(Montage teaser sequence. Music: Splendora -- "You're Standing On My Neck".

Lynn at her locker, converged upon by Stacy and the other cheerleaders [huddled into a protective knot formation] on one side and Brittany [dressed in a pink skirt and white T-shirt that looks like her cheerleading uniform but isn't] on the other.

Jane surrounded by a mid-sized group of children aged six through twelve, standing in front of the Lawndale Elementary School sign. She holds up a bag -- it is full of cans of spray-paint, a few tubes of Crazy Glue and several containers of glitter. The kids grin and reach into the bag.

Daria, Jane and Lynn walking down a Lawndale street, talking. They stop and turn as they hear a noise, and then a screaming AP staggers quickly past them, being dragged by a number of dogs -- a giant Rottweiler, a German Shepherd, a Great Dane, three Corgis, a Chihuahua and a pair of sickeningly cute Lhasa Apsos.

Jake on a used car lot, talking to a dealer. He pats a black 1982 two-door Toyota Tercel that looks like a good kick might reduce it to its component parts. Jake turns, grinning, to Daria, who is standing at a slight distance from the car, arms folded. She just shakes her head in something that's on the emotional scale between despair and disgust.

Daria and Jodie in a makeshift broadcast studio, talking into a mike. Visible through the soundproof glass behind them is Caldwell, looking strangely agitated. After a moment, his expression takes on a more worried look and he jogs out.

A deserted factory. Tiffany, dressed in white, peering blankly into a birdcage. Lying at the bottom is a dead bird. Upchuck approaches from behind her, his hair slicked back, dressed in black in best post-makeover tradition. He turns her around and they kiss deeply.

A men's room. O'Neill huddled into a ball on the floor, sobbing his pathetic little heart out. Four familiar pairs of boots walk into shot and stop in front of him. Pan up to the confused-looking Daria, Jane, Lynn and AP.

Daria and Lynn, side-by-side, looking at each other and giving the traditional Mona Lisa smile. Pan in and out to change to the TLAS logo. Writing in Daria font underneath reads...)


(Scene: Cranberry Commons. Music: The Kinks -- "Dedicated Follower of Fashion". Quinn, Stacy, Angie and Beth are standing outside Cashman's, all in cheerleading uniforms.)

Quinn: Okay, before we go in, I have to ask; who are you guys taking to the Winter Warm-Up Ball?

Angie: Well, I'm going with Jack, but why does it matter? I mean, we're just looking for a dress.

Quinn: Of course it matters! I mean, what happens if your dress doesn't match his hair? Or his suit?

Beth: Or the vacant look on his face.

Quinn: It says in "Cheerleadership" magazine that cheerleaders are expected to look good coming and going, so we obviously have to look our best at the Ball. So of course we have to make sure that our dresses match our guys.

Angie: But how do we know what our guys are going to wear?

Beth: Because she's dated them all at least once.

Stacy: Well, between us, Quinn and I know pretty much what the guys are going to wear to a Ball. I mean, I still have all Tiffany's co-ordinating notes and we mapped out the colour preferences of every guy in school, so we wouldn't clash.

Angie: Wow. I had no idea that this stuff was so important.

Quinn: Well, it is. And Jack normally wears a black suit he borrows from his dad, which is okay, but you have to be careful of his ties, which can be kind of garish. He has two good ties, so I'd say go for a red dress and then make sure he wears his red tie. Beth, who's taking you?

Beth: Richard Winstanley.

Quinn: Okay, he has his own charcoal grey suit but he never wears a tie. With your skin tone, I'd stick to a sort of a forest green, you know? Stacy, what about you?

Stacy: Well, Kevin keeps bugging me to go with him. I might do it just to shut him up. (beat) But then Mike asked me to go with him and I think he's kind of cute...

Angie: Stacy, you have got to learn to stand your ground with these guys. Look, if you want to go with Mike, you go with Mike, no problem!

Quinn: Although Kevin is easier to co-ordinate with...

Beth: Yeah; anything that goes with that stupid Varsity jacket of his.

Stacy: Isn't Mike the one who you can never tell what he's going to wear so the only way to go is the LBD?

Quinn: Yeah, but you have to wear gold jewellery cos silver doesn't match him very well, but not too much or you look like something out of "Dynasty".

Beth: So, Quinn? I've seen you get asked by most of the basketball team and a few of the more popular civilians. Even Skylar decided to forgive you for this. So who're you going with?

Sandi: (OS) Mother, of course I had to go shopping. I am going to have to burn everything that came in contact with that...

