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[Previously in "Hav Plenty": Pacey is the victim in a hit-and-run accident, when he pushes Joey out of the path of the car. Joey, Dawson, Jen, Mitch, and Gail wait to hear about his condition and to see him. An unconcerned Doug gets a punch in the face from Mitch. The "family" finds, five hours after the accident, that Pacey is still unconscious, has a concussion, bruises, abrasions, cuts, and a broken clavicle. He is finally allowed visitors, although he is still unconscious.]
Joey choked back tears, as she looked through the door at Pacey. He was surrounded by tubes and machines. As she slowly walked in, she noticed a monitor on the wall, displaying numbers and lines in different colors. He had a large mask covering his nose and mouth that was giving him oxygen. There was a large bag on a pole, dripping liquid through an IV.
He had another line in his wrist, which appeared to be stuck directly in an artery. There were wires coming from his chest to monitor his heart. The complex web of wires and tubing seemed never ending to Joey. His shoulders were in a strange looking brace, and his face had several, very dark bruises. She sat in a chair next to his bed, pushed her hand out of the shirt sleeve, and gently took his hand. His finger had a device to measure the level at which he was oxygenating his blood, and she was careful not to mess it up.
She rested her elbow on the bed, and lifted his hand with hers. She rubbed her face against his hand, and wasn't quite ready to speak to him yet.
After sitting in silence for a couple of minutes, she began to speak to him. "Pacey, it's Joey. I don't know if you can hear me, but I'm here. Mr. and Mrs. Leery, Dawson, and Jen are waiting to see you too. You're, um, in the hospital." She paused for a second. "I've, uh, been waiting for a long time to see you, and while I was waiting, I was trying to figure out what to say once I got in here. Now that I am here, I don't know what to say."
She had held tears back for over five hours, and she couldn't anymore. She quickly wiped them away with her free hand, and was glad that he couldn't see her cry. "Pacey, how could you do this to me? You messed up. I am supposed to be the one laying there," she said, choking on her words. "That car was coming at me, and you had no right to do this. You're lying there, and all I can do is worry. You're there not knowing what's going on, and all I can do is sit here helpless.
"I just don't know what to do anymore, Pacey," she continued, wiping away more tears. "It seems like everything that I love, I lose. You can't die. You promised me. . .you promised me that you would always be there for me. We promised each other. You told me that you never break your promises, and I plan on collecting on this one."
She sat in silence again. She knew that she needed to talk to him, but was so unsure of what to say. She also knew that she had probably already said all of the wrong things. "I was talking to Dawson about you this morning," she continued. "He asked me if I wanted to get back together with you, and I told him that I did. I also told him that you didn't want me back." She paused again. "Pacey, somewhere along the line, I fell in love with you. I know that you don't feel the same way, so I had been keeping it all inside. Dawson told me that I should have learned from my experiences, and not keep things to myself, because it could be too late sometime. I didn't listen to him, because I didn't think that I could stand to have my heart broken again. Now I haven't said it, and my heart is broken anyway. In fact, my heart has shattered. I didn't want to see you like this. Never. I am even more terrified at the prospect that you could wake up, and not even remember who I am. What do I do? I need you. I need you to help me."
A nurse walked in, and touched Joey on the shoulder. "I'm sorry, but you can't stay any longer."
Joey looked back at Pacey. "I have to go now," she said. "I don't want to, but they are making me. You have to be strong, and you have to wake up Pacey. You have to. I'm going to be back just as soon as they let me come," she finished. She stood up, and kissed him on the forehead, very lightly, scared to death that she may hurt him. She wiped her last tears away, and turned to walk away.
Joey slowly walked back to the waiting room, trying to process everything that just happened. Everyone stood up as they saw her approach. Gail blew past her, heading to see Pacey herself. Joey went right into Dawson's arms. "How is he?" Dawson asked her.
"He's hooked up to all these tubes and machines. He has bruises all over his face. He looks horrible, and he. . .he. . ."
"It's okay," Dawson said. "Did you talk to him?"
"Yes," she said. "I don't know if he heard me, but I talked and talked. They made me leave, but I told him that I would be back as soon as they let me, and I told him. . .I told him that I love him, so that if something happens, maybe he will know."
"He knows Joey," Dawson said.
She didn't answer, because she didn't believe him. She knew that she had wasted her time with him, and now it may be too late for her to ever let him know. All she could think about was going back in there. If she couldn't do anything else, at least she could be with him then.
When Gail saw Pacey, her reaction was similar to Joey's. She tried to match all the apparatus with its function. She sat in the chair next to the bed, and gently rubbed Pacey's arm. "Hi Pacey," she said. "It's Mrs. Leery. We are all very worried about you, and we want you to get better." She couldn't choke back her tears either, but she didn't bother to wipe them away. "I know that it might seem like a fight, or a struggle, but you really need to try hard. We don't know what we'd do if we didn't have you around anymore. I want you to know that you are my son. I don't care about genetics, or anything else. I know that you have only been living with us for a short time, but it has been long enough for you to win our hearts. And for you to do that, and then leave, it's just not fair Pacey. So you need to fight with every ounce of strength that you have left to come back to us. We need someone like you to brighten our lives with your smile, and your laugh, and your silliness.
