"A mid spring day's delirium"


Bob Marley

[Usual, some people are probably going to hate this story, I'll tell you right off, but that's also sort of the point.  Essentially, I want to play with Daria as a character with her inhibitions hell and removed and since we know she's fairly over-sensitive to pain, I figure she's also easily influenced by even over-counter type drugs.  I'll be honest, some of this is my own experience creeping in here (I once got high on a large cup of Starbuck's coffee embarrassingly enough) and with a little of the 24 hour flu bug stirred in, well, hold onto your hats.  Usual don't sue me stuff implied, you people know who you are, this bad boy takes place in between "Fire" and "Dye, Dye, My Darling" and with that, the fun begins.]

[Ahem, scenario establishing shot, Daria's room, morning, our leading lady's alarm has just gone off and she's shut it down before sitting up in bed... However, all is not right with the world.  Along with the usual adorable (I think anyway.) messiness of her hair, there's a definite flush to her cheeks and as she gets up to head for the bathroom she coughs slightly.  Uh-oh.]

Music: SR-71, "Right now."

[Shift to a typical Morgendorffer family breakfast tableau.. Daria, Jake and Helen at the breakfast table, Daria is working on two slices of dry toast with little enthusiasm while Jake reads the paper and Helen tries to start something resembling a conversation.  Daria is surprisingly enough, even less animate than usual, and for her, that's saying something...  Helen can tell something is up.]

Helen(Slightly worried.): Daria?

Daria(Coughing again into her hands): Eating... Not talking....

Jake(Clueless.): I can't believe it!?  That's the second time Garfield kicked Odie off a table this week!!

Helen(Noticing definite flush in Daria's cheeks.): Are you feeling all right?  You've had that cough ever since the fire (Glaring at Jake who is totally oblivious.).

Daria(Finally looking up. Thought VO: "Not the forehead, not the forehead."): It's nothing.

Helen(That no-nonsense edge to her voice.): Daria, let me feel your forehead.

(With a long-suffering expression, Daria submits to this oldest of mother hen impositions with not so much as a cynical remark.  Obviously she's off her feed.)

Helen(Shocked.): Sweetie, you feel feverish, are you sure you'll be all right for school?

Daria(Sighs, coughs slightly again, time to nip this in the bud.): Mom, though I appreciate your concern, I think calling my judgment of my own well-being into question over a two second test of the area above my eyebrows is....  (Definite pause..) Hold that thought...

(With great dignity, Daria stands up and walks slowly out of the kitchen while Helen looks on with a puzzled expression.)

Helen(to Jake): I'm worried about her..

Jake(still clueless): Oh, well, she seems... Uh, was it Quinn or Daria you're worried about?

Helen("You idiot" look on her face but before she can respond):

(Sound of someone being violently and expressively sick accompanied by.)

Quinn(In the bathroom most likely.): DARIA!! GAWD!!!

Daria(Weakly.): Sorry...

Helen(Getting up and rushing out): Oh my God!

Jake(Still sitting with newspaper and watching his wife rush to handle the latest crisis.): So.... It was Daria?

(We shift to Helen at the front door obviously late for work and Daria still looking a bit pale and generally sick, standing next to her.  They're obviously arguing.)

Helen: I'm sorry Daria, but there is no way I'm letting you go to school with the flu.  Besides, you deserve a day off after everything that's been happening lately.  I'll call from the office and let the school know you're sick.

Daria(Whatever this bug is it's chipped away at her normally mature resolve.): But I, well... (She can't think of a good excuse or at least a lie) I don't...

Helen(In full bore instruction mode, she knows she's late): You have my cell phone number if you need me for anything and with your track record, I'm sure you won't be missing much at school.  Get some rest and you know where the medicine cabinet is.  (She's out the door) Good-bye.

Daria(Still trying to get something out in the face of her mother's overwhelming you know what.): But, I don't want to be...

(The door closes, Helen's history.)

