Disclaimer: As usual, I don't own That '70s Show or its characters. So many things would be different if I did.
Author's Note: I've started marathon watching T7S again and I just can't help it. When a story appears in my head, it must be written.
The dates, once again, don't entirely make sense all the time. But...ehh. What can you do?
"You don't deserve a real tattoo. But if I were to get one, I'd show it to Fez before I'd ever show it to you!"
Ironically, that's pretty much how it happened.
June 12, 1981
She'd been arguing with Eric when he saw it—a small black symbol on her left hip. He probably never would have seen it if he hadn't been watching her, seeing as it was in a place normally concealed with clothing.
She was standing by the record player and trying to grab Sheena Easton out of Forman's outstretched hands, high above her head.
"Eric! Give it to me!"
"No, Jackie. I'm appalled you brought this into my basement in the first place!"
"It's not your basement anymore. You live in Madison with Donna, remember?"
"My parents. My house. My basement."
"I thought Donna was supposed to be the dragon bride, Eric! You don't get to make ridiculous demands too, just because you're getting married tomorrow!"
"It's not a ridiculous demand, she-devil! A man has a right to listen to what he wants on the day before his wedding, and this," he waggled the album in his outstretched hand, "is not it!"
Jackie stomped her foot in anger, inadvertently forcing her loose pants to drop a quarter of an inch. But it wasn't that that brought her tattoo into visibility, or forced Hyde to look near that spot to see it. It was her last-ditch effort to grab the record again. She reached her arms up high, forcing her shirt to ride up and her pants to slide down just enough to show some skin. Hyde's gaze dropped from her outstretched hands to her hip, something inside forcing him to glimpse what he'd given up—who he'd given up.
That was when he saw it. An inky black symbol, no bigger than her thumb. He felt a rush of adrenaline and he took off his sunglasses—his attention now only on that little area of her body. Clear as day, there it was. Confusion filled him—when had she gotten it? Certainly not when they were together. He knew her body better than he knew the Formans' back yard—a feat in itself since it was always him that raked up the leaves, Forman being too weak to do it.
Sudden movement caught his eye and he saw Fez straighten in the lawn chair across the room, his eyes wide and staring straight at Hyde. Fez looked over, seeing what it was Hyde had been looking at just moments before and he shot up.
In one swift move, Fez grabbed Jackie by the waist and opened the door, forcing them both out and shutting it with a slam.
Hyde heard Jackie arguing and footsteps running up the stairs, and his confusion only grew.
Fez knew. He hadn't been surprised or giddy upon seeing the symbol on Jackie's hip. He was worried and wanted to get her out of there, fast.
Hyde didn't know when Jackie had gotten it. He didn't know when she'd shown it to Fez, who also seemed to know the meaning behind it. He didn't know why—out of anything she could have gotten—she chose to get that symbol put on her body for the rest of her life.
But Hyde knew what it meant.
October 15, 1976
"What do these mean?"
Hyde sighed and looked over, wondering for the 158th time why she had to always be around him. This little crush of hers was getting to his sanity.
He'd been lying on his cot in his room, reading, when she'd wandered in 20 minutes before. Sensing he didn't want to talk, she instead sat by his record player at the foot of his bed and started sifting idly through his crate of albums.
His concentration now shot with her in the room, he'd found himself watching her curiously as she looked at each album, reading the song names, inspecting the band members, mouthing the lyrics.
He'd seen her once with that level of concentration, last year when Miss Tripke had threatened to fail him if he didn't get his report on the rise and fall of the French Revolution in by the following day. He'd trudged to the library, pissed that he'd have to miss circle time, when he saw her, tucked into the corner of the library. Seeing a couple of empty tables, he walked over to hers anyway and sat down. He didn't want to risk sitting at a table only for someone to walk in and join him. And he knew Jackie hated him and wouldn't want to chitchat with him at all.
She'd looked up and her face revealed her confusion at him in the library on a Thursday evening, coming to sit at her table.
"No talking, all right? I need to get this stupid thing done."
She'd shrugged and went back to whatever it was she was studying. He'd watched her for a second, and then off and on throughout the rest of the evening. He remembered thinking how badass it was, her level of concentration. Other than looking at him the one time when he'd sat down, she never lost focus any other time.
Seeing her on the edge of his cot, pulling albums out and letting her fingertips slide softly over the records, feeling the bumps and ridges that created his favorite sounds, he knew what she was doing. He knew what that look on her face meant—what was behind the focus in her expression and in her movements.
