(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: Daria's room. Music: Candiria -- "Constant Velocity Is As Natural As Being At Rest". AP's working on Daria's computer while Daria and Jane sit watching TV. Lynn's sprawled out on the carpet on the floor, reading Daria's copy of "Making the Twinkie Defense Work For You".)

TV: (OS) They want you ... but what for? Cultish college recruiters revealed when Sick Sad World returns!

Jane: See? College interviews just aren't safe. Who knows what they'll talk you into?

Daria: Continuing your education?

Jane: Everything I need to know, I learned in kindergarten.

Lynn: That's my line. But it does explain some of your art projects.

Jane: Hey, now I don't even have to cash in my college fund. There's a whooooole lot of money just waiting to support me through the lean times until people start buying my work.

Daria: Aren't most of any given artist's paintings purchased after they die?

Jane: Hey, if I manage to blow that bankroll, a high school education'll get me some job.

Daria: You're just afraid that a college education will inevitably lead to a career in advertising.

Jane: And can you think of anything worse happening to me?

Daria: Teaching.

Lynn: Secretarial. Which is where you could wind up without a college education.

AP: Oh, leave her alone, guys. You know Art-Smart Scarlet's gonna make good in New York. I bet someone'll hire her out there if she really wants a job. Y'know, even if she just designs sets for those freaky plays that college students put on as an excuse to ... y'know, do it onstage.

Jane: (sarcasm) Well, thank you, Little Maverick Sunshine.

AP: Well, I'm gonna go to college. I may be already makin' good with the 'puters but I could do more with the stupid piece of paper. Besides, they've got all kindsa neat stuff in college labs! The better the school, the neater the stuff.

Lynn: You're just excited because of Carnegie-Mellon students being the creators of that moonwalker probe they sent out a few years back.

AP: And if they can do that, imagine what MIT must do! I can't wait 'til the recruiters get here. Oh, and thanks for the cue cards.

Daria: Just stick to them. I'm not sure that MIT will be overly impressed with your unaided speechmaking skills.

AP: Meh. (beat; looking at the computer screen) Oh, hey, is this your application letter?

(Daria gets up and moves behind AP. She reaches for the keyboard and the window vanishes.)

Daria: Oops. It ... uh ... probably was. (ignoring AP's hurt, confused look) Look, the computer's fine. Can we go out for pizza? Dad's cooking again tonight and...

Jane: Say no more. Let's go before he starts fumigating the place.

(Daria heads for the door, with Jane close behind. AP, still looking a little hurt and confused, starts logging off. Lynn shuts the book and gets to her feet.)

Lynn: You okay?

AP: I guess. Just ... you two practically wrote my app letters. So why's she so freaked at me reading hers?

Lynn: Maybe she's afraid she'll jinx it if we find out where she's applied to.

AP: Is that why you're so quiet about where you wanna go?

Jane: (poking her head back in the door) Come on; Jake's chopping things down there and is this close to inviting us to stay.

(AP takes the hint and removes himself with speed. Lynn follows with a slightly relieved look on her face -- she obviously hadn't wanted to answer that question.)

(Scene: Morgendorffer kitchen. Music: Something for Kate -- "Captain [Million Miles an Hour]". Helen's at the table, going over some papers. Jake's buried in the newspaper. Daria enters and heads for the fridge. Jake glances up from his paper.)

Jake: Oh, kiddo, there's a package for you. It's on the counter.

Helen: (glancing up) Oh, Daria, is it college acceptance time already? It's a little early, isn't it?

Jake: My kiddo got an early college acceptance? (slightly choked) I'm so proud...

(Daria has opened the large envelope and is reading the covering letter.)

Daria: Well. My first choice.

Helen: Oh, sweetie, I'm so proud of you! So which one is it? Stamford? Yale? Harvard? You never did tell us where your first choice was...

(Daria looks from the stack of college information to her parents reluctantly, then glances at the clock.)

Daria: (a little too deliberate) Oh. Dear. I am going to be late for my ride to school. I had better go.

