Special thanks to BFC110C4 and his story Operation Glitterberies for some inspiration. I don't own Daria, but if I did I would bring back the show. The world still needs her criticism.
Chapter 1: Infiltration
"I don't think this is such a good idea," Daria Morgendorffer said. She edged away as her best friend Jane Lane sauntered over with a strange pendant and a wicked gleam in her eye.
"You're getting sleepy. Sleepy…" Jane teased.
"Stop it!" Daria swiped at her hand.
The slender artist stepped back. "Whoa there! We haven't even started yet."
"Good, let's not. Sick Sad World is on." Daria reached for the remote. She was wearing her familiar coke-bottle glasses and a long nightshirt with a picture of Einstein on it.
"It's a rerun. The one where that guy's false teeth keep trying to kill him?"
"Come on, Daria, I did you a favor," Jane insisted. "I'm sitting in here at seven-o-clock on the night of the school dance, and there were some guys I could've gone with. Besides, if we're going to have a stereotypical sleepover for once, we might as well have some stereotypical sleepover hijinks."
Daria frowned suspiciously at the metal trinket dangling from Jane's finger. "Sorry, I've been trying to cut back on my hijink levels."
"My mom made me this necklace for my birthday, you know. Granted, she was two months late." Jane muttered. She sat down on the edge of her friend's bed.
"I don't think I'm the right kind of person for this stuff. Some doctor tried to use it on me once and it didn't work. I'm hypno-proof." Actually Quinn had walked in on the session before it really got going, but Daria saw no need to go into details.
"Then what are you worried about?" she raised an eyebrow. "But seriously, Daria. I think there's something knocking around inside of you. And I'll bet you a whole pizza I'm right."
Daria paused. She was still leery of the idea, but that made it interesting. "…Fine. But make it quick. And don't tell me to strip or anything."
"Don't worry. That's for after I buy you dinner."
Jane's heart skipped a beat as Daria smirked at her. What's she thinking about? Wait, what am I thinking about? I can't believe I said that.
"Um, Jane, if we're through with this awkward moment, would you like to begin?"
She jumped. "Oh! Um, yeah! Just sit back and clear your head or whatever. Find your center."
Daria sighed and tried to do as she asked. "Is this center made of marshmallow cream?"
"No, you're thinking of Quinn. Now watch the mystic pendant."
At least the necklace was interesting, Daria thought. A beautifully molded dragon on a chain, with two outstretched legs and a long curving body in the shape of a 'J.' Its eyes were tiny points of red.
"Good. Look into the eyes of the dragon," Jane murmured, and the pendant began to swing slowly back and forth.
Daria hardly remembered she was there. The dragon seemed like the only thing in her world now, and she felt her mind drifting through the void with it. Jane told her to close her eyes. She did, but the dragon was still there. It had always been there.
"You can still see the dragon, can't you, Daria?"
"Yes," she answered without thinking. Her voice seemed to come from deep inside of her.
"That's right. The dragon is your friend. You're safe and relaxed with him. You have nothing to fear. And you have nothing to hide."
Yes. She did not have to hide anymore…
"I'm going to count to seven. When I finish counting, you will wake up and let out everything that is hidden inside of you." Jane knew this was risky, but the hypnotism was clearly working, and curiosity and excitement had won over her common sense. "One…two…"
Her heart pounded faster with each number. She wondered if Daria would cry. Or scream. Or act like her sister. Or just pick up the remote again and ask what was on.
"Seven. Wake up."
It was instantaneous. One moment, Daria was sitting perfectly still four feet away from her. The next, a gray-and-brown blur cracked Jane in the side of the head and tackled her to the floor. Jane squeaked in protest as the wind was knocked out of her and the pendant flew from her hand. She tried to breathe, but Daria was sitting on top of her and gripping the side of her neck and making her dizzy, and her eyes…
The glasses were gone, and those weren't Daria's eyes anymore. They were cruel and cold and seemed to stare right into her brain. "Move and you die, communist scum." That voice—sensual yet forceful, two things Daria was not. It didn't stop at Jane's ears but seemed to enter her veins, curdling her blood and making her heart race.
Something was very wrong here.
"Daria," Jane choked, and the iron hand squeezed harder. "Please—"
"That's my undercover name. But now I see the alias is no longer necessary." With her other hand, the girl she no longer recognized gently stroked her face. It was threatening, but so seductive that Jane would have shivered if she weren't already trembling with fear. "You can call me Powers. Melody Powers."