Title: Playtime (8/?)
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 | 6 | 7
Would Pike admit that he is grateful for this small break? Not in front of the children. Luckily, however, he is unable to face them today. Or perhaps not so luckily, as he feels awful—like his sinuses are going explode and his throat is on fire; but he’s so feverish right now that he doesn’t care.
A quick call to Janice.
“Hello, Jan? No, it’s okay. No accident. What?” He chuckles, but the congestion warps the sound into something unpleasant. “No, it’s not the mother of all hangovers.”
I haven’t drank like that since my college days, he doesn’t gripe.
“Look, that tickle in my throat yesterday was the real deal. Calm down, Jan!” He coughs and groans. “I’ll send you back-up, okay? What? I can’t hear you say that louder, I think this ear’s stopped up….. Oh. Yeah, it’ll be him. Just, play nice. Mmhm. Alright. Bye.”
Pike drags the comm-unit a little closer so that he can punch in another number. His aching body protests every movement.
The line says that it is connecting. No answer. Attempt 1 aborted. Buzz, no answer. Attempt 2 aborted. Finally, on the third call, a voice picks up the line and snaps irritably, “For God’s sake, do you know what time it is?”
“Dropped your coffee pot again, Jon?”
There is the sound of slamming and curses.
“I’d call back once you’ve had your first cup and are a decent Human being, but—” He breaks off with a sudden chill and suppresses a moan of unhappiness.
“Chris, you sound like you’ve been on a three-day bender.”
God, why does everyone assume he’s been drinking?
“It’s the flu!” he snarls.
“Oh. OH. Good Lord, Pike, call someone else. I’m busy.”
“No you aren’t. You haven’t been busy for the last ten years. I need you to watch after my kids.”
There is a sigh. Pike knows that Jonathan Archer is caving.
“At least tell me that you haven’t run off the good-looking blonde you hired.”
He makes a noise of exasperation. “No, I haven’t. But I doubt she’ll enjoy the attention of a man old enough to be her grandfather.”
A sharp bark of laughter almost pops Pike’s eardrum back to normal. “Unkind! You wound me! I’ll do it, but not because I own half of the business. I’ll do it for you, my friend.”
Sure. Who does Jon think he’s fooling?
Now how to get the old codger there on time? “Miss Rand makes a decent pot of coffee—if you’re early enough.”
“Fine, fine. I’m leaving. Let me just find my jacket and—”
“Jon, the pistol stays at home.”
“Damn.” There is a pause. “Well, I suppose I wouldn’t want grubby little fingerprints on it anyway. It is an antique.”
Pike snorts, then has to hastily find a tissue. “I don’t want holes in the walls or the children, Archer. Or to have to explain to upset parents why their progeny are scarred for life.”
He doesn’t mention that he is not really worried for the children, because Jon would most certainly be the one trying to blow his brains out by snack-time. Nope. Best not to mention that at all.
Pike feels devious. He likes it.
After managing to wrangle a promise from Jonathan to “be cordial” to the children, he flicks the communicator to silent-mode, tosses it off the end of the bed and rolls over, pulling a quilt over his head.
Ah, bliss. Sick, miserable but Jimmy-free bliss.
Poor stupid Archer won’t know what hit him.
It’s late afternoon by the time he wakes up and stumbles into his kitchen. Much banging around and hacking coughs ensue, but Chris is able to get a pot of broth going and some pieces of bread in the toaster. He hates replicated food with a passion. Thus why half of his yearly salary goes to bonafide grocery shopping and kitchen equipment.
Finally, feeling like a human being again—with at least a partially functioning body—he sighs over a cup of tea and shuffles back to his bedroom. He walks in and catches the tail end of his communicator vibrating madly against the wooden floor. He stares at it, uncomprehending.
It shuts off.
That’s when he remembers that he sent Jon to Little Star. Oh shit.
The communicator displays a list of 9 missed calls and 9 equally red and glaring voicemail alerts.
He types a code and hits Play.
“Message 1. Beeeep. Have you passed out yet?” It’s Jon’s voice. Little wonder. “Well, this is just to let you know that I made it, so stop that blasted worrying I can feel from across the Bay. Your darlings will be along any minute—Oh hello there!” Jon’s voice goes from normal to there’s-a-female-in-the-room-HELL-YES. “Miss Rand, yes, I remember—Oh, er—perhaps some coffee—” There is mumbling and a low curse. Then the message goes “End of message. Replay?“
Pike chuckles, takes a sip of tea and deletes it. Jan remembers Archer from that one interview—well, incident in which Jon might have offended her with his chauvinistic attitude. (Jon couldn’t make a decent first impression if his life depended on it.) But then again, that bit of temper and steel in Rand’s backbone is one of the reasons he hired her in the first place.
“Message 2. Beeeep. Chris! Are you awake? I know it’s been years since I’ve been in the classroom—” Muttered cursing and the sound of a door closing. “Okay, damn, finally a moment to myself. What the Hell kind of children are we accepting? I’ve just been bitten by an Orion rug-rat and… fuck, this is not a God-damn spaceship and I’m not a God-damn Captain’s chair. If that boy Kurt-Krack-oh who cares, if he tries to get into my lap one more—”
The message cuts off. Pike replays it once, grinning.
