Title: Touch of the Master's Hand
Summary: Touch is a powerful thing. A single touch can do more than speaking a thousand words.
Author's Notes: Spoilers for 'The Pilot', 'Recreation', 'Anonymous', 'Silence' and 'Out of Sight'. FEEDBACK GREATLY APPRECIATED!

It was such a simple thing. One of the five senses, something she took for granted. But it was something that had a profound effect. Touch. Her family was a physically demonstrative family. They hugged, kissed, held hands, occasionally hit or kicked each other, but she couldn't remember one day where at least one of her family members hadn't hugged her.

The touches she shared with God were far rarer, but she could remember each time. When He'd first come to her, they'd shaken hands. There had been a few times when their hands had met as He handed her something, a chess book, a 'reward', balloon animals, and other times. Those times it had registered more as a static charge or a chill, with the skin on her arms getting goose-bumps.

When He'd danced with her, she'd been so nervous. It would be bad enough to step on some guy's feet, even Adam's feet, but it would have been humiliating in the extreme to step on God's. But, despite the nerves and the fact that, at least in that persona, God was a bad dancer and her still-disturbing but waning crush on that face, there was just something. She felt less frantic than she had all night. All of the frenzied energy that had kept her going through the house like a whirlwind as she tried to keep the party from getting beyond the disaster it had been, bled off once she was near Him badly dancing.

And then there was the time He'd given her a boost into the dumpster to find the poetry submissions. Normally, being hoisted off the ground, even just a few feet, scared her. Except that time. She trusted God. Even when she didn't understand, resisted, questioned, deep down in her heart she trusted Him. So where she would never let anyone else do that, she let Him.

But the time she remembered the best was in a hospital. She'd felt so abandoned and alone the months before that. She'd had Lyme Disease and He'd been silent. She'd felt like He'd abandoned her. And when He decided to reappear, she'd been angry. She'd resisted believing. She'd met Judith and clung to their connection, depended upon it when He wasn't speaking to her. Joan and Judith fit together and in some small way, it made her feel like she had when she'd talked to God. She felt like things would be okay, that there were connections between everything. She felt like she understood a little. Then, He'd come back.

She'd avoided Him, tried to ignore Him. He'd asked her to 'keep your eyes open' and she'd brushed the words aside, determined to escape. She had hurt so badly when He left before, when He'd let her belief and faith shatter and been silent. She'd gone to Judith's party, not even thinking about what God had said. She'd seen how much Judith had had to drink, but she hadn't probed. She hadn't kept her eyes open. Later that night, Grace had saved Judith's life when her friend had passed out from drinking too much. She'd been so scared when she saw the flashing lights. And then she'd gotten angry. Angry at herself because she knew, just knew that's why God had suggested what He had and then angry at Him, burying her anger at herself, masking it shoddily as anger at Him, that He'd left. She told herself over and over that if He hadn't left, if He hadn't let her faith disappear, hadn't disappeared when she needed Him she wouldn't have ignored Him now. But it didn't work. In the end, she knew that it was her own decision, her own use of her free will that had allowed herself to stop believing and then her decision to ignore Him earlier that day.

She'd gone in and seen Judith. They'd had a fight, both of them angry with themselves. When her friend had fallen asleep she'd gone out into the hall and run into Adam. She'd been distracted, just wanted to be alone. Once Adam had left for work, she'd seen God.

It was the face of the elderly woman. Joan had looked at Her and her words were accusatory but the tone was that of sorrow and self-loathing when she'd told God that the hint should've been more specific, that she should've been made to obey.

As always, God hadn't become angry or even annoyed with the accusations, the attack but had gently pointed out that She had given Joan free will. Joan had cried then. She had missed believing, felt empty without it and it hurt to begin again, but it hurt more to not. She cried for her stupidity and stubbornness that had ended up hurting her friend. She tearfully asked about messing up, she didn't want to mess up again. As she'd stood there, crying, she'd been surprised to find herself in God's arms. God had held her and comforted her, giving her a shoulder to cry on. It made her feel safe. Even after everything Joan knew she'd done wrong, all the mistakes she'd made. With that touch, Joan remembered why she'd believed before, why she had been so adamant that she wasn't crazy before, why she had clung to belief until she couldn't, until she had finally found it too painful when He was silent.

A single touch planted the seed of belief in her soul again.