Requiem for Mattel (tm)

AU Daycare Star Trek Original Series fic
by Farfalla; rated G
blueberrysnail @ yahoo.com
with bits of help from Gamin

It was mid-morning and the daycare center thrummed with the peacefully noisy sounds of play. Mister Len had just finished reading a storybook to Pavel and Nyota when the hollow cacophony of tumbling blocks attracted his attention.

In the far corner of the room, the little Vulcan boy called Spock stood sullenly in the middle of the fallen blocks. He kicked at one of them with as much of a scowl as Len had ever seen on the usually stoic child's face. The daycare teacher got up, put the storybook away, and walked over to Spock.

"Did your block tower fall over, Spock?" Mr. Len asked in a soothing voice.

Spock shook his head slowly. "I pushed it."

"Why'd you do that? You've been building that tower ever since milk and cookies."

Spock shrugged and looked down at the wainscoting.

"I think I know why you're upset," Len hazarded.

"I am not upset. I am a Vulcan. Vulcans do not get upset," Spock pouted. He was doing a very bad job of being 'not upset'.

"Did you and Jimmy have a fight? I noticed you haven't been playing together lately."

"We didn't have a fight," said Spock. "He just never wants to play with me anymore. Ever since he got that dumb doll."

"The Rayna doll? I was wondering 'bout that."

"Someone sent it to him for his birthday," Spock explained. "I think it was his uncle in Flint. Where's Flint?"

"In Michigan."

"Where's Michigan?"

"North of here. Where the Great Lakes are."

"Jimmy likes that doll so much, he doesn't want to play explorers anymore," Spock complained. "She can do all kinds of fancy things, like dancing and she knows the answer to math problems and stuff. Like a calculator. And you can style her hair and it stays."

"He's only had her for three days," Len said reaassuringly. "Once the novelty wears off, he'll go back to playing explorers. Believe me, Spock, he likes you better than some plastic doll."

"But I can't dance."

"Besides," Len pointed out, "I know a thing or two about those Rayna dolls. They have all those high-tech features, but there's barely any battery life. He'll wear it out real quick, 'specially the way he's been playin' with it all the time."

"Battery life?" Spock asked. "You mean, she's gonna break down 'cause Jimmy plays with her all the time?"

"Yep," said Len, "and I don't even know what kind of batteries you put in a doll like that. Almost a computer! Probably expensive." He noticed that Spock now looked even more glum, and asked with confusion, "What's the matter?"

"Jimmy's doll's gonna break and he's gonna be so sad! He really likes it!"

Len, pleased that Spock wasn't just thinking about himself as some other children might, smiled. "Well, that's life. He's had a lot of fun with it. Most kids never get a chance to play with something that expensive. He's been lucky. And he's lucky to have a friend like you who cares about him and wants to play with him."

Spock looked like he felt a bit better.

At lunchtime, Jimmy sat next to Spock as usual, but barely talked to him. Instead, he talked to the doll, and to Nyota and Jannie, who were enraptured by it. They squealed over its perfectly golden plastic hair, its perfectly sculpted body, and its seemingly endless memory banks.

If you pressed a button on her neck, you could record a message she could then play back in her own voice. Pavel grabbed at the button and mumbled hastily into the doll. She announced in a cheerful voice, "Pavel is so cool!"

Nyota was quick to respond, and soon the doll's message was changed to "Pavel is a monkey butt!"

Jim chuckled. Spock pushed his peanut butter sandwich around on his plate.

"Look at this, you guys--" and Jim pressed some more buttons on Rayna's back.

She began to recite, "Three. Point. One. Four. One. Five. Nine. Two. Six."

"Whazzat?" asked Jannie.

"It's the digits of pi," Jim announced proudly.

Spock chewed his sandwich morosely. Rayna had more of the infinite number memorized than he did. She was way cooler.

"I want pie," said Jannie.

"That doll's like a genius, or something," said Nyota, scooping up something homemade and African out of a tupperware with a plastic spoon.

"I know, I love her so much!!!!" Jimmy grinned very wide and hugged the doll with all his might. She continued to recite the digits of pi. But suddenly, with no warning, something snapped inside her mechanism, and her head popped off with such force that it got stuck in the ceiling.

Jimmy's mouth dropped open into a distressed little gape.

Miss Christine rushed over. "Jimmy, you were hugging too hard! I'm sorry. Let's see if we can fix that." The children, all except Jimmy and Spock, began to giggle nervously as Miss Christine pulled the doll's head out of the ceiling panels. She held it upside down and studied the break on both pieces.

"Jimmy, I'm afraid we can't glue this..." She looked down at him sadly. "It's too rough. It'll never stick."

"She stopped talking," Nyota pointed out.

"The battery must have come out when the head popped off," ventured Miss Christine.

Jimmy gave his doll one last hug before relinquishing the broken body to the daycare lady. He sighed loudly.

"Come with me, Jimmy. I'll get you a cookie." Miss Christine gave him a big hug and then took him to the cookie jar. Spock watched him walk sadly away from the lunch table, and thoughtfully swallowed the remainder of his sandwich.

Naptime was after lunch, and Mr. Len played lullabyes softly on his banjo as the children laid their nap blankets across the floor and settled down. Jimmy lay down on his blanket and closed his eyes. He looked like he had fallen fast asleep right away.

Spock knew better. When Jimmy was asleep for real, his breathing wasn't quite so fast. He turned his head towards Jimmy and whispered to him, since he was on the nearest blanket, "Jimmy."

Jimmy's lips twitched, but he didn't say anything. Spock tried again, this time in a louder whisper. "Jimmy!"

"What?"

"If I saved up my allowance I might be able to buy you another doll."

Jimmy smiled a little bit. "That's okay, but thanks."

"I'm really sorry about what happened. It was a nice doll."

"I don't wanna talk about it. I wish I could forget about it."

Spock paused. If Jimmy wanted to forget about the Rayna doll, he could definitely do his best to distract him. "Yesterday I read this book about frogs, and there's a type of frog that throws up its whole stomach! It digests its food outside its body, then puts the stomach back."

"Eew, weird!" Jimmy made a face, but it was an interested face. A happy face.

Things were going to be back to normal soon.