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Title: Love and Human Remains
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Sequel to "Reversal of Circumstances."
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.


Hannibal regarded Will sadly from the other side of the bars.

"This isn't how I wanted us to end, Will," he said sadly, shaking his head. "I had intended to stop, you know. You didn't even give me the chance."

"Do you honestly think you can change, Hannibal?" Will asked him, leaning forward in the chair that he was sitting in. "You're a killer. A serial killer. We both know that you couldn't change, even if you wanted to. You might say now that you would, but it isn't true."

Hannibal shook his head again, more vehemently this time. "For you, I would have managed to do so. You're underestimating the feelings I had for you, Will."

Had. That word struck Will hard.

Hannibal no longer had feelings for him. Well, Will told himself, that wasn't strange. He couldn't expect any feelings to have survived his betrayal.

He didn't have the right to expect the love that Hannibal might have felt for him at one time to still be there, not now that he would spend the rest of his life behind bars, denied his freedom, with the world knowing just what he was. It was too much to ask.

Even the strongest love in the world couldn't survive something like that. And Will doubted that Hannibal's supposed love for him had been that strong to start with.

Hannibal had been infatuated with him, in love with the idea of being in love. He had never truly loved Will; serial killers couldn't love. He might have thought, for a short period of time, that he would give up all that he was for love, but Will knew better.

And his own love for Hannibal? Had it survived all that they'd been through, and would it continue now that he could no longer indulge that love?

Of course not. His love had died when Hannibal had confessed to him.

When he looked at this man now, he felt none of the tender feelings he'd had for Hannibal before that fatal confession. All he felt was repulsion and disgust.

He had tried to hold on to the love he'd felt, but when he had discovered that Hannibal had created so many human remains, caused so much death and destruction and unhappiness, the love had fled, leaving him feeling empty and shell-shocked.

He hadn't expected to feel like that. He'd tried to deny that he did. But in the end, there had only been one choice for him, and he'd made it, albeit reluctantly.

He'd still felt that he owed Hannibal something.

Hannibal had been his first lover, his first love. For some reason, he'd felt that he owed this man for that, for all that they'd been to each other, all that they had shared.

Will had to turn his back on all of that, push the memories away, and do what he knew he had to do. If he hadn't turned Hannibal in, then he was sure that he would have eventually been just another victim, and that wasn't how he wanted his life to end.

It might seem romantic to some people, to be killed by the person who claimed to love him. But Will didn't intend to lose his life in such a fashion.

He didn't intend to lose his life at all, at least not for a very long time, and then he hoped that it would be to natural causes -- not being murdered by a serial killer.

Of course, given what he did for a living, the odds of him living to a ripe old age probably weren't all that good, he reflected. But at least he wouldn't lose his life at the hands of a former lover -- his first lover, at that -- and become nothing more than just another statistic.

No, that wasn't going to happen to him. He'd done what he had to do, what was right, by putting Hannibal behind bars. He shouldn't regret it.

But he knew that he would always wonder about what could have been.

He would always wonder if Hannibal had really loved him, and if he would have been able to change because of that love.

And he would always wonder if his own love for Hannibal could have been strong enough to overcome what he knew about his lover if he had made a very different decision. Could they have had a life together that ended with the proverbial happily ever after?

Well, there was no use wondering about it, Will told himself firmly. He would never know. What had been done was done, and they couldn't turn back time.

Nothing remained of the love that they had shared.

All that was left now were human remains, and the bits and pieces of the love he'd once had for Hannibal. Will was sure that Hannibal's feelings for him had already died.

If they had ever truly existed, that is, he thought to himself. He couldn't bring himself to look at the man who sat behind the bars; if he did, that love might start to pick itself up, and re-form from those bits and pieces. The remains might become animated again.

He didn't want that. He didn't want to feel anything for Hannibal other than the revulsion and disgust over all the things he'd done, the evil acts he had committed.

He couldn't let himself see Hannibal as a human being again. He couldn't let himself forget about all of those human remains, all of those people who had died needlessly at Hannibal's hands. He could never let himself forget that this man was a killer.

There was no going back, for either of them. Even if he could turn back the clock and change his decision, Will knew that he would never do so.

He had done the right thing. For himself, and for the world.

In time, nothing of the love would be remembered. He would be able to forget all that he and Hannibal had shared, the future he had at one time hoped they would build.

There was nothing left of that future now; it couldn't be built on human remains, which was what Hannibal had expected them to do. He might have been able to stop killing, to control his urges, but Will would have had to live with the knowledge that his lover was a killer.

When he raised his head to look at Hannibal again, his emotions were masked. He was getting good at not letting his heart show in his eyes.

He would have to hide that heart away for the rest of his life.

He would never let anyone else touch his heart again. He'd learned the folly of doing that; never again would anyone ever get that close to him. Never.

"We could have had a wonderful future, Will." Hannibal's voice broke through his thoughts, but he still didn't look up at the other man. "I would have stopped. I would have loved you to distraction. But you couldn't trust me enough for that, could you?"

Finally, he made himself look up at Hannibal. And for the first time, he saw the darkness hidden behind his former lover's eyes, a darkness that would always be there.

Will knew in that moment that he had done the right thing.

"I could never have trusted you," he whispered, the words almost catching in his throat. "You destroyed us when you told me the truth. But I'm glad you did."

With those words, he rose to his feet, walking out of the room without a backward glance. He doubted that he would ever come here again. He didn't need to see Hannibal again, didn't need to be reminded of all that had been destroyed.

He didn't need to see Hannibal behind bars. It was enough to know that he was there. Will would forever see him as being in that prison, surrounded by human remains of his own making.

That was the only image of the past he wanted to keep in his mind for the rest of his life.