Fates Entwined

Disclaimer: Daria is property of MTV and Glenn Eichler.

The First Day Of The Rest Of Our Lives

And so it began.

After four years of high school, Daria was finally where she wanted to be, in college. Raft College wasn't exactly her first choice but the fact that it was close to the Boston Fine Arts College where Jane was attending made it more ideal than she had hoped.

In some ways, Daria was pleasantly surprised Raft had even accepted her. Despite her good grades, her lack of extracurricular activities was something colleges normally frowned upon.

"Let's see," Daria looked down at her map. "ECON1101 is down this way in the Raft Hall building…"

Several yards away she saw an old building with a watchtower. From the looks of it, it had been built somewhere around the late 1800s.

Before the building was a student handing out fliers.

"My fellow classmates!" the young man said with a loudspeaker. "College is a time of independence for us all! But many of us lack direction! We lack faith! Come join me at the Universal Brotherhood!"

As students passed by him, some took no interest while others took the fliers he was handing out.

"Hello there," the student paused, turning to Daria. "Would you be interested in hearing the word of—"

"Um, if you're handing out free pamphlets to The Watchtower," Daria frowned, "I think I'm good."

"I am no mere Jehovah's Witness!" the student grimaced. "I am spreading the word of the ONE GOD!"

"Say," Daria squinted her eyes at the student. "You look kind of familiar. Don't I recognize you from somewhere?"

"My name is Graham," the student smiled cockily.

"Ah yes, I remember now," Daria recalled. "You come from that Grove Hills private school. I remember stopping by with Jodie."

"Wait… you're her!" Graham took a step back. "You and that Jodie girl humiliated me in front of my friends!"

"Well, that was back when I was a high school bully," Daria quipped. "I've seen the error of my ways since then and would like to extend the olive branch of peace."

"Hmph," Graham turned away from her. "Just stay away from me!"

"Would it help if I wrote a five page essay on Mao?" suggested Daria.

"Ugh!" Graham walked away from her.

"Guess that places me in the same untouchable caste as a quarterback," Daria noted.

oooo

Daria sat down in her ECON1101 class. Most certainly the seating arrangement was very unlike that of high school. She sat on a top row of seats, going down like a coliseum. In front of her was a long gray table row instead of a wooden desk like back from Lawndale High.

More students then entered into the classroom and took their seats.

A blonde man with glasses then proceeded to sit down next to Daria before taking out his notebook and pen.

Casually, he glanced over at Daria

"D-Daria?" he gasped.

Daria looked up, taking a good glance at him finally.

"Ted!" she exclaimed.

Her fellow classmate for this particular course was none other than Ted Dewitt-Clinton. By some miracle he was now attending the same college she was.

"Wow, I had no idea you were attending Raft!" Ted smiled.

"It's… a surprise to see you too," Daria admitted. "Looks like we'll be attending the same class together."

"Who'd thought we'd be attending the same college and in the same class!" Ted noted.

"Well, we did kind of lose touch over the years in high school," Daria admitted.

"Now's a good of time as any to catch up again," Ted recommended. "You see, sometime in my senior year of high school, I realized how sheltered of a life I had been leading because of my parents and I knew I needed to live life on my own terms."

"I don't recall seeing you in my last year of Lawndale High," admitted Daria. "You were one grade above me, right?"

"Yeah," Ted answered. "I spent all of last year attending Raft, where I was able to break out of my shell."

"So what are you doing now?" asked Daria.

"Well, I'm a history major right now," Ted replied. "So far I've been getting my core classes out of the way so that I can move on to the courses which really matter."

"Interesting," Daria looked at Ted. "You always did strike me as a medieval history kind of guy."

"I'm also volunteering some of my afternoons to help out with some local staff for a women's self-defense class held in the gym," Ted pointed out. "Here's a card if you're interested."

Ted handed Daria the card just as the ECON1101 teacher walked in. After reading it, Daria's eyes opened wide.

"Amy Barksdale's Self-Defense Classes For Women?" Daria was taken aback.

oooo

"So how was your first day?" asked Jane.