Helen: But sweetie...

(But Daria is gone, having taken her college package with her. Helen and Jake exchange looks.)

(Scene: LHS corridor. Music plays on. AP digging frantically through his locker. Jane approaches, a camera hanging around her neck. She watches him, points the camera at him and shoots. This seems to trigger AP's speech mechanism.)

AP: My cue cards. I can't find my cue cards! Where are my cue cards?!?

Jane: They probably got eaten by the green mulch that used to be two slabs of APizza.

AP: Not funny! (sigh) Well, it's only CalTech. No big. But I gotta find 'em before MIT.

Jane: They're not 'til tomorrow. That gives you twenty-four hours to clean your locker. (beat) If you start now, you might get it done with ... ooh, whole seconds to spare.

AP: You are so not funny! (He slams his locker shut) And what're you gonna do all day?

Jane: Oh, I'll be around. I'm thinking of a photo essay entitled "Post-Pubescent Panic".

(With that, she snaps another shot. He gives her the finger and runs off.)

(Scene: LHS gym. Music: Red Hot Chili Peppers -- "Californication". AP's sitting at the CalTech booth, yammering at a youngish woman in a navy suit and a middle-aged man in tweed who looks a lot like Anthony Steward Head.)

Suit: So ... Andrew ... it says here that you've taken part in several extra-curricular activities. Marching band, student radio, volunteer after-school programme counsellor, student tutoring, school drama production... Quite an impressive selection.

Tweed: Yes ... ah ... however, in most cases your involvement in these affairs was rather short-lived. Could ... could you explain that?

AP: Ah ... I ... well ... eee... See, my ... my first love's always been techie stuff. Y'know, computers, chemistry, physics and I ... well, see, I tried that other stuff but it ate so much of my time that things didn't ... uh ... work. Yeah.

Suit: I ... see.

(The woman in the suit and Tweed-man shoot each other looks.)

Tweed: Well, ah, your academics are certainly ... impressive ... in some areas. However, they do appear a little ... imbalanced.

Suit: Yes; your math and science grades are superlative but some of your other grades ... English, for example ... seem weak.

AP: Uh ... well ... see, I ... don't do words much. I know stuff, don't get me wrong, but when I try on paper or just talking, y'know, it just ... well, comes out like it's coming out now. (beat) I had cue cards.

Tweed: Yes?

AP: My locker ate them.

Tweed: Oh.

Suit: (brisk) Well. I think we have everything we need. Thank you for your time. Next!

(AP gets up, a little dejected, and wanders along, shooting casual glances at the other booths. Then his gaze locks on one -- pan to what he's looking at. At the booth for the University of California San Francisco, Lynn is shaking hands with the recruiters. They're smiling at her in a way that very strongly suggests that she'll have no trouble getting accepted. Back to AP, who stalks over and grabs her by the arm as she gets clear of the booth.)

AP: What are you doing over there? That's San Francisco!

Lynn: We'll talk about this later.

(With that, she shakes him off and accelerates. AP stops and stares after her. His face registers extreme shock, some fear and a species of miserable anger.)

(Scene: LHS cafeteria. Music: Offspring -- "Million Miles Away". AP still looks freaked. Daria and Jane are watching him stress; neither of them look particularly impressed either.)

Daria: She's going to San Francisco.

Jane: Probably not being sure to wear some flowers in her hair.

Daria: You just couldn't resist, could you?

AP: She's gonna be near them! For four years! I don't believe she did this without telling me! I mean ... I ... eee...

Jane: If you're that worried, just change your first choice. Go to CalTech. It's not quite the same city but you'll only be a few hundred miles away instead of a few thousand.

AP: That's just it! I can't go to CalTech! My locker ate my cue cards, remember? I blew the interview so bad, that Giles-looking guy felt sorry for me! And the lady in the suit just looked at me like I was protozoa!

Jane: Okay... Well, Daria, looks like it's up to you.

Daria: I ... don't think that'd be such a good idea. Anyway, I've already been accepted by my first choice.

