Title: A Soldier and His Girl

Author: Sweetwater Gal... aka me! *big grin*

Summary: Futurefic; What if there was another reason why God choose the cute guy form? Tasteful Joan/CBG w/ cute Adam/Joan moments

Disclaimer: I own nothing. Well, except a character or two, but I own nothing that Barbara Hall has created in her beautiful JoA universe! Which is a damn shame because I really want to own CBG and I know I would promise to take care of him... *pouts* Other than that, I own the story. That's it...

Dedication: First time that I'm actually dedicating a fic. Not only am I dedicating this special little ficlet to any and all JoA fan, but more specifically, for any JoA writer that has used CBG in their fanfic AND even more so for those brave enough to insinuate or plain declare CBG/Joan. Now, before any other JoA fan decides to stop right here and NOT read this story mainly b/c the CBG/Joan ship is just wrong, please wait. At least read my author's note typed right below and see why you should give this a chance.

Author's Note: I only have two and a half things to say before starting the show.

1. This is as tasteful as a CBG/Joan fanfic can get. I'm a Adam/Jane shipper at heart, but my true guilty pleasure (and don't we all have one?) is CBG/Joan. And just b/c this is more CBG/Joan-centric, doesn't mean that I have forgotten Adam. If you decide to read on, you'll find that I've added a few A/J easter eggs that might very well make you forgive me for the lack of A/J scenes. I've written this story in a way that can satisfy both ships.

2. If you recognize my pen-name, yes I am the author of the WIP story "A Price to Pay". And yes, I am well aware that it hasn't been updated in nearly a week... I am honest to CBGawd working on it. I'm sticking to my end of month deadline, which means that I am more than certain that the next time it is updated, it shall be for the last time. It shall be completed. I just needed to get this ficlet out of the way b/c it wouldn't leave me alone and let me complete aPtP until this was posted. Bad, bad ficlet... Until then, I hope this story will somewhat tide you over until the update.

2 ½. Sit back at your computer seat and enjoy the show! *grins*

CBG~~JoA~~CBG

Twenty-year old Joan Giradi had never pondered why God choose the various "forms" to appear in. Sure, she'd question God, but usually it was presented in a sarcastic, even exasperated way that it was never taken seriously. Even a few snarky comments now and again. However, never had Joan once wondered why.

God had given her various answers to that question. Most often or not, God explained that it was either thematic to the following "suggestion"... or it depended on how Joan was feeling.

For the years that Joan's been visited by God, she had come to know of one certainty: Whenever the Almighty would appear to her in the infamous cute, young man with the tan jacket, Joan was either pissed off, needing to hear something that she didn't want to hear, or just needing to see a familiar, even comforting, face.

So it was quite unusual that one day, God showed up in said form at college student Joan Giradi's apartment door.

Attending a nearby college, Joan and her high school best friend, Grace Polk had decided to rent out an apartment together. They also had another roommate, Dawn Winters, whom Grace had become good friends with during their freshman year of college.

Grace and Dawn were both in the same communication courses and were both Journalism Majors with a Minor in Political Science. Joan, if anything, would not let Grace forget that Gavin Price, their former high school VP, had once encouraged her to pursue that career. To which Grace would then threaten banishment, but ultimately never followed through. Joan liked Dawn from the start, if only because here was finally someone that could help explain nearly half of what Grace would rant and rave on about. Joan was smart... but not as savvy, and brilliant, with such social issues like her dear friend Grace Polk.

Then there was Adam Rove, Joan's high school sweetheart... and now fiancé. They had gotten engaged upon high school graduation and had planned on getting married once they had graduated college. Adam, though not attending a four year university like his other two best friends, was a part time student in a community college while working as an apprentice to a local Arcadian artist. Every other day, and every other weekend, Adam would drive up to visit Joan and vice versa. You never would meet two very grounded, yet very much in love, people in your life.

"Coming!" Joan had called out one fine Friday afternoon at the steady knocking of her apartment door. Adam had just driven up and was currently in the living room of the girls' apartment, getting annihilated by Grace on the X2Box. The former sub-defectives were waiting for Dawn to return from the school's photography lab before deciding on the evening's activity.

