Waiting to Fall

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Title: Waiting to Fall
Publisher: Professionals Circuit
Author(s): Rob
Cover Artist(s):
Date(s): July 1989
Series?: no
Medium: print zine
Genre: slash
Fandom: The Professionals
Language: English
External Links: On the circuit archive: One complete file / Broken into ten parts for easier loading
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
a 1995, 415-page custom zine

Waiting to Fall is a slash novel by Rob, written for distribution on the Professionals circuit -- i.e., to be passed from one fan to another, with each fan making a copy for herself if she wanted one, before putting it back on the circuit. In this particular case, that was an expensive proposition: The Hatstand calls it "the longest story in Pros slash", and notes that it is often referred to as "Waiting to Fuck." [1] The story is 350,000 words long.

One fan remembers her paper copy: "It was a two-inch, two-pound, double-sided stack of a single story: Waiting to Fuck Fall... this copy looks like it was created at different times - different paper, different toner quality, etc. I think I inherited it from [a fan who moved to Canada, name redacted]." [2]

The zine often appears on fans' Desert Island lists.[3]

This story was discussed in Angst and emotional dynamics in slash, as exemplified in Helen Raven's "Heat Trace", a 1992 essay by Shoshanna.


In 1995, Jan Levine fan undertook the Sisyphean task of retyping the entire novel into a more readable (and electronic) form.

"Stop Press" -- printed in Late for Breakfast #26

This retyping was not without discourse. A fan in Late for Breakfast #26 (September 1995) became alarmed and alerted other fans, setting off a round of discussion in the next issue of "Late for Breakfast."

Felicity wrote:

I'm afraid I can't get hot under the collar about someone retyping Waiting to Fall. As long as they are not doing it for profit, then I don't see the problem. Waiting to Fall was never published as a zine, so no editor is being done out of sales. It has been in circulation for many years now through fans photocopying it for themselves and/or others. That was the point of the circuit for Professionals slash fandom, after all. Just because the stories are now being put onto a computer disk doesn't change the basic situation, that these stories are in circulation to be read and copied by fans.

As for doing this without ROB's knowledge, all of us who circulated stories knew that they would be copied by whatever means. I seem to remember (and I'm sure ROB does too) that Masquerade was re-typed, photocopied and circulated without the author's knowledge, consent or anything else.

I have heard that there is the equivalent of the circuit library for Professionals stories on the Internet. My only concern would be over who has access to it. I'm not a believer in shoving slash fiction under the noses of those who either know nothing about it or who dislike the premise, I don't like the thought of Tom, Dick or Harriet, not to mention tv companies, gaining access to slash fiction that way.
Artemis wrote:
Let's get the serious stuff out of the way first. Re CUSHY's stop press in LfB 26 [about Waiting to Fall] this is the first I've heard about this happening. It seems as if it's being done with the best of intentions, and I think that there are some arguments in favour of circulating circuit stories via the Internet, but I strongly feel that it's totally unethical to distribute a writer's work in any form whatsoever without asking their permission first.
Cushy, the original creator of "Stop Press," wrote:
Re Waiting to Fall and British circuit stories: I have had quite a lot of 'internet chat' with the lady who runs the library in the States and it appears that they have been for the last few years re-typing and/or scanning most of the old British circuit stories which are then circulated freely amongst fans over there via email. (Quite how long it would take to download Waiting to Fall at over 600 pages I have no idea!) Anyway, although my immediate reaction to this was 'heh, wait a minute...'and "wouldn't it be polite to notify the author..' after discussing it through and having been asked to justify what the difference between photocopying stories and re-typing them was (a question I must be honest I found difficult to answer), I have sort of got used to the idea. I can confirm that they are being re-typed EXACTLY as originals vis British spelling etc. The lady who runs the library was MOST emphatic that nothing is changed. However, Waiting to Fall does need an edit (so says the author as well as me) so it has been agreed that we will be sent a disc with the whole re-typed story and it can be edited, and then presumably made available to people over here as well. Anyone interested?

In the end, it took Jan Levine, who indeed did have permission to type the story and make light copy-editing, three years to finish the task.

