AN: Random fic about underused character is random, and also about an underused character. I hope you enjoy it! I don't own Professor Layton or any of the involved characters. Thanks for reading, all! Much love!

Hearing the Gears Turn

Another day, another broken robot.

Bruno sighed and reached for another tool, frowning when he was unable to immediately locate it amidst the detritus covering his table. Tools, spare parts, broken parts, a mess of papers ranging from small notes to remind himself to buy milk all the way to a blueprint for a robot that had never made it to the building stage…

Heh. Not that he needed any more of these things to keep in working order. It was almost a full-time job as it was now, without adding any more to the lineup. They kept him quite busy as they were.

And also, he realized belatedly, he really needed to clean up in here. It was a mess. Maybe he needed to just take a personal day where he left the inhabitants of St. Mystere to their own devices and took care of a few of his own needs. Surely they could all go one day without breaking down.

Though some days, it felt like that was wishful thinking.

He finally located the specific wrench (a bronze one, since he was messing about with electrics, and electrocution was not high on his list) that he needed and picked it up, sending several pages from an old newspaper fluttering to the similarly cluttered floor.

Perhaps he needed to build himself a maid…

Ah, but first things first. Crouton had blown a fuse. It was nothing that would be terribly difficult to fix. The real trick of all this was to actually get the robot out of the town without being seen in the first place. He had almost been caught a couple of times, but so far he had been able to manage without being seen, and life in the town went about as it normally did.

Sometimes he thought Augustus Reinhold was a certified lunatic. The man was willing to first spend the money to build this entire town from the ground up, and then he was also prepared to hire his best friend (who had been blessed with a remarkable skill in the field of engineering) to build and maintain a small army of robots to populate the aforementioend village.

All for the sake of keeping his daughter happy and making sure that she was not lonely. Well, Bruno certainly hoped that Flora was happy. She was a sweet little thing, and she definitely deserved it.

A few tweaks with the wrench, and the new part was tightly in place. Now he just had to reconnect the wires, and Crouton would be back behind the counter in his restaurant, drying his glasses and fretting over his pitchers. As good as new.

…in hindsight, Bruno was not entirely sure what had prompted him to give Crouton such an odd little quirk as his inability to figure out his pitchers. Oh, the whole puzzle thing had been Reinhold's idea; he had thought it would keep Flora entertained and help her learn to think for herself.

Along the same line of questining, why had he given any of them the personalities he had? With a few of them, he really had to wonder what he had been thinking (or in a couple of specific cases, what he had been imbibing at the time of planning). But every time he let himself think about that, he found himself realizing a very simple truth: regardless of everything else, he was quite fond of his creations, the beings he had built with his own hands.

As he closed the panel in Crouton's back and fastened it into place, he already heard the gears start turning inside the robot. It was a pleasing sound. It meant that he had been successful, and his work here was done. At least for now, anyway. It always seemed like when one was repaired, another one popped a spring and needed his attention.

And when he thought about it (really, truly thought about it), he couldn't help but chuckle to himself. He might not be a parent in the same sense that Augustus Reinhold was…

But he certainly understood the good Baron's concern for Flora.

He understood it all too well.