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Title: Protecting His Heart
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Will Graham/John Reese
Fandom: Hannibal/Person of Interest
Rating: PG-13
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.


"We have a new number, John."

John looked up at Harold, aching one eyebrow. "Oh? Do you know anything about the person yet?" he asked, his voice crisp. He had been waiting for this.

Harold smiled, his usual thin grimace that John had come to realize represented a smile. "Oh, I know plenty about him," Harold murmured. "There's quite a bit to know."

"Really?" This person sounded rather interesting, judging by the tone of Harold's voice. John put down the paper he had been reading, giving the other man his full attention. "You've got my interest now, Harold. Tell me all about our new number. I want to know it all."

"His name is Will Graham. Does that sound familiar to you at all?" Harold asked him, turning around to stare at John. "He was in all the papers only a few years ago."

John nodded slowly, remembering the name and all of the lurid details surrounding it. "He's our number? What sort of a mess has he gotten himself into now?"

Harold shook his head, looking at the file he had up on the screen.

"While it doesn't seem possible that he could still be in fear for his life, that is exactly what the problem is," he said with a sigh. "Hannibal Lecter is still at large, you know."

"So you think that it's Lecter who's trying to get to him?" John asked, sitting down in the chair beside Harold's desk. "I would have thought that he'd stay far away."

Harold favored him with one of those terse smiles again, shaking his head. "It doesn't seem that Lecter is one to give up easily," he said. "From what experts have been able to gather, he has an obsession with Will Graham that borders on the pathological."

"Which means that Will Graham is still in danger," John said, nodding. "And he will be until Lecter is behind bars again, or he doesn't exist any longer."

"Right," Harold said, agreeing with a nod. "And it's our job to make sure that Lecter is either dispatched, or put back behind bars. Not just for Will Graham's safety, either."

John agreed with the words that Harold hadn't spoken.

Hannibal Lecter was a menace to society in general. He had to be put back behind bars, or ushered out of this world for good, before he murdered more innocent people.

Well, Will Graham wasn't going to be one of those people, John told himself. He would make sure that the man whose number had come to them was protected.

To the best of his abilities, anyway, he amended. And fortunately, his abilities were prodigious. He'd proven that in the time that he'd been working with Harold, and before, when he had worked for the government. If anyone could protect Will Graham, he could.

He picked up the picture of the man he had to protect, studying the handsome features. He was certainly an attractive man. No one could deny that.

Something within him stirred as he stared at Will's image, memorizing that face. Even in a picture, there was a keen intelligence in those impossibly blue eyes.

There was a stirring in a more primitive part of him, as well -- a stirring that he recognized as being a physical attraction. He had always known that he was attracted to men as well as women, but no man had brought out that feeling in a very long time.

Will Graham made him feel an attraction stronger than any he'd ever had before -- even stronger than what he had felt for his dead fianceŽ.

John swallowed hard, unsure of just how to deal with this. He'd been attracted to some of their numbers before, of course. But nothing had ever felt like this.

This man opened up something within him that hadn't been touched in years.

And if he could this way from just looking at a picture, he wasn't sure that he wanted to know how he would feel when he met Will in the flesh.

"John?" Harold's voice broke into his thoughts, and his head jerked up, his gaze meeting the other man's. "He's at work now. At a bookshop that's conveniently located two blocks from here."

"Then it looks like I'll be spending a lot of time improving my literary tastes," John said, a fleeting smile crossing his face. Actually, he enjoyed reading; he always had. But it seemed that lately, he didn't have much time to read; he was kept too busy by the Machine.

As soon as they had helped one number, there was another, and then another, and another. It seemed that the world was always tireless in persecuting people.

He and Harold were the only recourse that some of these people had to help them out of bad situations. And it seemed as though that might be the case with Will Graham.

This was a man who had been through far too much.

John had seen him on television when he'd been framed for murder, and then acquitted of the horrible crimes that he'd been accused of, but he hadn't paid much attention then.

Now, he wished that he had. He wanted to know more about Will Graham. For some reason, he found himself wanting to see into this man's soul.

He looked at Will's picture again; just what was it about this man that drew him so inexorably, like the proverbial moth to a flame? There was just an indefinable something about Will that captured his interest and made him want to get closer -- as close as possible, in fact.

John didn't even bother cautioning himself about that. He and Harold had been doing this for too long for him to start questioning those kinds of feelings now.

He would help Will, they might become friends, and then when Will's situation had been put to rest, they would part. that was what always happened in his line of work.

There would be no hope for anything more. There never was.

He had learned to close his heart since he had started working with Harold. Well, long before that, really. He had learned to never let desire interfere with his job.

But this felt like more than desire. Even in the picture, there was something electric about Will Graham, something that called to him, something that tugged at his heart.

John closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. He couldn't let himself care about Will Graham, not in a romantic way. Maybe they could be friends for the duration of the time it would take to fix whatever situation had made his number come up, but there couldn't be anything more than that.

He wasn't built for relationships. He had known that for a long time. And he was never going to let himself indulge in one again. He had made that mistake too many times before.

He refused to make that same mistake again. He wasn't going to let his emotions get in the way of his work, no matter how attracted he might be to this man.

That could only lead to disaster, for both himself and Will.

He wasn't going to risk putting his feelings on the line again. He couldn't watch another person walk away from him. He couldn't risk loving and losing. Not again. Once had been more than enough.

"John?" Harold was looking at him strangely, tilting his head to the side, and his voice sounded as though he had spoken before -- more than once. "Are you all right?"

No, I'm not all right, he wanted to shout. This man could mean something to me, if I don't keep rigid control over my emotions. I could let the walls that I've spent so much time building up come crumbling down, and I'm terrified of doing just that.

Instead, he only gave Harold one of his small, icy smiles, and said, "I'm fine. Don't worry about me." He got to his feet, reaching for his trench coat.

"I think I'll pay Mr. Graham a visit at that bookshop and do a little reconnaissance," he said, heading for the door. "And I'll put a tracker on him while I'm there."

That was the least he had to do, he reflected as he headed for the door.

Somehow, he had to manage to rein in his emotions. His heart was already starting to beat faster at the idea of seeing Will Graham in the flesh.

What was wrong with him? he berated himself. He couldn't let himself feel this way. He had long ago closed his heart. Nothing was going to open it again. Nothing.

But something deep down inside told him differently. He didn't know why, but he had the sneaking suspicion that if anyone could bring those walls of his tumbling to the ground, it was Will Graham. There was just something in those eyes that made John want to .... surrender.

He took a deep breath when he exited the building, drawing the crisp, cold air into his lungs. Then he headed down the street, towards the bookshop that he passed by every day.

Somehow, he knew that he would be sending a lot of time there in the near future. And that thought made his heart leap, and brough a small smile smile to his lips.

This felt like the beginning of a whole new future.