Constraints: Around Esteemers.


Synopsis: Daria's school history changes a little.


Hopeful New Start (Non-Gangland version).


Content: Hi, I'm Psychotol, your author. Some of the flashbacks will have violence and mild sexual abuse.


Legal: This was not done by the actual writers of Daria, this is not an actual episode, and should not be taken for one.




"Now kids, I know that starting a new school can be difficult, but we're in a new town, with an opportunity to make a new start, can you please do your best?"


Quinn stared at Daria for an answer.


Daria maintained her silence.


Jake maintained his gaze on her in the rear view mirror.


Daria eventually decided to ask "If I assure you I will make an effort, can you please refrain from making out I'm lying?"


Jake sighed, and said "Daria, this is your last chance, you're out on license, you don't want this to be highland all over again?"


Daria thought and said "A clusterfuck like that? Once in a trillion year event."


"And could you please cut down on the swearing? Pleeeaaaassse?"


"We shall see."


Jake let it drop and continued to drive, they were almost there.


Quinn then said "If you ruin things for me, I shall never forgive you," before turning away from her.


Daria did not respond.


The silent treatment she gave a lot of people was a strategy she had developed at her last high school. She would not be goaded into anything because it could be a trap. If she felt herself get angry, she'd just hold everything in and keep any verbal responses short and calculated, escalation of hostility was generally a bad thing.


On the other hand, if someone starts a fight, you have to respond or you'll lose something dear to you, like an ear, a finger, an arm, an eye.


Of course, being deeply unpopular makes it-


"Daria?" asked Jake.


Daria glanced around, and realised they were there, and Quinn was already gone.


Daria grabbed her bag and alighted, closing the door and making her way around Quinn's audience to get into the school.


She noticed this 40-ish Korean woman in a grey office suit standing at the entrance as she approached.


The woman looked directly at her.


The woman was also holding a folder.


"Miss Morgendorffer," said the woman.


"Staff," acknowledged Daria as she stopped, assuming for now the woman wanted to talk to her about something.


"Let me make a few things clear: I do not like you, you are not welcome here, the only reason you may enter is because I'm required to give you a chance to put a foot wrong, and when you do, you are gone, this is a decent school, not whatever you need, so please, hurry up and do something."


Daria didn't respond.


"I'll even give you a spray can."


Daria nodded.


She then looked down at her jacket lapel and said "you get all that?"


The woman almost turned albino from fear.


Daria flashed a barely perceptible smile and asked "Do I go to class now, or are there further procedures that need completing first?"


The woman stiffly walked away saying "This way Miss Morgendorffer," in a wavering voice.


"Staff," acknowledged Daria.




"Now Daria, what do you see?"


"I see two rats about to get shivved."


The shrink frowned, then moved onto the next picture.


Quinn squirmed.


"Daria," said the shrink as she showed Daria a picture of a litter of kittens suckling at their mother, "please be co-operative here, what do you see happening in this picture?"


Daria knew she had one shot at a normal school, and yet she made that comment just now, it was like all her rage was spilling over, but she made this gigantic effort and said "a family of kittens ... ... ... ... about to ... ... ... star in a soap opera featuring live cats as characters, or something. I don't know, I haven't exactly been in a very nurturing environment for the past four years, okay? Until I live in the normal world long enough to get some nice memories inside me, most the results of these tests will just show pent up rage."


The shrink nodded and took down some notes.


"And I was sort of hoping I would have that time." Added Daria.


"Mmmm-hmmm. We're done now."


Daria and Quinn looked at each other and a few seconds later they got up and left.


Quinn moved to gain as much separation from Daria as possible as Daria headed to class.




Daria watched with some amusement as the other students flinched at the history teachers emphasised words.


Her old school had teachers that really knew how to scream, a lot of the time right down your ear hole.


"DARIA, maybe YOU would have an OPINION on the debate surrounding the DEATH PENALTY!"


Daria said "Staff, the death penal-"




"My apologies, Mr Demartino, the main arguments for and against the death penalty revolve around deterrence. Getting killed for your crime is supposed to be a deterrent, whereas possibly seeing your suspect walk after having a life sentence overturned if you get it wrong is supposed to be a deterrent against sloppy police work. Another argument for the death penalty is public protection, dead serial killers don't kill anyone else, whereas the aforementioned sloppy police work allowed to secure a conviction if the suspect will be dead before a successful appeal allows the real killers to remain at large. Drumming up business and allowing officials to raise taxes to protect the public."


Daria realised that her presentation had emphasised one of her pet hates a bit, but it was irrelevant.


"Very GOOD Daria, a little TOO good in fact."


Demartino continued the lesson.


His next question was about who it was that supported legislation banning the death penalty federally.


Eventually he threatened the class with double homework and a quiz tomorrow if he didn't get an answer.


Daria raised her hand.




Daria shrugged and lowered her hand, she was the only one in the class not flinching, and everyone was looking at her funny.




