(Opening montage. Music: "You're Standing On My Neck" - Splendora.

LHS corridor. Daria, Jane, Lynn and AP by the lockers. As one body, they facefault and turn their heads to look at something out of shot. Lynn flicks her wrist, producing a knife, and dashes out of shot.

Football field, near the bleachers. Kevin and Brittany arguing. AP, sitting in the bleachers wearing a LHS marching band uniform and a completely disgusted expression, picks up a large pair of cymbals and smashes them together right near Kevin and Brittany's ears.

Pizza King. Quinn sitting at a table, sobbing with rage. Lynn looks at her, eyebrow raised in what is, for her, sympathy, and hands over a book. Quinn looks at the cover and stops crying as her face slowly brightens to an evil smirk.

AP's room. AP completely engrossed in a video game. Daria watches him play for a moment, disgust in her face, then starts digging through his cabinets.

LHS corridor. Mrs Bennett opens a door to reveal a broom closet in which Lynn and AP are making out; Lynn and AP break off a kiss as the door opens. They look at Bennett for a moment, then Lynn gives a wide grin and shuts the door in her face.

Morgendorffer front hallway. Jake going completely ballistic at Jerome, who is standing on the front step and looking at Jake in a manner that suggests that he's two seconds from calling the men in white coats. Then Jake takes a swing at Jerome.

The Zen. Daria, Jane, AP, Andrea, Guy, Casey and Mara at a table. Upchuck is leering at Mara, who regards him for a moment and then pulls him forward by the collar and kisses him hard, mouth open. When she lets go, Upchuck falls over in a dead faint. Jane looks extremely impressed.

Lane front door. Jane [in artist's smock and beret] and Jodie [ratty jeans, baggy T-shirt, clipboard, pencil behind her ear] open the door to find Quinn standing there wearing a seirafuku and a hopeful expression.

Biers. Someone has set it on fire; Lynn and Daria are wielding fire extinguishers that were probably new in 1931 [they contain water and you have to hand-pump them], trying to control the worst of the flames.

Daria and Lynn side-by-side again, smirking slightly. As the original montage sequence, the camera pulls in and then out again to reveal two interlocking circles; one contains the Daria logo and the other contains a corresponding 'Lynn' version. Writing underneath in the Daria font reads, "Daria in...")


A Daria Fan Fiction [TLAS 4:03]

(Scene: LHS corridor. Music: "Sadeness" - Enigma. As in the near-final scenes of "Banded for Life", Lynn and Stacy in the corridor.)

Lynn: Too accurate?

Stacy: (dejected) Yeah.

Lynn: Then make it INaccurate.

(She walks away, headed for where Daria and Jane stand across the hall. She reaches them and stands there, waiting for someone to say something. Daria and Jane just kind of smirk at her.)

Jane: If you REALLY wanted to subvert the cheerleaders, you could have used that to your advantage, you know.

(Lynn shrugs and gives a half-smile as they head off down the corridor.)

Lynn: You can't make someone be a nonconformist. All that achieves is making them a conformist of a different colour.

Jane: In Stacy's case, Perilous Purple?

Daria: (wince) Ooh. That was BAD, Jane.

Jane: Soooooo ... you're NOT going to be a...

Daria: Most interesting term I heard last week was 'pom-pom slut'.1

Lynn: You talked to SARAH?

Daria: Chubby girl? Too much hair?

Lynn: Looks kind of like Bernie from "Waiting for Bob" except without the glasses and bisexual tendencies.2 (to the blank looks) I see I'm going to have to get you onto online comics. Anyway, yeah, she coined THAT one back in junior high. What have I missed, being...

Daria: (raised eyebrow) On the Dark Side?

Lynn: Actually, I think that's supposed to be the Bright Side. And if that IS the bright side, you can HAVE it.

Daria: WE never even came close to WANTING it. (raised eyebrow at Jane) Well, *I* didn't, anyway.3

Jane: Yeah, yeah, rub it in. Hey, I don't make an issue about your vanity causing you to walk around the school BLIND one fine spring day...4

Daria: (blushing) Shut up, Jane.

Lynn: Before World War Three breaks out in earnest ... what HAVE I missed?

Daria: AP, we hope.5

Lynn: (deep sigh) Yeah. (beat) How pissed off is he?

Jane: (thoughtful) Funny, but he doesn't seem to be that pissed off at all.

Lynn: (slight hope) Really?

Jane: Yeah; but then he's barely been around. I think the last time I saw him outside school was the Homecoming game.

Lynn: (mild worry) Two DAYS ago? (musing) Maybe someone should check on him...

Daria: Why don't YOU do it? You can combine that with whatever apology you feel necessary for any pain you caused him while trying to run from your own legs.6

Lynn: (downcast) No. No, I don't think so. Not yet, anyway. I...

(Daria and Jane take one look at her and change the subject.)

Jane: Come on. This calls for a celebration and cheer-me-up session.

Daria: Wan Foo Mai Tai out on the highway.7 Followed by "Heathers" in honour of your return to the RIGHT Dark Side.

Lynn: (weak smile) That sounds great. Thanks.

