Author: chromeknickers PM
Jackie Burkhart had always believed that love conquered all. But what happens when love is taken away, when every single memory is erased from her past? How can she rebuild a life she cannot remember? And will Steven Hyde be content to be a mere footnote on a memoir that Jackie no longer cares to read? Post S8.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Romance - Jackie B. & Steven H. - Chapters: 12 - Words: 65,044 - Reviews: 218 - Favs: 37 - Follows: 61 - Updated: 04-12-13 - Published: 01-23-13 - id: 8939528
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: It's safe to say that no Zennie was particularly thrilled about S8 (or even most of S7 for that matter). This story is not an attempt to right wrongs but rather an effort to set forth an afterwords for the series; one that strictly focusses on Jackie and Hyde's relationship, as well as mirror the 'afterword' of Jackie's inevitable metamorphosis... or possible regression.
Inspired by The Rolling Stones' Ruby Tuesday, which will eventually feature into the story, this piece will attempt to be introspective, slightly humorous, and arrogantly presumptuous in its feeble quest to encompass the darker half of Zen. And while this is primarily an angsty Jackie/Hyde fic, at its heart is a character study of Jackie and all her wonderful and not so wonderful layers (and maybe Hyde's too). But don't expect a masterpiece as I'm writing as I go. It's a plot clichéd on several levels, but in a way that will hopefully be fun to read. :)
LOVE CONQUERED ALL, or at least that was what Jackie had always led herself to believe.
Love was supposed to be immeasurable and immutable, invincible and insurmountable, and any other adjective she could think of that began with the letter 'I'. Did Paris and Helen of Troy let anyone come between their love? Well, okay, they may have started a war that cost thousands of people their lives and brought about the destruction of an entire kingdom, but they followed their hearts and that's all that mattered in the end. Wasn't it?
Jackie Burkhart was certainly no Helen of Troy; she was vastly hotter than the ill-fated Trojan princess. After all, the razor had yet to be invented and personal hygiene and designer fashions weren't exactly high on everyone's priority list back in those days, if she were to believe the ramblings of her tenth grade History teacher. Or was he talking about the Medieval Ages? Whatever. It wasn't important.
Jackie preferred to be compared to beauties from the era of shaved legs, not a bunch of hairy, dirty, half-naked hemp-smokers. She was her own princess; a porcelain doll in need of her Prince Paris. Or was it King Menelaus? Again, another moot point. The real problem in Princess Jackie's life was that her current paramour wasn't shaping up to be a man willing to go to war for her. Their love certainly caused no riots between nations (or cliques); no wooden horses would be sneaked past her impenetrable forces; no foundations would be razed to the ground over their kisses. It was a love that was all just so... ordinary.
Creepy and unnatural—was that to be the pinnacle of her love life? And what good was that when it so easily abandoned her?
It didn't seem fair; however, Jackie had learnt over the past few years that life was anything but fair, even for beautiful people like herself. But there was one consistency in her life, one idea that never abandoned her, and that was the concept of love. For good or for bad, love would always be the focal point of Jackie Burkhart's existence (aside from herself); it was her obsession, that unattainable dream.
Love was supposed to immeasurable, but even Jackie wasn't that self-deluded to believe that was entirely true. She could measure love quite well, thank you very much—with gifts and words of adoration and promises, promises of a future and family together. The American dream. The Jackie Burkhart dream. Throw in a two carat princess cut diamond engagement ring, white doves and unicorns prancing on rainbows, and the dream would be complete. But, then again, Jackie knew better.
Oh, she could dream. She could delude herself with childish fantasies, but if Jackie were to dig really deep inside herself she'd admit (though never aloud) that love was more than materialistic trophies and Hallmark greetings. But selling out for such commercial propaganda just happened to be Jackie's bag, as it was countless others', and Jackie would never pretend to be any different.
