"You look suspiciously happy for a man who's supposed to have spent the afternoon writing an exam," John commented as he wandered through the living room, opening his beer and flicking the top at the trashcan next to Rodney's desk.
"Hey!" McKay exclaimed as John missed the trashcan but hit him. "You could have just interrupted a moment of genius! Not that you didn't, because as a genius who thinks all the time I constantly have moments of genius, but some are definitely more important than others!"
In the micro-pause for breath, John slid in, "Exams plus up-to-no-good face. You didn't give them something unsolveable on purpose again, did you?" Unfortunately, he couldn't summon up the energy to be amused when he clearly remembered having to help Rodney grade the damn things because the resident genius had run out of time and John had 'a PhD in something vaguely useful and math related.'
"No, no," Rodney shuddered, "I never realized how stupid they were until I had to grade fifty-six examples of how to break the rules of physics. It's not like any energy can spontaneously appear, so why do they think heat can?"
Rodney would have continued ranting, but John had gotten fixed on the "I had to grade" bit and was glaring enough that even Rodney noticed and switched to, "So how was golf? Is it still thirty degrees out?"
"Nope. It hit the nineties today. Even you can't have missed that it's fall, Mr. I-love-my-lab-with-no-windows."
"Stop it. You know I meant Celsius. You backwards Americans are practically the only civilized nation still using Fahrenheit. And I'm not so sure about the civilized bit. Your hockey players went on strike. That's not civilized. That's just wrong."
Cutting off the beginning of a tirade that was well beyond familiar by now, John said, "You still haven't mentioned what you're doing to the poor souls taking your class this semester."
"Nothing so awful, just a little entertaining, that's all. I'm giving them a very normal problem, just like all the homework examples in their textbooks, that any idiot could memorize the process for. I just won't let them do it in an easy coordinate system. I think I'm going with a Christmas tree light string for the first one."
"What?" There really was no other response. It hadn't been hot enough for heatstroke, right?
"The first dimension will be progression along the strand of lights. The other two, distance from the strand and angle of elevation with respect to a plane parallel to the base of the tree. It's simple really, but they won't be able to just apply their memorized formulas, even with their memorized conversion factors! They must actually think!" Rodney was probably planning more commentary on the sad state of today's students, who only ever bothered to memorize how to solve particular types of things rather than truly understanding things, but John was busy thinking, There is no way in hell I'm helping grade that this time. Not even for a repeat of that 'thank you'.
"Even if I start now?" Rodney asked, then added, "No, I've just learned how to read minds while you were chasing a little white ball around a grass field with some artificial lakes. Just give in," as John had been thinking, was that out loud? Also, if I say yes, will he consider it binding? Like I'm really going to get out of helping anyway.
"Hey, mine's orange! I'm still using up those ridiculously bright ones you gave me as 40th birthday present." John protested, not overly surprised that Rodney could read him so well. Besides, if anyone were going to figure out telepathy, Murphy's Law said it would be the one person who would be most annoyed by hearing the things people thought were too dumb or ridiculous to actually say out loud.
"I heard that!" Rodney said as he shoved John toward the shower.
"You did not," John argued as he allowed himself to be divested of beer and shirt. He was pretty sure he'd ended up with a good deal, even if Rodney made him help grade.
"I know it wasn't nice. You will pay! Why are you still dressed?"
"You threaten me, then want me naked? Such a way with words!"
"Shut up. You love me anyway."
"Maybe you've just beaten me into submission with your telepathic superbrain!"
Rodney turned the water on cold and shoved him into the spray. Unwilling to suffer shrinkage alone, John dragged Rodney in too, then used him as buffer until the water ran warm.