(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: Casa Lane, ext. The driveway's full of A-Tank and Plymouth; Lynn's Land Rover and AP's new Beetle are parked in front of the house. A taxi pulls up behind the Beetle.)

(Scene: Lane living room. Music: Cake -- "Mexico". AP's sprawled out on the sofa, snoring. We can hear Jane's voice from the kitchen.)

Jane: (OS) You're not serious. (beat) Okay, but you do realise how hard it is to tell. I can't believe your mother's instituting curfew. (beat) Well, if it was for you, sure, but-- (beat) Well, it's only another couple of days--

(Doorbell rings. AP staggers off the sofa [Ren & Stimpy T-shirt, his LHS gym shorts] and heads for the door.)

AP: S'ky ... gt't...

Jane: (OS) Thanks, AP! (beat) Well, come on! Just come down in the purple jacket first and double back! (beat) Well, you know she can't tell the difference anyway...

(AP opens the door. Penny Lane is standing behind it, looking travel-rumpled and carrying a duffel bag over one shoulder.)

Penny: (raised eyebrow) You again? At least you put some clothes on this time.

AP: (peering at her) Hr'yh?

Penny: I'll ask the questions around here, kid! Now, let's have a little talk about your intentions towards my little sister.

AP: (bleary confusion) S'wh?

(Jane steps into the room with the cordless phone in one hand and a mug of coffee in the other. She freezes when she sees Penny at the front door. Eventually, shock is replaced with hard-won casual nastiness.)

Jane: Penny! What natural disaster brings you by?

Penny: (stepping into the house as AP moves away) Hey, come on! Does it have to take a natural disaster to bring me back to the old homestead?

Jane: (handing AP the coffee as he heads up the stairs) No ... political upheaval works too.

Penny: (sigh) Well, you're half right.

Jane: What; Bolivia had half a revolution?

Penny: It was Argentina, and there was upheaval, but it was personal, not political.

Jane: Got fed up with the struggle and decided to sell your soul to capitalism?

Penny: Not exactly ... and why are you riding me like this? God, were you always this defensive?

Jane: Penny, get it right. I'm being offensive.

(Jane spins on her heel and slams out without another word. Penny stands there, bag still on her shoulder, stunned. Enter Trent.)

Penny: What, so you're going to give me a hard time too now?

(She stalks off upstairs without another word. Trent stands there, looking really confused. Nick comes in after him.)

Trent: Whoa.

Nick: Was that the one with all the runaway kids, or the one with the parrot?

Trent: That was Penny. Didn't see Chiquito. (beat) And if she's going into her room, she might want--



(Sound of items being thrown and AP screaming. Lynn, looking dishevelled, staggers in.)

Lynn: Nani?

Trent: (apparently getting used to the Japanese) Penny's home. I think she wants her room back from the punk.

(Lynn looks at them a moment, then heads up the stairs. After a moment.)

Lynn: (OS) Kisama! Mukou itte yo!

Penny: (OS) No joda-- (thump) OW! Arepera mal parido!

Lynn: (OS) Tameguchi kitten ja nai yo!

(Nick and Trent look at each other.)

Trent: We really should do something.

(Nick nods. After a moment, they both rush out of the house as fast as their feet can carry them.)

(Scene: LHS cafeteria. Music: REM -- "She Just Wants to Be". AP [who is wearing his jacket over the aforementioned Ren & Stimpy shirt; he obviously didn't get ttime or privacy to change completely] looks kind of morose; Jane just looks livid. Daria seems concerned about her. Lynn keeps her eyes on her plate, which contains either Kraft macaroni and cheese or some form of intergalactic orange fungus.)

Jane: The one time I'd actually like to see you causing grievous bodily harm to someone...

Lynn: (not looking up) Upchuck.

Jane: Okay, one of the few times. You just had to go easy on her, didn't you. Couldn't even have blacked her eye to make me happy.