Daria(Finishing, she just looks sad, this is a lady who just plain needs a hug): Alone. *sigh*

(Squinting slightly and frankly looking depressed as well as sick, Daria heads for the bathroom again.  Obviously she's been in this position before and though school isn't much better, at least there she'd be accomplishing something.  Once there, she examines the cabinets for anything that will help reduce a headache and fever combo and she comes across a ubiquitous, large bottle of oddly green stuff.  You know this one.)

Music: Motley Crue, "Dr. Feelgood."

Daria(Pulling the bottle out and examining it closer): Oh... Lovely, in the ever popular martian blood green flavor..  (Scrounging up a graduated clear dose cup, she unscrews the childproof cap and tries to concentrate on how much she should put in.  We shift to her Viewpoint.)

(The graduations on the cup snap into focus but then blur out again.  Shifting to an outside and back shot, we see Daria fiddling with her glasses in order to see the damn thing but it's obviously not helping.  Moments later.)

Daria(Looking thoroughly fed up.): The hell with it!  (Tossing aside the cup, she takes a healthy shot straight from the bottle and splutters a bit before licking the substance off her lips with great distaste.)

Daria(Non-plussed.): Great... Well... Maybe now I can at least get some work done?  (Taking the green substance with her, she heads up the stairs and thence to her room where she sits down at her desk and boots up the computer.  Eventually she starts typing.)

(Time passing sequence, we see Daria at the computer, then reading a book on her back on the floor, then writing at her desk, finally, face down on the desk without her glasses the way we saw her at the end of "The Daria Diaries."  She's out cold.)

Music: Metallica, "Enter, Sandman"

(Dream sequence, Daria is in the middle of a raging forest fire on all sides, we can see her sweating, then quick shift to a desert where she's crawling and burning under the sun..  Finally.. A twisted hellscape where her body burns in a rising inferno of flowing orange flame... Among a pile of corpses...  Here's where things get weird..)

[Bang, Daria snaps to attention shaking her head... There is real fear in her eyes and she's sweating profusely... Obviously the fever has gotten worse as she slept..  She's is in disaster reaction mode folks... She's in the danger zone and her body knows it... Moving fast, she gets up and runs for the upstairs bathroom unconsciously stripping off clothing as she goes, by the time she's there, she's down to a jogging bra and her underwear (Stop drooling you perv's, and I just don't see her as a lace and lingerie kind of girl... Her top and bottom are both flat black and functional.. So there).  Without removing these, she's in the shower and has it on in jig time, cold water pours down on her as she huddles with her arms around her legs, shivering... Can you say delirious?  Slowly, her breathing calms down as the intense burning sensation goes away without the out of control sensation going with it, she's still operating more unconsciously then consciously.  Hesitantly, she reaches up and turns the water off before stepping out.  Drying off with a large towel and then wrapping herself in it out of modesty (Sorry about that, but you guys need to get your minds out of the gutter and pay attention.), it takes her a moment to walk over to the nearby mirror where she examines her reflection curiously.  She's still slightly flushed and wet but it's rather obvious she has a nice figure and without even thinking about it (She doesn't know we're here obviously..... voyeurs) she stretches a bit from her toes and mid-riff.  As any normal teenager will do, she's checking herself out and she's actually SMILING at what she sees.  Still smiling in that quiet way, she glances back one last time before walking out the bathroom door and back to her room to get some clothes on.  The burning sensation of the fever has died to a pleasant, soothing warmth that flows through Daria as she moves, the pain in her stomach even dies away some.  Minus her glasses and still a bit flushed, she walks to the window in her room and stares out while drying her hair.  Moments later, the smile has become a definite amused smirk and she even starts giggling slightly before she brings her hand to her mouth, yikes... Obviously feeling oddly good, Daria walks over to the open door of her closet and starts going through what little is there... She's looking for something specific.]

