Consequences (Professionals story)

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The Professionals Fanfiction
Title: Consequences
Author(s): Tarot & A.N.Other
Date(s): c. 1980-1981
Length:
Genre:
Fandom: The Professionals
External Links: Online Version at the Circuit Library

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Consequences is a Professionals slash 19-page circuit story written by Tarot[1] & AN Other in the 1980s.

first page

This story is responsible for creating The Game trope in Professionals fandom.

It was a story many fans found troubling and offensive when first written, and most fans feel the same today.

It is a significant story in the history of the fandom, because of the controversy it generated and because of the number of stories spawned directly from it or using the concept in one way or another. It is also notable in that fans are still discussing it today.

One fan says: "...I've never seen this story "recced" anywhere as a "good story to read", although I have seen people recommend reading it as a part of fandom history, because it spawned a huge reaction to the extent that many people wrote sequels to negate the story, and because people are clearly still talking about it today. I do think it's important to read it in the context of the whole fandom response though, rather than as a one-off story that in any way represents Pros fandom (or did at the time) because it clearly never did." [2]

The Story

The story's main premise is that Bodie's (canonical) mercenary background included a (decidedly non-canonical) "Game"—to relieve sexual tension, the mercenaries would fight each other, winner take all. This was the only way Bodie knew how to have m/m sexual relations, so in the story's present-day, when he finds himself unexpectedly attracted to a particularly vulnerable (drunk and maudlin) Doyle, he reverts to Game techniques, beats the crap out of Doyle, and rapes him. Later that night he realizes that perhaps that wasn't his best move, and attempts to mend fences with Doyle by seducing him, which works—sort of. Eventually they wind up in a relationship that's based on a struggle for emotional dominance, with each of them truly wanting the other but neither willing to admit to it, or to any softer feelings.

The Story Behind The Story

The story behind the story is that Tarot and AN Other were writing partners during Starsky and Hutch's heyday - (early to mid 80's) - writing both gen and slash. Tarot migrated into writing Professionals slash stories. AN Other, however, couldn't see any way Bodie and Doyle could ever have a sexual relationship unless it was rooted in violence and wrote "Consequences" to underscore that point. Tarot had a different view, and attempted to "salvage" the story by rewriting the ending, to allow for a potential happier ending.[3][4]

At the 1988 ZebraCon, AN Other explained her thinking behind writing "Consequences": She wrote as far as the scene where Bodie goes downstairs (after the rape) and has a sandwich, can't finish it and puts it on top of the fridge. She stopped writing after that scene, as the only probable response (and ending) to the story, was to have Doyle wake up, take up his gun and shoot Bodie - and she didn't see any point in finishing it. It is at the point that Tarot decided she had to 'fix' the story and she wrote the back half of it.[5]

The Authors Comment

In 1985, AN Other wrote about her thoughts regarding Bodie/Doyle:
The Topic for Discussion in THE 1 was my assertion that B&D don't like each other. Mes amis, in first season, they didn't. That is a fact, and often the script was fighting the personal antipathy between the two. As the series progressed, however, I will concede that a tolerance matured into a wary friendship, and eventually they did 'like' each other. 'Love' is another matter entirely, and I hesitate to get myself in deeper than I already am, because I still don't 'see' B/D as a valid premise. That's a personal opinion. Everyone is entitled, right...? I can still read the fiction and enjoy it. I just don't believe it. Which makes it impossible to write it. I have to (a) believe in the premises and (b) like the characters I'm writing about. Which brings me to another misconception currently prevalent in BD fandom -- the notion that I hate THE PROFESSIONALS. This is not true. I don't hate them. I watch the show and enjoy it. I read the fanfic and enjoy it, and I appreciate Ray Doyle as much as anyone can whose heart belongs now and forever to a certain L.A. detective sergeant.[6] So can we at least get this (you should pardon the phrase) straight? However, where it comes to Bodie... It's not his fault. The acting is too good. He reminds me too much of someone I once knew and cordially disliked. Sorry about that. A fault in me, no doubt, that I can't separate the two...[7]
In 2010, Tarot commented on the story:
[It was] ...a tandem effort with A.N.Other. We were at a get-together with other friends and the talk naturally turned to the Lads. Since we'd done a fair bit in S&H by that time, it was suggested we try our hand at B/D. We agreed - A.N. reluctantly. We talked it over between us, worked out the backgrounds we felt could have formed their then current mindsets, and A.N. started writing 'Consequences'. Then decided there was no way any lasting sexual relationship was going to work between them. Given the scenario she'd written for them, Doyle would kill him. So I took it on. At that time I felt I couldn't go back and completely rewrite her part, so I did my best to try and salvage it. Bless her, she really didn't like Bodie much... Yes, it went out on the Paper Circuit - this was waaay before computers! - but when I reread it a while ago I wasn't at all happy with it. I felt I'd failed to do the Lads justice.[8]

Its Starsky & Hutch Counterpart

In 1982, Paula Smith wrote Surrender. It is said the author took the subject/plot on as a challenge, that done well, a good writer could make a troubling, and some would say, offensive, subject matter appealing. Some fans feel the story is the Starsky and Hutch version of the controversial Professionals story "Consequences."

