DEGA STREET, a busy Saturday night. DARIA and JANE walk together, Jane looking occasionally at something other than where she's going, Daria exhibiting a bloodhound's single-mindedness as they stride down the street. QUINN trails a few steps behind, looking around at the sights and people with a mix of trepidation and curiosity.
JANE: Refresh my memory. Why did we let your sister join our gang?
DARIA: I was too shocked to say no when she asked?
JANE (shrugging): You know, you're allowed to be nice to her. I won't call you soft.
DARIA: Soft had nothing to do with it. She said she wanted to go shopping, but she was tired of going to the same old places.
JANE: She *does* know most of these stores don't take credit cards?
DARIA: Don't worry about it. (in a more controlled voice) She's been saving those Governor's Park paychecks. Dinner's on her.
JANE: If she's willing to be seen with us. (looking over her shoulder, and raising her voice slightly) So, Moriarty. We meet again.
QUINN walks more quickly, catching up with them.
QUINN: This is already weird enough, Jane. Please don't make it weirder.
JANE: Normally that'd be a clear invitation, but you remembered my name. You may live.
DARIA looks away as they continue to walk. Across the street, a large crowd is clustered around Axl's Piercing Parlor, a number of the freshly modded showing off while more wait to get inside. QUINN shudders as she catches sight of one particularly interesting mod.
QUINN: Ewww! (catching herself and looking away, lowering her voice) God, who would want to do something like *that* to their body?
JANE: Why don't you ask? I'm sure he'd be happy to share. In excruciating detail.
QUINN (looking suspiciously at Daria, out of the corner of her eye): I'd rather ask someone about a certain *other* piercing that just happened to conveniently disappear when their *parents* found out.
DARIA (more annoyed than her voice lets on): Give it a rest. Even if I *was* stupid enough to do something like that --
JANE: You don't have to say anything, kid. Just smile for the jury.
DARIA (sending an irritated glance at Jane): -- I wouldn't be stupid enough to admit it. Even after the statute of limitations has expired.
QUINN looks away, opting for dramatic silence.
DARIA (lowering her voice, a little vehement): Quinn, I thought we were over this high school BS.
QUINN (resentful): Maybe *you* guys are, but *some* of us are still stuck there. And I heard what you said about my paychecks. (Daria flushes slightly; Quinn continues, sounding more resentful.) Mom and *Dad* said they were *proud* of me for saving all that money *and* keeping up with my schoolwork. I'm not asking you to kiss up to me, but why do you have to keep tearing me down?
DARIA looks away, obviously uncomfortable.
JANE: Oh look, it's Osseus Labyrint. I simply *must* have them autograph my ampallang. (walking over to the pawnshop door and opening it) Meet me inside when you're all bickered out.
QUINN looks at the ground as the door shuts, waiting for Daria to blow up for driving off her friend. Daria looks increasingly uncomfortable.
DARIA: Look. It's not that I don't respect your newfound work ethic, or your even more astonishing scholastic achievements --
QUINN: See, there you go again! What's so freaking 'astonishing' about getting good grades? (Placing her hands on her hips and glaring at her older sister, she realizes that Daria has actually grown just enough so that their eyes are now at the same height.)
DARIA: If it's any consolation, my senior year sucked too. (beat) Okay, they all sucked. But that was the worst.
QUINN (still simmering): How would *you* know? You've been a brain your whole *life*. (looking away, sounding less confident) Damn Fashion Club.
DARIA (confused): What about them? Hasn't your merry band of makeup mercenaries been disbanded?
QUINN (looking too dejected to bother rising to Daria's bait): Oh, Stacy and I still hang out. (aggravated) Sandi and Tiffany are being held back, but they'd rather *complain* than try to improve their grades. I *tried* to make the effort, but it's just not worth it to be around them --
DARIA: And as the only one with a steady job, you probably got sick of picking up cheeseless pizza for four.
QUINN looks offended for a split second, then sighs, looking around the street again. The line outside the Zon stretches down the block, mixing into the crowd at Axl's. Daria regards her sister for a moment.
DARIA: I'm sure I've seen this regressive behavior before. Like every time you're forced to confront a new experience.