Music: Motley Crue, "Dr. Feelgood"

[Moments later, we see Daria fully dressed in the outfit she wore to Alternapalooza along with her glasses..  Her hair is still slightly shagged out and wet but she's smirking at herself and even playing with her normally staid and let down locks, even pushing it all above her head in a bunch as if to see what she'd look like if she put it up..  The Daria/Cynic/Normal button is obviously switched off now and Daria is reduced to her lowest common denominator, a teenage girl fooling around in front of the mirror in her closet. Quinn would have a heart attack if she saw her elder sister like this.  Moments later, Daria has managed to find a stray boot lace from under her bed and she takes the time to tie back her long dark hair in a good sized single pony-tail that hangs down her back.  She's also applying lipstick from the sparse cosmetic bag she has stashed in her dresser and the overall effect is a bit disturbing... She's crossed over to normal in a few minutes.  Winking sardonically at her reflection, she turns to leave the room but not before noticing the still open bottle of killer green "stuff." Walking over to the desk, she picks it up.]

Music: Rob Zombie, "Spookshow Baby"

Daria(Smiling and tittering slightly, to herself.): One for the road...

(Tipping her head back, she takes another good sized hit from the bottle and then leaves it on the desk as she walks out of her room.  The clock near her bed reads 4:12 PM.)

(Feeling no pain, the transformed first lady of cynicism steps boldly out the front door of her suburban split-level.. Feeling the bright sun on her face she closes her eyes again and smiles, just feeling good about being alive apparently.  With a hop, skip and a jump she's out on the sidewalk and only pauses for a quick air guitar riff before walking off towards the city center.  Look out world...)

Music: Everclear, "Santa Monica"

[Floating in the clouds of influenza induced delirium, Daria moves through town, breaking stride every so often with an improvised dance step or occasional bump and grind, feeling euphoric obviously.  After about fifteen minutes, she finally runs into somebody whom she's observed before from a distance, somewhat of a local celebrity...  It's, "the man who stands in one place all day bouncing a rubber ball" (you can look this up)!  Walking right up to him, Daria asks the questions she's been dying to ask but not really caring enough about to know the answer to for some time.]

Daria(looking innocent): Hiya! Just thought I'd ask, but how come you stand here all day bouncing that ball?

Man(eyeing her suspiciously): The ball is the world...

Daria(curiousity satisfied): Oh, cool... You wanna play catch with me?

[All she gets for her efforts is the hairy eyeball from the guy, so she strolls on, still feeling great and incredibly self-satisfied with herself.  How long this can last is anyone's guess.  Daria is still on top of the world, being sick on such a nice day seems so silly in retrospect.  Finally, she ends up at the village green where she stops and stares at the statue in the middle, lost in thought.]

Music: Vangelis "Chariot's of Fire"

[Jane Lane is cruising on yet another run late in the day... Morning run's probably have seemed too much what with Tom lately and Helen power walking on her usual route.  Picking up the pace as she hits the village green on her way back home, Jane notices a certain familiar figure sitting Indian style in the well-kept grass in front of the statue.  Whoever it is, is obviously enjoying the late spring sun.  It takes a second (the glasses are folded and hanging from the chick's black tee collar) but after a moment Jane does a double take!  What the hell is Daria doing here after missing school, which never happens?  Slowing to a stop, Jane walks over to her best friend who is apparently occupied with blowing the fuzz off a to-seed dandelion.]

Jane(In usual running attire she removes her headphones): Well, hello there, it's the amazing disappearing woman.  Have fun skipping school?

Daria(Looking up in a bemused way, she has a good sized orange Marigold in her hair, the stem resting on her ear):  Oh hey!  Want a dandelion?

Jane(Jaw drops... wait a sec, does she want a what!!?!): Just thought I'd bring it up, but everybody was wondering where you were today?  I know I've been letting Tom drive me to school lately but you could have told me something?  (Watches as Daria blows the fuzz off another flower).  What are you doing?

Daria(Crossing her arms, self mocking tone of voice.): I could tell you that Lane, but then I'd have to kill you.

Jane(Jaw drops another couple inches, who the hell is this? She sits down across from Daria): Okay, who are you, and what have you done with my friend?

Daria(Uncrosses her arms, faux innocent look, best little girl impression): Dawias not here wight now..  So there...  (She just barely suppress's a giggle)

Jane(Blown away.): Ooookay again... (Deciding to play along.) Daria's boots, can you tell me where Daria is?

