A/N: This fic came about because I realised that nearly all of my fics were about Hathaway. This one is as well, but its much more Lewis-Centric. It shows more of his thoughts and feelings while he remembers things. Its pretty dark and angsty and I apologise for that. I'll have to write some very silly fluff to make up for it. Any way here it is, enjoy :)
The Pain Of Memories
Lewis smiled slightly as he looked over at his sergeant,conked out on the sofa. Full of pizza and beer himself, he stretched as he got off the chair, grabbing a blanket from his airing cupboard. There was no use waking the boy up, he was already over the driving limit and he looked so calm lying there. So Lewis pulled the blanket over him and left him to sleep.
As he turned back, he smiled fondly at the man who'd become like a son to him over the last 5 years. His smile dropped as the events of the past few weeks floated unbidden to his memory. This night nearly never happened. He could feel himself start to shake as the memories returned and he hastened to his room, afraid that he might awaken the sleeping man with the scared sounds that he couldn't repress.
Settling into bed, he tried to get to sleep. He was unsurprised that his brain had other ideas.
She'd been a dancer, the woman who was killed. Left a husband and two kids. No one had a bad word to say about her and she had many friends. Despite all this, someone had kidnapped her and tortured her for three days, before dumping her on the green. Both he and Hathaway had found the case hard to deal with. Hathaway more than he was letting on, Lewis thought. But he'd learnt from experience that if he approached the younger man about it, he either got shouted at or brushed off and Hathaway would continue to brood, the only difference being that they would now both be angry at each other.
So he left it. And he continued to do so. Even after the bastard who had done it, got off on a technicality. Even after James had left the courthouse with out a word and driven away.
Hathaway had put everything he had into the case, Lewis knew. He tried to warn him, he tried to offer some advice but the young copper had ignored him, carrying on investing all of himself into the problem. Robbie knew what this could do to you and it worried him that his sergeant was going down the route. It was self-destructive, it would get you no-where and it hurt.
James had been cutting in the interviews, goading the suspect into a confession. Lewis was content to let him, after all, he was getting results.
Lewis could remember that exchange as if it happened yesterday.
"You haven't had much luck with women have you John? They don't look at you do they? Helen did though didn't she?"
"You know nothing about it, copper"
"Don't I? I think I'm spot on. I think Helen looked at you. But not in the way you wanted her to. She saw you as a confidant, someone to talk to. She thought she was helping you."
"Prove it then sergeant, if you're so smart."
"I am. We have forensics. Now I think you tried to advance on her. But she, well she was a nice lady. She was married and she loved her husband. And she told you that. You didn't like it did you?"
"YOU'RE WRONG! SHE DID LOVE ME! SHE JUST DIDN'T-"
"-Know it yet? Please, John. Do you really think that a woman like her would ever have had feelings for someone like you?"
"SHUT THE FUCK UP!"
"Touched a nerve have I? You know I'm right though John. She had feelings for you sure. Pity, charity case. But nothing like what you wanted That's why you killed her."
"That's why I tortured her." James had grinned triumphantly at that point and Lewis was proud of him.
"You, my friend, are going down for a long time."
"YOU BASTARD!" John had shouted when he realised he'd been tricked into a confession. "I'M GOING TO FUCKING KILL YOU COPPER". Lewis had grabbed John as he lunged for James, who had just stood there looking coolly at his attacker, shoving him down into the chair. Once the man had calmed slightly, James looked at him and said;
"Maybe you will, but you're going to prison first."
Lewis had been chilled by Hathaway's answer then and the memories terrified him now.
Now 3 weeks later, lying his bed, Lewis wished they'd taken the threat more seriously. So much could have been prevented. So much pain, so much heartache, so much worry. Sure the boy was fine now, but it was touch and go for a while. He felt like he'd aged 20 years in that week. That had been the first intelligible thing Hathaway had said when he'd woken up. "You look terrible sir". Lewis had given him a watery grin, relief flooding him and James had looked away. He'd been embarrassed for James to see him that worried, his feelings that...exposed. But in the end he supposed that that was the only way the younger man was ever going to know he cared about him. God knows, they never talked about it. He shifted in his bed, trying again to succumb to sleep, but deep down he knew it was fruitless. The worst memories were still to come.