Both Daria and Jane sat together at a local Boston café. It was around evening time and the two had finished up their courses for the day.

"Two words?" Daria looked at Jane. "Déjà vu."

"So what happened?"

"Well, I met two guys from back in the Lawndale days," admitted Daria. "One of them was a trust fund baby from a private school I toured back in high school. The second guy was Ted."

"Ted," Jane mused. "I'm trying to remember… name certainly rolls off the tongue well."

"Tom was the first guy I went out with," Daria pointed out. "Ted was the first guy I had a date with, but it didn't go any further than that."

"Oh right, that guy!" Jane teased. "Man, Daria, you do move on fast! How long has it been since you broke it off with Tom again?"

"It's not like that," Daria insisted. "Ted and I met again and had a good talk. Turns out he's some kind of assistant teacher at this college women's self-defense class."

"So you gonna take him up on his offer?" asked Jane.

"Considering my Aunt Amy teaches this class, I just might," Daria nodded. "The first class begins tomorrow at 5PM."

oooo

Next day.

"Hello, everybody, please take your seats," Professor Clifford March told his class.

He was a skinny man with a physique similar to Mr. Timothy O'Neill, possessing a face which appeared gaunt and emaciated. The suit he wore was an ordinary brown suit. A pair of glasses adorned his face and long brown hair flowed from his head.

Daria took out her notebook and pen. This class happened to be Ancient Mythology. From what she had read up on the Rate My Professor website, this was one of the easier elective classes. It was nice to have a breather class right after the slightly more difficult Economics class.

"It's you again!"

Daria turned around, facing the student named Graham.

"Hello," Daria waved dryly.

"How did you get in this class?" demanded Graham.

"Well, first I signed online to my student portal," Daria explained in her trademark monotone voice. "Then I selected an elective class. And voila, here I am."

"You specifically signed on to this to show me up!" Graham insisted. "You were jealous that you never made it to Grove Hills so you decided you would sabotage me in college?"

"Uh, what?" Daria looked at him funny.

"Admit it!" Graham told her.

"Look, I don't know how long you've held on to this grudge against me or Jodie," Daria replied. "But you kinda fell off my radar after that whole Grove Hills thing."

"Oh? Then why are you attending the same class as me?" demanded Graham.

"Well, if you look up an online dictionary for the word coincidence, I think you'll find out why," Daria informed him.

"Is something the matter?" Professor March walked up towards Daria and Graham.

"Uh no, of course not," Graham told him. "This young lady and I were just momentarily exchanging notes."

"Alright then, but make it brief," Professor March told them. "And Graham, I would like to speak to you after class regarding the Brotherhood."

"Of course Professor," smiled Graham.

Daria took one last look at Graham. There was a bit of a pompous, snide look to his face. But underneath it all, there was something more. Something worse. Perhaps attending Aunt Amy's self-defense class in the evening wouldn't be such a bad idea after all.

oooo

"Hi Daria!" Ted greeted Daria as she came into the gym.

There were a few other girls there as well. So far, it appeared that Aunt Amy had not yet come by.

"Hey, I'm Samantha," a blonde girl walked up to Daria.

"I'm Karen," her brunette friend came up as well.

"Hey," Daria waved.

"So what brings you in here?" asked Samantha.

"First day and I already have a motive," Daria answered. "You see, there's this guy I knew back from high school and now I'm in a college course with him. I'm already getting death glares from the guy."

"Wow, that sucks," Karen frowned. "Well, you'll be glad to know that Ms. Barksdale is an excellent self-defense teacher!"

"I always stop by these classes to help out," Ted told Daria. "To give these girls a live opponent to practice with and so they can engage in grappling and sparring sessions with a male opponent to increase their likelihood of being able to defend themselves in a potential real life scenario."

"Ted's been a great help to us," Samantha put her arm around Ted's. "We've gotten as far as we have because of him."

"So what brought you girls here?" asked Daria.

"Well, you see, I had this ex-boyfriend in the past and—" Karen said.

At that moment, Amy Barksdale entered into the room, interrupting Karen's train of thought.