"So, as long as nothing bad happens," said Quinn, looking pointedly at Daria, "I have full choice as to which school activities I want to sign up for, but I decided to go with the Fashion Club for now."


"That's great Quinn. Daria, how about you?" asked Jake.


"Well, no one started a fight with me, I wasn't made to submit a urine sample for drug testing in front of the entire class, and all the teachers are set on a low volume setting. So for me, it was a good day."


"And you're going to make sure it stays that way, aren't you?" said Helen.


"Provided I somehow get popular enough that people won't lie to frame me-" said Daria.


"DARIA!" barked Helen.


"Oh, I'm sorry, was I contradicting Holy Scripture again?" fantasised Daria.


Daria actually hadn't said anything since Helen had asked 'aren't you?'


Daria eventually said "That's the plan."


Around her family, sarcastic comments over their misconception of the events that fucked her over were off limits, they thought she did it, she knew she hadn't, and the two twats that had were angry she was getting the "credit" for it.


She ate in a rather mechanical manner as she processed the same thoughts over her life for the fuck-knows-how-many-ith time.


She also hoped nothing would fuck this up for her before she could establish a good reputation.


"Daria? The psychologist said you have low self esteem."


Daria glanced up from her food and asked "based on what?"


"The test you had."


Daria doubted a shrink of any level of competence would reach that conclusion, what she had revealed showed she was frustrated with how her life had been going, but low self esteem? Where the fuck had that come from? "Right. Well, then I have low self esteem. Hey, fits with your beliefs, 'kid turns self hatred outwards and hurts people.' so, this mean anything?"


Helen scowled, and Daria reprimanded herself for letting that comment slip.


Daria resumed eating, prompting "Well?"


"You have to take a self esteem class."




Daria walked into the classroom.


There was one student from her class that appeared to be sketching something on a legal pad, she glanced up and looked at Daria, then looked back down at the pad.


No one else gave her any notice.


Everyone else looked depressed or nervous, except the girl with the paper, who just looked absorbed in her work.


Daria picked a seat ahead and left of the girl. Normally she'd opt for a seat at the back of a room or at least two desks away from anyone else, but that hadn't been an option so far, and she was still alive, she felt a thrill at the fact she could now take these risks, and hoped she could continue as she pulled a notepad and pen.


Low self esteem her wrongly convicted ass.


The teacher entered and said "good after-" until the papers he was waving at the students fell out of his hand "-err-" he bent over to pick them up, nervously placing some on the desk and organising the others "oh dear, oh dear, errrr, errrm."


Eventually he managed to take a relaxed looking position sat on his desk, this was comical after his ten thumbed handed entrance.


He then started "A teen, esteem, they don't really rhyme, do they? The sounds don't quite ... mesh."


"Close enough for a boy band's lyrics," commented Daria.


Everyone stared at her.


Daria ignored the stares saying "continue."


"Right, of course, errr, they don't quite mesh. And that, in fact, is often the case when it comes to a teen and esteem. But we are- oh hang o- ... oh, well, we are here to begin realizing your actuality."


"Sta- ... O'Neill? What's an actuality?"


"What?" asked the teacher.


"What's an actuality? You know, for the purposes of this class?"


"Oh, errm ... Questions and answers are for later."


"Right," said Daria.


"Questions are later," said the girl behind her.


Daria looked over to her and asked "so he hasn't a clue what he's on about. ... I wonder if I should be glad I still feel even a tiny bit surprised at that?"


The girl laughed a little and then in a Hollywood German accent asked "have you been previously selected for ... special treatment?"


"I'll tell you about it some time, maybe."


The girl raised an eyebrow then resumed her drawing.




"Don't suppose you could wait a while?" asked Daria as they reached the front door, interrupting their conversation.


Jane Lane, the girl she had met, had been inching off to wherever she was headed as Daria had stopped.


Jane approached asking "You got a ride?"


"Yeah," said Daria.


"Where do you live?" asked Jane.


"Glen oaks," said Daria.


"That's not far at all, your parents don't quite trust you to get home by yourself?"


Daria knew Jane was teasing, it was a change that the teasing was friendly and not part of a harassment tactic and a means to muster forces against her, she let the exhilaration of not being under threat wash over her and said "wish I was kidding, but yes."


Jane's expression changed to one of concern as she asked "ze special treatment?"


"Yhhheah, we basically have issues, they don't trust me, and ... I can't stand them."


Jane recoiled a little, commenting "bummer."


"So, how's it like having a normal family?" asked Daria.


"Wouldn't know, I seem to occupy the opposite extreme to what you occupy."








After several seconds of silence, Jane asked "sooooo, why don't they trust you?"


"Think I did something. I didn't, but mention that around them and they start accusing me of lying to them, start threatening to fuck me at the next parole meeting if I don't recant. I could kill them."


Jane looked shocked now.


Daria eventually continued saying "Well, no, I don't honestly think I could, but I do look forward to my 18th birthday, because then I can fuck off and never have anything to do with them again."


"Right," said Jane as she relaxed a little.