(Sandi exits Cashman's, talking into a cellphone with her arms laden with bags, and stops dead when she sees Quinn, Stacy, Angie and Beth. Quinn and Stacy look terrified -- Angie and Beth look unimpressed.)

Sandi: Mother, I'll have to call you later. (hits "end" and pockets the phone) Well. Hello, Quinn. So you're a cheerleader now?

Angie: What are you doing back?

Sandi: (does not want to talk about this) Oh. Um. I ... was ... I've been at ... some place they had to, like, condemn. (on firmer ground) Then Mother sent me to Fielding but I had to get out of that geek place. So Mother had a talk with Mr Caldwell and it seems that that Mr Hopper guy had no right to expel me.

Beth: Didn't he? That's a shame.

Sandi: As much as I'd like to keep talking to you people, I have better things to do. I need a whole new school wardrobe.

(She walks off. They all exchange looks.)

QUINN & STACY: (unison) Oh. My. God.

(Scene: Daria's room. Music: Linkin Park -- "You Live What You Learn". Daria is reading. Quinn barges in the door, wild-eyed and dishevelled. Daria looks up, somewhat alarmed.)

Daria: Was there a stampede in Feetnicks?

Quinn: Oh, Daria ... Sandi is back! Not just back in Lawndale, but back at Lawndale High!

Daria: Well. You know what they say about bad pennies.

Quinn: Actually ... no I don't. But Daria, she's going to make my life a nightmare for beating her up and stuff! I mean, maybe her mother's going to get lawyers or something!

Daria: And once she tells said lawyers that there are several witnesses attesting to the fact that it was self-defense, I'm sure they'll be falling all over themselves to take the case. Particularly when she points out that you have one of the best lawyers in the state on permanent retainer.

Quinn: Please, Daria, please tell me that was sarcasm...

Daria: It was.

Quinn: But there's other stuff she can do to me! Daria, what if she tries to hit me again?

Daria: Then you can defend yourself. Perhaps without bruising her only true asset in life. (to Quinn's blank look) Her pretty face?

Quinn: Oh yeah. Right. (beat) Daria... If I did go beat her up again, Lynn wouldn't threaten to shoot me or anything, would she?

(Daria stares at her.)

Daria: What makes you think she would?

Quinn: When I first found out that Sandi'd stolen Ted, and I went to beat her up ... y'know, when Lynn flashed that gun of hers...

(Daria looks up at the ceiling, considering, then gets up and heads towards the doorway.)

Quinn: Daria, where are you going?

Daria: (grabbing her arm) It's where we're going.

(Scene: Cullen kitchen. Music plays on. Daria and Quinn sitting at the table; Lynn plonks cans of soda down in front of them and then sits down herself.)

Quinn: Don't you have any diet?

Lynn: You really don't know me very well. You seem to expect me to have diet soda in the house, and you seem to think me capable of shooting someone who's a step away from family.

Quinn: You flashed a gun at me!

Lynn: I was not going to shoot you. At the very worst -- and I mean the very worst -- I would have pistol-whipped you with it. (sigh) And I probably wouldn't even have done that.

Quinn: Then why...

Daria: I'm a little curious about that myself.

Lynn: It was a standard smart-ass comment that was obviously in extremely bad taste. (beat) What brought this up?

Quinn: Sandi came back. I saw her in Cranberry Commons.

Lynn: I can see how that would make our encounter in the school halls spring to mind.

Quinn: I just wish I knew what she was up to! I mean, the way she was looking at me...

Daria: You know, Quinn, sometimes anger is a cover-up for fear. If that's the case with Sandi, then you probably don't have to worry about the vicious cycle of retribution picking up where it left off.

Lynn: All the same, I'd try to avoid being caught alone with her. If something does happen, you're going to want witnesses.

Quinn: As if I don't have enough to worry about. The Ball's on Friday and I don't have anything to wear and I haven't even shortlisted the guys who want to take me yet!

Daria: The weight of the world is surely on your shoulders, Quinn.

Lynn: And UN ambassadors think they have it tough.

Quinn: Ugh! Why do I even bother talking to you two?

(Daria and Lynn share an amused smirk. Quinn frowns at them and leaves. The smirks die.)

Lynn: So that's what's been bothering her all this time?

Daria: It's not all that's been bothering her. The rest of it involves Ted. (beat) And Tom.

Lynn: (dry) Let me guess. Tom left Quinn his Smythe-garnered bankroll along with some declaration of affection and, while Quinn may not have even considered going out with him, the fact that someone cared about her as a person instead of a fashion accessory reminded her of her relationship with Ted.

