Seeing Is Believing

by TeeJay

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Summary:
What if Joan told Adam that even after crazy camp, therapy and counseling, Joan was still talking to God? Would he believe her now?

Author's Note:
This idea has been floating around in my head for a while, and I wasn't sure if I was going to use it in one of my current WIP fanfics or if I was going to make it a separate thing. Well, for now I guess it's a separate thing, but I might pull it down later and integrate it into one of my stories. Let's see.

If you like or loathe it, please leave a review. Would it help if I put on my puppy dog eyes? No, wait, that's Christopher Marquette's part, he's just so much better at it.

Time frame: Set after season 2, and I even added some Ryan stuff in later chapters (although I'm not very good at continuing that storyline). It's a little angsty in the beginning and I'm sorry for what I'm doing to poor, little Adam Rove in chapter one once again. Like I said, he does it best. Can't help it. Heavy fluff alert for later chapters. I don't know what came over me, but sometimes I have this incessant need for harmony, for making both of them happy—together. And this story had to bear the brunt of it. Hope it's not too soppy. There are times I can't find the STOP button. 'Nuff said. Now go read.

Disclaimer:
These characters and settings are not mine. Nor am I claiming they are. They are property of CBS, Barbara Hall Productions, Sony or whoever else they might belong to. I'm not making any money out of this, although I wish I was.

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It had to be here somewhere!

Adam roamed the shelves of his shed for that multi-colored coil of rope that he remembered having picked up from a garage sale once, peeking into corners that he was sure no one had touched for years. He took one of the chairs to stand on and look at the top compartment of the shelf in the corner. Reaching with his hands where he couldn't see, he didn't find the rope, but his fingers grazed the smooth surface a cardboard box. Groping along the edge of it to estimate its size, it felt like nothing he could remember having put there. Curiosity got the better of him and he pulled it toward him, so he could pick it up.

He took it from the shelf and put it on the table, dust bunnies billowing off of it. He brushed some of the gray dust off its lid, leaving streaks where his hands had wiped across the surface. It was a non-descript, white cardboard box without any writing or other markings on it. Adam lifted the lid off it and peered inside. It looked like a motley assortment of memorabilia: photos, drawings, artwork in different shapes and sizes. Adam picked up random pieces, finding himself looking at slightly yellowed photos of his parents, maybe in their late twenties, smiling happily. In one, his mother made an especially goofy face, and Adam had to smile at it.

Going on to the drawings and watercolor paintings, he picked a few of them out, studying them carefully. He knew they must have been made by his mother even without recognizing the small initials 'E.R.' in the bottom right corner. He slowly sat down on the stool behind him, raptly taking them in.

Then his eyes caught a small wooden frame with canvas on it. He withdrew it from the box and turned it over in his hands, so he could see what was on it. The sight made him swallow, letting the picture sink to the table in his hands. On the acrylic painting, there was a yellow boat with two people in it: A woman with brown, curly hair and a little, dark-haired boy, facing each other. The water was painted in a deep shade of blue-green and the sky a luscious blue with fluffy, white clouds at random intervals.

Adam hadn't even realized that tears had shot into his eyes, because all he could think about was Mrs. Girardi reading him the note that his mother had left him, speaking of yellow boats, green water, blue sky and spreading ripples. That moment in the Girardi kitchen, Jane's hand lightly touching his shoulder, his eyes on her mother as she spoke his own mother's words to him. He remembered her pulling him into a hug only a mother knew how to make it feel, wiping away his tears. He had wordlessly left the house after that, walking home in a daze, the note clutched in his hand. He had read the note a few times after that, but eventually, he had put it away in his desk drawer because the memory always brought the pain too close to the surface.

He had thought that he was done crying over his mother's death, it had been years now, and he had told himself time and again that he had come to terms with it. Just sometimes, completely unexpected, moments like this would catch him off-guard and rip open old wounds. He sniffled at his running nose and lifted his hand to wipe his cheek with his sleeve when suddenly the shed door burst open.

An excited Joan called out, "Adam! Hey, look what—"

She stopped dead in her tracks when her gaze fell upon Adam's face with the tears still lingering on his skin, his eyelashes wet and shiny. "Adam," she whispered. "What's wrong?" crossing the distance from the door to opposite him in a few, fast steps.

Then she saw the painting he was still holding limply in his hands and knew immediately what it meant. Her mouth parted in something akin to shock as she gently took it from his hands and touched the canvas with her index finger, as if to check if it was real. She looked at Adam again, who was sitting there with his head down, biting his lower lip that she saw was trembling ever so slightly.

And even though she knew it was totally irrational, after all he had put her through, she went to him without hesitation or question and gently wrapped her arms around him, much the same way that she had when they had watched the home videos he had taken with his mother last year. She could feel his shoulders shaking and she rubbed his back in soothing strokes, letting him cry for as long as he needed to.

After a few minutes like this, his sobbing subsided and he slowly pulled away from Joan. With watery eyes, he looked up at her, smiling a very small smile. Wiping at his tears, he said softly, "And you'd think I'd be done crying about my mom after all these years."

"Adam," Joan started, her voice full of sadness—sadness that seemed to have transferred from him to her in the most natural of ways. "It's... it's only natural, after what happened, no matter how long ago it was."

Adam met her gaze and asked, "Do you still think about... what happened with Kevin sometimes?"

"Yes, of course I do," Joan admitted. "But that's different. Kevin's still here. Your mother isn't." She paused, then carefully, softly asked, "You miss her a lot, huh?"

"Yeah," Adam sighed. "I mean, most of the time, when I think about her, it's like I know she's always there, watching. Sometimes, when I do my art, I get this odd feeling that she's standing right there behind me, watching over my shoulder." Adam snorted dismissively. "Huh. You'd think I was crazy."

