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Title: Rookie Mistake
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Table: writers_choice
Prompt: #516, Rookie mistake
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.


Mistake. Rookie mistake. This was what he got for having no experience.

He'd been in love. How had that love turned to fear so quickly, with just a few words? How could it have all come crashing down around him?

But it had. He couldn't deny that. The love was still there, but fear overrode it all -- especially as he could now hear Hannibal crashing through the undergrowth of the woods after him, running behind him, chasing him. The man who was his lover -- and a killer.

He didn't doubt that Hannibal was telling the truth. He'd seen it in those dark eyes, known that the words coming from his lover's mouth were honest.

He was in love with the Chesapeake Ripper. Hannibal had been committing these murders while they were together, knowing that Will was searching for the killer. Hannibal had been lying to him all this time, lying about who he really was.

Lying about what he was, pretending to be an upstanding citizen when he was a murderer. And yet, Will still loved him. That love wouldn't just disappear.

His world was falling apart around him, and all he could do was run.

He had to run away from the mistake he'd made, try to outrun his heartache. He'd been a rookie at this; he had known that not having any sexual experience, or any experience with romantic relationships, was going to be what destroyed this first one.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. Mistake, mistake, mistake. The words seemed ot echo in his head as he ran, each one punctuated by the rhythm of his footsteps.

How could he have been so blind? He'd known that there was something different about Hannibal, something that set him apart from everyone else, but he had ignored that fact and told himself that Hannibal was simply exotic, foreign, with different ways and traditions.

But it had been more than that. Hannibal had been hiding a killer behind those eyes, those words, all those gestures of love that he'd made.

Did Hannibal really love him? Will didn't have the answer to that question, and he couldn't stop to think about it. All he wanted to do right now was get away from his lover, hide from him, push Hannibal out of his life until he could make some decisions.

Those decisions were going to be exceedingly hard to make.

What was he supposed to do, just turn his lover over to the authorities? He couldn't do that. He had shared too much with Hannibal, his body and his heart.

He couldn't simply let the man he loved be taken away. He couldn't watch Hannibal go through a trial and go to the jail for the rest of his life, or worse, be given the death penalty. Even if he was guilty -- and Will didn't doubt that he was -- he couldn't set those wheels in motion.

He couldn't be the instrument of Hannibal's destruction. Despite what the other man was, Will loved him too much to be his betrayal.

It was crazy to want to protect Hannibal. He had admitted to being the Chesapeake Ripper. There was no way that Will could keep that to himself.

But he had to. He couldn't let Jack Crawford put Hannibal in jail, couldn't let anyone take his lover from him. Maybe Hannibal was confessing because he meant to stop. Maybe he was filled with remorse for all of the crimes he'd committed, and wanted to atone for them.

Or was he at heart a killer, and always would be? Was he even now crashing through these woods after Will to hunt him down and murder him?

Will wasn't sure that he wanted to know the answer to that question.

He quickened his pace; he was sure that he could hear Hannibal closing in, and he didn't want to be caught. But where could he go? He was so isolated out here; his nearest neighbor was over three miles away. It didn't take long to drive there, but running? Forget it.

He'd never make it to the neighbor's house before Hannibal caught him. He was used to running, but his lover was in better shape than he was, and he knew it.

What would Hannibal do once he caught Will? Hannibal was a killer. He would probably do what he did best -- he would kill. It would be all too easy for him to snap Will's neck; just the thought of that made the young man's hand fly to his throat.

He was fighting a losing battle here. As long as he ran, Hannibal would be able to hear him. The best thing he could do would be to find a place to hide.

Hide? How was he supposed to do that? These trees wouldn't cover him at all, and there wasn't enough of the undergrowth for him to hide behind. He was trapped in the woods, with a killer chasing him. He had nowhere to run, nowhere to turn.

There was nowhere for him to hide. He was helpless prey.

Well, he couldn't simply stand here and wait for Hannibal to swoop down o him, like a hawk looking for a rabbit. He had to at least attempt to save himself.

He had indeed made a rookie mistake when he'd let himself fall in love with Hannibal and had given himself to the other man. That was what made this so hard. If he didn't love Hannibal, he would have been able to deal with this so much more efficiently.

He'd compounded that mistake by running, really. He should have been calm, gone back into the house and gotten his gun, and held it on Hannibal while he called the cops.

Will closed his eyes, unsure of what he should do. He couldn't run. He couldn't hide. That reasoning was only driven home a moment later when Hannibal walked out from the cover of a few trees to stand in front of him, his voice low and husky when he spoke.

"Will, I won't hurt you. Please let me explain."