Pacing the Cage
|Title:||Pacing the Cage|
|Author(s):||Jenna Hilary Sinclair|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
|External Links:||Pacing the Cage|
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It was published in the print zine Beyond Dreams #1 and online.
This story won a 1999 STIFfie Award.
"After the 5 year mission, both Kirk and Spock come to realize their love for each other when posted to Earth, but unaware of each others feelings, both begin to see women."
Reactions and Reviews
Set after the five year mission of the Enterprise, Kirk and Spock both get themselves girlfriends. This may seem simple as hell, but it is entirely not. Spock's girlfriend (or the person he goes on dates with) T'Brita is a surprisingly good original character and I actually like her a lot, which is saying a hell of a lot considering I usually hate women characters. Spock's situation is that he loves Kirk, but he needs a bondmate and T'Brita is the logical choice, and what's absolutely amazing about this fic is that it's not a negative logical; if there was no Jim Kirk, you'd be shipping Spock/T'Brita because they are that well-suited. Then there's the pivotal Christmas Party scene in which there is amazing UST and you can just tell that Kirk loves Spock too because the author sneakily has Spock gloss over the fact that they're eyefucking for several minutes and you just know that other people would watch this scene, particularly the absolutely romantic and beautiful scene of Kirk closing Spock's coat and simply keeping his hands there and staring at him in the snow, and go, "damn those two need to just kiss already." Then there's disaster and healing and wow, just wow. 
TOS novella, one of my absolute favorites. The 5-year mission is over and Kirk and Spock have remained close friends, although Spock secretly yearns for more. But when Kirk gets involved in what seems to be a serious relationship for once, and he himself meets a Vulcan woman who on all counts appears like a perfect potential bondmate, Spock starts thinking maybe he needs to move on. Beautiful relationship between the two men, first a friendship that shows its closeness through a multitude of little moments, then a sometimes tentative waltz neither man is completely aware of. Strong and well fleshed-out OC, and the fic makes a great job of making Kirk and Spock feel REAL as people living on Earth in the 23rd century. 
Pacing The Cage is written in Spock ́s pov and is a masterly reflection of his thoughts and wants and emotions through all of the five year mission and the first two years afterwards. Spock ́s turmoil is absolutely believable, his first sexual encounter with Leila, his horror after having almost killed Kirk at his Pon Farr, his ever growing sexual awareness, his solution in learning disciplines from the masters of Gol to be rid of his cravings. Yes, Gol. But Jenna is clever and changes the timeline here! Spock only visits Gol for some weeks and returns as a controlled, heavily-shielded Vulcan to the ship. After the five year mission he and Kirk live on Earth, they get promoted. But not to everlasting desk jobs but only to interim assignments until the Enterprise is refitted and ready to go again.
Kirk meets a woman, tall, black-haired, almond- eyed, slender. And Spock meets a woman. Short, well-rounded, green-eyed. (Well...message, Jenna?) They break each other’s hearts with that, of course. Spock finds himself compatible, mind and interests, with that Vulcan Engineer, T`Brita, and contemplates reluctantly a bonding. But everything comes to a gigantic showdown at a New Years Eve Party in Kirk ́s house when Kirk can ́t stand his own unhappiness any longer and.... So much for the content. A few comments: I don ́t think I have ever read such a well-written Spock pov story before. At least none that I liked so much and which felt so real and absolutely in character. And this T`Brita. She isn ́t a cold Vulcan bitch as so many like to portray Vulcan women. That is a real relief! I get really sick of that. She ́s an intelligent, highly professional, nice Vulcan full blood. Not at all shy in stating what she wants. I felt real, deep-set compassion for her when Spock said “no” to her proposal. I could feel her disappointment, I felt with her. Even when she of course couldn ́t possibly get Spock I wished her happiness, too—and that was a real novum! T ́Brita ́s courting of Spock was full of wonderful ideas. The Christmas tree in Washington. The Milan Scala. The poetry session in that little coffeehouse. What a hand for settings. What a feeling for atmosphere.The whole end of the story—Jim and Spock finally getting together—was breathtaking. Beginning with that good-bye scene on the steps of Kirk ́s house which was so vividly described I could see it all before my inner eyes, the wind, the cold, the wet pavement, Kirk closing Spock ́s coat, Jim ́s desperation after the accident—what shall I say? I needed a lot of tissues! Isn ́t that sheer masochism, that I like it so much to get my heart so hurt I weep my pillow wet — while smiling like an idiot? The love scenes were sweet, tender, wonderful, uuh, Jenna, please, couldn ́t you write more first-timers? You do it so well. 
