Hey guys!

So this is my very first Red Dwarf fanfic! I hope it's okay, please don't kill me if I get a minor details wrong. I'm sure I'll master the characters and setting better in the near future. As this is my very first time, go easy on me!

This fanfic is based around the time of Series 6, in which Rimmer get's his hard-light upgrade. I know Holly doesn't feature in this series, but I was hoping that I could include her in this fic just to help push the story along. I hope you enjoy reading this, as it took me a long time to perfect it. Please review! I always love to hear what you think.

As always, I do not own any of the characters in 'Red Dwarf' apart from my own character 'Dani'.

Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast.

Love,

RavenclawCookie!


"I'd trade everything in to be loved, and to have been loved..."

Arnold Judas Rimmer sat in the cockpit of Starbug, dwelling over his despair. He was sick of being a hologram. Although he was now able to touch and feel thanks to his recent Hard-light upgrade, he now realised that no one wanted to use the full extent of his new abilities as a solid being. Of course, he was only half of the way to becoming truly human, but he could fulfill most of the necessary human actions. His bitterness and self-loathing were relentless, gnawing away at his brain like

an army of ravenous nanobots. They descended upon his thoughts like a thick veil of mist he couldn't fight his way through. He had died, he'd killed the entire crew of Red Dwarf, he'd had only sex with two women in the entire present course of his life and the three people he was trapped aboard this ship with treated him like complete and utter smeg. He felt himself craving the contact of another physical being - and by contact, he didn't just mean the bristles of Kryten's cleaning brush dusting his projection unit. Dave Lister strode into the cockpit, settling himself into the plush armchair and munching messily on a bag of poppadoms. Rimmer rolled his eyes, fiddling absentmindedly with the metallic badge on his royal blue jacket. He wrinkled his nose at the pattern of curry stains scattered down the front of his t-shirt. Rimmer found Lister repulsive. Sure, he was his partner in crime, his friend and his companion - but at times he really found himself wondering how on earth he had lived in his company for so long without being driven insane.

In other news, team's pursuit of the mining ship Red Dwarf had been utterly fruitless and Rimmer was sick of being held up on this godforsaken ship with the Cat's clipped fashion comments, Lister's revolting habits and Kryten's constant pestering for more laundry. It's almost as if they forgot he was merely a hologram. "Smeg, I'm bored." Lister said through a mouthful of poppadoms. He dropped himself into the stiff armchair at he head of the cockpit, spraying crumbs over the upholstery as he spoke. "Hey, Hol, got any news?"Holly's white-blonde bob appeared swiftly on the monitor, catching both Rimmer and Lister's attention. "I was just about to tell you, Dave," She began in her usual droning tone. Rimmer's ears pricked up at the sound of news that would perhaps make the course of his day more interesting than it had originally started out.

"Tell me what?" Lister spluttered, chomping noisily between each word.

"A craft has just entered our trail. I checked the date and it's been circling space for centuries looking for a craft to latch onto. Finally, it found us. Big mistake." She added the last words in an undertone, her blue eyes widening slightly. Occasionally, it was hard for the crew to grasp that she possessed an IQ of 6,000.

Rimmer cut across Lister, who had opened his already full to the brim mouth in reply, by raising himself from his seat. "A craft? What does it contain?" He asked, curiousness washing over him. Perhaps the addition of another crew member would break the monotony of their pointless lives aboard the ship; maybe even a few new supplies would brighten their dull little lives circling the vast eternity of space.

"Not sure, Arn." Holly said, her tone and face it's usual impassive self. "It's waiting in the bay, if you guys want to check it out. Be careful, though. I'm not sure what it is." The slightest touch of a warning coloured her voice. Rimmer merely rolled his eyes.

"You're not sure about anything, are you?" Rimmer shot back at her, hands on his hips."Calm it, Rimmer," Lister snapped, tossing the now empty packet of poppadoms aside carelessly. He had no doubt that Kryten would proceed to swoop down upon it like a vulture to it's prey later on today, disposing of it in his trusty waist-disposal unit. "Let's go and check it out."

