AN: …something about this fandom inspires me to write silly plotless stories and give them alliterative names. Go figure. Oh well! I don't own Professor Layton or any of the other characters.
Professor Layton had not realized a few things when he had taken in Luke and later, Flora. At the time, both had been children, and he was overjoyed to have been able to help them. But as time went on and they began to grow up, some things became very obvious to him about his two wards. Children, he could handle with relatively little difficulty.
Teenagers, on the other hand, were proving to be something entirely different.
For starters, teenagers were moody. Constantly. Two teenagers, angsting at varying volumes about life's great injustices (for example, someone else had eaten the last bagel), created a cloud of gloom and negativity that would permeate anyone and anything that came within reach of it. Even the great puzzle master himself was hard-pressed to calculate the radius of that.
A favorite teenage phrase, Layton learned, was "just a minute." Whether it was coming down to dinner, being ready to go somewhere, or doing a chore, Layton had calculated that the answer to such a given request would be "just a minute" approximately ninety-two-point-three percent of the time. Unfortunately, the teenage definition of a minute was something much more easily measured with a calendar than a clock. Layton became painfully aware of this one morning while waiting for Flora to be done with the bathroom mirror.
Teenagers were extremely preoccupied with appearances. One morning, Flora was unusually irate and declared that she had absolutely nothing to wear to a big event the three of them were attending that night. A glance into her bedroom immediately following this outburst found that ninety percent of her total wardrobe was strewn haphazardly around the room, leaving a bewildered Layton to silently disagree with Flora's earlier statement.
And it wasn't just Flora. Luke was not immune to the frantic worry over looks either. The apprentice claimed the mirror one morning, saying it was for "just a minute." (Again, the Teenage Minute.) Nineteen "just a minutes" and eight "almost dones" later, Luke had brushed his hair into at least thirty different styles…before finally settling on the exact same style he wore every day.
The real kicker on that situation was when Luke walked out, stopped, and asked, in a surprisingly accusatory tone, "Professor, why didn't you tell me that this looked best at the beginning?"
…that question was immediately followed by another, more alarmed query: "Professor, why are you banging your head against the wall?"
There was also that lovely little thing that happened with girls when they reached a certain age. Layton, ever the gentleman, was embarrassed, but as helpful as possible. Luke, on the other hand, was properly scandalized by the idea, and vowed to pretend that it did not exist.
And then there was the inevitable interest in the opposite sex. Layton had always impressed on his young apprentice the importance of being a gentleman. Unfortunately, the manners and expected behavior of a gentleman were often at odds, if not in direct contradiction, with the impulses and ideas driven by those lovely things called hormones. This often resulted in stammering, blushing, statements that did not quite come out the way they were intended, and other such awkward behaviors.
A prime example was pretty much any morning when Flora said so much as a good morning to Luke. On one occasion, she asked if he wanted breakfast. He squeaked out something about butterflies, turned to flee…and crashed face-first into the wall.
One treated bloody nose later, Luke retreated to his room and closed the door. The aforementioned aura of moody that resulted was big enough to swallow the entire building. It was powerful, and very contagious, and no one was safe. When someone came an hour later to inquire about engaging Layton's services, the good professor was hard-pressed to make himself care. The world was a cruel place. Why should a puzzle matter? It was all so futile…
Fortunately, he shook himself out of that fairly quickly.
Layton did keep an eye on them in regards to potential attraction between the two. Overall, though, there were no problems. They didn't really seem to have much interest beyond simply acknowledging that there was an attractive member of the opposite sex within the immediate vicinity. All was well on that particular front…
Until one afternoon when Layton accidentally walked in on the two of them kissing. When they realized that they had uninvited company, they tried to jump apart as fast as possible. Luke's nose crashed into Flora's forehead with a crack that made Layton wince; his nose immediately started bleeding. Flora flushed red with humiliation and burst into tears, and they both fled the scene at a speed that would have made most trains jealous.
It was a full week before Luke would even look at his mentor, and far longer before he would make eye contact. Flora just kept her eyes on the ground for a few days, not looking at anyone.
Layton usually just sighed at all of it. Contrary to what they probably believed, he had been that age once upon a time himself. He had just…forgotten a few of the more interesting things about it.
Still, in spite of all of the above and all of the things that were not mentioned, they were a surprisingly happy little family, for all their quirks. The professor praised and congratulated Luke when he came home, all smiles, over his perfect marks in school. Flora's art project was featured in a big gallery exhibit, and Layton was there, as happy and proud as any father. Layton scolded Luke for getting into a scuffle with another boy, and gave Flora a willing shoulder to cry on when a problem with a friend became a little too much to handle.
They were not his children, and held no relation. But he was responsible for them, and it was a responsibility that he took very seriously…but taking something seriously didn't mean that there couldn't be some fun in doing it.
At the end of one particularly exhaustive day, a day which had involved several visitors to his office and one very hurried trip to piece together the evidence of a crime at the behest of the accused (who was exonerated by the professor's deductions), Layton retired to the study after dinner and dropped onto the couch. He was wiped out. Let the youngsters handle the dishes and clean up. He just wanted to sit there and not move for a while.
A short time later, he heard footsteps, but he did not bother to open his eyes to see who it was. There were only two possible culprits, and as these footsteps were lighter and slower, he deduced them to be Flora's. They approached the couch and stopped, and then the cushions shifted as a weight settled onto them, and then a head was resting against his arm. "You look as tired as I feel, Professor." The soft female voice did, indeed, belong to Flora.
"It's been a long day for everyone."
There was a moment of silence before more footsteps approached—these a bit louder and faster and heavier, signaling Luke's arrival. There was another shift in the couch cushions, this one less pronounced. A glance proved that Luke had taken the other end, on the other side of Flora, and was slumped over the arm.
"I vote that we don't move," Luke said, closing his eyes.
There was a murmur of consent to that idea, and they all fell silent, drifting into a drowsy state…
"Luke?" Flora spoke up quietly. "Did you finish the dishes?"
There was a pause before Luke replied.
"…I'll do it in a minute."
PS. Inspired by a fanart by linjeec on the Professor Layton LJ community. Very random. Plot optional. But I had fun writing it, and that's what counts, amirite? :D Thanks for reading, all! Much love!