An Unerring Sense of Color
A Daria fan fiction by MeScribble (MeScribble@aol.com)

Quinn sighed and rubbed the bridge of her nose. It is definitely easier to stay ahead in class in the summertime, when you don't have all of those classes to get in the way, she thought. Quinn nibbled on her eraser. Hmm. I suppose that would be irony, wouldn't it? She'd told her friends that she had a date with a boy who "went to another school," but in reality, her date was with Philip K. Louzer, the author of her American History textbook. Mr. DeMartino had been hinting about a pop quiz on the Roaring Twenties, and she wanted to be prepared. Unfortunately, the extremely dry textbook was frustrating her.

Quinn suddenly realized that she was rubbing all of the oils from her hands onto her face. Eew, zits, she said to herself. It was definitely time for a break. Quinn snapped the book shut and headed downstairs for a soda. She was worried about the quiz, but felt a little bit better knowing that none of her friends had managed to pick up on DeMartino's subtle hints--they didn't even know the quiz was coming. That particular bit of knowledge made Quinn smirk with satisfaction.

Daria and Tom were on the couch in the family room, watching TV. Both looked up as she walked through.

"Hey, Quinn." Tom smiled at her.

"We already checked--Fashion Vision is a rerun," Daria told her.

Quinn smiled sarcastically at her sister. "Very funny, Daria." Then she had an idea. "Hey, Daria, you had Mr. DeMartino for history last year, right?"

"Well, since as far as I know, there's not another history teacher at Lawndale, I think it would be safe to assume that the answer to your question is yes," Daria deadpanned.

Quinn smiled sweetly, groaning inwardly. Trust Daria to spend take a simple yes or no question and use it as a springboard for sarcasm. "Mr. DeMartino was hinting around about a quiz on the Roaring Twenties, and I've read the chapter, but I was wondering if maybe you'd let me take a look at your notes from last year, so that I could, like, get another perspective on it."

Daria looked at her skeptically. "You're serious, aren't you?" she asked.

Quinn sighed theatrically. "Well, I am trying to bring my grade point average up, and I figure, since you're so smart, and you're not using them anymore, your old notes could really help me out. I mean, I know that you'll be going off to some fancy college next year, but if I want to go anywhere good, I'm going to need all of the help I can get," Quinn said. She hoped that her flattery had been subtle enough, but not too subtle. She also hoped that she didn't somehow slip and inadvertently insult Daria; she'd learned the hard way that that would be a deal-breaker for sure.

Tom chuckled. "What were you telling me about your sister and the Fashion Fiends?" he asked.

Quinn snapped her eyes over to Daria at that, but Daria's only reaction was to elbow Tom in the ribs. "Well, all right then. American History is in a blue notebook on my bookcase. Third shelf," Daria said.

"Thanks, Daria!" Quinn bounced off to the kitchen for her soda.

Daria looked at Tom. "What did I tell you? She's turning into a brain."

Tom smiled. "So what does that make you?"

Daria looked at him seriously. "I don't know. Does this new cran-raspberry lip gloss make me look fat?"

Tom responded by lightly bonking Daria over the head with one of the sofa cushions.


Daria sure has a lot of weird books, Quinn thought as she perused the shelves. Quinn shook her head, remembering the time that she had borrowed A Journal of the Plague Years. Daria was definitely an odd one.

As promised, the third shelf was filled with old notebooks. Quinn sighed, looking for the blue one. After a bit of digging, she found herself with three notebooks in front of her. I wonder which one she would consider blue? Quinn asked herself. One was a light bluish-green turquoise color, the next was a dark navy, and the third was almost indigo. Shrugging, Quinn put the indigo and turquoise notebooks back on the shelf and retreated to her room with the navy blue one.

Quinn idly flipped through the notebook's pages, wondering where she'd find the stuff about the 1920's. As she flipped, a passage caught her eye:

                        I plot you death
                        I dance on your grave
                        The end is near...

The poem, or whatever it was, went on for nearly a page. This was most definitely not Daria's old history notebook. Slightly disturbed by what she had just read, Quinn turned to another page at random.

                        Why don't you listen to me?
                        I tell you my problems
                        Expose my fears
                        And your casual reassurances mean nothing
                        A way to get me out of the way
                        To focus me on you
                        You don't understand
                        You don't even try
                        Your dismissal of me hurts
                        Like I'm only being silly
                        When it's not
                        Not to me at least
                        Your flippancy belies the truth
                        That you don't know me
                        You don't even try
                        Why won't you listen to me?

