Fates Entwined

Office Hours

A few months had passed by with no troubles. There had been no more sightings of the campus serial killer and Daria had managed to get some reprieve from everything that had been going on with life.

Just yesterday she had one of her mid-term exams with Professor March. Personally, she felt she had aced her Ancient Mythology class with flying colors.

Everything else had been proceeding smoothly as well. She was fast improving in her self-defense classes and her ability with the crossbow appeared to be second only to Ted's… not that she really had much competition to begin with, considering how very few people in modern times even used such a weapon.

She sat in Ancient Mythology, eagerly anticipating her test results from the mid-term.

"Yeah, I'm sure I aced that test," Graham said behind her to a fellow student. "It was a piece of cake!"

Professor March handed out the exams to his student assistants as they began handing them back to the rest of the class.

Daria sat back in a relaxed position as one of the student assistants handed her back her test results.

As Daria looked at the score, she reeled back in shock.

Somehow, someway… she had gotten a 53 percent on it, a failing grade to be sure.

"My, is something wrong, Daria?" Graham asked.

"N-Nothing is wrong," Daria put her test back in her backpack before the nosy student could see the results.

As the rest of the students headed out, Daria took the exam out again and looked at it. There was just no way she could have failed that exam. After all that studying, she knew for certain that she would do good on it.

"Miss Morgendorffer," Professor March came up to her desk.

"Professor March," Daria looked up. "I don't know what happened but I think there's been a misunderstanding of some kind. You see, I—"

"Actually, Daria," Professor March told her. "That's what I wanted to talk to you about. It's about your failing grade."

"I don't see how I could have failed that," Daria insisted. "I studied for it and knew my material."

"Daria, I have to head out now but I think it's best if you meet with me later tonight a little after my office hours," Professor March suggested. "How does eight sound?"

"That's a little outside of your office hours, isn't it?" asked Daria.

"Yes, but today I have an important lecture to attend," Dr. March excused himself. "I would like to speak with you about dropping out of the class so that you can simply get a 'Withdrawal' instead of a 'Withdrawal Fail' for the semester."

Daria sensed something was not right. She had studied for the test and knew the material. Somehow there was foul play afoot.

"Alright, I'll talk to you tonight," Daria promised.

"Thank you, Miss Morgendorffer."

oooo

"You seem a bit distracted, Daria," Samantha noted as she and Daria practiced together.

"Ugh!" Daria yelped as she was thrown onto the mat.

Daria shook her head to clear the cobwebs. Clearly Professor March's class was affecting her more than she wanted to admit.

"Gee, what gave it away?" asked Daria.

"Daria, is everything okay?" asked Ted.

"Well, not really," confessed Daria. "I failed a mid-term."

"That's not good," Samantha grimaced.

"Except I didn't really fail it," Daria told them. "I studied for it and passed with flying colors. Somehow the Professor altered it to where it looked like I failed."

"Why would he do something like that?" asked Karen as she stopped practicing with Ted to listen in.

"I don't know," Daria admitted, "but I know foul play when I see it."

"Are you going to withdraw?" asked Samantha.

"That's what he wants to talk to me about tonight at eight," Daria replied.

"That's later than any normal office hours," Ted said to her. "Something isn't right here."

"I'll say," Daria said in her deadpan mannerism.

"You gonna go?" asked Samantha.

"I may as well give is a shot," Daria admitted. "And if any funny business happens… well, that's why I'm in this class."

oooo

"Hey Daria, wait up!" Ted called as Daria got all dressed up and headed out.

"Ted?" Daria turned around.

"Daria, you gonna go meet your professor?" asked Ted.

"I guess if I want to withdraw without the failing grade, I have no choice," Daria admitted.

"I'll come with you," Ted offered. "Something about this stinks."

"I don't disagree with that," Daria replied. "But I think I've got this."

"You do?" Ted asked curiously.

"When it concerns my grade, I think I may have to," Daria sighed.

"Well, you've got an hour before you meet him," Ted said to her. "Mind talking about it?"

"Guess not," Daria sat down on a bench. "I should've known the drama wouldn't be over at Raft. Somehow it always finds its way back to me."