She was studying again. But this time it wasn't to memorize Newton's Laws of Motion. It was him. She was using his favorite music to learn who he was. And just like in the library, he thought it was pretty badass.
"Steven? These symbols. What do these mean?"
Resigning to his fate of being the object of her studies, he lay the book on his chest and looked down the cot at her. She had on a curious expression, her lips in a slight pout that he tried not to notice, and she held up the inner sleeve of Led Zeppelin IV. Above the song titles and centered were four symbols, each meant to represent the four members of the band: Page, Jones, Bonham, Plant.
"It's the band."
"What?" she asked, even more confused. She looked back at the symbols before carefully placing the sheet of paper down and digging back through the milk crate. She flipped through them and grabbed another album, Led Zeppelin III coming into view. She flipped it over and studied the members of his favorite band. He watched her compare the two objects—band members and their symbols.
She looked back up at him. "Which one is which?"
He had to smile; she surprised him sometimes.
"I can't solve everything for you, Jackie."
"No, I don't…that's not what I meant." The pout was back. She looked back between the two items in her hand, now intent to figure the riddle out. "Is this first one that guy? The one on top?"
"Good. Cause that one's the best. He must be the best, right?"
Hyde shrugged. "Not to everyone."
"Is he your favorite? What's his name?"
"Jimmy Page. And yeah, he's my favorite." He watched her smile and knew he'd regret letting her know that her favorite was also his. It would undoubtedly be held over his head for who knows how long.
"See? I knew you had good taste, Steven."
"Oh, yeah?" he asked, sitting up and coming face to face with her. "Then why is it I don't like you?"
Her eyes flashed with hurt, making him instantly regret saying anything, but—to his surprise—she breathed out and smiled instead. She worked to put his records back the way they were when she found them before turning towards him fully. "One, you just burnt yourself. And two, I said I knew you had good taste. But apparently you don't know it yet. Let me know when you figure it out, okay?" She quickly kissed him on the cheek and flounced out of his room, leaving him more confused than she'd been while looking at those damn symbols.
February 14, 1978
And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last.
"So, what does Zoso mean?"
"What?" he asked drowsily, his hand sweeping softly up and down her back as he fought sleep.
When all are one and one is all
To be a rock and not to roll.
They'd come back from the Valentine's Day Dance a little under an hour ago and he pulled her onto his cot with him, still fully clothed. Having only gotten back together earlier that day, he found himself having a hard time letting her go, wanting to hold her for just a little while longer. She'd ended up lying on top of him, her head resting on his chest, his heartbeat lulling her to a soft peace she rarely felt.
And she's buying a stairway to heaven.
"What does Zoso mean?" she asked again as she used one arm to take the needle off the record and flip it over. She'd done that three times now since they fell on his cot—too lazy to actually get up and put on a new album.
"It's something he created. I don't really know."
"So it's a mystery?"
"Is it a mystery to Jimmy Page or just to everyone else?"
Surprised she remembered his name, he laid a kiss on her temple and smiled. "Everyone else. He knows what it means."
Walkin' in the park just the other day, baby.
What do you—what do you think I saw?
"So, it's like a secret," she said, grinning up at him.
"Yeah," he said softly, quickly losing the battle to sleep. A mystery to everyone else but Page knew the importance. Just like Jackie, Hyde thought before sleep claimed him. Jackie was his Zoso.
Crowds of people sittin' on the grass with flowers in their hair said:
Hey, boy, do you want to score?
September 2, 1978
After Kelso and Fez left to find chicks at The Hub, Hyde grabbed Jackie and pulled him into her lap. She giggled and went back to licking the cake icing off of her fingers.
He grabbed her pinky and slipped the digit into his mouth, licking off the rest of the icing. With a pop, he released her finger and looked at her, pleased with the desire he saw in her eyes. "I can't believe you almost told them what I call you, Zoso."
Jackie grinned. "I'm sorry, Puddin'. Hey, is there anymore cake on my face?" She pushed her chin up, showing him her face, slowly moving it from side to side.
"Yeah," he said softly, kissing the spots where he still saw icing. He tapped her hip and together they stood before he grabbed her hand and pulled her to his room. "Come on," he said, looking back at her and hiking his eyebrows. "We need to clean you up. You're all dirty."
