No, I don't own Professor Layton (I'd die from awesomemness)

Chapter 1

As she began to waltz with him, the sound of tinkling bells seemed to form from her heart. But they gradually added volume along with a voice that called her…

"Emilie! Emilie! Emilie Drew! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! Samantha Walsh practically jumped on top of her and screamed into Emilie's ear, "Wake up! Today's the day! Today's the day!" She was rewarded when Emilie groggily mumbled a few words and twisted back over and tried to go back to the blissful dream…but her American friend wouldn't let her rest.

"Claire! Claire! Help me wake her up! I've got to tell her the news!"

"All right, come on, Emilie! Wake up and smell the tea! Rise and shine!"

Laughing, she cried, "All right, I give up. I'm awake so you can stop shaking my brains out! I'm up! I'm up!" Mocking a groan, she tackled Samantha and inquired what the news was.

"I'm graduating tomorrow! I'm free from the university's oppression!" Sam's bright green eyes and vibrant red hair made her lanky form seem to tingle with emotion. Claire's black eyes were shining too, but for a different reason.

"Thank you, Sam. Now, I need to find Hershel. I have a surprise for him." Emilie's excruciating expression was only showing a fraction of a deeper tumult inside. She didn't sleep often, and a dream was something precious to her. Claire and Sam turned and started walking towards her. Quickly, she pasted on a fake smile, hoping that they wouldn't see the conflicting emotions inside, and question her. She needn't have bothered though, for they were frivolous with excitement.

Turning to Emilie, she said, "Now Em, I got to plan out every solitary detail or I'll be swamped today. Now how's this for a game plan: How about if I…"

While Sam chattered on and on, Emilie picked up a brush and started to brush her dark brown hair. Her warm hazel eyes were sparkling though, because even though Sam was babbling, Emilie's mind was miles away; she was remembering sixth grade, and the day that she met Hershel Layton.

The bell had rung twice. She was running late, and she needed to get to class. Running and panting, Emilie made a sharp right around the corner only to barely miss the tall boy in a red sweater, faded red cap, and khakis with white tennis shoes, calmly walking past. Unfortunately, she didn't miss the stack of books he held in his hands.

As much as she needed to get to attendance roll in the cafeteria, her mother tried to encourage a proper lady inside of her daughter. Being an obedient daughter she promptly stopped and tried to help the boy, "Oh, I'm so sorry. Let me help you with that."

"Thank you." And when their hands touched, she felt something. Now she had bumped into other boys and not really cared, and brushed her hand against theirs by accident or given them a high five at gym, but this time it was different somehow. It was like she felt a flicker of something, something warm and affectionate, but she didn't know what that was. She helped him stack the books all up against his chest. With an apology and one last glance, she ran around the corner and into the cafeteria. She didn't run into him again until lunch. Looking for a seat, she almost bumped into him again, but this time he saw it coming and steadied her against his arm.

"I assume you don't have a specific place to dine. Would you like to join me?" He smiled a special lopsided grin -that never had made an encore appearance- that made her stomach flip-flop. He was a perfect gentleman even at sixth grade, she thought.

And thus the beginning of a beautiful friendship started. They ate and conversed every day, forming a bonding twixt them. She was new and he showed her around school and town, just like how a gentleman would. He would take her to ice cream at least once every month after school, where they enjoyed a good-natured debate. They would play chess with each other every day after school waiting for their mothers to pick them up; he would always beat her, but each time he would smile and show her some tricky maneuvers so that in a month she was the best player in the school chess club. He didn't join the club, because he was preoccupied with homework and other classes. He was her best friend, in her eyes, and she was his best friend and fierce adversary in chess or volleyball in his eyes. Emilie would come to him with any problem and he would have an answer. It didn't matter if the problem was about gym, friends, chess, boyfriends (in her case), family members, birthday gifts, or if the question was about science, math, history, or even about high school, he could answer them all. But he was abnormally humble. He didn't rub the answer in her face, or make her feel incredibly stupid. He kindly answered them or he'd help her figure them out for herself. He taught her the use of basic logic and from that; they together could solve any problem that should come their way.

"Emilie? Why are you smiling that unusual smile?" Sam gasped. "Did you meet a guy?" Sam's green eyes were shining in anticipation.

"Oh Sam, if I was engrossed in someone I'd let you know."

Satisfied with that response, Sam quickly nodded and eventually finished her lists.

