Title: Playtime (4/?)
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 | 3
No class is, unfortunately, without its problem child. Jimmy Kirk does not qualify as the problem child, despite that his mischievous nature often causes problems. Or large messes that Pike has to clean up.
Such as how Kirk decided that he wanted paint rather than crayons and gathered a band of boys (Scotty, Hikaru and Pavel) to raid the art cabinet. A cabinet that now is locked up tight, with one of two keys on a chain around Pike’s neck. Lord, why does he have to resort to these drastic measures after some many years? That’s right; because Jimmy is the most special toddler he’s ever had the misfortune of looking after. Pike would demand a pay raise, but since he is his own boss… Well, there are better ways to spend the money—and that is, ironically, on supplies like paint for Kirk to spread all over a giant canvas that happens to be a wall.
No, Kirk is not the problem child.
Samuel Giotto is.
In the third week, Jimmy and Sammy are randomly partnered together. That lasts all of ten minutes. Neither boy has the proclivity for silently glaring their dislike as Lenny and Spock did. Sammy attempts to order Jimmy around—who is smaller, which is hardly a feat because Sam Giotto is a large child of six (and considered “not quite ready” to begin proper school). Sammy likes being a good old fashioned bully and Jimmy, who has never been bullied before, refuses to believe that Giotto’s extra two years entitle him to be in charge.
Ten minutes into the morning…
Pike and Janice were stooped over a child that looked green—sick, that is, because it was not Galia or Spock—when he heard “Cuz I said so, runt!” and an answering loud “NO!” Suddenly, in the moment or two that the adults had not been paying attention, a crowd of children had gathered by the cubby holes. Said-crowd suddenly squealed very loudly at a high-pitched shout of rage.
Pike was over there in a flash, removing shocked and excited bodies out of his path. Jimmy was on top of a downed Giotto and pummeling the boy with tiny fists while shouting about cupcakes. Pike never did figure that out, didn’t have time to do so. He shouted “James Tiberius Kirk!” and used the boy’s pause of surprise to literally tuck the enraged Kirk under his arm. It was put the kid into a chair and order him to stay. Then back into the crowd of children to retrieve Giotto, who was rubbing angrily at the tears in his eyes.
Jimmy wouldn’t talk—only glared at Sammy and muttered “Cupcake” while rubbing his arm. (A light bruise was starting to form just below his elbow, one Rand tenderly kissed later.)
Sammy, on the other hand, claimed that it was Jimmy’s fault. When the boy could not come up with a better reason of why Jimmy hit him than “Cuz he just did” Pike was forced to tell him that lying only gets him into more trouble.
Pike explained to both Kirk and Giotto, with a stern face, “It makes no difference who started the fight, boys. You hurt each other and that is NOT how we handle disagreements at Little Star. Samuel, being older doesn’t make you better than Jimmy. James, if someone says or does something to make you mad, you tell an adult.”
Both their faces were red.
His voice had bite. “Do you understand? Samuel?”
“As punishment, you will both have to stay inside this afternoon and help me clean.”
Kirk’s lip wobbled, and Sammy trembled in his chair. Pike gave neither of them a hint of sympathy. He called Janice over. “You take James.” Lowered his voice, “See if he has any injuries.” She nodded and led Kirk over to the community sink. Pike took Giotto to his office and sat him in a chair, checked him over and cleaned scrapes.
When he returned to the other children, there was a heavy silence in the air and several pairs of wide eyes looking at him curiously. He directed everyone over to the round tables. Each pair was handed a large sheet of paper and a box of markers. They set to work on a joint picture of their choosing. Rand had released Kirk back into his chair, and Pike left her to oversee the activity. He squatted down at Nyota and Lenny’s table.
Lenny wasn’t coloring, just watching, and Nyota ignored them both as she dissected the paper with a thick black line.
“Nyota, Lenny, I need to talk to you both for a minute.” Nyota put down her marker.
The McCoy child asked, before Pike can begin to explain what he wanted, “Is Jimmy in trouble?”
“Jimmy and Sammy are both in trouble, Leonard.”
“It’s stupid Sammy’s fault,” Nyota said.
“They hit each other and they are both in trouble.”
Neither child argued. Pike sighed. “I cannot allow them to be partners this week. They each need a new partner, and I think that you can help. Will you?”
Lenny had the most solemn expression Chris had ever seen on a six-year-old’s face. “I’ll be partners with Jimmy.”
That was surprising. Didn’t McCoy claim he hated Kirk? “Actually, I want you to be partners with Samuel, Lenny.”
McCoy’s shoulders hunched. “He’s mean.”
“I ain’t afraid of a boy and Sammy’s stupid,” Nyota offered. “I’ll bite him!”
Which is exactly why Pike wanted Leonard McCoy to work with Samuel Giotto for the rest of the week. There is no need of a repeat of this morning’s fight. (Except Sammy would probably be crying in earnest once fierce little Nyota got ahold of him.) And Lenny was also Sammy’s age.
“I want you to work with Jimmy, Nyota.”
Her nose wrinkled. “He’s stupid too.”
Lenny said lowly, “She thinks all boys are stupid.”
Depending on the age of said-boys, Pike wouldn’t necessarily disagree with Uhura’s assessment. But he’d never admit that out loud.
“Can you both help me? Lenny, you’ll partner with Sammy and, Nyota, you with Jimmy?”
The rest of the week ran fairly smoothly. Nyota threatened Kirk a few times but they seemed to work well enough on a mutual task. Pike suspects that she is the second girl to join Kirk’s “crew.” How the boy managed that is a mystery to all.
On the other hand, any time that Sammy started to make Lenny mad, the boy just dropped what he was doing and walked away. That got the message across to Giotto that not everyone would respond to his belligerence, and especially that it wouldn’t make people admire him either. Little McCoy is no slacker when it comes to expressing his opinions of others. (The child has made one or two girls—and Pavel—cry in the past; though the boy seems repentant enough in the face of another’s tears.)
All is well, for a time, with only minor incidents—one involving the trashcan and which becomes something Pike still cringes over with random moments of Ick. Then the fourth week comes around.
Jimmy is partnered with Spock.
Pike is naïve enough to think this might be a good thing, despite that Spock’s tolerance for others seems severely tried in little Kirk’s presence.
He is wrong. Oh so very wrong.
The fact is that Kirk and Spock together is TOO much of a good thing. Because Spock is smart, Jimmy is full of ideas, and Pike did not realize that Spock might eventually cave to the Kirk charm.
And, of course, to the promise that Spock can be the most important person—second only to Captain Jimmy—on a starship.
On a Wednesday, Pike notices that Spock has a roughly cut star glued to the front of his shirt. When the teacher remarks, “Interesting star, Mr. Spock,” the Vulcan replies serenely, “I am First Officer of the starship Enterprise.”
Jimmy butts into the conversation by skipping up to them, chocolate pudding ringing his mouth. “What’sa En’erpwrise, Spock?” the boy asks.
“Your starship, Captain. It is called Enterprise.”
Those blue eyes sparkle. “En’erpwrise. Mmmm.” The child licks at the corner of his mouth and Pike hands him a wet napkin. That Jimmy only succeeds in smearing the chocolate rather than wiping it off is par for the course. Pike cleans his face.
He should have asked more questions. Like why Spock would join a fantasy game that he had claimed was illogical, not to mention “a waste of mental capacity.” But Pike did not ask, did not stop to think about it—not even later that night in his own home as he rifled through a set of lesson plans and children’s drawings.
That was his mistake.
So it happened on a Friday that Mr. Christopher Pike learned exactly how much of a grave mistake not asking could be.