Title: Coming to Light
Fandom: Professor Layton
Characters: Bill Hawks (General series)
Prompt: #3: ends
Word Count: 2,819 words
Author's Notes: I do not own Professor Layton or his Top Hat of Awesome.
Summary: What goes around comes around. Sooner or later, everyone has to pay the piper. MASSIVELY MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR GAME THREE.
In hindsight, he knew he should have seen this coming. Sooner or later, this was bound to happen. But he hadn't. He really, truly, somehow...hadn't. And now he was left wondering how that could possibly be.
Misdeeds will always come to light, he had heard said. What goes around comes around. What you do unto others will come back unto three times over. Sooner or later everyone has to pay the piper. The very concept of karma.
Now, sitting along in his office, Bill Hawks was left only to wait for the moment to come.
At first, he had been certain he could ride this out and use the entire situation to his advantage. He was abducted and held prisoner by a scientist and a young man with a serious ax to grind. Said young man had then awakened an enormous machine, with every intention of razing London to the ground in the name of vengeance, of destroying this world and its corruption and rebuilding it to be more in his own view of justice and fairness.
Bill had been quick to point the police in the direction of the young man, named Clive, and have him arrested as a great threat to national security. And for a time, he was riding high on a wave of public support and applause. His colleagues in government were impressed by his bravery, and his constituents shook their heads and tut-tutted and wondered what was wrong with today's youth and the poor young man must be wrong in the head.
For a time, it was brilliant.
And then the first signs of unrest began to stir.
At Clive's trial some weeks after the incident, he spoke of his parents' deaths when the prototype time machine exploded. And he mentioned what he had learned of the disaster. A name came up as one of the scientists involved in the project: Bill Hawks.
Not long after that, the public began to express an interest in the truth of what had happened that day. Slowly but surely, the whispers grew to conversations, to dull roars, and finally to demanding shouts, wanting the truth. What had been the Prime Minister's involvement in the alleged accident that had set all of this off so long ago?
And then HE spoke up on the matter.
Professor Hershel Layton made a public appeal to reopen the case.
Hershel Layton, the respected professor at Gressenhauler University.
Hershel Layton, who had solved cases for police forces all over Britain.
Hershel Layton, a man of unmatched standing and reputation in London.
Hershel Layton, who was hailed by the newspapers as the true hero of the incident, the man who had stopped Clive's rampage.
Hershel Layton, who had a tie just as personal to the time machine explosion a decade past.
Bill thought he had dissuaded Layton from exploring the case back then, with the judicious application of a thug in a dark alley on a rainy night. And for a time, he had thought himself right. But Layton had never quite let go of that incident, and now that the chance was there, he was leaping at it.
And the public responded. Layton's reputation was enough to sway public opinion to his view and demand that the case be reopened. After all, if there was nothing dark about the case, then why was it closed so quickly, without resolution? And if it was all perfectly benign, just a sad accident, then what harm was there in looking back into it? It wouldn't cause anyone any personal damage now, so long after the fact.
Bill Hawks fought it. He tried to argue that the case should be left in the past where it belonged, that there was nothing to be gained from opening it now, that it was over. But his protests fell on deaf ears and surprisingly unforgiving ground. More than one editorial columnist wondered why the esteemed Prime Minister seemed to determined to keep this case shut. The sound of skeletal bones could be heard quite clearly rattling about in someone's closet, one mused.
When a judge formally announced that the case was to be reopened and thoroughly examined by a specially appointed committee, Bill wondered if he was done for. But he kept his head high and carried on, still certain that they couldn't prove his complicity. After all, what had he really done wrong? It wasn't like he had personally rigged the thing to explode.
He was still considering himself far above it all when the committee formally started their investigation. He observed as they went over the old files and news clippings and investigative reports from a decade ago, certain that there was nothing there that would affect him.
