John and Rodney arrive early at Citrus Hill City Hall for the city council meeting where Rodney’s scheduled to present his suggestions for increased efficiency. "Okay, where should I sit?" Rodney asks.
John guides Rodney over to the desk where Laura is setting up, determined that his boyfriend and his assistant will be friends – even if he has to force them. "Do you have your information on a flash drive, McKay?" she asks.
"Oh, you know what those are?" Rodney replies sarcastically. "I was prepared to bring it on floppies, or resort to smoke signals if necessary."
Laura's eyes narrow as she hisses, "You know, speaking of floppy-"
"Okay, kids," John cuts her off and takes Rodney by the shoulders to lead him away. It doesn't stop them from making faces at each other. "Rodney, you'll sit over there in the gallery until public input is called." John spots Harold Neidermeyer, another council member, coming in. He leans in to give Rodney a kiss on the cheek and follows it up with a whack on that firm butt as he turns back to the council bench, greeting Harold and waiting for the rest of the crowd to show up.
The meeting is well attended by Citrus Hill standards. There are at least two dozen people in the gallery and every council member managed to make it on time (for once). John opens with a motion to condemn Bubba's choice of clip-on tie. It passes unanimously, while Bubba's wife sits in the audience happily throwing I told you so smiles at her husband.
Laura runs the meeting efficiently. When it's Rodney’s turn, she nearly skips him out of spite, but John introduces him anyway. "With us tonight is Dr. Rodney McKay. He's a scientist and no stranger to identifying improvements in his own work process. He's been kind enough to put together a report on small town efficiencies that might be beneficial to Citrus Hill." He gestures Rodney up to the podium. "Dr. McKay," he says, ceding the floor to him.
"I'd like to remind you that anyone wanting to address the council is limited to fifteen minutes, per Citrus Hill City Council rules," Laura says, clicking a stopwatch and dropping it next to her with a smug smile.
"But..." Rodney protests. "But my presentation is 54 slides. With intricate detail."
"Fourteen minutes, forty-eight seconds, McKay," Laura says, beaming at him.
"Sorry, buddy," John says. "You're not gonna win this round."
"Fine," Rodney says, grabbing the clicker that controls the PowerPoint, "Rules are rules." He desperately wants to say something uncomplimentary to Laura, but refrains in deference to the microphone in front of him, settling for glaring at her.
Rodney launches into his speech, not skipping any of the numerous slides. He talks so rapidly he sounds like he's had a dozen double espressos, but he’s used to talking fast - spewing ideas at Radek before he can lose his train of thought - so it’s all clearly enunciated despite that. Laura's smile fades as he clicks through the slideshow at a cheetah’s pace. Rodney stutters only once - nearly losing his place - as a laser pointer dot skitters along his left bicep. He knows it was John even if he didn’t catch him in the act - the fake innocence pasted across his face is evidence enough.
Click. "And finally we come to the summary that can be boiled down to Work Smarter - Not Harder. There are many ways that Citrus Hill can do more with less, and I hope that these-"
"Time!" Laura calls triumphantly.
"-suggestions will help get you there." McKay takes what seems to be his first breath in fifteen minutes while looking around the room. "Thank you," he says, in surprised response to the enthusiastic round of applause.
When it dies down a little, Harold Neidermeyer says, "Dr. McKay, I have a few questions, if I may?"
Everyone looks at Laura for a reaction, knowing that questions don't count against a person's time. Rodney, realizing this from her crestfallen expression, rocks back on his heels and grins at her before turning to the council member. "Please," he offers magnanimously. "I'm here to serve."
When the meeting lets outs, Rodney works on his laptop while waiting for John, who’s working the crowd like a minister handshaking his Sunday flock goodbye. "You hungry?" John asks.
"Starving," Rodney replies. He doesn't ask; he knows a late-night stop at Skeeters is in store. John offers his hand, pulling Rodney out of his chair and claiming a kiss before they start for the door. "And I could kill for a giant cup of coffee right now."