Lord and Master: Flight of Dreams

If you pay attention to the date references in the first Lord and Master novel, you'll notice that Mark must have been born in May or June 1978, and Steven in late 1958. This was simply a function of the approximate ages they had to be to fit around fixed dates like the academic year and the UK civil partnership legislation; but since it's a May-December romance and I sometimes have a very stupid sense of humour, when I started writing the sequel in late 2007 I decided that Mark was May and Steven was December. Which meant that it would be Mark's thirtieth birthday in May 2008, giving me a convenient excuse to write a short story to post in real time as a little something for the readers while they waited for the sequel novel to go through editing.

I had a suitable plot bunny already, so I started on the short once I'd finished the sequel. I didn't quite manage to get the birthday story finished in time to post it in May, but here it is -- posted on the day that the first counties in California started issuing marriage licences to same sex couples.

Scene break

"Bad luck, boss, there's a queue even on the first class check-in counter."

"Bugger." Steven was tired, and wanted nothing more than to get through check-in and get out of the noisy check-in hall and into a quiet lounge. "At least it's only one person."

"I'm surprised there's anyone," Mark said. "The flight doesn't look that full even on the economy class line, never mind business class. Though I'm still glad you've got gold status."

"I'd rather not be doing the flights needed to get it." He was getting too old to find long-haul travel anything more than an unpleasant nuisance, even with Mark along to handle things when he got too jet-lagged to deal with people.

Still, there were compensations on this trip. The business meeting had been a good excuse to spend the weekend in a luxury hotel in New York as an early present to Mark for his thirtieth birthday. "Sorry to leave?"

Mark smiled at him. "I had a great time, both the holiday and the business part of the trip. But I'll be glad to get home."

Exactly how he felt. "I'm going straight to the lounge when we're done here. You can go round duty-free by yourself, if you're not shopped out yet."

"No, I'll stick around and look after you. I'm still young and energetic."

"Only for a few more hours. Come midnight you'll be past it." He rather wished now that he'd booked first class for this trip, instead of booking business class and relying on his usual free upgrade. He did enough flying on a full business class fare that he was normally upgraded automatically, but occasionally the cabin was full. And if Mark had to wake up on his thirtieth birthday on board a plane, it would be nice for him to do it in the first class cabin.

"I'll still be younger and more energetic than you tomorrow, boss. Ah, they've finished."

"That's what minions are for. To do the energetic running around."

Steven's phone rang just as the man in front of them moved away. He pulled it out, glanced at the screen, and cursed quietly. "It's Logan. He just doesn't know how to say goodbye, does he?"

"Better answer it," Mark said, picking up Steven's bag as well as his own. "It might be important."

And even if it wasn't, it would be impolite to ignore it. Impolite and impolitic. The meeting had gone very well, and he didn't want to put the man off now they had him hooked. "Hi, Logan. No problems, I hope? We're just about to check in for the flight home." Mark was already handing over their booking printout.

"Thought I might catch you," Logan said. "Just wanted to say thanks -- your girl did email through those documents for me. If you've got a minute, I'd like to run through a couple of items while it's still office hours here. Just in case I need to get back to her."

Steven repressed the urge to point out that Carol was a woman, not a girl, and that it was not office hours in the UK and she'd have gone home long since. He'd be too jet-lagged tomorrow to deal with any questions then. "Go ahead." He groped in his jacket pocket for his passport.

He couldn't quite manage it while holding the phone. "Sorry, Logan, you'll have to hang on a minute, I need to deal with check-in."

Mark turned to him, said, "I'll handle it," and neatly frisked him, flipping his jacket open and picking his passport out of the inside pocket.

"Go on," he said to Logan, "Mark's dealing with it."

"That very efficient young man of yours? You've got good people working for you, Steven."

"I know. Don't bother trying to poach them. I make sure that I pay them what they're worth."

Logan laughed. "I'd be a fool to try to poach that one, wouldn't I? We did do a bit of background checking. But I was serious about the consultancy work. You've got some good technical people, if your husband's anything to go by."

"We can discuss that as an extension to the proposed contract, or as a separate one."

"But not right now? Back to the matter at hand, then."

