In the Season of Renewal
|Title:||In the Season of Renewal|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
|External Links:||In the Season of Renewal|
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It was published in the print zine First Time #58.
"Kirk returns to Earth to oversee his motherʼs funeral just as Spock has retreated from his life."
Reactions and Reviews
"In the Season of Renewal" by Elise Madrid is about 36 pages long. Elise is a writer who writes stories I sometimes like and sometimes don't. Unfortunately, this is one of the don't. To be fair, I would find it hard to like any story written by any author where Kirk is spending most of the story on Earth after this mother's death, conversing with his cousin Brian. I just am not into stories of this type at all. Brian plays a major part in the story, and I frankly never cotton much to original characters, either. I also don't really believe in the story and what happens. Probably to get a fair appraisal of this story, you will have to read some other LOCs from other fans.
I like a story of misunderstandings between Kirk and Spock, as long as it doesn‘t portray them as clueless, not in touch with glaringly obvious feelings. This one has a good misunderstanding. I wasn‘t sure I was convinced that Spock would keep his distance rather than talking to Kirk about what‘s troubling him— especially since they‘ve now known each other almost five years—but it does work here. I think they respect each other so much that each believes the other will talk to him when he‘s ready to, so they don‘t push. This is probably realistic because they are at that crux in their friendship where it seems about to turn into something more, so things aren‘t as easily spoken of as they would be if they were ―just‖ friends. Meanwhile, both of them are hurting.
I like the premise, too, that Kirk‘s mother has died, and how he deals with it. He has to go back to Earth; and in the beginning of the story, Kirk is thinking about the last time he was there, with Spock—two weeks of incredibly wonderful companionship. Kirk thought they were getting closer, but now, on the ship before he leaves again for Earth, Spock has been distant. It is nearing the end of the mission, and the problem turns out to be that Spock found out about Kirk‘s promotion , but Kirk hadn‘t told him. So he doesn‘t know where he stands, and is hurt. Then there‘s a whole story at the farmhouse, Kirk with his male cousin, who has just broken up with a man. One thing I didn‘t like is how cousin Brian and his ex are bitchy to each other with Kirk there. A good story of Kirk realizing priorities, of his being injured while there, and Spock having to rush to Earth, which of course leads them to finally coming together. The drawing by I.M. Muller goes perfectly with the story, Kirk napping in the field where Spock finds him.I actually was uncomfortable with Kirk‘s nervously flip comment as they began to admit their feelings to each other; but the moment of awkwardness was acknowledged and then, nice sex...and their future together lies before them. 
It’s near the end of the 5 year mission and Kirk’s mother has unexpectedly died at age 57. Kirk is about to return home for a few days, and is glad to be able to get away from the Enterprise for a while because Spock has become cold and formal over the last days and Kirk doesn’t know why. Kirk and Spock had become very, very close in the previous 10 weeks, and Kirk felt they were on the brink of taking the next step in their relationship, when Spock suddenly changed. Despite Kirk’s best attempts to find out why, Spock won’t talk about it.
At his mother’s farm, Kirk connects again with his cousin Brian, and does a lot of thinking about Spock and their relationship, aided by Brian’s revelation that he just recently been in a long term relationship with a man. Brian decides to try playing match maker, and his attempts bring Spock to the farm for a meeting and reconciliation with Kirk.I enjoyed this story very much. I liked all the scenes set back on the farm in Iowa, and really liked the character of Kirk’s cousin, and what Elise did to integrate him into the plot and become a catalyst for Kirk and Spock’s reconciliation. 
There is something about Elise Madrid “going home” accounts that warm me to my very toes. No one does them so well. She pens characters from Kirk’s family who seem like friends and neighbors. So it was an excellent choice for my reading outside in the lounge chair on the first day of spring.
Here we have Kirk returning to Iowa for his mother’s funeral and becoming reacquainted with a male cousin who was a frequent childhood companion. There is acknowledgement of Kirk’s grief and his regret at being so physically distanced from his mother but it is a believable level of grief and does not overwhelm the story. He is at the same time grieving a much greater and more disturbing loss— that of Spock’s close companionship. Over the past few weeks it has become inexplicably less in evidence and Kirk doesn’t know why. It requires very strong secondary characters to keep me from wanting a story to move away from them and back to K/S. Somehow Elise manages to retain K/S even though Spock is parsecs away and there is an apparent chasm between them that has nothing to do with time and space. Cousin Brian is an astutely perceptive individual who quickly reads between the lines of Kirk’s dialogue about his beloved ship. Eventually he draws Kirk into a confession. It’s all very subtle and non-invasive and somehow as K/S as something much more overt. I like the descriptions of the family farm, maybe because I live in a similar part of the U.S. and relate to it so well. The whole premise becomes even more rewarding when Spock finds his way to Kirk’s side. Suddenly the human’s world is right again, and so is Spock’s. It’s a very tender and loving story, but passion has a way of seeking its own level in Elise’s accounts. The physical expression of their love is heated, exciting and as irresistible to the reader as they are to each other.I admit to an early trepidation that this was going to be an explanation for Spock’s flight to Gol and was very pleased when it turned out to be a most beautiful and awesome alternative to that cold and sterile possibility. Loved it! 
The end of the 5YM is approaching and Spock has become distant, presuming that their separation is looming. Kirk returns to Iowa for his mother's funeral and is forced to reevaluate his priorities. The solution is a little easily found, but this was still an enjoyable fic with some nice details about Jim's home life and family.