(Music: Something suitably classical and dull. The working title of this part actually came from a piece by Stravinsky, but that's far too new-fangled for Travers.)

(A nice, big, luxurious hotel room. Not exactly the Presidential Suite from the Daria Episode That Shall Not Be Named (by me, anyway) [1] but impressive and expensive enough. At any rate, it's impressive, expensive and luxurious enough to satisfy even...)

TRAVERS: (sitting in a large armchair, "chairman of the board" pose) Did you have any luck with the parents?

ANDERSON: Unfortunately, no. The mother was busy and her secretary told me to call the father, and the father hung up when he found out I wasn't interested in his consultancy.

TRAVERS: (sighs, exasperated) Well that leaves us at something of a...

(... and he's cut off by the phone ringing. Hey, it's such a cheap trick 'cuz it's so easy to mass-produce. Anderson picks it up.)

ANDERSON: (into phone) Anderson. Oh, hi, Simpson. (ignores Travers's raised eyebrow) Where? My God. Did... are there any... none at all? What? A blood trail? Of course I'll tell Mr Travers. (covers phone with his hand) There's been a vampire attack at one of the local clubs.


(Music: Rather than torture you with the very mention of whatever horrible boy-band they'd actually be playing, I'll go for the Great God Irony. Play the opening riffs from The London Suede's "The Beautiful Ones", though where the diesel and gasoline come in I'm not exactly sure. [2])

(It's a sight to inspire terror in the hearts of educated people everywhere. It's big, it's huge, it's frightening, it's pink, and it's full of animals. Stuffed. It's the bedroom of Quinn Morgendorffer, Daria's sister, and there's a (cue Jaws theme) Fashion Club meeting/sleepover in progress, though they've yet to change out of their too-cute daily attire into their too-cute sleepwear. Quinn is on the bed for a change, with the other three on the floor. I'll apologies to Daria fic fans right now -- go through this scene on the Daria Fanfic Cliché Drinking Game [3] and you may not need medical attention but you'll certainly be well and truly pissed.)

SANDI: (sarcastic) It was so nice of you to offer to have us Quinn.

(A brief description of Sandi, for the uninitiated: Ah, screw it. Daria can do it better than I can... "Her voice is deep, her thoughts are not." Soap-opera-bitch Valley Girl accent spoken at a pitch lower than Nick Cave singing on an old Walkman with flat batteries. Thick, shoulder-length brown hair, just the right amount of make up, slightly garish jewellery, oh-so-stylish clothes, right down to the scarf around her neck. And that's it. Any shallower and kiddie-pool metaphors would come into play.)

QUINN: (faux-gushing, vrai-sniping) Well when I found out you brothers' friends were sleeping over I knew we couldn't go over to your place. 

(Quinn: Daria's sister, though she denies it and has somehow convinced the more moronic students of Lawndale High (i.e. most of them) that she's her "cousin, or whatever." Dressed in sickeningly cute pink, to match her room. Annoyingly perky voice, constantly trading thinly-masked verbal blows with Sandi for superiority/leadership of the Fashion Club. Whether she's actually as shallow as she acts is a subject of much debate on Daria fan boards, apparently resolved with Is It Fall Yet?, which I haven't seen, spoil me and die. Slowly.)

STACY: (genuine, overwrought, as per usual) This is so nice of you, Qui-- (sees Sandi's glare, shuts up with a whimper)

(Stacy: Fashion club secretary, dark brown hair still in two pigtails, complete lack of self-confidence in the presence of Sandi. Think Harmony... no, wait, don't think Harmony. Harmony can think for herself. Always gushing and overemotional, those emotions being either enthusiasm (here, there, 'most everywhere) or tears ("Fair Enough"). She's genuinely nice underneath it all -- like a fair few of the less intelligent characters on Daria -- but definitely in with the wrong crowd. It's something of a fanfic cliché to deprogram her and give her more depth (and set her up with this kid who grew up so coddled that chewing gum and the Beatles are acts of teenage rebellion -- just don't ask [4]) but the show has yet to show her to have any more free will than Winston Smith post-torture.)

QUINN: So aren't we, like, going to get the meeting started? Sandi, do you have the minutes? And I hope there's something in there about scarves, because last "Waif" issue said...

SANDI: (immediately defensive, almost... suspiciously so?) For your information, Kuh-winn, this scarf is straight out of Milan. Donatella Versace made it by hand.

