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

Daria, Jane and Lynn stand wearing ugly peach tulle bridesmaid dresses and disgusted expressions as Barch and DeMartino yell at each other and O'Neill watches and wrings his hands in despair.

AP standing on the platform of a Dance Dance Revolution game. Mack and Quinn stand behind him, looking nervous.

LHS ext. Daria, Jane and Lynn watch as Lorna Smythe and Amy Barskdale look at each other assessingly.

LHS corridor. Ted and Quinn facing Daria. Ted hands Daria a yearbook, open to a spot somewhere near the middle. Quinn, beaming, hugs Daria, who looks nearly horrified.

LHS gym. A tall, burly man hands Lynn a blue and yellow garment. She shakes it out and then studies it -- the expression on her face is halfway between admiration and horror.

Lane kitchen. Jane, Trent and Penny yelling at each other.

Daria's room. Lynn making to climb out Daria's bedroom window when Helen puts a hand on her arm.

Lane front hall. Jane opens the door to a very angry Jodie, who carries a suitcase.

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: Jane's room. Music: Voodoo Glow Skulls -- "Steady as She Goes". Jane, in nightwear, is sculpting. AP staggers in.)

AP: Hwnydrrtht?

Jane: Meh.

(Phone rings. Jane, hands covered in clay, reaches for the phone, puts it to her ear.)

Jane: Y'ello... Daria!

(AP perks up.)

AP: How's Purple Peril?

(Jane waves a hand at AP, spattering him with clay. Then split-screen between Jane and Daria.)

Daria: I heard that. And I'm not sure. She's still asleep.

Jane: So? Did Lady Wanderlust say where she's been?

Daria: What do you think?

Jane: C'mon, Sherlock! Give us some of those brilliant deductions of yours! Don't you even have a guess?

Daria: At the moment, I'm leaning towards Japan.

Jane: (loud blink) Did you just say Japan? As in "Land of the Rising Sun"? Home of raw fish, samurai swords and tentacle porn?

AP: (OS) Nonono, I didn't hear Japan! She can't! I-- oof! (Jane lashes an arm out of shot -- *thump*) Owww!

Daria: Yes, I said Japan, though I think your knowledge of the culture is a little sketchy.

Jane: Much like the rest of me. Now, why the hell do you think she went to Japan?

Daria: Well, the fact that she greeted my parents with "konbanwa" was a clue.

Jane: Well, San Francisco has a Japantown, right? Or there's a Little Tokyo in LA...

Daria: Jane, if she'd been anywhere near the west coast of this country on anything but a fly-by, we'd have heard by now. You don't think the... (look of disgust) Family wasn't worried too?

Jane: Well, there's got to be somewhere else!

Daria: I'm not so much worried about where she's been as I am about where she's going to go.

(Scene: Morgendorffer kitchen. Music: Siouxie & the Banshees -- "Happy House". Daria and Lynn sitting at the table with cups of coffee.)

Lynn: Home. I don't let me see why you wouldn't let me stay there last night.

Daria: All the furniture is in storage. And a few things are missing. (beat) Like walls.

Lynn: ...Most people just steal the towels in hotels. Points for originality.

Daria: The Mr Fix-It job is already underway; it'll just take a few days. I... (looks closely at Lynn's face) You're ... not mad.

Lynn: Eh. What's a few walls between friends? So since home's a no-go zone ... Jane's, maybe?

Daria: Uh ... it's a little crowded over there right now. Jane and Trent's dad is home and what with AP staying there...

Lynn: (holding up a hand) Halt. Why is AP staying at Casa Lane?

Daria: I think he'll want to tell you that one himself ... if only for the chance to spend some time with you.

Lynn: (equably) Okay. So Jane's is out. There's a couple of hotels out by the...

Daria: You are not staying in a hotel.

Lynn: Come on, Daria. Where else is there?

(Enter Helen.)

Daria: Mom, is it okay if Lynn...

Lynn: (mild warning) Daria...

Daria: ("in for a penny...") ...Stays for a few more days while her house is being redone?

Helen: Lynn ... you can stay as long as you need to. Daria, can you make up the spare...?

