Yes, this is a crossover. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Daria. I've explained each series' characters in terms of the other, so don't worry if you're not familiar with one. If you don't know either, what are you doing here?
Occurs after Restless in Buffy, and between Dye! Dye! My Darling and the movie in Daria. Spoilers for both eps. Buffy vs Dracula (great ep) and Is It Fall Yet? (I'll assume it lost something in the transcription) have not happened, mainly because they hadn't aired when I started writing this.
Footnotes are at the end of each part. Well, they're marginally more interesting than commercial breaks...
And now, a brief guide to Buffy mythology, so
no-one can plead ignorance in feedback... :o) just to clear up any
confusion: The Slayer is a teenage girl (always female, and this
being network TV, always attractive) with superhuman strength, speed,
agility, sight and hearing, skill with weaponry and so forth, for
hunting and killing vampires and other creatures of the night. When
one dies, another is "called" (suddenly gains the powers).
Vampires on Buffy have strength and whatnot increased to varying degrees, depending on the vampire. Most of the time, they look like the humans they were, except when they're first rising from the dead or are angry or about to feed, when they grow fangs, short sharp claws in place of fingernails, and facial ridges described by Lew Richardson as looking like a cross between Hulk Hogan and a trilobite ("game face", "demon face", "vampire face"). Notable loophole: They can survive in indirect sunlight (through windows not facing the sun, heavily overcast days, etc) but direct sunlight causes them to burn to ashes. The same applies with fire from other sources. A wooden object (stakes are traditional and efficient) to the heart will achieve the same ashes without all the annoying flames, as will good old-fashioned decapitation. Holy water burns like strong acid. Garlic will apparently harm them, though it's never been used on the show. They commonly use sewers for moving around, so running water's a non-issue. They will cower away from crosses, and if forced to touch them will get burnt nastily (this doesn't stop the quicker ones from lightly batting them out of people's hands). Same with holy books. They suck blood from living humans to feed, but someone who gets completely drained just dies without fuss. For a new vampire to be created ("turned", "vamped"), first the vampire has to suck some of the victim's blood, then the victim has to suck the vampire's blood (normally the vampire will take most of the blood from his prospective childe to make sure they're too out of it to resist the exchange). Once turned, it is said that a demon takes over the human's body. This is on par with the Easter Bunny for truth; what actually happens is that the "negative" portions of the human's personality get brought to the fore and little things like the conscience get driven back... but don't tell Willow that. Now, enough fine print, on with the show:
DEDICATED TO ANY FAN OF EITHER SHOW WHO THINKS THAT THE FOURTH SEASON OF EITHER STINKS TO HIGH HELL...
(Open up with either the instrumentalism of Nerf Herder or the la-la LA la las of Splendora. Choose wisely.)
EXT.: OUTSIDE THE BRONZE, LATE NIGHT
(Music: "Shake Me", Mint Royale. Imagine a cross between Fatboy Slim and the Care Bears. Only even more mindlessly, sickeningly cheerful.)
(Buffy, Riley, Xander, Anya, Tara and Willow (relax, Daria fans, all will be explained) are leaving the Bronze... a rather dodgy converted-warehouse nightclub, but the only one in town. They are accompanied rather a lot of other people -- in fact, the entire clubful is leaving at the same time. Obviously, someone's decided to close the joint early. A sufficiently bored viewer might take a peek through the door of the converted warehouse and realize that someone's been taking the whole "steamy nightclub" thing way too seriously.)
XANDER: I think we can safely say this sucks.
(A brief description of Xander, for the uninitiated: Tall, black hair, optimistic, self-deprecating sense of humour and general personality to befit your standard zit-faced beanpole, but since ugly, thin-looking males don't generally get on TV, he has a kind of boyish, reasonably good-looking face and a relatively muscular body. Is standing next to his girlfriend in Anya. I should point out that everyone here is neatly paired off.)
BUFFY: The last day before we all have to go away for summer and the air conditioning at the one good club in town goes boom.
(Buffy: cheerleader-beautiful, bottled blonde, athletic, short, dressed reasonably fashionably, standing next to Riley (the tall, strong, soldier-next-door type)... but she has a really nasty job nights. She's the Vampire Slayer, the one girl in all the world with the superhuman strength, reflexes, skill and aim required to take it to the assorted creatures of the night one-on-one, or, as the case may be, one-on-a-dozen-or-so. Despite the considerable B.S. she's gone through as a result, her personality and general perkiness is so close to that of Quinn or even a more intelligent Brittany it's unsettling, though not so unsettling as the fact she can and does get reasonably good grades and has a wonderfully sarcastic wit that she doesn't use nearly as often as she could. No need to worry about the waste, though -- she'll be dead by the end of the chapter.)
TARA: Well, it could be worse... There must be somewhere else we can go...
(Tara: Blonde hair, average height, has what a TV exec would consider "nice-girl charm". In other words, any more shy and she'd be some inoffensive species of rodent. Practising Wiccan in the Hollywood-movie good-witch sense. Set up fairly tastefully by commercial TV standards with Willow. General purpose in the scheme of things unclear as of the end of the fourth season.)
WILLOW: Nuh-uh. Not at this time of night.
(Willow: Red hair, also short, clothing bears a slight New Age influence. Jewish by birth, now a witch (see above). Originally she embodied the phrase "shrinking violet", now fairly self-confident, due in no small part to the help she gives Buffy in researching and defeating the neverending diabolical menaces that hit Sunnydale every Tuesday night at prime time. Had the intellect to go to "any college in the country, four or five in Europe if I want", but instead opted for her local so she could keep fighting the baddies that tend to congregate around the town, what with the Mouth of Hell and everything.)
ANYA: Well, Xander, we can always...
(Anya: Brown-red hair, standard TV-teenage-female looks and dress. Unlike most TV teens, however, her character is actually older than the actress. By about eleven hundred years. She's a former vengeance demon, who whiled away the millennia playing genie to pissed-off women looking for revenge on their former (or soon-to-be-former) significant male others. As you can imagine, some of the wishes she granted were... graphic. Someone Ms Barch would wish she'd known. Lost her powers when she came to Sunnydale (surprised?), as seen in "The Wish". Now stuck as a mortal teenager, albeit an eccentric one. This being the WB, "eccentric" can more or less be covered by the phrase "sex-obsessed", with the occasional conversational faux pas on that topic thrown in. Normally with Xander, with whom she shares a certain "townies-in-arms" camaraderie, as well as a pretty-damn-serious-thanks boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. In small doses, however, one of the single funniest characters on TV today.)
(Riley: Male character who in the fourth season is introduced as a potential love interest for the female lead(s). In short, the Buffy equivalent of Tom, with similar levels of love, hatred and indifference found among factions of the fans. I wasn't kidding when I said soldier-next-door earlier. Tall, broad-shouldered, black-haired, midwestern upbringing, with training and experience in a cheap X-Files rip-off government/military conspiracy called the Initiative, the chief villains in Buffy S4. Also has experience in helping bring it down, following some really pathetic "I've always followed orders" angst. Still, like his Daria equivalent, I find him annoyingly hard to dislike.)
ANYA: (sharp) Yes?
XANDER: Anya, we discussed this. The... whole thing's not something we talk about, except with each other.
ANYA: Actually, Xander, I was going to suggest we... oh, screw it.
(turns around, trudges off in another direction)
XANDER: Anya, wait! (starts to run after her, out of shot) (O/S) We can talk about sex if you want...
(A nervous pause. They've walked a fair way, and the crowd has more or less dispersed.)
RILEY: So, Willow, you didn't say what you were doing over summer break...
WILLOW: (resigned, with that wonderful good-girl pseudo-sarcasm of hers) Going home for the first six weeks. My parents weren't around much when I was in high school, and suddenly decided we should all get to know each other over summer. Then we're going, as a family, to nowhere, New England. (Riley looks confused) My mother's a great-great-something-or-other of some Satzman guy who took a boat over here earlier last century, and they've organized some big week-long family reunion in a tiny little town called Lawndale because some distant cousin's opening a new hotel there and wanted some big... convention there to drum up business.
RILEY: Oh. You already know I'm going back to Idaho wi-- agh!
(Riley grabs his arm in pain, lifts his elbow and sees... a bullet wound.)
RILEY: GET DOWN!
(Buffy doesn't need to be told twice, and spins around to face the threat while throwing herself to the ground with all the speed her Slayer abilities afford. Unfortunately, she stays there. Turns out all dropping down achieved was to have the second bullet hit her in the forehead, killing her instantly, rather than the spine, where it merely would have caused paralysis.)
(Yes, folks. She's dead. And she's not coming back.)
INT.: A DARK, FORMALLY-FURNISHED OFFICE.
(A tweed-suited man is sitting behind a mahogany desk -- long time "Buffy" fans recognise him as Quentin Travers, the uber-Watcher from "Helpless" (Watcher, noun: personal coach and researcher for the Slayer in theory, normally a cluelessly stodgy bureaucrat in practice. British almost without exception owing to Joss Whedon's public-school education -- but if he had been there, you'd think he could write them a little less two-dimensionally). Just think stereotypical-old-English-guy. A knock on the door is heard.)
TRAVERS: Come in.
(A similarly suited man enters. His subservience to Travers is obvious immediately from his stance, apparent age and behaviour.)
MAN: Terribly sorry for interrupting you, Mr Travers, but I thought you'd--
TRAVERS: (tired, curt) What is it, Anderson?
ANDERSON: Buffy Summers... the mutinous Slayer... she's dead.
TRAVERS: (slight shock) Dead?
TRAVERS: You're quite sure?
ANDERSON: Yes. Less than twenty-four hours ago. She was shot in the--
TRAVERS: No need to go into detail. A pity. Her wilfulness was easily outweighed by her talents -- I don't think we'll have one as good as her for some time. (pause) Her replacement's abilities should manifest within the day. I take it all of the potential candidates are available and under our education? We don't need another debacle such as Faith's...
ANDERSON: No, sir. But after Faith's calling, and the tracking down of that unfortunate Tibetan girl, there is only one candidate with even a remote possibility of being chosen that we have been unable to maintain contact with.
TRAVERS: (amused) Where is she? Kazakhstan? The Sahara? Australia?
ANDERSON: The United States.
TRAVERS: I'm sorry?
ANDERSON: (nervous) We've been tracking her since her childhood, but her parents, especially her mother, have been extremely hostile to our overtures, as has the child. Legal action has been threatened on more than one occasion. In the end we had no choice but to tactically withdraw, if we wanted to protect our organization's good name in the area. Thankfully, the odds of her being the one are reasonably remote, especially considering her ineptitude in the athletic and strength-related areas Slayers normally... (trails off)
TRAVERS: How long have you been a Watcher, Anderson?
ANDERSON: Thirteen years, sir. Entered the Academy immediately upon leaving secondary school.
TRAVERS: In time, you will come to realize that should you make assumptions such as that one, the opposite invariably occurs. Be sure to keep an eye on her.
EXT.: NIGHT, A PARK, SOMEWHERE IN LAWNDALE.
(Music: "Love Torn Us Under", Manic Street Preachers)
(Daria is sitting on a bench, fiddling absently with a twig, looking so depressed even the untrained eye can spot it. For the Buffy fans, this is saying a lot -- normally, if hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, she's a scarecrow. Her facial expressions are generally restricted to either a rigid deadpan frown or a rigid deadpan smirk (aka the Mona Lisa smile). Brown, shoulder-length hair. Green zip-up jacket covers a burnt-orange shirt -- think of the worst possible clash of colours. Knee-length pleated black skirt, and shit-kicker boots generally agreed to be steel-capped Docs among fans, although there's no evidence to support it. Oh, and big, thick, black-rim glasses. Set the scene a night or two after her... discussion with best friend Jane in "Dye! Dye! My Darling". To summarise, she's gotten into a fight with her over a mutual boyfriend in that most tired of soap-opera clichés. Anyone else remember when Daria didn't need that to be a good show? End rant. In her usual form, the best deadpan sarcasm on TV today, no contest. Right now, well... normally it takes a bulldozer to get her out of bed before the alarm (and after it, for that matter). Out of bed, bedroom and window at night... you get the idea. She isn't sleeping, and is generally feeling like emotional landfill. Which is a problem, because a year ago she didn't have any emotions she'd outwardly acknowledge.)
DARIA: (sighs, to herself) I don't believe this is happening. This isn't happening. (lets her head settle into her hands, and briefly looks like she's about to sob. She doesn't, but looks up suddenly, and over her right shoulder. A tall, dark figure with overstyled hair comes out of the shadows in that general direction.) Go ahead, kill me. I don't really care right now.
(The tall, dark figure steps forward, into the limited light. His face looks like something out of some trashy vampire TV show. Three guesses which.)
VAMPIRE: (suitably inhuman growl) My pleasure.
