The Fire Series

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The Professionals Fanfiction
Title: The Fire series
Author(s): Elspeth Leigh
Date(s): 1998-1999
Length: 125k
Genre: slash
Fandom: The Professionals
External Links: online at the Hatstand

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The Fire series is a series of two Professionals slash stories written by Elspeth Leigh. The series sometimes appears on fans' Desert Island lists.[1]

The first story in the series is Firewalls and was published in Night Music in B and D. The second is story Firestorm and was published in Motet #3.

Reviewers summary: "Firewalls and its sequel Firestorm are set in the computer age – our lads have all grown up. Only of course they didn't leave home, they moved in together, and they stayed with CI5. This is a nice look at what it might be like, with some great flashbacks just to remind us how it is."[2]


Firewalls: by Elspeth Leigh (26pp.): This story is almost an anomaly in the zine, an outcropping of the other side of Pros fandom, the one in which Bodie and Doyle are openly, even lavishly, affectionate. It's a bit weird to encounter it here, in this company. On the other hand, maybe without it the zine would be too harsh, too severe, its emotions too unspoken and unspeakable. Even so -- maybe it's just the context (and my personal taste, which I've already admitted to), but bits of this one did feel overdone to me. It alternates between the show's time (in flashback) and twenty years later, when B&D are to all intents married and are co-controllers of CI5. (Now there's a popular piece of fan mythology that I've never believed was plausible. I can accept it, though.) The story traces, in parallel, the case that triggered B&D's realization of how they felt about each other, and a situation in the present that illustrates their work- and love-life and that turns out to tie into that long-ago one. The easy affection, even domesticity, in the present-day parts are plausible -- in twenty years, if they remain together but don't reach something like this, it's going to be pretty ugly -- but are laid on a bit thick for my taste; and having as many as four characters in the pre-relationship flashbacks watch them and wonder benignly when they will realize how lucky they are to have each other struck me as overkill. However, structurally the zine probably needed this story, as you'll understand when I get to the last one. I'd like to get [the editor] on a panel on putting a zine together and have her talk about this. And it's not a bad story, just a combination of not to my taste and an almost startling contrast. I'd be interested to hear if others, too, found it notably different from its surrounding stories, and if anyone liked both "sides" equally.[3]
Even though I’ve only read her two stories in the Fire Series – Firewalls and Firestorm – plus Sunshine after Rain, I like Elspeth Leigh’s writing very much and feel she’s another writer we don’t hear enough about. And I’ve been torturing myself trying to think how best to describe her work – or at least how best to describe how *I* feel about it – and for some reason the word ‘elegant’ keeps coming up. Not sure why. The story *is* very elegantly written and, even though much of it is centred around the fact that Bodie and Doyle are enjoying a mature and established relationship, it still manages to be very sensuous in style (I just love that word, 'sensuous'). And their relationship, though free of the usual ‘will they, or won’t they’ kind of anxieties, is still a thing of wonder and fascination for both of them, and thus for the reader.... And I love the writer’s frequent use of flashbacks – not everyone’s cup of tea and if handled badly could probably drive you crazy – but I think this writer uses them to good effect and keeps the reader on her toes. And thinking a bit more here, maybe this is one of the reasons why I find the story so very elegantly written - it's (partly) the writer's elegant use of flashbacks. There. That feels better...And the icing on the cake...... there's even a good storyline, elegantly interwoven with our observations of their relationship. So, what are you waiting for? [4]
I absolutely adore a well-observed older lads fic, and I've just been off to read part one of the Fire Series and enjoyed it immensely. You're right, there's an elegance to her writing, a sweep to it, that draws you in and holds your attention effortlessly. And I liked the use of flashbacks here, they tied past and present together very nicely.[5]
One of the things which struck me forcibly when I first rediscovered Pros a couple of years ago (after twenty odd years in the desert, as it were!) was how old fashioned the technology was, the huge clanking computer disk drives, red telephone boxes, Cowley's housebrick sized car phone, no seat belts, no remote locking, no dvds! Completely accurate, of course, but just brought home how much our everyday lives have been changed by the new technologies. After all, would Bodie and Doyle have believed that ordinary people all over the world could be in constant touch via home computers (let alone laptops and blackberries!), would be able to find friends from mutual interests, exchange stories and views instantly, all within such a short time? Would we have believed it, come to that? But these two stories manage to at least partially bridge that divide for me, give me a picture of how their lives would have moved on in that same period of time, just as mine has. And, we have only to look at the sexy Judge John Deed to have the grown up Raymond in our mind's eye!! What a pity we don't see more of the lovely Lewis these days to facilitate the same! [6]
What a beautiful, thoughtful look at these stories. Thank you! Elegant is a wonderful description. I remember that the first time I read them, the description of them dancing took over my imagination for days. All I wanted was to think about their dancing...[7]
Places like crack_vanR are where I often start my search when entering a new fandom. When I find an author I like, I check to see what else he or she has written. This is how I came across Elspeth's work, and I really like what I've read so far. The Fire Series is two stories that feature an older Bodie and Doyle - something that almost stopped me from reading. I wanted them young and vital, right? But the characterization is so right, and the relationship between them is sweet without being sappy. The stories alternate between present events as Bodie and Doyle continue to work at CI5 - no longer field agents, but co-controllers - and cases they dealt with in the past. The two streams come together brilliantly and the stories give you insight into the boys when they were young and dangerous counter-balanced with men that are more comfortable with themselves and each other. There's angst and action and lots of plot, tender moments and good banter. Both stories are long and well-worth the read. [8]
I thought "Firewalls" was plodding and boring and waaay too long. As a consequence, I barely skimmed "Firestorm" since nothing about these future versions of the lads had engaged me at all. And I mostly really have a thing for older lads.[9]


  1. Close Quarters Desert Island Episode/Zine/Fic dated July 18, 2009; reference link.
  2. review at rec50 dated June 29, 2006.
  3. In 1998, Shoshanna posted this review to the Virgule-L mailing list. It is reposted here with permission. It is also printed in DIAL #7.
  4. The Fire series, Noble Sentiments, dated Nov 29, 2006; reference link
  5. comment in the The Fire series, Noble Sentiments, dated Nov 29, 2006; reference link
  6. comment in the The Fire series, Noble Sentiments, dated Nov 29, 2006; reference link
  7. comment in the The Fire series, Noble Sentiments, dated Nov 29, 2006; reference link
  8. review at the crack-van dated Oct 1, 2005; reference link.
  9. Istia in Firewalls thread at Pros-Lit dated August 13, 2003, quoted with permission.