Proof is an interesting story that looks at a moment in time in an established Duncan/Methos relationship. boyd writes this from Joe's POV, and for the most part, she does a good job of getting his voice right. Although Joe is certain Duncan and Methos are now lovers, he has no proof, and as you'd suspect, he's unhappy about that. We begin with Joe worrying to himself, wondering how much innuendo and speculation he can get away with in Mac's Chronicle.
So, they are in love, are lovers. That much is clear, if I carefully read between the lines. However, it's only obvious because I know them each very well. Without my 'inside information', I might have missed the signs. And that, of course, is he root of my problem. Nothing they've actually said or done in my presence can be taken as conclusive proof of their new relationship. And oddly enough, for some reason, I'm uncharacteristically hesitant to ask outright. I certainly can't put my suspicions about something this important, no matter how well-founded, into MacLeod's Chronicle.Joe decides that he needs more, needs something concrete to hang his hat on, before he records Duncan MacLeod and Adam Pierson's love affair for all time.
Proof. Conclusive, incontrovertible proof is what I need. Some action or comment that simply can't be interpreted any other way than the 'obvious'. I suppose if I wait long enougb, they'll slip up eventually. The love they share, the carefully contained passion and lust that I see flare between them when they think I'm not looking, can't be hidden indefinitely.This is a interesting enough way to set things up, so I'm along for the ride. There's a misspelling or two, as you can see, but nothing another run through with the spellchecker wouldn't cure. On a stylistic level, there are too many italics, and way too many references to Methos as 'Old Man'. While I can understand the temptation to think of him in those terms, and while used in moderation it doesn't bug me, capitalized, and used instead of his name - yeah, that bugs me a bit. Sometimes a lot, depending on the author and her dependency on it. boyd lands somewhere in the middle of that continuum.
So I'll wait. And Watch.
I should add that, in this story, it's explained that Mac, Methos, and Amanda set up a fatal mugging for Adam, in front of Amanda's Watcher, to explain Adam and Mac's constant association: Mac has a newly Immortal student.
It works for the Watchers, and for the purposes of this story, it works for me, too.
On his way to Joe's, Methos faces a challenger, who, stupidly, thinks he can piss off Mac, and take an easy head by challenging Mac's new student. Instead, Methos takes a Quickening of his own. He then staggers into Joe's to recover from the fight and resulting Quickening with the help of a few bottles of beer. When they've all calmed down a bit, Mac takes Methos home.Joe follows them, and decides from their interaction at the loft that everything he's heard about Quickenings and sexual drives must be true - and that this is the perfect time for him to finally catch Mac and Methos in the act.
MacLeod shook me - damn he's got a helluva grip - and nearly shouted in my face, voice distorted with irritation. "Dammit, Dawson! Get up! Yew're no' gonna ruin my evenin'!" Ah, the brogue emerges! He must be pissed. It took all my will-power not to laugh. I love him dearly, but Mac is nothing if not a drama queen.Dammit, boyd! Mac doesn't talk like that anymore! /g/ Not when he's pissed, not when he's stressed, not ever...unless it's intentionally done for humor, per the moments in Dramatic License or Double Eagle, or the one slip that seems to have spawned it all, from Forgive Us Our Trespasses. Aside from that really annoying bit of fanon, the drama queen comment was good for a laugh.
Joe plays drunken possum, and Methos and Mac go off to shower and get ready for bed. The next thing Joe knows, he's waking from a sound sleep, and his hosts appear ready to give him what he wants. Proof.
"So, Methos." Bedclothes rustled quietly and the bed springs squeaked. "S'that for me?" The lush, throaty quality of Mac's query startled me.Perhaps a bit more proof than Joe wanted, but that's what a person gets for being sneaky, right? Joe worries that he's invading their privacy (nah, you think so, Joe?), that he should really just keep his eyes closed and try to go back to sleep...but in the end, he decides he needs to watch; excuse me, Watch. It's all part of his duty, right? Umm, right. But since I think it's in character for Joe to be sneaky and conniving, and since I think his personal ethics are questionable at the best of times - this works for me.
"Come here and find out, Highlander." I shivered at the dark half-smile and the challenge in Methos' voice.
The bed, and then the floor, creaked. There was a short pause and then the quiet slither of skin against soft skin broke the silence. A breathless exclamation was followed by a faint moan.
Be careful what you wish for, Dawson!
