Sitting alone and unnoticed in a dark corner of the bar, Commander Chakotay played absently with his beer mat. He was trying with little success to control his rising irritation at the raucous laughter coming from the pool table as Harry Kim and Tom Paris discussed the latterís exploits on their last away mission.
In his opinion, Tomís behavior on the planet had been as irresponsible and cavalier as always. He had registered a formal complaint with the Captain but yet again she had dismissed his comments in view of the overall success of the mission.
Success which had undoubtedly been mainly due to Tomís highly inappropriate flirtation with the Chief Proctor.
Flirtation, hell, Tom had done everything except publicly gone down on the man at the welcoming dinner. Then he had disappeared with him for several hours and had emerged looking like something a cat threw up.
By the time Voyager had left orbit, the generous donation of supplies from the aliens had left the whole crew in little doubt as to whether Tom had Ďdone it againí. The pilotís grin had been just that little bit TOO cocky and his walk a little too unsteady when they had finally returned to the ship bearing the Chief Proctorís generous Ďgiftsí.
The whore of the Delta Quadrant. That was what Tom was being called below decks. It wasnít hearing the words that incensed Chakotay as much as the admiring grin that usually accompanied them.
Over the last few years Tom had apparently shared his favours freely with most of the crewmembers too.
Chakotay had to clench his jaw to hold in the growl that rose in his throat at the thought.
Even the Captain seemed to take an odd pride in the Ďtalentsí of her pilot as he kept her regularly supplied with all the frivolous luxuries that she would have otherwise missed.
Chakotay couldnít believe that Kathryn had apparently stooped low enough to become a pimp, but as much as he tried to deny the facts, it was obvious to everyone that Voyagerís continuing prosperity owed as much to Tomís hedonistic adventures as any real negotiating.
"Jeez, Tom, that sounds bloody awful!" Harryís voice laughed nervously as Tom leant over to take a shot.
Chakotay couldnít take his eyes off the way that Tomís trousers stretched teasingly over his well-muscled ass as he reached for the shot. He didnít even realise he was holding his breath until Tom straightened and shot Harry a devastating smile.
"Well, I admit that his resemblance to a feline should have warned me, but I guess I never thought it through."
"So what did you do when you felt the spikes came out?" Harry asked, cringing a little at the thought.
"I froze, kind of hoping theyíd retract but no such luck and anyway, he pulled out before I had the chance to do anything and then, as they say, it was history anyway."
"Yeah, I spent two hours in sickbay getting Ďthe lectureí from the Doc as he put my insides back together. You know, the sex with unknown aliens being a really bad idea speech. In the end I told him that since he was probably as sick of saying it as I was of hearing it, he may as well record it and Iíd promise to play it after each shoreleave and away mission." Tom grinned
"Well, heís right Tom, youíve already caught more infectious diseases than I can count. One of these days, the Doc isnít going to be able to find a cure!"
"So, at least Iíll die happy" Tom laughed nonchalantly as he leant over again to send the last ball into a pocket
Chakotay closed his eyes against the image Tomís words conveyed. The thought of that perfect ass ripped and bleeding horrified him but even so he felt himself get hard at the image of Tom without his pants on.
Spirits, why the hell was he letting himself feel this way about a man who was nothing more than a cheap whore? A man who seemed to actually take pride in the fact that he was such a slut.
"Thatís three from three, Harry. Want to make it best of 7?" Tom asked cheerfully
"No way, Tom, youíve already cleared me out. I havenít even got enough for a round of drinks now."
Tom clapped a friendly arm around Harryís shoulder.
"Forget it, keep your credits Harry. Iím flush anyway." He said generously
"Oh, I got a little Ďbonusí you might say. For a job well done"
It was too much for Chakotay, his already frayed temper snapped at Tomís words. Rising from his chair he silently approached from behind the pair and clasped a hand firmly on Tomís shoulder. He was pleased to see a flash of fear in Tomís eyes as he spun around.
"I wouldnít call it a Ďbonusí Tom, Iíd call it wages, whoreís wages." He snarled softly.
For a moment a look of hurt raced over Tomís face only to disappear into the familiar mocking Paris grin.
"Whatever!" He purred back nonchalantly
Chakotay had to resist the urge to slap Tomís face. His fingers dug furiously into the blondeís shoulder and Tom gasped slightly at the pain.
"Youíre a cheap whore Paris, Youíre a disgrace to your family and the uniform you wear."
"Nobody else seems to mind, Commander!" Tom mocked, "and I donít see you refusing the extra rations that I Ďacquireí for you. Anyway, I enjoy it, so whereís the harm?"
Chakotay took a deep breath to contain the red haze that rose at Tomís words. He couldnít believe that anyone could be so shallow, he didnít WANT to believe that Tom was no more than the whore he acted. He didnít know why suddenly he cared so much, or why he felt so angry. Tom had been acting this way for years. Why all of a sudden did it bother him so much?
"Are you really the slut everyone thinks, Tom? Wouldnít you prefer to have a proper relationship with someone?" He asked in honest bewilderment
"What? Tie myself to one person? You gotta be kidding, Commander. You know what they say, so many cocks, so little time!"
"Cocks?" Chakotay snarled, his mouth twisting in pain at Tomís complete lack of shame "I donít recall the Queen of Pagax having one"
"SíOkay" Tom said unrepentantly, "I mean itís all the same to me. Male, female, whatever. If it feels good, who cares?"
"You mean if it pays good." Chakotay accused bitterly
"Yeah, that too."
"Tell me, Paris, do you have any morals at all? Isnít there a line even you wonít cross? Donít you understand that what you are doing is wrong?" Chakotay asked in exasperation, desperately trying to penetrate beneath Tomís mask of indifference.
For a moment confusion warred in Tomís ice blue eyes. Despite the Commanderís words of contempt, Tom could almost swear that the look in the Commanderís eyes was genuine concern.
"Sure. I do have SOME standards." Tom replied sincerely.
"Really? I doubt it." Chakotay sniffed in disbelief.
"So enlighten me, Paris. What is it that the self-proclaimed Whore of the Delta Quadrant draws the line at?"
Tomís eyes darkened dangerously and his face froze into a sneer.
"Well, I admit that Iíve sunk pretty low in my time, but Iíve never Ė "
"Iíve never fucked YOU, Commander!" Tom finished triumphantly, loud enough that all the other patrons of Sandrines went deadly silent.
Tom jerked his shoulder out from Chakotayís fingers, which had gone slack with embarrassment, and he strode confidently out of the holodec without a backward glance at the mortified Commander.