Author's Notes: Okay, now I really DO have to be shot for concentrating on ANOTHER thing other than my outstanding stories, and this not even being another update for my latest Joan of Arcadia story. I just really couldn't help it.
Those in the Joan of Arcadia fandom don't know it, but I am a total angst WHORE. I love reading and writing angst. Truthfully, I've gotten better at reading and writing other subjects. Years ago, I would spend my free time crying my eyes out with the angsty-est stories I could find. To quote Adam from the episode "Back to the Garden", "I'm better now". Still, that doesn't stop me from writing angst. My friend Sara (the one who got me into this series) told me when we finished watching "Trial and Error" that I would have a field day with a JoA angst fic.
Now, while she's right in that way, I don't think I will EVER write something immediately after "Trial and Error" because I am too much of a Joan(Jane)/Adam shipper. I'm pathetic, I know, but the episode is just painful to watch. Despite all of this, I LOVE Adam to death, almost to the point of him being my favorite character. This is not a good thing, because for some reason I tend to torture the characters I love. So, you can all put two and two together here.
This story is going to be an alternate ending to "Common Thread", one that doesn't end as happily as the one in the series. Obvious spoilers up 'til most way through "Common Thread", but I don't think that matters to anyone reading Joan of Arcadia fanfiction (unless you're like me and started watching off DVDs). This story was originally supposed to be super angsty, but as I went on, I felt if I left it where I was originally planning to, it wouldn't do justice to this piece as literature. All titles have some reference to knitting. I know nothing about knitting, so I used wikipedia (and the basic knowledge from "Common Thread").
Disclaimer: I don't own anything related to Joan of Arcadia. I would really like to own Adam, even though he technically belongs to Joan. … Heck, I'd even like to huggle him. How come there aren't more boys like Adam out there (without the … cheating thing, of course…)?
Reversing the Stitches
Joan had never hated the rain more than she did right now. In fact, she possibly had never hated God more than she did right now, but there were a lot of times that could've been used to counteract that idea. She was currently in a heated argument with the Almighty about the recent disappearance of Adam.
When the two had begun to mend their friendship, Joan started to think everything was going to be alright. However, Adam apparently thought this meant their relationship could be mended just like that too. He even went as far as fishing for some sympathy after being fired for a decrease in his work quality when Joan knew the reason was because he was too busy sleeping with Bonnie. She snapped at him that it was his fault, and she wasn't going to feel sorry for him. Too late she realized she'd been too harsh, and when Grace informed her hours later that no one could find Adam, the Arcadia Police Department went looking for him, only to find his camper near an old mountain trail and no sign of the missing boy. The heavy storm prevented anyone from looking, and they were forced to wait.
In the midst of all this, God encouraged still Joan to knit, and she had finally had enough.
"Am I ever going to see him again?" She demanded as tears threatened to overtake her. She anticipated a cryptic God-answer, so she added, "I don't mean in another form. I mean here, now."
God responded just as Joan had feared nevertheless. "You feel how painful it is to try and sever a connection, but they can never really be broken. All of creation shares a common thread, like your scarf. How you use that thread becomes your pattern of life."
Joan could barely breathe as she tried to comprehend what He was saying. "So what's happening now," she began in a shaky voice, "is it because... I-I knitted my life wrong?" She was starting to get desperate, wondering what she did to deserve this. "I believe in You. I've seen the ripples. I've seen how it changes people's lives. Even when I didn't see, I trusted You."
"And you've developed strength and faith and understanding," God responded, dodging Joan's unasked question. "New challenges are going to make you even stronger."
"For what?" His messenger asked exasperatedly. "Huh, for what? How much stronger do I have to be?" God didn't answer, and for a second Joan thought she saw a tinge of regret in His eyes, but then he turned away and began walking back out into the rain, not even giving her His signature backwards wave. "Hey! Hey, come back! I'm not done talking to You!" Joan knew it was no use. She couldn't stop God.
She slumped against the railing, just about defeated. All that, and she still didn't know if she'd ever see Adam again. What if he died? What if he killed himself, and it was all because she refused to forgive him? She could never live with herself if-
Joan's head whipped around as a distant voice seemed to call out to her. She could've sworn she heard a usually quiet voice yell, "Jane" and her breath caught in her throat.
