A Foreword by medea42

I was asked by a fan of my original work, The Slacker Within to rewrite the story from Trent's perspective, in part because understanding Trent is, according to other people, my specialty. Although the journey would delight me, because "Within" is a Mary Sue ( "Di" is an alternate dimension self-portrait), I felt it would be bad form, but the idea of having the story retold from his point of view was too compelling for me to totally abandon. I decided to ask my friend and co-writer on Trent's Lyrics Notebook, Ruthless Bunny to undertake the task of viewing the alternate-dimension Mary Sue of myself through Trent's eyes.


This original piece is a rulebreaker, as far as rules go in fanfiction. (Isn't fanfiction about breaking some BIG rules, just to exist?) .The very existence of this sequel breaks rules by drawing from fanfiction canon (see Trent's Girlfriends) and existing as a sequel (normally considered bad form, but too bad). "Diana" of TG , for those who might not know, is a meta-Mary-Sue that Diana is a different alternate dimension portrait of me (medea42) as cast by RuthlessBunny (and a delightfully flattering one, at that!) This may be the first time a meta-Mary Sue has appeared in Daria fanfiction (as opposed to directly borrowing another author's character). Yes, this is still a crossover piece as well, and now, with RB's touch, has elements of Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass", even as I began with the format of the myth "Pygmalion".

All of these weavings between dimensions and author universes come together as the cartoon Trent comes to Di's world, carrying with him his own needs and wishes - that to him are in no way cartoonish. I am delighted with this work, and honored both by the interest to see more of Trent's mind, and by Ruthless Bunny's desire to present both Trent, and the fictionalized me, to the world. I hope the reader shares my delight on this new angle of reflection on Trent.

-medea42

A Disclaimer These characters are the property of MTV, and the intellectual property of the creators of Daria. I appreciate their indulgence in letting me build a world around them. I am doing this for love, not money, so please do not get your panties in a twist about it. Thanks.

Slacker Without

Trent's perspective on the events that transpired in Slacker Within, written by Medea42.

By Ruthless Bunny AKA Ruth Lys Margolis inspired by "The Slacker Within" by Medea42


The last thing that Trent had remembered before falling asleep was thinking about his screwed up love life. He and Monique had a doozy of a fight. Trent wasn't a confrontational person. He liked to keep everything casual and mellow. When he couldn't stand the heat, he got out of the kitchen. He and Monique had officially broken up, for the official last time, over a month ago. Trent was surprised to see her at the bar during their gig at The Zon. Mystik Spiral had the regular Thursday-Friday slot there, so she knew he would be there that night. After their set, she asked Trent if they could talk. Trent didn't want to say no, but he didn't want to talk either. He capitulated due to their pledge to stay friends and agreed to check in with her after the gig. He watched her from the stage as she drank shots of tequila, Trent knew it was going to be a rough night.

The guys were usually pretty efficient about packing up and clearing out after performing, but Trent was trying to drag it out as much as possible. He hoped against hope that Monique would be too drunk to do any damage. No such luck. As they got the Tank all packed up, she made her way towards them in the parking lot. Trent told the guys that he would catch up with them the next day and they took off into the night.

"Hey Monique, what's up?" Trent looked at his ex-girlfriend. She looked kind of rough, her make-up had smeared, and at some point she must have cried, because mascara had made tracks down her cheeks. Her hair, while usually artistically styled into its nest like appearance, just looked sloppy and unkempt.

"You know what?" Monique started in argumentatively. "You suck. I always knew that you were a worthless slacker, but I never thought that you would stab me in the back."

Trent instinctively stepped back from the harsh words. "Hey, I don't need this. If you've got something to bitch at me about, fine, I'm willing to listen, but don't call me names."

"Right, just like always, avoid the issue. Why don't you run away, like you always do?" Monique had started to cry again and she started to wobble a bit from the vast amounts of tequila that she had consumed.

"Monique, what exactly are you talking about?" Trent was becoming exasperated. In his mind he listed the things that were regular issues in their relationship. His habit of considering Jane's needs above Monique's. Conversely, his lack of responsibility as it pertained to punctuality. Then there was the unspoken complaint, the one that was the reason for their break up. He didn't love her, even though she loved him. His money was riding on number three, but she seemed more focused than she usually did when the harangue was based upon his fear of commitment, or whatever crap she normally brought up to avoid the fact that his feelings were just not there.

