Out for Justice by: Kilby

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[Previously in "Big": Jen's faith in her future is restored when she speaks with Mya, a young woman with AIDS. Pacey and Mitch have a heart-to-heart talk about everything from the accident, to Joey, to his real father. Mitch is enraged when he thinks about how Pacey's Dad has destroyed Pacey's self-confidence. Dawson comforts Joey. Doug arrests Mitch for the assault of Mr. Witter.]

Gail, Pacey, Dawson, and Joey watched as Doug led Mitch to the patrol car in handcuffs. "What's going on?" Dawson demanded a second time. Gail was searching the room for her car keys. Dawson grew angry when no one answered him again. "Dammit! Why was he arrested?" Dawson screamed.

Joey looked at Dawson in shock. Pacey was watching the police car pull away, when he said, "assault."

"Assault?" Joey asked, confused.

"On my father," Pacey said, looking at her.

"Let's go," Gail said when she finally found her keys. The four of them proceeded to the car in silence. Pacey's mind was swimming with thoughts of what this could all be about. 'Since when do Mr. Leery's extracurricular activities include punching my former family members?' he asked himself. He hated the idea that, for the second time, he missed it. Even more so, he hated the idea that Mr. Leery might face trouble just for giving the bastard what was long overdue. A part of him was cheering inside, but the other part was extremely guilt-ridden. Once again, he had screwed-up, and was the cause of another disaster.

"Mom, what happened?" Dawson asked from the back seat.

"I don't know," she said. "Your father didn't tell me anything about this. Do you know, Pacey?" she asked him, briefly taking her eyes off of the road to look at him sitting in the seat next to her.

"Huh?" Pacey said, having not heard a word she said.

"Do you know what happened?" she asked again.

[Song: "Let it Go" by Ray J]

"No," he said, not elaborating. There was another silence that lasted until they arrived at the police station. They all walked inside, and Gail demanded, "I want to see my husband."

"He's in questioning," the officer replied.

"When will he be finished?" she asked.

"We'll let you know," he said, walking away. Gail took a seat in between Pacey and Dawson. Pacey was still in a world of his own. He needed Joey. He looked down to see her comforting Dawson, and he looked away. She saw him, and desperately wanted to comfort him, but told herself 'this is what he wants.'


Mitch sat calmly in a dark, cramped squad room, still handcuffed, awaiting questioning. Two young men entered. There was a tall, red-haired man wearing a wrinkled blue dress shirt, with a loosened tie, and a slightly shorter brown haired man dressed in a uniform. Mitch recognized the brown haired cop from the hospital. He had been the one who kept Doug from being hit a second time. The cop said, "Mr. Leery, I am deputy Stevens, and this is John Micheals the assistant district attorney assigned to this matter. We have some questions for you."

"Okay," Mitch said. Stevens pressed the record button on a small tape recorder.

"You do realize that you may have an attorney present?" Michaels asked.

"Yes, but I don't think I need one," Mitch said.

"Did you hit captain Witter?" Stevens asked.

"Yes," Mitch said, looking him in the eye.

"Are you admitting guilt?" Micheals asked.

"Yes," Mitch said.

"Why did you do it?" Stevens asked.

"Does that matter if I admitted that I did it?" Mitch asked.

"The severity of your punishment will depend on it," Michaels said.

"I punched him because he is a lousy father," Mitch said. "That's my only reason."

"Captain Witter is a fine father," Stevens said. "Why Doug is the model of what a good officer, and his girls are. . ."

"Do you know about his other son?" Mitch asked.

"Oh yeah," Stevens said. "P-P-Patrick?"

"Pacey," he said. "Pacey lives with me. After sixteen years of listening to his father tell him that he was a screw-up, and not good enough, he left. He has no sense of family. He was hit by a car a week ago, and his first words when he returned to consciousness were to keep his family away. Not that any of them bothered coming, or even tried to see him," Mitch said, disgusted.