(He leaps. All sound fades out. Daria rolls out of the way, base fear and instinct saving her life. He crashes, sprawling over the bench, and she starts to back away, slowly, terrified. Any concept of rational thought on her part right now has gone out the window, replaced with sheer primal terror and that instinct thing. Not completely beneficial instinct as it turns out, since she's backing towards a tree and the vampire, now on his feet, has every other means of escape covered. She turns to the tree and starts scrabbling for a grip, her hand grabbing a long, narrow, low, stripped-bare branch and ripping off a good length without apparent effort. The vampire stomps in closer, taking a sizable chunk out of the distance between them in one step. Daria takes a flimsy, desperate, telegraphed swing at him with the branch, which he effortlessly sidesteps, still going towards her, but opening up an escape route around from the bench. She steps back towards it, not thinking to run. The vampire comes forward, moves onto one foot for another leap, and she brings in the branch again, at the same angle with a bit more velocity. It slams into the vampire's ear, and carries along with him for about half a metre, and he slams into the tree -- with his heart conveniently where the broken-off stump of the branch is. Said vampire quickly goes grey (literally) and dissolves into a cloud of dust. Daria just looks at the branch, not fully comprehending, and hears a faint rustle in the bushes, an owl hooting, sees a suspicious black van parked across the road, two more dark figures approaching in the distance, and now she breaks into a run...)
INT.: THE PARKED VAN.
(A young man of British appearance is furiously pulling out a mobile phone and dialling.)
MAN: Yes, hello. Travers, please. Mr Quentin Travers...
INT.: JANE'S ROOM.
(Music: "Slowdance", Something for Kate)
(We're in the room of Daria's aforementioned best friend Jane Lane,
an overhead shot of her giving a good look at her in bed in the half-light,
asleep. An aspiring artist with that wonderful bed hair any Daria fan who's
seen it knows and loves. She's still in a state of warm war with the title
character after her boyfriend Tom first kissed Daria, who quickly told
her, leading to a breakup with the guy and a crying-out-loud argument with
Daria for the big pre-movie cliffhanger. A loud thump-and-rattle comes
from off screen, and Jane stirs, getting up reluctantly and staggering
out of the room. Cut to the house's front door from her POV. She opens
it, and there's Daria, looking pathetic and terrified -- but not exhausted
-- worlds away from her usual stoic stiff upper lip. Cut to and fade on
Riley grabs his arm in pain, lifts his elbow and sees... a bullet wound. : Sound familiar, Daria fans? If not, why the @#$% haven't you read Canadibrit's "Liaisons" yet?
... if hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul ... : Emily Dickinson, as quoted in KnightHawke's Daria fanfic of (more or less) the same title.
... Knee-length pleated black skirt, and shit-kicker boots ... : According to most Brits, a "shit-kicker" is a Doc Marten-style boot. According to most Australians, it's a worthless person or job. Flat or ridgy. You make the call.
... she's gotten into a fight with her over a mutual boyfriend in that most tired of soap-opera clichés... : I'd put in a link to an essay on my feelings on the subject, but frankly, if you haven't already read everything there is to read on this debate, you probably don't want to. Apologies for the rant.
DARIA: ( ... A tall, dark figure with overstyled hair comes out of the shadows in that general direction.) Go ahead, kill me. I don't really care right now. : Any resemblance between this part of the scene and the opening to Anya McLerie's "Misery Loves Company" is purely intentional. It's not a rip-off, it's a tribute. Plus a way for the Buffy fans to feel more at home, and a reward for them reading on past the death of their title character. And if you believe that...
INT.: OFFICE BUILDING. FOYER.
(Music: "When I Grow Up", Garbage)
(On the whole, a pleasant, clean, rather dull place, like most new office buildings, with the walls painted white and a soft corporate-blue carpet. Slowly pan across to a tall, blonde, sturdy (is that the euphemism these days?) woman who looks to be about forty-five, wearing a dark blue power suit, and holding a coffee mug. She walks over to a window and gently touches the thick, opaque white board covering it with some tenderness, as if it were a small child. The ringing of a mobile phone interrupts the scene. She pulls it out of her pocket and thumbs it on.)
WOMAN: Yes? Aleph. About time I got through. I just got a call from California. Apparently, Buffy Summers is definitely dead...
"ALEPH": (phone V/O, female voice we've heard somewhere before, interrupting) Where every trick in the occult books fail, a plain old vanilla hitman with a sniper rifle succeeds. I won't say I told you so. (pause) Wait, I just did.
WOMAN: I wouldn't mind talking to the guy about his accuracy. We just wanted her paralysed, not dead. As it is...
"ALEPH": (interrupting again) We've got at least two weeks to raise hell in any sense we want while the Watchers' Council gets the replacement out and fighting. If they even have the replacement.
WOMAN: Well yes, if that's the way you want to put it. Of course, it'd help if you actually had some idea of how you wanted to do the raising. And...
"ALEPH": Nah, destruction and torture's only fun when it's spontaneous. Don't tell me you didn't enjoy that week in San Francisco. When you weren't getting so goddamn worried about being in the same state as Buffy Summers, "Super Slayer". Who was obviously just as vulnerable to the rest to the common high-velocity lump of lead.
WOMAN: You did see the Council reports, right? Three dozen potential Slayers under guard and education? They don't even really need...
"ALEPH": I'm thinking "gift horse", "look", "mouth", Tav. The Sunnydale hunters' only real weapon is dead thanks to us, the never-coming-back kind of dead, and getting cremated within the week. Going by those reports you make such a big thing out of, the Council of Wankers don't know we exist. Ignorance is bliss. Only not for the ignorant. C'mon, steal a Learjet, get over here and kill somebody! Don't tell me you're still living on bottled blood...
"TAV": (looks down at the red "coffee" in the mug she's holding) What about it?
"ALEPH": When's the last time you reached out and drank someone?
"TAV": (calls it) Last night. (sighs) Another damn stoner. You know how crap they taste... Anyway, how are we going to find out who and where the new Slayer is?
"ALEPH": Ears to the ground. Even if the new one does lay low, someone'll always be dumb or unlucky enough to fall right into her lap.
INT.: LANE FRONT DOOR.
(Music: "Destroy 2000 Years of Culture", Atari Teenage Riot. Opening.)
(This is one of those scenes where it just has to be raining hard. To the beat of the music, if possible. Jane is at her front door, looking daggers at Daria standing outside. Whatever twisted idea of a moment there was is broken when Daria shoulders her way in from fear, knocking Jane roughly out of the way, and slams the door behind her.)
JANE: (pissed off) What the hell are you--
DARIA: (desperate, pleading) Please, Jane, there's something out there trying to kill me.
JANE: (semi-rasped) What?
INT.: TRAVERS' OFFICE.
(Travers is again behind his desk, this time talking into a phone. In deference to the stereotype, it's black. In defiance of it, it's touch-tone.)
TRAVERS: A vampire attacked her. Was she waiting for it? Expecting it? (pause) No? So why was she... You don't know. Two more... she ran? Faster than the vampires?
INT.: LANE FRONT ROOM.
(Music: "Blow the Millennium, Blow", Catatonia)
(Daria is sitting down, some kind of hot drink in her hands, still visibly shaken. Jane is sitting down across from her, having difficulty restraining herself from leaping across the table and doing something that, were this fic written by Canadibrit, would probably be done by Lynn Cullen to Upchuck. In other words, violence and plenty of it.)
JANE: (cold) So, you're telling me you were attacked. By something which looked like it was out of that crappy vampire show on the WB. And fought like one too. And died like one, turning to dust. And if it wasn't for the look on your face...
DARIA: Yeah. (looks down, as if ashamed) Just... thank God this place was closer... If I'd ran any further...
JANE: Where were you? What were you doing?
DARIA: (sigh) Self-pity. You know that tiny old park by the landfill?
JANE: I jog past it every day... wait. You're not tired. (in for the kill) Since when could you run so far?
DARIA: (genuine shock) What are you talking abou-- I guess I did. I don't know.
JANE: (sarcastic, slightly bitter) Won't you make a good journalist someday. Guess you'll have to...
DARIA: Please, Jane, spare me. My life's already turning into one bad WB show, don't make it Dawson's Creek as well.
JANE: (sigh, can't hide her exasperation but tries anyway) Okay, fair enough. Total silence on that topic, and that means from you as well. So, what are you going to do?
DARIA: (resigned) No idea. Hide in my closet for the rest of my life, maybe. (her face is deadpan, her eyes suggest she's serious)
JANE: You do realize that would mean setting foot outside. With whatever was out there still out there.
DARIA: Can I borrow yours?
INT.: TRAVERS' OFFICE.
(He's still on the phone.)
TRAVERS: So it has to be her. No-one else is showing any aptitude whatsoever? (pause) Just our luck. Can the Hellmouth be left... oh, you already have someone there? Excellent... (pause) I think I'll handle this personally. I'll be taking an assistant -- I assume you can arrange the necessary bookings on the next... (pause) Not for a day or two? (sighs) Very well then. (pause) And to you.
INT.: LANE LIVING ROOM. MORNING.
(Music: "Blisterment", The Superjesus)
(Overhead shot of Daria lying down on Jane's couch, sleeping fitfully. She's having "the nightmares"... we see very quick cuts through some dark and dirty sewer, a small, dark and not so dirty underground lair, one or two different cemeteries, the power-suited vampire from earlier, a set of claws at Trent's neck, Tom and Daria duking it out, and the family assortment of evil demons and artefacts. She awakes with a start.)
JANE: (O/S) Daria?
DARIA: (bleary) I'm up, Jane!
JANE: (O/S, sardonic) Don't wanna be late!
DARIA: (quiet, to herself) No... wouldn't want that... (she hauls herself off of the couch and half-staggers out of shot)
INT.: LANE KITCHEN.
(Music continues. Daria half-staggers in, and Jane is standing near the fridge.)
JANE: I really don't know why I bother looking, with Trent in the house. There's nothing in here except Mom's leftover mushroom surprise. (shudders briefly)
DARIA: Do not talk to me about that. Ever again. Do you understand me?
JANE: Whoa, OK, OK... If I'd known you were still bitter about it...
DARIA: (getting angry) Me? Bitter? What the hell--
(Interrupt this pleasant scene with a nearby phone ringing. Jane trades looks with Daria and picks it up.)
JANE: (cautious) Yo.
(Standard Daria diagonal phone split-screen. Jane on the left, Daria's mother in her kitchen on the right. Buffy fans, meet Helen Morgendorffer, brown round-cut hair, magenta power suit (this is a cartoon, 'kay?), and an aggressive demeanour, unless she's having a nice heart-to-heart with Daria or trying to suck up to, well... anyone. Since she works as your classic ambulance-chasing lawyer, these two personality traits suit her well.)
HELEN: (sickly sweet) Hello, Jane, sorry for calling at this ungodly hour, but you wouldn't happen to have seen Daria, would you? I know you two have had your disagreements lately but--
JAKE: (O/S, Daria's father, think Homer Simpson in a shirt, tie and (possibly) toupee. Usual pathetically funny Jake-going-postal anger.)Dammit, Helen, quit beating around the bush! My kiddo could be anywhere out there and--
JANE: (hears him rant, slightly amused) Tell Jake to relax, Mrs Morgendorffer, she's right here.
HELEN: Really. May I ask why?
(Jane covers the mouthpiece, whispers to Daria)
JANE: (sharp) What do I say? It's your mom. On the warpath.
DARIA: Oh, hell... (sighs) I'll handle it. (Jane gives her the phone)Hey, Mom.
HELEN: Hello, Daria. You wouldn't care to tell me how I could see you in bed at eleven o'clock one night and not at eight the next morning?
DARIA: Erm... well... you see, Mom...
EXT.: ROSENBERG HOUSE. FRONT DOOR.
(We see Willow, laden with bags and suitcases, walk up to the door and stop, exhausted and looking like her best friend's just died. Unsurprising since that's exactly what's happened. Tara follows, similarly burdened and looking almost as miserable. Willow puts a suitcase down, and tries a key on the door. After much rattling and frustrated thumping, she shrugs her shoulders and sits down on the suitcase.)
TARA: She... changed the locks?
WILLOW: (nodding) Looks like it.
(Willow just shrugs.)
TARA: Can you get in any other way?
WILLOW: (shakes her head) Not since that whole Hansel-and-Gretel-demon, burning-at-the-stake thing last year I told you about. (sigh) She said she'd be home (looks at her watch) an hour ago.
(a longer pause)
TARA: Do you want to talk about it?
(Willow looks down, gathering herself before attempting to answer, and in the oldest trick in the dodgy-fic-writing book, Willow's mother Sheila's car is heard rolling loudly up the driveway off-screen, followed by a door slamming, and her voice:)
SHEILA: (O/S) Sorry I'm so late, Willow...
(Sheila enters the shot. Daria fans, this woman is kinda like Daria's mother pre-WWIH, but without the occasional sessions of guilty "Quality Parenting". Basically, Kate Cullen (from Canadibrit's Lookalike Series, ignorant one) could take lessons from her in being a negligent, callous workaholic.)
SHEILA: ... the flight got delayed an hour, and apparently there's another conference out near Carter County. So I bought seats on the next flight for you and Ira, but he had to postpone, I don't know what we'll do about that, and we'll go there early for the family reunion, it's all been arranged... (actually looks in her daughter's general direction, and is immediately hostile on seeing Tara) Oh. Is this Bunny?
