What Lurks in the Hearts of Men by maxine

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"Chakotay! Chakotay! Where are you?" Tom yelled as he stumbled into their shared cabin.

"Tom? What is it? What's the matter?" Chakotay ran out of the bedroom, concern written all over his face.

Tom pulled Chakotay to him, wrapped his arms tightly around the older man and held on.

"Spirits, Tom, you're trembling. What the hell happened?"

"Harry… Images… Seven… Leather…" Tom stuttered, clearly more shaken than he even realized. Then again, he had some time to think about what his best friend had suggested and the thoughts ran ramped.

Tom clung to Chakotay, even as his partner walked him to the couch. He refused to let go when Chakotay pushed him to sit. Tom dragged Chakotay down with him.

"Tom, breathe. Come on, breathe for me. You're scaring me here."

"Scaring you? Scared me! Scarred me!" Tom's throat clicked as he tried to speak and take in air.

Chakotay noticed that Tom was slightly calmer than when he came in. He rubbed Tom's back gently. Over the next couple of minutes, Tom's hold on him loosened, until finally Chakotay could actually lean away from his lover and looked him in the eye.

When he did, Chakotay saw unshed tears and amusement. This confused him even more.

"Think you can tell me what this was all about now?"

"Yeah, just promise not to let go, okay?" Tom asked with shudder.

"I promise."

"All right." Tom took a deep breath. "Well, as you know I went to meet Harry at Sandrine's. When I got there I found him at a table, sort of staring off into nothing. It actually took me a minute or two to get his attention. And the look on his face, I couldn't identify. It was a cross between bewildered and horrified."

Chakotay chuckled. "Close enough to the description of what you looked like when you came barging in here."

"Yeah well, at first I didn't understand, but when I'm done you wouldn't think it's so funny."

"I'm sorry, Tom, I'm not laughing at you," Chakotay soothed his lover.

"Anyway, once I got his attention, I asked him what he was thinking about. God! I wished I had listened to him and not pressed the issue." Shaking his head, Tom dropped it into his hands, elbows resting on his knees.

Chakotay continued to rub Tom's back, comforting him. "Obviously, you convinced him to tell you what was on his mind."

"Yeah, sick sadistic bastard that he is. Oh, sure he tried to warn me, even tried to get me to promised not to tell you." Tom snorted. "That should have been a big clue right there. But, no, smart ass, know it all, Tom Paris just had to keep pushing," Tom's voice dripped with sarcasm.

"You know, I have told you a couple of times, that one of these days you were going to regret believing there was nothing you couldn't handle."

"Yeah well, guess what. That day *finally* arrived. You can say 'I told you so'. I'll even give you the right to gloat for a while." Tom looked at him and Chakotay saw a tough of an evil grin appear. "That is when you recover from what I'm about to tell you. Hell, you can even punish me for being so damn glib."

"Oh boy, a red letter day in my life. Tom Paris actually volunteers to be punished. This has got to be good. Spill it," Chakotay ordered.

"You asked for it. Seven's attire, does it bring to mind anything specific? Does the material remind you of anything?"

Chakotay thought for a moment. "Actually now that you mention it, the first time I saw her I wondered why it looked like she was wearing leather."

"Right, and the outfits themselves, call to mind anything? A certain *style* perhaps?

Again, Chakotay took a minute to think. "Yes, one of those scuba diving suits. Remember that movie we watched, the one where the shark was attacked the swimmers."

"Jaws. Yes, that's one look you could say the EMH was going for. How about a sport or hobby done on dry land? Say in a dungeon."

Chakotay blinked quickly, opened his mouth to speak, and then snapped it shut. His eyes clouded in fear.

"I see that you have arrived at the doorstep to my hell. So, Harry is wondering why the EMH went with this kind of outfit for our resident ex-Borg. Then he just *has* to mention that while he's pondering this and other questions, working with Seven I might add, the captain walks in and Harry gets some more food for thought." Tom paused.

"Harry said that it was obvious the captain didn't see him at first. If the look on her face when she catches her first glimpse of Seven was any indication. Harry claimed that Captain Janeway, and I quote, looked like she wanted to devour Seven, end quote."

Chakotay gulped. "So, Ensign Harry Kim, is thinking what?"

"What if the captain and the EMH worked together to come up with Seven's clothing? What if they share a special need and have 'taught' Seven to help them with it? What if the three of them meet secretly on the holodeck? Here's where the really scary part comes in. Harry had this image in his head: Janeway naked and bound to a St. Andrew's cross. The EMH also unclothed, and tied to a spanking horse. Seven in her blue catsuit with a bullwhip in her hand, using it on the both of them." Tom couldn't stop the shutter that passed through his body when he finished.

Chakotay sat with his mouth hanging open, shock clearly written on his face. The visions dancing in front of him were not only unpleasant but made him nausea as well. He'll never be able to look at Kathryn again, not, without seeing the image of her that Harry, by way of Tom, has branded there.

Another thought struck him hard and he groaned. He shot to his feet and began to pace. "Spirits, help me. I have my yearly physical tomorrow. There's no way in hell I'm going to be able to sit there in my underwear while the EMH examines me and *not* think about this conversation."

"Yeah well, now that you've stepped into my purgatory, I need you to help me get out of it. Anything, Chakotay, I swear, you can do whatever you see fit to rid these images from my brain. Please," Tom begged.

Chakotay stopped in front of Tom, and looked down at the blond. His eyes spoke the truth, he would submit to anything. However, there was someone else who should also answer for the horror that was now roaming through Chakotay's mind. A plan formed quickly in Chakotay's head.

Chakotay smiled at Tom, nodded, then tapped his combadge.

"Commander Chakotay to Ensign Kim."

"Ensign Kim here. What can I do for you, Commander?" Harry sounded uncertain.

"Ensign, I was wondering if you are available in an hour. There's something I wish to discuss with you."

"Chakotay, what…." Tom whispered but a raised hand stopped him from finishing.

"I don't have any plans, Commander. Can you tell me what this is in reference to?"

Chakotay's grin went feral and Tom's body shivered visibly.

"Well, it's not something I care to discuss over the comm system, Ensign. But I will tell you this much; it has to do with the conversation you had with Lieutenant Paris earlier."

Chakotay chuckled when he heard what could only be described as a gulp at the other end.

"All right, sir. But in my defense…"

"Ensign, we'll discuss it later. In an hour," Chakotay ordered.

"Yes, sir."

"Good, holodeck two. And Ensign, do not be late. Chakotay out."

"Chakotay, what the hell are you doing?" Tom rushed as soon as the comm link was terminated.

"Well, it would be a shame to banish those images from our minds and leave poor Harry shuck with them. So, I'm going to propose that *I* help all three of us."

"How?" Tom asked cautiously.

"Ah, good question. I was thinking we could overlay the images of Kathryn, the EMH and Seven with our own."

"What? Who? Where? How?"

"You heard me. As for who, well, I see you in Kathryn's place, Harry taking over for the EMH and me in the leather outfit with the whip. Although, I think I'll choose black or brown leather. Blue isn't my color."

Tom swallowed loudly.

"The where? Well, the holodeck of course. I'm sure we can find a program stored in the computer that will do nicely. That is if Harry's imagination is actually on target. If not, we'll improvise. How? Do you really need me to fill in the blanks for you, Tom?" Chakotay leered at his lover.

"Umm, no." Tom shook his head. "God! Chakotay, you're more sadistic than Harry."

"Shame on you, Thomas Paris! You were the one who begged for help and now that I've come up with a solution you're calling me names?"