Author's Notes: Well, here's a oneshot about Teatime's childhood. I was sitting on the couch one day and thought 'Wouldn't it be fun to write about the poor woman unfortunate enough to be Teatime's mother?', and this came out of it. Read, enjoy, and REVIEW!
A Series of Unnerving Events
Sarah often saw mothers with ugly children. Half-ogre-ugly children. Disfigured children, with humps and no arms and mutant feet. Sarah saw them often, and as she glanced at her beautiful, curly haired boy she sighed with jealousy.
Sarah often heard rude children. Insolent-little-brat-rude children. Wild children, who were disobedient and never said 'please' or 'thank you'. Sarah heard them screaming often, and as she glanced at her eloquent, ever-polite child she nearly cried with envy.
Sarah often smelled dirty children. Super-muddy-scabbed-up-bloody children. Smelly, frayed, messy children who never cleaned up after themselves and walked around with three-inch holes in their trousers. Sarah smelled them often, and though her beautiful, polite little boy grew as dirty as the rest of them, he was clean as a whistle in ten seconds flat (she really wasn't exaggerating). As she sniffed her child's sweet smelling hair in their warm embrace, she nearly screamed with want for another.
Sarah needed Jack back. Her dear, darling Jack who held her hand and brought her flowers. Her son brought her flowers, and other things too (she really didn't know how he got them, which was part of the problem), but it wasn't the same. Jack hadn't wanted a child. He'd wanted just the two of them to go touring the disc, and Sarah, upon reflection, wished that she had listened to him.
But she hadn't. She'd had a little boy, who Jack had never liked, and the two had declared war on one another from the start. Sarah had finally convinced her husband to try to make amends with the child on his fifth birthday, and the two had gone on a picnic by the cliff their house was on the edge of.
"Yes, Mommy. Jack and I are going to have so much... fun together," her son had said with a charming smile. He had always refused to call his father anything but his name, and spoke with the grace of someone four times his age.
Jack had kissed his wife goodbye warmly, and it was the last goodbye kiss she'd ever gotten.
"Jack fell off the cliff," her son had said with a sweet smile as he came back inside an hour or two later.
Sarah remembered crying and holding her little boy when she'd seen Jack's smashed up body among the rocks. She clearly remembered her child comforting her, telling her it was alright. But he hadn't shed a single tear, and the more Sarah thought about it, the more unnerved she felt.
Then there were the other school children. She clearly remembered him coming home from his first day of school, with a black eye, a bloody lip, and a cheerful smile.
"Darling?" she'd gasped. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine. But the other children wouldn't let me get any work done. It was terribly... irritating."
"The other children did this to you – ?" Sarah shook her head vigorously, anger welling up inside her. How dare anyone harm her child?! "I'm going to go talk to the teachers. Then we're going to find a doctor, I'll hunt down their parents, get them grounded for life – "
"Don't worry, Mommy. Just give me another day." He smiled brilliantly. "Everything's going to be just fine."
Whenever Sarah came to visit his class after that she would find her son in a corner, all by himself, happily doing his work while everyone else cowered around him - even the teacher seemed unsettled. She never knew exactly what had happened.
Her little boy would disappear now and then. He'd be gone in a flash and come back all messy. Sarah could never get him to tell her where he'd been.
"I can take care of myself, Mommy. You don't have to worry."
It wasn't just him she'd been worried about.
One day Sarah had gotten herself a cat to keep her company while her son was at school. It had been a very pretty cat, and would sit on her lap and purr often. Her little boy had taken a disliking to the cat right away, and it had been a war between them both as much as it had been a war between Sarah's son and husband. The cat had chewed up her child's homework one day, and she clearly remembered the smell of burning flesh the next morning. She also remembered the blisters covering his hands.
"What happened to you?" Sarah had asked as she gazed at his mutated, red-raw fingers.
"I burned myself. I think your cat ran away," her son had replied cheerfully before skipping out the door.
She'd never found her cat.
Sarah shivered, remembering her child's life. She trembled when she thought of her son. She was afraid of him, repulsed by him. No mother should ever feel that way about her child – ever. She was an inexcusably cruel and evil woman who should be blotted from the disc, and she couldn't live like this anymore. She couldn't live watching over her shoulder, ignoring her son's eeriness and feeling so horribly about her own flesh and blood.
God, she missed Jack.
Sarah pulled back from her sons embrace and held his face in her hands.
"Mommy's going to go away, now, baby," she explained seriously. "You're going to have to take this letter to a man called Lord Downy; he's an old friend of mine."
He shook his head.
"But I don't want to be all alone, Mommy," he said, slight twinges of disappointment filling his voice. "You're the only friend I have."
"Darling, you're smart, aren't, you?" He nodded. There was no denying that. "And you can take care of yourself, can't you?" He nodded again. "I need you to be brave, baby. You can make new friends. I'm going to go, and you're going to stay. Maybe we'll see each other again some day; I don't really know how all that works. But for now, you're on your own."
Perhaps that term didn't exactly fit for this particular child, but old habits die hard.
"Can I have your name?"
"I don't want Jack's last name."
"Is there something wrong with him? You should carry his name on and be proud of it. You should pass it down the line and keep it alive."
Sarah was very old-fashioned.
"I want to carry yours."
"If you want it," Sarah answered in resignation.
"Thank you," he beamed. He was so polite. Sarah sighed with envy for all those mothers whose children were terribly rude as she stood to her feet, then felt like a wicked, wicked woman who never should have been born after thinking the thought.
She glanced over the edge of the cliff before her then back at her smiling son. He was so beautiful, so polite, so smart, so intelligent, and so unnervingly terrible. She really did love him, and she supposed that if he was capable of such an emotion, he loved her too. But she couldn't take it – the worry, the confusion, the eeriness. He deserved better, and she didn't deserve to live.
"Goodbye, darling," Sarah sighed. "I want you to know, if you should ever wonder, that it's not your fault." She was lying, but he didn't have to know that.
Jonathan Teatime (used-to-be Arnold) smiled and waved as his mother jumped off a cliff.