Fandom: Professor Layton
Characters: Luke/Flora (General series)
Prompt: #52: fire
Word Count: 1580 words
Author's Notes: I don't own Layton or his Top Hat of Awesome.
Summary: Sometimes interesting things can happen during a blackout.
Luke dropped the final log into the fireplace with a half-hearted groan and sat back down on the floor. "Whew...those things are kind of heavy," he said. "But it's better than sitting in the dark, right? The candle's really not doing much." He gestured towards the white taper of wax in Flora's hand.
She shrugged before kneeling down and guiding the flame towards the logs now heaped unceremoniously in the fireplace. It took a few seconds for the dry timber to ignite and begin first to smolder, than to outright burn. She lit a couple of other places, then sat back to watch the fireplace finally come to life and light. Satisfied, she blew out the candle and slide the fire screen into place to keep all the burning materials inside the fireplace where they belonged.
Slowly, the light of the fire grew and filled the room, offering much more light than the poor candle had. It was a far cozier scene than the one of only a few moments ago, when the lights had all gone out.
The two had been sitting up late together, working on various teenaged things of great importance that very much could not wait until the next morning, Professor, so please don't worry they wouldn't be up all night. The Professor had gone to bed and left them to their work with admonishments to get some sleep. And the two teenagers had set about their tasks, feeling oddly rebellious.
Then the storm had begun. Luke started ribbing Flora about ghosts and ghouls (as most sixteen year old boys would probably do in such a situation), and Flora had made vague comments about maturity and idiots (as most seventeen year old girls would probably do in such a situation). But the banter had come to a screeching halt when there was a flash of lightning, a roar of thunder, and then...
All the lights in the house went out.
It had taken Flora a moment to locate a candle and get it lit, and from there, the two decided to build the fire in the fireplace. Now the old brownstone's office didn't seem quite so dark or frightening.
Not that either of them would ever admit to being frightened, of course.
Flora scooted back a bit, a little away from the hearth, to sit next to Luke. "It's sort of like camping, isn't it?" she asked in a conspiratorial whisper. "Like some sort of adventure is about to happen. I mean, if this were a novel, this is probably where the crazed killer would start creeping towards his unsuspecting victims or something."
Luke laughed, and then got to his feet. He held out one hand, as though he was gripping a dagger, and began doing an exaggerated tip-toeing motion around the room. "Come out, come out, wherever you are," he said in a deep, gravelly voice.
Now it was Flora's turn to laugh out loud. "I'm terrified. Truly."
Luke grinned. "Or if it were a horror story, the ghosts would start coming out to stalk the living and drag them to the underworld. Or, you know, move furniture around, rattle some chains, say 'boo' here and there. I guess it depends on the ghost."
"Or the undead would start walking the streets in search of human victims!" This time it was Flora who jumped up. She held her hands out in front of her, fingers curved like claws, and started staggering around the room. "Brains..." she chanted repeatedly.
"Or a vampire!" Luke cheered. "I vant to suck your blood."
Both teens all but collapsed to the ground in a fit of giggles. The self appointed tasks that had kept them both up long past the times when they usually retired were more or less forgotten as they lost themselves in the silly conversation. Outside the windows, the storm continued to rage. The wind howled at the windows, as though demanding to be let in to join them in their fun.
"Okay, we've done thriller, horror...oh, how about an adventure story!" Flora said.
"Easy! The lights are out in the building because the bad guy has cut the power, and so now he has to sneak around in the dark and try not to get killed by all the spies lurking around," Luke said, looking around. "They could be anywhere, you know."
"Are there spies in the Professor's house?" Flora asked, then shook her head. "I knew that ancient Aztec statue was suspicious. It's clearly feeding information to outside sources. We should be careful what we say in this room. The walls have ears."
Luke snickered. In public company, Flora was every bit the young lady she was expected to be. In more relaxed moments, she was stubborn, sarcastic, and at times outright brilliant. Luke liked the latter side of her personality far more than he enjoyed the former.
"In a comedy...well, in a comedy, I think they'd be having this exact conversation, to be honest. Or a pie would fly out of the fireplace and hit one of us in the face," Luke said. "Hmm...oh! What about one of those sappy romance stories I've seen you reading when you think no one else is looking?"
"At least the books I read have something that could theoretically be called a plot. When was the last time you picked up a book with an actual storyline, Puzzle Boy?" Flora asked with a quirk of one brow. Still, she thought. "Well, if this were a romance story, we'd be sitting by the fire, and I'd probably lean my head on your shoulder..." she scooted a bit closer to put words into action, "...and then you'd probably kiss me."
"Like I said, sappy. And no, those do not count as plots."
"I said theoretically."
They both laughed (goodness, there had been a lot of laughter in the short span of this discussion, hadn't there?), and then fell quiet for a momet. Flora's head remained on Luke's shoulder; it was a surprisingly comfortable position for the both of them.
"So what type of story are we in?" Luke asked after a moment.
"I haven't seen any ghosts or monsters, and there aren't any spies except for the Aztec statue," Flora said. "And I don't think there's a murderer on the loose, unless he's upstairs, in which case we should go check on the Professor. That leaves comedy or romance."
"And I don't see any flying pies, and we are both still clean, so..." Luke sighed. "Great."
"Oh, hush!" Flora gave him a swat on the arm.
Luke glanced at her. "Is this a kissing book?"
She stared back at him. "I can't believe you just asked me that. How old are you again?"
Luke responded in an elegant, graceful, and mature manner: he stuck his tongue out at her.
Flora's response was slightly more age appropriate: she rolled her eyes.
"So what would happen if this was a romance story?" Luke asked.
"This is the part where you'd kiss me," she said.
Luke considered this for a moment. "Do you want me to?"
Now it was her turn to think. "...do you want to?" she finally answered.
"I asked you first."
"Again with the five years old thing."
"You're not answering my question."
"You're not answering mine."
After a moment, Flora sighed and leaned her head on his shoulder again, an action which met with no objections. "Mind if I be completely unladylike for a moment? ...because this entire conversation has been so completely appropriate, of course."
It took Luke a moment to realize what she'd said, and it took him a moment longer to remember how to think, breathe, and other such things which were alleged necessities to everyday life. By the time he had once again gathered his wits about him, Flora was sitting up next to him, their shoulders brushing as she watched him uncertainly.
...she was awfully pretty, a fact which Luke had noticed on previous occasions, but never really let himself pay too much attention to. He took a deep breath, swallowed hard to dislodge the lump that had suddenly taken up residence in his throat, and said, "...okay."
There was a pause of awkward proportions before they both shifted to face each other a little more. Taking a cue from some movie he had once watched, Luke lifted a hand and cupped her cheek as they both leaned in for the kill, and...
It was awkward, as most first kisses are. But it didn't stay that way for long. Both pulled back for a moment, looked at each other, and mutually seemed to decide that this was fun and they should go back for more. Plenty more.
Neither noticed the door to the room cracking open just a fraction. Nor did they notice someone peering through said crack into the room to see what was going on in there. The watchful eye studied the scene for a moment. And certainly neither of them noticed when a mouth quirked into a smile of amusement.
He had rather been expecting this for a time. Trusting that the children would behave themselves, the Professor closed the door and went back to bed.
AN: I'm still alive! Honest! This odd little scene was originally going to be in another longer fic I was planning, which sort of fell by the wayside. But I loved the scene, strange as it is, and decided to write it as a stand-alone. What can I say?
Also, this is the start of NaNoWriMo, and this challenge is sort of my main focus (although I will be working on some other things as well). Let's see how far I can get in fifty thousand words! Thanks for reading, all! Much love!