A/N: Those of you who read my earlier stories know that I don't need an Iron Chef Challenge (whatever that is xD), to write an unusual Daria fic. But I guess this would be good preparation for one. I wrote it in just a few hours, before I could come to my senses.
I don't own Daria and I made no profit from this story, but I guess you could call the fanfiction police on me for writing something this crazy. (Just as long as you review.)
Quinn knew that her sister was beautiful.
Of course she wouldn't say anything like that. Would her popularity ever recover if somebody found out? And Daria wouldn't believe her anyway. She never thought about attractiveness and clothes and makeup, or any of the most important things in life.
But the funny thing was, no matter how far Daria tried to run away from beauty, it always found her. Nobody understood that phenomenon better than Quinn. It ran in their family. It was...what was the word? Geometric?
Quinn wasn't blind. Frumpy clothes and a bad attitude couldn't hide that Daria was...well, almost as pretty as her underneath. And Quinn wasn't deaf, either. She heard the things people said about her 'cousin.' Even some of the things they said to her face.
And she didn't like them.
It was the day before their cousin Erin's wedding, and Quinn was being fitted for a bridesmaid's dress in a special booth with a red curtain. So was Daria, but she was stuck out on the floor. Poor thing.
The dress fit Quinn perfectly-but that was no surprise. Clothes loved her. They molded to her shape like new best friends, and every morning they called out from her closet. Wear me today! No, wear me! Hey, what about me? You just bought me last week… She giggled at the thought of her clothes fighting over her to decide which items got worn next.
But clothes did not love Daria. At least, not the kind of clothes she wore. And apparently not the bridal shop's light blue gown either. It was just like hers, almost the same size-but as Quinn listened from the booth, she could hear her sis was having trouble. Rustles, stumbles and grumbles punctuated her struggle with a dress that was no more interested in being worn than she was in wearing it.
The saleslady did not sound very helpful.
"Pity. They're such lovely dresses," she said when Daria told her she was a bridesmaid. And now, moments later, "Nature didn't see fit to give you much in the way of hips, did she, dearie?"
Her mean, raspy voice brought Quinn's tailored paradise to a grinding halt. Slowly, she turned her head and leaned closer to the curtain.
If Daria was hurt by such thoughtless remarks, she didn't show it. She just said, "I think I'm going to be ill. Is that a problem for you?"
Quinn smirked bitterly from the shadows. Good old Daria. Of course her big sister wouldn't get angry over someone criticizing her looks.
But she would. If that woman knew what was good for her…well, she would keep quiet and do her job. She was like Joey, Jeffy and Jamie: here to serve them. If she didn't like it, she shouldn't be running a bridal shop.
She vaguely heard Daria chatting with some friends from school who had shown up (the few she had anyway) and for a while things were fine, but then…
The unmistakable sound of a girl getting stuck with a pin.
"Hold still!" the saleslady snarled. "I'm having a hard enough time with your body as it is."
She insulted my sister's looks. Again.
A drop of molten anger fell into the pit of Quinn's stomach. Instead of dissipating, it grew, spreading slowly but surely through her perfect body. Her heart began to race. Her manicured fingernails dug into her palms, nearly breaking the skin.
She vibrated silently, the world oblivious to her fury.
"Well. My humiliation is complete now." Daria's voice was as dry and emotionless as always. But she was hurt—Quinn could tell.
That was enough. She took a deep breath, plastered a smile on her face and swept through the curtain, twirling around to show off.
"Look! It does match my hair!" she chirped inanely.
"I spoke too soon," Daria muttered.
Oh, Daria, Quinn thought in despair.
Her lovely sister was being subjected to the worst fitting job she had ever witnessed—and that said a lot. The lady had short sandy hair, a royal blue pantsuit and an obvious chain-smoking habit. She fumbled around on her hands and knees, as if looking for something on the floor, while she tugged with graceless irritation on the hem of Daria's gown. The waist was all wrong. The unadjusted straps threatened to fall off her shoulders. The bottom drooped lifelessly around her ankles like a raincoat, with nearly as many wrinkles.
Through her narrowing eyes, Quinn glimpsed the owner's nametag: Mildred. What a cruel, tacky name for a cruel, tacky person. Quinn wanted to grab her, lock her in a fitting room, rush over and fit Daria's dress the right way, and tell her all the while how…
…How much I love you.
