An 'I Challenge YOU!' Daria fic by Brother Grimace





The first thing she noticed was that his eyes looked older.


Caught off guard as the door opened while she reached for the handle, she was immediately filled with a wave of nostalgia as two very familiar hands grasped her shoulders and kept her from falling.


Brittany Taylor squealed in alarm as she straightened herself, and looked up into the eyes of Kevin Thompson.




They stood by the front door of a nearly empty Pizza King. The only other persons in sight were a pair of college-age students, inside a booth by the jukebox, and laughing over a jumbo Garbage Pizza.


"I made the squad," she said, trying to put the fluffy lightness back in her voice, but somehow unable to do so. "I got my grades up over the summer – I hate summer school! – and I made it..." Her voice trailed away.


"I saw you on the Pigskin Channel," Kevin said, also trying to put the empty happiness Brittany once despised and was drawn to into his voice, and failing just as Brittany did. "Great Prairie State vs. Fort Christian Tech. You guys stomped them."


The silence stretched for over a minute.


"I'm going to start working for my father. When the season opens up again. I'm good at building things."


"That's great."


"Yeah. I'm not that good with pizza."


"I had to change what I'm doing, too."




"I don't know enough to do vet- to help –" Brittany stopped, and took a slight breath. "I'm not going to be a veterinarian. I changed to English."


"But you already know how to talk in English."


"I write stories." She was actually surprised that there was no sarcasm in her voice.


"Like Daria does?"


"She'd probably be surprised if she knew we were in the same thing – The same major."


The silence was somewhat shorter.


"Want some pizza?"


"I have to go soon – I'm having dinner with..." Brittany's voice trailed off; she hadn't wanted to bring up Mack in this conversation. "I'm doing some writing for Coffee House!"


"You write for one of those coffee stores...?"


"It's a soap opera! Coffee House is the soap opera they do for the college TV station!" She perked up as she talked, and she saw a spark of light come back into Kevin's eyes. "One of my teachers said that he liked my stories, and he thought that I might be able to help the writers there!"




"They thought that I wanted to be on the show. They ask me every now and then, but I just like writing. I get to do all of the big romance scenes – all of the girls in my dorm always bug me because they want to know what'll happen!"




A third patch of silence.


"I was going to the Zon this summer. I met this girl – Toni. She plays with this band called the Harpies."




"She helps me with studying and stuff. Dad wants me to take vo- vota- I mean... He wants me to take some classes to learn more about the business. Toni helps me study."


"That's... That's nice of her."


"After I get off work tonight, we're driving up to Carver County. She likes to ski."


"Okay. Can you ski?"


"No. I like watching her, though."


One last silence. "I gotta get back to work." Kevin said, smiling that dumb grin that Brittany knew so well.


"I have to go, too. I have to..." She stopped, and looked Kevin in the eye. "Mack and I have to be at Daddy's house by six."


"I know."


Brittany opened the door; a wayward gust of the sharp December wind blew her long, flowing hair across her face. "Kevin..."


A little hole seemed to open up in the center of her stomach as Kevin looked at her. He smiled a lopsided grin, and raised his hand to brush her hair out of her face.


"I know. Merry Christmas, Brittany."


She looked at Kevin for a long time, and reached out to touch his face. "Merry Christmas, Kevin."


Brittany stepped through the door, and Kevin watched her until she disappeared from view.


"Hey," a voice from just behind him called out. "Do we have to pay for refills on our sodas?"





20 December 2006