Doc Martin original Fanfiction story—takes place in Season Three, right after S3E1 "Tick Tock". Hurt/Comfort/Romance/Drama/Comedy (really, all five!)

A Duty Of Caring

By mmDerdekea

Chapter One

"'No'," Wendy Alden reported to Louisa, "That's all he said, 'No', and then he closed his door on me. Is there anything you can do?"

It was another Doc Martin failure to support Port Wenn, which both irritated Louise and gave her a heavy heart. She should have been used to it by now, since he had always been consistent in rejecting any helpful role in such activities.

"Well, it's not surprising, is it?" she sighed.

"Not really, the rude, nasty bugger. But, you are friends with him, aren't you…?"

Diplomatically, Wendy let the sentence float into silence. The implication, nonetheless, was obvious. Louise was friends—or perhaps more—with Doc Martin, so wouldn't she have some influence in getting a cash donation for the upcoming Port Wenn Spring Festival?

"I'm not sure, and anyway, he doesn't really listen to me, either."

After a few more ending comments, the two split up and went on their way. Louisa finished a little bit of shopping, picking up cosmetics and toiletries, and, on a whim, a romance novel. It was a lovely late spring day and reading on her back patio seemed very relaxing, and she'd be able to hide from all the tourists starting to visit their picturesque village.

On her way back to her flat, climbing up the road, she saw striding towards her the imperious figure of Martin Ellingham, tall, straight backed, and, of course, frowning. He was clothed in his dark blue fine Saville Row suit, which fit him perfectly, and a quick glance from toes to collar had Louisa acknowledging he always looked good in blue. Martin walked in his usual clipped, tight style, as if even moving through the fresh Port Wenn air bristled him. He carried with him his hefty medicine case, and his portable EKG machine/defibrillator.

When Martin saw her, she liked that he would immediately tend to slow down, almost grow hesitant, and sometimes his eyes changed. Losing their usual judgmental glare, they could become open and earnest, receptive and even kind. Louisa was drawn to them then, and felt like she could jump through his pupils and meet his soul. But, usually if they talked too long, it all went wrong; his curt words growled, his headstrong mood was reasserted, his eyes flared into beacons of implacable rudeness, and she felt abandoned. It was like a Frankenstein nightmare—they always had good intentions when they met to pump life into their stagnant relationship, but usually their words wound up instead electrifying some monstrous creature, pushing them apart. Emotionally, she would leap forward, then withdraw, leapt forward, then withdraw. To Louisa, their relationship was like a temperamental tug of war.

"Louisa," Martin said.

"Hello, Martin." Her eyes went to his medical bag. "Did you see a patient?"

"Yes. Another supposed emergency call from a non-emergent patient simply too lazy to attend my surgery. Very inconvenient."

"It's good, anyway, they weren't seriously ill."

He glowered, probably not at Louisa, but at the general state of…everything…in Port Wenn, and uttered a small grunt.

Gathering her courage, Louisa decided to proceed forward. She opened her mouth when suddenly a young child's ball bounced off Martin's temple, and his head tilted slightly to the opposite side in response.

It might have been funny, if it had not occurred to the humorless Martin Ellingham.

He spun his head around, searching for the perpetrator and found a very small child chasing after the ball bouncing about on the street. While other children burst into laughter, a woman nearby yelled out, "Percy! Apologize to the Doc!" Picking up the ball the blond-haired four year old nodded to his mum, and than ran back to Martin. Staring up at him with bright, wide eyes, the child resembled Cindy Lou Hoo glimpsing up at the Grinch.

"What do you want?" Martin said.

"I'm terribly sorry for hitting you with my ball. I've not got very good aim. I was throwing at my brother, over there." The boy pointed his finger across the street.

The earnest apology using impressively articulate language calmed the doctor a little. He saw the older boy across the narrow street, waving his whole arm like a tree in a windstorm.

"And you're very tall," the boy added.

"Go away. Shoo," Martin said, dismissing him, but in a softer tone.

The child ran over to his sibling to continue playing.

"Lovely of Percy to say he was sorry," Louisa said. "Lovely family, all the Winslows. Very decent and pleasant."

"That child has more language skills than most of the adult population."

Louisa ignored the insult and continued on, "In fact, Michael Winslow, the father, has a wonderful singing voice. The Summer Festival audience always enjoys his performance." Louisa was quite proud of herself for finding a good lead in to her main topic.

"I'd think a choir of pigs squealing might win first prize in a Port Wenn Summer Festival."

"No, we don't allow animals, I mean, unless they are trained to do tricks. But, no pigs."

Martin silently stared at Louisa. He had reached his limit of inane dialogue. "Good-bye." He took a step forward.

