Alternative take on 'Stolen Kisses'. After Pacey and Joey shared the bed for the night, what if she had been the one to wake up first?

Joey couldn't say what woke her. There had to have been some sound or other that had snapped her from a fleeting foray into the Land of Nod and back into her precarious reality, but the cause of it had since vanished.

She glanced around to get her bearings, her eyes the only part of her that she was willing to move just yet. It seemed that the early morning exodus of her friends had been the cause of the disturbance, because as of this moment, nobody else was in the room. There was only her. And him. The very same him that had kept her from getting any real sleep the whole entire night.


She could feel him behind her. The weight of his body dipped the mattress to the extent that she was forced to perch on the very edge so that she wouldn't roll back against him, and yet the heat he was generating still managed to reach her through the thickness of both the comforter and the bathrobe she wore.

How did he do that?

She turned her head slightly, slowly, holding her breath. It released in a soft sigh of relief when it became apparent that he was still sleeping. But then she took a good look at him and was lost.

When exactly was it that had he gotten so…

Heart in her throat, she rolled over to face him, drawn in spite of herself.

…God, he was just so…

He had thrown of his covers during the night and was flat on his back, one arm tossed up over his head, curling around the pillow, and the other resting on his stomach with all the fingers splayed out. His vest had ridden up slightly, giving her a tantalising glimpse of the soft skin of his stomach.

…He was so...beautiful…

The artist within her sighed. Pacey Witter had never been an angel, the very idea was ridiculous, but right at that moment he was the perverse embodiment of a heavenly being fallen to earth. The nerves of her hand twitched and she realized with a dawning horror that she wanted to touch him.

What the hell was wrong with her? This was Pacey! The same Pacey that had long been the bane of her existence; the same Pacey that lived to torture her, taunt and tease her, puncture her ego; and worst of all, to throw insights into her face that he had no right even perceiving in the first place.

But he was also the same Pacey that had somehow, over the course of the last few months, become her best friend. The Pacey that was closer to her than Dawson could ever have dreamed of being.

It was a terrifying revelation.

Not as terrifying as the urge that was slowly taking over. Her traitorous hand actually stretched towards him before she caught herself and yanked it back, pressing trembling fingers to her mouth. Her lips tingled with the memory of that stolen kiss by the side of the road. He'd stepped boldly across a line that day, and neither of them had been able to step back. She didn't think they ever would. Not when she was thinking about him like this, dreaming about him, wanting to be near him all the time.

Pacey shifted a little in his sleep, his back arching, his arm flexing around the captive pillow. Her eyes travelled hungrily along the provocative curve of his biceps, across the solid muscular breadth of his chest and shoulders, and then darted furtively back to his face.

Those incredible ocean-coloured eyes of his were closed, but that only drew her attention to the subtle way his long lashes curled up at the ends, the sculpture of his sweet snubbed nose, and the intriguing bow in the middle of his upper lip. As if in response to her stare, that lip twitched, reminding her strangely of Elvis Presley, and she was forced to suppress a silly giggle at the comparison.

The hand that was splayed against his stomach moved slightly downward, dipping beneath the elastic hem of his pyjama pants, and he let out a strangled little moan. It was then that Joey became aware that he was aroused. He was more than likely in the middle of an erotic dream, and was probably going to be waking up in the same condition most teenaged boys did. Rather than being repulsed or embarrassed as she'd frequently been when the same thing had happened with Dawson, she found herself fascinated, that urge to touch growing ever stronger.

Pacey's hips shifted, and she followed the slight rocking motion with greedy eyes. There was a definite bulge evident in his pants, a very large bulge. Her fingers twitched again, and this time she let them do as they wanted, reaching out to echo his own movements and trace that oh-so-tempting strip of bare stomach.

The thin line of hair there tickled her fingers.

Pacey's moan deepened, his lips parting as he began to breathe heavier. His cheeks had become flushed with excitement. "Hmmm," he murmured. "Jo…"

She leant over him, spellbound by the sound of her name, by the way his husky voice rasped against her nerve endings. "Pacey," she whispered in reply, her own breathing becoming laboured. The heat from his body was so intense now; she could feel herself breaking out in a sweat. Her heart tripped painfully in her chest, her pulse picking up speed.

A low, throbbing ache was beginning to make itself known between her legs. An ache she'd only ever felt before while under the cover of darkness, experimenting in the solitude of her own bedroom, or…whenever she came into contact with this particular boy. With a jolt, she realized that she wasn't merely attracted to Pacey, she wanted him. She wanted to take him, possess him, to have him possess her…in every way possible.

