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Title: Hard Habit To Break
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Sequel to "No Dark Clouds."
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.


"Why do you have such a hard time looking at me, Will?"

The question was asked in a soft voice, a voice that held no judgment whatsoever, but Will couldn't help wincing. It was true, he did still have a hard time making eye contact with Hannibal whenever they were talking. He couldn't help it.

It was the habit of a lifetime, one that stretched back to when he was a child. He'd never had an easy time of making eye contact with people.

He didn't really know why. Maybe it was just because he didn't want people to see what he was thinking. He had always believed that old saying about eyes being the windows to a person's soul, and he didn't want anyone to inadvertently see into his soul.

If they did, then they wouldn't like what they saw.

Even when he was much younger, from the time he was a child, Will had felt that his soul was blackened. He was scarred, tainted. He saw things that nobody else could see; he felt things that he didn't want to tell anyone else about.

He had learned how to deal with those feelings as he grew older, and he'd even turned them into a job. But that didn't make the blot on his soul go away.

So he had taken to avoiding the need to look people in the eye. It was a way to protect himself -- and, in a way, to protect the people around him. He wouldn't be responsible for tainting anyone around him with his own particular brand of crazy.

Crazy. Or evil. Or whatever people wanted to call it.

But shouldn't it be easy to look Hannibal in the eye when they spoke now? After all, they had become much closer in the last few days. They had confessed that they loved each other. They had a future together, as a couple.

He shouldn't have a hard time looking into the eyes of the man who was going to be his lover, and his life partner. But old habits died hard.

This one in particular. It was a hard habit to break, the habit of a lifetime. He was going to have to work on this, and try consciously to keep eye contact with Hannibal whenever they talked about anything, no matter how trivial the discussion might seem to be.

Though he didn't think any discussion with Hannibal would be trivial.

No, anything they talked about was always going to be important, no matter what it might be, simply because it was Hannibal who he was talking to. Will couldn't imagine them ever having a conversation that wouldn't somehow be significant.

Did Hannibal feel the same way? Maybe it was something he should ask. Right now. And he should look into those enigmatic dark eyes while he did so.

"Do you think we're ever going to have a conversation that isn't meaningful?" he blurted out, keeping his gaze on Hannibal's face. "Have we ever done that?"

Hannibal looked startled for a moment, then smiled. "No, Will, I don't believe that we have ever had any conversation that wasn't of some significance. Each time we've spoken, we have learned more about each other. No conversation is completely irrelevant."

Will considered that, wondering if Hannibal was right.

Even when he didn't make eye contact with the other man, somehow Hannibal seemed able to divine his meaning, even when his words were obtuse. No one else had ever been able to do that. The two of them understood each other in ways no one else did.

That was why Hannibal was the perfect man for him. That was one of the reasons he'd falle in love with this man -- because Hannibal understood him.

No one else made him feel the way Hannibal did; no one else had ever been able to calm him when he felt shattered or closer to the edge of sanity than he wanted to be. No one else had the power to make him feel that he could hold on to them and be steadied.

Only Hannibal could do that for him. Only Hannibal could .... save him.

Then why was it still so hard for him to meet Hannibal's gaze? Was it because those eyes saw too much? Was it because that, in spite of his love for this man and all the trust he placed in him, there was still a part of him that didn't want to be seen, to be known?

Well, he simply had to lose that part of himself, to lock it away and bury it. Because he had to let Hannibal see him, and to know him.

If he didn't, then they didn't have much of a relationship, and he really didn't trust Hannibal, in spite of his protestations. He had to be willing to open himself completely, to look Hannibal in the eye, to let this man plumb his deepest depths in every way.

Taking a deep breath, he raised his head, his gaze meeting Hannibal's directly.

And suddenly, it was easy. He had no problem looking into those dark eyes, losing hismelf in that knowing gaze. There was something comforting about it, as though he'd finally come home after he'd spent his entire life wandering around in the darkness.

There was something safe and warm about that gaze .... something loving that he had never felt before from anyone else.

Not making eye contact might be a hard habit for him to break, but he was getting better at it. And the more time he was with Hannibal, the more he would put that habit behind him, until at last it was in the past and he didn't have to worry about it any more.

Will smiled at the thought. He was already well on his way to breaking that habit for good.