- ❝ Made me feel alive ❞
Joey and Pacey have known each other as kids and at 15 have a bantering love/hate relationship. They pick at each other and don't really know one another intimately, but still support each other in times of crisis. Paired on a science project, they spend a few days together and Pacey finds himself attracted to Joey, who rejects him kindly as she's in love with Dawson. Following both their break-ups with Andie and Dawson, respectively, they start spending time together and are surprised to find they're falling in love. In spite of the damage to both their relationships with Dawson, they start a romantic relationship and are together for most of their senior year.
After some months apart following their break-up at prom, they meet again in Boston. Although they were deeply in love, they show little evidence of this as they stay in the same friend group in Boston, both dating other people, with Pacey even dating Joey's roommate. Their second year in Boston, they find their way back to each other, but break up when Joey goes back to her ex. In 2008, they reunite at Gale's wedding in Capeside and old feelings are stirred. Joey and Pacey move in together at Joey's apartment in New York, marry and have children.
Joey and Pacey meet as kids and, it seems, from the beginning have an antagonistic relationship, in the kid sense of the word with teasing and such. This continues into their teen years, with the two bickering and trading insults at every turn. One of the more substantial moments of their “frenemie” relationship, is in Boyfriend , when Pacey encourages Joey to go after her long time crush and mutual best friend, Dawson Leery. He brings Joey to a house party where Dawson will also be. When Joey drinks too much, Pacey watches over her, going as far as knocking out a man attempting to assault her. After being forced to spend a day together for a biology grade in Double Date, Pacey begins to feels attracted to Joey. The two have an intimate conversation about their fears of being stuck in Capeside forever. The next night, Pacey kisses Joey. However, she rejects his advances as she has feelings for Dawson, but this experience changes their dynamic from begrudging frenemies to something of a bantering friendship. In Decisions, Pacey tells Joey a story he’s never told before about his father disapproving of him and wishing he was more like his brother. With this striking a nerve in Joey, she asks Pacey if he can give her a ride to visit her father in prison. Pacey says he could “borrow” his fathers car and they proceed to drive four hours to the prison. At the arrival, it’s past visiting hours and the guard refuses to let Joey in. Pacey bribes the guard and Joey gleefully thanks him.
Dawson and Pacey's friendship suffers slightly when Dawson and Joey start dating, although Pacey doesn't really blame Joey in any way. When Jack is harrassed by the community and his family over whether or not he's gay while he's dating Joey, Pacey asks Joey how she's doing. The two also plan Dawson's 16th surprise birthday party together. Pacey literally saves Joey's life when the Ice House suffers an arson attack due to Mike Potter's drug dealings.
Following Dawson's summer in Philadelphia and subsequent encounter with Joey, Dawson asks Pacey to look out for Joey, as Dawson wishes to put some distance between himself and Joey. Pacey, hesitant, ultimately agrees and comforts a heartbroken Joey at the end of her dock. Pacey and Joey take a road trip to pick up Andie from the recovery facility, and after the front desk person refuses to let them in, Joey schemes a way for Pacey to sneak in. When Pacey heartbreakingly discovers that Andie has cheated on him, Joey tries to give Pacey advice. Joey also supports Pacey when Dawson's PSAT test craze drives him and Pacey to fisticuffs. In the aftermath of both Joey and Pacey’s rejections, they begin to spend most of their down time together, with Joey helping Pacey fix up his new boat “true love” after skipping school with him (Homecoming), and Pacey inspiring Joey to start a B&B with her sister while offering free labor in Secrets and Lies.
Pacey asks Joey to help tutor him, and in turn, Joey asks Pacey to take dance lessons with her. She’s hoping to win an annual scholarship, and believes she has a good shot. The two sneak around, unwilling to let anyone find out their embarrassing secret. However, this causes Dawson to become suspicious of them. As he had found a condom and a conspicuous Pacey in his room days earlier. Not knowing the condom was from an almost hookup between Pacey and Jen, he believes Joey is the person Pacey is having an affair with. Comedy ensues, and leads Pacey to confront Dawson about his attachment to Joey. Later, Joey catches Pacey and Jen kissing in a coat closet and reacts very upset. She leaves, and Jen suggests the reason why both of them reacted so intensely is because they’re interested in one another. Pacey denies this. After Joey complains about Pacey to Dawson, she returns to the dance studio to get her coat and sees Pacey sulking at a table. She approaches and suggests she overreacted. Pacey agrees. The two make up and leave together.
