A/N: My first JoA Fanfic. It's romantic. No flaming.
Pairings: Cute Boy/Goth God and Joan
Disclaimer: I do not own in any way, shape, or form, any of the characters that I may use and/or make reference to in this story. I'm just borrowing them, and writing it for fun. So please, don't sue me! ^^
Amandolo, Conoscendolo, Trovandolo
Chapter 1: The Deity Argument
The school's nurse covers Joan's hand with an opaque ointment and wraps it tight in gauze. She then places both tube and roll into her backpack. "Be sure to remove the gauze and reapply the ointment every three hours." She winks. "And be a bit more careful around Bunsen burners from now on." Joan thanks her, slips her backpack over her shoulder, shuts the door behind her, and starts down the hallway. So far, her day had been horrible. She'd woken up forty-five minutes late, rushed to school without eating breakfast, ran into Adam during first period which made her sick, ran into Bonnie fourth period then made a beeline for the bathroom to kick the stall and throw up, mouthed off to her French teacher and got called to the office, burned her hand in AP Chemistry, and to top it all off, she'd just accidentally bowled over one of the cheerleaders. This day couldn't possibly get any worse, Joan thought. But at least I haven't had a visit from- She stops a few paces away from her locker. "Oh, God..."
"Yes, Joan?" The voice belongs to God who is in his Cute Boy form- the only form that he takes that can make her blush. But not today, she thinks. This is not a day for swooning. Ignoring Mr. Master of The Universe, she saunters to her locker a bit too quickly, raises her right hand out of habit and, BAM! She hits the combination lock and hunches over. Who knew a messed up hand could hurt so much?
God winces at the sight. "That's a nasty burn," he said. "Do you mind if I help you out?"
Joan scoffs. He wanted to help? Oh, now he wanted to help? "Cut the act. You're God!" she yells. "You can help if you want, but I know you. All you're going to do is make fun of me!" And she jabs her collarbone with her wrecked thumb. "Owww! Ow, ow, ow!" She glares at him. "This is all your fault!" A few passerby stop and stare. Once again, Joan Girardi has made a complete fool of herself in the public eye. She bites her lip, lowering her gaze to the floor. God smiles at the kids reassuringly, takes Joan's elbow, and leads her outside where they sit under a tree.
God liked Joan. She was funny, smart, and honest above all else. Which was one reason he'd chosen her; she wouldn't do anything he told her to do just because he told her to do it. He liked how open she was with him about everything; although he had to admit, sometimes she could be a little mouthy. Still, he liked her. He takes the opportunity to speak while Joan cradles her hand. "Let's get a few things straight, Joan," he says in what Joan calls his "snippy" voice, "1: I don't like being spoken to in any way you choose. I have the same type of feelings as you. 2: You can't blame everything bad that happens to you on me. You have free will, you make choices that set off a chain of events and I can't do anything about it because I won't control you. And 3: I don't make fun of anyone; it's not in my character. I'm kind, and compassionate and gentle, but I am not, nor will I ever be, insensitive. So I think you owe me an apology."
"Oh," Joan laughs, "I have to apologize to you? Huh, well let's see; if that's the case, then you should apologize to me first!" She stands up and takes long strides away from the shade. God runs after her. "Joan, wait-"
"No! I'm not waiting; I'm not stopping. Not until you apologize!"
"For what, appearing to you? For helping you bring your grades up in school, making new friends, all of that?" He reaches her, placing a hand on her shoulder to stay her. "Joan, I did that for a reason!"
"Then tell me why!"
She whips around to face him. "Tell me," she says vehemently, "Why you chose me, of all the people in the world, to run your errands; tell me what makes me so special, because I don't understand!"
"You don't have to understand," he says, trying to calm her, "You have faith in me. That's all that matters."
Joan throws her hands in the air, exasperated. "Oh, sure, faith explains it all! You know, that means nothing to me! Why," she demands, "Did you choose me?" God just shakes his head. Biting his lower lip, he grasps her elbow and pulls her in the direction of the park. "You want to know why I chose you, Joan," he says in between breaths. "You want to know why I would choose anyone to see me. Well Joan, I'll show you."
