Dancing in the Rain

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Bodie/Doyle Fanfiction
Title: Dancing in the Rain
Author(s): Istia
Date(s): 2000
Length: 5739 words
Genre: slash
Fandom: The Professionals
External Links: online here

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Dancing in the Rain is a Bodie/Doyle story by Istia.

It was published in Roses and Lavender #4 and is online.

first page as it appears in Roses and Lavender #4

Reactions and Reviews

2001: Comments, With a Twist at the End

Some people have mentioned "Dancing in the Rain" by [redacted] in the newly-released Roses and Lavender 4. I'm going to make comments about this story that will contain major SPOILERS.

Frances said: >Just want to add my envious agreement: one of those whose insight will stick in my mind.

I really don't get this, I must say. That is, I don't see any particular insights contained in this story, which seems to me to be a mood piece and little else. If the mood works for the reader, then the story has achieved a modicum of success; if the attempt to establish a mood fails, then the story is empty. I can isolate a number of problems:

First: the story could be about any characters whatsoever. I can't pinpoint anything inherently Bodieish or Doyleish about either of them. They could as easily be called Jim and Blair, Mulder and Skinner, Xena and Gabrielle. Name your tune. This story gives the impression that the author came up with (what she considered to be) a cool final image and then cast about for a semblance of a tale that would accommodate that image. The characters she uses are called Bodie and Doyle for no discernible reason but that she is in Pros fandom. In original fiction, if a story is built around a scenario, then the characters can and should be shaped to fit that scenario because a story should seem to grow out of the characters. In media fiction, however, the characters come with set parameters. If the characters don't fit the scenario, then one of two things has to happen: a) the author bends, spindles, and mutilates said characters to force them to fit the story, or b) she has the sense to take the story elsewhere and find characters that will fit without bending and spindling. In this case, the author chose to spindle, with the result that the scenario takes precedence over character illumination. Instead of the story growing out of the characters, the characters were forced into the story. Which leads me to the next point.

Second: the behaviour of the characters makes no internal sense, particularly in regards to Doyle. If Doyle is meant to be the emotionally and psychologically strong one, which is the story's underpinning thesis, then there's no reasonable explanation for why he allows himself to pine away almost to death, practically committing suicide. To put it politely, it's *dumb*. As Pam R. pointed out, at least some readers will want nothing more than to slap this ridiculous character who is masquerading as Doyle. I suggested about the Meg Lewtan story that that author wanted to have her cake and eat it, too; I would make the same argument here. The story requires that Doyle appear wimpy and yet ultimately be revealed as psychologically strong without a whit of evidence having been offered to lend credence to this revelation. It takes more than an author simply announcing that a character is strong to make a believable case. To put it bluntly, this author doesn't demonstrate the necessary skill to convince the reader that Doyle is "strong" when all the internal evidence is that he is "weak." And, yes, I am taking into account the fact that everything that happens is filtered through a first-person narrator whose viewpoint is limited.

Third: the story is a tease, making a clumsy attempt to convince the reader that the narrator is Bodie. The narrator, however, doesn't sound (to me) like Bodie. Nell Howell blatantly exploits the nature of media fiction, in which most readers' assumption in reading a Pros story will be, unless directly informed otherwise, that the characters are Bodie and Doyle. To use this reader assumption for no purpose but trickery hardly constitutes fair play, and if an author doesn't play fair with the reader, she can and should expect a backlash. Again, if the story were original fiction, such a trick couldn't work because the reader would have no expectation going into the story about the identity of the first-person narrator. In "Dancing in the Rain," the reader who is caught up in the mood that has been generated may forgive the trick when it is revealed, but the reader for whom the story isn't working may feel only irritation at having been duped. That's not counting the readers who are annoyed from the start because the narrator is supposedly Bodie and yet sounds nothing like him.

Fourth: the text is overwritten. The sheer weight of the adverbs and adjectives in this story could sink the QEII. To a degree, the lushness of the style helps generate the text's emotionalism, but some of the qualifying words could, and probably should, be eliminated. Would a starker style be more effective in this story? It's impossible to say. A change in style would not correct the problems mentioned above. Those for whom the lushness works will forgive the overwriting; others may simply feel impatient.

On the plus side, I like some of the language, but that's simply personal taste. I like the bits about leaves and trees, and the way in which the tree imagery threads through the text from the beginning to the end. And, yes, I enjoy the final image towards which everything in the text moves.

Should I mention that there's one instance of a semi-colon that should be a colon that intensely irritates me? Well, perhaps not.

