A/N - Eeek!! Okay, I definitely didn't intend to wait this long to post the final chapter! But my computer had 4758 viruses, so needless to said, it had to be fixed. I just got it back today...so here is the ending! I tried to make it depressing and uplifting at the same time, I tried to give it a theme, I think my God part sounds a little preachy, and it's sorta fluffy too...I hope you enjoyed my story! Thanks to all who read it! =)

Hours had passed, and Joan's eyes were finally beginning to dry. She lie on her side in her bed, glad that she was alone, but at the same time, wishing one of them would've stayed. Adam was with Ian, which is where he belonged, she was sure, since she couldn't be with him right now. She'd pretty much thrown everyone else out, so it was her own fault, she supposed. But there was only one person she felt like blaming right now.

The door opened, and in came a white-coated doctor.

"Hello, Joan," He said, and she knew it was Him.

"Speak of the devil," Joan said bitterly.

God looked at her with sympathy, and sat on the edge of her bed.

"Joan, I'm so sorry. I know you'd come to care about her a lot. But you need to understand-"

"Don't try to feed me some line about death being a part of life," Joan fumed. "I don't want to hear that. I don't want to hear anything. There's no reason for this. I think you're full of crap with all this 'reason' stuff. People screw up, people get screwed back by You. Is that it?" Joan snarled. "What's going to happen to me? Why was Avery's consequence so much worse?"

God looked at Joan with hurt eyes.

"Death wasn't a consequence for Avery. It was a purpose."

"What is that supposed to mean?" Joan sniffed.

"Matthew Friedman was going to kill himself in four days," God said, point-blank.

Joan blinked.

"What? What are you talking about?"

God sighed.

"You know he doesn't have any friends, besides your brother. Luke has Grace. Matthew had Avery...but he felt it was too good to be true. That's why he broke up with her. It pretty much went downhill from there, and he was at the end of his rope. Something had to happen, Joan. No one else saw it. That's why I'm in control."

"You killed Avery," Joan said.

"I didn't kill her," God said. "People die. People have purposes. Once they've been fulfilled, then their time on Earth is up. It's going to happen to everyone. Not everyone gets to be ninety-four, Joan."

"So Avery's purpose was saving Matthew Friedman from killing himself by having a baby to keep him busy? She died, so that he wouldn't? What the hell is that?" Joan cried.

"Joan, you're not going to understand now. Or maybe ever. But you're not to question me, you're to trust."

"How can I trust someone who just killed a completely innocent girl, who happened to be my friend, and a new mother? How do I know you're not just going to off me next? Or Adam? Or Ian?"

God sighed, and wiped a tear of Joan's cheek.

"Everyone put on this Earth has a purpose. Avery, Avery's daughter, you, Adam, Ian, everyone. I assign that to them from the day they're born. Avery's purpose was to put this child into the world, and keep Matthew from taking himself out of it. Now that he has their daughter, he's going to start seeing things a lot more clearly. Avery fulfilled that purpose, and now she doesn't have to sit at home, raising a baby by herself and being ignored by her mother. Her mother, by the way, is finally going to wake up."

Joan's eyes narrowed.

"Oh, great, now that it's too late!" she cried.

"That's the thing, Joan. It's never too late. Avery's mom can give this baby the love she should've given Avery. Atonement. It's a very intricate, complicated system, but I have to keep it balanced, and that means that some people live, some people die, some people suffer, and some people are handed the world on a diamond-encrusted platter. It seems unfair, because it is. I am the only one who will ever really understand, and that's part of The Big Picture, I trust you remember that. I'm sorry you're hurting and confused, but I need you to believe that in the long run, everything is as it should be."

Joan was tired of arguing. She was so...tired. She broke down into tears. God hugged her, and Joan could feel some sort of solace coming over her.

"I know this is a lot to deal with, Joan. Everything is going to calm down for awhile, now. When I said I'd never give you more than you could handle, I meant it. Consider this your real maternity leave."

Joan looked up.

"You're leaving? We're not going to talk anymore?"

God laughed slightly.

"Joan, I'm never leaving you. Just like the people you care about never really leave. I'm just going to give you some time off, chat with someone new for awhile. But I'm like a hotline...always on. And once your life has settled down a little, you'll see me again."

With that, God smoothed Joan's hair, and waved at her. He walked through the hospital room door without bothering to open it.

Adam stood in front of the huge panes of glass in the nursery, all that separated him from his new son. A nurse came into the nursery, and wheeled away the crib containing Avery's unnamed baby. Adam's eyes followed the two down the hall. The nurse stopped rolling the crib, and Adam saw Matthew Friedman, red-eyed, clutching a ball of Kleenex. The nurse picked up the baby, and deposited it into his arms. Friedman's face fell as he looked into Avery's eyes in the face of his child. He gently cradled the baby in his arms, trying to control his wracking sobs. As Adam watched, he felt sad, but at the same time, he felt like Friedman holding that baby was right...something he never thought he'd think.

Adam turned back to the nursery window. Ian's big brown eyes opened, opaque against the peach-colored rest of him. He yawned, and Adam gently tapped on the glass.

"Hi Ian," he whispered.

"Your little brother?"

Adam hadn't even noticed the unfamiliar, middle-aged, full-faced nurse standing next to him. She smiled warmly.

"My son," Adam said, half-sheepish, half-proud.

"Ah," the nurse said. "He looks like you."

"Yeah?" Adam said. He beamed.

"Yeah. You're going to have your hands full, Adam," she said, patting him on the shoulder.

Adam nodded slowly, trying not to think of that.

Adam and the nurse looked at the baby for a moment longer, and then she turned to go.

"See you around," she said as she turned and headed down the hallway.

Adam was so intently focused on his baby that it didn't hit him until she turned the corner - she had called him Adam.