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, Summer

Keeping My Friends Close. As summer begins, Daria and Jane adjust to living together and dealing with rude cable installers and lecherous computer techs. Daria begins her new job as a part-time copy-editor at the Raft University Press and Jane quickly finds herself hard-pressed financially after buying books. After a little advice from CC, help from Daria to fix her resume, and a good word from Ms. Defoe, Jane finds work at the arts and crafts center of a children's hospital.

Fashionable Graduation. Quinn, the former Fashion Club and Kevin prepare to graduate. Daria, Jane, Jodie and Mack reunite to pass on the Honor Society to the next class. Jodie has a surprise to get out of her parent's planned summer activity. She'll be an intern at Morgendorffer Consulting. Mack arrives in Lawndale on a motorcycle. Daria and Jane go to Lindy's college graduation from Lawndale State. While getting out of Jane's car, a pack of birth control pills falls from Daria's bag. She explains that while they haven't done anything, the temptation is there and she doesn't want to take chances. Daria finds out about Sandi losing her job and feels she has some responsibility and tells Sandi that she'd like to make up for it. When Daria, Jane and Mack meet up with Jodie at the Landon's, Andrew at first is unhappy about the influences they've had on Jodie, but relents when he realizes how well all are really doing. At graduation, Brittany shows up and wants Kevin back for the summer and he refuses, recognizing that he can't go back to the way things were. In recognition for how much Quinn had tutored Tiffany and Kevin, the faculty nominated her for the Academic Leadership position. Just before she steps down, Upchuck takes a photo of her. At Pizza Prince, Quinn sees Daria, Jane, Jodie and Mack together and says she hopes that she, Stacy, Tiffany and Sandi can stay friends like that.

Through Lenses Most Bright. Giving in the obvious need, Daria gets a new eye exam. Unusual for her age, the new prescription includes bifocals. Daria is upset with the available selection of frames and is a little irrationally worried about her changing eyesight. When Daria tells Jane she's going back to the doctor for more information, Jane asks if she can give one of the children from the hospital a ride. Olivia is a six-year old in a rigid support frame for her neck. Just as Daria is worried about her future sight, Olivia is worried that that if she hurts her neck again, she won't be able to walk. The doctor assures Daria that, while eyesight normally stabilizes by her age, it may take a few more years for hers. She agrees to wait while Olivia's glasses are prepared, admits she is after an unconventional look, and finds a pair that she likes and Olivia approves of. A couple days later when Daria picks up her new glasses and first uses the bifocals, she remembers Amy holding the same pose to read. Amy confirms that she's had bifocals since 25. Daria sends Olivia a picture of her in the new glasses and several days later, Olivia's mother sends one back of her, without the neck brace.

Silver Lining. Helen and Jake have invited Rita, Amy, Grandma Ruth Morgendorffer, Grandma Tess Barksdale and Jake's brother, Bruce to their 25th wedding anniversary. Bruce is a retired Army Master Sergeant, who is divorced with an adult daughter and granddaughter, with another expected. He also had emotional problems because of his father, though his became more physical. When Ruth, Tess and Rita arrive, the tension starts to build as Jake and Helen's early years are remembered. Before bed, Ruth thanks Daria for learning about what happened to Nathan and sharing it with Jake and Bruce. Tess tells Daria that she wants Jane to do a portrait of Erin and Brian, to show off a new artist to her associates. Before going to sleep, Amy tells Daria about the problems a couple with advanced degrees can have getting good employment in the same area, and that she'd lost someone because of it. Tensions increase through the morning as the house is prepared for Jake and Helen recreating their ceremony. Jake and Helen reminisce more about going to Highland, how disappointed they were with the move, and how it had drained much of their old idealism trying to get by while raising Daria and Quinn. Finally, Helen found her current position and Jake took the leap to start his own business. Dressed as they were in 1975, Jake and Helen recite their original vows to each other. Immediately after they finish, Tess makes a comment about the vows and within moments, a general argument has started. Daria loses her temper and chews everyone out. She wishes her parents a happy anniversary and then orders everyone else out of the house so that they can have a peaceful day. Quinn steps up beside Daria and agrees. On the way home, Daria thinks about her parents and how their love has held them together through everything and hopes that she and Michael's will too. At the next rest stop, she pulls over, realizing what she said.