Daria: Would you really have wanted to see Penny hurt just because she had the temerity to come back to her own home for awhile?

Jane: It's not that. Well, not so much. That stupid bird seems to have gone missing so that's one thing in my favour. (beat) It's just ... well... (beat; sigh) Forget it. It's nothing really.

(Uncomfortable pause. Daria and AP share a "should we pry?" look. Lynn glances briefly at Jane, then goes back to poking at the fluorescent orange mass on her tray.)

AP: S'there another room I can store my crap in? I mean, I don't want there to be with the scene-making and she keeps thinkin' I'm some kinda perv. That or I'm going out with you or something.

Daria: You're kidding.

AP: She asked my intentions. No one's asked my intentions ever! Not even Flakey Jakey, and he threatened the hose!

Daria: Well, you're the one who seems hell bent on flouting the indecent exposure laws when Penny's around.

(Lynn, without looking up from her plate, thwacks AP upside the head.)

AP: Ow! Hey, look, I was wasted, okay? It's not fun, bein' a Dilbert! 'Sides, at least I didn't fall asleep over an amp.

Daria: Oh. That reminds me. You're grounded.

Lynn: (shrug) Motel 6.

Jane: See? At least you've got options.

Daria: I think our manger may still have a vacancy.

Jane: (sigh) I don't think that's such a good idea. Penny only comes home when she's hurting for money and I'd hate to see her sell the house from under us.

Daria: I never figured you for a sentimentalist, Jane.

Jane: I'm not. Just, without Casa Lane, I'd have to think that every single member of my family are like Aunt Bernice. Or Uncle Max. (shudder) Or Grandma. This way, the wanderers of the family have someplace to come back to, and I don't have to be a bum all by myself. Besides, I'm going to be a Wandering Lane myself pretty soon and I may as well give of my bounty before I have need of it. (sigh) Karma's a bitch.

Daria: And I'm sure you'll have a lot to talk about. After all, you've both recently taken part in guerilla warfare and the toppling of a fascist regime.

Jane: (wry smile) And, unlike you guys, she's not going to ride me about not going to college.

(Scene: Lane kitchen. Music: Cold -- "Ghost in Here". Penny's face is full of a sort of enraged horror as she turns on a mug-wielding Jane.)

Penny: You're what?

Jane: Hoboy. Penny--

Penny: Mom's gonna go loco!

Jane: No, she's not. She says there are far better sources of sex, drugs, rock n' roll and artistic inspiration than college.

Penny: She said that?

Jane: Well, except the drugs part, yeah.

Penny: Fine. What about Dad?

Jane: (pulls a postcard off the fridge) Quote: "Janey -- that's great! Here's the number of one of my puff-pals for when you get there. Oh, and don't tell your mother; she thinks iit rots the brain but I think I discovered a new colour on one batch." End quote.

Penny: (facepalm) They pick now to be involved.

Jane: Hey, look at it this way. If they finally got it right when it came to me, your being screwed up has some meaning.

Penny: And how are you getting the money to do this? Dad's not honestly funding your New York debauch.

Jane: Cashing in my college fund. Got some savings.

Penny: And when you find yourself in the big bad city broke and desperate? What're you going to do then, Janey?

Trent: (entering) Hitch a ride right back here, same as you always do. And I don't think she'll ever get that desperate. She's got money.

Penny: Yeah? Where from? And how legal was it?

Jane: Penny!

Penny: Oh, don't bother prettying it up for me, Janey; we've all been there. Even WonderBoy here.

Trent: (warning tones) Penny...

Jane: Been where, exactly?

Penny: (to Trent) Oh, don't want me to fill in baby sis on the nasty stuff, Seņor Criminale? Summer on the game and Wind and his stupid serial monogamy chased by lawyers for maintenance or bigamy and you -- you and your stupid friends with that so-called 'heist' at Words' Worth over on Degas...

Jane: You held up a bookstore.

Penny: (almost amused) With a couple of water pistols, yet. And his ski mask had little frogs on it.