(Scene: AP's room. Music: "Jubilee" - Blur. AP is playing something on a NES [yes, the original]. The music tells the NES aficionado that what he's playing is the original "The Legend of Zelda".8 He is tapping buttons and looking grim and determined ... and then the music changes to indicate that he's just lost his last heart.)

AP: Awwwwwwwwww crap... (turns to his computer, clicks on something, clicks again, reads, scrolls down...) Aha! THAT'S how you do it. (He restarts from wherever he's last saved the game ... and there's a knock on the door.) Yeahwhat?

Fred: (OS) That freak friend of yours is on the phone.

AP: (sighing; getting up) WHICH 'freak friend'?

(AP opens the door and Fred is standing there, holding a cordless phone.)

Fred: How the hell should I know? I don't keep track. And we got you your own phone line so we wouldn't have OUR line tied up. So can you start giving people YOUR number?

AP: Dad, I'm online. They probably couldn't get through. (grabs phone) Thank you. (slams door in Fred's face; puts phone to his ear) Yeah? (beat; astounded) What the hell do YOU want?

(Split-screen - AP and Tom in their respective rooms.)

Tom: To talk to you about ... Cullen.

AP: (sad) What about her? I haven't talked to her in days. I think she's been avoiding me.

Tom: (sigh) Look, she NEEDS you. And you need HER. They want you too, you know.

AP: (affecting total ignorance) Come again?

Tom: I don't have to tell you this. Merritt's people went after you specifically once - they could do it again. Now, none of you will let me watch you after school so you're going to have to do it yourselves. And any ONE of you splitting off from the others gives them a good target to hit at.9

AP: Will you back off and leave me alone?

Tom: Mav...

AP: I told you, YOU don't call me that. And you DON'T tell me what to do. Now BACK OFF.

(He presses the cut-off button on the cordless, opens the door and throws the phone out.)

Fred: (OS) ANDREW!

AP: There's carpeting! (beat) And he calls again, tell him to... (stifling himself) Just tell him I'm not home!

(He slams the door shut and leans against it with a slightly frightened-sounding sigh. Then he gets a determined look on and goes back to his game.)

(Scene: Tom's room. Music plays on. He looks at the phone, then hangs it up.)

Tom: Ohhhhh crap.

(Scene: LHS corridor. Music: "Wake Up" - Rage Against the Machine. Daria approaches Lynn at her locker. She taps Lynn on the shoulder and both turn to look at AP, who's stacking books absently with one hand as he reads over a bunch of printed sheets held loosely in his other hand.)

Daria: Going to talk to him?

Lynn: (nervous) Maybe not right now. He looks... (the stack of books in his locker falls over, dumping other bits of locker detritus and a mouldy-looking gym sock on the floor) ...busy.

Daria: (raised eyebrow) If he didn't think you were avoiding him before...

Lynn: Daria ... maybe this is for the best. If it's obvious that we're not ... well, just not ... then he's not a target anymore. Maybe that's what he WANTS. I mean, he didn't exactly try very hard to get hold of me last week.

Daria: Lynn...

Lynn: If he wants to talk to me, he will. If not...

(Leaving that hanging, she shrugs sadly, shuts her locker and walks away. Daria scowls after her, then heads for AP, who has resumed his stacking but forgotten about the dumped locker detritus. She picks up the gym sock between her thumb and forefinger with an expression that says "ewwwwwww..." and then waves it under his nose.)

AP: (cough) Bleck! Gah! Get... (drops the printout, grabs the sock) What gives?

Daria: Your hard-won relationship with Lynn, from the look.

AP: (blink) Come again? Remember, Inarticulate Boy?

Daria: I'll give you the "I Can Read" version. She won't talk to you unless you talk to her first because she has the crazy idea that maybe you're staying away from her on PURPOSE. Because you're afraid of being a target. (hint-hint tone) Crazy. Right?

AP: (extremely unconvincing) Yeah. Right. I mean, I've just been busy.

Daria: (grabbing the printout; reading it) A map of Hyrule. Uh-huh. THIS constitutes busy.

AP: (grabbing his printout back) Hey, I gotta have some R and R too, you know.

(Bell rings. AP stuffs the sock back in his locker, pushes it shut with an effort and leaves. Daria scowls.)

(Scene: LHS cafeteria. Music plays on. AP going over his printout and making scrawled notes on a pad. Jane looking at him. She peers over his shoulder and looks at what he's writing.)

Jane: You do realise that, if you prepared this hard for the SATs, you might score above a 300 in the verbal?10

AP: Bug off.

(Silence bar the scratching of his pencil on paper.)

Jane: Now I know why all your teachers insist you type your essays.

AP: Bug off.

(Silence bar the shuffling of papers. Then more pencil-scratching.)

Jane: Y'know...

AP: (slamming pencil on the table) What part of "Bug off" don't you GET?

Jane: Okaaaaay... when do the steroids start giving you the promised extra muscle? You've got the mood swings down...11

AP: (sheepish) Sorry, Art-Smart Scarlet. Guess I got a little distracted.