WILLOW: No. It's Tara. I told you about her, remember. (A memory comes back to Sheila with visible effect, and she tries to speak) Buffy is dead. (shorter pause, Willow stifles a sob, her mother tries to open her mouth again) Two days ago... (starts to openly cry, staggering a little before Tara catches hold of her)
(Sheila's mouth opens, and stays open. Obviously she doesn't have the most remote idea of what to say.)
EXT.: CARTER COUNTY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. RUNWAY.
(Music: "Blood Money", Primal Scream)
(It's raining again. Look, I know it's summer over there, but not from where I'm sitting (Australia in August). Anyway, it's good for the atmosphere. Two small, charter jets are seen coming in to land, one after the other, neither heavily laden. A businesswoman gets out of one, two men in familiar tweed out of the other.)
INT.: AIRPORT ARRIVALS LOUNGE.
(Music continues. There's an open food and drink counter nearby, and one or two cleaners standing around. The two gentlemen enter through an outside gate, looking tired and very wet. From this angle, we can better recognise them -- it's Travers and Anderson.)
TRAVERS: Someone did have transport arranged?
ANDERSON: We... there was supposed to be a taxi waiting.
TRAVERS: For how long, exactly?
(Anderson sighs deeply... we pan across the room to the businesswoman -- "Tav" from earlier -- standing in the corner nursing a mug of (real) coffee. Looking up briefly, she sees the tweed, and face-faults. She hurries out.)
INT.: AIRPORT TOILETS.
(Music continues. "Tav", standing inside a locked cubicle, pulls out her mobile and dials a number.)
"TAV": Aleph. It's me. We have a problem.
"ALEPH": (sarcastic, phone V/O) Oh, hi, Aleph, sorry for calling at two-thirty AM, how's it going? What is the problem, is the Watcher's Council National Convention at the Hotel Oakwood or something?
"TAV": Could be.
"ALEPH": Excuse me?
"TAV": But probably not. Put it this way: how many Americans do you know that wear tweed on a regular basis? 'Cause I just saw a pair come in on the two-o'clock, and I doubt they're here for a holiday.
"ALEPH": Why the hell would the Watchers want to come to this hole? It's got all the vampiric activity of a salad sandwich, and that's after us showing up.
"TAV": Well, it couldn't possibly have anything to do with the new Slayer, now, could it?
"ALEPH": The last four Slayers have all been called somewhere in or near North America. The odds of the next one coming from around here are...
"TAV": (interrupting, for once) Still the same as anywhere else. Where were you in math class?
"ALEPH": Where were you in English? Narrative imperative, Tav. If you flip a coin fifty times and it comes up with fifty heads, you expect a tails, and if it's mystical, you get a tails. It's all tied up to what people naturally expect.
"TAV": That's great, Aleph. I may be getting a crossbow bolt through my heart from some idiot in tweed, but at least I'll be able to go down screaming out the laws of occult probability...
"ALEPH": You really need to work on that sarcasm. Have they noticed you?
"TAV": Do you hear me talking and think, "moron"? (brief pause) Don't answer that. I ran for the bathrooms the moment I saw the bastards. Since I'm still here talking to you...
"ALEPH": OK. You're at the CCI, right? Arrivals lounge bathrooms?
"ALEPH": You haven't seen enough movies. That airport hasn't been renovated in years. Go to the window above the basins, remove and exit.
EXT.: AIRPORT. SIDE CAR PARK.
(We see a wall, with a row of high, frosted-glass windows in it.
One starts to rattle, and gets pulled into what we quickly figure out is
the women's toilet. Tav pulls herself out, lands awkwardly on the ground,
and looks quickly from side to side in case someone saw her. Someone did
-- brief cut to her POV, some maintenance type is running off, presumably
to the main entrance. Tav takes off after him, and catches up before he
rounds the corner. You can tell because her hands go around his chest,
her fangs go around his neck, blood begins to spurt in time with the man's
dying heartbeat and the screen goes black. We fade back to a shot
of Tav dragging the body into a conveniently nearby ditch.)
DARIA: (quiet, to herself) No... wouldn't want that... : This scene based on the equivalent in Welcome to the Hellmouth. Y'know, the first bedroom scene. No, not that kind. Pervert...
JANE: ... There's nothing in here except Mom's leftover mushroom surprise... : As seen in Crazy Nutso's "Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's Anti-Teen". Denial -- it's not just a river in Egypt anymore. Any Buffy fan who thinks the diehard B/A 'shippers are bad with Surprise/Innocence/Becoming/Prom etc. should check out the contortions almost all Daria fans [this line being one example] go through to try and exorcise this one dire ep called "Depth Takes A Holiday" (as does plot, jokes that are actually funny, decent characterisation and believability).
... Usual pathetically funny Jake-going-postal anger... : I believe it was Lew who coined that term (in his semi-epic "Heroes..."). Credit where credit's due, especially if it's on Helen's platinum card. As for the toupee, there's been nothing in the show (and the only fanfic which suggests the possibility is John Takis's X-Files crossover "Stranger Than Fiction") which points that way, but it wouldn't surprise me...
WILLOW: (shakes her head) Not since that whole Hansel-and-Gretel-demon, burning-at-the-stake thing last year I told you about... : See the Buffy ep "Gingerbread".
SHEILA: ... (actually looks in her daughter's general direction, and is immediately hostile on seeing Tara) Oh. Is this Bunny? : Both "Bunny" and Tara are blonde and female, and given the amount of time Sheila and Ira spend with their child, it's doubtful they'd have actually seen the former, so it's an understandable mistake... if not a forgivable one.
EXT.: CARTER COUNTY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. RUNWAY. : A one-runway airport is seen in The Daria Diaries, and it's a fanfic convention to make it international (great for getting OH to Japan for those Sailor Moon crossovers). The exact name is based on a reply on the paperpusher's message boards when I asked about it. The state Lawndale's in has never been named (unlike in Buffy, where Sunnydale is Santa Barbara, CA, with less zits and a populace that looks older than it is).
... blood begins to spurt in time with the man's
dying heartbeat... : A little detail picked up from Canadibrit's
"Run Away From Homecoming". A fanfic and an anatomy lesson all in one.
Memo to Gunbunny: I know I've said this before, but you and CB have
to have some kind of meeting of the brains (groan)...
INT.: MORGENDORFFER KITCHEN. EARLY MORNING. AS IN FIVE AM OR SO.
(Music: "Condescension", Pitchshifter)
(We see Daria, looking like she's just got out of bed after a three-day nap and intends to go back for another three days or so... or would if it weren't for the nightmares. She stumbles around to a cupboard, fumbles inside for a glass, fills it with water from the tap, and drinks. Conveniently enough, the doorbell rings. Daria lets out an indecipherable frustrated grunt.)
INT.: MORGENDORFFER FRONT ROOM, ANGLE TO THE DOOR.
(Music continues. Daria opens the front door, still obviously exhausted. Standing there are Anderson and Travers. She stares at the two Watchers as if she were a research scientist who's just found out that the lab rats have started rioting and burnt down the maze.)
DARIA: What... the hell... are you doing... here... at three in the morning?
ANDERSON: (looks at his watch, smiles brightly as if trying to pacify Daria) Actually it's ten to fi--
DARIA: (sharply) Shut up. Piss off. I don't care if you're some (pause) guardian angels here to enlighten me of my glorious destiny, it can wait until a godly hour. (moves to slam the door)
TRAVERS: (serious) Look, ma'am, I am very sorry about the time, but this is of the utmost importance. I was hoping to speak to a... Daria Morgendorffer?
DARIA: I'm sorry, Daria isn't here right now. Come back in the (pause) afternoon, when she might be awake enough to talk. And when her lawyer mother is awake, too, so we can negotiate the restraining order. Right now, she's sick of talking to tweed-clad morons and is going to bed. (slams the door, begins to stalk off)
(A brief wait, then sounds of violence are heard O/S, from outside the door. Daria, more annoyed than anything else, turns back and opens the door... and sees the two Watchers, backs to the door, holding a game-faced vampire at bay with crucifixes. She's wide-eyed, completely shocked, obviously recognises it from last night.)
DARIA: What do y-- how the hell do you know about those things?
(Travers takes a step back to reply, and moves his cross slightly in the process. The vampire takes the opportunity to leap -- and the Watcher sidesteps completely. Said bloodsucker goes straight forward and bumps his head on the threshold, and begins cartoonishly pounding the thin air there. Anderson fumbles with a stake and plunges it deeply into the vampire's back, puncturing the right lung. Trouble is, vampires don't need to breathe, so it has jack-all practical effect.)
ANDERSON: Dammit... no heart...
(He heaves to pull it out and has another shot, this time neatly skewering the left lung. Daria gets the idea, grabs a nearby wooden ruler, snaps it in two with her fingers and nails the heart with the longer piece. Obligatory dust explosion.)
DARIA: Now, since I'll never get to sleep after that, I really hope your explanations are a hell of a lot better than your aim. Come in.
EXT.: MORGENDORFFER HOUSE.
DARIA: (V/O) One girl. (singsong) One girl in all the world. (normal rigid deadpan) Right. Now how about you just take a nice lie down on the couch and sleep (pause) whatever the hell it is off.
EXT.: CARTER COUNTY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. ABOUT MIDDAY.
(Music: "D.A.F.", Powderfinger, play the guitar bridge that starts about two and a half minutes in)
(We see a fair-size passenger plane coming into land, fading into the passengers disembarking.)
INT.: ARRIVALS LOUNGE.
(Music continues. We see Sheila standing slightly in front of Willow and Tara, waiting by a luggage carousel. Sheila looks vaguely disappointed and sad, while the faces of the other two are unreadable. Willow suddenly frowns, taking a worried glance at a narrow bracelet on her left arm. She taps Tara on the shoulder and shows her the bracelet. Tara looks at it, then a similar one on her arm and raises her eyebrows, looking decidedly worried.)
WILLOW: Mom... what did you say this town was like again?
SHEILA: (relieved at her daughter's interest in matters less depressing than the death of her best friend and the general weirdness associated with her, but still a little suspicious) The complete opposite of Sunnydale. Peaceful, quiet, not much crime.
(Willow looks at her bracelet again, then around the room, with a pointed glance at a door in the corner...)
WILLOW: Mom, I kinda need to go to the bathroom...
INT.: AIRPORT TOILETS.
(Music continues. Willow and Tara enter, and see a cubicle door wedged open by a window. A gaping hole in the upper wall indicates said window's normal location. Willow goes up to the hole and looks out, pulling herself up slightly, with the occasional glance at her left arm. After a few seconds, she drops back down.)
TARA: Why would it go through the window?
WILLOW: And then run in one direction, and then the other, and double back on itself a few times? I guess it really doesn't want to get caught...
TARA: So do we follow it?
WILLOW: It's daylight. No point. Besides (she pulls herself up and looks around again) I think this just goes out through the parking lot--
SHEILA: (O/S, shout) Willow? Tara? Are you all right in there?
WILLOW: (shouts) We're fine, Mom! Won't be long!
TARA: But I thought this area didn't have much vampire activity.
WILLOW: It doesn't. Giles said that vampires get attracted to anything and everything supernatural -- the Hellmouth, other demons, Watchers and witches if they've got a lot of spell ingredients or enchanted objects, even. (to Tara's worried look) No, with what we're carrying we won't attract anything stronger than a demonic mosquito. But New England... it doesn't have any of that, it's just... boring. Empty.
TARA: So why would they come here?
WILLOW: I'll have to talk to Giles. I mean, unless suddenly some big occult, mystical thingy suddenly showed up here, then you'd at least get some drawn in. No matter how intelligent, they'd come up with an excuse for themselves...
TARA: (nervous) How about... we go and... look around town? Find out if this is the only one? No offence, but your mom and I...
SHEILA: (O/S, shouts again) Willow! Tara! Are you...
WILLOW: (exasperated yell) Coming, Mom! (quiet, to Tara) No offence taken. And yeah, we'd better.
(They walk out of the toilets, and run into Sheila at the front doors.)
INT.: THE ZEN. THAT EVENING.
(We see Jane and Daria, looking uncomfortable and worried respectively, watching the band in a setting familiar to anyone who's seen "Jane's Addition".)
JANE: Christ, Daria, don't look too happy, it's not like it's picture day or anything.
DARIA: (Not taking the bait) Remind me how you talked me into coming here again.
JANE: Well, you said Tom had to meet some high -- well, higher -- powered relatives or something, and I figured you needed something to take your mind off this whole bloodsucking fiend, English tweed-clad moron thing.
DARIA: By taking me to where we met the guy?
JANE: Oh, come on, the band's better this time.
DARIA: Why, did Trent finally figure out Open-D tuning?
(Quick cut: Mystik Spiral are on stage, hammering out a dire version of Skunk Anansie's "It Takes Blood & Guts To Be This Cool (But I'm Still Just A Cliché)" and thereby failing on all three counts. It's still better than "Spite", mind.)
JANE: (change subject) What did they say again?