Whoa. Quinn's eyes widened. She didn't know if the poetry (if, indeed, that's what it was) was any good, but she did know that Daria had expressed more emotion on that one page than she had to Quinn's face in the last five years. This is the side we never get to see, Quinn thought. She curled up on her bed, history forgotten for the time being, and began to read in earnest.


The notebook was certainly different. As near as Quinn could tell, it was a combination of random thoughts (Quinn thought that perhaps it might have been what Mr. O'Neill referred to as "stream of consciousness"), poetry, story fragments, and character sketches. Towards the end of the notebook, Quinn found a few scenes which she thought she recognized from the story that Daria had read at the coffeehouse that one time. Quinn found herself smirking at her sister's dry sense of humor. She definitely has a talent, I'll give her that, Quinn thought.

The most interesting thing that Quinn found, however, were four page-long character descriptions that Daria had been working on for a story. The characters bore an uncanny resemblance to the Fashion Club. As near as Quinn could tell (she couldn't find anything in the notebook regarding this particular story other than the character outlines), it was a story about four girls who had been "best friends" throughout most of high school, until their senior year, when everything collapsed. Five years later, three of the girls were reunited to attend the funeral of the fourth, who had committed suicide.

It was disturbing. Quinn wondered if perhaps it might even be prophetic. She mulled this over for a while, thinking about the ugly turn that the power struggle in the Fashion Club had taken recently. Ah, forget it, Quinn thought. It's only fiction. Besides, even if it was about the Fashion Club, Daria doesn't know us that well. She wouldn't know what's going on. Quinn closed the notebook and tentatively poked her head out into the hallway. No one was there. She ventured a few steps further, stopping a few feet from Daria's door to listen. Tom was long gone, and she could hear Daria typing away in her room. Quinn briefly wondered how pissed Daria would be that she had looked through her notebook. Visions of a volcanic eruption flitted through Quinn's mind. Better hold onto this until I can return it to her room without her knowing about it, she decided.

The door to Daria's room opened so suddenly that Quinn, caught off guard, dropped the notebook. Daria looked at her oddly. Aw, crap, Quinn thought.

"Done studying for the night?" Daria asked.

Quinn leaned down to pick up the fallen notebook, which thankfully had landed face down, so that only the plain cardboard back showed. "Um, yeah. Thanks for letting me use your notes," she said.

"Coming by to return them, or were you lurking outside my room for some other reason?"

"Uh... some other reason?" Quinn quietly damned herself for making it sound like a question.

Daria's eyes narrowed. "Right."

Quinn hugged the notebook to her chest. "So..." she said.

"So... what did you want?" Daria replied

Think fast, Morgendorffer! Quinn screamed to herself. "So, did Mr. DeMartino give a lot of pop quizzes when you had him?"

Daria shrugged. "Well, considering he usually made it fairly obvious that there was going to be a quiz, I don't know if you could call them 'pop' quizzes, but yeah, I guess so."

"Oh. Okay." Quinn looked relieved, which Daria though was rather odd, considering she'd just been told she had more quizzes to look forward to. "Well, I guess I should go do some more reading then. Good night, Daria!" Quinn said cheerfully, as she scooted back down the hall to her own room. The door shut with a bang.

Daria looked down the now-empty hallway. "That," she said to no one, "was definitely strange. Even for Quinn." With a shrug, she returned to her room.

Time for some quality reading, Daria thought as she went over to her bookshelf. Maybe a little Machiavelli tonight. Daria had picked up the book of her choice and was three steps across the room when she realized that something wasn't right. Going back to the bookcase, she looked down at the third shelf. Her old American History notebook was sitting on top of the others. Daria's eyes narrowed.

"Okay... which notebook did the little airhead take?" Daria asked "...And who the hell am I talking to?"


Quinn was trying to concentrate on her text when there was a sharp rap at her door. "Come in," she called.

Daria stood before her, holding out the turquoise notebook. "Okay, so which one did you end up with?" she asked.

Quinn cringed. Daria just looked at her impassively. Sighing, Quinn pulled the navy blue notebook out from under her bed. "This one," she said, tossing it at Daria.

"Oh. I guess I should have been more specific when I said 'the blue one.'"

Quinn smiled tentatively. "Actually, that one," she said, gesturing to the blue-green one, "is turquoise. Not blue."

Daria looked amused. "They're both blue," she said.