"There is a room full of people waiting to see you," she said, "so I'd better not stay any longer. Next time I come back, I hope that I can at least see a trace of that smile. Please get better sweetie. I love you," she said, kissing him on the head, gingerly. She stood watching him for a moment, before she finally turned away to leave.
Gail walked down the long stretch of white hallway. When she got back to the waiting room, she sought out Joey. She walked straight for her, looking at no one else, and embraced her.
"You can take your brave face off now, Mrs. Leery," Joey said. "I know."
Gail began to cry again. "He looks horrible," she said.
"I know," Joey said.
"He's got to be okay," Gail said.
"I know," Joey said.
Mitch sat next to Pacey, and searched his mind for the right thing to say. He wasn't sure what Pacey needed to hear. "Pacey, this is Mr. Leery, and I just needed to see with my own eyes that you were alright. I know that you don't need to hear me being sappy, or anything, because I'm sure you got enough emotion from the women. We just. . .we just need you to hang in there, and be strong, and come out of this fighting. I know that it may sound difficult, but I have a feeling that you are stronger than any of us know. We've had all these years to grow and love you, but there haven't been enough of them. I don't want to lose a son. I don't want Dawson to lose his best friend. I don't even want to have an opportunity to think for one second what life without you would be like. I know that I may sound selfish, but that's the way I feel. You have to understand how much we all need you. There is a waiting room full of people who are crying and pacing, because they are having to face the reality that you might not be here tomorrow. We don't want to have to face that. You need to fight. We need you to be strong enough to beat this. You've got to Pacey. We all love you, and we need you." He finished speaking, and decided to go. He walked out slowly, looking devastated by what he had seen.
As many movies as Dawson had seen, he wasn't prepared for the scene in Pacey's small, dark hospital room. He walked in wide-eyed trying to absorb everything that he saw. He sat, and said, "Pacey, it's me, Dawson. Everyone tried to have me prepared for how you would look, but I didn't imagine that you'd look this bad." He rethought what he just said. "I'm sorry, Pace. It's just, I thought that I should try to be normal, but I can't without sounding like an ass.
"Jen is here," he continued. "She wanted me to tell you. They don't want a whole lot of visitors, so she let us have more time with you, instead of her coming in. They won't let us stay long either. She made me swear to tell her how you were doing when I got back to the waiting room, but I could tell even before I came back that you weren't so good. The way that Joey and my mom looked, well, I could tell that things were bad. Joey, she, uh, wanted you to know that she loved you, just in case, you know, something didn't go right. If you know anything from what we all have told you, that is the most important thing to remember. I know, because I can see it in her eyes. My mom, she has that whole mother thing going. It's strange how last night we were all together, having a good time, and now. . .well, now we don't even look like the same people.
"You haven't missed much, just everyone going crazy with worry. You need to wake up though, because who knows what you might miss? You can't die Pacey. I mean, what would I do? Things could go very wrong if I spent all of my time with the girls. Joey is. . .she's already crazy over this. I think that she would mentally break down if you don't come out of this. You saved her, Pacey. I don't know what to make of it. Physically, she's perfect because of you, but you're lying here like this. You're a hero, because you saved her. I've seen a lot of movies, and the heros don't die. Right? You know, it will tear her apart if something happens to you.
"It would tear us all apart. I mean, my family would fall apart. When I was little, I always used to ask my parents to give me a brother," he said with a small chuckle. "It took fifteen years of asking, but I finally got one when you moved in. I got a brother who I actually choose as a friend. Who could ask for a better situation? When I finally got you as a brother, I wanted to rethink my position. You've been my friend all of my life, and in that capacity I wonder if I could ever get over losing you. But as a brother, I don't think that I could get over that. Not having one is one thing, but having one for only a few months, and then losing him for good. That is just ineffable.
"I've decided that it would be too much trouble for you to leave, so you just need to stick around, and I think that I've given you more than enough reasons why we all need you." Dawson glances over his shoulder. "Well, the nurses have started lurking outside your door, so I'm sure that they want to kick me out. Pacey you have to be strong. You have faced more adversity in fifteen years, than most people do in a lifetime, so I know that you can beat this. We are giving you all the strength that we can. I think that the rest is up to you." He stood up, and walked away.
"How is he?" Jen asked Dawson as he walked back into the waiting room.
"Not so good Jen. He's hooked up to all kinds of things. He's still not conscious. It's like he's not even there."
"Don't you say that Dawson," she said. "Don't you say that. He is there, just because he doesn't talk back, doesn't mean he's not there."
"I know Jen," Dawson said. "It's just difficult. I just don't know what to do."
"We can't do anything, I guess," she said, taking his hand. "We just have to wait, and hope for the best."
