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Title: Quiet Resolution
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Author's Note: Sequel to "What He Doesn't Know."
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 was going to see this through to the bitter end.
Will heaved a sigh as he sat down at the table in one of Baltimore's many cafés, hoping that this time, a man who could be the killer he was trying to draw out might approach him. This was the fourth night, and so far, there had been no sign of anyone.
Jack was only going to let him do this for ten days. Will thought that he might be able to squeeze two weeks out of him, but that would be it. Time was going by rapidly, and so far, there had been no sign that the killer was going to show himself.
He'd been so sure that if they gave this bastard what he wanted -- namely, him -- he would come out front and center, and they would have him.
But that hadn't happened. All he'd done was make himself conspicuous, walking around to cafés and bookshops, breaking his normal routine to put himself in a position to be either approached or attacked -- whichever the killer decided to do.
It was getting to him already.
He had been tense and keyed up for the past few days before this had started, and now that he was putting himself in a dangerous position, he was even more so. It was hard not to jump at shadows, and to appear nonchalant. But so far, he was managing.
He couldn't look nervous, Will reminded himself. If he did, then that would alert the killer. Hell, he probably already thought that something was off-kilter, considering that Will wasn't sticking to his usual routines. Maybe this had been a bad idea.
But he'd thought it was so perfect. It made sense for him to break routine; anyone would be nervous and tense if they thought a killer might be after them.
It shouldn't seem unusual for him to be staying in the city; after all, he would be shaken and nervous at the thought of being watched by a murderer. There was no use trying to pretend that he didn't realize he was the ultimate target; that had already been proven.
This killer was smart. He had to know that Will had figured things out.
Will glanced around, quickly searching the café for anyone who might fit the description he had in his mind. He didn't know what this man looked like, but he was looking for a type of person. One who could be innocuous, non-threatening, even benevolent.
This wasn't going to be allowed to go on for too long. He knew that. Jack would pull him out of here if he thought the plan wasn't working, and they would lose their best chance of catching this creep. That chance was already starting to look slim.
Will sighed softly, wishing that he would be approached by someone who could conceivably be the man they were looking for. Anything to bring this to an end.
Well, not a deadly end. No, he wanted to keep himself safe. There were people around to assure that he was protected, of course. He could see two other agents in the café, and another one outside on the sidewalk. He wasn't alone.
"Hello, Will." The voice surprised him; his head jerked up, his blue eyes widening.
Hannibal stood there by the table, his brows raised as if he was questioning whether or not he was welcome to sit down. Will waved a hand, indicating the chair across the table from him. "Hi, Hannibal." His voice was quiet, resigned. "Looks like this plan is a bust."
Hannibal sat, unbuttoning his coat before leaning forward. "I thought it would be. Will, this is too dangerous for you. I think it needs to stop. Now."
Will sighed, not wanting to admit that Hannibal was probably right. Though he didn't agree about the danger so much any more, given that the killer seemed to be smart enough to know that this was a trap and not to show himself. "Yeah, I guess you're right."
"You don't believe you're in danger." Hannibal's tone was flat; the words weren't up for discussion. He had merely said them to indicate that he knew how Will felt; they hung in the air between them, almost like a challenge that Will wanted to refute.
He shrugged, uncertain of just what to say. "It doesn't look like I am."
"But you don't know that." Hannibal's gaze caught his; those dark eyes were mesmerizing. He couldn't look away; it was as though Hannibal held him in some indefinable grip. It is time for this to be over, Will. You aren't going to catch your killer this way."
"You might be right about that." Will was surprised to hear the quiet resolution in his own voice. "But I will catch him, Hannibal. I have to."
"To placate your own sense of self-preservation?" Hannibal's brows rose; there was disbelief in his voice. "I don't believe that this is just about bringing justice to the young men who were slain, Will. This is more to do with you, rather than with them."
Will bit his lip, looking down at his hands in his lap. He couldn't refute what Hannibal said; it was more or less the truth. This wasn't so much about the young men who had been killed; it was about the fact that they looked like him, that he was the ultimate target.
It suddenly felt as though he was putting himself before them.
"So what do you suggest I do, Hannibal?" he asked, finally looking, spreading his hands out to his sides in a gesture of supplication. "Just walk away from this, pretend that I'm not scared for myself and that I don't care about what's happening to guys who look like me?"
Hannibal's brows drew together in a frown; slowly, he shook his head, sighing as he did so. "You can't walk away, Will. I know that. I don't have any easy answers for you."
"I guess we should stop looking for him like this," Will conceded with a sigh. "He's got to know we're on to him, and that I'm trying to catch him by being bait in a trap. I should have thought this out more carefully. He knows that this isn't my regular routine."
"Ah, but he should also think that you're agitated and worried," Hannibal pointed out. "It wasn't a bad plan, Will. Not at all. But this man is not your garden-variety criminal. You will have to think outside the box to catch him. And quite truthfully, I don't believe he can be caught."
Will clenched his fists, feeling frustrated.
Hannibal was probably right. This man wasn't going to be caught easily -- and certainly not by a plan as transparent as this one. This had been a mistake; it wasn't working, and he should have seen that from the first night. They would have to start back at square one.
He finally sighed and nodded, looking at the man sitting across the table from him. "You're right. This isn't the way. And maybe we won't catch him."
Will's voice became stronger as he continued speaking. "But I'm going to keep trying. Not just to find some justice for the people he's killed, but so I can feel like I don't have to look over my shoulder all the time. I'm not going to live in fear."
He could hear the quiet resolution in his own voice; he meant every word he said. Hannibal smiled, reaching out to take his hand. He could feel the strength in his lover's grasp; it told him that Hannibal was there for him, and that he approved of the decision Will had made.
It was the right decision. But he still felt as though he had somehow let himself down.
He couldn't let himself feel that way, Will told himself firmly. He had to believe that this wasn't the right way to catch this killer, and that he could find some other way to bring the man to justice. But it wasn't going to be easy; that had already been proven.
Will squared his shoulders, giving Hannibal's hand a slight squeeze. Somehow, he would find a way. He couldn't help but think that his future depended on it.
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