"Tag, You're It, Part 13"
By:  Melissa and Cathy

Kerry Weaver had endured a rough day at work and now she just wanted to relax in her own backyard.  As she leaned back in the lounge chair, a cool drink in her hand and a magazine in her lap, she felt the tension begin to leave her body.  She smiled as she heard noises from next door and knew that Tag and John in the pool.  She envied them the luxury of that pool.  But, the tension suddenly returned though when she heard a voice that she hadn't heard for years: Doug Ross.  They had worked together at Mount Sinai a long time ago and she vaguely remembered hearing something about him now working at County General, which would explain why he would know Tag and John.  That didn't quite explain what he was saying in Tag's backyard.

Getting to her feet, Kerry walked over to the fence.  There were a few spots where the gaps between boards were large enough for her to see through and what she saw shocked her.  Oh, she wasn't a prude.  Quite the opposite in fact.  And she would have been thrilled to have spied Tag and John frolicking in the pool.  She was not thrilled to see Doug Ross and John doing more than frolicking.  They were having sex.  She realized that she didn't know John very well, after all, they had just met the previous day.  But, the time she had spent with him made her believe that she knew he would not cheat on Tag.  At least that's what she had thought.  Years ago, Doug Ross had a reputation as a womanizer who would seduce anything in a dress.  She knew with all her being that Doug had instigated this.  Maybe she could break this up before it went too far, she thought.  She headed out to the front yard, then to Tag and John's porch, where she put her finger on the doorbell and left it there.  Hopefully, John would decide that he had to answer the door.  Hopefully, he would hear the doorbell outside.

"Hey, Kerry."  Kerry jumped as she heard Tag's voice from somewhere behind her.  She turned and saw him walking up the steps.

"Tag," she didn't know what to say.  She did know she had to keep him from going into his own house.

"John's not answering the door?  He must be in the pool and the doorbell can't be heard back there.  How are you today?"

"I'm fine.  But, I have a problem.  That's why I came over."

"Oh?"  Tag unlocked the door and stepped inside.  "What's wrong?"

"My, um, garbage disposal won't cut off.  Yeah.  It won't cut off.  Can you come over and take a look at it?  The noise is driving me crazy."

"Sure.  Let me grab my tools first though.  Come on in."

Kerry reluctantly followed Tag into the house, nearly running into him as he suddenly stopped at the edge of the living room.

Tag couldn't believe what he was seeing.  Clothes were scattered on the floor.  John's clothes.  And the clothes of another man.  He closed his eyes, feeling as if all the breath had been knocked out of him in one blow.  "Why?" he whispered.  How could John do this to him?  He felt an incredible sadness begin to well up inside his body and he turned to look at Kerry, not caring that tears were in his eyes.

"There's nothing wrong with your garbage disposal, is there?"

She shook her head.

"They're in the pool, aren't they?"

She nodded, then found herself having to follow him again as he took purposeful strides to the back door and the pool.

While being taken by John in the pool had been interesting, Doug had decided that the patio table was better suited for the taking of John Carter, so he had moved the activities there.  He closed his eyes as he stopped to savor the moment, ready to bury himself inside John, anticipating the tightness and warmth he'd find there.  Savoring the rush it gave him to once more take something away from John Taglieri.  He never saw the fury in Tag's eyes as he approached him.  All he knew was that he heard a terrible roaring sound, then felt himself being pulled away from John.  He opened his eyes just as Tag hit him with a hard right, knocking him backwards several feet and dumping him into the pool.

Tag grabbed John's arm, pulling him up from the table.  "Get inside and get dressed."  His teeth were clenched as he hissed at John and he found himself forcing his other hand open so he wouldn't end up hitting John the way he had hit Doug Ross.  His mind was full of Carol's words as he looked at John and noted his flushed skin and the remnants of his arousal.  She had called John a slut and implied worse.  And now he found John on the verge of being fucked by Doug Ross.  Why, oh why, did it have to be Doug Ross?

"Tag..." John began.

Tag pushed him away.  "I told you to go inside and get dressed.  Do it.  If you can't do it out of respect for my feelings, then do it out of respect for Kerry's."

