When I saw 'The Great and the Good' I thought there were a few instances where James was really lucky with how things turned out. Therefore I did a bit of an AU. Not a complete story, just a reinterpretation of some scenes.
James was feeling guilty. Inviting his boss to play squash had been intended as a nice gesture now they were sitting in A&E. His boss had insisted he didn't have to stay but how could he not. The game had been his stupid idea after all. He sat quietly alternating between watching the hallway where Lewis had disappeared a minute ago and looking absentmindedly at his hands while he listened to the ringing of the phone and the giggling of the nurses behind him.
Suddenly there was a sound of someone yelling a name in alarm and a chair scraping against the floor and he turned. A man was attacking the giggling nurses and he leapt across the floor pulling the man off of them. The man was old and grey haired and didn't look like much but he was stronger than he looked and fuelled by rage and quickly his fist connected with James's face. It took him by surprise, he lost his grip on the man as his hands came up to cradle his face. The man hit him again and he fell backwards tumbling into the chairs behind him and, when they toppled over, onto the floor.
He lay stunned, unable to move, waiting for the next blow to land. It never came. Instead the man crouched beside him looking stricken. 'Christ, I'm sorry. Did I hurt you? It was just reflex.' The man tried to excuse himself.
James drew in a gasping breath as his lungs finally agreed to start working again and then he instantly regretted it as pain flared across his back. 'Yes.' He hissed a little testily as he tried to sit back up. Pain radiated aggressively from his lower back and he let out a small undignified whine, slumping back down. He understood now just why his boss had been grumbling so much on the way over.
'Don't move sir. I saw you hit that chair, it wasn't pretty. Let's get you checked out by a doctor shall we.' A young pretty nurse offers crouching down beside him. They strap something to his back before helping him onto a cot and the man remains standing beside him looking like he's about to start crying.
As they wheel him away to an exam room James hears a woman scold the man who hurt him 'Go and apologise. 'I can't have you arrested, not with everything going on. We need you.' And no sooner is he left in a cubicle to await a doctor than the man is back at his side.
'Come to finish the job?' James jokes, somewhat sarcastically.
'I'm sorry, I'm just upset. I didn't want them to laugh. It's just… my daughter… and they were laughing…' The man trails off and James nods. He understands. He really does. He had found the giggling quite offensive himself.
'Want to tell me what happened to your daughter while we wait?' James asks and then with a slight wink 'Might take my mind off the pain and give you an outlet for some of that pent up frustration.' He suggests.
And so the man tells him and it is a distracting tale. Distracting enough that when his boss comes back, still looking miserable and looking even more miserable when he finds James about to be taken off for an x-ray, James pawns the man off on him with the suggestion that Lewis might want to take the man's details so they can check back.
Three hours later they leave A&E with their separate prescriptions and Lewis looks up at him in frustration. 'We go to A&E for my back's sake and you come out of it with a broken back, a black eye and a new case… how is that at all fair?' he asks and James smirks and then grimaces as it stretches the muscles in his face in the wrong way.
'It's a hairline fracture, and a small one at that. No more than your average stress fracture. It's not really a broken back.' James tries to dull things down a bit.
'And yet you come out of it with a free back brace and good pain killers. I get anti-inflammatories and an order to buy a new orthopaedic bed. That's hardly fair is it.' Lewis still grumbles.' And James shakes his head. 'No sir life's not always fair.' He concludes and with that they are off.