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An Unwelcome Sort of Christmas Fluff (Red Dwarf)


warminside

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Hey! I’m new to the forum, this is only my second fic. I actually wrote this after a second Red Dwarf fic that I'm yet to post (although these RD ficlets are basically stand-alone, all of the stories happen to my same version of the characters), but the inspiration struck me at 1am as I was wondering what the hell to write next, and as the date approaches this gets priority :)

This is based on the British sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf, which I’m imagining won’t be hugely popular here, so here’s a smidge of exposition if you don’t know it:

Set in the very distant future in space, there are four inhabitants of a mining vessel whose crew was almost entirely wiped out in a radiation leak 3 million years ago. The lone survivor was Dave Lister, who was in stasis at the time. Dave is a total slob, but has moral courage. The ship computer created a hologram of Arnold Rimmer, Dave’s deceased bunkmate, to keep him sane. He’s a selfish, pompous toss-pot and, despite being dead, is to all intents and purposes alive (also his massive nostrils are a running joke on the show, so …). The third character in this fic is the Cat, a humanoid lifeform that evolved over millions of years from Dave’s pregnant cat who was on-board at the time of the leak. He’s his own favourite person. Finally, Kryten is, simply put, a cleaning android who Lister helped break his programming to gain something approaching free will and human emotion. This concludes our exposition, folks. Hope you enjoy!

 

FIC BEGINS

"Merry Christmas!" said Lister, coming into their living quarters with a grin Rimmer classed as 'suspiciously large'."

"Is it?" asked Rimmer warily, running a quick inventory of their current situation - alone, in deep space, with just a few sheets of metal protecting them from endless, icy blackness - and deciding that anything that could lead Lister to that conclusion was a cause for concern.

"Course it is!" Grin growing even wider, Lister turned as Cat appeared behind him pushing his standard shiny-things trolley, and took off three lumpy red objects. He handed one to Cat, who dropped into a seat pawing at it, then with great pomp and circumstance came over to the table and presented one to Rimmer. "And here's your present."

It was a jumper. An ugly, outdated, thick, cozy, Christmassy jumper. Rimmer inspected it suspiciously, not certain to what extent it was intended as a prank and to what extent as a genuine gift.

"It's not going to explode, Rimmer!" said Lister, rolling his eyes. "Look, I've got one too!" Saying that, he pulled his over his head, appearing the other side looking like his cheeks might burst from his chipmunk smile. "Just like Christmas on Earth!" When Rimmer still hesitated, Lister snatched up his jumper and forced it over his head, despite muffled protests.

"Lister, I'm a hologram, I don't need clothes!"

"Yeah, but I knew you'd never materialise into that, so this was the only way I could force it on you," retorted Lister, his enthusiasm not in the least dampened. "There's nothing Christmassy about the uniform you wear every other day of the year."

"Oh, and I suppose this is the true Christmas spirit, is it: a bit of coercion among friends."

"Aw, Rimmer, you must really be feeling it - did you hear that, Cat? He called us friends!"

Rimmer sighed, slightly touched despite himself. He pulled at the neck of his jumper, which was itching slightly.

"Where did you even find these, anyway? Which cadavers are we taking advantage of this festive season?"

"No stiffies, I promise!" protested Lister. "Cat found them in one of the storage bays while he was "investigating"; I managed to get to him just before he unraveled them all. Aw, Cat, man, I told you -"

Cat looked up, baring his teeth, from where he was pulling the yarn out of his sleeve. "Mine! Y'all think these are any good for wearing? If it wasn't Christmas, I'd have you quarantined for that holo-virus!"

"Heh-eh ... eh ... heh-titch!"

"Bless you, Rimmer!" said Lister, cheerfully going to the calendar stuck in his bunk and crossing off the 23. "Have you seen Kryten? Cat took care of all the other jumpers, but I found a hat for him - reckon they must have been saving this gear as Christmas presents for workers."

"He's ... He's in the kitchen, he says - ah ... ah kgnxt - he's not coming out until it's Christmas morning and he can't possibly d ... do any more food preparation - say, Listy, what are these jumpers made of?"

"I dunno, jus material, innit?"

""Just material." Hey, well it's good to know we're safe from asbestos underpants on this vessel."

"Alright, Rimmer, I was just tryna be friendly!"

"No, I -" Rimmer sighed, the apology getting caught somewhere in his throat. "Lister, I know. Just, these couldn't be wool, by any chance?"

"What, real wool? I wouldn't get your hopes up. They'd be worth a fortune, then. Although, I suppose we might have finally found the officer supplies ... Woah, there could be a goldmine in there! Get back here, Cat, you're not bagsying all the good stuff," Lister glared, as the Cat left off batting yarn and started to slink towards the door at the hint of shiny objects.

"No, that's -" Rimmer sighed again, pinching the bridge of his itching nose. "That's not my issue, if-" unable to continue, he pitched forwards in a burst of sneezes.

"Heh-choo! Heh-choo! HA-choo! Hehishoo! Hehishoo!"

"Oh ... Rimmer." said Lister, realisation dawning on his face. "Are you allergic?"

"A little," admitted Rimmer, reaching up to wipe his nose. A stupid, stupid decision. "Heh-ishoo! Oh G- ishoo! Ishoo! Ishoo! Huh ... ishoo!"

"Right," sighed Lister, walking over to Rimmer, who now had red blotches appearing on his face. "Let's get this thing off you, then."

Rendered immobile as Lister pulled the jumper over his head, his arms pinned above him, Rimmer shuddered as he had no choice but to direct his most violent fit of sneezes yet into the inside of the jumper.

"Huh-reshoo! AHHschew! Kngxt - kngxt - kngxt - AHHschew! Huh-choo! AHHHSHOO! AHHHSHOO! Uh, ASHHEWW!" He wanted to protest, but he was struggling to draw breath as he felt the fibres tickling his nostrils. By the time the jumper was off, he felt a sticky mess, and rather than take the tissues Lister offered him stumbled over to wash his face in the sink.

"Man, sorry, Rimmer," Lister sighed, dejected as he held the offending garment. "I promise I was trying to be nice, I didn't realise."

"It's fide, really," Rimmer snuffled, enjoying the feeling of cool water on his burning face. "You cab give it to Kryten, you're right, he'll love it." He was too bunged up to be sarky, and whenever he was tempted to snap at Lister he remembered the grin on his face as he had been genuinely excited at the thought of giving a present. It was nice, really, to be travelling through space with someone who, rather than complete indifference or dutiful obedience, sometimes offered gestures suggestive of a tentative friendship.

Lister sighed as he glanced around the room. "Cat's slunk off. I better go find him, it's beyond me now, but if there's a way to make a string toy out of chocolate éclairs and champagne he'll discover it in the officers' storage bay. Sorry, again."

"I'll come with you," said Rimmer, straightening up and facing Lister with something just short of a smile - he was saving that, maybe for Christmas. Lister gave him a questioning, tentative look. "Well, you clearly need help getting me Christmas presents," Rimmer smirked. "Better late than never, eh?"

FIC ENDS

So, I know traditionally the lads hate each other's guts, but they do have a fair few moments of genuine affection and friendship, even if the show usually shies away from them - and certainly after decades in space together (this is ambiguously set in season 10 / 11), I don't believe this is truly OOC. Anyway, it's Christmas :xmastree:

Do let me know what you think :thumbs_up:

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