Jane: And it's nowhere near the West Coast, I guess.

AP: Awwwwwwwww monkeynuts. (beat) So where'd you get accepted to, Erudite Emerald? And isn't it kinda early?

Lynn: (approaching) What's this?

Jane: We'll deal with you later, you Frisco-bound miscreant. Daria's about to tell us about the forward-thinking institution that grabbed her up early.

Daria: (heavy sigh) I'm going to Oxford.

(Big, shocked, all-pervading silence.)

Jane: Oxford. Like England Oxford?

Lynn: Like "where any Smythe that hasn't gone to Harvard got educated" Oxford?

AP: You're all nuts! Why England?

Daria: It's one of the most prestigious universities in the world. And I could use the change of scenery.

Jane: And you couldn't find a change of scenery in this country?

Daria: Given that I've driven through most of it, I think I can safely say "no".

AP: So you're going to a school in England where Smythe-people got taught for years. And you (pointing at Lynn) wanna run off and study right next to the hotbed of that whole mess. And you (now turning to Jane) aren't even gonna go! (beat) You all suck.

(With that, he gets up and stalks off. Jane looks from one look-alike to the other, her face accusatory. Daria and Lynn look at each other sheepishly.)


KFC -- The Chicken Tikka Pocket, complete with Indian legend-style advert. Thank you, Zadie Smith.

AOL -- New free trial with more free hours -- 120 to be exact. Yes, but spread over how many days?

(Scene: Pizza King. Music: Led Zeppelin -- "The Immigrant Song". Daria and Lynn share a booth.)

Daria: Do you really think they'll meet us?

Lynn: They're our friends. They're not just going to avoid us for the rest of our lives.

Daria: They don't have to. In a few months, you're going to be on the opposite side of the country and I'm going to be on the opposite side of the Atlantic.

Lynn: And they want explanations from both of us. Which they have to meet us to get.

Daria: I think you need to explain your decision a lot more than I do. I'm getting further away from ... that.

Jane: (OS) Well, that's something, I guess.

(Jane, with AP trailing behind her, approach the booth and sit down. For a moment, they just look at each other.)

AP: So come on, Purple Peril. Why SF?

Lynn: It's a good school. I know people in the area. And I'm practically guaranteed acceptance.

Daria: (pointed) Because of the people you know in the area. Right.

Lynn: Yeah, but the tuition money and my mostly high grades help.

AP: But you're gonna be right in the middle of that!

Jane: (worried) Please don't say that's the idea.

Lynn: I don't know yet. This gives them a chance to plead their case. And anyway ... Jan could probably use my help.

Daria: For someone who prides herself on hard-heartedness, you're awfully selfless.

Lynn: And what about you? Are you so desperate to get away from this ... from us ... that you need an ocean as some kind of moat?

Daria: No...

AP: How're you gonna get to stay there?

Lynn: My guess would be UK ancestry. You may have to go back a few generations, but she's enough Brit to get her through the student visa application process almost too easily.

Jane: What about Helen and Jake? Never mind a cow; I bet Helen had Pamploma.

AP: Come again?

Daria: Town in Spain where they have the Running of the Bulls. And ... I haven't exactly told them yet.

Lynn: Of course you didn't. They're still willing to let you out of the house.

Daria: You know, I never would have figured. Out of the four of us, it's Jane and AP who are going to college closest to each other. So to speak.

Jane: Great. So if one of his experiments goes wrong and he blows up a few states, I'm the only one in the blast zone. Y'think I could be a famous artist somewhere in Cambodia? I'd be safer there.

(When AP frowns at Jane, the three girls smirk despite themselves.)

(Scene: Daria's room. Music: The Clash -- "London Calling". Daria's going through her Oxford brochures. Phone rings, stops after two. Then...)

Quinn: Daaaaaaaaaaria! It's some weird lady; sounds English!

(Daria frowns in confusion, picks up the phone.)

Daria: I got it, Quinn; hang up! (beat) Hello?