"A-Adam?" Her voice was barely a whisper, not even audible above the storm. She turned her full attention to the woods, waiting for him to come running out, yelling her name. She would run and embrace him and never, ever let go.
But Adam did not come. She waited for what seemed like a life time, and still Adam did not come.
Joan picked up her torn scarf, a casualty of her resentment of the Lord, and walked back inside. Hopefully the heavy rain would disguise the new tears that were running down her cheeks.
The rain didn't let up until hours later. If it were a normal day, Joan would probably be waking up for school. The rescue teams began to go out and search again, and Will went with them, leaving only Joan, Grace and Carl Rove, Adam's father, in the mountain ranger's hut.
Joan hadn't slept at all that night, no matter how inviting it would seem. Her ears were focused on listening for Adam's voice again. She knew she'd heard something before, and it just had to have been Adam. Maybe if she could hear it again, they could find him. She spent her time half-heartedly knitting her scarf. It probably wasn't turning out good at all, but Joan could really care less.
She was finally dozing off when she heard the yelling outside.
"Someone call an ambulance, now!" Her father. He was yelling so frantically, Joan could only assume the worst.
She and Grace leaped up from the chairs they'd been sitting in. Mr. Rove stood up slower, all color leaving his face. The ranger was already at the phone, so the girls could go out and see what was going on. Joan ran out to see her father and a few members of the rescue team running down from the woods as fast as they could.
"Dad, what's going on?" Joan asked fearfully. Will refused to look his daughter in the eyes, and instead pushed past her to go and talk to the ranger. He was most likely going to give the paramedics the details. Joan tried again, this time with a hint of anger in her voice. "Dad, please, answer me!"
She felt a forceful yet gentle hand on her arm and turned to see Grace shaking her head. We'll find out soon enough, her eyes seemed to say. They need to get help here first. That's all that matters.
Joan sniffed as her eyes welled up again. She nodded nonetheless and walked out to the same place she'd stood the night before when she chewed out God.
It didn't take the ambulance long to get up to the range, and several people immediately ran out with a stretcher. Will and the rescue team members were waiting for them, and they started to lead them out into the wilderness when they arrived. They got as far as a muddy ditch and then stopped.
"We can't get through," one of the men explained. "We'll have too hard of a time keeping him steady if we strap him on the other side."
The small group then began to call out into the forest, making their way deeper in as they did. The paramedics started yelling out as well, but not to inform the others that they needed to get closer. Joan had taken off after her father and the men, despite Grace's insisting that she stay out of the way. Grace herself was following Joan, if only to get her to come back.
"Girardi, chill! Come on!" Grace's words didn't even reach Joan. She was too determined.
Don't let him be dead. Please don't let him be dead. I'll do whatever you want me to if you just help him. Joan's mind raced as she pushed up over the other side of the muddy ditch. She ran faster than she ever thought she could, keeping the team in her sight and weaving past fallen trees and branches. The group trudged over a large hill, and Joan had a strong feeling at the bottom of it would be Adam. She pushed her aching legs, dimly aware that Grace had nearly caught up with her. Up to the top of the hill. Up, higher and higher…
Grace grabbed her arm just as she reached the top. "What are you thinking, Girardi?! Getting involved now won't help any-" She broke off suddenly, noticing Joan's horror-struck gaze. Her eyes followed the trail and she saw: "Oh, my-"
He lay eagle-spread at the bottom of the hill, just beneath a cliff-like structure (how tall? Sixteen feet? More? Joan was never good at judging distance) . His left leg was twisted at nearly forty-five degree angle, and his face was covered in various scratches. There was a deep gash running down his right arm, one that cut through the gray hoodie he was wearing. What horrified Joan the most was the sickening amount of blood around his head, the blood that stained the rocks around it- the blood that ran into the muddy stream he was in.
Joan's scream drew the attention of nearly the entire team and her father. Will rushed up to the top of the hill and grabbed his daughter, ushering her away from the revolting sight. Grace continued to stare with wide un-Grace-like eyes until a man also pulled her away. She oddly went a lot more cooperatively than Joan did; she was most likely in shock. Joan, meanwhile, was struggling in her father's grasp, pulling and yelling, trying to get to Adam.
