The Leader of the Pack

A Daria fan fiction
By Canadibrit

Trent Lane was usually a very heavy sleeper. However, there were certain times when something in his blood woke him up -- all the way up. Opening a drawer in his bedside table and squinting at the small calendar he kept inside it, he saw the time had come around again.

Damn, he thought, despite the slow burn of excitement in his blood. Gotta start making plans already.

After calling the guys -- Jesse, Nick and Max were his best friends, but they'd never understand this -- Trent went to his sister, Janey. For a second, he just stopped in the doorway of her room, watching her as she painted. That was his Janey, last of Vincent and Amanda's Wandering Lanes and the only one too young to leave the nest. Yet, anyway. Trent both celebrated and rued the fact that Janey would probably be going off to some art college in a few months, leaving Trent to hold down the fort alone. Sure, there were times when having Janey gone would be good for her own personal safety, but most of the time, it would be very lonely without her. He sometimes tried to work out how he'd manage without her; he never succeeded.

Someone else was watching Jane, this one from actually in the room -- Daria Morgendorffer, the coolest high schooler he knew. He flinched from this encounter instinctively, knowing how smart Daria was and how easily she could see through any elaborate lie he might try to spin. She was the one who had once told him (but not in so few words) that he should hold onto his dreams, the things in life that made the whole thing worthwhile. She read books and knew things that Trent would never be able to grasp. She'd once dubbed Casa Lane "Fort St Christopher"; he'd laughed at the joke eventually, once she'd explained to him that the aforementioned saint was the patron of travellers. She knew things and she saw through people. He had to be very, very careful. She could never see through him; as much as it hurt him to know that this super-smart girl that he so respected thought of him as nothing but a slacker -- not since that Tom guy, anyway -- she could never be allowed to see what lay beneath that.

"Hey, Janey," he finally said. "Hey, Daria."

Both girls turned to look at him. It was refreshing to see that Daria didn't blush or clam up around him anymore. "Yo, Trent," said Janey, and her tone was slightly wry. "Into the feeding stage of your life cycle?"

Trent drew in a breath. Oh, God, he had to be so damn careful...

"Don't mind her," Daria said; her tone was just as arch. "Jane's just showing off the sliver of information she managed to glean from biology class."

"Yeah," Janey added with a grin; "I may actually claw my way out of that class with a B. Well, that's if the She-Beast cuts me more of a break than usual."

Trent shut his eyes. They don't know, man, he kept telling himself. They don't know, there's no way they can know, so be cool...

"Trent ... are you okay?" This from Daria again, looking at him closely.

Aw, hell; gotta watch it real careful here... "Yeah, I'm fine. Just not really awake yet."

Janey grinned, and he could see why; he didn't usually make it so easy for her. "Oh, and we shouldn't expect you to be, after only fourteen hours..."

But Daria was still looking at him, her face wary but her eyes full of concern. He had to distract her, change the subject, anything to get her to stop eyeing him that way. That was assessment, and it was too damn close. "Hey, Janey, why don't you stay at Daria's this weekend?"

Both girls raised an eyebrow and looked at him, a little shocked. "Because I did that last month. And I barely escaped unQuinned."

Trent must have looked lost, because Daria explained, "Quinn needed someone with colour sense. I don't remember if it was arranging her lipsticks by colour or..."

"It was trying to match lipstick colours to every single item of clothing in her wardrobe, Daria." Janey's voice was pained; Trent couldn't blame her. "And after that, she decided that a Fashion Club makeover would be the perfect way to repay my kindness."

"She screamed blue murder," Daria continued with a smirk, "and I came to the rescue in true Arthurian fashion. A choice selection of blackmail material convinced Quinn that Jane would be much happier with cold, hard cash."

Trent chuckled. No cough followed. It's close. This is bad. Very bad. "Right on, Daria," he said, hoping he'd covered himself well enough. "Anyway, Janey, I hope you're okay with having the place to yourself for a few days..."

"Why? Where are you going?"

