Disclaimer: Don't own Trek. Wish I did. It may own ME, however.  Copyright 2004 (c) Mrs. Spock.  Rated G.  Part of the “Daycare” Series.

 

Caterpillar

Mrs. Spock

 

A supreme hush had descended over the Starfleet Daycare Centre, the only activity occurring inside the sleeping minds of the small occupants in the nap room. Among the soft mattresses spread across the room, the sole Vulcan child was dreaming of home.

 

Spock was curled up in his bed, in his father's house, his bedroom bathed in the yellow-white glow of Vulcan's sister planet, T'Kuht. Settling himself securely under the covers, he drifted off to sleep, thinking of marvelous alien worlds and soon forgetting his Vulcan troubles.

 

He slowly became aware of another presence, an insistent prodding in the small of his back.

 

I'Chaya!

 

How did the bulky pet sehlat get back inside? Spock was certain he had secured the large pet door I'Chaya used to enter and exit the house during the day. Had he been mistaken? Spock swallowed as he thought of the reprimand he would receive after Sarek discovered whatever mayhem the big animal had caused.

 

There was another hard shove in his back.

 

"I'Chaya!" Spock spun around to scold the offending creature…

 

…only to find himself no more than two centimetres from Jimmy Kirk's foot.

 

Sitting up abruptly in bewilderment, Spock scanned his surroundings, finding himself the only one awake in the nap room. Baby Pavel was sleeping soundly in his cot; the other children were all lying on their mattresses, motionless.

 

That is, all but Jimmy, who had somehow shuffled sideways, rotating until his feet met with the hollow of Spock's back.

 

Sighing, Spock got to his feet, picking up the blanket Jimmy had wriggled out of and replacing it over his sleeping friend. Presently, his eyes were drawn to the small patch of window that the curtains hadn't quite covered. Something white floated quietly downwards on the other side of the glass. Fascinated, the little Vulcan stepped carefully between the mattresses to investigate.

 

It was snowing! Spock had learned about it on Vulcan, but he'd never seen it happen. His home planet was too hot. Pressing his face up against the glass, Spock watched in awe as the feather-light snowflakes fell to the ground.

 

Jimmy, ever alert to anything even remotely exciting, woke up suddenly and scowled in puzzlement when he found his own feet where Spock should have been. He, too, was drawn to the strip of light from the window and rushed across the room when he saw his Vulcan friend standing there.

 

"Whatcha doing, Spock?"

 

Spock blinked and pointed silently.

 

"Snow!" Jimmy grabbed Spock excitedly. "Spock, it's snowing!"

 

As if Jimmy had spoken some magic, sleep-breaking words, the other children woke up and began to crowd up against the window to watch the miraculous display. Baby Pavel, awoken by the rowdy, excited children, shoved his fist in his mouth and went back to sleep.

 

Mr Roddenberry appeared at the doorway of the nap room and was immediately bombarded with requests to go outside. The snow wasn't very deep on the ground – just a few centimetres – but was enough for the children to play in. The big man looked at all the little expectant faces.

 

"You may play outside, but an adult will help each of you into your coats, hats and gloves first."

 

If not for his generous size, Mr Roddenberry would have been trampled by the sea of pre-school children heading for the door.

 

Jimmy tugged on Spock's arm and followed the crowd. Mr Roddenberry stopped them with a gentle hand on each boy's shoulder. He looked down at the Vulcan boy.

 

"Spock, your mother says you're not to play outside in the snow," he said, not unkindly. "It's too cold out there for Vulcans. But, you can sit with me inside and watch the snow and the children through the window."

 

Jimmy looked crestfallen; he had particularly wanted to show Spock how to make a snowman. Feeling the tremendous urge to play in the snow, but not wanting to leave his friend behind, he made a decision.

 

"I'll stay too, Mr R."

 

Spock stared at Jimmy, noticing the disappointment the fair-headed boy couldn't hide.

 

He put on his best Vulcan face. "It's all right, Jimmy. Go out and play. I'll watch you."

 

Jimmy looked uncertainly at the stoic face. "Ya sure?"

 

"Aha," Spock nodded with more conviction than he felt.

 

"Go on, Jimmy," said Mr Roddenberry. "Spock will be able to see you from the window."

 

"Oh. Okay." The little human boy was helped into his coat, hat, boots and gloves, and trudged out into the snow, occasionally looking back up at the window.

 

Jimmy looked around. Monty was pushing Hikaru around on a sled, Chrissie and Nyota were making a snowman and Lenny was dividing his time by making patterns in the snow with various objects, keeping out of the sled's way and making a nuisance of himself by 'helping' with the snowman.

 

Spock, sitting next to Mr Roddenberry in front of the window, watched as Jimmy trailed the perimeter of the yard, waving when Jimmy turned and looked again. He observed sadly the dejected nature of Jimmy's gait as the boy headed for a large tree.

