Jim wanders deeper into the bowels of the cemetery, the heels of his shoes sinking ever so slightly into the rain-softened grass. He's mildly irritated that the dew-clad leaves are trailing moisture up the legs of his trousers, but he presses forward, weaving his way around headstones worn with age and neglect. The lower classes seemed to be particularly lax in their respect for the dead.
He was well aware of his own hypocrisy.
He stopped his ambling walk at one of the more remote grave sites. The owner of it clearly died without much money in their pockets, because it was tucked away in one of the least desirable plots and only marked with the most simplistic of head stones. He smirked at the grave as he dropped a bundle of flowers upon it. Expensive, extravagant, mocking flowers.
It was a vengeance of sorts. One served cold, very cold, because she had been dead for six years before he visited her grave for the first time. It had now become his tradition to leave flowers on beneath the headstone each year, each bouquet more exorbitant than the last.
Jim pulled a hankerchief from his pocket and swiped the filth from the top of the stone before settling his weight upon it. The rock didn't make a particularly comfortable perch, but it was more suitable than sitting in the mud. He then began quietly telling her of the events of the past year, filling her in on everything from bank robberies to car jackings to extortion to murder to bombs to any combination of those elements therein.
He didn't want Mother to be disappointed in her little boy.
Jim sighed and ignored the shrill scream of his mother. He already had the pending lecture mapped out in great detail within his mind; he didn't deem it necessary to actually listen to her latest rant. Instead, he continued to flip carelessly through the paper he had nicked from their neighbor's house. He smirked as he reflected on how distraught they would be to find all their best china shattered on the floor. They would blame it on the cat, as they had the fallen lamps, torn curtains, and scratched up furniture.
He hated that damn cat.
"James, get your arse out here now!"
He tossed the paper aside. Boring. Jim pulled over his sketch pad and began idly doodling across the page. He was currently perfecting his forgery of the prime minister's signature. A useless talent of his in the grand scheme of things, but a rather calming pass time between school days and weekends.
Her lumbering, thumping, agitating footsteps were coming to him now. Jim realized that he couldn't avoid the inevitable and quickly tucked his pad away. No use in angering her further. She was so damn touchy.
"James. Adair. Doyle." Her eyes were lit by fury and alcohol, but he couldn't muster the energy to put up his facade of caring about her wrath. She was so little, so powerless, so completely weak. "You've done it this time, boy." She yanked him up off the bed by clasping his hair in her wiry fingers and dragging him out into the hall. He gave a grunt of pain as he was flung into a wall but otherwise remained mute. "Did you think I wouldn't know? Did you think I wouldn't find out? Answer me, boy!"
His teeth rattled as she shook him, but he didn't cry out, not even as the back of his head slapped into the drywall. The bruise that was forming would only serve to remind him of how clever he had been. It was perfect, really. Gave him tingles in his toes to think of how beautifully executed it had been. Everyone would know it had been him that committed the crime, but no one would be able to prove it. He would slink by as he always did, smirking at their incompetence and ignorance.
"You make me sick! You're disgusting!" She was now screaming directly in front of his face, causing him to scowl and wrinkle his nose at the onslaught of foul, boozy breath and spittle. "You fucking little bastard. You worthless piece of shit. You're a fuck up, a vile...worthless...monster." She punctuated each word with a crack of his skull against the wall. His vision was beginning to turn hazy, and flashes of color were erupting across his eyes, but he refused to black out.
Honestly, he didn't see what the big problem was. Everyone hated Kevin and his flashy new sports car; Jim just hated him more than most. He loved that car, idolized it, but he couldn't have one of his own, not when his mother barely maintained a minimum wage job and spent most of the money on manicures, alcohol, and sweets. And if Jim couldn't have one, then nobody was going to have one. So he filled the gas tank up with a whole bag of sugar in the dead of night. Problem solved.
Then again, his mother probably didn't care about the damage done to the engine of that sleek vehicle. She was likely more upset about him filling the trunk and seat cushions of the car with decomposing animals; she always was so sentimental about pets. Again, he didn't see what the problem was here, either. He most of them had been dead when he found them. Most of them.
He chuckled as he thought of the rank odor that would have so completely permeated the vehicle that it would be undriveable, even if they did replace the engine. He chuckled at the thought of that beautiful car slowly crumbling to rust as it stood untouched in a driveway. At best, they would be able to sell it for a couple thousand pounds. Not likely, though. A Porsche without its luxurious leather seating is hardly a Porsche, after all.
