Author: Misty Flores
Genre: That '70s Show
Teaser: The students at Point Place High knew senior year meant changes. They just weren't prepared for how many there would be.
Spoilers: This takes place sometime before 'Black Dog'.
"I noticed you're alone a lot. And I'm alone a lot. So let's be alone
together! Look! We're alone right now!"
- Jackie to Hyde, Kelso's Serenade
The seniors of Point Place High were well aware that their final year was going to be riddled with change. It was a freakin' era, of love, peace, and freedom, man. There was the future straight ahead, and you know... college for the truly ambitious. Getting out was a big thing. Everyone was going to get out, and to do that, that meant change.
It was all about change.
But no one really expected as much change as they got during those first weeks. It was a weird trip.
For one thing, Hyde, who had a first name, but no one could really remember what it was, had a beard. That wasn't a big change. Hyde was Hyde, the eternal loner, who sat outside on his car more than he was in class, and if he grew a bead, that just seemed like a Hyde thing to do. Who the hell was Hyde to bother with shaving? That would require, like, effort, and zenmaster Hyde was not known for putting any kind of effort into anything unless it involved breaking some kind of rule, stealing, or lighting up.
Donna Pinciotti, red haired giant beauty, who according to someone, who told someone else, had gone to California to have Casey Kelso's baby, wasn't back. Jackie Burkhart had told Rita Masterson that Donna was now all school girl-ed out at Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow, which totally bit, though the guys in the locker room had a field day with that mental image. Eric Foreman, the straight loser, had put a stop to that kind of talk, spouting stuff about being respectful about his girlfriend. John Markson guessed he hadn't known about the whole Casey Kelso thing, and thought it was pretty big of him to take Donna back after having another guy's baby and all.
Altogether, that gossip was enough to last a couple weeks at least. There were other bits of note that were floated around quickly enough. Jackie Burkhardt and Michael Kelso had broken up again, over the summer. There was already a pool going on led by the Point Place Vikings cheerleaders how long it would be until they got back together. Once again, the regular flock of lovestruck girls and hormonal guys all surged around Jackie and Kelso, each trying to nail or be nailed by the broken couple in question in hopes of getting their chance before they fell into each other's arms again. This was all done, of course (unless you were really brave), with the utmost discretion. Kelso and Jackie, broken up or not, were known for their fierce streaks of possessiveness, and rumor had it that Burkhardt had even kicked Foreman's sister's ass once.
"She hit her in the eye," Foreman had confirmed.
It was the four year pattern, and Point Place High was used to it, waiting for them to come full circle. It had always been Jackie and Kelso. It was always going to BE Jackie and Kelso. Point Place High wasn't Point Place High without Jackie flaunting down the hallway, Kelso winking and smiling behind her, grinning at the cute chicks, and threatening to kick the ass of the poor guy who accidentally stepped into Jackie's line of sight. They were the golden couple, supreme in their on-again, off-again relationship. Burkhardt was mean, bossy, loud, and beautiful. Kelso was loud, tall, pretty (man-pretty, he corrected) and not as bright. Jackie was still the cheerleader, Kelso was still the model, and things were just the way they were supposed to be.
You couldn't say Jackie without saying Kelso, couldn't talk about one without talking about the other, it just wasn't done.
Sure, Jackie and Kelso were broken up. They did it at least once a year, or threatened at least, and no one except maybe lovesick Todd really thought it was ever going to be a permanent situation.
Except... it was weird. 'Cause three weeks went by, and Jackie Burkhardt was still alone. Jackie Burkhardt was never alone before. She walked down the hallway, and she did it with class, usually with Kelso, or Fez, or some cheerleader. Burkhardt didn't do alone.
Tammy, the blonde apex of the cheerleading squad, wondered openly if Jackie was coming down with something, because any moment Pam Macy was going to get her hooks into Kelso again, and then who would Jackie take to the Christmas Fling? Two months was just so very close, and these things took preparation.
Jason heard from his girlfriend Sara, who heard it from Tammy, who said Jackie had scoffed, actually scoffed, at that, and said she could care less who Michael Kelso went with, she'd rather go alone than go with him anyway.