Trent: At least I wasn't making sure Lawndale High lived up to its name.

Penny: Trent, shut up!

Trent: Come on, Penny. We know how you got the money to first get out of this town; takin' Dad's stash, meetin' his contacts, pushin' for half the stoners in school.

Jane: (to Trent; shocked) Say what?

Penny: I told you to--

Trent: You're so cool on shaking the skeletons from everyone else's closets. Just thought I'd return the favour.

Penny: Sanctimonious prick! Playing the father figure finally go to your head?

Trent: At least someone's been around for Janey.

Jane: Oh, for--

Penny: Yeah, that's a great excuse for loafing around here since you graduated high school.

Jane: STOP IT!

Penny: Why? Truth hurt? What the hell is wrong with you two?

(Silence for a moment. Jane and Trent just look at each other for a minute; obviously they're lost for a 'suitable' answer and not yet angry enough to blurt the real one. Penny notices the look's intensity and starts fidgeting.)

Penny: Um...

Jane: Oh, screw this. Karma might be a bitch, but it's less of one than some around here.

Penny: Now, wait just a min--

(She's cut off by the slam of the kitchen door -- Jane's gone. Penny looks daggers at Trent.)

Trent: Word of advice, Pen.

Penny: Oh, advice from my hermano. Just what I need to top off that little scene.

Trent: Here it is: Remember who keeps this place going so you can crash when you want. Janey may be going places, but I'm probably gonna stick right here; keep the home fires burning. Might be an idea to stay on my good side, 'less you want to see me change the locks.

(He exits as well, leaving a very stunned Penny behind.)


Diesel: This is one I saw at the cinema recently. Okay, the graphics are very, very pretty. But what good does that do if, at the end of it, you don't actually know what the product is?

Renault Megane: I'm sorry, but no amount of buttock waved in my face can make a Renault sexy.

(Scene: Motel 6 parking lot. Music: Our Lady Peace -- "A Story About a Girl". Lynn's 'new' Land Rover pulls into a parking space, and the engine grinds to a stop. Lynn exits andd goes around to the back of the vehicle.)

Jane: (OS) Wow. Didn't think you were serious.

(Instead of jumping or indeed reacting in any way at all, Lynn hauls her backpack out of the back. Then she turns to face Jane with a shrug.)

Lynn: Inoffensive. (beat) Low maintenance. (beat) No damn curfew.

Jane: Well, you could afford better. And anyway, didn't we do enough time in cheap faceless motels?

Lynn: Meh. (beat) So?

Jane: Well ... uh ... I... (beat) You know, this'd be a lot easier if-- (catches herself) Right, fine, sorry. I just... (struggles for words)

Lynn: Inside?

Jane: Huh?

Lynn: This. Inside? Warmth. Seats. (beat; very small smirk) Alcohol.

(Jane snickers despite herself.)

(Scene: faceless motel room; twin beds. Music plays on. Jane is sipping something out of a metal mug while Lynn unpacks belongings.)

Lynn: Heist.

Jane: Yyyyep.

Lynn: Ski mask. With ... frogs on it.

Jane: Uh-huh.

Lynn: Water pistol.

Jane: Oh yeah.

Lynn: Baka. (beat) This bothers you.

Jane: A complete sentence! Wow. (Lynn doesn't acknowledge; Jane sighs) You found out your family was ... well, on the wrong side of the law.

Lynn: Actually, I found out that my family was a law unto itself. Which you've known about yours for years.

Jane: How'd you cope?

Lynn: You're assuming I did. (to the look) Remember sleepless nights? House-wrecking? Reading through King's works because his nightmares were less scary than my own? Dad dropped my family tree on my head without so much as a 'timbeeeer!' and I'm still adjusting a year later.

Jane: (lost in her own thoughts) I knew about Wind, but I never saw his serial monogomy as 'criminal'; just him being stupid. But Summer a prostitute? No wonder her kids keep running away. Penny turns out to have been Lawndale's primo dealer, partly 'cos of my dad. And Trent--

Lynn: You mean Kermit.