The four of them -Lister, Rimmer, the Cat and Kryten- were gathered in the cargo bay, to which Holly had beamed the contents of the mysterious craft. The unusual quartet hovered over a coffin-like object, each of them lost in thought as to what could be lurking inside. However, the pod's metallic shell shielded whatever resided inside from their view.

"What d'yeh reckon it could be?" Lister voiced his thought aloud to the others, his dreadlocks quivering with anticipation.

"It could be a woman." The Cat grinned wickedly, licking his lips and running his tongue across those formidable fangs. "Finally, I'll get a mate!"

"We don't know if it's a woman, Sir." Kryten interjected as politely as he could muster. "In fact, the contents could be flesh-eating monster who might terrorize the ship and kill us all, Sir."

"Knowing our luck, that's probably what it will be." Rimmer scowled, crossing his arms moodily.

"Oh Rimmer, don't be such a smeghead. You always have to look on the negative side, don't yeh?" Lister said, narrowing his eyes.

"Well, what do you expect?" Rimmer began defensively, fiddling with the cuffs of his jacket, masking his own eagerness to open the pod. "Look at all the other times good things have happened to us, eh? They've all turned into complete disasters."

"This time might be different." Lister murmured, his eyes glimmering with longing to discover the identity of whatever was hidden within the pod.

"Well come on, let's open it then!" The Cat purred, itching with excitement.

Lister spat on his hands, rubbing them together with a hearty snort of laughter before digging his grimy fingernails beneath the rim of the pod's hinges and pulling with all his might. His muscles trembled with the tremendous effort; his face was almost purple with the strength he piled into his biceps as he tried his best to crack open the pod. Finally, the pod's lid swung open, sending Lister crashing to the floor beside Kryten's feet. "Smeggin' hell!" He cried, as a hiss erupted from the pod. A cloud of thick smoke poured from the containers edges, sending Rimmer, Cat and Kryten into a disorientated mess. A chill washed over them as the smoke finally began to thin and they peered simultaneously into the pod, waving away the final dregs of the smoke into oblivion.

When Rimmer's vision cleared, he was greeted with the sight of a girl; her hair was Harlow gold, framed as an angel's halo around her flawless features. Her face was slightly rounded, her pale skin illuminated against the golden canvas of her shoulder-length locks. She was dressed in a leather jacket, khaki vest , laced jeans and military boots. She was the most beautiful being he had ever seen…but where on earth had she come from? Wherever she came from, their luck had finally took a turn for the better.

"Holy smeg," Lister breathed, clutching the rim of the pod, his eyes alight with wonder as he looked the girl up and down. "She's…"

"Almost as flawless as me!" Cat cried, eyes wide with shock, his fangs protruding over his bottom lip. "Hey, is my collar alright? If she wakes up now, I don't want her to think I look like goalpost head over there!"

Rimmer pursed his lips, ignoring Cat's comment. He couldn't remove his eyes from her - how had they come across her? He was curious, confused and enthralled by her presence. He wanted to find out so much more…

"Kryten, you sure she's clear? I mean, she isn't a weird blob in disguise or something?" Lister said, finally tearing his gaze away from the girl just enough to glance at Kryten, before his eyes fell back to her obediently.

"I'm quite sure, Sir. I've just done a scan, and it says she's perfectly normal." Kryten replied.

Suddenly, her eyes fluttered open, shocking them all. Rimmer and the Cat blanched violently at the abruptness of her first action since unconsciousness. Her eyes were glazed over and misty at first, but Rimmer noticed they were the exact same blue as the sky. They slid into focused and the first thing they found in this room full of smoke and madness was him. Her eyes locked upon his for a split second before they flickered to the others.

"W-where am I?" She croaked. Her voice was cracked and weak from years of silence.

"You're on Starbug - a smaller ship that's now in pursuit of the mining ship Red Dwarf, Miss." Kryten piped up, eager to express his knowledge.

Slowly, she sat up in the narrow pod, reeling from this information. She placed a shaking hand to her forehead, closing her eyes for a brief moment before they re-opened in a flash.

"So baby, where did you come from? Did ya fall out of heaven by any chance?" Cat said, a flirtatious smile upon his feline face. He leant against the pod, raising his eyebrows at her in a suggestive way that made her wince.

