He spends his childhood bitter and alone. They lock up his mom when he’s thirteen, for possession or something he never really figures out completely. It’s not a loss he feels particularly deeply—she gave birth to him, fed him, but she never stuck around long enough for him to know her in any real way. He grew up thinking he was an annoyance to her, some problem she got saddled with because she was young and stupid (and it’s with age that he’ll learn to forgive her, because she was young and stupid, and children never make good parents). So they take her away when he’s thirteen and shuffle him off to an old brick building in the bad part of town with a bunch of other kids.
He lashes out, of course. No one’s surprised. The adults in the house stare at him with sympathetic eyes but they don’t try to stop him. Whispers dog his footsteps—he’s too old to be adopted out, they say, he’ll be here until he’s eighteen.
(maybe, they add even quieter, because Tommy’s story is a dime a dozen, and it’s only the lucky ones who break the cycle)
He gets caught at fourteen smoking cigarettes. At fifteen, he has a mug shot showing off his busted in face and his bleeding smirk and a police report from an officer with graying hair. “Look,” the officer says, “I don’t want to see you here again.”