Set it Off by: Kilby

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[Previously in "Picture Perfect" (my last story): Dawson confesses his jealousy to Joey, and says he wants to 'be with her.' Pacey tells Joey about his new definition of 'family' as he bonds with baby Alex. Pacey and Joey stage and follow through with their break-up.]

After school, Joey is sitting on Dawson's bed, and he is pacing back and forth. "What was that today in school Joey?" he asked her.

"I don't know," she said. "I guess that you were just right about me and Pacey -- we can't be together and get along."

"Do you think that you're going to get back with him?" he asked.

"Probably not," she said. "Our outlooks on life are just too different." She knew that wasn't true, but felt that Dawson would buy it.

"This isn't because of what I said the other night, is it?" he asked.

"God Dawson, everything is not about you. This is about the differences that I have with Pacey."

"I'm sorry. I just don't want to think that it was because of me that my friend got hurt."

"Him. What about me? Didn't you hear him say that no one could tolerate me, oh and 'cold bitch'."

"Yeah, and I also heard something about a screw-up and clown college," he said.

"I was just angry," she whispered, grinding her teeth.

"I just don't get this," he said. "I mean you two were so sickening, did all of these loving things, and he laughs at the wrong time, and you kick him to the curb."

Joey hated this, and she wished that she and Pacey had come up with a better way to break-up, something that Dawson couldn't have questioned. "Yes, Dawson. I've had all of Pacey I can take." She thought, 'after all, a girl can only take so much.'

"Did you sleep with him?" he asked.

"What?" she said.

"You heard me."

"And why is it your business? Oh, no, wait. I think that I can guess. You think that Pacey just used me?"


"Well then," she said. "It would have to be that you're nervous about what you said the other night, and now you wouldn't possibly want me if I was 'damaged goods.'"

"That's not it," he said. "I just don't want you to get hurt."

"Okay," she said. She knew that what she was about to say may be very insensitive, but she also knew that it was a sure way to test Dawson. "I didn't get hurt," she said.


"I guess the answer that you're looking for is yes. Yes, I slept with Pacey," she lied.

"God Joey, what's wrong with you?" he said.

"Nothing is wrong with me," she said, trying to sound offended. "I was attracted to him, I thought that I loved him."

"When?" he asked.

"Do you really want the details, Dawson? Because I could tell you all about it, but I don't think that you can take it," she said.

"You're right," he said.

"So I guess that you're the one who's going to do the kicking now?" she said.



He put his differences aside. "I'm not letting you do this again," he said. "I want to give us a chance."

She couldn't believe that it was finally happening.


Joey was rushing to the video store, hoping that Pacey would be there. Luckily, when she walked inside, she saw Pacey behind the counter. "I thought we were laying low?" he asked her.

"We need to talk in private," she said.

[Song: "Get It Together" by 702]

"Okay," he said, grabbing her hand, and leading her into the back of the video store. "What's going on?"

"I think that you're going to hate me for this," she said, with a horrible look on her face.

"What?" he asked.

"Dawson. . ." she began.

"God Joey, I don't want to hear anymore about Dawson," he said, so frustrated that he couldn't take it anymore.

"Pacey, I told him that I slept with you," she said quietly.


"I did. I'm sorry."


"He asked me," she said.

"This is getting even worse," he said. "What? Don't I even remember?"

"We didn't have sex Pacey."

"Then why did you tell him that?" he asked.

"I guess that I thought that it was a good way for me to test him. To make sure that he would take me, no matter what baggage I had attached."

"Well, you have to tell him the truth."

"Why?" she asked.

"One lie was bad enough to start a relationship on, but he may never forgive you for this. What am I supposed to do?" he asked her. "I have to live there, in his house, with him. How do you think he will feel about me thinking that I took the virginity of his best friend, his new girlfriend? He will make my life hell."

"What am I supposed to do?" she said, sounding helpless.

Pacey came to the conclusion that she knew that if she held on to an idea long enough that he would eventually give into her. Sadly, she was right. "Look," he said, "tell him what you want, but if he asks me I'll have to tell him the truth. He won't believe me anyway."

"Thank you Pace," she said.

"But we cannot tell another lie to Dawson," he said. "I can't do it again," he said.

"Pacey I can't tell him another lie either. I'm just glad that you see where I'm coming from," she said. He couldn't. This was just one more thing that he was doing for her.

"Can I ask you something?" he said.

"Always," she said.

"Why. . .why did you tell him that you decided to have sex with me?" he asked nervously.

"I, um, I told him that I was attracted to you, and. . .and that I loved you." It was strange to her, because that seemed like it had been the only true statement that she had made all day. "I mean," she quickly tried to correct herself, "I told him that I thought that I had loved you. You know, before the fight."

Pacey shook his head, just to let her know that he understood her answer. When she looked at him, she could see pain in his eyes. She was beginning to wonder if she was making a mistake. She began to hate the way he was making her feel. Looking into his eyes, she wanted desperately to kiss him, and she probably would have if she hadn't been interrupted by the bell, signaling that a customer had entered the store. She slowly began to walk away, and looked back just once before leaving without a goodbye. It was amazing to her how complicated her life had become, and she couldn't tell what feelings to trust anymore. Just when she thought that she was about to get everything that she wanted, she began to question whether or not Dawson was who she wanted anymore.


It was a little after nine o'clock when Jen walked into Dawson's room. He was surprised to she her. "Hey Jen. Is something wrong?" he asked her.

