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Title: Whistling of the Wind
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Author's Note: One-shot.
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.
***Now that Hannibal was in jail, he was truly alone.
Will sat on the riverbank, gazing out at the ripples that formed in the water as he threw stone after stone into the river. Those ripples seemed to undulate on the surface of the water before they disappeared.
When the ripples stilled, he had to wonder if they'd ever really been there at all. That was just like his so-called "friendship" with Hannibal, wasn't it? There were times when he wondered if he had imagined it all; some of the things that had happened seemed to unbelievable, so fantastical.
Just the thought of anyone being willing to give another person a potentially fatal disease simply to see what effects it would have on their sanity seemed unbelievable to him. Yet Hannibal had done just that.
And he had been the victim, Will told himself, raising a hand to his head, then running his fingers through his hair. The encephalitis was gone now; what Hannibal had induced had been completely eradicated, and he didn't have to worry about being victimized in that way again.
It had been a horrible, evil thing to do. How anyone who would do something like that to another human being even dare to call themselves their victim's "friend" was beyond him.
He would never understand how Hannibal's mind worked. Never.
But then, he wasn't a psychopath, he told himself with a wan smile. He wasn't anything like Hannibal, even though that monster had tried to make him believe that he was.
Those first few days in jail, when he had doubted himself and wondered if he could have indeed murdered Abigail, had been some of the worst hours of his life. It was only when his memories had become to come back to him clearly, with the clouds removed, that he'd realized he wasn't what Hannibal was trying to pain him to be.
Once he had regained his belief in himself, then he'd become much steadier. Which, of course, was exactly what Hannibal didn't want. He'd wanted Will to stay a victim.
But he'd been too strong for that. He'd beaten Hannibal in the end, thank goodness. He'd been able to reach deep down into himself and keep his sanity, even though Hannibal had done all that he could to eradicate that steadiness and keep him off-balance. He was lucky to be here, to be alive.
Hannibal was finally behind bars, locked up away from society where he couldn't do any more harm to innocent people. He was where he belonged. And Will was safe from his machinations.
But somehow, that knowledge didn't feel like a victory.
Will knew that it would. He should feel that he was vindicated, congratulate himself on a job well done. Everyone knew exactly what Hannibal was now, and it was because of his own tenacity.
He had managed to trap Hannibal, managed to put him behind bars. He had taken a dangerous criminal off the streets, and in the process, he had probably saved a lot of lives. He should feel proud of himself, bit instead, all he felt was emptiness and loss, even though he really hadn't lose much.
Or had he? he brooded. Had he lost more than he wanted to admit? Because, in spite of it all, Hannibal was the only person who had ever truly seemed to understand him.
He didn't feel the elation that he'd thought he would feel when Hannibal was behind bars. Instead, he felt as though he should be in mourning for a part of his life that he could never get back.
Why did he feel this way? Why was this emptiness overtaking him, making him feel as though he was standing in the middle of a vast, empty room, with the wind whistling past him? Why did the feel as if he was the single inhabitant of a ghost town, and no one was around who he could truly talk to?
Had Hannibal meant that much to him, that he could surrender to this coldness, this emptiness, now that he wasn't around? It was preposterous to feel that way about someone who hadn't really cared for him.
But maybe, in own twisted way, Hannibal had cared.
No, he hadn't, Will told himself firmly. No one who truly cared about him would have tried to kill him by inducing seizures. Hannibal had never really been his friend. It had all been faked.
He hated to admit that. He hated to believe that he hadn't even been worth the friendship of a monster like Hannibal. But that was how he felt at the moment; lost and abandoned, with no one to turn to that he could bare his soul to and feel that he had someone to listen who actually understood where he was coming from.
No, that wasn't the way he should think, Will told himself. He was worth more than the friendship of a criminal. He had just been fooled by Hannibal's mask, that was all.
At least he had been able to see through it, though. That was some comfort. He had been able to unmask that creature, show teh world what he really was, and he had been the linchpin in the plan that had brought Hannibal down and put him behind bars, where he truly belonged.
He hoped that Hannibal felt that same emptiness in his lonely cell, that whistling of the wind through a room that would never again be populated by people who found him interesting and fascinating.
He hoped that Hannibal felt just as miserable and alone as he did.
Will sighed as he tossed another rock into the river, watching the ripples spread out. They moved from the middle, where the rock had landed, all the way out to the edge of the water, close to him.
He could hear the wind whistling through the trees; fall was here, and winter would soon follow. He would be able to walk through these woods surrounding his house and hear that wind; it always sounded lonely to him, just as he had always felt inside before he had met Hannibal and tentatively reached out to him.
He hadn't found the friendship that he'd sought. Instead, he'd found a false friendship, one that had led to horrors that he could never have imagined before he'd been drawn into Hannibal's web of deceit.
There was no reason for him to feel empty, was there? After all, he hadn't lost a real friend. But it had felt like a friendship to him, at one time, and it was impossible for a part of him not to mourn that loss. Will couldn't help wondering if he would ever find another person in the world who could understand him, or truly want to be his friend.
He got to his feet and turned away from the water, heading back along the path towards his house, hands shoved into his pockets and his head down as he trudged through the trees.
The wind whistled through the leaves, sounding lonelier than ever.
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