Author: Ariane DeVere
Word count: 1295
Genre: Pre-slash, romance
Characters: Douglas, Martin
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the first (and probably last) Cabin Pressure GERTI fic. What’s a GERTI fic? Well, you know how Sherlock fandom has the 221B – a self-contained story told in 221 words and the last word has to begin with ‘b’? I thought to myself, “There must be a similar concept which could be applied to Cabin Pressure fic.” Unfortunately there’s no specific number that immediately comes to mind when you think of the series – and I asked several fans of the show and we all came up with different numbers, including 100 (otters), 400 (quiches), 312 (Gerti’s model number) but nothing really striking.
So, in the end, I decided to make it simply a GERTI – a fic which ends with five words which consecutively start with the letters ... well, see if you can work it out for yourself ... (!)
This story takes place after Ottery St Mary.
“I don’t need help getting up the stairs, thank you, Douglas,” Martin protested.
“Of course you don’t,” Douglas replied mildly. “But clearly nobody else is home and I’m just making sure that Sir makes it up to his room safely. We wouldn’t want Sir to only reach the first landing and then get stuck there, would we?”
Martin glowered at him – at least, that seemed to be the look he was aiming for but his face was too full of pain to have any spare capacity for other expressions. Since the adrenalin rush of delivering the piano on time had worn off, he had been limping more and more badly on his sprained ankle and he had now reached the end of his strength. He turned and hobbled into the house, heading straight for the stairs.
“It’s not like I’m offering to tuck you up in bed and read you a story once we get up there,” Douglas continued as he stepped into the hall and closed the front door. “Besides, the only books you read are flight manuals and they would put me to sleep long before you nodded off.”
Martin’s snort turned into a yelp of pain as he stepped up the first of the stairs and put his weight onto his damaged ankle. Bracing his right hand on the banisters and his left on the wall, he hopped up onto the next step, another whine escaping his mouth as he did so. Douglas watched him as he progressed up the next few steps, putting as little pressure onto his bad foot as possible but still unable to silence a pained whimper each time it touched the floor. He had only progressed up six more stairs when Douglas couldn’t stand it any longer and stormed up the steps behind him. Martin half turned at the sound, which made it easier for Douglas to wrap his left arm around Martin’s waist and use his other arm to scoop Martin’s legs from under him. Martin squeaked in shock but even as he started to stammer out a protest and struggled to get free, his arms automatically wrapped around Douglas’ neck to support himself. The shiver of pleasure that went through Douglas’ body wasn’t as much of a surprise as he might have expected, but he concentrated on taking the first step upwards while making his voice stern.
“Stop wriggling, or you’re going to make me lose my balance and we’ll both fall.”
Martin’s indignant babbling stopped immediately and he clung tighter around Douglas’ neck and buried his head onto his shoulder as he took the next step up. Douglas tried to keep his mind on the task of getting them both to the landing without him overbalancing but he couldn’t help musing on how unexpectedly easy the job was. After landing back at Fitton Douglas had agreed to drive Arthur and Martin home in the van but they had stopped off for dinner at a “little gang of shops” en route and Douglas had offered to pay for everyone’s meals, still embarrassed about accusing Arthur of losing the car keys. Despite the fact that Martin had tucked away so much food that even Arthur had been impressed, right now he felt painfully light in Douglas’ arms.
“Good lord, Captain, do you ever eat properly?” he grumbled as he reached the landing and carried Martin towards the second flight of stairs. He was relieved that there actually was a flight of stairs – he had half imagined that Martin had to climb up a loft ladder to reach his attic room. “It’s about time you got yourself a nice young man to look after you.”
He grinned as Martin produced his trademark indignant squeak again. “Sorry, Sir of Sirs,” he continued. “I just assumed that girlfriends aren’t really your area.”
“They’re not,” Martin mumbled into his shoulder as Douglas began to trudge slowly up the stairs again.
“So why don’t you get yourself a young man?” he asked, not entirely surprised at the stab of jealousy that struck him at the mere thought of Martin dating someone. “Even you could get yourself a date if you really put your mind to it.” Gritting his teeth a little, he added, “I’ll even help you if you like.”
“I’m not interested in young men,” Martin said softly as they reached the top of the stairs. Confused, Douglas wanted to ask more but right now he needed to get Martin into the room and out of his arms before he revealed too much of his own feelings.
“Keys,” he demanded and wouldn’t you know it, Martin straightened up a little and started to ferret through his right-hand pocket, the one closer to Douglas’ body. The sensation of Martin’s fingers wriggling against his stomach, even separated by a shirt and jeans, was way too pleasant and could almost have distracted him from Martin’s next words ... except that Martin’s next words momentarily knocked Douglas’ world off its axis.
Pulling the keys from his pocket, Martin transferred them to his other hand and reached out to unlock the door to his flat. As he did so, and with his face turned away from Douglas, he said quietly, “I’ve only been interested in one man for ages, and he’s quite a bit older than me.”
He pushed the door open but Douglas was unable to move. Right at this moment he wasn’t sure that his feet were ever going to move again. The object of his desire for far too long had just said a sequence of words that he couldn’t have dreamed of hearing in a thousand years, and consequently the mighty sky god’s brain wasn’t functioning properly. Embarrassed by the motionless silence, Martin slumped in his arms and lowered his head, keeping it turned away.
“Forget I said that,” he mumbled. “I’m tired and my ankle hurts – I didn’t mean to say it out loud. Blame it on the painkillers. Ignore me.”
He started to wriggle awkwardly, trying to get Douglas to put him down. Douglas finally got his mind back online and tightened his grip around Martin’s body to hold him in place before stepping forward into the attic. He glanced around momentarily, realising that it really was as tiny and awful as he had imagined and making a mental note that he needed to get Martin out of there as soon as possible, and on a permanent basis. But right now there were more important things to attend to.
Pausing only to kick the door carefully closed behind him, he gently lowered Martin’s legs to the floor, still bracing him with his left arm. Martin tried to step back but his bad ankle gave out and he clung to Douglas’ shoulders as he caught his balance. Douglas’ other hand automatically reached out and took hold of Martin’s waist ... and then Martin raised his head and his face was oh so close and his eyes went wide as Douglas lowered his gaze to look at Martin’s lips. For a long moment Martin’s expression became full of hope and previously-hidden longing, then he snorted nervously as he tried to step away again.
“You don’t mean it.”
Gently Douglas pulled him closer again.
“Martin, I think we’re way beyond the point of not meaning anything. Besides, I’ve just carried you across the threshold, and you must know what that means. It means we’re as good as married, and therefore I absolutely must kiss you.” He leaned closer, his mouth almost brushing Martin’s. The younger man’s lips parted and a needy whimper drifted out. Douglas smiled gently, and softly delivered one last sentence before finally closing the gap between them.
“In fact, right now I think I’ve got every right to insist.”
Author’s Note: Anybody else fancy writing a GERTI?!
In the Newcastle episode Gerti was identified as a Lockheed McDonnell. Such a plane doesn’t really exist and the name is a mixture of two real-life company names connected with aviation – but then someone, probably on the Cabin Pressure comm, discovered that there are Lockheed Martin aircraft and there are McDonnell Douglas aircraft, which is why clever John Finnemore gave the two pilots those names in the first place. So when I decided to make this fic almost-slash, I came up with this title. Cryptic much?!
Thanks to verityburns, who came up with part of the storyline, especially in relation to the actual confession.
Now translated into Danish and German - both translations done by the brilliant teejod, who persevered beyond the call of duty to find suitable translations of the all-essential last five words.