I don't own Daria, I don't own Jane, I don't own Lawndale, basically, I don't own anything, but go ahead, try and sue me, I'm a minor! Hah hah hah hah hah!!!

Thoughts During a Boring Speech
by D.W.I (Dragon Writing Intoxicated)

       Daria played with the corner of her Graduation robe, and sighed. Ms. Li really knew how to write a long boring speech. But still, she wasn't any worse than Daria's old middle school teacher, the fatso. If anything, Ms. Li was better (as much as Daria hated to admit it). And at least now Daria had someone to hear her sarcastic comments. And, even better, to make responding ones.

       Before she had met Jane, Daria had just kind of drifted through life. Once she thought about it, she had never really been happy. It was no wonder that she never smiled.She had watched, listened, learned, and done exactly the opposite of what she saw everyone else doing. And she had succeeded.

       She had never really thought about friends before she came to Lawndale. She had watched Quinn, and seen how many "friends" she had, friends who would all stab her in the back the first chance they got. So much for loyalty.

       But she had identified with Jane. She had liked Jane's skilled manipulation of O'Neill during that damned self-esteem class. She was almost as good at messing with minds as Quinn, but where Jane was clever, Quinn was merely irritating.

       But Quinn, too, had changed. Not too much, of course, she was still Quinn, and tried to hide the way that she was letting more of her natural intelligence show by talking about fashion and popularity even more than she used to. But she had gone from barely passing to having a straight "B" average. She was a little more considerate than she used to be, too. She had even started calling Daria her sister in public, and that felt really great. It wasn't just being called a sister, it was that Quinn was finally starting to live up to her potential, and was no longer ashamed of being related to a "brain."

       Her fashion club cronies had changed too. Daria remembered vividly the short time in which the fashion club had broken up. Jane had been pissed when they reformed the club. The lemon juice in the papercut was the eighty bucks that Jane had had to shell out.

       But, even though Daria hated the little fashion-fiends, she had overall been happy with the outcome of the whole episode. Stacy, who was constantly on the verge of hyperventilating, had finally gotten a little backbone, and some self-esteem. And Tiffany, who the only thing inside her head was an I.O.U, had gotten a little smarter.

       Her thoughts drifted away from past events and toward the future. To her, the future seemed a little depressing. The two people she loved most were both going to college. Colleges at least fifty miles away from hers. Jane's school was small, and artsy, perfect for Daria's best friend. Tom was, of course, going to a big, fancy, and of course, expensive business school.

       Daria, with her straight-A average (except for gym), had gotten into her first choice school. The same school that Jodie was going to.

       Daria had grown closer to Jodie in the past few months. When Mack moved to another town, Jodie had only Brittany to talk to.

       "And there's only so much of Brittany you can take," thought Daria. She and Jodie had arranged to be roommates. In the last year or so, Daria had gotten a little more sociable, and although she was still nowhere near Quinn's instinctive easiness with people, she didn't mind, even liked, the idea of sharing an apartment with Jodie.

       Jane, sitting to her right, yawned and move her leg around. "I wish she'd hurry up. My foot's falling asleep."

       Daria jumped. She had been lost in her own little world of thought. "Mmm-hmm," she murmured. She looked over towards the huge area where her family was seated. There. They were sitting towards the top, on her left. Quinn looked bored, and Daria couldn't blame her. Jake was sleeping, and Helen, of course, was talking on her cell phone. No surprises there.

       Quinn noticed Daria looking and waved at her. Quinn had been a lot more sisterly to Daria lately, ever since that fateful teacher's strike where Daria had ended up teaching Quinn's English class.

       Daria put her chin in her hand and stared at the trees behind the outdoor stage. She saw a blue jay land on a branch. "Probably to go eat some other bird's eggs." She mentally gave herself a slap on the cheek. Normal sarcasm was fine, but this comment had come from self-pity. "None of that now, Morgendorffer."

       She sighed. She knew where that self-pity was coming from, and she didn't like it. She was really going to miss her friends when she left, the few that she had.

       And Tom. Her mind kept drifting back to him. "Damn brain," she muttered under her breath. Daria still couldn't believe that she had a, well, boyfriend (neither could Quinn, for that matter). And the most unbelievable part was that he was her best friend's ex. And that best friend was still friends with her.

       As Ms. Li rambled on and on, Daria's thoughts turned more and more to Tom. She really felt a connection to him. He was smart, and funny, not to mention good-looking. Daria wondered if there was really only one person for everyone. If so, she felt pretty certain that Tom might be it. Hell, it had taken her eighteen years to get her first real boyfriend, he damn well better be a good one.

       They did have their fights, of course, everyone does. "Well, okay," thought Daria. "Maybe we have more fights than most, um, couples," even after going out with Tom for almost a year, Daria was still having trouble adjusting to having a boyfriend. "But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't be together."

       She felt a little depressed that Tom wasn't at the graduation ceremony. He had promised to be there if he could, but his parents had made him go to his sister Elsie's tennis competition. If it had run overtime, he might not be there at all.

       Jodie, sitting on Daria's left, elbowed her in the ribs. "Daria! They just called your name! Go get your diploma! Or did you want another year with DeMartino?"

       Daria shuddered. "Don't go there, Landon. Although I bet another year with Kevin anyway would give him that long bet-on heart attack."

       Jodie grinned. Hanging out with Jane and Daria had twisted her sense of humor. Several times. Counter-clockwise.

       Daria climbed up the steps to the stage, almost tripping on her robe. But this was the one day of the year that no one would laugh at her. She was surprised at the sense of fellowship she felt with her classmates at that moment.

       "Probably," she realized, "because they're all as eager as I am to get out of this hellhole town."

       Daria marched across the stage, over to Ms. Li. The principal of the prison - um - school, shook her hand and handed her a rolled up piece of parchment. The paper that Daria had survived four years of high school to get.

       She turned away from the principal of her now former school, and scanned the crowd for her family's faces. There. Quinn, Jake, Helen (now off her cell phone and beaming with pride), Trent Lane, and there - in between Helen and Trent, a dark-haired figure in a blue shirt. Tom had made it to her graduation after all.

       And there, on stage, in front of her entire class, her family, her friends, Daria Morgendorffer smiled.