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Title: Feeling Free
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: gen - Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Table: Table 2, 20 in 20 Challenge, tv_universe
Prompt: 4, Green
Disclaimer: This is entirely a product of my own imagination, and I make no profit from it. I do not own the lovely Will Graham, unfortunately, just borrowing him for a while. Please do not sue.


He loved being out here in the woods, where everything was green and growing and .... so alive. It somehow made him feel more connected to the world.

Will looked around, feeling a sense of peace descend over him. It didn't matter that he was alone, except for Winston and another of the dogs, Oliver the husky. He felt safe here, with his dogs for protection. And he wasn't that far from the house.

For some reason, the woods made him feel more safe than he should.

There was just something about being in the presence of growing things in the springtime, he told himself. It made him feel fresh, rejuvenated, renewed.

Did anyone else feel like this when they were walking in the woods? He had to wonder about that. There weren't many people he knew who actually liked the countryside; most people felt that it was too far away from civilization.

But he felt comfortable here in Wolf Trap, even though there were times when it was a little more isolated than he would have wished.

There were times when he wondered if he wouldn't be better off moving into the nearby city of Vienna, but he had never been able to bring himself to do that. He wouldn't be comfortable in a city; he'd learned that from his few years of living in New Orleans.

He'd actually liked living there, to an extent, but he'd felt too closed in, and the lack of privacy had made him feel as though he had to look over his shoulder all the time.

Here, he never had to do that. Here, he felt .... free.

And the growth all around him, the green trees, the grass, the flowers .... it was all springing to glorious life this time of year, and he loved to see it.

Of course, he could still have some of that greenery if he moved to the city, Will mused. It would be there, in parks, and in the lawns of the houses there. But it wouldn't be the same; that sense of freedom, of being one with nature, would be gone.

He wouldn't be able to roam in the woods like this, and he would miss that too much. He wouldn't feel that he was completely at peace, at one with his surroundings.

He would miss all of this too much if he let it go.

And the dogs would, too, he told himself as he reached down to scratch Winston behind the ears. He didn't want to coop six dogs up in a house in the city.

If he got a big enough house, one with a fenced-in back yard, he could do that easily, he thought, then shook his head as though to clear his mind. Why was he even thinking about this? He wasn't going to move. He was happy right where he was, here in Wolf Trap.

Even if there were times when he felt that the isolation he lived in could be dangerous for him, he still didn't want to move.

It would take away too much of his freedom to live in the city. He would feel boxed in, and there would be people all around him.

Being social was something he really didn't want to try to do in his off time, Will thought with a grimace. He didn't like being around a lot of people at the best of times, and given that he was working more in the field now, he needed his solitude to let himself relax.

If he was in the classroom more, it wouldn't matter so much. But being in the field made him tense, and he needed his privacy to offset that.

So no, moving away from here wasn't an option for him.

He needed these times alone, walking in the woods with a few of his dogs, feeling that he was close to nature and letting the peace and quiet seep into his soul.

He couldn't imagine living without this, not being able to walk in the woods and feel at peace. He would miss it far too much, miss the green growing things, miss the feeling of being surrounded by quiet and solitude. It might be too much for some people, but it was just right for him.

Without this in his life, he'd be miserable. He'd lifted himself out of feeling dark and depressed a lot of the time by coming here, and he didn't mean to turn back.

He liked his life here, and he didn't want it to change.

This was the life that he wanted, the life that he needed. If it changed too drastically, then he'd be thrown back into that pit of darkness.

He might not be able to climb out of it again. Though he had to admit that there were times when working in the field made him feel as though he was getting drastically close to it again, Will thought with a soft sigh. He was being pushed closer to that edge every day.

But so far, he hadn't allowed himself to fall back into it -- and he didn't intend to. He would stop the field work if he had to, if it would keep him away from that edge.

Jack would understand. He'd have to. No, he wouldn't be happy if his pet freak decided to stop working in the field -- and he would argue that Will saved lives with his work. But what good was saving other lives if he burned himself out and gave up his own life by doing so?

No, Jack would have to understand if he felt that this was becoming too much for him. So far, he'd managed to balance it with his teaching, but that wouldn't last forever.

Just another reason that he needed this isolation, these walks through the woods.

He couldn't let this go out of his life. If he did, then he'd be losing an intrinsic part of himself -- a part that kept him sane and grounded.

Will sighed softly, standing still and closing his eyes, listening to the small sounds of the woods all around him. He could almost swear that he heard the trees and flowers growing; he felt as though he was a part of them, that this woodland was connected to his soul.

Leaving all of this would never be an option for him. He needed this solitude, needed the ability to immerse himself in all of this greenery, this .... life.

That was really at the root of it all, wasn't it?

He saw so much death in his job that he needed to be around life when he wasn't at work. This was the way he took that life in; if he lost this, then he would be much less effective at his job, because he would have nothing to offset the grim reality he saw every day.

This was what kept him sane. This was what he needed in his life, and if Jack Crawford couldn't understand that, then Jack didn't need him on the team.

Will nodded in satisfaction, glad that he had thought that out and come to the conclusion that he felt was right for him. This was what he needed, and where he would stay. Nothing was going to take this away from him, not as long as he had a choice in the matter.

If if came to the point where he didn't have a choice, then there would be trouble.

He shivered as a cold wind blew past him; a chill ran down his spine, and he turned to scan the woods behind him. He could swear that he had heard someone whisper his name; but that was impossible. He was alone, except for the two dogs.

Turning back towards his house, Will made his way silently and quickly through the woods. Suddenly, he wanted to be back at home, where he felt secure -- and safe.