Title: Fast Asleep
Rated: PG-13, minimal amount of coarse language.
Author's Note: This is an emotional piece of fan fiction for sure, but it was a really interesting story for me to write. I could bring out so many emotions in Dawson that many people would feel at a time like this. It's a very serious, depressing, morose story...but I promise you a happy ending.

Like the moth draws into the flame
You have been drawn
Into a love affair with darkness
Into the harsh night of hell
In a world so seductive
You rose high into spheres
On your spiral of destruction
You've built a prison for your fears
And like a moth draws into the flame
I feel drawn
Fallen angel, you belong in the light
And if I could only hold you
If I could only show you
Push past your darkness, look up through your tears
Throw down your torture, the dark mask of years
Fallen angel
Step into the light
Open your eyes now
Let the healing enfold you
In all the wrong places, you've looked for desire
You're so hungry for freedom
So you choose to control
And you've torn at boundaries
With those whom you've loved
Till there's nowhere left to turn
So you keep running from yourself
And time will come, when you've ridden your storm
Then you will discover what you came here for
And your love affair with darkness
Will draw to a close
And you'll find in your heart then
The greater love unknown
Fallen angel
Step into the light
Open your eyes now
Let the healing enfold you
Enfold you
Let the feeling enfold you
Enfold you, enfold you

Fallen Angel - Michaela Foster Marsh

"Dawson, do you know how bored I am of seeing movies starring Brad Pitt? I mean yes, for many of Capeside's highly rated girls they may find drooling over some rugged actor appealing. But I mean, what do they think he is? They act like he's some raw slab of meat for them to swoon and lust over," the brunette companion criticized, her usual temperament not fazing him in the least.

"Ah, yes. They told me to thank you for that harsh critique. Adult discretion is advised," a light simper elapsed as his dark eyes focused down upon her. It was amazing how her horrid displays could sometimes come off so innocently. She croaked at him playfully, her nimble hands rushing about in a mixed flurry while she rambled on as if it would help her describe her opinion in fuller detail. All he could do was take it with a grain of salt, praying that he didn't have an unexpected outburst of laughter, which would really send her into fireworks. He knew better than to mess with the Potter monster.

They aimlessly strolled out of the crowded cinema, still clutching to the half empty cups containing their watery sodas. The overhead lights of the Rialto Hope danced in a captive display that briefly earned his attentions. This ever so familiar atmosphere was so casual to him, and being with Joey Potter here put icing on the cake.

He eased himself through the exiting crowd, doing his best to create a pathway for the trailing female. At last they found themselves dropped into Capeside's breezy fall airs. Night had shadowed its darkness upon them, yet the dimly lit lanterns scattering the corner streets praised them with enough light to still be aware of their surroundings.

"So, how do we rate this one?" his brow arched, awaiting her predicted response.

"I'd say it tips the scales at a not so successful two," she tilted her mantle to the side, flashing him her flaky, yet radiant smile.

"Ouch. I'd say all those critics out there are your biggest fans. They seem to like the downright, cruelly deeming ones," his crookedly tipped grin erupted, the duo making their way along the precise path of the sidewalk.

"What can I say, Dawson? I just feel like every movie we go to see now is some repetitive mixture of the last one. They all follow the same pattern. Guy meets girl, guy gets girl, guy and girl have sex, and then girl dumps guy after she finds a laced piece of lingerie in his car. Then of course in the midst of that there is some violent brawls, inappropriate language that seems to satisfy the mood, and some love scenes that need a dose of reality. It gets dull, to be frank with you," she shrugged in a nonchalant manner as she tossed her empty cup into a bypassed garbage can before slipping her fingertips into the binding pockets of her jeans.

"You're perfectly right," he chorused, staring on their forward path in silent thought.

"I am?" she questioned him, thin brows furrowing in a rather enlightened expression after being used to always getting in a debating match.

"Yes," he confirmed flatly, sipping steadily at his emptying cup.

"Well, how does the optimistic Dawson Leery rate?" she reversed his questioning, blinking up at him quietly. His lips drew into a battling test of decision making, before returning her gaze.

"I'd say a pleasing middle place of five."

"Five? You've got to be kidding, Dawson. You're too easy," she countered, slowly crossing the vacant street with him.

"Fine. Four point five," he pouted innocently, irresistible features drowned in a playful plead for her acceptance.

"Dawson, you are so not going to work your movie magic on me," she grinned, stubbornly resisting him.

"Alright, want to go back to my place and watch E.T. then so I can wallow in despair?" he inquired amiably, promptly moving out of his moping stage. Her appearance was blank for a mere moment, and he anxiously awaited her unknown response. As childish as the idea may have seemed, and as naive as she knew he was, something about their devotion to keeping that childhood tradition alive seemed so important to both of them, especially him. It was one of his easy links to the most significant thing in his life. That was the tenacious Joey Potter. She was the only thing in his life that ever kept him in tune with his existence as a whole.

He was wistful as she halted her footing, swiveling to grin up at him. That was definitely showing she was admissible to his offer. Then, without hindering another moment, they advanced in their trek to his household, also known as their treasured longtime hangout.

His crusted oculus fluttered open reluctantly, fanning his gaping jaws with a brawny hand as a depleted moan was awakened. The warmth of the tingling rays crept across his wooden flooring, sneaking up on him like a forgotten memory. He was between the brunette and a suffocating pillow, but he didn't dare budge. She was like sleeping beauty, a serene slumber inhabiting her. Her deeply hued features were so delicately soft, and in some indescribable way flawless. Her perfection ruled over his imperfection in this compelling way. Chestnut wisps lay across her face so naturally, and without hesitation he tenderly stroked them back behind her shoulder like he had so many times before.

He never questioned himself on how two teenagers of the opposite sex could actually sleep together in the same bed without having disturbing thoughts signaled by their hormones. It was obscurely different with them. It was Dawson and Joey, Joey and Dawson. No more, no less. Best friends could never sum it up for him. If anyone ever asked him how much he loved her, he would tell him or her to look up every word in the dictionary that meant more than life, even though in his mind he knew that no word could truly symbolize it. The thought of loving her so much often scared him, because the tragic thought of losing her to some other force would completely shut him away from the world.

