Wow. Dark. Dark as night ahead. Also, pretty graphic in the gore department. That's why it's M, no smut, no swearing. Just... disturbing. Second Hannibal fic, so good luck with my wonky characterization. Also, no beta. Enjoy *smirks*
Will keeps a lot of secrets. Especially from himself.
Hannibal knew it when he first met the hunched over consultant, and it became even more obvious when his makeshift forts crumbled under the force of fatigue and exhaustion. Will was a secret keeper, and he did it to protect himself, even if he didn't realize it.
He's in a safe place now, sitting across from Hannibal, content in saying nothing. There are no murders to be forced to witness here.
He thinks he is among friends. He is right, in a rudimentary sense, but their relationship is infinitely more complicated than anything Will's socially stunted brain could comprehend.
Hannibal sees Will as an equal, but simultaneously, not. It would be more accurate to say that he sees Will as a potential equal. Unfortunately, all of his morals and fears are getting in the way. And as fun as it has been to make the empath run in circles, Hannibal's patience isn't infinite.
Will is so close. He's almost there. His subconscious has already picked up on the fact that the well groomed Dr. Lecter isn't what he seems, that he's a murderer, the very serial killer who's making his life a living hell. It's just a matter of Will accepting it.
The conflict between Will's subconscious and conscious self is causing him mental strain. The sleep walking, the hallucinations... all of it is a side effect of the man's denial. Hannibal would love to just force Will to realize, to submit... but that's not how these delicate psychological processes work. Will must come to the conclusion by himself, or his mind will reject the new flood of truth, so foreign and yet so familiar. That is irrevocable. But that doesn't mean that Hannibal, trusted friend and psychiatrist, can't help things along... a bit.
Sometimes, the incompetence of the FBI astounds him. Jack Crawford has his ungrateful mitts on one of the most fascinating and powerful human minds known to man, and yet he does not use it to its full potential. He keeps the empath locked away under lock and key, like a sick parody of fine china. He takes the fractured Will out carefully, before smashing him against the floor repeatedly, gluing him back together hastily, and locking him back away. Crawford lacks respect for one of the most beautiful and fragile specimens Hannibal has ever laid eyes on. And that makes him practically go mad with bloodlust on his patient's behalf.
The simple truth that everyone seems to miss is that Will is an empath. He feels everything.
Will can't just reconstruct the point of view of killers; he has to feel and see what the victims are going through too. And though Will focuses mainly on the perpetrators, because that's what Jack wants, he is also registering the thoughts and feelings of the mutilated victims at the same time. He just doesn't acknowledge it. He shoves it away, because processing both sides, giver and receiver, fire and ice, yin and yang, would be enough to shatter Will into a thousand pieces.
Will knows that.
Hannibal knows too.
That is how he is going to get Will to crack open. Make him shudder and peel apart, raw and exposed only to Hannibal, for his own consumption.
He never said he wasn't possessive. It's a side effect of psychopathy.
"Will," the twisted psychiatrist says smoothly, gently. He is coaxing the timid man out into the open.
The scruffy profiler says nothing, but Hannibal can feel the euphoric weight of Will's attention. It is as good as any response.
"How have you been sleeping of late?" The question is posed as if he does not know the answer. Hannibal is always careful to seem as though he isn't presumptuous in Will's presence. It seems to take a moment before the consultant realizes that he needs to respond.
"Same as always, sleepwalking, nightmares, the usual." There he goes, keeping secrets again. Hannibal can see it in the bags of his eyes and the worry lines between his eyebrows.
"Will, I cannot help you if you do not tell me the truth," he reprimands softly. Will at least has the decency to look ashamed.
"I'm sorry, I uh-" Will seems to choke on the cumbersome cadence of the English language.
"There is no need to be sorry Will, I am merely the rudder of this boat. Here to steer you in the right direction." The empath looks grateful at one moment, and unsure the next. Hannibal's gaze never wavers as his patient collects his thoughts and prepares to bare them to him.
"It's getting really hard to distinguish reality from dreaming. I hallucinate when I'm awake, and walk through crime scenes when I sleep. It's all getting mixed up in my head." At this point, Will is scrubbing his face with his hands and running them through his hair, as if trying to keep the uncertainty at bay. It is an action that suits Will in its frequency. So malleable, so vulnerable.
"Do you think you are dreaming now?"
"I don't think so?" The question mark at the end of Will's reply is heavily implied. The silence stretches on, and Will fidgets between leaning back in the chair and sitting on the edge of the seat.
"There is something else," the killer states, playing his patient like a finely tuned instrument. More silence. Will struggles with how much trust he seems to want to place in Dr. Lecter, and after a long battle, ultimately deems it safe. Pesky subconscious.
"I dream of you, Dr. Lecter," he mumbles, looking down at his feet, at the wall next to the hearth, anywhere other than Hannibal's face. Will's countenance is turning a delicious crimson, and he looks so desperate for Hannibal to dismiss his comment as normal. Hannibal does no such thing.