It only took another minute or two, and then he could hang up. Mark looked at him. "What was that about?"

"Couple of questions about the proposed deal, plus telling me what fine people I had. As he said, I seem to have collected a harem of office staff with science degrees."

"Just so long as you remember that I'm Chief Wife." Mark tapped the counter. "They're offering you an upgrade to the first class cabin."

"Just me?" Mark should really have been offered one as well without prompting, since they were flying on the same booking. "Both of us, thank you." He laid his hand on Mark's shoulder. "Check my frequent flyer account. Or have you only got one seat left?"

The man looked them over, and flicked through the booking system. "Plenty of seats, Dr Frost. It simply had you flagged for an automatic upgrade. I've added Dr Paulson as well, as he's travelling with you. I see your preference is for a window seat, but would you like to sit together?"

"Yes, please." When he was on his own he normally went for a window seat to get the daylight, but the first class cabin layout offered either single window seats, or pairs in the middle of the cabin. "Unless you'd prefer a window seat, Mark?"

"I'm fine in the middle if you are. I don't need the daylight to wake up in the morning, and I can always move to an empty seat if I want to look at the view for a few minutes." Mark grinned at him. "Just as long as you don't keep talking to me once I want to go to sleep."

He felt slightly guilty at the reminder. "But it was only an evening flight when we came over, not an overnighter. I didn't realise you wanted a nap."

"At least I only had to tell you once before you shut up." Mark took the boarding passes and handed one to him before tucking his own in his jacket pocket, then put one hand on the small of his back, steering him away from the counter. A subtle thing, but still quite definite, marking the shift in mood from business to personal; from loyal minion to loving husband. "Come on, let's go and get some food and caffeine into you before you start getting cranky."

"Just somewhere quiet will do for now."

"First class lounge. They'll have snacks; we can sit there for half an hour and still have plenty of time to get a proper meal in one of the restaurants before we have to board."

Scene break

He collapsed onto a comfortable sofa and kept an eye on their bags while Mark went to fetch the promised food and caffeine. It was good to get some peace and quiet after the last few days. And when Mark came back with a tray, he could even close his eyes for five minutes. Not sleeping, just shutting out the world.

Mark was silent, sitting close enough to him that he could feel that he was there, but not disturbing him. Guarding him and the bags so that he could relax. There was a quiet murmur of conversation around them, and the occasional chink of china, soothing rather than annoying. He could feel the tension easing already.

When he opened his eyes again, Mark picked up a cup from the table in front of them and handed it to him. "Better now?"

"Mmm." He sipped at the tea. "Sorry. I think I just never quite got over the jet-lag on the way over, and it caught up with me when we hit the noise in the main hall. Was it obvious?" Not good if he was slipping in public. He didn't want to end up snapping at people who'd done nothing to deserve it.

Mark laid a hand lightly on his wrist. "No. I just know you well enough to see when you're about to hit your limit." He leaned forward and picked up the plate. "Have a sandwich and some fruit juice. Then we can go and find some real food."

By the time he'd eaten the sandwich and had a glass of orange juice he felt fine again. "I wish I could take you on every trip. But it's just not practical for us both to go. Someone's got to look after the office."

"This round of meetings will ease off soon. Shall we go and eat, or leave it until we get on the plane?"

"Eat now. The one thing I can't get with gold status that makes me think that the first class cabin is worth the extra money is that on evening flights they'll feed you in the lounge, and then let you go to sleep as soon as you get on the plane, instead of making you wait until everyone's been served dinner and they've cleared up. Not that I do manage to sleep half the time, but it's nice to be able to just lie down and relax without having to wait until after meal service."

"Don't think I'll want to sleep right away, but I know what you mean." Mark stood up and held out a hand to him. "Up you get."

He was glad of the hand up; not for the physical support, but for the caring gesture. "I'm so glad we don't have anything much to do tomorrow. Though it might have been nice to have a few more days of holiday."

"It was tempting. But we're too busy at the moment, and you'd have just fretted about the work piling up while we were away. You can take me on a late birthday treat next month, when it's all over." Mark brushed his cheek lightly and smiled. "I'd rather have you in fully operational condition anyway. And we're both tired after all this running around."