Mentioned in Textual Poachers

In 1992, Henry Jenkins wrote:

Heated discussion surrounds works like the Blake's 7 story, "Nearly Beloved/Rogue" or the Professionals story, "Consequences" which some fans charge romanticize rape and others insist allow them to work through the powerful emotions surrounding sexual violence in a less immediately threatening context. (Both writers have asked me to make clear that they did not intend their stories to romanticize rape and that they have been surprised (alarmed?) by the stories' reception by other fans. I cite these stories here not to chastise their writers, whose work I admire, but rather to illustrate the range of debates that slash provoked even among those who accept its general premises. Fan stories are as open to multiple interpretations as the original television programs; fan writers no more control their works' meanings than the original producers can.) [9]

Stories that Mention the Trope, "The Game"

While The Game isn't a major component, it is mentioned in a number of Pros stories:

One List of Sequels and Fixits

In 1990, a fan explained how this story had become pretty much the property of all Pros fans:
It's hard for me to imagine circumstances which would entitle the original author to refuse permission to a would-be sequel-writer. If she does, however, then the second author can write it for fun and only show it to a few friends, or change it so that it no longer relies on the first story. It's rude for the first author to refuse permission when assured of proper crediting, but ruder for the second to publish the sequel anyway. In some cases, this doesn't apply. If the first story was determinedly anonymous, or if thorough and determined search has failed to locate the author, then the sequel-writer need only state the original story's title and author, if known. And some stories are already in the public domain, so to speak: the best example I know is "Consequences." [10]

Other fans soon jumped on board and Consequences inspired several sequels, or fixits. With so many stories using The Game as a backdrop, it quickly became fanon.

One list:[11]

Another List of Sequels and Fixits

Palelyloitering organizes the stories slightly differently:[12]

Main Story:

  • Consequences

Direct responses:

HG's responses:

Alternate theory:

  • Game Theory (Alternative version) by Dee

Reactions/Reviews

Over the years the reaction to Consequences has varied, ranging from sometimes approval, but much, much more often dubious to hostile.

Unknown Date

[from the early 2000s]: The first partner-rape story in Pros. Not a great story, perhaps, but famous for its effects on young fandom.[13]

1988

"Consequences". I hated it and still do. Because I hate violence.[14]

1989

[The first Pros story I read was] ""Consequences" and I hated it. Still do. I just didn't think it worked, and I didn't think the characters were true. I think all the sequels go to prove that.[15]

1990

You wondered how people became involved in B/D fandom. Well... I became a B/D fan many months before I saw an episode. I knew about The Professionals from when the programme started but it sounded like a British Starsky and Hutch and anyway, the viewing times originally clashed. About three years later friends gave me Consequences to read, along with several of its sequels. I didn't like the stories and found the characters unpleasant. So I went back to reading my K/S zines. A little while later I was lent a story called Masquerade and I couldn't put it down. It was well written, had a clever story line and the characters fascinated me. I wanted to know more about them. [16]
I DESPISE rape fantasies or stories where one partner rapes the other, yet they fall in love and live happily ever after. Rape can never lead to True Love. I read "Consequences" and the various sequels, and got so disturbed by them that I wrote my own sequel, which is slated for THE HATSTAND EXPRESS #21 (should be out pretty soon). Now for those who have read my story ("Reparations"), the Bodie I wrote about was a distorted "mirror" version of Bodie. I don't see my "real" Bodie as a rapist, certainly not a man who would rape his own partner. Rape is a violent crime, not a titillating sex act. [17]
[I love] ANYTHING by KATHY KEEGAN: another Aussie [besides Jane of Australia] (are all the really good B/D writers these days in Australia? [18] And, before anyone asks, I'm an American)... COMING HOME is the only story inspired by the godawful CONSEQUENCES that I've ever liked, and that I've actually been able to read all the way through! It's an excellent resolution of that disgusting situation that was set-up in CONSEQUENCES, and Ray comes off with his pride and dignity intact. Five stars for this one. [19]
Heated discussion surrounds works like the Blake's 7 story, "Nearly Beloved/Rogue" or the Professionals story, "Consequences" which some fans charge romanticize rape and others insist allow them to work through the powerful emotions surrounding sexual violence in a less immediately threatening context. (Both writers have asked me to make clear that they did not intend their stories to romanticize rape and that they have been surprised (alarmed?) by the stories' reception by other fans. I cite these stories here not to chastise their writers, whose work I admire, but rather to illustrate the range of debates that slash provoked even among those who accept its general premises. Fan stories are as open to multiple interpretations as the original television programs; fan writers no more control their works' meanings than the original producers can.) [20]

1991

Of genuine "S&M/Rape", I can't recall reading more than maybe 10 and a few of them were tenuous. "Consequences" is the one most people point out. Well, it was here before I was and when I read it, I found it pretty damn tame compared to some. [snipped] MY idea of S&M/Rape/Bondage is pretty hard-core. I find "Consequences" - so often pointed to as a culprit - to be merely moderate hurt/hurt. [21]
The Game was first mentioned in the story 'Conseouences', one of the earliest pieces of Professionals slash fiction written. Many writers have used the idea since. It certainly wasn't mentioned in any episode. [snipped] Instead of people getting so hot under the collar about 'Consequences' , they should place it in its correct perspective. It was one of the very first B/D stories written, by two people who at the time knew little to nothing about the series and. the characters and one of the writers certainly didn't like the series. That was about ten or eleven years ago. It was only natural that other people who read it should write sequels to it - quite a normal reaction to fan fiction and a starting place for many writers. But B/D fiction has moved on since then and I find it pointless to continue to get upset over a story that is interesting in the development of B/D fan fiction but bears no relation at all to the characters as most people see them. [22]