Trent rolled his eyes; he'd never figured out whether he was grateful to Janey for caring where he was or hating it when she went mother-hen on him. "Who are you, Mom?" Didn't work before, really, but worth a try...

Janey just raised an eyebrow. "We already did this. So can we cut to 'exactly' and let you bug out all dark and mysterious?"

"Later, Janey." He turned to go.

"Take care of yourself, you big lug, okay?" Trent turned, surprised at the emotion he thought he'd heard in her voice. By the time he faced her, though, she'd covered it with her trademark smirk. "And remember it's your turn to bring home the bacon. Come bearing groceries or I'm locking you out."

He smiled a little at her. "Sure, Janey," he agreed, and walked away.

He could still hear them, all the way down the corridor and down the stairs, as if he was in the room with them. Daria said, "I hope he's okay. He looked kind of pale."

Janey's voice held a note of concern, but her reply was idle, almost throwaway: "He managed a laugh without coughing, Daria; he hasn't done that in awhile. Until he can't even talk without doing that, I won't be worrying about his health." Then, after a short pause, he heard the smirk in her voice as she added, "But that's some concern you're showing my brother, there, Daria. Should Tom be worried about the competition?"

"I hate you."

Trent tuned their voices out. It was an effort, but he managed. He hoped Daria would be home before sundown, and that Janey'd have the sense to stay in the house this weekend. She'd been painting, so it was likely. And Daria'd be out with Tom, maybe, but mostly inside in the hours of darkness, studying or writing or just reading.

I kind of have to believe in a God, he thought to himself. I'd go nuts otherwise. So ... God, if you're listening to a thing like me ... watch out for them. Keep them safe. Keep them inside at night...

With that done, all he could do was sit back and prepare himself for what would come when the sun went down.

*          *          *          

Two hours later, the sun hid below the horizon. The moon had yet to rise, and the only light in the Lane back yard was the dim glow from Janey's window. Trent sat in the so-called Naming Gazebo; for two hours, he had only sat in the encroaching dark and waited, listening. When Daria had left an hour before, he'd heard everything about it, everything; her farewell to Janey, the tread of her boots on the stairs, the whisper of her skin against the fabric of her clothes, the soft click of the door shutting. His time was close, and he could already feel the itch under his skin as follicles went into overdrive. He could smell his mother's clay even through the bomb shelter door, and the reek of Janey's acrylics ripped into his sinuses like a blade.

Fairly certain that Janey'd be unable to see him even if she'd glanced out the window, he removed all his clothes and stood naked in the Naming Gazebo, feeling the cool air aggravate the itch. He didn't want a repeat of the first time. Trent had few enough clothes without destroying a full outfit, and he could already feel the shift and change of his muscles as the moon began to peek over the horizon.

For nearly a year, he'd racked his brain for some way to block out the pain. He'd done some reading after it had happened, not just on the condition (not that literature on that was easy to find...) but on the human body, and he found himself amazed that he was still alive after everything he went through month after month. Now he thought he finally had a way, and as his muscles grew with his hair and his teeth, he took his conscious mind away, dropping it into a well of memories. In a few minutes, his mind wouldn't matter anyway.

It had happened at the Horn Dog, a brew pub out in the wilds of Carter County. Mike, the owner, kept the strangest dogs. He said they were a wolf/German shepherd cross, but Trent had his doubts, even then; they were too damn big, for one thing. They'd been out there last year, just after Janey's birthday, and Trent's curiosity had got the better of him. He'd offered to help with the feeding, and one of them had become ... enthusiastic? No; enraged would be a better word. It had jumped him, huge lupine jaws aimed at his throat, and Trent had somehow got his arm up in time. Only the timely intervention of Mike with a sawed-off shotgun kept Trent from losing his elbow, and when Trent managed to shake the dog's corpse off, he picked up one of the stray pellets of shot, wondering at the way they gleamed. When he discovered that the buckshot in those shells was solid silver, he knew that he was in terrible, terrible trouble.

