|Author(s):||Jenna Hilary Sinclair|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
|External Links:||Freely Given|
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It was published in the print zine First Time #54 and online.
"On a planet where a kiss between men is the norm, Spock uses the information gleaned from a shared kiss to decide whether his desire for Kirk could ever be returned."
Reactions and Reviews
I felt this story had integrity, all the way through. Kirk’s central concern, that Spock should not feel obliged to show affection he may or may not really feel, is an ethical concern. I voted for this because of a feeling of trust I had in the characterisations. This Kirk and Spock were
honourable and thoughtful. A nice, involving, plot. I actually had a peculiar physical reaction (not that kind!) to the drama of the ceremony in which Spock is expecting Kirk to kiss him properly - and he doesn’t.Clever to imply Spock’s response by describing his anticipation, and then using the metaphor of the smashing of the crystal goblet. “He did not sleep that night for thinking.” So we expect Spock to be devastated...but he’s actually not! And we find out when he approaches Kirk on the Enterprise. This is very clever, and dramatic. 
This story utterly captivated me from the moment Spock says: “I have enjoyed my service with you, and I am looking forward to continuing our association.” As he tries to say something complimentary to Kirk.
And when McCoy answers: “Now that’s about as personal as a paperweight.” I knew this story was going to be one of my favorites. Later, when Spock lies down in his quarters and thinks about Kirk, I was completely charmed. Spock is befuddled, confused and conflicted about his growing feelings for Kirk and each thought and when they lead are shown perfectly. This is not easy to do: moving a story forward and expressing a character’s in-depth thoughts. Jenna accomplishes it beautifully. One small bit of business that Spock does shows his confusion perfectly: “Spock turned over in his bed and kicked the covers off so they lay wrinkled over his feet.” Doesn’t this action speak volumes? Spock would never do this under ordinary circumstances. This is just one example of excellent writing. When I read “Freely Given”, I didn’t know who was the author. Now that I do, I can easily see some of Jenna’s trademarks. Things such as a tightly woven theme that runs through the entire story; a terrific sub- plot that adds to the theme (that of being able to give— Spock’s dilemma and from his point-of-view); delightful touches of humor (Spock’s trials and tribulations with trying to please Kirk and deal with McCoy’s verbal jousts); neat touches of side-characters who add to the ambiance of the Enterprise (like the transporter tech, Buxton, who answers the “call of nature”); and especially strong, gorgeous love between Kirk and Spock. Another of Jenna’s trademarks is here, too. That of a perfectly portrayed McCoy. Jenna writes, and has written, the quintessential McCoy—a fully-developed, easily recognizable character who really serves a purpose in her stories. So often in some stories when an author tries to show at length Kirk’s or Spock’s inner thoughts, it get bogged down in way-too-long passages that aren’t interesting or that don’t move the story forward. But Jenna, the accomplished author that she is, does it beautifully here. I found myself swept up in Spock’s musings and the story moved deftly forward. Another plot element in this story used to advance Kirk and Spock’s relationship as well as provide a fascinating look at a different culture, was the local custom of kissing on the mouth instead of shaking hands as a polite gesture. This, along with the giving of gifts, becomes Spock’s focus.In conclusion: I adore this story! Yeah! 
I love this story. It was written excellently; and I always appreciate when a story is written in one POV (Spock’s, in this case) or, at least, one POV at a time. This is one of those stories where I could tell from the start I could just sit back and enjoy the ride. (Or, this being K/S after all, more like lying back and...)
I like theme in a story as long as it’s not heavy- handed. It’s used to good effect here. There were two themes, as I see it, and the story could have felt muddied by this, but it doesn’t; and both have a nice closure at the end. I do think, though, that there were some details painted earlier in the story that, given more time (this was probably written under the gun, as we so often do), the author would have gone back and tweaked a bit more, once it was seen how, in the organic process of getting to the end of the story, things actually turned out. (Something similar to how I should have tweaked that last sentence.) The story has a unique premise and setting, in the society portrayed and the scenario that puts Kirk and Spock there. One theme was about gift-giving (and its Vulcan illogicality), and there were threads of this here and there through the story. The K/S thing with regard to the gift- theme has to do with gifts as expressions of regard for each other, so there are some lovely moments about this. But the main thing had to do with kissing—a wonderful theme, needless to say. Meanwhile, there is real Starfleet life, a mission to the planet Vaneeta, which is seeking Federation admission. (Sorry, but I kept thinking Velveeta.) On this planet, they don’t shake hands to greet each other, they kiss. Also, they’re bisexual. So, we get some dialogue exploring these interesting subjects between Kirk, Spock and McCoy. (I’m kind of surprised McCoy would be so adamantly grossed out about kissing males, but it works for the story.) Here’s an example of something I thought was going on that ended up not panning out by the end of the story: I got the idea on a few occasions that McCoy was pushing Kirk and Spock together, but his motivations in this regard weren’t fleshed out or specifically revealed by the end. There was a lot of good detail about their visit and the people and all. I liked learning about the protocol of the kisses, regarding rank, status, occasion, etc. I thought at first that Spock would from the start decline, as a Vulcan, to participate in this ritual—why didn’t he? Why should a whole group go only by the newcomer’s customs, rather than the newcomer learning the different customs of the existing group? I’m only saying this now; I didn’t argue about that with myself as I read the story. Naturally, I know that questions and considerations such as these are constantly having to be worked out by writers. Anyway, Kirk did finally show their hosts how humans and Vulcans greet each other. I liked the jealousy going on, with Spock observing Kirk with a Vaneetan man, wondering how to read the situation; and Kirk wondering the same thing about Spock with one of the men.