Daria: (raised eyebrow) You knew the whole time?

(Lynn looks at Daria, incredulous.)

Lynn: No. I just blurted out the most unlikely thing I could think of that involved them both. (beat) That's ... a little hard to swallow.

Daria: Don't ask me -- I don't understand it either. And I'm not sure how to tell Jane. Do you think she would take well to the knowledge that her former boyfriend moved on from her to Quinn?

(Slight pause)

Lynn: Granted. (beat) Mind if I stay right the hell out of this?

Daria: I wish I could do the same.

Lynn: (nodding) So back to the part of this I'm not freaked out by. I have to say that I'm amazed at Sandi's gall. After the abject humiliation, the pummeling and the expulsion, she must want something at Lawndale pretty badly to go to the trouble of coming back.

(The two exchange a slightly worried look.)

(Scene: LHS corridor. Music: David Bowie -- "Fashion". Daria, Jane, Lynn and AP are converged on Jane's locker.)

AP: Jeez; and I didn't even notice.

Lynn: I prefer to think of it as protective amnesia.

Jane: Quinn aside, what do you think it's going to be like, having her back?

(Sandi drifts past with Tiffany, Brooke and Tori.)

Sandi: I don't think we need to talk about where I was. I try to think of it as a relief mission in an under-fashionable part of the world where, like, no one had even heard of Capri pants.

Tiffany: How did you survive?

Sandi: It was almost worth the pain to know that I brightened the days of those less fortunate by looking this good for them.

Brooke: Oh, Sandi, you are so giving.

Sandi: I know. Now Tori, I believe you have a report for me?

Tori: Okay, Sandi, Quinn's cheerleader status brought her way up in the popularity stakes, but because she's more in the jock angle, there's an opening in the "drop dead gorgeous" category...

(Cut back to our quartet, who've been watching this.)

Daria: Like deja vu all over again.

(They look at each other quite ruefully; bell rings and they wander off, somewhat dazed at the turn of events.)


Smirnof -- "If Smirnof made autocues" ... Well, if Smirnof made autocues, Dubya would sound a lot like Barney Gumble off the Simpsons. But then, that would be an improvement.

Vauxhall -- Ever seen people try to play hide-and-seek in cars? Cars are described as sporty; not ... playground-gamey.

(Scene: LHS corridor. Music: Alanis Morrisette -- "Narcissus". Daria is loading up her book bag for the trip home. Sandi approaches tentatively, then seems a bit disgusted at herself for being a little afraid to approach "some geek" and puts on her snob-face.)

Sandi: Hello, Quinn's sort-of sister, or whatever? (Daria ignores her) All right; Daria. God, could we, like, talk to each other like human beings, or whatever? This is sort of important. (When Daria still ignores her) Look, do you want to help Quinn or not?

(That gets Daria's attention; she turns to face Sandi.)

Daria: And what makes you think I'd want to do a thing like that?

Sandi: I know you care about her; I mean, you have to have helped her with that little stunt she pulled with the lipstick. If you didn't care, like, why would you have done that to me?

Daria: (ticking off on her fingers) Referring to me as "Quinn's cousin", "Quinn's little friend", or "that girl who lives with Quinn". Insulting my clothes, my glasses and my intelligence. And, most damning of all, trying to run the car I was driving off the road.

Sandi: That is not fair. I was trying to get out of the way of that truck. And anyway, I thought you were that other girl.

Daria: So you thought you were running my half-sister off the road, not me. That makes it all better.

Sandi: God, Daria, I am trying to be a better person here!

Daria: I'll believe that when you can say it after a shot of sodium penathol.

Sandi: I am telling you the truth! Being a bitch doesn't get you anywhere. (beat; shudder) I learned that the hard way.

Daria: Excuse me?

Sandi: I got sent to this school in Highland; there were these ... these guys there. They kept, like, leering at my breasts and asking if I wanted to do it, or something. It was sooooo gross.

Daria: So now you see that my outfit does have its advantages. Doesn't give people like Beavis and Butt-Head anything to ogle at.

Sandi: You know those guys?

Daria: Of old, yes.

Sandi: Well, at first I tried to, like, manipulate them, or whatever, but they didn't have any money and everything I told them to do, they messed up. So I, like, tried being a bitch to make them go away. Even the stuff I used to say to Upchuck didn't work. So I guess I got to thinking, maybe being a bitch doesn't get you what you want.

Daria: Despite the best teachings of Aaron Spelling. That must have been quite a disillusioning turning point in what passes for your life.