Cynthia said it was crazy, because Jackie Burkhardt had actually managed to convince Hyde to go to a prom sophomore year, than go alone, and it just wasn't going to happen. Nothing was going to change, it was just going to be a matter of time before Burkhardt would find Kelso with some chick, get possessive, kick her ass, and drag Kelso away with her.
And Jackie continued to walk the aisles alone, or with the foreign kid, or with Foreman. It was just the same, the tandem waiting for when she would walk that hallway with Michael, as usual.
Until the day she came into the lunchroom. Gene was there. He said that she had taken one look at the lunchroom, and then walked out. The cheerleading table thought maybe she went to go throw up or something, but Sabrina, who was outside at the time trying to smoke a cigarette, said it was the weirdest thing.
Jackie Burkhardt, in her hundred dollar boots, and her handmade patchwork skirt, put her tray on a car hood, pushed herself up, and started eating next to Hyde.
And what was even weirder, (she remembers, because she said that was the reason she dropped her one and only cigarette) was that Hyde never kicked her off it. He just gave her this look, barked at her not to get her cheerleading germs on his car, and then, when she just gave him a glare right back, took the pretzels she held out.
And he started to eat them. Next to Jackie Burkhardt. Jackie and Hyde ate lunch. Together. Alone.
At least, until Fez the foreign kid, Kelso and Foreman all surrounded them, and then it was impossible to see anything at all, Sabrina, said, because there was this big cloud of smoke, and before she knew it, Jackie and Hyde had disappeared. It was like a magic trick. One minute there was five, then there were three, and the only two she wanted to see, weren't there at all.
It was freaking weird, man.
Naturally, Jackie was cornered by the Tammy and Cynthia, who needed to know the meaning of all of this, because even though it was common knowledge that Hyde and Kelso and that whole little group hung out in Foreman's basement, it was always assumed that Jackie Burkhardt had been shoved in by default. Jackie was forced to cohabit with Hyde because of Kelso. Jackie and Kelso, not Jackie and Hyde.
There was absolutely no reason why Jackie Burkhardt needed to be seen with someone the likes of Hyde, because Hyde was Hyde, and Jackie was only 'friends' with him because of Kelso. Jackie and Kelso, right?
Jackie must have been smoking some really good shit, though, because she wasn't loud or mean or bossy in her response. Well, just mean. She told Tammy to keep her big beak out of her business, and she told Cynthia to learn how to land her round off right before she asked her more about stupid things that didn't exist.
Tammy said that she told Jackie that hanging out with an anti-cool like Hyde wasn't a good idea for a girl who wanted to be Snow Queen. Her response?
That's right, Cynthia later told Mark, who told Jason, pure Hyde zen.
Things were downright weird with Jackie Burkhardt. She was still walking the hallways, sometimes alone, sometimes with Kelso and Fez, once in a blue moon with Foreman, and of course all the cheerleaders.
But there was that one time when she was at her locker, and Hyde passed by, and she called out, "Steven! Help me with this?"
Steven. Jesse didn't even know who Steven was until Hyde stopped, turned, and scooped up the books that had fallen at Jackie's feet, and pushed them in her locker.
Now, Jesse couldn't be sure, but he was watching really closely, and he was pretty sure that the conversation went something like:
"Oh, listen, Steven, Donna and I are going to the mall afterwards, so I won't be in the basement until later."
"Whatever. See you."
That was the entire thing verbatim, what Jesse got anyways. The reason it was being dissected by the entire senior class of Point Place High, however, wasn't just for the content.
In the course of that conversation, Hyde had walked Jackie Burkhardt the entire length of the second floor, west wing, hallway.
Carrying her books.
And she called him Steven.
No one really made the connection until Pam Macy had bitterly bemoaned that Kelso freaked every time she called him Michael, but Jackie seemed to do it all the time, and he fell all over her.
Hyde had shoved Kelso in the trashcan when he called him Steven.
Naturally, Jackie was once again cornered (this time in Chemistry, where she couldn't get away), and questioned, and when asked what on earth she had said to Hyde, Jackie gave her patented glare, arched eyebrow, and toss of hair.
Then she said something that just floored the entire cheerleading varsity squad.
"Talking is for people who have something in common. Steven and I are alone right now, sometimes we like to be alone together. Now zip it."
After that, it seemed like Jackie and Hyde were alone together a lot.