Jane: (arched eyebrow) Mmhmm.

AP: So can I go back to this now? No offence but I'm trying to get past this hydra in...

Jane: Y'know, I don't think I want to know. Go right ahead.

(AP turns back to his papers and is instantly immersed. Daria approaches and sits down across from Jane.)

Daria: Let me guess. He's lost in Hyrule.

Jane: He's lost his MIND.

Daria: And you only noticed this NOW?

Jane: I'm serious, Daria. The blow-up I just got for interrupting him made his little vent back in Florida look TAME. Someone's doing the Egyptian River Cruise, BIG time.12

Daria: (raised eyebrow) We are remembering that it could be worse, right?

Jane: HOW? He can't do sports, he's not into chess and he thinks that the Matheletes are ... I think HE said "rut-stuck" but he probably meant 'limiting'. And anyway, that Clarence guy freaks him out.13

Daria: And so say all of us. (beat) He could have done Taxidermy.

Lynn: (OS; badly stifled misery) He said he could think of a lot better uses for preservatives.

(Daria turns; Jane leans to look over Daria's shoulder. Lynn has a tray in her hands but has stopped about two feet from the table. She looks at AP, who hasn't even looked up, and then turns and walks away. She approaches a table nearby, where Tom is sitting [obviously watching the group from a distance] and says something. Tom looks surprised, but gestures to the seat in front of him. Lynn sits, resignation in every move she makes. Daria and Jane look at each other.)

Jane: Now THAT'S the real Dark Side.

Daria: Mmhmm...

END ACT 1 - ADVERTS [Lead-in: moving S4 bumpers - AP throwing the phone out of his room, Daria waving the sock in AP's face, Lynn moving to sit with Tom.]

Daria Vs the Lawndale Zombies: I've decided to devote these adverts to the fics I really think deserve plugging. And this fic is one of the main ones I've read lately that REALLY deserve it. You can find it on Erin Mills' author page on IA(N)D.

Crazy Nutso's "Daria's Rubber Room": And where would fandom be without the fansites - hell, I should plug them too. CN's is one of the best so take a look-see.

(Scene: Quinn's room. Music: "Pink" - Aerosmith. Camera fixed on the door, upon which there is a knock.)

Quinn: (OS) Come in!

(The door opens and Daria stands there.)

Daria: Quinn, I ... (facefault) gihh!

(Pan to the rest of the room. Basically, it looks like a cotton candy factory after someone with a very sick sense of humour fixed a couple of lumps of plastique to the machinery. Every available surface is covered with every conceivable item of clothing, all in various shades of pink. Quinn stands in the middle of it all, picking up items and looking at them intently for a moment before placing them in one of three piles - one very pale pinks, one very deep pinks [on the top of the pile we can see her new deep pink leather jacket] and one in various shades [her smiley-face T-shirt and several others like it are visible in this one].)

Quinn: I KNOW how this looks but however much I like pink, that Tom freak had a point - some shades just clash HORRIBLY with my hair. (Holds up the top she wears in canon S4 - the butterfly one) Now what do you think about this one? I mean, it's deep enough to not clash TOO badly with my hair and of course, with 80's retro coming back, butterflies are TOTALLY the thing to wear and...14

Daria: (stunned) Very ... nice, Quinn.

Quinn: (still working away) Now I KNOW you don't want fashion advice and pink does TERRIBLE things to your skin tone anyway but that Lynn girl has a SLIGHTLY pinker tinge to her skin than you do...

Daria: (slowly getting over her shock but still somewhat stunned at all the pink) And why didn't you think of THAT during...

Quinn: (sharp) I don't want to TALK about that! And anyway, it was kinda dark in there and I couldn't really see shades all that well. (beat; back to bubbly) So anyway, I thought you could kind of give these to her, maybe see if she could use any of it - I'd give it to Stacy but she doesn't seem to wear anything but that CHEERLEADER uniform and...15

(She picks up the larger, varied pile and tries to hand it to Daria, who lets it drop on the floor.)

Daria: I think - or at least I HOPE - that the day Lynn starts wearing pink is the day Hitler, Hoffa, Jack the Ripper and Satan make up a bobsled team. (beat) I need some advice on something.

Quinn: (going back to the sorting) Stick to the green but LOSE the orange - it makes that golden tone in your skin look SALLOW...

Daria: NOT fashion, Quinn. (sigh) The manipulation of the opposite sex.

Quinn: (dropping everything) OOOH! Who? (horrible thought) Not that Tom freak - PLEASE not that Tom freak...

Daria: No, not that Tom freak.

Quinn: Jane's older brother?

Daria: (getting fed up) It's NOT ROMANCE, Quinn. I just need to know how to make a guy do what you want.

Quinn: (going back to the task in hand) That's EASY, Daria. You just need to know where to hit them!

Daria: (raised eyebrow) As I recall, last time you hit someone, you aimed a bit high for that.16

Quinn: (appalled) DARIA! That's so CRUDE! (beat) Anyway, what I MEAN is that you have to know their weak spots. From a ... you know, 'them' perspective!

Daria: You mean psychological manipulation.