The next full moon had proven him more right than he'd ever wanted to be. As had all the full moons that had followed. For three days a month, for as long as the full moon rode the sky, Trent Lane became a monster.

Now, the hard part was almost done, the horrible painful stretching feeling fading with his colour sight as the feral hunger overwhelmed him. He grasped the few remaining shreds of his human mind and ordered his other self, the wolf-presence that had been with him since that horrible night at Mike's, Remember who the pack is, you bastard. You do not harm the pack, you understand? You... You...

Words. And they meant next to nothing. Leaving most of his humanity behind with his clothes, the werewolf bayed at the risen moon.

By the time Jane Lane looked out the window, alerted by that blood-chilling sound, he was gone.

Two Days Later

The sun had been down for about an hour when Tom Sloane's purposeful stride brought him to High Hills Park. His mother, having heard all kinds of stories about the place, had warned him never to go in there after dark; Tom wasn't sure whether it was the tales of nightly Satan worship or the riff-raff she heard hogged the tennis courts that bothered her the most, but he suspected it was the latter. No one in Lawndale was remotely interesting enough to make compacts with the devil, and the only people truly rich enough to be accused of that sort of deal were his own family. He stepped in without a qualm about his personal well-being, gnawed by worries of an entirely different nature.

He had been dating Daria for over six months now, or so Daria's little sister would have it, and so far things had not progressed beyond kissing and the odd strike-out after leaving second base. Tom tried not to let it bother him; she had told him she wasn't ready, and every fibre in his well-bred being told him to respect his lady's wishes in those circumstances. The problem was, Tom wasn't sure Daria wasn't ready. Oh, her lips and most of her body always told him no, but there was something in her eyes in what passed for their passionate moments that hinted at something very different. That something, he suspected, was the very thing that had prompted her to return his kiss in the first place, his status as her best friend's boyfriend notwithstanding.

But she didn't want to acknowledge that something. She considered herself too damn smart to give in to something so base. Daria Morgendorffer, stoic and organised about all things, wanted to have no regrets about the laying down of her virginity. Tom wasn't sure what was wrong with the current circumstances, though. They seemed perfectly fine to him ... but then, he was honest enough to admit to himself that he was a young man with ulterior motives.

He had decided to walk to Daria's house rather than driving to pick her up for their date because he had every intention of bringing the subject up that night, and he wanted to do it with minimal pressure. Daria would run a mile if he brought up the subject while riding in his car; she'd be smart enough to realise that such a question could be a subtle invitation to the Quarry to ... how did the youth contingent of Lawndale put it? Oh, yeah; 'test the parking brake'. Without the car, there was no 'safe' place to go, so she'd know he had no intention of forcing the issue, that he only brought it up out of curiosity and a desire to explain his feelings on the matter.

He walked through the park, ignoring the full moon, just about to wane, that lit his path. He was too busy composing opening gambits in his head, wondering why even hints towards foreplay had to feel so much like chess. Chess was such an unsexy game. Then again, he thought, mercifully diverted from his agonised musing, so was baseball, but that metaphor survived...

*          *          *          

On the third night of the change, the werewolf prowled the strange but familiar false wood, contented and proud. He had partaken in two nights of good hunting, and as the moon's cycle wound down, he was able to appreciate the feeling of a full belly and a successful hunt.

The first night was spent escaping the unpleasant, barren place inhabited by the man-things. He had hunted there, once, but the feeling of sickness and what he was not human enough to recognise as shame prevented him from ever doing so again. The place fairly reeked of acrid fumes, rotting matter and other things too bizarre to contemplate. And the meat had tasted strange and unappetising; the man-beast had perhaps been ill. But everything in the man-place smelled ill, and he should have expected no different.

Leaving the man-place on foot, he came upon a cow-beast, and fell upon it mercilessly. He eviscerated the beast, ate its heart and liver still warm from its body, then tore large segments of meat from the beast and took it into a pitiful stand of trees. He climbed the highest he could find to devour his prize (more feline than canine, if he'd known or cared), then slept through the day, pleasantly full. The second day was much the same; take down a large beast, eat the prized organs, gorge on choice meat at leisure, then sleep through the day in hiding.

