Categories > Cartoons > Daria > 15 Years On

Solving the Case; Changes at Home

by DrT 0 reviews

After leaving New Mexico, Daria returns home to make some family decisions.

Category: Daria - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama - Characters: Daria,Jane - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2017-07-25 - 5476 words - Complete

15 Years On – Chapter III – Solving the Case; Changes at Home
By Dr. T

After leaving New Mexico, Daria returns home to make some family decisions.

Daria and the other associated characters are owned by its creators, MTV, et al. I am just playing.


Even five feet from the mountain’s base, Daria wouldn’t have guessed there was any sort of usable entrance to a cave system, except for the few traces of footprints in the meager gravel (most of the area was bare rock) leading into a small indentation in the rock face. The actual entrance was rather small, and totally in shadows. The entrance was large enough to be easy to enter, but they still had to crawl carefully over some jagged rocks, which had fallen from the ceiling over the years. This led to a chamber about twelve feet long, four to six feet high, and four to eight feet wide, with a very uneven floor. A sixteen foot-long passageway slightly larger than the entrance led to the next chamber, and the cave-in was at the end of it, only about three quarters cleared.

“Could one of you search this with the metal detector?” Daria asked in the first chamber. “Just in case the coins are buried here, or there are any cartridge shells or other evidence?”

Angel set up two electric lanterns and then took the metal detector to begin the search. The rest of the group crawled into the next chamber, which was the largest so far, reaching as high as eight feet and easily fifteen feet wide. It had been over fifty feet long before the cave-in, and the clear portion was over half that. Three of the bodies were laying undisturbed by one wall, one was still partially under the cave-in. One was leaning against the other wall, while the other three had been partially moved by the treasure hunters as they cleared the cave-in. Daria set up four more lanterns, and then she and Major Coombs checked their Geiger counters.

“It’s a bit higher than I would have expected, considering the composition of the rocks,’ Daria pointed out. “The bodies are somewhat mummified, which means this could be the gang we’re looking for. Would I be right in saying that is amount of radiation was to be expected, even if the seals are intact?”

“Yes,” Barbara answered. “I think the Plutonium must be near here, but still sealed, unless there are some radioactive ores nearby. If there are ores, then this might not be the group we hoped it would be.”

The group moved further in. A tall but narrow passage brought them to the last easily accessible cave, about the same size as the last one. From it, small tunnels, too small to crawl into, went off higher up into the mountain. They again set up lanterns and checked their Geiger counters.

“The radiation is a tad higher still, but it’s obvious where things are buried,” Daria said. The floor here was mostly rocks, but there was some sand and gravel running along one side of the cavern. It was fairly clear that a long trench had been dug and roughly recovered. No doubt the trench would have been better disguised later on if not for the cave-in causing the gang to have had more pressing concerns.

Barbara ran her Geiger counter over the trench. “The Plutonium must be buried on this end,” she concluded. “It’s still safe. It would take about three days of constant exposure to equal a dental x-ray.”

“Why don’t we do this? You and the two Sergeants uncover the Plutonium if you feel the need to verify anything. Then rebury it and dig out the money boxes, using the dirt and rocks to further cover up the Plutonium box. Then we can use the Tribal police as well as your men to drag the strong boxes out, and they’ll be satisfied that’s all that’s here. Your people can then recover the Plutonium once the rest of us clear off.”

“What about Sergeant Angel?”

“If she can finish uncovering that last body while I start in on the other seven, we might be able to finish by tomorrow morning and leave tomorrow afternoon, assuming there are no surprises under the rest of the cave-in rubble. I presume you’d all feel better if we finish the regular job as quickly as possible while doing a good job.”

“Sounds like a good plan, but it might take a lot of work to uncover that body.” She looked at the two sergeants, who looked at each other.

Gomez said, “How about we three get started in here while Kendra runs the metal detector over the middle chamber and then here? When she’s done, we can take turns with the rock pile and digging here. We’re likely to be finished in here before you’re finished out there.”

“I like it. Daria?”

Daria nodded.


It was about thirty minutes later when Gomez joined Daria in the middle chamber to do her share of work on the rock pile. “Any news?” Daria asked.

“The box seems fine and can be moved. The Major, Captain, and one of us will stay behind with some of the regular security people to handle it, the rest will move out with you and the Tribal police when you’re ready to go.” She dumped a large stone off to the side. “I take it working with dead people, never mind the smell, doesn’t bother you?”