(Split-screen to Lorna, apparently from a trendybar.)

Lorna: Hello, Daria? It's ... well, I suppose your aunt Lorna, not just Lynn's. But please, just Lorna -- "aunt" makes me feel a little bit ancient.

Daria: Uh. Hi. How did you...

Lorna: Get this number? Oh, I was on the phone with Lynn just now -- just checking in, seeing if she had word from Jan, that sort of thing -- and she mentioned that your academic path was taking you to the dreaming spires.

Daria: Why do they call it that, anyway?

Lorna: Oh, Lord knows; three years I spent there and I never quite worked it out myself. Now, Daria love, you simply must come stay with me for awhile before you start uni. That way I can make sure you get there alright and give you the tour.

Daria: Uh ... okay ... I'll be sure to try to fit that into my schedule.

Lorna: Oh, no need to sound so tentative. And you know you'll always have a place to stay over the shorter holidays where there's not much point in flying all the way out to the States. Quite frankly, I'd appreciate the company. Maybe if you stayed for a bit, my house might actually have some food in it.

Daria: (can't help but smile a little) That didn't help the last time.

Lorna: Oh, I suppose it didn't, did it? Well, listen, I must dash, but I did want to say all that and give my congratulations. You are simply going to love Oxford, Daria -- intellect's appreciated and emotional reserve is practically a way of life in this country. Some find it a little disconcerting but you? Oh, you'll take to it wonderfully. Buh-bye now!

(single screen. Daria looks at the phone with bemusement -- probably wondering how she could be related to that, and not for the first time -- and then hangs up. Before she can do much more, Quinn appears in the doorway. She looks upset.)

Quinn: You're going to England for college?

(Daria gets up, drags Quinn into her room and shuts the door.)

Daria: Do you make a habit of eavesdropping on people's phone conversations?

Quinn: Well, I was curious! And ... well, a little worried; that Jan person sounds pretty English too and I thought if she was calling you that maybe there was trouble and...

Daria: I suppose I can see the logic to that. Don't let it happen again.

Quinn: You didn't answer me. England? I mean, do Mom and Dad know?

Daria: Would I have dragged you in here to have this conversation more privately if they did?

Quinn: God, Daria, they are going to freak! I mean, that's, like, thousands and thousands of miles away! Mom went freaky on me when you just went out there for Christmas! And ... well, come on, Daria, I'll never see you! I got kinda used to you being here and ... and...

Daria: You can stop now, if you want to.

Quinn: (blurting it out anyway) And I'm probably gonna miss you and stuff!

Daria: And I'm ... probably ... going to miss you too. But it's a great opportunity. And not just for me. Just imagine the summer vacation possibilities for you.

Quinn: You ... you'd invite me over?

Daria: If you behave yourself. And if you promise not to say a word to Mom and Dad until I do.

Quinn: Well, come on, Daria, I would have done that anyway! I'm used to keeping your freaky little secrets by now!

(With a little smirky smile, she flounces out of the room. Daria can't help but smile after her a little.)

(Scene: Jane's room. Music: Magnetic Fields -- "All The Umbrellas In London". Jane's painting -- smudgy browns and khakis, with a swampy feel. fsTrent comes in and sits down on the bed. He looks at the picture for a minute, raises an eyebrow.)

Trent: What's wrong?

Jane: What makes you think anything's wrong?

Trent: Cos whenever something's wrong, you paint stuff like that.

Jane: Yeah ... well ... (sigh) It's Daria and Lynn. They're going away to college soon.

Trent: Yeah, well, you knew they were going to, Janey. And it's not like you're sticking around Lawndale either.

Jane: No, I mean they're going away to college. Like "over the hills and far away" away.

Trent: (raised eyebrow) How far away are we talking about here?

Jane: Well ... oh God, you shouldn't hear this from me. Forget I said anything.

Trent: Not gonna happen, Janey. Now how far away are we talking here?

Jane: Well, do you want the bad news, or the worse news?

Trent: Janey...