He could remember exactly what he was doing when the news had come in. He'd been skiving. Playing some internet arcade game that he'd caught James playing the previous week. He looked up as there was a knock on the door. Wouldn't be James, he was out in Banbury, making enquires into their latest case. He hurriedly shut down the game, just in case it was Innocent, as the door opened. PC Michaels stood there, looking pale and nervous.
"Aye, What is it lad?"
"Uniform found Hathaway's car abandoned out at Banbury sir, looks like he's been snatched. There was blood as well sir."
"What!" Lewis was on his feet, heart pounding, the moment he heard the word 'abandoned'. "Does Innocent know?"
Looking back, it seemed that the investigation had gone by in a blur to Lewis. He was ordered off it at some point, when Innocent realised he was barely sleeping. He agreed to go home as long as he was around when they found James. Jean had promised him that he would be told and would be allowed to come with them. And he had gone home, taken a few sleeping tablets and slept.
Sadly, sleep now eluded him still. He sat up in bed and decided that having a drink might help. He crept downstairs to his kitchen, trying his best to be quiet in order not to wake the sleeping sergeant in his living room. Once he had got a cup of water, he came back. Stopping to glance at the person asleep on his sofa, he thanked a God he didn't really believe in that he hadn't turned up to find the lad dead. Although he easily could have left there with a dead body. He shuddered at the memories, retreating back to his bedroom.
"John asked for me Ma'am. He wants me to go in there. He'll not let James go if uniform storm in."
"No Lewis. I can't let you-"
"-Ma'am! He'll kill him!"
"Robbie...He might kill you. Surely you can't ask me to send you in there, knowing that."
"Ma'am" Lewis had been surprised at the pleading in his voice. "Just let me go in. Look, he won't let uniform get near. Any obvious copper that goes in, he'll shoot James. And it'll be to kill." He saw her waver and drove his point home. "Surely you can't ask me to stay out here, knowing that." She looked at him for a split second with a flash of annoyance, but he knew he'd won.
"Alright. But...Just don't do anything stupid Robbie."
"Save him" He'd looked at her blinking, surprised at her concern. He nodded at her and headed off towards the warehouse, towards his sergeant.
If he'd known what was going to happen, Lewis knew he'd have thought twice about walking in. He and his sergeant nearly died in that warehouse. They learnt many things about each other and themselves.
Closing his eyes, he saw James' face, pale and bloodied. His eyes snapped open again and he realised that there was no way he'd sleep unless he thought about it. All of it. That afternoon had been a nightmare and it was keeping him awake.
"Let him go John. This isn't going to get you anywhere."
"Oh but it has inspector. I have him, and now you're here too. What more could I want?"
"Let him go John. You got off with Helen's murder. You won't get away with this one."
"No one will know Lewis. Who's to say you weren't killed in self defence? You laid into me and I defended myself in the only way I could, with a shot gun."
"That won't work. They'd know, ballistics and such, they'd know John." Lewis took a step forward...
Lewis was still amazed at the repercussions of a simple action. In his mind, that step forward was a step towards his friend. He was trying to reassure Hathaway, trying to show he was making an effort.
Robbie gripped the bed covers as he remembered what happened next. How it had all gone wrong.
John grabbed Hathaway towards him as Lewis stepped forward. Lewis' eyes widened as he took in the scene. Hathaway was knelt on the floor, a gun pressed under his chin, staring levelly at Lewis. At the other end of the gun, John was grinning evilly.
"One step closer Inspector, and I'll blow his brains out." Lewis faltered. He couldn't move. He met James' eyes and swallowed. He knew that John wasn't bluffing. He wanted to run to them, wrench Hathaway from the bastard's arms and then beat seven types of shit out of John. But he couldn't. Because if he did, he'd be wrenching his sergeant's dead body from the man. If he didn't get shot first. It was then that James decided to speak.
"Sir?" The gun was shoved further into his neck. "Stop him sir"
Lewis looked at his young colleague. He saw everything. The resigned look on James' face, the sadistic one on John's, the gun, that was shifting slightly against the pulse in Hathaway's neck. Again, he met James' eyes and shook his head slowly. He hoped James wouldn't think less of him, but he couldn't do it. He couldn't let his sergeant die just for the sake of an arrest.
