"Tag, You're It, Part 5"
By: Melissa and Cathy
They had the first class cabin all to themselves. It was fairly small, but the seats were huge - big enough for two, each man thought, and there would be no traffic from the other cabins. Once the flight was underway, the flight attendant stopped in. Grinning at Tag and John, he set down three bottles of champagne, a couple of bottles of water, and a picnic basket.
"For our customers who don't wish to be disturbed further during the flight," he smiled. "Two bottles to drink, and one to play with. Our flight time will be approximately fifteen hours, so just let me know if you need anything. Otherwise, I'll see you in Paris."
As the man left, John was torn between being delighted and mortified. This was the second time something like this had happened. When he and Tag had walked in the first-class lounge at Tokyo airport, they were shown to a very discreet, very dark booth in the back. The waiter had beamed at them, and had made a point of saying he'd leave them alone.
"Is it that obvious we're a couple?" he asked.
"You mind people knowing that?" Tag sounded surprised.
John considered for a moment, then realized the truth. "No, I don't mind." He leaned over and kissed Tag. He wasn't going to think about whether his feelings were written all over his face, or if it was the fact that they simply couldn't keep their hands off each other. Probably both, but he didn't give a damn.
"So," John smirked as he handed Tag a glass, "do you want the window seat?"
"Let's just say I don't plan to be looking out the window much on this flight. And I'm not giving you the chance to, either. Sit down."
John raised his eyebrows at the tone of command he heard, but smiled. This was new, and could be pretty interesting.
Tag knelt in front of John, swiftly unbuttoning his shirt. He poured a little of the champagne on John's chest, and licked it off roughly as he undid his trousers. The trousers were quickly removed and then Tag relined the seat back for John, putting him in an almost horizontal position.
Tag took a drink of the champagne, letting the chilled liquid linger in his mouth for a few seconds before he took John into his mouth. The coldness of Tag's mouth was a shock at first, but John soon found himself engulfed in a familiar wet warmth. It felt good - very good, but John still couldn't forget that they were in an airplane. He also couldn't forget that they were not the only passengers on board.
"You sure you don't want to um..." John attempted to gather his thoughts, but what Tag was doing made it difficult to speak. "Sure you don't want to use a blanket?"
"I'm not cold. Are you?"
"No, but...God....maybe..." It was becoming more and more difficult for him to speak -- he was gasping at this point. "Maybe someone will walk in?"
"Then they'd just be jealous at what I've got my mouth full of." To demonstrate his point, Tag deep-throated him for a moment, then continued, "Look, the flight attendant made it very obvious that we won't be disturbed. The curtain is closed, the cockpit door is shut, and we're all alone in first class. Now, shut up and kiss me."
John lifted his face to Tag's. As their lips met, he parted his lips, letting Tag inside. Tag's kiss was full of exuberance and he ravished John's mouth completely before moving his head lower to nuzzle and bite at his neck. He lingered for a long time, making John squirm with delight.
Tag left a trail of kisses over John's chest, carefully placing them along the vividly bruised ribs. His kisses drifted lower until he was once more to the place where he had begun. His hands and mouth wandered at will and the shivers that ran through John's body had nothing to do with the temperature and everything to do with Tag's caresses.
"I need to be in you," Tag moaned. He sat back on his haunches and began to rummage through the picnic basket, looking for something he could use as a lubricant. A wide grin broke out on his face as he found a tube of lubricant and he sent a silent thanks to the flight attendant for that bit of thoughtfulness. There was also a small packet of condoms and Tag immediately felt guilty because they had never practiced safe sex while in Hawaii. He had been too caught up in John to even care. If either one of them had a sexually transmitted disease of any type, then it was too late now to use anything.
He squeezed out a generous portion and warmed it in his hands, keeping his eyes locked on John's the entire time. Silently telling him what was going to happen next. Looking at John's body laid out before him took his breath away and it was a sight that he swore he would never grow tired of seeing. It would live on in his memories and dreams for a long time. Once the lubricant was warmed, he prepared them both. Tag surveyed his preparations. John was rock hard and more than ready for him. He was just as hard and past the point of being ready for John. Lifting John's legs, he slowly slid his penis into him, grinning as he watched John close his eyes and emit soft cries of pleasure.
"Not too loud," Tag whispered as his strokes became strong and steady. "I don't want you attracting the attention of any of the other passengers. I don't think I'd mind them watching, but I sure as Hell refuse to share you."