Daria: I think she'll be okay in my room. It's only a few days...

Lynn: Mrs Morgendorffer ... thank you. And I'll make up the guest room.

Helen: Happy to help, Lynn. And please, I told you; it's Helen.

(Lynn nods. As Helen heads for the fridge, Lynn shoots Daria a look -- not hostile, not precisely questioning ... just a look that Daria can't read. Daria looks worried. Then Lynn gets up and heeads for the door.)

Daria: Where are you going?

Lynn: That architectural disaster that the county council sees fit to call a high school.

(Off Daria's freaked-out look, cut to...)

(Scene: Lynn's Land Rover. Music: Guns & Roses -- "Don't Damn Me" [from the battered cassette player]. Daria's in the passenger seat, looking at the car interior while Lynn drives. There are a great many cola cans and cardboard coffee cups littering the floor on her side, and the odd fast food burger box. In the back of the truck, there's a sleeping bag rolled up, wedged between the wall and a spare tyre. In short, it looks like Lynn's been living in the rustheap, on little food and less sleep. Daria looks at Lynn.)

Daria: Where'd you get this thing, anyway?

Lynn: Boston small ads.

Daria: You were in Boston?

Lynn: Briefly.

(Brief pause.)

Daria: That's ... not where you picked up the Japanese.

Lynn: No. (beat) And I'd hardly say I 'picked up' Japanese. I know the odd word and phrase. Mostly loan-words and greetings. Let's just say I can't watch Lain without subtitles or English dub quite yet.

Daria: All the same ... Boston's not exactly known for its Japanese culture.

Lynn: No.

(Silence. Daria looks at Lynn. Lynn's looking out fixedly at the road with that closed-off, 'I'm not saying another word' look. After a moment, Daria sighs and gives up.)

Daria: You know, you don't have to go back to school just yet.

Lynn: I'm going to have to do it sooner or later. Unless I want to completely throw my GPA into the toilet. I appreciate you covering for me with Caldwell, but... (something hits) Wait a minute; you don't have to go to school just yet either.

Daria: (oops) Well. It's ... just that Kevin and Brittany won't be in school for the next week. I wanted to record the sound of the school's average IQ rising.

(Lynn cuts her eyes to Daria for a second ... then she reaches over to the glove compartment and opens it. An avalanche of empty No-Doz boxes, candy bar wrappers and toll tickets falls into Daria's lap. Lynn reaches into the mess that remains and pulls out a Dictaphone, dropping it into Daria's lap. Daria looks at Lynn, who faces forward again with a serene little smirk on her face.)

Lynn: Make copies.

(Daria pockets the recorder and smirks back.)

(Scene: O'Neill's classroom. The class files in and when he sees Lynn, O'Neill leaps from his desk and moves towards her.)

O'Neill: Lynn! Mr Caldwell told us you were... I mean ... how are you feeling?

Lynn: Genki. (bites her lower lip) Fine.

O'Neill: Now, Lynn, I know that losing a parent is ... is difficult... I mean for anyone, but particularly for a ... such a sensitive...

(She brushes past him and gets into her seat. Daria looks her way and Jodie leans towards Daria.)

Jodie: I thought you didn't have to be at school until next week. For participation in that unreality television thing. (little grin) Mack couldn't get it because of his Steve McQueen impression, but I thought that you'd...

O'Neill: Now, class, today we're starting a very interesting unit. Shakespeare seemed to be able to ... to tap into the madness of the human condition. Revenge. True insanity. Murder and gr... (he looks at Lynn and chokes on the word) A-And while he explores this theme in several of his plays, I feel that his greatest achievement in this line is ... uh ... (looks at Lynn again; nearly whimpers the last word) Hamlet.

(Now he and Daria are both looking at Lynn. Jodie joins them. Lynn just sits there, waiting for the lesson to continue.)

(Scene: Jane's room. Jane's still sculpting. AP's at Jane's computer.)

AP: Dial-up. Bleeeeeeeeegh. (beat) Don't believe she went to school.

Jane: I can see it. If you want to go somewhere you don't have to think, no place better than a high school.

