Thou, Under the Willow

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K/S Fanfiction
Title: Thou, Under the Willow
Author(s): JS Cavalcante
Date(s): 1994
Genre: slash
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series
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Thou, Under the Willow is a Kirk/Spock story by JS Cavalcante.

It was published in the print zine T'hy'la #14.


"During a storm on a planet theyʼre charting, Kirk and Spock take refuge in the hollowed out trunk of a tree."

Reactions and Reviews

I loved the mood of this story, one of those that really got to me, eliciting a lot of sighs and moans. And in my notes I found myself wanting to copy out just about every other line as something excellent I wanted to comment on. Really beautiful, sensitive language.

An Earth-like planet with forces interfering with sensor instruments. A landing party of six come by shuttlecraft. (A mistake: "...when Kirk strode into the transporter room," but they didn't transport, they came by shuttle.) A simple, effective scenario was created to have them not be able to beam out of danger at a moment's notice. I'm always looking for those. Separated from the others in landing party, Wrk and Spock are caught in a severe storm and Spock protects Kirk with his body. Kirk remembers the incident in the cave on Procyon 7, but he won't think of it with Spock so physically close and able to read his thoughts. Spock is also remembering Procyon 7. Both have tried to banish the memory. (An aside: I count three people, one of whom is me, who have used the planet 'Procyon' in recent stories, all unbeknownst to each other as far as I know. Hmm...) They take shelter in a hollow of a gigantic "willow" tree, which just happens to be there and just the right size for an intimate encounter for two - how convenient. They leave their wet clothes outside; are naked and dry in the leaves inside, in the dark.

The Procyon 7 incident is revealed: In a blizzard. Spock is injured; in healing trance with Kirk watching over. Kirk leaves for a minute but has an accident, suffers hypothermia, etc. Later Spock finds him, takes off Kirk's clothes and his own back in the cave, wraps them both up in a Novatyvek (I like that) blanket, keeping Kirk warm and awake. Finally Kirk is warmed, Spock lets him sleep, and kisses his ear; he is shocked at himself for that. Lovely, lovely, tender moments, wonderful hurt/comfort. Except: surely there should have been just one mention of genitals during hours of naked snuggling. Conspicuous by absence. This way, it's as if they didn't even have any. The next morning...

[much of review snipped due to length]

... I love the charming funny scene where they wonder who should ask whom to marry him! Kirk voices his feeling odd at Spock's superior strength; being "taken" by a man. (Why do we call being penetrated being "taken," when clearly the one who is "taken" is the one whose appendage is taken into the other person. Doesn't it remind you of something men made up? Afraid of women's power, men let themselves be taken but try to convince the taker that she is the one who is being taken.) Wonderful sexl Sweet, erotic, loving. Finally. Kirk touches Spock's penis for the first time - lovely, lovely moment Kirk fucks Spock. but they must wait for Spock to fuck Kirk, when he can be prepared properly. My first thought was that this was a rather pretentious title. But by the end of course it fit. "Thou beside me..." and all that. Beautiful, beautiful story. [1]
In the literature of K/S, the Cave holds an honored place as the site of many a first-time get together. This is a Cave Story, except that in place of a cave, our heroes' sanctuary is a large hollow in a weeping willow tree.

As the story begins. Kirk and Spock are surveying a planet together, cut off from communication with the Enterprise, the rest of the survey party, and the transporters by an "unknown phenomenon interfering with the sensors." From their conversation and interaction, it's obvious that the two men, while still "just friends," care deeply for each other. They pass a huge, hollow-based and well-appointed willow tree (which is described beautifully); then, they are caught in a thunderstorm and hailstorm, which makes returning to their shuttlecraft problematic. Naturally, they head for the willow tree. The jaded K/S reader can easily guess what is, er, coming next.

But wait. We learn of a previous incident, two years earlier, in which the friends indeed were stranded in a cave, with Kirk near death on an icy planet named Procyon Seven, and ended up making love. The episode is shown in a flashback from Spock's point of view. Apparently, a "colossal misunderstanding" resulted from that encounter, which Spock experienced as intensely passionate but which he thinks meant only physical release to Kirk. Before they can move on, they need to resolve their conflicting interpretations of this event. In my opinion, the presentation of the earlier incident on Procyon Seven is an enormous weakness in what otherwise would be a pleasant though unoriginal story. This weakness has at least three sources.