Luke Girardi is standing outside of Arcadia High. He's been waiting for his sister to come around with the car which should have happened fifteen minutes ago. Now he paces the courtyard wondering what is taking her so long. She has to get to work and he has a study group waiting for him at the library. Joan, hurry up. Ten minutes later and there is still no Joan. Another ten minutes pass and Luke starts to wonder if she's just left him there. He goes around the school building to the parking lot to see if the car is still there. He doesn't actually expect it to be there, and yet there it is.
This is wrong. Luke dashes to a pay phone and drops some change into the slot. He dials the Polanski's. Rabbi Polanski answers. "Yes, rabbi, this is Luke Girardi, Grace's boyfriend."
"Oh yes," the rabbi says, "The young scientist. Do you want to talk to Grace?"
"Yes sir." He hears the rabbi call his daughter. In a few seconds Grace is on the other line. "Hey Geek," she says. "What's up?"
"Grace, don't ask why yet, but did you see Joan leave school?"
"I saw her leave with some pop culture meathead. Why, and what's with the panic?" Luke relates the last thirty-five minutes to her, ending with, "Do you think that guy could have… kidnapped her?"
"Whoa, Brain Boy, get a hold of yourself. Who would be stupid kidnap your sister in broad daylight? School security's as tight as a knot." Luke has no idea, but something doesn't feel right. "It's not like Joan to just leave without telling anyone."
"Dude," Grace says, "Everyone is entitled to privacy, I don't care who it is. Maybe Joan's dating again and she doesn't want Rove to find out or something."
"That doesn't explain why she didn't tell me she was leaving." Luke sighs. "I'm worried about my sister, Grace."
"Okay dude, stay there. My dad and I will come pick you up. In the meantime, call your parents and tell them what's up. It's only been thirty minutes so they couldn't have gotten far... not like I think something's wrong." Luke thanks her, hangs up the pay phone and drops in more change. "Not even four o'clock yet, and things are already exciting."
As they get closer to the park, Joan notices that the sidewalk and streetlights are disappearing. In their place are trees; rows upon rows upon rows of fruit, pine, and oak trees. Then the playground vanishes and in its place is a shimmering blue lake about 35 yards wide, surrounded by cattails and water lilies. What really sticks out is the house if it can even be called that; it is four stories high and several yards wide. There are immaculate gardens full of a hodgepodge of different flower varieties and bushes. Poplars line the stone walkway that lead to a pristine wrap-around porch. The backyard is fenced off from the front. The house itself is painted a pale green with cream trim. Joan notices all of this in only a few minutes because God is still pulling her by the elbow, as gentle as ever, towards the large house. "That's mine," he said. "I made it for those who need a break from the world I created." Joan tries to comprehend what he is saying. "This is what lies beyond the world you can see, Joan. This is my world. Your world, if you choose to claim it. A place where you can rest and your strength will be renewed by me." He releases her elbow and looks at her. His face betrays His feelings.
Most of the time, Joan forgets that he really is carrying the weight of the universe on his shoulders. When she speaks, her voice quivers. "Sometimes I forget that you really are in charge of... everything. I guess I take the fact that you appear to me for granted. I lash out at you when things don't go the way I want them to, and that means I'm adding to the weight you already carry. I'd never thought about it before." She crosses her arms over her chest and sticks her bottom lip out slightly. "I'm sorry...for everything."
"I forgive you, Joan," he says. "But don't worry about me. In truth, I've already won. I won the battle over two thousand years ago. But I still have to woo people's hearts after all this time... and sometimes I get lonely. More than that, I want to show my love to everyone, but they don't hear me, or they don't see me, or they do see and hear but they don't understand the significance of what they're experiencing." He sits in the grass. "That's why I chose to show myself to you, Joan. I want you to experience the love that you'd miss out on otherwise." A bird chirps in the distance. "I want you to spend some time with me. Get to know me a bit, know my heart. Once you've done that, you'll be ready to face the challenges that are waiting for you."
