Disclaimer: Daria and all related characters are the property of MTV and Viacom productions.

Note: This story is the next in the "Unseen Phenomenon Series" and takes place two weeks after "Generations".

Change of Pace

(The scene is black with the exception of the irritating green glow of the digital alarm clock that sits poised to ring at a moments notice on top of the night stand on the right side of the bed. The bright LED numbers on the clock have just changed to display the most current time which happens to be 2:03 in the morning. Snoring is heard in the background emanating not from a single person but from two people simultaneously, almost as if they were in contest to see who could drown the other out first. The volume of the snoring was a definite indicator of extreme fatigue, it was at times nasal and screamed of dry throat. But all of this was to come to an end... without warning a wail pierced the darkness. And a few seconds later a second wail of a slightly different tone slammed into the eardrums of the slumbering individuals causing them to create their own batch of noises. A couple of grunts and a pair of groans and one of them had at least managed to work open a single bloodshot eye. A minute later the same person brought forth the second eye into the darkness, equally as bloodshot and blurry as the other without the aid of a pair of glasses. Despite the darkness, what needs to be done is clear... the fate of sanity itself may very well depend on it. It's time to get the significant other to fall out of bed and tend to the hungry infants this time around. Daria groggily reached over in the darkness and shook the warm sleeping body of her husband. He, being tired himself from a very late day at work, had the covers pulled far over his head to insure not only comfort and warmth but silence as well. The shaking had no effect as Duncan continued to snore, Daria shook him again with still no effect. She then decided that a snap of cool air would wake him out of his hiatus in dreamland, Daria whipped the covers off of his body hoping to wake him into consciousness but instead got a loud report caused by the rapid escape of body gas from Duncan's lower half. Daria grimaced in disgust as she quickly covered him back up to contain the stench and then decided that enough was enough. She gave Duncan a swift smack on the head and as he grunted to indicate that he was now semi conscious, Daria informed him of the gruesome tasks ahead of him. Duncan resisted with the inquiry as to who's turn it really was, Daria scowled at him in the darkness as she informed him that she had been tending to the newborns all day and that it was now his turn to tend them. Upon his less than positive response Daria demonstrated her resolve to him by finding her way in the dark to the bathroom, filled a small bucket that had once been used to capture morning sickness midstream with ice cold water from the tub spigot, carried it back to the bed and shook it over Duncan's head as a warning that if he didn't get up immediately then he was going to wear the bucket and it's contents. Duncan's attitude became much more favorable to Daria from that moment on and through the course of the night which happened to include another two wake up calls, one having been for a feeding and the other to change the nastiest soiled diapers you'd ever smelled. Duncan swore at one point to Daria that the infants seemed to defecate in unison regardless of whom had eaten what and when.)

(The scene cuts to late the next morning, Daria is busy sitting on the couch. She has parked within close reach a blue stroller with a baby boy resting comfortably between a cushion and a comforter. In her arms, resting against her chest is a baby girl who is avidly nursing on Daria's exposed breast. The screech of a deadbolt is heard from the front door followed by a brief burst of sunlight as Helen lets herself in and then quickly closes the door behind her as quietly as possible. She walks up to Daria who, since the very sound of the lock could have changed the situation from a moment of peace and quiet to one of ear piercing noise, has turned her attention towards Hellen with a scowl on her face.)

Helen: ( Pads as quietly as possible over to the couch and then has a seat next to Daria before speaking in a whisper) Hi sweetie... sorry to just let myself in like that but I didn't want to wake the babies with the doorbell. Besides, awake or asleep I figured you still had your hands full with them. (Looks Daria over) Oh my... you don't look that well at all. Having a hard time adjusting to motherhood are we?

Daria: You've come here to rub my face in it I see. I should have seen it coming... you've probably been waiting all my life to reap your vengeance on me for all the trouble I caused when I was this old.

Helen: Well... I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least getting SOME satisfaction out of it. But I know first hand that parenting ONE newborn is hard enough... but you wound up with double trouble. So I've come to help out...

Daria: (sighs in relief) Thank god... whip out a boob and take Ariel from me. I feel like the living dead and I've only been up since eight.

Helen: I'm afraid I can't help you there, Daria. My um... breasts... have long since dried up.(smirks) How much sleep did you get before that?

Daria: I got sleep? (Helen covers her mouth to keep from waking the children with her laughter)

Helen: They do keep you on a tight schedule, don't they?

Daria: (groans) Yea... theirs. (Daria pulls Ariel away from her breast and hands her to Helen, after which the baby coo's a little and falls fast asleep in Helen's arms) How the hell do you do that? It took me forever to get her asleep the past couple of times.