Jane did remain fairly agitated around her.


"What's with the hyperactivity?" asked Daria.


"No offence, but could you move around a little more? You look like a statue for fuck's sake."


"Sorry, force of habit. Can you tell me if I should expect something royally unpleasant on this self esteem course?"


"Royally unpleasant? ... Hmm ... Stitches from laughing at your teacher ... Embarrassing conversation about body image ... What were you expecting?"


"Far, worse, shit, to come."


"Okay ... On a scale of one to ten where a one is that death wank machine off of Barberella and ten is something that makes Uday Hussein feel queasy,"




Jane stared blankly at Daria.


"Actually, more a four being realistic, but I don't want anything like that again. The last two days have basically been the best school days I have ever experienced, at least, of those I can remember."


"Oh. ... " said Jane.


Daria was trying to get a read on Jane, what was her interest? Gossip material? She tried to remember what she saw Jane doing throughout the day in their classes, if she was gossiping, if so, who with? The group dynamic in this school was definitely different to that of her old school, everyone was visibly more relaxed, Daria stood out due to how stoic she seemed, she just couldn't relax around these people because she wasn't used to them not being a potential threat to her safety.


About the only person she could understand was the Principle, she viewed Daria as human garbage.


That's what Hope High was, a landfill site for human garbage, the only place that would have her in the Highland Area.


She just couldn't relax until she KNEW she was safe, and right now, she didn't know she was safe.


She would have to wait and see.


Eventually Helen pulled up with a screech of the brakes and opened the door.


Daria checked her watch and said "You realise I could have been halfway home by now?"


"Get in!" said Helen.


Daria obeyed, nodding a goodbye to Jane.


"See you tomorrow?" said Jane.


"Yeah," responded Daria before she closed the door.


Helen then floored it out of there.


"Who was that girl you were talking to?" she asked.


"Jane Lane, another student on the self esteem course."


"She looked strange, I don't want you around her."


Daria was about to argue with her, but just said "Right," having hesitated only a few seconds.


'Yeah, I'm sure you can stop me,' thought Daria as they drove home.




The room they had selected for Daria had previously been a padded cell.


The previous owners had sawn off the bars to sell the house, but then Helen and Jake had gone and replaced them with a grill of 5mm bars spaced 50mm apart fixed on with nuts on threaded studs that were then chiselled so that they couldn't be removed, and her door was now locked from the outside when she went to bed at night.


These measures were only introduced after a number of incidents the police had talked to them about that Daria was suspected of involvement in, but this time, they couldn't pin them on her, and the fact that there were no further fights or anything after they started doing this made them think that this measure was what had done it.


Well, it was a relatively minor humiliation, she could live with it for now.


It did annoy her that all the other students presented their assignments as print outs from computers where all she could offer was hand written, she considered her handwriting to be of excellent quality, but she felt she was being cheated of something.


All she felt these days was anger, she had been convicted more or less of something she hadn't done and any time she had to defend herself, she was made out to be the aggressor, she had to learn how to defend herself on the fly, and she did manage to achieve that eventually, but everyone, even those that were normally victimised along with her made out she had started it.


Could she feel anything else?


Well, if she stayed out of prison and didn't get sent to another place like Hope High, possibly, but she couldn't imagine it right now.


The lights were turned off.


Like her parents didn't trust her to go to sleep on her own accord if she had control over her own room's lights.


Stupid selectively paranoid unquestioning disloyal motherfucking bastards.


Daria got in her bed and drifted off to sleep, visions of her family in the devil's centre mouth entertaining her mind.




"Here comes Jodie," said Jane.


Daria glanced over to the black girl with the arm full of ring binders and leaflets who was approaching students at random and asking them questions.


She felt amusement, at her old place, you just don't approach students and start talking to them, that usually invited an ass kicking. The only people that approached other people at her old school were the bullies that exacerbated the situation.


Jodie then approached them.


"Daria," she said, she then glanced at Jane saying "Hope Jane hasn't poisoned you too much against school activities."


"Not successfully, I think that's more your job."


"Well, take a look at this list and see if anything appeals."


"Hmm ... ... Chess club, you play chess there right?"




"Any catches? Hazing rituals? Klingon trial by combat type stuff?"


Jodie chuckled, and eventually said "no, not really, but if you're good, you may end up having to play other schools."


"Think if I win, I'll get the principal off my back?"


Jodie looked a bit concerned as she asked "Why, what you do?"


"Transfer in from the wrong school."


Jodie looked at Daria to continue.


"Long story, kind of personal, might tell you some time. Basically the principal hates me, tried to provoke a response the second I showed up so she could expel me."


"Oh. ... ... "


"I also like chess though, just hope I'm not so rusty that I don't win enough to still enjoy it."


"Okay then."


Jodie noted Down Daria's name and continued on.


"Chess club? You geek," teased Jane.


"You ever play chess?"


"I've drawn chess pieces occasionally, if you can get your parents to let you out I'll show you some time."