"I-I came from…" She struggled to regain her memory, squeezing her eyes shut as she delved into the depths of her mind, her past, her thoughts…

"What's your name?" Lister interrupted her thought process, his question slicing through her mind like a knife.

"My name is Dani. I came from Orion. But there was a war…everything was destroyed." Her voice wavered. She turned to look at Rimmer, who's was gazing at her intensely. "I fled in the last escape pod…I was the only one to survive." Her voice cracked on the final word and her eyes darted down to her lap shyly. "How long was I frozen?"

"Years…centuries according to our ship's computer." Kryten said. He held out a cream-coloured hand for her to take. "Please, step out of the pod, Miss DanI. We can talk more in our dining quarters. You must be positively starving!"

Rimmer walked behind Dani as they traipsed through corridor after corridor before arriving at the ship's dining quarters. Rimmer's eyes kept sliding slyly to the Cat, who was purring softly to himself as he danced across the room, his own eyes still fixed upon Dani, who looked more terrified than anything else.

Kryten drew up a chair for Dani, who collapsed into it before her knees had been given a chance to buckle. She was weak, drained from centuries without food. Rimmer studied her as he sat beside her at the dinner table. She entranced him. She had dragged him into her irresistible beam.

"So, there was a war, yeh say?" Lister grunted, sparking up a conversation.

Dani chomped ravenously upon a plate of bread and soup Kryten had whipped up in the kitchen especially in her honor. Occasionally, she glanced up at the unusual quartet of men, feeling slightly intimidated by the way they insisted upon gawping at her. She swallowed a mouthful of soup-soaked bread, which ran blissfully down her throat, her taste buds exploding into life at the delicious warmth. "Um…yes. But if you wouldn't mind, Lister, I don't really want to talk about it." She muttered softly, her golden hair flopping in front of her eyes.

"Lister, how on earth can you be so insensitive?" Rimmer growled at Dave across the table in a hushed hiss; she was their guest after all.

"What? I'm only askin'. It's just a bit unexpected that this girl suddenly appears on our ship from a planet that's just been obliterated."

Dani rose to her feet, her face an impassive veil of silence. Her eyes drifted across the table to Rimmer for a split second before she turned suddenly on the heel of her boot and escaped the room and their prying eyes. There was silence for a moment, all of them gazing shiftily round the room, perplexed by Dani's sudden exit. Finally, Lister broke the flow.

"I'm gonna go and see what's the matter with her." He announced, knocking his chair aside in his haste. He bustled past and almost knocked the Cat flat on his chiseled face with his trailing dreadlocks.

"Watch it, Meathead!" Cat growled, patting his sleek bouffant protectively, smoothing any stray hairs back into place.

"I'll go." Rimmer said to no one in particular, determined to speak to DanI. For no reason in particular, the hologram felt a surging desperation to talk to her tear through his body. His mind raced at the thought of her touch, her lips upon his own…could this be a possibility? Could she be his ticket to happiness? Knowing his own pathetic fortune, she'd probably end up falling hopelessly in love with Lister or even the Cat; after all, that's what usually happened when they stumbled across a woman. Or perhaps, she wouldn't fall for any of them - her tortured soul would cause her to be immune to love, vulnerable, even. The Hologram just did not know.

"Lister!" Rimmer cried, sprinting up the corridor in Lister's wake. He was wheezing as he stumbled to a halt beside his old bunkmate. "Let me talk to her." He demanded, his voice stern, as if he would refuse 'no' as an answer.

"Yeh what?" Lister scoffed, guffawing loudly at the thought of Rimmer talking to a girl without suffering from a panic attack and retreating to the boiler room, where he would cower like a frightened rabbit. "You? Talk to Dani? I don't think so…" He strode forward, a bounce in his step. Who knew what other delightful things this conversation would lead to?

"Lister, listen to me, you can't just go and bombard her with questions and then use your filthy little tricks to get her into bed - you have to consider what she's feeling right now!" Rimmer protested, hurrying his step in order to keep up with Lister.