They'd had a very enjoyable time in that luxury hotel, but they hadn't had at it with quite their usual enthusiasm for a dirty weekend away. And it hadn't been just him; Mark had been slow as well. "Though you seem chirpy enough today."

"Even a couple of days off was enough for me to recharge. I think you'd be all right as well if you hadn't had so many changes in timezone in the last couple of months. It's not good for you."

No, and not simply because he was twenty years older than Mark. He'd always been more vulnerable to jet-lag, courtesy of what Mark cheerfully referred to as his fucked up neurochemistry. "As you said, it'll be over soon. In the meantime, let's go and get that food."

Scene break

They had plenty of time to eat, and then relax for a while before boarding. Even so, they were on board with plenty of time to get settled in, and then talk for a while about the day's meeting while they waited for the plane to finish boarding. To Steven's great relief there were only two other people in first class when the doors finally shut, and both of those at the other end of the cabin. There'd be little disturbance from people going back and forth, and he wouldn't have to worry about disturbing other people if he was restless and needed to wander around during the night.

As the plane started to taxi, he settled back into the comfortable seat, and watched as the cabin crew went through the ritual of demonstrating the safety procedure.

He tried to pay attention in case there was anything new, but he'd heard it often enough that he could probably recite it along with them. It was much easier just to enjoy the view. He glanced at Mark. Mark glanced back at him, smirking slightly.

You know me too well. And vice versa. The older one of the pair would definitely be to Mark's taste. Old enough to be senior cabin crew, handsome but a lived-in face. Not bad from his own point of view, either. And the other man was attractive as well. Steven approved; he had no serious interest in fucking anyone but his husband, but it was nice to have a cabin crew that didn't cater to the fantasies of the straight men.

Not just by their looks, either. When the seatbelt sign went off and the pair started checking what their passengers might like for dinner, something about their behaviour made Steven wonder. It might be just the stereotypical cabin crew persona; but he was getting the impression that they were very happy to give him the sort of slightly flirtatious attention a good-looking straight man might have got from female cabin crew. Odd. He didn't usually get that so strongly, even on occasions when he was sure a steward was gay.

But there was nothing in the least bit salacious about the older man's manner when his refusal of dinner was answered with, "Would you like me to prepare your bed, sir?"

"Yes, please." He didn't expect to get to sleep any time soon, but lying down would be good anyway. And by the look of things the other two passengers weren't interested in dinner either, so with any luck they'd dim the cabin lights soon. Might as well grab the opportunity to use the toilet, and let the steward get on with converting his seat to the flat bed configuration.

He took the set of disposable pyjamas the steward offered him, picked up his washbag and headed for the toilet. Five minutes later he returned to his seat, and found it flat and nicely made up with sheet and blanket. He also found the younger steward too busy flirting shamelessly with Mark to notice his approach.

Definitely gay, or bi; and definitely flirting for pleasure. They were discussing the mechanics of the convertible bed, in terms that should have been perfectly innocent but had a completely different interpretation applied by the tone of voice. He listened in amusement for a moment, then said, "Don't let me interrupt you, boys."

The young man started, turned faintly pink, and said, "I'm sorry, sir. Was there something you wanted?"

"Just to let him know that the toilet's free if he wants to clean his teeth and get his contact lenses out."

"Right." Mark grabbed his washbag. "Better get in there before someone else does."

Steven watched him go, and noticed the older steward standing near the galley, also watching. The man glanced at his colleague, then flicked his gaze sideways towards the galley.

"Did you need anything else, sir?"

"No, thanks." No need to make the man more flustered than he already was, and he'd obviously just been summoned for a private chat. "I take it someone will be around if I want something to eat or drink later?"

"There's always a tray of light snacks and drinks in the galley for passengers to help themselves, sir."

"Thanks." He checked that his book was within easy reach, put away his glasses, and slid into the bed. It was harder than he really liked, and a little narrow, but it was comfortable enough to lie on. At least he'd be reasonably rested when they arrived in London, even if he didn't manage to sleep. He closed his eyes and relaxed.

A few minutes later, the mattress dipped as someone sat on the edge, and Mark said quietly, "You okay?"

