Holding Back the Flood

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The Professionals Fanfiction
Title: Holding Back the Flood
Author(s): Lacey McBain
Date(s): July 2005
Length: 30k
Genre: slash
Fandom: The Professionals
External Links: online here

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Holding Back the Flood is a Professionals slash story by Lacey McBain.


Author's summary: "There’s only been one thing Doyle’s ever needed, and after a failed mission, he decides to give in."


I’d almost forgotten what a beautiful piece of writing this is - vintage Bodie and Doyle: two very close tough guys (and I love the way she shows their closeness):

Of course, Doyle can see he's also scanning the crowd, checking the exits, watching for anything that might go wrong. Be wrong. Doyle takes some degree of comfort in knowing Bodie's got his back even if he doesn't know he's doing it. It's so natural now. For both of them.

Everything so easy when they're in synch, and hell when they aren't.

.....two tough guys with guns, near-death experiences and yet........it’s so much more.

There is almost a filmic quality to the narrative (yes, I said ‘filmic’, a new acquisition to my vocabulary which I plan to use at every opportunity.....) so, as with all my favourite Pros writing, I feel that I’m *there* bang in the middle with my heroes, either as part of the story or clicking away, like a camera....[1]
Doyle's conscience, and its capacity for taking the blame, is very much a Pros cliché, but that doesn't mean it doesn't produce some wonderful stories. In this one his pain and its causes are slowly revealed, allowing us space to see not only Doyle himself but how Bodie also copes. And of course the resolution this time is all that our slashy hearts might hope for...[2]
A powerful, short story that really grabs you by the throat.[3]
I love the way she managed to navigate such emotionally charged terrain and still have the lads remain so essentially themselves.[4]
You go through so many emotions in this, from the playful tone of the first bit in the pub, to Doyle's darkest thoughts and then the lads finally coming together. And it's all perfectly in keeping with the characters.

Not to mention the fact that your descriptions are utterly lovely.

And this line, in particular, killed me:

Someday it’ll be them on a rooftop, guns empty, eyes locked, and nowhere to go but down.

It's such a brutal image, and yet still contains their essential defiance.[5]
How I love this fic!... “Holding Back the Flood” has great sentimental value for me. My introduction to Pros fandom was fanvids on youtube, and one of the first (and still favourite) was Ancasta’s “Reasons”, the only fanvid I know that incorporates fic. Now I cannot think of that passage from HBTF without hearing the atmospheric music that goes with it.[6]

It is so real. Doyle’s recollections of the day’s events are like a Pros episode, but better, more intense. Doyle’s faith in the police, Bodie and Doyle frantically following leads and all too often arriving at he scene just too late. In the eps, of course, they get it right just in time, at the end, here they don’t. It’s a complete mess and Doyle’s guilt and frustration is tangible.

Particularly haunting is Doyle’s imagining the last desperate moments of Ferris and McGarrity so vividly that he feels and smells and senses some of what they did. And what did they think, or say to each other as the first went to his death?

And a knowing, understanding Bodie. Instead of giving up on Doyle, he wears away at him (note, watery imagery), insisting they share both praise and blame.

"I think I do, Ray. 's what you need. Maybe what we've both needed for some time." The look in Bodie's eyes tells Doyle he's misjudged the man's level of understanding. A major miscalculation, and Bodie knows exactly what he's feeling, even the things he hasn't quite admitted to himself. What he wants.

Bodie's going to break him, the way slow drops of water wear down solid rock.

Not only is Doyle unable to stop replaying the imagined scene in his mind, but Bodie insists on confronting him with another rooftop as a kind of shock therapy. There are layers and layers in this short fic.

Okay, there are blatant Americanisms, notably going out on the roof, also an icebox and a trunk, and a "Goddammit, Ray, will you just stop already?", but they don't get in the way of my appreciation.

