Stand By Me Part Four
Forgiven, Not Forgotten by: Amanda

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*Dawson, let me talk to you!* Joey thought as her eyes welled with tears and she began to run harder. She shook her head. *Joey, why the hell would he want to talk to you after what you did to him?*


Dawson turned his head. She was catching up with him, and he couldn't let that happen. But eventually, she would...or he would have to give up and stop running. He was running out of breath and wasn't quite sure how long he could keep on going...

Suddenly, he felt a hand being placed on his shoulder. "Dawson, we need to talk." He turned around, but didn't dare to look her in the eye. She would give him that look, and he would never be able to let go.

"No, we don't, Joey," he told her, shaking his head. "We were done talking seven years ago."

"Dawson, that's what we need to talk about!" Joey cried. "I'm sorry for my actions that day, you have to know that I didn't-"

"Joey, I'm so tired of having my heart broken by you, and this isn't exactly the place to talk about it, okay? So just do me a favor and back off?" He walked away and didn't look back, Joey noticed. *He isn't looking for an immediate resolution.* She sighed and ran her hand through her hair. *He's not the same Dawson Leery I fell in love with.*

"But Dawson," she whispered to herself, "you have to know I didn't mean what I said that day, or else you'll keep on thinking I did."


"I'm not surprised he didn't want to talk to you after what you said and did to him," Bessie replied frankly.

"Thanks for the sisterly support, Bess," Joey answered as she sank down into the nearest chair.

"Joey!" Bessie threw her hands up in the air in frustration. "You recognized the fact that he did the right thing and then ridiculed him because of it." She sighed. "Jo, you and your friends were always such didn't take the teenager way out of anything...except for this once. Dawson did the right thing by telling you, because remember Gale's affair and how he got angry when he found out you knew about it and never told him? He never realized that maybe, because you didn't tell him, that you were one of those people who prefer *not* to be told. And he knew that you had to go to the police and since he knew you wouldn't go, he made you. You then became extremely upset with yourself for wearing the device and you took that anger out on him." Joey's eyes began to well with tears as Bessie took her back to the chain of events that led to her actions that day.

"You may have recognized that you were angry at yourself, but you didn't emphasize it enough for Dawson to realize that you weren't really never going to forgive him rather than never forgiving yourself. You took the anger that you were feeling at yourself and threw it at Dawson, just because you know that it's easier to be upset with someone else rather than yourself. You had so much misplaced anger, Jo..." Bessie looked at her younger sister and realized that she was crying because of what Bessie had said.

"Oh, Joey..." Bessie walked over to her sister and hugged her. "My intention wasn't to make you cry..."

"And my intention while dating him was never to hurt Dawson, and look what *I* did..." Joey wailed, wishing more than ever that she could take back her actions. She buried herself in Bessie's chest, like she used to do to her mother when she cried.

Oh, how she wished that her mother could be there then...


Dawson eavesdropped on Bessie and Joey's conversation and sighed quietly. Joey really *was* sorry for what she said and did that day. Perhaps he *should* have listened to her this morning...after all, she was only attempting to apologize.

But should he accept? Joey had hurt him so many times, and she just expected him to forgive her instantly? Seven years had passed, and he still wasn't sure he was capable of forgiving her. And anyway, forgiving takes time...a counselor at a filmming camp he had, Justin, tried to teach him that when you or someone else messes up, to forgive whomever it may be immediately, because it was the past and it couldn't be changed.

Dawson always tried to reflect on that, but it couldn't be done. It wasn't as if one of his actors messed up on a line, because that was, in the long run, no problem. It could be re-filmed. Real life cannot be re-filmed.

Dawson always thought that *Joey* was the one who had to tell him that there aren't any second takes in reality, but the tables had been turned, and he was the cynic telling her to get her head out of the clouds.

It had all become too confusing for Dawson...he was so tired of trying to find the pieces of his broken heart and yet, at the same time, he wanted to forgive Joey and tell her that everything would be all right. But he knew he couldn't do that; he would be putting his heart out on the line and he had learned his lesson about that. Joey had taken him back at Pam's wedding, and it was her that had to make the move, but it wasn't up to her now. He would have to be the one to make the next call, but Dawson wasn't sure he could handle that. He knew how he could get when he was angered, and he knew how Joey could get in the same situation.

Maybe...maybe he had been wrong that day of his surprise party, when he was talking to Joey.

Maybe they *weren't* soulmates.


Dawson climbed out of his old bedroom window on to the roof and sighed. He glanced to the side, and saw that the ladder was missing. Sure, he had seen it before, but it hasn't phased him. He tried so hard to hide his feelings, that when he wanted to cry everytime he saw the empty space, he just told himself what he knew he had to do: act like the ladder had never been there in the first place. It had gotten a bit easier everyday, but it still hurt.

Dawson shook his head and pulled his jacket closer. It was the first week of November and freezing. "I wish it would just snow already," Joey had commented seven years ago, and Dawson, in this particular situation agreed. Suddenly, as if by magic, snow started falling. Dawson smiled weakly, remembering their old tradition.

"I wish," his whispered softly, "I wish Pacey would come back to me. It's childish and impossible, but I wish it anyway. He's my best friend, and he died. It's not his fault, I know that. But I just wish he could com back, and give me that notorious grin , and tell me that eventually, things will be okay and that things like this have happened to everyone." Dawson winced as he felt the cold tears fall down his cheeks.

Dawson looked around, and suddenly slipped down the roof and his feet crashed into the gutter. He cursed in pain. He didn't understand why he had suddenly become unstable, but he thought he might know. Reality had hit him. Something spontaneously told him that he had no one to count on anymore. He had known that before, but had tried to ignore it and push it to the back of his mind, but this time, it had become impossible. He looked around and had become scared.

"God!" Dawson slammed his fist down on the roof, making a slight crack in one of the shingles. "I just...I want someone to count on. I want," his voice cracked, "I want Joey to be here with me right now."

"I'm here for you, Dawson," he heard a voice whisper from behind him. "I've always been here for you."

"Joey?" Dawson asked, turning around. He paused and took a deep breath, his eyes filling with tears. "Can we forget our differences for tonight? I don't want to talk; I just need someone to hold my hand...I need a shoulder to cry on. Can you give me that, Joey? Can you be here for me?" A few tears slipped down his cheeks.

"Of course I'll do that for you, Dawson." Joey stepped out on to the roof and sat down next to him. She encircled her arms around him and he fell into her embrace willingly, just wanting to cry over his loss.

And he did, and they stayed that way for the next hour or so. And finally, Joey was able to be there for him as he had been there for her when she couldn't handle the world anymore, because now it was his turn to be weak. Joey knew that it wouldn't be like this tomorrow, or the day after that...but they could overcome their differences for just tonight...just for him. He had been there for her, and now, she had to be there for him.

It was that simple. But only for tonight.


Stay tuned for part five in the "Stand By Me" series.

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