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Title: In His Own Image
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Author's Note: Sequel to "The Seduction of Madness."
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.
***"Looking at you and seeing what you are becoming is one of the true pleasures of my life, Will," Hannibal said, looking at Will across the dinner table.
It was hard for him not to wince, hard for him to hide the repugnance that those words engendered in him, but Will knew that he had to manage to do so. He couldn't let Hannibal see how much he was despised, how much Will wanted to see him behind bars, locked away from society.
If he let Hannibal see how he really felt, then his plan to capture his nemesis would fall apart. And he couldn't let that happen. The plan had to work.
So far, it was going well -- but Jack kept telling him that they were running out of time, and that he had to come up with some results soon. They couldn't simply keep hoping that Hannibal would trip up and reveal too much. Will had to make him slip up.
That would be more easily said than done, Will thought sourly. It was almost as though Hannibal knew what they were doing, and taunted him with silence.
Maybe tonight would be the night he would finally open up.
"Seeing you now is like looking at my own reflection," Hannibal said softly, and Will was startled to realize that there was actual emotion on the other man's face.
He hadn't thought that Hannibal was capable of real emotions -- after all, the man was a serial killer -- but maybe he'd been wrong. Maybe, against all the laws of nature and everything he knew about Hannibal, the man actually did have some kind of softer feelings for him.
Or maybe he was simply imagining things, Will told himself firmly. That was the most likely explanation. No, he couldn't let himself believe that Hannibal actually cared.
He didn't want Hannibal to care about him. That would only complicate things.
As far as Will was concerned, everything he needed to know about Hannibal Lecter, he already knew. He didn't need to peel back any layers at this stage of the game.
He knew that Hannibal was a cold-blooded murderer. He knew more about this man than he had ever wanted to know, and he knew that the knowledge would haunt him for the rest of his life. He would always berate himself for ever thinking that Hannibal had been his friend.
How could he have ever believed that they were friends? How was it that he hadn't been able to see through Hannibal at the very beginning, that he hadn't known how evil this man was?
Was it because Hannibal had seemed to understand him, to see into him in a way that no one else ever had, or had even wanted to? Was it because he'd needed a friend so badly?
The people around him had always pretended to be his friends, but the moment they'd thought that he was a killer, they had all backed away. The only person who hadn't done so was Beverly -- and she had paid for her friendship and loyalty with her life. Will owed her for that.
He had to put Hannibal in prison not just for Beverly's untimely death, but for all the other lives he had taken, all the other people that he had needlessly destroyed.
Hannibal was evil. And Will was not his reflection.
The fact that this monster could think, even for a moment, that Will was anything like him made his blood boil. He wanted to jump to his feet and deny those words as loudly as he could.
But he didn't have that luxury, Will told himself silently. He had to keep pretending that he was becoming what Hannibal wanted him to be, that he was indeed turning into a reflection of the evil that Hannibal represented. As much as he hated it, he had no choice in the matter.
He had to keep up this charade if he wanted his plan to work. And maybe if he managed to keep making Hannibal that he was giving in to his darker side, the bastard would finally expose himself for what he was.
He had to say something that would make Hannibal believe he was pleased.
But Will couldn't think of anything to say. There were no words to describe the depth of his repulsion, and certainly none that he could say to convey pleasure at Hannibal's statement.
Still, he had to say something. If he didn't, then Hannibal might realize how he really felt -- and that would bring everything that he had worked so hard to put into motion crumble around him. He had to find some words that would make this monster think he wanted to be like him.
"I don't want to be just a reflection of you," he finally said, hoping that his words sounded sincere. "I want to be my own person. I don't want to disappear into you."
"You could never do that, Will." Hannibal's voice was firmer now, his gaze sharper. "You will always be your own man. I know that, and I'm proud of it. But I do see myself in you, and that makes me even prouder. I believe that you are finally becoming the person you were always meant to be."
No, he wasn't, Will told himself, enraged and appalled by Hannibal's words. He wasn't meant to be a conscienceless murderer. He was nothing like this monster he was listening to.
He would never let Hannibal make him into nothing more than an image of evil.
Clearing his throat, he nodded, knowing that he had to give some kind of indication that he was listening. He couldn't speak; if he did, all of his hatred would come out.
It seemed that Hannibal was satisfied with that; he gave Will a smile before raising his glass of wine, obviously expecting Will to do the same. Will slowly raised his glass and drank, hoping that he was still managing to play his role well and that Hannibal had no idea of what was really in his mind -- and in his heart.
Jack was right; they were running out of time. He had to bring this game to an end soon; if he didn't, then there was even more of a possibility that he'd be found out, and it would all blow up in his face.
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