"Excuse me, but I'm not interested in getting' her into bed at all! I just want to talk to her and see if she's alright." Lister said defiantly, jerking his chin in the air as a mark of protest.

"Lister, please let me talk to her."

"No,"

"Please!"

"No!"

Rimmer's hands curled into fists, his nails digging into the flesh of his palm. Calm it, Arnie, he told himself. Suddenly, an idea burst into his mind like a glowing beacon of light. What did Lister love even more than girls? The answer was like a vision he had foreseen, showing him the way.

"Uh, Listy, I think Kryten's making some chicken vindaloo for dinner. Found some extra pots in the store cupboard…oh, and some lager too." Rimmer tried to hide the smirk that curled the edges of his thin lips. Oh Arnie, you're a genius.

"Smeg, you're jokin'?" Lister said, his step faltering as he contemplated the sweet, mouth-watering thought of himself shovelling down a pot of spice-riddled rice and downing the occasional swig of the sparkling golden liquid.

"Nope." Rimmer replied, his casual tone shrouding the smugness in his voice.

"Cover for me!" Lister grinned, holding his hat to his head as he broke into a run, his boots thudding hard upon the grids beneath his feet. "Tell her good things about me!"

"Sure will, Listy!" Rimmer called after him, his rapid footsteps growing distant as he replied to the call of his majesty, chicken vindaloo. Rimmer was positive he couldn't say no to a steaming pot of curry. He rubbed his hands together maliciously, ecstatic at his plan's success.

But where had Dani gone? She must have ran the entire length of the ship trying to hide from them. Why was she so afraid? Or was it purely that she couldn't bear another second of them gawping at her like she was a piece of meat? Rimmer felt a pang of guilt at the thought. Her planet had fallen into ruins, she was the only one to survive, she had lost everyone she held dearest to her and now she was aboard a ship of strangers who she didn't know even the slightest bit about. In fairness, perhaps the crew should have treated her a little better.

Finally, Rimmer found her crouched beneath the boiler -his usual hiding spot- with her knees tucked up to her chest, a dreamy look upon her face.

"Holy smeg." He murmured. Come on, Arnie, he told himself valiantly. You can do this. Think of it as a heroic deed to a damsel in distress. Gingerly, he knelt down and edged himself closer to Dani, who was oblivious to his presence. It was obvious that she was still lost in her own thoughts. As he looked upon her beauty, Rimmer began to have second thoughts.

Surely this was more of a job for Lister or The Cat. Their charms with the opposite sex extended far beyond his own. But somehow, Rimmer didn't want to take his eyes off her. She was young, tiny and frail-looking, with a main of golden, tangled, messy hair that framed her round features beautifully. She was not thin, but nor was she chubby. In fact, Rimmer had never seen anyone so beautiful.

"Um, excuse me? DanI?" He whispered tentatively, trying his best not to startle her.

Her head snapped up from the ground she had been gazing at, her eyes now boring into his own. They were like windows to her very soul, the blue ring around her pupil an ocean full of loneliness, despair, longing…

"Rimmer?" She muttered, cocking her head to one side. "What are you doing here?"

"I came to talk with you." Rimmer cleared his throat, pushing his chest out so he appeared brave in the face of a woman. An incredibly beautiful one at that…

"I thought one of you might find me." She sighed sadly, as if her attempts to hide had been futile. "And I'm glad it wasn't that Lister guy." She repressed a shudder.

Rimmer's teeth sank into his bottom lip to stop himself from laughing. Oh Listy, he thought humorously, you wouldn't have had a chance anyway.

"I'm sorry a left you all. I know it was rude but…I couldn't stand to talk about my planet and, well, I needed time to think," She began morosely, as if a huge weight had been pressing relentlessly upon her shoulders. Could Rimmer be the one to uplift it? "It's been hard for me to grasp all this so suddenly…I've been frozen for centuries, so it's been a little hard for me to adjust."

"I understand," Rimmer said with a slow nod of empathy. "And we're sorry. It's just that we haven't had a proper woman on board this ship in millions of years. I guess it's a little hard for us to grasp, too." He said, a smile forming on his face.