Emilie then said, "Well, tonight's the night before you graduate. Let's practice your final march to independence!"

Claire grasped her jacket, and rushed out the door to go meet Hershel before nightfall.

As the moonlight slowly rose in the sky, its silvery beams penetrated the window, making a part of the floor light up. The old grandfather clock in the hall started to chime "Westminster Abby" stating its concurrence with the moon, and signaling the beginning of the third wee hour of the next day. Samantha Walsh groggily looked at the alarm clock on her dresser. Realizing the hour, she hurriedly put on a robe over her pink silk pajamas, put on her matching slippers and raced to Emilie's twin bed and all but screamed, "Wish me my congratulations! Today's the day I'm a learned scholar! I'm free from the teacher's dictatorship!" Obviously proud of herself, she grinned and sat on Emilie's bed, waiting for Emilie's best wishes. Em wasn't a morning person so she promptly rolled over and attempted to go back to sleep.

"What are you going on about, Samantha? It's three in the morning!" Claire's form appeared from the darkness, as she hugged her purple robe about her.

"Is something wrong?"

Laughing, Sam shook her head. "No, it's just that today's the day I'm gonna leave you."

"You woke me up at three in the morning to tell me you're leaving me?" Samantha had her back to Emilie, so she couldn't see the irritated expression her friend wore. Emilie mumbled, "I think if she isn't all ready bonkers, I'll make her bonkers…" Claire was a more compassionate person than Sam was at times so she hurriedly got Emilie a cup of coffee.

"Here you go, Emilie. I'm sorry; I think that Hershel and I drank all the tea the last time he visited here."

"Oh, no don't trouble yourself. Coffee is perfectly all right in my book. Like I always say: E=mc squared was translated wrong. It means Energy=morning coffee twice."

Samantha shook her head with annoyance. "Oh fiddlesticks, I completely forgot. Today I have a very important assignment in my History of Civilizations class. It's a 'going home' present from our evil professor, Mrs. O' Brian. We need to pick a civilization and write a research paper on it! Will you two help me out? I picked the Maya civilization."

"Well, the library is open twenty-four hours a day. And I've already had my coffee/tea so I'm ready."Emilie gave her a mock salute.

"I'm ready when you are, Sam. I just need to grab my present for Hershel, so that if I don't make it back to the flat before normal waking hours, I'll be ready."

"All right, let's rock and roll!"

Emilie laughed. "You Americans have such…unusual phrases."

Finally after four grueling, tedious hours of research, Claire and Emilie relaxed and enjoyed laughing while watching Sam run the graduating seniors orientation for graduation class (GROFG). Claire's and Emilie's classes didn't start until quarter past eight. Claire told Emilie earlier that she had to run to lab that night before classes, so Emilie was the one elected to go get groceries. Emilie hopped into her little brown car and drove off.

Later that evening, Claire finished setting the table for the dinner she and Hershel were going to enjoy in a few minutes. He surprised her by unexpectedly coming in and giving her a hug.

"How was your day?"

"Oh… this day was quite formidable."

"Oh, I'm sad to hear that." She massaged his neck, hoping he would feel her sympathy through the massage. "Oh, I got you something for celebration of summer." He hesitated when he saw the box with a crimson bow.

"Go on. Open it!"

Laughing, he did. And out came a brown silk top hat.

"Here, hold still!" With some adjusting, Claire got the hat on him.

"Very dashing, Hershel; it suits you, it really does, so no taking it off." She glanced at her studded timepiece. "Oh, dear look at the time; I've got to run to the lab. We're running a very important experiment today. Now promise me you'll wear the hat, I know it's not your usual style, but try to keep an open mind. After all, isn't that what a gentleman does?" She squeezed his hands and ran off into the fading glow of the sun.

This evening would forever be etched in Emilie's mind. She had just dismissed her volleyball class at the local high school (London Heritage Academy), and she needed to hurry so she could run by the research facility where Claire worked.

If I hurry, there'll be enough time to go and pick up Claire so we won't be late to class. She ran to her car and drove off. As she drove onto the road where Claire's facility was, an explosion shook her car sideways. Coughing, Emilie struggled viciously to get out. After ten minutes of struggling, she finally got out the passenger door. Dusting off her clothes, she ran ahead to see what in the world that was. The further north she went, the more debris and damage there was. After ten minutes of cautious walking, she finally arrived at the site. Huge holes in the ground showed that nearby apartment buildings had been annihilated. The building that apparently had been the source of the explosion was in flames and the steady beating rain made no difference on the flames.

