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Title: Take A Step Back
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Sequel to "Bystander."
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.


This had all happened so quickly.

It was hard for him to process it all, Will told himself, leaning his head back against the couch and staring up at the ceiling of his living room.

He still felt dazed, and more than a little confused. He needed to take a deep breath, to put all of this into perspective, and think long and hard about his future.

Was this what he wanted? Did he want a relationship with Hannibal? Now that he'd crossed the first line, leaped over that first hurdle of actually becoming sexually involved with the other man, did he want to continue with this, or would it be better if he walked away from it now?

The problem was that he wasn't sure just what he wanted. The encounter with Hannibal had been exciting, forbidden, something that he would have never dreamed of doing.

But yet, he'd done it. Hannibal had made that first move, and he had followed along -- or, rather, let himself be swept along by the tide of his own desire.

Was that all it had been? Only desire, and nothing more?

Will wasn't sure just what his feelings for Hannibal were. He cared for the other man, certainly. He wouldn't have been able to do what they'd done if he didn't.

But did that mean he was in love? He had no earthly idea. He wasn't sure that he'd ever been in love before, or even that he knew what love was. Whatever he felt for Hannibal, he didn't think that he could file those feelings under the sacred name of love.

What he felt for Hannibal was more like .... well, like lust. That was what had taken him over during that time that they had been so .... intimate.

Was that all Hannibal felt for him? Lust, and nothing more?

He had no way of knowing that, either. He couldn't simply come out and ask Hannibal how he felt; Will knew that he wouldn't get an honest answer.

Hannibal never revealed his feelings; he always played everything close to the vest. But still, if he cared about someone, wouldn't he want them to know it? If he was asked point-blank about his feelings, wouldn't he share them with the person he supposedly cared about?

Or would he keep those feelings to himself, not wanting to admit them because they might make him vulnerable in some way? Will didn't know which way the other man would go.

Trying to figure out how Hannibal felt about him would drive him insane, Will thought, his lips twisting into a wry smile. He would never be able to fathom the depths of Hannibal's mind.

There was no use even trying to guess how Hannibal might feel, because whatever he thought was almost certain to be the opposite of the truth. Hannibal was good at dissembling, at hiding his true emotions and intentions. Will didn't think that he would ever truly know the other man.

But now that they were lovers, shouldn't he at least make the effort? After all, Hannibal knew him so well -- possibly even better than he knew himself, at this point.

He could keep going in circles about this all night, and never come up with an answer.

Will sighed softly, closing his eyes. He needed to take a figurative and literal breath and step back from all of this, go over it in his mind objectively.

No, that was impossible. He couldn't be objective about something that he was so closely involved in. There was no way that he could stand back and make observations. He was far too close to the situation, as one of the people involved, and his objectivity didn't even exist here.

The only thing he could do, really, was take a deep breath and gather his courage, take the bull by the horns, and ask Hannibal how he felt.

It would be one of the scariest things he'd ever made himself do.

But that was part of what life -- and relationships -- were about, wasn't it? Will asked himself. It was about taking risks, putting yourself out there on the proverbial limb.

He'd done that once already when he and Hannibal had made love. Now, if he wanted that to happen again -- and to progress further -- he had to go out on a limb again.

Yes, it was frightening. Yes, he was terrified of what Hannibal might say, and of how it might make him feel. But it had to be done, or he would be marking time here forever, trapped within his own uncertainty, unable to move forward. He had to know where Hannibal stood.

Once he knew what Hannibal's feelings were, maybe it would be easier to sort his own out. At the moment, he wasn't sure what he felt -- love, lust, or a combination of both.

Whatever it was, he needed to take a breath, stand back and look at those feelings. And he couldn't do that without having some sort of reassurance that they were, or could be, returned.

Will sat up, taking first one deep breath, then another.

He'd talk to Hannibal tonight. He would drive into Baltimore, knock on his door, and tell him that they needed to talk -- and then he would proceed to ask what Hannibal's intentions were.

Getting up, Will picked up his keys, running a hand through his hair as he headed for the door. The sooner he did this, the better -- before he completely lost his nerve.