Between Friends (Star Trek: TOS story)
|Date(s):||as print: undated as pass-around novel, then 1978, and then 1986|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
|External Links:||Between Friends (KS Archive)|
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
It was written as a birthday gift for a friend.
In a Series
- Desert Heat (first published in The Sensuous Vulcan, then in Cosmic Collected)
- Beyond Setarcos (first published in Thrust, then in Cosmic Collected)
- Night of the Dragon (also first in Thrust, then in Cosmic Collected)
- Between Friends (first published in Obsc'zine #3 in 1978 and then in Cosmic Collected in 1986, but it was written and circulated hand-to-hand earlier as a story called "Birthday Present." ).
From The Kirk/Spock Fanfiction Archive: "McCoy has recently been rescued from a slave labor camp. His experiences there caused him to shut down emotionally, and he is only slowly "coming back to life". Then Kirk and Spock invite him to spend the night..."
From The McCoy List: "On his birthday McCoy spends the evening uith Kirk and Spock. With reservations he agrees to participate in their physical relations. This new, somewhat difficult, but ultimately pleasant experience is related in explicit detail."
by Connie Faddis in 1978 for Obsc'zine #3
by Gayle F in 1986 in Cosmic Collected; note: Marked as sexually explicit; minimized.
Reactions and Reviews
McCoy has recently been returned to Enterprise after having endured months in a slave labor camp. He is slowly learning to feel emotions again after shutting down in response to injury, drugs and isolation, when Kirk and Spock (established lovers) invite him to spend the night. McCoy's emotions, including panic, are well-handled, and the characters stay in character for the most part. 
Glad to heed the call to review old zines... And this one is old! 1978! But of all my old zines, I reread this story the most often. It's the first K/S/M story I ever read and, to me, the most successful. This Classic Trek story begins after Bones has been rescued from a harrowing experience involving disgusting beetle-like aliens and torture: he has been made to harvest a powerful drug to which he becomes addicted. However, once back on the Enterprise, though McCoy recovers, his spirit remains ill: he becomes reclusive and introverted, just doing his job to get by. That's where Kirk and Spock, who are already in a relationship, literally rescue him by inviting him, on his birthday, to make love with them: "We wondered...if you like to spend the night with us?" Kirk asks. At first, Bones declines, but he is so lonely and sick at heart that he finally comes around. What follows is a beautiful testimony to the kindness and generosity of Kirk and Spock and to McCoy's indomitable spirit. All three men are totally in character: Bones is feisty, yet world-weary and you really feel how tired and defeated he is. Kirk is kind and funny and strong, gentling Bones like he would a wild horse ready to bolt any minute. And Spock - though you sense a slight reticence - is both Vulcan reserved and emotionally opened. This is such gentleness in this story. For example, when Jim first kisses Bones, he asks, "Think you can stand it?" Mc Coy who's a bit embarrassed, answers: "It's bearable." Later, after some trial and error, Spock has to mind-meld them so they can physically perform easily with each other, and of course, he doe an admirable job, The dialogue is perfect; you can hear every work in the appropriate voice, And the artwork by Connie Faddis is perfect, especially a piece of Spock with his arms around Bones kissing him on the shoulder. Even as old as this zine is, it isn't tame stuff-either emotionally or sexually. Rather it has a sadness, great sex and a final joy that is as humane a thing as I have ever read. 
Okay, okay, I'm probably one of two people who haven't read this [zine] (the other probably being my mother), but it's one of my huge collection of unread zines and therefore subject to my incredibly insightful, penetrating, discerning (sounds like Spock's eyes) scrutiny! So for that fine other person out there, this is for you.
This [Desert Heat, Beyond Setarcos, Night of the Dragon, and Between Friends], is a series of connected stories concerning Spock going into pon farr while he and Kirk are left for a week on an abandoned planet. So, of course, Kirk has to help out. The stories continue back on the Enterprise, and Kirk has to help out some more. In the last story, McCoy helps out, but more on that later.