He made a willful attempt to shift without disturbing her, but he felt her quake with a heavy exhale. He bit at his lower lip with guilt, slowly craning himself over to peer down upon her. He simply impended above her.

"Jo? You awake?" his masculine tone was barely audible, blonde strands dangling over his lowered features.

"I am now," she grumbled hastily, rubbing at her visionary field as she squirmed in momentary stretches. A genuine smile was granted in his good morning to her, calloused fingertips swiftly tugging back his fallen wisps.

"You fell asleep here last night," he spoke softly, afraid he would startle her half dazed state.

"I never would've guessed, Einstein," her playful sarcasm in no way offended him. He was used to it by now, and actually noted it as one of her intriguing qualities. He rose from the comfort of the mattress, slipping quietly over to his dresser to get a clean change of clothes from his casual wardrobe.

"Oh, great. It's Saturday, which means Bessie is going to serve me up for breakfast to our guests if I don't get over there and help her soon," she inclined from her relaxed positioning irritably.

"Bed and breakfast duties?" he smiled lightly.

"Unfortunately, yes. I've got to beat it, Dawson," she waved him off, contorting to fit through the small opening in his window.

"See you, Jo. Oh, and don't forget your jacket," with a gentle swing the denim heap was flung through the air before meeting her catch. She proffered him a lazy smile before declining down the lofty ladder route.

His sweeping strides carried him along the frail edging of the unidirectional creek. It seemed almost ghostly, the late afternoon concealing most of the residing wildlife. His burly hands remained cupped into the heated pack of his pockets, acumen senses taking in every sound that bustled around him. The open milieu was like framework to him, concealing him into this picture perfect ambiance that he had always cherished. It was his confidential burrow he used to lay down his thoughts in, and somehow it eased his stresses and mindlessly drained them away.

Just as he began to acclimate to the environment, whimsy laughter was heard in the distance. He advanced to the source only to find the beloved Jen Lindley and Pacey Witter overflowing with chuckles by the worn dock.

"Did I intrude on any stupidity I should be aware of?" he greeted them, smiling down at their infectious laughter as he sidled up behind their declined forms. They both ceased, straining to see his backing frame.

"Dawson," the fellow male saluted him, broad and toothy grin adhering to his childish features.

"Hey, Dawson," the blonde greeted him in return, allowing her limbs to dangle loosely over the frigid waters.

"Well, now that I know you both aren't as discourteous as I figured...what's all the hysteric laughter about? Hopefully not me," he teased, slowly declining near them as his limbs were huddled up against his body for provided warmth.

"Of course not, Dawson. We were just rambling about what an insignificant, intolerable, incompatible, inconvenience you are to Jen and I here," he flashed his innocent simper of pure Witter evil.

"Funny," he forced a blunt smile in return, placidly gazing upon the blonde onlooker.

"Pacey, you're such a guy," she didn't bother to go descriptive, using a single word to sum up the many disorders that had shook up his petite brain mass.

"I've got the package to prove it, Lindley," his gaze fondled her playfully, placing the remark on the table for her to peck at. The blonde paid little heed to the opposing male's attempts at driving her into a verbal fray, and he knew that she was smart to do so. There were no others who could beat the invaluable Pacey Witter, beyond comparison to any other. Why he called him his best friend was something he questioned himself on periodically. Maybe he wasn't giving him justice though, for within his barrier there was more than met the eye. He had a warm, sensitive, and compassionate interior that very few received the pleasure of getting a sneak preview at. It was the way the public had imprisoned him with their expectations that cemented his behaviour like that, simply because whatever they wanted him to be, he would challenge himself to be just so he was accepted.

"No, Dawson. We were just reminiscing about the time when Pacey and I made a rather ineffectual attempt to be in a purely casual sexual relationship," she smirked, waggishly allowing her saliva-slicked tongue to slip out of her maw at the opposing male.

"Oh really, Pace? Did you fail to hint to me about this little innuendo?" he chuckled in revenge.

"Guilty as charged," he confessed haughtily.

"As usual," he remarked playfully in return before settling to quiet.

"What are you doing here without Miss Potter anyway, Dawson?" the brunette male questioned, prodding absently at the stodgy planks.

"Taking a walk. What are you doing here without Jack?" he gestured in the cardinal of the female, inquisitive about her reasoning.

"You mean her keeper?" the opposing male cut in.

"Jack had a football tournament this weekend," she pouted irresistably, seeming so brokenhearted at the absence of her dearest companion.

"You poor thing," he teased, reclining as his vision uplifted skyward to the saffron orb that illuminated their surroundings. The textured, ivory wads were coordinated enough to reshape each moment. As he allowed his spiced breath to evacuate him, he offered himself to this entranced world where his dreams no longer had to seek a home. It enriched everything, almost like an illusion that would never become.

Night had sneaked up on him as he advanced back to his household after a rather bemused afternoon with his jabbering companions. A disoriented moth incessantly bruised itself against the porch light, mystically attracted to the drowned out dimness. The steps whined mercilessly as he gradually made his way to the front entrance, moist palm slowly teasing the knob into opening without a hush. He figured his parents would more than likely be off to sleep, and he didn't wish to wake them.

He slinked into the forlorn haven, quietly slipping the door shut behind him as he struggled in his blindness to move up the absconded staircase. Muffled tones promptly ceased, and his eyes strained in the cardinal of the kitchen as he noticed it was flooded with light. Reversing down the stairs, he traversed the long corridor only to find his parental units sitting opposite one another with a morose edging to their expressions.

"You two are still up? Another depressing episode of General Hospital?" he grinned, shuffling over to the refrigerator to get his carton of unfinished milk from earlier. The thick ivory substance slicked the tunneling of his throat in refreshment.

"Dawson," his father's bellowed voice was rather contrite and uncanny in tone. That alone caused his attentions to swagger to him, placid spheres declining to rest upon the seemingly distressed duo. His mother resumed to being spacey while resistant to his gaze and he felt his insides churning with this unidentified frailty.

"Bessie called earlier, Dawson. Something's happened," his mother voiced serenely, making her ineffectual attempts to soothe his aching nerves.

"Oh, God no," his painfully stricken features were drowned disconsolately, becoming completely extant from his world.

"Dawson," his mother graciously elevated from her seated positioning, obvious concern and compassion evident.