Freedom Of Speech. Before leaving to visit Michael for the July 4 weekend, Daria promises Jane she'll tell Michael that she loves him. Samantha Fulton picks up Daria at the airport. At the Fulton residence, Daria meets Michaels little sister, Gina and her friend, Natalie. Samantha takes them out shopping before Michael comes home with his father, Ron. Ron conveniently also runs and errand for a while to give them some time alone. Daria is surprised at how relaxed Michael's parents are compared to hers and she soon feels comfortable. She's surprised when Samantha serves home-made lasagna and realizes how good it can be. Daria tries, but isn't able to tell Michael how she feels. She opts to sleep on the fold-out sofa and let Gina stay in her own room. The next morning, Ron finds Michael watching Daria sleeping and says he still does that to Samantha. He reminds Michael that she may also be nervous about her feelings and to let her say something when she's ready. Michael romantically wakes her. While they kiss, Gina and Natalie start making comments from the stairs. On the way back from a day at an art museum, Daria and Michael get into a disagreement over his remaining guilt about the breakup. When they stop, they smooth things over, with Daria realizing she also needs to not try to tell him how to feel, and he accepts that he does have her emotional support. While he massages her feet that night, Daria almost is able to tell him, and Michael knows she's close, too. Daria stays home while the Fultons go to church on Sunday. That evening, Natalie tells Daria she's relieved to see another couple as happy together. Her mother's divorced and has had a hard time, seeing people as obviously in love as Daria and Michael are give her hope. On Monday night, Daria is able to barely whisper it to Michael, but is unable to repeat herself. The next night, Michael takes her out on her father's boat to watch fireworks. The night seems perfect and while resting in his arms, she softly and confidently tells him. After Michael takes her to the airport for a late flight back to Boston. He has a final surprise. He tells her that he can stay in Boston the next summer.

Boston Baked Band. Daria prepares to perform in her theater class play, Henry V, as Katherine and will be wearing a very complimentary dress. While overall her story the Michael is a large brute has scared off most of the other males in the cast, it hadn't deterred the lead, Len. After seeing them perform the prior spring, the theater director hired Mystik Spiral to provide music for the cast party. Daria arranges with Trent for them to stay at her and Jane's apartment. Because of Helen's increased work schedule pushing for partner, she and Jake can't attend the performance, but Quinn is able to make it. The plays reviews are lukewarm, though Daria does get a good nod, though her name is misspelled. After opening, the Len still makes a subtle pass, even though he's with his girlfriend. The band runs late getting to Boston and start to sleep in the SUV because they didn't want to disturb Daria and Jane, who were staying up. Quinn arrives the next morning after Daria and Jane succeed in waking the band. She gives Daria a cell phone that matches hers so the two can stay in touch. Daria agrees, if Quinn lets her pay for the phone. At the theater, the band learns that they are expected to perform in renaissance costumes and are led away for fitting. After the play, the costume mistress lets Daria keep the dress. Jane and CC join in to help with the set strike before the cast party. After Len makes a pass at Quinn, his girlfriend loses her temper and complains about those "Morgendorffer temptresses" before leaving. Trent finishes the performance with a new song based on a conversation with Daria about them each finding the right person at the right time. When they get back to the apartment, Quinn sees the dress and teases Daria about wanting to look good for a guy. Daria sends a videotape of the performance home with Quinn and mails a second to Michael.

Lost Eagles Found. Summer semester is over and Daria begins searching for a birthday present for Michael. In a small shop of historical reproductions, she finds a replica of a Roman Legion standard for him, knowing his interest in ancient Rome. The proprietor says a history fan like Michael would understand the joke made into it. Jane departs for Virginia to deliver a portrait of Erin and Brian to Tess Barksdale. She stops by Casa Lane to visit, to find the exterior has been cleaned and painted. Inside, a computer desk has appeared, part of Lindy's work doing computer graphics and animation for a local advertising agency. The portrait is well received by Tess and her friends. Tess questions Jane about Daria and says she does want to know here and Quinn better. Just before leaving, Erin tells her about how unhappy she is with Brian and how Tess is working to keep them together to save face and make up for Rita's many marriages. She also gives Jane her email address. When Daria gets to Lawndale, she finds Quinn has also received an "Amy Barksdale Dorm Survival Kit." On his way to Boston for the fall, Michael had agreed to meet Daria in Lawndale. Before that, he stops at Morgendorffer Consulting, where he meets Jodie and talks to Jake. When Michael mentions how nervous he was to ask Daria out, it reminds Jake of meeting Helen and they reach a common ground. Daria begins to get worried about Michael running late, but is relieved when he arrives with Jake. Out at his car, Michael shares some of Samantha's lasagna with Daria, hiding her eating it just as Helen arrives. When he sees the gift, Michael does laugh. It's a replica of the XIXth legion (he's 19), and the standard was one of the "Lost Eagles of Varius" and he remarks about "this is where it got off to." Daria and Michael meet Jodie and Mack at Pizza Prince and Jodie explains how the summer working for Jake was a good experience for both, Jodie was able to help him pick up more minority clients to increase his business and she picked up valuable experience and contacts. Tom sees them and stops by to say hello and catch up. Things go well, but as he leaves, a part of him still wishes he was with Daria instead of Michael. Still thinking about Erin's sadness, Jane sends her an email, offering to listen to her problems.