"No," Joan said more vehemently than Adam had expected. "No, it's not crazy. When you want her to be close to you, she's always there. She always will be. Just like God."

Joan had sat down on a second stool next to Adam, facing him now. And she didn't know how or why, but she was suddenly overcome by the strange feeling that this would be the moment to share her biggest secret, really share it so that Adam would believe and eventually trust her. She needed to tell him, right here, right now. It wouldn't mess things up between them again and it wouldn't drive him further away. This time it just couldn't.

She got his attention when she addressed him. "Adam, do you remember in the hospital, when I had Lyme Disease?"

"Yeah, sure," he replied, unsure of what she was getting at.

"And I told you that I..." Joan had a hard time actually saying it out loud to him a second time. "That I talked to God."

Adam nodded, his forehead now wrinkled in a frown.

"And do you remember how after the summer and Gentle Acres, I said that I wasn't talking to God anymore? You came to me and tried to tell me that there were others with the same gift, that there it was in writing that this happened to others. And I was just trying so hard to deny it, trying so hard to believe that it wasn't true and that it had all been a figment of my imagination.

"Well, it wasn't. I... I know it still sounds crazy when I say it, but, Adam, I don't have Lyme Disease anymore and I'm not mentally unstable, but God still comes to me in human form, telling me to do things. And it's just like it was. When I obey and do it, good things come out of it—good ripples. And... and even though He doesn't answer questions like why people die or why there's bad in the world or any kind of why, really, I know that when people die, they are in a good place and that they sometimes are closer to you than you think."

Adam's eyes had gone wide, filled with a kind of sad bewilderment and confusion. He wanted to say something, but words failed him.

Joan went on, desperately wanting to make Adam believe, make him understand. "There are million things I could explain to you. You remember the Crystal Ball? God told me to go there with Ramsey because if I hadn't, he would have ended up shooting teachers and students. And... and when I started that stupid videography project, it was because God told me to look closer to the surface, so that I could see what was going on with you—with us. And the thing with Stevie? God said that it was important that she discover the truth about who she really was."

Joan now looked down at the table, her gaze fixed upon a brush lying there. "And when I smashed your sculpture, it was because God had told me you had to stay in school. And when you didn't listen, I didn't know what to do anymore, so I made sure you couldn't sell your sculpture." Her head lifted again because she needed to tell him this to his face, looking into his incredibly soulful eyes. "When I said I had reasons, I did. The best reasons possible. I mean, who can go against God's will?"

She stared into his brown eyes more intently now, wanting to read in them that what she had said had registered with him. She wanted some sign of acknowledgement, of affirmation. When she didn't get an immediately reaction, she pleaded, "Adam. Say something."

He closed his open mouth for a second, opened it again and stammered, "I... I don't know what to say."

Joan's face fell. "You still don't believe me. Wait. Do you remember the guy in the brown corduroy jacket that kept sticking around? You know, spiky hair, cute face? I danced with him at the party that Luke and I threw, do you remember that? That's God. Or... or the gothic version? Tall, lank, black Mohawk haircut, metal studs in the face? That's also God. Or the old lady from the bookshop? That's also Her. Adam, I really wish I could show you, so that you'd believe me for sure."

Her look bore a silent plea, he could read it in her eyes and suddenly he couldn't bear to look at them for another second. He couldn't bear to disappoint her again. He lowered his head to study his fingers fumbling with a piece of wire that he had no clear recollection of ever having picked up. "Jane, I... Forgive me if this is all a bit hard to grasp. I mean... if all this is true... I need some time to think about it, okay?"

Joan swallowed. She had been so sure that Adam would believe her now, that he would accept her words as the truth and understand so many things about her, things that no one else had or would ever understand. That his eyes would light up and that he'd gather her up in his arms as every weird thing she had ever done would suddenly fall into place and make the perfect sense.

The disappointment at the absence of her hopes coming true drove deep and formed into a knot in her stomach she hadn't been prepared for. Not looking at him, she bitterly and accusatorily said, "You think I'm crazy. You think that this can't possibly be true." In a more quiet voice, she added, "But it is. Whether you believe me or not."

His eyes shot up and there was something apologetic in them. "No, Jane. I don't think you're crazy. I don't know what to think. I mean, back in the hospital, you were sick. They said you might be experiencing hallucinations. But you telling me this now? I—" He lifted his arms slightly, shrugging his shoulders. "I'm sorry," he whispered, not sure what he was actually sorry for.

"Look, never mind." Joan turned around and walked to the door. How was it that she always managed for any meaningful conversation with Adam to end up in failure these days? She heard him get up from this stool, quickly walking over to her. His lean but strong fingers closed round her upper arm and she felt him drawing her towards him so she would look at him as he spoke. The urgency in his eyes made her stop breathing.

"I'm not saying I don't believe you. I just need some time, okay?"

Joan nodded. "Okay," she said in resigned agreement. His hold on her arm lessened and Joan slowly walked out of the shed, leaving Adam standing where he was, lost deep in thought.

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Author's Note - continued:
I actually have something more planned for this, there's another scene in my head just now, but I need to mull it over before I can decide if it's the right thing to write down or not. Bear with me.

I also wanted to say that I have read stories where Joan tells Adam about talking to God. And somehow it never felt right to me that she would tell him again after "Silence". I don't know why I wrote this, because in some ways it still doesn't feel right to me. Maybe it's a little AU from what's going on in my head about what I want from these two characters. But it's just that at some point I want them back together, and in my eyes that only works in the long run if there is complete trust. And how can there be, when Joan hides her biggest secret from Adam? I'm not making any sense, am I?

And I don't need to emphasize how much I love getting reviews, right? ;o)