I have very little knowledge on the events of the third Professor Layton game and thus base this little drabble on what information I can glean from fansites and artwork. Because of this, I am considering this to be completely AU and non-canon to the true series and sharing only a few similarities. Gaps will be filled in with creative license and hopefully doesn't destroy the nature of the storyline. Also, the Young!Layton concept is originally ArenWolfDemon's idea and credit goes to her for that and for allowing me to use the concept for this drabble. Many thanks, AWD.

Paradox Lost

His head hurt.

It pounded and his limbs felt disconnected and nausea was making him wish he'd never had those crumpets before leaving. But that was all in the past -future- and now he was struggling to sit up and breathe and -plan to bean the good doctor over the head for this- recover. Yes, that's it.

He felt for the golden pocket-watch that hung at his waist and sighed in relief to feel its cool surface under his fingertips. When the world finally decided to hold still and behave itself, he lifted it up to pop the catch and take a look at the time. Little digits engraved where they shouldn't be gleamed at him and he stared at the date before uttering a sharp curse.

"Bloody hell!"

In five minutes he was up and about, stomping down the sidewalk after emerging from the alley. His face was red with frustration and anger and now and again he would run his fingers through short, dirty-blonde hair in aggravation. He nearly lost his blue newsboy's cap that way but it was of little matter at the moment. The pocket-watch had revealed more than the date and time; it also revealed several broken bits of clockwork that were the result of his miscalculated landing.

"Overshot it; I overshot the time by three bloody decades!" the young man growled to himself, uncaring of the strange looks he was getting from the people on the street, "And on top of that, the blundering fool arranged for me to crash here and break the one thing that could possibly send me home to my proper time!" He finally stopped at a street corner and began digging through the brown satchel that hung down from his left shoulder, searching for his notebook. "How much worse can this day get? I don't have the time to be lollygagging about here when the Professor is in dire straits!" the young man grumbled, then sighed as he shifted his weight to lean against the signpost, "Or will be if I don't get to the proper time period. Luke, how do you get yourself into these messes?"

Done with berating himself, the teen calling himself Luke resumed searching his pack for the elusive little book. A ruckus started up just down the street and he paid it little mind... until a small band of boys raced by him in loud whoops and laughter. One of them bumped into him roughly before dashing off. Luke barely managed to keep himself on his feet and shook a fist at them in annoyance.

"Watch where you're going, you little hooligans!" he shouted and one looked over his shoulder at him with a mischievous grin.

"Sorry, sir! Won't happen again!" he shouted back and continued trailing after the other boys. Luke sighed harshly, looking after them with a nonplussed expression before pulling the book from his bag.

"Rascals." he muttered and opened the book, reaching back to fish out his pocket-watch, "Now, according to these notes, I..." He paused in alarm as he felt around at his waist and didn't touch on cool metal. With a startled cry, he lifted the sides of his blue jacket, staring at the bare pockets of his vest. "The watch! It's gone!" And then he remembered the boy that had bumped him and he was off like a shot, racing down the sidewalk to catch up to the gang as his mind rushed back to get a description of the brat. Bloody hell; if he didn't get that pocket-watch back, he'd never be able to repair it and get back to his time!

By the time Luke caught up to where the boys could be, the majority of them had already scattered and vanished. None of the ones that remained were the culprit, but they did have information that could lead him to the little thief. Luke huffed as he straightened up his clothes, dusty memories of long-ago lessons restraining his actions to those of a gentleman, albeit one on a mission. Once he was in proper order, he strode up to the remaining three boys, coughing politely into one fist to gain their attentions. He gave them a cold smile when they looked up at him.

"Good day, children. Might I ask if any of you have seen a small boy about your age and size, wearing a dusty red shirt and sporting messy hair the color of wheat?" he asked them, "I'd like to speak with him about a certain matter." The boys glanced at each other, then puffed themselves up to look intimidating.

"We ain't tellin' you nothin', mistah!" one of them retorted in defiance, the others chiming in with a chorus of "Yeeaaah!" that grated on Luke's ears. The young man sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose at the sight.

"True gentlemen do not strike down those more innocent than themselves, as they are to be protected." he murmured to himself as a reminder, then gave the group another cold look, "All right then. I'll offer you a deal. Tell me where I can find that boy, and I won't call for a truancy officer to come for you right this minute." The boys looked at one another again, seeming to debate the offering. Finally, they came to an agreement and looked up at him.

"He's at the museum. Always goes there to wait for his Pops, so's he can try and spend some time with 'im." the first boy told him and gave him a daring glare, "Don't mess 'im up none, got it? Hesch's got problems enough and we dun wanna see 'im in school bawlin' like a baby again!" Luke blinked and gave them a perplexed look as he reached into his pocket for the collapsible motor-scooter the good doctor back home had loaned him.

"Okay..." he answered slowly, "Thank you very much. Carry on." With that he left the group and began to make his way back to the street. Once there, Luke set the scooter out to act as his transport and pulled free his notebook and a pencil, making notes as he was apt to do. It helped him keep information handy, as he didn't have motivation enough to bother remembering things anymore. Not since the Professor...

He shook his head of the thoughts, biting his lip as he returned to scribbling down what he'd learned so far. A description of the boy that stole his watch, the fact that he ran in a group with other trouble-makers and often went to a museum, his father worked at said museum and didn't spend much time with him, he had problems of some kind that often hurt him badly and he was known as Hesch. Puzzling, but then the Professor had always told him that every puzzle had an answer. This one would be no exception.

Now, to find out which museum was the one Hesch ran to, considering he was just a child and this was downtown London. Luke groaned softly to himself as he got onto the scooter and drove off; if only things had gone right for him for once, none of this would be happening now!