Contact: bonerfart#6874 (discord) / claptrap
Preferred Pronouns: She/Her
Other Characters: Marian Hawke | Dragon Age | kirkwalled
Name: Will Graham
Memory Option: One (Full AU)
Established Status: Yes! Established for five years.
Canon Point: Post-S3
Citizenship: Born Westie, Currently living on Leith
Job: Professor of Criminal Psychology at an Enforcer Academy on Leith / Part-Time Profiler for the Enforcers
Will's a pretty normal guy aside from his Empathy Disorder. It's the founding block of everything about him because as it's described in the series, Will has an excess of mirror neurons in his brain, much more than any human usually has. This causes him to feel and see everything in extreme excess from the crime scenes he frequents to interactions with other people. It takes a toll on him by forcing him into isolation and suffer from an extreme amount of trauma over the course of the series from everything he inflicts on his already pretty fragile mind.Personality:
As a profiler, he uses this ability to recreate crime scenes in his head, being able to latch onto the cues left by the evidence to see, feel, and understand the last moments of the killer and victims of whatever crime scene he's at. It helps in catching killers but in the process, he absorbs the killer's emotions and feelings and has a hard time shaking them off.
In basic interactions, Will ends up suffering from a form of echopraxia where he'll mimic what others are doing, how they're doing it, and everything to the sway of their voice or the body language they use. It's not something he can control but he does try to stop it. He'll generally feel what they feel too but he's been dealing with this long enough that he's learned how to tune it out or just ignore it unless necessary. Generally though, he does have some sort of inkling but this is why he doesn't talk to people very much. They don't want him to do know, he doesn't want to know.
Essentially, despite this being an ability, it's mostly the cause of Will's break in sanity. That and Hannibal.
He also has an Eidetic Memory but while it's plainly stated as so in the book and vaguely mentioned in the show, he'll mostly be played as just having a very, very good one. Nothing as far as being able to recite whole pages of things.
At base, Will comes off as a quiet, introverted man with a few demons on his back. He is hard to talk to, rarely looks people in the eye and rejects social expectations with extreme fervor. He is bogged down with defense mechanism after defense mechanism to force people to just leave him alone, even going so far as to present himself as being slightly on the spectrum when it isn't quite the case. Will doesn't suffer from an inability to understand, but an ability to understand too much -- and this eats away at him day after day. When you're assaulted with the amount of knowing Will has to deal with in every single interaction, there's little way to deal with that other than extreme distance.AU History:
So, he comes off as distant, aloof, and sometimes even arrogant. He rarely smiles and most things that come out of his mouth are fairly sardonic, macabre, or pessimistic. Will's entire personality is presented in such a way to convince people to not bother and in turn, that he doesn't want to bother with them either. Part of it is true, he doesn't actually like most people he has to deal with. He finds people... inconvenient and overwhelming, half of it having to do with his empathy, the other half from his own basic misanthropy.
There's more to Will than that though, when he has his moments of peace. He is a good fisherman and a lover of dogs -- both of which are his coping skills when it comes to dealing with life. Fishing is a simple hobby, involving lots of quiet and patience and with the dogs, he... collects them. Strays that roam the streets with no homes to go to, Will is softest when it comes to dogs -- bringing in any he finds and feeding and housing them. All the compassion he can't show to regular human beings, he shows to dogs. He is also incredibly smart, primarily in the academic sense. He's a man who loves reading, having an excess of knowledge of topics from classical literature to fine arts to the science surrounding death and murder. He's written and published his own papers on different topics surrounding the forensic sciences and criminal psychology. He's a fairly renowned professor at Quantico (at least, before Hannibal's interference) and is highly regarded in law enforcement and psychiatric circles for how he can think about criminals.
