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.

Falling Into College Primer
Year 1, Spring

Chosin Fate. Daria gets a new job transcribing radio interviews from the Korean War for a history professor. An off-hand comment from Michael (who plans to go into archeology) about Daria's half-buried skeleton print leads to an awkward conversation on sex, and both agree that they are not ready. On one of the recordings, she hears the voice of her grandfather, Nathan, "Mad Dog" Morgendorffer. He's a young marine waiting for the Inchon landing, telling about being part of a team, that he's scared about combat, and he sends his love to his wife and children. Nothing like what her father had always described. Later, Daria searches for and finds a second recording, made on a hospital ship evacuating casualties from the Chosin Peninsula. The brutality of the war and surviving the fighting at Chosin had changed him into the man Jake knew. That evening, Daria calls Grandma Ruth and talks about Nathan, both the one that Ruth married and the one that came back from war. Daria calls Jake about the recordings and sends him a copy. Jake listens, and for the first time, hears his father say he loves him.

Art Frieze. Jane adjusts to dorm life at BFAC. Dorm neighbors Mary and Nell are introduced. Over breakfast, Nell tells Jane about the Ice Tea Party, an ice sculpture competition held at BFAC's courtyard every winter. Making a Lane version of panels from the Amber Room, Jane becomes immersed in the creation, but also begins to feel intimidated by the talent expressed by the other competitors. On the day of the competition, Daria arranges to set Jane up with one of her classmates, Al. Jane receives an Award of Merit and realizes how much she can still learn, and knows she has the drive to get there.

Days of Expression. While sitting around with Jane and Karen, Daria receives a phone call from Tom Sloane. Daria tells Karen about Tom and how she first started dating him. With Valentine's Day approaching, Daria begins considering her romantic past. Tom tried, but could never get past the idea that many romantic things were corny. Trent had known about her feelings and had them in return, but stayed away to avoid hurting Daria. After reading some of Mrs. Blaine's diary entries, Daria realizes she needs to focus on Michael. Daria and Karen discuss their respective boyfriends and Karen leads Daria out to get ideas for Valentine's Day. While shopping for Daria's gift, Michael runs into Jane, who agrees to help. On the evening, Daria prepares a simple candle-lit dinner for two in her dorm room, which goes rather well. After Michael leaves, he turns and says to the empty corridor, "I love you."

Flaming the Fans. While sick with a common cold, Daria gets the gratis copy of her second published Melody Powers story. From the magazine's letters column, Jane discovers that Daria's stories have picked up a small following. Later, while staying with Daria while she sleeps, Michael hints over the phone to Helen that he and Daria are in bed. After Helen learns the truth and calms down, she and Daria trade news, including the Thompson's messy divorce and criminal investigations into grade-fixing at Lawndale High. Looking at the magazine's message board, Daria learns that Upchuck is a fan, and has a website full of photos of her going back several years. Upset, she and Jane plan to get even and recruit Lindy to help. Daria noticed one image was a screen capture from news footage of the Bar Association Dinner the prior summer. Daria has Lindy post to SBC's network's anonymous tip center, the Lawndale television station's parent, reporting the apparent copyright violation of their news imagery. This leads to a cascade that had Upchuck contacted by SBC for violation, Upchuck removed from the message board and his website blocked by the hosting company. Daria's satisfaction is dampened when Jane asks about how Upchuck could have the frame capture from something only broadcast once.

Can this be Spring? Not surprising, Jane can't afford to leave town for Spring Break. It's revealed that CC works as an exotic dancer. Jane decides to have an indoor beach party for break. Knowing Jane's birthday is close, CC has Daria meet her at work to plot the birthday part of the party. The hall near Jane and CC's room is decorated with fake palms, painted beach and lounge chairs, while the guests are in swim attire. Jane is happy with the birthday surprise and has a good time flirting with several young men. A winter storm causes the Boston roads to be closed overnight, stranding Daria, Michael, Karen and Derek. Daria and Michael end up sleeping next to each other on lounge chairs in Jane's room. Both feel awkward, Daria has never let her guard down as much with someone, while Michael admits that he finds Daria sexually attractive and asks her to just move his hand if it goes anyplace she feels uncomfortable with. After having to uphold too many responsibilities around Casa Lane, Jane is happy to be more carefree at college. In the morning, Daria awakes holding Michael's hand to her breast. As they leave, Daria tells him his hands didn't go anywhere she didn't want them.

The Spirals Are Coming! Mystik Spiral finally gets a gig in Boston. Lindy, who is now living at Casa Lane, is worried about the reliability of the Tank to make the trip and gives Trent the last of her student aid money for emergencies. Daria has been seeing a therapist and discusses Michael with her. The band makes it to Boston and over dinner, Daria makes the suggestion that the Tank should be retired. The next day, the band performs an outdoor concert at the Raft Quad. After the concert, Michael let's slip that he loves Daria while they are talking to Trent. Though not ready to say the same in return, Daria tells him she wants to hang around to find out if she can. The next morning, Trent talks with Daria about Michael, reassuring her that it's all right if she doesn't feel the same about him yet. He also warns her that he may do something stupid, while having the best intentions. Daria asks Trent how he feels about Lindy and he quickly leaves. The Tank breaks down on the way back and the band gets back in a rental truck. After agreeing to trade in the old blue car to get something more reliable, Trent tells Lindy that he loves her. Lindy calls Daria, still curious as to why Trent would stay away from Daria and fall for her. Daria suggests it's because Lindy can fully accept Trent as he is, and Daria knows she would eventually try to change him.

