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Title: What He Wants
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Author's Note: Sequel to "Intertwined."
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 sat up slowly, rubbing the sleep from his eyes and pushing the covers back.
This was far from the first time he'd awakened in Hannibal's bed, but somehow, this day felt different from any other. Maybe it was because he'd had some sort of epiphany while he slept.
He didn't know just what had caused it, but as he'd slowly awakened, realizing that Hannibal had already gone downstairs to make them breakfast, a resolution had come over him, one that was stronger than any other he'd ever had. It was a realization of his future, one that he should have had a long time ago.
He didn't have to turn himself over to Hannibal to recover who he was. He didn't have to submerge himself in anyone. He simply had to be himself, to accept what had happened and move past it.
Hannibal was helping him to do that, simply by being his lover and accepting him exactly as he was. That acceptance, more than anything else, had gone a long way towards placating his fears and helping him to become physically intimate with Hannibal again. Now, he felt no fear of the future, or of their physical involvement.
It was as though that fear had completely melted away in the warmth and light of Hannibal's patience with him. He wouldn't have expected that of his boyfriend if he hadn't experienced it for himself.
Hannibal had been more patient and loving than Will had ever thought he could be.
That patience had brought Will back into the light, had made him feel a trust and confidence that he'd begun to think he could never feel again. Thanks to Hannibal his fears were gone.
A part of him had thought that the only way he could recover what had been lost of himself, the way he had been before all of this had happened, was to immerse himself completely within his lover, to give himself to Hannibal so thoroughly that nothing was left of him, that he made himself into exactly what Hannibal wanted.
But that wasn't what he needed. That wasn't what would help him. What he needed was to be himself, an equal partner with his lover, not a subjugated slave.
If he had gone that route, then a part of him would had always been hidden, a part of him that would always want to assert itself and would always be pushed down. Will was thankful that he'd realized in time what a mistake it would have been to do that; if he'd let himself go that route, he'd have ended up regretting it.
He was fairly sure that Hannibal had already known that would be a mistake, but his boyfriend had allowed him to find that out on his own, without pushing him in any single direction.
Hannibal seemed to know what he needed better than he himself did.
That was almost a scary feeling, to realize that someone else knew him better than he knew himself. He'd never let himself get that close to anyone before.
Until Hannibal had come barreling into his life, he had always been afraid of getting too close to anyone. He'd thought that his empathy would once again make him a pariah, an outcast, that the person he reached out to would back away in horror, or that they wouldn't want to be around him.
But it hadn't been that way with Hannibal. This man had accepted him exactly as he was, with no reservations and no hesitation. Hannibal had wanted him. Had loved him.
Was what they shared love? Will asked himself. Or was it merely desire? He thought it was love, and Hannibal had even said those words to him more than once.
Why was he hesitating? Did he still believed that his empathy set him apart from the rest of the world, that he was on the outside looking in and always would be? Or was he holding back because he was afraid of taking that next step, afraid of letting himself go completely and giving hi heart and soul to one person?
He'd always been afraid of love. Falling in love had seemed too much like submerging his identity into another person, letting them take him over. But wasn't that what he'd been planning to do anyway?
But giving his heart was vastly different than merely giving his body.
He'd given his heart to Hannibal already. He knew that in his soul, even if his mind didn't want to admit it yet. It was time for him to acknowledge that fact, and to revel in it.
His stubborn mind hadn't wanted to admit that he belonged to Hannibal; he had been afraid to acknowledge his true feelings, afraid that they wouldn't be reciprocated. But they were, and he knew that. Hannibal had proven his love when he had come to rescue Will, when he'd saved his life.
He could see Hannibal's love in those dark eyes whenever the other man looked at him as they were making love. There was no way to doubt Hannibal's feelings, no reason for him to have any doubts.
Will almost felt ashamed of himself for taking so long to reach this epiphany, to make up his mind about what he should do. How long had Hannibal been waiting for him to come to this conclusion? He'd been so patient, so loving, and Will had spent far too much time pushing him away because he didn't know what he wanted.
He had been confused about what he should do -- even about what he wanted to do -- but the scales had fallen away from his eyes now, and he was seeing clearly.
He didn't have to make himself Hannibal's subject. He only had to be Hannibal's lover.
He had to open himself up to the love that Hannibal held out to him, and to the emotions that were in his own heart. He merely had to accept them, and hold them close to him.
Instead of trying to see what was going to happen in the future, to predict it, he would simply take things one day at a time, and enjoy them as he went along. And he would share those days, as well as that future, with Hannibal. What he felt for the man who was his lover would only grow stronger with time.
Hannibal was the man he wanted to be with, and he didn't need to submerge his own identity into that of his lover to prove the strength of his feelings, or to overcome any traumas of the past.
They would move forward together, and if there were problems, they would confront those problems as the couple they were, as well as in their own individual ways. He didn't have to lose himself to be part of a couple; he could retain his own identity, as well as establish one that linked him with someone else.
Why had it taken him so long to realize that was what he wanted to do? Will didn't know the answer to that question, but it didn't really matter. All that matter was that he'd finally figured out what he wanted.
Now he just had to ascertain that it was what Hannibal wanted as well.
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