Heart of the Lion

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The Professionals Fanfiction
Title: Heart of the Lion
Author(s): Patricia D'Orazio
Date(s): 1988
Length:
Genre: het, gen
Fandom: The Professionals
External Links:

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Heart of the Lion is a Professionals Doyle/OFC and Bodie/OFC story by Patricia D'Orazio.

It was published in British Takeaway #3.

"Heart of the Lion" won a Fan Q at Mediawest in 1989.

Reactions and Reviews

1989

This long story held my interest. I like the interrelationships, and I like the characters. And again, it's well illoed, capturing the essence of the scenes. [1]
Heart of the Lion is absorbing and certainly action/emotion filled. The idea of her being Cowley's partner and his reason for not partnering narried men
and Doyle's personal life were so interwoven that I
don't know how to describe it. Every aspect of that
story supports the whole equally. Caliban is an ex
cellent character. I don't see Doyle as quite that
desperate for a home life in Involvement but that is
a matter of perspective. [2]
Extremely well-written, but I got to the end and just thought "Oh". I didn't really have positive or negative feelings about it, and I'm still not sure how I feel, though I think it's more positive than neutral, now. I wouldn't have wanted him separated from Bodie, but I'm not sure I liked him losing the girl, either; though I could see her point of view. I think this is another I'll have to read a couple times before making a final decision on. [3]
However, most of [contents of British Takeaway #4] were overshadowed by Patricia D'Orazio's magnificent Heart of the Lion — wow! — what else can I say. [4]
I had a bit of a problem with Heart of the Lion. Mostly accepting the premise of not partnering married agents. If someone's family is in danger, how he or she reacts wouldn't depend on having a partner. They'd be just as prone to betraying a whole group. As for not reacting fast enough to save a partner, Doyle proved that wouldn't be a problem and besides, I should think it would depend on the partner's decision on whether he trusts the married individual any more. The rest of the story, however, was very interesting, especially Claire's reaction to seeing Doyle right after the action for the first time. [5]
One of the best stories I've ever read, in any universe. Corazon/Jess is fascinating, and I'd love to read more about her. Could you, perhaps, coerce Patricia (hold a gun to her temple, chain her to her typer. Threaten to tickle her) into a sequel or, preferably, a prequel? Maybe a story from CI1, or about Jess and the younger Doyle. It was also very nice to see Dr. Ross presented in a professional, sympathetic manner. [6]
I also liked Heart of the Lion, with reservations. I think the most glaring problem I had with that was the fact that it ended too abruptly. I felt there was stuff to be worked through with both Bodie and Doyle, not the least of which was Doyle having to come to grips with Claire leaving him. I mean, if that were me, at the very least I'd be furious that someone had the balls to make that kind of a decision for me. And I think they both had to come to grips with the problems they had during the whole affair; both Bodie and Doyle seemed to have some pretty large insecurities about each other. Has or is Pat writing a sequel? That's the way it felt to me, that there was a sequel someplace in the offing [7]
All that being said. Heart of the Lion was my absolute favorite in this issue. Again, it's diffi cult to focus on details when the whole fabric is so good, so rich, so fascinating. I enjoyed the multiple layers, the constant comparisons: between Maxwel1 and Cowley as controllers; between Doyle and Cowley as agents, feeling the need to protect their partners from their bosses; between Sam's marriage and what it did to him, and Doyle's plans with Claire and what that grows to mean for Bodie. Everything is very intense, and again that sense of reality, that this is precisely how these people should behave given their characteristics and the circumstances of the story. All of the stuff about partnership and what that means to people is powerful and right. I think it's my favorite because, even more so than Kate's series, it leaves me wanting more! Patricia does realize, I hope, that she didn't end the thing? She's left Doyle still determined to beat the odds, beat Cowley, convince Bodie, find that perfect woman who he's sure is out there somewhere, and have it all. More important, she's left us Corazon. A partner for the Controller of CI5!! The implications are staggering. The way this story is written, there seems no possibility of Corey just fading into the woodwork, out of her George's life; he wouldn't allow it, even if she would. They've both been waiting too long for her to finish Vagrin, end the thing she's set out to do. So what happens now? I really want to know. [8]
Heart of the Lion is another don't-miss story. You were right -- I should have read this before the Huggies. D'Orazio has caught the theme of partnership and undercover work acutely, and squared it. Corazon is one of the scariest characters I've met in a long time, in pushing human endurance so far, in being able to go further into both physical and mental exhaustion than most of us ever understand. [9]
And of course, the other favorite story this time round is Heart of the Lion. The back history of the founding of CI5 and its companion departments is excellent, and the mere idea that there is still an agent on the street undercover from ten years ago, bent on revenge, is a fascinating twist. The story is really well-written, nicely balanced with charac ters who existed in the series and ones who didn't. And the interaction of characters, Bodie with Corazon and Doyle with Claire and, of course, Bodie with Doyle and both of them with George Cowley makes real ly good reading. Good action, too.[22] [10]

