MTV/Daria/Trent and all characters in this fic are owned by MTV Viacom. I just think entirely too much about these characters, especially Trent. Thus I produce these fics, from which I don't profit, rather than the stuff I'm supposed to be writing, from which I do profit, sometimes.

Thank you to Petrel (aka Cincgreen) for the beta-read and critique!

This takes place within "The Invitation", season 1.

Beyond Between
by medea42

There comes a time when a guy knows some things are over. Like when the ex-girlfriend returns his cat in a sealed box, or when the pawn shop won't take a smashed guitar. Trent realized that high school was over while he was pushing furniture away from the front door at Casa Lane. Up until the whole foreclosure attempt, he'd lived in a between-zone: that phase where a guy still shows up at high school hang-outs and still sneaks into parties to pick up easily impressed girls. Looked like he was ready for some closure -- like he'd recovered from all that was high school. He'd hated the school part, and really the other part, too.

As he settled into a groove with phone tucked in his ear and his guitar settled on his lap, Trent felt ready for some high-school free time. Now that he understood what it was. With his realization that such a huge part of his life was completely, utterly over, Trent came to the conclusion it was time for him to be completely and utterly irresponsible. Right after he dropped Jane off at that party.

That and he wanted to figure out why Janey's friend bugged his brain a little. She'd been a great help when Jane brought her over, and she was really funny from what he overheard her say to Jane, but something bothered him. She reminded him of somebody. Somebody he didn't like, but didn't hate, either.

Looked like he had a few hours until Janey needed him, so he thought he'd practice, first. At least, he meant to practice. He was still exhausted from all the stuff that went down over keeping the house, and he ended up sleeping with his guitar still balanced in his hands. And the phone was nestled on his shoulder by his ear - oh yeah, he'd called Jesse when he picked up his guitar, and Jesse put him on hold. The phone clicked.

"Thanks for holding, man. Sorry that took so long." Good thing it was Jesse he was holding for. Trent didn't know what he would have said if he'd fallen asleep while holding for someone else.

"I think we were talking about lyrics for a new song," Trent proposed.

"Yeah," Jesse agreed.

"Or was it that music?" when working on songs for the Spiral, one task often blended into another. Might be why they never really got it together.

"Music man, I think we were talking about the key." Jesse was just learning the formal terms for music, to go with his almost ancestral-memory style of playing. He'd throw in words to sound more professional, and this time he actually hit one. Or else he actually was starting to understand the stuff in those music theory books.

"Mmm. E minor would probably work," Trent suggested.

"But minor keys make my hand hurt!" You'd think he'd complain less about that problem, being Jesse and all.

Jesse's call waiting beeped again, and Trent dozed.

The phone clicked, and Jesse said without preamble, "Monique's back!"

"Gah!" Trent jumped while still maintaining the balance on his guitar.

Jesse sounded hurt. "Hey man, that's not cool. Monique's our friend."

"Are we on three-way?" Trent asked.

"Naw," Jesse lied.

"Hi Monique," Trent said dryly.

"Hey!" a female voice greeted him. Didn't really sound like he remembered, Trent thought. She sounded...expressive. Like she'd found the melody and metronome she'd kept buried inside. Then again, she'd just said hello. Usually she had a rhythm: sarcasm, inhale, sarcasm. And it was French sarcasm, so it hurt more.

Monique was a weird chick that used to hang around him and Jesse in high school. He always thought she was kind of making fun of him and Jesse - always using big words and stuff. She used to address them as Beavis and Butthead, whatever that meant. Probably like Cheech and Chong or something.

"So," Trent said conversationally. "You're back. How long before you go back to school?"

Monique had left after high school for the state university. Trent guessed she was back for fall break or something.

"I'm here to stay," said Monique.

"Uh, what?" Looked like Trent had plans for the evening. He glanced at the clock. Woah. Almost nine hours he'd been doing this whatever stuff.

Trent still hadn't decided whether to meet up with Jesse and Monique by the time his car pulled up to the gates at that rich neighborhood. Jane had shoved Daria into the front between them, claiming the back seat was unfit for human contact. He already felt weird, and her teenage nervousness was really riding his vibe. Trent struggled to maintain his relaxed state. Janey was always trying to put him on the spot, but that was okay. He'd find a way to leave her alone with the door to door evangelists next time. All was fair in siblings and rivalry.

"Thanks for the ride, Trent" his sister said as he pulled before the gate.

It was his pleasure to make sure Jane got around okay. "No problem. I needed a break, anyway. I've been practicing for ten hours straight."

Janey wanted to tease him. "Daria, would you say that sleeping with a guitar in your hands counts as practicing?"

Trent noticed Daria shrink in on herself. Now who did that remind him of? Still room for a comeback. "As long as you don't drop it."

He felt weird enough right then without having to deal with the rent-a-cop at the entrance; besides, the guy would remember him from the time Jesse and he flooded his workstation with a keg of beer. "I'll let you off here. I have a problem dealing with authority." he explained, mostly for Daria's benefit. He wished she'd say more so he could figure out who she reminded him of.

"So you don't want to crash?" Jane asked him. Last year she'd gone with him and Jesse to really create chaos at several parties back in the Crew Neck part of Lawndale. The beer in the booth was only the tip of the iceberg.

But Trent had had his epiphany just that morning. "A high school party? Please. Don't you think I'm a little mature for that?" As of exactly five hours ago.

Jane and Daria left the car, and the big brother within fought Trent's desire for irresponsibility. He hoped those two would really tear the place apart. "Don't do anything I wouldn't do," he said as he sped off. Which of course, meant nothing for anyone who took into the account that at their last party he and Jesse pretended the power lines to the house they were at was a jungle vine.

Trent kept puzzling over who Daria reminded him of, and drove far enough that he just finished the trip over to McGrundy's on principle. Why waste the gas and turn back, anyway. Besides, it was just Monique. Trent scanned the bar for her – looked for the glasses and the short hair, didn't see her. On his second sweep, he spotted Jesse talking to a goth goddess. Huh. Trent usually went for the all-black type, but he'd never grudge Jesse any fun.

She turned towards him and grinned as he approached. "Hey Trent. Good to see your skin's not orange."(1)

Huh? How would this chick know about his iodine phase? "Telling stories, Jesse?" he asked.

Jesse looked confused. "About what?"

Trent grinned at the woman, taking in her black hair and style. Looked like Jesse hadn't finished his pickup, and a little competition between buds was also fair. "Oh, we like to rip on each other when we meet interesting women." He winked.

"As I recall," she said dryly. "You used to rip up each other, and on once occasion my poetry notebook in the fray, too."

Poetry notebook? But that was. Oh. WOAH! Trent's brain finally got up with his mouth. "Welcome back, Monique," he said weakly.

(1)In the Daria Database, Trent has a bottle of iodine under his bed from the "orange skin phase".

Author's Notes:
This goes way back to Trent's first appearance on the Daria show. I'm working with my own theories about Trent and his lifestyle (if you
hadn't noticed):
1. He's NOT oblivious

2. He's NOT a narcoleptic

3. He IS nocturnal

4. The guy has much more going on in his life than that which revolves around Daria and Jane.

5. Monique is not a hateful Daria-hating harridan.