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Title: Between Something and Nothing
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Author's Note: Sequel to "If You Leave Me Now."
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 sighed as he looked up from his desk, taking his glasses off to rub at his tired eyes. He had been grading papers, something that he really didn't like to do; it felt like busy work, even though it was something that he was required to do as a professor.
He just didn't feel like sitting at a desk today, though he'd been doing that more than usual lately. Jack had been hesitant to let him go back into the field; he seemed to think that Will's traumatic experience would have affected his ability to do his job.
Even though he protested that, Jack had been adamant. No field work for the time being.
Hannibal was pleased about that, Will thought with a soft sigh. His lover didn't think that it was a good idea for him to go back to such exhausting work too soon.
But it wasn't soon, Will told himself. It had been three weeks since he'd gotten out of the hospital, and he'd been back at work for over a week now. Hannibal had insisted that he spend some time convalescing, and he had reluctantly agreed.
At this point, it felt as though he'd spent far too much time playing the invalid. He wanted to go back to work, to feel as though he was being useful. He was tired of being treated as though he was made of spun sugar and would break if anyone so much as looked at him.
He was stronger than that, and Hannibal should know it. Even though their relationship wasn't back to the way it had been yet, they were on the right track.
Tonight, he was going to let Hannibal take things a few steps further.
Their relationship had been strained because Hannibal had been holding himself back. Will didn't want that to happen any more. He wanted them to get back to normal.
It had felt good to be able to sleep in Hannibal's arms, to feel completely safe and to know that he had nothing to fear. But they had to move past that now; they had to test the waters of intimacy. It was past time that they do more than just kiss and cuddle.
And truth be told, he missed their lovemaking. He missed feeling Hannibal's hands on his body, feeling his lover inside him. He missed being .... taken.
Maybe that was strange thing for a rape victim to say, but it was true. Will sighed again, wondering if there was something wrong with him. If he was a normal person, he wouldn't feel this craving for sex so soon after he'd been victimized. Would he?
Well, it wasn't really a craving. It wasn't the sex he missed so much as the feeling that he belonged to someone.
Yes, that was it. He missed the feeling of security, of stability.
He missed the feeling of knowing that he was wanted, knowing that someone desired him. Of course, he knew that Hannibal wanted him, but when they didn't make love on a regular basis, that feeling slipped into the background and got swallowed up.
He felt as though he was caught between something and nothing -- something being their sexual intimacy, and nothing being the wasteland he was in without it.
Why did he feel so lost without that? Did feeling this way mean that he was some kind of sexual deviant, someone who was hooked on sex?
That would make sense, he told himself, considering that he'd been a virgin when he and Hannibal had first done the deed. Maybe he was just making up for lost time. Maybe there was something in him that wanted all he could get, because he'd gone so long without.
No, that wasn't true. He wasn't some kind of sex addict. Yes, he enjoyed sex with Hannibal, but it wasn't something he couldn't live without. That was obvious, since they hadn't had sex in the weeks following his rape and he hadn't withered away into nothingness.
But now, he was at the point where he felt stronger and more confident. He was ready to let Hannibal take him to bed and do whatever he wanted with him.
Yes, there was a part of him that was still a little hesitant. But he was going to push that part aside and concentrate on being with the man he loved.
He loved Hannibal. He wanted to be with him. There was no reason whatsoever for him to hold back, no reason to feel that he had to take his time. He was ready, he was sure of it. The small bit of hesitation that he felt could easily be pushed away.
He'd felt as though he was lost in a void for too long now.
Without Hannibal's touch, he felt as though he was wandering in a world of nothingness, one that was threatening to swallow him whole.
He needed to hold on to that indefinable something that he felt when he was with Hannibal; Will wasn't sure if what they had was love, or simply lust, but he knew that it made him feel alive as nothing else ever had, and he didn't want to lose it.
On his part, he knew that he loved Hannibal. But the other man's feelings for him were far more elusive; he knew that Hannibal cared, but nothing more than that.
If Hannibal didn't care, then he wouldn't have risked his own life to come looking for Will. He wouldn't have breathed life back into Will's body -- or insisted that Will convalesce in Hannibal's home. All of that was proof that he cared.
But was caring the same as love? Will didn't think so. And he was fairly sure that Hannibal wasn't in love with him, though he knew that his lover was fond of him.
It hurt to know that he wasn't loved.
Or maybe he was, and Hannibal just hadn't been able to say the words yet. He was an intensely private man; Will knew that it was hard for him to express his emotions.
Maybe Hannibal felt that strange nothingness at this point, too. Maybe he was just as empty when they weren't together; maybe he felt the same way but just didn't know how to put it into words. With all of his knowledge, all of his suavity, he could also be at a loss.
It was odd to think that Hannibal could feel the same way he did about this, but maybe it was true. Will sighed again, picking up his glasses and putting them back on, once again hiding behind the barrier that kept the world away from him.
He and Hannibal had to talk, before they resumed their physical relationship. His lover was right. They couldn't go back to being what they had been before.
They had to become something different. Something better.
Will had no idea how they were going to work their way towards that, but they had to. He couldn't keep existing like this, between something and nothing, balancing on a tightrope and looking down into a yawning black chasm that he could disappear into at any time.
He hated straddling that chasm, and he didn't want to do it any more. Tonight, he and Hannibal would talk -- and it was possible that they would resume their sexual activities, or at least begin them again. That would be a start, one that Will was more than willing to make.
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