"Maybe he is a screw-up," Stevens said. "That's what cap and Doug say."

"After that screw-up left their house, he brought his grades up from F's to C's, and now has A's and B's. He holds a part time job. He doesn't get into trouble. And he was hit by a car saving someone else's life. As good as those changes are, his emotional damage from sixteen years living with your boss is so great he has no self-esteem. He can't convince himself that he's not a screw-up, and he lives in this world that's been twisted to fit some crazy image of what his father perceives as perfect. I'll be damned if that man will have any other effect on that boy's future, and he didn't deserve to stroll around this town with his head held high thinking that he was the model citizen. That man has screwed that boy's life up. Pacey is not the screw-up. Witter is." Mitch completed his monologue, and left both men speechless for a moment.

"With your admission of guilt, your response, and your obvious lack of remorse, we could easily get the maximum penalty for this," Michaels said.

"Is that really what you want Mr. Michaels?" Mitch asked. "I understand that there lies some kind of strange loyalty here between cops, but giving me such a harsh penalty may, in fact, draw quite a bit of attention to this. How do you think this small town would react to Witter's treatment of Pacey? I don't think that they would receive it too well."

"Is that a threat?" Stevens said.

"No," Mitch said, "I just was just trying to help you. I just want what's best for everyone involved."

Stevens began whispering something to Michaels. "Mr. Leery, we are going to have to detain you in a holding cell while we make some decisions," Michaels said.

Mitch shook his head. "There's just one thing that I want to add," he said. "You're spending quite a bit of energy questioning and detaining me for hitting someone, while you still haven't found the person who almost ended Pacey's life." Deputy Stevens led him to a small cell, where he removed the handcuffs, before he locked him inside.


Mitch sat in the cell, unsure what to make of his situation. He stood up, and walked toward the bars, and saw another policeman at a desk. "Excuse me," Mitch said to him.

"Yes?" the man said, looking up.

"I think that my family is here. Is it possible for me to see one of them?" he asked in a desperate sounding voice.

"For a few minutes," the officer said, reluctantly.


Gail, Joey, Pacey, and Dawson were waiting in silence. Suddenly the man that Mitch had spoken to appeared. He looked at the four of them, and said "Leery?"

"Yes," Gail said.

"Mr. Leery has asked to see his son for a moment," the officer said. Dawson stood, and began walking toward him. "No," the man said, shaking his head. "The other son."

Pacey got a strange look on his face, and slowly got up to follow the officer. He walked right by a confused Dawson.

Pacey walked behind the officer reluctantly, because he wasn't very fond of the jail cells. He knew that his father believed that he would end up behind bars one day. The officer opened the door, and motioned for Pacey to enter. He slowly walked toward Mitch, and sat next to him on the bench. "You told them that I was your son?" Pacey asked.

"You are," Mitch said.

"Look Mr. Leery, I'm sorry. I never meant for this to happen."

"You didn't do this Pacey."

"What did you do to him?" Pacey asked, looking away.

"I punched him," Mitch said. "I'm sorry that my temper got the best of me."

"The only thing you should be sorry for is not letting me watch," Pacey said. Although it may have sounded like a joke, he was very serious. "I know that my father is a jerk, but I can't believe that you would hit him for anything. . .I don't want to sound self-centered, but I know that you did this because of me, and now you're in jail because of me."

"Pacey, you're very perceptive, but this has nothing to do with you. This has to do with him, and how he is. Someone had to make him aware of himself, and I choose to do it."

"Aware of what?" Pacey asked.

"That he's a lousy father," Mitch said.

"Just to me," Pacey said. "It's me. He hates me, because I don't do anything right in his eyes."

"Pacey, can't you see that is what he did to you?" Mitch asked. "What you just said is all because of him. He has done this to you. He needed to know that. You have to understand that you don't need him now. You have a family. A family that loves you as who you are, and expects nothing from you but your best. Maybe we're not the ideal, but we love you, and we are going to make you understand how important you are." Pacey looked down. "It's true," Mitch said. "Are you ready to be a part of this family, no matter how crazy it gets?" Mitch said with a laugh.