QUINN: Don't be ridiculous, Sandi, our Donatella would never stoop to actually making clothes. That's what those factories in Indonesia are for! [5]

TIFFANY: Handmade... that's sooo wrooonngg.

(Tiffany: Asian appearance (probably adopted), pretty face, vacant expression. "Co-ordinating officer" for the Fashion Club. Would possibly be called treasurer if she could count past three without a week's notice and a few hints along the way. What, you think I'm exaggerating? The girl speaks at about ten words per minute and reads aloud at half that. To be fair, she's not a complete moron, knowing exactly when to change sides to ensure she winds up on the side of the top, ahem... dog... during FC "debates".)

STACY: (real concern) Are you all right, Sandi? You look... a little pale.

SANDI: I'm fine, Stacy, thanks for asking. (pause) Uh, Quinn?

QUINN: Yes, Sandi?

(Sandi stands up, getting a good view of Quinn in the bed. Cue music: "Second Solution", The Living End, single version, the intro.)

SANDI: Could you, like, lift your head? I think I saw a, like, blemish on your neck as I came in and I want to make sure it isn't, like, a complete fashion disaster.

QUINN: (spooked) Uh, okay, Sandi...


(Hit the big guitars on the BGM here. A loud, young, female scream is heard...)


(Music: "No Way", Pearl Jam)

(Daria, Jane, Willow and Tara are in the same places as they were before. Tom is standing just inside the door, obviously uncomfortable, in the middle of speaking. Trent is nowhere to be seen... God, that seems so trite. Anyway...)

TOM: my grandfather became -- still is -- a member, and my father's still tied up somehow. He wanted out a while ago, but they're reluctant to let him out "just like that".

DARIA: And you?

TOM: It's vague. I think Dad told them "hands off" from birth, but I remember old British guys being suspiciously kind to me... pretty much for as long as I can remember. But they haven't been in town for ages.

WILLOW: So, then... why did they come back?

TOM: Do you know what the Slayer is?

(Willow, Tara and Daria exchange glances)


(Music: "Goo Goo Muck", The Cramps... okay, in the immortal words of Lew Richardson, any guesses?  [6])

(We see a familiar (to the Daria fans, anyway) red convertible -- I haven't seen "Real Me", so I can't compare it to Giles's new one -- come up the street and park in front of said house. The door opens, and out comes... drum roll please... Amy Barksdale, Daria's aunt, the only member of Daria's family who's not a total annoyance, back from whatever void she's been in since "Through A Lens Darkly". Yes, Buffy fans, this is "da bomb" referred to in part three and relax, Daria fans, this will be done in the least clichéd manner possible. Honest. For a start, she's arriving at about one in the morning. She rings the doorbell, door opens, and Helen behind it looks tired and annoyed -- but not like she's just woken up. Words are exchanged, and Helen steps aside to let Amy in.)


(Music continues. Amy, bag in hand, passes Helen, who shuts the door behind her.)

AMY: Thanks, sis. So, what keeps you up so late?

HELEN: There's a case going to court at the end of next week. (yawns)

AMY: (raised eyebrow) You sure you've found enough work for the idle hands?

(Helen lets out a frustrated groan)


(Music continues. Obviously, Helen's set up in here. Notes, pen and paper, rapidly cooling mug of coffee, closed laptop (a crappy Acer job, but it'll do the job... some of the time) and enough same-looking files to make a small rainforest nervous. Neither Amy nor Helen sit down.)

HELEN: So, Amy, is there... (pause, unsure of how to go on)

AMY: You wouldn't be able to get me a coffee, would you? I've been driving half the night.

HELEN: Not a problem. Now, can I just ask why... (and we hear the female scream from earlier) Oh, God.

AMY: Is that...

HELEN: Quinn.

(They rush as one to the stairs.)


(Helen and Amy throw open the door to see Quinn being pinned down, the vampire's fangs at her throat.)


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[1] No, not "Depth Takes A Holiday". [back]

[2] And if KnightHawke's fanfic turns out anywhere close to canon, I don't want to know. [back]

[3] The wonderful work of Aaron "No Way In Hell Am I Writing Out His Full Name" Adelman, found here. [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] Watch the ep "The New Kid" instead. [back]

[6] Thanks to Dariadom's resident 70's and 80's punk expert Crazy Nutso for soundtrack suggestion... even if I didn't wind up using it for what I originally said I would. [back]