Having said all that, I nevertheless agree with everyone who has said that Roses and Lavender 4 is an excellent zine. It has two stories by Irene in her usual polished, charming, quietly witty style; two by Castalia; one by The Hag; and, the wonderful centrepiece (imo) of the zine, a seventy-page novella by PFL. There's also a second story by Nell Howell, but since it's only five-and-a-half pages long, it's easy to ignore.

In closing, I'll just state my own connection to--and, hence, undoubted bias for--this zine: I wrote "Dancing in the Rain."

Cheers, [the author of "Dancing in the Rain"] [1] [2]

2010

I was moved and challenged by this story to the point I felt I wanted to add my two bobs worth, uncloak so to speak! I vaguely remember reading this story when I first got into the fandom a few years ago and I was confused by it (probably being a genner didn't help!) I was confused about who's pov the story was written from and even the flow of the story but that end scene still haunted me despite my ignorance.

When I saw the discussion on the story I decided to read Lone Dancer (which I was originally unaware of) which I enjoyed and it incited me to give 'Dancing in the Rain' another go with fresh eyes. I am with you merentha, I couldn't see Bodie leaving Doyle in cannon or in slash but I totally agree with Margaret when she expresses the following,

The image of Bodie holding Doyle in his arms as they ‘dance in the rain’ and Doyle’s “"'s all right now, .... "I'm here. I've got you." is one of the most beautiful passages I have ever read. And that more than makes up for any quibbles I have about the story as a whole.

I can ignore any personal issues I have with character traits that I feel are unrealistic simply because it is clever, emotional and very compelling. Doyle's statement was quite a relevation to me and totally turned the story around in my mind, got me thinking and analysing. I really enjoyed this second reading much more than the first.[3]
I liked it. I do admit Doyle was a bit more hurt than I generally like in a story, but I liked the twist. I also liked the way Bodie ended up being the one who brought Doyle back from the brink. It's the romantic in me. *g* [4]
When I read the title I first hesitated to read the story - it sounded a little bit soppy. But then I was so surprised with the twist, and really stunned at the end.[5]
For me it was't the rain, but it was indeed the ending (and the mentioning of Stuart's name) - you quoted it. It was the combination of Doyle being physically and mentally absolutely ill but being so strong at the same time. It showed me again no one is one sided in their character, frozen and settled. The end was freedom for me, a freedom to have or develop so many facets of life. - Maybe I read too much in it - I don't know.[6]
I loved the story, but disliked having to wade through too many descriptive words and phrases to unearth it. I nearly stopped reading, which would have been a pity, because the underlying plot and characterisation were good and that final image was wonderful! [7]
I found it extremely moving and intense. It's got that 'romantic' quality I so enjoy in fic.

What I like best is the twist (at least I hope it *was* a twist and not just my stupidity) in the identity of the narrator. It could be gently poking fun at Pros fic, or at least playing with it - that the reader will *assume* the pov is Bodie's.

At the beginning, the beautiful autumn day he fell in love, I thought 'this language is too flowery for Bodie'. okay, Bodie likes poetry, but this is going too far in the lyrical description. But the imagery was so beautiful I kept reading anyway. So I was quite relieved when it was revealed that the narrator wasn't Bodie. Maybe Stuart does think like that - Stuart is such a blank canvas, anything is possible. (Stuart is a bit creepy to me, so I didn't mind at all reading about his sad plight.)

And I love the way it was revealed, just Doyle's soft, 'Poor Stu'. That was such a delicious surprise and of course made me rethink the whole story so far (e.g. clues like the reference to drugs in south London).

And Bodie leaving Doyle at the hospital - is he a selfish bastard?, a total coward?, or just pragmatic in thinking Stuart would do a better job of caring for Doyle than he could, so he took himself out of the picture? Whatever, he underestimated himself and the strength of his relationship with Doyle. It's a bit scary where Stuart is wondering if it's too late for Doyle, but the author gives us a ray of hope with the spring shoots image.

In my imagination, with Bodie back in his life (and bed, I hope) Doyle will have the motivation to regain his health, and maybe some mobility, and they will live happily ever after.[8]
Mostly I don't like the stories too romantic. But it was the twist and the end of the story for me. That "Poor Stu" - I think about it like you, this is skilful written, just two words and everything changes. I really don't understand Bodies motives but I can accept it for the story. The ending has enough hints for me that Doyle will regain enough health for a happy life with Bodie.[9]
This is a story that's grown on me through the years.

