Daria was tossing and turning all night. The nightmares getting worse as time went on. Each night was the same, until she awakened short of breath and cold sweat covering her from head to foot. Tonight was no differant. She woke with a start, sitting up in bed wide eyed and confused. Catching her breath, she reached out for her glasses and looked at the clock.
"Five thirteen? At this rate, I'll never get to sleep again." she thought to herself. Brushing her hair back with one hand, Daria suddenly stopped and looked around the room startled to find it to be her old room in her parents house. "Of course. They took me home from the hospital to be safe. Leave it to Dad to preserve his little girl's bedroom." Debating to herself on whether to go back to sleep or not, she decided to remain awake. Less chance of nightmares when you're awake. Slipping out of bed, Daria headed down to the kitchen to get a glass of milk to settle her stomache. On the kitchen table was a note left by...Quinn?
Sorry I can't be there this morning. Something came up that I can't put off. I'll be back later this afternoon. I'm glad you're home. Love you, Sis.
Daria sat there stunned for a moment. "Well, that doesn't sound like Quinn. Maybe I'm still having a nightmare. Chapter 2. When Quinn attacks." She shook her head and finished her glass, placed it in the dishwasher, and went back upstairs to get dressed. "I might as well get dressed and take a short walk. Not much on the old tube this early in the morning except farm reports and old reruns of snoozer seventies shows anyway."
After getting dressed, she went to the bathroom to brush her teeth. Then she noticed her reflection in the mirror. She was still a little pale from her stay in the hospital. Daria opened Quinn's side of the medicine cabinet with the intention of using some of her makeup to give her some semblance of normalcy when she decided against it. No one would be out this early with the exception of the trash collectors. "I can avoid them easily. If nead be, I can cross the street or duck behind a car. Or I'll just say I'm trying the Goth look."
Daria stepped outside and immediately headed in the direction of Jane's house. As she was nearing hr destination, a voice behind her sent chills down her spine. It was Tom.
"Hi Daria. Good to see you up and about."
Daria whirled around glaring at him, catching him off guard.
"What do you think you're doing around here? Don't you think I've had enough of you?"
"I was just asking if you were alright. What's the harm in that? I do care, you know."
"Well I'm not dead, so you needn't worry all that much!"
"I was worried, and I'm glad to see you're getting better." As he said this, Tom approached Daria, his arms outstretched to hug her. When he was close enough, Daria slapped him hard, yelled," Stay away from me!" and started to run. She ran faster than she had ever run before. Down the block and around the corner, putting as much distance between her and Tom as possible.
Tom stood stunned at what just happened, when Jane came out of her home to join him for a morning run. She noticed a red welt on his cheek and asked how he had gotten it.
"I just saw Daria and said hello. She gave me a look that could kill, and when I went to hug her, she slapped me and took off running like the Devil was after her."
"You boob! She's probably still not recovered from all those drugs they gave her in the hospital. "
"She seemed especially angry with me about something. Like I hurt her in some way that frightened her. Do you think we should go after her?"
"We, nothing. I'll find out what happened, you better lay low around her 'til I do, got it?"
"Aye aye, Captain."
"That's more like it."
Daria was still running at breakneck speed when she saw a familiar car coming her way.
"Trent? TRENT! " She flagged him down and jumped in the passenger seat even before the car had rolled to a stop. "Drive! Please get me out of here! I'm being chased!"
JUST DRIVE, PLEASE!"
Trent didn't ask any further and mashed the gas pedal to the floor. He had never seen Daria in such a state and decided to do as she asked him. His first thought was to find a cop, even though he had difficulty with athority figures.
When she thought there was enough of a distance from where Trent had picked her up, Daria sat up and gave a sigh of relief. Trent eased up on the throttle and found a place to park. He looked in Daria's direction. She had her head back on the headrest and had her eyes closed.
"Daria, what's going on? Who's after you and why?"
Slowly, she lifted her head and sadly looked in Trent's direction without making eye contact. Daria hesitated a few minutes and then spoketo him in a quiet, nervouse voice.
"Tom's after me. Why he can't just leave me alone is beyond me. I don't know what he wants from me.. other than my life!"
Trent was shocked beyond belief when he heard that. "Whoah, This sounds worse than what Janey told me. I'd better find out what's going on!" He hesitated a moment before he said anything. He also decided, given her lack of color, that he should get her back to her home. He would stay with her until she felt at ease. He started the car, then spoke to the shaken girl.
"Daria, you look a little pale. I'm taking you home and I'll stay with you 'til I figure out what this is all about."
Daria didn't argue. She was a little queasy and tired, so she just nodded yes and they were on their way to her home.
After going in, Trent and Daria sat next to each other on the couch. Neither said a word for a few minutes. Noticing that she was falling asleep, Trent prompted Daria to keep her awake so he could make sense of all this.
"Hey Daria, why don't you tell me from the beginning what's been happening."
"You know pretty much what's happened."
"I've been on the road with the band, indulge me."