1990

I don't think I remember reading anything of hers prior to HEART OF THE LION, but that's my loss! I consider this one of the best "straight" stories in PRO'S fandom...actually, maybe that's not really fair to split the stories into "straight" vs. "/" categories. I don't mean to imply that one genre is "superior" to another, or anything like that. It's just that, I do admit that most of the PRO'S stuff I read is "/", and that's because when I first got into this fandom, 99% of the straight" stuff I read was either MARY SUE, or dry-as-dust "action" plots in which there wasn't even any friendship between B&D. Luckily, though, with zines like the BRITISH TAKEAWAY series, and the new Australian BACKTRACK zines, it's now proven that there are many worthwhile "straight" stories being written by excellent writers. And HEART OF THE LION has it all...fantastic plot, involving characters (the secondary characters are just as fascinating), and a "leading lady" who is definitely not a "Mary Sue" -- she's a real woman you care about! The action never stops, but B&D's relationship, which is actually the core of the story, is never ignored, even for Doyle's serious romance. I can't wait for the sequel to this one! I want Ray to be able to have it all: his lady, his career, and his partner, whom he very clearly does love, here--as a "brother" and best friend. [11]

1993

Okay, I'm including this [on my list of top favorite 5 fanzines] because I love Patrica D'Orazio's 'Heart of the Lion.' I think it's one of the best gen stories I've ever read: satisfying on both an emotional and intellectual level. The zine's got a couple of clunkers, but that's more a matter of taste (as in "Thai food" versus "Mexican," not "Good" versus "Bad"). The stories themselves are all well-written, and the art enhances the effect.[12]

2008

I read a story recently that I cannot get out of my head - it's haunting me, in the way that stories sometimes do. But it's so unexpected in this case because it isn't a slash story. To put that in context - I am a slasher to my core: I was born a slasher; have been chasing after the m/m relationships in fiction for as long as I can remember. For me personally, "fanfiction" and "slash" are synonymous. I want the relationship between the men to be everything, the characters to be it for each other, and there's no room in that for someone else - e.g., a woman - to be supplying some important emotional or physical needs. (Oh, and I often like the sex, too!! ;-)

Nonetheless...I borrowed the first three British Takeaway zines from a friend back in December. I'd passed by them without interest for years because I know they're mostly not slash. But here and there I'd heard mention of them, and it wasn't costing me anything, so I figured I'd bring them home and look through them.

Most of the stories are gen, by which I mean romantic/intimate relationships involving Bodie or Doyle aren't integral. And though some of them are well written and interesting and engaging, even moving (with regard to the B/D relationship, I mean), most of them left me feeling like...something's missing. Like I'm waiting for the next step, and it's not coming, and without that intimacy the story feels (to me) incomplete, or less than it could/should be.

But...then I got to the last story in the last of the three zines, and I was just...sucked into it. This was back in December. I read it twice then and haven't been able to forget it; I've re-read it twice again since the New Year. And I really feel like sitting down and reading it again right now.

It's a fairly lengthy story called "Heart of the Lion," by Patricia D'Orazio. It's not online (nor on the CD) - though if I knew how to contact the author and could get permission, I'd put it on the Archive as soon as I could! - and I don't know if it's the type of story most people reading this would ever track down, so I'm not sure how much to worry about spoilers - but just in case, I'll put further discussion (which does include spoilers, though not a huge amount of detail) behind a cut.

