Dave Lister walked grumpily into the quarters he shared
with Arnold Rimmer,
tossing his cap onto his bed. He was more than a little
annoyed at his
bunkmate. He'd had to tell Rimmer _again_ about the proper
maintenance of his body, and remind him that he was
supposed to be getting
that body into shape, not using it to satisfy every
appetite he couldn't in
his past two years as a hologram. It was especially
now -- as a hologram himself -- telling Rimmer was all he
Lister sat down on Rimmer's bunk and ran his fingers through his hair, still not used to the new texture. He was already starting to regret the bodyswap. He'd definitely gotten the short end of the stick, being stuck in the body of a hologram while the man he'd swapped with was joyriding through gourmet meals and Cuban cigars. He'd had a bad feeling about this from the beginning, but somehow Rimmer had managed to convince him that this would be the easiest way for him to get fit. Switch bodies, then let Rimmer do all the work while Lister sat back and did nothing for a couple of weeks. Well, that was what it was supposed to be like, but Lister hadn't seen any positive results yet. He'd already warned Rimmer about overdoing it...maybe after these first few days he would finally get down to business. Still, Lister couldn't help but mope. As a hologram, there wasn't much to do when no-one else was around. He couldn't touch anything, and with Rimmer out doing god-knows-what, there was nobody to talk to. He was bored. He supposed he could go find Kryten or the Cat, but he just wasn't in the mood. He sighed and rubbed his forehead, feeling the 'H' at its center -- it felt unnatural, just like the whole situation.
Still tracing the outline of the 'H', Lister got up and went over to look at himself in the mirror. At the not-himself in the mirror. Rimmer's face, Rimmer's body. Taller, paler, but dressed in clothes more like his own (and nothing like what Rimmer usually wore), it almost seemed like... he wasn't really sure. Not familiar, not comfortable. Weird. Smegging weird, seeing Arnold Rimmer's face gazing back at him.
Still, it wasn't totally unfamiliar. The expression was much more his own than Rimmer's. And without Rimmer's usual smug look, the face almost seemed...pleasant. Cheerful. Lister rolled his eyes at that. << Imagine that, Rimmer looking cheerful, especially when he's looking at _me_. >>
He tried smiling. Again, without his usual smugness, Rimmer's face actually looked sort of friendly.
He quickly glanced over his shoulder to the door to make sure it was closed, then back to his reflection. He relaxed a little bit, smiling now because he'd just realized how silly this would look if somebody walked in -- himself, alone in a room and making faces at a mirror, worried that someone might catch him. Like a teenager with a secret stash of porn under his mattress, he thought to himself. He couldn't help but laugh. The only secret here was that Rimmer could actually look friendly. Likable. He'd have to tell Cat and Kryten -- they'd never believe him.
As he continued studying his new features, a stray thought crossed his mind. He glanced over at his bunk. Yes, the cap was still there, where he'd tossed it after he'd come into the room. It appeared to be resting on the bunk, looking totally solid and real, the illusion maintained by the same computer system that right now was making his feet look like they were in physical contact with the floor.
Curious now, he went over and picked up the cap. It felt completely natural, completely solid, just like his real one when he was in his own body. He dropped it again and watched it fall until it reached the blankets, just as an ordinary object would. It took conscious thought to do something that would disrupt the image, like deliberately pushing a hand through a wall or stepping through a solid object. He snorted defiantly. Rimmer usually played along with the illusion, but that didn't mean he had to. He passed his hand easily through the bunk, then brought it up again to grasp the cap from underneath, pulling it through the thin mattress. With a grin, he stuck his foot through the deck below him.
Lister was suddenly assailed by a wave of disorientation as he found himself unable to balance, unable to steady himself by contact with anything solid. He hastily pulled his foot back and closed his eyes against the dizziness, pulling his arms around himself tightly, gripping the only thing that was solid to him.
No wonder Rimmer played along.
He cautiously opened his eyes when the unpleasant sensation had passed. Everything seemed to be all right, he was relieved to discover. Still, it was an unsettling experience, and it only served to remind him how abnormal his current condition was. It was disturbing, how the only things that seemed real to him were the things that were utterly unreal, like his cap...and his body. Rimmer's body. He rubbed his arms briskly, more for contact with something he could actually touch than against any imagined chill.
