Woooo… Here we go, my first Daria fan fiction piece placed somewhere before season 5 but after Jane’s Addition (In an Alternate Universe obviously…). Hopefully it won’t suck. I’ll shut up now… One more thing though: I don’t own Daria or any of the icons, characters, or situations in it. That honor belongs to Viacom and I’m not contesting that. I don’t intend to make any money from this and just hope that this doesn’t get sued. Please! Feedback welcome at email@example.com.
Requiem for an Amiga
Jane was dead. Somewhere in Daria’s mind the phrase repeated over and over, a part of her unwilling to accept the fact that one person she had ever let through her shields and into her soul was gone. Daria was walking to school in late April, not feeling the chill wind that cut through the air like a mournful emissary. Jane was dead. The thought came again and awoke unwelcome memories in its passing. It had happened a week ago, Jane and Trent were going to come over and they were all going to go out for pizza. "We’ll be over in a half hour, Daria. Don’t forget that Trent is driving us so you’d better have your kissing lips on!" Daria grimaced at the statement before responding in her normal monotone, "Jane you’d better hope that I don’t figure out how to culture anthrax in the near future or you’re going to wake up with a room full of spores one day." Jane laughed the threat away, her blue eyes sparkling with delight, "Just be ready when we get there. See you later Amiga."
Daria had went downstairs and waited while reading her book. She had chewed through three chapters of Dune Messiah before she looked up and saw that an hour had passed. Raising an eyebrow in bemusement, Daria went over to the kitchen phone, and called Jane. The phone rang and rang, no one picking up, no answering machine kicking in. "Heh," She said to herself. She went back to her book. She thought, "Must be car trouble and they are down getting it fixed." Later that evening, as the Morgendorfers sat down to dinner, lasagna, the phone rang. Helen got up and answered it in her usual cheerful lawyer tone, "Hello?" "Yes this is the Morgendorfer residence." "Daria is here. Do you want to speak with her?" Helen held the cordless out to a now interested Daria and an official sounding voice at the other end of the line began to speak, "Daria Morgendorfer?" "This is she," Daria warily responded. "Miss Morgendorfer, we need you to come down to the hospital and identify two accident victims for us, information on the bodies seemed to indicate that you would know them." Alarm and confusion swirled in her mind, though none of it reached her voice, "May I ask who you suspect the victims are?" "Fair enough, Miss Morgendorfer. The two seem to be siblings, one Trent and Jane Lane. The male is still…" Daria stopped listening at that point, her focus drawn inward as she fought to keep her emotions from boiling over. She blurted out, "I can be right over." The others in the room looked at her curiously a moment as Daria asked like nothing was wrong, "Mom. I need a favor…"
The sight of the school snapped Daria out of her flashback as she entered the halls of Lawndale Highschool. She walked alone, ignoring the other students as they did the same. Coming upon her locker, a familiar sight greeted her eyes: Kevin, local sports monkey, making out with the incredible inflatable Britney. Normally she would have pulled out her whistle and scattered the twosome like a flight of quail, but today she wasn’t feeling generous and wanted to do something more… permanent to keep them out of her hair. "Kevin," she whispered in his ear. Startled out of his lustful trance, Kevin jumped back in alarm, causing Britney to slam against the locker. "Oww Daria! What did you do that for?" Daria paused for a moment, plastering a fake thoughtful expression over her face before replying, "Just wanted your attention, Kevin. I come here every morning and see you two lip locking like there’s no tomorrow. Being a brain and all, I know some things, and I just can’t hold my silence anymore." Kevin looked confusedly at Britney, "Why is that Daria? It’s just kissing!" Britney chimed in, "Yeah! My Kevie loves to kiss me and it’s not like anything bad has happened…" "Yet." interjected Daria, her finger held aloft. "You’re both athletes, or close enough anyway, and spend time in the locker rooms." "Uh huh," the two nodded slowly as she continued.