“No, working with the dead rarely bothers me,” Daria allowed. “As for the smells, sometimes, when it’s really strong and, well, let’s say multi-layered, it can. This isn’t even the smell of real decay any more. Is it bothering you?”

“A little,” Gomez allowed.

Daria moved over to her doctor’s bag and pulled out a small tube, holding it towards the sergeant.

“What’s that?”

“It’s a menthol gel. Put a dab under your nose, and that’s all you’ll smell. Of course, it’s all you’re going to smell or taste for about six hours.”

“Do you ever use it?”

“Sometimes. Of course, in a situation like this, if the smell was worse I’d probably smoke my pipe – that bothers me a lot less than the menthol.”

Gomez took the tube and dabbed a bit on. “Wow! that also clears the sinuses!”

“It does indeed,” Daria replied, amused. She capped the tube and put it away.

“You really smoke a pipe?”

“A habit picked up from one of my mentors. Outside of work, I try to only smoke two or three times a week, and I rarely get to use it at work. Just on very smelly outside jobs where there’s no chance of contaminating evidence.”

“The Captain smokes a pipe, too. You two can compare notes.”


The money boxes had been quickly uncovered, and Major Coombs left to start writing up her reports and recommendations. Captain Newman joined the three sergeants in the cave to help clear the cave-in, and for the last hour, most of the rest of the security team and Tribal police had joined in to help move rocks. Daria had already finished with her initial examinations of seven of the eight bodies, although she would have to finish the man who had been crushed and of course conduct thorough autopsies once she could get the bodies in a lab. Those seven bodies and the evidence found in the caves had been tagged, photographed, bagged, and removed from the cave. When the crew stopped at 7:00 pm, the last body still had to be dealt with, and a few more rocks shifted to check for evidence. The two heavy strong boxes had also been removed from the inner cave. The two strong boxes and four of the bodies had been flown out just before dusk. Daria was fairly certain they would be done early the next morning, and they could begin the long track back soon thereafter.

That night, after eating, Daria filled in Captain Chee, Sergeant Tsosie, and the Air Force Lieutenant about the robbery, leaving out the Plutonium of course. She and Captain Newman also swapped stories about their favorite tobaccos – each was a bit surprised they both favored floral Lakelands, albeit for different reasons. Daria thought they covered up the smells associated with her work without driving other people away; Newman just liked them.


Wednesday morning, Daria was ready to present her findings. She was at the old Colfax hospital, most of which was in mothballs. It was ready to be brought back into service should there be some large scale emergency, however, so it had been simple to put enough space into use. The group was in a large meeting room.

An unnamed one star Air Force general, his aides, and Captain Newman were present for the Air Force, while Captain Chee, Sergeant Tsosie, and a man representing the Navajo nation were there as well. There was also a Treasury agent, two FBI agents from the Santa Fe office, three people from the Federal Prosecutors office, and two people from the Department of the Interior. Two older men in suits had come in with the Air Force people, but did not introduce themselves.

Daria, now in a very professional looking pants suit, simply entered the room and went up to the podium. “Good morning,” Daria said to quiet things down and get started. “Most if not all of you should know who I am, but if not, I am Doctor Daria Reese, of the FBI and Department of Home Security’s Interagency Forensics Unit. Copies of the autopsy reports are being printed for your use. As it seems I am in possession of more of the information than anyone else, I have been asked to sum up where we are, as well as the implications.”

By now, she fully had everyone’s attention. “On the morning of Friday, June the Twenty-second, 1945, a freight train which included an armored rail car pulled in the Santa Fe Station. It held the payrolls for numerous military units, mostly for the Army Air Corps. All the strongboxes were unloaded except three during the course of the day. No reason was mentioned in the reports I’ve seen on why the last three boxes were not unloaded.” Daria suspected these were for the payrolls of various units assigned to the atomic bomb project, and that was why they had been held back along with the Plutonium. “As there was no mention of any problems, it appears as if this was either S.O.P., or at least a common occurrence. Now, the Army Air Corps controlled part of the rail yard. There was a more secure inner compound, which was actually closest to the track system and which included a guard shack, and an outer compound, controlled by the Air Corps but also used, under Air Corps Military Police supervision, to store some regular freight cars when the space was needed.”