This is another excellent story by a truly talented author. It’s hard to review any piece by Jenna without resorting to superlatives. Want angst? Does romance flutter your heartstrings? Never have enough h/c to satisfy you? They’re all here, and so much more. All done beautifully.
The story opens with this paragraph: "When the historic five year mission of the Enterprise began, Spock of Vulcan was a virgin, and he was not yet afraid." (An inspired line that made me sigh in anticipation and drew me right into the story.) What follows is really a rendition of Spock’s emotional odyssey from the time of the first five year mission to the years spent in San Francisco before Vegur. Devastated by what he sees as his lack of control, how far he has veered from the Vulcan way of life after almost killing Kirk at Koon-ut-kaliffee, and his body’s reactions to Kirk’s presence, Spock flees to Gol. Here he succeeds in disassociating his mind from his body’s sensations. He returns to San Francisco and Kirk but can never free himself from the wanting...wanting to be touched in both mind and body. I ached for him, for the struggle he constantly fights, for what he has denied himself. This is the Spock I’ve loved for years, a soul that cries out for emotional connection to others, to Jim and to himself. (I will admit to being thrown a bit by the knowledge that here Spock’s time at Gol is limited to twenty-six days. For me, if I see it on the screen it’s canon, and I have to find some way of integrating it, but not so in Jenna’s universe.) Both men form relationships; Kirk with a commander named Mai Tagnaki, a sophisticated woman who appears to meet all of his needs, or so Spock thinks, especially the ones he will not permit himself to wish for; and Spock with a young Vulcan woman named T’Brita, on her first trip to Earth, working on a project to which both officers are committed. There are no real villains here. Both women are fully fleshed out characters, both want long term relationships with Kirk and Spock, both seem to be the answers to the loneliness and isolation they have assuaged in each other but think cannot include sexual fulfillment. What a treat to see a Vulcan courtship! All done very logically, as would be expected, but wonderfully sweet and touching for all that. In the pivotal scene that takes place after Spock and T’Brita attend a New Year’s Eve party given by Kirk and Mai, both men are forced to confront their hidden feelings for each other. No details here; you’re just going to have to read this for yourself.
This scene is stunning in its intensity, and yes, Jenna, I gasped all over again. The power in it struck me down to my socks. As always, it’s in the small details that a story succeeds or fails, and the small touches here are extraordinary: Kirk so tenderly closing Spock’s coat for him against the cold night air, Spock’s calculation (made once in a "few moments of idle time") that it took an average of twenty-seven minutes and fourteen seconds for the two men to come face to face at a typical Starfleet or diplomatic reception, and so many more. I would have loved to have seen the very special meld that occurred between them at the end of the five year mission that meant so very much to Spock. Jenna writes melds so very well, and I thought that thematically it should have been included. Perhaps some day she’ll write a sequel and we’ll get to see it.Not only was Jenna putting together two zines, but also organizing a con while she was writing this story. If she could bottle that energy and sell it, she’d be a billionaire. Never mind, Jenna. Just keep enough to continue writing wonderful stories such as this one. 
This is a wonderful, emotionally-charged tale of the emotional challenges Spock faces after one James Kirk enters his life. The characterization of Spock is one I find believable and endlessly appealing when done as convincingly as it is in this story. Here is a Vulcan who is both powerfully drawn to Kirk and hopelessly out of his emotional depth. The resulting conflict between his feelings and the Vulcan values that give order to his life is very nearly crippling. I say “very nearly,” because Jenna’s portrayal is far from one-dimensional. Yes, Spock is vulnerable, innocent and lonely, but he is also intelligent and determined to deal with his problem and get on with his life as best he can. In fact he does deal with it, at great personal cost, initially unaware that Kirk carries similar burdens of loneliness and isolation. The increase of tension as the story progresses and the reader becomes aware that their attraction is mutual is beautifully done, and all the more impressive because the entire piece is written from Spock’s point of view—not an easy task by any means.