(Jane bursts out laughing and it comes out a little hysterical.)

Jane: Yeah, well, Daria said he wouldn't go into a bookstore, but I didn't think... (beat) I guess there's no easy way to deal with this, huh?

Lynn: If you find one, let me know. Only way I found was destructive. Literally. (beat) Staying?

Jane: (reluctant) Nah. Don't want to get too used to it. (beat; pointed) I mean, I guess you can't run forever.

(A beat, in which Jane looks expectant; she seems to be waiting for Lynn to take the bait. Lynn seems to consider an answer for a moment. Eventually...)

Lynn: Dinner?

(Jane gives an aggrieved sigh.)

(Scene: Lane kitchen. Music: Toad the Wet Sprocket -- "Brother". Penny is sitting at the kitchen table, looking through the "Sun-Herald" and looking frustrated. Trent cruises inn and heads for the fridge.)

Penny: I don't see why you still bother.

Trent: (opens fridge) We've got food, Penny. (pulls out can of pop and retreats) We keep better stocked these days.

Penny: Well, can't say I saw that coming. But I guess I'm glad -- for Janey's sake. (Trent pulls out a bag of Doritos and shuts the cupboard door.) I guess it's just a big adjustmentt, though, y'know? I mean, it's like everything's changed since I left. (Trent grasps the bag and makes to open it) Hey, where's Jesse?

(Bag rips clean in two, scattering crisps everywhere. Trent winces, and then his face completely shuts down. Penny just stares at him as he looks at the mess on the floor.)

Trent: I'm gonna get a broom.

Penny: Wait, whoa. I mean, I was only asking the question, okay? I mean, what, did you guys have a fight or something? (horror strikes) Did he do something to Janey? Because I never trusted that--

(Trent gives her a look that could incinerate at fifty paces.)

Trent: You have no idea.

Penny: Wha--?

Trent: You have no idea what he was like. What he did for the rest of us. What kind of guy he really was. So back off and butt out, Penny. I'm not in the mood.

Penny: But...

(Trent's gone. Penny looks at the newspaper in her hands ... and the mess on the floor ... and then at the ceiling, completely exasperated.)

(Scene: Lane backyard; the 'Naming Gazebo'. Music plays on. Trent's sitting there, looking miserable. Jane comes up and sits beside him. She's carrying a small paper bag. There's silence for a long moment.)

Jane: Wanna tell her?

Trent: No.

Jane: Wanna tell me? (to Trent's confused look) Bookstore, water pistol, frog mask?

Trent: (sigh) We were young; kinda stupid. Couldn't find Mom and Dad's blank cheque stash. We were low on stuff here at home. (beat) Don't wanna talk about it.

(More silence; then Jane pats Trent's shoulder.)

Jane: What are you doing out here, anyway?

Trent: It's the one place Penny never goes. She's that pissed about the name.

Jane: I'm not too happy about it either. She hacked you off that much?

Trent: She asked about Jesse.

Jane: ...Oh.

Trent: Didn't tell her. Figured, she bad-mouths him, she doesn't deserve to know.

Jane: Oh.

Trent: There's a lot of stuff we can't tell her, Janey.

Jane: (quiet) I know. (looks at him; real venom) She doesn't deserve to know any of it anyway.

Trent: She's gonna ask questions, though. She's acting kinda different.

Jane: I don't care. However she's acting doesn't give her the right to barge into our lives on top of barging into our home. (throws hands up in exasperation, then starts pacing) God, I'm so sick of this!

Trent: Chill, Janey. Once she gets the next case of itchy feet, she's gone like a cool breeze.

Jane: More like tsunami.

Trent: (raised eyebrow) How long've you gotta hang around Daria before words like that rub off?

(Jane looks at him, then snickers a little ruefully. Trent grins, glad the mood's lightened a little.)

