-Epilogue, three weeks later.-

Tom fidgeted in his seat for the umpteenth time, even with all the technological advancements made in aircraft design truly comfortable seating still eluded engineers, even in first class.

"Would you bloody well settle down. You won't make the plane leave any faster by twitching," Ian scolded.

Tom sighed and forced himself to sit still. "There, is that better?"

"Yes, thank you. Now relax you'll see her soon enough."

Tom fingered the boarding passes sticking out of the breast pocket of his shirt. They were for a flight from New York City to Los Angeles. "I know that, but still..." he glanced out the window at the tarmac and the airline workers scurrying about. He had demanded the window seat upon boarding, a request to which Ian had graciously ceded.

"Yeah, all this is delaying your triumphant return to your home town with the love of your life on your arm, and your best buddy at your side; newly single and ready to unleash himself on the women of that peaceful burg."

Tom chuckled, "Something like that yeah. It is a shame about Kristen though."

Ian shrugged, "It's not my fault she chose to be a fan of Man United."

Tom shook his head in a bemused fashion, "I still don't see why her being a fan of another soccer team automatically makes her incompatible, the two of you were getting along so well."

Ian sighed patiently, "I guess it's just something you'll never understand, but it's for the best this way. And for the last time it's not soccer, it's football, get it right fuck for brains."

"If it doesn't involve a helmet and big pads it's not football." Tom said with a grin.

"Stupid American fucks, don't know the proper name for the proper sport." Ian sighed. "So, tell me will we be meeting Elsie on this trip? Or Daria's sister for that matter, I hear she's quite the dish."

Tom smiled, "Don't know about Elsie, and hands off Quinn, she's going out with a friend of mine."

"Isn't that always the way?" Ian asked with mock sadness.

"Don't worry, I'll introduce you to my friend Jane when we get to Lawndale."

"Jane, the art chick of legend?" Ian asked. Tom simply nodded, "Excellent, this trip shall be most rewarding."

"That it will be, that it will be." Tom said. The plane began to taxi and Tom leaned back in his seat, closing his eyes briefly.

"Daria's going to be meeting us at the airport, right?" Ian asked as the plane taxied down the runway.

Tom nodded, "Yep." The plane began to pick up speed. The powerful engines rumbled and with a thud the plane left the ground. Tom opened his eyes and watched as the plane sped towards the horizon, chasing the rising sun.

"How fitting," he thought, "Facing a new day figuratively and literally." Tom closed his eyes and fell asleep as the plane continued to fly towards the dawning of a new day.

Fin

Babylon:
Friday night I'm going nowhere al the lights are changing green to red
Turning over TV stations situations running through my head
Well I'm looking back through time
You know it's clear that I've been blind
I've been a fool to open up my heart to all that jealousy
That bitterness that ridicule
Saturday I'm running wild and all the lights are changing red to green
Moving through the crowd I'm pushing
Chemicals are rushing through my bloodstream
Only wish that you were here you know I'm seeing it so clear
I've been afraid to tell you how I really feel
To admit to some of those bad mistakes I've bad
If you want it come and get it crying out loud
The love that I was giving you was never in doubt
Let go your heart let go your head and feel it now
Let go your heart let go your head and feel it now
Babylon, Babylon
Sunday all the lights of London shining sky is fading red to blue
I'm kicking through the autumn leaves and
wondering where it is you might be going to
Turning back for home you know I'm feeling so along
I can't believe climbing on the stair
I turn around to see you smiling there in front of me
If you want it come and get it crying out loud
The love that I was giving you was never in doubt
Let go your heart let go your head and feel it now
Let go your heart let go your head and feel it now
Babylon, Babylon

-Author's Notes-

What's All This Then?:
Babylon differs from anything else I'm writing, or have written, because the idea for it came about very quickly, and it totally consumed me. I had recently discovered David Gray and this one song, Babylon, was chewing on my brain. So I planned on writing a "Taper Friendly" story based on it, but not until I finished work on a couple other fics I was kicking around at the time. Then I saw the movie "High Fidelity" and I got smacked upside the head by a monster bit of inspiration and I was off to the races. This is why the "last" Taper Friendly is the second written

From Whence Did This Come?
As I've said, the song Babylon was the primary inspiration for this particular story. In face I even tried to loosely fit the plot of my work around the narrative of the song. I echo verses in the song at several key plot point, and some of the choices I made in the story are directly attributable to the song's narrative, an authentic Marvel No-Prize to the person who can pick out all of those scenes that directly reference the song. The other major influence, and the thing that realized crystalized what this story was going to be about were the films Gross Pointe Blank and High Fidelity. I borrowed plot points and characterizations from both in fashioning Babylon. For instance, the scene in which Elsie is reading the reuinion invite to Tom is an almost verbatim transcription of a similar scene between Martin and Marcel in Gross Pointe Blank, not coincidentaly Martin and Marcel were playing by real life brother and sister John and Joan Cusack. Martin and Rob also both came from these films in form as well as spirit. The sub-genre of romantic reunion comedies are always populated with quirky friends. Babylon is my stab at that kind of story, so the surrounding characters had to match. Which brings me to...