DARIA: (cocks an eyelid) Before they gave up and left ten minutes before Mom came down? Went on and on about me being the "Slayer". Vampire Slaying, capital letters. I think I was supposed to gape at them knowing that the fanged things turn to dust when you put a wooden thing through their heart, and then treat every word they in the tweed said as the gospel truth. Like it is in the movies. I didn't listen, half the time. Too damn tired, and anyway, this isn't a movie.
JANE: No, it's probably a TV crossover special. Dawson's Creek, that vampire show on the WB...
DARIA: And that piece-of-crap try-hard-sarcastic animated high school pseudo-satire on MTV?
JANE: I still swear she sounds like you.
DARIA: (dangerous) So I should start a web site called "No, I'm not Janeane Garofalo, Katie Holmes, Bethie from Bethie Against the Vampires, or anyone from that stupid cartoon on MTV, so would you please stop saying I am before I have to get out the crossbow?"
JANE: (whoa!) Jeez, all right. C'mon, we're here to relax, remember?
(Back to the band -- after completely screwing up the big ending, someone is seen loudly whispering to Trent (lead vocals and guitar, Jane's brother, 40-a-day voice, looks like a blend of Jakob Dylan and any number of well-known male musicians, former crush object of Daria waaay back in seasons one and two, before this whole Tom debacle) from the side of stage. Trent looks back at his band mates and says something to shrugs from Jesse (rhythm guitar) and Nick (bass), and a boisterous idea-sharing from "criminale" drummer Max. Rest of the band shrugs in agreement.)
TRENT: Just heard... someone backstage seems to think we're a grunged-up version of INXS. (pause, relaxed) So here's a grunged-up version of the song she requested. "Never Tear Us Apart".
(And with that, the band burst into a song (?) that bears minimal resemblance to the original. More to the point, it sounds like a blend of early Pearl Jam, early Clash, and the early-morning cries of a disappointed vulture arriving too late at the dead donkey. I guess in the right hands that combination could sound good, but not in the Spiral's...)
DARIA: And nothing helps you relax like the sound of Michael Hutchence spinning in his grave...
JANE: (deadpan) Wasn't that a loss to the music industry.
INT.: SIDE OF STAGE.
(Empty, except for one person, slouching at the world, the one who stage-whispered to Trent. From this angle, we can see it's Tav.)
"TAV": Those bastards! Michael would be spinning in his grave... (face takes on an evil grin) Well, I suppose I can always make them regret it.
INT.: DARIA AND JANE.
DARIA: So what are we doing after the earache finish off the set?
JANE: Which they were meant to do ten minutes ago, and judging by the look on the manager's face will probably be doing at the end of this song? Meet them backstage, then we'll figure something out. C'mon, these nights are more fun when they're spontaneous.
(Briefly fade the scene, come back with Mystik Spiral nearing the end of their latest travesty and Jane and Daria getting up. Pan across to the door, we see Willow and Tara entering.)
TARA: (quietly) So, is there anything?
WILLOW: (looking in a straight line between her bracelet and stage) No, but I was sure there was something going on with that band... wait a second. Bloodsucking fiend at eleven-thirty.
TARA: What are we going to do?
WILLOW: I don't know. All I've got's holy water and a crucifix.
TARA: Same. (sighs) Better than nothing, I guess.
(they move on)
EXT.: DITCH, NEAR CARTER COUNTY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. STILL EVENING.
(Music: "Frontier Psychiatrist", The Avalanches)
(We see the body of the maintenance guy that got finished off with part two -- brown hair, full beard, green uniform, deathly-pale skin (funny that, him being dead and all) and a bloody, nasty-looking wound (note the comma) around the neck area. He's landed with arms and legs in an awkward position. Think "skiing accident". A shadow falls over the body. We see the shadow reach into one pocket, pull out a mobile phone and dial. Zoom up and out to reveal that the investigative yuppie is in fact...)
TOM: Hello. (pauses, eerily calm, as if nothing were out of the ordinary -- remember, this is Lawndale, not the Hellmouth, so I'd say this is very much out of the ordinary) Good. There's been an... unfortunate incident in the woods behind the CCI Airport, so if you could send someone along... thanks.
(He thumbs the phone off and looks away from the corpse with a shudder. Hold the shot for a moment, to allow all you Daria/Trent 'shippers to wonder what diabolical schemes (literally, this being a Buffy crossover) the Evil Tom must be up to. Just when you've come up with a really good one involving the Watcher's Council, the aliens, the FBI and Tom's panel beater, he leans over, puts his hand over his mouth and runs out of shot. Sounds of vomiting are heard O/S. So much for evil callousness, this is more like plain shock -- must be his first corpse.)
INT.: SIDE OF STAGE.
(Tav is standing quietly in the corner, obviously waiting for the Spiral to finish off their set. Jesse starts on an ear-piercingly awful guitar solo and the band clatter to a stop around him.)
TRENT: (O/S) We're Mystik Spiral, and we'll be back in a while.
(The band make their way off stage, entering the shot. Jesse looks around briefly.)
JESSE: Hey, where have all the roadies gone?
"TAV": Well, you see, leatherbrain... (goes game, grabs Trent around the neck from behind, and makes a slight warning cut in the throat with a claw) they kinda got scared off. (Jesse looks dumbfounded, well, more so than usual, Nick plain terrified, Max is gibbering) Now, what's going to happen is, you four are going to come with me, and...
JANE: (O/S) Yo, Trent! Nice cover! Need some help packing up? (she and Daria enter the shot and see what's going on) What the hell...? Oh, shit...
"TAV": "Shit" is right. Guess you two are coming with us as well. Everyone get over in the corner.
(Trent takes the opportunity to get a kick to Tav's knee. Tav barely notices and gives him a shallow-but-painful Wolverine-style gash with her spare hand across the throat in return. Daria and Jane wince and move quickly to said corner.)
"TAV": (turns to face the group in the corner and walks toward them) Now, as I was saying before I was so (pause, tightens her, well, stranglehold on Trent's neck) rudely interrupted, all of you are going to quietly and calmly co me with me to... AAARGH!
(A small bottleful of holy water's been splashed across her neck and shoulders from behind. Irate, she throws Trent away -- he flies across the room and knocks his head on a far table leg -- turns around to face the threat, claws outstretched, sees said threat, and falls out of game in shock.)
"TAV": Willow. (pause, tries to think of a decent line, gives up, finishes lamely) What a surprise.
WILLOW: (disbelief, gasp) AMY?!
JANE: Well, you said Tom had to meet some high -- well, higher -- powered relatives or something... : It's established in "Dye! Dye! My Darling" that Tom is, as Rage Against the Machine so eloquently put it, filthy fu*&en rich. Which, compared to the rest of Lawndale, is saying a lot -- everyone seems to be rolling in it, even the Bohemian Lanes.
DARIA: Why, did Trent finally figure out Open-D tuning? : Old, old joke. Dates back to "The Road Worrier". I'm a little tired of it actually, but there's some unwritten fanfic law...
... Mystik Spiral are on stage, hammering out a dire version of Skunk Anansie's "It Takes Blood & Guts To Be This Cool (But I'm Still Just A Cliché)" and thereby failing on all three counts... : No blood or guts on stage except those still safely contained in the performers, they sure as hell aren't cool by any definition I'm aware of, and when's the last time you heard a grunge band covering Skunk Anansie?
Credits list for the Daria & Jane "enjoy" hearing Mystik Spiral scene: Canadibrit's "Thrash of the Titans" (the Skunk Anansie cover), Mediancat's "Never Tear Us Apart" (the INXS cover), Crazy Nutso's "Welcome Back Daria" (building on one of his jokes for the crossbow line), Lew Richardson's "Heroes" (Mystik Spiral as a grunge INXS)... and that's about it. I think. Let me know if I missed anything. Oh, and the vulture line's ripped straight off of Terry Pratchett's book "Small Gods".
WILLOW: (disbelief, gasp) AMY?! : Relax, Daria fans, this isn't "da bomb". It's Amy Madison, one of Willow's early witch friends -- estranged owing to the fact she turned herself into a rat about a year and a half back (in the ep "Gingerbread") and Willow, keeping her as a pet, hadn't been able to change her back. Obviously, something else could...
INT.: THE ZEN. SIDE OF STAGE.
WILLOW: ...AMY?! What... the... (trails off)
(... "Tav" (vampire Amy Madison), claws outstretched from when she threw Trent across the floor, takes on a very Dariaesque evil smirk. For about ten seconds, and then...)
(She topples forward slightly, so we can see that Daria's planted a four-inch pocket knife in the back of Tav/Amy's neck up to the hilt, plenty of blood flowing.)
DARIA: (leaning forward, firmly holding the knife in place, with a reasonable imitation of calmness, given the situation -- you'd have to know her well to notice the considerable worry) Now. All I know about vampires has been gleaned from pulp novels and idiotic Englishmen, so the scientist in me would really enjoy finding out how vampire healing handles knife wounds where the knife is held in place. (brief pause) Or twisted, come to think of it.
(Which she does -- very slightly -- to prove her point. Anticlockwise, if you must know. Tav/Amy screams -- well, more of a wince and a high-pitched grunt, actually. She lashes back with a high-heeled foot, which Daria dodges easily and only succeeds in getting them both off-balance. Daria loses her grip on the knife, Tav/Amy falls to the floor and makes a break for it while she can... out the back door to relative safety with the knife still in her neck and the wound bleeding rather more than normal for a vampire. Pause.)
TARA: Is everyone okay?
(Everyone is still in some kind of shock -- Trent picking himself up off the floor, the rest of the band on the verge of gibbering (except Max, who's not just on the verge), Daria staring at her bloodstained shirt and jacket as if they'd suddenly turned into something of Quinn's.)
EXT.: SLOANE RESIDENCE. FRONT DRIVEWAY.
(Music: The intro to "Conversations" by Seven Medium, but if you haven't heard that (no surprise) any rock/ballad acoustic guitar intro will do.)
(As seen in "Is It Fall Yet?". Of course, I haven't seen and probably won't be seeing that any time soon (goddamn ABC), but judging from talk on the paperpusher's message boards, the place makes the Landon's unhumble abode (The Daria Database) look like a beachside shack. A large, expensive luxury vehicle (perhaps a more upmarket version of whatever Lexus Jake drives with the inverted circle-A for a hood ornament) comes up the driveway and we see Tom and an older man (uncle? father? grandfather?) get out and go into the house. Somewhat detracting from the über-gentrified image of the scene is the police car pulling up behind with an officer interviewing an exhausted-looking Tom, the cop finally leaving after seemingly doing a fair amount to exhaust Tom further. He climbs up the stairs (a big and grandiose set, I imagine) and goes in his front door.)
INT.: SLOANE RESIDENCE. LIVING ROOM.
(Or whatever fancy name the mansion developers came up with for it. It's got a TV and associated peripherals, some couches and a phone, and it all looks fairly expensive, that's all that matters. Music continues -- if you've heard the song, bring in the electrics about here. Tom picks up the phone (gasp -- it's not cordless!) and dials a number. Phone split screen with a tired Helen on the right.)
HELEN: (sickly sweet) Hello? Who's calling?
TOM: It's, uh, Tom. Tom Sloane.
HELEN: (cutting him off, curiosity evident) Oh, you're Daria's new boyfriend?
TOM: (quickly) Yes, and I was hoping to speak to her? Daria? Is she there?
HELEN: (thrown) Well, she's, uh, at a friend's right now...
TOM: (equally thrown) You mean Jane's?
HELEN: Er... yes, she's at Jane's.
TOM: (sigh) I'll call her there, then. Goodbye, Mrs Morgendorffer. (hangs up)
HELEN: Oh, but... (realizes he's cut her off) Dammit.
(Back to the Sloane living room, full screen. Tom sighs again, picks up the phone and dials the Lanes.)
INT.: ANONYMOUS LIVING ROOM (WE HAVEN'T SEEN IT BEFORE).
(Music: "Slave to the Wage", Placebo)
(About the same size and kind of house as the Morgendorffers', maybe a little smaller. Does not look lived in -- the floor is bare hardwood, topped with a small, faded, dusty rug and a long couch done up in the same dull shade of corporate blue as the foyer we saw in part two. We can see boarded-up window, and a door behind the couch. A rattle of a handle is heard and an unseen door (behind the camera) is kicked open with some difficulty. That difficulty is caused by the fact that the kicker, Aleph, is struggling under the weight of a very bloody vampire Amy. Aleph gently puts her on the couch on her side, with the knife pointing up, and goes to the first door and down some stairs, returning with a lukewarm mug of blood and a large first-aid kit, which she sets down in front of Tav/Amy.)
"ALEPH": You do realise that was a truly moronic thing to do, Tav. Now that the Slayer -- nobody else could have held on for as long as that unless they were an amateur wrestler -- the one you worried so much about, knows we're here. And if she and your old (lightly mocking) "bestest buddy" Willow stay and chat, they'll know exactly who we are, or at least who you are. (She pauses, rolls Tav/Amy over onto her stomach, and slowly and carefully removes the knife, placing it near the mug. Tav/Amy winces but doesn't make a sound.) I know you like INXS, but did you have to take it that far?
