Align Your Books Precisely on the Shelf, Go out in the Streets

This was written in response to Lsauchelli's Iron Chef challenge on PPMB.

The challenge was:

“After watching The Simpsons episode “Brother's Little Helper”, I couldn't help but wonder about a scenario where it's revealed that Helen and Jake are drugging Daria, not to have her be 'more like Quinn', but to stop her from being a hooligan.

Now, years later, in Lawndale Daria discovers the drugs when she skips a breakfast (Road Worrier?), and all hell breaks loose.”

A Daria/Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei crossover.


Jane smirked at Daria as she slid into her seat. “Not like you to be nearly late.”

Daria frowned. “My alarm didn't go off. Didn't even have time to eat."

"Not a very original excuse."

"But it has the virtue of being more believable than being abducted by aliens, even if that really was what happened." Daria said, rummaging in her pockets. "Damn."

"Something wrong?"

"Like I said, I didn't even have time to eat. I grabbed some pop-tarts on the way out, but I must have dropped them somewhere. Cold isn't my favorite way of having them, but what the heck, we've got Bunsen burners."

"At least you can take comfort in having provided a high-fructose meal for some random person."

"But what am I supposed to do for chemical goodness?"

"This is science class..."

"I haven't forgotten the one about H2SO4. Besides, who knows what Ms. Barch has in these things on the off chance some male gets in to them."

"I think I've got half a Watchamacallit around here somewhere," Jane started digging through her desk.

"If you don't know what it is, why would I eat it?"

"No, the candy bar. Here." Jane handed Daria a folded-over candy wrapper with half a bar still left in it.

"Um... I appreciate the thought, but how old is this?"

Jane shrugged. "I think it was in there before the term started."

"Great." Daria considered the candy bar a minute, then started peeling it out of the plastic. "Still, any port in a storm."

"Or even a sherry."

Daria gave Jane a long look. "I bet you've been waiting for a chance to use that one for months."

Jane smirked. "Anyway, I wonder what's keeping Ms. Barch."

"Maybe her ex husband sent her an alimony check on time and she had a heart attack."

Just then the door opened and Ms. Barch came in trailing a full blow rant. "That damn, dirty, rotten, scum of a... a... man!"

"Guess not."

"Finally." Daria said, picking up a cheap plastic tray.

"I did help." Jane noted, picking up her own tray.

"I think you helped make me sick." Daria noted, as they moved down the line gathering food.

"You have been acting a bit restless. I was wondering if the school had a very localized ant problem last class."

Daria frowned. "Some days the idiots are more annoying than others."

Jane shrugged. "They didn't seem any worse than usual to me."

"Maybe they've finally worn down my resistance."

After they sat down and started to eat, Jane suddenly chuckled.

"What's so funny? Is there a nitrous oxide leak again?"

"No, I just had a thought. What if your parents were doping your poptarts with Valium or something? That would explain it"

"If mom had any I think she'd be using it herself."

"Well, maybe it was lithium or Thorazine or something. Besides, she's more the coke and meth type."

Daria sighed. "The sad thing is, I could actually see her doing something like that. Assuming she could drag herself away from work long enough to plan it out. I am the only one who eats the strawberry ones, so it's not like it wouldn't work. Stupid ruts."

"What would she have Quinn on?"

"Maybe those caffeine pills truckers take to stay awake?"

"I think she comes by that naturally."

"Then maybe she's using the Valium on Quinn, to keep her from spontaneously combusting from her own energy."

"Then you're getting the NoDoze?"

"Or some of those memory enhancers. I can see mom pulling that one to try and "help" me into college."

"My parents would never do something like that on purpose. They might leave some magic brownies lying around, though."

"Are you sure about that? I've seen the inside of your refrigerator."

After school, Daria and Jane were walking home together. Jane turned off to her house with a wave and a "See you later." Daria waited until Jane was out of sight, then turned around and headed for a convenience store.

Kevin stopped in front of his locker, bending down to pick up a packet lying in front of it. "Hey, cool. Free poptart!" Daria watched from nearby as he quickly tore it open and started eating.

"Kevvy, it's lunch time."

"Okay, babe." Kevin's answer was unusually flat.

"Kevvy, what's wrong with you today?" Brittany had to grab Kevin by the arm and pull to get him out of his chair. As soon as she let go of him, he fell over.


"Let me try something," Daria said. She had been paying close attention to him all morning, something Brittany had noticed with displeasure. Daria didn't give Brittany any time to object, however. She bent down and said loudly, directly in to Kevin's ear, "Brittany's going out with the Oakdale QB!"

Brittany said, "Eep!"

"Okay, babe," Kevin said vaguely.


"Figures," Daria said.

"What? Do you know what's wrong with Kevvy?"

"He's got back to school blues."

"But... school started three months ago!"

"He's just getting it a little late."


