Stay You by: Holly

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Author's note: Hi. For once I am somewhat wordless. Uh, I've been trying to use the songs from the DC soundtrack in my fiction, b/c unlike a lot of people I actually LOVE the CD! Other that that all I have to say is SOB! Wasn't it just beautiful when they got back together? I couldn't have written It better myself. :) Also, I just wanted to thank you all for the loyal support I've been getting from everyone on this story. Thank you so much for taking the time to email me. I really appreciate it. Thank you soo, soo much Dani, for taking the time to read this and to Jenny. Oh, and Tammy your series rocks! Thanks!

Rating: You all know I hate this junk. Ratings are completely pointless restrictions put on the general public by a small group of business suits who decide what is and is not appropriate. Oh, look, I just pulled a Joey! Look, you know if your parents wouldn't want you reading this.

Joey grabbed a bottle of kitchen cleanser and sopped some onto the sponge in her left hand. She had been cleaning all day and showed no signs of stopping anytime soon.

"God," she mumbled. "And I always thought Mrs. Leery was a good house keeper." Joey scrubbed hard at one specific spot on the wooden counter that just would not yield to her sponge.

Dawson walked in behind her looking amused. He stood in the doorway and watched his girlfriend clean frantically. Every day this week when he had come home from the video store he had found her cleaning. Monday, it was the floors, Tuesday the windows, Wednesday he found her doing multiple loads of laundry.

"Hey, Jo," Dawson portrayed a hint of laughter in his voice. "I thought the notion of keeping your women pregnant, barefoot and in the kitchen went out with the fifties." Dawson had come up behind her by this time and wrapped his arms around the half of her stomach that he still could fit in them.

Joey turned with a look of mock anger. "Leery, are you making fun of my 'nesting phase'?" Dawson grinned.

"Where'd the textbook lingo come from?"

"Hmm. I wonder. Years of over analyzing upstairs on your bed, while watching Spielburg movies over.. and over... and over.." Dawson feigned shock.

"You dare insult the master of the universe?" Joey put on a look of mischeiviousness.

"Dawson," She whispered. "Spielburg.." He waited for the jab he knew was coming, " bites!"

"Oohh.." Dawson tickled Joey mercilessly. She ran from him and ducked behind the counter. As Dawson leaned over to look at her she ran around the front and grabbed the bucket of water she had just been using to clean with. Her eyes wide, she laughed deeply.

"Oh, honey.." She taunted.

"You wouldn't dare.." Even so, Dawson backed up slowly, taking on a fight stance.

"Oh wouldn't I?" Joey giggled and threw the bucket of murky water onto her boyfriend. " I show no mercy."

Just then, Gayle Leery walked in to see her soaking wet son and his pregnant girlfriend. Her eyes showed amusement as she shook her head. "Oh, yeah. You two are definetly mature enough to raise another human being."

Dawson and Joey glanced at each other and laughed hysterically.

* * * *

"Okay, kids. Let's talk." After a quick shower Dawson had raced downstairs to join Joey and BOTH of his parents at a family meeting. He snorted a bit at the idea. Some family his parents were. The couple looked nervously at one another. Were his parents going to kick them out? Try and convince them to go for adoption again?

"Here is what your father and I have been thinking," Gayle stopped and drew in a deep breath. "You know that we are not exstatic to be grandparents already," Joey blushed and looked down at her stomach which bulged out in a maternity skirt. "However, we love you both, very much. And if you are willing to take the responsibility of having a child so soon, we will do everything we can to support you." As Dawson and Joey brightened Mitch held up a hand.

"This does not mean we will pay all the bills or get up for two am feedings. But we will do what we can."

Gayle cleared her throat. "Your father and I have been talking. We think that we can convert the attic into a sort of apartment for you, Joey and the baby. You'll probably be somewhat cramped, but it's better than keeping the baby in your bedroom closet when it's born. Your father has volunteered to work with the wiring and construction that needs to be done, if you'll help."

"Mom, that is so..thank you," Dawson said. "Thank you dad."

