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Title: Up From the Depths
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Prompt: #4, Flashback
Author's Note: Sequel to "Into the Void."
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 hated this.
He hated going to crime scenes that were particularly bloody. He hated having to get into the minds of killers who considered brutality like this their "work," and took pleasure in it. He was burning out; he wouldn't be able to do this for much longer.
Yet Jack kept pushing him, insisting that he keep on. He couldn't say no, not when lives depended on what he and he alone could do.
But as Will knelt by the body, his keen eyes trying to find something that no one else had seen yet, he knew that his usefulness to the FBI in this capacity was more than likely coming to an end soon .He couldn't keep doing this. It was tearing him apart.
He became more fragmented with each case.
If he kept doing this, he was only going to become more fragmented, until eventually, he would break down and be of use to no one. Not even to himself.
That wasn't how he wanted to end his career in the field, by being a burnt-out wreck. Which meant that he had to stand firm against what Jack wanted, which was for him to work in the field until he broke down, and then quietly go back to teaching.
He wasn't going to do that. He wasn't going to allow himself to be worked to the bone, to be used just to satisfy Jack Crawford's ambitions.
But for the moment, he was committed to doing this, until he could find a way to stop doing the field work and simply go back to what he felt he did best, which was the teaching aspect of his job. It was quiet. It was normal. It was .... safe.
Right now, safe was what he wanted. It was what he needed. He needed to be out of the field, back in his office, surrounded by the familiar.
What he was doing now was slowly killing him, piece by piece.
It wasn't that he didn't appreciate the chance to do this, to help people. But as he stepped back from the body on the floor, closed his eyes, and let his mind connect with that of the killer, he couldn't help feeling that this was a very bad idea.
The killer's actions hit him like a speeding car hitting a brick wall at a hundred miles an hour, but they didn't jerk him out of the world he was now inhabiting.
Rather, they sent him into a flashback of what had happened that night when he'd been sleepwalking and had woken up with his entire body bruised and aching.
The killer had found him. The killer had been stalking him. He had beaten Will to within an inch of his life, left him black and blue as a warning not to try to track him down. This new body was only the first of a killing spree that was intended to go on for a very long time.
Will had been warned not to pursue this.
The flashback became more intense; he could actually remember the look in those maniacal eyes as he was being beaten and thrown to the ground.
He couldn't see a face, didn't know a name. But he could see those eyes -- so dark brown that they were almost black, and without one shred of compassion or decency. No reverence for life at all. Only a dark, malevolent hatred.
Within moments, he had pulled himself out of the flashback and into the normal world around him. But he was shaking, trembling, his breath coming in short gasps.
He hadn't even managed to go into the killer's mind -- at least, not as he usually did, here at the scene of the crime he'd committed. But he had been inside that mind when the killer had attacked him -- and it had been more appalling than any he'd ever accessed before.
The man had wanted to kill him. Will didn't know why, but he couldn't help but think that the reason was something much deeper than him being on the killer's trail.
No, this felt like something .... personal.
He took a deep breath, trying to calm his racing heart. This wasn't something he'd expected to deal with today. He hadn't thought that he would find out at least part of the reason behind his own attack; he'd only thought that he would be doing his job at a crime scene.
He still had to do that, still had to find out something about this killer to satisfy Jack. But he couldn't do it now. Everything was too close to the surface.
Forcing himself back into the mode of concentration that he needed to be in, he closed his eyes, trying to find his way back into the killer's mind. But this time, he was going to focus on this case in particular -- and hope that nothing else from his own past came up from the depths.
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