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Title: Times of Trouble
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Table: Uncle Walt challenge, tv_universe
Prompt: "All the adversity I've had in my life, all the troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me." -- Walt Disney
Author's Note: Sequel to "Betrayal of Trust."
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 gazed into the mirror, studying his reflection.
He liked what he saw there. He saw a man who was in control of his life, a man who had finally taken the reins and was done with being manipulated.
He'd had enough of letting Hannibal Lecter, and anyone else who was on Hannibal's side, use and abuse him. He had thrown off that yoke of subservience; he had become his own man, and he was no longer simply going wherever the tide happened to take him.
He was done with that, he told himself, squaring his shoulders and taking a deep breath. He had pushed those who would use and betray him aside.
This time, he was playing the game by his rules.
There would be no more capitulating to what others wanted, no more denying himself and putting his own needs aside. He'd had more than enough of that.
He had changed, Will reflected as he turned away from the mirror. He was a completely different man from the person who had been thrown under the bus to protect a criminal who everyone refused to see for the monster that it really was.
But all of those troubles he'd been through, all of the adversity he'd faced .... it had strengthened him. It had turned him into a person he was proud of.
He liked who he had become because of that adversity.
Most people probably couldn't say that about themselves, he thought as he headed out of the bathroom and down the stairs. Most people didn't like themselves very much.
At least, not the people he'd met. That was why they were always searching for others to approve of them, trying to push themselves up the ladder of what they considered acceptance. He had been like that at one time, but now, that person was no more.
He was accepting himself for who he was, the dark side along with the light. Though he wasn't going to give in to that dark side. He was better than that.
If he gave in to the darkness that he'd almost let overtake him when he was in prison, then he would be no better than that repulsive Lecter monster.
Hannibal wanted him to give in to that darkness, to become what Hannibal wanted him to be. He had intended all along for Will to become a killer, to be remade in his image. But he was stronger than that, Will told himself firmly.
He wasn't going to be manipulated into being what that snake wanted him to become. No, he was going to be who and what he wanted to be.
He was stronger now, and he knew what he wanted.
He wanted to turn the tables on Hannibal Lecter, to show the world what a repulsive, perverted monster he really was. He wanted to rip off that human mask.
He wanted to expose Hannibal as the Chesapeake Ripper, to have the world know of his crimes. He wanted to see Hannibal behind bars, where he rightfully belonged -- the same bars that Will had been trapped behind when Hannibal had framed him.
Most of all, he wanted to see Hannibal diminished, to see him suffering from the loss of his freedom, just as Will has suffered when he had been wrongfully imprisoned.
He was strong enough to do that. He knew he was.
All of the times of trouble that he'd been through at Hannibal's hands had only served to make him a much more formidable enemy than he'd ever been before.
He was ready to face Hannibal Lecter, ready to face whatever that monster could throw at him. This time, he was going to be the one to play mind games -- and he would win them. He would beat Hannibal at his own game.
It would be his revenge. And even though that dish was best served cold, Will knew that it was going to taste incredibly sweet in the end.
He was strong. He was prepared. And he was ready to fight back.
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