DanI closed her eyes momentarily, her own lips twitching into the smallest of smiles. Then, her lids fluttered open to reveal a pair of entrancing powder blue eyes. Rimmer's mouth fell open in a silent 'o' of stunned appreciation for this woman and her captivating beauty. It struck him like a lightening bolt racing through his spine.

"You know…when I opened my eyes for the first time in hundreds of years…yours was the first face I saw." She admitted shyly, a rosy hue flooding her cheeks.

Rimmer was stunned, the corners of his mouth spreading into a wide smile to that wreathed his face with happiness. As Dani studied him, she noticed he was not immediately handsome, but possessed a thick head of hair; his neat chestnut curls were piled into a prim side-parting and his hazelnut eyes sparkled as they looked upon her.

He struggled to form words, his tongue failing to do it's job.

"I hope you don't mind me asking, but…why do you have a large 'H' on your forehead?" She asked, squinting up at it, bemused.

"Well, I'm a hologram." Rimmer informed her, slightly embarrassed. He twiddled his thumbs, avoiding her enticing gaze.

"A hologram?" She asked, clearly unfamiliar with the term.

"Well, my original body died, so Holly recreated my personality and appearance and placed it in a computer projection. I'm made entirely of light."

"Really?" She whispered, her eyes sparkling with wonder as her eyes flitted to various parts of his body, unable to believe they weren't all they seemed. "So you can't touch? Feel?"

"Well, actually I can," Rimmer said, giving her a charming smile - an action that was unusual for him. It was more common for his brave, boisterous and altogether womanizing parallel self, Ace to act as such. "You see upon our travels, we encountered a being named Legion. He changed me from soft-light to hard-light, allowing me to interact with others physically," He paused, his eyes shifting awkwardly away from her, before continuing once more. "instead of being unable to touch anything. I used to merely fall right through things."

She giggled, a sound that was like the chiming of bells to Rimmer's ears. She reached out tentatively as her tinkling laughter faded into silence, her fingers entwining themselves around Rimmer's. His palm tingled at her touch, the feeling spreading to his fingertips and beyond. "See," He stammered. "I am solid." He really was useless when it came to women; he was struggling to keep himself calm and composed now. He should be the one cowering under the boiler at this point.

"Come on, let's get you back to the dining quarters. Kryten's just about to serve dinner, and you didn't even finish yours." Rimmer said, raising himself to his feet and pulling the girl with him.

"Okay," Dani said, still keeping her hand wrapped firmly around his own.

Just wait until Lister gets a load of this, Rimmer thought nonchalantly, a smug grin upon his face as he looked at his fingers interlinked intricately with Dani's. The Gimboid won't be able to believe his eyes.


The pair arrived at dinner, still clutching each others hands. Dani held Rimmer in a vice-like grip, as if her energy source and reason for living flowed from his hand. When they strode into the room, the trio of mismatched shipmates all looked up at duo simultaneously, their pupils dilating with shock at the sight that greeted them…

Since when did Rimmer hold hands with a girl?

"Rimmer, what the smeg are yeh doin'?" Lister cried, jerking to his feet and almost sending his tin of chicken vindaloo hurtling to the ground.

"I talked to her. Brought her back here. That's all." Rimmer said, suppressing the urge to roar with laughter in their gormless faces.

"Yeh what? Since when do you talk to women?" Lister snorted, his eyes darting occasionally to their infused palms.

"Oh honestly, Lister, you underestimate me," Rimmer replied, narrowing his eyes at his former bunk mate. "Besides, I only talked to her. I wouldn't exactly call it a romantic smegging relationship." He snapped, rolling his eyes. He allowed Dani's fingers to slip from his own, trying his best to ignore the gnawing emptiness that followed. "Now just shut up and eat your curry." He drew up a chair, his faced wreathed in the darkest of frowns. DanI sat beside him, her eyes drifting to him every-so-often throughout the course of their dinner, but Rimmer did not dare look up from the table. His hands twisted together in his lap, charging with a current of angst. Lister and the Cat shared the odd joke and Kryten consulted both of them, demanding for any laundry that needed doing, to which both denied.

