Hold me
Whatever lies beyond this morning
Is a little later on
Regardless of warnings the future doesn't scare me at all
Nothing's like before

-- Hikaru Utada; Simple & Clean
Even before Daria opened her eyes, she knew she wasn't in her room. There was someone lying next to her, snoring lightly. Jane did not snore.

She sat up, shaking her head groggily. Her head throbbed dully and she felt a little sick. The house was dead quiet.

Taking a deep breath (while noting uncomfortably that she was completely naked), Daria looked over at the person she was currently sharing a bed with. Upon seeing Trent, a wide variety of emotions struck her, none of which she wanted to deal with. Memories what had exactly had taken place (hazy before) were crystal clear.

"Oh God." Daria buried her face in her hands, as everything she had done unfolded in her mind.
Mystik Spiral had a gig at the Zen. Of course, Jane and Daria had followed the band along.

"I don't understand you/don't think I ever will/don't really think I want to," Trent sang, accompanied by his guitar, Jesse's, and Nicholas's, while Max pounded out a beat on the drums.

"They're never going to make it," Jane sighed, shaking her head.

"If their producer was tone deaf they might have a shot," Daria replied encouragingly (or as encouraging as she could ever be). The two girls looked at each other and smirked.

"I just think a lot more practice is in order. How's Tom?"

Daria shrugged.

"Tom. How else would he be?"

Jane nodded and Daria flinched inwardly. Tom was still a rather touchy subject. Daria searched for a reason to steer from it.

"I heard you were working on a new project." Daria looked again at the band. Trent was screaming something unintelligible; his eyes were closed and Daria felt something stir in the pit of her stomach. Jane idly swirled the contents of her cup around. Daria suspected it wasn't Root Beer in there.

"Yeah. There's an art fair a couple towns over. I'm entering a new sculpture in it." She paused and added thoughtfully: "At least Trent hates gummy bears."

Daria and Jane looked at each other and let out little laughs.

Mystik Spiral ended their second set with "Ice Box Woman", for whatever reason ("Thank you. We're Mystik Spiral, but we're thinking of changing our name," Trent informed the audience) a little while later. Trent wandered over, guitar in hand.

"Hey, Janey. Hey, Daria. Mind if we go to Max's first? We have to load the new system into the Tank," he said, dark eyes surveying them. Jane shrugged and downed the rest of whatever it was that was in her cup.

"Why not?" she replied. "The night is young."

Trent raised an eyebrow at her.

"Have you been drinking, Janey?" he demanded softly. "You know I hate it when you do."

"And it's perfectly all right when you do it," Jane replied, frowning slightly. Trent rubbed the back of his neck.

"Just want you to turn out better than I did," he said with a rueful smile.

Daria cleared her throat, feeling a little ill at ease. Jane said nothing, but picked up her empty cup and glared at it.

"Um ... let's get out of here," Daria spoke up, hoping to avert (or at least postpone) a sibling argument.

Trent looked a little startled, as if he'd forgotten Daria was there.

"Good idea, Daria. I'll make sure the others have packed up," he agreed, turning to go. Jane squished her cup irritably.

"He's only trying to look out for you," Daria said, watching Trent walk away. Jane sighed.

"Yeah. I know."

Nothing more was said on the subject, mostly because what went unsaid was generally understood.

Max, Nicholas, Jesse, Jane, Daria and Trent piled into the Tank, with Trent driving and Daria riding shotgun. Jane was kneeling, leaning in between the two seats. The rest of the Spiral were curled up, or simply slumped over, sleeping. Trent looked as if he dearly wished he could follow the suit, but managed to keep himself awake.

They drove mostly in silence, but Jane realized this was more apt to make her brother fall asleep. She and Daria pelted him with nonsense questions. He answered, not full aware as to why they were asking him something as pointless as his plans for next Easter Sunday, but he gave his answers steadily and dutifully.

Max's house was far from Jane's, but the girls were so busy trying to keep Trent awake they hardly noticed.

Max had a kid brother, one that he did not necessarily care much for. The damn kid was always getting in his way and was just plain irritating.

Out of spite (and while mostly drunk) Max had taken a case of whiskey and mixed it into three large pitchers of his brother's favorite punch the night before. Of course, he had promptly forgotten he'd done such a thing.

