Title: Playtime (16/?)
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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Spock is the only child who does not appreciate finger painting; this is acceptable to his teacher because Pike understands about the sensitivity of the boy’s fingerpads. Spock insists that his dislike has nothing to do with touch-telepathy and everything to do with the chaotic, mathematically imprecise results of using the combination of paint and fingers. Christine Chapel attempts to persuade him otherwise but he observes her thumbprint daises and improbable squiggly river with indignation. Therefore, the Vulcan uses a brush set while all the rest of his peers are as happily messy as can be.
They are not plastic, cheap children’s brushes.
Spock arrived one day with a small case tucked under his arm and presented it to Mr. Pike. Upon opening the case, he discovered a genuine artists’ brush set—ranging from fan brushes to tiny detail brushes—all arranged in order of Spock’s likelihood for needing them.
Unfortunately, children are always observant when someone has a new toy or is given some privilege the others are not. Pike warned Spock that if he planned to use this brush set at Little Star, then he must share with his classmates.
“We promote equality and fairness in this classroom, Spock. If you were… handicapped by your touch-telepathy, then an exception could be made and your friends taught to understand why you do not act as they do. But since you insist that you are not uncomfortable using your fingers…”
He trailed off, looking at Spock hopefully. The Vulcan remained quiet.
Pike sighed. Then the child would learn the hard way. “You may place the case in the art supplies cabinet. Do you understand that it becomes common property?”
He had nodded.
Two days later…
The first sign of trouble approaches. Nyota is demanding a giant purple marker (to what purpose, Pike is afraid to ask) and instead finds Spock’s brush kit. (Children have a sixth sense for discovering new potential playthings.) She immediately commandeers it to her round table and starts disassembling Spock’s careful order. Pike watches quietly as the baby Vulcan is immediately up and standing by Nyota’s table, staring calmly down at his sudden neme—”friend that is female.”
“You have discovered my brush set for activities which require the use of acrylic polymer emulsion.”
“Nope. It’s mine.”
The Vulcan blinks. Tries again. “As I acquired the set for the purpose—”
Nyota ignores him and sniffs the brushes one-by-one. She also enjoys tickling the soft hairs dangerously close to her nostrils.
Spock stiffens. “Please desist, Nyota.”
“Desist means to cease in one’s actions.”
“What’s ceassse? Is that a di-dis—when somebody’s really sick and gonna die?”
“Illogical. Disease is not cease, nor retains a relation to the word cease.”
“Well if ceassse is stop—that’s what Mr. Pike told Jimmy last week when he was dancing on Mr. Pike’s desk and Jimmy said he didn’t understand what Mr. Pike was saying—and di-diseeassse means you are gonna die—Lenny is smart, he’s the Captain’s doctor, and he told me all about diseassses—then ceassse is like diseeassse.”
Spock looks momentarily stumped at Nyota’s six-year-old logic. When the girl bites down on the wood of a brush, he forgoes pacifism and jerks it out of her mouth. Nyota looks as though she cannot decide between shouting at Spock or crying because he stole something of hers. She settles for grabbing a fist full of brushes and running off calling “Captain! Captain!”
Let it never be said that Jimmy is not fully alert at the sound of a crewmember’s distressed voice. He abandons watching Scotty rearrange Pavel’s “skyscraper” into a more stable structure.
“Captain!” Nyota half-wails right into Jimmy’s face. Spock is following at a much sedater but nonetheless determined pace.
“Lieuwenant U-hur-a.” Jimmy always has to sound out Nyota’s last name slowly to get it right (otherwise she gets mad and smacks him). She doesn’t allow him to use her first name either.
“Captain,” Nyota sniffs, “Spock attacked me.”
Jimmy’s eyes grow to the size of quarters. “Rweally?”
She nods fiercely, her pigtails bouncing. “‘N he wants my toys.”
Spock is now level with the pair and corrects Nyota’s inaccurate account. “Captain, Nyota is in the possession of my brush set.” Jimmy reaches for the tightly gripped brushes but his crewmember hisses at him. “I informed Lieutenant Nyota of this fact, one which she persisted to ignore. She has defiled my property.” Spock presents a brush as evidence, indicating the set of small teeth impressions along the handle.
“I found ’em and I can bite ’em if I want to!” insists the fuming girl to the Vulcan.