"Well, at least you've got some self-defense skills under your aunt's watch," Ted told her encouragingly.

"Yeah, it's hard to believe I knew my aunt all this time and I knew so little about her," Daria confessed.

"You two weren't close?" asked Ted.

"No, we were somewhat close," Daria explained. "She was always my favorite aunt and whenever she visited, she and I always had a blast with each other. But, it's just that I never really scratched beneath the surface when it came to Aunt Amy."

Ted looked at her quizzically.

"Let's just say this," Daria told him. "I always held my aunt up on a pedestal. At one point my mon and another aunt were having a dispute. I called Aunt Amy in, thinking she would be able to fix everything, but soon she was arguing with them as well. I think that was the moment where I had a wakeup call and realized that my aunt was only a flawed human being like the rest of us."

Daria looked down a bit embarrassed that she was admitting all of this to Ted so openly.

"Of course, it also made me appreciate her more in the end," Daria told Ted. "At the end of the day, Aunt Amy has always been a good aunt, and I wouldn't have it any other way with her."

"Yeah, your aunt's been doing some real good work by teaching young college women self-defense skills," Ted added.

"Who knows, maybe I'll put them to good use against my professor," Daria smiled. "In any case, I think I'd better head out. It was good talking to you, Ted."

"Same to you, Daria," Ted waved as Daria walked off.

As Daria walked off, however, Ted began to walk after her. He had a very uneasy feeling in his stomach about her meeting with her professor and something told him that he needed to be there for her as backup.

oooo

"Professor March?" asked Daria as she stepped through the door.

Luckily, the building she was in remained open due to night classes being held on a different floor.

To her surprise, Professor March was not there. She looked down the hallways. There also appeared to be nobody coming.

"Guess I'll make myself at home," Daria went inside, putting down her backpack and taking a seat.

Daria sat down waiting. Before long, seconds turned into minutes. And then the minutes began adding up.

She glanced over to a clock on the wall. Apparently over fifteen minutes had already passed.

Without warning, the phone rang.

Hesitantly, Daria picked it up.

"Hello?" she asked.

"Daria?" asked a familiar voice.

"Professor March?" Daria was surprised.

"Listen Daria, I'm sorry I can't make it tonight," Professor March told her. "I'm caught up in something important right now. Look, I'll give you the withdrawal for this course and let's just call it a night."

"Um, okay," replied Daria.

"Sorry things didn't work out," the professor said. "Have a good rest of the night."

"Thanks, you too," Daria answered and then hung up.

She gathered her supplies and opened the door. Perhaps there wasn't much left to do after this. Still, it was rather odd of her professor to fail her midterm which she was certain she had done well on and give her a withdrawal.

oooo

"So what did this professor do again?" asked Jane.

Daria was heading back to her dorm room and speaking with Jane on her cell phone at the same time.

"He failed my midterm which I knew I passed with ease," Daria told Jane suspiciously. "Then he gives me a withdrawal from the class."

"This is some Angela Li-level BS here," Jane frowned from the other side.

"I agree," Daria conceded. "But he did give me a withdrawal instead of a withdrawal-fail, so it's not a total loss."

"You want to take this up with the faculty?" asked Jane. "This guy sounds kinda shady."

"Normally I would," Daria admitted, "but there's enough shady going-on's at this college as it is. It's probably better if I lay low for a while."

Daria finally reached her dorm room. Immediately she realized something was wrong. Someone had opened her door.

"Jane, I'll call you back," Daria told her friend.

"Something wrong?"

"It's nothing," Daria lied, "just something I gotta take care of."

"Alright, see ya."

As Daria hung up, she pushed open her door open slowly and turned on the lights.

She looked around. So far everything was in order. Her books were still in place and so was her laptop. Nothing had been moved around and there was no sign of any theft.

Slowly, she opened up the closet. All her clothes were also in place and nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary.

"So far… so good," Daria said cautiously.

If somebody had broken in, then theft appeared to not be on their agenda.

Daria turned around. As soon as she did, she realized her window was open.

"Oh no," Daria frowned.