"Probably have to wait until I'm a legal adult. I have such grand plans for that day," said Daria with an evil smile.


Jane shuddered and said "Yikes."




The pair of them always separated after self esteem class.


The purpose of this was to avoid Helen seeing them together as they emerged from the building.


Daria got in the car and as they started off, Helen asked "What did I tell you about hanging out with that girl?"


"That I shouldn't."


"And yet I hear you have."


"We go to the same school, and besides, there's nothing wrong with her."


"She has almost no parental supervision, the rest of her family look like bums, she's a bad example."


"Yeah, well, I'm bad at following examples, this is the first time I've actually made a friend in my entire life, just give us a chance will you?"


"No, I want you to make better friends. Friends that will keep you in line."


"Like who?"






"Gooooo, child emancipation," said Daria as she approached the group of cheerleaders in her new uniform, carrying her pom-poms.




"Well, that's nice," said Jane as she read the note.




Dear Jane.


My parents have sources within the school that have reported

my association with you and they don't like you, so we're going

to have to communicate like this for now.


I hate to be so cloak and dagger about this, but I really want to

keep you as a friend. The problem is my mom's a skilled lawyer

who could make things extremely difficult for you and your



I don't want to bring any shit your way, this is my problem only.

I hope I haven't scared you off, I really need you, I hope I don't

sound too clingy but I do (not in the gay way, I really don't make

friends that easily).






Jane reviewed what she knew of Daria.


Daria had an apparently sucky past, parents that acted like prison wardens, a sister that denied any relation to her, and was hated by the principal.


Daria's body language made her look really tough, but as soon as she started opening up to Jane, it was obvious she was really scared and lonely all the time.


Acted like Sandi, feared like Stacy.


Jane started drafting a reply, aside from feeling sorry for Daria, she was also curious about her.




Daria held up the chess trophy as she started her victory speech.


"Well, what can I say? ... Oh, I know: Victory is mine, mwua-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-haaaaa. ... Anyway, I'd like to thank anyone who supported me in this game, and hope we can do this again sometime," she glanced at the Principal as she fumed.


The interschool chess tournament didn't really draw that much of a crowd, but still, it was too high profile for what Angela Li wanted. To her, Daria was a huge blot on the Lawndale High landscape, and having her on the cheerleader squad also annoyed her. Although Daria didn't really like cheerleading, the fact she was pissing off Angela almost made up for it.


Daria walked off to meet her parents.


As she arrived, she said "Well, everyone's watching, guess you should pretend to like me for now."


Quinn just scowled from under her huge sunglasses and Hijab, she really didn't want to be seen as being in Daria's family.




Several weeks had passed since the chess tournaments, and Daria's cheerleading career had been reduced to 'Cheerleader Manager', where she managed logistics.


That meant she carried their kit around for them.


Daria really had tried here. She knew it would be shit, but if she had been a successful cheerleader, it would have gotten her parents off her back and given the principal a fatal aneurism, and Daria a fatal case of happiness.


Had that happened.


But it hadn't, so all that happened was Angela was less annoyed with her but still enough to hate Daria.


She got to her locker and opened it, finding a note.


She opened it and found the handwriting was not that of Jane.


She then noticed the content of the letter.




Dear fag girl.


Around here, we do not tolerate lesbians, this is

your only warning to clear out before

consequences occur.


Yours sincerely: A servant of god.




Daria felt a laugh well up inside her.


"Never heard you laugh before," said someone behind her.


Daria turned around and saw this girl in a grey tee shirt and black ankle length skirt, she had eye makeup, and looked slightly chubby.


"I know it's a long shot, but does this handwriting look at all familiar to you?" asked Daria as she handed the girl the note.


The girl read it and said "huh ... It looks like Sandi's handwriting, but I've never known anyone to use homophobic terms."


"Not Sandi Griffin by any chance?" asked Daria.


"Yeah, you know her?"


"Of her, one of Quinn's friends."


"Right. Well, Sandi normally hands out compliance notices to those who aren't fashionably dressed, like she has some sort of authority over everyone else in this sense, it's pathetic really."


"The compliance notices or this-s-s-s-s-s-s" Daria started laughing again.


"Both I guess. What you gonna do?"


"I don't suppose you can get me a blank report card could you?"


"I suppose, why?"


"I'll show you when we're ready," said Daria as she took out a red pen and started writing on the letter.




Quinn looked up and felt dread wash over her as Daria approached them.


"You okay Quinn? You look scared or something, was it something I did?" asked Stacy.


Daria got there and put a sheet of paper down in front of Sandi and said "I've marked your work, and frankly, well ... it's shit really, that's all I can say. If you keep this up, you're going to flunk psychological warfare. If you want to insult me, you have a goldmine of personal information right there," Daria gestured at Quinn who cowered out of fear of social embarrassment.


"See, homophobic insults stopped having an effect at the twelve year old level, and I'm used to people speculating about my sexual orientation, that some thing like this, well," she pointed at where she wrote 'yawn' under the passage.


