AN: Written for a prompt. I don't own Professor Layton. Thanks for reading! Much love!

Unclear

Just a little further…

The effort that it took to push the door open bordered on exhaustive, and Layton nearly dropped to the floor there. Wouldn't that have been a sight: his prone form sprawled on the ground, halfway over the threshold of his own home? At the very least he had to make it inside…

There.

Finally, blessedly, the door clicked shut behind him. He had made it, and his relief at that deceptively simple fact was so palpatable that he barely even noticed the dark red stain his fingers had inadvertanty left on the doorknob.

Now the real test: to see if he could make it up the stairs to his room…no, that was impossible. As much as he would like it to be something he could do in this state, he was still rational enough to know that it was not realistic. So he would have to settle for the next best thing: his office was close. Sure he could make it there.

His knees were buckling as he stumbled through that door, and it hurt so badly that he almost cried out in pain when he swayed and ran into the doorframe. But he bit his lip desperately to hold the sound back. Luke was asleep upstairs, and there was no sense in waking the poor boy. He would just worry. And it wasn't like the injuries were serious or anything! He just needed to…

Needed…

Needed to rest a bit…

That was…all…

He was perhaps a foot away from his desk chair when his legs finally gave out. And this time, he couldn't quite hold back a slight cry of pain as the bleeding gash in his side slammed into the floor. And his mind was not cooperating anymore. He knew he had been holding his side, but really, how had his hands gotten stained so badly? What had he been thinking, coming here? Why hadn't he…

Gone…

…police…

The last thing Professor Layton remembered hearing was a high, familiar voice, coming from somewhere in the vicinity of the stairs that he had opted not to attempt climbing. "Professor?"

-o-

When Layton next opened his eyes, it took him a moment to realize that he was on his back on the floor of his office. Oh, it certainly wasn't the first time he had woken up in this room. He had dozed off here before time and again over his work, but he had always found himself either hunched over his desk or reclining on the sofa by the window. Never on the floor.

He blinked a couple of times to try and make his eyes adjust to the harsh light now pouring in through the window. It was morning. Hadn't it been dark when he had gotten home? Gotten home…something had happened the night before…

Layton tried to move, and regretted it immediately as pain lanced up through his side. His teeth clenched instinctively as a low hiss of air passed through them. And then in a flash, there was clarity and he remembered—

But wait. He had collapsed, of that he was sure. So why was he arranged so neatly on his back? Where had the blanket come from, and the pillow? And why did he seem to be bandaged up, albeit a bit sloppily? …and along those same lines, who had disrobed him from the waist up? Obviously to apply the bandages, but—

"Professor?"

…oh yes. He had heard Luke's voice just before he had lost consciousness, hadn't he?

But he heard Luke's voice whisper to someone else, and then footsteps moving around, both outside the room and crossing the room. Luke must have alerted Flora to the odd state of affairs…

Finally, his apprentice's worried face swam into view. "Are you awake?"

"Yes, my boy," Layton said, startled at how harsh his voice sounded. "I'm awake.

Now Luke's expression turned apologetic. "I'm sorry we had to leave you there. We couldn't move you. So we tried to make you as comfortable as we could. A-and you were bleeding…" A thin note of panic wormed its way into the boy's abnormally calm tone as his hands clenched into fists in his lap. He seemed to be fighting to keep himself locked under control, probably feeling like he needed to take charge of things. "So we tried to bandage you up as best we could…"

Flora appeared behind him, hands toying together in a classic nervous gesture. "Is he awake?" she asked softly. Upon seeing that he was, she moved in quickly. "Professor, what happened?"

There was a pause in the conversation as Layton struggled to sit up, ignoring the pain in his side as he moved. Now that his mind was clearing, he recognized the blanket as one of the spares from the cupboard. Flora's room was pink and purple, Luke's was blue, and his own was mostly in shades of brown. None of them had anything this shade of blue-green…

And why was he thinking about anything that silly right now? Maybe his head wasn't clearing as much as he had thought. He leaned against the side of his desk and finally was able to give his apprentice and ward the best answer he could muster up. "I was walking home…" he frowned, trying to remember precisely what had happened. "And I heard someone behind me. I think something hit me, and someone said something…" Another pause. "Money. Wanted money."

It took a bit of effort to get his hand to his pocket, and he wasn't surprised to find that the pocket where he usually kept his wallet was suspiciously flat. They had taken it after all, and his instinctive reaction to fight had nearly cost him his life. He closed his eyes and sighed, feeling exhausted and a whole myriad of other emotions he couldn't quite identify right now.

"Should I call the police?" Flora asked worriedly. Judging by the fact that her footsteps padded away a few seconds later, Layton assumed that Luke had nodded or given some other unspoken affirmative. For the moment, teacher and student were alone in the room.

"Professor, why didn't you go to the police station?" Luke asked quietly.

"I don't know," he said honestly. "It's all so unclear right now, my boy, but I do remember being in pain and just wanting to get home." He managed a weak smile. "So that's where I went. I don't know how I made it, but I did." He closed his eyes. "I'm sorry if I frightened you and Flora." He was sure that the injury wasn't life threatening, or rather it wouldn't be if he was treated by a doctor soon. But they were children, and seeing their guardian like that…

"We'll bring a doctor. You'll be just fine," Luke said. But there was the slightest tremor in his voice that betrayed a whole slew of things the boy wasn't quite letting reach the surface.

Layton opened his eyes and looked squarely at Luke. "Luke, my boy…" He was surprised to feel his smile grow a little bit stronger. "…I think you're growing up." He lifted a hand and managed to get it to his apprentice's head to give his hair a quick, affectionate ruffle before his strength gave out and his arm dropped back to his side.

Flora reappeared with the news that help was coming, stopping the conversation before Luke could reply. But he suddenly had something in his eye. Or rather, something made Luke turn his head and rub at his eyes with the sleeve of his robe.

Layton closed his eyes and sighed.

Just something in his eye.