TAV/AMY: Well, you did (winces again as Aleph dabs some kind of antiseptic on the knife wound) tell me to go out and kill someone...
"ALEPH": And if I didn't know you'd take it as a compliment I'd say I hated you.
(she produces a thick bandage and dressing and applies to the wound, with another slight wince from Tav/Amy)
TAV/AMY: Do you really have to do this? That wound's a good four inches deep and about a centimetre across. Will a normal bandage even help?
"ALEPH": Well, it can't hurt. The faster it heals, the faster you can get out of here. (matter-of-fact, to Tav/Amy's confused eyebrow) You can't make a public appearance with that on show. People would talk, and people would listen, and people would get staked. Specifically, us.
TAV/AMY: So, any bright ideas for what to do? Now that the Slayer knows--
"ALEPH": Well, first I anticipate spending a while figuring out how to get your blood off the floor and the couch...
(Tav/Amy just looks sheepish)
INT.: JANE'S BEDROOM.
(The original "There She Goes". Something I imagine Tara would like.)
(Jane and Daria are sitting on one end of the bed, away from the stereo, Tara is on the opposite end near Willow who's in front the computer, facing the bed. Trent comes in the door.)
JANE: Max calmed down?
TRENT: (uneasy) I'm not sure. He seemed quiet enough after he hit his head the third time.
JANE: Did not need to know that.
TRENT: So... what was it that attacked me?
DARIA: (flat) A vampire, apparently.
TRENT: A vampire. (pause) A vampire that likes INXS?
DARIA: Apparently. (pause) Willow... (not sure how to handle it)
JANE: (finishing off) You seemed to know the vampire.
WILLOW: We grew up together. Her mother was... never mind. She's... was... good at witchcraft. And then... there was a demon... made everyone try and burn her and me and... (sobs)
JANE: (trying too hard to sound comforting) Hey, Willow, it's okay. If you don't want to talk about...
WILLOW: (resolved) I'm okay. They tried to burn us at the stake, set up in City Hall and everything, and she turned herself into a rat to get away. I found her later on, still a rat, and kept her... (spits) like a pet... I couldn't find a way to change her back, I tried everything. Then I had to leave the dorm... when we came back, she was gone.
DARIA: (deadpan) So how does a normal, happy, well-adjusted teenager, albeit in rat form, become a fortyish-looking bloodsucker?
WILLOW: I don't know. Some weird side-effects of the spell...
TARA: Rats age a lot faster than humans...
WILLOW: She gets out, gets turned... I have no idea.
JANE: So what do we do?
WILLOW: (sighs deeply) We'll probably have to... (weeping) stake her. It's not her in there, it's... the thing that killed...
(... and she's cut off by the phone ringing. Convenient, that. Jane, being closest, picks up. Split the screen... it's Tom. Reprise "Conversations", with full electric guitars.)
TOM: Oh. Um, hey Jane. (pause) Can I talk to Daria? It's kinda important.
JANE: (hostile, but not quite as bad as we'd expect) Sure. Here, Daria. It's your boyfriend.
DARIA: (takes the phone, looking worried, trying to keep up a sarcastic façade) You've called me at the Lanes'. Whose life's in danger?
TOM: Yours, mine, Jane's, everyone in town's. (genuine worry, but he's not sure how to go about this, lying through his teeth) There was... well, I used to live out near LA, and my parents were in London... Some really sick, sick... ritual murders, puncture the neck, sick stuff, but there's never been anything like them around here... until last night. There was one just near the airport, they've just found the body a few hours ago.
DARIA: One death? There's at least one OD or drunken bar brawler dead every night on Dega Street, what's the big deal?
TOM: These things... they don't stop at one a night, put it that way.
DARIA: (sarcasm now overblown) So how do I avoid winding up lifeless and bloodless with fang marks in my neck in an alley somewhere?
TOM: (hard tone, suspiciously suspicious) What do you mean, fang marks? How much do you know about this?
DARIA: (hard right back at him) How much do you know?
TOM: (realises where he's got himself) Well... oh, God, how can I put this... You don't read Anne Rice, do you?
DARIA: Got ten pages into Interview With The Vampire and fell asleep. Then again, it was three a.m. at the time...
TOM: Good. Uhm... Bram Stoker?
DARIA: Yes, and I see where this is going, Tom... I know the things exist. One of them had a claw at my best friend's brother's throat a couple of hours ago. If you have information worth hearing, then I am grateful for it. If not... I'll think of some really graphic punishment for you.
TOM: (in a very fake-sounding jocular tone) You know that vampires exist?
DARIA: And (faux-Watcher accent) zombies, werewolves, incubi, succubi, everything you've ever dreaded was under your bed... I sent away for the Time-Life series, pile of crap that it is. Of course, I didn't actually believe any of it until one attacked me in the park a couple of nights ago. How'd you find out?
TOM: My parents, well... they used to be involved with... a British organization that helped hunt the things. Still are, informally.
DARIA: This organization wouldn't happen to be called the Council of Watchers, would it?
TOM: Oh, hell... how did you know about...
DARIA: (sighs) This is too much to explain over the phone. (covers the mouthpiece) Jane, could you be civil if Tom comes over here? It looks like he's tied up in this too... with what passes for the good guys...
(Jane gives a reluctant nod. Daria looks relieved.)
DARIA: (into the phone) Tom, is that iron oxide bomb of yours enough protection from the creatures of the night?
INT.: ALEPH AND TAV/AMY'S LIVING ROOM.
(Music: "Ashes To Ashes", Faith No More. Bit of sentimental value here -- it was the first remotely "heavy" song I ever really liked.)
(Tav/Amy is sitting up on one (clean) cushion on the couch, with one missing and the third pushed to the other end.)
TAV/AMY: So, seriously, what are we going to do once the couch is reupholstered?
"ALEPH": (enters shot, sits down on other cushion) No idea. Either get the hell out of Dodge before the Watchers and/or Slayer get us, or stick around in the hope we'll be able to kill, maim, turn or otherwise inconvenience them. Of course, it'd help if we knew who she was -- "brown hair, green jacket" could refer to, well, not everyone, but too many people to locate by trial and error, Tav.
TAV/AMY: It can't be that hard. I mean, how many people in this town would carry that kind of knife?
"ALEPH": Oh, only... (pause) No idea, now that I think of it. But it can't be that good a place to start... (she reaches over and picks up the knife anyway, and examines it... we see something engraved on part of the handle. PROPERTY OF JACOB MORGENDORFFER. Aleph does a Mona Lisa smile, not entirely unlike Daria.) On second thoughts, Tav, could you go get the phone book?
(Fade out on Aleph's evil smirk.)
... Anticlockwise, if you must know... : "Now turn the knife counterclockwise." Another one of those ubiquitous "Road Worrier" refs.
"ALEPH": Well, first I anticipate spending a while figuring out how to get your blood off the floor and the couch... : Blood off the floor line paraphrased from Canadibrit's "The Parent Crap", compliment line from her "I am (NOT) Daria!" (and I didn't even notice that one until proofing).
DARIA: ...If you have information worth hearing, then I am grateful for it. If not... I'll think of some really graphic punishment for you. : Cf. the Buffy ep "Becoming, Part Two". "If you're gonna crack jokes, then I'm gonna pull out your rib cage and wear it as a hat." Second season finale, good and depressing, and the ending is one of the only examples of TV teenage angst I can tolerate. Beats the hell out of "Fire!", anyway...
DARIA: And (faux-Watcher accent) zombies, werewolves, incubi, succubi, everything you've ever dreaded was under your bed... I sent away for the Time-Life series, pile of crap that it is. : "Welcome to the Hellmouth" again.
INT.: HOTEL ROOM.
(Music: Something suitably classical and dull. The working title of this part actually came from a piece by Stravinsky, but that's far too new-fangled for Travers.)
(A nice, big, luxurious hotel room. Not exactly the Presidential Suite from the Daria Episode That Shall Not Be Named (by me, anyway) but impressive and expensive enough. At any rate, it's impressive, expensive and luxurious enough to satisfy even...)
TRAVERS: (sitting in a large armchair, "chairman of the board" pose) Did you have any luck with the parents?
ANDERSON: Unfortunately, no. The mother was busy and her secretary told me to call the father, and the father hung up when he found out I wasn't interested in his consultancy.
TRAVERS: (sighs, exasperated) Well that leaves us at something of a...
(... and he's cut off by the phone ringing. Hey, it's such a cheap trick 'cuz it's so easy to mass-produce. Anderson picks it up.)
ANDERSON: (into phone) Anderson. Oh, hi, Simpson. (ignores Travers's raised eyebrow) Where? My God. Did... are there any... none at all? What? A blood trail? Of course I'll tell Mr Travers. (covers phone with his hand) There's been a vampire attack at one of the local clubs.
INT.: QUINN'S BEDROOM.
(Music: Rather than torture you with the very mention of whatever horrible boy-band they'd actually be playing, I'll go for the Great God Irony. Play the opening riffs from The London Suede's "The Beautiful Ones", though where the diesel and gasoline come in I'm not exactly sure.)
(It's a sight to inspire terror in the hearts of educated people everywhere. It's big, it's huge, it's frightening, it's pink, and it's full of animals. Stuffed. It's the bedroom of Quinn Morgendorffer, Daria's sister, and there's a (cue Jaws theme) Fashion Club meeting/sleepover in progress, though they've yet to change out of their too-cute daily attire into their too-cute sleepwear. Quinn is on the bed for a change, with the other three on the floor. I'll apologies to Daria fic fans right now -- go through this scene on the Daria Fanfic Cliché Drinking Game and you may not need medical attention but you'll certainly be well and truly pissed.)
(A brief description of Sandi, for the uninitiated: Ah, screw it. Daria can do it better than I can... "Her voice is deep, her thoughts are not." Soap-opera-bitch Valley Girl accent spoken at a pitch lower than Nick Cave singing on an old Walkman with flat batteries. Thick, shoulder-length brown hair, just the right amount of make up, slightly garish jewellery, oh-so-stylish clothes, right down to the scarf around her neck. And that's it. Any shallower and kiddie-pool metaphors would come into play.)
QUINN: (faux-gushing, vrai-sniping) Well when I found out you brothers' friends were sleeping over I knew we couldn't go over to your place.
(Quinn: Daria's sister, though she denies it and has somehow convinced the more moronic students of Lawndale High (i.e. most of them) that she's her "cousin, or whatever." Dressed in sickeningly cute pink, to match her room. Annoyingly perky voice, constantly trading thinly-masked verbal blows with Sandi for superiority/leadership of the Fashion Club. Whether she's actually as shallow as she acts is a subject of much debate on Daria fan boards, apparently resolved with Is It Fall Yet?)
STACY: (genuine, overwrought, as per usual) This is so nice of you, Qui-- (sees Sandi's glare, shuts up with a whimper)
(Stacy: Fashion club secretary, dark brown hair still in two pigtails, complete lack of self-confidence in the presence of Sandi. Think Harmony... no, wait, don't think Harmony. Harmony can think for herself. Always gushing and overemotional, those emotions being either enthusiasm (here, there, 'most everywhere) or tears ("Fair Enough"). She's genuinely nice underneath it all -- like a fair few of the less intelligent characters on Daria -- but definitely in with the wrong crowd. It's something of a fanfic cliché to deprogram her and give her more depth (and set her up with this kid who grew up so coddled that chewing gum and the Beatles are acts of teenage rebellion -- just don't ask) but the show has yet to show her to have any more free will than Winston Smith post-torture.)
QUINN: So aren't we, like, going to get the meeting started? Sandi do you have the minutes? And I hope there's something in there about scarves, because last "Waif" issue said...
SANDI: (immediately defensive, almost... suspiciously so?) For your information, Kuh-winn, this scarf is straight out of Milan. Donatella Versace made it by hand.
QUINN: Don't be ridiculous, Sandi, our Donatella would never stoop to actually making clothes. That's what those factories in Indonesia are for!
TIFFANY: Handmade... that's sooo wrooonngg.
(Tiffany: Asian appearance (probably adopted), pretty face, vacant expression. "Co-ordinating officer" for the Fashion Club. Would possibly be called treasurer if she could count past three without a week's notice and a few hints along the way. What, you think I'm exaggerating? The girl speaks at about ten words per minute and reads aloud at half that. To be fair, she's not a complete moron, knowing exactly when to change sides to ensure she winds up on the side of the top, ahem... dog... during FC "debates".)
STACY: (real concern) Are you all right, Sandi? You look... a little pale.
SANDI: I'm fine, Stacy, thanks for asking. (pause) Uh, Quinn?
QUINN: Yes, Sandi?
(Sandi stands up, getting a good view of Quinn in the bed. Cue music: "Second Solution", The Living End, single version, the intro.)
SANDI: Could you, like, lift your head? I think I saw a, like, blemish on your neck as I came in and I want to make sure it isn't, like, a complete fashion disaster.
QUINN: (spooked) Uh, okay, Sandi...
INT.: HALLWAY OUTSIDE QUINN'S ROOM.