Originally I couldn't believe that Bodie would leave (abandon?) Doyle, but if you can let go of that and accept that he had his reasons, it's a very touching fic.

Like Jaycat, I don't have any particular sympathy for Stuart. He seems like a stalker who got his fondest wish. *g* Which is one reason it worries me that Bodie just leaves Doyle to Stuart.

It's a very nice image at the end of Doyle and Bodie.

I firmly believe that Doyle will recover, at least enough to enjoy a long, happy life with Bodie.[10]
This story is so poignant - it makes me cry every time I read it. My favorite Pros stories are ones where the need each lad has for the other is effectively shown to be as necessary to him as breathing. I think this fic fits the bill. My favorite line is the one hagsrus quoted above. I too have hope that Doyle will now recover enough to live long and happily with Bodie.[11]
I wish I had the vocabulary and ability to express what I feel when I read this story, particularly the last part. The writing is almost too much to bear - unbearable in the best possible way - resulting in emotions which, literally, I feel but can’t describe. Stark, raw emotions, much like Bodie’s face. And was Bodie’s initial response selfish? Yeah, I suppose in a way it was but I’d prefer to describe it more as one of emotional cowardice. He couldn’t tolerate seeing Doyle that way, couldn’t trust himself to give Doyle what he needed, and perhaps he couldn’t trust himself to face Doyle without showing the pity on his face as inevitably their relationship changed... For some reason my memory of the story (maybe because of the sheer weight and sadness of the writing) was that Doyle wasn’t going to get better but rereading it I can see that various things were written to suggest otherwise... .....but I’m wondering if Doyle *is* going to get better (i.e. he’s not dying and he’s not permanently paralysed) then why is the atmosphere so sad and depressed? Which reminds me...... I think one of the strengths of this writer is her ability to depict loneliness and her characters sometimes reminds me of the figures in an Edward Hopper painting: alone even when they're not, estranged, cut off from other people and refusing or unable to relate to other people, a bit like atoms moving around but never connecting.[12]
I can't buy him leaving Doyle in that situation - so the whole story doesn't work for me! [13]
I had trouble getting past the overly descriptive and flowery language in the first half of the fic but in the end it was worth it for the last few paragraphs. The last scene in particular was quite beautiful. I couldn't understand why Bodie had left Doyle in Stuart's care either and it's a part of the story that doesn't really make sense but I suppose something that you just have to accept without trying to reason out the motives! [14]

2012

Before we start, I would strongly suggest that if you haven’t already read this story, you do so before you jump into this discussion. There is a “surprise” in the story that I’d hate to ruin for you. You need to experience it yourself to really feel the impact.

So you’ve been warned...

Let me say straight away that I love this story because of the ending scene. It is one of the most moving, romantic, tear-inducing passages I’ve ever read. And the image haunts me still.... there were a few things that bothered me. The writing is beautiful, evocative and lush. But therein lies a bit of the problem for me. The first time I read this, I thought the POV, at the start of the story, was Bodie. And I just couldn’t mesh the flowery observations of the narrator with that man. A “robin-egg-blue blue sky dotted with cotton-wool clouds…birch leaves, strewn across the pavement like gold doubloons…crunched into a sprinkling for fairy dust…” It is beautiful prose and very poetic, but would someone chasing down villains be noticing any of this?!... I was totally surprised to find out that it wasn’t Bodie who was telling us this story. (Maybe I'm just a little slow! *g*) The way that fact was revealed was superbly done. Just a quiet whisper from Ray turns the story upside down and we see that it is not Bodie who is taking care of him, but Stuart....The main issue for me is the lack of an explanation for why Bodie abandoned Ray. And yes, I do feel it was an abandonment. There is not one reason for that abandonment that I can come up with that rings true to “my” Bodie. Was he unable to face Doyle’s injuries and their consequences? Did he fear Ray was going to die, and he ran from that? Canon Bodie is not a coward and he faced all these things (think Discovered in a Graveyard) and didn’t leave Ray on his own. This just isn’t Bodie, to me.

But their “reunion”, if you will, is handled in true Doyle/Bodie fashion. Bodie shows up at Doyle’s bedside after their long, unexplained separation and all Ray says to him is: ”You’re wet,” Doyle said, in a voice that was a croak of sound, weak and dazed. “It’s raining,” Bodie murmured, bent close, both hands touching, his body a shield…” That is SO the lads to me! ... The subtle revealing of Bodie’s emotions are almost painful to read: the glaring at Stuart when he first arrives at Doyle’s , the pain in his face when he realizes what he’d done when he walked away, the need he expresses when he’s “dancing” with Ray. This was all beautifully portrayed.