Sandi: If you spent all that time with those two gross guys, why didn't you learn not to be a bitch?

Daria: (dry) A touch. A veritable sting.

Sandi: A what?

Daria: What you see as "bitchy misery chick", I see as protective misanthropism. And what you see as justified bitchery, I see as the actions of a spoiled, manipulative little bully. And since we've degenerated to the insult stage, this conversation is over.

Sandi: I don't believe you, Daria. I'm trying to ask you what the best way to be nice to Quinn and try to like, make it up to her, and all you can do is be rude.

Daria: You want to be nice. To Quinn.

Sandi: Would I be talking to you if I didn't?

Daria: Staying out of her life might be a good start. You used her friendship to try to wreck her self-esteem to keep your status in the Fashion Club. When she had the courage to admit to you that the guy she was in love didn't meet your standards, you would have forced her out of the Fashion Club if she hadn't left on her own. If that weren't enough, you got so jealous of the fact that she had a boyfriend and you didn't, you split them up.

Sandi: I am trying to make things right! I mean, wouldn't it help if I got them back together or something?

(Daria looks at her oddly.)

(Scene: Jane's room. Music: Papa Roach -- "Snake". Jane is sitting in her armchair, staring in shock at Daria, who is sprawled out on the bed, doing homework.)

Jane: She offered to get Quinn and Ted back together? What did she do, come out of the Gulf of Mexico on the half-shell?

Daria: More like she's drunk too much of Highland's irradiated tap water.

Jane: I've seen some personal one-eighties in my time, but this one...

Daria: Makes you wonder where the pod people will strike next, doesn't it?

Jane: So what'd you tell her?

Daria: That she was welcome to try but that I couldn't help her with it. She then insisted that I could help by convincing Quinn to talk to her.

Jane: Well, if this works out, you can always go for a career in the UN.

Daria: You're assuming that I'm actually going to do this. And you know what they say about people who assume.

Jane: Daria. Have you or have you not been worried about the way Quinn's been acting lately? And isn't Sandi one of the most devious people you know? (to the look) Or at least at school?

Daria: I guess she's at least somewhere in the top ten.

Jane: I'll take what I can get here, considering who I'm talking to. Look, if anyone can get those two back together, it's Sandi. Hell, didn't she split them up in the first place?

Daria: In the literal sense...

Jane: So let her do it, already! That way, you can stop stressing about Quinn and start stressing about whatver's next on your list.

(Daria looks at Jane with an expression of dubious resignation -- she knows Jane's right but hates having to admit it.)

(Scene: Morgendorffer kitchen. Music: Red Hot Chili Peppers -- "Cabron". Jake fussing over a pot on the stove. Daria at the table with her copy of "Parental Unit Programming". Enter Quinn, still in cheerleading uniform.)

Jake: Hey there, Quinn! You're just in time for ol' Jake's Kitchen Sink Stew!

Quinn: Daddy, ew! Anyway, I'm not going to be here! Will, Scott, Robert, Taylor and a bunch of other guys want to meet me at the arcade and whoever wins their Street Fighter competition gets to take me to Chez Pierre. And the runner-up waits outside in the car in case the winner's just a real geek.

Daria: The Roman Gladiator approach to dating. And to think I thought retro was nothing more than a fashion movement for people too cheap to fork out for new clothes every season.

Quinn: Well, how else am I going to decide who gets to take me to the Winter Warm-Up?

Daria: Swimsuit competition?

(Exit Quinn at an exasperated flounce. Jake turns to Daria.)

Jake: Well, guess it's just you and me, kiddo! More stew to go around, though.

Daria: (closing her book) Sorry, Dad, but I have a prior engagement.

(Daria gets up and heads out. Jake looks a little disappointed.)

Jake: Well ... that's okay, kiddo! There'll just be plenty of leftovers!

Daria: There may not be room in the fridge. Quinn's been storing her facial scrub in there.

(As Daria exits, Jake looks at the fridge dubiously. Then at the array of empty jars, bottles and assorted containers scattered on the work surface around his stew pot. He picks one up -- sure enough, it's a container of "For Richer, For Porer" facial scrub. He reads the ingredients list. With a wince, he dumps the pot of stew down the sink.)

(Scene: Quinn's room. Music plays on. She's holding up two dresses -- one little black dress, one little mint green dress. Daria hovers in the doorway.)

Daria: It's not much of a help, but black is a more effective colour for hiding inevitable arcade spillage.

Quinn: (wheeling 'round to face her) Daria, what are you doing here?

Daria: I needed to talk to you about something.