"Mmm." He opened his eyes a little, and reached to hold Mark's hand where it rested on his chest. "Just tired, though I'm not sure I'll be able to sleep yet."

"You being able to stay up late with no trouble is useful going the other way, but flying in this direction it's a real pain, isn't it?" Mark squeezed his hand. "Never mind. At least I'll be able to get a decent night's sleep, so one of us will be awake enough to negotiate customs."

"Mmm." He envied Mark that ability to fall asleep when it was convenient, rather than only when his internal clock reported that it was bedtime. "Better go to bed, then."

"Night." Mark got up and walked around to his own side of the partition between the two seats. The additional privacy partition had been left stowed away rather than raised, but even so there was no way for them to see or touch each other once they were both lying down. They were cut off from each other for tonight.

The cabin lights dimmed a minute or two later. Steven relaxed, lulled by the quiet drone of the engines. It was dark and peaceful, and he could feel the stress of the day slip away. But he still didn't feel sleepy, even though he felt tired.

Scene break

After an hour or so, he knew that he wasn't going to get to sleep in time to do himself much good; not without some outside assistance. He sighed, got up, and went to the galley.

He hadn't expected to find anyone there, but the older steward was preparing a tray of glasses of water and orange juice. The man looked up. "Can I help?" he asked in a low tone.

Steven kept his own voice down, careful not to disturb the other passengers, even though he could hear a little noise coming through from the business class cabin. "Something to drink. But a bit stronger than that, I'm afraid." He nodded at the tray. "I can't sleep, and I don't want to arrive in London with no sleep at all. Some brandy might help." Or even better, the first class galley usually supplied fresh milk with the tea and coffee, rather than the little UHT pods. "Or if you can make some hot milk..."

"Yes, these flights are awkward if you can't drop off before your usual bedtime," the steward said sympathetically, turning to open the fridge. "The late night flight is better, but of course if it's delayed that can be a problem as well."

"I actually prefer the longer flights for overnighters. On a ten hour flight you can usually get six or seven hours' sleep. On the New York flight you get five if you're lucky." He stretched, trying to loosen his muscles. "At least this time I can leave it to someone else to deal with passport control."

"That young man who organises you? He mentioned that you're insomniac." The steward put the cup of milk in the oven, then turned to look at him. "I'm sorry about earlier. My colleague was a little too impressed with him."

"Don't worry about it. Mark enjoys flirting when he's sure it won't be taken seriously, and they both seemed to be having a good time."

"You don't mind?"

"No." He grinned. "Though I suppose I might be worried if he started flirting seriously with you. My husband prefers older men, fortunately for me."

"Your husband?" Now the steward had an oh shit expression, even if he'd been quiet about his surprise.

"Didn't you realise?" He held up his hand, fingers spread to display his wedding ring. He was surprised that they hadn't noticed.

"We couldn't work it out, nor could the check-in desk, going by the note on the passenger manifest. We thought you were probably both gay, and you were obviously close friends. But it looked like a work relationship."

Which probably explained why the pair had been openly if subtly cruising them. They'd been curious. Well, the steward would probably enjoy this story. "You were right about the work relationship. I did exactly what the successful straight businessmen do. I married my pretty young secretary."

The steward stared at him in delight. "You did what? Oh, that's wonderful."

"Well, not quite marrying my secretary. I hired him mainly as my research assistant, but he was also running my office. It didn't occur to me until later that the qualities that made him a good person to share an office suite with also made him a good person to share my life with outside the office."

"Oh, I love this." The steward was smirking now. "The number of straight couples like that I see, rich middle-aged man and his pretty young wife." He sighed. "It's good to see a couple where I can think, 'That could be me, one day'." He took the cup out of the oven, and handed it to Steven. "How long have you been together?"

"Nearly five years now." Hard to believe. He'd reconciled himself to never finding someone he could share his life with. Then Mark had walked into his office for a job interview, and walked out again with a job offer. He didn't usually go into details with a stranger, but this man had looked at them and seen the friendship, rather than making the more common assumption about the basis of their relationship. "Friends with benefits to begin with, but it grew into something more. We got married a couple of months after it was made legal." He sipped at the milk. Not as good as at home, but better than nothing. "For us it really was about work being the obvious place to meet someone you have a lot in common with."