"No! No, let go! Let go, I want to see him!" She cried hysterically. "Let me see him!" Her protests broke down into sobs and she would've surely collapsed to the ground if her father hadn't been holding her.
She wept into her father's chest, vaguely aware that the rescue team was discreetly caring Adam past her as best they could. It was only then that she noticed how pale his face was, and that prompted a new set of tears that sapped her energy completely. Will lifted his daughter into his arms bridal style, letting her grip his shirt and hide her face in it. He whispered soft words in her ears, ones that she couldn't understand. She knew they were walking, but nothing else. She couldn't even tell when they went down into the muddy ditch. She murmured soft incoherent phrases into Will's chest, ones like, "how could You let this happen," and "it's all my fault".
She knew when they had reached the ranger's house again, because she heard Mr. Rove's heartbreaking howl, and her father told her he had to put her down. Joan stumbled as he set her on her legs. She licked her oddly dry lips and found her mouth was dry too. She glanced around frantically, looking for Adam. She spotted Grace standing a few feet to her right; she had apparently arrived back before she had, but she didn't have the frightened expression that Joan did. On the contrary, she seemed to have no expression at all. Her face was tear-free, but it almost seemed like she was broken, unable to say or do anything. Joan wanted to say something to make her feel better, but she needed something like that herself.
She finally spied Adam over by the ambulance. He was already strapped to the stretcher and the men were moving him into the back of the medical truck, careful of his leg and head. She took a few uneasy steps forward and five raspy words were ripped from her throat. "I want to go with." Somehow, her voice had been loud enough to get the attention of the two paramedics moving Adam.
"We can't have anyone in the back," one of the responded, shaking his head. "We need as much room as we can to work on him."
Work on him. The words echoed in Joan's head and she almost collapsed again, catching herself as she staggered. It's like Kevin's accident again.
Will gestured his daughter and Grace over to the lead squad car after the ambulance left. "We'll follow them there. I'll contact your parents as soon as I tell my wife," he added the last part to Grace, as her father and mother were probably awaiting news regarding Adam, as well as Helen, Joan's mother.
Grace nodded, though she didn't seem to take it in. She was still tuning the world out. Joan began to fall into that state as well as they drove behind the ambulance. The girls sat in the back and Mr. Rove road up front with Will. He was crying into his hands, muttering things like Joan had, probably about how he could lose Adam as well as his wife. Joan could hear her mother's distressed shriek when her father grimly informed her of the situation. Her mind drew away from the rest of the conversation and she turned her attention to the world outside the car as Grace was. She couldn't get out a single lucid thought except for one silent, repeated prayer:
Save him, please. Save him and I'll never ask you anything again. Just save him.
Joan was surprised to see that her mother and Luke and Kevin (with Lily in tow) and the Polanskis were already at the hospital by the time they arrived, but it was to be expected. There was really nothing they could all do but sit and wait, and Joan sunk deep into a chair. Luke approached Grace tentatively with an extremely guilty expression on his face; maybe Joan would ask about it later. He held out his arms slowly and Grace all but fell into them, gripping him hard for support. Luke was shocked for a second, but then he shook it off, holding her close and not saying a word.
Joan's arms shook anxiously as she watched for the men she saw putting Adam in the ambulance. Working on him, her mind reminded her nastily. The thought made her sick to her stomach and she wouldn't be surprised if she looked green. She wondered if this was how Adam had felt nearly a year earlier when she had come down with Lyme Disease. No, she decided. He at least knew I would live.
She finally spotted someone who could (hopefully) give her answers, the dark-skinned Doctor God. He was standing off to the side, writing something on a clipboard, and Joan stood and walked over to him. No one really took it as something odd; after all, she was probably just asking if he had any information about Adam.
"How could you let this happen?" She hissed under her breath when she reached him. "I thought you always had a plan for everything!"
God raised his eyes and looked at her. "I do, Joan."
"So what," she demanded, a hitch in her voice, "he's like Judith? Meant to die?"
God once again dodged a question, stating, "No one is meant to die. When it is their time, they go."