Ian, The Man, the Myth, the Legend:
Ah, Ian Williams, that devilish rake. Ian's primary inspiration came from a group of people I know who basically act like Ian does. They're young, professionals who still want to live the party life. Also the sort of movies that inspired Babylon always have a brash, out-going friend to off set the more introspective and moody main character. As luck would have it this just so happened to fit Ian's proposed characterization like a glove. It's also worthy to note that Ian is the first major character I've ever created that has come from whole cloth; Ian is not derived from some facet of my own personality, he came entirely from my imagination and observations of others. I'm enormously pleased with how Ian turned out. I'm glad to see how strong a character he turned out, and I have to figure out a way to make use of him in the future.

Speaking of the Future Nostradamus:
I'm sure people are curious as to why I chose the particular careers for the various Lawndale Alumni. I put Tom in computer programming for no real good reason, it wasn't crucial to the story and it felt right at the time. I initially wanted to make him an investment banker, but decided against. Daria was made a journalist simply as a knee-jerk fan-fic based reaction. There's a whole raft of fan-fics out there featuring Daria as a journalist of some sort and I just went along with the flow. Though I did qualify that somewhat by having Daria question her career choice. Quinn as an actress, well she's already a drama queen isn't she? Jane as a housepainter. Ok, here's the deal. I don't think Jane is going to "make it" as an artist, the odds are pretty much not in her favor on that one. I just couldn't bring myself to making her a successful artist. So I decided she'd do the next best thing, paint houses. That way she'd still get to be around her medium, yet make a living at the same time. Also, in a nod to Jane's unique spirit I made her the most artistic housepainter you ever did see, and implied she had created a successful cottage industry in the process. Jane's still Jane, she just has a day job now.

The Trent Issue:
I guess I confused a lot of people when Daria made reference to Trent after her first meeting with Tom. I wasn't signaling the arrival of Trent, Or that Daria was going to hook up with Trent, that Daria had feelings for Trent, or anything else of that nature. Daria was just saying that the night had been very strange and that the only thing stranger would have been to run into another former flame/crush. I used Trent because we all know Daria had some kind of romantic type feelings for Trent, something we don't know for Rick Deris, who Daria went out with a couple of times her sophomore year of college. That's obviously bullshit because the show has never shown us Daria romantically linked with anyone else, and I hope that illustrates why Trent was mentioned in what is really a Daria/Tom shipper fic.

What is Reality?:
Let me be strait up about something. This isn't a "realistic" story. I highly doubt the ending I wrote would actually take place. I suspect Daria and Tom will break up at some point and then move on with their lives. I don't think that everyone's "first love" is the love of their life. Nor do I think that getting back together with a person you once went out with is the smartest idea. Now having said that, let me also say that within the idiom of the story the ending does work, and I'm enough of a big softie to not want to go that far against form. It would have been an "edgier" story if I had left Daria and Tom broken up, but I didn't feel like doing that. Instead I left things hanging, not necessarily resolved, but we know Daria and Tom still care for each other. So it's a sappy ending, big deal, there aren't enough happy endings in life anyway, let's have one in the fictive world at least.

Shameless Plug:
Let me take a moment to extol the virtues of David Gray one more time. He is the finest artist I've heard in quite some time. I still can't help singing along to "Babylon," "Please Forgive Me," "Say Hello, Say Goodbye," and the rest of his catalog of songs. If you're a fan of "alternative" music do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of "White Ladder." You won't regret it. His live shows are just as amazing I'm told and the next time he stops near my town to put on a show I'm definitely going, along with my taping gear.

I'll Be There For You?:
One scene I'd like to talk about, because it's birth was cool and creative, was Daria's story about Stacy. The idea for that bit actually came from an episode of Friends when Rachel's mother comes for a visit. Once I had that as my starting point the rest just flowed, and there it was, Stacy was an alcoholic. It fit narrative, and I think it also fits with the characterization of Stacy on the show. I was so inspired by that one little anecdote that I'm probably going to blow it out into a story all it's own at some point.

What's Next?:
No rest for this wicked bastard. I've already got moderately significant work done on two other stories and I've started on two others. At the moment the plan is for me to get the long overdue "Busted Stuff" done while simultaneously working on a much darker, as yet unnamed piece(actually "The Stone", -ed). However none of that is firm and if the motivation for something else strikes I shall pursue it. I hope everyone enjoyed this little romp, it was a fun one to write and I am really happy with the results. Ya'll take care of yourselves.

Why the update?:
Babylon got this new update for a very simple reason, I wanted to make the chapters actually fit some sort of artistic flow. The song Babylon encapsulates a three day stretch of time, as does the story Babylon. The chapters, however, were a hodge-podge job that I put up as I finished twenty or so pages of draft. It's a little ugly and not as elegant as the new chapters, plus it lets me re-expose a good piece of fic to a new audience. This turned out to be my most acclaimed piece of Daria Fic so a little "special edition" treatment was in order.