First, the account lacks a clear focus. So many reasons are given why the incident was problematic for the two men, few of them squarely and clearly, that it's difficult for the reader to get a grip on exactly what it meant to either of them. The experience, as shown from Spock's perspective, initially sounds wonderful; but, we're told that Spock is ashamed because he lost control; we're also told that it really wasn't a casual 
experience for Kirk, and then later that maybe it was;
we learn that Kirk thinks he may have had trouble
accepting a lover who is physically stronger; and finally,
that Spock was afraid he would create an involuntary
bonding. To me, this is the problem of
"overdetermination'-giving so many explanations and
of the same event that the account no longer has
dramatic focus. Second, it's hard to believe that two close friends could have such a "colossal misunderstanding" (Kirk's words) about an incident in which they were both so intimately involved. Even without touch telepathy, I can't see how two people as close as Kirk and Spock could experience such intimacy and such a dramatic shift in their relationship without being more aware of what it meant to each of them.

And finally, it's equally hard to believe that the two continued to be close friends, continued to work closely together, continued to care about each other as Kirk and Spock obviously do in this story, while simply repressing this incident, refusing to come to terms with it or resolve their interpretations of it, and trying to act as though it never happened--for two years. I know Starfleet discipline is awesome, but realty Instead of creating a misunderstanding that adds on almost every psychological barrier to K/S but the galley sink, I wish the author had written a real story as, obviously, she has the ability to do. In fact she got my hopes up with a marvelous sentence in the middle of the "flashback" scene, just before Spock and Kirk make love: "[Spock] felt a stab of regret ... that this moment he had sometimes imagined, and mostly forbidden himself to imagine, was here, and it was not as he might have wished." Now that could have been a real story, the difference between anticipation and reality in the "first time." What if, for one or both, the reality failed to measure up to imagination and fantasy? What if the two made love and then one or the other realized that either he or his partner was not ready for a sexual relationship? "Thou, Under the Willow" would have made much more sense as the story of what might have happened after such an incident, and how Kirk and Spock resolved the difficulties that kept them from becoming lovers-in-earnest after an abortive first time together. Unfortunately, by presenting the earlier incident as a misunderstanding and an episode that both repressed, the author prevented that story (or any real story about the experience on Procyon Seven) from being told.

While I love almost any concatenation of events that finds our heroes stranded in an intimate situation, I didn't find the circumstances here to be altogether believable. Just how many times can our heroes be marooned due to an "unknown phenomenon interfering with the sensors," anyway? And how realistic is it that, under such obviously dangerous circumstances, Kirk and Spock would go off on their own without the ubiquitous redshirts? I also thought they were a little too casual about failing to keep their rendezvous at the shuttlecraft with the rest of the survey team.

Of course, when all is said and done, the resolution of this story is highly satisfying. For me and I suspect for most K/S fans the denouement alone will be worth the read. [2]
K and S on a research mission are stranded on a planet. During a violent, pounding storm, they make their way to a willow tree with large hole in the trunk for shelter. While waiting out the night, Spock begins to remember a previous incident in which he felt he had failed to protect his captain.

Wonderful series feel to this story and an on-target Spock.

During the past incident, they had Iain together to keep warm and had touched each other sexually. Kirk had tried to insist that it meant nothing beyond the enjoyment of sex, but Spock knew his own deepest feelings and certainly had felt otherwise. So now in the confines of a willow tree {a lovely image), Spock confesses his love to Kirk.

One problem is that it had been 2 years since the incident in the cave - a bit too long to have sustained the memory with unrequited and unreciprocated feelings on both their parts, especially since they now express their love for each other rather easily.

Also, sort of inappropriate joking and poking in the ribs during an otherwise sexual encounter. Then, too much talk, good talk, mind you - really interesting exploration of what it means for both to be with a man. But it slows the action somewhat and goes introspective at a crucial time when the story should move forward with lots of emotion.

But a lovely, careful ending showing how each other is all they need. Also, the perfect time to end the story - as they walk away from the willow. [3]


  1. from Come Together #1
  2. from Come Together #10
  3. from Come Together #3