A few more thoughts about things Vulcan in this story. First, I was really pleased to see Spock’s upbringing and cultural values treated with respect. His attempt to deal with his emotional imbalance through Vulcan mental disciplines is portrayed as a viable choice, a means to allow him to continue his chosen Starfleet career—and to remain close to Kirk—not as a retreat from the universe at large or a resort to fanaticism. I therefore love the fact that Spock’s visit to Gol is a short one, a sort of therapy as opposed to the lifetime commitment depicted in ST:TMP. (I have always thought that both Spock and Vulcans in general would be too smart to consider an extreme measure like the kohlinahr—and its essential destruction of the personality—a logical means of dealing with his problems!) The Vulcan Master who assists him cautions that Spock’s plan to reinforce his mental controls in order to continue living among humans will be difficult to carry out. He does go so far as to suggest that Spock consider a change of lifestyle, but his reaction is a far cry from shock or disapproval or a stock condemnation of “outworlders.” The character T’Brita is another refreshing Vulcan element: a believable, capable, sympathetic woman who seems genuinely attracted to Spock. The equivalent can be said of Mai Tagnaki, who comes on the scene as Kirk’s romantic interest, though she is not quite as good a match for Kirk as T’Brita is for Spock. These two women are not villains, but real and likable people who might have made good partners for Kirk and Spock had they not been destined for each other. They are also used very effectively to advance the tension in the story as both men, each thinking himself alone in a hopeless attraction to the other, consider finding what happiness they can in other relationships. This plot element is effective precisely because both women are so fully-realized and sympathetic.If none of the above is enough to convince you to read this story, let me just add this: the scene at the New Year’s Eve party, during which Kirk and Spock keep looking at one other “across a crowded room,” as it were, is worth the price of the zine. The tenderness and frustration and unspoken longing in this scene is simply devastating. If you like angst and a cathartic dose of suffering with your K/S, here it is. Read it. 
Isn't this an apt description of a captivating leaden "Kirk laughed at his friends, at his opponents, and at the worid he strove to conquer. At himself." Self- assurance and kindness personified. What a way with words this lady has!
How one can write of Spock's awakening sexually like an essay, without descriptive phrases of setting, posture or any dialog and keep momentum is amazing. Also amazing is that from the days of Christopher Pike, to Kirk's command to Leila and through pon farr, no aired Trek facts are altered in the slightest. What a story teller, to close all the gaps so succinctly.
Spock's awareness is so poignant when he awakes from a dream he can't remember and illogically wishes for "...someone to touch him, on the shoulder, on the arm. Such a pathetically small wish.
When the writing style changes to present tense, narrative, one hardly notices it's so artfully done.
I was surprised and pleased to find Kirk and Spock both serving in San Francisco during the period in which Spock usually resides at Gol. I like this liberty with the timeline. As told here, Spock "divorced his body at Gol" shortly after his first pon farr.
Lulled into a firm knowledge that Spock had come to accept all things as they are, I was startled and intrigued at the thoughts he allowed himself after leaving Kirk with a female acquaintance. "Spock ached. Oh, he loved Jim." And then: "Love paced its cage within him," Hence the superbly crafted title. "Nothing stirred his body any more", Jenna relates "but his heart...that had been touched."
Even while each of them concentrates on another (woman) there is so very much love portrayed! As when Spock watches Kirk share a New Year's Eve dance with his steady partner. How sad when Spock thinks "This was the future and he must become accustomed to it."When the evening is over and Kirk walks Spock and his Vulcan lady to the door their eyes lock in what Jenna aptly calls a visual embrace. Kirkwhispers "You've got to go, Spock. I've got to let you go." It tore my heart out, that's all.Suddenly violence strikes, forcing resolution of the issue. I know that's a cop-out to say it in so few words, but maybe there's someone who hasn't yet experienced the details. Suffice to say, there are no disappointments here. 