Jason was still in denial about the whole thing. He told Gina that Jackie was probably just trying to get back at Kelso, and it seemed to be working, because Kelso didn't like it at all that Jackie and Hyde were being alone together, and he was almost always hanging out with them on the hood of the car.
Yes, being alone together also meant eating regularly on the hood of Hyde's car.
It was just... weird, and creepy, and just unnatural. No one was going to ask Hyde what the hell was going on between him and Jackie, because Hyde was just Hyde. Chances were, the minute some body insinuated something to Hyde about him and Jackie he'd pop one in their face.
Cynthia said that Jackie wasn't saying one damned thing. She cheered, and she left, and during lunch, she was impossible to get to, because she was sitting next to Hyde on the car, surrounded by Kelso, Fez the foreign kid, and Foreman. Notes were ignored, and she still walked her hallways alone, unless she was with her basement buddies, or she was practicing her 'being alone together' with 'Steven'.
A month into the senior year, Sabrina, who had managed to finally buy a pack of cigarettes and was now missing her lighter, said she outside having a smoke, when Jackie handed Hyde a burger. He took it without a word, and then Jackie said she had a meeting, and then-
Sabrina was hyperventilating as she spilled the beans, so it was hard to make out at first, but, eventually Cynthia managed to translate-
Jackie had leaned over, kissed Hyde on the lips (scruffy beard and all), and hopped off the car. Hyde kept on eating his burger. Foreman stole a fry. Fez the foreign kid searched through Jackie's lunch bag, muttering something about candy.
No one noticed that the world had just suddenly stopped rotating, and fallen flat on its fat blue face.
It was some weird, twisted Twilite Zone alternate universe, where Jackie and Kelso, in the name of all that was good and pure, became Jackie and Hyde.
Jackie and Hyde, alone together on the hood of his car. Jackie and Hyde, alone together as they walked down the hall. Jackie and Hyde, in the corner booth at the Hub, alone together, sharing French fries.
Jackie and Hyde, Jackie and Hyde, Jackie and Hyde.
Sure, Kelso was still around, at the Hub, Donna was there, too. Jackie's inclusion in the basement group was defacto, it had to be, right? But, now, apparently, it wasn't because of Kelso.
It was because of Hyde.
It was wrong, Todd Winston said. To have someone that looked like Jackie did, walking down the hallways with a guy with a beard, curly bushy hair, and a Led Zeppelin t-shirt was just wrong.
Tammy said he was just jealous, and she thought it was actually nice, for all the weirdness. She had even overheard Jackie tell Fez that she was trying to not be so shallow and materialistic (though God knew why).
Stanley Smith, a lanky sophomore, who was pushed into the closet, and hung by his jeans on a regular basis, said that Hyde had even pulled him off, and told him to talk to him the next time the jocks did that. Usually, Hyde just pulled him off, and told him to stop being such a skinny idiot.
He thinks it had something to do with the fact that Jackie was holding Hyde's hand, glaring at him self righteously, and then patting him proudly when Hyde muttered the last few words in a 'take me up on that and you're dead' kind of way.
Jackie and Hyde, Jackie and Hyde, Jackie and Hyde. Everyone you talked to wanted to know what was up with Jackie and Hyde.
Cynthia was pretty sure it was Derek, the front end, who had jokingly given the weirdness an official name.
"It's all some freaky metamorphosis, dude," he said, swigging the beer, at Jeremy's keg party. "Like Jackie and Hyde, some twisted shit. It's like... Jekyll and Hyde, man."
Jackie and Kelso. Jackie and Hyde.
Jekyll and Hyde.
There was probably some test he should have studied for, but Steven Hyde rarely did anything he was supposed to do.
School days were an endless, boring, blur, and the best of the times he had usually spent this way, seated on the hood of his car, staring at the world from behind his sunglasses, lost in his contemplation of zen, the world, and conspiracies.
Checking his watch, Hyde noted the time, turning an idle eye toward the doors that led to the school, before leaning carelessly back on the hood of his car. It was getting colder. Hyde usually sat out here all winter until he was frost bitten and numb, lost in his picture of zen, but Jackie, princess that she was, wasn't going to want to be out here in the freezing cold.
