Title: Optimistic Thought
Pairing: Will Graham/John Reese
Fandom: Hannibal/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 John Reese or Jordan Hester, just borrowing them for a while. Please do not sue.
***Will glanced over at John as the two of them walked down the busy street.
Why was his heart thumping in what felt like triple-time every time he looked John's way? He had barely even met this man. Surely it wasn't possible for him to already have developed feelings.
He had been told so many times in the past that the heart had its own way of doing things, that you couldn't stop it from falling when it wanted to. Apparently, that was the truth.
He didn't want to fall in love, he told himself firmly. He hadn't ever let himself do such a thing. He'd always kept to himself, always kept his heart under wraps, never holding it out to anyone. Maybe he'd missed out on a lot, but he'd also managed to keep himself safe.
But was that what he really wanted now? he asked himself, glancing at John again, his cheeks reddening with a blush when their eyes met and John smiled at him.
His thoughts were stopped in their tracks when they came to the restaurant, and John pulled the door open, standing back for Will to enter first, just as a well-mannered gentleman should.
Well, he certainly couldn't fault John's manners. They were perfect.
There was so much about this man that seemed perfect, Will thought as they made their way through the other diners to a table near the back of the place, quietly situated behind a large plant.
Will slid into the chair, waiting for John to sit down before he spoke. "I come here a lot, since it's only three blocks away," he explained. "It would be a perfect place if they'd only allow dogs."
John laughed softly, his impossibly white teeth flashing in a grin. "I have a dog, too. I think I may have already told you that," he said, raising one eyebrow. "His name is Bear. He's a great dog. I think he and Winston would get along. Maybe they can get together at the dog park one day."
Will nodded, beginning to feel more at ease. He couldnt help feeling that the two of them were being watched when they were out on the street, but here, in this corner, he felt safe. Hidden.
"I'd like that," he said, feeling more than a little shy. "I'm sure Winston would, too. He's not used to be a lone dog. Before I moved to the city, I had five other dogs. He enjoyed the company."
John smiled at that, nodding. "I bet he did. Six dogs? That's a lot of company."
"I miss them," Will said, unaware of how wistful the words sounded. "Sometimes I wish that I could turn back the clock, and go back to living with my dogs, in my little house in Wolf Trap."
The other man leaned forward, his gaze intent on Will's face. "If that's what you really want, Will, I can make it happen. I think I know what's happening with you, and I want to help you make it stop."
Will's blue eyes widened at John's words; he could feel -- and hear -- the hitch in his breath. "H-how can you know what's going on with me?" he demanded, feeling as though he needed to retreat into his protective cocoon, to put some space between the two of them. John knew too much. Maybe he was dangerous.
But the other man only shook his head, holding up a hand. "Don't worry, Will. I'm on your side. And it's my job to protect people. I think I know who's got you so worried. I want to help."
Will couldn't hold back a sharp bark of what might have been laughter. "How can you help me?" he asked, his blue gaze finally meeting John's squarely. "How can you possibly know who's after me?"
"Because I know about your past with Hannibal Lecter, and even though I've never met the man, I know that he has the reputation of never letting go of what he believes is his," John said simply.
Will's shoulders sagged, whether in relief or surrender, he wasn't sure. It sounded as though John knew all there was to know, and that actually made him feel as though a burden had slipped away from him.
Maybe John could help him. Maybe this man could confront Hannibal, and manage to defeat that monster. No one else who tried had ever been able to, but John was different from other people. He could already sense that. John wasn't the kind of man to accept defeat, or take no for an answer.
"He's dangerous, John," Will began, wanting John to know just what he was getting into if he tried to help. "He's not the kind of person you can just go up against once and expect him to go away."
"I'm quite aware of that," John said, leaning back in his chair and regarding Will. "But like I said, it's my job to protect people. And I want to protect you. I want to get him out of your life for good."
The look on John's face told Will that he meant everything he said.
"That's not going to be as easy to do as you might think," Will said, his smile tight. "I've tried that already. It didn't work, to say the least. He sticks like glue. You're right -- he doesn't give up what he thinks is his."
"You aren't his," John said, his voice low and almost savage. Will looked at him in surprise; John had sounded angry when he spoke those words, and there was no reason for him to be.
Unless John was the kind of person who didn't like seeing anyone victimized -- and that was certainly the case with him, Will thought ruefully. He had allowed Hannibal Lecter to drive him from his home, to live in a city where he still didn't feel comfortable, even though he'd been here for some time now.
If he could go back to Wolf Trap .... his spirits rose as he considered that thought, but then, reluctantly, he discared it, slowly shaking his head and meeting John's gaze again.
"I don't think I can go back to Wolf Trap now," he said slowly. "My house is sold, and I don't know if I'd ever want to be that isolated again, even if we can somehow manage to get Hannibal out of my life."
John nodded, reaching across the table to take Will's hand in his own.
"You don't have to go back to Wolf Trap, Will," he said, his voice very soft. "You don't have to try to recapture the past. You can build a new future for yourself instead. That would be better."
For a moment, Will wondered if John meant that such a future would be for the two of them, not just for himself alone. That optimistic thought stayed in his mind, refusing to dissipate.
He might as well face it -- he was attracted to John, and he wanted a future with this man. But that kind of future, any sort of happiness, would never be his as long as Hannibal was out there, waiting to strike. He would always be looking over his shoulder, waiting for the moment when Hannibal would show up.
What he had to do was confront the man once and for all, and make sure that this time, he ended up behind bars where he belonged. With John's help, maybe that was possible.
Then, he could stop hiding. He could stop running, and he could allow himself to have the future that he'd felt for so long wold never be possible. He could finally have a life again.
This time, his mind was made up. He wouldn't let Hannibal stop him.
John had given him an optimism that he couldn't manage to keep by himself. It was much easier to think positive thoughts when there was someone else holding onto them at the same time.
He smiled, turning his hand to that his fingers could close over John's. "I want him out of my life," he said, his voice soft, but strong and firm nevertheless. "And I want you to help me do it."
John nodded, his fingers clasping Will's briefly before letting go. Was it just his imagination, or did John take him time relinquishing his hand, as thought he was only breaking the contact reluctantly? Will asked himself. He wished that the physical contact could have lasted longer -- forever, really.
But that didn't matter, not right now. What mattered was that he was no longer alone in his fight, that he had someone on his side, someone who could help him win free.
The optimistic thought that had eluded him for so long would have free rein now, thanks to John. He could breathe more easily, and he could feel that there was finally some light at the end of the tunnel.
Smiling at John, he picked up his menu, turning his attention to ordering lunch.
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