Opening the door, the slightly taller Joan Giradi came face to face with an all too familiar form. He looked at her with the same smirk, and the same warm, yet mischievous glint in His eyes. The amazing thing about God's "cute guy form", as Joan would often describe it, was that one moment He could pass as a Junior in High School to a young twenty-five year old.

Over the years, Joan's reactions to God had somewhat matured. She hardly glared at Him with exasperation and annoyance, but was now slightly a lot more accepting. Joan, however, never exactly gave up on the snarky banter. It became almost a tradition shared between them. Not to mention that the Joan of sixteen never had the one advantage that this current Joan possessed: Adam and Grace in the know.

Through the four years of friendship, Joan had begun to undoubtedly trust her two best friends. She especially felt that she could not only trust them with her life, but also... her secret. Not hearing an ounce of protest from God, Joan had eventually allowed them into this one untouched part of her life. Adam, as predicted, was stunned, even confused, but always accepting and understanding. Grace's reaction however wasn't what Joan had in mind. Joan was expecting Grace to at least show a bit of anger or disbelief... but it came off quite the opposite. Grace was naturally stunned and confused, but she began warming up to the fact that maybe there was something there. If anything, Grace took the whole "Joan talks to God" ordeal much more lightly than Adam did.

"Hello, Joan." God smiled at her, his voice catching the attention of the two gamers in the living room.

Adam immediately hit the pause button, and while Grace would protest, the sight of God in the young man form halted her in her efforts. Adam and Grace were, if anything, familiar with this form. As of late, especially as soon as Joan entered college, God has been showing up in that particular essence. It became such a frequent appearance that Grace considered Him as an unofficial, official fourth wheel. Dawn was the only one that didn't know the real truth behind Joan's "friend", but accepted him because Adam and Grace did.

Joan leaned against the door frame, crossing her arms. "So, what's up?"

His head nodded once to the side, down the halls. "Wanna take a walk with me?"

"Now?"

With a smirk, "While there's still daylight, why not?"

"Hey, Giradi!" Grace called out, causing Joan to turn her head. "Don't be rude. Let the Almighty of House Calls enter." To God, "I've thought of two more for you, but I'll discuss it later once I hang Rove's tank to dry!" A laugh escaped her lips as she unpaused the game, causing Adam to protest but ultimately begin playing.

Joan rolled her eyes, making a welcoming hand gesture to God as she held the door open. Ever since Grace discovered Joan's "connection to the universe", she had begun playing a little repartee game with God. There hasn't been a moment gone by when Grace came up with different names of people, majority of fame and politics, and asking if whether or not they've sold their soul to attain whatever good fortune they currently possessed. God would go along with it, rarely, even hardly, giving her a confirmed answer. Mainly replying with questions, if only for amusement on Grace's behalf, and slight annoyance on Joan's.

"You might as well. Besides, you know that they know about us. So whatever assignment you have in store for me, they'll find out eventually." Joan followed God into her living room. While Adam and Grace occupied the floor, God sat down on the couch, while Joan sat herself down on one of its armrest. "And if you're worried about Dawn, she's still working on her lab reports."

"Joan..." He glanced at her, giving her the weary "I'm Omniscient, Joan. I know." look that she was also familiar with.

"Right. Sorry." She meekly apologized. "So, what's up? What 'suggestion' have you cooked up for me this time?"

Grace suddenly paused the game, causing Adam to groan in frustration and send a glare her way. Ignoring him, focusing on God, "Oh! You know what you should make Giradi do? Have her sneak into the Pi Alpha bitches sorority house and clog up their toilets! And not with just anything, but with their infamous little black books of contact numbers of the unfortunate lackeys they hire to boost up their GPAs. As if the priss princesses have enough things to boost up."

God shook his head slightly, a soft chuckle escaping his lips while Joan and Adam stared at their friend, stunned. "Grace!" Joan cried, reprimanding.

"What? It's a good 'assignment', Joan. Not to mention that it will ultimately benefit mankind. They don't deserve to buy, nor sleep, their way towards a degree. Society's already suffering enough with the current idiots running the country. Why inflict America with a fresh new crop of Spears and Timberlakes?"

