All characters herein are owned by MTV/Viacom. This is an extrapolation from the Daria Diaries, and while I do claim copyright to the prose and characterization, the idea and the characters are not mine.

In the Trent-ches
by medea42

Trent was exhausted. While Janey slept, he called U.S. embassies at every country he knew his parents visited in the past five years, all with no luck. They were nowhere. He'd wanted to keep Janey from knowing about the foreclosure problem, to protect what childhood she had, but in the end, he had to tell her. In a last ditch effort, he tried the embassy in Australia, praying his parents were there. No one answered the phone. Not even an answering machine. For a moment, he contemplated asking a government agency about Antarctica - his parents just might. He changed his mind when he remembered what his mother said extreme cold did to pottery.

He and Janey had to fend off the repossession company themselves. He'd done everything he could to dredge enough money for a partial payment, working sound booths at local theaters and concerts and attempting to bounce at McGrundy's -- Jesse and he agreed that bouncing was NOT a good career choice for Trent after he received two bruised ribs on his first night.

What little he earned wound up paying for Jane's textbook rental and some minimal groceries. He slipped any extra money to Jane, telling her that Mom and Dad left it for her education.

Trent put much effort into making sure Jane never witnessed him do a stitch of work. Trent was convinced he had to keep his efforts quiet to preserve his sister's sense of security.

He certainly couldn't rely on his parents to preserve Jane's carefree creativity, he thought as he evaluated which pieces of furniture formed the best barricade for the front door. Trent would planned an attempt to discuss having them set up a direct withdraw program with the bank -- maybe after this incident, they wouldn't engage in one of their freedom-of-privacy rants. He wondered how the Lanes held on to their homestead as often as accessible funds dwindled and disappeared while his family wandered the planet.

Just as Trent inched the couch away from its position in front of the picture window, Jane burst through the door followed by some brown-haired girl wearing a skirt and boots.

"Hey Trent," Jane warbled. Something good happened to her today. Good. "This is Daria, she's ditching esteem class with me today. We were too depressed to feel good about ourselves."

Reinforcement. He'd take it. Trent extended his hand to Daria. She took it. "Hi Daria," he said. Firm handshake, rather than the dumbass girl-shake of most teenage females. Good sign, might make a good partner-in-crime for Jane. She needed one. "I guess you can help us barricade the door," he told her.

"Our parents forgot to leave us the mortgage checks," Jane explained to her friend. "And the repo company is supposed to come by today to foreclose."

Daria stared at Jane, holding a steady note with her unchanging gaze. Weird kid -- good for Jane.

"How about you two help me move that couch under the front door?" Trent ventured. Daria could experience Lane-style social niceties after they blocked all entrances.

Forty-five minutes later, the shades were drawn, the lights were out and the front door was blocked by the couch, a bookcase and some really heavy clay vases Mrs. Lane made. Trent, Daria and Jane were sitting with their backs against the bookcase, adding their combined weight to their makeshift barricade. Trent used a few moments between poundings and yelling from the other side of the door to make conversation. "Thanks for helping," he said, half- smiling at Jane's friend.

She looked a little uncomfortable at the smile. "No problem. I really had nothing more interesting to do."

At least this was interesting.

"See Trent, I found someone as aimless as we are!" Jane chimed from the other side of Daria.

Daria looked almost interested. "How are you aimless?" she asked Trent.

At least Jane believed the illusion he'd established. "I'm a musician," he explained. "That's my full-time job." His full time job was making sure Jane grew up as close to happy and well-adjusted as possible.

"In other words, he sleeps all day and has no job," Jane told her.

"Cool." There was a tone in Daria's monotone that suggested she was genuinely impressed.

A new round of pounding and yelling began, forcing all three to brace their legs against the floor. When the onslaught waned, Trent felt tension trickle into the relieving silence. The tension came from Daria.

She was shy, he realized. Trent could tell by the way her glasses oh-so-minimally slid down her nose that she used her green jacket and spectacled look as a defense.

If it were just him and Janey, Trent would have already used the precious quiet to sleep. His taste of adult worries still had him freaked, and part of him hoped that when he closed his eyes and went to sleep, by the time he woke in the morning the problem would disappear.

But he had a stranger next to him, and he could feel her discomfort beating on him in metronomic rhythm. Trent was, deep down, a compassionate guy and high school girl or not, this Daria needed a little comfort herself. So instead of sleeping like he desperately needed, he tried to converse with the stranger.

"So," he said. "You're new in town?"

"I just moved here from Texas," Daria told him.

Trent could tell she wasn't one to volunteer information. She was trying to find a comfort zone herself. Uh, conversation point. "Funny," he said. "You don't have the accent."

"No," he heard her say. She started to explain something about her parents and moving around, something about Lawndale high. While she spoke Trent could feel his blood pressure dropping, could see his vision swimming. He'd spent 72 hours scrounging money, making calls, pacing, worrying and pretending not to worry in front of Jane. Daria's voice blended with the rhythm of the night's previous conversations against the beat of the knocking and yelling.

His mind moved into a world of rhythm and lights, images bending to sound. All the stress of the last month became a music video, a dream, a stormy night as he slept on the floor.

When he opened his eyes, meaning to nod and smile and encourage Daria to continue to speak, Daria was gone and Jane was standing beside his mother. Both women were gazing at him with a bemused expression.

"Exploring the world behind your eyelids?" Amanda asked Trent.

Jane extended her hand to help her brother stand. "I told Daria not to take it personally when you fell asleep on her," she told him. She smirked. "I only get upset when you fall asleep while driving, myself."

Trent gave his sister a dirty look. He only fell asleep at the wheel once, driving back from Wind's wedding in Tennessee. After 19 hours of driving, Jane wouldn't have done so well, either. "I was tired," he told her.

There was more important business to deal with Mom home, and who knew how long she'd stay this time. "Did you make the mortgage payments?" he asked her.

His mom paused. "Hm, I knew there was something I forgot." She clasped her hands and smiled, radiating the New Age peace that drove Trent straight into the relief of grunge music. "I knew whatever it was, all would work out."

Great. He could never discuss business arrangements when his mom activated her bliss. Next time, he'd just call her agent.

Trent kissed his mother on the cheek and headed to his bedroom. "I'm going to finish sleeping," he informed her and Jane.

As he reached the head of the stairs, his mother called after him. "Trent?"

He paused, hoping she'd apologize for this latest disaster. "When you feel ready hon, take the barricades off the doors?"

He was tempted to leave them, but then he'd never be able to order pizza. "Sure Mom," he called as he sped towards his precious bed, waiting for his body to crash. At least all the problems did go away when he closed his eyes this time. There was a special world, waiting just for him, behind his eyelids.

Trent woke around midnight, and after a few moments of jotting words in his lyrics notebook, he called Jesse.

"Hey man," he told his alert-in-space friend. "I got the B side for our demo."

The above is extrapolated from comments made by Daria in the Daria Diaries where she watched Trent sleep.