First of all, let me say that this woman is one of my all time favorite authors. I have enjoyed everything story she has ever written and her "Sharing the Sunlight" series surely deserves the title of classic K/S. Her writing style is simply extraordinary and frankly, I dont think she is capable of penning a bad story.
When I first sat down to write this review, I figured I would just start at the beginning of the story, go through it and discuss the various portions of it that I enjoyed and why. But I soon came to realize that if I kept to this plan, my review would be about 40 pages long, since I would have ended up retyping the entire story here. That's because every word, every sentence, every paragraph, every page of this work are nothing less than perfect and it would have been impossible for me to just pick out bits and pieces of it to review. (And although Jenna and Shelley (they-dont-call-me-The- Enforcer-for-nothing) Butler are always encouraging us subscribers to write, write, write, I think that even they would agree that a review that long would have been a bit much!)
So what I decided to do instead was to review the story as a whole and focus on the overall impact it had on me.
First of all, I love the fact that it took so long for Kirk and Spock to come together. Which brings up an interesting point. As soon as I finished reading this story the first time (I'm up to five right now), I rushed over to the computer and sent an email to Jenna, praising her for such a fantastic piece of work. When she wrote back, she told me that while she was working on the story, she began to wonder if it would ever reach a point where Kirk and Spock would finally get together. But for me, that point alone is what makes this story so real. For I have never really fallen into the premise that Kirk and Spock would just hop into bed on their first meeting. While in the series, Kirk was always ready and willing to bed every female that crossed his path at a moment's notice (as long as they weren't part of his crew), and a s all of us K/Sers would like to think, would do the same with Spock, if given the chance, such behavior was totally uncharacteristic of Spock. The only times he ever showed any type of interest in women (or sex for that matter) were when he was under some sort of influence (i.e/the spores in 'This Side of Paradise" and being thrown back to the time of his ancestors in "All Our Yesterdays"). The only exception to this is the atypical interest he showed towards that china doll Droxine in 'The Cloud Minders". I myselfhave always rationalized that the reason for his behavior is that this episode took place shortly after "Spock's Brain" and McCoy amply hadnt put all the parts back in the right places, so poor Spock probably had to do some damage control and was not quite himself when he ran into Droxine. But fortunately by the end of the episode, he came back to his senses and was back at Kirk's side, where he belonged. So even though near the beginning of this story, Spock acknowledges to himself he is in love with Kirk and would bond with him if that were a possibility, he also knows that he has to face the reality that Kirkis strictly heterosexual and has never shown any signs that he considered Spock anything more than a good friend. But after his aborted pon farr, Spock finds he has difficulty controlling his new-found passions. So what does he do? Why the logical thing, of course. He requests leave, goes to Vulcan and melds with a healer who places blocks against any sexual desires that might arise. And thus he remains (or so he leads himself to believe) celibate, passionless and in control of such unwanted desires throughout the rest of the five year mission.
It is only after the mission is over and he and Kirk have been stationed together on Earth for about a year that Spock comes to realize that perhaps he was not in as much control of his desires as he thought he was. This realization comes after he has lunch with Kirk, who reveals that he has a new woman in his life. He tells Spock that he is planning to ask her to go with him to an embassy party, which Spock also plans to attend. There, Spock is introduced to Mai Tagnaki and spends a few moments with her and Kirk before another person at the reception claims his attention. When Spock excuses himself after awhile, but when he looks around for Kirk, he doesnl find him and assumes that Kirkis following his usual pattern of behavior and has taken Mai back to his apartment and they would be "pursuing the initial facets of a sexual relationship". When Spock returns to his own apartment and thinks about Kirk and Mai together, it suddenly dawns on him that although he had control over his body and mind, he did not have control over his heart and was still deeply in love with Jim. But once again, he does the logical thing. He meditates and buries his love for Jim deep inside. And there it remains for almost the rest of the story.
To me, this scenario is totally believable and completely in character. Spock is, after all, bom to logic, not emotion, so to me, the steps he took to control what he felt were unwanted desires were exactly what Ifeel he would do.