AP: (sigh) Y'think one day it's gonna be normal?

Jane: AP, this is us. We wouldn't have the 'normal' label as a gift.

AP: I just mean ... no more nasty shocks where there's secrets and nuts-going... (puts a hand on his arm, where the scar is) ...and bullets...

(Doorbell rings. Jane and AP look at each other.)

Jane: (looking at her clay-covered hands) If it's the Witnesses, tell 'em we're pagans and need a sacrificial offering.

AP: (getting up) Or I'll just start speaking in tongues.

Jane: (shrug) Probably make better sense than your English...

(AP baps her on the head on his way out.)

(Scene: Lane front hall. AP goes to the door and opens it. Fred is standing there; AP steps back in shock, staring at him.)

Fred: Andrew.

AP: Y'gotta keep calling me that, right? (beat) So?

Fred: We need to have a talk, boy.

(Off AP's really freaked-out look, cut to...)

(Scene: Morgendorffer living room. Helen's sitting down on the sofa, going through some papers, when the door opens and Lynn steps in; her bag is slung over her shoulder and she has a guitar case in her hand. Helen looks up and, after shaking off a slight shiver, stands and heads Lynn off before she reaches the stairs.)

Helen: Where's Daria?

Lynn: Trent's. (beat) I dropped her off. (beat) They went for pizza.

Helen: Well, good. I wanted to talk to you.

Lynn: (mistrustful glance) Nani?

Helen: What?

Lynn: (oops) Exactly.

Helen: (puzzled frown) Oh. Well, I wanted ... you see, I ... heard about Jerome.

(Lynn freezes, watching Helen very carefully. Then she nods and heads through the living room, dropping her book bag and guitar on the sofa as she goes. Helen watches her for a moment, shakes her head and follows.)


Tango -- These adverts get stupider by the day. Wouldn't getting hit in the face by an orange hard enough to make it explode just hurt?

Nestlé Iced Tea -- Just when I thought we were forever rid of the "Different Strokes" theme song...

(Scene: Pizza King. Daria and Trent sitting at the traditional booth. Trent's devouring a slice of pizza. Daria's picking at her own.)

Trent: Thought you'd be glad to get some time. To yourself ... with me...

Daria: I am. It's just that... (sigh) Sorry.

Trent: Don't be. You're worried for your sister. Believe me, I get that.

Daria: I'm not sure leaving her alone with my mother is the best idea.

Trent: She'll be okay. She can clam up better than you can.

(Daria looks up at him sharply ... then softens at his smile.)

Daria: You're probably right. Mom hasn't even managed to get answers out of Quinn on this one. If that was my only cause for concern... (responding to Trent's quizzical look) If Mom starts poking at old wounds, she...

Trent: She takes care of her own, right? (to Daria's tentative nod) And hurting someone you care for would hurt you. So she wouldn't.

(Daria ponders this for a moment.)

Daria: And given that Mom's the bane of Kate Cullen's existence, she has reason enough to be ... well, at least non-threatening. (beat) How do you know her this much better than I do?

Trent: I just watch how she is with you. (noting Daria's blush) And you get the feeling she's kind of protective when she puts a nose-hold on any guy throwin' bottles at her band.

Daria: Avenging angel. Right. (beat; changing the subject to get away from that mental image) Speaking of former bandmates, I suppose having Mom and Lynn in the same house on their own won't be an issue for long. (to the look from Trent) I thought AP's absence meant that he was on his way to my house to have a similar reunion to the one we're having.

Trent: (little worried) Reunion, yeah. Just not with her, from what Janey said. (beat) Punk's dad came by.

(Daria's look clearly says, 'this is not good'.)

(Scene: Do Me a Doughnut. Music: Moxy Früvous -- "Laika". Fred is sitting across from AP at a table. Cups of coffee sits before them. AP dumps a great deal of sugar into hiis, while Fred just stirs his own. After giving a sharp stir of his coffee [sloshing about a quarter of it onto the table in the process], AP looks up at his dad.)

AP: What is this? Y'gonna call the cops now? Cos it's not like they're gonna...

Fred: I am not going to call the police. I ... we thought it was time you heard a few things.

