Life With a Paris: And Baby Makes Four

"Thanks, Harry, I really appreciate it. It'll only be for a few days until
B'Elanna and the baby get settled."

"No problem. When do you want me to pick him up?"

"B'Elanna will be home in an hour, she wants to see him before we send him away, so, say an hour and a half?"

"I'll be there. Kim out."

Tom nodded and turned around to look at Delta, whose sad brown eyes gazed at the ground.

"Sorry, buddy, but the baby needs to get settled in and you're pretty scary when you want to be." 

Delta's head lowered further. 

"You're only going to Uncle Harry's, Delta! It's not like we're leaving you on some weird planet or something. You'll be home by the end of the week." 

The dog laid down, snuffing out a long puff of air, burying his nose between his paws. 

"Oh, come on! Would you rather I leave you with Naomi Wildman and that demon cat of hers?" 

Delta's ears pricked, but his eyes merely rolled up to meet Tom's gaze. Tom's shoulders wilted slightly. 

"Delta! Give me a break! Please!" 

The dog sighed, and twisted to his side, stretching out, his eyes still locked on Tom. Tom shook his head and ran his hands through his hair. "I'll give you this, Delta, whatever you are, you're damned good at guilt trips. But you're still going. Now go find Targ. Mommy and your sister will be home soon."

The dog's eyes perked to life at the mention of his mommy, and he ran to the sleeping area, digging under the bed until he came up with the purple targ clutched tightly in his jaws.

As the dog searched, Tom replicated several servings of dry dog food to take to Harry's, and grabbed the extra blanket off the end of the bed for Delta to sleep on while he was away. Soon, the hour had passed, and his comm badge buzzed.

"Torres to Paris."

"Hey, B'Elanna, time to pick you up?" His eyes brightly glowed as he thought of seeing his wife and daughter again.

"Doc's released me, but I can make my own way there, Tom, I'm not an invalid."

"Never said you were, I just wanted to.."

"I know. Meet me at the door, okay?"

Tom's voice was half disappointed. "Yea, no problem. Paris out."

He looked down at the dog. "I guess Mommy will be home sooner than we thought. I'll be back in a minute, bud, going to meet them at least at the turbolift."

He walked out of the quarters leaving Delta to lay down and bury his nose in his paws once more. His parents that had always been there for him had been scarce and practically nonexistant in the last few days. Daddy said they were sending him away.. to THE FRIEND'S.. and Delta wasn't so sure about that. And what was this mysterious.. sister.. Daddy kept talking about?

Was a dog's life supposed to be this stressful?


Tom met B'Elanna at the turbolift with a soft kiss for both her and the baby.  Even though she had told him not to come, something inside her warmed as she saw him there: a little disheveled, a lot tired, and full of love. 

With gentle fingers he took the baby, their daughter, from her arms, and motioned for B'Elanna to lean against him as they walked the short distance to their quarters. They paused outside the doors as Tom kissed his wife one more time. The doors slid open.

B'Elanna entered first, and stopped, seeing the sad, lonely Delta laying in the middle of the room. When he saw her enter he sat up, cocked his head to the side, and for one instant there was dead silence. Seconds passed, then his entire face brightened and he lunged at the doorway, stopping just short of jumping on her against the walls as her curt, "Delta! No!" brought him up cold. 

Still, he sat at her feet, his tail wagging furiously, his now happy heart
beating a thousand beats against his chest as he waited for that one touch from his mommy to tell him that she still loved him no matter how long she'd been away. She was not as round as before, her tummy was now more like the metallic woman's, but not quite.. and she was still his mommy! Her hand came down to scratch his head, then his ears, and her laughter filled his heart and mind as his head rolled back, his tongue lolling out to the side with pleasure.

Delta stayed that way for as long as he could, before Tom, still in the
hallway, cleared his throat. B'Elanna leaned down to speak with Delta.

"Delta, I know you're not going to understand this, but you have a new baby sister." Her voice softened. "You're going to have to be very gentle with her, Delta, she's smaller than you, and you can't hurt her."

Delta's eyes darkened as he listened, his tail beating a much less furious rhythm as he appeared to consider every word seriously.

"She can't help herself right now, so we have to do a lot for her, which means we can't do as much for you just now. We have to take care of her, and protect her, and make sure she's happy. Okay?"

Delta's tail picked up beat as B'Elanna moved to the side. The dog's
expectant eyes were met by his Daddy carrying a small, soft, sweet smelling bundle. A soft whine built in the back of his throat as Daddy and Delta's sister stepped through the doors which wooshed close behind them.

Delta sat very still, desperately trying not to scare the little creature as
Tom brought her closer and closer to the very self-restrained golden retriever. Tom flicked his eyes up to B'Elanna, who nodded, before the man slowly made his way down to his knees. Delta approached slowly, sniffing tiny hands, tiny feet, little arms and legs, before moving his inquisitive nose towards the fragile head that held features of both his mommy and daddy. With a gentleness that neither parent realized he possessed, Delta softly licked the soft flesh of his baby's cheek, never even waking her up as he at last sat back and wagged his tail silently.

Tom's voice was gentle as he praised the puppy. "Good boy, Delta. Good puppy."

The buzzing of a comm badge broke the moment, and Tom handed the baby to B'Elanna.

"Go ahead, Harry."

"Delta ready, Tom?"

"Yea, I think he is."

"Great. I'm on my way."

Tom looked towards the dog, and nearly took a step back in surprise as the dog inclined his head almost in acceptance. The pilot shook his head and blamed it on lack of sleep, but he couldn't help noticing that Delta put up no fuss as Harry snapped on his leash, grabbed the dog food and blanket, and led the retriever away; the purple targ lay forgotten in the middle of the room.