The second thing I love about this story is that it is told completely from Spock's POV. As a result, the author has presented perhaps the best in-depth analysis of Spock I have ever read. By telling the story through Spock's eyes, she allows us to see not only into his mind, but into his heart and soul, as well. The constant battle of logicvs. emotion, his feelings for Kirk that he knows must remain hidden, his decision to "do the right thing" by deciding to bond with a Vulcan woman and finally his love and desire for Jim breaking down all the barriers he had built up over a lifetime, it is all told in such a way that the reader is given the opportunity to know, really know, this complex man, all of his weaknesses and all of his strengths.I could go on, but I dont think that anything I say can come even close to describing how I feel about this story. 
Gosh, this is a wonderful story! I love an older Kirk and Spock too, as in the movies. I dont want to give the story away because I feel it's better to discover just how lovely this one truly is. I will say it's one of the best K/S stories I have read. It's about friendship that has ultimately turned to love. Even though both men are involved (in different ways) with other women, they soon come to realize the depth of their feelings for one another. But not before some perfectly added angst and h/c. Also, a beautifully written and very tender love scene that had me shedding a few tears at Spock's pure joy. The whole zine is great with lovely relationship stories, poems, filks, and beautiful art. But that aside, I would recommend this zine for Jenna's story alone. 
While I enjoyed all the stories, I had several favorites. My favorite story in BD1 was "Pacing the Cage". Jenna set the stage perfectly in chapter one by describing Spock's emotional (and physical) development. And having the story told from Spock's point of view is very powerful. Being privy to his hidden desires and his interpretation (and rationalizations) of Kirk's actions makes the story especially effective. And this is one of the best characterizations of Kirk I've ever seen. You can really feel his hidden love for Spock coming across in so many ways. One of my favorite scenes is when Kirk calls Spock on the vidphone to just 'touch base." Kirk's suppressed desire and his gallantry to "do the right thing" comes across powerfully. And Spock's emotional naivete and his misunderstanding Kirk's motives is just as powerful. And later, when Spock relates to Kirk his meld with T'Brita, the lack of true communication between them as they each try to respect each other's perceived boundaries is very poignant. 
What can be said, other than this is a masterpiece, written by a truly talented writer? From the beginning this story grips you, holds onto you as it unfolds, and leaves you feeling warm and satisfied when it ends.
All told from Spock's POV, the first few pages show Spock's early indifference to sex, his aloof nature and how everything changed when Kirk entered his life. Now he had a friend and Spock was just realizing how much that friend meant, when he had his first sexual experience. Spock's ashamed of how Kirk saw him with Leila and how he acted. He feels he betrayed Kirk for giving in to the pleasure. After his pon farr he's devastated, and convinced that sex and physical sensation have no place in his life. Unfortunately, he can't seem to stop the flooding emotions and physical reactions that keep plaguing him, especially regarding Kirk. So, off to Gol, to have his controls reinforced. His is a convoluted logic, because he wants to excise this part of himself just so he can return to his captain, who brings out these feelings in him. Poor Spock doesn't even know he loves Kirk yet. The story really takes off from there, but I don't want to give it away so I'll just share a few thoughts: It's post five-year mission, and during this time Spock finally realizes he loves Kirk, wants him, but believes he will never have him. While Kirk's emotions are not openly expressed until near the end, there's no mistaking how he feels about his Vulcan. He invites Spock to dinner with his newest paramour, picking a restaurant he admits he doesn’t know if she'll like but he knows Spock will. His voice is 'desolate' when he finds out Spock melded with T'Brita, how he can't help but look at Spock when he's dancing with Mai at the New Year's party, how Kirk keeps touching Spock and telling him he has to be happy, find happiness. I love the detail given in the story. Each scene is described and presented in such a way that I had a vivid picture of how it looked: when Kirk first introduced Mai Tagnaki at the Andorian embassy, the dinner the three of them had together, Spock's meeting and association with T'Brita, the camping trip. Such wonderful scenes. My favorite is on the steps outside Kirk's townhouse. "He grabbed both sides of Spock's coat, pulled them together, pressed the cloth and the length of his forearms against Spock's chest—and then paused, looking down. Jim exhaled deeply, Spock felt the kiss of frosty breath against his lips, and for the third time that evening he and Jim became locked in a visual embrace." I can see it so clearly in my mind. The characters were perfect. The way they spoke, how they acted, they were Kirk and Spock. I liked T'Brita's character a lot, and I actually felt sorry for her at the end. When they finally express their feelings and make love - whew! Sexy and hot and loving.A definite must-read. Thank you, Jenna, for a great story! 