"Thank you, Mrs. Leery," Joey whispered. "Thank you so much."

"Now before we get all weepy," Mitch, always the strong one, said, "We expect that half of your earnings from the video store will go to help out with expenses, Dawson."

"I can't really work right now, but we can put in everything I've saved from the IceHouse," Joey offered.

"No, honey," said Gayle immeadeatly. "Absolutely not. I still expect you to go to college and you'll need that money." Joey looked as if she were about to cry.

"Excuse me," she said. "I think there's something in my eye." She got up quickly and exited the room.

"Hormones," said Dawson.

"Hormones," confirmed his father. "They were my favorite part when your mom was pregnant with you." Gayle looked over at Mitch and they connected eyes. Dawson glanced back and forth between the two for a moment before saying, "And on that note, I will go.."

"Something in your eyes
Makes me want to lose myself
Makes me want to lose myself in your heart.
There's something in your voice
Makes my heart beat fast,
Hope this feeling lasts
The rest of my life
If you knew how lonely my life has been
And how long I've been so alone
If you knew how I wanted someone to call my love
And change my life the way you've done.
It feels like home to me
It feels like home to me
It feels like I'm on my way back
Where I've come from,
It feels like home to me
It feels like home to me
It feels like I'm on my way back
Where I belong..
If you knew how happy you are making me,
I never thought I'd love anyway so much..."
Chantal Kreviazuk - Feels Like Home

* * * *

"This might actually work," Joey surveyed the attic.

There were three rooms. The way Mitch had sketched the initial blue prints, there was just enough room for a nursery, a bedroom, and a kitchen/ living area. Cramped, but Dawson the eternal optimist kept repeating "Not cramped, cozy."

Joey reached for a box of junk to move marked Dawson's Toys. Suddenly she felt someone grab her wrist. Dawson looked at her sternly. "Uh-uh, Mommy. Everyone in this attic who is carrying another human being inside them needs to go rest downstairs out of the heat." Joey rolled her eyes as Dawson dragged her over to the attic door.

"Dawson!" She complained. " I don't want to go downstairs. I'm bored down there and I feel completely useless with the three of you up here working hard." Dawson shook his head.

"No way. I know you, Jo. You'll push yourself as hard as you can, until you collapse or something. I can't afford to pay for any more impromptu hospital visits. Down you go." Joey whined.

" Can't I just stay up here if I promise not to pick anything up. Anything at all."

"No, no, no. I don't want you up here again until we get it better ventilated. The heat isn't good for you." As Joey started down the stairs, one hand on her stomach, the other supporting her back, she turned and glared at Dawson.

"You know, as my stomach gets bigger, you become increasingly annoying."

"Oh, come on, Jo," He grinned. "You know your aching to be dominated over by the stronger sex." Joey gave him her classic LOOK.

"Dawson.. bite me!" He laughed as she continued down the stairs with a smile.

* * * *

"Jack, I am so bored. Puhlease, puhlease come keep me company. Dawson, Gayle and Mitch are all upstairs working on our future place of residence and he won't let me do anything. The other day I picked up a gallon of milk and he actually grabbed it out of my hands." Joey groaned over the phone as Jack laughed over the other end. "This is so not funny. I love the guy, but he's driving me nuts!"

"Aw Joey. He's just worried about you. For some reason unbeknowinst to human kind he's managed to fall in love with our Joey and he wants to take care of her."

"I so hate you right now."

"You sound like my sister."

"Are you going to come keep me company or what?" Joey looked at her watch. It was three and she hadn't eaten lunch yet. Why wasn't Dawson trying to cram vitamin enriched food down her mouth?

"I can't. Ever since a certain someone got to large to waitress, I've had to work extra hours at the Icehouse. I'll drop by tomorrow, though."

"Kay. Bye Jack."

"Bye, Joey." Dawson galloped down the stairs.

"Who was that?" He asked. Joey turned and looked up at him from her spot on the couch.

"Jack," she said. "I wanted him to come keep me company since I'm not even allowed up in the attic."