Quinn: (thinking) Green eyeshadow -- I'm thinking "Forest Glen" -- with brown olive eyeliner. Then More Nude lipliner and Put-Me-On-A-Pedestal Pink lipstick. That's if you're going for the more natural look, which I guess you want...

Daria: I had a talk with Sandi. (Quinn goes dead pale and nearly drops her dresses) Believe it or not, she told me she wants to apologise.

Quinn: And you believed her? God, Daria, I thought you were a brain.

Daria: And she would like her apology to take the form of a reunion between yourself and Ted.

(At that, Quinn freezes. After a moment, she turns back to the mirrors, examining her dresses again.)

Quinn: What makes you think I want to get back together with Ted? The cheerleaders would kill me if I went out with a geek, and anyway, he dumped me because he thought I was going out with...

(Dead, misery-laden silence.)

Daria: When the cheerleaders wanted Lynn to stay on the squad, they were willing to make an exception so that she could keep dating AP. Ted, at least, is involved with school athletics, unless he's quit the fencing since last I gave a damn. And the main thing that makes me think you want to get back together with Ted is the look on your face when I mentioned his name.

(Quinn turns back to Daria; her eyes are wary.)

(Scene: Cullen kitchen. Music: Something for Kate -- "Strategy". Jane is rooting through the cupboards, Daria is searching the pantry and AP is digging through the fridge. Lynn, on the other hand, is sitting at the kitchen table, going through a stack of fast-food leaflets.)

Daria: (OS) To make a short and stupid story even shorter, she outright refused to have anything to do with either Sandi or Ted.

Lynn: And you really thought that suggesting they meet up for pizza or something was going to work?

Daria: (coming out of the pantry empty-handed) It was the best I could come up with that meant minimal involvement on my part. Don't you ever cook?

AP: She knows how; she just hates grocery stores. (shuts fridge door) And sorry, Erudite Emerald, but she's right. You gotta get 'em together without looking like you tried; make it look like an accident or something. (beat) Though I gotta admit, that's kinda like "accidentally" putting Ganymede in a synchronous orbit 'round Mercury.

Jane: (turning to look at AP, bemused) Well, AP's astronomy kick aside, I guess you could just get Ted to that dance they're having next week. Let the gossips do the talking and bam! Better than a Cupid-arrow in the butt any day.

Daria: Oh, and how do you propose I manage that? He won't ask Quinn, he won't ask any other girl and if Sandi suggested that he take her...

Jane: So he goes alone. Caldwell freaks at students holding hands, Daria. He's not going to make dates mandatory.

Daria: Yeah; he's saving that for Prom. But what are the odds that Ted's going to want to go alone?

AP: So he doesn't go alone. He goes with a gang -- you know, party-pals, or something.

Jane: His fencing team cronies don't go to school dances. And he doesn't hang out with anyone else.

Daria: (tentative) But a few of his acquaintances might be able to persuade him...

(Jane, Lynn and AP look at her. She sheepishly looks at her boots.)

(Scene: LHS corridor. Music plays on. Ted is standing in front of his locker, facing Daria [who still looks sheepish], Jane, Lynn, AP [who look a little bit exasperated and are hiding it with varying degrees of success], Jodie and Mack [who just look confused].)

Ted: You're asking me to accompany all of you to the Winter Warm-Up Ball? For ... solidarity?

Mack: (Trying to speak with conviction but failing) I ... think so.

Ted: That's very kind of you. (beat) I guess I accept, then. Thank you.

Daria: Great. We'll pick you up at seven-thirty.

(All six of them manage a smile, and Ted walks off cheerfully. Jane, Lynn and AP glare at Daria, while Jodie and Mack just give her a confused look.)

Jodie: What was that all about?

Daria: Doing a good deed.

Jane: And yes, of course it scares you, going against all natural laws as it does.

(Jodie and Mack exchange "we don't want to know, do we?" looks. Then they smile weakly at the quartet and walk off. AP makes a disgusted noise and follows. Jane and Lynn are still glaring at Daria. )

Daria: (to Lynn) You said we should help her, since she wasn't milking it. (to Jane) And you insisted that I follow through with it despite my own objections to the idea.

Jane: And that makes having to go to yet another school dance better?

Lynn: (evil smirk) No, but dragging Daria out shopping for a dress to wear to said school dance will.

(Jane gets the idea and gets the evil smirk on herself. Said smirks have the effect on Daria that the glares lacked -- Daria gets that slightly panicked, "why me?" expression.")


Volvic -- Mineral water "from volcanoes". How many times do people have to be reminded that the only places where humans and dinosaurs coexist are The Flinstones and Jurassic Park?