"Well studies show that there are two kinds of fungus that settle in the boys and girls locker rooms respectively, each perfectly harmless on their own. They just sit there in dark corners and pump out spores." Kevin looked lost now, his lack of comprehension showing as his smile faltered, "Okay. So… what’s wrong with that?" Daria smiled inside as she activated her verbal trap, "Harmless on their own, but if the two breeds mix they make a particularly nasty growth that I don’t want to tell you about so soon after breakfast." She shook her head in simulated distaste as Britney asked, "What do these two funguses have to do with kissing?" "Well… spores settle on wet moist surfaces and cling there and since you go into the girls locker room and Kevin goes into the boys’… let’s just say that the risks are a little high for my taste that a cross section could occur…" Britney put two and two together, giving off an ‘Eeeep!’ as she fled to the girls’ room in desperate search for an antifungal soap. Kevin just stood there, the gears in his head knocked out of alignment by years of tackles. Eventually he looked down at Daria and asked, "Does this mean that I can’t kiss Britney anymore?" He looked sad as a beaten puppy, almost causing Daria to relent, but she hardened her resolve as she pulled the final snare. "Not at all Kevin, there is a simple way to kill the spores before they can cause any problems." "What is it?" Kevin almost bounced on his toes in eagerness. "All you have to do is take some ordinary lye from the janitor’s closet, apply it to your lips and drink some water. Burn away those spores, so fast they won’t have a chance." "Oh, yeah!! Thanks Daria!" Kevin sprinted away in search of the janitor’s closet.
Daria let her trademark smirk blossom to her lips as she used the solitary moment to get at her locker and pull out her books. The quiet voice of her conscience was silenced by her pride as she imagined the, "Good one, Daria! Way to smite the feeble minded of the world!" Jane would deliver when she heard about this." Daria stopped mid stride, as the knowledge ‘Jane is dead’ echoed through her head once more. The thundering finality of that phrase triggered another memory as she robotically made her way to class. The hospital was right. Jane and Trent were the two accident victims. Classic scenario really Daria morbidly mused, passenger side impact in a cross section. Jane was killed instantly as far as the hospital could tell and Trent was in a coma for the foreseeable future after driving his head through a window. The funeral was four days after that, a week from the present date, and a grim cloudy affair it was. Tom was there of course, looking lost in his finely tailored suit. Some teachers were there as well, Ms. Defoe looking the most sad. The scattered Lane family was still scattered, only Jane’s mother and two of her wayward siblings present. Daria and her family were of course present.
Daria wore her normal outfit, against Helen’s protestations, but Helen had relented in face of her daughter’s quiet stubbornness. For Daria the funeral was all but purposeless, a formality that didn’t deserve her presence. Daria had mourned in the silent isolation of her room, away from prying eyes and sympathetic ears, grateful for the padding that muffled all noises as her sadness bled out in low cries and intermittent steams of tears that Daria couldn’t keep down despite the best of her iron control. The pain oozed out of the gaping wound in her soul that seemed to mock all efforts at control. Thus, she held her silence at the funeral only through great effort, her face passive and the only weakness in her concealing facade, her eyes, masked behind a pair of shades. She could barely see through the non corrective lenses, but was grateful for their masking presence as various acquaintances spoke about Jane’s life and memories assailed her emotional control. Daria went up to speak, passing by the ebony casket to stand at the microphone. The dark clouds momentarily thinned and a beam of light gleamed off the wood and raised highlights off Daria’s auburn hair and black shades.
She cleared her throat as all eyes locked upon her and smirked internally at the thoughts that must be going through their heads. "Let it not be said that Daria responds in a typical fashion to tragedy," she wryly thought as silence gathered. At last she gave her prepared speech to the tear stricken mass, "She was a good friend while she was alive, but now Jane’s dead and that’s all I’m going to say about that. Thank you for your time." The bald statement bounced off the audience with deafening silence, the level monotone in which it was delivered rendering the eulogy harsh and final. Daria moved away from the microphone and into the midst of her family, coldly removing her mother’s hand from her shoulder and quelling Jake’s abortive hug with a cold glance over her shades. Jake was stunned by the heavy chill in Daria’s face and didn’t try to speak again for the duration of the funeral. As the next speaker came up to break the stunned silence, Daria zoned out and made a fierce vow under her breath that heralded from the depths of her pain. "If letting people close means this kind suffering when they go, then the obvious solution is to not let people get close." Daria frowned as she thought on this, "Jane got in because she thought I was interesting. I’ll have to prevent that in the future because I can’t go through this again." A tear trickled down her check unnoticed amid the general grief as she made her oath and something faltered and died amid the turmoil of her silent soulfelt grief.