"What is it? What's happened? It's Joey, isn't it?" his jumbled puzzles of inquiries were still unanswered, his eyes visibly widening in fear of the ultimate horrific news.

"Dawson, just cool down," his father consoled; his mother sheltered away from the discussion. He felt a beaded perspiration loosely cling to his flesh, breathing instantly becoming a rushed flurry of anxiety.

"Don't lie to me! Tell me the god damned truth! What the hell has happened?" his rare outburst could not compete with the dueling emotions that had begun to cringe within him.

"It's Joey, Dawson!" his father in return allowed his stern voice to challenge his. In that mere moment, he was swarmed and overcome with failing emotions; his eyes brimmed with flickering pools of saline. This wasn't right. This was not the outcome that he was going to face. She was his life preserver, and the very thought of knowing he no longer could be satisfied with her existence would drown him. Drown him in fear, in hate, in anger and sadness. It would deprive him of every momentum that he shared with her, and every second he breathed the same air as her.

"What's happened to Joey?" he quaked uneasily, his tone barely audible as he struggled to contain the revolving mass of emotions that were imprisoning him. He swallowed in harsh regrets for even questioning her state. He didn't want to know if he wasn't going to approve of the answer. All he wanted to know was that his Joey Potter would be safe in his arms again the very second he closed his eyes and envisioned her sacred being. Then when he opened them, reality would allow it to become like destiny had cued. All he needed was some sort of reassurance that the beloved brunette would never fail him, and that she had not left him alone in his so called eternity of living.

"Dawson, Joey got into an accident tonight. She was on her way home from the corner store. It was dark, Dawson, and some guy was a bit too happy with the gas pedal and he came around a corner and hit her. She’s in the hospital," his father notified him genuinely.

"I'm taking your truck," he was brusque, time not being an option. He neglected to keep his gaze upon them in the fear that he would not be able to imprison his grieving emotions at the simple sight of human life. The sight of another having infinite days to live while his most treasured companion was challenging that fate was unbearable. He would not, and could not.

"Dawson, are you sure you don't want to talk?" his mother finally aroused from her spacey state, blinking over at him with uncertainty. Without another thought he swiped the banging set of keys from the kitchen table before snapping his hanging jacket from the hook in the doorway and eroding into the night's mourning casts.

His eyes contained only dry tears, swallowing painfully as he attempted to make out the distorted view of the road he sped along. The front lights were the only beacons that guided him through the nightmare. His vigilance momentarily passed the barely visible steering wheel, taking notice of the uncontrollable rattling that was occurring in his hands. Nothing seemed to be working, and everything was so unconscious within him. His attentions drifted aimlessly, unarmed with the strength he desired as he became devoured in a sense of loss and deprived hope. He wasn't strong enough. He wasn't brave enough. He wasn't good enough to face her. His heartstrings were being ripped at the seams and he had no way of replacing them. He was breaking in the one way he had put a defensive barrier against.

He was at last persuaded into an outburst of hysteric sobs that had been surfaced, curling into his youthful sheltering as he allowed his features to lightly rest against the aiding of the steering wheel. Gradually he pulled off the vacant road, the vehicle squealing to a sudden halt as debris was pelted from beneath its angry tires. His muffled tones grew into choppy cries of wilted salvation, finding sanctuary with his wrestling emotions. Salty tokens of utter exhaustion and pain welted and were freed at last into exploring the smooth exterior of his cheeks. There were no more promises that held any meaning to him, because nobody could promise him that everything was going to be alright. His lips slowly parted as his distasteful saliva formed a combination with his descending tears. By cradling his damp features within the security of his folded arms, he felt this overwhelming sensation of being unborn, which was obscurely pleasurable. His worthless physique started to tremor in silent waves of penalty, the consequences for his explosion of feelings, emotions, whatever word could describe the anguish that had suddenly found a new home in him.

He was limp. He was beaten. And now, he was going to face her in his weakness when she would need him most. He didn't even know what to expect, but he knew he would be safer by assuming the worst.

Entering the sickening atmosphere of the hospital was nothing like he would’ve expected. It had this devastation that lingered in each corner, waiting for its moment to strike him. There were not many people around as it was so late, but the ones who were looked as dead as the surroundings.

He gave a few last minute wipes to his tear stained features, sniffling mildly as he tried to regroup everything within him. As he approached the front desk, he felt a thick rock in his throat that was obstructing his speech. The stout old lady peered up at him curiously, flipping through a section of papers quietly.

“May I help you, sir?” she inquired dully at his silence.

“Yes, I’m here to see a Josephine Potter. She was brought in this afternoon from a car accident,” he managed, clearing his throat.

“I’m afraid we do have certain visiting hours if you’re not part of her immediate family, sir. Are you?”

“Please, I need to see her. I’m not asking, I’m begging,” his solemn eyes locked upon her with their liquid decay. She frowned, seeming as if she wasn’t to give into him before nodding subtly.

“Room two hundred and six, second floor,” she responded after seeking through her computer for the information.

“Thank you,” he bolted towards the elevator, pressing incessantly at the button. It was taking too long. He had to see her now. He drew around the corner, locating the stairs. Hurriedly he launched himself up the first set, then the next. The corridor seemed endless; each door shut and not allowing what was inside to be revealed. At last he found the large numbers indicating she was within. Every inch of him ached with the pain to see her, touch her, and know she was still with him. On the other hand, there was the force of fear that was pulling him aside, away from her, as far away as possible.

He drove any ounce of courage he had to surface, and hesitantly shoved open the blocking door before his ingression and there she was. There his Joey Potter was, a myriad of entangled tubes inhabiting her. There was a monitor hooked up to her that continuously rung with loathed beeps.

“Joey, no,” his features tightened in haste as the spying devastation did in fact sneak up on him from the dark corners of her room. The innocent brunette that he had so long loved was being imprisoned in this small room that began to enclose on him, tightening until he had to struggle for a simple breath. It didn’t matter though, because when he did breathe, all he got was an acerb taste of failure. He was supposed to take care of her and never let this happen. He promised himself he would never let anything harm her in any way for as long as he lived, and he had failed her again.

Eventually he collapsed upon her lifeless frame, battered and bruised with pain. His once again damp features grew buried in the folded blankets that comforted her, his fingertips clasping to them as if he had nothing left to hold onto. Without her he would have nothing, and he would be nothing.