Next on TLAS -- The college application process is over, the interview stage has begun, and now the gang have to make the "Natural Selection".

(Scene: LHS gymnasium. Music: Busted -- "What I Went To School For". It's decorated with styrofoam snowmen, paper snowflakes, white-and-silver garlands and Christmas tree lights shaped like icicles. A blue and white banner identifies the scene as "The Winter Warm-Up Ball". The cheerleaders are gathered around the refreshment table; all of them have taken Quinn and Stacy's fashion advice. Quinn, wearing an off-the-shoulder floor-length dress in blue, looks unhappy.)

Stacy: So you decided on Skylar in the end, Quinn?

Quinn: Yeah, but only to come in with. Anyone who'd dump me doesn't really deserve to hang out with me at a dance all night.

Angie: Hey, look; even the unpopular people turned out tonight.

(She points; the others look to see Daria [square-necked knee-length green velvet dress, the boots] enter with Trent at her side -- Trent hasn't dressed up. Behind then come Jane [cowl-necked red sweater dress, black tights, the boots], Lynn [purple dress that's actually a carbon copy of Quinn's but still with the boots], AP [his Reformed costume], Jodie [slinky pink dress with spaghetti straps], Mack [navy blue suit] and Ted [tuxedo]. Back to the cheerleaders; Quinn goes pale and looks freaked.)

Stacy: Quinn? Are you okay?

Quinn: I ... I gotta go get some air!

(Quinn hikes up her skirt a little and exits at a run. The cheerleaders exchange a look.)

Beth: I knew she hated wearing the same dress as other people, but that's way too much reaction.

(Scene: LHS exterior. Music: REM -- "The Apologist". Quinn's sitting on the lawn hugging her knees, not minding about what it might to to her dress. She looks unutterably sad. Sandi, in a strapless green dress, approaches and sits next to her. Quinn looks up very briefly.)

Quinn: Sandi, if you want to insult me again or whatever, can it wait? I'm not in the mood.

Sandi: I'm not going to insult you. I just wanted to apologise. I was ... y'know ... I mean...

Quinn: Rude? Heartless? Really, really, really out of line?

Sandi: (annoyed sniff) Yeah, I guess. (beat) So, am I, like, forgiven and everything?

Quinn: If you're actually sorry.

Sandi: I am, Quinn; really. (beat; utter sincerity) I guess I sort of ... well, missed you, or whatever.

Quinn: You missed me? Really? But then why did you always treat me so badly all the time? I mean, the only reason I ever wanted to be President of the Fashion Club was because it would stop you being so nasty all the time.

Sandi: Look, Quinn, I worked hard to get to be the most popular girl in school and then you came in and became even more popular without even trying. So I guess I just didn't want you thinking you were better than me, or something.

Quinn: Sandi, right now, I don't even care about being the most popular. It's really enough to know that I'm not a total loser. So I'm not threatening you. Okay?

Sandi: Okay. (beat) I am sorry.

Quinn: You're forgiven.

(Silence for a moment.)

Sandi: I don't believe you didn't get back together with Ted. I mean, you two were, like, the perfect couple.

Quinn: Yeah, well ... there were reasons. (beat) I mean, there aren't reasons any more, really, but you know a girl never grovels to get a guy back.

Sandi: (thoughtful look) And if he grovelled to you?

Quinn: (derisive noise) Yeah, like that's gonna happen. (beat) Look, Sandi, it's nice that you apologised and everything and we can be friends if you want, but I really need you to leave me alone right now. I'm not in the mood to talk to anyone or anything.

Sandi: Sure. (beat) Talk to you later?

(Quinn gives a half-nod. Sandi gets up, brushes off her dress and wanders off.)

(Scene: LHS gymnasium. Music plays on. Pan across the room; Jane's got her graffiti pens out and is drawing a hideous jack o'lantern face on the styrofoam snowman near the refreshment table; Ted, at the refreshment table, is watching her oddly, then shrugs and gets himself some punch. Most of the school is on the dance floor; Mack and Jodie and, surprisingly, Daria and Trent are among them. Lynn and AP are wallflowering near the doors. Sandi approaches them.)

Sandi: Um ... I ... er... (sigh) I sort of ... well ... wanted to say I'm sorry for messing up your car. And for, like, nearly killing you and your ... well, whatever that Daria girl is to you.

AP: (to Lynn) She coulda got me and Erudite Emerald killed.

Lynn: (to AP) On the other hand, she's suffered for her little transgression. (turning to Sandi) It was a long time ago. And it's fixed. Consider it forgotten.