Suddenly, a figure from behind her grabbed her and pushed her forward, causing Daria to fall down on her bed. As Daria looked up, she saw a tall, wiry person in a black outfit and a typical burglar mask on his face.

The figure reached over and pinned Daria down on her bed.

"I'm sorry to do this," the assailant said in an almost apologetic tone.

As he pinned down Daria with one arm, he fumbled for something in his pocket. This gave Daria the chance she needed to find an opening. Quickly, Daria kneed the man in the groin, causing him to loosen his grip.

"Agh!" the would-be killer fell back.

Daria grabbed her crossbow which lay on her desk but as she did, she saw the man reaching for a gun on his side. Realizing the danger of the situation, along with the fact that she did not yet have an arrow loaded into the crossbow, Daria ran out the door, taking a single arrow with her as she did.

She turned down the hall and saw a set of stairs. Without hesitation, she went up those stairs. Daria didn't even turn back to find out if the assailant was following her or not.

Before long, she reached the roof. Taking out her single arrow, she loaded it into the crossbow and waited for the attacker to enter through the door she just came through.

As Daria listened intently, she did not hear any steps coming up those stairs.

"Here goes nothing," Daria said to herself as she prepared her crossbow.

"Drop the weapon," a raspy voice said behind her. "I have a gun."

Daria turned around slightly to see the assailant behind her. True to his word, he was armed.

With no choice left, Daria put her crossbow down slowly.

"Turn around," the man ordered her.

Daria did as she was ordered.

"Sorry I have to do this," the masked man said. "But I can't live without the Ambrosia."

Daria closed her eyes, expecting the end to come for her soon. She had certainly never expected things to end like this.

"Agh!"

As Daria opened her eyes again, she saw the assailant with his arms twisted behind his back. Behind him was Ted, having put him in a wrist lock, twisting his arm steadily until he dropped the gun.

"That's my friend you're threatening," Ted warned the man.

"Let go!" the would-be killer shouted.

Ted only twisted his arm further, causing the man to cry out again.

"Thanks Ted," Daria breathed a sigh of relief.

"Who are you?" demanded Ted.

"I…"

Walking over to the attacker who was now restrained by Ted, Daria grasped the man's mask and took it off.

"Professor March?!" Daria was taken aback.

"You know this guy?" Ted asked.

"Yeah, he taught one of my classes," Daria said in shock.

Ted shoved the man away from Daria and picked up his gun, holding the college professor at bay.

"Why did you try to kill me, Professor March?" asked Daria with a saddened look on her face.

"I… I did it for the Ambrosia," Professor March looked at her in a panic. "But that doesn't matter anymore! I'm as good as dead!"

"No sudden moves now!" Ted told him, holding up Dr. March's gun.

"I've been exposed and now my career is as good as over," Professor March gave the two students a crazed and despondent look. "The Death Apostles will never take me back after this!"

"The what now?" Ted demanded.

"Professor, why did you do all of this?" asked Daria. "What's going on here?"

"I'm sorry Daria," Professor March said almost apologetically but still frantically. "I never wanted to hurt you… but I had to! But now I'm out of luck and out of time!"

Laughing manically, Professor March turned away from Daria and Ted, running towards the edge of the building.

"Professor March!" Daria shouted.

It was too late. Professor March jumped off the building, plummeting to his death.

Both Ted and Daria looked down to witness the professor's broken body on the sidewalk. It was an ugly sight to behold.

"Are you okay, Daria?" asked Ted.

"I… I don't know," Daria finally collapsed to both knees, the gravity of the situation finally overwhelming her.

"I'm here for you Daria," Ted knelt down and put his hand on Daria's shoulders.

Daria began breathing once again. In the past, she had gotten involved in road incidents that made her fear for her life but somebody trying to kill her was a completely different ballgame. What made it worse was how this person was somebody she knew and respected.

Finally, Daria managed to get up.

"Ted?" she looked up.

"Yeah?"

"Thanks for saving my life," Daria said, hugging Ted.

"No problem Daria," Ted put his arms around her. "Just glad you're safe."

As the two hugged, they looked down ruefully as the body of Daria's professor. Even in death, a look at absolute horror was strewn across Professor March's face.