AN: Just a little thing I wrote, oh, a decade ago when I was watching RD. I recently joined this site and came across the RD fic while I was browsing – I was amazed at all the Rimmer/Lister stuff, so I figured I'd dust this one off and post for y'all.
Mr. Flibble's Very Cross
By Cat Moon
"Listy?" Rimmer began in the soft, sensuous voice that was only heard during shared intimate moments, and only by Lister.
"Hmm?" Lister murmured, drifting in the languid depths of satiation.
"I don't mean to spoil the afterglow...but...why the smeg do you have Peterson's name tattooed on your inner thigh?!"
Lister grimaced. "Uh...well--I was drunk," he defended.
"You were drunk the first time we made it, you didn't have my name tattooed on your thigh," Rimmer pointed out.
"I couldn't very well've done that, could I now? I couldn't very well go down to the local tattoo parlor."
"You could've gotten Kryten to do it."
"Oh yeah, I'm gonna go and wake Kryten up and tell 'em to come down and tattoo Rimmer on my thigh."
"What's that supposed to mean?!"
"He'd be packin' me off to the bloody insane asylum, wouldn't he?"
"What's that supposed to mean?!"
"If you don't know, I'm not gonna tell ya."
Rimmer raised his head and their eyes met. For a moment--just for a second--a rare and painful glimpse into Rimmer's soul was revealed. Then he looked away again, remaining silent rather than make his typical come-back. Nothing deeper was revealed, lest they upset the delicate balance of their complex and bizarre relationship.
Lister wondered if things would ever change, if the day would ever come when open tenderness would break down the centuries of compounded scars and replace caution. He didn't even know if he wanted it to, it was a frightening concept, somehow.
But he also couldn't hurt Rimmer, not now. At least not in the carelessly cruel ways of yesterday. In essence--he was fucked.
"Oh smeg," he exclaimed softly. His hand strayed down, fingers shaking slightly, running through Rimmer's sweat-damp hair. Actions would have to convey what words could not. "I just meant..." He sighed. "I've always been straight with you, you know that."
"I've got to go," Rimmer said abruptly, sitting up and shrugging out of Lister's arms.
"I--I just remembered I've got to uh, I'm supposed to check the uh, navigation programs."
So pathetically transparent sometimes, was Rimmer. Afraid Lister was about to dump him, he was trying to avoid the words by running away. Lister's stomach tightened in that new feeling that was quickly starting to be familiar. Trapped in a world where there were no women, it had started out as merely a way to satisfy a need on one, drunken, foolish night. He'd been completely caught off guard when it became deeper. Though he was loathe to admit it, he cared about Rimmer.
"Hey--" Lister murmured. The gentle tone of his voice stopped Rimmer from leaving. "I want you to stay."
Cautiously, Rimmer settled back down against his lover. "You do?" he asked tremulously.
Lister's sigh was loud and exasperated this time. "Yes. I like you, okay? I even kinda care about you." He was dismayed to find himself on a roll. "I kinda care about you a lot. I was just gonna say that it would be very uncomfortable for both of us around here, if the others found out, okay? Now can we get back to this afterglow stuff?"
Rimmer smiled widely, and Lister shuddered. "Okay," he said happily, snuggling down into Lister's arms.
"What have I got myself into?" Lister wondered to himself--a little too loudly.
Rimmer's head came up and he stared at Lister with wide eyes. "Do you mean it?" he breathed.
"I never thought you'd let me--I mean, I was perfectly okay with you being on top all the time, but now that you've told me you want me to--" He stopped talking to cover Lister's face with kisses. "I'll be real careful, you'll see."
With a sick churning in his stomach, Lister had a feeling he knew how Rimmer had misinterpreted his remark--but he couldn't figure out the gap in logic of it. Which wasn't unusual, considering who he was dealing with.
"Now wait one smeggin' minute," he began, suspiciously wondering if the sod had purposefully gotten it wrong.
Then he intercepted the wild joy on Rimmer's face.
"Yes?" Rimmer said in a voice that reminded him of a little kid at Christmas.
Disgusted with himself for his sentimentality, Lister figured he probably had it coming to him. Unable to stand the scene he knew would follow if he halted the proceedings, he threw up his hands in surrender. This relationship really was getting out of control. Unfortunately, it looked like it was already too late to worry about it.
"Smeg," he said with feeling, turned over onto his stomach, and buried his face into the pillow. And cursed Peterson and his tattoo.
As Lister had expected, he did end up--no pun intended--very sorry he'd ever started this relationship.