Looking back at the incident afterwards, Sherlock realised in hindsight that he was foolish to have risen to the bait. He reacted too quickly and violently to this kind of thing. It was his downfall; his short-temper and characteristic deductions often pushed people away. However, this wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Alone is what I have, he thought, resolutely. Alone protects me. He had built up his bubble of solitude over the years, until he had completed his impregnable mind-palace, an invaluable resource for one so... so unique and intellectually gifted. This was not an isolated incident, though. Sherlock did not make a habit of recalling the past, things that had already happened and could not be changed, but on this occasion, he found himself almost reliving the memory, looking in on the action as an outsider, buried deep inside his mind-palace.
The gaggle of young adults, not quite men, but not quite boys, gathered around their leader, a slim, but strong lad who had popularity on his side. He was holding a skinny, curly haired youth, about twice his height and half his weight, against the rough bark of the oak tree, surrounded by swathes of luscious green grass, a rarity here in London. The group were giggling like little girls, and sending loud jeers towards the captive. Their leader's Irish accent could be heard amongst the insults.
The boy in question ignored all these comments, deigning any reply, dismissing the taunts like water off the wings of a ridiculed moth. He had to bite his tongue though. It was taking all of his will power to stop himself answering back. With his sharp tongue and even sharper mind, it would only earn him a bruise or two, from past experience.
A young woman stepped up to join the dark haired boy who's murky eyes gleamed with triumph at the power he held over his prisoner. She looked disdainfully at the bedraggled boy who bore the brunt of the insults.
“Ah, Miss Adler. Come to join the fun?”
“Eloquent as ever, Jim. What's the weasel done now?” Her voice was sharp, but seductively soft at the same time. Her dark hair was pulled back into an elaborate twist that complemented her smart attire. Kings College had only recently started accepting girls into its ranks, and then only from wealthy families. Irene Adler was one of these ‘lucky’ ones. However, her shrewd mind, sharp wit and scathing tongue had proved more than a match for any boy who dared use her gender against her.
James ‘Jim’ Moriarty was the perfect partner for her. He, for want of a better word, was a genius. His aptitude for learning was astounding. However, he found college life incredibly boring. Talent such as Jim's was wasted on arithmetic and history. His area of interest lay more within the extreme ends of science. Taking psychology higher - the pain thresholds of different specimens; how to take a person apart, then rebuild them for your own purposes; criminology, from the perspective of the criminal. His teachers found him a little disturbing, but Irene understood him. His need for power, that condescending attitude that put him above normal people. He tolerated his classmates, treating them with the disdain appropriate for someone of his intellect, only because that's the frailty of genius: it needs an audience. His intellect was far superior to any the College had ever seen. Superior, except for Sherlock Holmes.
There is no one word in the English language that describes Sherlock Holmes. He was an intellectual prodigy, not just within the academic spectrum. His area of expertise lay in his quick thinking and talent for spotting details that normal people missed. He could dissect a person with just one glance; metaphorically, not physically. Lay bare their past, their secrets, hopes and desires, all in the space of a few seconds. He was immensely clever, but found the college subjects trivial and tedious. Why they had to learn about who the Prime Minister was was beyond him, especially since the current Prime Minister, William Gladstone, was not noteworthy in the slightest. Sherlock had heard him mentioned as G.O.M - Grand Old Man - or, according to former Prime Minister Disraeli, God's Only Mistake. But whatever he was called, the fact stood - it was an irrelevant topic to be taught in schools. Sherlock could say what someone had had for breakfast with one look at their hair, and what they were going to have for dinner with a fleeting glance at their hands. However, he put his unique skills to a better use than useless, easy deductions. He fancied himself rather the detective of the school, solving puzzles that bewildered even the highest professor. Nevertheless, the petty problems of schoolboys could not keep him occupied for long. That's why he was rarely at school on time, engrossed in the intricacy of the real world. This brought him back to the matter at hand. His unusual abilities, and general cold-heartedness earned him few friends and many enemies. He put it down to jealousy, in most cases, but with Moriarty, it was pure, mutual hatred. Hatred for the boy who was so similar, yet so different.
The captive boy twisted suddenly, while Jim was otherwise occupied flirting with Miss Adler. Really, he thought, the way those two go on. It's disgustingly obvious to everyone but themselves. In a heartbeat, he had reversed their positions, one hand held effortlessly round the shorter boy's collar. He may not look it, but this tall, anomalous, eccentric boy held a fierce strength within him.
"I am no weasel. I am you. Prepared to do anything. Prepared to burn. Prepared to do what ordinary people won't do. You want me to shake hands with you in hell, I shall not disappoint you."