 

Jimmy stood and watched the other children's activities for a while, smiling a little when Nyota finally got sick of Lenny's interfering with the snowman and threw a mushy snowball at him. As Chrissie and Nyota giggled at Lenny's grumpy expression, Jimmy's attention was drawn to something moving on the tree. On a branch above him was a caterpillar, creeping along towards the leaves on the only leafed tree in the yard.

 

Jimmy watched the bendy way it moved along for a time before deciding that Spock would be fascinated by the little creature. He stood beneath the branch and stretched his arm up, extending his index finger so that it blocked the caterpillar's path, and hoping it would crawl up onto his finger.

 

Spock, sitting alone after Mr Roddenberry had gone to answer a call on the comm unit, saw Jimmy reach up to the tree, his concentration completely absorbed by whatever had garnered his attention. Spock saw, too, the danger that was about to unfold. Jimmy, his back to the yard, was in the immediate path of Hikaru and Monty's sled. A tight knot formed instantly in the Vulcan's chest and, without thinking, he raced off out the door.

 

Spock sprinted down the steps. "Jimmy!" He tried to make his little legs move faster through the snow.

 

The other children soon noticed the speeding Vulcan boy.

 

"There's Spock!" cried Nyota.

 

"See Spock run!" yelled Chrissie, somewhat impressed.

 

Spock got to Jimmy just before the out-of-control sled hit and tackled his friend to the ground, rolling over and over several times before stopping next to the tree trunk. Trapped between the tree trunk and Jimmy, and feeling the cold snow seep through his clothes, Spock felt a blackness wash over him and his eyes flickered shut.

 

As the other children gathered around the pile that was Jimmy and Spock, Jimmy slowly got to his feet and looked down at his unmoving friend.

 

"He's dead, Jimmy!" exclaimed Lenny, studying the pale face.

 

Chrissie burst out in tears.

 

Jimmy thinned his lips and took charge. "Nyota, go get help!" As she ran off he eyed the two boys who had crashed quite safely in a snow- covered bush. "Monty, Hikaru, give me your coats!" Taking off his own padded jacket and taking the two from the other boys, he wrapped them securely around the chilled Vulcan.

 

Chrissie, still in floods of tears, picked up one of Spock's hands and held on to it tightly just as Nyota arrived with Mr Roddenberry.

 

"Okay, kids, stand back now," said Mr Roddenberry, checking Spock for injuries. Finding none, he gently lifted the boy and carried him inside.

 

A few minutes later, Spock was being examined by a Starfleet doctor while some of the children looked on. Lenny watched the doctor use the medical scanner with interest. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out his own scanner – in reality a saltshaker he'd found at home – and moved it over Spock, imitating the doctor's actions.

 

The doctor took out a hypospray and injected Spock with its contents. Turning to Mr Roddenberry, he said, "It's not serious – just a slight chill. Keep him warm and let him rest for the afternoon." A second opinion was given when Lenny nodded sagely in agreement, putting his 'scanner' away in his pocket as the doctor packed his bag.

 

Jimmy, who had briefly disappeared during Spock's examination, came to sit next to his Vulcan friend as he was settled under a heap of thick blankets in the nap room. The other children went out to play once more and Mr Roddenberry told Jimmy to stay with Spock and to get him if he was needed. Once they were alone, Jimmy put out a hand and took one of Spock's.

 

"Wake up, Spock. I've got something to show you," he pleaded softly.

 

As if on cue, the long, black lashes fluttered open and the big, brown eyes found Jimmy's face.

 

"You okay, Spock?" Jimmy asked.

 

"I'm okay, Jimmy," Spock replied in a little voice, squeezing the human boy's hand.

 

"Look," said Jimmy, opening his other hand.

 

Sitting on his palm was the furry caterpillar he'd tried to get before for Spock. He placed it in Spock's hand and watched the Vulcan's eyes study the creature in wonderment.

 

"I found it in the tree outside," Jimmy explained. "I thought you could… study it."

 

Spock smiled. "Thanks." But then his smile faded as he thought of something. "Jimmy, you need to put this back in the tree."

 

The human boy blinked, confused.

 

"It belongs in the tree, Jimmy. That's its home."

 

Jimmy nodded in understanding, then frowned. "Spock," he began uncertainly, "You're a Vulcan. This… isn't your home." He started to look a bit glum.

 

Spock sat up and looked at his friend. An idea struck him. "Jimmy, I'm half-human, so this is my home as well as Vulcan." He watched Jimmy's face light up. "And I like it here," he added sincerely.

 

Jimmy beamed happily and hugged Spock, blankets and all.

 

A few days later, when the sun was bright in the sky, a blue and gold butterfly flew through the open window to land on the chess board as Jimmy and Spock played together.

 

Both boys smiled.

 

FIN