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Title: Proven Innocent
Pairing: Will Graham/Sherlock Holmes
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.
***"You didn't do this, Mr. Graham."
Will stared at the tall, thin man standing in front of his cell. "How can you be so sure? There's a lot of evidence. I didn't think I did it at first, but you know, I could have. All that lost time .... I could be a murderer and not even know it."
It was true. though he hated to admit it. He could have committed those murders. There was no telling what he'd done when he'd had encephalitis.
It had literally driven him crazy. He might be all right now, but the fact remained that no one could account for all of his missing time when he'd been ill. And all of the evidence did point directly to him, though, of course, it could have been manufactured.
He'd been so sure for a while that Hannibal had done just that, for some reason. But now, he wasn't so sure any more. It didn't feel right.
He wasn't sure of Hannibal, or of himself. He wasn't sure of anything around him any more. He was only sure that he was where he belonged. If he had gone crazy and committed those murders, then he should be here, behind bars.
He didn't want to be here, but at the moment, he had no choice.
Sherlock stared at Will, those pale eyes unblinking. "I don't believe that you did this. I believe that you were framed, to put you into jail and get you out of the way."
"Why would anybody do that?" Will argued, not wanting to see Sherlock's point. "I'm no use to anybody in here. Jack Crawford can get more use out of me out there, catching criminals. Nobody else would want me in jail. That's a crazy idea."
"You're an experiment, Mr. Graham," Sherlock said softly. "Someone is using you as a guinea pig. They're keeping you under observations, to see just when you'll crack under the pressure."
Will was taken aback by those matter-of-fact words.
Could Sherlock Holmes be right? Had someone cleverly framed him so that he would end up being trapped here, and they could study his actions?
Nobody would do something that crazy. Or would they? He didn't want to think that Hannibal would be so manipulative -- or that someone he considered his friend would put him in this kind of position. But he was forced to consider the possibility.
Had his initial impression been right? Was Hannibal the Chesapeake Ripper -- and had he made sure that Will landed in jail to keep him from working the case?
He didn't know. He wasn't sure of anything any more. He needed help -- and maybe he could get that help from the man standing here in front of him.
Sherlock Holmes was one of the smartest people in the world, so people said. He was a genius. And he'd solved so many crime that people had said were unsolvable. If anyone could help Will, he could. If he would agree to do it.
"Would you ..." he began, staring at the other man. But Sherlock shook his head, a slight smile on his lips, holding up a hand to stop Will in mid-sentence.
"I've already taken the case," he said. "Free of charge."
"Thank you," Will said softly, knowing that there was nothing else to say. "I don't know if I could repay you, anyway. I don't have a job any more."
"You'll be out of here soon enough, and then you can find another job," Sherlock told him briskly. "Even if not to the government here. Scotland Yard is always looking for good detectives. I think you would be invaluable there, if you would consider it."
Consider it? Now that he was sure he had no future with the FBI here in America, he would do a lot more than consider it. He would jump at that kind of an offer.
But first, he had to be proven innocent and get out of here.
He nodded, swallowing back the lump that had suddenly appeared in his throat. This man believed in him, for some odd reason. Sherlock was going to help him. It made him feel humbled to realize that he had someone on his side, someone who wanted to help him.
It made him feel less alone. It made him feel as though there was some hope for getting out of this awful situation, and for clearing his name.
He didn't want to believe that he'd killed anyone. He didn't want to think that he was capable of those kinds of atrocities. It didn't seem like him. It didn't feel like him. But when the encephalitis had been taking over his mind and body, who knew what he could have done?
Still, he wasn't going to think of himself as being guilty. Not yet. Not until there was incontrovertible proof, and he had to believe that he was a killer.
"Someone went to a great deal of trouble to make it seem as though you're a killer, Will," Sherlock said softly, using Will's given name for the first time. "I intend to prove that you're not, to prove them wrong. And you will walk out of here a free man, into a new life."
Sherlock made it sound so good. So easy.
It wouldn't be easy. Will knew that. But Sherlock would help him. He already felt a kinship with this man, a bond that he was sure would become stronger over time.
He couldn't say anything; his throat felt as though it had closed up. He merely nodded, giving Sherlock a small smile that was was quickly returned. As he looked into those pale eyes, Will couldn't help feeling that he could somehow see a future there -- a future he hadn't expected to have.
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