A FANFIC BY EMO FRINGE
All Daria characters are property of MTV.
IM at firstname.lastname@example.org
Synopsis: A warped and twisted Jane/Tom fic.
The sky was turning a dusky blue. Pink clouds peppered the sky like puffs of candyfloss. The air smelled of gas guzzling cars and hot dogs. It was the smell of Spring Break.
Jane loved running at this time in the evening. It cleared her head and helped her relax. She could run for miles, across town and sometimes outside town. Today was a day for a long, long run. For Jane, it was one of those days when you just want to escape fom the world and forget about everything that had happened in the day.
What she didn't know was that it would get worse...
She ran down the clean, crisp suburban streets, backed by KoRn blaring out of her CD player. She saw street after street of identical houses, and wondered when it would get interesting.
I am Jane. Indestructible. I will run and run until my feet are sore and blistered. I am a fawn running through the forest, escaping from the hunters. I am powerful and powerless.
On the outside, I am good art student Jane Lane, I have high expectations for myself and low expectations for everyone else. People think I'm just another outcast, and you know what? I am. I am a fucking pathetic outcast with no friends. I sit on my own in all my classes. I go to an after school self esteem class. Seriously. I don't impress myself too much.
I need a friend. Or three.
But on the inside, I'm just a big jock.
If I could, I would be a pro runner. Cross country. But instead of following my dream, I'll keep up with what people expect of me.
But I love the sound of my running shoes on the pavement.
I love the feeling of the wind in my hair.
I love the freedom.
I am a runner.
I am Jane.
It was about 11 p.m. when Jane ended up outside the university. "Wow." She thought. "Have I really gone this far without stopping?" She decided to take a breather outside the university before running back home. Sitting outside the gates, she could hear a faint rumbling. It might have been thunder. On second thoughts, it sounded more animal than thunder. Maybe they were keeping zoo beasts inside the university for some kind of experiment. Or maybe not. Jane wanted to stay, but that noise creeped her out too much. It was getting louder and louder as she was running past the university. She could even hear it with her headphones on, mostly because accompanying the roaring noise, there were footsteps that she could feel through the ground. Large, heavy footsteps that seemed to be running behind her.
She ran faster.
As Jane was running back, her steady breathing distracting her from the noise behind her (which may have stopped by then), a hand touched her shoulder.
She bolted round 180 degrees, to see a hulking figure in front of her, smiling lasciviously.
He was Trent's age, but looked nothing like him. About six foot, dwarfing the rather diminutive Jane. His tight t shirt showed off his freakishly huge chest muscles. His jaw and cheekbones were so sharp they could cut diamonds. Even in the dim streetlights, she could see his warm brown eyes and his mane of sweaty, shoulder length, dirty blonde hair shining.
She was compelled by him. She was repelled by him.
"Hey there." He boomed, hands on hips. "Why're you out so late? Little girl like you should be in bed by now."
"Why are you?"
"Party, man! We just won the last game of the season! Got a problem with that?"
"Yeah. You didn't invite me."
He was perplexed.
"Y'know, to be your young, precious prize groupie passed around by all the team. I know you jocks. Just like rock stars. Sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll. Men. You're all the same."
The smile cracked his face again. His eyes looked like brown, glassy pinballs. He leaned towards Jane. His breath smelled of beer and weed.
"But you women are all different."
Jane rolled over in an unfamiliar bed, sticky with sweat and blearily eyed. Beside her was the blonde lion, smiling his trademark smile.
"Good mor - ning!"
"Ehn? Who are you?"
"Tommy Sherman. Jeezis, I woulda thought you woulda remembered what happened! God, what were you on? If I'd had a night with myself like the one I had with you, I'd remember everything!"
Oh God. Is this real? Did I sleep with that jerk?
"Say it isn't so, Tommy."
"I can't! That was awesome! Serious, how can you not remember!"
"Look Tommy." Jane was becoming her usual self again. "Did I or did I not lose my virginity to you?"
"Depends. 'Ja get any before me?"
"You BASTARD! Do you even know my name? Or how old I am? My name is Jane, I'm 16, and from now on, I hate you! Where's the phone, I gotta get a lift home."
"I'll give ya one."
"I wouldn't get a ride home with you if you were the last person on Earth."
Jane found a phone in the lobby and called home.
"Trent? Is that you?"
"Yeah, hey Janey. Where are you?"
