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Title: Running on Empty
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Table: Summer Hiatus Challenge, tv_universe
Author's Note: Sequel to "Secrets."
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 needed a vacation.

Will sat back in his chair, removing his glasses and rubbing at his eyes. He was tired, more so than he should be considering that he hadn't worked in the field today.

As much as he loved teaching, there were times when it could be more exhausting than going out with Jack and looking at a crime scene and a dead body. The questions that he had to field about the work he did with Jack, about his empathy, could be hard to answer.

He didn't want to deal with them. It would be so much easier if Jack hadn't made his empathy public, if people didn't know about what he could do.

It would save him a lot of embarrassing questions if people didn't know, and save him a lot of time that he had to spend explaining what his abilities could and couldn't achieve. There were times when he wished that no one knew, and that he didn't do what he did for a living.

It would be so much easier simply to be a teacher, as he'd been before, with no field work and his abilities kept under wraps.

He sighed softly, rubbing at his eyes again.

That wasn't possible now, and he knew it. Jack wasn't going to let him simply back off from field work, not when his abilities could save lives and catch killers. He would keep pushing, even though he knew that this was really getting to Will.

And the truth was, a part of him wanted to keep working in the field. He knew that he saved lives, and that gave him a sense of accomplishment.

He liked knowing that he'd done some good in the world. He liked knowing that he could help people, that his abilities were being used well. It was something that he needed, to use those abilities and extend them, to know that they were doing something productive.

But it was apparent that he was getting burnt out.

He had to wonder just how long he could last doing this, how long he could use his abilities before they would begin to waver, or not work at all.

Somehow, he doubted that was ever going to happen. He would always eb able to get inside killers' minds; he didn't think that ability was ever going to completely disappear. But there were times when he wished that it wouldn't always be so .... pronounced.

If only Jack would give him a rest, stop pushing him so hard. But no, Jack saw him as a kind of work dog, something to be used to the fullest extent that it could be.

He didn't even think that Jack saw him as a human being most of the time. Jack seemed to think that he was some kind of automaton that ran on batteries.

Those batteries were starting to run down; he could feel it. He wanted to insist to Jack that he was in dire need of a vacation, that he needed to get away from all of this, if only for a while. He needed at least a brief respite, a relief from the stress.

Would Jack understand that? Or did he truly see Will as just some kind of wind-up toy, his pet freak that could perform on command whenever he was expected to?

Will sighed again, closing his eyes. He didn't know what Jack thought.

He wondered what Hannibal would think of all this if he told him. He'd probably say that Will definitely did need a vacation, but he wouldn't come up with any tips on how to tell Jack the same thing. Hannibal never made things too easy.

He would simply state in that calm voice that it appeared Will needed to get away for a while, to distance himself from his work and try to relax.

Will's lips twisted in a wry smile. That was exactly what he needed; if Hannibal did use those words, he'd be hitting the proverbial nail right on the head. He needed a vacation, a getaway, some time alone to let his mind be emptied of all his professional worries.

The problem was figuring out just how to ask for that.

He couldn't just come out and say, "Jack, I need a vacation. Now." Or could he? Did he have that right, to tell his boss when he was being worked too hard?

Of course he did, he told himself firmly. He had to let Jack know that he was in danger of burning out. If that happened, then he would be no good to Jack any more, and he couldn't do the work that his abilities suited him for. That wouldn't be good for anyone involved.

Or maybe it would be better for him if he backed off on the field work as much as he could, helping out only when he was truly needed.

Jack didn't need him for every case, even though he seemed to think that he did. It was quicker and easier for Jack to have him around -- but he wasn't needed. Some of these cases, Will was sure that Jack and the team could work out on their own.

He was becoming too integral to them, too much a part of their daily work. That had to stop. He had to back away from it, for his own good.

If he didn't, then he was not only going to burnt out, but crash.

Nobody wanted that, least of all him. And he was sure that Hannibal would agree with him on this. Taking a vacation, then backing away somewhat, was the right thing to do.

Will sat up a little straighter in his chair, looking back down at the papers in front of him. Now that he'd made the decision, he felt much better about things. He would talk to Jack tomorrow, tell him that he most definitely needed a break.

And then, he would start to back away, slowly but surely. It was best for all involved, most of all for himself. It was what he had to do to keep himself intact.

He felt as though he was running on empty, and needed to refuel as soon as possible.