AP: Who's 'we' now?

Fred: Your mother. Before you say it, she's not 'with the stupid pills' anymore. She stopped after you left.

AP: So why at all? I was never that much a problem!

Fred: Of course you weren't! You--

AP: Well, that's what it was like! Her with the "not well" and you always yellin' at me!

Fred: It wasn't your fault; it was mine.

(Off AP's mistrustful look, cut to...)

(Scene: Morgendorffer kitchen. Music: Placebo -- "Ask for Answers". Lynn is giving the same mistrustful look to Helen as her boyfriend is giving to his father. Helen fiddlees with a coffee cup, hesitant to go on in the face of that.)

Helen: How did he die?

Lynn: Massive organ failure. Cause undetermined -- I didn't want an autopsy done.

Helen: And that was your decision to make?

Lynn: According to his DNR orders, yes it was.

(Conversational dead end. Helen takes a moment to find a new path.)

Helen: You know ... I never really found out what he did. You know, for a living.

Lynn: He dabbled. (Helen's look demands more) There's something about exports. Some investments. There are a few entertainment venues -- bars, clubs, couple of ... um ... bookstores, a casino, stuff like that.

(Helen doesn't like that answer, but it's the only one she's getting.)

Helen: I see. (beat) And ... what did Daria think of him? Honestly.

Lynn: She ... didn't really spend a lot of time with him. It was hard for her to see anyone but your husband as her father -- particularly an anyone who didn't even know she existed until last year.

Helen: And when he did know, he got particularly ... involved in Daria's life and development?

Lynn: Not really. She's good at distance.

Helen: But she spent Christmas with him.

Lynn: She spent Christmas with the Family. He was supposed to be there but then he died.

Helen: So it's the family that's the disturbing influence and not just Jerome himself.

Lynn: Excuse me?

Helen: She's been distant, she's been moody...

Lynn: Dictionary definition of "teenager".

Helen: She looks like she's been through hell on EARTH and it all started when Jerome arrived in Lawndale. Care to explain that?

Lynn: Not really.

Helen: You may not have a choice, young lady.

Lynn: There's always a choice. Unless of course I don't have the information you're trying to get out of me, in which case there's no choice at all.

Helen: The man was my lover, and I want some inform...

Lynn: "The man", as you put it, was my father. And has it ever occurred to you that I might not want to talk about it because he just went and died on me? He walked out of my life without a backward look. Whatever his reasons, he came back and I was just starting to get to know him all over again and then he went and died on me. And all he left me with was the stupid Family business and a whole lot of lost time.

(Dead silence.)

Helen: I am just concerned about my daughter.

Lynn: Good for you.

Helen: I don't appreciate the sarcasm.

Lynn: Who was being sarcastic?


Helen: What about the money? What she used to buy her car?

Lynn: Her share of the business. Stipulation of Dad's Will. She was bought out. So you can be assured that she no longer has any connection to the Smythe side of the family.

Helen: There's you.

(Silence for a minute. Lynn's face is perfectly expressionless. Helen seems to regret what she said -- and how she said it -- the moment the words left her mouth.)

Lynn: Mrs Morgendorffer, in a few months, Daria is going to be at Oxford, and I'll be studying in San Francisco. With eight thousand miles between us, I don't think I'm going to be a problem.

(Helen looks at Lynn for a moment, eyes wide and a little panicked. She opens her mouth to try to repair the damage; nothing comes out. Lynn doesn't seem to want to hear it anyway. She just exits quietly.)

(Scene: Do Me a Donut. Music: Korn -- "Hey Daddy". AP's mistrustful look turns into wary curiosity and he looks at his father.)

AP: Okay. Give.

Fred: This ... doesn't seem to...

AP: Make with the freakin'-tweekin' me? (beat) I've heard a lot of weirdness, 'kay? I'm not gonna get messed up until I see just how high this rates on my weird-shit-o-meter.

Fred: You watch your mouth!

AP: Make me.

(Pause. Fred and AP lock eyes for a moment ... and it's Fred who looks away, with a sigh.)

Fred: Damned if you don't take after your mother.