"And someone who understand the pressures of the job. You're a lucky man."

In more than one way. Steven knew he was cushioned from some of the problems that many gay men faced. He'd never been willing to stay in the closet, but success in business had brought him a lot of freedom from people trying to push him back into it. "What about you two? Are you...?"

The steward shook his head. "Just good friends -- with benefits. Though I'm not putting that down. It's good to have a friend you can have sex with, in this job. Especially one in the same job, who understands it." He leaned back against the counter. "I have friends who envy me the travel; and the chance for casual sex with glamorous strangers. And yes, it's good fun, and I've never regretted going into this career. But sometimes..." He shrugged. "Eh. At least I have Peter now. It might not be terribly romantic, but I like him and I've enjoyed mentoring him."

They might have very different jobs, but he and the steward had more in common than might be obvious from the outside. He felt sorry for the man, remembering his own time of realising that he wanted more without knowing if his feelings were shared. "It might still happen."

"It obviously worked for you. How old is he?"

Not prurient curiosity, but wistful hope, Steven thought. "He's thirty tomorrow. This isn't the best way to spend the night before a big birthday, but with the timing of the business trip it was either that or be jet-lagged for his party at the weekend."

"Well, maybe we can arrange something for him in the morning, even if it's just a slice of cake from the dinner menu on his breakfast tray. How's the milk?"

"Good, thanks." He drank the last of it, and handed the cup back. "Maybe I'll get to sleep now."

He headed to the toilet first, to make sure that he wouldn't have any distractions keeping him awake. As he went back to his seat, he saw the steward bend to pick up the book Mark had dropped, and place it safely in the storage pocket. Just like on the ad. But the way he gently pulled up the blanket where it had half slipped off Mark wasn't, and nor was the look he gave Steven. A little envy, without any hint of resentment. Not quite the normal interaction he had with cabin crew. This time he'd be remembered long after the end of the flight.

Scene break

There was daylight around him, telling him that it was time to wake up. He stretched, bumped into a wall that shouldn't be there, and remembered where he was. Not his favourite way to wake up. He was used to being able to roll over and hold Mark, dozing together for a few minutes before waking up properly. He'd had three years to get used to it, long enough to convince his hindbrain that Mark would always be there to hold so long as neither of them was travelling on business. It was a comfortable habit now and he didn't like being deprived of it.

He was also used to being able to roll on top of Mark and fuck him, if they had time and energy. He didn't like being deprived of that, either, but that was definitely not happening this morning.

The only item from his usual morning routine that he had some hope of getting was a cup of tea brought to him, and even that wouldn't be as good as usual. Airline tea never was. He shifted a little, wondering whether he could get back to sleep.

Extra weight dented the hard mattress a little, tilting him just enough that his hip made contact with the warm, solid object responsible for the weight.

He pried his eyes open, and stared up blearily. Mark was leaning over him, mouth curved in a soft smile. "The cabin crew came past with the tea and coffee a few minutes ago. You were still asleep, but I asked them to give me one for you. It looked as if you were waking up, so I thought I'd check if you wanted it."

"Thanks." He reached up to brush his fingertips over Mark's mouth. "Should be me getting you tea this morning. Happy birthday."

Mark nipped his finger very gently, and said, "You can do it tomorrow." Then he leaned right down, and kissed Steven. The position made it a little awkward, but it was still a pleasant promise for later. "It's the other part of my birthday morning service I'm missing," he added in a soft undertone.

"We are not joining the mile high club, even if it is your birthday." Not even with a sympathetic cabin crew who'd be more likely to watch than complain. "I don't want to get into trouble, and there are other passengers around."

Mark's smile turned mischievous. "Only two, so there's not much of a queue for the toilet."

"No. You'll have to settle for a cuddle." Tempted though he was to pull Mark down on top of him for that cuddle, he added, "Let me up."

Mark stood up, giving him room to swing his legs down to the floor and sit up. By the time he'd disentangled himself from the blanket and found his glasses, Mark had brought his tea over from where it had been sitting on the table at an empty seat. "Here."

