Chapter 1: Fair Of Face
“Monday’s child is fair of face…”
James Moriarty has always been two things: startlingly beautiful and startlingly cruel. As a child he had always been a strange, fey, unpredictable thing. He had often stood beside his parents’ bedroom door and listened to his hysterical mother sobbing into his father’s shoulder and wondering where she went wrong, before creeping away silently to ponder what exactly she thought was wrong about him. After all, Father loved him. Father never said that he was wrong. Father encouraged little Jim, helping him read the old chemistry, mathematics and medicine books that lined the shelves in his study.
Father’s study was his favorite place in the entire house.
Nana also encouraged him. She loved telling him stories from the Old Times, when Ireland was full of magic and danger. She told him to always be wary. That to deal with the Fair Folk was like selling your soul. She told him you had to be extremely clever to outwit a Fae and they would play at it until Nana was satisfied with her Jimmy’s ability to bend the truth until it nearly broke, but no further. She taught him to see the loopholes in everything, how you could subvert the laws until they were more like suggestions.
He loved spending time with Nana Moriarty.
Mother was always very distant to him. It made him dislike her, especially when she forced him into school. Nana and Mother got into a huge fight about that. Nana said that public schools weren’t to be trusted, that bullies were everywhere, and her Jimmy was too special and sensitive to be exposed to something so plebian. Mother had snorted, tossed her lovely dark hair and said that since James was her son, she would make the decisions about his schooling. He noticed that she had waited until Father was out of the country before making this pronouncement. He then wondered if she’d organized the trip, too, seeing as it was a week until school started and Father was scheduled to be gone for two.
He wondered if that skill for manipulation was hereditary and went to school. James quickly decided that it was one of the most hellish things ever invented. He was expected to interact with children his own age and god, they were dull. He was also on the young side, six years old; quiet and intelligent, skinny and short and pretty.
He grew to hate his prettiness. It made him a target more than the rest of the perceived negative qualities combined. It festered within him, until he’d had enough. His old Irish ancestors had called the Fae the Fair Folk out of fear, to flatter the unknown in hopes of leniency. To be beautiful was to be a curse, for surely the Fae would steal you. He decided that the Fae had.
Beauty was capricious and cruel. Beauty was to be feared, and he would make it that way once again. He would be like an ancient Fae, the ones who ruled Fairyland and could not step outside its borders, only his domain was of the humans.
They would rue the day they created him.
James poisoned Carl Powers.
It was fun.
Watching him in the pool, having a fit, being dead by the time they got him out. It was beautiful. He stayed for as long as he could, expression one of carefully wrought shock, before scurrying away to remove his shoes, hands carefully gloved. He decided to keep them – not only to hide his tracks, but because it reminded him of the cold, heady thrill. Later on he saw another boy, telling the police to look for the shoes and getting ignored. He was another beautiful boy, and James had the brief thought to go talk to the boy. He seemed actually interesting. However an older boy showed up and dragged him off, berating Sherlock Holmes in low tones.
James made a note of that name.
Mother left them when he got back. He’d long suspected she’d known something about how his mind worked of late. Father made no attempt to win her back. If she wanted to leave, she was free to. Father had gotten what he’d wanted out of that relationship – Jim. Nana was thrilled, and immediately moved in with them and pulled him out of school. He was home schooled for the rest of his lower schooling, but he insisted on going to tenth form, easing his way in and causing subtle mayhem wherever he went.
He went to university, even though he decided it was terminally boring. Then he insinuated his way into his father’s more shady business practices, and found he was useful. Invaluable. Father loved him even more.
Then Nana died. Jimmy was stricken. James had to pull himself together, and Jim was a little heartbroken.
And then he got worse than ever.
Even Father began to get a little worried for his precious Jim. Jim just patted his hand and smiled brightly. Soon his father retired and went out to live in the family home in Ireland, and James inherited the business.
It was fun, his little empire. And then he found the boy.
“We’re going to have so much fun together, you and I.”
Chapter 2: Full of Grace
So Mycroft was being a stroppy little bitch, as was my schoolwork. That's my excuse.
“Tuesday’s child is full of grace…”
Mycroft Holmes has always been possessed of grace under fire. As lesser men have been known to say, he keeps his shit together spectacularly. He rarely loses his cool and most of the incidents wherein he has, have been tracked down to something that his brother has done. Mummy was always impressed with the level of calm he displayed even dealing with a brother seven years younger than he.
Really, when he was thirteen and Sherlock six, he'd absolutely doted on the boy, so bright and eager to learn. Sherlock had equally adored him with all the simple love of a small boy for his much older brother. That was before Sherlock turned into a sulky teenager and Mycroft went off to uni. Sherlock always acted as if Mycroft had betrayed him and to be honest, Mycroft sometimes wishes he'd visited more. The bullying situation Sherlock had undergone had, to all accounts, been awful.
It also hadn’t helped that, when Sherlock was twelve and Mycroft nineteen, their father died. That made Sherlock worse than ever – Father, St. John Holmes, had been the calming influence in the family since Mycroft had left. Mummy, Esmerelda Terrell-Holmes, was not the calmest of personalities, given to an eccentricity that she had passed on to Sherlock. Mycroft had been new to his rather tenuous position in the government and he hadn’t had much time to take off for his family. (Sometimes he thinks that he really should have insisted that they move to London, instead of staying out in Sussex.)
It had been a personal blow to Mycroft as well as Mummy and Sherlock. He had grown up idolizing his father. (When Sherlock was little, he’d wanted to be a pirate. When Mycroft had been little he’d solemnly told his father one day that he wanted to be Father when he grew up.)
This grace has helped him through his rise in the ranks of the government admirably. Everyone has always remarked favorably about it, taking things completely in stride and implementing whatever contingency plan he has already had in place. (Having such a troublesome younger brother has taught him to prepare for every situation, no matter how strange.)
Social graces are something that Sherlock has never quite grasped (or wanted to grasp), but Mycroft can be quite adept at them. If the situation calls for it. If not, he is quite content to act as he sees fit. There is another sort of grace to Mycroft, one honed by years of careful instruction and example by his parents. He can be as sedate as a house-cat one moment and dangerous as a leopard the next. The grace with which he slips into either role has given him the advantage many times, throwing people so badly off-balance that they slip up, revealing things they meant to keep concealed. This is the grace of a predator, plain and simple.
He is a mannered and well-bred predator, however. Leave the madness and running about to dear Sherlock, he likes it better anyway.