Trent: So what's in the bag?

Jane: Leftovers. Sailor Sarcasm found the only sushi bar within fifty miles.

Trent: (shudder) Raw fish? Ew.

Jane: It's not so bad if you don't think about it too hard. (evil smirk) Anyway, that's not what I brought home. (to Trent's querying look) Penny's still got that deep, undying love of guacamole, right?

Trent: Yeah... We haven't got any, though. Lots of tortilla chips and salsa, but ... well ... you know. Me and green food.

Jane: (the evil smirk is still there) Ever heard of wasabi?


(There is the sound of a chair being knocked over, running water, beat, rapid-fire cursing in Spanish partly drowning out more running water, beat, more Spanish. Trent looks at Jane, who just smirks wider.)

Trent: Jalapeņos?

Jane: Worse. Japanese nuclear horseradish.

Penny: (OS) You call this keeping food in the house?!? Don't think I don't see you out there, you devious, immature...

(Trent and Jane look at each other another moment ... then Trent holds up his hand. They high-five each other.)

Jane: Damn, it's good to be me.

(Scene: Lane kitchen. Music: Green Day -- "86". There's water everywhere; Penny obviously couldn't be bothered with the niceties of glasses or care when washing awayy the wasabi. She is currently sitting at the table with wet hair, perusing a slightly damp newspaper. Jane enters, heading for the fridge.)

Penny: I suppose you think that was funny.

Jane: Didn't even need puppets.

Penny: Oh, grow up.

Jane: That's rich coming from someone who's been living out of a backpack for the last ten years.

Penny: (ignoring that) Where's Trent?

Jane: *shrug* I'm not his mother.

Penny: Yeah; which means you asked.

Jane: He didn't say. Something about blowing off some steam.

(Scene: the Big Strawberry. Music: Far -- "Job's Eyes" [from the A-Tank stereo]. The A-Tank and Trent's Plymouth are parked nearby. Trent, Nick and Max are sitting oon the ground near the Strawberry with several six-packs around them. Trent actually looks calm for someone needing to "blow off steam".)

Nick: Not that I'm complaining, but ... what brought this on? We haven't done this since...

(A moment of silence. Trent drains a beer can and throws it at the Strawberry. It bounces off, lands next to Max.)

Trent: My sister blows.

Max: What, literally?

(Max gets smacked upside the head by both Nick and Trent.)

Trent: She bad-mouthed Jesse.

(Total silence.)

Nick: Oh.

Max: (uncharacteristically subdued) Bitch.

(More silence. The guys each down another can and throw it at the Strawberry.)

Max: Hey, how 'bout I go look for the Twinkies?

Nick: What Twinkies?

Max: The ones Jane had!

Trent: Max ... that was over a year ago.

Max: So? (to the looks) C'mon; it's a Twinkie! They can't go bad; that's what's so cool about 'em! After the Apocalypse comes, all that'll be left are cockroaches and Twinkies!

Nick: Max -- that wasn't in the A-Tank. That was the Tank.

Max: (frowns in concentration) Oh. Yeah. Right.

(More silence as the boys chug another beer apiece. Three *thunk*s as the cans hit the Strawberry.)

Max: Hey ... Apocalyptic Twinkie! That'd be a cool name f--

Trent: No way.

Max: But if we could ju--

Nick: She'd maim.

Max: Well, maybe if we--

Trent & Nick: (unison) No.

Max: Aw.

(Scene: Lane kitchen again. Music: Bad Religion -- "American Dream".)

Penny: Blow off steam? What steam does that slacker have to blow off?

Jane: Steam from the pressure cooker of life with the Taco Belle. (to the perplexed look) She who runs for the border? You'd know this if you spent enough time stateside to watch the tube.

Penny: I'm putting pressure on him? What about me? Do you have any idea the pressure I'm under? At this rate, I'm going to wind up working for the capitalist running dogs--

Jane: Penny, don't give me that crap; you are a capitalist running dog.