Okay, then we get to some hot parts—whew! I love this quiet kind of erotica, with not-necessarily-overtly- sexy things that nonetheless just steam off the page. This scene has some unusual little aspects to it, also, such as a glimpse into Spock’s foot fetish (at least, Kirk’s feet!). Yes. This is the scene in their suite following the reception the first night. It’s a wonderful scene, and the dialogue feels really natural. And this scene leads to even hotter stuff, Spock’s fantasy/waking dream. This is so gorgeous and erotic and not only that, unique non-linear writing I really appreciate. (Sometimes this kind of writing can, paradoxically, seem forced, but not so here. Superbly drew me into a spell.) Then, I love how, when he wakes up, Spock feels it was so embarrassingly inappropriate, to think those ways about his captain. I have to stop spelling out each and every scene, but the ceremony with the Vaneetans is where everything ultimately comes to a head, and I was just dying along with Spock, who had to kiss/be kissed by his captain. Besides, the actuality of this scene was just done really well. Everything that the author needed to happen in the “real world” in order for the K/S to happen organically within it, was done perfectly, and imaginatively, also. But they didn’t ride off into the sunset together right then. Kirk’s responses totally throw Spock off, and us, too. Then, it’s so wonderful when it does all get resolved. The writing of Spock’s feelings is just gorgeous. And what he does and where it leads just had me breathless. The sex had a really wonderful “masculine” feel to it— hot and active; yet in a flowing and erotic, non-structured rhythm. Really fine. Somehow I could truly envision them having these orgasms, too. We’re in Spock’s head, seeing through Spock’s eyes, and what we really see, more clearly than Spock, is Kirk. And he is exquisite. I can really see him. A most splendid, beautifully articulate captain. As I said, I loved how the gift-theme and, especially, the kiss-theme were tied up at the end.I knew after I read this who is the author, and I’m not surprised. Jenna so often has just the right way to get to me. 
I was really taken by this story, because I go for plain and simple plot lines—some might say the old-fashioned kind. This one gave me chills, thrills and made me melt. That an author can evoke those emotions from me just by putting words on a page still amazes me. It's magic!
It's mostly from Spock's perspective and he's such an appealing Vulcan here, with all emotions in play. And there's a lot of depth to his character. He made me smile and feel sad for him too, suffering his love for Jim in silence. He's also portrayed as quite mature, which I especially loved, when he blithely dealt with the strange kissing customs of the Vaneetans, the race on the planet they were visiting.Kirk isn't slighted at all either; he's at his captainly best, his desire for Spock simmering underneath, which makes it very poignant for me. Spock's erotic fantasy of Kirk was exciting and wonderful, I just loved the whole thing. McCoy made me laugh. He was so real here, irritating but not too overbearing or interfering. So many special touches in this story added up to a moving, extraordinarily fun and loving scenario. Simply terrific! 
"Freely Given" (26 pages) was one of the three long stories in this contest zine. I had frankly forgotten how long it was until I just checked my scribbled notes. The other two long stories made my personal top 3. This long story makes my top half of the stories I liked best. So obviously, I do like stories of some length. Voting in this contest has shown that clearly to me. However, the story is a little cluttered. There is perhaps too much happening and too much detail. So perhaps it needed to be simplified or it needed to be even longer? The planet Vaneeta is the object of a mission, and Vaneeta has very different customs. The men kiss each other on the mouth and everyone is bisexual. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy all go down on the planet and follow the customs, except for having sex with the male natives of the planet, of course. You can imagine that McCoy grumbles a lot. And he does. 
