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Hoookay. I'm going out on a limb here and post some fanfiction. Fiction was never my forte, and fanfiction in particular kills me because I don't know if I can do much better than all the drivel out there. But lately I've returned to a little-known, underloved live-action TV drama called Joan of Arcadia ... and if it were not enough, I've written what could possibly cost me my religion, and a few friends. XD;;; (I am SO happy I resisted the urge to post fanart... X_x)

In any case, I hope someone will like this. Enjoy. ♥

Disclaimers: If I owned "Joan of Arcadia," Adam would not have had sex with Bonnie, the whole Ryan Hunter arc would not have existed (I personally found it too haphazardly written), and Kris Lemche's CuteBoy!God character would've appeared in the last episode along with all the other incarnations. But alas, it is owned by Ms. Barbara Hall and her production outfit, as well as CBS Television. This piece was written originally for smallfandomfest, and has been cross-posted to ships50.

WARNING: If the idea of romantic tension between a Deity (especially one based on a well-known, conservative religion) and a mortal offends you, PLEASE DO NOT READ THIS. I cannot stress this enough. Thank you.

Title: Too Early To Say What Lies Ahead
Fandom: Joan of Arcadia
Pairing/Characters: Joan and CuteBoy!God
Rating/Category: PG-13
Genres: General, Romance
Prompt: Changes (smallfandomfest) / So Close (ships50)
Word Count: 1,717 words
Spoilers: You should know about Season 2 because this fic takes off from the events there.
Summary: Now more than ever, both Instrument and Creator must depend on each other in the fight against Ryan Hunter. In the proverbial calm before the storm, Joan Girardi begins to grasp the depths of her feelings for the Almighty … and realises that maybe, just maybe, He is capable of feeling the same way for her.
Notes/Warnings: Titles are taken from “Can We Just Stop and Talk A While,” a song composed by Jose Mari Chan. I really wanted this to be a oneshot, but it ended up becoming three chapters because my ficbunny wouldn’t leave me. =_=0 Also, this will have lots of talk and some references to Biblical lore as well as Magdalene legend. If you are offended by any bit of romantic tension between God and Joan (or for that matter, God and any mortal being), please don’t read this. Thanks.

Chapter 1: Away From the Gray and Frenzied Hurly-Burly

The hospital in Arcadia is at a slow, soft hum. Most of the patients, their relatives and friends or have long since turned in for the night both in here and in other places. Visiting hours won’t begin for another two or three hours, so the only staff members around are three interns, four orderlies and two doctors, but most of them are either asleep on their assigned areas or getting ready to turn in themselves.

In one such room on the intensive care unit floors lies a teenaged girl with long brown hair. She curls underneath the thin white blankets, bunching them around her with her uncovered arms. Her long lips move slightly, and if the room’s lights have been switched on, one would see that they’ve taken on a blue colour from the cold. The patients’ information sheet at the footrest of her bed reads “Joan Girardi, 16 years old.”

A boy walks in wearing a camel corduroy jacket and fading jeans, his rubber shoes making only soft squeaks. He finds the lamp and tugs on the cord, flooding the sleeping girl’s face with light.

Joan stirs, lips parted in a smile while she tries to touch the slightly rough fingers on her cheeks. His warmth improves her complexion, so she presses his fingers closer. He laughs softly at her innocence – it’s good that she doesn’t recognise who he is, yet. He whispers, “Good morning Joan,” as he gently caresses her face.

“Gah!” she yelps as her eyes open, not so much because of the light as it is because of his voice having registered through her sleep. She directs her shock and annoyance to God, who currently manifests Himself as a “cute Boy” “You… You… do You know what time it even is? How did You get in?” ‘Argh, I thought it was Adam…! The nerve…’

He shrugs. “It’s early morning.” Then He raises an eyebrow. “When did you ever care about the time?”

Joan pouts, then lets a yawn slip from her. In order to demonstrate that it is indeed morning, He turns for a moment to the windows and reveals the sun, still peeking from under the earth, behind the blinds.

“Come with Me. We can’t talk here.”

“Wha-? But what about-?”

“Relax,” He cuts her off. “I know you hate it in here anyway.” He offers His hand to her, the same hand that caressed her cheeks just minutes ago. “C’mon.”

She shuffles, grabbing a jacket (which looks like something owned by her mum, now that she thinks about it) and putting on her slippers. She takes His hand, knowing that this will be in the context of “business.” He smiles as Joan does her best to tiptoe and reduce the scuffling sounds that her feet make, especially since His rubber shoes are just making soft squeaks.

“Hold on to me,” He instructs her, “I wouldn’t want to lose you.” She blushes as He tightens His grip.

Soon they’re on the street outside the hospital, holding hands. Joan wraps her jacket tightly around her hospital gown with her free hand, shivering from the cool early morning wind. He chuckles.

“Yeah yeah, but I was in a hurry, okay?” Joan looks pointedly at Him. She hates it when He’s amused at her expense. “You didn’t let me change!”

“Why are you always in a hurry to change?” comes His retort. He always has one ready. Only this time, she’s not sure if He’s being literal or figurative. She gives out a huff before pouting and stomping ahead of Him. He shakes His head, His chuckle giving way to laughter.

All this is forgotten once she feels the sun beating down on her during the walk. She wipes the sweat forming on her brow and remarks loudly, “Wow, I knew the weather forecast today would be sunny, but I didn’t think it would be scorching hot…!” She looks at Him and is not surprised that, for all the layers of clothing He’s wearing, He hasn’t broken a single bead of sweat.