Bitterly, Hyde wondered what lunch table he would be subjected to. Jackie sure as hell wasn't dragging him to some cheerleader and jocks table, that was for sure. Rubbing at his beard, he contemplated. Somewhere in the back, he decided, secluded, and away from all the bitches, and idiots, some place where they could be alone.
Steven liked being alone. Hanging out in Foreman's basement was cool and all, it was his home, but he liked his privacy. Sitting on the hood of his car, musing about zen and the world, that was cool. He was good at being alone.
It was still surprising as hell to him, that he was just as good at being alone with Jackie. The girl had grown up some. She kept her mouth shut when he asked her (told her, but whatever), smelled nice, and looked really hot. Jackie was, for all intents and purposes, his benign tumor. Something he knew he should have gotten rid off a long time ago, but could never quite bring himself to cut away.
He had resigned himself to the fact that he and Jackie weren't going to stop anytime soon. There was no reason why they should, honestly. Jackie was cool, she knew him, and they hung out in the same basement anyway, what the hell did it matter if they hung out at school, too?
Heels clacking on pavement made him turn, and there she was, Jackie Burkhardt, flashing him a quick smile before handing him her tray.
"Here," she said, shivering slightly in her coat before turning, and pushing herself up onto the hood of his car.
Yeah, that. He wasn't exactly alone out here anymore. Not that he minded. If you really thought about it, Jackie being out here was no different than him being alone. It was just... he was alone, with Jackie.
The summer had proved there were all sorts of interesting things to do when one was alone with Jackie.
"What kind of crap did you bring out here this time?"
Jackie shot him a glare, shaking her head, pushing her perfectly set curls (he knew. He had had to listen to her talk about how she did them for a damned half hour once) behind her shoulder, and moving the tray on her lap.
"Here," she responded, pushing a burger into his lap. Jackie had long ago given up on trying to get him to eat some of that other stuff she liked to buy, but she knew how he liked his burger.
It was still warm, and despite the fact that Hyde never really cared about eating lunch before the first time Jackie pushed herself up onto the hood of his car, he found some of his lunchtime was actually spent consuming food, rather than smoke.
"Sure," she responded. She was still shivering, Hyde noted. With a sigh, he shifted over, leaning an arm over the metal, so that it rested behind her. She leaned into it for a second. Hyde smelled a small amount of jasmine scented shampoo and perfume, before she suddenly pulled away, rigid in posture.
Something was off. Hyde straightened himself, awkward now as he pulled his arm back, settling his hand on his knees, curious in his gaze toward his little princess.
"What?" he said evenly.
Jackie's look was one of surprise, hair tossing as she gave him a quick glance. "What?"
"What is it," he enunciated, "Usually you're talking my ear off right about now."
It sounded callous and wrong, but Hyde had always been callous and wrong to Jackie, and she had never cared. It was how things were with them. Jackie knew what Hyde meant, she never made him say it.
It was surprising, to say the least, when instead of an explanation, he received an incredulous glance in return.
"Is that your incredibly warped way of asking me what's wrong?" she muttered, picking at her small packet of French fries, legs crossed.
"No." The response was automatic. Glance shifting over to the couple making out in the sedan in the next parking spot over, Hyde shrugged noncommittally. "It's just all your yapping is something I've learned to tune out, it's gotten to the point I expect it. Background noise."
"Background noise," she repeated. "Thank you, Hyde."
Hyde. Not Steven. Hyde.
He blinked, sitting up, and turning once again to her profile. Jackie was a beautiful woman. Not a girl, not anymore. A beautiful, well dressed woman. Pursing his lips, Hyde studied the contrast. Expensive boots, polished with not a scruff on them, brown corduroy pants that fit seamlessly, leather jacket that draped well over her slender form. A scarf covered her throat from the cold, embroidered with some pattern he failed to recognize. Her cheeks, rosy with cold, accentuated an exotic face, and her blue/green eyes had always been the most stunning he'd seen. Her hair was pulled back today, in a sleek ponytail, allowing him a perfect view of the perfect face.
Jackie was a beautiful, well dressed, upper crust young woman, sitting on the hood of this car.
What the hell was she doing out here with him?
Blowing out his breath, Hyde reached over hesitantly, almost awkward in his attempt to pat at her chilled fingers. Even trying, he felt stupid. Hyde was the master of zen, this just didn't feel like a 'zen' thing to do, but his mind swam with questions, and doubts, and it was better to push them away in favor of something else.