Penny: (utmost shock) You take that back!

Jane: You spent three days on the phone to the Costa Rican finance minister, trying to make him compensate you for an act of God! Most people who don't give a crap for money would've just let it go, but not you; you had to turn the whole thing into a trade war. That kind of money-grubbing's called capitalism, in case they don't have dictionaries in Peru.

Penny: Argentina!

Jane: Wherever! It sure as hell wasn't here! What is it with you and South America, anyway? I mean, hell, why not Rajasthan? Or New Zealand? Or Ant-freakin-arctica? Technically, that's the furthest you can get from me!

(Silence for a moment.)

Penny: I... Jane, I wasn't...

Jane: Save it, Pen. (beat) Things changed since you last gave a damn. A lot of things.

Penny: Like what?

Jane: Like me. And Trent. He has a girlfriend now, you know that?

Penny: Not that Monique bi--

Jane: My friend Daria, you self-centred... (deep breath) Of course, you don't know her. She's the one I ran to when you made me damn near crazy! You and all the others who just come here and ... and don't give a damn about Trent and me so long as the house is still standing for them to crash in! (beat as she reins herself in again) Trent ran to her too, when you all crowded us out of the house that we keep running. She's always there if we need her. You want a lesson in sisterhood, go to her.

(Jane turns and runs off. Penny stays put, looking after Jane with an expression that indicates she's asking herself "What have I done?" and "What do I do now?" at the same time. After a moment, she gets a thoughtful look -- she's come up with an answer to at least one of those questions.)


Orange: I don't use the mobile phone network but I like the adverts. Why? Because they make the advertising men in suits look as stupid as the adverts they create suggest. Besides which, they gave us the classic line, "Hurt me, Gunther; make me bleeeeed!"

Next in the Look-Alike Series: Daria has, to outward appearances, borne up well under the events of the last two years. Appearances, however, can be deceiving, and the mask finally comes of in "Postcards from the Sidelines".

(Scene: Morgendorffer corridor. Daria is standing in her doorway giving no quarter to Penny, who's standing there with an uncharacteristically hangdog look on her face.)

Daria: No.

Penny: But...

Daria: Not for all the beans in Peru.

Penny: Argentina!

Daria: Not for all the beans there either.

Penny: Are you all this crazed?

Daria: Jane's big sister in my hall, I'm the sanest one of all. How did you get in here, anyway?

Penny: Your little sister let me in; something about if I was another one of those freaks, I should talk to you. Look, I don't know what's going on with her but she's been really vicious to me lately. (to Daria's stone face) Look, please! You have a sister; you've gotta know what it's like!

Daria: Yes. (Penny's face gets hopeful) I know what it's like to have an older sister I admire, respect and care for. I know what it's like to see that sister lie to me, throw my concern back in my face and shut me out of her life to the point of disappearing to God-knows-where on literally no notice. I know how it feels to be conflicted -- on the one hand, desperately wanting to hate her and push her away; on the other, so grateful to have her back that it's haard to stay mad.

Penny: (whose face has fallen throughout this little speech) Look, I--

Daria: Of course, it's a little different for me. Mine came into my life fairly late, and took off three times, all three for relatively short periods of time. And, while I didn't exactly agree with her reasons, she at least had my best interests at heart. See, what I figured out eventually was that she hated doing it as much as I hated having it done to me. Of course, she did have to sit down and explain it to me.

Penny: (thoroughly chastised) Did ... you want to listen?

Daria: More than I want to listen to your pleas for help. (Penny opens her mouth) And a lot more than I want to hear your gratitude. All I want to hear is the shutting of my door, the turning of pages and, if I'm in a particularly frivolous mood, the phat stylins of M.C. Mozart.