(Hit the big guitars on the BGM here. A loud, young, female scream is heard...)
INT.: JANE'S ROOM.
(Music: "No Way", Pearl Jam)
(Daria, Jane, Willow and Tara are in the same places as they were before. Tom is standing just inside the door, obviously uncomfortable, in the middle of speaking. Trent is nowhere to be seen... God, that seems so trite. Anyway...)
TOM: ...so my grandfather became -- still is -- a member, and my father's still tied up somehow. He wanted out a while ago, but they're reluctant to let him out "just like that".
DARIA: And you?
TOM: It's vague. I think Dad told them "hands off" from birth, but I remember old British guys being suspiciously kind to me... pretty much for as long as I can remember. But they haven't been in town for ages.
WILLOW: So, then... why did they come back?
TOM: Do you know what the Slayer is?
(Willow, Tara and Daria exchange glances)
EXT.: CHEZ MORGENDORFFER.
(Music: "Goo Goo Muck", The Cramps... okay, in the immortal words of Lew Richardson, any guesses?)
(We see a familiar (to the Daria fans, anyway) red convertible -- I haven't seen "Real Me", so I can't compare it to Giles's new one -- come up the street and park in front of said house. The door opens, and out comes... drum roll please... Amy Barksdale, Daria's aunt, the only member of Daria's family who's not a total annoyance, back from whatever void she's been in since "Through A Lens Darkly". Yes, Buffy fans, this is "da bomb" referred to in part three and relax, Daria fans, this will be done in the least clichéd manner possible. Honest. For a start, she's arriving at about one in the morning. She rings the doorbell, door opens, and Helen behind it looks tired and annoyed -- but not like she's just woken up. Words are exchanged, and Helen steps aside to let Amy in.)
INT.: MORGENDORFFER FRONT ROOM.
(Music continues. Amy, bag in hand, passes Helen, who shuts the door behind her.)
AMY: Thanks, sis. So, what keeps you up so late?
HELEN: There's a case going to court at the end of next week. (yawns)
AMY: (raised eyebrow) You sure you've found enough work for the idle hands?
(Helen lets out a frustrated groan)
INT.: MORGENDORFFER DINING ROOM.
(Music continues. Obviously, Helen's set up in here. Notes, pen and paper, rapidly cooling mug of coffee, closed laptop (a crappy Acer job, but it'll do the job... some of the time) and enough same-looking files to make a small rainforest nervous. Neither Amy nor Helen sit down.)
HELEN: So, Amy, is there... (pause, unsure of how to go on)
AMY: You wouldn't be able to get me a coffee, would you? I've been driving half the night.
HELEN: Not a problem. Now, can I just ask why... (and we hear the female scream from earlier) Oh, God.
AMY: Is that...
(They rush as one to the stairs.)
INT.: QUINN'S BEDROOM.
(Helen and Amy throw open the door to see Quinn being pinned down,
the vampire's fangs at her throat.)
... and set her up with this kid who grew up so coddled that chewing gum and the Beatles are acts of teenage rebellion -- just don't ask... : Watch "The New Kid" instead.
TIFFANY: Handmade... that's sooo wrooonngg... : This whole scene should demonstrate my complete and total ignorance of all things fashion-related. Something the majority of Daria fans take pride in, or would if they gave a shit.
Music: "Goo Goo Muck", The Cramps : Thanks to Dariadom's resident 70's and 80's punk expert Crazy Nutso for soundtrack suggestion... even if I didn't wind up using it for what I originally said I would.
INT.: QUINN'S BEDROOM.
(Music: "The Drama You've Been Craving", Sleater-Kinney)
(Sandi has been punched out of the way and is in a corner, whimpering, a sound like a broken foghorn. Stacy, cowering in an adjacent corner, is looking at Sandi in undiluted shock -- Sandi's... scared? No way! Meanwhile, Quinn is pinned to the floor by the bed, a game-faced Tiffany's (yes, Tiffany) fangs at her throat. Fun for the whole family. So much that of course the grown-ups -- Helen and Aunt Amy [not Madison] -- have to burst through the door and spoil it.)
AUNT AMY: (pulling Tiffany off of Quinn, holds her above her at arm's length) Now, Quinn, I've heard of the popular having bitchy fakes instead of real friends, but when they try to drink your blood it's going a little too far. I really think it's time you found other people to hang out with. (pause) Is there anything made of wood in here?
(Tiffany slashes a couple of times at Amy's arm with a free claw, drawing blood.)
AUNT AMY: (still holding on, talks quickly, sounds quietly desperate) Helen. I can't hold on forever. Unless I get something wooden in my hand now, if we are lucky your second born and all the rest of us will die. A pencil will do. (Helen, frantically but fruitlessly searching, passes a pencil over. A plastic one. Amy grabs it, brings Tiffany down and nails the heart, no result, naturally.) I said wood, dammi--
(Tiffany swipes at Amy's stomach with a claw. And gets it. Amy keels over, dropping the vampire and clutching at the wounds, letting out a kind of strangled scream/gasp. Quinn is still on the bed, staring in shock, just screams.)
EXT. AMY'S CAR.
(Amy has a passenger. Who rushes out and into the house on hearing the second scream.)
INT.: JANE'S ROOM.
(Music: "You Stole The Sun From My Heart", Manic Street Preachers. The Mogwai remix, of course. Give me some credit. Start about three minutes in, when the vocals end.)
(Jane has, consciously or otherwise, shifted away from Daria and further away from her bedroom door, where Tom is still standing, staring at the latter in a mix of shock and... no, shock about covers it. Willow and Tara look on, part bemused, part still seriously worried.)
TOM: (not a question) You're the new Slayer.
DARIA: (safety in deadpan) Apparently. I know I couldn't use a pocket knife with that much finesse and skill before.
TOM: A pocket knife?
WILLOW: Jane's brother's band were playing at a club... the Zon?
JANE: Zen. They'd just come off stage, Daria and I went backstage to meet them, and there was a vampire there with a claw at my brother's throat. And then Charlie's Wiccans here came in and started throwing holy water around...
(Tom looks on... mesmerised would be the best word to describe his facial expression.)
INT.: QUINN'S ROOM.
(Silence except for the music: Marilyn Manson's cover of "Suicide is Painless".)
(Amy is on the ground, still holding her stomach, as if she's worried it may fall out. Given the depth of the scratch she got, this is probably a good idea. Some time in the piece, Stacy's fainted, and Sandi doesn't look much better off. Neither does Helen, for that matter. Tiffany is on Quinn...)
INT.: JANE'S ROOM.
(Same as before, except Tom has moved in and found a seat across from where Jane usually sits to paint. Reprise You Stole The Sun...)
TARA: (quiet) ... the vampire turned around, and it was someone... one of Willow's old friends. (look of alarm and sympathy from Tom)
WILLOW: (not okay) It's okay. It's... she doesn't even look like the Amy Madison I knew did. And she doesn't act like her either.
EXT.: MORGENDORFFER FRONT DOOR.
(Manson and silence continue -- Aunt Amy's passenger is struggling with the locked front door.)
INT.: JANE'S ROOM.
(Manics again, continue switching sound between houses)
WILLOW: And it doesn't matter, because while she was going all gloaty, Daria came up behind her, and...
INT.: QUINN'S ROOM.
(Tiffany pulls back, fangs bared... and dives into Quinn's neck. Blood spurts wildly. The pink bedsheets quickly start to turn red...)
INT.: JANE'S ROOM.
TOM: (mild disbelief) And the vamp ran out? With the pocket knife still buried in its neck? (nods from the group) That has to be the... (shakes head) Just tell me there was nothing on it that could trace it back to you.
DARIA: (blanching) It was engraved with Dad's name...
EXT.: MORGENDORFFER FRONT DOOR.
(Manson continues. Amy's passenger is still struggling. A loud snap is heard and the door flies open, the passenger running in and towards the staircase.)
INT.: QUINN'S ROOM.
(Manson continues. Amy can barely pick herself up from her wounds. Helen, Stacy and Sandi are still in shock. Tiffany is still feeding on Quinn, but the latter looks a lot paler and it looks like there's not much blood left... an idea borne out by Tiffany pulling back and giving a reasonable and far more terrifying impression of the Mona Lisa smirk, opening a blood vessel at her throat with a claw and bowing down towards Quinn...)
(The wooden door is flung open courtesy of Amy's passenger, and part of the side is ripped off, down to the handle. The piece of wood is then redirected towards Tiffany's heart, and there's dust as well as blood on the bedsheets. Music stops.)
MEANWHILE, BACK IN SUNNYDALE...
(Music: "Jesus Built My Hotrod", Ministry, continues through scene)
(A man in a cheap suit, who bears a passing resemblance to Roger Moore, is running very fast towards the camera. Out of one hand drops a pistol -- empty. Out of the other drops a large black briefcase, which flies along the ground beside him for a few metres with a loud scrapping noise, but remains shut. Behind him comes a small pack of three-foot-tall blue-skinned creatures, built like small dinosaurs, with mottled green scalps, black lower bodies, huge jaws, long, scorpion-like tails and short but nasty curved silver-white claws on the end of each arm.)
INT.: MAUSOLEUM. SPECIFICALLY, SPIKE'S.
(Music continues. The door bursts open, and "Roger" half-runs, half-stumbles in.)
SPIKE: (O/S) What the HELL?
(Meet William the Bloody, Daria fans. British vampire introduced as S2's Big Bad, called Spike because he used to enjoy torturing his victims with railway spikes. "Used to" because the ever-lame pseudo-X-Files villains known as the Initiative stuck a V-chip in his head early on in Buffy S4, rendering him unable to harm anything human or even point a water pistol at one without getting the headache from Hades, or possibly the aftermath of one of CB's "crash-outs", if she'd ever tell us what they were... but I digress even more than usual. Anyway, this forced him to temporarily seek help from Buffy and Co. and later to have him wind up here. Probably one of the if not the most popular character the show's ever had, and rightfully so. Oh, appearance? Black duster à la Canadibrit's Tour of Duty, red shirt à la Jane, cheekbones à la the more attractive members (not that I'd know...) of the English men's soccer team, peroxide dye-job à la Billy Idol.)
(Roger looks up, and sees a few hundred pounds of pissed-off British bloodsucker glaring at him. That "gulp" sound you hear could well be our man Moore swallowing his own tongue.)
SPIKE: Now. Let's assess the situation, shall we? I'm sitting here, relaxed, enjoying the "Classic Passions" reruns -- which I've just missed the end of thanks to you -- trying to figure out when I should go out and get some (goes game, shouts/growls) FOOD, (back to normal) when you come bursting in uninvited, disturbing the furniture, not shutting the door properly and generally being a bloody pain in the arse!
SPIKE: Give me one reason why I shouldn't kill you, now, slowly and violently, and bathe in or perhaps just drink your blood. (no response) I'm waiting...
ROGER: (still gibbering, almost comprehensible) M-m-m-mo... bl-bl-blue m-m-m-monsters... af-f-ter me... (squeaks)
SPIKE: Monsters, eh? Well isn't that interesting. Now, I wonder... which monsters are scarier? The ones out there... or ME? (leaps, game, in Roger's face, he cowers back against the door) Oh, you're pathetic. Get the fuck out of here. (he's still cowering) What part of "get out" do you not understand? (walks forward, Roger cowers further back, Spike throws the door open and lobs Roger out with it...)
(... straight into the open jaws of one of the creatures. Who throws him onto the ground -- Roger screams, a rather pathetic sound -- and begins scrabbling at the left part of his chest with those claws. The other creatures quickly join in, equal numbers on either side of the chest. The screams get louder, less pathetic. Bits of blood, gore and bone are seen being flung over the shoulders of the things -- an inhuman howl comes from the human -- and two of the creatures on either side start hold aloft some bean-shaped objects like trophies, their companions leaping up and down as if in celebration. They scamper off, leaving Roger conspicuously not groaning, and we see what the trophies are -- Roger's kidneys.)
EXT.: MAUSOLEUM DOOR.
(Spike, recovering from the headache, sees all this go on, part impressed and part wistful. Then he sees Roger's not breathing and takes on what can only be called a manic grin. Looking round in case the creatures return, he steps quietly out to the body and checks it for a pulse or any other signs of life. Finding none, he picks the corpse up, sinks his fangs into the back of the neck, and feeds messily and eagerly. Dropping the body, he looks around again for any possible witnesses, and instead sets eyes on the briefcase. Throwing the body over his shoulder, he goes over to check it out...)
(Spike shoves the body into a spare coffin, closing the lid. Then he opens out the briefcase. It contains a stack of manila folders... the topmost of which is labelled "Chip Removal". Spike's eyes bulge like he can't believe his luck (and I'm sure the same can be said for some of the audience, but if you can't keep your disbelief suspended I'm not sure what you're doing reading this fic. Not enjoying it much, that's for certain...) and pulls it out, flipping it open. A few pages in, it has a list of "Laboratories capable of Dæmonis chip installation and removal: Cinquno, NM [shut down]... Sunnydale, CA [destroyed]... Billings, MN [under repairs]... Baltimore, MD... the last of which is circled in red pen. Spike grins...)