You could call this a het story, because both Bodie and Doyle have sex with women, and Doyle has a "real" relationship with a woman - he actually gets engaged. But it doesn't feel like a "het" story to me, because in the end, there are no women - there's only Bodie and Doyle; the relationship at the heart of the story is the one between Bodie and Doyle. At the same time, though, it's quite clear (to me at least) that the author doesn't intend Bodie and Doyle to end up together in a romantic or sexual way, so I don't think it can fairly be characterized as pre-slash - you'd have to overlook quite a bit to draw that conclusion. So I suppose in my mind this is a gen story.

But genre aside, what this is, and the reason I can't get it out of my head, is a partnership story: a story about partners and partnerships. And it's one of the most intense and gripping and...maybe passionate? - stories about partnership I've ever read.

The "Heart of the Lion" of the title is a person - a woman whose name really is Corazon ("heart" in Spanish), a woman who used to be Cowley's partner. The "action plot" primarily involves her - and that entire plot arises out of her later partner's betrayal of her and their agency (not CI5) many years before the time of the story. Everything that happens in some way involves or is fueled by her partnerships with Cowley and the betrayer, and thus so many aspects and elements of partnership are illuminated: the effect of partners on each other, what happens when something comes between them, the ways they can hurt each other, their total interdependence, and most of all, the uniqueness and intensity and singularity of the partner bond.

And while this is very gripping even on its own - I find Corazon fascinating and captivating, and I am generally...well, let's say unreceptive when it comes to female original characters! *g* - what makes the story especially powerful for me is the way all this interacts with Bodie and Doyle, who are at a potential crossroads in their partnership; the way the author uses events with Corazon to reveal (to the reader and the characters) truths about Bodie and Doyle's partnership. Because these events brings home with a bang that for partners like them, there can be no one else. Or rather, in a partnership like theirs, there can be no one else. They can have the incredibly intense to-the-death partnership, or they can relinquish that and have the external bonds - the wife and family or whatever - but they can't have both. Doyle doesn't want to accept this (despite all evidence) - but Bodie sees, he understands, and in the end, there's no getting around it.

I've done a pathetic job of describing this... The thing is, the author doesn't "say" these things. Events illustrate them, and the characters realize them and feel them, as does the reader (or at least this reader!). It's bleak in a way and yet also kind of...not hopeful, but it pulses with the power of the partner bond; no one can have everything, but they get something for what they give up.

And that's the thing, I think, that makes this story work for me - in the end, it's only Bodie and Doyle. The very theme of the story is that for as long as there is a Bodie/Doyle - the two of them in the partner relationship that caused Doyle to go tearing after an explosives-clad Bodie in Fugitive - there can be no one else; no serious outside relationship, no diversion of focus. The way my mind works, of course, the natural culmination of this would be physical intimacy. I feel pretty confident the author didn't have this in mind, but still, she posits a partner bond that is...well, it's like the bonds between the men in the fantasy books I used to read: it transcends brotherhood and best-mates and other "regular" ties between people, even deep ones; it's mysterious and beyond words or understanding. Not really magical...and yet not quite entirely of this world; uncanny, almost telepathic. Though that's not technically "slash," it's the sort of m/m relationship that hits a lot of buttons for me.

The one real problem I have with the story is the ending. The story feels like it ends before the end, if that makes sense (and I'm not talking here about my normal insatiable desire for more, but rather attempting to analyze it from a more objective "literary" perspective), like the "emotional" story arc, between Bodie and Doyle and especially Doyle's own arc, isn't really concluded. It's a long story with lots of powerful emotions swirling around; through much of it Bodie and Doyle are separated or there is tension between them, and it really needed more resolution to feel balanced. This is frustrating, because the story is so well done in other ways; sometimes when I get to the end I have to really beat back a sense of profound disappointment (it's not that the ending is really ambiguous, or at least I don't think of it that way; it's just sort of...incomplete, and I'm not very good at finishing things up in my head on my own). But that's how it is sometimes.

And it doesn't outweigh or negate the strengths of the story, or the things that draw me to it so strongly.

