Title: Playtime (14/?)
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.
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“Will you need a ride home this afternoon, Jan?”
“No, that’s alright. My boyfriend is coming to pick me up.” Rand continues washing out small paint brushes.
Pike hopes that he is not prying overly much, but he is curious. Janice never talks about her personal life. It just so happens that she was running late this morning because she had to use the public transit system to get to work. Interesting. “What’s his name?”
“Your boyfriend,” Pike clarifies.
“Riley.” Janice sets the brushes aside and turns to him. “We’ve been together for a while.”
She seems to hesitate. “Chris, you won’t… think I’m silly, will you?”
“Why would I?” he asks mildly.
The young woman blushes. “Because my, er, car trouble this morning didn’t really involve trouble.”
His eyebrows come together as Pike attempts to decipher that comment.
“I mean, it could use a tune-up… but I just wanted to get Riley out here. To see the kids.”
Now he really is curious. “Why?”
She takes a rag and wipes down the counter absent-mindedly. “…I want a baby.”
Oh Lord. This is not Christopher’s area of expertise. Janice keeps talking. “I know Riley wants kids too… we have that in common, wanting a family. Both of his parents died when he was very young, and Riley always talks about how much he wants to be a dad. I think… I’m ready.”
He clears his throat. What’s he supposed to say to a woman who wants to tell her lover that she would like to start a family? Pike is utterly clueless and feeling a tad awkward.
“Chris,” Rand sighs. “Working with these children is one of the best things that has ever happened to me—besides meeting Riley. I want him to see what a joy they are. Don’t you just think that they are wonderful?”
“Yes, of course.”
“I envy Ms. Kirk.”
He tries not to fall out of his chair. “You do?”
“Jimmy’s such a sweetheart. I want one just like him!”
He imagines that there are days when Winona might be willing to sell her son.
“If only I could give Riley a son like him.”
Pike thinks that the bubble in his throat is hysterical laughter. But it would be unkind to let it out, because Janice wouldn’t understand that he isn’t laughing at her dreams. He’s lamenting them. “James is… a special child. Any child takes hard work, Janice. I know you understand that. But with one like Jimmy, you would never have a moment’s peace!”
He suspects that she is ignoring him. Her eyes are fixed on some distant spot as she lauds James Tiberius Kirk. “…with his soft blond hair. I’m a blonde myself, and though Riley has brown hair, I bet our son would have my hair color. And those gorgeous baby blues! He’ll be a heartbreaker by the time he hits grade school…”
“…Jimmy’s so smart too! Such a natural born leader. Did you see the way that he got Lenny and Spock to stop arguing?”
Yeah, by squirming between them and shouting at the top of his lungs. “Jan…”
“It’s such a shame that he already has a mother—”
She shuts her mouth and blinks at him.
Pike grimaces. “Are you sure that you don’t want Jimmy rather than a Jimmy?”
The absolutely wrong thing to say. (When will Pike learn that silence is best?) Rand’s hands go to her hips and he thinks that he sees flames lick out of her nostrils. “Excuse me?“
“I just meant—”
“I would NEVER steal another woman’s child! How dare—”
His hands go up in automatic defense. “Please, Jan. That’s not what I meant! I—I am very happy that you find Jimmy so adorable and of course you want one… just like him. Forgive me.”
She is somewhat mollified. She sniffs and drops the rag into the sink. As Rand sweeps past Pike, she announces, “You might want to go to the door, Mr. Pike. I hear Pavel and his father coming down the hall.” Pavel likes to sing, so that’s entirely possible.
He sighs to himself and stands up. The day hasn’t even begun and it is already looking to be fantastic. Luckily, he knows that Rand’s temper is usually short-lived; once the children are all present, they will have a buffer or two between them until she feels that she can speak to him again.
Maybe it’s not a bad thing that this Riley is due to arrive later today. Chris can’t wait to see what kind of man Janice finds acceptable to be the father of her “Jimmy.”
Pike is popping pills for his headache by nap-time. Janice is humming as she awaits for the children wake up. He’s almost tempted to let her handle the rest of the afternoon but that would be unfair, not to mention cowardly. (Jon would have run off to barricade himself in Pike’s office by now—has before, on occasion.)
Thirty minutes later and all the children are running, screaming, and generally enjoying themselves on the playground. Pike does his casual stroll past the sandbox, around the playhouse and over to the swings. Rand is chasing Jimmy across the yard, a band-aid in her hand, but his little legs are pumping mightily fast.
He cannot help himself when she passes by in hot pursuit. “There’s an easier solution, you know.”
Janice comes to a halt and pivots to eye him. “Really?”
Pike holds out his hand for the band-aid. “Watch.” He trots over to the low balance beam and calls “Lenny!”
Lenny jumps the one-foot to the ground, abandoning his “precarious” balancing act. “Yeah?”
He holds up the band-aid with grinning purple dinosaurs on it.
“Nuh-uh!” Lenny glares.
“But Mr. Pike!” It’s not quite a whine. McCoy doesn’t do whining.
“Look, as the Captain’s Doctor, it’s your responsibility to patch him up.”
“I’m not his Goddamn doctor!”
