What If


A Daria Fanfic by Professor Moriarity


Legal Stuff: I don’t own any of these characters, MTV does.  I’m not making any money off this, so don’t sue me.        


Continuity: Takes place in the same universe as “Waiting,” “Too Late,” and “Conversation.”



“…And then King Duncan was brutally murdered by his cousin Macbeth…” the history teacher droned on.


            Tom was torn between falling asleep and scowling at the teacher.  Not only was this guy the most boring lecturer on the face of the planet, he couldn’t even get his facts right.  It was one thing to regurgitate the official story of Macbeth in literature class—that was where they studied Shakespeare—but Tom expected more of history class. 


Then again, maybe that was his problem.  When you have expectations, you’re more than likely to be disappointed. 


Tom decided to write this class off, and began scribbling something besides notes in his notebook. 


Her eyes are like the summer skies,

Her hair, the winter night.

She looks at me,

I catch my breath.

Within my heart,

The fire burns.


Tom looked at what he’d written and chuckled softly.  He wrote poetry, mostly as a way to vent his frustration and anger.  He could produce great verses from the darker emotions.  Poetry this bad could only mean one thing.  He was happy. 


And he knew why.  It was Jane.  His darling Jane (something he called her only in his thoughts—if she heard him say that his life wouldn’t be worth a plugged nickel). 


He really couldn’t put his finger on when she’d become “darling” to him.  The first time he’d met her, he’d gone over to talk to her simply because he thought she was attractive.  But then she’d blown him away with her sarcastic wit. 


“Good band,” Tom said, trying to make small talk.


“Yeah. The singer's my brother,” she’d told him. 


He was surprised, but then thought ‘Yeah, she does kind of look like the lead singer.’ So the next logical question was “Really? Are you a singer, too?”


“Oh, yeah -- listen to this,” she’d said, and begun singing off-key. “Old Macdonald had a farm, EE-I-EE-I-OH.”


“That's really awful,” Tom said without thinking about it.  Then he’d belatedly realized that it probably wasn’t the best way to try and impress her.


“You're an honest one, eh? Actually, I'm an artist.”


“Wow, that's cool.”


“But I do like to sing in my spare time.” Again she broke into off-key song. "Old Macdonald had a farm, EE-I-EE-I..."


So Jane had liked his blunt honesty.  And she could laugh at herself.  Both were definitely things in her favor.  He’d known then that this was someone he wanted to get to know better. 


Tom still couldn’t believe that he had asked Jane to go for a drive with him before he’d even asked her name.  He still couldn’t believe he’d used that about decay, either.



“I think the sad decay of it all might appeal to your artistic sensibility. Want to check it out, maybe get some food?” Tom said before he could stop himself.


“Food, then back here?” the raven-haired girl asked.


“Sound all right?” Tom replied, before he lost his nerve.


Of course, the most amazing thing was that she had said “yes.”


“Let me just tell my friend,” she’d told him.


Ah, yes.  Her friend.  Daria.  Tom hadn’t liked her much at first.  She’d been brusque and rude to him, and he honestly couldn’t understand why Jane liked her so much.  But he’d tried to get along with her for Jane’s sake.


“Listen, you don't like me and that's fine. There's no reason you should,” he’d told Daria.  ‘But there’s no reason you should hate me either, and I want to know why,’ he added silently.


“I agree,” Daria responded.


“But it would be really nice if you could try and get along with me a little. At least in front of Jane.”


“Why should I?”


“Because she's your best friend, and I really like her and want to get to know her.”




“So you hating me puts her in a very awkward position.”


“I don't hate you. I don't even know you. But I'm not going to sit by while you take my friend away.”


Suddenly things had been much clearer to him.  Daria perceived him as a threat, although to this day he couldn’t fathom why.  As he’d told her, a person would have to be pretty stupid to think that her friendship with Jane was in jeopardy.   After they’d talked, he could tell that Daria was slowly beginning to warm to him.  They weren’t friends by a long shot, but Tom hoped that they might be friendlier in the future, for Jane’s sake.


It was a slow process.  Jane had told him that at one point, she and Daria had had a fight because Daria was still somewhat threatened by his presence.  Gradually, though, Daria had gotten used to him.  And then there was the Homecoming parade.  


“Wow,” Daria had said, as she gazed upon the burning remnants of the float.


“It’s like the Hindenburg,” Tom had said, equally awed.


“Oh, the lack of humanity,” Daria said, and was silent for a moment. “This is magnificent.  When homecoming parades turn hellish.”


“Now, aren’t you glad you were here to see this?”


“Well, I definitely understand why you wanted to share this with Jane.  Sorry you never hooked up.”


“It’s okay. By now, she’d be so busy snapping pictures, she’d forget I was even here.  You know how she is.”


“Yeah, I know how she is.”


“Thanks for getting lost in the moment with me.”


He and Daria had gotten to know each other a lot better, traversing that hellish parade route, trying to find Tad’s parents, facing down the Fashion Club, and fending off the Lawndale Lion.  Tom could see why Jane kept telling him that he and Daria could be good friends.  They had a lot of similar traits.  The writing, the sarcasm, the interest in truth as opposed to the sugar-coated version of life, the universe, and everything, etc. 


And therein lay the problem.  Tom liked those qualities in himself.  And he liked them in her.  Add to that the fact that she was physically appealing, even if she hid it, and it brought up thoughts and ideas that Tom didn’t want to think about.


Tom was crazy about Jane; of that there was no doubt.  Yet sometimes he wondered.


What if he’d met Daria first?




Author’s Notes: Call this my response to “I Loathe a Parade.”  Tom is an interesting character, and we don’t know much about him.  I just wanted to kind of get inside his head and figure out his motivations.  That’s all.  The flashbacks are from “Jane’s Addition” and “I Loathe a Parade,” obviously.  


Jesse vs. Tom: I recently wrote a couple of ‘fics showcasing Jesse’s side of the story.  And here I show Tom’s side of the story.  And neither of two are evil or psycho. Both could be worthy suitors of Jane.  So which one do I think Jane should go out with?  Not gonna tell ya.  It’s more fun for me to keep you guys guessing.  :P


The whole Daria/Trent or now Daria/Tom thing:  Who do I want Daria with?: See above statements. :P


Big thanks out to my wonderful beta readers, especially Kendra, MeScribble, and Ben Yee.