CHRISTMAS EVE AT THE LANES

Disclaimer: None of the characters are mine..fortuantly.
Authors Note: Everything after the ep where Tom chose Daria over Jane never happened. Matter of fact, Daria decided that her and Tom were better off as friends and since Jane really couldn't hold a grudge..she's back with him now.

Christmas Eve-Six PM

"It's been two days, three hours, and forty six minutes since I last lost my mind and let Jodie talk me into returning back to the depths of hell...and for that all I can say is-"

"MUH-OM! DAD!...Daria...I'M HOME!"

"What was I thinking?"

After sighing at the last words, Daria flipped off the recorder, that had been her secret journal since she left the Morgendorffer house a year earlier, and not trusting her mother enough to leave the device alone if she happened to come across it on one of her daily inspections, she stuck the small cassette inside her now familiar black trench coat--one which oddly enough resembled her old green one.

"Daria! Your sister's here." Helen yelled out, just as Daria had closed the door to her old room and began her trek downstairs.

No, really?

Trying hard not to show any emotion whatsoever as she reached the bottom step, Daria watched as her dad took Quinn's winter jacket off of her and made himself useful by putting it on the coat hanger, before she finally gave up all her restraint and placed her eyes on her sister. Her pregnant sister.

"Quinn..." Daria began, after a second of taking in her eighteen year old sister's flat, but sort've round, stomach. "You look...healthy."

While watching as first sadness, then confusion, then a genuine smile flashed across Quinn's face, Daria let out a slight sigh--figuring that she hadn't said the wrong thing. This time, anyway.

"And you look.." Quinn began, pointly letting her eyes move up and down from Daria's all too familiar black doc martins to her now more red than brown streaked hair. "The same."

Taking that as the compliment she knew it was, Daria let a slight smile come across her face before turning her eyes towards her parents, who both were watching the small display in front of them with concerned looks on their faces; both knowing that out of everyone Quinn had given the news of her pregnancy to, Daria's opinion mattered the most.

"I'm thinking of heading to Jane's before it gets too dark, does anyone need anything from the store?"

Just as the words came out of Daria's mouth, she knew that it wasn't what Helen Morgendorffer wanted to hear.

"Daria..your sister just got here and you haven't seen each other in months. Don't you think it would be a better idea if you stayed in tonight and caught up with Quinn?"

Opening her mouth to say that she'd have all the time in the world to catch up since Quinn and her both would probably be locked up in the house for the rest of the week, playing the happy go lucky siblings, as both Helen and Jake's relatives surrounded them telling fabricated stories that began with I remember when you were just yay-oh high, Daria frowned as Quinn spoke up first.

"Actually Mom, if Daria wants to go to Jane's, that's fine by me. Jamie and I were stuck in traffic all the way here from school so I just want to hurry up and go find a bed to sleep in."

Startled a little, Daria raised both eyebrows at her sister before shooting Quinn a grateful look as she noticed the you owe me expression on her sister's face.

"Well, are you sure honey?" Helen asked, as she gave her youngest daughter a questioning stare, "I mean, I'm sure Daria would much rather spend time with you and wouldn't mind just going to see Denise tommorow."

Narrowing her eyes at the name Helen had used for Jane, Daria opened her mouth to correct her mother, but stopped once again as Quinn spoke up..once again.

"Oh, I'm sure, and besides Stacy's coming over a little later and you know how we get when we're together. Daria would just feel left out."

Realizing that Quinn had a point, Helen sighed a little before turning her eyes back towards her oldest daughter; barely trying to hide the dejected look that she held on her face, "All right, Daria. You can go to Jane's, but I want you back here before it gets too dark. It's supposed to snow tonight and God forbid you be out there in that thing you call a car when it does."

Briefly smirking at the last comment Helen made, Daria gave her Mom her word that she'd be back soon before grabbing her jacket off the coat rack and saying good-bye to Quinn, Helen, and the slightly nervous Jake. Afterwards stepping outside to face the thing of a car she'd bought with her Montana cabin fund:

Her one year old Ford explorer navigator thing.


Hopping out of her truck, Daria frowned slightly as she landed in a slightly slippery substance. After looking down to see what exactly this said substance was, she sighed a little as she noticed the black residue surrounding her boots..a sign that Tom and his leaky gas pipe of a car were there not too long ago.

"Oh well. Hopefully he was just visiting or dropping Jane off and she's still here."

Unfortunately enough, Daria realized that wasn't the case at all as she knocked on the Lane door and after a second Trent came outside, confirming that Tom had indeed been there and had taken Jane out for some ice skating lessons ALA Tom's style.