A Daze at the Races. Quinn is accepted to Pepperhill University. The grade-fixing scandal at Lawndale High continues as Ms. Li's computers are taken by the police and Coach Gibson is suspended. On the morning of Quinn's 18th birthday, Jake and Helen are once again trying to finish their income tax returns at the last minute. Like they did for Daria, Jake and Helen give Quinn a savings CD for a car down payment and ask Quinn to wait until Daria comes to Lawndale so they can look for cars at the same time. Quinn and Tiffany meet Stacy at a race track to watch Stacy in a race. Stacy has a close call when another car hits hers, but she finishes the race, but only after unsafely driving when she knew something was wrong with the car. On the way out, they meet Sandi, who wants to patch things up. During dinner, Sandi tells them that she was fired from the TV station because her mother pinned the blame on her for a missing news tape of the Bar Association Dinner from the prior summer. Sandi's brother had traded it to Upchuck to duplicate dirty movies onto, revealing how Upchuck got the screen capture of Daria. The tape was discovered missing during the network's investigation. Sandi tells Quinn that she, Stacy and Tiffany were her only friends and she hopes they can be again.

May Day. Daria's transcription job ends and her boss recommends a position at the Raft University Press. After the first day of final exams, Michael comes to Daria to say he's been accepted to a prestigious archeology program that will have him studying in Rome for three years. When Daria asks about their relationship, Michael presents a ring and proposes. To accept means that Daria must give up part of her dreams to go to Rome, and if she asks Michael to stay, he must give up his dream of studying in Rome. Daria returns the ring and tells him they need to end things before they hurt each other any more. Through finals week, she avoids Michael, despite Karen and Jane suggesting that she at least talk to him again. After Tom calls and reminds her how many second chances she gave him, Daria decides to talk to Michael. When she gets to his dorm, she finds out he left early to go to Detroit and gets chewed out by his roommate. Heartbroken, she looks toward the airport and watches a westbound airliner fly away.

Prom Quinn. Not knowing what's happened in Boston, Quinn distracts Jake from the cost of her prom dress by implying Daria and Michael are sleeping together. Knowing Daria has finals, Quinn keeps Jake or Helen from calling, so they don't catch on before the Prom. At school the next day, Ms. Li is arrested and Coach Gibson is fired as a result of the grade-fixing scandal. Because she has the most seniority with out other baggage, Claire Defoe is named Acting Principal for Lawndale High. As the prom nears and Quinn still doesn't have a date, she calls Daria. Karen tells her what happened and Quinn realizes she needs to come clean on what she did. She tells her parents that Daria and Michael were not having sex and it was a distraction. Helen figures out something is wrong with Daria and Quinn tells her. After Quinn gives Kevin a crash-course on how to behave, they go to the prom and things go surprisingly well.

Seeking Hearts. With help from Karen's brother Terry, Daria, Jane and Karen look for an apartment, finally finding one that's the second floor of an 19th century house in South Boston. After helping to move everyone to the new place, Terry drives Daria and Jane to Lawndale on the way south to take Karen to Georgia. Through it all, Daria and Michael attempt to contact each other without success. Jane's roommate CC moves to the first floor of the dorm as a new RA. To help distract Daria, Helen takes her and Quinn out car shopping, Quinn finds a used, red Vexxer and uses her charms to get a good price, but Daria doesn't find anything. Helen talks to Daria that night about August 1969, when she and Jake had broken up and the efforts they made to get back together, after their arrests in Boulder, Co. Later, Helen gets a phone call and the next morning, asks Daria to make sure she's home in the afternoon for a delivery. Daria and Jane spend the morning unsuccessfully looking for a car, and Daria tells Jane that she's determined to fine one, so she can drive to Detroit. However, when she walks home, she finds Michael waiting in the driveway. He's decided that Daria is more important to him than the school in Rome. They make up and Daria discovers that Michael's mother Samantha and Helen had talked the night before and planned for them to get back together. They also figure out the bad timing that kept them from communicating sooner. After they go inside, Helen comes home and is pleased to see Michael's car.

Shopping For Cars With Boys. Near-panicked, Michael borrows Helen's cell phone to cancel his withdrawal from Raft. Helen calls Samantha at work to let her know the Michael is okay, and is unable to finish a sentence before Samantha's fast-paced replies. Helen agrees to let Michael stay in the guest room for a few days. After dinner, Michael admits that he was so preoccupied when he left home, he didn't pack anything. They go out to pick up things for him and run into Quinn while waiting at a pharmacy for his epinephrine injector (for wasp stings). Quinn initially believes they are buying birth control. Daria and Michael stay home the next day while everyone else goes to work and school. After initially staying calm, Jake has a panic attack about them being alone on his way into work. Daria calls Jane and begs off going out car shopping with Trent and Lindy at a car auction. Later, Jane calls back to ask for a ride, Trent found a good deal. Ex-Secret Service vehicles, a bullet-proofed SUV that Trent keeps (soon christened "George") and matching black sedans that Daria and Jane buy off him at cost. Trent talks with Michael, saying that he was right for Daria instead of himself. The rest of the week passes without incident and Helen tells them that she's been impressed by their maturity and that she and Jake wouldn't inquire any more about Daria and Michaels level of intimacy. Daria says goodbye to Michael and agrees to travel to Detroit for July 4. After returning to Boston, Daria immediately unpacks the pendant he's given her and puts it back on, and places the silk rose Valentine's gift back on her computer desk. Jane tries to get Daria to say how she feels about Michael (and is clear to everyone), but she's still hesitant.