The Story vs. The City Bus

Because the story had so many pages, fans would often carry it loose or in parts. A 600 page binder could weigh a ton, and in the days before Kindle, lugging the binder and paper to and fro was for only the hardiest (or masochistic) fans.

In 1994, a fan named alexfandra related on a close encounter between the pages of "Waiting to Fall" and a city bus:

I'd finally snagged a copy of the massive Pros novel "Waiting to Fall" (AKA "Waiting to Screw"), at 600+ pages, a tome to be reckoned with. I reckoned with it my carrying 200 page sections about with me at one time. These pages were not in a binder, nay, they were kept loose in file folders preparatory to my plan to copy them at work while no one was looking. So there I was one morning, riding the bus, engrossed in the pages I was currently reading whilst a 200-page section sat in my backpack destined for the photocopier. The pages I was reading were a tad exciting. So exciting that I failed to notice how close we were coming to my stop until the bus began to make its final approach--I looked up, saw the University hospital, and thought, Oops. I leaped from my seat, grabbing up my backpack. Which was not zipped shut.

The file folder inside, with the 200 pages of "Waiting to Fall", went flying down the aisle. Many people were attempting to walk down the aisle to leave the bus. The bus itself was lurching mightily to a long, drawn-out stop. As I scrambled to retrieve the mess, bumping into people as the bus lurched along, I had one clear thought in mind: the page with the sex scene is going to get stuck under the seats.

My second thought was, [my friend T] is going to kill me. She's the one I borrowed the novel from, and it was her pristine copy which was making its merry way down the filthy bus aisle. By some incredible miracle granted to me by the Slash Slut Goddess, I got the miscreant pages in hand, managed to exit the bus before finding myself in another county, got to the office, ate some chocolate immediately, and then carefully put it all in the right order and not only was nothing missing, but nothing was even smudged, torn, or mangled. Two page corners were slightly bent (sorry, T). I unbent them and offered a silent thank-you to the above-mentioned SSG.

I have, however, never read slash on the bus since, as I don't believe in tempting fate too terribly often. [4]

Reactions and Reviews

Unknown Date

Over the years in the Pros fandom I've often wondered why Rob's story Waiting to Fall was often referred to as Waiting to Fuck. Having just finished the zine I can now see why! This is a long, well written, intriguing and, at times, highly angst ridden read. While Waiting to Fall is not an AU, neither is it quite the CI5 universe that we love and know. The reason for this is mainly due to the changed circumstances of Ray Doyle and the manner in which he is bought into CI5. While well done and highly essential to the story, I was never sure that I felt too comfortable with this alteration. Mainly, I think, because the background poor Doyle was saddled with, and the resulting trauma that went with it, immediately created an imbalance of power within his and Bodie's partnership, plus it left Doyle very vulnerable to 'attack' within CI5 itself - as we saw in his confrontation with Day. In fact the way Doyle was treated by almost everyone, specifically Bodie in the first instance, had me gritting my teeth with suppressed rage in much of the first part. The story takes place over a number of years and therefore has considerable time to develop first a working partnership, then a slightly tenuous friendship due to the fact that Bodie is constantly being faced with questions over Doyle's innocence, loyalty and mental and physical fitness to be in CI5. The friendship truly takes off when Bodie supports Doyle through a very fraught and difficult time, but doesn't become a partnership of equals until Doyle is finally able to confront and deal with all of his demons. It is also then that Doyle's characterisation begins to really feel familiar and right. Throughout the novel we are shown the suppressed attraction that both, although initially it is principally Bodie, have for each other, and the final part of the novel where they acknowledge it and act upon it is, for me, the most enjoyable part. In summary, a long and rewarding read with some subtle humour to counter balance the angst - I was very fond of the tricks that Doyle used in his battle with the doctor over his lack of weight gain, and Rob certainly makes you wait for them to...fall. [5]


