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Title: Vulnerable
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Will Graham/John Reese
Fandom: Hannibal/Person of Interest
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: This is entirely a product of my own imagination, and I make no profit from it. I do not own the lovely Will Graham or Lee Fallon, unfortunately, just borrowing them for a while. Please do not sue.


He had gotten away. He should feel safer. But he only felt vulnerable.

He was here in New York. He was away from Hannibal. That was the important thing, Will told himself firmly. He had started a new life here. He would be fine.

But he would always be looking over his shoulder, always feel as though Hannibal was right behind him, looking for him, ready to jump out at him.

The thought made him shudder. He wanted to think that he had gotten away from Hannibal, but the truth was, he didn't feel that he ever would. Hannibal had tainted something in his soul, and even now, as he pushed that darkness away, he could feel it encroaching upon him.

He just wanted to escape from that darkness, to put Hannibal's sinister influence behind him. He wanted the past to be obliterated, to be gone for good.

He had taken a job in a small used bookshop, even though he knew that wasn't the safest thing for him to do, given that Hannibal could simply walk in at any time and see him there.

But he was also trying to keep as low a profile as possible.

He still had Winston; he hadn't been able to bring himself to say goodbye to the dog who had always seemed to be his guardian angel ever since they'd first met.

The other dogs all had good homes now. He missed them, but he knew that they were better off -- and happier -- in places where they could run around and feel free.

Winston probably wasn't at his happiest cooped up in an apartment in the city, he thought with a sigh. But at least it was a decent place; he made a good enough salary, along with his FBI pension, to easily pay the rent and the bills, and it was in a nice neighborhood.

And he took the dog out frequently, even though he still felt as though he had to look over his shoulder whenever he was walking Winston or letting him run around in the dog park.

He still felt vulnerable. And not exactly happy, either. Until he knew that Hannibal was gone, that such darkness would never enter his life, he would always feel exposed.

At least he had his home secured against any kind of invasion, even though he was always doubly careful to make sure that he was protected, especially at night. He knew that Winston was on the lookout, but still, he felt safer knowing that he had all the newest technology to keep them safe.

Was any of that really any good against Hannibal's wiles, though? he asked himself as his fingers came up to the side of his face, tracing the one scar he still had.

Plastic surgeons had done a great job on his face, getting rid of the ugly scars that had come from the knife he'd been stabbed with. The scars were invisible now.

But he could still feel them under his fingertips if he tried hard enough.

Some scars never healed, he told himself. And his would be a long time in healing, if they ever did. His worst scars were the ones that had never been seen.

That was what he'd gotten from Hannibal in the end -- scars and terrifying memories, and a lot of regrets. He wished that the two of them had never met.

No use wishing that, now was it? he thought with a wry smile. That part of his life was in the past; it was over and done, and there was no use in wishing that it had never been. It had happened, and as much as he wanted to put it all behind him, it was hard to move past those memories.

His life could very well have been ended several times -- especially after that last horrific fall. But it hadn't been. He had somehow survived -- and so had Hannibal.

He didn't know how that was possible. But they had both risen from those waters, battered and broken, but still alive. Somehow, they'd both still been breathing.

Hannibal had taken him to a hospital -- and then vanished.

Will knew that he should be thankful for what Hannibal had done. Without the other man, he would probably have died of his injuries. He'd been in the hospital for weeks.

But he had lived -- and he had told himself that his association with Hannibal was over for good. The next time they met, if they did, only one of them would walk away alive.

That darkness in his soul had almost been allowed to take him over, just as Hannibal wanted. And he had come close to giving into it, to letting himself be swallowed up within that darkness, never to emerge again. But at the last minute, he'd held himself back from it.

He hadn't expected to survive that fall. He had thought that he would be doing the world a favor by removing both himself and Hannibal from society.

Things hadn't worked out the way he'd planned, that was for sure. But he had picked himself up, dusted himself off, and made a new life, far away from his old one.

He'd left that life behind. But the memories had followed him. They always would.

Even now, he had horrific dreams, dreams where he would awaken clutching his pillow, swallowing back the screams that he didn't dare let rise to the surface.

Will took a deep breath, feeling himself trembling inside. Why did he always feel as though he was being watched, being followed, as though Hannibal was still with him, just biding his time until they met again, until he had the perfect moment to spring out and catch Will unawares?

That was how Hannibal worked, Will thought with a shudder. You would think that you were safe, and then, when you least expected it, he would appear like an apparition.

A deadly apparition. One that would fight to the death.

What would be do if the two of them happened to meet again, face to face, here on the streets of New York? Will didn't know -- and he didn't want to find out.

Something, some sixth sense, just told him that he had to be careful, that he was being watched, and that the eyes following here weren't friendly ones.

He could feel that gaze resting on him even now. The thought made him nervous.

Will pulled his coat more tightly around him, wishing that he could become invisible. He didn't want to be seen. Not by Hannibal. Not by anyone, really.

He just wanted to be safe. He wanted to be somewhere that he could feel secure, and he wanted his past to simply disappear, even though he knew that couldn't happen. His past would follow him, no matter where he went. It was a part of his psyche, part of who he had become.

Still, it would be nice to be able to escape from the worst parts of that past, to know that he didn't have to keep looking over his shoulder and fearing for his life.

Not only his life, he thought with a rueful smile. Sometimes, he feared for his sanity, as well.

He'd been thought insane once, and he'd lived through that. He had wondered then if he was actually going insane, but this time, it was worse.

The stress was going to make him snap, he thought, taking a deep breath as he hurried through the crowds around him. Sooner or later, he would break.

And when he did, there was no telling what could happen.