Warnings: Lots of the F-word

With thanks as always to my betas Mirth and Jay - sometimes I foolishly ignore their wise advice, so all mistakes, spelling errors and plot holes are mine and mine alone - please do not steal them! ;D

James Hathaway pulled the door of the bank open and stepped through; suppressing a groan at the length of the queue, and that even though it was lunchtime there was only one teller serving. With a frustrated sigh he joined the end of the queue pulling his jacket sleeve back to check the time, noting that the bank clock was ten minutes slow. He debated leaving, but knew if he wanted to pay the cheque in it had to be now. He wanted it to clear as soon as possible, not that he needed the funds, but he, like everyone else who had received a similar cheque, had an unfathomable need to put it in their accounts as soon as possible, not that anyone had ever reported having their tax refund cheque cancelled on them.

Hathaway plucked up a leaflet detailing the bank's different savings account as the queue shuffledforward a place. He looked up disinterestedly as the door opened admitting more unwitting customers; the leaflet fell heedlesslyfrom his fingers as he took in the appearance of the two men that had entered. He took a step forward, knowing that there was absolutely nothing he could do.

"This is a stick up," one of the men yelled as he moved towards the queue, his sawn off shotgun pointing directly at Hathaway, "everyone up against the wall, now!"

Hathaway resisted the urge to roll his eyes at the bank robbers as he took a step backwards, obeying their demands. They were amateurs; the robbery probably cooked up over a few pints down the pub, desperate to get their hands on some money for whatever reason, debts or addiction were the usual two. But desperate men were very dangerous men and they had obviously been watching too many episodes of The Sweeney, their ridiculous bell bottomed jeans and thin avocado coloured turtle neck jumpers that they both wore were reminiscent of the 1970s show and the fact that they were both brandishing sawn off shotguns and wore stockings over their heads to disguise their features.

The second man was already at the teller's window, shotgun pointing at her as he demanded she hand over the cash, which she did, calmly and efficiently, even though she was well protected behind the bullet resistant glass counter window. Hathaway was heartened to see that she was well trained, although she had undoubtedly pressed the silent alarm she had not engaged any of the other security measures, wisely protecting the bank full of customers from the threat of thwarted bank robbers.

He cautiously pulled his phone from his pocket, hiding it behind the back of the old man he was stood next to as he tapped out a text message one handed to Lewis, thankful that the volume control was stuck on silent after dropping it the previous day, the paperwork to requisition a new one still uncompleted on his desk:

bank robbery abbey nat high st 2 men sawn off shotguns amateurs

Hathaway knew the first officers on scene would be from the local station, it would take the armed response team several minutes to get from Kidlington HQ to the centre of Oxford. He was just about to type out another text with a description of the two men when the robber covering the customers glanced over at this companion.

"Get all the cash," he called out, "make the bitch empty the other tills."

Hathaway bit back a groan, in and out that was the way to rob a bank. Go in at a quiet part of the day, less customers around, get one of the tellers to empty their draw and then go. The silent alarm would have been activated by a member of the staff; there was no way to stop it. The whole robbery should take less than five minutes and if you were lucky you could scarper with a few hundred quid. That was, of course if a member of the public didn't decide to have a go and try and stop you.

The old gent next to Hathaway suddenly moved forward, his intentions clear to Hathaway, the robber also caught the movement out of the corner of his eye and swung back round, the shotgun raising.

"No!" Hathaway exclaimed, as he swiftly put himself in front of the old man, arms held out, away from his body in a gesture of peace.

"What the fuck?" the robber shouted as he moved quickly towards Hathaway, pushing the sawn off shotgun hard under his chin, forcing his head back. With one hand still on the triggers the robber ripped the phone out of Hathaway's hand with the other.

"Fuck it, Colin, he's sent a fucking text."

Hathaway squeezed his eyes shut at his rotten luck, hardly daring to breathe as the gun pressed painfully into his unprotected flesh.