I'd already heard about [Gayle F's] writing being a lot like her sexy, ultra-explicit, fantasy artwork. Well, it's not exactly like it. There's a bit too much of "he licked his chest, abdomen, legs, knees, ankles, feet, toes,..." (not a quote} for my taste. Then, there's lots of "telling" not "showing". Also, the characterizations are a little strange. For the most pan. Kirk is unrecognizable and Spock is cliche with his exacting, logical talk. The rest is inner thoughts that are so heavy with a kind of emotional poetry, that I was confused as to who was feeling what and especially, why.
The style of writing was frustrating to me. Done in short, clipped sentences, I had to work really hard to visualize things and believe me, there were lots of things I wanted to visualize) The use of repeating verbs didn't help imoi?), nor did leaving off nouns and the objects of verbs, and the "ands". Example: "Dropped his pants, kicked them away and jerked off boots, socks." There are many more examples, but you get the idea. Also, there are lots of hes, hims, and hises that totally confused me as to whose, whats and wheres.
Bones is kidnapped, forced into a labor slaver/ for these beetle-like creatures in a cave — is all done in memory. The funny thing is, if the whole story were told to someone in synopsis form, it would sound fascinating. The only problem is, that is how it's written...
K, S and McCoy all having sex together is the least successful of all. Granted, I was unable to overcome my innate dislike of sex scenes with Bones, and actually it wasn't written badly. But when I read about Bones licking Spock's ass and penetrating him, I was less excited than morbidly curious. Especially difficult was Spock moaning: "Bones, Bones, Bones...". It was like when you're a kid and you hear or see a family member having sex.
Then, the strangest thing happened. They couldn't handle so much passion, or something, so they all experienced a weird guilt trip with a "mutual sense of failure vibrating them like a single chord." Huh?All right, now I'll stop complaining and say there were lots of really hot, sexy parts. Yes, but... 
For anyone who hasn’t read this K/S classic, no, the title is not a lapse in grammar. In this story, perhaps the first K/S/Mc get-together ever published, McCoy winds up literally “between” his two friends.
I first read this story in 1978, and have regarded it as an unusually warm, loving story ever since. A recent discussion on-line made me reconsider whether in “Between Friends,” McCoy is not the object of a “pity-fuck.” I think the charge has some legitimacy because the story is premised on the fact that McCoy has been through a humiliating, body-breaking, ego and soul-destroying experience. He been captured and brutalized by slave-owning aliens, has been away from the ship for many months, and is feeling rather "left out" of the new K/S relationship that has grown and developed while he was away. Kirk and Spock take him into their bed to show him how much they love him, as part of his recovery, and to reassure him that he still "belongs." Thus, in the context of this story, the three-way sexual encounter wouldn't have happened without McCoy's suffering and need for comfort. It was really the only reason Kirk and Spock reached out to him in this story. It raises the question, would K&S have included him in their sexual relationship if he hadn't been suffering as he did? However, it seemed to me that once the three guys began to get it on, McCoy's suffering and need to heal tended to recede into the background, and the emphasis was more upon Kirk’s and Spock’s effort to bring McCoy into their shared pleasure and intimacy and McCoy’s difficulty letting go. McCoy behaved less like someone who had been so badly traumatized that his self-image and love of self had been badly damaged, than like a guy who was inexperienced at sex with men and more than a little embarrassed being intimate with his two best friends. I feel that McCoy's suffering gives the story depth and poignancy; it gave Kirk and Spock a reason to show how much they loved him. I think the story shines with warmth, humor, and flashes of passion and deep desire. The dynamics between the three guys, once McCoy agrees to join them, feels very right to me. But the “pity-fuck” charge gave voice to a nagging question I think I’ve always had in the back of my mind: Why does McCoy have to go through such unimaginable torture just to get to go to bed with Kirk and Spock?The writing in this story is wonderful, as in all Gayle F’s works. The characters’ voices are sophisticated, intelligent and dead-on, and watching Kirk and Spock make love through McCoy’s observant gaze is remarkable.