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Title: Ripples on the Surface
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Author's Note: Sequel to "Still Light Outside."
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 shoved his hands into his pockets, looking down at the ground as he and Hannibal followed the path through the woods that led to the lake.
He didn't know what to say; he didn't particularly feel like making conversation. There was so much on his mind, so much that he would probably feel better if he talked about it. But somehow, the words got stuck in his throat when he thought about talking to Hannibal.
He didn't know why he was so reluctant to talk to this man. After all, Hannibal was his friend, wasn't he? He shouldn't feel that there was a barrier between them.
But there was, even if it was one that couldn't be seen.
Was he just being stupid about talking to Hannibal because he was afraid that if he did, their relationship would start to grow closer?
Will wasn't sure that he could deal with that idea, especially not at this point in his life. He wanted to get closer to Hannibal, but at the same time, something held him back, some feeling that if he moved in that direction, he would bitterly regret doing so.
Why didn't he feel like he could talk to the man who he'd started to become used to going to for any kind of advice he needed about his life?
For some reason, he was starting to feel that there was something not quite right about Hannibal. He didn't know why, but he had the definite feeling that there was something about this man that he needed to be careful of, something that could be deadly to him.
Will had no idea why he felt that way, but he'd learned long ago to trust his instincts, and not to back away from them when they spoke to him this strongly.
Hannibal wasn't all that he seemed to be.
Why would he think that? he asked himself. Why was his gut telling him that there was something about the man he needed to beware of?
And what could ti be that his gut instincts were telling him to watch out for? As far as he knew, there was nothing dangerous about Hannibal, other than the fact that he was one of the most startlingly intelligent men Will had ever met.
That intelligence was almost frightening at times -- along with the fact that there were moments when this man seemed to know him better than he knew himself.
There was something about Hannibal that made him want to distance himself, to back away and observe, not to get himself involved with anything in Hannibal's life.
Something told him that there were issues with Hannibal that went beyond the things they talked about in their impromptu sessions, things that were more important than life and death. Things that could make life and death look trivial.
And a part of him wanted to push that knowledge away, to pretend that his relationship with Hannibal was casual, that they were simply friends and colleagues.
But underneath, it was more than that.
Will couldn't help feeling that in a way, Hannibal was obsessed with him -- and that in itself was more than a little scary. He didn't like being the object of such scrutiny.
He knew that Hannibal was angry at whoever it was that had attacked him -- and he couldn't help wondering how far this man who he considered a friend would go to bring his attacker to justice. Was Hannibal the kind of person who would mete out his own version of justice?
The thought was terrifying, especially as he was sure that Hannibal would stop at nothing to secure that justice if he felt that he could do so.
Just how far would Hannibal go, and what would he do? Will didn't want to think about it. He didn't want to contemplate what Hannibal might be capable of doing. There were secrets hidden behind that inscrutable gaze, glimpses of a determination that sent a cold chill down his spine.
Even now, walking down the twilit path with Hannibal, when he should feel calm and safe, he felt uneasy, as if he was waiting for something to happen.
What could possibly happen? Why were his senses so primed for disaster?
Will didn't glance over at Hannibal as they walked along; he simply kept his gaze focused on the path, his hands jammed into his pockets, not speaking.
What could he say? He didn't want to bring up the fact that he suddenly felt uncomfortable conversing with Hannibal; that would lead to questions that he wouldn't be able to answer, questions that he didn't want to answer because he wasn't sure of what he would say.
There seemed to be so much to say, but he didn't know where to start. He would simply have to rely on Hannibal to be the one who started a conversation.
But Hannibal seemed content to walk by his side in silence.
He didn't know what was going on between them, but whatever it was, Hannibal seemed to feel it, too. He didn't even glance at Will; he simply looked around him, a small smile curving his lips.
What was Hannibal thinking? What was hidden behind that enigmatic gaze, behind those dark eyes that Will always felt held secrets that might be terrifying to know? Whatever he was thinking, Will was sure that it was something to do with the two of them.
When they finally reached the lake, Will stood there, staring out at the water before he bent to pick up a pebble, throwing it into the smooth, still surface.
The ripples that spread out on that surface seemed to symbolize his life; all of the things in his life that Will felt were more important than life and death radiated outward from himself, spreading slowly to where Hannibal stood, and moved to encompass them both.
He had to talk to Hannibal, Will realized. No matter how difficult it was, he had to bring this man into his world, had to reach out and try to trust him.
He opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out.
Instead, he simply stood there, feeling that he was frozen inside himself, unable to utter a single syllable.
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