This is a beautiful, slow, sensuously paced story of Spock’s falling in love and inevitably finding that love with Kirk.
During Spock’s long inner journey, he meets a woman with whom he contemplates bonding. At the same time, Kirk also meets a woman with whom he attempts to establish a relationship. This dual scenario creates wonderful angst for Spock and we are right there with him, moment by moment, as he struggles with his growing feelings for Kirk. There are countless extraordinary details in this story—I can only relate a few of them or else I’d end up explaining the whole wonderful thing! Details such as Spock noticing and recoiling from Kirk’s woman- friend’s red-painted fingernails. When Kirk and Spock go camping—“burning cubes, necessary in this protected area”. The mind-meld is a driving need in Spock as it is for all Vulcans like the need for sex. But especially terrific was the whole scene of Spock’s and T’Brita’s discussion of Christmas. It was so wonderful hearing what this proper Vulcan woman thought of all the various human rituals—this was all so funny, poignant and charming. Spock is hit by a car which precipitates Kirk’s and his expression of their love for each other. I absolutely loved this event—it was so clever and so perfect to bring the two of them together. But before that happens, the story closely follows Spock as he watches Kirk, as he “dates” the Vulcan woman, as he fights his inner turmoil and tries desperately to let go of his longing for Kirk. It’s all very close-up and personal—truly a masterful example of how powerful a strong POV can be. I did experience some difficulties. One was the continual use of the past perfect tense, even in present time scenes. Almost every scene was a “had happened” or “when Spock had last seen Kirk...” or “before when Spock had seen Kirk...” which became disconcerting as I tried to follow the time sequence. A difficulty with the use of so much past tense was in slowing the momentum of the story for me. I know this is a leisurely story and I definitely enjoy that, but some moments and some scenes became difficult to picture without knowing when they occurred. This next difficulty is a little harder to explain, but I’ll try. I love “suffering Spock” stories. I love all the wonderful angst he goes through and all his emotional traumas. In this story, he certainly has plenty of them and it was beautifully done and gorgeously written for sure. But there were times when I just wanted to shake him and yell: “Hey! Spock! Enough already! Get over it!” I’m not being flippant—I think this is a serious story that deserves an in-depth look. It’s just that—for me—there was maybe too much of a good thing. Maybe Spock’s inner turmoil went on too long. I only say this because so much of the story was so powerful, so affecting, so strong, that I was swept up in Spock’s dilemma. It was only after about twelve scenes of essentially similar thoughts and feelings that I started to have too much. But I can’t end this review without mentioning my immediate trepidation upon approaching this story after reading Jenna’s comment about “housekeeping”. Well, all I can say is that I loved the “cut-to-the-crashing-dishes-in-the-kitchen” and fade to black before any actual explicit scenes of overt housekeeping. Thank goodness.All this having been said, this is one masterful writer—in K/S or elsewhere for that matter. 
I include this in my small private collection of favorites. But it is not a story that I consider a relaxing read, it is full of tension and missed opportunities between Kirk and Spock. The story is told completely from Spock's POV, and begins with Spock's feelings and observations about his sexual awareness and about his responses to Kirk in the first five year mission This look at Spock is intriguing and the glimpses of Kirk that we see speak of the affection between them that continues to grow. With this background, Jenna leaps to Kirk and Spock's relationship after the five year mission. Their interactions are brief, but are a joy to read. I love the line where Kirk is slightly annoyed with Spock for letting his father try to make him a diplomat and Spock's answer, "Of that I am well aware. Sarek is aware that I am aware, and I am also cognizant of his awareness." So delightful yet within Spock's character. One can hear Kirk's laughter in response and imagine the confusion of the other diners seeing a human laughing while in the presence of a Vulcan. Spock meets Kirk's newest female companion and discovers in the privacy of his apartment, that he loves Kirk and yet knows that he cannot offer Kirk what he needs. This scene is so well done, one is left with the same feeling of hopelessness that Spock must feel. The one paragraph explaining the title so well, "And he did not know what to do with that love, where to put it in his neat, ordered life. It had no possibility of expression. It raged within him, screamed for words, demanded action- -but there was no escape for it. Love paced its cage within him." Absolutely wonderful.
