Fandom: Professor Layton
Word Count: 1,645
Disclaimer: I do not own Layton or his Top Hat of Awesome.
Summary: First chapter can be found here. In the aftermath of what has happened, Layton makes a startling deduction.
"I don't know how you bloody managed this one, Layton," Chelmey huffed from his position in the doorway. He was leaning against the frame, watching with a frown as Layton sat on the couch, holding a cold compress against his forehead and nursing what was now a lukewarm cup of tea.
"I assure you, my good inspector, I had no intention of receiving a concussion tonight, but trouble seems to be following me to my doorstep as of late," Layton said. The levity of his tone belied the gravity of the situation, and his expression was not particularly amused by any of it.
What an evening it had been. All he had done was step out to pick up a few things, leaving the children at home with strict instructions not to open the door to anyone they did not know. He had come home and walked inside to hear Flora scream and receive a blow to the head that had left him unconscious on the floor just inside his own front door.
His landlady had been passing by. She had seen the open door, come closer to investigate, and found him sprawled there. Alarmed, she had summoned the police and set about attempting to revive him. By the time Chelmey and his men had arrived, Layton had come around and had managed to stumble over to the couch. His landlady prepared the tea for him, and gave her story to the police, who had then permitted her to leave with a promise to be in touch if they had any further inquiries. A doctor had been summoned to see if Layton had sustained any serious injuries.
And then children were gone.
Luke and Flora were missing.
That was really all Layton could think about as he sat there, absently sipping at the weak tea and trying to remember any details that could give him a clue. But his best efforts only seemed to result in more and more of a headache. A pity that he had yet to figure out how to stop thinking.
As the police examined what they were now calling the crime scene (and wasn't that becoming an uncomfortably common occurrence in Layton's world), a disturbing discovery was made, one that Chelmey related to him with a grim expression.
There was no sign of forced entry at the front door. None whatsoever.
Which meant that either one of the perpetrators had somehow acquired a key to Layton's home, or the children had opened the door to someone of their own free will. The former option seemed rather unlikely, which meant that the latter was the most probable. And that opened up a whole new can of worms, one which Layton was even more loathe to think about.
Luke and Flora would not have opened that door to a stranger. Not under the present circumstances, and not when he had given them such explicit instructions. Neither of them was stupid. They knew there was danger, and they knew what was potentially at stake.
So who had been on the other side of that door? Someone they knew, and someone they thought they could trust, and someone who had subsequently betrayed them. The big dark question was...who?
Suddenly unable to sit still any longer, Layton stumbled to his feet and staggered out into the hallway, where two officers were still examining the entryway. There was a small red stain on the doormat, a dark red blotch that Layton knew was his own blood. Beside it was a large rock, apparently the instrument used to bludgeon him. He winced at the sight, and immediately regretted it as the small act set the war drums beating inside his skull again.
Another officer was informing Chelmey of a ransom note found on the table. Layton half-listened to the brief chat between the two men, and barely even glanced at the paper as it was held out for his own inspection. All he really needed to know about it came in form of a muttered "Damn..." from Inspector Chelmey, who for once seemed at a loss for words.
Layton glanced around, still trying to piece things together around his headache. He happened to glance down, and noticed the light reflecting off something under the table by the door, where the note had been found. It seemed that the officer who was inspecting that area had found the note first, and gone to inform the inspector, and thus had not really gotten to look at the area terribly closely yet.
With great care, Layton knelt down for a closer look; he withdrew a handkerchief from his pocket and used that to pull the item from beneath the small table. "Inspector!" he called as he did so, and once again the imps in his brain began chewing on the interior of his skull.
His head really hurt.
Chelmey was there in an instant. "What did you find?"
Layton rose and held the small, shiny item up, carefully inspecting it. It was something extremely familiar, but where had he seen it before. After a moment, it clicked into place, and his stomach dropped into his shoes.
He turned and showed the item to Chelmey, who looked lost as to its significance. "It pains me to say this, Inspector," Layton said solemnly, "but I know exactly who Luke and Flora opened the door to."
His eyes wouldn't open. His fingers were numb. His mouth felt like he'd been sucking on a cotton ball for a while. And everything just flat out hurt. In short, Luke was not a terribly happy boy.
As the world gradually crept back into focus, he became aware of someone beside him. A little bit of shifting and some squinting led him to realize that it was Flora. She was not moving, but he could hear her breathing. For the moment, at least, she seemed to be all right. He sighed in relief at that, and then went back to assessing his own situation.
He quickly realized that his hands were bound behind him, and his feet were bound at the ankles. His mouth felt like he'd been sucking on cotton because truthfully, he had been; a rough piece of cloth had been shoved into his mouth and taped in place to serve as a gag.
As he struggled to achieve some sort of control over his body, he realized that all of this felt familiar. Everything from the moment those men had come into the professor's house to this moment now, waking up completely helpless in a strange place...it was all like a bad case of deja vu.
A moment later, he heard heavy footsteps moving. A little more squinting told him that he and Flora were in a small room behind a closed door, and the footsteps were moving beyond the wall by the door.
An involuntary shudder ran through the young man. He knew those footsteps somehow. He knew this whole situation, though he didn't quite grasp how. All he knew was that a dark room and those heavy footfalls meant pain. Danger.
Behind him, Flora stirred slightly.
The door began to open.
Luke wanted the Professor.
Luke wanted to go home.
"Good heavens, Hershel, you're lucky this isn't worse than it is!" Doctor Kelly fussed over the dark blotch on Layton's forehead. "I saw the rock on my way in. It's a wonder you're standing up at all with something like that hitting you in the head!"
Layton sat still, allowing the doctor to examine him and tut-tut over his injury. The rock had broken the skin, resulting in a small cut, and there was a shiner of a bruise there that would probably not completely go away for some time, and chances were that he would have some headaches, but overall, he'd been lucky. He wasn't showing any signs of a concussion.
"I appreciate you coming over on such short notice, Doctor," Layton said quietly.
"It seems to be a regular occurrence as of late," Kelly said with no malevolence. "Perhaps I should take up residence here for a time. Save us all a bit of time and travel." He finished applying the plaster to the bruise and stepped back with a sigh. "Those poor children...god wiling they're safe, wherever they are."
"Thank you," the professor said. He took a deep breath to steel himself, and decided that now was as good a time as any to drop the bomb. "I must ask you, doctor...where are your spectacles? I think this is the first time I've ever seen you without them."
Kelly looked surprised, put a hand to his forehead to find that his glasses were, indeed, not on their usual perch, and shrugged. "I must have left them at home. The phone call I got from your charming landlady was rather frantic, so I was in a bit of a hurry to get here."
Layton shook his head sadly. "I'm afraid that's not true, Doctor. Because I found them inside this house." He held up the handkerchief; nestled inside it were the doctor's spectacles, the object he had found under the table in the front entrance of his home.
Rising to his feet, Layton steadied himself before he looked his doctor and long-time friend squarely in the eye. Kelly looked stunned as Layton pointed an accusatory finger at him. "I'm afraid it was you, Doctor, who Luke and Flora opened the door to this evening."
AN: An update? What is this? This fic is one of my areas o' focus for this year's NaNoWriMo challenge, along with my fanfic100 claim for this series (and a few other miscellaneous things as well). So yes, I am going to finish this fic. Hopefully this month. Hope you enjoy the new chapter, and thanks for reading, all! Much love!