"Excuse me, miss."

Turning, she started to say, "Oh, pardon me. I didn't see you there." What she saw numbed her senses. Hershel was there staring at the wreckage. He was a mess, but he was alive. She gasped, rather loudly, which caused him to turn. His face was downcast, but his face somewhat lit up at seeing her. "Emilie? What are you doing here?"

"I was in the area and I was going to pick up Claire, so we can go to class."

"Claire…" His face went blank. His palms were sweaty and he was breathing heavily. His eyes were glazed over with unshed tears, and his knees were wobbly.

"Claire is out, isn't she?"

He didn't answer or speak again, but continued looking in a daze.

"Oh…"

A small boy with a dirty face was crying and tried to charge into the burning building, but Layton caught him and held him as the little boy cried and repeatedly struck his little fists into Layton's chest.

"Momma and Daddy!" The boy wailed for his parents, which had apparently died in the explosion.

Softly, Emilie knelt down onto the muddy ground near the little boy and embraced him. He cried and cried while she softly began to attempt to calm him down.

"What are you going to do?"

He said, "I'm going to find out what happened."And with that, he walked away.

Sam left that very night because she was graduating, so Emilie had the whole flat to herself. The next day, was the beginning of summer, and it held some surprises for Emilie. She trudged downstairs to pay her rent at the desk office of the apartment building. Then she walked out into the foggy morning. Carefully, she slowly walked down the stairs so she wouldn't slip on the muddy steps. When she got down to the bottom step, what she saw took her breath away. Hershel lay outstretched in the parking lot, bruises galore. He had a streak of blood coming from his head and mouth. The top hat he wore was crooked and battered. His clothes were tore in several places and his legs were swollen twice their normal size. Quickly, she knelt down in the lot, and tried to see if he was breathing, and felt his pulse. Relieved that he was alive, she dashed inside up to the desk office and saw a small service bell which had a notice taped to it. The notice read, ding the bell if assistance is needed. So she did ding the bell, for all she was worth. A clerk came and by his annoyed expression, one could see that he wasn't happy.

He snatched her hand and in an irritated tone said, "Yes ma'am. The bell does work. Thank you for testing it. Now, what assistance do you need?"

"Sir, there's a man in the parking lot who's in need of medical attention. Will you please carry him up to my flat?"

Sighing rather loudly, the clerk reluctantly nodded. After carefully placing Hershel on Emilie's couch, the clerk searched for any lint, hairs, dirt, or blood on his clothes. Seeing none, he said rather nastily, "Ma'am, we here, at this specific apartment building, are not responsible for any accidents, so calling a doctor is out of the question. And with a huff, he slammed the door.

Grabbing her cell phone, Emilie called a friend of hers to come over and help. Satisfied that her friend was coming, Emilie began to take a damp cloth and try to mop up the now-dried blood. She summoned the nasty desk clerk by another repeat performance of the dinging of the bell. He grumbled and mumbled all the way up the stairs, and picked up Layton. He held him while Emilie fluffed the pillow and pulled back the sheets to her bed.

"You positive you wanna put 'em on that clean bed?"

Sighing, she retorted, "Yes! Just put him down. Gently! Gently!" If looks could kill, Emilie would have died a thousand deaths all personally delivered by the desk clerk.

His voice dripping with sarcasm, "If you need anything else, please don't hesitate to ding the bell!" He slammed the door and stomped downstairs.

Rolling her eyes, she sat on the bed waiting for her nurse friend to come. Her mind wandered to the many occasions when Hershel had beaten her in sixth grade.

The local ice cream parlor's air conditioning felt heavenly compared to the bloody summer's heat. Two sundaes were resting on the counter while Emilie and Hershel were playing chess, with frequent glances at the game from the clerk. Each game gets longer and longer… the clerk thought.

"You won again! Congratulations, though I was sure that I had got you. Beating you is about impossible as nailing pudding to the wall. One day, I'll beat you."

"Perhaps…and perhaps not."

"How is your sundae? Mine is rather tasty."

"Quite good. I love the new flavor, java brownie. It's quite delectable."

Suddenly a knock came, interrupting Emilie's thoughts. She hastily opened the door where she was greeted by her friend, Terri. The black nurse had a built in Earth Mother Nature, so she embraced Emilie and asked to see Hershel. Terri surveyed the damage and took charge.