"Did you tell Cyril at McGrundy's that The Harpies weren't ready for a Saturday night?" She lurched towards him as she tried to poke him in the chest for emphasis. He caught her easily, and not wanting to maintain physical contact, set her upright again.

That was definitely not where he thought this was going, in a way he was relieved, at least it was a specific grievance instead of the amorphous bitch-fest that was 'Monique on the topic of relationships.' "I never said that. Cyril asked me if I thought you guys would be good with Nervous Puppy and The B-Girls. I told him that you would be better off on your own bill, that's all."

"You DICK, you cost us a job!" Monique had stopped crying and had gone into 'full on psycho mode.' "How could you do that?"

"Hey, he told me he was going to put you on Mondays, so as far as I knew, you were getting a better deal anyway. But I've got a right to my opinion, and I just don't think that The Harpies would be good on the same bill with two party bands." Trent usually just let the abuse flow over him, but it bugged him that she would think that he would deliberately hurt her chances professionally, so he felt like he needed to set her straight.

"Well, he didn't give us Mondays, he didn't give us anything. Do you know what happened? DO YOU?" Monique screamed at him. Trent just stood there, with his arms crossed over his chest, he was wishing that he was anyplace but where he was, preferably someplace where he was appreciated, where he was loved unconditionally. "Nervous Puppy got signed to a deal with Decoy Records, THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED!"

"What's that got to do with McGrundy's on Saturday?" Trent asked, realizing as the words left his mouth that logic had very little to do with Monique's accusation.

"Maybe if we were there, we would have gotten the deal, THAT'S what." She seemed to have exhausted herself, and was now at the part of the program where she indulged in self-pity.

"Monique, I don't know what to tell you. But I do know that whether or not you get a record deal has nothing to do with what night you play at McGrundy's."

"You're just jealous. You and your shitty band will never get anywhere, and it just kills you to see The Harpies have any opportunity at all. Well, let me tell you Trent Lane, I am going to make it, I am going to get a record deal, and when I do, NOTHING you do or say will make me take you back. You can beg, you can plead, you can crawl through broken glass on your knees, I'll never love you again, never." The wheels came off her wagon and she began to cry hysterically.

Trent sighed, all he wanted was to be out of there, but she was too drunk to get home on her own, and he was damned if he was going to take care of her. The lights went out on the sign. The club was now closed. The crew came out of the club through the back door, Trent saw Dino, the bouncer, making his way to his car. He waved at him and Dino came over. Dino was a sharp guy, able to assess a situation pretty quickly.

"Hey, she's pretty trashed." Dino observed.

"Yeah, needs a ride home." Trent explained.

"I can handle it, she's still over at her apartment on Dega street right?"

"Yeah, I guess." Trent was holding Monique by the shoulders, to keep her from falling over.

"Okay, I'll get her home, you need a lift?" Dino asked as he took charge of Monique.

"Naw, the walk will do me good. I owe you man. Thanks."

"No problem. See you next week." Dino, a rather large and muscular character, effortless got Monique into the passenger side of his Camaro and they took off in the direction of her place.

Trent only lived a mile or so from the club, so he started to walk slowly home, thinking about how he could have been so careless as to have gotten tangled up with Monique. He was recovering from a broken heart when Monique made her play for him. He was vulnerable, and before he had a chance to think about it, he was in the middle of a very bad love affair. Trent thought about the woman he loved. Thought about how he felt when he was with her. He tried to think of a scenario where it could have worked out. He fell into his bed to try and sleep away all his bad feelings.

It might have been days, or it might have been hours before he heard a woman screaming, "What the
Hell!"

Trent was disoriented from sleep. "Ow." He said as he opened one eye.

"Who are you?" She looked scared, and very familiar, Trent felt his buried love surface as he looked into her face.

"Isn't it early?" He asked as he opened his other eye. It was actually a joke that he had with Diana. It was always early for something.

She lifted up the sofa that he was sleeping on tipped him onto the floor. Trent's first thought was that she was pretty strong to lift him and the sofa together.

"What was that for?" He asked her. He couldn't understand why she was so freaked out.

"Because I don't know you and you're in my home." She was mostly angry, but he could tell that she was also stressed about him being there. He got back up on sofa. He didn't like being on the floor like that.

Trent took the opportunity to look around the room. It was cluttered with books, mats, afghans, and various communications devices. He realized that he didn't know this place, and although the woman he was looking at looked exactly like Diana, it wasn't his Diana.