It's FINALLY finished! [6]
Basically good writing, technically, if somewhat pedestrian and uninspired (no "spark"). But over 500 pages of single-spaced typing, half of which are redundant, all to discover that all along all Doyle had to do to avoid his rape nightmare was to have sex with Bodie while facing the man!? I beg your pardon? What a cop-out ending. I like about the first 200 pages -- fitting the ex-con Doyle into CI5 with Bodie as his mentor then lover and braiding it all in and around actual episodes was compelling reading, then it went downhill. I'm not sure if I lost interest because of the repetition, or if the author did. [7]


Those of us in PROS fandom, particularly those familiar with the "circuit" have anxiously awaited the finishing of this novel. It was finally complete about a year ago and is available from the Circuit Library or at many cons. Someday, I hope someone will consider printing this in zine format, complete with luscious art work. But, I'll accept it in its present form, (I have the complete set xeroxed).

This 500+ page novel takes place in a slightly "alternate" universe. In this setting, Doyle has just come out of serving 3 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of corruption while in the police force. While in prison, he has been sexually abused. The novel goes through a thorough character study of how the wrongful conviction and imprisonment have affected Doyle. Doyle is invited to join CIS and the rest follows an alternate path from the series through a relationship with Ann Holly, then a budding relationship with Bodie, his partner. The novel makes it clear that Ray needs, (and receives), a lot of help in surviving the ordeal he has endured, and in that way, is realistic. He isn't saved merely by the "right man" loving him, (although the "right man" definitely comes to that place). Some have complained that the novel "drags", but I didn't find this so. The novel took the time it needed to realistically depict recovery from trauma. Recommended! [8]
I just read "Waiting to Fall" myself, and also quite enjoyed it. Did you know that a lot of fen called it "Waiting to Screw"? By page 300, I admit I was getting a little anxious myself. [9]
I just finished reading "Waiting to Fall", a 600 plus page novel which gives Doyle a different background and entry into CI5. Despite its length, this story is quite good. [10]


This story kept me intrigued to the end because it has lots of angst. The psychological sort... not the physical. Plenty of depth to keep my sympathy and empathy going. THIS IS NOT AN ACTION STORY. Anyone wanting that shouldn't even look at this. It is a bit slow, and involved ... it has some complexity! The only fault I could find ... and it is a major flaw ... is that we get Bodie's memories of a nightmarish background. He never gets healed as Doyle does, by talking it out. I'm really mad at the author for doing that I wish she would write that and have some illustrations done... and publish it in a zine. Just like Master Of The Revels, it deserves it. [11]
This is a massive work, set in a slightly alternate universe. Doyle's experiences in prison and subsequent career in CI5. This work provides no easy answers in the relationship, and I appreciated that. [12]


I'm still reading 'Waiting to Fall' which might well be called 'Waiting to Fuck' for all the action I've seen so far. [13]


My favorite novel so far - "Waiting to Fall", 615 pages of almost entirely good stuff, quite a feat. [14]
It is a good idea that went into 600 pages or more by the time it was finished. Plus, it was released in segments, about 9 or 10 chapters at a time. Rob was so tired of it by the time she finished that if you had suggested, "Okay, now it's done. Let's edit it and then retype it again." She would have either laughed hysterially or hit you with the typewriter. Given the circumstances of how these earlier stories were written in the first place, are we being unfair to the authors in complaining about grammar and spelling and bad writing. I wonder how many of us would turn out a letter perfect, well-written masterpiece if we didn't have word processors and computers. [15]


The first 50-75 pages of Waiting To Fall are the best part. No sex between the lads, but lovely, effective set-up. delightful angsty plot device (Doyle's been in gaol) and and ingenious bed-sharing manoevers. Doyle fans should enjoy it especially. [16]
Surely though, for sexual disfuntion you can't beat "Waiting To Fall" (also known as "Waiting To Fuck" <g>) -- I thought I was going to die of frustration before they got it together! And though I'd hate to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it -- I still say the mushrooms were a cop out! Wonderful long wallow though! [17]