AP: And? You gotta've married her for a reason, so what's your malfunction?

Fred: You'd be better off asking that about her, boy. She was the one went haywire.

AP: Is this the part where you finally tell me what "not well" means?

Fred: She lost her mind. Had every reason in the world to, I figure. But boy, if she hadn't kept on what you called "the stinkin' pills", I dunno what it would've been like, you growin' up.

AP: Would you spill it, already?

Fred: Well, you'd have been about seven or eight ... that odd duck, the daddy of that bookish little... (oops) ...girlfriend of yours came by. Offered to take you along when he took his girl vacationing.

AP: Still wonked on why you let me go. You said he was a...

(He stops; he won't speak ill of the dead. Fred assumes his son is just groping for the words.)

Fred: No-account nancy-boy with more dollars than sense; said so then, say so now. But your mother ... well, she wanted you to have a little brother or sister and...

AP: (wince) Okay, okay, I got the picture! Don't want it; got it anyway!

Fred: So off you went and we... (sheepish grin) ...well, we had us quite a week...

AP: DA-AD! Quit it!

Fred: Then one night, we heard noises downstairs. Thought it might be racoons, but I told your mother to sit tight ... in case. And it was 'coons, all right, but not like I figured. Niggers, boy.

AP: (awjeez, my dad's a redneck) Dad...

Fred: (ignoring him) They'd got the TV and were goin' for the stereo. Now, I didn't want trouble, and we had insurance, so I figured to let it go.

AP: You let people rob you blind? But...

Fred: I was scared, all right? (beat as he collects himself) So I backed off ... but I tripped over that damn floor lamp you'd knock into every other day and went ass over head. Looked up again ... damn nigger had a knife on me.

AP: Dad, jeez...

Fred: That's when your mother made her presence known. She was at the bottom of the stairs, screamin' like a banshee. Boy, you never heard such profanity from a woman as she used.

AP: Ten bucks gets you twenty I have.

Fred: Nigger went for her then. I ... I should've done something, but I was... (beat) One consolation -- nigger didn't get far. Carol ... your mother, she...

AP: (gently) Mom what, Dad? What'd she do?

Fred: Why, she'd had the presence of mind to bring down my shotgun. Blew that nigger's head damn near off his shoulders.

(AP looks at Fred, who is studying his coffee.)

AP: Dad ... if these guys show up more in this thing, couldja knock out the N word? Couple of my friends're black, y'know.

Fred: (blink) I tell you your mother shot a ... uh ... fella, and you tell me to be politically correct.

AP: (ignoring him) But ... but the stinkin' pills were months after...

Fred: More like nine weeks. Your mother was ... well, maybe you remember.

AP: Tweekin', s'pose. Kinda eeghy. (beat) Nervous.

Fred: After the law said it was all self-defence, I figured, give it time, she'd come 'round, sort of settle. Then ... well, I told you she packed you off with a young 'un in mind? (a tentative nod from AP) See, I'd got that young 'un on her ... and she never knew 'til she lost it some two months after the break-in.

(AP spills his coffee. Fred keeps staring at his own.)

(Scene: Daria's room. Music: Therapy? -- "Meat Abstract". Lynn is sitting on the bed, throwing a couple of pieces of detritus into her bag. Helen raps on the door fframe, then comes in as Lynn zips the bag up.)

Helen: Where are you going?

Lynn: (standing up, shouldering the bag) Ramada? Motel 6? I'm spoilt for choice.

Helen: Well ... what am I suppose to tell Daria?

Lynn: That's your decision.

Helen: And what will you be telling Daria?

Lynn: That she should talk to you, or believe you, as appropriate.

Helen: She'll think you don't care. Do you want that?

Lynn: Do you?

(The two of them just look at each other for a moment.)


Heineken -- Sorry, but I like it when fun gets poked at the Americans ... or at least their litigiousness. Guess I'm just patriotic thaat way.

Next TLAS -- There's a new coach, a new sports policy and a huge disappointment for Kevin. So what's a jock to do? "Blame Canada".

(Scene: Do Me a Donut. Music: Iced Earth -- "Brainwashed". AP is still staring at Fred; his mouth is working but no sound is coming out. Fred's still staring at his cooffee.)