1993

So we're uncomfortable with stories like "Snowbound" because they reveal us as masochists. It's possible for us to be sadistic too, in our reading of h/c, but this would be made easier if the stories were written from the perspective of the character doing the hurting, rather than the one being hurt. As it is, stories are usually set up such that we identify with the hurting character, a situation which more easily leads to a masochistic response on the reader's part. I can't, off-hand, think of any story that doesn't write from the "victim's" perspective. Maybe "Consequences?"

Actually, this theory might explain why "Consequences" is an upsetting story. By writing the rape from Bodie's perspective, it asks us to be sadistic in our reading of the situation (if we are to identify with the main character). This could be distasteful to a readership which is largely more comfortable with a masochistic stance. In another way, "Consequences," by asking readers to take on a sadistic perspective, also reveals the readers' sadomasochistic relationship to the story. Instead of allowing readers our usual unconscious masochistic reading, which is all made O.K. at finish by the obligatory happy ending, readers are immediately confronted with a kind of knowledge of our relationship to the text, by being asked to take a new perspective. I think the new perspective is also repugnant in itself, but because it may shed some light on our usual pattern, there is a sliver of self-awareness which may act as an additional source of discomfort. [23]

In case my bad mood hasn't come across yet, I thought I would open up another rat's nest that has bugged me for a bit, in Pros this time. I HATED Consequences. Not because of the sick rape stuff, but because it wasn't a believable Bodie doing that. No way someone that unstable would be in CI5. If Bodie gets going on The Game whenever he sees a ratty naked Doyle, how did he last years in the man's company without raping him? Why doesn't Ross have an inkling about him? I just laughed at the story, and then was dismayed to hear that there were a zillion sequels. Can someone who liked it justify it to me, Lezlie perhaps, since you wrote one of the sequels (much better than the original, but why did you like that story to begin with)? (And incidentally, I LOVE angst, I liked Jigsaw Puzzle, even the scene where Bodie lets Ray believe it's his kid. Adagio & Catharsis are at the top of my list of favs so far.)

[snipped]

I [like rape stories] too. Some of the rape stories I've read (via Erszebet, mainly) have been great. Strange Days Indeed worked like magic on me. That was a GOOD rape story: lots of angst and suffering and h/c on both sides of the equation. What I objected to in Consequences was that it was Bodie doing Ray, and for no very good reason.... Bodie WAS motivated by the Game when he did it. It was afterwards that he realized he cared about Doyle, and wanted to fix it. I objected to the First Time being handled in such a brutal way, and I did think it was uncharacteristic of Bodie to lose control around a naked ratty Doyle-- he must've had to deal with Doyle in shower rooms before, even on their own with no one else watching, while Doyle was in a bad mood or drunk before. There wasn't a good enough excuse in this case for the loss of control.

What I REALLY hated about this story was the fact that Doyle was being obnoxious and snotty up till the rape scene: was there supposed to be a subtext saying he asked for it?? I can't handle this sort of story, if so. No one ASKS for rape. .... I like Bodie unbalanced too, but not to the degree where he can rape Doyle and think everything is okay, and it can be shrugged off like that, and by the way, they can keep having sex cause really Doyle loved it, didn't he.... I think there are plenty of criminals out there who draw the line at rape, and plenty of rapists who draw the line at murder, for instance. Plus, I don't imagine that Cowley would be happy about all of his agents raping each other in an occasional burst of high spirits, now, eh? (This is a story begging to be written as a rip-off of Consequences, though. God don't tempt me.).... [<<I liked the Doyle's spirit says no, body says yes stuff. A >prisoner of his libido. Bodie's prisoner... HOT>>] There are plenty of stories where I see this happen in a genuinely appealing way: I think my favorite storyline has Doyle being cold and withdrawn and Bodie having to repeatedly seduce him, since his body and his subconscious say Yes but his intellect says No. The last page of Catharsis, where Doyle rejects Bodie emotionally even as he takes him back, and Bodie starts to cry, made me cry. [24]

1994

I suspect that the Professionals universe is simply flexible enough to allow Mirror style characterization of the source characters if the writer wants: the "Consequences" rape stories are a fine example of Mirror type nastiness within the setting of the source show. "Consequences," is rumored to have been written as an anti-slash story. It proposes that Bodie, the ex-mercenary character, rapes his partner Doyle, and Doyle likes it. The fan who wrote this apparently believed any romantic relationship between the two macho, insensitive characters was impossible and wrote it to "prove" it. The story has sparked more fannish debate and sequels than any other in Professionals fandom. Some writers, who enjoyed the rape scenario, pursued the relationship as a dysfunctional one with more rapes following. Other writers tried to "fix" the characters as presented, by having Doyle receive counselling, for instance; while yet others tried to invalidate the entire premise, by arguing that Bodie and Doyle could not work together if Bodie were prone to rape any man at the least provocation. [25]