What I got through, I didn't like. It's again more of the same argument 10,000 times in the name of building UST. These two crackle with UST just by saying hello. [18]
Oh I dunno, I definitely found the lads too "not themselves" in that one... I mean I can go with all the h/c, and the trapped in the wall bit was interesting (and not counting the whole get on with it of it) and had potential, but... I remember thinking it wasn't quite... them, no matter that it was in the CI5 universe... [19]
I was not drawn in at all, so I probably didn't get far enough in to gauge how they were characterised. Then I discovered the alternate title [20] and didn't bother continuing.[21]


As I've mentioned before, Pros is blessed with a lot of good novels. I've been waiting years for this one to be typed up and put online, because I'd never managed to get hold of a paper copy and I've been hearing about it for as long as I've been in Pros. It was worth the wait, once I finally had time to devote to reading it (that word count isn't a typo). Rob starts things pre-series, with one AU premise: Ray's background, and why and how he was brought into CI5. From there, she builds the friendship first, as Bodie and Doyle learn to accept and trust each other, and gradually an attraction develops, in the midst of angst and hurt/comfort and plottiness. The whole thing is tremendously engaging, and well worth the read. One minor warning, such as it is: there's a good reason the fandom's alternate name for this story is "Waiting to Fuck". *g* This moves along slowly and steadily, and the relationship happens in its own sweet time. It's just lovely if you like a slow build, but if you're used to a fast payoff it could be a little frustrating. [22]
Waiting to Fall which was so drawn out I was nearly screaming two-thirds through and couldn't finish it. [23]
Do you know, I didn't get through Waiting to Fall. I got as far as Ray's recovery after his abduction and then just kind of lost interest. I keep meaning to go back to the story one of these days. I enjoyed it, but felt like it went on and on. I would bet with a good strong edit that story could have been half the length. [24]


Yesterday I read Waiting to Fall, a 2082K Professionals novel. It’s so satisfying to read an excellent novel length story from the very beginning to the end. There’re some problems that made me grit my teeth in frustration because the solutions to those problems are so simple, yet the characters didn’t seem to grasp it until the last few chapters. But if I thought about it more, it’s the right thing that the author did. Because it made the characters more real, because in real world, those are the things we usually do. The repeated mistakes, the problems that we, as readers, as outsiders, spot so easily, that we think are so simple to solve, are actually things that we can’t realize, can’t rectify, can’t solve so easily in the real life. Because we are human, with all the limitations and the imperfections that we’re born with. But as human, we can also try to be better, to jump past the limitations, to fix the imperfections. The struggle to do all those things is what we call life. And in this case, the hard life the couple must endure is certainly worth it, for they finally get their happy ending.[25]
I really love ‘Waiting to Fall‘ from Rob!

It’s very long! 688 pages! But it’s NEVER boring! It’s a parallel life story. At one point Doyle had been forced into another disastrous direction and the whole world changed. It’s a ‘first met story‘. And it’s very interesting how Bodie`s attitude against Ray is developed. The relationship to Bodie, to CI5, to life is completely different. Every now and then Rob uses the known events/cases, such as ‘purging of CI5‘, but necessarily with a new point of view. Very good!

(O.K. - at the end it’s quite a bit too hmmmm.... ‘anal retentive‘ for a non slasher... I read over it...!)[26]
I don't agree with the previous poster. For me, although at first I was delighted to find such a long story, the fic was a total disappointment, as I found B/D totally out of character. Bodie was a goodie-two-shoes with a conscience and Doyle a wuss and a nervous wreck. Those two lads wouldn't survive two weeks in Cowley's CI5! And if characterisation isn't done well, the whole effort is worthless to me. Also the long stretch with Doyle in the sanitarium really was too long and boring. I don't recommend it for readers who like the lads to be the men they are on screen."[26]
This story was a real disappointment. It started out well, with what I thought was an interesting premise, but about half way through it was like the writer ran out of steam, or even quit writing altogether and passed the story off to be finished by someone else - someone who wasn't a very good writer.

Also, the story really built up the sexual tension, so that when the guys finally fucked it should have been explosively hot. But it was BORING.