Joan glanced at God. Noticing his amused little smirk, she glared, "You of all beings shouldn't encourage her."

"Grace," Adam spoke up, irritation apparent in his tone, "I'm starting now and if you start demanding a rematch just because I--" He didn't have a chance to finish his warning, for she immediately pressed the start button again. "Hey!" He cried, especially as he was taken surprised by her onslaught of explosions.

A small groan escaped Joan's lips as she shook her head. Glancing at God, "Dealing with school and family is one thing... but then there's them and then there's you..."

"Joan," He began, sitting up and holding her gaze. "I need you to do something for me."

"And that is...?"

He immediately stood up and began walking to where Joan sat. Standing in front of her, his eyes smiling down on her as he held out his hand, "Take a walk with me."

"You want me to what?" Joan stared up at him, confused.

"A walk, Joan. It's where, in your case, you stand up and place one foot in front of another, repeating such movements until deemed unnecessary."

Grace allowed a laugh to escape her lips. With her eyes still firmly on the television screen, "Giradi, if he wasn't... y'know and Rove wasn't my best friend, by all means please dump Rove and go for 'other guy'."

Adam's gaze was too focused on the video game to send a glare her way. Instead, "Grace, breathe smoke fumes... breathe hard." With that, he pressed a button and allowed a missile to be launched from his tank. It was a direct hit upon Grace's military vehicle, sending it rolling into a blazing fire ball.

Joan tried to ignore her two best friends, one now laughing in victory while the other tried her best not to strangle the victor. She shook her head again, slightly rubbing her temple. "Where?" She asked as she finally looked up at him.

"Just around..." He shrugged, "It's a beautiful Fall afternoon for a walk in the park." He had cast her a boyish, if not charming, smile. It was a move that Joan was silently grateful for the fact that not only was she in love with Adam, but she would be in big trouble if this form was real...

With a reluctant, yet somewhat curious half grin, "Fine." Standing, "Let me grab my coat and scarf." Joan walked in and out of her room, then glanced one last time at Adam and Grace's direction. "Guys, I'll be taking a walk with Bruce Almighty over here. I'll be back real soon. Don't make plans without me."

Adam, though his attention was still on the game in anticipation of Grace's next move, briefly glanced Joan's way and smiled at her. "Love you, Jane."

Joan returned the smile, blowing a kiss in his direction. This caused a sickening groan from Grace's direction. "What did I tell you two about PDAs?"

God, who was holding the door for Joan, was about to follow her out when he gazed over towards the living room. "Grace?"

Pausing the game once again, both gamers turned towards Him, curious.

He smiled at her, humoring her, "John Cusack and Tom Hanks? Interesting theories, but Grace, really?"

Both Adam and Joan shared a look, just as confused as the other. Grace snickered, shrugging her shoulders, "I just had to try."

Joan rolled her eyes again, "C'mon. Let's get this over with." She impatiently grabbed God's elbow, shutting the door.

Adam's eyes were on the closed door before turning to face Grace. She had this puzzled look, which caused him to question her on it. With a nonchalant response before hitting the play button, "Funny... I always feel like watching Ginger Snaps when he shows up like that..."

CBG~~JoA~~CBG

Joan and her friends were living in a quaint apartment building that was a ten minute drive from their campus and a fifteen minute walk away from a city park. At the pace they were "strolling", it had taken them nearly twenty-five minutes to arrive at their destination. Much of their walk was spent in silence, with a few trivial small talk punctured and prompted by Joan herself in between. A "my English professor's the devil incarnate" here and a "my mom's begging me to visit them" there.

A calm silence had fallen upon the two, which was not at all uncomfortable to Joan. She glanced over at Him and momentarily forgetting that behind this warm and friendly face was a Being far beyond her human comprehension. For a moment, Joan had believed she was spending an afternoon hanging out with a good, dear old friend. His "brown eyes" returned her smile, especially as he held out the crook of his arm. Joan grasped onto him, content with the company.

