Author's Note~

Hello! I'm back, and no, I didn't die or go into coma. There's this little thing called middle school...

Ugh, life is so confusing. First boyfriends, friend-enemies, shopping dates, homework, puberty...argh! Can I please tear my hair out? ( ;_; )

Anyways, this one is dedicated to my good friend Jillian, who loves Professor Layton as much as I do (which is saying something).


Luke Triton burst into his mentor's office one Monday afternoon, in a frenzy of excitement, smiling broadly.

"Professor! Professor, look what I have for you!" he cried, rushing towards Professor Layton, waving a flyer in his hand. Layton chuckled slightly- his apprentice was rather excitable, but it took quite a development to get this big of a reaction from him.

"Now what do we have here?" Layton scanned the paper that had been handed to him, and as his eyes traveled further down the page, his smile slowly diminished. "Oh Luke-"

"Camping! For a class trip, doesn't it sound fun?" Layton looked sadly down at the small boy, who was too preoccupied with his fantasies of camp to notice. "Don't worry, I know what you're going to say. Our teacher is coming, and there'll be counselors for every group! And we aren't even staying in tents, we get to sleep in cabins! This is the real deal! I can go, can't I?" Layton was about to respond when his assistant, Emmy Alatava, opened the door and stepped inside his office, also smiling brightly.

"Hey Professor! Hello there, second assistant." she said, a twinkle in her eyes. Normally, Luke would have bristled at this nick-name, but today he was too elated to care. "What have you got there professor?" Emmy looked over her friend's shoulder and chuckled slightly. "Camping? Luke?"

"It's for a class trip." Luke explained, "All my friends are going, I can't wait to go too." Emmy grinned at him.

"How wonderful! It sounds lovely, have a nice time!" she turned to the professor to ask him if Luke needed help packing, but froze when she saw his expression. Layton noticed her gaze, and so, he cleared his throat.

"Luke, my boy, why don't you finish your schoolwork in your bedroom, and I'll be up to talk to you in a moment." Luke nodded, gripping his schoolbag tightly in his hands and racing up the stairs, pausing to cough a few times. Emmy glared at Layton as soon as she heard Luke's bedroom door close.

"Oh, you'd better let that sweet little boy go on that trip." she said, in a warning sort of voice. Layton sighed and sat down on the sofa of his office, a hand brushing his messy bangs off his forehead.

"Emmy, you know I want to. But...I'm afraid that he won't be able to make it, health-wise." Emmy's expression softened a little, and she sat down next to the professor, wrapping an arm around his shoulder.

"But he's been on adventures with us, and he's been to other field trips." she pointed out. Layton sighed again.

"Yes, but those trips were different. I was with him on our adventures, and he was always a few feet from me. And on other school trips, I was in driving distance in case he got ill." Emmy didn't argue with the professor- if she had a son who was as frail as Luke, she would be reluctant to let him go camping too.

"He's been sick before, and he's always pulled through."

"Yes, but I knew that he was going to be all right because he was right next to me, and I could check on him." Emmy had to think long and hard for a response to that; the professor had a very good point.

Luke was a small boy, anyone could see that. He was often mistaken for a child of a much younger age because of his size. While he had the stature of a seven year-old, he had the mind and age of a thirteen year-old. And it wasn't his strength and size that bothered Layton so much- it was how frail Luke was. Because he was so small and frail, he had a weak constitution, meaning he was sick more often than not. To top it all off, he would often get more sick than other boys his age. A mild cold wouldn't have stopped the other children of his age, but Luke was bedridden for a week before he could back to school again.

What would happen if Luke caught cold while he was at camp, and he became too ill to stay anymore? Would his teacher be prepared to handle it? Would the camp activities be too strenuous for him?

"Professor," Emmy touched his hand gently, and then squeezed his hand sympathetically. "You know that you need to let him go, don't you?" Layton looked up at her, surprised.

"Pardon?"

"Someday, he's going to have to, as you put it, 'leave the nest', and the sooner you get in over with, the sooner you'll feel more comfortable with letting him go places more often." deep down inside, Layton knew she was right. For now however, he was still worried, as any good father should be.

"You're right, of course, Emmy. But...I don't think I'm ready. Is this what being a parent feels like? Worrying over your child constantly?" Emmy smiled and hugged her friend.

"I'm sure it is. I mean, I worry about him too when he's sick. But you have to let him get out, see the world. Just because he was born prematurely doesn't mean his life has to be treated like an eggshell- he won't break easily professor, trust me. He's stronger than you think." the sound of footsteps drew their conversation to a close. Emmy and Layton looked over the back of the sofa to see Luke standing in the doorway, his eyes sad, but his smile understanding.

"Professor?"

"Yes, Luke?"

"...I can't go camping, can I?" Layton was momentarily stunned- Luke was sharper than he had thought.

"Well...I mean, Emmy and I haven't really decided yet and-"

"It's okay, I don't mind." Luke said, sitting next to the professor and wrapping him in a hug. "I know why I can't go. I understand." Layton smiled down at his son, his mind racing. And then, without hesitation, he blurted out something completely different than what he had intended to.

"No, my boy, of course you can." Luke and Emmy (along with the professor himself) stared at Layton, both extremely surprised. Luke was especially astonished- the professor would have usually stuttered over an answer for a few minutes, and then Emmy would have broken the news gently to Luke, explaining that it wasn't because he wasn't mature or responsible enough, but because he was too frail, or he had just gotten over a sickness and they didn't want to risk anything.

"Really? You really mean it, I can go?" Luke asked, his eyes wide and a smile stretching across his whole face. The professor nodded, before he had a chance to correct himself and come to his senses. "Oh professor!" Luke cried, and in the excitement of the moment, he planted a kiss on the professor's cheek, jumped up and down and raced upstairs to the professor's bedroom to phone his friends with the good news.

Emmy stared at the professor, bemusement dancing in her dark eyes.

"Well! I have to say, I'm surprised at you professor. It's not like you to just up and let Luke out of the house. I'm proud of you." she said, hugging him tightly. Layton smiled and thanked her; Emmy had been such a big help over these last few years. God only knew the things she had to help Layton with; with no parents to care for Luke, she and the professor had had to fill the void, and she had also helped Layton along with various other tragedies and hardships.

"You know," Emmy said, pulling on her coat and wrapping her scarf around her skinny neck, "I have to ask: what made you let Luke go after all?" Layton had to think for a moment before he could find a reasonable answer.

"Like you said Emmy, I have to let him go sometime." she smiled and opened the door, leaving the office and hopping onto her scooter. The professor watched her go, his smile still lingering on his lips until he lost sight of her.

Sighing to himself and sitting back down at his desk, he picked up his own phone, and after making sure Luke had hung up and was back in his room, he dialed a number he would never forget.

"Hello?" the person on the other line picked up on the second ring. "Hershel?"

"Hello mother," he said, in as cheerful a voice as he could muster. "I need your help with something. Tell me, how do know when it's time to let your children out on their own?"


Author's Note~

Well, there we have it. It took forty minutes to write, but I'm happy with the results, so...yay! (^ω^)

I wonder what it does feel like to be a parent? Hmm...time will only tell.

Anyways, Jillian, if you're reading this, I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you, dear reader, enjoyed it as well!

Please remember to leave me a review. It would make me smile!

Happy Reading!

MikuLover~