Quinn: I DO? (ignoring Daria's sigh) Look, if you want to make a guy do anything you want, there are two ways. You sweet-talk them ... and with you, that's not an option, I know ... or you threaten them with something. Take something they really like away from them until they wise up!

Daria: (musing over this) Hmm.

Quinn: Y'know, if you explained who the guy is and what you need to make him do, I COULD help more. (to Daria's hesitant look) You KNOW I'm not going to blab, Daria. I mean, I KNOW what happened LAST time.17

Daria: (kind) I know, Quinn. (beat) Just ... I don't think it's such a good idea just now. It's not really anything to do with me and I might get into some trouble just for sticking my nose in. Do you want to go down with me?

Quinn: (blink) Guess not.

Daria: Well, thanks for the advice anyway, Quinn.

Quinn: (little smile) It's okay. Nice to know I'm smart at SOME stuff. (as Daria turns to go) Wait! (Daria turns back; Quinn rummages through the pile she tried to hand Daria and comes up with the dress she wore in "Daria Dance Party") Would you at least TRY to get her to wear this? If she takes up the hem a few inches, it'll make that AP guy's EYES pop out when she wears it.

(Daria's face goes a little sad and she turns and exits without a word. Quinn, figuring out why Daria was asking the questions she asked, looks stunned, then nearly angry as she throws the dress back on the pile.)

(Scene: Lane basement. Music: "Paint It, Black" - Rolling Stones. Trent is leafing through a notebook, Jesse looking over his shoulder. Their facial expressions go in unison - facefault, wince, facefault, SEVERE wince, nauseated, wince again, loud blink, facefault... Finally Trent slams the notebook shut and he and Jesse, still in unison, shudder. There is silence for a second.)

Jesse: (more heartfelt than usual) WHOA.

(Pan to Lynn, sitting on a stool in the corner, absently tuning Trent's new Ibanez. She looks up briefly at that.)

Lynn: No good?

Jesse: Cool. (beat) But...

Trent: Are you okay?

(For a moment, Lynn just sits, eyes closed, obviously checkreining her temper. Then she goes back to tuning the guitar.)

Lynn: (outward calm) You have no idea how much that particular question pisses me off. (beat) I'm fine. (checks watch) Excuse me. I have somewhere to be right now.

(She puts down the guitar, stands up and leaves. Trent and Jesse exchange looks.)

Trent: It's the geek.

(Jesse nods.)

(Scene: McIntyre house, ext. Music plays on. The A-Tank pulls up in front of it. The entire band piles out and approaches the front door. Trent rings the bell. After a long moment, the door opens and Carol blinks at them from the depths of Valium calm. [Note to the reader - when she does her lines, think Tiffany at her worse, about a half-octave higher. When she speaks, you wonder if she actually hears what she's saying.]18)

Carol: Oh, hello. (beat) My husband told me to tell door-callers... (thinks) 'We don't want storm windows, we have my corporate health plan so we don't need insurance, and if it's those pinko freaks, we've already given'. (beat) Was there anything else?

Trent: We just wanted to talk to AP. (to the complete lack of comprehension) Andrew?

Carol: Oh, right. His message went along the lines of ... (thinks) 'Anyone comes knocking, tell 'em to bug off, I'm busy'.

Nick: (jumping in) He didn't mean US, ma'am.

Carol: (blink) No?

Trent: (catching on) No WAY, Mrs McIntyre. He told us to come on up and no need to call up to tell him we're here. He's expecting us.

Carol: Oh. (smile) All right then, come in.

(Carol wanders into the house. The guys pause a moment and look at each other.)

Max: What planet is she ON, guys?

Trent: No WONDER Mom didn't faze him. (to the looks) Never mind.19

(Scene: AP's room. Music: "Feelings" - Offspring. AP at the console, tapping away. Door opens. AP doesn't look up.)

Trent: (OS) We want to TALK to you, geek.

(AP flicks his eyes towards the door, where Trent, Jesse, Nick and Max are hovering in an ominous sort of way. Then he hits pause on the game and looks at them.)

AP: Why?

Trent: (throws notebook at him) Read THAT.

AP: (makes no move to open the notebook) What is it?

Trent: Your girlfriend's latest lyrics.

AP: (handing it back; morose) Not interested. Wouldn't really get half of 'em anyway.

Trent: You would. BELIEVE me. (hands the notebook to Max; looking at the game) Hey. I used to have one of these.

AP: (sarcastic) Goodie. (beat; perking up a little) Hey, do you know how to get past these medusas here?

Trent: What is WITH you, man?

AP: Since when has that been any of your damn business? How the hell did you get in here anyway?

(Trent exchanges a look with the other band members.)

Nick: We could beat nine shades of crap out of him. Maybe a few knocks to the head will snap him out of this.

Max: I'm game.

Trent: Nah. He's not worth it.

AP: If you're gonna talk about me behind my back, do it where I can't hear you. (beat) Maybe Dominica - Purple P... (sad look; slight tack change) I hear it's nice there this time of year.