Emboldened by her newfound knowledge, she dipped her hand lower, skimming feather-light over the straining cotton. He was hard beneath the cloth; very, very hard. She instinctively tightened her grip, curving her palm around his girth, and the solid feel of him in her hand only whetted her appetite for more.

He gasped and tipped his head back against the pillow, stubble-dusted jaw arching toward the ceiling, his Adam's apple bobbing convulsively in his throat.

Joey found the sight of that vulnerable curve irresistible and she was compelled to kiss him there.

Pacey's eyes suddenly flew wide open, bewildered blue clashing with dark, smouldering brown. "Wha-- Huh?" He licked his lips, not failing to notice how she eagerly followed the movement, and then hastily scanned his surroundings, looking for a trap. "Jo…?"

She stared at him intently. "I want you to kiss me again."

Pacey blinked. He'd just woken up in an almost painful state, and Joey Potter, the girl of - quite literally - his dreams, was making unimaginable demands on him. In fact, given where her hand was, there was a distinct possibility that he wasn't awake after all. He blinked again, waiting for the punchline. "What?"

His voice was little more than a croak.

"Please, Pacey?" She inched ever closer, lying partly atop his prone form, one leg hooking itself over his as their pelvises came together, his hardness now pressing against the soft flesh of her inner thigh. Her fingers abandoned their daring explorations below for safer territory, burrowing up under his vest to map the texture of the skin there. She could even measure how sexy he was to her in that moment, all rumpled and disoriented. "Please? I need to know."

Pacey frowned. "Know what?" He made an impatient gesture towards his own body, trying in vain to ignore the goose bumps breaking out over his skin from her touch. "I think it's fairly obvious how I'm feeling right now."

"Not you, me." Her nose brushed against his, their mouths only millimetres apart now, breaths intermingling. "I have to know if it was a fluke. The way you make me feel…"

Big hands came up to cradle her face. His fingers brushed aside some stray tendrils that had escaped from her loose ponytail, tenderly tucking them behind her ears, but he was also holding her back, making one last attempt to keep her at bay. "How do I make you feel?"

"It's hard to - to find the words to explain it…I've never…" She lowered her lashes; staring at the place where her palm was now resting flat over his thundering heart, and bit her lip, gathering the courage to say what needed to be said. "My heart pounds, my skin itches, I get twitchy and nervous and…the air feels electrified and hot. It's like everything around me is better and brighter."

"And what does that mean?"

"When I'm with you, I just feel so…alive."

He sighed, eyes closing at her words, as if they were too much for him to bear. "Don't mess with me, Joey."

"I'm not!" she rushed to reassure him. "I'm not messing with you, Pace. And I'm not completely ignorant to our situation. I realize that there's something here, between us, something very real and I'm just…It scares me."

"You think I'm not scared, too? I'm terrified. God, Jo, the way I feel about you is the most frightening thing I've ever experienced in my entire life."

Her eyes flew back to his, wide with shock. "Really?"

"Yes, really." He was deadly serious.

"So, it wasn't a fluke?"

"No. Most definitely not. And there's no way you can yell at me or hit me hard enough to convince me it was a mistake, either. Far from it. But…I can't keep on kissing you, Jo. I can't be the one who's always initiating this thing. I can't be the one always giving you the answers."

He searched her eyes, though what he was looking for was a mystery to her. She just stared back, wanting him to see everything she was feeling inside, to find what he needed. In return, she became captivated by something that beckoned deep beneath the ocean of his gaze - a bright warm glow, clear and pure and powerful enough to change worlds.

"What is that?" she whispered, intrigued, trying to get an even closer look.

He held her in place, squinting in wary confusion. "What is what?"

"In your eyes…there's something…"

The glow dimmed then, became shuttered, protected from her scrutiny. "Jo?"

"I'm sorry, I…" She sighed and shook her head, storing away what she'd seen for future analysis. He was right in his previous assessment, of course, as he so often was. She needed to be the one to prove something to him this time.

Gathering her courage, she closed that remaining distance between them and ran her tongue along that alluring upper lip, giving in to the urge to taste it again. Then she pulled back and smiled. "I want to do this," she said. "To explore this with you. I think I might need to."

"You think, or you know?"

"I know."

Pacey grinned back then, that all-too-familiar cocky grin, the one that spelled trouble. "It's about damn time, Potter."

He cupped the back of her head and pulled her down, his mouth meeting hers in a kiss that was both fiery and tender, all his restrained passion laid bare.

Joey finally understood that he wanted her just as much as she wanted him; that this was something true and real, and in that moment, she fell - against him, into him, completely and utterly in love with him.

For right now, they had each other. The outside world could wait.