Reviewer: aldora89 Signed
Chapter 1: Part 1
This review has been a long time coming, so I apologize in advance for the insane rant! As I was just telling (read: gushing to) a friend recently, this story rips your heart to shreds and only puts it back together at the very end. Once I start reading it, I can never stop until I marathon the whole thing, or I'll feel depressed the rest of the day. I inevitably tear up or cry at least a half-dozen times, and often have to look away from the screen and shake my head silently because a particular scene is too overwhelming.
And the best part is, it's so affecting because it's so damn plausible. There is literally no time at which I have to suspend disbelief, not even for a second, because there isn't a single explanation or character action that doesn't ring true. In fact, this story overrides my happy "they-bonded-after-TMP" headcanon for days after I read it, because my brain insists this version of events makes the most sense out of anything. Obviously they spent their entire lives in a state of denial, drifting apart on their chosen paths, and were both quietly miserable for it.
You fix everything that bothers me about the Trek movies. You juggle a million factors - marriage, resentment over a friend’s absence, loneliness, duty, self-sacrifice, repressed emotions - and weave them seamlessly together. This story has a level of respect for the characters that canon itself often fails to capture. Major and minor characters alike feel like real people, complex and conflicted. It's as if they've come right off the screen in the best possible way. You get into Spock's head like no one else I’ve read. You balance his emotional and logical sides with perfect honesty – I can hear Leonard Nimoy’s voice narrating the whole way through. The way you handle death and separation is both sensitive and insightful, and as a reader, the emotions of these men are so raw at times it feels like getting punched in the gut.
You also have this incredible way of conveying the rhythms of everyday life, and the significance that single encounters and random chance can have on a relationship. Kirk and Spock really hurt each other and make mistakes in this story, and the reader is never compelled to take sides because no one is right or wrong. There can be no apology in a case of constant misunderstandings and unspoken feelings. That's a rare quality to come across in any kind of fiction with interpersonal conflict.
In summary, this isn't just one of the best fics I've read, but one of the best stories, period. This is a story I'd feel comfortable directing a non-K/S Trek fan toward and saying "read this with an open mind, and you just might get it." Hell, you never even label their feelings, and the ending is almost ambiguous enough that it could be interpreted as an intense but platonic friendship. Then again, as you responded to another commenter, do labels like platonic and romantic even matter here? I don't think so. You make it pretty clear the love between Kirk and Spock is transcendent - not just of labels, but time and space itself. You’ve enriched the whole fandom with this fic, and often I think to myself “If I can write Spock and Kirk half as well as Killa someday, I’ll have it made.”