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Title: Red Herring
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Author's Note: Sequel to "Comfort in the Night."
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.
"Will, we've caught the killer."
"What?" Will couldn't keep the shock out of his voice; at first, he wasn't sure who Jack could be referring to. "You've caught the Chesapeake Ripper?" Just his luck, he thought, not to be there when his greatest nemesis was found.
His heart began to hammer when he heard Jack's answer. "No, not the Chesapeake Ripper. We've caught the man who's killing your lookalikes."
"How? When? Where?" Will sat up in bed, rubbing sleep from his eyes, words tumbling out. "Who is he? Did he say why he's been killing guys who look like me? What did he tell you?" He couldn't stop the flow of questions.
"Slow down, Will." Jack's voice was calm, soothing. "He hasn't said much of anything yet, other than insisting he's innocent."
Will frowned, standing up and stretching. "I'll get there as quickly as I can. What do you mean, he's saying that he's innocent? If you caught him, then he can't be. Or are you just going on circumstantials?"
Jack paused for a moment before answering.
"Nothing circumstantial about this." His voice was grim. "We caught him trying to leave the scene, the knife in his hand. He swears that he was knocked out and it was planted on him, but that's a little hard for me to swallow."
It would be hard for anyone to swallow, Will thought. If the guy had been found there at the crime scene, with the bloody knife clutched in his hand ....
Of course, it was possible that this man was an innocent victim and he was indeed telling the truth. But Will wasn't going to believe that until he had cross-examined the man himself, looked into his eyes.
He was going to use every resource at his command to get to the bottom of this, and to find out if this was indeed the killer.
He had to make sure of it, had to know for himself. Then, and only then, would he be able to sleep at night, to know that the nightmare was over and feel safe again. He had to satisfy himself that they had indeed caught the right person.
Something told him that they might have made a mistake.
Will didn't know why he should feel that way; he hadn't even seen this person yet, didn't know anything about how he had been caught.
Only when he sat down face-to-face with the supposed killer and talked to him would he know for sure if this was the person. Somehow, he knew that he would be able to tell if this was the man who had caused him so much anguish.
He didn't know exactly how he would be able to tell; he simply knew that he would. There would be some sign, some flare of recognition.
All he wanted to do was to get to wherever they were holding this man, to sit down at a table across from him and look into his eyes.
Then, he'd know. He wouldn't even need his empathy; he would be able to gaze into the suspected killer's eyes and know for certain if this was the man they'd spent so much time and energy looking for.
Why did he feel, then, that there was something wrong with this, that it had somehow been too easy and that this man was simply a red herring?
Something told him that the real killer was still out there.
He wouldn't say as much to Jack, of course. Will knew that he wouldn't be believed, not now, not before he'd sat down and talked to this man, asked the pertinent questions and seen for himself what evidence there was to view.
Even then, Jack might not believe that this wasn't the right person; he might simply want to close the case and put it behind him.
"Will? Are you coming now, or did you want to wait?" Jack's voice cut into his thoughts, interrupting their flow. He blinked again, still feeling somewhat disoriented. This had all happened so quickly that it wasn't quite computing.
He glanced at his alarm clock, realized that it was nearly three o'clock. But it didn't matter that it was still the middle of the night.
He had to talk to this man, had to find out if they had indeed caught the person who apparently had such a fixation with him. There was no way that he could wait until what others would say was a "decent" hour.
"I'm coming as soon as I can. Getting dressed now."
Even as he spoke, Will thought of something that he needed to ask Jack, something that had just popped into his mind. That would tell him a great deal about whether or not they had the right person before he even met the man.
"Jack, what did he say about me? Did he say why he has such a fascination with me?" Will almost held his breath as he waited for the answer.
"He ...." Jack sounded reluctant to continue, and Will almost wanted to shout at him that whatever he had to say, he needed to spit it out. "Will, he claims to not even know who you are. He won't admit that this is all about you."
Will could almost feel his heart plummeting down to his toes. It couldn't be the right man. This was about him. They'd known that from the beginning.
But still, this was the person they'd caught, the person who they were sure was the killer. He couldn't simply assume that this man was lying, not until he'd seen him up close and personal. He had to have that one-on-one interview.
Once he'd done that, he would know.
Somehow, he would know if this was the person who had caused him such fear, the person whose vicious, brutal acts had haunted his dreams.
He would be able to talk to this man, to look into his eyes, to see into his mind and know if this was the killer who had turned his life upside down, or if this was simply a man who had been framed, and the real killer was still at large.
"I'll be there in less than an hour," he told Jack, then clicked off his cell phone and began to get dressed as quickly as he could.
The sooner he got there, the sooner he would know the truth.
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