[Song: "Sentimental" by Deborah Cox]

"No, no. I, um, just thought that I would drop by," she said uncomfortably.

"So what's going on?"

"I heard that Pacey and Joey had some huge fight in the hall today," she said.

"Yeah," he answered.

"What happened?"

"Oh, the usual. Pacey doesn't take anything seriously, Joey takes things too seriously. Screw-up. Bitch. Clown college."

"Clown college?" she asked confused.

Pacey was quietly walking to his room. When he heard the remark about clown college, he knew that Jen and Dawson were talking about him and Joey. As much as he wanted to hear what they were saying, he was much more concerned with getting to his room, so that he wouldn't have to face Dawson. He remembered the broken nose he had gotten from Dawson when he thought that he was trying to get with Jen, and he couldn't imagine what Dawson may do after what Joey had told him today.

"It's a long story," he said.

"So are they broken up?" she asked.

"Yeah, and Joey said that's she's not going to get back together with him."

"So how's Pacey?"

"I haven't seen him," he said. Dawson said it with a great deal of contempt, because he was ready to attack Pacey because he thought that he had used his friend.

"Are you more forgiving than Joey?" she asked him.


"You know, would you make a statement like that? Saying you wouldn't get back with someone?"

"I don't quite get what you're saying," Dawson said, as unaware of what's going on around him as ever.

"Dawson, I'm saying that I want us to have another chance. I've been thinking about it for a while, and I just can't seem to shake these feelings that I have for you," she said.

"It's not a good time right now Jen," he said.

"Well, when is going to be a good time?" she asked, frustrated.

"Don't you understand that I don't think that I'm ready to get back with you, and know that as soon as you get tired of me that you'll just dump me again."

"Dawson, that's not how it was. I just needed time, and in time I saw that you were what I wanted. I realized that I will never find another man like you. I'm sorry if I hurt you, but all I'm asking for is another chance," she said.

"Look, like I said, now is just not the time. Joey and I have discussed having a relationship, and now that she's no longer with Pacey, we're going to try."

"That's fine," Jen said. "You know where I am, if you change your mind." She left, because she knew that she didn't want to hear anything more from him.


Pacey was never one to have vivid dreams, but the one he woke up to was awfully strange. He, Dawson, Jen, and Joey had all landed in Oz. Although Pacey never considered himself the analytical one, he began to analyze the dream immediately.

He had seen Jen as Dorothy. That was the one that made the most sense, because Jen did sometimes seem like the little girl who was far away from home. Dawson was the cowardly lion, because he didn't have the courage to do anything. When something that he was afraid of confronted him, he was the most likely to hide behind a tree. Joey was the tinman. This is where it became difficult. Pacey came to the conclusion that it was either because her heart was broken, or because she was so eager to give it to someone. He was the scarecrow. He didn't get that one, and just chalked it up to being stupid. However, he could draw a connection in that he could stand on his own, despite the fact that he was made of straw. Of everyone, the scarecrow was the one who was made out of the most unstable material. He could easily see his brother as the fire that the witch throws at the scarecrow. Even though he knew of Jen's indecisiveness, Dawson's inability to cope with reality, and Joey's need to be loved, he still saw himself as the most unstable.

Pacey believed that the connections he had made were far fetched, and dismissed them saying to himself, 'Freud has nothing to worry about.' Pacey laid back in his bed, and wanted to sleep for ten more minutes. He didn't get his wish, because he heard a knock on the door. "Come in," he said.

"Pacey, can I talk to you?" Dawson asked him.

"What's up D?" he said.

"It's about Joey," Dawson said.

"I am really not in the mood to talk about it now," Pacey said. Pacey was about to become very harsh towards Dawson. He didn't know if it was what was best, but none the less he thought that it was important to Joey.

"Look, she told me," Dawson said.

"Told you what?" Pacey asked.

"That she slept with you."

"It wasn't my choice for her to tell you anything," he said. "Furthermore, I don't think it's your business what we did."

"I thought that, at least, you would deny it," Dawson said.

"I am denying it," Pacey said, matter-of-factly.

"It doesn't matter, she told me." Dawson said.

"So why are you so disappointed that I didn't deny it? Obviously you don't believe what I say."

"Pacey, I swear that if I find out that you used her I will kill you."

"I guess in that case I'm in no position to judge then. If you're looking for an excuse to kill me, you'll have to find another one."

"Don't be so smug Pacey, because when she told me, she didn't act like it meant anything to her."

"So what do you have to worry about?" Pacey asked. "Oh, don't think that I don't know that you were just waiting for me to be out of the way so that you could have Joey. Considering how you shunned Jen when you found out about her past, I'm surprised you didn't tell Joey to step." He continued, "what Joey and I had was between her and me, and you need to leave it alone."

"Pacey, you don't need to be so defensive," Dawson said.

"Dawson what do you expect me to be? Yesterday I broke up with my girlfriend, and today you're questioning me about what we had. Undoubtably, the second that I was factored out to the equation, you stepped right in. So excuse me if I don't have a sunny disposition."

"Yesterday, you talked as though you have washed your hands of her, and today you're pissed off at me because I want to be with her."

"Yes, Dawson, I am." Pacey didn't really have a right to be so abrasive with Dawson, but considering what he had lost, he didn't care. A few remarks from him wouldn't hurt Dawson, because he knew that he had given Dawson the most special thing in the world. Joey.

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