I see an awful lot of fanfics that portray Spock as a desperately lonely person who has never had a friend in his entire life until Jim Kirk came along. Given that Spock has always appealed to misfits and outcasts and unusual people of all stripes, that's certainly a valid interpretation of the character. But it's been done a LOT, and there's another interpretation I'd like to see.
Certainly Kirk is special to Spock and Spock to Kirk, but Kirk is Spock's only friend EVER? I mean, think about it: WE all love Spock, so why wouldn't he have found at least a handful of people to appreciate him throughout his life? EVERY person on Vulcan was an asshole? EVERY person at Starfleet Academy was xenophobic? EVERY person on the Enterprise during Chris Pike's tenure was a jerk? That seems ... rather improbable to me.
I'd think that Vulcan logic would dictate that cultivating the son of the Vulcan ambassador would be advantageous. I imagine that once past the age of schoolyard bullies — after the age of 12 or so — Spock has to fend off the vast numbers of young Vulcans who want to hang out with him in the hopes of its leading to some sort of social advantage. And that's in addition, of course, to all the Vulcans who want to hang out with Spock just because they like him or they have common interests.
But the situation doesn't change when Spock reaches Starfleet, even though he hides the fact that he's the son of the Vulcan ambassador. Because if you think about it, Starfleet is composed of people who want to go out and explore the galaxy; they WANT to meet new people from new civilizations. Such folk should be MORE open to people from other planets than the average human, so during Spock's Academy years, he has to constantly fend off xenoPHILIC people who want to get to know the Vulcan cadet.
So I'd love to see a K/S story where Kirk is NOT the only person who's ever liked or appreciated Spock, one where Kirk has to work hard to differentiate himself from all those people who've sucked up to Spock over the years. This story could take several different forms; here are a couple of suggestions:
1. A story set at the Academy where Spock is wary of Kirk because so MANY human cadets want to know a Vulcan, and he's tired of being The Example Vulcan for dozens of people. Kirk will have to gradually prove that he wants to know him because of things particular to SPOCK, not just because "Oooh, a Vulcan!"
2. A story set on the Enterprise during the early days of Kirk's captaincy. Kirk wants to get to know his first officer in an informal context, but he has trouble catching Spock off-duty in the beginning, because Spock's social time is so full. Spock's in charge of all the scientists on the ship, which, given their mission, has to be a lot of people. And surely lots of scientists would admire Spock's mind and find him interesting, in addition to showing the usual xenoPHILIC reaction of Starfleet officers. So Spock's social time is very full, what with his having fascinating discussions with many of the scientists under his command. When Kirk wants to get to know his first officer socially, it's hard at first, because Spock's so very popular.
And not just the scientists; Spock's teaching Uhura the Vulcan lute and discussing botany with Sulu and talking about matter-antimatter engine theory with Scotty, and there are just so MANY people who want to hang out with Spock. Chess with the captain? Spock would not be averse to a game, but his first free evening is six weeks from now... (If you do this, please don't have Gary Mitchell be Kirk's first officer. Mitchell was never the XO, and while people can write whatever they want in fan fiction — that's part of the goal and the glory of fanfic :-D — I always find it annoying when people make Mitchell the XO.)
In either of these stories, of course Kirk prevails in the end, partly because prevailing in the end is pretty much the definition of Kirk's character :-), and partly because Kirk really IS a better fit for Spock than most people are. And of course each of them will gradually realize that the other is not just one more friend but someone special, an unsually kindred spirit. But Kirk will have different hurdles to overcome than the usual ones in connecting with Spock...
You can make this friendship or romance, whichever you prefer; it's the emotional tie I care about, not whether they're rubbing bits. :-)
Of course this needs to be TOS, since AOS Spock has Uhura, so he's rarely portrayed in fan fiction as having no real friends until Kirk.
Thanks so much to anyone who chooses to write this! And even if no one does, thanks for thinking about this alternative view for a moment.
(This is the first time I've ever posed a challenge or answered one, so I'm not completely sure of how these things work. I hope I did this right. I know how to find the latest stories, but how does one find the newest challenges? I don't see a button for that...)