We don't talk about it... (a Daria fanfic) Chapter 1
This is fanfiction, done for fun and no money is being made. Daria and related characters are the property of Glenn Eichler and MTV/Viacom.
'We've been friends now for two months, right?'
'Yep, so long as you keep up the weekly payments of pizza, snark and bad movies.'
Daria smiled at this, Jane always lightened her mood, that's why she had to so this. 'I... how can I put this... I've been holding something back from you... I'm sorry.'
Quinn, who had been sitting on the other couch reading a magazine raised her head at this 'Daria!' She said with a warning note in her voice. 'Don't! Mom will go ballistic!'
Daria sighed. 'I talked it over with her first, Quinn... she's ok with it... that is... she grudgingly agreed to me discussing this dirty little family secret with my best friend... if I swore her to secrecy first. I'm sorry Jane... I trust you implicitly but my Mom...'
'Hey Amiga, don't sweat it... all families have something. If it's not something you want to tell me it's ok, I get it, no problem, forget it, ok?'
Daria smiled sadly at her. 'Thank you for that... but I want to tell you... I want to be able to talk about it in front of you... I don't want to keep secrets from you... pathetic huh?' Quinn snorted and went to go upstairs muttering something that sounded like 'Losers!'
She stopped three steps up and turned back. 'Daria... if one word of this gets out in school...'
Jane looked at her cooly. 'Listen Daria's cousin, or whatever. Daria is my best friend, not that I'd expect you to understand what that means but I'll tell you this, anything she wants me to keep secret I'll take to my grave... unless it's about you wearing falsies, that I'd have to put on the bulletin board.' Quinn stamped her feet in exasperation and turned to go to her room. Jane looked at Daria. 'Amiga... I mean it, you don't have to...'
Daria waved her hand to stop her. 'Jane, I accept your word, sit down, let me tell you the story.'
Jane and Daria sat so they could look at each other. Daria began. 'Jane, I have a sister.' Jane turned her eyes up the stairs after Quinn. Daria shook her head. 'No, I mean I have another sister, Ronnie... Veronica... we call her Ronnie.'
Jane raised her eyebrows. 'Given up for adoption? Stolen in infancy by pirates? The invisible woman? What?'
Daria smiled again. 'Figment of my imagination? No Jane, she's real, she just doesn't live with us... she's... she's in a home... an institution to be exact.'
'Oooookay. Physical or mental?' Jane asked gently.
'Mental.' Daria answered with a shrug. 'That is, she's... what's the pc word these days? I don't know... she's not retarded... or autistic or deficient... actually it's more like autism but elective autism... if that makes any sense?'
Jane thought about this for a while, knowing she should say something but not wanting to just blurt something out, mental illness was scary and she had no experience dealing with it, after a minute or two she told her friend exactly that. Daria stood and put a reassuring hand on Jane's shoulder and said 'You and me both. It's been two years and I still don't know how to deal with it... don't think I'm trying to dump this on you like you can fix things or something... I just needed you to understand how we are here sometimes... especially around the time of a family visit... it's gets like a minefield around here... the whole family gets PMT... pre and post mental asylum tension... it is like visiting a well kept corner of hell with manicured lawns and ivy on the very high walls. That's the reason we moved North, mental health care around Highland was worse than a Turkish prison, the doc's here think, think mind you, that in time they might get through to her... maybe even get her back to us.'
'I take it... what am I saying? What... she can't... you can't take care of her here?'
'We did try at the beginning, but she's twelve now and tall for her age... a handful... she won't do anything for herself... like she's catatonic... I mean anything!'
Jane made a face at the implications of that. 'Two years?... was it a gradual thing or...'
'No, sudden... you see she was a twin, her and Vanessa, two peas in a pod. They were all those cliché things, halfway telepathic with each other, own secret language, the lot.'
'No actually. Vanessa got sick. It was weird, they did everything together, caught colds together, if one fell down and skinned her knees the other had to copy her so they had matching scabs. But Vanessa got leukemia and Ronnie didn't... one outta two ain't bad huh? But it is... I lost a sister and Ronnie was not the spare. The thing is... the terrible thing is... Ronnie lost her twin... and on that day she stopped... just stopped... like a toy with no batteries... she closed up and none of us... nobody... could get through to her.' There were tears in Daria's brown eyes now, her usual monotone forgotten as she became more and more upset.
Jane was appalled but also gladdened at this display of emotion from her taciturn friend. She felt privileged, trusted. She shouldered the burden of care and tried to comfort her friend, catching her in a hug. It took a few minutes but Daria calmed back down and resumed her normal demeanor. She thanked Jane and tried to apologize for losing it.
'Don't give me that baloney, Morgendorffer. This is real... a real thing... a real person you care about in... I don't like to think about where she is. I'd be climbing the walls if it was me.' She paused and thought for a while. 'Hey maybe I could go with you next time... I'd like to meet her.'
'What? Why though?'
'She's a part of you, part of this family I'm kinda attached to by proxy... besides... I'm a nosy bitch and I want to know what she looks like.' She grinned.
Daria gave a watery smile back. 'I have pictures...'
'NO... I want to see her, meet her.'
'Sure?' At Jane's nod Daria continued. 'OK, be here 9a.m. next Sunday. It's a two hour drive.'
'What! You want me to get up before noon on the weekend? You're pushing it Morgendorffer, you're pushing it.' But she grinned while she said it.