Louisa grabbed hold of his arm, "Wait, I heard from Wendy that you refused to donate to the Festival." He espied her hand on his upper arm, and she promptly let go.

"I don't care about the Summer, Fall, Winter, or Spring Festival."

"You should. It's an important part of this community, the one you live in. People would like you to participate in our affairs."

"I have no interest in those people, or their affairs."

"You should care about being involved. You might enjoy it. You might start liking living here. We're not all loathsome, you know."

There it was, that softening of his eyes. "Not all, no."

"So, can I send Wendy around again for a donation?"

"No."

Louisa felt her pent-up frustration burst out. "Martin, why do you have to be this

way? Why can't you at least fake caring about the Festival, and give a lousy ten quid to make the village happy? Do you just go want to go through life like this, seeming to not care about…well, anyone?"

Martin stood there during her tirade, but in the middle of it his eyes had drifted away, up the street. Suddenly, they widened, and with a frantic "God-!" he dropped his equipment to the ground, pushed Louisa forcefully to the side, and took off running into the middle of the road. Louisa turned around and was horrified. A car was coming down the hill very fast, too fast, and there was little Percy Winslow, once more chasing his ball onto the pavement, directly in the path of the barreling car….

Everything happened very quickly. There was a mother screaming, a car attempting to screech to a stop, people dodging out of the way, and a very tall GP reaching down to clutch a very small child…Martin lifted up Percy and nearly got clear of the vehicle, the edge of the front bumper brushing his left upper thigh and hip area, spinning him off balance as his arms held the boy close to his chest, out of harm's way. As Martin landed on the ground, he hit on his side and rolled onto his back, stopping his motion. The car came to a sudden stop, scrapping dark tire lines in the road, twenty or thirty feet away.

More chaos. Mrs. Winslow grabbed her unharmed child from Martin's arms. Martin held onto his hip while a strange woman knelt by his side asking if he was alright. Another woman came out of the car screaming that her husband, the driver, was having a heart attack. She continued prattling on in her hysteria, explaining she had had to reach over and control the car and stomp on the break from the passenger side.

"Bugger!" Martin cursed. He roughly stood up, and the strange woman helped him, but it seemed to Louisa the pain in his hip was quite striking; he hobbled a few feet but couldn't really go further. He noticed Bert and Al standing on the edge of a growing crowd, and yelled to them, "Bert, Al, carry the man to me!" The two obedient Larges immediately ran to the car, and after a bit of organization, lifted the man and brought him to Martin, still in the middle of the street.

"Louisa, bring my equipment!", he called, and she did post-haste. He then told her to call 999 and request an ambulance.

The wife put a little blanket under her husband's head, who was still conscious. She then backed away a little and stood neavy with her two kids wrapped around her waist nearby, watching in fear. Kneeling on the street, obviously in discomfort from whatever hip injury he had suffered, the Doc took out his stethoscope and sphygomometer.

"I'm Dr. Ellingham. What's going on?" Martin asked the man.

"I don't feel so good, Doc." The man was middle-aged and had fine black hair. He was a little bit overweight and was sweating profusely. The Doc noticed the pack of cigarettes in his shirt pocket.

"Do you have any chest pain?"

"Yeah, and it's shooting a bit down my arm. Came on a few minutes ago."

"What can I do, Doctor Ellingham?" the woman asked.

Martin stared at her for a long moment. "Are you nurse…?"

"Brownlee. I worked with you a few years at St. John's. Surgical nurse then; now trauma nurse. Just here on a visit."

"Right. Good. Get his sleeve rolled up and take his BP." Martin reached for his portable EGK machine and opened it up.

"Do you have hypertension?", he asked the man.

"What?"

"High blood pressure."

"Yes, for a year or so. However, I stopped taking the medications a couple of months ago."

"But kept smoking."

"Er, yeah. The pills, though, you know," he whispered, "they kept me and the wife from being intimate."

"So will your death!" Martin glowered at him, his scowl clearly indicating his assessment of the man's intelligence was frighteningly low. But, Louisa saw him glance at his children nested in their mother's clothes, pale with fear, and it seemed he immediately refocused on the situation and not his judgment of the stupidity of his patient.

They got the vitals and Martin watched the EKG after putting the electrodes on the man's chest. ST elevation-myocardial infarction. Acute Coronary Syndrome. A heart attack.

Martin spoke to nurse Brownlee. "There's aspirin and Clopidogrel in the second middle drawers. Give him one of each." He called for some water from the enlarging crowd and an anonymous woman stepped forward with a water bottle. The man swallowed the pills and then nearly immediately sighed deeply and seemed to collapse internally, his chest deflating as he went unconscious.

