Categories > TV > Red Dwarf


by Roadstergal 2 reviews

Post-Tikka. Lister has an accident. Rimmer takes it like a man - that is, not very well.

Category: Red Dwarf - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst, Humor - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2006-09-06 - Updated: 2006-09-07 - 2452 words - Complete

"Are you goin' to help me, or are you just goin' to sit around readin' all day?" Sweat dripped from Lister's face as he plunked down next to Rimmer, panting.

"The latter, miladdio," Rimmer replied, moving his book to the side to protect it from any stray splatters of Lister's sweat, which likely had a high enough spice content to stain the pages. It was bad enough that Lister had recovered all of his curries, but now he wanted Rimmer's help to move them into permanent storage? Smeg that.

"What use is yer smeggin' hard-light drive if you won't actually use it to help anyone?" Lister grumbled, standing and fanning himself with his hat.

"I can kick you in the jollies if you keep bothering me. Take care of your own smegging curries," Rimmer told the book, firmly.

Lister snorted. "I'll remember this the next time you need anything from me," he grumbled, walking out.

For a time after Lister left, the midsection was quiet, except for the humming of Starbug's engine and the creaking of the ventilation pipes that meant that Kryten was doing laundry. Rimmer read the same page three times, then closed the book with a smart thwap. It was too quiet. He had relished silence for most of the time he had been on Starbug; his room was a haven from the constant inane nannering of Cat, Kryten, and, space help him, smegging Lister. But Rimmerworld had provided far more peace and quiet than any sentient being could ever deal with, and since that, and his second death, Rimmer had found that the company of the others had somehow become less annoying. The inane tunes Lister would hum to himself in the midsection as he ate or played with his toes were actually, he was forced to admit to himself, quite soothing.

Rimmer frowned as even the dryer-induced noises stopped. The silence was starting to grate on his nerves. He was damned if he was going to go help Lister stock his three-alarm-fart curries, but perhaps he should go annoy him. That would serve the dual purpose of entertaining himself and slowing Lister down. Not such a bad thought.

He stood, intending to put this plan into effect, but an odd, staccato pounding noise made him pause. He cocked his ear towards the main corridors, trying to figure out what on Io would make a sound like that. He was answered by the sight of Kryten running, his knees nearly whacking his chin, his face a Dali portrait of alarm. "Mister Rimmer!" he cried, coming to a floor-shaking stop. "Something horrible has happened to Mister Lister! Come quickly!"

"What, did someone force him to take a bath?" Rimmer sniffed. But Kryten was already on his way out, evidencing a degree of panic that Rimmer had never seen the mechanoid express before. He therefore followed Kryten, having to run to keep up with the mechanoid's ungainly but rapid dash towards the cargo decks.

A foil container of curry lay on the floor, split open, leaking bright-yellow vindaloo over the floor. Lister lay a short distance from it, and Kryten stood over him, wringing his hands in anguish. "What?" Rimmer asked, irate. "He lost one of his twenty thousand containers of curry, and suffered a fit of apoplexy?" He walked over and kneeled beside Lister, prodding his shoulder. "Wake up, you goit!"

"No, noooo!" Kryten wailed. "He fell!"

Rimmer frowned, then lifted Lister's head. He shrieked as his fingers felt wet blood matting Lister's hair. He gently put Lister's head back down, then stood and danced back, shaking his hands to get the blood off. "What... why are you sitting around like a United States president trying to decide which documents to shred and which to wipe his arse with? Get him up to the medibay, Kryten!"

Kryten shook his head, sniffling. "I checked him with the psi-scan. He's dead!"

After a few minutes for shock to take charge had passed, the rather nasty question of what to do with the body arose. Cat was in favor of ejecting him into space. Kryten wanted to have him freeze-dried and stuffed, then placed in the ironing closet to remind him of Lister. The idea made Rimmer feel ill, but he did not have a much better idea of what to do. It seemed somehow too cold and callous to just pop him into space. He was the last human alive, after all! Or was. Shouldn't there be some kind of memorial? A cairn wouldn't work well in space, though. Smeg, what to do? Hell, he did not even have a very firm grasp of the fact that the smegger was dead/. That fact eluded his grasp like the last pickle in the jar, and he kept catching himself turning around, arching an eyebrow, and asking Lister if /he had any halfway useful suggestions?