He awakened from the realm of nightmares that were forming a ballet in his distorted mind before plucking his stinging features from the blanket that he had fallen asleep on the night before. Her warm scent seemed richer, and she was traced in his endless thoughts. Those endless thoughts needed healing, and needed to end. He clung to her like a leech, unwilling to release her limp frame in fear that she would simply disintegrate like in one of those five star horror flicks with astounding special effects. Maybe she would. Nobody knew for sure, and he wasn’t willing to bet on anything that he couldn’t be confident of.

Slowly his calloused fingertips bristled over her clammy skin, combing through the dark strands that were as dead as she seemed to be in this moment. He grasped to her delicately laid fingertips, eloping his within them to comfort every fear that was woven into her. He had once heard that stories eased a person’s mind.

“There once was this little girl. She was simple, and I didn’t need her. For some reason her mother decided to introduce her to me, and I didn’t care about her. The first thing she did was stomp up to me and push me to the ground, putting me straight in my place,” a wavering smile elapsed, his words tentative while quietly fashioned so only she could hear, and all those evil goblins that wouldn’t let her speak in return couldn’t hear his secret to her.

“She gazed down at me with these big, chocolate eyes that looked like a teddy bear’s. She was stubborn, ignorant, and everything I never had liked. She had this stupid grin that she used on me, before dashing off in hopes that I would chase her. And you know what? I did. I chased her all day, playing tag like two oblivious children would do. From that day on I told myself that I was going to love that girl, and I would chase her for the rest of my life. Rain or shine, I was going to chase her until I caught her. I would fight off all those scary dragons for her, all those ugly trolls, and I would watch her fight by my side. I would watch her fight until she won, and she ruled over everything that wanted to hurt her and tear her life away. I would make sure to love her ten times more than she loved me, just so I could always be a step ahead of her. But most of all, I would be the ground she stood on even though she knew she was strong enough without me. I would be that ground for her just so she could be my sky of endless dreams, to return the favour by never letting me die,” his voice softened before his chaffed lips delicately declined to penetrate hers. He didn’t care that she wasn’t technically his to kiss, and he didn’t care that she might not approve, because he was going to do it anyways. He was going to have this moment to call her, his own. This simple moment that would only last forever.

He heard the irritating rings that echoed from the other end of the receiver until at last the chirpy blonde picked up.


“Jen?” he inquired, confirming it was she.

“The one and only. How may I help you?” she playfully chorused, acting like a mono-toned secretary.

“Jen, I’m not in the mood,” he detected her sudden change of reaction.

“Oh, sorry. So, I take it there was a point to this call, Dawson.”

“Joey is in the hospital,” he declared with not an ounce of emotion, too drained to really reenact what he had already been through. There was a momentary silence on the other end.

“What? She’s in the hospital?” she choked with words, clearly stunned.

“Yes. She was hit last night by some guy,” he placidly shifted the receiver to brace under his chin.

“God, you are serious. Dawson, where are you right now?” she questioned in concern.

“At the hospital. At least I think I am. I am standing here on a payphone, and I’m figuring that by the majority of people who are dressed in those funny doctor pants, this could in fact be a hospital. Unless I just warped into ER,” he rhymed off dully.

“How is she?” she changed the source of discussion at his uncanny response.

“As far from good as I can imagine. I haven’t had the chance to talk to the doctor about how bad she is yet,” he confessed.

“Dawson, I’ll be over in ten,” she promptly responded.

“You don’t have to, Jen. I just wanted you to know. Can you please tell the others? I’m in no mood to inform the rest of The Brady Bunch.”

“Consider it done. Dawson?” her soft tone laced her words.


“Are you okay?” she quizzed him, and it was a question he found hard to face. He couldn’t pretend to be okay. He was everything but okay.

“Jen, imagine Jack in Joey’s place. Now ask me the same question,” he reversed it to tamable grounds, finding it easier to cope with by not specifically answering the intended question.

“I’ll be right over.”

“Jen?” he abruptly called her attentions back.

“Yeah, Dawson?”

“Tell grams to pray for her,” he sighed heavily.

“I will. I’ll see you soon, Dawson,” he managed to hear as a click sounded before a prolonged dial tone. He slid the receiver from under his chin, balancing it in its cradle once again.

“Dawson?” a familiar voice spoke, startling him out of his dazed state. His dreary features took notice of the entering blonde companion, smiling weakly.

“Hey, Jen.”

“Dawson, not to be Pacey’s alternate mind or anything, but you look terrible,” she offered him in an almost complimentary tone.

“I know. I’ve been here since late last night,” he confessed, dreadful features promptly hidden into his moist palms. He peeked through the petite gaps of his fingers, watching every hindered step she took towards the bed of the brunette. As she took vigilance upon their battered companion, he heard her murmur something beneath her breath, and he figured it was some curse on God and humanity.

“Does everyone know?” his dull words slipped out; cooped into some new universe he took the privilege of naming hell.

“Everyone knows. They’re all really hurting, Dawson. We all are. They said they’ll probably come to visit her once she’s a bit better and aware,” she quietly shambled to his seated positioning, slumping into the chair aside him.

“What if she doesn’t get better, Jen? What if she dies, right here and now without ever knowing how much I love her?” he faced her with a completely adverse expression. This was it. This wasn’t like his movies where the boy and girl always got their happy ending. He wished it was, but it wasn’t. No matter how he directed it, there was nothing that could end the deprived emotions he was going through knowing that his best friend, his believed soul mate, and his beloved would never know the honest truth of how much he did love her.

All the blonde could do was wrinkle her nose up, gracious and advisable gaze plastered to him. He figured she was baffled at how to draw a conclusion, and make up some fairytale ending that would guarantee his Joey Potter would live to love him in return one day. This was something that was indescribably harsh to him. The idea that his dreams and fairytales would never really add up to reality stung. His naïve and optimistic nature were flushed down the toilet, for the first time not wanting to be hopeful. Not wanting to put everything out on the line just to get burned. It would hurt too much.

In the midst of his quaking thoughts, he felt the sensation of warmth and security as the female drew him into a much-needed embrace. She was his confidant when there was no way out and that was something that he would always be in debt to her for.

“Just hold me, Jen,” his male defense system no longer existed, allowing himself to be devoured in her heavenly love, tender to everything that was revolving around them. And then it came again. The tears that brought him here, the tears that left him here, and hopefully the tears that would at last take him out.