AP: So ... wha ... why ... muuh... (beat) The hospital?

Fred: It was the normal hospital to start, but ... when she found out she'd lost ... on top of the rest of it... (beat) She started crying. And ... screaming. And she couldn't stop.

AP: Unless they made with the stinkin' pills?

Fred: They put her in ... a sort of short-stay funny-farm. For evaluation. If they kept her off tranquillisers, she still screamed and cried. Wouldn't talk to the head-shrinkers. Few weeks after, they gave me a choice. I could have her put in an honest-to-Christ funny farm ... or I could keep her tanked on pills and take care of her at home.

AP: I ... but...

Fred: I'd failed her, boy. I was the man of the house, but I was too yellow to protect my own and now there she was, paying for it. And that being the case, I ... wanted to protect her from the funny farm at least.

AP: But you couldn't have got her off slow? Cut the dosage, get her to see somebody good...

Fred: That would've hurt her.

AP: Losin' ten years doesn't?

Fred: She was suffering. I wanted to spare her. If I could've done different, I would've. (beat) I've been hard on you, boy, because I didn't ever want you to hurt the way I hurt. No man should have to watch his own suffer and know he could've done something about it if he'd had the balls. (looks at AP long and hard) And now I know you never will.

AP: If that was supposed to be making nice...

Fred: Just me being honest with you. Andrew, I ... wanted you to be a certain way so you wouldn't have to go through what I did. And you didn't go that certain way, but you stood up when your lady was in trouble and... I don't know whether to be proud or out-of-my-mind jealous.

(AP looks at his dad with screaming incredulity.)

AP: (finally able to speak) Well. You figure that out, you send a postcard. (beat) We done now? Cos...

Fred: Andrew... (beat) Your mother -- we -- we want you to come home.

AP: Okay, let me get this. Mom shot a guy, had a brain-freak, and you kept her livin la vida Valium. Now she's clean and you're a chickenguts. (beat) No, I still don't get this. Let me process data and get back to you.

Fred: Andrew, you are coming home! You're no adult yet and you've got an obligation to your mother and...

AP: Waitaminit, stop. Obligation to you? Did it for years; sat and took the crap and had to 'cos the whole 'honour thy father' thing. Obligation to Mom? I don't even know Mom; her body was there but her brain was ... Purple Peril'd say in the Valley of the Dolls, I think. I don't owe you. You're a hypochondr-- no, wait...

Fred: You'd better not be trying to say 'hypocrite'--

AP: Am. You are. You made like you wanted a guy who was all like you when you really wanted a guy who wasn't like you at all. You tried for Mom. Great. But now there's this big snarly mess of data sittin' in my brain and if I don't get a defrag here I'm goin' Mom. So wanna let me defrag? On my own? Well, actually, you want it or not, I'm doing it.

Fred: I don't see how you dare talk to your father that...

AP: 'Cos I'm braver than you are! I'm vooming now!

(AP stands and storms across the restaurant in the general direction of the door. He trips over an empty chair, goes flying, stands up blushing like a maniac -- so much for his grand exit -- and rushes out the door. Fred watches the whole thing, looking shocked as he realises how mucch about his son he doesn't know. Then he heaves a sigh and starts moping over his coffee.)

(Scene: Daria's room. Music: Hell is for Heroes -- "Cut Down". Helen stands in the doorway as Lynn stands in the middle of the room, bag shouldered. Then Helen gives a sigh aand steps into the room.)

Helen: Oh, for pity's sake; of course I don't want that. Daria has a hard enough time believing people care about her in the first place and I don't want you turning around and...

Lynn: (eyes lowered) Walking away from her and taking and my whole warped mysterious Family problems with me?

(Helen looks at her for a moment, obviously considering pressing the point. Lynn apparently notices this, because she heads for the window and makes as if to climb out. This makes Helen think better of it -- she may not know Lynn, but she sure as hell knows Daria, and that there are similarities. Instead, she walks quickly to thee window and puts a hand on Lynn's arm.)

