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Title: Pursued
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Table: 20 in 20 Challenge, tv_universe
Prompt: 20 - Running
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.


Will sank to his knees, panting, trying to catch his breath. He didn't know where he was, or how long he had been running. He only knew that he couldn't stop.

He didn't even know what was chasing him -- only that something was crashing through the woods at his heels, and that it was malevolent. He might not have actually seen it, but he could feel it, and that was enough for him.

He didn't need to see what was behind him. If he did, then he might tumble headlong into the insanity that he was sure waited for him with open arms.

He wasn't crazy. He didn't want to think of himself as being crazy.

No, he wasn't crazy. There really was something crashing through the woods, chasing him, making him fear for his life. He was running for his life, running in the direction that he thought his house lay in, though he couldn't be sure of that.

The dogs weren't here to protect him. For once, he was glad of that. If they were, then whatever was after him would probably kill them.

Just as it might kill him if he didn't keep running. But his lungs were burning, his legs were shaking, and he didn't think that he could take another step. He had to slow down, had to rest, had to find the way to his home and get inside, behind locked doors.

And then? What then? What if it still came after him?

He would deal with that when and if it happened, Will told himself firmly. He leaned against a tree, closing his eyes and taking deep gulps of the cold, clear air. Just a few moments' rest, and he would run again; he only needed a few seconds to ....

His eyes snapped open as he heard yet another crash, this one close behind him. His pursuer was nearer than he'd thought; they were almost upon him.

Will wanted to run, but all he could do was stumble. He could almost feel the fiery breath on the back of his neck; he was terrified of turning around and glancing behind him. He didn't want to see just what was after him; it might sap the strength from his limbs.

But he had to look. He had to know.

He turned -- and saw yellow eyes, eyes the color of sulfur that slowly turned to red. He saw antlers that gleamed through the darkness as the stag behind him lowered its head, pawed the ground, and charged, aiming those razor-sharp points directly at him.

This was it, then. He was going to die here, in the woods that surrounded his home, without anyone having a clue as to what had happened to him. When his body was found, it would be assumed that he had been having one of his sleepwalking episodes, and had been gored by a wild animal.

Will opened his mouth to scream, a scream that would go on forever.

.... And found himself sitting up in bed, his t-shirt drenched with sweat, on the edge of a scream that didn't quite make its way out. He took a deep breath instead, then another, looking around at the four familiar walls of his bedroom.

He wasn't in the woods. He wasn't being chased. As usual, the stag was a dream, a manifestation of all that he had been dealing with lately.

Hannibal would probably say that it was his subconscious chasing him and demanding to be heard, all of his anxieties amassed into one frightening creature that made him feel as if he was being pursued and had no escape. Maybe he was right about that.

That didn't make those anxieties any easier to deal with.

Will threw back the covers and swung his legs out of bed, resting his elbows on his thighs and his head in his hands. He felt as if he'd run a marathon; rather than being rested, he was more tired now than he'd been when the had turned out the light and settled down to sleep.

He should probably talk to Hannibal about this. These dreams were getting more and more realistic -- and feeling as though they would lead to violence.

Will shuddered at the thought of the dreams getting worse; they had been escalating slightly each time he had one, but this was the closest that he had ever come to being killed within his dreams. Those razor-sharp antlers had seemed so close ....

He took a deep breath. They weren't real. None of it was real.

That didn't change the fact that it felt real. And that it felt as though what chased him relentlessly in his dreams could easily break through into his waking world.

Maybe staying with Hannibal for a few nights would help with that. Even if his boyfriend couldn't manage to straighten out his crazy dreams, Will could spend the night in his arms -- and Hannibal would hopefully tire him out too much for those dreams to surface.

Will sighed, getting to his feet and heading for the bathroom to take a shower. Yes, he was running away from the problem. And he didn't intend to stop until he'd run as far as he could go.