"But you can come in and wait for Janey if you want." Trent said, before turning around, and leaving the door wide open; a sign which told Daria that a no was out of the question at the moment.

"Uhh..thanks." Daria mumbled, as she stepped inside, letting the door slide shut behind her, before she locked it and continued following him through out the house. Hesitantly, of course.

"So, what are you doing here?" Trent asked as he made his way into the kitchen, quickly pulling out a chair for Daria at the table before taking a seat across from her, where a half bowl of cheerios sat, soundlessly having been waiting in harmony for his return. "Janey said you probably wouldn't make bad movie night because your sister was coming home today with a bundle of despair or something at the door."

Letting out one of her unusual laughs, Daria quickly blushed, afterwards letting it fall to a smile, then after a moment letting it fall to a slight smirk. "I think she meant a bundle of joy. Quinn's three months pregnant."

At the statement, Daria thought Trent would give one of his famous whoa expressions, but instead he just took the last bite of his cereal, swallowed it, and then slightly shook his head. "No offense, Daria..but with your sister..it's a bundle of despair."

Knowing that was something Jane would say, Daria's smirk soon turned into a slight frown; a frown that even the oblivious, at times, Trent picked up on.

I wonder if she misses Janey.

Jane and him hadn't really talked about Daria all that much since Jane had returned from New York the week before, but from the one phone conversation he had walked in on earlier that morning, he had gathered that even though Daria had been home for a couple of days already, Jane and her still hadn't seen one another yet.

And after thinking about it for a second, Trent realized that not only had they not seen each other recently, the two hadn't really been talking to one another either, atleast since the previous summer when they made plans to share a two week vacation..only to have that ruined when Jane decided to bring Tom without asking or telling Daria beforehand.

Noticing the odd look, on Daria's face, of sadness mixed in with her usual expression, Trent couldn't help but inwardly curse out his little sister. All the while, figuring that he wouldn't know what to do if his best friend, Jesse, ever unknowingly, chose a girl over him.

"Well, uh..I better get home." Daria said, knocking Trent out of his thoughts, "I promised Mom I wouldn't be gone too long and I've already been here for a...total of fifteen minutes. A world record, I presume."

Slightly chuckling, then coughing to cover it up, Trent stood up and placed his milk filled bowl of cereal in the sink. Afterwards, turning around and biting his lip slightly as he tried to think of a reason for Daria to stay; if only to keep him company until Jane and Tom came back.

"Are you sure? Janey will probably be home soon and I could always use your help in writing a new song."

A look of surprise crossed Daria's face, but just as quickly as it came, it went away. "Mmm..well, even though the thought of writing a few lyrics about how someone mutilated and then stomped my heart to pieces sounds nice, I'm going to have to ask for a rain check."

Smirking, Trent decided to just give up already and proceeded to walk Daria to the door. "Well, I'll tell Janey you stopped by, and if I don't see you tomorrow, merry-"

Stopping in the middle of his words to open the door, Trent froze as he took notice that in the few minutes Daria had been inside it had begun snowing and at the moment, because of the fog, neither one of them could make out the road or the drive way, for that matter.

Which meant they would have to stay in the house...alone..together.

Authors Note: (Can't you just hear Daria thinking: "Dammit.")


Seven PM

It had been an hour since Daria had called home to inform Helen that she wouldn't be coming home for awhile, and it had been almost that long since the disappointment in Helen's words were cut off by the phone going dead..which Daria would've jumped for joy over if it wasn't for the fact that she didn't jump and if it wasn't for the fact that the phone dying was a cause of the electricity going out..which lead to her being stuck in the dark alone with Trent. Her former crush.

Dammit. (Authors Note: I knew I would get that in their somehow)

"I got us some flashlights." Trent's voice echoed throughout the living room. And after a second, the dark room that Daria had been sitting in for twenty minutes now filled with a soft small light. "Here."

Taking one of the flashlights Trent was holding, Daria looked at it for a second before realizing they might want to save the battery for a little while, and turned it off, afterwards choosing to get her light from the moon that was shining into the closed window beside her. "Thanks, anyway."

"No problem."

After a second or two of watching as the snow built higher and higher outside, Daria moved her eyes away from the window as the soft sounds of Trent's guitar filled the air.

"Hope you don't mind."

Shaking her head, even though she knew Trent probably couldn't see her, Daria listened as Trent continued strumming the strings on his guitar....and then after a minute began playing Creed's "Inside us all".

