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Title: A Grip on Reality
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Author's Note: Sequel to "Decompression."
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 hated crime scenes. He hated the feel of them.
But it was part of his job to go to crime scenes and see them through the killer's eyes. He had no choice in the matter, Will told himself.
He might hate this part of what he did, but it saved lives. And if he could do that, if he could save the lives of people who might fall victim in the future by catching this killer before he got to them, then it was worth the discomfort he felt.
This was what he did, and he wasn't going to turn away from it. If his singular talent could help to catch a killer, then it was his duty to use that talent.
Still, seeing a blood-soaked sheet draped over the body on the bed made his stomach turn queasily. As much as he wanted to believe that it was the coppery scent of the blood that made him feel slightly sick, Will knew that it was something more than that.
He didn't want to pull back that sheet and see the face of the person lying under it. All too often lately, he had seen his own face there.
It was only an illusion, but it was one that shook him to his core.
Why was he seeing himself in the faces of these victims? Why was his subconscious telling him that he was going to become one of them?
He didn't want to believe that he was having premonitions of his own death, but the more they happened, the more it felt as though the visions were trying to tell him something. It was simply that he couldn't put together just what the message was supposed to be.
What was the universe trying to tell him? That he was going to meet his death if he kept doing this? That he needed to get out if he wanted to save himself?
Whatever the message was, he couldn't manage to piece if together, though he'd thought long and hard about it. Maybe he just needed someone to look at it through new eyes, to give him another opinion about what it could be.
Hannibal didn't seem to feel that his life was in danger. Perhaps he should just listen to what the other man had to say, and ignore the visions.
Or, as Hannibal said, interpret them in a different way.
Though that was more easily said than done, he thought, wincing as he walked into the bedroom and saw the sheet-draped body. Especially when he saw them nearly every day.
When this had started, he didn't see his face on every victim at every crime scene. Now, he did. It was becoming more and more disconcerting.
It was something he'd never get used to, something that he didn't want to get used to. And it was becoming harder and harder to pull back the shrouds over the bodies, because he knew what he would see even before he did so.
He wouldn't see the actual bodies lying there, with their wounds exposed. He would see himself, his own death, staring him directly in the face.
The first few times it had happened, it was as though his heart had frozen in his chest, its beating stopped for a few moments as he tried to assimilate what he was seeing.
Now, that feeling of his heart seizing up was even worse; every time he saw his own face on the victim he was looking at, it was as though ice water flowed through his veins instead of warm blood, and he wondered if he would ever feel warmth again.
But he couldn't stop working; he had to keep doing this, had to keep trying to find justice for these people. If he didn't, then he would be doing the world a disservice.
It didn't matter how much this got to him. It was only a vision, Will told himself firmly. It wasn't the truth. He wasn't going to become a victim. Not if he was careful, and stayed wary.
He couldn't let this turn him away from his work.
With a trembling hand, he reached out to pull the sheet back from the victim's face -- and saw an ordinary-looking man lying there, middle-aged, balding, innocuous.
This person didn't have his face. For once, he wasn't seeing his own death under this sheet; he was seeing the victim as he really was. Will sent up a silent prayer of thanksgiving to whatever gods might be watching over him, then closed his eyes and concentrated.
He saw this man's death through his own eyes, saw what the killer had done to him, felt the calmness that centered around the killer as he carried out his gruesome business.
When he opened his eyes a few moments later, he felt dazed and a little confused, but he knew where he was and what he was doing. He was at a crime scene, and he had just returned from his usual trip into a killer's mind. It was what he always did.
And when he looked down at the victim, he found himself staring into his own face, his blue eyes open and accusing. Why did you let him do this to me?
Will stumbled back, suppressing the cry that rose to his lips.
He hadn't wanted to see this, hadn't thought that he would. He had been so sure when he'd first pulled back that sheet and hadn't see his face that it wouldn't happen this time.
He blinked once, twice -- then the vision was gone, and the victim was as he should be, a balding man with horrific slash wounds all over his torso and his jugular vein cut. He didn't have Will's face; he wasn't Will. He was just a man that Will didn't know.
A man that he had never seen before. Not himself. It wasn't him lying there in a pool of viscous blood; it wasn't him who was cold and dead and .... gone.
The visions were coming back, crowding in again, making bile rise in his throat. If he didn't get out of here, he was going to embarrass himself by being sick at a crime scene. He'd never done that before, not even when he had first started on the police force.
He had to get out of here. Putting a hand over his mouth, Will stumbled towards the door, leaving the room and going outside as quickly as he could.
Where he immediately leaned over the rosebushes and was sick.
He felt a hand on his back, and heard Jack Crawford's voice dimly. "Will, I think you need to go home and rest. This is obviously getting to you."
Jack was only noticing that now? Will thought sourly. All this time he'd been losing little pieces of himself, then dealing with these terrifying visions of his future -- possible future, he reminded himself sternly -- and only now did Jack seem to give a damn.
But he only nodded in agreement, his voice a mere croak of sound when he spoke. "Yeah, I think that's a good idea. I've been working too hard lately."
Without another word, he headed for his car, pulling out his keys and slipping inside. He closed his eyes for a moment as he rested his head against the headrest; he knew that he wasn't going home, at least not yet. There was somewhere else he needed to go first.
He needed to talk to Hannibal about this latest vision. Hannibal was the only person who ever seemed to offer any kind of rational explanations.
Maybe then he'd feel better, and have more of a grip on reality than he did at the moment.
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