(At which point, Smashmouth's "All Stars" starts blaring out of Quinn's room. Daria gets a pained look on her face. Penny looks like she's about to start offering empathy because she knows annoying little sisters, then thinks better of it and just leaves. Daria shuts her door. A moment later, she opens it again and comes out dragging a very large set of speakers. Around her arm is a coil of piano wire. She sets the speakers directly in front of the door with about an inch of clearance, then fixes the doorknob to the banister with the wire. Then she goes back into her room and closes the door. A minute later, Smashmouth is drowned out entirely by the 1812 Overture at top blast. There is high-pitched Quinn-screaming, only just audible, and we see the door begin to wiggle.)

Quinn: (barely audible, but it's obvious she's in full-cheer lung capacity mode) TURN IT OFF! TURN IT OFF!

(Cut to Daria in her room. Because of the soundproofing of the padding on her walls, it sounds like it's at a halfway decent volume. She's doing her homework, but looks up with a slight smile.)

Daria: If in doubt, go with the Russians.

(Scene: the 'Naming Gazebo' again. Music: Bush -- "Out of This World". Penny's sitting there, carving a parrot design into one of the posts.)

Jane: (OS) What happened to Chiquito, anyway?

Penny: (not looking up from what she's doing) Little bastard learned how to say "Twenty pesos and she's yours for the night". And kept on saying it.

Jane: (sitting down beside Penny) Who taught him to do that?

Penny: I don't know, but if I ever find out, I'll throttle him like I did that stupid parrot. Twenty pesos is only about six bucks, and even if I was that desperate, I'm worth more than that!

Jane: (looking away) Was Summer worth more?

(Penny freezes, then puts down her knife with a sigh.)

Penny: Look. I'm really sorry about that. I've been in a really bad mood lately and ... well, things changed so much since the last visit and ... taking it out on you isn't fair.

Jane: So what's been your problem? Hell, it must have been something to drag you this far north-east.

Penny: (looking at her shoes) I was homesick.

Jane: ...Huh?

Penny: Yeah, I know. I didn't believe it either. Just ... I always thought that ... well, turns out I only wished I was there so that ... that I could wish I was here again.

Jane: You wanted to wish you were in Lawndale.

Penny: Okay, maybe not Lawndale. But the house. You two. You've always kind of been there ... and, okay, I go out every day and I see people with this big communal family life thing going on, three generations of a family living in the same house...

Jane: And we've barely got one.

Penny: I know it's selfish. We always come home when we need something. Sometimes it's money, or shelter, or a shoulder to cry on, or--

Jane: Or the phone. For three straight days.

(Penny looks up at Jane for a second, sees the little smile and carries on.)

Penny: I guess what I needed this time is what we all really need when we come here. We need to know that someone's keeping the home fires burning.

Jane: (staring at her boots) Guess ... we didn't do a great job of that for you, huh.

Penny: Hey, it's our fault. You were right about one thing; we do take it all for granted. (derisive chuckle) Sometimes the hard way's the best way to learn.

Jane: (quiet conviction) You'd better believe it.

(Penny looks at Jane for a moment, then shrugs it off.)

Penny: When I was in school... (Jane looks up at Penny) ...only thing I was ever really good at was Spanish. Well, Spanish and friendship bracelets. The craft stuff came easily but ... you know ... nobody was going to want me around here. I was afraid of being stuck in this town with Ol' Popeye DeMartino and that damn Ms Morris looking down on me in my little McJob and feeling vindicated. So I bugged out. (beat) Sorry.

(There is a lot of silence. Then, Jane looks at her boots, takes a breath, then looks at Penny.)

Jane: Well, that's one less worry.

Penny: What's that?

Jane: You're out of touch, Pen. We got Ms Morris canned.

Penny: I didn't just hear that.

Jane: (smirk) Should I say it in Spanish?

(Penny looks at her for a second ... then laughs.)

(Scene: LHS cafeteria. Music: The Smiths -- "Is It Really So Strange?". Jane looks a lot better than she did the last time we did this scene. Lynn's still quietly pokiing her food.)