After a few minutes of self-reassurance, he found that one hand had strayed down to his hip. He could feel the apparently-solid body beneath the hologramatic clothing, both of which felt quite real to him. Without thinking, he pressed inward; then drew his breath in sharply at the sensation.
Rimmer's body was clearly a little more sensitive in that area than his own.
He ran his fingers over his hipbone a few times, and was rewarded by a pleasantly warm feeling that spread out from his hip to other nearby portions of his body. Rimmer's body.
Without giving much consideration as to why, Lister moved back to where he could see Rimmer's face in the mirror, and brushed his hand downward across his groin.
He almost didn't recognize the voice that moaned in response to the act.
Lister stared for a few moments into the other man's eyes, debating. Then he slowly unzipped the trousers and slipped his hand inside, deliberately not thinking about what he was doing or why he might be doing it.
<< Just a bit of fun, that's all. Probably more fun than Rimmer's had in ages, >> he reasoned as he began to stroke himself, then settling into a regular, steady rhythm, all the while keeping his eyes on the face in the mirror. Watching the other man's expressions change as his excitement grew. << Besides, who knows what he's getting up to in _your_ body? >> he thought, by way of rationalization. << Cream cakes, sundaes, pie a la mode? >>
His breathing, or rather the simulation of it, was becoming more rapid. He kept his eyes locked on his reflection, fascinated.
There was something almost perverted about doing this in Rimmer's body. Actually, there was nothing 'almost' about it, and he knew it. And that made it even better.
What would Rimmer say if he walked in? He'd been satisfying his appetites in Lister's body; didn't he have the right to satisfy his as well?
He was pumping even faster now, the illicitness of his actions arousing him even more.
Lister still hadn't taken his eyes off his reflection -- for some reason it had been fueling his arousal, making every sensation seem more intense. He couldn't tear his eyes away...he'd never seen Rimmer like this before, never would have imagined the range of expression, the excitement and the freedom and the pure unrestrained pleasure. It was as if the image was everything that Rimmer could be, but wouldn't let himself. Would never let himself. Lister knew that there was no way he would ever see this from his bunkmate. But as he was looking into the mirror, watching the other man's face, it almost seemed like he was doing this to Rimmer and not to himself, or that Rimmer was doing it to him.
That final thought pushed him over the edge, and he moaned again, spilling what felt to him like perfectly normal semen over his hand.
He slumped back onto Rimmer's bunk, exhausted and more than a little disturbed.
The name he'd called at the moment of climax was Rimmer's.
He stared silently at the face in the mirror again, and was rewarded by yet another new expression. The man gazing back at him looked sated, peaceful, more content than he'd ever seen; not a trace of smugness or arrogance, just contentment. He wondered what it would take for the real Rimmer to look like that. Just the thought made his eyes...Rimmer's eyes...become warmer, softer. Another expression he wouldn't have expected to see, either on Rimmer or on himself while he was thinking about Rimmer, or about seeing Rimmer happy.
His eyes widened in alarm at this new train of thought. It was just a bit of fun, that's all, he told himself firmly. Nothing more to it. A chance to play in someone else's body, a chance to see if someone else liked the same things he liked...
<< Or a chance to see what that someone else might like better? >> a little voice inside his head challenged.
He stared balefully at his reflection, trying to work himself up into a major state of annoyance at the other man for the confusion he was now feeling. << It's his body, so it's his fault, >> he told himself, not sure if he believed it but needing something to pin his conflicted emotions on. He knew it wasn't really fair; Rimmer hadn't really been involved in what had just happened, other than supplying the body. But Lister didn't want what was going through his head to go any further. He _couldn't_ let it go any further. << So it was all Rimmer's fault, >> he told himself firmly. << All of it. >>
<< Besides, >> that little voice inside him whispered. << It's not like anything could ever happen between us. Rimmer can't touch anything, or anyone. It couldn't go any further even if you wanted it to. So there's nothing to worry about, because nothing can ever happen. >>
<< Ever. >>
With a strange mixture of relief and sadness, and one final look into the unusually plaintive brown eyes, Lister pulled himself away and hurried out the door. Before anything else could happen.