Now he thought about it, it was bloody nasty of James to have said that. He must have known how that sort of decision would have made Lewis feel. He also probably knew that Lewis wouldn't have done it. That could have been why he said it. To unsettle John. Shame really that it hadn't worked.
"John please? Let him go and you'll get 8 years, out in five. Kill either of us and you know you'll be put away for good."
"Thought of that inspector. I take you both down, then I kill myself, taking as many bastard uniform coppers with me as I can." He said this bit loudly to ensure that any lurking policemen outside would hear it.
Then James shifted a little, trying to alleviate the pressure on his knees. Lewis used the distraction to try and get closer to the two men.
"Big mistake copper!" John snarled as he hauled Hathaway upright, pushing the gun into his chin so viciously that James' head was pushed back. James closed his eyes and swallowed. Lewis stood stock still. He knew he wouldn't be able to live with himself if his actions caused Hathaway's death. He stood in shock, realising that he didn't know how to save the situation. John was leering at James.
"Any thing you wanna say before you die sergeant?"
That moment would haunt Robbie for the rest of his life. The paralysing fear that he felt when he realised what was happening. The guilt. Well the guilt was tearing him up now and he was fully aware that James was sleeping, safe and sound, downstairs. In that split second, he'd known he'd failed. Failed as an inspector and as a friend. The inspector was supposed to mentor their sergeant, look after them, teach them what to do. They were supposed to stop them from getting into trouble like this. It should be Lewis in his sergeants place. The young man should have been at home and oblivious to the scenario. Not at the mercy of a gun wielding manic with a grudge against policemen.
James' answer to John's question would stay with him till the end of his days.
James had opened his eyes then. He took a deep breath and Lewis could see un-shed tears in his eyes. They were threatening to spill, but Lewis didn't think James would give John the satisfaction. He watched sadly as Hathaway's eyes swivelled to regard him, and was shocked at the warmth he saw in them.
"Sir? Um..This is going to s-sound really stupid but, I enjoyed every minute of working with you. I-I want you to know that sir, I've never told you before a-and I really want you to know now that..." He trailed off swallowing and Lewis could see the lads pride fighting with his terror. For all his calm exterior, James was really just a young man caught up in a desperation situation beyond his control. Lewis tried to speak but his words couldn't get past the lump in his throat. James continued and he stopped trying.
"Promise sir, t-that you won't blame y-yourself. None of this is your fault. I'll never b-blame you sir. Don't beat yourself u-up about this." Lewis could see the fear in James beginning to win out and his heart broke. He wanted to comfort the terrified young man. He distantly heard a voice talking. John...the bastard.
"Well ain't that cute? Anything else Sergeant Hathaway?"
"Yeah...Go to Hell!" Lewis almost laughed. They were 3 words that he'd never have thought he'd hear come out of the mouth of his religious young sergeant.
The next few minutes wiped the threatening smile out of his mind.
"No", Lewis told himself. "You're not going to think about it"
It was no use. The images sprang to his mind, unbidden and he almost whimpered with the emotions they evoked. He knew it was a cliché, a cliché he had thought to himself too many times that night, but he really would carry these memories to the grave.
Robbie Lewis couldn't comprehend what had happened. It had all occurred way too fast for him to keep up. One minute he was standing there, looking at the petrified and then defiant eyes of his friend. The next, a gun went off and he had thrown himself to the floor, instinct taking over.
A tentative look up had ripped the air from his lungs. John was just ahead of him, lying in a pool of blood and gore, rivulets running away from the body. It was then that he registered what they were heading towards.
He got up and went to James as quickly as he could. He couldn't tell how much of the blood was Hathaway's but there was enough of it there to make his own blood run cold. James coughed and a small trickle of blood ran out of the side of his mouth. Shit. Fuck, shit, bugger. Lewis panicked and reached out to touch James' shoulder.
"Jim? Come on Jim, open your eyes laddie." James obliged and the lump in Lewis' throat came back as he saw the undisguised fear in them.