"It's all that I've ever wanted," Pacey said, hugging him. For the first time in his life, he felt loved.


Joey was looking around nervously. Gail spotted her, and said, "I'm sorry sweetie, I shouldn't have dragged you here." She hadn't thought about Joey being uncomfortable because of the situation with her father.

"It's okay Mrs. Leery," Joey said. "I'm fine, really. I just want to make sure that Mr. Leery is okay." Gail shook her head, and gave an appreciative smile.

When Pacey walked back out to the small waiting area, Gail perked up, and asked, "how is he?"

"He's fine," Pacey said. "A cop told me that he'll probably be out in a little while."

"Why did he do it?" she asked.

"He said. . ." Pacey trailed off. He shut his eyes really tight trying to remember something close to what he said. "He said that he wanted my dad to know that he was a lousy father."

Gail put her arm around Pacey and touched her head to his. "It's okay, Pacey," she said.

"Thanks Mrs. Leery," Pacey said. "Thanks for everything. I don't know what I would've done if. . ."

"Pacey you don't need to say another word," she said. "I know how you feel." She patted him on the knee, smiled and walked to an officer to see what was taking so long. Pacey leaned his head against the wall, and closed his eyes. Despite the fact that he was so tired, he tried not to go to sleep, but failed.

Joey was watching Pacey intently. Dawson saw her, and asked, "What's wrong?"

"You think he's okay?" Joey said, pointed to Pacey.

"Yeah," Dawson said. "He's probably tired. It hasn't even been a week since the accident."

"Are you sure?" Joey asked, not convinced.

"Yeah," Dawson said. "Why haven't you talked to him?"

"Because that's what he wants," Joey said. "I have to respect that."

"Yeah, but he didn't know that this would happen," Dawson said.

Before Joey could respond, Mitch appeared. Gail went over and embraced him. "What happened?" she asked.

"Let's get out of here first," he said. They all left the police station, and piled into the car.

"Are you going to tell me what happened?" Gail asked Mitch as he was driving.

"Maybe we should just talk about it later," Mitch said.

"What was your punishment?" Pacey asked him.

"A fine, and community service," Mitch said.

"What did you say to them to get off that easily?" Gail said.

"That's not very easily for one punch," Dawson said.

"He punched the chief of police," Gail said.

"I just told them that we shouldn't make a big deal out of this, because they wouldn't want the reason that I did it spread all over Capeside."

Pacey looked down in guilt. Joey placed her hand on his hand. Neither of them looked at the other, but he felt comforted. Pacey had almost forgotten the energy that he felt charge through him with her touch.

"Mitch you scared me with this. I hope you're not planning on doing it anymore," Gail said.

"It's over," Mitch said.


[Song: "With Me" by Destiny's Child]

Dawson and Joey were silently eating their lunch in the bustling cafeteria. They both looked tired after spending part of the night at the police station. "That was something last night, huh?" Dawson asked Joey.

"Yeah," she said. "Of all the people that I could imagine being arrested, I never thought your dad to be one of them."

"I know," he said. "Things were back to normal this morning, though. Like nothing happened."

"That's interesting," Joey said.

"So what are you doing tomorrow?" Dawson asked.

"I have to work," she said.

"What about Pacey?"

"What's another day?"

"Do you mean that?" he asked seriously.

"He said we needed space, so why wouldn't another day do better," she said.

"Last night, I could see," Dawson said. "I could see that you. . .that you love each other. I don't see what the hold up is."

"Dawson we didn't utter one word to each other last night. Furthermore I doubt seriously that you saw anything remotely related to love. He doesn't love me," she strongly protested.

"Joey, you. . ." he began.

"Let's just drop it," she said. "What are you doing tomorrow?"

"I'm going to an art exhibit with Natasha," he said.