Quinn shook her head. "Imagine what your little art friend would say if she heard you! You have no sense of color at all! I, on the other hand, have an unerring sense of color, which is why I took the one I took," Quinn said.

"Yet your unerring sense of color made you choose the wrong one," Daria said.

"Well, that's not my fault!" Quinn said.

Daria cocked an eyebrow. "Whatever you say, Quinn." She leafed aimlessly through the notebook Quinn had tossed to her, when suddenly her features went blank. "You didn't read any of this, did you?" she asked.

Quinn squirmed. "Well, yeah, kind of."

Daria exhaled sharply, momentarily blowing her bangs away from her forehead. "Crap," she muttered under her breath. "If you were going to take one of my writing notebooks, you could have at least taken one that had some good stuff in it," she told Quinn.

Quinn wondered where this conversation was going. "Well, I thought some of the stuff in there was very good. Very.. interesting," Quinn said.

"'I plot your death, I dance on your grave,'" Daria quoted. "Yeah, real quality stuff here. What did you really think?"

Quinn pursed her lips. "Well, I liked the Melody Powers story, and those descriptions you had for the people for that 'Reunion' story were pretty cool, but some of the poetry was kind of..." Quinn searched for the right word. "...Intense."

Daria regarded her seriously. "Quinn, before you go off and tell mom that I'm homicidal or suicidal or something, please remember that it's only poetry. It's not necessarily a window into my deeply tormented soul."

Quinn chuckled nervously. "Oh. Of course not, Daria! I would never think that!"

Daria just looked at her.

"Well, okay, maybe I would," Quinn admitted.

"Sorry to get your hopes up, but you can call off the men with butterfly nets. You do realize that most of that stuff was written way back when we lived in Highland, right?" Daria asked.

Quinn paused. If the notebook went in chronological order, that would make sense. "Oh," she said, sheepishly. "Was Highland really that bad for you?"

Daria smirked. "More like, it was really that boring, and my writing style back then was really that melodramatic."

Quinn played with her hair, subconsciously aware that she was probably giving herself split ends. "So whose grave were you planning to dance on?" she asked, looking down at the floor.

Daria favored her with one of her infamous Mona Lisa smiles. "Probably yours. But I really don't remember now. All I really remember about writing that one was that I was really angry and needed to blow off steam."

Quinn looked up at her sister. "Does that really work for you?"

Daria shrugged. "I haven't killed anyone yet. At least that anyone knows about," she deadpanned.

"Ha ha, Daria," Quinn said.

"So, do you want my history notes or not," Daria asked.

Quinn smiled. "Yeah, that would be good. Thanks."

Daria placed the turquoise notebook on Quinn's desk. "Well, here you go, then. Enjoy the build-up to the Great Depression."

"I'm sure I will," Quinn said.

"Good night, Quinn," Daria said, heading for the door.

"Hey Daria?"

"Yes, Quinn?" Daria did not turn around

"Maybe you could show me some of your other stuff sometime?"

Unseen by her sister, Daria smiled. "Yeah. I think you'll love the stuff I came up with after that time Dad set the house on fire."

Quinn blushed, remembering how she had all but kicked Daria out of their hotel room.

"Goodnight, sis."



AUTHOR'S NOTES
So, this is my first attempt at fan fiction. My inspiration was kind of weird; it was three o'clock in the morning, and I had just finished writing down some free-form thoughts that I'd been having. Looking at it, I wondered how someone else would react to what I had written… and thus the seeds of the story were planted. I knew I had to write it down a few minutes later as I was brushing my teeth and the title struck me. I suck at coming up with titles, and here was one coming to me, unbidden. :)

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this. Have a wonderful morning, afternoon, and/or evening, and if you'd like to send me feedback (which would be most appreciated), you may do so by e-mailing me at MeScribble@aol.com.

DISCLAIMER
Daria and her "pals" are the creations of Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis Lynn but are owned by MTV, a Viacom company, © 1997, 2000. This work of fan fiction was created purely for entertainment purposes, and no one is making any money from it. From reading other people's disclaimers, I have gathered that fan fiction is a "substantially transformative" derivative work, and as such is protected by the Campbell v. Acuff Rose Music Supreme Court decision. Woohoo. So don't post this for money, even if you could find someone willing to buy it from you. Also, if you run a fan fiction website and would like to add this to your collection, please drop me a line at the e-mail address listed above. I'd like to keep track of where this thing goes. Thank you!