"How did I attract your attention in the first place anyway? I don't think we've even exchanged eye contact since I got here."


Sandi eventually said "The principal wants you gone and threatened to disband the Fashion Club if I didn't help her do that."


Daria's expression changed from clearly amused to deeply thoughtful.


"This isn't going to achieve that, and this conflict is going to escalate. I need to have a word with her. Anyway, thanks." Daria then left the fashionable four to their own things.


Quinn eventually said "YOU CALLED MY SISTER A FAG GIRL? ... ... ARE YOU INSANE???"


"Ssssisssssteeeerrrrr? ... ... Iiiiiii thhhhhooouuuughhhhht shhhheeeee waaaaassssss yourrrrrr cousssssiiiiinnnnnnn."


Quinn clasped her hands to her mouth with a squeak.


"And why is calling her that so insane?" asked Sandi with her arms crossed.


"Because she has this history of violence," admitted Quinn.




"If you're prepared to use these kinds of measures, I can only assume that you'll keep escalating until either something works or you hoist yourself on one of your own petards. Now, are you afraid I'll do something to embarrass this school, or is this just out of hatred?"


Angela looked like she had to think about this.


Eventually she said "that is none of your concern."


"Right, because all you've done is declare war on me, not my concern at all. Look, I have no interest in ruining this place or anything like that, all I'm trying to do is get graduated and get out, can we just call a truce until then?"


Angela then leant forward and asked "and what if I don't?"


"Then you'll get fired, jailed, or whatever else what you do does to you. Just because I came out of that Highland shithole to end all shitholes doesn't mean I can't turn what you do back on you. Now, you might win, but to me it looks like you're taking an unnecessary risk for what? Some prejudice you formed about me? Just leave it, let me study, let me graduate, let us get on with our lives."


They stood there in silence for the next few minutes, and then the bell for the next class rang.


"Okay, think about it?" asked Daria as she left to get to class.




Daria was on her way to the library when she heard someone ask "And how are you feeling today my strange but beautiful Daria?"


Daria glanced over at the hyperactive ginger haired boy and said "well, mostly."


The boy known as Upchuck then said "Any chance your parents could let you out if I promise to have you back by 9?"


Daria then said "Afraid you're a bit strange, they hate strange with a vengeance, made me disassociate myself from the only close friend I ever made."


"How am I strange?" asked the boy.


"The way you seem to over dramatize everything you say. I find it entertaining, but everyone else seems to find it irritating to outright alarming."


Upchuck then looked pained as he asked "are you being serious here?"


"Well, yeah ... " Daria suddenly realised that so was Upchuck.


"But this is supposed to be suave and cool."


"Errm ... ... it's not."


Daria watched as Upchuck seemed to go through some kind of grief.


"My condolences?" asked Daria.


Eventually she turned away and continued onto the library.


The boy eventually caught up with her as she selected some books.


"Can you help me?" asked Upchuck.


"I suppose, I can probably make you tolerable, but I don't know anything about making you the life of the party."


"What are you reading there?"


"I want to rig my locker with a camera that records still, or moving if possible images of anyone accessing it, the camera needs to be completely silent."


"Well, most micro cameras are, I use them myself to ... errrrrrrrrrr ... "


"Does that mean you got one ready made?" asked Daria, barely caring that he could have images of her showering after numerous PE lessons. Voyeuristic tendencies were nothing compared to what Hope High had to offer.




"Okay, can you get it by tomorrow morning break and meet me here again?"


"Yeah. I'll help you install it too."


"Right, I'll need to make sure it goes in without anyone around me noticing it, I'll have to know how to do it myself."


"I can teach you that."






Daria was on her way to her locker when Stacy stepped in front of her and asked "Daria? Are you still mad at Sandi? You're not going to hurt her are you?"


"Hurt her over what?"


"The letter she wrote?"




"Because I don't think she really hates lesbians, I mean, she might not like them either, but I'm sure if she thought about it, she'd realise there's nothing wrong with that sexual orientation."




"And then there's the fact she didn't really mean it, I-"




The entire hallway turned and stared at them.


"I don't have a problem with Sandi, I've been through far worse, I'm not going to kill her over a nursery school level taunt, okay?"


"Ohhhhhhhh thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthanky," said Stacy as she did her impression of a boa constrictor on Daria.


Daria broke out of Stacy's hold shoving her back.


"EEEEE!" said Stacy just before she legged it.


Daria suddenly realised how she looked.


"Shit," she said as she relaxed into a normal stance "Good one Daria". She then continued onto her locker.




"And then she just flipped, she looked like she was going to kill me right there!" concluded Stacy.


"Whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa," commented Tiffany.


"It's okay Stacy, it's over now," said Sandi.


"I'll handle this," said Quinn as she headed off.


"Let me help Quinn," said Joey, Jeffy or Jamie.


"I'll Protect you Quinn," said Jeffy, Jamie or Joey.


"She won't even look at you funny," said Jamie, Joey, or Jeffy.