I’m running out of superlatives to use in my LOC’s for the First Time 54 stories! Wow! This is yet another great story in this zine, so beautifully written, and is one of my absolute favorites. (Which is to be expected considering who I think the author is. I can’t wait to find out if I’m
right!) (Warning - some plot points revealed in my LOC.) The story starts out with McCoy arguing with Spock about Vulcans not giving Christmas presents, saying it is a way to show that we care about those people that are important to us, and that Kirk, especially, would appreciate such a gesture from Spock. McCoy even uses logic very cleverly, saying that it is logical to tell an emotional being that he’s appreciated. Poor Spock awkwardly tries to tell Kirk how he feels about him, thinking perhaps McCoy has a good point, but is inhibited by McCoy’s presence and his unfamiliarity with expressing his emotions. Kirk makes it clear to Spock and McCoy that Spock should not change his behavior to conform to the customs of others. As he says to McCoy after Spock leaves: “Bones, stop trying to force Spock into what he’s not comfortable saying or doing. Gifts don’t mean anything unless they’re freely given.” This statement is the recurring theme of this story, and illustrates perfectly Kirk’s care and concern for Spock. This conversation starts Spock thinking about what Kirk actually means to him, and he soon realizes that he loves and desires Kirk. But, he also thinks Kirk has no interest in men, and to consider such an idea is pointless. However, Spock is preoccupied by these thoughts for the next several days, even during a diplomatic mission. Or perhaps one reason these thoughts preoccupy Spock to the point he is fantasizing about Kirk is partly due to the diplomatic mission and a certain local custom. The mission is a rather routine one to assess a potential new member of the Federation, but the planet has one custom that is a bit unusual. Everyone greets each other with a kiss: men with women, women with women, and men with men. Kirk takes this in stride, Spock has no problem with it, but McCoy is quite dismayed, and loudly voices his displeasure. During his diatribe, he makes one statement to Kirk that Spock finds very, very interesting: “My psych profile, McCoy proclaimed, is strictly hetero. I’m one of the sixty percent of the population that way. You wouldn’t understand”. Spock mulls over what McCoy could mean during the mission, as he observes how Kirk interacts with the political leaders of the planet. Several conversations with Kirk during the mission in which Kirk once again expresses his desire that Spock not do something just to please or accommodate Kirk if it’s not what he really wants to do give Spock more food for thought. I love how the author resolves this whole situation, and how she has Spock come to realize that Kirk does care for him, after all. The catalyst is the kisses that Kirk is required to give to both Spock and McCoy in a ceremony in accordance with the local customs of the planet. Spock’s analysis of the difference between the kiss Kirk gives to McCoy versus himself causes him to realize how Kirk really feels about him. I thought this was so clever, and I love how Spock logically figured it all out. I really enjoyed the characterization of Kirk in this story. He is so careful with Spock, so concerned about him, and so adamant that Spock should be able to freely express any feelings he might have for Kirk without feeling obligated to do so by his desire to indulge his captain and try to please him. Kirk really, truly loves Spock and so wants what is best for Spock, not himself. That’s why Kirk has said nothing to Spock about how he feels, hoping Spock will eventually figure it all out and also reciprocate his feelings. Which he does, much to everyone’s satisfaction, ours included! And then we have the wonderful, incredible love scene that closes the story. I don’t require a love scene to like a K/S story, but I sure enjoy them when they are included, and when they are as well written as the wonderfully erotic love scene in this story. (Spock’s fantasies earlier in the story of making love with Kirk are also very hot!)I wish I could convey in this LOC how good I think this story is. I have been amazed at the truly professional quality of some of the K/S writing, and this story is as good as, or better, than any pro ST story I’ve read. I’ve reread this story several times, and enjoy it more each time. Every time I read the story I appreciate more some delightful way of wording or describing something, or enjoy once again the dialogue. With Liz’s permission, I’m borrowing a comment she made in a discussion about another K/S story that also perfectly describes this story. Liz said: “It was one of those stories where the characterization was so good I could hear the sound of Kirk’s and Spock’s voices as I read the dialogue.” That is so true of this story, and is one of many reasons why I think that it is so wonderful. As you may have figured out, I highly recommend “Freely Given”. 
I do much better at reviewing a story if I make notes or write the review as I read. With Freely Given. I found this to be an impossibility, I could not leave the story or allow my mind to be drawn outside the world of Kirk and Spock that was being woven for me. Believable characterization drew me irresistibly from the first sentence, beginning with a typical McCoy-Spock debate over the giving of gifts. If you read carefully, though, you will soon realize that Spock isn't as opposed to the practice as McCoy would have him be. Underlying all this is Kirk's obvious concern that the Dr. is causing his friend discomfort. The way he comes to Spock's defense is reminiscent of his reaction to Stiles' bigotry toward his first officer. However tempered it might be with McCoy, the protectiveness is clear.
There are countless series-like K/S moments to be found. For instance when Spock becomes aware that he has just called his captain "Jim" three times in 32 seconds—in front of McCoy, no less, I love it! While these moments set the scene, they are only window dressing, for this is a study in sensitivity.