1996

The issue of what is rape, would "they do it" etc. has been debated over and over in Pros fandom (and across fandoms). I do think the line between rough sex (aka Jigsaw Puzzle) and actual rape (Consequences coming to mind) is vast and leaves a lot of room for writers and readers to play in. And I can easily see Bodie and Doyle getting into rough sex, humiliation (B/D if you will), but stop short of rape. Some readers are not comfortable with even rough sex or B/D -- in which case In Hot Water would be a better start. Other readers would be bored silly by "oh no, it's your turn to be on bottom" stories (in which case they should start with Consequences and never turn back). [26]
Seems like every 3rd story I encountered during my initial Pros initiation had this in it. Not sure who invented it - was it "Consequences" that got it going? In any case, I dislike it a lot, first because I hate rape stories, and second because once the first few stories had been done, everything after that came across to me as sheer laziness. Sort of Instant Angst - one teaspoon Africa, one teaspoon mercs, add one secondhand idea called "The Game" and stir. Boring. I'd rather see something a bit more original about Bodie's background. Fortunately, in the past two years or so of reading, I haven't run into The Game much. Hope that means it's died out. Lezlie Shell did a lovely parody of Bodie's merc days in "Blood of the Lamb" from Nudge Nudge Wink Wink 3. [27]

There is a big difference between b&d (small letters) and true humiliation and/or rape. It's not a question of "stopping short" of anything, there's no relationship between the two things. In b&d or s&m, you still care about your partner, and you're still after sex. In rape, you don't and you aren't.

"Just for Fun" (zine story in which Doyle asks for and gets handcuffed to the bed during sex) and "The Morning After" (story with Bodie on the bottom and some temporarily-damaging anal sex) are about sex; "Consequences" (seems like a relationship might start, then Bodie rapes

Doyle) is about rape, pure and simple. The first two I can buy, to some extent, of B&D. The last one I just can't. I simply don't believe that someone who cares as much about Doyle as Bodie does could do that to him; I think Bodie's much more caring. [28]

1999

Chris Power wrote some very good (and very controversial) stories, including "Consequences" (for which Terri Beckett was an uncredited collaborator, I've heard) and "Endgame".[29]
Bleah. Dunno that [it's a story that spawned a lot of sequels] that's quite enough to recommend it in my eyes. I don't like rape stories at all; even when I enjoy the rest of the story, I still need to skim the rape. Still, I can appreciate them at times. But partner rape I will *not* stand (or read) for. Nothing, no matter their backgrounds, would make me believe that a Bodie remotely like the canonical one would rape Doyle (or vice versa, for that matter). Nor have I particularly enjoyed any of the sequels, though they've ranged from "well, okay; a decent fix" to "aargh! <thump>" (sound of zine/printout hitting wall). [30]

2000

I do know that one half of the writing team had no time for The Professionals." [31]

2008

I began my Pros reading by stumbling around in the archives and by asking for Recs from friends who I've hadn't read anything in years or who "knew of" the fandom. In the process I ended up reading stories like Consequences... Ack! My discomfort level was so high that if it hadn't been for going on to make friends who are active in Pros and who were kind enough to merely call me a "prat" for ill formed views on Pros fic and then to gently steer me in other directions (without caving my head in with a shovel) I wouldn't have continued to read.[32]
My only question about Consequences still remains whether Doyle would have castrated Bodie before killing him... Erm... not that I had a strong reader response or anything. *whistles* [33]
Consequences pushed a lot more squick buttons, I think, because Doyle was clearly against the idea from the very start. The Doyle of Coming Home was something closer to a long-suffering matyr. I think, anyway.

And honestly, I think Doyle would have [castrated Bodie]. Slowly and painfully, before tossing them to the convenient dog passing by as the mutt's next meal. Just sayin'. *whistles*

(To be honest, I wonder at times how the same writer could have written one fantastic piece with brilliant characterisation of Bodie and Doyle, and one with the characterisation so completely... nauseating? I swear I sometimes wonder if there might be seeds of Consequence - Bodie in her other works that would have become as he did in that fic had they been nudged differently in the other stories...[34]
"Consequences" was the first (unfortunately) and *only* Tarot story I've read. MANY fans whose opinion I respect greatly have told me that I should read her other stories and that I'd like them, if not just out and out love them. So far, I just haven't been able to work my way past how much I *hated* "Consequences" in order to do that.[35]
I read "Consequences" after "Masquerade", so while a very unpleasant shock, I still had a good memory to cling on.[36]

2009

I'll try to make this fairly short and toss it out to you all if you've a mind to discuss the story. Be forewarned that my review is negative as I didn't care for the subject matter.

Okay, there is nothing "wrong" with the writing in this story. The writer turns a sentence well, has a strong grasp of grammar and punctuation. The mechanics of the story are fine, and the writer has the ability to make the scenes come to life. For me, that makes me quite unhappy because those sorts of visuals aren't nice to have in my head.

Unfortunately, I don't see either character from the very beginning. I don't buy into the idea that Doyle would ever get as drunk as I'm told, merely because I feel anybody who drinks that much is pretty darned stupid. I don't think Doyle is that stupid. But for discussion's sake, I'll go with the idea that Doyle is drunk, belligerent and nasty. So Bodie's way to handle his long-time partner is to give him a karate chop to the neck and put him to bed.

