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Title: The Hounds of Hell
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Table: writers_choice
Prompt: #81, Horror
Author's Note: Sequel to "Deceiver."
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.


"What is it?" Will asked, turning his head to look up at Hannibal, a slight smile on his lips. "Whatever it is, you can tell me. It's not going to scare me off."

Oh, if only you think the same way a few moments from now, Hannibal told himself, hoping that Will would indeed be understanding, that he would believe what he said when he swore that he was going to give up the things in his past that Will would deem wrong.

"Will, I ...." He suddenly didn't know where to start; it all seemed enormous, as though there was far too much to be simply put into a few concise words.

Will turned to face him, his brow furrowed with a frown, his intense blue gaze searching Hannibal's face. "Just say it, Hannibal," he said, his voice very soft. "Whatever it is, I can take it. As long as you don't say you want us to break up," he added, sounding worried.

Hannibal almost laughed as he shook his head. "No, Will, it's not that. Anything but that. The two of us parting is not an option for me."

Will nodded, looking relieved at his words.

He still didn't know how to say this, didn't know how to make it seem more palatable. The only thing he could do was spit it out, so to speak.

"Will, I ...." he began again, then took a deep breath and closed his eyes. "Will, there are many things you don't know about me. Many things that I want to tell you. I simply want you to listen, to give me a chance to explain all of these things to you."

Again, the words stuck in his throat. But he had to get them out, had to say them to Will. And somehow, he had to convince Will that he wasn't a bad person.

That was going to be the hardest part of all this. Will had such a highly developed sense of right and wrong; he would never be able to live with the fact that his lover, the man who he had given his heart and his body to, had killed so many people.

Not only killed them, but turned them into meals -- some of which Will had eaten. What was he going to think when he discovered that particular little secret?

Hannibal sighed, opening his eyes again, unsure of how to go on.

How could he phrase this? How could he make all that he'd done sound as though it wasn't so terrible? He himself didn't think it was, but Will undoubtedly would.

Will was watching him intently, that slight frown still furrowing his brow. Hannibal hated to see him like that, hated to make him worry. He could guess what was going through Will's mind now; he probably thought that this was leading to a breakup.

Of course it wasn't. It never would, not if he had his way about it. Not if he could somehow make Will see all that he had done in a light that didn't make him look like a monster.

"Will, I'm not the man you think I am," he finally began, wishing that he could put this in any other way -- no, wishing that it was already over and done with, that the words were already said, and that Will accepted him as he was and still loved him.

"I don't quite know how to say this, so I'm simply going to say it bluntly, and hope that you'll let me explain," he continued, praying that Will would do just that. "Will, I'm the serial killer that you've spent so long searching for. I am the Chesapeake Ripper."

Will only stared at him for a moment, blue eyes wide, then shook his head. "Hannibal, that's not funny. It's not something you should joke about."

"I'm not joking, Will," he said, wishing desperately that there was some other way to do this. But the words had to be said, and they had to be gotten out quickly. "I am the serial killer you want to catch. I've been killing for almost my whole life. Longer than you know."

Will's mouth opened, his blue eyes widening even more as the words sank in. Something in his face must have convinced his young lover that he was telling the truth.

Will was gazing at him in abject horror.

He was backing away, not even giving Hannibal a chance to explain himself, not letting any more words get through to him. He was simply .... shutting it all out.

This wasn't how he had wanted the truth to come out. He hadn't wanted Will to be horrified by his words. He had known that was a distinct possibility, but he had hoped against hope that it wouldn't happen, that Will would give him a chance to explain himself.

Still, how could something like this be explained to a person like Will? He would never be able to see the subtle gradations of gray in the black and white of his right and wrong.

There were so many shades of gray. So many reasons for him to have become what he was. He wanted to change, and he wanted to let Will know that he was willing to change. But Will apparently wasn't going to give him the chance that he wanted.

Without a word, Will turned from him, running down the front steps and into the woods. In less than a split second, Hannibal was down the stairs and after him.

He had to catch Will, had to hold him, had to explain.

He couldn't let Will think that he was evil. He couldn't let Will be afraid of him. He had to explain all that he had done, had to let Will know that he was giving it all up. He couldn't let Will think badly of him. He couldn't let his lover run out of his life.

He wasn't going to hurt Will, but he didn't know how to make that clear. Will probably thought he was going after him to kill him, to keep him quiet.

No, he would never do that. He trusted Will not to tell anyone about him; he knew that even thought Will might want to do so, he was the sort of person who would follow his heart and not his head. Hannibal was putting all of his faith and trust in the man he loved.

He just had to catch up with Will to let him know that. But Will was running away in horror, running for his life, crashing through the woods as if the hounds of hell were at his heels.

Maybe he qualified as one of those hounds, Hannibal thought as he ran after Will. But he would have to do his best, once he caught the younger man, to convince him that hell wasn't after him, and that he could learn to live with what he was going to hear.