AN: I do not own Professor Layton or anything related to it. I'm just playing with 'em. This was written on request, with a prompt of one-sided Flora/Layton. Which MUTATED AGAINST MY WILL into over fourteen hundred words of character analysis. Go me. Thanks for reading! Much love!

Unlike Any Other

Flora had spent much of her life in the sheltered confines of her family. After all, she was the daughter of a wealthy baron, and as such her life was one of privelege and luxury. She wanted for nothing. It was not an unhappy life, though it could sometimes be a lonely one.

When they came to St. Mystere, she found herself immersed in the strange town, surrounded by people who seemed to know her and who always seemed happy to see her and could spare a happy word as they scurried about their lives and their puzzles. It was a pleasant feeling to know that there were people like this in the world.

And Flora was content.

But in spite of all the people in the town, her mother remained her closest companion, friend, and confidante. Her mother showed her the world and all the beautiful and wonderous things in it. She was the one who knew the names of all the flowers in the meadow, and who could teach the secret songs of the wind. She knew the language of the bees, and the dance of the butterflies, and could recite the stories related by the old oak tree in the corner of the garden, who had stood as a witness to so much of time and knew the tales of old.

And Flora was happy.

…and then her mother died.

Not long after, another woman was brought to the house.

This woman looked like her mother. She acted like her mother. She answered to her mother's name.

…but she was not the same. She did not know how to predict the next day's weather by the way the acorns dropped, and she did not see the face of a man in the full moon.

And Flora was frightened.

Suddenly, the woman changed. She answered to a different name now, Dahlia. Her personality changed to something far colder, more aloof than her mother had ever been.

And Flora was confused.

After her father died, Flora took his last wishes to heart. He had asked her to go the home that had been prepared for her atop the strange tower in the middle of the town. And she was to wait there until someone came for her, to retrieve the Golden Apple that was his greatest treasure. Like the dutiful daughter she was, she went to wait.

Oh, she crept down to the village now and again to see if anything of interest was happening, and to see the friends she had made in the village. But she spent a great amount of time in the tower, waiting and wondering what kind of person it would be who finally came to take her away from this place and claim her father's vast fortune.

…or would the person who found her even want her? There were those who would want merely the money, and would want nothing to do with her. But she had to trust her father, that whoever it was that would come for her would be a good person who would see to it that she was cared for. There was little else she could do about the matter.

And Flora was patient.

Such was the case when two strangers came to the village: a man in a top-hat, and a boy in a blue cap.

She watched them carefully, seeing that they wished to solve the mystery of her father's will and locate the Golden Apple. Wearing a scarf and glasses to hide her identity, she followed them around the town, observing as the man (one, Professor Layton by name) and the boy (Luke, the professor's assistant) made their way through the town of puzzles and secrets.

And Flora was curious.

Eventually, they made their way to the tower and found her there, waiting for them. She had known they would make it there, sooner or later. The question was what would happen next.

The singular answer to that all-important question came in the form of a lunatic in a flying machine, bent on Layton's destruction and the destruction of anyone in his company at the time.

They fled down the tower, but only the boy, Luke, was able to make it far enough before the stairs were knocked out. This was unlike anything she had ever encountered before in her life. Danger was a foreign concept, and the feeling of fear that she might genuinely be hurt was alien to her. But the professor in the top-hat took her hand and smiled, urging her to follow him and to hurry, and calling her dear.

And Flora was trusting.

She watched as he hurried around the place she had called home since her father's death, gathering seemingly random items and piecing them together into the oddest flying contraption she had ever seen. And he offered her his hand and led her to a seat on it…and off the tower they went.

The chase through the sky was easily the most exhilerating thing she had ever experienced, like something from the stories and tales she had so fancied as a young child. But the ground came up to meet them far too quickly, and again she had to trust the professor with her safety.

And that trust was well-placed.

As the professor began to explain the truth of the situation to the people of St. Mystere, she found herself watching him closely. A kind man, to be sure, and certainly handsome. And he had saved her life multiple times in the space of mere minutes. He reminded her in some ways of her father, yet at the same time she couldn't help but compare him to the townsfolk of St. Mystere, and no matter which way she looked at it, he was unlike any other man she had ever encountered.

And Flora was blushing.

When she realized that her face was red and that she was staring, she quickly turned away. She heard the professor make a sound of curiosity, signalling that he had noticed her abrupt movement, but he said nothing and asked no questions. But the fact that she could feel  his quizzical gaze on the back of her head for a moment made her blush deepen.

After the matter had been sorted out, Professor Layton made her an offer. By her father's will, he was now her guardian. What did she want to do? Did she wish to stay in St. Mystere, admist all that she had ever known? Or would she rather go with them, away from this town and out into the world?

And Flora was touched.

She was touched that he would give her the option, to be made of her own free will. But as she looked around, she remembered something that her mother had shown her. They had found a caterpillar on a leaf in the garden, and watched it as it built a cocoon. A butterfly would be born by summer's end, her mother said. And it would be nurtured by the sun and the air, and soon it would fly strong and free.

You are a butterfly, Flora, her mother had said as she gave her an affectionate pat on the head. But it is not yet summer for you. You have much time, but you will grown and blossom like the flowers you are named for. And you will grow to shine above them all. I know it.

…Flora had flown, but never free. Perhaps she just needed to find the sun and the air that were to nuture her, as her mother had said. To become the flower that was her namesake.

Could it be this man, this Professor Layton, who could help her find her own wings? Her heart already seemed to have wings, if the way it fluttered when he was in the vicinity was any indication at all. And she wondered if he knew; he certainly couldn't have missed the way she blushed when he smiled.

Still, the decision was hers to make, and in the end, there was only one she truly could make.

Goodbye, little village…

It was harder than she had thought it would be to say goodbye to St. Mystere and the people there, the ones she had known for so much of her life. But if she was ever going to become the person she had been told she could be, then she had to step beyond these walls and into that world.

And she wished to know more of that world and of the two who had found her, of Luke and of Professor Layton. She was certain that they would be wonderful teachers.

As the car bumped along down the road, she felt the first flutter of her own wings.

And Flora was happy.