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The In-Dark

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This story is No. 4 in the series "Have Faith". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Daria Faith Morgendorffer, needing to figure out who she is, goes on a road trip with Jane Lane; in the meantime, something is really ticked with Daria for ruining its plans . . .

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Cartoons > DariaMediancatFR153077,350620727,32522 May 1022 Jul 10No

Two I's

Daria Lynn Morgendorffer (which seems to be fan-canon, and reasonable to me) is Daria pre-April 10, 1997. Faith is Daria’s alternate identity from April 10, 1997 until Glory merged them. Daria Faith Morgendorffer is who she is now.

When I need to distinguish between old Daria and new Daria, I will use the middle names.

Daria was created by Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis Lynn; Buffy the Vampire Slayer was created by Joss Whedon. Samuel R. Delany wrote Dhalgren; the first line of the fic is a direct quote. And remember, in my universe, Lawndale, Maryland replaces Westminster, MD, and the Cranberry Mall is real; the other two mall names were the ones given the local mall in Daria.

X X X X X

to wound the autumnal city.
So howled out for the world to give him a name.
The in-dark answered with wind.
All you know I know:

-- The first lines of Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany

X X X X X

Here I am and am no I.

Not quite, thought Daria Faith Morgendorffer. But Delany put it better than she could. ‘course, when he wrote it, he had more experience than Daria did – actual and agewise. In her case, it was here I am and am two I’s.

She’d say four eyes, but she hadn’t been wearing glasses in quite a while now. Not since Mayor Dick got her that Lasik surgery.

Faith had had conflicting feelings about Mayor Richard Wilkins; the man had used her, but he’d also shown her a genuine parental affection, the kind she’d always felt she’d lacked from her own folks. Daria’s opinion of the former Mayor was a good deal lower; but then, she’d never liked bureaucrats and hated the fact that for any length of time she, under any circumstances, had worked for a real supervillain. Reason was, of course, is that Faith’s memories were false; as she’d been born Daria Morgendorffer. And while Jake and Helen Morgendorffer had been imperfect parents, they’d never been close to as neglectful or cruel as Faith’s false memories would have had it be.

Doc Vaughn had said that Faith probably cobbled those memories together to avoid having to think about what had really happened. It made sense to Daria. She would never remember more than scattered moments of April 10, 1997, and by far preferred it that way. A little knowledge, in this case, is not a dangerous thing.

‘cause a lot of knowledge had ended with her nearly punching her way out of a jail cell. That was Daria Lynn, not Daria Faith; but she would not take that risk again.

She would not fucking hurt people. Ever.

With anything besides her wit. Which was a deadly weapon all of its own, but at least it’s one she didn’t have to register.

Of course, she was no I, and two I’s, all at once. She felt more like Daria Lynn Morgendorffer than Faith Lehane. And still, slightly, like Buffy Summers. But, though she’d been involuntarily integrated for a good month, she still didn’t know, exactly, who Daria Faith Morgendorffer was.

Exactly might be too much to hope for. But so far she’d had other things to do. Helping B handle Glory. Protecting Cameron Kim against the early assaults of Wolfram & Hart (though Angel’s ploy to take the fight directly to Gavin Park seemed to be working, so far, from the last she’d heard.)

Watching Willard Jay Harbaugh, the SOB who’d murdered her family, die.

Confirming that his role in determining her identity was over.

Finishing up Dhalgren.

Now, except for Dhalgren, she was done.

And now – now she was going to try to figure out who she was. What parts of her were Daria, what parts Faith, and what the whole – the sum of the parts – came to.

What she wanted to do, beyond vampire slaying, which was more or less mandatory.

And yeah, the idea of hitting the open road “to find yourself” was quite 1960s. But the alternatives were to go through therapy, and the only psychiatrist she trusted was Doc Vaughn – and, to be honest, she viewed their bond as something other than shrink-patient and knew the Doc did as well; or to go to a cabin in the woods like Thoreau had.

She’d joked, way back when, about setting up a Montana Cabin Fund, but she’d never gotten around to it, not that Helen Morgendorffer would have let her get away with it, anyway.