"Enjoying the walk?" He asked, waking Joan from the reverie she found herself in. Joan had gotten distracted for a while, her gaze focused on a little boy flying a kite with his father while the mother looked on with warmth and love. Nostalgia washed over her, remembering when she was a little girl spending time with her own father, in the park, making him laugh as she kicked that stupid little soccer ball. The moment she heard His voice, Joan turned to face him.

"Huh?"

"Why is it that most human beings actually enjoy the bliss of childhood once they hit adulthood?" He smiled knowingly at her, which earned a bemused glare.

"Subtle hint in a form of a question... your methods are becoming pretty predictable, y'know that?"

"Whatever works, Joan. Whatever works..."

She laughed at his nonchalance while they continued their walk with the various sights and sounds before them. Young parents taking their offspring for a grassy romp, adolescent sprites playing random games from tag to touch football, even a few youthful couples just enjoying a quiet, content stroll together. Joyous sounds of laughter was also present with such random sights.

A memory jogged itself into Joan's mind, causing a blissful smile to appear on her face, followed by a soft giggle. She caught Him watching her with a raised look, prompting Joan to wave her hand dismissively. "It's nothing..."

"Usually a nothing is a something... though most people would disagree."

She looked Him over, then giving Him a small nod. "I... I was thinking about Adam. See," Joan began, though a thought occurred to her, "Wait, you already know about it... you're--"

Putting her at ease, "Joan, I happen to enjoy a good story now and again. After all, books, stories, and myths seem to be my forte."

"So for once, I get to be the storyteller?"

"I've always held them in high regards..." He softly chuckled.

Joan laughed then started over. "Okay... well, there was this one afternoon where, once Adam drove up here, he instantly began craving for a slurpee. I, myself, couldn't deny him of that because, really, denying someone with a hunger for a Seven-Eleven slurpee was just plain evil."

She prompted a laugh from His lips, which only encouraged Joan more. "Grace joined us, having nothing better to do besides procrastinating on studying for her history final. Well, after we had acquired our frosty drinks, Adam and I began heading outside while Grace lingered to have some kind of presidential debate with the cashier guy. As we walked towards my car, I started rambling about... well, about something." She gave Him this puzzled look, "Y'know, it's funny, I can't remember what it was, yet I can remember exactly everything else...

"Anyway... as we walked and I talked, Adam suddenly calls out 'Jane' with this soft, yet urgent tone in his voice. I had looked at him, confused while he continued with 'There's broken glass.' I looked down to where he was pointing and, sure enough, there was a broken beer bottle scattered on the cement just a few feet ahead of me. With a swift kick, he brushed majority of the glass away from my proximity. Then, without a word spoken, Adam gently held my arm with one hand while the other placed itself here, on the small of my back, guiding me around the mess.

"I had just watched him the whole time, this incredible feeling washed over me and I-- I just felt like I was back home all those years ago, walking into his shed for the first time and seeing him 'talk to angels.' Except, that simple gesture was his art. And I just looked on with complete... with complete awe.

"Once we were safely pass the shards of glass, he removed his grasp on me, looked at me expectantly and said 'You were saying?' As if, to him, whatever I was just going on about was more important than that act alone he had just done." Joan laughed, her eyes misting in memory. "My sweet Adam... I just looked at him and started laughing, while he looked on, confused. I left him even more bewildered when I pulled him in for a kiss."

Joan looked over at Him, her eyes sparkling, "I will always remember that day, that afternoon. Nothing and no one can take that away from me... I mean, Grace couldn't even ruin it with her 'Giradi, you do know that's a blatant rip-off of Say Anything...' comment once I told her about it. Though, I did enjoy watching Adam ask her in that naïve fashion 'You saw that movie?', thus silencing her of further remarks."

He gave her a half-smile as Joan concluded her story with, "That was the most sweetest, most romantic... It was such the Adam Rove thing to do. And I wouldn't have it any other way. I love him even more for it..."

Squeezing her hand, He looked on, "Sometimes, the most simple act of kindness is the most beautiful of them all. From a helping hand, to a smile, to even jus being present. It often stays with people for a very long time, creating an imprint that could never be replaced." With a cryptic hint, "You do well to remember that, Joan."

"I'll try..." She replied with a wink, and giving His arm a gentle reassuring pat.