Helen: You're smart enough to know that people say things they don't mean in the heat of the moment. (sigh) And I guess I'm mature enough to apologise when I do it myself.

(Lynn just looks at her. Then...)

Daria: (OS) Excuse me?

(Helen and Lynn look over to the doorway, where Daria is standing, looking confused and suspicious in equal measure.)

Daria: What's going on?

Helen: Well, Lynn and I were just...

Lynn: Discussing how I managed to get into the house without her noticing me for the best part of a year. And yes, you can even manage it with luggage if you're careful. Of course, simplest way is just to toss the bag out the window on the way back down...

(To demonstrate, Lynn tosses her bag out the window... And there's a THUMP as it hits something that isn't hedge.)

AP: (OS) OWWWWWWWW! THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS... (beat) Since when does the sky say "Parental Advisory"?

(Lynn, looking remorseful, clambers out the window. Helen looks at Daria with wide eyes. Then she bursts out laughing. Daria scowls at her.)

(Scene: Morgendorffer house, ext. Music: Marilyn Manson -- "Born Again". Daria, Lynn and AP are sitting on the front lawn.)

AP: I thought I was the one who had the normals. Well, apart from Mom with the ... well ... (beat) Yeesh. I dunno what to think about this anymore.

Lynn: Maybe content yourself with the fact that this has got to be the last really serious curve ball?

Daria: And every time someone says that, something -- or someone -- else comes out of the woodwork and it’s usually your... (cuts eyes to Lynn) ...Well...

Lynn: My mother. It’s not a dirty word, you know. (beat) Fine, most of the rest of the things I call her are... (beat) It won't be a problem. Not this time.

(Daria and AP just stare at her for a moment.)

Daria: I hope you don't hate me for even thinking that you're capable of...

Lynn: What you saw me do to someone once. (the calm with which she says that sends a shudder through them both) Look, the only thing I've seen of hers is letterhead paper. I dropped by the house for my mail.

(She digs in a pocket, produces a piece of paper, and hands it off to Daria, who scans it and then reads aloud.)

Daria: "I give up. You win. Hope you're happy." (beat) Oh. (beat) How're you taking it?

Lynn: With a degree of confusion. She wouldn't say it unless she meant it. But what made her finally decide to back off?

Daria: Because nothing says "we're no longer blood related" like a few lumps of C4 wired to a car ignition?

Lynn: Oh. That. I guess you didn't read the note -- I only did that to make sure she didn't drive off with it. (beat) So where'd the TV people tow it? (to thee freaked-out, guilty looks) Guys? (getting it) You blew up a Mercedes?

Daria: As I said the last time I got asked this -- fire in the hole.

Helen: (OS) Girls! Dinner! And you can stay if you want to, AP! I hope you like lasagne!

Lynn: Aw hell. Haven't I had enough to disappoint me today?

(With that, she gets up, grabs her bag from out of the hedges and heads into the house. Daria and AP look at each other.)

Daria: AP ... after you get your head together...

AP: I'll write Mom a letter or something. Start simple, but start something. (beat) So why'd Jezebel give up? I thought no parents did that.

(Daria looks back at the house ... then shrugs and heads in herself. AP sits there a moment longer, then holds his hands up, palms flat, as if he's weighing something up.)

AP: (right hand goes up) Dinner with Mommy McBeal and Flaky Jakey. (left up, right down) Dinner with Purple Peril. (right up, left down) Nukeable lasagne. (left up, right down) Dinner with Purple Peril. (beat) Aw, who'm I kidding?

(And he gets up and runs into the house.)

(Scene: Linda Cullen's living room [as seen in "Growing Cynical" -- nothing has changed]. Music: Tears for Fears -- "Pale Shelter". Linda hasn't changed either bar her white hair and a few moore wrinkles; she serves her dumbstruck daughter brandy.)

Linda: So you washed your hands, hmm, Kaitlin?

Kate: Are you that surprised, mother?

Linda: Yes. Something about that parental bond. But then, you weren't the world's most natural mother anyway. (beat) Actually, I'm surprised you insisted on custody. When you got shot of that wretch you married, I thought you'd have jettisoned all excess baggage.

