Slight Return

by Jill Palmer

After one hell of a summer (in more ways than one), Lawndale gets treated to a supernatural occurrence of a completely different variety. Set in that void between IIFY and Fizz Ed, though things would obviously be going quite differently at the other end. (Daria/Good Omens)

DISCLAIMER: /me does not own Good Omens people (or whatever it is they are...) or anything/one in Lawndale. /me just enjoys borrowing characters and places for her own amusement and that of others. Share and Enjoy.


Personages of Apocalyptic Significance
*War (War - makes everyone fight, or, failing that, at least argue)
*Famine (Famine - makes people really, really hungry)
*Pollution (Pollution - gets stuff messy)

The Popular Crowd
*Sandi Griffin (president of the Fashion Club, scraping-by student)
*Quinn Morgendorffer (vice-president of the Fashion Club, occasional student)
*Stacy Rowe (secretary of the Fashion Club, also an occasional student)
*Tiffany Blum-Deckler (coordinating officer of the Fashion Club, only nominally a student)
*Jamie White (a football player, one of Quinn's admirers)
*Joey (...Well, except for the name, see Jamie.)

The Cynics
*Daria Morgendorffer (a student and aspiring writer)
*Jane Lane (a student and artist)

Mystik Spiral (Members Thereof)
*Trent Lane (lead guitarist/vocalist and a slacker-narcoleptic)
*Jesse Moreno (rhythm guitarist, fond of one-word sentences)

*Crowley (the only emissary of Hell whose mind has made it out of the 14th century)

I: A Study on Fights and Fashion Sense

Scarlett woke up with a start. After cursing falling dreams to the highest appropriate degree, she noticed her surroundings. Then she actually looked at them.

How in the *world* had she wound up in a canopy bed?!

This was probably part of Someone’s plot to keep certain people visible, at least for a while. She wouldn’t be surprised if that miserable excuse for an Antichrist was in on it. So far as that matter went, she sincerely hoped Below had better taste next time they pulled that trick.

But no matter. It wasn’t going to do her any good to get steamed at her superiors at (um... clock? Anyone? Ah, there we go.) three in the morning. And besides, she was clearly going to need the saner hours to work out where - and who, from the looks of things - she was.

Problem was, she didn’t know if she could get back to sleep now that she knew she was in a canopy bed...


She must have managed in the end. Quinn Morgendorffer, owner of the room, woke up a good twenty minutes after her alarm went off. She didn’t know why she was so tired even after the extra sleep - after all, she hadn’t woken up in the middle of the night.

_Can’t even sleep till noon,_ she thought for no readily apparent reason. As she made her way to her closet, her mind also seemed to be leaning toward wearing something red.

She brushed the oddity of that thought aside until she actually opened her closet and discovered the only red thing in it was her Mom-bribing halter top. (She’d lost track of the ultimatums it had earned her, not to mention the cash.) Knowing full well she’d never hear the end of it if she was caught trying to wear it to school, Quinn pulled the halter top out and started fishing around for a jacket to wear over it.


While not incredibly happy about the lack of total control over what she was doing, Scarlett was willing to put up with having things in hand at least part of the time. It was something, and she’d take something over nothing any day. Having just sat through a solid stretch of Nothing for undefined amounts of time, she should know.

So what was this chick’s schedule, anyway? There was a planner in her locker, though Scarlett doubted it was school-issued. Not if the cover was coral pink. At any rate, it probably contained some of her answers.

One of those answers was a little (all right, a lot) hard for her to accept. “Fashion Club? Whose brilliant idea was *that?*”

_Oh, that’s right,_ the rightful owner of the body mused. _That sale at Cashman’s. Sandi’s only been going on about it for the last three weeks or so. I’ll have to get money later._

Scarlett was definitely not looking forward to spending the entire afternoon in a shopping mall. On the other hand, she might be able to get some more red in the girl’s wardrobe selection. With the slightest smirk, she set about going through the rest of the locker.



Quinn glanced sidelong at Fashion Club president Sandi Griffin. She was nearly certain that whatever was coming had something to do with the halter top. She sighed and said, “What?”

“Why are you, like, mixing primaries? That’s been a fashion don’t since day one, or something.”

Even though she knew there was nothing wrong with a red top and blue jeans, she now had a case to argue. “Oh, honestly, Sandi, don’t you know pastel blue when you see it?” (A convincing argument, though she had no idea why she was being so... forceful about it.)

“Gee, Quinn, I would think if your jeans were *old* enough to count as pastel, you would’ve, like, replaced them by now.” Sandi paused in her valley-girl-isms to eat some of her salad. “Maybe your geeky cousin, or whatever she is, is rubbing off on you?”