"Hey," he said quietly. "Really. What's wrong?"
"Nothing. Everything. It's just..." Jackie blew out her breath, small tuft of white clouds emerging from her lips as she gazed over the courtyard in contemplation. "God, I wish Donna was here."
"Because I really need someone to talk to."
He blinked. "And you can't talk to me?"
A small, bitter smile creased her face. "Steven, talking is for people who have something in common."
His hand immediately lifted from hers. "You're right. I forgot," he said automatically. Fuck it. She didn't want to talk, all the better. Save him from all her yapping.
"No, Steven, I'm sorry." Immediately, he felt her next to him, body warmth pushing into his side as her fingers slid through his, squeezing tightly. "I didn't mean it, it's just-"
"Steven." Her voice was firmer now, fingertips pressed at his chin, tilting his head until she was staring at him. "I'm sorry."
He shook his head, removing her caress. "Whatever."
She fell against him with a sigh, hand wrapping around his waist, chin now leaning on his shoulder. Hyde felt the burger going cold in his hands.
"Am I your girlfriend or not?"
The question was point blank, her gaze that pinned him as the words fell from her lips, left him with the feeling that he was stuck in the glare of two oncoming headlights.
"What?" he asked stupidly.
She sighed, words rushing out in one breath. "I know you don't like me asking that question because of you and your stupid prices, but I need to know."
She needed to know? Needed to know what? Like being his girlfriend would change anything? That was crap. Jackie wasn't his girlfriend. Hyde was a loner. He liked being alone, and this shit wasn't a relationship. Relationships went to crap, they always did. It happened to his mom, it happened to Eric and Donna, and even Mrs. Foreman was turning psycho on Mr. Foreman thanks to her lady parts problem.
"Jackie, why do you care about crap like that?" he snapped angrily, shifting over on the hood, figure now hunched against her.
Her tone was quiet, almost hurt. "Because it's not crap to me, Steven."
"Well, it should be! A girlfriend is nothing but a term created by advertisers to get people to buy crap." Her face was frozen, a picture of confused hurt, staring at him blankly like any minute he was going to make sense. Shit, what the hell was he doing with her? Jackie didn't get anything. She wanted him to be a boyfriend, doting and stupid like Kelso? "I'm not buying into it and neither should you."
He ran out of breath, blood rushing into his veins, face red now from emotion, as he stared down at Jackie, his Jackie, who just kept looking at him. Maybe it was then that she finally got it, finally formed the question he had been waiting for her to see all along. He could see it on her face, written across her eyes.
What the hell was she doing with him?
Her blue-green eyes, cat eyes, hardened against him, and she sniffed once, glancing away. "Well, that's great. That's great. Fine. Then what the hell are we doing out here on your freezing cold car?"
Zen, man. Always gotta remember the zen. It was harder than before, to maintain that picture of indifference. "Hey, I never asked you to be out here, Jackie, okay? I was just fine here alone, until you decided to drop your ass on my car every freaking lunch hour."
Yeah, it was cruel. But that was Hyde. He was cruel, and indifferent, and he didn't have feelings. Jackie knew that. She knew that coming into it. She should have known better than to expect shit like that from him. He and Jackie, they were just passing time. That's all it was.
A meaningless fling, she said it herself.
"Fine," she said finally. Her tone was icy, and when her mismatched eyes caught his, there was frost settled inside he never knew existed. "Fine."
The defeat in her voice snapped his zen away like a god-damned pin ball. She shoved her tray down, smacking on the car, and her eyes blazed with fury, anger, and resignation.
There had to be tears there. Crap. Hyde hated tears, hated to see Jackie feel so openly like that. Naked emotion took more bravery than he ever had, and Jackie had never cried because of him. It was always Kelso, never him.
It had never been Jackie and Hyde before, and Hyde hated to see her cry over shit like this.
"No, Steven. Fine. You like being alone so much? Then be alone." With that, she pushed herself off his car, flung her bag over her shoulder, and clacked her way into the school.
Steven's palms smacked against the car hood, pure instinct caused him to push, ready to slide off, when a high pitched "BURN!" came from behind.
