Fandom: Professor Layton
Characters: Layton, Flora
Prompt: #8: weeks
Word Count: 1575 words
Author's Notes: I do not own Professor Layton or his Top Hat of Awesome.
Summary: Layton is injured. But he's found his own form of physical therapy.
It was a ridiculous mistake, just a momentary lapse in concentration. But it was enough that Layton's foot went out from under him, sending him tumbling down the stairs. As the floor at the bottom of the staircase had rushed up to meet him, Layton had instinctively reached out to try and slow his fall and cushion the landing.
He realized what a big mistake that was when his hand hit the hardwood floor, only to be followed by the rest of his body. He heard a snap that was probably not as loud as it sounded in his ears, and then he was left to stare dazedly at his arm. An arm that was bent at an angle that was definitely not natural, and oh good heavens what had just happened…
Between pain and a small amount of confusion at what had just happened (how had he gotten down here when he had been halfway up the stairs a few seconds ago?), Layton's head felt a bit fuzzy. But he had to swim his way out of the fog because Luke and Flora appeared, asking what the noise and the shout had been about - had he shouted? So he had to calm the children down and get them to summon help, because he was in no fit state to drive.
A trip to the hospital later, his suspicion was confirmed when they told him that his arm was broken; he was surprised, however, to be told that it was actually broken in three places, two complete breaks and one hairline fracture. And a short time later, his arm was encased in a bulky white cast. According to the doctor, he would need to get used to that cast, because he was going to be wearing it for several weeks.
Once they had calmed down and been assured that their beloved professor was, in fact, not going to die from his unplanned and slightly violent trip down the stairs, Luke and Flora immediately demanded that they be allowed to decorate his cast. After some begging and pleading on their part, he acquiesced. After all, it was nicer to look at than the plain stark white. The result was extremely colorful, of questionable artistic merit, and led him to have a few staring contests with the lopsided purple kitten that now graced his wrist.
Ultimately, what felt like many weeks later, the bones had finally knitted back together and the cast came off. And Layton's arm lay there, looking limp and pale and not at all like it normally did, like it was supposed to. The doctor urged him to find something to do that, while not too strenuous, would require motion to increase muscle strength and restore dexterity and flexibility in his fingers, hand, and arm.
It was ultimately Flora who gave him the answer. He came in two days after the cast had been removed, cradling his injured arm in his uninjured one, contemplating what to do, and found her sitting in the study, a pair of knitting needles in her hands. When he asked, she smiled and said that it was something that Ingrid had taught her back in St. Mystere, long before she and the professor had met. It was something she liked to do now and then; she found it relaxing, even if she wasn't actually making anything.
Curious, Layton sat down beside Flora and watched for a moment as she worked. The needles moved quickly in her hands, flitting in and out, circling around each other in a pattern that was almost too quick for his eyes to follow (Flora was clearly an old hand at this, as her movements were quick, sure, and steady, her eyes barely ever glancing down towards what she was doing). With each movement, each twitch of her needles and each turn of her hands, the fabric she was coaxing from the ball of yarn in her lap grew longer.
After a moment of this, Layton glanced down at his newly healed arm, and remembered the doctor's words of suggestion - something to increase dexterity and flexibility. After a moment, he made his decision, and asked Flora if she had more yarn and a spare set of needles, and perhaps a bit of time to show him how it was done. After all, he said with a conspiratorial wink, a gentleman was always eager to learn new skills.
Flora looked delighted to be able to teach him something, for a change, and she quickly retrieved a second set of needles and another ball of yarn from the bag beside her chair.
Knitting was nowhere near as difficult as he had anticipated it might be. It was really a matter of using the needles to pull loops of yarn through other loops of yarn, shifting them from one needle to the other. There were only two main stitches (knit and purl), and according to Flora, nearly everything else was a variation of some kind on those two stitches. He had more difficulty with getting the yarn on the needle to actually start - the yarn kept getting twisted up. Flora called that step "casting on."
Layton called it ridiculous. Though he didn't actually say it out loud.
Still, he was a patient man by nature, and finally everything slotted into place. They ended up spending the entire afternoon seated together in the study, having a cup of tea and working. Their quiet conversation was punctuated by the soft clicking of knitting needles.
At first, Layton had difficulty holding the needles at all. His hand was not nearly as strong as it had been before its stint in a cast, and so he focused more on gripping the needle and making his fingers guide the yarn where it needed to go. But surprisingly, each time he picked the needles up, it got a bit easier to hold on and control the work in his hands.
The family fell into a bit of a routine. Layton still taught and worked, while Luke and Flora attended school and did all of the normal things that children their age did. In the evenings, though, when the remnants of dinner had been cleared away and the last homework problem had been worked through, they would gather in the study. Luke would read - he had recently discovered a new series of books (something about a series of troublesome events by an author named Orangey or some such thing?), and was devouring them at a breakneck pace. Or sometimes he would read aloud for the benefit of his comrades. And Layton and Flora would knit.
It was a time that they all quickly grew to look forward to.
Luke had looked surprised at his mentor's new hobby, but he was all for anything that would get the Professor's arm back to normal. Even if he personally had no interest in learning and not-so-privately thought that it was unmanly. Layton had smiled ruefully and shaken his head. Luke was growing up fast, but he still had a great deal to learn. Ah well, all things in due time.
A few weeks after that fateful afternoon when a unique form of physical therapy had landed in an unsuspecting professor's lap, Layton reported to his doctor for a check-up. The doctor was both pleased and surprised at his progress, and demanded to know what he had done to regain the use of his hand so fast. His expression at the Professor's reply ("My dear Flora taught me to knit. I've gotten quite skilled at it.") was not quite dumbfounded, but he did smile and say that he might start recommending that to other patients in similar situations.
It was with that declaration that Layton was given a clean bill of health and declared fully healed.
Immediately afterwards, he was pleased to present both Luke and Flora with hand-knitted scarves, the fruits of his rehabilitation. Flora immediately declared the yellow and brown creation her favorite, while Luke just wrapped his own blue and brown striped scarf around his neck and grinned his thanks.
All in all, a successful recovery.
AN: Why yes, I am alive!
I actually do knit (and also quilt), and it really is as easy as described once you get the hang of it. Casting on actually is the toughest part. It's very relaxing - I don't even have to look at my hands anymore while I do it. Nice to do while I watch TV. I'm the kind of person who ALWAYS has to have something in my hands.
Also, I did fall down the stairs quite some time ago in more or less EXACTLY the way described here. I was carrying a laundry basket, and thought I was at the bottom when I…wasn't. And my thoughts were exactly what Layton thought: "…I was up there a second ago. How did I get down here?" I didn't break anything, though - just sprained my foot really badly. Walking was fun for a few weeks.
Thanks for reading! Much love!