“Excuse me, ma’am. I’ve been waiting for an hour now. When can I see a doctor who can tell me about my friend?” he impatiently grumbled at the secretary on the second floor. She stared at him like he was some insignificant bug who needed to be squashed. The supervising Jen Lindley stood aside him, draping her upper body over the counter.

“I told you, everyone’s busy at the moment,” she snapped in response.

“Well, can you at least give me an estimate of when someone will be free for me to talk to? I only need to speak with them for a few minutes, that’s it. I haven’t even gotten word yet on how my friend is,” he put on his best kindergarten grin, flashing his pearly whites in an insistent manner.

“I told you, not now,” she stubbornly resisted his pleads. He scowled, elbowing the distracted blonde.

“You’re supposed to be helping me out, here,” his whisper grew hoarse. She straightened up promptly at his urges.

“Sorry. I just am in no mood to play mistress bitch.”

“You don’t need to play her, you are her,” he responded with not the slightest edge of humor, though he was in no way offending her. He was growing short and agitated and had no time to be bickering with indignant secretaries.

“Nice to know I’m appreciated, Dawson. You want mistress bitch? Alright, transformation complete,” her lips curled into a blinding smile, completely traced with innocence although nothing else could be further from the truth. She swiveled to suspend her infuriated glare upon the elder female, lips tight with ordinance.

“Excuse me, ma’am. I’m figuring you have a job to assist visitors since you are sitting there, lazy on your oversized rear end with the various supplies most secretaries do use, not to mention the fact that you are behind the desk that says visitor information. Yet, for some uncalled for reason you happen to be rambling off a bunch of gibberish to convince me and my dear friend here that you are not in charge of assisting us, perhaps more along the lines of being the most acerb smelling, seventies beehive hair styled, deprived of any emotion, damn don’t I look good sitting here in a mini-skirt that I in my own stupidity believe compliments me,” the female exploded into a incessant critique of insults, obviously much to her liking.

“That’s my girl,” he chuckled faintly to himself, the sensation of happiness alien to him after the past couple days.

“Alright, alright,” the opposing female interrupted her before she got onto the fast lane. The blonde smirked deviously, quirking a finely shaped brow.

“Well?” the blonde companion eased off.

“Well, do you really need to continue with your childish remarks?” the elder female suggested.

“That depends. Do you really need to continue with your childish attitude? After all, I could name off my book of insults that would suit you. At least ninety-nine out of the one hundred would be acceptable. I’m sure I could even rhyme them off alphabetically for your personal enjoyment, more or less mine,” she smiled delicately.

“You realize I could kick you kids out,” she defended her own rights.

“Never mind, Jen,” his voice drifted, tugging her away from the grueling quarrel as he spotted a doctor rampaging through the hall. He dragged the blonde along as he attempted to catch up to him.

“Excuse me,” he shoved him pointedly so he would swivel.

“Yes?” the young male questioned in return for the disturbance.

“Sorry to bother you, but I really need your help. I haven’t talked to a doctor yet about my friend who came in here yesterday. She was in a severe accident. Can you tell me anything about Joey Potter? She’s the patient in room two hundred and six, just down there,” he gestured eagerly. His female comrade stood patiently aside him. The doctor wore a stunned expression, nodding subtly.

“Alright. I’ve got a few minutes,” he once again flew into brisk motion, advancing to the secretary’s desk as he rummaged through a cabinet until finding the folder he desired.

“C’mon. I’ve got her file. We should speak in private,” he led them down a long corridor that seemed less aroused than the rest of the hospital before cornering them into a claustrophobic office.

He watched as the doctor sat behind the small desk, himself shifting to sit aside the precious blonde as he awaited the verdict.

“So, doc. How bad is it?” he regretfully inquired, cradling his chin in the open face of his palms. The way the opposing male looked at him was in no way comforting. His muscles coiled tightly, becoming a fatal wreck at that simple look. The one that told him he wasn’t going to like what was coming next.

“I can’t say, exactly,” the elder male responded, heavy gaze plastered to the concerned duo.

“What do you mean you can’t say?” the male’s voice grew hoarse, cold, and bluntly irritated. He was tired, he was angry, he was an emotional havoc, and he was in no mood to be lied to. He didn’t want anymore skipping around the truth. He wanted it flat out, dead center, smack before him.

“Dawson,” the blonde attempted to ease his growing tantrum, hesitantly applying light pressure to his arm.

“No! Damn it!” he raged, elevating as he snaked himself away from both of them. He didn’t want their advice, their comfort, and their attention. He didn’t want them to care anymore. He didn’t want them all to keep asking him if he was okay. Oh, he was just dandy. He was the best he had ever been. Is that what they expected? Why did they want him to purposely lie? Why did they expect him to be one of Santa’s cheerful helpers? He wasn’t! He wanted to destroy everything, and anything in his path. They couldn’t expect him to just adjust. What did adjust really mean for them anyways? Was it for him to go back to normal? Normal did not exist. There was no such thing as normal. Who was to define it? If they wanted to go on in their so-called normal lives, fine! He didn’t need them anyways. He was going to be in despair, and he was going to cry, and he was going to yell and scream until he couldn’t any longer. He would do what he wanted to do, and what he wanted to do was to be sad. He didn’t want everyone to keep telling him everything was going to be okay. He wanted them to tell him that this was as bad as it could get, the honest truth of the matter. He didn’t want them to say they knew he just needed time, because he didn’t need time. He needed more than that. He wanted them to just leave him alone and forget about him, so he could be sad. He wanted to be sad. He wanted to be sick with the pain of this.

“Damn it!” he repeated, slamming himself against the wall out of character. They thought Dawson Leery was the carefree boy sitting in the corner with his lips tight together, but this was what he could be. This is what he could be when nobody could understand what it would feel like to have something he loved more than anything else threatened. When he quieted, he took notice of the baffled blonde, her jaw nearly unhinged at his reaction. She looked almost stern with him, like a mother figure.

“Dawson,” she began, placid spheres shifting between him and the doctor. He was so sick of them, all of them. He didn’t even know what to say anymore, in the fear that something he would regret might slip out and hurt someone. Like he was poison to everything he touched, and that often scared him. Flickering pools brimmed his lids, annoyance setting in swiftly.