"Gee Dawson. It's amazing what a girl can get you to do."

"What? I like art," he said as Natasha sat down next to him.

"Dawson, you don't like art," Joey continued.

"I do," Dawson said. "Movies are art, and I love them."

"Yeah, but that's not what we're going to see," Natasha interrupted.

"I know," Dawson said. He looked at Joey. "Is it wrong for me to want to experience something new? I may not be extremely cultured or anything, but I know what I like. Why is it such a big deal?" he questioned, agitated.

"It's not, Dawson," she said. "I'm sorry. Be my guest, do whatever you want to do."

"I'm sorry, Jo," he said genuinely. "I didn't mean to be so defensive."

"It's okay. I just. . .I don't know. I thought that I might need you tomorrow," she said, lowering her head. "I guess that I don't like the idea of you going off looking at some century old paintings of naked women with. . ."

"Oh," Natasha said, looking at Dawson. "We can cancel."

"You don't have to do that," Joey said. "I'm just going through a petty, insecure phase right now. Dawson is just my only friend right now."

"He doesn't have to be," Natasha said sincerely.

"Thanks," Joey said, "but I just have some things going on that he understands, sort of, and I don't want to bother you with small town trauma."

"It wouldn't be a problem," Natasha said. "I would be happy to help you with whatever you need, and I'm always here to listen if you need someone to talk to."

"Thanks," Joey said, knowing Natasha wasn't going to give up. "I've gotta go," she said, standing up.

"Why don't you come by tonight?" Dawson said.

"Thanks, Dawson. But I think that I had enough drama at your house last night," she said. "I'll see you tomorrow." She walked away not giving him time to respond.

"Drama?" Natasha said looking at Dawson.

"It's complicated," Dawson said. "We can talk about it tomorrow. You know, I'm really looking forward to the exhibit tomorrow. . ." he said, beginning a different conversation.


Pacey was sitting outside on the dock again. It had quickly become his favorite place to sit and think, despite how chilly it was sometimes. He had a mental flashback to the night that he danced there with Joey. It was one of his favorite memories. Then he thought things were so complicated because of her giving her undivided attention to Dawson. Now, those times seemed so simple. He wished that he could hold her in his arms again, and feel her kiss again. It would have to be different this time, though. This time it would have to be real. He had a nagging feeling in the pit of his stomach that it would never be real. That all the wishing, and hoping, and praying in the world could make it real. He knew that the only times that he ever held her, or ever kissed her were probably behind him now, and that all he had left were memories.

His stream of consciousness thoughts were interrupted when he heard footsteps. "Hey," he heard as he turned around.

"Hey Jen," he said. "Why aren't you at school?"

"Playing sick," she said.

"Well if that's not a change. I was begging to go to school today, and you were trying to stay here."

She smiled as she sat next to him. "You probably hear this a thousand times an hour, but how are you feeling?"

"Not too bad," he said. "The truth is that I'm not exactly myself, but no one seems to mind it terribly."

"Why aren't you yourself?"

"I don't know. I'm tired, irritable, and I've got one hell of a headache," he said with a grin. "Well, I guess that the headache is the only real difference."

"It could be worse," she said laughing, "they said you could have problems with your sense of humor."

"Ahh well," he said. "Can you tell me something?"

"Sure," she said.

"What was it like?"


"The accident. The hospital," he said.

"We were walking back from the movie, and I don't even know what you and Joey were doing. I heard you scream, and I, uh, turned around and saw you dive in front of the car. It seemed like slow motion. I stood there and watched as Joey picked you up, and held you in her arms. She was talking to you, but you weren't. . .awake. I went in a store and called the ambulance, and she was doing the same thing when I came back. The ambulance came, and she went with you to the hospital. We meant her there, and she was a complete wreck. We waited. We waited forever," she said.

"What did you do that whole time?" he asked.

"Just the stuff that you do when you're waiting, and scared. I don't know. I can't remember the specifics. It's sort of a blur. Everyone went in to talk to you one-by-one but me."