When I'm all alone
And no one else is there
Waiting by the phone
To remind me I'm still here
When Shadows paint the scenes
Where spotlights used to fall
And I'm left wondering
Is it really worth it all?


There's a peace inside us all
Let it be your friend
It will help you carry on
In the end
There's a peace inside us all


Life can hold you down
When you're not looking up
Can't you hear the sound?
Hearts beating out loud
Although the names change
Inside we're all the same
Why can't we tear down these walls
To show the scars we're covering


There's a peace
There's a peace inside us all
Let it be
Oh, can't it be your friend?


Watching as the snow continued to fall down outside, Daria listened as Trent stopped playing his guitar and went back to playing with the string's of his guitar.

And in that moment, she realized he knew what she had just realized.

Tom had been chosen over her.
Nine PM

After a couple of hours of sitting in the dark, mindlessly watching as the snow fell down in huge plops on top of both of their cars, Trent and Daria decided to give up on silence for the moment and talk. Mostly about what had been going on since the last time they had seen one another--minus her and Jane fighting, that is.

"Well, school's been the same, still slightly smarter than everyone around me..well, that is if you can count that the only person I really hang out with is Jodie. But you probably don't remember her."

"She's the girl who was Valedictorian when you and Janey graduated, right?"

At this, a look of surprise crossed Daria's face; which Trent noticed, even though it was dark through out the room, and couldn't help but chuckle about.

"Believe me, when I say this Daria..I'm not as oblivious as you and Janey think I am. And even though I do sometimes forget small and major things, I do notice what goes on around me and the people who tend to hang out with the people I care about. Especially you and Janey."

Feeling a slight blush come across her face, Daria turned her head away from Trent and said the first thing that popped into her head; a statement which she knew she'd probably beat herself up for saying later. "I care about you too, Trent."

With that being said, the silence, that had been agreed not to get into, once again filled the room, and it would've continued to fill the room had not Trent spoke up--forcing it to leave. "So, your sister...? I mean, I've met your parents and I know how strict they can be when it comes to you and Quinn. So, how are they taking it? Or better yet, how are you taking it?"

Daria shrugged. She really hadn't thought about it. "At first they were really disappointed, but then after Quinn and Jamie explained to them that they were going to keep the baby and that they were planning to stay in school and get married after Quinn graduated from Morgan, they decided that all they could do was support Quinn. Much to my dad's nervousness."

"He's scared of being a grandfather?"

"He's scared of dropping the baby."

Trent chuckled, and then coughed to cover up for it, "And you? How are you feeling?"

Daria shrugged once again. She really didn't know how she felt. She just knew that she probably needed to talk about it and since she knew their was a possibility Jane wouldn't be the one who would listen to her problems right now..she figured, who better to listen to her problems than Jane's brother?

"Well, I don't know. I mean, at first I just thought it served Quinn right. You remember how she was in highschool? She used to date anybody with a credit card, a beach house, and a snow resort for February. She was a slut..but she was also my sister."

Nodding his head, Trent kept silent; choosing rather to let Daria take her time in talking then pushing the words out of her.

"Anyway, after thinking about it for a week I called Quinn back and apologized to both her and Jamie for some words I had said to the both of them. Afterwards, telling both of them separately that if they needed anything, in other words emotional or even financial support, I'd be there for them."

"That's nice of you."

Daria shrugged. "It was the least I could do. But um..you asked me how I was feeling about it? And right now, at the moment, I think I'm used to the idea of Quinn being pregnant, and not to use my mom's words, but I think this is a good experience for Quinn. She's always been daddy's little girl, anything she wants she can get it from him, and any trouble she gets into, Mom can get her out of. And this time, she's actually doing something right and she's taking the consequences like an adult. I'm..I'm proud of her."

A tear swept down Daria's face, and even though Trent didn't see it, the raw emotion in Daria's voice at the last part of her statement told him without words how much her sister meant to her.
Eleven PM

"So, do you mind if I ask you a question?"

At the tone in Trent's voice, Daria shivered inwardly. She knew what this was about.

"Go ahead."

"Was Jane bringing Tom with her to the Key's the last straw or was it something else?"

Lowering her head, Daria wondered if she should tell him. Tell him what she did and how that probably ruined her and Jane's friendship for the second time.

Exhaling a sigh, she shook her head. "No, that wasn't it. Believe me, it had something to do with it, but that wasn't it at all."