“No, Jen! Don’t you see this? Is everyone in here hiding behind some brick wall? Why can’t you just let me be angry? Let me be angry!” his voice boomed at her, trembling finger pointing at the enlightened doctor. She swallowed, and as hard as he tried to intimidate her, it wasn’t working. She was stronger than he could ever be.

“Dawson, sit down,” her tone was at a whisper, but it had this icy edging that frightened him in the least. His breathing grew shallow, distrustful of even her at this moment. Somehow, he obediently sat like a lost puppy dog coming back to his owner, clutching to the arm rests to control his bent out of shape emotions. The doctor exchanged glances with him briefly before he spoke.

“In the accident, your friend, Joey Potter indeed got into a tangle. She had some internal injuries that we took care of, but that’s not the problem,” he trailed.

“Then what is?” he sternly challenged him, not daring to look at Jen in fear of her wrath.

“She had a traumatic brain injury to her left side,” he explained, using his own head to describe her medical condition as his hand motioned to the left region.

“What does that mean?” the female inquired unsurely.

“Well, because of the external blow to the head she took, her brain actually twisted on its axis. She has damaged and bruised her brain a great deal,” he responded.

“Which means?” the blonde became perplexed with his medical terms.

“Did you notice with your friend how she isn’t aware of her surroundings?” he awaited their confirmation. The female nodded subtly.

“She knows I’m there,” he replied bluntly, his enamels beginning to nibble in habit at his fingernails. The doctor remained patient with him, surprisingly enough. He didn’t seem fazed by his intrusions in any way. He must’ve been used to it, dealing with people in such fragile states with their loved ones.

“Perhaps, but she’s gone into what some may call a confused or dazed state. We prefer to call it a coma,” he stated.

“A coma?” he exhaled sharply, having known this could be a serious condition. He felt the female’s fingertips brush against his, reading his thoughts so easily. He accepted her affections, as much as he wanted to dispose of them. His emotions were now dispersed, not knowing what to believe, and what to want to believe.

“Yes, a coma. But I beg you not to get too upset. We can make this as complicated or as uncomplicated as you want.”

“There is no such thing as uncomplicated, doctor,” he seethed, his oculus widening.

“After a trauma like this in a mild brain injury, her unconsciousness could last anywhere from minutes to months. We can’t be certain. And there is always the chance that she may never wake up,” he delayed the inevitable. Never wake up? Never? The room felt damp, pitiless, and it hurt. It hurt so bad that an uncalled for whimpering in his breath drew away, and for the first time he felt this strange sensation of loss. Complete loss.

“Dawson,” the female began, clearly broken down at the news herself.

“No. No,” he pulled away, backing into the door hatefully as he eyed the duo.

“I’m sorry,” the doctor managed, elevating in a polite decency.

He watched his single friend advance to him, knowing she was going to tell him everything would work out just fine. Everything was going to be fine. It hurt more when they said that, because they were so oblivious to how bad they were at acting.

“Stay away from me. Just stay away!” tears sprung into his eyes, needing breath, needing life. He rampaged out, colliding with the various staff and visitors on his way down the never-ending corridors. He would run as far away as he could, and then, he would hide. He would hide from them, all of them.

He had driven down a back road until it stopped, and therefore he was forced to as well. And ironic enough as it was, he ended up back where he started. Here he was, in this despicable hospital that lived off everyone else’s misery. He was grateful that it was night once again, for there were very few around. He slipped quietly into the brunette’s room, raking his fingertips along his drowned out features.

“Bessie?” he questioned to the dim figure slouched in the chair, quirking a brow. She looked up solemnly to him.

“Dawson,” she bit guiltily at her lower lip, promptly making her way to him and collapsing into his offered embrace. He hushed her, his fingertips drawing a maze through her short strands. He felt her crumble within his devouring physique, burying his pale features into the open groove of her shoulder. If there was anything called salvation, this was it. At last, he could share everything straight from the heart with the only other person who could understand what he was going through.

“Oh, Dawson…this is all my fault. I promised mom I would take care of her. She’s all I have left, Dawson. I can’t lose her, not now, not here,” she pleaded with herself, dissolving in a quiet phase of weeping.

“I made the same promise, Bessie, to myself. It’s not our fault. It’s just the only way to make sense of it is to blame ourselves…but I know she’s going to make it,” his faint glimmer of hope returned.

“Honestly, Dawson. How can you be so sure?” she quieted briefly, her words so muffled he could hardly comprehend them. She remained clutching to him for support.

“I just know, Bessie. Ever since day one there was Joey and Dawson. Ever since day one we knew each other better than we knew ourselves. Ever since day one, I knew I would love her the way no other man in her life would, as peculiar as that may sound,” he responded delicately.

“It’s not,” she murmured. He exhaled deeply, tilting her head to rest against the comfort of his chest.

“I know she’s a fighter, Bessie. I also know that she’s going to wake up, because if she doesn’t…I’m going in after her.”

“How on earth do you expect to do that, Dawson?” she eased away from him, glancing up unsurely with a forced confusion.

“Easy. I go find her and pull her out of this any way I can, with open arms, my heart in my hand, and nothing to lose.”

“Don’t say that, Dawson. You have so much good in your life.”

“Not without Joey, I don’t. She’s all I have to lose,” his heartfelt gaze mingled with hers. Then without hesitation, she in turn paid up for his gift to her, bringing him against her with a warm embrace. He exhaled in complete surrender, willing to die away with her.

He awoke with a sharp breath, his blurry gaze attempting to focus on where he was. Once the field was pulled into vision, surprise was not a factor. He had fallen asleep once again in the less than comfortable substitute for a bed, the hospital chair in Joey’s room. How long had it been? He hadn’t even known. There was no sense of time or place with him anymore.

He had telephoned his parents each night to update them on her condition for as long as he had been here, but he hadn’t left. The only time he had left her was when he needed the outdoor oxygen to remind him that he was still alive, and not dying in this nightmare.

The rest of the gang dropped in once in awhile, but somehow they knew it wasn’t their place to stay long and they would leave with a rather simple goodbye, casual and familiar. They knew him well enough to know he didn’t want a heartfelt speech declaring what the outcome of this would be. Even Jen had stopped by a few times, and somehow there were no apologies to be made for what happened. It was just erased from the plate and they carried on as they always had. She understood. She knew he was so vulnerable that he would snap at any prey he could find, and therefore thankfully no grudges were formed.

