The Anniversary (Professionals story)
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It was mentioned on The 1985 Hatstand Express Top Ten Lists.
"Forced to attend the annual CI5 anniversary weekend, Bodie begins to feel alone and contemplate his bond with Doyle. Assigned to separate rooms, Bodie is unable to sleep and joins Doyle for a little comfort."
Reactions and Reviews
Sebastian’s story was wonderful - I know why I like her stories so much. The emotions aren't often directly spelled out, no prosaic description, no dialogue like: "I always loved you." - "Oh, you do? I love you too." - "Let's go to bed". Instead it's subtle, often a sort of second layer in the story, and when I read it I feel the emotions. And everything without sugar. The situation with the first kiss in the dark bathroom was really great.
I was browsing for fics with an anniversary or birthday theme, but eep - Sebastian? Friends will know I have a low tolerance of serious, long-drawn out angsty fics of the type I associate with Sebastian and M. Fae Glasgow, but increasingly I'm finding another side to Sebastian - short, bewitching and attractively lacking in angst. This week I've read (and enjoyed!) "Army Games" and "The Jungle Book", and here's another.
It's all rather wonderful but the most hauntingly beautiful image is of the swans, paired for life. aaaah.
With "Army Games" fresh in mind, I was also struck by Sebastian's apparent kink for the lads enjoying their first time in a tight situation with a high risk of being caught in flagrante.BTW, I'm sure there are numerous fics that involve the lads celebrating a birthday, or "their" anniversary, or maybe talking about how they will celebrate in future years, but not usually as the main plot line - and could I find any? no.
I’ve said before that one of my reasons for loving a story is whether or not it’s made up of 'unforgettable, magical moments', moments which can stay in my head for days and I think The Anniversary definitely qualifies as a perfect example of this...It’s funny but I don’t think I’ve ever thought of Sebastian’s stories as being drawn-out (November, possibly?), angsty yes, but not too long. I suppose that’s the difference between liking a writer or not? If you like certain writers their stories probably aren't going to be long enough and if you don’t like them, then they’re probably too long... Sorry, I digress! I loved The Anniversary and should go and read it again.
... about [her] 'earlier period' - I could imagine an author like Sebastian starting carefully, with shorter, lighter pieces, and then gaining the confidence to write longer and more serious fics.
Yeah, though I think that poignant and insightful moments are dotted throughout her earlier works and conversely her later, more complex stories contain some of the wittiest characterisations and observations of any writer I know. But yes, I think I'd agree with you that there does seem to be some kind of evolution in her writing style and more than I've seen in any other writer.
I have to say that when I fear my own writing is too repetitive or too prolific, I remind myself of how I feel about writers I love -- Kate MacLean and Sebastian in particular because both wrote relatively little and re-explored the same themes again and again. And yet I never get tired of re-reading them. I would be joyful (and I use the term in all seriousness) if a cache of Sebastian stories were to be uncovered (MacLean I keep working on, so maybe one day she'll take pity and write again). So while I might pick critically at bits of Wonderful Tonight or November, I still love them and they could have been three times as long and drawn out, and I'd have been perfectly happy.
I love this fic, it's one that I've read over and over again. The anticipatory atmosphere of the dinner party, the meeting in the night while the house sleeps around them, and then the next morning surrounded by the other agents again, it's all magic. And the "swans mate for life" comment gives me the nicest kind of shivers.
And another 'understated' moment is Bodie's "I think I'm in love," at the breakfast table among all the other agents. Bodie is very brave saying that to Doyle! He trusts him that it wasn't just one 'magical night'... Yes, definitely a story to read 'over and over again'! 
This is a just a little gem of a story. Sweet without being cloying, understated (as several have mentioned) but still packing an emotional punch. It has a magical element to it -- the castle at night and the grounds the next day with the lake and the swans -- but it's also centered in the small but real details: Doyle waiting to use the bathroom, Bodie squeezing into the musty bed beside the sewing maching...the details are great.
She beautifully captures the illicit delight of the risky sex. And the fact that she can imbue such a simple, uncomplicated story with so much -- so many lovely layers -- really speaks to her skill.It's one of my favorite stories and I reread it often.
Oh, I liked that story. The sweetness of it; the meeting in the dark; the idea of getting found out. Really nice. I almost didn't get past the first bit since I found the beginning not very Bodie-like. I think Bodie would revel in showing his posh manners in a situation like that, and play it to the hilt. He'd like the good food an freely flowing alcohol. After all, he seemed to like playing up in Untouchables, and since he dressed in a tie in many eps (seemingly of his own choice as Doyle was scruffy), I don't think he'd find the tie awful. But it was a delightful read. Made me smile and love the lads even more. It's quite sentimental to be talking about celebrating their anniversary next year, so I'm surprised a lot of folks like that much mush. Me, I loved it.