I don’t feel sorry for Stewart, because his selfishness possibly cost Ray a chance at the doctor’s “full recovery”. Call me hardhearted, but I think he deserved the ending... The author was very adept at including all kinds of detail and imagery that made the story a joy to read and give the reader insight to how the characters felt without saying it directly. A few examples, first of Stuart caring for Ray “There were already thick socks on Doyle’s feet; always had cold feet, Doyle did.” Then a scene to wrap up the situation between Stuart and Doyle: “The [Christmas] tree…sat drooped and shedding on the table… The angel atop was askew. Had been for days. I noticed it every time I looked at the bloody thing, but Doyle never mentioned it. Doyle probably hadn’t noticed it, askew or not.” And just one mention of Ray’s missing Bodie, but a powerful one: “To Doyle, the fact of Bodie’s desertion was a fissure into which he’d fallen and never managed to climb back out again.” I best stop here or I’ll have posted the whole story!

This was a wonderful story and if she had just included even a hint as to why Bodie had left Ray, I would have called it perfect!

There is a sort of prequel Lone Dancer, not necessary to follow this story, and in fact may spoil the surprise if read first, but it does contain some very interesting characterizations of our lads. I enjoyed that one too.[15]
You made some really good points - I hadn't thought out the imagery like that, for a start! The flowery language did work for me. Because it was so at odds with what was being described, it gave the whole story a dreamlike flavour. I didn't mind that at all.[16]
I liked the writing - just had trouble tying it to who I originally thought was Bodie. I can see the "dreamlike flavour" now that you mention it. Good thought! About loving and letting go - yeah, if it weren't Bodie doing the letting go. I keep coming back to DIAG, there was no hint that Bodie wasn't going to stick with Doyle, that he'd let someone else take care of him. (I know, they are only partners, not lovers in canon...)Bodie's leaving just doesn't fit with my vision of the man.[17]
I think this is one of the most powerful Pros stories I’ve ever read, perhaps too powerful in that when I first read it I felt it took sadness to a new level - the last few lines were like a punch in the gut - visceral – and almost too much to bear...I haven’t read it for ages and while it certainly didn’t in the past (not like M Fae Glasgow’s style of writing which nearly always distracts me from the actual telling of the story) who knows if I read it today I might find that it did, but I don’t think I want to find out because I’d like my memory of it to remain a good one.

Why did Bodie leave, and was it justified

I don’t know if ‘justified’ is a word I’d choose.....understandable, perhaps? Given the kind of man Bodie is, the kind of friend and partner who would slay dragons for Doyle but who might not be able to help him in this kind of way; and given the equality which is intrinsic to their relationship, the physical nature of their lives etc. etc. their relationship would be drastically altered and perhaps this was just too much for Bodie to bear (and for Doyle to see him having to bear it). A bit like the female character in Butch Cassidy who says she’ll stay to wash and cook for them, but she ‘won’t watch them die’. Perhaps he left because in a roundabout kind of way he thought it might actually help Doyle? i.e. not to have Bodie stay and pity him? Not to be dependant on Bodie? To have their relationship unaltered? Dunno[18]
I love this story. It is on my favourites list everywhere, on my Kindle, and I rather suspect I have a dog-eared paper copy lurking somewhere.

I don't think I ever thought it was from Bodie's POV, even on the very first read through. I wasn't quite sure what had happened - why had Bodie left? - but the language and the POV fitted, in that it wasn't Bodie. The dreamy, flowery prose was so alien to my view of canon Bodie that it could never have been him telling the tale.

I think Bodie thought it was the right thing to do, that he loved Doyle so much that he thought handing over Doyle to Stuart was the best thing for Doyle. However, I'm unconvinced about why Doyle gave up and accepted Stuart up to the point he did. Perhaps the apathy of being with the wrong person just got stronger and stronger - I get the feeling that Doyle has totally given up.

I feel sorry for Stuart, in the end. He knows he has failed and he's just not enough. How sad is that? And, at the same time, I resent him for ever thinking he might be enough and for keeping Doyle from the healing he needs.

It is sad, and romantic, and it has a happy, beautiful ending, with some wonderful images. You're right, the last one, of them dancing in the rain, is one that stays with me.

