Stand By Me Part Six
Independence Day by: Amanda


Joey tied her boat to the dock, looked up at the house that lay before her and sighed. It had been so long since she had been here...the last time, she had ended up crying, running out of the house, and rowing back to the other side of the creek. She had, again, tried to hide from her problems. But now they were back to haunt her. The previous day, she and Dawson had kissed and he had alienated himself from her. She knew he wanted to either figure this out on his own or just attempt to forget that it ever happened.

But Joey couldn't let him do that. She had lost him twice when they were teenagers, and she was not going to lose him again. She couldn't handle one more loss.

Joey reached the spot where ladder used to be and glanced at her watch and saw it was a quarter past one. Dawson would have to be leaving soon if he wanted to catch his 5:30 flight from Boston to Los Angeles. She had to see him, or their relationship would fall apart one more time. Joey didn't know if she could bear that. Joey turned and walked to the porch. She took a deep breath before ringing the doorbell. A house that had once been almost her own was now so unfamiliar...What had happened?


Dawson sighed and checked his room one last time to make sure he had not forgotten anything. He had packed all his clothes and toiletries, but he wanted to make sure.

After inspecting for a moment, he walked around his room, basking in the memories of his teenage years. Joey's mask that he had performed his practice kiss on was still on his shelf and he smiled as he ran his hand down her cheek.

He moved on to his desk, and went through a drawer nobody aside from himself had ever gone through. It held the memories he acted like he wanted to forget, even though he knew without them, he would not be the same. When he first arrived in his former home in Capeside for Pacey's funeral, he stuck a picture of Pacey that had been on his nightstand in that very drawer. Now he realized he could not pretend to ever forget Pacey Witter, because without him, what would Dawson be today?

He would be completely different, for Pacey had made an impression on his life that could never be erased. They had made so many memories together, and those could never escape Dawson's mind, because they were the only things he had left now. He knew that though Pacey had not lived up to the promise of the best friend he wanted to be, he had tried.

On their road trip to Maine for Pacey's sixteenth birthday, Pacey promised Dawson that he would be his best friend forever. He said that one day, they would be sitting on a porch when they were 85 and laughing over the promise Pacey had made, because he had kept it. The town loser was not supposed to keep promises.

He promised Dawson that he would be there when he had his heart broken needed a shoulder to cry on. He told Dawson that he would be an uncle to his friend's children and that Dawson could always count on him. And Dawson had promised the same in return.

Pacey may have been the village idiot or what have you, but he had only broken two promises in their 23 years or friendship. Dawson had, two days ago, thought that Pacey had only broken one promise, but it appeared he had broken two. But that did not make Dawson look at him any differently. Dawson closed his eyes and a stray tear escaped. In his mind, he saw a film of his friendship with Pacey...them sitting next to one another in kindergarten, them hanging up Dawson's elementary school diploma in his room, Dawson helping make Pacey's room a "high schooler's room," the two of them gawking over Jen, Pacey telling Dawson Joey was in love with him, Dawson getting his hair cut while Pacey was getting his tips frosted, their road trip to Maine, Dawson telling Pacey to get over Andie even though he knew it was the hardest thing anyone could ever do, Pacey after he had to say goodbye to Andie, Dawson and Pacey high-fiving after graduation, and a million more other memories.

Dawson would always be grateful to Pacey because of what he had done for him-he had taught him how to live life. No one had quite the same perspective of things as Pacey and he had always shared that view with Dawson. Dawson would never be quite the same after boarding a plane to Los Angeles from Boston, because he had lost his best friend.

"What does not kill you will ultimately make you stronger." Dawson wasn't so sure he believed that this was true, but he would believe it for now. He would believe it for now, but he knew one thing was for sure. Whatever he believed, he would always remember Pacey.


"I'll call you when I get back to Providence, okay?" Andie told her brother before stepping into her car, that same silver Saab.

"Okay, And, and take care of yourself, all right?" Jack answered, giving her hug from the open window.

"I've been taking care of myself for two years, Jack, don't worry about me. Make sure Mom takes her medicine." Andie put her sunglasses on and began to roll up the window. "I love you, Jack," she told him before the window closed completely.

"I love you, too," Jack replied, then walking back into the house. Before he shut the door, he waved, and then disappeared inside. Andie sighed before taking out her wallet. She pulled out a picture of Pacey and stared at it for a minute, then put it back. Andie then looked at the house that Jack had moved back into after it had not sold. As she drove through Capeside, floods of memories came back to her. And as she exited the town, she looked back for a second, and wondered if this had happened for a reason.

It had, she decided, and drove out. It would make her stronger, and though she may never be the same without Pacey, she would turn out okay.


Joey stood at Dawson's door, internally debating whether to knock or not. But she then decided she had to, because the feelings that had been bottled up inside her for all this time was poured out in that kiss and maybe...maybe they had a second chance.

"Come in!" Dawson yelled from his room, and Joey heard the television shut off. She entered the room and Dawson did a double-take.

"Joey." He spoke simply and without emotion. "What brings you to this side of the creek?"

"Dawson, we need to talk about what happened yesterday," Joey told him, sitting down in a rocking chair.

"What's to talk about, Joey? It was a mistake." Dawson leaned down to pick up his suitcase. "I need to get to the airport, Joey, my dad and Nicole just got in the car." He began to walk out the door, but Joey was on his heels. "Really, Dawson!" she exclaimed. "I know that I've hurt you, but what you've got to understand is that I'm so sorry. I know that doesn't do much, but I would give anything to take back what I said to you."

"You could throw me every excuse in the world to trust you again, Joey, but it just wouldn't work," Dawson told her. "I waited for you...and I waited, and I waited, but being as stubborn as you are, you couldn't swallow your pride and come back to me. Maybe I should have swallowed mine, too, but Joey, you have to know that I went to Philadelphia to provide with the space that you needed. It may be uncharacteristically selfless of me, but I also just couldn't stand the thought of facing you after what you had done to me. Joey, I was sorry, too. Maybe I forced you too hard to go to the police but I know you would never do that on your own, and I was trying to protect you, but I couldn't because you wouldn't let me. And at one point, I had to stop being sorry for a crime I didn't commit. It wasn't my fault that your father sold drugs again, and it certainly wasn't yours." He reached the front door and opened it, then headed toward his father's car. When he got there, he opened the trunk to put his suitcase down.

"Dawson, why must you be so stubborn? Why can't you give me another chance?" Joey pleaded, afraid of losing the most important person in her life.

"Joey, I've given you all the chances in the world to come back to me, but you haven't acted on one opportunity. And you know what I've realized? Life isn't a movie or a play. There's no dress rehearsal or script, but most importantly," Dawson sighed as he opened the door to the backseat, "there are no second chances." And with those last words, he closed the door and Mitch drove off, leaving Joey behind, standing where her heart had been broken for the thousandth time.

Something Joey had once said came to mind as she watched the car drive out of sight...

"Sad stories are just more powerful."


I know, I know, the ending sucked, but I'm too cynical to let them get back together. And anyhow, in real life, most of the time, you don't get a happy ending.

I'm so proud of this series, and I'm so grateful to the people who have sent me wonderful feedback, but I'm spoiled, I want more.


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