NOW, BACK TO THE OTHER, MORE INTERESTING SIDE OF THE CONTINENT. HEY, QUIT WITH THE SNICKERING.
INT.: JANE'S ROOM.
(Daria is slightly slumped on the bed. Jane and Tom aren't looking much happier.)
TARA: Well, m-maybe they won't have noticed. Or maybe it was too... small to get engraved? (Jane snorts. Daria just sighs.) But... but you're Slayer girl! You got her once, you can get her again!
WILLOW: (following on) It's only one vampire! Go back home and stock up and you and us'll wait for her and kick her ass!
DARIA: One vampire? At the Zen, yeah. We don't know how many she has with her.
WILLOW: (slight desperation) So? Buffy could take on ten, twelve at a time! In a prom dress and heels!
DARIA: Oh, gee. Funny thing -- I'm not this Buffy of which you speak. This is my first time out. I've never fought one face to face. I don't want or intend to fight one face to face.
JANE: (harsh tone, similar to "The Lab Brat") Whatever the kids at school say, Daria and I have never been into suicide.
WILLOW: (desperation) So what are you going to do? Hide in a closet... sucking your thumb until the world ends? Which it probably would have done four, five times over if Buffy hadn't been there to stop it!
DARIA: (cold, deadly) I'm. Not. Buffy. I don't even know who Buffy is. I don't know how to stop an apocalypse, and if everyone really is as stupid as they seem to be acting right now, I want to find out how to start one.
TOM: And if that vampire had her claws at your mother's throat, would you still be saying that?
(Daria gives Tom a glare that says "I'm going to come up with a sharp, world-beating comeback any second now, and you will be properly shamed and silenced." The glare stays for several seconds.)
(The phone rings.)
JANE: (frustrated) Will someone please unplug that fucking thing?
(Instead, Tara dives to pick it up.)
TARA: (nervous, well, more than usual) Hello... Lane residence.
(Diagonal phone split-screen, it's Helen on the other end.)
HELEN: (forced saccharine can't hide worry) Hello. Er, who is this?
TARA: Oh, uh... T-Tara Maclay. One of, uh, Jane's friends.
HELEN: Oh, that's great! (pause) Can I speak to... is Daria there?
TARA: For Daria... Uh, who is this? (everyone in Jane's room looks up, suspicious)
HELEN: Oh, I'm sorry, it's her mother. Helen Morgendorffer.
TARA: It's your mom, Daria. (mass relief as she hands over the phone)
DARIA: (exhausted) Hey, Mom.
HELEN: Hello, Daria. Look, I know you were going to spend the night over at Jane's, but something's come up at home, Amy's here, Quinn's hurt and I was hoping you could come back home tonight?
DARIA: Aunt Amy? (raises eyebrows, pause) How's Quinn?
HELEN: I'm not sure... at the hospital, they sai--
DARIA: (not more...) The hospital?
HELEN: Oh, I can't do this over the phone, Daria. Can you please get home?
DARIA: (sigh) I'll see what I can do... (covers mouthpiece) Uhm, guys...
INT.: TRENT'S RUSTING BLUE PLYMOUTH. GLEN OAKS LANE.
(Tom is at the wheel, with Daria shotgun and Willow, Tara and Jane in the back seat. Assorted homemade anti-vamp equipment (hastily-nailed-together crosses, roughly-carved stakes) and various small occult-looking objects make the car seem even more crowded. They pull up in front of the Morgendorffers', and Tom produces a mobile phone from one pocket in the infamous cargo pants and a small crossbow from the one opposite.)
TOM: Okay, Daria, we'll wait a little down the road. It's only a few hours until sunrise. First sign of vampires or other... undesirables coming toward your place and we either call or come running. And shooting.
(Daria nods, not looking like she wants to or even can talk, and gets out.)
INT.: MORGENDORFFER BASEMENT.
(Darkness, we can just see a hand fumbling for the light switch. It finds it and the room is dimly lit from a single bulb. A subdued Jake goes down a couple of stairs, but stops when he notices Helen and Aunt Amy aren't moving.)
HELEN: (sharp but weary) Relax, Jake, Quinn'll be just fine at the hospital. (turns to Amy) What are you looking for, anyway?
AUNT AMY: (stops, looks round basement) A flashlight. That one over there'll do. (points to a torch on the far side of the room, pause) Jake, you're closest... (he goes down)
HELEN: What do you need a flashlight for, anyway?
(Amy leads Helen out the basement door, and shuts it behind her.)
AUNT AMY: I just figured it would be useful.
(Helen looks puzzled at this, and even more puzzled at the door. And most puzzled of all when a hand clasps around her mouth from behind.)
VOICE: (in Helen's ear) Make one noise or sudden move and you and your husband get to watch each other die.
HELEN: B-bu... wh-wh...
(The hand tightens.)
AUNT AMY: (moving to lock the basement door) Do what the girl says, Helen. (looks toward the assailant) Took you long enough, Tav. (Camera follows -- Aunt Amy's passenger is Tav, aka Amy Madison. Confused yet?)
TAV/AMY: Not like you can talk, Aleph.
ALEPH/AUNT AMY: True. (doorbell rings in the background) That'd
be Daria. She's late. (walks off, presumably to the door, stops and
looks back) Oh, and sis? (Helen stares at her sister, still
totally shocked) Be careful now. You don't want to do anything
Music: Marilyn Manson's cover of "Suicide is Painless". : I prefer the Manics version, actually, but never mind...
... Behind him comes a small pack of three-foot-tall blue-skinned creatures... : The only thing stopping me from presenting you with a picture of one of these things is a complete and total lack of artistic ability, regardless of medium. Any takers from the many fanartists I know are out there?
The entire Spike scene is loosely based on Soulstarsinger's "The Spy Who Fed Me". And for the record, my favourite Bond actor is that nice Dalton guy. Do you have a problem with that?
WILLOW: ... Hide in a closet... sucking your thumb until the world ends? Which it probably would have done four, five times over if Buffy hadn't been there to stop it! : One: The Harvest. Two: Prophecy Girl. Three: Becoming. Four: The Zeppo. Five: Doomed. Let me know if I missed any.
TAV/AMY: Not like you can talk, Aleph. / ALEPH/AUNT AMY: True. : Oh, please. Don't tell me you didn't see this one coming.
EXT.: MORGENDORFFER FRONT DOOR.
(Music: "Mantra for the Lost", Catatonia)
(Daria rings the doorbell. Fast cut to her other hand -- a stake is there, held tightly and professionally, ready for any nasties that may be on the other side. The door opens, it's her aunt Amy, aka "Aleph". Just to clarify: Aleph/Amy is Daria's aunt Amy Barksdale, Tav/Amy is the former rat and witch Amy Madison. Pity Daria doesn't know that, as she discreetly puts the stake in a pocket and goes into the house with something that might just be a relieved smile for her aunt.)
INT.: MORGENDORFFER DINING ROOM.
(Music continues. Daria's sitting down at the dining table, looking exhausted.)
ALEPH/AMY: (O/S) You look like hell. Just get back?
DARIA: Don't even joke about that. (Aleph/Amy sets down a couple of mugs of coffee on the table and sits down next to Daria.) You don't know what you're talking about.
ALEPH/AMY: (rather too much like classic Daria) Excuse me?
DARIA: (can't stay mad) It started when... (drops her head) It's too much. We -- Jane and I -- were back at the Zen. Backstage. You know Jane's brother's band, they'd just come off stage, and we saw him... in a stranglehold, with a claw at his throat.
ALEPH/AMY: (credible imitation of surprise) A claw?
INT.: MORGENDORFFER MASTER BEDROOM.
(Helen is in the bed, sleeping a little too peacefully. Tav/Amy Madison comes in with Jake, also unconscious, held over her shoulder sack-of-potatoes-style and dumps him unceremoniously on the bed.)
INT.: DINING ROOM.
(Aleph/Amy is smirking, just a little, knowing what Daria's talking about. Daria's still looking away, her head in her hands, and doesn't notice.)
ALEPH/AMY: (face becoming sympathetic) A claw, Daria? But what...
DARIA: (looks up) I can't talk about this. (Aleph feigns sorrow and even a little chagrin) I can't. (shakes head) Can I...
ALEPH/AMY: Have some time alone? (Daria nods) Sure. (She leaves, Daria looks after her aunt uneasily, in what could be suspicion)
(Music: "The Waitress", Tori Amos)
("Tav" is just coming down the stairs, but stops near the bottom on seeing "Aleph". She opens her mouth to speak to her fellow Amy, but stops to a quick ssh! gesture from "Aleph".)
TAV/AMY: (quietly) Why'd you want to just knock the parents out, Aleph? As opposed to, say, killing them as potential threats? This's the kind of mistake that makes you lose all respect for Bond-movie villains.
ALEPH/AMY: It's supposed to be traditional for vampires to torture and/or kill their loved ones at the first opportunity after getting turned, so I figured I'd better play it safe.
TAV/AMY: It is? Damn. So why didn't you...?
ALEPH/AMY: (shrugs) As priceless as the look on Mom's face would be, it just wasn't worth the trip. But if she asks me to another one of those anniversary celebrations... (shakes head, is that a shudder?) And as for you, you told me about "Catherine the Great" and you never asked about your dad.
TAV/AMY: Well maybe I should have. (pause) But why do you want to turn her, anyway? She knows what we are, and... she's a Slayer for Hecate's sake! What if there's some weird side-effect when they get vamped?
ALEPH/AMY: (rubbing a small silver ring on her right forefinger) Then we deal with it. Daria's my niece, and the only relative I've got who I'd want to spend ten minutes with, let alone eternity. And she could use the confidence boost.
(Turn up the music... o/~ if I did it fast, you know that's an act of kindness o/~ ... and pause)
(f/x: quiet bootsteps from near the door)
(The two Amies look at each other and head straight for the noise)
INT.: DINING ROOM.
(Daria is back in her seat, trying to look nonchalant. And failing miserably. One hand is on her stake, the other on the cordless phone.)
DARIA: (to phone, urgent, quiet) Willow? Move. Two vamps, one's the one we met at the Zen, they've got my parents sedated upstairs and want to turn me. And I don't even want to know what they've done with Qu-- (Aleph/Amy comes through the door, a familiar deadpan frown on her face.)
DARIA: (stands up, drops phone, kicks chair under table, safety in deadpan) Thanks, Aunt "Aleph", but I want to hold onto my soul for now. You wouldn't believe how much they're going for on the free market.
ALEPH/AMY: I'm guessing it's enough to cover a pair of contact lenses.
(Restart "The Waitress", the chorus, nice and loud...)
(Daria looks at Aleph/Amy, incredulous, and each waits for the other to make the first move. Sounds of a car roaring up the drive...)
(Aleph/Amy goes game and leaps forward around the table, lunging for Daria's head. Specifically, her glasses. Daria dodges... but not quickly enough. The glasses clatter into a chair leg, and one of the lenses cracks badly.)
(Cut to Daria's POV -- blurry and astigmatic, worse than in Through A Lens Darkly even. She can just make out an Aleph-shaped blur around the table, moving quickly towards her, with her running away, at opposite sides of the table following its edge. Round once, change direction, round again...)
(Daria moves around the table and near to the wall. Cut underneath the table, Amy makes a sudden lunge to one side, grabs the edge, and gets a kick around to Daria's legs. Vampire regains footing, Slayer hits the floor.)
("Tav" takes the opportunity to enter through the door "Aleph" came through, and both move towards Daria, who isn't looking like she'll be getting up anytime soon.)
ALEPH/AMY: Slayer sight not kicked in yet?
(Daria's POV again -- it's a lot less blurry than before and getting steadily clearer with time)
DARIA: Actually... (sweeps "Tav"'s legs out from under her and rolls, knocking the fallen vampire out of the way and climbing onto her feet as "Aleph" dives for her and misses.) It has. (Slams the door behind her)
(Music continues. Daria rushes up it and stops at the top, looking back and hearing a door downstairs rattle open.)
DARIA: Damn horror-movie instincts... (turns and runs down the hall)
DOWNSTAIRS: DINING ROOM.
(The other door is thrown open. Willow and Tom lead the way, the latter with a crossbow cocked and ready, the former armed with what looks like some kind of ceremonial knives. Tara and Jane follow, with assorted spell paraphernalia and slightly less ceremonial knives respectively. We just see "Aleph" disappearing the way Daria did, and "Tav" staying for the face-off.)
UPSTAIRS: MASTER BEDROOM.
(Music continues. Daria slides in the door and shuts it none too gently behind her. Seeing her parents apparently alive and uninjured on the bed, she lets out what might have been a sigh of relief if she wasn't panting so much (out of desperation rather than exhaustion). Quickly, she turns the thumblatch on the door and grabs a chair to blockade it. Not happy with the setup but unable to see anything better, she goes to the bed to check on her parents, Helen first.)
DARIA: (quiet and urgent) Mom? Mom? (touches her, no response) Mom? (shakes Helen) Wake up, dammit...