The three pitchers were still in refrigerator; none of Max's family had been home all day. Jesse and Nicholas loaded the Tank, while Daria, Trent, and Jane held cups full of the fruit punch, sitting on a couch that smelt suspiciously of mold. Daria took a sip from her cup and made a repugnant face at it.

"I really should know better than to drink what your friends offer me, Trent," she muttered. Trent peered at his own cup, laughing and coughing at the same time. Jane drank all of hers.

"He made this for his brother?" she said doubtfully. She closed one eye and brought the cup to her open eye, examining it. Daria smiled a little and followed Jane's lead, grimacing at the taste. Trent watched her, slightly surprised at her actions, but still not fully aware of what was going on. He was even now mostly asleep. Max wandered in, handed them all three pitchers and went into the garage to help Jesse and Nicholas.

Drunken giggles burst forth from the three on the couch. By the time the rest of the Spiral came back, one pitcher was completely empty on the floor and another pitcher was completely empty, perched on Jane's head. The third had disappeared. Daria was giggling madly.

"Oh," Max scratched his head, "Yeah. I put some stuff in there. Shouldn't have given it to them."

Nicholas rolled his eyes in exasperation, but refrained from saying anything.

"What do we do with them?" Jesse asked, peering at Jane with a vague sort of intrigue.

"Take 'em to Trent's, I guess," Nicholas shrugged, "We'll unload everything at your house, Jesse."

Jesse blinked and nodded. Trent muttered something that caused Daria and Jane to erupt into wild gales of laughter.

"Come on, Trent," Max said, grabbing the slender young man and hauling him to his feet. Trent swayed a little. Jane stood up of her own accord and Nicholas stooped to take Daria's arm. She eyed him in irritation.

"I've got her," Trent said, taking Daria's hand.

Max took them home in his Tank and dropped them in front of Casa Lane. Trent, still holding Daria's hand, somehow managed to get the door open and all three stumbled inside.

What happened next was rather a blur in Daria's mind; she knew Trent had raided the diminutive beer supply and Jane had filched some for her and Daria. Even when he was drunk, he still tried to stop his kid sister from drinking. Though, admittedly, he didn't do a very good job at it.

The next thing Daria remembered, she and Trent were in Trent's room. Jane had disappeared, probably to see what she could paint in her drunken state.

Trent was standing in front of her, kissing her deeply. She had her arms wrapped around his neck, pulling him down to her. She sighed into the kiss and Trent ran a hand through her thick, dark red hair. Daria loved kissing. She often felt she could lose herself into the action. She, for once, stopped thinking and allowed herself to be handed over to the joy of kissing Trent and being kissed by him.

One of Trent's hands strayed from her hair and stroked her breast through her green jacket. She tensed at first, feeling a little uncomfortable, but it passed. She felt safe with Trent, somehow reassured that, deadbeat or not, he would try not to hurt her.

After a long while, Daria broke away, unzipping her jacket and throwing in on the floor. Her orange shirt soon followed and after that went Trent's own shirt. She ran her hands over her chest, pressing her palms against his flat stomach. He kissed her again, and she took a small delight at noting he fumbled slightly with her bra clasp.

Then things were fuzzy. When it cleared again, her clothes were gone and she was lying on the bed. Daria looked shyly at Trent, who was simply standing in front of her.

"You're beautiful, Daria," he said quietly. Daria smiled as he slid next to her. He kissed her again, gently and she throbbed in places she had not much considered. As she sat on Trent's bed the morning after, remembering this, she wondered what precisely Trent had done to her during those indistinct times.

Daria reached for him, running her hands through his inky hair. He settled himself on top of her and she began to feel a little nervous.

He was incredibly gentle and did his best not to hurt her, but as he slowly entered her, a flash of white-hot pain seared through her and she let out a little whimper.
Trent stopped and kissed her nose. She bit down hard on her lip as he settled himself fully inside her. Trent moved slowly and after awhile the pain faded a little. She was a good deal less drunk now and perfectly aware of her actions, but made no attempts to push Trent away.

It made sense, in a way. She'd always liked Trent; he was always good to her. Even if over the summer he'd become more like a brother and less like a crush.

But part of her suspected that while the crush had faded, it had not disappeared entirely, as she had assumed. Even underneath her feelings for Tom (and she had briefly forgotten such a person existed), there were still feelings of affection for Trent that were in no way sisterly.

He was watching her quietly and Daria wondered if he was as drunk as he acted.

Then his motions began to quicken and though it still hurt, Daria managed to find some pleasure out of the whole affair. She could feel him tensing even as he moved faster still.

