Stargate Atlantis AU / pre-canon, Rodney and John, but not yet Rodney/John in what I've written.
[In which mornings are hard and room numbers are confusing]
John yawned slightly as he walked down the hall, scanning for the room number on his notecard. The office assistant job was supposed to be Monday through Friday at hours that worked between his classes, but the lady at the Work-Study office had told him to come in and meet the Proffessor on Saturday, because he wanted everything squared away before the first full week of classes.
'Which would be fine,' he mused to himself as he tried to figure out the labyrinth numbering system that the old building used, 'If I hadn't worked till 3 am.' The bartending job was good money, but this semester he hadn't been able to avoid having early lectures, late labs or both every day, and he needed something on campus unless he wanted to survive on only weekend work. Luckily, the
manager liked him and had promised him two shifts every weekend, three if two were the less lucrative afternoons.
'Damn well should like me, best judge of customers out there.' Like that college kid last night, barely legal to drink and wearing a ratty geek shirt from his high school days. Obviously broke, but trying to order an imported draft to impress the older woman he was hopelessly chatting up. A woman who had giggled out, "You do have to admit you look the part," when John had laid out exactly why he had switched his order to something he could afford. The spluttering indignation was topped only by over the cartoonish outrage and fear at the lime slices he'd stuck to the necks of the Coronas. Even when those were removed, the geek had refused "to pay for the honor of my anaphylaxis" and stormed out. One customer that wouldn't be back, but the regulars LOVED John's snarky wit and he'd raked in the tips for the rest of the night.
He spotted the right room number still five minutes early and paused to straighten his shirt and make a cursory attempt at smoothing down his hair before stepping through the half open door. He took in the small office with two desks crammed in among the overflowing file cabinets and shelves before focusing on the young man stting behing the larger desk typing away at a laptop. The broke college kid wearing a different but equally faded geek shirt who obviously recognized John at the same time.
"Oh no. Please tell me you got lost looking for an early morning kegger or need a bathroom after a late one. Just so long as you aren't the new paperwork minion!"
[In which assumptions are made and dismissed]
John was thrown for a moment, but recovered quickly. So the professor's Teaching Assistant or whatever didn't like him, if they didn't overlap too many hours, the flailing could be amusing rather than irritating. The guy seemed easy to wind up, at any rate. So he sauntered in and hopped up on the edge of the desk, swinging his feet for that extra bit of naunchalance. "Sorry to disappoint, Poindexter, but I'm John Sheppard, here to work out the job details with Dr McKay. Take it he sent the old paperwork minion instead?"
The geek gaped for just a second, but instead of spluttering or yelling, he started laughing out loud.
"Something funny?" He got a slightly nervous feeling, but refused to show it. If this guy wanted to do something petty like claim he hadn't shown up, he could call the Work-Study office and head that off.
"Oh extremely. Though only in the short term, since medium term I have to go through the motions of breaking in someone who is clearly unsuitable."
"Unsuitable?" John straightened up and leaned into a mild loom. He was a few years older than most of his class, and the TA looked young, so damned if he was gonna let him play King Shit of the office. "Cause the head minion doesn't like me?"
The laughter cut off like a switch, but instead of shying away, the geek leaned right up in his face, lips a thin, slightly tilted line. "No, unsuitable because you jump to conclusions about people with little evidence, because you burn bridges based on those assumptions rather than attempting to clarify the situation," Okay, yeah the shift head had mentioned that he could have just asked for a credit card to start a tab, but... "Because you are cavalier about potential medical issues, because you are a bully who likes to entertain people at someone else's expense..."
"Hey now!" So he snarked a little at the bar, that didn't make him a bully. But the TA barreled on.
"And because you hyperfocus on only the details you think you need and don't even take in other data." John blinked, unsure what that meant until a wallet was slapped on the desk in front of him. "Otherwise, you might have looked at something other than the picture and birthdate last night and avoided this situation."
The wallet was open to the same license he had seen last night when he carded the kid, and yeah he hadn't looked at the name... McKay, Rodney M.
[In which John did not expect Dougie Howser and Rodney does not expect much]
For a moment John clung to the hope that this was Dr McKay's nephew or, worst case, son, taking advantage of a little nepotism to rule the office, but that was dashed when the card sleeve flipped over to show a University ID with the same name and birthday - a faculty ID.
"Uh...." He remembered the lady who set him up with the job saying that McKay was new to the university last semester, but was being given staff because of what a coup it was to get a genius of his caliber teaching there. She had even used the word 'prodigy', but he hadn't thought she meant like CHILD prodigy, like DOUGIE HOWSER prodigy! "I, um..."
