AN: Over on LJ, ptps drew a fanart showing the scene that inspired this fic. I hope you enjoy the light silliness. I don't own the games. Thanks for reading, all!
It was a dark and stormy night.
…okay, just kidding. It wasn't really night. It was stormy, though—very stormy. And the clouds that were the cause of that storm did make it seem a fair amount darker than the average day. But it actually wasn't a dark and stormy night.
Sorry about any confusion.
Safe within the confines of his study, Professor Hershel Layton stood at the window and watched the rain run down the glass in torrents. What a miserable day. It had been quite some time since there had been weather like this around this area.
Beyond the glass, he could discern the blurred forms of people walking (or in most cases, dashing) past. He saw a myriad of umbrellas, as well as a few poor souls running with coats, bags, or even newspapers over their heads. There were even some who had no such protection, and were forced to run bareheaded in the rain.
He spared a moment to wonder about his young apprentice. Luke was supposed to come by that afternoon after his regular schoolday for lessons. The aforementioned schoolday had ended a short time ago, and he had heard nothing to suggest that Luke wasn't coming. He sincerely hoped that the boy had thought to bring an umbrella, else this was going to be messy.
With a brief chuckle and the mental image of Luke sopping wet from the storm (as well as a recollection of a few similar moments from his own boyhood), Layton turned away from the window and made his way to the kitchen. This sort of weather called for some sort of warm beverage. He would have tea, and Luke would probably prefer cocoa. Now where was that mix…
A scratching sound caught his ear.
He drew his head back from where it had been buried in a cupboard and listened. What was that? Ah, there! There it was again! A faint scratching sound coming from the back door!
Layton's first thought was that Luke had forgotten his key. It certainly wouldn't have been the first time. Intelligent and perceptive as the boy was, he was still a child, and children tended to forget things. But alas, there were too many holes in that theory for it to be a valid possibility. Luke came through the front door, which was usually left unlocked for him. And were it locked, he would usually knock loudly enough to wake the dead in order to gain entrance; he would not scratch.
The cupboard closed with a thunk, and Layton crossed the kitchen to the door and opened it. He peered out into the pouring rain in search of a culprit.
There was no one there.
Or at least, that's what he thought until he felt something wet brush against his leg.
He glanced down in time to see something small and dark dart past him. It startled him enough to make him let out an undignified squawk of surprise before he dove after it. His hands closed around wet hair—no. Not hair. Fur.
It was wet fur.
And he was holding a kitten.
A soaked, mewling, pitiful-looking kitten.
Layton stared at it. It stared back.
…what should I do with this? he wondered to himself. He certainly couldn't turn it out into the storm like this—that would be cruel! So perhaps he could let it dry off and warm up, maybe find it some milk, and then—
The front door opened and closed, and there was noise in the entryway; he thought he heard the faint scratching and rustling sounds that indicated an umbrella was being closed, followed by the tink of metal touching metal as it was shaken. "Professor? I'm here!" Luke called.
"In the kitchen, Luke!" Layton called back, still looking at the mewling kitten. It was a brown and white creature, its little paws scrambling against the air as it hung helplessly in the Professor's hands.
After a moment, muted footsteps padded down the hall, and Luke appeared in the doorway, relatively dry and wearing no shoes. "I'm sorry I'm late, Professor. The weather was horri—OH!"
Layton jumped at Luke's sudden outburst. "What?"
Luke was already well on his way across the room, an enormous grin on his face. And he was holding his hands out. "Is that for me?"
It took Layton a moment to realize that Luke was referring to the kitten. "Ah, Luke, I—"
But in that moment, Luke had taken the poor soaked creature, wrapped it up in a dishtowel filched from the sink, and was carrying it out towards the study. And he was talking to it. "What shall I name you?"
Layton stared at the boy's retreating back. What had just happened? They couldn't keep a cat around here. Could they? Shaking his head, he marched after his apprentice, who had curled up next to the fireplace with the cat in his arms.
At his entrance, Luke looked up and smiled. "Professor, is there any milk? I think he's hungry."
"Luke, I don't know if we can keep him here," Layton said as gently as possible.
"But…" Luke looked up at him, chin quivering ever so slightly. "…but he's so tiny…and he has nowhere else to go…" As if to prove his point, he held the bundle up for the Professor to see. "Look at him, Professor. Can't we keep him?"
Layton stared at the kitten once again.
And once again, the kitten stared back.
…the kitten was awfully tiny…
…like a baby, really…
…and it was looking right at him with those big eyes…
…big eyes filled with (dare he say it?) kitty love…
Layton was smart enough to know when he had been defeated. And now was definitely one of those times. He sighed. "What are you going to name him, Luke?"
The boy grinned victoriously and cuddled the kitten, who mewled softly in Luke's embrace. "Riddle!"