QUINN (bitterly): *Nothing's* new to you. Nothing new under the sun, and all that. (beat) *Does* the sun ever shine in your world?
DARIA (refusing to rise to the bait): I thought we agreed that underneath that bouncy hair lies a very competent brain. (beat) And I hope you aren't offended if I say your intelligence continues to surprise me.
QUINN (quietly): We both know who's smarter, Daria.
DARIA (stiffly): Part of me has waited a lifetime to hear those words. The rest just wants to smack you out of this uncharacteristic funk. (Quinn looks fearful as Daria sighs.) And Mom delicately inquiring about *my* job prospects didn't do a lot to endear me to your success. But since you obviously care -- (looks away) I'm proud of you.
QUINN sounds near tears, causing a startled Daria to look back at her.
QUINN: And part of *me* has always wanted to hear *those* words. But that's just it. (sniffles) I feel like a complete fraud.
QUINN (going off on the bubbly semi-rambling tangents she's famous for): I mean *sure* I'm passing all my classes, but I'm *barely* passing some of them. And don't get me wrong, I like my job, but hostessing is *not* something you make a career out of. Unless you want to end up with *horribly* swollen ankles --
DARIA (trying to butt in gently, an 'oh dear god' look on her face): Quinn.
QUINN: The *point* is, *you* don't need some menial food service job or whatever.
DARIA: Tried it, didn't agree with me. Although that rash of yours was almost worth the trauma.
QUINN (eyes narrowing): Daria...
DARIA: Sorry. (beat) Really. (Quinn appears mollified. Daria glances inside the pawnshop window and sees Jane handing over some cash.) Okay, two questions. Why did you want to come shopping *here*? And what exactly did you mean by '*you* don't need a job'? (Quinn looks torn, and Daria gives in.) All right, I'll make it easy. First question first.
QUINN (obviously embarrassed): I just wanted to try something different, but not *too* different. So I thought I'd go someplace I'd never shopped at before, some place that wasn't...you know...popular. (A nervous laugh.) Kind of silly and shallow, huh?
DARIA: Well, I comfort myself by buying books. I'm not throwing any stones here.
QUINN: No *wonder* your room looks like a library.
DARIA: You know what one looks like? (Quinn glares at her, but softens as she sees the tiny smirk on Daria's lips. She's almost relaxed as Daria continues.) Now, the second question.
QUINN (trying to formulate a response): Well, um...Jane! (She is saved as Jane exits the pawnshop, to the accompaniment of the door's jingling bell.) Did you find anything?
JANE strides over to them, an antique pendant of jade and silver hanging from her neck.
JANE: It *did* cost some skin off my knuckles. But the countess's teeth will never be the same. (holds up the pendant) You like?
QUINN: Oh, it's *beautiful*! But it would look even *better* if you weren't wearing red. Or at least not such a bright red, or maybe a fuschia though I don't see *that* happening any time soon. Or more black, black is always good... (trailing off at the sight of Daria's face, which doesn't look happy any more)
JANE (sensing the tension): So I got the last one. There's plenty of wedding gowns to fight over.
DARIA (to Quinn, more weary than cold): But it doesn't help when you revert to inanity at the drop of a hat. Excuse me. Peacock-feathered hat.
QUINN (getting angry again): Dammit, Daria! Even *Stacy* has more respect for me! At least *she* understands my problems!
DARIA: What problems? You're doing better than ever before. Are you *trying* to sabotage yourself with negative thinking?
QUINN (bitterly): Why not? I have *you* for a role model.
JANE: Hey, I think I found the hidden release switch. Anyone want the cyanide?
QUINN and DARIA both turn glares on JANE.
JANE (weakly): I'm sure it still has a shelf life.
JANE'S ROOM, looking cleaner than usual, or at least emptier. JANE is rummaging through her closet, pulling out clothes and tossing them in a pile next to an open, empty steamer trunk. DARIA walks in, shuts the door behind her, walks to the bed and falls face down in the pillows.
JANE (not turning around): Still not speaking?
DARIA (muffled): I've already said too much. (beat) Some vacation.
JANE: You said you came to see me. Why should you care if Quinn gives you the silent treatment?
