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Less Than Ideal

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“Can I borrow him for a minute?” asked Laura, pointing at Rimmer.

Lister looked to see if anyone else was nearby instead. “Him? What would you want him for?”

“A word or two before you all leave,” said Laura, her mouth setting in a line that boded no good for Rimmer.

Lister shrugged. “Hey, Rimmer. You heard the lady.”

*

Laura led the man who looked exactly like Gordon Brittas (but with marginally better hair, arguably less taste in clothes, and who was apparently a dead hologram from several million years in the future who was temporarily mislaid with the rest of his crew) into the office. She shut the door.

“If this is about Lister’s complete lack of hygiene and habit of wondering into the female changing rooms, I’ve spoken to him about him, but he won’t listen -.”

Laura faced him. “Look, I don’t know you, and you don’t know me. And from what I do know, you seem to be a weaselly git, and a coward.”

“Yes, everyone says that,” said Rimmer. “Rimmer, you’re a total git; a complete smeghead.”

She raised her eyebrows, but ploughed on. “However, here we both are, and you at least seem to have some intelligence, you actually hear what I say, and you can comprehend sarcasm.”

Rimmer coughed, but brightened. As far as conversations with genuine, live females went, this one wasn’t going badly. To tell the truth, when it came to conversations with attractive females who were human, alive and not a hallucination it was possibly the best he’d ever had.

“And this is a bad, bad idea, I know,” Laura continued. “I know. But the thing is, if I have this right, any minute now you’re going to run off a billion light years and a million years or so into the future, and I’m never going to see you again. So it’s not as if it’ll come back to haunt me. Other than the inevitable nightmares. Seems like the ideal chance to get it out of my system.”

“Ah,” said Rimmer, backing away a step or two, as he worked it out. She seemed sane, but clearly she was in fact crazy. That explained her talking to him, rather than storming out, or slapping him. “I think I heard someone calling -.”

Laura shut her eyes, took a deep breath, and said, “So, just, kiss me, okay?”

Rimmer resorted to coughing again, and his voice rose with every word: “Look, I may not be hearing this right: did you just say -?”

“Yes.”

“Me?”

“There’s no one else here,” said Laura. “So I thought, given that -.”

Rimmer folded his arms suddenly, snapping out of the shock enough to manage a brief smirk. “I don’t believe it. You fancy Mr Smarmy-pants, idealistic I-Have-A-Dream, accident-prone, moron. That’s what this is about!”

“Shut up,” said Laura. “No. And, by the way, don’t get the wrong idea here.” Then she grabbed him by the front of his tunic and kissed him

*

“So,” said Laura, eventually, getting her breath back. “That was that. That’s me cured, definitely. Absolutely.”

Rimmer had a dazed look on his face, staring blankly ahead.

“Er, Mr Rimmer?” said Laura, and then realised how stupid that sounded when speaking to a guy you’d just been fervently kissing, however little you knew him. “You okay?”

Rimmer blinked. “What? I mean, yes. Glad to be… er… of service.”

“So go,” said Laura. “Before I have any worse ideas, or you say anything more and spoil everything. Go. Now.”

Rimmer hesitated.

This is the door,” said Laura, and opened it for him, with a smile. “Walk that way.”

Once he’d left, she sat down at the desk, and bit her lip, and thought for a bit.

Damn,” she said, eventually.