"Thanks." He sipped at the tea, and was pleased to find it at just the right temperature. Mark sat down next to him and put an arm around his waist, making him feel even better. "Have you had yours?"

"Mmm. Waiting for them to brew another round now." Mark stroked his side. "There's time for breakfast if you want some."

Some food would help make up for the lack of sleep, although he didn't feel that bad. He'd slept well in the end, even if it was only for five hours or so. "Give me a minute or two and I'll probably be interested in food."

"How'd you sleep?" Mark asked.

"Had to go and ask for some hot milk, but once I'd had that I slept pretty well." He yawned. "Still tired, though. The daylight's helping, but I'll probably crash as soon as we get home."

"You're old and past it," Mark teased.

"So are you, now. How does it feel to be thirty?"

"One of the really nice things about being married to you is that I always feel young in comparison." Mark nuzzled his neck. "Though it's not the only nice thing about being married to you. Woke up this morning, and thought, well, I'm thirty now, and I'm spending my birthday morning on a plane, but look what I did before I turned thirty. I've got a fantastic job that lets me fly first class to interesting places, and on the other side of that partition is my fantastic husband. Pity he's on the other side of that partition right now and will be jet-lagged to hell anyway, but you can't have everything."

He was feeling rather less jet-lagged now, between the cup of tea and the way Mark was kissing his neck and shoulder. Enough so that he put the saucer down, so that he had an arm free to put around Mark. He could have this much of his morning routine at least, even if he was going to be deprived of the bit where he rolled on top of Mark.

The younger steward... Peter?... stopped in front of them. "Your husband's already ordered breakfast, Dr Frost, so if you'd like to eat together, I can have it ready for you in five minutes or so. The other passengers are still asleep, so the toilet's free if you'd like to freshen up before breakfast."

Peter's tone of voice was perfectly innocent, but his expression wasn't as he glanced at Mark. Steven looked at Mark. Mark wasn't looking particularly innocent, either.

He sighed. "All right, I can recognise a conspiracy when I see one right in front of me." He handed his teacup to Peter. "I'm sure birthday boy here will be only too delighted to help me freshen up."

"Mmm." Mark followed him as he stood up and headed for the toilet. Not even trying to be discreet, but putting one hand on his back, and following him straight into the toilet.

There wasn't a lot of room, not even in the first class toilet. But there was room enough for two men, if one of them was slim. Enough room for Mark to turn and lock the door behind them, and then turn back to face him. Face him, and put both arms around him and kiss him.

Mark had quite obviously been thinking about this for a while. Probably since waking up. And the thin, silky pyjamas did nothing to hide it. He could feel just how hard Mark's erection was.

That, and the feel of Mark's warm body in his arms, the pleasant slight scent of his hair -- the familiar pleasure of his husband pressed against him first thing in the morning overrode the unfamiliarity of where they were. His own cock was hardening fast in spite of his sleepiness. He kissed Mark back, sliding his hands over Mark's back as he did so. This was good.

And it took him back, to when they'd first got together. "Remember when we used to worry about getting caught?" he murmured softly as Mark stopped kissing him for a moment.

"Mmm. It's different now, when we're only locking the office door to be polite to other people." Mark slid one hand round and down, taking hold of Steven's cock. "This feels much naughtier. Got to keep quiet, be quick."

"And if anyone sees us leave, they'll know what we've been doing, instead of just wondering." He kissed Mark, exploring his mouth for a few seconds, before pulling back slightly and asking, "So what do you want to do?"

Mark squeezed his cock through the pyjamas and rubbed his thumb over the tip. The silky material slipped over his skin, tantalising him. "Looks like you can get it up with no trouble, even if you are jet-lagged." A quick kiss and lick to his neck. "What I'd like best is you on your knees sucking my cock until I'm about to come, then getting up and fucking me hard against the sink. But there isn't room in here."

Just the suggestion was enough to finish the job of getting him ready, but Mark was right. There wasn't room for him to suck Mark off, not without the risk of making enough noise kicking the partition wall to attract attention. "I could skip straight to the fucking you hard against the sink. Turn you round and get my cock up you." He listened with satisfaction as Mark gasped. "Watch you in the mirror as you come." He gasped himself as Mark's grip on his cock tightened suddenly. "Maybe easiest if we just keep doing this, though." Holding each other, hands on each other's cocks.