Finally, Lister rose from his seat. The legs scraped against the frigid metal floor as he drew it out. He shot DanI a wide grin before vacating the room. Dani's line of vision dropped to her empty plate, her loose strands of hair falling in front of her face. Kryten snapped up her plate heartily, the prospect of more washing filling him with glee. "Thank you, Miss Dani. I trust you enjoyed your dinner?" He asked sweetly.

"Oh yes, it was wonderful. Thank you Kryten." She replied, glancing up at him.

"It's nice to have you aboard, Miss Dani." Kryten said, the cream dome of his head glimmering in the light as he gave her a final smile before slipping from the room.

The next few weeks living aboard Starbug were quite subdued.

Dani grew to know the members of the ship (granted their were only four), she and Rimmer avoiding each other most of the time. However, Dani had grown a rather close bond with the Cat, who had returned to focusing his own time and attention upon himself instead of her. He preened himself in front of mirrors on countless occasions as he always did; his eyes flicked constantly to the nearest source of reflection and he even gave Dani a few fashion tips, which she politely accepted. Rimmer was mainly silent for the next few weeks, apart from to snap at Lister for his poor sense of hygiene and to occasionally serve Kryten with the next order he pleaded for. Dani's new presence aboard the ship had made him feel a lot less sure of himself. He watched from afar as she and the Cat shared a joke, the aftermath of which left them in a heap of laughter, or chomp heartily on a curry meal prepared by a joyful Kryten, who was extremely pleased to have another pile of laundry to take care of.

One night, the ship was fast asleep. Holly was offline and Rimmer lay upon his bunk, sleep having eluded him for hours on end. The shadow of passing skutter crossed Rimmer's face as he stared aimlessly into the gloomy darkness, his chocolate eyes searching for a meaning, seeking sleep in this vast galaxy of insomnia. His eyes drifted to the crisp swimming certificates encased in their metallic frames, illuminated by the soft red glow of the ship's interior.

Then a scream sliced the silence like a knife. He jolted into an upright position beneath his sheets, which he promptly threw off himself in his haste to discover the source of the sound.

"Lights."

As he stepped from his bed, he passed his weight from foot to foot, his metallic pajamas shimmering in the beam of light emitted by a nearby lamp. He dithered over whether to venture bravely to the source of the sound, unknowing of what vicious salivating mutant could be waiting for him at the other end, or simply cower behind the boiler like he always did when there was a crisis. A sudden thought dawned upon him as he pondered this decision - that scream, that terrible blood-curdling scream that severed his heartstrings, belonged to DanI. She was in pain, a great pain by the sound of it. The singular, solitary shriek echoed through his mind and he blundered down the corridor, throwing caution to the winds and rushing to her aid. This was so unlike his usual cowardly self, but perhaps it was time for Arnie J. to be a little brave for once in his life. His heart pounded in his chest, a few stray curls slipping from his neat side-parting. Finally, he skidded to a halt beside the door of DanI's chamber, wheezing breathlessly, his lungs clawing the air for oxygen. He inhaled deeply, conjuring the small ounce of bravery within himself and rapping his knuckles reluctantly upon the door.

Footsteps. The tinkling sound of padding feet upon metal tiles then the click of a button. The door slid open, revealing Dani, her hair wild and tangled. Her eyes were glistening with tears, fresh tracks gushing down her cheeks.

"I heard a noise. Smeg, are you alright?!" Rimmer said, his mahogany eyes wide as he looked upon her disheveled frame.

"F-fine. I'm sorry if I woke you." Dani replied, wrapping her arms around herself.

He shook his head frantically. "No, no, you didn't wake me. I was awake anyway." He said, wringing his hands together. Nerves traced up and down his spine like the remnants of a powerful electric shock. He fiddled with the buttons on his silk pajamas, avoiding her tearful gaze. "You want to get something to eat? Have a talk?" He suggested, hoping her answer would be yes.

"Please." She whispered, her lips curling into a smile that reached the corners of her powder-blue eyes.

