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Title: The Last Scar
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Author's Note: Sequel to "Turn It Back Around."
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 stood in front of the mirror, staring at himself.
It was strange how his face didn't reflect all that he'd been through. He looked as young and innocent as ever, as if he hadn't been irrevocably changed.
Only he knew of all the changes that had taken place within him.
He wasn't the person he'd been only a few days ago, before that last encounter with Hannibal. He'd survived, but he would never be the same. He had become a completely different man; there was no way that he could hold on to the person he had been.
No one who had any kind of an encounter with that slime was ever the same, Will though bitterly. Few would even survive. He was one of the lucky ones, really.
He'd lost his innocence long ago; he couldn't make any claim to that. But there had been a part of him that still believed in the innate goodness of human beings, a part of him that had thought everyone had a core of good within their souls.
He didn't feel that way any more. He knew better now. There were some people who were nothing but evil through and through. He'd found that out the hard way.
He had looked into the face of evil, that ratlike, hideous face of the monster who he'd thought was a friend. He knew what it was like to stare evil down, to try and outwit it. He hadn't managed to do that this time, but he knew that they would meet again in the future.
But he would bear the scars from their last meeting forever.
Slowly, hesitantly, Will pulled up his hospital gown to reveal the bandages on his torso. They would come off in a few days, but he knew what was under them.
The horrific scars that were left on his body would always be a reminder of that last painful scene involving himself, Hannibal, and Abigail. He would never forget those moments; he would never forget what he had seen, or how he had felt.
The pain of those moments could never be assuaged. Every time he thought back to that time, he'd feel the pain; it would always be with him, in some fashion.
Time might heal all wounds, but he was sure that any time he thought back to those moments, the healing scab would be ripped away again. All he could do was to try not to think back, to let the memory be a part of the past, to never look at it again.
That was really the only choice he had, wasn't it? Thinking back would hurt too much, and if he kept doing it, that memory would eventually drive him over the edge.
He wouldn't let that happen. He wouldn't let Hannibal win.
That monster had already taken too much from him. Hannibal had tried to take his sanity, but that had failed. It was one thing he hadn't managed to achieve.
The bastard had even tried to take his life, in the end -- and he'd failed in that, too. By this time, Hannibal probably knew of his failure -- and Will didn't doubt that at some point, he would be coming back for another try. This time, he would be even more deadly.
The scar that he would bear once those bandages came off wouldn't be the last scar that he would receive from Hannibal Lecter. He was sure of that.
They would tangle again. Probably more than once.
Will's lips thinned into a hard line as he stared at himself. Was this a person who was capable of going up against Hannibal for a second time, and perhaps more than that?
He had to be capable of facing Hannibal. Because this wasn't over, not by a long shot. Will knew that, and he was sure that everyone around him did, too. And he the person that everyone expected to go up against Hannibal for a second round.
Would he survive a second encounter? He wasn't entirely sure if he would, but he didn't intend to let such a hideous monster bring about his end.
Hannibal had tried to kill him once, and failed. Really, he'd tried to kill Will twice; the encephalitis that he'd induced could have done that, if he hadn't been diagnosed and treated. He'd been lucky there; Hannibal's first attempt had been thwarted.
But he would be even more careful a second time, Will cautioned himself. And the next time, he would be likely to leave even more scars.
No, the scars he bore now definitely wouldn't be the last ones.
Gingerly, he ran his fingers over the bandage, wincing as he did so. Did Hannibal have any idea how painful this was, how long it would take his body to heal? Of course he did; causing the maximum amount of pain had been one of his goals in doing this.
He didn't doubt that Hannibal had meant to kill him. He wasn't supposed to survive this. He was supposed to be dead, not merely left with scars.
But this time, Hannibal hadn't gotten what he wanted, Will thought with a wry smile. His plans had gone awry; he hadn't counted on Jack surviving his brutal attack and being able to call for help. Both of them were still here, and they would see to Hannibal's downfall.
It would be a while before he was capable of going up against Hannibal again, and he knew it. He'd have to heal completely, at least in the physical sense.
Will didn't think he would ever heal completely in the emotional sphere. Hannibal had inflicted too much pain and given him too many reasons to not trust. He would never reach out to another person again, never look for friendship or understanding.
That avenue of life was closed to him for good.
But he would be able to keep doing his job. He would be able to help people, to bring more criminals to justice. That was good enough for him.
The last scar that Hannibal had left on him had been a deep one, but in some ways, he would recover from it. That scar might even make him a stronger person, in some ways. In all of the ways that truly mattered, he would survive and move on.
In other ways, he would always live in the past. Will swallowed hard, closing his eyes, pushing that thought away from him. It was too painful to deal with right now.
Hannibal had taken more from Will than he might have thought he would.
He'd taken away Will's hope for a future that could hold some happiness. He'd taken away the one human connection he'd felt that he had made.
Now his future loomed before him, with nothing there but work and loneliness. There would eb the dogs, of course. His own little family that he'd made for himself, the only family that he would ever know. That was what he had to look forward to.
It would be enough, Will told himself. It would have to be enough. There was nothing else left. Nothing but the scars from the past.
Scars that would always be with him.
He should be used to those scars by now. Most of them, he was used to. They were etched into his body and his soul, scars that had been with him for so long that they were a part of him. He could forget about them at times; they were almost comfortable at this point.
The last scar had been the most painful one, the one that that had dug the deepest. It was the one that he would always carry with him, both on his body and on his heart.
A scar that would never fade, either from his body or his mind.
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