“Saandiii...” coordinating officer Tiffany Blum-Deckler chimed in (or droned, anyway). “That worrd... eww.”

“Look, just because I’m putting a little more effort into my classes doesn’t mean I’ve lost my fashion sense. Besides, I thought the whole point of different styles was to get some variety in.” Part of Quinn’s brain was absolutely screaming for a way - ANY way - out of this stupid conversation.

“Um, Quinn?”

Not accustomed to only hearing from one-third of the J’s at once, Jamie White’s presence nearly went unnoticed by the three girls. however, the rebellious sector of Quinn’s mind put two and two together, came up with five, and noticed Sandi had spilled her grape juice.

As she turned around, she also noticed the third J’s clothes looked like they’d been washed in a bleach load. “Hi, Jer- Jo- Jim- what *is* it?-”


Scarlett thought this would be as good a time as any to take over for a bit. “Mr. White.” This earned her an appreciative smirk from both the person she was talking to and the one who was standing there - not that anyone else would have known the difference.

“Presumably you want to go talk,” she continued, not bothering to make it a question. He nodded, and she stood up, leaving Sandi and Tiffany to their own devices.

They headed for a corner table that was otherwise vacant and sat down. “I hope you’re having better luck than I am,” Scarlett started. “Someone figured it would be funny to see me dealing with a fashion head.”

“Three of them,” White corrected.

“That’s not my point! My *point* is...” She had to stop and think about her point, and wound up changing it altogether. “If I say there’s no God, do I lose my job?”

“Don’t know. Wouldn’t try it, if I were you. The people Below probably have enough to deal with after that... anticlimax without trying to replace you. How many jobs’ve you got going now, anyway?”

“Work? What do you mean, work? We just got out of Limbo, and besides, I’m currently stuck in Suburbia amongst a bunch of fashion heads. How’m I supposed to work under these conditions?”

“Check a newspaper,” White explained. “You’ll see what I mean. Aside from what you’ve mentioned, has it been a good day?”

“Eh. Been a day, at any rate. This girl has no red clothes besides this,” she said, pointing out the halter top. “And a skirt that’s maybe three inches long. That is soon to be remedied.”

“So you’re actually getting into this fashion thing?”

Scarlett treated him to a withering glare. “Only so much as it benefits me. On a related note, I may have come off lucky in regards to which fashion head I got landed in. That poor Asian girl... has she ever had an original thought in her life, and what is she taking to keep from repeating the experience?”

“Maybe stuttering therapy?”

“Stepped in what?”

“Till recently, the most anyone could do for chronic stutterers was to get them talking at one syllable per second.”

“Oh.” A pause for thought, then: “Hey, you haven’t seen Famine around, have you?”

“You know the trade-names deal. And no.”

Their conversation was suddenly interrupted by the class-change bell. “Catch you later,” Scarlett managed to get out before Quinn was running things again.

II: Which Is Exceedingly Muddy

Jamie didn’t feel like doing much at football practice. He didn’t know exactly why. Part of it, at least, was his stomach - maybe not eating lunch on a practice day wasn’t such a good idea.

And for some reason, he was thinking the football field was far too green to be allowed.

He stuck out practice as long as he could, but had to stay out after the water break. Staring in the general direction of the Tommy Sherman Memorial Goalpost, but not really looking at it, he contemplated the greenness of the grass and what could be done about it. Maybe if they left the sprinklers on all night -

“Hey dude, you all right?”

Jamie looked up - Joey had posed the question after the scrimmage-team huddle broke. Instead of heading for his spot, he was standing there waiting for an answer.

“Think so. If not, I will be.”

“Okay. It’s just... I don’t know, you’ve been acting kinda weird all day. Thought I’d see if anything was up.”

“Not that I know of,” Jamie replied, shrugging. “You may want to get into the formation before you get run over.”

Joey adopted a facial expression that clearly stated, “Eep!” as he scrambled for his spot - as it was, he barely made it. Jamie’s thoughts wandered back in the general direction of that green business.

No, maybe the sprinklers weren’t the best idea. They’d have to play in a complete mud pit tomorrow. Then again, weren’t those the best possible conditions?


“So, like, that should catch you up on everything,” Sandi finished as she put the final touches on her eyeliner. “Oh, except for the part where Quinn’s been weird this week.”

“Weird?” Stacy Rowe wondered. “Weird how? I thought all she was doing was putting more into school...”

“Sta-cee, it’s not that kind of weird. I don’t know how to describe it other than not-Quinn. Maybe if *you* talk to her, or something, you’ll get an answer. She’s been too busy, like, arguing with me to tell me anything.”