"Don't care, so long as I can brag that you made me a member of the mile high club for my thirtieth birthday present."

"For such a quiet, discreet man, you can be a shameless show-off sometimes." Now he really wanted to fuck Mark, feel that sweet body tighten around his cock, but it was probably sensible to stick to a mutual wank. Especially as he didn't have a condom on him and he wasn't sure that Mark did. He groped for Mark's cock. "Want to come all over those pyjama trousers?"

"I won't be wearing them much longer anyway. And I'm sure it will amuse at least two people if I walk out of here looking a little damp."

"They'll probably be thinking about it the next time they fuck." He settled his hand into position, holding Mark's cock through his pyjamas.

"They're partners?"

"Friends with benefits, one of them told me last night. Tell you about it later. Right now I want..." He jerked Mark's cock hard, relishing the way the thin satin slipped over hard flesh.

Mark moaned softly, and half-closed his eyes. He had to be close to coming already, turned on by the idea of doing it at thirty thousand feet. Steven could understand that; he felt the thrill of it himself, even if he was a little slower to respond. "Don't moan too loudly." The steady rumble of the engines was enough to mask quiet conversation, but if they got too noisy they might still be heard by someone walking past. Mark was right about it feeling naughty; doing it somewhere they shouldn't, but not so far over the line as to make him feel they were being genuinely offensive to other people.

Mark squeezed him hard in turn, and muttered, "Think anyone will notice if we're both missing too long?"

"Oh, even if the other passengers are still asleep, your new friend will be thinking about this. Wondering exactly what we're doing, even if he can guess the general outline."

"He did say I had to tell him if I got my birthday present."

In other words, he'd better make sure Mark came, because otherwise someone else would know that he was too jet-lagged to do it properly. That was a good incentive to get on with it. This wasn't the time to try anything fancy; he could give Mark the slow and leisurely treatment once they got home.

He slipped his hand inside Mark's pyjama trousers, going straight for the pleasure of skin on bare skin. The other arm firmly around Mark, holding him close, and then he kissed Mark hard just as he stroked Mark's cock again.

It wouldn't have been enough if Mark had been determined to hold off, but that trick still worked wonders for pushing him over the edge. He clutched at Steven, whimpered softly, and came.

Damn, but it did his ego good to still be able to do that to Mark so easily. They might like variety in what they did together, but they'd never tired of each other. He held Mark tightly, body and cock, enjoying the feel of sticky warmth spilling over his hand. Even if he couldn't finish with Mark, this felt good. Very good indeed.

As Mark relaxed against him, obviously content now, he stopped kissing him and let go of his cock; still keeping a loose contact but no longer a tight grip. He wanted relief himself now, but this was Mark's time. He could wait for his own release if necessary.

Then Mark grabbed his hand, and tugged at it, pulling it up. One long look at Steven, mischief sparkling in his eyes, and then Mark pulled Steven's hand to his mouth and licked the palm.

Just the pointed tip of his tongue, licking his own come. Still looking straight at Steven. And then kissing him in turn, tongue thrusting into his mouth and letting him taste Mark even as Mark grabbed his cock again and squeezed hard.

Steven's last coherent thought was Kinky little devil! Then he felt his balls tighten, and thought about nothing else for a few seconds. Just the bliss of release, doubled because he hadn't even been expecting it.

Mark held him, not letting go, until he'd finished. One hand still wrapped tightly around his cock, the other now entwined with his, Mark's come sticky between their palms.

Then they pulled apart, at least as far as they were able to in the confined space. Mark grinned in triumph. "Do you think that's enough to count?"

"For mile high membership?" Some might be inclined to say that penetration was required, but as far as Steven was concerned, they'd just had sex. Bloody good sex. "It had better, because even if you can get it up again before we land, I don't think I can."

"Right. I'll go and see if they've served breakfast yet." Mark let go of him and wriggled round to face the sink, quickly rinsing his hands. Then he opened the door, peered out, and slipped out, leaving the door half shut.