As Cat and Kryten debated, Rimmer could not help wondering - if and when they found Red Dwarf, should they bring Lister back as a hologram? But no, that would be the Lister that he had been back /then/; the Lister he had been since they had been trapped on Starbug would still be dead. Besides, he would be a soft-light hologram, and was that anything to wish on even your worst enemy, as he had been?

Rimmer stopped his brooding as he realized that Cat and Kryten's argument had turned into an outright battle. "Look!" he yelled. They paid no attention. Rimmer jumped on the table and wrenched Kryten's head out of the Cat's armpit, kicking the feline back slightly. He hissed and spat at Rimmer as Kryten practically dislocated Rimmer's arm as he pulled himself away. They both glared at Rimmer as he got up onto all fours on the table. "Look..." he repeated, and then wondered what the hell they were supposed to look at. "Er..." He licked his lips, glancing back and forth between the two as they glared at him. "Look," he said, hoping the third time would bring him inspiration. It did not. "We should have... a wake."

"What the hell is that?" Cat asked, his eyes narrowing. "It sounds like the exact opposite of a nap, and I am so not there."

"It's a tradition," Rimmer said. "We sit around... er... and talk about all of the nice things about... the person who died." Rimmer wakes had been quiet affairs, as he remembered. Smeg, though, it would give him time to think. Or, more likely, procrastinate.

"That won't take long," Cat sniffed. "He gave me milk and crispies. What else?"

Kryten, however, was nodding thoughtfully. "Oh, that is a good suggestion," he said, tapping one angular lip with a squared-off finger. "Consumption of alcohol was a tradition at wakes, as well, if I recall correctly."

"Kryten," Rimmer sighed, as he clambered off of the table, "I'm talking about a /wake/, not a bachelor party."

Kryten paid no attention. "Yes, that would be appropriate. I have a small cache of whisky and single-malt scotch that I had been saving... for..." his lip started to quiver, "Mister... Lister's... birthday!" The last three words were a wail, and he covered his face with his hands.

Rimmer sat down on the edge of the table. "Fine, fine, do that," he sighed. He certainly could use a drink.

If what came out of the dusty bottle of whiskey that Kryten pulled out of some cavity that Rimmer did not want to know about constituted "a drink," then decapitation constituted a good cure for a nagging itch. It seared Rimmer's throat like a cattle brand as it went down, and he coughed until his eyes watered. Kryten was dusting the midsection table sadly - or as much of the midsection table as was accessible, with Lister lying atop, draped up to his neck with a black cloth. Cat sat gloomily away from the table - whether the gloom was sadness or boredom, Rimmer could not tell.

He looked back over at Lister's body lay. The whiskey roiled in his stomach, bringing up a bubble of melancholy that emerged as a belch. Lister - was dead. No, that wasn't quite possible, was it? Lister was the reason he had been brought back! And for all of the times the man had wailed to the accompaniment of his terminally out-of-tune guitar, for all of the times he had left toenail clippings in Rimmer's bed, for all of the times he had called Rimmer a miserable sad goited pissant sack of steaming smeg, he had become a part of Rimmer's life, like the mole just below his left nipple that Rimmer had come to accept as a part of himself. Rimmer poured himself another glass. This one went down more easily than the first, but it displaced another dose of sadness in his stomach, and he sniffled, wiping his nose on his sleeve.

"Smeghead can't take his booze," Cat muttered.

Rimmer stood, his back ramrod-straight, and poured himself another glass. What did that pussy know? He flared his nostrils at Cat as he drank the his third - or was it fourth? - glass; it went down very easily indeed. Yes, Arnie J. could hold his alcohol. Only it made him more pensive, as he looked at the face of the last man not-alive-anymore, and he started to sob in earnest. He yanked the bottle away from Kryten and took another few swallows of the whiskey, then grabbed Lister and started to bawl, his head on Lister's chest. "Ish... all my fault..." he wailed.

Kryten pulled Rimmer off of Lister, dabbing at the wet stains Rimmer had left with a small chamois. Rimmer stumbled over to Cat, burying his face in the feline's black velvet jacket. "I mean... he wanted me sho help wish hish curries... and I wanned to shmegging read..." Rimmer inhaled. "He wash a bhicutiful man!"