I'd wanted proof. Well, ask and ye shall receive!
My. Joe certainly appreciates the boys. Perhaps he's a little more erotic in his internal dialogue than I'd expect from a man who's just claimed to never have seen an erect cock, other than his own, but this is slash, and these are two stunningly attractive men. I also notice that the loft appears to have been rearranged, and another couch added. I'm not completely convinced there's room for another couch...but since I'm not convinced there isn't room, I'll let this one slide.Whoops. Seems Joe's about to get way more than he bargained for. He'd been worrying that he didn't need to see Mac pounding Methos' bony ass through the mattress - well, he can relax, his worries are completely unfounded. /eg/
As Methos hands pushed the long hair aside, I realized with a jolt that Mac's throat was banded by a dark collar.And this is what happens, Joe, to nosy, naughty little boys who pretend they're asleep when, instead, they want to spy on their best friends. Something tells me the shocks to Joe's nervous system aren't over for the evening either...
Slow minutes passed as Methos' mobile tongue sought and found tiny patches of skin on Mac's shoulders and throat, dragging forth ragged moans and sighs. Mac's involuntary sounds grew in intensity when he licked, then gnawed delicately around the edge of the thick, dark leather of the collar.
"You love it when I take you."
Take him? What the hell?
Telling instead of showing creeps in throughout this story, but not often, or too badly. As well, once the sex starts, boyd uses too many exclamation marks, and too many italicized words for my taste. I also prefer Joe's increasingly horny astonishment to the occasionally OTT dialogue.
My mouth grew dry. If I'd been asked before, I would have said that I might find watching two men make love to be of academic interest only. A curiosity, something about which I could later casually shrug and say, "Been there, done that." I was shocked to find myself so affected by the vision of Mac's willing submission, Methos' arrogant, effortless dominance, the deep wet sounds of sucking and licking, Methos' growls of pleasure. I was also astounded to find myself hard enough to pound nails and nearly ready to hump the damn couch.I'm right there with Joe, but I'd really prefer that Methos' sentences end with periods. At least occasionally. /g/ boyd has all the talent she needs to keep her readers involved; she doesn't need to try quite so hard with the dialogue. I think she needs to work on her comma usage as well; she's missing a few, here and there, throughout the story.
"I love your mouth!" Methos threw back his head, fisted his hands in Mac's hair and slammed himself into his lover's mouth repeatedly. "I love to fuck your mouth!"
Reading on, it seems Joe's surprises aren't over for the evening...
"Did I please you?" Mac finally asked, not raising his eyes. His face was turned towards me, eyes closed, cheek rubbing slowly against Methos' thigh.His 'things', huh? This is sounding more fun by the moment. I'm not sure Joe will ever be the same again, but he's getting what he asked for, in spades.
"Oh yes, Duncan. You pleased me very much." Methos grasped his lover's chin and tilted his head, sparkling hazel eyes meeting chocolate brown. He gently touched the swollen lips with a forefinger. "Now, go get your things."
Methos nodded approvingly and slapped Mac's ass sharply. "I'd paddle that lovely ass of yours right now if I didn't think your wailing would awaken Joseph."On second thought, Joe's sounds like he'll be just fine. Not only that, he's certainly getting into the spirit of things, isn't he? A little too much, maybe. I'm not sure boyd's made me believe that a middle aged man, who admits to never having seen gay sex before, and who finds himself in the middle of a D/s scene between his best friends - with the 'wrong' guy as the dom, no less - would forget how different this is, and would be rooting for spanking like Joe's doing.
My overactive imagination immediately conjured the image of proud Duncan MacLeod turned over Methos' knee, walloped by the firm, uncompromising hand of Death. I nearly cheered, God help me!
Then again, maybe Joe's making a few discoveries about himself. But I'd still like to have seen the transition, instead of simply hearing about it.
Along about this time, it becomes apparent that Methos knows Joe's watching. That should make things interesting later on. Especially since it's finally dawning on Joe that he's going to have serious problems simply being able to look his friends in the eye again.
Proof resolves itself somewhat predictably, but it's still a worthwhile, enjoyable read. I'd recommend that boyd work a bit harder on her final run throughs; there were several missing, or incorrect, words, a few missing apostrophes and commas, and an occasional misspelling. Nothing that a more diligent final edit wouldn't pick up on though.
CABS Grade: B-