John looked over at Kerry then, looking as if he had not realized she was there.  Looking lost.  He blushed, then hurried into the house.

Doug was now out of the pool and as naked as the day he was born.  Kerry decided that she had better bring his clothes or a towel out to him.  She went inside and found a towel on the dryer.  When she came back outside, the two men were angrily facing each other.  She silently tossed the towel to Doug, who deftly caught it and quickly wrapped it around his waist.  Then she headed back inside the house, not wanting to hear what either man had to say.  She was haunted by the look that had been in John's eyes when he realized she was there and she wanted to make sure he was okay.

"I don't know what you think you were doing here, Ross, but if I ever catch you near John again, then so help me God, I'll rip your fucking head off, do you understand me?"

"I came by to talk to John about his pedes rotation.  I can't help it if he found me attractive and wanted to have sex with me."

"I guess your parents never taught you how to say no, did they?"

Doug smirked.  "Don't get angry with me for taking what was offered, Taglieri.  I'm made of flesh and blood, just like you."

"There's a big difference between you and me, Ross.  If something is offered to me and I know I have no right to take it, I don't.  You never hesitate."

"And why should I?  John is hot.  Besides, you weren't around to see to his needs."

"Get dressed and get out of my house."

With his smirk still in place, Doug headed inside.  As he stepped into the house, he found himself face to face with Kerry Weaver.  He had never thought he'd be seeing her again.  The look in her eyes as she passed him quickly erased the smirk.


Tag turned around, worried by the urgent tone in Kerry's voice.


"You need to come inside now.  John has locked himself in the bathroom."

"He can just stay there, Kerry.  I have no desire to see him or talk to him right now."  Tag was still angry and was scared that he would do or say something that would hurt John.  He wanted to hurt John.  And that scared him.

"Tag, please?"

He noticed then that she seemed genuinely worried.  "Fine."

He followed her back into the house.  In the living room, Doug Ross was getting dressed, and Tag saw that John's clothes were still there.  He also noticed a glass with a clear liquid in it.  He picked up and sniffed the unmistakable aroma of peppermint schnapps.

"John was drinking?" he asked with a frown on his face.

Doug nodded.  "He was drinking that.  Why?  Don't you allow him to drink?"  Doug derisively asked.

Tag remembered John's earlier comment about having a headache.  If John had taken something for the headache and then had the schnapps, then that could explain his behavior.  He had thought though that John had learned his lesson about that back in Paris.

"I don't like for him to drink when he's taken Tylenol with codeine."  Tag headed up the steps, Kerry still following behind him.

Doug's mood suddenly became somber as he thought about what Tag had said.  He hoped that John had not been so stupid, but if Tag believed it to be possible, then he might have mixed alcohol with a drug.  One thing was for sure, he wasn't leaving until he knew that John was all right.

Tag knocked on the door to the bathroom.  "John?  Open the door." Tag had to bite his tongue to keep from telling him that he was acting like a child.  But, in his opinion, it was true.  Only a child would run and hide.  That John felt he had to hide made Tag realize just how careful he needed to be with John and it took some of the edge off of his anger and frustration.

There was no answer.

"John?  Don't act like this, okay?  We need to talk and I refuse to talk to you through a locked door."

"Go away."

Tag looked back at Kerry and she flashed him a small smile.  If John was talking, then it was progress, right?

"I'm not going anywhere, John.  Now, open the door and let me in."  Tag felt impatient as he waited for an answer.

Inside the bathroom, John was grabbing the sink with both hands, staring at his reflection in the mirror, his stomach queasy.  How had he sunk so low that he cheated on Tag?  He loved Tag and never wanted to hurt him.  So, why did he let Doug Ross have his way with him?  Why did he allow himself to have his way with Doug Ross?  Was he so much of a slut that he would let any man have him?  Tag's words from their fight in Hawaii echoed in his head "Act like a piece of ass, and you get treated like one.  But then again, I guess you should behave how you're used to behaving."  Oh, those words had cut through him when Tag uttered them, but now, now John knew they were true.  He had acted that way with Doug Ross.

