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Title: Stumbling in the Dark
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Author's Note: Sequel to "Road To Nowhere."
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.
***His head was on fire.
Will wanted to clutch his head and scream; it felt as though he was burning, as if his brain was smoldering inside his head and he needed to pour cold water over it.
It was those damned visions he'd been having, he told himself. They were finally getting to the point where they were being burned into his brain.
He should have expected that; after all, they haunted him often enough. He should have realized that at some point, they were going to be branded into his mind, becoming a part of him. It was as though they were determined to stay before his eyes, to not go away or give him any respite.
He hated those visions. He hated them with every fiber of his being, hated knowing that when he closed his eyes, he would see himself dead in some horrific manner.
That wasn't what he wanted to see every time he tried to go to sleep. It was getting to the point where he couldn't sleep any more, for fear of what his mind would show him.
It wasn't just a dream here and there any more.
It was becoming an illness, one that held him in a death grip and refused to let him go. An illness not of the body, but of the mind, one that he couldn't shake off.
Or maybe it was becoming an illness of the body as well, Will told himself as he reached for the bottle of aspirin in the medicine cabinet. These visions of his own death were giving him horrible headaches that it seemed to take him longer and longer to recover from.
How was he going to get rid of them when he didn't even know where they came from? They'd come upon him quickly, and he had no idea why they existed.
What was his mind trying to tell him?
He'd always had a very well-developed sense of self-preservation. He wouldn't have been able to survive his childhood years if he hadn't, Will told himself with a wry grimace.
All of the taunting, the threats, the people who'd thought that he was some kind of evil presence because of his empathy. He'd survived it all, and come out on the other side.
But those days had given him scars, inside and out. He'd had to defend himself more than once against children whose parents had taught them to hate anything and anyone that was considered "different," and those experiences had made him cautious about the human race.
He'd learned to take care of himself, learned to protect himself at all costs. He'd hated feeling victimized, and it was one of the reasons why he'd gone into law enforcement.
Now that he was an adult, his sense of self-preservation was even stronger, especially given the job that he had. He had to be careful, to constantly watch his back.
He'd lived with his empathy all of his life; he should be used to it by now, he told himself. He should be used to feeling that he was different. But this was the first time it had ever made him feel ill, the first time it was showing him his own future, a future that chilled him to the bone.
Was it his empathy showing him these visions of his own death? Or was it something far more sinister, something that had nothing to do with his special ability?
He didn't know, and it was slowly driving him mad. Will knew that he had to find out what was behind these visions if he wanted to hold on to his sanity.
His health was in jeopardy, too, if these awful headaches were any indication.
Even when he wasn't feeling well, he could always think things through. But now, it was as though he was too ill to think, as though his brain was the part of him that had fallen ill.
Not being able to think clearly frightened him more than anything else; losing that part of himself that he knew could see any situation in a clear light was his greatest fear. He didn't want to be stumbling in the dark, feeling as though he didn't know which direction he should turn.
But it seemed that was exactly what he was doing. He was too ill for any kind of coherent thought to come through; his mind was clouded, all light obscured.
That was more terrifying than anything else he could possibly face.
Will poured himself a glass of tea, then swallowed three aspirin. If only they would make his head stop pounding, then maybe he could think clearly for a change.
Slowly, he made his way into the living room, sinking down onto the couch and stretching out. He needed to close his eyes, to fall asleep, and to not dream, for once.
He needed to have one night, or at least a few hours, of peaceful, uninterrupted sleep -- one night where his dreams didn't lead him down a dark path, or make him awaken in the pre-dawn hours of the morning with his heart pounding as much as his head, a cold sweat congealing on his skin.
Closing his eyes, Will curled up on the couch, pulling the knitted afghan from the back of it to cover himself with. He seriously doubted that he would get the dreamless sleep he so desperately needed.
Those visions would more than likely follow him, forever chasing him and tapping on his shoulder, forcing themselves upon him until he wanted to scream in frustration.
They would never let him go, never leave him in peace.
All he wanted was a respite, a night of sleep that he could actually awake from feeling refreshed, as though his mind was clear and ready to think everything through rationally.
But he doubted that was what he would get. With a soft sigh, Will burrowed into the pillow, hoping that he would at least find peace for a single night.
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