Cat pushed him away with a look of disgust. "Get off of me! You're worse than grease-stain when you're drunk." Kryten grabbed the bottle as Rimmer stumbled backwards. The hologram tried to reclaim his balance and grab his uniform jacket to straighten it. He missed and fell on his bum.

The world was wrong. Lister's body had disappeared! And Cat was so much taller... oh. Rimmer staggered to his feet, irritability driving out sadness. "Don' you push me 'roun like that!" he bawled, grabbing for Cat and missing. He stumbled into the feline, and both of them stumbled back into the wall, locked in what might have been a fight but felt more like a waltz. Even down to Cat tripping Rimmer and Rimmer falling to the ground again. His dance partners had always done that, hadn't they? And now he did not have Lister, either. He started to feel very sorry for himself. And very angry at Cat. It could all be Cat's fault, he suddenly decided, in a burst of inspiration. Everything, including Lister's death. "Yeh... yeh..." He couldn't think of a good insult, so instead he grabbed for Cat's throat and started to shake.

Cat yowled. "You've lost whatever brains you had to start with, clip-art-head!" He struggled with Rimmer for a moment, and managed to throw him over the edge of the table where Lister's body lay. Kryten, who had been trying to straighten up after them, grabbed Lister's body protectively, which kept it on the table as Rimmer grabbed the black cloth and tumbled off the edge.

Rimmer had an entertaining moment thinking that he had been ejected into space before struggling out of the black cloth. The first thing he saw when he emerged was the Cat, laughing at him, and in a rage, Rimmer grabbed the closest thing at hand and hurled it. It happened to be the bottle of single-malt, and when Cat easily ducked the geekish toss, it hit Kryten's face and smashed. The liquor splattered as the glittering shards of the bottle arced towards the ground, but most of the scotch fell straight down, splashing over Lister's face and into his mouth.

Then Rimmer was certain there was something wrong with that whiskey he had drunk earlier, because Lister coughed. Rimmer's eyes widened and he scrabbled backwards. Kryten looked down in shock, and Cat backed away, hissing, as Lister's eyes flew open.

"Oi," he said, sitting up and looking around, "Yeh opened some scotch and thought I'd just sleep through the party? Wha, you think I'm dead?" He grinned at the dumbstruck trio.

The midsection was quiet, except for the humming of Starbug's engine and the creaking of the ventilation pipes that meant that Kryten was doing laundry. In the state Rimmer was in, however, a gnat clearing its throat would have been painfully loud, and so he held an ice-pack to his head and moaned, quietly.

Lister walked into the midsection, humming loudly, and pulled a beer from the refrigerator. He sat at the table opposite Rimmer, put his feet on the table, and popped the can open. Every noise was a fresh burst of pain, and if the agony they elicited were not enough to rouse Rimmer, the flecks of beer foam that sprayed from the can and splatted him in the face did the job. "Lister, would you please have some modicum of respect for the dead and let me be hung over in peace?" he shouted, then winced as his own voice resounded in his head.

Lister giggled. "That's what yeh get for gettin' pissed at a wake for a guy who isn't dead yet!" He cocked his head, regarding Rimmer. "Still, if I did die, that's the kinda think I'd want my mates to do. Have a bender." He nodded. "Well, it wasn't all bad. At least it got Kryten to change the batteries in the psi-scan before something bad happened, eh?"

"Smegging mechanoid..." Rimmer set the ice-pack on the back of his neck and put his head in his hands, closing his eyes. He heard Lister stand, but the darkness felt soothing, so he did not open his eyes.

"Hey - I heard you were really torn up and all. I'm sorry, man, but it's good to know you don't think I'm a complete twonk."

"I was drunk," Rimmer told his hands. "Trust me - I think you're a git."

Lister giggled, and Rimmer went stiff as he felt the man's hands on his sides and his chest at Rimmer's back. But he slowly relaxed as he realized that Lister was merely hugging him. A bit more enthusiastically than Rimmer was entirely comfortable with, but he relaxed as Lister grabbed his sternum as if he were performing the Heimlich and giggled into Rimmer's neck. It could have been worse, after all.
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