He heard the impatience in Tag's voice now, but he remembered the tightly controlled anger in it earlier.  He knew that Tag wouldn't hurt him.  Wouldn't hit him the way he had hit Doug.  He wasn't afraid of that.  What he was afraid of was that he had ruined things with Tag.  Deep down he had known that he would.

"You're such a fuck-up," he told his reflection.  "Such a stupid, stupid, fuck up."

He didn't realize that he was screaming at his reflection even as he began to beat at it, shattering the mirror and sending glass and blood raining down.

"Tag!" Kerry called out as they heard John shouting and then the unmistakable sound of glass breaking.  Tag wasted no time in kicking in the bathroom door and then he had John in his arms, trying his best to pin his flailing arms down so he could see how badly he had injured himself.  He ended up sitting on the edge of the tub, pulling John onto his lap and cradling him while John sobbed into his chest.

"It's all right, baby.  It's all right."  Tag soothed him as best he could.

Kerry grabbed some clean wash cloths, then ran water over them, doing her best to avoid the glass in the sink.  She then gently wrapped John's hands in the cloths until they could get a proper look at them.  She heard a noise in the doorway and looked up to see Doug standing there.  Why didn't he just get the Hell out? 

"You've caused quite enough trouble here today, Doug.  Why don't you leave?" she said.

"You need my help."

"We don't need you here, Ross.  Get the Hell out of my house.  I'm quite capable of taking care of John."  Tag's voice was cold, the fury knocked out of him by the reality of what John had done.

Doug started to turn to leave, but he stopped and looked at John once more.  "I never meant for this to happen.  I'm sorry."

"Just get out," Tag's voice was once more tight with barely controlled anger.  Anger at Doug Ross.  Anger at himself for scaring John like this.  Anger at John for scaring him like this.  And scared.  So very scared over what might be going on in John's head.

Doug slowly turned away and they could hear him leave the house.

"Let me clear the sink and then we can irrigate his hands to see if there's any glass imbedded in his skin."  Kerry looked around for something she could use to clean up the mess.  She finally decided to sacrifice a hand towel, and she used it to brush the glass from the sink and into the wastebasket.

"There's a first aid kit in the linen closet, and another downstairs in the kitchen," Tag softly said.  John was beginning to quiet down, but he kept his face buried in Tag's chest.  "There's gloves in each one."

"How about if I also find something for him to wear?"

Tag glanced down, really noticing for the first time that John was still naked.  His eyes teared as he saw the blood which had spattered onto John's tanned body.  He risked releasing John's arm and gently touched his shoulder, then blanched as he saw a new smear of blood there.  He lifted his hand and saw that he had also been cut and it was still profusely bleeding.

"Shit," he muttered.  It hadn't hurt until he noticed it though.  Now, it throbbed.  "In the bedroom, top drawer of the chest of drawers by the closet."

Kerry handed Tag another wet wash cloth to use on his own hand, then she went to get something for John to wear.  The first thing she saw was a pair of sweatpants, so she grabbed them and returned to the bathroom, stopping by the linen closet to retrieve the first aid kit.  While Tag held John, she eased the pants up his legs and onto his body.  Then she slipped her hands into the latex gloves.

"Can he stand?" she asked Tag.

"I can hold him."  Tag stood up and took the few steps that brought them to the sink.  John wriggled a bit in his arms, but Tag held on tightly.  "It's okay, baby.  You're okay.  Just relax."

"I want to irrigate your hands, John, all right?" Kerry asked.  He turned his head to look at her and she saw he had a few cuts on his face as well.  The glass must have been flying all over, she thought, it's probably all over the floor as well.  It was probably a good thing that Tag had decided to hold John.  John's eyes were unfocused and he slowly blinked at her as she reached for his arm and slowly stuck his hand into the stream of water.  Once satisfied that there was no glass imbedded in John's left hand, Kerry asked Tag to adjust John's body so she could irrigate the right hand. 

When she was done, Tag sat back down on the edge of the tub so Kerry could apply bandages to John's cuts.

