Title: Playtime

Author: klmeri

Fandom: Star Trek AOS

Characters: Various

Disclaimer: So not mine, just my rabid plot bunny.

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.


Teaser/Prologue


Leonard and Spock are going to be best friends. That's what Jimmy tells them with an exuberant glee. Leonard is disgusted—his small face pinched; Spock is indifferent and continues to ignore both Humans. Yes, Jimmy explains, they are all going to the very best of friends. It's only a matter of teaching the other two reluctant little boys the true meaning of fun.


Jimmy is a rambunctious four and a half-year old with no common sense but a precocity that terrifies Winona Kirk. His mother, a single parent, is returning to school herself and relies on the honesty of her friends to recommend a reputable place where she can enroll her son and expect that he'll get not only have an eye on him all day but might learn to behave better (she doesn't use the term properly because that's a lost cause by now). Though whether any of the staff will be able to keep up with little James T. Kirk is a guess at best.

Spock is eight years of age but small in stature due to the Vulcan half of his genes; he has a budding aptitude for math and an articulation that no Terran eight-year-old child would possess. His mother considers Spock's participation in "pre-school" to be a learning experience; if Spock's father disapproves, the Vulcan obviously lost this particular battle to his wife. Perhaps Spock should be in third grade doing multiplication, at the very least, but alas he is not.

Leonard (Lenny to most) is six years old and late to start his schooling. He complains and cries from the security of his happy home all the way to the tiny building labeled Little Star Academy ("…where we make stars of your children!"). When unstrapped from his seat, he indulges in a fierce kicking fit until his father hoists him up around the middle and plops his raging child's body into the waiting teacher's capable arms. The teacher/under-paid babysitter pats Leonard on his back, soothing his despondency, and releases him into the cluster of bouncing (or sniveling) kids.


Said teacher wants to introduce himself and his assistant but that requires, first, for eager little faces to be pointed in his direction and, secondly, the difficult task of making them pay attention at the same time. His name is Mr. Pike, and he has another ten years before his monthly retirement check begins to arrive. This year's crop of children will either remind him why he loves his job or be the death of him.

His assistant is a shapely young woman by the name of Miss Janice Rand. She loves children as much as he does and fortunately (or is it unfortunately?) still retains a naivety and optimism that the two adults will make it through the first day of "child care" without incident. Obviously she is already smitten by the Kirk-toddler's spell-binding blue eyes. Pike sees those baby-blues, how they twinkle, and feels a whimper-cringe on the inside. Faced with Kirk's mother, he keeps his reassuring smile in place, even as the boy wiggles loose and dashes off across the room yelling at the top of his lungs. Poor Winona Kirk is the picture of a haggard, loving mother. (Pike secretly thinks she is more beautiful with smudges under her eyes.)

It takes a total of fifteen long minutes to locate and round up all the children. There is a round-faced child hiding behind one of the cubby-holed shelves, one grubby fist full of broken cookies from a pilfered box that should have been locked away high in a cupboard. Pike does not scold this Scotty, merely tells him that cookies are treats for good boys, and sends him toddling towards the others. If the adult spends a random moment or two attempting to figure out how the kid stole the box in the first place, he'll admit it to no one.

Then there's Jimmy Kirk who is making a girl named Nyota very mad because he won't stop pulling on her pigtails. And apparently Jimmy thinks she hits like a girl—until, that is, she knocks him sideways into a set of blocks. By the time Rand arrives to break up the brewing fight, Jimmy is pouting over his owwies, Nyota is throwing foam bricks at his head, and little Pavel is wailing pretty loudly because his tower (high-rise, the child calls it, which disturbs Pike) has been demolished by flying bodies.

So everybody is tugged to, ordered on, and generally pushed in the vicinity of the center rug. Pike is starting to sweat and it's only been thirty minutes since the parents left behind their most precious gifts. At least, Pike thinks gratefully, the Spock child is obedient to adults. That one will have to be the shining example for all the rest to follow.

Mr. Pike clears his throat. When that does not work, he booms "Good morning!" in a gratingly cheerful manner that has Janice covering her mouth to hide a smile.

Dead silence, except for one.

"Hiya!"

So little Jimmy isn't shy. That figures.

He clears his throat again and says slowly, for the benefit of all present, "When a person tells you 'Good morning,' it is polite to say 'good morning' in return." The first lesson; the same one for the last fifteen years.

He speaks again in a normal tone. "Good morning!"

There is a smattering of mumbled and lisped replies, ranging from the proper "Good morning, Sir." (Good boy, that Spock) to "I want my daddy!" or "Stranger! Stranger!"

He doesn't know who announced the last one. He suspects it might be the high-pitched voice of the little girl named Christine. Parents begin warning their children of dangers rather early these days.

"My name is Mr. Pike. Welcome to Little Star Academy. I am your teacher." He leans in, lowers his voice enticingly to the thrill of several bright eyes. "And more importantly, I am your friend."

He is prepared for the skepticism, the hostility and instant dislike. He accepts the innocent trust, too, that some children easily give. In all his years of teaching and caring for young children, Christopher Pike has experienced and dealt with a myriad of emotions and temperaments. He is considered by some knowledgeable people to be an expert.

There is a break in his expectations. Amidst a sea of seated children, one small body intently scrambles from knees to feet. With a (foretelling) confident bounce of his blond-haired head, Jimmy points a tiny finger (like the scepter of a god) and pronounces—

"'N I'm your capt'n!"

Pike can only stare at Jimmy, who stares back without fear. Eventually he gathers his wits enough to reply, "You'll have to earn that captaincy, little man."

Those eyes answer his challenge with a gleam, and Pike's stomach does a somersault. He has a sneaking suspicion he will learn exactly why Ms. Kirk's exiting "Good luck" was so heartfelt. Because this one? Yes, this one definitely plans on pushing Mr. Christopher Pike straight past early retirement and directly into the grave.


No clue if this is going anywhere, but the idea entertains me immensely!