He walks ahead of her on the leaf-covered streets. “Are we there yet?” she asks. They’ve walked at least five blocks now, and she’s already winded. When He doesn’t answer, she whines: “Hey, I came from the hospital You know, or have You conveniently forgotten?”

“All things come in due time, Joan.”

She hopes He won’t give her His trademark look of irritation, but before she can apologize He grabs her hand again, and soon links His arm into hers. She’s surprised to find that they’re about to walk up to a hill that wasn’t originally in Arcadia. She pulls away angrily. “Oh no… where are You taking me exactly, Mister?”

All she gets is a raised eyebrow. She huffs again.

The path is fairly steep, alternating with ramps and particularly high steps. He yanks her hand again so she doesn’t fall behind. By this point her muscles are throbbing in pain. She winces, hoping He’ll notice, but He still has a smug smile on His face which she promises she’ll wipe off the moment they arrive at the top.

Finally they get there. The surroundings have changed – below their feet, the forest gives way to coconut trees, the sun shines even more brightly, and the sea is as blue as the sky it kisses. There is sand further ahead, almost white. When Joan looks behind her, Arcadia is gone.

“Whoa…” she gasps in amazement. She lets go of His hand, blinks, rubs her eyes, and pinches her cheeks; the beach is still there. She turns to Him. “Wait. What is going on here? Where are we and what happened to Arcadia?”

He smiles, one of the rare genuine smiles He gives her, because she usually finds Him smirking. “This is heaven – or rather, heaven as I know you want to see it.”

She jumps back involuntarily, suddenly afraid. “Am I… am I dead?” If she is truly in heaven, it can only mean one thing – she has died and He has come to collect her soul.

“No, Joan,” He shakes His head, laughing. Then His smile fades a bit. “It isn’t your time yet, not yet.”

She sighs in spite of herself. Part of her may be afraid of dying, but right now part of her also wishes she’s actually dead. That way, she wouldn’t be such a burden to her family, her friends and Adam, and she wouldn’t have to face Ryan by herself. She peeks over His face, looking for a reaction, but strangely doesn’t find any. He’s only looking ahead.

The pair now walk their way down more ramps and stairs. While she’s happy that the way down is easier, she’s wondering if she should just plop down on her bum in the hopes that He’ll drag her down the rest of the path. But before she can execute her plan, she finds herself outside a bungalow.

The rooftop seems to be made of clay tile, which reminds her of pueblos that she has seen from books about Mexico and the southern United States. The walls are large, at least twice as tall as her, and coloured like yellow sand. The rest of the house screams “Asia” however: the gates are made of thick hard wood, with golden knobs like in the pictures of Chinese palaces she has seen in history books, and ajar. There is no door, only an open doorway. She can see furniture inside which she thinks looks Asian. Strangely, with all the influences, nothing seems out of place.

“Welcome to My home, Joan,” He says with the most charming grin to match. He opens the gates with one hand and brings her inside with the other.

The House of God is nothing like Joan expects. So she was right about the Asian influence, with the assortment of round and curvilinear furniture, mostly wooden, arranged in tasteful chaos. Every section is zoned perfectly, sometimes with the help of curtains made of what can possibly be metallic threads embroidered on fine silk, at other times with what looks like hand-woven carpets. She notes that the only walls of the house are the walls which basically define the House.

Meanwhile, the floor is made of brightly-coloured mosaic tiles, forming abstract patterns of swirls and circles. The large windows at the sides don’t open out, but are made of wooden sliders with what seems to be an opaque white glass. Best of all, there’s another open doorway directly facing the beach.

She is reduced to gaping openly at Him. He replies, “Sorry, I don’t do design… I’m a carpenter, remember?” with matching cocked eyebrow.

Joan soon oohs and aahs again, fingering the drapes, bouncing from chair to chair. She throws open the doors of every single cabinet to find porcelain and silverware of all kinds, and gains a “pick up after yourself please” look from the Houseowner. While returning everything she’s picked out into their proper places, she muses on how both her mum and Adam would love the way each single, elegantly-made piece in this House flows together to form a cohesive, beautiful whole. Finally, she turns to Him with a flushed, pleased smile. “Wow… I really like Your taste.”

“That’s not even half of it, Joan, believe Me,” He winks back without skipping a beat. She knows He’s teasing, and while she normally would pout or sulk or simply express her annoyance, her stomach suddenly grumbles. This earns her His genuine laughter, which makes her fold her arms over her chest, sit down and grunt.

Then He sits cross-legged across her, with a low table with curved, paw-like feet between them. On the table is a bowl full of oranges, grapes, apples and other fruits she doesn’t ever remember trying in her life. “Eat. You’ll need the energy and strength.”

She nods wanly, taking hold of an orange. He watches her intently as she uses her nails to dig deep into its skin, peeling it off to reveal the pulp inside. He notes how she picks a piece and pops it into her mouth, chewing carefully, using her tongue to feel for seeds (there are none). She gathers all the peeled skin in a pile, although not an orderly one, on the table.

Finally, in between munches, she asks, “So… if I’m not dead, why’d You bring me here?"

To be continued...

♥ Special thanks to Laura/irish_turkey of ships50 and Rebecca/chasin' the wind of Fan Forum for their excellent editing skills, valuable time and input, and their encouragement. ♥