Steven quickly locked the door again, rinsed his own hands, and considered whether there was any point in cleaning his pyjamas. Then he remembered that he hadn't yet had a chance to use the toilet for its proper purpose. He dealt with that, then opened the door.

The older steward was just going past. He stopped, looked Steven up and down, and said quietly, "I gather you were ganged up on. I can fetch your clothes if you'd like to change in there."

He considered it briefly. He'd rather not scandalise the other passengers, but there was more room in the main cabin. "Is there anyone to shock if I go to my seat?"

"Not as long as you do it right now. The other passengers are waking up, but they shouldn't be up for a minute or two yet."

"Right." He headed for his seat, and found that it was a seat again rather than a bed, with the table still folded away so that he had a space to stand and change.

Mark had already changed, and was unfolding the table at his seat. "Breakfast's about to come."

He gave Mark a hard stare, to make it clear that he was not adding the obvious reply. The few seconds delay meant that he was still putting on his shirt when Peter arrived with a tray. Peter looked at him quickly before setting the tray down, and bending over to say something in Mark's ear. He was quiet enough that Steven could barely make out what he said, but it definitely sounded like, "I see what you mean, he's worth dragging into the loo."

Mark smirked, and said, "Hands off, he's mine."

He gave them both a hard stare, but decided that saying anything would only amuse them. They'd obviously been having an interesting conversation over the early morning tea while everyone else was asleep. He glanced at the tray as he finished doing up his shirt. Two normal breakfasts, but with a slice of cake accompanying one. That would be from his own conversation partner. The other birthday treat had presumably been thought up by one or the other of the younger generation.

He'd planned something perfectly innocuous himself by way of a small gift for Mark to open over breakfast. He rummaged in his briefcase, and pulled out the small parcel he'd managed to keep out of sight for the entire trip. "Happy birthday. It's not your main present, but I wanted you to have something to open even if we're stuck on a plane."

Mark ripped open the wrapping paper, and smiled as he found the small action figure inside. "A Doctor to sit on my monitor."

"Just so long as all he does is sit on your monitor. I don't want to find him in a compromising position with any of the other executive toys."

"That was one of the girls, not me!" Mark protested.

"Yes, but who left them like that for the rest of the afternoon?" He moved round to sit on the small seat provided on the other side of Mark's table.

Peter said, "Enjoy your breakfast," and moved off to see to the other passengers.

They did enjoy breakfast. Food never tasted quite as good on a plane, but this wasn't bad. They ate quickly, but even so they were told to prepare for landing as soon as their tray was collected. Steven moved back to his own seat, and settled himself comfortably. It had been one of the better flights he'd had -- and not just because he'd had a new and interesting experience.

As the plane descended, Mark reached to hold his hand. "Thanks."

"It was fun."

And finally they were back on the ground, with the long, slow taxi around the airport to the gate. Once the seatbelt light went off, he and Mark took their time making sure that they had all their things safely packed back in their bags, letting the other two first class passengers go ahead to join the stampede down the airbridge. He was in no hurry to rush off the plane to reach his destination, not when they had no connection to make and nothing urgent to do today.

As they walked to the door, Mark asked, "How are you doing?"

"I'll need to go home and sleep for a few hours, but I can probably make it into the office for an hour or two this afternoon if we need to go in." They'd need to do some shopping, but, "I'll take you to a decent restaurant tonight, if we're feeling awake. Or we could just get a decent takeaway. Though I wish you hadn't had to spend a big birthday away from home."

"I've got all I need right here." Mark put a hand on his shoulder. "Like I said -- I had a fantastic time in New York, and I've got you. It doesn't matter that we had to do the travelling on the day itself."

As they got to where the cabin crew were standing, they paused. Mark went over to Peter, leaned close, and said, "Thanks. For everything."

Steven saw the brief flicker of the other steward's expression, the professional pose not quite holding. He held the man's gaze, and said quietly, "Thanks. And good luck."

He got a genuine smile in reply, and a brief nod.

He didn't look back as he followed Mark out into the airbridge. But he knew they'd be watching as he took Mark's hand in his, and walked away hand-in-hand like any other couple.

As ever, my thanks to my beta-readers for their help on this story.

Comments welcome by email or at the thread on my LiveJournal post about the story.