The two of them sat in the dining quarters, Dani gnawing on a golden roll of toasted bread whilst Rimmer sipped on a steaming pot of tea. Since he required no need to consume food, he had not bothered to test his taste buds in a while. The burning holographic liquid gushed down his throat, boosting his confidence as he glanced across the table at her. She swallowed, her eyes meeting his, smiles erupting simultaneously upon their faces. "So," Rimmer began a little awkwardly. "What were you screaming about before?" He mentally kicked himself after the words had involuntarily tumbled from his lips. You gimboid, his subconscious growled at him within the depths of his mind. What a great way to make her feel better.

Thankfully, she grinned at him, giggling softly. "Oh, it was just a bad dream, that was all…' She said, her smile fading more progressively with each word.

"A dream?" Rimmer repeated, a divot of confusion appearing on his brow. "What about?"

Dani was silent for a moment, staring deeply into those eyes of his before she began to speak. "My planet…I saw it go down in flames again. I watched my family die again…" He voice broke on the final words. She shrank back into her chair, hugging herself sadly.

"Oh…I'm so sorry." Rimmer said again, edging himself along the table in order to be close to her.

"It's fine." She murmured, forcing a smile that did not reach her infinitive eyes. She paused for a moment before continuing, "You know, out of all the ships my pod could have ended up stumbling across, I'm glad it was yours."

These words shocked him. She had been morose, sullen and miserable since joining them on their quest to catch up with Red Dwarf upon Starbug. "Why?" Was the only thing he found himself able to say.

"Because of you. You're here. You could say you were the one who kept me sane." She looked away, unable to meet his gaze. "If it weren't for you, I would probably have gone mad…" She trailed off, unable to say much more.

The pair talked until Holly appeared on the monitor and announced it was morning. Lister stumbled into the room, blinking blearily, followed shortly by the Cat, who was preened to perfection.

"What the smeg are you two doing up?" Lister yawned as he tipped a handful of curry sauce into his cup of tea. Kryten joined them briskly, dusting the table ready for breakfast.

"Neither of us could sleep." Rimmer said, giving DanI a sneaky, sideways glance which she returned. "Dress," He said, before Lister could argue. His blue, metallic suit replaced the silk of his pajamas in a flash.

DanI smiled as Kryten placed a bowl of cereal in front of her, digging into it immediately. Rimmer watched her with a smile before he felt Lister's hand close around his shoulder and pull him roughly to the corner of the room.

"Oi, you Gimboid, what the smeg do you think you're doing?!" Rimmer snapped, shrugging Lister's hand from his shoulder.

"I know what yeh playin' at, Rimmer and yeh can't have her!" Lister growled through gritted teeth.

"Excuse me?" Rimmer replied furiously, his hands on his hips.

"She's a human, right? Or she smeggin' well looks like one, anyway! She should be with me."

"I thought you still wanted to get Kochanski back?" Rimmer hissed, casting nervous glances over his shoulder at the girl he was pretty sure, now, he had fallen for.

"Rimmer, she's dead. She's gone. I'm just gonna have to deal with it. I need to move on, and she's my ticket into doing so." Lister jabbed a finger in DanI's direction, his voice a low grumble of anger.

"Lister, you can't decide who she falls for, and neither can I. She's not a piece of smegging meat, she decides who she wants, if it's any of us." Rimmer said, declaring the end of the conversation with the spin of his heel. He whirled round, suddenly face-to-face with Dani. He blanched violently, unaware that she had crept up behind him. She bore a soft smile upon her pale features as she looked into his startled face. She reached up, one hand grasping the soft fabric of his plush, metallic collar, the other snaking through his wavy locks. She planted the softest, sweetest of kisses on his thin lips. Rimmer responded with repressed enthusiasm that shrouded the powerful urgency that rose up inside him. His hands were pinned to her hips, as if stuck there by glue. He wondered if the crew would approve of Dani's presence upon the ship. But what did he care? him like a worthless piece of smeg in the past. They had made him feel useless, and if they couldn't handle their jealousy at the fact that he - Arnold Judas Rimmer, the ship's resident hologram- had finally gotten the girl, then it wasn't his problem. He felt Dani's soft, supple lips departing from his own and came crashing back to reality in an instant. He glanced around him and was now aware that the Cat had now joined Lister's team of gaping individuals.

"I'd trade everything in to be loved, and to have been loved..."

Finally, his wish had come true.