Psycho Sis

by Renfield

"So how has she been doing?" Helen asked Doctor Boulash as they walked down the long hospital corridor.

"No real progress, I'm afraid," the doctor replied, glancing at his clipboard. "She has been cooperative, at least in regards to the steps we've had to take to guarantee her safety-"

Helen gave a mild snort of disgust.

Looking from Helen and back to his clipboard, he continued, "But her interaction with the staff and some of the other patients, when we've allowed it, has been almost entirely antisocial. Fortunately, the things she says are usually so far over the other person's head that they don't realize they've been insulted."

"That sounds... exactly like Daria," Helen said sadly.

Rounding a corner, they stopped at the door to one of the rooms. Beneath the placard indicating the room number a piece of white paper was taped to the door, which read in black crayon, "TEMPORARY HOME OF DARIA MORGENDORFFER - FINAL RESTING PLACE OF HER DREAM OF AN UNTARNISHED PERMANENT RECORD." Helen pointed at the sign and raised a questioning eyebrow.

"She made it in arts and crafts," Boulash explained. "She was civil at breakfast, so we're letting her keep it up for today. Are you sure you're up for this Mrs. Morgendorffer? As I said before, I don't think-"

"She's my daughter," Helen barked, then softened, "I have to see her."

"I understand," he said, opening the door after fumbling for a key. "Just please remember what we talked about."

"So long as you remember what we talked about," Helen said firmly, walking past him into the room.

As much as Helen wanted to see her daughter again, she still paused when she passed through the doorway. The scene was almost identical to the last time she walked into a hospital room. The circumstances were quite different that last time, though, and practically innocuous by comparison. Last time, the doctor did not have to unlock the door. Last time, there weren't straps and buckles peeking out from under the covers of the hospital bed. Last time, there wasn't a long bandage on her daughter's wrist, serving as a glaring indictment of how inattentive Helen had been as a mother. "Hello, sweetie," she said, approaching the bed and vainly hoping that the book would be set down and a welcoming smile would take its place. The only reaction was the sound of a turning page.

"Daria," Dr. Boulash said somberly, "you have a visitor."

Helen looked over her shoulder at the doctor, flashing him a look that was both concerned and vexed. The doctor merely shrugged, as Helen heard the sound of the book snap shut. She turned back, and while she was disappointedly resigned to see the lack of a smile, at least now her child was returning her gaze.

"Hi, Mom," she said. "What brings you here?"

"I just came to visit," Helen said quickly, relieved that a conversation was now starting. "I wanted to see how you were doing."

"I thought I wasn't allowed visitors right now," she replied, her gaze subtly shifting from Helen to the doctor.

"I can't stay long, dear," Helen said, trying to sound reassuring. Turning to the doctor, she said, "Doctor Boulash, could we have a few minutes alone, please?"

"I'm afraid an unsupervised visit is out of the question right now, Mrs. Morgendorffer," he said apologetically.

"Well, it won't really be unsupervised, now will it?" Helen said with a hint of exasperation, indicating the security camera mounted high up in the corner of the room.

"As long as you're acknowledging that, I suppose I can go check in at the nurse's station," Dr. Boulash said, glancing down at his clipboard. Looking back up at Helen, he added, "A short visit shouldn't be much of a challenge for her."

"Thank you, doctor," Helen said as he left the room. Turning back to the bed, she said, "So, how are you doing?"

"Great," she replied flatly.

"Really?" Helen asked brightly.

"Yeah, sleeping in restraints has done wonders for my back."

"Oh," Helen said, sagging. She was unused to dealing with Daria's brand of habitual sarcasm ever since the events of the horrible day that had eventually led her here.

"I wish the doctor would give me my glasses back."

"Your glasses?" Helen asked, puzzled. Dr. Boulash hadn't mentioned taking anything from her.

"Yeah. I know they're not as good as my regular pair, but I'd like to have them back for reading at least."

"I'll ask him about them," she replied.

"Thanks. Have you heard from Jane and Tom?"

Unprepared for the question, Helen only shook her head. "I'm afraid not, dear."

"I'm not surprised," she replied, a little sadly. "If I were them, I wouldn't want to be around me either."

"Well," Helen said, thinking quickly, "I'm sure they're just busy settling in at college."