After waiting a second for her to continue, Trent realized if he didn't push a little she wouldn't budge. "So, what was it? I mean, if that wasn't it, it had to be-"

"I told Tom I loved him."

The whoa expression that Daria had looked for before finally appeared, leaving her feeling worse than she had before.

"You..when?"

Figuring if she had gone this far, she might as well continue, Daria began from the start. "It was in the Keys. I had been so mad at Jane for bringing Tom along with her that I waited until they went to bed before venturing off to the hotel bar to get sloppy drunk. About two hours later, I came back to our suite, saw Jane and Tom in a compromising position on the kitchen table, and I just...flipped. I told them both that the only reason I didn't give Tom and me a chance was because I was scared of falling in love again and that the only reason I was telling them then was because in spite of my trying, I had fallen in love with him anyway."

Inhaling a breath of air, Daria answered the question that was probably on Trent's mind. "The next morning, Jane asked me if what all I said was true and I couldn't lie..so I told her it was, but that if it meant her and I could still be friends, I wouldn't look or speak to Tom for the rest of my life...or the rest of hers, whichever came first."

Despite the seriousness of the situation, Trent could see that Daria was becoming very uncomfortable with the topic of choice, so he made up for it by slightly that up with a slight cough.


Eleven Fifty-nine

Pressing the small button on her watch, Daria noticed it was five seconds away from being Midnight.

"Five..four.."

"Daria?"

"Three..Two.."

"What are you-"

"One...Merry Christmas, Trent."

Letting the confusion drift off his face, Trent smiled at Daria before pulling her into a slight hug. "Merry Christmas, Daria."

Daria let the hug linger for a second before hesitantly pulling away from Trent and looking out the window to where the snow was still falling.

"Well, I guess this means we're looking at a white Christmas."

"Yeah..." Trent agreed, before letting out a slight yawn which told them both their were going to be more of those if he didn't go to sleep soon, "And also, that if we don't go to sleep soon, Santa wont bring us our presents."

Smirking a little, Daria watched as Trent laid down on the floor in front of her and then after a second, she joined him...sighing with relief that even though it was probably below zero, and the room was starting to get a little nippy, the body heat Trent and her were radiating off each other was enough to keep them both warm.

For the moment anway. (Authors Note: Sorry, couldn't help it.)


Ten Am

Opening her eyes, Daria frowned as she realized she couldn't see anything in front of her but a blurred line. Feeling the floor beneath her, for a moment, to see if her glasses had just slipped off, she was startled when a hand grasped hers and then the cold plastic of her glasses was placed into that said hand.

"Thanks." She said, as the person let her hand go and she was able to put her glasses on and see that it was Trent who had given them to her. "They must've fallen off in my sleep."

At that comment, a slight blush crept across Trent's face. "Actually, you fell asleep with them on and I figured they couldn't have been that comfortable to sleep in so I took them off of you. Hope you don't mind."

Daria could feel a slight blush come to her face, but because of it being too early for her to really care, she didn't turn her face away from Trent's point of view. "So, what's in your hand?"

Looking down, Trent smiled at the wrapped parcel that he held in his hands, before shrugging a little and meeting Daria's gaze with a guilty expression on his face. "I know you and I don't exchange gifts like you and um..other people do, but uh, this sort've reminded me of you so I bought it. I hope you like it."

Nervously sitting up, Daria took the slightly large rectangle shaped box Trent was holding and, as if she would break the slight bonding moment they were having if she did it any faster, she slowly began to open it; smirking a little as she finally got to the contents which laid inside the box.

"Sarcasm...it's one of the only services I offer. Hmm, somewhere in the back of my mind, I know I should hate you for this, but..thanks."

After smiling at the slight compliment, Trent let a slight surprised look creep upon his face as Daria sat further up and pulled him closer to him--giving him a Thank you hug; which came to their second hug of the day.

"Don't mention it."


Eleven Am

"Well, it looks like I'm free to return to hell."

"Hmm?" Turning his head to see what Daria was looking at, Trent saw one of the Lawndale Snow Tractor's outside making it's way down the street, sprinkling salt on driveways and open roads. "Oh..well, I'll walk you out."

"Thanks." Daria said, picking up the shirt, that she had folded back into the box a few minutes ago, before following Trent towards the front door. "You know..despite everything, I'm uh glad that it was you I got stuck here with."

Freezing in his motions, with one hand on the door knob, Trent studied Daria for a minute before smiling a little, "And I'm glad it was you who I got stuck here with. I mean, if it was your sister..I don't know what I'd do."