"Em, you're gonna be the assistant. Go get me some damp cloths. And why didn't you get a doctor?"

Shoving the wash cloths into Terri's outstretched hand, Emilie shamefacedly told her, "I didn't have enough money to get a doctor. After gas, food, and payments, I don't have enough."

Nodding, Terri, said, "Its fine. The wounds are on the verge of professional help, so I'll try my best."

"Oh, Terri, I owe you one."

"Now, you need to eat. He doesn't need you not being strong, so go and grab a bite to eat. I'll call ya if he stirs."

"No, I'm fine. Really, I want to stay."

"Emilie…" Terri said in a warning tone.

Seeing the situation was hopeless, she sighed and gave in, promising to be back in fifteen minutes.

After a filling fish and chips snack, she flew in the door of the flat where Terri greeted her.

"Hey, I got an idea of what's going on. Now first, you need to promise not to scream, faint, or overreact in anyway. He doesn't need the extra stress. And if you don't mind, please get me a cup of tea." Emilie found an extra tea bag and within minutes was serving the tea to Terri.

"Terri, surely you of all people know the answer to that. I pride myself on a maintaining an excellent self control."

"Good. Now as far as I can tell, he was severely beaten, and I mean severely, so I'll start from the bottom up: His legs might be paralyzed. It looks like he was kicked there several times. His stomach is black and blue from bruises covering the whole area. His chest was repeatedly hit by thick fists, so much so that his ribs are cracked. The arms have several minor cuts and a few bruises. His neck has bruises shaped like fingers. And his face was also hit by thick fists and he was hit on the head twice. He was left for dead." She stole a peek at Em's clock in the kitchen. "Listen, I gotta run, so I'm going to write down instructions in case you can't reach me in time."

"Thank you, Terri. I owe you a million."

"No problem, sugar. Just call me as soon as something happens."

"I will. Promise."

Terri left and Emilie promptly called the school and asked if she could have her two weeks pay in advance. Then she asked for the two weeks leave time, which the school graciously gave her to help nurse her friend to health. The next grueling days she spent hovering over him. Terri checked on him in and out but nothing important happened until several weeks later.

Emilie woke up and looked at the clock. It read quarter past six, which meant time to get up. She got off the couch and then walked to the bedroom (normally she walked to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee or tea) to check on him. She opened the curtains letting the sun and a cool breeze flow in. Then a feeble groan entered the room. She held her breath, hoping that the groan would come again. When it did she quickly raced into the living room and dialed Terri. Then she went back to his side of the bed and sat on it, careful not to sit on him. Briefly glancing at the emergency instructions gave her an idea of what she needed to get. She didn't want to leave him again, but she needed to go get supplies from the kitchen. Reluctance won the battle. Two hours later, with Terri's assistance, Hershel was blinking and staring up at the ceiling, his mind a mile away.

"Do you remember anything?" He didn't answer after a while. Em was starting to get worried.

She hesitantly asked, "If you're really awake, and if it doesn't pain you, could you verify that you are awake?"

With a tremendously painful effort, he managed to gasp out, "Every puzzle has an answer."

"It's really you!" She would have hugged him, but stopped herself in time.

Terri took charge so that in an hour, she was ready to leave and gave Emilie very precise instructions.

"Thanks, Terr-Terr. You are a lifesaver."

"No problem."

She built her life around nursing him to health. In a few more weeks, he was the same as he was before the explosion. Now it was time for school to start, so he thanked her for her devotion and she didn't talk to him much until three years later at graduation, where he became a professor in archaeology. He moved on to solve many puzzles, and she got a more permanent teaching job at London Heritage Academy.

Later that year, she got a letter from him.

Dear Emilie,

I trust this letter finds you well. I have a proposition that you might find…intriguing. I won't divulge any more facts until I see you. I'll be at your flat building in the lobby on the 3rd of May, at seven p.m. I trust you'll be there as well. I am bringing a guest with me. He is part of this proposition. I trust you'll agree to this proposition.

Your friend,

Hershel Layton

P.S.

It might be a prudent idea that if we go to eat, you pick somewhere that a child might agree with.

She stole a peek at her watch. It read half past six and today was the third! Swiftly she got freshened up and headed down stairs.

The professor was there with a little boy wearing blue suspenders, white shirt, and a blue cap peering out from the professor's side.

"Emilie, you're looking well. Are you hungry? We could grab a bite at some local café."

"No, you two are my guests. Please, I insist on cooking for you two."

