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Title: Those Days Are Over
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Sequel to "Winning."
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.


"Why did you do it, Hannibal?" Will finally whispered. "Why?"

"I had to save myself, Will." Hannibal's voice sounded cold and distant, but Will almost thought he could detect a hint of compassion there.

Compassion? Who was he kidding? This man was a monster. He had murdered untold numbers of people --and not only that, but he had used their bodies for food. It was the most sick, disgusting thing that Will could possibly imagine.

But he didn't have to imagine it. The man who had done such horrific things was right here in front of him, in a cage, behind bars. Where he belonged.

"But why did you have to blame me?" He hated that his voice was choked; he didn't want to show any sort of emotion in front of this murderer, this man who he had once called a friend. Though they had turned out to be anything but friends.

"I wouldn't have let you die, Will." Again, he was almost certain that he could hear a tremor of emotion in that cool, modulated speech. "It would never have gone that far."

"You can't know that." His own voice was trembling now.

"I would never have let them give you the death penalty. Losing you was not an option at any time. But I had to mislead the authorities."

Will didn't believe a word that Hannibal was saying. He was absolutely positive that if it had suited Hannibal to watch him fry in the electric chair, or receive a lethal injection, then this monster facing him now would have watched calmly as he faced his death.

Hannibal had never been his friend. Hannibal had never cared about him, except to play with him as a cat would a mouse, or a child with an amusing toy.

He'd never been anything more than an experiment, something for Hannibal to bend and twist and turn to his own specifications. And when he would no longer bend in the contorted ways that Hannibal wanted him to, then he was thrown away like garbage.

Hannibal would always be a user, and a manipulator. He would never be anyone's friend, and Will was glad that he'd finally been able to realize that fact.

It was the worst betrayal he'd ever deal with.

Maybe Hannibal actually meant it when he said that he would never have let Will face death. But that was hard to believe, given everything else that he'd done.

This man wasn't his friend and never had been, and Will knew it. He was sure that Hannibal didn't feel any sort of friendship or benevolence towards him now. This man would try to use him to get out of jail, and Will had no intention of letting that happen.

Hannibal was right where he belonged, and this was where he would stay. He was a menace to society, a danger to everyone around him.

All Will wanted to do now was to get the answers he desired, the answers he needed if he was ever going to have all the pieces of himself to make a coherent whole.

And that was going to be harder than he'd thought. Even behind bars, Hannibal was still delighting in playing his mind games; he would always be a manipulator, and Will was sure that he'd expect some kind of quid pro quo if he provided answers.

The only thing he had to give Hannibal was some kind of bargaining chip for his freedom. Or if not freedom -- as that was impossible -- at least for more privileges.

Will didn't want to give him that. He didn't want to budge an inch.

He wanted answers; he needed them. But he wasn't going to sacrifice anything to get them. If he had to, he would find a way to force them out.

There was a way to get this reptile to tell him what he needed to know. He had to play the same kinds of mind games that Hannibal did, had to get himself into that devious mind-set. He had to slip into the other man's mind, had to think like a manipulator.

That wasn't easy for him; it was foreign to his nature, and it felt wrong. But if it was what he had to do to get what he needed, then he'd make himself do it.

It was no harder than being inside the mind of a killer, Will reminded himself, and once he'd done that on an almost daily basis. But this felt different; this made him feel .... tainted. Maybe that was because he had once considered this animal in front of him a friend.

No longer. He would never think of Hannibal as a friend or colleague again. He had a hard time even viewing him as human at this point.

He wasn't human. He only wore a human mask, and it had slipped irrevocably.

That mask had shattered, splintering into tiny shards that could never be put back together again. Hannibal would never again be able to manipulate him, or fool him.

Those days were over, the days when Hannibal had any kind of control over him. Now, he was going to be the one in control. If he had to be devious and cunning to get what he wanted, then so be it. He could manage that. If Hannibal could do it, so could he.

His gaze was locked on the other man's, and this time, unlike so many times before, he didn't look away, and he didn't flinch.

Will knew that Hannibal would try to draw him in with that hypnotic gaze, but the days when that had been the weapon that worked were over, too. He no longer had the respect for Hannibal that he'd felt before, and without that, Hannibal couldn't control him.

"I see that you've put up some walls since last talked, Will," Hannibal finally said, his voice soft and almost pleasant. "I wonder how long it will take me to tear them down?"

Will almost smiled at that. He knew the answer.

Those walls that he'd been building up before this moment arrived were strong. They might not be completely impenetrable, but he was satisfied that they would keep him safe from Hannibal's machinations. Hannibal wasn't going to be able to work his way behind them. Not this time.

He answered with complete confidence, in a single word. "Never."