Helen entered the principal's office and asked "What's going on? What happened?"


"I'm afraid your daughter was seen assaulting a student."


Helen looked like she was about to have a heart attack.


Daria just felt like it.


"I'm still waiting for more information to get back to me, but if it turns out to be true, then I will have no choice but to expel her from school."


"Daria?" asked Helen.


"Stacy hugged me unexpectedly and I panicked, I broke out of her hold and pushed her back before I could think, and she fucked off before I could apologise to her."


"Is that everything?" asked Helen.


"Hmm ... ... When Stacy was gone I congratulated myself in a facetious manner. ... That's it."




"Oh yes it is, this situation is going to be twisted a whole bunch of ways into something that makes me out to be the next Vincent Jones, you'll believe everyone else over me, game over, so I see absolutely no incentive what so ever to suck either one of your clitorii."


"DARIA!" barked Helen.


"Oh, I'm sorry, did I offend you? I meant to make you suicidally depressive instead, hmm let's see what else will work. I know, how about your performance as a mother? Let's see, you, with the resources at your command, the ability to get other investigators in, decided against lifting a finger to have the case looked at properly in spite of my until then spotless record, IN SPITE OF MY YEARS OF EXCELLENT BEHAVIOUR, YOU COULD HAVE CLEARED MY NAME AND PREVENTED ALL OF THIS! INSTEAD, I HAD TO PRETEND I DID IT TO KEEP OUT OF JAIL, SORT OF, BECAUSE THE LAZY ASS COPS COULDN'T CARE LESS ABOUT WHAT THEY VIEWED AS A CASE NOT WORTH THEIR TIME!"






Helen really had to think about this.


And she couldn't think of anything.


"I watched two years of my life disappear at that training prison, I just hope I can repay you for that experience somehow."


Helen was now crying as she calmly stood up straight.


She then left.


Daria then said to Angela with a relaxed cheer "Well, I guess your dreams just came true, you got your excuse, have a good one," said Daria as she stepped out.


Angela then smiled at her victory.




Daria waited in her room.


Helen had locked her in there the instant they got back, and now she was waiting for the inevitable arrest.


She would always end up in prison.


That's what that school's staff had told her.




"Group one, period three," intoned Daria.


The rest of the class obviously weren't interested in chemistry.


They might be if they knew it was what made explosives.




All the teachers were former drill instructors.


All of them seemed to be there for little more than to torment the students.


Daria was the only one to make an effort, and that seemed to draw their wrath.


"The symbol Na comes from Natrium, it seems the discoverer of the metal, who by the way also named Potassium Kalium, hence the K in the next period, couldn't quite make up his mind. Of course 1807 was long before substance abuse was as frowned upon, so the good professor Klaproth could also have been experimenting with a certain herb too."




"No, not outside a genuine medical emergency anyway."




"Currently, learning chemistry at twelve million decibels."




"Never really bothered to find out."




"Okay Staff," said Daria as she turned in her seat to face the majority of the class "Hands up those who think my remarks are always funny."


No hands were raised.


Daria noted 'Zero always funny.'


Daria then proceeded to ask for numbers of people who thought she was usually funny, occasionally funny, and never funny.


'Forty never funny.'


"Well, I could run an experiment that assures voter confidentiality, as I have concerns about voter intimidation here, but the quick poll indicates never funny."




"Does this mean the assignment's been cancelled?" asked Daria.




"I'm going to prove you wrong."




"Well, they were right," commented Daria with a laugh "Better remember to call them when I get to priz."


Daria was considering smashing up the meagre furniture in her room.


Not like she was going to see it again.


She approached her writing desk and cocked her open hand ready to strike downwards right in the centre of the span over the leg space.


She then found she couldn't.


She eventually stepped back.




It would piss Helen off if the room was trashed, a final 'fuck you' from Daria as she was arrested.


But she couldn't.


This room had grown on her.


She may have been confined here, but during her stay in Lawndale, she had done all her homework on that desk, it had been one of the few things in her life that was not a hindrance to her.


Well, there went that last bit of potential fun.


She sat back on the bed and then lay back.


Last fucking hours of not being in prison proper and she couldn't think of anything to do.




Helen entered the room, Daria was stood at ease.


"I take it my ride's here."


Helen nodded.


"With or without restraints?" asked Daria.


"Without," said Helen, she then asked "Can you forgive me?"


Daria waited a few seconds and then said "No. ... I've given this a lot of thought, I was hoping to be free to leave when I turned 18 so I could get Jane over with a cam-corder to record me taunting you, Dad and Quinn with my freedom and autonomy, before leaving never to return, except to shit on your grave. The last bit might still be possible if I don't get done for a capitol offence while defending myself. ... Or get shivved in the showers or cafeteria. ... Or kill myself after being held down and molested one too many times. ... Or volunteered for the old 'A Clockwork Orange' treatment."


Daria then looked around the room and asked "So, what's this room going to be used for? Now I'm transferring out?"


"You're not going to prison Daria," said Helen.


