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Title: Shielded From the World
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Prompt: #60, Glasses
Author's Note: One-shot.
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.
***"Why do you wear those glasses?" Hannibal asked, raising his brows and looking over at Will. "It's quite obvious that they are plain glass. You don't need them to see, Will. Your vision is just as good as mine. I fail to see just why you think you need them."
"I ...." Will couldn't think of an answer for the question. He shook his head, looking at the ground to avoid making any kind of eye contact with the other man.
The truth was, he hated letting people get too close to him, and his glasses were a shield against the rest of the world. Nobody seemed to understand that; everyone seemed to think that he should let people into his life, inside his personal space.
He couldn't do that. It didn't feel right, and he didn't want to deal with the discomfort that opening up to others caused him. It was much easier to hide behind those thick glasses, to make himself appear unattractive, to try to minimize himself so that people didn't notice him.
It didn't always work.
It hadn't worked with Hannibal; that was obvious. This man tried to pull him out of his self-imposed isolation, to make him think about the things he did and said. Hannibal forced him to interact with the world, one person at a time. He wasn't sure that he was ready for it.
Nonetheless, since he'd met Hannibal, it had become a fact of life. Hannibal had a way of dragging him kicking and screaming out into the light, even when he tried to keep hiding in the darkness. Hannibal forced him to be a part of the world.
He didn't want to admit the truth, but Hannibal had already guessed at it, so he might as well acknowledge that the guess had been correct. "Yeah, they're fake. I don't need them."
Hannibal sighed, shaking his head. "Why, Will? You are such a lovely man, and you have so much to offer the world." He regarded Will with a slight frown; Will almost wanted to back away from that intense gaze. "Why do you lock yourself away like this?"
"Because it's easier," he found himself saying, the words slipping out almost without him realizing that he had spoken. "I don't like dealing with people, with what they might think of me. It's easier to just try to slip by them unnoticed. Those glasses help me to do that."
Hannibal shook his head again, his frown intensifying. "No, they don't," he said, his voice gentle despite the frown. "All those glasses do for you is make people think you are something that you're not. You use them as a shield against the world. That's not healthy, Will."
He wanted to protest those words, but he couldn't.
Hannibal was right. His glasses were his shield; when he was wearing them, he felt as though he was safely hidden behind an impenetrable barrier.
That wasn't true, of course. He knew realistically that people still saw him when he was hiding behind those glasses. But they were a symbol to him -- a symbol of safety, of a place to retreat behind whenever he didn't want anyone to get too close.
Without warning, Hannibal reached out and pulled the glasses away from Will's face, inspecting them before putting them down on the nearby desk. Will blinked, his breath catching in his throat, feeling as though he was suddenly stripped naked in front of Hannibal.
It was ridiculous to feel that way. All that he'd lost were glasses that weren't even real, a barrier that he didn't need -- but he felt naked and exposed without them. Vulnerable. Helpless. As if he'd just been bared to the bone, with no way to cover himself.
It was an absolutely terrifying feeling, and one that he wanted to remedy immediately by snatching up his glasses and putting them back on again.
But he didn't do that. Instead, he forced himself to take a deep breath, leaning back against the ladder that led up to the shelves of books. He wanted to close his eyes, but instead, he watched Hannibal, finally making eye contact with the other man.
His shield was gone. He was figuratively bared to Hannibal's gaze.
What would it be like to be bared to that searching stare in other ways? A shiver went through Will's body at the thought; the image of the two of them in bed, their bodies entwined, Hannibal thrusting deep inside him, taking him, fucking him, jumped into his mind.
Will's eyes widened at the thought -- and in response, one corner of Hannibal's mouth quirked in a smile, as if he knew exactly what Will was thinking.
That idea made Will gasp aloud, his eyes widening further, their gazes still locked. He couldn't help feeling that Hannibal was indeed reading his mind at this very moment, that he knew the erotic, lascivious thoughts that were rushing through his imagination.
It was frightening to think that anyone could read him so accurately, and yet .... there was a part of him that wanted Hannibal to get behind his shields, to bring all of those barriers crashing to the ground. There was a part of him that desperately wanted to let Hannibal in.
He couldn't force himself to bring those walls tumbling down. Not yet. But the time was coming when he would -- and Will knew that once it happened, those shields would never be built back up. They would stay down, and Hannibal would be a permanent part of his life.
Wasn't that the case already? he asked himself. Hannibal wasn't just his psychiatrist; Hannibal was his friend. One day, maybe they would be something more.
He couldn't let himself think about that. If he did, it might not happen.
He'd learned not to torture himself with thoughts of something he wanted that couldn't possibly come true. His dreams of Hannibal were just that -- dreams. There was no way that a man like this, a man who could have anyone he wanted, would choose him.
So his dreams and fantasies would remain just that; they would stay hidden away, to be pulled out and savored only when he was alone. He couldn't afford to let them become public knowledge; he couldn't let himself believe that those dreams could be come reality.
There was no way those feelings could be returned, Will told himself firmly. And if Hannibal knew about them, it would only make him back away and be more cautious about their friendship. There was already so much tension between them, and he didn't want to add to that.
If only he could let Hannibal know how he felt and be assured of the outcome, he thought regretfully. That was on reason why he needed a shield against the world -- to protect himself from that kind of rejection and hurt, a hurt that could dig bone-deep.
It never occurred to him that those feelings just might be returned.
Hannibal stepped closer to him, his gaze locked with Will's. He was close enough now for them to touch; all Will would have to do was to reach out and --
The other man beat him to it. Hannibal reached out towards Will, taking his face between both hands and gazing into his eyes. As their gazes held, Hannibal leaned forward slowly, so close that Will could feel his warm breath against his skin -- and placed those lips on his.
For just a moment, Will was too shocked to move, even to breathe. He simply stood there, his body stilled, his heart pounding in his chest. Then, hardly realizing what he was doing, he raised his arms to twine them around Hannibal's neck and pull him closer.
He never wanted this kiss to end. All of the barriers were falling to the ground, and he hardly noticed that his shields had fallen and weren't protecting him any longer. He was letting Hannibal get as close as he wanted, without caring that someone was invading his personal space.
Hannibal was closer to him than anyone else had ever been, and it didn't bother him. In fact, he wanted this man to be even closer -- with no barriers between them at all.
His shields had fallen, and it was doubtful that they would go up again.
Oh, they would still be there for other people. No one else was going to be allowed in. But Hannibal had made it past those shields, and now that he had, there was no turning back. Will was surrendering himself to whatever the future might bring -- and he had no regrets.
He would probably still try to shield himself in some ways, but now that Hannibal had found a chink in his armor, his secrets would eventually be an open book. And for some reason, that didn't make him feel exposed or vulnerable. He didn't want to run away.
Now that he was no longer hiding from Hannibal, maybe there would come a day when he didn't feel the need to keep himself shielded from the world. Will doubted that, but at this moment, it seemed that anything could happen -- and he had already taken the first step.
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