The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Joanne

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Title: The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter
Author: Joanne Collins (
Series: VOY
Rating: [R]
Part: NEW 1/1
Codes: P/m, Pre-Voyager

Disclaimer: Everything Trek belongs to Paramount/Viacom.
The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter is written by Mark D. Sanders,
Kim Williams, Ed Hill and sung by Reba McEntire. The
lyrics are gender-switched (and yes, I do listen to other
CD's.occasionally, I've just been inspired by Reba a lot
lately). Oh, yeah, and for what it's worth, Jordan's mine.

SUMMARY: A vignette from Tom Paris's 'lost years'
between Caldik Prime and the Maquis. Sometimes
loneliness is more deeply felt when two people are together,
and money is not the highest price that one person can
demand of another.

Please do not distribute, archive, etc, without my
permission. May be archived on the ASC archive, the PKSP
story archive, the CPSG archive and R'Rain's Slash Archive
only. Posting to BLTS, PKSP, CPSG, ASC/EM only.
Anything else, please ask first. I will probably say yes, but I'd
prefer to know about it.

This story is a stand-alone, but it's also a part of my
personal history of Tom Paris. The Tom in this story could
be the Tom in any of my stories. He just bears more
resemblance to some of my Toms than to others.

Note: This story is rated R for disturbing images that I don't
feel comfortable with anyone under eighteen reading, and
also for m/m implications. No sex, though.

Dedicated to Judy and Briony. This story was inspired in
large part by their writing.

By Joanne Collins

He came in lookin' good and lookin' around...
He's checkin' out every man in the room right now...
Don't go tellin' him about right or wrong...
He's been alone for way too long..

Tom Paris hesitated at the door of the club. Part of him
really didn't want to go in there, but the part of him that
needed to hold someone and pretend that he cared, and
that they cared, for just a little while, won out. He stepped

Conversations and music seemed to come to a halt
simultaneously. Tom knew he looked good in the tight white
shirt and black leather pants. It was the only reason he
wore the constricting clothing. It was always an
attention-grabber, and Tom wanted to be noticed.

There were no women, as Tom had known. Tonight was
men only. He wasn't all that experienced with men, but he
couldn't afford to be fussy at the moment. The 'guilt' credits
the Admiral paid to him each month were still a week away,
he needed to eat, and he'd be *damned* if he'd humiliate
himself any more to his father by asking for an advance.

He noticed a man at the bar. Tall, broad-shouldered, dark
hair. His type. And he was watching Tom.

Would this man be his companion for the night? Would this
man be the one to make him forget the feeling that he
wasn't worth anything for just a little while?

The heart is a lonely hunter...
With only one desire...
To find some lastin' comfort...
In the arms of a lover's fire...
Driven by a desperate hunger...
To the dark of the neon light...
The heart is a lonely hunter...
When there's no sign of love in sight...

He could never pretend it would be love. No one had loved
him since his mother, not really. Oh, and maybe his sisters,
but they were so much older than he, they seemed almost
as distant as his memories of his mother.

The only other time that he'd ever felt whole in his life was, he wasn't going there. He didn't need to
remember the only love he'd ever known, the love that had
ended in pain and agony, not tonight. He needed to keep
some detachment.

But he never acknowledged that on the rare occasions that
he went home with a man, it was never with a slender,
brown-haired man. Maybe the fire tonight would burn hot
enough to burn the memory out of him. At least for a time.

He hears him say hey, can I buy you a drink...
And sees the pale white circle where he wears his ring...
He knows he's dealing him a dangerous hand... The consequences of a one night stand but...

"Hi," said the man, "I'm Jordan."


Tom looked the other man over. He realised that the
darkness of his skin was from the sun, something that was
unfashionable, but popular among some humans still. Tom
liked the look, and drank the sight in appreciatively. He
noticed that even the hands resting on the bar were lightly
tanned, and on the left one, the ring finger, there was a paler
patch. Such as would be left by a ring. Tom didn't think
about that, he couldn't. But he knew now that it would only
be one night. He could never pursue anything more with a
married man, not even if he offered him limitless credits.
Tom still had some principles. Not enough to stop him
spending this night with Jordan, but enough to ensure that
that would be all it was. That would be dangerous enough.

Oh, yes, the gleam in Jordan's green eyes promised danger
for Tom. Danger of mistaking it for more than it was.

"Want to dance?" Tom asked.

The heart is a lonely hunter...
With only one desire...
To find some lastin' comfort...
In the arms of a lover's fire...
Driven by a desperate hunger...
To the dark of the neon light...
The heart is a lonely hunter...
When there's no sign of love in sight...

Jordan gave Tom an odd look, but stood, as if to agree, so
Tom led him to the small dance floor. The song was slow,
and Tom caught a sigh from Jordan as they began to sway

Tom looked into Jordan's eyes, and felt the heat of desire.
Tom's eyes sparkled with an answering heat, and he
deliberately rubbed himself against the other man, feeling
the stirrings of desire begin to grow between them.

Jordan bent to whisper in Tom's ear.

"I'll pay you triple what Sergel paid you, if you let me fuck
you, not the other way around."

"I don't do that for money," Tom said, moving as far as he
could, which, in the circle of the other man's arms wasn't far.

"Bull," was the succint reply from the other man.

"I don't take money for sex," Tom said, quietly.

"Look, I've spoken with too many men and women who've
paid you, Tommy," replied Jordan.

"I. Do. Not. Have. Sex. For. Money."

The laughter from Jordan wasn't pleasant.

"Whatever you call it, it's still sex for money."

"It is not. If I spend the night with someone, and they
*choose* to give me money, it's not the same thing."

"Tommy, a whore is a whore. You get paid for it one way or
another, but it still makes you a whore, whatever you call
yourself. Now will you agree to my terms?"

From somewhere deep inside he tells him no...
Before he starts to cry he turns to go...

"No, I won't. I'd rather die."

"You won't get a better offer tonight," Jordan said, lazily as
he looked around the almost empty club.

"I would rather eat garbage than share your bed for a night.
A married man who can't keep it in his pants. And you think
*I'm* delusional? Hell, you wrote the book," Tom said,
disgustedly, and turned to leave.

As he reached the door, he saw Jordan, standing where he
had left him, unmoving except for the sobs that racked his

Tom was able to get out of the club before he succumbed to
his own building crying jag.

The heart is a lonely hunter...
With only one desire...
To find some lastin' comfort...
In the arms of a lover's fire...
Driven by a desperate hunger...
To the dark of the neon light...
The heart is a lonely hunter...
When there's no sign of love in sight...

Many years later, lost in the Delta Quadrant, on the
anniversary of that night, Tom looked at his lover, and
thanked the gods that that night had happened. It had been
a wake-up call that was desperately needed, if he hadn't
called his father that night, humiliated himself as he had, he
might not have gotten the help he needed for his alcohol
problem, the only way his father would agree to giving him
more credits, and he might have never drifted into the

If that hadn't happened, he would never have been on
Voyager, and he wouldn't have found the love he'd been
searching for all his life.

His lover stirred, and whispered, "What are you thinking

Tom dropped a kiss onto the enticing lips, and replied, "That
I'm the luckiest man alive."


This is a choose your own ending story. I did not identify
Tom's lover at the end of the story deliberately. You can
choose to believe it's anyone you want. B'Elanna? Sure.
Tuvok? Why not? Kathryn? Absolutely. Chakotay? But of
course. Harry? Yup. Ayala? If you like. Anyone else? Go