"But it's not his time!" Joan was having a hard time keeping her voice down as familiar tears began to work their way out of her eyes. "I-I still have to talk to him! He can't die! Not yet!"
God stayed silent for a moment and then continued in an almost remorseful voice. "There were things I had not foreseen. I thought I could find a solution for your problem, but free will-"
"To hell with free will!" Joan cut in, drawing a bit of attention from other people in the waiting room. She didn't understand what He meant completely, but at the moment it didn't matter. "I don't care if You have to strip it all away- just save him! I know You don't want to give miracles, but… but please. I've done things for You; I've helped You. I know you don't like miracles, but that all has to count for something…" Her voice switched from the desperate tone it was taking on back to the angry one. "And what do You mean 'things you had not foreseen'?! You see everything! You can't not foresee something!"
The people around her were starting to look over at the two, though they couldn't necessarily hear what was going on.
"Joan, please, you must calm down," God urged softly. "People are-"
"'Calm down?' Calm down?!" Joan cried, taking a step closer to God. "How can I clam down?! Is this another thing I have to do, something else to prepare myself?!" Her mother and father were starting to get up and walk over, though they still couldn't hear what Joan was saying. At this point, Joan was nearly clutching the front of God's shirt. "You can fix him, so just do it! Fix him!"
Helen pulled her daughter away from the unknown-Almighty gently. "Joan, sweetie, leave the man alone. This isn't his fault."
"Yes it is!" Joan yelled, her eyes not leaving God's face. "It's all His fault!"
Helen firmly but tenderly pulled her daughter back to the other waiting loved ones while Will murmured an apology to the doctor.
"Sorry. She's going through a rough time. Her friend's in here," he explained briefly.
God continued to stare after Joan, just as she refused to take her eyes off him. "No. It's alright. I'm used to this." He then turned and walked away as Joan was forced back into her chair. She curled herself up and refused to look at anyone. She didn't even want to pray anymore.
The sun was already beginning its descent when the doctors had finished 'working on' Adam. Mr. Rove and Helen got to him first, with Joan a few hesitant steps behind them. Grace stood furthest back, her white-knuckled hand gripping Luke's for comfort. The question was on everyone's lips, but no one was brave enough to ask it.
"He'll live," the doctor confirmed, lifting a large weight from everyone's shoulders. "But we're still unsure of how the head trauma will affect him. It's likely that he will have severe amnesia, but we don't know how far back it will go."
"Amnesia?" Joan breathed, her mouth suddenly dry again.
The doctor nodded grimly. "It's a miracle he lived at all."
Miracle. Joan half-stumbled back into her chair. When she had asked the Almighty, she somehow hadn't thought this would amount to a miracle.
"But he'll live?" Echoed Mr. Rove's apprehensive voice. "He's not going to-?"
"No," the doctor confirmed distantly. "It wasn't looking very good for awhile, and he'll be out for a few days, but he'll live."
Joan still sat frozen in her chair. She heard murmurs of relief and near happiness, the doctor's musing that there should've been much more wrong with Adam, and even a shaky threat of bodily harm from Grace, the first thing she'd said since they'd found him. She realized she should've been much happier. Adam was going to live; so what if he didn't remember everything? Because he might not remember you the nasty little voice in her head informed her. Yeah, that was it. Did the doctor mention if the memory loss was temporary? He didn't, did he? Did that mean whatever Adam forgot was permanently forgotten? How did a boy with a photographic memory get amnesia, anyway?
She nearly hoped he just forgot the last four weeks; she knew she'd pretend they didn't happen if he would be alright, or at least she'd try. Somehow, though, it seemed like she wasn't going to be that lucky. She must've done something God hadn't wanted, or else this wouldn't have happened.
"I hate to bring this up, Mr. Rove, but we'll need to start discussing payment…" The doctor's voice entered Joan's ears clearly, and she snapped back to attention.
"Payment?" Joan snapped, glaring at the doctor. "He's not even awake yet, and you start talking about payment? How heartless are you?"
"Joan," Helen started warningly.
"No!" Joan responded, standing up and looking around at the people surrounding her. "No, this isn't right! They should at least give us a … a bit more times before asking to pay and … and …" Joan was losing her train of thought and fast. She spun quickly to Grace, looking at her pleadingly. "Grace! You agree with me, right? Isn't there some anarchist law against this sort of thing?"
