Circumstances

Author's Note: Okay, so this was for a prompt I found ages ago on cabinpres-fic and I didn't really have the courage to fill it.

There aren't any pairings but if you put your slash-goggles on you can probably find quite a bit of it (oops). I tried to make this slash-free but I fear I may have failed in my attempts.

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"See you on Monday, Captain."

"Good night Douglas."

Douglas shrugged his coat on, turned up his collar and left GERTI. Martin was still sat in his captain's chair making changes and additions to the flight-plan for the trip to Morocco they had on Monday. It was yet another one of those last-minute flights Carolyn had booked them, she had only told them this morning and had rendered Martin a notably agitated for a while. Only until Douglas had engaged Martin in another word game did he lighten up slightly. Even then, he was still overly fidgety and had insisted he stay behind and re-write the flight-plan for Morocco. Douglas decided it was far too late to be working and had gone home leaving the captain on GERTI alone. He had a few passing thoughts niggling at the back of his mind telling him to go back and make sure Martin was actually okay but decided against it. Once Douglas had arrived at his Lexus his mind was set on just going home and simply calling Martin in the morning but he silently thanked the heavens when he realised he had left his keys in the plane. If he walked a bit faster to get to Martin, his brain chose to ignore it and to try and believe a random story fabricated for himself. He was Douglas Richardson, Sky God and he did not get worried about people. In fact, he never got worried at all.

The walk back to GERTI felt slower than usual even though he was going marginally faster. Douglas' mind was racing and his heartbeat quickened with every step he took. An image of Martin's face as Carolyn told him he would be flying on a day off flashed into Douglas' mind. He tried to replace it with a more pleasant image of Martin laughing at something Arthur said but it didn't work. He looked sad, angry and annoyed but the biggest emotion he displayed was weariness as he reluctantly accepted that his day off would be spent working and not anything else. Even though he tried to pretend he was okay, Douglas could easily see that his captain was on the verge of tears for the rest of the day. The younger pilot obviously had plans for his day off, most likely another job in his van. This gave Douglas an unexpected surge of anger towards Carolyn who still refused to pay him, the poor man desperately needed it and god-dammit he definitely deserved the money. Martin had the most perseverance Douglas had ever seen and although he would deny it later on, he certainly admired Martin for it. But he quickly pushed the ball of hatred aside; he needed to act nonchalant when he sees Martin again.

As Douglas approached the plane he slowed down and let his breathing even out a bit. The door was slightly ajar, just as he had left it and it was obvious that Martin was still in there, otherwise he would've already shut the door and locked the plane up. He pushed the door open again and crept back in to the galley. But as he did so, he heard a heart-wrenching sniffle from inside the flight deck. Douglas froze and his heart skipped a beat, he knew what he was going to walk in on and he was also pretty sure he knew how Martin was going to react. Douglas advanced slowly and silently towards the flight deck door and rested his fingertips on the handle. He could still hear the tear-filled coughs emanating from the small cabin. Martin was obviously in a terrible state, he didn't need to be a Sherlock Holmes genius to deduce that much. Douglas quickly scanned through at least five ways the conversation between the two pilots could go but as he pushed open the cabin door he forgot every single one of them. This shouldn't happen! He's the great Douglas Richardson; he shouldn't get nervous about comforting a friend. Especially Martin of all people. If anything, Douglas was more worried about making things worse for his captain, although this was the first time he had seen the younger pilot this upset he needed to find the right words to a) calm Martin down; b) discover how Douglas can help; and c) not cause a bad reaction. The last thing Douglas needs is to make things worse than they already are.

The door was nearly fully open now and Martin hadn't noticed anything. From what Douglas could see, he was curled up in the captain's chair with his knees pulled up to his chest and his feet were also up on the seat. Hands covered his face and his whole body was shaking with uncontrollable whimpers. Douglas could've sworn he felt his heart literally crack and shatter to a million pieces as he stared at the emotionally broken pilot before him. Of all the times Douglas had seen Martin upset or annoyed, he had never seen him in a state as bad as this. Douglas swore to himself then and there that he wasn't going to let Martin get this upset ever again, he didn't care how he was going to go about it but this is never happening ever again. He finally let the door fall against the wall with a soft thud. Martin flinched at the sudden sound and hesitated momentarily before slowly lifting his head with a look of utter disbelief. His face flushed an embarrassed red and his expression clearly read 'oh god, why?' All over, it was obvious that of all the people that could have possibly walked in at that moment it just would be Douglas.

"I left my keys." God, how pathetic is that? What a bloody perfect time to lose your confidence, Richardson. Get it together! He had at least ten different things he could have said yet he went for the most pathetic one of them all. But maybe that was just what Martin needed; simplicity and a casual approach. Or maybe Douglas was just over thinking everything - it wouldn't be the first time.

Martin started stammering and rambling almost immediately after that. "I... Erm... S-sorry, I-I'll just be, uh... I'm fine," Martin stuttered out whilst trying to choke back overpowering sobs. He stared downwards at the floor and closed his eyes as if ignoring Douglas would make him go away and forget this ever happened. He couldn't look more ashamed if he tried.