The professor looked down at the little boy, "We are in luck, my boy. Ms. Emilie is a superb cook. I think she might make you a scrumptious apple pie, if you ask politely." The boy's eyes sparkled.

"I see that my friend agrees. Very well, we will eat with you."

She laughed and said, "Follow me!"

Half an hour later, the professor, Emilie, and the little boy sat down to the feast that Emilie had prepared. A pot of tea, a glass of chocolate milk for the boy, ham, green beans, mashed potatoes, a salad, and a potholder sat by the stovetop waiting to hold the apple pie that was basking in the oven. The professor seated Emilie and said to the boy, "Take note, my boy, a true gentleman always seats the lady to the right of him."

Between bites, she asked how he was doing.

"First, let me introduce my friend. Ms. Emilie, this is Luke Triton. Luke, this is Ms. Emilie, a good friend of mine."

Turning to Luke, she said, "Hello, Luke. Oh, is it ok if I call you Luke?"

With a mouth full of food, he nodded and said, "Mow mo mu mo, miss memime? Mes, mu mam mall me Muke."

She laughed. "I'm sorry, I couldn't quite get that. What was it you said?"

"How do you do, Ms. Emilie? And yes, you can call me Luke."

"Thank you, Luke. I do love a good greeting; one doesn't get that very often."

"You'll always get it from us because we are true gentlemen."

"Oh, well thank you. Do you like the meal?"

"Oh yes! It's absolutely divine!"

"Good." After a few more minutes passed, Luke asked where the restroom was.

"If you go down the hall, it's the door on the right."

"Thank you!" He took off like a rocket.

She smiled at his retreating figure. "What an amusing child, I love his personality."

"Yes, Luke can be quite the entertainer." He paused as Emilie went to fetch the pie. He continued while she was slicing it, placing it on plates, and adding vanilla ice cream.

"What I wanted to discuss with you is simple: I want you to live with me and Luke." Seeing Emilie's shocked expression, he hastily added, "Allow me to explain. Recently, I received a letter, informing me that an uncle had passed away, leaving me the sole heir of a rather large mansion and other possessions. I was quite surprised, for I was unaware that I had said uncle." He paused. "On one of my more recent mysteries, I was instructed by Luke's parents to care for Luke as if he was my own. So he lives with me."

He stopped as if trying to say something else. "Now the mansion is quite large and has dozens of rooms. I was hoping that you might consider moving in with us to become our housekeeper and Luke's nanny and some other small jobs, but in all in one. I wouldn't treat you rudely, naturally, but I would pay you if you would like pay. I'll be teaching at the university near it and I would like you to help me with any papers, if you don't mind. My other assistant, an Emmy Alvata, got transferred to another university, so she can't help me anymore. Also, I'd like you to be somewhat a motherly figure for Luke. You can help with his education if you wish; I'll leave the decision to you. Now we saved you the biggest room which has an adjoining bathroom, and I'll help you clean it if you'd like. No advances will be taken; you have my word as a gentleman." Seeing that she was thinking it over, he added quietly, "Also, I might get called away on some puzzle business, and I'll take Luke with me then. There'd be no one to take care of the house; I'd really appreciate it if you came to live with us. We need someone who can be like a mother, sister, best friend."

Luke came racing back in. "I'm baaaaaack! Did you save a piece of pie for me?"

"I sure did, Luke. Here you go!" She paused. Admitting that he needed help must have took a lot of effort. I don't know why I'm even considering this. I have a good job, good pay, and two weeks' vacation… But would I be happy here teaching at the school? Knowing the answer, she then said, "All right. I will come. I'll be there… how about tomorrow? I need to get a start on cleaning the whole place. And then I'll need to move my possessions into my room… There's a lot that needs to be done."

"Excellent. Here's a key to the place and directions." She took the slip of paper and opened it up.
"Hey, it's a puzzle!" She smiled faintly, "Just like sixth grade…" She smiled much bigger this time. "Luke, do you play chess?"

"Oh, yes Ms. Emilie. The professor says I play rather well."

"Well then, it's settled. I'll be there tomorrow at seven a.m. sharp."

"Well, we'd best be leaving. Thanks for the food, Emilie."

"Yes! Thanks for the apple pie, Ms. Emilie! Will you make that all the time when you stay with us? It's my favorite!"

"I'll do my best, Luke."

After saying goodbye, she started to pack. Every stick of furniture that she owned was in a neat stack by the door.