Grace met Joan with a hard stare. "Adam's alive, Joan." Grace said Adam. Not 'Rove', but 'Adam'. And she called her Joan. That was all she needed to say.
Joan glanced at the people around her. "I-I can't…" She said in a low voice, mostly to herself. "I can't…"
She then turned on heel and ran. She could hear her mother's shocked yell to come back and her father's reassurance that she only needed some time, but she didn't stop. She weaved her way through the hospital, past nurses and doctors and patients, trying to push back all the bad memories that were connected to it. She hated the hospital. A familiar cute boy leaning against a back wall caught Joan's eye and she stopped. She hated God more. She stomped over to Him, realizing for a moment that the hallway they were in was strangely empty.
Cute Boy God spoke before Joan could say anything. "That man was just doing his job, Joan. You should be thankful, especially since he saved Adam."
Joan half-snorted. "Oh, please. We both know he had nothing to do with it. You saved Adam, but why You had to be so cruel, I don't know."
"I didn't do anything," God answered. He then continued, "Why aren't you waiting with your family and friends? You never know when Adam will wake up."
"What's the point?" Joan asked, suppressing a quick-rising sob. "He's got amnesia, remember? He won't miss me. They said he'd be out for a few days anyway."
God fixed Joan with a knowing look (what other kind did He/She/It have, Joan mused inwardly). "Just because something's different, doesn't mean you two aren't connected. Connections exist long before we're aware of them. Always will."
Joan blinked back a tear and took a shuddering breath. "What does that mean? That Adam won't remember me?" God stayed silent. "Come on, I deserve at least this much, right?"
God sighed. "He will be at a time … before you entered his life."
Joan couldn't help it anymore. She let herself cry again and let out a humorless laugh. "Great. That's a yes." She hugged herself in an attempt to get the horrible thought of Adam not knowing who she was out of her mind. "So then why should I see him? He won't be Adam, at least not the Adam I know."
Yet another knowing look came Joan's way, but a hint of sympathy arrived with it. "Adam will always be Adam, just like Joan will always be Joan," He then added with a slight smirk, "or Jane to him." He put a comforting hand on Joan's shoulder. "He's just lost for a little while. It's up to you to find him, and to bring him back."
Joan stared at Him with an odd sort of relief. "'A little while'? Does that mean-?"
Cute Boy God lifted his hand from Joan's arm and sent her an almost trademark smile. Somehow, that said everything she needed to know. He then turned and left Joan with her thoughts.
The family and friends of Joan Girardi were amazed to see her do a complete personality flip when she returned to the waiting area, promptly apologizing to the now flabbergasted doctor for being to harsh, and thanking him for saving Adam's life. She casually inquired about pay, to which he responded, "It's been taken care of," and then hurried off, murmuring about bi-polar teenagers. When Joan asked her parents who paid the fee, they replied a young man who overheard the conversation had, out of the goodness of his heart, paid the entire bill that Adam's father was being offered. The man told them his name was Ryan Hunter.
Joan didn't really care what his name was. He made it so the not-so-rich Mr. Rove didn't have to pay for Adam's treatment, and that was good enough for her. Oddly, the enigmatic Ryan Hunter disappeared shortly after be paid the charge. A brief shadow of doubt crossed Joan's mind, but she decided not to think much of it.
Joan noticed a few minutes later that Mr. Rove wasn't with the small group anymore. "Um, where's Adam's dad?" She inquired with a puzzled tone.
"He's in with Adam," Helen explained. "They're allowing visitors, but only two at a time. We thought it was appropriate if he went in alone."
"Oh," Joan replied awkwardly. Even though she had to see him eventually, she didn't think she could bear to look at Adam quite yet.
"Would you like to go see him next?" Helen asked her daughter hesitantly.
Joan shook her head. "N-no. No, I'll go last. I don't mind."
Grace, who was sitting opposite her, gave Joan a suspicious look. "Okay, Girardi, what's up?"