"Well, none of the cuts are very deep.  John's lucky," she commented.

"He's asleep," Tag told her.

She looked up and saw that John had indeed fallen asleep in Tag's arms.  Not too surprising if he had done what Tag feared and mixed alcohol with a medication.

"Why don't you put him in bed and then I'll take a look at your hand."  She began to clean up the bathroom while Tag put John to bed.  When Tag returned to the bathroom, his eyes reflected the worry and anguish he was feeling.

"It's still bleeding," he told her as he held his hand over the sink and removed the wash cloth.  Blood was still oozing from the cut, but it wasn't a deep cut and Kerry cleaned it and bandaged

"How about some herbal tea?  You could use something to soothe your nerves," she suggested.

He nodded, "That would be nice.  I want to check on John again."

"Take your time.  I have to go back to my house to get the tea anyway."

"Kerry, thank you for all your help.  I know that we haven't known each other for a long time, but it means a lot to me that you were here."

"You're welcome.  I just wish that this day had never happened for you.  Or for John."

"Me, too."

Once back from her house, Kerry had put water on for the tea, then straightened the living room.  Once the tea was ready, she had poured two cups and was now sipping hers while she waited for Tag to come downstairs.  When he did appear in the living room, he looked exhausted.

"Is he still asleep?"

"Yeah."  He wearily sank into the armchair, seeing that Kerry had picked up John's clothing from the floor.

"I made some herbal tea to help soothe you.  There's a cup on the table beside you."

"Thanks."  Tag reached for the cup, also seeing that the glass of schnapps was gone.  He took a few sips of the hot beverage, hoping to find some way to settle his nerves.

"Is this the first time that John has acted like this?"  Kerry asked.

"He's never done anything like this.  Shit, I'm talking as if we've been together forever, Kerry.  Do you know I've only known him, really known him, for three weeks?"

"There are some people that you can really get to know in three hours, Tag.  I think that John is one of them."

Tag nodded.  "He's so open and trusting.  I don't know how he can be so trusting, Kerry.  Not after what's been done to him."

"And what's that?"

Tag looked down into his cup of tea, frowning.  He knew that John would be angry if Tag told Kerry about the abuse he had suffered at the hands of his father, but Tag also knew that if abuse was exposed, then it could be stopped, maybe even prevented from happening again.  "John's been physically abused, Kerry.  My money is on his father."

Kerry remembered John telling her about his father confronting them in Paris.  He had also confided in her that his father wasn't above doing things to manipulate his life.  But, he had not mentioned physical abuse, nor seemed to fear that from his father.  "Has he said anything to you about it?"

"Only to deny it.  There have been two times now that he's freaked out on me.  Both times involved him being in a situation where he felt helpless.  The second time, I noticed scars on his body.  Scars from being whipped, Kerry."  Tag took a long drink of tea, then continued.  "He's scared of his father.  Scared to cross him in any way.  He's convinced that his father is going to ruin me in an effort to make John leave me.  Whenever I try to talk to John about his father, he gets defensive, telling me that his father never hurt him.  I don't believe him."

"Has John given you any reason to doubt him when he tells you that his father didn't hurt him?"

"I've seen the two of them together, Kerry.  I've even had my own confrontation with the man.  One doesn't have conversations with Roland Carter.  You either confront him or get run over by him.  John usually gets run over by him."

"I can see your point that Roland Carter is emotionally abusive to John, but you have no evidence to prove that he's been physically abusive.  If you continue to press that issue with John, then he's going to feel trapped and hounded, Tag."

"We had started to argue about his father earlier, before I was called into the office.  When I left I told him that the discussion wasn't over and we'd talk once I got home.  Maybe that's what put him in Ross' arms."

"I would think that being high had a lot to do with what happened this evening, Tag.  John wasn't in any condition to put up a fight and Doug Ross can be most persuasive when he wants to be.  He either didn't notice John's condition or else he chose to take advantage of it."

Tag snorted.  "I'm sure it was the latter.  After all, he prides himself on being such a great doctor, so how could he miss the obvious?"

