The Buffy and Angel characters were created by Joss Whedon. Daria was created by Glenn Eichler.
X X X X X
For a minute, Lynette Vaughn wondered if Faith was simply playing some kind of twisted joke on her.
The Morgendorffer murders had made national headlines four years back. The family was on the verge of moving from Highland, Texas to Lawndale, Maryland, when there was a particularly brutal home invasion. Odd to move that late in the school year, but apparently Mrs. Morgendorffer’s new boss insisted.
Willard Jay Harbaugh had kicked down the door at around 9 PM, and killed the three occupants each with a single gunshot to the head: Jake Morgendorffer, 47; Helen Morgendorffer; 46; and daughter Quinn, 14. The elder daughter, Daria, 16, had gone missing around the same time. When Harbaugh was caught a week later, he loudly denied having anything to do with her disappearance.
He was grilled for quite a while, and ultimately he confessed to the deaths of the two parents and the youngest daughter, but kept insisting that he didn’t kidnap the older one. “I’m a robber, not a rapist,” he said indignantly.
It turned out he’d been telling the truth. Daria had been working on one final school project with quite possibly the two stupidest human beings on the planet who were actually capable of dressing themselves. She hadn’t left until 9:30.
Then what had occurred became clearer. Daria had come home before the police had gotten there and must have run off.
What had happened to her after that was anyone’s guess. She was last seen boarding a bus to Nashville, but by the time the police had found she’d long since gotten there and had time to disappear.
The search for Daria Morgendorffer had become a nationwide manhunt, concentrating in the South. After a few months, it had died off, though it had never completely disappeared. Every year since on April 10 there was a brief revival – and it had been featured on an episode of Dateline NBC.
No one had ever put Faith Lehane and Daria Morgendorffer together. No one would have had any reason to.
“Excuse me,” Faith – no, Daria – said. “Did the gears inside your head break down?”
“No,” Lynette said, trying to collect herself. “Just trying to collect my thoughts.”
“If you have more than one, that puts you ahead of most of the people I’ve known,” she said.
“Don’t think much of the intelligence of your fellow human beings?”
“If they showed any, perhaps I might have an opinion on it.” She looked around the room. “Since I’m probably not actually in here for my writing, can I ask why I am here?”
“I’m not sure that’s a good idea right now, Daria,” Lynette said. “I’ll just tell you this for the moment. It’s not April 9, 1997, any more.”
“I do feel like I’ve lost some time,” Daria admitted. “The fact that I can see you without squinting tells me that. I don’t feel like I have contact lenses in, either.”
Lynette looked though her charts. While she didn’t have the complete medical history of Faith Lehane, she did have a few basics. “Your eyesight’s 20/20,” she said. “Has been since you first got here.”
“So, what is today’s date?”
“March 29, 2001.”
“I’m twenty?” she asked in disbelief, showing some emotion for the first time. “So, let me get this straight. I’ve suddenly jumped four years in time. I’m in jail for some reason you won’t tell me. I’m obviously not violently insane or I’d be on restraints and there would be more than one goon on the other side of that wall. And I can see.” She rolled her eyes. “Any minute now Rod Serling is going to walk in and tell me that this has all been an episode of the Twilight Zone.”
Lynette shook her head, “Sorry, Daria. One more question. When were you born?”
“March 18, 1981.” She wrote that down. Faith Lehane’s records showed her as having been born April 10, 1982. She was now positive that date wasn’t a coincidence.
“And now, Daria, I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to go away for a while.”
Lynette reluctantly spoke the trigger word and Daria’s head slumped down to the desk. “When you hear me, and only me, say the following words in this exact order: ‘Jake, Helen, Quinn,’ Daria, you can come back out. Do you understand?”
Then she slowly began to bring Faith out of the trance.
X X X X X
Faith heard Dr. Vaughn ask her, “How do you feel?”
Faith shrugged. “Like I just took a power nap. How long was I under?”
“About 45 minutes,” Dr. Vaughn said.
“So our time’s almost up. Learn anything?”
“A few things. And I have a couple of questions for you.”
“Fire away, Doc.”
“Have you always had good eyesight?”