Jane: Well, while Lynn's got it into her head to join the ... "people she knows" in San Francisco, Daria went way the other way. She got accepted to Oxford.

(Trent goes very still and thoughtful.)

Trent: Oh.

Jane: (quietly) I'm sorry, Trent.

(Trent gets up and wanders out of the room. Jane looks at her painting, then throws her paintbrush at it before proceeding to smack her forehead repeatedly with the heel of her hand.)

(Scene: LHS gym. Music: Pitchshifter -- "I Don't Like It". AP is sitting in front of a couple of recruiters from MIT -- a woman who strongly resembles Anne Robinson right down to her wardrobe and a fat, cowed-looking older man in a charcoal-grey suit. AP is armed with his cue cards this time.)

Anne: Now, Andrew. All these extra-curriculars that you started, you usually didn't last more than a few days. Not very good at those, were you?

AP: Well, I believe that high school is all about finding your niche in life. So I spent the last couple of years trying to find something that I could really focus all my energies on before I went to college, so that when I got there, I wouldn't waste time doing something that didn't suit me. So now I have a small but lucrative computer consultancy business, and I code video games in my spare time.

Anne: (raised eyebrow) I notice from your records that you were expelled from your last school. A bit of a troublemaker, are you?

AP: I wouldn't say that, ma'am. My problems at Oakwood were mostly to do with a couple of the teachers taking my search for an academic challenge badly.

Anne: (dry) Oh, then perhaps they should have just put you in an extra English class. You seem to find that quite challenging.

AP: Everyone has their weaknesses, ma'am. I guess yours must be politeness.

(The guy in the suit beams. The Anne Robinson look-alike narrows her eyes at him. AP fights a grin.)

(Scene: LHS street. Music plays on. AP's bouncing awkwardly down the road with a large grin on his face. Daria's drifting along in his wake, looking through the Oxford literature.)

AP: And then she actually shook my hand! Fine, she looked at it like it was an Anthrax hazard but she shook it! I'm in, I just know it!

Daria: (distracted) Congratulations.

(AP stops bouncing and frowns at her; the buzz was obviously surface-level only.)

AP: What's wrong with you, Erudite Emerald? (very bitter) You got into your first choice and you don't even crack a smile.

Daria: (looking up, puzzled) Excuse me?

AP: Oh, never mind!

(He turns down a side street and disappears. Daria just stands there, looking puzzled and a little hurt. Jane jogs past at that point -- she obviously sees Daria, but reacts to the sighting by speeding up. The hurt look on Daria's face gets worse.)

(Scene: Morgendorffer front room. Music plays on. Helen's sitting on the sofa, surrounded by papers. Jake's buried in the Sun-Herald. Enter Daria, dejected; her college literature's clutched to her chest. Without acknowledging her family, she heads up the stairs. Helen, looking after her, notices a piece of paper from her stack fluttering to the bottom of the staircase. She gets up and grabs it.)

Helen: Daria! You dropped...

(A door slams upstairs somewhere. Helen starts up the stairs, then gives the paper a casual glance ... and stops dead in her tracks.)

(Scene: Morgendorffer house, ext. Music plays on. Quinn and Ted, hand-in-hand, approach the door.)

Quinn: I dunno if a date tonight's a good idea, Ted; I mean, Daria's got all serious about college and I got to thinking that maybe I should be a little more serious about college too! I mean, I don't want to get stuck in somewhere like that Manatee place...

Ted: Well, we could make it a study date...

(She goes to open the door when...)


(Quinn looks at Ted, fear in her eyes.)

Quinn: I ... changed my mind. Let's go.

(They hurry away from the door.)


Levi's Worn Jeans -- "Rub yourself." Nuff said.

Next on TLAS -- The gang meddles in the teachers' lives in an unexpected way as O'Neill makes an "Ineffective Proposal".

(Scene: LHS cafeteria. Music: Avril Lavigne -- "Mobile". The gang sitting at their usual table, poking at their food miserably.)

