AN: Written for my little drabble request thing, with a prompt of "Luke going home after his adventures in St. Mystere." I hope you enjoy it. I don't own any of these characters. Just playing with 'em. Thanks for reading, all! Much love!

Coming Home

It took Luke a moment of fumbling to find the right key (not that he had many keys on his little blue key ring, but his hands were a bit on the full side), but finally he selected the correct one and slid it into the lock. A twist of the wrist, and he heard a click, and pushed the door open. "I'm home…"

"Luke!" his mother immediately appeared in the kitchen doorway at the end of the hall, wiping her hands on her ever-present apron as she rushed towards him to wrap him up in a tight hug. "Oh, we missed you so much!" She drew back to look at him, her hands still firmly holding his shoulders. "How was your trip? What was happening in that town? Did the Professor take good care of you? How is he doing? Oh, he should have come inside to say hello, at least!"

"I think he's a bit worn out after everything—"

"And oh, your schoolwork is all upstairs, you'll want to get on that as soon as possible, no sense in you falling behind!" she went on in a rush. "You might be Professor Layton's apprentice, but you need to keep on top of your regular studies. You have nothing if you don't have that education!"

"Y-yes, Mum," he said, sighing inwardly. This was more or less what he had expected. "Where's Dad?"

"Oh, your father stepped out to run an errand," she said, leading him towards the kitchen. "I forgot to buy something we need for dinner. He'll be home soon. I know he'll be thrilled to see you back safely." And she had the bit in her teeth again, and she was off and running. "Are you hungry? Do you want something to eat, maybe? I could fix you something while we wait…"

"Mum!" he raised his voice a little to get her attention, then smiled brightly. "I'm fine, Mum. Honest. I'm just tired, that's all." He yawned, and was half pleased to find that he didn't even have to fake it. "I think I'm going upstairs to my room. Call me for dinner, all right?"

She waved him towards the stairs with one final kiss to the cheek and a warning to get started on his schoolwork as soon as possible. Luke managed to not roll his eyes as he walked up the stairs. Mum certainly hadn't changed in the few days he had been gone. Not that he had really expected her to, but it was the principle of the thing, really.

Comfort in the familiar.

Though it made him pause a bit when he realized that his new friend, Flora, really had no mother to come home to. It had to be hard knowing that your real mother was gone and you had been left with a robot made in her likeness to keep you company. And then to have your father die…

Suddenly, he almost wished he had stayed downstairs with his mother, if just for a few moments longer.

But he had not been lying when he said he was tired. The events of their days in St. Mystere, and that last night in the tower in particular, had run him nearly ragged. A couple of hours of bumpy sleep in the car (the famed Laytonmobile) had not done much to alleviate his exhaustion.

Dropping his bag and hat down by the door, he crossed the room and flopped onto his bed, his feet hanging off the edge. As an afterthought, he dug the toes of one foot into the back of the other and kicked off his shoes, one and then the other. Thus unattired, he let his face sink into the blue and yellow comforter, breathing in the familiar scent of home.

After a few moments like this, he glanced over at his desk. Sure enough, he saw several thick folders stacked there, in various colors, and assumed them to be the schoolwork he had missed during his little trip with the Professor.

He wondered briefly what his respected mentor was up to. If Layton's comments were any indication, he had probably gone back to the brownstone that doubled as both home and office, made up some sort of a makeshift room for Flora until proper accomodations could be made for a young lady, and then gone to bed himself in search of a full night's rest.

Luke sighed. He should probably get going on that work. The sooner he started, the sooner it would be done and he would be able to get on to other, more important things. With no small feeling of dread, he slid off the bed and lurched across the room to plop down in his desk chair. He would work until dinner, then go downstairs and spend some time with his mother and father, and then go to sleep.

At least, that was his plan.

It fell flat pretty quickly when he started flipping through the folders. There was science, and math, and literature, and composition, and history…all the normal subjects for a schoolboy. But there was something seriously lacking in this stack of papers and worksheets.

And that something was excitement.

Luke put his arms on the desk and put his forehead on his hands. After all the excitement and fun and mystery that had made up his stay in St. Mystere, everything else seemed so dull and uninteresting.

Boring.

Especially considering that he was carrying a secret known only to a handful of others in the world.

After a moment of thought, Luke fished into one of his desk drawers and retrieved a piece of paper and a pen. He had acquired a penpal in another country some time ago through a school project, and still wrote to that person with some frequency. This seemed like a good time to write a letter to that friend.

Because the truth was that he desperately needed to talk to someone about everything that had happened. The Professor was not available, and he certainly couldn't tell his parents any of this! So why not go ahead and put the events down on paper and mail it off to someone who knew nothing of these events of the people involved?

Surely it wouldn't hurt if he told the secret to one person in a faraway place, would it?

Luke thought a moment, then began to write.

To my dear friend,

The things we saw that day in the village became a
secret we would have to keep for the rest of our
lives. Because you see…