(He turns back to his game. Trent looks at the others, shakes his head in a manner that clearly says, "I give up" and walks out. Jesse and Nick follow him but Max stays on for a minute, watching AP. Then he winds up, preparing to toss the notebook at the back of AP's head.)

Trent: (OS) Don't even THINK it, man.

Max: Fine. (turns and leaves the doorway; OS) But you really SUCK, you know.

(Montage sequence. Music: "One Week" - Barenaked Ladies.

History class. DeMartino, eye bulging, slaps a paper down on AP's desk, giving him a cold stare. AP, still flipping through his Zelda cheat-sheets and maps, doesn't even look up. Eventually, DeMartino sighs and gives up. Daria looks at him - and at his paper, marked F - with some concern but Lynn isn't paying attention - her paper [marked with an A+] is entitled "Guerrilla Combat and its Effects on Vietnamese Society" and she's leafing through "Tools of the Trade - How to Find Your Ideal Weapon". Daria sees this and goes a bit pale.

AP's room. AP on the NES. The light from the screen is the only light in the room. His closet door is open - the digital alarm clock he keeps in there reads 3:28 a.m.

English class. AP asleep at his desk. O'Neill stops at AP's desk, looks at him a moment and, obviously not having the heart to wake him up, slides a paper under his folded arms. We see the mark - F. Jane, sitting in front of him, looks back at him and raises an eyebrow - "Not even HE'S usually THIS bad..."

AP's room. AP still at the NES. Door opens, Carol looks in. Concern is fighting through even her little oblivion. Fred looks in over her shoulder, shakes his head in utter despair and walks away.

Math class. A short, plump, black-haired gentleman with a handlebar moustache and the obvious capacity for a wicked grin [Let's call him Mr Hopper] walks up to AP's desk with a puzzled, slightly worried look on his face.20 AP is asleep at his desk again. Hopper shrugs, then turns around to Daria, with whom he shares the class, and jerks his head at the recumbent AP. Daria gives a little nod and Hopper hands her AP's paper as well as her own. She looks at it - it's graded C. Her eyes widen.)

END ACT 2 - ADVERTS [Lead-in: S4 moving bumpers - Daria facefaulting at all the pink, Trent and Jesse wincing at what's written in Lynn's notebook, O'Neill sliding AP's graded paper under his arm.]

Bootlace Threat: This one's going out to Wouter Jaegers, because I'd like to see the final instalment of "Trouble Walking", if he doesn't mind terribly...

Next in The Look-Alike Series: A "come as you truly are" costume party - sounds easy enough, but in the final analysis, our heroes might not be who they were before the summer. Find out how they cope in "Bare Acquaintances".

(Scene: LHS parking lot. Music: "Halo" - Depeche Mode. Lynn approaches the Merc. As she goes to open the trunk to ditch her book bag, Daria approaches.)

Daria: You have to talk to him.

Lynn: Excuse me?

Daria: He's flunking OUT. Over a stupid VIDEO GAME. Does this not bother you?

Lynn: Flunking? Be serious.

Daria: Flunking as in REALLY flunking. As in, "getting Cs in Math" kind of flunking.

Lynn: (looking closely at Daria) You're not kidding, are you?

Daria: Do I LOOK like someone who's kidding?

Lynn: You NEVER look like someone who's kidding - even when you ARE. It's one of our many common traits. Why do you think "You think I'm kidding" became such a tag line for me?21

Daria: (ignoring that in favour of the task at hand) He's miserable. He's just keeping himself too busy to notice how miserable he is. No one's had any effect so far and you're the one most likely to be able to smack some sense into him. LITERALLY, if necessary.

Lynn: Daria... (sigh) Daria, this is my fault. The last person in the world he wants to talk to is me. (beat) Anyway, I have something to do tonight - and it's going to take awhile.

Daria: Would I regret asking...?

Lynn: Probably. (beat; feeling she owes Daria honesty) The student has outclassed the teacher ... so now she's going to teach the teacher. (beat) Warlock taught me some tricks Rust never caught onto so we're doing a sort of Hogan's Alley thing. Only this is snipe-run.22

Daria: (too stunned to articulate) You're...

Lynn: Not talking about this. I can't get away from it, I may as well go full throttle, right? (shrug) Later.

(She shuts the trunk, goes around to the driver's side, hops in and drives off, heedless of seat belt. Daria just stands there and stares for a moment.)

Daria: (to no one in particular; still shock) She's... (beat; harsh) That DOES it.

(Scene: McIntyre house, ext. Music: "Wise Up Sucker" - Pop Will Eat Itself. Daria rings the doorbell. No answer. She rings again, holding the button for a good thirty seconds. Then waits. Still no response. She steps back from the door and sees the way leading into the backyard. A speculative look crosses her face.)

(Scene: AP's room. Music plays on. AP is sitting cross-legged on the floor, still immersed in his video game. From outside his window we hear a *clunk*, then a scuffle. Then Daria's face appears in the window and she knocks. She gets no reply and she sighs, carefully digging into one of her pockets. She pulls out a laminated library card, jimmies the lock on the window and forces it up carefully. Then she clambers inside.)

Daria: (pocketing the library card) Hey AP.

