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Lister wakes up and promptly falls out of bed, wildly pawing at his mouth. In his mind, at least, he can still taste the clean, slightly minty taste of Rimmer's mouth.

Rimmer!

He's dreamt about kissing Rimmer!

Getting to his feet, Lister races for the sink and rinses, rinses, rinses and spits. The Listerine only increases the minty flavour in his mouth and he gags, then spits again. Going to his locker, he withdraws a can of Leopard Lager and pops the top, taking a long swig. Aaaah. There is a taste you'll never find in Rimmer's mouth.


Three light years and a dimension or two away, Ace Rimmer wakes up and is momentarily disorientated before he remembers where he is. The tiny bedroom situated behind the cockpit is claustrophobic, and the dream he has just had compounds the feeling.

Rimmer rolls out of bed, absently wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. The glass of chilled Sancerre helps to take the imagined taste of beer out of his mouth. It probably also helps to make the crazy decision he makes next.

He recalls the code number for his home dimension -- #107 in Universe Six -- then enters it into the Dimension Jump computer, the one that is in love with him. The red ship Wildfire makes a blur of Reality and vanishes.


Lister is reading a comic book in the midsection, dressed only in boxers and his blanket. Not surprisingly, he has been utterly unable to go back to sleep after his dream. Around him, Starbug hums quietly on autopilot.

When the door that leads to the rear of the ship -- engine room, cargo bay, landing bay -- opens, Lister turns around expecting to see Kryten there. At this time of night, he is the only one who would logically be down here. The Cat and Kris will be upstairs, getting their beauty sleep, not that either of them need it (well, depending on who you asked).

However, logic isn't always the deciding factor here in Deep Space, and Lister finds himself looking not at the angular plastic face of his favourite mechanoid, but at the handsome face of that all time number one test pilot, Ace Rimmer.


Aeons pass in seconds. Neither of them blink, neither of them speak.


Rimmer has always complained that his eyes are a wishy-washy murk, but as far as Lister can see now, they aren't. Instead, they are a deep, clear green, shading to brown at the rim and shot through with gold streaks from the dark pupil to the outer edge of the iris.

His hair, too, is something Rimmer is ill-content with. He calls it an unruly brown mess, but when he reaches up now, still not saying anything, and removes the blond Ace wig, Lister gets a real look at Rimmer's hair. It is brown, but the curls are soft and like his eyes are highlighted with strands of golden colour.

Rimmer is looking at Lister too, a strange expression entering those amazing eyes. He is looking at Lister: seeing the chocolate-brown eyes, the caramel skin, the dark-strawberry lips. Like a rich dessert, Lister looks good enough to eat.

Lister stands up, the chair scraping on the floor the only sound he can hear apart from his own wildly beating heart. He steps toward Rimmer over a discarded Leopard Lager can, and keeps his eyes firmly fixed on the other man's the whole time.

A hand shoots out. Rimmer lays the flat of his hand on Lister's chest. Lister looks sharply at him, his breath catching in his throat at the hungry look in Rimmer's eyes. A small smile tugs at the corners of Rimmer's mouth.

Suddenly his hand moves, fisting up a handful of Lister's blanket, and yanking the younger man towards him. Lister just has time to suck in a deep breath before Rimmer's mouth covers his, brazenly, silently but urgently kissing him, tongue pushing past his lips, past his teeth, to taste him. The minty taste Lister recognises from his dream floods his mouth, overwhelming the stale lager that Rimmer recognises from his dream.

It is this taste that finally spurs Lister to a response, which is to kiss back and slide an arm around Rimmer's waist, pulling him tight against himself, and let go of his blanket with the other hand. His fingers ruffle the curls at the nape of Rimmer's neck, palm pressing there to hold Rimmer to their kiss.

They sink to the floor, holding each other, Rimmer shedding his jacket and Lister spreading his blanket out. Not a word is spoken, neither of them so much as make a sound until the end. Then they both cry out softly, and look at one other as if they have never seen each other before.


And when Kochanski finds them the next morning, tangled naked in one another's arms on their discarded clothing on the floor, she looks at them as if she's never seen them before either.