Title: Playtime (6/?)
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 | 4 | 5
It so happens that the first birthday child is Nyota Uhura. Christopher Pike gathers all his little ones and declares that today is a special day, and do they know why? Heads shake, with the exception of Nyota who is beaming from ear-to-ear.
Pike smiles at her. “What’s special about today, Nyota?”
“It’s my birthday!” she annouces proudly.
Pike ignores Jimmy’s automatic shout of “Cake!” and Scotty’s obvious approval of this idea. “And how old are you today?”
“I’m six!” She twirls around, eyes sparkling, to say triumphantly at Lenny, “I’m six and you’re not older ‘n me now!”
Lenny McCoy looks as if he cannot decide how to respond to that announcement. The boy simply says, “Okay.”
Nyota tacks on, “I’m six and I’m a girl so I’m better ‘n you!”
Pike doesn’t quite smack his forehead. He clears his throat and shoots a warning look at the two. Lenny’s reddening face subsides at his teacher-does-not-approve frown. (Pike’s perfected it over the years.)
He motions to Janice, who reveals a very large poster-board. “I want everyone to add something special to this poster today. It’s for Nyota to take home so that when she looks at it, she’ll think of all her friends from Little Star who are happy to celebrate her birthday.”
His heart skips a beat, because no one protests the idea outright with words such as “I don’t like Nyota” or “I’m ain’t happy it’s her birthday!” Not one child admits that he or she might feel less enthusiastic about today’s plans—probably because they have an instinctive inkling that Pike might have edible surprises in store for them all.
“You can use anything from the art cabinet today. Please, remember to be careful. And what happens if we make a mess?”
“We clean it up!” comes the sing-song chorus.
Well, they know the proper response, at the very least.
Pike waves them off towards Rand who is unlocking the cabinet. She shoots him an amused look as a large group of excited children stampede in her direction. Christopher calls, “Nyota!”
She skips up to him.
“While everyone else decorates the poster for you—” he talks as he opens a drawer in his desk. “—you get to put whatever you want on this.”
He hands her a paper gold crown, one that can be adjusted to fit on her head. Nyota’s eyes light up.
She takes it as if it is fragile. “Am I better ‘n Captain Jimmy now?”
He leans down to whisper conspiratorially, “Not even Captain Jimmy is more important than the Birthday Queen.” That makes her extremely happy, because Nyota runs off to show Rand her Queen’s crown (and flaunt it at Jimmy). Pike knows that he shouldn’t help instigate a potential argument, but he suspects that Jimmy will take the news in stride.
That is, until the boy tugs on his pants leg (unfortunately marking his new trousers with blue and purple handprints). “Mr. Pwike?”
“When do I get a cwown?”
“When it’s your birthday.”
“Today’s my bwirthday too, Mr. Pwike.”
He scoops up the child and carries him to the large calendar over his desk. “This is today, Jimmy.” Pike points out the white box marked with the current date. Nyota Uhura’s name is written across it. “That’s Nyota’s name, to remind me that today is her birthday.”
He shifts the child to his hip and pulls up several sheets on the calendar. “There’s your name. James Kirk.”
“James Ti-bear-ee-us Kirk!”
“Your birthday is not for a few more months.”
Then Jimmy squirms in his arms. “That’s fooorever.”
Pike smiles and ruffles the child’s hair as he sets him down. “It’ll be here before you know it, son.”
For lunch’s dessert, Chris and Janice bring out big tubs of neapolitan ice cream which has all the children very excited. Even Spock lifts an eyebrow and ventures close enough to the sweets. Pike called his mother last week to find out if there were any special “birthday” foods Spock could indulge in (excluding chocolate). Ms. Grayson had laughed over the phone and said, “Ice cream, Mr. Pike. Strawberry. But keep an eye on him. He’ll eat three times the amount of a normal child if you aren’t paying attention! And if you are, he’ll attempt to persuade you that large quantities of ice cream are logical for a Vulcan.”
Spock accepts his cup of pink ice cream and a spoon with dignity. Three minutes later Pike catches him quietly slipping up to Janice, at angle that might make it difficult for Pike to spot him, and calmly takes another cup of strawberry ice cream from Rand as if its his first one. Later, when the strawberry side of the gallon tub becomes suspiciously low, Pike will think back on the number of “seconds” that involved requests for strawberry. Even later than that, while the children are running in the yard, most flapping their arms like they are about to take flight (and Nyota issuing orders to anyone who will listen), Pike is cleaning up from the make-shift party and finds five empty, spotless bowls lined along a window sill. The only true evidence of a sneaky baby Vulcan’s cunning is a set of five plastic spoons discarded in a puddle of melted pink ice cream at the bottom of the trashcan next to his desk.
Pike wonders just how extensive a First Officer’s influence is over a crew. He also wonders how long it will be before Captain Jimmy realizes that he can bribe said-First Officer with relative ease if the bribe were strawberry enough.
Janice pokes her head into the room. “Want to trade places, Chris?”
“I’m sure that you do, Jan. What are they up to now?”
“Queen Nyota has decided that her male subjects are the brothers from The Six Swans.” Janice chuckles. “Except she calls them geese because only girls should be swans. Boys are dirty geese.”
Pike laughs and hands her the trash bag. “Okay, you win. I’ve got to see this.”
Nyota’s production of the fairy tale turns out to be rather creative. Mr. Pike enjoys watching Nyota tell Jimmy to flap harder. And poor Scotty is an awkward stumbling goose puffing from exertion. Spock stands to Nyota’s right, hands clasp behind his back as he watches the other children of his gender run into each other like demented sheep. Nyota grins at him widely and says, “Does this show please you, my Prince?”
Spock answers, with the solemnity his royal position requires, “Indeed, it does. Might I suggest that that… errant fowl—” Pike sees Spock point at Lenny, who has collapsed in the dirt on his knees. “—be the last to undertake the transformation back to Human form?”
Nyota walks over to Lenny and pokes him with her scepter. (Damn, Pike thought he’d removed all of the sticks from the playground last weekend.) She turns back to Spock, ever regal and declares, “For you, my sweet Prince, I’ll have him plucked and stuffed for dinner!”
Exactly what does that girl read for bedtime stories? Pike feels that he must intervene on McCoy’s behalf when the Cook—Galia—and the two “transformed” swans Sulu and Pavel jump on Lenny and attempt to drag him over to the “kettle” for stew.
Of course, then Queen Nyota takes offense that the Ogre wants her and her Prince’s evening meal so Pike ends up under a pile of attacking swans which seem to multiple in force rather unexpectedly. (Some of them bite.) By the end of Play-time, Pike is limping, Janice is laughing so hard that she’s crying and Nyota sweeps back inside on Prince Spock’s arm, victorious, for her “reward” ice cream.
Pike groans when he catches Spock’s departing words. “Strawberry ice cream would be a logical choice, Nyota.”
He has little doubt that the refrigerator will qualify as Forbidden Territory once a Vulcan sets his sights on it. So then, if the children’s teacher looks at all panicked when he shuffle-limps as quickly as possible towards the Little Star’s mini-kitchen, perhaps that moment of weakness in the adult can be excused. After all, even baby Vulcans are still pretty damned strong.