AP: (mind stranded somewhere in Hyrule) Hey ho, Erudite Emerald. What's new?

Daria: You're flunking English, you're flunking History, you pulled a *C* in your last math quiz and your best friend and supposed girlfriend was, the last time I saw her, getting ready to pull a Hogan's Alley with (scare quotes) "Rust". Does ANY of this impress you?

AP: (still not paying attention) That's nice.

Daria: (disgusted) NOTHING'S getting through to you, is it?

(Five-second silence during which she gets no reply; just watches him with disgust plain on her face. Then she starts digging through his cabinets, coming out with a smoked beaker filled with clear colourless liquid.)

Daria: (mischievous tone and smirk that's so very nearly Lynn) AP ... what's this stuff?

AP: (VERY brief look up) Sulphuric acid. Be careful with it; it's EVIL stuff.

Daria: (still mischievous; if AP were paying attention, he'd be scared by now) High concentration?

AP: (still oblivious) The kind of low pH you only find in industrial chem labs...23

(With that, Daria steps over to his gaming console, uncorks the beaker and pours the stuff directly into the air vents. Things begin to smoke and AP yelps.)


Daria: NOW will you listen to me?

AP: (now focused on the problem at hand; rummaging through drawers) Safety goggles ... water to acid - shouldn't but... (pulls on safety goggles, finds a large bottle of distilled water, looks at it) No. Basic. Something basic... (finds a bottle of sodium hydroxide, looks at the bottle Daria still holds, makes a few quick mental calculations, then measures out a quantity of the basic solution and pours it onto the mess that used to be his NES system.24 Then turns to Daria.) What the HELL did you do THAT for? Dad would KILL me if that'd done any damage to the furniture!

Daria: It seemed to me the only way to get your attention.

AP: Next time, UNPLUG the thing - it'll do less damage!

Daria: Get this straight, AP. I WANTED to do damage.

AP: (blink) Come again?

Daria: She's right. Random acts of violence can be fun.25 And useful. Now listen to me. We don't like this. NONE of us like this. But we are coping. Which is more than we can say for YOU.

AP: I...

Daria: First she went too far to get out. Now she's going too far the other way. And if she goes, I'm probably next. And I don't WANT to be a Consigliora to a crime lord ... or lady ... do you understand me? Not to mention wanting to see Lynn get past her twentieth birthday alive.

AP: But...

Daria: Do you care about her at ALL?

AP: Duh!

Daria: Then start proving it. (moves towards the window, then stops. With her back still to AP, she reaches into her pocket, pulls out a dollar bill and lays it on the table) The Neidermans down the block are having a garage sale. Going price for their old Nintendo is fifty cents. Consider the rest damage pay.

(With that, she clambers out the window and we hear shuffling as she descends the ladder. AP looks at the remnants of his machine, then at the dollar bill on the table, then sighs.)

(Scene: Lynn's room. Music plays on. Lynn, in tight black long-sleeved top with a Kevlar vest over top, black jeans and SAS surplus boots26, has crashed out on her bed and is fast asleep. We hear a tapping at the window. Lynn makes a blurry noise. Tapping becomes more insistent. Lynn grabs a pillow and holds it down over her ears. Tapping becomes louder still. Lynn groans.)

Lynn: (mostly asleep) 'S three inna mornin'... H've some respect, dmnit...

(We hear someone's weight shift on the trellis outside the window ... and then an ominous *creeeeeak*, followed by a *crack*)

AP: (OS) AAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! (*thump*; beat) Owwwwwwwwww...

(Lynn's only response to that is to burrow deeper into the pillow with a small sigh.)

(Scene: Pizza King. Music: "Ultra Violet (Light My Way) - U2. AP is morosely shredding a slice of pizza. Daria and Jane are looking at him with some concern.)

AP: She actually pulled it. I don't BELIEVE she actually pulled that. I mean, she KNOWS I still use that way up!27 (miserable) I screwed up. I'm no GOOD at this relationship crap!

Jane: (to Daria, sotto) We're not saying 'I told you so' here, are we?

Daria: (to Jane, sotto) No. Not appropriate. (aloud to AP) You're not so bad.28 We've ALL been through hell lately. You're allowed to go a LITTLE easy on yourself, you know.

(Enter Tom. The trio glare at him but he approaches the table anyway.)

Tom: (to AP) Are you sane? (to the look) I mean for YOU, sane.

AP: Guess so. No more Zelda-mania.

Tom: Good. Now go talk to the Peril - I told her to meet me at Biers but I don't think she'll mind if YOU turn up instead. (as AP gets up) Don't screw this up, Maverick. I don't think I can take much more of her being angry and depressed.

(This time, AP doesn't contest the use of the callsign. He just dashes out of the restaurant. Daria and Jane look at him for a moment.)

Jane: Tell me you did that just for brownie points. Because I really want to keep hating you.

Tom: (sheepish grin) If it makes you feel any better, I could lie. (grin fading) Seriously, that girl scares me when she's upset. (sigh) Annnnnnd I'm an incurable romantic; so sue me.