She reached O’Neil’s class and took her seat as the bell rang and the last of her class mates hurried into room, Kevin conspicuously absent. O’Neil rose and started to begin his lecture but was interrupted by a phone call, "Hello? This is O’Neil speaking." A pause, "Of course, I understand. I do hope that he feels better…" A longer pause and O’Neil’s face fell, "Yes, I’ll be quiet. Have a nice day, Mrs.Li." The sensitive teacher composed himself as he turned to face his apathetically waiting class and began his spiel, "It seems Kevin won’t be joining us today. He’s had an accident in the janitor’s closet and needed to be sent home." Daria smirked to herself as the class just sat there like lumps. The ever cheerful teacher continued undaunted, "Edgar Alan Poe, poet of depressing subject matter. We have starting going over the more cheerful of his early works. Can anyone tell me why he started to write things that were just so incredibly sad?" The class just stared back at him their eyes glazed at this hour of the morning while Daria managed to roll her eyes in contempt. O’Neil faltered at this lackluster response and reflexively turned to his star pupil, "Daria, could you tell us why he…Oh never mind!"
O’Neil sounded nervous as he backpedaled. Daria responded, "Excuse me? I’m quite ready, willing and able to do this." "But Daria, it has just been two weeks since Jane died and it is your first day back…" Daria’s face didn’t show it, but O’Neil had touched off a sore spot and she muttered under her breath as Mack answered the question, "A series of tragic situations conspired to make his childhood issues come to the fore in his writing." O’Neil beamed at the response, "Very good, Mack. His inner child needed love but it didn’t get it from others in his life. Anyone else?" Daria raised her hand and O’Neil reluctantly called on her, "Do you think just because someone has had something bad happen to them they suddenly loose the ability to cope with the real world?" Daria was angry though the passivity of her features and levelness of her voice would conceal that fact from all except Jane, and of course Jane was dead. O’Neil nervously responded as his vestigial perceptivity detected something was amiss, "Of course not, Daria." "Then why do you treat me with kid gloves? Twenty-one people die every minute. If everyone failed to cope with death, the world would fall apart in a matter of hours and it hasn’t yet done that, has it Mr. O’Neil?" Contempt began to color her voice as O’Neil fell back to sit on his desk and the class turned to stare at the normally passive brunette.
"No," O’Neil uttered softly into his palms. "Correct. Then I suggest you start thinking that way and let those who retain enough interest in your wishy, washy teaching style, answer if they want." O’Neil had burst into tears at this point and mutely nodded agreement. She would have stopped at this moment, but something goaded her onward and she continued her barrage, throwing comments into the teacher’s self esteem like sharp knives. "It is reactions like this that make me doubt that you can be any kind of teacher to anyone. Personally, you’ve been as much a help to me as napalm to a fire fighter. My ‘dark subject matter’ to anyone besides yourself, would seem to be a merely incisive, cynically balanced view of the world, but you can hardly see that through your thick rose colored contact lenses." Daria was cold, ice cold, as O’Neil visibly shuddered under her assault and those classmates seated nearest her sought to get farther away from Daria, transferring to other desks if possible. Daria ignored all of this, the dark flame of her repressed pain channeling out past her tongue and into the hapless O’Neil, "I should have realized that I had you pegged from the first ‘self esteem’ class I had to take from you when I got here. You don’t know what you’re doing. You cling to the curriculum like a life raft and the few times that you stray from that crutch, you do more harm than good. Remember the ‘succeeding through failure’ assignment? Maybe Li did pick you up when you were a street corner feel good preacher." Daria smirked at this point and the cold expression hit her face as light glared from her glasses, making her seem both less and more than human. O’Neil didn’t respond, as he curled into a sobbing ball near the door.
Daria turned to her classmates as he continued this way and said, "Guess we have free study period?" Jodie opened her mouth to say something, but halted as the icy deadness of Daria’s expression caused her to hold her tongue. Daria turned away and pulled out her book, a ragged copy of Brave New World, and turned her mind to Huxley’s words of warning. The rest of the period passed in relative silence, the students speaking quietly amongst themselves, none daring to disturb the seemingly tranquil Daria. O’Neil slowly recovered enough to crawl into his desk where he dared not look her in the eye for fear of another brutal tongue lashing. The air was thick with nervousness and when the bell rang O’Neil made one last token effort at teaching. Quickly and softly he said. "Read the Raven, Lenore and Haunted Palace for homework tonight. We will be discussing them next class period." Daria got up and moved toward the door, her face expressionless once more. Every one was eager to go, but no one crowded the short brunette as she left the room. Daria smiled to herself, able to feel a little pleasure at how she had reduced the soft-headed O’Neil to a blubbering wreck. It was a cold smirk, one that advertised her perceived superiority to all who would challenge her. The whisper of the high school rumor machine kicking into high gear as her classmates disseminated the tale fed the smirk enough to temporarily bury her pain. It was a cold expression, born of isolation, of all encompassing desolation. Daria Morgendorfer walked alone, for Jane was dead.