If only Quinn could tell her that. If only Daria would let her help. But real life wasn't some made-up TV show on a burned-out cable network. And real sisters didn't tell each other they were beautiful. Especially if, by their very nature, they were rivals.
She didn't call Daria her 'cousin' because she was embarrassed to know her. She said it so that shallower kids wouldn't compare Daria with her, ask "what's wrong with her?" and make her life a living hell. And maybe if Quinn kept her distance in public, it would make up for what she did in private: namely, watch her. Think about her. Dream about her.
It was the only way to protect someone who didn't want protection. And she intended to do just that.
The dress didn't fit any better at the wedding. Quinn knew that if she had to look at it the whole day, she would explode. At the other bridesmaids, who cluelessly asked "why aren't you wearing the same dress as everyone else?" At Daria for not knowing she deserved so much better. At herself, for not doing anything about it.
But she would do something. She just had to pick the right time.
Fortunately, natural inclinations took her and Daria to different places in the reception hall. She placated herself slightly by watching a fight between her escort Garrett and the creepy minister who tried to hit on her (and failed). It was as flattering as ever, but for once she had other things on her mind.
As the wedding degenerated into yet another family conflict and Daria and Aunt Amy disappeared, Quinn decided to make her own getaway. She fed her mom (who'd obviously drunk way too much wine) an excuse about not feeling well and slipped a few bucks to one of the other escorts to drive her home early. It was Luhrman, and he was as dull and harmless as his name. Best of all he didn't ask any questions, not even when she told him to take a quick 2 a.m. detour to a certain store downtown and wait until she came out.
She took a baseball bat from the trunk of his car. "I kinda have to borrow this, okay Larson?"
"Hey, that's for softball practice," Luhrman drawled halfheartedly. "Oh, well. It's not like I ever hit anything with it."
Quinn figured she could improve on that.
The owner of this store embarrassed my sister. She said she was ugly. She made her look ugly.
MY SISTER. Part of ME.
She would never be hurt again. Not by this place, anyway.
Her inhibitions clicked off, like light switches being turned out one by one, until only her anger was left. She walked up and snuck in through a side door. Drapes over the front windows let almost no light in, but her eyes adjusted quickly. The shop was empty and peaceful, full of so many beautiful expensive things.
Apparently, too expensive. There were no motion detectors, and they still recorded security footage on videotape. These tapes could easily be ejected and disposed of, if you knew where to find them.
With that taken care of, Quinn stepped out onto the grand sales floor with murder in her heart and tears in her eyes. She had changed into an all-black outfit at a rest stop, complete with gloves and a beret to contain her long hair.
This was crazy. She knew she needed help. But going to a shrink would be so unfashionable. And some of them wore...uck...sweater vests. In plaid.
This was all the therapy she had, and it would have to do.
"I love you, Daria," she sniffled to no one but the mannequins. Her voice was shaking. "I know you can't hear me. I know you don't care. But I'm doing this for you. I...I…"
The word became a high, keening wail of rage as she lifted the bat and went for the first thing she saw.
"I can't believe it. I just can't believe what this world is coming to!" Jake Morgendorffer ranted over his daughter's shoulder.
Daria ignored him and continued reading the morning paper.
"Damn teenage hooligans! Look at this, Helen! We were just in there a few days ago!"
"Jake, take it easy before you burst another blood vessel," Helen said wearily. She stood up and glanced over at the top story. "Oh, my."
The Lawndale Bridal Shop had been broken into and completely trashed. Racks full of exquisite dresses were destroyed, rows of glass display cases shattered; even the studio lights on the ceiling were smashed to pieces. The lead photo was the most telling of all: the three mirrors in the corner splintered as if attacked with a blunt object, and the words "FOR MILDRED" spray-painted on the platform.
Despite several thousand dollars in damage, the police had no suspects or leads. The owner was allegedly giving up and leaving town.
"First the coffee shop gets destroyed, and now this!" Jake continued. "What's next?!"
"Hopefully the high school."
"Daria…" Helen sighed.
A giggle floated gently from the other side of the table.
They looked up to see the youngest Morgendorffer with a strange look on her face, idly examining her nails.
"Oh, Daddy," she breezed, "It's a wedding store! It was probably a crime of passion."
"I'm sorry. You mean a crime of fashion. Right?" Daria said.
Quinn just looked at her and smiled.