"Sometimes a person only sees what they want to see."  Even as she said it, Kerry mentally kicked herself for defending Doug Ross.  But, fair was fair and the Doug Ross she had known would not take advantage of someone who was high.  But, then again, it had many years since she had last worked with him.  A person could change a lot in that time.  She also knew that Doug Ross could charm the birds out of the trees, as her mother would put it, so John probably didn't stand a chance.  There was also the possibility that John had been the one to seduce Doug and not the other way around.  When they had stepped out onto the patio, it certainly looked to her as if John was a willing participant, and from what she had seen from her backyard, he had been enjoying himself.  But, there was no need to tell all of that to Tag.  He had enough on his mind.

"Maybe.  There's a lot of bad blood between Ross and me.  It goes back a long way and the feelings are too strong for me to even think about giving him the benefit of the doubt."

"And how do you feel about John?" she quietly asked.

"I'm torn, Kerry.  A part of me wants to strangle him for what he did.  Another part of me just wants to hold him.  I don't know what's going on in his head lately.  Every time I turn around he's snapping at me, arguing with me.  He wasn't like that in Hawaii, or in Paris.  Maybe he's trying to test my love for him."

"That could be possible," she acknowledged.  "I definitely have the impression that he's not as self-assured as he would like others to believe."

"I've tried to reassure him as much as I can that I love him no matter what," Tag said.  "It breaks my heart, Kerry."

"Don't give up on him, Tag."

He shook his head.  "I have no intention of doing that.  I love John very much and I'm not going to easily give him up.  Not over his shitty moods and not over this, even though this hurts me a lot.  I'll get past the hurt.  I just want to know why he did it."

"He might not even know."

"I don't see how that would be possible.  How can you have sex with someone and not know why you're doing it?"

"Alcohol alone can make a person act differently.  Combine that with codeine and I'm sure that all of John's morals went right out the window."

"I wish it was as easy as blaming it on drugs and alcohol.  Well, it's getting late and I'm sure you have things to do."

"Yeah, I do need to get some things done before I go to bed.  I have an early day tomorrow."

"Thanks for the tea and the company."

"Any time, Tag."

Tag escorted Kerry to the door, then watched from his porch until she was back in her own house.  He slowly closed the door and locked it, then took the cups back to the kitchen and finished loading the dishwasher.  As he started the wash cycle he heard footsteps in the hallway and looked up to see John coming into the kitchen.

Drying his hands on a towel, Tag leaned back against the counter, waiting for John to speak first.  John was unsteady on his feet and it was obvious that he had not yet slept away the effects of the alcohol.  He wanted to pick him up and take him upstairs to tuck him back into bed.  However, the last time he had suggested that John go to bed he had been accused of being after sex and he really wasn't in the mood to repeat that argument right now.  For all he knew, it was one of the things that resulted in John's giving in to Doug Ross' advances.

John leaned against the doorframe, then finally worked up the courage to look Tag in the eyes.  The hurt he saw there cut him to the quick and he mentally kicked himself for causing that much pain to Tag.  He wanted to pull him into his arms and kiss the hurt away, do anything he could to make Tag happy again.  But, right now he didn't know if Tag even wanted him in the house, let alone his arms, anymore.  There was only one way to find out where he stood with Tag, and that was to ask him straight out.

"Do you want me to leave?"

Tag had expected to hear John asking for his forgiveness, or at least, saying he was sorry and making an excuse for his behavior.  He had not been expecting him to ask that.  Hadn't he told John over and over again that he always wanted to be with him? 

Before Tag could say anything though, John continued.  "I know I don't have my apartment anymore, but I can go to my parent's house, or even my grandparents.  I do have a place to go, Tag.  If you don't want me here that is.  You don't have to worry that you'd be tossing me out into the streets or anything like that."  John finally broke eye contact with Tag, choosing instead to look at the floor.  He didn't want to see hate in Tag's eyes and he couldn't stand to keep seeing the hurt.  The silence stretched out and John knew that Tag was just trying to find a tactful way to tell him to get the Hell out of his house.

Chapter Fourteen

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