AN: I don't own Professor Layton. If I say that one more time I think I'm just going to end up buying it, because me repeating that one thing each time is getting ridiculously boring for the both of us.

Anyway, this is an entry for Lolidge19's writing competition. The prompts were:

Place: Future London

Characters: Claire & Layton

Prompts: Children and food



Epiphanies in The Restaurant

Professor Hershel Layton was a man nearing his late-thirties, whose life was very different from most men his age. It seemed that everything Hershel had accomplished, every other gentleman hadn't and everything they'd accomplished, Hershel hadn't.

For example, most of the men living in London, had a wife at the age of twenty-seven. At the age of twenty-seven, Hershel had a Professorship in archaeology. At the age of thirty-four, most men lived in a house with a mortgage, with their spouse and their children, whereas Hershel had just dominated, not just London's, but Britain's headlines, after discovering the Golden Garden- one of England's most mysterious legends. And if that wasn't enough, at the age of thirty-seven, where most men were still living with their families and going about their everyday life's, Hershel was a celebrity; his name on everybody's lips at the second of confusion or terror.

After all, at the age of thirty-seven, what more could a man of accomplished? He was a hero. Someone who every man of his age wished he could be, and wanted his children to aspire to be. Not one mystery or case he was given had been left unsolved and he had vowed never to leave one unsolved. Somehow, he would always find the key, unlock the box and find the treasure. Just like that, he would end up on the front of the newspapers again, being branded a true gentleman.

However, very, very few people knew how empty the Professor sometimes felt. He tried as hard as he could not to let it bother him, but at times, it was hard not to think about it. Whilst driving down the streets, or taking a stroll in the park, or even just going to the shops to pick up groceries, he saw them and he couldn't avoid it. Families. A man and a woman hand in hand, whilst watching two or three children running about happily in front of him.

Why couldn't that have been me? The Professor would think to himself, before shaking the thought away. He knew why it wasn't him and he didn't want to think about the reason; it was too painful.

This one time, however, he had no choice but to think about it. How could he not, with the woman who could have made all of it happen right in front of him? How could he push the pain to the back of his mind when the reason for all the pain was burning brightly in front of him. Of course, it wasn't her fault. No, she wasn't to blame at all. Yet, if that one day had never happened, she would still be there. And, then, everything would have been different. Maybe, he wouldn't have been as successful in his career, but he would have her. Any day, he would trade what he had, to what he could have had.

And, now, she was right in front of him.

Well, at the least, she looked like the reason. After all, it was impossible for her to be here (wherever 'here' was). Not after that day. Then again, there were too many similarities and they were too large for them not to be real. No matter how bold the likenesses were, though, it was still impossible. As Hershel said, there was always an explanation. And he couldn't let his personal hopes get in the way of his professional judgement.

Still, though, he couldn't take his eyes off of the woman. She was clearly a waitress in the 'Pepper's Noodle Palace', walking around the establishment, with a tray of bowls filled with exotic (well, exotic for noodles, anyway) flavoured scents rising from, balanced on her left hand. Around her waist was a white apron, on top of a black skirt and below a green blouse. Her hair was a vibrant red and had been tied up in a pony tail with a clashing pink hair-band. The only difference he could see was that the woman he used to know, wore glasses. Other than that, they were exactly identical.

Hershel's eyes followed her all over the restaurant. He'd seen the woman earlier in the day, as she walked down the boulevard, with a large hat covering most of her face. No matter how rude he felt staring at her, he felt he had to; he needed an answer to this puzzle. As he watched the woman walk over to a table where a family of three were sitting, the redhead placed the plate of food down on the table, before walking over to a different table and to take their order. Hershel had never been so disappointed as to have ordered at the counter of the restaurant, upon entering it.

He carried on continuing to follow her with his eyes, but she disappeared behind a party of seven soon after she took the table's order, and after that, she was gone.

She's probably just had to go to the kitchen, Hershel thought.

"Professor? Are you all right?"

Hershel jumped and diverted his gaze, down to the small boy next to him and gave him a quick smile.

"Of course I'm all right, my boy," Hershel replied, "Why ever would I not be?"

"Well, I don't know... You just seemed to be quiet for a while, and..." Luke shrugged.

"I was just thinking, Luke," Hershel reassured his apprentice, "After all, today certainly has been eventful, wouldn't you say so? I was just thinking the events that had occurred over."

"Well, you are right, Professor!" Luke agreed, beaming whilst tipping the rim of his blue cap, "A lot has certainly happened today."

Hershel nodded, before going back to his thoughts. He knew he was seeming far too distant for Luke's liking, but he was struggling to keep the thoughts away. How could that woman even look like her? It was... It was impossible, surely? Even them being the same person (somehow), how had that meant she'd ended up here? This was twenty years after that day where she'd been lost (if this was indeed the future- and Hershel didn't have enough evidence to go on that yet) and she didn't look a day older than the day she'd been lost.

The only explanation was that time travel was real.

However, even if that was the case, they couldn't find a way to go back to the way things were. After all, he'd been in the restaurant nearly twenty minutes and she hadn't looked at him once. To her, was he just a customer? Or was she ignoring him for a reason? And if so, what was that reason? But, if she was the woman he had lost, then he surely truly had lost her.

Hershel had often thought about how their future would have turned out together. In fact, he'd planned an entire parallel life, in which she was there. Not long after his Professorship was given, they would have married. Then not long after the wedding, they'd have had children. In total three.

Their first would be a boy. His name, would be Andrew (after his mentor, of course) Layton. He would grow up happily and full of energy. He'd be good at sports and enjoy running and football (which Hershel found incredibly strange since neither him, or his Mother particularly enjoyed sports). Andrew would have Hershel's brown hair and his Mother's blue eyes. Also, he would like to joke and prank and there would be the odd occasion that he would be in trouble at school for messing around too much, but that didn't matter. He was their son.

When Andrew would be five, they would have another child. A girl this time. Amelia, her name would be- her Mother liked the name. She would be a good girl, with light brown hair and a shy smile. Her face would be dotted with freckles and when she grinned, two dimples would appear on either side of her face. She would look a lot like her Mother and even inherit her sparkling eyes and charming smile, whilst from her father, she would receive her father's love for archaeology and history. She would try hard at school and aspire to be an archaeologist like her Father.

Their last child would also be a girl and Lucy would be her name. She would be slightly smaller than her brother and sister but be bustling with confidence and enthusiasm. Even at a young age, she would acquire a love for music and dancing. They would take her to see productions at the local theatre and she would forever be spinning around the house singing show tunes and dancing along to the radio.

And, then, they'd all grow up. Andrew to be a sports psychologist, Amelia to be a historian and Lucy to be a performer. They would leave home and have families of their own, but of course, they'd always visit. And, then, Hershel would grow old with the woman he was meant to with.

That was how Hershel wanted it to be, but he knew it couldn't be. He thought he had realised it, but he never really did until that moment. With her so close, yet so far.

AN: I'm not a hundred percent sure if the food prompt made its way in there enough, so sorry if it hasn't.

Also, Claire's a waitress. You don't know where that came from? Yeah, I don't know either. :P

I've lost all my PL games, too (sucks, right) and I can't remember what the noodle restaurant in Chinatown is called, but I think it's Pepper's Noodle Palace. If it isn't and anyone knows what it actually is, it would be great if you could let me know! Ta!

Finally, reviews are appreciated.