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Falling is Not Failing

Title: Falling is not Failing
Rating: PG
Fandom: Joan of Arcadia
Spoilers: No Bad Guy
Disclaimer: Joan of Arcadia and all related elements © Barbara Hall Productions, Inc. and CBS Productions, in association with Sony Pictures Television. All rights reserved.

.....

If there was anything Joan Girardi knew better than herself, it was God. Ok, maybe only on those good days, when Luke wasn't babbling and Kevin wasn't boasting and her mother wasn't fussing over the clothes she wore. Those days when the sun was shining brightly (but not too bright because sometimes she gets blinded and runs into things) and her hair actually looked good, Joan knew God better than herself.

Or so she thought.

As she walked down the hall of Arcadia High, she saw a pretty girl smiling at her and coming toward her. Not a usual form, Joan thought, but then when were there usual forms? So she plastered on her best smart-ass look and walked smugly toward the girl.

It was a few minutes later when Joan found herself on the ground, looking up at Grace and Adam. Grace was laughing and shaking her head and Adam looked genuinely worried about her sanity.

She put her hand to her head, trying to remember. "What happened?"

Grace raised her hand out as if to say she was going to speak, but she had to wait until her laughter had subsided a bit. "Girardi, what were you thinking? You were walking straight toward Maria Inglefield like she was your best friend and when you started to open your mouth to speak to her as she passed you; she tripped you like you were nothing. It would be hilarious if it wasn't... never mind, it is hilarious."

Adam frowned at Grace and reached a hand down for Joan to grab. "Are you alright Jane?"

Joan smiled gratefully at Adam and pulled herself into a standing position, stooping to get her bag and slinging it on her shoulder. She nodded. "I'm fine I just... I think I blacked out or something. I don't remember that at all."

"Blacked out? Is that bad, yo? You might want to go tell your Mom or something," Adam kept looking at her like she was going to break.

She shook her head vigorously. "No. No I'm not going to see my Mom. I'll be fine."

Grace shook her head, finally done laughing at her friend. "Fine is an understatement, Girardi. You are just damn lucky it was only us that saw you. Otherwise, you'd be carrying this one to graduation."

Joan glared at her. "Thanks Grace, you're a real pal."

"Don't mention it, Girardi. Just looking out for your reputation is all." Grace shook her head, still grinning.

"My reputation? Do I have one? Besides being some sort of... subdefective that puts pictures of herself in her underwear on the internet? There's not much ruin..." She looked over at Adam, who shook his head.

"I swear I deleted it, yo." He looked defensively at her and she smiled.

---

"Joan!"

Joan turned to see who was calling her name. When she saw Maria, she turned and continued down the hall.

"Joan!" Maria hurried and grabbed Joan's arm, which caused her to wheel around and glare at her.

"Come to trip me again?"

Maria shook her head and smiled. "No, I came to give you this." She handed the girl a piece of paper.

Joan snatched it and read over it quickly, looking up at Maria with annoyance and confusion. "So?"

"So you're going to help." Maria said frankly.

"Who made you my boss? You can't tell me what I'm going to..." Her eyes got wide and she pointed a finger at the girl.

God smiled. "Just help with the bake sale, Joan."

"You!" The girl started walking away and Joan quickly caught up with her. "You've got a lot of nerve, you know. This is just mean and... and sadistic! You aren't supposed to be sadistic!"

God shook her head. "It's not sadistic, Joan. It's actually something I like to call a sense of humor, which I tried to bless most of you with. Yours is a bit faulty at times." She smirked.

"Sense of humor? That's not funny, letting me get tripped by some girl when I thought it was you in the first place! And then... then you use her body to taunt me? You're taunting me, that's what you're doing! It's not funny it's... its evil!"

God just shook her head again. "Go home and tell Luke you want to help with the bake sale." She continued down the hall.

"I don't want to help with the bake sale! If I said that, I would be telling a lie! You said 'thou shalt not lie!'" She made a surprised yelp. "You're trying to turn me into a sinner! I see your plan! I've got you figured out, God!" Joan was yelling down the hall and smiled stupidly when the janitor looked at her with wide eyes, rolling the mop and bucket down the hall toward her. "Heh. Just a joke, um... between friends... um I'm... gonna go to class now..." She walked swiftly down the hall, the janitor glancing over his shoulder at her.

---

Joan slammed the paper down on the counter that advertised the chemistry club bake sale and looked exasperatedly at her brother. "I want to help with the bake sale," she spoke and a low, monotone voice.

Luke shook his head, putting a few chips into his mouth and swallowing before speaking. "Don't look too enthusiastic about it, Joan. If you wanted to help, you wouldn't look like Mom just pawned you into it. She didn't, did she?"

Joan plopped on a stool. "No, she didn't. I just happen to be... a good cook." She raised her eyebrows at him, knowing it wasn't convincing.

Luke laughed. "You aren't supposed to lie."

She laughed sarcastically. "Tell me about it."

---

"What are you doing Jane?" Adam asked as he walked into the Girardi kitchen and found Joan in a red apron with white flour covering it and almost everything else. He picked some dough out of her hair and laughed. "What exploded?"

She glared at him. "I'm making cookies, Adam, and I'm doing just fine." There was a pile of cookies at the end of the counter that ranged from burned black to not even fully cook.

"You want some help?"

Joan considered. God hadn't said she could have help, but then God was also being a sadistic and evil higher power so she nodded to Adam. "Sure. I'd love some help." She raised her fist at the ceiling when Adam wasn't looking, a spiteful gesture toward her creator.

After they'd finished cooking five dozen cookies (now in much better shape with Adam's help) they washed their hands and Joan looked at Adam. "Want me to walk you home?"

"Sure." They walked in silence for a while, Joan wondering why most of their time spent alone together seemed to be awkward or forced. She was brought out of her thoughts by Adam asking her a question.

"You believe in God, don't you Jane?"

She stayed silent for a while, her blood boiling because she knew that God knew about this. This had his name written all over it. Caught up in angry thoughts toward the Lord, Adam inquired again. "Jane?"

"Huh? Oh sorry. Yeah. Yeah, I believe in him. Why?"

"Well have you ever wondered why he doesn't just... talk to us?" Adam looked over at her as he spoke.

Inwardly, she was pitching a fit. Oh you think this is funny, don't you? You're up there on your cloud laughing, I bet. She shook her head to clear the thoughts and focused on what Adam was saying. "Well I think... people might start questioning their sanity if they thought God was talking to them." Good point, Joan. Are you sure you are just a nut?

Adam thought on that. "Well if he had just done it in the first place then people wouldn't think they were crazy. And... and people wouldn't question that he existed because they'd have more than just the Bible to go on, you know?"

She nodded. "Yeah, but I think he wants us to have faith... to find our own faith in him. I think it's more of a 'believing even though there's really no physical evidence' thing. You're faith is stronger if it's built on the fact that you believe in him regardless of what others say."

Adam nodded and didn't say anything else. After saying goodbye she turned and began the walk back to her house; the man with the dogs walked up next to her. "Now do you see why I picked you, Joan?"

She glared at him, sarcasm dripping through her voice. "So I could sit and talk to my friends like I'm normal and that I think like them when I'm really a freak who hears the voice of God in different forms?"

"Exactly. I'm glad you're catching on, finally."

"Oh come on!" She threw her arms in the air and walked faster down the sidewalk, leaving the man and the dogs behind.

-fin-

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