1. Missing

Layton had very much enjoyed spending his adventure in St. Mystere with Luke. The boy was quite charming, even if he often forgot his manners. That was to be expected from children, however. They were very forgetful beings.

Layton was sure that Luke also had a great experience during the investigation. The boy's eyes would light up every time he saw a new puzzle that needed solving, and when he came about the correct answer, the professor could tell that Luke felt immensely satisfied.

The professor smiled to himself. If Luke grew up to love puzzles as much as he did, he would be very proud of his apprentice.

"What is it, professor?" Luke asked. He was a very curious child.

"Oh nothing, my boy," Layton replied. "Did you enjoy your weekend?"

"Oh, yes! It was the best weekend ever! Who would've thought that everyone was a robot?!" Luke was practically screaming now. It didn't take much to excite him. He tugged on his seat belt.

"Sssh, Luke, Flora is sleeping." Layton's eyes flickered to the back seat, where Flora's face was pressed against the window. "It wouldn't be very nice of us to disturb her. She's been through an awful lot of chaos in the past few days."

Luke looked over his shoulder. "Right. Sorry." He turned red and slumped in his seat.

Layton chuckled and shook his head. Half an hour later, Luke had fallen asleep.

"Luke, wake up. We're here." Layton tapped Luke's shoulder. He opened his eyes.

"You're going to be staying at my house for several days, remember? Come on, it's already midnight."

The professor somehow managed to get both sleepy children inside. Luke, being someone who distracts very easily, immediately forgot what time it was.

"Professor, can I solve that puzzle?" Luke pointed to a puzzle lying on the coffee table.

"Perhaps tomorrow. You need sleep," whispered Layton, for Flora had collapsed on the floor and started to snore loudly. He picked her up gently and walked up the stairs, motioning for Luke to follow.

Once Flora had been placed in the guest room bed (she had still not woken up), the professor pointed to a door. "I only have one extra room. You can stay in mine, and I'll take the couch downstairs."

The next morning proved to be quite different from the professor's usual routine. Layton woke up with a very sore shoulder. When he opened his eyes, he was staring at the carpet. He had fallen off the couch. Lovely.

Gathering all the strength he had (for he still seemed exhausted), Layton stood up. The puzzle on the coffee table had disappeared. Surely Luke hadn't gotten up in the middle of the night...

Layton slowly went up the stairs. His (or rather, Luke's) bedroom door was open. How peculiar. Layton was sure he'd shut it. It proved that Luke was the one who'd taken the puzzle. The professor went inside.

Luke wasn't there. Layton thought that he might have gone downstairs, but in his half-asleep trek to the staircase, the professor had not noticed him. He looked over at Flora's door. She was still sleeping, obviously, as her snores could faintly be heard.

The very tired Hershel Layton made his way to the living room again. Slightly more alert, he noticed the previously missing puzzle sitting on the kitchen table across in the next room. He dragged himself over to it. It was solved, however that wasn't the thing that surprised the professor. Written beside the answer (which, by the way, was "36") was a note.

Dear Professor,

For reasons to complicated to explain,

I had to leave early.

Don't come looking for me.

-Luke

Layton read the note over several times, frantically hoping that Luke would jump out from behind a chair and yell "Surprise!". He didn't.

Luke was gone. The professor suddenly felt quite ill, so he grabbed a nearby vase and emptied the contents of his stomach into it.

Hershel Layton had always been a very responsible man, but now Luke was gone and he would have to face Luke's aunt.

Speaking of Luke's aunt, Velma, she was a very unpleasant woman. Rude, too, and when Layton had come to pick up Luke to take him on the Golden Apple hunt, she hadn't acknowledged Layton or said goodbye to Luke. Layton vaguely wondered why he wasn't living with Luke's parents, for he knew for a fact that they were still living. The professor could've just asked Luke, but being as polite as Layton was, he felt that would've been too personal.

Layton's thought was interrupted by as Flora came down the stairs.

"Why, good morning, profes-" she stopped. "Are you feeling alright?"

Layton had forgotten that he had been holding the newly ruined vase. He didn't move.

"Professor, what's wrong?"

It took the man a few seconds to remember how to speak. When speech finally came to him, he whispered hoarsely:

"Luke....he's gone."

Flora's eyes widened in terror.

A/N:

I know nothing really happened (well, except for Luke disappearing), but I had to end the chapter somewhere. It's my first fanfic, so please don't be too harsh when you review...The second chapter will be posted sometime...eventually.

And as much as I really want to, I don't own Professor Layton.