Daria(Still playing petulant.): No they can't...  I.... (Giggles helplessly again, before bringing her hand to her lips.) I'm a little...  Well..  (She has to fight a smile.).

Jane(Still concerned.): Okay, what did you take and who gave it to you?

Daria(Still trying not to laugh.): Well... (Sighing as she talks) It was green..  Anyway, I was feelin bad this morning, and then I was burning up... And then, well, it was a nice day so I went for a walk and... I like dandelions. (She's stops fighting the impulse and lets herself fall over on her back, laughing out loud, then looking up at her friend.)

Jane(Leaning over her, still concerned): Daria, you this happy isn't natural, you're creeping me out..  (Back to the interrogation.) So you were sick this morning and that's why you missed school?  And you took something that was green?

Daria(looking up at Jane like a puppy): Yep, uhuh, sure did.

Jane(Shaking her head.): Okay dear, from what I see you're either totally delirious with this bug you've got or high on some kind of drug, probably both.  So, you're coming with me.

Daria(Still smiling): Awww.. but it's so nice out.  And (Sitting up, her face abruptly falls and the dazed happy aura falls away, we're back with the normal Daria we see every day and she's scared and confused) Well... I'm a little lost and... (Lost and afraid look, definite mood swing.) Will you make it okay?

Jane(A lump in her throat, Daria beseeching her for help is still totally new): (Little huskily) Yeah, come on kid, you're coming to my place so I can keep an eye on you.  (Reaching down, Jane takes her partner in crime's hands and pulls her up, then getting under her shoulder she helps Daria walk as they head for Lane home base.)

(We see Daria and Jane approaching Casa Lane from a side angle shot. Tom's car is parked in the street and the owner is waiting rather impatiently for a response at the door as Jane slowly walks up the front drive with Daria, who is still off in her own world.  Tom finally notices them both and walks over.)

Tom(Usual outfit, a bit displeased): Hi, I was wondering where you were?  (Seeing Jane has Daria in an improvised shoulder carry.) What's going on?

Daria(Looking up, somewhat spaced out.): Oh.....Hey.... Cool... Young Thomas..

Tom(As surprised as Jane was.): Okay.... What's the story?

Jane(Looking annoyed that Tom's already asking about Daria first, though it's just because she's obviously out of it.): It's complicated. Do me a favor and get the door, huh?

Tom(Looks about ready to ask more questions but sees that Jane needs his help): Okay, sure, give me the key.

(Jane parks Daria momentarily on the front railing and hands him her key's with one hand which he uses to open the door... Then, letting Tom keep the door open, Jane gets Daria by the arm and brings her in, where Trent is staring at the odd goings on from a few feet down the hall.)

Trent(Looking them up and down.): Hey Janey, hey Tom... Hey Daria..

Daria(Looking up, talking to herself): Oh Aunt Em, I had the strangest dream... And (Pointing offhandedly at Trent.), you were there...

Tom(Flumoxed.): You didn't hear me knock?

Trent(Equally surprised.): Oh... That was you?  (Already off the subject) What's with Daria?

Jane(Irritated with both guys since she's doing all the work.): The 1 million dollar question... Either she's been brainwashed by a rogue group of Hare Krishna's or she's got the flu bug that's been going around and she OD'd on medication.

Tom(Ever up to the challenge.): Darn Hare Krishna's...

Trent(Ever slow on the up-take.): And what's with the flower?  (Coughing then smiling.) Looks good like that.

Daria(Surprisingly agile, she slips out from under Jane and over to Trent.): Aww... thanks.

Trent(Totally blown away... That surprised look he gets that is just priceless): Whoah..  Jane, you sure it was just medication?

Daria(Answering for Jane): Capital N... Small y.... Big giant Q! (She giggles slightly and smiles.)

Tom(Shaking his head, he's trying hard not to laugh): You're not kidding.