Someone told me they'd heard this story referred to as "Waiting to Fuck," which made me laugh. But in many ways, that's what it was - a gazillion pages leading up to physical consumation of the B/D relationship. But it fizzled out long before they hooked up. A yawner that was a waste of time (because I have limited free time to read slash and don't want to waste it).[26]
The whole premise strained my belief, especially Doyle's characterization. A shame since I loved the author's other fics.[26]
I'm surprised that Waiting to fall has this reputation!

Yes the story is heavy stuff packed with quite some dramatic events to suffer through. I had no problem with them as I like drama if there is plot to go with it and it's told competendly, detailed. It also had an amount of typical pros humor and irony in it. It's not a balanced relationship as we know it in the series but I think that the characterization of Doyle is stretched in other stories, too. I's true that here he has to suffer extremely, repeatedly, probably a bit too much. I'm usually sensible for authors to do too much drama or schmaltz, but I don't really have something to complain here.

Also didn't had the urge to edit anything. I like the slow, detailed, nearly real time pace in which the relationship develops and shows in the last quarter that there's no strong or weak part in a relationship when you're depending on your partner and you love deeply with a passion. But you certainly have to be brave and read to the end to discover that. Waiting to Fall was my first pros story and dragged me into the fandom. I needed quite some time to read through it, probably it's easier to "swallow" if you take some time for it. I also love Robs other stories, they are an easier read except "Out of the blue".[26]
I wrote a long review of it for my site and while I ended up recommending it, I can certainly agree with what others have said about Doyle's characterisation, and Bodie was a complete and utter bastard to Doyle in the beginning and for some time after. My problem with it was the power imbalance and the fact that Doyle couldn't be his tough, aggressive, confident self because of all that had happened to him previously (in that way I agree that you wonder why Cowley accepted Doyle into CI5). I warmed to the story as it progressed, particularly the last quarter when Doyle began to be the Doyle we know and love and the B/D partnership became one of equals. I'm no great lover of angst, but I will say that the humour in the story managed to counterbalance the angst for me..[26]


When Bodie retrieves the inmate from the local penitentiary, he has no idea that self-same man is one Raymond Doyle, soon to become his partner.

This fic pretty much embodies “melodrama.” In sparkling glittery letters, even. I’m kind of a sucker for this, but although I’m reccing it here, I’m only doing so with some misgivings.

The real reason I love this is its sheer campiness. It was written in the 80’s and almost feels like it was written in the seventies. It’s full of the illogic you find in media from that time period. The amount of plot that was crammed into these 350,000 words makes it feel like the story is even longer. There are murders and cases and dark dealings. There’s insanity and torture and a shooting tournament. Honestly I can’t think of anything the author could have added to the fic as far as plot goes.

Sadly, the only character who’s remotely relatable is Doyle. Pretty much everyone else in the entire story is a giant bastard to Doyle and sometimes to others. Repeatedly. (Okay, Lake is also nice.) The worst of the worst are Cowley and Bodie. Yeah, the Bodie who’s paired with Doyle. So although I really do love this story, the main pairing does tend to make me really pissy. On the plus side, after Bodie gets over himself and before he falls for Doyle, he’s actually a fairly decent friend.

One other thing to note: the version of this story found on the internet was typed from the original version and is missing small parts of the original. Generally it’s just a paragraph, but there is one whole page missing somewhere. Also, because of this, the editing is a very different kind of off, the kind where phrases and sentences are repeated. Considering its length, it’s not the most obnoxious thing ever, but it is a bit annoying. [27]
More than once during my initial reading of the 615 page AU story affectionately known as Waiting to Fuck, I felt convinced that the initials WTF stood for something quite different. In fact, at many a moment during the story I found myself murmuring WTF…?

It took me three tries to make it to the halfway point. But I made it through and I’m glad I did -- and only partly because completing the legendary magnum dopus feels like a rite of passage for Pros fans. Like riding some crazy mega rollercoaster at Magic Mountain -- and with nearly as many loop de loops.

