DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of SterJulie and is copyright (c) 2004 by SterJulie. Rated G.


Ster Julie


It was Wednesday at Mr. Roddenberry's Daycare Center. Wednesday was always Show and Tell Day, and today's theme was music. There was excitement in the air as the children arrived.

Except for one little Vulcan boy.

Amanda watched as Spock vainly tried to still his trembling lower lip. It broke her heart to see her little boy's disappointment.

"Babydoll," she crooned softly, rubbing his face, "I'm sorry that we couldn't rescue your harp from your father's office before that important call came. When he comes out, I'll go get your harp and bring it over, all right?"

Spock just stared at the carpet. Amanda sighed, planted a kiss atop Spock's bowed head, and went to explain the situation to Mr. Roddenberry.

Jimmy came up to Spock, dragging a guitar behind him. Spock seemed rooted to the spot.

"Whassa matter, Spockie?" Jimmy asked as he looked at Spock's empty hands. "Where's you instrument?" Spock's lower lip pouted even more.

"My daddy's office was closed 'cause he had a 'portant call," Spock whispered. "I couldn't get my harp 'cause I'm not 'sposed to bother him when he's working."

Jimmy looked down at his battered guitar. He felt bad for his friend. Jimmy dragged his guitar over to the pile of musical instruments.

There was Nyota's African thumb piano, Monty's bagpipes, Hikaru's gong, Lennie's juice harp, and Chrissie's bell that she carried in a wedding. Even Baby Pavel had brought a colorful rattle.

Mr. Roddenberry came over and placed a hand on Spock's shoulder.

"Your mother told me that she will bring your harp later, Spock," he said gently. "Why don't we join the others and begin our morning exercises?" Spock nodded and moved with him to the group circle.

"Where's your instrument, Spock?" Monty asked.

"Music prolly hurts his ears," Lennie observed. Spock shot him a dark look.

"Does not!" he shouted before sprinting over to the window to watch for his mother.

Mr. Roddenberry kept one eye on the lone figure at the window as he recorded the attendance and went through the daily opening ritual. He asked the children the date, what day yesterday was and what day tomorrow would be. He looked at the sad little boy at the windows.

"You didn't ask us what today is, Mr. R!" Lennie cried out. "It's Wednesday!"

"Show and Tell Day!" the others exclaimed. Even Baby Pavel answered with an enthusiastic "GAH-hah!"

"I wanna go first!" chorused five of the children. Jimmy looked back at his friend.

"I wanna wait until Spockie's mommy comes back!" Jimmy stated emphatically. His voice of authority silenced the rest of the children. Seven pairs of eyes turned to Mr. Roddenberry. He in turn moved to the window.

"Spock?" he asked quietly. "Do you mind if the others shared their instruments now? You could share yours when your mother returns."

"S'okay," Spock replied in a tiny voice. "Can I stay here?" Mr. Roddenberry steered the boy back to the group, shaking his head.

"It wouldn't be polite to the rest of the group," he said gently yet firmly.

Spock sat crossed-legged on the rug near Jimmy, who promptly put an arm around the boy's slumped shoulders.

"She'll be here, Spockie," Jimmy said as he squeezed his friend's shoulders encouragingly. "You'll see. Everything will be all right."

Baby Pavel went first. Mr. Roddenberry read the note attached to the boy's Russian rattle. It was wooden, painted a deep red, and marked with intricate carvings.

"This has been in Pavel's family for seven generations," he announced.

"What does that mean?" Hikaru asked.

"It means that it's old," Lennie answered.

"Mugah!" Pavel exclaimed gleefully as he shook the rattle with all his baby might.

Lennie got up and, without preamble, placed the juice harp between his teeth and plucked. The children giggled at the "nee-yow, nee-yow" sound it made.

A tinny "bong" sounded from Hikaru's gong. Spock covered his ears at the sound.

Chrissie stood up next. "I was in my auntie's wedding and I got to ring this bell," as she ring-a-linged the blue streamered silver bell. "I want lots of bells at my wedding." Spock's head picked up at that.

"Did your auntie marry a Vulcan?" he asked. Chrissie blushed.

"No," she said shyly. Mr. Roddenberry stirred at Spock's question.