"You're right, I've never been here before." He gripped the sofa again, hoping that she wouldn't try to dump him off of it again. He thought he should introduce himself. "I'm Trent Lane, by the way. I don't think we've met."

She began laughing mirthlessly. Trent could see that it was a danger sign. "Rob is SUCH an asshole. Couldn't allow for an easy breakup, oh no. Just had to hire you to get one last nasty jab in, the prick."

That's a lot of anger to start the day with. "Who's Rob?"

"Who's Rob?" She mocked him. "As if you don't know. Very fucking funny. Now give me back the keys to my apartment, and if you're quick, I'll pay your cab fare home."

Whatever was going on here, Trent certainly knew that it had nothing to do with him.

"Lady," he said after thinking for a minute, "It's early for me. And things get weird this early. But I'm pretty sure I don't know what the hell you're talking about. I don't know how I got here, I don't know where I am." He got up off the sofa, and stretched the kinks out of his body. "But if you've got coffee and food, I'll be happy with it."

She scrutinized him. It made him uncomfortable. Her eyes scanned him from head to foot. He stood there under her intense gaze. Finally she sighed in disgust and strode off into the kitchen. He followed her. She unceremoniously snatched a box of Kraft Dinner out of the pantry and grabbed a pot off the rack. "Go to town." She said. Trent contemplated his breakfast as she flounced off into her bedroom. He could hear her giving some poor dude some major grief, he suspected that it had something to do with why he was in this woman's apartment, but he was too far away to hear the particulars of the conversation. He busied himself with the preparation of the food. In getting the stuff he needed out of her fridge, he also found some coffee. At least it wasn't a total loss. There was a flurry of calling, but Trent just went about the business of cooking.

After about twenty minutes, she returned, looking dejected. Along with her wafted a familiar fragrance. Trent grinned as he thought about how he met Diana, selling her oils to the crystal shop. He became knowledgeable about the various smells and odors of each. "Are you burning patchouli or something? For some reason I feel really good." For just a second, with this woman, looking like his first love, smelling like her, he felt safe and happy.

She looked distressed, so he tried to think of something that would take her mind off of his obviously troublesome presence. He looked around the kitchen, it was in slight disarray. He started with the dishes in the sink. He was thinking how funny it is that everyone in America kept their garbage and cleaning supplies under the sink, like it was a law or something. She seemed to be comforted by his housekeeping, and he could almost feel her relaxing as he continued to tidy up.

After everything was done in the kitchen, Trent went back into the living room. Her sofa was nice and comfortable, so he stretched out on it, making himself at home. It was pretty big, since there was still room for her to sit on it with him. "Want to have that talk now?" She looked worried, Trent couldn't help smiling, she reminded him so much of Diana. "I'd serenade you but I don't have my guitar."

Her face was serious, and Trent wished that she would lighten up, he was the one that was out of place, and he wasn't that concerned about it. "Do you know how you ended up here?"

"Not a clue. Went to bed after a gig with my band, woke up here. Never happens -- I'm careful. I've got a sister to take care of and all." He left out the part about Monique. No sense in cluttering up facts with details.

A knowing look crossed her face, but it wasn't followed up with an explanation. "No idea whatsoever?"

"None," Trent shrugged. "Last time this happened, I met a really kick-ass band." Trent thought back to Holiday Island and mentally shook his head. What combination of food poisoning and bong water had created THAT hallucination?

"No idea whatsoever?" She asked again, stressing whatsoever.

Trent tried to think of a probable explanation for how they ended up in this situation. "Probably a wormhole behind a Chinese restaurant or something." He answered, thinking himself clever for such a quick comeback.

"And that wormhole landed on my couch?" She had loosened up, she was still further ahead in understanding what was going on than he was, but he figured she needed to understand more than he did. Trent, although claiming to be uneasy with algebra, had always been comfortable with the concept of X the unknown.

Trent smirked. "For a minute I did think I'd found a pile of socks I'd lost." He gave her a little shove, to indicate that he was joking with her. "You'd never think a corporate type would be so messy."

She jerked away from him. "How'd you know that?"

"High heels by the door. Cell phone and beeper on the coffee table. Laptop by your desktop computer. You're not allowed to get out of touch much." He knew the type, and reflected on yet another ex-girlfriend. He sighed to himself, thinking about the women that had paraded through his life. The women who were no longer in his life.

She looked ruefully at the stuff on the table. "Guess the matching drapes ruled out the possibility I'm a hooker."