There was something that struck him though, and he couldn’t comprehend it. Nobody, not one would say goodbye to her. Even when they left after visiting her, not one said goodbye. It was like a fear that lingered in the pit of everyone, not willing to just say it. He dared not to utter it either. If he said goodbye to her, then it would sound like he was giving up on her, which was the last thing he was going to do. He would never give up on Josephine Potter. He never had. He wasn’t going to start now. Every time he grasped to her hand, in a normal fashion it would seem like he was supporting her and trying to telepathically speak with her. But he wasn’t. Truth was, she was giving him support and strength. Whenever he felt like he was losing it, and he wasn’t going to come out of this, he would without another thought cling to her hand. Even in her weakest state, she had this effect on him that was indescribable. It was something he could only share with her. As long as he was holding onto her, he knew she was telling him everything was going to be okay…and coming from her, he didn’t mind a lie.

He didn’t know what he would do with himself now. He had patience, but not the kind that he needed. Could she even hear him? Or know he was here? He wanted her to know. He wanted to know that she was still fighting for him. Furthermore, he wanted her to know he was still fighting for her.

He gradually braced her eloping fingertips in his own, supporting her hand as he brought it to his chaffed lips. They were laid against her icy flesh for a prolonged moment, hastily allowing his lids to seep shut. Soon, they would be making him a home down in the mental ward if she didn’t wake up for him.

Once brushing the light strands from her marred features, he replaced her hand back to the comforting cradle of the mattress. Somehow his senses were promptly awakened though, his eyes visibly widening as he struggled to study the light movement in her fingertips. He felt the blissful brush against his they made, and in that moment he was overwhelmed with emotions that had permanently left him during the weeks he had spent here, the salted saline stinging his lids as it traversed his facial features in some indescribable joy. He laughed almost bitterly, nearly toppling backwards over the chair he resided in before making a full pledged dash into the outer world of the hospital. He ricocheted off each barrier he passed, squeezing through the tight passageways of staff members until he once again stumbled into the young male doctor.

“Doctor!” his voice sounded, ringing in tone. He caught his attention and tugged him to the side.

“Dawson?” he struggled, as he was overpowered, blank expression fused down upon the disturbance.

“It’s Joey! She’s awake! Her, her,” he wrestled with his words, too fueled on happiness to gain control. He didn’t know how to explain to this doctor what had happened, so he force-led him down the corridor until they entered her familiar room.

“Look,” he voiced sternly, pointing to the brunette who still remained as lifeless and limp as before.

“Dawson, are you okay?” the elder male offered his concern, observing with uncertainty.

His eyes squirmed with distress, trying his best to make this phenomenon understandable.

“She’s awake. She moved. I felt her hand touch mine. She moved. She’s awake,” he repeated, staring directly up upon the doctor figure. He didn’t seem so happy though. In fact, this doctor seemed quite oblivious to what he was saying. She was awake! Hello? Did not anyone hear him? It was time to bring out the horns, the music, and the dancers! But he wasn’t hearing anything. Not a single sound.

“She’s awake,” he struggled to repeat, the lack of concern or expression from the doctor causing him to grow ill.

“No, Dawson,” the doctor responded.

“What do you mean, no?” his brows furrowed, an almost sinister expression occurring. No? He just felt her! She was awake! Would not anybody listen to him? He was screaming in this dark room, caged away from the outside world and he could pound, shout, cry, and it wouldn’t make a difference. It wouldn’t make a difference because nobody cared…nobody was listening.

“Dawson, when a person is in a coma it is very common for them to still obtain their natural reflexes. They aren’t dead after all. What you felt was just one of Joey’s reflexes. She’s not awake, Dawson. I’m sorry…I have to go. I’ve got patients to meet. Maybe I can stop in later and check out how she’s doing. We can talk,” he forced a meek smile before hurriedly escaping.

“But I felt her,” he winced, his words barely audible as he was left alone in sanctuary once again. He might as well have been dead. Maybe it would make things easier. Make it easier to take a breath, easier to be silent, and most of all…easier to live without her.

A rather animated knock sounded from the front entrance of Joey’s room, causing him to swivel and face the intruder from his positioning overlooking the calm streets below. His gaze was torn from the unclean window, silenced in his thoughts.

“Not even a hello, Dawson?” his male comrade, Pacey Witter inquired. He stared at him, perhaps a look of disbelief, or perhaps a look that simply held nothing. The opposing male’s worn fingertips brushed along the glassy features of the slumbering brunette in simple acknowledgement, before sauntering nearer.

“How are you holding up, Dawson?”

“Do you even have to ask, Pace? What are you doing here?” he inquired cautiously, bracing against the windowsill. The opposing male chortled with a brief phase of bitter laughter, wagging his finger at him in accusation.

“I was stupid not to expect that Dawson Leery, my technical best friend would only expect the worst from me. After all, I am of course only Pacey Witter, the almost famous loser of his life who is only picked up off the shelf once in a blue moon to get the dust brushed off him. What nerve do I have to come and visit two of my best friends whom I have grown up with since I could suck on a soother and say gaga? One of them is now in a coma and the other is trying to cope with that…I have no place here, right Dawson? Well, at least I am a classy loser,” the cool vibes exerted with his tone showed his shriveled insecurities.

His brows furrowed, the last thing on his checklist schedule to engage in a verbal argument with one of his best friends. That is the last thing he needed at this moment, and the last thing he wanted.

“That’s not what I meant, Pace, and you know it,” he eased his words in hopes that they would not come off equally cold, which was the craving he had.

“Then what did you mean, Dawson? Please, enlighten me.”

They both grew silent, simple stares colliding with one another from opposite sides of the brunette’s hospital bed.

“It’s just that everyone else has been pretty much steering clear until things improve. They’ve been here some…but, I didn’t expect you to be here, Pace,” he trailed with uncertainty, unwilling to get another snap in his face.

“Of course you didn’t, Dawson. Is it because I always run away from my problems? Or is it because I’m not man enough to take the emotions that comes along with something like this? Is that what you think? Well, let me tell you something, Dawson. You don’t know what I’ve been struggling with either. I’m going through exactly what you have been, even if you don’t think that’s possible for my species. I know exactly every detail that is passing through your head right now,” his voice was stern, but collected and upfront.