"You're ok James. You'll be ok." Robbie wasn't sure who he was trying to reassure more, the wounded man or himself.
"Yeah?" The uncertainty in his voice was scary to Lewis. His sergeant didn't seem sure and he could feel it. Lewis shook himself mentally, he needed to be strong for this.
"Course." He paused as Hathaway coughed again, more blood bubbling up from his throat. Shit! This was a lung job! He pulled his mobile out of his pocket and called Innocent, bellowing at her to get an ambulance in there, cursing himself for not doing it sooner. "It'll be ok James." He looked down and saw the youth in the younger man as he never had before. Pale, bloody and absolutely terrified, James looked a lot younger than his 33 years. He pulled James up onto his lap, trying to get him into a more upright position, away from the cold stone floor.
"Fucking hurts sir" James managed to get out around gritted teeth. Lewis forced himself not to look away as blood came between the clamped teeth. It would only panic the younger man more.
A couple of too wet sounding rasps and he felt Hathaway shudder and go limp in his arms.
"No! Don't you fucking dare James Hathaway! Wake up. Now! Jim please" Don't do this to me, he silently added, I can't do it again.
He was still cradling the unconscious young man when the ambulance crew came to take him away.
Lewis blinked, tears in his eyes as he lay on his bed. He'd never felt fear like that before. Well no, that wasn't true. When Val had been hurt, he'd been terrified. But that was different. She was his wife. And he'd got there too late anyway. She'd already passed away.
The fear he had felt for Hathaway was very different. He'd been convinced he was watching one of his closest friends die and there was nothing he could do about it.
James had been unconscious for 3 days. Lewis had stayed at the hospital for near enough all three. He was there when they put the chest drain in, he was there when they set up the ventilator. He watched the machine breathe for his friend and felt terrible. He was also there, watching with baited breath, as they took the ventilator out and James breathed on his own.
He sat and talked to the oblivious young man. Telling him to get better, promising to never have a go at him for smoking again if he did. He threatened him, saying he'd get him demoted if he didn't recover. He told Hathaway all about Morse and Val and how scared he'd been. He pleaded with James not to put him through it again.
He'd almost cried with relief when James cracked an eye open after the third day and rasped;
"You look terrible sir" Once he'd composed himself, he retorted;
"You don't look too clever yourself son."
"I've got an excuse" he had mumbled, before succumbing to sleep once again. Robbie had considered telling him that being worried sick for three days was as good an excuse as any but one look at the sleeping face and he realised it'd be lost on the younger man anyway.
That was the moment Robbie had known it would be ok.
It turned out that during his abduction, John had broken one of Hathaway's ribs. When the gun had gone off, the recoil had bucked into it and the said rib had pierced his lung. Surprisingly, other than that, he was relatively unharmed. Physically anyway.
They hadn't talked about what Hathaway had said. About what they had both thought were his last words. Not surprising really, as he'd already thought, they never talked about it. It being anything important.
Remembering was thirsty work and Lewis got up again to go to the kitchen. As he walked past the living room, he saw James sat upright on the sofa, staring ahead of him at the wall.
"Can't sleep either Jim?" James started at the sound of Lewis' voice and then gave him a small smile.
"No sir. Well I was fine till I woke up. Then that was it." His eyes told a different story, one of nightmares and broken memories, but they weren't mentioned. Lewis nodded sympathetically and looked at his watch. 4am. Ah well, they were either going to sleep or not.
"Fancy a cuppa Rosie Lee sergeant?"
"...Was that supposed to be cockney sir?"
"Fine don't have one then" Lewis smirked as James instantly sat up straight.
"I'm joking sir. It wasn't bad really...Tea please?" Lewis couldn't help but laugh at the pleading look on the man's face.
"Away man, come and get one then" James had smiled shyly, which Lewis had thought was quite sweet, and then followed him into the kitchen.
Armed with cups of tea, they went back into the living room and stuck the television on, deliberately choosing some late night comedy. After 20 minutes, James slumped sideways onto the arm of the sofa and Lewis looked over at him again. Smiling another fond smile, he thanked whatever was out there that it had all worked out. 5 minutes later, he too drifted into an uninterrupted and nightmare free sleep.