The problem arises when Bodie barely touches Doyle, relishes the firm body under his hand, and his brain is suddenly kicked into something called "The Game". He begins to bite Doyle, who rouses and fights back. Bodie then eggs him on to continue fighting so that it's "good" for Bodie, who likes his victims to fight back as part of this game. When Doyle fights too well, Bodie renders him semi-conscious again with more physical violence and rapes him while he is barely conscious.

This is supposedly Doyle's partner, who was caring for the drunken Doyle five minutes ago, and just because he touched Doyle, I'm supposed to believe that Bodie would turn into a savage who is now beating Doyle, tearing off his clothes, and raping him viciously. I certainly don't recognize this character. Bodie might have been menacing (Wild Justice, Slush Fund), but even when faced with enemies, he didn't show this level of savagery.

After he cleans the blood from his unconscious bloody partner, he goes to get a sandwich. While eating, he starts to apparently feel remorse. He goes to Doyle, climbs into bed with him and cuddles him. I'm guessing that as a reader I'm now supposed to forgive Bodie's sexual abuse because Bodie feels bad.

But then all abusers feel bad afterwards. And they all say it will never happen again. Until that person pisses them off for some infraction, real or imagined. But anyway...

[snipped]

Okay, I've seen all the episodes, and I object to Bodie being describe as not having compassion and basic humanity. Apparently, his kindness to many of the people he helped doesn't count for much. Frances Cottingham and even Doyle's assassin, Mayli, to name a few. And Doyle himself. Risking his own life for Doyle. I missed the killer instinct as well, because if he had it, King Billy would have been dead in a dark alley on a foggy London night instead of being challenged to a bike race.

I find Bodie's morning actions of apparent tenderness and concern while he again touches Doyle's body without his permission almost worst than the rape. While Doyle is deeply asleep from the combination of drinking, being beaten and raped, Bodie once again takes it upon himself to arouse his partner merely because he wants to. As Doyle slowly wakes, thinking at first Ann is there, he realises that it's Bodie. He's barely awake when Bodie goes down on him, again without bothering to see if Doyle agrees or not. Of course, Doyle becomes aroused as would any functioning male body that's treated this way. (Men are often aroused during sexual abuse and/or rape I've read. It brings an even larger sense of shame and humiliation because the man feels he shouldn't respond.)

Doyle finally asks him to stop, and Bodie does this time. They exchange words. And this is where Doyle starts to waver, and suddenly, Bodie's kiss makes everything better. Then the story continues, and I admit I'm totally gobsmacked. It doesn't make sense at all to me. Yeah, Doyle puts up a few objections to their "casual sex". But Bodie insists that Doyle is his, forever and always, even if Doyle continues with birds and whatever. It's just so creepy to me. I admit I just do not get the entire thing from beginning to end.

I don't mind rape stories where the perp gets his dues. Strange Days Indeed by HG gives me a Bodie I can totally believe and a Doyle who would do anything for his partner. SDI shows the pain of rape, both physically and mentally. Consequences gives me a savage man who abuses his partner and another who is willing to forgive and try to forge a relationship as lovers. I don't see how they can even be friends since all trust is now destroyed. Forgiveness I can understand, so that it doesn't destroy the victim's life with self-loathing for years on end, but how could anybody forget or trust their abuser after this is totally beyond my comprehension.

A good story has an impact on the reader. It can be to laugh, or cry, or shrink away in horror, or be scared, or rail against injustice or feel victorious. This story did have an impact on me. It made me dislike Bodie for his brutality and Doyle for being part of the Luke and Laura duo. But then I'm not a big fan of soaps anyway.... If the writer set out to make me hate Bodie and Doyle, then the writer did a good job.

I know people love the angst of this kind of story. That's fine with me. It's also great with me that there are so many good stories to read that I can generally avoid the ones that I don't care for. For me, there are some stories that make me feel just so icky afterwards that I can't help but say something about them, partly as a warning to others who might wish to avoid it, or as a heads' up to others who might wish to read it even.

I'm also going to add my usual caveat about older stories. This was written in 1980 before the net days, of course. It was difficult to view the episodes and do research about mercenaries and sexual abuse. From the characterisations in the story, I'm willing to go with the idea that the writer hadn't seen the episodes or saw them on a limited basis. The writer could very well have got her versions of Bodie and Doyle from other stories, as well as the idea that male rape is rather inconsequential. Even today, very few men are willing to admit to sexual abuse. I'm also going to concede that the writer got her views of mercenaries as mindless killers who murder at [37]
I was really worried when I saw that Consequences was being done this week. It is often mentioned on rec lists and I understand it spawned many sequels/spin-offs. I had read this story some time ago and thought I must be the only person who didn't like it. I was pleased to see that I was not alone. I agree entirely with your review. The story is so totally out of character that despite the writing being technically good, there is no way I can relate to the two characters as Bodie and Doyle.

I don't mind reading stories that contain rape. I've written them myself in various fandoms, but this is something else. There is a sickness to the whole premise that turns my stomach. I would love to hear what the author had to say about this story, why she wrote it, what she was trying to achieve, because it just leaves me scratching my head.