Was this a challenge? Did Pacey actually think he could feel anything close to what he himself was feeling at this moment? Never. Never ever in his right mind could he. He could never understand how defeated it made him feel.

“You’re wrong,” he commented flatly, in no way intimidated by the other’s gruesome words.

“Am I? Am I wrong when I say that every damn moment of every damn day I am feeling nothing and everything at the same time? Am I wrong when I say that whenever I let myself cry knowing I didn’t want to, it feels good…like I’m happy? Am I wrong when I say that after I’m finished crying, then I wished I never had though it had made me feel happy at the time? Am I wrong when I say that everything that gets in my way looks quite attractive as a punching bag? Am I wrong when I say feeding off everyone else’s misery seems to ease your own even though it’s wrong…but it still seemed like the right thing to do at the time? Dawson, am I wrong when I say I am sick of everyone telling me…it’s going to be okay?” he cracked, tears plundering down the rough flesh of his features.

Okay, there was only one thing to do now. Admit that he had been down and wrong before, and this fell under that category once again. No apology could be fitting enough to define what line he had crossed by even thinking for one mere moment that Pacey couldn’t be going through what he was just because he thought he was better in some aspect. Some fashionable way of being better than his best friend always seemed a comfort, until now…because he wasn’t. He wasn’t any better than him. He never would be. They were equals, and he needed to see that in this light to comprehend it because otherwise he would be living him down the rest of his life…and then he would lose him.

“I’m sorry, Pace,” his masculine tone was barely audible, the emotional moment between two best friends of the male genre surprisingly painful to stick to. Normally breaking down before one another was like an immediate call for judgment. But with Pacey Witter, there was no such thing as judging. He never judged others for the simple act. Pacey accepted all with no strings attached, and that was something he had taken for granted in their friendship. Seeing him like this was so uncalled for, refreshing, and in some unknown manner reviving.

The brunette male simply shook his head subtly in protest to his apology, so typical of him of course. Pacey got so much less than he deserved, yet he didn’t request pity from the ones who were responsible for it.

“Perchance under the circumstances, Dawson, I just came to remind you that you were still alive. Then what would you say?” he questioned with a faint lingering of curiosity.

“I would say thank you,” a wavering smile elapsed, undoubtedly.

“Really?” he smirked almost haughtily, tugging at his shirt collar with a playful arrogance.

He nodded once again in confirmation, allowing a light simper to remain intact as hard as it seemed.

“Then, your welcome,” he bowed graciously in exaggeration.

He loved him. He would never say it, but he did love Pacey Witter. He was not dubious if the same feelings occupied Pacey, for he knew they did. It was just this love that didn’t have any ideal meaning to it. It was just love. Plain, simple, much needed love that didn’t need to be voiced. It was just there. He figured after years in Capeside of being best friends, he owed it to himself to admit that their history did actually reward them with that.

“Listen, buddy. I should head out before they emergency call the janitor to mop up the river I’ve created,” he joked lazily, swiftly using the material from his sleeves to destruct what was left of the moisture under his eyes.

“Right. I’ll see you around, Pace,” he grinned meekly, allowing a brawny hand to sturdily place over the fellow male’s shoulder in a heeded acceptance of sorts.

“Yeah,” he hesitantly lowered himself to the brunette female, a hindered kiss of longing pain being tenderly placed over her forehead before exiting the room.

It came to him. Something he had never truly realized or noticed before, but something he wished he had. He was lucky.

He gasped sharply, parting his lips to breathe as he awoke from sleeping mode. This was madness. He couldn’t get by one night without going through a series of rather undesired nightmares. He clutched to the icy metal of the chair’s armrests, stunning the hot surface of his sweaty palms. The effect of spending nearly three weeks in a hospital was finally getting to him. He allowed a sigh of relief to pass off, complete darkness inhabiting the hospital room in a secluding comfort. It was somewhere between night and day, but it was dark and utterly silent within the hospital’s ambiance. He studied the blurred light from the moon that danced along the floor in a haze. He found it rather attractive. His dark spheres came to rest upon the shadowing casts that overwhelmed the still serene brunette, mumbling beneath his breath before concealing his features with his hands. Why did this keep getting harder and harder? He didn’t know that anything could be harder than what it was before. But this, waiting and hoping was.

He heard a faint murmur, followed by a heavenly exhale. His eyes shot open, unsure if what he was making out in the darkness could be the slightest movement. Oh, God have mercy, he prayed. Gradually he inclined from his seated positioning, slipping towards her in his blindness in a rather chary manner.

“Joey?” he was hushed to a whisper, in some alien way being scared that he might wake her.

Every breath was prolonged before being cut short, tensing and relaxing with each step. He couldn’t make her out in the darkness, and he dared not to invade her with light for the fear that he would startle himself into realizing he was being fatuous again. Somehow though, he was stouthearted and he forced himself into advancing to her bedside, straining to decode what was within the shadows. His fingertips drew over her absconded features, struggling to see her. He brushed tentatively along the smooth exterior of her cheek, before curling down to her lips. Her warm breath caused his tendency to gain too much hope prey upon him once again.

But, unmistakably he made out those big, brown, chocolate eyes treasured from his childhood memories. They were open. He swallowed with an uncared for whimper, her bland features so beautifully ardent.

It wasn’t like he had expected. He didn’t scream out, or cry, or panic. He didn’t need to proclaim her awakening the way he thought he would have. There was no other emotion outside of love, a love that was encountered with relief.

She acted as if she couldn’t speak, and he had no desire to so it agreed with him. The doctor had warned him that on awakening from a coma, memory loss was quite common and he had carried the fear that she would not remember him. But it wasn’t necessary to cope with that yet. All that mattered was that she was awake, and she had fought and won the battle. He knew this was a war though, and recovery would be a long, hard road that would take a great deal of time. But she was tough.

He retreated to bury his head against her luminous chest, the gentle rise and fall of its warmth causing him to outcry within, cowering over her physique as he embraced it with every minimal ounce of strength he still carried within him. If there was anything that outlasted and overpowered love, this was it. It was finally going to be okay. Everything was going to be okay.