"Dude, Jane's missing?" Adam takes off his insulated welding gloves and mask. There is a smudge of something dark, maybe grease, on his cheek. He is frazzled, Grace can tell. Not too many people know him as well as she does. Not that she's proud of the fact. "Yes," she says, "We think so. Girardi and his dad are on the way. Joan's mom went back to the school to talk to Price. Kevin is checking around the bookstore, and the ex-nun and priest have been pulled into it. We'll find her, don't worry."
"How can I not worry, yo? It's Jane. She's gone! How am I supposed to act, like nothing's wrong? Grace, I can't do that!"
Grace grabs him by the shoulders. "Get a grip, Rove. Don't become an emotional psycho maniac like the rest of these brainless, lovesick zombies at school. Listen: you and Joan aren't together anymore. Get over it. She's your friend, right?" He nods dumbly. "Good, then as her friend, I suggest you have a healthy dose of concern. Who knows, she might turn up again before the day is over."
"Yeah, Grace. You're probably right." He takes a few deep breaths. "You can go in the house, I'll be there. I need a few minutes." As Grace closes the door to the garage, Adam finds himself leaning against a wall. He takes in a breath and holds it. Think rationally, he tells his self. What in the world could explain this? Thinking back, he remembers when he and Joan had started dating. She'd confided in him that God, of all people, showed Himself to her and gave her assignments. He remembers her saying that she didn't quite understand why she did what He wanted her to do, but things always turned out right in the end if she did.
God. But no, it couldn't be. God wouldn't take Joan away, would he? What if he had? That would explain... "I have to tell Grace." He starts for the door, and then stops short. Would Grace believe him? No, she'd think he'd flipped his wig or something. God, talking to Joan? She'd say that's as impossible as Hitler following the Ten Commandments. Back to square one. It looked like Adam would have to let everyone else run around until he was sure they would listen.
Helen Girardi saunters through the hallway, bumping into students and teachers like they are pieces of furniture instead of humans. She is fuming from what Luke told her just moments ago. First Kevin, now Joan. Who's next? She turns into another hallway. Why would God let this happen? Are you bent on causing me and my family even more pain? She hadn't been having any dreams lately. If she had, she would've known about this. As things went, all the blame went straight to God; someone had to be blamed.
She turns another corridor, walks past the front desk and smashes the vice-principal's door open. "Price!" she growls. "Where is she?" Vice-principal Price jumps at Helen's noisy arrival. "Helen," he says calmly, "Where is who?"
"Don't you play games with me, Price," Helen warns. "I want to know where she is, and I want to know now." Any fool, including Price, would be able to tell that Helen Girardi was past her boiling point; the woman was livid. "Easy, Helen, just take it easy." He motions for her to take a seat, which she declines. He resumes his posture at his desk with hands folded. "Now," he says, "Let's just be rational here. You tell me what you want to know, and I'll answer as best as I can."
Helen blows out a puff of air. "Mr. Price," she says calmly, "Did you see my daughter leave the grounds today?"
"I happened to be outside when she left, yes."
"Okay, was she with someone? Did she seem okay to you...?"
He thinks for a bit. "Come to think of it, she was with a young man. I didn't recognize him as a student here-"
"My daughter was talking with some guy that you didn't recognize?"
"I know all of the students here-"
"Uh-huh. So he doesn't go to school here?"
"Not to my knowledge, no."
"Well what did it look like they were doing?"
Price clears his throat. "They seemed to be having an argument of some sort, a heated debate, if you will. I was going to intervene and lecture Ms. Girardi on proper decorum while on school grounds when she walked off and this young man ran after her. She yelled at him, he yelled back, took her by the elbow, and dragged her off somewhere."
"What did they say?" Helen listens intently while Price reiterates what he'd heard. "'You should apologize to me first,' Joan says. The young man seems to tell her to wait and she lashes out with, "not until you apologize!' The young man says something about appearing to her, helping her with school, with friends; he says he did it for a reason..." Price stops. "What did he mean?"
"What do you mean," Helen asks.
"'For appearing to you,' is what he said but what sense does that make? People don't just appear to other people out of the blue."
"That doesn't matter. Which way did he pull her after that?"
"Towards the municipal park... I don't know Helen, doesn't that sound-"
"Thanks, Price," Helen says. She leaves the room feeling even more confused than she had been in the first place. What's all this about appearing and helping with school and whatnot when the kid didn't even go to Arcadia High?