Trent laughed and coughed. Too much smoke in the club the night before. "Good one."

After a moment of silence, Trent got up the courage to ask. "Why'd you freak out when I said my name?"

There was another pause. "Trent, do you drink?" She asked as she went into the kitchen. She returned with a bottle of imported beer for him.

"No, I avoid that stuff as long as my sister's in high school. I've got to set an example, you know." Trent felt like he needed to make it clear that he was a person with responsibilities, with his own life.

She set the beer in front of him. "You might want to make an exception."

She put a tape into the VCR. She seemed really nervous because she poured herself a glass of wine and drank it all down in one gulp. Sat on the sofa next to him and hit play. She approached playing this tape as though she was going to reveal the face of God.

They sat on the sofa and watched six hours of the most bizarre cartoon Trent had ever seen. It centered on Janey's friend Daria, but there he was, in cartoon form, big as life and twice as ugly. He kind of got the idea after the first few minutes, but she wanted him to see the whole thing, so they just watched. It was disturbing, to see himself from Daria's perspective, as Monique had so eloquently put it, as a "worthless slacker." It was depressing, mostly because Trent could see and understand where that appellation came from, he felt a bit ashamed. He drank more beer, ate some crap and at the end of the tape, all he could say was, "Woah."

She looked at him, with a bemused expression on her face. Trent figured it out. To her he wasn't a real person, he was this cartoon guy. It pissed him off a bit. Why was it assumed that he was the cartoon and she was the real person? But he thought about it and realized that he didn't have videotape of her as a cartoon, so maybe in some weird way that was the way his life was here. Wherever "here" was.

"So what do we do now?" Trent asked. "Obviously, I don't belong here." He couldn't help but look at her, seeing his beloved Diana, and all the things that were never going to be. "Wish I did."

She blushed. "I wish you did, too," she admitted.

She seemed happy for a moment, reveling in something that was clearly beyond his mere presence. He got a flash of insight, he looked over through the bedroom door and saw her altar. His Diana had an altar. He had seen her do some rituals, and even helped her participate in some. Some of those festivals were pretty fun. He smiled at the memory for just a second, then he got suspicious. "You know how I got here, don't you?"

She sighed, letting her red hair drape across her face. "I've got a guess," she admitted.

Trent sat up, taking her hand. He could see that for her, this was hard to explain. "Go ahead and tell me," he said. "At this point, everything is believable."

She took him into the bedroom, to show him the place where she had conjured him up. "So you think the goddess Venus sent me to you?" Trent said for the fourth time. He knew that people prayed to the various gods and goddesses, but it seemed extreme to ask Venus to make a cartoon come to life.

She was upset that he was taking so long to assimilate the information. "You SAID you'd believe me," She pouted like a little girl. Trent's heart leapt, he used to see that expression on Diana's face, it never failed to melt him.

He had to touch her, to feel her, one more time. "I do believe you," he told her, "It's just a little bit more stuff than I expected." He waited for her to forgive him, but she was too upset. He leaned into her, smelled the scent on her warm skin, and found himself giving her a tender kiss. It reminded him of many other tender kisses he had received from lips just like hers. "I do." He assured her.

She kissed him back passionately, and pulled him close to her. He needed the contact. He missed being loved so well, and wanted just one more opportunity to feel that happy and secure. All the fear and doubt that he had felt from the previous evening faded away. He could love a woman. He was capable of committing himself, to the right woman. He just needed to find her. He kissed her again, each of them finding something in each other, something that had been missing, something that they couldn't fulfill for one another.

"Are you casting a spell on me?" He knew that it was a serious question, but he couldn't hide his delight with her.

She answered him by rote. "My kind of witches don't do spells like that."

Trent chuckled as she glowered at him. He had to have more, he wanted to gorge himself on her kisses. "You've told me several times that there's nothing supernatural about you," he said as he deposited kisses all over her face, his lips remembering the well-known contours. "But there is something magic about you."

She allowed herself to drink in his love, but seemed to reluctantly marshal her senses. "Trent, stop."

Trent stopped, he distanced himself from her, breaking the physical connection that was tugging at his soul.

"This would be fine if we knew you could stay," she said. "But we both know you can't." She looked confused and sad at the same time.

Trent absently massaged his neck. "You're right," he acknowledged. Their gaze turned to the altar. It reminded Trent that there was a reason for his presence in her life. "Why did you ask for me?"

