This bit of insanity was written for the Halloween Madness challenge at Paradise Lost
. This fic started out as one thing, and then quickly took on a life of it's own. Enjoy.Disclaimer
"Daria" belongs to MTV; "Buffy" belongs to Whedon. I own nothing.
"Oh, look, it's that time of year again when our society gets invaded by corporate America's attempts to scare us into buying candy and overpriced articles of clothing," Jane remarked to Daria as they walked past the drug store on their way to school one morning in October.
"Where would our lives be without cliché costumes and obviously fake cobwebs?" Daria asked, somewhat sarcastically. She disliked Halloween, never really getting into dressing up, or knocking on people's doors in order to extort candy under the treat of TPing and egging. She left that up to people like Kevin.
"You making any big plans, Morgendorffer?" Jane asked as they approached the school. "Only a few days left to whip out something crazy out of that closet of yours."
"Yes, because secretly I'm creating my own version of a Batman costume, and I'll end up using to to combat crime at the Police Ball," Daria deadpanned, walking into her daily dose of purgatory, aka Lawndale high. "You know me. I'm all about calling attention to myself by doing a stunt like that."
"Daria, Jane, thank goodness I found you two." Mr. O'Neill cornered them as they entered the school. "You're just the people I was looking for."
"Whatever you're selling, we're not interested," Daria replied, stopping to look at her English teacher in annoyance. He was probably going to try and get her to help lead trick-or-treaters, or something that would involve her having some spark of school spirit. "We blew our allowances on matching tattoos symbolizing our life-long commitment to each other."
"Oh, no, it's nothing like that," Mr. O'Neill tried to reassure her, while Jane rolled her eyes. "I was glad that you two are alright."
"Why would you be worried about us?" Jane asked, shooting Mr. O'Neill a skeptical look. "I would think Mrs. Li would be relieved to have us out of her hair."
"You didn't hear about the zombie attack last night?" Mr. O'Neill asked, eyes comically wide with fear. Daria and Jane exchanged an incredulous glance before returning their gaze to Mr. O'Neill.
"No, it seems like we missed this 'Thriller' moment in Lawndale's storied history," Jane commented, doing her best to supress a burst of laughter.
"Oh, it was terrible," Mr. O'Neill wailed. "Nick from the football team had his brains eaten, and he was left for dead in the boy's locker room!" Mr. O'Neill started sniffling, but before he could continue, the bell rang.
"I would say he was crazy, but the time the holidays decided to vacation in Lawndale makes me hesitant to do so," Daria said to Jane as they made their way to Mrs. Birch's science class. "If this is true, I'm surprised they haven't cancelled school for the rest of the day."
"Well, knowing Mrs. Li, she's going to put us into full lockdown mode, and use that undead detector she's been dying to use," Jane replied, sitting next to Daria. "I mean, that way I'd feel somewhat better about her blowing the art department budget on that thing."
"Now, now, there's no need to be bitter. That thing might just save some jock from a bloody ending," Daria deadpanned, as Kevin and Brittnay walked in.
"Oh, Kevie, that's so terrible!" Brittnay wailed, clutching Kevin's arm. "How am I supposed to host my annual costume party if freaky dead people are going to eat me?"
"Don't worry, babe, I'll protect you," Kevin reassured her, causing Jane to mock-gag and Daria to smirk. "They wouldn't stand a chance against me. I'm the QB, after all."
"Oh, Kevie, I know you'll save me if an icky zombie shows up," Brittnay cooed, just as Mrs. Barch walked in.
"Yes, because that big, strong man of yours to help save the day if the undead hordes come to attack us. Of course, that's if he doesn't chicken out at the last minute, and leave you too broke to defend for yourself," Mrs. Barch snapped at the two lovebirds.
"Now they got her started," Jane muttered to Daria, who shrugged and pulled out The Collected Short Stories of Edgar Allen Poe
from her bag.
No more students fell victims to the the mysterious zombies, although Mrs. Li did everything she could to downplay the incident.
"This in no way will impede our annual Lawndale High costume contest," she declared over the speakers during homeroom that morning. "Also, I would like to remind students that leaving inappropriate messages on carved pumpkins in the teachers lounge is a punishable offense. We will find you. Li out."
"Somehow, Mrs. Li trying to reassure me did exactly the opposite," Daria commented to Jane on their walk to Jane's house for homework interspersed with Sick Sad World.
"I think leading off with a song other than '(Don't Fear) The Reaper' might have helped a bit," Jane replied, opening the door to find the band members of Mystik Spiral--plus one with a strange necklace--sprawled out over her living room. "Huh. Didn't realize the guys were practicing here today."