Dawson and Pacey are watching a film at the Potter B&B. Joey muses on about how she hasn’t had a single customer since they’ve opened and that Pacey had no business inspiring her. The next day, Pacey arrives at the B&B with a plan to help business. He’s contacted one Fredrick Fricke, a hotel reviewer to come and stay and asked Grams, Jen, Jack, Andie, Mitch and Gale to all pose as guests. Joey isn’t pleased, citing that the B&B isn’t near finished and that this is her last chance to keep a roof over her head, since Bessie is thinking of putting up the house as collateral. Pacey, previously unaware of this, apologizes and attempts to call and cancel but before he can, Fredrick arrives. Pacey, in attempt to make Fricke’s visit as positive as possible, spends most of the day doing handy work. Namely, cleaning a flooded bathroom, trying to fix the furnace and chopping wood. During the latter, Mitch approaches and suggest the Potters should be proud to have a friend like Pacey. Pacey doesn’t know why they would be. Mitch asks Pacey why he cares so much, to which Pacey doesn’t respond. Inside, the whole group discusses their favorite scent memories. Grams recalls that the smell of burning wood is her favorite, because her husband would read to her every night and nod off by the fire. She states that you know you love someone when you can spend all night by the fire, watching them sleep. At the end of the episode, Pacey comes inside to tell Joey something about the furnace and finds her asleep on the couch. He puts a blanket over her and watches her sleep by the fire, revealing Pacey has feelings for Joey.
Pacey is jealous of Joey and and her new bf AJ and also offended that Joey didn’t come to the opening night of his play. Joey does show up to the after party, where Pacey says that Joey shouldn’t worry about love, because you can find it in the most unexpected of places. He would know. Pacey invites Joey and Dawson to a house party and Joey doesn’t approve. However, she agrees to go. Throughout the night, Joey and Pacey argue over what their friend Dawson needs, leading to a confrontation in a jail cell after they get arrested. Joey asks Pacey when he got such a mean streak and Pacey asks Joey why she’s taking his quips so seriously. Everyone besides Pacey gets bailed out and Pacey confides in Doug about an unnamed girl. Doug asks if she’s pretty. Pacey says she’s the kind of pretty that gives you butterflies, to which Doug responds that Pacey needs to tell this girl how he feels. Pacey says if he did the world would end. The next morning Pacey shows up to Joey’s to apologize. Joey says she was worried about Pacey too, not just Dawson. Pacey attempts to tell Joey how he feels, but loses his nerve last minute and ends up teaching her how to drive instead.
At school, Pacey comes to look at the mural the school commissioned Joey to do. Joey explains its about hope and Pacey suggests the school isn’t sophisticated enough to enjoy it but that the piece looks great. After Joey gives a speech to the school and reveals the mural to her classmates, we see that it’s been vandalized. She runs out and Pacey and Dawson follow her out. Dawson suggests the vandalism was meaningless but Pacey believes it was a pointed attack. He spends the following school day finding out it was Matt Cofield that vandalized the mural. Pacey tells Matt that he better apologize and turn himself in by the end of the day or else. The end of the day comes, and Pacey finds Matt by his car. Matt admits to ruining the painting after Pacey shakes it out of him, but as Pacey goes to leave, Matt punches him. They brawl and they both get sent to the principals office. Pacey faces expulsion, and Joey tells Pacey that if he’s gonna ruin his life to do it on his own accord. Pacey, hurt, says he was just trying to help out Dawson and Joey leaves offended. Joey reveals to Dawson that she knows about the deal him and Pacey made. Dawson asks Joey if she can truly doubt that Pacey cares for her given that he’s facing expulsion for her. Joey finds Pacey painting over the ruined art with white paint. She joins him and the two make up.
After what happened, Joey feels the need to stand up for Principal Green, who’s facing a racially motivated attack on his job after having expelled Matt Cofield. Pacey suggests that Joey rally the students, but she brushes the idea off. Later that night, AJ suggests the same thing, to which she replies that Pacey suggested that as well. At school, Pacey sees Joey hanging flyers for the protest and assumes it’s because of what he said. He offers his help wherever she might need it, since it was his idea in the first place. Joey says it was actually AJ’s idea. Pacey seems offended but hides it as Joey introduces him to AJ. AJ seems slightly threatened. As Joey tries to gather signatures for her petition and bodies for her rally, Jen tells Joey that Pacey got the printers to give them free flyers, to which Joey seems impressed. Pacey sees Joey kiss AJ and is visibly upset. Jen sees and follows Pacey out as he goes to hang flyers on the docks. Pacey tells Jen that he’s falling for the worst possible person he could ever fall for. At the rally, Jen tells Pacey that he’s a good friend and that he should hold out. Why? Because every duck has its day. Later, Pacey leads Joey by the hand to a blank brick wall. He’s rented it for her and bought her a can of paint. He believes that her next endeavor should be bigger and better than the last. Joey exclaims that Pacey inspires her in ways no one else would even think of and that she’s thankful for him.
