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Title: Last Rites
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Author's Note: Sequel to "Bitter Deception."
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.
***There was really no reason for him to feel guilty.
Hannibal was the one who should be feeling guilt for all that he had done, both to Will and to others, but there was no way that was going to happen, Will told himself bitterly.
That monster didn't give a damn about all the harm he'd caused, all the pain he'd inflicted. He didn't care about anything but getting what he wanted, satisfying his own macabre desires. Hannibal had no soul, no decency. He should have known that long ago. He should have realized that when he first looked into Hannibal's eyes.
Why hadn't he been able to see that there was nothing there, no soul, no emotion? Why hadn't he been able to recognize the emptiness that had lurked behind that steady gaze?
He should have been able to look beneath the calm surface, beneath the mask of humanity that Hannibal always wore. He should have been able to realize that there was something horribly wrong with this man, something that wasn't quite right. But for once, his much-vaunted empathy seemed to have failed him.
Hannibal thought they had a relationship, even a friendship. He thought that they could repair what had been tipped apart when Hannibal had framed Will and put him through hell.
But the last rites had been said over that so-called "friendship" long ago.
In a way, part of him mourned for that friendship. When he and Hannibal had first met, he had felt that he'd made a connection, that someone actually understood him in some ways.
He now realized that Hannibal had only pretended to care about him, that he had only been a kind of experiment for the other man. Hannibal was only interested in seeing how far Will could be pushed before he tumbled over the edge of sanity; he hadn't cared about how Will had felt, or who he was.
Hannibal had never been his friend. A friend wouldn't deliberately give someone a potentially fatal disease, simply to see what the ongoing effects of that disease would be.
A friend wouldn't frame someone for crimes that they themselves had committed, and then act as though they felt sympathy for the person whose life could have been taken from them if they had been convicted of those crimes.
Hannibal was nothing more than a monster, and Will knew that he had been foolish to trust him in any capacity. But then again, Hannibal was also good at hiding his monstrousness behind a mask of humanity, at making people believe that he was a benevolent presence rather than a malicious one.
He was very good at showing people what he wanted them to see -- and what they wanted to see, Will reflected. He should know. He himself had fallen prey to Hannibal's machinations.
Well, that wasn't going to happen again. He was a lot smarter now.
He intended to expose Hannibal's evil to the world, to show everyone just what he was really like. And he wanted Hannibal to spend his life behind bars, with no possible way or ever getting out.
He would find that proof, and he would have his revenge. He was working on doing that right now, and he was sure that his efforts would pay off. They had to, Will told himself firmly. If they didn't, then his very life could be forfeit -- especially if Hannibal ever found out what was really in his heart.
Then, the last rites might be performed for him, and that was the last thing that he wanted to happen. He had avoided that once already, and he didn't intend to fall into any more of Hannibal's traps.
Their game of cat and mouse was only beginning, and Will had to admit that he was already tiring of the dance steps. The two of them circled each other warily, like cats who were ready to fight, their fur up, only moments away from hissing and spitting. He had to wonder just when they would pounce.
Did Hannibal know just what he was facing? Will didn't think so, and that would work to his advantage. But he had to be very, very careful to hide the truth from Hannibal until the very end.
When that end came, he hoped that Hannibal would be an inmate, and he would have his revenge at last.
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