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Title: The Reality of Love
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Table: Quotables Challenge, tv_universe
Prompt: "You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." -- Dr. Seuss
Author's Note: Sequel to "Candy."
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.


He didn't want to fall asleep.

For once, Will welcomed a sleepless night. He'd spent Halloween night at Hannibal's, and their lovemaking had taken him beyond the stars. He could only think of it as lovemaking; Hannibal had been unusually sweet and loving, touching him so gently.

The sex had been amazing, as always. When was it ever anything but incredible? Even when Hannibal was rough, it was always good.

Yet that night in his lover's bed had felt different from any other time they'd ever had sex. It had been making love in every sense of the word; Will had only felt that with Hannibal a few times before. This time, it had been stronger than ever, touching his heart in ways he hadn't expected.

If he fell asleep, then his dreams would take over. He didn't want that.

This was the first time that his real life had ever felt better than his dreams, the first time that reality had ever come close to all that he ad dreamed. No, this time, reality was far better than any dream he'd ever had, and he wanted to revel in it.

He wanted to enjoy reality, to lie back and wallow in it. This was the first time he'd ever felt truly loved, felt that someone needed him.

Maybe he was wrong about that. Maybe Hannibal didn't really need him, but he was sure that his lover cared. Maybe it wasn't true love, not on Hannibal's part anyway -- but there was no way that his lover could touch him like that and not care.

No one was capable of that kind of deception, least of all Hannibal.

He knew that his lover had secrets. He'd never doubted that. Hannibal wasn't the kind of man who gave up his secrets easily; he kept them close, guarding them carefully.

But Will didn't want to pry into his lover's secrets. When Hannibal was ready to tell him about them, to reveal more of his past, more of his personal feelings and idiosyncrasies that Will didn't already know about, then he would. Will just had to be patient.

He'd already been more patient than he'd ever thought he could be, Will thought wryly. But that patience had paid off for him in the end.

He'd gotten under Hannibal's skin. Maybe even into his heart.

That was all he'd wanted, really. To be in Hannibal's heart, to know that the man he loved so desperately loved him in return. It would take a while for Hannibal to say those three little words, but Will was positive that one day, he would eventually hear them.

Will smiled up at the ceiling, pillowing his head on his hands and letting himself relax. It almost felt good to have this problem for the first time in his life.

He knew that he was in love, because he didn't want to fall asleep. And he didn't want to fall asleep because his reality was finally better than his dreams.

He'd never thought that would happen. But then, he had never thought he would have anyone like Hannibal in his life, either. He'd never thought that he would fall so deeply in love, and even if that love wasn't returned completely, that the other person would care for him.

Hannibal cared. He'd said so, and Will believed him.

If anyone had told him when he first met Hannibal that he would fall in love with this man, he would have scoffed and told them they were crazy. But time had proven him wrong.

He was more in love than he'd ever thought it was possible to be. And even if Hannibal wasn't in love with him, Hannibal at least was fond of him, and cared enough about him to want their relationship to continue. Maybe that would turn into love someday.

He was willing to wait for that love. It was enough now to know that Hannibal cared, and that he wanted them to be together.

More would come. In time. He simply had to keep being patient.

If he fell asleep now, then he would wake in just a few hours -- maybe not even that long -- with a desire burning deep within him that could only be assuaged by Hannibal. And as he was at home in Wolf Trap tonight, that wasn't going to happen.

So he wanted to stay awake as long as possible, to savor the waking world and know that finally, for what felt like the first time, he was wanted -- and needed.

Yes, Hannibal needed him. He might not have said so, but Will could feel that need in him. He was just as much needed by his lover as he himself needed Hannibal. They completed each other; they were two halves of one whole.

He had finally found the one place where he'd always belonged.

Will wasn't sure just what the future held for the two of them. Maybe this wasn't meant to last forever. Maybe he and Hannibal would go their separate ways, and he would look back on this relationship one day and feel a pang of regret that it hadn't worked.

But he didn't think so. He felt that this would last forever, from this life into whatever the next might hold. This kind of love wasn't meant to have an ending.

The reality of love was so much better than the dream of it. He knew that he was in love, and even if the man he loved didn't feel exactly the same yet, that didn't dampen his ardor one bit. In fact, it only made him love Hannibal all the more.

For the first time in his life, reality was better than any dream he could possibly have.