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Title: Red on White
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Table: Table 2, 20 in 20 Challenge, tv_universe
Prompt: 7, White
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 stared at the white sheet covering the body at the crime scene, the red stains spreading across it like spilled wine from a crystal goblet.
Only those stains weren't wine. They were blood.
He should be used to seeing crime scenes by now, shouldn't he? But somehow, he never got used to them. They always haunted him, especially when the victim had been someone so young, and someone he could have saved if they'd gotten there in time.
He always felt terrible after he'd used his empathic gift to find out just how someone had died; his stomach roiled, and he just wanted to get out of here to someplace private.
What he really wanted to do was go to Hannibal's house, to sit down in that chair facing Hannibal that he'd grown so comfortable with and tell the other man just how he felt, to let it all spill out while he still had the words, while it was fresh in his mind.
Somehow, the feeling became harder to describe when he wasn't right here in the thick of things, after he had put some distance between himself and what he'd seen.
It shouldn't be that hard, though, should it? The feeling should never dissipate; he should never be able to feel comfortable with it, as though it was a part of him. He shouldn't ever be able to push it aside, to go on with his life as though he'd seen nothing.
Yet, somehow, he could manage to do just that.
It bothered him. It almost felt as though he was indifferent to what he saw, and that was one thing that he never wanted to feel.
In Will's mind, feeling indifferent made him no better than the killer.
He had never been indifferent to the horrors he'd seen, and he didn't want to start now. He didn't want to become a cold, unfeeling person because of the work he did. If he ended up being like that, then he'd be no better than the killers he sought to capture.
Well, that wasn't entirely true. He wouldn't become just like a killer, but he would have that same cold and unfeeling indifference to their crimes that they did.
The day he started feeling that way would be the day he would refuse to do field work any more, even if his empathic ability did save lives. It wasn't worth losing his own soul. Maybe it was worth that to Jack Crawford, but not to him.
He had to make the right decisions for himself, not for others.
Will allowed himself a small, wintry smile at that thought. It was what Hannibal would tell him; the words echoing in his own mind sounded like Hannibal's voice.
Hannibal would tell him that he had to think of himself first, even if others thought it seemed selfish. He'd have said that Will's sense of self was more important than what others might think of him; he would drive that point home until the words rang in Will's ears.
Maybe he already had, Will mused, closing his eyes. Maybe Hannibal was trying to warn him that he could every easily lose himself by doing this kind of work.
A scene unfolded in his mind's eye, a scene of himself in a winter wonderland, walking in the woods, all around him draped in the white of new-fallen snow.
There was blood on the snow, spreading in an ever-widening pool; he stepped back from it, but it seemed to follow him, as though the blood was somehow drawn in his direction. He took one step backwards, then another, but the blood kept moving inexorably forward.
Will wanted to cry out, but the scream was stuck in his throat; there was nowhere to go, no one around to call out to. He was alone -- alone with this .... this bloodbath.
Carnage. He suddenly realized that it was all around him.
There were bodies everywhere. They were impaled on tree branches, half-buried in the frozen ground. The whiteness of the fallen snow was now marred by rapidly spreading stains of red, the brilliant color a stark contrast against the sparkling white.
He wanted to run, to hide, but there was nowhere to go. He was frozen in place; he couldn't take a step. Something held him there, unmoving, immobile.
Will knew that he would be the next victim if he didn't move; something was moving behind him, though he couldn't turn his head to see what -- or who -- it might be. He was trapped, like a rat in a maze, and his life would be forfeit if he didn't snap out of this stasis.
He would be nothing more than another spreading stain of red on white.
With a supreme effort, he wrenched himself free of whatever was holding him in place, whirling around to see what was behind him and reaching for his gun ....
.... And then his eyes opened, to show him the bloodstained sheet once again.
Will gulped, running a hand over his face. For a moment, that had seemed so real -- more real than his visions usually were. His empathy had taken him far beyond seeing a crime scene; it had shown him the possibility of his own death.
He hadn't been ready to see that, no matter that he saw blood and carnage every day in his line of work. When it involved him personally, it was too much.
He felt dizzy, disoriented; he needed to get out of here, to step outside and take a few breaths, to clear his head and cleanse himself. He had to get out of this room with his portents of death, this room where death had happened quickly and viscerally.
Will turned around, stumbling as he did so. He needed to get away from that white sheet, away from the bloodstains that almost looked accusatory.
For some reason, he wanted to go to Hannibal's house, to sink down into that chair and talk about what he'd seen in his mind today, and how it made him feel. For once, he was ready to talk about his feelings, about how terrified he was that he was now having premonitions.
Yes, talking to Hannibal would make him feel much better.
With slow, hesitant steps, Will made his way to the door of the hotel room, hoping that he could get out of here and make his way to Hannibal's house before the shaking began.
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