"I'll try to keep it down, but you make it so damn hard!"
Tag reached out and grasped John's erect penis. "Yeah, I do, don't I?" He leaned forward, taking care not to put too much pressure on John's ribs as he licked his ear, making him moan. "Tell me how I feel to you."
"You fill me completely."
"It feels good. I like the way..." another moan interrupted John's sentence. "The way you feel inside of me. I feel tingly all over when you touch my skin like you're doing now."
"And do you like this?" Tag ran his thumb over the tip of John's penis, stroking the sensitive ridge.
"I'll bet you would like it even better if my mouth was on you again, wouldn't you?"
"Yes," John breathed.
"Soon, John. Soon." Tag could feel his climax nearing and he concentrated on the task at hand. Once his pleasure was sated, he knelt down and put his mouth right where John needed it to be. Within minutes he had John ready to come as well and he was amused by John's efforts to be quiet as he came.
Afterward, John rushed to dress. Tag smiled as he took his time. John was definitely worried about being caught, but Tag was pretty sure that the flight attendant had been serious about giving them their privacy. Still, it was amusing to watch John eye the closed curtain, then look over at him to see if he was properly dressed yet.
When they were finally dressed, they took their seats. Tag leaned over and kissed John passionately on the lips. "Welcome to the club, John."
"Do you think we can have first class all to ourselves on the flight from Paris to Chicago?" John asked with an energetic grin.
Tag laughed. "I should have known better than to introduce something new to you. You get too carried away." He saw the unsure look in John's eyes, then kissed him again, but quickly this time. "I like your enthusiasm, John. No, we probably won't get first class all to ourselves going home. But, there's always the lavatory. It's a tight fit, but, if things work out, we can try it on the plane to Chicago."
John smiled and Tag felt his heart melt a little more. He would take him in the middle of the regular cabin, no matter who was watching, if that was what John wanted. There was no want or desire that Tag wouldn't try to fulfill for John Carter. Especially if any of those wants or desires also resulted in pleasure for him.
Feeling pleased with himself and totally sated, Tag settled back against the seat. "You should try to get some sleep. It is a long flight. And you need to rest."
Tag nodded, then closed his eyes.
John leaned against the side of the plane and watched Tag sleep. Once again he found himself questioning how it was that he had ended up on his trip with John Taglieri. He had never in his life taken the kind of risk he had taken with Tag, accepting his offer without thinking things through. It was exhilarating to be with Tag and he didn't want to go back to Chicago. Didn't want to think about how in a few months he would back to County General working with Peter Benton. He wondered what Tag was going to do now that things had not worked out with Carol Hathaway. Would he stay at the hospital or seek employment elsewhere? John hoped that Tag would stay. He wanted to see more of him once they returned to the city and he hoped that Tag would want to see him as well. He was so afraid that he was going to do or say something that would mess everything up with Tag and that he would never see him again. He had been told often enough that he was a fuck-up and he knew it was true. Nothing ever worked out right for him.
John pulled out his carry-on bag and took out the bottle of prescription painkiller. Doctor Wang had instructed him to take it as needed and he had. Now it was almost empty, but he had one refill due and he knew he could get that in done in Paris. He checked Tag out of the corner of his eye, making sure that he was really asleep. He didn't want him to see how many pills he needed to take or for him to find out just how much their liaison had hurt him. His ribs were throbbing and his headache was worse. Even though he knew better, he used some of the champagne to wash down the tablets, then he put the pill bottle back. He knew that getting some sleep would make him feel better, but he was reluctant to close his eyes. He liked watching Tag sleep. Hell, he liked watching Tag period. He sat there for a long time, simply watching the older man, feeling content to do nothing more. Finally, his eyelids lowered of their own accord and he fell asleep.
John was vaguely aware of someone touching him, and he opened his eyes to find that Tag was fastening his seat belt for him.
"Are we there already?"
Tag smiled as he fastened his own seat belt. "No, but we are experiencing some turbulence and they want us buckled in. Go back to sleep."
"I'm not tired anymore," John yawned, stretching as much as he could, then wincing as that little bit of exertion set his ribs afire.
"You may not be tired, but you certainly aren't fine. I'm sorry I couldn't keep myself in control, John. You didn't need that type of activity."
"You're wrong about that. I needed it very much," John managed to smile.
Tag smiled softly at him, then gently caressed his cheek with the back of his hand. "Go back to sleep."
"I'm really not sleepy. And the turbulence could be fun."