DARIA: Try concealing that false cheer. It's counterproductive to your goal.
JANE (pulling out a red dress and surveying it critically): I hope you don't think *I'm* trying to guilt you. (tossing the dress into the pile)
DARIA: Because I'm doing a perfectly good job myself?
JANE: Do I really need to say it?
DARIA rolls over, staring up at the ceiling.
DARIA: (giving in the urge to vent): I *tried* to be nice and understanding, and look where it got me. Quinn's so convinced that she'll never amount to anything, I can't say one word without her putting some kind of negative spin on it.
JANE: What did you expect? She's still learning all those shocking truths you and I resigned ourselves to years ago. (looking at Daria) Where is little Miss Muskrat, anyway? That living room TV gets pretty boring after a while.
DARIA: You mean the one that doesn't work.
JANE: Well, it's more exciting since I turned it into a terrarium.
DARIA (actually turning her head to look at Jane): No aquarium?
JANE: Lizards are harder to kill just by feeding them. Or not.
DARIA looks back at the ceiling, which Jane takes as a cue to leave.
JANE: I better make sure she's not liberating the animals again.
JANE walks to the top of the stairs and stops, a puzzled look on her face as she hears faint murmurs coming from downstairs. Poking her head downstairs, she spies Quinn on the living room couch -- with Trent sitting beside her, sitting upright instead of in his usual 'laid back' pose, and from the look of it, having an actual conversation. Jane immediately ducks back and quietly retreats down the hallway to her room. Daria looks up as Jane shuts the door behind her.
DARIA (reading something in Jane's expression): No, wait, don't tell me. I'm keen to guess.
JANE: She's talking to Trent.
DARIA (eyes slightly widened): Okay, I never would have guessed *that*.
JANE (seriously, no teasing): Jealous?
DARIA (only vaguely annoyed): I thought *we* were over this high school BS.
JANE (holding up her hands): You never know. Just trying to cover all bases. (walking over and sitting down again)
DARIA (looking back at the ceiling): I guess whatever makes her happy.
JANE: Any reason you can't *both* be happy?
DARIA (biting back a sarcastic retort): I don't know. Maybe I'm just not comfortable having another pessimist in the family.
JANE: So even though you're not the Misery Chick, it's *her* responsibility to remain perky in the face of adversity. (Daria glares at her, but it softens at the look on Jane's face) All I'm saying is, it *probably* won't kill you to be a little more supportive.
DARIA: I'm sure my lucky Irish heritage will even the odds.
JANE (ignoring Daria's sarcasm from long years of practice): And if she's willing to let those walls down, maybe you guys could spend some time together. You and I are still gonna see each other after I go to BFAC --
DARIA: Are we?
JANE (forging ahead): -- but without the fashionistas, she's probably so panicky she hasn't even started looking at colleges. (remembering something else) And that whole Lindy deal had to have been a real confidence booster. Whatever happened with that?
DARIA (slowly, just now realizing this): I never asked.
JANE: So, give it a try. (Daria sighs) And what other hungry little bunnies are gnawing at your soul?
DARIA: Though it pains me to say it, I have to admit there is possibly a tiny bit of jealousy.
JANE: But none the less tangible. (Admiringly) There's hope for you yet.
A knock is heard on the door.
The door opens, revealing TRENT.
TRENT: Hey, Daria.
DARIA (blushing even though she's looking at the ceiling) Hey.
TRENT: I'm giving your sister a ride home. She's kind of upset.
DARIA (reminded of reasons to be depressed): Yeah. Thanks.
TRENT: You should talk to her sometime.
DARIA (now embarrassed *and* depressed): Umyeahokay.
TRENT (to both): Later. (shuts the door)
DARIA: I think I'm being tag teamed. Is this what they call a two-Lane highway?
JANE: That was so lame. (beat) You *are* worried about her.
DARIA: Maybe I can hide it by severing the nerves in my face.
JANE: And this quark of remaining interest in Trent?
JANE: C'mon. Remember that honesty thing that was working out so well for us.
DARIA (deadpan): Yes, Ann Landers, I have no more interest in a romantic relationship with your brother. I have made my peace with the fact that he and I are in no way compatible over the long term, and have consigned my schoolgirl crush to the dustbin of history where it belongs.