Jane: If Helen was going to go so ballistic over you going to England for college, she could have at least stopped you from going...

Daria: Not in all good conscience, she couldn't.

Lynn: What, she finally accepted that you're a legal adult and she can't really stop you from living your own life?

Daria: No. She realised that, far away or not, it is a good school and I'm not likely to get into any trouble if you guys aren't around.

AP: Hate to say it, but Mommy McBeal has a point.

(There's not a lot to say to that; they sit for a moment in silence.)

Daria: How's Trent?

Jane: Still sulking. (to Lynn) And that goes for you, too; rehearsals aren't going to be an issue for awhile.

Lynn: (fed up) Look, I know it isn't an ideal situation. But it is a good school and it is a good city and I do have friends there so why can't you at least drop it if you can't be happy for me?

(She gets up, deserting her lunch, and stalks off. Jane and AP frown at the tray she's left behind, then look at Daria, who looks back at them with a stone face.)

Daria: Seconded.

(She calmly gets up and leaves. Jane rolls her eyes in self-disgust while AP just buries his head in his hands.)

(Scene: Pizza King. Music: REM -- "Drive". Daria sitting at the usual booth, poking at a slice of pizza. Oddly, she's alone. Jodie approaches, wearing a rueful smirk.)

Jodie: Hey, Daria. Are you okay?

Daria: If you can tell by looking, I must not be.

Jodie: Actually, I asked because Jane and AP are sitting over there.

(She points across the restaurant, where Jane and AP are sitting at a table.)

Daria: Yeah, well. (beat) You wanna sit down?

Jodie: Sure. (As she does so.) So how's the college shopping going?

Daria: Like all my other shopping -- picked out the first thing that came along.

Jodie: (chuckle) Come on, Daria. I heard about your early acceptance. Where are you going, anyway?

Daria: Hogwarts. (to the look) Actually, Oxford.

Jodie: Wow. I bet your parents are really proud.

Daria: If by "proud" you mean "angrily resigned", then yes.

Jodie: I know the feeling. Parents can get really unpleasant when you don't fit in with their plans.

Daria: You sound like you speak from recent experience.

Jodie: I told Mom and Dad that I was going to take a year off. Mack and I were talking about backpacking around Europe, or maybe Australia.

Daria: Good idea. Living out of a backpack, tending bar for drunken rugby players and subsisting on a diet of Spaghetti-Os until payday will prepare you for the college experience.

Jodie: Well, I probably won't get the chance to travel after college, so I might as well do it now, while I still have the energy. But Mom and Dad don't really see it that way.

Daria: So I guess you're here because things are unpleasant at home.

Jodie: Actually, I'm meeting Mack in a few minutes so we can go over an itinerary and visa applications. But you're right about the atmosphere at home.

Daria: You seem awfully calm about it...

Jodie: Well, I got lessons in doing my own thing from the experts, remember? Fine, maybe Lynn gave me that "Doormat" book, but you were the first one who made me want some control over my life more ... want it enough to get it, and enough not to get unhappy when other people don't understand.

(Daria frowns thoughtfully over this; sort of a "So if I taught her that, why can't I remember to do it myself?" thing. Mack arrives.)

Mack: Hey.

Jodie: (smile) Hi. (Daria gets up) You don't want to stay?

Daria: Thanks, but I've got trips of my own to plan. But if you do Europe, look me up.

Jodie: (grin) Thanks, Daria. See you later.

(Daria walks away, and the camera pans to Jane and AP in their table in the corner.)

Jane: ...So now Trent's saying how at least the Reformed can get an album or something in during the time they've still got with Lynn. But now that he feels like rehearsing, he can't get in touch with her.

AP: Well, not like I had any better luck. Haven't seen her on IRC in days. Guess she must be really pissed off.

Jane: I don't understand why you talk to her on IRC instead of going to see her like normal people. Hell, she might as well live across the country from her if that's all you're going to do.

(AP gets a thoughtful look on.)

