Disclaimer: Daria and associated characters are owned by MTV. This is fan fiction written for entertainment only. No money or other negotiable currency or goods have been exchanged.
Original characters and plot copyright Richard J. Lobinske. 2004-2005.

The Last Summer Primer

Saving One Last Summer. Right after graduation, Helen reminds Daria that if she doesn't find something to do, she will. Following a brainstorming session with Jane, who is working part-time at Gary's Gallery and is able to display some original works, Daria signs a contract with Helen to write and submit one story every two weeks to a literary magazine to gain experience as a working writer.

Shifts in Mood. Still thinking about her breakup with Tom, Daria reads some of her old diary entries and realizes that Trent was not as oblivious as he appeared. She invites Trent over to talk about if he noticed her old crush. Trent had noticed and explained that he didn't think things would've work between then and was scared by how easily he could've taken advantage of her. He admitted that after breaking up with Monique, he started to have feelings for her and that he took the blame for not having the music ready for Jane and Daria's multimedia project so Daria would lose interest in him. Daria appreciates how careful he was and how much she values him like an older brother. Helen overheard part of the conversation and quietly thanked Trent for being such a gentleman.

Succeeding in Your World. Daria receives a graduation gift from her aunt, the "Amy Barksdale Dorm Survival Kit," packed with useful items for college dormitory life. Helen learns that she's to present a Bar Association Lifetime Achievement award to Ms. Carol Murphey, a long-term women's rights activist and she expects the family to be present. Unusually, Daria readily agrees because she wants to meet a respected writer, but to her shock, it is a formal dinner and she is expected to dress appropriately. Daria declines Quinn's offer to help find a gown, explaining that Quinn had successfully entered Daria's academic world the previous summer while being tutored by David, and Daria needed to learn to enter Quinn's world of clothing and appearance on her own. Quinn agrees and suggests a place to Daria on where to find something appropriate. With a surprised Jane in tow, Daria gets fitted for a gown at a downtown boutique. When she hears about Daria's prior experience with dress fitting, the seamstress comments that only a hack would blame Daria's figure for a poor fit. On the night of the dinner, Daria's elegant gown causes Jake to fall back onto a sofa as he comes to the realization that Daria is no longer a little girl. After the dinner, Daria finds herself the center of attention from many young men and is "rescued" by Ms. Murphey, who wanted to compliment Daria on the speech she'd written for Helen. Later, Linda Griffin comes home from work and starts playing a copy of some news footage from the TV station. She explains to Sandi that she doesn't recognize a young woman identified as Helen's daughter and asks Sandi if she knows who it is. Sandi watches the tape and faints.

Out of the Frying Pan. Daria and Jane go to Pizza Prince to celebrate Jane's first sale at Gary's, where they run into a dejected Mack. He is alone because Jodie is being overworked by her parents, so Daria and Jane decide to help. Daria learns that her first Melody Powers story has been accepted by a small pulp action/adventure magazine, Literature in Action. With assistance from Helen, Daria, Jane and Mack engineer a small celebration party to get Jodie away and to plot her long-term relief. Daria recruits Ms. Murphey to sponsor an honor society for recent Lawndale High graduates. Knowing the LHS faculty, it was easy for Daria to suggest which to make nominations; aware that Ms. Li would recommend Jodie for Leadership, Coach Gibson would nominate Mack for Sports; Ms. Defoe would suggest Jane for Art and Mr. DeMartino would point to Daria for Scholarship. After an inaugural formal lunch, the four meet with Ms. Murphey to develop a real charter for an organization that will continue after their departure. Daria is the president, being the price paid for Ms. Murphey's help. As the teens relax after, Ms. Murphey is heartened to see young people so willing to help another.