Joey plans to spend the weekend with AJ and attend an awards dinner. Pacey drives Joey to the bus stop and suggests it’s pretentious, but immediately takes it back. Joey calls AJ her friend, to which Pacey remarks a friend that you kiss. Joey agrees but states regular labels don’t work for long distance things. Pacey says it’s perfect for her, because it isn’t real. Joey, now annoyed, tells Pacey to have a good weekend and walks away. Pacey seems to regret what he said. Pacey picks up a child he’s been mentoring, Buzz, and tries to get him to help paint true love. Buzz asks who he named the boat after. Pacey says true love isn’t a person, it’s an unattainable idea. Buzz asks who the unattainable girl is. Later that night, Pacey tells Buzz the girls name is Joey while he makes them both dinner. Buzz questions if she’s hot, and after some pressing, Pacey says that’s she’s so beautiful she makes him believe there’s meaning to the universe. Back at the college, Joey finds out AJ is in love with another girl. And she realizes what Pacey said is true. It’s not real. She breaks up with AJ and calls Pacey to come pick her up. On the way home, Joey confides in Pacey. She’s doesn’t have anything real. She believes she’s not meant to. That there’s only been two people in the world who have known her. Dawson and- Pacey cuts her off. He says AJ didn’t know her, because if he did he never would have left. That’s not what Joey was going to say. She was going to say Pacey. Pacey pulls over the car, visibly shocked. Joey’s sorry if he’s mad she called. He’s not. He just wants to know why she called him. He’s the first person she thought of. What does that mean? It means that she can talk to him. Pacey asks Joey if she ever gets tired of taking, because he does. Joey doesn’t know what Pacey is trying to say. Pacey cups Joey’s face and kisses her mid sentence.
- ❝ I think I'm in love with you. I know it. I've know it since the moment we kissed, and maybe even before that. And as scary as it is, I don't want to deny it anymore. I don't want to run from it or let it run from me ❞
- —Joey to Pacey[src]
- ❝ Listen, Pacey. If I'm thanking you for anything... it's for being yourself. It's for not caring what anybody else thinks. It's for knowing in your own heart what's wrong and what's right. And for being there this year... when I needed you most ❞
- ❝ You're off the hook. I never really put much faith in all that "if you love someone set them free" crap, as evidenced by everything I've done in my life up to this very moment... but I am determined to be happy, Joey. Happy in this life... And I love you, I mean, I always, I have always, always loved you. But our timing has just never been right... and the way I figure it, time is no man's friend. So I have to get right with that and be happy, now. Because this is it, I mean, this is all that we get. If there is one thing I've learned from losing Jen, that's what I've learned. Actually, um, hold on. I'm not done yet. Because I also want for you to be happy. It's really important for me that you be happy. So I want you to be with someone, whether it be Dawson or New York guy or some man that you haven't even met yet. But I want you to be with someone who can be a part of the life that you want for yourself. I want you to be with someone who makes you feel like I feel when I'm with you. So, I guess the point to this long run-on sentence that's been the last 10 years of our lives... is just that the simple act of being in love with you is enough for me. So you're off the hook ❞
- ❝ She’s so beautiful that every time you look at her, your knees tremble, your heart just melts, and you know right then and there, without any reservation, that there’s order and meaning to the universe ❞
- —Pacey, to Buzz[src]
- ❝ I mean, I know who I’m supposed to be with. I’ve always known ... but then the fear kicks in. The free floating anxiety ridden fear in the pit of my stomach that makes me run. Jen, I am completely comfortable with running. I really don’t know any other way ❞
- —Joey, to Jen[src]
- Williamson's thoughts on the couple post series finale:
- ❝ I think Pacey and Joey are very much still together and have kids. I think they have had some ups and downs that have only enriched their relationship and made them stronger ❞
- When Gretchen returns to Capeside, she remarks to Pacey how she's not surprised that he and Joey ended up together.
- As Joey and Dawson were construed as the 'endgame' couple for the series, some find it an impressive (and more successful) risk to take, that the writers ultimately changed these plans to pair up Joey and Pacey.
- seasons of us | MARY BETH MAZIARZ
- Pacey watches Joey sleep
- daydream believer (cover) | MARY BETH MAZIARZ
- Joey kisses Pacey
- this year's love | DAVID GRAY
- on the boat
- say hello, wave goodbye | DAVID GRAY
- meeting in boston
- beacon street | RED CHORD
- Joey jokes that Pacey isn’t over her
- my friend | ANNIE PALMER
- Pacey tells Joey he’s not over her
- have a little faith in me | JOHN HIATT
- Pacey kisses Joey at Gale’s wedding
- How Female Writers Influenced Dawson's Creek's Most Irresistible Couple (MARIE CLAIRE • MAY 2020)