(Scene: Morgendorffer front corridor. Music: Neon Genesis Evangelion OST -- "Hedgehog's Dilemma". Helen opens the door and Jane's standing there.)

Jane: Hi. Uh ... is Daria here?

Helen: Yes; she's upstairs. Jane, can you talk to Daria? I mean, there must be dozens of colleges that would jump at the chance to accept Daria ... colleges in this country. Of course, Oxford has a wonderful reputation, but really, I don't think she should be going off to some other country when there are so many good places for her to study right here!

Jane: (frown) But ... why should she settle for "so many good places" when she's already accepted at her first choice?

Helen: Oh, I shouldn't expect you to understand, with your parents and siblings always off God knows where. But you can't possibly want Daria to be so far away; she's your friend! You must be unhappy about her being so far away!

Jane: She is my friend. That's why I want her to be happy. And if Oxford is going to make Daria happy, I'll settle for e-mail, phone calls and a postcard once a month. (She heads for the stairs; Helen gawps at her until she reaches the bottom of the stairs and turns) You don't want to lose Daria. I don't either. That's why I'm going to accept her decision and be as happy for her as I can be.

(She goes up the stairs; Helen gets thoughtful.)

(Scene: AP's room. Music plays on. AP's frowning at his computer. He logs on, opens his IRC client and starts typing.)

(Scene: Daria's room. Music plays on. Daria is at her desk, looking at Jane, who sits on the end of the bed.)

Daria: So you really let Mom have it, didn't you?

Jane: Yeah ... well ... since you guys haven't been in a talking mood, I've been spoiling for a good fight.

Daria: So you didn't ... actually ... believe any of what you said to her down there.

Jane: Well ... maybe a little. (beat; mock stern) But don't think I've entirely forgiven you, Morgendorffer.

Daria: (small smile) Of course you haven't.

(Scene: AP's room. Music: Regurgitator -- "Virtual Life". AP's frowning at his computer screen, which shows his IRC client. The list of occupants reads DayBird, Dill, Luna, Maverick, Shaggy_AFC, SouthPaw and Venus. He scrolls up to the top and goes over the conversation again -- we see what he sees.)

*** Now talking in #dodo
*** Topic is 'Beware of the Leopard! Well, if you live in SF anyway.'
*** Set by DayBird on Mar 13 17:14:55
<Maverick> Uh ... hey ho.
<DayBird> Oh, hallo, Maverick!
<SouthPaw> Hey.
<Luna> Venus: send me a list of stuff from Smoochies and I'll see what I can do about selling it at Kingdom. Oh, hey Maverick.
<Dill> Hey Maverick!
<SouthPaw> What brings you by?
<Maverick> What's up with the titel, anyway?
<Luna> Oh, things went sour at Come Again. We ... had a "fire sale".
<Maverick> So it's not there nemore? Good.
<Venus> Hi, Maverick! SMOOCH!
<Maverick> Venus - ??
<Dill> Don't worry about her; she does that.
<Venus> But only ever on IRC; if I did that for real, Peril'd kill me.
<DayBird> Not to interrupt the byplay here, but what's news, Maverick? You're rarely on here with us.
<Maverick> Well ... waitaminit. Dill - how'd you know she does that? You met her?
<Dill> No; she just *does* that.
<Venus> DayBird over there's the only one of us who's met all of us.
<DayBird> Not that it's always something to be proud of...
<Maverick> But you're still freinds and all that?
<SouthPaw> Some more than others, sure.
<Dill> Yeah.
<Venus> Of *course* we're all friends!
<Luna> Well, yeah; we talk all the time for work and just ... got to know each other.
<DayBird> Is it Peril's impending college experience at UCSF that's bothering you, Maverick?
<Venus> SouthPaw - What do you mean, "some more than others"?
<Maverick> Sorta, yeah. And Emreld goin to England.
<SouthPaw> Can any of us honestly say we're friends with Chopper, for instance?
<Luna> Hey, don't worry about it, Maverick. I mean, look at *us*.
<Dill> Venus - he has a point.
<Luna> We're friends and a lot of us never see each other.
<DayBird> We're just careful to make best use of the time we *do* spend together. Which is why I was so chuffed when Luna and BUB moved here.
<Maverick> Really? Huh.
<Luna> Same here, hon. But I miss Come Again.
<Venus> Chopper's not *that* bad ... when you ignore the leering and the attitude.
<Luna> You can ignore *that*, Venus?
<DayBird> Doesn't Kingdom make up for it, though?
<DayBird> And Venus -- perhaps you can ignore it, but I don't much like the way he treats Gandalf.
<SouthPaw> I don't much like the way he treats *you*, sweet bird.
<Maverick> Well ... it's been... gotta go.
<Venus> SouthPaw - awwwww, how CUTE!
<Dill> C ya, Maverick.
<Luna> Later, Maverick.
<SouthPaw> Later.
<DayBird> Ta-ra, Maverick. And Venus -- you can shut up.