“Leonard Horatio McCoy! What did I tell you about that word?”
“Sorry,” the boy mumbles and kicks at an imaginary rock in the dirt. Then, “I don’t wanna.”
“Please, Lenny? Do it for Miss Rand. She’s tired of chasing him. And I’m much too old.”
Lenny eyes him. “You are pretty old.”
Thanks, kid. He says instead, “Jimmy will listen if you pull rank.”
That catches the boy’s attention. “Rank?”
“Chief Medical Officers can outrank their Captains if a medical crisis necessitates the action.”
McCoy snatches the band-aid from him. “You got any more?”
Pike raises an eyebrow and pulls out a handful from his sweater pocket. (Because you just never know during Play-Time.) In the blink of an eye, Lenny grabs all of the band-aids before Pike can protest, running off with a shout of “CAPTAIN!”
Pike watches as Jimmy’s blond head slowly emerges from the side of the playhouse. Jimmy seems to forget that he needs to hide at Lenny’s bellow and responds with “Bwones! Here!”
The two disappear behind the playhouse. Later, when Pike calls everyone back inside, he has to shove a fist into his mouth at the sight of Kirk. The boy’s face is covered in band-aids.
Lenny says as he grins and bounces, “I tried to fix his ugly face.”
While Jimmy is working out that that was (indeed) an uncomplimentary remark and if he has (indeed) been tricked by his doctor, Pike turns away to laugh before he cries.
At least McCoy remembered to put a band-aid on Jimmy’s scratched elbow too.
Riley arrives on the heels of Mrs. Scott, who gathers her baby into her arms and kisses his forehead multiple times as if she didn’t just drop him off that morning. Pike finds this scene amusing—because she acts the same way every afternoon.
Noticing the dark-haired man poking his head around the corner, Pike says, “Can I help you?”
“Um, here for Janice—Miss Janice Rand.”
“Of course.” He smiles. “Come on in, Riley. Janice has told me all about you.”
The man looks astonished. “Seriously? I don’t even think that her parents know about us!”
Pike is firmly going to stay out of that one. “Well, welcome anyway. We’re just waiting for the rest of the children to go home and then we can close up shop.”
“Riley!” Jan finishes buttoning up Pavel’s jacket and sends him waddling off to a round table. “Thank you for coming, sweetheart.” She kisses him quickly. Several eww‘s can be heard around the room. Pike rolls his eyes in amusement.
Riley is dragged over to a gaggle of children. He looks uncertain and rather nervous; Pike takes pity on him and introduces him to the staring kids.
“Jimmy?” Riley says quickly. “Is that him? Janice talks about him a lot.”
I bet she does. Pike is smart enough to keep his mouth shut. “Jimmy, come here.”
The boy knocks over two chairs in his haste and attaches himself to Pike’s leg. “Is Mama here yet, Mr. Pwike?”
“No, son. I want you to meet Miss Rand’s… friend.”
Jimmy slowly turns his head to look first at Miss Rand, then Riley, then at their joined hands. He looks back at Chris and says “Hello” quietly into Pike’s pants leg.
That’s odd. The boy is never shy. Pike detaches him and faces him towards the couple.
Riley winces at Jan’s sharp tug on his hand. “Hello there, Jimmy. Kirk is it?”
The boy nods. “Capt’n.” At Pike’s prompt, he adds, “James Ti-bear-ee-us Kirk.”
When neither male says another word, Jan looks between them, frowning. “Jimmy, tell Riley about your ship.”
Uh-oh. Pike clears his throat. “That’s not nice. Riley is a guest, and how are we supposed to treat guests, Jimmy?”
Pike chuckles. Riley looks confused. Janice is annoyed that Pike is screwing up her plan. He lets Jimmy go and says, motioning towards the door, “I ought to get back.” And he does, quickly.
When Winona shows up—some ten minutes later—he is more than happy to call “Jimmy!”
The boy breaks loose from a circle of children and comes pelting. Winona scoops him up and thanks Pike for another day of watching her son. “No trouble—not too much anyway, Winona.” They share a laugh. The mother and child disappear down the hall.
That’s when he notices that the circle of children haven’t broken up. (Janice has escorted Christine to the bathroom.) Pike meanders over to the little group.
“What’s going on?” The children scramble away. There are only five of them.
“Good Lord, son. What happened to you? It’s only been ten minutes!”
“Janice left me,” the man grimaces.
Pike inches closer and toes the empty tape dispenser from his desk.
“Can you find some scissors?”
Pike does. Riley is bright red as Chris cuts the tape binding his legs to the child’s chair. Riley states “There’s something the matter with that Kirk kid.”
“Jimmy doesn’t understand social niceties yet, I’m afraid.” Riley mutters something that Pike pretends he doesn’t hear. “But he’s a good kid.”
Riley is pulling off pieces of tape from his jeans when Janice comes back. “Are you ready to go yet?” he asks his girlfriend plaintively.
She looks around, sees that Jimmy has disappeared and smiles at him. “Sure. Chris, you can handle the rest, right?”
As Riley is being lead away, Pike hears the parting words “Don’t you just love kids, Riley darling? I was thinking…”
Good luck to them both.