Girardi again. Not 'Joan'. Joan nearly smiled. Grace was getting back to normal, then. "Oh, nothing," said Joan, looking down at her bag absent-mindedly. "I just … need a little time before seeing him." She withdrew the nearly ruined scarf from her bag and stared at it for a moment. Maybe she could still salvage it if she focused. She began her knitting focusing on each little stitch.
Grace wasn't going to let up that easily though. "Less than ten minutes ago you were pissed as hell, and now you're all happy-cheery?" She narrowed her eyes. "You going crazy again?"
Luke, who was sitting next to Grace, opened his mouth to advise against mentioning the 'crazy' tagline, as Joan obvious still had issues with the Lyme Disease spell. Joan, however, laughed slightly. "No, not crazy." That was all she said on the subject. Her family eyed her oddly, and she swore she could hear Kevin murmur to Lily, "Is she sure about that?" only to get a hissing shush, but she could care less what they all thought for some reason.
Who would've thought a meeting with the version of God she was most comfortable hating would've made her so happy?
Joan's overly-good mood had sunk away by the time it was her turn to see Adam, leaving only nervousness and a hint of fear. She knew his memory loss wasn't permanent, and that he wasn't even going to be awake for a few days, but the idea of being in a room with a boy who didn't remember her after nearly two years of history was nerve wrecking.
Nerve wrecking. Now she knew how Adam had felt last year.
She opened the door cautiously, playing with the stray ends of her work-in-progress scarf as she did. The room was smaller than the one Judith had been in (had died in) a few months before, but small than the one she herself had stayed a year before. There was a small couch, much like her old hospital room, near the door, and a chair next to the bed. She tentatively placed her scarf and bag on the couch and took a seat next to Adam, scanning him up and down.
His face had regained most of its color, which was good, but the bandages that wrapped his forehead like a beanie reminded Joan of how close she had been to losing him. She peered over to see his right arm, and was relieved to see it was heavily bandaged. She didn't think she could handle seeing that sickly gash again. Her eyes traveled down to Adam's left leg. It was elevated in a cast, but it seemed to be on the right angle again. She shuddered upon remembering discovering him, his oddly twisted leg…
She shook her head to drive away the images. She wasn't here to dwell on that.
Spying a few tufts of hair free of the bandage, Joan began to absentmindedly play with them, being careful not to touch the bandages for fear of hurting him.
"Hi, Adam," She began in an uneasy voice. "You scared all of us, you know?" She obviously didn't get a response. "Probably scared yourself too, didn't you? You didn't go out there to… Do that." She swallowed, remembering his family history with suicide. "I mean, if you had, it would've been … quicker, right?" No answer, so Joan agreed with herself. "Right."
She fell silent for a few seconds, glancing in an overly cautious fashion. "I… I prayed for you. I told Him He'd better let you live, or else." A bit of a lie there. She'd pleaded for his life instead of threatened. "Remember when I told you I talked to Him last year? Well… I still do. You probably figured that, though. You're smart." A memory of him and Bonnie burned through to the top of her mind, and her eyes burned with tears again. "At least you're normally smart… B-but I'll-I'll forgive you for that. I sh-shouldn't have been so harsh yesterday, and I'm s-sorry. I never wanted you to get yourself hurt." She bit her lip and clenched the hand that still remained in her lap. "But you are hurt. And … and you don't remember me." She breathe deeply, containing the tears that threatened to fall. "But He also told me I can help you. S-so I'm not going to leave you here alone. When you wake up… I'll be here waiting for you." She brushed her hand across Adam's bandaged forehead carefully, and then stood up, snatching her knitting from the couch and taking her spot next to his bed again.
And she continued to re-stitch the scarf, stitch by stitch.
Joan never found out how her mom had convinced Mr. Price to let her skip school to stay with Adam. The deal supposedly went that Joan could miss school until Adam woke up, so he wouldn't be alone when it happened, and then she had to come back. Mr. Rove would've been the one to stay with his son, but life didn't stand still, so he had to go back to work to make sure Adam still had a house to come home to. All Joan knew was that she was able to stay with Adam, and that was all that mattered. A call to Sammy explaining the situation had gotten her out of work, though with a bit of pleading. A friend in the hospital qualified for some off-time. Luke and Grace always dropped off Joan's homework after school, and they used that as their visiting time as well, bringing along Glynis and Friedman once or twice.