(With that, AP logs off. He frowns thoughtfully for a moment, then he grins big, shuts off the computer and leaves.)

(Scene: Jane's room. Music: Levellers -- "Leave This Town". Daria's lying on the bed in the "something's eating at my soul" pose. Jane's sitting on the floor, surrounded by photographs; an open scrapbook is in front of her as she arranges shots for her photo essay. Enter Trent, who looks at Daria fondly for a moment.)

Trent: Tempting pose, Daria.

Jane: I wanted to paint her like that, but without the jacket and stuff. It was going to be your birthday present. Just, Daria said something about ripping my earrings out and that was the end of that idea.

Trent: Bummer.

Daria: (blushing madly) So I guess we're back on speaking terms?

Trent: I guess. (beat) Gonna miss you when you go, though.

(She blushes harder but is saved from further comment by Lynn and AP, who enter hand in hand.)

Jane: Well, this looks promising.

AP: I went on to see how other people did the whole long-distance contact thing. One of the places ... uh ... Kes' people go. And they're still friends. Hell, they were friends before they even saw each other! And if they can do it, so can we! Let's hear it for the Techno-Weasels!

Lynn: What he lost the words to add is that, as well as being able to keep in contact with each other across vast distances, it's also a good idea to make the most of the time that we have left in the same town.

Jane: But if he didn't have the words to say it now, how'd he say it to you? (to Lynn's blush) Ooooooh.

Daria: So in the interest of maximising the time we have left together, maybe we should ... I don't know ... do something?

Trent: We're all here. There's music. There might be food. So maybe we just ... chill?

Daria: (raised eyebrow) "Might be"?

Jane: Daria, you know our house. Don't use the natural state of the place as some lame excuse to not spend time around Trent. Trent, show her why she doesn't have to do that anymore.

Trent: (slow smile) Gladly.

(He moves towards her and, before Daria can move, kneels down and kisses her with her head still upside-down. AP grins big and turns Lynn towards him. They kiss as well. Then all four look up at a flashbulb to see Jane pointing a camera in their direction, smirking.)

Jane: Kodak moment!

(Scene: Lane house, ext. Music plays on.)






First of all, a thank you the size of that peace rally on Saturday to THM. When we met up on Saturday, he provided me with the plot point I needed to break the block. Hope the conversation helped him with his series as much as his helped me with mine.

College Interviews -- I don't know how the interview process works in the US, and I frankly wasn't bothered enough to do research. I just made the surmise that recruiters came to visit and I'm sticking to it for the nonce.

Jane -- Yeah, in canon Daria, she goes to college. She has money now; she doesn't have to. TLAS Jane probably just wants to live the artist's life rather than study it for four years.

Online Names -- That would be Kes [diurnal raptor], Pagebert [Dilbert pun-thing], Leopard [Luna being the cat from Sailor Moon], AP [duh], NCM [as he's described as looking like Shaggy], Slack [no, he's not left-handed but he is based in the South] and Aph [Roman equivalent name]. The other two would be Fett [Bad Uncle Boba] and Warlock [Dumbledore had too many characters].