Fandom: Professor Layton
Word Count: 1,572
Disclaimer: I do not own Layton or his Top Hat of Awesome.
Summary: First chapter can be found here. With Luke and Flora's safety on the line, the final showdown comes.
"Luke, do you hear that?" Flora said in a whisper. It had taken a bit of maneuvering, given that Luke's injuries were making it difficult for him to move, but they had managed to get each other loose. She was pushing the ropes from her ankles and helping Luke to do the same.
Luke's eyes were glazed in pain, his face completely drained of color. He glanced towards the door. Indeed, there were loud noises from outside. Sounds of men yelling, crashes, swearing. It was a far cry from the silence of the last several hours. What was going on? Flora huddled close to Luke, their eyes glued on the door, waiting and sensing that finally, something was happening…
The door flew open with a bang, and a man rushed in. He had a knife in one hand, and a wild look in his eyes. He dove at them. Luke was closer. Before Flora could even react, the man had grabbed Luke by the arm and hauled him to his feet, ignoring the young man's cry of pain as he dragged him from the room. Flora tried to grab after him, but the man whirled around and swung his free, knife-wielding hand at her. The blow caught her squarely in the side of the head, knocking her down and stunning her momentarily. While sparks danced in front of her eyes, the man pulled Luke from the room.
A moment later, a thunder of footsteps charged into the room. She let out a tiny cry as a cacophony of voices infiltrated her now-aching head, and another cry as rough hands pulled her from the ground. She was swept, quite literally, off her feet into a pair of strong arms. Still trying to clear her eyes from the blow, Flora did the only thing she could: she wrapped her arms around her bearer's neck and held on for dear life.
And then there was a loud bang and there were lights in her eyes, setting the war-drums pounding inside her head once again. But through eyes that were rapidly filling with tears, she saw a blessedly familiar face watching from the crowd. "PROFESSOR!" she heard herself yell, and then she was pushing at the person carrying her in a desperate attempt to get free and get to the safety of her guardian's presence.
Her rescuer obligingly released her, setting her feet on the ground so she could run across the short distance and fling herself into Professor Layton's waiting arms. She was babbling, terrified and hurting, and Professor she didn't know where they had taken Luke they had hurt Luke and then a man had taken him away and…
There was a loud yell behind her, and she turned, squinting through the light to see the source of it.
Her heart stopped.
Seeing Flora running towards him, terrified and crying but seemingly otherwise unharmed, made Layton let out a breath he hadn't even realized that he'd been holding. He opened his arms and she ran straight into the safety they offered. That was one of his children safe and sound.
A moment later, Luke appeared as well.
The scene before him was like something out of Layton's nightmares.
Luke was there, indeed, but he wasn't alone. There was a man there, a man Layton had never seen before. He had one arm looped tightly around Luke's shoulders, keeping the young man pressed against him. His other hand held a knife, pointedly at Luke's chin. There was no mistaking the madness in his eyes, either.
And Luke. Luke, who seemed to be barely keeping on his feet. Luke, whose face was the same pasty white color as Flora's last cooking experiment. Luke, who was staring at him with unmasked terror.
And the man was shouting demands - to be released, no one had better stop him, don't force him to hurt the kid because he would do it.
Layton stood, frozen by an uncharacteristic fog of indecision. What could he do?
Luke chose that moment to shift in the man's hold. The man responded by giving the boy a sharp jerk. "Keep still, brat!" he rumbled. "You'll do as I say if you want to live."
Luke gasped at the sudden movement. And as Layton stared at him (for his attention was solely on Luke and not on the madman threatening him), he saw Luke's eyes widen, and a strange look came into them. His breath seemed to catch, and a number of expressions flickered across his features, each one different from the last.
What was happening?
"You'll do as I say if you want to live."
They said that to him at least once a day. Not that he hadn't already gathered that much from simple circumstances. He had nowhere to go. Doing as he was told seemed to be in his best interests. So he nodded and stayed quiet, watching and waiting and noting things and biding his time.
They quickly came to the conclusion that he was stupid. He should have been insulted, but as long as they were convinced that he was a fool, he was safe. And sooner or later there would be an opportunity.
He just had to watch, and wait.
Luke lifted his head and stared at the crowd, his eyes narrowing in on two people. A girl in a pink dress, and the man in the brown suit. He met Layton's eyes, and for a moment the entire rest of the world ceased to exist. Something passed between them in that moment.
"Professor…" Luke said softly, knowing the man in the hat would hear him. Then he made his choice.
He was tired of this. He was tired of being a victim. And he was done with it.
Taking as deep a breath as his ribs would allow, he grabbed his attacker's arm - the hand holding the knife - and began to struggle.
He was smaller and weaker than his assailant, but he had both the element of surprise and the element of desperation on his side, and that worked to his advantage. The man fought back, screaming obscenities as he tried to keep a grip on the knife.
The struggle for the knife felt like it lasted hours, but in reality it was only a matter of seconds. And it ended when Luke suddenly arched and let himself fall backwards. His attacker, startled by the move, fell with him. Luke jerked his hand away and flung his arm in a wide arch…
And the knife bounced across the pavement.
In a moment of utter desperation, an injured Luke had managed to disarm his attacker.
Realizing what had happened, the kidnapper grabbed at Luke's throat and began to choke the boy. But he didn't get very far in that endeavor. There was a flurry of movement as police began running forward to apprehend their final suspect and rescue the second victim. But to the absolute shock of everyone present, someone else got to the kidnapper first.
A slender hand grabbed the man by the hair and pulled his head back. And before he realized who it was or what was happening, Flora Reinhold hauled back and punched the man squarely across the jaw, hard enough to knock him off Luke and flat to the pavement.
She stepped back, shaking the hand she had used to strike the man as though it hurt. Her eyes were blazing with anger and tears. And then she fell to her knees at Luke's side, trying to help him sit up as Layton reached them and the police reached the kidnapper.
There were medical personnel trying to get at Luke and Flora to see that they were all right, but they were having difficulty gaining access to the children. Both Luke and Flora were too busy clinging to Professor Layton, who was holding onto them just as tightly.
There was still much work to be done. Testimony to be taken, medical treatment to be received, evidence to be gathered. But that could wait just a few more minutes in favor of the more pressing matter of reassurance. For the moment, they were all together again.
For the moment, they were safe.
PS. That part with Flora being a BAMF and socking that guy in the jaw? Yeah. THAT was the part I debated over for ages before deciding to go the badass route and let her be awesome. I mean, why not? But anyway, I think there will be two more chapters before we put this story to rest. Hope you enjoyed. Thanks for reading! Much love!