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Title: Pulling the Strings
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Table: Who Said What Now, tv_universe
Prompt: "I'm nobody's puppet!" -- Rygel, Farscape
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.


"I'm not a puppet, Hannibal," Will declared, stepping back from Hannibal, his fists clenched at his sides. "You can't dictate to me what I should and shouldn't do."

Hannibal stepped back from Will, raising his hands. "I didn't mean to imply that you were," he protested, the words smooth and rehearsed. He had known that this would happen someday, that there would come a time when Will would balk at doing what he wanted.

That would be easily remedied. He simply had to lead the boy in the right direction.

Will might not know it, but he was a puppet. Hannibal had been pulling the strings for a while now, making Will into just what he wanted him to be, distorting the young man's image of himself into the picture that Hannibal wanted him to see.

Now, things were coming to a test. Will was starting to resist the authority that Hannibal had over him, and that couldn't be allowed to continue.

Will would have to be taught a lesson, put in his place. But that lesson couldn't happen here and now; first, Will had to be made to see the error of his ways. And even before that, he had to be convinced that Hannibal wasn't the puppet master, pulling the strings behind the scenes.

If Will thought that he was being pushed in one direction, he would be stubborn and invariably dig in his heels and move in the opposite direction. That, too, couldn't be allowed.

But he knew how to handle Will. He had known from the very beginning.

Will would respond to persuasion -- if it was the right kind of persuasion. All he had to do was play towards this young man's need to be accepted, his need for a friend. That was all Will wanted, really. He would find that acceptance here, with his puppet master.

And he would never guess that Hannibal was indeed hidden in the background of his life, always pulling the strings. He couldn't be allowed to know that. Will had to think that Hannibal was upfront and above ground, that their friendship was transparent.

If he couldn't make Will believe that, then he would have to start over, at the very beginning, and build this friendship over from the ground up. He didn't want to do that; it would take too much time, and he had come so far with Will already.

But he might have to do just that, judging by how angry Will seemed to be at the moment.

"Yes, you did!" Will almost screamed, taking another step back. He looked as though he was going to run out of the room and leave the house. "I'm nobody's puppet!"

"No, you aren't, Will." Hannibal wished that he knew of some way to calm the young man down, to make Will sit down and listen to the calm voice of reason. "When I said that you were becoming accustomed to doing as I say, I meant that in a good way."

"You meant that I'm getting used to being a mindless automaton and obeying you," Will accused, his voice trembling with indignation. "I won't be treated like a puppet, Hannibal."

"I don't believe that I try to treat you as such," Hannibal said, keeping his voice low and soothing. Really, this was going to be much easier than he'd thought. He only had to handle Will correctly, like one of those puzzles that had to be tilted in the right way for the ball to drop into a hole.

He had to discover just which direction the ball should be tilted in, that was all.

Will could be temperamental when he wanted to be; he was also one of the most stubborn people Hannibal had ever met. He was definitely a challenge, and Hannibal had to admit that he appreciated being made to work for what he wanted.

Being such a challenge only made Will Graham more worthy of having. And when he did have this young man in his bed, under his control .... oh, the things they would do.

Or, rather, the things he would do to Will. Just the thought of all the pleasures he intended to take from that beautiful body made his own body ache and his mouth water; he could almost taste the sweetness of Will's mouth under his at this very moment.

"Will, I'm not trying to make a puppet of you," he said, sighing. "But if that's what you want to think ...."

Hannibal didn't need to finish his sentence. Will seemed to deflate before his eyes, looking down and taking a deep breath before he spoke. "I'm sorry. I'm just .... I'm so used to nobody caring about what I do or say or think that when somebody does, I freak out."

"Your natural reaction is to think that person wants control over you," Hannibal said, keeping his voice very soft and low. "But that's not what I want, Will."

"Than what do you want?" Will burst out, lifting his head again to look Hannibal in the eye. "Because I'm pretty sure you want something from me. But you're going to have to spell it out, because I'm not always that good at picking up on subtle hints."

Oh, that was something new. He was being invited to tell Will exactly what he wanted, to lay his card on the table in no uncertain terms.

Very well, he would do that. To a point. He would reveal no more than was needed.

"You're not a puppet, and no one needs to pull your strings," he said quietly, watching as Will's body language responded to his calming words. The young man's fists unclenched, and his looked calmer and more rational. That small crisis had been averted.

Of course, Hannibal didn't believe a word that he was saying. To him, Will was a puppet. And if he himself wasn't pulling the strings, then no one else would.

Will wasn't as independent as he thought, Hannibal told himself. He would come to discover, in time, that his life was controlled by the one man who would be able to give him what he needed. He wold make Will Graham dependent on him. The process had already begun.

That dependence wouldn't take long to nurture. And once he had done that, then Will would be completely his. Captivated, under his spell, answering only to him. No matter that the boy might think he still had his independence. Hannibal would know the truth.

That time would be a while in coming, but getting there was indeed half the fun.

He would enjoy bending Will to his wishes; and once he had the boy right where he wanted him, he would enjoy subjugating Will even more. He was looking forward to the day when Will would be in his bed -- not by coercion, but because he wanted to be there.

"What do I want?" he said, his voice still calm and quiet as he gazed into Will's blue eyes. "I want you, Will. Not just as a patient, and as more than a friend."

With those words, he leaned forward, taking Will's hands in his own, and pulled hte young man closer to him. Then their lips were locked, the kiss more intimate than he'd dreamed it could be. Will tasted just as sweet as Hannibal had known he would; his soft mouth was a veritable feast.

Oh yes, Will Graham was his puppet. He was pulling the strings, making that puppet dance to his bidding. He would continue to pull those strings until this young man had no desires of his own, until all he wanted was whatever his puppet master wanted.

The strings were in his hands, and Hannibal knew exactly how to pull them.