Helen: (Smiles knowingly) It just takes practice sweetie... you'll learn soon enough and instinct will take over. (Looks down at Daria's still exposed breast) My... you're certainly swollen. Is Duncan jealous, what with both of them being occupied?

Daria: (Chuckles) A little bit... but fortunately he's not interested in the milk, just in staring at them as the continue to increase in size. It's kind of goofy if you think about it but at least that means that I don't have to try to save him any.

Helen: Has Duncan been helpful enough during the night?

Daria: Let's just say that we've come to an understanding.

Helen: (smirks evilly) I'm glad to hear it... most husbands are hard to get out of bed when it comes to tending to a child in the middle of the night. (Looks over at Nicodemus asleep in his stroller) Has he been fed already?

Daria: (groans) Not yet... I'm waiting for him to wake up on his own first. Maybe I'll be able to close my eyes for a few minutes if I'm lucky.

Helen: I'll tell you what... why don't you squeeze some into a bottle for him and I'll take it from here. You go get some sleep... you look absolutely dreadful.

Daria: Really... wow I must be getting better at this. (Helen and Daria share a laugh before Daria complies and heads off to the bed room for some well earned rest)

(Cut to early in the evening... fortunately Duncan was able to get off work on time today and is home with Daria trying to be as helpful as he can be. He is currently playing with Nicodemus as he sits in his stroller and laughs at the objects Duncan is waving in front of his face. Helen having been relieved once Duncan came home has herself retired back to the Morgendorffer residence for the evening. Daria... now awake from her afternoon's comatose like slumber is busy in the kitchen preparing dinner. No it's not lasagne. The doorbell rings which by some miracle doesn't set off the children and Daria comes walking out of the kitchen and past Duncan to answer the door. Daria knew it would be Jane... she'd shown up late enough not to get involved in any of the dirty work just like she'd done every day for the past two weeks. Not that Daria really minded that so much... after all she shouldn't expect her best friend to help her take care of her own children. But then again... Daria couldn't help thinking that's what friends are supposed to be there for.)

Jane: (POV from the outside of the house as Daria opens the door) Que pasa, mi madre? How goes the parental endeavor? (Daria merely steps aside to let Jane in and then leads the way to the kitchen. Once there Daria begins to converse with Jane in low tones)

Daria: I'm achy, my boobs are swollen to the size of a hot air balloon, my crotch itches from the epesiotomy, despite an afternoon nap I'm still tired, and I can't have sex for another month.

Jane:Yea... I hear that hormone roller coaster after a birth can be a real bitch. (Beat) So... is it feeding the little buggers that's getting to you or just everything in general?

Daria: (smirks) Everything in general... but especially feeding them. At times I wish Duncan would grow a pair of boobs and take over for me.

Jane: Yeesh... now there's a scary thought. Has your mother been able to help out at all?

Daria: As a matter of fact she has... I figured it was a matter of time before she came over to begin spoiling her grandchildren. But she's got timing, I'll give her that much.

Jane: (laughs) Just when you thought you were free of the parental units you go ahead and create a perfectly legitimate reason for them to walk right back into your everyday life.

Daria: Maybe so... but at the moment they're welcome to walk in anytime they want. This is almost too much for me to handle right now.

Jane: Ugh... sounds like a lot of work. Is there anything I can do to help?

Daria: I was wondering if you were ever going to ask.

Jane: What's that supposed to mean?

Daria: (sighs) Nothing... it's just that ever since the kids were born it's almost like you wait until you're certain that there's nothing else to be done to come over. I could really use your help sometimes Jane.

Jane: Daria... I work for gods sake. I don't just paint everyday you know.

Daria: I know... I just feel so overwhelmed. I just need more help and I can't help but wish you were around as often as you used to be.

Jane: I'm still around... besides what do you think I came by here tonight for? I know there's something to be done around here. (Beat) Speaking of work... is Duncan being of any help?

Daria: When he's home, he's a godsend. In the middle of the night is sometimes a different story though.

Jane: Doesn't want to get out of that nice warm bed huh? Can't say I blame him... it must be a special kind of guy who'll get out of bed to take care of two newborns in the middle of the night while allowing you to sleep. Too bad Duncan can't be that kind of guy...

Daria: He is... I'm just still in the middle of training him to be that way. He'll get there soon enough. Of coarse that'll probably be when I don't need him to get up anymore.

Jane: (Shakes her head) And all this happens during the night.

Daria: Yea... but like I said. During the day when he's home is a whole new ball game.

Jane: Oh well... at least he's helpful period and not one of those dead beat dads.

Daria: Nope... Duncan's great. (Sighs) I just wish he could stay home with me.