"Is this accurate?"
"What?" The wallet was gone and a photocopy of what he recognized at second glance as his class schedule was in front of him. "Yes, I - uh, no, my Electronics Design class has a group project, we're locked into meeting, um, Tuesday afternoons and..."
A pen smacked onto the paper. "Fix it. Anything that would prevent you being regularly scheduled at those times."
"Okay..." He quickly scribbled in the meeting and a couple of supplementary lab times before it was snatched back.
"You'll be responsible for sorting and recording grades from my notes on the papers into the computer system. It's my own database, so the first day you'll have an unlinked copy to get used to without destroying the student data already in there. You'll also process the drops and adds, answer the phone and take messages if anyone comes in. Your hours don't overlap with my office hours, so you'll have a key and anything you need to do will be clearly labeled on your desk with you come in. You don't touch my desk. You don't let anyone who comes in touch my desk. If someone needs to leave something for me, you leave it on your desk. If anyone says I left something for them on my desk, they are lying, and you should feel free to remove them with prejudice. Any questions?"
"Um, you're hiring me?"
McKay looked up from the laptop he had gone back to after adding the 20 Work-Study hours John was approved for into free spots on the schedule. "You were hired on my behalf by the University. I can only fire you, and after last semester, I was asked - quite politely, really - to only fire the next minion they sent me for concrete and documented workplace failings, as opposed to being so stupid that breathing the same air as them was killing my brain cells." Sharp blue eyes narrowed in unmistakable dislike before he returned to his work in clear dismissal. "So I'll need to wait until you fuck up twice to fire you. I put in a full week's schedule in case it takes longer than I anticipated. The office is monitored, so be here on time tomorrow."
And here we are missing a chapter or two... *sad face*
Graphic spot - LECTURE HALL
[In which room numbers are still confusing, and vending machines are perfectly flat]
Hunting down McKay in class shouldn't have been hard, but he was faced with obscure room numbering schemes yet again. Who built a lecture hall as an extension to a building then gave it a random number that was ALSO a lab in the same building?
When he did finally find the right place, the professor was in full swing of an explanation of simple incline physics. Or perhaps 'demonstration' would be the better word, as McKay's hands swooped in wide gestures acting out the diagrams on the board.
"Now, the next part is something that even your alcohol poisoned brains should be able to grasp," he said as he added some dots to the drawing and then numbers, "A surface with greater friction requires more force to move across. So when the smoke drifting from your floor monitor's room makes you think it would be good to move the whole snack machine to beside your door, it's a lot easier to drag across the tile than the carpet."
John grinned, and couldn't help noticing that the massed undergrads seemed as amused by the insults as the example. He had assumed that McKay's students would hold him in the same contempt as he did them, but the hall was full and most faces looked alert and cheerful even with the relatively early class.
"Bear in mind that for the moment, we are talking about a two dimensional snack machine with all the forces on it evenly distributed across its surface." He sketched a cheery Flat!Snack logo on the diagram's square, to more laughs. "The physics of where to apply the force and whether to push or pull are next week."
John had worked his way around to the front of the hall by now, and even though he felt bad for interupting (a far cry from the rescue of traumatized students he'd been planning) he waved for the professor's attention and tried to convey 'sorry but this is very important' with his eyebrows.
"Right, copy all this down... What?" McKay half slid off the stage with a blatant disregard for his suit. "What couldn't wait till after class?"
"Uh, you got a call at the office from a Jeannie McKay, well, for her brother, Dr McKay, but she, uh, didn't call you Rodney." Normally what she did ask for him by would have been a goldmine of teasing potential, but aside from the fact that the other man still might be looking for a good reason to fire him, well... lately, every time he though of a really good zinger, he just remembered being called a bully like it was as self evident as his snap judgement. It was throwing him off.
"Yes, yes, parents saddled me with an old family name that took off for girls after it became a McKay tradition, I legally changed it when I was emancipated, sister thinks it's a rejection of any bond between us and tells everyone what she insists is my 'real' name every chance she gets, moving on, what did she want?"
Shaking his head slightly to clear the steamrollered feel, John shrugged. "She wouldn't leave a specific message, said it was vital that you call her back immediately." He handed over the number she'd given him. "She seemed really upset, like she was going to cry."
The other man's head snapped around to look at him as a grimace switched to concern. "Crying upset, not yelling upset? Crap. Here, put these problems up for them to solve over the weekend and tell them chapters four through six for the next class. Then let them go, I guess."
John watched him dart out the side door, looking his age even in his 'professor suit' and hopped up on stage to free the confused students.