"Why do you ask, Spock?"

"'Cause at a Vulcan wedding, the bride rings a lot of bells, and the groom hits a gong." Lennie looked at Hikaru's gong and Chrissie's bell.

"Well, we could have a wedding right now," he observed. "You could use Hikaru's gong and you and Chrissie can get married!" The children giggled, Chrissie beamed at the idea, and Spock crossed his arms and hunkered down even further into a tight, pouty ball.

A squalling caterwaul began as Monty filled the bellows on his bagpipes. All of the children covered their ears this time. Monty's face turned red in exertion as he forced out the few notes of "Scotland the Brave." Mr. Roddenberry turned to Jimmy.

"Your turn, Jimmy," he coaxed. Jimmy looked at his friend.

"Spockie?" he began.

"S'okay, Jimmy," Spock answered. Jimmy got up and dragged the battered guitar to the front.

"This is my brother's guitar," he started. "When Sam went off to Starfleet Academy, he said that I could have it." Jimmy put the battered wooden guitar over a knee and gave it a strum. The loose strings wobbled but did not make any other sound but a pathetic "twang."

Spock took the instrument carefully from Jimmy and examined it. He recognized the principle behind the device as being similar to his harp. He started fiddling with the tuning pegs, looking up only as Nyota "plink-plank-plunked" on the African thumb piano. He hoped to examine that next.

Mr. Roddenberry saw that Spock was engrossed in tuning Jimmy's guitar, so he did not call the boy to the art corner with everyone else. As the children played with the fingerpaints, Spock continued to tighten the strings just so.

"You're holding it wrong."

Spock looked up to see a paint-splattered Jimmy standing over him.

"I cannot hold it as you did, Jimmy," he replied. Mr. Roddenberry came over to see if everything was all right with the boys.

"This is a standard size guitar, boys," he said in his trademark quiet voice. "It is too big for either of you." Mr. Roddenberry took the guitar, placed it flat on the table and plucked the strings with his right hand while pressing down on the neck with his left. "Why, Spock!" he exclaimed in amazement, "you tuned this just right! Do you play the guitar?"

Spock blushed green at the praise and shook his head.

"I play the harp," he answered. He looked at the way Mr. Roddenberry was plinking out a tune. "May I try?" Mr. Roddenberry gave Spock his seat and the boy went to work studying the strings and how applying pressure above the frets changed the sound of each string.

Slowly, as Spock continued to pick out notes, the children gravitated over to him.

"Oooh!" Chrissy exclaimed.

Nyota began snapping her fingers and swaying her hips.

Hikaru grabbed his gong and banged it on every fourth note.

Lenny grabbed his juice harp and "nee-yowed" it willy-nilly.

"Ew! Lennie! You're getting spit on us!" Monty cried.

"Well, it's not called a juice harp for nothing!" Lenny replied.

Baby Pavel slapped the top of his high chair, splattering himself with red paint.

"Mugaah!" he cooed.

Mr. Roddenberry clapped his hands. "Well done, children!" he praised. He took the instruments and put them in a safe corner. "Let's get cleaned up. It is time for lunch."

While the children ate, Mr. Roddenberry received a call. He spoke for several minutes before he came back into the room.

"Let's clean up and get ready for nap time," he ordered. Each child knew what task to perform. Spock passed the waste can around and picked up the trash. Jimmy and Lennie wet towels and wiped off the tables. Monty wiped Pavel's tray as Mr. Roddenberry took the baby to the changing table. Hikaru and the girls pulled out seven nap mats and placed a soft blankie on each, plus one in Baby Pavel's crib. Everyone used the washroom, cleaned up and returned to the nap room.

Jimmy selected a special book with a wink at Spock and gave it to Mr. Roddenberry, who pulled up a chair and everyone got comfortable. He began to read from "Alexander and the Horrible, Terrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day:"

"I went to sleep with gum in my mouth, and now there is gum in my hair "

* * *

Spock woke up to nudging in his back, again!

"Jimmy!" he began. He stopped short at the feel of a large, wet, warm tongue lapping at his face. "I-Chaya?" he asked, puzzled. Spock was confused. Did he awaken at the embassy?

