(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.)


(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. Shove 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.


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.


(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.)


(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. [1] 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...


(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.)


(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? [2]

(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. [3] 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. [4] 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... [5]

JANE: (deadpan) Wasn't that a loss to the music industry.


(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.


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)


(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.)


(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 come 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?! [6]


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Author's note: You weren't really expecting me to pull a Canadibrit (or a Crazy Nutso) with Tom, were you?

[1] Come on, a witch in Sunnydale (with a test subject for half the last season and most of the first three, no less) and she hasn't at least tried to come up with some kind of vampire detector? Well, I suppose there's always the fact that it'd be forever overloaded on the Hellmouth... [back]

[2] Higher-powered relatives: It's established in "Dye! Dye! My Darling" that Tom's family 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. 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 law... [back]

[3] No blood or guts on stage except those still safely contained in the performers, they sure as hell aren't cool, and when's the last time you heard a grunge band covering Skunk Anansie? [back]

[4] Vulture line ripped straight off of Terry Pratchett's "Small Gods". [back]

[5] Credits list for this 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. [back]

[6] Relax, Daria fans, this isn't "da bomb" (Amy Barksdale, Daria's aunt). 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, hasn't been able to change her back. All will be explained in the next part. Probably. I hope. Kinda. [back]