They would then talk to Adam while Joan did her work, or share memories about him. Maybe hearing so much about what he didn't remember would help speed up the process of getting his memories back. Joan hadn't figured out a way to tell her friends that she knew he wouldn't remember her, so she couldn't drive away their encouraging words when she lamented about having to explain who she was.
Whenever Mr. Rove came to visit Adam, Joan pulled out of the room, working on her homework or scarf, the latter only if she'd finished the first. Her father had worked his way around the visiting hours for her and Grace somehow – he only told them that they were like family for Adam, and thus they could stay – so more often than not Joan "lost track of time" and fell asleep next to Adam's bed. After four days of nervous work, the scarf was finished and she lost something to preoccupy her. She knew she could've finished it sooner, but the sight of Adam's prone form always slowed her down.
A long week head nearly passed and Joan's already low spirits were beginning to fall. If this went on much longer, Mr. Price probably wouldn't let her stay out of school. Then she would have to argue to stay with Adam, because there was no way she was leaving him alone, not now. She was longing to hear Adam say something – anything – and it was starting to drive her crazy.
She was fully aware that it was very late (or early depending on one's perspective), but she refused to go home, just incase he woke up that night. She could always pull the "I lost track of time" card again and her family wouldn't mind. She was currently amusing herself by studying Adam's left hand, careful of the IV that had yet to be removed (she wished they would just take it out already if they knew he was going to live – it gave her the creeps).
Joan discovered she liked feeling over Adam's hand. She enjoyed discovering exactly where the various grooves and nooks that had been worked in by countless hours of artwork. Back when they were together, she would sometimes feel these spots when he would hold her hand, or wipe away the inevitable tears. Now, she liked finding out exactly where they were, and some times trying to place when she'd felt them before, or if they were knew. A part of her mind seemed to think it wasn't healthy for a girl to be playing with her ex-boyfriend's hand and studying it so intensely, but this was also the part of her mind that accepted she'd been hallucinating when she was diagnosed with Lyme Disease, so she tended to ignore it now.
Either Joan was more tired than she felt, or it was later (or earlier) than she thought, or maybe it was some distorted combination of the two, because she suddenly found herself face down in Adam's sheets, her hair billowing around her head and her hands still wrapped around his, while the part of her mind that she liked took her back to a time where boys didn't cheat and girls didn't lose their tempers and she was still Jane.
Desperation. Fear. Water. Too much water. Climb. Climb. Climb. Slick. Sound, sound, rolling sound. Fear. Realization. Move! Too late! Slick, slip, grasp. Pain! Arm, hurt, pain! Grab, clutch, pain. Breath. Breath. Sound… Sound? Sound! Fear, desperation, move!
Voices… One voice. Voice. Heaven. Guilt. Love.
Adam Rove was surprised when the first thing he felt was pain. It came from his head, and at first it was first sharp and sudden, then it began to fade. Pain also emitted from his right arm, but that was just about ignorable. His leg – he was too tired to figure out which one – felt weird. It didn't hurt, necessarily, but something felt off about it.
His left hand also felt odd, but this was a good odd. Something felt … right.
So, curious about the pain and the odd and the right, Adam Rove opened his eyes. He had to do so slowly, because they felt so heavy, like they hadn't been used in a long time. He blinked away the heavy feeling and glanced to his left hand first to find a girl attached to it. This wasn't any normal girl, though. The plain room he was in seemed even plainer in comparison with her. Her face was hidden beneath waves of hair, and she appeared to be sleeping, and so serene. And yet…
She was glowing.
Light that came from the far side of the room caught her perfectly, shining down and making her glow. She seemed so heavenly and perfect.
That was when Adam remembered a voice. He didn't know what it was saying, only that it was divine and gentle. Somehow, he knew it saved him, but from what he wasn't sure. An angel. His mother had always told him his artwork was so beautiful he must've talked to angels; maybe one was finally talking to him.
His hand unconsciously twitched, and the girl began to stir. Her head lifted and Adam could see a ghost of a smile on her lips and a sad realization in her eyes. She'd nearly sat up completely before she realized he was awake, and she blinked at him oddly.