I know a rat when I smell one. She takes out her cell phone and dials her husband. She gets his machine. "Will, it's Helen. Listen; get your boys down to the park. We think Joan went that way. I'll meet you there. Love you, bye."
Joan willingly lets God lead her past the threshold of the house. "Looks a lot bigger than it did when we were outside, huh Joan?" He smiles, partly smirking, partly genuine. She nods, too astonished to speak.
Stepping past the threshold, Joan is greeted with a sweet, floral scent; strong and airy, not overpowering...rejuvenating, she thought. The floors were a honey-colored wood. On her left is a carpeted corridor; on her right, a stair case; and to the front is another corridor, wood paneled, lined with golden doors. She guesses the double swinging doors on the right lead to the kitchen, the pair across the hall lead to a dining area, and all the other doors are rooms of some sort.
"You're right, Joan. Nice guessing skills." He releases her elbow. "Your room is down the left corridor, on the right hand side."
"Um...thanks." She offers him her wrapped hand. He touches it lightly. "Joan," he says, "Let me take care of this for you." He takes her left hand and leads her into the kitchen.
It is immaculate. The floors are the same honey wood as the hallways and foyer; there are large windows to let the sun in; a small set of double doors leads to a pantry, fully stocked. A kitchenette set on the far side of the room sits next to a window, an island in the middle of the room is surrounded by stools; there is a stainless steel refrigerator, marble countertops, matching cabinets, and a double sink that looks like it's made of pure silver. Joan's eyes are beginning to hurt from looking at so much brilliance.
She takes up a stool and watches as God reaches into the fridge and pulls out a small porcelain bowl. Inside of it is some kind of clear gel. It reminds Joan of worm sludge, or slug slime. "What is that?" Instead of replying, He reaches back into the fridge and pulls out a bottle of milk and another bowl, both of which he places on the counter in front of her. Taking up the stool next to her, He carefully undresses her hand. Joan's skin crawls at the sight; her fingers, curled in pain, her skin red and blistered. It hurts really badly without the gauze, but He is very gentle, straightening each finger and slowly setting it in the empty bowl. Joan watches as he unscrews the cap on the milk jar. "Whoa, that's going over my hand? Why don't you just use ice?"
He responds without turning to look at her.
"Water is a natural quencher, used to put out things like fires. Milk, on the other hand, is a natural moisturizer and burn aid. Your skin will start to heal after a few soaks in this. And the stuff in the bowl is aloe gel. It works the same as milk, but it sticks around longer. It also prevents scarring."
"You really do know everything, don't you?"
He smiles. "Of course I do. I made everything, after all. I should know how these things work." He glances at her. "For instance, I know all about you, Joan: your past, your present, your future…." He takes some of the aloe and rubs it in a thick layer over the rough skin. "I made you. And I'm happy with my work."
As He wraps her hand again, Joan realizes how odd this whole thing is. Here she is with the Master of the Universe Himself, the Supreme Deity who knows everything there is to know about her and more... and she knows next to nothing about Him.
"Is this my assignment," she asks. "Because I feel like I don't even know you."
He concentrates on pinning the gauze together. "That's because you don't. You will eventually get to know me.
"Remember what I said on day one: I'm beyond your experience, Joan. I don't look or sound or even feel like anything you'd recognize. I'm truly magnificent, and if you were to see me as I am, your heart would fail."
"For you, yes, it would be frightening. But this theophany thing I thought up is working just fine, don't you think?" Joan arches an eyebrow at him. He chuckles. "Never mind; I'll put this stuff away. Why don't you lie down for a while, Joan? You've had a rough day."
Taking that as her cue to leave, Joan takes a leisurely barefoot walk down the plush corridor. She opens the door that is her designated bedroom and is pleased: green, white, gray, and black. God knew her tastes. Next to the western window is a huge four-poster bed with a green wrap-around canopy. She does a running jump and flops on the mattress. In a few minutes, Joan is lost in a dream world.
Okay, so it's been a while since I had an account, and I'd really, really, REALLY like to know what you all think, so please review! ^^ Thank you very much.