Title: Playtime (3/?)
Fandom: Star Trek AOS
Summary: AU. Fun times ensue at Little Star Academy. Pike begins to realize that while he may be the adult, he’s definitely not the one in charge.
Previous Part: 1 | 2
“But I wanna be wit Bwones!” Jimmy has no qualms about expressing his unhappiness at the tops of his lungs. Pike shushes him, pulls him to the side.
“Now, listen. Look at Scotty.” The boy stubbornly refuses to look anywhere but at Pike, those blue eyes blazing with temper. “James,” Pike warns. He remembers Ms. Kirk telling him, “Call him James if he gets stubborn.” She smiled, added, “Use his entire name if things get truly dire.”
The kid takes a quick peek at the other child, who is scuffing a dirty mini-sneaker—shoe laces trailing—on the carpet.
“Do you see how sad he looks?” Pike gentles his voice, thrusts the budding exasperation aside. (It’s useless in these situations.)
“I want Bwones,” Kirk says, though his tone is quieter than before.
“You are hurting his feelings, James, because you don’t want to be his partner.” That bottom lip pokes out farther. “I know, it’s not fair. But listen, Jimmy, Scotty is a very lonely little boy. He doesn’t make friends the way that you do—” Automatically assume that you do. “—and he is afraid that the other boys and girls won’t like him, so he doesn’t try.” Damn, this is never easy to explain. But Kirk is silent now, listening. Pike rubs the boy’s arm. “If you refuse to be his partner, then he won’t understand why. He’ll think that you don’t like him. Is that what you want?”
Jimmy is extra cute when he blinks innocent wide eyes. Pike won’t be deterred.
“Do you like him, Jimmy?”
“Yes,” the boy admits. Thank God, Pike thinks, that the toddler believes that he should like everyone.
“And do you want to hurt his feelings?”
“Will you be his partner?”
Kirk looks over at Lenny, who is glaring at a calm-faced Spock, then down at the floor. “Okay.”
“Atta boy.” He makes his approval plain. “And, Jim, I want you to work really hard at being nice to Scotty. He needs a friend like you.”
That perks the child up, an assignment of sorts. Pike watches, satisfied, as Jimmy runs back to the sad-faced Scotty, automatically grabs the boy’s hand and drags him over to the toy trucks. The sound of babbling “We’re friends now, Scotty, the very best of friends—” can be heard from across the room.
Now to handle the other situation. He knew that this wouldn’t be an easy task; partnering up children never is. But Chris’s gut says that bashful Scotty will benefit the most with a partner who can draw him out of his shell. Spock, of course, had been the hardest to pair, despite that the Vulcan would not complain about whom Pike chose as his partner. Spock considers himself to be superior to the others—which is rather true, in terms of intellect and manners. However, that attitude will only amplify the Vulcan’s self-isolation. Pike—with Ms. Grayson’s blessing—is delegated the task of introducing Spock to the social world. He can think of no one better than Leonard McCoy, because Lenny is the one of the few present who refuses to be intimidated.
Also, Pike suspects that the clash of the boys’ mind-sets will force them to figure out a way to work together this week. Either that, or there will be a massive amount of drama. Pike has been through this type of thing before, many times in his fifteen years, and expects more than a few obstacles (and fights) in the foreseeable future. Usually the end result is worth the headaches.
He approaches the duo with caution. Rand is talking with other paired children; namely, at the moment, Nyota and Christine.
“Hello, Lenny. Spock. What have you learned about each other so far?”
“Spock’s stupid. He won’t say nothing,” Lenny complains.
Apparently Spock does talk. “I do not lack intelligence,” the Vulcan informs his partner coolly.
Lenny fails to look convinced. The boy’s arms are crossed and he kicks a leg slightly too close to Spock’s shins. “Then why dontcha talk?” he challenges.
“I do not find your conversation stimulating.”
Ho boy. “Spock,” Pike interrupts because Lenny’s face going red is a bad sign of a tantrum or the imminent swing of a fist. “You must be nice to Leonard.”
The Vulcan stares at his teacher. “I was not unkind, Sir. I spoke the truth.”
Lenny counters, “Nuh-uh! My con-ver—conversation is stee—stem—good! Isn’t it, Mr. Pike?”
Chris knows better than to take sides. “Spock, Lenny, it is important that you learn to work together. I want you to discover one thing that you both like.” When they look mutinous (interesting on Spock’s behalf, because he does not change expression, but Pike knows the boy is unhappy), Pike adds, “That’s an order.” He leaves them both at a table, silent as the grave.