"Adam?" She asked groggily, removing her hands from his to rub her eyes. Adam's blissful feeling suddenly declined for some reason.
"Um, cha," he responded timidly. "That's me. Where … am I?"
The sadness returned to the girl's eyes for a moment before she answered. "At the Arcadia hospital. You've been asleep for a long time." She had pretty eyes.
"Asleep?" He questioned.
"You got hurt," replied the girl, speaking in a choppy sort of response. "Pretty bad. While hiking. A week ago. You've been asleep since." She suddenly seemed to light up and vigorously asked, "Adam, what's the last thing you remember?"
The question confused him, but for some reason Adam thought he could trust the girl, so he thought back. "Um…" He recalled a celebration he didn't really take part in, a dull sense of relief, and Grace's snarky remarks during a long, boring speech. "The end of freshmen year. Everything after's really hazy." How come he knew there was something after?
The girl-who-looked-heavenly frowned and seemed to visibly darken. Her eyes were suddenly sad again, and Adam didn't like that he kept making them like that. "Oh." She paused for a moment, biting her lip and furrowing her brow while she tried to think of her next words. For some reason, Adam seemed to notice these things. "Um, Adam, the doctors say you … you have head trauma and, uh, amnesia."
Adam blinked indistinctly. "Amnesia?"
The girl nodded uneasily. "Freshmen year ended almost two years ago."
Now Adam was sure he was awake. "What?!" He sat up suddenly and for a second, he could see that his left leg was elevated and in a cast, but then a white light blinded him as a sharp pain shot from his head to his toes.
"Adam!" The girl stood up suddenly and eased him onto his back. When he could see clearly again, she was standing over him with a scolding glare. "You shouldn't do that. I told you, you were hurt badly; sudden movements aren't a good idea."
"Right," Adam winced. "Sorry."
The girl disappeared, but she returned a few moments later with a small paper cup filled with water. "It's from the cooler outside," she explained as she handed it to him. He began to reach up with his right arm, but the girl shook her head. "Left arm." Adam looked at his right to realize it was bandaged up. How bad he was hurt was finally starting to sink in.
He took the water from her and acknowledged just how thirsty he was. He gulped down the cup in one swallow, barely savoring the taste. Somehow, it still made him feel better. "Thanks," he breathed, wiping a drop of the remaining water from his lip.
"N-no problem," the girl flushed for a second, but then she sat back in her chair. "Everyone'll be so glad to know you're awake."
"Everyone?" Adam echoed.
A nod. "Your dad and Grace and my family and your other friends," she confirmed in a bit of a rush. "We've all been very worried about you, but I'll have to call them later, because they're all at work or school or something." Adam nodded in understanding, though everything was still a little confusing for him. "Until then, I'll look after you."
"Th-thanks," Adam stammered. He was surprised she was spending so much time on him. He glanced away in shame for a moment, and then asked, "So … who are you?"
The girl swallowed, and for the first time Adam noticed her eyes weren't only sad but especially bright for some reason. "I'm Jo – " She cut herself off and then gave him a watery smile. "You can call me Jane."
End of Act I
Author's Notes: You'll notice I used 'Act' instead of chapter. Seemed to work better, because this didn't feel like a chapter, for some reason. And yeah, you'll also see that it says 'Act I', meaning there's more. In fact, nearly this entire thing is written out all safe on my computer. You're just getting this first act a week after I finished it.
You're all very lucky, because when I originally thought up this idea, the last scene where Adam woke up WAS the last scene, and this was a one-shot. It was all much shorter in my mind, with God's reassurance to Joan being only a short section before Adam waking up, and Adam basically only asking Joan who she was. Hope you all caught the symbolism there. If not … you and I haven't been watching the same series. :P
I am not in any way a certified doctor or something of that sort, so again, anything medical here is from wikipedia. If anyone has some information that could make this more accurate (i.e. how far a human can fall without dying, medical terms, ect.), then please tell me.
So, there you go. The next act will be out in a week and the next after that. There will be four acts in total, each with a week of waiting in between, like the series. If I'm feeling kind, maybe I'll change that week to days (that also depends on reviews). Hope you all enjoyed it. Feel free to share your comments, because this is the first time I've done any of the characters featured besides God.