Daria seemed to look down at her notes. “The question was, why was this car stored in the outer compound with just three guards on unsupervised patrol, rather than the inner compound, where the exit rail line and the only entrance were next to the guard shack? It likely came down to two officers, one of whom was probably lying. There is a lesser probability, which I’ll mention in a moment.”

Seeing no questions, Daria continued. “A Captain Julius Rossi, from Santa Barbara, claimed to have ordered the car taken from the rail yard to the inner compound. Lieutenant Jeffrey Pulaski,” here Daria saw the two Navajo policemen react, “from Au Claire, claimed that he was told it was empty, so he had it stored in the outer compound. It’s possible, but unlikely, that this was simply a miscommunication and that the Sergeant who was behind the theft could have arranged the theft between ten o’clock when he came on duty, and sometime after midnight, when the theft was discovered. As I said, possible, but that would be a very narrow time frame.” Daria smiled slightly. “You may have noticed a reaction to the name Pulaski. There should also be one to the name of the Sergeant, Raymond Lamb.” The two policemen nodded.

“In any event, Lamb was something of a local, and his father had been a bootlegger to the local reservations even before Prohibition. His older brother Richard had been running the gang since the late 1930s, and it was still a smuggling and black market ring. The other two guards were clubbed with a rifle butt after midnight when it was their turn in the compound, and two o’clock, when their bodies were discovered and Lamb found missing. One soldier was dead, the other died of complications a few weeks later. When finally asked several days afterwards, the Santa Fe police, who knew Lamb’s gang and were happy to see them leaving town, reported seeing two old trucks they thought Lamb’s gang used leaving town, with two men in each cab and two in the truck bed. The passenger in the lead truck was reported to have been in uniform.”

Daria took a sip of water. “The Air Corps tried to handle things on their own that Friday and over the weekend, but finally called upon the Bureau, the Santa Fe Police, and the State Police on Monday morning. The two trucks were found about half way between the train station and the cave that afternoon. It was clear that three trucks had met the two. One strongbox was found empty. It had contained thirty thousand in bills and six hundred in rolled coins. Two of these trucks were found some fifteen miles from the cave sight on Tuesday morning, leading to searches in the desert which found nothing. The third truck was never traced.”

Seeing she still had her audience, Daria went on. “Obviously, everyone wanted to talk to Richard Lamb, and any other Lambs or their associates by Monday afternoon. The family operated a gas station, repair shop, and trading post at a cross roads which happens to be about half way between where the two sets of trucks were found. Richard’s wife, sister-in-law, and sister were found there. Richard and his associates were said to have been gone scouting in the desert looking for gold since the previous Wednesday. The four trucks were acknowledged as being theirs, but they had reported them, and a fifth, stolen to the county sheriff’s office the previous Saturday morning. All five were older trucks, over fifteen years old. They claimed the trucks were parked out of sight behind the repair shop, and so they didn’t know when they had been stolen. However, their sixth truck had failed to start Saturday morning, so when they went to get one to replace it, they were gone.”

Daria looked up. “By now, Army Intelligence was claiming jurisdiction over the case and I don’t have access to their files. However, they told the Bureau that they believed Captain Rossi was the key, that they believed that he was involved with a Japanese spy ring. Diligent work from our current Santa Fe office traced the Captain, and after the War he married a Japanese woman he had gone to high school with, in 1946. They moved to Vancouver in 1947. If they had dated while in high school, that probably accounts for why Military Intelligence suspected him. However, as Captain Chee now suspects, when Lieutenant Pulaski was discharged in 1946, while he went home to Au Claire, he returned to New Mexico in 1947, marrying Richard Lamb’s sister and becoming a partner in the family businesses. In fact, the service station and trading post have both grown in size, and still operates under the name of Lamb’s. There is also a pawn shop in the shopping area the extended family now operates, and that is called Pulaski’s. Now, we had six so-called cavers caught trespassing, all suspected of having been illegally digging out artifacts and fossils on protected lands in the past. Thanks to a little digging on the part of the Santa Fe bureau, I can say that all six are descended from those three women I mentioned.”

That got more than a few whispers, but Daria went on. “Captain’s Chee’s men located the makeshift corral where the partial remains of nine mules were found. There is what looks like a recently-dried up seasonal pond, so it likely held water in June of 1945 as well as this year. Therefore, it is likely that the eight bodies found in the cave were the only people out in the desert with this group. That is, that no one was outside when the cave-in occurred.”