Best to move on, for now, he thinks as he makes his way over to Pavel and Hikaru, who seem to be discussing their favorite crayon colors. (At least, some of the pairings are working.) Later, meaning about five minutes or so, when Pike circles back around to McCoy and Spock and asks them what they have in common, Lenny smiles—Pike’s heart drops—and replies, “We don’t like the same stuff, Mr. Pike.”
“Nope,” the boy says, then grins widely (is he bouncing?). “We both don’t like Jimmy.”
Chris resists the urge to sigh. Well, he supposes, friendships have to start somewhere.
As he calls everybody to the rug for the start of some fun partnered activities, he hears Lenny lean in and ask Spock, “Why’re your ears pointy?”
Then a wail distracts him, because Scotty has pulled Christine’s braid of hair. When Pike wants to know why, trying to ignore Christine’s dramatic tearful sobs from Rand’s arms, he blushes and mumbles, “Jimmy said girls like it.”
Pike wonders how long it will be before Jimmy drives his teacher to drink. “Well, Jimmy is wrong. It’s not nice to hurt others, Scotty. Pulling hair hurts.”
“Now tell Christine that you are sorry for hurting her.”
Rand gently untangles Christine and puts her down. Nyota watches the show with interest. Little Kirk is nowhere to be seen. (Damn, another lecture; this kid is a handful.) Scotty sniffles and says, “I’m sorry.”
Christine hiccups and stares at him, tears leaking down her face. Pike bets that she can cry at will. Rand nudges the little girl. She scrubs a hand across her nose (Janice sighs and pulls out tissues from her pocket) and tells Scotty, “Okay.”
Pike says, “Good. Now, everybody, to the rug, please. Let’s go!”
Jimmy finally appears, wide-eyed and innocent, but Pike isn’t buying that look at all. (Not anymore.) The boy settles beside Scotty, leans over and whispers something. Scotty perks up, quits looking so forlorn, and nods.
Pike briefly pushes up his glasses to pinch the bridge of his nose. How many hours until Ms. Kirk arrives?
Galia arrives on a Wednesday. Christopher Pike gently takes her from her parents, and the child automatically buries her face into his sweater. She’s bundled up for winter weather (it is June), complete with a cap over her bright reddish-orange curls.
Janice nods at his signal. “Children,” she says merrily. “We have a newcomer to the class.” Everyone is already focused on the bundle in his arms. Rand adds, “Her name is Galia. Let’s make her feel welcome. Say ‘Hello, Galia!'”
She is not quite trembling when a chorus of hellos and a girl! erupt like a loud volcanic explosion. Pike whispers to her and pats her back. She relaxes enough that he can squat down and place her feet on the floor. Her face, when she peers up at him, is bright green. Pike chucks her under the chin and says, “Want to meet everybody, Galia?”
Her curls bounce as she nods.
Pike scans the crowd, picks out Kirk and calls him up to the front. Well, now here’s the true test. He doesn’t think Jimmy will disappoint him. The boy scuttles up to them. “Yes, Sir!”
“Captain, I’ve got a new crew member for you. Her name is Galia.” Janice makes a noise and coughs to hide her laughter. Pike has no illusions over how she thinks of him. But this is about what’s best for Galia.
Jimmy looks excited that Pike acknowledges his rank. “Okay! Hewo, Galia!” Jimmy tries to get closer but she keeps her back to him.
Pike attempts to regain Kirk’s attention. “Jimmy, do you understand that a Captain is responsible for his crew?”
“And you accept responsibility for helping Galia make friends with the rest of your… crew?” Janice is definitely laughing now, and not bothering to hide that fact. If Pike’s cheeks tint pink, he feels lucky that there isn’t a mirror close by.
Pike says to Galia, “Do you hear that, sweetheart? Jimmy is your friend and there are others who’ll be your friend too.”
He beckons Jimmy closer, positions him just so and gently turns Galia to face the little boy.
Kirk’s eyes are the size of quarters. “You’re gween!” he announces.
“Galia is an Orion, Jimmy. Orions have green skin.”
Kirk’s hand automatically reaches out to touch the little girl. “Does it hurt?”
Galia shakes her head.
There is a minute of silence, which Pike interrupts with a soft reminder. “Captain.”
The boy looks at Pike, then at Galia. His chest puffs out. “I’m your Capt’n,” he informs his newest crew member. “Capt’n Jimmy!” The words ring with pride. Pike laughs on the inside.
And the rest is out of the teacher’s hands as Jimmy proceeds to usher Galia off to the center rug. Janice sidles up to him and remarks, “Well done, Mr. Pike.”
She puts her hands on her hips and they watch the noisy, albeit excited, gaggle of children crowding around Galia and Jimmy, the latter of which stands partially (protectively) in front of his newest friend. Nyota says something like “Boys are dirty and eat bugs,” Jimmy takes offense, and then the battle for Galia’s loyalty begins.