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Title: Should've Known
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Table: Table 2, 20 in 20 Challenge, tv_universe
Prompt: 14, Eating
Author's Note: Sequel to "Proof."
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.
***What had he been eating when he'd had dinner with Hannibal?
Will felt as though he wanted to throw up, but he couldn't lose control here and now, with the FBI swarming all over Hannibal's house.
At first, he'd been unable to completely believe what his mind was telling him. He had known that Hannibal was a murderer; he'd believed that for a long time. But now, he had proof that the other man was a cannibal, as well. It couldn't be denied.
When he had been in jail, he'd had visions of Hannibal eating people, but he hadn't thought that they were true. He'd put them down to dreams mixing with reality.
Now he knew that those hadn't been dreams; he'd actually been seeing into what Hannibal really was. His mind had shown him those horrifying visions to give him a clear picture of the man who was his nemesis, to tell him the whole story.
He had no choice but to believe in what he'd seen. There was no reason not to. His mind had been giving him the unvarnished truth all along.
In some ways, he was just as guilty as Hannibal.
Oh, not of the killing. He would never do something like that; his mind, his very soul revolted at the idea of murdering all those innocent people.
But he had eaten meals with Hannibal, meals that hadn't been what he'd thought they were. The thought of that made his stomach heave; he had to close his eyes and draw in several deep breaths, to remind himself that he couldn't indulge his feelings right now.
Just the thought of all that Hannibal had done, all that he'd taken part in so unknowingly, made him hate himself, though he knew that he had no reason to.
He had, after all, been innocent of any crime.
He hadn't known that he was eating people. He hadn't known that Hannibal was a cannibal, that he thought nothing of making a meal of a human being.
No one had known. How could they? Hannibal had hidden what he was so cleverly, so skillfully, that the only way Will had guessed at his true nature was through visions that very well could have been dreams, an unconscious wish to make Hannibal seem worse than he really was.
Will shook his head as though to clear it. He hadn't thought that Hannibal could seem any worse, but he had been so utterly wrong about that.
That was hard to believe; he'd never been so mistaken about someone before. But he had let his so-called "friendship" with Hannibal blind him for far too long.
Hannibal was good at that, at dissembling and misleading. He was very good at turning on the charm, at making people believe that he was something completely alien from what he actually was. He wore a human mask, a mask that had now been ripped to shreds.
Will knew that he should feel proud of himself for being the one to rip that mask away, but he couldn't. All he could feel was horror, and disgust at himself.
He should have known. He should have seen.
His empathy, that trait that so many made so much of, had failed him at the very time when he'd needed it most. He hadn't seen a killer until it was far too late.
It didn't matter that Hannibal Lecter was now behind bars, and that he would stay there for the rest of his life, thanks to what Will had discovered today. What mattered was all the people who had needlessly been slaughtered, the lives that Will had failed to save.
People that he had known were among them. He didn't care about Bloom, but Beverly Katz had been one of those victims, and she'd been a friend.
She had died because she'd been helping him.
He would always have a hard time forgiving himself for that. Of course, he couldn't have stopped Hannibal; he'd been in prison at the time.
But he would always feel as though he had sent Beverly to her death -- and there was no telling what part of her body Hannibal had cooked and eaten. There had been organs missing; Will didn't doubt what had become of them. Especially not now.
He didn't know if there were parts of Bloom's body missing or not. He hadn't looked thoroughly; all he was sure of was that the faceless body in that freezer was hers.
Strangely, he felt nothing, no regrets for her death save the universal regret of a human life needlessly lost. He had no personal feelings about her at all; since she had begun sleeping with Hannibal, she'd been stricken from his list of people he thought of as friends.
She had always believed that he was a killer, right until the very end. He hoped that she'd come to realization that she had been wrong right before she died.
Still, her death meant nothing to him in the personal sense.
Had he eaten a part of Bloom? She had been missing for a few days when Hannibal had been taken to jail. Had he served parts of her body up in meals?
Will thought back over those few days, and was relieved to realize that he hadn't eaten with Hannibal in that time. So he could safely say that he hadn't consumed anyone he knew personally; it was bad enough to know that at some point, he'd eaten strangers.
He had eaten people. The knowledge of it was making his stomach roil; he wouldn't be able to hold back his physical reaction for much longer.
He needed to get out of here, before he embarrassed himself.
The last thing he wanted to do was throw up at a crime scene, even though he was in the kitchen, not the freezer. It would still be seen as being unprofessional.
Will stood up slowly, knowing that if he moved quickly, he would lose it. He didn't want anyone to see him being sick; he didn't want them to guess where his thoughts were leading. Jack probably would, but then again, Jack had eaten at Hannibal's home, too.
Jack would know just how he was feeling, and they would talk about these new developments at some point, when they weren't both feeling sickened by them.
Would he ever not feel sick at the thought?
Will didn't think so. Suddenly, all he wanted was to get out of here, to go outside where he could be sick in peace and, hopefully, feel better, at least physically. It was all starting to catch up with him, and the reaction was setting in with a vengeance.
He headed for the door to the back garden, praying that he'd make it outside in time.
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