Now it was the third night, and instinct brought him back to the unsettling man-place. He could feel strange things, stirrings in his simple brain as his other self began to wake. This other self he had never seen spoke to him in soft and barely coherent sounds and images, and the werewolf understood that he had to end in the man-place just as he began there. No reasons; that was just the way it was.

As he prowled, a familiar scent touched his nose, and he turned towards it, edging closer to the source with the deadly silence of the born hunter. He saw a man-thing walking through the false wood, a man-thing with dark hair, pale skin and a scent that, as well as being familiar, was also filled with rut and timidity. The juxtaposition of the odours set the werewolf's teeth on edge. Reason was not a part of the beast's nature, but all the same he watched the man-thing, waiting for something to come to him. The man-thing was familiar. Why?

A bubble of thought rising from his other self broke, releasing an image. He saw the face a woman-thing -- but not just any woman-thing. This woman-thing with the dark hair and pale eyes was one that his other self held dear. She was part of the Pack, his Pack; she was his litter-sister, and his devotion to her and protectiveness of her was therefore absolute. The face of his litter-sister was associated with this man-thing walking before him. There were feelings he attributed to her in connection with this man-thing that he was still too simple and bestial to understand -- unhappiness, embarrassment, betrayal -- but which amounted to a concept simple enough for even the werewolf to understand. This man-thing had hurt the Pack.

Deep in his throat, he began to growl. To harm the Pack was to threaten the Pack, its dominance and well-being. Instinct told him so. No one harmed the Pack and lived.

He launched himself at the man-thing with no further attempts at introspection or thought; whatever of the other self had stirred in him was driven deep again by the sheer force of the instinct. Over the screaming of the man-thing that had harmed the Pack, the werewolf heard his growl turn into one of the sounds that man-things used to communicate. It meant nothing in particular to him; it was just another sound, so close to a growl that it left his throat naturally.

The word was "Betrayer".

Then, tantalised by the fear he smelled on the man-thing (and disgusted by the smell of its urine), he ripped its throat out with his teeth. This blood was human, but its taste was somehow sweet to his spirit, no matter how sour it was to his mouth.

*          *          *          

This is me trying to be spontaneous, Daria thought. Let's hear it for women's liberation. After all, relationships are supposed to be about meeting the other person halfway. Though they're not supposed to be so literal about it, I guess...

She and Tom were supposed to be going out tonight, but Tom was uncharacteristically late. She'd called the Sloane household and Tom's younger sister Elsie told her, "He left about a half-hour ago. Maybe he got lost or something -- I've been telling him to do it for years."

Daria had thanked her and hung up with a small, short-lived smile at the answer that was so typically Elsie. If Quinn had been a little more like Elsie, her life would have been a lot different.

After a moment's thought, she realised he'd probably be in the park. High Hills Park was a place for them to linger; it was saturated with memories. Fine, the memories were predominantly of various spats, but that made it all the more likely that he would linger. After all, another one might be in the offing if both of them weren't careful. Revisiting the scene of a crime was the best way to rethink committing a fresh one.

Actually, she realised that Tom had the right idea; there were some things they both needed to think about very carefully before meeting up. The kind of things she very much needed to have straight in her head before they talked about it, lest their entire relationship go completely to hell. And Daria was pretty sure she didn't want that.

That's why she decided to meet Tom at the park. The walk would give her the time, space and fresh air needed to clear her head, and it would show willing, even if she didn't come to the conclusion she was sure he wanted.

Scrawling a note in case they missed each other, she left the house and headed for the park.

Okay, Morgendorffer; in the most basic terms possible, he wants to have sex with you. In the immortal words of Mr "I'm In Touch With My Inner Moppet" O'Neill, how does that make you feel?

