Fandom: Professor Layton
Rating: PG (R in later chapters)
Word Count: 1942
Disclaimer: I don't own Professor Layton. Or his top-hat of awesome.
Teaser: Lucas and the Professor are starting to get to know each other. And Lucas makes a decision on something important.
In spite of the enjoyable evening spent chatting over the filthy jar and the Professor’s statement that he would not mind having the help again, it was still a full two weeks later that Lucas worked up his nerve and again approached the Professor after class. Leighton was sitting at the table at the front of the room, his ever-present tea at his elbow as he looked over something in the syllabus.
At his approach, the Professor looked up and smiled. “Ah, Lucas. What can I do for you?”
He shifted his backpack. “I was wondering if you had anything you needed help with?”
The Professor raised an eyebrow. “Lucas, if I didn’t know better, I’d say you’re starting to like history.”
Lucas was embarrassed to feel his face heat up a bit, but he managed to drag up a surprisingly confident smirk within the space of a split second and shrug. “Well, maybe I just needed the right teacher?”
As soon as he said it, he wanted to dive under the table and die. Well, maybe not under the table. That’s where the Professor’s legs were, and it would look extremely wrong if he did that. To say nothing of the potential for being kicked. So maybe he would just jump out the window over there. That would accomplish the same thing in a much smaller amount of time.
Fortunately for his pride, Leighton chuckled; he actually looked very pleased. “And I’m the right teacher? Well, I admit that I’m flattered.” He stood, gathering his things into a neat pile. “There are things I would not mind having some assistance with, but first let me ask you a question, my boy.” He fixed Lucas with a Teacher Look. “You are aware that you have a paper due in this class next week, correct?”
“Have you started that paper?”
“I thought as much. Perhaps you should tend to your own schoolwork before helping me with mine?” the Professor said, though not harshly. He tucked his books under his arm. “I will not have your grades suffering for assisting me with my work and research.”
It was not unreasonable, and Lucas really had no arguments against the Professor’s point. Even saying that he would do it later would probably fall on deaf ears, and rightfully so. But somehow, he could not accept it. For whatever reason, he desperately wanted to spend another evening like that, nestled in the cozy little office on the top floor, surrounded by the fruits of history and the scent of tea…
“How about this, then—why don’t I bring my paper with me and work on it in your office? I could keep you company, at least!” Lucas made a mental note to have a work with his mouth and its current trend of running off without checking things with his brain first. Especially when the things his mouth had decided to say sounded so desperately pitiful.
There was a moment where all he could do was stand there with the Professor’s curious eyes on him, seemingly measuring him. And then he nodded. “Very well. But I expect you to work, do you understand me?” Somehow, the stern tone did not seem all that threatening when it was tempered by the smile that kept twitching at the corner of the man’s mouth.
“I will. I promise!” Lucas said. As he turned and darted out of the room, he made a mental note to stop at the library and actually gather some research materials before he went to the Professor’s office later that evening. Given that he had promised to work, it would help if he actually projected some illusion of preparedness for this paper.
…oh yeah, and picking a topic would probably help.
The old couch tucked against the back wall of the office was surprisingly comfortable, and offered plenty of space to spread out books and supplies and arrange oneself in a pleasing configuration before getting down to the business of pretending to work. Like so much else in the office, it was dark brown.
“Why do you have so much brown stuff, Professor?” Lucas asked, the question dropping suddenly into the comfortable silence with all the impact of a boulder hitting a puddle.
Leighton looked up and smiled. “Well, for one, it’s part of my profession.” He chuckled. “I don’t know if I mentioned this or not, but my specific field of history is archaeology, the study of human cultures. And a large part of that field is, for lack of a more eloquent term, dirt.”
“Why else?” Lucas pressed.
After a moment, Leighton said, “It’s less depressing than black. How far are you on your paper?”
Lucas sighed. “It’s only a six page paper, Professor.” Heh, only.
“And yet you have nothing done for it.”
“Depends on what you qualify as ‘done,’ I guess,” Lucas said airily, holding up the book he had been perusing. “Got most of the research taken care of. Now I just have to write the thing.”
“My point exactly.”
Lucas gave up and went back to his reading. He had randomly chosen something from the syllabus as his topic, and then raced around the library grabbing up as much stuff as he could find for it. Since they had moved up into the ancient European civilizations, he had closed his eyes, jabbed a finger at the page, and now found himself reading about Socrates.