That was an odd question, but the Doc musta had a reason. “Naah. I had pretty sucky eyesight ‘til Mayor Wilkins got some eye doctor to do that LASIK surgery on me. My other senses are terrific and I got by on that and my close-up vision if I needed to read anything.” It was one of the reasons she’d never been particularly good at missile weapons, either, until the surgery. Her vision’d gotten better suddenly one day in May of ’98, but it hadn’t gotten perfect. “Why do you want to know? You think my LASIK surgery screwed up my head?”
“No. Just something you said under hypnosis. Also, does the date April 10, 1997 mean anything to you?”
Okay, obviously one of the things Dr. Vaughn found out was the exact day her Mom’d kicked. “Of course it does. It was my 15th birthday and the day my Mom died.”
“What about your father and sister?”
“They died before that. You know that already.”
“Just confirming something. Have you ever been to Texas?”
“Passed through on my way to Sunnydale,” she said. “Never made it back. Don’t really want to go, either. I’m just lucky I did my crime in Cali ‘stead of down there with that governor they got. One’d get you ten I’d be on Death Row right about now.”
“Have you ever heard the name Willard Jay Harbaugh?”
Faith thought for a second. It seemed vaguely familiar but she couldn’t say where she’d heard it, or when, or in connection with what. She said as much to the doctor.
“Okay. Thanks. I think that’s it for today.”
Faith frowned. “You gonna tell me what you got when I was under?”
“Eventually,” Dr. Vaughn said. “I promise. But not yet.” She nodded her head, though. “I think this was a breakthrough session, though, I really do.”
The Doc wouldn’t say something like that unless it was true. She wasn’t a BS artist. “Well, this ain’t fair,” she said. “Now you know more about me than I do.”
“Only for a bit. I swear.” Then she closed her notebook and moved around to knock on the door. The guard looked through the window, then opened the door so Dr. Vaughn could leave.
A couple of minutes later, he came back to take Faith back to her cell. She had a cell to herself. One of the few concessions she’d gotten when she pleaded. Faith didn’t want to take the risk on having a cellmate shock her awake, because she knew how she’d react.
And her policy was no more Allan Finches. Ever.
After the guard locked her in, she went to her bunk, pulled out the history textbook she was looking over, and started reading.
She was up to the JFK assassination. Something about that she’d always found fascinating. She had no idea why.
X X X X X
Lynette Vaughn stopped by the warden’s office on her way out. Fortunately, Warden Juarez was still there.
She knocked on the door. “Bonnie?” she said. “Got a minute?”
Bonita Juarez looked up from her desk. She was a small, thin woman about Lynette’s age. “Yeah. Just some damn paperwork. What’s up?” Then she frowned. “Today was your appointment with Lehane, right?”
“Yeah. Actually, we had a bit of a breakthrough.” Then Lynette explained what had happened.
The first thing Bonnie said when she was done was, "You've been doing this five years now, Lynette. Are you sure the girl's not bullshitting you?"
"Nothing's 100% certain in psychiatry," Lynette said. "But I've seen the women around here try to fake every mental illness from anxiety disorder to tardive dyskinesia because they think the mental ward would be better than this place. I'd lay heavy odds that Faith Lehane is not one of them."
“Jesus Christ," Bonnie said. "You'd think someone would've caught this when the girl confessed."
“You would think so,” Lynette said. “It’s possible Daria Morgendorffer was never fingerprinted, though.” She said, “As far as DNA or dental records go, the only thing I can think of is that since she was confessing to the crime no one felt the need to run anything but the prints through the system.”
“I’ll call the LAPD,” the warden said, "And see if I can get them to wire down to Highland, Texas for Daria Morgandorffer's dental records. I'll ask them to compare them to Lehane's last visit to the prison dentist and see what we can get. Now. What do we do if Faith Lehane actually turns out to be Daria Morgandorffer?"
"I have no idea," Lynette said. "I mean, get her treatment, obviously. It's premature what kind would be best."
"I thought with MPD they normally tried to integrate the personalities."
"Often. Not always. We'd see what would work best for her."
"And the legal side of things? I mean, this gives her an easy shot at a psych defense if she wants a new trial."
"Faith Lehane doesn't want that," Lynette said. "As for Daria Morgendorffer -- she never signed on for any of this. Faith just brought her along for the ride."
"I pity the DA who catches this one," Bonnie said.
"So do I."