Set in Season 4.

Too Much

It's all too much, and that's why you're kissing her.

She likes to think of herself as the older sister type but your older sister is nothing like this. Your older sister is the reason you can't go home tonight; she's everything you want to be and everything that you despise simultaneously. Your older sister was never going to have a bright future in the way that you interpret bright. Her life was always going to be here, in this small town world. She was never going to get away.

Gretchen is more like your reflection than anything else, she's what you have been and what you could be and what you will be. She's the girl who got away, who stood so close to her bright future that it burned, and then fell back. Had it interrupted, had it destroyed, with this thing called sex that you still don't understand entirely.

She's the girl you wanted to be when you were little, not only because she was beautiful and not only because she was smart, but because Dawson was completely besotted with her. You didn't care about the others, the boyfriends, the admirers, and everything else in between – they didn't matter. It was just him, always him.

And then you had him, and now she has him, and you don't doubt for a minute that he loves her.

Because you know how lovable the Witter family can be. And you try not to think about how close they are and how close you and a certain sibling of hers aren't.

You never thought it'd be this way, never really thought that their relationship was ever going to come close to what you and Pacey have – had? – and instead it's surpassed you, and there's a part of you that still thinks Dawson is in love with you still, which says more about you than it does about him, you know.

What would Dawson say if he found out that you were maybe-pregnant?

Your child would be within a year of the baby too stubborn to leave Gale just yet. You can't look at Gale, all swollen, bustling around but radiant, without wanting to cry. You can't look at Bessie without thinking of her like that, without the entirety of her life being wrapped up in her face. You can't look at these women, celebrating new life with a joy that feels so entirely alien to you, without a sinking feeling that you are not right, somehow.

You don't think you would ever kill your child, no matter what they say about it being only a cluster of cells. You don't think you could ever give up your child.

But you think you could resent it, would resent it, not at first but slow and simmering, until you looked around one day and realised that you were your sister, you were just like her.

Gretchen is nothing like your sister.

She's crying, and you're crying, and it's all too much, it hurts too much and you feel too much, and that's why you're kissing her.

And she's kissing you back, through the tears, out of desperation and sorrow more than anything else. Needing someone who gets it, who understands.

You know that it's about comfort but that doesn't stop you from wanting it, from desiring her, and when she nudges you towards the bed you are beyond thinking and analysing and all you can do is feel, and it has nothing to do with emotions and everything to do with sensation.

You could ask her to stop but you don't want her to. It's too – too everything, too beautiful and too bright and too satisfying, colouring in all those pieces of you that you hadn't even realised were there.

It's escape, it's taking you away from this small town world, it's what you thought college would do for you.

And when you wake up in the morning with her head resting on your shoulder you're ready to face the world, the way you always thought you'd be once you got out of this town.

You'll never tell Dawson about this, and you'll never tell Pacey, but not because you care about their feelings, not this time. Because you want something that's yours, all yours, something that isn't wrapped up in guilt and anxiety and overanalysis and belonging to all three of you.

You want to know that in the future, in your bright sparkling future or in your just-like-your-sister future, when things are too much, the world won't fall apart if they're not there to catch you.

- end -