She took a deep breath and began the tale of horror from when she last saw Trent at Britney's party. As he listened, Trent's eyes grew wider in amazement at the events recounted in graphic detail by the now exhausted Daria. He never thought of her as being a fragile person, so easily hurt by mere words. If he knew then what he knew now... but now was too late. All he could be now is a friend who would stand by her. As she finished her tale, she was leaning on Trent and doing her best to stay awake. Daria was slowly losing the battle.
"...and then I saw you driving down the street, I got in your car, and the rest you know. I don't know what to do, and I can't go to sleep and risk another nightmare.I don't want to be locked up in some psycho ward drugged out of my mind, but if this doesn't stop that's where I'll end up, a mindless, drooling idiot."
Trent put his arm around her shoulder and Daria settled down, a feeling of safety with his arm around her. He took a deep breath and spoke gently.
"Now let me tellyou what really happened to you."
"What do you mean, what really happened?"
"Remember Brit's party the Spyral played at?"
"Yeah? What about it?"
He waited a few seconds before answering. This was going to be hard for her to believe.
"That party was two weeks ago this past Friday, Daria."
She raised her head in disbelief. It couldn't be!
"T..Two weeks? I...how...how is that possible?"
"You remember Saturday two weeks ago? Tom and Janey asked if you wanted to go see a movie with them. You told them to go ahead you had some paper to do and you stayed home alone. You ordered a supreme pizza and 2 litres of cola and ate the entire pizza yourself."
"I remember getting a stomache ache and sleeping it off."
"You had a severe case of food poisoning. A few other people got it too, but not as bad as you. They only ate a coupe of slices of pizza and got mild stomach problems. You ate an entire pizza yourself. Tom and Janey found you the next day. Janey tried calling you and when she didn't get an answer, they both went over to check on you. Lucky they did. You were passed out on the floor and your temperature dropped low. Tom called 911 and got you to the hospital just in the nick of time. You were...yyou were in bad shape. They put you in intensive care and had you hooked up to monitors and breathing gear."
As he paused,Daria said quietly, "In other words, I was close to being dead."
Trent was uneasy,but continued. "Yeah...They had all kinds of antibiotics and pain killers going through your system to fight the poisoning. They also had you in a drug induced coma 'cause you were thrashing about and they couldn't control you any other way. I'm pretty sure your nightmares are from all those drugs in your system. It'll take a while to rid yourself of what's left in there, but it shouldn't take too long."
"My god....It was all a dream? None of it happened?"
"And Tom and Jane are..."
"Still together, yeah."
"So...he has no designs on me?"
That was the last thing Daria heard before falling asleep. Trent did not notice and kept going on.
"Tom does think of you as a friend. In fact, he'd like it if you were at the Zen this Friday. Don't tell Janey but, he's going to pop the question to her and he thinks her best friend should be there." He paused before going on, still not noticing Daria was asleep. "Tom's really a good guy. I went with him when he picked the ring out. Nothing elaborate, just a simple single diamond we found at a shop on Dega Street."
Trent looked at Daria and saw that she was indeed asleep comfortably on his shoulder. For the first time in a while, she felt secure enough to rest without the fear that haunted her for the past weeks. He thought it best not to wake her. "Come to think of it, 40 winks doesn't sound too bad to me either." He laid his head back on the couch and closed his eyes, his arm still around her shoulder. That's how Quinn and Jane found them hours later.
Jane walked over to her brother and shook him , waking him with a start.
"Officer, we're just friends, I swear!"
"A likely story,young man. Do you know what time it is?"
"Oh, hi Janey. What time is it?"
Quinn spoke from the kitchen, "I'ts 4:30 . Are you staying for dinner?"
He jumped from the couch waking Daria, a look of panic on his face.
"4:30? I was supposed to be at practice an hour ago! I've got to get there before Max and Nickolas kill each other."
Before he left, Daria stretched and smiled at him. he smiled back asking, "Are you going to be okay? I can skip practice if you want."
"I'll be alright." she said with a smile, "You go keep a lid on the 'crminales' or you'll need to recruit new band members."
Trent kissed her on the cheek, and as he did, Daria hugged him around his neck. As he returned the hug, she said,"Thanks for being there for me,Trent."
"Any time." was the reply, and then he was out the door. Daria sat back on the couch and stretched again, an unfamiliar smile on her face. Jane sat in silence not knowing what to make of it. Before she could say anything, Quinn popped her head out of the kitchen.
"I'm glad you're feeling better, Daria. How do steak sandwiches sound for dinner?"
"Make mine plain. I think I'll lay off the spices for a while."
When Quinn went back to the kitchen, Jane couldn't stand it any more. She had to know.
"Daria and Quinn talking civil to one another? Daria letting Quinn cook for her? I want some of whatever happy pills you two are on! Are you feeling alright?"
Daria leaned back on the couch, hands behind her head, and after taking a deep breath, smiled and said, "Yes..yes I am."
This story takes place after the show finale. As we all know, the story never ends.
Daria is copyright MTV. This story is copyright RangerLou.
End theme: Frankie goes Hollywood, "Relax"