(We'll get the long, boring AN stuff out of the way first – here after I'm going to try very hard to add them at the end of chapters where they are easily ignored. ;) )
Authors Note – Despite numerous attempts, I have been unable to find a beta for this story as of yet, so I do apologize for any errors. Feel free to point them out to me and I will gladly correct them!
Secondly, according to Bethany Sloane's Wiki, she was born in 1961 and thus was 35 years old in Dogma. I am making use of my creative license and fudging that number a bit so she was 32-33, as was my initial impression when I first watched the movie. This probably won't affect much in the story, but I do make a few pop-culture refs that might not fit into the time line as neatly if I didn't mention it.
Lastly, this is my first dip into the Dogma fandom, and even unfinished, this is the longest fan fiction I've written to date, so I am justifiably nervous about what kind of attention it will receive. As of the moment, I have ten 'chapters'/10,000 words ready to go, and another 8,000 words or so written out, but only as parts of a bigger whole. That said, I am not usually one to request this, but please do comment and tell me what you think because as my very first "long fic", I am very worried about things getting stale or the characters being… well, uncharacteristic I suppose.
There are no bright lights or heavenly host singing on the day (and a night and another day) of the Second Coming. No guiding stars, no sounding trumpets, no choir of angles and – thankfully – no barnyard animals. In fact, the only witnesses to this joyous (six weeks early You rat bastard) occasion are three harried nurses, the attending (because Dr. Abbigal is in the fucking Bahamas because Your brat decided to come fucking six weeks early!), an abortion clinic worker (thank you, Liz, for not making me do this alone because You fucking left me down here to deal with this all on my own) and one extremely pissed off mother-to-be.
If any of them wondered why Bethany Slone kept shouting such colorful and creative curses towards the ceiling, they simply blamed it on the fatigue of the birthing process and slight loopyness of the drugs they gave her to dull the pain. If you'd spent forty-three hours in labor, you'd probably be pretty damned cranky, too.
There is one final push and the most ear-ringing expletive of all, and then it was over and the sound of crying filled the room and the doctor was placing a small, red, wiggling body into her arms, still screaming bloody murder at the cruelty of this cold and unforgiving world, and she's the most beautiful thing Bethany has ever seen.
Night had fallen hours ago, leaving behind that time between late night and early morning when even the hospital seemed to pause, to catch its breath and regroup before moving on to the next emergency. Bethany is awake, wrapped in the hushed silence of her room, looking down at her small, beautiful, perfect little girl and marveling at the miracle of her as she sleeps.
"You are amazing," she whispers, feeling the warm burn of tears in her eyes that she is totally going to blame on hormones.
"She is a bit, isn't she?" someone else says, just as quietly, unwilling to disturb the sleeping child. Bethany looks up, completely unsurprised to see the Metatron standing next to her bed.
"They are a bit ugly when they come into this world, aren't they? All red and wrinkly." He steps closer and runs a gentle finger down the side of the baby's face, and since Bethany can hear the underlying affection in the comment, she decides not to smack his shoulder when it gets within reach. Besides, that would require her to unwrap one of her arms from her child, and she wasn't quite willing to make that sacrifice yet. "I suppose that's to be expected, though, what with… the method by which they come into the world and all," he continued, and Bethany bites back a smile when his finger is captured by one tiny fist.
"Believe me, it's no treat from this end, either," Bethany replies. But it's worth it, she finishes silently in her head. Out loud, she asks, "And I suppose angels just appear out of nothingness? "
"Not sure, really," he wiggles his finger, trying half-heartedly to free it from its infant prison, "God never told me and I never asked. I vaguely recall mention of star-dust, though. And none of the messy clean-up."
Bethany chuckles quietly and shakes her head. "Thanks a lot."
Finally able to retrieve his finger, The Voice sits next to her on the hospital bed and put his arm around her shoulders. "And how 'bout you, dear girl? How are you doing?"
"I'm..." Exhausted. Invigorated. Thrilled. Amazed. Waaay too emotional. Sleep deprived. Fantastic. Enthralled. Terrified... "I'm... not sure."
Metatron smiles – a sweet, caring, not-the-least-bit-condescending smile - and squeezes her shoulders. "That sounds about right."
Accepting the comfort he offers – he is family, after all, and completely and totally safe to boot; no risk of sending mixed signals when the man in question lacks the parts that make most men insufferable – Bethany snuggles into his embrace a bit, tilting her head back so it rested on his shoulder. God, she was so tired.
"Yeah, sorry about that." He actually does sound kind of sheepish. "Some things not even God has complete control over – as you are quite familiar with, I'm sure, though at least there was no risk of apocalypse this time around – and the Little Miss there was right determined to get out into the world as soon as she could."
What her disbelieving snort lacks in volume it makes up for in pure feeling. "Could've fooled me, considering the forty-three hours it took before she made her entrance."
"Yes, well, the Family did always have a bit of a flair for the dramatic, wouldn't you agree?"
Bethany's exhausted laughter is muffled slightly by his chest. "Point," she agrees.
She sobers quickly, though, remembering the stories of her daughter's divine past. One story in particular had held a place in her nightmares since she realized what it was to be the mother of a child of God.
"Will she-" her voice cracks, and she can't finish the question for fear of the answer.
"Her big brother already sacrificed his life for the world," Metatron tells her, arm tightening around her shoulders.
"Her's will be a life of dedication, not sacrifice."
She hugs her daughter close, tears of relief falling against the baby-fine dark hair that covers her head. "Thank God," she whispers, meaning it with every fiber of her being.
Jay and Silent Bob send flowers, reminding her of the suggested six weeks she should wait before having sex again and helpfully offering their services when the time is up. A day or so later, Rufus drops by, too, though thankfully not in the literal sense this time around.
"I don't know," he says, making baby faces at the child in his arms, "I still say she looks like a 'Rufus' to me."
Bethany rolls her eyes at him. "Her name is Ilana. Illana Astraea Sloane. It's on her birth certificate already."
Rufus holds his free hand up in surrender. "Okay, okay, I'll give. But if you ever change your mind, I do know a guy…"
A few weeks after Bethany gets home from the hospital, she receives a child support check in the mail with a surprising number of zeros on it. Attached is a personal message – "Can't have you cheating on your taxes, after all" – and Bethany laughs for five minutes straight when she notices the signature: The One Who Is Called I Am!
Chapter notes, for those interested:
Whats in a name? Well, according to the online baby names website I used: Ilana means 'light' 'torch', and Astraea means 'star'.
Also, Illana's birthday - for the sake of this story, somewhere around February 19, 1999