The EKG changed into asystole, a medical crisis, a certainty of death if not quickly converted. Martin could not feel a carotid pulse. "Damn!" he said. He sat higher on his knees and began doing CPR on the patient, directing the nurse to get a shot of epinephrine ready for injection. When it was ready, Martin shot it directly into the man's heart through his chest, and continued the CPR, Nurse Brownlee taking over the one breath every fifteen times the Doc compressed the man's chest. Whether from the exertion or hip pain or both, the Doc was sweating himself, several flows of salty water dripping down his face. When nothing changed on the EKG, Martin switched to a calcium chloride injection, also directly into heart tissue, and returned to CPR; this time, after a minute the EKG showed a miraculous switch to a ventricular fibrillation rhythm.

With that, Martin stopped his CPR, grabbed the defibrillator paddles, told the nurse, "Clear the body," and shocked the man, whose chest jumped a little. There was no change in the v-fib rhythm and the doctor and nurse went back to CPR for a minute and then shocked him again. No change again and the process was repeated a third time, until the shock worked and the man's heart converted to normal rhythm.

"Brilliant," Nurse Brownlee said, staring at the EKG readout. "Bloody brilliant. Unbelievable. I was sure he was dead. The statistics of recovering an asystolic patient are really low. You've still got your Midas touch, Doctor Ellingham."

Martin swung his head around to her at that comment, and then put the paddles back. The man regained consciousness after a little bit and was stable until the ambulance arrived. He complained about chest pain when he breathed and Martin told him those were broken ribs from the CPR.

Martin took the packet of cigarettes out of the man's shirt pocket, crushed them in his hand and tossed them onto the road. "Stop smoking! And take your medications!"

The man nodded.

After a few directions to the paramedics, the heart attack victim was loaded into the ambulance and driven away. His wife and kids thanked Doc Martin effusively, earning a grunt in return. The man's family left, driving after the ambulance to the hospital in Truro. At that point, Mrs. Winslow came up to Martin and also effusively thanked him for saving Percy's life, adding, "I hope your hip isn't badly hurt". She received another patented Doc Martin grunt.

It was then that Martin took out some Ibuprofen from his medical bag, his cornucopia of patient survival, and swallowed two or three of them down. After, he once more grabbed his hip and released a slow groan.

"Doctor, perhaps you should get to Truro as well and have that hip looked at. Do you think it could be broken?"

"No."

"Where's your surgery? I could examine it. As I said, I'm a trauma nurse

now."

It was then Louisa noticed a strange look between them, one she could not fathom. It was odd, as Martin glanced away first, which he rarely ever did. "No."

"Could be a hip pointer. Pretty painful those. You'll have a lot of bruising with that."

Ignoring her, he closed up his bag and EKG machine, and lumbered to his feet. His large hand held his hip and thigh, and Martin's sweating and his paleness accentuated Louisa's concern. The crowd dispersed with a smattering of applause and some "Well done, Doc!" type comments, which Martin studiously ignored. One blond haired fellow, whom Doc recognized but did not know or treat, called out "Tosser," which he always did when he passed Martin on the streets.

Louisa came to him as he stood slightly swaying. "My God, Martin, you saved Percy's life, and then the man with the heart attack. That was amazing. You're amazing. Should you go to Truro?" Now the nurse gave Louisa a strange look.

"No."

"You're so stubborn." It wasn't far to his surgery, but it was far enough and mostly uphill. "Maybe you shouldn't at least walk home."

"I can drive you, Doc," Bert Large offered. "Would be like climbing Mount Everest with you staggering about on a bum hip."

To Doc Martin's monosyllabic agreement, he got into Bert's old van and was driven home, his medical bag and EKG machine put into the back compartment by Al. That left Louisa and Nurse Brownlee alone in the street. Louisa had every intention of visiting Martin, but first, a little conversation with Nurse Brownlee intrigued her.

"So…you worked with Martin, did you?" Louisa asked.

"Yes, for several years. Such a gifted surgeon. It was like he was touched by God, or, at least he was a prodigy. From the moment he first held a scalpel, he saved people's lives." She paused. "You call him 'Martin'". I assume you're friends, then?"

If only Louisa actually knew what she and Martin were, it would be so easy to answer that awkward question. "A bit, yes."

"That's nice. Even when Doctor Ellingham and I were lovers, I still always called him Doctor Ellingham. Didn't even seem right then to say 'Martin'."

Louisa's mouth dropped so widely open that in a game of charades it would have been thought she was miming a pelican. And, as if she had turned to some solid statue of shock, her mouth stayed that wide open.