“Message 3. Beeeep. I think you tricked me. If you tricked me, Christopher, I’ve got a rifle with your name on it, you ass.” There is a sharp exclamation in the background, followed by a familiar wave of high-pitched noises. “No, stop that! Ass is not a—okay, Miss Rand, I won’t say anything f—er, I’ll watch my language.” Jon’s voice is muffled. “That woman you hired is a harpy. I thought you said she was sweet! Look, that’s not what I’m calling about. I’ve got a fat one here that’s gotten a box of cookies from God knows where and—No, no. Hey, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it when I called you fat, don’t cry. It’s—shit. SHIT!” A loud growl, that is distinctively Jon’s mixed with the squeal of Meanie! “No kicking! Look, kid—NO, YOU’RE NOT CAPTAIN AND I’M NOT INSULTING YOUR CREW—”
“Message 4. Beeeep. Chris, they’re MONSTERS! One just ate an entire bottle of glue and do I look like I keep a stomach pump in my coat pocket? And—NO! Put that down! No one’s cutting anyone’s hair again!” The line crackles and Pike thinks he hears scuffling and shouts. Then Jon is back, panting. “Damn you, Pike, I’m too old for this. I—Oh hell. Alright, I’m coming!” The message cuts off.
He wonders if Jon will be needing an ambulance for ventricular distress.
“Message 5. Beeeep. I HATE YOU. FLU MY ASS. IF YOU DID THIS TO ME ON—No!” Jon’s voice becomes distant, shouting “Give that back, okay, give back Mr. Archer his communicator…” Giggling filters in over Jon’s wheedling voice. “Nuh-uh, it’s mine!” Pike sits up straighter. That’s definitely little Pavel. He almost flips the button to respond and tell Pavel to return the communicator when he catches himself and remembers that it is just a recording. Sounds of children screeching and playing can be heard in the background. Then “‘Okay, no, don’t run away. What’s your name?’ ‘PAVEL!’ ‘Pavel, be a good boy and let Mr. Archer have his—’ ‘MINE!’ ‘NO, IT’S NOT—Hey, I’m not shouting okay? Do you want… what do you want in return for the, er, toy?'”
Pike coughs into a fist to keep his laughter at bay. Jon’s a veteran who has negotiated with many enemies in the past, but he doubts that Archer will realize how unprepared he is to face down a genius, baby-faced four-year-old.
He deletes that message too.
Message 6 is nonsensical shouting and perhaps a bit of crying. That it is Jon, who sounds hysterical, tells Pike that Mr. Archer did indeed successfully re-acquire his “toy” from Pavel Chekov. At what cost, though?
“Message 7. Beeeep.” It starts with a loud shuddering sigh and “First, I have jello down my pants. Do you know how uncomfortable that is?” Pike laughs so hard that he misses the rest of the message and has to replay it. “…I don’t know whether to be shocked that they enjoy nap-time or to get down on my knees and pray that they’ll sleep until their parents come back. Damn, Chris, I’m really am too old for this. There’s a reason I’m retired, you know.” A pause, a moment of silence. “They—your kids—are something else. Jimmy keeps asking where you are, and I think he called me a Klingon spy when I said I was your temporary replacement. Last time I checked, Klingons didn’t have to suffer through the interrogation of babes.” Another sigh. Pike almost feels sympathetic for his long-time friend and business partner. “Janice tells me that I’m not allowed to take my communicator onto the playground because I can’t be distracted from watching the children. …I’m screwed, aren’t I?”
The voicemail cuts out. Probably Jon hanging up in order to bang his head on Pike’s desk. Chris is surprised that the man has managed to last most of the morning. (It’s a good thing that the pistol is at home after all.)
“Message 8. Beeeep. Hello, Chris, I hope you’re feeling better.” It’s Janice. Pike’s gut does a sudden unhappy flop; he can’t decide if it’s protesting the soup or if it knows that Janice calling on Jon’s communicator cannot be anything but bad. She sounds tired. “When you get this, don’t overreact. Mr. Archer’s fine—everyone’s fine. There was a… misunderstanding between Jimmy and Mr. Archer, and—” She breaks off, makes a noise that Pike suspects is a stifled laugh. “Mr. Archer might be sporting some rather impressive bruises. Nothing serious. If we’re lucky, the Captain may have taught him manners!” Wow, she does has an issue with Jonathan. They may have to discuss that later. “I’m sorry but I have to go. Nyota is still upset that girls weren’t allowed to participate in the—um—capture of the Klingon. She’s using Jimmy for target practice. Please get better, Chris! The kids really miss you.”
Message 9 is short and to the point. Jon tells him in a world-weary voice, “They’ve returned to their lairs. The galaxy is safe… until morning. You owe me.”
Yes, he does. He also wonders how Jon is going to take the news that Pike needs at least another day of convalescence. Probably not well.
Maybe he can pacify Jon by suggesting that Porthos visit the children tomorrow, for distraction. Children love dogs, right?