"There's nothing else to do."
"We can have some more champagne," John ventured.
Tag grinned, but shook his head. "As much as I would love to take you up on that offer, I don't think it would be a good idea. You're looking a little pale around the edges and I don't want you getting sick on me in Paris. Rest." There was that tone of command again and John considered obeying. But his rebellious streak kicked in, and he decided that he was determined to take advantage of the opportunity they'd been given for totally public privacy. "I'm going to have some more champagne, I said. My mouth is a little dry."
John smiled as he pushed Tag back against the seat. He considered making Tag undress fully, but relented at his protests. Instead he had Tag lie on the floor, naked from the waist down.
John said, "The man did say one bottle was to play with, didn't he? I think it's playtime."
Tag looked up into John's intensely dark eyes and he chuckled. "Oh, yes. I think you are so right about that. What shall we play?"
"How about spin the bottle?" John grinned.
Tag's mind raced to figure out all the possible scenarios that John might be suggesting. He finally gave up trying to guess what he had in mind. Despite his preference for being on top, he was willing to do whatever it was that would please John right now. He relaxed and stretched out on the floor, eager to see what John had in mind.
Their arrival in Paris was in some ways a mirror image of the arrival in Hawaii. One man helplessly drunk, one reasonably sober. The difference this time, though, was that Tag was the sober man. His clear thoughts allowed him to think about some big plans for John Carter. He'd noticed on John's passport that his birthday was June 4th, tomorrow. It gave him almost no time to plan a surprise for him, but he intended to do his best.
They stepped into a cab, and as Tag started to give the name of their hotel, he was interrupted not only by John breezily giving the name of the hotel and the street, but also starting a spirited conversation with the cab driver. In perfect French, as far as Tag could tell. He smiled, remembering John telling him that his French was vastly improved when he was drunk. Letting the other two men talk, Tag drifted off into thought. His half-baked plan would certainly tip his hand as to his feelings for John, but he didn't care. He was pretty certain that John loved him back, despite the short time they'd spent together. He had told him so anyway. In any case, he was a lot more confident of his feelings being returned than he'd ever been in his relationship with Carol.
John was surprised when Tag hustled him out of bed seemingly at the break of dawn. Okay, it was 9:30 a.m., but dammit, he still had a little residual hangover and it didn't help matters any that his persistent headache wouldn't go away. His protests increased when Tag practically pushed him into the shower, and then shoved him into a cab a half-hour later. He was in a full-fledged sulk when they pulled up at a nondescript building at the address that Tag had given the cab driver. John assumed that Tag was in such a hurry to get out because he wanted to see the sights, but what the hell was this? He could see going to the Eiffel Tower - although it was boring as hell; could even see going to the Louvre - which was a tourist trap, but this? Where were they? Tag refused to answer any questions, just continued to hustle him along. Then they walked in the door of a room off a small hallway, and John nearly fainted. His sister Barbara, and her life companion. He remembered mentioning to Tag that they lived here, but he knew he still hadn't given him that piece of paper with her number or address. The man had some ingenuity, finding them in a city this large, particularly when his command of the language wasn't perfect.
"Happy Birthday, Johnny!" His sister grabbed John in a tight embrace. "Tag called me last night and told me he wanted to surprise you for your birthday."
As Barbara spoke, John looked over at Tag. "You knew?"
Tag shrugged happily. Barbara continued, elbowing John for having interrupted, "...and I was glad to help." She tossed Tag a box.
"Barbara and Janie are here as witnesses," Tag said.
"I want us to get married. It's all arranged, if you'll agree."
John was stunned. Was this a joke? Barbara and Janie had been together for a few years, and he'd attended their union ceremony - that's what it was called -- as the sole representative of his family. He'd always supported her in her choices, as she'd supported him. Unfortunately, he was the only member of his family with whom she was still on speaking terms. They all refused to acknowledge Janie's existence, despite Barbara's pleas, and she'd finally turned her back on them. The final straw had been this past Thanksgiving. His parents had come to Paris to visit her, they said, but had attempted to cajole her into returning to Chicago -- alone. She had been crushed, and had cried on John's shoulder for hours, via the telephone.
Probably Tag didn't realize the seriousness of this kind of ceremony, and was doing it just for the novelty value. It was surprising that Barbara hadn't clued him in -- she could be pretty militant about these things. John would have expected her to have grilled Tag extensively about his feelings, about his level of commitment, before consenting to arrange this for them. And he had no doubt Barbara had arranged everything. There was no way Tag could have even found the building if the address hadn't been written down and handed over to the cab driver.