JANE: So it's devolved into a purely physical attraction.
DARIA (looking down, blushing more furiously than ever): And how.
JANE (blinking, holding out her arm): Pinch me. Or say that again.
DARIA reaches out and pinches.
JANE (rubbing her arm): Ow!
DARIA (not totally convincing): Sorry.
JANE: Help me pack. It'll keep us *both* distracted.
JANE'S ROOM, later. The closet is bare and suitcases stuffed to the bursting point; the only remaining furniture are Jane's bed and desk, as well as the sleeping bag on the floor with Daria already inside, shivering/clutching her pillow. Jane is kneeling by the door in a long T-shirt that comes past her knees; she plugs in the space heater, stands, and turns off the light, the red glow of the heater illuminating the room. Daria's eyes haven't started to adjust when there's a grunt of exertion, followed by the sound of what must be Jane hitting the bed, making the entire room vibrate.
JANE (from the bed): Hah! And no running start!
DARIA: Revenge for all those three-AM practice sessions?
JANE: Hardly. I have far superior methods at my disposal. (beat) Just wanted to try it one last time.
DARIA: You're not leaving for another two weeks. And the odds are good that any potential roommate won't mind you playing Jungle Jane.
JANE: Guess I'm trying to milk those sappy childhood memories for all they're worth.
DARIA: Yeah, well...it's good that you have some.
JANE (more affectionate than sarcastic): Oh, Daria.
DARIA (surprised): What?
JANE (wisely backing off the emotion, back to a regular voice): I'm really gonna miss you. Especially in class.
DARIA (not necessarily uncomfortable with the subject, just awkward finding the words): Like you said, we're still going to see each other. (beat) I suppose I could break from my normal pattern of indifference long enough to say that I'll miss you too.
JANE (a smile in her voice, wisely settling for this): Consider your gushiness quota fulfilled.
DARIA (the little Mona Lisa smile in her own voice): For how long?
JANE: Don't push it, Morgendorffer.
DARIA (feeling better): 'Night.
JANE (stifling a yawn): 'Night.
JANE'S ROOM, Sunday morning, the buttcrack of dawn, oh-dark-thirty. The heater has turned off. From the darkness comes a grunt/moan.
JANE (V.O.): All right. My eyes are open. But it's still dark. What the hell am I doing awake? (beat) Hey, I really *am* awake.
JANE (V.O.): So what the hell am I doing in a sleeping bag?
The sound of unzipping, more rustling, and someone walking. A click, and the overhead light comes on. Daria is standing in Jane's grandma's nightgown, looking completely befuddled. She looks around the room, her gaze falling upon the bed.
JANE: (V.O.): Or to put it another way: What the hell am I doing in bed when I'm standing right here?
(beat - beat -)
JANE-IN-DARIA (JD): AAHH!
DARIA-IN-JANE (DJ) abruptly comes awake and sits up in the bed, simultaneously letting out a yell of her own.
Silence falls as they stare at each other.
DJ (bleary-eyed, not even half-awake despite the adrenaline rush): Daria? Geez, go back to sleep. (falls over, haphazardly pulling the blanket over her head)
Jane abruptly realizes she's wearing glasses. She takes them off and the world becomes drenched in Vaseline; putting them back on, she looks at the bed with increasing disbelief. Gathering her courage, she slowly walks over to the bed, staring down at...herself.
JD: I'm awake, she's not. *That* makes sense. (her eyes widen at the sound of Daria's voice saying her brain's words) But I'm obviously me. (beat) So how do I wake her up?
Jane sits on the edge of the bed and reaches out to touch her own shoulder, as she looks into her own face. Perfectly normal; short black hair, angular nose and jaw, all three earrings in their usual places.
JD: Oh, the hell with it. Fun wins. (louder, as she shakes DJ) Trent, for the love of God! Put on some pants!
DJ (abruptly sitting up again): Gahhh! (regaining her breath, looking around with half-lidded eyes, her gaze falls on her own body. A moment passes, and her eyes fly all the way open.) AAAAHHHH!
JD (dryly): And hello to you.