Sandi: So, like, will you talk to Ted or something? (to the looks she's getting) Quinn, like, really wants to get back together with him. She just won't make the first move because that would be really uncool. And it's not like he's going to listen to me after that whole thing with that Tom guy.

Lynn: And you really think Ted would believe that I care about Quinn's plight?

AP: But isn't that why we... (Lynn kicks him) Ow!

Sandi: All I really need is for you to find some way of getting the message to him. (beat) God, do I have to pay you, or something? (when Lynn nods) Twenty, and that's only when I see Quinn and Ted together.

Lynn: Forty; twenty up front and twenty on delivery. (Sandi, disgusted, opens her purse, takes out a bill and hands it to Lynn.) Pleasure doing business with you.

(Sandi stalks off. AP turns to Lynn, all confusion.)

AP: Why do you need to do that? That's what we're here for anyway.

Lynn: Yeah, but I don't want her to know that. She's not completely stupid, and she'd have to be to believe that I'm behaving altruistically. Remember my track record?

(Cue sheepish look from AP.)

(Scene: LHS bathroom. Music: Amanda Ghost -- "Silver Lining". Beth is brushing her hair at the mirror. Lynn's seated on the edge of the sinks.)

Beth: Ted Dewitt-Clinton? I don't really deal with fringe-cool. Why?

Lynn: I basically need someone to tell him that Quinn wants to get back together with him.

Beth: God, Lynn, how dumb do you think I am? And don't make any cracks about me being a cheerleader cos you were wearing the blue and gold not too long ago.

Lynn: This involves the popular people. It's not something he'd believe coming from me.

(Enter Stacy.)

Stacy: Hey, Beth, got any perfume? I... Oh. Hi, Lynn...

Beth: Why not ask Stacy to do it? She's Quinn's best friend and he'd believe it coming from her. And I'm not about to put myself in this mess.

(Beth and Lynn are now both looking at Stacy rather speculatively. Stacy squirms under the scrutiny.)

(Scene: LHS gymnasium, near the refreshment table. Music plays on. Ted's watching Jane put the finishing touches on the snowman -- as well as the jack o'lantern face, she's drawn markings reminiscent of straitjacket sleeves along the body.)

Ted: It's an interesting piece. What does it say to you?

Jane: That if you're at this popularity contest by any other name, you're nuts. (beat) Hey, does this mean you're the Hobbes to my Calvin?

Ted: I'm not sure what their philosophies have to do with anything...

(Jane looks askance at him, but is saved from dealing with that when Stacy approaches nervously.)

Stacy: Hi, uh, Jane? Could I talk to Ted alone for a minute? Uh ... please?

(Jane shrugs and moves off. Ted looks at Stacy expectantly. Stacy squirms some more.)

(Scene: LHS exterior. Music plays on. Quinn's still sitting on the lawn, hugging her knees. Someone comes up behind her and she scowls.)

Quinn: Oh, God, Skylar, I told you that I'm not going to dance with you! You only came with me because Brooke said no!

Ted: (OS) And you came with him because you thought I'd say no?

(Quinn looks up in some alarm as Ted moves to her side and sits down next to her.)

Quinn: T-t-t... (clears throat) Ah ... well, I ... (sigh of defeat) Yeah.

Ted: I've missed you, Quinn. (beat) I just wish you'd told me why you were seeing--

Quinn: (sharp) I wasn't seeing him! He was teaching me the martial arts! And do you see him around anymore?

Ted: (holding up his hands) Okay, okay. Sorry. (beat) Why wouldn't you explain when I apologised?

Quinn: There was stuff. (beat) Private stuff. (beat) Not romance-stuff or anything, but ... I needed to get my head around the ... the stuff. (beat) Can I not...?

Ted: Everyone's allowed some privacy. And I'm sorry I let Sandi talk me into invading yours.

Quinn: And I'm sorry I lied to you. (beat) And I missed you too.

(Pause as they look at each other. Then Ted takes her hand and they smile.)

(Scene: LHS gymnasium. Music: Tonic -- "Sugar". Just about everyone's on the dance floor. We focus on Daria and Trent; they're dancing tentatively.)

Trent: This is ... kind of...

Daria: Lame? Juvenile?

Trent: I was gonna say, "kind of cool". (beat) It's nice just hangin' out. Livin' in your world for awhile. (beat) Hey... You got a pen?