(Daria and Jane look at each other, eyebrows raised ... and, through some crude telepathy that best friends seem to share, reach a decision.)

Daria: We expected there to be three of us here. So we ordered too heavy.

Jane: (a little more reluctant) Want to help us polish this bad boy off?

(Tom looks at them, not entirely certain how to take this. Then he shrugs, gives a grateful smile and sits down across from them.)

Daria: (evil smirk) You get the half with AP's toppings.

Tom: (looking at the pizza) Ew.29

(Daria and Jane share a smirk.)

(Scene: Biers. Music plays on. Lynn is sitting at a table, looking impatient. Then hands reach around from behind and cover her eyes. Lynn tenses a little, but doesn't do anything rash - just covers the hands with her own.)

Lynn: (quiet) Salutations, Maverick.

AP: (leaning down) How'd you know it was me?

Lynn: There's a lingering odour of capers, cayenne peppers and seafood in the air. You've been having pizza. (beat) Anyway, Rust wouldn't dare.

(AP uncovers her eyes and moves to sit down across from her. There's silence for a moment.)

Lynn & AP: (in unison) Look, I'm sorry I...

(They stop, look at each other and chuckle a little.)

Lynn: Do we forgive each other in unison too? Or just kiss and make up?

AP: Uhhhhh...

(Lynn leans over and kisses him, making the point moot. Pan to the bar, where Shooter [the barman named for us in "Parental Discretion"] speaks into a cellphone.)

Shooter: Hey Aph. You might want to hear this. H got something right. A Yenta act, of all things. (excited squeaking from the phone) Yeah, yeah, calm down and I'll tell you about it...30


Why Zelda? Valid question. I couldn't have picked Quake or Half-Life: Op-For or anything remotely like that because he's trying to get AWAY from the concept of playing with guns [see Lynn's reaction to the MIB shoot-'em-up attraction in ToD and apply the logic]. AP's the type who'd get bored rigid with Tetris and I just couldn't see him playing anything quite so cutesy as Mario ... and anyway, the refcrime in the title was just screaming to be used. And, lest you think I forgot, here's kudos to Ben 'Warlock' Yee for nitpicking this one. And to think I thought this was the first one since mid S3 I *wouldn't* have to thank Ben for...


1] Sarah Clarke's statement in "Banded for Life". [Back]

2] Yes, this is what Sarah Clarke, identified as Lynn's bandmate in "Protest March", looks like. And if that still throws you, read Waiting for Bob to see what I mean. [Back]

3] Referring to Jane's brief bout of fame and school spirit [well, sort of] on the track team in "See Jane Run". [Back]

4] Jane is in turn referring to Daria's actions in "Through A Lens Darkly". [Back]

5] After "Tour of Duty", when they finally found out that they'd been hiding mutual feeling for one another, it seemed obvious that Lynn and AP were finally getting it together. But given the circumstances, how likely is it that this will run smoothly? [Back]

6] Thanks to Austin Loomis - the quote "You can't run from your own legs! How you gonna run from your own legs? Cause they're what you're using to run from 'em *with*!" by St. Janor Hypercleats of the Church of the SubGenius [quoted in turn by Rev. Ivan Stang, "The Third Fist"] was used as one of the act 3 epigraphs for "A Hard Day's Write". Given how this, in a roundabout way, stems from that fic, it fit. Where Daria would have heard SubGenius, I'm not sure - maybe Lynn quoted it at her once or something. [Back]

7] I made up this Chinese restaurant without remembering the "Good Times Chinese Restaurant" of "Depth Takes a Holiday". But Daria wouldn't want to go within ten yards of the place anyway, given that little ... dream sequence, delusion, actual happening or whatever that fic was supposed to be... [Back]

8] Thanks going out to someone other than Austin, Ben or Jill in an individual endnote for a change. This one is to rancour, Orca, marsman57, and MrAnonymous, who convinced me that a geek might get nostalgia value out of the only "Legend of Zelda" game I've ever actually played. [Back]

9] A few different endnotes in one. He and Quinn were both used as bait by 'Jensen' in "Tour of Duty" due to their proximity to Lynn while she was blowing holes in one of their cars to the tune of "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park" [way fun scene to write]. And Tom was pretty much blocked out of all non-school communication with the gang in "Fifth Wheel" and "Parental Discretion". [Back]

10] As AP himself says, "Remember, Inarticulate Boy?" I'd assume AP would score an 800 on the math without half trying but he's going to take a WHIPPING on the verbal. And since he's probably taken the PSATs already, the gang has some idea as to what kind of score he'd expect. And, to address Jane's later comment, yes, we see in "Mercedes Bends" that his handwriting sucks too. [Back]

11] One of those things about steroids. They bring on mood swings, usually rages, probably due to what they do to hormonal levels. [Back]

12] You know, The Nile? Denial? *sigh* Never miiind. Anyway, the blow-up in Florida was in ToD. [Back]

13] Concept of a Mathletics squad borrowed from Kara Wild's "Charge of the Math Brigade", as is the character Clarence. Hey, if people can borrow my concepts, my dialogue, my characters and my whole damn universe, I can borrow one stinkin' concept, okay? [Back]

