Title: The Snowball Effect
Author: Dayja
Summary: In which Martin's usual bad luck as seen in Ottery St Mary leads to one of the best things to ever happen to him.
Warnings: Work-in-Progress, spoilers for episode 3.4: Ottery St Mary (and a bit 3.1 and probably all the series in general)
Genre: Hurt/comfort, angst, fluff

Disclaimer: I do not own/am not associated with/ make no money from Cabin Pressure.

Chapter 1

Navigating a ladder with a sprained ankle, even a ladder with pretentions towards being particularly vertical stairs, was probably among the list of activities doctors would prohibit. Unfortunately, the rout to Martin's room led not only up just such a ladder but also up two proper staircases to reach it.

Hobbling up two flights of stairs and then attempting the ladder while doped up on pain meds, pain meds he had swallowed down with the aid of cheap beer offered by an agricultural student, was probably suicidal. Luckily, the same student who had lacked common sense when it came to medicine did have enough sense to steer Martin away from his intended trek up the stairs and into the much closer and far less hazardous to reach common room.

"There you go, Captain," the youth said with all the eager earnestness of a boy scout fulfilling his duty in helping the elderly across the road, "Will you be alright here? Do you need a blanket?"

"I think I'd have been fine in my room," Martin answered with a scowl that didn't dim the other's eagerness in the slightest.

"Of course you would," he answered in a soothing, indulgent tone, "I'll just be getting that blanket."

"I'm in my thirties, not my eighties!" Martin called after him before letting his head drop backwards. His ankle still twinged dully but for the most part he felt disconnected, like he was floating. It had been a long day, and the prospect of actually facing all those stairs now that he was seated made him want to sink down into the cushions and never move again. A long, painful, and in the end useless day. His one day to get his finances into order so that he could pay rent and hopefully stock up on food, and it had begun in hospital. Martin had been at his wits end when he had called Arthur; he just knew that he was going to have to cancel his biggest job in weeks, and then he was going to lose clients, and he'd miss out on the rent, and end up living in his van where he'd starve to death and be found weeks later when someone finally thought to wonder why he'd stopped showing up to work.

Of course it didn't quite work out that way. It turned out that he had better friends than he had realized.

Even so, nothing had gone as it was supposed to. He didn't even want to think about how Carolyn was going to react once she learned they had, more or less, stolen her plane to move a piano for a job that paid far less than the costs involved in flying it. If Martin had a paycheck, he suspected she'd be taking it out of that. As it was, he had a vague fear that she would decide he wasn't worth it, after all, and simply let him go. Surely not, though. The cost of flying the piano wouldn't equal the cost of both finding a new pilot and having to pay them.

The students were tiptoeing around him, the girls cooing softly as though he were a wounded puppy they had taken in. He could feel them staring behind his closed eyelids. Darren, the student who had helped him to the sofa, had come back to drape a blanket and then backed off quietly.

"Oh, the Captain is hurt," he heard one of the girls whisper, "Should we get him some ice?"

"Let him sleep," someone else whispered back. The whispers and tiptoeing around him was beginning to get annoying, honestly. Martin began to reconsider trying to get up the stairs after all. At the same time, the attempted quiet was rather soothing and before he could decide to get up he found himself truly drifting off. So it was all a bit jarring when a familiar voice snapped out his name at raised volume.

"Martin!" His eyes snapped open to see his boss standing over him. Oh god, he thought, she knows about the stolen flight.

"C-carolyn, hi, hi, what are, Carolyn, hi?"

"Martin," she barked out, "I hear you took your day off to get yourself banged up." She was studying him critically and with a hint of concern in her eyes that Martin knew would never reach her voice. It was a look he had seen often enough directed towards Arthur and Martin felt strange to find himself on the receiving end. Then he suddenly realized what she wasn't shouting at him about, and the sudden relief made him almost giddy.

"Oh…oh! That, right, I suppose Arthur told you about…that. Just that. Right. That." She was looking suspicious now, and Martin forced himself to stop talking. Her eyes narrowed.

"I can't afford to have my pilots get themselves beat up in their down time," she insisted sternly, and Martin found himself nodding his head in agreement without quite knowing what he was agreeing to. The world still felt a bit unreal and disconnected.

"You mean he really is a pilot," a voice half whispered in surprise, "We all thought he was just…you know…" The voice shut up when Carolyn turned her gaze upon it.

"I think Captain Crieff could use some ice, don't you?" she suggested sharply. There was a sound of feet scrambling away and then they were alone. Martin blinked. Carolyn was looking at him again, her lips pressed firmly together. "Martin, as I said, I can't afford for my pilots to be hurting themselves in their off time."

"I…sorry?" Martin suggested, getting that she was accusing him of something. She was still frowning, peering into his eyes.

"Martin…how man pills have you taken today?"

"I…two…four? Why?"

"Because normally by this point you would be explaining why it wasn't your fault and how I can't penalize you for having an accident."

"Penalize me?" he asked frowning and starting to feel panicked again, "Why? What are you going to do? You can't fire me for a sprained ankle, I can still fly, really, it's just my ankle, we did it this afternoon and there was…no…problem…" he trailed off again.

"I am going to ignore that for the moment because I know you are stupid when you are drugged, and you obviously did not mean to say that you flew Gerti this afternoon because we had no flights scheduled for this afternoon, and if you had flown this afternoon I would most certainly have to take it out of your pay which, quite frankly, I don't think you can afford."

He blinked at her again.

"You don't pay me," was all he could come up with to say.

"Of course I pay you. That is what I've been saying. I can't afford to have my pilots killing themselves in their downtime. So you will stop lugging about ridiculously heavy items and hurting yourself, and I will pay you half of Douglas's salary."

Martin blinked again. Surly that was just the drugs messing with him because there was no way Carolyn had just said what he thought she had said.

"But…you can't afford…I"

"Martin, I know you are stupid today, but do try to understand. When I say half of Douglas's salary, I mean half of his salary. So. Are you going to stop this ridiculously hazardous side venture of yours or should I tell Douglas he isn't getting a pay cut after all?"

"But, I don't want Douglas's money…"

"Which is why I'm not giving you his, I'm giving you yours."

"But…you said…"

"That I'm paying you to be a pilot." And Martin blinked again, this time because his eyes had gone strangely wet. "Yes," Carolyn said, reaching out to smooth down his hair, "Well. I will see you tomorrow. I'll give you your first paycheck then." She backed away but hesitated in the doorway. "Do get better, Martin," she ordered, "We need our captain to be in top form. Having a lame captain does not inspire confidence among customers." And then she was gone.

Author's Note: As I'm only newly come to the Cabin Pressure fandom and not completely comfortable with the voices (and definitely not comfortable with aeroplanes and any lingo pertaining to them...seriously, when I first started listening I had a vague idea that they spent an awful lot of time in India) feel free to critique or britpick. The next chapter should be up fairly quickly but I have no idea how fast I'll be after that since I haven't actually planned that far ahead. Though I don't intend this to be an epic long piece, so hopefully I'll finish it before I start to stall.