"Which one? And why?"
"Dunno. The one near the National Park. I'll tell you why on the way back. It's a long story."
"Right. That's Middleton you're talking about. Hell. You ran a long way."
"Ha, I know. Just get there as quick as possible."
"Do you even know what time it is?"
"God, I thought I'd be the one to ask that. Tell me."
"It's 2 in the afternoon. You're halfway through Spring Break. They're worried sick about you."
"Daria. And the band. Mom's in Mexico with Dad."
"Be there as fast as I can."
Jane rode shotgun in the Tank. Max, Nick and Jesse, the other members of Mystik Spiral, were in the back.
"So, how'd you wind up in Middleton again? I promise I won't tell nobody, honest." Nick asked from the back. Jane liked Nick. He did seem the most articulate member of the band.
"Well, I went out for a run at about seven, Friday night, first day of Spring Break, when everyone else was probably out at a party or something. Then I just ran and ran as fast as I could, ignoring everything around me. I stopped near the National Park and noticed I was outside Middleton. Took a break and ran back home. Then this guy comes up to me and - then - I don't remember anything else, except waking up in a frat smelling of marijuana, beer and guys. Oh, and Tommy Sherman telling me he had a terrific night of sex with me."
"Shit Janey, that's deep."
"He raped you?"
"I know! He could get arrested for that."
Jane rolled up her sleeves and saw something shocking.
"It's just one thing after another with me..."
Enormous purple and yellow bruises, along with horizontal cuts, ran down both her arms.
Was I really raped?
There was something different in Jane after Spring Break. "Too may wild parties? No, that isn't her style", thought Daria. "It must be something really bad. She hasn't talked to me, or anyone for that matter, for the last two weeks or so. Usually she's got a comment about anyone and everyone at hand. But not today or any other day since Spring Break. I can't think why this is happening."
Trent didn't know what to do with Jane either. Sure, he and the rest of the band knew her secret, but he noticed something different in her behaviour. She was quieter, less enthusiastic. Her art became more moody and abstract. From squiggles and lines to just enormous masses of black with rips in the canvas in the middle. He had to talk to her. But he had to pick the right moment. Or the right person.
"Jane." Daria mumbled.
"Mm." She was getting a glass of milk from the fridge.
"We need to talk."
"Why bother? I'm going to my room."
It was the longest sentence she had said in months.
"Jane, I need to ask you about Tommy Sherman."
"He's a jerk."
"Yeah, I know that. But I wanna know something."
"How come you didn't remember anything about the night until you saw those bruises?"
"Come on. There must have been something that made you lose your memory that he did to you."
"What? Like beat me into a coma or something?"
"You know, that might be it. You called home a few weeks after you went running. Either you slept for that time, or he beat you senseless."
"I'd never go to sleep for more than 12 hours."
"Exactly. But we won't jump to conclusions."
"Don't worry. I don't jump."
"Do you even remember what he looked like?"
"Vividly. He was the one grinning by the bedside when I finally woke up from the coma. It was a coma, right?"
"Yes. Cedars of Lawndale checked you in on that night, I checked with them. But Tommy wanted you to get out of there after the first week because he was afraid they'd, y'know, hurt you. Jeez, all this happens and I'm watching a Sick Sad World marathon."
"Believe me. The life outside the box is sicker and sadder than anything you'll see on there."
Jane had found so much respect for Daria those past few weeks. She had found out the story behind her memory loss, got to spend some quality time with Trent and stick by Jane all the way. To think she had wanted a friend so badly a year ago, as a sophomore...
So why did she feel so depressed?
Jane reached for the knife when she got back from school, almost in a trance. She didn't know why she did it, but she started to cut and cut and cut.
The knife glitters suddenly. I am Jane. I can do anything to my body. I am powerful and yet also powerless. I need to surrender to someone, something. This is the only way out. All I can think about is Tommy Sherman. I can't imagine how awful this must feel for him, for everyone else on the outside. I'm tired of being an outsider. Even with Daria around, I still feel terrible about the state of myself and the world. I'm so shaken from the Tommy Sherman incident that I can't even run any more. I've been in this house for weeks. I can't take it any longer. The world is so full of bad things that I'm afraid that I'll be attracted to all of it like some kind of bad luck magnet. That's all that's been happening to me lately. Bad luck and coincidences.
I am Jane. And I can do anything.
