Mere Anarchy

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The Professionals Fanfiction
Title: Mere Anarchy
Author(s): Rebelcat
Date(s): 2006 or earlier
Length: 81K
Genre: slash
Fandom: The Professionals
External Links: online here

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Mere Anarchy is a slash Professionals story by Rebelcat. The story focuses on the aftermath of the rape of one of the two main characters.

Reactions and Reviews

Rebelcat has taken a highly emotive subject that is so often handled badly, rape (not depicted, this is in a sense a recovery story), and written an excellent, coherent story.[1]
Bodie gets hurt on a mission and Ray takes care of him. Except he's behaving all snarky and independent. (Bodie, I mean. Ray's just snarky). This is a rape fic, one of the best out there, very real and in character.[2]
Why I like this story? I think it got me from the start! We are thrown into a session with Dr.Ross and Bodie. And it's clear that Ross doesn't stand a chance to reach Bodie deep inside. He even scares her: "This man was a professional killer, and he had dropped the charming mask he habitually wore in a deliberate attempt to frighten her." Huh! Yes! That’s the way I like him! He’s snappy, sarcastic and witty, even in THAT situation!

Well - the situation... Bodie and Doyle live in a sort of ‘un-established relationship’. Which means that everything is new, insecure and easy to destroy.

At this moment something terrible happens and they have to deal with it – and esp.Doyle isn’t sure how their fresh love affair could survive this.

During the story we learn what has happened to Bodie – and I think in a very thrilling way – through some flashbacks of Doyle.

And what I really love in this part of the story is the characterisation of Doyle. He’s very well aware that he failed when he found Bodie, and he absolutely doesn’t know how to help his friend now after he has left hospital. Doyle is doing some kind of switching between caring for Bodie and respecting his maleness... IMO this insecurity is a very strong part of the story, because it is human and also authentic for such a situation...[3]
I like this story a lot - I find it satisfying in almost every way; Ross and Cowley and Murphy are spot on, I think, and well used - especially Cowley using Bodie's ordeal for the purposes of the case while genuinely - if incidentally - using the interrogation to help Bodie at the same time. The balance between humanity and compassion and ruthless purpose in Cowley is a fine one, and I think this story works well on this front. I also thought that using Ross' notes and observations to show us what is going on with Bodie at the beginning works perfectly well - it doesn't ring artificial exposition bells with me at least. But what I really liked was the B/D relationship, Ray finding this in many ways so much harder to deal with than mayhem and injury. And Bodie is vulnerable - as when he very emphatically Does Not Cry, on the couch in the night - but his reactions feel surprising and that helps make them convincing, I think (such as his great delight to be going back to work, after waking up with Ray). He is traumatised - and I agree that he shoots one of his attackers while in a state of shock - but he is traumatised in his own way; angry and disoriented rather than rendered helpless by what happened."[4]
Rebelcat has taken a highly emotive subject that is so often handled badly, rape (not depicted, this is in a sense a recovery story), and written an excellent, coherent story.[5]
That was one of the things I like best about this story - there's no big chunk where we're told "A week ago, Bodie had been..." etc etc! Instead Rebel lets us find out what happened through the character's actions, so that we're not reading a story, so to speak, we're there with them, watching a chunk out of their lives rather than having it explained to us. It makes the story so much more immediate and engaging I think, when writers manage to do this - and it's a measure of the author's skill, I think, because it's so much easier to pull the reader out for a minute and say "Look, this is what happened that I can't be bothered showing you..." [6]
Bodie deserves my sympathy but for some reason the story doesn't inspire it (in me) as much as I would expect. And the only reasons I can think for this would be that either: a) it's my fault and I'm unfeeling; b) the writing doesn't succeed in making that emotional connection with me; or, c) the writer doesn't want that reaction from me.[7]
I really like Rebel's writing, and Mere Anarchy is a great example (my favourite is actually Babysitting Tommy, I think... *g*) but although I thoroughly enjoyed it, it didn't move me the way some stories do.

There were a few moments that really did - Bodie in the bathroom, wanting Doyle to go away, and perhaps when they're both in bed and Bodie realises that Doyle isn't as unaffected by it all as he's been pretending either, for example. I could feel the tension of the characters a little more in these two moments - and then that lovely comfort as Bodie finally fell asleep too.

I've been trying to think why this should be, and I came up with a couple of ideas... I wonder if it might have something to do with the author leaving it up to us to fill in the setting and atmosphere of the story? There's very little description of either of these things, so that as I'm reading everything is against quite a stark background - because I know the CI5 world, I can picture them moving around in it, but there're no little touches that bring the feel of a place alive, and I do think that we're all quite aware of our settings, and that they add to our feelings and emotions about everything - so when we don't know what they are in a story, it takes away some of those feelings and emotions?