"Hey girls," Amy smiled. "And… hey Daria!"

"Aunt Amy," Daria smiled back.

"She's your aunt?" Samantha was taken aback. "I thought I saw a family resemblance!"

"So how'd you find out about my class?" asked Amy.

"Well, I happened to bump into Ted who attended the same high school I did," Daria replied. "He gave me your calling card."

"I'm glad you decided to attend," Aunt Amy told her. "College can be a great experience for young women but it can also be a dangerous experience if young ladies get caught in situations they're not prepared for."

"There is this one guy," admitted Daria. "I knew him from a few years ago. He didn't seem thrilled to see me again. Hostile might be one way of describing him."

"Better safe than sorry then," Amy told Daria. "In any case, today we'll be working on the hiptoss. Daria, you can come practice with me."

All the other girls got on the mat and paired together. Ted paired with Karen while Daria got next to Aunt Amy.

"Remember to slap your hand on the ground the moment you land," Aunt Amy told her niece.

Aunt Amy got next to Daria, grabbing her by the waist and the arm. With a quick turn, she flipped Daria over and threw her to the ground with a thud.

"Ugh," Daria felt a sudden pain jolt through her body.

Throughout high school, she had never been particularly athletically inclined and now she was feeling it in her first self-defense class.

"Hand didn't hit the mat, did it?" Amy asked.

"No," Daria got up, shaking her head.

"Let's try it again, shall we?" offered Amy.

"Lead the way," Daria shook herself off.

oooo

After her evening of training, Daria was feeling pretty sore the next day.

She had never really had to exert herself physically in such a manner before. And doing so for the duration that she did made her realize that she wasn't exactly in tip top condition.

Thankfully, however, her own aunt was her instructor and there was a lot she could learn.

As she walked towards her Economics class, Daria saw a familiar sight before the building.

Graham was there once again, handing out fliers and preaching yet again to the masses.

"Ah Miss Morgendorffer," Graham stopped what he was doing as soon as he saw Daria.

"Graham," Daria acknowledged.

"Listen, I would like to apologize for my behavior from earlier," Graham told her. "You see, as someone who was bullied in childhood, I have a hard time letting go of things."

"Um, apology accepted?" Daria looked at him funny.

"In any case, would you like to hear about the Lord Above All?" Graham asked.

"The what now?" Daria tilted her head.

"The Lord Above All," Graham repeated. "The one whom we worship."

"Mmm… this may be a bit out of my league," admitted Daria. "I'm not really one for religious discussions."

"Everyone has to start somewhere," Graham said to her doggedly.

"Look, I don't mean to be rude," Daria countered, "but typically, campus evangelism really has its limits. I mean, I can't imagine most students enjoy being told how they're a bunch of hellbound heathens and sinners."

"Hellbound?" Graham chuckled. "On the contrary! What our Universal Brotherhood hopes to preach is a message of freedom for all the students on campus! We only encourage each student to live a life of freedom to his or her full potential!"

"Um, what?" Daria raised an eyebrow. "I'm… confused."

"Come, let me show you to our building," Graham insisted, handing her a flyer.

"I'll, uh, keep that in mind," Daria nodded, walking off. "Thanks."

"I'm not done yet!" Graham grabbed Daria by the arm in a sudden burst of anger.

Daria looked around in shock. A few bystanders also stopped to look at Graham and how aggressive he suddenly got.

"Let go!" Daria told him.

At that point, her body was still sore from self-defense practice and she didn't have enough strength to try to pull off a move like the hiptoss on Graham.

"No, not until you—"

"Let her go!" a loud voice boomed.

"Eric!" Graham immediately let go of Daria.

Daria rubbed her sore arm as she looked up at the man who had just saved her.

He was a tall college student, in a red dress with a black tie. He had long flowing hair and a bit of a goatee underneath his thin.

"You'll have to pardon Graham," the tall student told Daria. "He belongs to the same fraternity as I do."

"That's nice to know," Daria said sarcastically. "Does everybody in your frathouse like to distribute Mormon pamphlets and grab girls by the arm?"