From there, Spock meets a Vulcan woman and decides to develop a relationship with her. The lunch between Kirk and Spock when he tells Jim of his 'date' is wonderfully written, full of...not tension exactly, but unease. Both men wanting to share in their friendship but unable to talk about what they really feel. And each wanting to protect the other, to do whatever they can to ensure the other's happiness. The camping trip that they spend together is so very bittersweet, again they try to talk honestly, Spock discussing his relationship with T'Brita. But the ability to openly discuss their feelings eludes them. Even when Kirk slips and says, "Spoken like the Spock I know and...", Spock completes the sentence in his mind but convinces himself that Kirk considers the love they share is as brothers. Again, the moments between them just tears your heart out, Spock waiting for the touch of Kirk's hand to awaken him in the morning, a ritual between them. Kirk wishing Spock, "Happiness, my friend. Happiness with whomever you need." It is about at this point that I find myself wanting to scream out at both of them. Then they meet again at a New Year's Eve party and there are several tense moments between them, full of emotion and love that both of them have convinced themselves the other one does not want. Kirk finally works up the courage to say something but his actions causes a nearly disastrous accident to occur. The scenes where Spock is hurt, told from his POV is very well written, one knows what Kirk is doing throughout, how he is hurting even though Spock awareness is limited. Incredibly difficult to write and yet I find myself lingering over each line. T'Brita is perfect, adding just enough conflict to round the scene out.Then, finally, we have made it through the tension, the misunderstandings, Kirk hijacks Spock from the hospital and T'Brita and brings him home. And he finally has the courage to tell Spock of his feelings, opening the door between them. These final scenes sing of their love for one another as only Jenna can do. There are a few conflicts and loose ends to work through that only add extra emotional moments to the story. I hate that I'm not saying much about the ending because it is really beautiful and well written, I think it's just because I'm always so relieved to make it to this part that I simply relax and enjoy the rest of it with joy in my heart along with a moment to simply shake my head at the pain these boys put us through before finally getting together. Excellent story. So very well written. A joy to read. Well, a tense joy. 
I didn’t think I would like this one, but once I started reading it, I soon changed my mind. Kirk and Spock are sharing shore leave in Iowa at Kirk’s family home and after their first time together, they share a conversation about how they might still have become lovers in a variety of other situations. There was a wonderful atmosphere about this story, and it created some lovely images with Kirk and Spock sitting by a warm fire, drinking brandy and the rain beating against the windows, while they discuss all the various ways in which they might have come together anyway. 