Smirking at this, Daria watched as Trent opened the door for her and then watched as he traveled outside in front of her, making sure that the driveway and road were really okay for her to drive on. "Just don't want any accidents."

Slightly smiling, Daria unlocked the passenger side door to her truck, and placed Trent's gift to her inside of the car, and then after a pause took the two other gifts that were sitting on the seat out of the truck, and quickly shut the door behind her.

"Those for Janey?" Trent asked, eyeing the two rectangular shaped boxes in Daria's hands.

"Umm..one is." Daria said, blushing slightly as she handed first one, then the other to Trent, "The green box is yours. The red one is Janes."

Not bothering to hide it, Trent let a surprised look come across his face. "Wow..uh..thanks."

Still blushing, Daria smiled nervously before shrugging her response.

"Well, I better get going. I'm sure my aunts are here already and I've left Quinn alone with my parents for long enough. So..."

Sighing at the slight uncomfortableness that sit between them, Trent opened his mouth to say something, but instead of saying anything about it, he watched as Daria made her way to the other side of the truck, then waited a second before asking her something that he knew was probably none of his business--but because of their long talk the night before he figured she really wouldn't have a problem telling him.

"You said that you didn't want to fall in love again, who were you in love with before?"

Watching as Daria's face went from one shade of red to the next, Trent wondered if he should just tell her to forget he asked, but before he could even open his mouth, Daria spoke up.

"It doesn't really matter that much now. But it was someone special..really special."

Furrowing his eyebrows, Trent thought about her words for a second before he gave up on the thought and just nodded his head; figuring she was right..it really didn't matter that much right now. It was all in the past, anyway.

Or was it. (Authors note: I'm a shipper..sorry)


Two PM

"Trent? Yo, Trent! WAKE UP, TRENT!"

Opening his eyes in confusion, Trent blinked a little before realizing it was Janey who was screaming at him to get up. "Oh, hey. You're home."

Rolling her eyes, Jane let the comment hang between them for a second before she held up what she had come in his room to talk to him about. "Whose this from?"

"Huh?" Barely looking at the red box that Jane held in her hands, Trent made a shrugging movement, but then as if someone had slapped him in the back of his head, he sit up with realization. "Oh, that's from Daria. She uh..gave it to me this morning to give to you."

Seeing the look of confusion, then guilt, then embarrassment come across Jane's face, Trent put two and two together. Afterwards, figuring that he really didn't want or need an explanation, he stopped Jane before she could give him one. "Grab your coat and I'll take you down to Dega Street. Something's got to be open there."

A look mixed between gratefulness and relief flooded Jane's face, and their was only enough time for her to say her thank you's to her bro, before she was out of his room and into hers--looking for enough money to buy her best friend a gift that would put all best friend's gifts to shame


Four PM

While waiting for Jane to wrap Daria's gift so they could take it over to her house, Trent settled back into his bed; figuring if he'd be able to get atleast five more minutes of sleep he might be able to function more properly.

I shouldn't have stayed up so late...or gone to bed so early. Whichever one comes first.

Sighing at the comment, Trent smiled as his eyes were just about to close but then as he noticed something from the corner of his eye, something green, he opened them back up once again.

Oh, yeah. The gift.

Putting his lack of sleep on the back burner for a minute, Trent sit up and reached for the rectangle shaped box that laid slightly on his bed, and began unwrapping the gift with just as much care as Daria had done before.

After getting to the contents inside, he let a surprised look come across his face before a slightly amused expression took over.

"Cleverly Disguised as a responsible Adult...I guess somewhere in the back of my head I should take offense to this..but then again, she bought me something, so I guess I should feel special."

Smiling at the shirt once again, Trent folded it back into the box, and prepared to lay back down when he was frozen in movement by his earlier words. I should feel....special

"Hey Trent, you ready to-" Jane began, as she stepped into Trent's room, but then stopped herself as she noticed a look of confusion mixed with something else that she couldn't quite pin point on his face. "go?"

"Huh?" Trent asked, as he snapped himself out of this thoughts; afterwards noticing Jane standing in front of him with a wrapped gift in her hand, he figured out what she was trying to ask him. "Oh..yeah, I'm ready whenever you are...I just..can I just ask you a quick question though? It's about Daria."

Surprised, Jane shrugged hesitantly. "Um okay..what is it?"

For a second, Trent mulled over how to get the words out of his mouth, without exposing too much, but then after a second, he finally just gave up and asked his sister the question that was on his mind.

"I was just wondering...has Daria ever called me special?"

The end