"Such a shame that Jane couldn't be at school the day that Tommy Sherman visits", thought Daria. "That would give the braindead jock something to think about. Unlike the rest of the time, when he only uses a brain cell to light a cigarette or open a can of beer."
Jane had been off school for a week now. She had phoned Daria, telling her that she'd been feeling depressed and needed time to reflect on everything that had happened in the last month.
The incident with Tommy and Jane had been kept a well guarded secret by Daria and Mystik Spiral. Not even Jane or Daria's parents had heard about it, and noone else at school had even asked where Jane was.
All this would change on the day he entered Lawndale High...
Daria was standing by her locker, watching Tommy Sherman parading down the hallway.
He looks just how I thought he would look. Concieted jock bastard. I can't believe he raped and beat up Jane, until she was in a coma! And he took her out of the hospital. That's sicker than raping her. Almost. Why did he take her out of the hospital? Maybe he just wanted to protect her. But I can't imagine that jerk protecting anyone. The only things he would protect would be his football trophies. And he's so arrogant! How can he treat Kevin like that? I know, I usually hate Kevin, but he was such a bastard towards him. Kevin's his biggest fan.
It must be so sad to see your heroes let you down.
And Brittany. Tommy Sherman was treating her like some kind of object. Like a doll. I can't understand how a guy can be such a rat towards people who look up to him and admire him.
He was even worse to Mack.
And Mack didn't worship him or anything in the first place.
"Hey. Hey you." Daria said.
"Whut? You expect me to talk to you?"
"Yes." Daria snapped, almost at the end of her tether.
"You even know who I am?"
"Yeah. Tommy Sherman. You raped my best friend."
"So where's she now? Unless yer making it up or something. Cuz you're the kinda girl who would do that."
"Her name is Jane Lane, and she's not in school, hasn't been for weeks, because she's so scared that you'll do it again, or something else'll happen to her if she goes out. She's seriously depressed. And it's all your fault."
A group of kids coming out of classes surrounded Daria and Tommy Sherman.
"You know what you did to her, Tommy? You made her slit her wrists and become an agoraphobic. She hasn't gone out of the house since she came back from the college. I don't know anyone else who could do that."
"You're sayin' it like I should be proud of it. Well I ain't. I loved Jane, fuckin' loved her. I wanna see her again. I loved Jane. I'm sorry it happened. Well, I was high or somethin' but you can't forget a face like that. God I loved her. I'm sorry I hurt her, I jus' wanted her so bad, so bad. C'mon, just lemme see her again and say I'm sorry."
A silence from the crowd.
"Alright, I'll take you."
"Thanks. Y'know, after Jane, I changed. She's got character, that girl. I really didn't wanna hurt her. I don't want you to get the wrong impression of me, Daria. I'm sorry I said all that to you, I didn't know Jane was havin' such a tough time."
"It's alright Tommy. I'm sorry for misjudging you. I didnt understand you felt like that. I didn't know you even had any emotions."
"Heh, y'know, for a misery chick, you ain't so bad."
They got to the Lanes' house, and Daria knocked on the door. Trent answered, looking shocked.
"Tommy Sherman!? Why are you here?"
"To say sorry to Jane, man. What she went through was deep, and I love her. You've gotta protect the things you love, man."
"Oh, alright." Trent sighed. "Come in."
When he got to Jane's room, Tommy Sherman cried for the first time. He did love her, and he did want her to be safe. But when he tapped Jane on the shoulder, just to say sorry, he didn't get the reception he expected.
"Jane - "
But, Janey - "
"GET OUT OF MY ROOM!"
"Jane, I'm sorry for what I did to you. I really am."
"That isn't good enough any more."
"But, I know how much I hurt you, and I only did what I did to you because I love you."
The words echoed in Jane's head. I love you. This was coming from Tommy Sherman, the most insensitive, misogynist bastard she had ever laid eyes on. But she looked up at him, and he was a completely different Tommy Sherman to the monster she saw in the frat. His blonde mane fell in his eyes, his eyes - not glossed over pinballs, but dark sparkling pools of tears you could fucking lose yourself in. His figure was muscular, but vulnerable as well. He looked a wreck. And it was impossible for Jane not to love him, even after all he did to her.
"I love you too Tommy." Jane whispered.
He wrapped his pulsing, golden arms around her thin body. And they kissed.
A kiss that Jane would never forget.