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Euler's Jewel.

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"Pamela Anderson," Ford said.

John shot him a look. "Oh, come on."

"Halle Berry?"

"Even hotter."

"Math is hotter than Halle Berry?"

"Check this out," John said. "e + 1 = 0. All five fundamental numbers in one relationship."

Ford stared at him.

"What is Euler's number?" Teyla asked. "I am not familiar with that counting system."

"It's the base of the natural logarithmic function, which is essential in describing how things grow and decay. Right, Rodney?"

"Er. What?"

"I understand," Teyla said.

"I don't," Ford said. "How is an equation hot?"

"Because it's perfect," John said. "One! Zero! e! i! π! You can do anything with that. That's the foundation of math. It's--it's like truth. Come on, that's better than fake tits any day. Uh-- scuse me, Teyla."

"I am not offended." Teyla shook her hair over her shoulder, showing off her all-naturalness.

The jumper nudged John, and he brought up the docking interface. "Almost there."

Ford looked a little stunned. "So that equation..."

"The definition of Euler's number."

"I just can't agree with your assertion there, sir."

"It's--" John gestured. "The universe. It's how you know what beauty is."

"Okay," Ford said, moving past "stunned" to "my CO is a crazy man and I do not want to see his porn." It was a complicated expression, but not an uncommon one in John's experience.

They went through the gate smooth as silk, paused, and zoomed up into the jumper bay. "Welcome back," Elizabeth said over their radios.

"Nothing to report," John said. "Great big zero. Saw some nice birds, though."

"Well, tell me all about it at 0900."

"Will do." John tucked the jumper in beside its pals. Ford jumped up a little too fast and had to visibly remember his manners and wait for Teyla to rise from her seat behind him.

"I would enjoy further information about your math," Teyla said.

"Sure. Any time."

She smiled, and she and Ford exited together.

John stood up and finally caught sight of Rodney, mouth open. Looking like he'd seen God, or maybe figured out how to make chocolate from simple polymers and mud. "You... okay there, Rodney?" John asked.

"Would you marry me? I'd have the sex change," Rodney said.

John blinked.

"I mean, I know you're straight," Rodney said.

John blinked.

"And I do need to pass along my DNA eventually--it's my moral duty--but we can work that out."

"Uh-huh," John said.

"That was the hottest thing I've ever heard," Rodney said fervently.

"How long since you ate something?"

"Oh, er, six hours or so."

"Let's get you a sandwich," John said.

"Okay," Rodney said.

There were fries in the mess hall. John didn't ask from what vegetable, because fries. He dipped them in ketchup one by one and observed Rodney closely.

Rodney didn't try to steal even one. Instead, he looked at John with silent wonder.

"Not low blood sugar, huh?" John said.

Rodney shook his head.

"I don't actually need you to have a sex change," John said sotto voce.

Rodney swallowed hard. John finished his fries--because fries--and then hustled Rodney out of the mess hall. He kissed him in the transporter, telling the doors to stay closed for thirty groping seconds, then broke apart and walked down the corridor with him at arm's length.

Then John's room, and Rodney shoved him with both hands down onto his bed, yanked off his pants, and blew him. Rodney came in his pants. John felt extremely sexy.

"Want to see a magic trick?" he asked once he'd gotten Rodney naked and basking.

"You must be joking," Rodney said.

"You'll like it."

Rodney set his mouth stubbornly. John did his magic trick anyway, taking an energy bar from the shelf and turning it into a small packet of dry, probably stale, more precious than gold, chocolate chip cookies inside the shelter of his hands.

"I love it," Rodney said, his eyes wide.

"Told you." John set the cookies on Rodney's chest and rested on his elbows beside him, pressed close by necessity on the narrow bed. He took a cookie out of the packet, scattering crumbs through the light fluff on Rodney's chest, and stuck it in Rodney's mouth. "When does this silent staring thing wear off?" John asked. "Because I'm enjoying it."

Rodney brushed at his chest, frowning. "About now. Do you have any idea how unpleasant it is to lie in cookie crumbs?" He picked up the cookies and rolled over onto his elbows, then picked up a cookie and popped it into John's mouth.

Yeah, stale. But mmm, chocolate, and mmm, sugar, and the chemical aftertaste just made it piquant.

"So," Rodney said, narrow-eyed, "what is your degree in?"

"Engineering, bachelor's and master's. How planes work. But my electives were all math. I thought I might go back for a PhD after I retire, see what the kids have thought up, but..." John shrugged. Chances he would live through this assignment and retire: Slight, and he didn't need Statistics 641 to figure that one.

Rodney pushed another cookie into John's mouth. "I always thought that binary code was the essence of porn."

John nodded and chewed. "Like yin and yang. Lingam and yoni."

"Positive and negative. Except that leads to a heterocentric worldview that I'm just not comfortable with, especially, uh, at the moment." Rodney shot him a look and shifted to press more skin against him.

"Nah. Tab A, slot B. It works," John said, and he held a cookie between his teeth and kissed Rodney, sliding it into Rodney's mouth with his tongue.

It did all come down to ones and zeros, and that made every moment more remarkable: The precise curve of Rodney's mouth that made it feel so good; the interactions between layers of cells, skin, and blood vessels, so that the blood knew to rise into his face and neck and flood into his cock; the electrical impulses that meant warmth at a level that was pleasure, rather than pain. One one zero one zero zero one. Neurons firing, or not.

And Rodney rolled him over onto his back in the cookie crumbs and John didn't even care, because their hips together were like two binary stars in orbit around a mutual center of gravity. And the best part was that if he were to tell Rodney that, John would probably get another blow job out of it.

"Seriously. Sex change?" John asked later.

"All right, I'll say anything to get laid," Rodney said sourly. "Don't rub it in."

"You'd make a really ugly woman."

"Thank you."

John kissed his neck and whispered the mathematics of binary stars in his ear, and he did get another blow job, and fell a little in love with that look in Rodney's eyes.

THE END.

 

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