"Yes. A man's dismembering people, and someone's with him. Watching. They're... enjoying it. While they are..." Will looks uncomfortable, and Hannibal has to hide a smile from his clever little mongoose, "while they are... reveling in it," the words stick to his tongue and seem reluctant to leave his mouth, "You and I walk in and draw their attention. They turn around, and they... grin at us... and it's you and me. We're killing people. And we get off on it. It's sick and perverse and-" Will can't seem to make himself go any further, but Hannibal has heard enough. Poor Will. That would be his conscious and unconscious mind struggling for leverage. Hannibal would have to act fast in order to keep the upper hand.
"Will, I think I know what the problem is." The brunette looks like a kicked puppy, afraid to hope that Hannibal held the key to his relief, his ever fading sanity. The doctor smiles to himself. Will is setting himself up to fall hard, and when he does, Hannibal will be there to pick up the pieces. He waits until Will's full attention is on him. The weight of his hope is heady and intoxicating; the knowledge that he has this power over Will makes him want to bare his teeth and own the young man before him.
"Dr. Lecter?" Will is breathing heavily, a sheen of sweat on his brow. He is clearly growing quite anxious. His subconscious is urging him to escape, and Will doesn't know how to register the sudden desire to flee. Hannibal gently pushes him into a different conclusion.
"There's no need to panic," Hannibal says smoothly, hoping to calm his patient, "you are not dreaming. Look at your watch." Will looks down at his wrist, his face scrunching in confusion, unsure of what he's looking for. "In dreams, your brain has a hard time with the concept of time, and it distorts the faces of clocks or makes them stand still in order to cope. What do you see?"
"It's nine thirteen at night," Will says, breathing out slowly.
"Good. What you are struggling with is a battle between your conscious and unconscious empathy, caused by you repressing half of your gift. It is essentially a build up of unrecognized and unprocessed stimuli."
Will lets out a disbelieving snort, which Hannibal lets slide. For now.
"Dr. Lecter," he says humorlessly, voice flat, "recognizing and processing stimuli is my job. You can't seriously believe that all of this is caused by me not analyzing my findings enough. If anything, I see too much."
Hannibal suppresses an impatient sigh.
"Will, you are an empath, not a magnifying glass. You cannot just empathize with killers and not their victims, it is not possible." Will looks at the doctor with some incredulity and not a small amount of fear.
"If that's true, how come I don't remember any of it? I only remember what the killers do," Will says, uncertainty seeping into his voice like a thick permeating fog.
"That, dear Will, is the problem. You register the victims in your subconscious, but do not acknowledge them. It is causing a backup that is starting to bleed into your consciousness."
A look of determination plants itself onto Will's face.
It is a look Hannibal wishes he could see more often.
"What do I have to do?"
"I can put you into a relaxed state so that you can process some of the stimuli. But I have to warn you, it will not be pleasant."
Will lets out a mirthless laugh and gives a smile with too many teeth, one that doesn't reach his eyes.
"My life is not pleasant Dr. Lecter." He's already settling back into his chair, in a more relaxed state. Hannibal smiles, and this time doesn't hide it.
"Nobody ever said it was."
In a few moments, Hannibal has Will breathing deeply, as though asleep. The young man's eyes flicker restlessly behind his eyelids. The shadows projected from the hearth flicker on his face, making him seem more gaunt and sickly than he normally did. It reaffirmed Hannibal's belief that shadows reveal more of a person that the brightest time of day.
"Will," Hannibal says softly. Will doesn't respond, but begins to twitch. "Will." he says more forcefully.
"Yes," Will says in a monotone, no longer consciously in the room. He's lost in his own mind, and he needs Hannibal there to guide him. The doctor briefly wonders what would happen if he forsake Will there, would he be lost in his mind forever? Would he be catatonic for the rest of his days? He tucks the theory away for further inspection, but for now, Will is waiting for him in the dark of his thoughts.
"I need you to go back to the last crime scene," he says harshly, no room for doubt or argument. Will's breathing becomes choked, and Hannibal coaxes him through it. "That's it, breathe. Breathe Will." Will's breathing evens out again.
"What do you see?"
"I'm in a beach house. I am cooking dinner, cooking for two even though nobody else is coming. It's our anniversary, but she's been dead for three years. I couldn't-" Will sounds so immensely horrified, angry, and depressed, that Hannibal feels a twinge of pride in Will's ability. He could recreate things so completely just from a glimpse of someone's life, a snapshot taken after they had expired. It was a miracle, one that Hannibal intended to corrupt. "I couldn't save her from the cancer, and it was my job to protect her!" Will's keening, and curling up slightly in his imagined grief.
"Will, I need you to move on," Hannibal says softly, not wanting to intrude too much into the fantasy. The empath's breath catches, and he shifts his head slightly.
"Somebody's here," he breathes out, a whisper that the cannibal has to strain to hear. "Nobody's supposed to be here. I grab my kitchen knife and cross into the living room."