On her endless quest for brutal honesty, she focused on the part she didn't want to admit to first. She was, she found, intensely flattered. Someone had finally seen behind her masklike glasses, imposing boots and baggy jacket, and they actually desired her. It was a heady feeling, a rush of blood to the head; Daria could somewhat understand why Quinn tried to hard to engender that feeling from every single boy who laid eyes on her. She was honest enough to admit that she liked the feeling, the helpless sort of power it gave her, and she wasn't sure if she wanted to give it up.

The problem was, the 'helpless' part. Daria hated being helpless. To be swept away by something so base and primal ... it scared her. The only thing Daria hated more than being helpless was being scared, and she wasn't going to risk either of those feelings. Not for Tom, anyway. Tom was safe; Tom was gentle and kind and respectful. There were certain boundaries that he would not cross without her consent. And she wouldn't risk the fear of being caught in the blinding wave of passion, the one that had nearly destroyed the only true friendship she'd ever had. Who knew what would happen if she rode that wave any further? The risks marched through her head like an army platoon -- disease, pregnancy, pain, the possibility that, after getting what he wanted, Tom would simply lose interest... It was all too much to risk for someone who could be turned aside so easily.

As she entered the park, she wondered if she'd risk it for anyone.

Well ... there was Trent...

Daria winced despite herself; she tried very hard not to think of Trent these days. Oh, she knew that an actual relationship would never work, not on any intellectual and emotional level she cared to name. Tom was better suited for a relationship; Tom with his books and his politeness and his dry wit. When Daria thought of Trent, though, it had nothing to do with relationships and more to do with ... well, with those base things she tended not to name to herself, lest she lose control.

Trent was the closest thing to a 'bad boy' as Lawndale was ever going to produce; the British term for it was 'a bit of rough'. No one could ever really blame a girl for being carried away by lust when 'a bit of rough' was involved. There was something about a bad boy that just defied resistance, and Trent had the looks besides ... if you were partial to pale, dark-haired scrawny guys. Since the term could easily be applied to her current boyfriend as well as her former (or not-so-former) crush, she readily admitted falling into that category. She knew Trent would never come by and sweep her off her feet and her self-created pedestal, but all the same...

Come on, Morgendorffer; brutal honesty. Somewhere in there, deep down, you wish somebody would. You're just damn sure it's not going to be Tom. And that's probably why you picked him, isn't it? A little fun, a little kissing, but you can back him off when you want to and he never complains, never pushes, never ... never sweeps, to continue the metaphor.

She became dimly aware of a noise, and pulled herself out of her reverie. It was growling. Not the kind of growling you heard from the traditional Lawndale pet -- yappy dogs with pedigrees longer than the animals themselves -- but a deep, primeval growling probably only heard by early man.

She turned to the sound's source and froze, horrified and transfixed by the sight of green eyes in the undergrowth, eyes that glowed like tail-lights in the gloom. Huge eyes. All the better to see you with, my dear...

The eyes blinked, and their owner moved forward into the light with a cautious, lurching tread. At the sight of it, Daria's throat seized. Her brain started to scream at her to run, to yell, to do something, but she was so shock-locked that it took almost all her wits just to remember to breathe. Things like this should simply not exist in a rational world. Not that her world had ever been particularly rational, but at least it had been scientifically possible. This was not.

The beast was huge; Daria's still-ticking rational brain measured its height at just under seven feet, with a shoulder span stretching to perhaps four. It was covered in coarse black hair from head to bare toes, with unnaturally large pointed ears (All the better to hear you with, my dear..., her mind parroted at her, convincing her that she was going insane). Its jaw was unnaturally heavy, bristling with large, sharp, blood-stained teeth and dripping a fine line of saliva. Its eyes still glowed as it looked at her. With a blush she couldn't have explained, she also noticed it was definitely male.

It was still growling, but the growl had a different quality to it. If Daria strained her ears, she could just about make out the attempt at sounds no creature that lupine should have been able to make.

The sound was "Darrrr..."

It was trying to say her name. How did it know her name? She noticed something on its ... arms, for lack of a better word. Places where the furhad not grown, showing patches of bluish skin in very familiar patterns, ones reminiscent of Maori tribesmen.

