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Title: Subterfuge
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Table: writers_choice
Prompt: #579, Riddle
Author's Note: Sequel to "Naked Obsession."
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 was keeping something from him. He could sense it.

Hannibal narrowed his eyes as hs studied his boyfriend, watching Will's body language closely. Yes, Will was becoming more guarded, and he seemed nervous.

It was the nervousness that alerted him to the fact that something was wrong. Will had gotten past that weeks ago, after the two of them had become lovers.

Will was never that nervous with him any more. And especially when he was talking about a case, even the one that was so close to him and seemed to make him a victim, focusing as it did on whoever was killing the men who resembled him. Will could even talk about that case without sounding hesitant.

At least, he had until today. Now, it seemed that he was carefully searching for words before he said them, and that he was hesitant to speak about the breakthrough at all.

Did he already know that the man Hannibal had so carefully set up to take the fall for the crimes wasn't the one who had perpetrated them? Had Will seen through the ruse already?

If he had, then there had to be even more subterfuge.

Hannibal didn't like doing this. He wished that he could simply tell Will what he was doing, that he was preserving his lover's uniqueness by doing away with anyone who threatened it.

Of course, those men didn't have what really made Will unique. None of them could look into the eyes of killers and see the crimes being committed.

But that didn't matter. What mattered was that those men reminded others of Will, some of them more than others. They couldn't be allowed to walk this earth along with Will; they took away from the man he loved simply by existing. He had to eliminate them, for Will's own good.

Will wouldn't understand that, of course. He wasn't aware of what Hannibal was trying to do for him, and he would have to stay unaware of it. He had to be kept in the dark.

As much as he wanted to explain all of this to Will, he knew that he couldn't. His boyfriend had certain opinions about the taking of human life that Hannibal didn't always agree with.

So this had to be kept hidden from Will at all costs.

There was no telling what Will might decide to do if he found out. He would more than likely walk away from Hannibal; what was happening would repulse him too much to stay.

It was one of the unfortunate aspects of their relationship that he had to keep some things hidden from his lover. Will had to be protected from them, to keep him safe.

Hannibal sighed, propping his chin on his hand and forcing himself out of his own thoughts and back into the present. He hadn't been paying attention to what Will was saying, listening with only half an ear. He had no idea what his boyfriend was talking about at the moment, and that was unpardonably rude of him.

"I'm sorry, Will," he said, keeping his voice soft and serious. "I didn't hear what you said. I've been off woolgathering in my thoughts, I'm afraid. Could you repeat it?"

Will looked at him strangely; Hannibal realized that this was something he rarely admitted to doing, so of course Will would find it odd that he hadn't been listening.

But he did as Hannibal asked, and repeated what he had been saying. "I said that it's a riddle, Hannibal. It's like this guy wants us to .... to unlock the reason why he's doing this, instead of just breaking down and telling us. He's going to be a tough nut to crack. But we'll eventually get to the bottom of it."

Will was having a hard time looking at him. He wasn't making eye contact, which wasn't unusual for him -- but in this case, he shouldn't be looking away.

Hannibal had noticed that Will rarely ever looked away from him when talking about a case. It was one of the few times that eye contact wasn't difficult for him, when he came out of himself.

Not this time, though. This time, he was looking everywhere but at Hannibal.

Will was lying to him. That came as a surprise, but he knew that it was true. If his boyfriend was telling the absolute truth, he would have no problem looking directly into his eyes.

What was Will hiding? Was there something about the case that Hannibal wasn't being told, some vital truth of it that was being deliberately hidden from him?

If that was so, then Will might know more than he was telling -- and that could be dangerous, both for his boyfriend and for himself. He couldn't let himself be found out -- but he also couldn't let Will, or anyone else connected with the FBI, know the truth. Not if he wanted to remain a free man.

Will was so obviously keeping something from him, and he had to find out what it was. He had to neutralize any belief that he might somehow he involved in this.

What he had to do was to make Will head down a path that was a red herring, keep him busy there until he could come up with some other way to throw suspicion away from him.

That wouldn't be easy to do. Will was too good at his job to be easily distracted.

He would have to come up with some sort of riddle that would keep Will and the FBI running in circles, and apparently he would also have to find another person to take the fall for what he had done.

Will had seen through this little deception far too easily. Perhaps he had been too hasty, thrown together his "evidence" too quickly. He should have taken more time, been more careful.

Ah, well, Hannibal told himself, he had been able to nip this in the bud, thankfully, before Will and the FBI had delved too deeply into this situation. He would be able to correct the error, and the next person that he set up to take the blame would be far more carefully framed.

He was, after all, good at subterfuge. He wouldn't still be free and undiscovered if he wasn't. As good as Will was, he wasn't good enough to put all of the pieces together this time.

A part of him didn't like deceiving his boyfriend, but Hannibal knew that he had no choice. Not if he intended to have a future of freedom and avoid being put behind bars for the rest of his life.

He would never allow that to happen. It was simply not an option.

He had no idea just what sort of riddle he would produce for Will and Jack and the rest of the FBI to puzzle over, but he would make sure that it kept them busy for a while.

Will wasn't going to find out the truth, Hannibal told himself firmly. He could be diverted, and led down a winding path that would ensnare him until the truth could be completely obliterated.

He didn't need to know the truth. Will would be much happier, and much better off, if he kept living in the world that he now existed in, the world that Hannibal was carefully creating around him. He never need know of all that Hannibal had done to preserve his unique identity.

He smiled and nodded, acting as though he didn't realize anything was wrong. If Will was going to dissemble, then he would do the same, until he had found out just what his lover was hiding.

"I agree that you need to keep at him, Will," he said softly, reaching across the table to take the younger man's hand in his own. "Whatever you plan to do, you know that I'll help you with it."

Was it his imagination, or did annoyance -- and fear -- flash into Will's expression?

He couldn't be sure, but he thought that was what he saw. If that was so, then he would have to come up with some sort of riddle soon, to send Will and his FBI cohorts on a wild-goose chase.

And he would also have to come up with a few creative ways to discipline his lover in the bedroom, to bring Will a bit further under his control. Hannibal couldn't hold back a smile at that idea; it was something he had been wanting to do, and he'd simply been waiting for the right time.

Oh yes, he would take firmer control over Will, both in and out of bed. It was time for that -- and it would be amusing to see Will run in circles and know that he would get nowhere.

Suddenly, Hannibal found himself looking forward to the future with great anticipation.