I haven't read the musical version but might try that now that I know it is a comedy.[38]
I also have never understood why this story has lasted and been recommended.

This is NOT Bodie and Doyle and the whole premise is unrealistic, uncomfortable and upsetting.

This story was one of the first I read in the fandom and it almost put me off reading others as I worried that if this was recommended what the hell would other fic be like.[39]
I can give you three words: DO NOT READ.[40]
Now if Doyle had put a bullet into Bodie's head in Consequences, I'd have been happier! [41]
I 'tripped over' this story some years ago and it put me off reading Pros Fic until late last year! I thought it such an insult to the characters and that if it was indicative of the types of stories people were writing and ACCEPTING in the fandom then I didn't want to know. I wonder if it is doing more harm than good? [42]
I've only ever heard about it being recommended, as in "one of the best stories in the fandom", once, probably from the same source you got it from. My feeling is that most people would suggest reading it with some caveats, and to selected people. For example, if someone wanted to know about the earliest stories, or wanted to know where the fanon about "The Game" came from, I'd reference Consequences, with a warning. It is a significant story in the history of the fandom, because of the controversy and because of the number of stories spawned directly from it or using the concept of "the Game" in one way or another. But not everyone wants to delve into that.[43]
I don't always like fics and I don't always agree with them, but this is one I could happily print out, set fire to, and dance around its burning body to then piss on its remains. I could achieve some satisfaction that way.[44]
I loathed this story with a passion and I too cannot see how the hell it has lasted so long without being consigned to the pit hole of hell. It is set on a pedestal for some strange reason, when really it should have ridiculed, ripped up and long forgotten.[45]
So why has it endured? I think that's the interesting question. Even if it was a story about two original characters it would still be quite a nasty little piece, making little sense if the characters are supposed to be friends, but when it's Bodie and Doyle it seems to make it even nastier. I suppose its claim to fame rests partly on the fact that it gave birth to other stories, but again, why *would* this happen? Hmmm..... a mystery.[46]
From what I gather the sequels were generally written to refute the story, to "correct it" in some way, and to "make it right."... actually I think reading the sequels is a big part of reading Consequences, because (as Kiwisue has said above) Consequences is more about Prosfic history than about being "a wonderful fic". I suspect it's endured because it did spawn such a huge reaction, people would come across a sequel and then read the original as well, and then they'd be swept up in it all and mention it to their friends, who'd read out of curiosity. I've not read further down the list than this yet, so I won't say anything else in case it's been said (I suspect by Kiwisue!) but I'd say go and read the sequels, or at least some of them, for a fuller idea of it all. Just reading Consequences is like being back at the beginning of what's actually been a thirty-year debate! [47]
I know we talk about Bodie and Doyle being out of character but the real issue here is the way the writer characterizes rape, its aftermath and effect on the characters. It is wrong and I am sure many people find it offensive. What disturbs me also is that this story has become part of Pros fanon to the extent that it even has its own little section at the Fanlore site. I often see it mentioned on rec sites, even when the reccer says they don't like it. I think that if it was written today it would never achieve this type of status. The story would die a natural death and be forgotten very quickly. So why has it endured? Is it because it was one of the earliest Pros stories when fans were lapping up whatever they could get? I'm still scratching my head.[48]
...I read this story quite some time ago, and haven't (really didn't want to) re-read it for the reading room discussion so I'm going on my old impressions. That siad (sic), I'd wholeheartedly agree that the degree and the kind of aggression portrayed here is completely unlike their canon relationship. The "Bodie" who would behave in this way to Doyle (or to anyone, come to that) is not only different from the character we see in the series (tough and capable of violence though he is) but apparently so emotionally crippled that he is completely incapable of a healthy relationship. The notion that he somehow "makes up" for this behaviour and that Doyle accepts it is just unpleasant - you might rape and harm someone, but it's OK if you wuv them reeely? Not really.[49]
Unlike alot of people (I think) I don't have a problem with the premise of the story - that Bodie can subjugate his real feelings for Doyle, and only let them out by equating them with the violent "Game" of his mercenary days, with the result that he rapes Doyle. Okay, I don't like the idea that Bodie's capable of rape any more than I like the (canon) idea that he's capable of overt racism, but the authors actually convince me that it's possible, in a particular characterisation of Bodie. I think this is one of those fics where you have to be able to stretch your own view of both lads though, realise that they're quite probably not going to be the lads that you want them to be.[50]
I can go with Doyle's reactions too - his shock at first, then the anger and violence, then the collapse. Surprisingly, perhaps, I can even go with his subsequent arousal in Bodie's arms - he was very drunk, with the subsequent loss of memory that can bring, by the time he did remember his body had already reacted to Bodie's caresses - no less rape than the first time, actually. And I can stretch his character to being sexually responsive too, especially if I think that he and Bodie already had a strong relationship and didn't realise it, so that he might well be subconsciously emotionally conflicted about Bodie. There are so many factors to take into consideration, regarding rape by someone known to you that it's almost impossible to say "someone would never"... So I can see Doyle being emotionally ambivalent about Bodie, in some ways - especially as the authors do show that ambivalence.[51]
I usually miss the nuances others see, but maybe I'm learning, because like others my main impression of this fic was that the characterisations were off. The warmth and humanity and humour that balances their tough and cool personas was missing from both. Instead there are the 'fanon' elements (if you can say that, as early as 1980/1) of Doyle being rather small and feeble, and of Doyle being very easily and intensely aroused. Setting aside Bodie and Doyle, however, I found the writing so good that I wanted to keep reading about this intense sexual game being played by two ruthless, hard men. (When I read 'the Game' first, I thought it meant prostitution. LOL. - or maybe the Great Game of international politics which CI5 is involved with). 'Doyle' starts to learn and to play 'the Game' too, forcing Bodie to come to his flat. And there is some satisfaction that in the end 'Bodie' has to admit he is in thrall to 'Doyle.' [52]
I think this is one of those stories you have to read for interest as much as anything else, not expecting to see your own interpretation of the lads in the first place. People's motivations for writing Pros vary as well - I'm always surprised to find that some people don't write Pros because they love the lads, but use it as a fandom to experiment writing with, or because all their friends are writing to it and they don't want to be left out, or whatever - but for reasons where actually liking the lads (for them as the writer) isn't reflected in their story. I don't know whether that's what's happened here, or whether it was an experiment, or how far the authors' feelings went (thanks Kiwisue for that explanation above!) but I don't think that just because a part of history seems dark to us now, that it should be burned, you know, particularly without knowing the entire context and reading all the responses...[53]

