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Title: Stranger At My Door
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Author's Note: One-shot.
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 blinked, unable to process where he was for a few moments. He had no memory of getting here; he had no idea of where he could be, even though his surroundings did look vaguely familiar. But in the dark of night, it was hard to tell.
He'd lost time again -- and this time, he'd apparently wandered further from home that he would have ever dreamed he could.
He was in the city. He was walking barefoot on the pavement, wearing nothing but his boxers and t-shirt that he'd gone to bed in. None of the dogs were around him; he'd apparently either closed them up in the house, or they hadn't wanted to follow him this far.
What had he done? Why was he here? What had happened when he had lost time? This was happening more and more often lately, and it was getting to the point where it was becoming frightening to not know where he was or what he was capable of doing.
He couldn't help feeling that he'd done something he didn't want to think about.
Will lifted his hands to stare at them; there was no blood, so it looked as though he hadn't done anything he didn't want to acknowledge. As far as he could tell, there was no blood anywhere on him -- though his feet hurt like hell from walking barefoot.
Other than that, there didn't seem to be anything wrong with him. Though sleepwalking down the highway in the middle of the night, wearing nothing but the clothes he slept in, was very wrong, even though lately it wasn't far out of the ordinary for him.
There was a nagging feeling in the back of his mind that he'd been on his way to some specific place, though he didn't know where. Still, there must be some reason he'd walked this far.
He turned around in a slow circle, trying to get his bearings. Everything looked slightly familiar, but he couldn't really place any of it. Nothing looked concrete enough to know whether he'd ever been in this area in the daytime; it all seemed like fuzzy shapes and shadows.
That was ridiculous, when his eyesight was perfect. He didn't need the glasses he wore; his eyesight had never given him any trouble. He only wore them as a shield, a barrier to protect him from the outside word. He raised his hand to his face, wondering if he was wearing them now.
He was, which made him feel even more disoriented.
He'd somehow had the presence of mind to pick up his glasses and put them on before he'd walked out of his house in his sleep and traveled the miles into the city. He'd managed to do that, but he hadn't remembered to put on his shoes.
Will raised his face to the night sky, realizing that the light of the moon had disappeared; it seemed to have gone behind the gathering clouds. As though to add insult to injury, a light rain began falling, quickly turning into a deluge that soaked him to the skin.
Panic rose within him; he had to get out of the rain, or he could be arrested and thrown in jail for being some kind of vagrant walking the streets. That was the last thing he needed to deal with; he had enough problems already without adding another one to the mix.
Turning around again, Will squinted through the pouring rain -- and, miraculously, he realized where he was. He had been on this corner before; it was only a few blocks away from Hannibal's house, one of the few safe places he could think of in this city.
That was where he would go. Really, it was the only place he could go; there was no way he could get himself back home.
He had no money with him; no way to prove who he was, no cell phone to call a cab. Even if he could, he'd have to convince the driver that he would be paid once they got to Wolf Trap, and he didn't think anyone would believe him, considering the way he looked at the moment.
No, the only thing he could do was to make his way to Hannibal's house.
He didn't think that Hannibal would refuse to see him; Hannibal was always more than ready to open his door to people he considered friends. Will doubted that the other man would be up at this hour of the morning, but he'd pound on the door until his hands were bloody if he had to.
Without realizing it, he was running, making his way through the rain-slick streets as quickly as he could. He wasn't far from Hannibal's house, and now that he'd decided to go there, he couldn't reach that safe haven quickly enough.
If he could only get to Hannibal's house, then he would be safe. Will kept repeating those words over and over to himself, like a mantra.
Those words were true. They had to be. But the closer he got to Hannibal's home, the more he doubted their veracity. It was barely dawn; grey dawn was just beginning to streak the sky,and rain was pouring down. What if Hannibal didn't want to answer the door?
A knock on his door in the wee hours of the morning, before he'd even gotten out of bed, might make him angry. Will knew that if he was in that place, he wouldn't want to get out of bed simply to go to the door when he didn't even know who was there.