Hyde's eyes closed, sudden frustration mounting. Hands on his head, Steven tried to control his temper. For some reason, it was always damned harder now to keep the zen with this guy.
"Kelso, get the hell out of here," he muttered quietly.
"Hey, man, don't be mad at me," Kelso said, picking up Jackie's forgotten tray and picking at the fries. "I'm not the one that got her all upset by making up stupid nicknames about you guys."
"What?" Hyde's head came up off his arms. "What are you talking about?"
"Hyde, who is Jekhill?" Fez asked, a confused expression painted on his face as he came forward, leaning against the car.
"Who?" Hyde said automatically.
"Jackal, man. He was like, some type of wolf guy. And Hyde was like, the skin. Jackal and Hyde," Kelso explained authoritatively.
"Jekyll and Hyde?" Hyde repeated. "That's what they're calling us?"
"Yes," Fez responded, nodding enthusiastically. "But I don't understand. Why is Jackie a Jekhill? Are they saying she is a bitch?"
Hyde was frozen, Fez and Kelso suddenly tuned out as Jackie's expression came back to him. Jekyll and Hyde. Jackie and Hyde. Jekyll and Hyde.
They were fucking call her names?
"Crap," Hyde groused, pushing off the car.
"Hyde, are you going to eat this burger, man?" Kelso called out.
Hyde waved an arm away dismissively, pushing at the school doors, glancing around. The glasses made it impossible to see in here. Lights were low, and Hyde ripped them off, keeping his gaze open for any sign of his cheerleader girlfriend.
There was that jock guy, Jason something, in the corner with a group of other brainless jocks. He had seen one of them after Jackie at one point or another. Moving forward, he poked one on the shoulder.
"Hey," he said crisply. "Any of you seen Jackie?"
"You mean Jekyll?" joked the tall one with dark hair.
Hyde pursed his lips, blew out his breath, and shook his head.
Two seconds later, he was rubbing at his knuckles, Stupid Jock Number One was on the floor, and Hyde turned to Stupid Jock Number Two. "Jackie? Where is she?"
"Went that way," Jason said automatically, pointing fervently to the lunchroom.
Hyde cocked an eyebrow, but Jason only nodded more earnestly.
"All right. Thanks." Hyde gave a nod, stepping over the guy on the floor in the process. "Right," he said, almost in afterthought. "Next time I hear that word about Jackie, I'm gonna pound the pavement with your face, got it?" Waiting for the guy to answer would have actually been a sign of respect, and since Hyde had none, he kept walking.
The lunchroom, dreaded hovel of cafeteria rules, regulations, and the memory of a mother who abandoned him.
Damn. He hated this place. Hated the smell, hated the talk, the stupid cliques with their stupid tables.
The inane sound of giggling filled his ears like fingernails on a chalkboard, and Hyde zeroed in on the source with a frown of disgust.
Of course, Jackie would be right in the thick of a bunch of frilly, little blonde curly cheerleaders. The girl got away from him for one minute, and already she was regressing into her evil ways.
He closed his eyes, hands curled into fists, bracing himself for what he was about to do.
No girl should be worth this much trouble.
Better to go in with some sort of armor. Glasses were pulled back on, and Hyde strode forward.
Blonde Girl Number One noticed him coming first. Her manicured palm hit Jackie, causing the entire brigade to zero in on him like a bunch of braindead storm troopers.
The chatter muppets turned deadly silent at the sight of him.
Fuck it. Taking another broad step, he kept his gaze on Jackie. Better not to look into their eyesight directly, or he might be turned to stone.
"Jackie," he said gruffly. "Come on. I gotta talk to you."
"Excuse me?" she responded.
Crap, Jackie. I'm in enemy territory here. Don't make me stand here longer than I have to. "Let's go, Jackie."
"Steven. You can't just herd me away like I'm some sort of cattle." Jesus, what a great time for Jackie to put her foot down about something.
"I just want to talk to you."
"I don't think she wants to talk to you." Blonde Girl Number Two was now standing, hands on her hips as she glared at him murderously, blocking him from Jackie's view.
"Cynthia. I can handle this."
"Jackie, I don't think you can. This guy isn't worth it. Look at him! He doesn't even shave!"
All right, that was enough. Stepping forward, Hyde pinned her with a glare. "Listen Barbie, I'm trying to talk to my girlfriend. You mind getting your phony breasts out of my face?"
