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Title: Not To Touch the Earth
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
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.


He was running.

There was such a feeling of freedom to this, to running through the woods with no constraints. There were no rules, no boundaries; he could do as he wanted, let himself go, be whatever he wished to be. He could fly free, with no inhibitions and no hesitancy.

Running like this made him feel wild and free, but it couldn't last for long. It had to stop at some point; he didn't have the stamina to keep going indefinitely.

Will slowed his pace, his breath coming in gasps. He had to stop running, had to get himself in check. This was a good thing for him to do, but he had to slow down now, had to get his breath back and come back down to earth. He couldn't run forever.

He slowed, finally stopped, bent over, hands on his knees.

These moments of running through the woods in wild abandon made him feel free, but he was only human. He couldn't keep running without stopping to rest.

Winston yapped and doubled back from where he'd been bounding ahead of Will; he was sure that the dog enjoyed these runs as much as he did. Especially since they were purely for pleasure; he wasn't running from anything.

Will sighed softly, straightening up and pushing his damp hair back from his brow. That wasn't something he could say all that often lately.

All too often in these past few weeks, he'd felt like he was running all the time, even when he was sitting at his desk in his office, or simply walking down a corridor. It was as though there was something just behind him, snapping at his heels, urging him to take flight.

He didn't know what it was, but it was a presence that wouldn't go away. It was there all the time, silent, threatening. He couldn't get rid of it.

He was starting to feel that it would never go away.

What was this presence that seemed to be at his heels all the time? If he was honest with himself, he could admit that he was afraid of it. Afraid to his very core.

It had merely made him uneasy at first, but now he felt that it was chasing him, snapping at his heels and snarling. It felt as though it was an actual entity, rather than a figment of his imagination. And it felt as though it was getting closer every day.

There were nights when he awakened in the middle of the night, either in darkness or with the moon shining into his bedroom window, a hand pressed to his chest and a scream trapped in his throat. Those nights were the worst, when that presence seemed nearer than ever.

The only thing that made it go away, at least for a while, was these exhilarating runs through the woods, when he felt wild and free and invincible.

These times made him feel that he was flying, that he didn't touch the earth.

He didn't even tell Hannibal about these times, when he ran and ran until he was out of breath. He didn't want to share this with anyone else.

The only one he shared this with was Winston, Will thought with a smile as he absently stroked the dog's head. He was the only one who could really understand what it was like to run free, unfettered, not to touch the earth, flying with his own kind of wings.

Nobody else would ever understand what it felt like. And nobody, not even Hannibal, would understand his need to run, to get away.

His boyfriend understood a lot of things about him, but he would never be able to fathom that presence that Will could always feel. He'd never be able to explain it, to make Hannibal understand what it felt like to have his every step traced by that darkness.

Or maybe he would, Will thought with a sigh. Maybe Hannibal would understand. But he wasn't ready to try to explain it. Not to Hannibal, not to anyone.

For now, this was something that he had to keep to himself.

Both the feeling of being pursued, and the feeling of running free, unencumbered, flying over the earth without touching the ground. He had to hold that freedom close to himself, to keep it in his heart and soul, to make sure that no one could take it away from him.

If anyone else touched that part of him, it might simply vanish into the mists and disappear. And that feeling of freedom was something that, for now, he couldn't live without.

It wasn't something to be shared with anyone, not even his boyfriend. It was one of the few things he had that was entirely his; he'd unburdened himself to Hannibal about everything else in his life. He had to keep this back, had to make it entirely his own.

He had to retain some privacy.

Will sighed and turned back towards the house, feeling troubled. This time, he wasn't skimming over the ground, his feet barely touching the earth.

This time, he had too much on his mind. He was wondering if he should tell Hannibal about this escape of his, if it was something that he should finally share with his lover. He wanted to keep it to himself, but maybe it was time to end all the secrets between the two of them.

He couldn't help wonder just what secrets Hannibal might keep from him. He was sure that there were some, hidden far beneath the surface.

Maybe there were times when Hannibal didn't touch the earth, either.