Jane: Yea... I can imagine. But somebody has to go out and bring in the money while you're out on maternity. (Jane rubs her hands together in foreshadow of an upcoming announcement) Well... Friends are supposed to be there when you need help the most. So here I am... what can I do for you my friend? (Daria pauses to sniff the air and then smirks at Jane with malicious intent)

Daria: Funny you should say that... I smell a "package" in delivery. And it's not arriving by UPS that's for sure. It's probably Nicodemus... he hasn't gone all day. Wanna help me change him? (Jane wears a disgusted expression on her face as she puts thought into her response)

Jane: I do seem to pick the worst times to be helpful don't I? (Daria smiles at her friend and escorts her back into the living room where Duncan has already begun preparing the baby)

(Cut to the Morgendorffer household that same night as Helen and Jake are preparing for bed. Helen having changed into a sleep shirt already watches as Jake walks around the bedroom bath area looking for his electric shaver. Helen sighs as she gives up on waiting for Jake to join her and she climbs under the covers by herself)

Helen: Jake for gods sake... would it kill you to just for once use a regular razor like the rest of the male population?

Jake: (who is now searching the cabinet underneath the sink in the master bathroom) Helen... you know I have sensitive skin. If I just use a razor then I'll break out in a rash again.

Helen: (shakes her head in pity) And I thought men were supposed to be rough and tough when it came to such things. How did you ever manage to get by in that military school your father shipped you off to?

Jake: Hey... it takes a little bit more than not using a razor to keep old Jake from getting by. (Starts going off into one of his rants again) Lousy stinking father... "you bring it on yourself" he says. "Can't fight off bullies with an electric razor" he says... (Helen in the meantime is trying to forget that she's ever said anything on the subject until Jake reaches the very peak of his ranting at which point Helen feels obligated to change the subject in order to preserve peace in the neighborhood. Helen could just see Jake now... climbing a clock tower somewhere with a rifle and taking out a dozen or so students at the old academy just because they all attended the same hell Jake did but without having to endure his father. )

Helen: You know I dropped in on Daria today... (Jake stops ranting at the mention of Daria and her family additions) The grandchildren look absolutely adorable.

Jake: What... you went to see Daria today? Helen, why didn't you tell me? I would have wanted to go.

Helen: Jake... they're newborns not energetic toddlers. Besides... do you remember what happened the LAST time you tried to pay attention to a baby?

Jake: (looks sullen) Yea... I scared it and the poor little guy cried for hours. But that was an accident Helen... I swear.

Helen: I know but right now it's just not worth the chance of a repeat occurrence. Daria is tired enough as it is now that she has her hands full... and the only reason I went over to visit so soon is because I'm actually experienced in the role as a mother and I thought Daria could use some assistance. And as it turned out I was right.

Jake: The little monsters giving her hell are they?

Helen: Jake... they are NOT monsters. They're two adorable newborns and they have no control over the way they act yet. They DO act a LITTLE odd once in a while though... this afternoon for example. While Daria was sleeping I was tending to the kids and they kept looking past me and laughing at something. Which is strange because newborns can't really see that far in the first place, besides. There was nothing behind me but the wall ten feet away.

Jake: I'm sure it's just you're imagination getting to you. If there's one thing that kids pick up quickly it's how to push your buttons.

Helen: Jake... they're two weeks old. They don't even know what buttons are yet.

Jake: Oh they'll learn... trust me on that. Of coarse my father always claimed he didn't have buttons that could be pushed... but I proved him WRONG! (Beat) The next day he shipped me off to military school. (Beat) Heartless BASTARD!! (Helen pinches her sinuses as she lets out a heavy sigh)

(Cut to three days later. It is morning sometime around eleven AM. The scene is inside Jane's home, Jane herself is sitting on the couch eating a bowl of cereal and watching some show on pottery when the phone rings. Reluctantly Jane gets up off the couch to answer)

Jane: Yo...

Daria: Hey Grandma... it's time to take your damned pills.

Jane: (chuckles) Isn't that what you should be saying to your own mother these days? (Awkward silence) So what's up amiga?

Daria: You feel up to doing anything?

Jane: I should ask you the same thing... why what's up?

Daria: My mom came over again to relieve me for a while, I was wondering if you wanted to go grab a bite to eat or something.

Jane: Itching to get out of the house are we?

Daria: As if I were under attack by a swarm of mosquitos. I think I'm gonna go nuts if I don't get out of here for at least a little bit.

Jane: And your mom's okay with that?

Daria: Are you kidding? She suggested it... now come pick my ass up. I'd drive myself but I'm afraid my swollen boobs would obstruct my view of the road.