His laughter seemed to have rather upset Mother. She was now shrieking incomprehensible words at him while switching between bashing his head in, smacking him, and throwing him about. Soon, he's tossed into their uncomfortably small loo, his head making one final encounter with the edge of their sink before the door is slammed shut and he hears the familiar screech of a chair being dragged into the hall and propped under the handle. No matter. He's long since replaced the contents of her box of make up with protein bars. He could stay in here for days, if need be. He could also escape, if he wanted, but the outside world was just as dull as the poorly kept bathroom, so he decided not to waste the effort.
He concluded by telling her of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson. Sherlock was a shiny new toy to be manipulated and played with, just one more link in a long chain of people that had briefly garnered his attention, and John was the cattle prod with which Jim tormented the detective. It was such a fun game. He greatly enjoyed telling Mother about the two boys and all their playdates together. He just knew that he'd have lots more to tell her next year.
Jim pushed himself off the headstone carefully, attempting to avoid getting more filth on his suit. He had worn his best, as he always did, to show her just how "worthless" he had become. To bite his thumb at her and her name-calling, her declarations of "fuck up." It was one of the most satisfying days of the year, better than Christmas, really, but it was always tainted by a strange hollowness that stabbed at him in a rather unexpected manner. This feeling would continue for days until he started up his next game.
He glanced down at the grave a final time, smiling tenderly at the name and date etched into the stone. People had pitied him, at first. Becoming an orphan and all that. They didn't realize that seeing his mother's casket being lowered into the grave was one of the happiest moments of his life.
At first, he hadn't meant to hurt the little blonde girl in the frilly dress. Sure, he had tagged her with a bit more force than completely necessary, and, okay, it probably was his fault that she fell down, landing hard on her wrist. But he didn't mean it.
He tried to make her stop crying. He didn't want the teacher to call his mother or father again. They both got so upset. He didn't much like being hit, especially not when they were both yelling and shaking and smacking and pinching. So he shushed her. Then he pressed his finger to her lips. When she was still wailing, he clamped his hand over her mouth. Her eyes grew wide and she tried to scream louder, but he just added a second hand to the layer of sound dampening flesh. He was glad that they were far away from the teacher's bench, so she couldn't see what was going on.
"Hush, Libby! You'll get me in trouble!"
Tears were leaking from her eyes and her face was red, and Jim was beginning to realize that he couldn't hide it indefinitely. He scowled at her, suddenly feeling very cross that she was trying to make his mother and father angry at him. He grabbed her oddly lumpy and swollen wrist in his hand and clutched his fingers tightly around it. She screamed louder, but his other hand was still clasped over her mouth.
"Don't tell the teacher. Don't." He squeezed harder for emphasis. "You were swinging and you fell. I didn't do anything."
Her eyes were blown wide and darting to look anywhere but into her tormentor's face. She tried to respond, but all she managed was a mumble that was stifled by Jim's hand. So she shook her head as vigorously as she could to show that she would comply. Jim gave a satisfied smile and pulled back from her, his hands dropping away and allowing her to begin sobbing in immediately leapt to her feet and began shrieking for the teacher. Shrieking that Jim had hurt her.
Lying little bitch.
Jim never allowed his surveillance to monitor him on this particular day of the year. He knew that his sharp refusals of Moran's services sparked all sorts of sordid rumors as to the nature of this anniversary, but he did not deem any of those rumors worthy of his attention. And if he heard anyone saying something particularly offensive towards himself, he simply had good old loyal Sebastian clean out the ranks a bit. It was a pretty solid system, and he had yet to suffer any backlash from his harsh policies.
The prevailing theory was that today was the anniversary of the day that his lover-since-childhood was brutally murdered by a police officer, thereby sparking his initial strike against the jaded London justice system, and on this day he struck out on his own to murder yet another perpetrator of evil among the LPD. He snorted at the absurdity of these things, but didn't contradict them. And if he ordered Moran to discreetly kill an officer to reinforce this belief, so what? Misleading the troops into believing what they wanted was a proven method of obtaining their loyalty.
Jim strode through the harsher streets of London, mildly disgusted by all the filth and rubbish that brushed around his feet. Eyes peered up at him from hollow sockets, questioning him, beseeching him, cursing him. He ignored them and pressed onward. He was anxious to get back to a main road so he could find a cab. He hated this part of the city, the part that beckoned him back into childhood and memories. It was so easy to forget these things while he was in his cozy, luxurious flat. So easy to pretend he was someone else with an entirely different background. Here, his nose was shoved into the brutal reality of his origins. He was forced to look truth in the eye and shake its hand once again.
His pace quickened as he noticed shadows lurking in an alleyway. They danced at the corner of his vision before he passed them by and they disappeared back into the darkness. Trying to look unconcerned, Jim strode with more purpose towards his destination. It was right around the corner, just out of reach but oh so tantalizingly close.
But not close enough.