But his hopes were dashed somewhat when they announced an inquest, to be held in the courthouse, where they would interview persons involved in the incident to see if new information could be ascertained. It was to be a public inquiry, no less; there was no way they could shut the general population out and not have a riot. The newspapers would be welcome to attend and report as details, old and new, were brought to light.
The story was enormous, and the public was dying for more information. The disapproving sniffs regarding uncouth young men who were clearly wrong in the head had shifted to curious whispers, wondering if perhaps his madness was not inherent, but had somehow been thrust upon him by the incident that had taken his parents from him, and what a poor lad, he needed help and guidance and what was the world coming to.
The police who had investigated the explosion at the time of occurrence were the first ones on the stand. Some were still in law enforcement, while others had left the force to pursue other avenues. But they all told largely the same story: they had been looking into it, following all rules and procedures, when they had been ordered to close the case. No explanation, no resolution, no nothing. Just close the case and put it on the shelf.
All admitted that they had felt odd about this, and wondered what had prompted their superior officers to issue such an order. More than one said that they had wondered if there was a higher party pulling some strings for some reason, and there was a general consensus that the whole affair had left a bad taste in their mouths. Two cited the incident as the reason they had left the force.
One by one, the men spoke, and one by one, they were thanked for their time and honesty, and stepped down. Warning bells were already going off. Why had the investigation been stopped when people had died?
Then Professor Hershel Layton himself, one of the prime movers and shakers behind this entire fiasco, stepped up to take the stand and explain his connection to the case and experiences with it. He spoke of hurrying there, to find the place engulfed in flames and smoke and the smell of burning and death. He recounted how he had stopped a boy from running back in to search for his parents (later pronounced dead). And there was a pronounced gasp in the room when he detailed the assault he had suffered, prompting him to close his own investigation into his girlfriend's death.
If anyone noticed the slight tremor to his voice at that part, no comment was made on it.
Layton's testimony took up the whole of the afternoon, as those of the police had filled the morning. After Layton was thanked and stepped down, the official presiding over the affair announced that the inquest would reconvene the next morning for further testimony. Bill Hawks saw Layton leave with his young ward at his side; she held onto his arm, whispered something to him, and he nodded to her.
He also shook hands with several government officials and exchanged what seemed to be hushed words. Bill made his escape fairly quickly. Although it was now clear that someone had interfered with the investigation, there was nothing to point in his direction.
The next morning, after a brief recap of the testimonies of the previous day, another witness to the time machine explosion took the stand. Dimitri Allen seemed nervous, but otherwise resolute at what he was about to do. And he told the truth.
Yes, he had played a part in the Prime Minister's kidnapping. Yes, he understood the severity of his actions and would face the consequences of those actions when the time came. Yes, he'd had a very good reason for what he had done, and this was it.
It was the first time any sort of direct accusation had been laid against the Prime Minister in regards to the whole mess, and the reaction was immediate. The crowd gathered in the courtroom was shocked. In the back of the room, Hawks had remained silent, not permitting himself any expression whatsoever. But he watched with growing anger as Allen told the entire story of Claire's death and Bill's subsequent sale of the technology, the income from which funded his rise to power.
By the time Dimitri Allen stepped down, the room was buzzing, and the judge ordered a recess as the next witness was brought in for testimony. Bill fled the room, leaving behind a sea of hostile faces and suspicious words. It couldn't get any worse, it was just hearsay, they could prove nothing against him.
When he returned for the next witness, he was shocked.
Somehow, he suspected that Layton had played a substantial role in procuring Clive's testimony before the tribunal on this day. After all, the young man was serving a prison sentence for what he had done, and the guards who were called in before he began his testimony attested that he was a model prisoner, willingly serving his penance. Character witnesses, Hawks realized bitterly. Encouraging everyone to listen to what the boy said and pay it heed.
The young man looked mature and somber as he walked to the front of the room, Inspector Chelmey at his side to act as an escort. He wore a dark suit, white shirt, blue tie, black shoes, the proper dress for such a serious occasion. Again, Bill suspected Layton's hand in that. Looking at him now, one never would have suspected that such a calm, well-dressed lad had almost single-handedly leveled London.