Comforting a Confused Soul. While painting a formal portrait of the Morgendorffers, Jane thinks back on how they included her first sale in the Daria's celebration of her first story and how little noticed she was by her family. When Trent asks her about the strange boxes in the refrigerator, Jane explains that she got tired of takeout and bought some groceries. At lunch the next day, Daria gives her a story entitled "Depth Takes a Holiday" as a gift. When Jane gets home, she gets into an argument with Amanda about the food and not being present at Jane's graduation. After a run to calm her nerves, Jane ends up on Dega Street and she talks with Axl. He reminds Jane that she and Trent have been more like adults around the Lane house and that they have partially switched roles with Amanda. Jane returns home to talk to Amanda and tells her how much missing graduation hurt. After Jane realizes that she never told Amanda that she'd been accepted to BFAC, they settle down and discuss ways to help Jane go. After an all-night painting session, Jane presents the portrait to an appreciative Morgendorffer family.

It Was Your Idea. Daria and Jane head to the beach for a weekend trip. Along the way, Jane tells Daria that she's thinking of applying for teacher's assistant position with Ms. Defoe for the fall. Daria admits that she's planning on staying in Boston to go to college year-round and only plans to visit Lawndale for holidays. After they arrive at the hotel, they find a pizza place for dinner, where Jane reminds Daria that she's supposed to enjoy herself. The next morning, Daria is self-conscious about wearing a new one-piece swimsuit, but Jane, in a two-piece, drags her out anyway. While getting beach gear from the car, they meet Greg and Will, two visiting college students. Daria finds Will to be an intelligent conversationalist and Jane and Greg hit it off over Frisbee. They have a good time through the day and agree on dinner. They go to a seafood restaurant and afterwards, Daria tells Will she had a good time and gives him a light kiss. When they leave, Will thanks Greg for dragging him out, saying he never thought someone like Daria would show and interest in him. Back in the room, Daria thanks Jane for getting her out, and says that the day helped her realize that there are other good men out there and that she was finally over Tom. After Daria gets home, she tells Quinn about her day and Helen ponders how much they are rubbing off on each other.

Something For You. The honor society holds their last meeting to finalize their charter. Jane has accepted the position with Ms. Defoe and agrees to present a copy to Ms. Li. Jodie jokes with Daria and Jane about who was being good or bad influences on whom. Daria has continued to visit Mrs. Blaine at the Better Days Retirement Home. She gives Daria a going away gift for college, a silver fountain pen that her mother had given her seventy years earlier. Before starting to pack, Daria has Jane photograph her bedroom from all directions. She tells Jane that Helen plans to remodel the room. Daria and Jane are in the kitchen when Quinn and the 3 J's show up and the boys see Jane's painting. Jamie becomes mesmerized by Daria's image, looking between painting and her. Daria gets a phone call that leaves her very shaken. She asks Helen to distract Quinn and the boys and follow her up to her room. When Helen reaches Daria, she tells her mother that Mrs. Blaine is dead. At the funeral, she slips a binder of Melody Powers stories into her coffin. Mrs. Blaine's son tells Daria how much his mother appreciated her visits, and quietly makes sure the stories stay in the coffin while Daria stays in the empty chapel to cry. During the following days, while Daria continues to prepare to leave. A steamer trunk is delivered containing Mrs. Blaine's complete diary, as specified in her will. On the morning the Morgendorffers prepared to take Daria to Raft, Quinn thinks of how to smuggle a gift along and of how much she will miss Daria and her prodding to be a better person. Jake thinks of how much he's to juggle life and that one of the things most precious to him was leaving. Unlike Helen, he recognizes that Daria is moving out to stay, but he's comforted by what he knows she could become. Helen thinks of how much of an enigma Daria is, but knows Daria will face life on her own terms. However, Helen wonders how she was personally going to face it. Just before saying goodbye to her old room, Daria cuts a section of padding away and tacks it to a backing board, to preserve a small piece of the room. On the way out of Lawndale, Daria says goodbye to Jane and Trent. As they reached the highway, Daria writes in her diary of how she had accepted Lawndale as home, and hoped college would be as fulfilling.