The first day Rodney didn't even notice it until he'd almost erased it. On the board was written: Insert +, -, X, and/or parentheses between the numbers to find the total.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 = 29
He snorted and continued the lecture without thinking about it twice.
The next time Rodney saw it the moment he walked into the door: Right now Mum is 21 years older then her child. In 6 years her child will be 5 times younger than she. Where is Daddy?
He snorted again but didn't erase it, even when his own class notes got to be so much he had to squash some into a corner where most of the students probably couldn't even read it. But they don't pay attention anyway.
The third time it was kind of funny: Conclusion: the place where you got tired of thinking.
Rodney debated with himself for the whole class but in the end he wrote a witty quote underneath: A mathematician's reputation rests on the number of bad proofs he has given.
The next one mocked him:
Biologists think they are biochemists,
Biochemists think they are Physical Chemists,
Physical Chemists think they are Physicists,
Physicists think they are Gods,
And he completed the quote, begrudgingly, And God thinks he is a Mathematician, with an answering quote: There are 10 kinds of mathematicians in the world.....
The next day he came in to find the answer: Those who understand Binary, and those who don't.
He went half the semester like this. There was always a new quote or puzzle or brain teaser when he got to his afternoon classes and he would leave a response or answering remark.
One day there was a new guy, too old to be one of the normal students and not enrolled in the course, sitting in the back of the room. He watched Rodney the whole class, he didn't even look away when Rodney caught him staring. He was good looking, though, and Rodney found himself loosing track of his thoughts a few times. When Rodney let the class go the man slouched up to the front of the room.
"Look, I don't know why you'd want to start this late anyway but the add/drop period is over anyway."
"What? Then what do you want?"
The man looked at the board, where there was yet another puzzle, "you gonna answer that?"
Rodney gaped at him, "well, I was, I mean, I have been, but, why?"
The mysterious man smiled, "I didn't think it could be a student," then he held out his hand, "Dr. John Sheppard. I teach the Advanced Calculus and Statistics classes in the morning. Those were supposed give my students some thinking material. I didn't expect anyone to answer them all."
Rodney stared at him a moment. He was smart? Nobody that pretty was supposed to be smart. When John cleared his throat Rodney shook himself out of it and took John's hand, "Dr. Rodney McKay, I try to teach overachieving idiots the finer points of Astrophysics and Wormhole theory."
"Overachieving?" John raised his eyebrows.
"Yes, well, if they were underachieving they'd have a major more suited to their IQ, like Theater or Philosophy."
John chuckled, "Ok. Say, wanna grab something?"
Rodney frowned, "What? Why?"
John shrugged shyly, looking at Rodney from under his lashes, "we could talk, get to know each other, maybe get dinner later."
Rodney blinked, "oh. OH! Oh, uh, really? Me?"
"Yeah," and the little nod that went with it really shouldn't have been that cute.
"Uh, yeah, that sounds, uh, really?" Rodney beamed.
John laughed again and led the way out of the classroom, "so, any ideas?"
The next class he came in and found this on the board: What is 8 squared?
He blushed and waited until all his students left before he answered: 69
Six months later Rodney walked into his classroom already talking. He stopped when he saw familiar handwriting on the board: Math is like love; a simple idea.
He wrote back: but it can get complicated.
They didn't talk about it that night but the next day Rodney found: I like complicated.
Rodney smiled and, ignoring the students waiting for him to start class, he wrote: I love you, too.
A/N: The answer to the second math puzzle is -.75 years, or 9 months before birth. Also, none of the math problems are mine.