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Heart Shaped Box

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How could she? And three days before Valentines day as well? Dave Lister was furious. Here he'd been working on a beautiful heart-shaped jewellery box filled with chocolate hearts and she went and broke up with him! Lister picked up the offending item and glared at it balefully: he had wood imported all the way from Titan and worked on it for weeks and this is what he got?! Smeg it!!
He lifted his arm and harshly threw the box towards the door … just as it opened.

“Lister I wanted to …”

“Smeg! Rimmer! Duck!”

Too late. Lister watched in horror as the hard wooden box hit his bunkmate full in the temple and sent him spiralling to the floor.
“Shit! Smeg! Rimmer! Damn!!” Lister was on his knees next to his superior in seconds. To his horror he found the man was unconscious. They might have had their disagreements but this was the last thing he'd ever want to happen. The Scouser squirmed as he saw a bit of blood drip from the side of Rimmer's head, where the box had impacted.
“Holly, Holly!” He screamed. “Get a medical team here, now!”
Shaking with horror Lister cradled Rimmer in his arms. Then he noticed the letter his bunkmate had dropped during the fall.


Arnold J Rimmer woke up nauseous, blurry, confused and with a splitting headache. It took him some time to realise he was in a hospital bed and that a grim faced, worried looking Lister was sitting by his side clutching a large bouquet of flowers.
“Hmmm …” Rimmer sighed, feeling awful.
Lister immediately responded to the sound.
“Rimmer, man, how are you? Are you okay? Do you need anything?”
Blinking in confusion Rimmer gazed at Lister, his eyes slightly unfocused.
“What happened?”
Lister bowed his head and swallowed, then he decided to get it over with.
“I'm so, so sorry Arnold. I was angry with Kochanski and then threw that box I made her through the room. Then … well … your head sort of got in the way.”
His bunkmate closed his eyes, his muddled brain trying to make sense of this confession.
“Well … at least it wasn't on purpose … For a second I … I thought … The letter …”
No, no, no! Lister shook his head; Rimmer thought he'd punched him because of that or something? He took Rimmer's thin hand and pressed it to his lips.

“Arn, I'm really sorry okay? Is there anything you want man? Water, food, a kiss?
Immediately the blurry hazel eyes snapped open again to glare at Lister in confusion.
“A what?”
Lister smiled kindly and placed the flowers in Rimmer's arms, then he moved towards his face and gently kissed him. A stunned Rimmer stiffened at first, then sighed in delight as he moved in on the kiss and responded.
“Yes, Rimsy, the answer is yes.” Lister whispered softly after the kiss ended.
A happy smile formed on Rimmer's lips as he looked at Lister warmly. “Listy ...” He breathed.


With the promise he'd look after him carefully, Lister was allowed to bring Rimmer back to their quarters two days later on Valentines Day. It was a good thing too, or he wouldn't have had the chance to surprise his new partner on their first day of love together.
Wheeling Rimmer into the bunkroom, he cherished hearing his delighted gasp upon seeing the room decorated with pink and red hearts.
“Listy … this … this can't be for me …?” Rimmer asked softly.
Lister kissed the top of his head.
“Oh yes it can!! Happy first Valentines, Arnold.” He rolled him further into the room. “Now the doctor said you're still rather concussed, so off into bed with you.”
Rimmer looked up at him and seemed disappointed. “But it's Valentines day …”
Lister squeezed his shoulder. “It still is when you're in bed man. It's usually the best place to be on this day.”

Rimmer's eyes went big when he found that his bed too was decked out with pink and red hearts and that Lister had sprinkled his sheets with rose petals. On his pillow was the wooden box that Lister had been carving: the lid now baring their initials. This was too much for a man who'd been starved of love for his entire life, a soft sob emerged from his throat. Lister kneeled down next to him.
“What is it Arnie?”
Swiftly Rimmer wrapped his arms around Lister, burying his face in his lovers hair.
“I … I am just so happy!!”


Three million years later.
A small smile stirred round Arnold J Rimmer's lips as the sound penetrated through him: Lister was snoring in his ears. A sound he'd once hated, so long ago. These days he couldn't think of anything better. Squinting his eyes he could see the clock 14.30 it said. These numbers no longer had a meaning to him. It could be evening, as far as he cared. Softly he wiggled himself so he'd be even closer to Lister's warmth. He noticed by the sound of his snores that Lister was close to waking. They'd kiss and snuggle a bit, discuss their plans for the day (games night or movie night?) and then get up to eat the remains of last night's curry. He might get dressed, he might not, sometimes he'd like to unwind and spent the day in his pyjamas and dressing gown.
Rimmer softly chuckled to himself: Arnold J Rimmer slobbing the day away and eating stale curry for breakfast? If you'd have told him all these centuries ago he'd have laughed in their face.

His brain waking up slowly, he was overtaken by a warm feeling: today was Valentines day. One of the many he had spent with his Listy ever since the day they had got together in hospital.
He could still remember it all: the first time he'd felt Lister's lips on his, the room filled with hearts, the box on his pillow and eating those chocolates in bed together.

He raised himself softly and turned to lean over Lister and begun to cover the cheek of his lover with soft kisses. They'd had a fight the week before, Lister had brought up getting matching outfits as a gift. He had scoffed, saying he refused to walk around as one half of Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Lister had looked so crushed that Rimmer had regretted being such a stick in the mud. Well, even love couldn't completely erase decades of parental conditioning.
Today, though, he'd make it up. His silly Scouser would get his smegging wish: matching monogrammed pyjamas of pure silk. Rimmer had sown the monograms on himself, modelled on those initials carved into the wooden heart shaped box that had hit him so long ago. He cherished the box and kept the letter he'd written Lister back then in it. He chuckled to himself. It had been the best head injury he had ever had.

Lister stirred. Rimmer moved his lips to his ear and whispered: “Happy Valentines day Listy …”