Cynthia's eyes widened, jaw dropping with unspoken horror. Steven didn't even the chance to enjoy it. A small hand fit into his neatly, and its partner smacked into his chest, pushing him away.
"Let's go," Jackie clipped.
"Come on, you ... moron." For a ninety eight pound benign tumor, Jackie was pretty strong.
Some where, in the back of the room, there was a mumbled 'Jekyll and Hyde'. He nearly stopped, but she kept pulling, and didn't stop until they were in the hallway.
"What was that?!" she exploded.
"What?" he asked.
"First you tell me I'm not your girlfriend, then you just announce to the entire cafeteria that I am-" Jackie's cheeks flushed brilliantly, and he had to admit, she was pretty damned hot like this. Fiery temper looked good on Jackie. Made him think about shutting her up lots of different ways, most involving his mouth and tongue. "Don't even think about it," she groused, finger up in his face, warding him off.
"It's like you're a freaking tilt-a-whirl!" she burst. "One minute you're sweet and caring and the next you're callous and cruel – no wonder they call you Jekyll!"
Steven blinked, suddenly lost. "Me? You're Jekyll! I'm Hyde!"
"Not metaphorically. I'm sorry Steven, but I will NOT be the ugly one. I'm Hyde and you're Jekyll."
"What?" Why did their conversations always seem to dissolve into complete sentences of random confusion? "Wait a minute- why does that matter?"
"I'm not the one that brought it up."
"Yes, you did."
"No, I didn't."
"Jackie, you said something about there being a tilt-a-whirl and then you called me Jekyll- what?" he suddenly asked, self conscious when that look came on Jackie's face. The small smirk that drifted on her face.
What was with her?
"You were listening?" she asked.
"Huh?" One minute she was furious and the next she was happy because he remembered the tilt-a-whirl? "Man. You really are Jekyll."
"Oh, shut up, Steven." She waved his observation off, arms crossed as she glanced around the hallway. "Wait a minute." Turning back, she narrowed her gaze warily. "Why did you even come after me?"
Oh. That. "I wanted to talk to you."
"Yes, Steven," she said impatiently. "I got that part. About what?"
"Uhh..." Suddenly feeling foolish, Hyde took a step back, rubbing at the curls over his ear. "I just... heard about the Jekyll and Hyde thing and I just wanted..."
"Yes?" she asked, eyebrow rising quizzically.
Suddenly her eyes widened, palm slapping over her face as her mouth moved to an 'oh'. "Oh my God! Steven, you wanted to see if I was okay!"
"No, I didn't," the statement came out of his mouth before he had time to blink.
"Yes, you did."
"No, I didn't."
"Yes, you did, and shut up, already." Jackie nearly hopped in her glee. What was it with this girl and clapping? His face was flaming red, and even so, he had to fight to keep the stupid grin from coming onto his face, even as he wanted to wring her skinny little neck for making him want to sink into the floor.
"You shut up."
She grinned, now nearly twirling in the damned hallway where everyone was watching Steven Hyde lose his zen.
Jekyll and Hyde his ass. There was no way this girl was going to change him.
"And I'm fine."
He crossed his arms, face now a purpose filled blank. "You're fine."
"Steven, I don't care if they call me that. I mean, I thought it was... funny."
The zen dropped, now replaced on his face with confusion. "You thought it was funny?" he repeated. "Being named after a murderous alter ego is funny to you?"
She shrugged. "Sure. Steven, relax. I've been called much worse. I was unibrow girl for like, a month, thanks to you and Kelso after prom. And, I do have to point out, unibrow or not, I was still the prettiest girl at that formal. I should have been Snow Queen. Dammit."
Okay, now she was getting off track.
"By the way? You still owe me something pretty for that shame and degradation."
"If we're countingb Jackie, then by all rights and purposes you owe me," he snapped irritably. "Look, if this Jekyll and Hyde crap wasn't bothering you then why were you such a... What was wrong with you before?"
Jackie was quiet. Her gaze, emerald and ocean, was frank and open. "I just figured if everyone else knew where we stood, maybe it was time I figured it out, too."
Shit, Jackie. Steven sighed, breath blowing out. "Jackie, it doesn't matter what the hell everyone else thinks. We do what we want, how we want to do it. Screw everyone else."