The other thought was to do with the way thoughts and emotions are described/explained in the piece. A lot of the time we're told what the characters are feeling, but not really shown it at the same time - again, because there's not much physical description, I think... And clearly there doesn't need to be huge amounts, because it's an enjoyable story as it is, but I wonder if that would have given it some added depth, engaged our emotions a little more? [8]
As with death fic, I almost never read rape stories (I'm not being in the least judgemental here, it's just not my thing personally). So, first of all, thanks for suggesting this one, because I might not have read it otherwise, and I'm glad I did.

I enjoyed the blokiness of their reactions; they both coped with the situation in totally believable ways - Bodie in denial, Doyle not knowing how to help, how to put it right. And that feeling of nothing ever being the same again that gradually eased as the story progressed and they gradually pulled themselves and each other back together.

I also like their toughness all the way through - there's never any feeling that either of them is about to do the bushbaby clinging thing... I like the lads rough and tough *g* There's only one moment where it doesn't ring true for me - when Doyle suddenly announces that Bodie needs a cuddle. That kind of made my brain spin a bit. *g*

It felt as though Bodie was orbiting Doyle the whole way through the story, pulling away from him, but then being pulled back, especially towards the end in the hallway outside the interrogation room - I loved Doyle standing still, waiting for Bodie to come closer again, confident that he would.[9]
The way Bodie handled the situation rang so very true. I felt that Bodie and Doyle were very much in character. While feeling angry (not pity since Bodie neither wanted it nor needed it) on Bodie's behalf, I also felt strongly for Doyle trying not to walk on egg shells with him and somehow managing to get it almost right! Cowley was his magnificent self while Ross' thoughts were a great way of focusing the story and providing a more objective view of Bodie. The B/D element was beautifully and subtly done and I loved the ending.[10]
Very sweet -- some nice touches. Thanks for sharing it!

It's a dramatic opening, and I like that. Good place to begin the story.

It quickly gets expositiony for my tastes. The scene with Ross, for example, where she's writing down the obvious..."minimizing impact of trauma," etc. That continues throughout.

"It was an old routine, one with which they were both far too familiar." (And with which the fan fic reader is familiar too, and needn't be explained.)

And it's all just a little bit over the top. The drama of "I was raped. Can't you say it?" His expression was challenging, and deadly. "Raped."

The entire thing seems more of an attempt at understatement than really being understated, if you see what I mean?

I thought dialog was one of her strengths...it seemed like the way they might say stuff even if I could never picture them saying those actual lines. And there were a couple of instances of good banter -- I always like that.

The emotional core is off (IMO). This is going to sound strange, but I see Bodie as more of a ruthless pragmatist about getting shot or raped or beaten or...betrayed by Cowley even. So I found both his reaction and the reaction of everyone else melodramatic and oversensitive. I could more easily believe in a Bodie seeking revenge for Doyle or Cowley's abuse than his own. I just didn't buy it. And everyone else's concern and preoccupation with the rape seemed maybe a bit...anachronistic?

By the way, I think this premise was done well in one of Ellis Ward's stories -- and I can't remember the name of it now, but I just read it. But what I do really like here -- and Ward did this also -- is the fact that she tried to explore how the rape affects the other half of the team, although here I think it could have been handled more effectively by telling us less and showing us more.[11]
Bodie gets hurt on a mission and Ray takes care of him. Except he's behaving all snarky and independent. (Bodie, I mean. Ray's just snarky). This is a rape fic, one of the best out there, very real and in character.[12]

References

  1. ^ Professional Recs post by alicambsrecs dated March 10, 2010; WebCite.
  2. ^ rec50 post dated Feb 28, 2007;WebCite.
  3. ^ Reading Room - Mere Anarchy by Rebelcat Part 1 post to ci5hq dated March 3, 2009; WebCite; Archive.is (accessed April 8, 2013) and Part 2 post to ci5hq dated March 7, 2009; WebCite; Archive.is (accessed April 8, 2013).
  4. ^ comment in Part 2 post to ci5hq dated March 7, 2009; WebCite; Archive.is (accessed April 8, 2013).
  5. ^ from alicambs Professional Recs, Archived version
  6. ^ a 2009 comment at CI5
  7. ^ a 2009 comment at CI5
  8. ^ a 2009 comment at CI5
  9. ^ a 2009 comment at CI5
  10. ^ a 2009 comment at CI5
  11. ^ a 2009 comment at CI5
  12. ^ from 2007 rec50