"Who the fuck you calling amateurs?" the man demanded. "Who's Lewis? Answer me you fucker," Hathaway couldn't stop the flinch as he heard the hammers being drawn back. He suddenly felt hands in his pockets, pulling out his wallet and oh shit, his warrant card.

"He's the fucking Filth, Ian," Colin announced loudly. "Detective Sergeant James Hathaway, Oxfordshire Police," he read from the warrant card.

The barrel of the gun was suddenly removed from his throat, only for it to be slammed into his stomach causing him to cry out as he doubled over and fell to his knees, arms curling around his middle. His head was suddenly wrenched up by a cruel grip in his hair.

"Who did you text?" Ian snarled at him.

"My governor," Hathaway bit out, internally flinching at the word, perhaps he shouldn't have watched The Sweeney marathon either.

"Shit, Ian, we got to go," Colin stammered out, "we got to fucking go now!"

"Grab the bag," Ian ordered, before bending down so he was face to face with Hathaway, "as for you, you piece of pig shit," Ian let go of Hathaway's hair and step back raising the shotgun as he did so. Hathaway struggled to his feet, if the bastard was going to kill him he wasn't going to die on his knees, only to drop to them again in agony as Ian brought the barrel of the gun down in a vicious blow to the side of his head. Hathaway heard a cry of outrage and he felt himself fall forward his limbs refusing to obey his commands, he was unconscious by the time he hit the ugly red carpet of the bank's floor.


"James, lad, can you hear me?"

Hathaway groaned as consciousness continued to return with throbbing agony, he raised a hand to his head, only to have it captured and returned to his side.

"Leave it be," the voice commanded, "you took a right crack to that great noggin of yours. Ambulance will be here in a bit."

"Sir?" he queried, trying to make sense of things through the pounding in his head.

"Aye, lad," Lewis confirmed with a smile in his voice.

Hathaway opened his eyes slowly to find himself staring into the blurry, but concerned face of his boss, who was knelt beside him, a hand pressed gently against his head.

"Sir," he queried groggily again.

"Bastard damn near took the top of your head off, got a nasty gash," Lewis explained, "just trying to stop you bleeding all over the carpet."

"Need to get up, sir," Hathaway gasped, as bile burned and gurgled in his stomach.

"No, lad, you got to stay still," Lewis cautioned.

"Going to be sick," Hathaway bit out, as he struggled weakly to sit up. He suddenly found himself on his side, head spinning wildly as his stomach heaved and expelled its contents.

He felt something wipe his mouth as he stared down at the pile of vomit, the smell of it not registering in his dazed mind. It was mainly bile and liquid, three teas and two coffees and the remains of his cornflakes and for some bizarre reason flecks of tomato, he frowned as he tried to remember the last time he ate a tomato.

He was rolled onto his back again, his head raised slightly as a plastic cup of water was placed against his lips, he took a cautious sip. "Thank you, sir," he said weakly, closing his eyes.

"James, stay with me lad," Lewis said, shaking his shoulder very gently.

"Still here, sir," he mumbled in reply.

"According to the customers you're a bit of hero, lad," Lewis added, "put yourself between them and the robbers."

Hathaway frowned, opening his eyes to look up at his still blurry boss, he was starting to worry that something was wrong with Lewis; he hadn't been blurry earlier this morning. "You get them?" he asked.

"We got them," Lewis confirmed, "grabbed them as soon as they left the bank. Young Dan showed off his Taser training," he smiled. "You've only been out a few minutes, must have a thick skull covering that big brain of yours," Lewis added jokingly. "Ah, here's the paramedics now, soon have you fixed up," he patted Hathaway's shoulder, before giving it a gentle squeeze.

"Yes, Gov.," Hathaway whispered out, not seeing Lewis' bemused frown as the equally blurry paramedics crowded round.

"You're nicked!" Hathaway told them before closing his eyes. He couldn't remember if being blurry was a criminal offence or not, but decided it probably was and he still couldn't remember when he last ate a tomato.

He'd figure it out later, he thought as unconsciousness clawed at him once again, thankful that he hadn't decided to watch the Life on Mars marathon instead.