It had been five days since the successful kidney transplant. Lister had finally been moved from the Medi-lab to the Officer’s Quarters – honestly he wished he hadn’t been. Rimmer had been driving him bonkers since he got out, and not for the usual reasons either. This time it was his constant taking care of him that was making him lose his mind. It wasn’t like Rimmer at all.
Why is he doing this? Lister thought to himself. Did his sanity chip get damaged during that firefight? Lister watched as Rimmer fluffed the pillows on his bed. If he does that one more smegging time… “Rimmer!” he snapped.
The hologram flinched and the pillow flew out of his hands, watching as it rocketed up and came down onto the table, crashing into Lister’s lunch.
Rimmer cleared his throat and gathered what little composure he had. “Yes?” he responded, acting nonchalant.
“You’ve fluffed this thing eighteen times already!” he exclaimed as he furiously shook the vindaloo stained pillow in Rimmer’s face. “It’s smegging fluffed!”
He swiped it out of his hand. “I just wanted to make you feel comfortable.” He pulled the pillow case off and stuffed it into the hamper.
“I’m not even lying down!” he griped. “Why don’t you go revise or yell at the skutters or somethin’?”
Rimmer took in a deep, airless sigh as he sat down beside the Scouser, smiling at him. “You’re bothered, aren’t you?”
Lister shot him a glare. “What was your first clue?”
“Why are you being so short with me?”
“Why are you being like Kryten all of a sudden? Fluffing my pillows…” He pointed toward his bed. “bringing me tea and biscuits. This isn’t you.”
He began to speak, but let out another sigh instead. Once he had the words figured out he finally said, “I just wanted to take care of you. But if that’s too much for you–”
Just as Rimmer was about to get up to leave, Lister stopped him by taking a hold of his forearm. “Sit down, Rimmer,” Gradually, he realised he was still holding him by the arm, even after he sat down again. He quickly took his hand off and set it in his own lap with the other. “Look, you know I’m not opposed to being pampered and that. It’s just… weird.”
“Right,” he said with a heavy exhale. Rimmer nodded, looking down at his clasped hands resting on the table. Eventually, he glanced up at Lister. “Do you want me to stop?” Deep down he hoped he’d say no.
He shrugged his shoulders, which almost impeded a shake of his head. “To be honest, it’s not the fact that you’re doing it that’s weirding me out. It’s the fact that I’m enjoying it.”
Rimmer’s face lit up, as if someone just mentioned something about aliens. “Really?”
Once more, he nodded. “Maybe just… tone it down a bit? Let Kryten do some of the more… ‘smeggy bits’?”
“Of course!” Rimmer scoffed in derision. “I wasn’t about to give you a sponge bath.” That would be something he’d had to build himself up for, but in all honesty he would’ve done it. Rimmer then stood up, walked to his desk, sat down and started scribbling aimlessly in a notepad.
“Sure, right…” Lister’s words were as soft as the brown eyed gaze he held on the hologram. Truth be told, he actually wanted him to do it.