"Sure, why not? Give him a day or so, do a few cheers, and he'll be back to his old self."

"Um. Okay."

Mr. O'Neill stood by his desk. "Oh dear. Oh dear."

Unusually, he was dreading today's class. He just couldn't understand it. He wasn't the only one. It had been the main topic of conversation in the teacher's lounge all week. Daria was normally the kind of student every teacher loved to have. She was quiet, never disrupted class, and could always been counted on to give a correct answer to keep the class moving.

This week had been different. Although her answers had always had a fair dose of -- he disliked labeling things with words like 'sarcasm' -- creativity to them, this week had been different. She was no longer sitting and waiting to be called; as the week had gone by, she'd become more and more engaged in class. Normally, he'd welcome this, but she was also getting... picky. She had quickly gone from answering questions to correcting them. Even Ms. Barch, who normally never said anything negative about her female students, had been complaining about it.

Yesterday had been the worst for him. He still wasn't sure how yesterday's discussion of 'Hamlet' had turned into a lecture about 16th century printing terminology, and he doubted he'd ever figure out how Canadian bacon curing processes came up. The worst part of it was that she wasn't even being particularly sarcastic about it any more. This straight-forward, earnest Daria was somehow... unnerving.

He jumped when the door opened, then sighed in relief when Mack walked in. Mr. O'Neill scolded himself under his breath. He looked at the pile of papers face down on his desk, and silently prayed that Daria wouldn't find too many mistakes to correct on today's quiz.

Jane stood in the doorway to her room, with her hands on her hips. “I don't think I've ever seen my room so clean. And I don't remember asking you to clean it. Why did you clean it, just out of curiosity?”

Daria shrugged. “It was such a mess I couldn't stand it any more. How could you have let it get that way?”

“Oh, toss something here, leave something there. It just comes naturally. I rather liked it that way.”

“I don't see how you could. Messes like that just get on my nerves lately.”

“It made me feel like I was giving out sage advice to small furry things,” Jane said, putting her hand on her heart.

“I hope you didn't order radish pizza...”

“With sardines.” Jane frowned. “Look, at least ask first, next time, okay?”

“Hmm. You're right. I should have asked properly.”

“Anyway, pizza's here.”

They went downstairs in to the kitchen. Daria opened the pizza box on the table and sighed contentedly. “Eight slices, two people, four slices each.”

“My math scores aren't that bad, Daria.”

Before Daria could answer, or get a slice, Trent walked in.

“You were here?” Jane asked.

“Always.” Trent replied. “The band's got a gig next week, so I'm resting up. Hey, cool. Pizza.”

Trent moved to take a slice, but Daria stopped him. “Wait a second. Eight slices, three people...”


“Daria's on a math kick tonight.”

“Algebra. Eew.”

“Is there a blender around here?” Daria asked.

“Next to the margarita mix.” Trent pointed.

“Um... Daria, you aren't planning what I think you are, are you? I really don't want to drink my dinner.”

“If any of the knives were clean, I could cut each slice into three pieces, and then there'd be eight slices each.”

“Look, just take a share home for Quinn or something, okay? Four people, two slices each.”

Daria visibly calmed. “That'll work.”

“Unless Jesse or Max are in the basement. Oh, damn, I shouldn't have said that.” Jane covered her eyes with her hand.

Daria glared at her, but Trent, visibly confused, said “It's cool. They're trying to get the Tank ready for the gig.”

"What about Nick?"

"Watching the kids for a change."

Jane sighed in relief.

After dinner, Daria and Jane were sitting on Jane's bed.

"What's been up with you all week?' Jane asked. “It's been getting worse, even without that will it blend moment.”

"Remember that talk we had on Monday?" Daria asked.

"Which one?"

"The drugs in the poptarts."

Jane nodded. After a moment she arched an eyebrow. "You don't really mean...?"

"Yes, actually. I did a little experiment and left one of the poptarts from home for Kevin to find. That was the day he kept walking into walls." Daria said dryly.

“So your parents really are drugging you?”

“All signs point to yes. Or rather, did point to yes. I'm supplying my own morning sugar rush now.”

"Somehow I just can't believe you'd simply leave it at that."

"No. I'm going to have a... little talk with mom tonight."

Jane smirked. "You'll have to tell me about it later."

"Don't worry, Eric. It's all ready." Helen ruffled through some of papers spread out on the coffee table in front of her. "I've got everything I need... No, we don't want that. I know."

Daria tapped her on the shoulder. When Helen looked at her, Daria said quietly, "We need to talk. I'll wait in the kitchen."

Helen nodded, then returned her attention to the cell phone. "Yes, Eric. No, Eric. They said what? That's got to be some kind of mistake."

Some time later Helen was up and pacing. "Yes, I know. Don't worry Eric." She started walking towards the kitchen. "Goodbye, Eric." Hanging up the cell phone, she added, "Honestly, sometimes that man..."

