"Do these pants make my ass look big?"
John doesn't look up from his magazine. "Your ass is big," he says.
The guy hemming Rodney's slacks drops to the ground just in time to avoid getting kicked in the head. "I can't believe you just said that! I have to stand in front of ten thousand people in these pants. My ass can't be big!"
"I like your ass," John says, bored.
"Pay attention. Edward Witten is going to be there." Rodney clenches his fists, like a Southern belle vowing never to get involved in highly classified military projects again. "This is my first paper since declassification. I have to look my best when I crush his will to live and leave him a broken man, too traumatized to ever publish again. Highest rated h-index of any living physicist my sweet, sweet ass," he mumbles.
"See now," John says. "I said you had a nice ass. You just gotta believe in yourself."
The tailor starts pinning the other cuff and Rodney suddenly remembers he's down there. "Are you sure that's right? I don't want to trip on my pants on the way to the podium. But don't make them too short, either!"
"No, Dr. McKay," he says. "Please try not to move."
John flips through his magazine and rolls his eyes. "Relax, Rodney, you're gonna look fine getting your big nerd award."
"Just for that, I'm going to make you wear your dress blues to the ceremony," Rodney says haughtily. He crosses his arms over his chest and then jerks as he accidentally stabs himself with a straight pin.
"No you're not," John says, cracking open a cologne sample and giving it a sniff. "I'm going to wear a suit, and a shirt, but no tie, and maybe, if you're lucky, you'll be able to point across the room and say, 'I'm with him.'"
Rodney frowns. "Why are you across the room?"
"Because you'll be surrounded by fawning physicists and you know math makes my head hurt."
"You faker," Rodney says.
"All right, Dr. McKay," the tailor says, sitting back on his heels. "I believe we're done here. If you'd like to change back into your street clothes --"
"Yes, I would." Rodney takes off for the safety of the dressing rooms at a stiff-legged jog. "John!"
John sighs, puts down his magazine, and follows. He's halfway down the hall when an arm shoots out of one of the rooms and yanks him inside.
"Sorry, mister," John says. "I already have a boyfriend."
Rodney kisses him, hands fisted in John's t-shirt. "I wish I could tell everyone that you were mine," he says, red-faced and prickly.
"I'm pretty sure everyone here's already figured it out."
"At the awards ceremony, you moron."
"I know," John says softly.
"Just, what am I supposed to say? I'd like you to meet Colonel Sheppard? I used to work with him?"
"I'm sorry," John says, getting Rodney out of his terrible, needle-sharp trousers. "You don't think I want to brag about you? About how you save our asses on an almost daily basis, how you're literally rewriting the physics books, how you're so much hotter than Edward Witten?"
Rodney laughs and now that his deadly trousers are no longer between them, John presses him against the wall and kisses him, long and slow, the only consolation John can give him. Rodney wraps his arms around John's waist and they kiss and kiss and kiss, and it almost makes up for it, almost.
"I am much hotter than Edward Witten," Rodney says finally. "Smarter too, but that's a given."
"Also," John says, "your ass looks great in those pants."