Jane: Or distract other drivers view from it. (Chuckles) I'll be right over. (Hangs up and the scene flashes to the pizza king about an hour later as Jane and Daria sit down with a steaming pie on the table) I see you've lost the waddle... AND most of the bulge. I guess you no longer feel like a house... huh?

Daria: More like a trailer home these days... but I'm getting there.

Jane: (smiles) The Daria I know is slowly returning to the world of the damned.

Daria: Well it certainly can't be heaven... or else Kevin wouldn't still be alive.

Jane: (leans back in her seat) What are you talking about... Kevin's dead. He's been that way for the past six months... of coarse what with his mind having been atrophied all of his life the body couldn't tell the difference and just kept trying to go about his normal routine of taking up oxygen during the six hours he was on life support.

Daria: When the hell did THIS happen... (smirks) and HOW?

Jane: He was playing for the Washington sentinels when, while running down field to the end zone, the wrong one mind you, he tripped over his own shoe laces and fell face first into the astro-turf breaking his nose and shoving the cartilage up into his brain. (Beat) The face mask on his helmet was defective I guess.

Daria: Must have been a lot of cartilage considering how much empty space was up there. (Beat) How did Brittany take it?

Jane: I think she cried for a whole half of a second before being hit on by one of the other players. She waited the six hours to order his removal from life support out of respect for their short marriage. I hear she's engaged to be married now.

Daria: Some people just heal quickly I guess.

Jane: Yup... so how's parenthood? You looked like you wanted to cry when I first picked you up.

Daria: (rubs under her eyes just in case she was still tearing up a little) Sorry about that... it's just these damned hormone swings. For no reason I could fathom... I just felt so overwhelmed all of a sudden and I couldn't control this sudden urge to cry. (Beat) Dammit... I never cry!

Jane: Sure you do... what about when your sister died?

Daria: (mumbles) That was different...

Jane: Okay... I'll give you that. There were extenuating circumstances involved. (Sighs) Well... then I guess you're just experiencing post birth something or other.

Daria: You mean post-partum depression?

Jane: See... and you claimed that you didn't know why you felt this way.

Daria: I am not depressed... and I'm NOT a misery chick.

Jane: Who said you were? And even if that WERE the case... misery loves company which would explain my presence here.

Daria: (looks at Jane crossly) You're not going to whip out a strap on and try to use it on me or something are you?

Jane: (laughs hysterically) Where the hell did THAT come from?

Daria: I saw it on the Internet once... two girls getting it on. One of them with a strap on and the caption was that misery loved company. (Beat) I guess it just creeped me out when you said it... I had the sudden impression that you were the one who created the picture.

Jane: Um...no, I honestly don't think I'm into that sort of thing. At least not with another girl... TIM on the other hand is quite adept with tools of a sexual nature.

Daria: (looking disgusted) I don't even wanna know.

Jane: Oh come on... you mean you've never tried anything other than plain ordinary five minute intercourse?

Daria: (smirks lustfully) It's NEVER lasted only five minutes, Jane. (Blushes when she realizes that she's just loosed some very personal information)

Jane: (arks an eyebrow) Experiencing another one of those hormone swings are we? (Daria looks away shamefully)

Daria: Sorry...

Jane: Don't worry about it... it happens to all of us. I in particular just happen to be more open about it. (Beat) Soooooooooo...?

Daria: So... what?

Jane; Let's hear it... what used to go on in the bedroom before you blew up like a balloon?

Daria: THAT... is NONE of your business, Jane. (Jane crosses her arms and stares. Daria after a few minutes realizes that Jane intends to pry until the cows come home so she might as well trust her with a few small tidbits of info.) (Loud sigh) Alright... what do you want to know?

Jane: Oh don't be so dramatic about it... I don't want to know every little moan and groan you make. I just want to trade a little saddle info... between friends. I'll give up some juicy details of my own.

Daria: I doubt anything you've done could be considered juicy.

Jane: Now now... don't judge unless you've tried these things for yourself. Toys? (Daria shakes her head no) oils? (No again) Felacio...? (Daria looks away)

Daria: It didn't really work out the one time we tried it.

Jane: What happened?

Daria: We tried it, and I was doing okay when I accidentally nipped him with my teeth. (Jane cringes) That pretty much put an end to that.

Jane: I imagine it WOULD... how about the other way around?

Daria: Nah... I've never really been into that sort of thing. Considering what those parts of the body are used for and all.

Jane : But you had no problem doing it to him?

Daria:(scowls) I was trying to be open about experimentation.

