Disclaimer: I don't own Joan of Arcadia. If I did, it wouldn't have been cancelled.
A/N: Okay, just to make things perfectly clear, I adore Judith. She and Joan are two of my favorite characters, their relationship is just, very awesome. Now that I've made that clear, you can all relax. I simply wanted to explore what Joan would've been feeling and thinking when Judith was acting like a brat in 'Back to the Garden'.
This is How a Heart Breaks
Joan snuck a glance at Judith as she worked on her garden. She didn't understand why Judith had been acting like such a jerk lately. She went back to her garden when one of the slackers, Peaches, came over and plopped down on one of the delicate plants, "The ground is soft. I have happy butt."
Joan shoved him off of the crushed greenery, "What are you doing?" she demanded, "Get off my plants you freak!" She looked at the slackers as they laughed, hurt more than she let show, as Judith joined in. Joan turned to her, "Hey, you wanna rein in the animals?" Judith just smirked and Joan looked at her, some of the pain bleeding through her façade, "Why are you doing this?" She was desperate to understand.
Judith's smirk grew, "Why are you doing that?" she shot back flippantly. Judith refused to let it show how much she was embarrassed and afraid of losing Joan because of how stupid she'd been. It was better to just push her away. Get rid of her. That way she couldn't break Judith's heart on her own. That way, Judith would be expecting it.
"Because it's my assignment, okay? And I know you don't want to have anything to do with it, but do you have to try and impress your new friends by being an even bigger twerp than they are?" Joan demanded, her temper flashing. She was sick of this. She loved Judith, but the other girl was acting like she didn't even care about their friendship anymore.
Judith walked over and got in her face, "Your friends are so great?" she asked, "Judging me for getting a little loaded. Like they're so perfect!"
Joan looked at Judith in shock and disbelief, "Grace saved your life, Judith!"
Judith scoffed, "Doctors exaggerate! I could've slept it off!" She knew it wasn't true. She'd felt like she had been hit by a truck for the two days Joan had been in the hospital with her and felt queasy and off balance for two more after that.
Joan looked at her incredulously, "I was in the hospital with you for two days!"
Judith made a face, getting angry now. She didn't need Joan to tell her she screwed up. She knew that very well. Joan wasn't her mother. Joan was supposed to be her friend, "Aren't you great!"
Joan sighed, "Okay, look…I know—I know you're embarrassed, okay?" she said, trying to connect with Judith, give her a way to admit that she was just having some backlash from the party without acting like she'd turned into one of the potheads, "I get it. But let it go! Everybody will be willing to get past this—."
Judith suddenly cut her off, smirking and said snippily, "Now I'm supposed to take advice from some nut job who sees people who aren't even there?"
Joan froze and went pale. She felt like Judith had just ripped her heart out. She felt like all the air was gone and she couldn't breathe. The one person she had thought would never call her crazy had done just that. She turned away quickly to hide the tears that had sprung to her eyes. She'd told Judith that in confidence. She was tense with the effort it took not to sink to the ground and cry at that betrayal.
When Judith saw the look of shock and absolute betrayal that flashed across Joan's face she knew she'd gone too far. The look that said she'd just trampled on the other girl's heart and soul and killed something precious and realized that she'd taken a flying leap over a line that she shouldn't have even gone near. But she didn't know how to make it right. She'd never had a real friend. A friend like Joan. She didn't know how to fix the hurt she'd just caused. Instead she plowed ahead with the façade she'd created. She had to keep going like she didn't need Joan anymore, even though it was about as far from the truth as you could get. She turned to the potheads and heard Joan sigh very softly, "Who wants Big Gulps?" she asked, her voice shaking slightly, "I'm buying."
"Wait. Me. I love Big Gulps," Danny said, raising his hand as the others agreed. Judith gritted her teeth and lifted her chin and walked away from the bleachers, tramping directly through Joan's garden. Though she didn't look back and she knew it didn't look like it, Judith felt like she might cry. She was afraid she'd just destroyed something irreplaceable. She'd just destroyed a good person. A good friend. And she didn't know if she could ever fix it. She didn't know how to make it right.
Joan watched them destroy the plants, numb and yet hurting so badly she wondered why she wasn't dead. She felt like Judith had taken her heart. It wasn't just the garden. What Judith had said hurt far worse. When they'd disappeared from sight, Joan slowly sank down to the damp, churned earth and forlornly looked at one of the tiny, crushed plants, touching it gently, thinking how much it resembled how she felt at the moment. It would die from the injuries. She wondered if she would too. She wasn't so sure that she wouldn't.
For a long time, Joan sat there, amongst the crushed sprouts and cultivated dirt, tears dripping to the earth like rain as she struggled to mend her torn and crushed spirit. Heal the wounds and survive. But how did you survive when the person you had trusted and loved most, tore you up and threw everything you'd given her back in your face?
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