Tag took John's silence as indecision. "Look, I know it's fast, and we haven't talked about it, but it's what I want for us. I love you." He hadn't arrived at the conclusion lightly. After all, he would have to admit to himself, not two weeks before, he was sure that he was going to spend the rest of his life with Carol. Now he was going to commit himself to someone else for life? And a man, at that? But this wasn't just any man -- this was John, and he'd realized since the accident that he didn't want to be parted from him again. He repeated, more softly, "I love you."
John didn't doubt it, and he was certain of his feelings towards Tag. "Sounds like we have a wedding to go to, folks."
"Congratulations, baby brother." Barbara and John hugged tightly after the ceremony was finished. As they watched the two siblings, Tag and Janie smiled at each other shyly, then hugged as well.
Barbara was the obvious leader of the group. She had a gregarious personality, and it was easy to be drawn into her conversation and her plans. Tag was amused at the way John still played little brother to her, although there was obviously tremendous affection there. From what John had told him of Barbara and Janie's relationship, Janie was content to be the quieter partner. Well, Tag thought, she was from Iowa, after all - aren't they supposed to be quiet people by nature?
It was somewhat more difficult for Tag to let someone else take the lead, but he managed. After all, this was her turf, and also, after all, he'd called her to ask for her help in planning today. As John had suspected, she'd grilled Tag extensively. Why hadn't John mentioned him before? Weren't they moving a little fast into this sort of commitment? Did he love John and plan to spend the rest of his life with him? Did he solemnly promise to never hurt him in any way? She'd been especially insistent on this last point, which had puzzled Tag somewhat at the time. He didn't dwell on that, though, because there wasn't time. He simply told Barbara the truth - that although he hadn't known John long at all, he couldn't bear the thought of being without him. The accident had been a wake-up call.
Of course she'd demanded details of the accident, and had then spoken with pride of her little brother's vocation to save lives. It was a shame, she'd said, that the rest of their family didn't see it the same way.
Tag reflected on that, and on some of her other comments, as they walked to a restaurant Barbara had chosen. He realized there was a lot he still didn't know about John - about his husband, he thought with a smile - but he had plenty of time to find out.
Barbara had taken firm charge of the morning, and Tag knew better, by now, than to second-guess her. Still he wanted to know where they were going.
"I thought we'd have an early lunch together as a sort of reception. Sound all right to everyone?" They all nodded, and Barbara continued, "I made us reservations at Planet Hollywood."
"Oh, my God." Tag was horrified. The woman couldn't possibly be serious, but he didn't want to hurt her feelings if her taste was really that appalling. The others knew her better, though, and burst out laughing at Tag's reaction.
"Relax, brother-in-law. I have something a lot better in mind." Barbara patted his arm, and Tag realized how much he liked being called "brother-in-law".
They eventually reached their destination, a restaurant called "Au Rendezvous des Camionneurs". It was apparently Barbara and Janie's favorite, and they exchanged greetings with diners at a couple of other tables. Their waiter appeared quickly, and after taking their drinks order, noted the confetti that still dotted their hair. "You've been to a wedding?" The waiter was American, and probably grateful for a little English-speaking conversation.
"Actually, we've been in a wedding", John volunteered.
The waiter playfully wrongly guessed the couple, then beamed at John and Tag and offered his congratulations. At that point, Tag looked around at the combinations of diners at the other tables and realized they were in a gay restaurant. No wonder the waiter hadn't had any trouble figuring it out - not that anyone else seemed to be surprised he and John were a couple.
John squeezed his hand, and said, "So - are you taking my name, then?"
Tag hadn't considered it, but then laughed. "So I'd be Dr. John Carter, too. Or you'd be Dr. John Taglieri. Looks like we're going to have to keep our own names, I guess."
Janie offered, "You could always refer to yourselves in the way Barbara and I do. We're both Barbara and Janie Carter, and also Janie and Barbara Murray. So I guess you guys could be Dr. and Mr. Carter, and Dr. and Mr. Taglieri."
They all laughed, thinking how schizophrenic it sounded that, although there were only four people at the table, there were eight names. Four Carters, two Taglieris, and two Murrays.