The final image, of Bodie dancing with his Doyle in the rain, is beautiful, powerful and moving. And the realisation that Doyle is the strong one, in his frailty and broken state, works really well for me.[19]
I don't think I worried about whose POV it was. I was sucked into the story from the first words and I was wondering what was going on, but as I said earlier, it so wasn't Bodie. I guess (it's a long time ago, now) that I read with breathless interest, waiting to find out why Bodie had left and who was this person failing to provide what Doyle needed. I found it easy to suspend disbelief in this one. The beauty of the words gets to me every time. The ending is also possibly why I can feel sorry for Stuart, because it has all come right in the end and Bodie has his Doyle and Doyle's recovery will now be certain because he is back with his lifemate. Stuart has nothing except the memory of failure.[20]
I Love this story to pieces!

The most important thing to me is that Doyle needs to be strong for somebody, and that both Stewart and Bodie didn´t see that at first. And that´s the explanation why Bodie left Doyle in Stewarts care, because he knows he´s the weak one, he knows he can´t be strong for Doyle and he thinks that Doyle needs somebody to be strong for him. So he takes the most difficult road, leaving Ray to Stewart, and giving him up in spite of wanting to help himself. Yes, I first thought it was Bodie´s pov, and I too was surprised by Doyles whisper! I was very intrigued by the way "Bodie" kept Doyle for himself, that he was so selfish, but it just made the whole point so much clearer after it was reveiled that it really was Stewart who was the selfish one.

And I so love the poetry like talk about leaves and stuff, and the metaphores are just so beautiful and I´m so totally impressed about this kind of writing, because anything that´s written in this story seems to be written with a purpose, and as shooting2kill already said, it´s all about using your brain! You really got your fingers on the things Nell Howell "revealed" with her flowery way to describe feelings and stuff!

Doyle´s acceptance of Stewarts attention and care is totally believable for me, and it´s the way he does it, that makes everything hurt so much.

And Stewart - well, I never really thought much about him other than he should´ve gotten Bodie much earlier, but on the other hand it´s perfect timing...like everything in this story is just perfect!

Ambiguously perfect![21]
When I started to read this fic a while ago I did think that it was Bodie’s POV but there was something that just wasn’t right, so when we discover that it’s actually Stuart I wasn’t really surprised – it was more of a confirmation!

The prose itself I found a little overdone, especially at the beginning with so much imagery that it threatened to overshadow the story itself, as delightful as some of it was. As Moonlightmead said, the story does have a dreamlike flavour about it, which I think does go some way to explaining Stuart’s actions – he was living a dream. But I have a real problem accepting the way Stuart held onto Doyle for so long that in the end there is a chance it’s too late to save him. I think his actions were too self-centred. If he loved Doyle the way he states in the story he would have acted sooner. However, as the story is in first person pov we only have his word for the reasons for what he did;)

As for Bodie, I’m very unsure why he left and why he seemed to take no part at all in Doyle’s convalescence. It seems he didn’t even check to find out whether or not Doyle was recovering and that just doesn’t seem like Bodie. He may have felt incapable of coping with Doyle’s injuries himself, he may not have been the “strong one of the pair” but he would surely have tried to find out what was happening with him. So no, I don’t think his action fitted at all.[22]

References

  1. ^ comments on Virgule-L (March 10, 2001)
  2. ^ There was much discussion about these comments on the list, and the one of the author's responses was: "the story happens to work for me. Seeing all its flaws and weaknesses doesn't mean that I don't personally enjoy it at the one level on which (I feel) it operates--and vice versa (enjoying it doesn't mean that I don't see all its weaknesses). Fiction is such fun in that way. A text can appeal to people for all sorts of different reasons, and not appeal to other readers for an equal range of reasons. It can even appeal to its own author, sometimes, and the author can be the most ornery reader a text will ever face."
  3. ^ 2012 comments at CI5hq
  4. ^ 2010 comments at CI5hq; archive is
  5. ^ 2010 comments at CI5hq
  6. ^ 2010 comments at CI5hq
  7. ^ 2010 comments at CI5hq
  8. ^ 2010 comments at CI5hq
  9. ^ 2010 comments at CI5hq
  10. ^ 2010 comments at CI5hq
  11. ^ 2010 comments at CI5hq
  12. ^ 2010 comments at CI5hq
  13. ^ 2010 comments at CI5hq
  14. ^ 2010 comments at CI5hq
  15. ^ 2012 comments at CI5hq; archive is
  16. ^ 2012 comments at CI5hq
  17. ^ 2012 comments at CI5hq
  18. ^ 2012 comments at CI5hq
  19. ^ 2012 comments at CI5hq
  20. ^ 2012 comments at CI5hq
  21. ^ 2012 comments at CI5hq
  22. ^ 2012 comments at CI5hq