“Holding Back the Flood” has great sentimental value for me. My introduction to Pros fandom was fanvids on youtube, and one of the first (and still favourite) was Ancasta’s “Reasons”, the only fanvid I know that incorporates fic. Now I cannot think of that passage from HBTF without hearing the atmospheric music that goes with it.[7]
I hadn't read this before, so thanks for the rec! I liked the story -- it was well-paced, and there were a series of very vivid scenes within it. I usually find it tricky to get past writers using the present tense, but on the whole that wasn't a problem here. The only thing that did throw me out of the story were the Americanisms -- the dialogue wasn't quite there all through ("twasn't" and icebox and the "goddammit, Ray, will you just stop already" were probably the most glaring).[8]
Americanisms - and the booth in the pub. Otherwise I thought LMcB had caught the dialogue quite well. I just checked the transcript of 'Look after Annie' for 'the finger in the dyke boys' (which I've slightly misquoted), and in the same conversation Bodie says the security's 'lousy' - now in fic I would have thought that was an Americanism. Proves the point that in canon they can be quite transatlantic, probably to sound cool, and bodie likes his Hollywood movies. *g* [9]
The odd thing is, the Americanisms in the show jump out at me as well, as they sound so unlikely in a 1970s British show *g*. I've always assumed they were there to help sell the show to an American network -- and to make the characters sound cool, as you say! Lousy is well-established in British slang, so that wouldn't bother me.[10]
This story makes me happy. It's everything one can ask for in a story, long or short. It tells the entire story of their relationship, their love, their need for each other, and what they'd do to keep the other safe. I swear, every time I read it, it just tears me up. As for the present tense, I like present. I never limit my reading because of the tense, and this writer does present so well. I didn't read a word out of place as far as that goes. Like Jaycat said, you don't notice the tense, only that you are right there with Bodie and Doyle while they're drinking in the pub. You follow them home and climb to the roof with them. Then you are back down in Bodie's bed, knowing that they're loving each other as only they can. Damn, but it makes me smile to read this story once again.[11]
This is an emotional roller-coaster ride of a fic, and I mean that in a good way. The pacing's great and the highs and lows are breath-stealing. The imagery's brilliant, but that's lagniappe; I'm reading it and loving it for the emotions it evokes.[12]
... have loved this story for a while! - it's very powerful and very moving, because it so strongly conveys how very very likely they are to face death (perhaps not in our own personal Pros-verses, but if we extrapolate from canon ...) - it's remarkably vivid, and I find the ending especially almost painful. Makes the relationship make sense and makes it meaningful, because their experience is so intense and the fic conveys that very successfully.[13]
That's a good point about the way this fic meets their mortality head on. The fic doesn't (to me) say anything about the future of their relationship, just that they are likely to die in the course of duty and that knowing how they feel about each other will help them facing it. That is assuming they go together, like Ferris and McGarrity...[14]
Yes! A very thrilling story!

Just one thing... Now go and look for some tar and feathers... I think it would be an even better story without the 'first time'! Either as an 'established' or as a 'gen' story.

IMO that 'first time' adds a new dimension and kills the intensity of the virtual(?) theme.[15]
I still think the first time is an essential part of the story because the dam bursting is them admitting their true feelings for each other, i.e. love and sexual desire on top of the trust, friendship, etc.

I wonder if your objection to the first time aspect is that you don't see the sex scene as being an integral part of the story because of some change in the writing style?

I would concede that it becomes more warm and soft and Doyle's mood changes rapidly. Before he was feeling miserable about having to wear a suit and tie to the funeral, but after he thinks of the funeral again and borrowing Bodie's tie, and now it is in a more positive and humorous way. But I think that mood change is completely intentional by the author.[16]
I love a good first-time story as much as anybody else!

It's just... There were no hints before! No looks, no thought: "I could forget the whole mess in Bodie's arms..." Nothing. At page 9 from 10 there is suddenly another 'first time'. I can almost hear the author thinking: "Ups! I'v forgotten something... It has to be a slash story! Doesn't matter. They belong together anyway, so let's do it..." :-)

You know what I mean? I love it when such a first time builds up slowly! When it is believable.[17]


  1. review at noblesentiments dated Oct 16, 2008.
  2. rec at rec50 dated Jun. 8th, 2006.
  3. alicambs Professionals recs dated March 19, 2010.
  4. comment in the review at noblesentiments dated Oct 16, 2008; reference link.
  5. comment in the-safehouse story post dated July 31, 2005; reference link.
  6. The vid [www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHQ27AST870 Reasons]
  7. 2009 comments at CI5hq; archive is
  8. 2009 comments at CI5hq
  9. 2009 comments at CI5hq
  10. 2009 comments at CI5hq
  11. 2009 comments at CI5hq
  12. 2009 comments at CI5hq
  13. 2009 comments at CI5hq
  14. 2009 comments at CI5hq
  15. 2009 comments at CI5hq
  16. 2009 comments at CI5hq
  17. 2009 comments at CI5hq