“So,” Captain Newman spoke up,” you’re suggesting that at least one of the three women and possibly two or all three were involved, as well as Pulaski. They knew the men were off to some cave, but probably didn’t know the location. . . .”

“All of the women had the reputation of disliking the desert,” Chee broke in. “That family is well known. As the Doc said, Old Man Lamb was a bootlegger, Junior had this smuggling ring, and the next generation and this one that we caught were all involved with smuggling, drugs, the black market, receiving and trading stolen goods, and selling illegal artifacts. I can believe them knowing the money was out there, but not where. Their treasure hunting, pot holing, and some of their smuggling could be combined with searching it out.”

Daria shrugged. “That will be up to you, the Bureau, and everyone else involved to determine. Anyway, that’s the preliminaries. Now, on to what happened in the cave. The eight men suspected were of course the two Lambs and three Mexican cousins, known as the Three Joses.” Daria smirked internally at this. “Gonzales, Ramirez, and Garcia. There were also two mixed-raced brothers – Anglo, Mexican, and Navajo; John Cummings and his seventeen year old brother Robert. John was married to Lamb’s sister-in-law and was the mechanic at the service station. The eighth was a Navajo cousin of theirs, Billy Taylor, who had been living off-reservation since he ran away from an Indian school at fifteen, back in 1940.” Daria saw that this last name also produced a reaction from all three Navajo. She gathered from their varying reactions that Taylor was somehow related to Sergeant Tsosie and possibly the official.

“Richard Lamb, the three Joses, and John Cummings all had police records for minor violations. It was easy to match their finger prints to six of the bodies. DNA showed that the other two bodies were brothers to Richard Lamb and John Cummings respectively, so I think we can say that these were the bodies of Robert Cummings and Raymond Lamb. In addition, although Raymond Lamb had on a civilian shirt, he was still wearing his dog tags and all the rest of his clothes were standard Army Air Corps issue. His rifle was there as well. While I couldn’t lift any usable DNA from the rifle butt, there were still traces of blood on the butt.”

She took another sip of water. “So, eight men, plus the three women and Pulaski equals twelve people. There was thirty-six thousand dollars in the opened strongbox, three thousand each. Six of the men, all but John Cummings and Richard Lamb, each had wads of three thousand each in their pockets. That of course suggests that their wives took their husbands’ shares, their own shares, and Pulaski’s, and that their share included the coins.”

Seeing she still had everyone’s attention, Daria went on. “The two Cummings each had a revolver on their bodies – John a 45 and Robert a 38 – while Richard Lamb had a Colt 44. Richard shot Ramirez in the back of the head, while John Cummings shot Garcia in almost the same place. Robert Cummings shot Gonzales in the upper left shoulder, and Lamb shot him in the back of the head. This is what likely caused the first of two cave-ins. The three Joses’ bodies were moved off to one side and that cave-in was at least partially cleared. At that point, John Cummings shot Taylor twice, once right between the shoulders and then finished him off with a shot in the back of the head. This caused a second, larger cave-in. Raymond was hit on the top of his head during one of the cave-ins, most likely the second. He would have had at least a major concussion, and likely cerebral damage – the brain was far too decomposed to be certain. The Cummings brothers and Richard Lamb partially cleared the second cave-in, but died while doing so, more likely from dehydration than asphyxiation. Raymond either died of the same or from his injuries. All this is in my reports.” She looked around. “That ends my part. Agent Delany will want to meet with Captain Chee and Captain Newman, as well as Mister Dix,” this was the representative of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, “to determine where you all want to go with the cases against the trespassers.”

The General, and the two unnamed civilians with him, merely nodded to Newman. As no mention had been made of the Plutonium, they were so far satisfied. They would leave Newman to determine if the trespassers had known of it as well as the money. The Treasury agent was satisfied that he could mark the $162,000 as recovered and the $18,000 still missing as likely having been returned to circulation. He would mention the $18,000 to the IRS, in case they wanted to get involved after all these years. Delany had not been happy his office had been bypassed to bring Daria in, but was glad she had left him as the seeming center-point for the rest of the investigation.

Daria was glad she was finished and could fly out early the next morning.