For me, this was the best story in the zine. Satisfyingly long it was certainly the highlight for me and is a wonderful look at Spock’s emotional development over time. The author explores very well how he clamps down on his emotions, and denies how he feels about Kirk over a period during the initial mission. It then progresses on to after the end of the first five year mission, when both Kirk and Spock are living on earth. Kirk is now living with a woman, Mai, but still meets Spock every now and then as friends. When Spock gets to meet Mai, he realises he is jealous of her relationship with Kirk, but struggles to conceal this, valuing their
friendship, even while he wishes it was more. Things become more complicated when he meets a Vulcan woman called T’Brita and she makes it clear she would like to bond with him. Spock’s dilemma as he considers if he should bond with T’Brita or not is especially well written. Spock drifts along with T’Brita although he is not really sure he wants to bond with her. At the same time, Kirk comes to the conclusion, that he must hide his own feelings and allow Spock to have a “normal” life with T’Brita, no matter how unhappy itmakes him and how much he wants Spock for himself. The character of T’Brita is well drawn, she is a strong and independent woman who wants to make the most of her time on Earth and learn as much about its customs as possible, hence her going to the poetry recital where she first meets Spock. You have to credit her persistence in pursuing Spock, even when she realises that he is ambivalent about their bonding. Matters come to a head when Spock tries to talk to Kirk about how he feels, and Kirk puts him off. I particularly liked the scenes at the New Year party, where Spock’s pain while watching Kirk and Mai kissing on the dancefloor is especially well depicted. At the very last minute, Kirk has a change of heart which has serious consequences for Spock. The tension during this period is maintained very well, in particular Kirk agonising over McCoy’s absence and whether or not Spock will recover. In typical Kirk fashion, Kirk overrules T’Brita and insists on taking Spock back to his own house to recuperate, to T’Brita’s displeasure, so he can spend some time alone with Spock uninterrupted. The scene where Kirk finally admits how he feels is very well written, and clearly portrays Spock’s impatience as he recovers and how he overcomes the problem of speeding up his recovery is also well described as is his final meeting with T’Brita who finally realises that she cannot stand in his way any longer. 
This story is absolutely magnificent. I don't even know what I can really objectively say about the story. It has beauty and love and pain and tenderness and caring and it offers them all in a poignant and profoundly beautifully written package. I generally try not to gush in a review, but I don't think I can avoid it with this story.
Spock in this story is completely in character, but also different from how I had ever imagined him. His Vulcan controls and reserve hide a tremendous depth of pain and shame and insecurity. Kirk is tender and sensitive, very appealing.There are two important original characters in the story: Mai Tagnaki a social climber Kirk is infatuated with and T'Brita, a Vulcan female. Both of these characters serve the story well without overwhelming it. T'Brita, in particular, is an excellent character that sets off Spock's own uniqueness very well. I very much liked the fact that Spock's feelings for and appreciation of T'Brita were genuine, even though it is Kirk that he chooses to bond with. That's enough objectivity. Back to gushing. Pacing the Cage is amazing. I gave it to a friend who was mildly horrified by the very idea of K/S to read and she was blown away. I don't know if she'll become a K/Ser, but after reading this one story she now understands the concept. 
There are moments in fiction that etch themselves indelibly in our minds. Such is the scene that occurs midway of Jenna Sinclair’s PACING THE CAGE. If you’ve ever read this story, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It is as if you’ve witnessed it personally and will never be able to shake the horror and the pain and the thin thread of hope from your mind.
No, I won’t describe it. Couldn’t possibly. Jenna did that for us in a way that only she can do, so if you haven’t read this classic, I urge you to take some quiet time and do it! You won’t be sorry. This gifted author’s thoughtful and thorough exploration of Spock’s sexuality and his own reaction to it begins with glimpses of his earliest years on the Enterprise with Captain Pike, through meeting Kirk for the first time and continuing in their many missions together. The underlying theme is that Spock and Kirk may each harbor unexpressed, even unacknowledged feelings for each other at the end of the five year mission, but as is often the case with our choices in life, Spock’s and Kirk’s are made out of ignorance or denial of their true desires. Each, with some unexpressed reluctance, turns to a woman to fill the empty space in his heart. Mai and T’Brita are not cardboard cutouts or token affairs to be tossed aside, both have a depth of character that supplies a needed reality to their role. T’Brita, in my opinion, is an especially sympathetic creation. Inevitably, there comes that fateful New Year’s Eve when all that Spock means to him hits Kirk like an exploding star and sets into motion an event that once you’ve encountered it, you will never, ever forget.What a tremendous experience waits for the reader of this powerful novella! 
- 20 TOS K/S fic recs, October 16, 2009
- Master List of K/S Favorites, Mary Monroe
- from The K/S Press #33
- from The K/S Press #33
- from The K/S Press #34
- from The K/S Press #51
- from The K/S Press #51
- from The K/S Press #51
- from The K/S Press #59
- from The K/S Press #27
- from The K/S Press #38
- from The K/S Press #85
- from The K/S Press #111
- from The K/S Press #111 and #187
- from The K/S Press #74
- from The K/S Press #197