2012

I remember us discussing the story on the Virgule-L mailing list in the 1990s. Consequences has to be one of the sequel-ed stories in Pros fandom. Some fans wrote sequels because they were upset by the story, others loved the story and wanted more. One fan said something that has stuck with me all these years: she loved it when Bodie went into the kitchen and calmly ate a cheese sandwich after raping Doyle. After the initial thrill faded, she realized Bodie couldn't be that brutal. But, instead of thinking about how to fix that point, she focused on what kind of person *could* rape Doyle then eat a cheese sandwich afterward. It became a thought provoking point in the story for her that led her down interesting plot paths. To me, that's the sign of a good writing - that even when you disagree it makes you think: "but could it happen...? if not, then why? [54]

2015

I knew there was one famous/notorious Pros story that had started the whole Game thing related to Bodie but never memorized the story title. I've never read it, and frankly, based on various reviews and comments by other fans whose opinions I trust and respect... I don't think I will... but one day I might, if not to satisfy my curiosity, certainly not to be entertained. I have no problem reading stories containing rape or dub con, but only if the characters are well portrayed and the characterization still rings true.[55]

A Reaction In Prose Form

In 1993, "Consequences" was being debated on the Virgule-L mailing list. Part of the discussion focused not on the story, but more on fandom's reaction to - and in some cases - acceptance of the concept of "I love my rapist" trope. Lynn C. wrote a short story to illustrate what CI5 would look like, years later, if the organization was as accepting as fandom of the concept. The scene involves Katherine Ross, the resident psychiatrist expressing concern to Cowley, the head of CI5, over the rash of partner killings. In fan fiction, Cowley would either turn a blind eye to Bodie and Doyle's relationship or would express avuncular approval. Like most of the 'sequels' to Consequences, the story had a point to make and it did it well.[56]

Kate Ross sighed and closed the folder, disgusted and at the end of her rope. She put a call through to Cowley. "Yes, it's important, and no, it can't wait, Mr. Cowley. When you're done with the Minister, please."

Cowley stalked into her office, with a bare nod of hello. "What's the trouble now, Doctor?

"This latest report, have you seen it?" She flung it down on her desk.

Cowley read the label without picking it up. "Yes, I have, I'm sorry to say."

"What are we going to do about this? First Lucas and McCabe, then Anson and Murphy... now this!"

"Ach, boys will be boys," Cowley said, avoiding her accusing gaze.

"What? I'd hardly say that Towser murdering Macklin in a knife fight after his rape counts as normal hijinks, Mr. Cowley." Her voice was frosty. "The first pair I was willing to sweep under the rug, after reteaming them. It was hard to find hard evidence anyway, since they wouldn't talk about it. The second time, I just about believed your story that they were undercover and forced into the roles. But this--! Something needs to be done about your so-called 'boys,' before CI5 goes completely insane and they start eating one another."

"Most of them have been for years," Cowley muttered.

"I'm sorry, I missed that. It sounded like a joke."

"I'm afraid not, Dr. Ross. What do you recommend we do about this? Surely you have some theory to account for it." Cowley took a pull on the hip flask he always had with him. He offered it to Ross, who turned it down with a curl of the lip.

"They're overworked, for one thing. It's not surprising that their pent up energy is exploding physically, but I would expect barroom brawls rather than--this, whatever it is. Rape." She spat the word.

Cowley perched a hip on her desk, and took another sip. "Well, they work closely together. They have no stable relationships, outside of their partnerships, so it's no wonder they get a little carried away. You should feel the sexual energy in the shower room!" He laughed, but she merely looked appalled.

"So you don't think it could have anything to do with that new gay serum the Russians have developed? A bit of that in the tea machine--?"

Ross was out of her depth and Cowley knew it. He chuckled again. "No, no, that's never gotten past the Iron Curtain, we'd have heard about it from every two-bit terrorist group already if it had. No, I'm sure this is just a phase they're all going through. Ach, but they're good lads, for all the horseplay."