Jane(She's had it, reality check time): Okay, Trent, you help me get Denise Leary here to lay down. Tom, go find something you'd eat if you had the flu..  My guess is she hasn't eaten anything all day.

Tom(Moving off purposely, but not knowing when to shut up): Aye, aye, boss. Might not be easy in this place though.

Jane(Looking pissed but concerned enough for her friend that she let's it slide, turning to her brother): Trent, make yourself useful!

Trent(Looking Daria up and down again, trying to figure out how): Uhh.. Sure..  (Raising an eyebrow, thinking quick, it's not working) You sure you didn't?

Jane(Rapidly losing patience with the whole deal): No...  Now help me get her upstairs.

Daria(Chiming in sardonically): Yeah!

Trent(Little surprised.): Okay.  Okay..

(Working together, brother and sister manage to coax and prod Daria to Jane's room where she ends up on Jane's bed..)

Trent(Still pretty shocked.): Janey, she's far gone...  I never thought I'd see her like...

Jane(Still pragmatic, she's helping her best friend): Yeah, yeah, help me get her boots off, no way will she leave without them and I don't want her disappearing on me.

(Trent takes one side, Jane the other despite Daria's feeble protests)

Daria(Still lying down): No fair, two against one!

Jane(Patiently): Just relax, you're not going anywhere until I let a designated Morgendorffer control entity know that a member of the collective has broken free.

Daria(Getting the joke, quietly, she lets her eyes role back into her head.): Resistance, resistance is futile, fulfilling, fundamental...

Trent(In the spirit of drug induced haziness): Festive?

Daria(With a "good boy" look on her face): Good one, Trent.

Trent(Taking the compliment.): Thanks Daria..

Jane(Fully exasperated.): Now, I'm going to be sick.

Tom(Finally showing up from downstairs.): We've got what looks like a couple bouillon cubes and not much else... Will that work?

Jane(Getting back some of her composure): It'll have to do, (To Daria) How do you feel about some broth?

Daria(Smiling quietly again.): Hey, sounds great Jane-o, I haven't eaten all day.

Tom(Smiling at Daria): Sounds like a plan...  (To Jane) You want to keep an eye on her while I handle the room service order?  (Remember these two are having relationship trouble.).

Jane(Pensive look, then she makes a decision): No, I'll take care of it, that kitchen's a minefield, you stay here, cool?

Tom(Unsure, but agreeing, he's just as concerned about Daria as Jane): Sure...

Trent(Not so oblivious as we think): I could always do...

Jane(Not so fast.): No offense Trent, but as good as you are at boiling water, Daria's been through one house fire already..  You stay here and make sure Tom doesn't get too carried away playing "doctor."  (She walks out, Tom just stares at her as she leaves.)

Trent(Not wanting to be in between all this, at all): Uh, okay.

Tom(Slightly put out, crosses his arms): Now what's that supposed to mean..

Daria(Getting comfortable, she's still feverish and high as a kite): Two cute guys all to myself, I could get used to this.. (She bats an eye at Trent.).

Trent(Officially uncomfortable that Daria is so totally relaxed and aware of the thing between Tom and Daria): Well... Sooo... Maybe I'd better... Go...

Tom(Looking a bit surprised.): Really?

Daria(Finishing the thought for him, teasingly.): Feed the car?  Wash the cat?

Trent(Still fairly uncomfortable): Uhhh.. Get ready for rehearsal.  Yeah.

Daria(Still teasing): No, you're gonna leave me all alone with Tom?  Not that, anything but that.

Trent(Convinced she's kidding now): Hey, it'll be cool Daria, (Turning and walking out) I hope you feel better.

Tom(Caught between conflicting impulses after what Jane said): But...

(As Trent leaves, Daria does a fairly convincing pout and stares at Tom as he watches Trent leave.)

Daria(Still acting): Deserted in my hour of need, just like this morning...  Got left alone, all by myself, *sigh*.  It isn't fair.  Even school is better than that.

Tom(Pulling up Jane's chair and sitting down): Well, we're here now, and I refuse to believe that comment about school since you're obviously under the influence.