Trent's tattoos.

She opened her mouth, silently framing his name, but never got to speak it. She saw him tense -- she'd seen Animal Maulings on Home Video and knew all too well what it meant when an animal did that. Not even bothering with stepping back, she just turned and ran as fast as her legs could carry her, trying to block out the fact that 'as fast as her legs could carry her' was a) not very fast at all and b) not going to be good enough.

The werewolf knew this one's scent very well indeed. This was the Pack, and a prized member. Her smell enticed him; under all the chemicals of soap and shampoo and laundry detergent was a clean, womanly smell mixed with the maddening aroma of fear. But there was another smell, one he had experienced recently. It was the smell of the man-thing who had harmed his litter-sister. The man-thing had not harmed this prized female of the Pack, to his knowledge, but he wanted that smell off her. All the females of the Pack were his; to have the smell of another male on a member of his Pack was wrong. Something had to be done.

And she was not his litter-sister. There was none of the taboo.

The Pack was running. He would prove his worth. Drawn by her tempting, maddening smell, he crouched, tensed further, then pounced after her.

As Daria predicted, she got barely a hundred yards down the path before the beast with Trent's tattoos bore her to the ground. She squirmed, trying to turn to face her death the way she had faced every moment of her life -- looking it straight in the eye, giving no quarter. Even so, her thoughts raced like panicked rats through her overburdened mind.

It couldn't really be Trent under all that fur and muscle, could it? She'd seen An American Werewolf in London; she was pretty sure she knew what this was supposed to be. But Halloween was an age away, and no costume was this good. Besides, the whole murder thing was taking a joke way too far. But werewolves weren't real, and never mind the fact that one -- one with Trent's tattoos, and which knew her name -- was pinning her to the ground, growling at her and baring its bloodstained teeth.

The wereTrent -- for some reason, the name made sense -- opened its jaws; she winced as its huge teeth approached her throat. Her eyes remained closed when she felt the sharp points touch her neck ... and failed to rip her throat out. The points just touched the sensitive skin of her throat, teasing the nerves. She kept her eyes closed, but for an entirely different reason.

I'm not ... actually ... enjoying this ... am I?

Perverse as it was, the sensation thrilled her. This was something she hadn't experienced. The smell of musk, clean sweat and thick, wild fur was stirring something really perverse in her. After all, she'd all but asked for something rougher, a little more dangerous...

Not this rough. Not this dangerous.

All the same, she wasn't trying very hard to get away. The teeth bore down, just a little, not even drawing blood, but Daria made a sound. Not even she knew if it was supposed to be a word, or what it was meant to convey.

He ripped into her then. Under the silver light of the risen moon, Daria screamed.

*          *          *          

Trent Lane woke to the thin light of dawn, the early morning air raising goosebumps on his pale naked skin. As always, he felt disoriented and a little rueful. Man, I have gotta start putting some clothes out here... Then shame hit him like a ton of bricks -- he knew that feeling, because the last time he'd felt it, word in the paper came out that some hobo was found gutted in an alley. There had been a mild short-lived panic about a serial killer, but when a second victim never materialised, everything died down.

Something was caught in his teeth, and it wasn't meat. He spat it out and looked at a small piece of green cloth; the colour and material was just like...

Daria's jacket....

He looked around him, and when he spotted the large, round black-framed glasses that could only be Daria's, fear gripped his heart with a glove of ice. He picked them up, praying that he was somehow wrong about this, and saw two things. First, his preliminary assessment was all too accurate. Second, there was blood on the lenses. Not a lot, just a few drops, but blood all the same. He had no idea whose it was, and he didn't want to know, but it was his fate to find out.

Okay. Here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna go home, put some clothes on before the cops pick me up for exposure ... again ... then head for Daria's. If she's not there, I go home, get the Plymouth, drive over to Mike's. Then I get him to put that shotgun of his in my ear and pull the trigger, because no way am I living if I hurt Daria.

