A Village to Rest

Fandom: Professor Layton

Rating: K

Characters: Bruno

Pairings: none

Warning: Heavy spoilers for the end of Curious Village. I feel silly tagging that but there are still people new to this fandom so I thought I'd be considerate of the people who have not played all of the games.

Summary: He cannot help but feel a little guilty as he turns the key in the very last Machine, but Bruno knows it is time to put the village to rest.

A/N: So I finished Curious Village again today and I started wondering what would happen to St. Mystere if Bruno were to die, but I didn't want to think of them all withering away so I wrote this and I'm sorry for it. Maybe.

The sun hangs low over the trees of the thick forest, casting the small village in the clearing in shadow and mystery. The village itself is bleak and rundown, the moss-covered walls of buildings who's interiors are caked in dust are crumbling. The village is old, has gone too long without people to take care of it.

Not to say that there is nobody there. No, the village has its inhabitants. But they themselves are withered and cracked, their eyes shut, their joints rusted to the point where they are almost impossible to move. The tiny village of St. Mystere is almost entirely still, the only movement being the wind rippling on the surface of the pond, or pushing leaves around on the dusty roads.

Or, perhaps not. Locked away in the basement of a tower that had been obliterated many years prior sits an old man at a work desk, his hands covered in grease, brow drenched in sweat. He leans back from his creation, the eyes of the machine, no, of the human, still so bright and lifelike. A disapproving frown passes over the old man's face, and is gone as soon as it is there. With a defeated sigh the engineer reaches across the table for a small, brass key, his trembling hands clawing for a moment before he can pick it up.

The engineer casts one last sorrowful look at the machine, willing his heart to harden enough to finish the task. He cannot help but feel a little guilty as he turns the key in the very last machine, causing her eyes to fall shut, her body to go limp. Bruno sets the key among the others in his hat (they had replaced the empty space the tools left behind) and loads the girl into the large canvas sack he had always used to carry the bodies.

Slowly he ascends from his cave underground, into the darkness, into the mystery, into the wreckage. He trudges across the village and finds that it takes him much longer than it used to. He isn't necessarily surprised, but it will always catch him off guard. After a few minutes, Bruno approaches a home. Unsteadily, he opens the door.

The interior of the house is dark, and everything is covered in a fine layer of dust. Bruno's stomach twists uneasily- he hates breaking into the villager's homes. He creeps through the darkened house, trying his damndest not to touch a thing, until he reaches the room belonging to the young robot in his bag. Bruno sets the bag down gently, lifting the body of the machine out as carefully as he would his own seeping daughter. He pulls back the sheets and tucks her in, the final villager, laid to rest.

Her name had been Lucy. She was just a young girl, always cheerful, very sweet. She was the last of the villagers. Part of Bruno knows that it would have been better, more dramatic, if Lady Dahlia were to be the one. But what did it matter when nobody was there to appreciate the drama?

The engineer sighs as he gathers up his canvas bag and tiptoes back through the silent house, his mind wandering. He does feel grateful, even to this day, that young Miss Reinhold chose to leave St. Mystere as it was, but it tugs at his heart to have to lay it down.

Bruno is not as young as he once was, and he has found over recent years that he cannot keep up with repairs the villagers need. So slowly, one by one, he collected his creations, tidied them up, and returned them to their homes, tucking each and every one in. Years from now, Bruno imagines, if somebody would manage to stumble to the village and find a way across the river, they'd think it was a rundown theme park and simply float away, leaving the city to further decay. It pains him to think that way, but Bruno is a logical man, and is not one to sugarcoat things. Especially serious things.

Like death.

Bruno can feel it coming, it's in his bones, in the air, it surrounds him. His death is on the horizon, very soon, within the week, and now he just intends to wait.

As he approaches the remains of the tower he once so closely guarded he takes what he prays may be his one last look at the beautiful St. Mystere, crumbling and falling and dying with age. He feels his lips form a goodbye. Though he feels some degree of guilt, Bruno knows it is time to lay the quaint little village to rest.