Dust and Sadness
|Title:||Dust and Sadness|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
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It was published in the print zine First Time #49.
"After McCoy realizes the depth of Kirkʼs loneliness and despair even with Spockʼs return from Gol, he prods Spock into going to Kirk and telling him of his love."
Reactions and Reviews
Wow. This is not what I was expecting. Intense doesn't begin to describe the self-analysis Kirk undergoes at a simple question posed by a slightly drunken McCoy. Asked by McCoy how he always gets the girl. Kirk unconsciously begins to examine who he is—and he is not who we all think he is. Or is he? He controls people, he says, uses them like chess pieces and is perfectly capable of discarding them if needed. Finally he reveals the only place he has to escape who he is. This is very well written and extremely well-conceived. I can hear Kirk talking and can imagine these thoughts could be his own. In summary he tells McCoy that they are different: "I fuck. You want to make love." Somehow, the way Kirk tells it, the way he tries to please his women, makes fucking sound just fine.If I thought their discussion about sex was complicated and intense, it was a fairy tale compared to what Kirk reveals when prodded to answer why Lori left him. The following chilling exchange results. "She found me sitting in the dark with a phaser in my lap. I wouldn't talk to her about what I was thinking and I couldn't tell her what I was doing. She left because she thought I was going to kill myself. I scared her."McCoy pushes harder by asking, "Were you going to kill yourself?" "It would have been redundant. I was already dead." "Were you going to kill yourself?" "Eventually." I don't know why I love this type of tragic response from Kirk, but I do. I think it speaks to me of the depth of loss he felt at the end of the 5 year mission in a way that nothing else does. McCoy sensitively seeks an answer for his Captain and friend when Kirk confesses there is someone he could love but fears destroying that person in the process. The dust of sadness is driven back by a very determined Vulcan, who learns of his Captain's plight through the doctor. This author captures Kirk's most sensitive raw emotions in a way that will leave you gasping. It is a must-read. 
This is a most unusual piece, and it is extremely intense. The characters are painted very precisely with very few words and even though there is no real plot, it is immediately very involving. The first sentence is: “Jim, what was the longest time you have ever gone without sex, as an adult?” It is McCoy who asks, and a less skilled author perhaps would have had problems turning this into the very revealing and absolutely believable discussion that follows now. The Kirk who answers the question (after some thought) is much darker than we usually see him, but he is also very powerful, and he knows himself much better than most people would like to know themselves.
After the excellently drawn discussion between Kirk and McCoy, McCoy plays matchmaker, and finally our two favorite people get together. Seen it before? Not the way it is done here. The strength of the story lies in the characterisation and the psychology, and there are no long-winded speeches but only very accurate observations.I’m afraid I’m not doing the story justice as I don’t find the right words, so perhaps you should just go get that zine (or get it out from wherever you have buried it) and (re-)read it. I have done so at least a dozen times, and loved it more each time. 
This is a wonderful story looking into Adm. Kirk's feelings--his pain, and his pleasure. We learn how he feels about life and about himself beginning with the opening conversation with McCoy about sex, where McCoy's wondering how Kirk always gets the babes so easily. I have no idea if this is so, but it could be that English is not this writer's native language. I say this because Kirk doesn't use contractions when he speaks, and I became overly aware of this, that it felt distinctly unnatural. What he's saying, however, is written really well. This is a story of such strong feeling...especially if you like some purple.
It's sometimes the case that a character seems way too self-aware. But it feels thoroughly realistic here that Adm. Kirk knows himself this well by now. Maybe the younger man might not have been so aware of his underlying motivations and how they affect his actions. He's a warrior; as a Starfleet officer he's a glorified killer, he says. But sex is the only place where he doesn't have to control someone else. He's not planning ahead, not guarding his emotions. It's the only place he's free. Not to mention, he does it so good. He talks about how he seems to be drawn to a certain woman, to fulfill each other's needs just for that night. He is her slave--whatever she wants. But he's having sex, not making love. This Kirk is morose in his feelings that no one would survive a long-term relationship with him. McCoy sees how this could come in part from the fact that he and Spock abandoned Kirk; now Kirk won't give anyone that power over him anymore. Anyway, there's a lot more good stuff with Kirk, and then a talk McCoy has with Spock about warrior bondings and such. There's a nice, clean structure to this story, with the beginning showing us how Kirk and Spock each feel; and then comes the "action" scene of the story, the catalyst for bringing Kirk and Spock together; and then the ending, where Kirk has come to a place not of resolving all his problems, but of learning how to work through them. With Spock, of course. There are some unique aspects to this middle scene. There's a woman on board who Kirk dallies with. No, that's not unique; what's unique is how Spock helps Kirk out of a sticky situation with her and her husband, and how Spock approaches Kirk afterwards with his leading questions about who Kirk likes to have sex with and why. Hot scene, with Spock's actions seeming so innocent yet really a purposeful turn-on, yum.The ending isn't all sweetness and light (not that there's anything wrong with that) but, rather, shows Kirk still troubled but willing to let Spock take the lead. Beautiful. 
It’s not often that an author remarks on Kirk’s ruthlessness and I thought...great, let’s see what comes next. I’m sorry I have to say I was disappointed. McCoy informing Spock about that private conversation he had with Kirk; McCoy revealing part of Kirk’s psyche file; Spock listening without so much as a “Do you have the captain’s permission to tell me this?” or even just getting up refusing to listen...? Nope, don’t think so.
I was led to believe that once McCoy had decided to get them together or to have see the daylight, he would’ve used more subtle means, would’ve concocted a scheme worthy of his name, but no, that doesn’t happen.I did like that interaction in Kirk’s cabin when Spock finally decides to take the bull by the horns, but how he reached his decision or what made him change his mind is left in the middle, and I, for one, would’ve liked to read about it. 
A simple question by McCoy to Kirk: “What was the longest you have ever gone without sex as an adult?” leads to a long conversation in which Kirk reveals that he has sex for sex’s sake and that he doesn’t know love. Kind of neat—he says he likes sex and he’s good at it. But also, that he was considering killing himself after V’ger.
Later, McCoy realizes that Kirk loves Spock. When he talks with Spock about this, Spock tells him about Vulcan bonding and same-sex relationships which are the norm on Vulcan. I loved the neat idea of Vulcan female bondings: “t’hy’len”. A while later, a good scene where Spock goes to Kirk’s quarters while Kirk is in bed with a commodore’s wife. It seems the commodore is beaming on board to catch them! Evidently, Kirk didn’t know she was married. Whew! I don’t know why Spock thinks: “There was no logical reason why it was important to him, but it was, nonetheless.” Of course it’s important! Why wouldn’t it be? It’d better be important! I enjoyed having Spock help the woman escape. Spock questions Kirk as to why he wanted to have sex with that particular woman. Kirk says it’s because she really wanted it. Spock continues to question him and asks if he’s ever been approached by a man. But excuse me! Kirk says Gary Mitchell and he were not lovers and that Gary wasn’t his type! Well! (only teasing!) All this was really good—and Spock finally asks him if he’d make it with a man. Kirk answers it depends. Spock touches Kirk, then: “What would you do if he moved around you and slowly kissed you?” Spock asks Kirk to let him love him. Neat! I loved Spock saying: “I will not allow embarrassment or Vulcan codes to intrude between us.”
Kirk insists he’s never, ever been with a man or even attracted to one. Well.... But Kirk says he’s scared to be in love with Spock. Then they start to make love and Spock sure knows what to do! He takes command and gives Kirk a great blow job. Kirk reciprocates and then they both have orgasms by facing each other and milking each other which I thought was great.Good story.