Daria exited the unmarked Air Force car the following afternoon, and thanked the driver, who helped her shoulder the large back pack. Unlike when she travelled out, the flight back had had regular personnel. She was only half way to the built-on garage, which now had Jane’s studio and her writing room in the upper storey apartment, when Joy burst from the door and ran to her mother. The little girl yelled out a happy, “Mommy!” as she hugged her mother’s legs. Helen often described Joy as a bubbly version of Daria, and in many ways the description fit. In the back of her mind, Daria had sometimes wondered if she would have been a bit more like Joy if Quinn hadn’t been born.

“Hi, Sweetheart,” Daria replied. “Sorry, I can’t hug you back yet.”

“I know,” Joy replied. “Let me get the doors! Auntie Jane is in her room.”

Daria followed her daughter into the garage and up the stairs to the apartment. TJ was in the small living room, playing with some cars, and smiled at the pair before Joy joined him on the floor, where her doll house was currently set up.

Daria went into her room and was glad to set her tool box and doctor’s bag down before struggling out of the back pack.

“Good trip?” Jane asked from the doorway.

“On the whole, yes. I’ll tell you about it tonight. Come in and shut the door.”

Jane did so, and Daria fished out her pistols from the back pack. She locked the one in her shoulder holster in a small lock box and then opened a larger one, taking out her cleaning equipment. She preferred the children not seeing the guns.

“You had to shoot someone?” Jane asked, a bit worried.

“Just a rattle snake that was on the trail,” Daria replied. She had unloaded the pistols before the flight back, so she just had to do a quick cleaning. “I already did the paperwork.”

“What else happened?”

“I got some very good emails from the publisher while I was gone.”

Jane looked puzzled. “I thought the next book was just in draft.”

“It is, but they accepted my revised Melody series.”

Jane’s eyebrows went up. “Really? Why, after all this time? I thought no one wanted it, since you’d be technically a new author?” Daria had tried to market the series, first writing as ‘Melody Powers,’ and then under a different pen name when she had rewritten the series from first to third person.

Daria smiled slightly. “I revised them again, this time so that Marie could claim authorship. I really can’t call them Melody Powers stories now.”

“So, a lot sexier I take it.”

“And shorter.” Seeing the unasked questions, Daria explained, “I took the fifteen novels and the two dozen short stories I had drafts for, mined them, and created a complete nine volume self-contained series. I doubt anyone, except maybe Mack and Andrea, would guess that they are related to my old Melody series, now that Jodie knows about me.”

“What’s Melody’s new name?”

“Amanda Holmes.”

“Amanda after my mother?”

“Not really. If anything, for Spock’s mother and Sherlock Holmes, and even then not really.”

“Is my character still in some of them?”*

“She’s in all of them. Now she’s Amanda’s best friend from high school. The saga begins with a prologue of them starting college together in 1967 and goes through 1992. The two discover that one of the radical organizations on campus is a Maoist front in 1968, and that introduces them to agents from ‘the Agency’. They’ll join after they graduate.”

“Cool. Does she have a cool name, like me?” Jane teased.

“Dale Gail.”


“Amanda was a gymnast in high school. Dale is an artist and basketball player. Dale is a more androgynous person than she was in the Melody stories, and somewhat butch. She’ll come out in 1968, while Amanda is bisexual.”

“Does Quinn still have a character?”

“Not as such, that one was written out.”

“Are they California girls? Or still from the mid-west?”

“Neither. They’re from Hicksville, New York. In the first novel, they’re attending a fictitious university, the State University of New York at Elmira. I based it mostly on Raft and partially on Amy’s graduate alma mater in Binghamton. Amanda’s family is upper middle class, while Dale’s is from the wrong side of the tracks.”

“I get the Gail. . . .”

“’The Wizard of Oz’,” Daria agreed. “She was given the name Dale because her parents loved Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Her father is a failed country singer who works as a mechanic in a car dealership while her mother is a waitress. She has a younger sister who’s a combination of Penny and Quinn, who gets kidnapped in the second novel by a Romanian white slavery ring while in Italy. Amanda’s father is a lawyer, and sort of a combination of Dad and Mom, while her mother is a bit like Aunt Rita, except she stays married. Amanda has an older brother who’s killed in Viet Nam, which is what partially gets the two involved in the radical groups on campus in the first novel.”

“Since Dale is gay, I take it she doesn’t have a crush on her best friend’s older brother?” Jane teased.