…in spite of everything, though, he couldn’t help but be a bit fascinated by the man, and more specifically, the manner of his death and the reasoning behind it all. Letting the room lapse back into that comfortable silence, he pulled out his laptop, propped the books open near him for easy reference, and began to write.
Before he knew it, three pages were behind him, and he had barely scratched the surface. What was it about this room, with its odd wall hangings, strange sculptures, and unique, relaxing scent that just brought out the historian in him? Or was it not so much the room as his company? The Professor was sitting at his desk, and had been working quietly this entire time.
Or at least, he had been sitting at his desk.
A shadow fell across Lucas’ laptop, and he glanced up to find the Professor standing over him, holding a mug out to him. Steam rose from the open top in thin, gray-white wisps. “I think you can safely take a break now, my boy,” the Professor said amiably. “Tea?”
He had never been one for tea, but suddenly a warm drink did sound divine. He accepted the mug, blew on it carefully, and took a sip. His eyes immediately widened in surprise. “This is wonderful,” he murmured, taking another, more confident drink.
Leighton sipped his own tea. “I imagine you’ve never had it prepared properly before.”
Lucas carefully shifted his computer out of his lap and brought his legs up, curling them under himself for a more comfortable posture. “So…tell me more about archaeology. Or what it is that you do?”
“Archaeology itself is a field that encompasses many other fields. I dabble in many, but my favorite is anthropology. The study of human culture and behavior,” Leighton took a sip of his own tea. “We’re just trying to learn as much as we can about the past, where we came from, and if possible, where we might be going from here. As to what I do, I obviously teach.”
“But occasionally I am called away to excavation sites, digs, and things of that nature. I also receive artifacts from dig sites to look over and study, such as that pot you helped me reassemble.” Another pause as he again sipped at his tea. “By the way, we were able to translate the glyph on the side of the jar. Care to take a guess as to what it said?”
Lucas blinked, his mind a blank. At a loss for any other answer, he said, “Don’t play ball in the house?”
To his amazement, Leighton laughed out loud. It was the first time he had heard it. The Professor was prone to chuckles, and was almost always smiling. But he seemed to rarely laugh outright. It was a very pleasant sound, Lucas decided.
“A very good guess, but unfortunately, that is incorrect,” Leighton said, still smiling at the joke. “It refers to the area where it was found in South America. A place glyph.”
“Huh…” Lucas fell silent.
“…something on your mind, Lucas?”
“Nothing serious. Sorry. Just thinking about something,” he said before burying his nose in his mug of tea. But even as he said it, he had reached a decision. It was something he had been weighing since walking into that class for the first time and meeting Professor Leighton. It almost seemed a wonder that it had taken him this long to make up his mind about it.
Now the Professor looked concerned. “If there’s anything I can do…?”
Lucas shook his head. “Nope. But thanks, though.”
He left that night, a couple of hours later, with his paper a mere page away from being done. He also carried with him a new appreciation for tea (although he did spare a moment to jokingly wonder if that was the source of the mind-altering drugs he had previously blamed for his change of heart regarding the class and its subject matter), and the realization that he had finally figured something out.
Another dream came that night, the most vivid he’d had in days. Every time he had one of these dreams, they were so clear compared to other dreams, and he remembered them in the morning. He always dreamed of a child in a blue sweater and blue cap; this child looked a great deal like Lucas himself had at that age, from the eye color to the honey-brown of his hair, and even his affinity for the color blue.
But there was one part that never seemed to clear up: there was always a man in the dream with him. Err, with the child. Somehow, he had difficulty discerning between the two. But the man was a mystery. He wore dark brown, and an orange shirt, and a tall brown hat. But his face remained obscured somehow. He could not see who the man was.
It was almost frightening in some ways, but in others it felt like he was remembering something from his childhood, a fond memory that had slipped his mind over time. And the child looked alarmingly like him. He could not figure it out, nor he could he make sense of the man with no discernable face. That alone should have scared him. Instead, he looked up to this mysterious man as someone to be respected, as someone who could and would protect him.
In this dream, they were on a train. And he seemed to be having a grand old time bouncing on the seat cushions and cheering about how amazing it all was. Just like a child…
The next morning, Lucas got up. He showered, dressed, and gathered his things, and left his room. He went down to the registrar’s office, and asked the woman sitting behind the desk what paperwork he needed to fill out to declare a major. She flipped through a few folders in a filing cabinet before withdrawing the necessary paperwork and passing it to him.
He filled it out quickly. And where it finally asked for his declared major, Lucas hesitated for only a split second before writing History into the space provided.