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Title: Heart Reaching Out
Pairing: Will Graham/John Reese
Fandom: Hannibal/Person of Interest
Disclaimer: This is entirely a product of my own imagination, and I make no profit from it. I do not own the lovely Will Graham or Lee Fallon, unfortunately, just borrowing them for a while. Please do not sue.
***At first, John wasn't sure of what to say.
He simply stood there, staring. Will was even more gorgeous in the flesh than he was in pictures -- in fact, that one picture hadn't done him justice in any way.
This was unusual for him. He always knew what to say. He was never caught unprepared. He was always in command of any situation, no matter what it might be.
But Will Graham had him tongue-tied. He couldn't speak for a few moments; all he could was stand there and gaze at Will, until the other man tilted his head to the side, looking perplexed. "Can I help you with something?" he asked, his voice soft, a hint of a Southern accent peeking through.
Those words broke the ice, and John smiled at him, shaking his head. "No, I just came in to have a look around. I love books -- and bookshops," he added, smiling again.
Inwardly, he cursed himself for being so awkward. Why was Will having this effect on him? He felt like a teenager, struck dumb at the sight of the person he had a crush on.
No one else had ever affected him like this.
He'd never had this sort of a reaction to anyone, not in all of his life. No one had ever made his breath come faster, his heart rate speed up, his senses feel so heightened.
Was this simply lust? he asked himself. No, it was more than that. He didn't just want Will; this feeling far deeper than something so fleeting and ephemeral. There was already a connection between him and this man, even though Will might not know it yet.
"Can I help you find anything?" Will asked, his tone polite, but cautious. John realized that he was probably still staring, and quickly turned away to study a shelf of books.
He shook his head, searching for something to say.
Why did he feel like this, so rattled, so unsettled? He shouldn't be feeling this way about someone he'd never even met, especially someone who was one of their numbers.
He couldn't let himself develop feelings for Will. He couldn't go in that direction. He had to think of Will as just one of those numbers, just someone who needed his help.
If he let his guard down, for even one moment, he knew that Will would break through that wall he kept erected around himself -- and he would be lost. He would simply fall at Will's feet, surrender himself, surrender his heart, that heart he'd kept under wraps for so long.
He couldn't let himself do that. It was too dangerous. And he didn't even know yet why Will was in danger. He had to keep his distance, had to keep his emotions out of his work.
John glanced over at Will again, then at the dog who was now standing at his side. The dog looked friendly; his tail was wagging back and forth, his tongue lolling out.
"Gorgeous dog," he said, for lack of anything else that came readily to his lips. He got down on one knee to pet the dog when it came over to him, smiling when his hand was licked. "He's friendly, too," he said, looking up at Will. "Good trait for a bookstore dog."
"His name is Winston," Will said with a smile. "He's kind of my .... guardian angel, I guess you could say." He let out a soft laugh. "A guardian angel with fur."
"That's good, having a protector in this city," John said, getting back to his feet and regarding Will with a steady gaze. "You never know when you might need help."
Will nodded, the smile gone, replaced by a look of wary seriousness.
Those eyes. The were the clearest, deepest blue that John had ever seen. He wanted to drown in those eyes, lose himself in them. He couldn't look away.
But he had to, and he knew it. He cleared his throat, wondering just what he could say that would give him some time with this man, an excuse to talk to him, to probe into his life a bit without seeming too forward. And, all right, something that would also give him an excuse to see Will again.
To see him away from work, out of the bookshop, in a setting that could only be described as romantic. Yes, if he was honest, that was what he wanted.
And it was exactly what he couldn't let himself have.
Still, he had to find a way to talk with Will a bit. When the phone rang, he moved away slightly, giving Will a chance to answer the phone and talk to the customer was was calling.
"Hello?" John heard Will's voice, then the silence that followed. "Hello?" Will said again, and John knew that he heard a quaver within that single word.
Something was bothering Will; that was obvious from the way he sounded. It didn't take much, knowing Will's background, to realize that he was afraid the past was going to come after him -- and when Will slowly put the phone down and turned around, John could see that it had.
"What's wrong?" he asked, trying to keep his voice light. "You sounded as though whoever was on the phone had something not very complimentary to say to you."
Will's voice shook when he answered. "They .... they hung up," he said, then he cleared his throat and fell silent for a few moments. When he spoke again, his voice was stronger.
"I think it's someone I knew once -- someone who might be following me."
Now. Now was the time to say something, to get on Will's good side, to let him know that he wasn't alone, that he had a protector when he had probably least expected to find one.
"I might be able to help you with that," John said, his own voice strong and clear. "If there's someone bothering you, I can take care of things and make them keep their distance."
Will shook his head, a stubborn expression on his handsome face. "Thanks, but I'm fine," he said, even though John was sure that he didn't mean those words. "I can take care of myself. And besides, I've got my guardian angel with me," he added, stooping to stroke Winston's ears.
John privately thought that a dog, even one so obviously devoted to his owner as Winston was, wouldn't be much protection against a psychopathic murderer.
"Well, if you ever need my help, I hope that I'll be around to give it," he said, smiling again as he made his way to the door. "I'll be seeing you around, I hope."
With those words, he left the bookshop, cursing inwardly at himself.
He hadn't even been able to say anything that he'd planned to say. He hadn't really talked to Will; he'd been too bowled over by the man's presence.
What was wrong with him? he asked himself angrily. He had no reason to feel this way. He knew that he couldn't let himself get involved with anyone.
Especially not someone who was one of the numbers that the Machine gave them. That was Rule Number One, and it was a rule that he strictly enforced. No matter how strong the attraction, emotional involvement was one thing that could never be allowed. Not in his world.
But Will had barreled into that world, and shattered the barriers that John tried so hard to keep around himself. They were lying in shards, unable to be pieced back together again.
He cursed silently again as he realized that he hadn't even left Will any way to get in touch with him. Well, that just meant that he'd have to go out of his way to be here again tomorrow, didn't it?
And he hadn't bought a book, either. That had to look suspicious.
John sighed softly, closing his eyes for a moment as he stood at the curb and waited to walk across with the rest of the crowd. He was really losing it.
Feeling like this wasn't going to do him any good. But he knew that he couldn't hold back his emotions this time, any more than he could hold back a speeding train, or an ocean wave. He was resigned to letting himself be run over, spun around and around until he was disoriented.
He also knew that he was going to spend as much time with Will Graham as possible. He had to get to know this man. It felt as though his very life depended on it.
Or maybe it was just his heart that was desperately reaching out for what he so badly wanted.
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