One Particular Harbour
|Title:||One Particular Harbour|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
|External Links:||online here|
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It was published in the print zine T'hy'la #23.
"Spock recalls a lifetime of memories with Kirk."
Reactions and Reviews
"One Particular Harbour" seems to be a sequel to Elise's story "Duty's Call" in Legends 3, set about 20 years after that story. (Although you don't need to read "Duty's Call" to enjoy and understand this story.)
In "Duty's Call", Kirk and Spock argue about what Spock will do after Kirk dies. In "One Particular Harbour", Kirk has died, it is one year later, and Spockisreminiscingabouttheir70yearstogether. I like the scenes Elise wrote for this, and how some of them complemented "Duty's Call". For example, in "Duty's Call" we read about their first meeting from Kirk's POV; now in this story we hear about it from Spock's POV. Spock remembers the first time they made love, which precedes the love making scene in "Duty's Call". In that story, Spock and Kirk remember their first day as lovers. However, that scene starts mid blow job, (Kirk giving Spock one, and later Spock returns the favor), but we never see how they got there. "One Particular Harbour" describes exactly what happened to move them from friends to lovers. And we also see part of the retirement ceremony for Kirk, which was only discussed after the fact in "Duty's Call."
Scenes I liked that didn't reference something in "Duty's Call" were the first time they declare how much their friendship means to each other, and Spock first uses the word thy'la (but only tells Kirk about the friend and brother definition). Part of Spock's memories also deal with Spock's first pon farr with Kirk. I liked the way Elise sets this up, with Spock basically going into a jealous rage when he misinterprets Kirk's encounter with a woman. We soon learn the reason for his behavior, which leads into the aftermath of the pon farr lovemaking.
Spock remembers the night Kirk died, and Kirk extracting a promise from him to wait for one year after Kirk's death before doing anything irrevocable. Kirk is insistent that Spock continue without him after Kirk dies, not wanting Spock's life shortened because of him. Spock has really tried to continue on, but Elise beautifully shows in her story how much he constantly misses Kirk and aches to be with him. Such as this paragraph:
"He was cold again. Over the last year he had found it difficult to adequately regulate his temperature. His sun was gone, and he had taken all the warmth from Spock's life with him. From the very beginning, Kirk's cooler body had fired his."
Or this simple sentence that says so much:
"It is almost time, time for the pain to end."The story ends as Spock is reunited with Kirk, in a scene that appealed to the romantic, sentimental side of my nature, and even made me cry. 
I’ve been trying to write this review for two weeks. I’ve gone back and re-read this story three times. Why the struggle? Because I wanted the review to somehow be as good as the story, but I have concluded that is impossible. Every element of K/S is represented in One Particular Harbour and it is only ten pages long. It is sad, it is joyous, it is poignant, it is revealing and most of all it is truly memorable. I am captivated from the start and am in awe of how the plot is revealed bit by tiny bit. It is pure genius. It gives me time to reconcile myself rather than be jolted by what is happening and it somehow gives me peace. To enumerate my favorite parts would be to copy every paragraph word for word. I’ll include those scenes which will forever live in my mind. First of all, the love story of a lifetime is revealed in the reverent handling of a coffee mug. What an incredibly masterful scene this is. The way Spock gazes at the cup on the shelf, the gentle way he handles it and places it next to his own, the heartbreaking ritual he performs as he places it carefully back in its place are priceless. The memory it triggers is of the beginning of a life of fulfillment and love, succinctly and beautifully told. I don’t believe I will ever forget it.
Standing beneath the steaming cascade of a hot shower, Spock’s thoughts turn to Kirk and they are among the most powerful feelings imaginable as he recalls their first time together. The effect is summed up by this sentence: “The next morning, Dr. McCoy had wondered at their mood, and the calm that would follow them for the rest of their lives.” Doesn’t that explain what we all feel about their falling in love and their eternal commitment to each other?
Intermittent glimpses of a storm, of flowers Kirk carefully planted and tended, of the dimming of the lights, of the way Spock grips the stair railing, add an immeasurable reality to Elise’s marvelous narrative. My heart nearly broke when Spock looked out to admire Kirk’s flowers yet again and found their blooms battered and crushed by the storm.
Misunderstanding would not appear to have a place in such an idealistic account – oh, but it does. In this particular misunderstanding, in these moments of wrenching doubt, lay the foundation for the offering of a visible symbol of their trust and devotion. The reference here to that unavoidable result of any Vulcan bonding is so subtle and sensitive that it could easily be overlooked. This is but one example of how small references in this story reflect upon an entire lifetime and somehow capture it completely. Not one word should be missed.
A moment that makes my heart swell with pride in these two men takes place when Kirk is accepting an award from Starfleet. Beginning with the obligatory speech about career and duty, it ends with him summoning Spock to the stage with him and, in sight of all the Federation, pulling his partner into his arms for an unforgettable embrace. These are the images that live forever. And last...the closing, the final chapter. How beautiful it is. How it makes your heart soar with love and makes you once again believe that all things are possible. The world around you becomes a very insignificant thing when compared to these final moments we are allowed to share with the men whose very existence defines Love.Elise, I don’t know where this came from – it is so much more than another K/S story. Obviously it came from your heart, but it is so inspired and inspiring that I cannot find words to express how much it touches me. Thank you.
A Fan's Dedicated CGAT'Racionn:
This picture here is dedicated to Elise Madrid’s story “One Particular Harbour” which is one my absolute favourites of the stories written by her. And that surprised no one more than me as usually sad stories are rather difficult for my mellow soul. But then, those are the ones which stick and can leave an impact that’s not measurable in words, not for me at least. “One Particular Harbour” is very intense, wonderfully written and proves once more how well the author knows the two men and can create an atmosphere. The reader accompanies Spock for only an evening which takes place exactly one year after Kirk’s death and follows his memories and thoughts. Thoughts that have been for the last year soaked with sorrow and loneliness but that have been thought to keep a promise he had made to his bondmate. The evening ends as sadly as happily as touching, there’s no other way to describe it. I read the story almost two month ago and cried at the end. Then I wanted to make that picture and skipped through the pages again to look for a quote – I read the end again and found my eyes wet. Then some days later I looked for details like the idea of the two kings, could not resist to read the end once more and sobbed heavily. Each time I read One Particular Harbour within the last weeks, whole or in parts, I was as moved as the very first time and that is the best I can give of a recommendation. I loved the story. Am loving it. I will love it. One Particular Harbour is a companion piece / sequel to Elise Madrid's story "Duty's Call" (which is posted to the K/S archive as well) and even though the understanding might be deeper if one read it before, this story can also be read as a stand alone piece.