Spock looks only at his Captain. “I am formally filing a complaint against the Lieutenant, Captain, and I require that Nyota be relieved of my possessions and her rank. The brush set shall be returned to me immediately.”
Jimmy rocks on his feet and looks between his two upset and angry officers. Then he turns in Pike’s direction—who is watching the entire fiasco from a safe distance—and calls “Mr. Pwike!” The teacher shakes his head slowly at Jimmy, who looks devastated. Pike shall not interfere unless fists start flying. Let Jimmy learn a lesson about a Captain’s duties as well.
Two sets of voice, both demanding justice from their superior officer.
Jimmy asks, as if for clarification, “Woo’s are they?” He pokes at the brushes.
“Mine!” Nyota shouts.
“They are mine,” replies Spock. Then adds solemnly, “Vulcans do not lie, Captain.”
Jimmy starts rocking on his heels again. “Lieuwenant, you fwound them?” The boy’s brain is obviously working furiously to solve this squabble.
“Over there.” Nyota points at the looming art cabinet.
“Oh.” Jimmy turns to Spock. “Mr. Pwike said everybody can use the art stuff.” His eyes light up. “I wike gwitter!”
“Glitter is irrevelant and wasteful,” comments the Vulcan before addressing the matter at hand. “Captain, I placed this brush set in the art cabinet two point four days prior for the purpose of aiding my artistic endeavors.”
“Bwut why’d you put it in there, Mr. Spock?”
The Vulcan clearly hesitates for the first time. “Mr. Pike insisted that I do so.”
Jimmy worries his bottom lip. Finally, he announces, “I want ’em!”
Nyota says “No!”
“Yes!” Jimmy sticks out his hand imperiously. “I’m Capt’n!”
With a trembling bottom lip, Nyota tosses the handful at Jimmy’s feet and bursts into tears. Jimmy squats down and gathers them up into a pile.
Spock, who had momentarily disappeared, comes back with the case in hand. He selects each brush from the pile and places them back into the proper order. When he is snaps the case closed, Jimmy reaches for it.
“Captain?” The Vulcan is uncomprehending of Jimmy’s action.
“They’re mine, Mr. Spock.”
“But Captain…” He watches as Jimmy clasps the case to his chest. “Those are my brushes,” Spock says uncertainly.
“No, Spock,” Jimmy tells him gently. “They’re everybody’s. Mr. Pwike said so. We’re supposed to share. When Pavel and Hikaru won’t share crwayons, Mr. Pwike takes the crwayons away.”
Spock looks as if he wants to deny Jimmy’s words but he knows that he cannot.
Pike is not quite bursting with pride when Kirk toddles up to him and holds out the case of brushes. He takes it with a “Thank you, Captain. Excellent work.”
Neither Nyota nor Spock will acknowledge Jimmy for the reminder of the day. Lenny, surprisingly, seems to understand that Jimmy is sad at being shunned by his friends and makes an effort cheer Jimmy up. At one point, when Jimmy despondently refuses to join in on Scotty and Lenny’s Fortress of Doom (McCoy named it), just sits on the floor looking mournfully over at Spock (whose back is to Jimmy), Lenny pushes at Kirk and says, “Get up!”
The boy shakes his head.
Lenny maneuvers until he is in Jimmy’s face. “Spock’s bein’ stupid, Jimmy,” states McCoy. “And he’ll figure out that he’s bein’ stupid.”
Jimmy shrugs. “He hates me.”
“Naw he don’t. He’s just bein’ stupid! Even Vulcans are stupid sometimes.”
“Are you my fwiend?”
Lenny seems to contemplate his answer. “You won’t be sad no more?”
“No!” Jimmy promises.
“Okay. We can be friends. But you can’t call me Bones! That’s a stupid name!”
Jimmy scrambles to his feet and cries “Bwones!” at the top of his lungs, delight in his voice.
“I said no!” Lenny pouts. “I ain’t Bones!”
But Jimmy is already past McCoy and crawling behind the fortress to greet Mr. Scott. It’s then that Pike notices Spock has been watching this entire exchange between Jimmy and Lenny. The teacher knows in his heart that the Vulcan will think on a great many things and draw a few appropriate conclusions.
And tomorrow he’ll let Jimmy be his Captain again.