Daria(Laughs again): Who, me?  I'm perfectly sober, calm; cool, in control; you guys are the crazy ones.  Incidentally, (She takes the marigold out of her hair and offers it to him.) will you marry me?

Tom(Can't help but laugh with her, takes the flower and looks at it): If I consider your proposal, will you settle down?

Daria(Acts hurt): Me, I'm a little silly, but hardly out of control.  And I feel pretty darn good for being sick...

Tom(Setting the flower down on the bed): Oh, obviously, but I think you should know that if I didn't live by a strict code of honor, I might be tempted to take advantage of this situation.

Daria(Puts her hands up in feigned helplessness.): Oh, I'm soooo scared!  Tell you what... Tell me a story and I'll settle down, I promise.  I'm tired of talking cerebral stuff with you all the time.

Tom("Oh well" look on his face.): Well, that's fair. And what kind of story would you like?

Daria("I'm thinking" expression): Surprise me!

Tom(Quirks an eyebrow): Okay, how about this?  There's this guy who lives in a boring suburban town.

Daria(Closing her eyes and drifting some more.): Uh-huh.

Music: The Cranberries, "Just my imagination"

(Jane is on her way back up the stairs with a coffee cup full of hot liquid.)

Jane(Talking to herself): She's your best friend and you trust her completely. She's your best friend and you trust her completely..

(Taking a deep breath, she walks into her room to find Tom staring at Daria and still talking.)

Tom(into the story): So this guy is... (noticing Jane) Oh, hey.

Jane(Looking at Daria, who is out cold and looking as angelic as she ever does, her glasses are still resting in the neck of  her shirt): Wow, she's out like a light, what were you two talking about? (Noticing Trent is missing, looking annoyed) And where'd Trent get to?

Tom(Getting up): Oh, you know, usual stuff.  He said he had to get ready for rehearsal.

Jane(Looking disgusted): Figures, catch up on his beauty sleep is more like it.  Well, you wanna catch some tv while she gets some rest?

Tom(A little unsure): Yeah, sure.  Think she's okay?

Jane(taking his hand): Yeah, she's just strung out and sick to her stomach... Poor kid.

(Tom and Jane both look at their mutual friend for a second and their differences and petty conflicts are totally forgotten in the face of their concern for Daria.  The moment passes in silence.  Then both leave Daria alone on the bed.)

Music: Massive Attack, "Protection"

(Hours later, we've switched to an outside shot of Rancho Lane.  Zooming in, we then quick shift to an interior shot of Jane's room where Jane, Tom and Daria are all occupied in various pursuits.. Jane painting with a brush and easel, Daria occupied with an easel and her fingers of all things and Tom laying on his back reading a book.  Daria looks just plain exulted, another first.)

Daria(her left hand is paint smeared): Hey, check it out, I'm an artist!

Jane(Looking over from her own canvas with a critical eye.): Very not bad, the Force is strong in this one.  Hey, Tommy boy, take a look..

Tom(looking up, he puts down the book and comes over): Hmmm... (Examining what Daria's done with various random splotches of color) I like the choice of colors..  It's very.... How do I put this?  How about "Nuclear waste spill in pastoral garden?"

Daria(Laughs immediately, pretends to curtsy which doesn't work since she's in jeans): Well, high praise indeed, but what do you really think?

Jane(cutting in): I think it's nice seeing you so relaxed for a change (Oops, that slipped out).  I mean...  Not that normally..  (Gives up, looking at the floor) Oh hell.

Daria(Refusing to take her seriously, raises an eyebrow.): Better enjoy it while it lasts, this unnatural state is the result of the chance intersection of pharmacological and bacteriological factors and it's probably a once in a lifetime deal. I haven't felt this way since I had pneumonia back in third grade.

Tom(running with the ball): Just goes to show you there really is an up-side to Chemical/Biological warfare.

Daria(Clicking with him, the way she does with Jane on occasion): Well, until the second stage coupled Anthracis/Botulus kicks in anyway... (Tom laughs, getting the ref, but as usual Jane can feel herself getting shut out by her two friends, dammit.)

