James Hargrave is one of Rivet City's few kids. He doesn't spend any more time in the cramped quarters than he has to and can usually be found in the company of his friend C.J. Young. The two of them like to play in the storage rooms or hang around on the flight deck. James is alternately sullen and wild. He will do just about anything on a dare. He is capable of holding a grudge for months. He is loyal to C.J. but picks on her mercilessly. The two don't have many other options for playmates, so C.J. tolerates the abuse. On the rare occasions when C.J. stands up for herself, James is devastated and will do anything to earn her forgiveness.
James has a reputation for being an abused child and a surly troublemaker among the citizens of Rivet City. His alcoholic mother, Tammy Hargrave, presumes that his father is dead. She tells the player that James's dad simply left the city one day and never returned. She blames James for his father abandoning them.
If you engage James in conversation and bring up the issue about his alcoholic mother, he gets angry. This leads to an option for you to goad James into running away from home (uses Speech skill). If successful he runs away with C.J. Young. This brings negative Karma. They can later be found at Anacostia Crossing station. After finding them, they can be lead right back to Rivet City for positive Karma.
Players with the Child at Heart perk can ask James to steal ammunition for them. He will give the player a random amount of ammunition of a random type once every 12 hours. There is no Karma penalty.
James has the extremely rare gum drops item in his inventory.
James seems to share his mother's bad reputation in the eyes of almost every citizen of Rivet City.
Angela Staley will tell you that James may act so bad because his mom is a drunk and abuses him.
If you tell James to run away and then immediately talk to him again he will act as if he has already run away from home. You can then tell him you are sorry and gain positive Karma, although he may still run away.
During some dialogue in the quest Our Little Secret, it may be implied that the residents of Andale killed a man that might have been his father. In dialogue they'll mention having killed a man who begged for his life saying he had a son in Rivet City.