"Martin, I can see that you aren't okay. Just try to take deep breaths, alright?" Douglas tried to appear authoritative in his tone but he couldn't help but sound concerned and caring. These are two things Martin would never have chosen to describe Douglas Richardson but he was strangely soothing in the way he spoke. His deep voice was welcoming and somehow, his voice alone seemed to calm Martin down, even if it was only by a little bit. Martin nodded weakly, trying and failing to breathe in a normal pattern. His breaths were becoming shakier and irregular combined with the uncontrollable heart-breaking sobs which blatantly didn't help the situation. Douglas instinctively knelt on the floor in front of Martin (who was trying to stumble out of his chair), wrapping both arms around his chest in a tight but comforting hug. Martin squeaked in a faint protest but Douglas began to rub his back in soothing circles and Martin put aside any embarrassment and awkwardness for later. He gave up holding back the tears and collapsed onto Douglas, letting the older man comfort him. Martin let his head rest on Douglas' broad shoulder and lifted his own arms to hold on to drape his arms around Douglas' neck for support.

"It's okay, I'm here," Douglas spoke into Martin's already-ruffled hair. "I've got you; you're going to be okay." His voice was deep and steady; it relaxed Martin who was beginning to stop shaking. Douglas noted that his voice calmed the younger pilot so he decided to continue muttering soothing words into Martin's sea of auburn curls. His breathing was starting to become more regular and he wasn't choking out shaky breaths as often either. Douglas couldn't help but feel a sudden pang of guilt as he realised that this whole situation could have been averted had Douglas put aside pride and gotten Martin to tell him what was really wrong and if there was anything he could do to fix it. And Douglas being Douglas, he probably could have fixed it, whatever 'it' was. But instead he decided to chicken out of being a good friend and distracted Martin - and himself - with another word game.

After Martin had finally stopped crying and had fully relaxed in Douglas' arms, he felt Douglas place a soft kiss into his hair. He also let one hand slowly drift up Martin's back so he could lightly run his fingers through his hair and silently thanked God when Martin gratefully leaned in to the touch. Well of course he did, the poor man had been literally starved of touch, his terrible luck with any form of relationship just about proved that. He needed someone to be there for him, to take care of him and soothe him when he's worked up like this. Martin was a good, honest, reliable man and Douglas knew that he deserved someone, someone just as good as Martin himself.

"We can talk about it later. For now, we need to get you into a nice warm bed so you can rest," Douglas moved his head back to look at Martin's face. His brow was furrowed and his face was void of all emotion; there was still embarrassment but he simply looked as though he really couldn't care less what anyone else said, he just needed the comfort more than anything else. There was also a vague emptiness to him, as though he's missing something. Maybe even someone. But overall, he was just too tired and worn out from crying to care about anything anymore. He looked up at Douglas' caring face. "And by 'nice warm bed', I mean you're coming home with me." He wasn't going to let Martin go back to his cold, lonely attic, he would end up in a worse state than before and there wouldn't be anyone to comfort him and he'd end up crying until he either fell asleep or ran out of energy and tears to continue. Douglas wouldn't allow that to happen on his watch. Martin would have objected but he physically couldn't summon the strength to keep his pride intact. He was also too consumed in his own thoughts that were threatening to bubble over and cause another melt-down. Douglas' strange change of ways was odd but Martin would probably react in the same way if roles were to be reversed. But it was nevertheless out of character for Douglas to display such a caring, friendly side that Martin had never seen before. Maybe it was just circumstances that changed, not Douglas. It depends on the scenario at hand, different people deal with different things differently and maybe this is just Douglas' way of saying that he really does care about the younger pilot. And Martin was extremely grateful for that. It's nice to think that after all this time together they've developed a strong trust between themselves and both men are glad to call each other friends (even if they have arguments sometimes).

Twenty minutes later, Douglas was guiding an extremely tired captain in through his front door and into the spare bedroom. Martin quickly stripped to his boxers and under-shirt and curled up under the thick duvet on the double bed. He was asleep almost as soon as his head hit the pillow. Douglas silently retreated from the room and crept back to his own room. He didn't fall asleep as quickly as his co-pilot did but he was rendered worrying slightly about him, maybe Douglas should have stayed in his room to keep him company. He never came to a decision because sleep pulled him under before any course of action was even considered.

Douglas was woken a few hours later by a yelp of fright from Martin's room. He quickly made his way to his captain's room and slipped onto the bed beside Martin and wrapped his arms around him just as he had done previously in the flight deck. The comforting hug combined with some more soothing murmurs into ginger hair seemed to calm Martin down again. This time, Douglas slid under the covers alongside a now unconscious Martin and gently ran his fingers through soft curls once more. He found the action to be rather calming for himself and so he continued to stroke the fluffy hair and he allowed his thoughts to take over again, at least this time they were coherent and sensible instead of being full of worry, doubt and dread. He knew Martin would act awkward and embarrassed in the morning, it was inevitable. But Douglas also decided then and there that he was going to try to cheer the captain up. He may not be able to make Carolyn pay Martin but Douglas was going to have a few tricks up his sleeve. Running his fingers through Martin's hair also left Douglas slowly slipping into oblivion. Shortly both men were asleep, they were facing each other, heads almost touching, and a broad hand was still resting in soft scruffy hair.

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Author's Note: Thanks for reading! As you can see, Martin/Douglas has a special place in my heart and apparently I can't go one single fic without having it in there somewhere, ah well. Please favourite and review as you see fit, I hope you enjoyed it.

Here's the prompt for those of you who are curious: "Halfway home from the airfield, Douglas realises he left something in the flight deck - the keys to his house, his phone, wallet, etc - and has to turn back to get it. When he enters G-ERTI, he finds Martin curled up in the captain's seat, sobbing so desperately that Douglas' heart breaks right there and then." I really hope I did it justice because it was such a good prompt and I just felt as though I had to fill it and feel free to tell me if I'm wrong (or if I'm right).