Padded Walls 2

By Angelinhel

Legal Yammerings: I don’t own Daria, Viacom and it’s minions do. Insert blasé comment here.

Summary: In response to PPMB final/inaugural Iron Chef wherein: in "Boxing Daria" she hits her head during a car accident, and when she comes to, things have changed.

Author’s Note: Read my "Padded Walls" fic first or this will make zero sense. Scanning the transcript (it’s out there) of "Boxing Daria" wouldn’t hurt either. Lord knows Noggin won’t show it. Some dialogue from Boxing Daria is quoted.

Daria slowly woke up, her head was throbbing. "Mom? Mom?"

She tried to look around, but couldn’t focus on anything. She didn’t have her glasses on. A blur to her side that vaguely resembled her mother swam into her line of sight.

"Sweetie? How are you feeling?" her mother’s voice sounded odd.

"What happened? All I remember is the storm and driving to Tom’s…there was an accident!" Daria tried to sit up. "Where am I?"

She looked around, she saw a vast blurry expanse of white. Hospital?

"You’re in the…hospital." Daria turned to her mother.

"Is everyone else ok? Where are my glasses?" Daria searched for them. Her mother handed her a pair of oval tortoiseshell wire-rim glasses. "These aren’t mine."

She put them on anyway and looked at her mother, who was choking back a sob.

"Mom? What’s going on? Where’s dad? And Quinn?" Daria was becoming more and more confused. Her mother had started to cry, she leaned over and pushed a button on the wall beside Daria’s bed.

Daria turned to the door as it opened. Since when did hospital doors have bars over the windows? And since when did Monique work in the hospital?

Daria stared as she walked into the room, dressed in a long white lab coat and wearing glasses, her glasses, large and round with thick black frames.

"What the hell is going on?" she demanded as Monique sat in the chair on the other side of the bed.

"Quinn, I’m glad to see you awake, but you need to calm down." Monique spoke in a soothing voice.

"I’m not Quinn! Daria, my name is Daria! Mom, what’s going on?" Panic was setting in.

Monique and Helen exchanged glances.

"All right, Daria. Tell me the last thing you remember."

"I was at home, talking to Mom and Dad. Arguing, really. I’d remembered they’d had a fight about me when I was little, I was causing problems at school because I wasn’t like the other kids. I’d hidden in an old refrigerator box I had in my room to escape the sound of them fighting. When I brought it up, Mom said I wasn’t the reason for the fight, just the topic, but I had to get away. I thought I’d go visit Tom and sort things out. It was raining and the road was slippery. A car in front of me skidded out, I swerved to avoid it, that’s all I remember. When did you start working in a hospital?"

Monique looked at her for a moment. "Daria, I want you to get some rest. Helen, can I speak with you outside?" Helen got up.

"Wait! Why won’t you tell me what’s going on?" Daria said as the two left. Why was only her mother there? Where were her dad and Quinn? She wasn’t in serious condition, or in ICU, obviously. Even if she was, they let family in. Why had Monique called her Quinn?

"She appears to have come out of it. I don’t know if this will last, but it seems as though she has no recollection of her real life. Her fantasy has become her reality." Dr. Griffin spoke quietly to Helen just outside the door.

"What do we do? Do we tell her the truth?" Helen asked. She had not been expecting this today, or ever. Over the past few years Quinn had spoken out less and less, the doctors had pieced together the life she was living in her head from bits and pieces of conversations she’d had. She had not come out of it knowing she was Quinn for almost two years.

"I’m afraid if we do, she’ll panic and fall back into her mind-world. But if she has truly brought herself out of it, she’ll find out eventually. The loss of her created friends and family could be devastating. I need to consult with the other doctors. I’ll give her a mild sedative for now, don’t tell her anything." Dr. Griffin and Helen walked back to sit beside Daria.

"I’m going to give you a mild sedative, Daria. To help you rest." Monique gave her a shot. Daria started to feel drowsy almost immediately.


"I’m right here, sweetie. Everything will be fine." Helen looked at her daughter.

Daria fell asleep.

"Miss, are you all right? Miss! Miss!" a man tapped on the car window.

Daria shook her head, and rolled down the window. She looked at the man standing in the rain by her car. She could feel a bump on her head. I must have passed out for a minute. It was a dream.

"Yeah. Yeah, I'm okay." She replied. She put the car in gear and drove off.

A waterlogged Daria sat at a booth in a diner as Jane drove up in Trent's car; when Jane entered the diner, Daria rushed over and hugged her, to Jane's total surprise. They both sat in the booth.

"I'm not quite getting this. You ran off because of a fight your parents had 11 years ago?" Jane looked at her skeptically.

"It's not the fight. It's the sudden realization that all these years, when I thought they were torturing me, in reality I was the one torturing them." Daria sighed.

"First of all, I don't think it's either-or. From where I'm sitting, you and your folks have done a great job of torturing each other. And second of all, you mean to tell me you don't know when you're busting them? "

"Yes, I know when I'm busting them. What I didn't realize is what a pain I've been when I thought I was just being me." Daria looked up from her drink.

"Huh?" Jane asked, confused.

