Author's Note: Thoughts, flashbacks, and something to show that a word is being enunciated are in **, so you'll have to figure that one out on your own.
Author's Note #2, (ALL OTHER AUTHORS PLEASE READ): This totally and completely came from my own imagination, so if there's a part of your story that somehow got into mine, it's purely coincidental, so please don't send me hate mail! Someone did it to me and I was completely unaware I had used some of her story in mine, and she was extremely harsh and rude about it. SO if you feel the need, please make it non threatening!
Dawson inhaled sharply. That could only be the sound of one voice. Pacey's.
*I can't go on living my own life on such an ugly day-to-day basis as I do. I have to put Capeside behind me.*
Joey's eyes filled with tears. *After 3 years, I've always dreamed of what it'd be like when Dawson and everyone would finally reunite. I've scripted it out, something I never thought I'd do, but now that the time is here, I'm speechless.*
"Dawson? Is it...really you?" Pacey repeated.
Dawson slowly nodded, as the tears began to well up in his eyes. Here was the answer to one of his biggest questions, and he had nothing to say.
After removing his jaw from the ground, Pacey only came up with one answer. "Wow."
Joey finally regained composure and asked Dawson the question she had wanted to ask him for the last years. "Why, Dawson?"
"Excuse me?" Dawson inquired, startled at Joey's sudden question.
"Why'd you go away?" her lower lip quivered as she forced herself not to cry.
"Because...everything was falling down from it's pedestal and I couldn't do a thing to stop it. My parent's relationship went haywire and I lost you, Joey, the only thing I could ever depend on. Then on what was supposed to be the happiest 24 hours of my life, the day I turned 16, no one remembered. My two best friends and even my own mother forgot it was my sixteenth birthday. It was just too much to balance and it looked as though my only option was to run away."
"But Dawson, you hurt so many people because so many people love you," Joey tried to convince him.
"That's the thing, Jo. The only way I restrained myself from taking action sooner is pretending my parents love me and my friends care about me. But that was a joke. My whole life in Capeside was joke. Moreover, it was a *lie.* Everything my little world turned out to be was a lie. So I had to get out, to escape to somewhere where I could be truly loved and appreciated. Do you even begin to understand how hard it was for me to realize no one gave a damn about what I did? And what I do *now?* I had to accept that, by far the most difficult thing I've ever done."
Joey couldn't believe what she was hearing. Dawson Leery, the one person who never could look reality in the eye, faced it so quickly he felt no other option than to run away? This was unreal.
"You really don't get the impact of what you did, do you, Dawson?" Joey questioned. "In some way, you hurt everyone in that town. You hurt your family and friends because we love you, and everyone else in their own way. Abby, because she had no one to try to set Jen up with. Nellie, because she had to find another worker for Screenplay Video. You hurt everyone in their own significant way, and we couldn't find you. The time we spent attempting to was wasted. And it broke our hearts."
Andie finally spoke up. "And everyone cared about you, Dawson. We still do."
"Where'd you go, anyway?" Pacey asked.
"To my grandparent's in Connecticut. I made them promise to never tell my parents...or anybody where I was. And they cared. They really, sincerely cared," Dawson answered softly. "I felt a feeling a warmth I hadn't felt for a long time. And I finally felt that someone cared."
"Daws-" Pacey began to say.
"Pace, it's no use! You'll never be able to make me believe I was loved in Capeside! I know I wasn't!"
"Prove it," Pacey retorted.
"Okay...Pacey, you were always preoccupied with Andie, my parent's with their statistical relationship, Jen with partying, and Joey with Jack and art. Then I spent so much time understanding everyone and helping them sort out their life, and yet I never received anything of the sort back. And no one seemed to realize I had problems of my own...that just because I didn't have siblings and my family wasn't as nearly dysfunctional as some people, I remained blissfully happy and oblivious to everything around me."
Joey, Pacey, and Andie were stunned. These were the feelings and secrets that had been bottled up inside of Dawson for all this time? No *wonder* he had ran away from Capeside. Because that was the source of all the dysfunction in his life.
''I'm sorry no one ever tried to comprehend, Dawson," Joey apologized.
"I understand, Jo. I've become so quick at understanding things, I'm thinking of dropping my film obsession so I can understand people full-time."
"Don't joke about this, Dawson," Pacey told him sternly.
"Why not, Pacey? Because ever since that day, February 26, 1999, I've known that everything I've become, everything I stand for, is a joke."
"This whole issue is one thing you'll never understand, Dawson," Joey sobbed. It had been too painful to hold everything in.
"I guess we'll...see you around, Dawson," Pacey sighed. "I'm just tired, and it would not be to my pleasure to continue fighting. "
"Fine, Pacey," Dawson replied.
Joey stayed behind as Pacey and Andie walked on. "Dawson, whatever you think isn't true. Because Pacey loves you, in a platonic way, your parents love you, in her own way, Jen loves you. But most of all, *I* love you." Joey began to walk from him.
Everything kind of began to work like clockwork in Dawson's head, and the conclusion was to take action. "Joey! Joey, wait!" Dawson ran over to Joey, and made her face him. Dawson then took her face in his hands, leaned down and kissed it. Joey responded eagerly.
*But could she be doing this only out of pity?* he wonder to himself.
Yeah right, like I'm going to leave those two there kissing with most things unresolved.
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