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Title: The Clock Is Ticking
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Table: Table 2, 20 in 20 Challenge, tv_universe
Prompt: 3, Yellow
Author's Note: Sequel to "Contemplating Loss."
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 afraid of Hannibal. He might as well admit it.
There was a yellow streak a mile wide painted down his back, and he could admit to that. He could admit that he was utterly terrified of what might come next.
If only he knew which way to turn, what steps to take.
Will sighed as he closed his eyes, resting his head in his hands. There had always been a part of him that was afraid of Hannibal, if he was brutally honest with himself. And now, that fear had grown exponentially, into something that threatened to swallow him whole.
He'd never felt completely at ease with Hannibal, not even when they were in bed together. Not even when Hannibal had said those three little words.
Did Hannibal love him? Was a serial killer even capable of feeling such an emotion? He had wanted to believe that Hannibal loved him, but now he had to wonder if he himself had ever really loved Hannibal, or if he had just loved the idea of being loved.
But now that he knew the truth about Hannibal, he could no longer believe that he was loved, no matter what the other man might say.
Hannibal might be his lover, but it was almost impossible to believe that he could actually feel that emotion. Will knew far too much about serial killers to believe that, no matter how desperately he might want to think that Hannibal was different.
He'd been wrong. Hannibal was no different from any other killer.
He had learned long ago that serial killers had no capacity for love, or even compassion. They weren't like other people; there was something with their internal wiring.
For so long, he had tried to fool himself into thinking that Hannibal loved him, even though he'd always had the uneasy feeling that there was something about their relationship that wasn't quite like anyone else's. He had put it down to them being odd people.
But he should have realized that there was something wrong with Hannibal, something that made him cool and distant when he should be warm and passionate.
He should have known. He should have at least guessed.
But no, he had been too involved with what was happening between them, too caught up in the feelings that he'd been experiencing for the first time.
Not just the physical sensations, though those had been a big part of the attraction for him, as well. He had let himself get completely wrapped up in that physicality, ignoring the fact that Hannibal had seemed like less of a lover, and more of a teacher.
And now, he knew the truth, and it terrified him. Though if he faced that fear squarely, he had to admit that it wasn't just knowing the truth about Hannibal that frightened him.
He had to wonder if he would turn Hannibal in, or continue on with their relationship as though nothing had happened, as though he didn't know his lover's deepest, darkest secret.
Because it had to stay a secret, unless he wanted Hannibal to be behind bars for the rest of his life. He couldn't tell anyone, couldn't let so much as a breath of what Hannibal had done slip to anyone else, or he could end up being the next victim.
Would Hannibal do that to him? Or did he honestly love Will enough to trust him not to divulge that secret, and let their lives go on as they had been?
Did he really believe that Hannibal would let him live now?
Was Hannibal only playing with him? Had he told Will the truth so that he could play a cat and mouse game with him before dispatching him for good?
The thought made Will's heart rate speed up, his breath starting to come in little pants. He could feel what could only be terror rising within him -- terror of what could be coming next, from the person who he should be able to trust more than anyone else.
No one should have to be afraid of their lover. No one should feel that their life was in danger because of the relationship they chose to be in.
No one should have to feel this conflicted.
Sooner or later he would have to see Hannibal, toll him what conclusions he'd come to and what decisions he had made. But did he really have a choice? If he told Hannibal that he intended to turn him in to the authorities, his lover would almost certainly kill him.
Or would he? Would Hannibal plead with him, and try to change his mind? Maybe he should listen to what the other man had to say before he made a final decision.
As much as he wanted Hannibal to pay for the crimes he had committed, he was still torn. What if his lover actually wanted to give up killing, and could manage to do so? What if he promised to leave all of that in the past for a life with Will?
Was Hannibal even capable of doing such a thing? Will closed his eyes, trying to gather his thoughts, his mind whirling, his senses reeling.
He was no longer sure of what he should think, or how he should feel. Everything within him told him that he should run as fast and as far as he could, for the preservation of his own sanity, and even his very life. He should turn Hannibal in, and let the police deal with him.
But something else within him raged against doing so.
He was caught between the proverbial rock and hard place, afraid to move decisively in one direction or the other. He didn't know what he should do.
He was pulled in two different directions, and neither of them seemed particularly safe. If he turned Hannibal in, he had no doubt that he would be a target, and that Hannibal would find some way of taking his revenge. He knew his lover too well to doubt that fact.
But at the same time, if he didn't turn Hannibal in, then he would live in fear. That yellow streak he could sense in himself would get even wider, until it swallowed him whole.
He had no idea of which way to turn, where to go, or even what to think.
Will knew that he had to make a decision soon. He couldn't live with this indecisiveness, and the fear it had engendered in him, for very much longer.
He was running out of time, and the clock was ticking.
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