Then the question is -- if Will wants to be alone so badly, wants people to let him be, why is he a cop? Why does he try so hard to help people? That is because Will still, despite everything, wants to use his skills for good. The idea of sending himself into the middle of nowhere and never using his talent for anything else strikes him as selfish, which is something Will does not want to be. He is willing to sacrifice himself, his own comfort and sanity, to be able to help the victims of the most violent of crimes. That is why he became a cop, that is why he went all the way to the FBI. The same compassion he can only show those dogs, he is able to at least use to save those victims. He has a bit of a martyr complex, this Will.
There is another side to this though and it's that Will is deeply, deeply afraid -- of himself, of others, of everything, really. Will throws himself into saving the victims because the other half of it to him, is making his own victims. Will has a small well inside of him of pure darkness, where he understands what compels these killers to kill and finds enjoyment in it more than anything else. He sees the way they spill blood and wishes to do the same, and that's something he can never allow himself. Even more so, Will enjoys it when it's in protection of someone else -- a righteous fury to fill him and give him the ability to hurt others. Helping people made him feel good, killing people to help others made him feel even better. This is another reason Will forces himself into isolation -- he knows how easy it is for him to tip over to the wrong side of the line. He is aware enough of what lurks in the recesses of his brain to put a limit there -- he will use his unfortunate understanding to help, not hurt and he will keep himself in check on how he helps. How much it fractures his mind in the process is a small price to pay for all the good he can do -- and from Will's perspective, he's the only one who can do what he does in the first place.
So, we have this man. This fairly pitiful man who understands too much and finds himself drawn to the darkness as a result. He would be fine, content to live in this half-way isolated state where he never acted on these impulses and to put it frankly, died alone. That was his overall plan until enter one Hannibal Lecter. Now, Hannibal is his own beast -- the cannibal serial killer everyone knows but also highly influential towards those he fixates on. Hannibal found Will the same time Will was assigned to the Chesapeake Ripper case -- the Ripper being Hannibal, of course. Hannibal was the psychiatrist assigned to Will to keep his head afloat even while he submerged himself in all these killers.
It didn't work very much and this is where the severe 180 to Will's personality comes. He continues to be his quiet, introverted, irritable self but through Hannibal's influence over the course of the show -- he slowly distances himself from his morality. Will has always been picky about who he allows close to himself and he has a tendency when he accepts these people, to do drastic things to protect them as a result of his penchant for righteous fury. Hannibal slowly made himself the most important person in Will's life -- this was a mistake.
After that, all of Will's bad habits intensified and his good slowly faded away. He wasn't fond of people at the beginning of the show but now he's even less fond of them. He sees them as nearly irrelevant to whatever macabre piece of theatre was going on between himself and Hannibal. At the beginning, he tried to contain his disaster, tried hard not to hurt those around him even if he didn't like them. With Hannibal, that all slowly faded away. His priorities shifted, it was more about Hannibal and catching him and killing him and... belatedly, loving him. He spends years trying to dredge up the older emotions again, of being able to go back to being a mildly disturbed man trying to help -- and it almost works, but for Will, all roads lead back to Hannibal.
To Will, Hannibal and he are fated. After Hannibal has burrowed so far down into his being, there's no being without him. He accepts it as love, their own brand of genuine romantic love, and at that point, his psyche is fractured into two -- the Will Graham who wants to be a good man and the Will Graham who embraces the fact he really, really isn't. So, the show ends with Will making his final decision, his way to pick between the two parts of Will Graham at war with each other -- he commits suicide with Hannibal. If they survive it, Will is Hannibal's, completely. If they don't, at least they've died together.
Strangely enough, making that decision is the first time Will is ever at peace over the entire course of the show. In a way, that explains everything about Will -- he is a broken, broken man who can only truly be happy when he finally accepts the horrors within himself. At least, in the end, he kind of does.