Appearance is key in how people perceive you, Bill recalled. If you appear mature and well turned out, then people are more likely to take you seriously and listen to what you have to say. Clive was playing that part to perfection, probably with a bit of help.
Rumors had been swirling about this young man in the weeks following his arrest and trial. Public opinion had shifted from outright horror and disdain to curiosity over what could cause such madness in one so young, and even to some grudging admiration for his skills, his planning and what he had managed to build. The courtroom was silent as Clive began to speak, the assembly hanging on his every word.
He was calm, quiet, reserved, and spoke well. He told of being outside, playing in the street near the building where he and his parents lived, and hearing the explosion. He remembered trying to run inside to find his parents, but a man in a hat had stopped him. A very small smile had graced Clive's lips at that statement, like it was some private joke that no one else in the room was privy to.
Bill did noticed a similar expression crossing Layton's face at the same time, though. How odd, that one brief moment in time, where two people's paths crossed for just a second, would have such profound results so far down the line.
Continuing, Clive told of how he had grown up, the fortune left to him, and his subsequent frustrations with the lack of justice in the incident that had left his parents and so many others dead. He had learned of the truth, of Bill Hawks selling out, and had set about to raze the government to the ground. He viewed it as corrupt, letting innocent people go without justice in death in favor of letting guilty parties assume positions of power.
He was sorry that so many people had suffered because of his desire for justice, he said solemnly. While his madness may not have been entirely his own fault, his actions were his own, and he accepted the consequences of them. Those who had suffered because of what he had done would not suffer the same lack of justice that he had. They, at least, would know that the one who had harmed them was paying for his crimes.
Previous testimonies had left the room buzzing with whispered conversations. As Clive left, quietly and demurely under his equally silent police escort, the room was void of sound. A person could have dropped a pin on the carpet, and it would have been audible.
The committee presiding over the inquiry announced a recess while they consulted. After a few moments, they returned and started everyone by declaring the testimonies on hold while they investigated the accusations made against Prime Minister Bill Hawks.
The wheels of justice, long disused in this case, began to turn. Slowly at first, and with much groaning and creaking. But they began to gain momentum, pick up speed, until finally it was announced that investigations had turned up evidence supporting the claims that Bill Hawks, the Prime Minister and reported victim of the recent devastating events, had in fact had a direct hand in causing an accident ten years ago that had claimed lives and set off a chain of events leading up to the more recent events, which had nearly destroyed the city.
All for the sake of money, and a pursuit of power.
Public opinion was swift and vicious.
And now, three weeks after that fateful day in the courtroom when Clive had issued his own statement, Bill Hawks sat in his office, looking around at all the trappings of his seat. Big desk. Large office. Fantastic view of the city out the window. All the intricate workings of the government were stowed away in the cabinets on his walls, and books detailing the history of his country and his office lined the bookcases.
In a fairly short amount of time, that would be taken away from him.
Damn Claire. Damn Dimitri. Damn that Clive boy...
A knock on the door roused him from his reveries. He glanced up as one of his secretaries entered. "The press is waiting for you, sir," the man said, his face bland and expressionless.
With a sigh and one final glance around, Bill rose from his chair for what he was sure to be the final time, and followed the man through the door to meet his fate at the hands of the public, the media, and his colleagues in Parliament.
Damn that Hershel Layton.
Damn them all.
AN: One of the only things about game three that bothered me was that it appeared Bill Hawks was getting off scot-free. He essentially caused the deaths of all those people, and didn't really suffer for it at all. So I fixed it! BEHOLD THE POWER OF FANFICTION.
And wow, I'm sort of shocked. I figured this would be a quick little fic. And then Clive decided he wanted to be in the story, and it started to grow. Go figure! I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading, all! Much love!