Joey pouted knowing she could surely get what she wanted if she kept this up for another minute or two. Dawson sat down beside her and began to kneed her back.

"Mmm, that feels good," she said.

"Is there anything I can get you as long as I'm feeling this guilty?" Joey smiled coyly.

"Well, I have had this craving..." Dawson groaned.

"Here we go again.." The other night Joey had sent him downstairs for a peanut butter and pickle sandwich. "Peanut butter and pickle for christ's sake," he muttered.

"Are you still on that?" Joey asked. She closed her eyes, the back massage felt so nice. All the added weight was murder on her muscles. "No, this is normal. I want an Icehouse sub. With turkey and tomatoes and onions. And lot's of pickles. Lots and lots of pickles." Joey smiled. "Think you can do that for me, honey?" She looked at him pleadingly. He stopped rubbing her back and tweaked her chin.

"Ugh. I am such a sucker for a pretty face." Joey smiled and he kissed her. "Okay. A turkey sandwich with lots and lots of pickles it is, you nut."

"Thank you." Dawson grabbed his coat and car keys, yelled to his mom to keep an eye on Joey and took off.

"Thank God," muttered Joey. "An hour of peace."

"Oh, Joey!" Gayle called. "Honey, let's look at wallpaper samples for the nursery!" Joey groaned and hit her head repeatedly against the nearest available wall.

* * * *

"Hey, Bess." Dawson nodded to Joey's sister.

"Hey, Dawson. How are the renovations going?" Bessie wiped up the counter in front of Dawson with a quick swipe.

"Alright," he said. "How are you and Alex? Have you heard from Bodie lately?" He noticed Bessie wince a bit at the name.

"Alex and I are hanging in there. Bodie..he, well, last I heard he was still on the cruise ship having the time of his life with all of the french mademoiselles." There was a bitter tint to her voice. Suddenly it cleared. "Sorry about that Dawson. Okay, kid. What can I get ya?" Dawson gave her Joey's order quickly. "She wants pickles, huh? I always wanted KIT KATS. I have no idea why." She looked at the mature sixteen year old in front of her fondly. "Listen, would you tell Joey not to be such a stranger? I know you two are living at your house, but I miss you kids. Come over more, okay?" Dawson looked at Bessie and saw another person who had to grow up before her time.

Bessie still looked pretty and young, but if you looked into her eyes you could see that the world had not always been kind. With a start Dawson realized that besides Alex, Joey was all she had.

"I'll make sure Joey comes soon. It's.. Yeah, it's mostly been my fault. I've been really trying to, um, keep her safe, I guess." He grinned. "Stupid, huh?" Bessie smiled.

"Sweet." She turned to greet another customer and place Dawson's order. Dawson turned and leaned against the counter, closing his eyes. This baby stuff was a full time job.

* * * *

"Bon Appetit!" Dawson presented Joey her sandwich with a flourish. She stared up at him from the bed. There was a wet washcloth on her forehead and she looked run down.

"Hey. Thanks," she said quietly. Dawson sat down next to her, a concerned expression on his face.

"Are you okay?" He put his hand on her cheek. She lifted her arm and shoved it off.

"Leave it!" She snapped. Dawson pulled back with a hurt look. Joey sighed. "I'm sorry, Dawson. Look, why don't you go see a movie with Pacey or something? I really don't feel up to anything tonight."

"Well, that's okay. I can just stay here with you."

"No, Dawson," Joey said in a long suffering voice. "I just want to be alone right now. Please go out."

"Okay," he said reluctantly. "But promise you'll beep my pager if..."

"Yes, I swear! Now just go!" Joey waited until Dawson left the room and then picked up the phone.

"Jen? Yeah, he's going. Don't forget, bring junk food!!"

* * * *

Dawson swung his legs on the dock. Pacey looked over at his best friend and took another swig of his Coke.

"Alright Dawson, you've been pulling the whole brooding act all night. What's up your ass, man?" Dawson gave a half hearted laugh.