Joan became suddenly aware of the acoustic sound of music filling the air. Up ahead, within sight, was a trio of young, college-aged performers. Gathering around them were a bunch of people, most of them students that Joan ran into campus every now and then. There were also couples, young and old, dancing to the soft beat.

They regarded the sight before them, realizing the performance was not only gaining dancers, but spectators enjoying the view of people just having fun. Spectators from small families passing by, to joggers, to even a man no older than early thirties, who was leaning against a nearby tree, smiling and observing in quiet amusement.

As the group began performing a descent acoustic version of Train's 'When I look to the sky', Joan glanced over at the Him.

She gave him a playful nudge, "Hey... wanna dance?"

With a slight mock, "Can I say 'No'?"

She bit her lower lip to refrain from laughing. Stepping away from Him, placing her hands on her hips, and with a small smirk, "'Course you can." Before He could say a word, Joan reached out and grasped His hand, "C'mon..."

Joan led their way towards the other couples. Once finding a perfect spot, she faced Him and placed his other hand on her waist. They began swaying to the music in the very same fashion they had done long ago, and much in the same way that some of the elderly folks around them were dancing now.

He tilted his head towards the side, gazing thoughtfully at Joan, who was momentarily in quiet reflection. With a raised look, "Are you sorry that Adam isn't the one dancing with you?"

She thought about that question before replying, "I'm sorry for any moment without him... but this is nice. If anything, it just makes me appreciate him and what we have even more."

"'Absence makes the heart grow fonder.'" He quoted.

"Unchallenged." Joan smiled knowingly.

They continued dancing in silence, Joan slipping into such a relaxing state that even she forgot that the company she was keeping was anything but normal. She gently placed her head on His shoulder, closing her eyes. From afar, one could easily mistake them as a blissful young couple. It was a mistake that frequented Joan's life, but over the years she had gotten used to the blunder. As long as the people that mattered most knew the truth, she couldn't care less what the masses thought.

He gently nudged her to look at Him, "Joan..."

"Hmm?" She opened her eyes, glancing up to face Him.

"I've got a story for you."

Joan feigned shock, "Not a suggestion? Wow. This I've got to hear..."

He gave her a "That's real funny." look, which only caused her to giggle an apology. "Sorry... you had a story? About?"

With the music playing in the background, still swaying, He began His story.

"Well, a while back, there was this young man who had met and fallen in love with his best friend. Right here. In this very park. His name is Sam and when he had met Amber, he was just a college student out working on an assignment for his Communication class. The professor had told her students to go out and observe human interaction at its best. Sam always felt that the best place to find such interaction was at a park.

"So one afternoon, much like this one, he strolled on over and found himself leaning against a tree, observing the sights and sounds around him. That's when he spotted her. Walking along, carrying her paint set and canvas. Amber was an art major and her specialty was landscape. There was something about her that caught his eye, much in the same way that there was something about you that caught Adam Rove's eye.

"Suddenly, Amber accidentally dropped her canvas, causing Sam to react and jog up to help her. That's how they met, and they continued to meet every Friday afternoon. Here. In this park. At the very same tree where Sam had been the first time he had met Amber.

"Sam was completely crazy in love with Amber. So much so that he began to truly understand what his own grandparents must've felt like. When he was younger, his mother would entertain him with the same love story. About this brave young soldier, his grandfather, that asked his grandmother to be his bride, right before he was to head off to war. How he had proposed to her at the very same dance hall they had met all those years ago. And despite the fear of receiving one of those telegrams, Sam's grandmother never lost hope in love and life. Sam never really believed in true love or that kind of romance... he always considered them as fantasy. Until he met Amber."

There was a hint of sadness in His voice, which caused an unsettling stir in Joan's stomach. "Tell me that they lived happily ever after."

His eyes held onto Joan's, sadly shaking His head. "Five years upon the day they met, Sam had asked Amber to meet him after work at their tree. He was going to propose to her that very afternoon. She never made it, Joan. Amber had been struck down by a driver who had decided that three o'clock in the afternoon was a perfect time to start drinking."

Joan felt her eyes tear up, "No..."