Jane(checking the time): Well, as much as I hate to cut into peer criticism, Daria, I expected your mom to be posting an accusing phone call to us about... (sound of phone ringing) Bingo.

Daria(looking fairly deflated): All good things come to a bitter and futile, screaming, crash and burn.. (She puts her glasses back on.)

Jane(trying to be sympathetic): Oh, look, Daria is back, hi Daria.

Daria(Sighs..most of her euphoria has worn off): Hi Jane. Hi Tom.  (Jane hands her the phone) Hi Mom.  (on the phone) Yes. Yes. I'm not at liberty to say.  Hold on.  (looking up) She wants to talk to you, Jane.

Jane(Taking the phone, bracing herself): Yo, Mrs. Morgendorffer.

(Split screen we see Helen, standard ballistic expression when she's really pissed off)

Helen(straight to the point): Jane... What have you done with or to my daughter?

Jane(her hand over the receiver she looks up): That's the second time someone's blamed me for this today!  (back to the phone) Mrs. M, I swear on my easel, she was like this when I found her and it's nothing worse than a little fever and too much medication... She's actually feeling much better.

Helen(Softening, she can tell Jane is being honest.): Well, in that case, I'm just happy she's all right. Could you put her back on?

Jane(handing off the phone to Daria): Sheesh, you'd think I had a history of drug convictions...

Daria(back with Helen): Yeah, uhuh, just like third grade, totally off on cloud nine (Pause.) Okay, you'll come get me?  Great.  Yes.  Buh-bye.  (she hangs up.)

Tom(been listening in): So what happened in third grade?

Daria(expecting the question): Well, basically the same deal as today, I ended up with a fever of something like 108 and in the hospital.  I was off in my own world the whole time, serious nightmares.. (She shivers in recollection).

Tom(sympathetic): That must have been rough.

Jane(Still a little jealous after all the attention Daria's gotten from Tom today.): Good thing I ran into you when I did, huh?

Daria(feeling isolated and shy once again): Yeah... (Looking up slowly, trying to say what she feels.) Thanks for being my guardian angel..  (finally making eye contact) Both of you.

Jane(Touched enough that she forgets her own problems): Why Daria, thank you.

Tom(Putting a hand on Daria's shoulder): Hey, you'd do the same for either one of us.

Jane(Smirking slightly, the divisions are obviously still there): Right, absolutely..  (Doorbell, Jane is relieved) Well, that'll be Helen.

(We jump to the front door where Helen is making her usual fuss over her eldest, Daria's doing her stoic best to avoid too much embarrassment.)

Helen(Already shepherding Daria out the door.): Jane, I can't tell you how thankful I am that you kept an eye on Daria for me.  Now that I'm on the fast track to partner, well, you know where to go if you ever need legal help.

Jane(For Daria's sake, taking that as best as she can.): No problem Mrs. Morgendorffer, (can't resist getting a dig in) And she even behaved herself the whole time too...

(Daria points at her and makes a silent throat slitting gesture in Jane's general direction which Helen misses because she's just noticed Tom ghosting the doorway.)

Helen(taking a polite interest): Why hello, I don't believe we've met?

Daria(rolling her eyes): Mom, that's Tom, Jane's boyfriend.

Tom(Striding past Jane and offering his hand.): I prefer the term "male sycophant" myself.  I've heard a lot about you from Daria, ma'am.

(Helen smiles at this and accepts the offered hand-shake): Well, all the good things are true.  (Daria winces and shakes her head while Tom laughs politely and Jane smirks.)  I don't think Daria has ever mentioned anything about you having a relationship, Jane?

Tom(thinking on his feet): I'm sort of, new in the area, and it's been a fairly recent thing, between me and Jane.

Helen(Uh-oh.. Daria is officially in a whole new minefield with her mom): I see, well, isn't that nice. (turning back to Daria) It's been a pleasure meeting you.  Jane, say hello to Amanda for me, hmmm?

Jane(Surprised at how Tom managed to get Daria off the hook): Sure thing, see you Daria.