Hannibal begins to feel a pleasant flutter of recognition in the base of his spine. Of course. This was one of his crimes. He remembers it perfectly. Will is in too deep to pull out, he is just going to have to live through it. Hannibal shudders slightly at the thought of mutilating Will instead of the doctor... it is a thought that both intrigues him and repulses him. He would never dishonor Will in such a manner, but he can't shake the thought of Will's blood, blanketing the floor beneath him...
"Who's there?!" Will cries out hoarsely, and Hannibal sits back to watch Will's rendition of his crime, like a twisted theater goer enjoying a matinee. "I'm warning you, I'm- I'm armed!" Will suddenly stiffens up and whines loudly, body relaxing and breathing becoming slightly labored. Hannibal knows this is when he injected the drug that slows the heart and relaxes the body. It makes it so that the victim will not bleed out too quickly. It amazes Hannibal that Will's empathy is so strong that it can recreate the effect of the drug on his own body. This was not going to be pleasant for the profiler. What was it that Will used to say? 'This is where it gets truly horrifying.' Poor Will.
"He's administered a drug, in my neck. One I know very well," Will says, languidly, but not without panic. "I use it on my own patients, when I am doing surgery on them. It is an agent of kindness, used here as one of horror. I know that it is to be used to prolong my suffering," Will slurs. Hannibal knows that Will's ability to speak will expire before the murder finishes playing itself out. It is a thought that doesn't bother him. Just one more way for Will to be vulnerable, a variable he will have no control over.
Will jerks slightly, and groans. His muscles spasm in pain, and his fingers clench into fists. Hannibal can see it as clearly as if it were happening now. Will's skin being cut and pulled back in the chest, exposing ribs and muscles. Blood is pooling around him, not too fast, but quickly enough that Hannibal knows he doesn't have too much time. The empath cries out as his arms are wrenched forcefully above his head, his shoulder twitches as it is dislocated. He is sobbing by now, his mouth is forming a silent plea not heard over his own primal keens and wails for help. Even as Will's physical body remains pristine, Hannibal knows that in his mind he is bloody and twisted.
Hannibal can't help but flinch a little when Will screams out, exactly as the doctor did when he had pierced through his wrists with a knife, effectively pinning them to the floor. Will is writhing in the chair, and Hannibal wonders if he will come out of this unscathed, or if he will be so broken that even he can't fix him.
Will is breathing heavily now, stretching the exposed nerves and ribs in his chest. Hannibal remembers the beauty of it, every breath the doctor took extracted a pulse of blood, bringing him closer to death. It had taken a while, but the doctor had fallen into blissful unconsciousness by this point. Not so, it seems, for Will. Will would remain conscious and aware of every second, even as his ribs are spread and his beating heart stolen from the chest cavity. The young man's back is arching, but he is no longer screaming. Just emitting a soundless wail before he finally dies, distorted and mutilated, still pinned to the ground.
Will does not move for several minutes, but remains slumped in the chair, arms still stuck above his head. Hannibal grows concerned after a quarter of an hour passes with no movement from his patient. Thirty minutes pass, and Hannibal tries to wake him.
"Will?" he calls, trying to remain calm. He panics internally, worrying that he broke Will, the only man who could ever understand him, be like him. He stretches forward from his seat and gently feels for Will's pulse.
In a flash, Will's hand shoots out and grabs Hannibal's wrist, eyes flying open and twitching with all the force of a crazed man.
"I see you," he whispers, breath hissing and voice rasping from all of his screaming. Hannibal freezes in Will's hold, shockingly strong for someone so scrawny. This is the moment Hannibal has been waiting for, a moment with infinite variables and even more possible turnouts. "It was you, cutting me up, as if I was a pig deserving of slaughter." Hannibal's breathing quickens minutely, the emotion behind this response unclear. "I had dinner at your house that night," Will continues, unaware of Hannibal's calculating gaze. "I ate with you. I ate the doctor's heart, I ate me." Clever Will, beautiful Will. Hannibal can see it now, two sides at war with one another, fracturing Will into two. There was no telling who would come out on top. His mouth quirks in a killer's smile, reflecting the sentiments he is so familiar with because of what he is forced to do on a day to day basis. Think like killers, intimately share sinners' motives, walk in the shoes of the damned. The smirk is congratulatory, impressed, willing. Far too many teeth and not enough innocence. His eyes, however, reflect fear, ice cold and fresh from the victims he sees and understands, scared and repulsed by who Hannibal is and what he does, what he stands for. Hannibal idly wishes to tear them out, but he does not. Not to Will. Sweet Will.
'You're beautiful,' one half of Will says in awe. 'Teach me. I am the yang to your yin, the light to your dark. I complete you and you, me.'
'Stay away!' another half screams. 'I trusted you! I told you things that nobody else knows. You kill people, you eat them. Stay back, don't hurt me please!'
They stay like that for a while, Will's vice grip on Hannibal's wrist enough to bruise, warring with himself. Hannibal gazing at Will's face, absorbing his thoughts and emotions, seeing what makes him tick.
Slowly, the fear bleeds from Will's eyes, but the smile remains.
Hannibal has won.
Will is his.
Take time to review. Wow, hehe, that was really draining.