"Hey, Daria. Hey, Janie," Trent said. "Heard about the zombie attack. Glad to see you're OK."
"Well, you know us, too stubborn to die," Jane answered, grabbing two sodas out of the fridge for her and Daria. "Even with the forces of darkness rolling into Lawndale. By the way, who's the new guy."
"Oh, that's actually a girl," Trent corrected. "Her name's Nikki. We decided we wanted a feminine touch. May help us go mainstream."
"Whatever you say, Trent. Tell her I like the collar," Jane said, going with Daria upstairs to her room. "Huh. A girl in Mystik Spiral and zombies attacking. Think they're connected?
"Only if it's a sign for the apocalypse. God help us all."
The next few days only confirmed that something was rotten in the city of Lawndale. The night of the full moon, while some students were foolishly tempting fate by picnicking in the Lawndale Cemetery, they were viciously mauled by what the lone survivor described as a werewolf. Another student went missing while she and her friends investigated what they thought was a fake haunted house.
The next day, as Daria and Jane were walking home, they stopped short when they heard something. "Is that...cackling?" Jane asked Daria incredulously.
"Well, it could be someone practicing for tomorrow's contest," Daria rationalized, before turning around to see a very real, very warty witch. "Well, that's not something you see every day."
"Scream, little girls, while you still can," she screeched at them, pointing her finger at them menacingly.
"Oh, look, is that a sudden rainburst coming our way?" Daria asked the witch, her calm exterior hiding the fear she was feeling. What was going on with Lawndale? The witch paused to look up at the sky, and Daria and Jane took off running towards Daria's home, not stopping until they had reached the safety of Daria's padded bedroom.
"If you weren't with me to back me up, I'd say I should be in one of these, humming 'Witch Doctor' under my breath," Jane commented to Daria, collapsing on the bed, panting softly.
"At least we didn't scream like little girls who had just been pranked," Daria said, worried that she might get an unexpected heart attack from the sudden burst of exercise. "But what's with all of these Halloween superstitions becoming real? You'd think we were in Halloweentown or something."
"I have no answers for you, Morgendorffer," Jane answered. "You know, times like these, I wish we had a slightly stuffy British guy working out school library to tell us what the hell is going on."
"At least we have the internet," Daria said dryly, sitting down at her computer and turning it on. "With any luck, we can figure out what's going on before Halloween hits tomorrow." With that, Daria and Jane settled down for what they were sure was going to be a long night of research, liberally interspersed with reruns of Sick Sad World.
"If I never have to see another site full of useless mumbo jumbo and blasting 'Superstition,' I will die a happy woman," Jane groaned the next morning as they trudged their way over to Jane's house. The entered, and were greeted by the sight of Mystik Spiral lounging in the living room. "Late practice, Trent?" Jane asked with a raised eyebrow, while Daria eyed Nikki.
"Late, early, whatever," Trent answered, absently strumming the introduction to "Highway to Hell" on his guitar. "You aren't wearing a costume," he observed, studying the two girls.
"We aren't really the holiday spirit type of people," Jane said. "The mass commercialism is scary enough without us contributing to it."
"Whatever," Nikki answered, getting up off of the couch and heading towards the kitchen. Daria and Jane exchanged a look and followed her. "Can I help you?" Nikki asked, somewhat rudely when she turned around from the fridge to see Daria and Jane standing before her.
"Do you mind if we look at that necklace?" Daria asked, going directly to the point. "I don't think I've seen anything like it before." Nikki smirked slightly, lifting said article of jewelry off of her neck and handing it to the two girls.
"It's an old family heirloom. One of a kind and all that jazz," Nikki answered as the girls studied it intently.
"That's nice," Daria commented, her suspicions confirmed after a close inspection matched the image in her brain to the piece in her hands. "I wonder how breakable it is, Nikkalin." Nikki visibly paled and took a step back.
"W-wh-what?" she stuttered, her eyes darting between Jane and Daria. "What are you talking about?"
"Nikkalin, vengeance demon for disillusioned men," Daria clarified, studying Nikki though narrowed eyes.
"It only took us seven hours to find that one," Jane added, crossing her arms and doing her best to look intimidating.
"So you know who I am. Big whoop," Nikki said, doing her best to sound non-chalant, and failing miserably. "Where does that get you?"
"We don't care who you are, or what you do for a living," Daria said, fingering the necklace. "But could you please stop making this place an outtake of Nightmare Before Christmas? Lawndale's bad enough without having students get randomly attacked by imaginary monsters."
