Just a warning: the links below will lead you to K/S writings. What is seen cannot be unseen; although, as Spock would say, there are always possibilities, that doesn’t mean that you have to look at all of them.
“At My Most Beautiful” by Jane St. Claire
A lovely, barely-slashy-at-all story that gets James just right. Really, it’s kind of perfect. The glimmers of desire are there, but James has other things on his mind. Like “Turning Point” (see below), this story posits a past James/Gary Mitchell relationship, which is fine–but I didn’t wholly buy into it; luckily, the story doesn’t hinge on this detail. This is a damn fine piece of writing. If you want a gentle introduction to the human birds and the Vulcan bees, start here.
“Surrender” by Killa
I’m not sure that I trust myself to write about this one. It’s heartstoppingly erotic and incredibly sexy. In one sentence: it’s a sub/dom story and Spock is the dom. Be still my heart. And McCoy makes a couple of excellent appearances to goad Spock and to check up on James. And if you’re wondering why I tend to call Kirk “James”? Oh, in this story, Spock makes a very strong case for this convention. Oh yes.
“Turning Point” by Killa
A really intricately constructed story that takes its sweet time building atmosphere. Set primarily in 23rd-century New Orleans, this story has the strongest sense of place of any that I’ve read so far. The story is constructed within the absence between end of the five year mission and ST: TMP; the central questions seem to be: Why did Spock leave Starfleet and try for the Kohlinar? Why does James accept the Admiralty, when he must know that he’ll be miserable?
Like “At My Most Beautiful” (see above), the story saddles itself with the James-and-Gary Mitchell-as-lovers subplot. Here, their past relationship is one of the primary drivers the story’s action and resulting heartbreak (*sniff*). I have no problem with K/G, but, like “Beautiful,” this story doesn’t completely sell me on the idea. I like that this one doesn’t end well for anybody–the author describes the story as a “shameless melodrama,” and that’s exactly what it is. It reminds me of the Matlock Island sequence in The Thorn Birds (*sniff*), except here, the boys get only one night of hot, crazy sex to hang out to before the sun rises and the inevitable heartbreak follows. Not to worry, though–there’s a sequel (which future me finally reviews here).
“I Leave This At Your Ear” by Janet St. Claire
This is the immediate sequel to “Beautiful”; the action begins about a year, maybe? after the events of that story. It fits neatly into the hurt/comfort motif, but it’s more complicated and interesting than that. “Leave” begins just after the events of “Operation: Annihilate!” (i.e., parasitic flying space amoebas kill James’ brother); Kirk takes Sam’s body and his nephew, Peter, home to Iowa, and Spock follows–at a discrete distance.
In a way, this story is a much gentler version of “Surrender” (see above); as in that story, Spock is the aggressor who is working to heal a broken Kirk, but his approach here is soft and consistent, rather than aggressive and controlling. For much of the story, he follows James in a way that says: I know you need me, and when you figure it out, I’ll be here. And James does figure it out–but only after they have his mom’s house to themselves. Smart boy.
“Iowa” by Janet St. Claire
Ok, send the kids out of the room for this one. Again, this story features the same James and Spock as “Beautiful” and “Leave,” though the action of this story occurs between the end of the five year mission and ST: TMP. I love the author’s description of this one: “In his admiralty days on Earth, with Spock on Vulcan, Kirk begins to have disturbing dreams. Other strangeness follows.” Allow me to translate: the Kohlinar can’t stop the pon farr and even great physical distance can’t keep our boys apart. *Sigh.*
The author once again gets James’ hurt just right; the Admiral’s falling apart, and given the circumstances that he’s put himself in, it’s easy to see why. I love that she has James driving aimlessly around the midwest, looking for some kind of peace–the idea of him brooding in motion appeals to me. Oh, and the story features some fantastic, trans-planatary, time-and-space crossing sex sequences. *Sigh.*
“Wednesday Morning, 3 am” by Janet St. Claire
Let’s be honest: I was sold on the title alone. Heh. We’re still in the “Beautiful” universe, and we’re between ST: TMP and ST II: Khan. Though they’ve been physically reunited (thanks, V’gr), and though Spock’s had his “this simple feeling” breakthrough (thanks again, V’gr), our boys’ relationship is a bit rocky. Spock is holding himself back, which pisses off James so much that he won’t say or do anything about it. Hurray, passive aggressive behavior!
What I like about this story is that it neatly portrays the difficulties of a long-term relationship; I totally buy that K/S have been together for a long time, and that they’ve learned how to hurt each other with absence by refusing to engage with the other’s presence. The make-up sex is lovely and not terribly gentle, though I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the logistics of a porch swing. Ah well.