14] Exact line: "I asked her, if she's so up on fashion, why is she, a redhead, wearing pink?". "Tour of Duty". Line credited to Ben Yee [the girls' laugh attack was mine]. This line gave me the perfect opening to get Quinn into S4 costume - redheads can wear certain shades of pink and that colour - and the butterfly thing - are indeed covered by 80's retro fashion. Which means that we can all look forward to a year or two of women wandering around like something out of an episode of Jem... [Back]

15] Once again, more value for your endnote. For the background to the first part of the exchange, read "Tour of Duty", particularly the San Francisco scenes towards the end. And we know Stacy's a cheerleader - if I hadn't made it clear in "Mercedes Bends" and "Admission: Impossible" then "Banded for Life" should have cleared things up... [Back]

16] And yet another ToD ref [hey, look, that little fiasco is the kind of thing that's not going to leave the mind in a hurry, right?]. Quinn 'begins to learn about the basics of kicking ass', to use Brother Grimace's phrase, courtesy of the Frantics, and kicks Wily, a Merritt affiliate, square in the stomach during the infiltration of the Merritt compound. [Back]

17] In "Sister, Sister", Quinn blabs about Daria's relationship to Lynn over the phone and Jake overhears. It's not pretty. [Back]

18] We meet Carol McIntyre - and Fred, for that matter - in "A Hard Day's Write". Carol's Valium habit is discussed as early as "World Geek Show". [Back]

19] In "How The Other Half Lives", AP, Mack and Ted are faced with the hippie-toadstool-dancer that is Amanda Lane, and AP holds his own. When complimented on his dealings with her, he states, "Compared to my mother, that made sense". [Back]

20] I did, however, draw the line at borrowing Mr Phelps. You never know, Mr Hopper may make a reappearance but I needed a maths teacher and I needed one fast. [Back]

21] Where Daria has "Excuse me?" and Jane has, "Yo!", AP has "Come again?" and Lynn has "You think I'm kidding." Everyone has a catchphrase, I think. [Back]

22] We meet 'Warlock' in Love's Labour first off, though the first thing he gets that remotely resembles nomenclature is one of "these two firearms NUTS in San Francisco..." Archer, ballistics expert and amateur psychologist. NO confidence in Tom's abilities. With good reason. So sure, he'd let Peril let H [or Rust, whatever] in on a few tricks of the trade if it would help keep the gang alive... [Back]

23] This much I remember from Chem class - the lower the pH, the higher the acidity. And sulphuric acid's rather more lethal than hydrochloric, if I'm remembering right - something about two H+ ions instead of one ... Why do I remember this? [Back]

24] More Chemistry from Canadibrit - in theory, if you add just the right amount of basic solution of the right concentration to an acidic solution, you can neutralise the lot and get whatever salt and water. The fact that AP can do this calculation in his head proves he's a lot better with numbers than he is with words - it can be done but I never managed even with a calculator. [Back]

25] Lynn pointed this out - though subtly, framed as a query - in "Job Lots", after Daria kicked Upchuck in the groin. Later, in Tour of Duty, Daria remembers this and takes a rocket launcher to the Merritt compound. So yeah, Daria's seeing that Lynn's way of dealing with the world has its advantages. [Back]

26] Lynn's new SAS surplus boots - Northern Ireland Urban Guerrilla division - were a new addition in "Gym Dandy" and something else to spark off the impression that things weren't quite as they should be in Cullen-ville. [Back]

27] AP suggested to Lynn, back in "Sets and the Single Girls", that if she really wanted to deter an intruder that might arrive via her ivy trellis, she should saw three-quarters of the way through some of the supports and then paint over the cracks to hide the damage. This is evidently exactly what she's done. [Back]

28] Daria and AP were in a relationship - and not exactly a brief one - between approximately "Rue Britannia" and "An Irony of Errors". Which means ... just over a season, or approximately 6 months. [Back]

29] For those of you who don't remember [or are trying desperately to forget], AP's pizza toppings of choice are tuna, onions, capers, artichoke hearts, cayenne peppers and shrimp. Occasionally extra garlic. ["Relation-slips"]. Yeah. Ew. [Back]

30] Sorry, Diane; I couldn't resist. The smoochiness of the turn the Lynn/AP thing is taking just now would be something Aph would want to keep tabs on...


Daria Morgendorffer et al are the creations of Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis Lynn but are owned by MTV, a Viacom company, copyright 1997, 2000. [Apparently, this is possible by 'work for hire', a concept that eludes me.] Lynn Cullen and AP McIntyre, on the other hand, were created and are owned by me, one Janet 'Canadibrit' Neilson, copyright 1999, 2000. Touch my characters without consulting me and it will go hard with you. This is a "substantially transformative" derivative work, apparently [what a highfalutin way to say fanfic], and is protected by the Supreme Court's decision in re Campbell v. Acuff Rose Music, so keep the copyright notice where it is and don't post it for money. If you do so without my permission and that of MTV Networks, I WILL pull a Lynn Cullen on you. And then I'll call lawyers.

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