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Title: Speed of the Sound of Loneliness
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
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.
***He was alone. He would always be alone.
Will picked up a small stone lying near where he sat on the edge of the lake, letting his fingers feel the weight of it in his hand before tossing it into the water.
The ripples that spread outward nearly reached his feet before they died away and disappeared. Just as the relationship that he'd thought was so strong had died and vanished.
There had never been a real relationship, he told himself gloomily. Hannibal had never loved him. Hannibal had just been using him, and he should have realized that. He should have known that something strange was going on, right from the beginning.
Hannibal had done so many things that could never be construed as love. He wasn't a man, he was a monster, and Will ahd finally managed to rip off that human mask.
He'd seen what was underneath that mask, and he recoiled from it. He had seen Hannibal's true face, the one that was never revealed to anyone, never shown to the world.
Will had looked into the face of that monster, eye to eye.
It wasn't a face that he ever wanted to see again. He wanted Hannibal out of his life, and he never wanted to deal with the emotions that Hannibal had stirred in him again.
He had thought that he was loved and wanted, but he had never been anything more than some kind of experiment for Hannibal. He had been a guinea pig.
Hannibal had wanted to see just how far he could push someone, how much he could bend them until they broke. And Will had been the perfect victim for him to play with, so trusting, so unknowing. He had actually believed that the monster had loved him.
What a fool he had been, Will thought with a snort of derision at himself. He had bought Hannibal's lies, hook, line and sinker. He had fallen for it all.
How could he have been so stupid? How could he have believed everything that Hannibal had said to him? How could he have opened his heart to someone so patently false?
Well, he had no one to blame for that but himself.
He had let himself fall for Hannibal, let himself believe every lie that bastard had ever told him. He had believed it all, even though he had known that it was dangerous.
He'd ignored that voice in his head that had told him to beware, that voice warning him that Hannibal wasn't all that he seemed, and that he was going to get hurt.
He hadn't wanted to believe, and this was where it had gotten him. Sitting by the lake where he usually loved to fish, all alone, knowing that there would never be anyone else in his life who could understand him in the way that Hannibal had. Wishing that everything had worked out differently.
Alone. Locked into a self-imposed prison, knowing that he would never hold out his heart to anyone again. That he'd be a bitter, lonely man for the rest of his life.
He had let himself fall for the wrong person, and now he would move through the rest of his life at the speed of the sound of loneliness, not letting anyone else into his private world.
If he'd never known Hannibal, then he wouldn't feel this bereft. He wouldn't be afraid to be alone, because it would have been all that he'd ever known. He wouldn't have ever known the closeness of a relationship, of thinking that he was in love and that he was loved in return.
If he hadn't been involved with Hannibal, then he wouldn't have known what he was missing. He wouldn't feel as though the bottom had fallen out of his world.
it wasn't so much the being alone that was tearing him apart, either, Will told himself. It wasn't just the loneliness that he faced for the rest of his life, though that was the worst of it.
It was knowing that Hannibal had never really cared.
That was obvious, wasn't it? If he had cared, then he wouldn't have put Will through hell just to see what would happen. He wouldn't have used Will as an .... an experiment.
There had been no real emotions there on Hannibal's part. Oh, he had been good at faking it, at making Will believe that he was loved and valued as a human being.
But the truth was, Hannibal wasn't capable of caring for him in that way. He never had been. Involuntarily, Will's hand went to his abdomen, to the puckered scar that stretched across his right side. It would always be there; he'd always have a physical reminder of all that Hannibal had done to him.
That ugly scar was all he had left, other than his memories. Memories of what he'd thought that he and Hannibal had meant to each other -- and memories of that last fateful meeting.
Hannibal had meant to kill him. He was sure of that. But his former lover couldn't have known that Jack, locked in the pantry, had managed to call the FBI before he'd passed out.
Jack had saved both of them. But Will hadn't really wanted to be saved.
In those moments after Hannibal had gutted him and walked away without saying a word, without looking back, Will hadn't really cared whether or not he had lived or died.
He'd known what kind of loneliness he would be facing, and he didn't want to deal with it. He didn't want to go through the rest of his life with that aching abyss in his heart.
He had known that sort of loneliness all of his life, and he'd thought that he had finally found a way to move away from it. He had opened his heart, let love in, and then it had been crushed and destroyed -- leaving nothing but that loneliness to fill him up again. He couldn't live with it. Not again.
Being saved hadn't been on his list of goals. He would have been perfectly happy to lie there, to look into Abigail's wide-open, lifeless eyes, and to follow her to wherever she had gone.
At least then he would have had a companion on the other side. He wouldn't have had to go with this dry, arid, loveless life, this life of loneliness that he no longer had any interest in living.
There was only one thing that kept him going now.
He wanted to make Hannibal pay for leaving him in this life, for forcing him to move forward every day at the speed of the sound of loneliness, with no one to hold on to.
He intended to track Hannibal down, no matter where he was, and put him behind bars. He would take away the thing that Hannibal prized the most, the thing that he held on to with all of his strength.
He would take away Hannibal's freedom. He would take away his friends, everyone who looked up to him and respected him. He would expose Hannibal for what he really was, and he would make sure that his nemesis was locked away in a cell, where those people had no access to him.
He would make sure that Hannibal was just as lonely as he himself would be. And he would take away his own presence from Hannibal's life, never visiting, never talking, never inquiring.
It would be a fitting revenge, he thought as he threw another rock into the lake and watched the ripples spread out. And that revenge was what he lived for now.
Once he'd achieved it, he had no idea where his lonely life might lead him.
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