The Healing (Star Trek: TOS story by Patricia Laurie Stephens)
Also see The Healing for other things with this title.
|Author(s):||Patricia Laurie Stephens|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
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It was published in the print zine Fever #1.
"When Kirk and Spock go undercover to break up a drug ring, they must deal with facing the men who held both of them as young boys."
Reactions and Reviews
Every piece she delivers gives me controversial feeling. Weird is but one adjective that comes to my mind. I feel myself drawn and repulsed at the same time. Is it because I recognize the possibilities to act or react as she portrays her 'victims'? Is it because she walks close to the edge and perhaps in some cases crosses it? Am I fascinated with the darker side in me? After all this time I still don't know it, What I do know it that her work makes me feel uneasy. 
This story is original and compelling in many ways. It presents a Federation which isn't all-pristine perfect. The Federation officials are not above ruthlessly using Kirk, Spock, or anyone else for whatever political ends they feel are necessary. Kirk is kidnapped by slavers in his early teens. What they do to him is, in my mind worse than conventional rape. They bring him into involuntary response; one of the slavers fucks Kirk after convincing the young teen that it is something pleasurable. The young Kirk is simply not of an age where he can prevail against men who are a lot bigger and older than he is, who are so overpowering. Anyway, the slavers keep Kirk as their own "possession" to use. Kirk is thoroughly convinced that the arrangement is "consensual," that he "really likes it." From then on, his sexual preference is to be fucked "...and hard." A young Vulcan (later known to be Spock) is brought in, and in front of the young Kirk, is raped. The two are then rescued by Spock's relatives. This incident shadows their later meeting and relationship many years later, when the two find themselves as Captain and First Officer as Starfleet sends them on a mission to capture the still-missing slavers. The story isn't very pretty, but it gripped me throughout, to the end. Highly original. 
I think that this is one of the very first K/S stories that Patricia Laurie Stephens wrote. Other early stories from her (information gleaned from Jo Savage's handy-dandy zine index, available to all by asking) include "Concealed Reflections" from Counterpoint 1, "The Redeemer" in Counterpoint 2, and "To Turn the Tide" in Charisma 6. I like all of these stories by PLS (all published in 1989), just as I tend not to like most of her later work. (With the notable exception of "Hovering" in The 25th Year.)
PLS has a really unique take on K/S that often includes a weak Spock, sexual abuse, sexual dysfunction, an almost clinical approach to sex, and a very matter of fact, unromantic relationship between Kirk and Spock. Sometimes that can be very refreshing! Sometimes it can go way too far for my tastes. In "The Healing," the story skirts just on the edge of what I find okay reading. It opens with a scene that really is pretty disturbing, a young Jim Kirk—and I mean really young, as in maybe twelve or thirteen—is kidnapped by slavers and introduced to male to male sex by someone who is "training" him. I find it very disturbing reading. Even though the young Kirk was drugged and the experience was unreal, I just don't like reading about rape of underage characters.
It gets even worse when Spock, about the same age, is also captured and taken on board, and he's really abused. The young Kirk, still drugged up, has to witness it all, and he's sympathetic to the unknown Vulcan teenager, who's had a much worse experience than Kirk endured, and Kirk tries to help him. They are rescued by Vulcans shortly afterwards, and Kirk goes home to Iowa. But, the author tells us, he never forgets or really gets over his experience, and generally prefers submissive male to male sex from then on.
(These scenes really haunted me in the early days of my K/S experience, so much so that I sort of "rewrote" them in a story that I wrote myself. I made Kirk older, made the sexual experience not quite so horrific, and changed the motivations of the rapist. That seemed to help me put my discomfort withthis scenario to rest. But it really did bother me for a long time.)
Naturally, Kirk and Spock meet up later on the Enterprise, and Kirk discovers that Spock has been severely scarred by the experience. "He saw what it had done to Spock. It had turned him into a stiff, starched, bloodless individual. Kirk had met enough Vulcans to know that, while very much in control of their emotions, they weren't emotionless or cold, as Spock portrayed." I like this explanation for Spock's sterility.
The plot continues as the command team, growing slowly more comfortable with each other and beginning a tentative friendship, are sent undercover to a seedy planet involved in the drug trade. There they come upon some of the same people who had kidnapped them so long ago, and along the way, Spock goes into pon farr.
The scene where Spock confronts what is happening to his body, his distress, and Kirk's attempt to help him I find to be very effective. This is a great example of a fairly unique characterization of Kirk that is fully supported and explained by the events of the plot.So there are parts of this story that are pretty distasteful to me, and parts that are memorable. It's worth reading to see what you think about it. 
“The Healing” by Patricia Laurie Stephens is about Kirk and Spock being kidnapped as boys and used sexually, which wasn’t really something I wanted to read about, but that’s only in the very first part of the story. They are rescued by Vulcans who have been looking for Spock, and then years later they meet again on the Enterprise. They have a mission to go to a planet and help break up some drug distribution ring, and they end up coming up against the same people who had kidnapped them years before. This story raised some disquieting images for me, but she’s a convincing writer. 
THE HEALING by Patricia Laurie Stephens is one of the two best stories in the zine. The bulk of the story takes place in the past, when a young Jimmy Kirk and a young Spock were kidnapped by slavers and brutally abused. Later in life, each of the two Starfleet officers begins to realize that the other also underwent the same abuse. This is a good story in that it does not soften reality or turn into mushy K/S goop, but still manages to have a happy ending.