"Why didn't you come?"

"Joey hopped up and went, and Mr. and Mrs. Leery had to go because they are like you're parents, and Dawson wanted to go," Jen said. "They said that you shouldn't have too many visitors, so I let them have the time."

"Thanks," Pacey said.

"Do you remember anything?" she asked.

"I remember walking, and pushing Joey out of the way, but that's all. I don't remember anyone talking to me until I woke up and saw Joey," he said. "I've, um, wondered about what happened, but I didn't want to ask them."

"Why?" she asked.

"I don't know," he said. "Joey's in this whole self-blame thing. I didn't want to push Mr. or Mrs. Leery because they just seemed, I don't know, worried. Dawson, he just never seems to see things at face value. I knew that you could tell me the truth, what it was like, and you wouldn't fluff it up for me. So let me ask you, was it hell waiting?"

"What do you think, Pacey? Waiting to see if your friend is going to live is very excruciating."

"Did you see Mr. Leery punch my brother?" he asked.

"Yeah," she said, smiling. "He fell to the floor from the impact."

"Why did he do it?"

"He saw us, and asked where you were. Mr. Leery told him that you were in an accident, and he asked how you were. Joey told him that he didn't really care. He wouldn't back down, and she was upset, so Mr. Leery punched him, and refused to let him even question us."

"Did you guys give them enough information?" Pacey asked.

"Dawson got the license plate number," Jen said.

"My dad probably isn't finding this person on purpose," Pacey said. "He probably thinks it was a blessing for someone to almost kill me."

"That's not true," Jen said.

"You don't know him like I do," Pacey said.

"Was your brother here last night torturing you?" she asked. "I saw the police car."

"He was here," Pacey said, "but he was arresting Mr. Leery."

"For what?"

"He punched my Dad," Pacey said. Jen had a look of shock on her face. "I know," Pacey said. "Ironic isn't it? Mr. Leery wants to knock my family members out, and I'm never around to see it."

"He wouldn't have done it if they hadn't deserved it," she said. Pacey shook his head. There was a small silence. "So what makes a good girl like you cut school?"

"Good girl, I'm not," she said.

"Dawson said that you've been in some kind of funk. Is something wrong?" he asked.

"No," she said. "Some things are just completely life-altering."

"Tell me about it," he said, looking at the water. "I hate being aware of my own mortality."

"I think that you're the one person who might understand," she said.

"What's going on?" he asked, concerned.

"This is big," she said.

"What is it?" he asked.

She looked at him, trying desperately to be brave, but lowered her voice. "I found out two days ago that I have HIV."

He thought for a moment. "Oh, Jen. . ." he began. Not knowing what else to do, he grabbed her, and gave her a hug. "Are you okay?" he asked.

She pulled away. "Considering," she said. He had a small look of sadness, and one of compassion, but she was glad that she didn't see sympathy in his eyes. "When I found out, I was bad," she continued. "But they caught it early, and if I do what they told me, I might be okay for a while."

"Is there something that I can do?" he asked.

"I just need a friend," she said. "I'm so glad that you reacted the way that you did, because you're the first person that I've told."

"Oh," he said. "I'm glad you could tell me," he said. "If you need someone to talk to, I'll always be here."

"I might sometime. It's hard keeping this inside. But, Pacey, you have got to promise me that you won't tell anyone. Not Dawson, not Joey, not anyone. I don't want this getting all over town. Nobody else knows about this."

"Okay," he said, "I promise. But how long are you going to hide this, especially from your grandmother?"

"Until I get enough courage to face it," she said.

"To have only known for two days, and to have the attitude that you have is incredibly courageous. You know that no matter what, I will do whatever I can to help you, right?"

"I do now," she said.

"You just have to be strong, and not give up," he said. "And when you are ready to tell everyone, I'm sure that they will understand."

"I hope so," she said. "I hope so."

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