Fandom: Professor Layton
Word Count: 613
Disclaimer: I don't own Professor Layton. Or his top-hat of awesome.
Teaser: They searched the residence, but found nothing. It was empty.
It was the strangest feeling in the world to walk into the building.
On the one hand, it was like coming home again after years away. And that made perfect sense. Both Luke and Flora had moved out and into their own homes when they came of age, but they had lived in this place for years and years, had grown up here and gone through so much within these brownstone walls. It was home in a way that no other place would be able to match for a very long time.
On the other side of the coin, it was like walking into a ghost house. The place was silent, still, and seemingly void of life or any movement. There were no signs of the energy that had once held this place so firmly and made it home.
Luke went in first, easing past the threshold and looking around with the same awe and trepidation he had felt the first time he had walked through this door so many years ago, back when he was still a child. When he was first coming here as the Professor’s new apprentice. When he was still wide-eyed and nervous and unsure of what he was doing…
But back then, at least, there had been a smiling face waiting at the door to put his fears and worries to rest and reassure him that he was just fine, and would he like to have a biscuit, because it was certain to calm his nerves.
Flora was close behind him. As she stepped inside, she reached out and put a hand on Luke’s arm simply for reassurance that he was there at all. The dawning realization had to be harder for her than it was for Luke. After all, she had already lost her father once, and now it seemed to be happening again.
They stayed together, moving slowly through the rooms and doorways and corridors, and finding nothing. In many ways, everything was as it should be. All the furniture was where it had always been. The crystal still sat neatly in its place in the cupboard, and the paintings were still hanging in the same places on the walls. The same rugs covered the floors, and the same books were in the same places on the same bookshelves.
But there was now a fine layer of dust over everything, marred only by their footprints on the floor. And the most important thing that was supposed to be there was missing.
The same stair creaked beneath their feet as they made their way to the second floor. The Professor had never gotten around to fixing that, had he?
In the bedroom upstairs, Flora moved past him and stopped beside a vase on a small table. There were roses in the vase, once vibrant and colorful, now wilted and lifeless and covered with dust. Exactly like the house itself. It was empty, where only the ghosts of the past still lingered.
“Luke,” she said softly. “He…he’s really gone, isn’t he?” It was barely a question, almost a statement. When the landlady had called to ask if they knew of the Professor’s whereabouts, they had been confused. But she was insistant that something was amiss. The rent for that month had not been paid (something unheard of for Professor Layton), and there had been no lights there for several days.
Alarmed, they had gone together. And this was what they had found.
Luke looked around his former mentor’s room and closed his eyes. “Yes, Flora…he is.” The words rang hollow in the room, and held a ring of truth.
Professor Hershel Layton, the renowned puzzle master, had disappeared.