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“Been a while since you’ve snuck off up here.”

There was a slight turn to Rimmer’s head as he nodded a greeting toward his bunkmate but other than that the acknowledgement was lukewarm. Lister didn’t mind. Rimmer hid in the Observation Dome specifically to zone out and muse and for Lister to demand that he leave the comforts of his meditation would be unfair. It wasn’t particularly sporting of him to disrupt it in the first place but something about Rimmer’s mood recently had been niggling at him.

So when he first noticed Rimmer gone in the middle of the night after the events with the Mechanoids and Siliconia, the Observation Dome had been first on his hit list.

“Do you know why I come up here?” Rimmer said, so, so quietly Lister was scarce sure he heard it.

“To get away from my guitar playing?” Lister smirked and even Rimmer had to allow the breathy laugh in his chest to bubble out. It was a bonus, absolutely. Lister contemplated the reason more seriously for a moment. “It’s hidden. It’s secure. It’s peaceful.”

Rimmer shook his head, still staring out, hand almost touching the glass dome but just staying shy of it. If he touched it the whole universe might shatter.

“You like stars. You like the vastness of space.” He paused. “It’s humbling.”

“Close.” Rimmer turned then, eyes brimming. He’d never cry whether he refused to or was simply incapable, so Lister felt no need to rush forward with a proffered sleeve to wipe them on.

Though he’d like to, just once, capture a moment like that. True vulnerability from someone whose presence still hadn’t quite defined itself in his life. Antagonist, friend, brother, rival, something else.

“You’ll laugh if I tell you,” Rimmer said suddenly, blinking his eyes dry.

“Probably,” replied Lister, “But I’ll try and do it when you’re not watching.” And who was Rimmer kidding saying ‘if’. He knew by now it was always ‘when’. He always told Lister everything eventually. He was his Confessional. Rimmer cleansed his sins and guilt at Lister’s diabolical feet.

Rimmer seemed to decide then in light of Lister’s painful honesty. He would laugh, true, but maybe Rimmer would laugh too. They’d laugh together at his ridiculous notions.

“It reminds me… of a fish bowl.”