"Things are changing, Steven," she said frankly. "Being alone with you all summer, it made me see things. You know? I mean, stuff like shoes and clothes, and popularity, it's fun, and all, but it's kind of... shallow."
God, now he really was in the twilite zone.
"I just... I didn't want to be this different person if it didn't matter to you."
Steven stared. Uncertainty floated over her face, clouding her expression, naked eyes glancing awkwardly up at him.
God, that girl and her naked feelings. How on earth did she DO that?
Hell, he wasn't about to.
Instead, he managed the smallest of smile, a wide as zen would allow. Her lips were soft as he kissed them, just once, gently. "Hey," he finally said.
That was all. But she smiled, that beautiful 'Jackie' smile, shaking her head, and sliding her fingers into his, squeezing.
"Like it or not, you're changing, too, Steven."
"It'll be a cold day in hell, Jackie."
"Oh, really," she said dryly, smirk floating over her features. "I thought you didn't believe in conformist crap like girlfriends."
"Yeah, well. I don't," he said shortly. "But you do. And I don't hate you."
"You don't," she answered flatly.
"Look, if this stupid school is going to call you something, I'd rather it be my girlfriend than some stupid 'Jekyll and Hyde' crap." It seemed like pretty decent logic to him. It wasn't like he was admitting something. It was damage control. Things weren't going to change anytime soon, and Hyde liked his name just fine without it being turned into that damned book turned reality.
"Ah. I see." Fingers threaded through his, Jackie's free hand now playing with the buttons on his shirt. "So... we're together then. Officially."
He nearly winced at the word. Offically.
"If that's how you want it," he ground out, teeth gritted. He turned away, but she caught him with her hand, pulling him back to face her.
"Steven." Her fingers cupped his chin, bringing him down to her eye level. "How do you want it?"
Dammit, Jackie. Taking a breath, Hyde just let the resignation hit. Fine. "Look, Jackie. All I care about is what I know. And what I know is that I was just fine alone on that damned car hood until you started sitting there with me and started feeding me crap. And now I'm hungry."
"You want me out there because I feed you?"
"I think it's cool if you want to be alone with me. People can say whatever they want."
"Alone together," she reasoned.
Now, she was getting it. Smart girl. "Sure."
"As your girlfriend."
His smile froze slightly. His girlfriend. This girl, his girlfriend. With her blue and green eyes, her damned fine smell, and damned pretty smile. His girlfriend. "Sure."
Her smile became smug. "You love me, don't you?"
"Don't push it," he growled.
"Oh, Steven." Small palms fit on his face, and when she got that smile on her face, he knew it was coming. Somewhere, off in the distance, the bell rang, but Hyde didn't hear it. Instead, his focus was on the kiss Jackie was giving him, the feel of her under his hands as he pulled her closer, the way she fit perfectly against him.
When his head lifted, the sounds hit him. Lockers closing, kids staring, jostling him and Jackie as they pushed around them to get to class. Somewhere, far off, he heard something.
"Jekyll and Hyde."
Steven shook his head, fixed his gaze on Jackie's swollen lips, and pulled her closer.
Jason told Gina who told Cynthia that he had seen Jackie and Hyde making out in the hall. It was weird, he said, because Hyde had even looked like he was ready to smile, and if that wasn't the scariest thing in the world, he didn't know what was.
Cynthia said she couldn't care less. Steven Hyde was a damned Neanderthal, and Jackie had no idea what she was getting into, being the girlfriend to that guy. And her boobs? So real.
Todd blamed it on the drugs. He said that Foreman's basement did something to hot girls, because how else could you explain Donna hooking up with Foreman and Jackie dumping Kelso for Hyde?
Jeremy, who sported a black eye for two weeks, said he wasn't saying shit about it at all. At least Kelso didn't care when he talked about Jackie's ass, and he would kick Hyde's if he caught him alone. He would.
Incidentally, he asked Jason and Travis if they minded helping him out.
Jason said it wouldn't make much difference. There was just too much wrong when Jackie was with Hyde to even bother with it. It was better to leave them on their own.
Besides, reasoned Tammy, it was fun to see what traits would rub off on the other. At least there would always be something to talk about as long as there was a Jekyll and Hyde.