“Um...” Stacy couldn’t think of anything to say - nothing that wouldn’t land her in hot water for thinking, anyway. A song she hadn’t heard in a while started lodging itself in her mind. Trying to think around that, she finally said, “That’s a good idea, Sandi. Thanks for the update.”

Her first clue as to what was up came when Quinn actually made an appearance in the building. She was wearing a red camouflage-print tank top, khaki pants (but at least they were the light kind of khaki), and her usual brown shoes. _‘Weird how’ indeed. I obviously missed something important..._

“Um, hi, Quinn.”

“Stacy! You’re back! Feeling better?”

“Yeah, I guess.” She stuck on the next part for a few moments. “Er... interesting outfit.”

Quinn sighed. “If you don’t like it, just say so. I’m experimenting with some different stuff. And no matter what happens, I’m not going near the army green stuff.”

“That’s good. You know Sandi’ll give you a hard time over the khakis, right?”

“It’s either this or mixing primaries for the second time this week. What’s it matter?”

_What’s it *matter?*_ Stacy boggled in the privacy of her own head. _Since when does Quinn treat fashion like that?_ She was about to ask, but her red-headed friend was already off down the hallway.

o/~ Everybody’s looking like they’re s’posed to/But nobody's looking very good... o/~

There was that song again. She’d have it stuck in her head for the rest of the day now. With a sigh, she opened her own locker and fished her history book out.


Daria Morgendorffer watched her best friend wolf down lunch with the slightest hint of worry in her expression, though it would have taken a trained eye to notice. As it was, the only trained eye in Lawndale High’s cafeteria was more interested in the fork-to-mouth path of her food.

“Jane.” Jane Lane’s attention remained focused on matters of the stomach, so Daria tried again, a little louder. “*Jane.*” Having finally captured the apparently starving artist’s attention, she continued, “You're actually eating mystery meat. Please tell me there’s a rational explanation for this.”

“You see any other food options in here?”

“That still doesn’t cut it. You eat breakfast.”

“Not today. I don’t know what possessed the cats to get into my cereal last night, but they did. Ate everything but the box. So the only thing in the house this morning was coffee, unless I felt like taking my chances with the fridge. Last time I checked, that red stuff was going fuzzy.”

“You Lanes and your lurking refrigerator. Anyway. You didn’t go by Do Me a Donut or something on the way to school because...”

“Not enough spare cash,” Jane replied. “And it didn’t seem worthwhile to spend one of Mom’s blank checks on doughnut holes. I did have some coffee before I left, but I’m starting to think tired and hungry may have been the way to go.”

Daria considered. “No, at least you’re alert enough to know you need food.”

“Oh! Speaking of alert, Trent was actually awake by the time I left this morning.”

That sentence and knowledge of Jane’s brother’s sleeping habits did not mesh. “No way.”

“Yes way, Daria. I think the Spiral’s practice ran late last night, or possibly early, but I didn’t bother asking.” A pause for thought (and chewing), then: “Come to think of it, he may have been getting up a little earlier every day for the last few weeks.”

“Strange things are afoot in the mind of Trent, I guess.”

“He’s a Lane, it’s to be expected. You gonna eat that?”

Looking down, Daria realized Jane was referring to her own neglected tray of unfood. She sighed and shoved it across the table, and Jane commenced stuffing her face like there was no tomorrow (which actually would’ve been more accurate about a month prior) - or like she hadn’t eaten in a week.


Scarlett got her first good laugh since what had been passed off as Armageddon when she saw the job White had done to the football field.

“It gets better,” he said. “Stick around for the halftime show. Now, if you’ll excuse me, duty calls...”

“Wait a minute. I thought you got benched?”

“Yes, but I still have to sit on the bench. If it’s any consolation, I don’t understand the rules either.” With that he was off to the locker room, leaving the stadium in her more than capable hands.

How long had White been working on this? Three weeks? A month? It explained why she hadn’t seen many signs of his presence in the building. True, the cafeteria tables had gone unwashed and the occasional ballpoint pen exploded, but that all seemed to lack his usual enthusiasm.

That would be because he’d been putting most of his energy into this mud-pit business. Maybe, Scarlett pondered, some of it was to make up for that Antarctica thing he kept meaning to do. On top of being closer to their present location, this would likely prove to be infinitely more interesting.

She hardly paid attention to the game itself, mainly because she’d never had the time to familiarize herself with the rules (though she’d meant to). After giving the matter a bit of thought, she decided White had probably landed in exactly the right person. They both had the same last name, at least as things stood at the moment,and the poor kid’s given name was forgotten by everyone, giving him that lurks-in-the-background element.

