==Cry for the Devil==

"Look at you. You are as weak as a woman, as weak as your mother. You should have been a daughter rather than a son."

He would take the hateful words in silence, not daring to open his mouth lest all his anger spill forth. Father had beaten him before, just as he beat Mother. He would not allow Father the chance.

"Would that your brother have been my firstborn. Would that you had not been given my name."

His father was a proud, blustery man of a family with a long history with the army, and his brother would take that path someday.

He would not.

He was a scholar, not a soldier.

He kept silent. Someday, he would speak, but not now. The one thing that his father had taught him was the virtue of patience.

Mother lay in a pool of her own blood, unmoving. He touched her skin—it was cold, lifeless, and he turned on the man who dared call him "son," eyes blazing. "She is dead," he said in a voice so cold that he scarcely recognized it as his own.

"It was an accident. She was a fool."

He thought Father almost sounded panicked, almost sounded remorseful. But what good did either emotion do a man when he had killed his own wife?

He had always hated Father, but he had never hated so much in his life. He rose to his feet, fully at a height with the older man. "Someday, I will stand over your grave and laugh."

What a dismal London day. As dismal as the tombstone before him, as dismal as the sad life of the man who had met his end so suddenly by the blade of a knife.

"I said," he murmured, "that I would stand over your grave and laugh."

And he began to. A bitter, increasingly shrill sound in his own ears, but he laughed and laughed and did not stop even as the rain began to fall at last…

He almost felt as though he could cry, but he had no tears for his father and no tears for himself. Not any longer. There was an emptiness in his chest. The last remnant of warmth in his heart had dissipated upon the death of his mother, and he had nothing left.

Resolving that he would not laugh again, either, he turned away from the tombstone that read James Louis Robert Moriarty, Born 1798, Died 1845.

Author's Note:

Born out of current family turmoil. Sometimes, you can be completely right to hate a parent, and, sometimes, you can take that hatred too far.

Sadly, this is a pretty realistic scenario for the Professor's early years. Certainly, an eldest son in a military family who tended towards "bookish" would not be viewed favorably, and abusive, high-status parents have existed in every era. In Moriarty's case, such a childhood would be treading on the serpent that will one day grow to bite back.

This story isn't as good as I'd meant it to be, but when I first had the idea, it was at a time when I couldn't write it down. Go figure. So here it is in its imperfection…

One last note: the title is from TV Tropes.