Life With A Paris: Chains of Command

Janeway offered a smile towards B'Elanna, who was just putting the finishing touches on lunch. The Captain had offered the afternoon off for Tom, however the pilot begged Sickbay duty, claiming he had fallen behind on his duties of late. Janeway had raised an eyebrow, but left it at that. If her chief helmsman didn't want to have lunch with her, well, that was his choice.

"Thank you for inviting me over, B'Elanna. It's a rare treat for me to get to spend a meal with anyone aside from Chakotay these days."

B'Elanna smiled. "It's not a problem, Captain. I could use the company. As I was telling Delta earlier, I'd welcome any chance to speak to an adult human at this point."

Janeway almost laughed aloud. "You were telling that to Delta were you? And what did he have to say in return?" She leaned down to stroke the dog's neck as she spoke. 

"Captain!" B'Elanna sighed. "You know what I meant."

Janeway smiled, and opened her mouth to speak just as the baby began to cry softly in her cradle. Every head in the room turned towards the noise, but Delta made it to the crib before either of the women, quietly positioning himself between the captain and the cradle. B'Elanna noticed this almost immediately, however, the captain, having no room to advance, merely returned to her seat without incident.

"Delta! Behave!" B'Elanna whispered, noting the tension rippling through the dog's body. His eyes flicked up to meet hers, and B'Elanna could have sworn that Tom's stubborn look glared out at her. "Just please, don't start anything, okay?"

Once the baby settled back down, B'Elanna returned to the table, offering the Captain a cup of coffee with her pasta.

Halfway through their meal, B'Elanna's comm badge chirped annoyingly. "Vorik to Lieutenant Torres."

B'Elanna blinked in surprise. "Go ahead, Vorik."

"Lieutenant, I regret to interrupt your leave, however, I have come across what has the ability to progress into a critical situation, and suggest that you investigate before I proceed to correct the situation." 

B'Elanna flicked her eyes to the captain and then to the crib. "Uh, Captain, I hate to ask this, but would you be able to keep an eye on the baby for a few minutes. Vorik's emergency situations usually turn out to be nothing. For a Vulcan, he has a bad tendency to overreact."

Janeway smiled softly, her eyes taking on a glaze as she glanced over at the cradle. "I would be honoured."

"Thanks, Captain, I'll be back soon, I promise." B'Elanna turned to look pointedly at Delta. "Be good, and remember what I said. Don't start anything, PLEASE." 

Delta looked uninterested as he firmly remained between the captain and the cradle. 

With a last look at the dog, B'Elanna sighed and left, again promising to be back as quickly as possible.

Janeway smiled down at the puppy, and took a step towards the cradle. She blinked rapidly, frowning.

"Now, Delta, I'm not going to hurt her, I'm just going to check on her."

His growl grew louder, and he advanced a step.

She furrowed her eyebrows together and took on a stern voice. "Stand down, Delta."

The dog's body remained tense, his growl low but audible.

Knowing dogs as well as she did, Janeway was wise to step back, finding her chair and having a seat. The dog's growl faded, but his stance never relaxed.

Janeway never dropped her eyes from his as they stayed that way for the next twenty minutes, right up until the second B'Elanna walked through the door.

Her eyebrow went up in suspicion, but the instant Delta saw her, he was back to his good old puppy self, bouncing around happily. 

Janeway, for her part, never informed B'Elanna about why she suddenly had to return to the bridge, and rarely stopped by the Paris quarters again. She did, however, replicate a large meat bone and left it outside their door, wrapped in a red bow. 

She could walk with her head held high; after all, between Janeway and the dog, she came off as the bigger person of the two.