Title: Touched By...

Author: Nopporn Wongrassamee aka the Evil Author

Email Address: EvilAuthoraol.com

Spoilers: Post-Angel, post Joan of Arcadia season finale.

Summary: Joan Girardi has lost her faith in God. An unusual encounter may restore her faith.

Disclaimer: Characters and concepts belong to their owners who I'm too lazy to list.

The last demon fell to the ground dead. Like the rest, it immediately began to evaporate.

"Nice of the Senior Partners to send an environmentally friendly army," Angel muttered. He looked around, but the only ones left standing were Angel and his three companions. Amazingly, they were all still alive. "We won," he marveled.

"Too right we did," Spike said. He tried wiping some white gunk off himself, only to smear it all over his clothes and hands. "Damn, that Mohra was a messy bleeder."

"We are victorious," Illyria agreed. She cocked her head. "What shall we do now?"

Angel smiled as the clich├ęd answer popped into his head. "I say... we're going to Disneyland!"

Gunn gurgled something incoherent, sinking to the ground while clutching his stomach wound.

"After we get Gunn to the hospital," Angel added quickly, rushing to the man's aid.

Disneyland, the happiest place on Earth. Well, Joan Girardi was here and she was feeling anything but happy. It was summer vacation and her family had taken a week long trip here.

Unfortunately, Joan had just come back from the hospital. She had been treated for Lyme disease which among other things, caused hallucinations. Joan put two and two together and figured out that she had not been having conversations with God all year. She had just been hallucinating him.

It had been a crushing discovery.

Her family had sensed her desolation if not the cause. They tried to cheer her up, but Joan remained moody and withdrawn. In fact, their attention were getting down right smothering, especially from her parents.

Joan excused herself to go to the rest room.


Joan spun around from the sink. A school year of being hassled by what she had thought was God had honed a sense of paranoia in her. A woman in her twenties with long, wavy brown hair wearing a sundress was addressing Joan. The strange woman was directing this creepy stare at Joan.

"Me?" Joan squeaked. This couldn't be God, she thought. God was only a hallucination and the doctors said she wouldn't be hallucinating anymore. Therefore, this was a complete but real stranger talking to her.

"You," the woman repeated, cocking her head. She studied Joan like the teenager was one of Joan's brother's science experiments. "How is that a mere mortal such as yourself can be touched by the Infinite?"

"Uh... huh?" Joan said.

"Confusion. Doubt. Ignorance. How inadequate," the woman said disdainfully. She stepped close. Joan tried to step back, but the sink blocked her way. Joan found herself looking into those intense eyes. "Beings far greater than you have strived for eons to be touched by the Infinite. Such contact is wasted on mere human vermin such as you."

"Hey! Back off!" Joan said angrily, giving the woman a shove back. "Who do you think you are?"

Joan suddenly found her feet dangling several inches off the ground. Of more immediate interest was the hand around her throat holding her up.

"I am Illyria," the woman proclaimed arrogantly. Joan's eyes widened in shock as her assailant's appearance changed. The hair turned blue. The skin paled to a chalky white with blue veins faintly visible. The eyes glowed a faint sapphire. Even the clothes morphed, changing into rust- colored, formfitting armor. "I once ruled this miserable mud ball when..."

"Hey, Illyria!" a male voice called from outside the restroom. "Stop scaring the tourists and come on! We still haven't been on Space Mountain yet."

Joan was dropped to her feet, gasping for breath. When she looked up, Illyria looked normal again.

"Another time, human," Illyria said over her shoulder as she left.

Joan spent the rest of her Disneyland stay going over the strange encounter in her mind. First, the encounter wasn't a hallucination. She had the bruises on her neck to prove it. Second, the doctors had given her a clean bill of health, so she wasn't sick. That she was thinking clearly enough to make a checklist in her head was scary but proof at least that she was healthy.

Okay, Illyria had been real. By the way Illyria kept referring to Joan as a "mere human", Joan concluded that Illyria was not human. Illyria was also not God since she obviously had no idea who Joan was. So was Illyria the Devil?

Now that she thought about it, Joan recalled that Illyria mentioned something about Joan being "touched by the Infinite". Was Illyria referring to God? Joan certainly recalled God mentioning that He was Infinite.

Suddenly, Joan realized that she believed in God again. Strange that it took the (a?) devil to show her the way.