AN: The prompt was for a story from Layton's past. So I played! I don't own the games. Thanks!

Chance Encounter

Luke had that look in his eye, and Layton knew it. He had seen it many times before, and knew what it was eventually going to mean. So he chuckled and gave his apprentice a knowing smile. "You have a question, my boy. Care to ask it?"

To his credit, Luke looked a bit sheepish at being so easy to read. But he straightened up very quickly and said, "Professor? You've traveled all over the world, right?"

"Well, yes—"

"And you've been all sorts of places, right?"

"Yes, I—"

"And met lots of different people?"

"Lu—"

"Would you tell me about them?"

"Settle down, my boy!" Layton waved his hands in a gesture of surrender. He couldn't keep the smile from his face at Luke's enthusiasm. "All right. Sit down. Now let's see, a story…" He tapped his chin thoughtfully as he tried to recall an appropriate tale. After a moment, he curled that hand into a fist and hit it lightly against the palm of his other hand. "Ah, I have it."

Luke's eyes were practically sparkling as he waited for his teacher's tale.

"I had been invited to attend a rather important dinner reception honoring a legendary man who was, like myself, an archaeologist with an affinity for puzzles. And while I was there, I met a most interesting gentleman…"

-o-

"Pardon the intrusion, my good man, but I must complement you on your most adventurous taste in haberdashery," Layton said, observing the striking man in tweed who seemed to be passing the time in waiting by simply observing the people around him and smoking his pipe.

Said man glanced up from his pipe and nodded. "Thank you. Please consider the compliment returned."

"You are a puzzle master as well?" Layton asked.

"In a manner of speaking. I am a detective, and the best of them all," the man said. He certainly was a sight to behold, with his rather birdlike features, and that interesting tweed coat, and the pipe, and the deerstalker hat…to say nothing of his admittedly icy aura.

"Ah, I see. I've done a bit of that myself, but I am actually an archaeologist by trade."

"A noble field, to be sure. Have you an area of interest?"

"Not particularly. I tend to follow that which interests me," Layton confessed. "Which is frequently the study of puzzles and riddles. I enjoy being challenged. Although I have always been drawn towards the study of anthropology."

"Human behavior is certainly a fascinating endeavor," the strange man began, one long finger tapping against his chin. "I myself have been spending my time this evening observing the others. For example," he pointed towards a rather short, wide gentleman on the other side of the room, "that man is a journalist by trade, as is evidenced by the ink on his hand and the imprint of a pen on his fingers. I noticed it when he passed earlier. Judging by his clothing, I would say he has no wife, for  no self-respecting woman would allow him to step out in that particular ensemble."

Layton found nothing to counter those assertions. "That is quite amazing."

"Thank you," the man replied. He looked as though he would have said more, but a second man appeared beside him, wearing the look of one who has finally located that which he was searching for.

This second man was wearing a brown suit and a mildly harried expression, and he stopped beside the bird-like man and gestured towards the tables."Holmes, old boy, they would like us at our seats."

"Very well, Watson," the man (Holmes, it seemed) seemed a bit reluctant to acquiesce, but he did so anyway, pausing only to give a glance back. "A pleasure conversing with you, Mister…?"

"Layton. Hershel Layton. And I presume that you are…"

-o-

Luke stared.

Layton smiled.

Luke stared some more before he finally squawked out, "YOU MET SHERLOCK HOLMES?"

"Indeed. And no need to shout, my boy. I can hear you perfectly well," Layton said, wincing slightly at his young student's volume. Luke was a good boy, but as with most children, now and then the Professor wished that the boy came with a volume control knob.

"…you met Sherlock Holmes."

"Yes."

"…you met Sherlock Holmes."

"…yes, Luke, I did."

"…you met Sherlock Holmes."

Layton sighed and lifted a plate from the tea tray. "Here, Luke. Have a cookie and please be distracted."