Still, Jackie measured love—in both quantity and quality. And if you were to catch her in a circle, she might just admit to favourably leaning towards quality, but vehemently deny the confession once sober.
Jackie was well aware that there were all sorts of love, like the love of a pet or designer shoes or your crazy grandmother who smelled like Ben-Gay and used to call you Kathy but gave you twenty dollars every birthday, along with some of the best hugs you'll ever remember from your childhood. And then there were the loves of your lives, the men with whom you so foolishly handed over your fragile heart. From her first love with Michael to the ego-boosting crush she shared with Fez, Jackie could count the worth and amount of love on her fingers, tally the scores in her head. And while both loves were sweet in their own ways, they were sadly very quantifiable.
Michael was the easiest one to size up. He was her first boyfriend, the one who had first carved a niche in Jackie's heart, the one with whom she would grade all others against, at first, anyway. And he was the one she would always remember because he was her first and because she has always been a romantic at heart.
Fez, on the other hand, was someone who spent a bit more time opening up her mind rather than settling in her heart. Some loves, she discovered, weren't necessarily about control or passion or about heartache and forgetting how to breathe. Fez had made her feel good about herself when she had been at her lowest. He worshipped the very ground she walked on. For a while Jackie believed that was exactly what she needed, exactly what she deserved; to be catered to and coddled, to never be challenged or grounded. But it was a one-sided love affair that left a bitter taste in her mouth, if only for the fact that her heart refused to hold reasonable negotiations with her mind.
And then there was Steven Hyde, the rebel without a cause; always defying the rules and scoffing in the face of convention, subscribing to nonsensical conspiracy theories faster and more frequently than she set her hair (which happened to be quite often). A man who never did or said exactly what she wanted but somehow opened her up to this totally different dimension of love that she couldn't possibly bring herself to define; not even if she had a thousand monkeys working at a thousand typewriters.
Steven Hyde was like biting into tinfoil. It was stupid idea and it hurt like hell to do, but it was interesting and fun and her curiosity got the best of her because she would bite into him regardless of the consequences—again and again and again. But more than that he made her laugh, made her cry, made her scream. And instead of carving himself into a small spot of her heart, he took the entirety of it in his hands and seared his fingerprints into it, making it as much his own as hers. It was the kind of love that could never be measured or articulated; it was unpredictable and dangerous, all-consuming until it left her breathless and twisted inside.
Still left her twisted inside.
The one thing Jackie did know for certain was that love was anything but immutable. Love changed things. It didn't just change how you felt—how you regarded someone one day and the next. Love changed who you were. Love shifted your world to suit its needs. Sometimes it made you a better person; sometimes it made you worse. Sometimes all love did was strip away your identity until there was nothing left but an empty shell waiting to be discarded or rebuilt from the foundations up. Or it left you naked and exposed, clutching onto anything that would fill you with warmth again. But the latter was a dark, cruel path to travel down; one filled with brambles and thorns that sliced into your sides, carving twisted, unrecognisable patterns into vulnerable flesh. That kind of love sucked you down into a pit that you yourself dug with your own bare hands; the dirt still embedded underneath your fingernails.
Jackie had dug her own pit of love and self-loathing. She had dug so deeply and so blindly that she could no longer see the sky above and was too numb from the effort to crawl out of the hole she had so willingly fell into. Or maybe she was thrown into it. Yeah, maybe she had dug the pit but someone else tossed her in, and now she was wallowing in the mud, unable to climb out. But even at the bottom of her utmost despair, Jackie was an optimist, a foolish romantic. All was not lost as long as there was love, she still reasoned. And she was right, in a way.
Sure, love could conquer a lot of problems, as long as you figured out what love was truly for. And sometimes—just sometimes—if you were lucky enough, a sliver of light would find its way through the darkness, lighting a path of escape. And if you were strong enough, willing enough, and had just enough luck on your side, you could follow that light out of the hole and into freedom.
And while Jackie didn't know it at the time, she would eventually see the light...