Something warm and sticky suddenly burst inside her, spreading throughout her body. Trent rolled off of her, pulling himself out of her at the same time. He drew
Daria close to him and kissed the top of her head. She curled up against him, burying her face in her neck. She ached dreadfully and was vaguely sure that she was bleeding, but that didn't seem to matter. All that did matter was that she was here now, in Trent's arms and she was falling quickly into a deep sleep.
An old Beatles tune drifted in through the open window as Daria sat on the edge of the bed the next morning. She found her clothes after much searching, aware that she was missing her bra. Despite the fact that nothing would wake Trent this early in the morning, she tiptoed from the room as quickly and quietly as she could.

She went downstairs and sat on the couch, her head in her hands. What would she tell Tom? Would Trent even remember? Had Jane known?

She heard footsteps and looked up, immediately terrified it would be Trent.

But it was only a very sleepy Jane, her hair tousled and her eyes squinting in the morning light.

"Did you fall asleep out here?" she asked, rubbing her eyes. Daria nodded.

"I need coffee," Jane muttered, heading into the kitchen. Daria followed her, her head still pulsating dismally.

"What did we do last night?" Jane asked. "I woke up and there was this amazing picture of you and Trent sitting together on the couch. It came from nowhere I tell you."

"Oh," Daria said distractedly.

"And Upchuck was there, while the both of them did the wild thing with you," Jane leaned against her sink, watching her friend.

"You've almost got it right. Just leave out Upchuck," Daria said quietly. Jane straightened suddenly; it was more of a spasm. A panicked looked flashed through her eyes.

"What?" she demanded. Daria looked at the kitchen table.

"I have to go. Um, Mom wants us to … um …" Daria stood quickly and fled from the room.

"Oh, that's believable," Jane muttered, "I'm calling you later, Morgendorffer!" she shouted after her retreating friend.

However, as things were to happen, Quinn was on the phone with Sandi and was instructed to ignore all waiting calls while the two argued and Quinn reassured Sand how great she was.

So, Jane went without speaking to Daria for the rest of the weekend and Daria managed to avoid all of the Tom's calls.

Monday finally came around. Daria stepped outside. Spring was coming rapidly, but not rapidly enough. It was still cold and Daria headed down her driveway to wait for Jane. She could see her friend approaching and took a deep breath, steeling herself for the other girl's questions.

But Jane only gave her usual greeting and began to explain her newest painting animatedly.

"You and Trent looked so real, I should paint while drunk more often," Jane declared.

"Jane," Daria began reluctantly.

"Look, Daria, forget it. Trent doesn't remember, but is that really a surprise? He didn't say anything about Friday night at all. I think you should do the same," Jane broke in.

"But … Tom … I can't have this on my conscience," Daria protested. Jane raised an eyebrow.

"I thought you didn't have a conscience."

Daria glared at her.

"Hey, look, I'm sorry. Maybe you should tell Tom … after all, you were never any good at hiding things," Jane put in hurriedly. Daria sighed and shifted her

"I guess. Even if I tried to keep it a secret, I'd end up blurting it out sooner or later," she muttered.

"Secrets just aren't your thing," Jane grinned.

"Thanks," Daria replied sullenly.

"I'm serious, Daria." Jane's smile dropped so abruptly, it was a little startlingly. "I think you should talk to Tom. He might not understand, but maybe it's for the best."
Jane then did something altogether surprising and completely out of character for her: she faced Daria and gave her friend a quick, comforting hug. Daria smiled, even though it had alarmed her, she felt much better.

She would talk to Tom. She had no idea how things would turn out, she didn't know how angry Tom would be, or if Trent would ever remember what had happened, or how Jane felt about the whole business. Daria didn't love Tom, but she did care a great deal about him. Telling him would be delicate, but not telling would be impossible. Tom would know, anyway. He always had an idea of what was happening. That was Tom. She nodded and took a deep breath, looking at Jane. Who really needed a boyfriend? Jane was there for her; Jane would always be there no matter what. Everything was going to be fine, sooner or later. Daria felt a rush of love for her friend and grinned. Everything was going to be fine.

Note: Yeah, yeah, the cliché from hell, I know. No tomatoes, I beg you! This story was … a project, I suppose, for me. Reviews are appreciated, as always. I've a bag of marshmallows handy for your flames. The sequel to One Cloudy Day soon. Don't know when, but soon.