There was something different about her, there was a sated look about her. Her thirst for him was slaked, for the time being. "My boyfriend dumped me yesterday because he thinks I'm in love with you. He was weirded out at sharing my emotional-self with a fictional character."

Trent could always see when the joke was on him, and in a very large, cosmic sense it was in this case. "I can see him balking at sharing you. Bet he'd be surprised at this."

"Very." She agreed. Trent watched her face as a thought crossed it, she got distant for just a second.

"He's got a point, though," Trent thought about it for a second. He certainly knew where she was coming from. "I used to fixate on crushes on actresses and models and stuff when I was avoiding how I felt about my girlfriends."

She looked him in the eyes, Diana used to do that, as though she were plumbing the depths of his soul, sucking out his secrets. "You did?"

"Yeah. I even dumped one girl for awhile because I told her I had to keep myself free for models. You know musicians only dated models." Trent blushed with the recollection. What an ass he could be.

She smiled that enigmatic smile, just like his Diana smiled, he could feel the warmth emanating from it. "I'm sure I'm a model of something..." She said, not without a tinge of sarcasm.

He laughed. "You're a model of uniqueness. I hope my sister's friend really does grow up to be like you."

He got the feeling that he blew it with that remark. Trent wished that he could take it back. "Okay, feeling jealous of a cartoon character is too much for me." She said.

It cut him a bit. Again, she didn't take him seriously as a person. She didn't see his essence. All she saw was a two-dimensional drawing. Trent tried not to take it personally, to see it from her point of view. Trent winked at her, mostly to jolly her out of her melancholy. "We just won't talk about THAT."

Trent had begun to wonder why he was there. Why did the gods see fit to bring them together? What was the purpose of this meeting? Trent was starting to understand why he needed to be here for her.

"But you know that I'm not really right for you. Spell by any weird love-god or not," he pointed out. "I'm here because you're missing something big." Trent knew that he could sometimes seem scattered and flaky, but he definitely knew what people were feeling. Trent was empathetic, and the strong emotions that he felt from other people would often overwhelm him. This woman, this other Diana, had a sadness and a longing that nearly knocked him over.

She cocked her eyebrow at him, but let him continue. "You're doing what I used to do, and you end up missing big stuff. But I get the feeling that it's not really romantic stuff you're missing."

She nervously handled the conch shell that had been sitting on the altar, it's pink opalescence shimmering in her hands. "What am I missing?" she asked, sardonically.

"Fun," said Trent. "Bet if I hadn't showed up today, you'd be on that computer reading stuff about me, or finding an excuse to be at work." He reflected back to his penultimate girlfriend, she knew how to have fun. She could balance her work and her leisure, some might see it as burning the candle at both ends, but any way you look at it, it was balance.

He took her chin in his hand, turning her face to his, so he could stare into her eyes. "The guy that dumped you? Bet you good money he dumped you because he loves you." Tears glistened in her eyes and rolled down her cheeks, he gently wiped them away. He was comforting his love, and in doing so, comforting himself. "I understand that," he told her as he embraced her, "Because I love you, too."

Time seemed to distort from that point on. Diana cried herself out, and eventually fell asleep. Trent looked around one last time. He found some paper and a pen on her desk and wrote her a short note.


Di-

It's been fun, and I will miss you. You're a cool, cool lady.

Just remember to relax. Embrace your slacker within, and
everything'll all work out.

Love,

Trent



Trent felt sleep creep over him and he figured that if everything had been set right, that he would wake up back in Lawndale, where he belonged. He arranged himself in the armchair and dozed off.

When Trent woke up, he was on the couch in the green room at The Zon. He sat up immediately, since he figured it wouldn't be such a great idea to let his head rest on the well worn upholstery any longer than it already had. He let himself out the back door, and walked home, enjoying the cool afternoon breeze.

When he got home both Jane and Daria were sitting on the sofa in the front room, Daria was reading and Jane was sketching. The stereo was on, and the whole scene was peaceful and right.

"Where have you been?" Jane demanded. "I needed to do grocery shopping!"

Trent gave his sister a half smile. "Had a gig," he told her.

Daria seemed annoyed with him, they were both worried about him. "The other guys in the band were looking for you. What gig did you have?"

He smiled, he couldn't help it, here was the place where he was loved unconditionally. He envisioned Daria a few years older, savoring the vision of the woman that she would become. "A special gig," he told her.

Impulsively, he hugged Jane, and planted a kiss on top of Daria's head. He went upstairs and went to bed.