AP: So the whole sis-bond-thing started Friends and ended up...?

Jane: Like one of our conversations. You know, Morris's hasty departure after the basketball thing; a pared-down version of why there's suddenly a new principal over here; how the band's actually doing well for a change. Then Trent came home drunk and she started reaming him out ... every curse she knew in alphabetical order. It was like the Profane Picnic Game.

Lynn: Did she get anything for Q?

Jane: Sorry; pooped out around about L.

Daria: At least Trent's verbal flaying was educational. Mom spent an hour last night telling me that she hoped that my manners came from her side of the family.

Lynn: So she's burned that I stopped cluttering up her spare room, which I was only occupying at your request.

Daria: Yeah, Dad pointed that out. Mom said something about principles and discipline doing you good. At which point I reminded her that she had two daughters of her own to ground.

AP: So how long until she forgives the Tchaikovsky thing?

Daria: Well, if it'd been Nine Inch Nails, she'd have been calling Oxford and telling them, 'Daria can't come out to study; she's grounded'. As it was, I called it a psychological experiment on the effects of culture on modern youth and asked for leniency.

Jane: And you got...?

Daria: Officially, my grounding ends on graduation day. Unofficially, I'm thinking she'll be encouraging my absence in a few days.

Jane: Harmonica?

Daria: Didgeridoo.

AP: So's Penny stickin' around? I mean, she's not so bad when she's not going upside my head, but I'm kinda sick of her looking at me like I'm gonna make with the groping.

Jane: She said something about looking for a job in this state for a change. Figured if all else fails, she could qualify as a travel agent or a stewardess by now. She said she'd at least stick around another week or so.

Lynn: (looking at her plate, tentative) Well ... Chez Cullen's set to be inhabitable by Friday ... if you... Um.

AP: (who's gone maroon) Y-y-y-y... (Jane slaps him on the back of the head) Yeah! Great! Um.

Daria: Never underestimate the powers of percussive maintenance.

AP: (grin) I'm a geek, Erudite Emerald! First thing we learn!

Lynn: So you think Penny's managed to get in touch with her inner patriot?

Jane: Well, she did ... until her inner Lane kicked in. After that, she got a yen to try Honduras, so the process repeats. Except maybe I'll get a few more postcards from her.

AP: So ... it ... worked out?

Jane: Well, pretty much.

(To the quizzical looks, cut to:)

(Trent's room. Penny is standing in the doorway, glaring at Trent, who is curled up on his bed with a pillow clamped over his ears.)

Penny: ...And if you're going to be looking out for Janey, I don't want to ever hear about you coming home that late in that disgusting condition again! Are you listening to me? I know you can hear me, Trent; the pillows are not that thick! Trent? Trent!

(We hear a muffled groan from Trent as we fade out.)


Jane/Penny Hostilities: During the beta process, I was asked why Jane's got such a hate on for Penny. I think the fic explains Jane's feelings on things pretty well, but also keep in mind that the one conversation we actually see her having with Penny ("Lane Miserables") wasn't exactly sweetness and light either.

Multilingual Profanity: Lynn's lines are Japanese; Penny's are Colombian Spanish. Most of it pulled off Insultmonger.com, then double- and triple-checked against every dictionary I could lay hands on. It should be about right, but you never know, particularly since I felt it necessary to correct some of the Romanji spelling. If you really want a translation:

Lynn: Why you... [or "Asshole", depending] Fuck off!
Penny: Get lost-(thump) OW! You baseborn lesbian!
Lynn: Don't disrespect me, you fuck!

Guacamole/Wasabi Confusion: Inspired by Ben, who says something very similar happened to his father once. And the line "Japanese nuclear horseradish" is entirely his.

Smashmouth: The first endnote to be inspired by my Dave. I was working on that scene and thinking, "There has to be Quinn music now. What's a nice cheerfully obnoxious song that Daria would despise?" And then Dave started playing that. It was too well timed not to use.


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.