" At age six, I decide I don't need to talk to other kids ever again; my parents are the ones who get called into school. At 12, I decide to try out some Shakespearean insults on my teachers; my parents are the ones who get called into school. At 15, I start writing violent revenge fantasies just to get a reaction... "

"Your parents, et cetera, et cetera. Gotcha. But I never got the idea that they minded that much. " Jane said.

"Yeah. Which just makes it even worse." Daria responded.

"You really need to discuss this with them."

"I know, but first I had to talk to someone I could trust."

"Yeah, I'm sorry you didn't make it to the cove."

"I'm not. It would have been good to see Tom. But this way, I got to talk to the person I trust most."

Jane and Daria exchanged small, knowing smiles. Later, Daria pulled up to the house as Jane, in Trent's car, honked the horn, waved, and drove away. After reassuring her parents she was ok, Daria headed to bed. As she laid back, she couldn’t help but remember the dream she’d had when she’d passed out in the car. It had all seemed so real.

When she woke the next morning she knew instantly that something was wrong. Even without her glasses, she could tell the white painted walls did not even vaguely resemble her padded room and the sunlight streaming from the window was coming from the wrong wall. She was back at the hospital.

Am I still dreaming? But which was the dream? Did I get hurt in the accident, or did I meet with Jane?

Daria had a sudden memory flash of a red-haired man looming over her, leering. She cowered as he raised his fist…

She sat up quickly in bed and reached towards the night table for her glasses. Tortoiseshell wire-rim. Putting them on, Daria felt panic edging in. She reached for the button next to the bed and pressed it.

A few minutes later Monique walked in the room. "You’re awake!" she seemed surprised.

"Where’s my mom? What’s going on?" Daria’s voice was edgy.

Monique sat. "Quinn…"

"Why do you keep calling me that? I’m Daria! Quinn is my sister!" Daria yelled.

"All right, calm down."

Dr. Griffin paused, she still wasn’t sure if it was the right decision, and was equally unsure of how to explain everything to Quinn/Daria. The fact that she had chosen the "Daria" personality was both encouraging and complicated. They knew more about "Quinn" but felt her real personality was closer to "Daria". The fact she was about to lose all her friends, father and sister was going to be traumatic at the least. Dr. Griffin prayed.

"Quinn," she started firmly, "you don’t have a sister. Your name is Quinn Morgendorffer, though for a short time it was Quinn Jeffries. You are an only child. Your father, Jake, died of a heart attack when you were twelve. Your mother re-married a man named Joseph Jeffries who sexually abused you for a year before your mother found out and had him sent to jail. You testified at the court hearing. During the abuse you created a second personality and a fantasy world to which you escaped. After Jeffries was put away, you severed contact with the real world and lived solely in the fantasy world you created. Yesterday was the first day in two years you’ve spoken to anyone in the real world. Your mother never expected you to come back. This is the real world Quinn, Highland, Texas, you live here with your mother. There is no Lawndale, no one there is real, you made them all up."

Daria was shaking her head in denial, even though images were flashing in her mind as the doctor/Monique spoke. Jeffries beating and raping her, the trial, the first room at the psychiatric hospital, it had had padded walls…her room at home had padded walls…the same walls.

"NO! NO! It’s not true! I live in Lawndale, I go to school every day with Jane Lane. I have a sister named Quinn. My dad survived the heart attack." She was yelling and crying.

"Quinn, you never moved to a town named Lawndale into a house with a room previously occupied by a schizophrenic. No one would keep a mentally unstable family member in their house. It makes no sense. You moved here, Lawndale Psychiatric Hospital in Highland, Texas, into a padded room, because you only responded to the people in your mind and became a danger to yourself. Here you created a sister, cementing the second personality into a person. You named her Daria after me, because I was like the big sister who helped you but hurt you at the same time. My name is Daria. The world in your mind became a complex place filled with people you could control. They aren’t real."

"NO! I’m about to graduate high school! I have a boyfriend! My best friend’s name is Jane Lane. My sister and I were actually starting to get along. That’s real. They’re real! This is a dream! You’re Monique, you sing in a band called the Harpies." Daria had collapsed back on the bed sobbing, fighting the truth.

Helen walked in. "They said she was awake again. Oh, Quinn!" Helen rushed to her daughter and held her as she sobbed.

"I told her the truth, Helen." Dr. Griffin said.

"It’s okay, Quinn. We’ll get through this together. It’ll be all right. He’ll never hurt you again. We’ll start over. We’ll be a family again." Helen held tightly onto her daughter.

Daria sobbed, it was all gone, her father, her sister, Jane, Tom, everyone. Her whole life was gone, all that was left in it’s place was memories of abuse and fear. She’d finally gotten her life on track only to find out it wasn’t real. The people she loved most did not exist outside her mind. She couldn’t bear it.

Daria looked up at her mother. "Mom?"

"Yes, honey?" Helen was crying to see her daughter come back to her after all the years of waiting and hoping. She knew the truth and now they could start to re-build their life together.

"I’m sorry." Daria’s eyes glazed over and she went limp in her mother’s arms.

"NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!" Helen screamed and Dr. Griffin pulled Daria away from her, laying her comatose form back on the bed. She led Helen sobbing out of the room.

Daria woke the next morning and walked to Jane’s house. Jane answered the door.

"Hey amiga." Jane greeted her.

"I have to tell you about this dream I had…" Daria closed the door behind her.