The decision was easier than it had any right to be; it wasn't the first time he'd contemplated it. The only thing that had stopped him before was Janey. She'd still been so young, and she'd needed somebody to take care of her. Things were different now, though. Janey'd be going off to college, and she was a survivor, more than capable of taking care of herself. Janey didn't need him anymore, and he didn't need the guilt if he'd...

He shook himself from his thoughts of self-destruction. He didn't have the time for them right now; he had things to do. He got to his feet and sprinted off in the direction of Howard Drive, moving extremely fast. Most of the time, he was slothlike, but so soon after the change, not even Janey could touch him in a foot-race.

Fifteen hectic minutes later, he was on Glen Oaks Lane, standing in front of the Morgendorffer front door with a heavy, trepidatious heart. All the answers he needed were right there in front of him; his entire destiny would be decided by what would happen after he rang the doorbell. He itched to ring it, to know for sure that Daria was okay ... but all the same, his heart screamed at him to run, to just go and put an end to his wretched life so he wouldn't have to find out the truth of what he had done.

He gathered his courage and rang the bell. Then he closed his eyes. He heard the tread of bare feet coming down a flight of stairs (his hearing was still fairly keen), but he still couldn't open his eyes to look, not even when the door opened.


He opened his eyes, letting out a breath he hadn't even realised he was holding. He feasted his eyes on Daria, who seemed completely unharmed. She was squinting suspiciously at the outside world, apparently waiting for something. "Um ... hey, Daria."

She raised her eyebrows and pointed her eyes in his general direction. "Oh. Hi, Trent. I didn't really see you."

He really looked at her face, and realised what the problem was. He looked at his hand, still clamped tightly around Daria's glasses, then held them out to her. "I ... um ... found these."

Daria reached out and Trent touched his hand to hers so she could take the glasses he offered. "Mmm. Thanks."

"Hey, no problem." Then he cleared his throat, wondering what lie would suffice. It would have to be good; Daria was no fool. But all lies died in his throat when he looked at her and felt the sweet relief of the fact that he hadn't killed her after all.

Lies didn't seem necessary, though; she was busy unfolding her glasses and returning them to their rightful place on the bridge of her nose. As she did, Trent noticed something. There was a blood-stained hole in her jacket ... and underneath it, a clean white bandage.

That's no claw-mark; I found that bit of jacket in my teeth...

He met her eyes with shock and sudden understanding. She looked at him coolly through her glasses and said, entirely deadpan, "All the better to see you with, my dear."

Then they just looked at each other for what felt like an age.



When Thea_Zara commented that she desperately wanted Halloween fics, my muse went absolutely haywire. The ideas that got bandied around were legion (a parody of The Shining crossed my mind at one point, as did one of Pet Sematary involving Sandi's cat Fluffy; and let's not talk about Dr AP Frankintyre... Yes, Thea, I'm talking to you) but eventually, one solidified -- wereTrent. The Halloween Iron Chef challenge extended by WacoKid (One of the regular cast members is secretly a monster, end quote) helped that a lot, so that entity gets top billing on the note of thanks. I know that one didn't get a lot of response on the board, but I hope this goes some way to make up for it.

And of course, thanks go to the usual suspects; Thea herself (my esteemed alpha reader), Ben (the principles of his initial text-to-code macro laid the groundwork for my current search and replace technique, which makes coding a whole lot easier) and the beta readers who got comments in before I sent this in at Martin's request -- Austin Loomis, THM, and Chad Page. Also to any and all who volunteered to beta the thing.


The characters of Daria Morgendorffer, Tom Sloane and the Lane family were created by Glenn Eischler and Susie Lewis Lynn. They are the property of MTV Viacom. I don't know who invented the concept of the werewolf, but it sure as hell wasn't me. I do own the specific plot and words used, though, so please don't post it for profit without full permission from all parties concerned. I may not have anything in the way of legal hunt-beasts, but I'm betting Viacom do, and since I'm not earning anything for this they won't want me.