Jane: What better way to be open... especially since you can't have sex for a few weeks. (Smirks as Daria rolls her eyes)

Daria: All right that's enough about my life... turn the tables around. What have YOU done... and be mindful. My ears are sensitive.

Jane: I've pretty much done everything except the lesbian thing. Of coarse... I've never done any of it while sky diving... or scuba...

Daria: I think that's about enough of story hour... thanks for the visuals Jane. I have a hard enough time looking at the tape Duncan made of the births. (Jane laughs)

Jane: I've got to admit, I'm jealous Daria.

Daria: You're jealous of staying up twenty four seven... looking like a zombie, swollen breasts, soiled diapers? What is there to be jealous of?

Jane: That little moment when you got to hold them for the first time, smile at them and be proud of them just for being born.

Daria: That's funny... I never pictured you as the motherly type, Jane.

Jane: I've never pictured myself that way either... it just sort of dawned on me. I'm thinking of talking to Tim about trying... I wonder how receptive he'll be?

Daria: Jane, you have no idea the world you're hoping to bring yourself into.

Jane: I'm not hoping to bring myself into a world... I'm hoping to bring someone else into it. I figure I might fare just a little bit better than most first timers with the advanced Intel you'll be able to provide me with.

Daria: (shrugs) Good luck... you'll NEED it.

Jane: Thanks old friend. (Beat) By the way... I will try to be there for you more often. I figure it can serve as occupational training.

Daria: How comforting to know that you'll only help if it serves your purpose.

Jane: Hey... it's what I'm here for.

Daria: (long pause) How about Trent and Maria as long as we're discussing biological replication?

Jane: I dunno... I haven't heard a peep out of them on the subject. (Shrugs) Maybe they just don't want any accidents.

Daria: As much of a sexaholic as Maria is... I'm surprised they haven't had FIVE accidents by now.

Jane: Nah... she uses birth control AND a rubber rain coat. I doubt she's looking for an accident before she's ready.

Daria: (shrugs) To each their own I guess. (Beat) I can't believe we're actually sitting in a pizza shop discussing who's having kids and who isn't.

Jane: I guess it's just something a mother likes to do. (Daria stares at Jane in thought)

Daria: God, I feel old...(Jane bursts into laughter and pounds the table a few times)

(The scene fades to the evening a week later. The scene is a dark room in Daria's home... a sliver of light appears from a crack in the door way as it inches open far enough for Daria to peek in. The cribs can be seen illuminated in the sliver of light being allowed into the room. The children are fast asleep for once, a miracle in Daria's mind, but still Daria feels compelled to check on them by fears and phobias of all the things she'd heard can happen to a sleeping infant. She creeps into the room and closing the door just enough to again allow only a sliver of light in. Between the two cribs Daria sat down on a folding chair shifting in her seat as she moved to look at each sleeping child. Ariel lay sleeping with her thumb stuck in her mouth, she kicked one of her legs in her sleep. Perhaps because of a dream she was having, or maybe just some sort of reflex action. Either way... it was adorable. It seemed to strange... there was so much work involved it seemed almost impossible that a single moment could make it all worth while, but yet as she watched her baby girl sleep that's exactly how she felt. Daria turned her attention to Nicodemus who to Daria's surprise was wide awake and had been watching her this whole time without making a sound. He smiled at seeing his mother... probably because he thought it was feeding time.)

Daria: (VO) Breasts... even as an infant that's all you guys think about. (Nick extended his arms outward as if to reach for her and then let them drop onto the mattress. Daria smiled back and picked him up out of his crib and placed him against her shoulder while patting him on the back. He cooed at being held by his mother and then burped. And the strange thing was that nick didn't even have to cry for his mother to come burp him, Daria just knew. Maybe Helen was right, Daria thought to herself, instinct after a while just seems to click in once the behavioral patterns had been learned. ) (VO) Maybe things won't be so bad after all... (Daria smiled as she held the baby, she couldn't believe that he was still quiet. Duncan quietly entered the room several hours later to find Daria sitting in the recliner in the corner of the room, she still held little Nick in her arms, and they were both fast asleep. He almost hated to take him from her... but it was feeding time and Duncan had already warmed the bottles Daria had set aside earlier. As much as Daria had stopped to admire her children... Duncan felt compelled to stop and admire Daria for everything she had accomplished through her hard work. He knew he could never have gone though what she had and survived, and not just for the physical reasons, but for the emotional as well. Duncan slipped Nick from her arms and the picked Ariel out of her crib and took a position in the recliner on the opposite side of the cribs. Daria didn't have to wake up to tend the children a single time that night.)

The End...

Note: Suggestions and commentary are always welcome... I may be contacted at wildgoose81@hotmail.com