Will was born on Westerley to a Westie father and supposed Westie mother who immediately after Will's birth, disappeared and left him with his father. Will's dad was a ship mechanic for anyone in the J Star Cluster and as a result, Will spent a lot of time living off a ship and being dragged around. His childhood was pretty unstable as a result and he even ended up teaching himself most things, with education being very hard to come by in that type of lifestyle. He could always figure out a way to get his hands on books though.CRAU: N/A
When Will got older and his dad couldn't travel anymore, they settled back down on Westerley and Will decided to join the Enforcers, wanting to be part of the local law enforcement and use his gift of empathy to help people. He knew it would be an uphill battle because of how low priority the Company viewed crime, but pushed for it anyway. Years of work and training lead him into a detective spot among the Enforcers and a solid promotion after capturing a notorious killer targeting Leithian families. Through it, Will was able to convince the Company to give him a department focused on especially violent crime all over the Quad.
In turn, he ended up with quite a reputation at the Company as the enforcer that could "read minds" and the fact that his capture rate was nearly 100% successful said a lot. Still, the work took a toll on his mind but Will was generally able to keep it together. Well, until a new killer was sent his way referred to as "The Ripper". The Ripper killed Westies primarily, left them in gruesome tableaus that were even too violent for what most people expected of Westerley. The Company and most of his fellow Enforcers were sure that it was "some sick fuck of a Westie" but Will had a different theory -- thought it might be someone much higher on the food chain, someone Qreshi or associated to them. That, unfortunately, made him fairly unpopular for a while and signaled the beginning of the end for Will, especially once he started asking for Qresh records.
His unpopularity followed him like a curse and Will ended up forced to deal with lower priority cases, and mostly alone at that -- no one wanted to deal with that crazy Will Graham, after all. He knew it was punishment for even implying that the Ripper could've tainted Leith and Qresh like that, that someone from the higher echelon of societies could be that "impure" and it pissed him off. So, he did his work and kept his head down but one day he found himself alone on Leith, dealing with what should've been a simple arrest. Except the killer he was tracking down panicked, came at him with a knife, and suddenly Will found his intestines spilling out of his stomach. He was gutted, simple as that, and he was angry about how inconsequential the person who gutted him was. He was supposed to catch monsters, not scared morons.
Able to call for help before he passed out, Will woke up quite a while later with his stomach stitched up and a creepy guy sleeping in a chair by his bed. Creepy guy ended up being Hannibal Lecter, the surgeon who stitched up Will and unknowingly to Will, the Ripper. Will wasn't a fan of this, told him to fuck off, Hannibal didn't. Hannibal continued not to fuck off as Will recovers and gets out of the hospital, instead begins to pursue Will -- romantically. Will, still not a fan. But at the same time, Will also ends up confined to desk work for an indefinite period of time once he returned to work, the Company citing it as "recovery" but Will knew it was punishment. He caused a scene, they weren't a fan of his anymore.
Hannibal continues pursing -- this goes on for a while. A year, at least, where Will realizes he's never really going to recover from his incident -- going back into the field had him jumpier than ever and his nightmares were worse. Will's moral foundation starts shattering while Hannibal spent more and more time getting into Will's head, shifting around all his pieces. One day, while looking through old records and trying to figure out what's gone wrong -- it all clicks. Hannibal's the Ripper. It also clicks: Will has nothing, no one. Dad, dead. Career, over. Nightmares, constant. If he tried to go after Hannibal for legal punishment, he'll be killed -- either by the Company or Hannibal. Hannibal's clout is too large and standing too high, he's untouchable.
On the other hand, Hannibal genuinely seems to want Will in his life and at his side, that he's not just pursing Will out of his own amusement but something more -- actual love for Will, even if coming from a creepy cannibal serial killer. With him, Will could put back together the pieces of his life, be happy again, not be as scared all the time. But is it worth it? No one cares about the Ripper except for Will and there's no way he'd survive the pursuit. All he would have to do is not care anymore himself, give up the chase. After this realization, Will took the week off, went fishing, talked to no one. When he came back, he agreed to be with Hannibal. A few months later, they're married. He made his decision.
Now, he's here: two years in, pretty happy, stable job on Leith as a professor and nightmares nearly non-existent. The Ripper still rips but -- well, that's none of Will's business. Not anymore.
Original History: Wiki | Wikia
Inventory: One day, he'll have his dog again. But that day just isn't today.