"So now, to this day, every Friday afternoon... Sam would walk over to their tree. His eyes, and his heart, observing everything around him in hopes that one day, Amber will walk down that very same path. Paint set and canvas in hand. Waiting to see her accidentally drop her canvas so that he could jog up to her, and eventually fall in love again."

She looked down, sniffling as she held back the tears that threaten to fall. When she finally looked up, she was met with compassionate brown eyes. A bit angry, "Why'd you tell me that story? That's the saddest thing I've ever heard..."

He regarded her with a glint in His eye. "No, it's not... there's more. But I'll save that for later."

"What? Wait-- there's more?" Joan pulled back, crossing her arms, "Tell me."

He placed a hand on her back, "It's getting late, Joan. Do you want Adam to worry about you? Especially since you forgot to grab your cell phone."

Joan glared at him, instantly disliking his logic to cop out of telling her what she wanted to hear. An exasperated sigh escaped her lips as she reluctantly allowed him to lead her home. "Fine! But you're not leaving my sight until you finish that story."

CBG~~JoA~~CBG

The walk back to the apartment was a lot faster than the walk to the park, at least that's how it felt to Joan. Maybe it had to do with the fact that she was anxious to hear the rest of His tale. Since He hadn't spoken a word once they stepped foot off the park grounds, Joan took it as a sign that God would be finishing the story once they had arrived back at the apartment.

As they stepped off the elevator, Joan saw that her door was within sight. The hallway was empty, and as soon as they reached her apartment door, "Okay, spill. Tell me the rest."

A smirk played on his lips, "Anxious are we?"

She crossed her arms with a pointed stare, "I wouldn't be if you had continued your story on the walk back."

"Well, here's the thing, Joan," She watched Him lean against the wall of the hallway, hands in the pocket of his tan jacket. "I can't tell you the rest because... well, it hasn't exactly happened yet."

Following suit, Joan leaned on the opposite side, her arms still crossed. "What do you mean?"

"Remember what happened with Steve Ramsey?"

Upon hearing the name of the former high school bully that God had once asked her to take to a dance, Joan involuntarily shivered. Especially as she recalled the possible outcome had she not done what she was told. "I remember... how could I forget?"

"What if I were to tell you that today, of all Fridays, was the exact date that Sam was to propose to Amber? What if I told you that Sam decided to nix his spur of the moment drinking excursion to the bar, and instead head on home from the park like normal? What if I told you that had he gone to the bar, he would have drowned his sorrow with enough alcohol that he couldn't see straight... much less drive home. And once he did drive, he had become too intoxicated to realize that he had driven himself off a bridge not too far from here. And that not only would he have killed himself tonight... but also a car with innocent passengers on their way to a dance club. What if, Joan. What if?"

Another chill flew down her spine as she blinked back tears. Joan gulped, "You're right... that was the saddest..."

He gave a nod, His brown eyes staring at her full of infinite love and compassion. "You have a good night, Joan. I'll see you later."

Joan looked down at the ground before turning to watch Him leave down the hall. "Hey."

God turned towards her, eyebrows raised in question though He already knew what she was to say.

With a soft and sincere smile, "Thank you for the walk."

CBG~~JoA~~CBG

Laying lazily with his feet propped on the couch, Adam Rove was leafing through one of Joan's Entertainment Weekly magazines when he heard her come in. He glanced up, smiling, "Hey, Jane." He placed the magazine aside, about to stand up from the couch when Joan stopped him.

She held up her hand, making her way towards him. "Stay right there, Rove." Before he could protest, Joan plopped herself down on the couch, snuggling up to his chest and laying there in his comfort.

Adam beamed softly at her, kissing the top of her head, then lightly ruffling her hair. "You okay, Jane? How was your walk?" Joan muffled something into his chest, causing him to laugh. "What?"

"I said," Joan looked up, gazing adoringly into his eyes. She waved her hand dismissively, "It's a long, emotionally exhausting story. One that I will tell you later tonight." She looked around the apartment, noticing how quiet it was. "Where's Grace? What happened to your Halo war battle you guys had going?"