Basically, here’s the set up as our story begins. Bodie is in CI5 while Doyle has been framed and wrongfully imprisoned as a bent copper. When the truth is revealed, Cowley, in one of his Machiavellian moments, decides to offer Doyle employment at CI5 provided he will forgo a retrial and public exoneration. Cowley feels that Doyle will be of more use to him without his face splashed on the front page of every newspaper, and that makes sense as far as it goes. The problem is that everyone in CI5 -- with the exception of Doyle’s new partner Bodie -- believes that he really was a bent copper. And while Bodie knows the truth of Doyle’s imprisonment, he doesn’t think Doyle will be able to cut it in CI5 given all that he’s been through both physically and mentally. And Bodie doesn’t even know the half of it.

It’s a great, tense set up and Rob really does quite a good job of capturing Doyle’s emotional exhaustion, bitterness, and distrust as well as Bodie’s cynicism and impatience. Lots and lots of internal and external conflict here as well as angst galore. Are the lads the lads we know and love? Well, WTF Bodie is debatable, but the further the story goes along, the less the WTF Doyle bears any resemblance to canon Doyle -- at least in my opinion. However, practically against my will, Rob makes me care for this isolated, damaged character -- even if he is just too much of a frail little flower much of the time."[28]


Reccer's Notes: Rob starts things pre-series, with one AU premise: Ray's background, and why and how he was brought into CI5. From there, she builds the friendship first, as Bodie and Doyle learn to accept and trust each other, and gradually an attraction develops, in the midst of angst and hurt/comfort and plottiness. The whole thing is tremendously engaging, and well worth the read.

One minor warning, such as it is: there's a good reason the fandom's alternate name for this story is "Waiting to Fuck". *g* This moves along slowly and steadily, and the relationship happens in its own sweet time. It's just lovely if you like a slow build, but if you're used to a fast payoff it could be a little frustrating. [29]


  1. ^ Waiting to Fall in Hatstand's zine index. (accessed 19 Sep 2009)
  2. ^ Arduinna, 4.11.2010, accessed 5.16.2011
  3. ^ Close Quarters] Desert Island Episode/Zine/Fic] dated July 18, 2009; reference link.
  4. ^ posted to the Virgule-L mailing list in 1994, quoted on Fanlore with permission
  5. ^ Waiting to Fall review, archived copy [1])
  6. ^ from a fan in Short Circuit #3 (October 1990)
  7. ^ comments by Linda Terrell (who mistakenly calls it "Heading for a Fall") in Short Circuit #3 (October 1990)
  8. ^ from On the Double #21
  9. ^ Sandy Herrold in Cold Fish and Stale Chips #9 (1991)
  10. ^ from Cold Fish and Stale Chips #7 (1991)
  11. ^ from a fan in Short Circuit #11 (December 1992)
  12. ^ from Be Gentle With Us #7
  13. ^ comments by Susan H. at Virgule-L, quoted with permission (September 23, 1993)
  14. ^ September 27, 1994, Alexfandra, post to Virgule-L, quoted with permission
  15. ^ from Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (October 24, 1994)
  16. ^ a fan reviewing the story on the CI5 List in 1998, quoted anonymously with permission.
  17. ^ comment at CI5 mailing list, quoted anonymously (July 9, 1998)
  18. ^ a 2006 comment at CI5hq
  19. ^ a 2006 comment at CI5hq
  20. ^ "Waiting to Fuck"
  21. ^ a 2006 comment at CI5hq
  22. ^ Rec by Arduinna, dated May 29, 2007. Accessed September 20, 2009.
  23. ^ comment by shootingtokill at PSPC Day #7, Ancasta's Corner dated April, 2007; reference link.
  24. ^ comment by Ancasta at PSPC Day #7, Ancasta's Corner dated April, 2007; reference link.
  25. ^ Slashrecs summary 2007 by lada-hitam, July 3, 2008.
  26. ^ a b c d e f comment from the March 23, 2008 review at ci5hq, ci5hq, Waiting To Fall, Archived version
  27. ^ Epic Recs - Waiting to Fall by ROB (NC-17), Archived version, November 24 2010
  28. ^ [2], Archived version
  29. ^ Fancake Rec, by Arduinna, January 12, 2013