Ross sat down heavily, trying to put some perspective on this. She grasped at the one bit of pleasant news she had. "Well, at least your top team, 4.5 and 3.7, haven't had any problems with each other."

"Bodie and Doyle? No, they're just fine together." Cowley smiled at a private amusment. He suddenly felt in a mellow confiding mood. "They've been having it off for years, did you know? Happy as clams. After that first time, anyway."

Ross's mouth fell open, and she snapped it closed again. Cowley had a sudden inspired look to him.

"That's it! That's the solution, woman!" He smacked his lips. "We'll just have Bodie and Doyle give them all a good talking to. They'll tell them that Rape Can Be Fun, and we'll set them on the path to domestic harmony. No more knife fights."

He shrugged into his coat again. She stared at the file on the table in bemusement. "Thank you, Dr. Ross, this chat has helped. We'll get them straightened out before any more damage occurs, don't you worry."

After he had gone, and the shock had faded a bit, she found herself thinking about Susan Fischer, and wondering if maybe she could catch a ride on a good thing now. She'd bet that woman was great in bed, high heels and all."

References

  1. "Tarot" is the name this author chose to use on the online versions of her Professionals stories, and is the name they're archived under. Please don't correct it to an earlier, print version.
  2. at ci5hq, posted by byslantedlight, May 2, 2009
  3. Comments during a discussion on Pros-Lit, April 2008. Accessed October 27, 2008.
  4. June 2010 Interview on The Hatstand.
  5. Drawn from memory from a discussion on the CI5 List, 1996. Morgan Dawn.
  6. either David Starsky or Kenneth Hutchinson
  7. from AN Other's comments in The Hatstand Express #6
  8. from A 2010 Interview with Tarot
  9. from Textual Poachers, page 220
  10. From a much longer discussion in Cold Fish and Stale Chips #10 on the rules of writing in another fan's universe, see that zine.
  11. Source of the sequel list - Story notes for Consequences on The Circuit Archive, archived August 16, 2006. Accessed October 27, 2008.
  12. Consequences Universe
  13. Issues of Consent
  14. comment by O Yardley from The Hatstand Express #17
  15. from The Hatstand Express #20
  16. comments by Felicity M. Parkinson in Short Circuit #1 (April 1990)
  17. comments by Susan Douglass in Short Circuit #1 (April 1990)
  18. They are when they are all the same person!
  19. from a fan in Short Circuit #3 (October 1990)
  20. Henry Jenkins from Textual Poachers, page 220
  21. from Linda Terrell in Short Circuit #5
  22. from Felicity M. Parkinson in Short Circuit #5
  23. from "Writing from the Margins" in Strange Bedfellows #2 (August 1993), see that page for a lot more commentary about this theory
  24. comment by Lynn C on Virgule-L, quoted with permission (Jul7 26, 1993)
  25. Lynn C, quoted from Star Trek, Blake's 7, and Pros AUs (1994 essay), originally posted to Virgule-L June 7, 1994. Quoted on Fanlore with permission.
  26. comment by Morgan Dawn, September 15, 1996, at Virgule-L, quoted with permission
  27. comments by Alexfandra, posted to Virgule-L, quoted with permission (June 28, 1996)
  28. comment by MD, Virgule-L, quoted with permission (September 16, 1996)
  29. June 1999 comments at VenicePlace
  30. comment at Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (January 30, 1999)
  31. from DIAL #14
  32. 2008 comments at CI5hq
  33. 2008 comments at byslantedlight’s journal, Archived version
  34. 2008 comments at byslantedlight’s journal, Archived version
  35. 2008 comments at byslantedlight’s journal, Archived version
  36. 2008 comments at byslantedlight’s journal, Archived version
  37. review by sc_fossil at [1]; WebCite for the ci5hq review; Archive.is
  38. 2009 comments at CI5hq; Archive.is
  39. 2009 comments at CI5hq; Archive.is
  40. 2009 comments at CI5hq; Archive.is
  41. 2009 comments at CI5hq; Archive.is
  42. 2009 comments at CI5hq; Archive.is
  43. 2009 comments at CI5hq; Archive.is
  44. at ci5hq, posted by squeeful, April 30, 2009; Archive.is
  45. at ci5hq, posted by probodie, April 30, 2009
  46. at ci5hq, posted by shooting2kill, April 30, 2009; Archive.is
  47. at ci5hq, posted by byslantedlight, May 2, 2009; Archive.is
  48. at ci5hq, posted by jj minerva, April 30, 2009; Archive.is
  49. at ci5hq, posted by heliophile_oxon, April 30, 2009
  50. at ci5hq, posted by byslantedlight, May 2, 2009
  51. at ci5hq, posted by byslantedlight, May 2, 2009; Archive.is
  52. at ci5hq, posted by constant muse, April 30, 2009; Archive.is
  53. at ci5hq, posted by byslantedlight, May 2, 2009; Archive.is
  54. Morgan Dawn's personal notes, accessed March 28, 2012.
  55. comment by freetraveller15 at The Good Old Days...I've been wondering.... September 23, 2016
  56. The story is reposted here with the author's approval.