Summary: Hathaway never actually answered the question of his sexuality, but as time goes on Lewis realises it doesn't really matter anymore. Lewis: Hathaway friendship.

Author Note: This is set a while after 'Life Born of Fire'. I really just wanted to write a nice friendship piece between the two without slash (because I do tend to shoehorn some in most fandoms I work in :-)), and I wanted to work around 'Life Born…'-which is one of the best episodes. I know this fandom isn't that popular – understatement of the month- but to anyone who's reading, I hope you like this.

Disclaimer: BBC owns Lewis, Kevin Whately owns himself and unfortunately Billie Piper, not me, owns Laurence Fox. Oh well.

Loaded Mag & a Yorkie Bar

It hits Lewis one day as he sits outside the pub with a pint of beer for himself and an orange juice for his partner- God, when did he start turning into Morse? -that Hathaway never really answered his question. It's not that the answer would have really bothered him, Morse wouldn't have liked it, but things have changed since the more sexually restrictive days of political incorrectness and Lewis knows things like sexuality aren't going to make much of a difference when it comes to being a good police office. He'd asked out of blatant curiosity, unable to contain his question during that business with Feardocha and Zoë Kenneth, but James had shrugged him of with the whole 'lads mags and Yorkie bar' rubbish. The two had genuinely sniped at each other, and Lewis supposed he had some blame for that. It was wrong of him to think of things like this in neat little packages all nicely labelled. He was gay. He was not. It'd taken him a while to figure out things didn't quite work like that.

What really hits Lewis though, is the fact that, whatever the answer is, it doesn't really matter anymore. Sure, he may wonder, but he knows James Hathaway now, more then he had before. The young detective is one of his closest friends, a man of dry wit and liberal sarcasm, the person who held him back when they found the hit-and-run driver who killed his Val, not because he particularly cared about the man, but because he cared about Lewis. He's the one person apart from Laura Hobson or Innocent that Lewis finds himself turning to for advice. Hathaway never lies to make him feel better, never tries to force any view or take anyone's side. James is the one Lewis can find himself stumbling home drunk with after they've both had too much, whose quotes and pieces of wisdom keep Lewis's head above water when a case just isn't going his way. Hathaway is Hathaway, and Lewis wouldn't want him to change. He supposes their friendship is like his and Morse's, who was a father like figure as well as a good friend, except now Lewis is the elder and looking twenty years older for his trouble. Time is repeating itself and maybe one day, when he's gone and if Hathaway sticks it out, the young detective will have another even younger detective following him round, for bouncing ideas off, and maybe he'll be the one drinking the beer and not the orange juice.

A shadow overhead interrupts Lewis's musings and he looks up to see James, short-cropped hair and bemused expression.

"Not interrupting some meaningful contemplation, am I sir?"

Cheeky sod. Lewis grins at the sarcasm and shakes his head, pushing the orange juice over and gesturing Hathaway to take a seat. Hathaway sees the juice and sighs melodramatically but this has been the ritual for many an afternoon and hopefully for many to come. Neither of them wants to change it now.

Hathaway sits down, before rummaging around in his grey suit pocket and chucking something blue-foil-wrapped in Lewis's direction. Lewis catches it- the old goalie reflexes haven't gone quite yet- and smiles at the crinkled Yorkie bar in his hand. That's another ritual that seems to have grown up from nowhere.

"This chocolatey delight for me, Hathaway?"

James face is deadpan "Only the best for you, sir"

Lewis shakes his head with a joking grin and then picks up his beer.

"Better drink these 'fore they get warm."

"Cheers, sir" Hathaway smiles , chinking his glass against Lewis's and Lewis thinks again, as he looks down at the Yorkie in his hand, that it doesn't really matter which way Hathaway is, as long as he's always going to be Hathaway and no-one else.

"Cheers, James. "