Title: The Instrument and Its Melody

Author: Tote

Genre: Angst? I don't know what else to call it but it's not quite right either.

Rating: PG.

A/N: this was written in fifteen minutes, after speaking to a friend on the phone who told me I was so quick to want to forgive Adam, I wasn't thinking about Joan. Except she said 'Jane', which is something she always does when talking about Joan in context with Adam and it always irritates me. So here's one to Joan, who doesn't get enough credit.

There wasn't much that could break the spirit of a girl like Joan. She mocked her own humiliations, smiled at defeat, bitched at God but did his bidding willingly, cried when she was sad, slept when she was tired, loved until loving itself became a part of her very soul. She was Joan.

But she liked being Jane.

Jane was the sweetness in Adam's eyes; Jane was a higher form of herself. Jane was who Adam had loved and to him, she was love and the embodiment of his art. When she found out why he hated November and came by his shed, that was Jane. When she kissed him while feathers came out down like rain, that was Jane. Jane had enchanted him and saved him from the real world.

Joan smashed his art: Joan suffered the punishment, Jane got the credit. It was Joan who Adam hated. It was Joan who fought with blood and fists and heart and soul, Joan who sobbed herself to sleep at night: Joan who knew not just beauty, but ugliness too and carried them both, knowing them to be two sides of the same sword.

But Jane would eventually fade, because she wasn't a whole person: she existed only with Adam, as one half of their love.

And Joan, though in love with Adam even when he hated her, even when he betrayed her, was indomitable.

Joan was God's instrument and Jane was the music, the echo, the ripples. But if the music should become muted, drowned out and no longer heard, the instrument would remain with its infinite possibility of a new melody to play.

Joan, walking slowly along the highway to Adam's, knew this.

She knew that Jane had fled when Adam confessed to her what he'd done with Bonnie. Jane withered in the knowledge that Adam was not perfect. Joan remained behind and shrugged her shoulders, grimacing with pain, her spirit tired, so tired, but unbroken: she would love him if he cut her throat. But that didn't mean she liked him or condoned what he had done.

It just meant that she'd do her best to salvage what they had, and what they still had left, if there was anything.

"Jane!" a voice called and she looked up and saw Adam with his smile that was sincere even while his eyes darkened in pain at the sight of her.

Secretly, tugging at her necklace absently as she approached him where he stood by the door of his shed, she knew why.

He wasn't stupid: he knew this was Joan he was speaking to, not Jane. But calling her Joan had become an insult and unwillingly, he clung to Jane, loving Joan.

"We're gonna do the assignment in the shed, my Dad's asleep and I don't want to wake him up." He stared into her face, asking for forgiveness, asking to be loved again, as wholly and completely as before. But he never said it aloud.

Joan smiled, nodded her consent with working in the shed and went inside without a word. Adam stood for a moment, confused, wondering where Jane had gone and if she was ever coming back.