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Title: Temperance
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Table: Seven Heavenly Virtues Challenge, tv_universe
Prompt: Temperance - Moderation of needed things, and abstinence from things which are not needed.
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'd always been good at staying away from things he didn't need in his life.

That is, until he'd met Hannibal.

Will sighed softly, shaking his head in resignation. Hannibal had really thrown a monkey wrench into his life; his rhythm his patterns had been completely destroyed.

Before he'd met Hannibal, there had been a comfortable rhythm to his life, and he'd been content, if not happy. But the advent of someone who he had tried to reach out to, who he had, initially, wanted to be friends with, had thrown that rhythm completely off track.

Hannibal had twisted him this way and that, played with his mind, turned some priorities around. It had taken that last fateful meeting for him to realize that it would never stop.

As long as Hannibal was out there somewhere, then Will's priorities would never fall back into place. His first priority, the one thing uppermost in his mind at all times, would be to catch Hannibal and put him in jail, behind bars where the bastard belonged.

Getting justice, not only for himself, but for all of those other victims as well, would be a craving he couldn't assuage until it was over and done.

But catching Hannibal wasn't going to be easy. He knew that now.

He had thought that he'd be able to capture the monster by simply getting him to incriminate himself, but that hadn't worked in the way he'd believed it would.

All that had ended up doing was causing two unnecessary deaths, and putting himself and Jack into the hospital with serious wounds. The scars from those wounds would attend them both for the rest of their lives. Neither of them would ever be able to forget.

In that sense, Hannibal would be with them both for all of their days, whether he was free to wreak more havoc in the world, or looking out from a prison cell.

He should have known better than to believe that Hannibal was a friend.

Why had he ever thought that? Will asked himself. Why hadn't he, with his empathy, been able to see the monster that lurked behind the human mask?

He should have been able to discern that monster, to push it away, to warn himself that becoming involved in any way with someone who was so secretive wasn't a good idea. But he ahd let himself be drawn into Hannibal's world, and he had paid for that folly.

For once, his empathy had let him down. It hadn't warned him away from Hannibal; it hadn't shown him the darkness that filled that black and empty soul.

Or maybe it had tried, and he simply hadn't listened, Will thought with another sigh. He had wanted a friend, someone to talk to, and he'd thought that he had found one at long last.

That had been his downfall, trying to reach out to someone who his gut instinct had told him could very well be a dangerous person to know. If he'd known just how dangerous from the start, he would have run as far away from Hannibal as he could get.

But he would have been drawn back, he told himself. He'd have had to be, since Hannibal was the criminal he had spent so much time searching for.

He would have eventually been led to Hannibal, one way or another.

He'd just happened to come under Hannibal's sphere of influence sooner rather than later, and in a much more personal way than he would have thought.

He should have been more moderate about that so-called "friendship," Will told himself. If he had, then he'd have been able to pull back when he needed to, and he would ahve seen Hannibal's machinations more clearly. But that was all water under the bridge now.

It didn't really matter any more. There had never been a real friendship there; he had just been someone for Hannibal to use, and then discard when the experiment was over.

In some ways, the knowledge of that still hurt.

In spite of his evil, in spite of the fact that Will knew he should have been more careful, Hannibal had been his friend for a while. The one person who seemed to understand him.

That was the last time he'd look for that kind of understanding, or for a friendship. It was the last time he'd reach out to anyone; he didn't think he could trust himself to know who was a real friend, and who was like Hannibal, a monster in disguise looking to use him.

He shouldn't let this color the rest of his life, but that would be impossible. The time that he'd spent with Hannibal Lecter would always shape his future.

He would never be able to shake it off, and he'd never be able to forgive himself. He couldn't help feeling that if he'd exercised more temperance, if he had pulled back and been more careful about developing that false friendship, then people he'd cared for would still be alive.

Will knew that in his mind and heart, he would always carry part of that blame. He would never be able to absolve himself of the guilt he felt.

He was paying the price for indulging in that fake friendship.

And he would probably go on paying that price for the rest of his life.