AN: This is mostly random silliness. I don't own Layton. Thanks for reading, all! Much love!

Cover to Cover

Luke had been watching this all unfold for quite some time now, and he had decided that he really couldn't ignore it any longer. The problem was getting too big to handle, and too large to ignore. And if he did not intervene, there was almost no one else who could.

Still, he asked Flora what she thought, just to ensure once and for all that he was not totally going crazy. And it was a relief to find that she had noticed it as well, and was reacting to it just as he had: she was worried sick about the man who had become her guardian and surrogate father. And she agreed with him completely that something had to be done, and it had to be done soon.

They discussed it at length, and finally decided to just go for the direct approach. No sense in beating around the bush when it was getting this serious. And besides, even if they did try to be indirect and hint at things, Professor Layton was far too perceptive to be fooled. He would know immediately if there was an ulterior motive behind whatever ruse they might conjure up to try and broach the subject with him.

They did, however, agree to go together. There was definitely safety in numbers, and they were less likely to be brushed aside if they were both there and standing together.

Thus decided, they went into the library, where the Professor had been spending a large amount of time as of late. To be honest, the amount of time he had been spending in there bordered on the obscene. Yet another reason that his apprentice and his ward were concerned. They were still trying to pinpoint exactly when this little problem had started. But however long it was, they were certain that by now the good Professor Layton was in dire need of sunlight.

Moving as one person, they went in. Professor Layton was sitting, hunched over the reading table in the room. The room that housed the family's expansive book collection was dimly lit. The maroon drapes, already so dark in color, were drawn to block out any and all natural light. The only illumination came from a fire burning in the fireplace and some candles scattered around the room.

It made Luke think of one of those storytellers in old tales, how he had always envisioned them. Except within the confines of his mind's eye, they were usually old men with white beards wearing black cloaks with hoods. They were not young puzzle masters with an affinity for unusually tall habidashery.

"Professor?" Luke ventured, and nearly jumped when he saw the Professor jump a foot out of his chair. Steeling himself once again, Luke walked right up to the Professor's chair. "Professor, we need to talk. Flora and I are very, very worried."

"N-no need to worry, my boy," Layton said, looking quite pale in the poor light. "Not much longer. Not much longer at all. Really. I-I'm almost done here. So if you will please—"

"Professor, how long has it been since you've gone outside?" Flora asked, tapping her foot. When he did not answer, she reached out and took the book from his hand. She picked up a scrap of paper, marked the page (true to his word, he was near the end), and carefully closed the thick green volume before setting it on the table. That accomplished, she took his hand. "Come on, Professor. Let's go for a walk. The sunlight will do you some good."

Luke quickly caught Layton's other hand before his mentor could reach for the book again, and together they both began to tug the man towards the door. "Just for a while, Professor," Luke said when Layton started to dig in his heels. "You can come back to your book later."

Finally, as they passed through the door and back into the light of of day and of civilization, Layton seemed to give up and stop resisting. Physically, at least. Still, he was heard by the two children to whimper, almost to himself, "But…but Snape just killed Dumbledore…"