Daria took a few seconds to process this.


"I'm not?" asked Daria.


"No you're not."


A few more seconds later Helen continued "Quinn lied about the situation because she feared ostracisation if she didn't go along with what the others were saying."


Daria eventually asked "Quinn admitted this? ... She actually has a conscience?"


"Yes ... And Stacy eventually cleared your name, it seems she didn't realise you were terrified, she thought you were angry and about to kill her."


"And Angela just accepted the correction, just like that?"


"No, but the football team and cheerleaders went on strike."




"The cheerleaders love you Daria, and the football team love the cheerleaders, and Angela overturned her decision to get them back to work, so you're free."


Daria stared hard.


Eventually she said "I can't levitate."


Helen looked at her funny.


"I'm certain I'm dreaming, you're contrite, Quinn's come clean, people like me, some dreams I've been able to levitate and fly around, but I can't seem to here."


"Wakey wakeeeyyyyyyy," said a familiar voice from the hallway.


Jane entered.


"Now I know I'm dreaming, Helen hates you."


"Not any more, something about being grateful for getting you back in school."


Daria looked even more amazed.


Jane looked at the door to Daria's room in more detail and said "Soon, this door will open from within too."


"In two years," said Helen.


Both Daria and Jane looked at her.


"Daria, pack your things, you and Quinn are switching rooms."




Daria entered the Pizza Prince staring at everything in bewilderment.


The place was packed with other LHS students and they all cheered her arrival.


"Holy shit," said Daria as she felt her face ache from the involuntary smile.


"Just remember to look where you're going when you enter hazardous situations," said Jane.


After the pair of them had procured a large spicy BBQ chicken pizza, they sat down and began to eat.


"Stacy told me you looked absolutely terrified. She didn't think too carefully about it, but when I pointed out that if you had wanted her dead she would have been dead that instant, she thought a little more carefully."


Daria nodded and said "I spent practically every day at that place at war. Staff there take out their frustrations by screaming emotional abuse at the students, they almost never intervened when the assholes picked on the other students, it would have to get pretty serious for that to happen."


"How serious?" asked Jane.


"Serious or life threatening injuries, anything they can potentially get sued for. Unless in class where most of them give the impression that they are studying, and barely even that, disrupting a class usually results in detention. And unlike normal schools, you are detained in a cupboard, they had these .4 by .6 by 2m cells, nothing extravagant, just a small space you can barely move in and not leave without someone outside opening the door for you. First time I ended up in there was after a couple of boys tried to feel me up got their asses kicked by me."


"So, they goosed you, you slapped them-" started Jane.


"Actually they sat down at the table I had picked in lunch and started talking to me, friendly as you like, then the one opposite me grabbed my hands and the ones next to me slipped their hands under my top and felt my tits. I told them to get off three times real loud, this was in full view of a number of members of staff, who just stood there as if this were normal.


"After the third warning went unheeded I punched my heels into the feet of the boy in front and used elbow strikes to knock the two beside me off the bench, turning around, I kicked one in the chest hard just to keep him down while I stepped away, staff then approached and had a go at me for defending myself. I was then escorted out to the room where they had the cells and stuck me in one, I later worked out I was in there for two class periods."


" ... ... Oh." Said Jane, this was shocking to her.


"And that was my first day at Hope High," said Daria with sarcastic enthusiasm.


"Suddenly I'm not all that hungry," said Jane, putting down her slice of pizza.


"Well, I got an allowance now, so I should be able to pay you back for the Pizza tomorrow or next week," said Daria.


"Okay, cheer me up, how did Quinn react to her new living arrangements?" asked Jane.




Daria settled back in the four poster bed in the sickeningly pink room.


The sickeningly pink room she could leave when she wanted.


She felt glad, and free, and triumphant.






And guilty.






As she was involved in more skirmishes, her normal reaction of ever escalating violence towards attack seemed to keep the assholes back, but she had ended up being subjected to a number of reprisals.


The school kept it's students in dormitories during the week, she only went home on the weekends, and there were no half term breaks, summer was one month not two, and only Christmas and independence day would close the school, so she had to gauge weather or not she was going to be attacked as the students went to sleep around her, examples of such attacks included various substances being poured on her face in the middle of the night, hair being glued to the pillow, she had to cut it off, but reacting in the middle of the night meant she had to find a way to sleep propped up against pebble dashed walls and a studded door.


The dormitories were segregated, can't have any pregnancies in what is supposed to be a strict environment, but most of the girls were heroin or crack addicts and were in a weakened state, making them the bottom of the pyramid, so having Daria stand up for herself and pissing off their higher ups really pissed them off.


Daria could, of course, have swallowed her pride and fitted in just like the rest of them, but her anger at having been so thoroughly fitted up by two of the stupidest individuals on the ENTIRE PLANET, just overwhelmed any possibility of doing that.


Three years in, she was informed by one of the students before one weekend that the individuals at the top of the pyramid were talking about killing her, and they sounded serious.