Rough hands were upon him, seizing him by his sleeves and dragging him backwards. Jim almost toppled backwards, but he regained his balance as quickly as he could and spun around to meet his attackers. There were four, all rather brutish looking men. Jim's frustration mounted as he noticed that they were all well-armed and muscled. He tried to discreetly slip his hand into his pocket to press the alert button on his phone, the one that would bring Sebastian running with loaded guns to his exact location, but his wrist was viciously grabbed by the man on his right.
"What d'you think you're doing, little man?"
"Just getting my wallet. That is what you want, isn't it?" Jim remained perfectly calm. Fear had little meaning to him.
The thugs looked disappointed that he wasn't fighting or sniveling. Jim supposed that he could put on a show to satisfy their hunger for such, but he'd rather not waste the time drawing up tears. Once he started, it took hours to stop.
"Yeah, your wallet and that fancy suit, too." The largest of the brutes sneered, his gaping mouth revealing receding gums and yellowing teeth. Jim internally cringed at the obvious lack of hygiene, but he did not react outwardly. To do so would just encourage them. He was rather miffed about the suit, though. Buying a new one would hardly dent his funds, but it was terribly inconvenient getting them tailored just the way he liked them.
"Can't I just write you a check for the value of the suit? I'll even throw in a couple extra thousand pounds for your troubles." Cool as a cucumber. Stalling.
"No." Leering down at Jim, the largest one stepped closer. "I think I'd prefer to strip this one off you." His meaty hands lunged for Jim, grasping at his lapels. In a flash, Jim had a knife drawn from his pocket and jammed into the man's shoulder. He stumbled back, pain marring his already ugly features. Jim's victory, however, was short lived as the three others rushed forward and began their assault.
Images and sensations darted in and out of Jim's awareness as he struggled. He knew it was a losing battle, knew that he was essentially helpless, but the thrill of his fist contacting flesh and his knife tearing red seams through clothing was enough to warrant his continued battle. Sure, he could've dropped to the ground and taken whatever they threw at him, but where's the fun in that? Eventually, he was flung to the filthy ground, his head cracking soundly as it snapped into contact with the pavement. His vision danced and wavered erratically, and he realized that he was losing consciousness. He tried to force himself to focus, but he couldn't see or feel beyond the raging pain in his skull.
Then the pain was elsewhere. It was searing hot and ripping at his insides. It was Poe's pendulum and Bond's laser. It was being cut in half and pasted roughly back together.
And for once he felt fear.
"We believe that it's a combination of ADHD and bipolar disorder, but it's hard to tell at such a young age, Mrs. Doyle."
He was calmly coloring in a repetitive, jerky motion at a low, multi-colored table meant just for him. He felt special sitting here. No one else in the room got to sit at the little table with toys and books and paper and paste.
"Is there anything we can do? To help him grow out of it?"
"If it is bipolar disorder, he won't grow out of it. You can teach him to cope better, but he will always have it. Treatments are getting better these days, though. I'm sure that, by the time he's old enough to really be affected by it, we'll have found the right combination of medicine and therapy to help him be a normally functioning individual."
"But what about now? I-he needs help now."
Jim frowned and shook the paste bottle upside down. It was stuck. It was broken. He could fix it.
"You can try and give him activities that will help build his focus. Puzzle books, for example. You could also enroll him in pre-school. It's possible that interacting with more children his age will help reinforce socially acceptable behaviors."
"Isn't there a medication we can try now?"
Jim's fingers worked the scissors into the bottle. White, sticky liquid oozed out, but it wasn't enough. He wanted more. Needed it all out so he could finish his picture. He stabbed the scissors in deeper, hardly noticing as they cut into more than just plastic bottle.
"Putting any child on medication at such a young age is never a good idea. It hinders their development, and it increases the risk of complete dependency on the medicine. It's better to wait until they're older and we can make a more accurate diagnosis. I'll admit that James' behavior isn't exactly normal, but it doesn't warrant such drastic intervention."
"Mother! Lookit!" Jim proudly held his picture up while jerking at the hem of his mother's shirt. "I made it for you!"
He had expected coos of praise and affection, not the stunned silence that followed his arrival. He indignantly looked up at the two women, scowling at their lack of attention. He swiped a bloody and paste-covered hand over his face, not paying attention to the crimson trail he was leaving all over himself. He smacked that same hand onto his mother's leg and shoved the scribbled upon paper into her grasp. "Take it." He then tottered back to his special area to use his finger to paint swirls of pink and red into the mess of paste that had leaked onto the table. He wasn't sure where the red paint came from, but he liked it a lot.
His mother turned back to the doctor, her eyes weary and shoulders slouched. "You were saying?"