"As the head of the Alpha Omega fraternity, I assure you that is not who we are," the student told Daria. "I apologize deeply for Graham's lack of tact."

"But Eric, I was just—" Graham protested.

"Get out of here, Graham!" warned Eric.

Graham looked like he was about to protest but decided against it. With his head held low, he walked off.

"I am Eric Ravencroft," the black haired student told Daria. "I'm head of the Alpha Omega fraternity and a sponsor of the Universal Brotherhood, a campus religious organization that has weekly meetings in my fraternity house."

"That's an impressive resume," Daria acknowledged.

"Once again, I apologize for Graham's behavior," Eric told her. "Some of that organization's members can get rather… overzealous. When they behave badly, it reflects badly upon my own fraternity."

"You should consider installing an electric collar on Graham," suggested Daria.

"Ha!" Eric laughed. "I sometimes wonder why I don't."

"Hey, it's not every day you come across useful idiots who can stand out in rain or shine to distribute pamphlets," Daria replied.

Eric chuckled at Daria's joke.

"In any case, I must head to class now," Eric told her. "Don't hesitate to contact me if you need someone to show you the ropes around campus. Just look me up on the campus Alpha Omega fraternity website."

"Alright, I'll keep that in mind," Daria told him, now feeling a bit better knowing that Graham would be kept on a tight leash with Eric around.

oooo

That night, Daria had finally finished her Anthropology class. It was one of the rare night classes she had on Wednesday and her instructor seemed like a nice enough guy.

Taking out her cell phone, she searched for Jane until she finally reached her on the list. Pressing down on the dial button, Daria walked down the road back to her dorm as she waited for Jane to answer.

"Sup, Daria?" Jane answered back.

"Just got done with Anthropology class," Daria told her.

"Just got done working my shift at this tea shop," Jane told her. "You wouldn't believe how many different flavors this new job has!"

"Really now?" asked Daria.

"Yeah, believe it or not, they even have Java coffee flavored tea here!" Jane said excitedly.

"What's that like?" Daria asked.

"Just think of a chocolate flavored drink with a small taste of caffeine," Jane told her. "I had one before work started and you can't even imagine the buzz it gives you!"

"I need to stop by sometime," Daria smiled. "What hours do you work?"

"Right now, afternoons from three to eight on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays," replied Jane. "Stop by and I'll be able to give you a discount."

As Jane continued on about her work, Daria heard a sudden noise to her side, followed up by a scream.

"Aaaaahhh!" a girl screamed.

"Whoa, let me call you back, Jane," Daria told her friend suddenly.

"I heard it too!" Jane responded. "Are you okay, Daria?"

"Yeah, let me just… look, I'll call you back," Daria told Jane and then shut off her cell phone.

Looking up, Daria saw at the top of one of the female dorm buildings a young girl backing away slowly from a dark figure.

As Daria got a closer look, she saw that it was some sort of man dressed in white robes. His face was hidden by a white owl mask with a few golden decorations running down the forehead. On his right hand were three metal claws extending out.

"Stay away from me!" the girl cried.

At that point, Daria was already in shock, not being able to move at all due to the fear numbing her.

The girl walked backwards on the building until she tripped and stumbled.

It was that moment that the masked owl-man fell upon her, raising his metal claws into the air and striking down on her, slashing her throat open and killing her in one fell blow.

At that point, Daria's knees were trembling as she looked up at the murder scene.

The masked owlman, in turn, finally lowered his head and noticed Daria.

Slowly, he raised his arm, exposing the three blood-stained claws. Lowering them, he pointed his metal claws towards Daria in a threatening gesture.

With that, the masked owlman disappeared from Daria's sight.

Finally, Daria gathered her wits about her enough to finally move her legs and run towards her dorm.

By the time, she got inside, she collapsed. Thankfully, due to her previous roommate leaving for another dorm early on, she had this dorm all to herself.

Taking out her cell phone again, Daria dialed Jane's number.

"Daria, what happened?" asked her friend.

"Jane, you won't believe me if I told you this," Daria told her. "But I just witnessed a murder."