Summary : Written for the VAMB 2016 Secret Drabble Exchange. Hester’s request was for any pairing, which left the field open. I had a lot of fun writing this. Thank you for a great first line.
Thank you to Audabee for the read through, and to Sira and Ria for another wonderful exchange.
Disclaimer: CBS/Paramount owns everything. No infringement intended.
“A cooking class? Are you out of your mind?”
B’Elanna’s question-cum-accusation ended in a squeak, adding an alarming exclamation point.
Tom’s bravado wavered.
As nonchalance warred with terror, he tried to ignore his wife’s glare, and the looks of incredulity on the faces of his so-called friends.
Okay, so maybe it hadn’t been such a good idea.
B’Elanna’s grim expression spoke volumes and he sighed – he and the couch would be getting reacquainted tonight.
She was angry, as only a Klingon could be. So angry, that he could almost see little puffs of smoke coming out of her ears. That mental image deserved a smile – but he didn’t dare.
Anyway, it was too late now.
The Captain had the holo-program, and he could hardly tackle her in the corridor and snatch it back. Although, from the looks on everyone’s faces, it was worth considering.
His ‘friends’ were in retreat now. Backing away from him with small but determined steps; putting distance between themselves and what they perceived as ‘ground zero’.
Harry gave him a sympathetic half-smile. “It’s been nice knowing you, Paris.”
You really knew who your friends were in a crunch.
Did they actually think that she would be that angry?
She was a reasonable woman.
He’d seen her be reasonable at least once or maybe twice over the last six years. She rarely lost her temper – unless she was severely provoked – and how often had that happened?
Exploding Borg cubes instantly came to mind, and panic wrapped its gnarly fist around a vulnerable part of his insides and squeezed. Hard.
God! This could get ugly.
He began to protest his innocence but thought better of it.
It was only cooking classes. What could possibly go wrong?
Kathryn Janeway – his intrepid leader, architect of his destiny and paragon of captainly virtues – could outwit every known species in all four quadrants. She was a better pilot than anyone else on board – including him. She could phaser the stinger off a bee at fifty paces, and was a demon when it came to hand to hand combat – just ask B’Elanna and her bruises.
She couldn’t cook to save her life.
Her cremated roasts were legendary; her dinner party failures renowned throughout the galaxy, and how many times had he treated Chakotay for indigestion and various other unmentionable gastro-intestinal disorders as a result of her epicurean experiments – the man was either a saint or a masochist to keep going back. It was in the crews’ best interest that she glean at least a passing acquaintance with food preparation.
Had everyone forgotten that she’d been ready to chow down on a handful of grubs when they were stranded on that volcanic planet all those years ago? The woman’s taste buds were clearly compromised, and something had to be done.
Caramel brownies – as delicious as they might be – were not a food group, neither was coffee, nor peanut-butter sandwiches – her mainstay of gastronomic delight often substituted for culinary catastrophes.
It had been an hour since she’d left the Messhall. If things were going to go pear-shaped, he should hear from her soon.
Chakotay was with her, so, with luck, he’d disarm her before she tracked Tom down or, at least, ensure his demise was quick and painless.
If he hadn’t heard from her in another ten minutes, he’d stock the Delta Flyer with provisions and make a run for it. B’Elanna would understand. As Tuvok had once so aptly asserted, ‘retreat is sometimes the best possible option.’ And who was he to argue with Vulcan logic?
His combadge chirped, and he nearly jumped out of his skin.
Tom glared. Traitor!
Was she annoyed?! Her displeasure had a way of seeping through bulkheads.
He answered with expertly feigned confidence. “Captain! How can I help you?”
“I’d like you to join Chakotay and me for dinner.”
“Oh, ummm, thank you…. but…..”
“I’ll take that as a ‘yes’. Your gift was very thoughtful, so, in honour of it,” There was a pregnant pause before she added/threatened, “I’m cooking.”
He choked out a strangled, “Wonderful.”
The captain, in contrast, sounded very pleased. “Yes, you’re going to be my guinea pig.”
Oh, no. Things were going from bad to worse. He looked beseechingly at B’Elanna. “Did she just say I’m going to be her guinea pig or that we’re having guinea pig?”
B’Elanna shrugged. “I’ve no idea. It’s your funeral.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of.”
Feet dragging, Tom left the Messhall and, like a dead-man-walking, made his way to the Captain’s quarters.
The door slid open on his arrival to reveal his Captain and an amused looking First Officer. Tom silently cursed the man; he was enjoying this way too much.
“Errr, Happy Birthday, Captain.”
“Thank you, Mr. Paris. I hope you’re hungry.”
“Famished?” He hadn’t meant it to sound like a question.
Her eyebrow quirked and she responded with relish, “Excellent.”
The table was laden with dishes.
She stood aside and with a sweeping gesture, invited him to survey the gastronomic delights on offer. “I made all your favourites, but as your gift so enthusiastically suggested, I let my imagination run wild.”
On closer inspection, Tom could see bowls filled with steaming, bubbling and – oh, please no – writhing masses of gloop.
“You really shouldn’t have, Captain. And I mean that most sincerely.”
“Oh, yes, I should. Please, don’t be shy. Dig in.” She smiled sweetly and Tom’s knees turned to jelly.
Surrender or die.
She’d made her point, however, and there was no shame in losing to Kathryn Janeway.
He sighed. “Perhaps, just a small slice of humble pie?”
She crossed her arms. “With some crow on the side?”
She stared at him for a long moment, before shaking her head and laughing. “It’s not that I don’t appreciate the thought, Tom – some people would be grateful.” Without turning, she pointed over her shoulder. “Don’t say a word, Commander.”
Tom grinned. “Message received, Captain.” He nodded towards the table. “Do you need a hand cleaning up or should we just load this stuff into the torpedo tubes and aim it at the Borg?”
“Thin ice, Mr Paris, thin ice.”
Tom backed away. “Goodnight, Captain and I’ll see you later, Commander.”
She frowned. “I thought you were on duty in Sickbay tonight.”
Tom’s eyes met Chakotay’s steely glare. “Errr, yeah. Um, tomorrow then.” He made a hasty retreat.
The last thing he heard was the Captain’s puzzled enquiry, “Sickbay, Commander?”