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Title: Trust Issues
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Table: Who Said What Now, tv_universe
Prompt: "All I'm asking for is your trust." -- John Reese, Person of Interest
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.


"All I'm asking for is your trust, Will," Hannibal told him, leaning forward to gaze directly into his eyes. "That doesn't seem like a lot to give."

But it is, Will told himself, looking down at his hands clasped in his lap, avoiding eyes contact with the other man. He didn't like looking directly into anyone's eyes when he talked to them for more than a few seconds at a time. It made him feel .... exposed.

That was one reason he wore glasses. He didn't really need them; his eyesight was perfect. But they provided a barrier between himself and the rest of the world.

Almost nobody realized that they were just plain glass.

That was one of the things that he liked most about his glasses. They were clear; people could see through them, it made them think that they were making contact with him, even while he was using them as a wall to hide behind.

They kept people from looking too closely. From getting too close. Nobody really cared to look behind that barrier, to search for the real Will Graham.

Nobody but Hannibal.

From the first, Hannibal had known that he had trust issues. Maybe that was why he always pushed so hard, harder than what Will was used to. Maybe he really did want to be a friend. Maybe he really cared for Will in a way that no one else ever had.

If only it wasn't so hard for him to trust. If only he found it easier to relate to other people, to let them into his life. But he wasn't like everyone else; he didn't long for human contact. He preferred his solitude; he didn't want to let anyone in.

Letting people in only meant getting hurt. He'd found that out when he was a child, and too many so-called "friends" had turned their backs on him.

Just because he always seemed so different from everyone else.

Adults would do that, too. He didn't doubt that for a moment. No one really wanted to get into his head, to know who he really was. Even people who had been attracted to him in the past hadn't wanted to get past the surface, to know who he really was.

People had a tendency to back away from him because he was a little left of center -- especially once they knew about his empathic abilities. If there was anything that could chase prospective friends away, it was that. But it was an integral part of who he was.

If he couldn't trust people to accept him exactly the way he was, then he didn't need them in his life. He'd felt that way ever since he was a child.

And consequently, he'd always been alone.

Will didn't mind alone. Alone could be good. Alone could be pleasant and relaxing. Alone meant that he only had his dogs for company nearly all of the time -- except when he was working -- and that was just fine with him. He didn't need anyone else.

He didn't need human company. He didn't need people in his life who were only going to probe around a little, then turn their backs and walk away.

And now here was Hannibal, trying to get inside his mind, to do more of that intrusive probing into his psyche that Will abhorred. Yet with Hannibal, it didn't seem so intrusive. Somehow, it seemed more like someone reaching out to take his hand than to push him away.

Trust shouldn't be this hard. How did it come so easily to other people? Why was it so hard for him to shake off the past, to tell himself that not everyone was like the people who'd hurt him before? He shouldn't still have those trust issues. HE should be able to let them go.

Hannibal needed his trust. But that was nearly impossible for him to give.

Trust had never been easy for him. Will wasn't sure that he'd ever trusted anyone in his entire life. Every time he'd tried, he had been let down. Badly.

He should be able to give this man at least a part of the trust he wanted, Will reflected. Hannibal had become the closest thing he had to a friend; he shouldn't feel so reluctant to open up to him, to let him in. But he'd learned the hard way that letting anyone in could be disastrous.

But this was Hannibal. This was someone he should already trust, someone who he knew wouldn't spill his secrets to the world at large.

He'd already told Hannibal so much about himself -- including some of the root causes of his trust issues. This man should be able to understand why it was so hard for him to trust. Hannibal should know that simply asking for that trust wouldn't automatically mean it was granted.

"Will? Are you listening to me?"

Hannibal's words brought him back to reality and out of his thoughts; Will blinked, staring at the other man. "I'm sorry. I was kind of .... lost in my thoughts there," he admitted somewhat sheepishly. "Thinking about whether or not it's safe for me to trust you."

"You have to trust someone at some point, Will," Hannibal said quietly. "It's not good for you to stay locked up inside yourself. I don't expect you to give me your trust easily. That would be foolish of me. But I think you owe it to yourself to try to get past your trust issues."

Hannibal did have a point there, Will admitted to himself. Maybe he was right. Maybe he did owe it to himself to try to come out of his self-imposed exile.

It wouldn't be easy. He already knew that. But he'd been hiding behind those walls for far too long. Maybe it was time to knock a few of them down.

"I'll try," he said softly, looking up and meeting Hannibal's gaze.

Was it his imagination, or did it seem as though Hannibal wasn't just asking for his trust, but openly pleading for it? Was it so important to Hannibal to be trusted, to feel that Will had taken him into his confidence? If that was so, then ....

Then maybe he could. Maybe he could put himself into Hannibal's hands, to let himself feel that for once, he had someone in his life who he could trust completely.

He did have to put those trust issues aside. He did have to let himself open up to someone at some point. Hannibal was right about that; he couldn't spend all of his life alone. That was no way to life. He couldn't stay isolated. It wasn't good for him.

Hannibal was offering him a helping hand out of that isolation.

He had to take that hand. He had to try. And if he gave Hannibal his trust -- then that meant the other man would have to trust him, too, didn't it? Trust went both ways. He stared at the hand that Hannibal was holding out to him, the tangible evidence of his willingness to help.

Reaching out, he took that hand, felt the tingle that rushed through him as their fingers touched, and gave his trust to Hannibal in that moment.