April 23, 1979
"I like these ones," she said casually as she held on to his arm. They were at Point Place's Annual Car Show and he'd dragged her over to help him pick out new tires for the El Camino after the Formans took off.
He looked over to where she was pointing and nodded approvingly. "Yeah, I do too."
"Well, of course you do, Steven. You have good taste just like me."
Hyde smiled at her, remembering what she'd said so long ago, and leaned in for a kiss. "You got it, Zoso. Now come on, the show's ending soon and I still need a stereo. You remember what to look for?"
Hyde grinned and wrapped his arm around her as they walked towards something promising, pleased in knowing his chick was as badass as before they even got together.
February 4, 1980
"Say it, Steven. Please."
Hyde sighed, feeling a headache coming on.
"Steven, please. I need to know I wasn't just nothing to you. I need to know that you felt something for me. Just say it."
He looked up at her, finding her more beautiful than any other woman he'd ever seen in his life. He hated her for making him love her so much, for making him happy and making him forget all the shit in the world. He hated her for ripping that all away and reminding him once again how much he didn't deserve. He hated her for letting him see what his life could have been, before turning away and subjecting him to what his life would be instead. He hated her.
But mostly, he loved her. "I'm sorry, Zoso. For everything."
Tears in her eyes, she walked up to him and wrapped her arms around him, hugging him tight. "Thank you, Puddin'."
That night, she moved away from Point Place to start her new life in Milwaukee. Hyde never knew that it was that first night, with Fez who'd come to help her unpack her things, she'd walked down the street and met a tattoo artist named Darla who'd inked Zoso on her left hip. Hyde never knew because she'd never intended to tell him.
It was supposed to be her secret—her way of commemorating their time together before leaving it behind and moving on.
He wasn't supposed to find out.
June 12, 1981
He felt himself crumble when he saw Jackie and Kelso in that hotel room in Chicago. He felt the cracks in his heart widen and fall when he saw guilt in her eyes. He felt the pieces realign not quite right and harden in a misshapen form, dooming his family and friends to witness a regression in himself—a distorted form that would rather drink and fuck a stripper while spitting fire at a doe-eyed brunette than own up to his mistakes and be happy with that doe-eyed brunette.
Slowly, as he began to realize that his behavior was destructive and he was starting to really ruin his life, he focused less on how miserable he felt and more on how to get through the day without eventually becoming Bud Hyde. He began to drink less. He stopped his daily routine of solo-circle times, limiting it to when his friends were available and it was enjoyable. He became a little more selective in who he brought to his bed, resigning himself to the fact that he no longer enjoyed easy lays in simple women.
He began to turn his life around.
But no matter how many good things he seemed to have going for him, there was still the pain in his chest that told him he was missing something…someone. He was missing a little spitfire pixie who would kick his shins and still bring light into his life.
He was okay; his world was heading on the right track. But it was gray. He wanted the color back. But knowing she was done with him, he had surrendered himself to his world staying gray.
But seeing that symbol—their symbol—on her left hip, tattooed on her body for the rest of her life…
He saw a pop of color, and he needed to pursue it.
December 23, 1981
Soft music played in the background as Jackie and Hyde lie on the floor in the living room of their apartment, both staring up at their first Christmas tree.
"Did it hurt?" he asked, his thumb sweeping softly along the black ink on her hip.
Sleepily, she nodded.
He brushed away her hair and kissed her beneath her ear. "A lot?"
His breath tickling her, she smiled. "A little. I mean, yeah, it hurt." She turned towards him and hugged him to her. "But being without you hurt more."
"Me too," he whispered, pulling her towards him until there was no space between them and he felt secure in knowing she was here, with him, and had promised him forever—just as he had promised her.
"Did you really mean it earlier?"
He looked down at her and saw her face in a slight pout, her eyes transfixed on the new piece of jewelry on her left ring finger.
"Cause I'm gonna be a really horrible bride, Steven."
"I mean it!" she added, a smile of her own coming to surface. "I'm gonna be really pushy and even worse than Donna! Are you gonna stick around while I'm like that?"
He leaned down to kiss her. "I will stick around."
"I promise, Zoso."
Smiling, content, she tucked her face into the crook where his shoulder met his neck and laid a soft kiss on the skin she found there. When she'd walked into that tattoo shop and met the nice lady named Darla, she hadn't intended him to ever find out. But she was glad he did.
Author's Note: Thank you all for reading :) Please review! I'm eager to see what you thought of this!