Spock looked around. None of the other mats were occupied. Spock heard giggling, and looking up, he found the other children crowding into Mr. Roddenberry's office, watching him.

I'Chaya was gently pulled away from Spock, revealing Sarek and Amanda. This was only the second time Sarek had come to the daycare center, and this time he had brought both Spock's pet sehlat and his harp.

"Your mother told me the importance of 'show-and-tell,'" Sarek explained, "so we have brought some things for you to share." Spock's eyes widened at the sight of his harp and formal robes. He could also smell the homemade treats his mother had brought.

"All this and I'Chaya, too?" he marveled. Amanda smiled a bittersweet smile.

"Let me help you change while your father introduces I'Chaya to your class," she explained, shaking the wrinkles out of his clothing.

Amanda helped Spock into the billowing pleated trousers, tunic, sash, and gauzy over vest. Smoothing his sleep-rumpled hair, Amanda placed a band around his head, jewels around his neck and bands on his wrists. She finished his formal wear with split-toed socks and sandals. When finished, Amanda led her son over to the main room where she seated Spock on a low stool and fussed over his garments.

Meanwhile, Sarek led I'Chaya outside to meet the children. The girls clung to each other in fright and wouldn't go near the large creature.

Hikaru asked, "Is it going to eat us?" as he timidly tried to pet the beast.

Monty walked right up to the sehlat and scratched it warmly behind each ear.

"Och, ye look like some of the scraggly cattle we ha'e at home," he crooned. I-Chaya lifted his massive head so Monty could scratch him under his chin as well.

Lennie put his fists on his hips, stared I'Chaya in the eye and growled. The sehlt growled right back, which made Lennie run and hide behind Jimmy.

"Is he big enough to ride on?" Jimmy asked.

"Would you like to see?" Sarek asked as he picked Jimmy up and plunked him down on I-Chaya's back.

Sarek then led I-Chaya, with Jimmy still astride, back into the main room. The rest of the children followed obediently behind.

Jimmy dismounted from the sehlat's back and stopped in his tracks.

"Spockie!" he breathed.

Never had the the children ever seen Spock look so, well, alien.

Chrissy oohed at the sight of the Vulcan princeling. "Pretty!"

"Nice hat!" Lennie teased. Jimmy pushed Lennie.

"Be nice, Lennie!" Jimmy warned.

Nyota and Hikaru sat close to where Spock sat so that they could see the best. Monty tried to count the pleats in Spock's wide pants.

"He got more pleats than my kilt!" Monty exclaimed.

Mr. Roddenberry carried Pavel to the group and sat him in his lap.

Spock stood and bowed.

"Thank you for coming to my recital," he announced. "Today you will hear selections by T'Cara, Sendelin, Brahams, and variations on some nursery rhymes." It was the same speech he had given at his last recital on Vulcan. As he reseated himself, a look of concentration came over Spock's face as he settled the harp in his lap and on his shoulder.

Spock's fingers flew and danced over the strings. Amanda smiled through proud tears as her son's tongue appeared between his lips at a particularly difficult passage. At his earlier recital, Spock had faltered on the tempo, but, as Sarek noted with satisfaction, Spock kept a steady beat.

Nyota and Hikaru led the children in a chorus of "Yays!" and clapping after each piece. Spock raised an eyebrow at his father as if to ask, "What do I do now?" Sarek inclined his head, which Spock mimicked before his friends.

Spock did an encore of the nursery rhymes at the end of the recital. He ended with what happened to be Jimmy's favorite song. When Jimmy heard it, he jumped up and started singing at the top of his lungs:

"Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream."

The other children joined in, even Baby Pavel as he yelled, "Yayaya!"

Spock laid aside his harp, stood and bowed profoundly.

"Yay! Hooray!" the children chorused.

"You did real good, Spockie," Jimmy said. Spock inclined his head in gratitude.

"Thank you, Jimmy," replied. Jimmy leaned over and whispered in his hear.

"See? I told you everything would be all right!"

Mr. Roddenberry loomed over the boys.

"Spock, since your parents are here, you may go home early," he said in his quiet voice.

"Yes sir," Spock replied, "but first I will help Mother pass out the treats."