She couldn't get any specifics on it, and her imagination came up with way too many ways to slot someone, even in there, and get away with it, that she just couldn't ignore the rumour.


She had gotten the full names of the individuals by then, so she could go through the phonebook and ask to discuss the sons of whoever answered, that would give her addresses, and she could then neutralise them.


Shops were closed at night, and besides she didn't want witnesses to her weapons procurement, so she had to use what was at her home and what was at theirs.


Without leaving or keeping anything that could connect her to the kills.


This was before her parents had decided to lock her in at night, so she could get out easily enough, she used disposable gloves from the garage, binbags from the kitchen, any utensils from the kitchen or tools from the garage would have to be disposed of.


X-ray one was Fred Vines, single story stud wall house, easy access under the basement.


Daria located his room and set up the device under it.


Sodium chlorate from the garden shed, pulverised and mixed with diesel from a number of trucks she could steal it from, trowel from the X-rays garden shed or other local source to dig out some soil, length of hose filled with the diesel/sodium chlorate connecting to the surface, one foot candle next to that for a delay fuse shielded with a modified soft drinks carton, the mix would burn to the main charge and that would cook off shortly after.




If the white butterfly effect didn't kill him, getting thrown half a cherub skywards and freefalling back down from that would.


X ray two, same job.


X-ray three, same structure, except for piss poor security, only a screen door separated her from the inside, obtain weapon from kitchen, sneak in, stab X-ray through brainstem, speed kill, no fucking about.








She didn't know she was lingering until she saw him stir a little.


She checked her watch: 01:22.


She was losing time.


She had to remind herself that he was planning to kill her.


She then cocked her arm with the knife pointed forwards, and punched it in through the boys neck.


The sound of the knife going in wouldn't have disturbed her if it was not connected with the sight of the knife entering his neck, his body convulsing slightly, his eyes searching.


She felt sick.


She desperately held it back as she carefully withdrew the knife and left the house.


She held the vomit back as she got as much distance from the target as possible.


She found a drain and puked into that.


Once she was done barfing, she continued on, if she stopped now, the remaining X-rays would definitely kill her.


X-ray four, crap security, break in, no smoke alarms, kid smokes, piece of piss, cigarette for a delay fuse, that ignites a load  of tracksuits near the bed, room fills with really toxic smoke, killing X-ray four with carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide.


She found X-ray five wasn't home.




Return later?




If he's still out when she returns, she'd re-evaluate her options.


X-ray six, also absent.


Damn it!


X-ray seven, was in the back yard of his property, six and five was with him, they were smoking drugs.


This could be a problem if she gets the drugs on her.


She fell back to the front of the property.


She then felt a shockwave enter her feet from the ground.


Followed by an echoing explosion.


"What was that?" asked one of the X-rays.


Daria ran to the open top car parked in the driveway and she just got around it before the three remaining X-rays got there.


The next one then went off.


"Let's get over there," said one.


The three of them got in the car, apparently not seeing Daria.


Daria waited as they drove off.


She then got up and went around the back of their house.


Their drugs were still there.


As were the bongs with their prints on them.


She entered the house and dialled 911, and made a croaking noise into the phone, she then, using a bass voice, said "who are you calling, bitch? Come back and die." Some distance from the phone, she then used the same voice close up and said "Sorry, wrong number," and hung up.


That should get them sent to prison, or send them on the run when they see cops here, either way, they were now neutral.


Job done, go to disposal site, incinerate evidence suit, then return to base.




"Seven people are dead, two got blown up, one was stabbed through the neck, one was killed by an arson attack, and three were somehow incited to exchange fire with a number of police officers and had to be shot. We know you did it, Daria," said the detective sergeant.


"Did not," said Daria.


"Don't get smart, if there's even the TINIEST piece of evidence, we got you, and then you're going down."


"Will it get me out of Hope High?" asked Daria.


The dopey defence lawyer had nothing to say.




After she had killed the threats, the atmosphere of the school changed.


No one dared fuck with her.


She stopped getting involved in incidents.


Being scary was good for your health at Hope High, but now she needed friends she could open up to, and she didn't know how Jane would react to Daria if she knew Daria had killed people.


Would she ever be able to open up to Jane?


She hated having to lie, she had to pretend she had done one thing and that she hadn't done another.


Just because those idiots Beavis and Butthead had seen someone paint someone's face in a cartoon they decided to try it on Stewart, and when they saw Stewart go into respiratory arrest, they legged it, colliding with Daria, who ended up with the cans of paint in her hands.


They continued on, and everyone who saw this hated Daria for whatever reason, and made out she had done it.


And now she was saved by popularity.


She was a manipulative two faced killer.


But that was to survive.


But that made her into just about everything she despised.


But she was alive to despise herself.


It didn't matter.






Yes it did.








No, it really didn't.








Daria drifted off to sleep as her rational side started it's normal bitch fight with her emotional side.


She chuckled a little as she imagined the two sides personified appearing on the Jerry Springer show.