Fear And Loathing In Lawndale
by Bastet

Trent's mouth was softer than she would have expected, a little prickly. He tasted like cigarettes until he pulled away very quickly. "I'm sorry, Daria."

"For what?" she said, panicking a little.

"I just can't do this to Janie," he said sadly.

This is that guy's fault, Daria woke and thought immediately.

After all, they had just been walking, talking, Jane saying, "Yes, but what could Ms. Lee possibly have that the Martians would want?"

And Daria saying--nothing, because at that moment someone had driven past them and yelled "Dykes!" at the top of his lungs. Daria didn't even bother to look back at the car. Jane did, though. "Nice," she remarked, then "um" when they had walked another block in silence. "Daria, it's no big deal."

"If you say so, honey."

She thought Jane might say "now, now," and wave her finger, but she didn't, she just frowned and kicked at an uneven part of the sidewalk. "Look, we know it's not true," Jane reasoned calmly.

"Yeah," said Daria, and she thought that was it, but a few minutes later she burst out with: "I just don't see why he would think that."

"Come on, Daria, we do spend a lot of time together. And neither of us are exactly poster girls for happy heterosexuality."

She could have said, "Yeah, but he doesn't know us."

"That doesn't mean we're lesbians," would have worked fine as well.

Instead, she muttered, "it's not like we touch each other a lot," heard the words coming out before she could stop them, and knew that Jane's shocked face was a perfect mirror of her own.

"Um. Well..."

"I have to go," Daria said, looking away.

"Daria, I really think we should--"

"I'll see you later." She found when she reached her house that her fingers hurt where she had curled them under her backpack straps.

She slept only about an hour of that night, during which she had the dreaded dream.

"Daria, did you sleep all right?" asked her mother between conference calls.

"Like an angel, mother." Picking at her breakfast, she wondered exactly what method this situation called for. Staying home from school, as attractive as that sounded, would only make things more awkward. Last night, she had tried to convince herself that there was nothing wrong, but as usual that just sounded like a colossal lie.

She settled for being late to class and not looking Jane in the eye when she entered. Jane didn't look at her either, her head turned down towards her paper, not just ignoring Daria but putting her whole body into it. Her hair hung in a black curve over her face, her red lips pursed. When Mr. O'Neill called on her he had to repeat the question twice before she could answer it.

"Dad," she said after school, "do you think that I'm weird?"

"Of course not, kiddo!" he said brightly. "Um...why do you ask? Did someone say you were weird?"

"Not in so many words," she admitted.

"Well, Daria, you shouldn't let other people decide whether or not you're weird. People may think you're weird, just because you don't act like everyone else, or like anyone else--"

"--and therefor I'm the very definition of 'weird.'"

"--but you can't let that get you down! Weirdness is great! Weirdness is you! Unless, of course," he said, unwinding rapidly, "you did something really weird. Like. I don't know."

"Using the black arts to curse people I don't like again?"

"Yes. Like that. You haven't been--"

"I'll let you know when the leprosy epidemic sets in," Daria assured him, and went upstairs. She sat in her room and didn't think about Jane. Or the way she looked running, flushed and sweaty.

She knocked on Quinn's door. "I need to talk to you."

"Make it quick," Quinn sighed, and turned reluctantly away from her mirror.

"How would you feel if someone you knew was...well, gay?"

Quinn stared. "Daria, gay is in!"

"Oh, well then."

"So, if one of your friends were gay, they'd probably be too cool to talk to you any more."

Daria considered this for a moment. "Thanks."

"You're welcome!" Quinn trilled, and slammed the door in her face.


Jane showed up before Daria was ready to deal with her, but that was inevitable because she hadn't yet perfected her ability to disappear at will. "Daria?"

Daria thought about not opening her door. "Yeah."

"There you are."


"...mind if I come in?"

"Knock yourself out."

Jane's eyes were circled with sleep, and her hair was sort of frizzy. Daria sort of couldn't think at all. "Hi."

"Hey." Was that her voice? That stupid breathy girly thing? If she was going to be a lesbian, she at least wanted to be a butch one. Not that she was going to be a lesbian. That was one thing she had firmly decided. "Um. I'm sorry I've been avoiding you. Sometimes I just--"

"It's okay, the rest of the world already does it." Jane didn't smile, or move. "Look, I've been thinking, and--"

"Let's just forget the whole thing."

"Yeah, it's no big deal."


"Nothing's any different than it was two days ago."


"So, how's tricks?"

"Just spectacular. And you?"

"Don't take this the wrong way," Jane said, advancing a little toward the bed, "but you don't seem convinced."

"What makes you say that?"

"Daria, you haven't looked me in the eye since I got here." Said out loud, it sounded incredibly stupid, and the worst part was that she still couldn't look at Jane.

"I slept funny. I can't move my neck."

"Yuh-huh." Sitting down on the bed, Jane settled her hands on her knees as if she was afraid to touch anything. Well, at least they were on the same page.

"Look, see? Not gay," Jane said, and leaned forward, and, catching Daria off-guard, kissed her on the mouth. It was like an electric shock that didn't hurt, and they both started back. Jane blinked. "Okay, that didn't work. At least, it didn't work for me. Did it not work for you?"

"It depends. What exactly were you hoping to accomplish by barging into my room, sitting on my bed, and kissing me?"

"Good point," Jane sighed, and then didn't say anything.

"I just want to be normal, okay?" Daria snapped a few moments later, then groaned. "I didn't just say that."

"Actually, you kinda did," Jane told her, with a smile that was close to their kind of normal.

They sat in silence for a little longer. "So that's what lipstick tastes like? Yeuch." Jane snickered. "...and if you make a 'lipstick lesbian' crack, they'll never find your body."

"My mother will be so proud," said Jane, laughing. "She loves this 'alternative lifestyle' crap."

"My mother will have an aneurysm. So it's familial bliss all around."

"Hey," Jane said, poking her, "you're smiling."

"Don't let it go to your--hey!" Jane kissed her again. Her spine crackled as Jane's hand settled over it, warm and spidery, and she moved closer, her skirt sliding over Jane's thighs.

Her neck felt just fine. Completely and utterly normal.


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