Tom(There's that something there.): Yeah.

Daria(Thought VO: "Dear God, please, an aneurysm."): See you at school.

(Jane waves as Helen and Daria pull out and head for home in her SUV)

(Side angle shot, Helen and Daria in the car.)

Helen: Well, what a nice young man.  I'm surprised you've never mentioned him before.  How long has he been a friend of Jane's?

Daria(Thought VO: "Dear God, how about a car crash?"): Uh mom, I'm still really not feeling all that well and I was kind of hoping the interrogation could wait until later?

Helen(Exasperated at her daughter's attitude): Oh, have it your way.

(The rest of the ride home is spent in silence)

(We're back in Daria's room, it's morning and the mistress of the fortress is up and looking slightly panicked, she's obviously trying to remember what happened yesterday and she goes to the phone and dials her best friend's number.)

Jane(Obviously still in bed.): Yello...

Daria(Scratching her forehead.): Just one question, are we still friends?

Jane(Surprised.): Daria!  It's... Never mind.  Anyhow, why wouldn't we still be friends?

Daria(Shaking her head, she's still disoriented): Okay, second question, what exactly did I do and say yesterday and did I alienate either you or Tom?

Jane(more in control of her faculties): No more so than usual, that's a joke. No, you were a little spaced out, but not in a bad way, really..  I had no idea such a good-time gal was hiding under that intellectual exterior, we're going to have to get you to experiment with drugs more often.

Daria(more cynical): And you are aware that the police will never find your remains if you breath a word of this to my family, right?

Jane(smiling): Now that's the Daria I wanted to hear from.  But what am I going to do with the video tapes of you tap dancing for Tom?

Daria(Eye's narrowing): Burn them, then burn the video camera, then inflict suitable retribution on Tom.

Jane(examing her nails): Easy tiger. Besides, I need those tapes as leverage to get you to help me with a little project I have planned. Talk to you at school?

Daria(looking more normal): Okay, sure, just one last question...(looking at her left hand..) Why is my hand green?

Jane(chuckles): You'll love the explanation for that one, later..

Daria(examining her hand): Okay, later.

(thinking to herself as she replaces the telephone handset)

Daria(thought VO: "She was kidding about the tap dancing, right?")

The End...

Closing Notes:

Music: Drain STH, "Klotera"

[Well, hey there folks.  Needless to say, I do my own best work on drugs and sick as a dog and that's what you're seeing here.  I know people are going to be screaming about how I portrayed Daria herein but I wanted to play with the Tom, Jane, Daria dynamic and by knocking her on her butt with a few plot convenient contrivances, there you go.  I also wanted to see Helen's reaction to Tom in that context, and I just know she's going to bend Daria's ear about it when she finds out ("If Jane has a boyfriend etc...").  Incidentally, this was written before I got to see IIFY so don't blame me for the potential plot problems involved with that one.  As usual, all flames, criticisms, sub-poena's, spelling corrections, bullets, attack animals, weapons of mass destruction, eulogy's for the Trent/Daria thing, shipperisms, walnuts, raspberry's, fart jokes (UUHHHHHuuuuuurrr... taking a breath, darn chest cold) etc. can be directed to h_mycroft@hotmail.com.  And as for NyQuil, Denis Leary is right, it is the greatest stuff ever invented!  "I'm high as a kite and my teeth are green, Merry Christmas!"  Thanks to everybody at the OD and Paperpusher's message boards for saying nice things about my mediocre to utterly worthless efforts at fan-fic, you can tell I'm up late and on drugs, I'm thanking people for chrissakes!  An author starts doing that and before you know it, he's got a solid job in advertising or marketing, a nice house, SAAB 9000 in the garage, loving wife, great kids, another career blown straight to hell!!!  That's a P.J. O'Rourke attribution by the way.  Anyhow, hopefully this won't conflict with anything that happens in "Dye, Dye, my darling" and it won't utterly suck when I re-read it about 24 hours from now.  Jah Love peoples, and for crying out loud support one another!  Thanks.

Bob Marley