"Mm," she said with a small nod. Taking her attention away from her mother, she started nervously running her finger along her arm, tracing the outline of the bandage wrapped snugly around her wrist.

Her actions did not escape Helen's attention. Desperate for something to say, she blurted out, "Your father would have come, but-"

"You were afraid Dad might act like himself in front of the doctors and get mistaken for an inmate?" she interrupted. "Maybe you should consider it. They probably have family rates."

"Oh, don't be silly, dear," Helen chuckled nervously. The assessment was very close to the truth. Neither of them had removed their gaze from the telltale bandage during the exchange.


Snapping her eyes away from her daughter's wrist, Helen said, "Yes, dear?"

"Um, the doctor says I need to work past my guilt, and forgive myself for what happened," she mumbled.

Straining to hear, with eyes wide, Helen leaned forward. "Yes?" she prompted.

"So I just wanted to say," there was a pause as she inhaled a deep breath, "I'm sorry I tried to kill myself."

Helen smiled broadly. Could this be the first step towards a full recovery? Helen's sense of hope swelled. "Oh, honey, I know."

"I guess I let all my problems get to me. It's just... really tough putting up with world sometimes. I know it was really selfish. I didn't think how anyone else would feel..."

Helen tuned out the words as she thought back to that awful day. Summoned by Quinn's high-pitched shrieking, she and Jake raced through the house to where Quinn stood at the entrance of Daria's bedroom.

Through the door they saw Daria, lying on her side and breathing shallowly, in an enormous red stain, arms covered with blood. Her hands were resting in a bowl, a knife on the floor, with her broken glasses lying nearby.

Helen's baby had deliberately slit her own wrists. She had never experienced anything more horrendous than the sight of her daughter lying on that floor. She had no idea how she had managed to make it through the following days and weeks.


Helen blinked away a tear, and pushed the memories back down, in order that she could turn her attention back to where it was needed. "Yes, dear?"

"I am sorry," she said seriously, "I just..."

"It's all right, sweetie. Take your time." Helen hoped she sounded supportive.

"I just... can't help but think how things might have turned out if Quinn hadn't checked to see if I wanted lunch that day. I might not have been found until it was too late." Wide eyes looked up at her mother.

Helen felt her emotional resolve crashing. The memories came swarming back, and this, on top of everything, was proving to be almost too much. "I... I know, dear," was all she could manage to say.

"It's kind of ironic don't you think? Quinn, of all people, taking time out of her self-centered fashion-obsessed life to offer a simple common courtesy to her sister?" Her wide eyes were practically pleading.

"Quin-" Helen said, having to pause as she almost burst into tears, "Quinn's a good person."

Helen jumped as she felt Doctor Boulash's hand on her shoulder. She hadn't heard him return. "I think it's time we drew this visit to a close, Mrs. Morgendorffer," he said.

"Of course," Helen said, with a nod and a sniff. "I'll come back to visit as soon as I can, sweetie. You listen to the doctor, and do what he says. We miss you at home." Helen leaned down and gave her daughter an unresisted hug and a kiss on the cheek. She turned to leave and follow the doctor out of the room, but paused at the door as she heard a call from behind her.


"Yes, dear?" Helen asked, finding herself unable to turn around.

"You will ask him about my glasses, right?"

Helen choked back a sob. "I will," she whispered, and rushed out of the room. Halfway down the corridor, Helen collapsed into a chair and weeped uncontrollably into her hands, while Doctor Boulash stood by impassively. When she began to calm down and get herself under control, he wordlessly handed her a small paper cup filled with cold water. Where he had produced it from, she had no idea, but he was obviously used to this sort of thing.

Finally, she dabbed at her eyes and blew her nose with a tissue from her pocket. "I'm sorry, doctor," she said, quietly.

"Nothing to be sorry for," he said gently. "I know how hard this must be for you. That's one of the reasons I recommended postponing this visit, or at least bringing your husband along with you for support."

"Oh, Jake would never be able to maintain any type of charade in front of her. I nearly- oh, how long is she going to be like this?" she asked plaintively.

"I'm sorry, there's no real way to tell," he said, offering a hand to help her up. "So, you didn't challenge her delusion at any point?"