What if Hannibal turned him away? What would he do then?
He'd just have to sit on the front porch until Hannibal was awake and moving around in the house, and then he would have to beg the other man to let him in. Hopefully, he'd be able to talk Hannibal into taking him home, so he could take a shower and put on some decent clothes.
What if Hannibal regarded him as nothing more than a stranger at the door? If he didn't call out, and even if he did and Hannibal didn't recognize his voice, he could end up being out here for at least part of the morning. He didn't want that. He needed warmth, and assurance, and .... help.
If Hannibal wouldn't help him, then he didn't know who would. He could only hope that Hannibal's door would open to him, and he could stumble inside and find the warmth and help he needed. If he was turned away, then he had no idea where to go next.
Will almost sobbed as he stumbled up the steps to Hannibal's front door, raising his hand to knock. But for some reason, he hesitated to do so, closing his eyes and slumping against the door.
Knocking on Hannibal's door like this, at this hour of the morning, could change their relationship forever. They could become closer, or they could back away, pushed apart by Will's obvious neediness and Hannibal's reluctance to be the person he turned to.
If he didn't knock on the door, then he would never know what could happen.
Slowly, he raised his hand and knocked, once, twice, three times. Then again, hoping that Hannibal would answer, holding his breath. If there was no answer, no voice from within, then he was sure that he would break down, screaming Hannibal's name.
After what seemed like an eternity, he heard footsteps within the house. Will leaned his forehead against the door, thanking any deity that came to mind. Hannibal was coming to the door. He had gotten past the first uncertain part of this awkward situation.
Without warning, the door opened, and when he lifted his head, he found himself face to face with Hannibal. Will couldn't speak; he opened his mouth, but no words came out. All he could do was stand there, staring at the man who, at the moment, seemed like his salvation.
"I-I'm sorry to bother you so early," he finally managed to say, the words forcing themselves out. "I-I lost time, and I w-was sleepwalking, and I ended up here ...."
Will stopped speaking; his trembling had become so acute that he could do nothing but standing there, his body shaking, the words drying up in his throat. To his own ears, he sounded foolish, making excuses for doing something that was obviously unforgivably stupid.
He only hoped that Hannibal would understand.
Hannibal nodded as though he was making perfect sense, even though he obviously wasn't. "Come inside, Will. You're soaked through, and you need to get warm." He stood aside, a frown settling on his features. "You're barely dressed. It will be a miracle if you don't become ill."
Will's teeth were already starting to chatter in reaction to the cold and the rain; he could barely feel his feet against the floor as he stepped into the foyer of Hannibal's house. He started to lean back against the door when it closed behind him, but instead, he found himself leaning on Hannibal.
He couldn't form words, couldn't do anything but nod in response to Hannibal's words. Those words washed over him like the rush of warm air that came out of the house to greet him; they held their own warmth, one that Will desperately needed.
"Will, you're trembling. Though I shouldn't be surprised, considering that you are nearly naked in the cold." Hannibal's arm slid around his waist; there was a gentle pressure against his back that Will knew had to be Hannibal's hand, guiding him inside into the foyer.
"I-I was afraid that you wouldn't let me in," he confessed, the words tumbling out before he could stop them. "That you'd think I was a stranger trying to get in."
"You could never be a stranger at my door, Will," Hannibal told him. "I am always here for you."
Warmth flowed through him; Hannibal's arm stayed around his waist, guiding him towards the stairs. Hannibal was going to take him upstairs and hopefully let him take a hot shower, maybe find him something that he could wear until he got home.
He'd done the right thing by coming here. He hadn't been turned away. He was safe in Hannibal's home; Hannibal was going to take care of him. He could let himself relax and turn the reins over to this capable man; he felt safe now that Hannibal was near.
He could talk to Hannibal about losing time later. At the moment, he just wanted to let him himself relax, and push all of his worries away for the time being.
There was a lot for him to think about and process, but all that could come later. It was enough for right now to be here, with Hannibal close to him, and to know that he would never be a stranger at this man's door any time that he needed someone who he could turn to for help.
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