Hospitals smell weird. I don't like being in them.

But I had to visit Daddy. I had something very important to do.

"Quinn Barksdale, to see Jacob Morgendorffer?" I told the nurse receptionist lady.

"He's in the same room as usual, sugar," she answered me with a friendly smile. I'd been in to see Daddy before, of course. I thanked her and took the elevator up to the long-term care ward.

The weird hospital smell was strong up there. It's the smell of bleach and blood and crap. I don't know why they bother with the bleach. I shudder every time I came to visit Daddy.

"Hi, Daddy," I greeted him as I entered his room. He didn't respond. Daddy was in a coma for three months, ever since he and Jane...I shook my head, to try and forget about it.

"I'm doing good in school," I told him. "I have to keep a low B average to stay in the Fashion Club - I've told you about Sandi and her anti-brain attitudes - but that's no problem. Daria's doing..." I hesitated, before I realized there's no point in sugar-coating it. "She's doing crappy as hell, Daddy. Whenever she's not at school or here visiting you, she just stares at the walls in her room doing nothing. I overheard Mom talking to one of her teachers on the phone or something, and her grades are slipping. Like, Cs and Ds, Daddy. Daria's a huge brain, and you KNOW she shouldn't be getting those kinds of grades."

I looked out the window. I wondered, don't they have windowless rooms for the coma patients? Shouldn't window rooms go to people who can actually use 'em and stuff? Maybe it was just because me and Mom and Daria still visited Daddy.

"It's all your fault, Daddy. You just couldn't keep your hands off Jane. Did you take her in with you and Daria just so you could get your thing in her? Daria may have forgiven you, but I sure as hell haven't!" I sighed, a little exhausted from my outburst. "I think Daria's all sad and stuff because it's like you're dead, I mean BRAIN dead, and the doctor guy said you're never gonna wake up. But you're not really dead. It's like you're a vampire who sucks on Daria, you know? Instead of her blood, it's like, her happiness or something."

I opened up my backpack and took out a book. It was a manual on all the machines Daddy needed to stay alive. "Mom got this the other day when the hospital cleared her to take you home. It's supposed to happen in a few days, once the special bed mom ordered arrives. I've been reading it a lot, Daddy." I stood up and went over to the heart monitor. "I know that this button mutes the machine, so that nobody can hear the beeping. Not even the nurses." I pushed the button, and the beeping went quiet.

I pulled one of the pillows out from under Daddy's head. "I'm sorry for doing this, Daddy, but this is for Daria. I have to protect her, like she protected me. I know how terrible it is when nobody will protect you." I leaned over and kissed him on his forehead. "Goodbye, Daddy." I put the pillow over his head.

XXXXXXXXXX

It begins.

I want to extend my thanks to Lord Yellowtail, for beta-ing this chapter and giving me some useful pointers. Thanks! :D