When random sales people call him 'sir' it makes him feel old. When Hathaway calls him 'sir' it sounds like a name. Lewis has heard so many different variations of it from him – casual, official, cheery, pissed off, jubilant, resigned, angry, flippant. It has been the first thing out of his sergeant's mouth when waking up in a hospital and the last thing before losing consciousness.
When Hathaway calls him that... it can make him feel many things.
Especially when he calls him that in bed.
It's a guilty pleasure that should make him feel like a dirty old man but when Hathaway calls him 'sir' in that needy, breathy voice, it gives him the illusion he's in charge there as well.
Like he's the one teaching, and not experiencing something for the first time; like he has a choice and is not just in thrall of an unlined face and a youthful body with smooth skin and slender limbs. Like he does not get lost in eyes that are way too old to the face that surrounds them. Like he's not making needy sounds of his own. Like he's not desperate, dying for a touch, for release, like he hasn't for years.
Like he's not addicted, frantic, not able to get enough; like he's still in control – of himself, of the situation, of his breathing.
And here, 'sir' sounds like the most intimate pet name in the world.
The first time he hears the broken version of it gasped when Hathaway comes in his hand he knows he will want to hear it again and again; wants to feel this again and again.
Even when the younger man starts calling him by his name outside work he never calls him anything but 'sir' in bed. It should be disturbing. It's not. Maybe it's a habit, maybe it means something to Hathaway, too, something Lewis possibly should be worried about.
Or maybe Hathaway just likes the reaction it gets, how it makes Lewis harder, rougher, more demanding.
Part of him wishes he had met Hathaway when he was still young but mostly he knows that's foolish. He had Val, and the world was different – he was different. Had he not known Morse he doesn't think he would have understood – more, liked – Hathaway.
But he can still wish that they were learning together, that he wasn't so painfully aware of the difference in the texture of their skin, the marks decades have carved on his body.
It's wrong. Every part of this is wrong - they're risking their careers, especially him, the ugly words like 'taking advantage of a subordinate officer' haunt him damn near daily, and the only thing making it less wrong is the fact that they're equal here, in their non-working relationship, that Lewis is not a superior anything in the bedroom.
But Hathaway's broken 'sir' when he comes creates the illusion, and every day a little less guilty, Lewis cherishes the feeling of power, the rush of possessiveness... and maybe, possibly, Hathaway does too.