“Amanda thinks so, but in reality Dale just admires him, and he’s the one who taught her to play basketball. He’s her big brother figure, big brother in the positive sense.”

“Sounds interesting. Do Dale and Amanda end up together?”

Daria smirked. “You’ll have to wait and find out. Anyway, as usual, you have the commission for the book covers. I’ll send you my suggestions, and the final draft of the first novel. They’ll need the design for the hard cover by the end of November. It should go on sale in February. Anything exciting go on here?”

“Nope. I ended up going to the reunion buffet after all, but not much interesting happened. I still don’t regret missing the first two.” Jane paused, and asked, “So, we still getting married?”

“I hope so. I told you to choose the dates. Did you decide?”

“I talked with Helen, and she said she could watch the kids for any week. Any preferences for the honeymoon?”

Daria shrugged.

“Come on, you decide for once!”

“Okay, how’s this: one week in Hawai’i, or a week in any one or combination of these cities: Paris; Florence; Rome; or Vienna. Choose, unless there’s someplace else you’d like to go.”

“So, hedonism on a beach, or looking at fantastic art. I choose art.” She thought for a moment. “We’ve been to Paris both together and separately, and we were each in Rome, even if it wasn’t together.”

“So, some of the best Renaissance art, or Klimt, or both?”

“Klimt. We also get Viennese coffee and pastry – we eat a lot of Italian, including Northern Italian, as it is and the change would do us good.” Jane frowned. “Of course, we both know enough Italian to get by, even if we aren’t fluent by any means. Do you know enough German?”

“I can still read it, so I can probably get by.”

“As long as one of us can.”

Daria locked the cleaning supplies as well as the second pistol and gun belt in the larger lock box. “Let me take a shower, and we can see what the munchkins are up to.”

The children stopped playing as soon as Daria came back from her shower, and Joy ran over to get her delayed hug, which Daria was more than willing to supply. TJ, however, had things on his mind. “Aunt D, you and Mom are getting married?”

“We are. I hope you’re both okay with that.”

Joy simply smiled at her mother, but TJ still looked pensive. “If you’re gonna be my mom, too, what should I call you?”

Daria shrugged. “I can see that either of you calling out a name that could apply to each of us could get confusing. You could still call me ‘aunt,’ or maybe ‘mother’ instead of ‘mom’. Do either of you have any ideas?”

Joy looked at TJ, who was still looking thoughtful. One reason why Helen had compared Joy to Daria was because how precocious both girls were from infancy onwards. Joy therefore hugged her mother again and happily yelled out, “Mommy!”

“Yes, I’m your ‘mommy’,” Daria agreed.

Joy released Daria and quickly glommed onto Jane’s knees in turn. “Mama J!”

“’Mama,’ ‘Mama J,’ or even ‘Mama Jane’ it is, Kiddo!” Jane said, bending over to hug Joy.

TJ was quieter than Joy, or Jane or even Daria for that matter. Joy’s parental figures had really always been Jane and Daria. TJ had only been around seventeen months old when Toby died, but Toby had been fairly active in parenting his son when he had been sober enough, and a very doting father, no matter if he was sober, high, stoned, or drunk. TJ had missed his father when a toddler, and then had lost another father figure when Daria had thrown Joy’s father out of the house just over two years later. He slowly stood and walked over to Daria.

Daria knelt down and returned TJ’s look. “What would you like to call me, my son?” she asked.

TJ’s eyes lit up with hope. “Am I really?”

“That’s already how I think of you, and what you officially will be when your Mom and I get married.”

He glanced over at Joy and then back to Daria. “Mama D?” he asked, a little hesitantly, in consideration of Daria’s usual formality.

Daria held out her arms, and TJ threw himself into them, hugging her hard. Daria kissed him on the forehead, and they broke the brief if intense hug.

“Our family is weird, but good weird,” Jane said.

“Of course it is, we all like each other,” Daria replied, as she stood to leave.

Jane stopped Daria and the two embraced. “I’m glad you’re back.” Joy and TJ hugged them from the sides.

“Home is where the heart is, and that’s with you and these two,” Daria reminded her.


Note: some of the Melody Powers stories Daria is referring to would be the original canon story in ‘Café Disaffecto’ and the ones imagined by Lawndale Stalker in his ‘Blood Oath of Patriots’ series, one of the classic Daria fan fics.
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