WILLOW: ...AMY?! What... the... (trails off)

(... "Tav" (vampire Amy Madison, we'll keep the old names, it's less confusing), 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, with plenty of blood flowing from the already holy-water-burnt skin for all you West Adelaide supporters out there. [1])

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 nerves) 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. [2] 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.)


(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.)


(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.)


(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... [3]

(Tav/Amy just looks sheepish)


(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.)

JANE: Hello?

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. [4]

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. [5] 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?


(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 OH.) On second thoughts, Tav, could you go get the phone book?

(Fade out on Aleph's evil smirk.)


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Author's note: Who says I wouldn't pull a Canadibrit with Tom?

[1] Yes, I know humans spurt, but Amy ain't human anymore. Oh, and I'm a Port fan myself, but I know of no demon that bleeds in black and white (or, come to it, that godawful teal colour). [back]

[2] "Now turn the knife counterclockwise." Another one of those ubiquitous "Road Worrier" refs. [back]

[3] Blood off the floor line paraphrased from "The Parent Crap", compliment line from "I am (NOT) Daria!" (and I didn't even notice that one until proofing). Jeez, I've given as many nods in these four acts to Canadibrit as she has to Ben Yee in three seasons. And that's saying a lot. [back]

[4] 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... [back]

[5] "Welcome to the Hellmouth" again. [back]