Ah, I just can't get it, get the feeling of it, out of my mind.[13]
Yeah, this is a great story! (I know I told you the British Takeaways are worth reading. *g*) It's great for all the reasons you say up there. It focuses so much on the Bodi and Doyle relationship that I--a relationship junkie--am satisfied. I like it very much. But...I was interested when you said: The one real problem I have with the story is the ending. I agree with that. I've always thought that there was meant to be more. In fact, that feeling lingers so strongly for me that I don't tend to reread this story. Until I do--and then I remember why I love it. And why it leaves me feeling frustrated at the end.[14]
... it's not just the focus on the relationship - it's the absolute and utter intensity of the focus (and the relationship) - so far beyond most gen stories, that do emphasize the strength of their partnership - but not like this. This is...it's different. It's Corazon that does it; it's her intensity, really, isn't it? The whole thing just grabs your heart and squeezes.

I've always thought that there was meant to be more.

It is reassuring to me that you feel this way too - reinforces that it really isn't just my "I want more" thing. See, you've taught me something - talking about emotional arcs. It really just doesn't seem finished, and that is so very frustrating, because the story is so good - I long for the ending it seems to cry out for and that she so clearly had the skill to give it...[15]
I remember nothing about the story, but when you mentioned it, I remembered that I had loved it.[16]
If I'm remembering correctly (long time ago), Damaged Goods was part of the story arc -- published after Heart of the Lion but set earlier in time. It wasn't as powerful as Heart, and it didn't cover the partnership theme. Instead, it is as solid explanation for Bodie's unswerving loyalty to Cowley as I'll ever hope to read.[17]
You are right! I just tracked down and read Damaged Goods, hoping at first that it was a sequel to Heart of the Lion. It wasn't, of course, but as you say, it's a sort of "prequel" - no partnership at all, and definitely not as powerful, but it's very interesting, and captivating in its own way. It elaborates on a few otherwise-mysterious references in Heart of the Lion and adds a lot to that story. It paints an incredibly appealing picture of 17-year-old Bodie - one of the most engaging I've ever read; I can't get that young Bodie out of my head. And as you say, it's a rock-solid and really...well, I'm going to use "appealing" again! - explanation for Bodie's loyalty to Cowley, one that I both can and want to buy into. It certainly sets the bar for any story I read in the future that tackles that subject. The world she was creating really is alive in my head...how I wish there were more! [18]
Oh, that would be too wonderful! There's only so many gen stories -- in any universe -- that clearly define what makes the relationship unique. And she was building such a world for them! I love stories with original characters who don't usurp the role and actions of the guys. So few people can really write that way (which accounts for the unfortunate number of Mary Sues in gen writing. Another gen one that I truly enjoyed in those zines was Eye of the Tiger.[19]
The story is excellent and you've done a very good job of explaining why it's so memorable. I haven't read it in a long time but it still resonates with me. I remember that at the time BT 3 came out, there was a lot of discussion about this story and how powerful it was. Many people disliked the ending, feeling it lacked resolution. This is one of the rare Pros stories that contain strong female characterizations; both Corazon and Claire were interesting people. As for gen stories with strong partnership themes, this ranks as among the best. I would also recommend Seven Nights in Bangkok as a worthy rival.[20]

References

  1. from an LOC in British Takeaway #4
  2. from an LOC in British Takeaway #4
  3. from an LOC in British Takeaway #4
  4. from an LOC in British Takeaway #4
  5. from an LOC in British Takeaway #4
  6. from an LOC in British Takeaway #4
  7. from an LOC in British Takeaway #4
  8. from an LOC in British Takeaway #4
  9. from an LOC in British Takeaway #4
  10. from an LOC in British Takeaway #4
  11. from a fan in Short Circuit #3 (October 1990)
  12. from Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine? #4
  13. 2008 comments by Justacat at Pros story discussion/rec: "Heart of the Lion"; archive is
  14. 2008 comment by msmoat at Pros story discussion/rec: "Heart of the Lion"
  15. 2008 comment by Justacat at Pros story discussion/rec: "Heart of the Lion"
  16. 2008 comment by shoshanna at Pros story discussion/rec: "Heart of the Lion"
  17. 2008 comment by billiephillips at Pros story discussion/rec: "Heart of the Lion"
  18. 2008 comment by Justacat at Pros story discussion/rec: "Heart of the Lion"
  19. 2008 comment by billiephillips at Pros story discussion/rec: "Heart of the Lion"
  20. 2008 comment by jagr1968 at Pros story discussion/rec: "Heart of the Lion"