(Kate takes a swig of her brandy, and the closed-off look on her face is very familiar.)

Kate: I came here for the rest of my vacation. Not for a grilling.

Linda: Fine. Okay. (beat) Turn the lights out when you go to bed.

(Linda leaves the room, and Kate leans back on the sofa, brandy snifter still clutched in her hand and a distant, reminiscing look on her face. Fade to...)

(Scene: bare, hardwood-floored corridor in what looks to be a large house. Music plays on. Kate [she's had her hair cut in the four years or so since the Catskills] is walking down it, a briefcase in her hand, heading for a door at the end of the corridor. And a four-year-old girl's voice pipes up from the left.)

Lynn: (OS) Daddy ... in the movies and TV, only policemen and bad guys have these. So which one are you?

(Kate turns to the left -- through the mostly-open door, we see a well-appointed study -- mahogany desk with one drawer ajar, lots of bookshelves, oxbblood leather armchairs. Jerome [who hasn't changed a bit since the Catskills] is crouching in front of four-year-old Lynn [pigtails held with big silver satin ribbons, purple sundress, sandals]. Lynn has a gun in her hands and is holding it up to Jerome with a solemn, "teach me" expression on her face. Kate's face, when we cut to it, is a picture of horror.)


(Lynn drops the gun and steps backwards -- she's possibly never heard either of her parents yell before.)

Lynn: Mommy?

Kate: Go. To. Your. Room. (when Lynn stands there frozen) NOW!

(Lynn runs. Jerome looks at Kate.)

Jerome: Well, this is the last way I wanted you to find out about this. (beat) Kate, you have to understand. My ... my business is a little on the dangerous side. The gun is ... for our protection.

Kate: Protection? Jerome, you're making it sound like you're in the damn Mafia!

Jerome: (dead serious) You think you're kidding. (beat) Turns out you're not.

(For a very long moment, Kate just stares at him. Her expression fades from scorn to shock to sheer fury, where it sticks.)

Kate: So what, you're telling me I married Vito Corleone now? (turning away from him) Do you know what this is going to do to my life? My reputation? And what about your precious daughter? (turns to face him, snarling) Well, you're not getting Lynn. We're divorcing. And as soon as humanly possible, I'm getting legal papers saying that neither she nor I are Smythes anymore.

Jerome: Forgive me for stating the obvious, Kaitlin, but... Lynn was an accident, and unlike me, you didn't consider her much of a happy one. You insisted on a succession of nannies. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you don't want the responsibility of raising a daughter.

Kate: I want custody for one simple reason. Because you want her. And I'll take her so far away from you that she won't even know you. (beat; sneer) She's mine now.

(And, judging from the smug expression on Kate's face, the expression of sick loss on Jerome's face is just what Kate was after.)

(Scene: Linda's living room. Music plays on. Kate looks at her brandy, then drains it. Her expression is mostly neutral.)

Kate: Parenting wasn't my deal anyway.

(Scene: Morgendorffer dining room -- they needed the extra space. Jake's at the head of the table, chatting amiably to AP, who's smiling weakly and shrinking a little under the onslaught. Helen's sitting at the foot of the table, watching Daria and Quinn, who are sitting at the same side of the table, talking. And next to AP, watching the action unfold, sits Lynn. She looks at them all, and while none of them is looking, she allows herself a very small smile.)



Finally got the time, energy and inspiration to get started on what is to be the final TLAS 'season'. (I'll pause for the cheering to stop.) We'll be going back to the levity momentarily, but this was a little piece of work to answer a few of those nagging, lingering questions. Except of course, the main one of where Lynn really went, but I think I'll save that in the event that anyone cares.

I think this is pretty self-explanatory, so on directly to the notes of thanks. Slightly different crowd. Thea_Zara for the support and the great commentary on the unfinished draft, and her friend Gamer, who's better than a tazer to the muse for getting something finished -- God, he nags... Also to Austin for the two brief nit-picks, which I fixed, thanks.


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 and their respective families, on the other hand, were created and are owned by me, one Janet 'Canadibrit' Neilson, copyright 1999, 2000, 2003. 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.