They spent hours over their meal, in the French tradition, and were happily rested when they emerged into the sun again. Barbara and Janie left after first extracting a promise from the two men to meet again while they were in the city. Barbara saved her last hug for Tag. "Take good care of him, brother-in-law. Promise?" Tag was touched, and could only nod mutely.
They walked along in silence for a few minutes. "Where to now?" John asked. "Anything you want - Eiffel Tower, even."
"Well, technically, we are now legally entitled to our room at the hotel, you know."
"What do you mean?"
"You didn't notice, I guess. We have the Honeymoon Suite."
"And now we're on our honeymoon." Both men laughed at the simultaneous absurdity and happiness of that fact.
"Okay. So why don't we do the cliché honeymoon in Paris, at least for this afternoon?" Tag ventured.
"You mean lose all our cash to muggers and misplace our passports?"
"You never warned me that you're so cynical. No, the real stuff. Walk hand in hand along the Seine, you know." Tag looked sheepish at John's amused glance.
"I know." Having spent so much time here, John tended to dismiss the typical tourist activities, but it did sound nice. Their hotel room wasn't going anywhere. He liked the thought that Tag was such a romantic. He was, too, at heart, but didn't often let anyone see that side of himself. It occurred to John that, while he had come to know so much about Tag's thoughts and feelings - the esoteric things - he knew fairly little about the fundamentals. What was his favorite flavor of ice cream? Was there a really horrible movie that he secretly adored and would watch over and over again? And please, God, don't let him be someone who liked to shop. Not that.
Tag was startled at the urgency in John's voice. "What? You okay?"
"I have to ask you something important. Life or death." John's face was very serious.
"You're not a Cubs fan, are you?"
"Jesus, John. Don't scare me like that," Tag laughed with relief, then saw that John was still looking at him, his eyes showing that his question was serious. "And no, I'm not."
"Thank God. In that case, I guess I will stay married to you, then." John smiled, and pulled Tag in for a kiss, right there in the middle of the street. It couldn't get any better than this.
As they returned to their hotel early that evening - Tag had insisted on going to the Eiffel Tower and watching the sunset - John reflected on the day. It had been perfect - unbelievably so. At first he'd tried to keep up the pretense of being a jaded visitor to Paris, but he soon realized that seeing it with someone he loved was a new experience, and made the previously boring destinations interesting.
But Paris was another world from the one he and Tag usually inhabited. Paris was accepting of alternative lifestyles, of two men walking down the street holding hands, even kissing. Their friends in Chicago would be nonplussed at that behavior, and total strangers...well, that wasn't something John was willing to think about.
Chicago. Was he getting ahead of himself? Suppose, despite his protestations, that Tag really did regard this whole interlude as a self-contained episode to be forgotten later. John had assurances from people in his life before that they weren't going anywhere, and somehow they always did.
Tag noted John's pensive mood, and decided to try to cajole him out of it. "You're not still sulking because I wouldn't buy you those Mickey Mouse ears at Disneyland Paris?"
John smiled. "Ah...you know me too well."
Tag laughed, and pulled a pair of mouse ears out of his back pocket. "I had to get your name put on them. Happy Birthday."
As Tag handed the ridiculous item over, John's laughter was genuine, and the mood was lifted. "And look, we can even share, since they say 'John' ".
"That was the trouble. All the ready-made ones said 'Jean', instead."
John stood in front of the mirror and adjusted the ears. Turning around to face Tag, he was all grins. "Up for a game of cat and mouse?"
Tag's eyes raked over John and when he smiled, it was slow and sensuous. "Good enough to eat." And with that, he pounced, quickly breaching the short distance between them and taking John into his arms. His kiss was long and passionate and when it ended, John was panting, trying to get his breath.
"Wow," he managed to say.
Tag reached up and removed the Mickey Mouse ears, dropping them to the top of the dresser. Then he began to unbutton John's shirt, pulling it from his pants as he did so. Once John's chest was exposed, Tag began to lick at his skin, beginning with his collar bone, then making his way across each and every rib. John squirmed under Tag as the man's tongue tickled him. But, he was reluctant to pull back and lose the precious contact. Then Tag's tongue moved lower, swirling around John's navel for tantalizing moments before dipping into it. After that, events proceeded so quickly that they didn't register in John's brain until after the fact. His pants were undone and removed and he was somehow transferred to the bed and laid upon his back so that Tag could have unhindered access to his body. The only fact registering with John at the time was that he didn't want any of those wonderful sensations to stop.
He didn't want any of the life he now had with Tag to end, ever.