"But that was the point of the wish!" Nikki protested angrily. "That's what that idiot teacher wanted!"
"Who was this 'idiot teacher' exactly, and what did he wish for?" Jane asked suspiciously.
"Some DiMartino guy," Nikki scoffed, moving closer to the girls, her eyes on her captive necklace. "And it was a stupid wish. Something about students feeling fear, or some crap like that. It didn't have to be monsters; I just decided to go with the Halloween spirit."
"Why am I not surprised that came out of Mr. DiMartino?" Daria asked no one in particular. "You still aren't getting this back; not until you change everything back to normal."
"Why would I do that?" Nikki challenged.
"Because we have your power source," Jane answered. "And, therefore, we win."
"Here are the terms," Daria continued, picking up from where Jane left off. "You undo the wish and leave town. Don't even think of coming back. And, can you make it quick? As much as we hate to admit, we do need to make it to school on time." Daria continued to finger the necklace, before tightening her grip on it. Nikki watched her before sighing in resignation.
"I can't just return things to normal," Nikki explained. "Once the wish has been cast, it's done."
"Can't you just get rid of the monsters, or something?" Jane asked. "I mean, I think the wish has been overly fulfilled by now, with all those students dead."
"You know, I think that might just work," Nikki said after a moment of thought. "Shouldn't get me in too much trouble with the boss man. I'll need the necklace though," she added, a pointed glance at Daria. "Seeing that it's my power source and all."
"Very well, but just so you know, I'm not letting go of it," Daria warned, walking towards Nikki. "That way, if you decide to double-cross us--well, you get the idea." Nikki glared at Daria, but let the girl approach her, necklace in hand. "Hold on a sec." Nikki closed her eyes and screwed up her face. The air around her glowed yellow for a brief moment. "There, that should get rid of the monsters."
"You better be telling the truth," Daria warned Nikki, letting go of the necklace as a sign of barely earned trust. "Because if you aren't...well, I'm not exactly sure how yet, but I'll make sure you suffer."
"Don't underestimate her," Jane added, a deadly smile on her face. "It's always the quiet ones."
"Don't worry, I kept my word," Nikki sneered at the girls, her attitude firmly back in place with the restoration of her necklace. "Hopefully, I won't be seeing you." She was there one moment, and then she vanished. Daria and Jane stared at the empty air in front of them for a moment before looking at each other and sharing a shrug.
"To school then?" Jane asked Daria, who nodded wearily.
"Why not? I needed to catch up on my sleep anyways." The girls quietly exited through the back door and trudged onward, hoping that Nikki had kept her word.
"Daria, Jane, are you OK?" A transvestite approached them, and it took the two girls a moment to recognize Ms. Defoe, the art teacher.
"Just fine, Ms. Defoe," Daria answered, glad that her normal monotone wasn't that dissimilar to the tone she was using now. "Just another late night plotting to take over the world."
Ms. Defoe smiled. "Ah, I do love your sense of humor, Daria. Now come on, you two, it's time to go to the Halloween assembly." Daria and Jane followed her past a group of girls, who where blithly comparing costumes. It took a moment for Daria to recognize Sandi, Tiffany, Stacy, and Quin in the naughty nurse, sexy pumpkin, Barbie, and geenie chatting about the latest in Halloween fashion.
"Oh, look, there's the man who brought this down on us," Jane said, gesturing with her head towards Mr. DiMartino, who looked extremely uncomfortable dressed up as Bert to Mr. O'Neill's Ernie.
"I think wearing that costume and dealing its connotations is punishment enough for the death and destruction he unknowingly unleashed upon us," Daria replied. "Now, if only he and Mr. O'Neill win the costume contest, his humiliation will be complete."
"Why have corporal punishment when you can get a little humiliation?" Jane asked, as they passed by a jauntily dressed pirate. "Although, I think he got off too lightly."
"We did the best we could with what we had," Daria replied, finding a seat behind a viking and a cowboy. "And that's all we could ask for."
That night, instead of going to the school sponsored bonfire, Daria and Jane lounged in Jane's room, munching on candy apples and watching "Halloween."
"You know what stinks about this entire situation?" Jane asked, turning to Daria during a pause in action. "We saved Lawndale, and no one will ever know about it. We should get a parade, or a statue, or something like that."
"Such is the burden of a hero. All the work and none of the pay. It's a hard-knock life, but someone's got to do it," Daria replied after a moment of thought. "So, here's to saving the world, Jane. Let's hope we never have to do it again."
"Here, here, Morgendorffer," Jane replied, lifting her candy apple in toast. "To saving the world."