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Title: Facing His Fears
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Table: writers_choice
PPrompt: #85, Echo
Author's Note: Sequel to "Surrounded By Darkness."
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.


"Where are you, Will?"

He could hear Dr. du Maurier's voice, but it sounded very far away. She and Hannibal were somewhere near, but he couldn't see them; he could only feel their presence. Still, it was comforting to know that he wasn't alone out here, that someone was nearby.

He wasn't helpless. He wasn't going to be attacked again. He would have people watching out for him, people who would keep him from being harmed.

"I'm .... out in the woods," he said, feeling as though the words weren't coming from his mouth. It didn't seem that he was actually talking to anyone; Dr. du Maurier's voice seemed to be in his head, her nearby presence not quite indicative of a real person.

He blinked, looking around him. He was in the woods outside his house, where he had been attacked by the person he was now trying to find. What was he doing here?

Will didn't know why he was here, but he didn't want to be. He wanted to be inside his home where it was safe, where he could lock the doors and no one could get to him. He felt far too vulnerable and exposed out here; he needed to get back into his house.

"It's all right, Will. You have nothing to fear. You're safe here."

Dr. du Maurier's voice was an echo all around him, the words trying to comfort him. But he didn't feel in the least comforted; he didn't believe the words.

Hannibal and Dr. du Maurier didn't really seem to be here. If they weren't, then how could they say that they would protect him? They wouldn't be able to help him if he was attacked again. If they weren't right by his side, then they wouldn't be able to get to him in time.

He would simply have to trust that they would be there, that they would help him if he needed it. He would have to put himself in their hands.

That wasn't going to be easy for him to do, but he would try.

Will took a deep breath, the sound seeming to echo all around him. His breathing was heavy and labored; he knew that it was because of his own fear. He had to conquer that fear, push it down, make it go away. He had to slay the demons that lay in wait for him.

If he was going to find this person who had attacked him, if he was going to bring them to justice, he had to conquer his own fears regarding them.

Fear was only going to make him weak. He took another deep breath, and another. He couldn't let that fear wear him down; that would be letting this person, whoever they were, have power over him. He wasn't going to do that. He wouldn't give them the upper hand.

Overriding that fear was harder than it appeared to be.

But somehow, he managed to do it. He blinked again, turning around in a slow circle, studying the area around the front of his house.

This wasn't where he'd been when he was attacked; he was sure of it. He'd been somewhere near his house, sleepwalking, on the road. But he hadn't been right here, within sight of his own home. He knew that for a fact; it just didn't feel right.

But if he didn't know exactly where he'd been, then how could he pinpoint the location where he had been so precipitously attacked and try to get a look at his assailant?

Will took one slow step forward, then another, closing his eyes. He heard Dr. du Maurier's voice, seemingly further away than ever, just a murmur in his mind.

And when he opened his eyes again, he didn't know where he was. Yes, he was on the road somewhere near his home, but he wasn't entirely sure just where that was. He felt disoriented, as though everything had been turned inside out in the blink of an eye.

"Where are you now, Will?" Dr. du Maurier's voice came again, closer this time, clearer. He could hear her softly voiced question in his mind; he had to answer her.

"I'm near my house. Out on the road. Walking."

This was it. This was the place. He knew that more clearly than he'd ever known anything; this was where he had been attacked, where he had been beaten black and blue, and then left there, dazed and confused and unaware of what had just happened to him.

Anger rose in him at the thought. This time, when his attacker appeared, he wouldn't simply let himself be victimized. He would fight back.

This time, he wasn't going to let himself be harmed. He wasn't a helpless sleepwalker now; he had his wits about him, he knew what was going to happen, what his attacker intended to do. And he wasn't going to just stand there and take it. Not this time.

That thought echoed in his mind, giving him an inner strength.

He would need that strength when he came face to face with his attacker, Will thought grimly. He would need all the help he could get to unmask the bastard.

No, he wouldn't be unmasking him, exactly; the man hadn't been wearing a mask. He would just need to get one good look at the face, so he would be able to recreate it in his mind well enough for a sketch artist to do a composite drawing. And then the hunt would begin.

His muscles tensed; he was sure that he could feel someone's presence near him, someone who wasn't Hannibal or Dr. du Maurier. Someone malevolent.

Someone who meant to do him harm.

It would only be a moment before that person was upon him. He was ready for them; he would be able to see who had left those bruises on his body, to meet his attacker face to face, to get their features firmly fixed in his mind so he would be able to discover who they were.

He could feel that presence more closely now. He didn't know who it was, but they were near; it was the same presence that he'd felt during that sleepwalking episode.

They were close. They were going to try to surprise him, but this time, he was prepared. He would swing around to face them when they least expected it, take in who they were, and they would be caught. After this, it would only be a matter of time before they were behind bars.

Closer now; the presence was right behind him, so close that he could almost feel warm breath on his neck. Their breath seemed to echo in his ears, the sound heavy in the quiet night.

Now. Will swung around, his eyes widening in shock and confusion. What stood there before him wasn't at all what he'd expected to see; he stumbled back, choking back a cry of amazement, stunned that this was what had left him bruised and battered.

He wasn't facing a man, but a huge, menacing stag.