The day Hathaway finally returned to work was a quiet one, so Laura Hobson who appeared in their office doorway in the early afternoon carrying an evidence folder was a welcome distraction from paperwork.
"Welcome back James," she greeted the young man with a broad grin "Feeling better?"
Hathaway shrugged experimentally, his movement still hindered by a tightly fastened sling, "Getting there slowly."
"Good," Laura tossed the folder at Lewis, "this is for you."
He frowned, first at the file, then at her, "We've not got a case on that I've forgotten about have we?"
She shook her head, her grin broadening.
"Nope. That," she indicated the folder, "is Hathaway's brain."
Curiously, Lewis opened the file and slid out a collection of pictures clearly taken from an MRI scan.
"Ah," said Hathaway with a grin, "you got them then?"
Lewis was still squinting at the pictures.
"What am I looking at?"
Laura crossed the room at pointed at the pictures.
"Well, there you have a perfectly normal adult, male brain. No additional memory banks, sponges, robot circuits or anything else that helps him to remember huge amounts of information. I'm afraid Hathaway is just that bright." She saw Lewis smile as he remembered the conversation that now seemed so long ago, and turned away from him to regard his sergeant, "Although James, keep hitting your head like that and you'll be shaking far too many brain cells loose. Try and keep out of trouble ok?"
"I'll do my best doctor." He replied, his face a picture of contrition.
"Now, I've just been reporting to Jean," Hobson went on, "and she's just left for the day for a meeting in London, and apparently the criminal classes of Oxford have taken a New Year break, so I was wondering..."
"Pub?" Lewis asked, immediately catching her train of thought.
"Pub." She confirmed, "James?"
He moved to stand up, but it was Lewis that answered for him.
"Oh he's definitely coming. I reckon he owes us a pint for all the worry he's put us through."
"I can't help but notice sir, that it always seems to be me that owes you a pint and me that ends up with the orange juice?"
Lewis pondered this for a moment,
"Can you drink on those painkillers Hathaway?"
"Well, no, but..."
"See Laura, I'm saving the lad from himself," he defended himself, his face a picture of schooled innocence.
"There's not many bosses that would do that," she noted seriously, "That's very kind of you Lewis. Hathaway should be very grateful. Perhaps he could show his appreciation, with oh I don't know, a pint?"
Hathaway groaned and led the way out of the door.
"Fine! Fine! The first round is on me!" he slowed and fell into step beside Lewis, and spoke quietly to the older man, "Thanks sir, I do appreciate it."
Lewis clipped him, gently and very carefully on the shoulder.
"Ah getaway lad. We were just messing."
"Nonetheless, sir, I'm not."
Lewis nodded, serious for a moment and unsure of what to say. He gripped the sergeant's shoulder, the closest to a manly hug he would permit himself.
"Anytime kidda, you've done the same for me."
Side by side, they left the station.
And that's it.
Thank you so much for reading, especially Prosfan and Moosepath01 whose encouragement has kept my typing up to speed. I'm really happy people seemed to enjoy this and I'm glad I finally got round to writing a seasonal story that finishes while we're still in the appropriate season! (Although I'm now going to lie in a darkened room and rest my weary fingers!)
All that remains is for me to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Year.