Left to herself, she might do just that. Daria Faith Morgendorffer could deal with people better than Daria ever had, but it didn’t mean she liked it a whole hell of a lot. But there was no “left to herself” anymore. “Vampire slayer” took care of that. She joked, sometimes, that her conscience would hold her back if she had one; but she always had. People always thought that being cynical came from not giving a shit. Not true. Life would have been easier, if she’d been a sociopath. Fuck, probably why Faith had done her best to bury her own conscience and go that route. But she couldn’t fake not giving a shit forever.

But she did give a shit. That was the problem, that so many other people didn’t. And overexposure to “go along to get along” or “in it for the money” or “I’d help you, but what would everyone else say” could turn anyone from an idealist into a bitter observer on the human condition.

The problem with common human beings is that they’re so damned common.

Over the course of her fairly young life, Daria Lynn Morgendorffer had developed into what she called an egalitarian elitist. Everyone should be equal under the law, no exceptions.

But some people were better than others. And, yeah, she was one of them.

That did not give her the right to do anything about it. One of Faith’s other issues is that she thought she should have been treated better than she was, because she had the power, and might made right.

It sure as hell didn’t.

Anyway. More issues, more questions than could be dealt with on a motorcycle trip across the country, even if she had managed to put Willard Jay Harbaugh behind her once and for all a few days back.

That’s why she was coming back to Lawndale. There were four people in the world she really liked and trusted. Angel was needed in LA. B was needed in Sunnydale. And Lynette Vaughn had a husband. Doc Vaughn could spare a week or so, and had, but an open-ended road trip to fuck-all nowhere, hell no, and Daria wouldn’t ask her. (Partly ‘cause she thought the Doc might just say yes, anyway.)

Angel understood; B related; Doc Vaughn cared.

The fourth one was here -- well, about five miles up Baltimore National Pike, in Lawndale, Maryland. Jane Lane. Daria had connected with Jane entirely on her own, without having any forced connection, like it’d been with Angel, B, and the Doc.

This meant something to Daria. Meant more that Jane was willing to go with her.

Here was the turnoff, just past the Cranberry Mall. If you looked, you could see the imprints of the previous names: Cranberry Commons and Lawndale Mall. Why they’d changed it so many times, she had no idea. Wasn’t like people would look up at and say, “New name. Damn. Never been in there before.”

And now, Stately Lane Manor.

Time to get this show on the road, so to speak.

X X X X X

Down the street but still within view of Jane’s place, a man said, “And this’ll make me tough?”

The other with him said, “Oh, yes.”

“Tough enough to play football again?”

The other said, “Oh, most definitely. You will be fast. You will be tough! You will be strong! And aaaall your injuries will be healed.”

“Okay, I’m in. What do I have to do?” the man asked.

“I have difficulty manifesting. I shouldn’t, but I do. I had a plan -- a plan she wasn’t part of. Get her out of the way and I should be able to get things back the way they were supposed to be. Things will be smooth again! And orderly! Just like they should be, in Laaawndale, and the world. You have to kill her. Just hold still.”

The other drifted closer, then over, the man. When it drifted away, he felt like he could run through anyone and anything. “And I have to kill the bitch over there?”

“Yes. My followers are underground. They will find you. Tell them what to do.”

“No problem. Tell me one more thing.”

“If I can.”

“Why do you look like my old principal? I mean, she’s dead. She fell off the roof of the library. My agent made me go to her funeral.”

“It got your attention, didn’t it? Now wait for my followers, and then kill the girl. I’ll be back when you do.”

“Don’t worry. When Tommy Sherman promises something, Tommy Sherman delivers!”


X X X X X

Glory drained Ms. Li’s mental structure during “The Sum of Their Parts.” Assume that, while Glory, Doc, and Glory’s minions were fighting our heroes, Ms. Li fell off the library roof.

And Tommy Sherman was an arrogant, sleazy ex-Lawndale High football player showcased in the Daria episode “The Misery Chick.” In that episode, after an argument with Daria, he stormed onto the football field and was crushed by a falling goalpost which was to be renamed in his honor. Obviously, here, he survived.
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