"What are you talking about, Pace? I'm the brooding type. I always brood."

"Yeah, that's true. But your worse than usual tonight, so why don't we do some good old fashioned Dawson Leery overanalyzing?" He jabbed Dawson in the side with his elbow.

Dawson sighed. "It's Joey."

"Well, duh." Dawson gave Pacey a look, and he in turn held up his hands in a position of surrender. "Sorry, go ahead."

"I don't know. I'm worried about her. She's changing. She's so bitter and cynical."

"When hasn't she been?" Dawson ignored the running comentary and continued to voice his concerns.

"And then other times she's so emotional I have to look twice and make sure it's really Joey. She's so hormonal. The other day I caught her looking at her mother's picture and crying her eyes out. All I wanted to do was go to her and hold her. I wanted to make everything alright for her.."

"Jimmy Stewart sydrome.."

"But whenever I try to help she just gets angry." Dawson ran his hands through his hair frusteratedly. "I'm at a loss."

"That's a first," Pacey smirked and then became somewhat serious. "Look, man, you said it yourself. It's the hormones. Plus, Joey has some serious issues as far as being dependent upon other people, which frankly, I'm shocked your obsessivly observant personality hasn't picked up on yet." Dawson scowled. "She's got to be going through it. And she doesn't even have a mom to help. But, Dawson, think of all the other things the girl has been through, and she's come out alright."

"I just don't want her to change too much Pacey. I want to keep my Joey."

"Dawson, here's the cold, honest truth. You've changed, Joey's changed, and your going to keep changing. You two are going to be responsible for another human life now. Your in charge of figuring out a way to keep your son from being at all like me."

Dawson smiled. "What if it's a girl?"

"Well, then, your responsible for making sure that she stays as far away from guys like me as possible." Dawson laughed.

"Look, D, I am amazed at how well you and Joey are both handling this. For such a selfish person, I am amazed at how much of your personal comfort you've given away."

"Gee, thanks man."

"All I'm saying is that I have faith in you and Joey.. as parents. God that sounds weird." Dawson nodded. "And I wouldn't worry about Joey changing too much. She'll always be the Ice Queen."

* * * *

Dawson bounded up the steps to his room with a renewed determination. He was going to get Joey to do something normal with him, like a movie night. Something that would make her happy. However, when he reached his room the door was only open a crack. He glanced in and saw Andie, Joey, and Jen all seated on his bed. There were peals of laughter wafting out of the room.

He stood listening for a moment and laughed silently at Jen setting a bowl of chips on Joey's stomach. "So then Dawson said to me 'Joey, no fats, not very many starches, and there are new studies showing that dairy is actually bad for the baby.' Then he launches into a deeply involved lecture on cradle cap and it's correlation to how many calories I take in a day." Jen and Andie cracked up. Then Andie spoke up.

"Pacey and I were talking the other day about 'Madman Dawson.' Truthfully, Joey, it's kind of sweet... Kind of."

"Yeah, it is." Joey looked at her friends. "I'm lucky to have him. And you guys." She started to tear up.

"Damn hormones!"

"Now that's the Joey who called me a slut!" Said Jen. "Let's break out those movies!"

Dawson headed downstairs grinning as the voices faded. She was still Joey.

"I love the way you speak and I love the way you swear,
I love the way you walk in with your head held in the air.
I love the way your words move and I love the way you drive
I love the way your scared of people, scared to be alive.

Stay, Stay you,
Yeah that's the toughest thing to do.

I love the way you dress up on a Saturday night,
I love the way you never speak until it feels just right,
I love the way your spending all the money on yourself,
I love the way you answer the phone and pretend your someone else.

Stay, Stay you,.
Yeah that's the toughest thing to do.
Stay, Stay you.
That's the toughest thing to do.

Now I don't want to talk about the things you overcame
By dragging up the past I put you through it all again,
I got the greatest admiration for the way that you got through it
And asked nobody else to do it, better than you do it

Stay, stay you,
That's the toughest thing to do"
Wood - Stay You

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