(f/x: someone knocks on the door)
(Daria moves, with speed best depicted with heavy use of a motion blur, pulling a stake out of her jacket and moving the arm up, to the door, which gets blown off its hinges by a hip-and-shoulder from "Aleph", and all in the same fluid movement, Daria's stake plunges into the incoming vampire's side.)
DOWNSTAIRS: DINING ROOM.
(Music: "Rabbit With Fangs", Magic Dirt)
(Jane, Willow, Tara and Tom are at one end of the room. "Tav" is at the other. A crossbow bolt is embedded in the door ten centimetres to Tav's left. Neither side looks to be making a move. Can you say stand-off?)
TAV/AMY: Now, I'm kinda new to this whole final battle thing, but isn't someone supposed to be attacking? (She looks at her opponents. Jane is smirking to cover up nervousness, Tara and Tom aren't smirking, Willow is unreadable) Or moving, even? (no reaction, she shrugs) Well, if you insist... (lunges for them)
TARA: (quickly, quietly) Deixe o Ãblo seus dusero justos e o bon melhor receber do que...
("Tav" freezes in place a few inches from Willow's throat, unable to move)
JANE: (deadpan, deadly) We insist.
UPSTAIRS: MASTER BEDROOM.
(Music continues on until further notice. Daria gently pulls the stake out, replaces it in her pocket and lets "Aleph" slump to the floor, apparently motionless. Breathing hard, she stares at the vampire, not fully believing what she sees. Breaking the gaze, she turns back towards the bed, to check on Jake. "Aleph" opens an eye, then slowly, quietly gets up, into a sprinter's starting pose. Daria is at the bedside, looking sadly down at her father. Then "Aleph" jumps for her.)
(Daria spins around, her left boot outstretched, swatting "Aleph" in the head. The vampire half-lands on the far end of the bed, rolls off and back up into a fighting pose with a growl. She's bleeding badly from the wound... makes you wonder why neither Buffy nor Faith nor Kendra thought to wear steel-toe boots...)
DOWNSTAIRS: DINING ROOM.
("Tav" still can't move. Willow and Tara are scattering some kind of fine, pale orange powder around the room. Tom and Jane have moved in nice and close to the vampire to play "bad cop, worse cop".)
JANE & TOM: (simultaneous, both half-growls, Jane's barely a whisper, Tom's reminiscent of Giles in Ripper mode) Where's Daria, you bitch?
(They glare at each other)
("Aleph", backing out of the room, gets helped along by a movie one-two from Daria. Picking herself up, she sees Daria trying the same move again, bobs and weaves, and gets a nasty cross of her own into Daria's neck, enough to get a break in the exchange.)
ALEPH/AMY: Ah, youth. (Daria winces) You don't know much about fighting, do you?
DARIA: (catching breath) First night out.
ALEPH/AMY: It shows. (goes game, telegraphs a punch to Daria's lower stomach) Believe me, it shows. (the Slayer only just gets a block down in time) Aren't you forgetting something? (Daria remembers her stake, pulls it out, and "Aleph" starts showing a little more respect...)
DOWNSTAIRS: DINING ROOM.
(Jane and Tom look like they're not sure who to throttle first, "Tav" or each other, while Tara and Willow especially are busy trying to ignore the other three and get on with the spell (p)reparations.)
TOM: (realises Daria'll be happier if he throttles the vampire first) Is the spell messing with your hearing or something? Where. Is. My. Girlfriend?
JANE: (realises she'll be happier if she throttles the ex first)Girlfriend? I knew you mov--
WILLOW: (à la "The Dark Age") SHUT UP, you two! There is a Slayer under attack somewhere in this building and I for one would like to see her alive come sunrise!
(Daria launches a long kick, quite awkward in a skirt and heavy boots. "Aleph" is dressed more practically, and dodges out of the way.)
ALEPH/AMY: This really isn't getting anything done.
DARIA: No problem. For me, anyway. What time's sunrise again? ("Aleph" barely bats an eyelid, Daria looks disappointed)
ALEPH/AMY: You think you can hold on that long?
DARIA: (Buffyesque smirk) I don't know. Can you? (sweeps a leg at the vampire's shins, "Aleph" gets knocked over. Daria moves in, delivers another kick to the ribcage, and leans over, stake raised...)
DOWNSTAIRS: DINING ROOM.
(Jane and Tom are still glaring at each other, resentful. Willow looks militant. Tara looks worried. "Tav" sees an opportunity.)
TAV/AMY: (quietly, quickly)Eu quero destruir este serveuse...
WILLOW: Don't let her finish!
TAV/AMY: ...conheço-a que é... (Tom gets his left hand around her neck) (choked) ...ãm... b-bont--é... (Tom covers her mouth with his other hand. She goes game -- he pulls away, clutching at his bleeding right hand) (clearly, triumphant) da ação! (now free from the spell, she snaps a front kick at Tom's knees and pushes him away.)
("Aleph" catches in both hands the arm holding the stake and pushes it away with some effort, then sweeps her own legs around and takes Daria down. Standing up, she takes the opportunity to stomp on her niece's kidney before picking her up and throwing her, with great velocity, at the closed door behind them. Not shut properly in the first place, it flies open.)
(Daria's fall is cushioned by a padded wall -- she's been thrown into her own bedroom. She coughs, not just from any dust. Pulling herself back onto her feet with unslayerlike effort, she moves into a more attacking position, the Slayer instincts reasserting themselves.)
DOWNSTAIRS: DINING ROOM.
(Jane moves in with a fist raised. "Tav" blocks with an arm and punches her once, twice, delivers a kick to her stomach, watchers her fold, and turns to Willow and Tara.)
TAV/AMY: (shaking head, obligatory villain-demoralises-hero speech) You never were much of a witch, Willow. I got stuck as a rat for most of a year and all you could do for me was put in a damn exercise wheel. Then something changes me back, think it called itself the First or something, and sends me the way of your Slaying friend's freshly-vamped-from-Hawaii aunt... I remember it all pretty well, it's the big moments like that which change your life. (pause, nobody moves) But one thing I do forget... why am I wasting time playing tell-all biographer? (moves fast and casually, grabs Tara around the throat) This is more like it. New friend, Wills?
UPSTAIRS: DARIA'S ROOM.
(Daria and her aunt, quite simply, start laying into each other. They're maybe arm's length from one another, the stoic frowns on each face barely masking a grim kind of determination. Blows fly back and forth at random... "Aleph" relies on experience to keep her fighting. The Slayer relies on luck, instinct and the expertise of the good Doctor Marten. Good enough, clearly, to knock another nasty wound into the vampire's hip area and send her sprawling into her desk. The computer jolts as "Aleph" looks up to see...)
DARIA: (very bitter sarcasm, stake ready) Ah, the aged. I shouldn't have done that, should I? Arthritis and all that...
ALEPH/AMY: (blithe) Ah, youth. One thing you're gonna have to learn... It's not smart to gloat until you've (goes game, roars, snap kicks into Daria's wrist) finished the job!
(The stake goes flying off at an angle and clatters near the door. Daria hesitates momentarily, glancing in mild shock at her empty hand, and in that moment "Aleph" is back on her feet, with the Slayer in a bear hug, and fangs in her right shoulder. Blood spurts wildly. Daria struggles violently, and in one sudden jerk manages to tear her shoulder out from under her aunt's fangs, which take a fair chunk of her flesh out with them and brush the still-bleeding wound in Aleph's forehead over the bite. Spitting the flesh out, the vampire pulls pack, and briefly looks over her now tired, injured niece. Then she surges back in, smashing Daria into the wall, not allowing for any resistance as she starts feeding again.)
DOWNSTAIRS: DINING ROOM.
(Tara, unable to see her assailant or, for that matter, breathe very well, is quietly trying not to whimper, her face absolute fear. "Tav" merely grins at Willow like the cat that swallowed the low-fat non-dairy cream substitute.)
WILLOW: Put her down!
(Jane is still on the floor, and sees Tom see where the vampire's attention is directed and quietly start edging his way around the room.)
TAV/AMY: (after a long pause) There's so much I could say to that. (goes game and makes a shallow cut in Tara's neck) But I'll stick with a simple "no". (slowly licks the blood from the wound)
WILLOW: (pulls a stake from a pocket, waves it threateningly) Put... her... down.
TAV/AMY: No... no... (growls) NO! (puts her fangs in the cut, starts to feed)
WILLOW: (to Tom) Now. (Tom, now directly behind "Tav", tries to crash-tackle the vampire and is able to disorient the vampire enough for Willow to drop the stake, jump in, and get Tara out of harm's way.)
TOM: (breathless) Aaergh...
(We see him wresting with the vampire. Very close, very personal, very unpleasant. They keep rolling on the floor like that, someone might get the wrong idea. Jane picks herself up off the floor and starts bashing at the pair, aiming to get "Tav" off Tom. She succeeds... the vampire goes rolling towards Willow, who's still nursing Tara. With a cry, the vampire extends her claws and somehow pulls herself up to attack her former classmate. Willow, moving too fast to think, scrabbles for a stake and rakes it across Tav's chest. The vampire's sheer momentum pushes her onto the stake just as it goes near her heart, and a cloud of dust scatters over Willow and Tara.)
(The four just stare at each other in shock and exhaustion. Then Jane casts her eyes in the direction of the door the other Amy went through...)
UPSTAIRS: DARIA'S ROOM.
(Music: "Image of You", Red Snapper)
("Aleph" stops feeding, and sets a nearly-unconscious Daria against the wall. Lightly cutting part of her neck with a claw, she gently pulls her niece's mouth over the cut.)
INT.: UPSTAIRS HALLWAY.
(Music continues. Jane, Tom, Willow and Tara reach the top of the stairs and, by unspoken agreement, go to one door each. Jane sees the damage to Quinn's door and moves quickly that way, Tara goes to the master bedroom, Willow the Morgendorffer daughters' shared bathroom, and Tom waits a little before approaching Daria's room.)
TARA: Well, at least the p-parents l-look all right...
WILLOW: Bathroom's fine.
JANE: It looks like they were in here...
TARA: T-tom? Are you OK?
TOM: (O/S, from inside Daria's room, choked) No, I'm not.
INT.: DARIA'S ROOM.
(Jane rushes in, closely followed by Willow and Tara. They all stop just past the door in shock... Amy and Daria are conspicuously absent, the window is in pieces on the floor, and there's a note above the bed. Written on the wall in what looks like blood.)
MY FAVORITE NIECE
(Slow fade out. Roll credits to "Image of You".)
ALEPH/AMY: you told me about "Catherine the Great"... : See the Buffy episode "The Witch".
TAV/AMY: Well maybe I should have. : Line from Kara Wild's classic "None in the Family" too ironic in this context to leave out.
Daria's POV again -- it's a lot less blurry than before and getting steadily clearer with time... : Just to make things clear (groan), my theories on Slayer sight... We've never seen a Slayer need glasses, and any kind of vision problem would get in the way of Slaying, so I'm assuming that they have a greatly-accelerated of the normal human eye's adjustment properties, meaning that they'd adapt in a few minutes/seconds/nanoseconds (depending on plot demands) to give a clear image regardless of what weird "corrective" lenses may be in the way. This would also require them to readjust when the lenses are removed. </pseudoscience>
TARA: (quickly, quietly) Deixe o Ãblo seus dusero justos e o bon melhor receber do que... : I suck at coming up with good spell incantations, so the lines above are ones I picked at random, ran through the Babelfish translator from English to French, French to German, German back to English, and the resultant gibberish into Portuguese (the least used, so I figured it'd be the worst translation) and changed one or two letters, and words which had stayed in English for whatever reason (if the good folks at Altavista Translations are to be believed, those poor Portuguese don't have a word for evil...)
... Daria's fall is cushioned by a padded wall -- she's been thrown into her own bedroom... : Memo to confused Buffy fans: the previous owner of Daria's family's house kept his schizophrenic shut-in mother in what became Daria's room. Hence the padding... and the handrails (which, if made out of any hard material, would probably totally defeat the purpose of the padding...)
TAV/AMY: ... Then something changes me back, think it called itself the First or something... : The First Evil, as seen in the Buffy episode "Amends", possibly as foreshadowing of or a counterpoint to the First Slayer ("Primaeval", "Restless"), I'm not sure. Right down there with the Oracles/Powers That Be for the Crappiest Idea Ever To Escape Joss's Mind award. A thin, lame concept IMHO, so I figured I'd use it for a thin, lame excuse.
Oh yeah, and you can blame Canadibrit for the ending. I wanted something nastier.
DISCLAIMER: Any characters/events/situations/whatever relating to Buffy the Vampire Slayer are property of Fox and Joss. I'm using them more for the mythology than the characters and have no qualms about killing off and/or torturing one or two. Don't say I didn't warn you. Any characters/events/situations/whatever relating to Daria are property of Viacom, Glenn and Susie. Please don't sue me. Anything that can't be traced to either show is probably mine, and anyone attempting to use or post it without my permission will meet the combined wrath (if I can convince them) of the twisted minds of Canadibrit (great Dariafic author) and Gunbunny (great Buffyfic author) -- so cruel and unusual punishment, respectively.