(Daria rolls her eyes in fond exasperation and pulls a notepad and pen out of the small bag she's carrying. Trent stops and starts jotting down lyrics. A *thump* is heard from out of shot, and we pan across the floor, pausing briefly to see Lynn picking AP up off the floor, to where Stacy is dancing with Mike [the black guy in picture 4 on the Kevin's Party Trick pages of "The Daria Database"]. Kevin approaches with a grin he probably thinks is suave and taps Stacy on the shoulder.)

Kevin: Hey, Babe! Can I, ah, cut in?

(Before Stacy can reply, she notices something out of the corner of her eye; with a squeal of excitement, she lets go of Mike and nearly knocks Kevin over as she dashes off. Follow Stacy as she reaches the doors, where Quinn and Ted have appeared hand in hand. Off to one side, we see Sandi watching quietly.)

Stacy: Oh, isn't this great? You two are the cutest couple and it's great to see you together again! Does this mean you're going to be uh ... happier now? In a better mood, and everything?

Ted: Well, I'll try my best to make sure she stays happy.

Quinn: We're just gonna go dance now, okay?

(The two drift onto the dance floor proper and start slow-dancing, cuddled close. Stacy watches them happily, until Kevin comes up beside her and puts a hand on her shoulder. Stacy shakes him off angrily and stalks away. Sandi assesses the situation and approaches Kevin, replacing her "I can't believe I'm doing this" look with a saucy smile.)

Kevin: (calling after Stacy) Aw, come on, Babe...

Sandi: (faux flirtatious) Hello, Kevin.

Kevin: (turning with a pseudo-suave grin) Hey, Babe!

(Scene: Cullen front hall. Music: The Strokes -- "Someday". Jane's studying the walls [still graffiti-marked and full of holes], totally lost in thought. Daria and Lynn are sitting on the stairs, watching her.)

Daria: So Quinn drifted in about ten minutes after I came home, and she looked so happy that Mom just let it go. She nearly dislocated Dad's arm when he started in on the "cult boy" remarks.

Lynn: Well, at least she won't be deliberately annoying in a desperate unconscious bid for attention. But now that I'm going into mindless teenage gossip, did either of you see Sandi wrapped around Kevin?

Daria: My attentions were focused ... elsewhere.

Lynn: Ah, love's young dream. The only reason I noticed is because I figured she was using my aversion to Kevin to avoid paying the rest of her debt.

Daria: I still don't believe you insisted on being paid for that.

Lynn: And I still don't believe that no one expects anything different from me.

(A letter comes *clunk* through the letter slot. Jane, still completely lost in whatever plans she has for the hallway, doesn't notice, but Daria and Lynn share a look. Lynn gets up, moves past Jane [who still doesn't notice] and picks it up. She opens it and retrieves a twenty-dollar bill and a sheet of notebook paper. In Sandi's handwriting, it just says, "thanks". Lynn brings it back to Daria and shows it off.)

Daria: She actually paid you. And she said "thanks".

Lynn: I'm not sure what to think about this.

Jane: Complete overhaul. (Daria and Jane look at her, surprised) Nothing else is going to fix this place.

(Daria and Lynn cut their eyes towards each other and smirk.)



I'll state this first and foremost -- I goofed big when I wrote "The Kids Aren't All Wrong" by putting Chris Griffin in with the Lawndale Elementary students. Thankfully, I had already planned to bring Sandi back in this one when I made the aforementioned blunder and managed to turn it into foreshadowing. So my first endnote is a big fat thank you to every one of the readers who usually nit-pick but just let that one go.

Sandi -- A few people had a point -- Sandi's expulsion was unfair. But it was fun, thinking of her having to deal with Beavis and Butt-Head for awhile. Even then, I wanted to bring her back eventually, just to see how she'd have changed. Now that the Mafia crap's over, I have the opportunity. Besides, it's just not the same without the Fashion Club, is it?

Tom -- Not as gratuitous as it sounds. I don't think anyone got that Tom might have feelings for Quinn, but he did. Now the fun is seeing if Jane's ever going to find out about it. Well, just under a season and a half to go...

LBD -- Stands for "little black dress", the staple of any well-dressed female's wardrobe, according to those in the know. Before anyone starts the "Canadiquinn" rubbish back up again, my relationship with fashion is like my relationship with American football -- just because I hate the game doesn't mean I don't know the rules.


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, AP McIntyre, Mara Fitzgerald, and any other character you don't recognise from any ep, on the other hand, were created and are owned by me, one Janet 'Canadibrit' Neilson, copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002. Touch my characters without consulting me and it will go hard with you. All cameos used with permission, though by this point they're more characters in their own rights. 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.