Joey got up out of her chair in the corner, and walked across the hall into the bathroom. It was quiet in there, and there were no people around. She rested her hands on the sink, and looked into the mirror. She closed her eyes, so that she could think for a minute. She opened her eyes, and looked upward with them. "God?" she said. "I, um, I never wanted to be one of those people who call on you when something goes wrong. I don't know how many people there are like that, but I didn't want to be one of them. I just don't know what else to do. I know that you don't hear from me a lot. Jen's grandmother would say that you have plan for everything, and that I just wouldn't understand why you did this. And I don't. I don't know why you would keep me from being hit, and then do this to him. He is a good person, and I don't understand. Please, don't let him leave me. I need him. I know that you're supposed to know everything we do, but in case you don't, you have to know that Pacey is a good person, and that too many of us need him. Please take care of him. Please." She looked at herself again, unsure of who she was seeing, before she turned and walked out of the bathroom.
A nurse approached the group waiting for Pacey. She smiled at them, because she had recognized Joey and Dawson from Pacey's room. "Pacey Witter?" she asked, to make sure.
They all shook their heads. "Pacey's vital signs are holding their own, so we are going to be moving him to a room in the intensive care unit," she said.
"Is that good?" Mitch asked.
"It can be looked up as good, because he is stable enough to be placed in a room. It's a positive step," she said. "The best news will be when he wakes up."
"Is there still a chance that he can. . ." Joey stammered, and quietly added, "die?"
"Things look better," the nurse said, "but the chance does exist. It's important that you remain positive."
"It gets worse the longer he is unconscious, doesn't it?" Mitch asked
"It does," she said. "But the important thing to remember is that he hasn't really been unconscious that long, even though it seems like it was long to you." She paused to see if there were anymore questions. "There is a waiting room next to the ICU. You can wait there, and they will call the room to let you know when he is settled, and when you can see him."
"Thank you," they all told her. She smiled at them before she walked away.
The group was now gathered in the new waiting room. It had been about an hour and a half since they had arrived in the new room. Joey sat there, shaking her knee nervously. She was observing the room. Across from her, Dawson was laying down and sleeping on a couch. His head was resting in Jen's lap, and she was stroking his hair. Dawson's mom and dad were vacantly gazing at some infomercial on the television. There was no one else around. Joey's eyes glanced back to the telephone every twenty seconds, as if she was trying to will it to ring. She finally let her head fall back against the wall, and closed her eyes.
The phone rang, and Joey immediately hopped up. She was holding the receiver in her hand, before it could ring a second time. After a barrage of okays, and yeses, she hung up. "One person can go back," she said, waiting for one of them to tell her to go.
Dawson could tell what she was waiting for, and he said, "go ahead Joey."
"Thank you," she said, walking out of the door.
She walked into the ICU room. It was a little larger, and a little brighter, but Pacey looked the same. She pulled a chair up to his bedside, and took his hand, just as she had done before. "Hey Pacey," she said. "Well, they've moved you into a different room now. It's a little nicer. I'm sorry that I couldn't come back sooner, but they just let me. While I was waiting, I had a little talk with God. Hopefully he listened."
She paused, squeezing his hand. "Pacey, when are you going to wake up? It's hard to talk when there's no answer. I mean, what else am I going to say? Am I just supposed to sit here by your side, and make these crazy professions of love? How can I? I will. If it will make you wake up I will tell you that I love you a thousand times. What I'm worried about is that I could say it, and you still wouldn't know. You have to wake up so that I can tell you. Pacey, I love you. I love you, and I need you."
She lowered her voice, "I love you," she whispered, as a tear dripped down her face. She felt him squeeze her hand. "Pacey, you squeezed my hand," she said. She reached over, and pressed the red button on the bed, because she thought the nurse would know what to do. 'This has to be good,' she thought to herself.
"What is it?" the nurse asked, walking in.
"He squeezed my hand," Joey said. "What does that mean?"
"He might be waking up," she said. "Keep talking to him," she said, as she looked his monitors over.
"Pacey, baby, you have to keep trying. Please. I think that you're almost here, back with us. Can you squeeze my hand again?"
The nurse stopped to watch her. She shook her head, "he did it," she said. "Pacey this is good. You can hear me. You need to keep fighting."
"I'm going to call for a doctor," the nurse said.
"Pacey, come on. There are things I need to tell you. You have to wake up." She watched his face, waiting for a sign. She saw his eyelids flutter. "Come on Pacey," she said. He opened his eyes, but quickly closed them, and winced in pain. His face was scrunched up, and he ground his teeth. "Pacey?" Joey said quietly.
He opened his eyes. He looked all around, and then fixed them on Joey. "J-Joey?" he said in a rough, groggy, raspy voice.
"Pacey," she said. "I'm so glad. . ."
"I. . ." he said.
"Don't talk. Wait for the doctor," she said. The doctor rushed in seeing that Pacey was awake. The nurse led her out of the room, even tough she didn't want to leave him. Pacey didn't want her to leave either, but he didn't have the strength to protest.
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