The revelation by the author of just how preoccupied Spock is with one certain human is absolutely wonderful and so on-target with how I believe Spock would try to reason with himself. He admits in the dark solitude of his cabin that he has been attracted to Kirk's body from the moment they met but then acknowledges that it is much more. It is friendship and companionship and the allure of a bond.
Such is the state of both men's minds when they are assigned to a planet on which the accepted form of greeting between men is a kiss, McCoy rails against the concept while Spock calmly accepts it as a necessity. A most entertaining scene takes place in Kirk's planetside room, when he encourages Spock to relax and put up his feel. Spock is excited about the possibility of such closeness but Kirk's bare legs showing beneath a loose robe are almost his undoing.
Both men have an intense internal struggle, not wanting to move too quickly or do something that the other would find offensive or premature. It is difficult to describe just how enjoyable all this is to the reader, every nuance, every thought, every quickly concealed gesture is so well described.
When the inevitable time comes that a kiss between the two of them is imperative for the sake of diplomacy, the result is surprising. Spock is hoping for the full four seconds normally allotted between males exchanging this greeting while Kirk is determined not to cause his friend embarrassment.Ultimately. Spock decides a gift for Kirk is the right thing to do. There follows a most amazing encounter and one of the best first kiss scenes I've ever had the pleasure of reading (see best of the best). And it was pure undiluted pleasure. Not only the kiss, but the entire story from beginning to glorious end. It doesn't get any better than this. 
As with "A Second Chance", the author of this story also was a bit of a surprise to me. The concept was not something I thought she would ever choose to write. But I'm glad she did, because she did a great job with the subject matter. Although I am beginning to feel that this author is at her best when she pens stories from Spock's POV, she has proven that she is certainly capable of doing much more and like "A Second Chance", she really made this story work for me. Very refreshing. 
I found it most interesting to have this from Spock's point of view. I found his convoluted and, yes, rambling thoughts of the merits and fantasies of his Captain quite fascinating.
Kudos to the author for the perspective. Definitely their first time was different than I usually find. Spock is so literal and yet it is not at all a clinical description. For instance:
"In that unfinished imagining, he had wanted to run his hands over this yielding masculine roundness, where he wanted to put his cock, to take his pleasure and ride on his captain's body, feeling Jim move beneath him."I found that statement alone incredible sexy. It would have been ridiculous coming out of anyone elses mouth. So thank you Jenna. 
This was the first Star Trek fic I read and it is still my favourite TOS story of all the ones I've read since then (and I've read a lot!) Everything is just so superb, from the build up to the character voices to the crescendo where you finally gives them what they need. I absolutely love all of your stories, and this one is just the delicious cherry on the awesome cake that is your interpretation of the Kirk/Spock relationship. 
Wow, wow. That was wonderful. So HOT! 
Oh yes, THIS! This is wonderful! So touching and elegant and gradual, not to mention beautifully crafted! I adore your Spock voice, and the dialog rang so true for all the characters. An incredible story and a wonderful read, thank you for a most excellent experience! 
Really lovely classic 'zine fic. There's some homophobia going on, but, given the age of this fic, it just reminds me that so much of the original Kirk/Spock fic was written in a different age. 
Jim, Spock and McCoy must attend celebrations on a planet where the formal greeting is kissing other men on the mouth. McCoy rants and Spock takes it in stride - but being down on the planet and whitnessing the open, unabashed kissing between men, especially with Jim involved, makes the Vulcan see things and his Captain in a new light. Love the premise, great development with terrific characterization. 
You've gotta give it to TOS writers; they manage to actually write fics with new planets with odd cultures and not completely suck at it. In this one, the typical greeting is kissing on the mouth. The big climax of the story is when Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are asked to kiss each other on the mouths like their culture does for a ceremony, and it's in Spock's POV so you get to see his conflicted feelings of being privately happy yet dreading being kissed by the captain he secretly loves and you don't know what is going to happen but the build up to the moment and the resolution was surprising and yet perfect. 
- from The K/S Press #67
- from The K/S Press #71
- from The K/S Press #71
- from The K/S Press #71
- from The K/S Press #70
- from The K/S Press #70
- from The K/S Press #89
- from The K/S Press #72
- from atymer at the Kirk/Spock Fanfiction Archive, posted 10/23/2010
- from Della19 at the Kirk/Spock Fanfiction Archive, posted 09/14/2010
- from Mirrorgirl at the Kirk/Spock Fanfiction Archive, posted 04/29/2009
- from Dreamlittleyo at the Kirk/Spock Fanfiction Archive, posted 12/16/2009
- by Sakura-no-Miko at Archive of Our Own, posted May 4, 2013
- Master List of K/S Favorites, Mary Monroe
- 20 TOS K/S fic recs, October 16, 2009