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Title: Monster in My Dreams
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Table: Charloft prompt challenge, tv_universe
Prompt: Monster
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. soar


Will sat bolt upright in bed, pressing a hand to his chest, breathing hard. He couldn't seem to catch his breath; it was as though there was no air in the room. He closed his eyes, trying to calm himself down, forcing himself to breathe slowly and deeply.

But within moments, he was taking in great gulps of air as if he couldn't get enough of it into his lungs at one time. It was several long moments before he could feel his heart rate decelerating to its normal steady beat and he could lie back against the pillows.

A dream. That was all it had been. Just a dream, not reality.

Not just a dream -- a nightmare. He'd been running from a monster, the one that had haunted far too many of his dreams lately.

The stag had been chasing him through the woods near his home; all that Will could now remember of the rapidly fading dream was that he had thought about nothing but getting to his house, running inside, and closing the door.

If he could do that, then he could lock the monster outside, and he danger would be gone. But as much as he had run, as far as he had gone, he never seemed to get any closer to his house; the woods seemed interminable, with trees blocking his every move.

There had been nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. And in the end, the stag had caught him, its head down as it charged at him and buried its antlers in his back.

That was where the dream had ended. He had screamed, sitting up in bed and finding himself here, at home, tucked into his own bed. He hadn't been out in the forest; there was no stag, no chase, no blood seeping from his body.

He was at home. He was alone. He was safe.

But that monster still waited for him in his dreams. He had no doubt of that. The next time he closed his eyes and drifted into sleep, it would be there, scenting the air, just waiting for him to come back into that realm that it inhabited.

It would kill him again. It would run its antlers into his body, snorting in victory, pawing the ground. It would do the same thing over and over again, reveling in its kill. It would take in the sight of his lifeless body, seeing that kill as nothing more than its due.

Just the thought of living through that nightmare again made his skin prickle; Will didn't want to think about the stag, much less dream about it again.

Just thinking about that creature made him break out in a cold sweat; he knew that he wouldn't be able to sleep again tonight because of it. He was running from the stag in his wakefulness just as much as he ran from it in his nightmares.

It was taking over his life. The monster was out of control.

He had to talk to Hannibal about this. His lover would reassure him that the stag wasn't real, that it was a monster born of his own fears, and perhaps given life by the atrocities he was forced to see every day in the process of doing his job.

The stag wasn't real. He knew that. He knew that it was only a component of his dreams, a boogeyman image that his unconscious mind had made up to symbolize all of the serial killers he helped to track down. It wasn't corporeal; it had no basis in the real world.

That was what Hannibal would tell him, but Will knew that only a part of him would believe those words. He'd had too much experience with that stag.

It haunted his dreams; it followed him everywhere that he went when he was sleeping. He couldn't get away from it; whenever he closed his eyes, it was always there, waiting for him. It would never leave him be; it would follow him no matter where he went.

There was nowhere in the realm of dreams that he could hide.

There would be no more sleep for him tonight. Sighing, Will threw back the covers, swinging his long legs over the side of the bed. He felt more secure with his feet on the floor; he would be able to run if he had to, instead of being trapped in bed.

Run? Why would he feel that he might have to run? His brow furrowed at the thought, before the answer leapt into his mind, almost painful in its crystal clarity.

The monster in his dreams was breaking through into his reality. He expected to see the stag here, in his bedroom, waiting for him. He was sure that it was lurking there in the shadows, coming to vivid life, stepping out his mind and into his world.

Will took a deep breath, then another. The monster wasn't real. It wasn't here. It wasn't waiting for him; it wasn't going to jump out at him. He wasn't going to be attacked by something out of his dreams. It had been a nightmare, nothing more.

If only he could force himself to believe those words.

Will got to his feet, looking around him cautiously. Reaching for the lamp, he snapped it on; the warm light flooded the room, banishing the shadows.

There were no monsters here, Will told himself sternly. At least, not tonight. The monster that he feared had once again been banished to his dreams, routed by the light and by consciousness. But he couldn't help wondering when it would show up again -- and which world it would exist in.