Halftime provided Scarlett with her second really good laugh in one day. The home band presumably had learned better than to try marching, but the visitors couldn’t benefit from that foresight (or else they had a sadistic director). The entire saxophone section got a bonus shower when one of them tripped over a sprinkler and set it off. By the end of their show, the band members had slipped so often they looked like they’d been playing the football game.

During the second half a fight broke out in the stands after a referee made the right call on the wrong team. (Then again, from what little Scarlett knew about the sport, the calls were always on the wrong team. It all depended on your perspective.)

The game wound up being a close one, for reasons unrelated to the teams’ respective abilities. Lawndale High finally won, three to nothing.

“So, what did you think?”

“Hmm? Oh, you’re down there. That was brilliant. I still don’t understand the game, but that bit with the band made up for it. I imagine you enjoyed it more when *both* bands were out there. Great job.” She reached down to give him what could pass for a high five, under the circumstances, and got some mud on her hand in the process.

Once Jamie had started back toward the locker room (or wherever), Quinn looked down at her soiled hand. She didn’t remember going anywhere near the football field, but still...



Raven Sable was not enjoying himself.

He hadn’t seen either of the others. Come to that, he didn’t even know if they were all in the same town. How could he when this guy hadn’t left the house in five weeks?

Along with that, he was quite possibly narcoleptic. It had taken a fair amount of Sable’s energy just to institute a regular sleeping schedule. He also had yet to see the inside of the refrigerator, so presumably food was a rare happening in this house without his help.

There was one bright spot. The girl seemed to have felt his presence, even if she hadn’t put the pieces together. Even to the point, if he’d heard correctly, where she was investing in Mystery Meat CHOW (TM) at lunch. In a way, it was nice to know the business was still on its feet.

And then there was the matter of those other three guys, reportedly part of a band. Sable had no idea what the band in question was meant to sound like. They kept aborting practices in favor of grabbing a pizza.

That was it - pizza. Something that would both get him out and handle some business. With a slim smile he hadn’t found an excuse to use since the day before Armageddon-or-something, he sat down to wait. The proper time would present itself sooner or later, and he was determined to sit there on the couch until something happened...

Or maybe that was just the slacker within.


Joey suddenly realized Quinn hadn’t had a date in weeks. Sure, she’d been talking to Jamie a lot - and about some suspiciously trippy stuff - but that didn’t mean she’d gone exclusive. Word would have gotten out, and knowing Quinn, she’d have done a screening process.

So why didn’t *he* try asking her?

“Hey, Quinn. I noticed you haven’t had any dates for a while. Can I take you to Chez Pierre tomorrow?” (Strange, he realized, neither of the other two were there to one-up the invitation...)

“Sorry, Joey, but I’m busy all day.” Then she smiled at him. “Maybe Friday?”

“Erm...” Joey wasn’t quite sure what to make of that smile. It almost made her look predatory. “Uh, never mind. I-it’s not that big a deal. See you later.” And at that he was off like a shot, or possibly a cannonball.

Quinn watched him go with a very confused look on her face. She was used to guys coming *to* her, not running away.

_It’s that stupid smile. Does it every time._

“It does not!” Not long after she realized she’d said that out loud, she also figured out not enough people had noticed to really dent her popularity.

Then she started wondering precisely what her plans were for the next day. Whatever they were, they had to be worth turning down a date. After all, she’d made them... hadn’t she?


“Remind me, what are we doing tomorrow?”

“Going to the pizza place,” White replied. “He’s bound to get out there eventually. I’m sort of surprised he hasn’t yet.”

“And *then* what?”

“I don’t know. And do be careful, you nearly sounded like a five-year-old there.”

“Hey, can I help it if I want to get out of here? I mean, it’s obviously loads better than Limbo, but... it’s freaking Suburbia. You’re perfectly happy here, or in fact anywhere so long as it’s got the proper mess potential. I’m better off in a desert environment.” Scarlett let out a sigh. “Besides, I want my truck back.”

“Does that mean you’re getting back into arms delivery?”

“Possibly. I don’t know whether my position with the one pulp magazine was held, so I may have to, for a while. Thing is, I just might be able to fix the thing now.”

“You mean if it hasn’t been sandblasted to bits by now...”

“Whatever.” She set Quinn’s history book on the table, opened it at random, and started reading. After a few moments she flipped forward.

White looked at the page she eventually stopped on, and was not at all surprised to see a battle map. “I’d ask if you ever got enough of that, but I don’t think it’s necessary.”

“You have to remember I knew a lot of the people doing this stuff. Usually these books are so far off the mark all they’re good for is a laugh.”

“If you say so.” Thinking it over, White realized he’d never actually read an accurate description of one of his projects. Maybe she had a point after all.