Adam scrunched his face up in annoyance, "Grace is a sore loser. Y'know, for someone as militant and violence hungry as she is, Grace sincerely sucks at battle and strategy games." He indicated towards one of four closed doors before looking back at the EW magazine. "She's inside, taking a nap. Especially since we won't be leaving this apartment anytime soon."

Joan started picking lint off his jeans. "Oh? So plans were made for tonight without me?"

"You'll like it, Jane. Dawn had called after you left, saying that tonight we should check out this new dance club, The Bronze, opening up downtown and--" Suddenly, he never had the chance to finish.

Her whole body tensed before sitting up abruptly, facing Adam with fearful eyes. "What?"

"Joan? What is it?" He regarded her immediately, worried.

Anxious, "Adam! What about this dance club?"

Confused, "Uh... well, Dawn said that she found out that this new club was having a big grand opening. That she could get us in and that we were to leave later on tonight. Why?" He reached for her hand, especially realizing that with each word spoken, the paler Joan had gotten. "Jane? What's wrong?"

Joan stared at Adam, his words sinking in and God's own story sinking even deeper. Numbly, she laid back down in his arm, circling her own arms around him.

With a voice as soft and fragile as a child, "Adam, can I tell you a story?"

CBG~~JoA~~CBG

Epilogue:

Thirty year old Sam had just gotten home from the park. His mind was stirring with so many memories and thoughts that it hurt... it especially got to him inside his chest, straight to the heart.

Why in heaven's name does he torture himself like this? Every week, every Friday it's the same routine. Get off from work, head straight to the park, straight to the same tree, stare at everyone and anything going around him until his heart couldn't take it, then head on home. Though it was familiar and somewhat comforting, in a way it was his own personal hell.

Heck, he thought sullenly, every walk in that stupid park without Amber is a walk to perdition.

Tonight was going to be different though. Tonight, instead of heading straight home from spending an entire afternoon watching a bunch of couples dancing in the park, Sam was actually planning on drinking his pain away instead of sleeping it off. Anything to numb the heart ache quickly and painlessly as possible.

However, something stopped him from heading towards the bar. He didn't know what it was, but he did know that it had to do with this one young couple he had seen earlier. The moment his eyes laid upon them, Sam felt a familiar sense of deja'vu. The young man was only an inch or two taller than the girl with long brown hair. The man had a tan jacket, and the woman wore a coat and scarf.

Sam had been an observer long enough to realize that this was a pair of young people that had an "old" relationship. Which meant that they were two people that knew each other for a long time, that they were beyond comfortable around one another to the point of even being considered one in the same. They had danced so in sync and obviously shared a connection beyond anything... well, Sam thought, anything normal. It was a funny observation, but his gut was telling him otherwise. And Sam listened to his gut, especially since it was his gut feeling that told him to help pick up Amber's canvas that one fine Friday afternoon.

Still, there was something about the two that Sam couldn't quite put his finger on. It was probably staring at him right in the face, but, for the life of him, couldn't remember. This was vexing Sam to the point that he knew he couldn't enjoy getting drunk tonight. Not with this thing hanging over him, refusing to leave.

Suddenly, his eyes landed on a picture frame and his voice got caught in his throat. He stared at the photograph, slightly stunned, slightly in disbelief. Sam stood up, walked towards the frame on the dresser drawer and held it in his hands. His voice finally found him with a, "No... it can't be..."

Staring back up at him was an old photograph of his grandparents-- God bless their souls, he thought quietly. It was taken a long time ago, before his grandfather had shipped out to fight the second World War. After he left, year or two passed before he came back to his young bride, who was waiting for him with their daughter, Sam's mother. The look on his grandfather's face was full of life and youth, his grandmother smiled back with as much bliss as any young twenty year old in love would. A soldier and his girl.

And nearly half a decade later, Sam had just seen the same faces in the form of the young man with the tan jacket and his girl. Taking a Friday afternoon stroll in a park.

THE END

CBG~~JoA~~CBG

Author's last note: Woohoo! Done! Now I can finally finish aPtP! This story was swimming in my head and would not leave until I had posted it! So now it's done and ready for the world to see! Hope you enjoyed it, hope I didn't offend anyone, and please don't forget to review. *grins and skips off to finish other fic*