On Guard

From DariaWiki

The very first work of fan fiction by Kemical Reaxion. It is a stand-alone, on-canon piece written in script format.


Principal Angela Li announces that all students at Lawndale High are required to participate in Career Observance Day, a mentoring program where each student spends a day with a professional in his or her chosen field. Quinn has chosen to work as a live mannequin in a clothing store window. Daria and Jane decide to shadow Trent for a day, but their choice is vetoed by Ms. Li and their mentors are instead chosen for them. Daria is assigned to spend the day with James Crumwall, a crossing guard for Lawndale Elementary, while Jane is forced to work with interior designer Gloria Rothfelder.

Warning: The following may contain plot or ending details.

Daria's day with Mr. Crumwall starts out as an exercise in humiliation. She is forced to don a bright orange vest and sit on the corner next to someone who, on the surface, seems to be an uninteresting old man. However, after spending some time with him, she finds him to be a fascinating gentleman who has had a rich life and who shares Daria's sharp wit and, oddly enough, her disdain for children. He admits that he is glad to have her there, since it can get very lonely sitting out on that corner by himself. During their day together, they bond over stories of his life and his genuine interest in hers. When he asks her about her love life, she admits to her crush on "a musician," something she ordinarily wouldn't admit to anyone, let alone someone she just met.

Since there are very few children in need of their services, they decide at one point to leave their post to get something to drink. At the Stop 'N Spend they run into Upchuck, who is there shadowing the manager of the convenience store, which his father owns. Daria brushes off Upchuck's usual advances, and James is outwardly disgusted by his behavior. He is also incredibly relieved when he discovers that Upchuck is not, in fact, the "musician" Daria mentioned earlier.

Meanwhile, Jane's experience is vastly different. Mrs. Rothfelder is a pretentious, hateful woman, and Jane is immediately met with hostility and given a strict set of rules about how to conduct herself in the office. When Jane fires back, she is exiled from the woman's office and forced to sit in the waiting room instead. There, she strikes up a conversation with Gloria's secretary, Cassandra, who reminds her a lot of Daria both in appearance and demeanor.

Jane and Cassandra in front of Cashman's, artwork by Kemical Reaxion

Cassandra takes Jane with her on her lunch break, and they end up at the Lawndale Mall. There they pass by Cashman's, the store where Quinn is working as a live mannequin. Quinn is dressed up and frozen in a pose in the front window of the shop. Cassandra and Jane take that opportunity to mess with her a little by trying to make Quinn move. After several tries at breaking her, Jane quickly flashes Quinn, and Quinn's mouth drops open in shock. The crowd that had started to form outside the store starts pointing and laughing at her, and Quinn runs out of the store completely mortified.

The following day, Jane and Daria get together to talk about their experiences. Jane tells Daria about Rothfelder's abrasive personality and they discuss Quinn's embarrassing moment. Daria is exceedingly proud of Jane's handiwork. Jane suggests that they get some pizza to reward themselves after the day they just had, but Daria passes, telling her that she has someone she needs to be. It turns out that the place Daria needs to be is right back on the corner sitting next to Mr. Crumwall.

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