didn't need the trust that much.

He didn't need to trust someone he barely knew. That would be foolish. But there was a part of him that wanted to. The lure was so seductive.

There was something about Hannibal's eyes that drew him in, made him want to let his guard down and trust completely, even though he knew that would be folly. But he was so tempted to do it, so pulled in by Hannibal's eyes, his smile ....

No, Will told himself, pulling back with an effort. Never trust a smile. Smiles lure. They can get people into trouble. You don't need that.

The last thing he needed was to let himself be drawn in by a smile.

Smiles were deceptive. His own was rarely shown, and he couldn't remember the last time he had really smiled, a smile that was wide and open and unguarded. Will didn't think he'd done that in years. Maybe not since he was a child.

Hannibal's smile didn't seem strained or deceptive, but he couldn't be sure of it. So he wasn't going to let himself trust. Not yet. It was too soon.

He shrugged at the question, squirming a little when he answered. "I don't like to make eye contact with anyone. I guess you've already noticed that. So yeah, the glasses are a shield against the world. I don't need them, but they give me more .... confidence."

Okay, so maybe that wasn't the correct word, but it worked for now.

"Why would you need to give yourself more confidence, Will?" Hannibal asked, his head tilted to one side. "I'd say you had enough of that already."

Maybe that was the truth. He did have confidence in his abilities as a teacher; he'd never had any problems in that area. And his abilities in the field ... well, he didn't really need more confidence in that area, either. He knew what he could do.

He also knew what people thought of those abilities, and that they set him apart, marked him as some kind of freak for all the world to gawk at.

He hated being seen in that way. In a way, he hated the work he did in the field; the only good thing about it, in his opinion, was that he could save lives. He hated being seen as a weirdo, as Jack Crawford's freak, who performed like a trained monkey at crime scenes.

Okay, so maybe everybody didn't see him like that, Will told himself with an inward sigh. Hannibal didn't seem to. This man seemed to be respectful of his ability, instead of being a little afraid of it and feeling that he should keep his distance.

Maybe that was one of the things that made Hannibal so seductive and attractive to him. The fact that this man didn't pull away, didn't view him as being odd or strange.

But then again, Hannibal himself was a little strange, wasn't he? There was so much about himself that he seemed to keep hidden. Will could sense that this man had a lot of protections, a lot of walls up around himself, and was always on his guard.

Hannibal slid close to the edge of his seat, regarding Will with slightly narrowed eyes. Will's breath caught i his throat; he couldn't help wondering what the other man was going to do.

Hannibal reached out, plucking the glasses away and examining them.

"You don't need to wear these with me, Will," he said, handing them back to the younger man and shaking his head. "Glasses are supposed to clear your vision, but when you are here with me, they will only cloud it. I don't believe you need these."

"I'm not going to stop wearing them," Will protested. "I feel comfortable with them. And if you say it's some kind of crutch, I don't care. I need that crutch."

Hannibal shrugged, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms over his chest. "Be that as it may, you do not them here, when we are talking alone together," he said, his voice clipped and controlled. "They will only obscure your vision here, not enhance it."

Will sat back as he put the glasses back on, pondering those words.

Maybe Hannibal was right. Maybe he didn't need those glasses here, when they were talking. Maybe he didn't need a shield to protect him from Hannibal.

After all, this man only wanted what was best for him, didn't he? He wanted to delve into the deep recesses of Will's psyche, to find out what made him so odd. He wanted to uncover things that Will would rather keep hidden, but that was his job.

Hannibal wasn't out to get him. Maybe no one was, not really. But given his past experiences, he preferred to err on the side of caution.

Still, Hannibal was right. He needed to let his psychiatrist uncover all of his complex layers, not try to hide under them. While he was here, while they were talking, he would do away with the glasses. He didn't need them, not for these private moments.

Slowly, he took the glasses off and put them in his pocket, glancing up at Hannibal. As quickly as he made the eye contact, he flinched and looked away from it.

All right, so there were some things that he still had to work on.

This was the one place where he didn't have to hide behind a shield, and the one person who didn't expect him to do so. He could be himself here with Hannibal, with no fear of recriminations. He could relax, and maybe, just maybe, he could let his guard down.

He couldn't do that around anyone else, Will thought as he relaxed back into his chair and finally met the other man's gaze. He couldn't truly relax with anyone else.

But he wasn't going to give up all of his secrets just yet, Will cautioned himself. Even though Hannibal was his psychiatrist -- off the record, of course -- there were still some things he couldn't bring himself to talk about, some things that were still too personal.

But who knew? Maybe, in time, they wouldn't be.