Helen paused. Every flat surface in the kitchen was covered in lit candles. Daria was standing by the sink. Helen couldn't see what she was doing, but there was a soft, repeating scraping noise. "Oh my..."

"There's something different about you," Jane said, as she and Daria walked to school. "Let me guess. New boots? Nope, I remember those scuff marks." Jane paused, looking Daria up and down. "You switched to cranberry lip gloss? Nah, you hate cranberry. New glasses? Wait, I've got it. It's got to be the hair."

"Ha, ha, Jane." Daria's naturally wavy auburn hair was now ruler-straight. It also fell nearly half way down her back, rather than just past her shoulders. "I had it straightened over the weekend."

"Okay, I tried to contact you a few times, and Quinn said you were 'out somewhere'." Jane grinned, "I hope you got a picture of her face when you showed up with a new hairstyle."

"Unfortunately, no. She went and hid under her covers before I could get one."

"Why change it, anyway?"

"I like it straight, okay?"

Jane shrugged. "No skin off my nose. Just curious. Not like you to worry about hair style."

"I just want to do things properly, that's all."

"That fine, but where does the shovel fit in to all this?"

Daria hefted the shovel she was carrying in one hand. "You'd be surprised how useful a good shovel can be. I finally put a proper end to some unfinished business last weekend." Jane arched an eyebrow at her, and Daria elaborated, "That's where I was most of the time. It didn't take long to get the hair straightened."

"Unfinished business?"

"Not any more," Daria said with satisfaction. "Had to go all the way to Highland, but that should be the last time."

"I'm guessing you're not going to tell me what it was."

Daria just smiled.

Helen was staring at the papers spread out all over the kitchen table and muttering under her breath. Jake came in, saying "Morning!"

Helen started so hard practically fell out of her chair. "Jake! Don't sneak up on me like that!"

Jake looked hurt, "Sorry. I didn't mean to."

As he headed for the coffee machine, he thought he heard Helen chanting "Don't drug my daughter, don't drug my daughter".

But that couldn't possibly be right. He must be imagining things.

"Miss Morgendorffer, I can't possibly allow such an... implement through security." Ms. Li usually enjoyed her time at the metal detectors set up at the main entrance to the school. Today was proving a bit of a challenge.

"Why not? You're letting all sorts of things through. If you're going to do searches, do them properly!" Daria suddenly grabbed the next student in line, which happened to be Charles. Before anyone could react, Daria had him in a come-along hold, and was frog-marching him to the side.


"Over here! This is how you properly search someone!"

Ms. Li watched, torn between admiration and horror, as Daria conducted an extremely thorough search. She couldn't decide whether she should put a stop to it or hire Daria on the spot.

It took a few moments for the noises Charles was making to stop. He walked from behind the small screen rather awkwardly, Daria following. Peeling the gloves off her hands, she shouted, "Next!"

Word spread quickly. Most students found a good excuse to use a different entrance.

Charles sat in class, idly rubbing his face from time to time. He had gone back out of the school, saying he forgot something, once too many times. On his third trip through the security checkpoint Daria had taken over, she had decided to write a helpful list of necessary school supplies. In marker. On his face, so he could read it in the mirror.

He was just glad no-one had been able to find the tattooing pen she had asked for.

A few days later, Daria and Jane were just hanging out in the classroom between classes, along with a number of other students. The door opened to reveal, instead of the teacher, two guys in suits. One flashed a badge and said, "Daria Morgendorffer?"


"We'd like to ask you some questions about what happened behind the dam in Highland last weekend." His partner held up a shovel that still had dirt encrusted on it.

Daria shrugged. "It's a fair cop."

"Wait, what?" Jane asked.

"They caught me fair and square."

Daria was lead off by the two detectives, who happened to pass by the Fashion Club on the way out, who got to watch Daria being put in to the back of a patrol car.

"Look, Quinn. That girl you live with is being arrested."

Quinn, a bit wider eyed than usual, said, "Being arrested is so serious you only hear about it on TV or in the newspaper. There's no way something like that could happen to someone close to me!"

"What is that, then?" Sandi pointed as the patrol car drove off.

"She's just volunteered for the ride along program, Sandi."

Even Sandi took a moment to respond to this.

"Excuse me?"

"Yes, the ride along program! She's just interested in becoming a police officer! Just like at my cousin's wedding. Everyone got drunk, and the cops came, and everyone volunteered for the ride along program!"

"Oooooo.... kay..." Sandi said.

Quinn suddenly held her arms out, spun around, and started half dancing, half walking, back in to the school, all the while singing. "The old wooooman wearing caaaaat skins is maaaaaking soooooooouuuuuuup..."

Sandi exchanged glances with Tiffany and Stacy. "I think we're going to have to monitor her usage of nail polish remover."