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This story is No. 2 in the series "Little Runaway". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Daria attempts to re-integrate into "normal" life, with help from the Scoobies.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Cartoons > Daria(Current Donor)DeacBlueFR182233,51223612,05514 May 128 Sep 13No

Chapter Twenty-One

Disclaimer: Daria is owned by Glenn Eichler and other people who are not me. Buffy and friends are the property of Joss Whedon, et al. Parts of some scenes closely paraphrased or taken verbatim. No infringement intended, making no money. I'm going to introduce two original characters who are completely mine; as I'm going to eventually sell works with them in it, I'd like to ask that no one use the characters of Anne and Loree without completely filing off the serial numbers.

No one was surprised when all of the students in the club, as well as their parents, were called into school that evening. As they filed into the auditorium, Ms. Li sat on the stage and watched them with a smug look on her face and a stack of gradebooks piled beside her. Once everyone had arrived and was seated, she stood up, clasping her hands. "Parents and students of Lawwwndale High, it is my sad duty to report that the History-Herstory Club will have to be disbanded."

Everyone murmured, but in accordance with their prior discussions, Anne was the one who stood up. "Why do we have to be disbanded, Ms. Li?"

"I was doing an audit of several classes grades earlier, when I noticed that many of the members of the club were not keeping the grade average required to support their membership. As I was concerned, I looked into the grades of every member, and you simply do not have the requisite numbers to support a club."

"How is that possible?" asked Mack. "We have four of the top five students in our grade, in our club."

"Indeed, their previous grades and test scores had led me to believe so, just as you, Mr. MacKenzie," Ms. Li replied, the smug look firmly fixed on her face. "But you can look for yourself. The marks in these gradebooks are not among our best." She looked around. "And as several of you were admitted on the basis of test scores, I have been reluctantly forced to instigate an inquiry to investigate the discrepancy between your test scores and grades. Perhaps some individuals felt that they needed some help to qualify for their current grade."

Buffy came into the room, bent over the redhead at the computer desk and kissed her cheek, before moving and doing the same to the ash-blonde sitting on the bed in lotus position. "Hi, loves. What's up?"

Blushing, Tara looked up and smiled her crooked grin. "Oh, not too much. I'm keeping an eye on these nerds, and Will's finding a way for us to keep the house without working at Doublemeat Palace."

"I'm going to come down in favor of both of those things. Mom's insurance is only a couple of months from running out."

"Well, if you'd only let me take some money from my parents..." Willow said, then rolled her eyes. "All right, all right, shutting up now."

Tara narrowed her eyes at Buffy. "And why are you not letting us contribute and support you?"

Buffy looked down at the floor. "Um...because I don't want to make the Rosenbergs support us when they don't...support us?"

Tara let out a sigh and slapped her thighs. "Buffy! So, you're saying we should turn down what they're already giving her, because they might disagree with her choices?"

"Um...Yes?"

"I love you, but you're a bit stubborn, Buffy." Tara came up and kissed her fiancé. "We are going to let Willow help us if she can, just like we let you help, by Slaying. Is that clear?"

Buffy kept looking at the floor and mumbled. Tara, with her eyebrows raised, tilted Buffy's chin up and waited, looking into her eyes.

After a few minutes, Buffy sighed and gave a small smile. "Okay, we'll go with the acceptage." Kissing Tara lightly, she turned to Willow.

That worthy grinned at her. "Finally!" As she looked back at the screen, she frowned. "That's odd."

"What, baby?"

"I keep a watch on Daria's grades, because, well, I feel responsible and all."

"And, Will?" Buffy smiled.

"Well, she's done really well, so far. But someone changed almost all of her grades, earlier today. Way down."

"We'll bring it up to her the next time she calls."

Helen Morgendorffer stood up. "Ms. Li, that is a serious accusation. I would definitely like to look over those gradebooks. May I?" Ms. Li gestured with her arm, inviting Helen to look. As she did, Mr. Landon rose.

"I'd like to look, myself, and I suspect that the other parents would, as well. Do you think that we could all get copies?"

"Why certainly, Mr. Landon," Ms. Li replied. Having very good hearing, and being seated in the front row, Loree heard Li mutter, "I'll get a big donation for putting her grades right," under her breath. She gathered the gradebooks and left the auditorium, oblivious to the wide smiles of everyone gathered there.

Well, everyone but Helen Morgendorffer, who cleared her throat and shook her head. "This isn't cause for celebration. I'll explain later." That settled everyone down, and they remained that way until Ms. Li returned, her arms full of copies and gradebooks.

After she set them down, Andrea Hecuba's father spoke up. "Ms. Li, if what you're telling us is true, our children have been mis-reporting and forging their grades all semester. Would you do us the favor of certifying that these are true copies, so that we can tell if they switch one out on us?" When she hesitated, he motioned for his wife to stand. "My wife, Maureen, is a notary public, so they won't be able to forge your signature."

"Oh, very well," Ms. Li replied, and signed the copies where Mrs. Hecuba indicated, not reading that, in addition to certifying that is was a true copy, she was certifying that it represented the true grades of the students. Ani Hecuba then stamped each copy as Ms. Li signed them.

Once they were finished, copies were handed to each parent, and when everyone had a copy, Helen reached into her briefcase and handed Mr. Hecuba another set of papers. He looked down and compared the two. After a few minutes, he nodded, and handed the papers to his wife, while he strode to the stage. "Ms. Li? Angela Li?"

The Korean woman nodded. "That's me."

"I didn't introduce myself completely, earlier. I'm Detective Sargent John Hecuba of the Lawndale PD." He pulled a pair of handcuffs from the back of his belt. "Would you turn around and put your hands behind your head?"

"Why would I do that?" she asked, obviously confused.

"I am a police officer, and I am directing you to turn around and put your hands behind your head. Will you comply?"

"What the hell?" Ms. Li half yelled, as he grabbed her arm and twisted it behind her, spinning her around in the process.

"Angela Li," he said in a strong voice as he cuffed her wrists behind her back, "you are under arrest for the charges of felony fraud and forgery. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand these rights I have just read to you?"

Ms. Li began struggling. "You can't arrest me!"

"I just did, ma'am. Do you understand the rights that I have just informed you of?"

After struggling some more, Li's shoulders slumped. "Yes." She was led out of the room by Detective Hecuba, who had gotten his phone out with his free hand and was calling the station for transport. Once they left the auditorium, the club and most of their parents erupted in cheers.

Helen Morgendorffer stood and held her hand up. When everyone had quieted down, she spoke in a low but clear voice. "I know that you're all happy that Ms. Li was arrested. Nevertheless, as I told you before, this is no cause for celebration. It's still possible for her to weasel her way out of this, with a very good lawyer; and even should she be convicted, there will be a stigma attached to these grades. People will wonder if you got these grades, or if we, your parents, somehow got them for you, and got you off scot-free." The auditorium was now silent. "You'll be able to graduate, but don't expect to compete on an even footing for colleges and scholarships based on your grades. The colleges will know about you and the admissions officers will always wonder."

Daria stood up. "I know what you're saying, Mom. So it's good that we have more than two years left of school. Whatever they might think about these grades, the ones after will prove whether we were lying or not."

"Only if it's in the admissions officer's best interests, Daria. Only then." And with that, the families filed out of the auditorium.
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