As the children munched on the cookies Amanda had made in the shape of a Vulcan harp, Spock moved to rescue his instrument from Nyota's curious, and sticky, fingers.

"You sure look pretty," Chrissy swooned.

Spock looked back at her and raised a disdainful eyebrow in response.

"Girls are like that, Baby," Amanda whispered as she took the instrument from her son. She led him over to where Sarek stood with I'Chaya.

"You performed well, my son," he stated.

"I am honored, Father," Spock replied.

Sarek signaled the sehlat to crouch, which allowed Spock to climb aboard the pet. The trio moved out to the yard, the light of the setting sun sparkling off the jewels Spock still wore.

"Bye, Spockie!" Jimmy called from the doorway. Spock turned on his perch atop I-Chaya.

"Bye, Jimmy!" he called. At a "tsk" from Sarek, Spock amended his farewell.

"Mene sekket ur sevah, James!"

"Huh?" Jimmy called.

"LIVE LONG AND PROSPER!" Spock shouted back.

Chrissie was also in the doorway, softly ringing her silver bell.

"So pretty!" she breathed.

PART 2--Going Home

Jimmy was hanging up his coat when he caught sight of Spock coming up to the doors of the daycare center astride the shaggy back of his pet.

"Spockie!" Jimmy cried. "It's not show and tell day. Why did you bring him?"

Spock scratched behind I-Chaya's ear as a sad look came over his face.

"We came to say goodbye, Jimmy." Jimmy was puzzled.

"Goodbye?" he repeated. "You just got here!" Spock shook his head.

"No, Jimmy," he murmured. "We are going home, to Vulcan." Jimmy's eyes grew wide and watery.

"Vulcan!" he breathed. "But that's so far away. I'll never see you again." Spock cocked his head to one side.

"My mommy says, "Never say never.' My daddy says, 'There are always possibilities.'"

Jimmy began to cry. Spock leapt down and clasped Jimmy's hands.

"Don't cry, Jimmy," Spock said. "You'll always be my bestest friend in all the galaxy!"

"But why do you have to leave?" Jimmy sobbed. Spock's eyes glowed in wonder.

"I gots a new brother," he said in amazement. Jimmy wiped his nose on his sleeve.

"Huh? Did your mommy have a baby or sumthin'?" he asked between sniffles. Spock shook his head.

"Nah. He's my big brother," Spock replied. Jimmy furrowed his brow.

"I don't get it," he said. Spock shrugged.

"Neither do I," he replied. "All I know is that he is older than me. His mommy just died, and we gots to go take care of him." Jimmy's eyes widened.

"His mommy died?" he breathed. "Your brother must be very sad." Spock shrugged again.

"I dunno," he answered. Jimmy put his hands on Spock's shoulders.

"Are you excited about going home?" Jimmy asked. Spock looked around at the other children.

"Yeah, I'm excited," he replied, "but I'm gonna miss everybody here, even Lennie." Jimmy's eyes filled.

"Even me?" he asked. "Spock's eyes watered as well.

"'Specially you," he replied, pulling Jimmy into a fierce embrace. "Bye, Jimmy," he sobbed. "You'll always be my bestest friend." Jimmy pulled back.

"In all the galaxy?" Jimmy asked, smiling through his tears. Spock smiled back.

"In all the universe, Jimmy." Jimmy gasped.

"My daddy says that the universe is even bigger than the galaxy!" he cried. Spock wiped his friend's face.

"Mine, too." Spock released Jimmy and straightened his clothes. "If you can, come to Vulcan and see where I live." Jimmy nodded.

"Okay!" he responded. "And when you come back to Earth, you can come see our farm." Spock's eyes lit up. He had never been on a real farm before.

"Okay!" he cried.

I-Chaya came over and licked Spock's face dry.

"Time to go, Baby," Amanda whispered. Spock nodded.

"Yes, ma'am," he replied. Spock turned back to Jimmy and pulled himself up to his full height. "I gots to go now, Jimmy." He raised his hand in the ta'al. "Live long and prosper."

"Bye, Spockie," Jimmy replied. Spock hauled himself atop I'Chaya's furry hide and rode off with his mother.

"Bestest friends," Jimmy whispered as he watched his friend leave. "Best friends in the whole universe."