Written for Lewis_Challenge episode related fic.
Warnings: Death of a sibling, possible loss of faith.
Disclaimer: I do not own Lewis or any of its characters, and I do not hold or endorse any of the
Hathaway hated psychics. He always had. They preyed on the vulnerable and every one he had ever met reinforced his view.
Ursula Vantessel had made Lewis freeze when she'd started talking about his wife. No doubt she thought she was doing good...but the evidence to the contrary was plain on Lewis' face.
James had enough trouble being irritated with these people when they exploited members of the public that he didn't even know. But when it was someone he did know, someone he cared about...it made him furious. Even when they conned someone that he didn't care much about, even when they conned him.
He'd been twelve when his Mum had told him. He'd been looking at a photo album, and a seemingly over exposed photo had slipped out of the cover. At first he'd thought it was a negative. He hadn't been far wrong.
"Mum, is this me?" He'd asked, as he handed over the ultrasound scan. James' mum had sighed and sat him down at the dining room table.
He'd learned all about her. His older sister. Isabella, her name had been. She would have been eight years older than him, had she lived past the age of one. His Mum didn't volunteer what had killed her, and he didn't dare ask.
He'd wondered since, what it'd have been like t have an older sister. Would she have been quiet and studious like he was? Would she have been loud, brazen and protective? Would she have defended him when the boys at school mocked him for being the son of an estate manager, rather than the heir to an estate?
He knew that he'd never get these answers, that he'd never know what she would have been like. He'd never know whether she'd have helped him with his homework, or read him bedtime stories, or listened to his make believe tales of dragons and knights.
James wasn't a stupid child. He went to church and he read the bible. He didn't believe in ghosts. Father Thomas said that it was fanciful and wrong.
When he'd left the seminary though, every belief he'd ever had, was been turned on its head. He'd wished more than anything that he had a big sister to talk to, to ask advice of. He was certain that Isabella would have given him amazing advice, when he was a kid. As he got older, he found himself talking to her when he felt alone. He never expected an answer, indeed he'd have freaked out if he'd ever got one.
A slightly drink addled mind after he'd been chucked out of the one placed he'd felt safe, had decided that if the church was wrong about Will, then Father Thomas was wrong about ghosts. The morning after, head pounding with a hangover, he'd gone to a psychic.
It had started well...The man had given the right name, correctly told him that Isabella was his sister and even managed to give the year that she'd died. But that was where it ended. The psychic (James can't even remember his name now), had started to talk about her favourite toys, and the things that she did when she was eight. James had sat there, frozen, consumed by anger and fresh grief, unable to tell the man that he was wrong. He sat in the chair for a full ten minutes, listening to this...worm, tell him all these lies about the big sister he never met. Telling him all about this eight year old girl that couldn't be Isabella. Couldn't be Isabella because
"SHE DIED WHEN SHE WAS ONE YOU BASTARD!"
James doesn't remember much else about the confrontation. He can still see the upturned table and the look of fear on the psychic's face. His expression hadn't looked too different from Randolph James'. Only this man's had cleared up after a few seconds. He'd seen that much as he stormed out of the door, slamming it behind him.
"Just think, if you hadn't made it, I might have had to go and see a psychic."
"Would have been a one sided conversation."
He's grateful to Lewis, for letting them stay there a little longer. The inspector could easily have badgered him to get up, tried to distract him with work. Robbie wasn't like that though.
They get back to the station and he sits down at his desk heavily.
"You're into all that stuff...the afterlife, heaven and hell and all that."
"All that 'mumbo-jumbo' sir... Is this going anywhere?"
"I apologised for that." Robbie shifts in his seat and then cocks a questioning head at Hathaway. "What do you have against mediums James? What gets your hackles up about them so much." James sighs.
"Bad experience sir." He says quietly, turning to his computer screen. When Lewis answers, there's no mockery in it.
"You went to see a psychic?" Another sigh, he doesn't know how to start. The grief for the sibling that he never knew has always been there, stronger now that he's older and can fully appreciate the loss.
"...Her name was Isabella sir..."