"No, doctor," she said a little crossly as she started walking with him back down the corridor, "and you didn't need to remind me before you left us alone."

"I'm sure," he said, sincerely, "but she is starting to open up to us a little, and I'd hate for anything to interfere with that."
"Is it really wise to play along with her? Even giving her a pair of glasses?"

"Glasses?" he asked, with a note of surprise. He led her into his office where he sat behind his desk and she took a chair across from him. "Oh, yes. She made a pair of big round frames out of some black pipe cleaners. We took them away after the... incident."

"Yes, the incident", she said acidly, glaring at the doctor. "I still want a full account of how and why you allowed that to happen."

"Well, in hindsight I suppose it should have been obvious that she would try something like that. However," he said, leaning forward and saying pointedly, "I do hope you aren't seriously considering pursuing a lawsuit. When you checked her in to our hospital, her health and safety became our primary concern. At no point has she ever been unobserved. In fact, the same security camera you pointed out allowed us to see what she was doing and get that screw away from her before she could do anything more than give herself a few deep scratches."

Helen looked away. "I- I know, doctor. I apologize for that. When I got that call from you, I just panicked, I guess. After Daria..."

"I understand," he said, leaning back and looking away briefly himself. "The most regrettable point of all is that it does seem to have fueled her fantasy even further."

"What? But you said she barely hurt herself at all."

"Exactly," he said, nodding, "but she's not distinguishing between her suicide attempt and Daria's. So, from her point of view, Daria really did live, and she has a bandage on her wrist to prove it."

"Oh, doctor, why is she doing this to herself?" Helen moaned. She stood up and started pacing the room in agitation. "It wasn't her fault. They were even getting along better than ever."

"Unfortunately, that could have a lot to do with it," Boulash replied, following her with his eyes. "She and Daria had only recently started making overtures towards each other. The fact that they never had before was probably a serious source of guilt she was carrying around. After Daria's suicide, she started to believe that if she had made more of an effort before, Daria would be alive now. She started to fantasize about what she could have done differently that would have prevented Daria's death. The fantasy became a desperate need for Daria to still be alive, in order to assuage her guilt. Since Daria wasn't alive, of course, she had to replace her with someone."

Helen tried to absorb what the doctor told her. Most of it was just a confirmation of everything she and Jake had been told when they first brought Quinn to the psychiatric hospital for evaluation. She was also experienced enough as a lawyer to know when someone was translating complicated technical language into layman's terms. "But, even though she thinks she's Daria, can't she be convinced that Quinn- that she isn't to blame?"

"She's acting like Daria because she does believe she's to blame. What I've been trying to do is convince her, as Daria, that thinking of Quinn as a bad person, instead of just a normal and flawed human being, makes Daria a bad person. Since she's placed Daria on such a high pedestal, she'll hopefully change her thinking, and realize that Quinn is worth forgiving."

"In other words," Helen exclaimed, grasping the doctor's meaning, "she'll forgive herself?"

"That's what we're hoping," he confirmed with a smile.

"So, do you think we'll be able to bring her home soon?" Helen asked hopefully.

"I don't know, Helen, but rest assured," Boulash said, leaning over and covering one of her hands with his. "Only one of your daughters died. Quinn will come back to you, when she's ready."


There you go. My seventh foray into the Daria fan fiction community. I'd love to know what you thought. Did you figure out who Helen was talking to before she left the room? What tipped you? The fact that "Daria" was reading comfortably without her glasses? Was it something else? Please send me feedback at

Special thanks go to Wraith, for allowing me to borrow a scene from his fic, "Something Happened..." This is not necessarily meant to be a sequel to that fic, but that scene is a tribute to a truly excellent piece of work.

If you haven't already, I hope you feel inspired to read my other fics, which should be available on the same site you found this one. "Diary Dearest", "Kiss Until", "Seeing Things Through", "Fanning The Flames", "Malice of Absence", and "Holding On".

Disclaimer: Daria and all related characters were created by Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis and are trademarks of MTV Networks, Inc., a division of VIACOM international, Inc. All rights reserved by trademark holders U. S. National and International Law and Convention.

"Psycho Sis" is a work of fiction produced solely for fun, and is not meant to be distributed for profit. It may be distributed to Daria fans everywhere, provided the author's name and e-mail address are left intact.